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Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Mar 30, 2010 6:07 AM PDT

This chapter is devoted to Barack Obama, who demonstrated that the people of America care more about a positive, can-do attitude than they do about tough talk and promises from a man who has repeatedly proven himself willing to put his lust for power and fame above his concern for his own integrity.


Unfortunately, in the end history may show that the plutocrats who pay for presidential elections will not be denied by those who they choose to represent them in the world's most powerful position. After Obama made clear his willingness to advance the corporate agenda by voting to grant retroactive immunity to the telecom giants that facilitated the domestic spying initiated under Bush that remains unchanged today, he received George Bush's implicit seal of approval upon his election.

It was thus clear since before the election that the new President intended to put the crimes of the past behind us as if it never existed. As the war on civil liberties continues, he is being judged a criminal himself by those who think that a single standard should apply to all Presidents.

His past service for our nation notwithstanding, John McCain did not earn the right to serve as our President. After distinguishing himself briefly as a bipartisan Senator capable of learning from his many past mistakes, McCain betrayed himself and his constituents by compromising his integrity in pursuit of the Presidency. 

Having been ruthlessly savaged in the course of the coup that placed Bush in office in 2000, he chose to abandon every principled decision that he had courageously made in the past in his fruitless pursuit of power. The only revenge McCain enjoyed after bowing to the corporatocracy  in taking his shot at the golden ring was to keep Bush waiting when he went to accept his endorsement. In response, Bush danced a little jig for waiting reporters on the White House portico, spicing up that day's news  report.

While yet to prove himself willing or capable of fulfilling his promise of transparency and accountability in government, President Obama demonstrated in advance his understanding of the problems that America needs to face if it is ever to regain its standing as a world leader in the struggle to advance democracy in America and the world. His understanding of these issues is clearly spelled out in the Audacity of Hope. and in the subtext of some of his speeches. Now that he has proven that he meant for us to "be the change" in spite of him, it is up to us to understand that  we must become the leaders of that change from the grassroots level.

Among other things, Obama promised us transparency during his campaign . Unfortunately, he has been unable to deliver. The NSA is still as busy as ever prying into our private affairs outside the view of the sleepy eyes in the Senate who are constitutionally mandated to provide oversight and parental guidance to the bastard child of domestic spying that it created in an Act of mass hysteria following the suspiciously timed 9/11 attack. In passing the  “Patriot” Act, Congress further eroded its own authority. In once again surrendering the authority to declare war to George Bush, it shed the last vestige of power it had to provide a check on the power of what has become an Imperial Presidency.

The reader who was paying attention during the early days of the Bush coup regime will recall that the NSA was given the authority to do so by a reckless cowboy being spurred on by a
sick-hearted psychopath. Cheney was of course working with rogue elements of the CIA who in turn were doing the bidding of the Bush, Saud and bin Ladin families and their allies in the corporatocracy. Among others in this elite group of corporate Puppetmasters were the CEOs of Halliburton and unnamed corporate members of Cheney's secret energy committee that met shortly after Bush's inauguration and shortly before 9/11. 

When the Senate found out that the Bush administration was in regular violation of the FISA Act that regulated illegal spying on Americans, it dutifully voted to retroactively provide immunity to the telecom giants that provided the means for this domestic spying.
Obama voted for the immunity bill in what has become a disturbing pattern of protecting those who have committed treason in the name of "security."

Interestingly, the program was initiated prior to 9/11, even though that "unanticipated" terrorist attack was the excuse the Bush administration gave for breaking the law and to justify two wars . This was all in the name of protecting us from the terrorists whose plan should have been obvious from what was know to the FBI months in advance through two separate lines of investigation that were deliberately blocked.  After the fact, the illegal domestic surveillance program was given a veneer of legitimacy when a cowed Congress passed the Patriot Act.

The question is, who is now holding a gun to the President's head? Ollie North, G. Gordon Liddy, George H.W. Bush and certain others may  know but certainly aren’t talking about what is really going  on. You will recall Ollie North as the traitorous Marine colonel who armed the Iranian militants who captured Americans and kept them hostage until Reagan miraculously “rescued” them. 
North is treated like a hero and was rewarded with a nationally syndicated radio show rather than suffering the just punishment for all traitors to democracy. You may not know that this was financed by illegal drug trafficking hidden under the program of the "war on drugs" that has made Columbia such a useful ally to the Empire builders.

G. Gordon Liddy, the rat-eating cannibal of Watergate fame, is similarly lionized by the moronic right-wing corporate drones on his syndicated radio show. He is notorious among younger lovers of freedom and democracy more for counseling paranoid right-wingers to “shoot for the head” when ATF agents come to take their illegal assault weapons. You may recall that certain among them bought these weapons designed for war to defend their fundamentalist religious compounds where they keep hostage young female sex slaves, in accordance with the tenets of their “religions.”

Liddy is a former CIA agent who symbolizes the rogue elements of the agency who work for the corporatocracy and not for the President or the American people. One wonders whether there is any truth to the rumor that he was present on the grassy knoll in Dallas in late November of 1963 along with George H.W. Bush. He certainly seems to feel that he is protected by higher powers than are in the elected government of the United States. So much to know, so little time to act.

If America had truth in advertising laws, you could check this out on the Right Wing Nut Fascist Radio Network. God only knows what G. H. W. Bush is doing, since most of his actions in servicing the country are still classified. Meanwhile, Cheney is starting to have well-earned chest pains again, which any doctor worthy of the name realizes is most likely related to his anxiety over the distinct possibility of facing punishment for his crimes against humanity.

The myth that the angry white males have always held sway in electoral politics should have been disproven by the election of Ronald Reagan. His “Aw, shucks” positivism convinced Americans to take a chance on Bonzo’s roommate instead of sticking with the cautious optimism of the more realistic Jimmy Carter. Carter's worst fault may have been having too much faith in the ability of the American people to understand the difficulty of changing the direction of history by the power of faith.  

He may be the President from whom President Obama could learn the most. He was one of those Presidents who like Truman are likely to be judged much more favorably by historians than by his contemporaries. It is the victors of political struggles who write history, after all. The final story on the Carter Presidency will likely depend on the decisions of men like Obama than the judgments of Carter’s politically driven critics. Unlike Reagan, who made movies about war heroes, Carter served in the military with distinction. Unlike McCain, he is a man of deep moral conviction who was driven by his passion for doing what is right more than he was by the desire to satisfy the expectations of those around him.

Carter left the Southern Baptist Convention when he realized that it had been taken over by authoritarians so convinced of their own moral superiority that they presumed to speak for Jesus Christ and all of America in saying that God is a Republican. During his time of service in this organization, the right wing fanatics who abandoned any pretense of a separation between Church and State actually changed the bylaws of the Convention to endorse political activity rather than follow its founding principles that expressly forbade it. As a believer in a democratic Republic, Carter could not in good conscience claim to stand with them. 

A true conservative in matters of these basic principles, Carter typically chose principle over what others would call pragmatism. Baptist leaders represented a huge voting bloc of those from families that had become Democrats out of spite after the Civil War and who had effectively become Republicans out of racism after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. These became the core of the modern Republican Party and one of the reasons it has found it so useful to assault the wall between Church and State.

We are now seeing the effects of the breakdown of the wall between Church and State in the rise of one-issue voters who are willing to overlook the crimes of corporate politicians in their attempt to control the bodies of women, against the overwhelming majority of Americans who consider the decision of whether or not to seek an abortion as a question of personal morality not justifiably subject to governmental decree. 

This proved to be a crucial wedge issue that has driven Americans to fight Americans in a schizophrenic battle.  The issue pits traditional conservative values of personal freedom against the sacredness of life. Unfortunately, many of those who consider themselves conservatives regard life as sacred only until birth, after which they believe the  individual is on his own in a world they have made increasingly hostile by their common belief that it has always been so.  

The mainstream of traditional conservatism has always held that the wall between Church and State is an inviolate protection against the tyranny of the majority who might assault their religion if allowed to impose an alternative one on them. Each generation must relearn the lessons of the past in order to avoid dangers foreseen by their forebears. The battle becomes more difficult when waged against the absolute conviction that one side speak for God on every issue that is tearing America apart.

The loyalty of most of the religious Right has also proved to be a useful tool in building a coalition of the willing in the fight to impose fascist rule in America. It is time that more on the Left acknowledge that there is a growing religious Left whose members consider it their responsibility to work for the betterment of Mankind. They are ready, willing and able to join the fight for justice yet often reluctant to join groups whose members regularly demonize all religious  people under the foolish assumption that the corporate media accurately portrays all Christians as tools of the corporatocracy. 

More members of the religious Left are becoming active in social issues and electoral politics as individuals and not as members of churches. By contrast, many fundamentalist churches routinely violate the conditions of their tax-exempt status by advocating for specific candidates, sometimes with the threat of Hell for those who do not share their convictions.

It is dangerous when preachers use the power of fear to motivate their members, who are susceptible to authoritarian appeals because they grew up in homes where this was the norm. Every person wants the power to think for themselves, but most do not unless encouraged to by those whom they choose to associate. In general, these are the people who agree with them.

The good news is that even among religious fundamentalists a sense of social responsibility is beginning to emerge. It is a movement for more responsible stewardship of the Earth over which they believe God gave us dominion. If we are serious about winning the war against fascism, we will take our friends as we find them.

It was not always the case that Americans did not talk to each other about politics and religion. The intolerance of different opinions undermines the essential character of the United States that kept the Union together even in the wake of civil war. Since anger on both sides of the Vietnam War pit brother against brother, the divisions have deepened to the point that we must End the Civil War and Finish the Revolution if we are to end the threat of fascism in America and establish the democracy that all true Americans want to see.

It is into this grave crisis in the history of the United States that President Obama has willingly thrust himself. Let us hope that he finds the faith in the American people that will allow him to honor his Christian principles if he gets a Congress willing put the interests of the People over those of corporations. He remains a much better alternative to a man who had already proven to put his lust for power and fame above his concern for his own integrity.

While Obama has  failed to restore the government to one that serves the People, we cannot forget that he is surrounded by enemies of democracy and cannot do the job by himself. We must create the grassroots movement that will restore America to its true center. Until then, Obama will fail in trying to find the center
that the corporate politicians and media portray as moving rapidly rightward. In a nation deliberately torn apart by politicians working for corporations to maintain their power and wealth, the only way to make the truth known is to show our numbers on the streets of America.

The strategy of divide and conquer has worked so well that most Americans have forgotten the basic lesson of the American Revolution: When challenging a government that has acquired the power to impose the will of an economic elite on the majority, we must all hang together, or surely we will all hang separately.  We cannot aid the cause of the elites by dividing ourselves over anything less important than whether we agree that fascism in America must end.

The President cannot do this alone. He derives his authority to govern only from the consent of the governed. We can and must show him that the suffering citizenry of the United States can  once again work together to solve the critical problems threatening the viability of the American experiment in democracy. No President can change history without knowing that the American people are behind him or her when  preparing to grab the wheel of the ship of state and change course. 

While President Obama is toeing the corporate line now, the Democratic Party will respond to pressure from the base if we act in unison. Party leaders have bought so deeply into the assumption that they must satisfy the endless greed of those who control the purse that pays for their elections that they have abandoned the principles for which the party has always stood. 

In accepting the self-fulfilling prophecy that the best the so-called leaders of the Democratic Party can do is to follow a path of incremental reform, rank and file Democrats and the party as a whole have allowed themselves to be steadily pushed to acquiescing to fascist control of our government. As a result, the party has lost its moral compass and abandoned the principles by which it used to define itself. 

Now taking ten steps backward to each step forward, it defines success as incremental "progress" in merely slowing the rise of fascism. The Democratic Party has lost not only its identity but its soul, despite the many good men and women who are desperately trying to reform it from within. Any progress in furthering their stated ideals will only come by abandoning the assumption that they can serve two masters. We must demand the selection of real leaders. These are those who will take America support a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood. In making this a campaign issue, we can rid ourselves of members of Congress who choose to  follow the dictates of their corporate Puppetmasters.

The Republican Party has built a long history of anti-democratic actions that have taken it far from the values and ideals of its founders. The big tent is folding as their base realizes the truth about their agenda. Traditional conservatives who have philosophical differences with liberals must make common cause as American and work to make the Republican Party return to its roots. If they do not, they will never produce candidates willing to put their interests over those of corporations.

McCain abandoned his ideals rather than his career when all moderates were purged from the goose-stepping Republican Party. After being abused by the Bush machine in 2000,
a man who had taken an oath to defend the Constitution with his life abandoned all honor, whether he typically chose to exercise the prerogative or not. The final proof of McCain's sellout to the fascists was his support of torture by the United States, knowing full well the consequences this could have for the members of the military that he had willingly put in harm's way. His past service for our nation notwithstanding, John McCain did not earn the right to serve as our President.
Bush was elevated to the Presidency in significant part by Bush family friend James Baker, acting on behalf of the Bush and Saud families and OPEC, through which the two families collude to control oil prices and optimize profits for their friends in this corporate war profiteering industry. George III had been selected and though not elected, was going to be installed. The Supreme Court cast a dark shadow on its own legitimacy in rejecting a challenge to Bush's purported election. The white collar riot halted the vote recount mandated by the state of Florida and therefore by the  US Constitution, proving that violence can be effective for a time if practiced by the state. However, a people raised in the belief that they have a right to be free will inevitably rebel against state sponsored terrorism directed against them.

In the outrageous decision of the Supreme Court that irreparable harm would be done to Bush by following the law, potentially irreparable harm was done to democracy in America. His supporters  dismissed all criticism of the decision as sour grapes and chortled as he plunged us headlong toward fascism, most notably through picking three young believers of the doctrine of original intent for the Supreme Court. The Five Stooges of the Supreme Court who produced Citizens United were  themselves placed in their lifetime positions  by the same corporate powers that selected Bush as their titular leader. These activist judges appear to interpret their duty as defending the right of corporations to rape the American people in return for their privileged sinecures.

It is crystal clear that democracy is in danger from these insane tools of corporate powers that are mindlessly but systematically destroying the world economy and the middle class. Powerful CEOs are using  the "rights" granted corporations by reactionary fascists on the Supreme Court to undermine those of the rest of us.  
This feat was accomplished by a deliberate misreading of the due process clause of the Fourteenth amendment that guarantees equal rights to "all persons born or naturalized" in the United States. It is the ultimate in irony that the Court used an amendment designed to free former slaves was used to give corporations the power to make economic slaves of us all.

The fate of a President who publicly challenges the will of the corporate Puppetmasters was made clear when the shots heard round the world rang out on December 22, 1963. Those of us who respect the office of the President must accept that he cannot change the world without the support of a People willing to look beyond the lies of the corporate media and have faith that the President will follow us when we demand that Congress Stop the Madness.

Truth is stronger than lies, however endlessly repeated by the corporate media. The pen is mightier than the sword and the truth will set us free. All that it takes for good men and women to succeed is that they decline to do nothing. If we stand by those who are being persecuted in the name of national insecurity, then there will be others to stand for us when the few, the debased and the shamed come for us. 

In 2010, may the best parliamentarians win in open and honest debate. It is clear to me that we the people are hungry for the truth, even those who close their eyes when they see it. Only when they are presented with alternatives to the usual Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber will they be forced to think. Brutal honesty over poll-inspired pablum must become a political asset. Soon, any aspiring politician will have to accept this and know that only the truth can set us free from our own political imprisonment.

In the immortal words of Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson:

Don't think sorry's easily said.
Don't try turning tables instead.
You've taken lots of chances before,
but I'm not gonna give anymore,
don't ask me.
That's how it goes,
‘cause part of me knows what you're thinkin.'

Don't say words you're gonna regret.
Don't let the fire rush to your head.
I've heard the accusation before,
and I ain't gonna take any more.
Believe me,
the sun in your eyes
made some of the lies worth believing.

I am the eye in the sky.
Looking at you,
I can read your mind.
I am the maker of rules,
dealing with fools,
I can cheat you blind.
And I don't need to see any more
to know that
I can read your mind... I can read your mind.

Don't leave false illusions behind.
Don't cry, ‘cause I ain't changing my mind.
So find another fool like before,
‘cause I ain't gonna live anymore, believing
some of the lies, while all of the signs are deceiving.

I am the eye in the sky.
Looking at you,
I can read your mind.
I am the maker of rules,
dealing with fools,
I can cheat you blind.
And I don't need to see any more
to know that
I can read your mind... I can read your mind.

Rick Staggenborg, MD

From the BWI Red Roof Inn overlooking a “secret” NSA training facility outside Baltimore, Maryland on February 22, 2009.

1 comment:

  1. This essay has been extensively rewritten from the original post. In try to make it a habit of assuming the best of people until they prove that they are unworthy.

    I feel that I had judged the failures of President Obama to actively restore the rule of law in America too lightly. While he is constrained in many ways, he must fight harder to restore democracy to the US if he wants to be remembered as the president we all hoped that he would be.

    Developments subsequent to the writing of this essay give reason to hope that President Obama is listening and responding to the People in what he apparently regards as the only way possible. Most critically, he has taken a pledge to not take corporate money when running for re-election. This is the most important thing that he can do to show voters in the United States how to Take Back America for the People.

    The single payer movement is gearing up again in the wake of the disastrous results of the Democratic leadership in pulling a bait-and switch in the form of a fake offer to create a public option that split the movement of health care reform advocates into two camps, Democratic loyalists and those of us who realized that the attempt was to bargain away real reform so as not to upset the Puppetmasters of the medical-industrial complex.

    If we can convince Democratic loyalists that real reform cannot come solely from within a party corrupted by corporate money and conservatives who bought into the lies of the corporate media about "socialized" health care run by "big government," we have a chance for winning what I originally described as the opening battle in the war to Battle Plan to Take Back America for the People.

    The actions of Turkey and Brazil in carrying out the suggestion of President Obama in storing nuclear fuel from Iran seems to have headed off the widely anticipated war with Iran. This demonstrates that the power of the corporatocracy is not absolute when nations act in regional self interest rather than narrow national interests.

    Events in Egypt may prove to be the example by which Americans learn to organize a peaceful democratic revolution that will restore democracy to the United States and end the threat of world fascism. Now THAT is something worth believing in enough to do the hard work that it will require to realize the Mankind's oldest and greatest dream: The end of war.


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