Sunday, January 31, 2010

Natural Law, Justice, Oaths and Contradictions

Lately there’s been a controversy playing out over an organization known as LEAP and an outspoken member over there named Bradley Jardis. LEAP stands for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Bradley Jardis was a law enforcement officer who was against laws prohibiting drugs. The controversy played out over a blog post in which Mr. Jardis claimed that he could no longer, in good conscience, enforce laws calling for the arrest of people smoking marijuana for medical purposes. He claimed that doing so would be a violation of his oath to uphold the constitution of the state of New Hampshire. This declaration caused LEAP to remove Mr. Jardis as a spokesman for them and resulted in his eventual exit from the organization. This began somewhat of an Internet firestorm as people of principle aligned themselves with Mr. Jardis and many of them wrote scathing blogs and responses against LEAP’s decision.

I later heard a response to LEAP’s actions by its executive director, Jack A. Cole, in a radio interview. His view was that Mr. Jardis was in violation of his oath to uphold the law by announcing he wouldn’t arrest medical marijuana users. He further stated that encouraging others to break their oaths was also not to be tolerated. He also opined in the interview that it wasn’t the police officer’s job to determine the constitutionality of any given law and cited his own experiences in the sixties during the civil rights era where he saw police refusing to arrest people who were obviously violating the individual rights of others. This interview along with the actions and statements of Mr. Jardis has made me question the validity of where some lines are drawn.

Personally, during the interview with Mr. Cole, I felt he was simply making excuses for what should be unacceptable behavior, but I’m likely quite biased. Still, the argument taking place got me to thinking. Exactly what is law, anyway? What happens when one law contradicts another? How do we determine which law is more important to enforce? How can we determine right versus wrong? What happens when oaths contradict? Which oaths should be broken and which should be honored? What, exactly, is justice? Can we expect to attain justice in a seemingly unjust system?

There are two main types of law, in my humble opinion, natural law and manmade law. Natural law comes from the nature of things. It consists of not only physical laws that hold our reality together, but laws defining right and wrong that should be obvious to all thinking individuals. Natural law is really quite simple. Basically, it says don’t initiate violence and respect the property of others. It’s so obvious in its simplicity that that’s what is meant when you hear the old saying that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Manmade law, on the other hand, is perhaps the most complicated and convoluted concept ever created by humans. That’s because, in many cases, it’s created to curb otherwise natural behaviors. Many, if not most, manmade laws are created to justify one group’s desire to break natural law by initiating violence against others or stealing their private property.

Manmade laws, in many cases, violate the natural rights of others to create choices and make decisions for their own lives. That was likely one of the driving factors behind the creation of the Bill of Rights. The founding fathers understood that governments, not just monarchs, were responsible for more misery and crime against humanity than any other institution ever designed by man. It was for this reason they tried to devise a method by which government could be watched over and limited in its scope. The device they created was the document known as the Constitution. While it has been argued that the Constitution has failed in its capacity to be able to achieve this lofty goal, I argue that it is the common folk that have failed to pay attention to the usurpations prevalent in government and to use the document judiciously against any who would abuse the power to govern and create a privileged elite class.

The Constitution of the United States and the state constitutions modeled after it were created to protect the common folk against the abuses of authority. These words were not written lightly, but crafted with care. They were not written to protect a man against his own self, or against the mistakes he might make or the poor choices he might decide upon. These words were written to help protect against the intrusions the state might make upon a man’s life. They weren’t written to guarantee that a man would be provided for, but they were written to guarantee he’d have ample opportunity to provide for himself and keep the fruits of his labor. These ideals should be the anchors to our society. They are the foundation of what is called America. These were the ideals of the men who inscribed such word into law. These are the ideals Mr. Jardis was defending when he wrote his blog and decided he could no longer suffer to do wrong and injustice against fellow humans.

What did Mr. Jardis get for his brave actions? He was punished for his stance. He was told he could not speak for an organization that was supposedly looking out for the right of the individual to choose for one’s self. He felt it necessary to resign from the job of police officer, a job that should only be held by men like him who have concern for the individual rights of their fellow man. Mr. Cole’s position, in my humble opinion, was sadly lacking. It requires the dehumanization of a person to uphold laws that involve no victim without thought or accountability. The policeman is effectively told not to think for himself.

To tread on another’s rights by arresting them for the possession or use of a naturally occurring plant is unjustifiable, but to do so to a sick human being using it in a medicinal manner is torturous. Waiting around for some uncaring bureaucrats and lawmakers to correct an obviously flawed policy while many suffer is unforgivable. It takes people like Mr. Jardis to affect positive change, people who are willing to take action and disobey directives when they know they are in the right.

We as a society need to ask ourselves, “What is the higher law?” Are we to let our rights and the rights of our children be trampled by mindless enforcers who carry out the “laws” of a privileged elite who may very well profit from such policies, or will we demand a higher quality from them and a return to the days of the peace officer? Laws only need enforcement when they involve the violation of a human being’s rights, when someone somewhere is victimized. At that point the full fury of the law should come to bear on the perpetrator of such actions. Prohibition laws, on the other hand, do not require a victim. The victim becomes the possessor of the prohibited substance. This is exceptionally egregious when the substance is a naturally occurring potential medication that has been so wrongly maligned. In any case, one should have the right to decide for one’s self whether or not one wants to use such a substance just as one has the right to decide what kind of food one would like to purchase for the evening’s meal. Leaving alone those who decide to medicate themselves in an alternative way is the higher law, the loftier ideal. Mr. Jardis should be applauded for deciding to take such a vocal public stance.

I think LEAP should apologize to Mr. Jardis. I think it should adopt his view and encourage current law enforcers to stop arresting those who have harmed no one and to once again become peace officers and earn the respect of ordinary citizens who wish only to make their own choices. More and more often we hear about common folk who are brutalized by out of control police. If one tries to exercise his rights in this day and age, the state has trained their enforcers to disregard civility and to hit hard and often. Refusal to obey is summarily punished without regard for constitutionality, human rights or dignity. There is no sign that the system is anywhere near correcting this error. In fact, the system is more than likely to back up their men in black rather than the common folk who are subjected to the police state. LEAP appears to be condoning the state apparatus by chastising Mr. Jardis rather than trying to bring about effective change.

We have allowed our liberties to be violated for far too long. It is disturbing to me that I feel the need to remind people what it means to be free. We need to remember that free people allow others to be free. We need to remember that it is not so much the people that need to policed, but those who would govern the masses. It is they who oft times engage in criminal behavior. It is they who violate individual rights and reign from on high. Government has time and again shown its violent side while the people go about their business peacefully. It is time for the people to reclaim a free society for themselves and their posterity. If we had more people of conscience like Mr. Jardis who would refuse to enforce bad, victimless laws it would not be so difficult to achieve the goal of creating such a society.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Treasonous Corporate Media

I have a small following. There are not millions of people yet reading my commentaries and hanging on every word. More and more are waking up to the ideas I express, but there are many other people besides me, thank god, that are also expressing these ideas. There are many others who are likely better at expressing these ideas than I am and there are many that more people follow on a regular basis. There are those making video and radio media with a freedom message that have reached millions. Print media is on the decline. The power of the written word is waning as the power of audio video reaches more and more of the masses. People just don’t read as much as they used to.

Even though the above is true, I am sometimes amazed at the following I do have. With all the money and corporate sponsorship the mainstream media garners, I’m amazed anyone pays any attention to this writer whatsoever. But it seems to me that the television news networks, the mainstream news outlets and the large newspapers have all dropped the ball. They have failed to be honest. They have betrayed the trust of the American people and we can all see the results in the falling subscription rates of newspapers and the loss of viewers suffered by the news networks. Many might claim this is a natural phenomena due simply to the advent of the Internet, but I’ve heard from several people that they go to the Internet for the information because they can no longer believe the information they are getting from more traditional sources.

The corporate media is dying. It’s controlled and more people than they care to admit know it. More and more of the common folk are discovering not only that they’ve been lied to and manipulated, but that they’ve been continuously lied to for decades and laughed at by those doing the lying. In short, the corporate media has betrayed the common man. They have taken their place at the feet of big government and big, multi national corporations and have repeatedly buried stories, or refused to properly investigate, or otherwise misinformed the public when such reporting could make their masters look bad. It really is no wonder they have lost the public trust.

But it goes beyond that. Many people have begun to realize just how much propaganda they’ve been exposed to. They’re beginning to understand that the mass media is in the business of controlling how they think. I can’t put my finger on just when the scales started to tip, but I believe the last couple of elections have really opened many eyes. People have begun to realize that the left/right paradigm is a fallacy due to the refusal of politicians to carry through with the obvious mandates that put them in office while the corporate media political pundits continue to cheerlead for one of two parties that show no significant philosophical differences. The people have no choice but to look elsewhere if they wish to find opinion that more closely matches their own.

Still the corporate media is trying to fool the masses. Still they are trying to think of more subtle and diabolical ways to do it. They know what side their bread is buttered on and they know where the money comes from. They have a vested interest in serving certain government policies because their corporate masters profit from those policies. Weren’t we warned to beware of the military/industrial complex? There are billions, if not trillions, of dollars to be made in war. Death merchants gain tremendously if they can keep the populous worried about some nefarious boogiemen in a far off land that threaten to destroy a way of life if they are not bombed into oblivion. The deaths of innocents go unnoticed if their stories remain unreported and far away. Out of sight, out of mind.

How about the security/industrial complex? Many people make money when the populace is in fear of their safety and demanding more complex and intrusive security devices. Could that be the real reason corporate media hypes up terror stories like the underwear bomber and the arrests of stooges “plotting” terror attacks but never quite able to carry them out? Is that why eye witness stories go unreported while more fearful versions are propagated? Is it possible that agent provocateurs are working for the interests of those who would profit from a surveillance society? Don’t forget that government itself generates revenue by spying on its people, and they do so in spite of the fact that red light cameras cause more accidents than they prevent and it has been shown that there are more effective ways than cameras to prevent crime. These are issues that corporate media will at best only touch upon to create an illusion of caring, any deep probe into such subjects would likely cause damage to the corporate interests that pay for the media and create a public outrage that would be hard to contain.

Let’s not forget about the medical/industrial complex. This corporate entity has grown tremendously in its influence over the past few decades. It preys upon the human fear of the natural processes that eventually lead to old age and death. People looking for miracle cures and to reconnect with youth want so much to believe and trust in the medical establishment and manmade drugs that they forget to look into remedies that nature provides. They are sold everything from impotency cures, to antacids, to cholesterol inhibitors without checking out for themselves the possible side effects and the damage such drugs could do to them. The American corporate media keeps quiet about many of the improprieties of the medical/industrial complex as evidenced by the recent coverage of the admitted flu vaccination scam in Europe but not in the United States. If you want to know why this is so, one has only to notice how many ads on television are for medications.

People still talk amongst themselves. More and more people who understand the truth are beginning to speak out. Even some of the most hardcore and trusting of the sheeple are starting to reinitiate their centers of thought and starting to question what they’ve been told. And yet the paradigm shift cannot happen soon enough. There are still too many zombies out their letting their minds fill up with the drivel spewing from the corporate media. Significant news is glossed over while trivial reports on the antics of celebrities are dwelled upon. Those who wish to know have abandoned the traditional news sources while those who remain comfortable in the corporate delusions presented to them refuse to seek other sources and choose to remain willfully ignorant.

As freedom loving people, I don’t believe we should yet abandon those people. I don’t believe we should give up on the corporate media. Their veneer is starting to crack. There is talk of censoring the Internet and criminalizing free speech, but I believe that if such measures are taken by the powers that be they will backfire. Furthermore, I believe that we should be proactive and try to win back the loyalty of the corporate media. Television is still interested in ratings. If enough people began to contact networks and ask for more coverage of meaningful stories I believe that would have an effect on them. If enough people showed interest in returning to the corporate media audience should they once again become principled, that would certainly give the executives of media companies something to think about. In some ways this is already beginning to happen, but only slowly and with limited results. It will take a long time before networks abandon their proclivity to express collectivist thinking unless they are overwhelmed with the public’s desire to learn more about individualism.

The corporate media has its hands on the levers of some powerful tools. They should have been a watchdog against the growing power of government. They should have sounded the alarm against the corruption that has rotted the system. Apparently there was not enough money in doing so. Apparently they thought they could maintain a monopoly on information and continue to rake in extreme revenues while keeping the public blind to the truth of world events. The competition of the Internet and alternative media has prevented the total takeover and complete enslavement of human minds. If we could convince just one network to broadcast a principled message of liberty and individualism to the masses, I’ve no doubt that its ratings would soar. Such a network would have the potential to free the minds of millions.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Scott Brown, Establishment Clown

Well, Scott Brown, Republican, beat out Martha Coakley, Democrat, in a race that was never supposed to be even close. Now the mainstream media acts surprised and some in the alternative media are crowing about how much of a difference this is going to make and how the people have spoken. Well, I’m not buying it. Scott Brown’s election has not made one whit of difference. Oh, maybe, just maybe, it might slow up the push toward nationalized health care. Perhaps it slowed up the agenda to completely socialize the United States of America and destroy the last vestiges of a truly free market and the last hope of a peaceful, voluntary society in this world, but it has not derailed that effort. There is still an agenda at work here. Freedom is still dying. Scott Brown is still as much a control freak social engineer as his political colleagues and he as much as said so the day after he was elected. He is not an advocate of liberty and smaller, limited constitutional government.

These people just don’t get it. The day after Mr. Brown is elected in what was supposed to have been a slap in the face to Democrats and was supposed to send them a message that we don’t want government health care, the man is standing at a podium talking about creating a health care bill. Hello? Anyone home? Oh yeah, we’re out of “campaign mode” now. I suppose that means it’s ok to lie as long as you’re campaigning. I’ve an idea, let’s see another song and dance. Why not pander to another crowd and talk about peace while promoting war? Or talk about accountability while voting for bailouts? This is a typical politician, yap, yap, yap at the masses while catering to the elite. Pah-leaze.

It doesn’t matter if one is a Democrat or a Republican. These people just don’t get it. The populace is screaming for a limited constitutional government. They want government out of their lives. They want taxes abolished. They want the Fed audited. They want debt money done away with and honest money reinstated as it was supposed to be all along. People want the government to leave them alone. They are tired of the lies and corruption. They are tired of the tricks and the illusions. We can see who’s benefiting. We can see who’s on top of the pile and who’s suffocating at the bottom. The common folk are getting squashed by all the government tampering and regulating and it’s time to make it stop.

Fifty years ago the United States had perhaps the best, most affordable medical care in the world and three quarters or more of its people paid doctors directly. Health insurance was for medical emergencies and catastrophic illnesses. HMOs were non existent. Then the government got involved. Actually, they got more involved. They kept getting more involved. The more they regulated, the more centralized health care became, the more the insurance industry became monopolized by a few big players. The higher the prices climbed. The more unaffordable health care became. This was the death spiral. The way out is through less government involvement, not more. Socialism is not the answer.

The people are crying out for less government, a repeal of onerous laws, and a way to rid ourselves of the oppressive debt we find ourselves burdened with and all they can do in Washington DC is talk about health care. Health care is not one of the enumerated powers granted to congress by the Constitution of this country. The only reforms that should be considered are those that allow or make it easier for competition to enter the marketplace and drive down prices while increasing services. This would require in many cases the government to step out of the way and let the market work, something that Scott Brown evidently isn’t willing to do as to him it’s very important for everyone to have some form of health care (insurance) and he wants to offer a “basic plan.” One way or another, even he wants to socialize health care.

Ask any doctor how much of your health care dollar goes to pay for all the government mandates he/she is required by law to obey. Maybe then you’ll begin to understand the real reason why it costs so much to see a doctor. But none of that seems to matter to the omnipotent masters of obfuscation on Capital Hill, they want to capture even more of the health care dollar and make sure their friends in the insurance industry continue to profit by bringing into being some form of health care reform that requires everyone to carry insurance, even if it is just a “basic plan.”

There is so much more than health care that should be focused on. There are massive amounts of lives and treasure being lost in undeclared, unconstitutional wars of aggression. We could declare victory and walk away from them, but our political elite chose to remain. There are violations of our civil rights taking place on a daily basis as more and more common folk feel the oppressive boot of the police state come down upon them. We could quickly put an end to such violations by repealing the unconstitutional laws passed, dismantling the security/nanny-state apparatus put in place to oppress, not protect, the American people, and prosecuting to the fullest extent any thuggish bully, uniformed or not, that violates the natural rights of another individual. There is a huge theft of our wealth and our economy taking place right under our noses that could be stopped, or at least recognized and curtailed, with an audit of the Federal Reserve. These are truly important issues that are being ignored while we are diverted by the health care issue.

Don’t get me wrong, I think health care is an important issue, I just don’t believe it’s something the federal government should be dealing with. They have over stepped their bounds in so many ways and on so many levels it’s not funny. Perhaps that’s why they remain so arrogant and keep ignoring the people and pretending we want them interfering with our lives.

So the media plays up Mr. Brown’s victory. Now we’re all supposed to be happy. Now everything will be alright because a Republican has replaced a Democrat in the state of Massachusetts where that was never supposed to happen. Now the Democrats are so scared and we no longer need to worry about socialized health care. Go back to sleep, America. Your democracy is working. No need to worry anymore. It’s all been taken care of.

Well, I’m not going to go back to sleep. Big government Republican or big government Democrat doesn’t matter. They’re all the same. We still have war. We still have prohibition. We still have a police state. We still have institutionalized theft of our wealth. And we still have men in Washington DC who want complete control of our health care system. This is not America. Where is the freedom? Where is the liberty? Where is the opportunity? Big, centralized, corporate government has taken these things away from us. The establishment has taken men and women who honor these principles and made them into media fodder, labeling them radical, crazy, dissident or even terrorist. Meanwhile it has bought and paid for politicians and turned them into clowns who pile out of the establishment mini car and run up the steps of the Capital claiming to represent the people. It’s a big show under the big top, that’s all. The men who run it still collect the money from the gate at the end of the day. It’s time to let them know we’re tired of the same old show and we want our money back.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so cynical. Perhaps I should be celebrating the fact that people seem to be waking up and are at least trying to make a change. To be fair, it is rather a good thing that there’s been such a quick backlash against the Democrats who broke so many of their promises and ignored so many of their mandates. Yet nothing seems to change. They don’t seem to care. There are many freedom advocates running for office and I hope they all achieve victory, but there is such a long way to go.

I am truly tired of these big government politicians who can’t see that government isn’t the answer to problems, government in most cases is the problem. In the last two years I’ve had to cut back dramatically on my spending and the government has continued to grow and spend as if the economy was still booming. I’ve seen trillions wasted paying off interest on debt. This needs to stop. There’s far too much waste in the system. Perhaps when I see the waste eliminated and freedom restored I’ll stop being so cynical, but until that time I’m not going to stop to celebrate one man’s victory unless I can be sure he’ll be an outspoken advocate for liberty. I hope this is a turning point, but I remain skeptical and await further developments.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Destructiveness of Taxes

My mother prepares taxes. She’s in her seventies now and she still prepares them for some of the clients she served when she was a financial planner. Many of them trust no one else. I am one of the people who trust her to save the most or get the most back when it comes to taxes.

I’ve never had a job where I’ve earned that much money. I’ve always been on the edge, working full time, paycheck to paycheck, and hardly able to survive. In fact, most of my life I haven’t been able to make ends meet with one job. I’ve always had to take on side work. Whether it was from taking on too much debt or having too many kids doesn’t really matter. The times I’ve been able to get ahead while working only a full time job have been few and far between. I suppose that’s probably true for most people. Yet, I’ve been more fortunate than many in that when I couldn’t find anything else my mother always had work for me to do. From accounting to computer programming to gardening, she would always find extra work for me when I needed it. She was also quite good at getting tax money back for me using the government’s own rules.

So it was years ago when I had a particularly poor paying job and no side work was available for me that I started complaining to her about my lack of funds to pay for the necessities of life. It was during the course of such a conversation when she asked something to the effect of, “Tell me, how would you be doing if you didn’t have to pay taxes?” That question made me think. I remember doing some quick math in my head and figuring out that I would have had all the money I needed for expenses and been able to put money away if I wasn’t paying taxes. I wouldn’t have been doing too badly. I told her as much.

In today’s economy, many more people are in the same boat I was in, the same boat I remain in. One might ask one’s self, after all that has happened and with the economy teetering on the brink of complete collapse, how much better off would we all be if we didn’t have to pay taxes? I know this might sound frightening to those of us who are unemployed and living on unemployment insurance and those who are working at a government job and dependent upon the tax extortion money for their paycheck, but there are much deeper matters to consider here. Things might look glum now and perhaps these ideas may seem radical in the short term, but we must look at the long term, we must look for the best way to secure the future for our children and grandchildren. Do we succumb to the siren’s call of a big nanny government and let a corrupt elite decide what to do with and for all others, or do we take matters into our own hands, shrink government to a nearly non existent level and allow ourselves to decide through the free market which businesses succeed and which fail?

How many people who were foreclosed upon would still be in their homes if they didn’t have to pay property taxes? How many would have been able to save enough to weather these tough times if they didn’t have to pay income taxes? How much more food and clothes could be bought if there was no sales tax? How much destruction have taxes done to the economy? The answers to these questions might never be known. We can only speculate as to how much better off we’d be had we been allowed to spend the money we’ve earned as we wanted instead of how the various governments wanted. We can only speculate how much better off we’d be if the people had paid more attention and demanded the federal government stick to the principles set forth in the Constitution and not allowed the congress to grant an unconstitutional monopoly in debt note creation to the Federal Reserve.

Yet things don’t stop there. It’s not bad enough that people are taxed to the hilt and their money spent on services they wouldn’t want or use, money is now stolen from the common folk and given to the wealthiest among us in the form of bailouts and nobody is held accountable. To make matters worse, the money is then earmarked to be loaned back to the now bankrupt and broken populace so that they can once again give the money to the banks, this time with interest. It’s a vicious spiral that eventually leads to the debt enslavement of the masses to an extremely wealthy elite which is quickly becoming the new royalty. If things keep going the way they are it won’t be long before petty bureaucrats are deciding the spending habits of multitudes and individual lives will be hanging in the balance while awaiting their decisions.

To make things worse the elite in charge of the money supply seem to think not only that they’re better than the rest of us, but that they’re above the law. In fact, when listening to them, one might come to believe that they think they are the law. On several occasions now, when asked by congressmen where the money has gone, Fed officials have either refused to answer or claimed they didn’t know. This is public money, yours and mine, supposedly our hard earned taxes that were taken from us to provide for government services to the less fortunate, and they can’t or won’t even tell you where it’s gone. Who knows what kind of scams we have financed over the years?

We as a nation don’t have to put up with this. The Constitution provides for interest free public money. Commodity backed notes could be provided to the public directly from the US Treasury rather than from a privately owned, secret, quasi-governmental organization which is more concerned with their own wealth and power than with the good of the common folk. We don’t need a secretive Federal Reserve System that fights the light of a full public audit. If push comes to shove, I’m sure arrangements could even be made for congress to set interest rates and use that money to fund a small federal government, ridding us of the need to collect any kind of federal taxes, at the very least. Admittedly, this would not be the optimal solution to the economic problems we face, but it would go a long way toward correcting the mistakes that were made in 1913.

Taxes destroy not just the economy, but infrastructure as well. Let’s not forget that a huge percentage of our taxes goes to fund an empire. It funds operations in that empire that have killed millions and destroyed property worth billions. Trillions have been poured into wars of questionable merit. Anyone who disagrees with this kind of policy, too bad, you have to pay for it anyway. There is no recourse. There is no redress of grievance. If you decide not to pay, you risk being fined and imprisoned. This destruction is paid for by your taxes. Does this benefit the general public? I don’t believe so. It only helps a few at the top of the heap involved in the weapons and war industries. Perhaps in some cases it helps those in the energy business. It helps corporate interests, but the vast majority of Americans are no longer served by such ventures and even those who are likely want to see an end to such destruction. Perhaps if this foreign adventurism and empire building was paid for by those who benefited from such policies rather than from taxing the common man, perhaps then we’d see a different approach taken to foreign policy.

Taxes, no matter how they are collected, takes money that likely would have been spent in other ways and gives it to areas and services that might not be in demand. Those who argue for taxation of any kind, argue for an immoral system. Governmental mandates would be better served if they were voluntarily funded or if private services were able to compete with government’s monopolies. If the federal government did not have such power over the separate states, we could much more easily vote with our feet when it comes to taxation tyranny. In any case, it is more acceptable to decentralize and fund government at more local levels than it is to run things from a huge centralized bureaucracy.

Although taxation is a bad idea no matter the economic situation, the burden of taxation is exceptionally heavy during down economic times. It is during the boom times when taxes are levied, usually against the richest amongst us, and people don’t seem to mind so much. But it is during the bust times that the chickens come home to roost, so to speak. Now we can better understand the immorality of the system as it destroys those who can no longer afford the burden. Using force and threats to extract money from people is never the way business should be done and allowing for it to happen, no matter the good intentions, can only destroy the spirit and soul of any given society.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

War, Torture, Neocon Terror and Obama’s Betrayal

It’s nearly a year into Mr. Obama’s first term as president and already the trail of broken promises leads to the doors of the big banks and authoritarian rule by the corporate elite. If it has not become obvious to you by now who pulls Mr. Obama’s strings, or if you still believe he is his own man, than I suggest you get over your willful naivete and start paying attention to the reality of what is happening, what has not happened, and what is not going to happen under his leadership.

War is what is happening. The war drums are beating. I have heard talk about going to war in Yemen. I have heard talk about going to war with Iran and with Pakistan. These places are in the news and the news is not good. The demonization of the peoples of these countries has escalated, particularly with the attempted Christmas day bombing of an airliner by a suspected Yemeni national dubbed “the underwear bomber.” Mr. Obama has no plans to stop war, only to carry it out in more places and with more brutality than ever before. Here’s a man who sold himself to a nation as a caring, peace loving individual who is proving to be just as much a war monger as the neocon he replaced.

Torture is also happening. In the land of America, the land of free peoples, of innocent until proven guilty, a land supposedly inhabited by good, morally incorruptible people, we have lost more than our moral compass, more than the moral high ground, we have lost even the pretense that we care about morality. Forget that history and common sense tells us torture doesn’t work as an intelligence gathering mechanism. Forget that we don’t want our men being tortured and so we shouldn’t torture others. Forget about the historical indignation we felt when we discovered our people had been tortured by enemy forces despite how well we treated the prisoners in our care. Torture is just plain wrong on its face and it is carried out either by individuals who are sick and enjoy it or by those who will be sickened and harmed psychologically by being ordered and forced to engage in such activities.

The practice of torture is more a political creature than a military tactic. It’s best for gaining confessions from people one wishes to silence or discredit. These confessions can be used to gain the support of the unaware, gullible, paranoid electorate and to justify otherwise unpopular wars and military occupations. Using such tactics on a perceived enemy and getting away with it sets a dangerous precedent. It isn’t that much more of a step for the state to turn on its own populace and begin to pick off those who voice their disagreement with policy, labeling them dissidents or enemies of the state. Indeed, setting up such vocal dissidents would not be that great a stretch, particularly considering that confessions would likely be forthcoming once the torture is accepted.

Neocon terror continues to happen. I include here the fear mongering that goes along with this idea that we must “fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here.” Are we really so frightened by backward authoritarian Middle Eastern nations? Are we really so childish to believe the stories of boogiemen told to us by those who will profit from waging war on and occupying these countries? As a nation we allowed such fears to translate into the draconian laws passed after the 911 attacks and we have rued the decision to pass such laws ever since. This is a perfect example of giving up essential liberty in an effort to achieve a bit of security. This is the perfect illustration as to why those who would willingly give up their freedom for security deserve neither, and neither is what we will get. The terror will continue to diminish the rights and freedoms we hold dear so long as we allow such fear to infect our hearts.

Government growth continues to happen. In fact, it’s accelerating. Government has gotten its talons into every aspect of our lives. The more it regulates, the more it intrudes, the worse things seem to get. Government is killing the motivation of the common man. It is stifling innovation and the human desire to strive to improve one’s circumstances. It has tapped mankind’s natural proclivity toward laziness and institutionalized it. This has always been the greatest flaw of collectivist thinking when such socialist models are put into practice.

What has not happened under Mr. Obama’s leadership is the withdrawal of our troops from foreign lands. What has not happened is the repealing of Bush era laws that have trampled our Constitution and violated the human rights our nation was predicated upon. What has not happened is the release of innocent farmers and sheep herders that have been imprisoned by our military. What has not happened are public trials where evidence that they are real terrorist threats and not just people who were trying to protect their homes from an invading force is presented. This is likely because the only evidence they have was gained through torture. What has not ended is the practice of extraordinary rendition. I hate to think what this has done to the collective karma of our nation and can see the harm it has done in the eyes of the rest of the world as our moral standing declines.

What is not going to happen under Mr. Obama’s leadership is any real, significant change. What is not going to happen is a shift in foreign policy away from wars of aggression toward diplomacy, open trade with all nations and entangling alliances with none. What is not going to happen is an end to empire building. The federal government is not going to leave people alone. It will not return to the constitutional principles of liberty this nation was built upon, the principles that produced such great prosperity for the people of this nation for so long. It will continue to gain power, consume resources, force itself upon the populace and try to micromanage and control all areas of human endeavor.

Mr. Obama deceived many. He portrayed himself as an agent of change. He portrayed himself as one who would buck the system. He portrayed himself as one who would give the people hope. I never believed his rhetoric, I always felt he was cut from the same elite cloth as the rest of the establishment politicians, but I did hope he would prove me wrong. Now, even some of his most ardent supporters and left wing propagandists have come to the realization that he has betrayed them and that the changes he should have brought about in theory are in practice simply more of the same. He has maintained the fascist regime and policies put in place by the Bushes and even earlier presidential administrations. He has maintained the power of the wealthy elite and the political establishment. He has promulgated his desire to create an authoritarian system where the power to make personal decisions is taken away from the individual and given to bureaucrats who will not be held accountable for the consequences of their actions. He has used the power granted to him by the electorate not to the betterment of the average citizen, but to keep in place the mechanisms that create wealth for the very few and remove opportunities from those willing to work hard and innovate to make a better life for themselves, their families and anyone else who might associate with them.

The establishment knows what the common folk want as evidenced by what Mr. Obama promised when he was campaigning. He gave eloquent, carefully crafted speeches espousing the values the American people hold dear. He spoke of change and hope, of peace and government transparency, but he has delivered none of the above. An anger simmers in America, rising from the grassroots and flowing into the mainstream. We can no longer accept the lies and corruption that have inflicted our political institutions for far too long. It is time to speak out and be heard.

The power elite think they are untouchable. They are not. They think they have complete dominion over the common folk. They do not. In fact, the common folk have a vast amount of power, it’s just that sometimes they don’t know this or need to be reminded. The best part is, they don’t need to be violent to exercise it. That is something best left to the bullying power elite so that all can see the complete evil hiding inside them. We, as average individuals, merely need to assert our humanity. We need to get angry and express our feelings very publicly, demanding legal solutions and accountability.

The power elite still have to interact with the populace. Many of them still wish to get out into the world and partake in the joys modern society offers. It could be effective to make this as uncomfortable for them as possible. A good example of how to achieve this was presented to us by the gentleman who confronted the elder Bush in a pizza joint in Texas recently. He simply shouted at the former president, let him hear the anger he felt and accused him of crimes against humanity, but he did not threaten him. It was caught on video which is the best thing to do when you partake in activism for that will provide evidence that you’ve done nothing wrong and they are the ones resorting to violence.

Perhaps he shouldn’t have lost his temper and cussed so much, that can sound threatening, but what do these people expect when they act so “holier than thou,” as if they can do no wrong even as they are making decisions equivalent to some of those made by the evilest and most notorious dictators to ever walk amongst us? Those pundits in the mainstream media who call for this man’s arrest should be ashamed of themselves. They call for the stifling of personal feelings and free speech. They call for the un-American practice of curtailing opinion. I applaud this man for his audacity. More need to be like him, to tell the elite how we really feel rather than fawning over them like helpless teenaged girls star struck by some handsome teen idol.

Yet our ire shouldn’t be reserved for the elite establishment at the top of the ladder or the elected federal gang that serves them. We common folk need to express our displeasure with local officials as well. Let your mayors, your city aldermen, your police know if you think they are part of the problem. Let them know you think a police state is unacceptable and you do not want your local government federalized. Let them know you are tired of the corruption. Let them know you are tired of having your money extorted and used on services you might not agree with. Let them know you want to see an end to the unaccountable practices they engage in, perhaps through a more voluntary system that takes into account everyone’s right to own property, to make decisions for their own lives, and to be left alone if they so desire. There is nothing wrong with expressing your feelings and desires, even if it seems to rub against the grain at times. That is and should be the American way. You might even be surprised by how many people agree with you and have remained silent, electing to go along to get along.

I imagine that for some the betrayal of the Democrats will be the last straw. Democrat or Republican, these people do not want to do the people’s will, they want to do as they will. No matter who is elected, the rich elite get richer and the poor common folk get poorer, government gets bigger and more oppressive while individual rights are violated and opportunity is removed. We are all tired of the lies, corruption and greed that rot the core of our political system. If the system is to change than we must stop cooperating with the system. We must let those involved know why we no longer wish to cooperate. This is how we achieve liberty for ourselves and our children. This is how we achieve peace. This is how we become the change we want to see.