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Monday, November 23, 2009



Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Sep 29, 2009 12:25 PM PDT

This chapter is dedicated to Eugene Debs, the fearless advocate of the rights of the common man who was imprisoned for opposing WWI, the first corporate “war to end all wars.” Although his imprisonment destroyed his body and took him from us too soon, because of his work he will never die. Debs understood that the battle for the working man was the battle for justice and that war is the ultimate price paid by honest Americans for trusting a government beholden only to those who can afford to buy a share.

This essay was written on Labor Day 2009 and published later.

On this day of rest, let us consider the work that those who labor for their bread begin again tomorrow. It is clear that labor has been losing the war that corporations and advocates of the belief that greed is good have been waging since Reagan was elected. 

Reagan signaled the war on labor in his response to the air controllers strike, summarily firing union members and endangering the public even further than before they struck to protest working conditions that made it impossible for them to protect the air traveler. 

This was the first shot in a propaganda war in which the unions were and are pitifully overmatched by the power of corporate money and corporatist politicians. The onslaught was so successful that now it is not uncommon to hear uninformed "liberals" criticizing the excesses of unions and blaming them for the loss of jobs that were shipped overseas by the same international corporations that bought the government and media to gloss over the fact. Every worker suffers from the loss of union power, just as every worker benefited from unions working for justice for all workers.

In the coup that placed Reagan in the Presidency, counter-Revolutionary forces had been  authorized by America’s shadow government to manipulate behind the scenes to elect him in the infamous “October Surprise” that was ultimately demonstrated to be an illegal arms for hostages deal. 

As those of us who lived through it know, the deal was financed by drugs obtained through CIA contacts, whether authorized by their superiors or not. Despite the fact that the most important elements of this act of treason were revealed to Congress on television before a shocked world, the Senate let Oliver North and his co-conspirators go free. 
Unseating Carter was believed by fascist elements in America to be necessary after Jimmy Carter came dangerously close to advancing the cause of peace in the Middle East and elsewhere. Coming on the heels of his calls for energy conservation and the conversion to renewable energy, this was intolerable to the international corporate terrorists. Together, Carter's actions could have destroyed the plans of the imperialistic energy interests, weapons manufacturers and their minions in the overt and covert American government to control events in the Mideast.

After all the work they had done through using the CIA to overthrow the Iranian government and other foreign governments and to spy on American citizens opposed to the Vietnam war, America's shadow government would not tolerate a Christian who  actually believed that as President he should work for the best interests of not only Americans but all citizens of the world. Despite Carter's experience as a Christian leader, it was easy to get the support of the "Christian" right to excuse the treasonous behavior in the Iran-Contra affair of Oliver North, Admiral Poindexter and others who most likely included George Herbert Walker Bush.

Oliver North and G. Gordon Liddy were not only forgiven for their acts of treason, but North was given hero status and both continue to spew their poisoned rhetoric into the public airways through the corporate media. North is lionized by the far right for standing up for fascist control of the government. Liddy had distinguished himself with the fascist crowd for his stoicism during the Watergate trials, which led to his brief prison sentence. This is considered a badge of honor by those so sadly misinformed that they supported not only Nixon after Watergate, but the treasonous plot that countered the threat posed by Carter to the plans of the corporatocracy to advance the New World Order they envisioned.

It is undoubtedly North's popularity within the American fascist community that spared  him from the well-deserved hangman's noose so that he could continue his frothing in favor of fascism on corporate radio. Meanwhile, Liddy snarlingly called for the assassination of federal officers taking on right wing "Christian" cultists being investigated for raping their daughters and other acts of deviance, instructing listeners to "shoot for the head" to avoid only wounding the officers.

The situation was very different in 1973. The over-reaching of a paranoid Nixon and the unexpected opposition in government and among American patriots to his unprecedented grab for power led to his downfall. True conservatives such as John Dean and Republicans who voted for impeachment had saved America for democracy once again. 

Salvaging for a time the work carried on by other great Republican leaders,  they stood with their  Democratic counterparts to represent democracy when it was threatened. For a time, they served as a check on Democratic Party power when the Democrats served themselves instead of the People.

There have been great Republicans throughout history. Lincoln ended racist slavery because he understood the holy role of the Union in lighting the lamp of democracy in the world. Theodore Roosevelt betrayed the counter-Revolutionary forces in his own economic class that sought to maintain economic slavery over the working class. Eisenhower led the war against world-wide fascism and warned us that it was arising again through the machinations of the military-industrial complex.

Nixon began the destruction of the Republican Party when he sought to assure that he would personally claim responsibility for bringing China into the community of nations. Prior to that, both Democrats and Republicans had sought to marginalize and subjugate this sleeping giant, even going so far as to lump Chinese aspirations with those of its frequent antagonist, the Union of Soviet States of Russia. This was a necessary fairy tale to secure the support of a gullible American public for the Vietnam War.

As long as I have lived,  we have similarly punished the people of Cuba for the effrontery of supporting Castro, rumored to have gotten his start with CIA funding. American fascists vilify the Cuban people for not murdering the man responsible for freeing them from subjugation by Batista and his American co-conspirators in Cuba in 1958. Whatever his faults, Castro gave Cubans freedom from foreign domination, as we would want for ourselves.

It is a shame that President Obama has not gone beyond talking about the need to  end this travesty. He has at least talked about beginning to normalize relations, while previous Presidents have cowardly allowed this crime against the Cuban people to persist without challenge. For decades, Presidential aspirants have supported sanctions against Cuba in order to ensure the electoral votes of Florida in Presidential elections. We must continue to resist the tyranny of the immoral minority, or they will continue to enslave us as well.

The convenient fiction that the “worldwide communist conspiracy” threatened democracy was used to justify the infringement of civil liberty from 1917 until the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. During this time, the US committed the state sanctioned murder of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for trying to maintain a balance of power against the corporate machine, and concocted the Vietnam War. 

They were aided and abetted by yellow journalists in the corporate media who cried out for vengeance after the US military engineered the Gulf of Tonkin incident. In Oregon, we lost one of the last independent voices in politics when angry voters misled by the corporate machine discarded Wayne Morse, the sole voice raised in the Senate against this crime perpetrated on a generation of American youth and America herself.

The American civil war was the price paid for compromising with the evil of slavery and the men who perpetrated this stain on the American soul. We are now engaged in a civil war with the corporatists who are striving mightily to finish the counter-Revolution and restore a hereditary economic and political aristocracy to the United States and the UK.

This time, brother need not fight brother for the Union to prevail. If we recognize this threat to democracy, conservatives and liberals will rise as one, take to the streets and demand justice for the crimes committed in our name. If Iranians, Peace Hawk Israelis, Palestinians and others are willing to risk persecution or death for liberty, can we not at least assemble peacefully in the streets to save our freedom and our collective soul, before the entire country is subjected to the Brownshirt tactics used against the G-20 protesters in Pittsburgh in 2010?

I again call for recruits for the Army of the Soldiers of Peace, using truth as their only weapon, to Take Back Democracy in America so that we may be a force to establish a permanent world peace. The time is now.

The first battle is to stop the bailout of the medical insurance industry, cripple the power of the pharmaceutical and corporate medical care provider industries and replace our bought-and-paid- for Senators with honest women and men who refuse to take corporate money to win election.

In the immortal words of Jackson Browne:

Doctor, my eyes have seen the years
and the slow parade of fears without crying,
now I want to understand.

I have done all that I could
to see the evil and the good, without hiding.
You must help me if you can.

Doctor my eyes,
tell me what is wrong.
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long?

'Cause I have wandered through this world
and as each moment has unfurled,
I've been waiting to awaken from these dreams.
People go just where there will,
I never noticed them until I got this feeling
that it's later than it seems.

Doctor my eyes,
Tell me what you see.
I hear their cries,
just say if it's too late for me.

Doctor, my eyes, I
cannot see the sky.
Is this the prize for having learned how not to cry?

Rick Staggenborg, MD

Coos Bay, OR

1 comment:

  1. This essay is a good example of the danger of trying to write about the interconnectedness of political events, changes in society and the evolution of the American consciousness throughout the history of the US.

    I have rewritten this essay twice and am going to give up despite the fact that it is so far-ranging that it is hard to see the thread that runs through it.

    I wrote about the worker in this essay, but all of us who do not make our living from another's sweat are workers, whatever we do. We are talking about waitresses who want minimum wage AND tips, factory workers wanting more than minimum wage AND health insurance and any worker who wants to make have a secure income AND time with their family.

    It has been a disgusting experience listening to people with decent jobs complain that these people are greedy for wanting a fair share of the wealth that they create. Our own expectations have become so low that instead of aspiring to achieve better working conditions, we begrudge those who have fought and are fighting for them.

    We are all interdependent and anyone concerned about the effects of the economic catastrophe on them personally must consider that if we oblige the international corporate economic terrorists by attacking each other, they will be laughing all the way to the bank after stealing our own houses, jobs, access to health care and right to a healthy environment in which to raise our children.


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