Hi to all my friends, acquaintances and anyone else who may read this:
I began writing this on 12/21/05 and it' s taken me this long to get this far. After spending hours writing this and even more hours editing it, I've finally reached the point where I can't go any further. I've managed to say everything I need to say, but as far as editing is concerned, I' m stuck. I don' t know where to go from here. So this is it. If anyone is so inclined, you're welcome to send this to whomever you like, provided that you send it in its entirety and acknowledge me as the author. I stand behind what I say. I wish you my very best and I hope that at least one or two people will find this interesting. This may be my last political letter. Or it may be the beginning of an escalation. I don' t know yet. For now, I' m sending it only to people I consider to be friends, which may determine what I do next. But relax -- you won't see any more of these unless you express an interest. As some of you know, some of my few friends are "conservative" (whatever that means), but most are probably "liberal"(whatever that means) -- so it's an easy audience. None the less, I suspect that some people will delete without reading; some will delete after reading, and some people will actually read it -- and even think about it. Some will agree, some won't and some will be in the middle. This is primarily for those in the middle, because those who disagree probably won' t change, and with those who agree, it' s like preaching to the choir. Most of what's written here is not new. Some of it may be -- to some of you. My hope is that it will prompt enough thought that it will trigger action. Almost "any" action, no matter what, is better than none.
The purpose of this letter is fourfold: (I.) To strongly recommend the book, "Confessions of an Economic hit Man", by John Perkins. In my opinion, it' s a "must" read. (II.) To present what I consider to be sufficient evidence to substantiate my claims and conclusions expressed here. (III.). To denounce Bush and his administration in the strongest possible terms, within my ability, without using most of the expletives I normally use. But Bush is only part of the problem. He' s a symptom of a much larger problem; and the tip of the iceberg. So this letter is also intended to be an indictment of a system which could allow people like him to get into office; a system which, for decades, has become progressively more corrupt; a system in which our politicians are bought and sold like cattle at a private (secret?) auction by our mega-corporations. IV.) To suggest actions that might make a difference and to admonish all to become informed by seeking information outside the mainstream.
Any feedback will be welcomed, if you\rquote re so inclined. It' s not a secret that I feel strongly about certain things. I try to convey that here. I was going to go into one of my typical rants, using all the expletives and as much screaming and hollering as penmanship would allow. But you' ve heard it all before. Instead, I decided to try to reason with the unreasonable, cajole the uncajoleable, seduce the unseduceable, persuade the unpersuadable and plead with any who will listen. And in the process, I may still rant a little because I' m angry; in fact, infuriated. I want to make others angry too. Why? Because it' s better than apathy or depression. And, sometimes, it can spur one to action. Believe me, this is toned down dramatically from what I started with. If you care about our country at all -- and especially if you have children or grandchildren -- you simply " must"start to pay closer attention to what's going on, and then begin to take action. We are on a path of world domination under the guise of "exporting democracy", plain and simple. What were exporting is "corportocracy" (read the book!) and American imperialism. Empire is the name of the game. Anything else is a lie.
Perhaps like me, you've been around long enough to see how far this country has gone downhill since we were kids. Democracy, freedom and patriotism are buzzwords, intended to instill a kind of blind, flag-waving fervor in support of the war-mongering hawks who brandish those words about so freely. And as they' ve proven time and again, all they have to do is link buzzwords to a hotly charged emotional issue and the majority of Americans will follow like sheep -- well trained sheep, in fact, who've been programmed by years of TV and marketing hype to respond as expected.
To those of you who may have already made up your minds, I ask your indulgence. Maybe a different viewpoint will yield a different picture. However, in all fairness, I will say this: I too, am biased; my bias against the criminals currently in power in this country is as strong as theirs -- in the opposite direction. And this: my personal bias has no bearing on the accuracy of the information discussed here. In that context, and because we live in a period and a country where common sense, honesty, straightforwardness and integrity are consistently and repeatedly overridden by slippery legalese (in fact, dominated by legal B, I' m going to offer my psuedo-disclaimer: it is my "OPINION" that everything stated here is fact, unequivocally, and I present it as such. Let those who disagree, disprove it. If proven wrong, I'll be happy to admit it. So here we go.
I. What would happen if you found out that your entire life was based on lies? Would you change anything? Going a step further, what would happen if you found out that your entire life IS a lie? Would you change anything? By the same token, what if you found out that all, or most of your beliefs about your government were based on lies that your government has been telling you for years? Would you look deeper to discover the truth, and perhaps take some action? Or would you just stick your head in the sand (or back in the sand, as the case may be), with your ass in the air, at the whim of any passerby? THAT is the importance of this book!
If you've recently seen the movie "Syriana", you have a frame of reference for what I'm about to say. And if you haven't, you should! You may know that it was based on events that actually happened. The contents of this book relate directly to some of those events, and indirectly, to others.
In 1984 or '85 I started paying closer attention to what was going on economically in the world. The reason was simple -- I knew first hand that if you control the money, you control the people. So I recognized that that is precisely what our government has been doing for decades. And that (in my opinion) is a little known secret that most people have not bothered to pay attention to, and which our government would rather we didn't. In this particular time frame, it seems that certain third world countries had defaulted on loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. So I became curious about how that worked and what would be the impact on the U.S. and the rest of the world. Especially since U.S. taxpayers (that's us, folks) would be paying for it.
At that time, I had a friend who was very well connected in some very shady circles as a result of some contract work he did for our government in Vietnam. He explained it to me. He said we make loans to third world countries, most of which goes directly into American corporations, making them wealthy beyond imagination, and some of which goes to the corrupt politicians in those countries. The politicians get rich, the corporations get rich, the local people get poorer and the American taxpayers pay the bill. (Remember, this was 1984-85 -- and it had been going on long before then, right up to the present). Sweet deal, eh? In every case where we've done this, the poverty level has increased in those countries. Want statistics? Go find 'em. I'm not a statistician. But I guarantee you that if you go to the trouble of looking it up, you'll find that the statistics corroborate what I've said and what I'm pointing out in this letter. [Here\rquote s a little tidbit, just to show you that it' s still going on. On 1/7/06, there appeared an obscure little article on the back page of the "World\"'section of the Arizona Star (Tucson). It said that the world bank had cut off loans to the tiny countries of Chad/Cameroon, due to them accessing their own oil profits. Well gee, lemmee see -- I wonder who they were supposed to give them to? Of course the paper didn' t elaborate. I also wonder if it got any better coverage in larger newspapers (ref. later quote from John Perkins's book about the media).]
One reason for my curiosity was that, around that same time, Bank of America got their wrist slapped for 17,000 counts (that's right, 17,000) of money laundering. The President and CEO at that time, A.W. Clausen,bailed out and went over to take over the World Bank until the smoke and dust settled. Then, after about three years, he went back to B of A. (Don' t believe it? Look it up. I still have the newspaper clipping -- San Jose Mercury News. Did no one besides me wonder what kinds of deals were being cut? (Incidentally, it may be interesting to note that Paul Wolfowitz, one of the major architects of the war in Iraq is now running the World Bank. Hmmm.) Remember, at this same time, B of A was being quietly investigated concerning their connection with BCCI (Ollie North's bank) in Florida, which was proven to be a mafia and drug cartel run bank and used exclusively to launder drug money and any other large sums of illegally gained money. Also remember that B of A was formerly the Bank of Italy, influenced and run by the Mafia (and still is; only the Mafia is now big business, i.e. "legitimate" corporations, what Perkins calls "corporatocracy". Nothing has changed, it's only gotten bigger.) If you question that, you can go up to San Francisco to the bank on the corner of Montgomery Street (I believe it's 401 Montgomery Street) and read the bronze plaque on the wall in the lobby. Before that, B of A /Bank of Italy was originally the Vatican Bank. Well, as stated, B of A never got more than a wrist slap for their activities. Draw your own conclusions. At the very least, it should have raised questions that weren't clearly answered, and I' m willing to bet, have never been answered to this day.. The book I recommended above fills in all the gaps on countless things I knew about at the time, but couldn't prove. I know now, how they did it. What I previously lacked in tactical(and strategic) information has been provided. Even without it, it doesn't take a genius to connect the dots, but additional information certainly helps. [As an aside, at the time of the Watergate investigations in 1972, the reporters who broke the case, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, had a rule of thumb to determine whether their information made it into their stories: it had to be substantiated by at least two unrelated sources. More about Watergate later, as it relates to the topic of this writing.] In the case of my current subject, this book, published in 2004, twenty years later, substantiated information I had received in 1984-85 from my friend, whom I considered to be an impeccable source, thus meeting those criteria. The lesson of what to watch for is simple: for any "unusual" or unnatural phenomena we see happening out there, someone has been tasked with making it happen. For instance, most everyone knows (or at least, believes) that the CIA, with Henry Kissinger' s help, assassinated Salvador Allende of Chile and replaced him with Pinochet, a brutal dictator and despot. (It's my understanding from a friend, that if Kissinger ever enters Chile, he will be arrested and tried for that crime.) They also assassinated Omar Torrijos of Panama (not proven, of course) and replaced him with Noriega. And we all know what happened to Noriega. He was our "fair haired boy" until he defied the U.S. We (our government) knew about his drug dealing from the very beginning. It only mattered when it served our purposes to be rid of him. Then they killed Jaime Roldos of Ecuador (also not proven). Presumably, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela will be next. Now I know why. They wouldn't play ball with U.S. imperialism. And, Big Surprise -- it was for oil! But more important and more insidious -- it' s about world domination, with U.S. politicians at its head. The U.S. government will do whatever it takes -- "anything "-- to insure U.S. supremacy in the world -- anything! Not just equality or a cooperative parity with other nations, but supremacy; domination. Lemee see, can you say, "Great Society" " New World Order spread Democracy throughout the world "? That' s what we 're witnessing. Only it's not democracy we're spreading. And that' s what the book is about. [As another aside, it's important to be aware of how our thuggery and manipulation is carried out today. The book elaborates on this somewhat. They do it through the legislature and the courts. These people have such a grip on the legislature and the courts that all they have to do to get what they want is have laws passed, favorable to their agendas and granting them free rein to do what they want. They know that, if they can get laws pushed through (frequently as riders on unrelated bills), it will take twenty years or more for anyone to successfully fight them.]
Regardless of anyone's disinterest or disgust with politics, when it starts to affect your life personally, in tangible ways, it has to compel you to pay closer attention. And then act. (Can you say, "outrageous gas prices"? How about, "dual incomes required just to survive and support a family"? Not to mention inadequate minimum wage; looted social security fund; high cost of health care and insurance premiums, while the insurance companies are making billions in profits. The list goes on.) Write letters. Make phone calls. Do something! If we can' t make efforts to stop it, correct it, and create a better world, then we truly deserve the government we have.
I have finally concluded that I just simply don' t understand how honest, ethical, hard-working people of conscience can support this administration -- and leave it at that. I have more than a couple of friends who are conservative (at least, I think I still do) and these are good, and good-hearted people of high integrity and conscience. They' ve certainly done more good in the world than I have. And they support Bush (or they used to; don' t know for sure, now). So we've had to agree to disagree. I'm totally baffled.
II.Contrary to what some people may think, I really love my country -- much more than a bunch of flag waving hypocrites out there. But I love it for the ideal that it\rquote s supposed to represent, not for what it has become. And I hate what our politicians and corporate leaders have done to it, i.e. the government we' ve allowed them to manipulate into what it is today It bears little resemblance to what our founders intended (or does it?). I personally believe that Washington and Jefferson, et al, would be rolling over in their graves if they could see this (but maybe not. I guess Washington may have been a scoundrel in his own right). It breaks my heart to see our country go down the tubes -- especially at the hands of those we\rquote ve trusted to safeguard and adhere to the Constitution.
I am as great a patriot as anyone alive but I don't believe in nationalism. That was a major tool used by the Nazis to gain, induce or compel the support of the German people. As demonstrated, for anyone who' s paying attention, the Bush administration has been using that tool prolifically. The Republicans delight in attacking the patriotism of anyone who questions or opposes Bush. As stated before, our government will do whatever it takes, no matter what the cost (in money, human suffering and lives), -- anything -- to ensure U.S. supremacy in the world. I won' t. And I don't support it. The only acceptable exception is in a case where there is no other choice but to dominate rather than be dominated by someone else. And even then, the solution is to work out an agreed parity where each is free to lead their own lives. But our government doesn't do that. If we don' t have a war, they will create one in order to ensure our massive military budgets. (It's worth remembering that Eisenhower warned us against the military/industrial complex.) So much the better if we can have a war which, by definition, will never end (such as we have now).
Make no mistake -- we've never been innocent or lilly-white. American history practically began with the genocide of the American Indians and the theft of their lands. And we've been doing the same ever since. We did it to a lesser degree (i.e. lesser, meaning we may not have succeeded in decimating and imprisoning the entire indigenous populations) in Mexico (Texas and California weren't ours to start with, not to mention Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado), Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Guam and Hawaii, to name a few. But the intention, as written by our founding fathers, was to create a better country and a better world. Are you proud of what we\rquote ve got?
I have said that our government is the most corrupt in the world. And that is absolutely true. But in order to say that anything is the "most" of anything, there have to be some standards of measurement. These are pretty self-evident.
The first is the sheer magnitude of it and the number of people impacted. There are countless examples politically, economically and socially -- within our own country and elsewhere in the world. Here are just a few examples: (1.) The money stolen by Ken Lay and associates of Enron was equal to or larger than the budgets of many small countries. Have any of them paid for their crimes -- with " penalties to fit the crime"? And the life savings and retirement incomes lost affected thousands. Likewise with Tyco and World Com. (2.) Back in the `80\rquote s, the savings and loan debacle devastated thousands, if not millions; and again, the money equaled or exceeded the budgets of many small countries. It' s interesting to note that Silverado Savings and Loan, one of the biggest offenders, was headed by Neil Bush, who quietly slipped away unscathed and went on to other positions of power in financial circles. Crime pays! Gee, I wonder if daddy had anything to do that? And of course, Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky, who helped orchestrate hostile corporate takeovers, via junk bonds, among other things, got token prison sentences at ClubFed -- where their greatest complaint was not being able to see their families. And they got to keep most of their stolen money. Meanwhile, the IRS is putting little old ladies out in the street because they can' t pay their taxes, and many elderly had to go to work at sub-standard jobs because their savings had been stolen. (3.)The gutting (and attempted gutting) of employee retirement and health benefits by the airlines, WalMart, Albertson and Safeway grocery chains and other major corporations is another indicator of corruption, exploitation and mismanagement at the corporate level. Robbing from employees, while the CEO and upper level management make millions in salaries and perks is unethical and dead wrong. But our society (more specifically, our bought and paid for politicians) makes it legal.
(4.) NAFTA and CAFTA are examples on the international front where we're exploiting Latin American countries for U.S. corporate gain. Clearly, only a handful of Mexicans benefit from these deals, while the massive benefit goes to the corporations. (According to one U.S. manager of an American company in Mexico with whom I spoke, Mexican workers in American factories make $10.00 a day; Mexican managers make $100.00 a day, while the American owners make millions. Do the math.) The outcome in Central America should, predictably, be about the same. The way in which these agreements are passed should be criminal. First, the target countries are strong-armed into agreeing. Then, Congress has to pass the resolution making it law (the order of events and the details may be more complicated than that, but that' s the essence of it.) I had occasion to watch the congressional hearings and vote on CAFTA. What a pathetic and tragic vote! It was done at about 2:00 A.M., with only a handful of congressmen in attendance -- it looked surprising that they could have even had a quorum. One of the Democrats went on record as decrying the whole event as shady politics at its worst, due to the sleazy manner in which it was brought to vote, insuring that there weren\rquote t many of the opposition present. It was a disgrace to our so-called democratic process. The U.S. pretends to be helping others when, in fact, we're exploiting them. At the very best, we operate on a "quid pro quo" basis, although actually, we always get more than we give.
That partially describes magnitude, mostly on the corporate side. The book elaborates more on the government side. It's critical to remember that corporate business and government are in bed together and there's little distinction between them these days. (Remember Eisenhower's warning?) \ Then, there's degree of success. Corruption in our country has gone unchecked, as evidenced by the fact that very few high-level offenders have gone to jail and that -- if we can believe what elections and polls seem to tell us(at least, until recently) -- at least 50%, plus, of the people still seem to think everything is OK. Remember also, how skewed that number is. If 50% of the people actually don\rquote t vote, as some polls have indicated, then 50% of what' s left is only 25% of the whole. Does that mean that only 25% of the population has maneuvered Bush into this position? And the apathy of the rest has allowed it to happen? When half of a country does not even recognize that it' s corrupt, or the depth of the corruption (or care enough to do anything about it), THAT is success of corruption, to the nth degree. It bears comment, concerning skewed numbers, that there are a variety of reasons that pollsters, numbers and statistics can become so badly skewed, as to not be representative of the dynamic they purport to be measuring. But at least one of them is quite simply because certain interests don' t want us to know what the true picture is. In that context, that is why, in a free society, unbiased, accurate news is so important and freedom of the press is so critical to that end. Thus, the following is a quote from Perkins's book, illustrating his point (and mine) about our news media: Things are not as they appear. NBC is owned by General Electric, ABC by Disney, CBS by Viacom and CNN is part of the huge AOL Time Warner conglomerate. Most of our newspapers, magazines, and publishing houses are owned -- and manipulated -- by gigantic international corporations. Our media is part of the corporatocracy. The officers and the directors who control nearly all our communications outlets know their places; they are taught throughout life that one of their most important jobs is to perpetuate, strengthen and expand the system they inherited. They are very efficient at doing so, and when opposed, they can be ruthless. So the burden falls on you to see the truth beneath the veneer and to expose it. Speak it to your family and friends; spread the word. The numbers of people affected is a major standard of measurement., and cannot be accurately measured, because no one knows how many homeless we have, what our true poverty rate is or what our true unemployment rate is. The reasons are clear:
(1.) People drop off the rolls by means of which such things are measured. - and - (2.) The people doing the measuring lie -- either overtly or via biased formulas which give skewed results. But it is known that our poverty rates and our homeless rate are higher than they've ever been. The same is true of our devastating impact on other countries.
Another measurement: Our country is bankrupt. Our national debt is in the neighborhood of 8 trillion dollars, with no likely means of ever repaying it. If any household or business operated that way, they would be out of business; defunct, living in the streets. If China and Japan, our major creditors, ever decide to collect what we owe them, the only thing that will save us from foreclosure will be their level of ineptitude and/or our military might. But Bush is squandering that as this is written. And China can easily outdo us when the time comes. The Chinese (and Japanese) are extremely patient, long-sighted people. With the worldwide hatred of the U.S. that Bush has incurred, no one will care. Only mismanagement, stupidity and outright criminal corruption at all levels has allowed this state of affairs to exist. And it has multiplied under Bush.
Perhaps, the most important measurement of corruption is stewardship. As the most powerful, affluent and technologically advanced country in the world, the USA has the greatest responsibility and ability to be good stewards of the planet and caretakers of our fellow human beings (yes, we are our brothers keeper). Indeed, it is our mandate -- through philosophy, ideology and education, by example and in practice. Instead, we have done, and are doing, just the opposite. In the quest for greater wealth and power, our government and corporations are stripping the planet of its resources, oil being primary. In our name, they drill wherever they can get away with, and are constantly fronting new legislation to allow them to drill wherever they want. They (and therefore, we) have been instrumental in destroying the rainforests in the pursuit of corporate profits, not to mention clear-cutting American forests for the same reason. We are polluting the atmosphere and the oceans at a phenomenal rate. And our government and corporations are exploiting indigenous peoples throughout the world to feed their own greed and lust for power. The dead, the sick, the starving, the displaced, are considered by them to be simply collateral damage, and an acceptable cost. For example: Iraqi civilian casualties of the first Gulf War and subsequent sanctions, right up to the present. Madelaine (sp?) Albright was even quoted as saying that numbers in the hundreds of thousands were acceptable losses. The point is, we are the opposite of good stewards and caretakers; and have only gotten worse under the Bush administration. The actions of our government and corporations are reprehensible and unconscionable. And we, by allowing them, even if not guilty of the atrocities, are no less accountable. From Bush and his administration, on down the ladder through the CEO' s and executive management of major corporations such as Halliburton, Bechtel, United Fruit Co., all the oil companies and energy companies, major financial institutions, including the World Bank, IMF, etc., they deserve life sentences in prison, doing hard time, rather than positions of power and privilege that they currently hold. If one were to read, or re-read, the book by The Washington Post reporters, Bernstein and Woodward, who unraveled Watergate a nd helped topple Nixon, one would find the parallels remarkable and frightening. The most obvious and indisputable is that, here are two men, 30 plus years apart, who embodied the same brazen arrogance as to place themselves above the law. They both violated the Constitution, showed equal contempt for the rights of the American people, abused the power of the presidency and used claims of "executive privilege" "domestic security" and "national security" to cover it, lied through their teeth about it, hiding behind a cloak of secrecy and used ruthless henchmen to do their dirty work, taking care to keep themselves and their operatives insulated. Their highly sophisticated thugs wear suits, have college degrees, have specialized training, and these guys don' t leave fingerprints very often, literally or figuratively. Just a short list of Nixon\rquote s crimes and abuses should send chills up our spines with their similarities. Nixon/Watergate parallels with actions of G.W. Bush administration: (The following Nixon abuses are documented. If you can' t figure out the Bush parallels, write me and I' ll give them to you.)
Unauthorized wiretaps - Supreme Court upheld/declared them illegal on 6/19/72 (two days after the Watergate arrests.) Planted forgeries to discredit opposition, e.g. the "Cannuck letter", which the Republicans claimed George McGovern wrote. It was proven that a Nixon henchman wrote it. Attempts to discredit legitimate documents as forgeries. Government spying on"radicals" Campaign smear tactics against McGovern and Muskie. Abuse of Executive Privilege re."domestic security"classification of documents as "Secret/Top Secret" general denial of public access to information. Agent provocateurs "posing" as Democrats to discredit legitimate protestors, etc.. All out attack on the Washington Post and press in general (vs. present day control/ownership of the media by major corporations; also look at the discrediting of Dan Rather). Favorable corporate rulings (e.g. anti-trust against ITT) in exchange for massive donations. Ruthless people on President\rquote s staff to implement operational tactics = a reflection of a ruthless President. Abuse/misuse of FBI/CIA/NSA resources to control/undermine/destroy the opposition. Chronic and consistent liars of the most criminally despicable sort. Nixon knew about Watergate, just like Bush knew about 9/11, that Iraq had no WMD' s and had nothing to do with 9/11. Plausible deniability = Standard Operating Procedure: insulated from being directly connected or implicated by means of various sorts of cut-outs. Cloak of secrecy over everything, using the tools and resources cited above. Funded by money funneled through Mexico and Texas (also from Texas; a common denominator?) you want more, read "All The President' s Men", by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward; and read the current newspapers about what Bush is doing! (Internet or non-mainstream sources would be better but you can read between the lines with mainstream news.) Apparently, the American people, as a whole didn't learn anything from Watergate. But the Republicans did! They learned how to dodge and cover better, so as to make proof almost impossible, even when caught. How did they do that? Simple. Bush started a war (against a sovereign nation who was NOT a threat to the U.S., had no WMD' s and who had nothing to do with 9/11) and thus, garnered to himself wartime powers. He lied to the world in order in order to pull it off. It had nothing to do with faulty intelligence. It had everything to do with blatant lies in order to pursue a course of world domination. And by classifying everything "Secret" , etc. , he made it virtually impossible for anyone to prove his abuses. It's entirely possible that Dick Cheney and others helped orchestrate 9/11 for precisely that purpose. Why would I think that? Because it' s precisely the mode of operation the CIA used in Vietnam. They would perpetrate some heinous act and then blame it on the Viet Cong or the NorthVietnamese Army, to try to sway the local population to our side. And, as Ollie North pointed out to us in 1987, the operative words in all CIA activities are \'93plausible deniability\'94 . Michael C. Ruppert offers very convincing evidence to that effect, as well, in his book, \'93Crossing the Rubicon: ""The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil" Speaking of evidence, The only reason these people can' t be easily thrown in jail is because they control the evidence through the methods mentioned earlier: classify it " secret" under the guise of "national security" , declare executive privilege or use other dodges, then destroy it or cover it up. It seems to me that there is still enough de-facto evidence to at least prove that voting for a "perceived" lesser-of-two-evils because he appeared more decisive (?) was worse than voting for one who seemed " softer" on national security and was characterized as "flip-flopping", because he had the guts to change his course when he saw it was going the wrong way.
My experience as a POW interrogator in Vietnam, followed by a great deal of training in civilian life in the art of recognizing lies and the truth by first seeing them in myself, has taught me to recognize when I' m being lied to -- with a very high degree of certainty. In that aspect of myself, I don\rquote t need validation from anyone whatsoever -- none. Folks, we're being lied to -- and have been, repeatedly and consistently, since the day G.W. Buffoon was appointed to office. His National Guard service was a lie. The first "election" was a lie. The second election was a lie -- and everything else in between and since. And America sleeps on. Even if you don't see the blatant lies that I see, there' s a simple rule of thumb that' s almost guaranteed to work in most situations. Certain principles apply just as well on a large scale as on a small scale. This is one of them: the greater the secrecy, the bigger the lies. Lies can\rquote t survive in the open. If you're in a relationship and your partner is extremely secretive (especially if it marks a change in behavior or it' s "justified " by elaborate stories), he or she is lying about something. The same is true of government. "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom." If we don' t start to protect it, we' re gonna lose it. Frankly, if I don' t see more than 50% of our country take it in a better direction (which I will join and support), I' ll keep moving south.
Bush, being the outrageous hypocrite that he is, claims to be a Christian. That claim is absolute, unmitigated BS! I don't remember Christ ever saying anything about starting an unprovoked war as being a Christ-like act; Or violating the rights of others to advance our agenda; Or killing thousands of innocent civilians under the pretense of spreading Democracy, and making the world a much more dangerous place in the process; Or lying to everyone to justify our actions. "By their fruits ye shall know them ", the man said. I can' t presume to judge someone's religious or spiritual beliefs, and that' s not what I' m doing here. But I can certainly see clearly whether a person's actions match up with the code they claim to believe in and live by, and I' m not afraid to say it. In Bush's case, his actions do not agree with the faith he professes. His actions are no more Christian than were those of Pat Robertson (a "Christian" evangelist) when he publicly called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez, or the "Christian" who murdered a doctor for performing abortions. None of those actions are supported by the faith they profess, and Bush is, by far, the most discrepant. Bush is not the first or the only criminal we' ve had in the White House but he's the worst, and most blatant -- in recent history. He is so transparent that it' s laughable. As stated earlier, he is part of a much larger problem. The lies and hypocrisy started before his time and they' ll continue after he\rquote s gone, unless we change it. Examples of U.S. hypocrisy are countless, but a couple of earlier examples will serve to illustrate the point. While professing the virtues of democracy, freedom and human rights, we helped install Pinochet in Chile -- one of the most brutal dictators they have ever had. We also set up the School of the Americas in, I believe it was Panama, where we trained death squads and taught torturing techniques. We helped put Manuel Noriega in power in Panama, and supported him -- as long as he served our purpose. And has everyone forgotten that we armed, helped and supported Saddam Hussein as long as he served our purpose? Yes, he was a despot. But he always was. That was not news. There were, and are, a lot of despotic dictators in the world. Have we invaded them to free their people from oppression? No! Did we invade the Congo when they were committing genocide? No. Or other countries where gross abuses of human rights were happening? No, not unless there was something in it for us. IV. Nevertheless, some of us like to talk about and think about spirituality of various sorts. As if that made us spiritual! At this point in my life, I' m quite certain that spirituality is REAL, only if it makes a positive difference in the world around us. By that criterion, if we look at the world around us, collectively, this is not a very spiritual planet. On that basis, I can' t make any great claims of spirituality either. But I'm no hypocrite (and I certainly didn\rquote t start a war). I have no illusion that I'm going to change the world -- or even make much of a difference. But if 1000 of us stand up and speak up, or 10,000 or a million, it's possible we could put a stop to the criminal actions of our own government. Then we actually make a positive difference and perhaps change the world for the better.
The American Indians had it right: we are but a strand in the web of life. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. (Chief Seattle). It's all about community and our interconnectedness -- to each other and to life in general. They always knew it and we move further from it, continuously. Point is, as with the 100 super monkey scenario, if each of us makes just some small effort, it might develop a critical mass and velocity that truly could change the world. But we each have to work in whatever way works best for us. Maybe mine is to ring the alarm, stir the pot a little and try to wake people up to things I see that they might not I' m probably not likely to march on Washington any time soon but, letters, I can write. Whatever metaphor you might use to describe it, the goal is still the same -- to reach out and get others involved. Tony Robbins, with his genius for assimilating and repackaging historic wisdom, likes to tell the story of two Greek orators. With one, when people listened to him they came away marveling at what a great speaker he was. "What a wonderful speech\", they would say. With the other, they would leave, saying, "What an incredible speech. Now, let us march."\' The difference" as Tony would say, "is between being a presenter and a persuader. I would rather be a persuader." Me too! If all the money and scientific knowledge funneled into the Pentagon and various "defense" industries in the last 50 years had been spent developing affordable, alternative energy, solving pollution problems (including human waste) making sure that no one goes hungry, or without medical care, or shelter, providing for the elderly and disabled, guaranteeing that quality education is accessible to all -- not just the privileged -- creating honorable work for all, with adequate compensation for all to enjoy a decent quality of life, then most of our social problems would have been solved. We definitely had (and still have) the scientific brainpower to wean us from oil fifty years ago, and might have done so, if so many people weren' t getting rich from oil. We would have, in fact, become good stewards of the planet and caretakers of each other. But no, we live in the United States, where our religion is greed and money is God -- and the current high priest is G.W. Bush (not really; he is so, only in appearances; he's actually just a figurehead. The real high priest is invisible, behind the scenes). We have become the example to the world of the depths to which people will sink to build empire and dominate others. And THAT is why the terrorists hate us. Whether we actually support it or not, we allow it. Whether by action or default, we are responsible. Whether in our personal lives or collectively, on a local, national or global scale, whatever we get is because someone (in power? a majority?) wanted it more than someone else (us?) wanted the alternative. Like it or not, we did it -- whether on purpose or by default. The question is do we want to continue to create and allow the progression of this aberration, run amok, to continue? If not, then get up and do something! -- Even if it' s to write a letter! Ignorance can no longer be an excuse! Become informed. Fear can no longer be an excuse! Overcome your fear. Comfort can no longer be an excuse! Be willing to be uncomfortable. Being busy can no longer be an excuse! Find the time. Buy the book! Read the book! Pass it around! Talk about it. So what can we do to change it? Noam Chomsky answered me that question in a letter, responding to mine to him "the only methods that anyone has ever discovered over many centuries are: educate, organize, act, as appropriate." There are no magic keys. "Only hard, often painful work."~ It' s been proven that Communism, as practiced by the USSR, doesn't work; and Socialism doesn\rquote t appear to work very well. [But they have worked in the past, as demonstrated by the American Indians and certain types of monasteries. Read," Gospel of the Redman" by Ernest Thompson Seton and Chief Seattle' s letter to the U.S. government; also, the story of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians, and any biographical material you can find on Sitting Bull, Crazy horse and Geronimo. They were among the greatest Native American Chiefs. But there were many more. Instead of learning from them, we killed or imprisoned them and their people. And guess what? Capitalism doesn' t work either. But a combination of some of the better attributes of various isms could work. Perhaps we should try Humanism. Channeling the above into a specific direction regarding this administration, one of the first positive things we can do is remove the cloak of secrecy that surrounds all of their actions. First, enact very strong "Whistleblower"protection (and strengthen what already exists) giving full immunity from prosecution for releasing classified information, and protection from retaliation, to anyone who reveals information proving misdeeds or crimes of those in office, especially the Executive Branch; and partial negotiated immunity for any complicity in those crimes, based on the value of the information. Then, empower an entity, who is NOT under the control of the Executive Branch, to remove the frivolous use of " Secret" classifications used by this administration to conceal it's actions and destroy or cover up evidence. Perhaps the GAO could be such a body. That same body should be empowered, with very minimal authorization, to conduct investigations of such abuses. Severely limit and restrict the powers of the President by subjecting him to independent oversight. Laws must be written to that effect, to restore what the founders of our Constitution intended as checks and balances. This president, by declaring war, has accrued to himself, powers not normally exercised by a sitting president. By further browbeating Congress into his way of thinking by making them appear "unpatriotic' if they opposed, he succeeded in getting the PATRIOT ACT implemented (the acronym was no accident) and created "Homeland Security" (reeks of Nazism to me). And he succeeded in doing this by playing on and exploiting peoples\rquote fears, on the one hand, and their naive patriotism, on the other (also reeks of Nazism). So one of the first steps to creating a better country is to clip this SOB' s wings and get him under control. Then, impeach him, Cheney, and all of his cabinet. I want to see the whole Bush entourage of criminals and traitors in prison for life, for High Treason and war crimes That can' t happen unless we start to participate more. That means vote, write letters, make phone calls, etc. If we get rid of a lot of Republicans in the mid-term election, that could happen. Then, election rules absolutely must be changed to guarantee clean elections. Get rid of the electoral college. Implement run-off elections any time the presidential election is close. Initiate a procedure for means, other than impeachment, for getting rid of a sitting president, such as a recall election. Eliminate the loopholes in campaign financing laws. Eliminate computerized voting unless a CLEAR paper trail is established, and do whatever it takes to ensure honest, accurate vote counting. And finally, find a way to release the stranglehold that the Republicans and the Democrats have on our political system, and create a viable alternative. Because the Democrats are probably as corrupt as the Republicans, just not as lethal, that means we need to overhaul the 2 party system and create a credible 3d party. Extrapolate on that line of progression and see where it leads. I believe it may have been Dag Hammarskjold, in his book "Markings", who said words to the effect of (paraphrase):"it is better to live humbly for a cause than to die nobly for one." Well? My greatest hope is that I will be proven wrong. But that will only happen if a whole lot of honest, ethical, concerned people stand up and say, "Enough!" It's been pointed out to me that we still have the best and free-est country in the world, with the greatest opportunities. And that appears to be true, from the numbers of people coming to our country. (However, that doesn\rquote t negate one word of what I've said above.) It also appears to be true that only the poverty stricken and the oppressed stay ($10.00 per hour is better than $10.00 per day). It has also been pointed out to me that, in America, we still have the freedom to say things such as I've said in this letter (at least for now). We' ll see. Do you honestly believe that people who've made enough noise and a big enough impact, haven't been silenced? Come on, get real! How about Martin Luther King? How about Paul Wellstone, who died mysteriously in a plane crash -- when the weather was fine and there were no mechanical problems? Interesting that both Torrijos and Roldos also died in plane crashes. To a lesser degree, even, how about Mort Sahl? Surely you know about that one? He was a comedian whom the CIA put out of business -- destroyed his career -- for making anti-government, anti CIA statements Personally, I' m no threat and of no interest, so I have nothing to fear. But mark my words, if anyone (myself included) were perceived as a big enough threat, they would be gone! And THAT is the nature of our government. The black bag guys are real. And, as stated earlier, they don' t leave fingerprints very often. Come on people, wake up! Look at Nixon' s Watergate, Reagan and Bush Sr' s Iran-Contra (the Sandinistas, weren't communists, they were just indigenous people trying to keep out right-wing despots), and Iraq, and then tell me with a straight face that you don' t believe this is all part of a larger plan, being choreographed by very powerful people. As John Perkins points out in his book, its not that it' s a conspiracy, per se, but that the lust for wealth, power and world domination creates like-minded people who are automatically on the same page. All they have to do is coordinate their activities a little, in order to pull it off. And the American public sleeps on! Woe to the Democrats for their gutlessness, and the rest of us for our apathy, naivety or stupidity, as the case may be. Eisenhower was right. And nobody listened. I for one, when we see the decline of the United States into a full-on police state (not just a partial one like we have now), will say I told you so. By then, it will be too late. As overly dramatic and reactive as that may sound, it's the direction we\rquote re going, if nothing is done to change it. Think about it: the USA PATRIOT Act; the Department of Homeland Security; illegal wiretaps; secret prisons; detaining prisoners (accused without proof, based on suspicions) without due process of law; private, gun-toting security companies (mercenaries) patrolling the streets of New Orleans (and Iraq); all of it, just on the President' s say-so. How much further can it go?
Now here' s the good news! This rather dismal picture follows the progression of things as they are, if they continue on their current track. As with Scrooge, it doesn' t have to be this way. If enough of us wake up, we can change it. What the future portends and what it will be, may be two entirely different things. It's up to us. There are honest, ethical, loving caring people all over the world who want something better and are willing to work for it. Imagine the power for change if all those people somehow got together and built a true experience of unity and community. And some people are already doing it. The primary tool seems to be the Internet. How could that experience be helped to grow, exponentially (in spite of government surveillance of the Internet), so that it really could change the world? The problem is not whether there are enough good people around, but whether they can take effective action quickly enough to avert cataclysmic disaster. Time is running out. We hold the solution in our hands. What are we going to do with it? Submitted to all who might read this, with the greatest of optimism that we might yet change things for the better. John B. Kelly
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