Posts Tagged With: injustice

MEET AGITATOR, JIM HIGHTOWER.

DSC07631 (Copy)Jim Hightower writes the Hightower Lowdown, a national newsletter that exposes injustice in America, only he calls it exposing bushwackers, bullshitters, gooberheads, plasticized morons, moon howling…well, the adjectives, some invented by him, are numerous and humorous. He says he is an agitator…”the center post of the washing machine that gets out all the dirt.” And, right now, he doesn’t like the hucksters running a Democracy where 4 people, all of them hedge fund managers, each earned 10 Billion dollars last year, where 108 Kindergarten teachers split 1 million. The hedge fund managers pay taxes at a rate of 15% and the teachers pay at a rate of 35%. Democracy works best from the bottom up and includes everybody. That’s you and me folks. Its revolution time for people tired of being the fire hydrants for all of those top dogs. And, the chorus sang, Hallelujah.

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They did, but it wasn’t quite in that order. First, the Mother Lode Martin Luther King Jr. Chapter, active in our area for 23 years, drew over 500 people to hear Hightower speak. Amazing because this is a very white, rural community.

The program began with Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech on a movie screen. I had forgotten what a powerful and passionate speaker he was. It was an emotional moment to turn back the pages of time and remember, the women who died in a baptist church, Rosa Parks refusing to move to the back of the bus, little girls being escorted to all white schools by the National Guard in the fight for equal rights for black Americans;  a fight that is on going to this day, 48 years after his death.  Hightower reminded us that Katie Stanton, and the jailed and punished suffragettes didn’t get the right to vote that they fought for either, but WE got it because of them.

And, that my friends is his point. Money now flows upward and the rich have so much money they can air condition hell while the poor and middle class struggles to make ends meet.

“We don’t want charity, we want economic justice. And Congress, the House and the President is stealing from us with a fountain pen.” He pointed to the current NAFTA agreement where 500 corporations and that included the Koch Brothers, met in secret, and hammered out an agreement and stuffed it down our throats without one member of a Union or anyone from the middle class and small business sitting at the table.

Hightower believes that people like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who don’t accept money from the big super pacs can overcome the moneyed elites who have corrupted our politics and rigged our economy to squeeze the life out of the middle class.

Bernie’s average donation is $23. Hightower says, you can’t buy a presidency with $23. His campaign is about We The People. Hightower convinced me that, with Bernie, its time to rock the boat.

No one addresses him as Senator Sanders, he is just Bernie, and one of the poorest Senators in the pack. He hasn’t parlayed his position to great wealth like most national office holders have.

He came from a low-income working class family in Brooklyn. He first worked as a carpenter, then film maker, writer and agitator. An agitator in college during the 60’s, he moved to Vermont and began exposing Burlington money boys who ran the town for their own fun and profit. Then he stunned everyone by winning an election for Mayor in Burlington. Bernie has never abandoned his working class roots. I’ve changed my position to clearly stand with the candidate who says: “I can’t do this, but WE can.”

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The program ended with everyone singing the song:  We Shall Overcome. Hightower was available to talk to people at a reception after the program.

wecanpetition.moveon.org.

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CHRISTMAS CATALOGS IN THE MAIL

A bounty of Christmas catalogs wend their way to my mailbox. Retailers are hoping to have a better Christmas season this year than last. And, there are signs all around that the economy is picking up. I always loved the Christmas season, except for the shopping. Shopping for my kids was fine, but for siblings and various friends or special aunts and uncles, it became a chore. Its the type of gift that is hard to choose, something you can afford but still likely to please. A hassle, to put it mildly, especially when funds were short. When my kids were college age, they couldn’t afford buying for each other and we decided collectively to stop giving gifts. Instead we donated a set amount to charity. It turned into a form of freedom that we enjoyed so much, we’ve continued the process to this day, with one exception.  The new younger set, the grandchildren, that still have sugar plums in their heads, are still entitled to gifts. It was kind of fun to reveal to each other what charity we chose and why, no matter how meager the donation.
For several years we read poetry. One year the kids sang the rock song that annoyed me the most when they were growing up and I loved the tease. We know the best part of Christmas is family, sharing food, and each other.Which brings me back to the catalogs.

Our economy may be shaky, but this is still the land of plenty. Two charities stand out in my mind because they do so much for others. One is: http://actfast.oxfamamerica.org/
They are on the ground in every country, including America, for every disaster, for every kid who is hungry, finding solutions. And the other is Heifer International. www.heifer.org/gift
They make it simple to make a difference. Buy two chickens and supply plenty of eggs and protein for a family. A goat provides milk. A sheep, milk, meat and wool. Help dig a pond for  fishing and a couple of  ducks. Or buy fruit trees, a sack of seed, or life saving mosquito nets.  925 million people are hungry when they go to bed at night.
Heifer International is also partnering  with project POTICO, a NewPage paper manufacturer cooperating to save virgin rainforests.
You can find a very basic, very satisfying way to make a gift that counts.

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