Friday, January 28, 2011

American Op-“Ed”: Are We Genuinely Ignorant?

American Op-“Ed”: Are We Genuinely Ignorant?

I’d like to explore some simple matters in less than elegant or eloquent terms…simple street language is going to suffice because I want the most ignorant and self-congratulatory faux patriot talkers to understand just how ignorant, hypocritical and cowardly the good sheep flock folks of this nation  have become. 

There is an overwhelming temptation to conclude that we have become a genuinely ignorant society.  I have tried to resist accepting that notion as fact…(however).

What other conclusion can one reach when we have people running around loose (Birthers) claiming that our President is keeping a secret that cannot be unmasked by the Secret Service, FBI or WikiLeaks; that he was not born in America. Those who really believe that a secret of this magnitude can and is being kept, in today’s world of no privacy and no secrets, have got to be ignorant or simply nuts…or both. I find it impossible, to accept as rational, their bellicose verbal lint that Obama should not only be Impeached for their delusional fact sheet, but federal Marshalls  ought to swarm The White House and arrest his, (you know the rest), and of course they are not racist bigots longing for a KKK uprising…right. That is genuine ignorance.

I choose, as a general rule, not to associate with dumb people in my everyday life.  They both depress and anger me to the point of some rather previously socially unacceptable behavior. My Grandfather was fond of saying that:  “temptation is the source of all frustration; therefore one ought to yield to all temptations.” As I look about me our society is pretty much at that point.

Certainly all my friends are not Mensa material, but they’re not idiots who believe that the Fox News Network and shit slinging right wing demagogues of the Beck, Limbaugh, Coulter, Malkin, etc. ilk have something important to say and that they are spreading the real truth of our days.  That would be genuine ignorance.

To be in that canoe is surely a sign of ignorance and perverted Christianity. They take in digest so much venom, vitriol, straight injected vaccinations of hate, intolerance and violence inclination that they are immune to truth, clarity of thought and lucidity of expression.  They have taken greater leave of reality than even the meanest falling down room-temperature IQ drunk.

Yet in talking with folks that I would consider “yet rational”, recently; there disturbing facts that have come to light. Everyone has an “Opinion” on or about health care reform and in almost every instance that opinion is dictated, premised upon Political Party preference or the preferred media mind altering drug.  Rational thinking and research, however, all yield to the cliché of opinion: “I have made up my mind so don’t confuse me with the facts.”

Summary conclusion; most people have no real idea of what the hell health care reform is about. The only tidbit the clueless have grasped is that health care has something to do with health insurance.  That is genuine ignorance.   

 These are intelligent, educated people.  And yet, like most Americans, they really don’t have a clue. 

And there is one principle reason; we long ago stopped thinking for ourselves.  We are far too busy for that; mini vans to drive, things to TiVo, people to text, soccer games to attend.  Like everything else in American life, we want this done for us. 

We base our political beliefs on loosest of threads… pick a hot issue or two, something we have a general opinion on, choose a party based on those, and allow the party and poison pundits to dictate our beliefs.

The two party system by which we live is ridiculous. We all know this, yet “rational” folks keep on supporting it, sending money to the parties and candidates, attending meetings where their steaming pasture dropping are shoveled out with blind abandon and with no regard for truth and reality. That is genuine ignorance.

Please don’t give me the crap but “we’ll only waste our time on third party candidates, and maybe, just maybe we can turn some of these politicos around.”  Bullshit; that is genuine ignorance. You are nothing more than an audience to be entertained, amused, tolerated, manipulated, abused and lied to. Those candidates aren’t interested in you; they are interested in keeping their jobs, and I might add jobs that are a helluva lot more cushy and perk laden than yours or mine. Don’t tell me voting for a third party candidate is wasting your vote. Voting for the current crop of party puppets is a waste of your vote, and if you don’t understand that; that is genuine ignorance.

Why not try starving the two parties out of existence, or forcing them to exist on purely corporate donations and support? At least then it would become so obvious that your favorite candidate is corporate lackey that commonsense would dictate that you break a bad habit. Hey; look what the Tea Partiers have done. Now I grant you that they are nuttier than fruitcakes in most instances that their motives well up from the darkest recesses of human instincts and they serve no constructive purpose other than perhaps shattering the Republican Party in 2012. And that would be just fine with me.  That would be one down-one to go!  

Ignorantly we file ourselves away into locked party filing cabinet drawers. I guess it must feel safe to be surrounded by all those other folders, warm safe and cozy.  That is genuine ignorance.

Let’s just examine that statement.  Are you Pro-abortion Rights?

File yourself under the big D, and become a proponent of gun control (even though you really don’t care), the Health Care Bill, and that glowing beacon of change, Barack Obama. (Even though you have absolutely no clue what exactly what the hell it is or what he intends to change)  But it’s all good, because he has the big D on his chest. That is genuine ignorance.

Having taught American History and Government for 31 years in the schools of this nation and having been a political activist for more years than that; I firmly believe I have the right to make the following statements; yes that sounds the ring of entitlement, and it is.

Our system of government has become so perverted, corroded and corrupted that it cannot be repaired within the confines and laws that govern some of us; it must come down and be replaced with new forms that serve the people.

A tectonic collapse is essential before we are mere pawns and slaves to corporate America. I hesitate to use either the terms Fascist or Corptocracy as the media deluge of name calling quickly relegates such terms to the oblivion of ignorable buzz words demonized as the vocabulary of wing nuts or merely the daily dose of self-indulgent mudslinging and name calling in what passes for the “new civility”.  

Then there is the matter of “gun control’ and all of the advocates of civilian disarmament that fly out of the woodwork like termites feasting, feasting on every tragedy that involves a firearm. Firearms don’t going walking around looking for victims, people skulk around looking for victims for whatever motivation, crazed, deranged, drunken or political assassins. Admittedly I am second amendment liberal, at least, and ask only that you read your constitution, review the relevant Supreme Court Decisions and study the history of nations that have been disarmed an left at the mercy of their governments.  

Witness the valiant opposition to the tyrannies of Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen and Egypt of recent days and you will notice the absence of firearms in those acts of resistance, rebellion and revolution.  Do I have to explain why?

Image our Revolutionary war fought with pitchforks, sickles scythes and clubs.

We are so quick to denial in any gun associated tragedy. We just can’t get our minds wrapped around the reality that what happens in our homes, churches, schools, what is vomited up by the collective media, and the quality and content of our everyday culture impacts individuals, their choices and their mental states. I hesitate to even suggest what follows, but if you could totally disarm the American populous that would not stop folks from killing one another, and don’t try to sell the idea that “gun control and disarmament” would stop the mass murders to which we are prone from time to time. Those individuals given to such acts would simply utilize other weapons of death, of which there are many.

The staunchest supporters of unfettered firearms ownership are obviously to be found on the right. I am not about to advocate the right of everyone to own a Kalashnikov AK-47, where many on the right would maintain that right. But let us just look at the base attitude that generates that attitude that position.

 Make a lot of money?  Grab the R for your lapel as you leave.  Congratulations, you now believe that your freedom is predicated on owning as many guns as you can fit into your house, you think the poor should go to hell, and you want to fry everyone who commits a felony, and you now hate gay people and minorities.

 Are we really this apathetic?  Do we really care so little for the world around us that we sign up willingly as sheep?  Are we really that accepting of the notion of having a bunch of rich guys who have no notion (or concern) for what you want or need do our thinking for us? That is genuine ignorance.

Here’s what I propose, my fellow lemmings; a new party, not like the Libertarians, progressive or any of the other farcical groups that no one takes seriously.  We give it a name that is short, simple, and describes the ideology of the party in one word…AWAKE.     

That’s easy enough.  The party philosophy would be simple;  no specific beliefs, no  preconceived views on any issue, candidate, or decision, and any and all can join, with one prerequisite… you have to have the willingness and ability to use only one word…THINK!

 Membership won’t be entirely free.  It will require an investment of time and a side of free thinking.  You will be required to actually investigate issues.  You will have to make decisions.  You will have to be willing to accept responsibility for the fact that you are a part of the problem, and be willing to take the steps to remedy this nation’s problems.

I must be candid with you; at the outset such a party would viewed as odd, and yes dangerous. This would not be low risk venture to begin with. But something has to done and this would a lesser act than outright revolution which so many have no taste for. To say that nothing can be done except a continuation of the political theater that has characterized America’s “would be change agent patriots”; that is genuine ignorance.

So many who will read this have been advocates for real justice in this land.  They have argued and advocated for our escape from “American Exceptionalism” and for the full force of American Law to be applied equally to every citizen without exception and without exemption. The term “Exceptionalism” is, however, a double edged sword with a duality of definition in America, a problem I will address shortly. From my/our point of view it gives immediate reference to holding our elected officials accountable to the letter of the law with no situational exception, i.e., a war crime is a war crime, a war criminal is a war criminal, even if they are American.

We have long held the view that many within the Bush Administration are guilty of war crimes and are by every definition of the words: war Criminals. Those accusations are supported by volumes of documentation, yet we accept as fact that they cannot, and others, should not be held to account. It is this side of the Sword of American Exceptionalism that is abhorrent as permits the powerful to cloak themselves in protective privileged garment that places them above the laws, laws we expect to be upheld, laws they are sworn to uphold. That is hypocrisy at its worst and that we tolerate the situation and swallow all the rationalized cool-aid poured for us; that is genuine ignorance.    

From a purely Historical/Academic view American exceptionalism refers to the opinion that the United States is qualitatively different from other nations. In this view, America's exceptionalism stems from its emergence from a revolution, becoming "the first new nation", and developing a uniquely American ideology, based on liberty, egalitarianism,   individualism,  populism  and laissez-faire. This observation can be traced to Alexis de Tocqueville, the first writer to describe the United States as "exceptional." The term "American exceptionalism" itself was first used by members of the American Communist Party in the 1920s, in reference to their belief that "thanks to its natural resources, industrial capacity, and absence of rigid class distinctions, America might for a long while avoid the crisis that must eventually befall every capitalist society."

Although the term initially did not imply superiority, some writers have used it in that sense.  To them, the United States is a "shining city on a hill", and exempt from historical forces that have affected other countries. That is genuine ignorance.

 In the 1960s "post-nationalist " scholars rejected American exceptionalism, arguing that the United States had not broken from European history, and had retained class inequities, imperialism and war. Furthermore, they saw every nation as subscribing to some form of exceptionalism. So many other terms and concepts woven into the fabric of the whole cloth of American myths the definition via action has been corrupted.

President upon President have relied upon the word in their rhetoric to paint America as a nation of “Exceptional” promise and accomplishment. There is some measure of truth in that usage and characterization and the line always appeals to the American psyche. Obama’s recent State of The Union Address was no “exception”.

But when the evolved, corrupted, perverted definition rears its ugly head and says that because we are/have been such an “Exceptional” nation we are therefore entitled to “Exceptional Exemption”  from International Law, standards of decency to which we hold other nations, and is further applied to the powers, rights, actions and entitlement of our elected leaders to be “Exceptional and Exempt” from the rule of law at home and abroad we have by our own inaction approved the rights of unaccountable criminal class in America…our elected leaders. That is unconscionable. That is genuine ignorance.

As I have noted; in its classic forms, American exceptionalism refers to the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty. Sometimes this special character is inferred from the nature of American political institutions founded in the 1776-89 period–the declaration of independence (1776), revolution (1776-83), constitution (1787) etc. Thus the “revolution” and its aftermath freeing the US from British control are important in ideas of American exceptionalism.

But often the political differences are said to be underpinned by material differences brought about by the wealth/resources of the United States, sometimes seen as a direct product of the freedom of the American people, but by others as the product of the inheritance of the North American continent’s abundant resources. This is the frontier version of the theory, and this and the ideas of social mobility and immigrant assimilation  are closely tied to this set of ideas of American material prosperity. Many aspects of American history may be left out or distorted in the traditional narratives–particularly the histories of Amerindian peoples and the contribution of other ethnic groups that preceded the Anglo-Americans, e.g. Hispanics. Race and slavery are seen as tragic exceptions, and the abolition of the latter was viewed as a partial resolution, encompassed in Lincoln’s idea of a “new birth of freedom” in the Gettysburg Address.

It is also important to realize that there is a “negative” version of exceptionalism, i.e. that the US has been exceptionally bad, racist, violent. While this is less a part of the common myths about American history, the attempt to compensate for American exceptionalism by emphasizing unique American evils is equally distorting. We need to think more about this matter, especially when we deal with racial divisions and gender prejudice. Is the US experience a variant on wider racial and gender patterns? While social history has provided new perspectives on the role of women, African Americans, and ethnics in the making of American history, has that new history discredited or qualified ideas of American exceptionalism?
The actual term “American exceptionalism” was originally coined by German Marxists who wished to explain why the US seemed to have by-passed the rise of socialism and Marxism. (Actually the US had much class conflict, some Marxist parties and theorists, and a lively socialist movement, though the latter was not on the scale of, say, France and Germany.) But exceptionalism is much more than about class conflict.
Some historians prefer the terms “differences” or “uniqueness?” Are these suitable substitutes? Whatever the terminology, the implications of American difference/uniqueness have long been debated. Some have said the difference was temporary, and eventually the US would be like other countries. Others have argued that American “specialness” stems from its political, intellectual, and even religious heritage, and is enduring.
The United States is often said to be a model which should be emulated by the rest of the world, but at other times it has been argued instead that the conditions which gave birth to the United States could not be reproduced elsewhere. Thus other countries are generally seen as trying to follow or catch up, but never do.
You can see that American exceptionalism contains a complicated and often contradictory set of assumptions. Do these assumptions stand up to the test of logical and empirical analysis? I do not think that they do, but one must face that fact that exceptionalism is an idea that has thrived in American society, though with many ups and downs in its levels of support. Ideas do influence human society, so in this sense American exceptionalism may be important in explanations of how Americans think and how they have acted. But thought is not everything. One must not neglect material circumstances that limit and shape what any society can do–the actual social history of the American people and the concrete political institutions that have shaped American life.
 “The Myth(s) That Refuse to Lie Down and Die: American National Exceptionalism”

“The national “myth” of American Exceptionalism does not rest on one particular creation story or narrative derived from a specific series of events. It is more akin to a cluster of stories that provides buttresses for pseudo-analytical judgments about American national identity. Because of its composite nature, American Exceptionalism can accommodate much academic research within its flexible contours as well as obtain popular consent, through its series of subsidiary national “myths”. This paper historicizes those expressions of the myth of American exceptionalism and shows their continuing relevance to contemporary American debates over the nation’s values, traditions, and political practice.

One aspect of "American exceptionalism" was always economic. US workers, so the story went, enjoyed a rising level of real wages that afforded their families a rising standard of living. Ever harder work paid off in rising consumption. The rich got richer faster than the middle and poor, but almost no one got poorer. Nearly all citizens felt "middle class". A profitable US capitalism kept running ahead of labour supply. So, it kept raising wages to attract waves of immigration and to retain employees, across the 19th century until the 1970s.

Then everything changed. Real wages stopped rising, as US capitalists redirected their investments to produce and employ abroad, while replacing millions of workers in the US with computers. The US women's liberation moved millions of US adult women to seek paid employment. US capitalism no longer faced a shortage of labor.

US employers took advantage of the changed situation: they stopped raising wages. When basic labor scarcity became labour excess, not only real wages, but eventually benefits, too, would stop rising. Over the last 30 years, the vast majority of US workers have, in fact, gotten poorer, when you sum up flat real wages, reduced benefits (pensions, medical insurance, etc), reduced public services and raised tax burdens. In economic terms, American "exceptionalism" began to die in the 1970s.

The rich, however, have got much richer since the 1970s, as every measure of US income and wealth inequality attests. The explanation is simple: while workers' average real wages stayed flat, their productivity rose (the goods and services that an average hour's labor provided to employers). More and better machines (including computers), better education, and harder and faster labor effort raised productivity since the 1970s. While workers delivered more and more value to employers, those employers paid workers no more. The employers reaped all the benefits of rising productivity: rising profits, rising salaries and bonuses to managers, rising dividends to shareholders, and rising payments to the professionals who serve employers (lawyers, architects, consultants, etc).

Since the 1970s, most US workers postponed facing up to what capitalism had come to mean for them. They sent more family members to do more hours of paid labor, and they borrowed huge amounts. By exhausting themselves, stressing family life to the breaking point in many households, and by taking on unsustainable levels of debt, the US working class delayed the end of American exceptionalism – until the global crisis hit in 2007. By then, their buying power could no longer grow: rising unemployment kept wages flat, no more hours of work, nor more borrowing, were possible. Reckoning time had arrived. A US capitalism built on expanding mass consumption lost its foundation.

The richest 10-15% – those cashing in on employers' good fortune from no longer-rising wages – helped bring on the crisis by speculating wildly and unsuccessfully in all sorts of new financial instruments (asset-backed securities, credit default swaps, etc). The richest also contributed to the crisis by using their money to shift US politics to the right, rendering government regulation and oversight inadequate to anticipate or moderate the crisis or even to react properly once it hit.

Indeed, the rich have so far been able to use the crisis to widen still further the gulf separating themselves from the rest, to finally bury American exceptionalism. First, they utilized both parties' dependence on their financial support to make sure there would be no mass federal hiring program for the unemployed (as FDR used between 1934 and 1940). The absence of such a program guaranteed that real wages would not rise and, with job benefits, would likely fall – as they indeed have done. Second, the rich made sure that the prime focus of government response to the crisis would benefit banks, large corporations and the stock markets. These have more or less "recovered".

Third, the current drive for government budget austerity – especially focused on the 50 states and the thousands of municipalities – forces the mass of people to pick up the costs for the government's unjustly imbalanced response to the crisis. The trillions spent to save the banks and selected other corporations (AIG, GM, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc) were mostly borrowed because the government dared not tax the corporations and the richest citizens to raise the needed rescue funds. Indeed, a good part of what the government borrowed came precisely from those funds left in the hands of corporations and the rich, because they had not been taxed to overcome the crisis. With sharply enlarged debts, all levels of government face the pressure of needing to take too much from current tax revenues to pay interest on debts, leaving too little to sustain public services. So, they demand the people pay more taxes and suffer reduced public services, so that government can reduce its debt burden.

For example, California's new governor proposes to continue for five more years the massive, broad-based tax increases begun during the crisis and also to cut state services for the poor (reduced Medicaid funding) and the middle class(reduced budgets for community colleges, state colleges, and the university system). The governor admits that California's budget faces sky-high interest costs and reduced federal government assistance just when the crisis increases demands for public services. The governor does not admit his fear to tax the state's huge corporate and private individual wealth. So, he announces an "austerity program", as if no alternative existed. Indeed, a major support for austerity comes from the large corporations and wealthiest Californians, who hold the state's bonds and want reassurances that the interest on those bonds will be paid.

California's austerity program parallels similar program in many other states, in thousands of municipalities, and at the federal level (for example, social security). Together, they reinforce falling real wages, falling benefits, falling government services and rising taxes. In the US, capitalism has stopped "delivering the goods", as it so long boasted. The reality of ever-deeper economic division clashes with expectations built up when wages rose over the century before the 1970s. US capitalism now brings long-term painful decline for its working class, the end of "American exceptionalism" and rising social, cultural and political tensions.
Bruce Fein has yet another take:

American Exceptionalism Is Un-American

The Problem of American Exceptionalism

Our values and attitudes may be misunderstood, but they have consequences on the world scene

Richard Wolff gives his monthly talk on global capitalism at the Brecht Forum in New York on 18 January; for more information about Professor Wolff's lectures, podcasts and media appearance, visit his website

Like so many other phrases of the day; “American Exceptionalism” has become a double edged sword by definition and application…it has mutated and become one of those phrases that has found a home in the myth strands of the fabric of this nation. Like many such utterances before the mutation has not been a matter of accident or evolution but a matter of popular political perversion. To begin with we were an exception nation and then we became in the eyes of our own popular culture an “exemplary nation” destined or duty bound to export the values of our nation and the magnificence of our democracy, and finally turned inward the notion has become cover for every excess of government here and abroad. That is perversion. Such things have always morphed into justifications for less than altruistic ambitions. I site only one additional instance to illustrate the point.

Manifest Destiny was a term used in the 1840s to justify the United States' westward expansion into such areas as Texas, Oregon, and California. There was a widely held underlying belief that Americans, the "chosen people," had a divinely inspired mission to spread the fruits of their democracy to the less fortunate (usually meaning Native Americans and other non-Europeans).

The idea of an almost religious Manifest Destiny was a common staple in the speeches and newspaper articles of the time. Most of the exponents of expansion were Democrats, but some Whigs (and later Republicans) were also supporters.

Manifest Destiny was later applied to American interests in the Caribbean and the Pacific, sharing much with the practice of imperialism.

Critics, both at that time and today, saw the Manifest Destiny rationale as a thinly veiled attempt to put an acceptable face on taking lands from other peoples. Motives were often described as well-intentioned efforts to improve the lot of backward masses, but in truth the motivators were greed and control.

The American people having derived their origin from many other nations, and the Declaration of National Independence being entirely based on the great principle of human equality, these facts demonstrate at once our disconnected position as regards any other nation; that we have, in reality, but little connection with the past history of any of them, and still less with all antiquity, its glories, or its crimes. On the contrary, our national birth was the beginning of a new history, the formation and progress of an untried political system, which separates us from the past and connects us with the future only; and so far as regards the entire development of the natural rights of man, in moral, political, and national life, we may confidently assume that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity.

It is so destined, because the principle upon which a nation is organized fixes its destiny, and that of equality is perfect, is universal. It presides in all the operations of the physical world, and it is also the conscious law of the soul -- the self-evident dictates of morality, which accurately defines the duty of man to man, and consequently man's rights as man. Besides, the truthful annals of any nation furnish abundant evidence, that its happiness, its greatness, its duration, were always proportionate to the democratic equality in its system of government. . . .

What friend of human liberty, civilization, and refinement, can cast his view over the past history of the monarchies and aristocracies of antiquity, and not deplore that they ever existed? What philanthropist can contemplate the oppressions, the cruelties, and injustice inflicted by them on the masses of mankind, and not turn with moral horror from the retrospect?

America is destined for better deeds. It is our unparalleled glory that we have no reminiscences of battle fields, but in defence of humanity, of the oppressed of all nations, of the rights of conscience, the rights of personal enfranchisement. Our annals describe no scenes of horrid carnage, where men were led on by hundreds of thousands to slay one another, dupes and victims to emperors, kings, nobles, demons in the human form called heroes. We have had patriots to defend our homes, our liberties, but no aspirants to crowns or thrones; nor have the American people ever suffered themselves to be led on by wicked ambition to depopulate the land, to spread desolation far and wide, that a human being might be placed on a seat of supremacy.

We have no interest in the scenes of antiquity, only as lessons of avoidance of nearly all their examples. The expansive future is our arena, and for our history. We are entering on its untrodden space, with the truths of God in our minds, beneficent objects in our hearts, and with a clear conscience unsullied by the past. We are the nation of human progress, and who will, what can, set limits to our onward march? Providence is with us, and no earthly power can. We point to the everlasting truth on the first page of our national declaration, and we proclaim to the millions of other lands, that "the gates of hell" -- the powers of aristocracy and monarchy -- "shall not prevail against it."

The far-reaching, the boundless future will be the era of American greatness. In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many nations is destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever dedicated to the worship of the Most High -- the Sacred and the True. Its floor shall be a hemisphere -- its roof the firmament of the star-studded heavens, and its congregation an Union of many Republics, comprising hundreds of happy millions, calling, owning no man master, but governed by God's natural and moral law of equality, the law of brotherhood -- of "peace and good will amongst men.". . .

Yes, we are the nation of progress, of individual freedom, of universal enfranchisement. Equality of rights is the cynosure of our union of States, the grand exemplar of the correlative equality of individuals; and while truth sheds its effulgence, we cannot retrograde, without dissolving the one and subverting the other. We must onward to the fulfilment of our mission -- to the entire development of the principle of our organization -- freedom of conscience, freedom of person, freedom of trade and business pursuits, universality of freedom and equality. This is our high destiny, and in nature's eternal, inevitable decree of cause and effect we must accomplish it.

All this will be our future history, to establish on earth the moral dignity and salvation of man -- the immutable truth and beneficence of God. For this blessed mission to the nations of the world, which are shut out from the life-giving light of truth, has America been chosen; and her high example shall smite unto death the tyranny of kings, hierarchs, and oligarchs, and carry the glad tidings of peace and good will where myriads now endure an existence scarcely more enviable than that of beasts of the field. Who, then, can doubt that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity?

We are living through “A Great Recession”, a term coined by the media. The truth of the matter is that we are in the midst of the second Great Depression, albeit this time a “Managed Depression” spawned by massive financial fraud and a Wall Street turned Casino, a disaster that the Bush Administration set the direction for recovery on a bailout track of those very institutions that had caused the collapse, ruination of the American economy and its dominos that rattled around the Globe. “They were”Too Big To Fail” so Americans were forced to save them, the media white-washed them and no one is going to jail for the criminal activity and ruination visited upon the American Public in terms of foreclosures, homelessness, job losses by the millions, and the dumpstering of  a  generation’s dreams and aspirations. And we have tolerated this with only complaint and screaming. That is genuine ignorance.

Financial Institution CEOs were chastised for their sales and perk packages, 90% of which have already been reinstated one way or another. Corporations that shed employees like dead skin cells are drowning in cash and both are fighting regulation as if were World War III or IV. How dare Americans think that the corporate criminals of Americas should be brought to justice or even disciplined?

“They've broken into and stolen people's homes, and, in the name of “efficiency,” bilked state governments out of billions of dollars in real estate transfer fees. They've even admitted to ripping off – and foreclosing on – soldiers deployed overseas, in violation of the law. And they shredded a bedrock principle of capitalism, throwing hundreds of years of settled property law into doubt and in turn creating a massive drag on Main Street's economic “recovery.”
“They got rich in the process. The mortgage industry did all of that for a fat stream of profits while the going was good, but now that they face the prospect of being held accountable by the justice system -- as would you or I had we routinely broken the laws -- analysts expect the “banksters” to lobby hard for another bailout.’
“They won't be looking for the Fed to shower them with free money or buy up trillions worth of “toxic assets” weighing down their books  they already got that sort of bailout once, the voters detested it and with the Tea Party ascendant in the GOP, the political atmosphere precludes a repeat performance.”
“No, the mortgage industry – with the help of its political lackeys in Washington-- is reportedly looking for a judicial bailout that would retroactively allow loan servicers to foreclose on properties without running up the costs of getting their paperwork in order, and limit investors' – and possibly the states' – ability to sue them for the mess they created in the housing market.”
“Third Way, the financial industry's Trojan Horse in Democratic policy circles (which is very well represented in the White House), released a policy memo last week urging Congress to step into the chaos caused by the banks' “robo-signing” scandal and immunize the banks from liability from the robo-signing mess ( PDF ).”

They won’t make a move to rebuild our nation’s economy without their asses being kissed and their rights to commit crimes being fully restored by law. And we are expected to accept, tolerate this arrogance. And America is prepared to do so.     

We are being fed polling data that says Americans trust the Corporate Rapists to create new jobs more than our government. I guess that should not be a surprise as it is a matter of which bastard institution do trust more and our government puppets come out on the short sticky end of the stick. But; that is genuine ignorance.

New jobs may be created and old ones reinstated, but on the same footing of salary or union protections. They have gone to the financial hamburger joint and they have placed their orders to have “Their Way”.  There is a huge disconnect or perceptional gap in America at the moment. Seventy-one percent (71%) of the Political Class favors the president’s new spending proposals; 62% of Mainstream voters do not.  We just don’t understand because we are genuinely ignorant.

It is difficult to maintain thoughts of civility when we being asked to be submissive peons pissed on by the privileged who want nothing less from us but to worship at corporate altars and to agree to Crucifixion on a corporate cross. 

We have already suffered enough from all manner of financial plunder from derivatives to other paper as useful as used toilet paper; The financial industry knew this stuff was bogus and dangerous but that they could get away with it and they are! Why: because we are genuinely ignorant!

 Derivatives Made Simple!

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Detroit.

She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics
and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar.

To Solve This Problem, She Comes Up With New Marketing Plan
That Allows Her Customers To Drink Now, But Pay Later.

She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around about Heidi's "drink now, pay later" marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi's bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Detroit.

By providing her customers' freedom from immediate payment demands, Heidi gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages. Consequently, Heidi's gross sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Heidi's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then bundled and traded on international security markets. Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being sold to them as AAA secured bonds are really the debts of unemployed alcoholics.

Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.

One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar. He so informs Heidi.

Heidi then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since, Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and the eleven employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS drop in price by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the banks liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Heidi's bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms' pension funds in the various BOND securities. They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multi-billion dollar no-strings attached cash infusion from the Government.

The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers.

Now, do you understand?

And Now The Big White Wash We’re Supposed To Accept!

Inquiry Doesn't Call Crisis Systemic Fraud

Are We Genuinely Ignorant?

One has to ask themselves these days: “Who owns the political parties?” If identify with the big R the billionaire Koch Brothers are the front runners. It has become quite apparent in recent days that the infamous Citizens United SCOTUS Decision bestowing personhood on corporations and enabling them to pour money into elections in torrential portions, thereby legitimizing the corporate purchase of our government while we are strung along as still being important as voters. We have become nothing more than ratifiers of the corporate puppets served up to us, and we’re going along with their game. That is genuine ignorance.  

Yes, the news/revelation that justices Scalia and Thomas have attended Koch strategy sessions prior to the decision is adding to the growing buzz over a planned demonstration against the billionaires. But we have all seen all manner of protest demonstrations in recent years that amount to absolutely nothing in terms of causing real change.  If you expect this event to have real impact you are mistaken. It will be sloughed off like so many others. Scalia and Thomas will neither resign nor be impeached for their conduct; in fact they won’t even explain it or apologize for the error of their ways.

It is difficult to maintain thoughts of civility when we all know the current call for calm after the Tucson Shootings is both temporary and a sham. The actions of Congress will return to their rancorous level as the days pass, and if you paid attention to Michelle Bachmann’s Self-Anointed Tea Party State of The Union response, you would have realized the truth of the statement above.

The headline for her performance should have been : Bachmann Stokes Political Rhetoric Fires.”

She engaged no phony sincerity.  She made no moving mention of her colleague lying in a Texas hospital, whose family celebrated that she could actually watch an hour of television.

There was no flowery  rhetoric about all of us being Americans first, healing our divisions, finding greatness in our collective strength.

There were no platitudes about sitting together and working together and moving forward to try to solve some of the country's problems.

Hell NO:  Bachmann went on the attack against President Obama from the first line of her speech, devoting all but the last minute to making the case that he is to blame for the state of the economy. In the wake of Tucson, only one imperative remains: Blame it on Barack.

Bachmann is going to fight the last war until the last cable station turns out the last light. She may not have much to say about solving the country's problems, but she's got plenty to say about who's to blame for them: Obama. You remember when Obama became president — it was morning in America and then a storm blew in? No?  Bachmann had the charts to prove it.

Of course, the charts don't show you what went wrong under President Bush or what went right under President Clinton. But why let facts get in the way?

The point is to throw mud and assign blame. Isn't it? Isn't that what most Americans were tuning in to hear from their leaders?

Tell us: Who should we blame? Who can we tag for this? Who is it we should finger for destroying our well-being, our jobs, our lives?

The only thing that was nearly as painful to witness as what happened in Tucson was the way talking heads on both sides literally used it to talk about their favorite subject — themselves.

I’m not sure any more "the American people" want, and I don't trust anyone who pretends they do. But I do believe there are a whole lot of people in this country who might not agree on much other than that they are sick and tired of the way politics is discussed and done.

It's not a left-right issue — quite the contrary. The far left and the far right have more in common, in terms of their styles of discourse and engagement, than either does with everyone else.

Bachmann was not selected to speak on behalf of the tea party movement for her economic acumen. Her job was not to bring people together. She did not even pretend to outline an alternative economic program.

She was there to be a lightning rod — not to prevent a fire, but in the hopes of starting one as big as possible, knowing that the rest of us, no matter what we say, will always crane our necks to catch a glimpse of the wreckage.

We are not only ignorant; we are sick!  How Sick are we?

As discussion about whether violent rhetoric influenced the shooting in Arizona this past weekend continues, Frances Fox Piven—

professor, Nation writer and author, most recently, of Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America—joined Democracy Now! to talk about Glenn Beck’s suggestion that she has plotted violent overthrow of the US government, bears responsibility for the financial crisis and is comparable to the right-wing Hutaree militia.

Piven says that “right wing operatives” recently visited her home to interview her for a video that would be part of their “term paper." The "operatives" turned out to both be individuals working for Andrew Breitbart’s blog. According to Piven, Beck “picked” her (and her late husband, Richard Cloward) because she wrote “a little article” for The Nation last year talking about the problems in organizing the unemployed, so the unemployed can have an impact in American politics. 

“Unnerved” by these Beckheads but not “afraid,” Piven concludes that Glenn Beck does not deserve to be singled out. For Piven, Rupert Murdoch has done much more to create an atmosphere in which Beck's rhetoric is accepted, and has taken advantage of the tragedy "to create a demonology in which it is the left, the Democratic left, that is the source of many of our troubles.” 
A campaign has begun to defend a longtime professor and activist from the frequent attacks of Glenn Beck—and the death threats that the attacks have brought with them.

Frances Fox Piven, a 78-year-old professor and political theorist, has been the subject of harsh criticism by Beck for years. Now, the Center for Constitutional Rights has written a letter to Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News, asking for his "immediate help in stopping false accusations by Glenn Beck that are putting Professor Piven in danger."

Beck has cast Piven—who is now a professor at the City University of New York—and her late husband, fellow academic Richard Cloward, as the architects of the economic crisis and key influences behind what Beck sees as Barack Obama's drive to break down and radically transform the American government.

In one broadcast, Beck described Piven and Cloward as "the people who you would say are fundamentally responsible for the unsustainability and possible collapse of our economic system." Piven is also a frequent target on Beck's news site, The Blaze; one headline on a recent article reads, "Frances Fox Piven Rings In The New Year By Calling For Violent Revolution."

As recently as Monday, Beck devoted over seven minutes of his TV show to Piven, repeatedly calling her an "enemy of the Constitution" due to an article she wrote for The Nation in which she praised the demonstrations and civil disobedience that occurred in Britain and Greece in the past few months….

I have to admit that recently I have been shocked, taken aback by some of my reasonable thinking friends when it comes to “The Question Of The Constitution”.  Right Wing Extremists has been busy pronouncing The United States Constitution to be: Archaic, Antiquated, Irrelevant and Dead for a few years now. That is a simple way to say that the document does not apply to the conduct of our government any longer.  My problem is the fact that reasonable people are beginning to discuss those assertions after having been saturated with the notion; they have been softened up.

Curious enough those same people argue the “civilian militia” language of The Second Amendment, literally to the death. I guess that line is still relevant..huh!  There is no question but what the Constitution is being selectively applied in America these days; you see there is this situational imperative where simple must do what we must do…bullshit!

But I am going to digress for a few moments and turn this commentary over to a different quill who has a very different exposure to the constitutional questions of our land.

Stealing the Constitution

This essay is adapted from a work in progress, tentatively titled:
 Unhinged: Reclaiming Our Constitution From the Lunatic Right.

In October I spent a crisp Saturday in the windowless basement of a suburban Virginia church attending a seminar on "The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution." I was told the secrets the "elite" have concealed from the people: the Constitution is based on the Law of Moses; Mosaic law was brought to the West by the ancient Anglo-Saxons, who were probably the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel; the Constitution restores the fifth-century kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons.

The conservatives ensconced on the Supreme Court are set to uphold draconian ID requirements on voters that will redefine electoral politics in America.

There's more: virtually all of modern American life and government is unconstitutional. Social Security, the Federal Reserve, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, hate crime laws—all flatly violate God's law. State governments are not required to observe the Bill of Rights; the First Amendment establishes "The Religion of America," which is "nondenominational" Christianity.

The instructor was Lester Pearce, an Arizona judge and the brother of state senator Russell Pearce, author of Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB 1070. (Perhaps not surprising, Lester tended to digress about how he cracks down on Mexican immigrants in court.) Pearce got rapt attention from the fifty people in the audience, although one boy near me spent his time perfecting a detailed sketch of an assault rifle.

These were earnest citizens who had come to learn about America and its Constitution. What they were being taught was poisonous rubbish.

Americans today are frightened and disoriented. In the midst of uncertainty, they are turning to the Constitution for tools to deal with crisis. The far right—the toxic coalition of Fox News talking heads, radio hosts, angry "patriot" groups and power-hungry right-wing politicians—is responding to this demand by feeding their fellow citizens mythology and lies.

The seminar I attended was organized by the National Center for Constitutional Studies, nestled securely in the metropolis of Malta, Idaho (2000 Census population 177, white population 174). The NCCS was the cold war brainchild of the late W. Cleon Skousen, a prominent John Bircher.

The center and its crazed ideology have been taken up by Glenn Beck, who touts its educational programs on his TV show. Civic groups, school districts and even some city governments across the country have been persuaded to sponsor daylong seminars by the "nonpartisan" NCCS; its speakers are visiting high schools to distribute pocket copies of the Constitution. Skousen's massive "guide" to the Constitution, The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, is currently No. 14 on Amazon's "constitutional history" bestseller list—and has ranked as high as No. 4 in the past year.

Beck is not the only commentator who is espousing such extremist notions. Popular authors Thomas Woods Jr. and Kevin Gutzman, in their book Who Killed the Constitution?, argue thatBrown v. Board of Education should be overturned. Not even the Constitution is safe from the "constitutionalists": Fox News commentator Andrew Napolitano recently called the popular election of senators "the only part of the Constitution that is itself unconstitutional." A gathering of conservative law professors and activists at the 2010 convention of the Federalist Society, after gloating about the right-wing triumph in the off-year elections, advocated calling a constitutional convention to strip Congress of its current powers. House majority leader Eric Cantor supports a constitutional amendment to permit the state legislatures to repeal federal laws.

The new Republican majority in the House decided to kick off Congress with a televised reading of "the Constitution" by members. I use the quotation marks because the Constitution they read was edited so that members wouldn't have to read embarrassing anachronisms like Article I, Section 2, which counted a slave as three-fifths of a white person. (Poignantly, the language in the First Amendment about "the right of the people peaceably to assemble" was read by Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot at a constituent meeting two days later.) They also have enacted a rule requiring that every new piece of legislation include a "constitutional authority" statement explaining why Congress has the power to pass it. (The false implication is that previous Congresses enacted laws willy-nilly, with no attention to that body's powers.)

Conservative lawmakers increasingly claim that the "original intent" of the Constitution's framers and the views of the right wing of the Republican Party are one and the same. Newly elected Senator Mike Lee of Utah has endorsed state "nullification" of the healthcare law. And far-right Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has set up a "Constitution school" for new members of Congress; Justice Antonin Scalia (in other contexts a stickler for the separation of powers) has agreed to join Bachmann's faculty.

Scalia's injudicious involvement with House Republicans underscores the new boldness of conservative federal judges in adopting the rhetoric and ideas of the hard right. Scalia has repeatedly said that direct election of senators is "a bad idea." He recently said that the Equal Protection Clause provides no protection for women against discrimination because when it was adopted "nobody thought it was directed against sex discrimination." Federal District Judge Roger Vinson of Florida, who is hearing a challenge to the new healthcare program, recently cast doubt on its constitutionality in an opinion that cited, among other things, a Wall Street Journal op-ed as its "authority."

It's easy to understand why conservative politicians and judges are trying to align their political program with a strained reading of the Constitution: Social Security, Medicare, environmental protection and aid to education have broad popular support. Even the healthcare program, so reviled by the Republican Party, will be almost impossible to repeal using the legislative process.

So the right is seeking to win by changing the rules. Progressive, democratically enacted policy choices are unconstitutional, they argue. A document that over time has become more democratic and egalitarian is being rewritten as a charter of privilege and inequality. This shouldn't be allowed to happen.

Why has the right done such a good job of putting out its invented "Constitution"? Some of the responsibility lies with progressive legal scholars, who are well situated to explain the Constitution to the public. It isn't that they have failed; it's that they seldom try. Scholars from top schools hold forth with polysyllabic theories of hermeneutics that ordinary citizens can't fathom. Meanwhile, conservatives don't hesitate to speak directly to the public—and, often, to dumb down the Constitution. They purvey a simple myth: anyone who doesn't support the far-right version of the Constitution is at best unpatriotic, at worst a traitor.

Enough of that. The Constitution belongs to all of us. It's time to take it back from those who are trying to steal it in plain sight. Our Constitution wasn't written to rig the political game but to allow us to play it without killing one another. It created a government and gave that government the power it needed to function.

That seems elementary, but the right claims that the Constitution was designed to prevent America from abandoning the tallow-candle purity of the Anglo-Saxon past. Any innovative government program, the argument runs, must be unconstitutional, or the framers would have predicted it in so many words. But the Constitution wasn't a revival; it was something brand-new—the first national written constitution in Western history. The framers wanted to impel change, not prevent it.

Conservatives also claim that the Constitution was set up to restrain the federal government. If so, there's precious little evidence of it. The actual text of the Constitution is overwhelmingly concerned with making sure the new government had enough power; the framers thought the old Articles of Confederation were fatally weak. Sure, they didn't want to set up a government that could throw people in jail without a good reason, or steal their property, or do away with free elections. The original Constitution prohibited oppressive practices, and the Bill of Rights added other restrictions.

But the document as a whole is much more concerned with what the government can do—not with what it can't. From the beginning it was empowered to levy taxes, to raise armies, to make war, to set the rules of commerce and to bind the nation through treaties and international agreements. There's no sign of the libertarian fairyland many on the far right have invented. Rather, the Constitution allowed for a government adequate to the challenges facing a modern nation.

In particular, the Constitution was not written to weaken an overreaching Congress but to strengthen an enfeebled one. The old Articles of Confederation had set up a Congress with the power only to beg states for money and recommend laws for them to enact. That didn't work; the country found itself headed for bankruptcy and disaster. To replace that old Congress, the Constitution created a bicameral Congress with a long and impressive list of textual powers. It also gives this Congress the power "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution," not only those specific powers but "all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."

That's a lot of power. And over the years, the government has sometimes needed it, to deal with civil war, economic calamity and internal disorder.

Another myth is that the Constitution was created to "protect" the states from federal power. Again, if that's true, it's not because of anything actually in the Constitution. The Constitution includes limits—but they are mostly limits on state governments and corresponding increases in federal power. The idea that states have rights, or that they are sovereign, appears nowhere in the original Constitution. And constitutional amendments have repeatedly imposed further limits on the states while granting more power to Congress.

One of the pet peeves of the right is the "intrusion" of ideas from international law into American law. Senators at the confirmation hearings for Justice Sonia Sotomayor demanded (and, regrettably, got) a promise that she would never rely on international law. A measure adopted by voters in Oklahoma in November forbids state courts from even looking to "the legal precepts of other nations or cultures" or "international law."

This is not a defense of the Constitution; it is a mutilation. The framers knew a great deal of international law. The document itself mentions many sources of international law: treaties (a major source of international law, they are part of "the supreme law of the land"); "the law of nations," which designates customary international law; and "admiralty and maritime jurisdiction," among others.
The most important truth about the Constitution is this: it was written as a set of rules by which living people could solve their own problems, not as a "dead hand" restricting their options. Strikingly many important questions, from the nature of the Supreme Court to the composition of the cabinet, are left to Congress. There's ample evidence in the text that the framers didn't think of themselves as peering into the future and settling all questions; instead, they wrote a document that in essence says, "Work it out."

These conclusions come from a careful reading of the Constitution, not from some hazy idea of a "living Constitution." The "living Constitution" is a whipping boy of the right. Progressives supposedly believe, in Ron Paul's words, that "government may unilaterally change the terms of its contract with the American people." Right-wing historian Kevin Gutzman writes that Supreme Court justices use the "myth of a living Constitution" to "write their own views into law on some of the most contentious issues of our day."

This "debate" is a mystification. The far right views the Constitution as something like the "killing jar" scientists use to preserve butterflies, freezing the country under glass, preventing social change and stripping the democratic process of its effectiveness. The issue in constitutional interpretation is not whether the Constitution is a living document; it is whether the United States is a living nation.

That simple reality is often obscured by conservatives' claim that they, and only they, follow the framers' "original intent." Originalism, writes scholar David Forte in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, "implies that those who make, interpret, and enforce the law ought to be guided by the meaning of the United States Constitution—the supreme law of the land—as it was originally written." Who could be against that? Nobody, Forte writes, except those who believe that the Constitution has "no fixed meaning."

This notion—that there is somehow a fixed, binding, single intent hidden in a each phrase of the Constitution—confuses the Constitution with the Bible. The idea of a single, literal, intended meaning of a biblical text gained primacy during the Reformation. The religious historian Jaroslav Pelikan sees in early Protestant theology the origins of American constitutional discourse. Luther and the other Reformers believed that "Scripture had to be not interpreted but delivered from interpretations to speak for itself." What mattered to Luther was "the original intent and sensus literalis [literal meaning]" of the words of the Bible.

The general Protestant notion of "original intent" was elaborated a century ago, when a group of American evangelical Christians published a set of essays on "the fundamentals" of Christian belief. In large part, fundamentalism was a revolt against "higher criticism"—scholarship that studied the Bible like any other literary work in history. Rejecting this approach, fundamentalists believed that the Bible is the literal word of God; all parts of it are created directly by the breath of God into the human soul. The inspiration is not general but verbal—God has fixed not just the ideas in the Bible but the very words in which they were written. Thus every word has a fixed meaning, immune from question by history; and all the words fit together into one divine whole. This "true" meaning must be zealously guarded against corrupt worldly forces—the "higher critics"—seeking to contaminate it with modern, un-Christian ideas.

So influential has biblical fundamentalism been in this country that these attitudes are now cultural rather than specifically religious values. In fact, "originalists" have an enemy just as the fundamentalists did. Like the "higher critics," the supposed advocates of the "living Constitution" are smooth-talking "elite" deceivers who want to replace the good old Constitution with their personal views.

But that's one of the right's biggest lies. "We are all federalists, we are all republicans," Thomas Jefferson said in his first inaugural address. And we are all "originalists." But many constitutional interpreters find the "intent" of the framers and ratifiers of the Constitution in, well, what the Constitution says.

If the Constitution says that Congress has the power to regulate "commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes," we look around us and see what "commerce" today consists of. If the village "barber chirurgeon" has been replaced by a nationwide for-profit hospital chain and a system of group health insurance, then the power of Congress tracks that change. That's an act of interpretation, to be sure; but it's no more of one than the Da Vinci Code–style charade engaged in by many far-right "originalists."

At their baldest and strongest, originalists claim that the nation is bound by their own opinion of what was in the minds of the framers. For all their claims of superior virtue, "originalists" agree that what the framers said governs; they just want to control what counts as what the founders said.

Recognizing the problems inherent in the quest for "original intent," a number of originalists have moved on to what they call a quest for "original public meaning," or the "original understanding." That is, they say, we should consult history to determine what ordinary people in 1787 (or 1866, or whenever a specific provision was written) would have thought the words meant. Justice Scalia, for one, considers that inquiry pretty straightforward: "Often—I dare say usually—that is easy to discern and simple to apply." But as practiced by Scalia, that tends to reduce itself to, "Trust me, I knew the framers and here's what they would have said."

Consider Scalia's concurrence in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. In that case, the conservative majority gutted federal restrictions on expenditures by corporations during elections. In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens challenged the right on "originalist" grounds. During the founding period, he noted, most political thinkers distrusted the corporate form of organization. That might be true, Scalia replied, but only because in the eighteenth century corporations were associated with monopoly privileges: "Modern corporations do not have such privileges, and would probably have been favored by most of our enterprising Founders."

This dishonest contortion exemplifies the problems with "original meaning." Scalia is essentially saying, "They didn't really know what they thought; luckily, I do." If we adopt his definition of the founders' intent, then we the people lose all right to interpret or even really read our own Constitution. At best, we must accept the dictates of historians, who often disagree.

At worst, though, we are delivered into the hands of Justice Scalia and his ilk. Judges usually know very little about history. But an "originalist" like Scalia is utterly confident about his power to pluck the "easy, simple" meaning from the air. By a bizarre coincidence, the "easy, simple" meaning usually coincides with the program of the twenty-first-century judicial right.

Serious originalist scholarship is very useful as one way of learning more about the Constitution. But in the hands of judges like Scalia or demagogues like Glenn Beck, it is really a kind of intellectual weapon designed to hide from ordinary citizens what is in plain sight—the text of the Constitution and the present circumstances to which it must be applied.

That text, and those circumstances, are the tools we the people need in order to fight back. To save our Constitution, we have to read it. What's remarkable is how few people actually do this before proclaiming their opinions. God knows lawyers don't. In most law schools, constitutional law courses don't even begin with the text. Instead, on day one, students read the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison. That's the case in which the Supreme Court for the first time announced the doctrine of "judicial review," which allows it to review state and federal laws and invalidate those that, in its judgment, don't comply with the Constitution. Marbury is a terrific case; but the doctrine it embodies isn't written in the Constitution. So at the very beginning of their study, most lawyers leave the text behind, and never return to it.

Ordinary citizens also resist reading the Constitution. They think it's dull. In 1987, the American novelist E.L. Doctorow found no poetry in it. "It is five thousand words long but reads like fifty thousand," he reported sadly. "It lacks high rhetoric and shows not a trace of wit, as you might expect, having been produced by a committee of lawyers. It uses none of the tropes of literature to create empathetic states in the mind of the reader."

Doctorow was wrong. The Constitution as a whole takes effort to read; but once one puts in the effort—several readings, all the way through, and some serious thought about what one has read—it reveals a surprising, indeed sometimes dazzling, array of meanings. By turns political, legal, epic and poetic, it shows us a number of strategies for dealing with contemporary challenges.

How do we read the Constitution then? A citizen who seeks to understand the Constitution should not assume that the answers lie in Supreme Court cases. For one thing, many important constitutional questions have never come before the Court. Some, indeed, can never be heard by any court—they constitute what judges and scholars call "political questions," which must be worked out by other branches of the government.

Second, the courts may get it wrong. In 1857, the Supreme Court announced that Americans of African descent were not and never could become citizens. A bitter political struggle, and an even more bitter Civil War, produced a national consensus that this decision was profoundly wrong even on the day it was announced. More recent decisions, from Roe v. Wade to Citizens United, have provoked profound criticism by political leaders and ordinary citizens. Citizens are not "wrong" because they disagree with the Court.

At its most basic level, reading the Constitution requires the tools that Vladimir Nabokov urged readers to bring to any text: imagination, memory, a dictionary and a willingness to use all three when the going gets tough.

Read the Constitution and measure it against the absurd claims we hear every day. This is a matter of life and death for our Republic. We won't find the Tea Party manifesto there; nor will we find the agenda of progressive advocacy groups. What we will find is a set of political tools and a language that fair-minded citizens, progressive or conservative, can use to talk through our disagreements.

Trapped in that ghastly church basement last year, I made a resolution that I would try to help rescue the Constitution from "constitutionalists." Here and now I say to Nation readers that if any group of citizens anywhere wants to meet in a church basement to discuss these issues, I will either go there to help or try to find someone who will. It's time for progressive constitutional scholars to stop mumbling about deconstruction and speak up for democracy.

Ordinary Americans love the Constitution at least as much as far-right ideologues. It's our Constitution too.  It's time to take it back.

These Folks Are More Twisted Than A Corkscrew. (Ed.)

The Matter of Freedom of Religion takes a back seat to none of the continued debates of right provided in the Bill of Rights, and no other right is so shrouded in the fog of myth and misinformation, facts which far too many are willing to admit. Factual denial is at its height on this one.

Candidly; “Freedom Of Religion” has always meant the freedom for religions to battle for supremacy and membership, the freedom to protect themselves from other religions ascendancy, the freedom to establish the codes of morality and personal conduct in local communities, then states and now having ascended to the national stage as political combatants in attempting to control/dictate the social/moral agenda of America.

Our fore-fathers sought to prevent a theocracy and ever since that effort a variety of religions and religious organizations have labored consistently to tear down the wall of separation and to insert themselves into the mainstream of the political machinery of this nation.  

Religion demes itself and squanders its credibility when it become part of a nation’s political apparatus. I know every religious entity that attempts to dictate/impose its values/will on others automatically earns my animosity.

With the millions churches spend on political activities; I think it is time to cancel the tax free status of all church churches. If they want to play in the political arena let them do so on an equal footing and not a privileged footing.  Beyond that we continue to experience the situation where religion is being played to entice single issue voters on the right on the issues of abortion, gay rights and immigration all of which engender hate!

That should as no surprise as both theology and ideology are foundationed on the words : “I believe”, words that promote rigidity of thought and social polarization leading historically to the most heinous of crimes against humanity.

Make no mistake about it; there are religious elements in this nation who as striving to equal the media in their power and influence upon our government and its policies.  This is intolerable!  We have lost our way.

Why; because we are genuinely ignorant. 


From: Resistance, Rebellion And Death-Albert Camus-“Letters To A German Friend”; “The First Letter”.

You said to me: “The greatness of my country is beyond price. Anything is good that contributes to its greatness. And in a world where everything had lost its meaning, those who, like us young Germans, are lucky enough to find meaning in the destiny of our nation must sacrifice everything else.” I loved you then, but at that point we diverged. “No,” I told you, “I cannot believe that everything must be subordinated to a single end. There are means that cannot be excused. And I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don’t want just greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood. I want to keep it alive by keeping justice alive”. You retorted” “Well, you don’t love your country.”

That was five years ago; we have been separated since then and I can say that not a single day has passed during those long years (so brief, so dazzlingly swift for you!) without my remembering your remark. “You don’t love your country”. When I think of your words today, I feel a choking sensation.

No, I didn’t love my country, if pointing out what is unjust in what we love amounts to not loving, if insisting that what we love should measure up to the finest image we have of her amounts to not loving. That was five years ago, and many men in France thought as I did. Some of them, however, have already been stood up against the wall facing the twelve little black eyes of German destiny. And these men, who in your opinion did not love their country, did more for it than you will ever do for yours, even if it were possible for you to give your life a hundred times.

For their heroism was that they had to conquer themselves first. …

… But this amounts to telling you what kind of courage we applaud, which is not your kind. For it is not much to be able to do violence when you have been simply preparing for it for years and when violence is more natural to you than thinking. It is a great deal, on the other hand, to face torture and death when you know for a fact that hatred and violence are empty things in themselves.

It is a great deal to fight while despising war, to accept losing everything while still preferring happiness, to face destruction while cherishing the idea of a higher civilization. …

The French novelist, essayist, and playwright Albert Camus (1913-1960) was obsessed with the philosophical problems of the meaning of life and of man's search for values in a world without God. His work is distinguished by lucidity, moderation, and tolerance. Albert Camus may be grouped with two slightly older French writers, André Malraux and Jean Paul Sartre, in marking a break with the traditional bourgeois novel. Like them, he is less interested in psychological analysis than in philosophical problems in his books. Camus developed a conception of the "absurd," which provides the theme for much of his earlier work: the "absurd" is the gulf between, on the one hand, man's desire for a world of happiness, governed by reason, justice, and order, a world which he can understand rationally and, on the other hand, the actual world, which is chaotic and irrational and inflicts suffering and a meaningless death on humanity. The second stage in Camus's thought developed from the first - man should not simply accept the "absurd" universe, but should "revolt" against it. This revolt is not political but in the name of the traditional humane values. During World War II Camus was member of the French resistance.

 EssayOn Our State of Dis-Union

There have been many who have made the observation that those who care enough, those who at least dare enough to speak out in muted attempts to influence the decisions of our government that we are merely listened to with polite indifference. The real powers that be can easily tolerate all the low-risk weekend political theater that hopeful, “would-be” patriotic agents of change can muster, and of late the message is more muffled than ever, the audience dwindles and once strident voices of cyber space now spew out timid, vacuous messages devoid of any impact or import as they pose no threat to those who hold and wield power.

Our office holders with rare exception simply nod their heads in agreement with what we have to say, commiserate with us as the problems are beyond their singular control and of someone else’s making. The big bank “Masters of Money”, the big businesses and manufacturers “The Masters of War” as Dylan Defined them in 1963, “The Masters of Commerce”, “The Masters of Influence” the lobby leeches of K Street and sycophant ego driven kiss ups hungry to be invited to be even seen with the prominent and powerful have nothing to fear as they are problem…our problem.

So much of the instrumentalities for change that we the people once commanded have been rendered impotent and devoured by the system and we have become a nation that dutifully consumes the opiates that pass for the nightly news that we are almost comatose in that sedation. The two political parties are of little value on the crucial issues of our times.

As surely as scouts gather and pile up kindling for a camp fire; we as a nation are amassing a mountain of kindling in the Middle East that with one mistaken spark can ignite a conflagration that will be known popularly as World War III. Oil burns and bombs and bullets ignite!

9/11 is not a justification for the lies that have embolden and fed the fanatic extremists of the region. We have permitted the hatreds of the region to be defined as a new Crusade, a Holy War against the infidels of the West. We had no business in invading Iraq other than to slake our oil thirst and to satisfy the agenda of Neocons with their vision of perpetuating a world vision long become a delusion. We have sought to endear ourselves to those in the Muslim world who are dissatisfied with elements, tenets, practices and traditions alien to western culture. In that simple act we have set ourselves in the cultural crosshairs of that world. Have we forgotten Woodrow Wilson’s principle of self-determination? Is it, for examples, our place to say burn your Burka, or should we allow the evolution and growth, the maturation of that culture to determine such things? The answer is obvious; Self-resolution yes, interference and imposition no!

We have provided time for the Afghanistan Theater to become well organized, not that we could have ever won a war on that turf anyway.

Iraq is now the in the province of the electoral time table of 2010 and Afghanistan, despite any denial to the contrary is a craps game slated for closure as the 2012 election cycle will require.

That is not cynical commentary; it is the horrid truth. President Obama has already had to state that he has no intention of sending troops into Yemen. That is, in and of itself, a dangerous commentary. What do Americans think they are doing or are capable of?

Are we to wage war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and even the Korean Peninsula? We have a finite number of bodies in our all volunteer armed forces, and they are being killed off daily. Our mercenaries dependence has be totally exposed for the licensed war criminals that they are.

What does that matter? No one is being held accountable for the war crimes of the Bush administration and those being committed under the Obama banner. We are above the law and not governed by the prohibitions of The Geneva Conventions or any other civilized international law or accords.

We are the great exempted exceptionalists. We could fulfill all the fantasies of the illiterate, ignorant flock following citizens of this nation led around by the nose ring of the Corporate Capitalist “Masters of War” and media whores by simply reinstating draft.

But that would be dangerous as folks like me would no longer stand in the minority and even the “Casper Milk Toast” Ghandi shouters and system co-opted “Progressives” would finally be faced the reality of the hell this nation faces. Currently it is so intellectualized and premised upon the notion that somehow, miraculously our American institutions will rise from their ashes like the fabled Phoenix and right every wrong, strike down every corruption of our law and in a new dawn the criminals who inhabit Washington DC will all be held to purist account.

That requires a level of naiveté that is astounding. We have been lied to, spied upon and our right to privacy has but been eclipsed. We have been regulated into impotence, castrated by our laws makers and herded by fear by our government and right wing extremists. We have diluted in our impact by the daily growth of problems and both financial and social collapse. The members of Congress have only one mission; that getting re-elected, and we are of no importance to them until it is time to open our check books, walk the streets and hammer down yard signs.

They will renew all their promises and vows to us, and then you know damn well what will happen, and it will be without Vaseline or KY Jelly!

Then there are those who hold out the hope for a viable third party movement in America and thought here and there a few candidates will succeed under that banner, usually the Green Banner, lower level positions that give rise to the hope that in the years ahead the march will continue to a revolution at the ballot box. The American system is too far gone to permit such a revolution, and if I were to put my money on anyone to rock the boat in this nation right no; it would be the tea baggers.

They hate government. They despise taxes and paying for anything. They don’t want to help anyone else. They are being led around as surely as the impotent left and center. The vitality in America is to be found at the extremes. That is not a healthy sign. Guns, God and the Flag pave a violent road. It is road of dictation, intolerance, bigotry and imposed values, all those things “that can’t happen here”.

This nation is mad as hell at Wall Street and the bonus checks being doled out this week as if nothing had happened and nothing need change. Mad doesn’t cut if that anger is not translated into actions that cannot be ignored. Complaining is useless; it is the folly-filled expression of wimps and cowards. If wimps and cowards we are then we deserve; we have earned the oppression falling upon us. The “Managed Depression” has saved the main street “Masters of Money”. Their summer homes and yachts are intact, their club fees are paid up and their private planes still fly.

To this point all we have witnessed is the restoration of the financial piranha, not its caging or re-regulation. They have plenty of foreclosed properties to unload in the next round of profit taking. Congress will, as a matter of political necessity, turn its attention to job creation and some scheme of re-employment. There is so much that can truly be done that we could have a revolutionary rebirth of this nation in job creation and the rebuilding of so much that gone neglected in the unwillingness of our people to pay to improve, or even fix anything.

The greening of America could be at hand, except that will be a battle but much is premised upon “Global Warming and Climate Change” and those very words will stand in the way politically, after all we still have those that believe that no matter what insult and assaults human beings have visited upon our planet that we have no is something else. I have screamed until I am blue in the face that we have the opportunity to control the automotive industry of the world. No I’m not nuts.

The first automotive producer that roads a vehicle that is fully electric, unplugged, self-recharging will own the world. We have sufficient creative engineering/scientific genius to build the on board recharging system. I don’t want fossil fuels being consumed in any automobile. I don’t want fossil fuels being consumed to produce electricity to recharge hybrids. I don’t want people swapping out batteries or fuel sells at the corner “Gas/whatever” station…in fact I want Gas Stations to disappear. Oh, Oh, the oil boys won’t like that idea…to bad!

We have an infrastructure that is a disgrace. We have educational needs that we will not address because it costs us taxes. People don’t realize that an educated populous is our only salvation. If we don’t provide it; corporate America won’t mind because they can employ foreign educated talent for the skilled positions and the rest of us can flip burgers at MacDonald or be greeters at Wal-Mart.

Just look at us right now. We have a healthcare screaming match going on that has divided this nation to the point where people who should know better and would benefit are howling for defeat. The legislation is going to pass. It will not be perfect. It will not be the ideal and it will have to be perfected over time because we could not raise up this nation in arms to demand that which really and fully should be done. Republicans are already talking about the day that they can return to power and repeal all it. Does that concern you? If it does what are you prepared to do if the 2010 electoral cycle affords Republicans that opportunity and they begin its pursuit?

The people of America are under siege by terrorists abroad and fear mongers within. Between the two would be advocates, change agents and people of good conscience feel compelled to attack our problems within the confines of our laws and institutions. The former does not serve either justice or change at the moment and the later have been rendered impotent in the service of the people. Corporate America is rising from the ashes of its own conflagration and incineration. The financial world is girding its loins to do battle over re-regulation.

America really besieged by a “Managed Depression” and that truth will someday be known; just not now as the truth is impossible to come by in today’s world of daily cover-ups and media manipulation. To all but the confirmed political fruitcakes and Fascist inclined right wing nuts FOX News is the media division of the right wing of the Republican Party. The new Book “Game Change” not only points out Harry Reid’s less than agile mind but confirms every truth we assumed about Sarah Palin. She is shallow, uninformed, cavalier of consequences of her actions as “obviously” God dictates all outcomes. And now the FOX Fables Network has hired her on as a political commentator.

The Network’s junkies will not be disappointed because you really can’t change someone that doesn’t feel the need to read a prepared script we can fully expect the Palin Gospel to continue as usual: “usually in error, never in doubt professing it’s all in God’s hands thus her ass is well covered”. For my money that’s a good thing.

Face it ladies and gentlemen TV news is entertainment not really meant for serious consumption. Any resemblance to the truth of the day is purely coincidental. Someone in the editorial room wordsmiths today’s “once upon a time and the pretty people read off the teleprompter with even having to engage their brains. This is not world of Murrow and Cronkite; it the world of Goebbels, Limbaugh, Beck and Palin.

What we need to get at today’s realities is for Karl Rove to write a book entitled: “Beyond Machiavelli: Modern Manipulation of The Masses”. That’s not going to happen because too many people would go to prison…maybe.

Face it; we are no closer to bringing the Bush Administration War Criminals to justice than we were 4, 6, 8 years ago.

Millions of verbal bullets have been fired with the impact of a BB on Kevlar Armor; no one has been brought down.

Countless now are the weekend warriors of “The Resistance” political theater cast still performing the same old play held over by the same lame organizations to the same curious audience.

“Would Be” resistance leaders have copped out in low risk ventures and have entered the Capitalist mainstream with book offerings, often rehashes of years of previous writings and of little value except their own egos and wallets/pocket books. They are busy at their key boards and absent from true confrontational street action! Put your money where your mouth is and your feet at the front against the Blue line; then and then only will your integrity be restored in my eyes.

The issues of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Israel, Palestine and now Yemen continue to fuel the mechanisms of fear, the uncertainties of world-wide conflagration, provide fortunes for the weapons masters of war, drive the hysteria of an ever right-growing ideological world and eclipse at every turn the rights, freedoms, liberty, humanity and dignity of all humanity. We are being literally sucked into a self-destructive abyss by forces we have not the courage to resist with the same might being exerted upon us.

If you feel so damned hopeless and weak kneed that can think no further than sending off another letter, email or fax to your Congressperson; making yet another pleading office visitation, participating in spreading the word of discontent and yet another useless “Weekend/Saturday Patriot” Exercise; you cannot see yourself carrying a 3/8 inch thick plywood protest placard support that doubles as a shield when things get real; if you cannot see yourself with dampened scarf over your face and a gloved hand firing back tear gas canisters at the dark blue armored representatives of our oppressors as we did at Kent State; if you cannot see yourself wresting the batons of police brutality from those who flailed away on teachers in the historic Ravenna Teacher’s Strike only a few miles from the Kent State Campus; you are not living in the real world.

You are living in an antiseptic intellectualized world of what should be. That world is gone as surely as the Neocon vision of the world. If you cannot accept the possibility that your life may be forfeit in the pursuit of all you profess to believe in and desire to achieve; you are a hypocrite.

I have long held that the day of polite protest, the barrage of words, and the relentless petition signings would come to an end as this nation, like an alcoholic, hit the bottom.

The bottom of the bottle is in clear view. I know many do not like to be reminded that not every battle can be won with words and public protest gathering. Those who would resort me with the words of Ghandi, and plead for “peaceful protest” find in me now profound deafness. “The Pen is Mightier than The Sword” is nice altruistic expression that does not account for the reality of the human experience and human nature.

This nation was born in a Revolutionary War fashioned of “The Word and the Sword”! We were once a nation when the unity and solidarity of the voice of the people meant something because it was fortified by the willingness to ACT! When John L. Lewis said: STRIKE! ... The shovels were heard hitting the bottom of the mine pits and grim, determined faced American workers marched to the picket line and there was going to be hell to pay if someone confronted that line.

I dare say anyone reading this would have fool enough to do so to suggest to those workers that, they should be patient and passive. Sam Adams. “The Grand Incendiary”, Father of the Revolution was no pacifist, not Henry and not Jefferson who declared that:

“Every generation needs a new revolution”; “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

“Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”,

“"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." --Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.”

“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

And “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”. "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." --Thomas Jefferson—

We are again at the point in our history where a paradigm shift is demanded to merely preserve the foundation of the nation, that is; we are on the verge of revolution, the only question remaining to be answered is whether it shall take the form of blood, fire and steel in the streets or massive upheaval in such a way as this government cannot continue to function in the corrupt fashion of the moment, a massive upheaval that demands that criminally guilty be driven from, resign from power and or to be prosecuted by every applicable law of this land and international law.

Let us assume that you wish the transformation to be accomplished without massive violence and conflagration. Your answer is a national strike of such proportions that this administration or any future administration cannot survive, nor its supporters and collaborators, an awakened and militant populous.

What is to be offered? Proposed for March 20, 2010 is our really last relevant chance to realize such an action; and indeed only the first step to such an action; we are that far behind; that far gone. All other avenues have failed and while I will not suggest that anyone abandon their personal and local efforts it is time for a serious change in direction.

It is time to call together the leaders of all activist organizations: peace, impeachment and immigration, all American Labor Unions in marshalling a comprehensive national strike on heretofore unheard of proportions. Failure to do so and to execute such an approach will leave no other course of action but that thought of a traditional revolutionary approach. Every time I mention those words red flags go up and I get a ton of peaceful change and Ghandi spouting emails and comments. I am sick of them. They have come to represent subservient system co-opted flock followers who might as well throw in with the right and be done with it!

The ports and harbors must be closed. Trucks must be parked, there rotors removed blocking thorough fares and bridges across the land. Railroad traffic must cease. Unions must strike and workers disbursed to other meaningful tasks of shutting the nation down. The streets must be filled with the masses so traffic and commerce cannot flow. Those who are now not working should surround the offices of every major media outlet in America so that cannot ignore the people. The management and workers of those “institutions” should have to attempt to wade through a sea of humanity to get to their desks and microphones, and they will try as they have the consciences of scabs and the integrity of Judas.

The police powers should be reminded that they are Americans first before they are the Blue Line of puppets, and if they insist on macho enforcement of silly proportions they can expect that they will never see another voter levy to support their salaries for the next twenty years at least. Yes, that is a call to leave their posts and join the masses!

Mall parking lots should be empty, stores, hotels and theaters empty and silent. The teachers of America, public private and collegiate should leave their classrooms and students should join with adults in the demand to restore this land to the people.

The Halls of the Senate and House should bulge with Americans swarming into elected leaders offices delivering a few simple messages. The message: “Shut up and bring our men and women home from the Middle East; plan and execute now…no more talk and excuses about staying another 20, 50 or 100 years until we are satisfied and they are pacified. That is an illusion, a delusion, a lie and a formula for raging terrorism and warfare that must end in a nuclear confrontation sooner or later, a formula for insanity.

They should get the message that if they are not going to abide by and uphold and enforce The Constitution and International Law by bring Bush, Cheney and all other guilty parties to justice, that they will never see another red cent in campaign contribution and will never enjoy your vote again because they will be removed from office. Say it; mean it; do it. Finish them off. Bring the work of the House and Senate to a stop until they are ready to Impeach, ready to send 75% of that administration to the Hague! Prosecute every one of them to the full extent of this land’s laws and then have them stand trial before the bar of International Justice. Do you have the stomach for it? Do you have the will to take that stand at the possible loss of your own life? If you do not you are a word warrior not worthy of serious consideration.

We have seen in that actions in DC which disrupt everyday business and traffic get attention, so swarm on DC and bring it to a standstill. Work to get every Metro employee in every major city to strike. Shut down the trains and buses. Enlist taxi drivers to strike. Get to the pilot’s union and airline employees union and get them to strike. Silence the air, silence the roads, silence the rail lines…shut it all down.

While you’re not working swarm on the nearest defense contractor’s office and manufacturing sites; Blockade them. If you have a major store Wal-Mart, Penny’s, Sears. K Mart, Target, whatever… that attempts to stay open swarm pickets on and block the parking lots….shut them down.

We have yet many who need to be brought to justice from the Bush Administration, many corporate criminals who have crippled this land who need to be behind bars and wars that need to brought to conclusion; the war criminals of those wars need to stand before The Hague Bar Of Justice.

As Congress begins an investigation of the financial collapse of this nation it quite obvious to and angry do nothing America that we have practiced elite “Tourniquet Economics” in phase one of building anew the economic structure of this land. We moved quickly with the best fix America’s Tax dollars could buy, stemmed the massive hemorrhaging and saved Wall Street from its self-inflicted drunken suicidal Casino economic and healed them to the extent that their profits burgeon and the bonus binge table of plenty has fully reset. Things have all been put back to normal on Wall Street!

Alas we are being mind washed in accepting the terms like “the new normal” , “The New American Economy”, all of which means that millions of American dreams, hopes, aspirations and expectations have been trashed in an orchestrated remake of America where we are being sold on a recovery without re-employment, without job creation. The script is simple. Our expectations have lowered by decree so that improvements initiated on the job front in 2010 can be sold as brilliant government action. The numbers will be the selling point, not the quality of jobs and address of this nation’s real needs…numbers, numbers, numbers.

Mercy what a mess! We owe China a staggering amount of money and they are now the world’s leading industrial producer and exporting nation in the world having recently surpassed Germany who bragged in 2008 of their economic power and well being as being a product of “making stuff”. Brazil is rising to our south with the most sound economy in the western hemisphere firmly foundation on the most sane and commonsense government regulation of every aspect that can cause a sudden implosion.

Just think about it. Just what is our place in this world? What is our future to be like? If we do not change our lives will be diminished in quality as we become a second and third rate power. This nation will be almost wholly owned by foreign financial powers. We will be a debtor nation at the mercy of a mere margin call.

If the “tea baggers” have their way government will retreat from taxation and service providing and all of that will be left to states with failed budgets and local communities that won’t approve a tax issue for anything, not schools, not hospitals, not fire or police protection. America might just want to consider a name change from “The United States Of America” to The United States Of The New Appalachia”. These folks, simple of mind just want to dictate this nation’s morality and a no tax economy. They have everything they need; their big mouth, limited IQs, their bible, their gun, their flag, their pride-filled funeral attendance for dead soldiers, their own and their Palin-Like opinions and belief systems. God, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, help us!

One sickens at the notion that a nation so fond of reality TV is so far from grasping the reality of their own existence. Excuse this comment please. It is as if they have adopted as their philosophy of life that ugly bumper sticker: “Shit Happens”…and they can live with the manure dumped on them. We will rapidly become a nation living on Prozac, Valium, Beer and Martini’s devoid of any hopeful expectations for the future willing puppets of those living in palatial splendor guaranteed by a bought and paid for Government…a government of the rich and powerful, by the rich and powerful, and for the rich and powerful, a new class structure of the privileged and the beggars given only what we need to prevent revolution and to serve “The Order Of Masters”.

Our decent into darkness has been a long time in the making. Our Constitution came under assault the moment it was approved. Our problems are not systemic; they are personal. The evolution to render our governing document an altruistic statement of principles and irrelevant as a instrument of governance, the polished veneer appearance of America, set aside in every manner imaginable in the face of crises, never to be corrected later has provided a creep from any notion of Democracy steadily to a more American defined Fascism.

We have had leaders openly declare that both The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution are archaic vestigial appendages of the past; that they are no longer applicable or relevant to our times. If that position is adopted, allowed credence; then every principle we have been taught to believe in and revere is negated and we become a nation of hypocrites absent any moral compass and attachment to the concepts of liberty, justice, accountability, dignity and toleration. That leaves only two alternatives in the final analysis: dictatorship or anarchy.

I know that people don’t want to hear this but the placid opiated counter culture is rendered meaningless by its own reluctance, timidity and fears. The Anti-War Movement is a sham; The Peace Movement is a pest-like flea; The Accountability Movement is dead and any hope of reconstructing and America based of principles, an America that we can be rightfully proud of is in our hands. We must discard the tools and approaches that have failed time and time again. We must mean business and take the future of this nation into our own hands. The words that follow must become a commitment, a live or die campaign battle. The idea whose time has come is the control of this nation by its citizens.

Resistance, Rebellion, Revolt and.. There Is Nothing As Powerful As An Idea Who’s Time Has Come.

We have one final, and I do mean final forum to launch a campaign of salvation. The final vehicle. I would encourage your participation across this land, if and only if, you are willing to contact the leadership/organizers to expand the March to an Occupation of Washington DC and other State Capitals, massive occupations that serve as a precursor for a national strike initiative. It is time to came to DC with tents and back packs. It is time to press against the blue line. It is time to stand and move in the way that we cannot be ignored as a mere Saturday nuisance. I will provide full link access to that March Initiative. It is up to you to aid in broadening the scope of the endeavor. It is time for people to get off their chairs, away from their key boards and physically occupy the cities of American in demanding that this nation be restored in principle and be withdrawn from the role of this nation’s number one killer status. A new vision and new America is required; nothing less!

As I hold and will as long as I draw breath that The Declaration Of Independence is the first law, the highest law of this land; I cannot and will not accept the voices of corruption that have finally seized almost overwhelming control of this nation’s governance declaring in word and acting with impunity, immunity and escape from justice that every principle that nation is supposed to stand for can be perverted by fear and manipulating our populous into believing that they can act upon every dark, perverse and bigoted impulse of our species as their reward for accepting subservience to “The Masters”; I will not accept as fact that their victory is either inevitable or at hand.

The counter culture of this nation has not been totally anesthetized. The most extreme element remains momentarily in the shadows preparing for a spring emergence, finally. A new militancy of new voices approaches. They are reminiscent of the 60s and better prepared.

I will close my commentary with these final quotes of reminder of my American Creed, my position that the thoughts, understandings and perceptions of human nature then are as relevant today as when Sam Adams, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson uttered of penned them. They are not archaic and irrelevant; they never will be!

“"The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men." -Samuel Adams”

No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders. – Sam Adams

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen. – Sam Adams

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, "Peace! Peace!" -- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! -Patrick Henry - March 23, 1775

“"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." --Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.”

“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.... And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

And “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government”. "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." --Thomas Jefferson—

All right boys and girls; it’s time to come clean. I don¹t care if you disagree with me and send nasty comments; I’m used to that, but I expect you to engage in real serious and thoughtful dialog. The facts:

We have all labored within the system in calling for justice, accountability and the end of senseless killing, genocide, war, war crimes and war criminals that by necessity and human nature inevitably come into play. I am absolutely fed up with the cherry picked quotes and gross “romanticized/idealized” depictions of Ghandi and Martin Luther King. Both men were well aware of the fact that their actions and advocacy could and probably would lead to violence ultimately. In that regard they were finish line realists and idealist runners.

I have real trouble with folks whose truths are half-truths and who hide behind the niceties of the ideal when humanity is far from an idea species and the systematic affront to all we would have this nation be is so obvious and pervasive. I am sick and tired of excuses and meaningless rhetoric and Weekend Warrior Political Theater actors who will venture no further.

I cannot and will not accept any verbal lint argument that if we simply stay the course of prim and proper, politically correct non- violent expression, that somehow all of the petitions signed, emails sent, slogans chanted and songs sung, bumper stickers and buttons purchased, creative placards designed will somehow make the differences note I said make the difference; I am not going to say they cannot and will not in the end contribute to the change that will finally be realized in the inevitable upheaval this nation will experience. They will be a footnote.

We are a nation with a war mentality driven by perceived past glories clinging to an image from a bygone age, unwilling to repudiate our notions of superiority and exceptionalism; they are but failing illusions.

The perceptions of human nature offered by Jefferson still hold sway.
His words are not some historical drivel; they are words that emanated from a supremely gifted mind and intelligence.

Who among you that have chosen to be my critics and antagonists are of equal intellect?

Who among you that have chosen to be my critics and antagonists are of the moral fiber and determination of Sam Adams?

Who among you that have chosen to be my critics and antagonists are gifted with the insight and grasp of the moment of a Thomas Paine who knew when the pen could and should strike with precise tenor, tone and poignancy .The cause was not non-violent.

Who among you that have chosen to be my critics and antagonists are gifted with the will and wrath, the intellectual integrity of a Patrick Henry?

Who among you can accept that our President laid bare the truth of his philosophy and convictions, his perceptions of the real world he is confronted with as opposed to dismissing his words as a personal betrayal? To do so is a fundamental mistake.

Our world is not populated with many human beings embracing the altruism of a utopian existence. We are a species of animal that more often than not mouths ideals and quickly resorts to the extermination of whoever it is convenient at the moment, to provide some sick semblance of unity, drowning out the horrid nature of our humanity and the ice cold killer instincts of our most base animalism.

There is little room for intellect and reason when you have a gun in your hands, maybe the ringing in your ears of the words ‘Patriot’ , ‘Enemy’ or ‘Revolution’, all given to the same excess and moral perversions.

Religions have forged the cross to a sword point in every age; the pen has been filed to a sword point in every age; government have fashioned swords generation after generation and the price of human progress has been purchased from one killing field to another, from one gallows to another and we have not yet beaten the swords of war into the plow shares of an evolved humanity.

Those who fail to recognize that fact, choose to ignore that fact in the illusion and delusion of their own hoped for world view, become enablers of all violence because at some point those hands that brandish the sword will dictate the future, whether it be in the name of domination or man¹s freedom from oppression.

There is no benevolence that will fulfill of our dreams; their realities must be the work of our own hands, and yes, perhaps our own blood and lives. It has always been thus.

So long as war is accepted by some as a natural failing of our species and tolerated as a legitimate instrumentality of governments; we will not fashion peace on this planet with whimpering and words.

A century hence I suspect the same arguments will be still being heard and the divides will remain, because no action of man will put an end to the animalism of our species. The ultimate answer resides within us and not in words and agreements on paper; they serve only to mark the path to civility. So long as one’s flag, race or creed gives reason for hatred there will not be peace.

Man will change or one day in the last act of insanity we will consume this globe in the conflagration in last great hate rendering this Earth a burned out silent charcoal briquette traveling in the cold void of space.

There Are No Wars Without War Crimes And War Criminals; So Why Can’t We Prosecute And Bring Justice To This World?

People of passion and principles see the world as it should be; people of power, position prostitute justice as a function of “their privilege”, shape events and outcomes to their profit and protection. Our forefathers advocated the violent over throw of an existing, legitimate governance and had they failed in that enterprise we call our Revolutionary War; they would all surely have been hanged for treason. All too frequently the history of war has been written by the victors. They become the judges of the sins of wars to such an extent that many raise the questions as to the validity of any form of “War Crimes” trials; are they the pursuit of justice or acts of the final revenge of the hostilities.

There is no question at this moment that there is an awakened awareness of the criminality that accompanies every war, an eye opening demand for “Justice” for the hideous and heinous defiance of the minimal standards of the “rules of warfare”, for terror, torture, death, destruction and perversion visited upon the innocents, the non-combatants.

This post deals with but a sampling of current “War Crimes” concerns and more with the legal issues that surround the frustrations of prosecution of those clearly guilty of having committed and sanctioned acts that no one can deny are “crimes against humanity” no matter the circumstance.

In a world where Genocide a daily occurrence, where man fashions terms that attempt to explain away such things as inevitable in war, like “ethnic cleansing”, where murder and assassination, torture and rape are understood as normal in warfare; in a world where man openly fashion weapons of mass destruction and extermination as perceived necessities; we must ask some serious questions of the political institutions of this world.

In essence the question must be framed in the following question: “Does war permit the situational dismissal of every law, every standard of right and wrong, every standard of decency and permit every atrocity that man can inflict in the name of combat be legalized, legitimized as a new “norm of war”, where every servant of a state at war is excused every act of the beast of war, from murder to rape and torture of every being regardless of their race, color, ,creed, age, sex or condition.

If that be true every utterance of right and wrong by every religion and body of law on Earth is meaningless hypocrisy if we reserve the situation right to set aside every principle of decency when bestiality serves better serves nations at war. Life has no meaning, no value and all law is a sham. We are merely animals! There is much deeply serious content to this post in a perspective that marches from Concord and Lexington across the legions of wars and human Genocides since, let alone the massive slaughters of the earlier history of this planet that mark the path of our convenient justification of our “Right-Kill-At-Will” that continues to this very moment in time.

“…if we were to be true to the history of our nation, we would be pressing the international community to extend the coverage of the Geneva Conventions, and not as the current administration has done, worked to restrict that coverage…”

Violence Is A Dark Undercurrent Of American History Slowly Tearing Apart Individuals, Families And Communities.

“Violence is a dark undercurrent of American history. It is exacerbated by war and economic decline. Violence is spreading outward from the killing fields in Iraq and Afghanistan to slowly tear apart individuals, families and communities. There is no immunity. The longer the wars continue, the longer the members of our working class are transformed by corporate overlords into serfs, the more violence will dominate the landscape. The slide into chaos and a police state will become inevitable.”
- Chris Hedges-

Stop Begging Obama to Be Obama and Get Mad
by Chris Hedges

The right-wing accusations against Barack Obama are true. He is a socialist, although he practices socialism for corporations. He is squandering the country's future with deficits that can never be repaid. He has retained and even bolstered our surveillance state to spy on Americans. He is forcing us to buy into a health care system that will enrich corporations and expand the abuse of our for-profit medical care. He will not stanch unemployment. He will not end our wars. He will not rebuild the nation. He is a tool of the corporate state.

The right wing is not wrong. It is not the problem. We are the problem. If we do not tap into the justifiable anger sweeping across the nation, if we do not militantly push back against corporate fraud and imperial wars that we cannot win or afford, the political vacuum we have created will be filled with right-wing lunatics and proto-fascists. The goons will inherit power not because they are astute, but because we are weak and inept.

Violence is a dark undercurrent of American history. It is exacerbated by war and economic decline. Violence is spreading outward from the killing fields in Iraq and Afghanistan to slowly tear apart individuals, families and communities. There is no immunity. The longer the wars continue, the longer the members of our working class are transformed by corporate overlords into serfs, the more violence will dominate the landscape. The slide into chaos and a police state will become inevitable.

The soldiers and Marines who return from Iraq and Afghanistan are often traumatized and then shipped back a few months later to be traumatized again. This was less frequent in Vietnam. Veterans, when they get out, search for the usual escape routes of alienation, addictions and medication. But there is also the escape route of violence. We risk creating a homegrown Freikorps, the demobilized German soldiers from World War I who violently tore down the edifice of the Weimar Republic and helped open the way to Nazism.

The Afghanistan and Iraq wars have unloaded hundreds of thousands of combat troops, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression, back into society. According to a joint Veterans Affairs Department-University of San Francisco study published in July, 418,000 of the roughly 1.9 million service members who have fought in or supported the wars suffer from PTSD.

As of August 2008, the latest data available, about a quarter-million military veterans were imprisoned on any given day-about 9.4 percent of the total daily imprisoned population, according to the National GAINS Center Forum on Combat Veterans, Trauma and the Justice System. There are 223,000 veterans in jail or prison cells on an average day, and an unknown number among the 4 million Americans on probation.

They don't have much to look forward to upon release. And if any of these incarcerated vets do not have PTSD when they are arrested, our corrections system will probably rectify the deficiency.

Throw in the cocktail of unemployment, powerlessness, depression, alienation, anger, alcohol and drugs and you create thousands, if not tens of thousands, who will seek out violence the way an addict seeks out a bag of heroin.
War and conflict have marked most of my adult life. I know what prolonged exposure to industrial slaughter does to you. I know what it is to confront memories, buried deep within the subconscious, which jerk you awake at night, your heart racing and your body covered in sweat. I know what it is like to lie, unable to sleep, your heart pounding, trying to remember what it was that caused such terror.

I know how it feels to be overcome by the vivid images of violence that make you wonder if the dream or the darkness around you is real. I know what it feels like to stumble through the day carrying a shock and horror, an awful cement-like despair, which you cannot shed.

And I know how after a few nights like this you are left numb and exhausted, unable to connect with anyone around you, even those you love the most.
I know how you drink or medicate yourself into a coma so you do not have to remember your dreams. And I know that great divide that opens between you and the rest of the world, especially the civilian world, which cannot imagine your pain and your hatred. I know how easily this hatred is directed toward those in that world.

There are minefields of stimulants for those who return from war. Smells, sounds, bridges, the whoosh of a helicopter, thrust you back to Iraq or another zone of slaughter, back to a time of terror and blood, back to the darkest regions of your heart, regions you wish did not exist. Life, on some days, is a simple battle to stay upright, to cope with memories and trauma that are unexplainable, probably unimaginable, to those seated across from you at the breakfast table.

Families will watch these veterans fall silent, see the thousand-yard stare, and know they have again lost these men and women. They hope somehow they will come back.

Some won't. 

Those who cannot cope, even by using Zoloft or Paxil, blow their brains out with drugs, alcohol or a gun.

More Vietnam veterans died from suicide in the years after the war than during the conflict itself.

But it would be a mistake to blame this on Vietnam. War does this to you. It destroys part of you. You live maimed. If you are not able to live maimed, you check out.

But what happens in a society where everything conspires to check you out even when you make the herculean effort to integrate into the world of malls, celebrity gossip and too many brands of cereal on a supermarket shelf? What happens when the corporate state says that you can die in its wars but at home you are human refuse, that there is no job, no way to pay your medical bills or your mortgage, no hope?

Then you retreat into your private hell of rage, terror and alienation. You do not return from the world of war. You yearn for its sleek and powerful weapons, its speed and noise, its ability to abolish the lines between sanity and madness.

You long for the alluring, hallucinogenic landscapes of combat. You miss the psychedelic visions of carnage and suffering, the smells, sounds, shrieks, explosions and destruction that jolt you back to the present, which make you aware in ways you never were before.

The thrill of violence, the God-like power that comes when you can take a human life with impunity, is matched against the pathetic existence of waiting for an unemployment check. You look to rejoin the fraternity of killers. Here. There. It no longer matters.

There is a yawning indifference at home about what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. The hollow language of heroism and glory, used by the war makers and often aped by those in the media, allows the nation to feel good about war, about "service." But it is also a way of muzzling the voices that attempt to tell us the truth about war.

And when these men and women do find the moral courage to speak, they often find that many fellow Americans turn away in disgust or attack them for shattering the myth.

The myth of war is too enjoyable, and too profitable, to be punctured by reality. And so these veterans nurse their fantasies of power. They begin to hate those who sent them as much as they hate those they fought. Some cannot distinguish one from the other.

As I stared into the faces of the men from A Gathering of Eagles on Saturday at a protest calling for the closure of the Army Experience Center in Philadelphia, I recognized these emotions. These men had arrived on black motorcycles. They were wearing leather jackets. They had lined up, most holding large American flags, to greet the protesters, some of whom were also veterans. They chanted "Traitors!" at the seven people who were arrested for refusing the police order to leave the premises. They sought vindication from a system that had, although they could not admit it, betrayed them.

They yearned to be powerful, if only for a moment, if only by breaking through the police line and knocking some God-hating communist faggot to the ground. They wanted the war to come home.

It is we who are guilty, guilty for sending these young men and women to wars that did not have to be fought. It is we who are guilty for turning away from the truth of war to wallow in a self-aggrandizing myth, guilty because we create and decorate killers and when they come home maimed and broken we discard them. It is we who are guilty for failing to defy a Democratic Party that since 1994 has betrayed the working class by destroying our manufacturing base, slashing funds to assist the poor and cravenly doing the bidding of corporations.

It is we who are guilty for refusing to mass on Washington and demand single-payer, not-for-profit health care for all Americans.

It is we who are guilty for supporting Democrats while they funnel billions in taxpayer dollars to sustain speculative Wall Street interests.

The rage of the confused and angry right-wing marchers, the ones fired up by trash-talking talk show hosts, the ones liberals belittle and maybe even laugh at, should be our rage.

And if it is not our rage soon, if we continue to humiliate and debase ourselves by begging Obama to be Obama, we will see our open society dismantled not because of the shrewdness of the far right, but because of our moral cowardice.

© 2009

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. Empire of Illusion

The furor of the Town hall Howlers given prime time media exposure would have think that America was on the brink of a second Revolutionary War over the issue of Healthcare coverage in America. Nothing could be further from the truth. A vocal hell bent “no change” minority is being allowed to impact the discussion way out of their proportion to the American public, who sadly, like dullard sponges are soaking up the sound bite verbal lint.

Those who have fueled the “Theater On The Right” have a far more devious agenda than that of removing one or more portions of intended healthcare legislation. If they can manage to stampede the public, take advantage of myopic, mediocre, less than stellar intelligence Congressmen, giving cause to pause and back peddle fearing the most important thing in life; their reelections; they will win the day and nothing will change.

They are the voices of hate, the voices of racism in America devoted to the destruction of the Obama Administration, willing to sacrifice self-interests for their hate, the voices of those unwilling to uplift a brother or sister lest they become equals and the bleating of flock following empty headed Americans who won’t pay a dime for anything that they can get someone else to pay for. They have theirs; now you get yours and if you can’t...Tough luck.
Healthcare will remain in the hands of the corporate establishment. Nothing will be competitive in the industry and American’s by-in-large will be handed a sham compromise Bill that is as hollow and useful as discharged 30-06 casing. A big bang that missed the target.

The current furor is less about cost and deficits for the future than it is about the healthcare industry lobby getting its way in avoiding real competition and keeping Congress in its back pocket.

This fight is not about you and me. This fight is about political power and as usual you and I are simply pawns that will become collateral damage in the final outcome if we persist in being couch potato observers in the great American “what can I do mode”.

The rabid right wingers have no qualms about getting in someone’s face in their version of righteous indignation, demonized vocabulary hurling and deaf-eared mind closed “I’ve made up my mind so don’t even try to confuse me with the facts or truth”. They have no qualms in risking a violent confrontation.

On the other hand the left, so frighteningly “intellectually above all that”, simply spits out more words that no one is listening to, words that don’t make the media, words that do not impact the debate, words that do not contribute to the arena of opinion formation.

We are surrendering the debate to the right by intellectual disengagement. You don’t win a fight sitting in the cheap seats outside of the ring!

Democrats know they have to win this issue to retain the White House in 2012, or appear to have scored enough points in the fights to spin back to victory. That is a dangerous strategy. Republicans know that if Obama wins this one; they can kiss 2012 good bye.

This struggle is not about lifting America’s Healthcare standards and providing equity of coverage and service to all our citizens. It is not about Socialism or dictatorship, not even about “Death Panels” or deficits; it’s about the politics of money and elections.

We are in the midst of a “Managed Depression” that will be declared over by 2012 when Wall street is marching forward, Corporate Ledgers and financial institution balance sheets are “acceptable-given-circumstances” and the media swoons over the recovery. Recovery hell; we are in the throes of building a new world wide economy that if left unregulated will collapse down the road again.

The great fallacies that will be swept under the rug in the declaration of recovery will be as hollow as George Bush declaring victory in Iraq on the flight deck of a warship. Recovery will be an illusion, reconstruction incomplete and only with time will far too many come to realize the human devastation that has taken place. Recovery without jobs, recovery without reemployment, recovery without the restoration of personal dreams, aspirations and careers will not constitute recovery; it will, however, be served up as a great triumph for which many have made great sacrifices…that would be you and me.

We are in the midst of a great collapse of the Capitalism system as managed by the current crop of unregulated corporate criminals and their sycophant corporate boards whose only bottom line is their bank accounts; not you, not me, not America in general.

We are in the midst of a great opportunity to bring about great change and at every turning point our leaders are being hammered into repeated failure.
Detroit is on the ropes and banking its hopes of renewal on “Green Friendly” hybrid cars. That is a joke. The hybrid should at most be considered a short interim/transitional vehicle while economically the industry stabilizes. I will grant you those vehicles will lessen emissions…but. One must consider the reverse side of the coin. They will not sell as one might hope in the corporate board room. Why? Simply they will not satisfy the public’s appetite for vehicles that simply start and run and run with little fuss other than a fill up at acceptable prices.

People don’t want to stop and exchange batteries. People are going to weary rapidly with plugging in these things over night and there will be inevitably those failures where cars and houses go up in flames.

There is a more insidious component to the hybrid that is a dirty little secret. They use some gas; they use out-of-wall electric refueling. And what’s wrong with that?

Where does electricity come from? What is burned in its generation with the after products of pollution pumped into our environment…coal and oil…so those good old boys can simply shift their delivery trucks and we will remain in business of raping the land and killing for oil. 

And just where have we missed the boat on this one and stepped off the dock into drowning waters? The Detroit stimulus should have included, and I don’t apologize for the next words, a black mail proviso that required massive R&D on the part of the industry to develop in three years the true electric car, the non-hybrid, emissions less, on-board battery recharging automobile. Money for battery research/development should have been allocated. 

That car is within our reach and the first nation to get their will dominate the world market for the at least the next century…but our Congress is so corrupted and co-opted that it cannot think or get out of the elections safe deposit box.

I am less concerned with the deficits that we may amass in building a new world economy than I am with seizing the moment to shape tomorrow. The deficits in world once again productive will both manage those costs and dissolve them rapidly. The fear comes from a myopic vision based on assumptions, formulas and solutions of a bye gone era.

We have heard little of regulatory legislation necessary to bridle, harness and coral financial institution and their corporate inclinations of sociopathic economic rape and serial killing economic plunder. If you regulate, (as we must); there will be fight and it will be ongoing to undo whatever measures are put in place, but the corporations are not going to find some safe haven abroad any longer. Many a nation is far down the track on this one. We are still nestling into the starting blocks and I am sure we will argue over what those should be. The Fed was only the token first step.

That simple early-on cliché of “If it’s too big to fail then it should not exist” must be a guiding principle of rebuilding. I do not discount profit making, but I do condemn the obscenity of profit making at everyone else’s life, well being and ability to share in a decent life.

As I near the conclusion of these comments; one need not look any further than the America’s Infra Structure Report Card ( to determine a productive national economic program of jobs creation, employment and national advance.

The Allstate “Recession Advertisement make a point American’s might well take a few moments to examine. We have experienced 12 recessions/depressions since 1931! Does that not say we are truly mentally challenged and weak of commitment? It does say we haven’t learned anything from our past mistakes. The sentiments for basic simple values is nostalgic and I can find no fault with that other than we ought not, time again to be slammed into the gutter of despair by the criminal greed of corporate sociopaths and the failure of elected leadership that have literally purchased in cash and ego feeding.

Additional Source Readings:

Bob Dylan:
Masters Of War
Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks
You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly
Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain
You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud
You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins
How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do
Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul
And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead.

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