Updated 1:10 PM EST, Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The Greatest Evolving Story Ever
Artificial Aristocrats versus Countervailing Powers
Part I. The Myths of Great Men
Kitty and Ken Galbraith in Vermont
Richard Parker, John Kenneth Galbraith 532 (2005).
The threat to men of great dignity, privilege and pretension is not from the radicals they revile; it is from accepting their own myth. Exposure to reality remains the nemesis of the great-a little understood thing. All who articulate the convenient belief should never worry about their critics, only revelation of the truth. Parker, infra, at p. 268.
The self-imposed mythes that characterize "men of great dignity, privilege and pretension" arises most often in a society in which there is no practical political remedy for the pernicious conduct of the few, so that raw power alone dictates the behavior of dominant actors like corrupt multinational corporations. Presently, this deplorable condition is rampant. "(N)othing in my lifetime or yours has happened more completely than the loss of confidence in corporate leadership..." observed John Kenneth Galbraith, in an article "Concerning Enronism," appearing in Studs Terkel, Hope Dies Last 87-90 (2003). Professor Gailbraith died on Saturday, April 29, 2006, at 97, in Cambridge, Mass. Many volumes have been devoted to deploring the existing situation. See e.g., Stiglitz (2003), Huffington (2003), and Phillips (2002). The causes of this "deep erosion of corporate integrity" results from "the political alliance between high government officials and corrupt corporations..." together with "a systematic assault on the integrity and independence of the Courts... and Congress..." according to James K. Galbraith, Chair in Government/Business Relations at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin. Keynote Remarks, Workshop on SOE Reform, Property Rights and the Development of Civil Society, Fudan University, Shanghai China, June 20, 2005. (Unpublished paper provided by the author).
The situation is most interesting that evolves in a court setting. Under existing conditions one engages in futility in any attempt to resolve important controversies between a community and large corrupt banks, national news networks that rely on gratuitous violence in programming to manipulate their audience, and other Artificial Aristocrats that are "founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talent" as Thomas Jefferson described in A Letter to John Adams (1813). In their search for profit and power the Artificial Aristocrats are devoted to the blood sport of robbing the whole global people of their minds, their liberty, their property, and their lives. In a court setting, however, the discussion of grievances changes radically; there, the parties face each other one-on-one by their respective legal representatives, whether by a licensed lawyer if one can afford this, or by the exercise of freedom of choice to engage in self-representation. Both the rich man and the poor man are compelled to answer each other's claims at the risk of a default judgment for any failure to appear and answer.
One proceeds to carefully lay out their claims, based on fool-proof legal research, supported by devastating documentary evidence so that, like Samson set to bring down the Philistine Temple upon the heads of the Philistines, the moment of truth will arrive. But this is not to be. The pursuit of truth and reason have no meaning to the Artificial Aristocrats, such abstractions just get in the way of their pursuit of wealth and power. Indeed, in response to your compelling evidence we hear a loud scream denouncing the attack upon the honor of the "men of great dignity, privilege and pretension" against whom we have mounted our case. Now comes a masterful "assault on the integrity and independence of the Courts" by "Big Money" and their able lawyers, supported by the "alliance between high government officials and corrupt corporations" employing all the tools of deceit, coercion, and terrorism, including computer terrorism, combined with the awesome powers of state police agencies (e.g., the FBI, US Secret Service, National Security Agency, and Homeland Security Agency, etc.) to defeat the citizen's meritorious claims. Instead of courts maintaining due process and the free and fair adjudication of controversies between citizens, here enters the role and conduct of the judicial despot. This despotic power of courts is a terrible threat of government made all the more likely by the very structure of the judicial department, according to the wisdom of the two greatest American political leaders: the democrat Thomas Jefferson, and republican Abraham Lincoln.
In addition to the scholarly confirmation of such atrocities afflicting the contemporary judicial process, above cited, this writer can attest under penalty of perjury to the truth of these claims of unconscionable judicial corruption. This includes deep personal experience with:
In subordinating all social relations to the market we have stripped away the remaining restraints and mitigating illusions from the "war of all against all." We have propagated by these means a state of organized anarchy, now defined as " a counter-culture of madness." Washington's Hill Rag, September 17 - September 30, 1993, at p.9 (first in a three-part series).
Moreover, if these measures are not sufficient to enable the corporate goons to prevail, standing ready are:
These are merely domestic initiatives of the US Government organized to support the capitalist blood sport of profit and power. The international domain during the past half-century has been marked by a Return to Barbarity producing the most horrific wars of aggression conducted by the United States: unnecessary atomic annihilation of whole populations, support for death squads, the wars in search of oil, the mass destruction to maintain strategic control, wars without purpose, and other insidious acts of "preventative wars." These wars against the American people, and wars against anyone else who gets in the way have led to the new violent forms of Blowback (2000), described by Chalmers Johnson as "the unintended consequences of policies kept secret from the American people"! A whole range of such Countervailing Powers, first discussed half-a-century ago by John Kenneth Galbraith, in his book on American Capitalism (1952) are now on display.
As distinguished from the balancing forces of supply and demand under competitive market conditions, Countervailing Powers are designed to counter the savage, illegitimate, harmful, or merely inadequate institutional channels established under the free market system, and so as to fulfill the promise of democracy under the Republican form of Government. The role of trade unions as a counterweight to the power of big business was originally stressed by Galbraith. But the role of unions has faded in America while business powers and their abuses have skyrocketed. During recent periods the burgeoning imbalance of social powers has spawned Independent Media Centers, supporting a global protest movement of tens of millions of citizens expressing their desire for peaceful exercise of the paramount human values of freedom, liberty, and justice. The illegitimacy and disproportionate military power deployed by one side has spawned on the other side a conflagration of violent and bizarre forms of citizen action: the Unabomber, Suicide bombers, and Leaderless resistance movements. These violent forms are largely unstoppable; as the United States armed forces have learned in Vietnam and Iraq.
Part II. Unsustainable Despotism
Contemporary insurgency is global in scope and ruthless to the bone, but expresses the same desperation of ordinary citizens with the arbitrary power exercised by Artificial Aristocrats at the time of the 18th century American revolution. The illegitimacy of court doctrine and popular hatred of lawyers at the birth of the nation turned the citizenry livid with rage into violent rebellion against the courts and elected government, as exemplified in Shay's Rebellion described by one American Historian. Gary B. Nash, The Unknown American Revolution 401-402, 448 (2005).
The anthropological system of Kleptocracy - "The transferring of wealth from commoners to the upper classes" was widely discussed after the term was publicized by Jared M. Diamond, professor of medical sciences at the University of California, at Berkeley, in his book, Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies (W.W. Norton & Co. 1997) pp.268-69. The book won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998. The political and judicial system of Kleptocracy is the outcome of "representation" that always favors elite power. Judges, lawyers, and their preferred elite clients understand this concept well, especially, when an indigent corporation that has no funds to pay for legal services exercises their freedom of choice to appear in court by self-representation. All corporations enjoy the fundamental constitutional right of access to court and due process guaranteed by the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States but the indigent corporation -- the one that needs that protection most -- is denied that basic right by despotic courts that simply overthrow with impunity the fundamental constitutional rights of an indigent corporate litigant. Unfortunately, these machinations of lawyers and the judiciary, and the elite clientele they both serve, are never discussed in law books and only rarely exposed to publicity, without which the impartiality and fairness of the judiciary cannot possibly be ensured.
Is there an antidote to this political and judicial Kleptocracy? Yes, of course, as shown by the famous remark by the plotter of treachery in William Shakespeare's late 16th century play, King Henry VI - "The first thing we must do is kill all the lawyers"! Antiroyalists and anticapitalists of the 18th century American revolution famously adopted the idea in deed as the above cartoon illustrates. The 20th century return to barbarity and the mass slaughter of human beings, which provides a blueprint for more of the same in the 21st century have disclosed nothing more than the deepening tragedy and supreme stupidity of such a murderous strategy.
We have a very large body of experience about the disastrous unintended consequences of "solutions" to human problems derived from wars of aggression. However, left entirely untested on any large scale is the enlightened means now available to mobilize the whole global society toward a genuine Ecology Dialogue. Such a dialogue can make better use of rational techniques that can facilitate meaningful civic participation and power sharing to bring about genuine social progress toward the promise of democracy. Who could sponsor such an undertaking? Certainly not those at the top of the power hierarchy, who are fearful of loosing any power. Those without power -- the commoners who are the targets of Kleptocracy -- may be the only source of genuine transformation. These commoners have important questions to ask of the courts and of the government.
We ask, "Is there a court of law in this country or only a court of despotism?" Whoever would resign the sovereign powers of the citizens of a democracy to such a cabal of despots engaged in plain robbery of the liberties and properties of the people is a fool. Indeed, young American men and women are now asked to give their lives for such a Kleptocracy but few want to fight for this cause, neither the war resistors nor the war boosters! The mother who lost her son in Iraq, Cindy Sheehan, maintains a protest vigil waiting for Mr. Bush to personally explain to her his statement that she lost her son for a "noble cause." "What 'noble cause'"? Cindy Sheehan asks, before an exploding global sympathy group.
A world-wide media blitz recognizing the protest vigil of Cindy Sheehan first shot up to 1900 news articles a day and then exploded to more than 22,000 on the Google news list September 13, 2005, ripping a stunning new opening in the political landscape, but 60-days later the Google news list for Cindy Sheehan dropped down to less than 1900 news articles, waiting for a second wind to blow clear, only to bounce up and then slide below the horizon by the first week of the new year, which registered under a paltry 1400 on the Google news list. On Jan 6, 2006, Cindy Sheehan published her reaction in a piece denouncing the "The apathy of most of America" a familiar theme in America.
In a civil war strategy by means other than violence brewing between The Beltway versus The Blogosphere, explored by Howard Fineman in Newsweek-MSNBC, September 14, 2005, the politics of Internet Bloggers have become a powerful new Countervailing Power moving toward an overthrow of the governing class. In the initial stage of this transformation Internet Bloggers are shaping a new class of politics with an "unforgiving toughness and a mastery of new means of communications." This action -- breaking out of the historical pattern of constrained volition of civic advocacy groups (i.e., the "third sector"), which are overdependent upon corporate funding and intimidated by Government power -- is a very significant change in American politics that this writer described in "A STRUCTURE FOR LEADERSHIP" that appears in my article on The Politics of Cyberspace (1994), published more than a decade ago in the Journal of Government Information.
No political leader is going to take command of this emerging governing class, which is the very embodiment of global diversity, leading toward everyone leading everyone. Such diversity with the freedom to communicate via Internet that is possessed by everyone everywhere is protected as a fundamental constitutional right under the Constitution of the United States, RENO v. American Civil Liberties Union, 117 S.Ct. 2329, 2344 (1997). Nevertheless, this freedom is initiated in a state of extremes. While the speech occuring in chat rooms and blogs is protected under the First Amendment, the quality of this speech was taged by the court as "no more than unfounded and unconvincing opinion" that is "normally (and inherently) unreliable" and does not "imply any assertions of underlying objective facts." Paradoxically, the same court cited the factual reliability of newspapers, particularly the Wall Street Journal, the editorical content of which has historically included total devotion to clearly unsustainable capitalist ideology. This is the Flagship of the prosperity of the The Roaring Nineties, described by the winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics as nothing more than "a phantasm, that much of the wealth was 'stolen' property, acquired through misleading accounting and tax scams, in an economy where corporate governance had failed, and failed badly." Joseph E. Stiglitz, The Roaring Nineties 302-303 (2003). Indeed, insider rumors claim that, perhaps, as much as fifty percent of the editorial content of the Wall Street Journal underlying the dubious reliability of that newspaper was prepared by corporate public relations firms. But what do I know, a mere blog reporting unsubstantiated rumors devoid of any assertion of "objective facts"!
AP News commentary on this case was headlined Court Rules in Favor of Anonymous Blogger. Nevertheless, while one may celebrate such constitutional freedom of thought and speech, the text of the court's opinion (linked above) underscores the unforgiving chaos that rules both the Internet blogs, as well as court opinions that judge such matters; an environment in which tyranny thrives.
The object of this democratic overthrow of the governing class, involves an exercise of the latent power of the people under the Republican form of Government to release themselves from market system failures analogous to the biblical Tower of Babel, and become, instead "masters of the situation." C.E. Lindblom, Professor Emeritus of Economics and Political Science at Yale University, in The Market System 234 (2001). This transformation will require more than a simplistic repetition of the tried and true failures of the past. Today's leaders guided by the delusions of crowd politics, follow the path of a great historical failure in the political life of humanity. These new leaders fail utterly to understand and facilitate a way out of the HYPNOSIS that 2005 Nobel laureate Harold Pinter correctly identified as the deadly trap door for the human spirit. This failure will not be resolved by denouncing "The apathy of most of America"!
Another familiar landmark of superficial liberal explanations for the extraordinary difficulties faced by the American civilization suggests that the fearful outlook of Americans is the basic source of the perennial demagoguery of political leadership in the United States. Haynes Johnson, The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism (2005). Certainly there is a historical record of fear promoted by the dynamics of HYPNOSIS and the politics of McCarthyism and Terrorism, but this is not a character trait of Americans, it is a character trait of a hopelessly primative and uneducated leadership structures, which are utterly ignorant of all rational techniques for encoraging the essential defenses against mass HYPNOSIS. Not surprisingly, this deplorable condition can be defeated. Similar to the tactics of car salesmen, the outlandish promotion of the Politics of Terrorism, produces mindless consumers by deliberate reinforcement. MIT linguist Noam Chomsky also describes the fear that is used to manipulate Americans, but Chomsky is careful to recognize this idea "has to keep being reinforced, or it will just drop off." David Barsman, Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World 31-32 (2005). The twin scourge of public "apathy" and "fear" arises from continuing reinforcement of the despicable technique of HYPNOSIS not from a careless and insecure people.
Instead of denouncing the citizenry for a false character weakness that sends the wrong signal, Americans must strengthen the Countervailing Power they inherently hold to defeat the stupid and malevolent Politics of Terrorism. People can break out of these political traps by changing the social setting and modes of association. Place in your own hands the tools and methodologies that can support successful group organization and meaningful dialogue; for example with, a technique of democracy. Chomsky suggests that breaking out of the existential trap requires that people
have to be willing to develop an attitude of critical examination toward whatever is presented to you. Of course, the whole education system and the whole media system have the opposite goal. You're taught to be a passive, obedient follower. Unless you can break out of those habits, you're likely to be a victim of propaganda. But it's not hard to break out. Chomsky interview with D. Barsamian, infra at 32.
Watch for the traps of Groupthink! This occurs whenever appropriate public actions concerning controversial issues of great influence in the community are paralyzed by divergent viewponts so as to invite the tyranny that Groupthink imposes. For example, many Americans are understandably having difficulty in defining the meaning of the war in Iraq. This was disclosed In War Debate, Parents of Fallen Are United Only in Grief. The New York Times, August 28, 2005. The same newspaper also published a story Friday, Jan 27, 2006, "New Poll Finds Mixed Support for Wiretaps" stating "Americans are willing to tolerate eavesdropping without warrants to fight terrorism, but are concerned that the aggressive antiterrorism programs championed by the Bush administration are encroaching on civil liberties." These two stories are designed, whether deliberately or inadvertently, to drive the public into Groupthink. Faced with deeply divided public opinions with no way offered by pollsters, the news media, or social activists for the public to engage in the kind of deep examination of the issues needed for satisfactory clarification people are compelled to "go with the flow" that dominant power blocks impose. However, it is grossly misleading to say that this outcome relects real public opinion; such opinion surveys merely reflect the outcome of despicable Groupthink.
There is nothing unusual about the problem of widely divided personal perspectives. This is a condition known as "Spreadthink" defined by John N. Warfield, the great pioneer of integrative sciences, which describes the ideas of groups that are "spread all over the map." However, instead of turning over these critical issues to the decisions of demagogues, which is the response of Groupthink, the society must employ a methodology to help citizens engage in deeper social evaluation of the choices. Such methodologies can quickly break through the paralysis and lead to shared understanding and appropriate action for a viable resolution of these problems. Moreover, bringing these issues to the surface where people can consider each other's concerns and compare the meaning of what one is living through is much better than burying these frustrations in grief. This is certainly not a political contest but a way to address the sources of the grief and anger that presently comprise American life and death.
Beyond the Politics of Terrorism, the larger goal of addressing the great dilemma of democracy -- forging "a perfect Union" out of an immense diversity -- requires better understanding of the human condition without writing off the whole of it as a product of appalling apathy and fear. One obviously needs a viable method to organize a genuine democratic civilization. The chaos that we have obtained is not a method, it is the persistent pathetic absence of one, which spawns the tyranny of a society governed by Groupthink, producing a state of existence that gives the distinct appearance of HYPNOSIS.
The human species is of limited stuff, with limited ability to consider the complexity of worldly existence. There are also sharp differences of perspective and conflicting human values of varying quality, just a few of the very human conditions, at work. A way must be found to democratically integrate this human diversity, into a larger, more enlightened whole, guarding against the deadly trap door for the human spirit, which is the legacy of HYPNOSIS.
In a technological civilization one does not communicate with smoke signals, carry products to the transcontinental and global marketplace on donkeys' backs, nor do we build great cities without indoor plumbing, without light in the night, without modern transportation taking all who wish to travel everywhere. No sane and reasonable explanation exists for the barbaric state of the mode of political association in the world today, however, virtually devoid of any technological support for meaningful dialogue, paralyzed in the delusions of crowd politics.
The media blitz targeting Sheehan includes a right-wing smear campaign, typically employed by the "mind guards" of Groupthink, dumping on "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan, and her supporters. A few examples show how this works. Steven Zak, a writer and attorney in California, posted these "meaningful ideas" in The Jewish Press 9/7/2005 (although we must point out there evidently is a wide difference of opinion about the content of the expressed meaning!):
"The Left could be defined by its contempt for opposing viewpoints. Thus its preference for ad hominem attacks - Republicans are Nazis, Bush is Hitler, war supporters are chickenhawks - to reasoned argument. What did strike me, though, was the utter vacuousness of that side`s slogans and, apparently, its thought...."
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously wrote "that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market." The marketplace-of-ideas metaphor has an implicit corollary: that responsible speech ought to contain some meaningful and coherent thought. The Left contributes nothing to the intellectual marketplace when it has but a single, paranoid notion - that the United States can do nothing but evil.
Mr. Zak defines "The Left" (presumably including everyone who does not share Mr. Zak's ideas) by its "contempt for opposing viewpoints" but then expresses his own contempt for "the utter vacuousness" of thought by "The Left." On the critical topic of Cindy Sheehan's pivotal question "What noble cause?" Mr. Zak expressed no viewpoint or had no reasoned argument at all to contribute.
In another response to Cindy Sheehan's protest, Sgt. John Thompson who serves with the 365th Combat Engineers Army Reserves based in Scranton, Pennsylvania expressed an unquestioning commitment to the war in Iraq. Sgt. Thompson wants politicians such as Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Cindy Sheehan and her followers "to please shut up." Sgt. Thompson told the Wilkes-Barre, TimesLeader, in a story posted September 8, "Forget about why we’re there." He adds "We are there. Let’s finish what we set out to do." Yet another soldier offered an explanation stating why he thought Americans should be willing to give their lives to the war effort in Iraq. In a letter sent to the Opinion Page of the Official Marine Corps Website, from MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Sept. 8, 2005), Marine Cpl. William Skelton responds to Cindy Sheehan's question: "What did my son die for?". Cpl. Skelton, is 25 years old and "married to the most kind and beautiful woman in the world. She is pregnant with what will be the most beautiful baby in the world." He comes from "a not so small, but not so large family from southern Alabama." His response to Ms. Sheehan offers these reasons for giving one's life in the war in Iraq:
One must recognize, of course, the horrible burden faced by members of the US Armed Forces who, as in the Vietnam quagmire, must prepare themselves for deadly combat within the military command structure, which indeed "is indispensably necessary to every military system" Little v. Barreme, 6 U.S. 169 (1804), while attempting at the same time to reconcile themselves to the raging public protest against the underlying admittedly questionable purpose of the war. Many may find it expedient under these circumstances, as Sgt. Thompson has, to entirely disregard the profoundly troubling protest. Others like Marine Cpl. Skelton say they are willing to put their lives on the line to fight for the ideals of "freedom" and "the war against terrorism" but before a caring parent or prudent military commander will ship their children off to give their life in war, this terrible commitment demands a fuller and more convincing answer to the question: "What noble cause?"
A vigorous dissent is not unpatriotic but the deliberate pursuit of a war of aggression, rejected by the United Nations, is. The ideals of "freedom" and "the war against terrorism" as well as other patriotic themes can be used to support any act of war no matter how inhumane, illegitimate, and unnecessary such an act may be all things carefully considered. No sane and reasonable Government or parent will march a nation off to war and commit their children's lives based on such abstract terms without clear understanding of the specific reasons that make this war in Iraq a "noble cause." Shall we go to war against any other nation or any other ten or one hundred nations in the world -- especially those that possess rich oil reserves or other forms of wealth that the United States Government may covet -- based merely upon patriotic generalities?
Indeed, a number of Soldiers Back From Iraq, who possess direct experience with the nature of the cause of "freedom" felt by the civilian population in Iraq, strongly support Cindy Sheehan's antiwar stance. Interviews shown on Video.Google.Com, released September 21, 2005, make clear there are soldiers fulfilling their obligation to the US Military who do not support the war in Iraq. "They feel their service in Iraq is in direct conflict with their commitment to 'protect and defend' the United States."
The laws of civilized nations that the United States is committed to uphold prohibit any war of aggression under article 2(4) of the Charter of the United Nations. Wars clearly contrary to international treaty, without valid national authority or authority contrived under a fraudulent purpose have only such military command structure as tyranny defines. Peter Irons, War Powers: How The Imperial Presidency Hijacked The Constitution 34-40 (2005). While the President, Congress, and the Courts refuse to recognize the rule of laws that must govern the affairs of civilized people, at least one small group of Americans recently put their liberties on the line for the international rule of law.
David King, Moral Force
October 12-18, 2005 issue of the North Bay Bohemian, CA
Photograph by Alicia Solsman
In a trial on federal conspiracy charges for protest against the illegal war of aggression against Iraq, Daniel Burns, Peter DeMott, Teresa Grady and Clare Grady ("the St. Patrick's Four") responding to the prosecution's description of their action as meritless, asked the judge, "Would it be meritless to try to interfere in the trading of slaves? Would it be meritless to try to vote if you are a woman and prohibited from voting? Would it be meritless to insist to refuse to move to the back of the bus? . . . Would it be a crime to break into a house and 'abduct' and save the life of a child if the house were aflame?"
The mad arrogance of the Bush War Council -- acting as though a nation that prides itself upon democratic principles can be governed by tyranny -- began to collapse with the indictment October 28, 2005, of Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, on charges of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice for his role in the leaking of a covert CIA agent's identity to the media in 2003. "The waters of scandal are now lapping close to the very centre of political power in America" writes Robert Fisk for the British, Independent, "The question is how much further they will rise?" Libby faces up to 30-years in prison for his alleged crime although this threat is tempered by the possibility of a Presidential pardon. Moreover, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald said Friday, October 28, 2005: "This indictment is not about the war. . . . Anyone who's concerned about the war and has feelings for or against [it] shouldn't look to this criminal process for any answers or resolution of that." Nevertheless, while Attorney Fitzgerald's caution is greatly appreciated, Mr. Fisk's suggestion rings true. A full trial of those issues or a plea agreement is bound to clarify and expand the "waters of scandal" toward the top hierarchy of political power in America. Initial public opinion appears to agree with this assessment.
Indeed, it was later disclosed by Federal Proxsecuters and reported by all major media on April 5, 2006, that Vice President Dick Cheney's former aide, 'Scooter' Libby, allegedly told prosecutors that Mr. Bush, who has long criticized leaks of secret information as a threat to national security, may have played a direct role in authorizing disclosure of the intelligence report on Iraq.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll, conducted Friday and Saturday, October 28-29, 2005, found that 55 percent of the public believes the Libby case indicates wider problems "with ethical wrongdoing" in the White House, while 41 percent believes it was an "isolated incident." And by a 3 to 1 ratio, 46 percent to 15 percent, Americans say the level of honesty and ethics in the government has declined rather than risen under Bush.
President Bush's Approval Ratings *
Track President Bush's job approval rating over the course of his presidency.
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* The Washington Post-ABC News Poll Oct 28-29, 2005 is republished here for purposes of non-profit education, criticism, comment, and news reporting, as provided by 17 USC section 106(1).
These events also underscore the conclusion that no sovereign people have a duty to obey the exercise of war powers by the US President founded upon tyranny, and no soldier has a legitimate responsibility to give his life to support such a tenuous command structure. Do the American people, their national leaders, their military commanders, and their children place such a low value on life in this democracy that they will mindlessly surrender themselves and their heirs into death without any carefully considered reasons or meaningful discussion of the same?
The massive mounting costs, including the theft of $1 billion defense funds "possibly one of the largest thefts in history" according to Finance Minister Ali Allawi, quoted by Agence France-Presse, September 20, 2005, together with increasing dangers to American lives faced with a decade or more of unstoppable insurgency and possible civil war, is absolutely unsustainable in the absence of a clear and adequate national purpose. The nonresponse offered by Mr. Bush and other critics of Cindy Sheehan, under these circumstances, is intolerable.
The death of her son Casey has caused Ms Sheehan to reflect deeply about the real purpose of the war. She has rejected blind allegiance to the leadership of the Bush War Council, after they pushed the United States Government into this war, it is now conclusively established, by a pattern of brazen lies about the threat of weapons of mass destruction. In her refusal to blindly accept such duplicity by American leaders as a basis for the death of her son, and as a basis for the past and future mounting deaths of sons and daughters of other parents of the fallen, Sheehan quickly become the center of an expression of anguish by civilized people all over the world. This situation has been aggravated by the mad tactics of the Bush War Council in a never ending attempt to reframe the issues and push public opinion into the bright light of "great deeds", the favored explanation of barbarians for any life and death struggle.
Inevitably, the superficial manipulation of facts for partisan purposes must give way to serious arguments about substance. Cindy Sheehan's question "What 'noble cause'"? is a genuine meaningful place to begin such a purposeful process.
It is particularly revealing that the question asked by Cindy Sheehan has been met with stone cold silence both by her critics and by Mr. Bush, himself. An explanation for this silence was offered by the Russian Film Director and Scriptwriter, Sergey EIZENSTEIN (1898-1948). EIZENSTEIN made allusions in Part II of his film, Ivan the Terrible, to Joseph Stalin who became a symbol of man's inhumanity to man. After he was asked by Stalin to revise the film, EIZENSTEIN explained to a friend why he could not make the revisions: "One can attempt to explain force, to legalize it, to substitute it, but it is impossible to justify it. If you are a real human being, then you must repent." Remarks of Sergey EIZENSTEIN (1898-1948), quoted in, R. Reeder, Anna Akhmatova 295 (1994). Mr. Bush cannot answer Cindy Sheehan's question "What 'noble cause'"?; he cannot justify the war of aggression against Iraq; and he appears incapable of repenting.
A deadlock on the new charter for Iraq promises to exacerbate the existing hostilities, which is moving toward civil war. Two proposals approved by the Shia and Kurd factions appear to guarantee a constitutional deadlock: A ban on Baath Party members, and Federalism.
Baatth Ban. The proposed ban on former Baath Party members from government posts or political life, insisted upon by Shia and Kurds because of their deep hatred for the Baath Party, would subject thousands of educators, senior executives and others to severe punishment and loss of a livelihood without process of law whatever. This is opposed by the Sunni community, and with good reason. After the American civil war a similar punishment was advanced against any person who supported secession from the Union but this measure was quickly defeated. See Ex Parte Garland, 71 U.S. 333 (1866). Other states recovering from revolution, such as the example of South Africa, have also firmly rejected the punitive formula suggested for Iraq's new charter. We know of no modern state that has successfully adopted such a measure.
Federalism. The proposal to divide Iraq into four states without central authority, was reportedly advocated in secret by President George W. Bush, himself, according to anonymous sources. Remarks of President Jacques Chirac of France, quoted in, P. Baker and S. Glasser, Moscow bureau chiefs for The Washington Post, in Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin's Russia at 225, n.29. The secret American plan would leave the Sunni Arabs who comprise about twenty percent of the population of Iraq, cut off from Iraq's oil wealth, and further fragment Iraq based on religion and ethnicity. The Confederation of the original thirteen colonies, which granted sovereignty to the colonies, paralyzed commerce, encouraged separate currencies, invited boundary disputes, and left them unable to resolve controversies. Continuation of this situation was totally rejected by the 18th century charter for America. Instead, a centralized system of government that came to be known as Federalism, with the supremacy of the great commerce clause of the US Constitution, art. I, § 8, cl. 3, was established: "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes."
Beyond any comparison with the American example, the Constitutional breakdown in the unity of the Iraqi state is evidently contrary to the history of this land. Despite many changes in shape and rule Iraqi loyalty to their country, not to their sect, is the verifiable historical norm.
Iraq existed as a country and a centre of power long before this. It was a state in ancient times under Babylonians and Assyrians, and during the Abbaside period Baghdad was the capital of an Islamic empire. Even under the Ottoman Empire, the three wilayets of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul were administered as one unit under the wali of Baghdad. Letter to the Editor posted by ABDUL GHANI AL-DALLI, LONDON SW15, Independent, 25 October 2005.
The threat that any central government structure might fall into a new dictatorship in Iraq may be avoided by empowering a strong civic sector, institutionalizing Countervailing Powers of the multitudes with appropriate participative structures. This could be funded directly by oil revenue, and interactively managed to assure democratic power sharing under a troika representing the three political leadership groups: Shia, Kurds, and Sunnis. However, the present crisis of legitimacy of the proposed charter is underscored by recognition that what America, itself, had totally rejected was written into the new charter for Iraq by a political process dominated by the heavy hand of American military occupiers and their collaborators. This plan, which would bring about The reshaping of Sunni politics in Iraq by deliberately marginalizing this group, will produce "the likelihood of a potentially devastating backlash occurring in the future" according to Dr Gareth Stansfield, Associate Fellow at The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and Leverhulme Special Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab & Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.
The Pandora’s box is open, declares Claude Salhani, International Editor and political analyst with United Press International in Washington, in an opinion piece published in Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Salbani quotes the insight of Rashid I. Khalidi, Edward Said professor of Arab studies at New York’s Columbia University.
"This constitution has become the map of the Bush administration in Iraq." But the US has hit snags along the way. "There are some things upon which you cannot compromise," says Khalidi. You can’t compromise on such issues as Kurdish autonomy. The Kurds, for example, have enjoyed practically independence from Baghdad since the end of the Kuwait war in 1991, when the United States declared the north and south "No Fly Zones." It would become unthinkable for the Kurds to resubmit themselves to Baghdad’s direct rule.
The same holds true for the Shias in the southern part of the country. These two communities have enjoyed relative autonomy since the US invasion in 2003, and will fight, if need be, not return to the status quo ante.
Once the Pandora’s box is open "how do you close it?" asks Khalidi. "The increasing level of (American) incompetence has made it possible for civil war. And now the US is trying to repress a civil war and is failing. The gates of hell have been opened."
Indeed, reports have begun to surface about the conduct of the Iraqi government, and the Ministry of Interior in particular, "condoning torture and running death squads" according to accounts in The London Observer and The New York Times, Published: November 29, 2005. Examples of torture and running death squads have previously been set by the United States in Iraq, following the pattern in Central American in which the United States "was up to its neck in torture and murder." Sister Dianna Ortiz, a Missionary with American Ursuline in Guatemala, in The Blindforld's Eyes (2002). War in the Middle East "is primarily not about victory or defeat but about death and the infliction of death" according to Robert Fisk, correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, in The Great War for Civilization (Knopf, October 2005).
A vote on their Constitutional Charter was cast by the people of Iraq with an impressive turnout, Saturday, October 15, 2005. There was no victory banner, no flashy fly-in to announce the outcome but Mr. Bush did manage in his own mad style to hail the election results, especially the heavy Sunni participation, as a sign of gradual progress in the cause of democracy. This de facto President of the United States exists in a state of moral consciousness that is "governed by no law, ignores reason, defies argument, and is unaccountable and irresponsible to all human tests and standards; it is a law unto itself, and its scruples, and its teachings are not amenable to human tribunals, but rests alone with its possessor and his God." Such is the nature of one driven by his own "moral sense" as described in an opinion of the Supreme Court of California. People v. Stuart, 7 Cal. 141, 143 (Cal. 1857). There was, indeed, heavy Sunni participation in the charter vote but certainly not to endorse the constitutional process; on the contrary, it was a protest vote for the purpose of defeating the flawed Constitutional Charter, amid public expressions of concerns by Iraq's election commission about "irregularities" in the vote count. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine any election that Mr. Bush was in a position to influence, without questions about its legitimacy.
Just barely, the people of Iraq voted to approve their Constitutional Charter, BBC News reported, October 25, 2005, amid deep divisions over the legitimacy of the vote. The announcement came on the same day that U.S. Deaths reached 2000. Following the disputed vote count the Sunni Arab minority formed a coalition to participate in the December 2005 parliamentary election. The strategy of the Sunni coalition with be to "focus more on getting the Americans out of Iraq," according to Hussein Al Falluji, a prominent Sunni quoted by Reuters in a report published by the Khaleej Times October 26. "We call on the American people to bring home their troops to avoid a disaster," said Falluji. Undisclosed "Iraqi and U.S. analysts in Baghdad," "express hope that such a shift in outlook will eventually lead large numbers of radical Sunnis to abandon their weapons permanently and take part in the political process," according to a Washington Post front page linked report October 27, 2005, "New Sunni Jihad: A Time for Politics," at p. A01. The story was later buried deep within the electronic cosmos of the Washington Post.
Nevertheless, expressions of hopeful thinking by Mr. Bush and his supporting chorus of analysis who are fighting for perks on the front lines of the propaganda war may not be sufficient to motivate the Sunnis to fully adopt a "democratic" political strategy under the existing barbaric realities imposed by the American War of Aggression. For American parents of the fallen, with the lives of their children placed at risk on the front lines of this War of Aggression, one must ask whether these are signs of democratic progress or the ineluctable movements toward opening of the gates of hell?
These conditions reveal there very likely exists no "noble cause" that could possibly be claimed, to sustain the death of Cindy Sheehan's son Casey, or any other American children, for the war in Iraq. The ideals of "freedom" and "the war against terrorism" are simply not the governing issues in Iraq. All acts by the aggressors have been calculated as instruments of control over the rich oil reserves possessed by Iraq. These conditions compel all Americans to ask whether the United States Congress is yet capable of accepting the primary responsibility of the people of Iraq to settle their own internal affairs without American intervention by a war of aggression waged over the control of their oil fields? Indeed, are the American people, themselves, yet capable of exercising their sovereign powers over their own Government to stop the needless killing of their own children, and to put an immediate end to the mindless destruction of their own Global Inheritance?
Rep. John P, Murtha (D-Pa), calls for the withdrawal of U.S. military personnel from Iraq while at a news conference on Capitol Hill November 17, 2005. (Larry Downing/Reuters)
Mr. Murtha, a decorated veteran of the wars in Korea and Vietnam, thumped the lectern as he dressed down Messrs. Bush and Cheney. He said American forces should "immediately redeploy" from Iraq in order to help Iraqis take control of their country. "The presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress. Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are united against U.S. forces, and we have become a catalyst for violence," the congressman said in a prepared statement War in Iraq.
The exchanges over the war after a call by Representative Murtha, for withdrawal of troops from Iraq "were poisonous as bottled-up sentiment on the conflict boiled over." Some lawmakers saw it as a new low. Republicans responded by putting to a vote Mr. Murtha's proposal for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. This measure was designed to "put democrats on the spot." It was defeated by a vote of 403-to-3 late Friday night, November 18, 2005., The New York Times, Saturday, November 19, 2005 [dated Published: November 20, 2005]. Despite the adamant rejection by the US Congress of Mr. Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, the American Jewish weekly, Forward, has called for President Bush to be impeached and put on trial "for misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them". The Jewish Weekly article, published in New York, draws on a devastating historical analysis by Martin van Creveld, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and one of the world's foremost military historians. Guardian, "Nowhere to run" November 29, 2005.
Meanwhile, Iraqi leaders from across the political and ethnic spectrum began meetings in Cairo, Saturday, November 19, 2005, to discuss reconciliation. The three-day talks sponsored by the Arab League were meant to prepare for a larger conference in Iraq after elections. However, the opening of the conference on unity exploded into sharp recriminations, resulting in a Walk-out at the conference. Shia and Kurdish delegates stormed out of the Iraqi reconciliation conference, reported Aljazeera Net, Saturday November 19, 2005, after Iraqi Christian Ibrahim Menas al-Youssefi, accused fellow delegates of being US stooges saying the entire Iraqi political process was illegitimate and orchestrated by Washington. Harith al-Dhari, the chairman of the Association of Muslim Scholars told the conference at the Arab League that "Armed resistance arose as a reaction to occupation. It is legitimate and is not an innovation. The popular support which the insurgents enjoy in many parts of the country exceeds what they enjoyed a year ago." The group returned within the hour, according to the report by Aljazeera Net, after al-Youssefi, "apologized for comments regarded as insulting."
At the end of the three-day meeting sponsored by the Cairo-based Arab League, Christian, Shia, Sunni and Kurdish leaders on Monday, November 21, 2005, called for the withdrawal of US and British forces from Iraq by immediately setting a timetable for gradually rebuilding Iraq's armed forces. The collective leaders condemned attacks on Iraqi civilians, government institutions and oil installations and called for the release of all detainees held without trial.
A day after the communique was finalized by Iraqi Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni leaders, Washington reiterated Tuesday that "the United States would stay only as long as it takes to stabilize Iraq" according to The Washington Post, November 22, 2005. Washington has not, however, agreed to release all detainees held without trial. The requested timetable for withdrawal of US and British forces has been consistently rejected by Washington.
American policy in Iraq, described by an Arab-American veteran of Vietnam in ALJAZEERA 25 August 2005, increasingly resembles "the passenger trapped in a hurtling car who is unable to steer and unable to escape." While this situation is unfolding at ground zero grief stricken American families and all the rest of us have a compelling need to reach beyond superficial reactions and sloganeering via Internet with regard to the politics of war and peace. What would be most helpful is the establishment of a forum in which Americans and everyone else directly affected by the war in Iraq can share their collective thoughts with each other responding clearly and explicitly to the critical question asked by Cindy Sheehan: "What 'noble cause'"?
The questions that commoners ask make everyone uncomfortable, getting to the heart of America's degenerate political conditions that must be transformed. No one else is asking the important questions: no legislative representative, no advocacy group, no one. The commoners are the true experts about such matters that directly affect their own lives. And there are as many important questions to ask as there are commoners. Everyone everywhere must be a part of the global ecology dialogue.
The victims of war, social inequity, and ecological imbalance are everywhere paralyzed, even as the participation of every single citizen in the process of renewal and transformation is imperative. Some of these victims, perhaps the most tragic cases, find they have the innate power to raise themselves up to the task of renewal and transformation. Others must question their own failure to do so. The whole world faces these terrible issues. Far beyond Iraq, many children were taken by Vladimir Putin's Russia and thrown into the horrible, bloody war in Chechnya. Sasha was one of these, as reported by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, Moscow bureau chiefs for The Washington Post.
By the time Sasha returned to his home town of Sochi early in 2002, his mother Natasha Yaroslavtseva said, he was unrecognizable. "Even his eyes were crazy," she recalled, pulling out a small black-and-white, grim-faced picture of Sasha when he had come home. He couldn't sleep, had nightmares, couldn't find work. After six months, he gave up trying to adjust and talked only of death...
Shortly after 6 a.m. on June 28, 2002, he succeeded in killing himself. All he said before he hanged himself in his bedroom was "Okay, Mom, I'm going now." Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin's Russia and The End of Revolution 207-208 (2005).
Sasha's Mom, reflecting on her son's tragedy said: "I finally understand that we are not needed by anybody." "In Russia, people don't believe they can change anything themselves. But now I know we need to change the system completely."
Parents of the fallen in the wars of Iraq and Chechnya, and in the global warming catastrophes of New Orleans and Tsunami, do not want to abandon any "noble causes" but they certainly have a right and responsibility to demand that the continuing obscene incompetence of political leaders who are guided by the return to barbarity, take no more lives of their children. In the short-term this means getting out of Iraq and Chechnya right now, and caring for the victims of global warming; in the long-term much more fundamental alternatives are needed.
A realistic perspective on the problem to be solved, piercing the dense fog of propaganda offered by the factions of market fundamentalism should recognize that the young American men and women who are now required to give their lives for the vaguely defined cause of the war in Iraq, are dying for a Kleptocracy: America grabbing control over the rich oil reserves of Iraq. The oligarchy in control of this cause care nothing whatever about the young Americans who are sent to their death for that purpose.
The grotesque emergency preparedness scandal in New Orleans is no surprise to anyone, the entire tragic tale was forecast well in advance. On September 15, 2004, the Pacifica Radio broadcast "Democracy Now!" advised listeners about the dangers of Global Warming on the City of New Orleans "Experts warn a direct hit would submerge the historic city for weeks in a stew of sewage, industrial chemicals and fire ants." Nevertheless, the necessary preparedness was not advanced but cut back by President Bush. The only emergencies that the Government of the United States is prepared to efficiently serve are those that serve the Kleptocracy; the poor, mainly black Americans left stranded by the Global Warming catastrophe in New Orleans, are altogether expendable under the priorities of the Kleptocracy.
The Global Warming catastrophe in New Orleans, is estimated to cost the federal government $200 billion, but this may only be a small down payment on the long term catastrophe of Global Warming invited by the obstinate persistence of the United States in defying the realities of science and world leaders pertaining to these matters. Addressing the cost of hurricane Katrina, Sen. John McCain exclaimed, "Look, everything's changed." Indeed, "everything's changed" except for the inability or unwillingness of advocates of Kleptocracy, to face reality and change course.
Cindy Sheehan won a roar of approval when she took the stage in Washington, DC at a marathon of music, speechmaking and dissent on the National Mall. LA TIMES-AP report from Washington, DC., Saturday, September 24, 2005. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, noting that organizers had hoped to draw 100,000 people, said, "I think they probably hit that."
Supporters of Bush's policy in Iraq assembled in smaller numbers to get their voice heard in the day's anti-war din. About 150 of them rallied at the U.S. Navy Memorial. Mr. Bush, himself, was absent from the scene.
Public policy coming out of the US Congress following the style of leadership set by the Bush War Council is illustrated by the bizarre alleged behavior of the ostrich which buries its head in the sand whenever danger approaches. We can say with some confidence, however, that the likelihood does not exist of the whole American people resisting the changes in their opinions and public policies that contemporary realities demand. All together burying heads in the sand? No, not likely.
American support for President Bush's management of the war in Iraq dropped to 32 percent, with 67 percent telling pollsters they disapproved of how Bush is prosecuting the conflict, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday, September 19, 2005. The Iraqi people have long since gone over the hill. Only a third of the Iraqi people said they believe that the American-led occupation of their country was doing more good than harm, and a solid majority supported an immediate military pullout even though they expressed fear that could put them in greater danger, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll, released April 28, 2004.
The US Government's response to the disaster of Global Warming and New Orleans, and to the War in Iraq and CIA leak reveal a broad pattern of stupidity and illegal intent in the Bush administration that is now inescapable and widely recognized by many trusted authorities. The countdown on that mad legacy leading to public disgrace, forced removal from office, and felony prison sentences has clearly begun.
Andrew Bard Schmookler, who has written a number of exceptional books about the nature of power, e.g., The Parable of the Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution (Houghton Mifflin d., 1986); The Illusion of Choice: How the Market Economy Shapes Our Destiny (SUNY Press, 1993), was featured in CommonDreams, Friday, November 18, 2005, with these comments about repentance:
(I)n Vietnam, American hubris took the policy of containment deep into folly, and worse than folly. But since then, in that film The Fog of War, that Pentagon whiz kid, Bob McNamara, has had the decency to shed tears of remorse over his errors. Can you imagine our present Secretary of Defense ever weeping over all the lives destroyed by his arrogance?
From McNamara to Rumsfeld the arrogance persists, but the capacity for shame and repentance has disappeared.
There was a basic decency in the American establishment of that post-World-War II era that is simply not visible in the power-wielders of today.
Andy Schmookler is correct, Mr. McNamara has "had the decency to shed tears of remorse over his errors," but the capacity for shame must be measured by the magnitude of shameful conduct. The horrible death toll incurred during the Vietnam conflict, arising from the war policies of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, President Johnson, and President Nixon, resulted in the loss of more than 58,000 Americans together with an estimated 2.8 million deaths in Vietnam, 6 million deaths in Cambodia, and 1 million deaths in Laos. While the Vietnam conflict was raging, however, there was a basic decency in the American establishment, confirmed by President Johnson's War on Poverty, and civil rights legislation, and a number of President Nixon's public policies, which, for all his deeply flawed administration, supported the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and supported the National Endowment for the Arts. He also developed a policy toward Native Americans that is still in place today. Nixon also supported an increase in Social Security payments and indexed them to inflation..
Nothing comparable to the death toll during the Vietnam conflict has occurred during the war in Iraq, albeit the casualty record in Iraq leaves a trail of shock and horror. Rep. Murtha has reported "Deaths and injuries are growing, with over 2,079 confirmed American deaths. Over 15,500 have been seriously injured and it is estimated that over 50,000 will suffer from battle fatigue. There have been reports of at least 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths." In addition, a verdict has been handed down by The World Tribunal on Iraq, a spontaneous initiative of concerned people around the world [that] has never taken place before. The verdict found "IRAQ IS NOW WORSE THAN IT WAS UNDER SADDAM."
The war casualty record in Iraq has been complemented during the Bush years by a legacy of foreign and domestic indecency unparalleled in American history. To begin with, a dedicated campaign of outrageous lies about weapons of mass destruction possessed by Iraq pushed America into the war of aggression against Iraq. This pack of lies was support by The New York Times and other major media sources, a story that exploded in everyone's face as part of the CIA leak case.
Next, as Molly Ivins wrote in The Free Press, November 2, 2005, "While it's still an open contest for Worst Legacy of the Bush Years, the destruction of goodwill for America around the world is definitely a contender."
Continuing, during the Bush years, Americans have also begun to recognize the culture of corporate corruption that is now a fact of American life as documented by a number of well regarded authors. See e.g., Joseph E. Stiglitz, The Roaring Nineties 302-303 (2003); Arianna Huffington, Pigs at the Trough: How Corporate Greed and Political Corruption are Undermining America (2003); William Greider, The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to Moral Economy (2003); Kevin Phillips, Wealth and Democracy (2002).
Yet more. Bill Moyers among others, have described the Bush-Brand Environmental Destruction. FINS has illustrated The Tree of Biospheric Destruction that has emerged during the Bush years.[A NAME="SST">
Finally, public thievery and chicanery of the American establishment have soared during these years. For example, higher payroll taxes increased revenue for the Social Security Trust Fund during the Clinton years, but this revenue was placed in the Government's General Fund, where it could be "borrowed" by the Government to pay down the burgeoning national debt inherited from the Reagan years, resulting ultimately in a huge budget surplus. When George W. Bush came into office, he immediately raided the trillion dollar Trust Fund that produced the budget surplus. This was simply given away as a trillion dollar tax break for the super rich, leaving the Trust Fund hanging on thin weeds. Bush then tried to explain with another pack of false and misleading statements, in his State of the Union address, on February 2, 2005, backed up by an army of Republican Party spin doctors, how the Social Security Trust Fund disappeared. This was intended to "lay the groundwork for defaulting on almost two trillion dollars worth of US Treasury bonds" that were dedicated to assure liquidity of the Social Security Trust Fund.
All the talk in Bush's moribund Social Security reform plan was about the expected bankruptcy of the Fund: "The fact is Social Security will go broke when our young workers get ready to retire.." What was covered-up by the Bush cabal and the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security, with their deaf-dumb-and-blind-media-supporters, was the truth about the great Trust Fund robbery: the indubitable fact is that the trillion dollar budget surplus that was given away as a tax break for the super rich was all derived from the stolen Trust Fund revenue that without a rollback of the trillion dollar tax giveaway the Government is now unwilling or unable to repay .
Americans are certainly entitled to understand the war of aggression against Iraq as part of the war of aggression of a different kind against the American people. Two thousand American soldiers have perished in this generation's war; tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have perished; the goodwill of the United States has been trashed; the natural environment is being systematically destroyed; and trillions of dollars dedicated to pay for Social Security benefits have been systematically stolen from the public treasury to benefit super rich Americans. All together one can truthfully say the tragedy of the present war of aggression inflicted on the American people and the people of Iraq is every bit as horrible as the great tragedy of the Vietnam conflict. As Andy Schmookler says, "From McNamara to Rumsfeld the arrogance persists, but the capacity for shame and repentance has disappeared."
The White House found itself entirely without a coherent response to Murtha. In a broadside issued Thursday night, Nov 17, 2005, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said that Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha "is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party." Mr. Bush, in BEIJING, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005, rejected the notion that it is unpatriotic to disagree with him. "People should feel comfortable about expressing their opinions about Iraq," he said. "This is not an issue of who is patriotic and who is not patriotic. It's an issue of an honest open debate about the way forward in Iraq."
Those remarks by Mr. Bush and his press secretary were followed by Vice President Cheney, who declared Nov. 21, that "a U.S. retreat from Iraq would suggest that the United States was yielding to "murder and blackmail." Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, subsequently added that "leaving too soon would allow Iraq to be turned into a haven for terrorists."
The palpable indecency, incompetence, and corruption of the US Government under Republican rule has left the American people without any reliable governing structures.
FINS has previously disclosed the long historical exploitive dictatorship of the Artificial Media Aristocrats over vital Congressional information and over the great broadcast spectrum, which have blocked full and fair political discussion with a wall of corrosive propaganda dictated by the capitalist ideology of "market fundamentalism." With the US Congress in the pockets of Big Money, one can turn to the American Judiciary for more of the same, a court system largely committed to a structure for the rule of despotism. As Howard Zinn explains "It's Not up to the Court":
The courts have never been on the side of justice ... unless pushed by the people. Those words engraved in the marble of the Supreme Court, "Equal Justice Before the Law," have always been a sham.
No Supreme Court, liberal or conservative, will stop the war in Iraq, or redistribute the wealth of this country, or establish free medical care for every human being. Such fundamental change will depend, the experience of the past suggests, on the actions of an aroused citizenry, demanding that the promise of the Declaration of Independence--an equal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--be fulfilled. The Progressive, November 2005.
Citizens of a democracy can have no rights apart from society or independent of society, especially, when the very idea of a democracy under the Republican Form of Government, derives its political power from the collective exercise of the will of the whole people. Indeed, the excessive "glorification of the individual" under the Republican ethic must lead to "his annihilation," it may be compellingly argued. C.Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism 70 (1970).
The Government of the United States has been committed since the beginning to the rule by raw power of strategically placed individuals. The US Congress now is staggering under a "culture of corruption" that has infested Republican politics. Americans have been compelled to live according to the dire predictions of judicial despotism offered by the two greatest American patriots -- the first Democrat Thomas Jefferson and the first Republican Abraham Lincoln. In the contemporary American legal system the rule of power has been become palpable to a number of legal scholars. See e.g., M. Faucault (1978); A.S. Miller (1984); G. Spence (1998). These conditions signal a return to the corrupt legal process and demands for court reform at the time of the fall of the Roman Republic. ANTHONY EVERITT, CICERO 75-80 (2002). The present realities of this abominable structure, which FINS has described in a web page devoted to the Doctrines of Injustice, make that prophetic assessment crystal clear. Petitioning the "representatives" of republican government while they are responsible for the enforcement of such despotic, antidemocratic norms can achieve no positive outcome; that political system, itself, must be thoroughly transformed!
Part III. Technology for Human Betterment
At the present time and under existing conditions the thought patterns of civic society are entirely dysfunctional. The only way forward is by speaking the new language patterns of democracy.
The consequences of the existing situation demands engagement by the multitudes who are thrown back upon themselves. This can only be remedied by meaningful dialogue on a global scale, including especially the parents of the fallen who have seen the reality that death brings. That experience can enable the parents of the fallen, like Cindy Sheehan in George Bush's America, and Natasha Yaroslavtseva in Vladimir Putin's Russia, to more readily liberate themselves from the grip of fear, social paralysis, and political opportunism and disinformation!
Such a global ecology dialogue is the only source of genuine transformative power sharing. However, this global ecology dialogue reaches beyond the common experience of all persons, confronting what James Madison described in THE FEDERALIST NO. 10 (1787) at the time of the US Constitutional Convention, as the violence of faction, which is highly resistant to any large scale democratic meeting of the minds of human beings. A global ecology dialogue is the task of the third branch of the Science of Discovery (following Mathematics and Philosophy) that Jeremy Bentham identified as Idioscopy, which is described in the special Finnish, Commens Dictionary of Peirce's Terms. Idioscopy embraces the Human Sciences for the accumulation of new facts. Overcoming "the violence of faction" and facilitating a deep spiritual "meeting of the minds" of human groups, which can be aggregated on a global scale, is the goal of "meaningful dialogue." This extraordinary enlargement of the common experience of all persons is made possible by embracing A People Science, and utilizing the revolutionary knowledge and experience of A Technique of Democracy.
Nevertheless, the available or obtainable techniques for facilitating the essential global ecology dialogue that democracy is absolutely dependent upon are not being used. This appalling situation was described by, Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), the English novelist and social critic, best known for his dystopian novel Brave New World (1931). Huxley expressed his anguish at, "the hopelessly primitive and uneducated state of our minds -- utterly ignorant of all rational techniques for encouraging essential" conditions of human existence. "It's a dismal story of wasted talents and unrealized potentialities." Other renowned philosophers and systems scientists have expressed much the same concerns. See e.g., Follett (1918); Warfield (2003); and Christakis (2005).
In the introduction to her book The New State (1918), Follett declared "politics must be vitalized by a new method. 'Representative government,' party organization, majority rule, with all their excrescenses, are dead wood." She agreed with the common aspiration that "The people must rule" but in the concluding pages of a chapter with the title, "Democracy Not The Crowd: Our Popular Delusion," Follett asked, "How are they to rule?" Her answer, which did not become a reality during her own lifetime, proposed: "It is the technique of democracy which we are seeking. We will find it in group organization." Five decades after Follett's death, in 1933, the core ideas of a technique of democracy were discovered by the great pioneer of integrative sciences, Dr. John N. Warfield and his partner, the renowned systems scientist and past president (2002) of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, Dr. Alexander N. Christakis. Even then, those at the highest levels of the power structure of the organizations that were most familiar with his technique (e.g., George Mason University, Ford Motor Company, and the US Congress), had "neglected" these successful developments. Professor Warfield reports, powerful executives "feel threatened" by these techniques that can provide great benefits to the users. This resulted in bad decisions motivated either by "stupidity or illegal intent" Warfield concluded. SYSTEMS MOVEMENT: Autobiographical Retrospectives, in International Journal of General Systems (2003) Vol. 32(6), pp. 525 551, 555.
Finally, we may, perhaps, capture the heart of the issue in this observation offered by Dr. Christakis:
There is ... sufficient empirical evidence that leaders and managers, even when they espouse the democratic ideal for their organizations, cannot implement it in the situations they are confronting. A root cause for these failures, I believe, is a false presupposition that an approach in the Information Age could be founded on a paradigm that is similar to the one used in the agora of Athens 2,500 years ago. A.N. Christakis, with K.C. Bausch, Co-Laboratories Of Democracy: How People Harness Their Collective Wisdom and Power To Construct the Future, Prologue v. (Forthcoming book, Public Management Series of Information Age Publishing, Inc. (2005) (draft manuscript provided to FINS by authors).
Americans established a Government to bring to fruition rational choices for the betterment of humankind. The democratic principles adopted by the American people, as first defined in the Declaration of Independence, was itself a revolutionary rejection of destructive Colonial powers. The Constitution of the United States, itself, is not a charter for the return to barbarity imposed by the capitalist market system, or any other ideology governed by power alone. "We the People" established this Constitution, "in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity." These ideas, which the First Americans brought to the New World, however unevenly, have been universally adopted in theory but shamefully, rarely put into practice by political leaders who seek power to empower themselves. "In the history of Western government," Christakis and Bausch write, "we have pro- (or re-) gressed from participative democracy, to representative democracy, to government by experts, to government for corporate lobbies. In effect, we have returned to the plutocracy from which the Athenian democracy strove to free us." supra., at iv. No power exists that may long disregard such severe self-imposed contradictions, illegitimately substituting the return to barbarity for the illused American charter for human progress.
The US Government, and particularly the United States Courts, as well as civic leadership groups, operate today in open defiance of the basic democratic tenets adopted in theory by the Founding generation but never put unto real practice. Countervailing Power, the power of the people most importantly, is the only source of power that can make responsible institutions out of the modern American Government and Multinational Big Business firms. If we have learned anything from the "Enron Moment" an editorial in the Washington Post exclaims it is the crucial importance of Countervailing Power in a democracy.
In the boom years, many chose to forget the simple genius of the American proposition. It is rooted in what economist John Kenneth Galbraith saw as a system of "countervailing power." We put limits on government because we don't want it to dominate our lives. But, in turn, we rely on government to check concentrations of private power. Americans have always been suspicious of excessive power residing anywhere--in government or in parts of the marketplace. E.J. Dionne, "Learning from the Enron Moment," The Washington Post, January 18, 2002, at A25.
Galbraith has challenged all of us with the insight that "For societies that claim to treasure democracy as their ideal ... defining "democracy"--and with it "freedom" and "equality" and "justice"-- supersedes in importance issues of price and efficiency." Parker, infra, at 666-667. Harvard professor of government Robert D. Putnam, in his seminal research about the success model of the Italian Emilia-Romagna community reported in, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (1993), confirmed Galbraith's axiom: "strong social capital leads to strengthened democratic governance and economic prosperity." Id., at 183. While the pursuit of material gain places one's primary interests in satisfying their own needs as a "private good," or conventional capital, in the genuine civic society one seeks social capital as a "public good"! Putnam, infra at 170-171. In a well established civil society government and business function out of a wellspring of public trust and cooperation, which obviously does not come into play in the pursuit of "private good" or conventional capital.
Expressing our most paradoxical unreason, the technological genius of Americans has been developed and applied in every aspect of human existence, in agriculture and industry, banking and human services, in building American cities, creating international transportation facilities and telecommunications networks, expanding into the cosmos itself, except for application in the one domain: the building of a mode of human relations that is most essential to the actual realization of the promise of democracy that all American history has so proudly proclaimed to be our destiny. Americans are quite capable of guiding the evolution of American civilization, in a cellular structure one group at a time just as all things in the universe are organized, to realize the highest level of meaning and wisdom that can be envisioned by the will of the whole people. Whoever believes this is not so would resign this especially American reality in defeat, yet we know that the defeat of America's most cherished desire cannot be our reality. We would surely be better served to altogether recognize at this time that Moving From Tyranny to Democracy Right Now!, should be adopted as the new central project for America. How else would this generation of Americans hope to explain such an astounding betrayal to ourselves and our Posterity?
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