Tag Archives: awakened america

Defend the Vote:intimidation by any other name…

The name sounds rather benign, almost progressive on the surface: Defend the vote. Who wouldn’t want to defend the vote, that sovereign right fought for  in a 200 year currency of blood and toil? Those who made those sacrifices would be aghast at a group called Defend the Vote.

That is the key to the Right and the Tea Party types. That is their ultimate weakness. Their arguments and fronts make perfect sense, on the surface. It is this homey sort of pseudo-common sense, a cartoonish way of viewing the world. It is when we look closer, delve deeper into the human experience, dig through the details that this fraudulent and dangerously simple world view becomes apparent in its foolishness.

And so this benign sounding Defend the Vote group makes arguments that we all sort of take pause with and say, yeah, I can see that. And why shouldn’t you have to produce ID when going to vote. I have to show ID when cashing a check or when using a credit card. It seems only reasonable that something as sacred as  the vote should require some proof that you are who you say you are. Makes sense right? But it is what you are giving away, surrendering or abandoning that is ultimately at stake in accepting that “common sense.”

Here’s what I mean. For example, abortion is wrong because the baby you abort might one day grow up to cure cancer. Seems reasonable and logical enough. Except, maybe that baby will one day grow up to murder the person who might cure cancer. See Cartoonish common sense works both ways. Why, the other day someone told me, requiring gun owners to have a picture ID won’t stop  a bad guy from committing a crime. Well, having a driver’s license won’t stop a car thief, but we  still recognize the importance of having one. 

Voting is a sacred and sovereign right, but the exercise of that right risks control by those who covet control over the nation, its wealth and its resources. By voting, you begin to balance that power. By asserting that right, you hold the ultimate power in this nation. each of us proves reasonably who we are and affirms our eligibility when we register to vote. the vote itself is  supposed to be anonymous. It was designed to be that way, free of intimidation, because intimidation is the surest way to corrupt an election. Defend the Vote, the Tea Party and the Right have undertaken a full-scale effort to intimidate voters at every level.

Over the coming weeks Awakened America will expose this group and help empower people to truly defend the vote, not as a means of exclusion, by rather by inclusion. And if you want a bit of common sense, hardly cartoonish, and ultimately unassailable, a few elections ago there was alarm over the pallid turn out of Americans to the polls. While that has improved slightly, we should still be embarrassed at how few of us actually excercise that right. Given that, why would it make sense to actively exclude whole groups of Americans as Defend the Vote is doing? On the front of their page the group says “The Trouble begins with ballot access.” What could be more clear? Indeed, when the Right came to terms that they couldn’t win fairly, the only logical step was to begin cleaving away potential opposition.

But this is the tactic of the Right. They are not out to win fairly in an election, because they can’t. The Right has become so extreme they couldn’t win the presidency if they were giving out free hamburgers for every vote. They have to steal it, and steal it they will if we allow them to. they are actively and aggressively attempting to disenfranchise voters across this nation. Not a few hundred here or a few thousand there, but millions and hundreds of thousands at a time.

Bear in mind that intimidation by any other name is still intimidation. But if we can stop them here, turn the light on this absolute crime against the right to vote and the democratic process,  we can go a long way of stopping them for good. Your partnership with Awakened America, Chicago’s Progressive Talk on WCPT am820, 7am Saturdays is crucial to that fight. Stay tuned and get in the game…

A note on this week’s show…

Someone left the backdoor open to the media’s little party, and 900poundgorilla with PermacultTV intends to get into that party and shake things up a bit…

Before this goes too far, let me first say that I am deeply indebted to a good friend, and host of Awakened America, Marshall Stern, on Chicago’s Progressive Talk radio, WCPT am820. He had faith enough to prop that back door open to the media party. The efforts I’m putting into the show are in no small part inspired by him.

On today’s show I interviewed Nick Crow(which is an awesome name if you are  a crime novelist), reporter for the Freeport, Illinois Journal Standard about the Sensata plant closing. to catch up the unfamiliar…because the Left has gone wild about the story and the Right has been conspiratorially silent…Romney’s company, Bain capital, has outsourced the entire factory to China. The loss of the factory will immediately put 170 people out of decent paying/benefit offering jobs. It will also carve $7.5 million annually from this town of 25,000. Sensata was a profitable company. The outsourced workers were not only replaced by Chinese workers making .99 cents and hour, but the Freeport workers were made to train their Chinese replacements.  There, you are caught up.

This story has become a circus, and there is a fair amount of cynicism, confirmed by Mr. Crow(really awesome name), by the outsourced Freeport workers that when the election is over the media attention will disappear as well. More over, there is this narrative being spun by Democrats that Romney will come down from on high with a royal edict to restore the company and the jobs. Maybe 6 months ago in some Republic Windows and Doors SEIU-type occupation and sit-in, but not now. Not with the extremism now characterizing the Right, which Romney panders to, if he isn’t actually beholden to it completely. The Freeport plant will be shuttered before the end of the year. Some workers are already gone. Half the machinery in the factory is in China.

After the show I took  several calls from friends listening in, most of whom were shocked  at how we came to the story. After watching a sudden avalanche of attention to the story in the media I was struck that the media was painting something of an illusion. Were we  cynical in our coverage of the story? Yes. Sometimes there are no happy endings. Sometimes the hero doesn’t make it from the caboose to the engine of the runaway train as always happens in the movies. Sometimes that train goes off the rails and into the canyon. This train is off the rails.

It is time for a shift in paradigms, which is not at all any easy accomplishment. It takes a culture to change a paradigm. For example, are we truly in a recession? Or have you been told by the media so comprehensively and exhaustively, that whether or not it is actually true, the paradigm convinces us of our new reality? It’s a damn near impossible question to tackle from within the paradigm. And who would believe you? 

It has become a paradigm in this culture. We hardly notice this sort of media narco-narrative that reinforces the idyllic illusion of a fully marketed and media constructed American Dream. It is full a means of control and sedation. We expect that Joe Worker will lose his job, get foreclosed on but get a puppy. This is the fiction  built into our culture by the corporate and status quo media, to such an extent that we begin to parrot that fiction as it becomes bedrock to the culture.

The truth is, nothing in this nation, no freedom, right or privilege was given, and none were given lightly. They came after terrible bloodshed and oppression, through great and ultimate sacrifice, beneath boot and truncheon or in prison. But some part of us believes that Mitt Romney, at the 11th hour will fall to his knees beneath a pillar of heavenly light (wearing his magic underwear), and succumb to true self-sacrificing humanity. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I’m not seeing it here.

So what is the endgame? What is the lesson? The lesson is that we will have to fight these people, and we’ve done a piss-poor job of it up to now. If we’d done a better job, Romney and Bain executives would be in jail for pulling a Freeport on us. We rise up by the hundreds of thousands as part of the 99% only to quit after a few months and in the face of a few arrests or a corrupted and corporate-controlled media. The lesson of Freeport, and those 170 good souls is that it should never have been allowed to happen in a so-called god-fearing nation. But that ship has sailed, and with that the lesson remaining is whether we draw the line at Freeport and finally stand to fight, because the only thing that will prevent this from becoming more rampant than it already is through the force of our bodies and our votes standing together.

There is  a fight here, but it cannot be a call to arms, but rather a time to stand. I can get on the radio and play and agitate and play the spoiler to the media’s private little party, but I cannot make  a decision to act for anyone other than myself. The decision to stand for something, or stand against injustice comes from within. The question then becomes: will you stand?

Citizens: After the election, and the media has gone, the lives of the Freeport Sensata employees go on; unnecessarily and greedily upended, perhaps beyond repair. They are all of us, the line drawn in the sand against the looting of Social Security, the ceding to Insurance companies medicare benefits, and the assault on working families and the middle class through the perverse offshoring of jobs and living standards overseas while a few grow fat and rich from our suffering. They will tell you it is the marketplace. It is our lives. The time to stand is now. If not now, when?

Greetings from Bainport, Illinois

We’re workers at Bain Capital-owned Sensata, 2520 Walnut St, Freeport, Illinois. We’re fighting to save our jobs from being shipped to China by the end of this year. We are calling on Mitt Romney to come to Freeport, IL and we will camp across the street from our plant for as long as it takes!
For more information or to get involved email us at cnkwin2@gmail.com
To send us some pizza love call Logan’s Bar & Grill (815) 232-4592


Tired of talk, talk, talk radio? How about do something radio for a change? Awakened America every Saturday 7-8am on WCPT am820 in Chicago, or listen live anywhere in the world at http://chicagosprogressivetalk.com/listen/

An Open Letter to Mitt Romney: Defuse, Denounce, Divest

Dear Mister Romney,

You claim to be for the middle class, and asserted unequivocally in the first Presidential Debate against President Obama that you “have no idea” what he was talking about regarding the predatorily greedy practice by your company, Bain Capital, in carving up companies and outsourcing jobs overseas as  a means of reaping profits to the detriment of hardworking Americans. The case of Sensata workers in Freeport Illinois, their jobs and livelihoods outsourced to China, and the workers made to train their Chinese replacements shows that assertion to be either a complete fabrication,  a careless disregard for the American worker and the voter, or a stunning lack of oversight by a man touting his supreme business experience.

Here are the facts in the case of the later: Sensata Technologies was hit hard in the global downturn, but rebounded quickly to show a profit this year. In a misleading letter to Congressman Don Manzullo, the company, bought by Bain Capital, the company you maintain a controlling interest in, claimed two-thirds of the company’s revenue’s are overseas. 37% is in fact in this country, with 32% in Europe. The remaining 31% is in Asia. By those standards, there seems little reason to outsource an otherwise healthy and profitable company except out of pure profit, and with a willful disregard to the lives and families and well-being of those workers.

In a recent reply to Congressman Manzullo from Thomas Wroe, Jr. Chief Executive Officer Sensata Technologies, Wroe stated that “…out of 11,400 employees worldwide… We have approximately 9% of our people and 45% of our global payroll in the U.S… Closing the Freeport facility is the right strategy for our business in order to deliver value to our shareholders and to support our global customers.”

How perverse that this nation accepts the ascension of any candidate that would espouse and support such a cruel and inhuman system. In a proper society not  so thoroughly silenced and discouraged beneath the boot of rampant and corrupt economic pornography such  acts would be illegal and met harshly with the fullest weight of the law. But the very government and legal system that  should uphold and defend the constitution and justice has been so completely co-opted as to be easier trashed than reformed.

You. You have the power to change this. You can begin the transformation towards equal justice, and restoration of faith in law by drawing the moral and ethical line in Freeport. You have the power of stopping the very real destruction and upheaval of lives, and in preventing a blow to an entire community. That ultimate consideration should be the least the American people expect, no, demand from a man who desires the presidency. Any less, and any less consideration should mean immediate exclusion from that office, indeed any office imbued with intimate public trust.

Defuse! Denounce! Divest!

Defuse the time bomb your company Bain, whose policies you have championed to the detriment of conscience, has lit beneath the lives of 170 good and decent people, and beneath a community who will not bear this pain lightly. Defuse the time bomb which will deliver the crippling weight of debt, the loss of benefits, the collapse of dreams and the erasure of the work of whole lives.

Denounce this perversion of economics, and the misguided path of  a company so fully animated by the religion of money and the lust for more that it has abandoned all humanity. Denounce the policies that would rationalize and legitimize the abstract of economy over the reality of human pain and suffering. Choose the better path, and if you cannot see that better path then you must consider it a deficit in your own perspective.

Divest yourself from profiteering and the hundreds of thousands you will personally make from the unnecessary dismantling of a profitable company to the detriment of those 170 workers, their families and their community. Divest yourself from this selfish and self-serving immorality and pray to god, before this goes any further, and whole lives are upended and faith in this nation further eroded for the forgiveness of god and the good and decent people of this nation; both the 47% you referred to and the 99% they belong to. Only then can anyone of true heart and character begin to believe that you do indeed care for this nation and its people.

With ultimate resolve,

A deeply concerned American…

Freeport, Bain, Romney and the Big Quiet

Romney slipped this one past the pundits and fact checkers. Factcheck.org was absent. Obama barely put up a fight. The networks, well we know who they work for. But there was one group he couldn’t get the truth past, but those folks have been silenced, just as surely as if they’d been censored.

Here’s the deal. I’m a novelist. I write literature; musing and observations and commentaries on the human soul. The last few years I’ve had less and less a chance to pursue pertinent forays into the human psyche because my country is in trouble.  Not socialist/communist the deficit is too high trouble, but 1920’s Germany sort of trouble. There, fervent nationalism was promulgated by this sort of willful ignorance of the general population, as long as there was someone else to blame. It was not the Nazis or Adolf Hitler. An entire population does not get off that easy for all that transpired in the ensuing 2 decades up to and including the Second World War.  Hitler and the Nazis were  opportunists, and conductors to the orchestra of nationalism. The national press in Germany at the time were their willing propagandists.

Before you think I’ve gone too far in bringing in the Nazi’s to this, it’s important to establish precisely what I’m referring to. First, nationalism is a template. It works exactly the same every time, in every place and in every culture. I saw it first hand in Miloshevich’s Serbia during the break-up of Yugoslavia and in Rwanda during the genocide. For better than 20 years I have feverishly dissected nationalist movements the world over, in dozens of different cultures, from Mao’s Cultural Revolution to Hezbollah.

Simply, this is the template for ardent nationalism:  a willing Press, and a complacent population create the fertile environment. secure the Press then establish a victim demographic, an external threat, an internal betrayer and establish an ideal. For the Nazis it was true Aryans as the victim demographic, communists as the external threat, the Jews as internal betrayer-the so-called morally corrupt bourgeoisie. Today, in America, traditional American values(white people) are the victim demographic, Islam and European Socialism the enemy and Liberals the betrayers. 

In support of every nationalist movement is a complicit Press. It is either fervent in its capacity to ascend to absolute banality, or eager in its willingness to subvert all but the power elite. The venom and vitriol the media levelled upon the Occupy movement indicates a complicity, if not outright conspiracy to abscure necessary truths from the American people, at the very least. And so we come full circle to the Vaudevillian theater of the Presidential campaign.

“You said you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas. Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years,” said Mitt Romney during the October 3rd presidential debate, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grQTuIYnreg&feature=youtu.be

So where is the Press, when he clearly lied to the American people. Romney knew full well, when he made that statement that his company, Bain capiltal was shuttering a profitable plant in the iconic midwest town of Freeport Illinois. For history buffs, you’ll recall Freeport as the site of the second Lincoln Douglas debate in 1858, and arguably the place where, in a misstatement Douglas split the Democratic party over slavery and paved the way for Lincoln to win. It was dubbed the Freeport Heresy, which perhaps is appropriote to Romney’s, shall we say, misstatement during the debate.

Romney’s company, from which he made $8 million last year, that’s $8 million, $8 million, bought Sensata Technologies, a profitable company( a very profitable company) and is shutting it down, which will all but bankrupt and destroy Freeport Illinois, not to mention the 170 who worked there. They are sending it to China for no other reason in that “more” is a never-ending concept. More is never enough. More is the soul of greed. Indeed, they had the American workers train their Chinese replacements. Just 40 minutes south of Janesville Wisconsin, Freeport is practically in Paul Ryan’s backyard. http://investors.sensata.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=210277&p=irol-homeProfile&t=&id http://www.pbn.com/Sensata-3Q-in-the-black-but-9-mo-a-loss,62007?search_filter=sensata+technologies&sub_type=stories,packages

Romney and Ryan are right, and Obama is wrong. America is failing. Not because of its people, or  through some endemic penchant for socialistic narratives, like welfare, social security, medicare or national healthcare. America is failing as long as it refuses to stand against the abject and perverse abuse by companies like Bain and their champions like Romney and Ryan. It fails as long as Americans passively accept the propaganda and manipulation paraded as information and news. It fails as long as all of us collectively act as if freedom and democracy  are spectator  rather than participation sports. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/13/1144033/-American-flag-taken-down-in-Freeport-company-outsourced-by-Bain

Of Oil, Media and the Election

Does anyone truly believe big oil wouldn’t be happy with Obama out of office? The question becomes, are they actively pressuring the economy to make that happen? This election has seen an unprecedented and dangerous level of interference by the corporate media, big oil and even foreign nations.
Israel has placed pressure most strategically on this election on multiple levels, from lobbying over a largely manufactured impasse with Iran. Hint, it ain’t about nukes and crazy Persians. That pressure culminated with Netanyahu’s speech meant purposely to interfere with the process.
As for oil, their interest is easy to unravel. The administration’s emphasis on alternative fuels, the Keystone pipeline issue, threats to $2billion in annual subsidies and threats of increased taxes pose a threat to the taxpayer-funded party the oil company has enjoyed for decades is at risk.
The mouthpiece of big business and big oil is the media remains complicit and obedient. With each new election the media has asserted itself to greater degree to the point that it all but manipulates and channels pre-selected pseudo puppets, creating a cleverly marketed horse race soap opera. Obama has mostly remained a proper puppet, but there is a danger in him maintaining office.
The Right and Left are not only ideologically different but structurally as well. The far Right is still beholden to right-wing cults of personality. Tea party followers will still vote for Romney. The  truly progressiveLeft has no loyalty to the party, and is perhaps more critical of Dems than of the Right, because their intention is to force the Dems to true  change. They have no hope of the changing the Right, only making them obsolete. What that means in an election and for a 2nd Obama term is the chance for change, and change for the Right is bad.
Following the debacle of the debate last week the Press can nakedly begin funneling Romney into the Whitehouse, under cover of Obama’s lackluster performance, with the fraud that popular support has swung to Romney. Need proof? ABC news reported huge enthusiastic crowds at Romney rallies today in florida, then reported quote, “Obama campaigned in California today where gas prices reached an all time high.” So much for th”liberal” media, but then who was really fooled?

How many people died in Katrina? Don’t know the answer? No one else does either.

FOX news touted the video last night from a 2007 Obama campaign speech, before a predominately black audience as divisive, saying it could sway the election. What Obama blasphemed was in comparing the indifference and pallid reaction to Katrina victims and New Orleans following the hurricane to that of 9-11 and hurricane Andrew in Florida. But here is the difference. Off the top of your head, how many people died in 9-11? Now answer the question for victims of Katrina, who were, by in large, poor and black.

Don’t cheat by googling. 2996 people EXACTLY died on September 11th. There is no official number for Katrina. There is an official ESTIMATE of 1833-ish, but no one knows for sure? That estimate is challenged by a number of sources, and my be much higher.

How is that? How is it that in a major American city in the 21st century so many people can perish, and yet there is no accurate and exact number of victims? The reality to that estimate is not in the numbers, but that it highlights the absolute disparity between poor and impoverished Americans and the wealthy. It underscores the insulation that leads to abdominal ignorance by most of the rest of the nation for those least able to fend off tragedy, or to fend for themselves.

That is the essence behind the words of Barack Obama in the 2007 speech that FOX calls divisive and shocking. Divisive is the Right not understanding the shame to this nation of the poor, and the racial divides that still rampage through the conscience of this nation. Speaking to and in deference to the poor by the President is not being divisive, it is being moral, and in keeping with true religious tenants. Divisive is using speeches of genuine caring and empathy by those on the Right as a means of engendering white fear and hate for political and economic gain.

Wednesday’s Presidential debate in Denver is merely a show. The candidates have been given the questions on domestic policy ahead of time for the first time. They will not address gun violence and gun control, wage stagnation or the incarceration crisis. Also new, the candidates will not begin with an opening statement to allow them more time for their scripted, rehearsed and pre-marketed answers. The only controversy here will be the co-opting of real political discourse, and a human-centered election process as opposed to the PR polished and tested fraud that we are getting.

Listen to 900poundgorilla live on line at http://chicagosprogressivetalk.com/

or at WCPT am820 Saturdays 7am in Chicago.

On tomorrow’s show, what do Chicago Muslims think about the unrest overseas, about the film insulting Muhammad, and the First Amendment. Join me for a rational discussion with Chicago Muslims free of the Rightwing spin and hyperbole.

On my radio  show tomorrow, WCPT am820 7am in Chicago, we’ll talk to Chicago Muslims for their take on the unrest overseas, and the first amanedment issue regarding the Youtube video at the heart of the controversy. Should it be banned? Is it hate speech? Taking your calls at 773-763-9278.

Also, an update from Dr. Lora Chamberlain, environmental activist and Mother Earth’s own personal physician.


Lawyerism, Libya and the Chicago Teacher’s Strike

Threads. The world is about making connections…or tearing them down.  Truth is relative. Is God truth? Could be, but we’d never know. We follow leaders, sacrifice our kin to flags and swell to war praying to god. If truth is that we might gain god’s favor in the curse of war, then either god is a lie or we are. The answer to that will lead a good heart to the ultimate morality behind war and violence.

Some individuals, likely opportunists and fools, and hardly reflective of so many good people in Libya swelled to violence reportedly over a video. Just as sickening as that response was the reply by Rightwingers in this country who, for political expediency were quick to make excuses for the film maker, or for the actions of this nation which have also contributed to the very long process that set the stage for the assault on the consulate in Ben Ghazi that resulted in the deaths of 4 Americans.

In this country it seems we have lost the capacity for at least pursuing truth, if never actually attaining or defining it. We are angles and excuses framed by lawyeristic bickering. If one side says up, the other must say down. There is no middle, only extremes, positions, argument.

We wonder over the fury and mindset of those who seem to parade regularly before cameras across the Muslim world shouting for and sometimes exacting retribution against the West. In part, in a small part inflated by cameras and western media for the sake of control is a cartoonish profile of Muslims. We see, by in large, a relatively small number, mostly under educated, or educated almost exclusively on the Koran.

There is a purpose to that. It is about control. narrow the amount of information people may see, or know about their larger world and others and they are easily whipped and swept to the whims of a controlling power.  God forbid the West and China, with their constructed monarchies and dictatorships faced true equitable global competition. Instead, feed poor Muslim populations on a militant Islam keeps them under enough control that, through their proxies, the Industrialized world and west may gorge itself on oil and other pilfered resources.

In this country we have FOX news, MSNBC, CNN, and the rest of the pandering media slowly narrowing the quality and accessibility to information. And that brings me around to the final point.

The Chicago Teacher’s Strike is a symptom of a system that has steadily degraded information in this country for the purpose of social, commercial and political control. Not Left or Right, Republican or Democratic. It is all of them, and it is us. Unions, and the strongest of the remaining unions in the public sector, are the prime targets. In Wisconsin, Scott Walker attempted to cleave the police and fire unions in lawyeristic double speak and then attack the more vulnerable teachers union. For a time it appeared that he had won in eliminating collective bargaining-the very definition of Union. Last week a Wisconsin judge overturned Walker’s effort, calling it unconstitutional.

There is power in Unions. Since the Second World War it has defined the standard of living in this nation, established the benchmark, and refocused the concept of the American Dream. There is power in holding that dream and having that standard of living.  The strike was not about money, but about an assault against the frontline teachers and their ability to teach.

The endgame is not for the love of the taxpayer. That is the FOX News mask, the sugar-coating on the bitter pill of an effort to restrict and narrow the amount and quality of information…if you agree that all news has a bias, and that it is liberal in bias, you’ve already succumbed to the message. You went there on your own two feet, just as they would prefer. Self, rather than imposed censorship has always been the ultimate and most effective….Control is the endgame, and that’s what ties it all together.

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