Saturday, January 25, 2014

Let's Connect the Dots - Part 6

By 2008, Americans were tired and repulsed by the fact that our taxes were financing an aggressive military empire.

So, Americans elected Barrack Obama by a landslide in 2008. And good thing it was a landslide, because an MIT estimate found that four to five million voters were disenfranchised (which is roughly the same number as in the 2000 election). But this estimate only counted those who had trouble registering or failed to receive absentee ballots. There were also numerous situations where there were extremely long lines only at Democratic precincts. And there were also numerous reports of Democratic voters watching their votes flip to Republican candidates on suspect voting machines. (But of course, if you only listened to “conservative” media pundits, you wouldn't know a thing about the 2008 effort to disenfranchise Democrats.)

What's worse, the disenfranchisement continues. Since the “Supreme” Court gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, new voter laws make it more difficult to vote – for minorities, of course.

It's obvious that the people in power in this country don't want there to be a true democracy. And if they weren't so damn irresponsible, the rest of us probably wouldn't really care. But it appears that every chance the oligarchy gets to take advantage of the rest of us, someone from the oligarchy takes that chance. And now our government is so corrupt that it literally faces decay to the point of self destruction. Our system is rotting from the inside out. Face it; America's elections have become auctions, and those who contribute the most money are those who want the dirtiest deeds. The remnants of our democratic system are barely holding up. The pillagers already control far too much. This should be obvious; our tax dollars are wasted, our legal protections are gone, our jobs have been exported, and we can't fully trust anything they tell us on TV.

The reality is; our government has been partially shut down now for eight years.

The Republicans have been misusing the filibuster to essentially shut down the Senate since the Democrats won the House back in 2006. It even got to the point that Republicans publicly announced their intention to filibuster all of President Obama's nominees to the DC Circuit Court simply because they didn't want a Democratic President to be able to fill any more vacancies. Apparently, the strategy of Republicans has become to cheat as much as possible in the elections – and if they lose – shut the government down until they can cheat enough to win again – and to do whatever they can to stack the judicial arm of government.

And who benefits? Definitely not the American people. Obstruction of our democracy means a less functional system for all of us. It means our tax dollars get wasted. It means the rich get richer, at the expense of the rest of us. It means laws remain oppressive for the little guy, while the big monopolies can get away with almost anything. It means our environment teeters closer and closer to total environmental collapse so the takers can have more. The big business piranhas are feasting... now. But who really benefits in the long run? Nobody. No one truly benefits in the long run when our nation, our civilization, and (most importantly) our environment cease to function properly.

Unfortunately, even America's near future doesn't look all that great. And why? Because we're not all on the same team anymore. Not everyone cares if America loses. The multinational corporations have been selling us out for decades now – by exporting jobs to places where people work for slave wages, so they can now sell to the world. Of course, that drives American wages towards slave wages. The rich have been hiding their monetary wealth in foreign banks so that they won't have to pay income taxes. That leaves our government unable to provide all but minimal public services. The greedy have been manipulating our laws so that they can “maximize their profits.” But this ultimately leads to laws that don't protect us.

Some prominent Republicans have publicly stated that they want President Obama to fail. But that implies that they want America to fail. What? Let's think about this. There may be powerful “Americans” who want America to fail.

We have a recent example of what our near future may look like; the fall of the Soviet Union. America too has overspent on military programs. America too has a disgruntled populous. America too has an ailing economy. And someday America may have a Gorbachev. From what I can tell, Gorbachev wanted to create a fairer socialist state that treated its citizens with more respect than Soviet communism. It appeared that Gorbachev wanted to help the little guy. And of course, those in power didn't want to share. (Doesn't this sound a little like Obama's situation?) The powerful in the Soviet Union apparently lost faith in their system of oppression when Gorbachev wanted to stop oppressing. So they just allowed the country to collapse. Of course, the common people were so accustomed to the Soviet system of oppression that they wanted out too. The Soviet people assumed that less (Soviet) government was a good idea. And obviously, that didn't work out... at least not for the people. But it did for Vladimir Putin.

We have to expect that somebody in the American intelligence community has noticed that Vladimir Putin, formerly with the KGB, is now one of the richest people on the planet. There very likely are somepatriotic Americans” in our intelligence community who are not afraid of America collapsing. In fact, they may be secretly hoping for America to collapse – so that they can swoop in and take over. Americans now have to expect that there are people in power who not only don't mind if America goes away, they might even profit from it. And by now, we should all realize that not everybody in America wants a democratic republic.

Can President Obama stop this progression of a corporate police state? It doesn't look like it. Maybe he doesn't want to. But when one looks into Barrack Obama's history, the promises he made as a candidate still feel true to his personality. Barrack Obama wasn't born into a life of privilege. He didn't move up through the ranks of the CIA. As a Democrat, he didn't totally sell out to the military/industrial complex. And of being mixed blood, he doesn't have the option of being racist (unlike so many of the bigoted people who mindlessly oppose him).

When I heard the Obama “ENOUGH!” campaign speech; it felt heartfelt. I still believe candidate Obama wanted to fix the overwhelming corruption that strangles Washington DC. But when we elected him President, all of a sudden he sounded so much more conciliatory. Maybe candidate Obama didn't know how much power the secret government actually has. And if he didn't know, then neither did we.

In the past 50 years, America's intelligence community has changed profoundly. President Harry Truman may have started the CIA to collect information, but it wasn't long before the CIA was used to violently meddle in other nations' affairs. By the time President Kennedy was in office, Allen Dulles (then head of the CIA) believed he could manipulate the President of the United States, against his will, to invade a sovereign nation – Cuba. When President Kennedy was assassinated, rouge members of the CIA were suspected as participating and/or complicit in the cover-up. And from time to time, we hear of reports of CIA planes crashing with cargoes full of drugs. However, for the most part, the CIA has been known to patriotically follow the orders of the President. The NSA, however, might not fall in line as the CIA has.

Initially, the NSA's job was to collect information also. But for decades now, it is very likely that the NSA has been spying on people who could make them very rich and powerful. It is very likely they have collected insider information on the stock market. We know the NSA has spied on Barrack Obama. We know that the NSA has likely spied on members of the House and Senate. We know that the NSA has spied on foreign leaders. And we know that the NSA has spied on Americans. We now know that even President Obama doesn't know what the NSA is up to. And we now know we can't trust the NSA. Combine this with the fact that much intelligence work has been privatized; and we have a recipe for absolute corruption.

Long before the CIA and the NSA existed, it is well known that America's military often functioned as the “big stick” for big business. Now, after privatization, a part of America's intelligence community actually is big business. Which means the incentive to follow the money is sometimes greater than the incentive to follow the President.

And of course, we still have to be concerned about rouge agents. What's to keep them from selling insider information about Wall Street? What's to keep them from making up names of terrorists to make more money? What's to keep them from blackmailing our elected leaders? What's to keep them from planning the demise of our democracy so that they can eventually rule? And how do we know they aren't already up to these things?

President Obama has spoke in favor of the NSA. President Obama has even instituted only minor changes to what are Constitutionally illegal NSA practices. However, it is quite likely he has done so out of fear.

I know that If I were President, and I found out that I was being blackmailed... If I found out that if I stepped out of line; they might kill me and my family, and then get richer chasing “terrorists” instead of the perpetrators... If I found out that they could crash the economy and just use everyone's misfortune to buy up assets at yard sale prices... If I found out that if America were to collapse, they would just step in as the new leaders... If I found out that the only option they had left me was to kick the can down the road; then I guess I would just kick the can down the road too.

Even though the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are winding down, and austerity is the focus of most American politicians today; military spending hasn't dropped. This tells you who's in power.

But President Obama isn't powerless. I suspect he just doesn't want to stick his neck out. And why should he if we, the people, won't.

Democracies require citizen participation. If everyone sits back and allows a few people control, then we deserve what we get. Remember the quote from Thomas Jefferson; “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Democracies are not a spectator sport. Somebody is always trying to take advantage of us. That's life. Consequently, if we are not motivated to keep our Democracy functional, fate will determine that we do not deserve liberty. And no one, not even the President of the United States can save our Democracy for us. Voting is not enough.

Continue to Part 7

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