THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE POLICY YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

 

ONE POLICY (championed by leaders of both parties) leads to poverty, pollution, racism, severe inequality, loss of good jobs, unnecessary wars & many of the other serious problems we face.  

**But there’s GOOD NEWS:  We can end this one policy & prioritize people & the planet.


 

Unbeknownst to most of us, REPUBLICAN & DEMOCRATIC LEADERS have been agreeing for decades about one policy.  It’s called neoliberalism and it’s causing many of the enormous problems we are wrestling with today.  If we end this one policy (and we can end it), we will improve the lives of millions of people and leave a much better world for our grandkids.

Below is information about the effects of neoliberalism, what it is & how to stop it.  (Please don’t miss the powerful photographs at the bottom).

 

♦  THE EFFECTS of neoliberalism

 

The results of neoliberal policy are positively devastating and demand more than incremental change.

Neoliberal corporate-friendly policies have been pursed by Democratic & Republican politicians (and political leaders around the globe) for more than two decades and we are now dealing with the environmental and human devastation resulting from that shortsightedness.  

 

As a result of neoliberal policies:

 

  • 50% of children in the U.S. live below or near the poverty line.   (Columbia University School of Public Health study here )

 

  • 20 individuals now have as much wealth as the poorest 150 million Americans (half the country per The Nation magazine here ).

 

  • A study by the Atlantic found that 47% of Americans were economically insecure and couldn’t come up with $400 in an emergency (Article in the Atlantic:  “The Secret Shame of Middle Class America.” here )

 

  • According to a study published recently by CBS News, 78% of workers in America are now living paycheck to paycheck. And each year that percentage is increasing.  Article here .

 

  • Per that same CBS article, 70% of Americans have $1,000 or less in savings, and 33% have no savings at all.

 

  • Over a million good jobs have been shipped overseas so highly profitable corporations could get even richer.  Click here for more info.

 

  • The environment is clearly being damaged at a rapid pace as the interests of corporations (quarterly profits) are continually put about the interests of people and the planet. .  (See images towards the bottom for more info). In addition to climate change and pollution of our air, water and land, there is also alarming news like this: THE GUARDIAN: “Natural World Faces Collapse as Wildlife Population Plummets”

 

  • Princeton University proves that our members of Congress are only representing the interests of a few. This short video will blow your mind.

 

  • Neoliberalism is also in favor of regime change wars.   Both Republicans and Democrats supported the war in Iraq.   We spent more than a trillion dollars on that unnecessary war.  Corporations in the business of war were enriched.  Over 5,000 American soldiers died as a result and tens of thousands were wounded and disabled.  500,000 Iraqis were killed as a result of the war (160,000 of them being civilians).  This radicalized all sorts of family members of the deceased and the result is that we created the conditions for ISIS to form.   That’s just one example of a regime change conflict that Democrats and Republicans supported.

 

  • Additionally, since neoliberalism creates such enormous economic distress, it creates a climate that is historically conducive to the rise of fascism and racism.  (Think about 1930’s Germany and how a strong man swooped in to take advantage of the economic conditions to exploit race, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity to create divisions).  This 2 minute clip lays out pretty clearly how fascism rises. It’s from a 1947 US War Dept. ant-fascist film and is surprisingly timely.

 

♦♦  What is NEOLIBERALISM?

 

Liberalism used to be mainly associated with FDR new deal policies where people took care of each other by supporting strong social programs.

New liberalism (commonly referred to as “neoliberalism”) maintains the old liberalism’s protections against discrimination and concern for people on that particular front but it leaves citizens highly vulnerable to suffering in a whole new way.   Neoliberalism puts on a good face & pretends to be the old form of FDR liberalism, but neoliberalism adheres much more to a free market ideology and is more aligned with big business, the wealthy and capital.

 

Neoliberalism is a corporate-friendly free-market ideology PRACTICED BY BOTH REPUBLICAN & DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL LEADERS (and leaders around the globe).   It puts the interests of corporations and the wealthy above those of the rest of us and the planet.  Policies championed by neoliberals during the past 20+ years systematically tilted the playing field so most of the marbles now roll into the pockets of the few (at the expense of the many).

A recent article in the Guardian “Neoliberalism: The Idea That Swallowed the World” gives a great overview of the policy and also reveals that the International Monetary Fund finally just admitted the terrible effects of neoliberalism.

 

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(If you need a little positive lift at any point while reading this post, just visit this link: “12 Reasons to Have Hope: We Can Turn This World Around”).

 

♦♦♦  What are the neoliberal TACTICS practiced over and over again during the last 20 years by Republican & Democratic leaders that CREATE those awful results above?

 

  • Neoliberals practice austeritypartnering with corporations to shift wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich by cutting social programs and redistributing the money in the form of tax breaks for the wealthy.  Banks run the show and disabled seniors, poor children, single mothers and other vulnerable people who can’t defend themselves are the unfortunate victims.   “Sorry, person who is in great need.  That program has been cut.  The banks demanded it when they renegotiated the terms of our loan.  So you’re out on the street.   There’s nothing we can do.  The banks have the power to determine our social policy now.  We’ve had to cut everything so we can pay them higher interest.  And you are paying the price.”

 

  • They champion privatization (starving government entities of resources, pointing to the resulting dysfunction and then swooping in as “saviors” to take the asset for pennies on the dollar).   Privatization of prisons, schools, health care, sewer systems, military operation, etc. all insert the profit motive so corporations can extract dollars.  Privatization always comes with grand promises of improved services, efficiency and lower cost, but it almost never ends up that way.   Whether it’s Betsy DeVos’s charter schools (fire all the experienced teachers and hire young desperate ones with huge student loans to work for a fraction of the price with higher class size), her brother Erik Prince’s Blackwater private army (google Blackwater and witness the carnage) or the private prison in Pennsylvania that gave kickbacks to a judge to lengthen sentences so “customers” stayed longer, these things are mostly a scam.  Whether you live in Toledo or Timbuktu, don’t be surprised if your local water company offers to buy the sewer system from the city.   They get the income producing asset for pennies on the dollar, but the cash up front is too tempting for cash-strapped cities to refuse.   It’s like offering a desperate family a hundred dollar bill for their dairy cow.   They need the money so they feel no choice but to give up their income producing asset.   In a month or a year, they’ll miss that income producing asset and really regret selling it at a pawn shop price.  The corporate entities that gather up these assets for bargain prices from desperate entities are oddly often seen as saviors.   What they really are is a corporation taking advantage of desperation.   The fact that they grin at the press conference makes this all the more disheartening.

 

  • Neoliberals champion regime change wars (which happen to enrich corporate defense contractors).

 

  • They champion deregulation, allowing corporations to have more freedom to pollute, treat their workers how they wish and be as irresponsible as they deem fit in their communities and countries.  When restrictions are relaxed, it doesn’t take long for competing firms to feel fearful of falling behind.  This leads them to take advantage of relaxed rules which very often causes harm to people and the environment.

 

  • They also champion laissez faire trade deals like NAFTA that shipped millions of good paying blue collar jobs with benefits overseas, devastating a huge part of the population.  These trade deals benefit corporations, though, because they can get cheap labor.  Those corporations don’t care about the human cost.   And any congressmen who fail to fail in line behind such trade deals will find themselves penniless at the next election.   This leverage is all possible because of Citizens United and other weak sections of campaign finance law.   We need to overturn Citizens United, end corporate personhood status and enact campaign finance laws with teeth.  And there are definitely ways of doing this (link at the bottom will take you to a pretty exciting list that shows you that we have way more power than we think.   In fact, we hold most of the cards.   More on that in a moment).

 

 

♦♦♦♦  Here are just a few SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF NEOLIBERAL POLICIES

 

These policies have been championed by both Democrats and Republicans.  Some of them were actually enacted under Democratic administrations.    All  were great for corporations and the wealthy.   But they were unfortunately bad for most of the people and the planet.   (Again, these are just a few examples of MANY):

  • NAFTA was passed under President Clinton with the help of both Democrats and Republicans.  It shipped millions of good paying jobs overseas.   Corporations were thrilled.   Remember, they don’t care about the human carnage or damage to the country.

 

  • Mass incarceration with unconscionable mandatory minimums began under the Clinton administration as well as a result of Clinton’s triangulation strategy.   Both Republicans and Democrats supported it.   Mass incarceration hit African American families particularly hard.   It also gave rise to the movement to privatize prisons.   Corporations had a whole new profit center.

 

  • The Glass Steagall Act was eliminated under President Clinton with the support of both Democrats and Republicans.  It had been put in place right after the great depression to keep big banks from getting too big and it worked.  Many leading economists agree that the elimination of Glass Steagall set the stage for the 2008 financial crisis where countless Americans lost their homes and their jobs.  (Big banks did great though!   They got the upside of the new policy and then we bailed them out when the downside came.   As described, it’s all about what’s best for corporations in neoliberal doctrine.   Human beings take a back seat.

 

  • Republicans & Democrats (including our 2016 presidential nominee) voted for the catastrophic regime change war in Iraq.   Over 5,000 American soldiers were killed, tens of thousands injured or disabled and over $1 trillion wasted for no reason (except the enrichment of corporate defense contractors).   That war that so many Republicans & Democrats helped support also led to the rise of ISIS because 500,000 Iraqis died as a result of the war (160,000 of them were civilians) and this radicalized countless people.   Republican & Democratic leaders have also backed numerous other regime change wars and conflicts.

 

  • We democrats championed a conservative republican health care package that was developed by Mitt Romney.   It left 20 million people uninsured.   And we did it because our Democratic Leadership was awash in cash from the insurance industry and pushed back hard against Universal / Single Payer Healthcare (Medicare for all).   So Democratic leaders turned to us and said, “Oh, it’s just impossible.   We can’t do that.”   They followed corporate donor orders well and 20 million people have suffered as a result.   After the success of the Sanders campaign, centrist Democrats (including Chuck Shumer) are now beginning to talk about single payer as a possibility.   (Let’s see we they rally and follow through).   So the Democratic health care plan is corporate.   The Republican plan is even more corporate.

 

  • So-called “welfare reform” was passed under President Clinton with the support of Republicans and Democrats.   It made life harder for poor people but wealthy donors loved it.   When you take money away from needy people, you can shift it up to rich people and corporations in the form of tax breaks.   The polite term for that is “upward redistribution from the poor to the rich”.  The not so polite term is “rich people stealing from the poor”.

 

  • Did see the big statement about Standing Rock by our Republican and Democratic presidential nominees where they stood up for the environment and the rights of native people?   Yeah, me neither.    It didn’t happen because it would have upset corporate donors.

 

 

♦♦♦♦♦  What happens when citizens push back peacefully against political and corporate leaders and their institutions that champion neoliberalism?

 

Many people have pushed back peacefully.   Here are just a few examples:

  • World Trade Organization protests in Seattle (1999)
  • Occupy protests worldwide (2011 – 2012)
  • ‘Black Lives Matter movement (2013 – present)
  • Standing Rock protest (2016)

 

Typically protesters are permitted to make some noise (to let off some steam) but not for long.  If they keep it up, they are dealt with swiftly and violently to set an example.   The message to the rest of the 300,000,000 is “Stay in line.”

As Gene Sharp & Jamila Raqib have shown, there are 198 Methods of Non-violent Resistance and once the level of resistance reaches a critical mass, a united people (that organizes using the 198 nonviolent tactics) can transform their nation.   We can beat this.  This link shows how.

The photos below show pushback by authorities under both Republican and Democratic administrations. It was under a Democratic administration that the horrendous response at this link , this link and this link occurred. It was under a Republican administration that the travesty at this link occurred. When it comes to cracking down on those pushing back against neoliberal policy, Republican and Democratic leaders stand together.

This article from the Guardian offers a sobering example of pushback against peaceful protests against neoliberalism: “It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy. . . so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves – was coordinated with the big banks themselves.” (Article by Naomi Wolf).

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/29/fbi-coordinated-crackdown-occupy

(Post continues below photos).

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Here’s another article that gives a taste of just how hard authorities push back. Keep in mind that those in power are pushing back against peaceful people and the press during non-violent protests against neoliberal policy:

“U.S. citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that ‘New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers’ covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that ‘It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk.'”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/25/shocking-truth-about-crackdown-occupy

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Corporate interests are put above human interests.

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(If you need a little positive lift at any point while reading this post, just visit this link: “12 Reasons to Have Hope: We Can Turn This World Around”).

 

When neoliberal policies result in so much suffering that mass protests arise, Republican leaders tend to completely ignore the point and dismiss the protests as described at this link.

When shortcomings and failures inevitably result from their destructive policies that benefit the few at the expense of the many (and the planet), neoliberals place no blame on free market ideology or corporate-friendly policies.

In fact, in the twisted world of a neoliberal politician or corporate champion, such problems only result because we haven’t let the market go completely wild. Remarkably, they claim that the solution to any resulting problems is even more of a free market and even broader corporate-friendly policies.

Neoliberals tend to think that corporations should be able to do pretty much whatever they like (human beings and the environment be damned).  It’s like a bank robber telling the police, “You just don’t understand. The problem isn’t that I robbed a bank. It’s that I didn’t rob enough banks. It’s difficult to explain, but if you let me keep at this bank robbing thing, you’ll see the wisdom of it. Everyone will benefit and society will be better.”

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♦♦♦♦♦♦  SOLUTIONS ARE HERE AT THESE 3 LINKS.

 

In addition to voting for candidates that are not owned by corporations, we can also follow through on these solutions.   We actually have far more power than we think.   In fact, we hold all the cards!   WE CAN DEFINITELY BEAT THIS!   Fasten your seatbelt and CHECK THESE OUT 🙂

198 WAYS WE CAN BEAT NEOLIBERALISM:  

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/08/15/there-are-198-ways-to-beat-neoliberalism-trump-and-other-obstacles-to-a-thriving-planet/

GOOD NEWS

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/08/16/with-corporations-the-super-rich-firmly-in-control-of-congress-thanks-to-citizens-united-how-on-earth-do-we-turn-things-around-and-prioritize-people-the-planet-here/

A WHOLE NEW VIEW

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/08/10/a-whole-new-view/

 

HERE ARE THE 198 METHODS OF NON-VIOLENT RESISTANCE:

  1. Link to the simple list:

http://www.aeinstein.org/nonviolentaction/198-methods-of-nonviolent-action/

    2.   Spectacular 9 minute video clip with Jamila Raqib — (DON’T MISS THIS!!) :

 

Here are some great quotes that inspire hope.

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/08/14/quotes-that-inspire-hope/

 

Here are some great articles about Neoliberalism from around the world (from sources that include the Guardian and the Nation.   (The one from Adelaide, Australia is short and particularly powerful.   It also contains some good news).

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/08/15/some-great-articles-on-neoliberalism-how-corporatism-took-over-politics-and-made-human-beings-footnotes-on-a-balance-sheet/

 

Princeton University proves that our members of Congress are only representing the interests of a few. This will blow your mind:

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/09/09/www-represent-us/

 

Here’s one way to look at Neoliberalism if you’re a Democrat in America

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/08/15/maybe-its-time-we-democrats-give-ourselves-some-tough-love/

 

SOME IMAGES

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WHAT GIVES ME HOPE

What gives me hope is that there’s an enormous amount of water building up behind the dam right now. There are essentially 300,000 people (the top .1%) that are trying to rule over the other 300,000,000 U.S. citizens. Gandhi and his supporters showed us that such a situation is unsustainable. They had 100,000 British trying to rule over 300,000,000 Indians. It doesn’t work if those Indians decide not to cooperate 🙂 — see wonderful 30 second video clip of Gandhi’s successful approach to this here: https://youtu.be/6Oprj_vDhKw

This short TED speech also gives us great hope. Because these methods have successfully brought down despotic regimes around the world: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OIpgrZ8yS-Q

James Baldwin quote: “The excluded begin to realize, having endured everything, that they CAN endure everything. They do not know the precise shape of their future, but they know that the future belongs to them. They realize this. . . and begin, almost instinctively, to forge a new morality, to create the principles on which a new world will be built.”

And these from MLK: “Truth crushed to earth rises up.”

“No lie can live forever.”

And this from Rastafarian poet Bongo Jerry:

“Sooner or later but mus’
the dam is going to bus’
What force can stop them,
this river of people who know their course?”

AND THIS from P.B. Shelley:
‘Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many – they are few.”

“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history”.

~ Gandhi

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Gandhi

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

Breyton Breytonbach said this just before he was sentenced to prison in South Africa for his protest activities:. “With confidence, we lay our case before the whole world. Whether we live, or whether we die, freedom will rise here like the sun through the morning clouds.”

John O’Donohoe offered the following inspiring message in an essay called “Blessing Our World Now”. This is one of the most powerful and empowering quotes I’ve encountered in years:

“Sometimes when we look out, the world seems so dark. War, violence, hunger and misery seem to abound. This makes us anxious and helpless. What can I do in my private little corner of life that could have any effect on the march of world events? The usual answer is: nothing. We then decide to do what we can for our own, and leave the great events to their domain. Thus, we opt out, and join the largest majority in the world : those who acquiesce. Believing ourselves to be helpless, we hand over all our power to forces and systems outside us that then act in our names; they go on to put their beliefs into action; and ironically these actions are often sinister and destructive.

We live in times when the call of full and critically aware citizenship could not be more urgent. We need to rediscover the careless courage, yet devastating simplicity, of the little boy who, in the middle of the numbered multitude, in naive Socratic fashion, blurts out; ” But the emperor has no clothes.” When spoken, the word of truth can bring down citadels of falsity.

Real presence is the ideal of all true individuation. When we yield to helplessness, we strengthen the hand of those who would destroy. When we choose indifference, we betray our world. Yet the world is not decided by action alone. It is decided more by consciousness and spirit; they are the secret sources of all action and behavior.

The spirit of a time is an incredibly subtle, yet hugely powerful force. And it is comprised of the mentality and spirit of all individuals together. Therefore, the way you look at things is not simply a private matter. Your outlook actually and concretely affects what goes on. When you give in to helplessness, you collude with despair and add to it. When you take back your power and choose to see the possibilities for healing and transformation, your creativity awakens and flows to become an active force of renewal and encouragement in the world.

In this way, even in your own hidden life, you can become a powerful agent of transformation in a broken, darkened world. There is a huge force field that opens when intention focuses and directs itself toward transformation.”

198 WAYS WE CAN BEAT NEOLIBERALISM:  

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com/2017/08/15/there-are-198-ways-to-beat-neoliberalism-trump-and-other-obstacles-to-a-thriving-planet/

 

A recent article in the Guardian “Neoliberalism: The Idea That Swallowed the World” gives a great overview of the policy and also reveals that the International Monetary Fund finally just admitted the terrible effects of neoliberalism.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/18/neoliberalism-the-idea-that-changed-the-world

 

Click on this link to return to HOME PAGE and see other posts on this blog.

https://clearblueskyoutwest.com

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