Jack Random

Jack Random is the author of the Jazzman Chronicles (Crow Dog Press) and Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press). See The Chronicles have been posted on the Albion Monitor, Bellaciao, Buzzle, CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Pacific Free Press and Peace-Earth-Justice. www.jazzmanchronicles.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 14 December 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

'Take a tally. Look at what I promised during the campaign. There’s not a single thing that I haven’t done or tried to do.' Barack Obama

If Barack Obama truly wanted to be a transformative president he would have pushed to break the senatorial filibuster at the very beginning of his term in office. As a former senator he knew full well the power and inclination of a senate minority to obstruct all legislative initiatives.

There is not a syllable in the constitution that empowers a minority in the least democratic branch of government with an absolute veto over all legislative action. That usurpation of power was accomplished by senatorial rules of conduct, which are subject to change by a majority vote at the beginning of each congressional session.

Had the Obama administration been able to lower the filibuster threshold to 55 votes or required senators to hold the floor as they once did or limited its duration to 27 calendar days, the incoming president would have been empowered to usher in an era of progressive change, the very change for which the electorate thought it was voting. He surely could have passed Medicare-for-all with a ten or twenty-year phase in. He could have restructured the tax code and fully financed an emerging green economy. He could have rebuilt the nation’s infrastructure and established an interstate mass transit system, achieving something very close to full employment.

Sunday, 05 December 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

As a novelist with a penchant for political mystery and suspense, I am familiar with the standard plot twist of the endangered protagonist: If only she can get the information out into the public, she’ll be safe. The men in black can’t touch her then and the world will have to grapple with the truth.

As the plot thickens in the strange case of Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks and the man behind the latest uncovering of duplicity, hypocrisy and deception in American diplomacy, what is easily the most fascinating story of the year is also becoming the most important.

Say it ain’t so: The hero of our story cannot be a sex offender wanted in Sweden for something resembling rape. Even sexual misconduct however it is characterized is not permissible for our man of the hour. A good protagonist may be tortured, twisted, suffering extreme bouts of anxiety and depression but he cannot in any way be a sexual offender. Such a distinction would place our story in the waste bin of literature never to be consumed by the general public. We desire this story to be widely read.

Sunday, 28 November 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

I am a student of history. While I hold no degree in that particular discipline I enjoy a good narrative that places seemingly scattered events in a greater context and extracts meaning from our march through time. I resent narratives that abuse history, that subvert words and events to serve a philosophy or political cause for which they were not intended.

I resent those who accuse others of rewriting history as if that in itself were objectionable, as if a narrative once commonly accepted as faithful were written in stone, impregnable and unassailable. Thus, the narrative of Manifest Destiny that justified the extermination of tribal Americans in the name of a Christian God should be allowed to stand. Thus the narrative that champions unfettered industry with the rise of America’s greatness should go unchallenged. Thus the narrative that justifies all American military actions in the cause of freedom and democracy should never be questioned.

It is the duty of every historian to challenge all dogmatic narratives and to constantly rewrite history in service to the truth. While personal bias can never be fully eliminated, it is the duty of every historian to defend true history against the constant assaults by those with perverted intent.

Wednesday, 03 November 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

The party in power will lose in midterm elections and the loss will be proportionate to the nation’s economic pain.

It is as predictable as the sun setting in the west and as simple as a three-chord song. The 2010 election results, a convincing takeover of the House Representatives, a narrowing of Democratic control of the Senate and a net loss of nine governorships, was neither surprising nor representative of any philosophic change. The effect of the Tea Party movement was negligible and the effect of unrestricted corporate funding of electoral campaigns was stunningly muted.

Against a backdrop of a prolonged recession and a real unemployment rate far exceeding ten percent of the working force, the only surprise was that the Republicans failed to take control of the Senate. Had they done so, it would have set up a war between Congress and the White House for the next two years. It would have challenged the president to wield the power of the veto. As it is we will have gridlock, paralysis, two years of posturing and politicking without substance. There will be no major legislative initiative. There will be no repeal of healthcare reform. Nothing will change. 

Monday, 18 October 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

This is intended as a general guide to voting in the upcoming California election for like-minded progressive independents. The further right you are on the political spectrum the more you should consider this a guide on how not to vote.

STATEWIDE OFFICES: GOVERNOR: Jerry Brown, Democrat. Is this the year of the CEO? I think not. We are less than two years removed from the Wall Street meltdown that nearly landed the nation in a second Great Depression. Make no mistake: The politics of Meg Whitman and her wealthy Wall Street cohorts are what landed us in this protracted recession. I think it generous of Whitman to boost California’s economy by spending a large chunk of her fortune to become Governor but the jobs she’s created will disappear in a few weeks and the only jobs she’s likely to create if elected will be in China, India or anywhere that labor is cheap.

The sky will not fall if Whitman is elected because she’s unlikely to get anything passed in the California legislature but why should we reward the arrogance of a candidate who never voted in her adult life yet believes she can buy the governor’s palace?

Saturday, 09 October 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

ANARCHIST: 1. A person who rebels against any authority, established order or ruling power.  2. A person who believes in, advocates or promotes anarchism or anarchy, especially one who uses violent means to overthrow the established order.

ANARCHISM: a political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups.

ANARCHY: A. absence of government; B. a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority; C. a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government. - Merriam Webster

At some time on our journey from childhood naivety to youthful rebellion and before we advance to the relative cynicism of adulthood, many of us are intellectually attracted to those who identify themselves in the pages of history as anarchists.


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