Can We Save America?

George Washington's picture

Washington's Blog.

How come the Wall Street robber barons who brought on the financial
crisis are still calling the shots and pillaging the economy?

Congress is bought and paid for, and the fox is guarding the chicken coop in the Executive Branch, with Summers and Geithner calling the shots.

The American people are furious
at the giant banksters who have picked their pockets so they can make
huge bonuses. But - so far - the American people have for the most part
kept their volcanic anger to themselves.

Make A Little Noise

MSNBC news correspondent Jonathan Capehart tells Dylan Ratigan, the
main problem is that people aren't making enough noise. Capehart says
that the people not only have to "burn up the phone lines to Congress",
but also to hit the streets and protest in D.C.

Even though most politicians are totally corrupt, if many millions of
Americans poured into the streets of D.C., a critical mass would be
reached, and the politicians would start changing things in a hurry.

As PhD ecnonomist Dean Baker points out:

elites hate to acknowledge it, but when large numbers of ordinary
people are moved to action, it changes the narrow political world where
the elites call the shots. Inside accounts reveal the extent to which
Johnson and Nixon’s conduct of the Vietnam War was constrained by the
huge anti-war movement. It was the civil rights movement, not
compelling arguments, that convinced members of Congress to end legal
racial discrimination. More recently, the townhall meetings, dominated
by people opposed to health care reform, have been a serious roadblock
for those pushing reform….


A big turnout ... can make a real difference.

Baker is right about Vietnam.

Specifically - according to Daniel Ellsberg and many others - Richard Nixon actually planned on dropping a nuclear bomb on Vietnam Nixon also said he didn't care what the American people thought. He said that -- no matter what the public did or said -- he was going to escalate the war in Vietnam.

a well-known biographer says that Nixon backed off when hundreds of
thousands of people turned out in Washington, D.C. to protest an
escalation of the war.

Similarly, no matter how completely sold-out
to the Wall Street giants D.C. politicians are, they would start paying
attention to their real employers - the American people - if we make
enough noise.

If 3 million Americans all peacefully surrounded
the White House and Capitol Hill, holding signs saying "We're Not
Leaving Until the Too Big to Fails which Caused the Economic Crisis are
Reined In", things would change pretty fast.

3 million might
sound like a lot of people. But many millions of people read popular
alternative financial and economic news sites. You are probably one of
millions of people who will read this essay (by the time it is
published by some of the larger sites).

In other words, it's not
even a question of convincing other people to go. We - those who read
alternative financial websites - could do it ourselves.

If millions of us don't go protest in D.C., it's because we are choosing not to sacrifice a tiny bit in order to change things.

The bad guys are only winning because we - the American people - aren't making enough noise.

Not Now . . .

It is human nature to try to put things off until tomorrow. Tomorrow, when things are easier, we'll do it...

It is easy to despair that it is already too late. Should we whine and give up hope?

Well, about a month before the American Revolutionary War, Patrick Henry said:

tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an
adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or
the next year?

If not now, when? Like Patrick Henry asked, when will we be stronger? When will the robber barons be weaker?

If we're going to save America through non-violent protests, now is the time.

To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.
- Bruce Lee

is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is
the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at
points in history and creating a power that governments cannot suppress.
- Howard Zinn, historian

The power of an aroused public is unbeatable.
- Dr. Helen Caldicott

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.
-Ferdinand Foch

times of danger large groups rise to the highest pitch of enthusiasm,
courage and sacrifice . . . Mankind will be refashioned and history
rewritten when this law is understood and obeyed.
-Helen Keller

doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change
the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
- Margaret Mead

must remember that one determined person can make a significant
difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the
course of history.
-Sonia Johnson

let one ant stand up to us - then they all might stand up. Those puny
little ants outnumber us a 100 to one. And if they ever figure that
out, there goes our way of life.
- Hopper (a grasshopper who is the
leader of the gang of thugs who are stealing money from the other bugs,
speaking to fellow grasshoppers in the Disney/Pixar movie A Bug's Life)

If you don't like the news, go out and make some news of your own.
- Scoop Nisker

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Hephasteus's picture

It's not that emporer has lost his clothes he's lost his cloak for sin. Like a moth guided by a light it believes is a fixed and permanent star they circle around and around our back porch lights speaking rediculous things on every lap.

Anonymous's picture

A very divisive blow would be to have a nice huge run on the banks to show who is in power. With online banking we wouldn't even have to leave the blogging stations, and by not spending a dime on travel we would also show solidarity on holding back the spending this economy so desperately needs

John P. Morgan's picture

we need a date to be set first and at the same time need to have someone step up as a leader who has the clout to reach the people with the means to reach the masses to organize the fully on protest that needs to hit the district of corruption streets....

Rusty_Shackleford's picture

I've often thought the same thing.  We need a leader.

Someone with balls enough to embrace some chaos.

Anonymous's picture

Who like Obama? Come on man, a leader is the aggregate of his/her supporters. Just get someone young, educated, speaks well, and is easy on the eyes. Don't forget, he or she MUST not be a relative of the power elite, or so much as give that impression. He or she must be a so-called "commoner." Outside of that, the message is what matters. Don't underestimate the power of the thought. If the idea is good enough, people will organize around it. Hell, it can be as simple as "Change" "Hope" etc. Point is the masses NEED somebody, they really don't care who it is, so long as its somebody NEW.

snorkeler's picture

All sounding good.

But they are not frightened yet.

When they shut the internet down, you will know that they are paying attention.

Be prepared. Alternate means of communication will be crucial.

I am not joking.


Anonymous's picture

This is my concern, as well. They seem to have already begun laying the groundwork.

Anonymous's picture

Kinda I have the feeling I'll be standing out there in Chicago by myself, unfortunately...

Anonymous's picture

We don't have to Save America. That's too vague and full of puffery. We need a better strategy. A spokesperson(s) with a short, well prepared agenda and clear understanding of the theft of taxpayer's money that Paulson arranged and the continuation of the ripoff by Geithner, Summers and Bernanke, and getting Goldman Sucks employees out of the crossroads of government. Breaking up Goldmand Sucks and any institution that is TBTF.

The REAL QUESTION IS: How do we get Barney Frank and Chris Dodd's heads on the block if we can't get the voters in their districts to vote them out of office? We need to reach these voters strategically to threaten the hell out of him and the members of his committee that they are gone in the next cycle or possibly a recall if their states permit it before that if they do not act now.

We have to reduce the goal to manageable levels, need to focus on getting the political class to carry out a few demands that are doable quickly. Or else they lose their jobs.

Who confirms Bernanke and Geithner? Those people need to be targeted for the protests.

The surest source of individuals with the time on their hands are the unemployed. They should be motivated to assist since they have lost the most. The millions of them should provide over half the needed protesters to make the point. Getting the message out to these people by advertising and national exposure for a few weeks would be expensive so who could we count on to put up the necessary funds to place the ads?

Coordination, organization, and execution. The Tea Party people should have a coterie of souls ready immediately to bring the skills and contacts required.

I am ready and willing for any level of responsibility necessary to get this moving. I will discuss how to move forward with this with anyone offline or on line.

Anonymous's picture

george you are probably my favorite guest editorialist on this site and you do have some stiff competition but not that much...but that is also no offense....

i have said long and loud before until the sheeple take to the streets there will be no change....and i don't care if it does become violent....

if the blacks had not taken to the streets in the 1960s and 1970s they would still be producing docile obedient pickaninnys and uncle toms....and taking tests at the polls...

but everyone everywhere says we need to follow the rules of a good fight club - genteel behavior, queen's english, queensbury's rules, and a daily bucket of salt peter....

i am all for every group which displays a show of force....anyone in atlanta who wants to picket asshole johnny issakson can count on me....

Anonymous's picture

How about this for action, anyone who reads this blog living in chicago. This friday, let's meet outside the cbot at 330. Bring your ideas. I will be holding a sign so you will know who to hook up with. Let's get a base run of our numbers and go from there.

brobdingnagian's picture



Rusty_Shackleford's picture

When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed.


Ayn Rand

deadhead's picture

to answer the question that is the title:

NO, it cannot be saved until the lying stops.  It is that simple.

Unscarred's picture

"Can We Save America?"


Cognitive Dissonance's picture


I fully agree we can quickly overwhelm and reclaim. And I've been a fan of your blog for a very long time. So here it comes.


While history points to many different oppressed populations rising up, shaking off their chains and taking back their country, that doesn't occur nearly as often within empires, particularly empires who are generally supported by the rest of the world for their own self interest and/or economic reasons.

What particularly worries me is the depth, scope and sopistication of the indoctrination and pacification of the American people. The idiot box and Internet have a fierce hold upon our minds and unless and until the pain of oppression rises to the level where it out weighs the imagined pain of revolt, nothing is going to happen.

The idiot box is a wonderful pain killer and pacifier. Television, when used in conjunction with other "tools", is very effective and hard to overcome. We all understand that it's the 1% that control most everything. That 1% could quickly be taken down if they didn't have another 20% of the population firmly under their control and supporting their efforts. That's the enemy, the 20%.

Ultimately "the" truth is worthless if the population is so far into their own denial they actively block the truth from penetrating. This is what's happening. The average Joe doesn't want to know what's going on because knowledge implies responsibility. If they really knew what was going on, they would feel an obligation to do something. Since they're frightened and want someone else to fix the problems, they deliberately ignore "the" truth.

We The People are pulling a Sargent Schultz and saying "I see nothing, I hear nothing" in the face of massive corruption. Oh, they see it with their eyes all right but that doesn't mean it's making itself home in their minds. It's amazing how much people can "see" and yet act like it's not there.

Denial, it ain't just a river in Egypt. It's a powerful psychological coping mechanism.

George Washington's picture


I know.  See this, for example.

But millions in the streets might help snap them out of their trance.


I just read a study which says that even one dissenting voice can give people permission to think for themselves. Specifically:

Solomon Asch, with experiments originally carried out in the 1950s and well-replicated since, highlighted a phenomenon now known as "conformity". In the classic experiment, a subject sees a puzzle like the one in the nearby diagram: Which of the lines A, B, and C is the same size as the line X? Take a moment to determine your own answer...

The gotcha is that the subject is seated alongside a number of other people looking at the diagram - seemingly other subjects, actually confederates of the experimenter. The other "subjects" in the experiment, one after the other, say that line C seems to be the same size as X. The real subject is seated next-to-last. How many people, placed in this situation, would say "C" - giving an obviously incorrect answer that agrees with the unanimous answer of the other subjects? What do you think the percentage would be?

Three-quarters of the subjects in Asch's experiment gave a "conforming" answer at least once. A third of the subjects conformed more than half the time.

Get it so far? People tend to defer to what the herd thinks.

But here's the good news:

Adding a single dissenter - just one other person who gives the correct answer, or even an incorrect answer that's different from the group's incorrect answer - reduces conformity very sharply, down to 5-10%.

Why is this important? Well, it means that one person who publicly speaks the truth can sway a group of people away from group-think.

If a group of people is leaning towards believing the government's version of events, a single person who speaks the truth can help snap the group out of its trance.

There is an important point here regarding the web, as well. The above-cited article states that:

when subjects can respond in a way that will not be seen by the group, conformity also drops.

What does that mean? Well, on the web, many people post anonymously. The anonymity gives people permission to "respond in a way that will not be seen by the group". But most Americans still don't get their news from the web, or only go to mainstream corporate news sites.

Away from the keyboard, we are not very anonymous. So that is where the conformity dynamic -- and the need for courageous dissent -- is vital. It is doubly important that we apply the same hard-hitting truthtelling we do on the Internet in our face-to-face interactions; because it is there that dissent is urgently needed.

Bottom line: Each person's voice has the power to snap entire groups out of their coma of irrational group-think. So go forth and be a light of rationality and truth among the sleeping masses.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture


I've experienced exactly what you're talking about. I'm active locally and I'm continuously amazed how quickly people react when they hear someone speaking contrary to the madness. People flock to me because I'm doing "something" and they so desperately what someone, anyone, to do something.

But this crowd is not reliable at all. Like a high strung animal, they jump back into their hole at the least disturbance or fright. I do what I do because I refuse to rollover but my faith is fading. It appears it's going to get worse before it gets better.

I'm particularly incensed that so many upper level civil servants, especially in justice and the courts, refuse to honor their oaths to uphold the constitution. Like I said elsewhere on ZH, that oath didn't include a waiver if they felt threatened.

Thanks for listening.

George Washington's picture

CG,  I know exactly what you are saying.  And false hope (hopiates, hopium haze) is dangerous.

But here's the flip side:


Hope In a Time of Hopelessness

Several long-time activists have told me recently they are overwhelmed, worried, and think that we may be losing the struggle ....

One very smart friend asked me if there is any basis for hope.

But hope is an act of will, not a passive mood. Admittedly, things are easier when circumstances bring hope to us, and we can just receive the hopeful and inspiring news.

But if we care about winning, we have to be able to decide to have hope even when outer circumstances aren't so positive.

I have children who are counting on me to leave them with a reasonably safe and sane planet. As I've said elsewhere, "I care too much about my kids and my freedom to be afraid. I care enough about them that it gets my heart beating, connects me to something bigger than myself, and that gives me courage, even when the chips are down."

If I allowed myself to lose hope about exposing falsehoods, about protecting our freedom and building a hopeful future, I would be dropping the ball for my kids. I would be condemning them to a potentially very grey world where bigger and worse things may happen, where their liberties and joys are wholly stripped away, where every ounce of vitality is beholden to joyless and useless tasks.

Many of us may be motivated by other things besides kids .... Only you can know what that is. But we each must dig down deep, and connect with our most powerful motivations to win the struggle for freedom and truth.

I don't know about you . . . but I don't have the luxury of giving up hope. When I get depressed, overwhelmed or exhausted by the stunning acts of savagery, treason, and disinformation carried out by the imperialists, or the willful ignorance of many Americans, I will myself into finding some reason to have hope.

Because the struggle for liberty is too important for me to give up.

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
- Ayn Rand

Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.
- Lin Yutang

Hope is passion for what is possible.
- Soren Kierkegaard

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.
- Maori Proverb

I steer my bark with hope in the head, leaving fear astern. My hopes indeed sometimes fail, but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy.
- Thomas Jefferson

He who does not hope to win has already lost.
- Jose Joaquin Olmedo

When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.
- Pauline R. Kezer

Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.
- Unknown

We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Your hopes, dreams and aspirations are legitimate. They are trying to take you airborne, above the clouds, above the storms, if you only let them.
- William James

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
- Helen Keller

The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started.
- Norman Cousins

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS.
- Mahatma Gandhi

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.
- Orison Marden

Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow by conflict.
- William Ellery Channing

Hope is medicine for a soul that's sick and tired.
- Eric Swensson

Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.
- Augustine of Hippo

What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.
- Emil Brunner

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.
- Barbara Kingsolver

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.
- Vaclav Havel

Hope is the companion of power, and mother of success; for who so hopes strongly has within him the gift of miracles.
- Samuel Smiles

Of all ills that one endures, hope is a cheap and universal cure.
- Abraham Cowley

Every area of trouble gives out a ray of hope; and the one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Let perseverance be your engine and hope your fuel.
- H. Jackson Brown Jr

Develop sincere desire for the goal. Out of fire of desire comes success.
- Unknown

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
- Gandhi

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Don't lose hope. When it gets darkest the stars come out.
- Unknown

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
- Dale Carnegie

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
- Winston Churchill

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
- Robert F . Kennedy

illyia's picture


GW and CD you make my heart leap. Lovely, if dangerous, discussion...

And, there are more like you.

Myself, for instance...

Thanks, GW - for the lovely list of quotes.

When you dance with the devil then you haven't got a clue, 'cause you think you'll change the devil but the devil changes you.


P.S. I nominate "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" for "bible".

Unscarred's picture

One of my favorite quotes (not sure of the source):

You can hope in one hand, shit in the other, and see which one fills up first.

Anonymous's picture

I think this story will have a Fight Club ending.

naiverealist's picture

Love the picture of the Hippos getting the crocodile!

Anonymous's picture

Somebody say where and when. I'll be there. If Louis Ferrakan could organize a "million" man march, can't the American middle class get three million people to Washington? If we can't, we are sheeple and deserve our fate.

My biggest fear is that the powers that be are smart enough to realize the anger that is out there and will divert the people's attention to some manufactured crisis. Synthetic terrorism or pandemic any one?

PAPA ROACH's picture

That was easy, of that million, I think less than 10 worked. Try getting 3 million that actually have jobs to coordinate a rally, GOOD LUCK!

Anonymous's picture

You're a lonely voice.
Americans are angry not at Wall street but
at themselves as the lost the race for the
American dream to get incredibly rich and famous.
They are eating humble pie now as the bankers and politicians won
and they lost big time.
Forget about a demonstration, they might miss and episode of Night Stalker.
Get used to serfdom for the next 4/500 years.

Anonymous's picture

You're a lonely voice.
Americans are angry not at Wall street but
at themselves as the lost the race for the
American dream to get incredibly rich and famous.
They are eating humble pie now as the bankers and politicians won
and they lost big time.
Forget about a demonstration, they might miss and episode of Night Stalker.
Get used to serfdom for the next 4/500 years.

Anonymous's picture

You're a lonely voice.
Americans are angry not at Wall street but
at themselves as the lost the race for the
American dream to get incredibly rich and famous.
They are eating humble pie now as the bankers and politicians won
and they lost big time.
Forget about a demonstration, they might miss and episode of Night Stalker.
Get used to serfdom for the next 4/500 years.

Anonymous's picture

Well, if you cannot get to DC anytime soon, STOP PAYING TAXES! MAKE UR VOICE HEARD WITH UR WALLET!

Anonymous's picture

We should have a "Shred Fest" of Form 1040's on the steps of Congress.

Orly's picture

I have all but been saying the same thing for many months now.  And here I shall repeat:

There are many millions who realise that we are being rail-raoded by these monster banking gangsters, by our so-called government and by the main-stream media.  many more than three million, I am sure.

The problem is with organisation.  We cannot just say one day, "Oh, I think I will go and protest."  What we need, as a collective, is someone who can organise the "event," in that we obviously need a TIME and a LOCATION.  We need to organise exactly what we are protesting about, for, when the media actually ask, we need to be able to iterate what our "demands" are.

Isn't there someone out there who knows how to gather large crowds of people to state a case?  Will someone please call the ball and tell us when and where?

(...and please don't make Washington, D.C. in January!)


illyia's picture

I am going to sound like a broken record on this, probably sooner than I think, but it's a cheap and easy idea. Start the rebellion by promoting the meme: "Stop being 'consumers' ! You are citizens ! Send a message to the District of Corruption ! Do not give the banksters your money ! Spend only locally, use cash !

Only a spending strike will get their attention.

This method is free - in fact, one saves money by pursuing it. The idea is easily passed around the web. There is No Heavy Lifting, just some posting and e-mails. Pick a date? How about New Years?

Remember GWB after 9-1-1 ? "Go shopping ! It's your Patriotic Duty". So we did.

We were taken down by the corporatocracy and their subtle schemes. People are angry and already are saving and cutting down on debt wherever they can (if they can). This idea could take hold on a large scale - as: Not Spending until the fiscal/bankster/profiteering situation is addressed by CONgress and the Obamites - to the citizen's satisfaction.

Any attempt to state that jobs will be lost; prices will rise, etc., is easily countered by the fact that current policy already guarantees those outcomes.

If we keep dancing with the devils then we will all wind up in hell, because:

When you dance with the devil,

then you haven't got a clue.

'Cause you think you'll change the devil,

But the devil changes you. - i.


John P. Morgan's picture

They exist because of us, therefore they should be terrified of us

Hammer59's picture

I saw more kids in Pittsburgh PA than adults in Chicago. The Police presense was intimidating, but 3 million---well!  Too much blogging--not enough travelling. I'd say to put your money where your mouth is, but most people are running low on both.

Hammer59's picture

People should'nt fear their Government----Government's should fear their people.--V