A Shout-Out to the FDL!
Last week, the Democratic women of the FDL was indeed most fortunate for hosting a series of well-known economists and prescient authors. And in this particular instance, and of which I found to be quite informative, educational, and truly enjoyable, “Talking Economic Accountability With Robert Johnson” did not disappoint one iota. Thus, the FDL has secured its reputation, its credibility, and its recognizable certitude, in my humble opinion.
Therefore, I am using this diary at the Oxdown Gazette, to add an additional comment and done in appreciation to the FDL and for what it is accomplishing successfully on a daily basis. To wit, to reinvigorate our ‘participatory’ Democracy! Thus, this diary is being done on a sequential basis: my initial post, Dr. Johnson’s response, and followed by this additional commentary with respect to James Madison. And last but not the least, my hat tip to Margot for her continued encouragement for this expansive diary.
As such, my initial post:
“Permit to provide two ‘contexts’ to this economic accountability. The first ‘context’ does not fit neatly into this thread, but still, permit me to do so. And I ask for the Managers’ applied consideration, in this regard.
“I am a person who has the current familial history for being a Yaqui Indian due to my father, and due to my mother, I am also an Apache, and located here in the Sonoran Desert. And yet, I much prefer to think of myself as a Chicano. Why? I and we (my family, was agricultural/migrant-oriented, and consequently, did not learn to read and write English until the third grade while residing in Sidney, Nebraska. Thus, I learned English and ’sewing’ while sitting in the back of class room and my book for learning was Laura Ingalls “Little House on the Prairie”. And lest I forget, the acquired skill set for sewing paid a big dividend when I enlisted in the armed forces. And when I arrived into Alamosa, Colorado for the lettuce crops, I caught the tail end of the Sixth grade, and where I was tested. After the summer, I was enrolled in the Seventh Grade and placed into the “A” class students grouping. However, shortly thereafter I moved to Sargent, Colorado, ‘to do’ the potatoes. And while in high school in Monte Vista, Colorado, I had myself tested for reading and the comprehension for what I had read. Thus, girls, booze, and drugs, in that order was my all-consuming motivation, and of course, the proverbial rich girl and who’s father owned the liquor, was my lusty imagination. Therefore, this Reading, showed me that I would succeed in whatever I would venture into later in life, and looking back, this Reading test, was my approach to measuring Ambition, and which is never measured in our existing educational systemic.
“Now, to the second ‘context.’ Today, I have three college degrees in business, am a licensed mortgage banker and have been on the commercial side of this ledger for these past 20 years and where the majority of this time has been spent doing the biz in the Latin America Region, and consequently, I am language proficient and culturally assimilated. And which brings me to my less than lengthy observation.
“Newt Gingrich sees American history starting from the year of 1607 and America’s demise occurred in 1965 or the Lyndon Johnson Era. I see it differently, and which is that LBJ instituted a ‘participatory’ Democracy that was predicated on the Economic Opportunity Act of 1967. Thus, the elderly and the poor were given the opportunity to determine their future, either collectively or individually. Consequently, when I think of our economic disaster of today, I see accountability from the standpoint of the LBJ Era.
“To wit, Ambition is fine and wonderful, but not necessarily rewarding for America, when the most Ambitious among us brings about our economic collapse. America, being a highly wealthy nation, we can afford the humongous debt–given the existing borrowing rate of 3% so anything over 4% will quickly repay itself–that will have to be utilized to repair our ship of state while in dry dock for this Agenda of Repair. And this Agenda must include some innovative approaches to re-regulation, as well as building a few more prisons to toss these highly ambitious bums into, in order to cool their jets down for all time. And of course, I am angry.
“Today, our Educational Systemic will suffer the consequences. Here in Arizona, there is one school that is ‘innovating’ as a charter school. Take, for example, in the morning, a foreign language systemic is utilized, and the English language systemic is employed in the afternoon, and thusly, self-reinforcing. Unfortunately, the Stimulus Plan will not perpetuate this innovative thinking nor perpetuate these subsequent processes. And that leaves no monies for the future. And from therein, is my anger for these economic scoundrels, and who willingly, and intentionally, never had a nary thought for the rest of us and who aspire to implement the Ambition, as well.
“And more on Accountability. I have always seen the bail out of AIG, given that the foreign nation’s had their Sovereign Funds embedded in our too large to fail banks, as well, and simultaneously invested in our commercial property systemic, and which has yet to come to the forefront to be adequately addressed, and which will cause the taxpayers to contemplate and cogitate a passive or ostracized revolt of our misguided leadership in Congress and at local, the legislative and municipal bodies too, and which started when Reagan took the controls off of Capital without taking the controls off of Labor.
“And if this post is seen as a vent, it was not meant to be. Regardless, my thanks to the Managers should they not put their thumb on the delete button.”
And here is the response from Robert Johnson:
“This is a very powerful set of observations. On LBJ versus Newt Gingrich I would recommend you read the preface of the book “Revolution in the Head” by Ian McDonald. It is about Beatles music but the preface is about the ironies of freedom and the new right and Gingrich. There he discusses the desire of the counterculture to be left alone transforming into Get Government Off Our Backs in the dark frustration of the 1980s. He also talks about how the right used the idea of freedom to demonize those who wanted to use the government apparatus to impose their will. Courts, Civil Rights, Reproductive rights etc. Isaiah Berlin has an old essay on two types of freedom too. Freedom from intrusion by others including the state and freedom to do what you like without restraint. How those are balanced is at the core of social architecture. Wall Street’s recklessness certainly intruded on everyone’s well being recently. As David Smick says in his excellent book “The World is Curved” “Make no mistake. These problems were caused by bankers and investment bankers.” And government did not protect society and citizens and the developing world from the fallout.”
And here is my additional commentary and for the sole purpose of addressing our “social architecture” as posited by Robert Johnson:
For the first time in American history, Lyndon Johnson and a Democratic Congress institutionalized a Participatory Democracy by virtue of the unassailable’ fact that this ‘participation’ had the effect of law, and equally important, the federal dollars to ‘actualize’ this public behavior. Take, for example, the language of the Economic Opportunity Act predominated to the extent that “all maximum feasible participation” was of paramount importance. And southern governors refused to accept this federal largesse, and these ‘refusals, were overridden by the federal government. As such, what was being refused? Consider the following:
§ VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America),
§ Job Corps;
§ Neighborhood Youth Corps;
§ Head Start;
§ Adult Basic Education;
§ Family Planning;
§ Community Health Centers;
§ Congregate Meal Preparation;
§ Economic Development;
§ Foster Grandparents; Legal Services;
§ Neighborhood Centers;
§ Summer Youth Programs;
§ Senior Centers;
§ And others.
As the years have progressed, and especially in the Carter Era, this expansion included the following:
§ Housing Rehabilitation,
§ Home Insulation
§ Environmental Projects that included solar green houses and community gardening.
And at the inception of the Reagan Administration, an effort coalesced in either eliminating or reducing the funding of this innovative approach to our Participatory Democracy. Thus, the consolidation of programs into Community Block Grants with the prescription that the funding of these block grants would subsequently wither on the vine, given the ascendance of the political Right. And with this history in mind, the Challenge facing my fellow Democrats is when it comes to creating a fulcrum to increase our Participatory Democracy with the force of law and the subset for taxpayer dollars, much heavy lifting is required and the FDL is doing so. Therefore, ‘changing’ our institutions is where our political attention needs to be focused and which brings me to my brand of “freedom” and “community organizing”.
My Indigenous History is predicated on the totality of over 50,000 years and not on the last few hundreds of years and as personified by Newt Gingrich and for his political self-aggrandizement. And lest I forget, in 1900, there were only 100,000 Native Americans remaining in the United States, and today, there are over 3.5 million of us attempting to raise to another art form, our tad of political agitation in order to draw attention to the existing destitution found on the proverbial Rez and amply recognized as a Third World residing inside a First World Nation that is now facing its economic collapse and brought about by the overly ambitious.
Take for example, my indigenous history is premised on Big Mama Good, the Matriarchal Totality of the Universe. And as an aside, I have in the past written with some tongue-in-cheek humor, that the traditional scribes, when it came to translating the papyrus of years past, one of these scribes had an obvious case of dyslexia, and inadvertently mis-translated Big Mama Good into “God”.
Regardless, Big Mama Good’s Basic Premise is, “We are…” and which is at odds with the European view of, “I am…” However, BMG’s First Iteration follows and which is, “We…all of one heart!” and all one needs to know for civic and political engagement.
Today, is the latest birthday for the visionary James Madison, our Fourth President given that yesterday, we commenced celebrating our Sunshine Week! In this, regard, “Happy Birthday, Mister Madison.” Of course, Madison famously penned, “A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or both.” With former Vice President Cheney’s appearance of yesterday on NBC’s Meet the Press, proved Madison’s historic admonition correct for being both a farce and a tragedy, hence our for self-governance for the Future.
Perhaps, a tad of Big Mama Good did rub off onto Madison, even if inadvertently done?