Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Slave By Any Other Name Would Still Be Owned

Do you believe you own yourself? If so, you may come to believe differently by the time you’re done reading this article. If not, do you believe you ought to own yourself? These are fundamental questions that many have pondered over the millennia. They are basic to the principles of liberty.

I happen to believe I own my own body. I happen to believe that my thoughts are mine to contain, conceal, express or disseminate as I see fit. I believe that the knowledge I’ve obtained through my life’s experiences, education and observations is mine to apply in any way that benefits myself or others and that any compensation others may give me for such an application of knowledge is well earned and mine to keep. I believe that the labor capabilities of my body are mine to sell to others as I see fit and that any compensation freely given or previously agreed upon for the products and/or services produced by said labor is also well earned and mine to keep. I believe that anything I pay for in full with compensation that has been well earned is mine to keep and any successful attempt to forcefully or stealthily remove it from my possession should be considered theft. I believe that the concepts outlined above should be considered basic private property rights that all humans should enjoy and everyone should give respect to others in regards to those rights as they would expect others to do for them.

If you happen to believe the above statements as I do, then it will probably come as no surprise that there are many who don’t believe as we do. Indeed, there are many who believe that they own us. There are many who believe they own the things we may consider are rightfully ours. Not only do they feel this way, but they have created a reality that better reflects their point of view than ours. These people are best known as government officials and bureaucrats, but some would argue that there are secret and not so secret moneyed and special interests that will also make the claim of their ownership of humanity. These people will likely do anything to make certain that their belief system is upheld and strengthened and make sure ours is never realized.

It could be and has been argued that these people do, in fact, own you. If you don’t believe that, just try not paying your taxes and see what happens. They will eventually send men with guns to your door and throw you in a prison cell if you try to exert your freedom and make the claim that you have the right to keep the fruits of your own labor. They will prove that they own you. They will claim that you owe them a portion of your labor for services they provide, even if you don’t use their services, even though they hold a monopoly on certain services, and even if you might find some services offered abhorrent. This happens because most people allow it to happen. Most people just grumble as they accept their fate and pay to keep the wolves from the door. They suffer in silence and do nothing because they have the perception that nothing can be done.

Not only do these people own you, they own your progeny. They have taken money they do not have and given it to their elite friends with the promise that future generations will pay with their taxes. They use the promise of easy money to enslave and they use fear of the mindless enforcers and obedient courts to prevent the masses from so much as questioning their legitimacy. They have used the media to build an illusion that they are invulnerable and so the individual’s spirit gives up. They use public schools to indoctrinate the youth so the system perpetuates itself. They own you, and your children, body, mind and soul; lock, stock and barrel.

At one time, perhaps this wasn’t so bad. At one time, perhaps when I was younger, perhaps before I was born, government was at least responsive to the people. We were prospering and so it seemed to many that giving a small portion of our wealth to Washington DC and the rich political elite wasn’t such a bad thing. Oh, there were things going on that people didn’t like, there were protests and the like, but those in charge seemed to pay attention to the people. At least there was still some amount of freedom in this country. At least there was representation of the common folk. At least there were free markets and the government stayed out of our business for the most part. Well, maybe not, but it seems to me that government has gotten a hell of a lot more blatant about the fact that they own you lately and have been turning a deaf ear to the demands of the people more than ever over the past couple of decades.

Now government and their corporate cronies wish to put the final screws to you. Now they want to remove what little semblance of freedom you may perceive you have left. They moved quickly to bailout the banking elite despite more calls and emails from their constituents against such measures than any other bill has ever generated. They moved just as quickly to bailout and in essence take over auto manufacturers over the objections of the tax payers whose money they were spending. They use the excuse that they are trying to save the economy, but the common folk are the economy. They have proven their disdain for the ordinary citizen. They don’t care what you have to say or what you think because they consider you a slave. They are not saving the economy, they are saving their ability to control it, and their positions as masters.

Still, this is not enough for them. Still, the power brokers in congress wish to extend their reach into every man’s life. Last Friday the congress voted to impose a huge cap and trade bill upon the populace of these United States of America despite popular opposition to the bill. This is yet another massive bill that has not been read by the majority of congress members, if indeed it was read in its entirety by any of them. This bill is yet another government intrusion into the free market. It’s just another tax scheme passed under the guise of trying to “save” the environment. It’s funny how congress is forever trying to “save” something by spending our money. It will increase energy prices. It will increase the amount of taxes you pay, albeit in a less obvious way than increasing your income taxes. The common man, as always, will pay for this legislation, not the wealthy elite who can afford to pay off congressional members. Once again, the political elites manage to solidify their positions as masters.

Do not think for a moment that this government apparatus will stop there. For some time now there has been chatter prevalent amongst the political class that will increase the servitude quotient of significant segments of the population. With the new regulations that are being suggested in health care, doctors will quickly become some of the most slavish people in our society. They will not be able to charge (or not charge) for their services as they see fit, but will be paid as mandated by government decree. As a result, the consumer will lose options he currently has. Doctors will not be allowed to offer certain medical services unless those services are okayed by a governmental medical bureaucracy. Doctors will be under the watchful eye of Big Brother and will have to document all procedures carefully and be sure to remain within bureaucratic guidelines or they may lose their ability to legally practice medicine. They will be forced to service even those who may not require medical services and they will be forced to accept whatever compensation the government deems appropriate, not what the law of supply and demand, nor even the individual doctor’s capacity for human compassion, determines is appropriate.

Doctors are already over regulated. They already have too much oversight by the few health insurance companies that remain in business. Many doctors have been retiring early because of these conditions. In many places there is a shortage of doctors and those who remain in business are overworked. Further government regulation will only make the problems worse. Who would want to be a doctor if it means you become enslaved to government mandates?

Those in favor of more government regulation in health care seem to believe they should be able to determine compensation for the application of the doctor’s knowledge. They think they should be able to determine how to apply that knowledge to best benefit others. They seem to believe that they are best able to determine the labor capabilities of doctors. They will argue that everyone has the “right” to health care without realizing that saying such is tantamount to claiming someone has the “right” to force another human to provide services simply because that other human obtained a bit of knowledge. If they can do this to doctors, it won’t be long until they will try to force everyone to provide labor at compensation levels determined by government mandate.

Indeed, further down the road we can see what is being called “national service” coming into vogue. For now such a system is being set up to be voluntary, but one can imagine that making it mandatory is just around the corner. Already there is talk of creating such coercive measures as not allowing children to graduate high school unless they “volunteer.” It has also been suggested that the carrot of money for college be offered to those who take part in this system. It is not volunteering if you are compensated. Mandatory service of any kind, national or otherwise, for any period of time, is just indentured servitude. I would have thought that by the twenty first century mankind would have gotten past such measures.

It is time we started living once again as freemen. It is time we started calling a spade a spade and to stop pretending that we own our bodies, out labor or our knowledge when in fact we don’t. In order to live as freemen, we need to act like freemen. We need to show that we are not afraid of the whip. The political elite in this country has shown that they don’t care what we think. They have shown they will spend our money as they see fit, so why should we continue to pay taxes and why do we continue to let them print money and keep us indebted? As long as we pay and allow them to print money, they will remain our masters.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dissidents, Hate Speech, Free Speech and Propaganda

I saw Glenn Beck the other day talking about the shooting at the holocaust memorial. On this particular program he wasn’t so much reporting the facts of the case as he was regaling us with his opinion. It appears as if this man James von Brunn has set a tempest upon us with his despicable action. One man kills another and mainstream media personalities are suddenly condemning entire groups of people numbering in the hundreds of thousands if not the millions. One crazy, paranoid, violent old man, perhaps suffering from who knows what kind of brain disorder, takes it upon himself to murder someone in cold blood and suddenly he is not responsible, but shadowy groups of hate mongers must have been pulling his strings? One tragic incident and suddenly I’m hearing rumblings that one of humankind’s most cherished birthrights needs to be monitored by those in power, thus tarnishing the memory of thousands who died in defense of such rights.

Mr. Beck made a statement something to the effect that he felt “9/11 truthers” were dangerous, potentially violent people. He’s been saying things like that for some time. James von Brunn is a racist, angry, violent man whose actions may be judged as that of a madman. Mr. Beck used that man’s individual actions as an excuse to condemn many who are nothing more than peaceful activists or those trying to express a point of view that may seem unacceptable to the majority. Any affiliations James von Brunn may have had, be they with the 9/11 truth movement or with some kind of white supremacist organization, are incidental. Just because he went out and decided to initiate violence against others doesn’t mean that everyone else in all the organizations he was affiliated with are going to go out and start doing the same.

Glenn Beck isn’t the only voice raised against so called hate groups after this incident. I’ve read many a commentary calling for laws making hate speech illegal. All these commentators seem to believe that if people spewing forth hateful rhetoric were forced to remain silent by threat of fines, imprisonment and even violence then hate crimes would no longer occur. They seem to want to put the blame not on the individual who carried out a despicable action, but on people he never met who he happens to agree with on certain issues. These people who want to subvert the right to free speech by outlawing hate speech have missed the point on why the right to free speech needs to be honored and preserved no matter how hateful, vile or disgusting that speech may be.

On the surface, hate speech laws might seem like a good idea to many, maybe even to a majority of people. In fact, I would say the vast majority of people don’t want to hear someone spewing hatred and would disagree with what was being said. There are, however, some things many people might not have considered. First, unpopular speech is the very speech that needs protecting, for speech that most people agree with is in no danger of being censored. Second, who is going to decide what constitutes hate speech? I can tell you this, it doubt very much it will be you or me.

People in power would be the ones determining what constitutes hate speech. People in power are people with agendas. People in power are people who have a tendency to want to take care of their own interests and the interests of their friends and supporters first and consider what’s best for the general populace second. There is often found, on close examination, conflicts of interest between legislation being considered and the interests of those who would vote on that legislation. People in power are people who have biases. In short, people in power are fallible human beings who can make mistakes and do the wrong thing, knowingly or unknowingly, just like anybody else. Perhaps more importantly, people in power today may not be in power tomorrow. The best policy, in my humble opinion, would be the policy of I won’t censor what you have to say and you don’t censor what I have to say.

I suspect that if a hate speech law were to go into effect, it would not be long until dissenters would be imprisoned for speaking out against government policy. In fact, it seems to me this is already happening. The recent articles I’ve written about imprisoning journalists are examples of government curtailing free speech. A law prohibiting hate speech, or any kind of speech for that matter, is just another step toward legitimizing the attempts to silence criticism of government, for it is government personnel who would be determining what hate speech was and it is not hard to imagine that they would soon consider legitimate criticism as hate speech.

One does not even have to dig very deep or look very hard to see how easily such a law could be abused. A good example would be the disturbing thoughts and words of Glenn Beck. He has not hidden his hatred for the 9/11 truth movement. He has made accusations against them that in my opinion are unfair and unfounded. He has called them crazy and dangerous and yet I have never heard these groups officially advocate violence, nor have a seen it reported that they have. Perhaps some individuals who claim affiliation with these groups may have made some questionable comments or threats, I don’t know. If so, then those particular individuals should be chastised, exposed and held responsible for their words and actions. I am fairly certain, however, judging from comments he’s made, that if Glenn Beck could have his way he’d throw anyone that questions the official story of 9/11 in prison just for their beliefs.

It seems to me that many of the people involved with the 9/11 truth movement simply want a valid investigation into the incident. I don’t blame them considering the make up of the 9/11 commission that undertook that investigation nearly a year after the incident. They seem to me to simply want unbiased answers to questions that fester to this day. It seems to me that they are only asking for justice concerning a crime for which perhaps the wrong people were punished. It’s too bad that Mr. Beck seems to have developed a personal grudge against this group of people, which includes a large swath of the population, but he should know better than to condemn an entire group because of his perception of a few of them.

Mr. Beck has accused “9/11 truthers,” along with white supremacists, of wanting to destroy the country. He has unfairly equated in a very subtle way people questioning the official 9/11 explanation with racists. This is a card that has been overused and abused by far too many powerful people in the media. In the same breath he condemns people who may want to see certain elements in the government prosecuted for crimes they may have committed with wanting to destroy the country. It seems to me that Mr. Beck is far too caught up in group think to be considered libertarian, as he likes to call himself.

The last thing that perhaps Mr. Beck hasn’t considered is that he himself may be engaging in hate speech, or that at least his words could be construed as hate speech. Other media personalities calling for the enactment of hate speech laws are just as guilty of not considering this. If the “9/11 truthers,” or the white supremacists, or some group sympathetic to them were to gain power, they could conceivably use these same hate speech laws so many are clamoring for against the very people who want them enacted. Can you see how slippery the slope is here? Can you tell how easily laws such as this can be abused? One need look no farther back in history than the last election to see how power changes hands and laws abused by one group of people can be quickly used against that same group when the tables are turned. The real purpose of hate speech laws would not be to stop hate crimes from occurring, it would be to stifle dissent.

Finally, Mr. Beck expressed his fear that he felt there was going to be a witch hunt. I agree with him on that point, but unlike him I don’t think the witch hunters are going to go after Jews and conservatives. Witch hunts are started by people in power with an agenda, not by marginalized individuals spewing hatred. I think that perhaps he is trying to start and spur on a witch hunt of his own against people in the 9/11 truth movement and perhaps other dissenters who may have differing ideas than his of what is truth, how to try to make people aware of their point of view, and how to go about trying to bring change to our broken system. If history is any indication, then if ever a real witch hunt does take place in this nation, it will likely be one launched by the government, it will likely be used to snuff out those trying to expose a truth that some power does not want known, and likely powerful media outlets will help it along by spreading misinformation and propaganda.

Free speech is an ideal that should not be compromised. Do not let those who oppose it fool you into believing that they are trying to produce a more secure society. A government that can imprison people with impunity for one form of speech, can imprison people with impunity for any form of speech.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Journalists, Political Intrigue and Controlling Your Thoughts

Once again imprisoned journalists have made the news. This time two lovely women have suffered a fate I would not wish upon my worst enemy. I am talking about the two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were sentenced to twelve years hard labor for the crime of supposedly entering North Korea. It is more than obvious, in my opinion, that these women are simply pawns in a dangerous game of international politics. They were guilty of nothing more than simply doing their job and attempting to provide unbiased, factual information to the masses of humanity. Unfortunately, their jobs brought them just a bit too close to a volatile border and they were quickly caught up in a situation they certainly did not want to create. These women were no spies and I wouldn’t be surprised if their capture was deliberate and it was actually the North Koreans that had encroached upon China’s domain, but to them these women were too much an opportunity for political bargaining leverage to pass up.

It is likely the North Korean government saw what was going on in Iran, the attention that state was getting, and like a jealous child they wanted to gain attention also. Unfortunately, when dealing with such an isolated country and such a psychologically unpredictable leader one never knows what demands will be made. It is difficult to guess exactly what Kim Jong-il is thinking. With the provocative nuclear tests North Korea has engaged in recently and the lives of perhaps millions hanging in the balance, the fate of these two young ladies becomes all the more uncertain. One can only hope that worldwide concern, condemnation and pressure on Kim Jong-il’s regime will secure the release of these two innocent journalists.

Using journalists as pawns is not a new phenomenon. It seems, however, that is has gotten a lot more press recently. People seeking power have always strived to control the thought processes of the masses. They’ve always sought to promote not only their point of view, but their way of thinking, no matter how convoluted. They discovered long ago that one of the best ways to do this is to control journalists and media outlets. Sometimes this can be achieved as easily as a couple of payoffs. Similar methods may include a rich and powerful elite buying up major media outlets and hiring performers instead of principled journalists who will shill for their point of view. Of course in societies ruled by authoritarian regimes, the media is owned by the state and obviously biased toward the leadership of the nation. These practices may appear innocuous, yet they may create a misinformed populace and problems for anyone who tries to inject an objective point of view into the public sphere.

In some areas, however, it becomes quite a bit more complicated. I was recently made aware, for instance, of a tragedy that took place in Nepal in January of this year. This was the sad case of Ms. Uma Singh, a radio journalist who was brutally murdered. According to witnesses she was stabbed to death by ten to fifteen men who barged into her residence. One would be justified in wondering what on Earth could be so frightening about one little woman to warrant having to send so many strong, burly men to see to her demise. Furthermore, one might wonder if this woman posed any threat at all to these men. I suppose it is possible, if this woman was about to expose some truth that these men didn’t want to be known. Truth is often a very frightening thing to some people as they know they’ve done wrong and they are afraid of what might happen should they be discovered. A more likely explanation is that these men were paid killers hired by someone who wanted Ms. Singh silenced and wanted to send a message to other journalists. For those who seek power, often times honest reporting is the last thing they want the people to hear.

Admittedly, I don’t know that much about Nepal or the Nepalese people. I have never traveled there nor have I personally met anyone from there. I do believe, however, that people everywhere are quite similar. People in all corners of the world want to be free to live their own lives as they see fit. They want to be free from intrusive government regulations and restrictions. They want to be free to speak their minds. They want to be informed in an honest, objective fashion. They want to be able to believe with relative certainty that they are being told fact and not being fed propaganda. According to what I’ve read coming out of Nepal, particularly in the Tarai region, the ordinary people there have no faith in their media because journalists there are more or less nothing but mouth pieces for various political parties.

It is my understanding that this region, the Tarai region, is rife with dozens of political parties vying for power and control over not only the people of the region, but its natural resources. As usual, everything revolves around money. As usual, the easiest way to grab the money is through politics. As usual, the common man gets the shaft and is not represented in the halls of power. But in Nepal, as evidenced by Uma Singh’s murder, being honest and expressing one’s true feelings, at least in a public way such as by reporting news over the radio, can be deadly.

The people that killed Ms. Singh, or the ones that ordered her death, are likely under the misconception that they can actually control the way people think by violence and fear. They don’t understand that they don’t control people’s innermost thoughts with such actions, they can only control their outward behavior. Even less, they can only control the public behavior of people when they are in the vicinity. The moment they turn their backs, or that no one feels threatened, people will discuss with each other their true thoughts and feelings. Perhaps they don’t care what people do when they’re not watching or perhaps they do, but in the long run I’m really not sure if that will matter. Sooner or later the resentment will build and those who exercise power will one day have to pay the piper once that resentment becomes too much for ordinary humans to contain.

Ms. Singh’s murderers have to this date not been arrested. No one has been charged. There is not even an ongoing investigation that I am aware of. I am aware that some Nepalese government agency has declared Ms. Singh a martyr and has compensated her family. That seems to me to be woefully inadequate. I know there are cultural differences at work here and I can’t speak for Ms. Singh’s family, but as for myself I would feel angered and perhaps insulted by such an action. I would want justice if my daughter had been killed in such a manner, not compensation, and especially not money from the state which simply steals the money it has from its citizens in the form of taxes. If I were to receive compensation it had better be from the men who carried out such a heinous crime or those who hired them. I would want to be able to rest knowing that these men would no longer be able to cause so much grief to another. It seems to me that when the authorities simply try to pay off the victim’s family and refuse to investigate further and bring the perpetrators to justice, that perhaps they are trying to cover up their own complicity in this convoluted matter.

Incidents like this continue to occur throughout the world. I’m certain there are many occurrences that go unreported, many journalists who are threatened on a daily basis. It is my hope that more light is shed upon these incidents as time goes by, whether caused by governments in power, both large and small, or by some other political force. It is my hope that such happenings spur journalists to dig deeper, investigate more fully, and expose those who engage in such devious activities rather than cause journalists to cower and hide in fear. Only in this way can the people come to understand who is trying to control the way they think and why. Only in this way can the public come to know who should be shunned and who should be praised.

Journalism is a powerful force. It should not be controlled by those with an interest in hiding the truth. Any attempt to hide or obfuscate facts, whether from a political party trying to gain power or from those who already operate the levers of the state, should be exposed and reported on. It is up to those in the media to use the power afforded to them to make certain that anyone trying to manipulate them is exposed for what they are. It is up to them to stick to their principles. Truth is a powerful tool and I believe the vast majority of people can differentiate between truth and propaganda when they see it. The importance of press freedom and the ability for journalists to operate without fear cannot be overemphasized and in my opinion it is prudent to question the motivations of anyone who would feel or state differently.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Talking to Demons, Living With Humans

Throughout history there have been occasions where one group of humans would demonize another group of humans. This happens most prevalently during times of war. It is, after all, easier for most to kill a foul beast than it is to kill a fellow human being. It is also easier to justify inhumane treatment of people using the same criteria. If a certain group of people are just beasts, or partial beasts, or demons, or some other lower form of life, or are in any way not as “good” or as “human” as the group of people you are affiliated with, it becomes easier for an individual to justify killing, or imprisoning, or torturing, or enslaving, or otherwise denying those people of their freedom and their ability to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

In order to help gain the support of the common people, the backbone of society, governments throughout the ages have employed propagandists. These men have been only too happy to paint their enemies as demons or monsters in order to line their pockets with a few pieces of gold. They find it easy to obfuscate, misrepresent or even outright lie in order to present the most inhuman face of the enemy possible. They would say things like “those guys eat babies,” or “they enslave their women,” or “they spread disease,” or some other nonsense that may have a grain of truth but is not totally honest. Politicians would then use these propagandists’ statements as talking points to whip the populace into a nationalist frenzy and promote the promulgation of war and the oppression of entire races of people.

You would think that by the first decade of the twenty first century, mankind would have learned to ignore this kind of propaganda. You would think that by this point in our evolution we would have come to the understanding that people are people and that within every group there are good people, there are bad people, and that there are mostly average people. Perhaps inside most of us do realize this, yet we are loath to admit it. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising. There is a perception issue here, and the perception is usually that if the group doing the oppressing doesn’t continue to oppress than bad things will happen to them. The perception is that the “demons” will be unleashed upon the world. The perception is that the very fabric of society will be shredded and woe be unto those who were the oppressors. It usually proves out, however, that reality is quite a bit different than perception.

Now, I’ve never personally met a demon that I know of, but I have read about them and I believe I have a basic understanding of their psychology and what they are all about. It seems to me that demons are all about control. They covet human souls. Apparently, by capturing the human soul, they gain power. Often times they appear to be purely human. They use charm and promises to achieve their goals and their victims don’t realize they are dealing with an unspeakable evil until it is too late. Often times the victim of a demon will come to the frightening understanding that he has been ensnared in a web of deceit only when there is absolutely nothing that can be done to escape. Sometimes, however, an intelligent victim is able to discover the demon’s weakness or a loophole and free himself from the demon’s grasp.

Politicians are usually charming. They use promises to get votes. They have a tendency to promise things they cannot deliver. They promise to give people entitlements that were not earned. They use other people’s money to buy the allegiance of the souls who end up voting for them. They deceive many into believing they will be represented and then they represent no one save themselves and those special interests and lobbyists who provide more money to buy the allegiance of more souls. These men and women seeking power and positions in government may not exactly be demons, but they certainly seem to have learned from demons. They seem to employ the same methods to gain power. And so it is that these power lusting zealots manage to impose themselves upon a people, call themselves government, and authorize themselves to speak to other power lusting zealots in the name of large swaths of ordinary human beings and claim to represent them all or their interests. It’s as if one group of demons were talking to another group of demons.

These men and women, acting in the way many demons do, often times make decisions that, like it or not, we all have to live with. They may even make some outrageous decisions, depending on their wants and needs or those of their friends, like the decision to start killing others in an aggressive war or to try to oppress others simply because they live on a plot of land coveted but not controlled by those seeking power. They force, coerce or seek to convince those who they already exercise power over to go along with the plan. Those who believe they will profit or benefit in some way from such a venture will agree to go along even if they see the inherent wrong of such an action.

I believe that the vast majority of people just want to be left alone to live their lives as best they can. Most people are quite satisfied living a peaceful life. Most simply want the ability to work for themselves and their family and to trade with others on a voluntary basis without government bureaucrats, agencies and regulations getting in the way. I would venture a guess that most people understand that most regulations are put in place just to create revenue, a sort of legalized extortion to support the privileged political class and keep them in power. Still, most remain silent on such issues simply because most people don’t want to create waves. They are peaceful and so they are willing to go along to get along. They are willing to tolerate such theft in order to keep the men with guns from coming to their door, arresting them, dragging them in front of an imposing man in black robes, and perhaps imprisoning them or worse. Yet these peaceful, ordinary people have shown that they are willing to pick up a gun, go to a foreign land and kill people they have never met if these same extortionists tell them that those people are different, that they are demons in human guise.

I would hope that the time has come for ordinary, average people would begin to think about such things. I would like to think that more and more people are beginning to see through the propaganda. I would like to believe that the common folk of this world have become smart enough to realize that in order to live with each other we need to stop believing that whole groups of people are demons and start recognizing each individual’s humanity and respecting it. We may have to deal with the demons in government on occasion, but I would have hoped that by now we would have stopped believing in all their lies. It seems as if, worldwide, too many of the common folk still accept the prejudice they were indoctrinated with and the propaganda they hear as fact. It seems that perhaps too many people believe the powerful elite and will still march off to war against a much weaker foe who poses less of a threat than their leaders would have them believe. Or, just perhaps, many of the common folk do know better and simply keep quiet out of fear of ostracism and retribution.

The time has come to speak up. Silence will no longer protect anyone. In fact, I would venture a guess that the silence of so many has contributed to the state of affairs the world finds itself in. Those in power, the same ones using the tactics of demons to enrich themselves and their friends, depend on your silence. To them, your silence is equivalent to passive acceptance of their rule. The political elite everywhere will continue to represent the rich and powerful until enough of the common folk raise their voices and demand the freedom they deserve. Let those in power know we no longer simply accept the premises they use to launch wars of aggression, pass laws creating victimless crimes and trample upon the natural rights we are born with. Let them know we wish to live together in peace and prosperity, not struggle together in war and poverty. To borrow and paraphrase an often misquoted statement attributed to Edmund Burke, all it takes for the demons to triumph is for good people to remain silent.

It doesn’t matter who one is dealing with or what opinion one may have of a certain group of people, the moment the doors of communication close disaster is inevitable. Talking leads to understanding. Understanding leads to solutions. If we are to ever realize a world where peace and prosperity is the norm, then it will be necessary to talk to the perceived demons of our minds and to understand that in reality we are living only with other genuine humans not much different than you and I.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Obama, Torture, Ron Paul and the DC Warmongers

A while back I started hearing about Barack Obama’s decision to maintain Bush era military tribunals. There was some speculation that some people of a certain political persuasion may have a problem with this decision. Certain people that may have supported and voted for Mr. Obama in November’s election may feel a bit let down by his actions. Personally, this decision did not surprise me at all. I really wonder what people expect of their politicians. Did anyone honestly expect this man to keep his campaign promises and actually enact any of the positive changes as he intimated he would? Politicians lie and equivocate in order to get elected. It’s just what they do. Only the very naive and those so inculcated in political dogma as to be effectively blinded to political reality should have expected any kind of change from Mr. Obama that would result in relinquishing the power of the executive branch. Mr. Bush, building on the work of many of his predecessors, effectively usurped much of the power from the legislative and judicial branches of government. Mr. Obama is not about to do anything to restore the balance of power and hence lose it for himself.

The fact is, Mr. Obama is going to continue to try to garner even more power to the executive branch. We can see this in his policies to bailout just about anyone who asks to be bailed out. In this way, the companies accepting money from the federal government have effectively handed over control of the company to the federal government. What better way to become a communist nation than to get companies to “voluntarily” become state controlled entities. Mr. Obama may promise that it is only temporary and that one day control will be turned over to a private entity, but how can we trust him when he has already broken so many promises? He, like his predecessor, wants to be dictator, or the decider, or emperor, or whatever title you want to put on the authoritarian in charge. The sad part is how little is being done to prevent this. Sadder still is how so few are speaking out against it and many who do are just as untrustworthy as Mr. Obama.

The American people had a chance to stop this downward spiral toward socialism during the last election cycle. They had a chance to elect Ron Paul. They had the chance to at least vote him in as the Republican candidate. They had a chance to see a real debate between ideologies instead of the normal high schoolish popularity contest held every four years to see who will lead the mightiest nation on earth. If the mainstream mass media had any intellectual honesty they’d have reported accurately about Ron Paul’s positions and philosophies rather than trying to portray him as “crazy,” “unelectable,” or “out of touch” with mainstream Republicans. They’d have reported accurately about his grass root supporters being average American Joes rather than portraying them as “fringe” and “extremists.” Instead they did their best to prevent the only candidate capable of providing real, meaningful change from being heard.

But enough dwelling on the past. What’s done is done and now we have Mr. Obama continuing Mr. Bush’s policies when it suits him and increasing his own power when he can. There will be no prosecutions because it would expose Mr. Obama’s complicity (and the complicity of the Democrats in general) to the crimes against humanity that were taking place. There will be no repealing of unconstitutional laws because that would result in less power for the executive branch and make it harder for them to frighten and silence dissenters and critics. The change that Mr. Obama is now proposing is a better defined decriminalization and justification of torture and a reshuffling of combat troops from one war torn country into another rather than ending our involvement in others’ conflicts and bringing our troops back home. I am not surprised. I saw it coming when he kept changing his promises and timelines while he was campaigning. I saw it coming by looking at his past voting records and listening to his ambiguous answers to difficult questions. Mr. Obama has proven himself to be nothing more than a typical politician answering to the moneyed interests and only feigning interest in the common folk.

The cheerleaders for Mr. Obama have a tendency to be the critics of Mr. Bush and the Republicans and his critics happen to be for the most part former supporters of Bush and the Republicans. This only serves to help make the phony schism between Republicans and Democrats seem real. They are, with a few exceptions, all good friends joining the same clubs and attending the same social functions. Just look at how friendly the Bushes and Clintons have become lately. They rub elbows with the rich and powerful, not the common folk. I am fairly certain that when they get together they talk about what they want, not what you or I want, and how they can best maintain and improve their strangle hold on the world economy and increase their own fortunes and economic empires. This is the reality of politics and all the name calling, accusations of racism and divisiveness are just diversions to keep the public off balance. War is what they want, for it is good for their businesses. Torture is an important component in their propaganda machine as they try to justify and spin the morality of an immoral war.

Torture is wrong. There are no excuses. As a society we have recognized this for ages and yet we allow our politicians and certain media personalities to use fear and prejudice to try to convince us otherwise. Torture does not work to get accurate information. The most likely application is to get false confessions that will be later used as justifications for actions that should have never been taken in the first place. These practices should no longer be tolerated anywhere in the world, least of all in the United States of America or anywhere that claims to adhere to civilized Western principles. Excusing its past use and continuing secrecy only proves that politicians and the government sycophants who support these programs are less than civilized. They are nothing more than control freak bullies who will eventually ply their trade on peaceful protesters and anyone else who may disagree with them or their philosophy.

The legislators in the US Congress have done nothing to try to stop the executive branch from seizing more power, nor have they done much to help end the occupations the US military has found itself involved in. The Democrat controlled congress could have stopped funding these unnecessary, empire building military adventures and could have demanded that all military personnel return home. Instead they began a program of propaganda and nationalism to try to make is seem as if there was public support for war and that anyone who was against it was “un-American” or “unpatriotic.” Nothing could be further from the truth. This country was built on the principles of independence by dissenters of a democratic system gone amuck (albeit a democratic system with a monarch leading it), dissenters who faced hostilities on many fronts, not by a bunch wimpy yes men depending on government for handouts, or to keep them safe from boogiemen, or bowing down to the dictates of a tyrannical governing body to ensure security. Nothing could be more American than dissenting. Nothing could be more American than holding public servants accountable for their actions. Nothing could be more American than pointing out and saying no to tyranny wherever it rears its ugly head, even if it is in one’s own backyard.

There are many in our modern world who realize that something is wrong but they can’t quite put their finger on what. Perhaps they see the evil being done in their name but believe nothing can be done to stop it. Perhaps, if they have put any thought into it, they understand that others now control every aspect of their lives but they simply accept their fate and refuse to stand up for their rights. Whatever the reason, a feeling of helplessness seems to pervade our society. Perhaps this is what those in power want. Perhaps in this way they believe they can maintain their control over the populace. After all, congress was sent a message in no uncertain terms that a continuation of foreign occupations, torture, bailouts, etc. were not acceptable or what the majority of people wanted, and yet they continue to allow these practices to take place. Mr. Obama was elected in part because of the hope that he would end the warmongering and illegal detentions and yet he also allows them to continue. If these powerful entities will not listen to the people and bend to their will, then what can be done?

It should by now be obvious that it is the moneyed interests of this world who wield the power. It is the moneyed interests that need to be corralled and controlled. Specifically, those who print the money need to be answerable to the people of the nation. Ron Paul has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to audit the Federal Reserve Bank. This will help make monetary policy transparent. It is gaining popularity even with the representatives and now as I write this there are 189 cosponsors for the bill. Yet even a bill that has gained as much popularity as this one can come under fire. Senator Grassley of Iowa seeks to make Ron Paul’s simple bill impotent by introducing his own more complicated version to the senate and making sure it has no teeth. Where Ron Paul’s bill will audit all financial dealings of the Fed and provide complete transparency, Senator Grassley’s bill only allows some of the financial dealings to be audited and allows secrecy to remain in other areas of finance.

This is taxpayer money we are talking about. The taxpayers ought to know where their money is going. Political tricks and disingenuous ploys of the type Senator Grassley is trying to employ should no longer be tolerated by the American public, particularly in this age of the Internet where such slight of hand is easily exposed.

In addition to auditing the Fed, Ron Paul has introduced an honest money bill. This bill would allow competition in the area of money creation and would make it possible to allow competing forms of money to circulate in the US. This would allow individual consumers the opportunity to decide for themselves what type of money they wanted to use and accept, be it value based or debt based. This would rid America of an unholy monopoly and allow for unprecedented prosperity.

It has become obvious in a few short months that neither the Democrat controlled Congress nor Mr. Obama are going to stop the unpopular practices and foreign policies started by the Bush administration. It is obvious they are not going to curb the growth of government and reign in spending. In fact, it is obvious that the opposite is true and they plan on nationalizing businesses that should never have been considered anything other than private businesses and most definitely should never be part of the federal government. Since our elected officials have refused to act, the only way to stop this foolishness is to take away the purse strings. The people must gain back control of the power to coin money as guaranteed them in the Constitution. This is particularly true for those who want to see the end of foreign wars and excursions and torture, for if you take away the power to print money from nothing, then the expense of such ventures becomes transparent and immediate and our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will not have to pay for our adventurism. It is not so much foreign policy and its unsavory consequences that need to be challenged and changed, but fiscal and monetary policies that need to be brought under the heel of common sense. When this is done then it won’t take long before we figure out just how badly some policies are needed and whether or not they should be funded.