Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bradley effect? Meet the Che effect

Maybe the reason calling Obama a socialist, a communist, and a Marxist is failing as a political strategy is that people are no longer afraid, or unwarrantedly skeptical, about those terms. (Or maybe because enough people know he isn't those things, but go with me on this for a moment...)

Perhaps people have concluded that the vision of "free markets" touted by the right doesn't fulfill its promises, and rests on a moral foundation that has been worn away by its own hypocrisy. Perhaps people have concluded that there's really no such thing as the free market. Perhaps they have, at least, concluded that regulations are inevitable and acceptable and that it's ridiculous to try to scare us with visions of market intervention when we have just committed the largest act of intervention into the market since the Bolshivek Revolution.

Perhaps some people have even concluded that most people would be better off even under an antiquated socialist system than they are now, and they no longer buy the line that such a system would be inevitably despotic and totalitarian. Having seen the last eight years in America, can we really disagree?

Monday, October 27, 2008

the best they can do

Dick Morris, always a slime-bucket, has lately been living off of his unique role as the guy who keeps saying McCain can pull this off (not that I'm denying that possibility). Morris's latest blueprint includes the importance of getting the free market message out:
Under conservative, pro-capitalist Republican management, we can, presumably, trust these institutions to exercise their power benignly and to turn control over to the private sector as soon as possible. We can count on their taking a hands-off policy toward the investment of the banks and financial firms in which they acquire an equity position. Except to control abuses like subprime mortgages and making marginal loans, we can expect that these federal institutions will act in our interest.
I wanted to say something really profound about the dementia and pathological denial that characterizes contemporary conservatism. But this quote left me speechless. Nobody believes this anymore. Even Morris's tone carries a sense of "none of this is true, I realize, but we have to say it." Similarly, and less forgivable, is the following:
But if Obama's appointments take over the Treasury and the Fed, can we be as sure? McCain needs to point out that it was political meddling by liberals that led Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to encourage subprime mortgage loans in the first place. Were it not for the pressure in the Clinton Administration to expand home ownership to poor people and minorities, Freddie and Fannie would not have relaxed their down payment policies and would not have been willing to guarantee mortgages without proof that the borrowers had sufficient income to repay the debts.
More reassertions of flat-out lies, as we've discussed before. I reiterate that it's really important to answer these lies whenever possible, and there is ample data with which to do so. The real repugnant thing is that they keep repeating these lies, after the lies are repeatedly refuted, because of their desperate need not only to explain away the failure of the market, but to do so in a way that negatively implicates poor people. This is the ideological corner the ruling class has painted itself into. And with all their money and power, the best they can offer is half-assed apologetics from second-rate intellects like Dick Morris. Or as Barry Grey recently wrote, "In the figure of George W. Bush, the semi-literate scion of a wealthy and politically well-connected family, one sees the political personification of the criminality that has come to characterize so much of the corporate-financial elite. But it is impossible to find figures of much greater intellectual or moral stature in any section of the American political establishment."

"Yeah, I'm really, really dumb and I make so much money! HAHAHAHA!"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Service

Two things about revelations that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is behind 80% of the funding for the "Yes on 8" campaign in California:

1. Anyone, no matter how otherwise intelligent, kind, or politically-inclined, who votes to deny two consenting adults the right to enter into a legal covenant of marriage, has something seriously wrong with their conscience, their worldview, and their moral universe.

2. I say this with all due respect to my multitude of Mormon friends and family--and the love you all know I have in my heart for all of you: Your church is not only wrong on this issue, but underhanded, unethical, and unAmerican. I couldn't stay in such a church.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

On Conditional Happiness in Politics

I learned a lot last week from a brief conversation I had with a Republican colleague. I teasingly asked him why the McCain campaign wasn't going so well. He quickly shot back, saying I obviously hadn't seen the "Republicans for Obama" sticker on his car. He talked excitedly of Obama's new statesmanship, his worldwide appeal, the soft power he would raise, and the civic benefits of having a truly intelligent, nuanced, and mentally healthy President after eight years of George W. Bush. He said it was time to catch up to the rest of the world on providing health care, which is just good business sense. More than anything, I noticed how excited he was. I’d never seen him so excited about a political candidate, and the guy is a political junkie.

A relative calls and says he’s voting for Obama, first time he’s ever voted for a Democrat. Conservative figureheads from all walks of life, people who long ago abandoned the stupidity of the Bush administration and who fear Theoconservative Christian fascism, are voting for Obama.

Consider the following events, just in the past week: The humiliation of Alan Greenspan. The daily revelations concerning the shallowness and stupidity of Sarah Palin. The fiscal cynicism of the so-called Joe the Plumber. The time-machine characterizations this last week of Obama as a socialist and a communist. A communist! A fake story about a physical attack on a McCain campaign worker by an Obama supporter. (This one is off of the map, folks. Read about it at Talking Points Memo.)

I also visited a Democratic Party rally last night—mainly because I was hoping to track down the members of the Wyoming contingent there and also because it was a short walk from my house, over to the Lincoln Center on Cedar and Grand. The fever has even spread to conservative Wyoming. I didn’t get to meet up with Rothfuss, Trauner or Carter, but I did snap some pictures of hope. Look at them below and you’ll see what I mean.

Jerome Grossman at Daily Kos has this reasonable speculation:
Look for a shift in the McCain strategy, away from issues of public policy, away from attacks on Obama's associations, away from Obama's inexperience. The McCain focus in the last two weeks of the campaign will be his life story, his ancestors, his military service, his five year imprisonment in Hanoi, his bi-partisan initiatives in Congress, his embodiment of the American Hero and American values, making him the person who "deserves to be President."

Newsweek reports that Obama "now leads McCain in every age group, even among voters 65 and older, who choose him over McCain 48 percent to 42 percent. He leads handily among men, 52 percent to 42 percent, and among women, 54 percent to 39 percent. He now leads McCain by 46 percent to 44 percent among working class whites, a dramatic reversal from April, when McCain led him in that group 53 percent to 35 percent."

In a nation hungry for something to believe in, Barack Obama truly does represent manna from heaven. Call this sociological description, or a provocative revolutionary statement, but Marx and Engels did infer, in the Communist Manifesto, that capitalism basically renders us cynical. If I might extend that metaphor, and perhaps make it a little less provocative: The contemporary age has rendered us unable to believe in things like pure heroism, purely good motives, and simple good versus evil. But the contemporary age has not stripped us of the desire to believe such things. So we are a people with the desire to believe, but nothing to believe in. The world doesn't match our ideals. This is the source of things like negativity and scapegoating. We look for enemies to beat out the demons of our own unfulfilled ideals.

Obama also represents a profound threat, however. His Presidency threatens white supremacy. That's right, you heard it here first, folks (joke). Everyone knows his Presidency threatens white supremacy. Why is this important? Why does it make the next ten days both exciting and terrifying? Because white supremacy is still a powerful ideology, supported by a few remaining centers of institutional and ideological power. It's something the ruling class has, up to this point, been able to occasionally pick up and use when it's needed to, to keep people divided and to distract us. When Barack Obama takes office, white supremacy won't go away, but it will have to contort itself considerably, and in doing so, it may prove itself unable to really serve anything other than an oppositional purpose.

Some, but not all, facets of what I consider to be progressive politics, will be given a chance by Americans because they've been thoroughly disillusioned by the contemporary manifestation of conservatism. Unfortunately, this will all occur within the context of corporatized politics with few alternatives and options. Should Obama find it expedient to lurch rightward, we will not be able to stop him. Obama has my Republican friend. After a point, he doesn't need my left Democrat friends, and won't until there is a possibility they will go somewhere else. Whether such a possibility, at least, results in a less-cynical presidency, or at best, results in emergence of a genuine party of working people and conscious Americans, I remain committed to that possibility, and will vote that way on November 4. I plan on endorsing a candidate in the coming week and that candidate will not be Barack Obama.

But regardless of how I’m going to vote, progressives should be happy that things are going the way they are. But that happiness must remain critical and conditional. Three reasons, then, why progressives should be conditionally happy:

First, conservatism as a majority political movement – that is, conservatism with its neocon-theocon alliance, greasing the wheels of deregulation and tax cuts, while uncritically invading countries, that kind of conservatism – is as dead in the water as you could possibly imagine right now. Nobody’s defending it. Nobody should. The only genuine conservatism is the conservatism of the farmer and rancher, and that’s a nonconfrontational conservatism that can be accommodated. In fact, we should accommodate it. It’s good for the earth.

Second, it looks like we’ve bought ourselves some time. If Obama wins, Roe v Wade may enjoy another term of protection. There won’t be as many cuts in social programs. We’ll be able to negotiate a few treaties that just might make the world safer. It’s not a global anti-imperialist movement, but it’s a season of time which will suck less than the last eight years…maybe even less than the last eight years before that.

Third, as I’ve already mentioned, racists in America are really upset right now. They’re in a panic. They deserve it. And because they’re upset, some of them will come out of the woodwork…or out from under their rocks, and will thus be confrontable, questionable, answerable.

And to answer the three happy things, here are four things, additionally, that progressives should immediately do after the election:

1. Begin work in earnest on a coalition of progressive, socialist, left-libertarian, labor and green parties in an effort to form the largest new political party in a hundred years.

Because we can build a so-called "Third Party" that is more dynamic and influential than the first and second parties. There are millions of activists around this country, each of whom could do the political work of a thousand complacent Republicans or nervous Democrats. If all these left groups and coalitions and subgroups and working groups and committees came together, we would be unstoppable. We would win five Senate seats and thirty House seats. We would change the entire direction of American, and global, politics.

2. Demand universal health care.

Because it's the right thing to do no matter who you are--unless you're a rich bastard who enjoys seeing poor people get sick. Universal health care, even single payer health care, makes more sense, at its worst, than these hairbrained, self-serving private insurance schemes. It equals economic growth. It equals increased productivity, creativity, and solidarity. It equals fewer people dying in emergency rooms or getting dumped out on city streets. It equals fewer bankrupcies. It equals fewer epidemics. It equals less teen pregnancy. It equals more consumer spending. It equals more people owning and keeping their houses. It equals better grades in school for poor kids. I don't know how to stop this list, so I'll just stop. It just makes sense. And it's just. It's right.

3. Demand an Economic Bill of Rights

Because when ordinary working people, whether upper-middle class, lower class, poor or unemployed, suffer for other people’s mistakes and missteps, that’s tyranny. What we need is something similar to the Second Bill of Rights proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in his State of the Union Address on January 11, 1944. A job with a living wage. Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies. Homeownership. Medical care. Education. And even recreation. FDR believed these things would make us a more secure nation. William Sinkford, the President of my Church, the Unitarian Universalists, believes that economic security is a prerequisite to the search for truth that everyone is entitled to. It’s time to put human needs above profits, and in doing so, end the age of crisis economics.

4. Fight to Restore Equality to the Airwaves

Because the airwaves belong to the people. As Val Limberg writes:
The FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were "public trustees," and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance. The Commission later held that stations were also obligated to actively seek out issues of importance to their community and air programming that addressed those issues. With the deregulation sweep of the Reagan Administration during the 1980s, the Commission dissolved the fairness doctrine.
It's time to bring it back, and I propose that we devote an entire edition of Shared Sacrifice to this topic very soon.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fact-Checking Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell has an unusually bad column in today's usually bad Washington Times. After careful analysis, we have concluded that the following sentence is the only completely accurate sentence in the whole piece:
"Thomas Sowell is a nationally syndicated columnist."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

market as hungry god...

"The lenders of last resort have come into save the day," said Scott Richter,portfolio manager with Fifth Third Asset Management. "It's what the marketwanted."

Vancouver Sun, "U.S. stocks rally on bank plan," yesterday.

Fetishism: ...the belief that commodities possess human properties.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Update: Debunking conservatives' housing crisis lies

David Goldstein and Kevin G. Hall of McClatchy Newspapers do a great job debunking the lies that have been propogated in recent weeks by the Ann Coulter-types (including an idiot nicknamed "Ozone" who always calls into our radio show). This article should be spread far and wide. Some excerpts:

a conservative campaign that blames the global financial crisis on a government push to make housing more affordable to lower-class Americans has taken off on talk radio and e-mail. ... Federal housing data reveal that the charges aren't true, and that the private sector, not the government or government-backed companies, was behind the soaring subprime lending at the core of the crisis. ... The "turmoil in financial markets clearly was triggered by a dramatic weakening of underwriting standards for U.S. subprime mortgages, beginning in late 2004 and extending into 2007," the President's Working Group on Financial Markets reported Friday.
Conservative critics claim that the Clinton administration pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make home ownership more available to riskier borrowers with little concern for their ability to pay the mortgages. ... Fannie, the Federal National Mortgage Association, and Freddie, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., don't lend money, to minorities or anyone else, however. They purchase loans from the private lenders who actually underwrite the loans. It's a process called securitization, and by passing on the loans, banks have more capital on hand so they can lend even more. ... Fannie and Freddie were subject to tougher standards than many of the unregulated players in the private sector who weakened lending standards, most of whom have gone bankrupt or are now in deep trouble.

... Conservative critics also blame the subprime lending mess on the Community Reinvestment Act, a 31-year-old law aimed at freeing credit for underserved neighborhoods. Congress created the CRA in 1977 to reverse years of redlining and other restrictive banking practices that locked the poor, and especially minorities, out of homeownership and the tax breaks and wealth creation it affords. The CRA requires federally regulated and insured financial institutions to show that they're lending and investing in their communities. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote recently that while the goal of the CRA was admirable, "it led to tremendous pressure on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — who in turn pressured banks and other lenders — to extend mortgages to people who were borrowing over their heads. That's called subprime lending. It lies at the root of our current calamity." Fannie and Freddie, however, didn't pressure lenders to sell them more loans; they struggled to keep pace with their private sector competitors. In fact, their regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, imposed new restrictions in 2006 that led to Fannie and Freddie losing even more market share in the booming subprime market. What's more, only commercial banks and thrifts must follow CRA rules. The investment banks don't, nor did the now-bankrupt non-bank lenders such as New Century Financial Corp. and Ameriquest that underwrote most of the subprime loans. These private non-bank lenders enjoyed a regulatory gap, allowing them to be regulated by 50 different state banking supervisors instead of the federal government. And mortgage brokers, who also weren't subject to federal regulation or the CRA, originated most of the subprime loans.
In a speech last March, Janet Yellen, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, debunked the notion that the push for affordable housing created today's problems. "Most of the loans made by depository institutions examined under the CRA have not been higher-priced loans," she said. "The CRA has increased the volume of responsible lending to low- and moderate-income households."
So spread this article far and wide, and tell the conservative race- and poor-baters to shut their crapholes.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Just keeps getting better and better and better and...

From an L.A. Times report on a recent campaign stop:

Before McCain spoke, a Christian pastor offered a prayer that seemed to ask for divine intervention on his behalf. "There are millions of people around this world praying to their God -- whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah -- that [McCain's] opponent wins for a variety of reasons," Pastor Arnold Conrad said. "And, Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they're going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens."

The McCain campaign said it did not condone the prayer.

It's not over, folks...

Not only is it not over. The mainstream media will invent a McCain "surge" in the next two weeks. "Legitimate" talking heads will declare that Obama's past associations are fair game; that his meeting with Iraqi government officials constituted dirty politics; that his economic plans will exacerbate the recession. Less-legitimate pundits will spin race enthymemes designed to scare already nervous whites into reconsidering their choice. McCain will appear fully rehabilitated, lucid and reasonable (by comparison to earlier McCain) on Wednesday's debate, and the mainstream media will declare that a victory for him. People will begin to say that Obama peaked to early, and remind us that he's always had a hard time "closing the deal." Perhaps some of Biden's flaws will be highlighted for good measure.

Then, the purging of voter rolls will begin. Already, millions of minority voters are receiving fliers from mysterious sources telling them that they'll be intimidated by cops if they show up to vote. Many will find that they can't vote at all. In many precincts it won't matter if they show up, because their votes will mysteriously disappear. All this could happen and Obama could still win. But I would be surprised, nonetheless, if many of these things did not happen.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


The following is the editorial I read today on the show.

In 1964, Herbert Marcuse wrote the following in his classic social criticism, One Dimensional Man:

"A comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic unfreedom prevails in advanced industrial civilization, a token of technical progress."

Fast forward to 2008. Still unfreedom, to be sure. But no longer smooth. No longer comfortable. For the materially comfortable are worried right now, and the masses of the materiallty uncomfortable are angry, with eyes towards the privileged.

And transcending the question of material comfort, we are all spiritually uncomfortable. Almost everyone senses the alienation we feel from ourselves, one another, our various conceptions of a creator, our governments, our communities, and the products of our labor and craftsmanship. We are uncomfortable, distraught, and angry. We don't trust each other; don't trust the other side, politically. There is even some truth to the notion that all of this is mere projection, meaning we really don't trust ourselves.

Indeed, what is there to trust, anymore, about ourselves or our leaders? The economic crash is not merely a series of mistakes (although it probably is that). Rather, it's a real phenomenon that exposes an illusion so deep and embedded in our consciousness that it's not likely to be seen as "exposed illusion" for quite some time. This illusion cannot be summed up in just a few words. Part of it is the assertion of the fundamental "correctness" of global neoliberalism. Part of it is the myth of self-reliance, of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" that has always justified blaming the poor for being poor. Part of it is a less definable, more imaginable world inhabited by folksy father figures like Ronald Reagan, and uncomplicated stories of good and evil like the clown prince of crime Saddam Hussein or the Tolkeinesque War on Terror. Part of it, a vital part of it, is the mandate we've been under for the last eight years to feel rather than think, hate and fear rather than study, engage or listen. University of Texas rhetorician Dana Cloud put it best in a 2003 essay that still rings true today:

"There is no separation between grief and policy, emotion and reason here. The only way to adjust appropriately to the shock of U.S. vulnerability is to resolve to act against those that targeted us for terror. Any other adjustment – for example, the desire to study the history of U. S. foreign policy to discover what abuses have generated the terrorists’ desperation – is suspect."

In other words, the illusion, the one that has finally been bursting at the seams these last several months, but which threatens to reassert itself if we are not careful, is: trust capital, trust the president, hate the enemy without thinking about it, become lost in the fantasy, and become lost in emotions.

But somewhere in the transition from 2007 to 2008, things started to fall apart. The stage walls collapsed. The facades began to tear. Only somewhat coincidentally, my colleague Gary Barkley returned from Iraq, struggling, with his new-found breathing room, to put the things he'd figured out into words. Knowing that these were things he could not figure out or express solely on his own, he started this radio show.

More than anything, "Shared Sacrifice" has been an attempt to chronicle the bursting of that flat-earth, distopian illusion of the right. Let’s be honest here: The tragic, unwarranted events of September 11, 2001, were the best thing that could ever happened to conservatism. Those events justified a new (actually very, very old) way of thinking: the closing of the universe of open discourse. The condemnation of all critical and independent thinking. War hawks and economic Manicheans circled their wagons and said to themselves: “Now, finally, now, we can crush dissent, prop up capitalist orthodoxy, and demonstrate that the only alternative to our hierarchical, exploitative power-grab society is a bunch of people who fly planes into buildings and do all other atrocious things too. It’s us or them, folks.” That’s the flat-earth distopianism I’m talking about. It’s what we’ve been against, what we’ve struggled against with every fiber of our being on this show.

The conclusions which best respond to the events of the past eight years are progressive conclusions. Conclusions that say America is special because we are capable of criticism, self-reflection, and change. Conclusions that say people all over the world have more in common than not. Conclusions that say we need not be slaves to the so-called free market, or the barrel of a gun, or a barrel of oil. Conclusions that say we can do better.

Because of this conviction, we’ve interviewed the most dynamic and influential progressive candidates and activists in the nation on this show, from Cynthia McKinney to Gordon Clark to Jeff Key to Brian Moore, and a whole lot of others. Although their perspectives are diverse and their conclusions rich in their own life experiences and knowledge, they have a few things in common, a few main points that form the basis of what progressivism means in the 21st century. Let me try to synthesize those thoughts into a coherent blueprint for the ideology of progressivism, the political message and mission of “Shared Sacrifice:”

First, human beings have rights. Corporations don’t have rights. Governments don't have rights.

Second, your rights, your social and spiritual importance, don’t hinge on your financial worth. We believe in “one person, one vote” not “one dollar, one vote.”

Third, although many of our brothers and sisters in uniform are heroes, those who have deployed them on their last two missions are not heroes. Support for our brothers and sisters in uniform requires a ruthless and constant criticism of the ruling class of this country. Opposing ill-conceived military adventures, and the use of the military as a first resort rather than a last resort, is not a failure to support the troops; it’s a prerequisite to supporting the troops.

Fourth, we must purge from our thoughts, our politics, and our social vision all vestiges of old-world prejudices. We categorically reject racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism. We look with disgust on a McCain campaign that silently accepts racism in its futile struggle to beat Barack Obama. We look with suspicion on an Obama economic circle that includes corporate executives. We look forward to the success of progressive third parties who will help shape a future beyond prejudice and hierarchy—a future where my children will grow up and be judged not by the content of their wallets, their sexual preferences, or their skin color, but truly by their character.

Fifth, and finally, we need more heroes from all walks of life who are willing to stand up to unequal power—not merely to rebel against it, but to deny its inevitability.

It’s in that light, that call for new heroes that I want to conclude this anniversary editorial by reading from an Associated Press story. The story concerns Cook County, Illinois Sheriff Tom Dart, who is refusing to evict renters whose landlords have had their properties foreclosed. These aren’t people who have failed to pay their rent—they’ve paid their rent in full, but due to the economic and housing crisis; their landlords have defaulted and have lost the properties. I’m going to read the story in full:

Chicago's Cook County won't evict in foreclosures
By DON BABWIN – 2 days ago

CHICAGO (AP) — The sheriff here said Wednesday that he's ordering his deputies to stop evicting people from foreclosed properties because many people his office has helped throw out on the street are renters who did nothing wrong.

"We will no longer be a party to something that's so unjust," a visibly angry Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said at a news conference.

"We have to be sure that when we are doing this — and we are destroying some people's lives — we better be darned sure we're talking about the right people," Dart said.

Dart said he believes he's the first sheriff in a major metropolitan area to stop participating in foreclosure evictions, and the publisher of a national foreclosure database said he's probably right.

"I haven't heard of any other sheriff unilaterally deciding to stop foreclosures," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president of the Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac, Inc. He said the sheriff in Philadelphia helped push a moratorium on foreclosure sales, but that involved owner-occupied homes and not renters.

Dart said that from now on, banks will have to present his office with a court affidavit that proves the home's occupant is either the owner or has been properly notified of the foreclosure proceedings.

Illinois law requires that renters be notified that their residence is in foreclosure and they will be evicted in 120 days, but Dart indicated that the law has been routinely ignored.

He talked about tenants who dutifully pay their rent, then leave one morning for work only to have authorities evict them and put their belongings on the curb while they are gone.

By the time they get home, "The meager possessions they have are gone," he said. "This is happening too often."

In many cases, he said, tenants aren't even aware that their homes have fallen into foreclosure.

This week, an attorney asked that Dart be held in contempt when his deputies did not evict tenants after determining they were not the owners and did not know about their landlord's financial problems.

A judge denied the attorney's request, Dart's office said, and Dart said that after talking to the Cook County state's attorney's office, he is confident he is on solid legal ground.

"My job as sheriff is to follow court orders, absolutely," he said. "But I'm also in charge of making sure justice is being done here and it is clear that justice is not being done here."

The state's attorney's office said it would not comment on conversations with Dart because his office is a client.

Foreclosures have skyrocketed around the country in recent months and Dart said the number of foreclosure evictions in Cook County could more than double from the 2006 tally of 1,771. This year the county is on pace to see 4,500 such evictions, he said.

Dart warned that because the eviction process on foreclosures can take more than a year, the number is sure to climb even higher.

"From all the numbers we have seen, we know (they) are going to be exploding," he said.

Sharga said there are more than 1 million U.S. homes in foreclosure — with about a third of that number occupied by someone other than the owner.

"That number will continue to get bigger," he said.

Dart said he believes banks are not doing basic research to determine that the people being evicted are, in fact, the homeowners.

He said that in a third of the 400 to 500 foreclosure evictions his deputies had been carrying out every month, the residents are not those whose names are on the eviction papers.

Nor, he said, are banks notifying tenants that the homes they're renting are in foreclosure. He added that when banks do learn the correct names of those living on foreclosed-upon property, their names often are simply added to eviction papers.

"They just go out and get an order the next day and throw these people's names on there," Dart said. "Whether they (tenants) have been notified, God only knows."

Evictions for nonpayment of rent will continue, Dart said, explaining that those cases already have gone to court, his office is confident the people being evicted are who the landlord says they are, and there is no question the tenants are aware of what is going on.

Dart said it's only fair for banks to give occupants of a foreclosed property adequate notice before forcing them out.

"You are talking about a lot of people in rental situations living paycheck to paycheck," he said. "To think they are sitting on a pool of money for an up-front deposit, security deposit, is foolishness."

Now, Gary and Jason, and all you folks out there listening: I submit that Tom Dart is a hero, a new hero for a new age: the age of Shared Sacrifice. He refuses to implement or enforce a law that unjustly hurts poor people. He can’t do any more than he’s doing. A mass movement against evictions or foreclosures of any kind would be appropriate. A moratorium on foreclosures, sure, I’d vote for that. But Tom Dart is doing everything he can to help people rather than hurt them, and that makes him one of us. We need more Tom Darts, just as we need more Jeff Keys and Jacob Lynns and Lydia Kadishes and Chris Rothfusses and Adam Kokeshs.

The conclusions that are most correct, most appropriate, fresh and relevant to our age, are progressive conclusions: We are better together than apart. We must cooperate rather than ruthlessly compete. We must measure the worth of humans intrinsically rather than economically. And we must have true democracy, not fake “vote-with-your-dollar” democracy. These are the principles that we’ve been hearing from our guests for the last six months, and will continue to hear until they no longer need to be said. We will no longer accept “unfreedom” in exchange for material comfort—because we know that’s a false promise. We will no longer hate or fear simply because we are told to.

George Orwell wrote that “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” We hope that “Shared Sacrifice” continues to commit such treason every week.