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FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
According to the 2000 census there are over 105 million households in the U.S., containing an average 2.59 people each. The median household income is $37,000 per year (for the 2.59). Doing division, that works out to around $14,000 per person. Taking all things into consideration, does one honestly think that anyone earning that little […]

Time for Real Change

by Philip Farruggio

According to the 2000 census there are over 105 million households in the U.S., containing an average 2.59 people each. The median household income is $37,000 per year (for the 2.59). Doing division, that works out to around $14,000 per person. Taking all things into consideration, does one honestly think that anyone earning that little per year should accept:

–seeing our tax dollars pay for stationing our army and navy all over the world? Plus billions for high tech armaments and a "defense shield" that will never stop terror attacks anyway?

–allowing private enterprise to continue to profit off of lighting, heating and cooling our homes? (The CEO of Florida Power & Light took in over $36 million for himself in one year, as rates kept going up.)

–officials, with Enron and Global Crossing as flagships, using corporate dollars to steer our "ship" of government in their direction? I might add that the recent campaign finance reform bill does little to "harness" those elites. having to shell out, on average, $4,000 – $5,000 per year per family for inadequate medical coverage through private insurers? And how about the 44 plus million out there with zero health coverage?

Mark Twain realized what would continue to transpire when he gave us his brief and poignant definition of the purpose of government: "to protect us from the crooks and scoundrels".

Look around you. Are we protected?

In certain "nicer" neighborhoods, many are protected from the poor fools who prey upon anyone to buy that next "fix". Yet, who protects us from a banking system that strangles the homeowner for $300,000 on a $100,000 sale, through a mortgage system that reeks of feudalism? A banking system that, in many instances, charges depositors to visit with a teller, or call for account information. You bounce a check, they hit you with a $25 or $30 charge. You need to cash a paycheck at your employer’s bank? They can hit you with a $5 fee.

Where is Twain’s "protector government"? Out to lunch with Kenny Lay perhaps?

Confucius said "you succeeded because you tried again". Its time for the general public–those of us earning anywhere in shouting distance of that median level–to demand entry into the political process. If more of the "least protected" made our presence felt, locally first, statewide next, and finally nationally –these politicos would have no recourse but to listen. If a few hundred residents of any community showed up at a city council meeting, behind one common issue, changes would begin to occur.

If a few thousand voters sent notice to their statehouse rep, on one common issue at a time, changes would begin to occur. If tens of thousands of voters sent notice to their Senators on one common issue at a time, bombarding them with phone calls, faxes and e-mails, priorities would begin to change.

In the 60s we did tune in on one truth. We said "you’re either for us or you ‘re against us." I say "you’re either for a true democratic republic, or you’re against it!" Think wheat, not chaff!

Philip Farruggio, son of a longshoreman, is "Blue Collar Brooklyn" born, raised and educated (Brooklyn College, Class of ’74). A former progressive talk show host, he runs a manufacturing business and writes for many publications. He lives in Port Orange, FL. You can contact Mr. Farruggio at e-mail: brooklynphilly@aol.com.