Learning from the past & preparing for 2006
Your answers to these ten political questions will reflect your current thinking, but after reading this entire post, you may change your mind about some of them. Regardless, the most important influences on your decisions and actions in this coming year are probably still lurking out there. No one can predict the future, but we can all learn from the past.
Let's get right to it.
#1 By their actions, have U.S. government officials demonstrated to you, without any doubt, that the U.S. has firmly established itself as fascist regime? If your answer is no, would you at least agree that the U.S. government is quickly moving in the direction of fascism? (See: http://www.oldamericancentury.org/14pts.htm for more information)
#2 If your answer is yes to either of the above, do you feel that the Bush Administration and the Republican members of Congress are solely responsible for this direction that our country is taking?
#3 Do you think that a Democratic-party President would have allowed the events of 9-11 to take place in the same or in a similar way that Bush has allowed them?
#4 Would a Democratic President have introduced something like the USAPATRIOT Act soon after these events?
The year 2006 is an election year for Congress. Almost immediately after January 1, we will subjected to political campaigning -- and all of the rhetoric that it entails. You probably already know that our current system of government relies on the hierarchical and dominant control of the people by multi-national corporations via their lobbyists and servants in Congress.
These next six questions offer options for dealing with fascism:
#5 Will you be putting your energy into supporting ANY and ALL Democratic candidates -- just to get rid of the Republicans?
#6 Will you instead be working to support third party candidates?
#7 Do you feel that the Democrats suck, but the Greens and the rest of the long-shots don't have a chance because of the total dominance of the two parties, so you're sitting this one out, and hoping for some big changes to happen between now and 2008?
#8 Do you feel that groups like the Bilderbergs and the Trilateral Commission are the people who actually run things?
#9 Thomas Jefferson said: "Every generation needs a new revolution." Do you support this concept, and if you do, will you be acting to further this goal in the coming year?
#10 Are you looking for more options because while you want to see some real changes taking place in this country, you are worried about the consequences of supporting #9?
The objective here is to avoid putting your energy into meaningless, cosmetic changes that, while they might seem to give us a brief respite, will only prolong our suffering. We're way overdue to begin looking for some long-term changes that result from our energies and our actions.
Questions #2 thru #4 are of particular interest -- mostly because of the dynamics surrounding them. These dynamics are not well known. And the Democrats would like these "dynamics" to remain hidden.
While the Democrats have only controlled the Senate from 2001 to 2003, these were nevertheless crucial years. The following are examples of the actions taken by the last two Democratic administrations (Carter 1977-1981, and Clinton 1993-2001). Also included are examples of strategic votes in the House and Senate regarding major issues.
FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT OF 1978
FISA does not regulate the use of electronic surveillance outside of the United States. For instance, electronic surveillance of electronic communications like e-mail is only governed by §1801(f)(4) if the surveillance device is installed "in the United States." When e-mail sent by a U.S. person to a foreign person is intercepted outside the United States, that interception does not meet this definition.
Is there really a secret FISA court? Yes. FISA established a special court, composed of seven federal district court judges appointed by the Chief Justice for staggered terms and are from different circuits. Individual judges of the FISC review the Attorney General's applications for authorization of electronic surveillance aimed at obtaining foreign intelligence information. The proceedings are non-adversarial and are based solely on the DOJ's presentations through its Office of Intelligence Policy and Review.
The records and files of the cases are sealed and may not be revealed even to persons whose prosecutions are based on evidence obtained under FISA warrants, except to a limited degree set by district judges' rulings on motions to suppress.
There is no provision for the return of each executed warrant to the FISC, much less with an inventory of items taken, nor for certification that the surveillance was conducted according to the warrant and its "minimization" requirements.
What kind of surveillance can be authorized under FISA? Originally, FISA was limited to electronic eavesdropping and wiretapping. In 1994 it was expanded to permit covert physical entries in connection with "security" investigations.
In 1998, it was amended to permit pen/trap orders. FISA can also be used to obtain certain business records.
See: link to www.eff.org
Dozens of House Republicans -- led by Minority Leader Newt Gingrich (R-GA) said they would withhold their support until the President demonstrated his commitment to the issue. That commitment came September 14, 1993, when President Clinton --accompanied by former Presidents Ford, Carter and Bush -- issued a strong statement of support for NAFTA.
The NAFTA agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada was signed by President George Bush (senior) in 1992. But it still had to be approved by Congress. A tough battle would ensue despite high level support in both major parties. The following year, President Clinton mustered all of his political clout to push the measure through Congress. The office of Representative Gerald Solomon (R-NY) circulated a list of some 37 special side deals and pork barrel projects the Clinton Administration used to buy passage of the trade agreement.
The President's November 17, 1993 political victory in the House of Representatives came by a 234-200 vote. Opposition was greatest in the House and by most accounts opponents held the upper hand until the final week. The last-minute push was alluded to by the President: "We had to come from a long way back to win this fight." The Senate vote three days later in support of NAFTA (61-38) was anticlimactic.
Like the FTAA, NAFTA advocates titled their measure to mislead the public into believing falsely that the agreement was principally concerned with lowering tariffs and promoting free trade within a growing prosperity zone.
April 19, 1993
Eighty men, women and children died in an inferno at Waco, Texas. The clash was between law enforcement and a religious group known as the Branch Davidians. No one seems to be able to write about these events in an unbiased manner, since it seems that the whole thing was preventable.
OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING
April 19, 1995
The Oklahoma City bombing: unanswered questions and cover-ups
BILL CLINTON'S WAR (in Yugoslavia)
The great historian Gabriel Kolko, in his book Century of War, writes: "War, in essence, has always been an adventure intrinsically beset with surprises and false expectations, its total outcome unpredictable to all those who have engaged in it."
Bill Clinton is finding this out the hard way. His ill-conceived decision to prod NATO into bombing Yugoslavia in March has wreaked havoc. The hundreds of thousands of refugees, the civilians killed by NATO bombs, the U.S. soldiers captured, the solidification of domestic support for Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, the dangerous chill in U.S.-Russian relations -- all these have come to pass since Clinton made his fateful decision.
Genocide in the 20th century:
Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1995) - 200,000 deaths
In the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, conflict between the three main ethnic groups, the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims, resulted in genocide committed by the Serbs against the Muslims in Bosnia. ...
Throughout 1993, confident that the U.N., United States and the European Community would not take militarily action, Serbs in Bosnia freely committed genocide against Muslims. ...
By now, over 200,000 Muslim civilians had been systematically murdered. More than 20,000 were missing and feared dead, while 2,000,000 had become refugees. It was, according to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, "the greatest failure of the West since the 1930s".
U.S. = ISRAEL, ISRAEL = U.S.;
Democrats = Republicans, Republicans = Democrats
U.S. Aid: The Lifeblood of Occupation
Israel has maintained an illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Palestinian territories) for 35 years, entrenching an apartheid regime that looks remarkably like the former South African regime.
(Israel has put) Palestinians into small, noncontiguous bantustans, imposing closures and curfews to control where they go and when, while maintaining control over the natural resources, exploiting Palestinian labor, and prohibiting indigenous economic development.
The Israeli military (IDF) -- the third or forth most powerful army in the world -- routinely uses tanks, Apache helicopter gunships, and F-16 fighter jets (all subsidized by the U.S.) against a population that has no military and none of the protective institutions of a modern state.
In addition to nearly $3 billion in direct aid, Israel usually gets another $3 billion or so in indirect aid: military support from the defense budget, forgiven loans, and special grants. While some of the indirect aid is difficult to measure precisely, it is safe to say that Israel's total aid (direct and indirect) amounts to at least five billion dollars annually.
According to the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), from 1949-2001 the U.S. has given Israel a total of $94,966,300,000. The direct and indirect aid from this year should put the total U.S. aid to Israel since 1949 at over one hundred billion dollars. What is not widely known, however, is that most of this aid violates American laws. The Arms Export Control Act stipulates that US-supplied weapons be used only for "legitimate self-defense."
"U.S. Aid to Israel: Interpreting the 'Strategic Relationship"'
Although Israel is an "advanced, industrialized, technologically sophisticated country," it "receives more U.S. aid per capita annually than the total annual [Gross Domestic Product] per capita of several Arab states." Approximately a third of the entire U.S. foreign aid budget goes to Israel, "even though Israel comprises just . . . one-thousandth of the world's total population, and already has one of the world's higher per capita incomes."
In the fall of 1993 -- when many had high hopes for peace -- 78 senators wrote to former President Bill Clinton insisting that aid to Israel remain "at current levels." Their "only reason" was the "massive procurement of sophisticated arms by Arab states." The letter neglected to mention that 80 percent of those arms to Arab countries came from the U.S.
1996 TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT
The Telecommunications Act sailed through Congress in February, 1996. The votes went 91-5 in the Senate and 414-16 in the House. Highlights include:
* Eliminates the FCC rule barring a single company from owning more than 12 television stations.
* Lifts the limit of a broadcaster's national TV station audience reach from 25 percent to 35 percent.
* Ends the FCC partial ban on broadcast networks owning cable systems.
* Extends TV and radio station license terms to eight years.
* Repeals the law against common ownership of cable system and TV station in a market.
* Eases one-to-a-market rule to allow ownership of TV and radio combos in the same locale, but only in the top 50 markets.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN SIGNING CEREMONY FOR THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT CONFERENCE REPORT
February 8, 1996
"I thank the Vice President (Al Gore), who fought for this bill for so long on behalf of the American people. And I thank the members of Congress in both parties, starting with the leadership, who believed in the promise and the possibility of telecommunications reform. ...
This historic legislation in my way of thinking really embodies what we ought to be about as a country and what we ought to be about in this city. It clearly enables the age of possibility in America to expand to include more Americans. It will create many, many high-wage jobs. It will provide for more information and more entertainment to virtually every American home. It embodies our best values by supporting the kind of market reforms that the Vice President mentioned, as well as the V-chip. And it brings us together, and it was passed by people coming together.
This bill is an indication of what can be done when Republicans and Democrats work together in a spirit of genuine cooperation to advance the public interest and bring us to a brighter future."
COMBATING TERRORISM: PRESIDENTIAL DECISION DIRECTIVE 62
May 22, 1998
Since he took office, President Clinton has made the fight against terrorism a top national security objective. The President has worked to deepen our cooperation with our friends and allies abroad, strengthened law enforcement's counter-terrorism tools and improved security on airplanes and at airports. These efforts have paid off as major terrorist attacks have been foiled and more terrorists have been apprehended, tried and given severe prison terms.
Yet America's unrivaled military superiority means that potential enemies -- whether nations or terrorist groups -- that choose to attack us will be more likely to resort to terror instead of conventional military assault. ...
To meet these challenges, President Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive 62. This Directive creates a new and more systematic approach to fighting the terrorist threat of the next century. It reinforces the mission of the many U.S. agencies charged with roles in defeating terrorism; it also codifies and clarifies their activities in the wide range of U.S. counter-terrorism programs, from apprehension and prosecution of terrorists to increasing transportation security, enhancing response capabilities and protecting the computer-based systems that lie at the heart of America's economy.
PRIVACY INVASIONS AND MONITORING AMERICANS
For these next two examples, please try to concentrate on the message -- and not on the messenger. Both of these were written in 1998!
Monitoring by I.D. and Database
Unknown to most Americans, coordinated plans are well underway to give the Federal Government the power to input personal information on all Americans onto a government database. The computer will record our school, business, medical, financial, and personal activities, and track our movements as we travel about the United States.
These plans were authorized by the so-called conservative Congress and are eagerly implemented and expanded by the Clinton Administration liberals. They plan to force all Americans to carry an I.D. card linked to a federal database, without which we will not be able to drive a car, get a job, board a plane, enter a hospital emergency room or school, have a bank account, cash a check, buy a gun, or have access to government benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.
Putting all that information on a government database means the end of privacy as we know it. Daily actions we all take for granted will henceforth be recorded, monitored, tracked, and contingent on showing The Card.
Big Brother is monitoring us by databases
The hottest issue in America today is our discovery that the Federal Government is trying to tag, track and monitor our health care records through national databases and personal identification numbers. This is a priority election issue, and every Congressional and Senatorial candidate should be ready to answer questions from his constituents.
The 1996 Kennedy-Kassebaum law (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) gives the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the power to create "unique health care identifiers" so that government can electronically tag, track and monitor every citizen's personal medical records. The plan is that everyone must submit an identification document with a unique number in order to receive health care, or the provider will not be paid. A database containing every American's medical records, identified by a unique number, was a central feature of Clinton's defeated 1994 health care bill, but it reemerged in the Kennedy-Kassebaum bill. Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and Bob Dole all bragged about passing this law.
JOINT VISION 2010
JOINT VISION 2020
The US military today is a force of superbly trained men and women who are ready to deliver victory for our Nation. In support of the objectives of our National Security Strategy, it is routinely employed to shape the international security environment and stands ready to respond across the full range of potential military operations. But the focus of this document is the third element of our strategic approach -- the need to prepare now for an uncertain future.
Joint Vision 2020 builds upon and extends the conceptual template established by Joint Vision 2010 to guide the continuing transformation of America's Armed Forces. The primary purpose of those forces has been and will be to fight and win the Nation's wars. The overall goal of the transformation described in this document is the creation of a force that is dominant across the full spectrum of military operations -- persuasive in peace, decisive in war, preeminent in any form of conflict.
In 2020, the nation will face a wide range of interests, opportunities, and challenges and will require a military that can both win wars and contribute to peace. The global interests and responsibilities of the United States will endure, and there is no indication that threats to those interests and responsibilities, or to our allies, will disappear. The strategic concepts of decisive force, power projection, overseas presence, and strategic agility will continue to govern our efforts to fulfill those responsibilities and meet the challenges of the future. This document describes the operational concepts necessary to do so.
If our Armed Forces are to be faster, more lethal, and more precise in 2020 than they are today, we must continue to invest in and develop new military capabilities. This vision describes the ongoing transformation to those new capabilities. ...
The overarching focus of this vision is full spectrum dominance -- achieved through the interdependent application of dominant maneuver, precision engagement, focused logistics, and full dimensional protection. Attaining that goal requires the steady infusion of new technology and modernization and replacement of equipment. However, material superiority alone is not sufficient. Of greater importance is the development of doctrine, organizations, training and education, leaders, and people that effectively take advantage of the technology.
Also see: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Pentagon_military/Space_Corps.html
THE WAR ON DRUGS
October 18, 2000
Clinton is in the process of sending $1.3 billion in aid for Colombian President Andres Pastrana's $7.5 billion "Colombia Plan," a program to eradicate the countryside of coca crops, run traffickers out of Colombia or into jail, and rebuild the criminal justice system.
It's a bold plan, but warning signs were posted all over the map to limit U.S. involvement, and Clinton and Congress pushed forward in spite of them.
From 1996 to 2000, the Clinton administration sent Colombia an estimated $765 million to assist its war on drugs. But, as the report also notes, "coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia more than doubled" from 1995 to 1999.
Much of the U.S. aid is defense-related, including 60 attack helicopters and military training to Colombian troops by U.S. advisers. Military support of any form could be dangerous for civilians as well as the drug traffickers in Colombia.
Human rights groups have accused the Colombian army and paramilitary allies of human rights violations, including civilian massacres. Congress had stipulated that the aid be conditional upon Pastrana taking action to prosecute military abuse and sever the ties between the military and paramilitary groups, but Clinton waived the stipulation.
STAR WARS: MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM
The Clinton/Gore proposal is a far cry from Ronald Reagan's Star Wars scheme, which was designed to fend off thousands of Soviet warheads at a cost estimated by former Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire at up to $1 trillion. In contrast, this missile defense plan is meant to deal with a few dozen incoming warheads launched by a "rogue state" like North Korea, at a projected cost of $60 billion.
But despite the NMD's seemingly more modest goals, it is every bit as dangerous and misguided as the Reagan scheme, threatening to unravel thirty years of arms-control agreements and heighten the danger of nuclear war.
The right-wing crusade for missile defense has received aid and comfort from Bill Clinton and Al Gore, who have decided that looking "tough" on defense is more important than protecting the world from weapons of mass destruction. Support has also come from the lumbering behemoths of the military-industrial complex: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing, which are desperately seeking a new infusion of taxpayer funds to help them recover from a string of technical failures and management fiascos that have cut their stock prices and drastically reduced their profit margins.
See: link to www.fas.org
The sad, last vote of a progressive Democrat:
The last major vote of Senator Paul Wellstone, before he died in a plane crash in October of 2002, was to approve the largest increase in the military defense budget since the Reagan administration. Not only did Wellstone vote for this huge increase, he also voted to give Bush over 90% of what was requested for Star Wars (missile defense) research: $8 billion. Go figure. Russ Feingold was the only democrat voting Nay. This one figures.
July 28, 2005
CAFTA, which would expand NAFTA to Central America and the Dominican Republic, would devastate farmers, privatize essential public services, and accelerate the race to the bottom on wages in the U.S. and all over Central America.
Nevertheless, 15 (FIFTEEN) Democrats voted in favor of big business by supporting CAFTA, while 25 (TWENTY-FIVE) Republicans defied the Bush Administration and voted against it.
THE WAR ON IRAQ
Countless innocent Iraqis were murdered with the brutal 12 years of UN sanctions (1991-2003); illegal no-fly zones were imposed by two Presidents: a Republican and a Democrat; and a deadly and destructive invasion and occupation of the country was approved by the members of Congress.
Concerning the most important matters affecting the planet's people and 'we the people' as a nation, does it really make any difference which of the two parties is in control of the White House or Congress?
Does it make more sense to concentrate your efforts supporting straight-talking mavericks running for local and state offices?
Definition of a maverick: a person who thinks and acts independently of others. Someone who will actually represent 'we the people', and not the corporations or the local Chamber of Commerce. Someone who will stand up to the federal government. Someone who will represent the environment, even if it means cutting jobs that cause harm to it. Someone who will prosecute and/or tax all persons who are responsible for environmental damage. Someone who would introduce a pollution tax that would not just be levied against industrial polluters, but against ANYONE causing environmental damage.
How many mavericks actually run for public office?
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