Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dialogues With Socialists: A Personal Message to the Marxists, part 2

By Zach Foster
Continued from Part 1

Recently there has been a rumor campaign among Los Angeles-based socialists slandering my character.  I’ve met a few people at various socialist meetings and we’ve even hit it off, discussing current events and exchanging ideas on Marxist theory.  Someone I know and care for (you know who you are!) let it slip that I’m not a Marxist (gasp)! What was that?  I’m not a Marxist???  Well, by default that means I must be an evil fascist bastard!  Alright, alright, I have yet to be called an evil bastard, but I have been called a fascist, a Neo Nazi, Neo Confederate, etc., and the rumor campaign being waged against me by these angry Reds states that I’m some sort of infiltrator and spy.

Really, folks?  Who’s the McCarthyist witch hunter now?  I’m genuinely disappointed at the amount of ignorant ill will being thrown at me.  I am neither an infiltrator nor a spy.  What these people are doing is the purest form of name calling—yes, just like angry children do over playground disagreements.  They’re engaging in childish name calling simply because they don’t like what I have to say.  I find it highly ironic that the people who so passionately advocate freedom of information and so strongly support Wikileaks all of a sudden have a problem with having their own secrets exposed (but somehow it’s okay to release the names of civilians who cooperated with American soldiers knowing full well that doing so puts these people in danger of insurgent retribution).

I keep getting accused of “red baiting,” another accusation that is completely untrue.  Red baiting literally means accusing someone of being a communist or a communist sympathizer.  When ultraconservatives call Barack Obama a communist, that is actual red baiting.  I have accused no one of being a communist or communist sympathizer (all the people I’ve written about have publicly come out as proud Marxists), nor have I denounced anyone for being one.  What my articles have done is stated theses and woven facts into well-reasoned arguments supporting my theses.  Unraveling a flawed ideology is not a denunciation; it is an intellectual argument.  Denunciation equals saying “That is evil.”  The message in my articles has been “That is not an option for improving society and this is why…”  But then again, it’s easier to slam my character and even write me off as a “red baiter” than it is to try to intelligently refute my arguments and prove me wrong.  That is name-calling in its most refined form.  It also begs the question: when they call me “bourgeois” does that mean they’re capitalist baiting?  Wow, actual capitalist baiting right when they’re complaining about nonexistent red baiting…  If so, that adds yet another thick odorous layer to the bitter onion that is their hypocrisy.

In order to put to rest the foolish idea that I’m some sort of spy or infiltrator, I’m neither.  Every meeting I’ve been to has been a public one, advertised openly on the internet.  The fact that I’ve been able to discuss Marxist theory with people shows that I have an understanding of Marxist theories and philosophies that is either equivalent to or greater than those of the people who believe these doctrines.  Some of these people I spoke with assumed, because of my understanding of Marxist theory, that I was a socialist.  Again, remember what happens when people assume…

One of them did have the courage to confront me personally and actually ask me whether or not the rumors were true, and I have unending respect for this person for actually seeking my side of the story.  I explained to him who I am and what the mission of The Political Spectrum is: to make every voice heard.  I also explained that my attendance of PUBLIC meetings was not for some twisted purpose of gathering information on people, as if I was a McCarthy-era with hunter, but rather to educate myself and to HEAR THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY rather than draw conclusions from my own assumptions.  My tendency to write about current events, economics, political philosophy, and political economy stems not only from my critical thinking but also from my permanent understanding and appreciation of my First Amendment rights.  Such freedoms of speech and expression are utilized and capitalized on by socialists and hardcore communists, even though the same rights are guaranteed to them by the founding documents of the very republic they wish to do away with.

When asked why I didn’t identify myself as a Republican, I simply answered, “Revealing myself as a Republican patriot (a.k.a. bourgeois nationalist) at a Leninist party (a.k.a. government takeover party) would be like claiming to be a neo-Nazi at a synagogue or an ethnic minority at a Ku Klux Klan meeting.”  I elaborated that identifying myself at those times would have painted a target on my back, causing intense distraction from the meetings through collective fear and distrust of my presence and motives, and that their current paranoia and rumor campaign steadily supports my thesis.  I also explained that I have a right to privacy, especially in a public forum like the ones I attended.  Why should I have to identify myself and my political affiliation, especially when I’m a minority among a group that is hostile to my ideals and the things I hold sacred?  According to standards like these, I might as well sow a yellow Star of David on my coat for whenever I go out in public.  For a philosophy that claims to be all-inclusive, it more closely begins to resemble fascism (but that’s another argument for another day).

Marxists ultimately believe that the revolution is coming and it will probably be a violent one.  Marxist-Leninists believe that not only will the revolution be violent, but that’s it’s their job to make it happen soon in order to save humanity.  I, however, have the audacity to believe that the war between capitalists and socialists ought to be a battle of ideas, the weapons being spoken and written words and the armor being powerful arguments and un-dismissible evidence.  You can call my idea a dream; I call it democracy.


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

RNC Chairman Priebus Statement on President Obama’s Leadership Hypocrisy

By Michael Short

WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus released the following statement regarding President Obama’s campaign trip to Philadelphia today for his 30th and 31st  fundraisers after spending yesterday’s press conference scolding Congress to stay in town and work:

“Yesterday the president took an opportunity to speak to the American people to demagogue Republicans and point fingers, saying ‘leaders are going to lead.’ The very next day the President is jetting off to Philadelphia to line his campaign coffers. Is this the kind of leadership Obama was talking about? Instead of telling the American people how he planned to turn the economy around and create jobs, he chose to use national TV time to play politics. The truth is Team Obama is nervous about his reelection because it is clear Obama owns this economy – just as David Plouffe said this morning on the Today Show – and his policies have failed. As a result, the president has replaced hope and change with partisan politics at all costs, even if it means keeping his job while so many Americans lose theirs.”

Obama’s Schedule: June 30, 2011

3:15 PM
 Obama departs the South Lawn en route Joint Base Andrews.

3:30 PM
 Obama departs Joint Base Andrews en route Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

4:15 PM
 Obama arrives in Philadelphia.

5:35 PM
 Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event.

8:30 PM
 Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event.

What Role for the Jewish Media in a World of Growing Anti-Semitism?

By Hannah Rosenthal

Good morning. Mazel tov on this conference – the second one of its kind – it’s encouraging to see that it has doubled in size from last year. I am pleased to be joined by members of the European Parliament, the Israeli Ambassador, leaders of Jewish communities throughout Europe, Jewish organizations and students, and, of course, media representatives.

The subject of this conference is timely as in the 21st century we are still regrettably faced with anti-Semitism. In a world that is increasingly connected, sharing ideas across borders adds to the growing global dialogue, be it constructively or intolerantly. Jewish media needs to be a part of that conversation.

People get their news from many sources these days. Studies by the Pew Research Center and Advertising Age tell us that 77% of adults use the internet – 90% of whom are 18 to 29 years old. When it comes to time spent online, Facebook tops its rivals, with a user base of 517 million people, 70% of whom live outside the U.S. Another trend is the increased use of mobile phones, because they are cheaper than the cost to access the internet in many places. In the developing world, mobile phone applications bring the news to people’s hands.

74% of U.S. adults read newspapers at least once a week in print or on-line; this tends to be an educated, affluent readership. However, despite the trend in the U.S. and Western Europe of decreasing newspaper circulation, the rest of the world is experiencing a boom in newspapers in terms of titles and circulation. But what about the others, those who are less educated and less affluent? TV dominates among the less educated, although the internet is gaining on TV as the public’s main news source. Even relatively poor populations now consider TV a necessity, especially in the developing world. All these trends point to more media consumed around the world, starting with the youth, whose time is mostly spent on social media. This next generation – our future—means that Jewish media needs to adapt to play the changing media game, not only in Europe, but across the developing world.

In my role as the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, I have been tracking the rise in anti-Semitism around the world, most notably in Europe. Let me assure you of the unwavering commitment of the Obama Administration to this cause. The President began his Administration speaking out against intolerance as a global ill. In his historic speech in Cairo, he signaled a new path that embraces a vision of a world based on mutual interest and mutual respect; a world that honors the dignity of all human beings. President Obama and Secretary Clinton have honored me with this appointment and have elevated my office and have fully integrated it into the State Department.

We are attempting -- through diplomacy, public messaging and grassroots programs all over the world -- to confront and combat hatred in all its ugly forms, whether it is hatred directed against people on account of their religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation or differences of political opinion or due to their country of origin. Anti-Semitism is one such form of hatred rooted in historical forces that go far beyond any current policy debate. If we want to change this trend, we need to stand together in our efforts to promote tolerance, acceptance and compassion. In that vein, we need to support and encourage Jewish and non-Jewish media outlets alike in their efforts to reveal the ignorance inherent in hateful ideologies like anti-Semitism.

I am here in Brussels on the tail end of a trip which began in Saudi Arabia. I have also visited Jordan, Lebanon and Lithuania. In Lithuania, I spoke to teachers in a Holocaust education program, co-sponsored by the Lithuanian and U.S. Governments. I saw first-hand the impact that social institutions, especially schools, can have on developing a sense of tolerance and responsibility in the minds of our children. These experiences remind me of the importance of the work that I have been charged with as the Special Envoy.

When this year began, I planned to focus my efforts on fighting anti-Semitism in the Arab media and Islamic textbooks. On my recent trip, I met with a range of government officials, women’s and youth groups, and interfaith and non-governmental organizations in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon. I also met members of the press and bloggers in the Middle East.

In meeting with press, I am so often inspired by the efforts of journalists, news correspondents, photographers and others in the field to bring to light the important issues we face every day. While I am encouraged by the endless opportunities offered by the media, I also feel a sense of anxiety about its potential for misuse. A phrase, image or sound bite can affect millions of people in an instant, especially where no counterweight is present. In a world of increasing anti-Semitism, it is crucial that we understand the power of the media to change the minds and hearts of those who hate. Likewise, it is crucial for us to work hand in hand with other groups in their struggle for tolerance through the media.

In many countries, restrictive laws and administrative measures constrain fundamental rights to freedom of expression. The United States recognizes that areas for improvement exist in combating religious intolerance; however, we believe that the best response to hateful speech is debate and dialogue that condemns it and fosters tolerance. Not only do we believe that particular restrictions on expression violate universal human rights, we are convinced that they are counterproductive and exacerbate the very problems they seek to address.

I firmly believe that the most effective way to counter hateful speech and forms of anti-Semitism is by raising voices and taking actions that counter it. Bringing these hateful ideas to light reveals them for what they are and allows people to speak out against them. As President Obama said in Cairo, “suppressing ideas does not make them go away.” The media acts not only as the vehicle to amplify a variety of ideas, but it can also help expose the negative aspects of discriminatory ideas and actions. It is for this reason that I make it a priority to meet with bloggers and journalists wherever I go. The Jewish community must use media to put the spotlight on anti-Semitism and other hate speech wherever and whenever it appears.

At the State Department, we use the full range of media outlets at our disposal to get our message out; we use our webpage,; our embassy webpages; our blog, DipNote; Twitter; Facebook; webchats; traveling speakers; You Tube; Flickr; and daily press briefings. We tweet in nine languages – Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu and have over a 100,000 followers. We have a daily press briefing with domestic and international journalists, issue press releases, place op-eds, make speeches and provide testimony to Congress, as well as post online the remarks of the Secretary of State and other Department principals. We also have briefings for foreign journalists through our Foreign Press Centers in New York and Washington, as well as in media hubs around the world, including here in Brussels. The State Department uses international media engagement to communicate our priorities. In the same way, it’s critical that Jewish media and non-Jewish media cover Jewish priorities, and work together to combat anti-Semitism and intolerance.

As the President’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, I am charged with both monitoring anti-Semitic incidents and combating intolerance. As a child of a Holocaust survivor, anti-Semitism is extremely personal. When I was old enough to begin to understand what my father went through as the only member of his family to survive World War II, I asked him how he handled his guilt and kept his sanity. He didn’t miss a beat and said: “I survived to have you, Hannele!” – thus taking that guilt off his shoulders and putting it squarely on mine – and, as a result, I have dedicated my life to eradicating anti-Semitism and intolerance with a sense of urgency and passion that only my dad could give me.

Our daily actions are of great import, and I hope this conference will help us create connections in partnering to combat intolerance and promote understanding in our world. In addition to the larger communications managed by the State Department’s bureau of Public Affairs and bureau of International Information Programs, one of the things I do is to compile a weekly summary of news articles from around the world – thanks to the Internet, we have access to many sources, including some of the publications represented here today. These items are subsequently posted on my Facebook page under the heading “What We Are Hearing” so that social media users are more aware of anti-Semitism around the world.

I have been on the job for over a year now – and I’ve been hearing about six significant trends in anti-Semitism around the world:

I meet people who think anti-Semitism ended when Hitler killed himself. However, anti-Semitism is not History, it is News. More than six decades after the end of the Second World War, anti-Semitism is still alive and well, and evolving into new, contemporary forms of religious hatred, racism, and political, social and cultural bigotry.

This stems from the fact that traditional forms of anti-Semitism are passed from one generation to the next, and updated to reflect current events. We are all familiar with ongoing hostile acts such as the defacing of property, and the desecration of cemeteries with anti-Semitic graffiti. There are still accusations of blood libel, which are morphing from the centuries-old accusations by the Church that Jews kill Christian children to use their blood for rituals, to accusations that Jews kidnap children to steal their organs. Conspiracy theories continue to flourish, and “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” continue to be best sellers in many countries, often being taught to religious students as truth. For example, in April, the state-run radio in Venezuela urged everyone to buy and read “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” I asked my colleague, the Special Representative to Muslim Communities, to issue a statement condemning this action. Her voice, and those of others, helped lead to that official being fired in May.

A second phenomenon is Holocaust denial. It is being espoused by religious leaders, heads of State, such as in Iran, in academic institutions, and is a standard on hateful websites and other media outlets. As the generation of Holocaust survivors and death camp liberators reaches their eighties and nineties, the window is closing on those able to provide eyewitness accounts and thus we have a heightened sense of urgency to promote Holocaust education, create museums and memorials, and carry the memory and lessons of the Holocaust forward. I am happy to report that in Lithuania, and in other European countries, the U.S. and OSCE provide funding for teacher training in Holocaust education to battle this trend.

Ironically, we also see the antithesis of this as there is a third, disturbing, parallel trend of Holocaust glorification which can be seen in events that openly display Nazi symbols and in the growth of neo-Nazi groups. In Latvia recently, a notorious neo-Nazi made blatantly anti-Semitic statements, including incitements to violence against Jews, on a Latvian television talk show. Holocaust glorification and the growth of neo-Nazi groups is especially virulent in Middle Eastern media – some of which is state owned and operated - calling for a new Holocaust to finish the job. Truly bone-chilling.

A fourth concern is Holocaust relativism – where some governments, museums, academic research and the like are conflating the Holocaust with other terrible events that entailed great human suffering, like the Dirty War or the Soviet regime. No one, least of all myself, wants to weigh atrocities against each other, but to group these horrific chapters of history together is not only historically inaccurate, but also misses the opportunity to learn important lessons from each of these historic events, even as we reflect on universal truths about the need to defend human rights and combat hatred in all of its forms. History must be precise – it must instruct, it must warn, and it must inspire us to protect universal values as we strive to mend this fractured world.

The fifth trend is the increasing tendency of blurring the lines between opposition to the policies of the State of Israel and anti-Semitism. What I hear from our diplomatic missions, and from non-governmental organizations alike, is that this happens easily and often. I want to be clear – criticism of policies of the State of Israel is not anti-Semitism. But we record huge increases in anti-Semitism whenever there are hostilities in the Middle East. This form of anti-Semitism is more difficult for many to identify. But if all Jews are held responsible for the decisions of the sovereign State of Israel, when governments like Venezuela call upon and intimidate their Jewish communities to condemn Israeli actions – this is not objecting to a policy – this is anti-Semitism. When all academics and experts from Israel are effectively banned or their conferences boycotted, or individual Jews are held responsible for Israeli policy – this is not objecting to a policy – this is anti-Semitism.

Natan Sharansky identified the “three Ds” that cross the line: “It is anti-Semitic when Israel is demonized, held to different standards or delegitimized.” This is more readily illustrated by the fact that the U.S. is often the only “no” vote in international bodies where countries seem to have an obsession with singling out Israel for disproportionate condemnation.

The sixth trend is the growing nationalistic movements which target ‘the other’ – be they immigrants, or religious and ethnic minorities -- in the name of protecting the identity and ‘purity’ of their nation. When this fear or hatred of the ‘other’ occurs or when people try to find a scapegoat for the instability around them, it is rarely good for the Jews, or for that matter, other traditionally discriminated against minorities. The history of Europe, with Russian pogroms, Nazism and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans provides sufficient evidence. When government officials talk about protecting a country’s purity, we’ve seen that movie before. This is a good opportunity for Jewish media to reach out to other faith-based media to educate its counterparts on the problems we face and encourage them to report on these issues. We, in turn, should be prepared to reciprocate.

The State Department monitors these trends and activities and reports on them in all 194 countries in two major annual reports: The International Religious Freedom Report and the Human Rights Report. They are posted on the State Department website and on I am now involved in developing a major training initiative for State Department employees so they can better monitor what is happening in the countries where they serve, and sensitize them to the various forms of anti-Semitism. This will make our annual reports more comprehensive, and allow us to do an even better job of monitoring and confronting anti-Semitism in all its forms. These reports tell us that many countries are pushing hard to advance human rights and fight discrimination. It also tells us that there is so much more work to do. If we don’t chronicle it, if we don’t name it, we can’t fight it.

My approach to combating anti-Semitism is not just to preach to the choir, so to speak, but to join in partnership with non-Jews in condemning it – partnerships with governments, civil society, international institutions, business leaders, labor unions, and media.

And I would encourage all of us here to reach out to our counterparts in non-Jewish media, be it secular or faith-based. Sometimes, the messenger is as important as the message. If the non-Jewish media speaks out against anti-Semitism, people will take notice.

Last summer, Secretary Clinton launched an initiative to strengthen civil society across the globe and she instructed the State Department, including all overseas posts, to treat civil society as strategic partners because such relationships help us to build bridges among ethnic and religious groups and to change a culture – from one steeped in fear and negative stereotyping to one of acceptance and understanding; from narrow mindedness to celebrated diversity; from hate to tolerance.

I have an official website on and I am using Facebook and other social media to connect with all people – especially youth -- globally, and to encourage them to go beyond words, speeches, or even lectures by providing a vehicle for them to DO something tangible to promote tolerance and practice mutual respect. In February, my colleague Farah Pandith, the Special Representative to Muslims Communities, and I launched a virtual campaign called 2011 Hours Against Hate. We are asking young people around the world to pledge an unspecified number of hours to volunteer to help or serve a population different than their own. We have a Facebook page for this initiative, as well as a page for it on We ask them to work with people who may look different, or pray differently or live differently. For example, a young Jew might volunteer time to read books at a Muslim pre-school, or a Russian Orthodox at a Jewish clinic, or a Muslim at a Baha’i food pantry. We want to encourage them to walk a mile in another person’s shoes.

Farah and I began meeting with hundreds of young people earlier this year – students and young professionals – in Azerbaijan, Spain and Turkey – countries that in their histories celebrated Jews and Muslims co-existing and thriving together. They want to DO something. They expressed strong interest in the campaign – and we have already surpassed our goal of 2011 hours pledged against hate. Really, we have just begun. Last week, Farah and I met with youth and interfaith leaders in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon.

These are just some examples of how I and the Department of State use media daily. Anti-Semitism has been around since the beginning of Judaism, but since then, too, good people of all faiths and backgrounds have striven to combat it. The Jewish tradition tells us that “you are not required to complete the task, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Let’s all work together – let us, the Jewish, other faith and secular media representatives here today, use all forms of media at our disposal in our fight against anti-Semitism.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Letter from a Common Individual for the Family of America

This editorial was graciously submitted to the Political Spectrum by one of its readers.  Reader submissions and questions are always welcome.  To submit anything for consideration by the Political Spectrum, email Zach Foster at

We have come a long way as a family in this country. Most of you know of our history, each of us has a family, but few I believe think of this Country in that way.

Sometimes families break apart and never settle things till something traumatic happens to bring them back together.  Some never do, but in the back of their minds they know that someone in that family still cares and wants to mend those differences.

Then there are those external things that seek to keep members of that family apart, it feeds off this rips the core of the family apart, using guilt, tragedy, remorse, and loss to keep up and build walls brick by brick. It lies and whispers and exploits till nothing of what once was is gone. Bit by bit it is like a drug; it deceives making members think that was is wrong and what it offers is good.

It says ‘follow me and I can give you what your family can not; I will be your new family as long as you give all to me.’ 

Now some will say that this is the Devil. Some will say this is just a very convincing evil person with a charismatic personality.  It uses loss to foment resentments, it uses resentments and fears and makes what once worked, even though it was not perfect, look bad and unfair. It says ‘I can give you this perfection’ and makes it look easy and that is the appeal of it. It’s easy to grab a hold of, but in life what is supposed to be easy, things that are of worth in life are not easy to attain. But when one finally attains it one realizes it’s worth and takes care to protect and cherish so that others can build and make their own attempts at improvements. It is a foundation, because when one builds something, if you do not have a good foundation, it falls apart and no amount of shoring up can keep what is built up.

Over the past years families have experienced loss. It is a hole; for most it has been the loss of a service member, for others it has been for other reasons, for me the loss has been my wife.

I was once one of those who had been deceived at first I chose the easy path thinking that others were always to blame, for it was easier to do that easy because then I did not have to look at myself. I used others to do the same as it did; instead of working and building on the strong foundation I too shored up what I had built on sandy soil and it came crashing down. So I have had to go back to the foundation and rebuild what I have allowed to be torn down. What is it I am trying to tell you? Well look, look at the mirror, look at what we as a family are about to lose.

Can you honestly look in that mirror and tell yourself that what another can promise to give you is better and of more worth than of what you can work to attain for yourself and family?

Look at what is happening around us to our family. We are told ‘give all to me and I will make sure that others get what I receive from you!’ But this is a lie that takes and takes. At first it makes it look like a choice—that is the deception—it eventually takes without choice but the family is blind to this.  It is by force, and when one or two of the family members see it, they try to warn the others, but it has gotten a strong hold on the others by this time and tells the others ‘what I have given you is best,’ and because the others are so reliant on what they do get, it makes them a hostage to it and because of this fear they cast out and ridicule the others and allow it to take away more and more control breaking and destroying the foundation of the family brick by brick.

Now some of you will think I am talking about Obama, and Socialism and/or Marxism or Communism! Well yes in part, if one honestly looks at history one can see, but it uses history as a tool also. It says ‘look at how bad things were then and now look at how good I have made it for you.’ Was it really responsible for this? Or was it because of what the family could do for itself but didn’t?  And on the surface, yes it does look like it had done this, but if one really looks at it this is a lie.

It relies on us to deceive ourselves because that is the easiest thing to do when one fears of losing what it has received. Now for me, I am one of those family members who sees what it has been doing and has done.  Some say I am the liar, I am the deceiver.  But am I?  For me no, I believe not; I have faith I am not.

Now for this family of America I tell you “LOOK”, look into that mirror if you have the integrity to cast off that drug, and the drug I am referring to consists of many things. For me it has been to turn away from the truth, to turn away from telling it that I am the one who decides what is best for my family, and no one decides for me. Now, with the help of other family members, I will build on that foundation what has been torn down by the beast, the liar, the drug.

It is not easy, but what is worthwhile to me is not the easiest thing to do or the easiest way. What I start, others may have to finish, but I hope they never have to. I am an Individual, I have been given that right by my Creator so that I can create for myself, to keep what I make and to give to others as I, an Individual, see fit to give, sell for my own profit, or to tear down and recreate—Not because the drug says that I should, or takes away from me to make itself look good to others!

Look at what it does: it ignores an individual like me and puts others in a group and tells the group that the Individual is the liar. It tells them that what it gave the group, they cannot have what without the drug. It uses race as a group, separates men and women as a group, age as a group, sexual orientation as a group, language as a group—these are all tools used as a way to make the individual think that one cannot attain what the individual needs or wants to attain without the group.  Such is another lie.

Look at how this Country is made up—it has fifty two Republics. Now you say, ‘what an idiot!  Fifty-two Republics?! No there are fifty states!” Well, no.

When France aligned itself with us during the Revolutionary War it recognized thirteen republics, and what are now the fifty-two republics: each of the States, the District of Columbia, and the entire national government, so fifty-two republics, each of them being an Individual republic (and the key word is “INDIVIDUAL”) .

It, the liar, the best, the drug, over time has been able to make it seem that this is not true. It tells us we are no longer a family of individuals, individual people who live in individual states that is part of an individual republic in the world. It says we are part of a group of others in this world, that we have to give up our individualism and what we have created, and it makes us feel bad for being individuals. It tells us that what the individual creates is not for the individual to decide what to do with. It takes from the individual, decides how much the group gets and returns how much it thinks the individual should get.

Now some will scoff at what I as an “Individual” have written.  The liar will say things, that this individual does not have the ability to understand… They’ll think that just because I have no degree, no education past High School, that I am no one of prominence.  ‘What does this individual know?’  While it is true that this individual has only a High school education, has no degree or skin on his wall, is no one of fame or prominence or monetary wealth—yes these things are true—but THIS individual can accept these truths, because this individual has been able to work to provide a home for his family, put food on the table, and is more than capable of building a future for his own kin.

Who am I?  I am a part of a family of individuals, of individual Republics, all within a larger individual Republic.

Now you will have to decide as an Individual how this truth affects you, and what you as an Individual can create for yourself.

C. Moreing
Common Individual

Images courtesy of Wikimedia commons.  Thanks to Coleman Moreing for the submission.  Send YOUR submission to The Political Spectrum today!

Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Commends Democratic Governors for Protecting Americans’ Voting Rights

By DNC Press

This week, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch vetoed a photo-ID bill that had been passed by the Republican legislature. In so doing, he joined Governors Bev Perdue of North Carolina, Jay Nixon of Missouri, Brian Schweitzer of Montana, and Mark Dayton of Minnesota, all of whom have vetoed similar legislation that would have restricted voters’ access to the ballot box. In response, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said:

“The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy. Any attempt to infringe upon that right or impede Americans’ ability to choose their own leaders is an unconscionable attack on the democratic values that set our nation apart. I applaud Governor Lynch and all the Democratic governors across this country who have taken a stand to defend Americans’ right to vote by vetoing Republican photo-ID legislation and similar bills. There is quite simply no good reason for Republicans to continue pushing such legislation. It is expensive, unnecessary, and harmful, and I will continue to fight with Democratic leaders across this country to stop Republicans from manipulating Americans’ constitutional rights for partisan gain.”

CPUSA: Fighting for our future

By Sam Webb, Communist Party National Chair

No sooner had Republican governors finished their oath of office than they were demanding deep concessions from public sector workers in their respective states.

In Wisconsin, the Republican governor introduced legislation that cut wages and pensions and eliminated collective bargaining. Egged on by the ultra-reactionary billionaire Koch brothers, the governor attempted to railroad the legislation through the legislature, but before he could do so, he ran into an aroused people’s movement.

In Ohio, the new Republican governor turned the state into a microcosm for right-wing social engineering and the scene of a mass rebellion by labor and its democratic allies.

Governor John Kasich, who comes out of Fox News, Lehman Brothers and the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity, launched unconcealed class warfare. This includes a law, known as Senate Bill 5, that abolishes collective bargaining rights for all public employees and a budget that slashes $3 billion from the strapped public schools, cuts state assistance to local governments in half and privatizes prisons, liquor sales, the lottery and the turnpike.

Already many school districts, cities and county governments have begun massive layoffs and it is estimated the state budget cuts will result in the loss of 50,000 jobs.

In addition, the Republican majority expects to pass laws to drastically reduce access to voting, promote fracking (hydraulic fracturing of rock to extract natural gas) throughout the state including in state parks, and outlaw use of state hospitals for abortions.

At the same time, the estate tax on the wealthy is being eliminated, funds for vouchers and charter schools are being greatly expanded and a law is being passed to allow concealed weapons in restaurants, bars and sports arenas.

In Michigan, a state with double-digit unemployment, the Republican majority passed a budget that mandates a 48-month cap on welfare cash benefits. Almost 13,000 families face immediate loss of benefits. Shamefully, an $80 clothing allowance for poor children is also eliminated.

The governor’s budget cuts aid to universities by 15 percent and by $300 per pupil for K thru 12 education. Towns are being coerced into privatizing their workforce or face greater cuts in revenue sharing.

What is more, the governor’s tax overhaul increased the state deficit by giving a $1.8 billion tax cut to corporations. How was that made up? By raising taxes on the working poor and by taxing the pensions of seniors.

What alarms many in the labor movement and in particular public workers is the Emergency Finance Manager legislation passed by the legislature. It gives the governor the power to appoint managers with dictator-like power to replace mayors and councils and void union contracts — a power that he has already exercised.

I could cite other examples, but I think I have made my point that the rightwing-orchestrated assault is unprecedented in its scope and intensity. And for anybody who is wondering what a Republican election victory will look like at the national level next year, they need only look at states where Republicans rule this year.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans, fresh from their victory at the polls last fall, are also pressing their advantage. As a price to pay for their agreement to lift the debt ceiling (to avert a government default on financial obligations with potential catastrophic effect on international financial markets) Republicans are demanding $1 trillion in cuts to the federal budget. If they have their way we can say goodbye not only to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and more, but also to any hope of economic recovery for the foreseeable future.

This behavior is worthy of gangsters and thugs. It holds the nation hostage to their narrow worldview whose overarching objective is to destroy the social contract and democratic rights — beginning with the right to organize into a union — that were won in the Depression years and consolidated in the decades following World War II.

In doing so, these gangsters show their obeisance to the financial elite and the transnational corporations generally.

To complicate matters, the bug of austerity has bitten the Obama administration and many Democrats too. While their deficit reduction plans are more modest, these are still the wrong medicine for a faltering economy. It’s akin to pouring gasoline on a fire. Rather than withdrawing monies from the economy, additional monies should be injected into it.

If we want evidence of the counterproductive nature of austerity, we need only look to Europe. There several countries — Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, etc. — that have been forced to solve their debt crisis by means of austerity find themselves mired in debt and economic stagnation.

Our national debt is a problem in the longer term, but in the short term our real deficit is a deficit of infrastructure, renewable energy, education, health care, mass transportation, etc. None of these deficits can be addressed without strong, government-led, national strategies.

Moreover, such strategies will not only solve the immediate crisis in jobs, but also lay the material base for a healthy, productive and green economy, including a sustainable solution to national indebtedness. And, to those who say we can’t afford it, let’s remind them that plenty of money is available if we go to where it is: the wealthiest families, corporations, banks and the military.

Source: letter from CPUSA

VIDEO: President Obama and Vice President Biden Launch the Campaign to Cut Waste

By Kori Schulman

Ed. Note: At 11:00 AM, the Vice President will made announcement regarding the Administration’s ongoing effort to make government more accountable to the American people.

In a video message, President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the Campaign to Cut Waste today, which will hunt down and eliminate misspent tax dollars in every agency and department across the federal government. “Targeting waste and making government more efficient have been a priority for my administration since day one. But as we work to tackle the budget deficit, we need to step up our game,” said the President in the video, “No amount of waste is acceptable – not when it’s your money; not at a time when so many families are already cutting back.” Watch the video below:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Discovering Radio Deadly

by Zach Foster

I have enjoyed listening to The Misfits ever since I was a teenager, though I never went out of my way to look for more of their songs beyond the collection of well-known hits and the Project 1950 album my friend gave me (I love oldies, especially doo wop, and hearing those songs redone as punk was an amazing experience).  Oddly enough, a recent chain of events led me to do a little digging into the band’s history and albums beyond the Danzig era.  This chain of events included me stumbling onto the song “Saturday Night,” vocalized by Michale Graves (later performed solo and retitled “Crying On Saturday Night”).  This song fascinated me and I felt compelled to listen to it many times over again.  I felt completely captivated by the juxtaposition of the disturbing lyrics and the hauntingly beautiful melody that combined the sounds of horror punk with sad doo wop.

I’m now a more serious Misfits fan, but I can now proudly state that I’m also a fan of Michale (pronounced Michael) Graves, and not just for his music.  I have a newfound deep respect for the man and not just the musician.  Many hardcore Danzig fans openly bad mouth Graves for not being Glenn Danzig.  The way I see it is that Graves should be respected for that, since it must have taken great courage and huge endeavors of creativity just to fill the gap created when Danzig left the band.  Graves did an excellent job of helping keep the musical style alive while bringing his own flavor to the band rather than trying to imitate Danzig’s style.  Many non-partisan Misfits fans like and respect Graves for just this reason.

After leaving The Misfits in 2001 and getting involved with other musical projects, Graves began to be vocal about his political beliefs in public, earning him sharp criticism from within the punk rock community; Graves was a Republican and continues to describe himself today as a conservative.  He voted for George W. Bush both times around and believed in catching those responsible for the September 11 attacks.  In 2004 he became involved in the creation of, an outlet for punk rock fans with conservative leanings to discuss ideas and learn from each other over the internet.

The entire movement was criticized by the majority of the punk rock community which tends to lean hard to the left.  The common argument was that conservatism is a part of “the establishment” and punk rock is completely anti-establishment, so punk rockers and their followers ought to be leftists.  Leftism, however, has not resonated well with Graves ever since performing in Eastern Europe during the era just after the Berlin Wall came down.  He had personally witnessed the poverty and desolation brought about by socialist countries, as well as the disillusionment of millions who saw the civil liberties and higher standard of living enjoyed by the West. and the conservative punk movement were meant to be a counterbalance to the liberal project.  These conservative punks took little issue with anti-war sentiment in punk rock lyrics, but took great issue with openly anti-American lyrics like those featured in Anti-Flag’s song “Die For Your Government” that screamed “Die for your country? That’s s**t!” and “I never have, I never will pledge allegiance to the flag!”  They took major issue with the way the themes presented in these songs were considered cool and correct by the majority of the punk rock community.

What no one in the leftist majority of the punk community managed to figure out amidst their constant criticisms of the conservative punk movement is that the Punkvoter project favored one particular party in the two-party system, and taking part in republican democracy by voting in that system is an “establishment” practice.  What the liberals in the Punkvoter movement failed to grasp is that in taking part in the electoral process and getting involved in mainstream politics THEY BECAME PART OF THE ESTABLISHMENT.  They never considered the idea that punk rock might be a means of creative expression through loud, passionate rock music rather than a be-all/end-all ideology one must fundamentally subscribe to and abide by.  After all, if everyone has to think the same way and do the same thing, then they no longer oppose “the establishment,” but rather replace it with another one that is more oppressive through forced conformity.  Their vehement criticism of Graves for being the voice for a conservative punk movement stems from hypocrisy and from the fact that they simply don’t like his politics.  It’s much easier to discredit someone than it is to PROVE THEM WRONG, because challenging another’s core beliefs requires being able to back up one’s own with evidence and reason.  Many radicals are either unwilling or unable to make the effort.

Despite his negative portrayal by the punk majority, Graves was no simple flag-waving pro-Bush automaton.  He wrote articles explaining his views and why he held them.  He appeared on television and gave interviews.  Best of all, he put his money where his mouth was.  Late in 2004 he put his musical career on hold and enlisted in the Marine Corps, serving a year until an on-duty injury warranted him a medical discharge.  This kind of selfless patriotism on the part of a celebrity is almost unheard of these days.  With the exception of Pat Tillman who walked away from a career in the NFL to join the Army, surviving the Iraq War and dying in Afghanistan, no American celebrity has voluntarily left stardom to serve his country during a time of war since World War II.

These days, when not touring with Marky Ramone’s Blitkrieg, Graves and other creative musicians are involved in a project called Radio Deadly, an internet radio network where supporters can log on to and read articles (many of them written by Graves), listen to music, and call into the talk show where Graves and friends discuss an array of topics ranging from music and the arts to politics and current events and even conspiracy theories.  Needless to say I’m a dedicated listener now.

This all goes to show that, unlike many of his contemporaries, Michale Graves not only uses the right to free speech in his punk rock music, but also uses it to passionately defend the very republic and founding documents that give him and the rest of us such a right among many other rights.  That is why I’m a fan.

Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

President Obama Launches the Advanced Manufactur​ing Partnership

Last week, President Obama visited Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he toured Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and delivered remarks announcing the launch of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a $550 million dollar project to bring together industry, government, and higher education.

Today, the President travels to Bettendorf, Iowa, to visit the Davenport Works factory of AMP participant Alcoa. The factory is a state-of-the-art aluminum rolling mill that serves as the manufacturing hub for Alcoa's $3 billion aerospace business. You can watch the event live at 2:05 PM EST on
The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) is a national effort that brings together industry, universities and the federal government to invest in emerging technologies that will create high quality manufacturing jobs and enhance our global competitiveness. As President Obama remarked in Pittsburgh:

“We’ve launched an all-hands-on-deck effort between our brightest academic minds, some of our boldest business leaders, and our most dedicated public servants from science and technology agencies, all with one big goal, and that is a renaissance of American manufacturing. Throughout our history, our greatest breakthroughs have often come from partnerships just like this one.

American innovation has always been sparked by individual scientists and entrepreneurs, often at universities like Carnegie Mellon or Georgia Tech or Berkeley or Stanford. But a lot of companies don’t invest in early ideas because it won’t pay off right away. And that’s where government can step in. That’s how we ended up with some of the world-changing innovations that fueled our growth and prosperity and created countless jobs -- the mobile phone, the Internet, GPS, more than 150 drugs and vaccines over the last 40 years was all because we were able to, in strategic ways, bring people together and make some critical investments.”

The President’s plan, which leverages existing programs and proposals, will invest more than $500 million to jumpstart this effort. These investments will build domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries and reduce the time needed to make advanced materials used in manufacturing products. Additionally, we will invest in next-generation robotics, increase energy-efficiency in the manufacturing process and develop new technologies that will dramatically reduce the time required to design, build, and test manufactured goods.

By The Numbers - Debt and Spending Kills Jobs

Fast Facts

95% is the nation’s current total debt-to-GDP ratio.
Countries with debt above 90% of GDP experience at least 1% lower GDP growth.
A 1% reduction in GDP equals 1 million jobs lost.

About 40 cents of every dollar the federal government spends is borrowed.

100% of our tax revenue is spent just on mandatory spending and interest payments on the debt. Everything else – defense, homeland security, energy, education, etc. – is borrowed.

It’s been 790 days since Senate Democrats passed a budget.
During that time, the debt has risen by $3.2 trillion.
It’s time for a budget that finally places the U.S. on a sustainable fiscal path. The longer we wait, the more jobs we lose.

Interview with Jim Clancy of CNN International's Freedom Project

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

QUESTION: Protection, partnership, all of those things are really important, but Hillary Clinton, you bring action to this. How and what – how do you get others to share?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jim, I have been caring about and working on this now for longer than a decade, and the passion is there because it’s such a violation of human rights and human dignity. To see men, women, and children forced into bondage, slavery, in the 21st century is just absolutely unforgettable and unforgivable. So we do take seriously the mission that the United States, along with many international partners, has undertaken, which is to prevent and to prosecute and to do everything we can in our efforts to stop modern-day slavery. And that means we have to have partnerships, which is very important, and we have to protect those who are at risk and those who are put into it. So we went from three Ps to four Ps, but passion underlies all of them.

QUESTION: When the United States took it upon itself through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to do a report like this, when it also set itself up for criticism by those who would say, “This is politicized,” how tough do you see this year’s report in comparison to others?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s both tough and it’s encouraging, because on the one hand, when we started, we couldn’t even get this issue on agendas with other countries. I remember back in the late 90s, as First Lady, raising this issue in a number of countries, and I was really just politely dismissed. It was not something they wanted to talk about; they weren’t going to do anything about it; they viewed it as cultural, not criminal. And it only has been in the last several years that we have seen in – I would argue, in some measure, because of the U.S. report – that countries take it seriously, and that we have made common cause with activists at the grassroots level in so many countries who use this report to push their own governments for greater commitment.

QUESTION: Some governments like Saudi Arabia remain right on the bottom. Kuwait this year went down to Tier 3. When you look at that – how do you engage diplomatically to tell people who won’t even recognize that they have a problem, how do you engage them to make a change, a real change, not just passing a law?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we have to look at the progress that we’ve made. Yes, there are countries that have not done, by any means, enough to even be taken seriously in addressing this. But there are many others who not only did pass laws, but have begun to put resources behind the implementation of those laws. So what we have is an international snapshot. There are some countries that are going up because what they have done is worthy of that, and there are some countries that are going down because they have backslid and maybe they’ve had a change in administration or they’ve just decided it’s not a priority for them. And then there are countries that are not making progress one way or the other.

We try to use this report to encourage change. I mean, the report in and of itself is a tool. It’s not an end in itself. It’s not some kind of giant report card and then we put it away and then dust it off and upgrade it the next year. All through the year, what we’re trying to do is to work with countries that are willing to take some action. We’re trying to work with advocates so that they know they’re not alone. And we’re trying to shine a very bright light on people everywhere who are still unwilling to admit that 27 million enslaved people is a rebuke to everyone everywhere; it’s not just a Western phenomena. I think human rights are universal rights, and therefore, we have to keep working with these countries and encouraging them, and frankly, naming and shaming to some extent to get them to change.

QUESTION: Does naming and shaming – do you think it works?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. It does work. I mean, there --

QUESTION: But some countries are down on the bottom, Tier 3, every year.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we can look at the glass as half empty or half full, and that’s true that some countries are on the bottom, but other --

QUESTION: Are we pushing them hard enough or is this something where, “They’re our friends, we don’t want to push too hard?”

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we push pretty hard. I mean, it’s pretty hard to turn your eyes away from a report that is on the internet and that everybody can access. But I also like to look at the countries that have made a lot of progress. Look at what the Philippines have done in a change of administration. The Philippines probably export more people of their citizenry than nearly any other country in the world. They go all over the world to work in many different settings. And until the new administration of President Aquino, we didn’t really have the level of commitment we were seeking. We do now, and we see a sea change of difference.

So what we are looking at is, yes, those countries that are not moving, we’re going to keep pushing, we’re going to offer technical assistance, we’re going to keep raising it, it’s not going away, they can’t ignore it and thereby be left alone. And then we’re going to keep working with countries that are showing that they want to make a difference and do better.

QUESTION: One thing that has changed is that the U.S. is coming under a spotlight. The U.S. has said if: We have a problem, we admit it. But when you look at the War on Drugs or the War on Terror, there is no commensurate war on human trafficking in this country, a country with a hundred thousand young girls out on the streets, could become victims of human traffickers right here in this country – the funding isn’t there.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Jim, I don’t accept the premise of that. I think that part of the reason why I wanted to include ourselves in this report is that, I think, we’re stronger diplomatically if we can say to countries, look, we’re taking a hard look at ourselves. Now, we have done so much in the last 10-plus years, and a lot of what we do is at the local and state level, not just at the federal level. So if you look at all of the resources, from DA offices and police stations to judges who have been trained and really sensitized, all the way across our country we are making enormous progress off a very high base to begin with.

One of the first things I ever did that had anything to do with politics was as a young intern when I was in law school working on forced labor in our migratory labor in fields in our country, where people were basically enslaved. They were given contracts that they would never be able to fulfill and they were kept in, really, substandard housing, denied all kinds of services, and this was nearly 40 years ago. And there’s just no difference; it’s night and day. Our country has done so much. It is a national priority.

Once a year, I hold a meeting where our entire government comes together, from the Defense Department to the Justice Department to the Labor Department, and we do a tough review on what we’ve done and what we can do better. But what we have accomplished is really extraordinary. Is it a problem that we have overcome? No, but nowhere in the world has, but we set a very high standard and I’m proud of the work that our country is doing.

QUESTION: I want to shift gears and just ask you a question about Libya, Muammar Qadhafi, and the International Criminal Court: Is it such a good idea to have a public indictment of a man that you’re trying to force from power, or is it only going to make him dig in his heels even more – to fight his own people, to take their lives to an even greater degree?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jim, that’s a judgment call. The international community at the United Nations included a referral to the International Criminal Court because of the credible evidence of behaviors that were deeply disturbing. He’s dug in pretty hard, and we, along with our international partners have made it very clear that he needs to leave power, and he also needs to stop the assault on his own people. But part of what the International Criminal Court has done is to take credible evidence and pull it all together. And it tells a fairly horrifying story about what he and his close associates, including family members, have been willing to do to stay in power, someone who’s been in power for more than 40 years, who cannot give it up, and who has so undermined the institutions of a country that has so much potential. So you can argue it round, you can argue square, you can say maybe we should have or maybe we shouldn’t have. But it was included in part of the international response to what we saw as a very direct threat to the lives of civilians in Libya.

QUESTION: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, thank you very much for giving us the time.