Friday, August 10, 2007

How the Ship of State Became the Ship of Fools

The US has caught a nasty virus the symptom of which is running punditry. It's like cruise ship diarrhea without the satisfaction at the end of ordeal or even panic. Some quick notes: Barack Obama is the most shallow, non-descript, boring politician to ever come down the pike --an intellectual lightweight whose soul has been coached out of him by media consultants. In Barack Obama, I find the vacuous echoes of Ronald Reagan, a previous lightweight who had mastered the art of reading buzzwords off a cue card. My skin crawls.

I have stopped listening to what passes for debate these days. It's become a matter of stringing meaningless platitudes together such that they sound like real human speech. Or is it a Japanese robot?

More quick notes: I wish John Edwards were uglier. Hillary Clinton is damaged goods. Ron Paul, still a Republican, has many more scales to shed before he can change his repitil..uh...Republican skin.

God help us --the only intelligent politician in the field is Dennis Kucinich who has only a snow ball's chance in hell of ever becoming President. It's our loss. Watching Democrats is akin to medieval debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

I am sick to death of tedious debates about the conduct of the war of aggression against the people of Iraq. The "conduct" of the war is not the issue. Why we continue to stay is! Why we haven't impeached, tried, removed and imprisoned George W. Bush is! Why a grand jury has not been convened to investigate the GOP crime syndicate is! Why corporations rule the US government is! The validity of the electoral process is! Why bother going through the motions until paper trails are mandated at the polls?

I am sick to death of Congress kowtowing to a President who has the support of little more than 25 percent of the American people. Carl Jung predicted our malaise in 1957 in his "The Undiscovered Self", decrying "...apocalyptic images of universal destruction" brought on by WWII and an atomic age ushered in when the United States dropped weapons of mass destruction on two cities in Japan. In its wake, Jung was fearful that 40 percent of the population —called a "mentally stable stratum" —might not be able to keep the lid on mass psychosis; it might be unable to restrain the spread of "dangerous tendencies", presumably: fascism, fanaticism, militarism, and intolerance. Jung seems to have been less concerned with external threats. The more dangerous tendencies he feared were home grown. There are some real issues to be addressed but all have taken a back seat to punditry.
The theme of collapse seems to have reverberated around the world, now manifesting its symptoms in the scientific community’s latest dramatic reports on global warming, the issue of Peak Oil coming further out of the closet — being discussed openly in mainstream media, and the bursting of the US housing bubble that now finds 1 out of every 264 homes in the nation facing foreclosure as each day the value of the dollar decreases and the value of precious metals soars.

--The Cycle of Time

In the meantime, Democrats have failed to challenge Bush's exploitation of the ultimate strawman: terrorism. Bush owns the issue of "terrorism" even if he had to make it all up. As long as Democrats buy into the paradigm, they have no place from which to launch a counter-attack. Democrats too easily conferred legitimacy upon an illegitimate usurper, credibility when, in fact, Bush lied about everything. They are now paying the price for having played Bush's game. The spectre of terrorism has been of greater benefit to Bush than "real" terrorists who share with O.J.'s "real killers" all the characteristics of a phantom menace.

Political rhetoric is just more of the same when, in fact, nothing is the same. How could the Democrats have missed the sea change that has taken place, the fundamental challenges to Constitutional government? What are the implications? Simply, the Bush junta has challenged not only the Constitution but almost 1,000 years of progress. Principles mouthed by Bush simply fly in the face of the Magna Carta, the English Petition of Right, the Mayflower Compact, The Virginia Declaration of Rights, The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights, The Nuremberg Principles, and every US Supreme Court decision that has upheld the right of persons to be free of arbitary rule, to be secure in their homes, to be free of unreasonable arrest in the absence of probable cause that a crime has been committed.

Significantly, totalitarian states have their philosophical roots in Hegelianism, a straight road to both Nazism and Stalinism. There is, by contrast, another road that runs straight from Magna Carta to our own Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

If the Magna Carta is not the birth certificate of Democracy, it is the death certificate of despotism. It spells out for the first time the fundamental principle that the law is not simply the whim of the king. The law is an independent power unto itself. And the King could be brought to book for violating it!"

—Simon Schama, History of Britain

Bush's demogoguery is an issue and the Democrats should be on the offensive. Instead, most members of Congress lined up behind what Gore Vidal called an "un-American" administration.

Instead of bullshit and platitudes from Obama --nonsense talk about attacking Pakistan, Barack should have been screaming about America's enemies inside the White House --George W. Bush and his every supporter. Do the Democrats get it? Have they not understood what Bush has done? Is Congress without a clue?

The Constitution itself is explicit when it establishes the sovereignty of the people. But, if that were not enough to dispel notions of the "state as absolute", a Bill of Rights was insisted upon and ratified by the people. In the 1960's, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas believed the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights to be absolute —beyond the power of Congress or the executive to modify or infringe in any way. We could use someone like Douglas today. As his friend Tommy Corcoran pointed out, Douglas had "wanted the Presidency worse than Don Quixote wanted Dulcinea" and Franklin Roosevelt believed that Douglas would have been the strongest running mate in 1944. It was Democratic bosses who persuaded Roosevelt to pick Harry Truman instead. Oh well! "To err is Truman!"

Democratic "opposition" to Bush seems less naive than irrelevant, locked into the GOP paradigm when Democrats should be forcing a defensive GOP to debate on Democratic turf, on Democratic issues, indeed, the very future of Democracy in America. Tragically, the Democrats will get suckered into debating the "conduct" of a war that should never have begun, a war that is itself a crime, a war that has, in fact, no good end, a war that is, in fact, lost!

Democrats are in danger of blowing the last chance they will ever have to forge a new and better future. It's become a cliche that the Chinese character for "crisis", literally translated, means "dangerous opportunity". If the Democrats fail to make the most of this opportunity, the people of the US will be no better off, nothing will have been gained for the ordeal we have suffered, nothing true, lasting or valid will have been affirmed. What a waste if this should all turn out to be the most irrelevant presidential debate in this nation's history!

And now for something completely different:

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