Clearly lots of people have views other than our
political leaders. Some write columns in the papers, some have talk
shows on TV. Most of us are left with the Internet as a means to express
ourselves. On these pages you'll find the commentaries of one citizen,
for whatever use you can make of them.
the betrayal of a trust :
the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow
the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill
or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign's family
There is all manner of evil in the world. One of the worst kinds is
a government that turns on its own people. Usually we think of such
an event as happening all of a piece, appearing suddenly as an aberation.
But in the case of the United States of America, this treason has arisen
slowly over time, almost unnoticed by those who fell under its power.
One could ask, how can a government commit treason against itself, but the
facts are that in the United States, the true government is the People, and
if a sitting government turns against its own People here, it commits treason.
Further, our elected officials owe allegiance to the Constitution,
and by violating its principles, they also commit treason.
Like all such evil it began with small acts. A vote sold here, a lie
told there. Soon it was business as usual. Soon it was
most votes and many lies, as our government more and more served only wealth,
and less and less either the People or the Constitution. With the 2nd
Bush administration, the whole thing has become a nightmare.
You have to wonder what ambition, what love of power, what religious ideology,
would drive elected officials to betray their own people and the very foundations
of our way of life. But betrayal is what we have today, though many
still chose not to see it.
Below are put a few of the treasonous acts of our elected officials:
In the '60's, three men of moral substance, two of the Kennedy brothers and
Dr. King, are assassinated. We are told the assassins acted alone,
but the real question is who benefited by the heart being torn from our People.
A President covers up crimes against our People, orders unlawful acts against
his opponents, and commits war crimes against the Cambodian Nation.
The Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives, awash in unjustified
campaign contributions, manage all elections for the benefit of the incumbents.
This same Congress routinely abuses the People's retirement program,
Social Security, while creating for themselves retirement benefits
of an unparalleled nature.
A large bill is about to be passed in the Congress, and unknown to anyone
(supposedly), as if by magic, a rider is attached to this bill, benefiting
to the tune of $50 Billion dollars the tobacco industry.
An election is stolen from the Party that should have won, and even the highest
Court is incapable of either seeking the truth or justice, but instead goes
for expediency, while the losing Party itself fails to press the issue, for
their leaders still have power, and it is only our People that really suffer
A terrible tragedy happens to our people, and soon those with an ambition
to dominate the world start to use that horror to convince us to go to war
- a war where there is no credible threat to us.
Around the same time, a complicated piece of legislation is offered to the
Congress, who passes it unread, only to discover later what an afront it
is to our hard won civil liberties. Such legislation was not written
in the last minute, but had to already be there, produced by some working
group that knew full well its assault on our freedoms. Who wrote this? Who
set them to such a task?
In order to maintain power, the leader of the House of Representatives, seeks
to redistrict Texas, in order to unseat sitting Congressman, and thus insure
his party's majority in the next election.
The ruling elite, supposedly of the Party of Lincoln, hardly hide their deeds
anymore, and sell favors almost openly. Power such as they have used
and seek is heady stuff, intoxicating in the extreme. Their fans accuse
their critics of being unpatriotic. The truth is they daily commit
treason, for the Executive Branch no longer honors the Constitution, but
instead makes plans to further erode the basic rights of our People.
Our public officials serve now only wealth and their own ambition and love
Whatever other name one wants to call it, I call it Treason.
Democrat, Republic, Green or Citizen
Eventually, and hopefully not too late, people will wake up
to the fact that our Republic is rooted in acts of Citizenship, not party
politics or affiliation.
Parties fight over power. That's it, nothing else. That's their
point, the reason they exist. They fill no other social purpose.
They are controlled from the top down, not from the bottom up. Citizens
are at the bottom, politicians are at the top. Politians routinely lie.
Politicians routinely pretend to believe in things they don't really
believe in, in order to get elected. Politicians keep secrets about
what they are doing, because they know the public would not approve. Politicians
organize our election laws and voting districts in ways designed to keep
themselves in power. Politicians run the Parties, even the Greens (the
main Green argument is about participation in the power game, if you read
through the hype).
Politicians have all kinds of justifications for what they do. But these
rationalizations are just that - they don't change what is right or wrong.
Lying is wrong. Pretending is wrong. Keeping secrets is
wrong. Keeping yourself in power is wrong. Playing the power game
instead of taking care of the Public's Business is wrong.
If you do wrong stuff long enough, you get so used to it that it becomes
business as usual
. We tolerate it because we are used to
it. Thing is, this kind of abuse of power goes on long enough it wrecks
something. Marriages and families get wrecked by lying, pretending,
secrets and power games. Businesses are wrecked by the same thing.
It is also possible to wreck a Country, which is what is happening
in the United States now.
We are having a serious social-political train wreck.
In slow motion - which makes it hard to notice.
Its going to get worse before it gets better.
Politicans won't make it better, they have no reason to do that.
Only Citizens, only those who set aside party politics for serious consideration
of the real issues of governance are going to pick up the pieces after the
train wreck. It may even be possible to nullify some of the potential
damages as the train wreck continues - but that is not any kind of certainty.
Politicians are not public servants. They serve themselves and the owners
of money. A Republic based on citizenship responsibility died some
time ago. However, it can be resurrected.
But only Citizens can do that. The politicians won't do it. Oh,
they will say all the right words (lies), make all the right promises, but
in the end they will do what they want, for reasons they won't tell us, and
at the behest of folks we never know.
And, if you don't see this, then you are not being a responsible citizen.
Neo-fascism hiding as Anti-terrorism
In the name of anti-terrorism, the Justice Department is urging its acquisition
of all manner of powers. Even conservatives wince at some of what is
requested. Here are some fundamental considerations.
Why, at all, do civil rights have to be sacrificed in order to protect us
from terrorists? We can examine this question without even considering
the powers the Justice Department is asking for. For some the argument
is whether security is more crucial than some liberties. We are told
that the Justice Department needs these powers in order to make us safe. But
the central question goes deeper - will the sacrifice of these liberties actually
make us safer?
First of all can we be made absolutely safe? No. Anyone with
two brain cells to rub together realizes this. The War on Terrorism,
whether carried out abroad or here at home, will not be won. This War
is a political act, done by politicians for political reasons. We had
a War on Poverty, and lost. We had a War on Drugs, and lost. These kinds
of Wars are not about solving a problem, they are all about appearing to
solve a problem.
We always have to keep in mind the first principle of observing our politicians
- don't believe what they say. Believe only what they do, and then not
the names by which they call what they do.
What is the record so far? The administration is holding several hundred
men and children in Cuba, away from recourse to our system of Justice. The
administration held several hundred other Arab men, arrested just after 9/11,
whose only problem was with their visas, for months, even over a year, with
no access to our Justice system. From this last group of men not one
single terrorist was discovered, not one.
The administration wants (and has already to a certain degree acquired) the
The power to name someone as a terrorist or a supporter of terrorism, without
any proof or any judicial review of this claim. We are to trust our
political leaders to name someone a terrorist or a supporter of terrorism
only for the reason of protecting us from terrorists. They want to
do this in secret, on the basis of whatever information or sources they define,
and with no one ever able to review this decision. Do you suppose they
would never be tempted to use this power to claim a political opponent or
someone engaged in dissent is a terrorist?
Once they have determined that someone is a terrorist or a supporter of terrorism
(remember no proof required), they claim (or want) the right to detain indefinitely,
and in secret. That is, should they decide you are a terrorist or a
supporter of terrorism, they get to secretly arrest you and hold you as long
as they want without anyone knowing why or where. No court is to able
to review this situation.
They also want to try terrorists and their supporters in secret, and are seeking
to be able to apply the death penalty to such situations.
They also want to be able to take away your citizenship. If they decide
you are a terrorist or a supporter of terrrorism, they want to be able to
declare you no longer a citizen and deport you (to where is not so clear).
The above, of course, has little to do with the electronic eavesdropping they
want to do, or their ability to come into your home without a warrant and
copy your hard drive, and make it possible to copy all the keystrokes you
make. Nor does this deal with their desire to turn all our neighbors
into secret police, able to harrass us for whatever petty grievance they hold.
Now ask yourself, how do these powers, if given, make us safe from terrorists?
How does their power to name someone a terrorist or a supporter of terrorists,
without judicial review, make us safer? Such a power only makes the
judgments, of those who hold the power, safe. How does the power
to search and arrest without warrant make us safer? Only those who
would use such a power are made safe from any abuse of that power.
All the moves which keep the exercise of power by our govenment free of judicial
review do not make us safer from terrorism, they only make it safe for neo-fascists
to exercise their diseased ambitions free of the constitutional protections
our Founders gave to us, and for which our soldiers have died since the Revolutionary
The only beneficiary of these powers is the already powerful.
When Push come to Shove
Things are going to get worse. The powerful don't give up power easily.
Especially when they are on a roll, and when their wealthy friends are
starting to get desperate.
Lets face it, the economy is getting worse, corporations do not look good,
and lots of people don't trust them at all anymore. There is a discontinuity
in the world, between the moral sensibilities of most people, and the actions
of a few. We are shocked and dismayed when we read over and over again
about the selfishness of corporate leaders. Those who investigate this
carefully come to understand that there is a cooperation between government
and corporate intesests - a cooperation that is all about wealth and power,
and in which the little people's (the citizens of the Republic) real needs
are secondary if not outright irrelevant.
The rule of wealth is in danger. And when sharks and wolves and pirates
are in danger they attack!
I lived through the late '60's and '70's in Berkeley California. Let's
recall how our government behaved in those years, keeping in mind that today
they not only have more powers, but even more motivation to suppress dissent.
The FBI used agents provocateurs - that is they infiltrated various groups,
from the most radical to the least, with spys who pretended to be part of
the groups and frequently encouraged the groups into lawbreaking.
The government created an enemies list and targeted individuals for IRS investigations,
or if they were political, planted false information about them in the Press.
Illegal surveilance was common. The Democratic Party headquarters
was broken into, as was a psychiatrist's office (this is stuff we know about,
not everything that was done). The CIA tested drugs and simple biowar
weapons (LSD and infectious flues) on unsuspecting American citizens.
Dissent was denounced as unpatriotic. Local police agencies where encouraged
to do their own spying on the general public. Such illegal surveilence
was routinely kept secret. The Press was frequently manipulated, and
the government lied over and over again about the War in Vietnam and about
its own role in supressing dissent.
Keep in mind that I am speaking in generalities, but if you read the particulars
it will raise the hair on the back of your neck and loosen your bowels. The
more violence oriented the dissent (the Black Panthers for example), the more
vicious the response from the authorities (the assassination of Fred Hampton).
There is a long history of this kind of activity (the labor movement troubles
early in the 20th Century). Wealth and power don't show any restraint
in maintaining their position, and believe they hold all the cards.
What's going to happen?
Impossible to actually predict. The hope is that it goes away with little
strife. Let's consider a small example of the excesses of power that
can come into play, and basically how it usually applies itself to individuals
in terms of maximum force.
A couple in New England is home schooling their children. The educational
authorities want to test the children, and the parents refuse to have the
children tested. The authorities then use social services to take away
the parental rights of the parents, in order to force the testing that is
being refused. Then one day law enforcement officers show up at the
house, threatening the parents that they will take away their children, unless
they consent to the testing. This is enormous power of the State applied
in a situation where no threat exists as regards the children - the only treat
is the refusal to conform to the educational authorities desires. Home
school your kids, ignore the educational authorities and the law will take
away your children?
In this case the parents said, okay arrest us, take away the children and
then explain to the public what you are doing. Push comes to shove,
and the parents faced down the power of the State (who backed off).
What do you think is going to happen when the State declares you a terrorist,
or a supporter of terrorism because you choose to dissent against their policies?
Will you be able to stand against this irrational and excessive
abuse of power? What if they just threaten? They say, tell us
a story about your neighbor, and we'll not apply our power on you. When
do you cave and when do you stand up?
It ain't going to be easy.
An Open Letter to the Republican Party
There are those who see our modern political problems in terms of issues.
Speak to the issues they say. Or they ask a candidate for higher
office: "What are your stands on the issues". But this is a hopelessly superficial
view of modern political existence. It is the kind of thinking a fifth
grade boy has about sex. Mostly fantasy, with little connection to reality,
and certainly no understanding of the real nature of women.
Modern politics isn't about issues. Its about substance and stature
and capacities and responding to the real needs of a People. At the
very least it requires some sound judgments about human nature.
The way the world is presently ordered is that the United States is in a natural
position of a certain limited form of dominance. We didn't so much
earn it as having been placed in this position by the Genius of History as
a matter of Grace. We ought to be humbled by this - it is an enormous
The sad fact is that we are a quite miserable failure at honoring this gift.
Our current political leaders are about as incompetent as possible in
how they relate to our responsibilities. Like that fifth grade boy,
they treat the world in a very childish fashion, as if it was a board game
in which the point was to win.
Yet, the Genius of History is anything if not tolerant, so we could approach
this situation as if it was a learning experience. We have to stumble
around a bit in our state of ignorance and social immaturity first, in order
to eventually realize that there might be a better way.
Right now the Republican Party, the Party of Lincoln, has sold its soul to
the Christian Right and to Money, in order to enjoy power. If we look
at what is being done in our Nation's Capital, we see Republicans drunk on
power. They can do just about anything, so that is what they do, just
about anything. But there is no wisdom in what they do, or any coherence.
They have power, but no knowledge or competence.
The very least that our higher public servants ought to understand is something
about human nature. One is simply not competent for the exercise of
such authority if one does not understand such basic realities.
For example, mere ambition does not qualify one for elected office. Nor
does the possession of wealth, or the possession of the correct ideology,
or knowing the right people. Yet, it is exactly these qualities that
are used to judge whether a Party (Republican or Democrat) finds someone a
suitable potential candidate. Also of import are: telegenic presence;
willingness to be a team player above all; and (most unfortunately) the absence
of sufficient personal integrity to stand up to various temptations.
When the Parties offer us a candidate they have not sought out the best qualified
people. In fact, it would be quite difficult to even find it anywhere
considered what personal character, expertise and experiential skills are
needed for highest office. Real competence is that last thing on anyone's
The Nation and the World now suffer from this failure of the Parties to seek
out the best and the most qualified to serve the Republic.
George W. Bush is a nice man, but a bit too much of a silver spoon kid, and
not quite bright either. However, nothing in his resume qualifies him
to be our President, and the Republic Party has only itself to blame for the
He doesn't lead, but is lead. Power hungry people populate his government.
They were faceless in the beginning, but now they are known, and again,
other than having a school boy view of world affairs, a rigid moral arrogance,
and a lot of money, Rove, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Chaney and company have no
business having the power and authority our founders gave to the Executive
Branch as a great trust.
The reality is the People don't want them in power. Oh, you can point
to polls and say well they do, but the only reason some of the people have
been fooled in this regard is because the truth is kept from them. Anyone,
and I mean anyone, with two brain cells knows that if the American People
knew the truth of what is going on in Washington they would be enraged.
Already Bush and his handlers have divided the Country, and will continue
on that path if they remain in power after the 2004 election. Everyone
who loves our Country has to stand up and be counted now in the effort to
get these children out of office. Yes, the other guys are about as lame,
but that is another matter that will have to wait to be addressed after the
White House is first given a thorough spring cleaning.
Now someone reading this might say, well could you do better? Or they
might say, what could Bush do that is different? These and related questions
are quite justified. As to the first question, you should read Re-imagining the Conduct of
the Presidency - a Presidential Campaign as an Act of Statecraft and the Presidency
as the Art and Craft of Statesmanship
. As to the second, that follows.
As noted at the beginning of this essay, the Genius of History has placed
before the American People a certain opportunity and responsibility. This
was not done by accident, but rather because it is our given nature to be
able to rise and meet this task. This, however, will not be easy - nothing
worthwhile ever is.
In order to understand what is called for we have first to understand our
place in the world, and the world's own state of being. These are not
simple matters, but I will try to sketch the basics in the following:
The world has become a single community. This was not true before, but
is true now. As Dr King put it, we are now neighbors who must next learn
to be brothers. American then has the natural gifts in this, because
it is in our own land that the Genius of History has brought all the world's
Peoples together in one place. For a long time now we have been struggling
with this very problem, and our experience in this regard is more mature
than we might think.
Politicians, seeking to divide us and rule, make it appear that we are not
together in the way we need. But if you go into the work places and
neighborhoods, and see what is happening that doesn't get misrepresented on
the 11 O'clock News, you see people actually getting along. We get along
more than we don't, but that isn't News, so it doesn't get reported. Its
only News when it doesn't work. But if you want the truth, watch Oprah.
It isn't easy, but it is our nature - we are the People of Peoples
after all - "...and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea".
This being who we are, then we are qualified to help the world take the needed
steps in the direction of moving from mere neighbors to brother and sisterhood.
The world doesn't need our domination, but our example. That's
what real leaders do, they lead by example.
So what example have Bush and company given us - live in the thrall of great
wealth, destroy the civil liberties of your own people to maintain power (rule
through fear), invade other countries and create chaos while destroying the
struggling to emerge world order (disregard long standing treaties, undercut
the United Nations, don't pay any attention to our natural allies or to world
We can do a lot better, and the Republican Party needs to play a role. The
Party of Lincoln needs to reclaim its true nature as sound Conservatives,
and maintainers of tradition. It has to free itself from its bondage
to wealth, and its domination by its own Right Wing.
If Bush is not opposed in the 2004 election within his own Party, that failure
will haunt us all.
The President as Figurehead
(or what happens when the President is substantially less smart than his
*a head or chief in name only
George W. Bush seems like a nice guy. Many people feel a kinship with
him because of this, and for some the fact that he is not an egghead
seems to be a plus. He is reported to have said at a Yale Commencement,
something on the order of: "congratulations to all you honor students,
and also congratulations to all you C students, because you too can become
We do have the Ideal that anyone can be President, and I wouldn't want us
to set that aside. But if we are going to be taken (and I do mean taken)
by small groups of people putting forward a figurehead candidate, then we
do need to know the truth about those behind the figurehead. Otherwise
we vote for and honor not the true holder of executive power, but simply
the false mask that power has chosen to wear.
It is a worthwhile question to ask whether this aptly describes the George
W. Bush presidency. Not only this, we need some kind of way to assess
such a situation - to discover it, and understand how it works.
Obviously the worst case senario is one where the President is basically
a vain fool, who enjoys more the trappings and perks of office, works short
hours, and leaves to his presumed underlings the discussion and elaboration
of the fundamentals of foreign and domestic policy. They in turn (the
underlings) would then (because of their presumed superior intellect) manipulate
this fool through his vanity and appetites, telling him what he wants to
hear, and overcoming his weaker intellect in clever ways. He becomes
their tool, and we, the Citizens, would have no idea whom to hold really
responsible, given that none of the underlings is an actually elected official.
While some would find such an idea improbable in our democratic Republic,
it clearly has more than once been the case in the history of humanity. Emperors,
Kings and Queens, and other Chiefs of State, have frequently been mere figureheads
and the power behind the throne held by other, less accountable, hands.
We should also confess that this is quite possible in the United States,
given the nature of media, the role of money in elections, and the way the
actually workings of the White House are hidden from examination. Think
about it. Politicians and their campaign operatives practice a certain
art. They are professionals at dissembling, at lying, at hiding the
truth, at creating false images, and inventing new ways of misdirection.
Political campaigns are not about the truth at all, or even the issues -
they are about manipulating the public mind.
Elected officials never stop campaigning. Everyone knows this. Each
decision is judged primarily for its political (re-election potential) consequences.
Nothing is done because it is the right thing to do in spite of any
risks taken by the politician. All is done in order to obtain and maintain
Now some might argue - well, what about all the good stuff that is done?
Okay, so what. Most of what is done is done for the holders of
money, who have paid for it by their campaign contributions. Any good
done for the general welfare is mostly incidental to doing it for the wealthy.
Yes, we have a defense department, but we also have defense industries
(and don't forget Eisenhower's
warning about the military-industrial complex
We have an Interior Department, but it serves (especially under Republican
administrations) the needs of commerce, not the needs of the enviroment or
ordinary people. Our government is not the steward of America's great
natural wealth, but rather it's wholesaler. The needs of wealth come
first, and benefits to the taxpayers are incidental.
As for the Democrats, our national sovereignty was sold by Clinton during
the '90's in a series of trade agreements that primarily served the needs
of international wealth at the expense of working people the world over.
So just don't assume that governance by politicians has anything to do anymore
with the American People.
Manipulation of image and truth then being the main skill of elected officials
and their operatives, it should not be doubted that a figurehead president
is a serious (and quite dangerous) possibility. Read
this link about Karl Rove and Bush to start to get a picture of the truth
The best that I can do here is point the reader in the direction of examining
this question. If you want, there is all manner of detail that can
be discovered that shows, quite tragically for the United States of America,
how it is that we have elected a pleasing mask, without sufficient wit and
mind to be able to see the ill conceived intentions of his puppeteers.