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Dead in Iraq

March 20, 2003 - December 18, 2011; the war in Iraq is over, with 4,593 dead.
All U.S. combat troops out, but deaths mount, plus 32,372 wounded over the nearly nine years.

Now, in the Afghan war, 2,461 U.S. soldiers have been killed, 20,500+ wounded.

In 2006, when the Democrat-majority, 110th Congress was sworn in, election-
mandated to end the Iraqi war, the toll of U.S. soldiers, killed, stood at 2,994.

Two years later, as Barack Obama took office, with a promise to bring an end to
Bush’s special-interest, Iraqi occupation in 16 months, the toll of  U.S.  soldiers
killed there, on the say of a minority of Republicans in Congress,  rose to 4,227.
As President Obama announced,  “end of combat,”  on August 31, 2010:  4,416.

What justification or accountability for
those children of  the soldier parents,
brothers and sisters of the 4,593 dead
for whom there’ll be no homecoming?

Each casket and funeral picture represents 100 soldiers who died in Iraq, like the 100, alive, above.

Here, for every 100 deaths Bush-Cheney have brought to the families of soldiers in Iraq is a casket and a funeral.
Bush-Cheney’s failure to end the Afghan war after a quick victory makes them responsible for most deaths there.

Is it the price of freedom visible here, or that of a Constitution, subordinated?

Direct responsibility is now shared by Republicans in Congress, without excuse or equivocation, for
more spilled blood and lives lost in an occupation harmful to the nation, unjustifiable, and unjust.

And a single image,  speaking for more
than 100,000 Iraqi collateral innocents.

Roses  by Kim Taylor

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A soldier, shot dead in a house used as an insurgent HQ in Falluja. — EPA Photo

The censorship of Iraq-war images by the Bush administration, beginning early on with bans against photography of flag-draped coffins, which continued until President Obama halted those restrictions, is still in practice to this day, as embedded reporters and photographers are kicked out of their units when pictures of casualties are published, and increasingly-impossible restrictions are placed upon the images that are approved for release.  The picture, above, taken by Stefan Zaklin, then with the European Pressphoto Agency, was widely published in Europe and was in a group of casualty photos subsequently, much later, published in a Web slide show by the New York Times.

Publishing of such photos is not motivated by any sort of sensationalism, but rather because there is nothing like such graphic images that can relate the bare truth, invoking thought of the consequences of war and an assessment of the worth of the costs, whatever the level of casualties, under whatever circumstances, surge or otherwise.  In Vietnam, where there were few restrictions on photographers, the graphic photos of casualties helped to arouse the massive, public outcries that eventually forced that illegitimate war to an end.

Is America, as Bush and his Republicans claimed, and as President Obama endorses, by retaining the troop presence in Iraq (the promised full pull-out remains to be seen) and adding to Afghanistan, really any more secure for the life this young soldier and his family had taken from them?  As victories in the Afghan and Pakistani provinces and on the streets of Europe and America are won by special operations, intelligence, and law enforcement, not troops who, in trying to fight a ghostly, population-embedded enemy, continue to kill civilians and grow that enemy, the answer, which daily unfolds to ring ever-more true, is... no!

Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 3, 1968.

Futile, Desperate Dreams

                 From before language . . .
               From before the short-lived days of Plato and Aristotle,
               And the hopeful, professed, civil-enlightenment
               Conception of Thomas Jefferson and the Founders,
               Through the latest protestations of cloned diplomats,
               The search for peace on Earth has been expressed, spoken,
               Attached to every necessary and unnecessary conflict
               Like a torn, headless rag doll, betrayed and dangled
               In the hand of an inimical, mischievous child.

               That search for “Peace on Earth,”
               Is there really any such prize?
               War and the greed that drives it
               Is a feted flatulence that will return, unrelenting,
               Until following the spirit . . .  the body dies.
               The chance of finding extraterrestrials is better,
               And that is nil, the likes of the late
               Lord of Neverland notwithstanding.

               Peace on Earth exists only six feet beneath and
               Just beyond the dark, distant horizon of mankind’s history.
               That rotted deep and the future void,
               The only escape from wars’ constant reign
               Over every averse generation, passed and present,
               Piled one atop the other, as the pale, withered corpses
               Scream silently a horrid holocaust in unanswered prayers.
               Or, the escape of blinding, insulating, self-induced apathy,
               Contributing as much to the blight as to any calming relief,
               Or more so.

                 Malcolm Louis Kantzler

A unanimous Supreme Court, in historic disarray of ethics and partisan ideology, loses sight of its fundamental premise:  Rule of Law.

The Supreme Court — A Unanimous Failure.

Despite the unanimous Supreme Court decision, on March 4, 2024, to not act on the 14th Amendment’s requirement that Donald Trump, as an insurrectionist, be excluded from the ballot for any federal office, it is a wrong-headed and defiant decision that ignores the glaring contridiction which is the last sentence of the 14th Amendment’s Section 3:  “But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

The 14th Amendment, Section 3, therefore, in its last sentence, self-describes the prohibition against seeking or holding office as an imposed “disability,” independent of any other action or requirement by any other body or authority, and if it was not intended that insurrectionists be blocked, there would be NO need for a measure to be provided to remove the block:  the two-thirds vote of both Houses.  The 14th Amendment is, in effect, saying, “If you don’t want a particular insurrectionst blocked from seeking office, the only avenue open to you is to persuade Congress to vote the exception.”  And it is important to note that the intent of the 14th Amendment, Section 3’s framers, to bar insurrectionists from seeking and holding office, was so strong that it requires not a majority of the Senate, or of the Senate and the House, and not a two-thirds vote of just the Senate or the House, but a two-thirds vote of BOTH Houses is necessary—a very difficult bar!

If SCOTUS hopes to have us believe that Article 14, Section 5’s provision that, “Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this Article,” means that the provisions are optional without such legislation, it will be another lie.  That phrase is repeated for many articles, and the only “optional” element is for Congress to pass such legislation if it desires.  The Constitution often will not assign authority in particular articles, relying on enumerated powers specified elsewhere within, or allowing the three branches and the states the flexibility to make that determination as need arises.  But whether Congress does or does not legislate the enforcement, the intent and requirement of the 14th Amendment’s article to enforce remains, as it does with all other articles ensconced with that provision, and it is left for Congress to legislate, or for states’ election authorities to enforce, or for the Supreme Court to rule on the method.  And the ruling most faithful to the intent of the Constitution would have been for the Court to rule that all federal election authorities must omit Trump from their ballots.  But by whichever authority, in the end, if the Constitution is to be upheld, the intent of the 14th Amendment MUST be realized, must be followed, and must be the Supreme Law of the Land, which is what the Constitution and its Amendments are and have always been intended to be.

With this ruling, by not acting itself to enforce, by barring the states’ constitutionally mandated election authorities, and by designating as the sole recourse a do-nothing, corrupt Congress with the Republican party being a cult of insurrectionists itself, SCOTUS has put America’s democracy in greater peril and has trashed the Constitution just as surely as Mitch McConnell did when he barred President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, from the required Senate-confirmation process.  The rule of law, a fundamental element of the guarantee of freedom and equality Americans have strived to perfect and have enjoyed, at tremendous cost through the generations, is dead.

Malcolm L. KantzlerMarch 4, 2024

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An historic, bipartisan Senate majority voted Trump guilty of inciting this, but not the 2/3 needed to convict.

The Fight for Accountability — A Slippery Slope.

The Senate’s vote to acquit Trump of the single, incitement charge was widely expected, and while it is a strike against justice and democracy that Trump escaped this tribunal of accountability, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell remarked, “Trump didn’t get away with anything… yet,” which foreshadowed the possibilities of criminal prosecutions at the state and/or federal level, and/or the passage of a joint congressional measure barring him from holding federal office ever again, which would also be accomplished upon conviction of any felony.  McConnell cited the unconstitutionality of impeaching a president no longer in office as the reason he did not vote to convict, despite that the Congress ruled otherwise, in agreement with most leading constitutional scholars and with precedent.

McConnell and other GOP senators who used the “unconstitutional” excuse McConnell used and arranged for them by delaying the trial until after January 20, when Trump was no longer in office, should have looked to the example of Al Capone.  Capone was the central source of violence and lawlessness in the Midwest and the nation during the Prohibition era, and both state and federal agencies tried in every way to get convictions to bring him down and end the threat to peaceful society he posed, finally resorting to tax law, jailing him for the rest of his life for evasion, a far less serious, and non-violent crime than the murders for which he was known to have committed or ordered, but could not be proven.  Like Capone, Trump is a threat to America, to its peace and its democracy, and an impeachment conviction would have served justice and removed him as a threat in the future, and like the tax code with Capone, impeachment was an avenue which the GOP should have taken to neuter Trump.

McConnell’s subsequent statements would, if he wasn’t the shameless hypocrite that he has proven himself to be, box him into a corner if any measure does come before the Senate to bar Trump from holding office; he said that Trump’s actions regarding the insurrection were “a disgraceful dereliction of duty.”  He could have been speaking about Trump’s golfing while lying about and downplaying the pandemic, killing untold tens or hundreds of thousands of Americans, unnecessarily.  McConnell added, “There is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day—no question about it.”  Again, he could have been referring to any day of another record-breaking death toll of the pandemic.

There has been almost no denial from any Republican source, except Lindsey Graham, of the facts of the case the House managers put forth, most outrage coming from Republican caucuses in several of the states of the seven Republican senators who crossed party lines and voted to convict Trump, which gave a clear majority of senators to convict, the largest in history, but not the required two-thirds of senators present during the vote.

None of the Magnificent Seven voiced any regrets for their votes, even those who were sanctioned by their states’ GOP; they are: Richard Burr, North Carolina, censured by state GOP; Bill Cassidy, Louisiana, censured by state GOP; Susan Collins, Maine; Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; Mitt Romney, Utah; Ben Sasse, Nebraska; and Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania, censured by state GOP.  A rundown of reasons and political circumstances of the seven is on this link.

This insane man wants to be your dictator, heading a plutocratic oligarchy.

Two days later, Trump released a statement attacking McConnell and threatening Republicans who don’t align themselves with him and his “policies”—like with his practice of using “what-about…” whom- or whatever, to shift focus and blame away from his “bad” to another’s, creating false equivalencies and blame shifting; or answering a question about a false claim or a charge with “fake news,” to avoid not being able to substantiate a lie and shift legitimacy away from the press to himself; and trolling, to distract and/or provoke away from confrontation with his lie or unflattering truth, all typical authoritarian-strongman tactics:

“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again.  He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country.  Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First.  We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership.”

We also wanted that kind of leadership, when Trump was in the White House, but instead got the opposite, with every one of those qualities entirely missing.  But first, it is highly doubtful Trump could come up with three synonyms as adjectives with the same meaning to modify any subject, though the redundancy almost creates plausible possibility; and he certainly wouldn’t come up with those four qualities of leadership, particularly “compassionate,” none of which he has a trace; so, the statement was probably Ivanka’s, or a campaign-finance worker, written to reflect all the right things a truly good leader would want.  And Trump’s over-capitalized statement’s redundant, triple-adjective for McConnell (dour, sullen, and unsmiling) more accurately describes Trump’s usual demeanor, and he certainly has what it takes to recognize another “political hack,” with McConnell being far more dangerous because he has insight, intelligence, and a viable plan to forward his undemocratic, minority agenda.  But Trump was right in saying that McConnell will never do what is right for the country, that is, not unless it also serves his political objectives; again, exactly like Trump, except Trump’s narcissistic objectives are not as lofty as McConnell’s Constitution-breaking, self-interest based politics.

Most noteworthy is that the statement announces Trump’s minimal intent to be active in Republican politics, to the point of at least dipping into the $30 million campaign fund he controls to leverage the election slate, and to that end, he can be dangerous in propelling even more maniacs, like Cruz, Graham, Greene, Hawley, Gaetz, Jordan, and Gosar (there are dozens more), into positions of power.  And if Trump’s the one picking the primary candidates to oppose McConnell Republicans, then there will doubtless be more of “the best people,” like Perry, Pruitt, DeVos, Barr, and other incompetents and destroyers who filled most of his cabinet and many of the top agency posts, who will all break whatever’s not broken and see to it that whatever is stays that way.

President Biden, a day earlier, cited McConnell’s statements in his condemnation of Trump, but his hopes for “unity” will not come to pass, and America will remain under threat of future violence and challenges to democracy until Trump, Trump, Jr., Giuliani, and the eight senators and 126 representatives who were parties to the incitement by their speech and their deliberate carrying of the big lie—abusing their power of leadership—are held to account, charged and/or removed from office—not just the common citizens who participated in the trespass and violence at the Capitol, with the guilty, powerful escaping accountability, as so often is the case in America, and a major reason why America’s many problems are so entrenched.

And the once-again, independent Department of Justice must make it a priority to crack down on the extremist national-and-white supremacy groups, militias and domestic-terrorist organizations which used Trump as a rallying point for the insurrection and the threats against Michigan’s capitol and governor, and the Charlottesville violence, “very fine people on both sides,” before that.  Trump is not strong enough in character or conviction for anything except himself and his net worth to be a leader of the nation, let alone of these groups.  They will continue without him unless they are scattered and buried, forced back underground, out of sight and made ineffectual and as irrelevant as they, and Trump, really are to America’s future.

Malcolm L. KantzlerFebruary 16, 2021

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Marjorie Taylor Greene

The Republican Party’s “Cancer” Has Metastasized

“Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in response to remarks by freshman Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA).  Trouble is, McConnell, along with the rest of Republican leadership, except Rep. Cheney, have lost the moral authority to govern, let alone criticize the ignorant beliefs spouted by Greene, when the words of Republicans around her incited a deadly insurrection within the Capitol, and the silence of McConnell and others was equally contributing, none yet facing accountability.  But McConnell’s hypocrisy is especially noteworthy as a consequence of his deliberate and blatant violation of the Constitution’s mandate to provide President Obama’s Supreme-Court nominee a confirmation hearing.  McConnell is the long-metastasized cancer in American government, the destroyer of democratic rule of law.

As Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell put his politics above the law.

McConnell only speaks against the fringe-teathered Greene because he sees that fringe as a threat to his control of the conservative faction of the party in the Senate.  The secret vote of the GOP caucus, to decide if Rep. Cheney should be removed from her position in House leadership because she voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 Insurrection, comfortably passed to retain her in House leadership, proving that Trump does not control the Republican party, but fear does, fear of facing a primary challenger supported by Trump loyalists, highlighting how the flawed election system, corrupted by the parties, has led Republicans, throughout the Trump presidency and in its wake, to place their own election security above that of the nation and its democratic processes.  This fear, based in their priority for self-interest, is what, above all else, gives Trump any influence or power at all.

Greene, an avid Trump worshiper and conspiracy theorist, was removed from membership in House committees by a vote of the full House, where all Democrats were joined by only 11 Republicans.  The full House vote was necessitated after an hours-long meeting with Greene and the Republican minority leader, Keven McCarthy, also a Trump loyalist, ended with no accountability for her untruthful, racist and violence-threatening statements, or any action whatsoever to admonish her and protect the democratic ethos of the Congress.

The reporting speaks of “punishment” and “discipline” with respect to actions which should have been invoked by Republicans, but which eventually had to be taken by Democrats.  But does punishment avert or diminish the stupidity or ignorance of a transgressor?  No.  But, instead, it serves to teach others who know better, Republicans, who out of selfish reasons of ambition and power-lust have either acted to condone her words or done nothing to show that there are standards and ethics which should not be so compromised, must not be.

Greene is neither apologetic nor remorseful for her violence-promoting, extremist, conspiracy-theory, hate-filled and anti-Semitic views and statements, lying that her Facebook posts were not made by her and that she no longer holds those views, and saying that her removal from committees “frees her” because they “are a waste of time.”  If you consider the House or Senate as a finished diamond, then the committees are the facets, without which, the raw gem loses both its appeal and worth.  Where governing touches so many different aspects of life, from the diverse employment disciplines to social and economic ecosystems, defense, health, the sciences and more, no elected official can be expert in all, and both houses of Congress depend upon the work of committees to inform committee members and hopefully make them at least highly knowledgeable in the fields where they have responsibility, and to fashion legislation that will come to the full bodies based upon that informed involvement with the sectors of American society which perform in those varying disciplines, as well as with those who are affected by them.  Greene’s belief that they are “a waste of time,” is evidence that she does not understand government and is unqualified on that basis, alone, to be a part of it.

But what is most important and being missed here is that the primary purpose of the House sanctions against Greene are not to “punish” or “discipline” her, as is commonly reported; it’s done primarily to preserve the structure and integrity of a principle, democratic institution which is threatened by her words and actions, nearly as much as by the inaction of Republican leadership in the House.  Very much the same purpose, after exclusion from future office, is what lies behind the historic, second impeachment of Trump.

Republicans who defend Greene use the action of the Democratic majority in the House, to take the most severe measure it can on its own against her, as a false-flag “freedom of speech” claim against Democrats.  But words have consequences, and in a democracy, words are the weapons and tools of power, to persuade, to enlighten, and to provoke and condemn.  In a democracy, it is important that words have the weight of truth and right, without which, there cannot be common objectives and goals, not any that will advance the welfare of the people or the nation, which is why the Republican party has become an element of significant danger to the nation, particularly as lies are perpetuated or supported by silence from leaders and those who know the wrongs but only act upon the perceived demands of their next election.  And so it is important that those who are placed in positions of power in a democracy respect truth and right, and the diversity of the people, because a democracy is defined by these, and words which are based in ignorance, deceit or exclusion, which bring a divide, which are an attack against any segment of the people, are words which bring harm to individuals and damage democracy and its institutions.  And for those who, seeking to advance their own, selfish motives, rely on or defend these attacks, there must also be consequences… and accountability.  And there are laws which make it a violation of federal criminal and civil codes to use words in the wrong ways.  The “freedom of speech” Republicans use to shield themselves is not now and never has been all-inclusive, has always been limited.

Greene has received a measure of consequence for voicing her anti-democratic beliefs and proposals of violence, but accountability demands she be removed and that those in Georgia who elected her try again to better represent themselves and the nation which provides the rights and liberties they enjoy, depend upon, and clearly take for granted.

“The hope of impunity is a strong incitement to sedition; the dread of punishment, a proportionably strong discouragement to it.” — Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 27

Accountability demands that those who were responsible to act, with respect to Greene and didn’t, feel the consequences, as well, along with those whose words brought sedition to the public forum and helped to support the incitement to insurrection which they and Trump brought to the Capitol on January 6th.  The accountability for that most severe consequence of words, which were ill-intended, deliberate lies, remains to be seen and must not be brushed aside or reserved only for the hundreds of transgressing private citizens being charged, not for any deluded vision of “coming together” with those Senate and House Republicans who are known to be guilty—not for any reason.

The case for conviction on the historic, second impeachment of Donald Trump, as delivered by the House managers, was so compelling, so directed to the facts and the law, the evidence so well ordered and presented, that any senator who does not vote to convict will be viewed by many as ex-post-facto complicit in the insurrection.  Even if 17 Republican senators fail to uphold their oaths and the Constitution by voting to convict, the record of this impeachment will serve only to solidify Trump’s guilt in history, along with that of those senators who declined to do so as sworn jurors in a hearing determined to be both constitutional and binding, and all will suffer at least the accountability of history’s condemnation.

Malcolm L. KantzlerFebruary 8, 2021; Revised February 11, 2021

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Trump’s four years of diabolic lies, incitement, and Republican enabling have led to the scene above, and his historic, second impeachment.

The Fight for Accountability — Impeaching Trump
The hope of impunity is a strong incitement to sedition; the dread of punishment,
a proportionably strong discouragement to it.
— Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 27

House Resolution 24, Articles of Impeachment against Donald John Trump.

•  Incitement of insurrection…
•  Failure to carry out his responsibilities and obligations as
President of the United States…

In an impeachment hearing where the Articles of Impeachment were adopted, 232 to 197, with 10 Republicans voting “Yea,” there were 87 Democrats who spoke against Trump’s crimes and 41 Republicans who rose to defend him.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led off the speakers on the impeachment resolution, noting that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution would prohibit Trump from holding office in the future, if impeached.  She called the insurrection of January 6, 2021, the “Day of Fire,” and Trump’s crimes “a war on democracy, a vital threat to liberty, to self-government, and to the rule of law.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cites history in her opening argument supporting the House’s impeachment resolution.

“We… have a sacred obligation to stand for truth, to stand up for the Constitution, to stand as guardians of the republic.”

She then quoted a portion of President John F. Kennedy’s prepared speech, which was based upon a wall much different than the one Trump wanted to build, which he would have given in Dallas, on Friday, November 22, 1963, if he was not assassinated:  “We, in this country, in this generation are, by destiny rather than choice, the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.  We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility.”

Pelosi equated those words from the past to the here and now, as descriptive of the primary responsibility the elected officials considering the impeachment of Trump must meet, saying, “Let us be worthy of our power and responsibility, that what Lincoln thought was the world’s last, best hope, the United States of America, may long survive.”

It was clear that the hope she expressed fell on deaf ears when Rep. Jim Jordan (OH), one of the Electoral College (EC) vote-objection leaders, then spoke first for the Republicans, revising history by saying, “In seven days there will be a peaceful transfer of power, just like there has been every other time in our country, but Democrats are going to impeach President Trump again.  This doesn’t unite the country.  There’s no way this helps the nation deal with the tragic and terrible events of last week that we all condemn.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) uses lies, revisionist history, and false
equivalencies in argument against the impeachment resolution.

Ohhh, the lie… and the hypocrisy.  There will be no peaceful transfer of power on January 20th because the process of transfer has already been disrupted for the first time in history by deadly violence which was directed at a constitutional process of government, which is an integral part of a peaceful transfer of power in America.  Despite that Jordan and other Republicans wish to re-write that history, and their part in creating that stain upon it, it will remain.

And the hypocrisies?  Jordan and his 146 accomplices, and others, contributed to the “tragic and terrible events of last week;” so, if Republicans condemn them, particularly those like Jordan, like those who thought Trump deserved a chance in the first impeachment, that he would learn his lesson, like those who say the same about his incitement today, then they must condemn themselves at least as harshly—it takes a village.

“We should be focused on bringing the nation together,” says the man who continues to cast false doubt on the 2020 election.  “Instead,” he says, “Democrats are going to impeach the president for a second time, one week before he leaves office.”

And there we see the double edge on Jordan’s hypocrisy, and the hypocrisy of all Republicans who align with the “bring the nation together” excuse for not impeaching, which is, how can they not, if they recognize Trump’s incitement, and theirs, led to an outcome that was “tragic and terrible”?  What could be more impeachable?  How can those who rightfully demand accountability, especially at the top, ever come together with those who are trying to shirk it, and adding insult to injury, using the discord they created as a justification?

“Why?”  Jordan asks, “Why?  Politics,” he answers, “and the fact that they want to, they want to cancel the president.  The president who cut taxes, the president who reduced regulations, the president who prior to COVID had the greatest economy, lowest unemployment in 50 years, the president who got us out of the Iranian deal, put the embassy in Jerusalem, brought hostages home from North Korea, put three great justices on the Supreme Court, gave us a new NAFTA agreement, the Abraham accords, the COVID vaccine, and who built the wall.  It’s about ‘politics.’”

It certainly is about “politics,” Republican politics, when the reason not to impeach the president who incited deadly insurrection against the Congress of the United States is Jordan’s Republican-praised-and-hyped list of so-called accomplishments, when the only one among them where Trump can really claim any credit at all is the replacement of the NAFTA agreement.

• Trump’s-Republicans’ tax cut only provided benefit to working-class Americans in the beginning, to hide the stink; instead, it is really a tax break for the top percentage of America’s wealthy, adding more than a $trillion to the national debt.  And the hypocrisy of Republicans regarding COVID relief costs is rampant.

• The regulations reduced contribute to the global climate crisis and to the ill health of most Americans.  The cut in regulations has had the same effect as Trump’s appointments to heads of departments and agencies, filled with people whose careers were based in creating the problems regulations were intended to relieve, people who tried to dismantle those agencies.

• The “greatest economy, lowest unemployment in 50 years” was not at all due to Trump; it was what he inherited from President Obama, who, from Bush and “trickle-down” Republicans, was really the one handed the burning rubbish pile of the Great Recession and who transformed it into a manicured lawn that was in the process of booming when Trump came on the scene to create his swamp.

• Trump’s withdrawal from the “Iranian deal” has done only harm.  Iran has increased its fissile production capacity and America’s allies have been forced to side with Iran, against the interests of both America and the prevention of nuclear proliferation, and the position of Russia, with respect to Iran and nuclear treaties with America has been enhanced.

• Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem has only hardened obstacles to an enduring Palestinian peace, and in its denial of the right of a Palestinian home and taking of territory, it was along the same lines of Trump’s attempts to block immigration from Mid-East and African nations:  racist.

• The “hostages” returned from N. Korea were only petty thieves, and Trump had America and its allies pay for that by legitimizing Kim Jung-un’s brutal regime, with nothing else to show for it, except, perhaps, a “love letter.”

• How does one put “three great justices on the Supreme Court” when so many of Trump’s federal judiciary appointments (and Senate confirmations) were rated as unqualified by the American Bar Association (ABA)?  Nearly one-quarter of Trump’s appointments to federal courts, 200, have been confirmed by the Senate, 53 of those to the appeals courts, the level just below the Supreme Court, and nine were rated by the ABA as “not qualified,” seven of those having lifetime appointments, three of which had no trial experience at all, another cited for temperament, political partiality (opposing minorities, regulatory power, and opposed to Dept. of Justice agency independence, for example) and work ethic.  The detailed account of the “problems” the ABA and Democrats have with these judges is extensive and deeply troubling.

On the Supreme Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg, like most Trump judges, has only a few years experience, hers on a lower federal court, her career experience mostly coming as a professor at Notre Dame.

Before Barrett, was Brett Kavanaugh, whose non-judicial temperament was on display for all to see during his confirmation hearing, and the sexual-abuse charges against him are credible, so much so that the limited and shortened background investigations imposed by the Republicans to rush him through the process were unjustified and tainted the confirmation.

And, Trump’s first appointment was Justice Neil Gorsuch, who replaced Antonin Scalia, the only one of the three who has high qualifications, but who is the fruit of the poison tree, having been nominated and confirmed nearly a year after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unconstitutionally refused to allow a confirmation hearing for President Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia, Merrick Garland.  Despite Gorsuch’s qualifications to the bench, Garland’s were no less, as a moderate who received a majority of Republican votes in his confirmation to the D.C. Court of Appeals, where he was chief judge.  McConnell’s constitutional travesty forever taints Gorsuch’s term and may be a basis to end it, through withdrawal of a confirmation that, unlike the 2020 election, really was stolen, but by Republicans.

• On the Abraham Accord, which is only an August 2020 statement between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and the U.S., Trump can be compared to Reagan’s and George H. W. Bush’s roles in the unification of Germany, where Reagan gets most of the credit because he did the actor’s job of a dramatic statement at the Berlin Wall, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” while it was Bush who oversaw most of the real work the State Department and others did to bring about that result.  Talks between the Arab parties to the accord had been ongoing for some time before Trump came to office, and many of the items in the agreement were already in practice.  Trump was more, again, the showman, putting it on the stage and giving it an introduction.

• It was the same with the COVID vaccine.  Trump put the White House task force together based on recommendations and with people already in leadership positions, approved the “Warp Speed” program others devised, and then, when not playing golf, proceeded to ensure that uncounted tens of thousands of people would die who need not have by recklessly downplaying what he knew to be a deadly threat, failing to provide coordinated leadership between state efforts, politicizing and propagandizing the National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control, speaking and tweeting lies and positions conflicting with agency heads and spokespersons, politicizing mask wearing, and holding numerous “super-spreader” events, both public and official.  Trump was too busy railing against the election, spreading his lies about it being stolen, plotting resistance to it, and playing golf to care about the out-of-control pandemic, and he had literally nothing to do with the work and process of either researching, manufacturing, or distributing the vaccine.  Thank the researchers and clinicians in government and private labs, Fed-X and UPS drivers, pilots and crews for that.

• And, the wall?  There is no wall.  There are a few miles of barrier or fence that Trump can claim.  The only “wall,” is the one that he created that separates him from his humanity, and thus from being able to understand what the responsibilities and obligations of the Office of the President of the United States are and how it directly touches lives, as well as determining the destination of a nation, and that a nation, in a democracy, is its people, all of them, of all colors, of all religions, or not, of all identities, and in a nation of immigrants, of all homelands.

Jordan went on to repeat the lie that Democrats spied on Trump’s campaign, cited the minutiae of the Mueller investigation and the first impeachment, as though it, along with the fact that Trump will be out of office in a week anyway should somehow eliminate the justification and necessity to proceed with bringing accountability with a history-making second impeachment, saying that it all found “nothing,” when the only thing about the first impeachment and associated investigations and hearings that amounted to “nothing,” was the Senate trial, carried out by the Republican majority and orchestrated by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with limited and curtailed investigations, no witnesses, and an announced conclusion by the Senate leader of “no conviction” before it even began.  And “nothing” is what the consequences—the accountability—turned out to be for Trump, who was proved by all the evidence guilty of every charge in the impeachment articles the Senate trashed with its Republican “politics.”

Since there is nothing on the subject of Trump’s impeachment to defend, this one or the first, Jordan continued off the subject, moving from the past to recent events by criticizing what he called the “cancel culture,” as attacking free speech, Jordan characterizing the Republican arguments of repeated lies and conspiracy theory as “debate,” and also standing against the social networks’ closing the accounts of Trump and far-right hate groups, which was done not because they are conservative, or Republican, but because of incitement-to-violence rules violations.

And then he went to the current Republican catchphrase, “bring the nation together,” because, say Republicans, accountability can’t be on the table because it will fan the flames, increase the divide, as if there can be any “getting together” with those who think the deadly violence brought to the Congress on January 6 should go without accountability for Trump.  The biggest reason Republicans like Jordan don’t want accountability for Trump is because they’re afraid that it will next come to many of them, like the 147 representatives and senators who sought to, and some who still seek to disenfranchise millions of voters, and contributing to the incitement to insurrection, by their objections, advancing the Trump lies and the many, many times debunked, by Republican officials and judges, conspiracy theory of a stolen election.

Jordan went on with his hypocrisy, saying, “America is a great country… we need to think about how great the people of this nation really are… and begin to come together, as leaders, who represent so many great folks across our districts.”  Jordan then tried to associate his argument with the 66-year span of aviation and space advancement, from the Wright brothers to Chuck Yeager’s breaking the sound barrier in 1947 to the 1969 Moon landing, saying “…we, as a Congress, who represent the people who did that, should start leading… so I hope we defeat this [the impeachment resolution], I hope we can begin to come together and recognize the greatness of the American people, and focus on the things they want us to focus on.”

The former gym coach should know that a vast majority of the American people voted Trump out of office, and a majority of those see “accountability” as a necessary outcome of the events cited in the impeachment articles he is leading the House fight against.  And, if Jordan and Republicans really respected or gave a damn about the “greatness of the American people,” they wouldn’t gerrymander districts and take measures to suppress voting, or object to a fair and valid, certified election result, by joining with Trump to try and invalidate the voices of millions of American people in several states, and at the same time, sow the seeds of a deadly insurrection and opposition to the success of the next administration to really accomplish positive outcomes for America’s many far-reaching problems.

Trump delivered a prepared, telepromptered, televised speech following his historic, second
impeacement, condemning violence—insincere, no apologies or regrets, too little and too late.

More Republican lies and hypocrisy are no defense against the impeachment of Trump.  His many crimes and incompetence, all of the death and sorrow, from Capitol Police to COVID victims to separated families, have no defense.  Yet, only two weeks after the insurrection, many senators and representatives who incited it still refuse to deny the lie of a stolen election, and with few exceptions, Republicans in the Senate are indicating that they will not vote to convict Trump in the pending trial, leaving the door open for an anarchist and seditionist to again run for the office from which he tried to invalidate elections and grab power like the authoritarians he envies and supports around the world have done.

Trump-incited insurrectionists combat Capitol Police, killing two and a D.C. Metro officer.

Several journalists on the PBS Newshour and an anchor on CBS News referred to President Biden’s inauguration as “a peaceful transition of power.”  It can only presumed that the talking heads and journalists of other outlets have made the same miss-characterization.  It was not a “peaceful transition,” and to say so not only diminishes the severity of the deadly insurrection on January 6th at the Capitol, it lets Donald Trump off the hook for the most egregious abuse of power seen during any presidency in American history.

The transition of power mandated by the Constitution is not an event; it is a series of steps, beginning with the election and ending with the inauguration.  In between are processes after the election, also carried out by the states, with the step before the inauguration being the constitutional acceptance of the Electoral College’s election count by the joint session of Congress.  This was the step halted as a result of the armed and violent insurrection incited over almost five years by then-President Trump, and finally, at the D.C., White House rally, just prior to the insurrection.  The violence and death which followed marked the end of the peaceful transition of power for the first time in U.S. history.

That White House rally also saw seditious incitement by Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and by his son, Donald Trump, Jr., and during the months following the election by several administration officials, and by 147 Republican U.S. senators and representatives who enabled Trump and also incited the insurrection by finally objecting to the Electoral College count, and some others, previously, and all those who were silent, against their oaths and leadership responsibilities, including then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Minority Leader and Whip, Keven McCarthy and Steve Scalise, respectively, and others, by their acts and statements at rallies, like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Missouri’s Josh Hawley, and in the House, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, and others, all of them supporting and feeding Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories of a stolen election, when they knew full well nothing of the sort was true and that it fanned the flames of discontent among extremists, prone to violence, who are at the core of Trump’s base.  These were the same kinds of acts which, carried out by their parallel, government counterparts, in 1930’s Germany, emboldened Hitler, supported and validated his lies, bringing him to power and culminating in the destruction of Germany’s democracy and the carnage of WWII.

For them all, all of the elected and administration officials and family, particularly those who hold positions of power in the “Chambers of Democracy” they degraded and sought to bring down by their seditious acts, the nation still awaits the accountability—above that of the hundreds of insurrectionists who are now being arrested and charged by the FBI—which must accompany any process, any that will work, of America’s divide coming together.

The tired, sickening, American habit of high officials, no matter the harm they do or lives they cost, being invulnerable to accountability must end, and that ending write the closing of the story history will record of the Insurrection of January 6, 2021.

Malcolm L. KantzlerJanuary 14, 2021; Revised January 28, 2021

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James Madison, Father of the Constitution, warned that the greatest threat to the new, American, democratic republic would come not from overseas, but from within.  Trump, with the help of the Republican party, has turned that foresight into history.  Now, a common question after the Trump-incited, January 6th insurrection against the Capitol, against democracy, which looked for all the world like a Mid-East or Third-World revolt, has been, “how do we go forward from here?”  The answer is one word:  “accountability.”

U.S. senators and representatives who violated their oaths of office share responsibility for the violence as, contrary to the Constitution, they knowingly, without a shred of basis evidence, challenged the Electoral College results and enabled the violent, deadly insurrection that seized and closed the U.S Capitol in the climax of Trump’s ongoing coup attempt.  The most flagrant violations of the Constitution and democratic process by senators were carried out by these eight who signed on to disenfranchise voters in two states by objection to the Electoral-College vote:

Ted Cruz (TX), Josh Hawley (MO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Roger Marshall (KS), Tommy Tuberville (AL), John Kennedy (LA), Rick Scott (FL), and Cynthia Lummis (WY).

In the House of Representatives, 139 Republicans joined the effort to deny the voices of millions of voters, among them were:

Kevin McCarthy (CA-Minority Leader), Steve Scalise (LA-Minority Whip), Devin Nunes (CA), Jim Jordan (OH), Steve Chabot (OH), Louie Gohmert (TX), Kat Cammack (FL), Harold Rogers (KY), Nicole Malliotakis (NY).

But they are not only to blame for the January 6th, 2021 insurrection, a day which will live in infamy, only following the December 7th, 1941 sneak attack by Japan against the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, and 911, they, as are almost all other elected Republicans in federal office, are responsible for the unchallenged attacks against America’s democracy carried out by Trump over the last four years, and by their own party leadership, then and in the prior eight years of the Obama administration, as well.

The contempt for democratic process and the rule of law demonstrated so definitively by the violence at the Capitol most clearly began when the Republican party, en masse, stood behind Mitch McConnell’s blatant violation of the Constitution, refusing to allow President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee a confirmation hearing.  McConnell’s Senate-rule power to take that action, on his own, is also unconstitutional.  When elected “leaders” flaunt the rule of law, it can only lead to greater disregard and, eventually, disrespect for not only the law, but also the institutions which frame America’s democracy and freedoms, which prevent the U.S. from becoming a dictatorship or an oligarchy.

The Republican members of the Senate and House are even more to blame than Trump or Trump’s administration enablers (and particularly Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani, who committed sedition at the Trump D.C. rally preceding the insurrection) or Trump’s media enablers (particularly Fox), because the senators and representatives knew full well they were placing their political and personal ambitions above their oaths of office, above the welfare of the nation, and above the constituencies they were elected to represent.

Trump came into office and remains ignorant of government structure and process, which places his accountability below that of the elected officials who, against all warnings, through all four years, and no matter the transgressions or their consequences, enabled him.  To them, the ends justify any means.

The crimes Republicans allowed to pass without accountability led to Trump’s impeachment and have so far ended with sedition, which is conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state, and as such, sedition is a violation of Title 18 U.S.C. § 2384, making it a crime for two or more people within the jurisdiction of the United States:

•  “To conspire to overthrow or destroy by force the government of the United States or to level war against them;

•  “To oppose by force the authority of the United States government; to prevent, hinder, or delay by force the execution of any law of the United States; or

•  “To take, seize, or possess by force any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.”

Trump supporters—far-right hate groups—like an army of ants, swarm the U.S. Capitol.

So where is the line to be drawn?  Mere condemnation and the promise of history’s disdain is not sufficient to punish or to prevent future violent acts.  Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s press secretary, not Trump, in a late-afternoon address the day following the insurrection stated that those who violated the law “should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”  She also denounced the violence.  She, as usual, was the “official” voice saying the lie, what Trump will not say and does not believe.  But yes, accountability must follow.

Republican elected officials who came forward to oppose Trump after the insurrection or to withdraw their Electoral-College count objections or to speak against the violence or who resigned from administration offices, are not redeemed nor in any way relieved from accountability for their long-time enabling of Trump’s atrocities against democracy—they are too late in the game, like a criminal at trial who apologizes only after having been caught.  In light of the former A.G. William Barr’s abuse of the DOJ, acting as “Trump’s lawyer,” his statement that Trump’s conduct is “a betrayal of his office,” is so hypocritical as to be laughable if the circumstances and abuses were not so seriously damaging.

Trump supporters broke in and roamed the halls and chambers of the U.S. Capitol.

So who, besides those hundreds of insurrectionists from the ignorant Trump base, who the FBI says it is planning to charge with various crimes, will be finally held accountable?  This insurrection was too serious an outcome, incited by Trump and the enabling of Republican congressional and administration officials, to just brush aside, as so often, too often happens.  The lack of real accountability, from Nixon on, has fueled Americans’ apathy and contempt of government, and it must stop here.

Donald Trump, Jr. and Rudy Giuliani committing sedition at White House rally preceding insurrection.

Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani should be arrested and tried “to the fullest extent of the law” under the charge of sedition against the United States.  At the pre-insurrection rally, they directly commanded violent action that directly resulted in the halting of the constitutional, government process of the leading branch of government, the seizing and destruction of government property, numerous injuries and five deaths, including two Capitol Police officers and a D.C. Metro Police officer.

Donald Trump at White House rally fomenting insurrection with lies of a stolen election.

Donald Trump, who has incited the January 6th insurrection for four years, who in his first, live public statements after the insurrection offered no apologies or regrets, and who also was likely seditious in his pre-insurrection speech, but in any case, who failed to act to prevent or expeditiously end the violence, refused to call in the National Guard after the Capitol was invaded, and praised the insurrectionists before later releasing a recorded, teleprompter video, under pressure after even some Republicans began calling for his removal, which he obviously did not write (phrases like referring to the Capitol as “the seat of our government”) and which it was reported he said he regretted releasing, should be removed immediately from office through either impeachment or 25th Amendment, Section 4 process.  Impeachment would prevent him from ever again holding any federal office.

The senators and representatives who enabled Trump and provoked the January 6th insurrection by knowingly supporting and advancing the lie that the 2020 election of Joe Biden was stolen, rigged, or a theft, should be either removed from their respective chambers by internal process or recalled by their states’ voters or legislatures.  And, Rep. Jim Jordan’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded to him by Trump after continuing to support him following the Capitol insurrection, should be revoked, as should those presented to Rep. Devin Nunes, Rush Limbaugh, and Tiger Woods, among others, these recipients disgracing and cheapening the award and the previous awardees, as do all sports recipients who have no other significant contributions to history, and as New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick realized when he declined to accept the award from Trump, breaking his affiliation with him, and which, along with the PGA moving the next golf tournament away from Trump’s property, delivers a measure of initial accountability to Trump, but of the kind which, to Trump’s shallow social priorities, will be among the most significant, outside of a prison cell.

Fox and other broadcast outlets who advanced Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories through the years should have their broadcast licenses revoked.

Medical staffs, overburdened, exhausted, emotionally drained, with insufficient government
help or public cooperation, separated from families, can only turn to one another for relief.

As the one-day toll of COVID-19 deaths passed 4,000 people, many of the more than 365,000 tragic, total U.S. deaths were from lack of breath, and as the blood of uncounted tens of thousands of those, and climbing, remain an indelible stain on Trump’s incompetent, uncaring hands, America held its collective breath on the evening of January 6, 2021, as for the first time in America’s history, by Trump’s hand, the peaceful transition of power, by election, was prevented.  And America still holds its breath as the final weeks of Trump’s administration wind down… or blast apart.

What America needs to breathe again is the vaccine that restores the rule of law, top to bottom, through the holding to account of not only violent insurrectionists and their Republican-administration fomenters, through criminal process, from Trump Jr., Giuliani, et al, but also to Trump, through removal, and those culpable in the Senate and House, through the most severe internal disciplinary punishment:  expulsions.  Americans and America’s democracy deserve no less.  Those who turned their backs on democratic process and the rule of law deserve the most that can be done under that law to hold them accountable and begin to heal the deep harm they have willfully inflicted, and which many, like Florida Senators Rick Scott and Matt Gaetz, as well as Representative Jim Jordan (OH) and most of the rest of those who joined the Republican objection to the Electoral College vote count, still, continue to inflict upon the nation.

Only accountability opens the door to a better tomorrow, to a better government, to a stronger democracy.

Malcolm L. KantzlerJanuary 8, 2021; Revised February 10, 2021

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A regrettable answer to President-elect Biden’s call for “cooperation.”
“Come together and respect?”  Not so fast.

Many are saying that the record turn-out of the 2020 election highlights the division in America but also indicates that democracy is alive and well.  Yes, the division is clearly defined by the voting demographics, but neither the size of the electorate nor the Biden victory are indicators that democracy is alive and well; far from it, because all of the faults which allowed for the growth of that division and the rise of someone like Trump to the presidency remain as strong as ever:  the dark channels of election money which fuel the power of special interests; gerrymandering of voting districts by mostly Republican legislatures; the Electoral College; the lack of laws to enforce so many of the “norms” which were taken for granted and broken by Trump:  providing tax returns, emoluments, nepotism, a lack of lawful qualification standards for nomination/appointment or confirmation to high office (political appointments of Rick Perry, Betsy DeVos et al.), laws protecting and ensuring the independence from the presidency of the Justice Department and other enforcement agencies and their leaderships—the Trump-fix list is long; congressional rules which short-circuit democracy, like that which gives the Senate majority leader complete control over what bills will be allowed to go through the Senate’s law-making process—more power than the president, and with no override provision; the low number of representatives apportioned to the House, and again, the list of democracy fixes is long.

President-elect Biden, in his speeches prior to and after being declared the winner, emphasized that he will be a president for “We the People,” for all Americans, those who voted for him as well as those who did not.  “We the People,” the opening words of the Constitution, is a phrase at the heart of the meaning of “popular sovereignty” in America’s governing ethic, where the power and authority to govern is derived from the people, and government is accountable to the people, which is why congressional oversight committees can issue subpoenas and assign IGs, and why administration officials cannot ignore the subpoenas and fire the IGs, as Trump has done, with Republican sanction, because they are methods of enforcing that accountability to the people.  Popular sovereignty is an anathema to Trump and all authoritarians, whether they call themselves monarchs, dictators, or presidents.

Biden also said that the diverse political sides which define the extreme divide in the country must come together, that the other side are not enemies, that they are Americans and we must at least begin to respect and listen to one another.  In this there must be disagreement.  Are they really not the enemy?  While some are just ignorant and unthinking, many, enough to matter, are in government positions of power and are deliberate in their hatreds and democratic abuses.  Biden himself has implied this in his criticisms of Trump, there are not “fine people on both sides,” and because the Republican party which enabled, even encouraged the atrocities of Trump and his conspirators, and in its own right has quashed popular sovereignty for years, is deserving of neither respect nor participation in democratic government, and it must be removed entirely, never to return again to exercise power over our society.

But recognizing the enemy is about more than merely the harsh rhetoric.  Republicans who have been, in reality, sacrificing America’s democracy and hundreds of thousands of lives in the pandemic are the enemy, in every sense of the word, with nothing to say worth listening to.  The only way the confrontation ends is when those who are the enemy of America’s ideals, of its democracy and way of life, and of truth itself, upon which democratic process depends, are purged from the nation’s political life.  That means there can only be the respect for, cooperation with, listening to, and participation by the Republican party Biden calls for when “Trumpism” has been rejected entirely, in all of its forms, as well as ending the repeated, selfish, willful trashing of constitutional process—the supreme law of the land—by Mitch McConnell, his closest allies, and his lock-step Senate following, as when McConnell refused to allow the constitutionally mandated Supreme Court confirmation process for President Obama’s nominee in 2016, and as when Republicans across the land seek to limit and restrict voting rights.

Two weeks after Biden won the election with significant majorities in both the popular vote and the Electoral College, and after the election has been called to be non-reversible, Trump and Republicans continue to oppose the will of the people with conjured-up, baseless legal challenges and multiply debunked conspiracy theories.  Trump, with Republican-party support, still refuses to concede or allow the transition process to begin, and the GSA, which authorizes transition funding and coordination between the Biden transition team and federal agencies, led by a Trump-appointed loyalist, also is refusing to act.  With the COVID-19 pandemic raging, with hospital ICUs filling in nearly every state, and with a climbing death toll of 2,000 per day, every day that the Biden administration is blocked from enacting its pandemic strategies, including to begin the coordination and procurement of distribution assets for the two, recently announced, likely vaccines, is another 2,000 or more lives lost, more blood on the hands of Trump and Republicans who stand by him and his outrageous, ongoing, uncaring dereliction of duty to protect the American people.  These are the faces of the enemy.

This coming together Biden envisions will only happen when the Republican party casts aside its determination to reach its ends regardless of the means, even when those means are the continued climb of COVID’s death toll and destruction of the system that gave them the choice to betray it; only when the Republican party can again be populated by the likes of those who left it, like the McCains, and those who denounced it, like the former Republican-party conservatives of all stripes who joined The Lincoln Project and other efforts to end the rule of Trump and the Republican party which, having no resemblance whatsoever with the party of Lincoln or Eisenhower, has come to be labeled as “Trump’s party,” and which threatens to so remain and, in the years ahead, to be a force of opposition, aspiring to find its way back to the contorted control of the power of the presidency.

It is against these “Republicans,” the Trumps, Pences, McConnells, Grahams, Nunezes, Sessionses, Cruzes, McCarthys, Hatches, Jordanses, Rubios, and many others, elected and appointed, like A.G. Barr, who, in Trump’s support, acted or spoke, so hypocritically after defaming him in the 2016 campaign, out of newborn loyalty to him, and/or the party, and/or their obsession to exercise power or remain in office, not faith and service to their oaths to the Constitution or obligation to the nation or their constituencies; and also those “good men” who did and said nothing, all who would bury America’s Constitution, its democratic heritage and legacy to prioritize self- and party-interest.  It is in the fight to vanquish those “Republicans” that we must, as Joe said, “never give up, never give in.”  It is they who must either change or go away.  In the eyes of the “better angels” of America’s government and of its people, there is no place for them.

Malcolm L. KantzlerNovember 18, 2020

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Back to “normal?”

“Back to ‘normal?’”

That is the last thing to which we should aspire.  Pre-COVID’s “normal” is at the root of why the U.S. virus death toll is so much higher than any other nation, higher than it should ever have been, and so discriminating in the economic and racial demographics which are most afflicted.  And what the SARS-CoV-2 virus has uncovered that’s seriously wrong with that “normal” goes far beyond those appalling, but still sharply growing infection and mortality statistics.

Ignoring inevitability.

Anyone who claims of the pandemic, “nobody ever expected a thing like this,” as Trump repeats in defense of his incompetent non-response, is either ignorant or lying, neither option being acceptable in a U.S. president.  But in Trump’s case, where the record proves he many times ignored stark warnings he was given, including high priority intelligence briefings beginning prior to last November, after he had already made cuts to pandemic planning, his lie is made bald-faced, and is compounded by his dismantling the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, established by President Obama to confront a “not if, but when” pandemic, and his baseless, shift-the-blame lies that Obama left the nation with no plan or resources.  His response when questioned about removing the Biodefense Directorate, “I didn’t know anything about that” was the same answer he always gives when dodging responsibility or there is no answer other than his culpability.  Of course he knew, and if he didn’t, then the number of times “he didn’t know” would be only an admission of a dysfunctional administration management.

The story’s no different now, as communities begin recklessly to open up, few meeting guideline prerequisites for reduction of cases, presenting it as though it is an event to celebrate, with upbeat local reporting and forge-ahead ads and slogans, “We can do this together,” as though the virus is subject to the spell of wishful thinking or stubborn determination, as though the additional lives that are assured to be sacrificed are of little or no consequence, or worth the early visits to a favorite restaurant.  It is deeply disrespectful of those critical workers in health, transportation and goods distribution who take deadly risks every day, to impose upon them the greater burden which will result.  And as the toll grows to surpass expanded modeling forecasts of 120,000 deaths by August, with Trump’s irresponsible encouragement, based in lies and conspiracy theories, too many Americans are impatient to increase the risks to themselves and others after only a scant two months of protective withdrawal—two months of inconvenience for them, filled with the finality of burials, many without services, and sorrow for so many others, all being set up to continue and to increase.

It is a grave mistake to relegate the priority or urgency of this pandemic to Trump’s low level, or the same, low level that most citizens take the workings (abuses) of their government, placing it below the trivialities of sports and entertainment.  Trump, with Republican party endorsement, has been regularly stripping the government of its apparatus for accountability, oversight and truth.  Unfounded political dismissals have traditionally been carried out on Fridays in the belief that the news cycle will be less responsive and a public entering a weekend less attentive.  Trump has made three Friday removals of bipartisan inspectors generals in the last month, IGs who worked for Republican and Democratic administrations and who were appointed by Republicans.  One was in the State Department, investigating illegal arms sales to the Saudi dictatorship.  All were doing their jobs, which is intolerable to a revolving-door administration of lies and incompetence, where loyalty and obedience to Trump overshadows oaths to Constitution and country.

The CDC has been politicized to soften the guidelines it originally prepared for reopening, after those guidelines were initially shelved because Trump (or, more correctly, the promoting aide who actually read them) viewed them as too repressive on the economic recovery he places above lives, announcing that no matter what the virus does, there will be no more shutdowns.  The doctors leading the White House pandemic task force and other national health institutions have clearly warned that it is a mistake to open up too quickly and that there will be a resurgence and a greater toll of deaths.  Don’t say again that “no one knew,” or “no one warned.”  And still, zero leadership from Trump to do the known measures that must be done to provide a safer basis for reopening, rushing to return instead, at any cost, to the sorry state of “normal” that made this nightmare as deadly as it is and as more deeply horrific it will certainly become—inevitably.  Instead, he spends his time creating and promoting fake conspiracies of Obama crimes, labeling science fact as liberal exaggeration designed to bring down the economy and his presidency, lies about mail-in ballots being an illegal mechanism of democratic process, threatening states with withdrawals of funding… and plays golf.

The blood of tens of thousands of victims on Trump’s hands as a consequence of his ongoing criminal negligence will not be washed away in his sea of lies, deflections and false blaming, except in the eyes of those Republicans who are any combination of selfishly self-serving, ignorant, blind, brainwashed or obtuse.


In the “normal” before the pandemic, politics reigned above the common good, above the Constitution and the law, and now, in the most dangerous of times it places economic expediency above life—above tens of thousands of lives, or more.

Do we return to the “normal” of Mitch McConnell, in open, self-proclaimed defiance of the Constitution, refusing Obama’s Supreme Court nominee the required confirmation process, and unconstitutional Senate rules that make him as powerful as a dictator in the process of lawmaking, blocking House bills from even being heard in committees, let alone voted upon, which also is a ground-fault short-circuit of democracy, for which all senators, of all parties are to blame, who, with their silence have allowed this killing, power-by-rule to reside in one person, unchallenged, as “normal.”

Trump and the Republican party which enables him are an affront to the civilized transaction of social, economic, civic and humanitarian interaction.  Can we accept as “normal” the Republican party enabling of an incompetent, law-and-norm-breaking president, who is now building a tragic death toll of Americans, only to ensure his first and only priority:  that the “reality” show scripted in his mind goes on?

Appointments — garbage in, garbage out.

The pandemic lays bare the “normal” problem of allowing no-experience political appointments to be made to high offices of grave responsibility.  Republican senators have failed to uphold their oaths by making a sham of the confirmation process.  Is it not about time to erect some structure of boundaries around the appointment process, one in which law dictates that appointments must meet criteria of experience and education which indicates that performance will be a success for the advancement and good of the nation, as any other responsible job would require?

The concept of “American exceptionalism” is alive, but the existence of it passed when the Electoral College stabbed it to death by making Trump president, ignoring strong appeals against the move.  Another Republican, whose ignorance and “spread of democracy (corporatism) around the world” intent led to an unparalleled, until now, tragic cost in lives and treasure to America, George Bush, was also not the choice of the people who voted.  Must we return to a “normal” where an Electoral College continuously stabs America in the heart?

A book the size of War and Peace could be written to detail all that is wrong with the “normal” to which Americans, their mayors, governors, president, talking heads and advertisers express a longing to recapture.  We should hope that the mountain of death, daily going higher, will ignite a new, better normal.  The Republicans’ fixed Supreme Court is soon to make critical rulings affecting the accountability of presidents and the Founders’ intent for congressional oversight to curb presidential overreach, written in the Constitution.  If the conservative majority placed there by hook and crook rules, according to Republican and Mitch-McConnell politics, the democratic republic of the Founders will have taken another knife to its heart, and America will become transformed, somewhere between a plutocratic and authoritarian state.

We, my aged contemporaries, our few remaining matriarchs and patriarchs, and myself, will soon pass from the light of a decidedly darker world than we were given and have grown into, surrendering to the eternal, enveloping shroud that will be the impenetrable sarcophagus for the blazing light that is the loving presence in memory of our lives’ relations, all of whom we are thankful have been spared these last decades of America’s accelerating decline.

Malcolm L. KantzlerMay 22, 2020

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By enabling Trump’s crimes and abuses,  Republican senators and representatives in Congress are setting fire to
their own houses, sacrificing democracy and endangering the vital protections guaranteeing America’s freedoms.

Mitch McConnell’s repeated burying of bills from the House, denying debate and a
vote for passage into law with the president's signature, short-circuits democracy
and is unconstitutional—a gross violation of the supreme law of the land, with no
 consequences, accountability or punishment. The rule allowing this must be killed.

Destroyer of Worlds

It doesn’t matter if one is a far-left Democrat, a far-right Republican or a middle-of-the-road Independent, all enjoy and value, above all, the comforts of home.  The home within which all stripes of the political spectrum live is a composite of the color of paint on the walls, the floor treatments, furnishings, decorations and arrangements with which one surrounds oneself, and within which one feels secure, safe, akin to familial and coveted collections which speak to the ideals one admires and to which one affiliates as a brethren spirit—the home fire which comforts in all seasons.  These things are within the sight and touch of daily life, but out of sight lie the structural elements of a home which supports all that is cherished, load-bearing walls which bear the weight of the protecting roof, conducting it down to the foundation which is the backbone of the entire structure.

Republicans today, by their enabling of Trump and glossing over his crimes and many abuses, are looking to the sources of the things which they see and cherish within their houses, which are coveted by their party philosophy and provided by the policies they pursue and which Trump helps to provide while leaving them obscured within the shadow of accountability’s light.  But what they and those who support them fail to see is the pestilence which they have become, eating away at the load-bearing walls and foundation of the structure within which they prosper, which supports us all.

The Congress, courts, and executive branch are the load-bearing walls, the divided framework, separate but equal, within which the exercise of power to shape customs, laws and life is carried out.  The Constitution, when it is followed and respected, is the foundation which shapes and supports the three branches of America’s government, upon which this nation has survived, grown and prospered for more than two centuries, to become a super power and the envy of all in a dangerous world, until now.

America is falling behind the rest of the industrial world in every measure that matters to the quality of life of a populace, be it education, happiness, opportunity, lifespan, housing, and those which reflect on the culture and success of a nation, like healthcare, where the U.S. lags far behind the far-smaller, social democracies of Europe; crumbling infrastructure vs. bullet trains in China; space, where Russian technology has supported U.S. manned flight for nearly a decade; green tech in a warming world, where, again, China, and Germany are at the forefront of rewarding solutions.  The list goes on, and all of it, the failures, are tied to the policies of Republicans, narrowly focused on a wealthy sliver of America’s society, while the foundational structure of democratic governance which encouraged the opportunity and incentive fueling America’s growth and greatness through the 20th century has since been abused and ignored by them, at times, even defamed.

Mitch McConnell’s proclamation that the U.S. Senate “will closely coordinate with White House lawyers” in the procedural process of the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, along with his constant burying of House bills which come to the Senate for deliberation and vote, and his refusal to allow a sitting president’s nominee for the Supreme Court to be brought to the floor of the Senate for confirmation, represents the ultimate sledge hammer pounding against the constitutional process which upholds and preserves democracy and freedom in America.  What Republicans and those who support them fail to understand is that when that foundation fails, all houses will suffer and eventually fall into the darkness of loss left behind when the freedoms and protections that foundation guaranteed are weakened or gone.

Only authoritarianism, inequality and discrimination fill the void of a diminishing democracy.  No less than the freedom and liberty which has blessed Americans, and which has been so costly to preserve, and which America has been blessed to hold as a light for the world for so long, is what is at stake today, as the Constitution is in the middle of the struggle between Democrats in the House and Republicans in the Senate.  The abomination of Trump is a only a sorrowful sideshow in the aftermath of decades of abuses, a symptom of the sickness which has stricken at the heart of American governance, not the cause.  The root of the collapse of constitutional governance is not the ego, ignorance, and abuse of a failed president, but rather is the support and enabling of that travesty by a political majority in Congress prioritizing party self-interest over nation and oath, or the Court, stacked with unqualified partisans, tearing at the blindfold and equality of justice and law.  In this, Mitch McConnell has been the destroyer of worlds, long before Trump was on the scene.

But the good news is that, even as the voice and idea exchange of the media is harmfully consolidated, corrupted and defiled, the constitutional freedom of the voice of the voters still prevails every two years, despite Republican curtailments and disrupting outside intrusions.  And this coming election, on Tuesday, November 3rd, is far more than a vote for president and whether Republicans retain their abusive hold on power in the U.S. Senate.  It is a vote for the life of freedom in America, guaranteed by the rule of law, separation of powers, and checks and balances framed within the Constitution.  It is a vote of dire significance for the safety and comfort of every person, for the future of every home.

Malcolm L. KantzlerDecember 25, 2019

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Mitch McConnell’s 2016 denial of any confirmation hearing for
President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland,
was unconstitutional—a gross violation of the supreme law of
the land with no consequences, accountability or punishment.

A threat, dangerous as al Qaeda, is bringing down America’s democracy.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, when asked why new gun laws are not being considered in the Senate, replied, “We do, in fact, await word from the White House about what the president is willing to sign.”

The purpose of the Senate is NOT to pass laws by the notion of what the president will sign, as McConnell has consistently held up as the standard which guides him, which is actually a tactic to deflect blame.  No one elected to Congress should sit still for the rule and policy empowering McConnell, which relegates either house as a rubber stamp for “anticipated” executive approval!  It is unconscionable, in any case, that any one member of the Senate should have the power, by rule, not by the Constitution, to determine what bills passed by the House will be permitted to be debated in committee as the first step in bringing bills to the Senate floor for debate and vote.  It is a direct short-circuit of democracy, making moot the voices and votes of both the people and their elected representatives.

McConnell uses the president as an excuse to block legislation he opposes, as well as constitutionally-mandated confirmations of presidential appointments, as was the case when McConnell trashed the Constitution by denying President Obama’s Supreme-Court nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing, while Obama still had nearly a year left in office!  Today, it is the House’s bipartisan, gun-purchase, background-check law, legislation McConnell is highly paid by the NRA to block.

The rule permitting this constitutional, democratic abuse should be abolished or brought before the courts for injunctive relief, and elected officials should be pressed hard by voters and the media as to why such destructive and undemocratic rules and procedures are allowed to exist, bestowing that much power to a senator representing the voters of only one state and .05 percent of the Senate.  The purpose of the Senate is to create law in conjunction with the House on issues important to Americans who elect senators to office, regardless of what the president may think, because the process puts accountability upon both the members of Congress and the president to take a position on issues so important that framing them within law is being considered, and to perhaps cause passage by the weight of public demand and congressional accord overriding opposing considerations of special interest.

With this “firewall” tactic, both the majority party in Congress and the president evade issues without accountability, blaming either the other party, or the majority leader and the president pointing at each other.  And accountability has been sorely lacking in Congress for far too long, in large part, because of deeply abusive rules which place such power to block law in the hands of the majority, political-party leader of the Senate.

On this day, 18 years ago, Osama bin Laden and his terrorist organization, al Qaeda, engineered and carried out the most destructive attack, designed to destroy America’s economy and democracy, since Japan attacked Pearl Harbor at the onset of America’s entry into WWII.  The U.S. Senate and Mitch McConnell, with their one-person, gate-keeper rule, have surpassed bin Laden’s efforts to harm the nation, and that harm continues and deepens with every day it is permitted to continue.

Malcolm L. KantzlerSeptember 11, 2019

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The Roots of Our Political Contempt

Arthur Brooks writes about political contempt in his recent NYT op-ed, “Our Culture of Contempt.”  But America’s government, particularly its component of elected officials, as self-serving, career operatives within their self-serving parties, has earned the contempt of the American people.  And Mr. Brooks doesn’t mention the overriding behavior of those officials in creating that contempt, stretching back as far as most people alive in America can remember.  But, let’s say beginning with the Vietnam war, Pentagon Papers and the Westmoreland/McNamara/Johnson/Nixon conspiracy of lies that expanded and prolonged it, with more than 58,000 U.S. dead;

then, Nixon and the crimes and lies of Watergate, and Ford with the pardon which followed;

and then, Reagan, and his crimes and lies of Iran–Contra;

then Clinton, and the lies and abuse of the intern Monica Lewinsky, and the Republican politicizing of it;

and Bush/Cheney, more than 4,500 U.S. soldiers, dead, and $trillions spent on the lie of WMD in Iraq, and the needless nation-building;

then, the plunge, a Wall Street and banking criminal conspiracy of greed and profit, bringing down the U.S. and global economies, the loss of jobs, homes, educations, retirements, savings, and futures for millions of Americans—The Great Recession, where only one large investment firm fell, its board still walking away millionaires, followed by a government bailout that restored the system but enriched the perpetrators, with criminal or financial accountability for none.  And Republicans today are dismantling regulatory protections intended to prevent a recurrence;

then came Obama, and a Republican Congress gone traitor, its Senate leader, Mitch McConnell and the GOP caucus that supported him vowing to make Obama’s failure his life’s mission, when that failure meant America’s failure;

then that GOP caucus supported McConnell when he urinated on the Constitution and denied a hearing to Obama’s Supreme Court nominee—the crown jewel of a vowed obstructionist law-breaker and his Republican Senate;

and then, shaking the cracked foundation of another empire, slipping, echoing the history of the myopic, introverted and distanced populaces of arrogant human civilizations, comes a destroying savior, Trump:  vulgar, ignorant, con artist, egomaniac, narcissist, misogynist, psychopath, liar incarnate—bitterly opposed, especially by Republican leaders, until he won, marking the beginning of the great GOP hypocrisy, as they found his praise and enabled his every bad move and word, further eviscerating democracy for their beleaguering agenda;

then, and now, a Republican Congress which values the ratings and campaign contributions of a short-sighted, tunnel-visioned, non-profit, gun-lobby association over the lives of children, teachers and the public at large, all of whom it repeatedly allows to be senselessly and brutally massacred, rather than putting common-sense acquisition procedures in place and banning, completely, those distinct weapons which maximize kill density, give no chance for defense and should only exist on the battlefields of war;

then, rather than select a conservative who has a civil character and background, Republicans spit in the faces of all women by putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court—the best they could do, a man who lied in his confirmation testimony, has a history of, at best, irresponsible behavior, who displayed temperament undeniably unfit for the bench, and they short-circuited the investigation into the credible claims of sex abuse against him.  But no surprise, since Republicans have, in Trump’s term, eroded judicial independence and confirmed to circuit courts, by partisan vote, at least two judges who were rated unsatisfactory by the American Bar Association;

and then, by Trump, in the name of the American people and government, the shameful repeating of past, recognized outrages against Japanese-Americans, against Jews by the Nazis in Germany:  the separation of families, children in cages, sexually abused, two recently dead, a purge of cruelty and incompetence and ICE/DHS/Trump administration cover-up, as the court-ordered stop to the practice and for reunifications are ignored and children remain alone with no record of where their parents are;

and then, where profit supersedes considerations of community and safety, the never-ending trashing of the environment, from before Exxon Valdez to the poisoning, chemical-waste dumps to Deepwater Horizon to science-denial censorship of governmental climate reports and rebuke of the Paris accords, and then the thousands upon thousands of deaths, engineered by the never-held-accountable owners/board-rooms of a wide range of companies, from mining to tobacco/e-cig to pharmaceuticals, where government not only does nothing, it aids in the carnage, particularly Republicans with their propaganda-based, “small-government” deregulation.

Where should the naming of government failures and abuses end?  How could a nation not be filled to overflowing, like Trump’s swamp, with the vitriol of contempt for a government and a cowardly, do-nothing Congress that regularly and repeatedly aids and allows such travesties as these, existing only to help itself through its fabricated two-party structure—its constituents, the Constitution, civility and kindred allies all be damned?

The Republican party has never in living memory valued the national interest above its own agenda or hold on power, except under the shotgun barrel of extreme political consequence, and sometimes, not even then, as in the most recent assault of the Kavanaugh confirmation.  So, after the outrage of District Court Judge T. S. Ellis gifting Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, a less-than-four-year sentence for bank and tax fraud, against the prosecutor’s recommendation of 19-24 years, what’s up next to inflame the national contempt?  A Mueller-investigation report that’s buried, whitewashed, brushed aside or trivialized by some abstract or perverse political necessity?  We’ll soon see.

The major flaw with Mr. Brooks’ essay, beyond this great omission at the root of our “contempt,” is that Trump and the Republican party that enables him, that ignores his transgressions, and that hates America’s democracy is deserving of nothing but contempt, just as are those Trump supporters who know what he really is, know his lies flow like the rush of a cold-cracked water main and just don’t care.  And it follows that they must not know he really hasn’t done anything but hurt them—the blue-collar ones, that is.  Or worse, even knowing that, sadly, beyond justified desperation, they accept Trump’s vulgarities of word and act only because they soothe the itch of their hatreds, just as his lies soothe the pain of their unfulfilled hopes.

Why should there be any surprise, as Brooks implies, when both the defective thinking and moral compass of one partner leads to the divorce of the other sane and moral one?  Because, with Trump and the Republicans who support him, and the rest, it’s not just damaged thought process, the moral-code’s been broken, as well.  That should be a bridge too far, especially in politics, where freedom, equality, democracy and the Constitution are all at stake and under attack.  And should not those threats and consequences be reflected in the choice of friends and homebodies?  Of course; they must be.

James Carville and Mary Matalin are an inexplicable fiction, corporeal, as unlikely as Capt. Ahab lobbying endangered-species protection for white whales; yet, there they are.  It can only be that there must be great reward in living within an incessant clash of daunting contrast… skin-to-skin.

But for most people, when there is true evil, especially when exercised daily in government, through the separation of families, the caging and death of children, or the accepting of white supremacy, the murders by a crown prince, or those by a cut-throat dictator whose haircut has also seen the chopping block, or the belittlement of a single disabled person, the ends cannot justify the means, and resistance must not be futile, but must be complete; it must be direct, unyielding, though not best expressed with personal contempt or hate for the ignorant, who know not what they do, regardless how deeply seated.  This opposition is what Trump and the Republicans who enable him and, by so doing, diminish us, demand of us, and it would be contemptuous of our ideals, of our better selves, of our aspirations for better tomorrows to not meet that demand head-on and without reservation.

Carrying contempt and expressing it through resistance is not supposed to “feel good.”  But neither is apathy.  For good people, the good only comes with achieving righteous ends.

Malcolm L. Kantzler ★ Published in memory of my father, Morris H. KantzlerMarch 6, 2019; Revised April 8, 2019

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Assault weapons are killing more citizens in U.S. than ISIS and the
Taliban are killing our soldiers at war = Republican greed/insanity.
It’s past time to declare war on assault rifles and insane GOP laws.

Mass killings in U.S. claim more citizens than our soldiers killed in wars.

The idiocy of Trump (and the gun lobby) is laid bare in Trump’s statements after the mass murder at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh:  “If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him.”

Four police officers who responded to the shooter were wounded!  So, obviously, a guard, armed as they usually are, with a pistol, would have been target one and had no chance—no chance, even if he were armed with an assault rifle and clad in helmet and bullet-proof vest.  And where is the reality of a “soldier” so armed in any place of worship on U.S. soil?  In the Thousand Oaks, California mass shooting, only two weeks later, a deputy sheriff moving on the shooter was killed, and that shooter was armed with only a semi-automatic 45-cal. pistol, but with an illegal (in California) extended clip, proving that bans must be nationwide, no-possession, with no grandfathering.  Trump and gun supporters make it plain that they prefer to see America turned into an armed camp before they will consider the solution of banning the weapons that kill the most people in the shortest time and which make the shooter unapproachable to confront, except by massed police, and only after the damage has already been done.

Trump also made these hard to believe and unimaginable statements, “it’s hard to believe and unimaginable,” and, “We just don’t seem to learn from the past.”

Yes, we “don’t seem to learn,” meaning Trump, Republicans and the gun lobby don’t learn that assault weapons will continue to kill innocent civilians in large numbers, and especially children, as long as they’re available.  And the synagogue shooting is only “hard to believe and unimaginable” to Trump and others of ignorance who are closed-minded to the reality of the circumstances which make America the leading nation in mass shooting tragedy, where in the rest of the world, where assault weapons are banned, these repeatedly occurring, American horrors are rare or non-existent.

Trump’s other solution?:  “We should stiffen up our laws in terms of the death penalty.”  An ostrich would envy trump for how far his head is buried… in the ground.  It has been proven that the death penalty is not a deterrent, and this is a totally reactionary response—not what’s needed for prevention, like the FAA finally reacting to a plane crash and the death of hundreds by enacting NTSB recommendations it ignored from previous crashes or incidents, which has happened many times.

The 1999 murder of 12 young teens at Columbine High School; Colorado, Aurora’s 2012 theater shooting, a six-year old girl and 18-year-old boy among the 12 murdered; and that same year, 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary; February 2018 and another 14 young teens at Stoneman Douglas High School; and eight teens killed at Santa Fe, Texas high school, a toll which would have been two-three times higher if an assault rifle was used, but one was not because one wasn’t owned by the shooter’s father—there was no assault rifle accessible to this shooter, which is the reality that must be made to exist in all circumstances.  One week after the last of 11 killed in the Tree of Life shooting was buried, an 18-year-old coed was among the 12, mostly 20-something victims killed in the Thousand Oaks massacre.  And then, the late July 2019, AK-47 assault-weapon mass killing, at the Gilroy, CA, Garlic Festival, claimed a six-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl, and a 25-year-old college graduate, with many more injured.  That same week, two more AK-47-style weapon mass killings:  in El Paso, TX, 22 back-to-school shoppers, including women and children, were killed in a Walmart, dozens more injured; and the very same day, outside a popular Dayton, OH, night spot, nine were killed and 29 injured, all in about 30 seconds before police killed the shooter, demonstrating the primary reason assault weapons must be banned, the short-duration, high-kill ratio they’re designed to deliver—ON A BATTLEFIELD!  Even police on the scene at the very start cannot prevent a slaughter.  Then, less than month later, tragedy from El Paso moved 285 miles down the road to Odessa, TX, where seven were killed, the youngest, 15 years old, with scores wounded, including a 17-month-old girl, all by a single assault rifle, bought by the assailant in a private sale, this demonstrating why any ownership or sale of these weapons must be completely banned, with strict penalties for violators, including both significant jail and fines.

And this is not to mention those killings where fewer than four were counted, but which collectively add up to one, huge mass murder, like the UNC, at Charlotte, NC shooting, where one student was killed and four others wounded before student Riley Howell charged the shooter, body slamming him, preventing numerous deaths.  But Howell had no chance, and in his charge, taking three bullets from the magazine-loaded semi-automatic pistol, the last to his head, he was also killed.

And like the Highlands Ranch, CO, Middle School, where two shooters killed one student and injured eight others.

All of the children and teenagers are the rarest of singular, lost treasures, but unlike sunken galleons, they can never be recovered, their worth can never be realized, their dreams and those of their families, with them and for them, will never come to pass…

Many of the adults, teachers, who died with the children in all of the school shootings were true heroes, impulsively shielding them as they all faced death. But the loss of the children is so much harsher because they were just beginning to live, on the precipice of beginning to know the meaning of love and life and hope and happiness—that dreams can become futures. And all of that, everything those helpless children had and, now, can never have, was terrifyingly taken from them, and the terrible truth of it is that this savage, unassuageable loss was all for the worth of a six- or seven-pound hunk of metal and plastic, the income from the sales of assault weapons, funneled from NRA dues to campaign contributions, filling the coffers of mostly Republican members of Congress and state houses who, smothered deep in the greed of the NRA pocket, have been blind to and unfeeling of the cost to others who could have been spared, who could have been saved if assault weapons were not a lawfully sanctioned part of a minority slice of American culture.

“They [the Broward County police] should have taken them [weapons] away [from the shooter] anyway, whether they had the right or not.” — Donald Trump, February 2018.

Among all of the thoughtless, careless things Trump has said about assault-weapons since the Stoneman-Douglas school shooting, that statement was the one that most shows how dangerous an authoritarian-wannabe Trump is.  It proves he is so ignorant of America’s history and ideals that he has no sense of or respect for one of democracy’s greatest assets and protections against abuse of power by those in office:  the rule of law.  And for a president of this nation to say that police should ignore it is grounds for removal from office, because police are the top of the list for watch-dogging when it comes to following the rule of law.  Idiots like Trump are second.  But the Santa Fe shooting only proves that banning assault rifles and extended clips is not enough, because legitimate, civil firearms must also be more tightly controlled.

Now, in 2022, after so many mass shootings and deaths following Stoneman-Douglas, it has become no less than ludicrous to hear politicians like Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R), responding to the May 24 mass shooting at the Uvalde, Texas, Robb Elementary School, say these tragic, mass shootings of school children are “unexpected,” and hear their answers, which are anything and everything under the sun, other than fewer guns and no weapons of war—their consolations are a cutting, morbid hypocrisy.

Without regulation, proven to be effective internationally and in the U.S., to ban assault weapons of war and provide sensible controls on access to other weapons, mass shootings are only a matter of “when,” not “if.”

But now, it has gotten to the point where the blame for child deaths, en masse, is not only on Republicans and feign Democrats, like Joe Manchin, but is squarely on those who either vote Republicans into office or who do not vote when their vote for Democrats would bring needed change, because it has been clear for some time that Republicans are not serving either the people or the demands of their oaths of office, across a wide spectrum of issues, and that they will continue to not do so and will allow the other big lie, of the 2nd Amendment being a guarantee of private-gun ownership, and the attendant slaughter precipitated by that lie to continue.  The 19 kids at Texas’s Robb Elementary, whose murders were facilitated by Republicans, their supporters, and non-voters, pictured below with two of their teachers, were only 10 years old.

Another 19, innocent, young lives, and their teachers, added to the
hundreds cut short by willful, murderous, Republican negligence.

Vote Republican?  Don’t vote?  Look in the mirror, look hard, and make no mistake, children’s blood is also a shameful, indelible stain upon your hands.

Apart from the voting booth, the confrontations that have been made with lawmakers and NRA spokespersons since the Parkland and Santa Fe, and now, following the Robb Elementary shootings, are all missing the point.  Forget about background-check, age-limit changes and mental health.  Those are not the problems, though they are rational steps to control possession of firearms in a nation where new regulations to fly a drone are more cumbersome.  And even if the age for buying any gun is raised to 21, and universal background checks is enacted, including private sales and gun shows, and even if every possible mental-health threat is stripped of weapons and institutionalized, despite all of that, if assault weapons are legally in possession, in any form, by anyone, mass shootings with them will continue and with perps of all age groups, as in the past.

The question to ask of these “anything is legal” NRA types and in-pocket lawmakers is, “What justification is there in civilized, civilian society for anyone to own a rapid-fire, high-power, large-capacity, military-style assault weapon?”  It would be illegal to hunt with them in most jurisdictions, unsportsmanlike in any, and they are overkill and ungainly for no-notice self-defense use; so, what justification?  The answer is “none,” and therefore, they should be banned (and/or all ammunition loads they accept), because all they’re good for is killing a lot of people in a short time, and as long as they’re available, from any source, even if sales are outlawed but existing weapons are grandfathered, then those weapons will be the ones that are again used to mass-murder children.

The 2nd Amendment doesn’t provide any rights to anyone to own any kind of weapon.  All rights are subject to limitation based upon the public welfare, and the truth is that the 2nd Amendment has been hijacked by the NRA and Republicans, much as then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hijacked President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, and as the Supreme Court hijacked the 1st Amendment when it ruled money equals speech and corporations have the rights of men, because when the 2nd Amendment was written, its purpose was stated in the preamble:  “a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”  In those days, the “early warning” of an attack from possible European enemies would be the masts of the ships appearing over the horizon, then raising the alarm for men to grab their long rifles and assemble in the square.  The prohibition against infringement was predicated upon a “necessary, well-regulated militia,” meaning that even back then, the conditions and use of firearms within the militia were mandated to be controlled—“well regulated.”

Today, there is a full-time military, and a militia, embodied by the able-bodied men in the cities and villages, no longer exists and it is not “necessary” or relevant to the security of the nation.  The clause prohibiting infringement is unbreakably tied to the predicate, stating the need for a security protocol which no longer exists; so constitutionally, the proclaimed right against infringement no longer has the basis of need mandated by the 2nd Amendment for its existence; that “right to keep and bear arms,” claimed by the NRA and Republicans, is a protection which passed into history along with the circumstances which, then, required it—it is, today, a fiction.  Today (or even in 1791), without a militia, the “right” to keep and bear arms is more properly vested within the 9th or 10th Amendments, as natively existing, but nonetheless subject to limitation or exclusion by the powers enumerated in Article I.  In short, the Republican and NRA claims of a constitutional basis for gun-rights are a fundamental, obvious, and intentional misinterpretation of the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment.

Don’t let the NRA and its Republican lawmakers deflect with their lesser, meaningless measures.  The answer to a gun problem which is unique to America is fewer guns, not more, is to do what most of the rest of the civilized world has done:  make the active military the only place where assault weapons are to be found.  Assault weapons are not needed or even desirable for defense or hunting; they are just grown boys’ shoot-‘em-up toys and mass-murderers’ weapons of choice.  Children must not continue to die for the sake of grown boys’ toys.  Grown men, being responsible and knowing the terrible cost of just the existence of assault weapons in civilian society, wouldn’t own one.

The worth of the words of sympathy and prayers offered from those “lawmakers,” so complicit by their inaction for so long through this wretched chain of tragedy, is as impossible to measure for its hypocritical insignificance as it is to know the value of the shared loves that will never again be felt and the accomplishments that will never be seen of those who, beneath the dollar-clenching greed of Republican hands, are now forever dead and gone.

If Democrats are voted into the Senate majority in 2022, assault weapons of war which have claimed the lives of so many and allow no opportunity to confront a mass murderer can be outlawed, telling the world that the cruel and insane Republican gun culture of a small minority does not represent America.

★ ★ ★

Full Disclosure — I own two firearms:  a lever-action rifle chambered for .44 Magnum, and a .38 single-action revolver.  I would never wish to surrender ownership of them to any government mandate; nevertheless, I strongly support a complete ban, without grand-fathering, on all auto/semi-automatic rifles, bump stocks or any accessory or modification facilitating increased rate of fire; extended magazines of any kind, for pistol or rifle; any unlicensed manufacture of 3D-printed firearms; complete background checks on all sales; red-flag laws; denial of firearms sale to or possession by anyone on any terrorist-watch or no-fly list, or to anyone with a history of domestic violence who has not undergone anger-management, psychological evaluation, and certified assessment of ability to maintain permanent repression of violent tendencies, or anyone clinically diagnosed as mentally unstable.  And, these safeguards for public safety should be federally mandated for all states, with imprisonment and fines sufficiently severe to deter even an unreasonable person from risking a violation.

Malcolm L. KantzlerFebruary 26, 2018; Revised September 3, 2019

American College of Physicians
Position Paper on Firearms Injuries and Deaths in the U.S.

published October 30, 2018 in the
Annals of Internal Medicine

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The Republican party of today has nothing in common with the
Republican president whose picture Obama holds in his hand.

The Republican party of today must die if America is to live.

The Republican party of today has nothing in common with Eisenhower, or even Reagan, and especially not the Republican president whose picture Obama holds in his hand, whose boots Trump is unworthy to shine.

The Republican party of today is the party of oligarchs, racists, hypocrites, fascists, sexual abusers, pedophiles, religious extremists, science deniers and oath breakers.  It has proven this by its agenda, by its lies and propaganda, by those who wear those labels who it has supported and who it has failed to denounce, and by its turn away from democracy, the Constitution, its separation of powers and rule of law in favor of the rule of Trump and the self-serving purposes of its agenda, including voter suppression, rigged voting districts, promotion of the wealth and health of the few over the protection and safety of all through the elimination of regulation and inequality of taxing.

The Republican party of today invokes propaganda, deflection of blame, blatant lies and, mostly, fear to sway voters, claiming non-existent threats, proven false, like that it will protect those with preexisting conditions, and most ludicrously, that those threats are “promoted” by Democrats, the party that brought affordable health care to so many for the first time over the vicious opposition of Republicans.

While both parties have failed by looking to their own self-interests over those of their constituents and the democratic system, it is the Republican party of today which most represents the Founders’ worst fear of a degenerate two-party political system come true.

The Republican party of today is the antithesis of everything the Greatest Generation fought and died for in WWII.

The Republican party of today is more damaging to America’s heritage and values than any foreign foe, bringing to life “Father of the Constitution” Madison’s warning that the greatest threat to American freedom and democracy would come from within.

The Republican party of today must be made into the party of the past in the coming mid-term election, and the next, and the next…

The Republican party of today must die if America is to live.

It’s time to really drain the swamp!

There’s an election in 20 months and, if Democrats are voted into the White House and the majority of the House and Senate, assault weapons of war which have claimed the lives of so many children and allow no opportunity to confront a mass murderer can be outlawed, and Trump can be checked, preventing further damage to the nation.  And through legislation, some of the financial and environmental safeguards Trump and Republicans have removed can be restored, as well as telling the world that the cruel and insane Republican gun culture of a small minority does not represent America, that family separation and caging of children does not represent us, that Trump was not elected by us—that none of these stand for America.

Some of the items in this list require constitutional amendment, but all have been listed because Republican abuse has shown them to be necessary to shore-up oversights and weaknesses in our Founders’ legacy:  the democratic system defined by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Strong Democratic control of the government will allow them to:

• Replace Republicans who put party over country by refusing to act when Trump fired the FBI director, admitting, as circumstances support, it was because of the Russia investigation, which Trump obstructed, and for which the director had just requested additional resources.

• Pass law prohibiting any president from ordering Dept. of Justice (DOJ) investigation or issuance of indictments against any DOJ agent/s investigations of executive-branch campaign or operational activities unless such order is confirmed by two-thirds majority of U.S. Senate.

• Pass law prohibiting the U.S. Senate and House from creating procedural rules which are contrary to constitutional procedure, and specifically from blocking Senate debate and vote on Article II, Section 2 confirmations of nominees to high offices, and the 60-vote rule.

• Amend the Constitution, Article II, Section 2, to specify that any president who (or is a party to any activity which) is under investigation for crimes and/or misdemeanors, shall be prohibited from naming nominees or making appointments or granting pardons or reprieves under the Article until such time as the issues in question are adjudicated and the president found free of wrong-doing; that nominations be temporarily made to critical posts by a committee consisting of the Majority and Minority leaders of the Senate and the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House and confirmed as specified within the Article (the intent being that an even number will force the nomination of a centrist candidate).

• The judicial system must be free of any presence or manner of political influence, public, private or governmental, its judges, clerks and academia professors untainted by the objectives of politically motivated organizations or programs and shielded from their influences.  The education and mentoring of law students, law-school graduates and clerks must by law be defined to only be engaged with by non-partisan organizations with purposes strictly confined to the letter and rule of law and the equal administration of justice in compliance with the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and issues related to their interpretation according to precedent, transcriptional judicial opinion and the nation’s founding documents.

• Pass legislation requiring the president to provide appropriate military transport for congressional oversight trips, on congressional schedules, into all areas where U.S. troops are deployed in conflict as participants or advisers.

• Complete a FULL investigation into Brett Kavanaugh to determine not only if he committed sexual assault, but also if he perjured himself about his past in his confirmation hearings and to remove him if the full investigation provides appropriate evidence.

• Pass law prohibiting executive branch restrictions to or prohibition of medical research or federal funding thereof.

• Reverse Trump’s cutting funds for fighting pandemics; mandate improved vaccine-production capacity, and designate an authority to lead the groundwork in coordinating national, state and international resources to contain and end outbreaks.

• Mandate congressional authorization (reinforcing constitutional requirement) for any military deployment or non-defense combat engagement, and blocking unauthorized military aggression.

• End all military assistance to Saudi Arabia, alongside Syria, the most repressive regime in the Mid East, even Iran, where there are elections, despite with restricted candidates—there is a choice of moderate vs. extreme; and reevaluate military sales to the country.

• Pass law to return funds Republicans took from Social Security trust fund, permanently, significantly increase the cap on contributions to pay for it; prohibit combining Social Security Administration with other agencies.

• Block federal possession of voter records and any executive action adversely affecting voting rights or procedures.

• Pass legislation establishing a no-first-use prohibition on the president ordering the launch of nuclear weapons.

• Replace those in Congress, insensitive to the shooting deaths of 20 1st-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary (among many attacks) and ban assault weapons, bump stocks, extended clips, sales to no-fly listed, and require universal background checks.

• Pass law requiring presidents to reveal their tax returns.

• Pass law prohibiting conflicts of interest and requiring presidents to divest holdings.

• Impose limitations on paid executive and family travel/protection between residences and other destinations.

• Replace impotent nepotism rules with laws prohibiting nepotism without minimum qualifications, experience and independent oversight.

• Impeach Trump, as evidence of crimes, treason or insanity/unstable psychology has appeared.

• Reverse Republican removal/reduction of health-care coverage and instead, improving it with single-payer.

• Repeal law prohibiting Medicare from negotiating drug prices.

• Pass laws prohibiting the blocking or omission of science data from government reports and electronic or print publications.

• Reverse Trump’s withdrawal from Paris accords and elimination/weakening of environmental protections.

• Reverse decades of Republican consolidation of media, expanding the venues of thought and discourse, reducing media political bias and control while increasing competition for lower prices and greater consumer choice.

• Reverse cuts to public education made by DeVos/Trump in favor of private and charter schools and reinstate regulations on predatory for-profit colleges; prohibit combining Education Department with other agencies.

• Restore strong net-neutrality rules, protecting internet access and consumer media choice.

• Prevent cuts in funding to the arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

• Reverse Trump’s indiscriminate, family-separating, citizen-involved deportations, pass immigration reform.

• Reverse Trump’s elimination/weakening of financial consumer-protection regulations.

• Pass law prohibiting sale of U.S. companies which have, or have ever applied for, defense contracts, and media companies, to foreign nationals or companies.

• Pass law prohibiting U.S. companies from engaging in foreign business where forced-technology transfer is required and from sale/license of technology to any foreign entity not of a country that is a member of active international defense organizations to which the U.S. belongs.

• Pass law establishing a cyber-defense commission consisting of chief technical officers of leading cyber-tech companies whose purpose is to coordinate assets and operations with Dept. of Defense efforts in cyber-warfare defensive and offensive strategies and capabilities.

• Reverse Republican tax-reform changes benefiting the wealthy/corporations and increasing inequality.

• Reverse Citizens United’s ruling bestowing voter status to corporations.

• Pass law prohibiting gerrymandering and to set non-partisan standards for drawing of state voting districts.

• Reverse DOJ actions impeding or reversing protections against vote suppression.

• Reverse DOJ actions impeding or reversing programs for police oversight.

• Reinstate participatory separation of church and state.

• Make permanent the ban against importing hunting trophies of endangered species.

• Pass law prohibiting federal military parades.

• Much more…

Votes must come for change to follow.

Elections have consequences—every vote matters.  Please resolve to vote and discuss it with your families, friends and neighbors.

Malcolm L. KantzlerJune 12, 2018; Revised October 27, 2018

You may repost any essay on this site if you credit by posting the URL:

Trump’s no pig in a poke.

He was portrayed as “someone who blamed others for his constant failures, who thought that he was smarter than everyone else, who craved attention…” and it wasn’t Trump.  Circuit Court Judge Tim Duket, in the Marinette County, Wisconsin courtroom, was speaking of Scott Johnson when he sentenced him to three life terms without parole for the murder of three teenagers he shot to death at an idyllic swimming hole, attempted murder for shots fired at several more people, and sexual assault.  Johnson’s story reveals additional characteristics tied to sociopathic behavior, and the judge’s words could have been directed at Trump; it shows how dangerous a person with sociopathic traits can become if they don’t have other distractions and outlets and the means and circumstances to get away with abuse of others.

It is impossible to say if Trump, removed from his wealth and the varied opportunities it has provided him to vent his abuse on wives, children, prostitutes, employees, customers, reality-show and pageant contestants, would have snapped and turned to the ultimate abuse of murder, as Johnson did.  But it is hardly out of the question because he has already been accused of brutal rape by his former wife, Ivana, and murder has already crossed Trump’s mind, when before thousands of people and cameras at an Iowa campaign rally, he actually said, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters.”  Why would such an example come to his mind if not for a severe psychopathy?

Trump’s ignorance and egomania prompted him, as a U.S. president, to compare himself, superlatively, to Abraham Lincoln, the president most revered for the unassailable moral integrity of his character, and to claim that near 3,000 hurricane deaths in Puerto Rico represent an “unsung, incredible success” by him in meeting the federal obligation to that emergency.  But Trump had demonstrated many times (and continues to) through many aspects of his personal, business, and political lives that he is a man drenched of decidedly defective character, a man who has no qualms at all about fatherhood by proxy of money, none about sexually objectifying and publicly expressing lust for his daughter, or physically and verbally assaulting women, or insulting anyone, be they women, Gold Star families, POWs, the handicapped, sexual-assault survivors or leaders in government—ours or of any nation… except Russia.  Russia, proven beyond any doubt to have attacked America’s democratic system, and is continuing to do so; yet, Trump does nothing to uphold his oath and primary responsibility as president to defend the nation and its Constitution against all threats—an impeachable offense on its own.

But Republicans in Congress instead enable him.

His Boy Scout speech brought to mind Hitler youth.  He brags about ripping off financially struggling contractors because loophole laws paid for by and serving the wealthy made it “legal,” just as other useful loopholes allow him and others of extraordinary wealth to escape taxes, Trump claiming his accountant’s smarts as his own for avoiding the obligation (met by all those who are far removed from his financial level) over stretches of years.  He has defrauded students who sacrificed, expecting to be able to advance themselves, not Trump’s ill-gotten gains, and for use of his golf facilities, he overcharged charitable, fund-raising events for children with cancer.  He twice revealed classified information:  to Russia and the less-than-friendly, China-leaning president of the Philippines, and he abused the power of his office to attempt influencing an FBI investigation, and failing, fired the director.

Trump undermines democracy by promoting fear through lies and conspiracy theories, like the “Deep State,” and he berates the judicial branch, the press and, by association, American democracy’s most important safeguards:  the Constitution’s checks and balances and First Amendment.  He exalts authoritarian despots while defiling America’s closest allies and mainstay alliances defending democracies, defending the murder of a Washington Post journalist by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia (ruling one of most dictatorial regimes in the Middle East) by deflecting blame to unknown “rogue killers,” and finally, weighing against his inflated value of and immoral priority for Saudi defense contracts—no mention of his business dealings, totaling more than $40 million.

The “great deal-maker/negotiator” again resorted to his principle tool, for diplomacy:  bullying, turning a treaty obligation, the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), into blackmail leverage against Canada and Mexico, there, insisting on payment for the wall, resulting in Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceling a planned White-House visit, Trump spokespersons calling it a “postponement;” for America:  promising to shut down the government if his wall isn’t funded—a costly border measure all experts say is unnecessary, its objectives better met with technologies, far more affordable.  His strong-arm threats most recently aimed at Canada, insulting our strongest ally by claiming it to be a “national-security threat” in his justification for imposing tariffs which all objective experts agree will harm America more than help.  And both internationally and at home he displays undeniable religious discrimination and racism which has resulted in respective federal-court injunctions, state legal entanglements and settlements, and most recently, international outrage, as well as demoralization of the U.S. diplomatic corps and career-officer resignations.  He curses in public like a pimp and lies like the corrupt politician and con artist he is, taking it to never-before attained levels of incredulous blatancy.

And, as he did in his own, 2016 election, Trump attempted to undermine confidence in the 2018 mid-term election results (and the process) by making, and encouraging other Republicans to make repeated, false claims of fraud.  Now, Trump has already intimated that his defeat in the 2020 election would be questionable and that it could incite violence.  Most recently, in a Breitbart News interview, published on March 13, 2019, Trump tied the House investigations into his administration (administration investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller has already seen 34 indictments, convictions and guilty pleas) to his supporters, implying that the investigations, or perhaps his loss in the 2020 election could provoke them:  “the police, military, Bikers for Trump… I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough—until they [House Democrats, liberals or anti-Trump incidents] go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad…”  The causative factors are veiled, but the intentional, open threat of violence by a sitting U.S. president, in what could easily be interpreted as a coded message by the most extreme among his supporters, is undeniable… and deplorable.

Further, threatening democracy with totalitarianism, Trump has said he will block asylum claims, a violation of U.S. and international laws, and rather than uphold law, he has ignored court orders to end family separations, reunite families, and to process claims for student-debt relief against fraudulent, private “universities.”  And Trump has threatened use of executive order to repeal the citizenship rights in the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, when only an Amendment, as prescribed in the Constitution, can alter the rights it guarantees, making it clear that he believes he is above the law (even as he stands an unindicted co-conspirator in federal campaign-finance crime).

Yet, Republicans in Congress still enable Trump, and there remains question if, when evidence of crimes is presented, they will also defy the Constitution.

The Founders created the Declaration, Constitution and the Bill of Rights to celebrate the diversity that would be encouraged and nurtured by their “experiment,” defining the dignity and respect which must be the values common to all people in a peaceful, prospering society, and which set forth the basic ideals, rights and protections guaranteeing a common individuality for all, under law and the same flag.  America’s system was established in compromise with the aspiration of striving for perfection within the framework of critical values, beyond dignity and respect:  rule of law, equality under the law, respect for differing viewpoints and dissent, and embracing truth.

Trump supporters, including evangelicals and elected Republican-party officials, have traded these values (and their own) for agenda and policy goals.  They should take a hard look, with common sense, at Trump’s many “all or nothing” arguments and lies, as he instigates separation from the law and the ideals defining our democracy, and tears at our many commonalities.  They’ll see themselves mirrored in the “liberal mob” he defines, which accounts for more than half of the U.S. population, from which he places them above and apart.  And they’ll see they’re also reflected in the immigrants who try to become part of us—we who are so fortunate to be the inheritors of this “experiment,” for which so many of our ancestors have sacrificed and died—another common heritage we all share—but who diminish that fortune when falling-in behind Trump’s discarding of the values defining civility and America, that make it a world beacon, or when these and the basic virtues of our framework of governance are subordinated by policy goals and, following the release of Special Counsel Mueller’s damning report, threatened by Trump’s outright defiance of the law and the constitutional obligations of congressional oversight and separation of powers.  No policy or agenda justifies sacrificing our essential, national soul.

Trump has consistently displayed all the traits of a narcissistic, egomaniacal, misogynistic, serial-liar authoritarian—all the makings of an irretrievable sociopath.  And everyone, including… no, especially his core supporters, as well as those who just hate Hillary and those who would not recognize the concept validity of “the lesser of two evils” and didn’t vote, all of them knew most of this about Trump before they voted for him, either via ballot or refrain.

So did Republicans in Congress, and with abominable selfishness and irretrievable hypocrisy they still enable him.

What does that say about them?  The Republicans?  The Trump voters?  About America?

It is safe to say that there are the “deplorables” Clinton itemized in her speech coining the term.  But the majority of those who made Trump head of state (NOT leader, that must be earned) did so out of sheer anger, frustration and/or desperation; so, Trump really represents all that is wrong with American government and society, all that has ravaged the middle class, transferring jobs and wealth to the third and developing worlds for the sake of greater corporate profits (corporations blaming globalism and illegal immigrants), leaving in the wake a despicable, obscene inequality of economics and opportunity for all except the wealthy and the powerful, to whom the Republican party bows allegiance, as a client, willingly seeding its agenda with depleted health-care plans, savagely reduced funds for health services, with resultant, increased sickness and death; lost meals for school kids and the elderly and in-suspense healthcare for all kids; cleaved public education, left bare of humanities and arts; and now, a reverse-Robin-Hood tax gift to the wealthy and corporations, with temporary appeasement scraps to what’s left of the middle class—all of it representing an interminable list of attacks against civilized attributes and ambitions across the national and international landscapes, while the wealthy get the fruits of that agenda:  hundreds of $billions in defense contracts and another steep tax break, with the cost of more than one $trillion added to the already crushing debt, dumped on future generations as Republicans try to sell the cruel, blatant lie of it “paying for itself” through the propaganda fantasy of trickle-down “growth,” the only real trickle-down being the metaphorical golden shower which Trump, McConnell, Ryan, Mnuchin and the rest of the GOP are spraying all over most Americans, including those not wealthy who voted for Trump!

The con was laid naked by Trump’s pathetic appointments to most of his cabinet seats, and his total disregard of either qualifications or experience with nepotistic filling of top-level advisory posts, most of whom are gone, in the highest turnover in history, a key business marker of failed management.  And then, his fancy executive orders and memo signings confirm it, while his social media and clumsily delivered teleprompter speeches and Boy Scout speech continue to spout the lies of his hijacked populist and democratic propaganda and his grandiose, fetid lies of feathered accomplishments.  The vice president’s most important job has become to inflate Trump’s ego by making lengthy, fluffed-praise introductions to the Rose Garden and White House ceremonial rooms, where President Obama and most others before him would just appear, or someone would say, “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.”  Now, it’s got to be a drawn-out “Hail Trump” prologue before the Orange will show to crow.

Trump also represents the “me first” and “I want it now” consumerism, so rampantly embedded in corporate advertising, which infects sociability, courtesy, generosity, all the things to which Trump is the antithesis and which he is now peddling in his con, which is sooo apparent, falling like dandruff from beneath his bulbous, red, “Make America Great Again” hat onto the broad foreboding of his shadow.  He has a carrot suspended in front of the donkey as it pulls his cart of pernicious political and civic sewage over a bridge that’s collapsed in the middle.

How could people, even desperate ones, expect that a man so deeply flawed as Trump, so obviously the liar and bearer of compassionless sociopathic traits that he is, would be capable of anything good or would be able to comprehend, let alone shoulder the weight of their hope?

Why do they and Republicans in Congress not recognize the absolute need for a president of this nation to be all the things Trump is not:  a person of morals, strength, honor, of social commitment, to be ethical, courteous, thoughtful, learned, cooperative and compassionate… a gentleman?  Or lady?

They know that if you make a casserole with spoiled meat, rotten vegetables and moldy cheese that it will taste bad and sicken all who eat it.  They know that damaged or virus software wrecks the computer.  They’ve heard the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out.”  With Trump, why on Earth would they expect lead to turn into gold?  Just because he plasters it on everything he owns?

Why enough people to prove the Electoral College is a dated artifact that must be abolished voted for Trump (but 3-million-plus fewer than voted for Hillary) is likely the question of our age, because in light of Trump’s profane character, and the embarrassingly narrow defeat (by only a slim 1.5 percent) of the equally distasteful Roy Moore in Alabama’s special election for U.S. Senate (who never would have been a candidate if not for Trump’s and the endorsing Republican party’s shattering of all standards of decency in politics) none of the answers that immediately come to mind are flattering for America or its people.

But Moore’s narrow loss, followed by Democrat Conor Lamb’s narrow, congressional special-election victory in Pennsylvania’s nearly two-decade-long, Republican-safe 18th District (which Trump carried by 20 points), gives real hope that good people are beginning to understand the very real perils of non-participation in the political process, and that the mid-term election in November may take legislative government (and constitutional watchdog obligation) back from Republicans who have enabled the hateful travesty of Trump’s agenda, and remove the stain of his reprehensible character, and the Republican party’s complicity with it, restoring America’s image, world standing and leadership to solve the serious problems which can only be confronted through truth, international cooperation and commitment, not lies, antagonism, ridicule and uninformed impulsiveness.

It’s time to really drain the swamp!

There’s an election in 15 months and, if Democrats are voted into the White House and the majority of the House and Senate, assault weapons of war which have claimed the lives of so many children and allow no opportunity to confront a mass murderer can be outlawed, and Trump can be checked, preventing further damage to the nation.  And through legislation, some of the financial and environmental safeguards Trump and Republicans have removed can be restored, as well as telling the world that the cruel and insane Republican gun culture of a small minority does not represent America, that family separation and caging of children does not represent us, that Trump was not elected by us—that none of these stand for America.

Some of the items in this list require constitutional amendment, but all have been listed because Republican abuse has shown them to be necessary to shore-up oversights and weaknesses in our Founders’ legacy:  the democratic system defined by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Strong Democratic control of the government will allow them to:

• Replace Republicans who put party over country by refusing to act when Trump fired the FBI director, admitting, as circumstances support, it was because of the Russia investigation, which Trump obstructed, and for which the director had just requested additional resources.

• Pass law prohibiting any president from ordering Dept. of Justice (DOJ) investigation or issuance of indictments against any DOJ agent/s investigations of executive-branch campaign or operational activities unless such order is confirmed by two-thirds majority of U.S. Senate.

• Pass law prohibiting the U.S. Senate and House from creating procedural rules which are contrary to constitutional procedure, and specifically from blocking Senate debate and vote on Article II, Section 2 confirmations of nominees to high offices, and the 60-vote rule.

• Amend the Constitution, Article II, Section 2, to specify that any president who (or is a party to any activity which) is under investigation for crimes and/or misdemeanors, shall be prohibited from naming nominees or making appointments or granting pardons or reprieves under the Article until such time as the issues in question are adjudicated and the president found free of wrong-doing; that nominations be temporarily made to critical posts by a committee consisting of the Majority and Minority leaders of the Senate and the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House and confirmed as specified within the Article (the intent being that an even number will force the nomination of a centrist candidate).

• Pass legislation amending all “Emergency Powers” authorizations to define minimal requirements for declaration of an “emergency” and limiting the time such declarations shall be in effect and amount of funding which can be applied and the sources from which funds may be accessed, requiring an act of Congress to extend the time and funding of declarations beyond the limits established in the legislation.

• The judicial system must be free of any presence or manner of political influence, public, private or governmental, its judges, clerks and academia professors untainted by the objectives of politically motivated organizations or programs and shielded from their influences.  The education and mentoring of law students, law-school graduates and clerks must by law be defined to only be engaged with by non-partisan organizations with purposes strictly confined to the letter and rule of law and the equal administration of justice in compliance with the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and issues related to their interpretation according to precedent, transcriptional judicial opinion and the nation’s founding documents.

• Pass legislation requiring the president to provide appropriate military transport for congressional oversight trips, on congressional schedules, into all areas where U.S. troops are deployed in conflict as participants or advisers.

• Complete a FULL investigation into Brett Kavanaugh to determine not only if he committed sexual assault, but also if he perjured himself about his past in his confirmation hearings and to remove him if the full investigation provides appropriate evidence.

• Reverse Trump’s cutting funds for fighting pandemics; mandate improved vaccine-production capacity, and designate an authority to lead the groundwork in coordinating national, state and international resources to contain and end outbreaks.

• Mandate congressional authorization (reinforcing constitutional requirement) for any military deployment or non-defense combat engagement, and blocking unauthorized military aggression.

• End all military assistance to Saudi Arabia, alongside Syria, the most repressive regime in the Mid East, even Iran, where there are elections, despite with restricted candidates—there is a choice of moderate vs. extreme; and reevaluate military sales to the country.

• Pass law to return funds Republicans took from Social Security trust fund, permanently, significantly increase the cap on contributions to pay for it; prohibit combining Social Security Administration with other agencies.

• Block federal possession of voter records and any executive action adversely affecting voting rights or procedures.

• Pass legislation establishing a no-first-use prohibition on the president ordering the launch of nuclear weapons.

• Replace those in Congress, insensitive to the shooting deaths of 20 1st-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary (among many attacks) and ban assault weapons, bump stocks, extended clips, sales to no-fly listed, and require universal background checks.

• Pass law requiring presidents to reveal their tax returns.

• Pass law prohibiting conflicts of interest and requiring presidents to divest holdings.

• Impose limitations on paid executive and family travel/protection between residences and other destinations.

• Replace impotent nepotism rules with laws prohibiting nepotism without minimum qualifications, experience and independent oversight.

• Impeach Trump, as evidence of crimes, treason or insanity/unstable psychology has appeared.

• Reverse Republican removal/reduction of health-care coverage and instead, improving it with single-payer.

• Repeal law prohibiting Medicare from negotiating drug prices.

• Pass laws prohibiting the blocking or omission of science data from government reports and electronic or print publications.

• Reverse Trump’s withdrawal from Paris accords and elimination/weakening of environmental protections.

• Reverse decades of Republican consolidation of media, expanding the venues of thought and discourse, reducing media political bias and control while increasing competition for lower prices and greater consumer choice.

• Reverse cuts to public education made by DeVos/Trump in favor of private and charter schools and reinstate regulations on predatory for-profit colleges; prohibit combining Education Department with other agencies.

• Restore strong net-neutrality rules, protecting internet access and consumer media choice.

• Prevent cuts in funding to the arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

• Reverse Trump’s indiscriminate, family-separating, citizen-involved deportations, pass immigration reform.

• Reverse Trump’s elimination/weakening of financial consumer-protection regulations.

• Pass law prohibiting sale of U.S. companies which have, or have ever applied for, defense contracts, and media companies, to foreign nationals or companies.

• Pass law prohibiting U.S. companies from engaging in foreign business where forced-technology transfer is required and from sale/license of technology to any foreign entity not of a country that is a member of active international defense organizations to which the U.S. belongs.

• Pass law establishing a cyber-defense commission consisting of chief technical officers of leading cyber-tech companies whose purpose is to coordinate assets and operations with Dept. of Defense efforts in cyber-warfare defensive and offensive strategies and capabilities.

• Reverse Republican tax-reform changes benefiting the wealthy/corporations and increasing inequality.

• Reverse Citizens United’s ruling bestowing voter status to corporations.

• Pass law prohibiting gerrymandering and to set non-partisan standards for drawing of state voting districts.

• Reverse DOJ actions impeding or reversing protections against vote suppression.

• Reverse DOJ actions impeding or reversing programs for police oversight.

• Reinstate participatory separation of church and state.

• Make permanent the ban against importing hunting trophies of endangered species.

• Pass law prohibiting federal military parades.

• Much more…

Votes must come for change to follow.

Elections have consequences—every vote matters.  Please resolve to vote and discuss it with your families, friends and neighbors.

Malcolm L. KantzlerDecember 15, 2017; Revised June 20, 2019

You may repost any essay on this site if you credit by posting the URL:

Mitch McConnell, the next Senate Majority Leader, celebrates victory, promises to get things done.

The new GOP — a majority of the minority.

The Republicans’ responses to the election are as clouded with misconceptions as the campaign they mounted against Democrats.  Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said the election was “a mandate repudiating Obama policies,” and that “Republican principles were embraced,” themes being parroted across the Republican landscape.

Thom Tillis, who won a narrow 1.68-percent majority over his Democrat opponent for North Carolina’s U.S. Senate seat, went further, to promise “a kill bill on Obamacare [the Affordable Care Act],” and in anticipation of a presidential veto on that, promised obstruction in its implementation.  This was probably the most honest post-election reflection of true GOP intent for its new majority swing.

The least accurate view being touted by Republicans trying to build a perception of broad popular support was, “Voters had their voices heard.”

To the contrary, voter non-turnout in this 2014 mid-term electionelection, the lowest in more than 40 years, decidedly says the new GOP is really a majority of the minority, since most registered voters took a sleeping pill and voted with their backs.  Exit polling shows that most of the few who did turn out are sick and tired of government, inequality, and what they perceive as taking the brunt of the national-debt consequences.  They also rightly perceive that their household incomes have not begun to recover from the Great Recession, let alone profit from both the loss and the recovery as has been the case for the Republican core of wealthy and corporations.  The fact that increasing the minimum wage won in every state in which it was on the ballot is a more accurate reflection of what voters really think about Republican policies, while 48 percent think life will be worse for the next generation, in spite of the election if not as a result of it.

Considering that by taking the mid-term sleeping pills most registered-voter no-shows gave the Senate majority to Republicans who want, in turn, to give control of health care back to insurance companies and medical conglomerates, they empowered a corporate-money party that wants to turn the self-sustaining, treasured safety net of Social Security over to the profiteering hands of the very financiers who destroyed the economy with their arrogance, criminality and greed; they helped the party of science deniers who have stalled and blocked efforts to curb warming and make fracking dangers transparent, thereby endangering the future of subsequent generations for the sake of more profit for the privileged few today; they gave flight to GOP hawks wanting to fight the unrealistic, unwinnable, unending wars against evil around the world; and said “yes” to a self-serving party that wants, first and foremost, to benefit its benefactors by maintaining the inequality of economics and opportunity it has created, keeping students deep in debt as they study and try to build America’s future, and by suppressing the voting opportunities of the poor and middle-class.  Through denying and therefore empowering all of this, and more, the mass of apathetic, disgusted, turned-off and tuned-out voters have in fact not only turned their backs and gone to sleep on their own political survival, but they have created a nightmare, a very real kind of term suicide for most people of the nation over at least the next two years and far beyond in the cases of some appointments and legislation that, as a consequence, will and will not be passed in both state and national venues.

The truth is that the policy most damaging to the nation over the last six years has been the Republican policy which has been voiced many times by the next Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, dictating, “for the GOP to succeed, Obama must fail,” even at the cost of blocking recession recovery by hindering corrective regulatory efforts and needed, job-creating infrastructure funding, and creating government shut-downs and near credit defaults.  It has been an unrelenting policy of collateral national loss for the sake of striking at the other party’s president and the programs of the majority.

Is all of this really to change under the guise of a propagandized mandate and smoke-screened claim of a base of popular support for a party that turned to fearmongering to win votes as quickly as Ebola failed to spread like wildfire?  Look back to the victory statements of Thom Tillis and don’t bet against the GOP’s invigorated policy straying far from that obdurate one-sidedness over the next two years, from what it always has been, but now, wielding the clout that comes with the truth most voters seem incapable of learning:  that elections really do have consequences.

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Voter non-turnout in the 2014 mid-term election gives no mandate, rather it decidedly says the new GOP is really a majority of the minority.

Articles are no longer regularly being sent or copied to elected officials, since 99 percent of the time, it is a waste of time and money, with either no response being received, or canned responses which are out of context with what has been sent and which do not address the issues raised, in effect showing that letters are not read—another sign of a failed representative democracy.

Malcolm L. KantzlerNovember 5, 2014

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Lipstick on a pig?  The Power to Kill?

On the question of the Justice-Department memo on administration authority to target a U.S. citizen for death, it is surprising that the incongruous nature of the situation for authorizing wire-taps is not mentioned, wherein, for the administration to spy on citizens, the review of a special judge, in place for that purpose, is required, while to kill a citizen, no judicial review is necessary.  It seems unlikely that there will ever be any detail in the DOJ memo which will paint the lipstick which transforms that pig.

Sen. Ron Weyden (D-OR), a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who seeks release of the secret, Justice-Department memos that provide the legal reasoning supporting the president’s authority to target U.S. citizens for death, references the president’s title of “Commander in Chief,” and he alludes to a “great amount of power” the Constitution vests in the president through that title.  Sen. Weyden then claims the memos must be released to the Senate in order that constitutional checks and balances on that great power can be applied.

On the following week, February 10, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) argued, on Meet the Press, that the president’s executive power to kill, with remote-piloted vehicles, U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, world-wide, has congressional authorization.  To make such an argument when the legal basis of that process has been kept from congress is hypocrisy in the extreme.  Constitutionally, it is for congress to define the basis for and limits of authorized military actions, not the president’s lawyers.

How can we ever hope to regain a constitutionally-aligned government when key senators, like Weyden, believe the title “Commander in Chief” grants the president great military powers to unilaterally initiate actions outside of the congress?  Where, under Weyden’s misconception, does the Constitution provide the oversight authority he claims is sidestepped by administration’s withholding of the DOJ memos?

Nowhere.  There is not any place within the Constitution stating that the Senate, or the House, or the collective bodies have any power to oversee military activities of agencies operating under the president.  Again, there is no power, within the Constitution’s Article I (or anywhere else), granting congress the right of military oversight.  So what is Sen. Weyden talking about when he refers to establishing constitutional checks and balances with respect, in this case, to CIA operations that kill U.S. citizens, among many foreign nationals, abroad, in places where the U.S. is not engaged in any war?

President-initiated military power being overseen by congress is a non-sequitur because, first, the title, “Commander in Chief,” conferred by the Constitution upon the president, has no powers attached to it.  It is just a title which designates the civilian official, president, as the top commander, so that when any of the powers relating to military activities, which are vested solely within Congress under Article I of the Constitution, are applied by congress and relayed to the president to carry out, that the military will be subordinate to the civilian president as “Commander in Chief,” in that he, under that title, is authorized to carry out the military actions authorized by congress.  Second, the oversight by congress comes in only through its right and responsibility to insure that the military powers and authorities and goals it passes to the president for execution, under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution are adequately and correctly followed out.  Take away the constitutional authority of congress to determine and authorize military actions, then there is no vehicle for congress to have the authority to oversee—to “check” the use of such power.

Presidentialists, who contort the Constitution, and the title, “Commander in Chief,” beyond all recognition, and with great practical success, to attempt extending ever more and more power to the executive (the president), have no answer for this because there is none.  And one needs look no further than direct quotes of the Founders, including Madison and Jefferson, not to mention the suffering they saw inflicted by George III’s Redcoats upon their neighbors, to know why all military authorities are vested in Article I—in congress, and would never have been placed by the Founders within the authority of one person, the president, a position they feared for power abuse despite the checks and balances they built into the Constitution.

Many problems, from undeclared wars placating NATO allies, as with Libya, to the killing of U.S. citizens under the too conveniently vague circumstances of a war against terrorism, will never be resolved so long as congress is unwilling to assert its constitutional powers.  And being that congress is a body of little courage and much concern about elections, that will not happen until the underlying problem of the broken congress is addressed, including key members who do not recognize what powers constitutionally belong to them and are most properly and safely kept within their collective minds and hearts.

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Sen. Weyden’s (D-OR) attribution of war powers to the title, “Commander in Chief,” is wrong—congress has sole power to set war-power goals.

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McCain wants U.S. to go to war for freedom of people around the world, after Nada Soltan murder in Iran, Libya, now Syria. When will it end?

Articles are no longer regularly being sent or copied to elected officials, since 99 percent of the time, it is a waste of time and money, with either no response being received, or canned responses which are out of context with what has been sent and which do not address the issues raised, in effect showing that letters are not read—another sign of a failed representative democracy.

Malcolm L. KantzlerFebruary 7, 2013.  Updated February 10, 2013.

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Romney makes many promises, provides few details, but is concise on expanded global presence of U.S. military power.

Romney mistakenly ties global respect and admiration to military force.

Re:  Mitt Romney casts Obama as weak on foreign policy,  The Washington Post, September 13, 2012

Genghis Khan in Mongolia; Caesar, in Italy; Kim Jung-il and his son, in N. Korea, all thought that world leadership could be achieved at the point of a sword.  They were wrong.  Even the ancient powers which gained control over vast reaches of their worlds with military might could not sustain that power, and in the end, the sword brought them down.  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad believe the future Islamic revelation and the ancient Persian glory of Iran can be realized through nuclear-tipped swords.  In America, Truman and Eisenhower, in Korea; Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, in Vietnam; Bush and Cheney, in Iraq, and Obama in Libya, all believed America’s leadership and objectives in those regions could be written with the point of a sword, and they were all wrong.

Now, Mitt Romney, if he is elected, envisions a military expansion that will bring “American leadership” to the Middle East and across the world.  Romney seeks to tighten the bonds of the Republican party with the military-industrial complex by expanding the already historic sprawl of American military presence and involvement around the world, and even if that is the right policy, pay for it, how?

“A strong America, by the way, depends on a strong military,” he said, today.  “We have to have a military second to none and that’s so strong no one would ever think of testing it.”  The Taliban in Afghanistan thought nothing of testing it.  The Viet Cong in Vietnam, the North Koreans, Chinese, Russians, and the Iranians, all have tested it, and in each of those eras, America viewed its might as intimidating, unconquerable.  And it is clear, from his statements, that Romney sees the military as the “sword of leadership,” that he will wield and place at foreign throats to invite challenge and conflict in place of peaceful alternatives, or alternatives for non-involvement, where American security is really not at risk.

Romney went on, “The world needs American leadership, the Middle East needs American leadership.  And I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and will keep us admired throughout the world.”  How arrogant, and ignorant, and unmindful of history is that statement, linking American leadership, defined by him to be through the military, to global admiration?  How much of that admiration do Bush and Cheney, or the America of their administration enjoy?  When, ever, except at the end of WWII, and the “Desert Storm” ejection of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in the brief, and timely ending Gulf War, was America really admired for flexing its military muscles?

America needs a president who respects history and the egregious harm a strong military has brought to America and can continue to bring to it with misguided leadership — the proof of that harm is repeated throughout America’s 20th and 21st-century history, and in our national debt and cemeteries, as well.  Mitt Romney cannot be that president, particularly not when Congress allows presidents to repeatedly usurp its constitutional authority as the branch of government having sole power to decide where, when, and for how long America goes to war.

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Israeli PM Netanyahu's criticism of Obama for not setting line to strike Iran misplaced. Congress has responsibility to set war-power goals.

  Or this:
OPSEC Group criticizing ops leaks is Republican arm of the Military-Industrial Complex and is more concerned about military draw-downs/cuts.

Articles are no longer regularly being sent or copied to elected officials, since 99 percent of the time, it is a waste of time and money, with either no response being received, or canned responses which are out of context with what has been sent and which do not address the issues raised, in effect showing that letters are not read—another sign of a failed representative democracy.

Malcolm L. KantzlerSeptember 13, 2012

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Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO)

The proof of Akin’s lie is in his words.

In his “apology,” Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) said, “The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold.  I ask for your forgiveness.”

This is just another case of, not apology, but cover-up and cover-over the “mistake” he really made:  revealing his true, extreme-infected self.  The truth is right there, in the words he first spoke and now tries to cover-up:

“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare.  If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

You see, in that statement, Akin followed a basic tenant of debate and argument, being that, as in debate on fact, when a person holds an irrational belief, or tells an intentional lie, the very first thing they do is to try and give credence to the lie by claiming a qualified expert or professional endorsement, which, in supporting a lie, is often another lie or deception.  This is just what Akin did when he first made his comment, invoking “doctors,” claiming, “...from what I understand from doctors.”  Those words reveal the truth of his lie, because you can be positively assured that no medical doctor anywhere in the country, even among those whose licenses have been revoked, would have ever told him such an outrageous misstatement of medical and biological fact, unless maybe those “doctors” all got their degrees from the Medical School of Creationism, where man roamed the Earth with T-Rex and all of creation actually took just six days for God to accomplish, and probably, if such a place existed, the healing practice would be a chant.

So no, don’t believe the apology—it’s just as disingenuous as the lie he spoke to try and qualify his extreme doctrine.  Do forgive him if that is what moves you, not for the lie, but for being what he is.  But never make the mistake of voting for a Republican-extremist liar like him, or any extremist liar like him or his kind.

Unfortunately, Akin’s kind are the extremist, conservative Republicans who lead the Republican party, yet do not represent its platform in this age of never-say (except what your hired experts say will get you elected) politics.  As policy goes, and as far as what Romney and Ryan have done and how they have voted in the past, Akin does speak for them and for the party that can’t stand to hear the candor of its own aspirations, in terms of the insistent attempts by Republicans—whose rhetoric is less government intrusion into our lives—to insert government into the lives of women and their families when it comes to abortion and other issues.

When Republicans stop talking in contradiction to their actions, then they can distance themselves from the nut-jobs who want to use government power to rule over what should be private decisions on a family, health, and clerical issue, where government has no business telling responsible adults in those fields what they should collectively decide to do based on their own beliefs and circumstances.

Akin is but one example of Republican extremism on abortion that has been shown to be offensive, ignorant, and that clearly demonstrates you never really know what you’re getting when you elect someone, and that no one who gets elected really has the wisdom to presume they should make those kinds of decisions for other people, and that it’s dangerous to allow them to do so.  Republicans need to start doing as they say and stop trying to bring government control into the issues of people’s private lives.

“...out of wedlock.”

One week following Rep. Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment, Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate candidate, Tom Smith, another Republican, pushing back against the comment, compared a pregnancy caused by rape to “having a baby out of wedlock,” illustrating yet again that Republican viewpoints which are extreme and uncompromising can only be supported by arguments and metaphors which are equally outside the bounds of a balanced society.  What Akin, Smith, and other Republicans fail to understand, time and again, as with the policy positions of those like theirs, and Paul Ryan’s, is that when you have a diverse ethnic, racial, and religious population, as is the outstanding trait of America, and a supposedly democratic government, policies which lie beyond the bounds of compromise, balance, or tolerance cannot succeed unless portions of the population are minimized or brutalized, or democracy is supplanted.

Minimizing brutalized women and supplanting democracy are both the case today, and as with the views of these men, who are in or seeking positions of power, who consider the actions and outcomes of systems and policies only through their narrow and shallow focus, the human equation is missing, and in the government of the Founders, democracy represents the human factor which is intended to temper the pure, inhuman drive for profit and expansionism which is the hallmark of capitalism and the true deity of today’s Republicanism.

The revelations Republicans continuously make, of outrageous beliefs that drive extreme policies which they wish to impose on all, are not “mistakes,” or “poorly phrased statements,” or mere “lapses in judgment” which can be rationalized, redefined, or apologized away.  They are the truths which are coveted in that creeping darkness of the Republican establishment, truths which illustrate that “consideration for humanity” is the missing factor behind Akin’s false science and qualification for rape, Smith’s failure to separate the emotional, tactile difference between pregnancy out of rape vs. out of wedlock, Mitt Romney’s assertion that “Corporations are people,” and Ryan’s budget, which is not only lacking the consideration of humanity, but has also been clearly pointed out by Catholic bishops and nuns as not within the bounds of Christian teachings.

The rightly-respected columnist and political analyst, Mark Shields, credits Romney for his charitable works; yet, by Romney’s admission, his contributions total only about seven percent of his income, which on a reported $20 million, is only $1.4 million—a penance, hardly giving ‘till it hurts, not that he is expected to give that much.  Seven percent only becomes significant as incomes get much lower, to where a family struggling on $40,000 per year gives $2,800, or at $20,000 per year, where giving $1,400 really does hurt.  And the “subsidiarity” principle of Ryan’s budget will never work to provide the necessary relief for the needy if the voluntary charity, derived through the solidarity of community which that principle requires, is as minimalist at the upper levels as Romney’s seven percent.  The charity of Romney and other ultra-wealthy who cannot transcend love of family to exercise the scripture of humanity, “love of fellow man,” by stepping into the shoes of the other person, is for appearances sake (especially for those playing politics) and a tax-deduction—just the minimum cost of doing business.

Until Republicans can channel some part of the verve they have for control, and for power to shape the nation and the world (Iraq, military global expansionism) according to their coldly-chiseled policies, into a greater concern for humanistic value and outcomes, they will remain unfit to govern, and unless voters begin to see this and vote accordingly, the incessant focus and drive for power of Republican ambitions will take even greater hold on government, repressing further the people and their democracy.

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Ignorance drives much of the world’s extremism. Todd Akin has reaffirmed that, in conservative-Republican extremism, ignorance has run amok.

  Or this:
Todd Akin on no abortions:  “The female body has ways to shut these things [contraception after rape] down.”—and he’s on a science committee?

Articles are no longer regularly being sent or copied to elected officials, since 99 percent of the time, it is a waste of time and money, with either no response being received, or canned responses which are out of context with what has been sent and which do not address the issues raised, in effect showing that letters are not read—another sign of a failed representative democracy.

Malcolm L. KantzlerAugust 21, 2012, “...out of wedlock” update, August 27, 2012

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Punishing corporations as though they are people doesn’t work either.

In reply to Mark Scott’s article in the New York Times, “Iran Inquiry Is Abrupt Reversal for Standard Chartered,” Standard Chartered should not be fined or excluded from business activity in New York for money laundering Iranian funds; nor should Barclay’s have been forced to enter into a $450 million settlement for its part in altering the Libor for gain, just as Glaxo Smith Kline should not have been fined for misrepresenting the safety and approved uses of its drug, Avandia.  While these are just a few of the incidents of corporate criminal, and even treasonous activities (which almost never result in criminal prosecutions or fines against the corporate entities who facilitated and approved the illegal activities), all of the examples through the history of regulatory enforcement point to the failed concept of treating corporations as though they really are people when it comes to punishment.

Despite the Supreme Court majority’s violation of its oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States in the Citizens United case, also violating the constitution’s precepts derived from the Declaration of Independence, corporations are not people, and corporations do not commit crimes.  People do, and if people escape punishment, then the criminal behavior is not deterred.  Punishing corporations only hurts investors, employees, and the consumers of punished companies’ products and services, all of whom had nothing to do with the criminal behavior and are made into surrogates, taking the fall for the real culprits, a nullifying of accountability which is probably the real intent of corporate-controlled rule-making—another anti-democratic consequence of elections bought with campaign contributions.

Fines must be levied against the responsible individuals and tied to prohibitions against any corporate restitution.  And in cases where public lives and safety are compromised, as with Glaxo and Standard Chartered, where regulators cited “dealings that indisputably helped sustain a global threat to peace and stability,” which means many lives put at risk, jail time for the “people” who did and approved the crimes, even if through the top-floor consent of silence, must be the punishment that results if ever the criminal exercise of corporate greed is to be halted.

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Glaxo $3B fine is just 1yr profit from sale of drugs fraudulently mkted—paid by consumers & medicare!  Why no executive jail for safety lies?

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High Court’s campaign-finance ruling is an obscene constitutional distortion. —

Note on CCs:  Articles are no longer regularly being sent or copied to elected officials, since 99 percent of the time, it is a waste of time and money, with either no response being received, or canned responses which are out of context with what has been sent and which do not address the issues raised, in effect showing that letters are not read—another sign of a failed representative democracy.

Malcolm L. KantzlerAugust 8, 2012

Gov. Kasich’s declaration of Vietnam Veterans Day in Ohio lacks conviction of actions.

On Friday, Governor John Kasich signed a Republican-sponsored bill, declaring March 30 as Ohio’s Vietnam Veterans Day.  As a Vietnam-era veteran, it is difficult for me to see past the politics of the move, in light of the Governor’s role in leading the Ohio Republican party’s effort to destroy the elements of democracy for which hundreds of thousands of Vietnam vets served, and for which more than 58,000 died.

Gov. Kasich can best honor veterans by not trying to take away from any group the right to associate, which threatens the rights and freedom of all, and by not taking advantage of part of Ohio’s population by gerrymandering the states’s districts to achieve unfair political advantage for others, weakening the ties of representation for all, and he can honor veterans by not leading in Republican efforts to curb the voting rights of citizens who have the least flexibility in exercising those rights.

Veterans do not serve for parties and politics.  They serve for home town and apple pie and America, and ultimately, for each other, and when governors like Kasich and Wisconsin’s Walker try to tear down the democracy that was built by vets and other patriots, upon whose shoulders we all stand, they do a disservice to the democratic way, the American way, and to veterans of every war.

Note on CCs:  from this point on, letters are no longer being sent or copied to elected officials, since 99 percent of the time, it is a waste of time and money, with either no response being received, or canned responses which are out of context with what has been sent and which do not address the issues raised, in effect showing that letters are not read—another sign of a failed representative democracy.

Malcolm L. KantzlerMarch 31, 2012

Best part about being pres is the dignity and respect afforded the office.

Here, the money’s a lot greener.

The most destructive interest group?

If asked to name the interest groups that have done the most harm to America and to the preponderance of its citizens, most would say the financiers, who brought down the economy and profited with impunity as they did so, and after; some would say the corporations which place profit above community responsibility, above all else; some the oil companies, which fix prices and bleed citizens of spending power when they and the economy most need it, as they make record profits; some would say the health-insurance industry, which along with drug companies and providers are mostly Wall Street companies with the Wall-Street mandate to grow profits, not quality service at affordable, stable prices; and on and on, from the military-industrial complex, which promotes America’s chief export:  war, to any number of lesser-impacting segments.

But, the truth is that the interest group which has done more to harm America and its citizens, more than all of the others combined, is the two-party system in America, an interest group of self-interest and accommodation to the wealthy and powerful few who provide the influencing tender which fuels the election machine that powers it all:  campaign contributions.  The two-party interest group, once an effective mechanism for placing the Peoples’ imprint upon their government, composed of legislators and party officials, has become a corrupted organism, traitorous to the body politic, which now, in its dark shadow, retains only the right to choose from candidates able to compete within the controlled election system that interest group created and jealously protects, providing little more than, effectively, a choice of the lesser of two evils.

All the other problems, blamed on all the other interest groups, are merely symptoms of the disease that is America’s corrupted two-party system.

Nothing that is done to attack the symptoms will cure the disease, which has remained below the radar, out of the sights of most protests, its legislators encouraging attacks against the various entities—divide and conquer—even willing to give up a few garnets to protect the diamond without which it cannot survive as an antithesis to Democracy:  the election industry and its lifeblood of campaign contributions.  To restore America’s lost Democracy, the disease must be attacked and eradicated, and to do so, its lifeblood must be dried up by instituting a complete ban on all contributions, of any kind, to any campaign for office or any issue.

The task, then, for all the splintered groups and third parties, is to first break down the walls of their own self-interests and ambitions which divide them and come together, with the sole purpose of ending the flow of dollars into the election industry, after which, some immediate gains for Democracy and the People will be realized, which will then facilitate achieving the goals of all the other issues, including the economy, tax code, infrastructure, healthcare, education, etc., etc.

The first step is to put the Democratic and Republican parties and the party officials, the unelected powers that work in the shadows, on notice, that the bullseye is not on the bankers, or the corporate CEO’s, or any of the other groups that have their fangs sunk into America’s government, but that the metaphorical bullseye is on them, on the forehead of each and every senator and representative who has stood by, aided and abetted the corruption of their offices and their constitutional oaths and obligations (almost all), placing party and contributor interests ahead of the nation and their constituents, eventually allowing a spate of disasters, one after another, to afflict the nation—putting them on notice that the harsh spotlight of public anger and disdain is focused upon them as the prime perpetrators of the political and economic decline now gripping and threatening most Americans!

Then, the pressure:  legislators must be convinced by the strength of the demonstrations and calls and letters that if they do not act to end campaign contributions—not control, not reform, no half-measures or corruptible remnants, but end—and immediately, that they will not get votes, that in this time of crisis, for our nation, for our democracy, and for our lives and our children’s lives, nothing is more important, and let them know we are watching them, and will be watching them, and they will be held accountable if they do not act with their advocacy and their votes to put an end to all campaign contributions in America’s federal elections.

The spotlight and pressure on legislators and candidates is important because legislation is the quickest path to ending campaign contributions and replacing the Plutocracy (which now defines America) with Democracy, and to restoring economic and political balance, and reversing the collapse of the Peoples’ prosperity and paths to opportunity.  Because if legislators won’t turn away from the corruption they have fostered, then constitutional amendment is the only other path, a far more difficult and lengthy solution.

Immediate gains?

When campaign contributions end:

  • the also-corrupted Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, giving to corporations the rights defined for citizens in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, will be made moot;
  • bribery will be removed from the election process;
  • the power of the political parties—the two-party system—to control districting, agendas, and elected legislators, to take priority for itself above the People, will be greatly reduced;
  • the election machine and the endless, time-and-money-consuming industry it supports will be cut down to size;
  • political gridlock will be gone;
  • public funding and reduced legislator, fund-based competition will force shortening of insane campaign terms;
  • campaigning upon one’s record will again be in vogue, ahead of party propaganda and lines.
  • the influence of lobbyists will be diluted;
  • and, very important, legislators’ time will be returned to the People...
...all of it, not a minute to be spent on anything related to fundraising, which is good, since even all of their time isn’t really enough for them to do the three jobs they each have (work related to passing or blocking legislation, committee responsibilities, and constituent relations) as well as they should be able to, as well as America needs them to, but nonetheless, America’s government will become immediately more effective and productive, to serve all the Peoples’ interests, and no interest group above them.

More must be done after this great, first step, or in conjunction with it, to make government more effective and turn the focus of government upon longer-term problems and solutions, of which there are many, and away from elections, and allow lawmakers to become more knowledgeable or even expert in the activities the committees on which they are seated are chartered to oversee, including extending the terms of office of House by one year and Senate legislators by two years, with local-district-recall provisions, if needed, for House representatives after two years.  And to return government to the level of responsiveness to the People intended by the Founding Fathers for the House of Representatives, the Founders’ error of not constitutionally mandating increasing House seats in proportion to population must be corrected.

With these measures in place, Democracy in America will be restored and assured to remain enduring for the generations to come, with government better able to meet the daunting challenges that America and the world will have no choice but to face together in this and the next century.

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Rules/systems designed to preserve and extend party power and influence at the expense of democracy and popular sovereignty must be removed.

 Or this:
Wall Street’s greed-driven profit motives guarantee that healthcare will NEVER be affordable or contained if providers are public companies.

cc (via web forms) November 10, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Steve Chabot, Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Rep. John Boehner, Rep. Barney Frank, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Zoe Lofgren; Rep. Ed Markey, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Steven Paul Jobs, CEO, Apple and Pixar Animation.
February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011

“Occupy” protestors’ anger against financiers is off-target.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

— Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios
     June 12, 2005 Stanford commencement speech.

“...don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

For the 4,593 soldiers who have died in Iraq (32,372 wounded), and since 2001, the 2,461 who have perished in Afghanistan (with 17,674 wounded), the worst kind of waste has been realized:  losing arms and legs, and dying for someone else’s life, usually foreign and corrupt, for someone else’s voice, imposed with wealth and privilege to form slithering policies of wrongful entanglements that have brought death to the thousands of soldiers and their families, and in bits and pieces for the nation, as well, as all along, the defense industries of the military-industrial complex grow their profits and wealth in a bloody occupation where the defense obligation of 9-11 was actually won within the first 20 months, by 2003, with a far fewer 61 dead and 107 wounded U.S. soldiers.

President Obama, marking the 10th anniversary of the Afghan war, the longest in American history, said, “We are closer than ever to defeating al Qaeda and its murderous network.”  This, as Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, said bringing security to his people (read, his government) has been a failure of the U.S. and his (Karzai’s) administration.  Only months later, following incidents of shameful reflection (unfairly cast upon all occupation troops) of urination on the dead, burnings of the Koran, then the unconstitutional Blackwater army’s massacre of civilians (its name changed afterward to XE Services, and now is Academi LLC), and after these outrages, which were most recently compounded by the murder of 16 Afghan civilians, mostly children and women, at the hands of a single, maddened soldier, Karzai claims, “This is the end of the rope,” and orders all U.S. troops be removed from villages, killing the U.S. multi-year, dead-on-arrival plan of “winning the hearts and minds” of the Afghan people, who are regularly “collateralized” by the U.S. as “damage,” mostly in ceaseless drone strikes of shadowed, questionable vetting.

Still, America’s military chiefs and politicians resist the withdrawal call, and despite the stains of America’s own, unintended, “murderous network,” like Nixon, and Johnson before him, the president looks to the future involvement in the Afghan despair based upon responsibly ending the war “from a position of strength... and stability.”  Fifty-eight thousand U.S. soldiers died in Vietnam as those presidents propped up another corrupt, ineffectual government, and prolonged the war that they could not win, should never have started, looking for the unattainable “position of strength” or “peace with honor,” before finally ending the conflict and the ever-mounting deaths, and with no promised cascading of the dominoes to follow.

This is the deadly “noise of others’ opinions” that repeats, today, as government “speak,” echoing the hollow, future promises of yesterday, where history holds no lessons for the arrogant and the proud, Republican presidential candidates, Rubio and Cruz, who exclaim they “won't look back,” those fearful of confronting mistakes and their consequences, as the bloodletting continues... to no worthwhile end.  At least, the stubborn stance of the Iraqi regime had forced the president to honor his promise for a near-complete pull-out of troops from that national killing ground, provided courtesy of the Bush/Cheney administration, the military-industrial complex, and a Republican party’s hawks and extremists who still propose spending blood for motives of capitalist expansionism and profit.

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

That noise is also manifest in the voices Americans hear in their politics, and those they do not, the voices bought and paid for, imposed upon the nation in sound-bites, party lines, and propaganda, through unbalanced leverage of wealth and position, detached from any sense of community or social responsibility and spread through the biased, constraining control of vast media consolidations, to limit voices, to quell regulations, to narrow opportunities, to channel prosperity, ideas, to buy votes and perpetrate travesties like turning corporations into political entities, empowered to overcome the many voices of the individuals who are the solitary, collective “People” for whom the Declaration of Independence spoke and the Constitution, now so contorted by the Roberts Supreme Court, was penned to promote and protect.

Now it is time to focus, to put aside all the smaller issues that divide and distract from the singular issue which is at the hub of all others, because important as many are, nothing will change for the better, no measure taken will make a difference, unless first, above all else, the election machine that spits out a corrupt, insulated, bought-and-paid-for government is detached from the tender of greed and avarice that fuels it:  campaign contributions, and then, party control of the election process must be severed or restrained.

Protestors rant against multiple ills, all symptomatic of one abuse — campaign contributions poisoning democracy.

The Wall Street protestors are on the wrong track when they focus anger on bankers and the wealthy.  You don’t blame the bear for killing the man who gets too close to the cubs—you blame the man.  Those financial “takers” are being human, doing what opportunity allows and greed compels for them, doing what comes naturally, succumbing to human weakness and vice, the very characteristics of which the Founders so clearly recognized as unchangeable and dangerous, and against which they knew only a “democratic government,” with checks and balances, serving and responsive to the common good, could prevail.  What they could not foresee was a society so fraught with diversions aside from work:  TV, games, malls, clubs and other avenues for self-indulgence and distraction of citizens in matters of no consequence to the foundation of their lives.  The activities of citizens in the Founders’ time were centered upon occupation, neighbors, government and learning.  The protestors should be angry at themselves, for not paying attention to things that matter so much, for paying too much attention to trivia, for waiting so long to see and to object, for letting it go this far, get this bad.  And the protesters should be angry at their legislators, most for not having the intellect to see the problem and/or the strength of character and ethics to turn away from the abuses of the party system, or change it and uphold the ideals of the Declaration and the law of the Constitution, expressing their anger with their votes and all the votes they can raise to speak with them.

But the seemingly, awakening sight of the demonstrators on Wall Street, which grew to other cities, pointed out how all democratic governments are vulnerable, especially to apathy and ignorance, heightened when the unwritten branch of government, the “Fourth Estate” press, is swept from the streets and airways into a very few, towering centers of control, killing objectivity, repressing the reporting of independent investigation, limiting the inputs and outlets, channeling the rainbow of thought into extremes of black and white, substituting substance with trivia.  The Federal Communications Commission, politically staffed by Republican presidents, accomplished most of this reduction during the Reagan and Bush terms.  The tentacles of control writhed out from the few electronic-media conglomerates, spread with the growth of cable, the internet, and the means to access it, and are made all the more powerful as, at the same time, the market forces of media and technology change began to diminish and eventually strangle many of the independent providers of the airwaves and printed page.

Party control of the fund-raising and election process, from districting to post-election committee appointments, is separated from the view or control of the People, forming a government that is built in cloakrooms and behind closed doors, upon favors and the cash-and-carry success of legislators and their mini-machines, an industry that creates and reenforces extremism and gridlock while robbing the People of their representatives’ most important asset:  the time that is spent on fundraising, from strategy meetings to time spent with donors, pursuing donors, servicing the desires of donors and looking to the future, not to secure the long-term policies needed by the nation, but rather to acquire the campaign funds and promises that will assure the next election’s continuation of the entire, abortive process.

“I only have two years,” think the House representatives, “and I have to make sure I put in the time and effort required to win the next election, above all else.”  But that time and effort isn’t focused upon the three avenues all legislators must master for effective, responsive government; they are focused more on K Street and most upon the politics of electioneering.  This is the situation facing the People, and what chance is there for productive, constituent-responsive government to address complex, long-term problems when the highest priority is to do whatever, twist whatever, say whatever, half-truths or outright lies, in the rush to get re-elected, and to spend the working hours of at least six or eight or more months of the two-year term working solely toward that end?

When the Constitution was framed, the population and the challenges and diversity of America’s interests and needs were such that elections every two years for representatives was not a burden and was effective enough for government’s purposes.  But times have changed, and as the population has grown, the number of representatives has not increased in proportion, which contributes to the unresponsive government in two ways:  reducing constituent accountability through increased difficulty of access as the number of constituents for each representative increases, and increasing the power of representatives, through the increased number of constituents they represent and from whom they are inherently more insulated.  And since the Founders erred in not providing a Constitutional mandate for a per-capita increase in House seats, no member has incentive to initiate a change that will reduce his or her power by providing additional seats to make representative government as close and accessible and responsive to the People as the Founders intended it to be for the House.

Representation, the vital function of democratic process, has been under attack far longer than the generation which began with the Nixon administration.  In 1913, Congress raised the number of House seats to today’s 435.  But in 1921, the newly elected, Republican-majority Congress failed to reapportion the House membership after the census, as required by the United States Constitution, politically motivated, because the effect such a reapportionment would have on future Republican electoral prospects was feared.  Then, in 1929, Congress (with Republican control of both houses and the presidency) passed the Reapportionment Act of 1929, which capped the size of the House at 435, a step to control representation, and power, which has since become a bipartisan objective.

Districting is so important because it determines representation, and the lack of strong representation is a big part of the reason why government is unresponsive and unaccountable to citizens.  Gerrymandering, as Republicans did to the Ohio 1st District this year, among others, further damages representation, in Ohio-D1, giving Republicans a better-than 2:1 ratio of registered voters over Democrats.  Where is the political equality in that?  And any good government scholar will tell you, without political equality, which is one of three pillars supporting the foundation of democratic government, you have no viable democracy.  In that district, the whole of Butler and Warren counties were swapped, and a part of Hamilton County was cut out, immediately disenfranchising the voters in three counties, with voters, incumbents, and candidates suddenly unfamiliar with one another.  Districting should strengthen and broaden the ties of representation, not tear them apart to provide unfair political advantage, which is both un-American and undemocratic... and unneighborly.

Districting is also important as it affects apportionment of House seats.  On March 4, 1789, 226 years ago, the First Congress convened with about 65 House members, each representing about 75,000 of today’s-suffrage-adjusted voters.  Now, with only 435 House members, the number in place for the most part since 1913, the representative for most districts will stand for more than 470,000 voters—more than 700,000 citizens, and that is far too many for effective representation in the House, and most significantly, with fewer representatives over which to gain control, they are made more susceptible and accessible to lobbying, the influence of wealthy and powerful special interests, including their political parties.

Career politicians have become complacent about what voters think and are happy with the system the way it is, keeping them wrapped in comfortable districts and in office, serving their interests before the People’s and the nation’s, and they won’t alter the system and reduce their power by voting to increase the number of House representatives and provide more responsive and accountable representation.  It does not require a constitutional amendment, so put the light on your representative to ask why he or she allows the dilution of representation (and the reduced government responsiveness and accountability that comes with it) by keeping the 435 cap?

And adding representatives will also result in an increased number of smaller districts, making it easier for states to provide equality with more contiguous district mapping, improving representative government.  A bonus is that no new office buildings would have to be built to house the new representatives, even if the number were doubled, because of the glut of empty federal buildings within a quarter-mile of the Capitol.  This is one of the fundamental changes that must happen if democracy is to be restored, government improved, and the gulf of disparities and unfair advantage raging within the nation narrowed.  The Founders put the House of Representatives first in the Constitution, in Article I, Section 2, (the Senate is Section 3; the president, Article II) because they knew that level of representation is the most important to a healthy democracy, being closest to the people, the most vital part of the government they intended for the United States, when properly apportioned.

But more than population has changed.  The complexity of life, and of all the attendant prerequisites of government responsibility to provide for public liberty, welfare, and safety have increased as well, and two years is no longer a sufficient period for representatives to become familiar with and effectively carry out their common avenues of responsibility:  committee assignments, let alone meet their legislative and constituent-relations responsibilities (fund-raising time is not included because it should and must be eliminated), or to be able to look ahead to the nation's future and develop policies meant to address problems and challenges extending beyond the next election, over the horizon.

Just think of committees.  They are created to divide the focus of the total membership of the House and Senate on individual problems and goals, to provide a means by which legislators can become expert in the industries and activities that fall within the scope of their committees’ charters and thereby guide their colleagues in passing useful legislation.  This is how a legislator’s committee-responsibility time is supposed to serve the People, by developing the expertise to provide effective legislation to provide for safety and promote prosperity—a balance in which safety must always carry the greatest weight, but often has not, as one tragedy after another in every decade of American modern history attests.  Often, legislators, especially in the House, have not become knowledgeable enough about the complexities that exist within the activities their committees are intended to oversee, and just as often they have only turned an ear to the interests of the lobbyists for those industries, always at their ears, and often on their staffs, sitting at their right shoulders in hearings.  This is how disasters, like Gulf oil spills, sub-prime-loan-deflation recessions, commuter-airline crashes, profit-motivated drug unavailabilities, drug and food illnesses and deaths, mining explosions, and Shuttle disasters, etc., etc., happen, and why government is mostly reactive to these disasters instead of proactive to prevent them.  This will improve, if and when legislators’ ears are ever freed of lobbyists and their time freed from fundraising, and the revolving door of legislators, turned by two-year elections, is slowed, a revolving door that is self-serving to the election machine, elected officials’ post-legislative careers, and special interests... not the nation and certainly not the People.

Today, policies are designed to meet the needs of what will get a representative re-elected 24 months after the oath of office is taken, or a president in four years, all eyes on the next election after three.  America’s future depends upon better governance than has been serving the privileged and wealthy in this generation, and legislators, even if free of fund-raising, need more time to master their responsibilities serving America, and everyone, except the media and bloated election industry, needs fewer elections.  A constitutional amendment extending the terms of office of the House of Representatives to four years, and to preserve the Founders’ intent for overlapping stability, the Senate to eight, must be accomplished along with the ban on campaign contributions.  And to insure that the behavior and performance of representatives is not separated from the People by the lengthened terms, or left to the unreliable, institution-biased, internal rules of the House, a district-level recall procedure must also be specified which provides the People of a representative’s district reasonable means by which to stage a recall election, if desired, at the mid-term.

These are the first changes upon which Americans must focus.  When accomplished, other necessary changes will far more easily follow, like ending the unfair, manipulative, onerous, April-killing income-tax code in favor of a value-added tax, with fixed exclusions for medical products and services, most food, education, and some non-food-derived fuels, and percentage levels within categories of goods to insure fair-share payments for all and loopholes for none; and unwinding the twisted knot of media consolidation that muffles voices, constrains thought and discourse, and constricts the oversight of investigative journalism; and also reining in the dangerous and unnecessary military expansionism and unconstitutional, presidential military authority that has been allowed by Congress to develop, and which has cost America so much in this generation and which is irrevocably bleeding into the next.

In that commencement address, Jobs also said:

“ can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

Looking back, the connected dots form a clear enough picture of how government in America has changed for the worse.  The underlying causes are often less clear, hidden in things like secret, pre-war, vice-presidential “energy” meetings.  But Jobs wasn’t entirely correct when he said that the dots of our futures can only be derived through trust, at least, where our political futures may lead.  That’s because we have a precious gift to guide us, one that was fashioned by minds as great as any this nation has ever produced, men with sharp insights into the pitfalls of human nature and interaction, and who, through times of the greatest possible danger and uncertainty, and divisive discord, devised a system that would both protect against the worst abuses of man’s nature and preserve the greatest opportunity for realizing the hopes for the future and liberty and prosperity, for themselves, their children, and for the generations to follow.  That gift, at the foundation of the government Republicans so disdain, is the Constitution, defining a system of government, which nonetheless so reviled by the “dogma” of Republicans, is what the Founders crafted for the preservation of their heritage, and ours, if it is not spit upon, or relegated to be a relic, encased in gas and glass and displayed to tourists, as it has been with the power grabs of presidents, the failures of Congress to jealously guard its powers, and the axe-swings taken by the conservative-Republican majority on the Supreme Court, which have chopped two of democracy’s three foundations, popular sovereignty and political equality, into splinters, leaving political liberty tenuously strained within the rubble.

For this objective of following and connecting the dots to restore a bright future for America, all that need be done is to follow the Constitution, and the money, to purge it from all influence in government activity and purpose.

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If any leg breaks, democracy falls. Each leg has been under sustained Republican attack since before President Nixon—a generation of decay.

 Then this:
Why is democracy dying?  Think of gov’t/conservative-court effect on its framework:  popular sovereignty/political liberty/political equality.

Updated April 17, 2015; cc (via web forms) October 7, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Steve Chabot, Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Rep. John Boehner, Rep. Barney Frank, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Zoe Lofgren; Rep. Ed Markey, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Tweet these!’s Tweets for a Republican Hold-up.

The biggest problem America has is a government based in and prioritized upon the party and the dollar, decimating democracy’s foundations.

The biggest facilitator of America’s biggest problem is the bribery of election campaign contributions—the root of evil, bleeding democracy.

Rating firms (shown in recession to be bedded w/banks, investment firms) are working w/Republicans, shielding loopholes/rich from debt-cuts.

The Republican economic position of no revenue increase is unbalanced, like a world without spin—rich in the sun, everyone else in the dark.

As Republicans build an enduring history where “rich” and “corporation” are dirty words, the rich would be ashamed—if not for their wealth.

Dems saying Soc. Security/Medicare are untouchable is same as Reps saying any tax increase is dead water.  Obama’s age-67 deal is reasonable.

But, any cut to COLAs or decrease in benefits for either Social Security or Medicare would be burying the poor under the upper-class wealth.

Closing loopholes benefitting millionaires and billionaires, having them pay more, is still NOT approaching their fair share or a sacrifice.

True or reality TV brings trailer trash to Americans; Republicans, keen on manufacturing, seek to make most Americans into trailer trash.

America will suffer until the obstructionist, my-way-or-the-highway Republicans, whose idea of democracy is a dictatorship, are thrown out!

Republicans just took their knives from your throat and folded them into their well-to-do pockets.  Only cut voters can take the knives away.

August 2, 2011

Image pending

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp would be a disgrace to journalism—if it was in journalism.

Sent to Rachel Maddow:

Broadcast on your Thursday night, July 14, Rachel Maddow Show, the referral, and that of others in the media, to News Corp employees who participated in, or who knew and did nothing about News Corp’s illegal privacy violations, as “Journalists” is a mistake, bestowing upon them an honorable title to which they have, by their actions, no claim and do not deserve.

Journalists are first, ethical, and second, truthful and objective.  The News Corp employees who call themselves and are called journalists are particularly lacking in any ethical standard that is the framework within which honorable journalism operates.  They are sensationalists, akin to gossip hounds, but with criminal intent, and their parent company, News Corp, involved at the highest levels in the unethical and criminal activities of its employees, is no longer primarily a news organization, if it ever was.  News Corp and its employees should be distinguished to be apart from legitimate journalism, particularly by journalists who report on their transgressions.  Calling them “journalists” both ignores their transgressions and disgraces the profession, as well as those, past and present, who have created and contribute to its distinguished standing and heritage.

July 16, 2011

Politicians are digging the grave of America’s democracy and future.

For too many citizens, America has become a nation of freedom without opportunity, of liberty without voice, of justice without equality, of strength without reserve, of short-term goals prioritized to elections, of purpose without patience or foresight, of wealth without prosperity, and one that spends, spends, spends without building.

America is in decline, and it will fall further into the abyss of its self-destruction and despair until four changes are accomplished:

1) the election system is purged of influence and bribery through banning of all contributions and establishing a system of wholly public funding, and national redistricting is accomplished, according to statistical geo- and demographic data, separate from party affiliations, control, and influences (to dismantle the apparatus of party extremism and gridlock), and mandatory term limits must be placed upon campaign operations, not to exceed two months prior to the election date;

2) the tax code, that tool of exclusion for the wealthy and corporations, and a yoke of stress and inconvenience on all working Americans, is thrown out and replaced with a value-added tax that is scaled to weight on the high end, paid by everyone and every business, for everything, except to exclude, for all, the necessities of medical products and services, food and clothing items priced less than $25, regular-grade gasoline, diesel, and algae-based (not food-commodity) hybrid fuels, and educational expenses for trade and technical schools, junior colleges, and graduate programs in universities;

3) regulatory authorities are removed from the influence and interference of political appointments and elected officials, operations to be prescribed by law, shielded from executive order, oversight and enforcement to be by the Inspector General’s office and OMB, and leadership positions to be filled, not by the appointments of elected officials, but by professional panels composed of representatives of the insurance companies underwriting the regulated industries, appropriate scientists, and economists, appointments to be made on the basis of background, experience, and performance to fit the needs of the post, not to be subject to Senate confirmation until after the beginning of the third senatorial-election cycle following redistricting that was done apart from party involvements (Senate confirmations of regulatory heads to be reinstated 18 years after party-free redistricting is completed);

and 4) the constitutional authority of Congress over the executive in all matters of warfare, except immediate defensive response to an attack, must be reinstated, in practice, and a congressional rules/structure mechanism, a joint committee, be established with full authority of both houses to independently make swift initial decisions on matters of military deployments and withdrawals, and to approve, modify, or disapprove recommendations and requests for actionable military authorities by the executive, to include temporary, conditional treaty modifications or confirmations, all actions to be subsequently put before the appropriate full houses for approval, modification, or reversal, in a timely manner.  The committee should be constituted by the Senate majority and minority leaders, or their appointees, the Speaker of the House and the House minority leader, or their appointees, the chairpersons and minority leaders, or their appointees, of the appropriate standing committees on armed services, foreign relations, and intelligence (16 representatives and senators), and the non-voting but otherwise fully participatory, mandatory participation of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, or their appointees, the committee to be chaired by the Vice President, who has no vote except in the case of a tie.

Politicians have effectively destroyed the government’s democratic mechanisms, have folded to the expansionism of the military-industrial complex, turning the United States’ military into a costly and multi-leveled industry of domestic and international operations, a tool of NATO, and a seed of complicit foreign corruption, and the politicians must be removed from influencing the mechanics of constituting the government and applying political influence to its operations until the process of elections has been purged of political manipulation and abuse.

If these changes are accomplished, Americans will have reclaimed their government and their basis of hope for a future prosperity for themselves and their children.

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Each day of violent death in Syria accents the wrong of President Obama’s unconstitutional rush to a war of European mollification in Libya.

cc (via web forms) June 10, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Zoe Lofgren; Rep. Ed Markey; House Financial Services Committee office, more...

The political tug of war:  a lift to the future or pull-back to the past.

Republicans, wealthier than ever, riding the coattails of a brainwashed middle class and poor into the saddle of only one horse of the three, pulling a government they seem to hate, would turn it from one “of, by, and for the People,” into a callous servant of their own self-interest and greed.

Through their proposed budget, Republicans have shown that they will trample that beguiled source of their power, the People, who are not wealthy, not powerful, except through the democratic process that Republicans have begun to strip away, through politically-driven Supreme Court rulings of the conservative-Republican majority, to governors uprooting the rights of the very same collective voice they promote for their corporations, cutting off the People’s avenues to education, opportunity, and health care, depriving them of all hope for a better life for themselves or their children.  Republicans, who shield the wealthy and the corporations from their share of the yoke, those wealthy who have no concern for access to health care or education, or anything else, are intent to bleed the middle class and poor until they are finally left sick and dying, with drained vouchers, used up by profit-driven healthcare providers, leaving them with no other means of care or salvation—a revisiting of the class-cruel streets of waifs and beggars.

Without doubt, there is an unhealthy number of elitists in America’s upper class who wish the world would have been tilted back by the Great Quake to the time of Dickens, instead of the four inches it moved Japan, where, in that period of transition from the Victorian to Edwardian eras, they would be the pampered aristocrats, with their coaches and footmen, while all the rest would have their rags and swollen rats, and the privilege of begging, with lowered eyes, for whatever their “betters” might deign to throw at them.

In that coldly unjust era, the “haves,” in their fine silks and expensive, French scents, were on the morph from being called “Tories” to “Conservatives.”  In America, they’re Republicans, morphing into Tea Partiers, and they’re taking America as far in the direction of the Victorian-class divide as they possibly can:  first, through control of government to seize every economic advantage and remove the constraints of democratic regulation, growing the Great Economic Divide, monopolizing resources and separating them from the middle class and the poor; and second, through stripping-away of democratic mechanisms, such as unions, and diluting political equality by giving voice to their corporations, neutralizing the only means the People have to make their voices affect government to secure and preserve their rights.

Despite this despicable, oligarchical evolution of the Republican party, and its dictatorial trespass upon the traditional, vested, democratic values of America, there is no fear that the memory of those historic, American, Republican values will be compromised by the insane abortion of today’s Republican party, which was born of the Nixon administration, from which, key players continued to spread their stain through successive administrations to the George Bush presidency.  And there is no semblance, whatsoever, between the great Republican party of the past or its leaders and those who represent, or wish to represent the party today.  Today’s “Tories” should not ever be associated with those great patriots of the party’s better past, like Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower, or even Colin Powell.  Those true patriots would all be ashamed of whatever it is that carries their party’s name today and, with the latter, have been shamed, and shammed, by the travesty the proud Republicanism they once built has become.

Thanks to Republicans, and contrary to all of their grandiose claims of “the great American this and that,” which they only invoke in order to a associate themselves with a falsely promised hope and brighter future, America is really no longer the best of anything in the world, except military power, and as a people, can really look forward to nothing better, and that is a sad state of affairs for all that gives a nation its social and civil conscience, from which true quality is derived.  The Republican agenda, still a trickle-down into the gutter of the great wealth divide, has decayed America’s society, and will continue to do so, dissolving America’s prerequisite moral authority for leadership into a more civilized and compassionate world.  Instead, Republicans are dragging America back into a dark and dismal past, where the spate of those who suffer will continue to grow, except within that insulated minority that holds monopoly on the wealth, resources, power, and the opportunity that can raise lives up from poverty and despair.

This is what an unenlightened electorate brings upon itself.

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The political tug of class war:  a lift to the future or a Republican pull-back to the past. —

cc (via web forms) April 15, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Zoe Lofgren; Rep. Ed Markey; House Financial Services Committee office, more...

The income and corporate tax codes belong in the trash heap of history.

Arguing for corporations to pay their fair share in taxes is a waste of time.  Even if corporations are taxed, and taxed more heavily, that burden will only fall upon consumers.  When you talk about more heavily taxing the top two or five percent of wage earners, in many cases, the same thing applies, since they are in positions to preserve their income, to make up for it, effectively passing the increases down to the consumer or to employees under them who would see fewer and reduced salary increases or bonuses, or to shareholders, whose dividends would be frozen or reduced as more of the corporate profit goes into higher, tax-offset salaries and bonuses for top-tier earners.

The only way to get the fair share of every person with the ability to pay is through value-added (or sales) taxes, which should have a base, rent exclusion, and exclude food and clothing items below $25, as well as medical items and services, and which can be scaled upward for non-necessities and luxury items.  Corporations, as consumers, should also pay the tax for goods and services they purchase.  Everyone and every entity pays tax on purchases of non-excluded goods!  And no one pays on excluded items/services.

With value-added taxes replacing corporate and income taxes, the wealthy pay more as they buy more, and buy more-expensive items, as they should, to support the mechanics of the legal state that insures and protects their greater interests.  And the hateful, burdensome tax system, a double-edged sword against the People, created to endow government with economic leverage to exercise control where there is no political authority to do so directly, and to support the exclusions and loopholes for the wealthy, and which spawns an industry of tax-prep firms with increased consumer costs and rip-offs, can finally be put into the trash where it belongs and sent into history with other great mistakes, like prohibition and George Bush.

The wealthy and special interests strongly support the income tax and its ton of code books, which contain their golden linings.  Only a strong and continuous, populist demand can make an issue of this tool that reinforces and pushes the growing economic divide in America, to finally end the discriminatory tax system, begin to shrink the historically wide gap that separates the wealthy from the poor, and to finally bring a manipulation-proof, undeniable fairness and effectiveness to the funding of government.

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The tax code is a tool of interference for government, of wealth manipulation for the wealthy, and an “elephant” on the backs of the People.

cc (via web forms) April 8, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. Zoe. Lofgren, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Whether by Nazis, as in 1933 (above), or by Christians, as in Florida, today, whatever the motives, book
burning incites an exchange of fear and hate, and is also always an undemocratic suppression of ideas.

Free speech is not absolute.  It is a contextual right.

The point pressed by burning Korans is valid:  that extreme Islam is a practice of little tolerance, much violence, and that any expression of free speech, that is not shouting “fire” in a theater, should not be repressed out of fear of that extremist violence and intolerance.

But, burning Korans is not the same as burning a flag, and no criticism of any sect or group should be made in a way that is disrespectful of its religious book, be it Koran, Bible, or Torah, because that book is not what is represented by the various interpretations that are applied to the acts or practices of all sects derived of its followers.  Choosing to burn a religion’s book is an extreme act, and one that is likely not to ever be constructive to the purpose intended.  But whether the burning of the book has the same constitutional protections as burning the flag is a question that can best be answered in view of the context.

It should be asked if obtaining an injunction against burning of Korans would really be a violation of the First Amendment in the context of the fire.  Shouting “fire” in a theater, when there is no fire, is not a form of protected speech because it can result in harm to others, and if the burning of a Koran has been demonstrated to cause harm to others, and threatens continued harm to others, and to those who might be called to intercede to end the violence stemming from the act, then it is rational to say that “fire” has been shouted when applied to the burning of the Korans, and in that circumstance, particularly knowing of the threat that is created by doing the act, that it is not a form of speech protected by the First Amendment, within the context of political realities of the time.

First Amendment protections are selective, and burning the book of a religion can be a protected form of speech in some situations, and not protected in others.  The context is everything, and the protections are never absolute.  The Department of Justice should seek an injunction against the burning of Korans by the Florida pastor on the basis of the violence and harm that it poses in the context of the politics and reality of the here and now, which is not to say that the threats of extremists curtail free speech in America.  It only states that no one has the right to incite violence when the circumstances have been judicially reviewed against the harm threatened (caused in this case) and the democratic loss that might be suffered by the prohibition of the “speech,” which, in the context of the Florida preacher, is not sufficient to justify the harm it has created and continues to pose.

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Free speech is not absolute.  It is a contextual right, not applicable to burning Korans. —

cc (via web forms) April 4, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Rep. Zoe. Lofgren, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Spills, great and small, urge response.

Obama took the “we” out of Libya when “he” unconstitutionally made war “his” one-man decision.

Tomorrow, President Obama will address the nation and spill his justifications for going to war in Libya, though he will not call it a war.  He will make all the arguments he should have made to Congress in seeking its constitutional authority.  Had he, tomorrow’s speech, where he will say there is a responsibility and obligation to prevent atrocities, would not be necessary.  He will tell the nation that, with international accord, the responsibility he has to prevent atrocities supercedes the Constitution’s requirement that he have congressional authority, though he may not even give that such authority is required, as he once did, before he was president, jealous of his power, coveting that of Congress.  More likely, he will try to re-write the Constitution, applying his own words and interpretation to its starkly plain, historically supported, black and white, English script.

President Obama, aside from unilaterally directing troops without constitutionally required authorization from Congress, will be attempting to define a new and untenable standard for the use of U.S. armed forces, to prevent atrocities, which he and Secretary Clinton say negates the Constitution’s requirement for authority from Congress, as well as voiding their previous affirmation of that constitutional obligation, when, instead, deployment is in the context of an authorization by international consensus.  This appalling and dangerous statement of Libyan-applied, and future-intended military policy practically guarantees a future of continual conflict for America, and it is an attempt to write an illegal amendment to the war powers authority, specified in the Constitution to rest within Congress.  This “policy” also says, in effect, that foreign states have the power to declare participation of the U.S. military in conflicts they sanction, because the president has already stated, and will repeat, that such international consensus imposes an “obligation and responsibility” upon the U.S. to act, without congressional authority.

This is a profane abuse of power and trampling upon a Constitution already laying shredded by the heels of George Bush, and to lesser extent, presidents before him, since after WWII.  It is an abomination of invited, international interference in the right of the American people to exercise self-determination through their elected representatives, trumping that right and ceding America’s constitutional process to international will... and the agreement of one man, with not even a bow to the more minimalist constitutional requirements of treaty ratification!

This new, unconstitutional military policy the president will define attempts to globalize America’s military might in the same way that the nation’s manufacturing power has been ceded away in the name of global free trade.  It is a policy that, even if legitimate, can never be applied universally, and which, if allowed to stand, would place great power within the office of the president, and it would put the use of military force at the discretion of the whims and prejudices of whomever holds the office.

American families would see the lives of their sons and daughters put at risk in war for the priorities of the wealthy and powerful who control the military-industrial complex in the U.S., in accord with those who hold the same reins of control in the other nations of the world, which also maintain significant defense-production bases and a global military presence.

The Constitution, which has been in a decades-long state of war with the wealthy, and the influence peddlers, and the officials, elected, appointed, and career, who have been attacking its democratic mechanisms and foundation, is all that stands to prevent the nation’s structural processes—the legal system, tax system, police, military, all that protects the system of which the wealthy and powerful minority have such a stake—from protecting those few alone, instead of guaranteeing the “liberty” of all.

Think about it.  The transgressions are many, but was the Republican-majority Supreme Court’s decision in “Citizens United” really one about the people’s “liberty” and “freedom,” or was it all about control and grip upon government by those wealthy and powerful who own those corporations, and who now can add the voice and vast resources of those institutions, paid for with the $3.75 you pay for a tube of toothpaste, to their own individual voices, turning elections their way?

Were the decisions made by the Federal Communication Commission over the decades of Republican appointees, from Bush to Reagan, that consolidated all media, contributing to cause the death of so many newspapers, that shrunk the once-wide base of outlets for opinion, expression of ideas, and investigation, to fall into the hands of so few, wealthy conglomerates, an exercise in expanding freedom and opportunity, protecting the government’s unspoken branch of oversight, democracy’s protectorate, the Fourth Estate?  Or were the decisions deliberate efforts at tearing it down, minimizing oversight journalism, concentrating the control of the “thought” infrastructure for, again, the few wealthy and powerful who control it?

Can anyone ever believe that more than two decades of trickle-down was meant to do anything except raise the fortunes of the wealthy further up?

Have the actions of the new wave of extremist-Republican governors and legislatures in Wisconsin and Ohio, to strip democratic voice from a class of workers, been an exercise in Democracy, or one of economics, to cut government costs and services so that taxes and regulation can be reduced for, yes, the wealthy and powerful?

And in the federal government, is the imposition of cuts that take away health care, education, and opportunity from the poor and middle class, drying-up research and tax-money from necessary, developmental technologies, done in the name of austerity for Americans, or those few, most wealthy and powerful, who pay ever less for the structure of law and enforcement, represented by the industries of the courts, police, and the military, that protect their assets and their wealth-founded opportunities, from sea to shining sea and beyond?

If this outrageous act of President Obama is not met with the power of Congress to defeat it, and reassert itself, how many times in the next decades will America go to wars where political instability threatens atrocities, and oil wells, or rubber plantations, or rare-earth mines, navigational passages, or whatever is at risk that could affect the trade and pockets of the wealthy, who are either the beneficiaries or purveyors of whatever war, and who are guaranteed to profit, win or not, and as long as the money flows, the more drawn-out the better, like Afghanistan?

If the worst Gaddafi could have likely done to the rebel cities was done, it would not hold a candle to the massacres in Rwanda, or any of the worst mass-killings in just the 20th century, including more than a million lives in N. Korea, near two million in Cambodia, more than a half million in Yugoslavia, 400,000 in Angola, 300,000 in Uganda, and the many, many more destinations of death and despair, not to mention the near 100 million lives lost, attributed to China, the USSR, and Germany, under Ze-Dong, Stalin, and Hitler.  If this policy of Obama’s is let stand, and applied with any semblance of equality, America will have a full-time career of war in Africa alone, and the only involvement of the American people will be the blood spilled in their families and the unrelenting higher share of the cost burdens they will pay, through their taxes and the cost of the goods and services they need, that are always inflated to maintain the gap for the high end.

The ball is in the court of Congress.  But will Congress honor the Constitution and its obligation to it, and to the People?  President Obama will not honor the Constitution, as he and his Secretary of State both wrote, very precisely, that it should be honored and followed, back when they were senators.  And the Bush majority on the Supreme Court, representatives of conservative Republicans, who are representatives of the military-industrial complex, and the Presidentialists, will never rule in support of the Constitution it has already betrayed, not when halting the profits and opportunities served by continued usurping of war power by the executive is at stake.

Only the impeachment power of Congress, or the threat of it, can finally prevail to restore the Constitution and the voices of Americans to weigh on their nation’s use of deadly force.  Are not the risks, costs, consequences, and unknowns of a king or dictator policy for military force so high that it is more than worth it to stand-up for the separation of powers in the Constitution that dictate and require that such grave decisions should be made by the People’s representatives, not just by their president?  What in America ever sanctioned that such power, to spill the blood of Americans and collateral foreign nationals, as is always the case, to include women and children, should rest in the hands of any one person, let along the resolutions of other nations?

The president will say speed was important, to save lives, despite that no critical national interest was to be served, and despite that the Founders deliberately intended that the decision, by Congress, on use of force not be made too quickly.  But he could have had a decision to authorize the action in time, if he had the case to make and was seeking authority of Congress at the same time he began the planning for the international negotiations and subsequent military operations.  Then, the authorization might have been predicated upon specifying such things as the objectives and exit strategy that must be attained, all the question marks the president is now scrambling after the fact to answer in his address, when there is really only one word he can truthfully say about his constitutional trespass:  “guilty.”

The president’s speech and post-speech explaining and justifications he has been making since he sent America into its third Mid-East war should have been made to Congress and the People before Congress voted to, or not to give him the authority to do so, and then had they, there would be no need for post-attack explanations and justifications, and it would be valid to say that “we” cannot allow... or “we” have an obligation... etc.  There is no “we” in this war.  It is all President Obama, and it is all about a Congress both ignorant and spineless to stand up for its constitutional powers and responsibilities, as it has continually been since WWII.

Congress has been busy investigating and supporting prosecutions against athletes for lying about drug use.  What’s more important?  That Congress initiate prosecution of Gary Bonds for lying about sports-related activities, or that it prevent presidents from violating the Constitution by going to war on their own initiative alone?  The point is not whether or not America should have intervened with military force to prevent the deaths of demonstrators, or should use it to remove Gaddafi.  The point is that it is unconstitutional for the president to do it without congressional authority, and by doing so, Obama made himself a king or dictator, and took away the voice of Americans, expressed through the debate and vote that should have happened in Congress, the branch of government that is closest to the People.

If impeachment of the president must be inaugurated to enforce the Constitution, to prevent all of the horrid consequences that come so much more quickly and easily if the decision of just one man (or other nations), apart from Congress and the Constitution, is all that it takes in a so-called democracy to spill blood, then doesn’t the worth of that blood, of all the lives, lost and mangled, hold considerably more justification for Congress to act, than did Bonds lying about taking steroids, or the spills that once stained a blue dress?  The events subsequent to the NATO hand-over in Libya, where civilian deaths have continued to mount in a bloody stalemate, tempting even greater involvement, and the mass murders now ongoing in Syria, where the president’s new policy of self-proclaimed initiative to prevent such atrocities mandates that another war be started, say it is not, and that this trespass was another great mistake that will turn out to be both costly and unjustified.

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The military-industrial complex militarists are toasting their 18-year-old Scotches as constitutional war powers are buried in Libyan sands.

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King/Dictator Obama took the "we" out of Libya when "he" unconstitutionally made war "his" one-man decision by excluding Congress—our voice.

cc (via web forms) March 27, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, House Financial Services Committee office, more...


President Obama’s address expands unconstitutional war-power shift away from Congress.

President Obama’s address offered no surprises, apologies or regrets.  He made all the justifications expected in his address on his decision to use American military force in Libya.  All of the justifications he enumerated and explained are valid, and he is also correct that the limited action he decided for America’s military were actions that should have been taken by America in support of its allies and, with proper evidence of genocide, as a defender of human rights.

He cited the change of command to NATO, which is a smoke screen, having little consequence to any change in American involvement, since the U.S. is the largest part of the command structure in NATO and is never out of the process when American troops are involved.  Most significant to continued, unilateral decisions on military action, he also defined his military policy as a shared, international participation “to protect interests and values that, while not critical, may be threatened” across the globe, from preventing genocide, keeping the peace, providing or insuring justice, to safeguarding the flow of commerce.

The Constitution and the war-powers authority of Congress were given not a single word, and that is where the underlying problem, which the president’s address did not alter, remains.

In America, if it is a nation of laws, the Constitution is supreme, not presidential policies or doctrines, and not international accords.  No matter how the need might be justified, no matter how right the right, or how wrong the wrong, the core principle that America relies upon, and must demand of its leaders, is the integrity and respect of the Constitution, that its requirements will be respected and met.

The president did not do so when he ordered an air invasion of Libya to set up a no-fly zone and attack Libyan military facilities and armor, and he has not acknowledged any problem in having done so, and in fact, in defining his policy, he provided assurance that the Constitution’s requirement for congressional authorization would continue to be ignored, even though, in cases such as the current circumstance in Libya, authorization would, far more likely than not, be forthcoming.  The point of this is that the president does not want to accept that constitutional obligation upon his office.  No president has, since Eisenhower, and unless this stance is forced to change by Congress, America will continue to face military involvements that are disastrous, unexplained, not understood, and not justified, as well as those that are proper in motive and context for America, and would likely be properly authorized.

The president must get authorization from Congress to set America’s military might into motion, in all cases not involving direct or imminent threat of attack.  Nothing, not since the Constitution was ratified by the Continental Congress has changed that, except the past-practices born of the bold and arrogant defiance of a handful of presidents.

The Constitution also has provided Congress and the American people an instrument of protection against the misconduct or abuse of power of the president:  impeachment.  It is a serious step, one that was abused by a Republican majority in Congress, as a political tool, the last time it was invoked for the lies behind the blue dress.  Abuse of war power, where the democratically derived office of the president is distorted into the throne room of a king or the closed, authoritarian hall of a dictator, causing the spilling of blood, rightly and not, is the most serious instance of abuse where impeachment is justified to end it.  If the president will not relent, and the Supreme Court will not intervene, there is no other way.

Unfortunately, despite all of the qualities that give President Obama the potential to be a great patriot in American history, serving the office with distinction in most ways, this abuse of war power has proven to be a vehicle of such harm and cost to the nation in other hands that it must be ended when he provides the opportunity to do so by deliberately abusing it with his own hand.  The evil genie must be put back into the bottle, or in the case of the president, the bottle, spilling congressional power into his hands, must be plugged to insure that no future abuse can be contrived and repeated.

The American people want the decision for war to be debated openly by their elected officials, as the Constitution requires, before the nation is committed to violence.  And, judging by the statements of congressional members, since the president launched the nation into another conflict, so do they; although, in most cases, they seem not to know the Constitution and that they alone have the collective power to make that decision, whether they want it or not.

The trespass against the Constitution continues, and the ball remains in the court of Congress, as a more peaceful, prosperous future for America weighs in the balance.

March 28, 2011; cc as indicated above.

Response to:

Columnist Nicholas Kristof tries to justify trespass across Constitution’s separation of powers.

Sent to:  New York Times reporter, Nicholas Kristof, in response to his article, Hugs From Libyans
March 23, 2011

Mr Kristof, your assertion that “a couple of days of dutiful consultation” would have fatally delayed intervention in Libya is invalid on two points.  First, there is no “dutiful consultation,” on using military force.  There is only constitutionally dutiful seeking and obtaining of authorization from Congress.  And, second, if the administration had begun informing Congress of its facts, projections, and fears, which were buzzing around behind closed White-House doors for weeks before the forces were ordered in, authorization could have been obtained, even well ahead of time to act if certain “worst-case” scenarios materialized, and even if UN and Arab League authorizations didn’t come through in time.  And if not, well, sell harder or find another way, like let the French and British do it all, for once.  It is their oil source, as you wrote, and oil was the bottom line; otherwise, why no intervention in places like Rwanda?

There is no excuse for unconstitutional, unilateral decisions on war by presidents.  Administrations always know well ahead of the fact when they are planning to deploy troops.  Congress needs to begin being put in the front of that planning, on the basis that a war plan without constitutional authorization is counter to extending the popular sovereignty of a democracy with use of force, and it is worthless, except to a king or a dictator.

And more important, ignoring Congress when starting/ending wars has severely harmed the nation.  It is a proven, past-practice of disaster, and it does no good to search for excuses to overlook or minimize or try to justify the trespass of presidents with respect to the Constitution, whether it’s war powers or First-Amendment rights.

Every end-run around the Constitution’s congressional war powers, or any other trespass across the separation of powers, or the First Amendment, by any well-intentioned president, enables the abuse of future presidents, and many among them will do, and have done great national and global harm through that enablement.

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Every end-run around the Constitution’s congressional war powers, by any well-intentioned president, enables the abuse of future presidents.

cc (via web forms) March 20, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)

To usurp congressional war power is an impeachable offense.

Sent to Rep. Dennis Kucinich
March 20, 2011

It was reported on CNN (loose nature of its reporting considered) that you said, “the president should have consulted with Congress” before he pulled the trigger on Libya?  Consulted?!  You know he’s constitutionally obligated to get authorization from Congress, or you should, and you should be taking him to task for it, loudly, and with no quarter given on the emphatic nature of your claim for the powers that belong with your vote, not any president’s unilateral initiative!  I like President Obama, but presidents going to war without congressional authority to do it is a continuing, dangerous practice that has to end, and it is an impeachable offense!

Grow a spine and stand up for yourselves!  Be jealous of your powers as the Founders counted on you to be!  Make a damn, loud noise about it and don’t let-up until a “Resolution of Trespass” is debated and voted on by Congress and, if passed, delivered to the president’s desk, condemning his violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers.  Add to that (if more likely to get a trespass resolution passed) or send along with it, an ex-post-facto resolution restating Congress’s war power (and not just the purse) and granting the president authority to act according to the UN resolutions, with the exception of no manned attack aircraft (fighters, bombers, fighter-bombers) on offensive missions, only in defensive support of command-and-control, communications, refueling, and transport aircraft, no ground troops, a hard, one-year time limit, and a warning that the next time he or any president usurps Congressional war power that articles of impeachment will be brought up!

The Founders put war power within Congress for a lot of good and necessary reasons, all of which remain valid today, and the nation is far worse off because of Congress making a practice of allowing presidents to usurp its decisions on when to start and/or end military conflicts.  And Congress, for allowing it, is just as responsible for the damage as the presidents who overstepped their authorities, even though responsibility is what congressional members have been trying to avoid, to their detriment and the nations’.

This is supposed to be a democracy, not the kingdom or dictatorship Congress and presidents are trying to turn it into with the unconstitutional, “one-man concept” of war power!

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The Founders did not intend and the Constitution does not allow any one man to decide on matters of war—that power resides only in Congress!

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Why do “analysts” and politicians keep saying “we” picked sides in Libya, “we” went in not knowing... anything.  There’s no “we,” just Obama!

cc (via web forms) March 20, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

This caricature of Obama, as the “Commander in Chief,” while not
representing the man, represents the Office of President,  as it is
transformed by excluding the Congress from decisions, exercising
military power constitutionally expressed to be in Congress alone.

In the promised, new Washington, crows still gather.

Making a decision of support for a policy or conflict in a poll is one thing.  Making a decision that actually pulls the trigger on war, that comes down to the common denominator of America’s sons and daughters ending the lives of those in another nation, always including innocent ones, and of having their lives end or bodies torn is quite something else.

A week after Japan’s Great Quake combined with a movement of self-determination in the Mid-East that marks this as a historic time for the world, President Obama, a constitutional scholar, the candidate who promised a different way for Washington to work, came up against his very first opportunity to make his own Great Quake in the modern history of America’s government when he was handed a U.N. Security Council resolution and the resolution of the Arab League, authorizing the use of force against the dictatorial Libyan regime.  Acting on authority within those resolutions, he decided to send America’s soldiers into harm’s way, and not to take the path of change and revolution that would reverse past abuse and strengthen America’s democracy.  He chose the old path, the transgressing path that leads to stepping on the Constitution by taking the decision on war and making it his own.

Despite the Constitution’s clear, unmistakable language, the supporting documents of the Founders, and the historical circumstances surrounding their evolution as builders of a new kind of government, declaring that it should never be the decision of the president to send America into war, President Obama decided to be another selfish president, another greedy president who, like a robber in the light, would take what power he could unto himself, another president that would just go ahead and take what Congress silently ceded and a lower-court judge once wrongly let the presidents before him take.  He decided to be a president more jealous of the power he would be let wield than respectful of the instrument that he claims to so honor:  the Constitution that defines the government he leads and the democracy that, through combined abuses, is slipping away from its people.

Neither dictator nor king be I?

The Founders were well aware of the danger of too much power being vested in the executive branch of government, and so openly fearful of it that they wrote articles about it and took the power of war and placed it across the divide from the executive, into Article I of the Constitution, where through rule of law it is separated from the president and expressed as a power reserved only for Congress.  The case for his unilateral action in Libya, which the president is repeatedly making and expanding upon in his public speeches now, is what he and his appointees and staff should have been presenting to Congress and its members’ staffs before he acted, to marshal their consent, to have passed a resolution authorizing him to carry out the military action called for in the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the Arab League.

Why does the president say it is mandatory to have UN and Arab-League authorizations to constitutionally go to war, and not have the authorization of Congress?  Where is the logic in that?  In effect, with or without Congress in the equation, it says that if the president believes it is necessary to use military force to defend America’s vital interests, that he would be prevented from doing so unless he had authorization from the U.N. Security Council and whatever regional, international, subset organizations exist.

That’ll be the day!

The fact is, the president is playing war-power two ways, seeking authorizations where it is convenient and ignoring them where it is constricting.  Yet, the president tells America and the world that Gaddafi has lost his legitimacy to lead.  Though that is true, and even though he lost it long ago, how can the president avoid the hypocritical label that falls upon him in the eyes of those in America and abroad who know the Constitution and know America’s military has been illegitimately deployed without the authorization of Congress, in some sense, moving America closer to that which defines a military dictatorship, or an absolute Kingdom, where in either case, the dictator or king sends forth his armies as he sees fit?

That’ll be the day?  You say?

The Founders envisioned a nation of peace, to be separated by oceans from the politics and the entanglements of the nations of Europe that caused war to so frequently hobble the advance of their societies, just as America’s “president-decided” wars, sometimes decided when to start, to end, or both, have hobbled America.  They knew that placing the power of war with Congress served more than the purpose of preventing the abuse of that power by one man alone, as King George III had abused it against them and their neighbors, and that it would require an unlikely conspiracy among a majority of those in Congress if the power of war were ever to be “abused,” and that the majority required to give specified authority to the president to execute its decisions on war would validate, for the people and to other nations, the projecting of that deadly power by the nation unto others, which they considered to be a nation’s most terrible instrument for imposing harm, domestic or abroad.  President Obama validated his self-ordained decision by, in effect, performing quality control upon himself, saying that he recognizes the heavy responsibility of making decisions to go to war as “Commander in Chief,” which is quite the opposite of what either the Constitution requires of that decision, or what the Founders intended as the inherent justification of a openly debated and agreed-upon act by the peoples’ elected representatives.

The title President Obama invoked in his justification has no authority to decide on going to war attached to it.  “Presidentialists,” those who advocate that it does, because they believe the president, not Congress, should have the sole power to decide whether to or not to use military force, include the likes of John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Ronald Reagan, and all the supporters of the military-industrial complex, or “militarists,” which President Eisenhower, the WWII allied commander who preferred to be called “General” after he retired, labeled as “dangerous.”  The Presidentialists and military-industrial-complex militarists, from those in the ranks, to the industry contractors, to those in the think tanks, are toasting with their 18-year-old Scotches as a new front opened up for them in Libya today, and the constitutional war powers that limit their ambitions were buried more deeply, this time in Libyan sands.  Still, with more than 100 cruise missiles launched on the first day of hostilities, defense contractors gain more than $60 million, just the opening payment, borne at the expense of the national-debt burden facing America’s children.  Presidentialists/militarists also include most conservative Republicans, the same ones who strip workers of their collective voices, and who sanctioned crimes, including torture, kidnapping, and illegal domestic spying, and it includes most who have become president, since Eisenhower, regardless of party (President Carter might be the only exception), because presidents are stricken by human nature and tend to covet and seek to expand their power.

Militarists argue, ignoring all historical context and supporting documents, that the title “Commander in Chief” has the authority implied.  But the Constitution is also very clear and specific that all powers not expressed fall to the states, not the president.  The much-abused title is actually worn by the president as he facilitates the implementation of the will of Congress in commanding the military to attain of the goals and objectives specified in the authorization.  There is no other way to constitutionally interpret it.  Any other interpretation is tainted by politics or ill-purpose.

Or the militarists will argue that the president is not restricted if war is not “declared,” because the Constitution, in the terminology and according to the practice of the day stated “declare war,” instead of “deploy military forces,” or some similar but identical phrase.  The Constitution only mentions sea and land forces, as well, but these militarists won’t argue that the Air Force is exempt from all constitutional constraints imposed upon the other military branches because it is not mentioned, since, of course, there were no airplanes or air force when the nation was founded.  As in so many conservative arguments, they try to twist words and concepts to have it both ways.

The Founders recognized the nature of man would be realized in most presidents by coveting and seeking to expand the power of the office, and they recognized that in the government they devised, the People would be closer to the Congress than to the president, less isolated from their state- and district-elected officials, and that was a secondary reason for the power of war to be vested there.  They also recognized that with the power to decide to engage in armed conflict, with military force, originating in Congress, that the decision would be arrived at through open debate and a vote that would be far more subject to the influence of the people upon their representatives, making the decision to go to war an extension of the nation’s democracy, of its popular sovereignty, not one made behind closed doors, without debate, as the plans to enter other wars, like Iraq, were derived, without public influence any more meaningful than an after-the-fact poll.

This intent by the Founders for war to be decided by Congress, with the transparency of its closer touch with people, and its debate, is expressed by the Founders in writings, as when the nation’s Founder and third president, Thomas Jefferson, wrote, “As the executive cannot decide the question of war on the affirmative side, neither ought it to do so on the negative side, by preventing the competent body [Congress] from deliberating on the question,” which is exactly what President Obama just did when he declared an ultimatum, backed by the use of military force, without the authority of Congress, without the transparency of its process of decision, without the compounded plurality of its place, closer to the electorate, from among whom the soldiers come, and most important, without the considered decision, made from within the collective hearts and minds of that “competent body [of Congress, not the president].”  Instead, the president consulted only with what he considered to be (as George Bush did) “appropriate personnel,” as President Obama put it, when asked, before taking a step so dangerous, bringing war to the nation, before spilling the blood of its people, and in the name of ideals he set as justification for that great expense and its inherent, long-term risks.

How bold, how arrogant, for just one man to take unto himself all of that, in the name of all of us, and in stark, naked defiance of Congress and of all that stands in the archives of history and the Constitution to prevent it!  It matters not if President Obama’s heart is in the right place or that his decision is right, or that it is the decision at which Congress would have arrived.  Lyndon Johnson’s heart was in the right place, but his decisions prolonging the Vietnam war were deadly wrong and costly to the extreme.  The decisions of the president’s predecessor, George Bush, were both deadly wrong and from a heart not in the right place, meaning that interests other than the national defense were being serviced.  And therein is the great danger that the president keeps alive and invites successors to take unto themselves, with results that cannot be counted upon to be any better than those which have kept America hobbled in conflict for generations since the end of World War II.

If the president is bold and arrogant for his ex parte decision to take up the nation’s sword by his own volition, then Congress is just as apathetic, and weak, and cowardly for allowing him to do it.  At the very least, it should pass a resolution to provide a defacto, ex-post-facto authorization, to at least preserve a semblance of constitutionality, a hint that its elected members acknowledge the power is theirs, not his, that they are giving-away—ceding the voice of their constituents to the president because they lack the courage to act on matters of such grave import themselves, or to confront the president when it is stolen from them, to at least leave a dropping of the authority that is theirs in the process they have allowed to wallow in the murky, swirling waters of the toilet that, because of this and other transgressions in governance and the courts, is about to further weaken America, more darkly shade its future, and swallow-up its democracy.

The polls that ask if America should use force in Libya are asking the wrong question.  Instead they should ask of Americans if they believe they want their neighbors, friends, and family sent to war on the decision of just one man, or the decision of a majority in their Congress.  If the results are the same, then Congress or the states should act immediately to amend the Constitution to move war powers across the great separation the Founders (who were far wiser and more intelligent than the collective populace and members of Congress today) created between the president and Congress.  And then they should hope or pray that the power they formally, legally conferred on the office of president doesn’t loosen whatever constraints acting without that authority have provided, to bring upon them and their descendants the horrors of even more of the likes of Vietnam and Iraq, and all the collateral death and consequences that arose, because they will have sanctioned a great, new danger, the very one of which the Founders were most afraid.

And then, when this is done, be very afraid.  Because the Founders also knew that bad, evil men, or gullible men, swayed by the deceptive evil around them, would eventually be elected or succeed to the office of the President.  And, again, they were right.  It has happened, and it will happen again.  Hitler came to power because other powers were ceded to him out of ignorance, apathy, or fear.  America is not invulnerable to so drastic a change of coat, particularly as the protections of its democratic freedoms and the foundations of its democracy are nipped apart by the agile, hungry, black crows that flap about, singularly, less significant, but of which there are always, like locusts, enough to strip bare those fields left unprotected or surrendered.

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Why does the president say it’s mandatory to have UN and Arab League authorization to go to war, constitutionally, and not that of Congress?

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Why does every new president start a new U.S. war?  At the same time, to justify it, everything/anything is called critical to U.S. security.

cc (via web forms) March 19, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Another president puts the muzzle on Congress in deciding war.

On the basis of stopping violence against civilians, preserving the security of the U.S. and its allies, and upholding the word of international bodies, President Obama laid down an ultimatum for Libya’s Gaddafi, much as George Bush did to Saddam Hussain, to cease fire, pull back from the rebel areas it has retaken, and reestablish utility services.

The president assured that there would not be any deployment of ground troops, and that no further objectives beyond preventing violence against civilians would be pursued.

The president invoked the title of “Commander-in-Chief,” saying that as such, sending the military into conflict is one of the most difficult decisions he has.

Point is, HE DOESN’T HAVE IT!  The title “Commander in Chief,” ascribed to the president in the Constitution, carries with it NO authority to make any decision to send soldiers into conflict situations... none!

Further, Gaddafi fighting against armed rebels is NOT fighting civilians, an important distinction that it seems will be completely ignored in another rush to involve the U.S. in yet another conflict, even pushing the situation, perhaps for the president to show strength, because hours before he made his announcement, Gaddafi announced a complete cease fire being immediately put into effect, showing that he still has the backbone flexibility to back down, as he did with WMD after the invasion of Iraq.

And the U.S. has no obligation, and the president no authority to give weight to the words of international organizations with the blood of its soldiers, one of the justifications the president cited for taking military action if Gaddafi doesn’t abide by the conditions of the ultimatum.

It appears that the only way this continued abuse of power will ever end is when either a member of Congress takes an injunction against the president to the Supreme Court, which is a step either side is reluctant to take, because the current majority on the Court has already demonstrated that its politics are more important than the Constitution, and they would be more likely to affirm the stripping of constitutional war power from the Congress.  Another way would be if any member of the military refused to follow orders to participate in actions against Libya without congressional authorization, in which case, the process would begin with a lower court, and if ruled against the president, the case would still eventually wind up in the hands of George Bush’s Supreme Court majority.

It is inconceivable to see in what way the abused war-power authority is viewed as ever having been beneficial to the United States.  Sadly, it seems there is no interest in restoring the Constitution’s separation of powers, not from Congress, from which the power is being abducted, and not the people, from whom the decision to commit the country to violence is farther removed when snatched from their elected representatives, and certainly not from the founders, who were specific enough about it in the Constitution, and also in their “side-bar” statements on power.

“Listen” to the words of Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” and think of how they apply to today’s evolution of his government.  He begins with multiple expressions regarding the abuse of power, and then goes on to address the careless relinquishing of power in trying times, an issue hotly alive with the concerns of the Patriot Act, the continuing attempts by presidents to grab power with legislative sign-offs, particularly pronounced with George Bush, the use of fear to gain support for accumulating ever greater and farther-reaching powers, as with the Patriot Act, and attacks against the judiciary, supported by George Bush and Republicans during his administration, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who, along with John Boehner and Steve Chabot, have been Pavlov-reflexed to salivate the Bush line on Iraq and carry it into this century, ignorantly claiming enthusiastic support for all the harm that war has imposed and will impose, and also continuing to claim that the war there has prevented attacks in the U.S., when, in fact, it has not.

The president stated that, somehow, Gaddafi, a mouse in a desert region of ally cats, threatens the security of the U.S. and its allies, an obligatory statement, not a truth, for presidents to invoke as they step beyond the power of their office to commit the nation to conflict.

Madison mistrusted so much power in the hands of a single man, and rightly so, writing:

“All men having power ought to be mistrusted.”

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

By “tyranny,” Madison refers to the more subtle abuse of the minority by the majority—not so much a Nazi or Genghis Kahn or al-Assad type of violent repression and control, though that would be the possible result of an excess allowed to go too far.  Today, it’s tyranny in reverse, with the minority abusing the majority through internal voting rules that establish unconstitutional majority-vote requirements affecting passage of legislation (the Senate’s 60-vote rule to cut-off filibuster).  Nip it in the bud would be Madison’s strong warning.  Nip it in the bud would be Madison’s strong warning.  He goes on:

“The loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad.”

“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.”

“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

These quotes of Madison are a stern warning and a justification for the separating of war powers from the office of the president, except in cases where immediate defense against attack must be mounted, and all have bearing upon today’s choices for citizens, Congress, the courts, and the unfounded claims of presidents that the power to decide on war in their hands will keep America safe, or in any particular case, keep fighting away from U.S. streets.

On war power, specifically, and the intent to keep it far from the president, as written in the Constitution, the Founders were clear and direct:

Madison:  “The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.”

Thomas Jefferson, the third president, before Madison, wrote to reaffirm this undeniable intent:  “As the executive cannot decide the question of war on the affirmative side, neither ought it to do so on the negative side, by preventing the competent body [Congress] from deliberating on the question.”

Founder Alexander Hamilton wrote to say how the other side of the coin also stays the president’s hand with respect to war power:  “[It is] the duty of the Executive to preserve peace till war is declared.”

The Constitution’s Articles cannot be altered or sidestepped with legislation or by presidential directives.  They can only be changed or removed by the purposefully difficult process of amendment. The War Powers Act is unconstitutional, and the cost of allowing presidential discretion with war powers beyond constitutional limits has cost Americans dearly, most recently, the cost of more than 4,400 lives in Iraq; it has set back American foreign policy, has created more hatred and more opportunity for enemies to gather the forces to be launched against America that will cause irrevokable harm to American society and the American way of life.  The harm it has done could fill an encyclopedia.

It is time for Congress to put presidents on actionable notice that when they make decisions about sending military forces into conflict that they have overstepped their authority.  The time for political games and adventures must be ended, because the allowances they assume have for too long strayed to quash the guidelines and restraints which constitute America’s heritage, contained within the Constitution and its associated wealth of documents and written history.  It has already been proven it is foolhardy to continue to ignore them.

America stands on the precipice of another exclusion of Congress from debating and deciding upon an issue that invokes their most significant responsibility and authority, its muzzling hastened by another president insistent on expanding the power of his office across the boundary set for it in the Constitution.

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If one man decides on use of military force, it cannot be an extension of power representing the popular sovereignty of a democratic nation.

cc (via web forms) March 18, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

End America’s age of perpetual war by resting a decision to begin another in proper hands.

The vote of the U.N. Security Council, within the last few hours, to authorize all action necessary to prevent the slaughter of civilians in Libya does not authorize the president to bring U.S. military force to bear there because:

1.  There is no evidence of genocide or the slaughter of civilians by the Gaddafi regime.  The regime is fighting armed rebels.

2.  The president knows and Secretary of State Clinton has already said that the U.S. has insufficient knowledge to know who the factions are, and if they defeated the regime with outside help, if they would be another case of Palestine, where Hamas won elections, or Iraq, where al-Maliki is showing strong anti-democratic intentions, or worse, if Islamic radicals akin to Taliban might take control.  The U.S. just does not know.

3.  The repercussions of U.S. military involvement are unknowable, as are how or when the military might be disengaged.

4.  The U.S. is involved in two active military adventures and doesn’t need another.  Defense Secretary Gates has advised against use of force there primarily because of an overstretched military, and the budget is also overstretched.

5.  There is NO THREAT to U.S. security posed by either the victory or overthrow of Gaddafi, or by the fighting.  Committing troops and risking their lives would NOT be in defense of the United States.

6.  The only beneficiary of any military action in Libya would be the components of the military-industrial complex, where the borrowed tax dollars to buy arms and equipment and fuel, and to hire private contractors would have to be borrowed as a burden upon the next generation, with the lives lost there a burden now.

7.  There would be lives lost, mostly civilians... there always are, and civilians of all ages and sex always carry the greatest burden of casualties.

8.  Engaging with Libya is not the way to begin disengaging the perpetual state of U.S. conflict that has been engineered by the military-industrial complex and the radical Republican party, of which the former Republican President and WWII Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower specifically, and with the strongest possible words, warned.  His warning has been ignored, to the detriment of America’s present and future.  It is time to end foolishness and any sense of modern-world superiority, and begin heeding the warnings of America’s greatest leaders and following the structural dictates of one of the world’s greatest documents, describing a government of free men and women, forged through conflict, controversy and compromise on a foundation of democracy by America’s greatest patriots.

9.  Democracy is a harsh taskmaster.  It didn’t come easily to the colonists and it still hasn’t come to Iraq or Egypt.  If enough of the people do not want it badly enough to fight for it and take it, it will not succeed by intrusion of external forces.  A new regime will be created that either acts in its own interests, as Gaddafi does now, or as a corrupt partner with external powers that funnel vast sums of money to support it, as is the case in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The people of Libya have shown neither the intensity of resolve or design of structure necessary to bring about the birth of a democracy.  More of them have shown an inclination to hide, switch sides, and immigrate than stand up for themselves with the rebels, and American soldiers cannot be ordered to stand up for them, risking their lives to force the creation of democratic environments anywhere.  That’s the mission of the military-industrial complex, not the American people, and not the Constitution.

10.  CONGRESS HAS PROVIDED NO AUTHORIZATION FOR MILITARY ACTION AND ANY TAKEN WITHOUT IT WOULD BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL, even with a U.N. Security Council resolution to use force.  To allow a foreign body to dictate the deployment of U.S. forces would be UNCONSTITUTIONAL, and it cannot be done through treaty or any other means, except to amend the Constitution so that it no longer vests/expresses the sole authority for use of force to be within Congress.  Congress must pass a resolution to authorize the president to execute military action authorized by the U.N. Security Council.  President Obama cannot act on the U.N. resolution alone.  If any conflict is truly vital to America, a majority of its peoples’ representatives in Congress will see it, or can be made to see it, but it is their explicit right to agree in majority to or not to authorize the president to unleash that force.

President Obama has been absolutely correct to refrain from military action in Libya, to ignore the war-calls of the militarists, like Sen. McCain and presidential hopeful, Rudy Giuliani. Secretary Clinton explained the reasons why not very well, and the president has only failed in specifying a recognition that he needs more than just the U.N. Security Council resolution and the approval of the African Union.  He has not said that he knows he must get authority from Congress.  As a student of the Constitution, he surely knows this.  As a president, he may be tempted to forget it and extend past-practice of silent ceding and taking of power.  As a Presidentialist, who creates interpretations and authorities that are not written and do not exist (therefore would defer to the states), that are not expressed, he would ignore the Constitution’s Article-I requirement that the collective minds and hearts of the people’s representatives make the decision, after debate, on when to deploy deadly military force, putting the lives of their soldier-citizens at risk, never any one man, never the executive; otherwise the decision to use military force becomes corrupt and cannot be an extension of power representing the popular sovereignty of a democratic nation.

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The President, as Commander in Chief, is the facilitator of the will of Congress in matters of war, and is subordinate to that body.

cc (via web forms) March 17, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Does CNBC’s Larry Kudlow have the heart of extreme Republicanism?

Always knew cold-heartedness was true, but never thought it would be so plainly revealed.

The capitalist-extremists at CNBC never showed their naked callousness as well as “The Call’s” co-anchor, Larry Kudlow, when he delivered his situation summary on the markets’ mid-day upturn at the close of the show, saying of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, “The human toll seems to be a lot worse than the economic toll, and we can be grateful for that.”

His words, falling like cubes from the tray, were unchallenged by his two co-hosts, and one can only guess that all the capitalists puritans who work at and watch CNBC, and who tie their de-regulatory hopes (to shed costly rules protecting public safety from reckless, corporate profiteering) to the Republican party, that they are thankful one of their kind, a caring guy like Larry, is there at CNBC to make sure they have their moral compasses pointed in the right direction (Hades) and their humanity locked away there in the basement safe.  That’s what Mr. Kudlow showed to be the really true intent, no slip of the tongue, and how effortlessly it was delivered, from just under the skin.

The world according to Kudlow, without apology:  Better that people suffer a hit than investors take a loss.

The death toll from the tsunami, climbing all morning, had reached at least 300 before Kudlow cut loose with his black-hearted [1,500 the 3rd day after], but truly Republican (as the party has devolved since Eisenhower) sentiment, the goal of which is burned into their platform, to strip regulatory funding and enforcement (reduce the size of government) in every industry.  And if you don’t care about the people, regulation (democracy) is just an annoyance that gets in the way of more profit, ergo, the market/corporate/personal profit is what comes first, a point many co-anchors at CNBC reveal in their banter, though never with quite the blatant, casual stab to the heart with which their peer delivered it in this day of tragedy upon tragedies.


On Monday, March 14, during a late-morning ad-spot for his evening, CNBC-show interview with House Speaker Boehner, Mr. Kudlow, the above-referenced co-host for CNBC’s The Call, apologized for what he described as his “slip... out of context,” and went on to offer obligatory sentiments about the loss of life in Japan that should have been spoken when he originally said that it was gratifying the human toll of the quake and tsunami was a lot greater than the economic one.  His quote (above) certainly was not taken out of context, as Kudlow didn’t quite say, but implied while including the word “context” in his apology, and there was no stutter, or hint, or pause (except the dead silence that followed his remark) to indicate it was a slip on his part.  And if you didn’t see it, you can’t decide for yourself either, because Kudlow’s closing remark is—shades of Nixon—cut-out from the stream of the show segment that’s posted on The Call’s web page.

Maybe it was a slip.  Maybe that can be the Squawk’s next poll.  But, sometimes people in the public eye just let the truth pop out there to lay naked on the stage; think Mel Gibson, Michael Richards (Kramer), and Kudlow, their true priorities, feelings, or lack thereof showing, apart from what is widely acceptable, like Gov. Walker, but without the fake Koch brother on the phone, and then, when called on it, unless they’re Charlie Sheen, they apologize, offering excuses, like it was a slip, or heard or said out of context, or that they were misunderstood, or they didn’t understand what was said that preceded the remark, therefore the remark is invalid, or it didn’t come out the way it was intended, etc., etc., and then they say all the things they know to be the right things to say, even if they can’t really feel them.  This not only seems to be the case with respect to Kudlow’s original remarks, but it also seems to fit in with the air that hovers above his social indications, which can be inferred from some of the comments that accrue to form the image of the man, and that seemed to be so well reinforced by what he now calls his “slip.”  The fact he also says his remark was not in context, which it most definitely was, and that he chose to offer the apology on a call-out segment, during a commercial break where it is less likely to be heard, yet, nonetheless said, rather than during the show he co-hosts, where the comment was made, makes his apology seem all the more disingenuous.

But whether Kudlow’s apology is really genuine or is provided as a job-keeper can only be known by Kreskin and those who really know Kudlow.  Regardless, he is now more suspect than ever, as wearing the same shoes as the 1800’s industrialist who drank rare Scotch paid for with the labor of the sweat shops he owned, holding the noses of children to the grindstone, letting women go up in his burning factories, most of which abuses came to an end as the result of the unions and democratic reforms of which he and so many at CNBC seem so often to refer to with such disdain, as must be expected, it seems, from those who serve the “capitalist” investment community.  And it is the investment community that is served by Kudlow and CNBC, because most everyone else is working (and not in banks or investment firms) and not watching or listening to the occasional inhumanities that spring forth, floating through the airwaves on that particular, soiled feather of the peacock’s once proud and more brightly-colored tail.

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Was CNBC co-anchor, Larry Kudlow’s apology, for remarks about Japanese lives lost genuine? —

cc (via web forms) March 14, 2011:  House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Senator Jim Webb

War-power constraints gassed and glassed.

Sent to:  Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA)
Chairman, Personnel Subcommittee, Senate Committee on Armed Services
March 11, 2011

Senator Webb, you replied to my letter about military involvement in Libya by writing:  “I have strongly cautioned against unilateral U.S. military action in Libya.”

Your reply was a form letter, and I doubt any letters are read by you, because whether your sentence, above, means unilateral, executive, military action or unilateral, national, military action, the entire point of my letter, which was unmistakable, was that you should know the president cannot constitutionally do anything militarily in Libya without congressional authorization.  So why are Senators McCain and Kerry urging him to take such actions, when they should be talking to their peers to get a majority vote on a resolution to direct the president to act, if that’s what they want.  Apparently, because they are “Presidentialists.”  Again, you say, “strongly cautioned against,” as though you believe the president can unilaterally go ahead and deploy troops or other military assets without a majority of senators’ approval, and that you must plead for him to abstain!

I am not aware of any treaties or resolutions of Congress, or law that provides prior authorization for the president to deploy military assets, which would be an unconstitutional device, significantly changing the Constitution without amendment process.  And even with a U.N. Security Council resolution in his hand to, say, establish a no-fly zone, the president would still be required to at least get the Senate to ratify it before troops could be sent in.  Otherwise, the Congress would be placing the authority to put U.S. lives at risk, to deploy deadly force against another people, in the hands of the president alone or foreign nationals!  Either circumstance would be blatantly against the intent of the Founders, as written in the Constitution, and by several of the most influential of them, including Madison, in other letters and publications, all of which you should be aware, as should every senator and representative.

None of the statements made by Secretary Clinton or the president over the last several weeks allude to the congressional-authorization requirement, and I am sure they, as all modern presidents, wish it to be otherwise, but it is not. Military force should only be decided upon by the collective minds and hearts of elected members of Congress, never by any one man, as was the case when the Founders and their neighbors were the subjects of abuses and imprisonment and death at the hands of King George III’s troops.  Collective agreement is the Founders’ intent, and that is how they wrote the war powers into Article I, reserving ONLY the power of the president to respond to a precipitously imminent or on-going attack on his own, in Article II. All other powers relating to the military are vested in Congress, in Article I.

The designation of “Commander-in-Chief” is just a title, overused in inappropriate venues, worn by the president as a facilitator for achieving the goals and objectives specified and authorized by Congress, not an empowerment for any authority to initiate military actions of any kind, except the aforementioned defense against attack.  Failure to abide by this restriction of exclusion costs lives, imposes great costs, and hastens a darkened future for us all.  It is a failed policy, to silently cede military power to the executive.  I hope you will begin to assert the will of the Founders in your responsibilities as a U.S. Senator.

I don’t believe President Obama would ever use military power unwisely or brashly.  But the Founders specified military power to be projected from within Congress because, besides their personal experience at the end of the sword of a military ordered upon them from afar by one man, they recognized a bad president could be elected, and they intended that separation of military power from the executive would protect the nation from a power-drunk, or otherwise deviant president, like George Bush.  If the protections the Founders built into the Constitution are going to be effective, then they must be universally respected and uniformly followed.  Otherwise there will be more unnecessary, criminal, or misguided abuses of military power that leave our budgets depleted, our global perception stained, and our men and women and many more innocent foreign nationals maimed and dead, as has always been the case.

The Constitution is not a relic to be encased in gas and glass and displayed to tourists.  It is the framework of American government and law, and it cannot be permitted to be contorted, distorted, mal-interpreted, propagandized, or ignored any longer.  This past practice of the “Presidentialists” to grab congressional power in military matters, and the tendency of the Congress not to jealously guard its expressed powers, as the Founders counted upon, as a trait of human nature to preserve the separation of powers and limit the power of the executive, must end.  And with your distinguished military background and influence, you should be the one who strives to be like Eisenhower, when he warned of the dangers of the Military-Industrial complex, and be the leader in Congress, to warn and claw-back and stand against further ceding of congressional war power to the executive, before you retire from office, to make the point that the war power is to be construed with the broadest scope and that it resides within Congress, according to the Constitution, not with the president, and make going to war/battle/police action—no matter, it’s all subject to the war powers in Article I—make it, the committing of American lives, make it the collective decision of elected men and women that it must be if conflict is to be an extension of popular sovereignty, and not the campaign of a unitary, closeted collective, as it is if the president acts on his or her own to deploy, only consulting with cabinet officers and “appropriate personnel,” like Dick Cheney did when he had his secret meeting with energy executives to plan the deployment of oil-drilling and storage equipment and personnel to Iraq, to arrive within a week after troops invaded and secured the fields—certainly, no implication of Cheney’s actions or character upon this president should be derived.

If the resistance of Congress to exercise its constitutional authority and responsibility has been because of the time it takes to get authority the constitutional way, well, first of all, that is the idea, when not responding to an attack, which is expressed to the executive in Article II, and there is also a constitutional method to compress the process of authorization, to greatly speed a decision of denial or approval, to get the ball rolling quickly in seemingly consensual situations.  But if the resistance is in order to avoid congressional responsibility for decisions of military involvement, then shame on you all!

The president, in his press conference on the day of the Great Japan Quake, talked about taking careful action before engaging in any military action, “with international participation, after consulting with the secretary of defense, the Joint Chief, and other appropriate personnel,” when the first entity he should be talking about getting together with is... Congress!  Is the “other appropriate personnel” of which the president spoke supposed to be you—Congress?  The Constitution specifies the derivation of war powers, in Article I, as Congress.  The president’s implied designation is, himself, and his expressed designation of participating authorities, appropriate personnel, is extremely vague, and where in the formation of the United States did the Founders ever specify that the executive can “conspire” to deploy the military with whatever vague counsel he may wish to engage?  It’s not in Article II, and the president can’t cross over to Article I.  The president’s specification is only valid when he is acting upon congressional authority as Commander-in-Chief, consulting with whomever he chooses regarding the tactics, composition, and coordination of forces, equipment, and allies he must direct to achieve the goals he has been authorized to pursue.  It’s all very clear-cut, except in Congress and the Oval Office.

You and the rest of the chamber need to start doing what is necessary so that presidents begin thinking and speaking with the proper priority about who makes military-policy decisions and decides about initiating engagements.  If you let presidents take the power, they will, for good or ill.  Again, the title “Commander-in-Chief,” is nothing more than the cap the president wears in order to facilitate the will of Congress in directing the military when so authorized by Congress, to achieve goals and objectives authorized by Congress!  Nothing more.  And within that authority, it is the president’s discretion as to how (not if) to deploy force to achieve the authorized objectives.  That’s the way the Constitution requires it be done.  And McCain knows this, but he is a facilitator of the military-industrial complex, and as such, he recognizes that a constitutionally-defined chain of war-power authority would mean that it would be much more difficult to precipitate campaigns, and I suspect he still dreams of being president and wants the power within that office, free of any obligation to Congress or subordination to its authority.

Other than the specified, Article II authority to unilaterally defend against ongoing or immediately precipitous attack (the modern-day equivalent of seeing the masts of the King’s approaching frigates appear over the horizon), the Constitution only permits the president to make his case for military action to Congress for approval, to sell it, if he believes it is necessary to initiate use of deadly force of the military anywhere in the world.  It is never his or her decision to make unilaterally.  There is no “go” button in the White House to initiate aggression.  Further, if the majority in Congress votes a resolution to withdraw all troops from Iraq, or establish a no-fly zone in Libya, the president must carry out those authorizations, even if he does not agree.  With war powers, the Constitution doesn’t even afford the executive a veto, which speaks to how important the Founders believed it to be that the power be excluded from that branch.  The nation has suffered greatly, still suffers, because of the abandoning of this important constitutional constraint.  You, at least, can begin the process of restoring it.

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Obama took away the voice of Americans when he decided on his own to attack Libya, excluding Congress—the branch closest to America’s voice.

cc (via web forms) March 11, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Rep. Zoe. Lofgren, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

In Republican hands, the Wisconsin State Capitol.  It certainly has that democratic look to it.

Isn’t it odd...?

Isn’t it odd that the offspring of Germany’s Nazi soldiers are today exercising freedoms that have been stripped from their freedom-fighting, conquerors’ children by Wisconsin Republicans, democratic freedoms which are soon to also be ripped away from descendants of Ohio’s WWII-soldiers by Ohio’s Republican majority?  Germany’s war descendants now enjoy membership in public-employee unions and are striking over their employment conditions.

This is hardly representative of high-sounding, Republican sound-bites and promises, or a result expected from votes cast in the alleged interest of democracy.  And the suppression of democratic freedoms by these states’ governments has little if anything at all to do with budget crises, which in public negotiations require responsibility on the part of government negotiators, which has been absent, not addressed by Republicans who, since they’ve been mostly in charge, are also largely responsible, and for which those irresponsible have not been held to account.  Abolishing democratic freedoms does not accomplish that or save taxpayers’ purses from negligent elected officials or their hired, often over-compensated administrators/managers in any level of government.  It is just another sign of American democracy in decline.

cc (via web forms) March 10, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

George Bush, as president, claimed he was “the Great Decider.”  BUNK!

The Constitution is clear:  Congress has the war powers, not the president.

The Founders did not intend and the Constitution does not allow any one man to decide, or to, as George Bush claimed, stand as “the Great Decider” on matters of war—that power resides only in Congress!

Think of it this way:  the Constitution bestows the title of “Commander-in-Chief” over the military to the president, but Congress is empowered as Commander-in-Chief of the president!

The president, as Commander-in-Chief, is the facilitator of the will of Congress in matters of war and is subordinate to that body, to the exclusion of command intrusion or micro-management by Congress in the direction of the military to achieve authorized goals/objectives.

Past-practices of “Presidentialists” to grab power and of Congress to silently cede power does not make constitutional the initiating of military action by the executive without the express authorization of Congress!  Such abuse has contributed to the unnecessary, global militarism of the U.S., to the detriment of its future and at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.

With no U.S. lives at risk, President Obama can take NO military action in Libya without the explicit, constitutionally-required authorization of Congress.

Unless previous, congressionally-ratified treaties exist, authorizing the president to act on U.N. resolutions to take military action, Congress must ratify U.N.-approved military actions in Libya.

Congress has constitutional authority to direct the president to execute a no-fly zone in Libya, or to take any other military action, anywhere.

Bottom line:  if a majority in Congress wants military action taken, it can direct the president to do it.  If the president wants to take military action, he or she must solicit the Congress, sell a majority on the plan to get a decision made granting the authority to proceed.  Unless Congress has authorized military actions through law, resolution, or ratification of treaties triggering military action, the president has no authority for any unilateral military action in Libya or anywhere else; with or without U.N. resolutions—Congress must authorize!

And elected government officials must start following the Constitution.

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Constitutionally the president is TITLED as military’s Commander in Chief but Congress is EMPOWERED as Commander in Chief of the president!

cc (via web forms) March 7, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin

The knee-jerk militarism of John McCain is a no-fly zone.

Democracy cannot be bought with intervention, but it can be given away with apathy.

America can thank its lucky 50 stars that Arizona Senator John McCain was rejected by a slim popular majority in his bid for the presidency in 2008.  Not just because it kept Sarah Palin out of the heart-beat chair, but because otherwise, America would at this moment be at war in Libya, risking American lives in the same way that they were wasted in Iraq, not for national defense, but for an unproven assertion, in this case, that genocide is being carried out by Libyan dictator Gaddafi, through the use of military aircraft to bomb citizens.

McCain is a leading supporter and propagator of the military-industrial complex, the objective of that entity being to initiate and maintain military involvement throughout the world, spurring the growth of the military, the entrenchment of military activism in American life, and the sales of military hardware to “allies,” as has been done in Iraq with orders for tanks and F-16 Falcon fighter jets, and where its prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is acting like a dictator, insulated with a private army, paid for with more than 4,400 American lives and billions of homeland-needed dollars.  At least half of America’s citizens cannot remember a time when they would watch the TV news and not see a report on American troops in conflict.  For them, war has long ago become like a constant, distracting noise that the brain tunes out, but nonetheless absorbs.  This militarism contributes to the decline of America through an imposed sense of gloom and death, at home, where a nation in constant conflict can only be perceived as a nation falling deeper into failure, and in the occupied nations abroad, where the constant presence of troops inflicts a sense of oppression and external reformation of culture, instilling hated, sustaining and growing the spread of those who choose to join together to inflict harm upon America in return.  President Obama is right to ignore the likes of McCain and heed the strongly worded advice of his Defense Secretary, against any new military action, because a no-fly zone is an expensive and risky undertaking that America cannot in any way afford, and the outcomes and consequences are indeterminate.

McCain hasn’t learned the lessons of Iraq, probably because he was on the inside of the planning and deceptions, and there is no evidence of genocide in Libya.  It is to be expected that some demonstrators and rebels will claim atrocities and air strikes against them, but American lives can never again be carelessly put at risk on the basis of unsubstantiated claims.  A few pieces of shaky film contain the sound of jets and the rising smoke that resembles a bomb having gone off, but there is no proof that the sound of the video wasn’t altered to add the jet, or that the jet wasn’t just a fly-over, or that the smoke comes from bombs dropped by an aircraft, or that if there were, that they weren’t dropped on munitions or weapons armories to keep them from falling into rebel’s hands, which is not genocide.  Indiscriminate, widespread killing of unarmed civilians is just cause to impose military force to end it, but if that is the case, it would be recognized by multi-national observers, and America would be able to proceed with at least the cursory consent of international forums if not with their participation.

The kind of thinking about military activism with which McCain and the dominating fringe of the Republican party is ingrained must end.  President Obama recognizes that there can also be no impulsive reaction with military force to solve problems in international situations.  In previous Republican administrations, America’s military has sprawled to cover the world, and the president should do more to roll-back that reach, including closing of many military bases around the world, a total withdrawal from Iraq, and complete withdrawal of ground troops from Afghanistan, where the war was won more than eight years ago with the defeat and ousting of the Taliban regime and the scattering of al Qaeda to the four winds, where the core of America’s strength, democracy, is drifting as well.

Democracy is “People” generated and sustained.  If democracy is to succeed in any revolution, the people must want it so badly that they are willing to sacrifice in great numbers to obtain it, not flee to other nations or cower in their homes while the military of another nation confronts their oppressors for them.  This is why democracy is failing to take hold in Iraq and is not yet even a plausible hope in Afghanistan.  And it is also why public ignorance and apathy is the greatest factor contributing to the crumbling of democracy in America, with serious intrusions into the mechanics of popular sovereignty, political equality, and political liberty—democracy’s foundations.

America’s most important fight for democracy is in its own backyard, and the choking grip of the weeds on the once-grassy lives of its people is alarming and must begin to be met with the gravest attention and resolve.

cc (via web forms) March 6, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Sen. Max Baucus, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Are you shocked?
Trump as U.S. president is as scary as this to consider.

Trump plays TV, plays real-estate games into bankruptcy, must not play the White House.

Donald Trump wants to become one bullet in a Derringer pointed at the national head, as an expert speaking in oxymorons to create conundrums.  He said he is seriously “considering running for president” (of the United States) because, he said, “I hate what’s happening to the country... it’s being ridiculed.”

“I work all the time.”  This was the reason Donald Trump gave, in a April 16 speech, for his two divorces, and as another qualification for being president.

What it really shows, and what his continual harping on the non-issue of President Obama’s birthplace, is that he doesn’t know how to bring balance to his life and his priorities.  America doesn’t need a president who works all the time as much as it needs a president who understands the necessity for balance and strong family values, because balance and family values are the cores of structural strength that extend into business and government as qualities that weigh on success.

The Donald was thoroughly lambasted at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner, and as C-SPAN cameras focused on him while jokes about him flew, he was clearly trying to kill the speaker with his stony stare, Saturday Night Live’s lead writer, Seth Meyer.  Besides being called “The Donald,” there’s something about the character of a guy who can’t laugh at himself that makes him especially unqualified to be in any kind of political power, especially when he is as laughable as Trump.

Sarah Palin is the other bullet, and with the Trump revelation, one of the greatest dangers of Palinism is clarified:  any clown with one foot in entertainment (or politics) who thinks about being president is no longer daydreaming, but actually believes it is not only possible, but that it would actually be good for the country.

It would be gratifying if the voters would set this sickly-comic thinking straight, but polls of November 2010 have indicated that Sarah Palin scored in the neighborhood of 40 percent among some groups, a long way from a majority as polls go, but a nonetheless alarming total that gives rational people palpable cause to fear the public as much as Iranian nucs or the image of Palin or Trump seated behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.  One can only think that these unthinking or faulty-thinking voters don’t realize that, these days, electing a president is on many levels a life-or-death proposition, and that, to them, Russian Roulette would not be too dangerous, even if played with a Derringer.

Loading the likes of Sarah Palin and Donald Trump as presidential candidates is like playing Russian Roulette with a Derringer.

cc (via web forms) December 13, 2010:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin; House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Image pending.

Is a nationally beneficial integration of democracy and capitalism the impossible dream?

Despite the assurances of American presidents that motives of conquest and political interference and control are not behind the policies and actions taken by government, capitalism, which is supported by American government and defines much of its history, is heartless and wants to conquer the world and the minds and purses of all its viable population.

Capitalism is the doctrine of financial and resource control and exchange which demands that the avenues of profit dictate the priorities of the players, while corporatism is the structure of capitalism’s component pieces which defines and executes the operable concepts of growth and profit.  These doctrines and structures exist solely, with the least expenditure of investment in the mechanics of the system (production and administrative machinery and operators) as possible, to bring as great a profit as possible, as quickly as possible to those who are shareholders of the enterprise.

In America, all of this must operate within a democracy, which is supposed to be structured upon popular sovereignty, political equality, and political liberty, which define the ability of “people” to participate in self-determination.  Herein is set upon the nation the conflict, defined by the contrary interests of those who live within and work as component parts of the economic structure, with the power to set the laws defining the boundaries within which that structure must be constrained, and those who own and control the structure, whose purpose is to minimize constraints and operating costs to prioritize enriching themselves.

Democracy places restraints upon capitalism through laws and regulations, which in turn places the imperative upon selfish capitalism to seek control of democracy in order to preserve its operative freedom and minimize its costs, even if those costs are designed to protect capitalism’s operable components and the broader structure of its economic foundation.  The history of America, particularly since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, has been the struggle to strike a balance between the interests of these two structures, capitalism and democracy, to merge the best characteristics of both into one system that is beneficial to the nation, its people, as well as its mechanisms of prosperity.

Today, there is little balance, the rich are richer, the poor poorer, the middle class, which has been at the core of America’s prosperity during the last half of the 20th century, is shrinking like the glaciers and democracy is in a terminal moraine at the leading edge of the down-slide, crumbling apart, all three components that define it under attack and structurally weakened.  And, as the melting and caving of the glaciers is a self-precipitating process, hastening their destruction, so to is the subtle, furtive tearing-apart of democracy by the extreme capitalism favored increasingly by successive Republican administrations over the last 50 years.

Priorities of all government officials, especially Supreme Court Justices, should be nation- and Constitution-biased, not party or special interest of any leaning.  Capitalism and free enterprise must be preserved, as the most efficient and successful means by which prosperity and growth can be achieved, but not to extremes, at the expense of democracy and its three, “people-centered” foundational components.

In the Supreme Court, the branch of government designed by the Founders to be the Constitution’s guardian, most recently, the unethical actions of Justice Thomas and the ruling of the Republican-appointed majority in “Citizens United” have contributed most drastically to place democracy deeper under threat, being severely weakened by a structural eroding of its foundations of:  1) popular sovereignty, through the Citizens ruling and special-interest control of legislators through campaign contributions—the flawed/corrupted election process, making American government more and more to be of, by, and for the wealthy, not the people; 2) political equality, again through the Citizens ruling and the flawed and corrupted election process, giving weight to special interests and the voices of the “haves” over the “have-nots,” and due to the process and costs that are barriers to prospective candidates for office — in America’s political system, money-talk is heard; and 3) political liberty, where while anyone can speak, how and where they can speak, and more important, how and where they can be heard is controlled by special interests, most severely, for democracy, through conglomerated control of the Fourth Estate, limiting the range of responsible voices and sources for opinion, reporting of fact, and oversight of government officials and their activities, which removes any wonder about why Republicans want to de-fund PBS and NPR, which leads all of that which remains as journalism in America in exposing abuses.  And political liberty is curtailed through the party system of biased self-interest and control, through rules-setting in Congress and state/local legislatures, to gerrymandering, also responsible for promoting and preserving partisan gridlock.

The combined effect of the erosion of these three legs in the foundation of democracy is that America is, at best, a quasi-democracy that panders to the wealthy, encouraging the growth of the wealth divide between those who can afford boats and airplanes and those who can’t afford houses, health care, or food, diminishing the middle class, and through the corrupted election process, diverting legislators’ time from committee and legislative work to fund-raising and special-interest pandering, resulting in subverted regulatory and enforcement actions and failures of oversight that precipitate death and destruction, as has been the case since the Industrial Revolution, with mining disasters, factory fires, airline crashes, oil exploration and refining, environmental and economic disasters, lack of preparedness for natural disasters, and the growth and entrenchment of the military-industrial complex, resulting in the spreading of the American military footprint around the world, the addressing of political, intelligence, and law-enforcement problems with military-attempted-and-failed solutions, the callous imposition of American military and culture, to include offensively viewed sexual-advertising mores into the lands and cultures of other nations, through which the seeds of al Qaeda’s focus against America was born, and which, to oppose, further feeds an invalid expansion of military growth and operations, all of which has resulted in government-devised-and-sanctioned torture, kidnapping, private (unconstitutional) and uniformed army massacres, and further growth of hatred and opposition to America and its occupations, not to mention the flawed policies of supporting authoritarian regimes around the world, against the interests of local democratic priorities, which is coming to roost in the Middle East today, and which has been a source and incitement of unrest and violence throughout the world.  The evils of diluted and blocked regulation and destructive special-interest spending that are sprung from contribution-funded elections create a long, long string of deleterious effects upon democracy, the American people, the national welfare and future, of which these are only a few of the most obvious.

The attacks against “big government” and the unions—facilitators of collective, populist voice—by the conservatism of the Tea Party and the extremists of the Republican party mainstream are no more than guises for attacking constraints on capitalism’s unregulated, natively-destructive ambition, which is the real objective of government’s regulatory “evil largess,” with capitalism propagandized by the extremists into a victim that is never named, but instead masked, behind facades, as “initiative” or “self-determination” that is lost, or “uncontrolled debt” or “curtailing business expansion and jobs growth” as the woeful results.  These are the arguments of the wealthy protecting the profits, interests, and the agenda of the wealthy.  Where will be found among the informed middle-class or the poor a supporter of the already-failed, trickle-down, economic platform of the Tea Party or conservative Republicanism?  Those who do are no different than brainwashed suicide bombers, punching ballots instead of bomb buttons, taken in to bring about their own demise by a deceptive, self-interested bunch who make a beneficial milk wagon out to be a charging chariot.

The extreme and ludicrous (like Palin, Trump) must be discarded and American democracy restored through, primarily, the banning of all political contributions in place of publicly-funded campaigns, which will remove bribery from legislation and oversight, bring political-campaign operations and time-spans back to the realm of sanity, release the grip of special interests upon legislators and free them to devote their time to their constituents and their constitutional obligations, and make it possible to begin to diminish and end the evils mentioned above that have all sprung from the sprawl of the growth of special-interest control of every aspect of government endeavor, in the name of unfettered capitalist profit and plain bloodsucking of federal revenues through making careers out of working government’s apparatus, integral and ill-constructed for just that purpose.

Where corporate failure and crime at the top has meant being ousted with a bonus and golden parachute, there must instead begin to be real accountability, beyond just Madoff, for wealthy, white-collar, financial terrorists, as well as for presidents, cabinet officials, and justices who break the constitutional covenant with no consequences, beyond to reputation and historical judgement, for anyone, except the real pain which falls upon America’s democracy and people, as has been ever-more common in the last 50 years, where abuses have been the most flagrant and damaging.

The ageless concept of criminal and ethical immunity for high-level political operatives must end, because it strips away the legitimacy of and public faith in government, chipping away at its underlying democracy and its authority.  Look to the action being taken now against Egypt’s deposed president, Hosni Mubarak, whose illicit assets are being seized under direction of the Egyptian attorney general, or the prosecution of the former French president, Jacques Chirac, as exercises in accountability that should be standard practice in America, not a rare occurrence that, when pursued, is politically motivated.  How hollow is Secretary of State Clinton’s proclamation that, in Libya, Muammar Gaddafi “must be held accountable” for his crimes against his people, when here, torture and kidnapping and illegal wiretaps were made a standard-operating practice, violating constitutional limits and those of international agreements, and those responsible at the top have been held to absolutely none.  Therein is another cost of the persistent failure to enforce accountability within America’s government:  it has made Sec. Clinton’s and the president’s calls for accountability from other leaders anywhere else illegitimate and hypocritical, and it is a failure, the trail of which runs through Bush, Cheney, leading cabinet members and advisors of that administration, down through the bureaucracy to the like of those agency regulators who bedded with big oil and the banks instead of enforcing regulation of their platforms and transactions.

Those elected and appointed to the highest offices in a true democracy must have the fear of real accountability for unconstitutional and criminal or criminally-negligent acts or performance, just as those beneath them who depend upon collective bargaining do.  This will require a priority to prosecute above politicizing by the White House, conveyed down to the attorney general, and the resolve in Congress to cleanse and correct itself, and use the power of impeachment and (implied) withdrawn-confirmation that only it possesses to clean house and enforce ethics, showing a spine not tainted by party—and, in all of this, that seems to be the impossible dream.

cc (via web forms) February 28, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Rep. Zoe. Lofgren, Rep Henry Waxman, Rep. Ed Markey; House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Historical struggle underlies President Obama’s “State of the Union” address.

President Obama’s underlying message:  It can’t be all about the money.

Corporatism is not an “American” founding ideal; neither are capitalism and free enterprise.  When you stop to think about it, as ideologies, they were far from the causes to which the Founders pledged their lives and fortunes:  Freedom, Liberty, and Democracy...  for the People, not to give competitive voice to any system or entity created by them.

The closest concept to capitalism which concerned the Founders was the right of citizens to hold and control private property, mostly their farms and, unfortunately, slaves.  The Dutch were among the greatest capitalists, before America declared its independence, and it wasn’t until just after the dawn of the Industrial Revolution that America created and began to grow corporatism, which as a system and philosophy has become entrenched as the controlling blueprint for operations in commerce, government, and the military.

If anything, the current recession has evidenced that American corporatism, in addition to leading the world in promoting production, growth, and preserving wealth for its participants, has bested all other nations in abusing its capitalist foundation, and by extension, the government and the American people.  But that record of achievement, for the few who walked away from the carnage with stuffed pockets, was the culmination of a lot of practice over a long time, since capitalism in America began to show the ugly side of its head back in Andrew Jackson’s time, when he went to war with the banks, a struggle with populist presidents that deepened through to Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, and to Roosevelt’s, in the Great Depression, before capitalist excess joined with a string of Republican presidents to eventually create the nightmarish landscape onto which President Obama stepped when he entered office in the depths of the Great Republican Recession.

A large nation with a vast range of private enterprises that impact upon public welfare and safety requires a large government to guarantee that safety and welfare, because time and time again, capitalism and corporatism have demonstrated that left to their own devices, death and destruction follow the profits.  Corrupted government, fueled by special-interest contributions to campaigns, contributes through regulation that is lax and criminally negligent, which the president’s announced plans, to streamline government, reducing its agencies, will help correct.

When Republicans who resist spending to create jobs that also keep America at the forefront of education, technology, and infrastructure try to propagandize capitalism, business, and corporatism as “American,” values that are diminished by government largess, as was expressed in Rep. Paul Ryan’s (WI) Republican reply to the president’s address, it is just code for expansion of wealth at the top through reduction of taxes and regulation on business—the discarding of democratic balance, where “free enterprise,” means free of government boundaries on behavior or accountability for consequences affecting others, where government spending means taxes cutting into a Niagara fall of funneled wealth.  The primary core of the contending party philosophies has become wealth distribution, and those are the naked, but veiled objectives of the Republican party today, regardless of the effect upon the vast majority of citizens or the national well-being, which in that narrow, selfish view is just fine by them, thank you, so long as the economy and global profits can be exploited, the rule of law that protects the “haves” is preserved, and the national vessel of the law’s existence is protected by a strong, omnipresent military.

In his Tucson memorial speech, President Obama said the process of democracy is marked by cynicism and vitriol.  How can there be anything else when Republican leaders resort to lies about policies, as when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) said the problems of today are due to the policies of the president over the last two years?  History knows the truth as well as McConnell truthfully does:  that the problems of today are due to a conflict of philosophy, not policy, a conflict which has been won over more than two decades by the imposition of deregulated, trickle-down economics under conservative Republicanism, which has created the greatest economic divide between rich and poor in history, with the greatest reduction of the middle class and the greatest percentile of wealth in the hands of the fewest people, and which President Obama’s administration has only scratched the surface at undoing.

In his “State of the Union” address, the president said we are something more consequential than party, that we are a nation-family, and that what is important is “not that we sit together tonight, but that we work together tomorrow.”  But the field where ideologies at war can meet is very narrow, sparking an economic divide that is hardly familial, and working together chafes many elbows and shoulders, especially when the focus of those ideologies is not prioritized upon the national prosperity and the vision of the future strived for is blurred by the sweeping range of influences that buy and have their interests adjudicated into the government’s structure and policy-making, silencing the voices of the powerless, stifling opportunities.

The president also said he wants America’s democracy to be as good as nine-year-old shooting victim Christina Green imagined it to be.  It would have to be the imagination of an innocent child to be that good, because the reality is a cynical, vitriolic process of quasi-democracy which will never perfect the union, but rather, has been tearing it down, and with qualified reason.  Forming a more perfect union is a building process, one that has been set back by illicit, politically-derived, Supreme-Court-majority rulings, extreme partisanship, the unaccounted-for breaking of laws by high officials, the grip of greed and materialism, and most of all, the manipulation of political influence through party self-interest and campaign bribery, none of which will be affected by symbols such as “State of the Union” seating arrangements, which Sen. McConnell was quick to trivialize only hours before the president’s speech.

Until these systemic mechanisms for abuse of wealth and power are eliminated, Christina Green will at least have been spared the destruction of idealism that America’s government now fosters and holds in waiting for the coming-of-age of her peers and all of America’s children.  Republicans who place capitalistic and corporate values above all else should think seriously, and humanistically about how the cost of that failure balances against the bank accounts with which they measure their success.

cc (via web forms) January 25, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, House Financial Services Committee office, more...

The military flyover is a select culture’s expression promoting and sustaining profits, not American ideals.

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King by ending the American celebration of war.

President Obama’s lack of meaningful action to end the unnecessary conflicts, occupations, and deployments of U.S. military force throughout the world is unfortunate and would not garner the approval of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  This day of celebration of Dr. King and his vision would be an appropriate time for the president to consider what Dr. King had to say about war during the Vietnam conflict:

“A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war:  A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

More than 10,000 people died in the Afghanistan operations last year, and it has cost hundreds of billions of dollars, with another $107 billion slated for this year alone.  If Dr. King could speak to the president today, he would undoubtedly repeat his warning on the responsibility of public officials to conduct the government’s policy of war, which, though correct in object, was not in its premise of tactical “initiative,” not for Vietnam or Afghanistan:

“The great initiative in this war [Vietnam] is ours [not true then and, with Afghanistan, that is also very doubtful]; the initiative to stop it must be ours.”

If wars, unnecessary and unnecessarily extended, are to be stopped, the constant push of the military-industrial complex to create a public acceptance of military activism and sprawl must be stopped, a push which is designed to penetrate into every aspect of American life, including the prominent use of the “Commander-in-Chief” title for the president, even apart from military environment, and the object of the hundreds of thousands spent each time a flight of jet fighters is sent to overfly football games... to push the image and presence of militarism in American society.

America cannot and will not return to a concept of military use only in cases of true national defense so long as the military and its objectives are allowed to be twisted and propagandized to remain a source of profit for the defense industry and its varied interests, and so long as industry is allowed to remain in control of government through the corrupting influence of campaign contributions.

The pressure placed upon the United States by other nations, through their inadequate contributions to joint-defense objectives, contributes to the hand held by the military-industrial complex, raising the ante on the growth of their pot.  And the deck is also stacked against change back toward a priority for diplomacy through words rather than boots because, unlike in the time of Dr. King and Vietnam, the military is no longer a conscripted force.  A volunteer military minimizes public involvement, concern, and the chance that activism will play a role, as it did in Vietnam, to end unnecessary conflicts that are more damaging to the nation and its societal progress than they are to enemies, real or contrived.

Military service is a worthwhile experience which should again be required, not only for the character and skills it imparts to soldier-citizens, and the benefits provided to the nation during and after service, but because an encompassing, citizen participation mandates a greater public attention and awareness, and a commitment to change wrongheaded bureaucratic and political dictates by imposing a democratic voice to alter the mission objectives and the ways in which the military is used and abused.  It is for this reason that the military-industrial complex loves a volunteer military force and will use all of its considerable political control to preserve it.  The American people unwittingly assist in achieving that objective, because they will never support a return to conscripted service so long as they see the abuse of military force that exists today and know that they have no control to change it, even with a president as Obama, who is supposed to be better than he has been, allowing the obvious folly of profit by conflict and assisted corruption to continue to grow and further entrench itself as a seemingly constant and necessary aspect of daily American life, now and forever.

cc (via web forms) January 17, 2011:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin; House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Top ten reasons why the tax-cut for the wealthy should not have been continued:

  • Does not provide sufficient economic stimulus.
  • Does not add significant jobs.
  • Adds significantly, unnecessarily to the debt and the leverage of China and Mid East bond buyers.
  • Many of America’s most wealthy people of conscience have said that the taxes they pay compared to middle- and lower-class people is an abomination.
  • If anyone believes the pressure to repeal will be less significant in the election year of 2012, they’re wrong, and Republicans will properly suffer if taxes are allowed to increase because they would not forgo the unnecessary and ineffectual tax-break for the wealthy.
  • The decision not to pass a continued tax break for the wealthy is an obligation to our children, contrary to the millionaires or even the middle-lower class at the expense of their children.
  • It is immoral to give the wealthy tax breaks when prices and opportunities are all heavily leveraged exclusively in their favor.
  • The time to get serious about economic equality and reducing the divide is now, not later.
  • Failure to pass a continuance of the cuts including the wealthy will focus more pressure on making the changes to the tax laws that are overdue and necessary to simplify and spread the obligation more fairly to the wealthy brackets.
  • The tax break is unfair to those who are among the long-term unemployed and low-income pensioners who have so far received no benefits or consideration during the recession except a single, $250 Social-Security payment!

Axis of Obstructionism and Hypocrisy, guns to America’s head for sake of tax cuts for wealthy.
Republicans:  One-Man-Dam Sen. Kyl (obscured); Chicken Crapper, Crier, Rep. Boehner; Most
Dangerous (& presumptive prez candidate) Rep. Eric Cantor; Kentucky’s Porker Sen. McConnell

Election regardless, no change:  Republicans hold America and its working class hostage.

Republicans who are trying to protect the wealthiest Americans from a return to higher, Clinton-era tax levels are fond of saying that it is “important to avoid tax increases for anyone in this troubled economy.”  What they do not mention is that, for those wealthiest Americans they are trying to protect, at a cost of $700 billion to the deficit, times could not be better!  They have the ability to increase their wealth and possessions at a time when costs for everything from securities, to cars, to boats, to second and third homes, to airplanes, all of which most of those wealthy already own, are at the lowest prices in memory.  It is practically impossible, even without the Bush cuts, for the wealthy not to prosper in this economy, and the only probable reason that elitist class would not like to see it continue as it is, is so that there need not be embarrassment at spending too lavishly.  Embarrassment, which was evident in the first year of the recession, has already become tiresome and too much with which to bother; yet, their indulgences do not add any significance to the nascent economic recovery.  In addition, despite that the wealthiest Americans, whose pockets the Republicans are trying to further line, can afford these things on the barrel head, mortgage and interest rates are depressed as prices are, affording them increased opportunities for low-cost wealth growth when many middle-income and all low-income Americans cannot afford to take advantage of the low rates and prices that prevail, making like a full-spectrum dollar store for the wealthy.

The fact is that, even if the Bush gift to the wealthy expires, for them, the gravy train doesn’t stop.  Those wealthy at the rising upper crust of America’s rotting pie will still be able to buy and invest and increase their fortunes with little real effect on their pampered lives.  But even so, instead of doing the right thing, for both the economy and the deficit, by agreeing to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans, Republicans have instead allowed millions of Americans to suffer as their unemployment benefits expire because the Republicans want the rich to remain at shamelessly reduced tax levels, while at the same time fronting that reducing the deficit is their major objective, as they deny an $18 billion economic-aid boost to the economy at the cost of $700 billion added to the debt to pay the wealthy, whose rates are so embarrassingly low compared to average Americans that the most visible of their ilk, Warren Buffet, has plainly admitted as much, saying that the disparity is a travesty.

Republicans are clearly not interested in the national interest or any consideration of balance in the demographic-economic equation, holding a missile-defense treaty, deemed necessary by bipartisan leaders in American politics and government, hostage to their demand to keep the rich richer, in addition to dangling the heavily supported effort to end the socially discriminatory and unconstitutional practice of “don’t ask, don’t tell” for the military, in order to pressure keeping the cuts for the greedy rich in place.  With any legislation, the spoiled-brat Republicans have, as they have been doing all along, refused to eat their dinner unless it is dessert.

Those unenlightened who are not among the wealthy, and who voted for the abomination the Republican party has become since the days of Eisenhower, can now see that the Republican campaign promise to end the deficit will be accomplished the same way the deficit was built:  by stripping the poor and the middle class to hang furs and riches upon the wealthy and corporations, which now, in their steel and glass towers, oversee a controlling majority of the Supreme Court (the only branch of government with the power of the last word—the Founders’ great mistake), building for them a treasure of legal access and protections which are beyond all constitutional provisions or boundaries, and which, along with the unconstitutional, Senate-filibuster rule represents the greatest threat to democracy since the expanding Third Reich of Adolf Hitler and the cold-war missiles of the Stalinist Soviet Union.

Those who voted against, and especially those who did not vote to support continuing the turn-around begun by the Democratic administration and Congress—those who expected two decades of Republican trickle-down, economic disaster to be turned around and repaired in 18 months—should not complain as the nation continues to deteriorate in proportion to the growth of the wealth-divide and the deficit as their lives become more difficult; it is only what they so apathetically asked for and therefore, so richly deserve.

cc (via web forms) December 2, 2010:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin; House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Pick up the pieces by establishing the peace.

We live among a growing spate of fools; though, tossing half of the Democratic Blue Dogs, liberalizing or “progressivizing” the caucus and providing one of the silver linings in the losses, may belie that.

But then, the dumbing-down of the nation becomes even more of an embarrassment as it takes another Quayle step backward into the greedy grasp of those Republicans who, with no guilt for the gushing glut, and who, it has so obviously been forgotten, brought down the anchor upon staying the truer course of decades past, set before they hogged the helm.  Now, with three fingers back on the tiller, it is they who so loudly demand change, so long overdue, they dare so boldly to say, with such unstained, unattached abandon, they, who once so recklessly set the nation’s course into the seething storm.

The proverb says, “The people get the government they deserve.”  The people have voted, or not, in this mid-term election, in both cases as victims who are accosted in the park by muggers with empty guns—handing over their purses and the bullets.

Now, though nearly half of those who participated and object to the new intrusion by putting on a swimsuit, we’ll all get striped-down, sobbing, to get a total tanning, eh?  Flip-flop, the front... the back... and now we shed all modesty, “sob,” as we allow ourselves to be planted naked on a hot summer’s beach, tearful, blinded with no sunglasses, no shade or cooling breeze, no sunscreen, no earplugs to block the crowded, ceaseless din of deceptive and inflamed discourse, and no fruity, spirited refreshment anywhere in sight, and no way to pay for any if there were.

As the president responds to the “shellacking,” as he put it, with the same, refined, surrendering, invitational approach and argument as before—the only reality he can truthfully address with the same apparent detachment that helped create it—we shall bake, expressing our anger and frustration in the mire of politically motivated House investigations, double-talk, and far more sharply pointed obstructionism, halting all progress, and handing the president a remaining term of little more than theater politics.  The Republican agenda remains the same:  limit President Obama to one term, though it is no longer publically stated, since the obdurate leadership finally gets that it is a priority that is widely, properly recognized as selfish and a disservice to the national interest.

“The best man for the job,” once taken as a good thing for the country, when government worked better, less at the mercy of a merciless and destructive party mechanism, with all its trappings to gather money and influence, placing itself above the system it embodies and the people who embody it.

Amidst the rubble of his unavoidable fate and his self-confessed failings, and the aimless, hovering turns of Congress, the president will at least still have control to finally act against another great destroyer of America that has seduced him in his first two years, as it has seduced every president, since Eisenhower:  the hold on government by the military-industrial complex.  If he chooses, he can claim the reins of defense over aggression by removing the troops, so hapless and ignored by both press and candidates in this mid-term election, from Iraq and Afghanistan, where the war was illegitimate in the first case and won seven years ago in the latter.  In their place, he can strengthen intelligence-based law enforcement, special ops, and international/interagency coordination.  He should also end the flow of billions of dollars to those corrupt, self-interested governments, payments viewed by many with the same disdain, or worse, as the pay-outs to AIG and Freddie/Fannie, and then act to vastly reduce the sprawling military footprint around the world, finally claiming America’s right to be at peace, where it should be as integral and financial recovery accelerates.

These things he can do without Congress, to turn back another great misdirection of entrenched, extremist-Republican rule, and he should if he wishes to serve another term.

cc (via web forms) November 3, 2010:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Sen. Russ Feingold, Sen. Arlen Specter, Rep. Steve Driehaus, Rep Henry Waxman, Rep. Ed Markey; House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Dickensian, 2010 politics—the literature in the tea leaves.

There is that disconcerting element of the conservative wealthy, flexing throughout America and the “civilized” West, that would see a return to Victorian times, with its immutable classes and fearsome work houses, as a revolution of great promise and, for them, deserved privilege and placement.

Among them are those who, despite the wreckage brought down upon most everyone except the wealthy in the last three years, in a roller-coaster crash of the economy that saw its descent begin from an apex many Republican years before, when there were no brakes or wheel-guards installed, they who set loose that deadly fall, and the net of TARP that would save its designers, they would have you vote to see business unleashed again to stalk at will, to have everyone else’s safety net of mandated health-care standards swept away, and Social Security privatized and/or slashed to save a perceived tax and provide another enriching resource with which to play, at the risk of devastation to those with only that as their earned support:  be that as it may; or, who would say to those, so untethered, who are so resourceless, therefore, so lazy, “be damned,” as would have been the case in this Great Recession; indeed, as it has been for many who would, otherwise, themselves be standing up within that crowd of self-assured individualists.

And, for many who, still standing, attend quaint, dangerous tea parties, the dread, dire boom is just out of sight, lurking, perhaps in the walls of an artery or a malignant growth, or an accident, or career disaster, waiting to harshly lower and also sink them deep within the muckety-muck dirt of that world to which they are now so skillfully solicited, and then painted with bold watercolor so as to seem, of it, a lasting, brethren part.

They, who with much emotion and little thought outside their own charity, aid to so enthusiastically cut away at the slandered cords of social conscience and responsibility, when done, will find that the floor beneath them has instead been let go; or, for now, at least in the case of the artery wall or other health affliction, that despite their best efforts to prevent it, they have been saved.

cc (via web forms) October 8, 2010:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Sen. Russ Feingold, Sen. Arlen Specter, Rep. Steve Driehaus, Rep Henry Waxman, Rep. Ed Markey; House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Republicans threaten to return control of care to industry.

The Patient’s Bill of Rights.

Today, September 23, 2010, thanks to a Democratic priority for social conscience, important barriers have been placed against the for-profit-motivated abuses of the health-insurance companies.  These barriers were put in place despite the best efforts of Republicans in Congress to prevent it, and they are protections for all citizens who have health insurance, protections that the Republicans have vowed to repeal if they regain control of Congress after the November election.

These protections are representative of the classic struggle to balance democracy with capitalism, where Democrats seek to curb the corporate greed and excess of naked capitalism with regulations, imposed by law and enforced by government, and where Republicans oppose limitations on capitalism, calling it “big government controlling business.”  Republicans don’t like to mention how big “business” is, and they would have you forget how harmful business can be when it is left to regulate itself, a primary factor that created the recession which has devastated families throughout the nation.  Collectively, these protections against the inate proclavity for abuse within the health-insurance industry are known as the Patient’s Bill of Rights, and these are the protections all health-insured citizens have, starting today, that they did not have before, and that the Republicans want to take away:

No lifetime limits on your coverage:
If you or anyone covered in your family is struck with a catastrophic illness, your insurance company can no longer stop paying for your treatment because of an imposed cap.  Republicans want to give the insurance companies back the cap and leave you on the lurch to pay.

No more rescissions (or arbitrary cancelling of coverage) except in cases of fraud:
No longer can your insurance company refuse coverage or refuse to renew your coverage because you have become ill and now need the insurance to pay for your treatments.  Republicans want to give back the power to cancel to the insurance companies.

Coverage of most adult children up to age 26:
Your children, covered on your health plan, cannot be dropped until they are 26, requiring you to pay for separate policy coverage before then, coverage the insurance companies know many of them will never need until they are older and on their own.  Republicans want to let the insurance companies either have you pay for separate policies or, when your children reach 18, let them go uncovered.

Coverage of preventive services without cost sharing:
Preventive services will help prevent serious illnesses and save lives.  Republicans want to let the insurance companies require that you pay a major share, instead of having a portion of the premiums you pay go from the obscene profits of insurance executives to instead work for you to help keep you healthier and live longer.

Access to OB / GYNs without referrals:
Insurance companies can no longer force you to get a referral from them or an approved practitioner for you to visit a gynecologist.  Republicans want to let the insurance companies dictate the conditions under which you can make such appointments.

Restrictions to prevent insurers from placing unreasonable annual limits on your coverage:
Insurance companies can no longer tailor limits on categories of annual payouts to the dictates and priorities of profit criteria.  Republicans want to let the insurance companies dictate the limits, without restriction, they can pay for treating your illnesses.

No exclusion of coverage for children with pre-existing conditions (up to age 19):
Insurance companies are now prohibited from refusing to cover your children who need treatment for medical conditions.  Republicans want to let the insurance companies say no to your children’s treatment needs.

Access to out-of-network emergency room services:
Insurance companies can no longer limit the facilities you can go to for emergency care, requiring you to search your policy or hold on the phone to find out from the insurance company where you can go and be covered.  Republicans want to let the insurance companies dictate where you have to go to get emergency treatment.

A strengthened appeals process:
Insurance companies no longer have the built-in advantage when you oppose their coverage decisions.  Republicans want to keep the playing field tilted in favor of the insurance companies on appeals and all other circumstances.

Republicans have pledged to repeal the new health-care bill and all of these protections.  Yet they would lie and say to you that they would not take these important benefits away if asked about them.  They would answer by substituting a non-specific, big-picture lie that what they’re doing is preventing big-government intrusion into healthcare decisions, where there is none, and saving the aged from cuts in Medicare, where there are no net cuts, only gains.

Do you want to see these protections swept away and give all the power back to the insurance companies?  Then vote for a Republican this November, or fail to go out and vote for a Democrat, because that’s what it has unfortunately come down to:  Democrats serve the people, Republicans serve the insurance companies, but in both cases, only after they first serve themselves and their parties.  It is, again unfortunately, a matter of choosing the lessor of two evils, and that choice, unless you are wealthy, is clearly the Democrats.

Thanks to Republicans, and some rogue Democrats, like Sen. Max Baucus, many more important protections and services the health-care bill provides will have to wait until 2014 to go into effect.  And, thanks to them, insurance companies still have price control without competition that isn’t prioritized on profits, and the health-insurance industry is already pushing hard to put large increases into effect to preserve their Wall-Street and greed mandated, pocket-bulging profits.

A Nazi book burning in 1933.  The burning of any book that conveys or examines ideas and
aspirations, religious or otherwise, is tasteless because it always offends indiscriminately.

Does the false conviction of an “obscure” Florida pastor reveal an obscured truth?

In guerilla or urban warfare, commanders are perplexed by an inability to engage the enemy, at least, on their terms; so, isn’t it odd that Gen. Petraeus and Defense Secretary Gates, among others, in response to the so-called Christian pastor from Florida, who threatened to burn Korans on the ninth anniversary of 911, complained that it would put U.S. troops in greater danger?  That could only happen if the militants, or the occupied Afghan fighters, or the radical Islamists, or terrorists, whatever, showed themselves to threaten the troops, either directly, or to drone recons as they plant their IEDs.  To any commander who wishes to engage and thereby defeat the enemy, this would be a good thing.  But to Gen. Petraeus, who obviously wants a nice, relatively safe, prolonged, by-the-numbers occupation with which, whether he supports or not, the military-industrial complex (MIC) can continue to profit, the increasing danger and engagement, and the increasing casualties that would come with it, would threaten to bring greater public pressure to bear to end an occupation which, for a growing number of Americans, is no longer being taken at the word of the MIC and its spokespersons as necessary to defend the U.S.

Long-term conflict, at a simmer, with an “acceptable” number of casualties, is what America has been brainwashed to accept and to expect for an indefinite and “conditional” term, especially where “fighting terrorism” is concerned.  “Fighting terrorism,” despite the near-unilateral success of law-enforcement and intelligence operations, has come to be defined as only capable of being effectively executed by occupations that, now and historically, without exception, have propped up corrupt regimes, and will be “long,” and “hard,” and “difficult” propositions, all requiring “responsible withdrawals.”

In a reply, conspicuous for its lack of policy objectives, to a letter objecting to the continued occupation of Afghanistan, where the military objective was really won in 2003 with the routing of the al Qaeda presence to caves and the overthrow of the Taliban government the year before, Sen. James Webb (D-VA), who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on September 3, 2010, wrote with one conspicuous assertion, twice stated:

“I have great regard for the careful process employed by this administration in an effort both to define a new approach for the long-standing military commitment in Afghanistan and to put an operational framework in place for our responsible withdrawal...

“Our national security and the welfare of our men and women in uniform demand this deliberative approach in addressing a complex issue that carries significant long-term implications for our nation.”

“Long-standing military commitment... long-term implications.”  America and its military are already way beyond that.

And now, with U.S. Marines staging an armed boarding of a German ship in the Gulf of Aden, to capture Somali pirates, defense of America has been completely thrown out of the equation for use of military force.  Though the September 9, 2010 boarding was successful and resulted in no injuries or casualties to marines, the international crew, or pirates, and is not standard procedure, it was ordered based on advantageous circumstances and is just another example of how out of control the use of U.S. military resources has become, and how the U.S. routinely subsidizes the defense costs of other nations with its resources and the blood of its soldiers.

It seems that World War II marked the end of an American war policy that was based on the concept of true defense, defeating the offending regime’s army and then removing the regime and getting the troops home again, and doing it all as quickly as humanly possible.  WWII was also the last war, police action, whatever, where there was really no standing army, where it had to be raised and trained.

And it has been only since WWII that the influence of the sprawling estate of defense contractors, weapons manufacturers, militaristic, political think tanks, and legions of militaristic, career military, civil, and elected officials, all of whom are collectively known as the military-industrial complex, has grown beyond the point of a self-sustaining, five-headed serpent (the fifth is contract mercenaries, like XE Services, formerly Blackwater) of full-time militarism, laying down and executing a carefully planned and provoked, perpetual enterprise, sold through policy-speak, think tanks, military-college recruitment, TV ads, and football military fly-overs, where the global business plan of America is war, or “occupation,” or “providing stability,” or “spreading democracy,” whatever, and where the quick defeat of the offending regime and its armed forces is no longer the objective, but rather, is only the prelude to a protracted engagement with objectives no army can meet, designed to facilitate the spending of $billions and tens upon tens of thousands of soldier’s lives (since WWII) to become involved in what the Founders called the “messy” business of overseas politics, as a front for spreading the sales territory for orders of tanks and fighter jets and everything that goes with them, as has just recently been ordered by whatever it is that passes for a government in Iraq these days, where its prime minister is another corrupt, wannabe-dictator with his own, private army.

And all of this has happened despite the direct and specific warning of the growing threat, given to the American people after WWII by the man who, in that war, led the greatest army the world has ever known to victory against the daunting power of the most evil and threatening force in modern times, if not all of history.  It was in 1961, in his farewell speech to the nation, after completing his second term as president, that Dwight Eisenhower said:

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience.  The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the Federal government.  We recognize the imperative need for this development.  Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.  Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.  The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Since Eisenhower made his prediction, formed with the astute insight of a versed military expert, the harm done to America’s military members and the nation aside, does not the Blackwater/XE Services massacre of civilians in Iraq qualify as the latest pinnacle episode, among many, in the “disastrous rise of misplaced military power” that has plagued America, and in far greater numbers than America’s soldiers, the peoples America had supposedly been “fighting to help?”

Oh, say, can you see?

Why Gen. Petraeus was not elated over a home-grown exercise of free speech (distasteful though it was, whether for the burning of Korans, King James Bibles, or Torahs) that holds the likelihood of bringing the enemy out into the open?  If the General really wanted to engage and defeat as many of the enemy as possible, as soon as possible, to end the conflict, he should have been telling his commanders to tell the troops that, “this Florida pastor, with a strange irreverence for Holy writings, just might give us the chance we’ve been wanting to engage more of these SOBs, so lock and load, and keep your eyes and ears open and your heads down!”

Not that greater engagement will ever make anything any better for America’s occupation there than it was for the Soviet Union’s, the stated, high-and-mighty, American political motivations for Afghanistan notwithstanding.

Perhaps Gen. Petraeus should explain to the troops how the politics of another country has anything to do with defending the old hometown.  All the explanations from the career politicians are quite a stretch of extremes and unfounded generalizations, where for any credibility to replace the lacking ring of truth, the stock and trade of a pastor is all that remains:  faith.

And where hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, faith that trusts in God finds no grace of repose with a politician.

cc (via web forms) September 9, 2010:  White House, Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Jim Webb, Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Richard Durbin, Sen. Russ Feingold, Sen. Arlen Specter, Rep. Steve Driehaus, Rep Henry Waxman, Rep. Ed Markey; House Financial Services Committee office, more...

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai is viewed cautiously by Gen. David Petraeus.
Asked of his relationship with Karzai, he said, “The relationship with Afghanistan is very good.”

American military policy is a business plan for extended wars.

To pave the way for rumbling over any deadline for a so-called, military withdrawal in Iraq, and keeping alive the military-industrial complex’s (MIC) operations there, Ryan C. Crocker, the former American ambassador to Iraq, who was instrumental in negotiating the agreement stipulating withdrawal before 2012, said, “For a very long period [read indefinite-to-forever] of time, we’re going to be on the ground, even if it’s solely in support of U.S. weapons systems.”

Lt. Gen. Babaker Zebari, Iraq’s chief military commander, who rightly expects sectarian violence to greatly increase, also spoke in the August heat to say that the U.S. forces should not leave Iraq until 2020, ten more years, until his army is able to guarantee internal security.

And finally, with the mid-August, weekend broadcast of NBC’s Meet the Press, the unified scope of U.S. military ambition was made clear, as Afghanistan U.S. forces commander, Gen. David Petraeus paralleled Iraq to Afghanistan in response to questions on the length of the U.S. occupation there, referring to the president’s earlier, West-Point message of “a substantial additional commitment... in troops, funding... and an increase in urgency,” which he said is the emphasis of the July 2011 deadline in Afghanistan, as “a conditions-based process, not an event...”  He then mirrored former Iraq Ambassador Crocker’s remarks about the term of occupation in Iraq by saying this for Afghanistan’s occupation:  “We will have an enduring presence here, in some fashion.”

Petraeus stressed the “urgency” to increase progress, describing “progress” as a building of small successes in different areas and linking and expanding them, but admitting that, “Progress only began [after nine long years] in late spring, in Helmand Province... a lot of progress still needs to be made and that will be a long-term operation.”  And he repeated, “Withdrawal will be “conditions based... the July 11, 2011 withdrawal date... is conditional.”

His remarks also demonstrated how far removed from defense the Afghanistan occupation really is, when speaking of the what-if’s:  “If we lose,” he said, “think of the repercussions for the country, and then the region,” which was the same “if we lose” justification that blanketed those questions in Vietnam.

On “if we win,” while qualifying his statement with a push-back on the use of the word “win,” as being an unlikely definable goal (which, in and of itself says a lot about the legitimacy of the extended occupation there), he mentioned security, of course, but the overwhelming emphasis of his answer, and of his statement of why the U.S. is in Afghanistan, fell far from the legitimate defense of America:  “There are $trillions in minerals development if we win.”  And Petraeus further described the markers of success, which, admit it or not, are objectives, as “like in Iraq... achieving a level of violence that is reduced sufficiently to allow commerce, business, and outside investment...”

It all has the undeniable ring of a capitalistic agenda vs. defensive, doesn’t it?

If it looks like a duck...

And the General, an exacting and well-versed politician who denies it, finally fell back on the same old generalization that has become the universal facade for claims of national security, which facts show do not apply, are not achievable, and are not critical to the operations of al Qaeda which, like electricity, takes the path of least resistance as it flows to the voids:  “We’re here so that Afghanistan does not become a sanctuary for trans-national extremists.”  As has been pointed out before, on that basis, the U.S. would be able to justify occupations in at least a dozen nations throughout the globe.  It is not a justification for what is, in reality, nation-building, as the General so much as said, to create a platform for commerce.

Lockheed Martin’s F-16 assembly line.
Can industry ever justify soldiers’ lives for livelihoods or profits, especially on weapons sales to other nations?

On the heels of these summer, 2010, MIC-prep statements, and those of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, in the same period, intended to direct the public communication and acceptance of Afghan- and Iraqi-military policies, the “non-government” in Iraq has filled-in Crocker’s statement (and Petraeus’s image of Afghan end-game success), by ordering 140 tanks for $200 million, in addition to naval ships, small arms, F-16 fighter planes, and supporting vehicles, armaments, munitions, and spares—the entire spectrum of the MIC’s conventional-arms-manufacturing-establishment showroom.

Ka-ching!  The money flows, blooded by more than 4,400 dead and near 6,800 wounded U.S. troops.

Operation Enduring Freedom?  More like enduring pain (except for the MIC), and it is time to let the Iraqis live in the stew they make for themselves.  And, yes, it is their situation and circumstance now.  The U.S. has paid with the lives of its soldiers more than long enough and painfully enough to both atone for the Bush-Cheney crime and give them the real chance they need to get past their prejudices and historical strife to make a new start, and America can no longer be held responsible for their future, nor should it be, not by the Iraqis, not by U.S. elected, appointed, or career officials, and certainly not by the MIC.

Yet, it is clear that the Iraqi occupation will not end, as President Obama falsely promised, because it has entered the phase of end-game payoff for the industrial component of the MIC:  the establishing of another armed state where, despite whatever form of leadership evolves to rule Iraq, instead of a defense treaty (and the history of the Iraq-Kuwait invasion outcome) to protect against foreign invasion, the U.S. build-up, maintenance, and involvement with another military nation-state will be perpetuated indefinitely, with the benefits to fall only into the pockets of that industry which has been the only entity to continuously profit from the deaths of the tens upon uncounted tens of thousands of people since Bush invaded.  And that’s just Iraq.  Only a liar would say this is not the very same future envisioned by “officials,” elected or otherwise, for Afghanistan, and then for Iran, and then the rogue nations of North Africa, one by one, keeping America at war and the money flow to the MIC intact beyond the lifetimes of anyone’s children.

The Predator drones (above) and ship-launched cruise missiles are the
current, primary offensive U.S. weapons in the N. African shadow war.

Or, sanity may prevail, at least where taking the tactical fight to al Qaeda is concerned.  The covert approach, basically, the focused, limited-force, intelligence/special-operations approach favored by the Biden camp, has been a component of the occupations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but is now the core of a quietly built-up engagement composed of intelligence gathering, accelerated drone attacks, and special operations in North Africa, described by administration officials as using a scalpel instead of the hammer of troops.  This covert conflict is dubbed the “Shadow War,” and whether the focused cut of the “scalpel” is a holding action for the later “hammer” of troop invasions, or will be established as the means by which troops will be replaced, to properly engage “shadow” enemies, remains to be seen.  But the tactics are being applied, with local-government permission, by the expanded military-operations capacity of the CIA, and by expanded military-intelligence derived, special-group operations against al Qaeda in Yemen and other N. African locales.  It represents an important step in the right direction, despite the concerns of oversight and blurred military-rights/protections legalities, because officials have finally conceded that the use of intelligence, law enforcement, and special operations is effective while avoiding the kinds of cost and waste that have been endured (again, except by the MIC) and which are the future with troop operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Speaking on the shadow war in Yemen, a former United States ambassador to that nation, Edmund J. Hull, warned that American policy must not be limited to using force against al Qaeda, saying, “I think it’s both understandable and defensible for the Obama administration to pursue aggressive counter-terrorism operations... I’m concerned that counter-terrorism is defined as an intelligence and military program.  To be successful in the long run, we have to take a far broader approach that emphasizes political, social and economic forces.”

But there is danger here, in an “approach that emphasizes political, social and economic forces,” non-defensive terms coming from a civilian official, which are also primary MIC precursors to increasing military presence—build-up, as was done in Vietnam, or invasion and occupation, to establish the security and/or train the local forces to eventually, after another “long-term, hard” struggle, with “conditional” withdrawal criteria, provide the security that is required to grow desired “political, social, and economic” environments, or... to nation-build.

It begins with what Obama administration officials say they already are doing:  increasing Yemen’s foreign-aid budget and proposing advice (advisors, military, primarily, which is how the build-ups begin), which was emphasized, by unnamed administration officials as the core of America’s effort, along with equipping, and establishing coordinated intelligence exchanges.  How quickly and easily this stirring phase of the shadow war can turn into another inflated, unnecessary, perpetuated military presence, with all the attendant casualties and costs, is alarming.

Shadow wars have no commercial or capitalist objectives or rewards.

But the vastly more effective, far-less costly shadow war remains only a second front until it is applied in Afghanistan and Iraq without the presence of occupying troops.  But there is a more relevant, critically important difference to note between shadow wars and wars fought with occupations, which reflects the justification of purpose:  shadow wars are legitimate defense because, by their nature, they can have no commercial or capitalist objectives or rewards.

Defense Secretary Gates is only scratching at the surface of the MIC’s sprawl with his announced plans to cut into the bloated top ranks of the military’s personnel and parts of its flow-chart components and proposed systems.  Much, much more needs to be done, because when a nation that is, by far, the greatest military power on Earth spends decades in war or occupation of third-world nations, that nation is not acting in its defense, but is instead acting out its warfare-derived business plan, where defense (and al Qaeda) is only the initiative excuse.

While the legacy of the Obama administration will be to have turned the steep, domestic-prosperity down-slide, initiated by a string of conservative-Republican, trickle-down, deregulate administrations, it will also be one of propagation of the MIC grand plan for unnecessary, extended war and death, for profit, for a national-security intent that is as much a facade now as it was in Vietnam or Korea, but with a different kind of underlying truth, where the real fear is the nuclear arsenal that is scattered throughout a politically unstable Pakistan, and where, rather than spend 3,000 troops over two years, tops, to eliminate that grave threat to the fabric of America’s society and the lives of every demographic of its citizenry, the U.S. is determined to instead spend decade upon decade, at least 15,000 soldier’s lives, or more, and unlimited national debt to support neighboring nation-building and occupations for some kind of misguided “stability,” and to do it indefinitely.

Military deployment for defense cannot be subverted for economics or cultural policing.

Tactics to encourage an endless occupation in Afghanistan have lately targeted strongly emotional issues, relating to the abusive treatment of women, which is hardly an Afghan novelty.  Most recent, the story from the cover of Time magazine’s issue of a year ago, August 9, 2009, has had new light put upon it.  Aisha, the disfigured girl on the cover, was then a beautiful, 18-year-old who had the misfortune of being the niece of a custodial uncle who killed a man and, under Pashtun tribal custom, atoned by giving her and her younger sister to the dead man’s relative, who made her his bride when she reached puberty.  When she was caught, after fleeing years of abuse, her owner-husband cut off her nose and both ears, since tribal custom sees a man whose wife dishonors him as having cut off his nose.  It was a perverted eye-for-an-eye retribution, leaving Aisha as she appeared in the controversial Time magazine cover (she has since been secretly smuggled out of Afghanistan to the U.S. for reconstructive surgery), a picture difficult to look at, confronting those who are civilized with a window into the incomprehensible, cowardly brutality of one selfish, unfeeling man, whose savage assault stands with those of many others to represent a society of, by civilized standards, deeply perverse values.

The presence of an American occupation in Afghanistan is not preventing these atrocities, and they will continue, in this decade, if and when America leaves or if it stays, and, the evidence shows, Taliban government or not.  Aisha’s is only one among uncounted cases of familial/religious punishments, derived from religious or tribal customs, that are carried out daily in Afghanistan and many other nations whose customs, by Western, civilized standards, are hideously barbaric, most of which are never reported.  But among those that are, in Afghanistan, it is clear that the local acceptance and enthusiasm for the practice of these customs is widespread, beyond the clique of those labeled as “Taliban fighters” or “clerics,” like the crowds in the Deep South celebrated lynchings of African-Americans, or the frontier bounties for “Indian” scalps, or like Salem’s settlers stoked the witch-burning fires.  Time (not soldiers) will also succeed to evolve Afghanistan’s violent cultural practices.

One such reported case, of note, which would make the stories of the defunct soap, The Guiding Light, seem tame, was the stoning to death of a young, Afghan couple who eloped, the woman already engaged to marry a relative of her lover, who himself was already married and had two children.  When they were induced by family members to return home, they were seized by the Taliban and tried before a religious court, under Shariah law, presided over by local mullahs.  Being found guilty, they were taken to the village bazaar, where they were circled by a crowd (women were prohibited) and stoned to death by some 200 of the men, with an even-larger, non-participating crowd looking on and cheering.  Of course, Taliban spokesmen supported the punishment, as did members of the crowd who were interviewed.  And among those throwing the stones were the man’s father and brother, and the girl’s relatives, including her brother.  Similar and less-serious village-participatory-punishment practices are regularly reported from every Afghan province.

Atrocities are not only part and parcel with the Third World, they are exported with immigrants.  In the U.S., the practice of Shariah law has not ended, any more than cock fighting has for Cuban immigrants.  Honor killings and other practices are continually reported.  If the United States cannot prevent these and the barbaric culture-practices of other immigrants within its borders, how can anyone expect that the U.S. can succeed in doing so in other nations, or that it should endure the cost of lives and fortune it takes to act as the world’s cultural policeman to try?  The U.S. will not end these practices in Afghanistan, or anywhere else, with occupations, despite if the occupations have industrial ambitions at their end, though, occupations are far less likely if they do not.

The way to accelerate time’s change of culture on Afghanistan’s and other primitive societies is the way missionaries spread Catholicism throughout the world, but without the religious proselytism, through education and diplomatic and economic incentives and sanctions, by bringing to bear the penalties of deprivation and isolation, and the carrots of aide programs and international participation, not with the lives of American soldiers, and governments should help organizations engaged in this, non-religious kind of work.  The wide community acceptance of cruel punishment that has been shown to exist must be handled civilly and changed into disdain, beginning with the local leadership, then leading to criminality.  It won’t be easy, because even U.N. sanctions to prevent nuclear proliferation are routinely sidestepped by many nations, making them less effective or useless.  But the worth of American soldiers’ lives is only justified in giving over to the defense of the nation, nothing less, not to any other cause that does not reach the scope of genocide, or any capitalist/military-industrial facade that has the label of defense hung upon it.

Otherwise, where, and with what afflicted group, will the wars shrouding the American people ever end?

There is so little time that sweeps past t