Wednesday, December 17, 2008
This is what it’s about in Chicago, in Greece, in Baghdad--what it was about in Kauai, and at the political conventions
by Larry Geller
Probably many of you have already made the connection. People around the world are getting mad as hell. It’s spreading. People are fighting for their power.
Here and elsewhere, we’re getting screwed, losing jobs and homes while those in power take care of themselves.
Wall Street executives took their bailout billions and now give themselves millions of dollars of bonuses—with money given to them from our taxes. Predictably, Congress will claim there is no money for social services. We see already that they don’t care to bail out auto workers.
None of that bailout money has gone to save families from foreclosures. Instead of making loans with it, big banks are buying other banks and getting even bigger and fatter.
In Hawaii, Speaker Calvin Say briefly recommended that legislators give up their pay raises, but that idea appears to have been dropped, while mental health services have been terminated, layoffs continue, and yes, right here in Paradise, people are losing their homes. But legislators will take care of themselves. Unless we, too, get mad as hell.
Have you looked at Lingle’s planned economic stimulus package? Will that do you any good, or is it the usual benefit for developers and construction? Why did she hold meetings in secret and why were ordinary people not invited to participate? Don’t worry, all those who got to attend will take care of themselves. You can bet on it.
Protest is becoming a trend. People around the world are getting mad as hell. Some examples:
The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, which represents the Republic employees, plans a rally at noon tomorrow at the Bank of America building in Chicago. The bank has received $15 billion from the U.S. Treasury as part of its effort to boost capital, while Merrill Lynch & Co., the securities brokerage it is buying, received $10 billion. [from an article on Bloomberg News, 12/9/2008]
Reporter Muntadhar al-Zeidi hurled his two shoes at Bush at a press conference:
This is a farewell kiss, you dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."
He instantly became a hero around the world.
Are the protests that have swept across Greece simply the result of some asshole cop pulled the trigger?
THE unrest that has gripped Greece this week is spilling into the rest of Europe, raising concerns that it could be a trigger for opponents of globalisation, disaffected youth and others outraged by economic turmoil.
Protesters in Spain, Denmark and Italy smashed shop windows, pelted police with bottles and attacked banks this week, while in France cars were set ablaze on Thursday outside the Greek consulate in Bordeaux, where protesters warned about a looming "insurrection". [The Scotsman, 12/13/2008]
And back in the USA
The global financial crisis deepens, with more than 10 million in the U.S. out of work, according to the Department of Labor. Unemployment hit 6.7 percent in November. Add the 7.3 million “involuntary part-time workers,” who want to work full time but can’t find such a job. Jobless claims have reached a 26-year high, while 30 states reportedly face potential shortfalls in their unemployment-insurance pools. The stunning failure of regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission was again highlighted, as former NASDAQ head Bernard Madoff (you got it, pronounced “made off") was arrested for allegedly running the world’s largest criminal pyramid scheme, with losses expected to be $50 billion, dwarfing those from the Enron scandal. The picture is grim—unless, that is, you are a corporate executive.
The $700-billion financial bailout package, TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program), was supposed to mandate the elimination of exorbitant executive compensation and “golden parachutes.” As U.S. taxpayers pony up their hard-earned dollars, highflying executives and corporate boards are now considering whether to give themselves multimillion-dollar bonuses.
According to The Washington Post, the specific language in the TARP law that forbade such payouts was changed at the last minute, with a small but significant one-sentence edit made by the Bush administration. The Post reported, “The change stipulated that the penalty would apply only to firms that received bailout funds by selling troubled assets to the government in an auction.” [from an article by Amy Goodman on Truthdig.com, 12/16/2007]
How long will it be before we say that we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it any more?
Protests on Kauai against the Hawaii Superferry in 2007 were simply ahead of the trend. Their protest was highly effective—the Superferry never came back.
Protestors in the water, and on shore showed up for a second evening as the Superferry sailed into Nawiliwili Harbor Monday night.
Witnesses tell us there were nearly 50 opponents in the water, on surfboards, canoes, and kayaks. They formed a human blockade, forcing the ferry to stall for nearly 3 hours outside the harbor.
Coast Guard vessels tried to clear a way for the ship. But they proved unsuccessful the Alakai eventually turned back to Honolulu.
. . .
"This is really ironic. Here you have this operation that is operating in blatant disregard for the law and you know the government, our government is going after the peaceful protestors, protesting in the only way they know how," said Rep. Hermina Morita. [KHNL, 8/29/2007]
All I know is first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, "I'm a human being. God Dammit, my life has value." So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" I want you to get up right now. Get up. Go to your windows, open your windows, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Things have got to change my friends. You've got to get mad. You've got to say, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open your window, stick your head out and yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
—from Network, written by Paddy Chayefsky