Before getting into the substance of this post, let me once again express the sheer awe and sadness one inevitably feels when confronted with the news coming out of Japan. What can one say? Of all the great horrors of our horrible time, Japan's tragedy may be the most depressing.
If I prefer to write about American domestic controversies, I do so only because it still seems possible, even vital, to debate such matters. You can't argue with a tsunami. You can
argue with the teabaggers, even though they can seem like a tsunami.Robert Greenwald
is making an important documentary film
about the Koch brothers and their pernicious influence on American politics. Greenwald needs support, which is why he is selling t-shirts. I suggest you buy one, even though it has a (not bad) design by my bête noire
Shep on the front.
We live in an age of great
documentaries. Funding should be easier. Why are the films produced by Michael Moore the only docs to receive major theatrical distribution? The superb Inside Job
made less than five million dollars worldwide. The rather less-than-superb The Last Airbender
made $320 million. Reverse those numbers and we will reverse our declining fortunes.
A report from Wisconsin:
A friend to this blog sent in the following...
I'm a State of Wisconsin employee living in Madison, WI - AFSCME Local 1. While the union busting efforts were basically a 'fait accompli' as of mid-week, the planned protest yesterday still had a showing in the 100,000 range - even after the possibility of a victory disappeared. At the moment, it appears the labor movement in Wisconsin is re-invigorated. There are recall efforts against at least 8 of the Republican State Senators, and while passions fade in time, I've got a feeling that come January of 2012 we'll make the 250k signature nut for prompting a recall election against the Governor. Yesterday, farmers rallied at the Capitol, bringing tractors to drive around the square and speaking in solidarity with labor - though obviously, farmers don't have unions. There's a grassroots movement gaining steam, not just here but in the other states where public-sector unions are under attack. Yesterday, I heard a new chant from the marchers at the Capitol - "How do you fix the deficit? Tax, Tax, Tax the rich!" - music to my ears, and a healthy development, IMHO. Finally, I'd like to add that while Jesse Jackson has not traditionally been high on my radar in terms of political action, I've developed an immense respect for the man - he's been here far more than any other national figure, and it has not gone unnoticed. I understand much better now why you've been vocal in your support of him. Broadly speaking, I'm disappointed (but not surprised) at the lack of other national-stage democrats' failure to show support.
SO... Now, the trick is to grab the momentum that's been generated and channel it into productive political action. The time is ripe for a "jobs party" equivalent to the tea party, and we must not lose the momentum that has been - and continues to be - a grass-roots uprising in many states. It stands out to me that Tea Party protests struggle to get a few hundred or 1,000 protesters in one place, yet here in Madison we've hit ~100,000 at least twice, with many off-days coming in at 10K+ (you could go to the capitol on a mid-week night at 8pm and find 2K people there, for weeks). You should renew your attentions towards a "New New Deal" or "Jobs Party" organization, since the time for it's viability is ripe. In Wisconsin's situation, we need to produce recall victories in the next 12 months, lest the momentum dissolve into frustrated apathy.
Here's hoping the pendulum has reached it's apex and begins it's counter-swing...