Dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela who died on December 5, 2013 atthe age of 95. He led Africa’s struggle for freedom and justice. A hero to millions, he will be mourned around the world.
By J. Glenn Evans
We the People need to speak truth to power. We need to be heard. We need to restore our democracy and rein in the national security state that was established on the false premise of looking for terrorists. The elected legislators in all branches of government represent the interests of the corporate welfare state and not the interests of the American people. Our Constitution has been trashed and our Bill of Rights destroyed.
Journalists and whistle-blowers jailed and prosecuted. Citizens working for justice denigrated, marginalized, jailed, or even taken out. Municipal police are being militarized. Police brutality used against peaceful protestors who are beaten and jailed. Citizens detained without access to family or lawyers. Citizens may disappear into Controlled Management Units (CMUs). Infiltration of activist and dissident organizations [Amendments I, V, VI of the Constitution, NDAA, Military Commissions Act].
The national security state spies on us all. The expansive military machine can turn on us at will. National leaders who speak out can be taken out. Look at what happened to John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert Kennedy. Look at what is currently happening to our more recent patriot heroes: Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Jeremy Hammond, and Edward Snowden. [Amendment IV of the Constitution]
The science has been pretty well established, yet neither the corporate media nor members of Congress mention the growing perils associated with climate change. This may well be the most critical element in the future life of our planet and all living things. The content of mainstream media has been dumbed down to infotainment so that what we see, read and hear is hollow.
Increasing changes in climate will worsen economic conditions and those hardships help to drive immigration. Land and water wars will increase the social stress with resulting mass exoduses of refugees.
Congress and the Corporate State
Congress passes legislation written by lobbyists and corporate lawyers. [Article I of the Constitution] Congress passes legislation that legalizes what is illegal. A former democratic society is now a plutocracy with titles of Director, Lobbyist, CEO and President (instead of Baron, Duke, Earl and Monarch). Regressive tax structure that benefits the 1%.
The use of offshore tax havens and other tax avoidance strategies by wealthy to avoid payment of income tax. “Tax dodging by the rich and corporations costs every other American taxpayer $1,026 per year in higher taxes or reduced benefits and services.” [WA Post May 24, 2013]
National Priorities Project reports that (1) corporate tax breaks will total $108 billion in FY2013 – more than 1.5 times what the U.S. government spends on education funding. Between 2007 and 2013, the revenue lost from U.S. corporations deferring taxes on income earned abroad rose 200%, going from $14 billion to $42 billion. (2) All tax breaks for individuals will exceed $1 trillion this year, with about 17% of the biggest individual tax breaks going to the top 1% of earners. More at a report out today from the National Priorities Project. [Amendment XVI of the Constitution].
Excessive involvement of the military and corporations manufacturing arms in formulation of U.S. foreign policy [Caldicott, Helen, The New Nuclear Danger, New Press, 2002].
A corrupt Congress has defunded and decreased the regularity authority of governmental agencies, putting profits before people and the planet.
The Extreme Court does the bidding of a very small political elite [Article III of the Constitution].
Congress fails to curb secret negotiations that affect relations between countries and corporations. Current examples include TPP and TAFTA.
It’s all about money. The obscene level of wealth and economic inequality is a moral issue, as well as an economic or political issue. Marketplace autonomy, financial speculation and widespread corruption have caused the current massive inequality in societies the world over. Workers and even our soldiers are treated as goods to be used and thrown away. The wages of working Americans have remained stagnant since the late 70s while, at the same time, easy credit has made Americans slaves to debt. The United States is last among 21 developed nations in union membership, reflecting a downward trend since 1983. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports union membership at 11.1% in 2012. [Bureau of Labor Statistics. Union Membership-2012. [Washington, D.C.:] U.S. Department of Labor, 2013. Web. 23 January 2013] The current union membership has been reported to be a meager 10%.
All citizens of legal age have the right to vote regardless of the state in which they live. When election fraud is used to restrict their right to vote, why should they owe allegiance to a government that denies them the right to vote? [Amendments XV and XXIV of the Constitution]
The two major parties have betrayed the American people. They have been bought off by the 1% and are no longer worthy of our support. Increasing numbers of Americans are alienated from the political process and don’t bother to vote. More Americans might participate in elections if it were a national holiday. It is time for a national debate on making voting mandatory by Constitutional amendment and making provision for run-off elections instead of the electoral college. And it is time for legislation on term limits. [Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution]
The attack on so-called illegal immigrants has been accelerated to distract us from the real problems facing this nation. I daresay that most immigrants would rather stay at home but indigenous farmers can’t compete with highly subsidized U.S. agribusiness. One may argue whether undocumented immigrants are an economic drain or an economic boon. The debate goes on and on while we witness an immense growth in border security with nationwide immigration sweeps, over 20,000 US border agents (highest in history and twice that of a decade ago), growth of agencies in addition to Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), such as Secure Communities program. [Obama speech & Council on Foreign Relations], high number of deportations causing family breakups. The construction of a double wall along our southern border also infringed on the rights of indigenous people to their land [Truthout Dec. 5, 2013].
Public Institutions and Government Services
Public institutions and government services are being privatized for profit: the military, education, prisons, etc. Chicago closed 50 public schools May 2013, leading the way toward privatization.
According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, the five countries with the highest prison population are the US, China, Russia, Brazil and India. The US has a prison population of 2,239,751, or 716 people per 100,000. China ranks second with 1,640,000 people behind bars, or 121 people per 100,000, while Russia is third with 681,600, or 475 individuals per 100,000. Brazil has 548,003 people in prison or 274 per 100,000; finally, India’s prison population is 385,135, or 30 inmates per 100,000 citizens. Sweden ranks 112th and is closing 4 of its prisons.
The for-profit prison industry is thriving and dependent on a hefty prison population. Correction Corps of America (CCA), Management Training Corporation (MTC) from Centerville, Utah and the GEO Group, Inc., of Boca Raton, Florida, own and operate over 200 correctional, detention and residential treatment facilities and transport prisoners by land and air. They crank out $5 billion a year in profit. “A perfect money machine, indeed — but only if the system keeps them supplied with prisoners.”
Government services, including the U.S. Postal Service [Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution], Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, even national parks and forests, are part of a larger strategy to privatize them under the guise of a budget crisis, or a manufactured need for austerity measures. Social Security is not responsible for one dime of the so-called federal deficit.
The outcome of Citizens United has enabled a small minority of powerful interests with unlimited amounts of money to gain control of the government. Huge amounts of money are brought into states to influence ballot initiatives on GMOs and similar legislation. The corruption of government at all levels is so deeply embedded that it cannot be changed within the current political system. See https://movetoamend.org/.
The criminality and chicanery of Wall Street and the big banks “too large to fail” have been well established. These institutions are the primary cause of the budget crisis and yet not one of these high-level criminals has been held accountable by the Obama administration. (Wall Street overwhelmingly supported Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.) It is now known that secret Wall Street bailouts totaled $7.77 trillion! On the local level, large financial institutions remove money from local economies to finance their Wall Street speculations and corporate take-overs. They pay a minimal rate of interest on savings accounts, yet charge us 12 to 25 percent on loans. That interest on loans is the lifeblood of the big banks. These institutions work for the best interests of the 1%, rather than the interests of the American people.
The imperialistic and aggressive state of the U.S. in its perpetual war against “terrorism” threatens the peace of the world and the health of the planet and its peoples. The destruction of Iraq, the high numbers of civilian dead from the use of drones, chemical warfare, (Vietnam, Iraq, etc.), threatens the health of civilians and the health of the planet. The bloated U.S military budget is larger than that of the combined budgets of the 10 highest countries. [Stockholm Intl. Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, 2013. Compiled by PGPF.]
Partial list of U.S. aggressive actions below:
Overthrow of PM Mosaddegh of Iran in 1953
Overthrow of leftist government in Guatemala in 1954
The Invasion and Occupation of Vietnam – 3 Million dead 1954-1975
Coup d’état in Chile on 9/11/1973 – 3000 murdered
Complicity in invasion of East Timor in 1975, including shipment of arms (violates U. S. law)
Destructive policies toward Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Philippines
Use of death squads in Vietnam, Central America, Iraq, Syria
Invasion and destruction of Iraq – 1 Million dead 2001 to present
Use of torture or “enhanced interrogation” (Bagram, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, global black sites) [Amendment VIII]
Destruction of Fallujah and use of white phosphorus in 2004
Use of depleted uranium in the Iraq War in 2004
Support for dictatorships in Middle East, South America & Africa, including Saudi Arabia; Bahrain; Yemen; Jordan
Complicity in human rights violations and war crimes by its financial, diplomatic and media support for militaristic and apartheid state of Israel
What to Do?
In 1999 thousands of citizens of the world gathered together in Seattle to stop the WTO conference then in progress. On December 3, 2013 the The Ninth Ministerial Conference of the WTO meets in Bali, Indonesia from 3 to 6 December 2013.
How do We the People change the system? First, We the People must support a new people’s movement or party and withdraw our support of the Democrat and Republican parties. We need term limits. We can undertake individual actions and also act in unison with our fellow citizens [Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution]. We see a kind of cruelty reflected in statements and legislation passed by a corrupt Congress. We need to meet the needs of our citizens here at home, including our veterans, cut the bloated military budget and invest in America.
Move your money from the big banks to local banks and credit unions. Save a little money if you can and your savings will make you free. Free yourself of the tyranny of compound interest. Support local businesses, banks and credit unions. Work to build alternate economies to take care of local needs. Support movements to establish state and city banks.
Support actions against foreclosures. Be there if you can. Urge your Congressional representatives to pass a financial transaction tax.
Don’t put a dollar sign on everything. Someone needs something; if you have it and don’t need it, pass it on to them. Don’t worry; that goodwill will come back to you.
Young folks who join the army under the poverty draft should take the oath to seriously uphold the Constitution. When ordered to fire on peaceful protestors, they should aim high over their heads.
We the People want democracy, justice, a healthy environment, a sustainable economy, health care, and education. These are human rights, not commodities to be traded on the markets. We must build a movement to amend or rescind those laws that have destroyed our Constitution and our civil liberties.
Form community networks. Help organize a People’s Congress as a shadow government to serve as a watchdog for liberty and rally support for people who look after the people’s best interests. Become informed and engaged as much as you are willing and have time for.
Exercise civil disobediences to change unjust laws. Yes, they may kill a few of us but they are killing us anyway. Look at all the war victims and the deaths of our own soldiers who are sent around the world to protect the corporate interests of the 1%.
Support union workers in their efforts for decent working conditions, wages and pensions. Support worker-owned enterprises. We need to become citizens of the world and help each other rather than shoot at each other.
There is a growing undercurrent of dissatisfaction in the realization that politics as usual will not correct the corrupt system with its inequitable system of taxation and a bloated military budget. Signs of change are taking place. And the corporate media do not cover the growing vibrant movement that is going on right now. When enough of us have had enough, the so-called 1% will run for cover. Then we can lock the cover and build a new world of justice in which we take care of each other without the burden of those parasites who have been feasting on us ever since the development of mega capitalism. We have one thing that scares the hell out of them that will eventually bring them down. We have each other!
There is a lot of information and research available to those who want to help in changing the political system and transform our society. More help is on the way but you can start with these links:
http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-the-path-of-positive-resistance/ with Jill Stein and Margaret Flowers. Also http://greenshadowcabinet.us/civicrm/petition/sign?sid=1
Popularresistance.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Initiative for Democracy
Movie worth watching https://vimeo.com/55141496(enter password when prompted:( barbarasteegmuller ) – 2
The list of books is long and comprehensive. The following is only a sampling:
Arendt, Hannah, The Origins of Totalitarianism, World Publishing, 1951
Blum, William, Rogue State, Common Courage Press, 2000
Fisk, Robert, The Great War for Civilization, Vintage, 2005
Gutierrez, Donald, Feeling the Unthinkable, Amador Publishing, 2012
Johnson, Chalmers, Blowback 2nd ed., Henry Holt, 2004
Wolf, Naomi, The End of America, Chelsea Publishing, 2007
Zinn, Howard, A People’s History of the United States, Harper’s, 1995
Zinn, Howard, The Zinn Reader, Seven Stories Press, 2004
Copyleft 2013 J. Glenn Evans
(Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible)
- Glenn Evans
Former card-carrying Republican and stockbroker-investment banker. Part Cherokee and native of Oklahoma. Earned a BS in Business from East Central University (Ada, OK). Has lived in Seattle since 1960. Worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, with Mark Miller starring Slim Pickens. Award-wining poet and founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a syndicated weekly radio show through Pacifica’s AudioPort.org. Author of four books of poetry: Buffalo Tracks, Deadly Mistress, Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems, three novels, Broker Jim and Zeke’s Revenge, Wayfarers and several local community histories including Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Widely published in literary journals. Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.