Letter to the editor of the Daily Beacon, 11.09.09

I am not sure if this letter ever appeared in the U. of Tennessee student newspaper.  If it did, I missed it.

I am writing in response to Amien Essif’s November 9 column, “Media miss drama of demonstration”.  In it, he distinguishes the political environments of Europe from ours in the United States, and his distinction deserves further exploration.

Essif laments the quiet politics of U.S. citizens, and wishes there were frequent raucous protests.  In Europe, crowds of people partake in what he calls “real action.”  Going to work, minding your own business, and expecting the same of others is the American political tradition, but apparently these activities do not qualify as “real action.”

Then again, Americans have never walked en masse to the enlightened despot’s palace to request food, or travelled to the democratic tyrant’s outpost to request medical attention.  Even before the United States ratified a constitution to prevent those European follies, their citizens had begun a very different tradition.  That tradition began every time a group of colonists stepped off of a boat and into a vast wilderness, finding no postal roads, no gendarmerie, and certainly no royal granary.

In his journal, William Bradford, leader of the religious separatists that founded Plymouth colony, wrote that within a few months of landfall, half his company was dead.  Back in the Old World, the key to survival was “real action,” but rowdy demonstrations proved futile in the colony.  The harsh winter of Massachusetts Bay heeds neither protest nor prayer.

How did colonists survive?  They took the unreal action of providing for themselves, and in so doing began the American tradition of personal responsibility.  This tradition has endured through countless authoritarian regimes in Europe, all of which began with moral intentions for the greater good and “real action.”

Essif complains about “the uniquely American relationship to government, a strange concoction of cowardice and contempt,” and believes that “in Europe, the government is afraid of the people, while in the United States, the people are afraid of the government.”  This begs the question: what have the European governments done that makes them so fearful of their people?

The answer is that European governments have promised their citizens an end to fear, and an end to want, and their citizens believed them.  A digressive lesson for citizens and single women: if a man ever promises to bring an end to your fears and wants, you believe him at the risk that he will thereafter control you.  No government can deliver on those promises, and those that try not only exceed their true purpose (to defend natural rights) but act against it, by becoming instruments of plunder.

When government pursues its true purpose, the political environment is very calm.  Essif sees the absence of massive demonstrations as a negative; on the contrary, it is a sign that society is working well.  As Frederic Bastiat points out, “No one would have any argument with government, provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected against all unjust attack.”

Our government has stepped outside of the boundaries of its purpose, but it has not been doing this as long or as extensively as its European counterparts, and the effects are not yet as visible.  While Americans were running their own lives and expecting the same of others, their leaders in Washington–perhaps envying European governmental power–were patterning their legislation on the unwisely set examples of Europe, and then destroying the constitution accordingly.  After more than a century of this insidious legal process, the American political stage is finally set for some “real action.”

Europeans demonstrate to their governments because their governments run their lives, and in all likelihood this will soon be true for us, and then Thomas Paine’s words will apply to America for the first time since before he penned them: “The enormous expense of government has provoked men to think, by making them feel.”

Sincerely,

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My interview with The Pakistani Spectator

Pakistani politics

I would like to inform my readers of an up and coming Pakistani website called The Pakistani Spectator.  Its webmaster, Ghazala Khan (who may or may not be a descendant of Genghis), is committed to the free flow of ideas throughout the world.   It is people like Khan who–more than the overpaid CEO’s of biased, failing media conglomerates–are laying the foundation for lasting global understanding, friendship, and peace.  Websites like The Pakistani Spectator are creating a global forum in which the humble average citizen of one country may speak openly with the humble average citizen of another, and these two would-be-strangers may find a common interest in peace that their governments and corporate media would have hidden from them.

If Americans wish to truly know a foreign people, they should look not to the solitary voice of that foreign government, but to the myriad voices of its real people.  This is a luxury only the blogosphere can provide, and it is the luxury that people like Ghazala Khan help provide to the world.  The greatest tool for peace that humans have is direct communication, and never before has that tool been available to so many.

Thomas Paine wrote, “Man will not be brought up with the savage idea of considering his species as his enemy, because the accident of birth gave the individuals existence in countries distinguished by different names.” If, after more than two centuries of lying inefficaciously upon our bookshelves, and lying ceaselessly to the hopeful minds of multitudes, those words are to finally become truth, humankind may owe less gratitude to Paine’s enlightenment than to the free exchange of ideas across the worldwide web.

I agreed to an interview with The Pakistani Spectator, which may be found here.  I encourage all to bookmark the website and watch it grow and develop into a large and peaceful online community.

Ignorance v. Oklahoma: state sovereignty, and its frightening media blackout

Oklahoma legislature

I heard a rumor today that Oklahoma’s state legislature had declared sovereignty from federal mandates it considered beyond the national government’s constitutional powers. On blogs and independent news outlets around the world, the news of Oklahoma’s resolution was making its rounds. The state invoked the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

“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.”

Oklahoma has informed the United States government that it will not continue to follow the federal government’s requests, if those requests fall outside the specific powers given to the federal government by the Constitution. Oklahoma’s House of Representatives believes the Constitution was written to limit the powers of the federal government, and is ready to fight in court to restrict it back to its legal prerogatives.

This would greatly dampen the federal government’s control in Oklahoma in many policy areas: education, transportation, identification, immigration, licensing, taxation, banking, the list goes on and on.

Who would this hurt? No ordinary Americans, but some large corporations stand to literally topple if the federal government is limited to its Constitutional scope. These corporations and the over-sized government rely on each other for survival, steadily sucking money and power from their rightful owners, individual Americans, who are fed a steady stream of television and radio propaganda so that the scheme may be perpetuated. This leaves the thinking American wondering why nearly everyone hates the government, hates corporations, and hates the nation’s direction, but no one seems ever able to do anything about it.

Here is your answer: people are trying to do something about it, but corporate media will not allow American citizens to know what is actually good for them, because it would likely hurt profit margins.

Despite the fact that this is one of the more important news stories of the day (if not this era), I could not find a mention about Oklahoma’s declaration of sovereignty on any corporate media outlets. I decided to find out if the story was nothing more than a big Internet hoax. It was real. It is real. Not only did the Oklahoma House vote for the resolution, they passed it 92 – 3, and language of the bill is forceful and direct, aimed at undermining the federal government as aggressively as necessary.

Bloggers and independent media are no strangers to mainstream media blackouts, but this blackout seems particularly impressive in its orchestration. First of all, this is a complete corporate blackout of what is probably the most fundamental piece of legislation passed in Oklahoma in many years. Not only are national networks ignoring it, the local news won’t cover it either. It is as though the Oklahoma state legislature has been disappeared by the corporate political establishment, which is frightening.

If the federal government can get away with ignoring a legitimate state legislature and the Constitution as if neither even exists, imagine what they are capable of doing to freelance bloggers who defend the Constitution, or a peaceful assembly of libertarians, or political opponents, or the entire population of a minority religion. Imagine that, and suddenly the American flags covering this nation will begin to resemble something historic and horrible, the names of American rulers will begin to take on a German tone, and it will appear as though President Bush is growing a dark toothbrush mustache.

I have been looking, but have still been unable to find a mainstream media mention of the resolution. Please let me know if you have better luck.

It is almost indisputable: there is a civil war going on for control of the minds of Americans. It pits the United States propagandists against the Oklahomans, defenders of a free society. Will Americans be allowed to think for themselves, or will they continue to irrationally observe and repeat whatever comes out of the noisy, flashing boxes in their living rooms?

Iraqis have a voice, “but nobody listened.” Will you?

We have committed the invasion.

I have written a book; and if it cannot be refuted, it cannot be condemned. But I do not consider the prosecution as particularly leveled against me, but against the general right, or the right of every man, of investigating systems and principles of government, and showing their several excellencies or defects.” – Thomas Paine

Don’t share this with anyone allergic to truth. I have recently seen testimony that is–shocking is not the right word–horrifying. The official story we have been told about Iraq is a lie so big (though some leader, perhaps modeling for our own, once noted that people are more apt to believe a big lie than a small one), that I fear American heads will roll as a result of its telling, and perhaps justly. The big lie has officially lost legitimacy, and can now only be perpetuated through force. God bless America.

Iraqi leaders have been allowed to talk to members of Congress on CSPAN, and it should well ruin the war propaganda campaign that the Clinton and Bush Administrations, in conjunction with mainstream U.S. media (yes this includes “conservative” talk show hosts), have been orchestrating against the American and Iraqi people for the past decade. What the Iraqis are revealing, to the horror of Americans who have tuned in:

  • “The surge is working” is a lie, and always has been. Anyone who uses this phrase after the revelations of 06.04.08 is either a contemporary or a follower of Goebbels, and should be prosecuted for sedition or libel, before their efforts pave in America, a short road to Nazi Germany. Those who henceforth perpetuate the lie that the surge is working are war criminals, and perpetrate crimes against humanity, by extending an illegal, unjust and murderous war through known falsities.
  • Iraq is undeniably capable of defending itself without U.S. military aid, and has been for some time.
  • The U.S. is not defending Iraq from Iranian invasion.
  • Iraqis would rather have Saddam Hussein than what America has “given” them.
  • Most Iraqis want American forces to withdraw.
  • Continued presence of American troops in Iraq will increase the size and strength of terrorist militias there.

If we believe it too radical to suggest that the people of a nation should govern themselves, if we believe that our distant and uninformed (if not misinformed) opinions will serve the Iraqi people better than their knowledge and experience can serve themselves, if we lack (or unpardonably disregard) the God-given virtues of humility and compassion that the Scripture commands us in all of our affairs to employ, and if we disdain our own blessings so severely that we might arrogantly idolize ourselves as Rulers of the Universe, then we will care very little for what the Iraqi people think of our presence in their country.

As American republicans and good people, what I have described in the preceding stanza is not our condition, but if it were, we could rightly call ourselves evil, and if unrepentant, we would certainly deserve Hell, presuming its existence. If our intentions in Iraq are good, we must seek to remove all ambiguity from our understanding of the conflict, because, as a selfish but quotable man once wrote, “the consciousness of good intentions disdains ambiguity.” A selfless and more quotable man expressed as much in fewer words: “mystery is the antagonist of truth.” And I’m told a wise chimpanzee shared a banana. With that in mind, I leave you to the material at hand, with this advice in closing: seek truth, remove ambiguity, remain conscious of good intentions, eliminate mystery, and most importantly, share your bananas.

Why hasn’t the media been telling us that these tan-colored, robed creatures in Iraq are capable of rational thought? I feel misled, for I almost believed Iraqis were little more than cackling orangutans with bombs strapped to their torsos. Apparently this Iraq War thing Americans have been watching almost as attentively as they watched season six of Survivor–Iraqis actually care about it for some reason. You would think the Iraq War actually affected their lives. Go figure. Maybe it does. Who knows? Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to see what these surprisingly rational residents of Mess-o-potamia are saying, and I have compiled some video and quotes from my worldwide web travels.

Some quotes from a prominent Iraqi Shiite leader and a prominent Iraqi Sunni leader, sitting side by side in the Capitol Building in Washington:

“I just would like to assert that Iraq is capable to defend itself.” – Dr. Nadeem Al-Jaberi, Iraqi Parliament

“The majority of the people of Iraq are for the withdrawal, perhaps even about 70 percent.” – Dr. Nadeem Al-Jaberi, Iraqi Parliament

“The [American] Embassy in Iraq has an incredibly large amount of staff. It is certainly larger than the diplomatic mission for which it has arrived. I have information that there may be about three-thousand employees, and there certainly is another view than the one that we see … From the principle of reciprocity, would it be appropriate for the Iraqis to establish a three-thousand employee embassy in Washington?” – Dr. Nadeem Al-Jaberi, Iraqi Parliament

“There definitely is a resentment for the presence of [U.S.] military bases.” – Dr. Nadeem Al-Jaberi, Iraqi Parliament

“I would prefer if it [the invasion of Iraq] didn’t happen, because it led to the destruction of the country. The U.S. got rid of one person. It put in hundreds of persons that are worse than Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately, now Iran is going into Iraq, and this is under the umbrella of the United States.” – Khalaf Al-Ulayyan, Iraqi Parliament

“Increasing the number of forces [a.k.a., the troop surge] didn’t affect the level of violence in Iraq. What led to the reduction of terrorism acts and violence was the forces of … those volunteers from the tribes of the areas where terrorists are more, and those forces managed to eliminate the terrorists, because they know them, and they know their tactics. We suggested that a long time ago for our government and for the American government, but nobody listened. I believe that the reduction of the level of violence is due mainly to the efforts of the volunteers. I believe the thing that will reduce the violence more–not a military force–but having realistic solutions to convince others to join the political process. I believe the best method to achieve that is a real national reconciliation, not only slogans, as is being done now.” – Khalaf Al-Ulayyan, Iraqi Parliament

“Many of the armed militias were established in order to fight the presence of foreign troops on their land, so their justification is to liberate Iraq from the foreign troops, so as soon as the troops have withdrawn, they have no more justification to exist, because it doesn’t make sense for them to start killing their own compatriots. It is my belief that when the troops withdraw, these groups will not bear arms any longer. And for as long as we have foreign troops on our land, these groups will actually increase in number…the presence of foreign troops is actually serving these groups. In the case of a withdrawal, we can rehabilitate them so that they can become civilians, and then include them in the democratic process in Iraq.” – Dr. Nadeem Al-Jaberi, Iraqi Parliament

Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXelUuw4nWk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3eQVVe-dH0

A Nation of Fences (05.23.08)

I have heard several Israeli residents complain of the unwanted attention their nation receives from the U.S. media.  The most hated countries in the world, they realize, are the ones to which America pays the most attention: Iran and their own.  They want sovereignty and independence–they want to be left alone–but they seem fairly disinterested in learning the means toward that end. 

They are more than willing to accept U.S. aid.  It is unreasonable to accept the aid without expecting the attention.  With regard to Israel, the U.S. acts as a parent holding a child’s allowance.  Certainly the parent chooses its expenditures on a whim, but when it betroths a portion of its revenues to its begotten, the parent becomes overly concerned with how the child appropriates those funds, and the child reacts as children do, ill-tempered and irrational, and unable to realize its own potential to raise revenues.

Economic independence and national sovereignty are inseparable–one follows the other as obediently as night follows day–and until Israel votes for the former, it should expect the latter will never exist.  Both, moreover, are essential for any country that wishes to be free, which appears may not be one of Israel’s goals.  Based upon every conversation of policy I have had in this country, I can only conclude at this time that the collective political tide of Israel disdains true freedom, and seeks only to be Jewish and secure–two words with varying definitions from Israeli to Israeli.  In simpler terms, the nation of Israel can say not what it hopes to be, or for which principles it stands; everything is correct as long as it exists.

There is nothing free about a fence.  I have said before (and will probably say again) that a nation of five million free souls is far preferable to one of ten million living in servitude to an authority created by humans.

Our leader Yossi says, “All Israelis would like to see a time when the fences could be taken down, but for security, we need them now.  We pray for peace.” 

Peace, however, is less dependent on prayer than it is on tolerance and principle.  To the argument for “temporary” security measures, I refer to the philosophy of Ben Franklin, who wrote, “Those that would sacrifice essential liberty for a little temporary security, will have neither liberty nor security.”  Additionally, it is folly to believe that a free nation requires such an extensive military operation.  In its true form, freedom secures itself, because a constitutional republic that limits itself to the protection of rights, will find its enemies disappearing with remarkable rapidity.  Israel has no such government, and it appears to me an affront to the natural gifts God gave humankind.

I cannot believe that God simply despises certain humans, and wishes to see them suffer where others relax.  My heart and mind tell me that most of the misfortune in this country occurs on the other sides of these fences, and as it is the nature of compassion to associate with misfortune, I feel a Jewish association with the Palestinians.

But it would be unpardonably short-sighted for my compassion to expose only one side of the fence.  The only authorities more absurd than those of the Israelis are those of the surrounding Arab lands.  It would be wise for Muslims to reject their own various despotisms and learn the freedom intended clearly within the patchwork of our one human creator.

The struggles for power over other individuals by the fanatics on both sides of these fences, must inevitably end in a true revolution for liberty, and it must be done in partnership by people of all types, against the faulty powers that be–both Israeli and Arab.

Patriotism and Partisanship in America

Give me back my country!

“I do not believe that any two men, on what are called doctrinal points, think alike who think at all.  It is only those who have not thought that appear to agree.” – Thomas Paine

“I am a Democrat.”  What does this mean?  “I am a Republican.”  What does this mean?  Does anyone even know anymore?

I contend that I have never met a Democrat or a Republican.  I have met Americans, and I have met aristocrats.  Almost every American I know is exactly the same in political philosophy, differing only in historical knowledge (or lack thereof) and political application of that knowledge (or ignorance).  The typical American approach to politics, at its root, is this: always do what is best for our nation and our freedoms.  This is the basic political thought of the majority of Americans, regardless of political affiliation, and it matches the intent of our founders. 

There exists, however, an opinionated and vocal minority that will not rest until our freedoms are stamped out, our nation is unrecognizable, and our humanity is enslaved under the self-destructive goals of maximum employment and minumum wage.  This powerful minority has already succeeded beyond measure.  If Jesus Christ returned today, he would not recognize the religion that bears his title, because most of its members ignore his simple teachings; nor would Jefferson, Madison, or Washington claim the nation they helped to create, because it now resembles the opposite of what they intended during the revolution, before the rise of the new tyrannical minority.  The minority to which I refer is the corporate political establishment–the new aged robber barons–repackaged with mythical concerns for the community and environment, and freedom.

The corporate version of freedom is carefully defined.  Everyone should know that freedom is the absence of government coercion, but that definition of freedom does not do much to support government plunder.  It takes a very careful explanation indeed, for a people to understand why they must work five days every week and then receive pay for working only three, especially if the practice is to be perpetuated for fifty or more years of their lives.  This is why the definition of freedom must be skewed, and the process still requires what Orwell branded “doublethink,” because we all know, as individuals, that no one is better equipped to make decisions about our money than ourselves.   Liberty’s central thesis is this: no authority will ever be able to meet my needs better than I can (with the help of nature or nature’s God).  “Liberty or death” is the battle cry of the able American patriot, whether fighting the British crown in the eighteenth century, or the United States Congress in the twenty-first.

I believe it is time once again for the American people to unite against a tyrant that does not meet the nation’s basic human needs for civil liberties and free markets, and does not even give them the option of choosing leaders who actually do believe in these things, as the corporate media sees a peoples’ statesman as a serious threat to their own control over the political process.  Even media types will complain about apathy and blame themselves for it, but as soon as citizens get excited about the process, you can bet the media will call them whackjobs and undermine their efforts. 

If you don’t believe this, research Ron Paul’s presidential campaign.  Look him up on youtube or meetup, and you will see what I’m talking about.  By far the most popular candidate, Paul was intentionally crushed by the media for telling the truth too often and getting credibility amongst real people (he received more donations from military members than every other candidate in both parties combined).

The skeleton shelf: how the media chooses who loses

Amen.

We the people are under fire from corporate media. Their intent is uncertain, but whether for indiscriminate profit or intentional distraction, media sources are bombarding us with smoke bombs of emotion, which steadily stupefy the American voter.

Take Jeremiah Wright, for example. We are asked to listen to a prominent preacher shout obscenities about our country, and we experience a sense of shock, which naturally turns to curiosity. It is democratic, as well as human, to desire an explantion for any loud display of emotion. The news and pundits, however, never satisfy the public’s curiosity. Network presents clip A to evoke audience emotion B, and network stifles curiosity C by jack-hammering emotion B endlessly into the skulls of audience, until curiosity C disappears, and portions of democratic process and human reason disappear with it. Giving a reasoned explanation of events might diminish dramatic effect and bore the audience, or even cause them to commiserate, where it was intended they should repugn. Whether or not Wright had good reason to shout, his brief exclamations should not have been tossed out nakedly. Corporate news websites provide links to the audio or video of the incendiary bits, but even with their unrestricted format, they rarely (if ever) offer full text of Reverend Wright’s sermons, even though the whole speech is, by definition, a better reflection of character than any one part.

With Wright’s clippings and others like them, corporate media control voters. Wright is just one example of many, in which the media manipulates the voting public using emotional reactions, in this case disenfranchising Barack Obama voters. In truth, every candidate has a pastor Wright–an unseemly, destructive skeleton, of which the media is well aware. There is little doubt that networks could fill entire shelves with “guilt-by-association” files of the remaining three candidates but, thus far, they have chosen to explore only one at any length whatsoever.

We have heard the names “Jeremiah Wright” and “Bill Ayres” over and over again in recent weeks. These two toxic Obama associations are invoked day and evening on network and cable news, and talk radio. Corporate media chooses who will be our president–or rather, who will not be our President–and something about Obama does not sit well with them. It is difficult to identify Obama’s fatal flaw: it could be that he does not properly fear the corporate sponsors; it could be that his thoughts are too independent and unpredictable; it could be that another candidate would bring better profit margins to the right corporations–there is one thing that absolutely is not the reason for Barack Obama’s downfall: his pastor is too outspokenly “anti.”

For those who believe some candidate has no associations like Obama’s, let facts be revealed to a candid world:

Charles H. Keating, Jr. – responsible for fraud and bailouts that cost taxpayers and savers billions in the late 1980s, and John McCain derailed investigation proceedings because Keating had donated a substantial sum to McCain’s campaign. Keating was eventually convicted of fraud, racketeering and conspiracy. The mainstream press has not harped on this story. Why?

Rod Parsley – John McCain calls this man his “spiritual guide,” which sounds familiar to anyone who has heard prevailing Reverend Wright rhetoric. He is a critic of Islam, stating he does “not believe that our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed.” While Obama’s preacher is held under the fire, McCain’s preacher seems to be getting a pass. Curious, no?

Bill Clinton – Hillary Clinton calls this man “my husband.” How have the darker sides of the Billary saga escaped notice throughout the campaign?

I heard almost two years back that “the fix is in for Hillary,” and I did not believe it at the time, but now I am starting to reconsider.  It is probably true that, had the media spent the last three weeks talking about Bill Clinton’s escapades instead of Barack Obama’s preacher, the Democrat Party’s primary would already be over.  If “the fix is in for Hillary,” then I imagine the Keating Five will become a huge story this autumn–the contrived amnesia of corporate media will suddenly subside, revealing fraudulent bailouts and stalled investigations, and all of McCain’s dirty little secrets.  It will be worn out week after week until you simply can’t consider voting for the man.

If there is a “fix,” who does the fixing?  Who decides what dirt makes the news once, and what dirt is reported over and over and over again?  It’s not the shows’ hosts, or even directors or producers–they’re all worried about making the show seem professional yet unrehearsed–so who?  Here’s a clue: follow the money–follow it all the way back to General Electric, Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, Viacom, etc.  We should all have learned from the false premises of the Iraq War, that profit margins are the root causes of almost every big decision made in the United States today, and that a lie that helps stockholders is easily forgiven.

Regardless of which candidate is on the receiving end of tireless mudslinging, the democratic process is always the real loser, because voters stop basing their votes on policy positions. Of course, this miserable result matches corporate media’s miserable intent. If Americans voted based on policy positions, politicians might stop supporting these corporations’ monopolistic advantages in the U.S. market, which is plainly bad for business.

A democracy’s success depends on the rational and informed voting decisions of its citizens, but our contemporary media’s most notable gifts to society are misinformation and irrationality.  Essentially, our media and our democratic republic are fundamentally at odds with one another, and one of them will have to adapt in order to survive. For the sake of my country I hope–though with limited faith–that the media will do the changing, and the republic will survive.