Goodness knows I, like the OWSers, protest enough about the current “system.” Outside of the 1%, is there anyone who is happy with the way things are? Not too many. So what to do? Well, the Tea partiers want to take us back to 19th century robber baron capitalism on the idea that…well it’s hard to say what the idea of that is. How about us progressives? Given that we are dealing with the well known cat-herding paradigm, almost by definition, there’s no progressive platform. But I bet that a good three quarters of us support something along the lines of the following. They’re in no particular order except that for any of them to happen, the first bullet of the first point must be done—elimination of private funding of politicians. Then, anything can happen.

I’ve left out the rationales for all the platform points, as it would take thousands of words and more patience than our readers possess. Feel free to add points and rationales.


  • Public financing of elections—no direct personal, or corporate (incl. lobbyist) contributions
  • Instant-runoff elections or other alternative voting methods which will encourage 3rd and 4th party candidates
  • Direct presidential election (eg, National Popular Vote movement)


  • Reinstate Glass-Steagall to re-separate investment banking and commercial banking
  • Increase regulation of derivatives (eg, credit default swaps), including requiring transparent pricing and increased capital reserve requirements
  • Increase regulation of rating agencies (eg, Moody’s, Standard and Poor)
  • Eliminate speculators from commodity trading
  • Regulate or eliminate computerized, high-frequency trading
  • Investigate and prosecute those who helped cause financial collapse
  • Break up financial institutions that are too big to fail


  • Remove all Bush tax cuts
  • Implement simpler tax code (including taxing hedge fund managers’ fees as regular income)
  • End tax breaks for moving jobs overseas


  • Medicare for all


  • Shift from fossil fuel (eg, coal, oil, methane) to renewable energy (eg, wind, water, solar, geothermal) within 18 yrs (“clean and green in 18”) by instituting a carbon tax and switching subsidies from oil companies and ethanol to renewable, non-carbon energy
  • Strengthen the EPA


  • No more foreign wars and entanglements
  • Cut military and spying spending by half


  • Stop domestic spying
  • Habeas corpus for all citizens
  • No more rendition and torture
  • End the drug war and repeal laws against other victimless crimes

What Would Make YOU Take to the Streets?

My friend’s daughter has been in OWS for over a week (though we’ll see what happens with the weekend’s snow and rain). Is this “class war?” Those who bandy this term about most are those who think everything’s just dandy now, thank you very much. They are those who think that Wall Street’s switch to a casino economy in which a select few make fortunes by betting which way other banksters’ bets will go is the glory of free America. They are those who argue with religious zeal against any attempt to regulate what banks can do with your (not “their”) money. They are those who think the unfortunate among us uniformly deserve their fate. They are those who have engaged in class warfare for 25 years—and won. What would make you take to the streets?

10 Years in the ‘Stan—the 10th Anniversary of the Afghan War

Oct. 7, 2001, 10 years ago today, the war in Afganistan commenced (see New York Times editorial). We’re still there, trying to win their hearts and minds. How’s that going, anyway?

Well, I think the results of a Taliban attack back in August sum it up pretty well. Do you remember this one? Couple of guys sneaked into the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and opened up with assault rifles and mowed down a few unfortunates. Afghan police were on the scene and RAN AWAY. Didn’t shoot back. Didn’t pass Go, didn’t collect $200. Just boogied. They’re probably still running right now. Great.

 How come we always get stuck with these guys? I know kids today don’t play pickup ball like we used to, but a few of you remember it, right? Somebody always had to take the clumsy skinny kid, who couldn’t catch, couldn’t run and cried when the ball hit him. So why is it always us? Remember the Vietnam war? The other side would live in tunnels for months on a handful of dirty rice and still fight like pit bulls with hemorrhoids. We showered our Vietnamese “allies” with equipment and they would cower in villages and lie about having gone out on patrol. Couldn’t get them to fight for their country for anything. Same thing inAfghanistan. We suffer suicide attacks all the time. Did “our” side ever have ONE guy who hiked over the mountains on a pocket full of stale bread to blow himself up in front of a Taliban headquarters? Hardly. Are there even any who will go out and fight? Oh, wait, they need more “training.” Yeah, right. 10 years of training and they don’t even shoot back! What kind of training fixes chicken shit?

 The Taliban guys don’t have any training. At least nothing like we give “our” side. What they have is desire. Motivation. But they came to the camps with that. People without desire and motivation will never defeat those who have it, however they are “trained.” Nobody can be trained to be willing to die for their cause. And virtually none of our Afghan partners are willing to, yet most of our opponents are. We are on the side of losers, and that is what they will do, whether we pull the training wheels off now or 10 years from now. Ten years is plenty. It’s time to go.