Sunday, March 04, 2007
Letter to Senator Chambliss R-GA
Senator Chambliss offered a very measured and balanced response to my letter urging the U.S. Senate to fully debate the President’s Iraq war plans. Senator Chambliss “expressed” his concerns with the war effort, but was “pleased” that the President had taken “serious” and “thoughtful” steps to “revise” his Iraq Strategy.
It seems Senator Chambliss has fully hitched his team to President Bush’s War Wagon. Unfortunately, this is the “measured” and “balanced” leadership we can no longer afford from Georgia’s senior Senator.
While Republican Senators, with Senator Chambliss fully on board, refuse a debate on the President’s new plan and obfuscate the real issues of national security and safety, escalations in Iraq now point ominously toward Iran.
The issues used to convince a traumatized American public (after 9-11) to go to war, i.e. weapons of mass destruction, are conveniently lost to the past. While the latest iteration of the President’s plan, having lost all semblance of American national security, spin a web binding an Iraqi future to an American commitment.
Clearly Republicans do not want to debate who broke Iraq, why America has to fix it, and ultimately whether Humpty Dumpty can even be put back together again. The fact that Republican Senators, as well as Democrats, share responsibility for the debacle is beside the point this late in the game. And that game was something of a national madness brought about by the fevered dreams of the President, Vice-President, and their cadre of neo-conservative armchair generals. Debating the steps taken to lead us to our current Iraqi debacle is now imperative as we seem determined to allow the same madness to take us down the rabbit hole to further strategic blunders.
The President, if he had listened, was warned that his policies were foolishness itself. In the “Art of War” that venerable Chinese strategist Sun Tzu had stated that the best war is the one that is never fought having achieved victory without a fight. And the United States was well positioned to do just that in Iraq before madness overcame this U.S. administration. The risk is still high that this same strategic blindness will lead the U.S. even deeper into the Middle-East mess.
Senator Chambliss it is time to stop playing their game and to bring a stop to this madness, show the leadership and statesmanship demanded in this troubled time. Let’s engage and debate fully the policies that have led us to the “greatest strategic blunder” in U.S. history (Lt. Gen. William Odom). Join courageous Republicans like North Carolina congressman Walter B. Jones (House Joint Resolution 14) in working to prevent a further erosion of U.S. national interest. Join in moving the Senate toward debate on the future direction of U.S. Mid-East policy.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Email to Congressman Price R-GA
It is time to stand up to the madness that is the President’s war plans (both for Iraq and for Iran). I am tired beyond measure to hear that we will EMBOLDEN our enemies by debating these issues fully in congress. Our enemies live to this day in the mountains of our “ally” – Pakistan – not in the sectarian battlefield that Iraq has become. To believe that standing between two warring peoples – Sunni and Shia – we are serving the greater national interest of the United States is madness.
Yes, President Bush “broke” Iraq, but it is now beyond our nation’s ability to put that back together again. We must get our people out of the meat grinder and politically guide the dissolution of the Iraqi nation to a, at best, three state soft landing. The fact that the President knowingly, and over the objections on many of us who knew better, set Iraq on it’s path toward disintegration does not mean we must continue to sacrifice our people to reversing his Presidential legacy.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
How did we come to find our nation embroiled in a bloody and destructive war and occupation of a nation in the middle of one of the most dangerous regions on the planet? September 11th you say? The deaths of three thousand of our fellow countrymen at the hands of barbarians you say? Tragic indeed, and deserving of grave retribution, but unfortunately the tragedy and the retribution we have started are worlds apart.
And how has it come to pass that our nation’s government, servant of we the people, has become incompetent as a servant (e.g. Katrina) and expert as a secretive master, watchful big brother, and manager of critical non-issues and manufactured fears? Remember the war on terror you say? Payback for a liberal judiciary and media you say? Interesting, but as Christians we are not to look to a government of men for our solace, but are to rely on the grace of our God for our comfort and protection.
“The path we travel is narrow and long – beset with many dangers. Each day we must ask that Almighty God will set and keep his protecting hand over us so that we may pass on to those who come after us the heritage of a free people, secure in their God-given rights and in full control of a government dedicate to the preservation of those rights.” So spoke one of this nation’s more deeply religious military leaders and 34th President of the United States Dwight Eisenhower. Something on the order of fifty of Eisenhower’s speeches were related to religion, to its significance for humanity and to religion’s significance for him personally. Eisenhower has also been famously quoted for his farewell address and his warning that “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.” And so it has.
How did we come to find our nation embroiled in a bloody and destructive war and occupation of a nation in the middle of one of the most dangerous regions on the planet? How have we found ourselves under a government no longer kindly servant, but now kingly master? By falling captive to deceptions and philosophies steeped in the counsel of the world and conforming our allegiances accordingly.
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. Col: 2:8
As we strategically slouch through the third year of this disastrous war, listening to the same focus group talking points, what would be transformational thinking on the war in Iraq from Christians around the country? Well for starters understanding that the will of God would not be to continue the misery being inflicted on the people of Iraq in our nation’s name. The continued immorality of our actions in Iraq are being felt throughout our military, the weakest will crack first and atrocities will start, but this is a burden that we should hasten to lift from these men and women. We cannot continue down the low road.
For a low road it has been and continues to be. Power alone is why men refuse to speak forcefully against this war. Domestically fear of losing power or failing to gain even greater power forestalls honest assessments. On the foreign stage other nations plot to consolidate power against this nation based on our continued missteps and the fear those missteps arouse in others. While other nations wish to stay as close to our nation’s power and prosperity as is possible without alienating their own populations or our givers of monetary largesse.
Our government, of all stripes, has become captive of a philosophy of national greed, a new indispensable Roman Imperium in the 21st Century. Personal power places blinders on the eyes of the elites of this new imperium and all are deceived as to how this compounding tragedy will be availed. It will not end well, for men so deceived will blunder again and again into the same stinging trap until all you and I hold dear are imperiled beyond our greatest fears.
We all have hopes and dreams for our families and ourselves, and in a big picture way we hold these same for our nation’s people as a whole. We should not so easily allow those hopes and dreams to fall captive to the empty thoughts of a deceived elite. For while we may be in the world we as Christian are not called to be of the world nor of those empty deceptions.
We must make our voices heard and free ourselves of this tragic war.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Do you consent?
Or have you a new sense of urgency?
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
We have reached a strikingly dark moment in American history. Two arrows have been let fly at the heart of the nation, one domestic and one foreign in origin. Either will kill this great nation forever, and both are being aided – no – propelled by the maneuverings, policies and cowardice of our elected national leaders.
Domestically over the past few weeks we have seen displayed in broad view that which many of us intuitively knew to be true, that the United States of America is being overrun by people who have evaded the laws of our nation for proper entry. By the tens of thousands illegal aliens have taken to the streets in our largest cities blatantly announcing their presence, and directly demanding of your elected representatives that they be given special dispensation from oath or pledge to the United States, their only loyalty being to the almighty dollar. In response our leaders quiver and maneuver.
On the foreign front an increasing number of warnings are being issued regarding the madness surrounding our un-American plunge into “preventive warfare.” Without direct provocation the Bush administration is increasing the pressure for war against Iran. As they did with Iraq, reasons for a war with Iran are being made to seem critical to our nation’s safety. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Crazy the Iranians may appear to our way of thinking, but crazier people in the world have “the bomb” and apparent some of them are in charge of our nation’s war planning.
Both of these issues, open and illegal migration over porous borders, as well as aggressive and unprovoked war making, are destructive of every ideal we as a nation were founded upon.
That said it is important for every American to focus on the quote from the Declaration of Independence that started this missive. And in particular bring special attention to one word – “consent.”
For in this one word – consent - we as citizens of this great nation lose all excuse for what happens next. In the just view of history we will all be condemn for the outcomes of the next short seconds of historical measure. Whether we dissolve because of our silent consent to being overrun by uncaring and unknowing usurpers of our American foundations, or whether we consent to become a rightful pariah among nations for becoming a 21st Century “Rome” to be hated, feared and…eliminated, a single word holds us all accountable.
For it will be true that our founding national principles, our own founding national words declare our individual intentions. “Consent” is a harsh and brutal word as envisioned by our Founding Fathers. It is a word that offers no escape or excuse. In silence you consent. In focusing on your daily grind you consent. In participating in the joys of your hard won retirements you consent. In the word “consent” it really is true, you are either for or against, there is no soft, safe, easy ground on which to stand.
Consent demands to be heard, there is no escaping its accountability. In the long view of history we see clearly the result of accountability. Nations rise and fall, and our judgments of their fitness rest on our view of the individuals involved and their consent to those final historic moments on the stage.
Consent cannot be stopped; once a people have consented to a course of action –either by commission or omission – the outcome becomes hard as stone. Consent cannot be “fixed” at a later date, for the path becomes set and history’s price must be paid.
In a very simple phrase – “the consent of the governed” – and in the simplest of words – consent – have our Founders penned us forever to the harsh judgment of history. What they do in Washington D.C. is done in our names.
Do you consent? Or have you a new sense of urgency?
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
The Hastert Caretaker Government
It has got to be done
by Glenn R. Jackson
A definition of insanity put forward by Albert Einstein was “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” By this definition the United States government has a big, big problem. It is not just the speeches, those repetitive, strangely surreal offerings that are made before the cheering chosen. Nor is it the very familiar recitation of danger posed by some faraway nation state, or the ever-growing list of evils provided against some foreign power. It is the absolute willingness of the top people in our nation’s government to follow lockstep down a path that has increasingly gone awry…over and over again.
The United States executive branch has gone as mad as a hatter.
If this were only about incompetence, maybe we could get by. Lord knows we have had a few doozies in our national history. Granted there have been very few (if any) with this level of incompetence, what with Katrina and the re-emerging images of a government asleep at the wheel on September 11th. Incompetence may be too easy a label for the Bush administration, negligent may more accurately tell the tale, but for that we can wait for the uncompassionate judgment of history to have the final say.
What we cannot wait for is the next shoe to drop for the future course of this great nation.
We are in danger of losing a great army. For no matter how you view it 130,000 men and women of the United States armed services are smack in the middle of enemy territory. Would you want to be the commander that has to order a fighting withdrawal? The only safe ways out of Indian Territory would be to withdraw north to the Kurds, or south to Basra through the Shiite region. Neither is a good choice at all given the reliance on the Turks to help us get our troops out of the Kurdish regions (that’s right the Turks do NOT like the Kurds), nor is Basra a good bet given the existence of two strong Shiite militias.
Faced with losing an army, what would the top Pentagon Brass do? Can you say tactical nuke…sure you can. Friends we do not want to be the nation that pops a nuke on foreign soil…again. And there would be no choice if our army were at stake.
Of course that would be the case if we had not already gone nuclear to take out the “Iranian threat.” The madness of this administration is nowhere more evident then in the casual way in which the threat of war is allowed to find official voice. And yet topping that is the lunacy of talking about the use of “small” bunker buster nukes to take out the Iranian sites.
In an “explosive” sense a nuclear bomb is not “small,” as in I would not want to be within a hundred miles of even the smallest nuclear blast. However in a psychological sense, i.e. the impact on the psyche, both American and foreign, that the use of a nuclear weapon would have, that impact would be astronomical. Talk about the genie being let out of the bottle, this would be the clear chance of a conflict going in unforeseen directions with surely none of them being good.
OK, so nothing has happened and so far all we have is talk. And of course we all know talk is cheap…so let them talk, what is the harm.
Stop and think…”feel” the sense of the nation…Do things “feel” right to you? New Orleans and the Gulf coast are still an absolute mess. Five hundred thousand illegal aliens demonstrate in Los Angeles, with many more thousands demonstrating in other states and cities. As simple as it sounds, the price of gasoline is approaching the $3 a gallon mark. Ford, General Motors, and most of the nation’s airlines are dying. On the other hand Osama bin Laden lives on and on, making tape after taunting tape. The American middle class is squeezed and yet more jobs go "offshore."
And the President and Vice-President of the United States plot how to re-invigorate support for a failed and unnecessary war.
The “feel’ of the nation is one of neglect, no one is in charge and events are allowed to dictate the course of all future events. The grown-ups have left the building and the children are playing with fire, and only when someone gets hurt does anyone “pay attention” and make efforts to take care of business. But then, inevitably, attentions wander and things get out of hand again.
However, children playing war games with real guns and NUKES (!) is not the time for a loss of focus. The Republican Party MUST step up to the plate now and stop the madness…before history assigns the blame.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Explaining the follies of the Bush administration with “neo-conservatives” as the prime movers and shakers should be galling to real conservative. There is nothing of American conservatism in the “neo-con” make-up. What is occurring in this country under the dreadful stewardship of George W. Bush has nothing to do with conserving the principles and institutions of the U.S., but with the seeking, controlling and directing of raw power. The U.S. quite clearly is economically and militarily a very powerful nation. That level of power does not lie fallow for very long without someone noticing.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Bloc, a “war to end all wars” mentality took hold in this country. Without a significant threat as balance, all of that raw power cried out to be used in some manner. Seeking that power came two groups, one composed of corporate/Wall Street players and the other of political/governmental players. The corporate players saw the economic colossus of the United States and saw a chance for unlimited wealth for themselves and the creation of a new “Globalist” class of citizens. On the other hand the players in the political philosophy camp saw the chance for a superpower U.S. to remake the world into their vision of a “New World Order,”
Neither group of players’ worldview could trace its roots to conservatism; indeed both visions were anathema to the founding principles of the nation. It also became quickly clear that neither group of players could adequately control or direct the great power of the United States. And while these two groups focused on bending the power of the U.S. to their wills, the power they sought began to transform them. To implement a new world order centered on the power of the United States each group found that they had to encompass all aspects of that U.S. power.
The old cliché “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” holds sway today, as always, as each group had their visions of power morph into one familiar vision, estato corporativo: the corporatist state.
It matters not one whit whether there was an intention to head down this path, in seeking the POWER this is the result. The checks and balances that should be provided by “we the people” have been silenced by massive corporate money, by a polarized electorate, and by a diluted American voice. And statesmen, politically connected and recognized voices of reason, have been sidelined deliberately in favor of “men of action.”
Whether by personal choice, or by the design and direction of others, either or which when coupled with the complete lack of care, thought, and interest shown by President Bush, positioned the Bush administration to become the vehicle by which Estato Corporativo is growing into its American form. The administration’s use of national security concerns to deflect examination and criticism (read – Wrapping themselves in the flag and standing behind the sacrifices of real Americans) is being played for all its worth. When the real agenda of the Bush administration is to care and feed the corporate state.
Consider – if national security is so important why are the borders still wide open? Why are “guest-worker” programs being floated that in their effect have actually INCREASED illegal entries into the country (as documented by groups like The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR))? Why is employment in the hard skill careers (engineer, programmer, information technology, etc.) falling, versus the soft skill careers of retail, hospitality, and “construction?” Why are national assets like IBM’s PC division and an American oil company like Unocal being sold without comment or concern from the Bush administration, to China a national security “competitor?” Are not these issues of concern to “national security?”
The answer of course is that the new agenda is not about protecting the nation, but in using the national power of the United States to implement a new vision, a global vision it would appear. No, there is nothing conservative about America’s current rulers. The grab for power has melded two visions and the result is not neo-conservative…its not conservative at all.
What we are seeing take form is a new danger on our shores…the rise of neo-fascism.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Corporatism...Fascism only a demagogue away
Fascism only a demagogue away
The 2004 election cycle is well behind us and half of the 2005 legislative year has also gone by the board. I thought it would be worthwhile to dig through the record for a few details to help understand what our political fortunes have wrought.
In Georgia there was an all-important Senate race, one where Republicans hoped to convert a Democratic seat to the Republican side of the aisle. (This was Zell Miller’s Senate seat, and yes he WAS a Democrat. Unfortunately for the Democrats they found out painfully why Georgian’s in the know have referred for years to Zell as Zig Zag Zell. Could anyone but Zig Zag Zell have given the nomination speeches for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush?) And while the Democratic nominee for Zell’s old seat was really a lightweight (a ONE term congresswoman elected with Republican help in order to defeat arch-crazy Cynthia McKinney) this senate race attracted some major attention. The Republican candidate was the three (3)-term congressman Johnny Isakson, who won a bruising Republican primary for the honor to be Georgia’s next Republican Senator.
Why so much attention for this Senate race?
As with all things political these days it is best to “follow the money.” In doing that we find the Republican National Committee, for whom this race had obvious importance, contributing a sizeable $164,000. The RNC, through its Senatorial committee, sought to garner that elusive Senate majority in order to give the President a filibuster proof Senate. The President made his filibuster proofing need a part of his stump speech whenever he appeared in a contested state. So the RNC had a clear stake in the race and contributed in kind.
Yet the RNC’s commitment paled next to the massive contributions made to Isakson’s Senate campaign by the National Association of Realtors PAC. What was the dollar amount of the NARPAC contribution to the Isakson campaign? An incredible $683,000 independent contribution! Four times the RNC’s money!
And they were not the only business interest interested in the Isakson candidacy, to name but a few:
Delta Airlines $7500
Coca-Cola PAC $7500
Even Halliburton’s PAC contributed $2000, and the list of others goes on and on, business PAC after business interest.
And yes, hedging their bets, many of the same PACs contributed to a lesser degree to the Democratic candidate. Which makes the point, U.S. political fortunes are no longer about ideology. “We the people” are governed today by the best government money can buy.
Which is also to say that we are ruled.
Today America finds itself in the first stages of a plunge to Fascism, i.e. Corporatism – the merging of state and business interest. Better said perhaps that business and economic interest overweigh and push aside individual and national interest. How else to explain the “in your face” immigration enthusiasm of the Bush administration, and the easy rollover of corporate America to aiding and abetting a bilingual America? Corporate America, that once resisted mightily the cost of putting warning labels – in English – on packaging of any kind, now willingly places bilingual signage in every store and on every package.
Corporate interest, no…corporate citizenship… has usurped the U.S. citizenship rights of Americans. President Bush speaks over and over about creating an “ownership” society in America, meaning in large part ownership in corporate stocks. Privatizing Social Security is one part of this President’s ownership push, but privatization is really just one more chain binding together state and business interest.
Corporate money is buying the political leadership sympathetic to, or outright sold out to, corporate interest. Individual citizens’ interest and concerns may be given lip service, but $600,000-plus contributions to place or keep a candidate in office cannot help but be the loudest “noise” any Senator or politician can hear.
“Campaign finance” laws have only served to dampen the voice of citizen groups, while the big money continues to roll. Is there any doubt that the national interests of the United States are cast aside in favor of corporate and economic interest?
With the drumbeat of war overriding the thinking of many Americans, and corporate money buying the loudest voices and the biggest megaphones, corporatism has taken root and fascism is only a demagogue away.