Questions & Answers
Work in Progress (June 2010)
This section deals with some questions that we’ve examined over the past thirty years. Because some consensus on definitions is needed for meaningful discussion, we also provided a list of political and economic terms. There is more background on this in the newsletter.htm, but one excuse for allowing corporate media to dominate discussion is that such subjects are too complicated for average people. They use trained liars in the form of academic, military, and political "experts" to interpret their fields of specialty. Patriots find it safer to retrofit truth to logic than to balance it on the spin of scholarly or "scientific" terminology.
In this section, the first paragraph usually gives the short answer. The rest provides an explanation. Full details might require a book so, for added charts or lists of footnotes, send us an E-mail. If our data doesn’t appeal to you, simply research newer statistics. We will update ours as time permits after we find something better. In that sense, these answers are more like a quarterly blog than our newsletter.htm file, which is only changed about once a year. No doubt, you can find better sources than this if you search hard so please drop us a line when you do so that we can correct this.
Definitions (60 in alphabetical order) *
Questions and Possible Answers *
Questions on the Constitution, Democracy and Equality*
Is the United States a democracy or republic?*
Does government have a right to my property?*
How does the true Thirteenth Amendment (1810) oppose aristocracy?*
What is the "social contract" and who is it between?*
If the government owns everything why couldn’t it open the borders?*
Isn’t the Bible a firm anchor against moral relativism and immorality?*
Are conservative think tanks part of a "vast right wing conspiracy"?*
Does right wing media dominate public information?*
When do politicians violate the Constitution or state rights?*
Was Hitler a Socialist who used democracy to seize power?*
What are some of the forgotten lies in the United States of Amnesia*
When Bush and his cronies lied, who died? (935 lies)*
Is the U.S. justice system biased against the poor?*
Does the Constitution guarantee a right to own a gun? *
Is income inequality the main obstacle to good government?*
Questions on Drugs and Other Addictions*
Who Lost the "War on Drugs"?*
What Are Drugs? (Narcotics, Opiates and Stimulants)*
Is Marijuana a Drug? (Hemp, Cannabis)*
Are Psychedelic Drugs a Religious Issue?*
How Did Drugs Become Illegal?*
Is the Drug War Unconstitutional?*
Is there a Medical-Industrial Complex?*
Was Anticommunism a Government Hallucinogen?*
How Can We Fix the Addiction to War?*
Questions on the Economy, Education, and Environment*
Does the U.S. have a high standard of medical care?*
Is capitalism good for the environment and economy?*
Who ruined the economy, Congress or the Presidents?*
Is U.S. Education competitive in the world economy?*
Does a declining economy mean the world is falling apart?*
Is human behavior mostly determined by economic factors?*
Is rugged individualism more important than society?*
Aren’t taxes a form of theft of our hard earned money?*
Does a gold standard offer a better monetary system?*
Are the Austrian or Chicago School of Economics legitimate?*
Does deregulation promote competition?*
Should government’s services be corporatized?*
Some Thoughts on a Solution*
Keep Track of Malfeasance to Remove the Criminal Class From Power.*
As for Iraq, Cut and walk (in 10 parts).*
Enforce the original Thirteenth Amendment against false "honor."*
Disband the Supreme Court to Restore Democracy.*
Restructure Government to Restore the Original Ratios of Representation.*
Replace Corporate Aristocracy with Ethical Business.*
Restore Public Safety in terms of Health and Population.*
Provide Public Media.*
Provide Low Cost Public Transit.*
Pledge of Allegiance to the Constitution.*
Loyalty to What?*
Restore Public Service*
A last word *
Note:In a world crowded with diverting disinformation and media-made straw giants, this concentration of facts is not typical. The solutions that we suggest require brain work. Although they are relatively simple to understand and many of them have worked in other places, they are coming at you fast. At risk of a headache don’t try to digest the brain food too fast. There is some repetition to help ease spreading your study over a week. Allow at least a day between sessions and take maybe a few notes and write me. Those who began reading years ago know that this is not a like most "blogs" because we keep building the message based on feedback or until objections are dealt with. We have no entertainment "forum" so, if you don’t see how to cope with the challenge, contact me directly with added questions. Use E-Mail or write to the heading address. Since part of the purpose is "deprogramming," read our definition of brainwashing.
Also,please remember Fair Use. In making copyrighted material available, we want to share institutional analysis to improve mutual understanding of political issues. In that connection, we solicit feedback and answer mail. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, we therefore allow fair use of the material and encourage links to this site to spread the information but, if you use paragraphs for personal professional purposes or profit beyond "fair use", then please have the courtesy to get permission from the author and be kind enough to use words like: "as examined on www.valorww2.com website."
Note: This section is more a work in progress than any other part of the website.
Reader comments are welcome.
Neither. It was designed as a democratic republic with a written Constitution, but became a corporatist oligarchy ruled by executive orders and judicial decrees. Mussolini defined corporatism in his 1928 autobiography as the basis of fascism. Although John Dean (conservative) admitted that the country is about 25% fascist and journalist Chris Hedges explained the authoritarian characteristics imposed by the Christian right, neither of them properly examined this corporate aspect of American authoritarianism that passes under the name of capitalism. We agree with Dean about the strong fascist component and that we could easily be pushed beyond 50% with another emergency like 9-11.
The ruling elite is unlikely to endorse more than 75% fascism in order to maintain an image of democracy. They also fear the weapons that pervade our society. They seek a willing compliance of their power usually behind a rhetoric of "law & order," security, and even "peace & progress". One plan is to expand concentration camps (prisons) after developing stronger gun laws, typically at the state level.
Fortunately, the low voter turnout shows that that many Americans get it and refuse to grant legitimacy to this regime. Most suspect that the Republicans and Democrats are such in name only (Rinos & Dinos). One reason that their mendacity is not obvious to everyone is that so-called public education insists on confounding fascism with Nazism and separating both from corporatism.
Patriotic Americans – those concerned by a collapse of mainstream Constitutional values – still don’t know what to do about it and that is explained further on the website. The key point is that corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution and most of them could be forbidden by Article I, Sec.10. The struggle for democracy must always be ongoing or it will fail and a key weapon of that struggle is government transparency. The two-headed Rino/Dino corporation fears such political "sunshine" like a vampire fears the dawn.
In this country corporatism was emplaced by 1890 with a virtual coup d’etat by plutocrats who started mainly in Pennsylvania. Matthew Josephson’s 1934 best seller popularized the term "robber-barons" as railroad magnates, and extended it to include bankers. Similar thievery allows a narrow group of profiteers, in a few hundred families, to manipulate countries with "stateless" capital. The founders did not foresee how enemies, unable to conquer, could stoop to corrupt. The original 1787 arguments are found in Hamilton’s Federalist Paper 78, where it said
"There is no position which depends on a clearer principle than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. …To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy is greater than his principle; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves."
Unfortunately, Hamilton was not a democrat and he defined the referee body against these usurping authorities in a non-democratic judicial branch. To shorten a long story, he later joined with other politicians to form a Federalist Party that was sympathetic to aristocracy. In 1793, when the Federalists showed more sympathy for Britain than France, Jefferson resigned from Washington’s cabinet in disgust. After he lost the presidency to Adams in 1796, the Federalists continued to press their British sympathy by various measures until they were booted out of existence in 1819.
As the Constitution was being written, this country had fewer than four million people and some 10% of them lived in territories outside state control such as 400,000 people in Vermont or Kentucky, which became states by 1792; followed by Tennessee (1796), Ohio (1803), and Maine (1820). A common myth about this period is that the founders had a sinister agenda to protect their wealth by limiting the vote and protecting slavery. In fact, when the "Great Compromise" of 1787 was implemented, divisive issues of suffrage and of slavery were left to regional resolution by state government. Its goal was not self-protection, which most of the founders did not need. After all, they had risked their lives in a revolution and were unlikely to risk "sacred honor" for dollars.
The simple truth is that, however restrictive the states’ suffrage, "representation" was a dozen times more widespread before 1820 then it is today. Neither Negroes nor women were forbidden from voting by the federal Constitution, and the word "slavery" did not even appear in its text until 1864, when the rich decided to abuse the prison population. The goal of the federal Constitution was national unity and its shortcoming reflected that purpose. It could have been better but then it may never have been implemented at all, as the first instrument of its kind in the world.
The process of sedition started when the lawyers knowingly began undermining the spirit of the U.S. Constitution by creating authorities with more economic and political power than state governments. They are also called by names such as cities, counties, districts, and – most commonly – corporations. The Federalist definition "sedition," as in their Alien and Sedition Acts condemned criticism of high politicians or the president. Their "aliens" were mostly French because the Federalists were aligned to British aristocracy and against the ideals of the French Revolution. They soon imprisoned some newspaper publishers. Since most Americans naturally supported France, it didn’t take long for the democratic elements in the country to regain control.
After being voted out of office John Adams attempted to retain power by "reforming" the judiciary. When these new judges of the Supreme Court decided to behave as a jury, it should have led to their impeachment by Congress. (In fact, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase was impeached in 1805 for "abusive behavior under the Sedition Act" but he was not convicted because there were still too many Federalists in Congress.) The Alien and Sedition Acts were promptly repealed under Jefferson. Unfortunately, Marshall’s concept of judicial review undermined a written Constitution more than anything John Adams had done in office. It created a third branch of government with unelected judges and imposed referee judges to manage representative juries. As early as 1788, when he was part of the Virginia Convention that ratified the new Constitution, Marshall had alleged that judges should guard the Constitution. The specific point in his 1803 decision was:
"It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is."
Of course this was false and none of the previous three Chief Justices had tried to impose such nonsense. It was up to people acting through a jury or their representatives to define the law. A jury structure was the intended mechanism to monitor the law. Marshall instead decided to pervert the third branch of government by placing himself in charge. An honorable man would have recused himself, rather than venture an opinion in Marbury vs. Madison (1803). He was the one who had created the mess to begin with (but we digress). The Federalists recoiled from repeated defeats after 1814 because most Americans did nor appreciate their British sympathy. Concerns about minority royalist domination were again raised in a Thirteenth Amendment, as discussed later.
This later seemed unnecessary when the Federalists fell apart for association with British ideals the War of 1812. Unfortunately, the esquire aristocracy went underground. They restored royalty in the form of corporate "persons" in 1886 by a Supreme Court decision (Santa Clara County vs. Southern Railroad). After the bloodshed of a Civil War, the new elite used a strategy of open borders and "divide and rule" to slice the country into over 85,000 local corporations doing business as governments. Ten years after 1886, in a decision known as Plessy vs. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court "decided" to subvert of the 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments with a segregation policy that can be simply defined as "separate but equal." Anything divided is weakened and the actual intent was to break the connection between the people and the Constitution.
Corporate "divide and rule" schemes often involved race or class, and state capitalism is now the method of choice to sustain their global pluralism. The idea that all politics is local also is a sinister distraction in this regard. For example, Pennsylvania has over 5,000 governments or districts with about sixty in its Lehigh Valley (writer’s residence). These governments are both separate and unequal. The significant point is that aristocrats have contempt for representative democracy.
In 1790, by far the largest state was Virginia and it had less than 700,000 people with two senators. Therefore, it is logical that the maximum number of people that the Founders expected for each senator to reach was about 350,000. We discuss this further in "solutions" but, in simple terms, it’s time for a clean sweep on a theme of their own sedition and start with punishing the "unequal."
Inevitably, democracy requires some degree of delegated authority. In 1790, there was no country that was a 100% direct democracy, since voters would be overwhelmed with the requirements of voting on every political operation. Moreover, the Founders feared direct forms of democracy since they believed—with historical justification—that volatile mob rule reduced compromise and allowed uninformed legislation to pass. However, they also knew the danger of going too far in the opposite direction where representatives become impervious to the popular will. They also insisted on a more republican form of government and the meaning of the word is almost forgotten.
The Latin roots give us a clear meaning of the public object as publica res, which is reversed and Anglicized as republic. In this context it was completely reasonable for Benjamin Franklin to suggest that politicians serve without pay, as George Washington did. Ultimately all republics, including democracies, operate with consent of the majority. By making our democracy more indirect than direct, the Founders did not want to stop majority rule; they merely wanted it slowed. The challenge in restoring the republic is to find a balance between direct democracy and meritocracy.
We could fine-tune this spectrum either way, of course, but we would have to move 90% away from Conservatism before we could restore democracy. Also the people want one law, not fifty, so an obvious republican sentiment is to stress civil (citizen) unity, based on one Constitution. When John Adams falsely defined a republic as "an empire of laws and not of men," Thomas Paine answered:
"As laws may be bad as well as good, an empire of laws may be the best of all governments or the worst of all tyrannies."
In our "empire," most laws are passed through plutocracy and not from legitimate governments. Thomas Jefferson’s recalled the essential controversy that now exists when he wrote in 1824:
…Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: Those who fear and distrust people and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. [and] Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of public interests. In every country these two parties exist … Call them, therefore, liberals and serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, whigs and tories, republicans and federalists, aristocrats and democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last appellation, of aristocrats and democrats, is the true one expressing the essence of all.
[letter to Henry Lee]
His distinction barely applies to America because only one of the two parties that he describes now exists. The country is mainly ruled as an oligopoly that serves diverse factions and not res publica. From the Gilded Age, evident around 1890, key national leaders pursued private gain and not "the public object." They destroyed the middle class in the process. Conservatives who assert America is a republic not a democracy, know better. The founders used these terms interchangeably. By making democracy indirect the Founders hoped to allow a reasonable pace of majority compromise and to prevent plutocracy, but it was always clear that they did not mean direct democracy.
Moreover our Constitution specifies a level of democratic representation that no longer exists. Even though all branches of the government, including monetary, simulate forms of majority approval, the connection between the people and politicians began to disintegrate after 1886. This took place as follows. The elites formed a subversive plutocracy to protect property and cunningly create mechanisms to divide potential opponents into harmless factions. Since the false Democrat Party ignores the demonstrated intent of the U.S. Constitution it is not much better than the seditious Republicans. Although more people can vote than ever before, their vote means less. Two parties do not fool most people so half of them don’t vote. A bird with two right wings cannot fly.
In a republic laws are to be passed by elected representatives of the people. In a fascist system, such as the one that existed in Italy for about twenty years (1923-43), Big Business and aristocracy replaced the legislative branch. Preceding republic with "constitutional" might clarify the criminality of such action because in a constitutional democracy, proposed laws help government put the constitution into action. By contrast Conservatives insist on avoiding this distinction to mock those who make casual use of the term "democracy." They seek to deny the name because they hate it. In contrast to thousands of laws and statutes invented to undermine both justice and true democracy, the Constitution is the supreme law approved by the people at the origin of the country.
Most nations have constitutions, but the real question is who holds the power. For example, in the dozen nations of the British Commonwealth, power is expressed towards the Queen, in whose name the elite may arbitrarily change laws, leaders, and whatever transient constitution is currently in effect. In America, loyalty is expressed towards the original Constitution and the real question is who shifted the power to leaders away from loyalty to that Constitution.
Whatever branch of government you look into, you’ll find fingerprints of democracy: the people vote on Senators and Representatives and on a slate of electors, who then vote for the president. Supreme Court justices, Cabinet, and Federal Reserve governors must pass a vote of confidence from popularly elected Senators. Elected representatives vote on amendments, which must pass by a super-majority of elected state legislatures. The board of Federal Reserve governors votes on monetary policy. Notice the spectrum of democracy within these examples. The House of Representatives elects legislators from relatively large districts every two years. On the anti-republican end, a Senate is elected every six years with legislators from states of varying size and no pretense of democratic representation. The tyranny is in a Supreme Court, where an undemocratic Senate approves lifetime Justices. Another central question of any political ideology is economic.
"Who should own and control the means the production such as factories, farmlands, machinery, office space, etc.?" Generally there have been three approaches to this issue. The first was aristocracy, in which a ruling elite owned the land and productive wealth, and peasants and serfs had to obey their orders in return for their livelihood. The second is capitalism, which replaced the hereditary ruling elite with a broader range of private individuals to own the means of production. It limits effective ownership to those who can afford to buy productive wealth, therefore excluding most workers. The third approach is socialism, which is based on collective ownership. Control of the means of productive wealth is accomplished through the vote. As shown, the spectrum here ranges from a few people owning productive wealth at one end, to everyone owning it at the other.
American political debate is confused by a perversion of political terms. The Conservatives have long promoted a myth that "communism equals socialism equals liberalism equals big government." The neo-liberals believe in private ownership of the means of production, which makes them democratic capitalists who want individuals and shareholders to own and control the means of production, as long as they operate within a reasonably democratic law. Those on the right wing attest to the success of this system and distinct ideologies of the left are examined in the glossary. Without knowing distinctions, people will often embarrass themselves when attacking ideologies. They often can’t even define it. More comprehensive lists may be found in Social Science textbooks but many avoid the kind of controversy shown here because they are products of corporatism. Socialism has also been proposed in many forms that are entirely consistent with a constitutional republic.
Collective ownership does not necessarily mean government ownership. As Social Democrats, workers could vote for their supervisors, company policy, and industry representatives to regional or national congresses. In those variations of Socialism that do call for a centralized government, that government must always be a democracy—never a dictatorship under a central planning committee or other forms of ruling elite. "Collective ownership" means that a grassroots group is in control, whereas a dictatorship, even one "of the proletariat" means that a top-down elite is in control. Socialism has never existed at the national level, but employee-owned firms have successfully operated in the West under a variety of similar methods.
The type of socialism depends on what type of democracy is practiced and there is a spectrum ranging from high democracy at one end to republican stake-holding at the other. In a direct election, voters may choose their laws directly, without representatives. To the extent that government exists, its only function is to enact the decisions of the voters. Most scholars reject strong forms of direct democracy on the grounds that it is unworkable because people would rarely have the necessary education. Even if it were possible to build it such a system on the national level the ignorant votes would overwhelm the logical ones. So most democracies are still representative, wherein voters elect representatives to protect their interest. A form of this exists in the U.S. House of Representatives, where legislators represent relatively equal districts and serve two-year terms.
The Senate is not democratic beyond the state level and in the large states it can be argued that this representation is not coherent. In 1792, there were 26 senators for 3.9 million people but the 14 senators of the 7 least populated states (In order of increasing size these were: DE, RI&P, GA, NH, NJ, CT, SC.) included 26% of the people (1.0 million). Now, one hundred senators represent 300 million people including those in state-size territories (4.5 million in DC & PR), but those in the least populated 26 states (by increasing size: WY, VT, ND, AK, SD, DE, MT, RI, HI, ME, ID, NH, NE, WV, NM, NV, UT, KS, AR, MS, IA, CT, OK, OR, KY, SC) have under 18% of the people.
This virtual House of Lords has grown in size from 150,000 people per senator. Each now averages about three million people. To be sure, the American people are still paying for narrow representation, because the senators each have giant staffs, with dozens of bureaucrats. They rulers simply decided that they no longer need to provide the amount of representation that they were hired for.
There are varying degrees of republicanism and the ability to vote does not assure that the votes will be cast for the benefit of the public. A case could be made that some U.S. Supreme Court decisions have deliberately undermined republican values. Its refusal to rule on most cases is more dictatorial than democratic. Its idea of lifetime tenure is outright aristocratic. Therefore, there is little question that most of the current government operates impervious to the will of the people.
Few human institutions are as authoritarian as business corporations. Power is completely top-down in these bastions of tyranny Capitalists argue that voluntary contracts in a free market prevent executives from abusing such power but both market and contract failures are common. Neo-Liberals use checks and balances (strong labor unions, government regulations, etc.) to prevent business owners from abusing their powers but their compromise with social responsibility simply encourages individual initiative to stray beyond the law. Some Liberals unite with Socialists to oppose corporatism, but differ widely on how to make businesses more socially responsible.
The Democratic Party lumps the two together under a common umbrella along with the larger mass of corporate sympathizers who would be just as comfortable in the Republican Party. One of the common fallacies in political argument is that a political label actually defines a person’s ideology. Experienced political scientists know that misnomers abound. Several examples illustrate this. The Social Democracies of Scandinavia are actually progressively liberal with large labor unions even though private capitalists own the means of production and coexist with aristocracy. These states are colloquially known as "social democracies" only because the Social Democrats are usually the largest parties among many. Several more examples may be helpful.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was neither socialist nor a republic but was instead an authoritarian imposition by a ruling elite over workers. The German Democratic Republic was neither democratic nor a republic because East Germany was considered a Stalinist form of Leninism. Hitler’s National Socialist Party started out with a dual identity but, as he rose through its ranks, he changed the ideology to a racist form of plundering capitalism, but didn’t change the name. The People’s Republic of China was a Stalinist system built on Mao’s dictatorship. Vladimir Zhirinovksy’s Liberal Democrat Party was neither liberal nor democratic but had monarchist and nationalist aspirations with himself as the strong man. These should be illustrate the point that ideologies should be identified by behavior not the label.
In this context, it may be argued that the United States had failed by 1861 because several weak presidents and a corrupt Supreme Court allowed slavery. In the autocratic Dred Scott decision (1850) a St. Louis Circuit Court had ruled that Scott and his family were free but, two years later, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed the decision as upheld by the federal circuit court. The Supreme Court refused to change the decision because the judges declared that freed blacks were unable to become American citizens.
The Supreme Court thus trampled on the clear intention of the founders who established the principles for citizenship. It was a mockery of justice and, although treatment of minorities is much different today, this legal contempt continues. The failure of democracy is usually defined by the growth of autocracy and the black-robed tyrants in the Court continue to refuse hearings in over 99% of the cases. Usually they don’t even bother to give any reason.
After the Civil War the autocrats consolidated their power to seize control of the Senate. In 1890, the forces of aristocracy got twelve senators by adding six state governments (ID, MT, ND, SD, WY, WA). Even today, all of them together have less people than Ohio and without Washington would qualify as a territory, not much more populated than Puerto Rico. They pulled a similar stunt with Alaska and Hawaii. So now the five million people is such states (AK, ID, MT, ND, SD, WY) have 12 senators while more populated LA County or eastern New York City (2 counties) have none.
Is it a surprise that a third of U.S. cities are near bankruptcy? This proved wealth manipulation and requires a broad subversion of Civics studies. At about the same time as the Plessy decision, Conservative propagandists took over the Education establishment to corrode the integrity of the genuine federal and state governments with a system designed to feed an industrial state. They industrial policies ran the country into a brutal Depression in 1929.
After 1932, the American Democrats displaced Conservatives barely in time to avoid revolution. Despite years of Roosevelt’s reforms, the Cold War mandarins such as "Chairman" McCloy, the Dulles and Alsop brothers, Senator McCarthy, and others took control and corporatism returned after 1947. Although the mechanism of their 1953 takeover is different from the Nazi model (see Ken Bird’s The Chairman for details). The "nuclear nazis," such as Generals MacArthur and Curtis LeMay wanted to threaten genocide against entire nations and, in October 1962, their policies brought this country to the brink if nuclear destruction.
President Eisenhower had the courage to expose the hidden Conservative agenda as he was leaving office. In the written version of his Farewell Address he referenced the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex. In the spoken version he dropped the word Congressional because of the immediate audience but by then it was too late. We seldom hear politicians still use the term and they will often change the subject if it comes up. The idea that the business of the United States is business, as expressed by President Eisenhower’s cronies, is at the heart of the current sedition.
The full scope of the hidden business agenda requires time to explain but it is based on using war powers to give corporations greater control behind a façade of Executive (presidential) "decrees" usually presented in Executive Orders and Signing Statements. The Cold War, Vietnam Conflict, War on Drugs, and War on Terror offer examples of this sedition. The purpose is generally to shift public spending from social programs to enrich corporate directors and their fellow oligarchs.
The energy and defense industries are prominent beneficiaries of this policy. A unique and especially sinister aspect of the Iraq war crime is in corporatizing military functions by hiring non-government mercenaries to shift accountability from military officers. In Nazi Germany the SS accomplished a similar purpose. Much of this initiative is mainly about hoarding power and the mechanism of war is an ancient way of deceiving people to willingly empower the state.
Undermining restrictions of the UN is part of the strategy because this country has Treaty obligations, per Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, to that body. There is also a struggle to establish control over NATO funding, even though the Cold War ended sixteen years ago. Controlling wealth is essential to maintaining power. The global oligarchs, about four hundred families that control more than half of global wealth, are mostly in agreement with reshaping the world order by force, even if many of them doubt that American military intimidation in the Middle East is the most efficient way to do this. Of course, they care less about America as a nation. Autocracy is a historic enemy of democracy. , so some of them see the decline of America as a bonus.
Corporations, with the ability to weigh the scale with expensive lawyers, leave an illusion of willing compliance. Whether their corporatism is 25% or 55%, a better metaphor might be that the scale has tipped in favor of tyranny. The Conservatives might be content with America as a corporatist republic. They want a residue of democracy to encourage willing compliance, but what good is voting when the choices no longer matter? The corporate elitists might argue that an intelligent minority should dominate a foolish majority and repeat that the concept of a republic does not require democracy, only that those in power act for the public good (res publica).
Although a majority of the founders rejected direct democracy and believed that superior men (like themselves) were capable of determining what was best for the nation, their standards measured merit by intelligence more than wealth or ancestral power. In fact symbolic democracy has greatly increased: for Negroes in 1865, for women in 1920; for illiterates and poll-tax targets by 1965; for younger people in 1971. So why does this clear majority continue to act foolish?
The answer is that now autocracy dominates the courts and corporations to make real democracy incomprehensible through a strategy of "divide and rule" by a network of more than 85,000 local governments. Fortunately our happy task is one of restoration rather than revolution. If we concede to the founders’ logic, we can define intelligence in a more universal manner that could open the door to more people based on the original ratio of representation that they passed.
In a democratic republic, the People are the ultimate property owners and may exercise force to protect it. National government allows joint ownership of the property within its national borders. Granting citizens full control of its protection would create anarchy like that between nations, except on a small scale. The subordinate property system for use by individual citizens has been corrupted by foreign corporate ownership but the ultimate owners may still place limits through deeds, property taxes, zoning laws, etc.. The broader question is what happens when landowners attempt to create gated communities and act as the rulers of their own pocket principalities.
The Constitution defines these property rights to include land, objects, and ideas. In practice, the control over land (territory) has nominally been divided between the federal and state governments. Since the Civil War there has been little doubt that the federal government is authorized to use military force to protect its property from external threats. Lincoln’s War Address of 4 July 1861 gives a powerful summation of the issues involved. Slavery was not, however, the Union’s cause until 1863 when Lincoln delivered his Emancipation Proclamation. Prior to that it was about preserving the Union and overcoming the claim of state property rights, legitimized by presidential authority to use military force to overcome rebellion and other forms of sedition.
Disputes over property cause violence when sovereign tribes, principalities, or nations often fight with each other to expand their holdings or resources. For that reason the question of implied sovereignty is an important one. Most corporate leaders know that if federal control is weakened then power may devolve to themselves or other wealthy individuals. That is what the southern secessionists were counting on and its remains the globalists dream. Lincoln’s brilliant exposition of the "ingenious sophism" of state rights is also often questioned by right wing libertarians, who tend to have childlike views of property rights, untutored by history.
Under the current system, property continues to be controlled by threat of force. For example, if you own an acre of land, you control how you wish to use it, who may be granted or denied access to it, and whether you wish to sell it or not. Your control of the land is protected either by the police, the military, or even your own protective measures (guns, dogs, electric fence) as authorized by law. Land is only one example of property. Other examples include objects (houses, cars, jewelry, etc.), and ideas like intellectual property or copyrights. For a time it even included people, especially serfs or slaves. Even in the case of money, where the currency is clearly marked as a government conveyance, there has been an ongoing debate about government powers of taxation of this "property."
The South tried to define slaves as property and, because states used militias to protect it, that view became the foundation for secession. As defined by the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, most of the world now finds that view repugnant even though many exceptions exist in terms of corporate labor and the use of prison workers and child soldiers. Again, this is a description of property as it actually is not how it should be in an ideal world.
The rules of property ownership also include definitions of what cannot be property. Forms of property have been officially abolished (slaves, women, and children) and new forms of property have been explicitly created (intellectual property). Even privately asserted property can be redefined by government as a commons. The control of airline passage over private lands is a common example and now there are disputes over what constitutes a commons area for free speech, as when a corporation attempt to exclude constitutional rights from an otherwise public area.
A person usually buys property that is encumbered by rules of the government and the previous owner, as part of the acquisition process. The ultimate owner gets to determine the method of agreement, which is not always explicit. Once having agreed to these rules, the new owner cannot arbitrarily void them, as in the case of property that comes with an easement allowing a neighbor to cross over it. The original sale usually preserves such easements in the next sale but, even if they are not listed, the new owner must respect them. In the U.S., all property is sold under the continuing provisions of its ultimate owners: the People, as represented by federal and state governments.
There is a great deal of controversy involving the powers of so-called local governments as to their legitimacy in terms of equal protection and (in most states) what is known as Dillon’s Rule. This usually surfaces in eminent domain disputes when a government tries to seize private property for a commercial purpose or attempts a similarly motivated conversion of public property. They often get away with it and claim past successes as a precedent. In fact, land transfer is encumbered by various federal and state rules, and is sometimes further restricted by liens, limited timber, mineral rights, etc.. Therefore a vigorous dispute by the public can often delay such property transfers.
Individuals might think a property is all theirs, because they hold the deed and title. But these merely identify property as recognized by federal or state governments, which usually carry both public and private limitations. Failure to abide by those requirements might forfeit ownership back to the ultimate owners, and sometimes cause claimants to take legal steps or more direct action. For example, private transactions often stipulate that property is sold with easements (to grant neighbors a right to cross over it to reach a road) or government land may have a limitations as a Park with the stipulation that it remain forever wild and free of private owners.
Such public limitations on property are not much different from private ones that are associated with zoning and tax requirements. The Fourth Amendment allows the government to enter and search your property when it has a legal search warrant, much like an easement. Some states allow extensive latitude in the protection of property; even in the use of firearms, but usually only the police is allowed to use deadly force to protect property. You may use force to stop a burglar but you have no legal right to kill him unless there is a direct threat to your own safety.
However ultimate possession is applied, individual citizens are allowed varying degrees of personal and private use of portions of the property in exchange for acceptance of responsibilities such as adhering to limitations on use and taxation. Local property holders usually create the practical system of private property and its nature is flexible, ranging from near socialism to extreme capitalism. Discussion of economic systems and Dillon’s Rule is beyond our scope and involves extensive disputes when local governments attempt to seize land for non-payment of taxes. The "ultimate property ownership" issues often resorts to force because the concept of property is fundamentally a coercive denial of use to other people. Your property is subordinate to society.
Society is the ultimate property owner and in America this is the federal or state government. This may be a hard concept for conservatives and libertarians to swallow but ask them who provides the force that defines how our property system is controlled. Simply laying claim to property is not enough to make it yours. An owner’s claim to possess something is only as good as the force that backs it up. If a thief steals property, or an invader pillages it, then it has changed hands.
The former owner may continue to claim that the property is morally his, and we might entirely sympathize, but not all the claims in the world will change the fact of possession. Force—or its credible threat—is therefore sometimes applied in this pursuit. It is possible that the original owner can reach an agreement with the thief to return it, or that groups of people can agree to form a cooperative system of property. But these social agreements—otherwise known as the "social contract" (above)—are only as good as the force that backs them up. Mere agreements will not prevent someone from seizing your property if they decide they can easily enforce their claim.
Unfortunately, force has usually become the basis of enforcing property. This threat of force is therefore a topic we must first examine. Those dissatisfied with the current property system may claim that more just property systems are possible and alternatives exist. Let us first deal with that common argument before exploring the broader issue of force.
There are only three possibilities for ultimate property ownership systems: the entire group, a group within the group, and sovereign individual(s) within the group. The last two are easy to reject because they are examples of monarchies, aristocracies and feudal lords or princes, wherein the abuses of power are well known. An example of another kind of sovereign individual ownership (sometimes postulated by anarcho-capitalist libertarians), in which individuals own 100% of their property and trade it as they wish on the free market, essentially recreates these two systems. It turns landlords and business owners into monarchs and aristocrats, ruling pocket principalities like tiny nations. Reducing the scale makes this system no less unjust or unstable—and these systems have a history of violence. The remaining possibility is the only candidate for a fair property system and most modern nations choose group ownership: ultimate possession by the government as a representative of everybody that ultimately owns all property.
Ultimately groups are more efficient and effective than individuals at controlling and defending property for reasons of strength in numbers and specialization of labor. Obviously this process is more efficient at defending property when families in their homes are part of the defense as citizens, and when soldiers who defend their nation are also defending their families’ homes. The purpose of territorial groups is twofold: to defend against external invasions, usually by credible threat, and by devising a subordinate system of property for its individual members. It defends this system against internal robbery through various police forces. The result is a stable system of property ownership.
Societies have long competed with each other for property, sometimes by warfare. They remain sovereign only to the extent that they can fend off threats. Land purchases, treaties and other forms of property acquisitions have little legal basis in a higher court—because such a court does not yet properly exist within the United Nations structure. Such agreements remain effective as long as the requisite force backs them up. Hitler, for example, ignored the Treaty of Versailles, calling it a "scrap of paper" as he moved his troops into the Rhineland.
The United States decided to let him get away it with it because it had not signed the Treaty, even though Americans had died imposing peace. England did not act because they did not see the violation of the Weimar Constitution, which preceded this bold move, as a big threat and they lacked a written Constitution with stringent property stipulations. Poland and France were ready to attack in 1935 because the understood the risk of scrapping a Constitution but they were too weak to act alone in 1936. In more recent history, the U.N. passes resolutions that are often ignored unless they are given "teeth" by creating peacekeeping forces funded by larger nations.
The same principle applies to the domestic policing of property. Property is safe only to the extent that domestic force can stop thieves. But, unlike most international force, domestic force is generally applied according to specific law. In the U.S. case, these laws are the result of a group agreement to allocate property and defend it in certain prescribed ways that usually excludes the use of military forces in domestic disputes (unless specifically authorized by the President).
The government, as representative of the group, is the nation’s ultimate owner of property because it is vested with the force necessary to control it. If other entities had the force they could challenge this ownership and we mentioned alternatives to government’s ultimate ownership. We note that this is the system actually used today but there are those who would seek to weaken our borders and undermine this control. Some bribe politicians in order to increase the extent of their control.
As the controller of the nation’s property, the Congress generally sets the rules of the subordinate property system. Most modern governments have made the rules of property use quite liberal, allowing a high degree of personal freedom. But the above limitations are real and give rise to another dichotomy in the property system between ultimate and subordinate property. Those vested with the authority to create a subordinate property system for other people typically do in terms of a landlord and tenant relationship, but that is an imperfect analogy. A tenant may rent an apartment under the terms of an agreement, which mandate the exchange of rents for the tenant’s use of the property. The agreement usually allows the tenant liberal and private inhabitation rights so that the tenant may refer to the rented space as their apartment but, in fact, they can be evicted.
This logically leads to a discussion of the kind of "lease" that apples to us as citizens.
Concerns about minority royalist domination were again prominent in the Thirteenth "Honor" Amendment. It was proposed in 1810 and passed (arguably) no later than 1819. It has since been removed from American history, because it read as follows:
"If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honor, or shall without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince, or foreign power. Such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or power under them, or either of them."
The United States never really freed itself from England. The Treaty of Paris that ended the War for Independence extended terms from King George III, mainly as Hanoverian recognition of the former thirteen colonies as "sovereign and independent states." Article 2 even goes on to define the boundary of that independence in geographic terms with limits in the south and west that seem to offer a future possibility of an alliance with Spain or Indian tribes along the Mississippi. This imperial-sounding document, authored with French help, also delineated protections and compensation for Loyalists and others who chose to evacuate with the British.
Even many of those who had conspired against the Patriots and wished to remain in America were granted dispensations and could disappear into the vast wilderness of the south and west. There was obviously a concern that aristocracy would again find a way to manipulate our nation. Even beyond the obvious fear of infiltration into the government, one of the easiest ways to get control was to institute a system of bribery reminiscent of European royalty who profited by issuing paper currency to represent gold holdings and used fractional banking to enrich themselves. Such inflation was a recognized mechanism of economic warfare. There were a members of new Federalist party, particularly Hamilton and Marshall who saw economic benefits to imitating the British legal and economic system even if it defied the wishes of the Patriot majority. Britain had not given up the war because its Navy and mostly mercenary military was truly defeated by the French and Patriots, but because its aristocracy saw less costly methods to achieve the same ends. Their strategy was to grant temporary "liberty" but quietly regain control through bribery and legal trickery.
Many Europeans rulers shared this sentiment in 1783. While Catholic France and Spain saw our country as a potential ally, the Hanoverian, Austrian, Prussian, and Russian royalty feared the revolutionary example. Our form of government—not only a representative democracy but also a constitutional republic—threatened their future. It was bad enough that some royalty could be tossed out by a ballot, but the oppression of feudal monarchies were based on excluding common people from owning significant property. Their power depended on imposing financial slavery through taxation approved by selected politicians or binding subjects to lifetime tenancy. The upstart revolutionaries in America threatened this scheme so they wanted to subvert it.
Having just risked everything in a War, American patriots were well aware of the danger and it was already listed as illegal in the Constitution. For example, when George Washington (with counsel from Hamilton, Jay, and John Adams) decided to break the alliance with France in 1792, many saw it as an act of overt support for England. Jefferson resigned and when he and Madison became presidents, there was a question of what was an appropriate punishment for those citizens who wanted to further embrace such foreign treachery. The 13th Amendment was the answer and, unlike the sedition acts of Federalists, it simply revoked the citizenship of potential traitors.
This would forfeit their right to vote or hold public office. We should recall that the 13thAmendment of 1810 passed Congress with overwhelming support and the prima facia proof of its final ratification (by Virginia) came in March 1819 (after MD, KY, OH, DE, PA, NJ, VT, TN, GA, NC, MA, NH). Final approval was delayed by the War of 1812 because, in 1814, when the British burned the Capitol and Library of Congress, many government records were lost. This burning itself assured passage of the Amendment in 1815 because it made the British "nobility" even more odious than before. Since there was then no time limit for ratification, to avoid hair splitting, today 1819 is as acceptable as 1815. So why did it disappear?
Was it mistakenly published for about 50 years or did politicians remove it under legal smokescreens. Was it deemed redundant? It is true that "titles of nobility" were already prohibited since the Articles of Confederation (Article VI, 1777) and in the US Constitution (Article I, Sec.9 & 10, 1787) but it neglected to specify a penalty. Royalist infiltration had also grown after the Jay Treaty because lawyers had imposed the Judiciary Act. This specified punishment was partly a reaction to the outrage of "judicial review" as invented by the fourth Chief Justice in Marbury vs. Madison. This added amendment was first proposed in 1789 with the principal intent of prohibiting Bar Associations from creating an elite esquire (title denoting "shield bearer") class with special privileges because many feared the divided loyalties of such men. When the Amendment was brought up again in 1810 it sought to further curtail pretensions of those assuming such implied "honors."
The Founders’ concern may not be readily apparent today but in Colonial America high Magistrates had held titles of nobility in their positions like district attorney, attorney general, or senior judge. An International Bar Association (royal chartered British Accredited Registry), also approved positions associated with international charters of the imperial banking system, which is a forerunner of global corporations. The 13th Amendment could protect from IBAR esquires or similar royal agents. Revoking citizenship also removed the assumed the "honor" of immunity from lawsuits sought by judges (proved by their title), politicians, and other bureaucrats.
Much of the monarchy’s counter-revolutionary efforts emanated from English corporations so the intention of the Founders should be clear. Without further complicating this answer with an economic discussion of banking or the Treaty of Paris, we could readily see a "cold war" on America with weapons of economic sedition. The century before 1865 was one wherein "democracy" was hated by European monarchs, who portrayed it as an ungodly ideological threat; their equivalent of a Communist Revolution. American survival threatened royal rule and provided a heroic model for other nations. We inspired the French (Revolution, 1789-1792) and Poles (Uprisings 1791 & 1794) to produce similarly democratic Constitutions. The monarchies wanted to extinguish our beacon of hope as a source of reform because it threatened their aristocracy. While planning to militarily destroy us after beating Napoleon, they resorted to covert infiltration, political subversion with legal deception and bribery. So, the short answer as to why the 13th Amendment mysteriously vanished is that the autocrats and corporatists generally succeeded and they still hate democracy.
In the process of the French Revolution, the worst fears of aristocracy came true. Not only were royal heads being sliced off on guillotines, but republics were also springing up around Europe, as Napoleon’s armies became the scourge of nations that denied the Rights of Man, defined in Paine’s best selling work. A case could be that American joined in these crusades by declaring war on Britain at the same time as Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812 but we need not digress into the long list of grievances that caused that War. It is clear, however, that the 13th Amendment was passed by over half the states during this time because British infiltration had become a problem.
The question about exactly when the ratification was passed with approval of the final state, Virginia, is understandable with the burning of documents in America’s capitol, as was Congressional fear of a royal military threat. They approved its publication in the Bioren & Duane Laws of the United States of America, from the 4th of March, 1789 to the 4th of March, 1815 (Vol. I, p.74), It listed the amendment as Article 13, worded above. So, what became of it? The immediate outcome of the war of 1812 is well known: thanks to Polish and French perseverance into 1814, the British could not spare enough troops to re-invade America and reclaim the Louisiana Purchase. They backed off.
After the Napoleonic Wars, European monarchies signed the Treaty of Verona (1822), with the stated intent of maintaining an aristocratic status quo throughout Europe. It was an agreement to stop democracy across the continent and thereby discourage the American example until it could be dealt with more directly. That opportunity presented itself during in the ante-bellum South when the royal sympathy for serfdom resonated with one for slavery. In 1849, Virginia decided to revise its 1819 Civil Code, which had contained the 13th Amendment for 30 years. One of the revisionists was a lawyer named Patton who wrote to Secretary of the Navy Preston, who wrote the Secretary of State Clayton. He lied that it was not ratified by enough states by citing an 1818 status inquiry by J.Q. Adams, then a Secretary of State, as proof that it had not passed, even though its passage was reconfirmed in 1819. As to motivation for its removal, in short, this was a time of rising aristocratic pretensions by slave-owners. As serfs (servus = slave in Latin) defined the Southern planter economy, its politicians realized how master and slave are two sides of the same coin.
During earlier decades, massive importation of cotton by Britain created a basis for royalist infiltration. It also became expedient to guard the idea of Southern nobility and as an assurance of Anglo-French sympathy in any future conflict. Even though many states still had the original 13th Amendment on the books, two more were passed during the Civil War. (President Buchanan used the first one to try to guarantee slavery in 1861.) The South’s economic agenda was based on a planter ruling class with a state’s rights philosophy that lent itself to a policy of "divide and rule."
The South had already become a great European trading partner and was willing enough to sell off federal property in order to raise money for its cause. The European monarchies—most prominently Britain, France and Austria—were ready to pounce, except that the Russians were no longer with them after the Crimean experience. Finally, as the Confederate states seceded, President Lincoln was forced to defend federal property and the firing on Fort Sumter precipitated his request for 75,000 troops to put down the rebellion. His war address of 4 July made clear that this was a property issue. He pointed out how northern resources had ejected the British from southern states. (Nathaniel Greene’s army endured some of the bloodiest fighting of the War.)
Britain made the most financially of the Civil War, it build ships for the South and sent about 20,000 technicians to the north; ostensibly to help build railroads and telegraph lines. The British managed their resources in the Civil War from Canadian outposts. France, under Emperor Napoleon III, helped send Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian into Mexico, with an Expeditionary force of about 20,000. The British backed off as they saw the tide turning in mid-1863 but the French remained in Mexico until after the war. As Mexican guerilla fighters chipped away at French forces, Lincoln issued a warning to Maximilian, and he capitulated in 1867.
Lincoln did not name the Amendment to abolish slavery after 1864 as the 13th. This numbering was accomplished by lawyers even though some states (CO, NE, WY, Dakota Territory) insisted on keeping the 1810 Amendment on the books for decades after the Civil War. Maybe politicians expected the 14th Amendment (ratified 1868) to have similar weight. More likely, aspiring "esquires" wanted their title and sought to remove a threat to foreign patronage at a time of corporate expansion. The first national corporation in 1865, Western Union, launched American "corpfederacy."
Removing the irksome Amendment probably required little mote than a bribe to a few well-placed archivists and lawyers. A BAR Association blossomed in New York (founded 1878 at Saratoga Springs), but most American attorneys remain unconnected to the British and many are probably unaware of the royal connection (there are fewer than 20,000 IBAR lawyers, worldwide). We assert that these chosen "esquires" or those with positions of "honor" often have contempt for the oath to the Constitution and have even implemented a concept of dual-citizenship to spread the sedition. A host of well-placed traitors joins them in the political and military bureaucracy.
There is vague diversionist dialogue about federalism and state sovereignty, but continuing motivation for the lie is clear enough in terms of preserving the power of the neo-aristocracy. This short answer relates to an issue of public corruption that is best removed by traditional means. The modern example of special immunities is in "special interest" legislation of our government, particularly those former office holders who have been granted special access. There are dozens of lobbyists for every member of Congress and "special interests" have become a modern euphemism for "honors."
Repeated scandals show that many members of Congress feel entitled to accept bribes from lobbyists in campaign contributions. They might not overtly exchange favors but they have other ways of using power. For example, the can refuse to investigate the criminality of the Executive Branch. Some arrogantly believe that their positions of "honor" are above the law. If so, then forfeiture of citizenship is a relatively mild punishment. Many of them have already arranged to secure some sort of dual-citizenship within the framework of global corporatism.
Meanwhile, by 1994 the National Archives conceded the 1819 ratification of this Amendment. The Amendment is so widely referenced in early public documents that, even if it had not been ratified, it would be a model for necessary action. There have only been five amendments passed by Congress and not ratified by states (one became the 27th Amendment in 1992.)
New U.S. citizens also take an oath to defend the Constitution and an egalitarian spirit is reinforced by the 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments. The oligopoly government and its courts have simply refused to enforce equal citizenship. The implications are substantial. Imagine a government without special privileges or immunities. Imagine a government whose members are truly accountable to the public, one that could not systematically exploit its own people! It would almost be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people! In contrast, those who have assumed political and economic advantages over fellow U.S. citizens have strong incentives to protect a two-tiered system of corporate citizenship. It is contrary to America’s economic welfare and political interest and clearly contradicts the oath to defend the Constitution required of politicians.
George Washington warned, "… change by usurpation" is "…the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed." So the Executive branch denies habeas corpus protections and trial by jury is routinely denied by unelected judges in political or economic crimes. The unconstitutional drug laws are the most strident example. We could go on, but legal scholars could better present list such indictments. We need not cite the many added symptoms of sedition because they will likely diminish when the cause of the malignant disease is properly cured.
In effect, members of Congress have duties related to their Constitutional oath of office. In this example, those who fail to take reasonable steps to avoid war crimes share the blame associated in any act of wanton killing or endangerment, intentional or not. If this simple view is ignored then we have the pernicious philosophical debate about how many soldiers or innocent civilians they are "privileged" to kill, before being restrained.
The issue is clear when members of Congress accept money to peddle influence. Several were jailed for exactly that offense. Even without monetary benefit, we assert that "dereliction of duty" for reasons such as personal loyalty to a political party or other corporations amounts to seditious conspiracy, beyond any Congressional "honors" or immunity. It is a charge worth repeating.
Our Constitution, and laws that logically flow from it, is the basis of an American social contract. These are supposed to be enforced by the government because it represents the people as the ultimate owner of the nation’s land. That is what the Civil War was about. It has almost become a secret because corporate power is based on state’s rights and corporate aristocrats have managed to slice the country into over 85,000 government corporations in a massive "divide and rule" campaign. President Lincoln exposed this "ingenious sophism" in his War Speech of 4 July 1861 (see the Newsletter.htm). Of course, the phony Democrats (Dinos) were never Lincoln fans and the false Republicans (Rinos) have build their power base from invented states since 1890. They both hate the message in that speech.
Essentially the "contract" is a Constitution between the people and their properly elected representatives at the state and federal level. Arguably, there is no legitimate "local" level beyond an equal delegation of the state. Even the unequal delegations have been regulated by a principle known as "Dillon’s Rule." According to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article VI), States are not authorized to violate federal law, even though they have been doing it with increasing contempt.
Anyway, the decision to live on U.S. land constitutes an agreement to accept its social contract, much like boarding a ship places you under a captain’s command or getting on a train constitutes an agreement to pay for the conductor for a ticket. This contract is explicitly stated in the oath of allegiance taken by new U.S. citizens but is less clear in the native born. The Pledge of Allegiance "to the flag" almost mocks the oath by diverting attention to a symbol. The effort to punish those who broke this contract was completely clear in the original 13thAmendment so there should also be no question of what is the minimal appropriate punishment for a failure in accountability by the "honorable" ladies and gentlemen of Congress and States Legislatures. In that context, the 13th Amendment of 1810, that passed Congress with overwhelming support, should be recalled:
"If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honor, or shall, without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them."
The approval by most states (MD, KY, OH, DE, PA, NJ, VT, TN, GA, NC, MA, NH) came within three years of 1810. A prima facia confirmation of its 1815 ratification (by Virginia) appeared in 1815. Proof was delayed by the War of 1812 because in 1814 the British burned the Capitol and Library of Congress, so many government records were lost but that assured passage of the Amendment because it made the British "nobility" even more odious than before. The final ratification, despite publication, was not confirmed until March 1819, but at the time this had no time limit.
Titles of nobility" were already prohibited since the Articles of Confederation (Article VI, 1777) and in the US Constitution (Article I, Sec.9&10, 1787). Because lawyers had sought to impose a Judiciary Act, this amendment was proposed in 1789 and 1810 with the principal intent of prohibiting Bar Associations from creating an elite class of esquires (title denoting "shield bearer") with special privileges or assuming "sovereignties" or initiating contracts that violated the basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The Founders feared that such men had divided loyalties.
In particular, the Amendment curtailed the pretensions so-called "honorable" men, as implied by British titles of nobility. The Founders saw such vague "honors" as a serious threat to America and wanted those who "claim" them to forfeit their citizenship. It was partly a reaction to the outrageous invention of "judicial review" by the fourth Chief Justice in Marbury vs. Madison. Those who claimed such an "honor" would therefore forfeit a right to vote, hold public office, and even U.S. citizenship. . The severity of the sanction shows the concern against the threat.
The Founders’ concern may not be readily apparent today but, in Colonial America, high Magistrates had held titles of nobility in positions like district attorney, attorney general, or senior judge. An International Bar (=British Accredited Registry, chartered by King) Association also approved positions associated international charters of the imperial banking system, which is a forerunner of global corporations. The 13thAmendment could thus prevent esquires from acting as royal agents.
Although IBA Lawyers (or similarly seditious agents) received a rank like "esquire," titles of nobility were already excluded in America by the Constitution (Article 1, Sec.9) so "honor" was the key concept in the Amendment. It neglected to specify a penalty, so royalists continued infiltration after the Jay Treaty (and Bank scandals). By denying citizenship it attacked the assumed immunity from lawsuits. It ultimately removed the privilege of citizenship. Think of the "immunities" sought by judges (proved by their title), lawyers, politicians, and other bureaucrats.
The era of the two Wars for Independence was one wherein "democracy" was hated by the monarchs of Europe. They portrayed it as an ungodly ideological threat. It was their equivalent of a Communist Revolution. (Autocrats and corporatists still see it that way.) American survival threatened royal rule and provided a heroic model for other nations. We inspired the French (Revolution, 1789-1792) and Poles (Uprisings 1791 & 1794) to produce similarly democratic Constitutions. The monarchies wanted to extinguish our beacon of hope as a source of reform because it threatened their aristocracy. While planning to destroy us militarily after beating Napoleon, they resorted to covert methods of political subversion with legal deception and subversive bribery.
Thomas Paine explains the reason for protecting aristocratic lawyers, and we will not complicate this summary with an economic discussion of banking, but can we readily see a "cold war" that used power and money to entice sedition by economic combatants. Much of the monarchy’s counter-revolutionary efforts emanated from English corporations and the intention of the Founders should be clear. Our reasoning mainly carries forward the lack of legitimacy to members of Congress who serve the military-industrial complex rather than the citizens of the nation.
The original 13th Amendment is valid because Congress approved its publication in March 1815 in The Laws of the United States of America, from the 4th of March, 1789 to the 4th of March, 1815" (Bioren & Duane; Vol. I, p, 74). It listed the Honor Amendment as the Article 13 worded above. What became of it? Why was this amendment allowed to disappear? Was it mistakenly published for about 50 years? It’s more likely that the political "hit-men" arrogantly believed that they could remove it under a legal smokescreen starting in 1849. That year Virginia decided to revise its Civil Code, which had contained the 13th Amendment for 30 years, since 1819. One of the revisionists was a lawyer named Patton who wrote to the Secretary of the Navy (Preston), who wrote the Secretary of State (Clayton), who lied that it was not ratified by a sufficient number of States. He cited an 1818 status inquiry by J.Q. Adams (then the Secretary of State) as proof that it had not passed.
Actually, the letter resulted in a search that, in 1819, confirmed its passage. For whatever reason, the Congressional Research Service continued to repeat the "1818" lie and Gilded Age lawyers removed the Amendment from the books by the Twentieth Century. However, by 1994, the National Archives conceded a correct and proper 1819 ratification of the Amendment and most states carried the Amendment on the books for decades and some (for sure CO, NE, WY, Dakota Territory) even had it on the books after the Civil War. Whatever the motivations of Patton and Clayton, this Amendment still serves to provide an appropriate definition of a "breach" of the Social Contract.
Historically, the strongest challenge to the Contract was in the Civil War when the South defied the Supremacy Clause (Article VI) of the Constitution. Since then, perhaps the most overt objections to the idea of a social contract stem from proponents of the "lost cause" myth of the former Confederacy, Libertarians, and robber barons seeking corporate globalization. They try to object on the grounds that the government doesn’t own anything to contract about because wealth belongs to the those who make it and sovereign state or local governments.
As Lincoln argued on the eve of Civil War (4 July 1861), the government ultimately owns the nation‘s territory, and is vested with the force (military, police) and control (legislative, judicial) to defend and maintain that system of laws and property. The social contract is largely an agreement between a constituent who wants to use this property and the owner, society, as represented by government. Based on the new citizen’s oath, we can infer that in the Constitution contract, voters agree to exchange their allegiance for the government’s goods and services, and to abide by democratically approved laws defended by elected legislators. Like any contract, a breach by either party in its end of the contract justifies the appropriate enforcement measures.
Since a decision to reside on U.S. territory represents an agreement to abide by its social contract, if people refuse to accept this contract, then they must not reside. That is the choice members of the former Confederacy were given after the Civil War but some of their progeny have disregarded that obligation. Since master and slave are two sides of the same coin, the simplest remedy might be to add the original 13thAmendment to its 1861 counterpart, as an added section.
Those who choose not to accept the contract would have access to a "free market" of nearly 200 nations. Even if they express fundamental opposition to this social contract – the Constitution – they would not be forced to suddenly abandon their immovable property. They could exchange it for its fair market value. There are also many absentee owners who rent when they move. Obviously, if they engaged in some form of violent rebellion then their property might be confiscated. Otherwise the normal provisions of "eminent domain" would apply. Now, a widespread institutionalized activism to protect sedition has developed, but this can be overcome once its origin is clear.
This is not against free speech unless wealth is misused as bribery. There is a widespread tradition of both religious and social freedom that permits utopian communities and smaller bands of idealists to congregate among themselves without fear of government interference. This is quite different from imposing a social system on others to deprive them of Constitutional protections with gated communities. Corporatists and Libertarians are inconsistent when they object that they shouldn’t have to move because they seek to impose a society that uses market choices on a local scale.
Admittedly, banishment seems a rather drastic option but civil intransigence produces an even worse problem. In reality, they are the ones who have been telling Americans to go elsewhere in their market. They have imposed a form of capitalism that is euphemistically named consumerism. The owners of their "market" of sovereign property owners, often behind gated communities, expect dissatisfied "customers" or renters to simply look elsewhere for protections of the Constitution.
Their logic is often defended in terms of a right to "free association" and enforced with claims of "sovereign immunity." An analogy in language that they might better understand is that of an owner of a condominium who had a contract with tenants in a condominium association. We suggest that if this tenant showed no intention of abiding by their rules, then he or she would lose their right to reside, especially since there are other places to live in the housing market.
The case of Confederate sympathizers is more straightforward and can be made in terms of U.S. Code Title 18, dealing with violent sedition. In the context of the Civil War, former Confederate officers were allowed to remain American if they again swore allegiance to the United States. Many chose to leave the country after the Civil War rather than to swear such allegiance and then they simply infiltrated back after Reconstruction had been reversed. Their children, brainwashed in the spirit of Confederate loyalty and heroism, sometimes felt no obligation to restate that loyalty. Indeed many of the problems with the Ku Klux Klan and later Jim Crow laws can be directly traced to these sons of sedition. Traitors may object if they are asked to leave the country. Let them.
Libertarians enthusiastically defend contracts in other cases so their objection to this one on legal grounds contradicts arguments they would otherwise use. It is also inconsistent with their purported faith in markets. Most people would have no trouble recognizing that the millions of foreigners trying to immigrate into the U.S. are like customers making a market selection of social contracts. The same opportunities exist for Libertarians to offer them a fair exit. They balk at the international principle, but they want to support sovereign property owners. Perhaps they object that there is no libertarian country to emigrate to but can any market supply all customers exactly what they want? In fact, the "market of nations" has been exposed to concepts of individual freedom for over 200 years so the lack of purely libertarian nations is a philosophical problem for neo-cons. Many nations do have greater libertarian features than the U.S., but they are in the Third World. Some, like Somalia or Angola, even practice Darwinistic anarchy. They have far smaller public sectors and tax rates than ours with fewer business regulations.
In another example, University of Chicago consultants hammered Chile for 17 years with radical free-market reform and reduced its government to inhuman levels. The result was pervasive pollution and South America’s worst income inequality. The migratory flow is to high-tax First World countries, away from such low-tax Third World countries, because people prefer not to live there. That’s why the most appealing and often richest nations have the highest taxes. One could say that immigration flows to the high-tax First World by saying that they are attracted by welfare handouts but that misses the point of why welfare states are generally richer than non-welfare states.
Why has the role of government largely increased? Neo-Liberals argue that prosperity results when people commission governments to secure a common interest in forms such as economic infrastructure, general welfare, and public safety. Libertarians try to deny existence of this 250-year international market trend. Some places do not allow their citizens leave freely but shouldn’t forced banishment be one of the prerogatives of ownership. If they reason that their idea of proper regulation through international sanctions could impose such free travel, it contradicts their main argument against state interference. Libertarians seem to be searching for a free lunch: they want American prosperity combined with Somali regulation and low taxes.
Too many of them are willing enough to underwrite a fight against street crime, but not against business crime. The issue here is not their freedom of opinion but against clear proof of their intended sedition. When that is recognized, what is wrong with incarceration or banishment? Isn’t that how Confederate traitors would have been treated in 1866? Many Libertarians deny that they want to overthrow the Constitution and when shown that they do, they may protest that they never signed such a contract or took the similar oath, which is required of various of public servants.
In secluded enough circumstances that may true. If there has been no attempt to undermine the equal protection of fellow citizens then there is also no claim against their free speech right. This involves the crime of those who have transgressed the rights of other citizens. Our society recognizes the validity of implied contracts and there are various types, each with its own unique features. Just because they differ doesn’t mean they are not contracts because they come in many forms: written, oral and implied. Some rely on the courts or other third parties to correct breach of contract; others rely on internal enforcement mechanisms to correct a breach, as with a landlord’s stipulation of a cleaning deposit.
Eating dinner in a restaurant obligates you to pay for it, even though you haven’t signed anything. Another example is in boarding a ship. Passengers can often board without buying a ticket but their presence marks them as a stowaway if they refuse to pay for a ticket. The ship owner sets the method of agreement and is not required to prove agreement to his contract beyond the passenger’s boarding. Libertarians further argue that because children entered the social contract by accident of birth, it’s not fair that they should have its terms imposed upon them.
Aside from a few extremists who argue that parents’ custodial powers violate a child’s rights, children are generally considered unsuited to provide for their own welfare. There is really no "accident" here. For the first part of our life, our parents or guardians act through powers of custody to choose initial citizenship and birth residence. This status implicitly continues through adulthood until explicitly revoked. In fact, children are one of the greatest reasons that this social contract needs enforcement. They and immigrants represent continually arriving newcomers to the contract and the society it shapes.
Therefore, they deserve an equal voice in renegotiating the contract (when of age), if we are pay anything more than lip service to the concept of equal opportunity in our society. The Libertarians seem to propose a caste system of full property rights to rich individuals, whose families could afford to send their kids off to college and lucrative careers, while poor families stay trapped by intergenerational poverty. Those Libertarians who cite accidents of birth as impose involuntary contracts should see the injustice of this involuntary economic contract.
The social contract, with periodic democratic elections, gives newcomers to our system the chance to voice their agreement and helps reshape the contract. It’s default provision is clearly expressed in the wording of the 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments, which leave doubtful areas to be settled by the people based on equal protection of the law.
The more important reason for the U.S. to be a contractual owner of its territories has to do with stability. Since there is no statute of limitations on the rules stipulated by owners for the use of this property, private owners have a commercial reason to see the contract go on. It assures that law and order can be invoked for the defense of private property. Some criticize the social contract because the government can unilaterally modify it. But so can other types of contracts. Insurance and utility companies can change their rates without our permission. Another example of a unilaterally modified contract is with condominium associations. If you don’t agree with their rules, you can try persuading other voting residents to change them or move elsewhere.
Admittedly, the social contract doesn’t treat its members equally because it sometimes takes more from one group to gives to another. So do insurance companies. But this can be countered with unequal possibilities and benefits that the contract offers based on location and opportunity. The idea of money, as a form of government issued property, can be further imposed as an instrument for the social purpose of assuring relative equality in terms of the services offered. Perhaps it is unfair or too one-sided for one of the parties of the contract to be its enforcer.
But our government is separated into independent branches, creating a system of checks and balances with courts that are there to prevent abuses of power. Citizens also have the vote, which allows them some control over how the enforcer enforces. In the West, over the millennia, social contracts have changed and usually improved. Tyrants or monarchs who ruled serfs ran many of the early societies. Although they provided a military defense, law and order, and a property or market system, they were not genuine social contracts because a contract requires mutual agreement and serfs could not agree to their feudalism.
Fortunately, some monarchies were less tyrannical than others. These actually expanded the idea of social contracts beyond grants from monarchy to include a large portion of the realm that became a middle class and served as a bridge to modern-day democracies. In cases where most citizens willingly pledged loyalty to the Crown in return for the perceived benefits, we could say that social contracts existed. In the past two centuries, the royal social contract in a number of European countries has become even more enlightened with the rise of democratic participation and individual rights. This increased citizen contribution and allegiance to their rulers but they are often inherently different from the American model, which relies on a specific document to which officers take an oath of allegiance.
This evolution can in American history began with overthrowing monarchy, and replaced it with a democratic social contract. As the nation expanded westward, the federal government led the expansion by purchase, treaty and conquest. The states or individual frontiersmen did not lead it. The federal government spent millions of dollars in acquiring new lands and sold the land to its citizens, often at a considerable loss. With the possible exception of Texas and Hawaii, the federal government can demonstrate territorial ownership of the entire United States. And that is ultimately the reason why residence on its soil constitutes agreement to its social contract.
Much of what follows explains a strategy of "divide and rule" used by conservatives and Libertarians to undermine this contract. Some claim that their rights are natural, God-given, self-evident, and inalienable. But such terms of art need to be debunked. Rights are social constructs, open to change and improvement unless defended by force.
Unlike natural rights—laws of physical nature – human rights are frequently violated. Even tyrants claim to rule in the name of God, with claims that He blessed a "divine right" of monarchy. The Old Testament frequently invokes genocide, polygamy, parental killing of disrespectful children, and other behaviors that few seriously defend today. The Nazi soldiers marched to battle with "Gott mit uns" on their belt buckle as with the Crusades, If rights were self-evident, philosophers would not have been vigorously arguing over them for thousands of years and they are not inalienable because governments frequently limit them.
This question of where rights come from is central to philosophy because the answer shapes most of our political beliefs. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson declared that "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Today, most philosophers agree that rights are social constructs and open to change.
Conservatives and Libertarians cling to an idea of natural rights, and often fasten this link with fundamentalist religions. As asserted by them, natural rights are supposedly universal in scope and bind human behavior like the physical laws of nature. The best known exposition of this belief came from the philosopher John Locke who wrote of prehistoric humans in an original "state of nature" before they began forming complex societies. In his idyllic reasoning, Locke concluded that humans were naturally "free, equal and independent" and that natural law obligated that "no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions." In real life, Locke was heavily involved in the slave trade and wrote oppressive imposition into the charters of the Carolinas.
God-given rights are supposedly rights that originate from God. In the common example from the Bible, God spells out what rights Israel may enjoy, from birthrights, to a right to life, to a right to a fair trial before judges. Such rights are stated differently in the New Testament with an obligation to love one’s neighbor. It also imposes allegiance to Caesar and the apostle Paul even commanded "Slaves, obey your masters." Inalienable rights are supposedly rights that cannot be taken away. In other words, because individuals intrinsically possess such rights, no one else can alienate (or revoke) them. Self-evident rights are meant to be so obvious in nature and origin that they need not be defended with logic and evidence, so Jefferson proclaimed them as self-evident.
To evaluate these claims about rights, philosophers clarify much of the muddled thinking in this debate by distinguishing between what a right is in the real world and what it ought to be in a perfect world. These is and ought arguments, show that there is a huge difference between what a right actually is and what it ought to be. For instance, we know that white Americans once had a "right" to own slaves, even though they morally shouldn’t have. Sharp readers will notice that the conservative claims outlined above fail to describe what a right actually is… meaning that they do not describe rights in the real world.
Natural rights cannot be like the laws of nature, because nature enforces its laws absolutely. You cannot violate the law of gravity or the speed of light. However, tyrants and criminals have violated the rights of others for thousands of years — indeed, anyone with a weapon can do it. Therefore, the comparison of rights to laws of nature is faulty. Neither do inalienable rights meet the test of reality. Governments frequently revoked citizen rights in countless ways, as in the case of Nazi Germany repealing the rights of Jews, or Turks the rights of Armenians. If rights were inalienable, they could not have done this. God-given rights also fail the test of the real world because they are highly contradictory among the world’s religions and within the same religions over time.
In Judeo-Christian cultures, for example, our modern, post-Enlightenment concept of rights is seldom found in the Bible. The story of Abraham leading Israel out of slavery from Egypt has long been celebrated as a triumph of the right to freedom. But the Israelites did not celebrate their freedom by creating a Jeffersonian constitutional republic based on individual rights. Instead, they first created a theocracy, then a monarchy, both of which are authoritarian. And then they enacted laws that many would cite as human rights abuses. For example, the Torah permitted parents to kill their children if they disrespected them. Slavery was allowed, if regulated to prevent the more egregious abuses (it was legal for a master to beat severely beat slaves so that they could not rise for two days). Male prisoners of war and non-virgin females were often killed, and virgins taken into sexual slavery. Despite the confused raving of Fundamentalist preachers, the changing nature of religious-based rights precludes them from being used to guide modern morality.
Because there is no end of the debate in sight since the days of Greeks philosophers, Rights are not self-evident. For example, Aristotle believed that humans fell into a natural hierarchy, and those at the bottom could never hope to climb higher due to their lack of talents. This was his logic to justify slavery — as "self-evident" to Aristotle as to the Catholic Church, which adopted some of his philosophies after the 13th century. The evils of slavery are obvious to us today so obviousness cannot be a test for rights. Because rights are not any of these things in a literal sense. Conservatives and Libertarians often portray them in a mystical, metaphysical way with ineffable existences, like souls or angels. However, more scientifically minded people are not obligated to accept these appeals to the supernatural. In fact, these quasi-religious explanations of rights are intellectually dishonest.
There are more literal and down-to-earth explanations of rights that satisfy science. The origin of rights is a messy and complex debate. What many Conservatives and Libertarians claim are inviolable rights are really their own narrow and often flawed opinions. Instead of proving their opinions logically, they attempt to avoid the unpleasantness of debate by using rhetorical tricks to elevate their opinions to infallible dogma, like claiming that their opinions come from God, are self-evident, or are unbreakable laws of nature. So what are rights?
Neo-Liberals argue they are social constructs, defended by force, and open to change and improvement. In ancient times, rights were extremely limited privileges that kings handed down to their subjects, just enough to keep them in line and functioning. In modern times they are supposed to be social agreements among voters, defended by police and military forces. The prime U.S. example originated in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, where the founders gathered in Philadelphia to debate — often vehemently — about what rights and responsibilities should be included in the Constitution. After three years of heavy argument, negotiation, compromise and salesmanship, the 13 states voted on the Constitution, and the rights within it became a matter of law.
Various responsibilities were included in this contract and the use of force was authorized to defend these rights, from militias to state law enforcement, with the necessary courts and legislatures to ensure the lawful application of such force. Both kings and democracies are human, which explains why rights in the past have been so imperfect and violable. Still, rights have been evolving and improving over the centuries, thanks to advances in philosophy and science. The elimination of slavery and increased voting rights are prime examples. And this gets us to the ought arguments. We know what rights actually are, according to the Constitution, but not always what they ought to be.
Where does the preconception that rights are moral, fair and just come from? By what standard do we measure their excellence? It is here that Conservatives try to resurrect their old arguments: that rights are natural, inalienable, God-given and self-evident. Unfortunately, these don’t work as ought arguments either, mainly for reasons similar to the ones stated above. If God has told us what our rights ought to be, then we would have to accept the justness of monarchy, slavery, genocide, polygamy, killing disrespectful children, and more. Although it may seem logical to believe that once we recognize an ideal right, then it ought to be permanent, unfortunately rights are ultimately intended to promote survival and those needs are constantly changing.
One example is the right to procreate without limit. Throughout most of human history, individuals had the right to procreate as much as they wanted and most cultures actively promoted child rearing, as a means to survival and military expansion. However, today’s population explosion threatens to devastate the planet with pollution and resource depletion. It threatens the very survival of the human race. About a dozen children die each minute from the impact of malnutrition. Our right to unlimited procreation increasingly runs counter to a right to life and reasonable happiness. When changing survival conditions bring rights into conflict, one of them will have to be repealed — inevitably.
Some claim that we can know ideal rights by looking into human nature. Because each person desires life, freedom and happiness we can use these natural desires to extrapolate an ideal set of rights based on some sort of greatest good for the greatest number calculation. Unfortunately, this approach is flawed because humans also have a pathological and sadistic nature. Society actually rights and laws to restrain such compulsions. Some Liberal defenders of natural rights have a sophisticated view of natural rights based on the need to promote survival with an attempt to maintain a high-functioning, smooth running society.
According to this idea of natural law, our rights ought to be based on the laws of science, like game theory and economics. For example, a slave-owner gave a slave the right to eat for economic reasons, because the unnecessary death of his slave would have disrupted his business. However, in later centuries, some learned that giving all individuals greater freedom resulted in an even more prosperous economy. The logic that we did not want to be slaves also made us realize that other humans also found it repugnant, so the slaves were freed. The progress of science and economics is constantly improving our idea of rights.
The argument then continues in terms of the true laws of science and economics. We could fashion a perfect set of rights not merely to maximize individual well being but to provide for the greatest number of humans in the world. One could then search natural law in "scientific laws of nature." The problem with scientific views of natural rights is that it explains nothing to say, "the laws of nature should dictate our rights." It is like claiming, "the laws of physics produce the different species in the animal kingdom." It is a barely meaningful observation that doesn’t explain why some animals become rabbits and others become tortoises. Like species, rights vary considerably over time and region.
A more practical explanation is that societies adopt unique rights in order to meet their peculiar survival demands. To be sure, just as human breeding of animals has improved with science, rights have also improved. However, science does not explain the diversity among species, any more than it can explain all of the historical diversity among rights. Different environments have different survival needs, and this results in diversity for both species and rights. Natural rights proponents claim to derive a specific set of rights based on their high understanding of science, but most consider such claims to be foolish.
History has shown that rights have often changed to meet changing survival needs. The Constitution provides clear and simple ways to make such changes based on such needs. The religious Conservatives have a great deal of trouble with that fact.
Fortunately, if the Founders intended the U.S. to be a Christian republic, they would have made it one. They would not have separated Church and State in the Constitution. Besides, many of the founders were Deists or atheists, not Christians; it would have been impossible for them to intend a Christian Republic. The First Amendment states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"
Article VI, Section 3 of the constitution also states:
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States, and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
All except the fundamentalist fanatics know the argument that making the United States a Christian republic would violate the 1stAmendment rights of Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, atheists, agnostics, etc.. Fewer recognize realize that it would also violate the 1stAmendment rights of Christians as well. Which of the 2,500 Christian denominations would we choose as the orthodoxy upon which to base the republic? Seventh Day Adventists and Catholics are often complete opposites to each other, and often sworn enemies. Thus, even a Christian Republic would involve a small minority forcing its views on the majority. The Founders did not intend for Christianity to play a greater role in our society than it has. We know this because prior to the constitution, 11 of 13 states had religious qualifications for public office and all were limited to Christians (sometimes only Protestants) and the Constitutional Convention deliberately voted down such qualifications.
Remember that the Founders lived in the 18th century, as the horrors of the Inquisition were winding down. Bloody religious wars had razed Europe and in Spain the Inquisition arrested anyone who overtly opposed the Catholic Church. On both sides, heretics were tortured until they confessed their guilt, then handed over for execution. The state, in partnership with the church, would prove its mutual loyalty by carrying out the execution. The Founders who were Protestants knew what an identification as "heretic" could mean and knew that there was a similar fanaticism among the witch-hunting Puritans. Their intended "wall of separation between Church and State" was carefully built as illustrated by Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802):
"Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."
Some Christians have tried to argue that this wall is "one-way," that the state may not interfere with religion, but religion may interfere with the state. However, this is an impossibility, since by definition any control that a denomination achieves over the state will automatically become state infringement on the religious rights of others. Besides, many of the Founders were hardly Christians and prominent Deists included Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Deism rejected formal or organized religion, including Christianity; it taught that people should depend on human reasoning, not revealed truths, to discern what is true in the world. Deism rejected the divinity of Jesus and ascribed his miracles and resurrection to "mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods."
These were Jefferson’s words and he admired the New Testament enough to rewrite as a secular document. Benjamin Franklin’s body of his work strongly suggests that he might have been closer to atheism but, like most atheist politicians since, he was not impolitic enough to broadcast the fact. He sometimes evoked Providence or God in his speeches, ever mindful of his Christian audiences. Thomas Paine, although not present at the Convention, soon afterwards began Age of Reason, which remains the strongest statement of the Deist philosophy.
Thus, the fact that not all the Founders were Christians, and that they actually removed a widespread Christian qualification for office in the U.S. constitution, proves that they did not intend Christian morality to dominate the republic. There a currently a war between science and Biblical morality that works to undermine this Social Contract.
Of course, the Church has never been on the cutting edge of science and has persecuted or opposed many great scientists of the last 500 years. And this includes Protestants. A field of Apologetics attempts to defend Church’s errors, even claiming that Christianity is compatible to science. But the atrocities and errors are too profound and stretch for too many millennia, to be defended in any reasonable manner. The source of the conflict stems from the fact that both attempt to do the same thing: to explain the world around us, and offer solutions to our problems.
The difference between these two attempts is basically one of age. Religion comprises very old explanations and solutions; science, newer ones. And because they differ, they enter into conflict. For example, all human societies have attempted to answer the question: "Where do we come from?" In ancient Israel, the answer was God and Creation, as described in the book of Genesis. But as human knowledge has advanced and grown, different explanations have arisen: namely, the Big Bang and evolution. Because people loathe being proven wrong, the appearance of new explanations has been threatening, and they react with hostility to these rival accounts.
The threat was all the greater for the Christian Church (spiritual leaders, leading theologians, writers of sacred canon, and members defending the orthodox or fundamentalist viewpoint), because it prided itself on being the source of all Truth, guided by an omniscient God. Being proven wrong on any count therefore had disastrous implications, not only because it undermined its authority, but its political and economic power as well. Not surprisingly, the Church moved energetically against scholars attempting to make scientific progress, branding their work as "heresy" and persecuting them to the fullest extent that they could. The full range of the Church’s actions included harassment, discrimination, censorship, slander, scorn, abuse, threats, persecution, forced recantations, torture and worse. The list of great scientists opposed by the Church reads like a Who’s Who of Science: Copernicus, Bruno, Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Halley, Darwin, Hubble, even Bertrand Russell.
At no time has the Church been on the cutting edge of science—it has opposed virtually all scientific progress for nearly 2,000 years. Over 110 years ago, Andrew White was able to write a huge two-volume history of the conflict entitled The Warfare of Science With Theology (1895) to exhaustively cover hundreds of historical cases. He demonstrated how the Church generally repeated the same three-step process whenever confronted by a threatening scientific discovery. First, it tried to crush the "heretical" view, through censorship or perhaps persecution of the scientist. As the evidence supporting the scientific viewpoint inevitably grew, the Church struggled to find a compromise position to incorporate both viewpoints. Eventually, the scientific victory is complete, and the Church indulges in apologetics, to explain away or defend the actions, wherein it often denies that there any real conflict between the Church and science.
In terms of the issue here, the Church was also been on the wrong side of the social sciences for over 1,500 years, actively promoting slavery, anti-Semitism, sexual repression, censorship, the torture and murder of women as witches, the Inquisition, Crusades and other aggressive wars, and capital punishment for misdemeanors.
The Christian empire was a slave-owning and slave-trading empire, with popes and their bishops writing rules over what constituted "just and unjust slavery." Monarchs routinely reported to the pope for permission to practice new forms of slavery, such as Indian or African slavery; indeed, the first African slave market in Europe was opened by papal decree. True, all societies and cultures have practiced slavery, but the Christian empire was the first to systematize it, mass-produce it, and make it a major part of an international economy. No other slave empire came close to its sheer size and brutality. Some scholars estimate that at more than 10 million Africans died after horrific slave ship voyages to the America alone, and many more in the subsequent generations.
Protestant as well as Catholic slave-owners defended their actions from the pages of the Bible, claiming that Negroes were condemned to slavery because they were supposedly descendants of Canaan, whom God cursed in Genesis 9. In fact, most of the world’s bitter debate about slavery occurred in Biblical terms. The first opposition to slavery came from the Quakers, and the issue eventually split four American churches into Northern and Southern factions. But the Roman Catholic Church remained pro-slavery until after the American Civil War, when the world’s navies had already shut down the slave trade, and it finally abandoned its idea of "just and unjust" slavery in 1888.
The Churches also condemned Jews for rejecting and killing Christ, and proceeded to persecute Jews for over a thousand years. From the 5th to 18th centuries, a major event involving the slaughter, persecution or expulsion of thousands of Jews occurred every decade. Modern anti-Semitism, culminating in the Holocaust of 6 million Jews had its roots in this long tradition of persecution. Nazi Germany largely adapted the philosophies from anti-Semites of past centuries, much of it from the
Women in some parts of Christian Europe were considered chattel—like an ox or plow. In Christian literature there is sometimes a patronizing contempt for women. Women were portrayed as sex-starved animals who lured otherwise pure and chaste Christian men to their doom. Christian misogyny (both Catholic and Protestant) reached its peak during the witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries, when over 110,000 women were tried for the crime of witchcraft and some 60,000 were executed. When Christianity spread into the Greek world, it absorbed the then-current philosophy of Stoicism, which argued that sex was a great evil. The hostility to sex was present from the very beginning, in contrast to relatively liberal views in other religions. Angry diatribes filled the old writings to set these values for two millennia.
Christianity also proved to be the world’s greatest warring religion, launching more wars of aggression than any other religion in history. The peak of the Christian wars was the Crusades, when Catholic clerics would preach from town to town, whipping up hatred and hysteria among impoverished serfs against the "infidels" occupying the Holy Land. The Crusaders convinced many peasants to drop their hammer and plows on the spur of the moment and frenzied mobs embarked on a completely uncertain journey to an unknown place a thousand miles away. Popes repeated these Crusades for four centuries. By the time of the Reformation in the 16th century, the Muslim forces had vengefully driven back into the heart of Europe.
When it came to law and order, Christian Europe was committed to the severe punishment of criminals; and tried to enforce moral behavior on pain of death. Stealing sheep (a crime usually prompted by starvation) was punished by hanging. In the New World, the Puritans obsession with punishing and humiliating criminals in public was not much of an exaggeration over the Old World approach. This zero tolerance for crime did not solve Europe’s massive crime problem. Highway brigands were so numerous that it was actually considered dangerous to travel between cities. And Puritan records show that they still had to deal with extensive crime, despite using death sentences.
Both Catholics and Protestants wrote libraries of books justifying these horrific social policies, and rose in outrage against anyone who dared challenge them. They have gone to great lengths to develop a set of arguments defending themselves from the damning indictment of history. Modern social science has resulted in moral advances over these policies, which were advocated at the highest levels of the Church for some 1,500 years and are repeated by modern Conservatives.
From the writers of the Old Testament to the popes and prophets of the modern Christian Church, the authors of Judeo-Christianity have tried to explain just about everything. This ranged from disease as a possession of devils to the earth’s origin in a six-day Creation, to the arrangement of planets that hang like ornaments from the giant tent that covers the earth’s sky. Although the Church cannot be blamed for everything done in its name, one should expect the Church leadership to be more divinely guided than the rest of us. The promotion of slavery for 1,500 years without a single overt correction from God strongly suggests that it was not really on speaking terms with him.
The central problem with Christian Apologetics is credibility. If the Church were truly a source of Truth, then it would have been on the cutting edge of science, not its persecutor. Then theology (apologetics) celebrated "scientific" vindication of the Bible. It doesn’t exist, so it is hard to imagine why anyone would trust Biblical morality over the Constitution. Is it even logical to be a Christian? Religion is not a natural choice of a scientists who know the Biblical evidence of its morality. According to a broad consensus of studies on IQ and religiosity, the broad consensus of research shows that people with higher Iqs tend to be more secular, not more religious but there are many exceptions and ultimately religion is a matter of faith, not science.
This has been a very long section because the concept of our Social Contract is key to understanding our government. It is a central concept of human behavior that extends across a number of social sciences and could easily have been expanded much further.
In our system there should be no difference between "We the People of the United State" and its government acting through democratic elections and juries. In theory the people could decide to have open borders and, in fact, this country has one of the most generous immigration policies in the world. However, to the extent that it acts contrary to wishes of the majority it is no longer "our" government. Some argue that the corporate occupation government has undermined the immigration policy in order to create a virtual slave class that it exploits to benefit corporations with leverage against citizens.
Much of the current debate is directed against Mexican migrants in the United States. They comprise a large part of an estimated twelve million people who violated immigration laws. Republican candidates for President used "illegals" terminology against Mexican migration and have an apparent obsession with tamper-proof ID cards and criminalizing those who won’t have one. It is understandable that they want to shift the blame to the victims and away from those who have failed to enforce the immigration laws. The Democrats have been complicit in creating the situation so they cooperate with the double-talk as they prepare to change seats in the game of musical chairs that appears in the form of national elections.
The real power base behind this hateful drumbeat is with the corporations and has to do with state, rather than federal politics. Before we explain, let’s recognize that the reason that so many migrants have come from Mexico in the last 10 years has to do with massive poverty. Both Republicans and Democrats have conspired to implement policies that increased this poverty. Many of the people who are here illegally came to find the best way to support their families after U.S. policies wrecked their industry. That puts at least part of the blame on us. Most of them are not here to exploit our system but as economic refugees from a tragedy our politicians helped to cause.
The NAFTA policies implemented mainly under President Clinton decimated the smaller Mexican farmers; particularly those involved in the growth of corn. More than a quarter of Mexicans lived as farmers and the poorest of them grew corn. Most (60%+) of the cultivated land grew corn on small family plots and depended on it for their livelihood. When NAFTA opened the Mexican border (1994), cheap corporate corn started drowning local producers. U.S. corn production is heavily subsidized, so that corporate welfare for industrial farms amounts to about $25 billion annually. The corporations get a subsidy and can dump the surplus below cost. Ultimately, about two million family farmers in Mexico were driven from their land because they could not compete.
Then American policy switched to using corn for ethanol, which created a new demand for corn that almost tripled its price in Mexico. This raised the price of food around the country and helped drive many in the non-farm population into poverty. Before forcing the changes brought by NAFTA, there should have been a study of its implications. The pattern should have been clear. The cheap corn would bankrupt millions of farmers. They would try to escape to other parts of the country and that would drive down the price of labor. The end result was a giant impoverished population looking for a place to escape. The Mexican government was too weak and corrupt to deal with the problem, which required something like a New Deal WPA to put people to work
The Mexican farm crisis benefited American corporations by billions of dollars in sales and by provided a source of underpaid labor. The solution requires long-term changes in U.S. policy because it caused part of the problem. Part of the solution is about putting people back to work. Desperate people trying to feed their families will find a way past whatever physical walls block their way. These Mexican workers are mostly desperate migrant farmers, not criminals or terrorists. Walls, ID cards, and strict language laws will mainly grow resentment within the migrant communities.
Whatever protective measures are adapted, we must remember that these people are more like refugees than invaders. Our anger should be reserved for the corporations that profited from exploiting the situation. Part of the solution requires investing in institutions to rebuild communities and unite people who want what’s best for their families. As for border enforcement, probably 80% of the solution was far beyond the border and had to do with a failure of enforcing laws that have been on the books since 1986. New punitive laws are not needed. Both parties decided not to defend the borders or punish outlaw employers over the past 20 years when these clear laws were in place.
We can understand why they want to blame someone else but the numbers are clear. This country provides about 40,000 soldiers on the Korean Border but fewer than 8,000 guards patrol the U.S. border. Also, who is more likely to stop terrorists and enforce immigration laws: an 8000 border patrol, or the 80,000 state and 800,000 local police? The federal government has allowed state governments to selectively ignore federal laws and most of the local governments have done what they want with claims that they are too underfunded to enforce all the "mandates" from Washington. In effect the states pretend that they can pick and choose what laws they will enforce.
The corporations won’t hesitate to break all the rules to get global hegemony. They pretend that the Constitution is subordinate to some "higher power" or "invisible hand" of a free market. Some lobbyists serve other countries (including many unencumbered by a written constitution), corporations who worship the almighty dollar, or religious zealots who seek to impose Old Testament values over our government. The refugees are not terrorists but the 9-11 hijackers would have been easier to find if they could not hide among a vast refugee community ignored by the local police.
To switch the discussion from poor Mexicans, we might also mention that the dozen British Commonwealth countries have about twice the land of the United States and half its people. They lack a written Constitution and some of its aristocrats see a financial benefit in working with global corporations to exploit America. Some case could be made that local citizens might be happier under a Commonwealth system with allegiance to the Queen, but such attacks on sovereignty anywhere undermine the nation. Hasn’t this matter of sedition been ignored for too long?
Christians believe that there is something unique about the Bible that makes it a superior moral code. In fact, due to copying or borrowing of ideas, the legal and salvation philosophies of both Testaments reflect cultures around them. The so-called Constitution Party, which achieved over a million votes in the 2004 presidential election, even proposes that Christianity is central to our nation. The truth is that the founders avoided imposing religion in the Constitution and used it in the Declaration of Independence mainly to undermine the God Save the King doctrines of the imperial church.
King George III claimed to rule by divine right and traced his legitimacy to certain doctrines in the Bible but the translations of the King George edition left many questions. Based on stories and parables, there is little of an original moral code in either Old or New Testament. The laws of the Babylonians, Assyrians, Sumerians, Hammurabi, Eshnunna, Hittites, and Mishnah, and ancient Israelite Torah all bear a striking resemblance to each other, due to widespread copying. Shared social norms often produced identical laws about kidnapping, stealing, sale of slaves, lying, business dishonesty, bribing judges, property rights, irrigation canals, sorcery, cheating, etc..
As with any imitated ideology, there is repetition and conflict. For example, religions as different as New Testament Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam, all forbid killing in conflict with Old Testament genocide. Which anchor is true? Meanwhile, there are common virtues that encourage morality but these are not essentially religious. Chinese philosophers were preaching the Golden Rule as early as 5,000 BC. In fact some Christians use religion as an excuse to violate morality as in "God made me do it!" If we probe deeper, however, we find unreconciled confusion between a "Golden Rule" in the New Testament and the vengeful God of Old Testament Mosaic Law.
The Old Testament’s Pentateuch, one of the most genocidal books ever written, is contrary to our Constitution. Arguments also trace to an Arian controversy around Gnostic Gospels at Roman Emperor Constantine’s Council of Nicea. Eventually, the Bible defined at the Council of Trent (1545-1563) gave a Roman Catholic Canon. It included some books that the Protestants called Apocrypha. The King James version (1611) tried to merge Church and State by asserting a "Divine Right of Kings." Such merging is an old tyrannical trick and there are many ruler-serving political passages in twenty significant translations since King James. None can verify a connection to all the books or ancient languages so, without a proven translation from Aramaic or Ancient Greek, preachers can conjure immoral mystification about power and money.
Academia tends to logically build its beliefs on a historical framework that defies business view of corporate power, so Conservative professors are a minority. This alarmed many on the far right, who feared that their political movement might crumble. In response, wealthy businessmen funded think tanks to invent a theoretical footing for their causes. Lacking all the checks and balances that keep academic research honest, these think tanks produce studies whose purpose is to promote policies that favor the elite class who funds them. Besides being biased, they are usually scientifically flawed and must rely on repetition, usually by corporate media, to impose their conclusion.
As the far right gradually disappeared from American universities (with notable exceptions, like business or computer science), the last three decades saw a rise of Conservative and Libertarian think tanks. To the extent that they knowingly profit from lies, they meet the usual definition of conspiracy. The nature of their criminality, if any, can best be determined by a trier of fact.
In 1998, after a scandal involving intern Monica Lewinsky, First Lady Hillary Clinton told NBC’s Today Show (27, Jan.) that a "vast right-wing conspiracy" was after her husband. The one that exists is less vast than we might imagine. "Conspiracy" might not be the best description because many organizations have secret, strategic plans to gain power, whether it is a political party seeking a majority in Congress or a private business competing in the marketplace. The history of the Republican rise to power was chronicled by various books starting with Money Talks (1992) and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy also traced such connections (1997).
There continue to be numerous articles about the concentration of wealth in America by individual robber barons on the Internet. The noteworthy fact about the Conservative efforts since 1975 is that they were extraordinarily successful. By the mid-70s, conservatives had established a structure to pour millions of dollars into the movement. By 1994 some of the main components were: Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation, Carthage Foundation, Earhart Foundation, Charles G. Koch & David H. Koch, Claude R. Lambe, Philip M. McKenna, J.M. Foundation, John M. Olin Foundation, Henry Salvatori Foundation, Sarah Scaife Foundation, and Smith Richardson Foundation.
Who Rules America by G. William Domhoff is a masterful work that delineates the lobbies and constituents of the Conservative lobbying effort. Between 1992 and 1994, such foundations gave $210 million to conservative causes. They built a broad and comprehensive political machine to cover all aspects of political fighting. It includes right-wing departments and chairs in top national universities, think tanks, public relations firms, media companies, fake grassroots organizations to pressure Congress (irreverently called "Astroturf" movements), "roll-out-the-vote" machines, pollsters, fax networks, lobbyist organizations, economic seminars for judges, and more. Is it really a conspiracy?
They don’t have to be. Their efforts clearly succeeded because there are many Democratic Party members who willingly accept such lobbying. Because corporations are a rich sector of society, their financing overwhelms similar efforts by grassroots democrats and the heavy funding from wealthy conservative businessmen overtly aims to reclaim debate from liberal scholars. Their "think tanks" lack the checks and balances of academia and produce crank science. However, the term is somewhat of a misnomer here. Traditional "think tanks" analyze policy problems and suggest solutions. These organizations are advocacy groups consisting mainly of intellectual "hired guns" with the sole purpose of selling policies that favor the wealthy special interests that fund them.
They lack many of the checks and balances that keep scientific academia honest and their target audience is more often the Congress than the educated public. Such think tanks usually submit their work directly to the general public, who is usually unqualified to give an expert critique of the study. There is also little diversity of thought in a think tank, where researchers are hired because they already agree with a foundation’s political philosophies. Its academics draw conclusions first and find the needed research second. "Skunks" usually find themselves marginalized.
There are only a few dozen think tanks and over 3,600 higher academic institutions in the U.S. but the conspiracy is made "vast" by corporate media. It is a powerful ally with common financial interests. This Republican Establishment has been tracked for decades starting in 1975 after their authoritarian nature was noted in the previous years. Conservative corporations, foundations and politicians came together to reorganize a coordinated, cooperative, and centrally planned movement to recover from the Nixon disgrace. The Reagan "revolution" was the immediate result of this well-funded political, media machine. It culminated in Republican control of Congress in 1994. After the Cold War ended in 1991, conservatives lost their traditional Soviet enemy, but the right wasted little time switching from the external to an internal enemy and organized to protect their economic power from democratic government. By 1992, corporations formed 67% of all Political Action Committees (lobbyist organizations to bribe government), and they donated 79% of all campaign contributions to political parties. In two presidential elections corporations gave heavily and one-sidedly to Republicans, and turned Congress over to the GOP and sympathetic Democrats.
Grassroots incumbents were shocked by the threat of being rolled completely out of power, so they quietly shifted to the right on economic issues, under a continued a public façade of liberalism. Corporations also donate to Democratic incumbents, especially in local elections, as long as they abandon the interests of workers, consumers, minorities and the poor. As expected, the new pro-corporate Congress passed laws favoring the rich: between 1975 and 1992, the amount of national household wealth owned by the richest 1% soared from 22 to 42%. Of the many of this machine’s important leaders (listed above) Richard Mellon Scaife, was particularly important. He is a Pittsburgh billionaire who inherited his fortune from the Mellon oil and banking empire and owned the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He oversees the Sarah Scaife, Carthage and Allegheny Foundations.
Over the years, Scaife has funded hundreds of high-profile projects to promote corporate and conservative agendas. He poured millions into an effort to finance the scandals against Clinton. Scaife’s money helped create GOPAC, the vehicle that Newt Gingrich used to finance, control and promote Republican candidates in their takeover of Congress in 1994. Newt even admitted that Scaife money founded modern conservatism. Over one three-year period, Scaife foundations gave nearly $3.5 million to the Heritage Foundation, $1.2 million to the American Enterprise Institute, $1.4 million to the Hoover Institution, $325,000 to the Cato Institute, $575,000 to the Citizens for a Sound Economy, and many other right-wing think tanks. These disseminate corporate propaganda and policy proposals dressed as "studies" and "analysis" for the media.
They are tremendously influential in lobbying various branches of government as in 1981, when the Heritage Foundation published its Mandate for Leadership. In his first year, President Reagan adopted two-thirds of its suggestions. Real academics view think-tank studies as shoddy if not deceptive. They are designed fool lay people. They appear scholarly and technical in order to provide political cover. By themselves think tank studies could not reshape public debate but they are aggressively promoted in the media and before Congress. Their "scholars" debate with mainstream scientists in limited public forums on TV or talk radio. Unlike scientific conferences, these have limited time formats and the debaters appeal to a lay audience, usually untrained in the topic.
Right-wing foundations get away with numerous successes because they also finance media and PR firms. For example, between 1994 and 1996, Scaife donated $1.9 million to the Free Congress Foundation, which runs a conservative cable channel. He gave $1.8 million to Hollywood’s Center for the Study of Public Culture and $675,000 to Accuracy in Media, both of which attempts to prove liberal bias. He paid nearly $300,000 to the Center for Media and Public Affairs, a media and PR firm in Washington D.C. And there are many others. But such money is not limited to propaganda mills because right-wing foundations keep trying to make inroads to the nation’s prestigious universities.
They do so by creating departments promoting conservative theories, staffed by conservative scholars. Scaife gave nearly $13 million over the last 36 years to Pepperdine University alone. He’s also donates enormous sums to Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne, George Mason, John Hopkins, MIT, NYU, Rochester, Smith College, Southwest Missouri State, Stanford, Tufts, U of Chicago, U of Pittsburgh, U of South Carolina and U of Virginia. Most of these departments and chairs do not exist on scholarly merit or academic trends. Corporate America purchases them.
Scaife personally funds projects to create legal trouble for political enemies and donated vast sums to Judicial Watch, whose director filed 18 lawsuits against the Clinton Administration, and gave about $2.4 million to American Spectator magazine for a massive investigation to dig up dirt on Clinton’s "Arkansas Project." Scaife also gave $450,000 over three years to the Independent Women’s Forum, a media-booking agency that seeds female conservatives to undermine the gender advantage that Democrats enjoy in the polls. It generously supported the Paula Jones’ lawsuit and Ann Coulter (who originally pretended to be an objective commentator). Scaife’s also had extensive ties to Kenneth Starr, despite his claims as an "independent" prosecutor.
One of Scaife’s magazine editors described him as emotional immature but having enough money to do whatever he wants. Scaife was apparently obsessed with proving that Vince Foster’s suicide was actually a murder and some incidents in his own past may explain such attitudes. Similar authoritarian profiles exist on William Simon, John Olin, Adolph Coors, Paul Weyrich, Newt Gingrich, Irving Kristol and others. Working closely together, they have built a formidable political machine that eclipsed similar Liberal efforts. John Dean’s books trace some of these traits.
The think tanks often circulate propaganda sound bites to frame issues. Usually the media will only report the sound bite. For example, they might issue an unsubstantiated one-liner, like
"All families experienced real income gains during the Reagan years."
The sound bite is easy to repeat, but the rejoinder is not and may require an brief explanation of economic ideas such as the business cycle, falling individual incomes, the rising percentage of wage earners in the family, the longer hours worked, the shorter vacations taken, etc. Even if people hear this, they will remember the sound bite more easily than a less understandable rebuttal. Think tanks exploit the financial limitations of academia. Economist Paul Krugman wrote (1996):
"Despite its centrality to political debate, economic research is a very low-budget affair. The entire annual economics budget at the National Science foundation is less than $20 million. What this means is that even a handful of wealthy cranks can support an impressive-looking array of think tanks, research institutes, foundations, and so on devoted to promoting an economic doctrine they like. (The role of a few key funders, like the Coors and Olin foundations, in building an intellectual façade for late 20th-century conservatism is a story that somebody needs to write.) The economists these institutions can attract are not exactly the best and the brightest. Supply-side troubadour Jude Wanniski has lately been reduced to employing followers of Lyndon LaRouche. But who needs brilliant, or even competent, researchers when you already know all the answers?"
Progressive think tanks are far outspent, which means those of the far-right can better publicize their findings, stage more conferences, lobby harder, and present more and better-packaged information before Congress. The far right reaped the rewards of buying the movement. A Nexus search of think tanks mentioned in newspapers, radio and TV transcripts for 1995 found that conservative think tanks were mentioned 7,792 times, compared to 6,361 for centrist ones and 1,152 for progressive ones. Lobbying Congress is an even greater measure of their success and studies by conservative think tanks often end up in legislation or reflected in official policy.
The dramatic example of the Heritage Foundation’s Mandate for Leadership, which became the blueprint for the Reagan Revolution, soon became a full-scale assault on the New Deal. The top income tax rate was slashed from 70 to 28%. Corporate taxes (as % of all federal tax collections) dropped like a rock from 27% in the 1950s to 8% in the 1980s. Combined individual benefits for the two largest welfare programs, AFDC and Food Stamps, were cut in real dollars. The Social Security "lock box" was broken into. With the 2000 and 2004 elections and corporate media were able to steal the executive branch and son of the Bush attempted to corporatize Social Security.
They scored another major in legitimizing the crank theory of supply-side economics. The American Economic Association, the economic arm of the National Academy of Sciences, had fewer than 0.1% of its 18,000 members describe themselves as supply-siders in the early 80s and they have scholars of all political stripes. American universities had no department that favored "supply-side" theory and no such economist could be found at any major department. This rejection stung supply-siders and Martin Anderson (Hoover Institute) ranted against academia in "Impostors in the Temple" to assert that the only good economics was being conducted by conservative think tanks, where supply-side theory thrives. The fact remains that supply-side economists are not favored by academia and should be confused with respected mainstream conservative economists. Despite such rejections, these efforts surfaced in state policies to undermining welfare programs in the 1990s.
The far right’s comprehensive effort to create an intellectual conservative movement was well funded and well organized. They not only built think tanks at the national level but more so at state level under the guise of devolving power to the states. They targeted the nation’s elite universities, provided funding for Conservative academic programs, college newspapers, and scholarships. Liberals fell far behind in all these efforts and were often co-opted into right wing projects. A recent and ongoing effort has to do with the Project for a New American Century.
After it failed to become public policy under Bush I, the idea of global dominion lived on in the minds of its creators and others, in and out of government, who shared their neoconservative views. William Kristol and Robert Kagan resurrected a Defense Planning Guidance paradigm in an article in Foreign Affairs (July/August 1996), "Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy," advocating that America should pursue Reagan’s bold vision of benevolent global hegemony:
…and wield its authority unabashedly. The defense budget should be in-creased dramatically, citizens should be educated to appreciate the military’s vital work abroad, and moral clarity should direct a foreign policy that puts the heat on dictators and authoritarian regimes."
Although the authors defined "hegemon" as nothing more than a leader of preponderant authority over others in its domain, the spirit of the Defense Planning Guidance was taking form as world dominion by force of arms. By 1997 Kristol and Kagan created the organizational home for the group of disenchanted neoconservatives and named it Project for the New American Century (hereafter PNAC), patterned on the earlier fascistic model of Henry Luce. Besides Libby, Wolfowitz, Khalilzad, and Rumsfeld, the founding members included Dick Cheney and Jeb Bush. As of June 1997, the PNAC website Statement of Principles, included:
"American foreign and defense policy is adrift…..to change this. [w]e aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.
…[We need] a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and a national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.
We need…to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values."
They wasted no time pursuing this mission and, on 26 January 1998, PNAC sent a letter to President Clinton urging him:
…to enunciate a new strategy…that should aim above all at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power….We believe the U.S. has the authority under U.N. Resolutions… [but] in any case American policy cannot be crippled by a misguided…UN Security Council."
The letter was alarming because it proposed an unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation, which is an international crime in direct violation of the United Nations charter. The Christian Science Monitor later said that the political mainstream deemed calls for regime change in Iraq as "provocative and extremist" and President Clinton ignored the letter. Undeterred, near the end of the 2000 Presidential campaign, the PNAC published a landmark study for Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces, and Resources For a New Century, which recapitulated the 1992 Defense Planning Guidance, once more advocating world dominion. The Introduction stated that:
The United States is the world’s only superpower, combining preeminent military power, global technological leadership, and the world’s largest economy…..America’s grand strategy should aim to preserve and extend this advantageous position as far into the future as possible.
It sought unquestioned superiority in conventional, nuclear, and space weaponry, and recommended the radical "transformation" of deterrence into global military dominance. With surreal anticipation, the report noted the political difficulty of achieving such a radical process of transformation, as stated on page 51:
…even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophe and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.
Four months after Rebuilding America’s Defenses appeared, dozens of PNC members joined the new Bush Administration and its prominent members were Richard Cheney (VP), Lewis "Scooter" Libby (VP’s Chief of Staff), Zalmay Khalilzad (President’s Special Envoy), Elliott Abrams (NSC), Abram Shulksy (DOD Office of Special Plans), Robert Zoellick (U.S. Trade Representative), James Woolsey & Richard Perle (Defense Policy Board), Richard Armitage (Dep SecState), Paula Dobriansky (Under SecState), John Bolton (Under SecState), Donald Rumsfeld (SecDef), Paul Wolfowitz (Deputy SecDef), Steven Cambone (UnderSecDef, Peter Rodman (Ass’t SecDef), Dov Zakheim (Controller DoD). Almost verbatim, Rebuilding America’s Defenses was adopted as the basis of new foreign and defense policies for a time when a catalyzing event would take place. Then came 9/11.
On 30 January 2001, 10 days after taking office, President Bush convened his National Security Council for an hour-long meeting. It was a triumph for the PNAC because the long-standing priority for the Middle East—reconciling the conflict between Israel and Palestine—was abandoned and overthrow of Saddam Hussein was moved to the top of the foreign policy agenda instead.
As described in Ron Suskind’s book, The Price of Loyalty (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2004), in a NSC meeting from its first days in office, the Bush Administration intended to invade Iraq. During his second week in office, partly to reward the energy industry people who had supported his campaign, President Bush appointed Vice President Cheney to chair a National Energy Policy Development Group. Relevant federal officials and energy industry executives and lobbyists staffed its "Energy Task Force". Because it operated in extreme secrecy, it’s full membership is not yet known, but some corporate members are documented as: Enron, Exxon- Mobil, Conoco-Phillips, Shell, and BP America. Within weeks this Task Force was studying maps of the Iraqi oil fields, pipelines, refineries, tanker terminals, and undeveloped oil exploration blocks.
It also scrutinized a list of "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts," that excluded major American or British oil companies. The 2-page list, dated March 2001, was acquired through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought against the Bush Administration by the citizen’s organization, Judicial Watch. Even though the Administration had appealed the suit all the way to the Supreme Court (which supported the Plaintiff, so the documents are now available on the Internet.) American oil companies needed access to Iraqi oil as part of a foreign policy bent on global domination. The Task Force final report on "National Energy Policy," delivered May 2001, stated (p 8-5):
…Middle East oil producers will remain central to world security. The Gulf will be a primary focus of U.S. international energy policy."
How was the "primary focus" of "international energy policy" to relate to "world security?" Jane Mayer writing in The New Yorker magazine (Issue 23, 16 February 2004, in "Contract Sport") eventually showed how the Bush Administration would make no distinction between energy policy and national security policy. She described a top secret National Security Council memo, dated 3 February 2001, that directed the NSC staff to:
"…cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered the ‘melding’ of two seemingly unrelated areas of policy: ‘the re-view of operational policies toward rogue states’ such as Iraq, and ‘actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.’"
The National Security Council and Energy Task Force then worked together to develop energy and security policy as a coordinated whole for "the capture" of oil and gas fields that would involve the invasion of Iraq. Again, this enterprise was initiated two weeks after the inauguration of George W. Bush with the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington still seven months in the future. Although the more extreme PNAC members of the Administration suggested seizure of Iraq’s oil fields with direct transfer of control to U.S. and British oil companies, a more sophisticated mechanism was worked out to avoid raising a political and diplomatic firestorm.
A full year before the invasion (spring 2002,), the State Department undertook a devious policy-development initiative called "The Future of Iraq Project." As described in Greg Muttitt’s, Crude Designs: the Ripoff of Iraq’s Oil Wealth (UK: Platform Group) "The Oil and Energy Working Group" developed a disguise for the "capture" of Iraqi oil to transform Iraq’s nationalized industry into a commercial, essentially private, business. Its final report said,
"Iraq should be opened to international oil companies as quickly as possible after the war ….establish a conducive business environment to attract investment in oil and gas resources."
Thus we have an example of a think tank, forming into a policy group, and culminating in a War for Oil. Its gross and extensive failure in the bloody occupation campaign of Iraq is still to be documented. It remains perhaps the greatest proof of failed "think tank" policy in American history.
Polls are divided into two types: preference and opinion. Opinion polls tend to be less accurate but can be highly reliable if the pollsters properly word the question and meet various statistical requirements in terms of cross-sections, response rates, and sample selections. Politicians want to know how the public feels and studies show that the public is usually honest with pollsters, except for matters of race and income. The same is not true of media polls. The U.S. media was rapidly monopolized within a handful of parent corporations with conservative economic agendas. Surveys of journalists show that they were mostly liberal in the 1980s, but today they are centrist and more conservative than liberal on economic issues. In sum, polls can be accurate in reflecting opinions if you know how to view them, but even if they were truly accurate the corporate media cannot be trusted to fairly communicate the results
The constitution is simple and specific. It describes general principles of governance and was written in plain language for a relatively small, agricultural nation. It was not offered to the people, not to ivory-tower academicians or a black-robed judicial elite. It is not meant to be a matter of personal opinion, because everyone has opinions. It is grounded in "reasonable" and "plain meaning." Not surprisingly, because it is human nature to blame others for misinterpreting, twisting, distorting, violating or shredding the Constitution, many Americans have become cynical about making politicians accountable. Even if parts of it are open to modern meaning, the process of who should interpret it is was clearly indicated in its first words and the last two Articles of the Bill of Rights.
We suggest that there is clarity in democratic interpretations because "plain meaning" should be apparent to a majority. Unfortunately, the problem with simplicity is that it sometimes invites opposite interpretations, which may seem nonsense. It is a phenomenon known to legal scholars. For example, consider how the Civil War over slavery was due reduced to differences in interpreting the definition of "property." The word slavery did not appear in the original text except by indirect reference. A large portion of the country was therefore allowed to include human beings within their definition of property. Most Americans would today consider that to be ridiculous but at the time, by skilful manipulation of State Rights and "precedence" in European feudalism, part of the country was allowed to impose this definition as reasonable.
Otherwise most terms in the Constitution are reasonably clear and even brutally simple when they are stated in one sentence. They do not consider every possible alternative but the point of the document was to establish a set of guidelines and not to invite multiple interpretations and endless argument. Since the purpose was to define government behavior in reasonable ways, its language also had to avoid specific limitations that might have threatened ratification. That explains why there was such reluctance to define slavery. In a constantly evolving society, overly specific language would also limit progress. The Founders saw vast geographic potential for growth in the West at time when there was increasing change in medicine, technology, and economics. Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations in 1776 to foreshadow the growth of capitalism over feudalism.
The issue of more specific laws was left to Congressional legislation to pass by a simple majority. The constitution specifically stated more general principles of governance that were so important as to require a super-majority to pass. Some Conservatives argue that the constitution was specific about limiting the federal government’s powers and that changes in society are not the business of politicians. They must not change it except through an amendment process. If that is slow, so much the better. To politicize the process, the people’s representatives often vote on what the law means.
The definitions become ridiculous because the people simply do not claim the knowledge of constitutional laws and the reasoning behind them. The supermajority requirement, that undermines specificity, sometimes made laws defective and threatened the Amendments because politicians could easily invent new meanings. More often sheer corruption was involved. For example, the founders feared standing Armies and would not have conceived of a separate Air Force. It takes more than cunning linguistics to force such impositions on the nation
Because Supreme Court judges can review laws for constitutionality without concern for shifts of public opinion, many aspects of the Court now need reform. The current judicial branch is opposite of representative democracy. Giving Supreme Court justices lifetime tenure is a symptomatic of aristocracy that makes a handful of judges largely unanswerable to the voters. A president and Senate can be careful in nominating and confirming them; but even if this vetting process were foolproof it would not stop an individual from turning fanatic. Freed from political restraints, it is impossible to predict how a Justice could deviate from democracy. The example of five judges corrupting the 2000 presidential election is a recent example that has been amply documented.
Normally, the Executive is made up of the official departments to execute laws. Its Military and Justice departments are the chief components. By confounding the internal superintending authority with official "execution" we confuse this concept. All the parts in the government of the United States that are in an "Executive branch" are authorities created to superintend execution of laws. They are independent of the legislative branch, except that they know it through laws, to which they have sworn allegiance. They cannot properly be controlled by it through any other medium. The Judicial Branch was proposed as necessary to referee the execution of the laws or to see that they were faithfully performed, but this was a concept that was to depend on juries.
The many atrocious opinions of the unelected Chief justices prove the failure of the Supreme Court. The selecting of the president in the 2000 presidential election another blatant example wherein five individuals decided to reverse the popular vote of a whole nation. Former Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi explained their sedition in "None Dare Call It Treason" in the 5 February 2001 Nation and his subsequent book The Betrayal of America. Related details are portrayed in the 2004 documentary Orwell Rolls in His Grave. For this reason, many Americans want election of federal and state justices to avoid politicizing the bench by making it more responsive to popular control.
Conservatives fear being compared to Nazis or fascists so they want to discredit the idea that Hitler was democratically elected. Since their media in the U.S. controls information, the conservatives spin history to claim that he was more a left-wing radical than a conservative. It is shocking that so many Americans seem unable to distinguish among Nazism and socialism, or between fascists and Nazis. After all, we fought wars against them. If any Libertarian sees Hitler to be on the left, it’s hard to imagine what they would see on the right side of that spectrum. A careful look at the story shows that his rise to power depended both on democracy and a widespread contempt for the rule of law.
The Nazi program consisted of ten planks and fifteen demands. These "brief and clear" 25 points of 1920 were generally believed and never repudiated. Since this Program was the perceived foundation of Nazism, it can be studied outside this Q&A but essentially it can be divided into three parts. Part was Nationalistic or Legalistic (1, 2, 3, 18, 21, 22, 25); part was Racist or intended for racial application (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 19, 20. 23. 24), and part was Socialist (9, 10, 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17). This socialist portion of the Nazi Program did originally oppose big-business and banking. Before 1933, the Nazis got 13 million votes by making stressing socialistic promises to aid the common people. However, when election chances started slipping the Nazis simply kept lying about its socialist intent and exempted their rich contributors.
The founders were not foolish enough to believe that all politics were local. Their goals were national and they mobilized locally. What global freedoms did Americans fight and die for? The lack of such memory allows Congress to persist in its gross lack of judgment. It allows the Executive branch to deceive the people and violate international laws. We assert that there was a specific time after World War 2 when U.S. leaders drank the sedition-laced milk of fascism. It can be traced to Army generals Curtis LeMay and Leslie Groves in 1943. It started Institutionally with a National Security Act (1947) that created a CIA, General Staff, and separate Air Force; all unconstitutional.
Hitler’s cronies had also created a separate Air Force and SS by 1937. Let’s recall the hatred for open democracy by aristocracies in imperial Britain, Nazi Germany, and fascist Italy. There are numerous examples. Consider the F-22 "Raptor" Fighter costing over 200 million dollars each in a project that will exceed $320 billion. Consider that they can be shot down by a $2200 heat-seeking rocket into their flaming butt, or a 32-cent bullet to the pilot’s brain. The high-tech junk will cause maintenance headaches to limit daily sorties to an average of one or two. They plan to build about 185 (up from the existing 18) rather than streamlining earlier models that are also ridiculously expensive at about $40 million each. Meanwhile, potential enemies could provide hundreds of planes for a tenth of the cost, each of them averaging several missions per day. However useful such planes might be against ground targets (and the A-10 is better), they are powerless to enforce the sort of "occupation" campaigns that this country is attempting in the Middle East.
Then we have the mercenaries. The "global war on terror," has served as an excuse to spend hundreds of billions of public dollars to more than double the number of "private contractors." With only minimal congressional oversight, the Bush administration has doubled the size of our occupation in the Middle East. Besides the 160,000 troops in Iraq, there are now almost 200,000 "contractors" in Iraq so that military forces are now outsized by a "coalition of the billing." These corporate "hired guns" include police and security units that compare to the Nazi SS or Mussolini’s Black Shirts. At the state level, now that a third of the prisons are corporatized, there are also bands of "correction officers’ with similar allegiance to their paymasters.
Corporations (Armor Group, Blackwater USA, Erinsys, DynCorp, Triple Canopy, etc.) have begun using fat government contracts to form powerful private armies. The United States spends more than the rest of the world on the military and some of these private armies are more powerful that the national armed forces of the poor countries. There are now about 170 private military companies in Iraq with about 50,000 people working for more them. Their sometimes criminal actions have been virtually unpunished because local military leaders do not know how to control them.
As of July 2007, there were another 460 contracting companies working also working the United States in Iraq. The number of civilian and militarized contractors amounts to an unprecedented total of some 180,000 individuals from more than 100 countries, and exceeds the official military presence. During the 1991 Gulf War, the ratio of troops to contractors was only about 1 to 60.
These shadow armies can be used for unaccountable wars opposed by the citizens. The U.S. currently spends about $2 billion a week on its Iraq operations and the cost on mercenary services has been estimated as up to 40 per cent. Perhaps the "failure" to build international consensus for the Iraq invasion was intended as a plan to replace international diplomacy with a "coalition of the billing" to supply brigades of highly profitable contractors beyond democratic control. The amount of money spent just on mercenaries and security guards for construction projects remains largely classified. It certainly exceeds tens of billions. And there are greater costs in the United States.
Office of the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) documents indicate that spending on private intelligence contractors rose from $18 billion in 2000 to over $40 billion annually, so that over two-thirds of the U.S. intelligence budget is going to private companies. They would obviously be tempted to work with other private information sources to cook facts for profit. Operating under the cover of darkness, they will have the capability to globalize war and peace. Power that should exclusively belong to nations is shifting to corporations loyal only profits or CEOs and, occasionally to politically influential shareholders. That capability alone should be condemned by any nation that values a written Constitution. Congress and cooperative military leaders are stealing from future generations in order to fund such cash cows.
Because of its obvious omission in the Constitution, the Air Force is another corporate cash cow. Real war, as a "continuation of diplomacy by other means" – cannot be fought in the air or in space. Even if battles are won in air, who can levitate there? Obviously the issue of this sort of "diplomacy" has to do with enriching corporate elites and not with control of land and sea. It takes a great deal of brainwashing to conceal such obfuscation and plunder of the national treasury. Even those who have not been paid to protect it are going along. Why?
The issue is a direct analog to March 1935 Germany. Further proof of military betrayal came in the Korean Conflict, when a U.S. officer corps led U.S. troops without a declaration of war by Congress. U.S. admirals and generals, under MacArthur, showed a lack of moral fortitude on issues of an imperial presidency and Truman’s "rule by decree" by Executive Orders. Congress went along with the rule by "Signing Statements." Such imperial impositions were greatly feared by the founders. That’s why we should not limit debate to the current Iraq occupation. In fact, most of the crimes of Vietnam – another undeclared war – are also unpunished.
Why can’t public schools provide a consistent definition of the democracy that is being undermined? To be sure, fascists take many forms but they consistently oppose constitutional parliaments and democracy. In 1941 Hungary and Romania, fascism was closely tied to a titled aristocracy. In Nazi Germany, the Reichstag remained in session until 1942 even though the corporations were allowing Hitler to rule by decree. In Italy, the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations pretended to give worker rights while protecting Big Business. American corporatism started with the Gilded Age robber barons. It requires significant brainwashing to deceive a nation and educators are needed. Mussolini (and his mother) was a former teacher. We mention this because the national teachers union and its associations use corporate power to take money for themselves that properly belongs in hands of their fellow citizens. Part of their teaching is propaganda.
The war crimes inflicted by Mussolini on Ethiopia, Libya, Albania, and Greece are also directly compatible to the outrageous imperial behavior by this country, especially after 1947. Since 1945, senior U.S. officers consistently allow the president to wage war on innocent civilians. Today, a single Trident II submarine, loaded with the nuclear power of 300 Chernobyls, can destroy any nation on earth. How is that not genocide? This is our big picture. What is the question?
How do you get approval for genocide? One way is like the Nazis: you claim that those targeted are subhuman and deserve to die. That is too harsh for the American public so the aristocracy has reverted to imposing a "religious test" to undermine Article VI. This test is not about Christianity. The Neocons package it around Mosaic Law in the Old Testament and Millennial fairy tales about rapture and Armageddon. It’s similar to the way that the Confederacy rationalized slavery and the British, starting with King James, blessed royalty. That worked well for conventional aristocracy.
In America their added crime is fostering "dereliction of duty". Misallocating trillions of dollars for war to future generations is a symptom of a root cause. Similar theft goes back to the militarism that historically accompanies corrupt government. The less cunning politicians who become aware of the root cause and fail to act also place themselves between the people and the Constitution. To the extent that they personally profit from the lack of disclosure and lead others to break the law, they become involved in an obstruction of justice. This and dereliction of duty to a constitution are the dual crimes of the German officer corps in World War 2. The Holocaust was the understandable symptom of that root cause but not the most serious (as described above) and our book traces this picture through history. It reaches to the current one-party duopoly that now runs the country. Our treatment of issues in Pennsylvania reflects a problem that exists throughout the country.
Understanding needed solutions, including informed proportional representation and ejection of aristocracy, are almost as simple as reading the "owner’s manual" to fix a car. Our national manual is the Constitution. What is detailed in our new book is a "missing page" with some added elements. The Grassroots Rising page is an outline of the issues starting with: Federal Government "High Crimes and Misdemeanors."
The most obvious current crime is the outlaw invasion and occupation of Iraq. Except for those with a conscience, who resigned, the current criminal hope to remain in power. Like the so-called leaders who dragged us into Indochina they want to get promoted or at least retire on generous pensions. We don’t need to add extensive new indictments for the Iraq occupation. If we continue to ignore war crimes then the current criminals will indeed be rewarded rather than punished.
Iraq is worse than Korea or Vietnam because it began as a "war of aggression." That is what the Nuremberg Trial was about. Top Nazi leaders were hanged. What if ours deserve the same? There is no greater crime a president can commit then lying to the nation in order to start a war in our name. This is costing citizens over a billion of dollars per week and the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers and countless Iraqi civilians. This pattern goes back to 1943 and Pentagon mobilization. Specific Administration war crimes are further listed on >www.sagaw.org<
See "Bush Administration's 935 Lies to Iraq War" (3 part) for more at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs4MxB18NHE & www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5MJHTwcP6I. "He" below includes Bush as head of his Party. The lies have grown to such a level of war crimes as to implicate all those who tolerate him.
Most of us know who died when Bush lied and it takes a dull mind not to see how Arabs view American atrocities. In their honor-based culture, vengeance is just a matter of time. The main impeachable offense was admitted in a 21 August 2006 White House press conference when Bush confessed to a massive policy change that should have had domestic impact. The President responded to a reporter that the attack on the World Trade Center and Iraq War had nothing to do with the attacks by terrorists on 11 September 2001. This contradicted many previous policy statements, particularly when he officially wrote to Congress that pre-emptive, unilateral Iraq invasion (18 March 2003), was claimed as a necessary action against international terrorists, who he claimed had: "…planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." In another March 2003 prime-time press conference that focused on Iraq, President Bush also mentioned 9-11 eight times and named Saddam Hussein even more, usually in the same context.
This clearly linked the invasion with an apparent need for U.S. vengeance. Meanwhile, Vice President Cheney also repeatedly lied that Iraqi intelligence agents met 9-11 hijackers five months before the attacks. At press conferences, speeches, and official correspondence to Congress, the repeated official reasons for starting the war against Iraq had to do with imagined weapons of mass destruction and the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The nuclear WMD lies were disproved and his 21 August admission confirmed the fabrication. Here are two dozen more related examples of these failures…
1. He scared us into a destabilizing preemptive war with visions of mushroom clouds that proved to be malicious vapors from his mind.
2. He said that throngs of Iraqis would greet our troops as liberators with flowers, but no throngs or flowers appeared.
3. He said Saddam sought "yellow cake" for nuclear weapons in his 2003 State of the Union message; but it turned into air.
4. He said, "We found the weapons of mass destruction. We have found biological laboratories;" but they were not seen.
5. He said "[Saddam Hussein] is a person who has had contacts with al Qaeda." (10/28/2002, White House). Later denied.
6. He boasted "combat operations in Iraq have ended" (1 May 2003, aircraft carrier) but three times more U.S. soldiers have died since.
7. He assured us that Iraq would pay for it’s own reconstruction.
8. He gave ridiculous estimates of the cost for the Iraq invasion.
9. He says that we are not occupiers but builds new bases and refuses to cede control of Iraq to International agencies.
10. He lies by habit (see 55 more examples in Congressman Waxman’s report)..
…Dereliction of Duty or Command Incompetence … in Afghanistan:
11. He failed to commit enough ground troops to capture bin Laden, especially when he was cornered in November 2001.
12. He reduced resources and troop levels before it was secure.
13. He diverted $700 million from other budgets, including Afghanistan, to Iraq invasion planning and did so without bothering to tell Congress.
14. He redeployed crucial units to Iraq in hopes that poorly trained troops and local militia would to be able to provide security for efforts to capture bin Laden and secure the country.
15. He provides little security outside of Kabul, which leaves most of the population unprotected from warlords and terrorists that are able to cross the border from Pakistan.
16. He committed inadequate resources for local security and reconstruction, which encourages a culture of despair that will breed terrorists, while also scaring Americans to who will fear to operate without this protection.
17. He is allowing opium production and exports to increase.
…in the Iraq Invasion (don’t miss www.worldtribunaliraq.org):
18. He invaded over objection of the world community (like Saddam did Kuwait) and shows his blood for oil motivation that changes the image of America into that of a reckless bully.
19. He had no real plan for the occupation or protection of Iraq and Ignored Army War College (and similar agencies) prediction of the many infrastructure problems in the early occupation so security deteriorated (exactly as General Shinseki had projected).
20. He trusted unreliable intelligence from an indicted embezzler like Ahmed Chalabi (who later admitted spinning lies to topple Saddam).
21. He bypassed the Joint Chiefs of Staff (reversing an earlier position) to approve demobilizing Iraq’s Army in May 2003, thus leaving angry, unemployed soldiers who usually had access to weapons.
22. He allowed dismissal of managers of critical infrastructure systems (responsible for water, electricity, sewers, etc.) merely for reasons of their Baathist affiliation. This continues to contribute to massive security problems.
23. He allowed shutting down of Iraqi newspapers, which incited violence and street fighting in places like Fallujah.
24. He did not equip our troops with enough body or vehicle armor.
The reason such admitted policy is an impeachable offense is due to its catastrophic consequences:
> more than 1.5 million U.S. service members deployed to war;
> more than 3,000 U.S. service members killed and 200,000 treated for related injuries;
> more than 400,000 Iraqis were killed and several hundred thousand more wounded
> more than two trillion taxpayer dollars diverted from needed projects, including public safety
> pushing Iraq into an escalating ethnic or religious Civil War
> disgracing the United States in world opinion
Instead of going after the 9-11 terrorists in other countries, including Afghanistan, Bush decided to wreck Iraq. This failed state is now probably the world’s greatest terrorist breeding ground with U.S. troops caught within an escalating Civil War, with foreign terrorists and elements on both sides who want the U.S. out of Iraq, and feel encouraged to bomb both our soldiers and western civilians. We can easily increase the related indictments against the Bush regime to over a hundred. For example…
By showing contempt for those earning under $200,000 per year, Bush mistreats our soldiers, seniors, and children. Such policies go back 115 years and, unless the word has no meaning, they destroy democracy. Two symptoms under Bush are:
25. He is allowing massive increases in slavery as defined by the 13th Amendment because half the inmates are there for unconstitutional crimes and a third of prisons are corporatized. Over a tenth of working-age males are in prison or some kind of parole. This is four times the number in 1980 and compares to Stalin’s Gulag concentration camps (Even in Lehigh County, PA, a third of taxes go to pay for the unconstitutional prison.) In fairness, the policy began under Reagan, but that is where much of the Bush gang originated.
26. He feels that his security policies come from a "higher father."
…Economy (Corporatism, Healthcare, Jobs, and Taxes)
27. He plundered the treasury of more than a trillion dollars to spend a budget surplus while cutting funds to states.
28 He broke election promises made to protect vital national vital industries by trade policies that are an unmitigated
disaster and endorsed overseas outsourcing of millions of American jobs.
29. His behaves an unchristian manner. Would Jesus leave people without health insurance while giving the rich tax cuts?
30. He promoted a "Jobs and Growth" pledge that fell 1.6 million short of goals (first administration to lose jobs since 1932)
31. He promotes economic policies that hurt small business.
32. He allows a record-breaking foreign deficit that now threatens the value of the dollar and global financial stability.
33. He passed successive tax cuts that turned a $5 trillion surplus into a disastrous deficit now projected at over $8 trillion.
34. He gave unfair tax cuts to the country’s top 1% earners with false claims that the poor will also benefit.
35. He fails to enforce corporate tax laws.
36. He made budget forecasts that excluded Iraq, Afghanistan, and Homeland Security, while promising deficit reduction.
37. He claimed a 2003 tax cut would save 23 million small businesses an average of $2,000, knowing that 79% would not.
38. He endorsed plans to strip millions of overtime pay.
39. He allows white collar criminals to remain free and backs down from laws to make CEOs accountable.
40. He failed to go after oil corporations and cartels, allowing massive increases in gasoline profits.
41. He allowed moves towards greater media consolidation.
42. He nominated an outsourcing supporter to be the new manufacturing and commerce czar.
43. He refused to extend unemployment benefits even though long-term unemployment reached record levels.
44. He reduced actions for proper drug advertising by 80%.
45. He relaxed food-labeling pertaining to false health claims.
46. He broke election promises to make health care more affordable. As health insurance and drug prices continue to rise the number of uninsured Americans climbs to about 45 million,
…Militarism, WMDs, Foreign Policy, and Security Failures
47. He lacked urgency about expert warnings on terrorism prior to 9/11 (like about terrorists using aircraft & border security).
48. He dismissed specific warnings such as a bulletin (8/6/01 PDB). It was titled "bin Laden Determined to Attack US."
49. He continues to believe that al Qaeda needs state sponsors.
50. He failed to convince the U.N. why invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were needed, so many NATO allies abandoned us.
51. He failed to give UN inspectors time to certify the WMD status.
52. He failed to build a real coalition to invade Iraq, thus forcing the US to bear the full cost and consequences. For example, the second greatest coalition military force consists of paid mercenaries, such as the Gurkhas) and almost 40,000 members of the U.S. military have been bought by the offer of Green-cards for citizenship.
53. He is creating corporate militias under the guise of a Homeland Security and gives billions to companies like Halliburton and Blackwater (see PBS archives for the Frontline special on this issue.).
54. He limited bidding on Iraq projects to coalition partners, which further alienates important allies, and meanwhile companies like Halliburton get unbid multi-billion dollar contracts.
55. He increased global terrorism by invading Iraq, because it has inspired millions of potential terrorists (the 1.3 billion Moslems in over 50 countries receive different news than in the US).
56. He denounced "nation-building" in 2000 debates but now squanders American lives and billions in that explicit policy.
57. He told Saudi Prince Bandar ("Bandar Bush") about plans to invade Iraq even before he told Secretary of State Colin Powell (who had warned "…if you break it, you own it.")
58. He stole the peace dividend in a to feed a "military-industrial complex, which Eisenhower had spoken against. As he left office (17 Sept. 1796), George Washington had also warned: "Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."
59. He trusted biased intelligence inspired by Dick Cheney from Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon "Office of Special Plans" (see LtCol Karen Kwiatkowski’s interview in C-Span’s Q&A archives)
60. He opposed an independent inquiry into specific intelligence failures regarding WMD until forced to comply.
61. He spends $6.5 billion on nuclear weapons – 50% more than during the cold war – but meanwhile refuses to fund proper defense to detect MD being infiltrated through our borders.
62. He allows planning for global nuclear genocide. For example, one Trident II submarine can destroy any nation on earth. How is that not an act of genocide?
63. He failed to develop specific plans for dealing with North Korea and other destabilizing countries that have known arsenals of MD and preferred to associate threats with Iraq and Iran.
64. He ignored the Middle East Peace Process and abandoned the traditional US role as a fair moderator (probably to pursue oil) so a deteriorating situation increases suffering on both sides .
65. He behaves in an unchristian way. Who would Jesus bomb?
66. He joined with China against a democratic referendum by the oppressed people of the island of Taiwan.
67. He focused on a "star wars" missile defense at the expense of limiting more obvious and strategic terrorist threats.
68. He ignored news that planes had hit the World Trade Towers, being dumbstruck for six minutes after the second strike.
69. He allowed members of Osama bin Laden’s family to leave the country days after 9/11 without questioning by the FBI.
70. He opposed creating the 9/11 Commission, tried to appoint Kissinger to head it, and tried to limit testimonies.
71. He denied documents to it until being threatened by subpoena.
72. He initially tried to keep Condoleeza Rice from testifying.
73. He held no one accountable for failures leading to and on 9/11.
74. He threatened to veto measures for Homeland Security and cut counterterrorism funds two-thirds after 9/11.
75. He still fails to secure many nuclear sites and labs.
…Social Security, Sickcare and Shelter
76. He broke election promises to ensure Social Security but understated Medicare cost by 20% ($100 billion) over 10-years and made the retirement-disability system more vulnerable.
77. He removed a Medicare analyst whose study proved why costs would exceed budget constraints.
78. He allowed a "friend" (who stands to make billions from prescription drugs) to draft new Medicare bills.
79. He weakened the USDA testing program and leaves loopholes in the Mad-Cow regulations and misled the public about the danger of this disease, which may already be out of control.
80. He under-funded healthcare for veterans and active troops.
…Wisdom (Education, Equality, and Environment)
81. He underfunds disadvantaged children (Title-1) by $7.2 billion; for example, trying to make states pay for "No Child Left Behind" initiatives and freezing funds for English language training, rather than reforming broken education systems.
82. He is less moral than Kerry on an array of issues of concern to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (such as the death penalty, minimum wage, and media ownership abuse).
83. He hampers medical progress by restricting stem cell research.
84. He broke a campaign pledge to increase Pell Grant funds.
85. He signed a FY 2005 budget that underfunds education.
86. He froze Teacher Quality Grants; cut training for 30,000 and left 92,000 less trained than in a 2000 national pledge.
87. He froze funding for after school programs – thereby eliminating some 50,000 children from these programs.
88. He broke a campaign promise by opposing mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and withdrew the U.S. from the 1997 Kyoto Treaty (global warming) without offering alter-native inducements, thus rejecting findings of an Intergovernmental Panel an National Academy of Sciences.
89. He weakened the Clean Air Act and gutted air standards for aging power plants by a "clear skies" initiative. It allows voluntary reduction and cut standards (soot, smog, mercury). Toxic site cleanup is now 50% slower and at public expense.
90. He implemented energy policy developed in secret coordination (by Cheney) with the energy industry.
91. He has allegiance to the oil and gas industries that contributed over 4 million to his presidential campaigns. In return they get huge tax breaks for fossil fuels (as in a $23 billion bill)
92. He relaxed dumping standards for mountaintop mining.
93. He lifted protection for over 200 million acres of public land (Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest & Florida Everglades).
94. He limited challenges to logging and thus increases damage to protected places like Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.
95. He broke promises to adequately fund National Parks and made drilling for oil and gas a top priority on public lands.
96 He decreased environmental standards and ended considerations, like the ‘roadless rule’, which opened nearly 60 million acres of pristine forest to logging, mining, and drilling.
97. He opposes meaningful energy efficiency increases by opposing legislation for more efficient passenger cars. His 2001 budget cut renewable energy research funding for by 50% and now cut both solar energy and biomass programs.
98. He allows purging, censoring, and blacklisting scientists or engineers who try to challenge his anti-environment agenda.
99. He generally cut penalties for known environmental violations by eliminating EPA enforcement jobs, and his FY2005 budget includes a 30% cut in funding to reduce water pollution. He withdrew public information on chemical plant dangers that held these facilities accountable for safety improvements.
100. He ignored the National Council of Churches grave moral concern (2004 Earth Day letter) over his environmental policies that prioritize the interests of polluting energy corporations "over the health and well-being of God’s children."
We will stop here, but could easily add another hundred items. The purpose of this list is to show that there is absolutely no question about the criminality of the Bush regime and the political party that protected his power. Even if half this list is excused, there is no doubt the failure of Congress to act shows a pervasive obstruction of justice and dereliction of duty.
Crime is an activity common to all classes but the poor experience higher rates of arrest, criminal charges, convictions, long prison sentences, and denial of parole. Even back in 1968, when the crime rate was half what it is today, the President’s Crime Commission surveyed 10,000 households and discovered that "91% of all Americans have violated laws that could have subjected them to a term of imprisonment at one time in their lives." However, the report also found that 36% of all males and 73% of all females in New York state had not committed felonies (serious enough to draw at least one year in prison) so most people in prison were there on misdemeanors. The portion of minor offenders and mentally ill has caused a quadrupling of imprisonment to about 2.3 million at a rate scandalous rate to the civilized world. The biased process ensures that most rich criminals never see the inside of a prison, while they overflow with the poor.
The problem results from the fact that lawyers took control of the justice system away from juries. This has to with judgements being based on "precedents" rather than jury decisions and the imposition of plea-bargaining in cases that should properly go to jury, because they have made the system so unwieldy. Judicial Review is part of the motivating mix that is discussed in my book.
Its mystification originated with a contentious Supreme Court decision that is recorded as Marbury versus Madison. A man more honorable than the fourth chief justice, Marshall, would have recused himself because of an egregious conflict of interest. Instead he abused his position to invent Judicial Review. This empowered black-robed lawyers as a legislative aristocrats who could undermine access to the Sixth and Seventh Amendments. To the extent that the founders had sought a co-equal Judicial Branch, it was to have been dominated by juries and not judges. Corrupt lawyers have erased the original 13th Amendment (1810-19), which would have remedied their proposed aristocracy. Now the Supreme Court routinely denies access to over 98% of the cases that it receives for review. After its crimes in stealing the 2000 presidential election, this mystification is so serious that it demands disbanding the Supreme Court in its current royal form.
The 2nd Amendment is one of the clear "state rights" elements of the Constitution and that’s how the Supreme Court has always interpreted it. They have consistently taken the position that it relates to state militias and not individual rights. The Amendment simply states:
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Even though "violation of our Second Amendment rights" has become a mantra in Conservative literature, legal scholars consider the issue "settled law." Although repeated everywhere in their editorials and essays, the gun lobby does not fight for this perceived constitutional right before the Supreme Court, but in Congress. It tries to manipulate state statutes to expand gun ownership as an individual right. In fact the state legislatures have been allowed to interpret it, except that issues of registration and background checks tend to involve privacy issues that are protected by federal law.
When the government exposes the nation to destruction or increases wretchedness in any part of society, it is on a wrong system and reformation is necessary. To keep the people from recognizing bad government, the elite manipulates education to manipulate the masses and even to blame them for the problem. With all their needs crushing them, the poor are often compelled to support the very fraud that oppresses them. Why is it that scarcely any is ever executed but the poor? Among other things, the fact is a used as proof of their condition. But who has bred their weakened morals and cast them upon the world without job prospects? Who has exposed them to vice through television and movies? Who then sacrifices them on the altar of legalistic barbarity? Don’t we naturally blame the arsonist if someone is burned in a fire? We certainly don’t blame the flames or those too slow to escape. The ruling elite is an obstacle to justice and their power depends largely on a bloated and undeserved income. Income "leveling" could solve many social problems but a more detailed analysis is needed and that can be found in G. William Domhoff’s Who Rules America (1998).
(Note: I have never used illegal drugs and have no desire to so. This is about government tyranny.)
There has been a massive increase in the American police state and its "prison-industrial complex" ever since this country invaded Indochina (aka Vietnam war). Perhaps when the ruling class discovered that it could get away with mass-murder in an undeclared war, it felt anything was possible. The prison population is now about 2.3 million, about four times what it was in 1980 and most of that increase is due to the closing of mental health facilities and the imprisonment for victimless crimes, mainly related to what has been classified as an illegal use of drugs. More than half the prison population in America is incarcerated for non-violent, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior in making, selling, or using drug substances without official approval.
Because we are not yet engaging in the mechanized killing of innocent people, the level of such immorality does not rise to that of Nazism. At the same time we should remember that the racial discrimination and brutalization of Jews was entirely legal in Germany long before mass murder was adapted as part of the military policy at Wannsee in January 1942. For that reason, this particular form of "legality" deserves a close look to see if its characteristics resemble those of fascism, if not the more extreme forms of the racism that existed under Nazism.
Dr. Benjamin Rush was one of the more prominent signers of the Declaration of Independence and he warned that we should put medical freedom into the Constitution and said that if we did not:
…the time will come when medicine will organize itself into an undercover dictatorship.
We are still unclear as to the role of medicine in our lives and even more confused as to the role of many food and chemical. The role of the physician has become intertwined in both and we must recall that in ancient times there was no clear distinction between priest and physician. At the time of the American Revolution, medicine was still a vague practice that was often as much in the realm of philosophy as science. After a 19thcentury of progress, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began as a good idea, designed to educate and protect the citizens of the United States.
Now it regularly raids alternative healers, keeps healing and rejuvenative drugs away from those who might benefit from them, dictates what is and is not proper healing, and wants to severely limit our ability to buy vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements. What causes the FDA to become unlawful and, in effect, go beyond the concepts of legality provided in the U.S. Constitution? Let’s begin this inquiry with a look at unorthodox medical practices at the time it was written.
Considering that we spend over $40 billion per year to make 1,500,000 arrests and have sacrificed a good number of our personal freedoms and physical safety to the war on drugs, it’s amazing how little Americans know about drugs. It is therefore useful to look at this "enemy" that our drug commissars use as an excuse to imprison "casualties." Because it is the consensual crime on which the greatest prohibitions are placed, we need to go into drug myths and facts in some detail. For example, in March 1990, Scientific American, noted:
The alarming statistics cited by testing advocates to demonstrate the high costs of drug abuse do not always accurately reflect the research on which they are based. In fact, some of the data could be used to "prove" that drug use has negligible or even beneficial effects.
Narcotic originally meant "inducing sleep or stupor" which describe opiates. It is the reverse of stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines. Lumping opiates and stimulants into a same category confuses the meaning. Apparently the word narcotics was adapted for both uses because it fit limited headline space and television newscasts better than "regulated drugs." Once Americans were convinced that narcotics were bad, it was easier to lump every other drug the government wanted to control into the same category. At least "drugs" is more accurate.
The opiates are opium, morphine, and heroin. All three come from the opium poppy and are generally known as narcotics with morphine as the common ingredient in various concentration. While the most addictive of all illegal substances, it is seldom deadly, and the primary harm opiates cause is due to their illegality. At first, opium was smoked, meaning that it was heated until it gave off vapors—but did not yet "smoke"—and the vapors were inhaled. The active ingredient of opium, morphine, went directly into the bloodstream and to the brain. This was the method favored in China and by the Chinese immigrants brought to the U.S. to build the transcontinental railroads. When morphine was first separated from opium in 1806, its oral ingestion was referred to as "eating" but Opium eating usually meant drinking some concoction made with morphine. These included any number of patent medicines such as laudanum, an alcohol-morphine mixture. In addition to pain killing, morphine was known for its tranquilizing and relaxing effects. Many of the patent medicines were marketed to women to cure anxiety, nervousness, and menstrual cramps. By the 1890s, men went to the saloons to drink alcohol and women stayed home and "ate opium."
Physicians referred to morphine as "God’s Own Medicine" (GOM) and with the introduction of the hypodermic syringe in the mid-1800s, the effects of injecting morphine were discovered. The Civil War became a laboratory to experiment with morphine’s injectable anesthetic and painkilling qualities. Many soldiers returned from the war with morphine addiction, which euphemistically known as the "soldier’s disease." This addictive was often ignored by physicians and by 1880, they recommended GOM for 54 "diseases" including anemia, insanity, and nymphomania. Many people needed the drug daily but, as long as they were able to get it, addicts functioned normally in society. Most addictions do not become troublesome until the addictive substance is withdrawn.
Heroin was synthesized from morphine by the Bayer company (1898), and was a better painkiller than their aspirin because heroin is four to eight times more potent than morphine. Unfortunately, it was almost as addictive as tobacco. People did not fear addiction because of descriptions like:
Heroin’s most valued effect is the ecstatic reaction that it gives after being intravenously injected; within seconds, a warm, glowing sensation spreads over the body. This brief but intense rush is then followed by a deep, drowsy state of relaxation [that] lasts two to four hours and then gradually wears off.
That was from the Encyclopedia Britannica. Most ill effects, especially the fatalities are due to the laws against the drug, causes by unsafe usage in a criminal environment. For example, it is usually impossible to accurately determine the strength and purity of street heroin so overdoses occur because users don’t know how much they’re taking. Most of the negative appearance people associate with heroin addiction come from the impure substances used to cut (dilute) the heroin, which might follow six times on its way to market. When drug dealers cut it, anything that’s white and dissolves in water may do (laxatives, powdered milk, baking soda, quinine) and by the time it reaches the end user, more than 70% of the "white powder" nay be something other than heroin. Such "additives" may not hurt the stomach, but can seriously damage the body if directly injected to the bloodstream. Addicts ill from "bad dope" refer to such added contaminants, not the quality of the heroin. Heroin is effective for killing pain but is not available by prescription and is not used in hospitals.
Cocaine is simply an energizer and its close chemical cousin is caffeine. In the early 1500s when the Spanish conquistadors conquered the Incas, they discovered the coca leaf more prized than silver or gold. Priests and supplicants were allowed to approach the Inca Altar only if they had coca leaf in their mouths. For religious and superstitious reasons, the Conquistadors themselves did not chew the leaves, but them to encourage the Incas to work harder and produce more. Coca-leaf chewing never caught on with European but wine drinks (like "Mariani’s") prepared with coca were popular and were first marketed in 1886 as a "remarkable therapeutic agent." A popular cocaine-wine concoction. Coca-Cola, also originated in 1886, with cocaine from the coca plant and caffeine from the kola nut. As first synthesized from the coca leaf in 1844, cocaine was used as a local anesthetic, to fight fatigue, as an antidepressant, and against indigestion. In 1884, Sigmund Freud, published a "Song of Praise" to cocaine and its therapeutic benefits in a medical journal.
Amphetamines were first synthesized in 1887, but their cocaine-like stimulant effect was not noted until 1927. In 1932, an amphetamine marketed under the trade name Benzedrine replaced cocaine as the "power drug" of choice. Amphetamines were used by American, British, German, Italian, Russian, and Japanese armed forces to counteract fatigue, elevate mood, and heighten endurance. After World War II, "pep pills" replaced caffeine for many students, cross-country truck drivers, and athletes. A small minority of users were not content with the increased well being or productivity cocaine and amphetamines supplied, and injecting themselves with it (as "speed freaks") and, later, smoked cocaine in preparations known as "freebase," "ice," or "crack."
Cocaine and amphetamines are less addictive than tobacco or opiates. If cocaine were legal, most people who chose to use it would probably prefer to drink it or take it in pill form. The most popular drug in the Cocaine, Amphetamines, and Crack category is caffeine, which is probably the most popular drug in the world, has similar dependence dangers.
Marijuana was among the first plants cultivated by humans. Approximately 10,000 years ago, at the same time humans began making pottery and working metal; they began weaving hemp fiber. The Greek and Roman civilizations certainly had access to the ingestible forms of hemp, but wine became their intoxicant of choice and the early Christians inherited this preference. As Jack Herer points out in his book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes,
From at least the 27th to 7th century B.C. up until this century, cannabis was incorporated into virtually all the cultures of the Middle East, Asia Minor, India, China, Japan, Europe, and Africa for its superior fiber, medicines, oils, food, and for its meditative, euphoric, and relaxational uses. Hemp was one of our ancestors’ most important overall industries, along with tool making, animal husbandry and farming.
Homer refers to a drug brought by Helen to Troy that sounds remarkably like marijuana. Dr. Robert P. Walton, an American physician, found passages from Pliny, The Arabian Nights, Herodotus, Marco Polo, and others clearly indicating that marijuana was used in the ancient world for purposes other than making rope.
Because the pagans continued to supplement wine with various "herbs," including hemp, their use became associated with paganism and Christians leaders eventually turned their wrath on the practice of using any plant product other than grapes for consciousness-altering. It was soon considered a form of witchcraft, banned by the Church, and enforced by the Inquisition. One reason Joan of Arc was burned at the stake (1430) was for using "witch" herbs to hear "voices." Pope Innocent VIII proclaimed that such herbs were central to satanic worship (1484). The most popular "witch herb" at the time was cannabis and Europeans continued to grow hemp as to make sails, ropes, and clothing items. The Jamestown settlers brought it to Virginia (1611) to cultivate its fiber.
Edward M. Brecher wrote that from then until after the Civil War, the marijuana plant was a major North America crop, with an important role in both colonial economic policies. For example, in 1762, Virginia awarded bounties for hemp manufacture and imposed penalties upon those who did not produce it. It was common knowledge that smoking the flowering tops of the hemp plant caused intoxication and it was usually smoked in a pipe, like tobacco, but usually for medicinal purposes as one of the few painkillers in colonial America. George Washington was concerned about the medicinal uses of marijuana to treat his life-long dental problem and mentions in his journal (7 August 1765). Throughout the nineteenth century, cannabis continued to be prescribed for a number of conditions and listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as extract of hemp (extractum cannabis) until 1942. In 1851, the United States Dispensary reported of extract of hemp:
The complaints in which it has been specially recommended are neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, tetanus, hydrophobia, epidemic cholera, convulsions, chorea, hysteria, mental depression, delirium tremens, insanity, and uterine hemorrhage.
By the second half of the 1800s, fluid extracts of hemp were marketed by Parke Davis, Squibb, Lilly, and Burroughs Wellcome. Grimault and Sons manufactured cannabis cigarettes as an asthma relief. All these products were sold at modest prices without a prescription at neighborhood pharmacies. Recreationally, hemp was generally eaten or smoked in the form of hashish using the THC-containing portions of the hemp plant and hashish was freely imported. World’s Fairs and International Expositions from the 1860s to 1900 even featured a Turkish hashish smoking. Americans in the mid- to late 1800s, for the most part, referred to either drank extracts of cannabis or eat hash. After the Civil War, a Ganjah Wallah Hasheesh Candy Company sold an intoxicating hash candy and a recipe for "hash brownies" (Haschich Fudge) appears in a 1954 Alice B. Toklas Cook Book. Liquid extract of cannabis, hashish candy, and hashish itself were readily and inexpensively available until the early 20th century so only the poorer classes smoked (or ate) the hemp plant.
Marijuana is not a narcotic. Like alcohol, it is not sleep inducing unless taken in large quantities. Unlike tobacco or opiates, it is non-addictive and quoting from the Consumers Union Report, "the lethal dose is not known; no human fatalities have been documented."
Humans have always sought ways to alter everyday consciousness either through changes in normal behavior or by ingesting a consciousness-altering substance. Since even witch doctors and faith-healing, prayer therapists are guaranteed by a "freedom of religion" clause, perhaps that offers a more rapid avenue of attack against injustice than a gradual advance of common sense. Europeans have a strong bias that religious experiences should be obtained through altered action rather than sacramental ingestion. Prayer, fasting, penance, and personal sacrifice are all acceptable forms of achieving greater connection with God and Spirit. Ingesting chemicals, sacramental plants, or other consciousness-altering substances is not. However, if we move beyond the therapeutic value of drugs to a psychedelic field, the religious right may become more understanding of the issues.
Although ingesting chemicals may not be part of the Judeo-Christian tradition, it has a long and dignified human tradition. To deny native or immigrant Americans the right to explore chemical sacraments is not only an interference with religious freedom, but an example of using laws to impose Judeo-Christian religious beliefs on others. An understandably quiet movement of sincere, well-educated individuals is exploring psychedelic, "mind expanding" chemicals. They are often referred to as empathogens (empathy producing) or entheogens (become one with theos, God) and the FDA gave a grudging approval for limited research. Rick Doblin, the Harvard-trained social scientist and spokesperson for a Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) says:
We’re like early man who says fire is too dangerous, … We’re not even at the stage where we’ve figured out that fire can keep you warm in winter.
MAPS is a nonprofit group that tracks the handful of approved psychedelic research projects throughout the United States. The preliminary research has been encouraging, especially when empathetic chemicals are used in conjunction with a therapeutic process, wherein Psychotherapy is enhanced by an altered-state experience. In other studies, using chemicals such as MDMA ("ecstasy"), MDA, and LSD has resulted in significant progress treating recidivism, sexual dysfunction, depression, and addiction, among many others. These token research programs are under fire and, by the time you read this may have been halted altogether by ignorance and misplaced grief.
One of the primary organizations challenging any research is Drug Watch International, whose organizers lost a son to cocaine in 1986. This kind of response was echoed by actor Carrol O’Connor, who blamed his son’s suicide on his drug dealer, who was promptly arrested and sentenced to a year in prison. The fact that O’Connor’s son killed himself after being out of work for a year and after spending his third wedding anniversary alone was not mentioned. So how does one explain to a parent grieving for a lost child that putting other parents’ children in prison is not the solution? "Illicit drugs are illicit because they’re harmful," they claim in circular, ignorant logic.
In fact, drugs in general and psychedelics in particular are less harmful than formerly feared. In 1995, UCLA’s Ronald K. Siegel, one of the few researchers permitted to perform scientific studies on LSD after the blanket governmental ban in 1970, reported,
Dangers [of psychedelics] are not as great as the public was led to believe in the ‘60’s. Risks of brain damage and schizophrenia have been discounted. Most psychedelics are stimulants, and like any stimulant, they can be harmful to those with high blood pressure and heart conditions.
Meanwhile, a much larger group of individualists—just as sincere but lacking governmental sanction—explore their psyches, their world, their loved ones, their lives, and their God with entheogens. For many, LSD, due to its sometimes tedious "electric" qualities, has been replaced with psilocybin ("mushrooms"), MDMA, and MDA. MDMA was first synthesized in 1912 and was rediscovered in the early 1980s as ecstasy, which the rediscoverer felt would sell better than "empathy." It did—perhaps too much better and was banned in 1986 after enthusiastic articles in some mainstream publications alerted Washington bureaucrats. MDA, with empathetic effects similar to MDMA, is a naturally occurring chemical found in more than seventy plants as well the human brain. If the chemicals the body produces to suppress MDA are suppressed, small doses can produce powerful results. "The heart opens," one psychiatrist explained in nonpsychiatric terms.
While MDMA is still illegal, the plants containing MDA are not (unless they’ll ban nutmeg, green tea, or the kola nut). Various companies working entirely within the law sell these plants. For the most part, enthogens are taken more as a sacrament to celebrate the essence of God within us all, and not to get high. Other psychedelics include peyote, mescaline, psilocybin, and the relative newcomer, Lysergic Acid (LSD). We will return briefly to peyote and LSD. Some Christians, who believe this life is to be suffered through and pleasure awaited in paradise, fear that pagans have returned with their "witch herbs" again. For the Glory of their Christian God, they must be forbidden to practice hedonistic sacrileges or severely punished here on earth.
After reading the U.S. Constitution we must question how Congress could justify making laws against drug sale, use, and possession. The enumerated powers given Congress have to do with keeping national borders strong, keeping the business environment healthy, and collecting taxes. It takes legalistic word bending to stretch the enumerated powers enough to make drugs illegal. Here is an abbreviated story of how and why certain drugs became illegal in this country. The enforcement process does more abuse, horror, deception, and harm than any illegal drug has done. How many of imprisoned family members does it take to destroy the social fabric of the nation?
Prior to 1883, there were no federal laws against the manufacture, sale, use, or possession of drugs. Drugs were available since before the Pilgrims arrive and the United States survived—even thrived—without drug restrictions. Alcohol was a "drug problem" but, as Abraham Lincoln noted:
Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. … A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.
State laws against drugs began to appear in the late nineteenth century and the most infamous was the 1875 California law against opium. Prejudice against the Chinese was high and San Francisco prohibited establishments where opium was smoked. Like most drug laws that followed, the law failed. The large, well-run opium houses closed, but were immediately replaced by smaller, less reputable opium dens. A similar law in Virginia City, Nevada, and similarly failed to work. Rather than realizing that such laws don’t work, the Nevada state legislature made even more stringent laws but the state laws didn’t work any better than the city laws, but that didn’t stop other cities and states from passing laws. When all these laws failed, the United States Congress got involved.
In 1883, Congress used its constitutional power to "lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises" to heavily tax imported smoking opium as a foot through the legal door. What followed was a wedge of misuses and abuses of power that tore the door off the hinge. Once taxation was used to act on an inaccurate belief that the Chinese opium dens were debauching the youth of America, the die was cast. The power to tax had become a way to legislate "morality." Because this was a prohibition act pretending to be a tax bill, its enforcement fell under the Department of the Treasury, thus making the Tax Collector into Keeper of the Public Good. Even if the country needed a morality police, putting in the same department as money counters was not the best choice.
Five years later the federal government prohibited the importation of certain kinds of opium and prevented the Chinese in America from importing any of it at all. The U.S. Treasury thus gave up revenue (the tariff on the opium) in exchange for regulating consensual personal behavior. The anti-Chinese prejudice was such that the Treasury was permitted to shift its primary job—collecting and spending money—to this new mission and over the next thirty years, taxes on smoking opium went up and down until smoking opium was banned altogether; only to be lifted and reinstated again. During this time, the tax ranged from $6 per pound to $300 per pound. These regulatory and restrictive efforts helped build a Chinese underworld (the Tongs), corrupt the Treasury Department, and increase the national rate of opium smoking. The Secretary of the Treasury wrote the Speaker of the House of Representatives (12 January 1888) that he had found it practically impossible to suppress the traffic. The government responded with more laws and more police.
As this onslaught only affected the "heathen" Chinese and not other Americans, no one much cared and other forms of opium—the types preferred by whites—remained legal and modestly taxed. Why should anyone worry about defending the rights of the Chinese? If they wanted to smoke opium, it was said, they could go back to China. A legal precedent, however, was set by these racist restrictions and it soon extended as a pretext to stop uprisings by "hopped-up, cocainized" Negroes.
The first major step in federal drug enforcement was the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act, which said that all patent medicines containing drugs had to say so on the label and, later, had to state the amount of the drug. This was initially a useful measure that it allowed people to regulate the kind and amount of drugs they took, but it later became a major weapon in the arsenal used for the federal attack on individual choice. The major federal drug offensive by the federal government began with the 1914 Harrison Narcotics Act, as proposed by William Jennings Bryan, a Prohibitionist and staunch fundamentalist orator. After his oratory helped Wilson win the presidential nomination, he appointed him Secretary of State in appreciation. (Eleven years later, Bryan led the prosecution in the Scopes Monkey Trial to win a conviction against a schoolteacher who had the audacity to teach Darwin’s "unbiblical" theory of evolution in a public school.) Since the Act did not prohibit drugs, it was unlikely that any legislator in 1914 realized that the new law would later be deemed a basis for Prohibition. The Act only regulated and taxed the importation and distribution of "opium or coca leaves, their salts, derivatives, or preparations," and it seemed a reasonable restriction.
Even in a 1992 National Report on Drugs, Crime, and the Justice System, the U.S. government admitted that the Act was ostensibly a revenue measure that required persons who prescribe or distribute specific drugs to register and buy tax stamps. Since dictionaries define ostensibly in terms of "mere profession or pretense." This is an admission that the law was meant to deceive the public who accepted it and some legislators. The physicians complained and the National Report notes:
From the first, the Treasury Department held that medical maintenance of opiate addicts (treatment through declining usage) was not permissible, but physicians opposed this view. … Initial enforcement included arrests of physicians, pharmacists, and unregistered users.
Six months after the passage of the Harrison Act, an editorial in American Medicine stated, Narcotic drug addiction is one of the gravest and most important questions confronting the medical profession today. Instead of improving conditions, the laws recently passed have made the problem more complex. … Abuses in the sale of narcotic drugs are increasing … a particularly sinister consequence … is the character of the places to which [addicts] are forced to go to get their drugs and the type of people with whom they are obliged to mix. In 1918, when the Secretary of the Treasury appointed a committee to look into this drug problem, it found that, in the four years since the passage of the Act, underground drug traffic was flourishing, "dope peddlers" had established a national organization. Smuggling was rampant and the use of the forbidden substances had increased. What did the government do? Well, of course, it made new and stricter laws.
In 1922, it created the Federal Narcotics Control Board. In 1924, it banned the importation or manufacture of heroin in any form, even for medical purposes. Since that time, one of the most effective painkillers known has been missing from the pharmacopoeia of physicians—even though in 1925 after an elaborate study (Dr. Kolb) concluded:
"If there is any difference in the deteriorating effects of morphine and heroin on addicts, it is too slight to be determined clinically."
In 1967, the President’s Committee on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice came to the same conclusion, that except for its rapidity, heroin does not differ in any significant pharmacological effect from morphine. Neither of these reports changed the government’s mind. In fact, the heavy restrictions placed on morphine turned addicts to heroin. Like hard alcohol in place of beer and wine during Prohibition, heroin was easier to transport and smuggle because it was more concentrated. People who were content to drink morphine began injecting heroin simply because heroin was more available and the cost-per-high was lower (the same is true today in the relationship between crack and cocaine). Here is an excerpt from an editorial in a June 1926 Illinois Medical Journal indicating how the stricter laws had failed:
The Harrison Narcotic law should never have been placed upon the statute books of the United States. It is to be granted that the well-meaning blunderers who put it there had in mind only the idea of making it impossible for addicts to secure their supply of ‘dope’ and to prevent unprincipled people from making fortunes and fattening upon the infirmities of their fellow men.
As is the case with most prohibitive laws, however, this one fell far short of the mark. So far, in fact, that instead of stopping the traffic, those who deal in dope now make double their money from the poor unfortunates upon whom they prey. …
The doctor who needs narcotics used in reason to cure and allay human misery finds himself in a pit of trouble. The lawbreaker is in clover.
The government’s reaction? Why, of course, more laws, stricter enforcement of the laws already on the books, and yet another agency. In 1930, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was created within the Treasury Department under the direction of Commissar Harry Anslinger, who is a villain of this piece with regard to marijuana prohibition. From 1930 until being ejected in 1962 by President Kennedy, Anslinger ran the FBN with the same tight and questionable ethical reins as his contemporary J. Edgar Hoover at the FBI. By 1932, the Bryanite Evangelicals were seeking a new Leader and a Cause. Jennings Bryan died shortly after the Scopes Monkey Trial. After Prohibition the evangelicals turned to keeping creationism in public schools and censoring Hollywood movies. In the added Cause of ending the drug menace, they gladly bowed to the Harry Anslinger as their new leader but, try as he might, he never obtained the recognition and personal glory of Hoover—or even of the Postmaster-turned-Censor Hayes (Hayes Office & Hayes Production Code). For some reason, Anslinger had a seed under his dentures when it came to the subject of marijuana.
Yes, he was ruthless in pursuing those other narcotics violators—the cokeheads and junkies—but there was something about marijuana that infuriated him. Maybe because marijuana was not officially labeled a narcotic, thus not under his jurisdiction. Perhaps it was his well-documented racism. Perhaps he wanted a drug to call "his own." Perhaps he wanted to be a hero in the Hearst papers, since Hearst sudden started printed provocative anti-hemp stories. Perhaps he was on the seeking political influence from DuPont. Perhaps it was some combination of these. Dupont? Hearst? What did these business magnates have to do with marijuana prohibition? Plenty.
In the mid-1930s, machinery was perfected to allow hemp fiber to be more easily and economically separated from the plant. This meant paper, clothing, and other manufactured articles could be produced from hemp at competitive prices. Hearst not only printed newspapers; he made the paper on which to print them so if hemp became a primary source of paper, much of Hearst’s paper-making machinery would become obsolete and those forests he purchased would lose value. Hearst began attacking hemp at every opportunity. Earlier, Hearst had successfully turned public opinion against Hispanics, when he and fellow yellow-journalist Joseph Pulitzer started the unnecessary Spanish-American War. Hearst had used the Mexican term for hemp, marijuana, in his salacious anti-hemp stories and most Americans didn’t associate it with the hemp that their grandfathers grew, or the extract of cannabis their grandmothers took. Hearst’s headlines included such joys as:
New dope lure, marijuana, has many victims; Marijuana makes fiends of boys in 30 days; It is reducing thousands of boys to Criminal Insanity; Hotel clerk identifies marijuana smoker as ‘wild gunman’ arrested for shootings.
Hearst’s papers quoted Anslinger in denouncing marijuana by saying things like, if Frankenstein came face to face with marijuana he would drop dead of fright. Hearst’s paper twisted the daily picture of American life and went asserted that marijuana users were committing a large percentage of the atrocious crimes. Even though only two states had effective laws against it, Anslinger claimed that the marijuana weed was grown, sold, and USED in every State in the Union. He charged that it was not a responsibility of one State, but should be resisted by all—and of the federal government.
DuPont, meanwhile, feared that inexpensive, readily grown hemp fibers would put a damper on two of his planned moneymakers, paper production and textiles. He had just patented a process for making paper from wood pulp. The process, which Hearst would use extensively in the years to come, relied heavily on DuPont chemicals that would not have been necessary in manufacturing of paper from hemp. Additionally, DuPont had recently taken German patents to perfect a nylon and other "miracle fibers" from coal tar and petroleum products. One thing is certain, both Hearst and DuPont made a fortune thanks to the prohibition of hemp and wanted Anslinger to use his authority to encourage states and cities to ban marijuana. In 1935, Anslinger announced,
In the absence of Federal legislation on the subject, the States and cities should rightfully assume the responsibility for providing vigorous measures for the extinction of this lethal weed, and it is therefore hoped that all public-spirited citizens will earnestly enlist in the movement urged by the Treasury Department to adjure intensified enforcement of marijuana laws.
By 1937, forty-six of the forty-eight states, as well as the District of Columbia, had laws against marijuana. At Anslinger’s urging, marijuana was labeled a narcotic and had the same strict penalties as morphine and heroin. The wild reports continued in the Hearst media and Commissar Anslinger often added his bad prose to his malevolent prohibitions. For example, Hearst’s American Magazine of July 1937 had the following:
An entire family was murdered by a youthful [marijuana] addict in Florida. When officers arrived at the home they found the youth staggering about in a human slaughterhouse. With an ax he had killed his father, mother, two brothers, and a sister.
He seemed to be in a daze. … He had no recollection of having committed the multiple crime. The officers knew him ordinarily as a sane, rather quiet young man; now he was pitifully crazed. They sought the reason. The boy said he had been in the habit of smoking something which youthful friends called ‘muggles,’ a childish name for marijuana.
While allowing it to encourage cigarettes, already known to cause cancer and heart disease, the infamous Hayes Hollywood Production Code prohibited any positive mention of drugs and joined in the propaganda madness, at Hearst’s likely encouragement, to made Reefer Madness. In 1937, Anslinger managed to get marijuana taxed. He had waited because there was a question before the Supreme Court if it was acceptable to use the tax provisions to justify prohibitions. In March 1937, the Supreme Court decided that machine guns could be prohibited by first passing an act taxing them, then using the tax-law to ban them altogether, so on 14 April 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was introduced to Congress. For the most part, Anslinger and his employees, with reference to Hearst newspaper articles (some of which he had written) dominated the Congressional testimony.
Only one doctor appeared and he represented the American Medical Association, which opposed the bill. The doctor pointed out that at least twenty-eight medicinal products containing marijuana were on the market in 1937, that drugs containing marijuana were manufactured and distributed by the leading pharmaceutical firms; and marijuana was recognized as a medicine in good standing by the AMA. Curiously, the myth that marijuana use led to heroin addiction could also not be substantiated. A Representative asked whether the marijuana addict graduates into heroin, opium, or cocaine. Commissar Anslinger replied in the negative:
…I have not heard of a case of that kind. The marijuana addict does not go in that direction.
Moreover, an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association (May 1, 1937) said:
After more than 20 years of federal effort and the expenditure of millions of dollars, the opium and cocaine habits are still widespread. The best efforts of an efficient Bureau of Narcotics, supplemented by the efforts of an equally efficient Bureau of Customs, have failed to stop the unlawful flow of opium and coca leaves and their components and derivatives, on which the continuance and spread of narcotic addiction depends.
Like the Harrison Narcotics Act before it, the Marijuana Tax Act claimed—even in the title of the bill—only to tax marijuana. It was yet another deception perpetrated on Congress and the American people because the intent of the bill was not to tax, but to prohibit. Beyond mere deception, however, the Big Lie to Congress was yet to come. In testifying before the congressional committee, the doctor sent by the AMA said the AMA had only realized "two days before" the hearings that the "killer weed from Mexico" was indeed cannabis, the benign drug used and prescribed by the medical profession for more than a hundred years. Said Dr. Woodward,
We cannot understand, yet, Mr. Chairman, why this bill should have been prepared in secret for two years without any intimation, even to the [medical] profession, that it was being prepared.
Anslinger and the committee chairman, Robert L. Doughton of the DuPont Dynasty, was a key DuPont proponent in Congress, and he denounced and curtly excused Dr. Woodward. When the tax bill came before Congress, someone asked from the floor if anyone had consult the AMA for their opinion and Representative Vinson answered for the committee to say Yes, and lied that it was in complete agreement. The Big Lie helped pass the, which became law in September 1937. Anslinger was infuriated by AMA opposition and, as commissioner of a Federal Bureau of Narcotics, he could prosecute doctors who prescribed narcotics for "illegal purposes" and those purposes were pretty much his call. From mid-1937 through 1939, more than 3,000 doctors were prosecuted. In 1939, the AMA made peace with Anslinger and came out in opposition to marijuana so only three doctors were prosecuted by the FBN for drug activity of any kind, from 1939 to 1949.
In 1944, after seven years of research, the New York Academy of Medicine released the La Guardia Marijuana Report which claimed that marijuana caused no violence and had certain positive medical benefits. In a rage, Anslinger banned all marijuana research in the United States and vehemently attacked Mayor La Guardia. In 1948, however, he finally dropped the "marijuana causes violence" argument and made a complete about-face when he testified before Congress in 1948 that marijuana made one so tranquil and so pacifistic that the communists were making abundant supplies available to the military, government employees, and key citizens. Marijuana thus became was part of a Communist Plot aimed to weaken America’s will to fight. It went unnoticed that this statement was a complete reversal of his congressional testimony eleven years before. Anti-communism put Anslinger back in the public eye, alongside his friend Senator Joseph McCarthy.
In passing the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the federal government shifted its constitutional loophole for jailing drug users and providers from taxation to the federal government’s obligation to regulate interstate traffic. This was as dramatic a violation of the Constitution as the taxation excuse, but it fit the government’s plan better. Under this law unelected bureaucrats could decide whether or not a substance was dangerous and how dangerous that substance was. There’s was no more need to messing around with legislatures or bothersome legal formalities. When MDMA (ecstasy) was made illegal in 1986, no elected official voted on that. It was done "in house." People went to jail because they did something that some administrator or bureaucrat invented a violation.
The Controlled Substances Act was circulated and enthusiastically received by the states; most of them modeled their programs on the federal plan. There is no longer a need, then, to deceive legislators: the agency commissars and their minions simply decide what the law is, and that’s that.
Today, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics is no more. In 1968, it was transferred from the Treasury Department to the Justice Department, where it was merged with the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (BDAC) to form the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD). In 1973, during the early skirmishes of the war against drugs, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE), and the Office of National Narcotics Intelligence (ONNI) all combined. They formed the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). As the war against drugs escalated, one agency was not enough. In 1988, the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board (NDEPB) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) were formed. The director of ONDCP became a cabinet-level position and its holder was named The Drug Czar or in our view, anti-communist sentiments notwithstanding, the American equivalent of a commissar.
Obviously. The 18thAmendment was needed for alcohol prohibition and it was so unpopular that later the 21stAmendment was needed to reverse the damage. It shifted the power to the states and that was not a complete solution. Those who wish to understand the related danger of States Rights should see Lincoln’s War Address of 4 July 1861. Modern Republicans really hate the way that he demolishes this "ingenious sophism." Anyway, at the federal level, the Harrison Act was clearly contrary to the spirit of the Constitution. It shows the extent to which unelected lawyers and bureaucrats have taken over the government. This situation will not be reversed until the people can restore access to true information.
As Thomas Jefferson promised: "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." His venue and enemy give us a common reference. Tyranny is now better organized than American freedom. Fortunately, totalitarian governments insist upon conformity at their peril. Our government must have dissent to function and, once we remember democracy flourishes with criticism, logic will lead to a restoration of both. The U.S. Constitution has within it the rules by which it can be changed, modified, or eliminated altogether.
Freedom of religion has a flexibility that allowed one of the oldest continuing governments in the world. Long before Europeans traveled on hempen sails to find religious freedom in a New World, natives on the land of North America used sacramental plants to commune with nature, the universal brotherhood, and the Great Spirit. We mentioned how the Incas chewed coca leaves for spiritual purposes, and the Conquistadors tyrants turned this former sacrament into a reward for work, and later made it into an energy stimulant to do more work.
Further north, other indigenous tribes ate the buds of the peyote cactus as an expression of thanksgiving, a request for guidance, or to support brothers in those directions. Peyote was used in a formal, ceremonial way, and "recreational" use was considered a sacrilege. The racist Europeans—who knew or cared little about Native Americans—found out what was going on and made it illegal. Oklahoma passed a law against peyote in 1899 and New Mexico outlawed it in 1929. When a sufficient number of white people began seeking mystical experience (1960s) peyote was considered a "menace" that had to be controlled nationally. Changing the purpose and use of coca leaves and peyote buds was part of the aristocratic destruction of the native civilization.
Even the "acceptable" techniques for achieving religious experience involve chemical change. Prayer is changing one’s focus—altering what one is thinking. Fasting causes a significant biochemical change. Even the "born again" experience as practiced by many churches is based on psychological threats (the pressure of spending eternity in hell vs. release of accepting Jesus and paradise) which produce profound biochemical change. Awareness is due to complex biochemical-electrical processes in the human nervous system. Slight alterations can shift consciousness. Any number of stimuli can trigger the chemical-electrical shift that leads to the such changes. When we have a shift in consciousness, our belief determines if perceived shift is a religious experience.
If we connect a certain positive feeling with God, each time we have that feeling we think of God. If we attach that same pleasant feeling to our spouse, each time we feel that feeling, we will think of our spouse. If we attach the feeling to a favorite video program, each time we feel that feeling, we will think of our favorite television program, and so on. A change of consciousness is an experience.
If we choose to give that experience religious meaning, it becomes a religious experience. If we choose to associate it with someone we are in love with, it becomes a romantic experience. If we choose to associate it with a television show, it becomes a video experience. We could even choose to associate it with something wicked and evil ("The devil tempts me" or "I’m having a psychotic episode"), and the experience becomes interpreted in a negative way. Little chemical impact is needed bring about profound consciousness shifts. For example, LSD is not measured in milligrams, but in micrograms (millionths of a gram) and a mere 25 micrograms can bring about a change in consciousness that lasts for hours. Descriptions of its impact have great variation.
At first psychiatrists thought the LSD experience closely resembled the delirium of extreme schizophrenia and visualized in the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. Maybe he was not interpreting those swirling sunflowers and turbulent skies, but painted what he saw. LSD, it was thought, should be taken by therapists to better understand the working of the schizophrenic mind, or by architects so that they might better design mental institutions to be healing and comforting places from an "insane" person’s viewpoint of view. Others thought LSD would be useful in therapy because it produced such a pronounced shift from ordinary consciousness. If insane people could be sufficiently jarred from their insanity—even for a brief period of time—perhaps their reality could be restructured, through therapy, into a healthier pattern. Still others—Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert—thought that LSD opened what Huxley called "doors of perception" through which human consciousness could glimpse mystical visions or insights leading to revelations like those of great spiritual teachers—Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Krishna, Jesus, Mohammed, etc..
Some thought LSD produced psychoses; others thought it produced enlightenment. How people approached the experience significantly influenced the results of the experience. Those who took LSD thinking it was going to simulate schizophrenia left the LSD experience thinking, "Oh, that’s what it’s like to be crazy." Many who took LSD expecting mystical revelation got mystical revelation. In the 1960s and early 1970s, hundreds of thousands—perhaps millions—accepted the Huxley-Leary-Alpert interpretation of LSD and, usually, had experiences they would describe as spiritual but it was confirmed that the mind-set and setting were vitally important.
One had to ask oneself, "Am I taking part in this experience for kicks or for illumination?" The latter was recommended. The setting was the environment in which you took LSD, whom you were taking it with, what physical activities were planned: music, silence, readings aloud from the New Testament or the Tibetan Book of the Dead. In properly planned sessions one had a guide who had had the experience before, to provide safety, support, and encouragement. Less than ten years later (mid-1970s) people were "dropping acid" on the way to discos. Soon "acid" became synonymous with any orally ingested consciousness-altering substance: tranquilizers, strychnine, it didn’t matter. People were looking for a "trip," not a journey, a "high," not a higher state of consciousness.
Some of the original "mystical" LSD takers went on to explore God in more traditional ways: LSD was advertised as only one door to the house of perception; how you moved in was up to you. Richard Alpert took an ancient route, went to India, and became Ram Dass. Timothy Leary took the techno route and became fascinated with space travel, computers, and cyberspace. Whatever the outcome, LSD was a bright flash between the black and white ‘50s and the Technicolor ‘70s. What people did with that flash was entirely up to them. Throughout history, humans have sought the tree of life. Some tried to "return to the garden" by ingesting substances from the plant, mineral, and animal kingdoms. Some worked; most didn’t. In our country, even sincere seekers cannot seek in this way. People can pray, fast, join a monastery or convent, or be missionaries. That’s okay.
Changing consciousness through external actions that produce internal chemical reactions is acceptable. Ingesting chemicals is not. If you do, you are not taking part in a sacrament, but committing a sacrilege. You will be punished for it not only in the hereafter, but here. Seekers are only entitled to use the traditional methods; those tried and accepted by Judeo-Christian scriptures.
We could quote at length from The Nation, The New Republic, or even High Times but there is an excellent dialogue on recreational drug use in a 1990 National Review (5 February). In a discussion between William F. Buckley, Jr., and Professor Michael S. Gazzaniga, a professor of Psychiatry (Neuroscience) at Dartmouth Medical School and editor-in-chief of a Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (MIT Press) and his recent book was Mind Matters (Houghton Mifflin, 1988). Here we have closely paraphrased much of that discussion around the professor’s answers.
Among others, he dispels the myth that drugs are "crimogenic." For example, crack acts on the brain to make people likelier to commit crime. He makes clear that crack is simply cocaine mixed with baking soda and then boiled with water to make the cocaine smoke-able. (About one in six cocaine users actually convert their stuff to crack.) Any drug ingested that way by the lungs goes more efficiently to the brain, so the result is a quicker, more intense experience. Otherwise, its impact on the brain is the same as with plain cocaine and similar to amphetamines. Of course, some crack users commit crimes because involvement drug trafficking is dangerous and people involved in it tend to use drugs at a high rate. One study of how crack breeds crime reports that most homicides involving crack were the result of dealer disputes, but such drugs vary from one year to the next. Using crack did not induce users to commit crimes.
Crack has more addictive power than many other drugs but the discussion led to a conclusion that even with an increase in the use of cocaine and crack, the legalization of it would actually result in a decrease in crime. (Misinformation runs rampant on this subject.) Amphetamines are also addictive but the special punch of crack, causes the casual-to-moderate users to avoid that category. On the other hand, since there are under a million cocaine users, crack does not begin to approach tobacco as a nationwide health hazard. For every crack-related death, there are three hundred tobacco-related deaths. If the goal is simply to get high, users might try cocaine or some amphetamine. Marijuana, in contrast, is a mild hallucinogen and tranquilizer.
Illegality has been shown to have little if anything to do with drug consumption, but gets to the issue availability. Drugs are so pervasive that they might just as well be legal as illegal. Perhaps legalization will create a more permissive or more indulgent social climate. It is certainly conceivable there would be greater initial use as a result of curiosity. But human beings in all cultures tend to seek out means of altering their mental state, and although some will shop around until they lose the powers of self-discipline, most settle down to a base rate of abuse, which are pretty much in evidence with substances like alcohol and nicotine. If we exclude tobacco, in the whole nation probably less than 10 per cent of the adult population abuses drugs. The figure of about 12 million adult Americans who abuse drugs includes alcohol, and the percentage remains fairly constant.
In our culture alone, around 75% of us use alcohol, and the abuse rate is estimated at 5 to 6%. There is an inclination to moderation in the human response to drug availability. Most people are adjusted and intent on living productive lives. Most of us enjoy the sensations of euphoria, or anxiety reduction, (at times) social dis-inhibition, or even anesthesia, without letting a desire for these sensations dominate our behavior. Alcohol fills these needs for many people and its use is managed intelligently and it is worth noting that the largest proportion of this drug is sold to the social drinker, not the drunk, just as most cocaine is sold to the casual user, not the addict.
Now, early exposure to alcohol is common and inevitable, and youthful drinking can be extreme. Yet studies have shown that it is difficult to determine which drunk at the college party will evolve into a serious alcoholic. What is known is that the vast majority of early drinkers stop excessive drinking all by themselves. In fact, drug use of all types drops off radically with age.
The 10 per cent figure includes all drugs except tobacco and actual risks for abuse and its intensity is much lower with some drugs. The real question is whether or not more and more Americans are becoming addicted to psycho active substances going up and the answer is no. There are fads during which one drug becomes more popular than another, but when one drug goes up in consumption, others go down. Both heroin and marijuana uses are down. Pushers try to market purity as a strategy to grab market share but some drugs drop to such a low rate throughout the country that its use can hardly be measured in most areas. Stressful situations, like Vietnam, can provoke the greater use of whatever drug happens to be available, but when they came home over 90% of the veterans walk away from the drugs and follow-up studies after years do not report any increase.
Those who live in poverty or frustration with few possible escapes are likelier than your more satisfied counterparts to escape into drugs. A Department of Defense study did show drug use in the military was lower for blacks than for whites, the reverse of civilian life, which seems to confirm that environmental factors (better integration, less racism) plays an important role in the incidence of drug use. The higher rate of consumption did not, however, result in higher rates of addiction. Drug consumption can go up in a particular stress-fueled population, but the rate of addiction doesn’t go up no matter what the degree of stress. Most people can walk away from high drug use if their lives become normal. Besides stress, there are plenty of affluent people who for some reason or another do not find their lives rewarding and also escape into drugs.
Addictive rates are also affected by education but most people think themselves as in enough control to overcome initial exposure and they are right. Even in the most difficult case, tobacco—the most highly addictive substance around, normally intelligent people will stop after being told the tangible hazards of using a particular substance. For those people who show up at addiction center psychological aids, including education, had little value. These are the proper examples of what happens when someone uses drugs. Despite withdrawal, most people can voluntarily stop using a psychoactive substance, and continued uses know enough to moderate their intake to reduce possible health hazards. This is true for most substances, but appears less true for tobacco because of its stronger addictive nature. Those who continue to use tobacco tend to smoke themselves into major illness despite being amply warned of its likelihood. So no matter how widely we spread the message, it will ignored by both by Ph.D.s and by illiterates if they are real abusers, which is the reason for the high recidivism rate among graduates of drug treatment centers, the true addicts.
Education appears not to help the recalcitrant abusers who keep showing up at health centers but it contributes to lowering the abuse rate. The message gets to the ghetto, but there are other problems—such as the need for an artificial reward, so drugs may be taken because the current condition is so painful as to override long-term reason. In short, ghetto citizens or psychologically isolated persons might well decide against the probability of living a better life is low, and grab whatever immediate rewards they can, so people in the lowest socio-economic status will continue to consume more drugs. Legalization might not change the current addiction figures but would reduce crime in the ghetto, so positive results could follow. Legalization would more likely pose an addiction threat to wealthy areas or where drugs are not easily secured but the benefit of crumbling crime network foe society should not be underestimated.
Legalization of drugs sold without prescription to adults in a kind Federal Drugstore, combined with a program of intensified education, would initially result in drug-consumption rates bouncing around based on fads and a host of environmental factors but long term drug-abuse rates will not likely change much, if at all. The health costs of drug abuse will always be with us but many of the other negative social consequences of keeping drugs illegal might be neutralized and we could to focus on those problems with more serious neurobiologic and neurobehavioral research to help where we can to reduce the victims. In any case, the present system doesn’t work so we need to try another approach and for whatever reason, if legalization doesn’t help, it could be reversed. A program sponsored by the Police Foundation, in the National Institute of Justice, noted that:
The goal of legalizing drugs is to bring them under effective legal control. If it were legal to produce and distribute drugs, legitimate businessmen would enter the business. There would be less need for violence and corruption since the industry would have access to the courts. And, instead of absorbing tax dollars as targets of expensive enforcement efforts, the drug sellers might begin to pay taxes. So, legalization might well solve the organized crime aspects of the drug trafficking problem.
On average, drug use under legalization might not be as destructive to users and to society as under the current prohibition, because drugs would be less expensive, purer, and more conveniently available. As Thomas Paine pointed out, government was a necessary evil. Unless it is limited or regulated, it will regulate us by becoming self-serving and using patronage to buy protection. The intent of the United States Constitution was not always completely clear, but if someone had tried to stop farmers from planting medicinal drugs, they would likely have been tarred and feathered.
Even the taxing of certain products led to fighting, as in the Whiskey Rebellion. More simply, non-violent, non-larcenous, and consensual adult behavior is not criminal behavior unless we consent to rule by religious beliefs, rather than reason and our government forbids imposing religion. As shown by the examples of alcohol and nicotine, drug use is not drug abuse. Even if it were, the use is not what causes the crime; that’s usually the result of prohibition. More often the abuse is a medical and psychological problem, against which security will not be gained by giving up our liberties.
Honest members of the legal profession have shared this concern. In 1993, in the midst of a drug war, Judge Knapp told the New York Times (May 14) his conclusion after 20 years on the bench, that "federal drug laws are a disaster" and that it was time to "get the government out of drug enforcement, A 1993 Newsweek (June 14), cited another Judge Irving who quit the federal bench in San Diego, as saying:
You get a kid who makes a mistake. If he’s involved with enough drugs then it’s a 10-year minimum mandatory sentence and he has to do 8 ½ years. To me, that’s ludicrous…
Fed up with mandatory sentences, about 50 senior federal judges refused to hear any more drug cases and others disobeyed sentencing rules and a few have resigned in protest. On the same page with heartening news was a contrasting incident of:
An 18-year-old Alabama high-school senior [was] sentenced to 10 years for federal drug conspiracy because she told an undercover agent where to meet her boyfriend to buy LSD.
Consider the example of David A. Nichols. In 1993 he went to the Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution after being convicted of "conspiracy to manufacture" methamphetamine and attempted manufacture of P-2-P, its precursor. He was sentenced to 27 non-parolable years in prison based on liquid waste found in the garage and unprocessed chemicals. There were no actual drugs found and he was a first-time drug law offender convicted for non-violent, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior. We are spending about $35,000 per year to keep him locked up, which is much more than an average American makes per year, which means that citizens must sacrifice so that he might be adequately fed, clothed, housed, and receive free medical care.
Popular drugs, such as alcohol and nicotine, are legally available and cause much more harm than all the illegal drugs combined, This means nothing to the politicians and their hired enforcers who "are only following orders." Drug sellers are often users and are not bank robbers, rapists, killers S&L thieves, or Enron frauds (who typically get much less time). Some of them simple made or sold or used a product that millions of people want. Of course, nicotine is not illegal, but the same irrationality that made presently illegal drugs illegal, would be applied to nicotine if it were newly discovered. It would top the addiction list of non-medical, highly addictive, harmful drugs. Also see law enforcement against prohibition: www.leap.cc/cms/index.php
The government gets its power by taxing national wealth. Non-producing workers, such as the government employees who guard innocent citizens, are unproductive. The laws of nature, including human nature, cannot be legislated out of existence. Morality and natural economics cannot be legislated. Government tends to over-control and becomes corrupt, unless it is watched very closely.
The medical establishment was initially wrong about the big killers and cripplers like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and arthritis. Wrong about the origins of these diseases. And wrong about how to remedy them. In many ways their record is shameful. Although young doctors take a solemn oath to uphold the life and well being of patients above all else, today it sadly seems that today’s physicians care more about their profession than their patients. The U.S. has sunk as low as 47th among the industrial world in a number of health measurements and the profession often wants to distract from that fact.
Traditional Western medicine is known as symptomatic medicine. It diagnoses and treats symptoms. This is fine—and for the elimination of certain symptoms there is nothing like symptomatic medicine. To pretend, however, that symptomatic medicine represents the full range of healing and health enhancements available is a severely limited view. While symptomatic medicine is marvelous, it does not justify our current attitude, which was summed up by George Bernard Shaw:
We have not lost faith, but we have transferred it from God to the medical profession.
For example, Marijuana's addiction -- if it exists at all -- is certainly big business. In contrast to 15% of alcohol users who are "drug dependent" and twice as many tobacco users who fit that definition (see 1999 report by Institute of Medicine), fewer than 10% of cannabis experimenters meet a similar clinical diagnosis (per DSM-III-R criteria). The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), appropriated over $4 million dollars established a national Center for Cannabis Addiction to: "develop novel approaches to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of marijuana addiction." The U.S. National Institutes of Health have also made millions of dollars in grant funding available "to support research studies that focus on the identification, and ...evaluation, of medications that can be safe and effective for the treatment of cannabis-use and -induced disorders."
NIDA allowed a $4 million research grant to promote a "(THC) patch" for the treatment of marijuana dependence and withdrawal ...as an innovative way to treat marijuana withdrawal symptoms and dependence." The agency's director, Nora Volkow, explained it was needed "...to fill a critical gap in available treatments" for those many struggling with detrimental marijuana-related medical and social consequences. Why is there no similar effort against alcohol and tobacco? In simplest terms, both the alcohol and tobacco lobbies can protect themselves against such threats and NIDA wants tax dollars to perpetuate a myth and keep its research center staffed. Hopefully the money will be spent on more useful pursuits and not let the funding facts get in the way.
The actual number of persons seeking drug treatment for marijuana "as a primary substance at admission" is under 300,000 (2007, U.S. HHS, Office of Applied Studies, SAMHSA). In fact these persons were not seeking treatment for dependence and many had not used pot in the month prior to their admission. Actually, the reason these people usually sought "treatment" was because they were had been arrested with some weed and accepted treatment instead of jail, that is why 58% of those enrolled in drug treatment for marijuana are there to avoid jail (2009, TEDS Report by SAMHSA), based on referrals were from parole and probation offices. Therefore, pot arrests and prohibition are primarily responsible for the added treatment admission rate, it is not marijuana use per se. The NIDA wants it to seem reversed and it allows their claim that today's pot "can produce serious physical and psychological consequences," In fact, cannabis use has relatively minor adverse effects of when compared to legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco. Legal opiates are also capable of lethal overdose, beside being physically habit-forming. There are withdrawal effects from cannabis, but these are also comparatively minor (2009, Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal on German university study), relative to abstinence symptoms associated with tobacco addiction, or sometimes fatal physical syndromes associated with chronic alcohol or heroin use. This diversion is a minor example of how medical spending is diverted.
The human life span has tripled in the past 400 years but the several reasons for this amazing improvement are not directly medical. The three scientific A’s sum up the majority of lives saved by modern medicine: anesthesia (that permits a wide variety of surgery), antiseptics, and antibiotics. Then there is plumbing, which took septic waste away from homes, streets, and cities, and transportation. It made fresh fruits and vegetables available year-round and added clean, safe water to the everyday diet. Neither the dissemination of drugs nor plumbing requires a medical degree and either could save many more lives than a highly skilled surgeon hacking away in an environment like that of Africa. Of course the medical profession wants to take credit for extending lives.
Although genuine, certified quacks do exist, it’s not a very bad profession. Charlatans can be put out of business by a few lawsuits by disgruntled patients. A meddling government is generally too slow to act. When it does, it tends to overreact. Our point, which will become clearer, is that alternative methods of maintaining and obtaining health should be not be forbidden by government agencies, such as the FDA. As for the various strategies of enhancing health, whether by drugs or by plumbing, these are not the business of government unless they prove – or can be proved – harmful to the citizen or to others. They often were in the past.
As late as the early 1900s, prepared foods and packaged medicines were a mess. For example, as Upton Sinclair described in The Jungle (1906 expose of meatpacking), meatpackers would pack anything into skins: the digestive tracts of animals and all that they contained along with sawdust and rat droppings—and sell it as "pure beef sausage." One could not be sure if a quart of beef stew contained an entire quart of beef stew—or even any beef. Over-the-counter "patent" medicines might claim contain nothing but sugar-water in an imposing medicine bottle because there was no requirement to list ingredients or strength of concentration on the label. The states normally regulated food and drugs through local health codes, honest-weight restrictions, and other regulations but -- with improvements in packaging, transportation, and marketing -- by the turn of the century many products were traveling across state lines. This brought them under the jurisdiction of the federal government: regulation of interstate commerce was one of the powers enumerated to Congress so in 1906, Congress passed a Pure Food and Drug Act (aka Wiley Act) to establish "unadulterated" standards for foods and drugs and contents be clearly labeled. This needed regulation had a giant loophole as to who would decide what "adulterated" meant. For example, in1903 Coca-Cola was taken to court by the government for marketing a "mislabeled" product because it had replaced "the real thing" with cheaper caffeine (than cocaine).
Coca-Cola was in trouble not because it contained cocaine, but because it didn’t. According to E. J. Kahn’s book, The Big Drink: The Story of Coca-Cola, the case continued in court for nine years until Coca-Cola eventually agreed to make changes in its manufacturing process and to list its ingredients—which included neither coca nor kola. By 1927, the enforcement of such laws moved from the Bureau of Chemistry in the Department of Agriculture into it’s a bureaucratic structure called the Food, Drug, and Insecticide Administration. In 1931, for more a more respectable name, it dropped Insecticide from its title and became the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA role had the power to ban "harmful" additives but what criteria defined "harmful"?
If a chemical had a known lethal dose, should it be prohibited? But then salt could never be used as an additive. For the most part, whatever the FDA decided was harmful was harmful. The decisions were sometimes capricious and subject to challenge in court. Almost by default, the FDA grew to encompass regulation over all medical techniques, practices, and devices. From an Act stipulating that food not be "adulterated" or "misbranded" when shipped across state lines, it was amended (1912) to prohibit false therapeutic claims. Again, who is to say what is and is not therapeutic? For example, placebo effects are scientifically proven: if people take an absolutely worthless substance and believe it’s going to make them better, it tends to make about a third of the people better.
Bona fide, licensed, reputable physicians use placebos every day—with the approval of both the Food and Drug Administration and the American Medical Association. The doctor will charge the full amount for an office visit, write a prescription, send the patient to a pharmacy to pay a large amount of money for glorified sugar pills. And insurance companies knowingly and willingly pay the bills. Whether it’s belief in the doctor, in the pills, in getting out of the house and paying some money, or a combination of all those factors, one thing is certain: many people who take the sugar pills get better faster than people who are told by the doctor, "There’s nothing I can do about this; it will have to run its course." It was often the same with the patent medicines. Patent medicines were the largest advertisers in the country at the turn of the century and if advertising copy could convince you that Mother’s Soothing Syrup would cure your cold, for some people the cold got cured sooner than it would without the Syrup. If not, the manufacturer might issued a refund.
The 1912 law left the burden of proof on the government to show that a manufacturer was clearly defrauding the public. This was not stringent enough, however, and the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was passed forcing manufacturers to scientifically prove that its drugs are effective. For patent medicines and cosmetics, good-bye placebo effect (not for the AMA & "legitimate" pharmaceutical companies). While the spirit behind strengthening the FDA was certainly good, the results have been mixed. Yes, the FDA guidelines restrict the amount of animal droppings and insect parts permitted in foods (they do not altogether prohibit them) and it’s good to know that hemorrhoid cream sometimes actually shrinks "hemorrhoidal tissue." However, some of the FDA’s current activity amounts to dictating and prohibiting what does not heal people.
In other words, only medicine that the FDA and AMA define medicine. Everything else can become quackery, which according to the FDA is fundamentally evil, and both suppliers and consumers those who traffic in it deserve to be punished. It is not just misguided medical practices that American consumers need to be educated about; they should not have the freedom to maintain and enhance their own health as they choose. People have the freedom to find and worship God as they choose, but they cannot choose their medicine. Unfortunately, the quackery of the past is sometimes the sound medical practice of today. What doctors fear is that the sound medical practice of the past can become the foolishness today. That’s why it’s often hard to tell the FDA and AMA apart.
There’s hardly a practice or procedure that was considered sound medical science 200 years ago that someone wouldn’t be arrested for attempting today—and with good reason. For example, George Washington was literally bled to death because it was then believed that the "pressure" of illness had to be relieved by bleeding away "evil humors." The methods of Washington’s physicians are no longer studied and they would not likely want to be remembered for the harm they inflicted.
Conversely, fifty years ago Medical doctors prescribed bed rest and lots of red meat for a weak heart. It would have been considered blatant quackery to prescribe diet, exercise, or vitamins for heart disease. People were arrested for suggesting that exercise, reduced meat diets, and vitamin supplements would help the heart. Now these techniques are part of standard medical practice. So how did the FDA take a such a logic-defying leap? This from the official FDA history:
It was recognized that no drug is truly safe unless it is also effective, and effectiveness was required to be established before marketing—one of the major advances of medical history.
The error is in equating safety with effectiveness. A safe drug is one I can put in my body and know that, as long as I take it in recommended doses, will not cause me to shrivel up and die. An effective drug is something else. Yes, if one takes an ineffective drug instead of an effective one, the illness may become worse and that’s not good. However, it tortures the language to say that the ineffective drug is not safe. It confuses the issue. Saying a drug cures something when it doesn’t makes the manufacturer guilty of false advertising, not marketing unsafe substances. The government should be able to warn consumers of potential risks—including that the drug or medical procedure may not be ineffective. Instead of refusing a FDA "seal of approval," it wants to ban all products that it has not approved. Right now, the FDA also arrests some of those products’ manufacturers.
There is a monetary motivation. According to Science magazine, it costs hundreds of millions of dollars and about a dozen years of testing to receive FDA drug approval. This burden keeps any number of useful drugs off the market because pharmaceutical companies won’t bother testing promising drugs if they will not make back their investments and even if they move at full speed ahead, cures are still, for the most part, twelve years from market. Even worse than suppressing newly discovered drugs is the fact that drugs discovered years ago may lack FDA approval and therefore are not marketed. No pharmaceutical company in the known world is going to waste time getting approval for a proven drug that can be freely imported from another country. In that sense the lack of an FDA "seal of approval," can be used more effectively than any tariff barrier.
These many hurdles are keeping essential drugs and treatments from the American public. Jane S. Smith observes in her 1990 book, Patenting the Sun: Polio and the Salk Vaccine, Jonas Salk often remarked, that his polio work it would be impossible to repeat today, when such ventures need to be passed by human-subject and peer review boards with various other qualifying agencies:
…In 1952 you got the permission of the people involved and went out and did it, and then wrote up your results in a scientific journal. If something terrible happened, the blame would be on your head and the blood on your hands, and of course your career would be over—but in the planning stages, at least, life was a great deal easier for the medical experimenter than it has since become.
The Salk vaccine, which was used widely from 1953, would not have been available until the mid-1960s by using today’s standards. At that assumes that Dr. Salk could have found a pharmaceutical company willing to gamble many millions of dollars on his vaccine. With current FDA guidelines, polio might be a common disease even today. One doctor, Julian Whitaker, pointed out:
In medical school I was taught that the only tools that work to help people are drugs and surgery. …[S]ince then, I have seen that much of what I was taught is just plain wrong.
The Food and Drug Administration is intimately connected with the American Medical Association as well as the handful of pharmaceutical companies which create and manufacture the majority of prescription drugs. Working at the FDA, being on the board of the AMA, and working for any of the large pharmaceutical companies is like playing musical chairs. The high-paying jobs—the gold ring on the merry-go-round—are at pharmaceutical companies. The best way to get a raise is to become a "public servant" for a couple of years and spend some time at the FDA or AMA, which is also why politicians frequently own pharmaceutical stocks. For example, when George Bush I became vice-president, the New York Times reported, that he still owned the Eli Lilly stock and it was his largest stock holding. When he left the CIA (1977), he was made the director of Eli Lilly by appointment of Dan Quayle’s father, a post he held until 1979 when he began running for vice-president (with a generous campaign contribution from guess who). Obviously, Dan Quayle’s family also owned an enormous amount of the stock. While vice-president, Bush made what the New York Times called (19 May 1982) "an unusual move" by intervening with the Treasury Department in connection with proposed rules to force pharmaceutical companies to pay more taxes.
Alternative healing methods directly threaten the profitable prescription drug business. The U.S. government’s recommended daily allowances (RDA) for vitamins and minerals are shown to insufficient and food lobbies help to keep them figures low. For example, nutrition labels may proudly state a product contains 100% Vitamin C RDA because that’s only 60 mg per day. The product looks good but consider that some medical research has put the optimal Vitamin C intake at 3,000 mg per day. Now, the manufacturer’s claim could seem ridiculous, if it contains only 2% of the optimal intake. Here we see good old corporate greed as a motivating factor.
The FDA also tried to limit some vitamin supplements to the recommended daily allowance and require a doctor’s prescription for larger doses. This meant that doctors would be paid to write the prescriptions and only certain authorized pharmaceutical companies will be able to manufacture the approved pills. Is the FDA really concerned that some of us are taking too much vitamin C? No, it’s not quietly sitting in Washington rubber-stamping "disapproval" on various proposals. It has an army of armed agents who make raids, often augmented by local law enforcement authorities. Overnight, the FDA can put a nutritional supplement manufacturer out of business and to say that it sometimes overreacts is an understatement. When a despicable person killed 7 people by lacing Tylenol with cyanide (1982), the FDA machinery imposed tamper-resistant packaging.
By making packaging expensive, the measure served as an indirect tariff plan to prevent poorer countries from competing with overpriced U.S. drugs. Because the FDA requires such tamper-resistant packaging on selected consumable products, Americans must waste time. How much time? Even if it only averages a minute a day, over 70 years of package opening, we’ll each waste over seventeen 24-hour days thanks to an overreaction that fails to solve a problem we no longer have. In fact, to make the food and drugs truly tamper-proof would require metal or glass packaging for everything from candy bars to bread and boxes of cereal. Therefore, the threat is as real as ever. Thankfully, there have been few "copycat" occurrences but that has had nothing to do with tamper-resistant packaging. If terrorist wants to randomly poison innocent people, they still can.
By what right does the federal government stop us from seeking the health care we choose? Whether it’s taking drugs not yet approved by the FDA, visiting "unorthodox" healers such as chiropractors to acupuncturists. For example, even certain health machinery (oxygen—and even plastic tubing used to transport oxygen) requires a prescription. In fact, anything that does not physically harm the person or property of a non-consenting other, is not part of the federal government’s business unless it is in the Constitution and democratically approved by the people. That’s according to 9th and 10thAmendments. The FDA would likely be approved to keep the rat droppings and insect parts out of our frozen pizzas but they would not be permitted to prescription drugs from Canada.
Getting outlaw regulations off our backs will require political mobilization and a series of court challenges. Besides doctors, good health is as much a product proven drugs and good plumbers. Just as the latter can be enforced by competent engineers, scientifically educated citizens can decide on the extent of drug enforcement, which now a major battleground against corporate domination.
The highly respected, scrupulously impartial organization responsible for Consumer Reports—studied the drug problem in this nation long and hard. Its conclusions appeared in a report that was published in 1972 as Licit and Illicit Drugs to solicit prompt and ungrudging changes:
This nation’s drug laws and policies have not been working well; on that simple statement almost all Americans seem agreed…. They are the result of mistaken laws and policies, of mistaken attitudes toward drugs, and of futile, however well intentioned, efforts to "stamp out the drug menace." [What we have in this country is] aptly called the "drug problem"—the damage that results from the ways in which society has approached the drug problem.
This Consumers Union Report was nearly six hundred pages long. It stopped short of Professor Gazzaniga’s suggestion for legalization, as described above. Although there is no easy answers, it did list six recommendations for correcting errors.
1. Stop emphasizing measures designed to keep drugs away from people.
2. Stop publicizing the horrors of the "drug menace."
3. Stop increasing the damage done by drugs. (Current drug laws and policies make drugs more rather than less damaging in many ways.)
4. Stop misclassifying drugs. (Most official and unofficial classifications of drugs are illogical and capricious; they, therefore, make a mockery of drug law enforcement and bring drug education into disrepute. A major error of the current drug classification system is that it treats alcohol and nicotine—two of the most harmful drugs—essentially as non-drugs.)
5. Stop viewing the drug problem as primarily a national problem, to be solved on a national scale. (…workers in the drug scene confirm, the "drug problem" is a collection of local problems.)
6. Stop pursuing the goal of stamping out illicit drug use.
As far as the religious "War on Drugs" is concerned, these six are good place to start. Our real point is that this war was lost when the Constitution was subverted in 1886. We can put all the drug users in jail (maybe next they will start a religious "War on Poverty" by imprisoning all the poor people), but is that American? Also consider the British Opium War Against China; but we digress.
Some people believe that the Constitution needs to be protected from even an idea of another system of government. Ironically, those who claim to defend the Constitution in this manner, by suspend people’s constitutional right to advocate other forms of government, are the ones who would destroy the Constitution. That the people may someday vote out our current form of government and replace it with another is a risk inherent in our form of government. Those who try to eliminate the risk to so by themselves destroying the present system. Consider the fanaticism of the Cold War nuclear policy. A "better dead than Red" policy almost led to mutual destruction in 1962.
Why do people seem to think our system of government is so fragile that it can’t stand on its own among other ideas of government? If it’s as fragile as butterfly, then it’s proved to be an iron butterfly. We have a system that becomes stronger by being challenged, just as we become stronger through exercise. When not challenged, our government—like our bodies or our minds—becomes flabby, self-indulgent, and complacent. It’s amazing that those who claim the greatest allegiance to the Constitution and our form of government often show such little trust in either.
Now that a "communist menace" has been safely laid to rest, we can make a few frank observations about communism, and the U.S. reaction to its threat, and how great a menace or threat there really was. Prior to 1989, as someone accurately observed, the only state-sponsored religion in the United States was anti-communism. One of the tenets of this "religion" was that if you did anything but denounce communism in the most virulent terms, you were a communist. Now that it’s all over, however, and we can use the word communist without prefacing it with dirty or god-damned, let’s look at the growth of anti-communism—and thus a growth of state-enforced political conformity—in the United States. We never really hated communism as much as we hated Soviet totalitarianism. Understandably, we especially came to hate Stalin’s cruelty and he was not hard to hate.
He was personally responsible for the death of millions. Countries have been responsible for the death of millions, but individuals who can claim this distinction are few. Stalin’s politics in a nutshell: Kill those who oppose you; terrorize those who support you. Using this method, Stalin succeeded, by 1924, in gaining total control of Russia. He rounded up millions of dissidents, put them in prison camps (the Gulags) and, essentially, starved them to death. Stalin was a monster and this was not good for the Russian people but, historically, it was good for the United States. If Stalin had been a weaker leader (like Mussolini), Hitler probably would have beaten him in 1941.
Although communal societies have existed throughout history, true communism was proposed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the mid-1800s to suggest that everything be owned in common. Naturally, this threatened those who already owned almost everything. For the next seventy years, it made for stimulating political discussion but in 1918, when Leninist won the Russian Revolution—and the world’s first communist state was established, at least in name. By 1919, the United States was soundly denounced communism, socialism, and anarchism. In 1920, a national "Red Scare" resulted in the 2,700 arrests. In the infamous Sacco and Vanzetti case, both were found guilty in 1921 and executed mainly for their unpopular political beliefs (later vindicated). Meanwhile in Germany, powerful bankers and industrialists rallied behind Nazis against communism.
After three years in a seminary, Stalin saw the light and became a politician. By 1922, Stalin was the general secretary of the Communist Party. Even though shortly before his death in 1924 Lenin had written a "testament" urging that Stalin be removed from his post for inappropriate and arbitrary conduct, he succeeded Lenin as leader of the Soviet Union in 1924. Through the remainder of the 1920s and the 1930s, Stalin repeatedly sought European and American support against Nazism but found England, France, Poland, and America, were less interested in dealing with him than with Hitler. He turned the table by joining a non-aggression pact with Hitler in 1939. This made Hitler and Stalin allies in the invasion of Poland and thus each agreed to begin World War II.
In 1911, at age 29, Franklin Delano Roosevelt looking forward to a good fight and as assistant secretary of the Navy during World War I he got what he wanted. After a losing a vice-presidential race in 1920, and despite being stricken with polio (1921), he successfully ran for president in 1932. While enacting and administering some of the most sweeping socialistic programs in American history (the 1930s New Deal), Roosevelt remained violently anti-communist in speeches. While running for presidential re-election in 1936, for example, he made this speech:
I have not sought, I do not seek, I repudiate the support of any advocate of Communism or of any other alien "ism" which would by fair means or foul change our American democracy.
Note "by fair means or foul." What Mr. Roosevelt was saying—and as practiced by American politicians before and since—is that communism should not be tolerated even if it were introduced by "fair means." In other words, even if the communists were legally voted into office, it would be unacceptable to President Roosevelt. That the successful 1936 presidential candidate (and the liberal candidate at that) could make such hostile statements indicated the tenor of the times—a tenor that became increasingly shrill as the years went by. Presumably the fair means by which Hitler had achieved power were acceptable to the American political elite. When the discussion turned to Stalin, Roosevelt applied the nastiest word one could use in 1940, dictatorship:
The Soviet Union, as everybody who has the courage to face the fact knows, is run by a dictatorship as absolute as any other dictatorship in the world.
Unfortunately, the elite also had trouble with the Russian people. In 1941, Senator Truman said:
…If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia, and if we see Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible.
Blaming democratic socialists in Europe had nothing to do with Stalin’s dictatorship. The Russian people were victims of bolshevism much like social democrats were victims of Nazism. It was something like blaming Jesus Christ for the Spanish Inquisition. Stalin, the former seminary student had also become an outspoken enemy of all religion which got the adjective godless grafted onto communism, a phrase that destroyed communism’s standing in American popularity polls. If anti-communism was not a national U.S. religion before World War II, it became a hysteria after the war. In the new Cold War, our vital ally only a few years earlier became a vile enemy.
If the American people had remembered some details about World War II and its peace settlement, we might have seen the "communist menace" in a more realistic perspective, and we might not have spent as much money and destroyed as many lives fighting communism. In the 1930s, the isolationist mood of America lamented World War I, "to keep the world safe for democracy," because less than twenty years later those quarrelsome Europeans were about to go at it again. The conflict was referred to as the coming "European war" and Americans wanted none of it. With the depression, Americans had enough troubles of their own and were about as likely to return to fight in Europe in 1935 or 1938, as we would return to Vietnam today. Various politicians attempted to tell the American people that this war was different—there was this man named Hitler, but the American people, for the most part, were not buying. In a campaign speech on October 30, 1940, President Roosevelt, campaigning for an unprecedented third term talking to mothers and fathers, said:
…I give you one more assurance. I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.
No less an American hero than Charles Lindbergh visited Germany and returned to inform the American people that there was no comparison between the air power of England and the air power of Germany: Germany would win the European war. Unless we wanted to go over and fight for ourselves, Lindbergh suggested the path of strict neutrality. His voice was persuasive, but far from being neutral in the European conflict, Roosevelt leaned heavily toward England. Churchill said, "Give us the tools," and Roosevelt did. Through a program known as lend-lease, the United States supplied Great Britain with ships, airplanes, and armaments. The resulting surge in industrial output, more than any other single factor, began to bring America out of its depression.
Once Hitler’s tanks rolled into Poland, then captured Paris, Churchill became Prime minister and he sailed to America where to charm more armaments out of the United States. However, as Lindbergh warned, an alliance between Roosevelt and Churchill alone, even if one officially existed in 1940 and most of 1941, could not have beaten Hitler. It was not until the German dictator stupidly attacked Stalin, his former ally that the tables turned. Churchill defended Russia.
Hitler is a monster of wickedness, insatiable in his lust for blood and plunder. Not content with having all Europe under his heel, or else terrorized into various forms of abject submission, he must now carry his work of butchery and desolation among the vast multitudes of Russia and of Asia. The terrible military machine, which we and the rest of the civilized world so foolishly and supinely allowed the Nazi gangsters to build up year by year from almost nothing, cannot stand idle lest it rust or fall to pieces. … So now this bloodthirsty guttersnipe must launch his mechanized armies upon new fields of slaughter, pillage and devastation.
Of course, secretly, Churchill was thrilled. He knew Hitler’s invasion of Russia would take the pressure off England and provide additional proof to the United States that Hitler respected no treaty, territory, or bounds of decency. Hitler would not take over Europe and leave America alone: Hitler’s goal was world domination. The attack on Russia made it no longer a European war, but a world war. Then, after two strategic defeats, code named BARBAROSSA and TYPHOON, Hitler stupidly declared war on the United States in the forlorn hope of getting the Japanese to rescue him from the east; except he forgot to ask them first. At that point the loathing for Herr Hitler united Churchill and Roosevelt with Stalin. Stalin was vindicated in his warnings of Hitler’s danger.
In November 1943, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin met in Teheran and Stalin held the strongest hand and was in the best negotiating position. As she had done with Napoleon in 1812, Mother Russia had rallied to crush Hitler’s finest army near Stalingrad with a fierceness Hitler had not anticipated. The reality of six Axis armies destroyed in the snows of winter and the mud of spring made further advances impossible, as proved in the Kursk offensive of July 1943. Over a million German, Italian, Romanian, and Hungarian troops had died. After repeated defeats Italy had gotten out of the war, and if not yet an Ally was united in trying to expel Germans from its land. The talks went well and in his 1943 Christmas Eve Fireside Chat, Roosevelt assured America:
I believe that we are going to get along very well with [Stalin] and the Russian people…
When Allied victory was in sight in early 1945, things were less rosy. The "Big Three" gathered in Yalta in the U.S.S.R. (February). Roosevelt had been elected to a fourth term of office but was visibly ill. Stalin was three years older than Roosevelt and still robust and had contempt for this weakness: born rich but disabled in adulthood by a disease that struck mostly children, how could Americans re-elect this former lawyer to lead them in a war. To him it indicated the pathetic condition of western capitalism. Stalin equated Soviet strength begins with his own physical power.
What he brought to the conference table was also significant: The Soviet Union had lost more than 25 million people in the war, compared to Roosevelt’s and Churchill’s 800,000. If Stalin had lost to Hitler in 1941, the war would be over and the Axis could have won World War 2. Stalin considered himself a greater partner in the war and demanded to a larger share of the spoils. However, it wasn’t that Churchill or Roosevelt wanted to take more of the spoils than Stalin; he was incensed that they wanted to rebuild Germany. As early as November 1944 (in Aachen), they had restored former Nazis to their administrative positions. His view was that if you lose a war, you lose your land.
Stalin had not lost 25 million Soviet people for nothing: he had every intention of expanding his empire, and that was going to include the lands he had conquered alongside Germany earlier in the war. This included Poland and the Baltic states. Roosevelt still entertained the Morgenthau plan to divide Germany and disarm its war industries. Churchill had some sympathy for the Hanoverians and felt that Germany should eventually rejoin the West. Roosevelt and Churchill tried to argue that Stalin was playing by the old rules for land and that they were fighting for ideology.
Stalin called this nonsense. He maintained that any Germans who had seriously opposed to Hitler had left Germany, been eliminated, or were in concentration camps. The vast majority of the people Roosevelt and Churchill wanted to give Germany back to, had been firmly behind Hitler, especially after the early military victories. Besides, at the end of World War I, when Germany was given back to its people, within two decades, had rearmed and started another world war. He cited how less than a hundred years before, America had waged war on millions of Native Americans and taken their land and built its country using forced labor of enslaved Africans, savagely taken from their homeland. He wondered how Roosevelt—less than fifty years after the last Indian surrender, which happened within Roosevelt’s memory (he would have been sixteen at the time)—have the nerve to tell Stalin that the rules of war had now been "civilized"? Only three months before the Yalta Conference, on November 4, 1944, while campaigning in Boston, Roosevelt acknowledged:
All of our people all over the country—except the pure-blooded Indians—are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, including even those who came over here on the Mayflower.
And how dare Roosevelt criticize Stalin’s Gulag prison camps? Didn’t Roosevelt have more than 110,000 American citizens of Japanese descent rounded up and, without trial, sent to prison camps in the United States? And, speaking of Japan, why was Japan in this war? Until the mid-1800s, Japan was a fiercely isolationist "floating kingdom." It was content to be completely uninvolved with the rest of the world and remain "floating in the middle of the sea." Commander Perry arrived with his gunboat diplomacy (1853) to open trade routes. If the United States had left Japan in its feudal, shogun-dominated state, it would have been formidable in the 1940s.
As for England, although Churchill gave speeches that included lines such as, "We do not covet anything from any nation except their respect," but Britain was still an imperialist nation that dominated dozens of countries with absolutely no intention of giving up control of them after World War II. India was the perfect example. England had occupied and exploited the country for hundreds of years, and it was not about to stop. So, perhaps Germany could be Russia’s India, or, perhaps it’s Africa, to supply slave labor for Russian agriculture, or, perhaps Russia would populate Germany and "relocate" the Germans as the United States had the Native Americans.
Stalin maintained that whatever he planned to do with his portion of Germany after the war was his business, and it was not that of either England or the United States. To add insult to injury, Roosevelt and Churchill whined about making France a full partner in the postwar division of Germany. France! It fell in six weeks after its "impregnable" Maginot line became a joke. Germany simply took Belgium and went around it. France had refused an alliance with the Soviet Union when Stalin offered it in the 1930s so why should he now give any of his conquered land to France? By rights, like Poland, France should be part of the spoils to be divided because they had lost to Germany, and now Germany was about to lose to the Allies, so both countries had lost sovereignty by 1940.
Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin reached a compromise: Russia would agree to remain in the war until the victory in Japan was won; four countries would occupy Germany, including France. Russia would have full control of the countries east of Germany, except that Poland would be guaranteed a representative form of government; and a United Nations would be formed as soon as the war was over. When Roosevelt died (12 April 1945), the victory of the European war was clearly in sight: Germany surrendered less than a month later. Vice-president Truman took over as president as the nation simultaneously celebrated the impending victory in Europe.
In his first message to Congress on April 16, 1945, Harry S. Truman gave his view that in the post-war world, the responsibility of the great states was to serve and not to dominate the world. However, if nothing else, he admitted to being a realist.
My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth there’s hardly any difference.
This concept was directly counter to Stalin’s, who believed that three powers had won the war and three powers should divide the world. When Truman, Churchill, and Stalin gathered at Potsdam in mid-summer 1945, the chill of the coming Cold war was in the air. As at Yalta, Stalin brought the same trump card: war casualties. In terms of the dead, the Soviet Union had paid a far higher price than all the Allied countries combined. Truman (whose favorite game was poker), however, came to the table holding a wild card that he felt could guarantee him the winning hand: the day before the conference began, on 16 July, the first atomic bomb was successfully exploded in New Mexico.
Roosevelt may not have been physically strong, but he was smart and when he took office in 1932, he organized what a Brain Trust to marshal the power of ideas and creativity to solve American problems facing the country. In contrast, Hitler’s had lost some of his best technology through pathological anti-Semitism. The finest Jewish scientists, mathematicians, and inventors either died in Hitler’s concentration camps or fled the country. One was Albert Einstein who relocated to America, and wrote a letter to President Roosevelt in 1939 about wartime possibilities for E=mc2:
This new phenomenon [atomic energy] would also lead to the construction of bombs. . . . A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port, together with some of the surrounding territory.
When it came to ideas, Stalin would never have been part of Roosevelt’s Brain Trust. In contrast to the technological West, he fought the war in a feudal tradition of throwing troops at the enemy. The best one would survive and be trained in the process. Stalin was unmatched in creating fear of retribution. Meanwhile, whole towns and regiments fought to the bitter end for the love of country.
With the atomic bomb, the United States no longer needed Russia’s support to invade Japan. The atomic bomb also neutralized Stalin’s implied threats concerning western Europe implied by "There are 25 million more Russians where those came from" because Stalin knew that England and the United States were not willing to risk high casualties to have their way in Germany. They actually cared about how many troops they lost, which Stalin found a weakness in war. As a general, he cared mainly that there were more troops available and mercilessly exploited what this weakness. It had worked better at Yalta than at Potsdam. Truman had the power to succeed where both Napoleon and Hitler had failed: he could destroy Moscow with one bomb.
For all practical purposes, the hot war ended with the hottest-ever-manmade flash in the New Mexico desert on 16 July and the Cold War began on 17 July as Truman and Stalin sat down at the Potsdam poker table. Stalin backed off and began making other plans. Some say we should have continued the war until Stalin was eliminated; others say Stalin should have been given the Germany he wanted. One side said destroy him; another side said make him a friend. The United States did neither, so Stalin left Potsdam humiliated but with the strongest land Army in the world. Walter Lippman suggested that a really good diplomat does not go in for victories, even when he wins them but the Potsdam Conference was labeled a success. Dean Acheson issued a statement:
Never in the past has there been any place on the globe where the vital interests of American and Russian people have clashed or even been antagonistic … and there is no reason to suppose there should be now or in the future ever such a place.
Truman immediately began a plan to rebuild Europe and give it back to the Europeans—including the Germans. Congress approved the spending of an equivalent of $120 billion (today’s $). Our concern is with the reasons that Truman fired Morgenthau, which contradicted earlier agreements. The rebuilding of Europe was instead to be administered by a U.S. general and named after him as the Marshall Plan. This has usually been couched in humanitarian terms and, from the U.S. point of view, it was, but Stalin saw it as a military action directed against Russia and insulting to him.
Here was the West, returning Germany to German control. Russia troops would share a border with them. England was across the English Channel and America was across the Atlantic. Hitler had not invaded England or the United States, Stalin reasoned that the United States was "buying" the favor of the European people who had been Soviet enemies rather than past allies. The United States would have a strong presence in Europe—perhaps strong enough in a few years to take over Russia. Stalin began rebuilding Russia with a cautious eye on the West.
Some say Truman dropped the bombs as much to intimidate Stalin as to win in Japan. He had dictated that Japan, only 25 sea miles from the Soviet Union across the La Perouse Strait would not even partly be included in the Soviet spoils of war. (And if you’re not happy with this ultimatum, Comrade Stalin, allow us to show you the photographs of Hiroshima.) Soon, Stalin cut practically all contact with the West. Officially, despite rumors, this rapid deterioration was kept from the American people. After meeting with President Truman at the White House, Churchill joked with the reporters (12 February 1946) to say "No Comment" was a splendid and frequent expression.
By the time Churchill he addressed Westminster College in Missouri (5 March 1946), the lines of the cold war were drawn from "Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic" and given a name as "an iron curtain has descended across the Continent." Churchill reversed wartime promises to punish the Nazi crimes and proclaimed the change in October 1948:
Our policy …should henceforth be to draw the sponge across the crimes and horrors of the past—hard as that may be—and look for the sake of all our salvation, towards the future. There can be no revival of Europe, without the active and loyal aid of all the German tribes…
Its understandable that pirates would want the past forgotten. In fact, Churchill’s ancestors had been closely associated with the Hanoverian tribe since it took over Great Britain but that’s not our interest here. Nazi amnesty may be studied in The Pledge Betrayed by Thomas M. Bower (originally Blind Eye-to Murder, 1981). At Nuremberg, only a handful of Nazis were punished. In Japan, the emperor not only got to live, but continued as emperor. Germany and Japan were now our friends. Russia, on the other hand, was the new enemy and the religion of anti-communism grew into a frenzy when Stalin exploded a bomb in1949: the same bomb Truman had exploded at Potsdam.
Russia’s atomic bomb lit ignited the already overheated Senator Joseph McCarthy and he began the witch-hunts associated with his name as if religious heresies can be cured by persecution. He made statements that were so illogical that a child’s blind faith was needed to accept them. This may seem to be a strange connection to religion but as Bertrand Russell said of religion:
…in most of its forms can be defined as the belief that the gods are on the side of the Government.
Had this era not produced so much tragedy, McCarthyism would be a good theme for a comedy. Looking back, he was absolutely ridiculous. For example, take his three statements about the number of communists in the State Department in February 1950:
9 February: I have here in my hand a list of 205 that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who, nevertheless, are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.
10 February: Last night I discussed Communists in the State Department. I stated that I had the names of 57 card-carrying members of the Communist Party. Now, I want to tell the Secretary this: If he wants to call me tonight at the Utah Hotel, I will be glad to give him the names of those 57 card-carrying members.
20 February: There is a serious question whether I should disclose names to the Senate. I frankly feel, in view of the number of cases—there are 81 cases—that it would be a mistake to disclose the names on the floor. I should be willing, happy and eager to go before any committee and give the names and all the information available.
By 1951, he claimed that the Communists within our borders were more responsible for the success of Communism abroad than Soviet Russia. McCarthy was a raving paranoid as documented in Richard Hofstadter’s book, The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Truman was remarkably silent about it while he was president and while it was happening, but later claimed that he had said:
…I think the Un-American Activities Committee in the House of Representatives was the most un-American thing in America!"
Dwight D. Eisenhower, who took over the presidency on January 20, 1953, gave speeches about the freedom of dissent (like the one at Columbia University of 31 May 1954), but did little to interfere with the House Un-American Activities Committee. It took individual citizens, refusing to cooperate with the committee, to slow the desperately wanted purge. On May 16, 1953, Albert Einstein wrote:
Every intellectual who is called before one of the committees ought to refuse to testify, i.e., he must be prepared … for the sacrifice of his personal welfare in the interest of the cultural welfare of his country … This kind of inquisition violates the spirit of the Constitution.
If enough people are ready to take this grave step they will be successful. If not, then the intellectuals of this country deserve anything better than the slavery that is intended for them.
Those who failed to cooperate by "naming names of known communists" were fired, blacklisted, and jailed. To give you an idea of the sort of power the committee thought it had, consider this from Representative J. Parnell Thomas during a House Un-American Activities Committee hearing to a witness who claimed a constitutional right:
The rights you have are the rights given to you by Committee. We will determine what rights you have and what rights you have not got.
The United States was so embroiled with its internal anti-communist witch-hunt that it failed to notice the death of its enemy. With Stalin’s passing in 1953, the Cold War should have ended but there were darker motives for the witch hunting, and it even after the Soviet Communist Party denounced Stalin’s "policies and personality" in 1956 (How much more about a political leader can you denounce?). Once again we refused a warmer relationship with Russia. Meanwhile self-confessed war criminals like General Curtis LeMay chimed in with his advice (February 1956):
If we maintain our faith in God, our love of freedom, and superior global air power, I think we can look to the future with confidence.
To cast Khrushchev as another Stalin salivating for world domination on his mind, the phrase "We will bury you" was repeated many times. Khrushchev had said this at the end of a longer speech given at the Polish Embassy in Moscow (18 November 1956) but it ended as follows:
About the capitalist states, it doesn’t depend on you whether or not we exist. If you don’t like us, don’t accept our invitations, and don’t invite us to come and see you. Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you.
The last two sentences, however, did not appear in either the Pravda or New York Times official transcripts that were printed as complete texts of the speech. Why these lines were added is unclear but even the translation of "We will bury you," is arbitrary and is more like "We will walk on your graves," which is not respectful but does not imply aggression. In the artificially heated American environment, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover threw his self-help book to re-ignite the fire, Masters of Deceit: The Story of Communism and How to Fight It (1958). It explained why communists seemed so elusive and it wasn’t the obvious reason (they controlled a sixth of the world’s land and had enough to trying to manage that with their inept system). In fact, we could have blamed the Cold War on Stalin and declared hostilities over to get on with our lives. Stalin’s replacement, Khrushchev, attempted a policy of "peaceful coexistence" and even toured the United States (1959). He canceled a Paris Summit Conference when a U.S. reconnaissance plane was shot down over Russia (1960).
Flying spy planes over Russia at this time was hardly a gesture to end the Cold War. So who perpetuated the U.S. religion of anti-communism? During his televised farewell address to the American people, three days before handing the presidency to John F. Kennedy, President Eisenhower slipped the truth into his speech (17 January 1961) before slipping out of town to play golf:
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, and even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, and every office of the federal government. . . .We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. … In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
Eisenhower’s warning mostly went over the heads of the American public, but still dangles there today. The whole speech deserves carefully rereading to find more zingers, like how more is spent on the military than on the combined profit of all the American corporations. After all he and his golf buddies were big players in creating this Frankenstein, so he knew where the body parts and drugs came from. In fact, the written version also had the word "Congressional" included with "military-industrial," but he removed it in the last hour: perhaps from fear of waking his audience.
Without the threat of communist aggression, the cold-war build-up of the military—with its blank-check policy to industry—would have been entirely unnecessary. If Russia was our friend, who would be our enemy? There was none. A wartime economy, however, is terrific for Big Business because in a wartime economy, industry makes guaranteed profits with no fear of competition or need for efficiency. The short version of a typical defense contract reads as follows:
"Spend what you need, deliver it when you can, pay the executives of your company whatever you like, and add a 15 percent profit."
What industry wouldn’t want that kind of contract rather than competing for profits in a free marketplace? Real capitalism means work. Defense Department contracts are a racket and have explained been better by no one than General Smedley Butler in his pamphlet War is a Racket. Just as a wartime economy does not require industry to follow capitalist precepts, so too, in time of war, the military is not required to follow democratic principles. The military structure is, of course, the opposite of a democracy; the will of the people is not communicated from below: orders are passed down from above. For those who love power, the "Leader Principle" beats inconvenient democracy.
The military is the power seeker’s paradise. So, profit-hungry industrialists and power-hungry militarists were busy destroying capitalism and democracy in the name of defending capitalism and democracy. John F. Kennedy knew of the military-industrial complex’s power—his father had also made big bucks with a similar form of this economic system. He did what he could to work within it. For example, when he tried to switch from war production to space production, the "space race" was sold to the public as a way to "beat the Russians to the moon," not as a way of advancing scientific knowledge. Kennedy hoped to redirect the anticommunist sentiment into a peacetime activity that would keep the military-industrial complex happy. Alas, a race to the moon was not enough.
The military-industrial complex needed a war and if you read MacMaster’s Dereliction of Duty, you’ll see why many generals and admirals thought Vietnam held all the delicious possibilities of Korea. Kennedy resisted and many assassination buffs, including Oliver Stone, maintain that this resistance is what got Kennedy killed, probably through disaffected CIA agents with the Mafia.
According to Stanley Karnow’s book, Vietnam: A History, at a 1963 Christmas party soon after the assassination, Johnson reportedly told some military-industrial types, "Just get me elected and you can have your damn war." Johnson had passed more Civil Rights legislation than any president in history, and those he thought would praise this agenda were the very ones who attacked him for Vietnam. By 1968, Johnson was fed up and chose not to run again. By this time, the perfect military-industrial presidential candidate was Richard Nixon. As vice-president, he successfully defended American industry against none other than Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow in the Kitchen Debates with statements like: "What are schools for if not indoctrination against communism?"
His opponent, Hubert Humphrey, was also warning of "…communist aggression, communist conquest, and communist advance." But Nixon had a Navy background and in 1965 warned that if the U.S, gave up Vietnam, "the Pacific Ocean will become a Red Sea" (15 Oct.). As a staunch pro-capitalist Republican with strong anticommunist credentials, Nixon could do some things that no liberal democrat would dare. For example, as Gore Vidal described it, Nixon sort of wandered over to Communist China one day in 1972 and made friends with them all. Well, that was a billion fewer communists to worry about. But those Russians. We still had to worry about the Russians.
After the Vietnam War was lost in 1973, the domino theory fell, too. One country after another in Southeast Asia did not fall to communist aggression. U.S.-Soviet relations entered into a period of détente, which is Russian for, "We’re both really tired; why don’t we rest for a while?" Presidents Ford and Carter were happy with this policy. So, apparently, were most of the American people. Ronald Reagan was not. He found pockets of subversive communism in South America, Central America, and, of course, North America. The Cold War might have heated up, if Russia was not too bankrupt for another round and the Iron Curtain came crashing down in 1989.
What we found was not a political superpower, but a collapsing economy with poor roads, failing industry, and a weak communications infrastructure. Besides "Openness," it would need a decade of foreign aid to get back on its feet. Its state capitalism was based on militarism so the country was more fascist than socialist. Even after shedding most of its non-Russian population, there were still signs of the ancient racism that Stalin had added to patriotism to win World War 2.
The Cold War was a necessity when it began because, as in the example of Poland, the Soviet regime posed a genuine threat to democratic governments. Stalin had blatantly broken 1941 promises, when he sought Western aid. Remember that the World War had started with the invasion of Poland. After the war, in flagrant disregard of the "Four Freedoms" in the Atlantic Charter, Poland was dismembered and enslaved. The West Germans were being treated better than the Poles.
Commentators differ as to when the Cold War could have ended. The Vietnam War was completely unnecessary despite John Chancellor’s theory in his book, Peril and Promise: A Commentary on America. The analysis he offers suggests:
It was a necessity at least until Khrushchev put missiles in Cuba in 1962. After that, its own momentum kept the cold war going until it was stopped by the internal contradictions of the communist system. But while it lasted, life in the U.S. was shaped by it.
McNamara’s memoir admits that it was a nationalistic Civil War. If that is true then U.S. support of French colonialism, followed by the subversion of the elections promised by the Geneva Accord (1956) were a major turning point. Chinese motivation to secure the border state of North Vietnam is also understandable in a nationalistic context. Some commentators say that after the fall of Vietnam, the Cold War should have ended with Nixon’s opening of relations to China.
With the failure of communism to spread throughout the Mideast, especially after the Soviet Union was ejected from Afghanistan, there was no need for the massive nuclear and military arsenals that continued to remain in place. Looking back, few except the extreme right accept the necessity for the multi-trillion dollar military build-up during the Reagan-Bush years.
What hid the fact that Russia was bankrupt from the American people for so long? It wasn’t Russia. U.S. military intelligence knew it well, The political spin-masters at the CIA told another story because the military-industrial-complex wanted profit and the unconstitutional CIA is more about corporate initiatives than Central Intelligence.
This is not to suggest that America won the Cold War. There were no victory celebrations or ticker-tape parades. After 1945, it cost us about 120,000 American military deaths and about 300,000 injuries—most of which resulted from various anticommunist or colonial military conflicts. We can add to that a good portion of the accumulated Defense Department budget from 1945 to 1993: probably about $20 trillion. If we hadn’t wasted much of this amount in unnecessary defense, the national debt that currently drags us down would be a national surplus. The war didn’t even have a real ending except the imaginary sunset of outstretched hands awaiting some sort of peace dividend.
In this country alone, the Defense Department has left behind 11,000 sites that are contaminated by either radioactive materials or toxic chemicals. And then there are the all-but-forgotten Vietnam veterans, a disproportionate number of whom fill the ranks of the homeless. Meanwhile there are over 700 significant military bases overseas and several dozen of them compare to major bases in the United States. Despite that, while we managed to secure German and Korean borders, the country cannot even secure its own border after putting clear laws on the books to do so (1986).
One more thing: the same military-industrial organizations are still in charge. It plays on. They’re just having a little trouble finding a new leading player after the Bush family, Rumsfeld, and Cheney were disgraced. Their casting continues in earnest. The religious right keeps the campfires burning and liberals are more worried about stomping out drug use and gun ownership than safeguarding the Constitution from the witch-burning napalm. The "war on terrorism" is now being sold to the American public to add to the "war on drugs" with the same techniques and some of the same terminology as the war on communism. John Chancellor talks about the end of the cold war:
There’s a lot more film available for that projector, however, and we must be careful to know a movie when we see one. A consensual crime—drug use—currently monopolizes that projector. Other reels are being edited and, if sufficiently menacing political enemies cannot be found, consensual criminals will have to do. Note the horror films the Pentagon (not to mention Jerry Falwell) had ready when it was suggested the military acknowledge the gays already in its ranks. Films are available for all the other consensual crimes, as well. For them to surface, all it takes is someone in power—or a sufficient number of the American people—to seriously suggest legalization. … For a preview, call your favorite bigoted person and suggest that your favorite consensual activity be legalized. Before you can say ‘United States Constitution and its Bill of Rights,’ the projector will be threaded, the house lights dimmed, and the next show begun at the Military-Industrial-Complex-Cineplex. Let the good times roll.
Any political thought that doesn’t fit into the conservative Democrat/Republican (DINO/RINO) range may be denounced. The solution to the cold war—or any other war against unpopular political views, including the war against selected consensual activities—was by George Kennan in his book, Russia and the West under Lenin and Stalin (1961):
If we are to regard ourselves as a grown-up nation—and anything else will henceforth be mortally dangerous—then we must, as the Biblical phrase goes, put away childish things; and among these childish things the first to go, in my opinion, should be self-idealization and the search for absolutes in world affairs: for absolute security, absolute amity, absolute harmony.
Where is the adult rage against the fraud and waste. Larry Gelbart suggest that:
…one of the by-products of the communications explosion is a sort of ‘corruption fatigue.’ We’ve lost our ability to be shocked or enraged by the machinations of politicians. We’ve been battered with such frequency that we’ve become indifferent. We’re punch drunk with scandal.
Several hundred billion borrowed dollars keep rolling out to keep this military behemoth in place and is should be obvious that future American wars will be fought against terrorists, not armies. The battles will be fought over which dominion-seeking organization can first assemble an atomic bomb in America first—and whether we find out about it in time. Impeccable intelligence, not brute force, is what will be necessary to defend our sovereignty in the twenty-first century. And what is our intelligence-gathering force doing? Tracking down drug runners, drug users, pot growers.
We have here generally explored the absurdity of jailing people for moral weakness or religious beliefs. The study was to show the tendency to claim God as an ally for partisan values, which ends in a military addiction to war. Reinhold Niebuhr closely examined how religious fanaticism is typically harnessed to justify an entire constellation of political values. Christopher Hedges has also written extensively about how War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning and explained its relationship to authoritarianism in his last book, American Fascists (2007) to examine the Christian Right.
Eisenhower’s Farewell Address can be found in our Newsletter.htm. His facts are still a great way to wake members of Congress. It is also available in video at:
You should know that Eisenhower didn’t try to blame the Cold War on the military and instead used the that old-time anti-communism ("a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method"). He talked about influence of the Military Industrial Complex might be "unsought" and we here we might remember that he originally included "Congressional" in the title and it would get us into a long discussion (covered elsewhere) about who seeks wealth and power. He tried to rationalize why the Military Industrial Complex was necessary (otherwise he’d get the blame). Like most Republicans, Ike claims to distrust big government in his skepticism of the academic elite and agricultural programs. He does not mention the highly expensive Air Force and insidious CIA, both of which were unconstitutional. He does warn of an "equal" danger that "public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."
Because it is in public records and readily available, good citizens can use the speech as a frame of reference with politicians. Keep asking them what they’ve done about the military-industrial complex. Ask to what extent they’re involved in stealing our tax money? Ask if that theft is a dereliction of duty? Ask if their ethics failures can be interpreted as an "obstruction of justice"? Then, maybe, at least they’ll know you care. Do you? If so, then start building a sense of community with nearby citizens who feel the same way. Why let the religious fanatics steal the definition of patriotism?
Far from it. The standard of living can be defined by a number of statistics related to food, shelter, and security. Once basic food and shelter needs are satisfied, few would disagree with ranking public safety as the most important variable. What joy could there be living in a mansion under the shadow of imminent death or destruction? Such security is often defined in terms of military defense and, more recently, homeland security. Because of their dogma of self-reliance, Conservatives tend to exclude disaster protection and medical care among essential security needs.
Most Americans disagree and cite the gross failure in Hurricane KATRINA and the lack of health insurance. In terms of sedition, we could refer to U.S. Code Title 18 sections that involves planning violent overthrow of the government. Once we accept that our system is meant to be "of the people" then the link between corporate greed and violence on citizens can be drawn in economic terms when the cold violence of mere thievery crosses to violence of inflicting physical pain.
Since those in power are still too cowardly to directly engage in a mechanized killing of U.S. citizens, they instead plan to deny essential medical care at a local level, mainly by diverting over a billion dollars each day to militarism on the national level. Corporations also have the capability to encourage euthanasia, which amounts to violence against citizens. Not only are one of six Americans without real health insurance but many senior citizens in HMO "Managed Medicare" plans are being denied service to bolster HMO profits. Essentially these put federal money in their pockets in exchange for "managing" – i.e., restricting – services and rewarding doctors who go-along with them. They appear generous as patients are young but tighten up as they go over 70.
Patients die as health corporations show local care providers how economically more efficient it is not to prolong life. A patient’s "Bill of Rights" is a Civil Law smokescreen. The issue here involves saving money on treating poor patients. In Nazi Germany it was a mostly a matter of eliminating politically defined inferiors. (It was no coincidence that in Nazi Germany half of the doctors were Nazi Party members or in the SS.) Under a euphemism of managed care, euthanasia is already practiced in many U.S. counties, typically in terms of "quality of life" wherein diagnosis is painted as "hopeless"—an opinion without therapeutic value that violates the Hippocratic oath. For whatever reason, doctors often deny proper care to citizens in the last years of life.
At least the elderly have some medical insurance. About one of six Americans—almost fifty million—have no coverage or can’t afford essential medicine. At least 19,000 Americans died last year because they could not afford treatment. In terms of state-inflicted terrorism, that is about six times the 9/11 attack. Unlike all other major countries, the United States still does not have universal health care and it’s not because of insufficient spending. We spend twice as much per capita on medicine as poorer nations that have national medical coverage.
Greed undermines healthcare because it’s an issue of allocating public funds. Simply put: military security diverts money from medical security. How is denying one form of protection less subversive than denying another? For example, during World War I the military losses were minor compared to the 600,000 Americans who died from the flu epidemic. Now about 90,000 Americans die annually from influenza and pneumonia. If we assume that even a quarter of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and suicides are preventable with proper medical care then we could argue that more than 400,000 Americans died last year because the government failed to protect their health.
Although financial misallocation enriches weapons makers, perhaps a case could be made that military security tries to protect the entire nation. In fact, diversion to insurance or private medical providers similarly allocates more medical care to the rich. Such excess care is not always better and despite the money spent on medical care per capita, the US health system can be ranked as a failure. Of 13 countries in a 1998-1999 comparison, the US ranked an average of 2nd from the bottom (12th) for 16 available indicators. The ranking was last for infant mortality and years of potential life lost (excluding external causes). It was 12th for male life expectancy at 1st & 15th years (improving to 7th for those reaching 65). This was in the Journal of the American Medical Association (26 July 2000) and later confirmed by a World Health Organization study from a broader database.
The latter ranked the US 15th among 25 industrialized countries after accounting for the violence, smoking, and drinking. (Scandinavian countries and New Zealand were considered more humane.) Given the high level and expenditure for technology (second only to Japan), what explains these low rankings? In a global International ranking the U.S. ranks about 36th, alongside Cuba except that their care costs about $300 per citizen annually, whereas ours is over $6,000.
The low US ranking is partly attributed to a quarter million deaths per year caused by complications from medical treatment! This includes physician’s activity or therapy (55%), hospital infections (30%), and various hospital errors or misallocation (15%), including 12,000 unnecessary operations. About half of the deaths were due to negative drug effects, unrelated to error. In other words, inappropriate medical care (usually in a hospital), is the third leading cause of death in the US, right after heart disease and cancer. The resulting iatrogenic (physician-caused) illness is like collateral damage by the military except that the blame is on a "medical industrial complex."
It amounts to economic violence. This form of sedition replaces "sickcare" for preventive healthcare and access to exercise facilities. Police oversight on such malpractice is a rare exception. Without justice, isn’t liberty and military security a devil’s bargain? Who needs protection and kindness more than medically helpless citizens? It’s not a case of too few medical workers but of financial misallocation. Since the number of employees per hospital bed was highest in the US, the improper care is partly attributed to a lack of necessary preventive health resources.
These operate outside of the hospital and include protection against bad prescriptions. The pharmaceutical companies are attempting to use the Federal Drug Administration to protect them against litigation and want to "socialize" the risk of their medicine, while they privatize the profits. In general corporate medicine seeks to impose a Patient Bill of Rights inferior to the actual Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment. The doctors, in their powerful union (AMA) have largely gone along with this, although it is true that the power of the lawyer’s union (ABA) is a mitigating factor. The real issue should be safe care and not one of competing profit centers. Insurance companies also play a major role.
Although excessive or poorly supervised care is partially motivated by greed, let’s be clear: these are no more accidents than the collateral damage from military bombing. When the result is expected and calculated in its predicted impact, then we have a criminal intent; i.e., the risk of statistically predictable deaths has been deemed acceptable. In law, knowledge with intent is criminally culpable. This is not complicated.
The two necessities of life are food and shelter. According to the Third Amendment, the founders did not want soldiers to be quartered in a house (shelter) without the consent of the owner. There is therefore no reason to believe that any member of government – not limited to soldiers or police – should get preferential treatment over any scarce resource without consent of the owner (We the People). Healthcare is a scarce resource.
Even if medical care were less essential than food and shelter, there is no reason to believe that public servants should have better food, benefits, pensions (20-year), or healthcare access than the median amount for their employer. People are dying because scarce resources are being shifted from the need of the majority to greed of a minority. The mechanism rests on ancient and well known imperial forms of wealth transfer through printing of paper stocks and relates to forms of royal charter discussed previously.
Virtually all economists agree that higher rates of growth relieve poverty, wage stagnation, add to national savings, improve tax collections, reduce the federal debt, balance trade, etc. And these benefits are not a myth because capitalism thrives on growth. Critics argue that it is becomes a problem when growth collides against declining resources in clean air, fresh water, meat, grains, and seafood. Common sense dictates that consumption cannot continue to grow forever in a world of limited resources. The result could be a competition for survival motivated by mass starvation.
Most Americans do not know the difference between capitalism and corporatism (fascism) but it is hardly free enterprise for any person (much less a corporate person) to "steal" clean air and pure water for their private benefit. There are corporations who earn money the old fashioned way – piracy.
Presidents can hurt the economy by taking the nation to a ruinous war or undermining public confidence, but they usually do not deserve blame for recessions or subsequent recoveries. Often the fortune or misfortune of the economy depends on what happened in a previous administration but both Congress and Presidents are often at the mercy of business cycles. For reasons still debated, the economy has a tendency to expand and contract into recoveries and recessions. This has been going on for centuries, at irregular and poorly predicted intervals. There are tools to influence the business cycle, but Congress has little immediate control over them. In economic terms, the most powerful person in the United States is the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
A very popular myth, to be sure, but one that no mainstream economist takes seriously.
This is more an issue of who owns the education dollars and what is it we want young citizens to know? One of the factors cited as an example of the declining U.S. standard of living has do with claims of lagging education but this accusation mostly comes from those interested in "selling" the commodity of education as if it were a one-way distribution. Conservative politicians want the teachers, individual schools, and even students themselves to remedy the situation so governors and state legislatures pass the buck to school boards and local politicians at the lowest possible levels. This is what one would expect from a fascistic ideology that subordinates social responsibility to individual initiative. It comes down to a question of priorities and who controls the budgets.
The real question is one of ownership and curriculum. In fact, it was always a matter of learning by the recipient of the "product" and in the early days of the republic many people did fine without an educator over-class. In his Farewell Address of 1961, Eisenhower warned of the Academic Elite It has often become an issue of power about who can impose education. We here suggest it should be a matter of choice rather than imposition.
The No Child Left Behind Act is a current controversy about responsibility and accountability that is framed around facilities for the funding early childhood education so that young children are ready to learn when they get to school and assuring that poor students have enough to eat when they come to school. Who is responsible for assuring that enough teachers exist for this task and what if taxpayers refuse to pay for more education? So why should anyone be surprised when they take the buck and put most of it in their own pockets?
The evidence to support such pessimism is usually anecdotal, such as horrifying news stories about extreme human behavior. This belief has some basis in brutal wars of the last century but Conservative talk of a degenerating social structure goes so far as to assert an impending fall of Western Civilization. This belief often has religious cast, with predictions of the world ending in a Time of Trouble or Apocalypse as indicated by the amazing sales of the Left Behind films and books. They sometimes attribute natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods to the wrath of a vengeful God and try to blame deterioration on society’s growing liberalism, collectivism, or secularism. They deny scientific causes of the climate crises and see economic problems, such as the oil shortage, as a signs of a deteriorating society. Traditional "Conservatives" attempt to conserve aspects of traditional society even it requires force. Why anyone would wish to conserve dysfunction is a mystery.
"Liberalism," despite its flaws, is open to progress and change and, ever since the Scientific Revolution, has given the West progress in social, scientific and economic fields. The last 400 years have been ones of astonishing scientific and moral progress. The key to it all has been the Scientific Revolution, which started around 1500 when Copernicus showed the sun to be at the center of the solar system as Galileo verified in the early 1600s. Despite the resistance of religious fundamentalism, human knowledge has exploded since then. Examples include doubled life-spans, mass education, rising standards of living. And reduced racism and exploding scientific, economic and social miracles. Consider all the advances that have occurred in the West during the last four centuries in contrast to the genocidal impulses of the Old Testament and Conservative fanatics.
Conservatives tend to link progress with economic growth but economists use models of human behavior based on an "all things being equal" (cet par.) assumption. This assumes that people are endowed with self-interest and abnormally high economic rationality (homo economicus). In fact, humans base many of their actions on imperfect knowledge and are often driven by emotions more than logic. Because emotions can be irrational, social scientists accept that most human behavior is unpredictable, complex, and contradictory. Humans are not entirely self-interested as proven by altruistic acts of charity, volunteerism, parenting, and even giving their life for the country in wartime. They are also self-destructive in substance abuse, addiction, needless risk-taking, procrastination, masochism, and even suicide.
Economic methodology often leads to inaccurate predictions. Even those knowledgeable about their affairs, are only be expert in only a few topics. Their application is usually flawed at the local level. Although analysis is eased by false assumptions, which helps in teaching or in generating back-tested pseudo-scientific explanation, the fact that so few economists are wealthy shows that they are unable to apply their theories in money-making predictions of the stock or futures market.
Conservatives cherish an individualism myth, which holds that economic and social phenomena are explained by individual action. They see "group behavior" as a false concept because even when individuals act on behalf of a group, they act as individuals. Even if their final decision is a compromise that does not necessarily fulfill the wish of any single group member, the members have individually agreed to compromise, since they have found it somehow personally rewarding. Most Americans now accept the myth that early Americans were rugged individualists, colonial pioneers who blazed trails into the unknown wilderness and overcame adversity on the strength of their own self-reliance. The opposite is more often true. Those who tried to live on their own often fell prey to disease, attacks from the natives, economic chaos, and the elements. The many frontier ghost towns prove the challenge of the times but group survival proved more effective than the kind of hermit like existence that characterized some lone trappers or hunters.
Many Conservatives and Libertarians make a populist argument that if you don’t pay your taxes, men with guns will come to your house, arrest you, and seize your property. The implication is that you are being extorted to pay taxes and that this amounts to a violation of your rights. This is a false claim because legitimate taxes are payments for public goods and services consumed. Ideally, they are part of an agreement that voters make with government, to exchange their money for the government’s goods and services. To consume these goods and services without paying for them is itself theft, and is rightly punished as the breach of contract, explained above.
Some may object that they have not agreed to the contract, but if so, then they must not consume the government’s goods and services. Of course, this is a simplified position because a contract imposed by minority rule, one-person rule or anarchy (which results in kill-or-be-killed) may not be valid. Opponents of democratic taxation, however, are challenged to find an improvement on democracy or to prove why the assessment was not based on a democratic decision. Failing to make that protest or refutation, leaves standing an assumption that the taxes were accepted as social contract, an agreement with the government to exchange money for government goods and services.
Even Libertarians agree that breach of contract legitimates a police response. So the real question is not whether a crime should be met with "men with guns," but whether or not the social contract is valid for those who disagree or deny allegiance to it. There case for inequity could be more strongly made at the local level with test demanded by jury trial in accordance with the 7th Amendment. Local magistrates have been highly reluctant to permit such trials for fear of what local citizens might decide. The judicial reluctance on the federal level is similar and the opposition for reason of inequity is more difficult to make. A case based on the lack of genuine representation is possible but requires a degree of popular outrage that is hard to achieve because the problem is more than a century old and the remedy of leaving the country has also been available.
Some Conservatives have advocated a gold standard because they want government away from controlling the money supply. They make an established argument that printing money creates inflation. Technically, printing money cures recessions and retracting it cures inflation. However, most such decisions have been made by technicians of the Federal Reserve, rather than elected politicians. In the last 60 years it has used monetary policies with relative success, as compared to the previous 180 years. There has not been a single bank panic in any nation anywhere in the world using similar monetary policies.
During the Gilded Age of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when gold was king, depressions and bank panics were common. Based on the historical record, mainstream economists therefore tend to reject the gold standard. Gold and silver currency backing were heatedly debated over 100 years ago, but the political issue has shifted to the matter of counterfeiting and the virtual money of credit cards and paper instruments such as stock certificates. Mainstream economists even call gold a "barbarous relic" (John Maynard Keynes). However, the world has not entirely abandoned the gold standard, and groups on the far right continue to call for its return as a way of controlling other paper instruments.
In the Wall Street vs. Main Street debate, the gold argument serves as a useful distraction from the proliferation of virtual money by non-banking corporation. Most of the inflation can more properly be attributed to factors of international trade and military waste. For example, over six hundred million dollars a day were squandered on the U.S. war/occupation in Iraq.
The Chicago School of Economics sometimes adapts the polemics of the Austrian School of Economics but is firmly grounded in science. Its members have won eight Nobel prizes. In contrast, the so-called Austrian School preaches a Libertarian philosophy, which rejects core scientific methods that are used by mainstream economists. It tends to shun providing real-world proofs. Despite a lack of scholarly credentials, it continues to be financed by wealthy business donors on the far right and therefore has influence. Some academics agree with the "monetarism is dead" mantra of Milton Friedman’s Chicago School, and its concept of Rational Expectations (Robert Lucas) is still widely admired.
In practice, its "Coase theorem" (by Ronald Coase) and "Public Choice Theory" have been shown to be flawed by over-reliance on math and poor starting assumptions (cet par). These proved exceptionally painful in real world application such as Chile and "Shock doctrine" in the Soviet Union. On obvious flaw has to do with using "average" rather than "median" measures of aggregate wealth and the manner of defining wealth, which often excludes human costs or defines them in reverse (as wealth creation). For example the money earned by a logging company may count as profit but the costs of a destroyed redwood forest might be largely ignored.
The many hymns to deregulation describe the success stories that occur immediately after deregulation when it promotes competition. After the early stages, as rivals are driven out of business, owners often feel the need to cut corners and workers pay the price in wages or safety. After a period of price-slashing and better service, as companies compete to attract more customers, the elimination of business rivals results in monopoly or oligopoly and then consumers pay the higher prices or frauds that are imposed on them. This dark side to the story often takes years to play out and is ignored by those who complain loudest about government regulation.
Privatizing natural monopolies like utilities or public safety is extremely difficult and often reverts to corporatizing, which means that those who can afford to buy the stocks or bonds in the corporation get to operate it, usually at some assured rate of profit.
People buy goods and services from both the private and public sectors. In the private sector, they vote with their dollars. In the public sector there is an understanding that even if citizens do not vote they are entitled to certain services. Both sectors have different advantages over each other; the public sector is better at handling natural monopolies (where circumstances prevent competitors on a free market), because voters can control prices through their ballots. Nations that have tried to privatize their natural monopolies have failed disastrously.
The success of privatization depends on several factors. Unfortunately, most governments have found that they cannot successfully privatize their services.
(We have no easy solutions but would note that the historic enemy of democracy is aristocracy. The lawyers come closest to that definition in the American context and we would argue that many of them, if not most, have engaged in a criminal conspiracy against the decencies of American civilization by imposing a British form of justice that gives black-robed lawyers the power that the founders intended for juries. )
Identifying the enemy is a solid first step and we can assume that those who have been robbing society for more than a hundred years have a clear agenda of keeping their money and power. So, if we agree that reform is essential, why waste time whining or pretending to do deep research.
There are many symptoms of corruption: a top-heavy medical insurance system cripples the general Welfare, entangling world alliances deform the more perfect Union, an overgrown Military bankrupts the common defense, and a Prison Industrial Complex violates Justice for the excuse of domestic Tranquility. The underlying cause is the failure of individuals in the government. Justice Department agencies, like the FBI, are not enforcing criminal law against white collar criminals.
Usually they do not know better and lack resources. Most of the police power has been delegated to the states and its corrupt politicians have passed it to so-called local government, which chooses to ignore many federal laws, That is where almost ninety percent of the police force is. The long pattern of fascistic leadership, appointed by corrupt politicians has permeated the ranks with "old boys" ignorant or indifferent to the Constitution. Originally. At first, many were British loyalists and royalists. Over the past hundred years they are often affiliated global corporations. Despite this, proper communicating of their behavior will provide a written record for filing criminal charges (as noted above) and a possible reform government in the future.
Knowledge that they could eventually lose the stolen wealth might also discourage the malefactors from taking illegal profits. The current debate on accountability, if it takes place at all, involves expanding negotiation envelopes to an extreme before "compromising" in the middle. As on highways, the final decisions are often distinguished by a streak of yellow.
Reasonable discourse fails against this technique. Short of filing criminal charges, activists can at least speak truth against power. "Speaking truth to power" is a waste of time because those in power already know what they have done. Telling them about it is like warning criminals of a forthcoming indictment. It gives them time to escape. Be decisive and professional. Our message will travel too slowly if it cautiously submits its credentials at the challenge of each political roadblock. Taking to the streets in mobs to shout or schlep around with signs to proclaim outrage may get attention but the organized voice of the people is more likely to bring genuine grassroots reform. Such organization requires facts and tracking malfeasance can be done by sharing information. We propose an ethics "clearing house" for every four Congressional Districts. This will offer an equal basis of comparison with under three million people and a workable travel distance.
Fortunately, it takes a great of amount of brainwashing and vast sums of corporate money to maintain a democratic illusion and, unlike most of the world, our country has a powerful Constitution. Because its written ideas still hold great moral force, our happy challenge is one of restoration rather than revolution. Since about half the voters already suspect the truth, once an unraveling process begins, the resources of propaganda wealth will quickly be exhausted. The idea of rule by black-robed lawyers, imposed by esquires such as Hamilton and Marshall, is offset by the 6th, 7th, 9th, and 10th (last 3 words) Amendments of the Bill of Rights. Few of those who served as legislators during the past sixty years can be trusted again because of their contempt for the Constitution.
The current political crop usually pretends that only esoteric politicians can properly interpret the Constitution. They often claim that it enforces State Rights. This is a Big Lie about a document written for common people in a largely agricultural nation. For example, neither serfdom (slavery) nor denial of suffrage was approved by the specific wording of the 1792 Constitution, these powers were left to the States. Many of them continued to abuse Negroes and most kept women from voting. However, the original wording of the Constitution did not enslave Negroes or deny women the right to vote; so the 13thAmendment forbid slavery and, with the 19th, expanded a right to vote.
The point is that most of the abuse took place at the state and local levels so that is where a remedy must focus. In that context, slave and master were two sides of the same coin. Even in a representative system, it may sometimes be necessary to invest a "master" with executive emergency powers. For example, if a ship is sinking, it would be hard to imagine that a captain would take a vote about mounting lifeboats. But such power is for extraordinary situations that deserve careful limitation because, by definition, it is contrary to equality and democracy. Properly employed Executive officers are not hired to deliberate about whether or not they shall act. They were to have limited discretionary authority and were to act in conformance of the laws and no further.
The main exception came from a presidential and governor’s veto power. Because it allows one person to overrule the entire Congress or state legislature, it undermined the pretext of democracy. However, it was clearly limited to acts of new legislation. Presidents and governors have no authority to veto or ignore the Constitution and laws that were properly legislated before they took office. Abuse of veto power can be traced back to President Cleveland (1884 & 1893 administrations) who used it 584 times, more than double the combined use of all 22 previous administrations.
That was serious enough but the Executive branch became more fully authoritarian in terms of the arbitrary issuance of "executive orders" and taking the nation into war. All American presidents issued these but there was a series of blatant abuses since Truman. It is clearly a outlaw pattern that has been recently enhanced by the introduction of "signing statements" to new legislation. War results in killing but sometimes can be justified, as a "lesser evil" in times of invasion or similar emergency. If there is no genuine emergency, then it is hard to imagine a more egregious exception to democracy. A simple analogy of driving to a hospital in an emergency can make this clear.
Suppose in the haste that the driver kills someone. Is there any question that this would require an investigation and possibly a trial for "reckless endangerment" or "involuntary manslaughter"? How would our proposed jury rule if the facts show that there was no emergency?
Our politicians want to avoid blame so, starting with Truman’s entry into a war in Korea, they have attempted to pass the responsibility to the Executive Branch. Then, when members of the military kill innocent people, they simply look the other way. So who gets the blame from the families of victims? We do. The killing was done in our name. We can accuse those who seek revenge of being terrorists but name-calling will not keep our children safe. Removing criminal politicians will help and the crime they committed is clear: by delegating the people’s power to declare war to the president they have shown contempt for the 9thAmendment. Creating massive public and private police structure is soon rationalized to protect us from both external and internal threats. The creation of a vast Air Force, CIA, Joint Staff, expanded Marine Corps (naval police) – all of which are unconstitutional is part of the same crime. Granting themselves and other "public servants" a pension is another such crime where the benefit is clearly related to personal gain.
We do not say that such measures might have been proved proper. Allowing a "King" to declare war is clearly an aristocratic prerogative is nowhere listed in the Constitution. Neither is granting a pension (other than as medical compensation), which is entirely possible by personal initiatives. Therefore it is unlikely that either of these would have passed by popular vote. Our point is that these powers do not belong to Congress. Under the 9thAmendment, they must revert to the people.
To protect their outlaw powers, the Congress began to further expand its passage of outlaw laws. An historically demonstrable linkage exists in a failure of education to justify a rate of U.S. imprisonment that already unmatched in any country. Incarceration has become more costly than education, especially if the government is acting criminally in illegal wars or domestic violence such or at Waco. Unfortunately in a nation that is mobile, with two-way radios, plentiful weapons, and access to bomb-grade material, outbursts of domestic terrorism are increasingly likely as citizens resort to violence (as in Oklahoma City or the Montana Freemen). Outrage against government violence needs to be channeled into peaceful resistance starting with indictment of the Legislative criminals.
Our solution proposes a nonviolent "tyrannicide" as preferable to societal suicide. It means killing the tyranny and not the miscreant individuals who have abused government and corporate power. Most people are wise enough to understand their true interest when shown in a manner that does not stir suspicion by self-service or offend by arrogance. For example, reducing the seditious hazards of dragging the nation to an undeclared war could be accomplished by a national referendum that put lines on an annual ballot asking voters if the president had violated the Constitution. A similar step could be taken annually in terms of all public officials and "none of the above" voting.
That is easy enough, but it will not happen as long as elected Representatives are part of the corruption. The above material has shown how the robber barons arrived within decades after the Civil War and Republicans conspired to undermine democracy in 1890 and 1921. For our purposes we need only show a connection to the blatant dereliction of duty by Congress in 1950 when it allowed President Truman to go to war in Korea without their formal declaration. Since all the Congresses since then granted similar permission, we are dealing with a sedition on a scale massive enough to demand a complete government restructuring. The first step is to remove the traitors who decided that it was all right to give the executive politicians such unauthorized power.
By going back to the 1950 sedition, we have legitimacy for a clean sweep of all politicians who knew, or should have known, that the Constitution had been undermined. As for the corporate directors who have abused their economic power, that was based on a similarly seditious action by the Supreme Court creating a spurious power of Judicial Review. Their complicity in crimes against the environment and a theft of more than a trillion dollars from the national treasury goes far beyond the typical "business as usual." The evidence shows that politicians profit by accepting bribes from weapon makers and lobbyists, so we can add criminal charges of malfeasance and racketeering. Thomas Paine explained how his violates the principle of constitutions in 1795 by warning that:
"…in the absence of a constitution, men look entirely to party; and instead of principle governing party, party governs principle."
So, it is not simply that the Rino/Dinos are unprincipled; even the best of the current politicians have generally adapted corporate values (sometimes disguised as religious loyalties). Some of these are fundamentally un-American. The obvious crime goes back to the Korean Conflict when Congress allowed President Truman to go to war without a declaration. The was a first in U.S. History because in previous incidents the presidents had to seek such a declaration. A formal declaration can only be avoided in the case of a clear invasion, as in the premeditated attacks on Fort Sumter or Pearl Harbor, but even then formal declarations followed. Congressional dereliction of duty was repeated for Vietnam in a transparently fabricated "Tonkin Gulf incident."
Those who participated in that fraud were never held accountable. Their complicity in the Middle East invasion is better documented. Even in the case of Afghanistan the definition of "war" is highly suspect because most of the 9-11 terrorists were Saudi Arabian citizens. Remember that in the Japanese War Crimes Tribunal, some people (like Baron Koki Hirotha) were hanged because they failed to act against war crimes. Even you killed someone in an apparent emergency, perhaps speeding to a hospital, is there any doubt that you would go to trial for "negligent homicide" or "reckless endangerment;" especially if there was no emergency. How many innocent people does the Bush/Cheney corporate war machine get to kill before they and Congress are held accountable?
If not them, then the people will get the blame. As in World War 2, we can expect that 90% of the casualties will be civilians. The lack of memory allows Congress to persist in its gross failure of judgement. We are unlikely to find a remedy within the "Emerald City" within the Washington Beltway so share facts with others in your community. Confront the politicians when they dare to show their face. If they fail to act, demand their resignation. If they refuse to refuse to resign, file criminal complaints. Duke Cunningham mainly conspired to steal money but most of the world still considers conspiracy to commit war crimes and murder to be more serious than accepting bribes.
This postulates a strategic solution and not a whining progressive, neo-liberal opinion. Until the obstacle of a criminal class is removed it is unreasonable to expect other changes: not peace, not environmental reforms, and certainly not justice. It’s simple logic. The mission is to remove the criminals from power and it’s time to mobilize accordingly. We propose organizing first against war crimes and the Grassroots Rising page suggests organizing locally in order to act nationally. Fascism is an aristocratic infection of democracy, but tolerating war criminals is an immediate threat.
The blatant atrocities violate the Laws of War such as The Geneva Convention (1977 Protocol Additions: Part IV, Section 1, Chapters I to IV Article 48 to 57); Nuremberg Tribunal Principles of 1950 (I to VII), and Charter of the United Nations (Preamble, Article 2, Article 33). The president and senior officers have repeatedly trashed these laws. Such treaties are part of U.S. law as incorporated by Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, so the international crimes also translate to domestic sedition and deserve to be pursued by criminal complaints. It’s self defense. There is not much chance that the miscreants who condone killing women and children to the sound of bugles are psychologically disposed to uphold values so fragile as liberty and justice for all or the U.S. Constitution. Remember, under provisions of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial, the sort of atrocities they condoned in the Gulf War, Panama, Indochina, and many other places; could be considered a hanging offense.
Even if only a tenth of indictments on the Gulf War, Yugoslav invasion, and Iraq invasion are correct, then the guilt of public officials ignoring them would still be clear (see specific indictments by Ramsey Clark’s and International War Crimes Tribunal in the newsletter.htm). In the U.S. context, a charge "manslaughter" may be more appropriate than "conspiracy to commit murder;" but the scale of killing (one person or a million) does not eliminate the guilt of past crimes such as the Indochina invasion that was exposed by Robert McNamara’s In Retrospect and McMaster’s Dereliction of Duty. Much as a few brutal radicals maintained the Bolshevik Revolution, a handful of top gangsters now fatally damage U.S. legitimacy. Many of the political and military leaders who took us there are still in power and getting away with similar atrocities in Iraq.
Such state terrorism by a small nomenklatura of baby-bombing missile-maniacs matches that of Hitler’s Reich. An idea similar to denazification can be based on the indictment at the Nuremberg trials. The four counts, each with stipulations, included: (1) Conspiracy to seize totalitarian power; (2) Preparing and waging wars of aggression, (3) Violation of the laws of war, and (4) Crimes against humanity. There were several levels of guilt. There were Offenders who committed obvious crimes. Militarists or Profiteers who also actively participated in war crimes. There were various lesser Activists, typical of those who go along to get along and Fellow Travelers who were mostly involved in seeking wealth or power.
In the U.S. context, on at least three occasions nuclear nazis threatened to kill hundreds of millions of people. The "Gulf of Tonkin" fraud that legitimized the U.S. Vietnam invasion was very much like the Gleiwitz incident served as a pretext for the Nazi invasion of Poland. Hitler declared war on the U.S. on 11 Dec. 1941 and killed himself rather than surrender in 1945. He passed on his Chancellorship to an Admiral who handled the formality of military surrender. Like their leader, many top Nazis killed themselves rather than give up but some escaped across nearby borders or to friendly Spain and Argentina. Some had access to false identity papers and even captured uniforms.
Many even ended up in the United States under cover of the Cold War. Collaboration with Hitler’s regime began in late 1944. In May 1945, Operation DICK TRACY was already using Germans to target Soviet cities. It was no coincidence that only a few dozen top Nazis were really punished in the West as the press demonized little SS men (Barbie, Eichmann, and Mengele, were all relatively junior officers). The Italian case was even more obvious because they claimed to renounce fascism. Therefore, after their monarchy was voted out of power, many could easily move to the West.
As for corporations, they also seek power even if means hurting their parent states or fellow citizens. It is not a conspiracy theory to predict that when unable to win through peaceful competition, they will stoop to corrupt like Enron, Global Crossing, Halliburton, and many others. With the exception of a few killing organizations with the military-industrial complex, most corporate directors would face prosecution as profiteers and fellow travelers rather than war criminal offenders. These corrupt politicians and war wizards can devastate countries by nuclear war or instant bankruptcy.
They cannot be reformed by a short witch hunt. Those leaders who have been involved in "crimes against humanity" should be treated accordingly, regardless of rank. A policy similar to post World War 2 denazification is now appropriate because we face a political system similar to the one created in 1930s Germany. Our top officials somehow got into their heads that their loyalty is to a "decider" rather than to the Constitution. The Lesser "high crimes and misdemeanors" will persist until this gaping hole in the fabric of justice is repaired. America, as a nation, will not be pardoned by the world until the killers of the criminal class are removed from power. If we don’t punish them, an outraged world will eventually punish Americans as it did the "Good Germans."
Iraq involves a series of questions around the obvious: "What’s wrong with cutting and running?" and they are better answered by retired Army general (LTG) William E. Odom, former head of the National Security Agency during the Reagan Administration (my Russian History teacher in 1969). A real journalist would list all the arguments that you hear against pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, and they go something like this
1) We would leave behind a civil war.
Iraqis are already fighting Iraqis. Insurgents have killed far more Iraqis than Americans. That’s civil war. We created the civil war when we invaded; we can’t prevent a civil war by staying.
2) We would lose credibility on the world stage.
If we were Russia or some other insecure nation, we might have to worry about credibility. A hyperpower need not worry about credibility. That’s one of the great advantages of being a hyperpower: When we have made a big strategic mistake, we can reverse it. And it may even enhance our credibility. Staying there damages our credibility more than leaving.
Ask the president if he really worries about US credibility. Or, what will happen to our credibility if the course he is pursuing proves to be a major strategic disaster? Would it not be better for our long-term credibility to withdraw earlier than later in this event?
3) It would embolden the insurgency and cripple the move toward democracy.
There is no question the insurgents and other anti-American parties will take over the government once we leave. But that will happen no matter how long we stay. Any government capable of holding power in Iraq will be anti-American, because the Iraqi people are increasingly becoming anti-American. Also, the U.S. will not leave behind a liberal, constitutional democracy in Iraq no matter how long it stays. Holding elections is easy but that is not a constitutional democracy.
4) Iraq would become a haven for terrorists.
Iraq is already a training ground for terrorists. In fact, the CIA pointed out to the administration and Congress that Iraq is spawning so many terrorists that they are returning home to many other countries to further practice their skills there. The quicker a new dictator would win political power in Iraq and impose order, the sooner the country will stop producing well-experienced terrorists. Why not ask: "Mr. President, since you and the vice president insisted that Saddam’s Iraq supported al Qaeda – which we now know it did not – isn’t your policy in Iraq today strengthening al Qaeda’s position in that country?"
5) Iranian influence in Iraq would increase.
Iranian leaders see US policy in Iraq as being so much in Teheran’s interests that they have been advising Iraqi Shiite leaders to do exactly what the Americans ask them to do because democracy will allow Shiites to take power legally. Once in charge, they can settle scores with Baathists and Sunnis. If US policy in Iraq undercuts Iran’s interests, then Teheran will use this growing influence among Iraqi Shiites to stir up trouble, possibly committing militias to an insurgency against US forces there. The US invasion has vastly increased Iran’s influence in Iraq, not sealed it out.
6) Unrest might spread in the region and/or draw in Iraq’s neighbors.
The civil war we leave behind may well draw in Syria, Turkey and Iran. But already today each of those states is deeply involved in support for or opposition to factions in the ongoing Iraqi civil war. The very act of invading Iraq almost insured that violence would involve the larger region. And so it has and will continue, with, or without, US forces in Iraq.
7) Shiite-Sunni clashes would worsen.
The US presence is not preventing Shiite-Sunni conflict; it merely delays it. Iran is preventing it today, and it will probably encourage it once the Shiites dominate the new government, an outcome US policy virtually ensures.
8) We haven’t fully trained the Iraqi military and police forces yet.
On training the Iraq military and police. The insurgents are fighting very effectively without US or European military advisors to train them. Why don’t the soldiers and police in the present Iraqi regime’s service do their duty as well? Because they are uncertain about committing their lives to this regime. They are being asked to take a political stand, just as the insurgents are. Political consolidation, not military-technical consolidation, is the issue.
9) Talk of deadlines would undercut the morale of our troops.
Many US officers in Iraq, especially at company and field grade levels, know that while they are winning every tactical battle, they are losing strategically. And according to the New York Times last week, they are beginning to voice complaints about Americans at home bearing none of the pains of the war. One can only guess about the enlisted ranks, but those or a second tour – probably the majority today – are probably anxious for an early pullout. It is also noteworthy that US generals in Iraq are not bubbling over with optimistic reports they way they were during the first few years of the war in Vietnam. Their careful statements and caution probably reflect serious doubts that they do not, and should not, express publicly. The more important question is whether or not the repressive and vindictive behavior by the secretary of defense and his deputy against the senior military – especially the Army leadership, which is the critical component in the war – has made it impossible for field commanders to make the political leaders see the facts.
Most surprising to me is that no American political leader today has tried to unmask the absurdity of the administration’s case that to question the strategic wisdom of the war is unpatriotic and a failure to support our troops. Most officers and probably most troops don’t see it that way. They are angry at the deficiencies in materiel support they get from the Department of Defense, and especially about the irresponsibly long deployments they must now endure because Mr. Rumsfeld and his staff have refused to enlarge the ground forces to provide shorter tours. In the meantime, they know that the defense budget shovels money out the door to maritime forces, SDI, etc., while refusing to increase dramatically the size of the Army.
As I wrote several years ago, "the Pentagon’s post-Cold War force structure is so maritime heavy and land force weak that it is firmly in charge of the porpoises and whales while leaving the land to tyrants." The Army, some of the Air Force, the National Guard, and the reserves are now the victims of this gross mismatch between military missions and force structure. Neither the Bush nor the Clinton administration has properly "supported the troops." The media could ask the president why he fails to support our troops by not firing his secretary of defense.
Why are the Democrats failing the public on this issue today? The biggest reason is because they weren’t willing to raise that issue during the 2004 campaign. Howard Dean alone took a clear and consistent stand on Iraq, and the rest of the Democratic party trashed him for it. Most of those in Congress voted for the war and let that vote shackle them later on. Now they are scared to death that the White House will smear them with lack of patriotism if they suggest pulling out.
There is a host of possible indictments against the politicians and we have suggested starting with war crimes because none are more serious than killing innocent civilians and planning nuclear genocide. The reason that judges and members of Congress believe that they are safe from prosecution is that have bestowed themselves with a special immunity that is similar to that of the Hanoverian aristocracy. (Not that theirs is any more malevolent that other aristocracies, but our legal tradition comes from England.) Soon after Supreme Court Justice Marshall invented "judicial review" states like Pennsylvania began to rewrite their own constitutions to implement the change.
The logic of Thomas Paine against this emolument of lawyers is clear in his 1805 "Letter to the Citizens of Pennsylvania" with an attached Compass. We provide his indictment in the Newsletter.htm page because it serves as a motivation for the legal compulsion to follow. By 1810, the patriots throughout the country were aroused by the various Federalist impositions and joined to legislate a 13th Amendment to the federal Constitution to prevent further abuse by the lawyer class. How the lawyers were able to extinguish the original 13thAmendment (1810-1819) is unclear and exposition of current research on its subversion would require an essay but a short summary is possible.
In 1849, Virginia decided to revise its 1819 Civil Code, which had contained the 13th Amendment for 30 years. One of the revisionists was a lawyer named Patton who wrote to the Secretary of the Navy (Preston), who wrote the Secretary of State (Clayton), who lied that it was not ratified by a sufficient number of States. He cited an 1818 status inquiry by J.Q. Adams (then the Secretary of State) as proof that it had not passed, even though its passage was confirmed in both 1815 and 1819.
Gilded Age lawyers removed the Amendment from the books by the Twentieth Century and, for whatever reason, the Congressional Research Service repeated their "1818 lie". By 1994, the National Archives conceded the correct and proper 1819 ratification of this Amendment. Most of the states carried the Amendment on the books for decades and some (CO, NE, WY, Dakota Territory) even had it on the books after the Civil War, so what were the motivations of Patton and Clayton?
As serfs (servus is Latin for slaves) became essential to the Southern planter economy, its politicians realized that slave and master are two sides of the same coin. During the decades after the War of 1812, massive importation of cotton by Britain had created a monetary basis for royalism (somewhat like Japanese buying cattle ranches to export beef or Arab kingdoms controlling our commercial shipping). It also became expedient to guard aristocratic ideas to assure British sympathy in any future conflict. It was a time of rising aristocratic pretensions by a slave-owning planter class.
Even though many states still had the original 13th Amendment on the books. Two more were passed during the Civil War: President Buchanan tried to guarantee slavery in 1861 and Lincoln abolished it in 1864. Some might have expected the 14thAmendment to have similar weight, but aspiring esquires wanted to bury it. To create a corporate oligarchy, they had to remove threat that undermined their foreign patronage. When it was safely hidden from view, the American Bar Association was founded in 1878 at Saratoga Springs (NY) and the global corpfederacy was on the way.
As the BAR Association blossomed in New York, most American attorneys were unconnected to the British and were kept in the dark about the British connection. There are fewer than 20,000 IBA members, worldwide, but overt sedition in the name of globalization soon was commonplace and recent treaties, such as the North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA), show how weak the Constitution has become. Chosen members working as "esquires" with positions of "honor" still show particular contempt for the oath to the Constitution. There is vague diversionist dialogue about federalism and state sovereignty, but continuing motivation for the lie is clear enough. This short tutorial relates to an issue of public corruption with reference to a false aristocracy.
A modern example for special immunities is found in the "special interest" legislation of our government with the access granted to lobbyists, many of whom are former office holders. There are dozens of lobbyists for every member of Congress and "special interests" are another simple euphemism for "honors." Repeated scandals show that many members of Congress feel entitled to accept money in campaign contributions and lobbyists in exchange for favors. They also use their influence to avoid investigating the criminality by the Executive Branch? They arrogantly believe that they hold positions of "honor" above the law. If so, then forfeiture of citizenship is a relatively mild punishment. Many of them have already arranged to secure some sort of dual-citizenship within the framework of global corporatism.
Fortunately, despite being erased from Civics books, It is a matter of public record and evidence against ratification of the Amendment is nonexistent. Moreover, even if it not been ratified, there have only been six amendments passed by Congress and not ratified by states (one became the 27th Amendment in 1992.) New U.S. citizens also take an oath to defend the Constitution and an egalitarian spirit in the Law of the Land is reinforced by the 9th, 10th, and 14th Amendments. The oligopoly government has simply refused to acknowledge or enforce equal citizenship.
The implications are substantial. Imagine a government without special privileges or immunities. Imagine a government whose members are truly accountable to the public, one that could not systematically exploit its own people! It would almost be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people! Those who have assumed political and economic advantages over fellow U.S. citizens have strong incentives to protect a two-tiered system of corporate citizenship. It is contrary to America’s economic welfare, and political interest. It clearly contradicts the oath to defend the Constitution that is imposed on politicians.
George Washington warned of "… change by usurpation" as "…the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed." So trial by jury is routinely denied in our courts and the Executive branch even denies habeas corpus protections in political and economic crimes, with unconstitutional drug laws as the most common example. We could go on, but a legal scholar could better present the above material. At this time, we do not cite the many added symptoms of sedition. They will likely diminish when the cause of the disease can be properly cured.
However, in terms of accountability, a 1956 Supreme Court decision (Penn. V. Nelson, 350 U.S. 497, 505) defined sedition "as a crime against the Nation." It is not a local offense. If members of Congress accept money to peddle influence, then the issue is relatively clear and a number of Congressmen were jailed for exactly that offense. The above explanation goes further to show that if public officials refuse to carry out explicitly stated functions, those that they have been hired to perform; then they cannot hide behind a claim of immunity or special honors.
In effect, members of Congress have specific duties related to their Constitutional oath of office. In the example here, those who fail to take reasonable steps to avoid war crimes share the usual blame associated in any act of wanton killing, intentional or not. If this simple view is ignored then we get into an absurd philosophical debate about how many soldiers and innocent civilians they are "privileged" to kill before being restrained. However, if they do not fear such a debate, then let’s get it on record without hiding behind closed doors. Activists should approach the debate with confidence that the law is on their side. A crime in 1849 is still a crime.
Merge the 9 Justices of the Supreme Court with the Senate, thus creating a Supreme Court with 110 members. Because of the repeated outrages of the Court, as allowed by the self-imposed process of "judicial review," the time has come to restructure the Court. This is allowed by the Constitution. Merging it with the Senate, would keep the original 1790 ratio of judges to the population and allow them to sit as juries rather than aristocrats. "Justice delayed" is bad enough, but the existing body has refused to hear over 99% of the cases that were submitted to it. How did happened has been explained in the above question on judicial review?
Reform certainly won’t come from Supreme Court Justices who steal elections and refuse to hear most of the cases submitted to them. Local magistrates and transnational corporations both try to overrule the Constitution. They are as evil as the tyranny of 1776. Our motivation is to end the "divine right" of robber barons and taxation without representation. First we have to mobilize genuine representation. How can that be done?
Since the Senate was complicit in this election fraud and the size of the Supreme Court is incongruous with the intent of the founders, we would disband the current Supreme Court and replace it with the Senate. To make it more independent, an expanded system of Grand Juries could be designed. Similar arguments have been made in favor of keeping the Federal Reserve Board independent. Although most Americans have no idea of the difference between Keynesian and Monetarist policy—a powerful argument can be made for teaching them enough to vote directly on these issues. The task of interpreting the constitution and money matters by experts or by a public that may be semi-literate in such matters is an excellent analogy. It is a question of aristocracy over democracy.
How can everyone in Congress and the 50 state legislatures become experts on the potential dangers of specific legal, monetary, and environmental policies. They can’t. But the task of educating legislators was also challenging when this country was founded. The difference is that since then democracy has been destroyed. The ration of representation has been slashed by more than 90%. Congress could in fact still vote on complicated issues if there were more members. Only half of the representatives would need to be convinced and they might decide to rely on less than 10% of the entire Legislature. Ideally, this increased number of legislators could be advised on by experts from the pertinent business, science, environmental or citizen groups.
Their conflicting expert opinions could be assessed by the government’s own experts, after which legislation is voted upon. And if a particular interest group feels that the resulting law violates their constitutional rights, they have the option of testing its constitutionality in the courts. Meanwhile, more specific laws would be passed by a simple majority in Congress, allowing society to respond quickly to changing circumstances, with reviewed for constitutionality by an independent and expanded Supreme Court. This proposed system involves at least 100 Supreme Court judges and about 6000 legislators.
How can this system be an improvement? Who wants more politicians than we already have. In fact, we dramatically reduce the number of politicians. As a verbal schematic: imagine that the Senate became the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives became the Senate, and the State Legislatures became the new Representatives. The question of how and why the State governments need to reformed will be addressed later. The supporting argument is that, even if all the politicians remained within the Washington beltway, it would could reduce their number because the number of staff members could be drastically cut from about twenty-four down to two or three. The dirty little secret is that you are already paying for the politicians, they’re just not represent you in a democratic manner as defined by the Founders
This argument is true at a trivial level (as in all dogs are not cats) because both the 9th and 10th amendments say that the federal government may not assume powers not permitted to it by the Constitution, it does not mean that federal government exceeds its constitutional mandate, or is therefore unconstitutional. Many expansions of federal government have been contested in the Supreme Court for their constitutionality and the court accepted many of these expansions as meekly as it accepted slavery. The major flaw of such reasoning is when it excludes the 9th Amendment. The two amendments, which could have been restated as one Article, were as follows:
9. The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Remember that the Bill of Rights Amendments were not numbered and that the Constitution started with "We the People." Conservatives try to claim these amendments as life-savers because they infer that it stops the federal government from assuming any powers not specified by the preceding text of Constitution. Expansion of federal power beyond the Constitution, for them, is unconstitutional. They that the massive expansion of government that followed the New Deal (1933) violates these amendments. The Supreme Court admitted (U.S. vs. Darby, 312 U.S. 100, 124 (1941):
"The amendment states but a truism that all is retained which has not been surrendered."
The key question is who retains these rights. In fact, it is not conservatives or their corporations, but "the people." The constitution grants the people enormous powers, a fact which is not harmed by the observation that unspecified powers are beyond the constitution. The conservative’s repeated appeals to the 10th amendment only begs the question of powers granted the federal government. Exceptionally conservative judges in the Supreme Court have struck down popular expansions as unconstitutional. What we have today, then, is a federal government based on judicial imposition.
To produce the kind of rulings they truly desire, conservatives who disagree with the rulings must explain what kind of system they prefer. Is it one wherein Congress passes laws that do not irritate the Supreme Court? The Court is highly undemocratic and there is nothing in the wording of the Constitution that grants it judicial review. Therefore, we have much room for improvement, perhaps through some kind of Grand Jury. The point is that the question belongs to the People and not to a parchment. It has often been usurped by local governments under a royal doctrine of "sovereign immunity" that pretends that judges are above both federal and state law. The history of debate on this amendment reveals that the Founders did not intend to severely brake federal powers.
This is indicated by the Annals of Congress for 1791 (published 1897) in the refusal of both Houses of Congress to insert "expressly" before the word "delegated." Although anti-federalists proposed the amendment as a limitation to federal powers, they failed because of this wording and because the 9th Amendment left implied federal powers "to the people." Most historians, constitutional scholars, and Supreme Court rulings regard the 10th amendment as a weak reinforcement of the 9th, even though the South later tried to overturn its meaning.
The strong implication was that democracy would be allowed to shape the specific meaning of those articles that were unclear in the original Constitution and Bill of Rights. The heresy of an aristocratic Confederacy had to be chastened by Civil War and several new Amendments, particularly the 14th that promised to strengthen democracy by assuring equal protection of law. Now the issue is mainly one of enforcing the intent of the 9thAmendment and the mechanism of the original 13thAmendment (1815) offers a mechanism for enforcement.
This is a matter of removing most of the 85,000 false governments and restoring one level of separation between the people and Constitution.
The power of the House of Representatives was arbitrarily eroded since 1820 and the sedition of 1921 capped membership at 435 members. Representation was unconstitutionally diluted from original levels (about 30,000 to 1) to an impossible ratio approaching 700,000 to 1, wherein members of Congress personally cannot even answer constituent mail, much less properly meeting them.
The issue of democracy also goes back to the very first Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The effort of the slave holding faction to undermine representation began with a rejection of that article. The original second article was also rejected and was not adopted until 1992 as the 27thAmendment. Only about six amendments were passed by Congress and rejected by the states. The original 1stAmendment read [1791:]
After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.
Without true representation, elections can legitimize extortion and may simply prove that a winner had enough cash to buy support. Restoring more powerful democracy will at least make it more difficult to buy votes because candidates will be able bypass corporate media and go directly to the people. Personally reaching the estimated 20,000 families (50,000 people) in each district is reasonable even without passing the original 1stAmendment. Based on 200 canvassing days a year it would be a matter of meeting about 100 families each day over a two year term. After the first year the number would decrease based on any identified lack of interest. The shadow candidate would then have a constituency with which to communicate.
The state senates, to the extent they are still needed (and some states have already disbanded them) would become administrative bodies for the various municipal districts. About 90% of the 80,000 state and so-called local governments would be merged into about 55 equally populated state-level districts. The proposed concept adapts the principle "50,000 to one and none" where 50,000 is the proposed representation per Representative and "None" refers to adding none of the above to annual ballots.
Treat crooks and liars their fellow travelers like criminals, not businessmen.
A fundamental responsibility of the government is to protect the common good. To protect the economy, we may need to plan population movement. If not, nature will do it with less kindness. Meanwhile, among other things, we should demand that government: regulate drugs, keep water systems pure, manage and preserve our oxygen-generating forests (& parks), and monitor air quality poisons from autos or industry. Our expectations should be no less for medical care and safe food. Promoting public healthcare involves prevention and protection, rather than private sickcare.
Population transportation became a public health issue when exhaust fumes were shown to cause cancer and lung disease. A health initiative can unify citizens and bring together environmentalists, labor activists, fair trade proponents, justice advocates, civil righters, and many others. The population explosion and global warming compel a growing number of scientists to advocate replacing our growth economy with a sustainable economy that has been described in terms of species evolution, soil formation; forest regeneration; carbon fixation; fish regeneration, and population control.
The recent Al Gore film documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, provides some of the necessary facts for which he won the Nobel prize. We would mainly add that militarism imposes an opportunity cost that prevents us from allocating resources towards such goals.
The manipulation of the public airwaves by corporate interests requires major reform. One suggestion is to expanding public media, which is not supported by advertisements or parent corporations, but directly by taxpayers. With only the citizens to answer to, public journalists would be free to investigate businesses as aggressively as they do government. Perhaps journalists in public media could be elected, just as politicians are elected, to a something like a Ministry of Ethics that was empowered to file legal opinions against corporate and political failures. The media prides itself on being the "Fourth Estate" or "fourth branch of government." This would formally recognize this fact.
Truly public media would be a new player on the block— one with no secret agenda and responsible to the people. Europe has a stronger tradition of public media than the U.S., and it has worked superbly for them. The U.S. experiment with public media is limited to National Public Radio and National Public Television, which are both underfunded and often severely attacked by the Republicans, with periodically try to cut its funding. NPR has repeatedly backed off its criticism of corporations (It is itself a corporation)
It must also be noted that "public" media also depends on corporate donations. Progressives argue that the U.S. should strengthen its public media and institute reforms to insulate it from political and corporatized economic influence. Only then will we have a media that truly operates "without fear or favor." Of course, corporate media would continue to operate and its cronies would try to infiltrate the public airwaves so there is no easy solution.
Changing to a national mass-transit system would simultaneously relieve several burdens. Think about how you move around. Unless you are retired or otherwise forced to stay at home, it shapes part of your daily life. It also has a major impact on the nation by restricting the social mobility of non-drivers, making us dependent on motor vehicles, harming health by pollution, and requiring the maintenance of vast transportation networks. It now chains us to foreign oil, which led to war.
Cheap oil is the essential ingredient of this culture so moving toward public transportation requires ending the $80 billion a year subsidy to the oil industry and shifting the $300 billion annual highway infrastructure funding to one which values public transit. This also promotes equal access to social and economic opportunities to enhance a democratic quality of life. Using public wealth for the common good also favors the economy by increasing the mobility of goods and labor. Such alternative transportation can shift key economic sectors towards local distribution networks and is therefore a labor issue that would help isolated urban and rural communities.
The process of building this network would also immediately create construction and engineering jobs. The eventual gain in rail operators and bus drivers, token vendors, and necessary administrators would also more than compensate for any decrease in auto manufacturing position (which, anyway, are going overseas) As an environmental issue the relationship between dependence on automobiles and the climate crisis is also becoming common knowledge. The who whole concept city and urban planning would also benefit from such a change in emphasis.
Our version would be something like:
I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, an indivisible republic of the people, by the people, and for the people, with liberty and justice for all.
The motivation for this is Common Sense (December 1775), which transformed a successful revolution to a War for Independence based on a constitution as the Genesis of American values. We believe that it is time to recall those values as Thomas Paine expressed in that pamphlet:
"Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth, placed on the divine law, the Word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king …and there ought to be no other."
In his best selling Rights of Man (Part I), Paine further pointed out the power of the state charters and Articles of Confederation to motivate American Independence. The French Foreign Minister tried to suppress their translation for fear of undermining monarchy. Paine said:
"The American constitutions were to liberty what a grammar is to language: they define its parts of speech, and practically construct them into syntax."
We propose that each year, perhaps on Independence Day (4 July) or Constitution Day (17 September), American citizens affirm an understanding of patriotism by taking a pledge similar to the one above or like the one for new citizens (below). Senator Byrd delivered some powerful remarks on the first national commemoration of Constitution & Citizenship Day (research: Shepherd U., 16 Sept. 2005) to mark the anniversary of signing of the Constitution in 1787. Such a pledge could refute dual-citizenship and recall the disloyal nature of corporate "persons". A brainwashing Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, was invented by Congress based on a shorter version in 1892 by a Baptist Minister, Francis Belamy, to commemorate Columbus Day and to teach obedience to the state. For its first fifty years the pledge was used to commemorate Columbus, whose lack of virtue has since been exposed. The U.S. Congress made it the official national pledge on December 28, 1945. It shows an aristocratic sympathy for symbols, empire, and a religious tests that was added in 1954.
Three Causes of Disloyalty
In simplest terms, you either accept the Constitution or you don’t. Many don’t as proven by the Civil War and its "lost cause" myth. This is the topic of many books but probably the most often cited excuse for disloyalty is (1) a preference for Bible to government (discussed above in question on biblical morality). Another major source of disloyalty is (2) legalism and a mystification originating with the unconstitutional invention of judicial review in Marbury versus Madison, as discussed in the question on the judicial system and poverty. (3) Disloyalty based on family ties rather than ethical public service, is an old and simple mystification that now pervades State governments.
Besides nepotism, there are temptations to cut corners in order to protect the income connected to influence peddling and steady government employment, especially if the breadwinner has several children. Therefore, those in power have to be monitored for all the old reasons. Even when some are caught in blatant theft and life-wrecking lies, they are rarely punished with more than a lost election. Criminal indictments are overdue against the more than 85,000 corporations now pretending to be local governments. As a matter of accountability, it is necessary to overcome public apathy. It is public money that the "servants" often put in their religious and lawyer pockets. It would also be relatively easy to consolidate and simplify these governments to fewer than 8,000.
The more obvious causes of disloyalty are in diversion, distraction, disinformation, deconstruction, and division. Basic demystification to cure the top three causes will also clear up most of the others
Our example of "Big Lies" goes back to World War 2. Some intent of the Golden Rule was stated in the Atlantic Charter of Four Freedoms. As explained on the Newsletter page, American leaders betrayed this goal in January 1943. By 1947 this country embraced a form of fascism that enriched established corporatists. Eisenhower allowed about two hundred corporations to control half of the civilian economy (down from a previous 500) but in his Farewell Address he admitted that the Congressional "military-industrial complex" cost more than the profits all the private corporations combined. Fascistic economic aspects are confirmed by U.S. entry into war (1950) without a declaration by Congress. Moreover, politicians secretly accepted plans for nuclear genocide. They rarely talk of the "military-industrial-complex" with airplanes individually costing hundreds of millions of dollars (F-22 ).
The aristocracy enforces obedience through masses of lower military and police officers who never learned the difference between serving a corporation and defending the constitution. For example most Americans don’t know the difference between "corporatize" and "privatize," or how the founders defined democracy in the original Bill of Rights (slave states rejected the first two Amendments). The point is that such key definitions are been hidden from basic education. Aristocracy hates to share definitions of democracy but slave and master are two sides of the same ancient coin. Wetter part of the criminal underworld or a class-war overworld, the political masters need to subvert honest government in order to keep power. The classic Constitution vs. Corporation fight is now 120 years old.
Let’s not forget how the Supreme Court "legislated" national corporations (Santa Clara Co. v. Southern RR, 1886) into citizenship. U.S. judges have increasingly sided with property rights. What is to be done with seditious lawyers who attempt to smash the current First Amendment and judges block public places from serving as a "Commons"? Such issues involve "Obstruction of Justice" and "Dereliction of Duty." We don’t need lawyers to complain against this outrage. For example, we can go a nearby federal U.S. Attorney’s Office and properly file a Complaint. Keep a notarized and date-stamped copy. Of course the occupation government will ignore the first few thousand of these but that’s not the point.
The very least patriots should do is document their anger. Where is the outrage? To this day, the dozen countries of the Hanoverian Commonwealth have about twice the land and half the people of the United States. Its people lack a supreme written constitution so their leaders pledge loyalty to an aristocracy in the name of the Queen. Other kingdoms and fictitious republics (including Israel) oppose constitutions, but could not endure without tracing lineage to more powerful imperial remnants. Many of the problems in Africa and Middle East can be traced to the arbitrary lines drawn by such old empires. Despite Civil Wars (1776, 1812, 1861), their class system is again imposed in many sections of the United States.
We would expect giant corporations, the instruments of global aristocracy, to undermine American democracy and destroy its borders. They would see this country as an object of plunder and a place to expel excess populations. The country encourages legal immigration and legally allows for more of it than all the countries of the world combined. Most citizens, however, properly fear invasion by agents of greed or infiltration by foreign citizens who accept two masters. Their potential disloyalty to America is an understandable risk but the failure of the government to protect the border and enforce existing laws is what really has Americans upset. The media instead is trying to shift the blame to the immigrants.
The obvious issue is Dereliction of Duty. Those who may be concerned about charges of prejudice or extremism can refer to the more specific Oath of Allegiance required of new citizens as follows:
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, to whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same: that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law: and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
(Title 8—Aliens and Nationality , Chapter I—Immigration and Naturalization Service, DoJ Part 337)
In America the Constitution is king. It seems appropriate to expect citizens to undertake a responsibility to perform public service or pay taxes. This should be driven by loyalty to the Constitution rather than in fear of "decrees" by a Chief Executive who serves corporations. A ruling cabal has usurped legislative power and even uses naturalization process to hire mercenaries or foreign volunteers to fight its wars in the Middle East. Whose laws are they defending? The corporate state is not yet a formal aristocracy but top executives, especially in the oil companies, can often exercise far more power than elected leaders. To whom do you pay more "taxes," to corporations or constitutional government?
Along with pervasive militarism, such corruption has required serious reform since corrupt judges granted corporations the same rights as citizens (1886). Thomas Paine also denounced Marshall’s invention of Judicial Review and the "emolument of lawyers" as contrary to the principle of annual election in his "Letter to the Citizens of Pennsylvania." A key phrase in a Compass to that document is:
"There is no article in the Constitution of this State, nor of any of the states, that invests the Government in whole or in part with the power of granting charters or monopolies of any kind; the spirit of the times was then against all such speculation; and therefore the assuming to grant them is unconstitutional, and when obtained by bribery and corruption is criminal."
Pay politicians what they are worth and no pensions to servants until all of the public has pensions.
A last word
Observe, Study, Understand, Predict, …
Control. Observe, Study… (return to start).