The Democratic Party national "apparat" lacks the guts and sense to stand up for what our country was founded for. They have forgotten who we are.
I recognize that there are Democratic Congresspeople who have bucked the apparat, at least on occasion. And I understand that working in Congress is working in a cesspool, that to get anything passed may require swallowing something vile. People willing to fight on regardless, and to hang on as much as possible to principle, certainly deserve respect.
But I'm not talking about legislative tactics; I'm talking about how a free people can govern themselves, about whether our country can continue to be, however flawed, the home of a free people.
I'm glad to support the real Democrats, in Congress and nationwide, who work to win the battles in the EDs and state capitals and who work to change the national party.
But I will not support the apparat in any way whatsoever. And I will work to get others to also denounce them!
The apparat occupies itself with haggling over earmarks for bridges in Alaska while the neocons occupy themselves with shredding the Constitution. They intend to restructure the United States as a dictatorship. They dream of the United States as an empire, dominating the world. They intend to roll back the Enlightenment, to see a return to the Dark Ages of ruthless tyrannies engaged in endless war.
I do not exaggerate.
We face nothing less than a fascist assault on the Constitution. [fas] The Leo Strauss/Grover Norquist philosophical/strategic view codified the neocon's vision and laid out their planning.
A summary of Strauss' view:
# Perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical
# they need strong rulers to tell them what's good for them
# those who are fit to rule are those who realize there is no morality
# there is only one natural right, the right of the superior to rule over the inferior
# separating church and state was the biggest mistake made by the founders
# secular society... worst possible thing ...encourages dissent, which in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with opposition,
# a political order can be stable only if united by an external threat, ..,if no external threat exists, then one has to be manufactured... [dru]
Consider: the current government is dominated by men who studied under Strauss or have acknowledged his influence on their thinking: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz; former Defense Policy Board chairman Perle; Shulsky of the infamous Pentagon Office of Special Plans; Abrams of the National Security Council;...
So the Strauss view exactly blueprinted what has come about.
Bill Moyers, interviewing Norquist: "You're on record as saying, my goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bath tub." Norquist concurred; and he has said "... we intend to bankrupt the government to the point where they can basically only have the function of collecting taxes to run a national defense system." [moy]
This means that your access to a job, healthcare, sustenance is totally dependent on your standing with a corporate employer, a position from which you can be fired on a moment's notice - without any means of redress - at the whim of any manager [terrified eg an upcoming performance rating and the prospect of losing his/her job]. Working for small firms is no better; they are at the mercy of the WalMarts or are in desperate competition with one another...And getting "disappeared," at first rare, will become more and more commonplace.
Lawrence Britt, a scholar of fascistic regimes: "analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads ..."
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause.
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism.
5. Rampant sexism.
6. A controlled mass media.
7. Obsession with national security.
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together.
9. Power of corporations protected
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated.
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption.
14. Fraudulent elections." [bri]
An alarmingly precise characterization of events, no?
The Constitution and has been under unrelenting assault for years. Some details below.
The apparat did not mention this in last year's campaigning or in the grand PR pitch about the great things the apparat would do in the first 100 hours, etc...It is barely visible in their current program. Yes, Dodd, Feingold and Wu have raised the subject; but interest on the part of the apparat? Yawn.
What have they been doing?
The apparat is in a lather deciding how to strengthen rules against lobbyists'
influence on Congress. When lobbyists host a gathering with Congresspeople must any food served be eaten with toothpicks? Or are knives and forks and plates allowable?
The one idea that would have impact, recognized [pro or con] on all sides: public finance of elections. The apparat: nice idea; maybe later.
They solemnly debate a non-binding resolution to limit slaughter in Iraq - as if Bush would pay the least attention to it if it passed - instead of working to turn off the money flow.
Consider The Military Commissions Act - and their response to it. UCLA Prof. Levine: "Without any serious opposition from Democrats (twelve of whom actually voted for the bill, while none offered a serious threat to filibuster it), President Bush has signed into a law a bill that guts the right of Habeas Corpus, legalizes the use of secret and coerced evidence, "clarifies" the Geneva Conventions to allow torture on the his command, prevents future war crimes prosecutions, and arrogates to himself the right to declare anyone--including American citizens--enemy combatants who can be dragged from their families, thrown in any prison he chooses, anywhere on earth, for however long he chooses. [mca]
Since 1215 habeas corpus has been a cornerstone of freedom. It has its own place in the Constitution; it was there before the Bill of Rights. [con] Yet the MCA passed. Sen. Leahy did speak up; "This is not just a bad bill, this is a dangerous bill." [lea] But was there an upsurge of support from the apparat? You know there was not!
Alexander Hamilton: "...confinement of the person, by secretly hurrying him to jail, where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore A MORE DANGEROUS ENGINE of arbitrary government.''' [NOTE: the capital letters are all Hamilton's, from his original.][ham]
Opposition to this abomination? A few token sound bites. Even Leahy's speech is pitifully tame. Show passion? Not this lot. THEY SHOULD ALL HAVE GOTTEN OFF THEIR OVERSTUFFED BOTTOMS AND CHAIRS AND STORMED OUT! [and note again: twelve even voted for it!]
Two more [of many] assaults on the Constitution:
# The renewed Patriot Act: ""There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division.' "...empowered to "make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence,..."[pat]
# The Warner National Defense Authorization act nullifies Posse Comitatus and empowers the government to detain people on the sheer assertion of a federal officer..[war]
If another natural disaster occurs, or if an incident - real or staged [remember Operation Northwoods?] occurs, will the apparat stand firm for civil rights or will they fold, as they did in 2001, and pass another Patriot Act without reading it?
Outside the apparat's cozy circuit of restaurants and cocktail parties one finds a different view.
"Newsflash: your Constitution is broken and it needs to be fixed. Now. Before the minimum wage. Before troop withdrawal. Before impeachment. Before ethics reform. Before stem cell research. Before universal healthcare.
"The very document that empowers you has been attacked and damaged by George W. Bush, personally and with malice aforethought. Fix it. Until you signal your absolute resolve to undo the damage Bush has done to the heart and soul of our nation's laws, everything else is cosmetic." [smi]
And there are many other topics of major importance which the apparat is indifferent to or frightened to touch.
In her first 72 hours as next Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi repeated her pledge that "impeachment is off the table." In her victory press conference, she didn't speak of the need to repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that revoked habeas corpus and legalized torture. She didn't decry the unending death and destruction that is daily terrorizing the people of Iraq. She did not pledge to stand firmly against the new war being prepared against Iran. Nor did she make a peep about defending women's right to abortion and gay rights even as Roe V. Wade is under increasing threat...
Instead, she recast this election as a mandate on manners and effectiveness: "The American people spoke out for a return to civility to the Capitol in Washington and how Congress conducts its work...And Democrats pledge civility and ..partnerships with the Republicans in Congress and the president, not partisanship."
The next day she sat down with a President who by any objective standard is a war criminal and ...lent him a sense of legitimacy by, in her own words, "extend[ing] the hand of friendship, of partnership."
..."partnership" with a regime that lied its way into a war that has for years struck panic in the corridors of hospitals, terror in the beds of children, overcrowding in the morgues throughout Iraq and stolen more than half a million lives.
===End clips [sun]
"Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation, and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone..." [ivi]
Yes, the Democrats face frustration. Republicans can block any serious change in Congress. But the apparat has no idea what to do but to snipe and fiddle at the edges.
They ought to speak up for what's in line with our principles, our Constitution. Even if the vote goes against them, citizens would begin to see what they have been missing, and that a new Democratic Party may be emerging.
They ought to spend less time in Washington and more time taking the message to their constituencies: we need not only to "...support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..." but to extend its coverage!
Even on a cynical level this has merit. There is nothing to lose. The apparat can't get anything substantive passed in Congress. In 2008 they will have nothing to show in the way of accomplishments. And they likely will have even more towering disasters on their hands: the national debt out of control; the safety net, already savaged, buckling under new burdens; education funds cut again... The slime machine will bury them. They will crash and burn.
And the fascists will tighten their grip on power.
If they had guts and sense they would stand up and say: Come on! We need to restore and extend the Constitution! Citizens who don't vote might listen. Republicans might listen.
In 2004, with all their millions of dollars and 'consultants,' their message moved how many of us to vote? About one in three. [use] In 2006: "Average Democratic turnout in the 44 states which held statewide Democratic primaries was 8.4 of eligibles." [amu]
They have forgotten not only what we as a country are about; they have forgotten the power and passion at our foundation. "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." Samuel Adams [ada]
They have forgotten what a speech for freedom sounds like.
Susan B. Anthony
"We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
"It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people - women as well as men. And it is a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are
denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government - the ballot.
"To women this government has no just powers derived from the consent of the governed. To them this government is not a democracy. It is not a republic. It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex; the most hateful aristocracy ever established on the face of the globe; an oligarchy of wealth, where the rich govern the poor. An oligarchy of learning, where the educated govern the ignorant, or even an oligarchy
of race, where the Saxon rules the African, might be endured; but this oligarchy of sex, which makes father, brothers, husband, sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters, of every household - which ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord, and rebellion into every home of the nation." [ant]
And, maybe worst of all, they have forgotten WHO we are. It is not only that, working together, can we accomplish great things... Remember: in the 1940s we were 130 million people, engaged in the most massive of wars, against truly formidable enemies. We built 2700 Liberty ships, each the size of 1.5 football fields. [We built one in four and a half days]. We built 100,000 fighter aircraft and 31,000 heavy bombers. We got by on four gallons of gas a week and tight rations of sugar, coffee and other things.
They have forgotten that despite deprivation, sorrow and pain we took - take - real satisfaction in working together for the country and for freedom. The apparat has no idea - or is too timid to act on it - that now we are engaged in another great effort so that "government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth,"
No one speaks for the apparat but hired hacks.
Granny D speaks for us. "There is no greater gift than to be given a life of meaning. There is no greater heroism than to bravely represent love in a dark time of fear and danger.
"We are resolved to help each other. We are resolved to represent love in the world and to follow our national dream.
"So look at the situation wisely and know that a happy ending is not to be found under the paper moon of child's brief play. Accept and celebrate the fact that we are deeply engaged in a long, hard drama of global meaning. We welcome the fight. We welcome it, and, by George, we are up to it." [gra]
Molly Ivins speaks for us.
"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who
come after you how much fun it was." [ivi]
If you, dear reader, resonate to this line of thought, write your own version, edit this, post it where the some member of the apparat might see it and say, Hey! This might beat working a spreadsheet 18 hours a day for a nitwit of a politician...
If possible fling it in the faces of the self-hypnotized wimps masquerading as political leaders. Maybe some will discover backbones.
We're in this together. That's what the Revolution and the Constitution are about!
Notes and references
ada Samuel Adams
ant "On Women's Right to Vote"
Susan B. Anthony June, 1873
amu "Record low 2006 primary turnout - 15 percent of eligibles vote."
American University' 10/6/06
Note: this paper includes interesting insights as to why voting has been declining; and it speaks directly to the apparat's shortsighted vision.
con The Constitution, Article I Section 9
dru "Leo Strauss and the Grand Inquisitor," Shadia B. Drury
Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 24, Number 4.
"Leo Strauss and the Neoconservatives" Shadia B. Drury
Evatt Found'n Undated; downloaded 6/10/05
fas "The Common Threads of Fascistic Nations"
Britt, L., "Fascism, Anyone?"
Council for Secular Humanism, Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2.
gra "We Are Resolved to Follow Our National Dream"
Doris [Granny D] Hadcock [Age: 95] 10/06/05
ham Alexander Hamilton,
The Federalist Number 84 Jul-Aug 1788
ivi "Why Hillary Clinton won't get my support in 2008"
American-Statesman, Austin TX 1/21/06
"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds..."
lea Statement, Senator Patrick Leahy, VT
U.S. Senate 9/28/06
lob "Following the 'Toothpick Rule'"
mca Military Commissions Act S-3930
Mark LeVine, 10/3/06
Professor of History, University of California, Irvine
S3930 is in direct conflict with the Constitution:
# The right to habeas corpus - Article I Section 9.
# The right to freedom of speech and press, to assemble peaceably to petition the government - Amendment I
# The right to be secure against warrantless searches - Amendment IV
# The right not to be compelled to testify against himself...nor deprived of life, liberty...without due process of law - Amendment V
# Rights to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, to be informed of the accusation against him, to be confronted by the witnesses against him, to have compulsory processs for obtaining witnesses in his favor, to have the assistance of counsel...Amendment VI
# Right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment - Amendment VIII
# Article VI: "..all treaties made...under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land.." This means abiding by the Geneva Conventions; it means acting in accord with the UN Charter.
moy Bill Moyers Interviews Grover Norquist
PBS NOW 1/10/03
pat "Patriot Act police threaten our rights" Paul Craig Roberts
House Report 109-333 - USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005,- Sec. 605
smi "First Things First," Jane Smiley
use "Voter Turnout - 2004 Election Data"
United States Elections Project
war Senate 2766: John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007
sun "Bush & His Whole Program Must Go," Sunsara Taylor
World Cqn't Wait - undated but Jan 2007