Some people say that you create your own reality. I don’t know if that’s completely true - I didn’t create the sun but its existence is an important part of my reality. Because if the sun didn’t rise, for whatever reason, I’m sure it would have a remarkable effect on my reality. In fact I believe that life on earth might be at an end should such a thing occur. If the sun refused to shine would I merely turn on the lights and ignore the darkness? Would I just brighten my own little world and ignore the chaos outside? Would I choose to not see what’s right before my eyes and continue on as if the end of everything was not occurring? Doing so would become an exercise in futility as reality would eventually come crashing in on my little artificially lit world.
But that’s what the vast majority of Americans are doing right now: keeping their little worlds artificially lit in the hope that soon or someday things will get better, as if the possibility of re-making our reality against the tremendous odds we all find ourselves enmeshed in is that simple. Though the sun refusing to rise would surely mean the imminent destruction of all life on the planet and something humans could do nothing to prevent, the reality that we face now for the future of the planet, while probably less dire than this sun-less scenario, is one that we all can choose to have a hand in shaping and creating.
Some Americans are hoping that electing Obama and more democrats in the House and Senate will bring hope for the future. Some Americans want McCain to win thinking that we need four more years of the Bush agenda to keep America safe and strong. Some don’t bother at all with politics or doing anything, either out of ignorance or out of apathy or out of a sense of complete powerlessness and/or hopelessness. Regardless of which definition defines the actions of an individual American nowadays the truth is that an adherence to any of these points of view will only exacerbate the problems facing the U.S. and the world and in reality is a personal exercise in futility.
Unfortunately, the issues that America faces, and indeed the rest of the world, are issues that will and are affecting each and every one of us, no matter how we shelter ourselves from them, whether by hoping and believing in the promises of a candidate or by ignoring the reality of these issues altogether and focusing solely on our own lives.
These issues continue to grow daily and are unprecedented in their potential for enormous negative consequences for the entire planet. Chris Hedges spoke about the reality we face in a keynote address to Furman University, entitled, “America’s Democratic Collapse”. Hedges said, “... We are fed lie after lie to mask the destruction the corporate state has wrought in our lives. The consumer price index, for example, used by the government to measure inflation, has become meaningless. …”
When you add in all the lies used to justify the actions of the Bush agenda – the surge is working, Iran needs to be bombed, torture saves American lives, and on and on in a continual effort to make you think that crap smells like roses - it is incredible that Americans have not risen off their couches in the millions to stand up to the machinations of the Bush regime and instead continue to do nothing in the stink of the Bush reality which reeks right before their very noses.
Lets put things in a more personal perspective for the average American, like you and me for instance - while we hear that the economy is doing okay and that there is no recession yet, the truth is in our own pocketbooks – how much are we paying for our essential needs now as compared to one year ago and is this a temporary situation that will improve itself soon? Maybe you personally are not adversely affected by the enormous and swift rise in the cost of living – at least not yet, but hundreds of thousands of our neighbors are being adversely affected right now, today, not to mention the food shortages taking place in other parts of the world with no end in sight. How long will it be until this reality affects every single American in some way?
Not only is there a concerted effort to put the truth of economic conditions in an artificially positive light, there is the unprecedented secrecy that follows every move the Bush regime makes. They don’t want you to know what you already don’t know.
The ACLU in a “Statement for the Record to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties” states, “Over the years we have seen the state secrets privilege mutate from a common-law evidentiary rule that permits the government “to block discovery in a lawsuit of any information that, if disclosed, would adversely affect national security,” into an alternative form of immunity that is increasingly being used to shield the government and its agents from accountability for systemic violations of the Constitution. Since September 11, 2001, the Bush administration has fundamentally altered the manner in which the state secrets privilege is used, to the detriment of the rights of private litigants harmed by egregious government misconduct, and at the sacrifice of the American people’s trust and confidence in our judicial system.”
The ACLU statement goes on to give instance after instance of the unchecked abuse of executive power through the Bush regime version of the state secrets privilege: torture, extraordinary rendition, warrant-less wiretapping and surveillance, the remarkable story of the silencing of whistle-blower Sibel Edmonds, and more. In its conclusion the ACLU statement says, “In each of these instances, the government has sought dismissal at the pleading stage, and the privilege as asserted by the government and as construed by the courts has often permitted dismissal of these suits on the basis of a government affidavit alone – …. these qualitative and quantitative shifts in the government’s use – and the courts’ acceptance – of the state secrets privilege warrant legislative action to correct this imbalance of power and rein in unconstitutional executive practices that are injurious to the health of a democratic society.”
What does this have to do with the average American, and how does this affect you? Ask yourself, does any of this sound like the actions of a government that gives a damn about you or the rest of the world?
Another issue that directly affects every American right now is wiretapping. In a Metro Daily West article, Mark Klein and Babak Pasdar write, “To this day, the American people do not know the full extent of the telecom actions in warrantless wiretapping, and if amnesty passes, we may never know. Allowing this administration and these corporations to get away with this illegal and unconstitutional behavior sets the worst type of precedent for future American generations.” Allow that information to seep into your American brain for a bit, then read about the startling revelations of a Truthout.org article by Bruce Finley entitled, “Terror Watch Uses Local Eyes; 181 Trained in Colorado. The article points to the fact that, “ Hundreds of police, firefighters, paramedics and even utility workers have been trained and recently dispatched as "Terrorism Liaison Officers" in Colorado and a handful of other states to hunt for "suspicious activity" - and are reporting their findings into secret government databases.”
Suspicious activity? Secret government databases? These “TLO” officers have the authority to interpret YOUR activities and decide if they are “suspicious”. What are some of these activities that might seem suspicious? Finley’s article goes on to explain, “ "Suspicious activity" is broadly defined in TLO training as behavior that could lead to terrorism: taking photos of no apparent aesthetic value, making measurements or notes, espousing extremist beliefs or conversing in code, according to a draft Department of Justice/Major Cities Chiefs Association document.” “Taking photos of no apparent aesthetic value”? “Making measurements or notes”? Hmm, I’m pretty sure that anyone who might have been watching me has seen or heard me doing some of these things, what about you? In fact this article that you are reading right now, in some people’s opinion, is extreme, and you, the reader, in the action of reading it makes you extreme too. In a few short paragraphs of free thought and opinion we have both become ‘extremists’ at least in the head of some Bush regime trained circus monkey parading around in an official title. But wait, it gets worse…
Is there a record of you clicking on this link and the length of your stay at this link? Is that too paranoid of a thought for you? Is it tinfoil hat time? But think seriously about this: is it just possible that there now exists a record of YOU reading THIS article? And if so, why, and how does that record make YOU or me safer from terrorism?
The fact is that it doesn’t make us safer at all, what it does is it puts both of us in danger: in danger of being considered an enemy combatant by our own government, a government that has legalized and codified torture as an interrogation method. Do we really want our public and our intimate actions judged and recorded by the criteria that the horrendously corrupt and murderous Bush regime would like to measure us by? Unfortunately the truth is that it is already happening, and the vast majority of Americans continue to do nothing as the Bush regime’s agenda expands and solidifies itself in an ever-widening worldwide grip that strangles civil and human rights.
But it doesn’t stop at what you read, what you do, or what you say. In an Associated Press article posted by Huffingtonpost.com, Lara Jakes Jordan reports that the Justice Dept is considering racial profiling in the name of terror prevention. Jordan reports that, “The Justice Department is considering letting the FBI investigate Americans without any evidence of wrongdoing, relying instead on a terrorist profile that could single out Muslims, Arabs or other racial and ethnic groups.” The article goes on to state, “Critics say the presumption of innocence is lost in the proposal. The FBI will be allowed to begin investigations simply "by assuming that everyone's a suspect, and then you weed out the innocent," said Caroline Fredrickson of the American Civil Liberties Union”
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