Showed first characters. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.
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Sell your Soul, Receive Eternal Life: Not Always A Good Choice. The truth is they daily commit treason, for the Executive Branch no longer honors the Constitution, but instead makes plans to further erode the basic rights of our People. Our public officials serve now only wealth and their own ambition and love of power. Whatever other name one wants to call it, I call it Treason. Parties fight over power. That's it, nothing else.
That's their point, the reason they exist. They fill no other social purpose. They are controlled from the top down, not from the bottom up. Citizens are at the bottom, politicians are at the top. Politicians routinely pretend to believe in things they don't really believe in, in order to get elected. Politicians keep secrets about what they are doing, because they know the public would not approve.
Politicians organize our election laws and voting districts in ways designed to keep themselves in power. Politicians run the Parties, even the Greens the main Green argument is about participation in the power game, if you read through the hype. Politicians have all kinds of justifications for what they do. But these rationalizations are just that - they don't change what is right or wrong.
Keeping secrets is wrong. Keeping yourself in power is wrong. Playing the power game instead of taking care of the Public's Business is wrong. If you do wrong stuff long enough, you get so used to it that it becomes business as usual.
We tolerate it because we are used to it. Thing is, this kind of abuse of power goes on long enough it wrecks something. Marriages and families get wrecked by lying, pretending, secrets and power games. Businesses are wrecked by the same thing. It is also possible to wreck a Country, which is what is happening in the United States now. We are having a serious social-political train wreck. In slow motion - which makes it hard to notice. Its going to get worse before it gets better.
Politicans won't make it better, they have no reason to do that. Only Citizens, only those who set aside party politics for serious consideration of the real issues of governance are going to pick up the pieces after the train wreck. It may even be possible to nullify some of the potential damages as the train wreck continues - but that is not any kind of certainty.
Politicians are not public servants. They serve themselves and the owners of money. A Republic based on citizenship responsibility died some time ago. However, it can be resurrected. But only Citizens can do that. The politicians won't do it. Oh, they will say all the right words lies , make all the right promises, but in the end they will do what they want, for reasons they won't tell us, and at the behest of folks we never know.
And, if you don't see this, then you are not being a responsible citizen. Even conservatives wince at some of what is requested. Here are some fundamental considerations. Why, at all, do civil rights have to be sacrificed in order to protect us from terrorists? We can examine this question without even considering the powers the Justice Department is asking for. For some the argument is whether security is more crucial than some liberties. We are told that the Justice Department needs these powers in order to make us safe.
But the central question goes deeper - will the sacrifice of these liberties actually make us safer? First of all can we be made absolutely safe?
Anyone with two brain cells to rub together realizes this. The War on Terrorism, whether carried out abroad or here at home, will not be won. This War is a political act, done by politicians for political reasons. We had a War on Poverty, and lost. We had a War on Drugs, and lost. These kinds of Wars are not about solving a problem, they are all about appearing to solve a problem. We always have to keep in mind the first principle of observing our politicians - don't believe what they say.
Believe only what they do, and then not the names by which they call what they do. What is the record so far? The administration is holding several hundred men and children in Cuba, away from recourse to our system of Justice.
From this last group of men not one single terrorist was discovered, not one. The administration wants and has already to a certain degree acquired the following powers: The power to name someone as a terrorist or a supporter of terrorism, without any proof or any judicial review of this claim.
We are to trust our political leaders to name someone a terrorist or a supporter of terrorism only for the reason of protecting us from terrorists. They want to do this in secret, on the basis of whatever information or sources they define, and with no one ever able to review this decision. Do you suppose they would never be tempted to use this power to claim a political opponent or someone engaged in dissent is a terrorist? Once they have determined that someone is a terrorist or a supporter of terrorism remember no proof required , they claim or want the right to detain indefinitely, and in secret.
That is, should they decide you are a terrorist or a supporter of terrorism, they get to secretly arrest you and hold you as long as they want without anyone knowing why or where. No court is to able to review this situation.
They also want to try terrorists and their supporters in secret, and are seeking to be able to apply the death penalty to such situations.
They also want to be able to take away your citizenship. If they decide you are a terrorist or a supporter of terrrorism, they want to be able to declare you no longer a citizen and deport you to where is not so clear.
The above, of course, has little to do with the electronic eavesdropping they want to do, or their ability to come into your home without a warrant and copy your hard drive, and make it possible to copy all the keystrokes you make. Nor does this deal with their desire to turn all our neighbors into secret police, able to harrass us for whatever petty grievance they hold. Now ask yourself, how do these powers, if given, make us safe from terrorists? How does their power to name someone a terrorist or a supporter of terrorists, without judicial review, make us safer?
How does the power to search and arrest without warrant make us safer? Only those who would use such a power are made safe from any abuse of that power. All the moves which keep the exercise of power by our govenment free of judicial review do not make us safer from terrorism, they only make it safe for neo-fascists to exercise their diseased ambitions free of the constitutional protections our Founders gave to us, and for which our soldiers have died since the Revolutionary War.
The only beneficiary of these powers is the already powerful. The powerful don't give up power easily. Especially when they are on a roll, and when their wealthy friends are starting to get desperate. Lets face it, the economy is getting worse, corporations do not look good, and lots of people don't trust them at all anymore. There is a discontinuity in the world, between the moral sensibilities of most people, and the actions of a few.
We are shocked and dismayed when we read over and over again about the selfishness of corporate leaders. Those who investigate this carefully come to understand that there is a cooperation between government and corporate intesests - a cooperation that is all about wealth and power, and in which the little people's the citizens of the Republic real needs are secondary if not outright irrelevant.
The rule of wealth is in danger. And when sharks and wolves and pirates are in danger they attack! I lived through the late '60's and '70's in Berkeley California. Let's recall how our government behaved in those years, keeping in mind that today they not only have more powers, but even more motivation to suppress dissent.
The FBI used agents provocateurs - that is they infiltrated various groups, from the most radical to the least, with spys who pretended to be part of the groups and frequently encouraged the groups into lawbreaking. The government created an enemies list and targeted individuals for IRS investigations, or if they were political, planted false information about them in the Press.
Illegal surveilance was common. The Democratic Party headquarters was broken into, as was a psychiatrist's office this is stuff we know about, not everything that was done.
Dissent was denounced as unpatriotic. Local police agencies where encouraged to do their own spying on the general public. Such illegal surveilence was routinely kept secret. The Press was frequently manipulated, and the government lied over and over again about the War in Vietnam and about its own role in supressing dissent. Keep in mind that I am speaking in generalities, but if you read the particulars it will raise the hair on the back of your neck and loosen your bowels.
The more violence oriented the dissent the Black Panthers for example , the more vicious the response from the authorities the assassination of Fred Hampton. There is a long history of this kind of activity the labor movement troubles early in the 20th Century. Wealth and power don't show any restraint in maintaining their position, and believe they hold all the cards. What's going to happen? Impossible to actually predict. The hope is that it goes away with little strife. Let's consider a small example of the excesses of power that can come into play, and basically how it usually applies itself to individuals in terms of maximum force.
A couple in New England is home schooling their children. The educational authorities want to test the children, and the parents refuse to have the children tested. The authorities then use social services to take away the parental rights of the parents, in order to force the testing that is being refused.
Then one day law enforcement officers show up at the house, threatening the parents that they will take away their children, unless they consent to the testing.
This is enormous power of the State applied in a situation where no threat exists as regards the children - the only treat is the refusal to conform to the educational authorities desires. Home school your kids, ignore the educational authorities and the law will take away your children? In this case the parents said, okay arrest us, take away the children and then explain to the public what you are doing. Push comes to shove, and the parents faced down the power of the State who backed off.
What do you think is going to happen when the State declares you a terrorist, or a supporter of terrorism because you choose to dissent against their policies? What if they just threaten? They say, tell us a story about your neighbor, and we'll not apply our power on you.
When do you cave and when do you stand up? It ain't going to be easy. Speak to the issues they say. Or they ask a candidate for higher office: But this is a hopelessly superficial view of modern political existence. It is the kind of thinking a fifth grade boy has about sex. Mostly fantasy, with little connection to reality, and certainly no understanding of the real nature of women.
Modern politics isn't about issues. Its about substance and stature and capacities and responding to the real needs of a People.
Some write columns in the papers, some have talk shows on TV. Most of us are left with the Internet as a means to express ourselves. On these pages you'll find the commentaries of one citizen, for whatever use you can make of them.
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