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

Monday, 04 October 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

It seems to me that anyone who has a vision of real and systemic change in government must inevitably come to terms with the reality that change is a long-term proposition. It is improbable that we are the change we’ve been looking for or that the change we seek will come in our lifetimes.

Historic change requires a convergence of events far beyond our collective ability to control or create it.

History instructs us that change often requires a catalyst in the form of a catastrophe, a disaster or a tragedy so profound it touches the heart and invades the psyche of every man, woman and child who bears witness.

At a time when news was carried primarily by word of mouth from tavern to tavern, from church to public hall, on the wings of an emerging independent press, the Boston Massacre was such an event. Analogous in some ways to Kent State and Jackson State in 1970 it was widely perceived as the first occasion where those charged with protecting us, turned on us and killed our fellow beings for merely asserting their rights of citizenship. It struck a deep chord with the American colonists and propelled us forward toward the war for independence.

Sunday, 29 August 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

An Answer to the Tea Party - In the beginning it was a simple concept: majority rule. Whether it claims root in ancient Athens or some unknown tribal community, it has survived the millennia as the democratic ideal and remains today a powerful force in the governance of nations.

Modern democracy emerged in the eighteenth century as an alternative to monarchy, aristocracy, dictatorship and other forms of tyranny. The founding of the American nation, with all its flaws and inequities, was civilization’s first marriage of the nation state to the democratic ideal.

Rightwing cynics will point out that America is not and has never been a true democracy; it is rather a republic. They are of course literally correct yet fundamentally misguided. Democracy is an ideal that has never been attempted on the scale of nations and until the advent of advanced technology has never in fact been possible. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries no nation could afford to wait for a poll of the franchise before making a critical decision. 

Wednesday, 30 June 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

altFeckless: 1. Unable or unwilling to do anything useful. 2. Lacking the thought or organization necessary to succeed. - Call me a conspiracy theorist. I have speculated since the assassination of John Kennedy in 1963 that the true source of power in this country is neither the people nor those we elect to public office. It is neither the governors nor the congress nor the regal senators nor the president of the United States that call the shots on national policy. It is rather the corporate aristocracy that is neither elected nor American by any standard.

It follows that our elections are only for show. Every two to four years activists and politicos devote countless hours and dedicated effort to choosing a government that better reflects our collective will, that better represents our interests, or one that is at least more competent and thoughtful in conducting the business of the nation.

Every two to four years we are disappointed with the results. We moved from Gerald Ford (the man who pardoned Richard Nixon quid pro quo) to Jimmy Carter and watched his presidency rendered impotent by the price of oil and the Iranian hostage crisis. Betrayed by his own military-intelligence command by sending a rookie pilot into a sandstorm in a failed rescue attempt, he was betrayed again by his rival for the presidency who promised arms to Iran in exchange for the release of the hostages. They were released on Inauguration Day.

Tuesday, 08 June 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

altIt is not just the Gulf of Mexico.

I hoped but never really expected this president to be the architect of a second New Deal. I hoped but never expected Obama to pull our troops out of foreign wars in Iraq and Afghanistan before the end of his first term. I hoped but never expected this administration to champion the universal right to healthcare. I hoped but never expected the Obama White House to turn its back on the elite of Wall Street and the financial aristocracy. I hoped but never expected Obama to christen the age of clean energy and universal mass transit.

I realized long before the election that Obama was not an ideologue and if he fell on the left of the political spectrum it was more rhetorical than real. Barack Obama was and is a pragmatist in the Clinton mold of triangulation and compromise.

Monday, 31 May 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

altLobbying Congress for favorable legislation: Millions - Cost of deep-sea drilling: Billions - Destruction of an ecosystem: Priceless

On April 20th an attempt to cap the Deepwater Horizon, a British Petroleum rig in the Gulf of Mexico, resulted in an explosion. Eleven workers were lost and the subsequent failure to shut off the oil flow and contain the rapidly spreading slick has resulted in an ecological catastrophe of epic proportions.

As the oil continues to flow and a slick of over 2,000 square miles collides into the Gulf Coast, comparisons to the Exxon-Valdez destruction of Prince William Sound in Alaska begin to fall short. Right wing media, unable to fathom the breadth and depth of this catastrophe, unwilling to accept that we have brought this on ourselves, no longer able to justify the usual “so what” response to environmental crises, have decided to focus on conspiracy theories. On the level of pure speculation, the Limbaugh crowd has raised the specter of a terrorist attack.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 00:00 GFP Columnist - Jack Random

A demonstrator dressed as a The decimation of the California economy was a long-term project. It began in earnest in 1978 with the passage of the infamous Proposition 13 (the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation). Like the current Proposition 16 (a proposal that protects private utilities while pretending to uphold the right vote), Prop 13 was perhaps the first use of the most brilliant means of circumventing democracy ever devised.

Embodied in the state constitution that appropriately numbered ballot proposition not only set a limit on property taxes at one percent of value but it also made it virtually impossible for the state to raise sales or income taxes by requiring a two-thirds vote in both legislative houses. Since property taxes were the primary source of funding for education, Prop 13 was the poison pill that sickened and eventually killed the future of education in the state once known as golden.


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