Agorist Marketplace

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Promises, Promises...

Hey, I bet most of you remember back to last summer and fall, right? Remember that uproar over "the Tea Party" and how those renegades were going to come into Washington and shake things up? There was a great talk about limiting government, slashing taxes and really ending the vicious circle of corruption in DC? In other, less polite words, the same crap they peddle every time there's an election.

If you are aware of it, there was a vote today in the House to extend the Patriot Act another year. The bill failed because it needed a two-thirds majority to pass, but it just missed this goal by a handful of votes. The Patriot Act is one of the worst affronts to personal liberty ever, and it doesn't take a Constitutional scholar to see the massive infringements on the Constitution. This is the textbook example of destroying your liberty to give you the illusion of security. In practice, you and I become prisoners in an America which more resembles the police states foreseen in sci-fi and apocalyptic movies. That classic flick The Running Man comes to mind.

So, how did our incoming Congressmen vote? Did they defend liberty as they so endlessly promised? Or did they sell you down the river just to get into office?

According to the info I've thus far gleaned, there were a total of 94 incoming members of Congress. Nine were Democrats, and eighty-five were Republicans. This far, I can only verify three of them as "Tea Party Approved", and ALL THREE voted in favor of the Patriot Act!

More specifically, of the nine new Democrats, three voted for the Patriot Act, and six voted against it.

Even more specifically, take a look at the actual votes cast by all members of the House.

Among the new Republicans - the ones bleating the most incessantly about limiting government - two did not vote (and if they were in the chambers as they should have been, I call them cowards), eight voted against it (thank you for doing so), and a whopping seventy-five voted to continue the unconstitutional Patriot Act.

Well, bravo...just, bravo. Yet again, the masses fell hook, line and sinker for the lies politicians tell. There are no excuses. If you run on a platform of limiting government, you don't vote for a bill that massively expands its powers far beyond the scope of the Constitution, the law that dictates Congress' powers and points them out very clearly. Those of you incoming Congressmen who did so, shame on you. For spitting on the trust of Americans, you should resign, and you should do so immediately and publicly.

As for our intrepid Speaker, John Boehner? His name's nowhere to be seen. Now, I don't know all the rules of the House. I admit that. But I think even as Speaker, he gets to vote. And he's not even on the "No Vote" list. Nice move. The day you came out with your "Pledge to America" I knew you were full of crap. That oath you take at the beginning of every session of Congress to defend the Constitution of the United States from enemies, foreign AND domestic - THAT should be all the promise you need to make. It's an oath, it's a pretty sacred thing, or at least it used to be. Whatever happened to a man's word being his bond? When you came out with the Pledge to America, I instantly saw right through it. You're like an abusive spouse who incessantly beats his spouse, only to stop her just as she's leaving, begging and pleading, "Oh baby, if you just give me one more chance, I'll change! I promise I'll never hit you again!"

And within a week, you've got the belt in your hand, thrashing away in a blind rage. Mr. Boehner, your promises are as worthless as you are. Do America a favor and resign. In fact, how about ALL OF YOU resign? Obama, Biden, Clinton, Boehner, Pelosi - all of you. You are a broken sham of a system. You are one party, the party of the elite, pretending to be two parties to divide and conquer the American people. The Democrats and Republicans have the same corporate sponsors at the highest levels. Your party bosses are part of the same elite clubs - the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group - groups with a distinct collectivist agenda. The Democrats at least are up front about it. What pisses me off about the Republicans is that they claim to be the party of "American values" when in reality they're pushing for the same big, all -powerful central government the Democrats push, only they're just pushing it at a slower, less noticeable pace.

Like I said in my last post...we can learn a lot from the Egyptians. What America needs to do is stand up together, even if we have different opinions about which direction to go in. But we stand together, united in saying that what we have now is broken, corrupt and completely beyond repair through normal means. It is our right to petition the government when it is failing us, and it is our right to give them the boot. Waiting for elections, at this point, only allows them more time to grasp more power. And as we're seeing, the elections aren't serving the common good when the right message is co-opted by people who do not share that vision. What good are debates when you limit the discussion to points A and B? A or B may not be the answer - but it's all you're going to hear from that TV unless you take time to inform yourself!

Egypt showed us, for the most part, that you do not need violence to effect real change. I don't see why we can't gather by the millions and just peacefully insist that the people who have violated the trust of the American people save face and just resign? After all, most people seem to think the government is only out to serve itself.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lessons From Cairo

The past few weeks have been what many would call :"interesting times".

A couple weeks ago, the people of Tunisia rose up and threw out a tyrant who had ruled for decades. They did this in a matter of days. When the government proposed new leaders, the people rejected them, too.

Right now, I think if you're reading this you already know what's going on in Cairo. Hundreds of thousands of people are taking to the streets and demanding the entire government, including Hosni Mubarak, step down. Mubarak fired the government, for lack of a better term, but insisted he isn't going anywhere. The people, though, have other plans. And they came out in droves to stand up and speak out against tyranny. For a while all was well, the army even sided with them.

And then things got ugly. Reports I've seen from people on the scene indicate that the pro-Mubarak forces are being paid by the government to incite trouble, and in some cases are part of the special police - police IDs were taken off some of the provocateurs who openly lamented it. Sadly, it looks that, at least at the time of writing, the violence from the government is only escalating, but the brave souls in Egypt are staying steadfast and united. Earlier today I saw a couple beautiful images of Christian and Muslim joined in defiance of tyranny, like this one, where Christians surrounded Muslims praying to protect them. Or perhaps this one of Coptic Christian and Muslim holding hands in unity.

A couple of the best sources for real, on the ground info have been on Twitter, notably @SultanAlQassemi and @iyad_elbaghdadi - and yes, Al Jazeera English provides a fresh perspective you're not going to get from CNN or Fox, which in my opinion have become laughably bad in terms of providing anything substantial and are glorified versions of TMZ or USA Today.

And, as if all this wasn't enough, there will be solidarity demonstrations across the Arab world tomorrow. Syria, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan - people are standing in unity with Egypt. It's quite a feeling to see people standing up for freedom there. It's quite another to see so few doing so here. And worse yet, some people are buying into the nonsense that this is some mass Islamic plot to come after us. I've seen articles proclaiming the Muslim Brotherhood will use this to take over Egypt and basically send the whole population screaming into Israel with bombs strapped to their chests. The same typical Islamophobic crap that's been spewed by the "conservative" side of the Establishment ever since 9/11.

Honestly, there are some great things to be gained from this.

First, and foremost: when people stand up to tyranny en masse, things happen. In Tunisia, they threw out a despotic government. In Egypt, they've made great strides, but aren't there yet. Sadly this is costing a lot of unnecessary bloodshed, which isn't having the effect the government there desires. The people grow ever more resistant, because they know they are winning. Even if there is a sacrifice to be made, the people know that in the end the regime will crumble from its own corruption.

Why can't Americans go out and demand REAL change? There's a few things that come to mind for me, none are the whole truth, but put together I think a good picture gets made. We're constantly told how free we are, and for a lot of people that's all they need to hear. We're freedom-loving people. End of story. So let's go sit and watch the game. So what if we're getting essentially strip-searched at the airport? It's keeping them tear-wrist Moo-slims from blowin' up our buildings! (Never mind that the main targets of the PATRIOT Act have been US, not the terrorists. Why else do they need to grope the elderly, children,. and women with large breasts?)

I think a lot of people are used to not "rocking the boat". Gee, we're not starving or anything (yet) why go and make a scene?" No one WANTS to be the one out there shouting about the mess we're in when people still have their playthings. I also think a lot of people are legitimately afraid of what our government would do if confronted with a crowd of thousands telling them all to go away? Most salient, though - in a lot of places, they expect you to get a permit to demonstrate...does this not tell you that we are no longer living in a free country? Our right to peaceably assemble and demand a redress of grievances is GUARANTEED by law, namely the first Amendment of the Constitution (or, as W called it, that g-damned piece of paper). We don't NEED a permit to express ourselves. Suppose the demonstration was for something the government didn't like. Do you really think they'll just hand out permits?

I've also learned that we have a long way to go when it comes to dealing with the Arab world. There is a LOT of ignorance by otherwise well-intentioned people concerning Islam and the Middle East. The prevailing thought seems to be that given the chance, every Muslim would gladly blow themselves up for Allah, or that it is their sacred duty to kill us non-believers. If the people who transmit this lunacy would actually READ a Qur'an and understand the full context of passages, they would learn otherwise. Trust me, fellow Christians, your eyes will not burn out of their sockets. Much as you get bent out of shape when people misquote the Bible out of context, you're guilty of the same crime when you take single verses from the Qur'an out of context.

warned against entangling alliances.and encouraged peaceful relations with all. Maybe, just maybe, if we returned to that sound judgment, we wouldn't have to worry about other governments. We stick our nose where it does not belong, and we do it often. We are the target of enmity because we are seen as an empire, meddling in their affairs when we have no right to. Liberty and freedom are not American things. They are the things of all the people of the world. And it includes their right to elect whomever they please, even if we don't like it.

My fear is that Egypt or one of the other nations will elect a government our elites don't like and we will be dragged into another war to "protect freedom", and yet more of our remaining liberties are stolen :from us "for our own good". We can't allow that to happen again. Too much blood has been shed over our government's decisions for decades. It;s time we stop. It's time we butt out of the world's internal disputes and affairs, and instead of forcing our "principles" on everyone, we lead the way by being the example of what Liberty and Freedom are about.