Can We Save America? → Washingtons Blog
Can We Save America? - Washingtons Blog

Monday, November 16, 2009

Can We Save America?

How come the Wall Street robber barons who brought on the financial crisis are still calling the shots and pillaging the economy?

Congress is bought and paid for, and the fox is guarding the chicken coop in the Executive Branch, with Summers and Geithner calling the shots.

The American people are furious at the giant banksters who have picked their pockets so they can make huge bonuses. But - so far - the American people have for the most part kept their volcanic anger to themselves.

Make A Little Noise

As MSNBC news correspondent Jonathan Capehart tells Dylan Ratigan, the main problem is that people aren't making enough noise. Capehart says that the people not only have to "burn up the phone lines to Congress", but also to hit the streets and protest in D.C.

Even though most politicians are totally corrupt, if many millions of Americans poured into the streets of D.C., a critical mass would be reached, and the politicians would start changing things in a hurry.

As PhD ecnonomist Dean Baker points out:

The elites hate to acknowledge it, but when large numbers of ordinary people are moved to action, it changes the narrow political world where the elites call the shots. Inside accounts reveal the extent to which Johnson and Nixon’s conduct of the Vietnam War was constrained by the huge anti-war movement. It was the civil rights movement, not compelling arguments, that convinced members of Congress to end legal racial discrimination. More recently, the townhall meetings, dominated by people opposed to health care reform, have been a serious roadblock for those pushing reform….

A big turnout ... can make a real difference.

Baker is right about Vietnam.

Specifically - according to Daniel Ellsberg and many others - Richard Nixon actually planned on dropping a nuclear bomb on Vietnam Nixon also said he didn't care what the American people thought. He said that -- no matter what the public did or said -- he was going to escalate the war in Vietnam.

However, a well-known biographer says that Nixon backed off when hundreds of thousands of people turned out in Washington, D.C. to protest an escalation of the war.

Similarly, no matter how completely sold-out to the Wall Street giants D.C. politicians are, they would start paying attention to their real employers - the American people - if we make enough noise.

If 3 million Americans all peacefully surrounded the White House and Capitol Hill, holding signs saying "We're Not Leaving Until the Too Big to Fails which Caused the Economic Crisis are Reined In", things would change pretty fast.

3 million might sound like a lot of people. But many millions of people read popular alternative financial and economic news sites. You are probably one of millions of people who will read this essay (by the time it is published by some of the larger sites).

In other words, it's not even a question of convincing other people to go. We - those who read alternative financial websites - could do it ourselves.

If millions of us don't go protest in D.C., it's because we are choosing not to sacrifice a tiny bit in order to change things.

The bad guys are only winning because we - the American people - aren't making enough noise.

Not Now . . .

It is human nature to try to put things off until tomorrow. Tomorrow, when things are easier, we'll do it...

It is easy to despair that it is already too late. Should we whine and give up hope?

Well, about a month before the American Revolutionary War, Patrick Henry said:
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year?
If not now, when? Like Patrick Henry asked, when will we be stronger? When will the robber barons be weaker?

If we're going to save America through non-violent protests, now is the time.

To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.
- Bruce Lee

There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at points in history and creating a power that governments cannot suppress.
- Howard Zinn, historian

The power of an aroused public is unbeatable.
- Dr. Helen Caldicott

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.
-Ferdinand Foch

In times of danger large groups rise to the highest pitch of enthusiasm, courage and sacrifice . . . Mankind will be refashioned and history rewritten when this law is understood and obeyed.
-Helen Keller

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
- Margaret Mead

We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.
-Sonia Johnson

You let one ant stand up to us - then they all might stand up. Those puny little ants outnumber us a 100 to one. And if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life.
- Hopper (a grasshopper who is the leader of the gang of thugs who are stealing money from the other bugs, speaking to fellow grasshoppers in the Disney/Pixar movie A Bug's Life)

If you don't like the news, go out and make some news of your own.
- Scoop Nisker


  1. Your previous post was do wars create recessions.

    A better question might be: Do countries in the mess we're in now get out of such mess by peaceable means, or not? The last days of Czarist Russia come to mind, in some of the asides in Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous, which describes events of the period.

    I am so tired of hearing that anti-war protests stopped the war in Vietnam. I was alive back then. The protests did no such thing.

    The immediate response to the protests was to restructure the draft. That was in 1969. It became a lottery. Numbers above a set mark were not drafted. Every year thereafter the trigger number went lower & lower. By 1973 virtually no one was being drafted. The army was de facto volunteer.

    But that didn't stop the war. The war continued by other means. Right down to the very end, when our lavishly funded puppet regime was overrun by North Vietnamese tanks & what was left of the US fled by helicopters from rooftops.

    Why does no one protest now? Because it's FUTILE. We're not stupid. We remember the last time. Another passage comes to mind: William Shirer's description of the start of WWII, in Berlin, September 1939. He was an eye-witness. Shirer described the city as glum. Why was it glum? Perhaps because not that many years before, a lot of protest, a lot of effort, had come to exactly nothing.

    So far as civil rights, the struggles of the 1950's were as nothing compared to the riots of the mid-late 1960's. When did Johnson shove civil rights legislation through Congress? 1964.

  2. "More recently, the townhall meetings, dominated by people opposed to health care reform, have been a serious roadblock for those pushing reform"

    Which is in fact good counter argument. Yes, indeed there were numerous townhall meetings were numerous people were furious. And? what happened? Congress has approved the bill in even more stripped form that people were furious about.

    The difference between Vietnam era and today is that then "free speech zones" were unthinkable, and now they are normal. Protesters more and more are viewed as terrorists, local police departments are trained by FBI to look at any protest exactly by this way, are militarized and armed with assault weapons. They have no other target but "home-grown extremists". Consequently, any more or less serious protest will be viewed as act of terror. Prediction: just wait for the first case when police will shot at demonstrators. So, the people are indeed not politically active mostly because they are simply afraid, and they have very good reasons to be. Numerous incidents have confirmed that today's police have license to kill with impunity, without slightest risk of any sort. Another prediction: Officer Mehserle, who shot a man on subway platform in Oakland in cold blood, will be acquited.

  3. Time is of the essence, so it's not like Americans have much of a choice - either act now, or forever be slaves.

  4. "If we're going to save America through non-violent protests, now is the time"---gee, now where have I heard this tired old argument before? COME ON.....non-violent protests are exactly what we've been resorting to now for FAR TOO LONG, and where have they gotten us? Exactly, they've gotten us absolutely NOWHERE. The propensity towards non-violence is nothing more than playing "Let's Be Co-Dependent" with the Federal Government. In other words, let's be NICE to them, and then maybe...MAYBE...they'll change. SUUUURE. The reason they're still in power is precisely BECAUSE we keep doing the SAME THING every time we seem to get "angry"----holding up signs, yelling out slogans, marching peacefully. I mean, if THAT'S "anger", no F%#KING WONDER nothing changes!!!!!!! The time for this limp, ineffectual bullsh*# called "non-violence" has come and passed. It's time to STOP PLAYING NICE with those who have appointed themselves our "rulers". They don't respond to "nice"....they respond to GUILLOTINES!!!!!!!!
    Revolutions were MADE to be VIOLENT!!!!! Anything less is weakness.

  5. A few more.

    It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds. - Samuel Adams

    The water will never clear up until you get the hogs out of the creek. - Jim Hightower

    A vision without a task is but a dream. A task without a vision is drudgery. A vision with a task is the hope of the world. - Church inscription, Sussex, England, 1730

    The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it. - Edward Dowling, Editor, Chicago Daily News, 1941

    Be of good cheer, the military-industrial state will soon collapse. Meanwhile, we must do all in our power to oppose, resist and subvert its desperate aggrandizements. As a matter of course. As a matter of honor. - Edward Abbey

  6. Gee, all those protests against going to war against Iraq worked out well, they sure changed Bush's mind.... not.

  7. Ben Steinke, the problem is in referring to "them". Everybody refers to "them" and "us. OK, the revolution has begun, and your guillotine is ready. Now name one specific person you are sending to it, even assuming (unreasonably) you can actually catch him or her.

  8. So we've kept our anger under control. So far!

  9. We havent heard any shots yet.

  10. Can we save America?

    This essay is more constructive than many which focus on Americans being too stupid or too lazy to do anything. But do what? On which day? And where? because many people hanging on with jobs and families cannot travel across country to a protest where "everyone" else may not show up.

    The corruption has gotten this far because we are a large country with an increasingly desperate population. Meanwhile the media controls the debate and censors protest as needed.

    While I agree with you, and Nader said the same, if millions protested, if we even burned up the phone lines, congress might respond. So, let's keep speaking out and attend protests, especially in Washington, if you can.

    But lets do one more thing. Let's start expecting our elected representatives to represent us. Let's keep calling them out on selling legislation and not let them off with the old "that's the way it works" mentality.

    We the people did not create the situation in which we find ourselves. Our country has always been divided, but that division has also been masterfully exploited while both parties sold us out.

    We were doing our part, as Clinton used to say "working hard and playing by the rules." Let's demand our politicians take responsibility for the hash they've made out of it and also expect THEM to use their power to fix it. For example, I did not invent government by auction. Congress did, and congress could fix it. They have the power. Let's demand they use the power we invested in them for our behalf.

  11. A joke. For a decade, starting with 2000 coup d'etat, the citizens of this nation did NOTHING to stop the pillage and rape of their land- too drugged on Am Idle, zio-propaganda and their other garbage diversions. That wont change anytime soon. We'll go down as we've lived- in a narcoleptic haze of narcissism. Dont look for the Great Patriot unwind, those days are long passed.

    Maybe it was the overload of feminizing chemicals at all levels of the food chain...

  12. When will a revolution start? When the people begin to reject their fiat debt-based currency. Simply put..stop taking out credit cards and lines of credit debt to blow on consumption and live within your means will the dollars you earn and SAVE. That is a silent protest that would speak volumes.

  13. Revolution is a hard path to commit for; even going to DC to protest. MLK planned the biggest DC demonstration/protest ever and was gunned-down just before starting the journey to DC.

  14. I think protesting is largely a waste of time. It certainly did nothing to stop the Iraq War despite millions doing so. Why should the financial crisis be any different? My angry emails to my representatives during the bailout just resulted in a political spam.

    Basically, despite my anger at the current state of the nation, I find myself largely apathetic regarding changing the current system. It is simply not worth saving. I could care less if it falls apart through its own corruption. Protesting merely validates that it has something to offer when it really does not. I think many others feel the same way (even if they won't admit it), or there would be millions on the street.

  15. So we do not a thing?
    You get the government that you deserve, and that goes for all of us all around the world. What are we, mice? Maybe lice, not worthy of a good life just waiting for destruction? That enrages me. The sick bastards on the top enrages me and the soulless, numb, dumbed down masses (including me) enrages me maybe more!

  16. Interesting that there is NO Continuity to any of these single action
    single list of demands by the populace at large..just a bunch of inaine and irrelevant
    Quotations with no plan...we are so fragmented as to what we want we can't even define what we
    are mad about....nothing will change until 10
    or 15 million firearms owners show up in the streets and start threatening to shoot our scumbag politicians ...... They no longer fear
    the citizens...they have purchased enough votes with productive taxpayers tax money to insure they retain their power.....
    They simply don't need us anymore

  17. The problem is that we - the people - are not believable to those we have placed in charge. Once in office, we continue to re-elect them, as long as they "bring home the bacon" to make us feel good. We are like children screaming for a cookie - when we scream loud enough, they throw us another tid bit to shut us up.

    Our elected representatives know they can ride out the storms of protest, and retain their personal power and prestige, because we are too busy helping our families to survive to get serious about reigning them in.

    In December, 1776, George Washington knew he had to become believable to the country's people and allies or the revolution was lost. The British thought the war was already over after routing Washington's army. So, Washington led his men threw a raging blizzard - many without shoes, leaving a trail of blood in the snow - piled them into boats and crossed the Deleware to defeat the Hessian forces fighting for the King.

    That victory gave notice to the people and the world that this revolution was to be taken seriously.

    Until we are committed to creating term limits for our elected representatives, take away their "royal" perks and make them believe once again that we are not their subjects, but that they are subject to our decisions, we will not weather this storm and reach solid ground again.

    It starts and ends with me...and with you. Are we willing to commit to doing whatever is necessary to get us back to the values and principles of the Declaration and the Constitution? I am. Are you?


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