Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Letter to California Governor Brown

"We carry a new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing in this minute."
Buenaventura Durruti

Dear Governor Brown,

As a former instructor at UCLA, I am gravely disturbed about the recent violence against students and protestors at the UC Davis campus, the UC Berkeley campus, in Oakland, and in other public places all over California. Growing up in the Civil Rights Era South, I witnessed many similar examples of terrible violence against regular people marching or sitting in for their rights. California people traditionally embrace and greatly value human rights and the dignity of every human being. That ideal was one essential reason that I moved with my family to California thirty years ago.

Those students at UC Davis were doing nothing dangerous, threatening or disruptive. The same for the students at Berkeley. The same for the Occupy people (mostly students) in Oakland and elsewhere. Why are the police allowed to get so violent? What authority controls the various police forces that have acted so violently? What do they fear from unarmed citizens standing and sitting in protest against economic and social problems in our state? What do the UC Davis administrators fear so much from fifty or so students hanging out in the quad? In that UC Davis case there were about as many police officers as there were students. What does the Mayor of Oakland fear from people gathering to protest in a public park? For those people in authority, what are their reasons for allowing violence to happen?

The police in Davis brutalized those kids. The police in Berkeley harassed and billy-clubbed those kids. The Oakland police by order of Mayor Quan attacked the Occupy people there. No matter what distorted justification their advisors come up with, these authorities are simply wrong in allowing this to happen. This kind of behavior is psychopathic.

Certainly you know the meaning of our Constitution's First Amendment: "... the right of the people peaceably to assemble. ..." As Governor you possess ultimate executive authority in California, so action is now necessary. Please ask the authorities who allowed the violence to hand in their resignations immediately.

Please take action now to protect the Occupy people statewide. Their voices for social justice need to be heard.

We are California. We must hold the highest standard for democracy.

Martin Pitts

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Letter to President Obama

Occupy City Hall Los Angeles October 2011

Dear Mr. President,

Look, I spent a few months in China in 2007 and about four years in east Asia in 2008 - 2012. We need to get moving. China and East Asia are booming, and we'd better be ready to play the game and win. The win is not just about the money. The people in China think very long term. They are working for not the next generation, but the next five generations.

This is what needs to be done now:
1) Funding for a national chain of charter schools with very slim administration budgets. Let the teachers teach. Leave them alone. Let them teach the arts and let them teach whatever the teacher wants. Politicians in the class room are the death of good education. The USA had a good educational system after WWII mainly because of the freedom of the classroom. Now our entire education system is infused with all the dogma from all the radical nut jobs from all the state legislatures all over America. This needs to stop. And now!
2) High Speed Mag-Lev Rail connecting every city over 100,000 in the USA, Canada, and Mexico.
3) Over all of North America, free satellite high speed internet wifi access. The airwaves are the people's airwaves. Use the bandwidth for the people, and not some corporation based in the Cayman Islands. Order the FCC and the Defense Department to do this now!
4) Implement single payer in the affordable care act process including dental. Germany, the most prosperous European nation has had this type of system for years. They are a pretty healthy nation, correct? Sure the repubs and their sycophants will rise up and scream: "We don't want to be like Europe!" Baloney. If only we had health care like Germany, or Norway, or Sweden, or Australia, or Taiwan, or the UK we would have a far more prosperous nation. A healthy nation is a thriving nation.
5) Nationalize all banks with assets over US$100,000,000. For investments larger than the now smaller, not-too-big-to-fail banks can handle we need to establish in the Federal Reserve bank a new agency to decide on the large loans. The large loan agency will be accountable to the executive branch and to congress and to an ombudsman committee of regular people.
6) Break up the vertical oil oligopolies nation-wide. We tried to do this in the early 20th century. Recall Rockefeller and the Standard Oil monopoly. Well, we're back to those past times again, only the octopus is now an oligopoly rather than a monopoly. As an alternate we could nationalize all energy. Our neighbors to the South, Mexico actually did this in the 1930s. The government under President Lázaro Cárdenas bought the oil companies by a bond issue and formed Pemex so that the nation's oil reserve benefits all of the people and not just the few. Then we can join OPEC and let Exxon and BP buy from the US government petroleum operation.
7) Absolute limits on the amount of money that can be spent on political campaigns, and complete transparency of the election process. I know this will probably take an amendment. I know, I know but it is necessary for the good of the nation.

To accomplish our seven point "USA To Do List," use all emergency discretionary funds for the infrastructure jobs, the satellite wifi, and the national charter schools. It is obvious that congress and other mavens of right wing media would yell "Not fair." Do it anyway. Order the National Guard in any state into service for crewing up for the rail line construction, the wifi and the charter schools. By the constitution the President is the commander in chief of the "militias" correct? Hire people into the army that are out of work. Make them join on two-years hitches for the domestic construction projects. The wages paid to the new national guard enlistees would be a great boost to the economy. That's almost the way FDR did it in building the Oak Ridge facility in Tennessee in WWII. The Manhattan Project hired ex-soldiers all over the south to come over to East Tennessee and camp out and work on the building.
No doubt the repubs and other sleazy know-nothings will jump out of the bushes and yell, "Not Fair!" Reply to them: "Too bad!" This is for the defense of the nation against the future threats of international cartels into the next ten decades.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.


PS: You'll have my vote in 2012 because you care about the future of our nation, and most important, you are a great commander-in-chief.

PSS: Congratulations to Veterans For Peace people who have now raised $15,000 for the aid of Occupier and Iraq War Vet Scott Olsen who was wounded by the Oakland, California police.