American Liberalism Project Archives September 2004 to June 2006

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Kicking and Screaming

Over the months and years we have been suggesting to you that George Bush is a radical among conservatives and that his motives are nothing less than destruction of the liberal democracy that stumbled into his lap on 9/11. Before you read a couple of very good articles about these radicals, we would like you to consider the cupability of the the rank and file Republicans in Bush's (Cheney's, Rumsfeld's, Rove's) plans. Republicans are so starved for the opportunity to humiliate Democrats and to drive a stake through their hearts that they have freely agreed to and voted for the Bush agenda, despite the fact that Bush is pushing a record deficit and expanding government and the Executive diametrically opposed to the traditional Republican orthodoxy. When it comes down to it, all Congressional Republicans are guilty as Bush & Co. (There are many guilt Democrats, too, of course.)

We think that Bernard Weiner's article in Democratic Underground entitled Bush's Great Game: A PNAC Primer Update is a useful survey of the strategy being played out.

Today's Boston Globe has an article by Charlie Savage Bush Challenges Hundreds of Laws that will remind you of how Bush & Co. are accomplishing their radical agenda.

Finally, a short article in CommonDreams by Gregory D. Foster entitled The Long War Posture, which summarizes the threat that Bushite warmongering poses to us.

Folks, the pace now quickens. The next six months are crucial. Pay attention and talk to your friends about what you will do if Bush & Co. interferes with the 2006 election.

James Richard Brett

Saturday, April 29, 2006

It Takes Immigrants to Make Our Nation

The immigrants are opening the floodgates for us. On May 1, 2006, they, who have everything to lose, are taking a stand to challenge our government. On that day they are making their presence and value felt by their absence. They plan to stay home from work, school, shopping and protest for better treatment. Their courage and determination inspire me. This is People Power in action.

I have no doubt that their efforts will be profound. I have no doubt that their strike will bring a response from the powers that be. I know that I will stand with them and not buy anything that day. I will be forever grateful to them for reminding us how people power works.

We all can learn from their example to use these methods to voice our desires for a better life. Boycott and strike are powerful when used en masse. They strike at the heart of power which is the economy. The government may get our tax money but we have control over our spending.

We need to get creative and do more with less. Who needs "stuff" when it costs you life to get it? It will take all of us pulling at the wheel to turn this ship of state around. We can have a peaceful prosperous world if that is what we want.

May 1 is the first wave for change; their fight is our fight. The same laws of NAFTA which have driven them to seek a better wage and to save their families, has affected us too in outsourcing, stagnant wages and unemployment. The enemy is governmental policies which put profit for business avove human life.

For more on how NAFTA is at the root of many of our problems, go here.

Sue Dyer

Guest Essayist

Friday, April 28, 2006

Business As Usual

One of the things my Republican acquaintances constantly tell me is that business, you know, American "free enterprise" business as conducted by Ma & Pa all the way to GMC and Exxon Mobile, is most progressive and creative part of our civilization. These people believe that business not only organizes the productive forces of the population but has a built-in need to express social and environmental concerns and that these are forged by the marketplace for the benefit of all. The fact that business is, by definition, responsible for the life-style of materialistic consumerism is off-set, they might think, by a durable faith in the Judeo-Christian God. It is a reasonable balance for them, although none of them seem to understand that a durable faith and understanding of the credo might have relevance to the conduct of business.

I would like to begin this essay with a trip over to a recent New York Times editorial about lawn care, for this is a neat little lesson in the nature of "free enterprise" conditioned by "free enterprise" politicians. Take a look and then come back. You will understand why my replacement mower will be electric and why I have such little faith in the "inate goodness" of business enterprise.

Yes, it is true, business provides the opportunity for those a little short on "enterprising spirit" or lacking sufficient capital to start their own business to work and to contribute to the success of the enterprise of others. Businessmen and women believe they have a fair bargain when they pay workers off within their business with a wage or salary. This is a vestige of the commodity mentality, however, and leads to the idea that workers are dispensable bearers of labor, rather than sweat-equity participants in the business. Business must take into account that both wage and salaried workers accumulate a contributor interest in the well-being of the business and take pride, like the owner, in producing a respected good or service.

But this is rare in America these days. There seems to be among corporations and proprietorships a sense that NOW is the only important time, and NOW is the time to "get ours while the getting is good." If I believed for a moment that the board rooms of America's corporations were enthralled by the imminence of The Rapture, I could understand this shortsightedness. If I believed that stockholders actually force the resignation of corporate administrations for a "slow quarter" or even a "slow year," then I could understand the CEO's behavior from another point of view. But, folks, these are excuse answers designed to cover up the truth that once business achieves that magic "repetition rate" and the dollars come flooding in, the average and the above average corporate executive becomes narcissistic and believes him or herself to be especially privileged, a person God loves more because of the bounty he or she reaps. The profit motive, despised in word, but honored in every deed becomes the vis viva, the living force of the system.

When you are finished reading my thoughts on corporations, I would like you to take a moment to read about The Ten Worst Corporations of 2005. You can read about them now, if you want, but the rest of what I have to say does not depend on that essay. You will see the profit motive gone wild in action.

An internet friend of mine passed this quotation along to me earlier this week. It seems to be appropriate, but bears some study.


The country is headed toward a single and splendid government of an aristocracy founded on banking institutions and monied corporations, and if this tendency continues it will be the end of freedom and democracy, the few will be ruling and riding over the plundered plowman and the beggar....


Thomas Jefferson

The point is that among the founding fathers Jefferson understood the mathematics of large enterprises. He understood that the corrupting influence of money would not restrict itself to the vanity and pocketbooks of corporate leaders, but would (and already had) manifest itself in politics, creating an anti-democratic force that would soon engulf the nation and make of it something quite different from what Franklin, Jefferson, Madison and the rest of us hoped it would be.

Corporations are inherently selfish, greedy, self-serving institutions. They are designed to make money for those who invest in them. They are managed to provide handsome salaries and bonuses for those who lead them. Back in the period immediately after WWII corporations used to understand that the people they employed (and the employees of other corporations in other areas of the economy) were the consumers of their goods and services. Accordingly, pay was more closely alligned with this consumer notion. Now, though, corporations see labor only as the most significant expense of production and try to limit their commitment to it. Rather than seeing to it that workers are also consumers, they believe that a globalized market (especially the NAFTA/CAFTA market) will provide the consumers they need for today's profits.

Of course it is shortsighted and wrong, but they do it anyway. The reason is that they understand how little they are actually paying wage and salary earners for their loyal contributions compared to corporate income, profitability. They are paying them nothing for this and expect that the workers will, in turn, have no loyalty, which means that they need not be loyal either. This notion overlooks the reality of work in this century (or any other), namely that workers commit their very lives and families to the enterprise.

The irony of the politics of corporate greed is this: when they have, by crook and fraud and misrepresentation, gotten complete control of the government ... as they now have ... they are incapable of maintaining the system that spawned them. Like dogs eating in a day a week's worth of food while the owners vacation, they will starve the next six days and whine about it like the curs they are. Mike Whitney recently published this notice on Rob Kall's OpEdNews. It is perfectly clear that the Bush administration aiding abetting the feeding frenzy of corporate greed and shortsightedness has buried our nation in the makings of a come-uppance that will make the Great Depression seem like the good old days. If and when we come out of this imminent debacle, we must readjust and overhaul our legal system to understand corporations and businesses for what they are—necessary but inherently anti-democratic.

James Richard Brett

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Civil Disobedience

Henry David Thoreau's words might have been written about today's state of affairs. We need sometimes to go back and contemplate wise words from Liberalism's past.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Stroking Egos

Have we not heard it again and again? We learned our lesson in Vietnam. Never again will we sacrifice our youth on the altar of an unwinnable war. Is that so? Then what were we doing in Beirut, Grenada, Bosnia and now Iraq? We were stroking egos. Living out the John Wayne-ness of those who waged war but had never participated. Where the guys in the white hats always won no matter what the odds.

Boot camp is kindergarten in the school of life, where youngsters still fresh faced and loaded for bear are taught to kill. In the Vietnam era the teachers were those leather skinned veterans of WWII and Korea. These were the heroes of those movies boys had all cut their teeth on, on Saturday afternoons. This, however, was real life. These were the men who had stormed Normandy and survived. Beaten a path to Berlin and survived. Those who had survived the meat grinder known as Pork Chop Hill. Survival was what they were there to teach these new recruits.

Robert McNamara, in his book "In Retrospect" wrote about..." there are those things which you cannot quantify but the things that you can count you should. Loss of life is one when you are fighting a war of attrition. We tried to use body counts as a measurement to help us figure out what we should be doing in Vietnam to win the war while putting our troops at the least risk." The body count he referred to was the enemy body count. Those who had managed to escape the draft for Vietnam and who were protesting at home, were more interested in our own body count and who among us, who came of age in that era, will forget the chant, "Hey, hey LBJ. How many boys have you killed today?" Bleak days for a President with an inherited war and one who had campaigned on the promise not to send American boys to fight and die in Southeast Asia. But then, Vietnam was all a horrible mistake we are told.

Before we knew it we had in the White House a bona fide Hollywood "war hero". Ronald Reagan, an actor of questionable repute who was elected President and as such was now Commander in Chief of all the armed forces. His dream come true, and a nightmare for the rest of us. 1983 found Reagan and his advisors mired down in a totally incoherent Middle East policy. In an effort to show that the US meant business, 3,000 totally ill prepared and ill equipped Marines were deployed to Beirut where early on a Sunday morning, a suicide bomber drove a truck into their barracks taking the lives of 241 sailors and Marines. Ooops. Another mistake.

But in order to take the onus off the failed mission of Lebanon, three days later Reagan ordered the invasion of Grenada. It seems this tiny island was fully capable of launching a full scale attack upon the mighty United States. Who knew! Grenada was a place few had even heard of much less thought of as an imminent threat to our safety and security CIA - The World Factbook -- Grenada But, Robert McNamara (again), Reagan's national security advisor, let us know that " we got there just in time." It certainly was just in time to take the spotlight off the debacle that had occurred in Lebanon. True to form however, Reagan blamed everything on the Russians, while stating that our presence in Lebanon was absolutely vital to United States interests. Just how vital and why is still a mystery as within a few months the marines were withdrawn.

Then we had Bosnia. An enemy that failed to listen to reason and NATO allies who failed to stand up to wanton aggression and genocide and whom they were unwilling to defeat. What to do, what to do? How to win in a no win situation was talked to death while the "peacekeeping" troops on the ground and the civilians were caught in the crossfire, denied the luxury of a voice in their fate. Full scale genocide was the order of the day and there was no way that the troops on the ground could prevail. Peace must be won before it can be kept, and there was no peace.

Now we are three years into another military boondoggle. The neo-cons, anxious to bring their John Wayne dreams to life, promised to shock and awe another soverign nation into submission. The rationale for this disastrous enterprise was based on falsehoods and manufactured evidence. It was sold to a nation reeling from an unprecedented attack. Egos swelled to near bursting capacity at the thoughts of what wondrous military actions could now be launched. We actually saw swaggering ego made flesh walking the deck of an aircraft carrier.

So once again, the cream of American youth is shipped off to a foreign land, put in harm's way, doing their duty, stroking the ego of their Commander in Chief.

Susan B. Goodwin

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

No Abu Ghraib Scandal for These Victims

The American people have become well educated about where their food comes from in recent years, mainly by the efforts of animal-advocacy groups like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ), though they remain startlingly apathetic, but most have no idea that thousands of animals are tortured and killed every year in military tests.

Hopefully by now everyone knows that the United States uses factory farming to feed the American population—a maniacally cruel production system where animals are penned, maimed, pumped full of hormones, separated from their families (yes, animals have those too), and eventually slaughtered in order that they may fulfill their higher function as your dinner. If you haven’t heard these things before, maybe it’s time to ”meet your meat.”

Unfortunately, animal rights advocates get about the same reception by society as environmentalists, which is a nice diversionary tactic created by the corporate power structure to keep you from thinking for yourselves. I ask you, for the next few minutes, to put away your pre-conceived notions of the rights of man and hear me with an open mind.

Every year in the United States and abroad, there are countless non-human victims of war. While we count casualties in terms of human lives lost or diminished, we remain silent on the thousands of animal murders perpetrated by our own government in order that we might have even more effective ways of murdering other human beings.

The United States military has the good fortune to have the right to label any number of operations “top secret” and keep them from us (for our own good, of course), and it is reasonable to assume that many instances of animal experimentation and murder fall into this category of the unknown. However, those we are aware of are numerous and disturbing.

For instance, the United States military uses animals to further their war-related medical skills in so-called “wound labs”:

The Department of Defense has operated "wound labs" since 1957. At these sites, conscious or semiconscious animals are suspended from slings and shot with high-powered weapons to inflict battlelike injuries for military surgical practice. In 1983, in response to public pressure, Congress limited the use of dogs in these labs, but countless goats, pigs, and sheep are still being shot, and at least one laboratory continues to shoot cats. At the Army's Fort Sam Houston "Goat Lab," goats are hung upside down and shot in their hind legs. After physicians practice excising the wounds, any goat who survives is killed.

Various animals, including rats, rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs and monkeys, are used to test guns, bombs, radiation endurance, biological weapons and other scenarios our soldiers may find themselves facing.

The US military also uses animals in a variety of medical tests, including the following:

To evaluate the effect of temperature on the transmission of the Dengue 2 virus, a mosquito-transmitted disease that causes fever, muscle pain, and rash, experiments conducted by the U.S. Army at Fort Detrick, Md., involved shaving the stomachs of adult rhesus monkeys and then attaching cartons of mosquitoes to their bodies to allow the mosquitoes to feed.

Were our government to treat prisoners of war this way, we would be hauled before the United Nations and a world court and destroyed as a world power. We would find ourselves in the position of captured Nazi leaders and doctors at the Nuremburg Trials, and we deserve it—for what we are doing is no better, is it simply easier to keep quiet, because animals do not, and by their very nature cannot, have human rights.

It is time for our government to understand that the American people do not want animals tortured and murdered so that humans can be easier for us to kill. Animals should be in the wild, supporting our fragile world ecosystems, where they belong, not locked in gas chambers and shot with AK-47s and exposed to toxic levels of radiation.

While we worry about our soldiers being murdered overseas, it is easy to forget or ignore the very human victims of war we are creating abroad—it is even easier to forget or ignore our non-human victims.

For more information, click here.

Katherine Brengle

Monday, April 24, 2006

Where is the Outrage?




The recent debate over immigration policies has engendered much ranting by pro-business types in the Republican Party who favor more immigrants for cheap labor and therefore more money in their pockets and an anti-immigration faction who, fearful of the loss of dominance by white Anglo-Saxon types, want illegal immigrants declared felons and jailed. Lost in this debate is the plight of the Mexican women and children being bought and sold as sex slaves. Sex traffickers transport at least 18,000 captives each year into the United States.

Currently, the US is one of the top destinations for sex traffickers who have become adept at penetrating suburban areas. High rates of trafficking are found in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Texas and Washington.

The southern border of the United States is the main thoroughfare for sex trafficking. Girls are smuggled in from all over the world through this gateway and smuggling is not limited to rings based only in Mexico.

Tijuana is a favorite crossing point for this illegal trade and each trafficking ring uses its own route from Tijuana into the US. Some drive into the US by flashing counterfeit documents at the border while others are slipped across the border on foot and then shuttled by van to brothels through a network of covert “safe houses” spread across the country.

The abuse, both physical and psychological, that these young girls suffer is unbelievable. The younger and most desirable often have to service long lines of men and don’t even receive any money for undergoing this terrible degradation.

What puzzles me is where in all the rhetoric over illegal immigration is the moral outrage over this despicable trading in human life. Where, for that matter, is the outrage from those who wear their religion on their sleeves? Why haven’t the Christian right who rail against abortion and homosexuality brought their considerable influence to bear on what all should agree is a morally indefensible practice.

But, there would be no supply if there were no demand. Most of the demand comes from within the United States. And while the demand is great, the supply is ever expanding and always getting younger. Children as young as 11 are forced into the slavery that will break their spirits and, for many result in death. Which for me at least raises another question: How is it in a country which has the largest number of people who declare themselves to be religious and has the highest percentage of citizens who attend a house of worship we have the highest demand in the world for this type of obnoxious, despicable sexual deviancy? I invite your comments.

David Goldberg

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Civilian Control: What Is It?

The author of the eloquent article "Physical Courage, Moral Courage, and American Generals," Lawrence Velvel, touches on a very important subject that few people, from any part of the political spectrum, want to think about, which is the principle of "civilian control" of the armed forces, measured against the elaborate traditions and "codes of behavior" within the military establishment. These traditional military "codes" have far reaching implications in a "professional army" whose troops are trained to be loyal first and foremost to their units, to their corps, and to their commanding officers. In a citizen army, in which soldiers "do their duty" by giving temporary mandatory service to their country, and then retire back to the civilian life that they left reluctantly, the implications of "directed loyalty" are not so critical. Citizen-soldiers, doing temporary service to their nation, are very naturally loyal to that nation first, and their commitment to the military is secondary. But in a "professional military," in which the bulk of the officer corps, and most of the non-commissioned officers, (the sergeants who actually directly supervise the soldiers), and even many of the troops themselves, are career "mercenaries," professional soldiers for whom the military is their chosen "trade," the primary loyalty of the soldiers undergoes a subtle but all important shift, and loyalty to one's nation often becomes distinctly secondary to loyalty to one's unit, to the corps, and to one's commanding officers.



When Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his legions in 49 BC, it marked the end of the seven centuries of the Roman Republic, and initiated the long cruel centuries of the Roman Empire. Caesar's seasoned veteran troops were loyal to HIM, not to Rome. He was murdered not too long after he prevailed in the Civil War that followed his march on Rome, and when Octavian, his nephew and heir, defeated Antony and Cleopatra at Actium, and ascended the newly created "throne" as "Imperator" (Emperor) of Rome, it was his personal command of the Army that determined his power. The Roman Senate continued to meet throughout the centuries of the Empire. The charade of "republican democracy" carried on. But all clearly understood that the power of the Roman State lay solely in the hands of the Emperor, as long as he commanded the unquestioning loyalty of the Legions, (and particularly of the Praetorian Guard).



Augustus, as Octavian came to be known, defined the powers of the Emperor during his long reign, but those powers never exceeded the power that has been claimed by George Bush. Bush claims personal command of the military. He has made a complete mockery of the separation of powers that supposedly reserves to Congress the exclusive right to "declare war." He has taken the "tradition" of using the military for "police action," (and thereby circumventing the need for a "Declaration of War"), to unprecedented extremes, and has proclaimed an Official Doctrine of the American State which declares, in prideful and grandiose terms, that America shall command the world through the violent power of its military. If Bush wants to "nuke" Iran, nobody can stop him. He will simply declare his authority as Commander in Chief to protect "national security," and then simply give the order to launch a strike. Do we think that such a unilateral order will be disobeyed by the mercenary professional soldiers under his command?



He has already proclaimed, by imperial edict, that his "duties" as Commander in Chief give him the "right" to disobey any laws passed by Congress, should he alone decide that any laws are not in the interest of "national security." He has pressed forward this claim several times now, as he has issued 'signing statements" declaring that he is not bound to follow the laws he is signing whenever he determines, by his own personal judgment alone, that his "duties" as Commander in Chief, (to guard "national security"), should supercede the will of Congress, or any mere law that Congress passes. (He has also signed a bill into law that was not even passed by Congress, but was rather only advanced by one branch, and had not yet passed the other).



With not so much as a credible whimper of protest from Congress, from the magistrates on the Courts, from the press, or even from the citizenry, we, the people of the United States of America, have fallen under the "rule" of an "emperor" every bit as powerful as Augustus Caesar, who claims personal authority over a mercenary professional military, and has declared that the priority of his military command places him above the law, and beyond any obligation to honor the Constitution. Augustus Caesar claimed no more than this. Once the office of "Imperator" was created by Augustus, many emperors to follow extended these basic powers to every excess. Eventually the military itself came to control Rome, and to control the Empire, as the excesses of the Emperors fell under the restraint of the Praetorian Guard, which simply murdered any Emperor who failed to give the Guard the proper "respect" in came to command.



With this "Imperial American Presidency" now proclaimed with so little protest, what changes might come next? It is only an amendment to the Constitution that was passed in my own lifetime, (in 1951), that prevents a president from being elected to office indefinitely. As amendments are passed, so can they be repealed. Or, now that the honesty of our electoral system itself has become so seriously suspect after the irregularities that have occurred during the past two elections, perhaps we will merely become that sort of odd "democracy" in which a minority of our citizens parade obediently to the polls to choose between prospective "Imperators" that are nominated by the two supposed "Parties," both of which are under the firm control of the Military Industrial Establishment of the Corporate Elite. Perhaps we will thus preserve some vestige of a charade of "democracy" as a sort of "constitutional dictatorship."



If History teaches us anything, it is most certainly that it often repeats itself. People, even when their lives are separated by many centuries, tend to behave in similar ways when they are in similar situations, and are faced with similar options. But sadly, we remain too self-involved and foolish to heed the warnings of people like Santayana, (who said that "those who do not learn from History are condemned to repeat it").



No one, from any position on the political spectrum, wants to talk about the implications of maintaining a mercenary professional military. The Left, which properly decries the unjust imperialist policies to which the American military is being applied, will allow no talk of a "draft" that would re-establish a "citizen military." And the Right knows full well that a draft would produce the same kind of violent unrest that it did in the Viet Nam era of the Sixties, (or in New York during the American Civil War). So all sides across the political spectrum agree that a "draft" is a "taboo" subject, a political "third rail" that no one will mention because anyone that does, (like Charles Rangel, the African American Congressman from New York who tried to point out that the professional military is staffed through a de facto "draft" of the working class poor), is showered with howls of derision from every side.



The Spirit of the American Nation, which was born from such noble ideals of Freedom, Equality, and Democracy, to which we were taught as children to pledge our allegiance, (for "Liberty and Justice for ALL"), has fallen into such horrific neglect and corrupted disrepair that severe consequences yet to befall us seem to have become inevitable. This is NOT a story never told before. Over the One Hundred Centuries of recorded human History, it has been told, and re-told, and told yet again.



In ancient Rome, political power ultimately rested at the point of the Roman gladius, the short stabbing sword with which the well-trained legions killed so many millions of human souls as they brought the world under their command. And when the world became their oyster, and the wealthy Romans became accustomed to the luxury that poured into their coffers from every other nation, when the proud yeomen of the Roman citizenry were displaced by slaves, and then left to grovel in crushing poverty on the state "grain dole," and when the Roman Legions were filled with mercenaries, rather than levied from the yeoman stock of citizens, the Army came to give its loyalty to its generals, rather than to Rome, and the Romans did not protest as their naked Greed overcame their concerns for mere "niceties" and "frivolities" like "Democracy" and "rights of citizenship."



In the twenty centuries that have elapsed since Caesar sat in his saddle and looked across the Rubicon toward Rome, only the technology has changed. We have "advanced" beyond the crude "sword," and political power now comes, (as Mao observed), out of the barrel of a gun, (or the bomb bay of a warplane). And whenever, and wherever this awful power falls into the hands of a single individual, despotism, accompanied by great and horrific suffering for large numbers of people, soon follows.



These retired American general officers have stepped forward to testify because the loyalty they feel for their Nation remains stronger than their loyalty to the "code" of a mercenary professional military. We may wish they had spoken sooner, but we should certainly applaud them for speaking now. They are indeed heroes of the American Republic, just as those who condemn them as "traitors" are its enemies.



This display of loyalty by these general officers to the concept of a Nation of free women and men, free citizens unbowed by tyranny, citizens NOT subject to military command, but rather IN command of a military that only exists to protect our freedom, should perhaps give us some Hope that we are not yet fallen so far down this path, (that leads unerringly to rule by Emperors), that we cannot recover.



Zwarich

Guest Essayist

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Euston Manifesto

I tripped over a reference to the Euston Manifesto in this morning's newspaper. It bears some study.

JRB

Friday, April 21, 2006

Corruption

Last week on "The West Wing" we buried Leo McGary and the actor who played him, John Spencer. The writers did not overdo it, thankfully, as perhaps they did with the funeral of Mrs. Landingham as President Bartlet cursed at his god in Latin, pacing the transept of the Washington National Cathedral, butting a cigarette into the hallowed marble floor. No, instead the "Requiem" episode was devoted primarily to the politics of an election aftermath, and the stunning moment came during a quick interview with a senior Democratic member of the House of Representatives who believed himself primed and ready to take over the job of Speaker of the House, the third senior position in the federal government (at least as succession to the Presidency goes).

The Democrat with a four vote margin stood up to President Elect Matt Santos and said he would not support legislation to effect a complete stop to lobbying contributions to elected officials. He said that now was not the time ... with a majority of Democrats ... to be endangering their hopes for major funding (paraphrase). It was a moment in mass entertainment when Hollywood spoke for an essential truth.

As it happens I had just read a review article in the New York Review of Books (April 27, 2006 issue) by Bill McKibben on the effect of the internet on politics and was disheartened to learn that, in what turned out to be pivotal Iowa, John Kerry, Richard Gephardt, and Robert Torricelli (the disgraced former NJ senator) were the principal backers of a TV spot that, using the image of Osama Bin Laden, declared Howard Dean to be a political lightweight, incapable of conducting effective foreign affairs.

I am reminded here at home that one is a fictional and the other a non-fictional tragedy. I am reminded daily in the blogs and opinion outlets that the Democrats have no plan, no voice, no nothing. And, also last week I was not only reminded but urged by Doug Thompson of Capitol Hill Blue to dump my party affiliation and be independent from now on. Doug has subsequently apologized to the world for a series of wild statements in his daily rant. I understand that everyone has a bad week every so often, but Doug's preceding vehemence belies his mild apology. His "pox on both their houses" rant left stinging welts on my understanding of American politics.

A colleague reminded me of several cases where the powers within the Democratic Party are choosing their colleagues by undercutting Democratic rivals in local races. Illinois, Pennsylvania, and others are states where personality and connections are defeating principle and political vigor. To sum it up in a few words, it seems that not only is the Democratic Party a more closely held power structure than I ever wanted to believe, but that it is heir to various kinds of pecuniary and hubristic corruptions. The question then is what to do about it.

First, though, there are the Republicans. Every Republican in the House of Representatives has violated his or her oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitutions of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. If they had not we would have Articles of Impeachment delivered to the Senate months ago. I bring this up to show that party discipline can be strong indeed. Bush, Cheney, and Rove have convinced the Representatives, whose constituencies are small by comparison to the President's and Vice President's, that the Executive has make or break largesse to deliver to loyal party members or to take from disloyal ones. It apparently took not much convincing to reduce the Republican Legislative Branch to lackey status, since it is true that the Executive has huge discretion in spending through the various bureaucracies of government. But the point is that where pressure can be brought to bear, economically and politically, party politics is the art and craft of wielding power.

Second, the Republicans are not going to reform themselves. Their 15 minutes of fame as a reform party was squandered nicely by Gingrich and friends a decade ago with Tom DeLay then serving up notice that power absolutely corrupts. What we observe in today's Republican Party is a food fight for position in what most believe is an inevitable relapse into minority status, a consolidation of local political deals, a vendetta against a multitude of perceived enemies.

Moreover, the Republicans are not going to let the problems within the Democratic Party, the notorious internal dissent, the traditional bickering and back-stabbing happen without taking political advantage of it. Far from it; Republicans are the Party of party politics and are a far more disciplined group than are Democrats. If the Democrats break up into a Progressive Party and a Green Party and perhaps even other shards, the Republicans win. It is as simple as that.

We Liberals have two choices: break away decisively and permanently or work from within. Breaking away requires leadership and a campaign upon which to focus the break. The leadership has to be pure and unassailable; the campaign needs to have dollar and on-the-ground resources ... people in every state, people in every precinct, people willing to work off thirty pounds hanging door hangers and putting up signs. The campaign needs an honest communications broker and the present-day mass media are probably not it. Working from within, on the other hand, takes above all patience.

I assume that most disaffected Democrats know what bothers them most--their key issue (employment, health care, military spending, immigration, etc.) That gives each disaffected Democrat two things to talk about locally: the issue that bothers them most and Democratic corruption. I assume that the local disaffected Democrats know who and where their elected representatives are and that they have the opportunity to speak with them. If these two assumptions are true, then combine them and multiply them by the number of people any disaffected Democrat can talk to in an evening's local meeting.

If you agree with the mathematics here then the order of the day is to go down to the local Democratic headquarters and introduce yourself. Then say you would like to volunteer and (especially) to meet other Democrats. Go to a local meeting, talk, listen carefully. When the time is right with a person who seems to share your views tell them what is bothering you: your favorite issue and Democratic corruption. See how it goes with that person and the next. In a short time you will begin to call yourselves the reformers, then the reform movement. You will all seek out your representatives or candidates and tell them two things: one, the issue that bothers you most and then your feelings about Democratic corruption.

The rest of the arithmetic is simple. A representative or candidate will hear a variety of statements about key issues and glued to each such statement will be a statement about Democratic Corruption. They will notice that you all seem to have internal solidarity among you, and from precinct to precinct they will notice that the reformers seem to have a movement going. You will hear from the candidate soon enough. You will hear rhetoric about reform and easy-to-make statements. Politicians are good at this, so you will have to be organized to hold their feet to the fire.

The fire is this: demand legislation to end PAC and corporate lobbying contributions of any kind: this includes airplane rides, golf vacations, any and everything. If corporations and PAC want freedom of speech let them speak to the voters, not directly to the voters' representatives. If they speak directly to elected officials, you the voters have been cut out of the equation!

You have to demand strict campaign financing legislation, too. Both! There is no other way to get back even a vestige of control over the Party. Since you are now many, call the candidate and ask if they have spoken to other Democratic candidates about this, if not, why not? Let them know (each one of you ... even if it means a hundred calls a week from your precinct) that you are keeping track of them, their thoughts and activities. Demand that reforms become the highest order of business. There is nothing at stake but our democracy, for there is no question that Republicans are little interested in it.

James Richard Brett

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Our Corporate Government



The present government of the United States of America is not the one put in place by the founders. This government does not function "by and for the people," it functions "by and for corporations."

The forefathers never would have let his happen. The Boston Tea Party was a protest over the corporate British East India Company's monopoly on trade and the high taxes resulting form that. In Europe corporations chartered by Kings had not only increased their own wealth by finding, settling and plundering foreign lands, they has also increased the wealth of their countries of origin. The Massachusetts Bay Colony and Dutch East India Company are two other corporations who were dominating the world at the time. Using their huge wealth and influence, they were able to pretty much monopolize trade at the expense of ordinary people.

At the time of the American Revolution, there was a strong resolve to limit the power and wealth of corporate entities because the founding fathers knew that such a concentration would lead to influence that surpassed that of the people and interfere with self rule.

In the beginning of our nation corporations were held in check by laws that limited them to a business role. They were not allowed to interfere in public policy, elections, and civic society. The states were given the right to charter corporations and to evoke charters when laws were violated.

Many corporate charters were granted for specific purposes such as construction of public works and ended with the completion of the project. States could limit the amount of profits a company could make, and terminate the charter if corporations exceeded their authority or caused public harm. Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.

What Happened?

In the early 1800's laws to control corporate influence were weakened by Supreme Court decisions which found in favor of corporate interests in matters of state trade barriers being lifted and the ability of states to cancel a corporate contract. In a later court Chief Justice Roger Taney, who disagreed with the earlier rulings, lamented that "The continued existence of government would be of no great value, if by implications and presumptions, it was disarmed of the powers necessary to accomplish the ends of its creation; and the functions it was designed to perform, transferred to the hands of privileged corporations."

Corporations pressed on in their attempts to control labor, resources and community rights. IN 1886 a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad, the court used the 14th amendment to find that California could not tax corporations differently than individuals. The 14th amendment had bee passed to protect recently emancipated slaves and stated "no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law." The ruling was corrupted by corporations who then claimed if they were protected by 14th amendment rights, then they must have corporate personhood. Armed with this new status, corporations have caused courts to strike down hundreds of laws enacted to protect people from corporate harm. They have increased their control over resources, jobs, commerce, politicians, and every facet of our society. As "persons" they have influenced the political system to serve their interests and needs while society suffers.

Corporations with the help of "deregulation" and other laws put into place by our government, are polluting our water, air and earth.

Labor laws have been diminished leaving workers unprotected and the right to form unions severely curtailed. "Tort reform" is the effort to remove our right to sue corporations for wrongdoing in courts. Foreign policy is based on the interests of corporations to expand and secure control over resources, labor and wealth of other nations. Researching the facts behind US military and covert actions will reveal that they were taken to protect and advance the corporate agenda. In the 1950's the democratically elected governments of Iran and Guatemala were overthrown by covert CIA activities.They did so not to stop Communism but to remove governments that planned reform to improve their societies. These reforms threatened the control corporations had over resources and land.

This corporate government has a history of labeling any country "Communist" or "Marxist" which attempts to reclaim their sovereignty over land, resources, trade, environment or labor. Consider this: Under Saddam, Iraq's constitution stated that all the country's resources were to be owned by the state and no foreign investment was allowed. In the September after the US invasion, Paul Bremmer let it be known that "Iraq is now open for foreign investment." Here's the kicker. Investments in Iraq would be protected under the US Bank of Import/Export and should said investments be lost, that loss would be covered by that bank. The US Bank of Import/ Export is a taxpayer funded bank and the losses would be paid by our tax money! If you thought the BCCI scandal cost us, just wait until we get this bill! What government that was truly working under the mandate to "protect and provide for the public security and welfare" would do that?

If you follow the money, it is obvious that the real winners in the "War on Terror" are the corporations who make and provide provisions and services to the War machine. Our wealth is being siphoned off directly into their pockets. Our soldiers are fighting hard to open the occupied countries up for corporate investment, exploitation and control.

When they use the term "democracy" they mean a system like ours where corporate interests rule. Our government now functions to increase corporate wealth and control and we find ourselves once again taxed without representation. Tea Party anyone?


Sue Dyer

Guest Essayist

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Directions Needed

We have just come down from one of the holiest of Christian holidays, Easter, and I cannot help but muse on the attendant fuss which seems to accompany these yearly rituals, most of which are deeply rooted in Pagan mythology. That the great majority of the populace knows little if anything about these pagan rites is a true testament to the power of the early Christian church and the continuing perpetuation of these myths "in Jesus name". But then they know, it seems little of their Christian faith either. If they did, the Revs. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson surely would have no following.

Now a new Gospel has been found which flies in the face of accepted fact as regarding Jesus' last days. And if this new gospel is to be believed our entire view of the existing Gospels is brought into question. Could Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have gotten it that wrong? Weren't they eye witnesses to the events as they unfolded? No they were not. Rather than face arrest and imprisonment themselves, they fled. Certainly a betrayal as well. Were they perhaps jealous of Judas and his closeness to Jesus?

Written as it is, in Aramaic, the language Jesus and his disciples spoke, the Gospel, regarding Judas, would seem to be the more authentic. That Jesus was a political rabble rouser, should be acknowledged and one should perhaps look more closely at how Jesus operated to understand why the premise of Judas' betrayal being a "set up" is not as far fetched as it sounds. For a man who flew in the face of convention, as did Jesus, it is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Jesus flaunted his relationships with those whom society considered outcasts. The marginalized of society were His "base", and He scorned those who felt their wealth gave them privelage. He targeted the corruption amongst the Priests in the temple, He allowed Himself to become "unclean" by laying his hands on those who were ill (Leprosy) or dead (Lazarus). To deliver Himself into the hands of those who would wish Him ill is totally within the realm of possibility, if it served His purposes.

Today, however, there is a very large segment of the population who reject anything which is not from the mouths of those who preach a gospel of hatred They deny all those whom Jesus would have embraced, and even more incredibly, have stated that those who share the faith that Jesus practiced are not eligible for a seat in Heaven. How can this be? Jesus was most decidedly a Jew and absolutely, if the Easter Story is to be believed, in Heaven. Not only did He gain entry into heaven there are at least two thieves there with him.

Unfortunately, when you have a large segment of people who believe what these fear mongers say, you have the prejudice and hatred that leads to the crimes that Jesus tried to teach us to overcome. It leads us into wars. It villifies those members of society that someone else has deemed unfit. Why is there not more outrage from those who would understand that this is not the message of Jesus? Where are all of those who profess a belief in Christianity and certainly not the brand preached by these two yahoos and their ilk? Why are those who are in your face Christians not living by Jesus' rules?

It has always been easier to take the well beaten path then the road less traveled. Easier to perpetuate the myth than to try and debunk it. We have the road map, perhaps Mr. Falwell's base should refer to it more often, rather than taking verbal directions from a person who is already lost.

Susan B. Goodwin

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Hypothetical Prenatal Gay Test

Imagine it with me.


Pregnant women go through a barrage of tests early on in a pregnancy. Tests are run for blood type, gestational diabetes, anemia, STDs, cervical cancer, and immunity to a whole host of diseases.


Fetuses also go through a number of tests, some optional, some not, as a pregnancy progresses. These include tests for chromosomal disorders, birth defects like Spina bifida and Anencephaly, and Down's Syndrome, amongst many others, including the more innocuous ultrasound or amniocentisis to find out the baby's sex.


As our medical technology and expertise has advanced with time, so have the tests. New tests are added to the list as new problems arise (for instance, thirty years ago there was no AIDS test for expectant mothers, but now there is) and new options in birthing and anesthesia are continually coming in and out of vogue.


So, say scientists find the "gay gene" someday. Ostensibly doctors could then perform prenatal testing to determine if the resultant child will be gay.


Reminds me of a great bumper sticker I saw recently:


"If the fetus you save is gay, will you still fight for its rights?"

Some pregnant women choose to terminate a pregnancy if testing shows a fetus that will suffer from a serious birth defect. Perhaps this is selfish or perhaps it is simply a practical but horrificly sad decision for those women, but regardless it is a fact of life.


What if a devout Christian conservative who is very serious about battling the "homosexual agenda" could test for the gay gene while pregnant? What do you do when you know you are going to give birth to a child you will never really be able to love? Or would your entire philosophy on sexual orientation change? Or would your entire philosophy on abortion change? Or would you give your baby up for adoption, unable to bear the site of your very own gay child?


Would you be able to "hate the sin, not the sinner?"


Welcome to the big gray area of the future. It might never happen, but once upon a time, our ancestors believed that the world was flat, that the sun revolved around the earth, that if a person thrown in a lake sank instead of floating that person was clearly not guilty of practicing witchcraft... Not so long ago, no one thought twice about lighting up when pregnant, drinking and driving, unconventional weapons on airplanes, etc...


The world changes very quickly these days. Food for thought.


Katherine Brengle

Monday, April 17, 2006

Universal Health Care

Opponents of universal health care have objected to it for a number of reasons and it is incumbent upon those of us who support such a system to answer these objections and propose solutions which answer them.

The first is that a public system would be more efficient. What ever terms you want to use the numbers are obvious. For profit companies spend 20 to 25 percent on administrative costs versus 3 percent for Medicare, which by the way takes care of much sicker and older patients. Removing profit as a motive for managing the company improves efficiency by at least 17 percent by this reasonable measure.

Second is the argument that other types of insurance are offered by the free market so why not health insurance. Surely if it works for life or automobile insurance it would work for health insurance. Unfortunately, this argument ignores the cold fact that health insurance for most people is tied to an employer and employer-based health insurance does not operate on a free-market model. Consumers, assuming their lucky enough to even have a plan offered, do not choose their insurance companies to begin with and they cannot switch to another if dissatisfied with the product.

Third, public universal insurance would result in the government rationing the care covered by this plan. Such as argument ignores the fact that rationing already exists: It is done by the various mechanisms for profit companies use to subvert good science by co-pays, deductibles, pre-authorizations, diagnostic exclusions and many other barriers to discourage treatment. States have had to create laws to force private insurers to cover even simple preventive screening procedures such as mammograms and colonoscopies. If overt rationing were deemed necessary, at least theses decisions would be made more openly honestly by panels of caregivers and with appropriate public input; not by owners and investors seeking to maximize their profit on the back of the sick and injured.

We are the only industrial nation without national health care. We spend almost twice as much per capita as the next country, Switzerland. And, by any measure we are no where near the top in the quality of health care provided. We have at least 45 million people in the US who are uninsured and health care is no less essential than education or transportation which is provided by public funding.

Poll after poll shows that the public supports a national health system. Since 1945, when Harry Truman first proposed a national health system, public support was then and remains at about 75 percent. Why don’t our legislators support what three quarters of their constituents want? Perhaps it has something to do with campaign financing, but that’s the subject for another blog.

Physicians for a National Health Plan (pnhp.org) has worked since 1987 for universal health care and have an affordable model that works for all. It is time we made our elected officials implement it.

David M Goldberg

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Hope


Today is Easter, the Day of Eggs (literally), the day the heathen tribes of Europe (and elsewhere) celebrated the rebirth of nature, the festival of onrushing spring! If you have noticed the moon the past few days, you will see how tuned to natural phenomena this day is. The Christians wisely decided that the spring celebration, rooted as it is in the crucial days after the long winter when planting must be accomplished in Hope for a bountiful harvest months later, should not be ignored, for Hope is the emotion of these spring days, and Hope is the message of the story of martyred Jesus's resurrection from the dead.


The Hope we have this fine morning is that Americans still have their wits about them, that even after a long winter of fear and insecurity Americans will rise to the task of throwing off the creeping tentacles of oppression that now threaten their freedoms and liberties. We Hope that you read Gary Allen Scott's article on fascism all the way through and that you file it for future reference.


JRB

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Culture of Corruption

Bill Moyers is one of those rare voices within the Liberal Progressive community to whom you will want to pay attention. Here is recent offering that should provide you with plenty of discussion material on the Culture of Corruption. The big problem is that corruption is an equal opportunity employer, so your attitude toward politicians of any and every stripe must be (a) eternal vigilance and (b) swift sure response to their fooling around.


JRB

Friday, April 14, 2006

Iran


Some of us have been avid readers of political apocalypse fiction for a long time, and so the idea of the demise of our species (and perhaps our planet) because of a nuclear holocaust has been done to death, so to speak. We tend now to dismiss the idea as passé or at least improbable, although the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists which publishes the "doomsday clock" does not agree. Among us, those old enough to remember "duck and cover" exercises in public schools ... (my high school was (and still is) 3.2 miles from the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia) ... remember the awful epiphany that our parents and the rest of the adults in our society were into the nuclear era way over their heads and completely useless to us as protectors and guiding lights into the future they were creating. It took us decades to wrest the government from their trembling hands, from their incompetent judgments about good and evil on our planet, from the mindset that "it would be better to be dead than Red."


"Godless Communism" was the threat then. It was understood as a two pronged attack on basic American values, (1) on God, who obviously favored us as a subgroup of the species, having given us the opportunity to appropriate the majestic plains and purple mountains from the heathen aborigines who already dwelt here (sans horses and smallpox), and (2) on property, which we had been crafting since the first days of our arrival, but had recently shown some proficiency in creating industrially, manufacturing along with our products a comfortable (if self-righteously ignorant) existence as a nation of middle class believers in the American manifest destiny. Godless Communism entailed, in addition, a betrayal of federal principles in favor of centrist planning and an utter rejection of corporate profits and visions in favor of social and economic justice. But primarily, to Americans it was the godlessness of Communism that posed the most palpable and bone-chilling threat.


Americans understand religion intuitively. They understand from their European experience that religion is not so much about one's own salvation, for that, it goes without saying, is assured by the doctrine of repentance ... however late and tardy one might choose it. No, organized religion is less about one's own immortal soul than about the guy next door or the guy in the next car whose behaviors must be controlled according to some predictable system to be as little threatening as possible. Religions exact this performance more or less equitably, so a pretense of adherence is nearly as good as a vocation in it. Remarkably, when a society takes up a religion more or less universally, the sense of security should rise. Historians know the truth of the matter, but then real history is strewn with the baggage of many competing religions, a situation which seems to confound the human brain.


Before the Protestant Reformation Roman Catholicism waxed the unruly Europeans into a form of behavior that provided a modicum of predictability in society. Eventually this led to sufficient leisure and communications among Europeans that a Pandora's box of criticism erupted and the Church broke into several large and contentious pieces. The great bogey of the middle ages, Islam, meanwhile, had peaked both militarily and intellectually, and on the edges of Europe receded into the gloom of ignorance as more exciting European wars of succession, religion, and ego embroiled Europeans for at least the last half millennium.


Now though, with a global industrial and commercial transformation in progress due to the penetration of Europeans and their wars into nearly every village and valley of the planet, the Islamic nations are now turning out to be serious threats, chief among them the ancient race of Persians, now in the thrall of a great awakening of their religion's militant spirit. In a fundamental sense the problem that comes from dealing with a foreign religion with values that are not shared is that the predictability of behaviors is greatly diminished. And, of course, these modern day Iranians now vociferously threaten to equip themselves with the nuclear weapons developed by the Christian nations, bringing into clear focus a new form of doomsday for our species and planet.


If Iran achieves "the bomb," it will at the same time upset the balance of civilization in several ways. Being militant, Iranians may decide that middle eastern politics needs a new direction and "wipe modern Israel from the map" as recently promised. Then, Iran is a petroleum exporting country, so its effect on the petroleum-addicted economies of the West could be decisive in an epoch in which the West and far East is unprepared to adjust its economies to other forms of energy. It seems to some, perhaps Dick Cheney and his friends, that the only thing that will forestall a descent into the nightmare of an Iranian dictated world order is the elimination of Iran's ability to dictate.


This is a notion fraught with deceptions and ignorance, however, for the ability to dictate depends not so much on having a nuclear warfare capability as the ability to mobilize annoying resources of any kind to a constant purpose. In other words, the nature of the regime determines the ability to mobilize resources, so the question is primarily about the nature of the regime in Iran, not whether it has certain kinds of weapons or not. Pakistan, btw, is an Islamic state with Christian nuclear weapons, and we tolerate them.


Conceivably, Iran could declare conventional war on Israel tomorrow and inflict grievous (perhaps fatal) damage on Israel in return for which, however, Iran would probably expect to have certain national assets around the country nuked into oblivion, but Iran itself (being much, much larger than Israel) would not be destroyed. In fact, Israel acting alone could not actually count on achieving regime change in Iran, but it could weld the indifferent and the moderate Iranians into a terrible wounded-dog of a country that wreaks havoc for decades in the region and outside of it.


We have to ask the question: Is Iranian regime change the essential difference between war and peace in the Middle East? And, if so, could the United States with the other western powers and Israel achieve lasting regime change in Iran? The answers to these questions have to be answered before the first bomb goes off. But that may be the rub. With the fortunes of the regime in the United States plummeting, with speculation rife that Cheney and/or Rumsfeld will be forced to resign, the possibility that the regime in Washington will tip toward the nuclear option against the Iranian regime multiply rapidly and may soon be very difficult to control. It is all the more precarious since at times Iran has its hands on the steering wheel and we have the brakes ... and then vice versa!


It seems clear to me that a Cheney-Rumsfeld "surgical nuclear strike" against several dozen Iranian nuclear installations (some of which may be hardened to withstand multiple megaton nukes) would not necessarily endear the surviving Iranian population to American ways and policies. Few, indeed, would convert to Christianity, and most I suspect would dedicate themselves permanently to a violent disruption and destruction of the Great American Satan. Surgery, although it will certainly disrupt the Iranian nuclear effort is unlikely to be the answer to the "Iranian Problem." Then, what if Cheney and Rumsfeld unleashed a total nuclear war against Iran with the objective of removing Iran and Iranians from the world stage more or less permanently, sending them back to the 10th or 9th century, as the saying goes? Would this solve the problem? It surely would remove Iranian petroleum from the world market. It would cause a plume of radioactivity to encircle the globe for years, causing cancer and other unforeseen problems in countries wholly innocent of the Iranian Problem. It would, by the way, murder millions of innocent Iranians and their children for which even the bellicose Christian god might not be very willing to forgive and forget.


Okay, if surgical strikes are unlikely to break the will of the regime and if utter destruction of the country is an unacceptable policy, what use are nuclear weapons against a country that has none?

None. They are useless.


For Iran nuclear weapons could eliminate Israel, but they would soon find that making the Holy Land radioactive for decades to come would be unacceptable not only to Israel's allies but to millions of Muslims in the region. No, this is not what these feisty Iranians are up to. I think that Iran is hoping to get into a Mutually Assured Destruction scenario with Israel and the U.S. and believes that such a policy will work to their advantage much better than the asymmetric situation that prevails today. As Cheney and his confreres believe that more war (or at least significant sabre rattling) will solidify their hold on the levers of power in the United States, ... so do the mullahs in Iran. The solution then is obvious. We should seek regime change in both Washington and in Teheran, and we should not go to war with Iran!


James Richard Brett

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Real War We Are In: Life v. Profits


Looking at the world situation from a wide perspective, some patterns become visible. The biggest pattern is that there is a struggle between the haves and the have nots for use of the world's resources.

The "haves" are the very powerful 10% who control 90% of the world's wealth. Their belief is that everything is up for grabs to make more money and to solidify their power.

The "have nots" are the rest of us, 90% of the people, who get 10% of the wealth. Our belief is that the first priority is that resources should be used for the survivability of life and profit making is fine once the social contract is met.

The corporate powerhouse rejects a social contract and they destroy people, environments and nations in their operations. Around the world people have risen up to resist this consuming beast and have been beaten into submission by covert and military forces, first by the colonial countries then by the American government.

As citizens we have been told that those rising up are "Anarchists," "Communists," "socialists" and "terrorists" and that they "threatened our democracy" and so must be "defeated." The truth is that they were seeking to throw off the yoke of control imposed by corporate interests that were stealing their wealth and resources. They fought in the hope of using those resources for the people of their nation and the improvement of their society. Our "democracy" is not under threat by those people, it is corporate control which is threatened. Chavez of Venezula is a current example of this. He has regasined control of the nation's oil from corporations to fund "milk and bricks" for his society. He has sent educators and medical teams out over the country to teach and heal the people and for this sin is called a "Communist." He is not a communist, he is a leader who is putting the needs of his society first.

Here in our country we have been indoctrinated with the belief that "capitalism" and a "free market" are good for us but the fact is they are not. "Deregulation" and "privatization were sold to us as beneficial to us and we offered no resistance to the corporate takeover of some of our basic social systems such as electricity, telephones and health as well as massive amounts of publicly owned resources such as land, minerals, timber, water and our airwaves. The corporations make billions of dollars from our legacies while we struggle to keep our heads above the water.

Because of the enormous wealth needed to run a political campaign, corporations have used their wealth to corrupt most of our legislators to pass and repeal laws that favor them and disenfranchise us. Most of the environmental laws, we fought for so hard, have been repealed to allow businesses to pollute without worry and the taxpayers are left to clean up the mess and suffer the illnesses caused by toxins in our environment. Our nation thrived not because of capitalism but because those suffering under it went on strike, held rallies and fought for labor laws, workers rights, enviornmental protections. They even faced the police and military forces, paid for with our taxes, that the government sent to beat them into submission to protect the corporate control.

Big business agriculture is not only poisoning our land with chemicals to grow crops, the crops they are growing contain contaminants as well as providing fewer nutrients than those organically grown. Big Business agriculture has also driven our small farmers out of business. Their genetically modified plants produce sterile seeds forcing growers to come to them each year for the new seed crop. In addition to that, GM plants can contaminate healthy plants and render them sterile. This puts our food sources at risk and make us dependent on them for the food that gives us life.

Various laws, world wide in scope, have given the corporations the right to claim patents and property rights on plants and food around the world. An example of this is the neem tree that grows in India which has insect repelling properties and has been considered sacred by the people for the many gifts it has given to them. The people have, for thousands of years used the leaves from this tree to line their seed containers with the leaves to keep them insect free. Now WR Grace corporation claims the rights to the trees and seeks to prevent the use of the tree by anyone else.
Plants used for centuries in the Amazon are being "patented" by corporations who claim all rights to them and denies their use to others. This may sound crazy but it is happening. Corporate control of water around the world is another offence to life. Before the Bolivian people kicked Bechtel out of their country, the corporation was claiming the right to charge them for rain!

This is a conflict which is reaching life threatening proportions. Our very survival on earth is threatened by those who seek to make a profit from any and all resources. Their heedless exploitation of the earth, this biosphere, has caused global warming, increased the pollution of our water, air and earth and diminished the survivability of life around the planet.

They assert that the bottom line is profit while we assert the bottom line is life.

Where will they go, I wonder, when this garden of Eden has deteriorated into a planet of poisoned air, water and earth? Even a rich person needs the basics of life our environment grants to us.

They must imagine themselves to be immune from the destruction they are creating with their clever money making schemes.

Their tools of power are:


  1. the "free trade agreements" which open countries up for "investment" (exploitation).

  2. The military systems which further their control through aggression and consolidate their control through protection and suppression on both foreign and domestic fronts.

  3. The governments which provide the above military protection and remove laws protecting citizens from abuses by profit seeking entities {environmental laws, legal protections that allow users of products/services to hold companies accountable for inferior products and services and fair labor laws}

  4. The ability of businesses to become massively large and eliminate competition.

  5. A "cover" operation which allows their further control while fooling the people into believing something else is going on. War fills this niche nicely.


The result has been a catastrophe for the planet and the life on it.

What to do? Business is the economic machine of our society. The aim here is not to destroy business but to reign them in. I must point out at this juncture that I am referring to multi-national and national corporations who have a track record of exploitation of people and environments.

The first step must be to change the profile of acceptable profit making from "anything goes to make profits" to one that demands a social contract from business that puts the sustainability of life first. As the workers, consumers and investors in business, we can demand that. Laws must be passed to limit their sphere of business and exclude areas that a society depends on to survive and thrive.

We must break their power over our political system by making campaigns publicly funded and design a campaign system that is under control. Public officials found receiving benefits from corporations should be criminally prosecuted and fined.

We must claim a spectrum of the publicly owned air waves for public media to be funded by fees charged to broadcasters who currently pay nothing! Information is the currency of a democracy and we have the means to bring it back into circulation.

To a large extent, they are only able to continue their exploitation with our co-operation.

If we remain silent, if we continue to fund their agendas through taxes, if we buy stock in their companies, work in their companies and provide soldiers to create their armies, we are contributing to their power and losing our own.

To bring down their "towers of power" we must be willing to resist by refusing to buy products and services they make and buy from companies who meet a social contract. Can you resist buying a gas guzzling inefficient vehicle if driving one that gets better mileage, reduces emissions, and is better built helps save our environment?

Boycotts, strikes and public pressure will send a message that we are on the move as well as denying them our money.

We need to ask our warriors, those we pay to defend us, our police and military, not to use force against their own people in defense of corporate interests.

This issue supersedes all others and requires that we form a united group. Join public action groups, check out watchdog groups, and let's pool our ideas and strength to reclaim control over our government, resources and living systems. Our lives depend on it.

Sue Dyer

Guest Essayist

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Searching For the "Ring that Binds Us"

Scott Ritter, the former intelligence officer who served as a weapons inspector for the UN in Iraq, who since the invasion of Iraq has spoken out in opposition to the war, has recently generated much discussion, and considerable controversy among anti-war activists, with his suggestion that all progressive activists should, for the time being, de-emphasize their concerns for any other issues besides the war, and concentrate their attention on working against the war with a "laser-like concentrated focus." He further suggests that the anti-war effort should be organized under a united structure, and that if we can successfully bring an end to this war, we will defeat our "enemies," whom he identifies as the neo-conservative Bush regime.

As a life-long "warrior" himself, a member of the intelligence/military establishment, Mr. Ritter well knows that one of the most basic tenets of "warfare" is "Identify the Enemy." If we fail to properly "identify the enemy," then we run the risk of not only fighting the wrong battle, but also of being "used" by our REAL enemy to fight his battles for him, or else of being duped into expending all our energy in other battles before our real enemy even shows his face.

But although I support Mr. Ritter's noble goal of uniting a powerful anti-war movement, I think he is mistaken in assuming that we need to de-emphasize other issues to accomplish this goal, and I also think he is mistaken in identifying the Bush neo-cons as our REAL "enemy."

We need to properly "realize" what we can all clearly see, which is that these "neo-cons" are not all that smart. They've hatched a "grand plot" to "rule the world," and now they've laid an egg in Iraq that is even now in the process of destroying them. Anybody with two brains to rub together knew that Iraq was going to be a quagmire, yet these idiots are so "dumb" that they thought it was going to be a cakewalk. They ignored not only the lessons of Viet Nam, (and Colin Powell realizes even now how horribly he "screwed up"), but all the lessons that History offers us.

But there is a much larger Power that lies behind these neo-cons. This Power has provided this neo-con cabal with a certain amount of "muscle," and it will abandon them as they start to fall, (this is happening already). This Power may be weakened a bit by the inevitable defeat in Iraq, but I think they knew that going in. The oil is no doubt very important to them, but I am sure they already have contingency plans in place, should they lose control of this oil, (and see it go to China). Other energy technologies can be rolled out for instance, if all the Power of amalgamated Capital were thus applied.

Amalgamated Capital is our REAL enemy. Corporations are more powerful now than government itself. (Of the 100 largest "economies" in the world, 50 of them are American Corporations). Iraq is only one element in their grand design. Iraq has being used, and is being used, as wars are always used, to divert our attention from the malfeasance of Capital. Exploiting patriotism is one of the oldest "tricks" in their book, and amalgamated Capital has been using it for thousands of years.

Corporate Globalization is no joke, folks. Surely everyone has read "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man." Amalgamated Capital, which, if you've read that testimony, you know behaves EXACTLY like the Mafia, (only on a MUCH larger scale), has set out a scheme to not only subvert individual governments, as they already have subverted ours, but they intend to subvert "government" itself, by claiming the entire world to run as THEIR private company.

THEY are our enemy, folks. It is these forces of Corporate World Domination that is our REAL enemy. Underlings like the foolish, power-crazed neo-cons are only puppets to amalgamated Capital, to Corporate Power. They are "puppets" on the strings of these Puppeteers. When we are fooled into putting all our attention on the puppets, then we are being controlled by the Puppeteer, just as if we were on his strings ourselves.

That is NOT to say that we should not focus on working against this horrific war. And we should CERTAINLY strive to achieve a United Front in doing so, (and Scott Ritter is an excellent candidate to lead such a United Front), but I am concerned when people think, as Mr. Ritter has stated, that ending this war is going to represent "victory" for us.

The war will end whether we help end it or not. We may be able to help end it faster, but these idiotic neo-cons have committed our military to a "battle" that cannot be won. All of History would have taught them this, but they were just too crazed by power to learn. But when the war ends, the designs of Capital will not. Their Power will remain. They will STILL completely control the Means of Communication, (and they are avidly trying to figure out a way to control the Internet also), and by that power they will continue to control our government.

Surely none among us thinks that this ex-coke head and drunkard, this dim-witted frat-party boy, is the "mastermind" that opposes us. Bill Clinton did as much, if not MORE, to advance the Power of Corporate Globalization as Bush. Bush has opened up the purse of the common citizens for the Corporate Elite to reach in and indulge themselves in an orgy of Greed. And he has also made bold moves to further destroy Democracy and establish outright Fascism, but in doing so, he seems to have only weakened himself, and strengthened the degree of resistance against him. Clinton was a great champion of Global Corporate Power. He was a great supporter of the WTO, and NAFTA could never have passed without his enthusiastic efforts to ram-rod it through. In fact, the primary reason Clinton was elected at all was that Ross Perot rose up against NAFTA, and split Bush the First's vote. But perhaps the most damaging thing that Clinton did was sign the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which paved the way for greater consolidation in media ownership. The ink on this bill was not even dry as Corporate Power moved quickly to suck up media outlets under their control. Surely we realize that the Means of Communication are the means of power.

When the neo-cons fall, as they surely will, The Puppeteer will only trot out another of his puppets to mesmerize us, and keep our attention off of him, (and another "Clinton" puppet is now waiting in the wings). And old saying sums up this "game" used for so long and so well by The Puppeteer to keep us from thinking straight and sorting out this foolish game. "Fools line up to vote, those with the REAL power pick the candidates." When one puppet falls into disfavor, another just takes its place.

With the Means of Communication in the hands of the "enemy," it is crucial for us, as Mr. Ritter counsels us, to UNITE our efforts. We must find the means to unite our efforts, so that we can unite our resources ($), to gain the power to create the requisite media to communicate our own message to the general population. Uniting the anti-war effort is a VERY good idea. But we must realize that ending the war is not going to free us from the designs of Corporate Power.

It is not a matter of choosing one issue upon which to concentrate. It is a matter of realizing that ALL issues are related. What we must find is the "one Ring that binds them all." We must find the ONE "issue" that binds together all the others. We do NOT need to ignore ANY issue, and we must be aware of all the issues, but we must realize that it is the threat to Democracy, or rather even more than that, the threat to "government" itself, presented by Global Corporate Power, that is the Ring that we must "find," and cast into the "Cracks of Doom." This is the "one Ring" whose destruction can and must unite us, for if we do not destroy It, It will most certainly destroy us.

Do any truly understand Tolkien's epic allegory? He witnessed the horrors in the mud of WW I. With his own eyes he saw the mud turn red with the blood of innocent boys on every side dying in the service of a Power they did not understand. He wrote the 'trilogy" in the midst of the rise of Fascism. Many have forgotten that there was considerable support for Fascism in England, (where Orwell also wrote), and also in America, where notables like Charles Lindberg, a noted anti-Semite, had considerable sympathy for Hitler. (Have all seem "V for Vendetta"? It is a comic book Orwellian allegory that describes a Spiritual "process" through which an apathetic population might be induced to rise up against Fascism. Despite its comic book character, it is an important film that seems to be getting little attention).

We need not choose between issues to support. Rather we must find the ONE issue that binds the rest together. That issue is the rise of Corporate Power, also known as Fascism. Every other, from the degradation of our environment, to immigration, to the war in Iraq, is but a derivative of that.

Democracy is the ONE "issue" that binds together all others. Our "process" (Democracy) is our most important "policy." Democracy is not an "issue" at all. Democracy is rather a "Principle." Democracy flows from Truth. It flows from high concepts like "Freedom," "Justice," and "Equal Rights for ALL," which themselves flow directly from the wellspring of Truth itself.

Ending the war is only going to end the war, it is NOT going to end the rise of Fascism. The war is going to end whether we find the means to unite or not. But Corporate Power will remain after American troops slink out of Iraq in defeat, (just as the surviving troops of Crassus stumbled home from Persia to Rome).

The defeat in Viet Nam did not weaken Corporate Power. The Corporate Elite "made a killing" in Viet Nam. War is always good for Capital, and just as they bet on "both sides" in our political system, by getting both the Republicans and the Democrats in their pockets, they usually support "both sides" in war. (The Bush family fortune was largely assembled by doing business with Hitler and the Fascists).

Mr. Ritter may be right that the neo-cons may be weakened, or even destroyed, by this war, but when they fall, The Puppeteer will remain, and new puppets will only take their place. As long as we remain mesmerized by the puppet show, we will remain under the control of The Puppeteer, just as if we were on his strings ourselves. We must cut these invisible 'strings" that keep us mesmerized, and we must turn and face the Puppeteer himself, with all the anger and determination of our United Power. The most basic tenet of Democracy demands that ALL power be derived from "the consent of the governed." ALL power flows from the People. When we unite in our DEMOCRATIC power, we will be MUCH stronger than this mere "wizard," this puppetmaster, behind the curtain.

Democracy is our "one Ring to bind us." If Scott Ritter can unite the anti-war movement that will be great, but we have fallen deeply under the spell of Corporate Power. It has woven inside each of us a will to individualistic satisfaction of our Desire. In our rampant "individualism," our main concern is to compete with one another to satisfy our egos, and we have largely forgotten how to "do" Democracy.

Democracy demands an awareness of the Common Good. It protects the rights of EACH individual citizen with religious fervor, but it DEMANDS that each citizen suppress his or her own ego, his or her own selfish Desire, before the Common Good.

In our will to satisfy our demanding egoism, (another name for individualism), the anti-war movement does not WANT to unite. It rather WANTS to remain splintered into thousands of small groups. Each one has an "Executive Director," or a National Coordinator," Etc, and this serves many egos very well. This is the classic 'too many chiefs, not enough Indians" syndrome, and it is a VERY powerful force. If Ritter can overcome it, and unite the anti-war factions into a real "movement," then good for him, and more power to him, but doing so will not require that we turn our backs on other issues. And I would warn people that if we can end the war, that will mean not "victory" in the larger war, but rather only a battle won in that war.( A battle fought to defend Minas Tirith in Gondor against Sauron's troops, is not a battle that can defeat the evil of Sauron himself).

Our Aragorn walks among us now. He has not yet thrown off his robes to reveal himself, but is rather yet waiting for his time. He WILL resist an offer to wear the Ring of Power, because he knows that such Power is in fact our Enemy. He will instead be a champion for Democracy, and he will obey the People, whose humble employee and servant he will be, and ever remain.

Anyway………back to Earth. (And please don't ask me yet how I know such things, but I do)………I would support Scott Ritter's efforts with the caveat that he must re-think his analysis that any need deny their concerns for any issue, and that success for the anti-war movement is going to bring any final "victory" against the marching forces of Fascism. Granted, it will be a major victory in an important battle, but winning it will NOT mean victory in the larger war. ALL issues are related, and it is Democracy that binds them together. Democracy is not an "issue," it is a Principle. We must fight not just to end a war, but for our Freedom! For Justice! And for Equality for ALL living people who draw breath on God's Earth.

Zwarich

Guest Essayist

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Legacy of The West Wing: How Things Ought to Be...

On Sunday night, the greatest show in television history began its final farewell to America. After seven seasons, the show is winding down. In a mad swirl of drama and classic idealism, we watched as Leo McGarry mirrored John Spencer's too early departure from this world. We watched as an eerily familiar election night played out, both sides wondering if they would need to file lawsuits after the polls closed, a razor thin victory, and a news media extremely hesitant to announce the results of exit polls or call the election for either candidate.

Perhaps the integrity and strength of character shown by both candidates was a little unrealistic--after all, politicians are not known for always taking the high road--but it showed us what elections should be like in this country.

Our elections should be positive, not fraught with tension and negative campaigning.

Our elections should be clean, not filthy with corruption, conflicts of interest, and fraud.

Our elections should be between Americans of quality, not battles between megalomaniacs.

Our elections should be about making America better for Americans, not about dividing Americans in order to make life better for a tiny handful of wealthy business owners.

The West Wing is fairly idealized fiction, but for one hour a week for over six years, it has given us a glimpse of what American politics could be, with a little integrity, honesty, and heart. For those of us deeply pained by the current direction in which this country is moving, it is a necessary and beloved escape from reality. For me, it is a peek at possibility.

There really are Josiah Bartlets in this world--men and women who, though imperfect, have a deep and abiding love for this country and its people, a desire to perform a vital public service, and the ability to do so with honesty and an open-mind not guided by political dogma alone.

There really are politicians out there who understand what they have been elected to do, to represent the will of the American people, and want to fulfill this sacred duty. There really are American men and women serving in public office who know that when it comes to matters of public policy, their job is truly to put their own opinions and needs aside and listen to the people.

If this television phenomenon taught us anything, it showed us that there is something of American politics left to save. There is a tiny shard of truth and hope and beauty and idealism buried beneath the surface of grime and mud and lies and nastiness and corruption and pragmatic indifference to which we have become accustomed.

The West Wing will soon be a thing of the past, added to our DVD collections and pop-culture trivia, but its message is one that will be carried into the future.

Katherine Brengle

The Myth of Health Savings Accounts



Having failed to get the country to adopt his idea of privatizing Social Security, Bush is now pushing health savings accounts (HAS) as the answer to the Nation’s lack of a comprehensive health care system. He would like to expand this system he claims as a way of encouraging people to save and become more cost conscious consumers of medical care. I would like to believe his rational for promoting HAS if it were not for his previous assault on the Social Security System which even his own party refused to adopt.

HSAs are open only to individuals who have a health insurance policy with a yearly deductible of at least $1050 or $2,100 for families and who have no other health coverage, including Medicaid or Medicare. Premiums can be less because of the higher deductible and some employers offer HSAs to employees and may make contributions to the accounts. The contributions to HSAs are rolled over from year to year to build up the account, but money used for non-medical expenses are charge a 10 percent penalty and are taxed. After age 65 the funds can be used for anything with no penalty.

For healthy and wealth families HSAs are a good deal. It provides another tax shelter for the wealthy and gives them at retirement another nest egg they can tap. It is also claimed by proponents of HSAs that it provides an incentive to shop for the less expensive health care since the consumers are paying for it with their own money. Another plus is that HSAs are portable and can be held on to should an employee change jobs.

For the average person, HSAs are not very attractive. People in poor health have trouble buying health insurance period, and those with little income are not going to have the funds to buy HSAs irrespective of any tax advantage. Moreover, it would provide an incentive for healthy people to move out of traditional health insurance plans pushing up premiums on the very people who could least afford them: the poor and the sick. This is another example of social Darwinism that this administration would like to adopt.

Another down side to HSAs is the cost. It is estimated that the tax breaks for the wealthy could cost over $156 billion over 10 years, increasing the pressure to cut spending for Medicare and Medicaid. As employers drop health benefits more employees would be forced into the individual market where sicker people would find it increasingly difficult to obtain coverage.

The solution to our health car crisis is not HSAs but a universal health care system. My next blog will discuss the rational for such a system.

David Goldberg

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Transmitting Extremism

Recently on my high school class internet group one of the girls (now living in NJ) posted a "dog-eared" copy of the anti-Islam essay, which declares that in a direct confrontation between a imam and a priest the imam refused to deny that Islam means to kill off all infidels because the Q'ran says Muslims should. In truth the Q'ran does have some feisty bits into which radical imams can sink their teeth and promote violence. In truth the Bible contains its own share of violence and the histories of Christendom and Islam are both notable for the carnage that has been perpetrated in their names.

The internet posting is part of the program of a group of racists in America. This sort of garbage spews out all day long and nourishes those who are already committed racists. So this week I happened upon this article at firedoglake by David Neiwert called "Late Night FDL: Transmitting Extremism." It's worth a read.

James Richard Brett

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Coma Rap



I just woke from a coma I was in for eight years
and America's decline is bringin' me to tears
Protections have been gutted and pollutions on the rise
Pay for workers going down but up for corporate guys.

When I conked out the debt was getting paid,
The Prez was in trouble cause he got laid,
But we were at peace and things seemed okay
And we all were lookin' forward to a better day.

Well I wake up to find we're fightin' two wars hard
And they've ex-ported all of our national guard
Everybody's freaked, and full of fear
and we're fightin them there so they won't come here

We have a terror alert now and should it turn to red,
better run and hide and get under the bed!

Terrorists are all around, but you can't see 'um
they're crazy and they hate us cause we got freedom
At least that's what the President keeps-sayin'-on-the-news
and media doesn't show many other views

Security to fight off these hidden fiends
Requires that the government use any means
to 'increase our security' in the War on Terror.
If you don't give up your rights, you're making a grave error

Any who dare question official motives-or-reason,
Are probably guilty of the crime of treason.
and must be silenced at any cost
so the War on Terror will not be lost

It seem this all began with the 2000 election
When the Supreme Court made the final selection
Of George Bush to be our new President
and to be the White House resident

What happened then was his numbers fell,
and then we got hit with the day from Hell,
when 9/11 came with attacks from the sky,
and a nation in shock, turned to that new guy.

Three thousand people were killed that day,
Bush said 'Osama did it! I will lead the way
to find him quick before it's too late!'
Osama, they said, was the man to hate.

Congress was given the Patriot Act
Which was passed with the help of an anthrax attack
Our rights were signed away to make us more secure
Then they voted for the president to go to war

No time to ask why they attacked our nation
No crime scene examination
we had to start bombing, No time to waste,
Osama may escape, we must make haste.

The hunt for Osama soon went cold
But tales of Saddam began to unfold
He had gas-and-nukes-and-weapons maybe hidden in the sand
That he planned to use on us, unless we quickly bombed his land.

Iraq was invaded but no weapons were found
and Saddam was pulled from a hole in the ground
The people were livin' in sewage and the dark
But we stayed to bring democracy and leave our mark.

The plan is to win and We're there till we do
Those who say leave must want a terrorist coup
Ya see it's our duty to bring free will
and those who oppose us we'll just have to kill

We're winning hearts and minds and we will not fail
though we may have to torture some we've put in jail
For those who somehow manage to escape that perdition
We'll surely catch them later using secret rendition

Every day in Washington they bring down our freedom status
Have we lost enough yet so they no longer hate us?
and why is it we're feeling so much less secure
and like we're sinking down in a deep pit of manure?

After 9/11 Muslim neighbors were arrested
We should have seen then the Constitution being tested.
Our reporters were embedded or risked getting killed
While in Dover, under darkness, came the coffins that were filled

Then people were drowning from hurricane Katrina
But no one could get a response from FEMA
or any help or word from our administration
Who were all somwhere else taking their vacation.

Congress passes laws to keep the President reigned in
But then he signs a paper sayin' they don't apply to him
Now he's wiretapping us because we might talk to Al Quaeda
And we don't know what he does with all that collected data

Congress keeps ignoring threats to the Constitution
They seem to be unwilling to provide us a solution
We're told we get our say when we cast our next vote
But who can wait for that when we're in a sinking boat?

And who can trust a machines that give no paper trail
and can be hacked to change the numbers so our vote for change will fail?

Our schools and health are taking second billing
no money for us, just for killing

Things round here sure do look like hell ever since the towers fell.

I guess for most of you this happened gradually,
and it doesn't seem as shocking as it does to me.

But for a nation that is in trouble, you're not using all your force
like protests, strikes and boycotts to make them change this course

I'm just saying that it seems we need to do something fast
or the American we love will be a thing of the past.

If we want to fire Bush & CO., we should ring our bells each noon
To put Congress on notice we want something done- and soon!

It's time to send the message we're not takin' this no more
No more giving up our rights, No more fighting war!
We want Peace,
We want justice,
We want life and to be free!
And this leadership must go to protect our liberty!


Sue Dyer
Guest Rapper

Copyright © 2006, Sue Dyer, All Rights Reserved

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