Monday, September 27, 2004

Progressives Or Democrats?

On September 23, Working Assets sent me three ActForChange actions that they wanted me to take.

The first was to write to my senators asking them to join with other members of congress to release the CIA National Intelligence Estimate to the public so that the American people can see for themselves that progress in Iraq is not being made.

In fact, the report, given to the president, presented him with three possible scenarios for Iraq. They range from the continued quagmire in which we are steeped to all out civil war. None of the scenarios are positive.

Yet, the president is telling the American people that progress in Iraq is being made and that democracy is “on the march.”

I did not hesitate to send the letters to my senators. The American people deserve the truth from the president.

The second action they wanted me to take was to urge an investigation into the ethics practices of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Although I can not support any unethical activities of DeLay, Working Assets is proving, through this request, that it is more a Democratic Party apologist than it is a real progressive group.

The unethical conduct by DeLay consists of “illegal fundraising and trading legislative advantages for corporate contributions.”

If Working Assets would urge congress to move against any and all of its members who trade “legislative advantages for corporate contributions”, I would take action.

Unfortunately, it would be almost impossible for Working Assets to urge such a thing. If we urged congress to take action against such legislators, congress, for the most part, would have to impeach itself.

When are MoveOn, Working Assets, FAIR, Air America and other so called progressive organizations truly going to become progressive organizations and cease to be Democratic Party apologists?

MoveOn is a superior money raising organization. It should be using its talent to support The Green Party of the United States of America, not the Democrats. As I’ve written here before, The Republicans and Democrats are two arms of the same party.

Kerry’s stand on Iraq is the best proof of that.

This has to become clear when the goal is to vote against a certain candidate instead of voting for one.

Kerry gives us a corporate bought and sold candidate who, because of the arcane electoral system in the US, is the only candidate that has a realistic chance of fulfilling the goal of “anybody but Bush”.

I will vote for Kerry, but I feel that I’ve sacrificed my democracy by doing so.

Thirdly, Working Assets wants me to speak out against developing Utah’s Wild Lands for the purpose of drilling for oil.

I think that’s an admirable goal.

However, I can use the same argument for not speaking out against that development as I used in refusing to urge congress to act against DeLay.

The Democrats and Republicans are two arms of the same party.

Until progressive organizations such as Working Assets and the others I mentioned above truly begin to support progressive candidates, drilling will happen.

How much clearer can it be? Our government, our legislature and, unfortunately, consequently, our judicial system are all owned by corporations.

I will not speak out against the drilling because I don’t believe these so called “progressive” organizations are any more than Democratic Party apologists and The Democrats are as bought and sold by The Corporacracy as the Republicans are.

So this merely gives me one more chance to ask MoveOn, Working Assets, Air America, etc. to become the progressive organizations that they claim to be.

Let’s make The Democrats and Republicans obsolete.

It’s time for that starting over that Jefferson wrote so eloquently about.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Restructuring hands Bush more power

This is a parody of an article I read in my local newspaper today.

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush ordered a stunning overhaul of America’s political system on Monday in what he called an effort to unite the country against terrorism.

If enacted, as expected, the proposals would strengthen his already pervasive control over the legislative branch and regional governments.

Bush, meeting in special session with Cabinet members and regional government leaders, outlined what would be the most sweeping political restructuring -- and his most striking single step to consolidate power -- in America since its independence from Great Britain in 1776.

Critics immediately said it would violate the constitution and stifle what political opposition remains.

Under Bush’s proposals, which he said required only legislative approval and not constitutional amendments, the governors of the country's 50 states would no longer be elected by popular vote but rather by local legislatures -- and only after the president's nomination.

Seats in the lower house of congress, or The House of Representatives, would be elected entirely on national party slates, eliminating district races across the nation.

In the last mid term elections, those races accounted for all of the independents and liberals serving in The House.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that have shaken the country, Bush argued that the country needed a more unified political system.

His proposals on Monday, however, made it clear that for him, unity meant a consolidation of power in the executive branch.

Across the short spectrum of political opposition in today's America, reactions ranged from stunned disbelief to helpless anger.

John Kerry, the leader of the main opposition party, The Democrats, called the proposals "ill-conceived."

Ralph Nader, a liberal leader, said they represented "the elimination of the last links in a system of checks and balances."

Ted Kennedy, the senior senator from Massachusetts, said that rather than unifying Americans against terror, the proposals would simply disenfranchise them from politics and the state.

"All these measures," he said in a telephone interview, "mean we are headed toward a dictatorial form of government."

The electoral changes require the approval of congress, but because Bush’s Republican Party controls The House of Representatives, The Senate and is said to have The Supreme Court “on its side”, that is almost a foregone conclusion.

Nader said that although Bush’s proposals "contradict the letter and the spirit of the constitution," challenges to them would be futile.

"Unfortunately," he said, "with Republicans controlling all three branches of government, there are no checks and balances here in America in 2004.”

In the wrenching days since Saudis and other terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, Bush has appeared publicly only a handful of times, yet has never admitted the government's failures and weaknesses in fighting terrorism.

Until Monday, however, he had offered only the invasion of Iraq as a retaliation against the Saudi lead attack upon The United States. He has exhorted Americans to continue on with their everyday lives, especially spending their hard earned pay, but with a suspicious eye on those around them, including their neighbors.

In the years since The Supreme Court selected him as The American President in December of 2000, Bush has steadily consolidated political power in the executive branch, often by the sheer force of his will. His campaign style has taken away the power of the electorate to make sensible decisions.

He and Attorney General John Ashcroft have created THE PATRIOT ACT which grants more power and freedom to federal agencies to investigate American citizens, even without the citizens’ knowing that they are being investigated.

He also used Corporate America’s vast power over television and government resources, as well as his extensive personal popularity, to reward loyal governors and punish or push aside disloyal ones.

The proposals on Monday, however, went further than any of the other steps under Bush’s watch.

Bush has faced unusually pointed criticism from the public and in newspapers after the 1000th military death in Iraq this past week.

Appearing to bow to pressure, he agreed to a public inquiry into the attack, though one controlled by The Administration, whose members he appoints. From that, the 9/11 Commission was formed.

Bush proposed the unification of counterterrorism efforts in a single agency, citing the examples of "a whole number of countries which have been confronted with the terrorist threat."

This, of course, is one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Bush also called for banning "extremist organizations using religious, nationalistic and any other phraseology as cover" and toughen penalties for crimes committed by terrorists, even minor ones. He suggested putting this wording into the next phase of The PATRIOT ACT.