Mark Blyth, post-Brexit vote

Mark Blyth at 17:00 on Sam Seder’s Majority Report:

When 80 percent of the time 80 percent of the people are told by the top 20 percent that everything that they want is what they should want too, but 80 percent of their lived experience tells them they’ve been sold a bill of goods, don’t be surprised when they say No.

Mark Blyth segment from 13:13 to 49:24 above; excerpt in tweet below starts at 38:22

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the 24-second clip Mark Blyth refers to in Sam Seder’s Majority Report interview:

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Mark Blyth, pre-Brexit vote

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inside the imperial palace


Matt Taibbi:

The maddening thing about the Democrats is that they refuse to see how easy they could have it. If the party threw its weight behind a truly populist platform, if it stood behind unions and prosecuted Wall Street criminals and stopped taking giant gobs of cash from every crooked transnational bank and job-exporting manufacturer in the world, they would win every election season in a landslide.

This is especially the case now that the Republican Party has collapsed under the weight of its own nativist lunacy. It’s exactly the moment when the Democrats should feel free to become a real party of ordinary working people.

But they won’t do that, because they don’t see what just happened this year as a message rising up from millions of voters.

Politicians are so used to viewing the electorate as a giant thing to be manipulated that no matter what happens at the ballot, they usually can only focus on the Washington-based characters they perceive to be pulling the strings. Through this lens, the uprising among Democratic voters this year wasn’t an organic expression of mass disgust, but wholly the fault of Bernie Sanders, who within the Beltway is viewed as an oddball amateur and radical who jumped the line.

Nobody saw his campaign as an honest effort to restore power to voters, because nobody in the capital even knows what that is. In the rules of palace intrigue, Sanders only made sense as a kind of self-centered huckster who made a failed play for power. And the narrative will be that with him out of the picture, the crisis is over. No person, no problem.

This inability to grasp that the problem is bigger than Bernie Sanders is a huge red flag. As Thacker puts it, the theme of this election year was widespread anger toward both parties, and both the Trump craziness and the near-miss with Sanders should have served as a warning. “The Democrats should be worried they’re next,” he says.

But they’re not worried. Behind the palace walls, nobody ever is.

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Occupy Wall Street: The Revolution Is Love

Also cross-posted on the Adbusters website as

A Shift in Consciousness: It’s not that hard …

The status quo has us at each other’s throats. Mainstream economics sees this as the social ideal. More for you is less for me. Antagonism keeps the cash flowing. Maximize each moment lest someone else gain the market advantage on you. This sounds miserable, and it is, and yet it remains the system that most of us live every day. It’s time for a new model. Occupy economics reaches to a much more historical and spiritual precept. An idea rooted in the concept of love and cooperation: that more for you is more for me. Author of Sacred Economics Charles Eisenstein explains Occupy’s new logic of the heart.

Stream Sacred Economics (a short film based on the book) in its entirety on March 1.

Chris Hedges and Michael Moore: Unfettered Capitalism

# Capitalism – A Love Story (2009), Michael Moore, Chris Hedges

Jeffrey Sachs at Occupy Wall Street

Note: If you are still unhappy with the role Jeffrey Sachs played in the economic shock therapy the West inflicted on the former Soviets, please give him a second chance here.

Jeffrey Sachs at Occupy Wall Street – Transcript:

First I want to say thank you. You are changing the direction of this country. And this country’s direction needs changing. And you’re the first to do it in a very long time. You got the right message. We are the 99%. We really are the 99%. And the 1% doesn’t get it yet. So keep telling them the truth. They are a little slow, but they’ll get it eventually.

I wanted to tell you a little bit about the 1%. I’ve been studying the 1% for a while. It’s quite a story. You know there was a long time in this country when the 1% were under control. They were still well to do but they didn’t own everything and they didn’t run everything. And this country started to split around 1980.

So here are the basic facts, which I’m sure you know very well. In 1980, the top 1% took home 9% of the household income. Now, the top 1% takes home 23% of the income. The top 1% of wealth holders has more wealth than the bottom 90% of this country. The top 0.01% – that’s 12,000 households – take home 6% of the household income. That’s more than the poorest 20 million in this country. The last time America had this level of inequality was in 1929. And you know what happened then. It led to disaster. So we have to head off disaster.

How did we get to this miserable situation? It started in the 1970s when globalization began and that was good for many poor countries. It was good if you were rich in the United States. But if you were an average worker, you started to find that your income was squeezed. All of a sudden you were facing competition from halfway around the world. Now those were poor countries halfway around the world, and they started to get wealthier, which was all to the good in my view. But this country left the people who were hurting.

If you had a high school education and you were working in a factory, you could say goodbye to your job. It was going somewhere else. If you wanted to keep your job, they were going to bust your union or cut your benefits or cut your wages. A civilized country would have done something about this. We would have helped people get more skills, more training, more education. We would have helped our factories to be more productive. That is why we have a government after all. It was supposed to help.

In 1981 a very strange thing happened. A man was elected. He came the first day of office and he said “Government is not the solution. It is the problem.” Now a man who believes that should not be our President. He should have stayed on TV and left us alone. We need presidents who believe that government is the solution for all of us. But what Ronald Reagan did was he cut the taxes at the top and cut the benefits below and put our country on the path of inequality.

Now here’s the sad news. It is not news to you because you figured it out before everybody else. It wasn’t just Ronald Reagan. It wasn’t just the Republicans. It was both the Republicans and the Democratic Party. They figured if they cut taxes for the rich, the rich would give them campaign contributions, and they could all live happily ever after. They could all live happily ever after. Not us. They are the 1%. We’re the 99%.

This has gone on for 30 years now. The corporate lobbies have owned our government – even Barack Obama, who I supported and I voted for and I want to succeed. He’s having dinner with rich people all the time, but he’s not having dinner with the 99%. If you have to pay $35,800 a plate, the 99% are going to go hungry. Every week, President Obama is having a campaign dinner. $35,800 per plate. Who do you think he’s meeting? Who do you think he’s listening to? The 1%. We need to elect a government for the 99%.

What are we going to do when we get it? We are going to reestablish government for the people. The people need help and the government is there to help. So with all that income of the 1%, there’s some pretty good things to do. We are going to go for at least 1% more of GNP in income tax, 1% of GNP in a wealth tax, 1% of GNP in a corporate tax, 1% of GNP in enforcing our tax laws so that people pay what they owe, so they don’t hide it in the Cayman Islands. No offense to the Cayman Islands, but stop hiding our profits there.

Now when we have those 4% of GNP, we are going to add 2 more percent immediately because we are going to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq and we are going to close these military bases and stop wasting the fortune of this country.

Now you have 6% of GDP. We can get our budget in shape. We can invest in our young people. We can invest in our infrastructure. We can invest in our schools. We can invest in sciences to solve problems of disease and hunger. There’s nothing that this country can’t do. This is still a great country. This is a country of great talent. This is a country of great ingenuity.

Except the 1% are lazy and they’ve stopped trying and they’re not paying their share. It’s not a choice anymore. Tell them they’re paying whether they like it or not. No more excuses. It’s not a favor. If they don’t like this country, they have to do something else. They can’t be here and take the privileges and not pay for civilization.

I leave it to you ladies and gentlemen. You are doing a magnificent job. This is how history is made. This is how this country is going to turn. Anything I can do, I’m going to be with you to support you. Keep it up. We’re going to take back this country and we’re going to make it great again.

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