Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Impeach, Bush, Cheney: Thoughts On Where We Are Going!
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Stop the Spying!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Impeach, Bush, Cheney: Thoughts On Where We Are Going!


From Boston To The Bridge; From Virginia To A Nation; The Ride Is Over And The March To Fascism Is Well Underway As We Permit Democracy To Fail.


Much has been said down through the years as regards the value of our Democracy and the history that we have come to cherish. I ask you to revisit and reexamine that early history and the observations that others have made regarding liberty, freedom, country and bloodshed in Revolutions to obtain and maintain those precious gifts. We are in danger of seeing them lost and in the shadows of our society that the media dare not enter; the elements of a serious uprising are in ferment.


From Concord and Lexington, through a Civil War that corrupted fundamental balances of power within our government, through the blood that has been shed through repeated wars in the name of those values we have managed to maintain some semblance of Democracy. Even our diminished Democracy is now in danger of being lost in the drift towards an American form of Fascism.


“It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”

–Sam Adams-


The Essence of this essay, this post is the duality of Words and the Sword, so let us by way of introduction examine a few thoughts others have had in time of crisis, thoughts about freedom, liberty, justice, government, resistance, rebellion, revolt, revolution.

From “Resistance, Rebellion and Death” pg.5


In the first “Letters To A German Friend”, Albert Camus wrote: “No, I didn’t love my country, if pointing out what is unjust in what we love amounts to not loving, if insisting that what we love should measure up to the finest image we have of her amounts to not loving.”

-Albert Camus-


When, as now, pointing out injustice and appealing to hope is labeled as treasonous, the pendulum has come to rest at the Fascist end of the arc.


So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles on sleeping men.

-Voltaire-



No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

- Barbara Ehrenreich-



Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.

–Frederick Douglass-



I have named the destroyers of nations: comfort, plenty, and security - out of which grow a bored and slothful cynicism, in which rebellion against the world as it is, and myself as I am, are submerged in listless self-satisfaction.

- John Steinbeck-



Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.

-Oscar Wilde-



The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.

- Robert M. Hutchins-



We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.-



When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered.

- Dorothy Thompson-



We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.

-Edward R. Murrow-




There are two visions of America. One precedes our founding fathers and finds its roots in the harshness of our puritan past. It is very suspicious of freedom, uncomfortable with diversity, hostile to science, unfriendly to reason, contemptuous of personal autonomy. It sees America as a religious nation. It views patriotism as allegiance to God. It secretly adores coercion and conformity. Despite our constitution, despite the legacy of the Enlightenment, it appeals to millions of Americans and threatens our freedom.


The other vision finds its roots in the spirit of our founding revolution and in the leaders of this nation who embraced the age of reason. It loves freedom, encourages diversity, embraces science and affirms the dignity and rights of every individual. It sees America as a moral nation, neither completely religious nor completely secular. It defines patriotism as love of country and of the people who make it strong. It defends all citizens against unjust coercion and irrational conformity.



This second vision is our vision. It is the vision of a free society. We must be bold enough to proclaim it and strong enough to defend it against all its enemies.

-
Rabbi Sherwin Wine-



“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice; and each day I see more and more Americans choosing to surrender in apathetic resignation to the disaster that has descended upon this nation under the crippling cloud of fear authored by this administration and wrapping themselves in their safe linus blanket of apathy, withdrawal, denial and: “They’ll be gone in January 2008, and we can start fixing things then.


Our struggle is about justice now and the restoration of proper powers of government in this land. For this administration to slip away into the pages of history and to be held accountable only by the words of historians is not justice; it is the abdication of justice and to naively, silently permit the accumulation of powers now assigned/assumed by this government to be carried forward in the belief that they are somehow mere words on paper that future administrations in altruism would never exercise is the supreme denial. The balance of power between the branches of government must be restored and the balance of power, the covenant between the people and this government upon which our Constitution is foundationed must be restored. To ignore, fail to act to do so only delays the moment of ultimate historical confrontation in this nation.


Walking away from these issues in the afterglow of the 2008 elections, patting ourselves on the back for having striven so diligently and righteously that we created sufficient awareness that the elections of 2008 actually were actually conducted, and brooding that “the people” would not rise up with us to achieve the full measure of justice we seek, and moving on, will be an act of failure.


I know that many of my words and images as of late have troubled many, but someone has to point out the reality of the battle of well meant wordS takes but a letters change and you have “The Sword”; Revolutions are born of both!


Our forebears gave form, principle and promise to our democratic experiment with pen, quill in hand, with words; prose poignant, powerful, poetic at times, but nonetheless the bedrock upon which this nation and all that it could become, was fashioned. Those words, visions, dreams had to be won and maintained with blood, iron and fire in the duality of the pen and the sword, the duality of words and the sword.


We have anguished and languished in our struggle in the silence of the mainstream media, in simply being ignored by our foes as unimportant because our voices are those of the minority. That is the fact of this matter. We have not risen to the level of voice of Sam Adams’s admonition or the rallying cry of a Patrick Henry, or the genius eloquence of a Jefferson. We speak with the voice of the street; yet we do not command those streets.


The only way to get the public to focus on anything in this news-drenched world is to make it larger than life, bigger than a movie.


In the Constant Information Era, to grab even a moment of the audience’s attention is an accomplishment, because a) there is no mass audience—it’s a mass of niches—and because b) a moment is all you get before the media spotlight and microphone and megaphone move on (see Mickey Kaus’s brilliant Feiler Faster thesis).


Intelligent people will, I hope, eventually stop only bad-mouthing “spin” and learn how
to grab the audience—whoever it is they’re trying to reach—by the throat and not let go.


Watching the story play out, I’ve found myself a participant in the efforts at peaceful resistance, peaceful protest, warning from my knowledge of and contacts in the shadows of the consequences of our failure should it come to pass.


As that seems more likely every day, as the clock winds down on this administration, as we find ourselves fearful of the two great remaining catastrophes: an event that precipitates the cancellation of the 2008 elections, (unthinkable to the masses), and an attack on Iran that turns the Mid East in a conflagration, perhaps nuclear in nature, and if so destined to alter the course of human history on this planet in an unimaginable, incalculable catastrophe. We hold this administration Capable of both acts. That is not a statement of a paranoid revolutionary; it is the essence of our total distrust of this administration and its proven record of single-minded pursuit of its goals regardless of any and all consequences for those who are not of the master’s class that they serve.


We could all die; we could all be broken, impoverished, homeless and enslaved and it would not matter to them, in fact it is from that very rubble of civilization that they could be well served in fashioning the their “New Civilization”.


I have all but abandoned hoping that reasonable heads will prevail. The Socio-pathology of this administration is so well fashioned that bringing it down is beyond all our legal, institutional mechanisms of redress.


I am reaching the point where I find myself hoping that reasonable heads don’t prevail on this one, because it will only prolong the inevitable. I find my dreams filled with images that wake me, images of a conflict grown white hot and ugly with the strife of revolution.


I have not yet determined what component of the current administration’s perversions could find way into a Court of Law where the sword of Justice could prevail before the sword of revolution is unsheathed in the streets. Perhaps I have reached the point where that option, if it exists, is shrouded from my eyes by the smoke of rage.


Something needs to give; because this country needs to have a great, big, loud, come-to-Jesus argument about the role of the press in a time of war, terror, and secrecy.


Should news outlets ever report government secrets; and if so, under what circumstances?


When is leaking wrong and treasonous, and when is it heroic?


Do the news media have rights and duties that sometimes conflict with, and even transcend, the law? My answer, holding as always that the Declaration Of Independence is the first law and highest statement of citizen principle, duty, responsibility and authority to assume control of this name in crisis; Is Yes!


These questions have been swirling around us for five years now, but in a vague, amorphous kind of way. They are crucial, and they need to be thrashed out quickly!


I couldn’t agree more. The greatest benefit of our living democracy is that we air our arguments and expose them to debate. I especially like Powers’s explanation of why we need a brawl: “Attracting attention is a skill. Holding it is an art. And it’s as true for those with serious messages”. Our, my, message is as serious as a heart attack!


When you watch evening news one often gets the feeling that one is watching a horrible rerun, so much so that folks have become acceptant of and numb to the depictions, descriptions, definitions, explanations, and daily excuses that are as varied as the wobble of the failing political gyroscope that spins and sends them hurtling about the globe, but their names are all familiar: bigotry, intolerance, racism, greed, war, death, famine, pestilence, torture, rape, murder, mutilation and genocide…all the premeditated failures of our species, because despite any varnish or veneering argument to the contrary, there are so many who do not give a damn who lives or dies so long as they prosper and consolidate their power, or are simply left alone in their comfortable personal life.



The faces of death and evil are many; their consciences and souls are black and void, their hands drip blood not only of their victims but of those yet unborn.



We are witnesses to mans’ inhumanity to his fellow being and we speak the words of well meaning hypocrites; the words that attempt to define man in terms of our hopes, our ideals and values spoken of a million times over in our churches, synagogues and mosques, in all the “Holy Books”, by theologians and philosophers and by our parents and teachers, while knowing full well the dark side of man that lurks within each and every one of us, that animal part of us that can kill or permit the most barbarous of torture and atrocities to be inflicted upon others while we simple conduct our everyday lives.



We are good at paying lip service to every great idea and ideal ever penned by human hand, but so few of us are any good at living up to them. We decry the human condition, lawlessness, violence and the dark depravity that resides within our species. Our inaction gives sanction to every dark impulse of humankind and there go you and I but for the restraints of fear born of man’s laws, at least those of us rational enough to know that it can be applied to us and that we are not of the privileged, empowered to live beyond its consequences.


We prefer to acknowledge our acceptance of reality in our almost devout adoration to “reality TV” but we cannot bring ourselves to either acknowledge or admit that the measure of great technological prowess and sky lines proclaiming our domain; dominion and empire do not measure our human civility. They do not equate. They never have and they never will, because after all we are merely the most highly (defined by us) evolved animals on this planet, but animals at our core.


Our planet is fragile, our existence fleeting, our desires never fulfilled driving millions to the anesthesia of alcohol and narcotics, and so many, our minds always a mere few footsteps from crossing “The Line”.



We define all things in our existence with words and we define ourselves by our actions and inactions. Need I say more in a world where we speak of man’s “Good Angels” turn our backs on the work of man’s “Dark Angels” and have permitted Death to become the Brother of Democracy? We know what we are. We prefer not to speak of that ugly truth as we kneel, bow or prostrate ourselves in prayer seeking ritual forgiveness for what we have done to another and shall do again, and under or breath we curse those who do not pray with us. Are we brothers and sisters in humanity or one another’s prey?


Before you read the next quote from Sam Adams, “The Grand Incendiary”, “The Father Of The Revolution”; take a moment and envision the broken bodies of our young service man and women, the maimed of Afghanistan and Iraq, the obscene body count of our actions that our government does not even wish to acknowledge, and then read the words of one who wielded both the quill and steel.


“Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace.


We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”

-Sam Adams-


Adams was not alone in his passion. The passion to give rise to this land which we are heir to and stewards of safe keeping filled the hearts of so many of our forefathers, forefathers which I am sore afraid we have reduced to storytelling and disassociating ourselves from any meaningful identification with, and embrace of, the visions, dreams and physical willingness to confront our duty, our responsibilities on our own soil.


When one utters the name Patrick Henry there is nary a mind before which the words: “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death!” do not flash. He meant them! He would have died for his principles and you will see, if you are not already aware, those principles were sometimes at odds with his peers; but he never acquiesced or sat is the silence of the resigned minority…never!


Patrick Henry is widely known as a major figure at the beginning of the Revolution. His name was synonymous with radicalism and dissent by colonist and English alike. It is said that his Stamp Act Resolutions were the first shots fired in the Revolution. His radical dissent did not end with the winning of freedom though. Henry's concern for individual liberties and state sovereignty made him the chief dissenter for the Anti-Federalist during the debate concerning the Constitution.


First, Henry did not dress or act like an aristocrat. He was often found in the town tavern entertaining the locals with his fiddle playing. This made him extremely popular and trusted by the common man.


Second, while Henry may not have known the law as well as other attorneys, he was able to sway juries. His speaking style was a departure from traditional legal oratory, which emphasized rationality and allusions to classical texts. His style resembled nothing so much as an evangelical preacher, with biblical references and an appeal to passion and emotion rather than reason.


This style came from his childhood. Although Henry had been baptized into the Church of England, he often attended Presbyterian services with his mother. The dramatic preaching of Samuel Davies and other ministers associated with the evangelical movement known as the Great Awakening was a basic influence on his oratory.


Henry's powers as an orator were discovered by the majority of Virginians, in December, 1763, when he argued what is known as the "Parson's Cause." This was a suit brought by Rev. James Maury, of the established church of Virginia, to recover his salary, which had been fixed at 16,000 pounds of tobacco. A small crop that year had caused market prices to escalate. This induced the legislature in Williamsburg to pass an act commuting the salaries of the Anglican clergy into money at the rate of two pence per pound of tobacco, which was the original price.


The Act had not been approved by the King, but the House of Burgesses was determined to enforce it. In his defense of the Act Henry argued that "a king, by disallowing acts of a salutary nature, from being the father of his people, degenerates into a tyrant, and forfeits all rights to his subjects' obedience." He pleaded the case so well that the jury awarded Maury one penny for damages. This radical stance made Henry the idol of the common people, procured for him an enormous law practice, and led to him being elected to the Virginia Legislature in 1765.


Previously of that year England had passed the Stamp Acts which taxed the Colonies. On May 29, 1765, nine days after taking his seat, and on his twenty ninth birthday, Henry moved a series of five radical resolutions defining the rights of the Virginia Colony. He denounced the British Parliament's usurpation of powers vested in the colonial legislature, which alone had the power to tax and pronounced the Stamp Act unconstitutional. Henry was able to bring his resolution to the floor of the very conservative legislature with the help of Richard Henry Lee and by waiting until the majority of the conservative membership was away from Williamsburg (only 24% of the body was considered sufficient for a quorum).


After a speech, which Thomas Jefferson described as surpassing anything he had ever heard, the five resolutions passed. It is in this speech that Henry tread the fine line of treason for the first time by stating "Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and George III-may profit from their example." This was the most anti-British political action to that point in the Colonies and some credit the resolutions with being one of the main catalysts of the Revolution. The Resolutions and the speech were published throughout the Colonies and so inflamed the public that enforcement of the Acts became impractical. Henry became the prominent radical leader in Virginia and famous in all the Colonies.


Henry was now the focal point of Virginia's opposition to British policy. He would sit in the House of Burgesses during the tumultuous times leading up to 1775. In May, 1773, he, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Danby Carr, carried through the Virginia House a resolution establishing Committees of Correspondence between the Colonies. When Lord Dunmore dissolved the Legislature, after the closing of the Port of Boston in 1774, Henry organized a rump session of the House, which met at Raleigh's Tavern in Williamsburg. He was in the forefront at this illegal meeting in calling for a Continental Congress. It was during this session that George Mason stated the effect Henry had upon the delegates:


"He is by far the most powerful speaker I ever heard. Every word he says not only engages but commands the attention, and your passions are no longer your own when he addresses them. But his eloquence is the smallest part of his merit. He is, in my opinion, the first man upon this continent, as well in abilities as public virtues, and had he lived in Rome about the time of the first Punic War, when the Roman people had arrived at their meridian glory, and their virtues not tarnished, Mr. Henry's talents must have put him at the head of that glorious commonwealth."


Henry was elected to the First Continental Congress in August, 1774. At its opening session, he put himself into a leadership position when he declared. "I am not a Virginian, but an American." He sat on several important committees (Colonial Trade and Manufactures, that for drawing up an address to the King, and that for stating the rights of the Colonies) and led the fight against the reconciliation plan with England that had been proposed by Joseph Galloway. His leadership was critical in defeating this plan, which failed by only one vote, thereby sealing the destiny of the continent.


A man called the Demosthenes of his age, fighting to the end.


Patrick Henry
The name Patrick Henry, during the revolution and for some time after, was synonymous with that word in the minds of colonists and Empire alike. Henry's reputation as a passionate and fiery orator exceeded even that of Samuel Adams. His Patrick Henry, during the revolution and for some time after, was synonymous with that word in the minds of colonists and Empire alike. Henry's reputation as a passionate and fiery orator exceeded even that of Samuel Adams. His Stamp Act ...
http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/related/henry.htm


Liberty or Death (The Entire Speech)


One hundred twenty delegates swelled the church to near capacity. The heat generated on this warm day was dissipated by opening all of the windows.


A great crowd gathered outside, eager to hear the debate. Finally, Henry was recognized by the Chairman, Peyton Randolph. He stood and began in a hushed voice that caused the listeners to lean forward to catch his words.


As he warmed to the subject his voice crescendoed with the words, "The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the resounding clash of arms!"


Subdued again, he pressed for the finish. Kneeling, he crossed his arms as if in chains and in a passionate voice just louder than a whisper asked, "Is life so sweet and peace so dear as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"


He raised to his feet and symbolically broke the chains with a wide sweep of his outstretched arms and with his best baritone preacher’s voice cried out, "Forbid it Almighty God!"


He raised an imaginary dagger, fisted above his head and eloquently with the spirit of the prophet Joshua intoned, "I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty ...". He paused, plunging the imaginary dagger into his breast. He then fell softly into the pew and finished, "... or give me death!"


Patrick Henry had recently returned to Virginia from Philadelphia where he was a delegate to the First Continental Congress. He had made fast friends with Samuel Adams and garnered the respect of John Adams and the rest of the delegation from Massachusetts. These New Englanders were only too glad to have Henry as a mouthpiece for the independence movement as they would have been readily cast aside as radicals if they were to espouse their own views too resolutely at this point.


Henry, who had gained fame and accusations of treason ten years earlier with his fiery protest against the Stamp Act, earned his stripes in Congress when he vividly denounced factionalism between states. He said that, "Government is no more ... We are in a state of nature ... Distinctions between [colonies] are no more. I am not a Virginian, but an American!"


Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death

Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.


No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony.


The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.


Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.


I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss.

Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it?


Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministries have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject?


Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament.


Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation?


There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!


They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?


Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone.


There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.


It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!


The speech was given March 23, 1775, at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia, and is credited with having swung the balance in convincing the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War. Supposedly, in attendance were Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Reportedly, the crowd, upon hearing the speech, jumped up and shouted, "To arms! To arms!"


"Give me liberty..."



Richard Schumann interprets the character of Patrick Henry for The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Listen as he re-creates Patrick Henry's powerful words spoken March 23, 1775 at St. John's Henrico Parish Church in Richmond.



Listen to the full speech (audio clip 7:05) Read the text


The text of this speech first appeared in print in Life and Character of Patrick Henry by William Wirt which was first published in 1817, eighteen years after Patrick Henry's death. In 1815, Wirt wrote to a friend, "from 1763 to 1789... not one of his speeches lives in print, writing or memory. All that is told me is, that on such and such an occasion, he made a distinguished speech"[1] Wirt corresponded with men who had heard the speech and others who were acquainted with people who were there at the time. Wirt wrote to Judge St. George Tucker, who had been present for the speech, that "I have taken almost entirely Mr. Henry's speech in the Convention of '75 from you, as well as your description of its effect on you verbatim."[2]


Tucker's account was based upon recollections and not notes. Tucker attempted a reconstruction of only the first two paragraphs of the speech. Tucker wrote, "In vain should I attempt to give any idea of his speech".[3] While this implies a degree of uncertainty over the content of the speech, the amount of research done by Wirt in the process of creating his text strongly argues that he was able to accurately reconstruct the key points, especially the famous quote itself.


It is generally agreed that it ended with, "It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"


Ear-witnesses to Henry's hypnotic orations remarked that while they always seemed to be convincing in the moment, they had a difficult time remembering exactly what he had said immediately afterwards: according to Jefferson, "Although it was difficult, when [Henry] had spoken, to tell what he had said, yet, while speaking, it always seemed directly to the point. When he had spoken in opposition to my opinion, had produced a great effect, and I myself had been highly delighted and moved, I have asked myself, when he ceased, 'What the devil has he said?' and could never answer the inquiry."[4]


The text of the speech as presented by Wirt contains many biblical allusions and radical pronouncements, and ends by asserting that war has already begun, the only question being whether or not to fight. In Henry's delivery of the speech, Wirt compared Henry with the Roman statesman Cato. Cato was a famous orator and a leading proponent of the Stoicism philosophy in which it is believed that death was a guarantee of person freedom. Cato was a proponent of Republicanism in opposition to the dictatorship of Julius Caesar.


Cato chose suicide over living in a tyranny. Some scholars believe that this line was inspired by Cato.[5] The play Cato, a Tragedy contains the line, "It is not now time to talk of aught/But chains or conquest, liberty or death" (Act II, Scene 4). This play was popular in the colonies and was well-known by the Founding Fathers, who used quotes from the play. George Washington had this play performed for the Continental Army at Valley Forge.[6] The phrase "Liberty or Death" also appears on the Culpeper Minutemen flag of 1775.


The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"


His statement that "The war is actually begun!" is a reference to the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770, when British troops, occupying Boston to "keep order," killed five colonists at the head of an angry mob.


Henry's words were prophetic. The war had indeed begun.


The battles at Lexington and Concord took place less than a month after Henry's speech, on April 19, 1775. At Lexington and Concord, American colonists took up arms against their own government, whose troops had come to seize colonial guns and gunpowder.


Less than three months after Henry's speech, on June 17, 1775, the British and their colonial subjects clashed again at Bunker Hill (actually, Breed's Hill). The war lasted another eight years, after which time, the American colonies stood as sovereign and independent states. Article One of the Paris Peace Treaty of 1783, which ended the American War of Independence, states that:


His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states, that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.


It should be noted that the British, during the American War of Independence, thought about the Americans much as the North later thought about the South during the War for Southern Independence.


When news of Lexington and Concord reached London, the British press screamed for blood and vengeance, as related by Michael Pearson in Those Damned Rebels: The American Revolution as Seen Through British Eyes:


"A country two thousand miles long," asserted "Crito" in the Morning Post, "intersected by rivers, passes, mountains, forests and marshes, where the conquest is...over the people, their affections, their hearts and their prejudices...If conquest gives us the command of America we cannot keep it by force; the only possible plan is to burn and destroy it from one end to the other."


"The sword alone," insisted a Tory in the Morning Chronicle, "can decide this dispute...to prevent the ruin of the British Empire, which will inevitably take place if we are defeated." (p 107)


When the British man-in-the-street sympathized with the American rebels, the British government reacted swiftly and sternly. As Pearson continues,


In Lloyd's and Garraway's, the city coffeehouses, the news dominated all discussion and created a mood of caution. Prices on the stock market dropped.


The City of London, whose merchants had been badly savaged by the loss of American trade, was a focal point of resistance to the government. Within days, members of the Constitutional Society meeting at the Kings Arms Tavern on Cornhill launched a subscription [fund-raiser] for the "relief of widows and orphans...of our beloved American fellow subjects...inhumanely murdered by the King's Troops at or near Lexington and Concord." (p 108)


Criticism of the administration in the press was well tolerated, but this was going too far. When the appeal was advertised in the press, the government mounted a prosecution for seditious libel.


Remembering that all these men: Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere, Charlie Daws, Ben Church, Joe Warren, John Hancock, Doctor Prescott and a host of other men and women, were different than you and I. They were the common folk of the colonies, a minority with a vision that they had decided to ACT upon regardless of personal consequences. They has an idea, and that idea’s time had come!


Their quills had carried them as far as they could and the time for steel had come!


On the night of April 18, into April 19, in 1775, Paul Revere rode!


This is the stuff that legends can be made of, events that are remembered in every manner, with a brush and canvas, contemporary writings and in this case an immortal poem.


April 18, 1775. A great day in American history: "The fate of a nation was riding that night."


Paul Revere's Ride

- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."


Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.


Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.


Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.


Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--


A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.


Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.


A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.


It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.


It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.


It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.


You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.


So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.


What American of our persuasion does not wish he or she had written these words:


“For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.


And long for the Revere of our Age?


In closing my considerations of Patrick Henry let us turn our attentions to his lesser known, though no less in importance words, found in his speech to the Virginia Convention on June 5, 1788, and in his arguments against the Constitution. His advocacy for a form of governance in this nation that favored the rights and protections of the people from all possible excesses of government was consistent throughout his life. That he opposed the Constitution has left him open to the shallowest of historians who either in a need to “publish or perish” or profit by sensationalism of attacking Henry as some wild eyed revolutionary anarchist at heart.


Nothing could be further from the truth and a reading of his opposition to the Constitution reveals insights and concerns that need to be revisited at this juncture in our history. Read carefully; I think you will be amazed.


The voice of tradition, I trust, will inform posterity of our struggles for freedom. If our descendants be worthy of the name of Americans they will preserve and hand down to their latest posterity the transactions of the present times; and tho I confess my exclamations are not worth the hearing, they will see that I have done my utmost to preserve their liberty...The first thing I have at heart is American liberty; the second thing is American union; and I hope the people of Virginia will endeavor to preserve that union.


Patrick Henry indeed did his utmost to preserve American liberty. Those alive today, who enjoy their freedom in no small part as the result of the sacrifices of men such as Patrick Henry, should do no less.


Mr. Chairman, I am much obliged to the very worthy gentleman for his encomium. I wish I was possessed with talents, or possessed of anything that might enable me to elucidate this great subject. I am not free from suspicion: I am apt to entertain doubts.


Go to references

Introduction
1.3

I rose yesterday to ask a question which arose in my own mind. When I asked that question, I thought the meaning of my interrogation was obvious. The fate of this question and of America may depend on this. Have they said, We, the states? Have they made a proposal of a compact between states? If they had, this would be a confederation. It is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government.

States vs. people

1.10

The question turns, sir, on that poor little thing—the expression, We, the people, instead of the states, of America. I need not take much pains to show that the principles of this system are extremely pernicious, impolitic, and dangerous. Is this a monarchy, like England—a compact between prince and people, with checks on the former to secure the liberty of the latter? Is this a confederacy, like Holland—an association of a number of independent states, each of which retains its individual sovereignty? It is not a democracy, wherein the people retain all their rights securely.

1.15

Had these principles been adhered to, we should not have been brought to this alarming transition, from a confederacy to a consolidated government. We have no detail of these great considerations, which, in my opinion, ought to have abounded before we should recur to a government of this kind. Here is a resolution as radical as that which separated us from Great Britain. It is radical in this transition; our rights and privileges are endangered, and the sovereignty of the states will be relinquished: and cannot we plainly see that this is actually the case?

1.18

The rights of conscience, trial by jury, liberty of the press, all your immunities and franchises, all pretensions to human rights and privileges, are rendered insecure, if not lost, by this change, so loudly talked of by some, and inconsiderately by others. Is this tame relinquishment of rights worthy of freemen? Is it worthy of that manly fortitude that ought to characterize republicans?

Consolidated government > loss of liberties

1.22

It is said eight states have adopted this plan. I declare that if twelve states and a half had adopted it, I would, with manly firmness, and in spite of an erring world, reject it. You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your government.

DE, PA, NJ, GA, CT, MA, MD, SC

Partition

2.1

Having premised these things, I shall, with the aid of my judgment and information, which, I confess, are not extensive, go into the discussion of this system more minutely.

Global Argument: Appeal to Liberty

2.2

Is it necessary for your liberty that you should abandon those great rights by the adoption of this system? Is the relinquishment of the trial by jury and the liberty of the press necessary for your liberty? Will the abandonment of your most sacred rights tend to the security of your liberty? Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings—give us that precious jewel, and you may take everything else!

2.6

But I am fearful I have lived long enough to become an old-fashioned fellow. Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old-fashioned; if so, I am contented to be so. I say, the time has been when every pulse of my heart beat for American liberty, and which, I believe, had a counterpart in the breast of every true American; but suspicions have gone forth—suspicions of my integrity—publicly reported that my professions are not real. Twenty-three years ago was I supposed a traitor to my country? I was then said to be the bane of sedition, because I supported the rights of my country.

Invokes Revolutionary Ethos

2.11

I may be thought suspicious when I say our privileges and rights are in danger. But, sir, a number of the people of this country are weak enough to think these things are too true. I am happy to find that the gentleman on the other side declares they are groundless. But, sir, suspicion is a virtue as long as its object is the preservation of the public good, and as long as it stays within proper bounds: should it fall on me, I am contented: conscious rectitude is a powerful consolation. I trust there are many who think my professions for the public good to be real. Let your suspicion look to both sides. There are many on the other side, who possibly may have been persuaded to the necessity of these measures, which I conceive to be dangerous to your liberty.

Anticipation

2.18

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.

Only Force Can Preserve Liberty

2.22

I am answered by gentlemen, that, though I might speak of terrors, yet the fact was, that we were surrounded by none of the dangers I apprehended. I conceive this new government to be one of those dangers: it has produced those horrors which distress many of our best citizens. We are come hither to preserve the poor commonwealth of Virginia, if it can be possibly done: something must be done to preserve your liberty and mine.

Equates Personal Liberty With The Sovereignty Of The Commonwealth Of VA

2.25

The Confederation, this same despised government, merits, in my opinion, the highest encomium: it carried us through a long and dangerous war; it rendered us victorious in that bloody conflict with a powerful nation; it has secured us a territory greater than any European monarch possesses: and shall a government which has been thus strong and vigorous, be accused of imbecility, and abandoned for want of energy? Consider what you are about to do before you part with the government. Take longer time in reckoning things; revolutions like this have happened in almost every country in Europe; similar examples are to be found in ancient Greece and ancient Rome—instances of the people losing their liberty by their carelessness and the ambition of a few.

2.28

We are cautioned by the honorable gentleman, who presides, against faction and turbulence. I acknowledge that licentiousness is dangerous, and that it ought to be provided against; I acknowledge, also, the new form of government may effectually prevent it: yet there is another thing it will as effectually do—it will oppress and ruin the people.

Arguments Against The Constitution.
Argument I: No Guarantee Of Representation

3.1

There are sufficient guards placed against sedition and licentiousness; for, when power is given to this government to suppress these, or for any other purpose, the language it assumes is clear, express, and unequivocal; but when this Constitution speaks of privileges, there is an ambiguity, sir, a fatal ambiguity—an ambiguity which is very astonishing. In the clause under consideration, there is the strangest language that I can conceive. I mean, when it says that there shall not be more representatives than one for every thirty thousand.

3.3

Now, sir, how easy is it to evade this privilege! "The number shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand." This may be satisfied by one representative from each state. Let our numbers be ever so great, this immense continent may, by this artful expression, be reduced to have but thirteen representatives.

3.7

I confess this construction is not natural; but the ambiguity of the expression lays a good ground for a quarrel. Why was it not clearly and unequivocally expressed, that they should be entitled to have one for every thirty thousand? This would have obviated all disputes; and was this difficult to be done?

3.10

What is the inference? When population increases, and a state shall send representatives in this proportion, Congress may remand them, because the right of having one for every thirty thousand is not clearly expressed. This possibility of reducing the number to one for each state approximates to probability by that other expression—"but each state shall at least have one representative."

3.13

Now, is it not clear that, from the first expression, the number might be reduced so much that some states should have no representatives at all, were it not for the insertion of this last expression? And as this is the only restriction upon them, we may fairly conclude that they may restrain the number to one from each state.

3.15

Perhaps the same horrors may hang over my mind again. I shall be told I am continually afraid: but, sir, I have strong cause of apprehension. In some parts of the plan before you, the great rights of freemen are endangered; in other parts, absolutely taken away.

3.16

How does your trial by jury stand? In civil cases gone—not sufficiently secured in criminal—this best privilege is gone. But we are told that we need not fear; because those in power, being our representatives, will not abuse the power we put in their hands.

Right Of Trial By Jury Weakened

3.19

I am not well versed in history, but I will submit to your recollection, whether liberty has been destroyed most often by the licentiousness of the people, or by the tyranny of rulers. I imagine, sir, you will find the balance on the side of tyranny. Happy will you be if you miss the fate of those nations, who, omitting to resist their oppressors, or negligently suffering their liberty to be wrested from them, have groaned under intolerable despotism! Most of the human race are now in this deplorable condition; and those nations who have gone in search of grandeur, power, and splendor, have also fallen a sacrifice, and been the victims of their own folly. While they acquired those visionary blessings, they lost their freedom.

Argument II: Against The Federal Army
3.23

My great objection to this government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights, or of waging war against tyrants. It is urged by some gentlemen, that this new plan will bring us an acquisition of strength—an army, and the militia of the states.

3.25

This is an idea extremely ridiculous: gentlemen cannot be earnest. This acquisition will trample on our fallen liberty. Let my beloved Americans guard against that fatal lethargy that has pervaded the universe. Have we the means of resisting disciplined armies, when our only defence, the militia, is put into the hands of Congress?

Digression: Where Is The Danger?
3.29

The honorable gentleman said that great danger would ensue if the Convention rose without adopting this system. I ask, Where is that danger? I see none.

3.32

Other gentlemen have told us, within these walls, that the union is gone, or that the union will be gone. Is not this trifling with the judgment of their fellow-citizens? Till they tell us the grounds of their fears, I will consider them as imaginary. I rose to make inquiry where those dangers were; they could make no answer: I believe I never shall have that answer.

3.36

Is there a disposition in the people of this country to revolt against the dominion of laws? Has there been a single tumult in Virginia? Have not the people of Virginia, when laboring under the severest pressure of accumulated distresses, manifested the most cordial acquiescence in the execution of the laws? What could be more awful than their unanimous acquiescence under general distresses?

3.40

Is there any revolution in Virginia? Whither is the spirit of America gone? Whither is the genius of America fled? It was but yesterday, when our enemies marched in triumph through our country. Yet the people of this country could not be appalled by their pompous armaments: they stopped their career, and victoriously captured them. Where is the peril, now, compared to that?

Invokes Revolution

3.46

Some minds are agitated by foreign alarms. Happily for us, there is no real danger from Europe; that country is engaged in more arduous business: from that quarter there is no cause of fear: you may sleep in safety forever for them.

3.48

Where is the danger? If, sir, there was any, I would recur to the American spirit to defend us; that spirit which has enabled us to surmount the greatest difficulties: to that illustrious spirit I address my most fervent prayer to prevent our adopting a system destructive to liberty.

3.50
Argument III: Difficulty Of Passing Amendments

Let no gentlemen be told that it is not safe to reject this government. Wherefore is it not safe? We are told there are dangers, but those dangers are ideal; they cannot be demonstrated. To encourage us to adopt it, they tell us that there is a plain, easy way of getting amendments. When I come to contemplate this part, I suppose that I am mad, or that my countrymen are so. The way to amendment is, in my conception, shut.

3.56

Let us consider this plain, easy way. "The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a Convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by the Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress. Provided, that no amendment which may be made prior to the year 1808, shall in any manner affect the 1st and 4th clauses in the 9th section of the 1st article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate." Hence it appears that three fourths of the states must ultimately agree to any amendments that may be necessary.

Constitution: Article V

4.2

Let us consider the consequence of this. However uncharitable it may appear, yet I must tell my opinion—that the most unworthy character may get into power, and prevent the introduction of amendments.

4.4

Let us suppose—for the case is supposable, possible, and probable—that you happen to deal those powers to unworthy hands; will they relinquish powers already in their possession, or agree to amendments? Two thirds of the Congress, or of the state legislatures, are necessary even to propose amendments. If one third of these be unworthy men, they may prevent the application for amendments; but what is destructive and mischievous, is, that three fourths of the state legislatures, or of the state conventions, must concur in the amendments when proposed!

4.6

In such numerous bodies, there must necessarily be some designing, bad men. To suppose that so large a number as three fourths of the states will concur, is to suppose that they will possess genius, intelligence, and integrity, approaching to miraculous. It would indeed be miraculous that they should concur in the same amendments, or even in such as would bear some likeness to one another; for four of the smallest states, that do not collectively contain one tenth part of the population of the United States, may obstruct the most salutary and necessary amendments. Nay, in these four states, six tenths of the people may reject these amendments; and suppose that amendments shall be opposed to amendments, which is highly probable,—is it possible that three fourths can ever agree to the same amendments? A bare majority in these four small states may hinder the adoption of amendments; so that we may fairly and justly conclude that one twentieth part of the American people may prevent the removal of the most grievous inconveniences and oppression, by refusing to accede to amendments.

4.11

A trifling minority may reject the most salutary amendments. Is this an easy mode of securing the public liberty? It is, sir, a most fearful situation, when the most contemptible minority can prevent the alteration of the most oppressive government; for it may, in many respects, prove to be such. Is this the spirit of republicanism?

5.1

What, sir, is the genius of democracy? Let me read that clause of the bill of rights of Virginia which relates to this: 3d clause:—that government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community. "Of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best, which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of mal-administration; and that whenever any government shall be found inadequate, or contrary to those purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal."

Virginia Declaration of Rights

6.1

This, sir, is the language of democracy—that a majority of the community have a right to alter government when found to be oppressive. But how different is the genius of your new Constitution from this! How different from the sentiments of freemen, that a contemptible minority can prevent the good of the majority!

6.4

If, then, gentlemen, standing on this ground, are come to that point, that they are willing to bind themselves and their posterity to be oppressed, I am amazed and inexpressibly astonished. If this be the opinion of the majority, I must submit; but to me, sir, it appears perilous and destructive. I cannot help thinking so.

Minority consciousness

6.7

Perhaps it may be the result of my age. These may be feelings natural to a man of my years, when the American spirit has left him, and his mental powers, like the members of the body, are decayed.

Revolutionary Ethos

6.9

If, sir, amendments are left to the twentieth, or tenth part of the people of America, your liberty is gone forever. We have heard that there is a great deal of bribery practiced in the House of Commons, in England, and that many of the members raise themselves to preferments by selling the rights of the whole of the people. But, sir, the tenth part of that body cannot continue oppressions on the rest of the people. English liberty is, in this case, on a firmer foundation than American liberty. It will be easily contrived to procure the opposition of one tenth of the people to any alteration, however judicious.

Reprise: liberty

6.14

The honorable gentleman who presides told us that, to prevent abuses in our government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people!

Transition
6.16

Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical, no longer a democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all? You read of a riot act in a country which is called one of the freest in the world, where a few neighbors cannot assemble without the risk of being shot by a hired soldiery, the engines of despotism. We may see such an act in America.

Aristocratic // Democratic

Argument IV: Against The Standing Army
7.1

A standing army we shall have, also, to execute the execrable commands of tyranny; and how are you to punish them? Will you order them to be punished? Who shall obey these orders? Will your mace-bearer be a match for a disciplined regiment? In what situation are we to be? The clause before you gives a power of direct taxation, unbounded and unlimited, exclusive power of legislation, in all cases whatsoever, for ten miles square, and over all places purchased for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, &c. What resistance could be made? The attempt would be madness.

8.1

You will find all the strength of this country in the hands of your enemies; their garrisons will naturally be the strongest places in the country. Your militia is given up to Congress, also, in another part of this plan: they will therefore act as they think proper: all power will be in their own possession. You cannot force them to receive their punishment: of what service would militia be to you, when, most probably, you will not have a single musket in the state? for, as arms are to be provided by Congress, they may or may not furnish them.

9.1

Let me here call your attention to that part which gives the Congress power "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States—reserving to the states, respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."

Constitution: Article I Section 8

9.2

By this, sir, you see that their control over our last and best defence is unlimited. If they neglect or refuse to discipline or arm our militia, they will be useless: the states can do neither—this power being exclusively given to Congress. The power of appointing officers over men not disciplined or armed is ridiculous; so that this pretended little remains of power left to the states may, at the pleasure of Congress, be rendered nugatory. Our situation will be deplorable indeed: nor can we ever expect to get this government amended, since I have already shown that a very small minority may prevent it, and that small minority interested in the continuance of the oppression.

9.6

Will the oppressor let go the oppressed? Was there even an instance? Can the annals of mankind exhibit one single example where rulers overcharged with power willingly let go the oppressed, though solicited and requested most earnestly? The application for amendments will therefore be fruitless. Sometimes, the oppressed have got loose by one of those bloody struggles that desolate a country; but a willing relinquishment of power is one of those things which human nature never was, nor ever will be, capable of.

Argument V: Delegates Should Be Deputed By States Not People
10.1

The honorable gentleman's observations, respecting the people's right of being the agents in the formation of this government, are not accurate, in my humble conception. The distinction between a national government and confederacy is not sufficiently discerned.

10.3

Had the delegates, who were sent to Philadelphia, a power to propose a consolidated government instead of a confederacy? Were they not deputed by states, and not by the people?

10.5

The assent of the people, in their collective capacity, is not necessary to the formation of a federal government. The people have no right to enter into leagues, alliances, or confederations; they are not the proper agents for this purpose. States and foreign powers are the only proper agents for this kind of government.

10.8

Show me an instance where the people have exercised this business. Has it not always gone through the legislatures? I refer you to the treaties with France, Holland, and other nations. How were they made? Were they not made by the states? Are the people, therefore, in their aggregate capacity, the proper persons to form a confederacy?

10.13

This, therefore, ought to depend on the consent of the legislatures, the people having never sent delegates to make any proposition for changing the government.

10.14

Yet I must say, at the same time, that it was made on grounds the most pure; and perhaps I might have been brought to consent to it so far as to the change of government. But there is one thing in it which I never would acquiesce in. I mean, the changing it into a consolidated government, which is so abhorrent in my mind. [The honorable gentleman then went on to the figure we make with foreign nations; the contemptible one we make in France and Holland; which, according to the substance of the notes, he attributes to the present feeble government.]

10.16

An opinion has gone forth, we find, that we are contemptible people: the time has been when we were thought otherwise. Under the same despised government, we commanded the respect of all Europe: wherefore are we now reckoned otherwise?

10.18

The American spirit has fled from hence: it has gone to regions where it has never been expected; it has gone to the people of France, in search of a splendid government—a strong, energetic government.

10.19

Shall we imitate the example of those nations who have gone from a simple to a splendid government? Are those nations more worthy of our imitation? What can make an adequate satisfaction to them for the loss they have suffered in attaining such a government—for the loss of their liberty?

10.22

If we admit this consolidated government, it will be because we like a great, splendid one. Some way or other we must be a great and mighty empire; we must have an army, and a navy, and a number of things.

10.24

When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: liberty, sir, was then the primary object. We are descended from a people whose government was founded on liberty: our glorious forefathers of Great Britain made liberty the foundation of every thing. That country is become a great, mighty, and splendid nation; not because their government is strong and energetic, but, sir, because liberty is its direct end and foundation. We drew the spirit of liberty from our British ancestors: by that spirit we have triumphed over every difficulty.

Personification Of The American Spirit

10.28

But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire. If you make the citizens of this country agree to become the subjects of one great consolidated empire of America, your government will not have sufficient energy to keep them together. Such a government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism. There will be no checks, no real balances, in this government. What can avail your specious, imaginary balance, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances?

10.33

But, sir, we are not feared by foreigners; we do not make nations tremble. Would this constitute happiness, or secure liberty? I trust, sir, our political hemisphere will ever direct their operations to the security of those objects.

11.1

Consider our situation, sir: go to the poor man, and ask him what he does. He will inform you that he enjoys the fruits of his labor, under his own fig-tree, with his wife and children around him, in peace and security. Go to every other member of society,—you will find the same tranquil ease and content; you will find no alarms or disturbances. Why, then, tell us of danger, to terrify us into an adoption of this new form of government?

11.5

And yet who knows the dangers that this new system may produce? They are out of the sight of the common people: they cannot foresee latent consequences. I dread the operation of it on the middling and lower classes of people: it is for them I fear the adoption of this system.

Transition
11.8

I fear I tire the patience of the committee; but I beg to be indulged with a few more observations.

11.9

When I thus profess myself an advocate for the liberty of the people, I shall be told I am a designing man, that I am to be a great man, that I am to be a demagogue; and many similar illiberal insinuations will be thrown out: but, sir, conscious rectitude outweighs those things with me.

11.10

I see great jeopardy in this new government. I see none from our present one. I hope some gentleman or other will bring forth, in full array, those dangers, if there be any, that we may see and touch them.

Argument VI:
No Right Of
Nullification
11.15

I have said that I thought this is a consolidated government: I will now prove it. Will the great rights of the people be secured by this government? Suppose it should prove oppressive, can it be altered? Our bill of rights declares, "that a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable right to reform, alter or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal."

Virginia Declaration

12.1

I have just proved that one tenth, or less, of the people of America—a most despicable minority—may prevent this reform or alteration. Suppose the people of Virginia should wish to alter their government; can a majority of them do it? No; because they are connected with other men, or, in other words, consolidated with other states. When the people of Virginia, at a future day, shall wish to alter their government, though they should be unanimous in this desire, yet they may be prevented therefrom by a minority at the extremity of the United States.

12.5

The founders of your Constitution made your government changeable: but the power of changing it is gone from you. Whither is it gone? It is placed in the same hands that hold the rights of twelve other states; and those who hold those rights have right and power to keep them.

12.8

It is not the particular government of Virginia: one of the leading features of that government is, that a majority can alter it, when necessary for the public good. This government is not a Virginian, but an American government. Is it not, therefore, a consolidated government?

Opposition of VA to US

12.11

The sixth clause of your bill of rights tells you, "that elections of members to serve as representatives of the people in the Assembly ought to be free, and that all men having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community, have the right of suffrage, and cannot be taxed, or deprived of their property for public uses, without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected, nor bound by any law to which they have not in like manner assented for the public good."

VA Declaration

12.12

But what does this Constitution say? The clause under consideration gives an unlimited and unbounded power of taxation. Suppose every delegate from Virginia opposes a law laying a tax; what will it avail? They are opposed by a majority; eleven members can destroy their efforts; those feeble ten cannot prevent their passing the most oppressive tax law; so that, in direct opposition to the spirit and express language of your declaration of rights, you are taxed, not by your own consent, but by people who have no connection with you.

Argument VII: against direct federal taxation
13.1

The next clause of the bill of rights tells you, "that all power of suspending law, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without the consent of the representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised." This tells us that there can be no suspension of government or laws without our own consent; yet this Constitution can counteract and suspend any of our laws that contravene its oppressive operation; for they have the power of direct taxation, which suspends our bill of rights; and it is expressly provided that they can make all laws necessary for carrying their powers into execution; and it is declared paramount to the laws and constitutions of the states.

13.3

Consider how the only remaining defence we have left is destroyed in this manner. Besides the expenses of maintaining the Senate and other house in as much splendor as they please, there is to be a great and mighty President, with very extensive powers—the powers of a king. He is to be supported in extravagant magnificence; so that the whole of our property may be taken by this American government, by laying what taxes they please, giving themselves what salaries they please, and suspending our laws at their pleasure.

13.5

I might be thought too inquisitive, but I believe I should take up very little of your time in enumerating the little power that is left to the government of Virginia; for this power is reduced to little or nothing: their garrisons, magazines, arsenals, and forts, which will be situated in the strongest places within the states; their ten miles square, with all the fine ornaments of human life, added to their powers, and taken from the states, will reduce the power of the latter to nothing.

14.1

The voice of tradition, I trust, will inform posterity of our struggles for freedom. If our descendants be worthy the name of Americans, they will preserve, and hand down to their latest posterity, the transactions of the present times; and, though I confess my exclamations are not worthy the hearing, they will see that I have done my utmost to preserve their liberty; for I never will give up the power of direct taxation but for the scourge.

Revolutionary Ethos

14.3

I am willing to give it conditionally; that is, after non-compliance with requisitions. I will do more, sir, and what I hope will convince the most skeptical man that I am a lover of the American Union—that, in case Virginia shall not make punctual payment, the control of our custom-houses, and the whole regulation of trade, shall be given to Congress, and that Virginia shall depend on Congress even for passports, till Virginia shall have paid the last farthing, and furnished the last soldier. Nay, sir, there is another alternative to which I would consent;—even that they should strike us out of the Union, and take away from us all federal privileges, till we comply with federal requisitions: but let it depend upon our own pleasure to pay our money in the most easy manner for our people.

Defends His Loyalty To The Union

14.6

Were all the states, more terrible than the mother country, to join against us, I hope Virginia could defend herself; but, sir, the dissolution of the Union is most abhorrent to my mind. The first thing I have at heart is American liberty: the second thing is American union; and I hope the people of Virginia will endeavor to preserve that union.

Liberty >> Union

14.8

The increasing population of the Southern States is far greater than that of New England; consequently, in a short time, they will be far more numerous than the people of that country. Consider this, and you find this state more particularly interested to support American liberty, and not bind our posterity by an improvident relinquishment of our rights. I would give the best security for a punctual compliance with requisitions; but I beseech gentlemen, at all hazards, not to give up this unlimited power of taxation.

14.11

The honorable gentleman has told us that these powers, given to Congress, are accompanied by a judiciary which will correct all. On examination, you will find this very judiciary oppressively constructed; your jury trial destroyed, and the judges dependent on Congress.

15.1

In this scheme of energetic government, the people will find two sets of tax-gatherers—the state and the federal sheriffs. This, it seems to me, will produce such dreadful oppression as the people cannot possibly bear. The federal sheriff may commit what oppression, make what distresses, he pleases, and ruin you with impunity; for how are you to tie his hands? Have you any sufficiently decided means of preventing him from sucking your blood by speculations, commissions, and fees?

15.5

Thus thousands of your people will be most shamefully robbed: our state sheriffs, those unfeeling blood-suckers, have, under the watchful eye of our legislature, committed the most horrid and barbarous ravages on our people. It has required the most constant vigilance of the legislature to keep them from totally ruining the people; a repeated succession of laws has been made to suppress their iniquitous speculations and cruel extortions; and as often has their nefarious ingenuity devised methods of evading the force of those laws: in the struggle they have generally triumphed over the legislature. It is a fact that lands have been sold for five shillings, which were worth one hundred pounds: if sheriffs, thus immediately under the eye of our state legislature and judiciary, have dared to commit these outrages, what would they not have done if their masters had been at Philadelphia or New York?

15.8

If they perpetrate the most unwarrantable outrage on your person or property, you cannot get redress on this side of Philadelphia or New York; and how can you get it there? If your domestic avocations could permit you to go thither, there you must appeal to judges sworn to support this Constitution, in opposition to that of any state, and who mav also be inclined to favor their own officers. When these harpies are aided by excise men, who may search, at any time, your houses, and most secret recesses, will the people bear it? If you think so, you differ from me.

15.12

Where I thought there was a possibility of such mischiefs, I would grant power with a niggardly hand; and here there is a strong probability that these oppressions shall actually happen. I may be told that it is safe to err on that side, because such regulations may be made by Congress as shall restrain these officers, and because laws are made by our representatives, and judged by righteous judges: but sir, as these regulations may be made, so they may not; and many reasons there are to induce a belief that they will not. I shall therefore be an infidel on that point till the day of my death.

Argument VIII: Incipient Monarchism
16.1

This Constitution is said to have beautiful features; but when I come to examine these features, sir, they appear to me horribly frightful. Among other deformities, it has an awful squinting; it squints toward monarchy; and does not this raise indignation in the breast of every true American?

A Global Argument Recapitulating Lesser Arguments Already Put Forward

17.1

Your President may easily become king. Your Senate is so imperfectly constructed that your dearest rights may be sacrificed by what may be a small minority; and a very small minority may continue forever unchangeably this government, although horridly defective. Where are your checks in this government? Your strongholds will be in the hands of your enemies. It is on a supposition that your American governors shall be honest, that all the good qualities of this government are founded; but its defective and imperfect construction puts it in their power to perpetrate the worst of mischiefs, should they be bad men; and, sir, would not all the World, from the eastern to the western hemisphere, blame our distracted folly in resting our rights upon the contingency of our rulers being good or bad?

17.5

Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty! I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed, with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt.

Appeal To History

18.1

If your American chief be a man of ambition and abilities, how easy is it for him to render himself absolute! The army is in his hands, and if he be a man of address, it will be attached to him, and it will be the subject of long mediation with him to seize the first auspicious moment to accomplish his design; and, sir, will the American spirit solely relieve you when this happens?

18.3

I would rather infinitely—and I am sure most of this Convention are of the same opinion—have a king, lords, and commons, than a government so replete with such insupportable evils. If we make a king, we may prescribe the rules by which he shall rule his people, and interpose such checks as shall prevent him from infringing them; but the President, in the field, at the head of his army, can prescribe the terms on which he shall reign master, so far that it will puzzle any American ever to get his neck from under the galling yoke. I cannot with patience think of this idea.

18.6

If ever he violates the laws, one of two things will happen: he will come at the head of his army, to carry everything before him; or he will give bail, or do what Mr. Chief Justice will order him. If he be guilty, will not the recollection of his crimes teach him to make one bold push for the American throne? Will not the immense difference between being master of everything, and being ignominiously tried and punished, powerfully excite him to make this bold push? But, sir, where is the existing force to punish him? Can he not, at the head of his army, beat down every opposition?

18.11

Away with your President! we shall have a king: the army will salute him monarch: your militia will leave you, and assist in making him king, and fight against you: and what have you to oppose this force? What will then become of you and your rights? Will not absolute despotism ensue? [Here Mr. Henry strongly and pathetically expatiated on the probability of the President's enslaving America, and the horrid consequences that must result.]

Argument IX: Congressional Control Over Elections
19.1

What can be more defective than the clause concerning the elections? The control given to Congress over the time, place, and manner of holding elections, will totally destroy the end of suffrage. The elections may be held at one place, and the most inconvenient in the state; or they may be at remote distances from those who have a right of suffrage: hence nine out of ten must either not vote at all, or vote for strangers; for the most influential characters will be applied to, to know who are the most proper to be chosen.

Constitution: Article I. Sec. 4

19.4

I repeat, the control of Congress over the manner, &c., of electing, well warrants this idea. The natural consequence will be, that this democratic branch will possess none of the public confidence; the people will be prejudiced against representatives chosen in such an injudicious manner. The proceedings in the northern conclave will be hidden from the yeomanry of this country. We are told that the yeas and nays shall be taken, and entered on the journals. This, sir, will avail nothing: it may be locked up in their chests, and concealed forever from the people; for they are not to publish what parts they think require secrecy: they may think, and will think, the whole requires it.

Argument X: Congress Lacks Accountability To States
20.1

Another beautiful feature of this Constitution is, the publication from time to time of the receipts and expenditures of the public money. This expression, from time to time, is very indefinite and indeterminate: it may extend to a century. Grant that any of them are wicked; they may squander the public money so as to ruin you, and yet this expression will give you no redress.

Constitution: Article I. Sec. 9

20.4

I say they may ruin you; for where, sir, is the responsibility? The yeas and nays will show you nothing, unless they be fools as well as knaves; for, after having wickedly trampled on the rights of the people, they would act like fools indeed, were they to publish and divulge their iniquity, when they have it equally in their power to suppress and conceal it.

20.6

Where is the responsibility—that leading principle in the British government? In that government, a punishment certain and inevitable is provided; but in this, there is no real, actual punishment for the grossest mal-administration. They may go without punishment, though they commit the most outrageous violation on our immunities. That paper may tell me they will be punished. I ask, By what law? They must make the law, for there is no existing law to do it. What! will they make a law to punish themselves?

21.1

This, sir, is my great objection to the Constitution, that there is no true responsibility—and that the preservation of our liberty depends on the single chance of men being virtuous enough to make laws to punish themselves. In the country from which we are descended, they have real and not imaginary responsibility; for the mal-administration has cost their heads to some of the most saucy geniuses that ever were.

22.3

The Senate, by making treaties, may destroy your liberty and laws for want of responsibility. Two thirds of those that shall happen to be present, can, with the President, make treaties that shall be the supreme law of the land; they may make the most ruinous treaties; and yet there is no punishment for them. Whoever shows me a punishment provided for them will oblige me.

Arguments Against Immediate Ratification.
22.5

So, sir, notwithstanding there are eight pillars, they want another. Where will they make another? I trust, sir, the exclusion of the evils wherewith this system is replete in its present form, will be made a condition precedent to its adoption by this or any other state.

[i.e. Eight Ratifying States]

22.8

The transition, from a general unqualified admission to offices, to a consolidation of government, seems easy; for, though the American states are dissimilar in their structure, this will assimilate them. This, sir, is itself a strong consolidating feature, and is not one of the least dangerous in that system.

22.10

Nine states are sufficient to establish this government over those nine. Imagine that nine have come into it. Virginia has certain scruples. Suppose she will, consequently, refuse to join with those states; may not she still continue in friendship and union with them? If she sends her annual requisitions in dollars, do you think their stomachs will be so squeamish as to refuse her dollars? Will they not accept her regiments?

22.16

They would intimidate you into an inconsiderate adoption, and frighten you with ideal evils, and that the Union shall be dissolved. 'Tis a bug-bear, sir: the fact is, sir, that the eight adopting states can hardly stand on their own legs. Public fame tells us that the adopting states have already heart-burnings and animosity, and repent their precipitate hurry: this, sir, may occasion exceeding great mischief.

22.19

When I reflect on these and many other circumstances, I must think those states will be found to be in confederacy with us. If we pay our quota of money annually, and furnish our ratable number of men, when necessary, I can see no danger from a rejection.

23.1

The history of Switzerland clearly proves that we might be in amicable alliance with those states without adopting this Constitution. Switzerland is a confederacy, consisting of dissimilar governments. This is an example which proves that governments of dissimilar structures may be confederated. That confederate republic has stood upwards of four hundred years; and, although several of the individual republics are democratic, and the rest aristocratic, no evil has resulted from this dissimilarity; for they have braved all the power of France and Germany during that long period. The Swiss spirit, sir, has kept them together; they have encountered and overcome immense difficulties with patience and fortitude. In the vicinity of powerful and ambitious monarchs, they have retained their independence, republican simplicity, and valor. [Here he makes a comparison of the people of that country and those of France, and makes a quotation from Addison illustrating the subject.]

Comparison To Swiss Confederacy Of Dissimilar States

23.7

Look at the peasants of that country and of France; and mark the difference. You will find the condition of the former far more desirable and comfortable. No matter whether the people be great, splendid, and powerful, if they enjoy freedom. The Turkish Grand Signior, alongside of our President, would put us to disgrace; but we should be as abundantly consoled for this disgrace, when our citizens have been put in contrast with the Turkish slave.

Demand: Give VA Time To Consider
23.11

The most valuable end of government is the liberty of the inhabitants. No possible advantages can compensate for the loss of this privilege. Show me the reason why the American Union is to be dissolved. Who are those eight adopting states? Are they averse to give us a little time to consider, before we conclude? Would such a disposition render a junction with them eligible; or is it the genius of that kind of government to precipitate people hastily into measures of the utmost importance, and grant no indulgence? If it be, sir, is it for us to accede to such a government?

23.17

We have a right to have time to consider: we shall therefore insist upon it.Unless the government be amended, we can never accept it. The adopting states will doubtless accept our money and our regiments; and what is to be the consequence, if we are disunited? I believe it is yet doubtful, whether it is not proper to stand by a while, and see the effect of its adoption in other states. In forming a government, the utmost care should be taken to prevent its becoming oppressive; and this government is of such an intricate and complicated nature, that no man on this earth can know its real operation.

23.22

The other states have no reason to think, from the antecedent conduct of Virginia, that she has any intention of seceding from the Union, or of being less active to support the general welfare.

Adopting States Have Been Misled
24.1

Permit me, sir, to say, that a great majority of the people, even in the adopting states, are averse to this government. I believe I would be right to say, that they have been egregiously misled. Pennsylvania has, perhaps, been tricked into it. If the other states who have adopted it have not been tricked, still they were too much hurried into its adoption. There were very respectable minorities in several of them; and if reports be true, a clear majority of the people are averse to it. If we also accede, and it should prove grievous, the peace and prosperity of our country, which we all love, will be destroyed.

24.7

This government has not the affection of the people at present. Should it be oppressive, their affections will be totally estranged from it; and, sir, you know that a government, without their affections, can neither be durable nor happy.

24.9

I speak as one poor individual; but when I speak, I speak the language of thousands. But, sir, I mean not to breathe the spirit, nor utter the language, of secession.

Reiterates Loyalty

Transition
25.1

I have trespassed so long on your patience, I am really concerned that I have something yet to say.

Afterthoughts.
No. Of VA Representatives 25.2

The honorable member has said, we shall be properly represented. Remember, sir, that the number of our representatives is but ten, whereof six is a majority. Will those men be possessed of sufficient information? A particular knowledge of particular districts will not suffice. They must be well acquainted with agriculture, commerce, and a great variety of other matters throughout the continent; they must know not only the actual state of nations in Europe and America, the situations of their farmers, cottagers, and mechanics, but also the relative situations and intercourse of those nations.

Constitution: Article I.

25.7

Virginia is as large as England. Our proportion of representatives is but ten men. In England they have five hundred and fifty-eight. The House of Commons, in England, numerous as they are, we are told, are bribed, and have bartered away the rights of their constituents: what, then, shall become of us? Will these few protect our rights? Will they be incorruptible? You say they will be better men than the English commoners. I say they will be infinitely worse men, because they are to be chosen blindfolded: their election (the term, as applied to their appointment, is inaccurate) will be an involuntary nomination, and not a choice.

Constitution

Close
25.15

I have, I fear, fatigued the committee; yet I have not said the one hundred thousandth part of what I have on my mind, and wish to impart. On this occasion, I conceived myself bound to attend strictly to the interest of the state, and I thought her dearest rights at stake. Having lived so long—been so much honored—my efforts, though small, are due to my country. I have found my mind hurried on, from subject to subject, on this very great occasion. We have been all out of order, from the gentleman who opened to-day to myself. I did not come prepared to speak, on so multifarious a subject, in so general a manner. I trust you will indulge me another time.

25.22

Before you abandon the present system, I hope you will consider not only its defects, most maturely, but likewise those of that which you are to substitute for it. May you be fully apprised of the dangers of the latter, not by fatal experience, but by some abler advocate than I!


Henry, who fought to achieve independence for the colonies, later fought against the adoption of the Constitution – the replacement for the Articles of Confederation – on the grounds that the Constitution would create a tyrannical federal government destructive of the liberties which had come at such a heavy price. As Henry stated in the speech to the Virginia Convention on June 5, 1788,


We drew the spirit of liberty from our British ancestors; by that spirit we have triumphed over every difficulty. But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire. If you make the citizens of this country agree to become the subjects of one great consolidated empire of America, your government will not have sufficient energy to keep them together.


As it turns out, Henry was correct: the federal government lacked the energy to keep the American nation together peacefully, instead resorting to force of arms to compel the preservation of the union.


Henry continued his attack on the Constitution, arguing that


Such a government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism. There will be no checks, no real balances, in this government. What can avail your specious, imaginary balances, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances?...It is on a supposition that your American governors shall be honest that all the good qualities of this government are founded; but its defective and imperfect construction puts it in their power to perpetrate the worst of mischiefs should they be bad men; and, sir, would not all the world blame our distracted folly in resting our rights upon the contingency of our rulers being good or bad?


Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men without a consequent loss of liberty! I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed, with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt.


And in the inherent weaknesses of the Constitution and the inherent flaws of imperfect beings began the shift of power towards an Imperial Presidency and the slippery slope that has led us to where we are today. The remainder of this posting will deal with what we have done with; what we have done to our forefathers dream, and yes, what we have allowed to be done to the hopes, vision, dreams and sacrifices of those men and women because we have not summoned when necessary the courage for preservation and been willing to expend the energy of constant vigilance requisite for the maintenance of a Democracy and personal liberty.


“No,” I told you, “I cannot believe that everything must be subordinated to a single end. There are means that cannot be excused. And I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don’t want just any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood. I want to keep it alive by keeping justice alive.”

-Albert Camus_


A mere 86 years after British calls for the blood of American rebels, as recounted in When In the Course of Human Events by Charles Adams, Northern politicians and newspapers called for the blood of Southern rebels:


The chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives, Thaddeus Stevens, was willing that the South "be laid waste, and made a desert, in order to save this Union from destruction." Before a Republican state convention in September 1862, he urged the government to "slay every traitor – burn every Rebel Mansion...unless we do this, we cannot conquer them." The New York Times wrote in March 1861 that the North should "destroy its commerce, and bring utter ruin on the Confederate states," and this was before the bombardment at Fort Sumter.


Congressman Zachariah Chandler expressed the spirit of so many in the Congress: "A rebel has sacrificed all his rights. He has no right to life, liberty, property, or the pursuit of happiness..."


On 5 May 1861, this genocidal passion against the South found analysis in the New York Herald. It quoted the views of the abolitionists: "When the rebellious traitors are overwhelmed in the field, and scattered like leaves before an angry wind, it must not be to return to peaceful and contented homes. They must find poverty at their firesides, and see privation in the anxious eyes of mothers, and the rags of children."


On 24 May 1861, the Daily Herald in Newburyport, Massachusetts, said that "if it were necessary, we could clear off the thousand millions of square miles so that not a city or cultivated field would remain; we could exterminate nine millions of white people and re-settle – re-people the lands. There is no want of ability; and if such a work is demanded, there would be no want of a will." (pp 55-56)


Eighty-six years is not a long time; it was only 84 years ago that America entered World War One. The Southerners whom the North so wanted to exterminate saw themselves as following in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers – the men who had fought the revolution against England 86 years before the Southern states fought a revolution against Washington, DC.


The Northerners followed in the footsteps of the Tories of 1775, while the Southern rebels emulated their revolutionary forefathers. Robert E. Lee, for example, was the son of "Lighthorse" Harry Lee, a general in the Revolutionary War. The great seal of the Confederate States of America, meanwhile, features George Washington on horseback.


It is frequently reported of Robert E. Lee that, after the war, Lee wanted to heal the wounds of division and "be a good citizen." Omitted from the usual stories about Lee, however, is one story related by Charles Adams:


Lee's final words of wisdom came shortly before his death in 1870. Under the yoke of Reconstruction and its military dictatorship, Lee was invited by the commanding Union general to arrange a meeting with a number of leading ex-Confederates. The general asked Lee to make a statement, supposedly to indicate how happy he was to be back in the Union with the stars and stripes. Lee said no.


He had seen what defeat had brought and the ugliness of Northern occupation. He did, however, set up a meeting for many ex-Confederates to have a say. The last to leave the meeting was the former Confederate governor of Texas, Fletcher Stockdale. Lee took him aside and said, "Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people [Yankees] designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse; no sir, not by me. Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in my right hand."


A month later Lee suffered a stroke and died on 12 October 1870. (pp 219-220)


Robert E. Lee and Patrick Henry, then, were very much alike in their love of liberty. Henry famously declared "give me liberty, or give me death," and Lee, before his own death, came to have the same preference. The time for such a stand, however, was past. (Lee, by the way, had reason to complain. His family's ancestral home had been taken by Abraham Lincoln and converted into a cemetery. It is known to this day as Arlington National Cemetery).


In closing, consider again Patrick Henry's speech to the Virginia Convention on June 5, 1788:


The voice of tradition, I trust, will inform posterity of our struggles for freedom. If our descendants be worthy of the name of Americans they will preserve and hand down to their latest posterity the transactions of the present times; and tho I confess my exclamations are not worth the hearing, they will see that I have done my utmost to preserve their liberty...The first thing I have at heart is American liberty; the second thing is American union; and I hope the people of Virginia will endeavor to preserve that union.


*Patrick Henry indeed did his utmost to preserve American liberty. Those alive today, who enjoy their freedom in no small part as the result of the sacrifices of men such as Patrick Henry, should do no less.


And What Say The Brits Today?


It is only truly ironic that as we approach the celebration of the 233rd anniversary of our country’s independence from the empire formerly known as Great Britain, the British people, seeing the U.S. as a “vulgar empire builder,” loathe Americans, America, and everything it stands for as never before:


Only 12 per cent of Britons trust them to act wisely on the global stage. This is half the number who had faith in the Vietnam-scarred White House of 1975


Most Britons see America as a cruel, vulgar, arrogant society, driven by class and racism, crime-ridden, obsessed with money and led by an incompetent hypocrite.


American troops are failing either to win “hearts and minds” in Iraq or bring democracy to that country.


More than two-thirds who offered an opinion said America is essentially an imperial power seeking world domination. And 81 per cent of those who took a view said President George W Bush hypocritically championed democracy as a cover for the pursuit of American self-interests.


I put to you that the United States is without doubt the greatest show on the road. Brutal, indifferent, scornful and ruthless it may be but it is also very clever. As a salesman it is out on its own and its most saleable commodity is self love. It’s a winner. Listen to all American presidents on television say the words, ‘the American people’, as in the sentence, ‘I say to the American people it is time to pray and to defend the rights of the American people and I ask the American people to trust their president in the action he is about to take on behalf of the American people.’


This has been the party line of the biens pensants in Britain since the run-up to the war in Iraq, which is deeply unpopular in Britain. They’re entitled to their bitter opinion. It is well deserved.


Historically we are little more than dust, our time a mere blink of a strobe in the grand scheme of things, a fleeting moment to examined, evaluated and judged by archeologists and historians ages hence in the continued pursuit of truth not always discernable in the crucible of the present.



In “hopeful assumption” that we will have left them voluminous, almost verbose records, that will not have been consumed in some great catastrophic conflagration authored by man’s ignorance and greed, they will sift through our questions and answers, events glorious and disastrous and place us in the continuum of man’s exploits on this planet.


Their task will be no easier than historians of the past or of this day. The task will be different. They will not so much have to dig through the fallen ruins of man’s edifices as to sift through the deluge of words and records to determine the truth. Again, that perspective is premised on the optimistic hope and assumption that man as a whole is not suicidal and will succumb to the inferno of a nuclear holocaust leaving only the fragmentation of ash.


Not so long ago, within our blink, Americans walked on the moon while the world watched in admiration. Today, Americans are trudging with guns through streets of carnage in Baghdad, while the world hangs its head in shame at what we have become.


Not so long ago, American moral leadership inspired the world. Other nations respected us, even our enemies. We were looked up to because we were worthy of it. We were a compassionate and generous nation, a nation that cared for its poor and honored its laws and believed in the American Dream.



But for seven years, we have been trapped in a nightmare. Our government puts human beings in cages. Our government tortures prisoners. Our government spies on us. Our government wages war for oil. Politicians have dragged America into the gutter. But we don't have to stay there.



Across this country on we can show these politicians and pundits and complicit media hacks that their lies about Iraq are no longer going to be tolerated. We can join together with other Americans, in our streets and parks and neighborhoods, in Washington D.C., in New York City, in San Francisco, in Chicago and Denver and Philadelphia and Boston. We have to tell America the truth about Bush's monstrous war for oil. Congress won't. But we will. Someone has to.


We don’t want to admit that citizen default is responsible for the success of the Bush administration's fear-mongering. Yes, we have allowed Bush and company to anesthetize us with fear. And by remaining under the ether of irrational anxiety we are abandoning our responsibility, the oath we take as citizens when we pledge allegiance to our flag – the symbol of our Constitution. If as citizens we allow the Bill of Rights to be vitiated and eviscerated we are complicit in the treasonous acts of our government.



Edward R. Murrow said it best: “No one man can enslave an entire nation unless we are all accomplices.” And damn it, ladies and gentlemen we are guilty as hell! We let our young men and women go off to Iraq and fight and die is a wrongful cause, and we talk and we squawk, but we do not act and move as citizen soldiers to topple this regime, and that is what must be done.


As the old Pogo comic strip said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."


Walter Lippman swung a good hammer and hit the nail on the head when he warned: that “the false ideal of democracy…can only lead to disillusionment and to meddlesome tyranny limiting individual freedom.”



We are where we are at this moment in time because we have accepted the concept that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. We have not done our jobs. We have been politically proper polite cowards, and that is a fact!



America is a herd of blank drones drifting vacantly through the shopping malls of America, going about business as usual while denying the existence of pervasive and threatening evils.



I freely acknowledge that when people get to the street, it's almost always not the first option. That happens when we see the system not working. Are we there yet fellow Americans? What in the hell are we waiting for? Are we a bunch of political alcoholics waiting to hit the bottom, the bottom being the first time the administration declares martial law anywhere for any reason? And twelve steps up from there will be a helluva climb, a helluva price!



If so many people are fed up with the war, why is everyone so silent? Is this the way it usually feels in the heartlands of great empires until the barbarians actually do come knocking at the gates?



“All governments fall, eventually,” Nelson said. “The symptom is when those we elect begin to feel that they are superior to the people they represent. George Washington stated “How soon we forget history. Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” He got that one right!



“Hopefully, this government will wake up and recognize that, as a servant of the people, it is obligated to obey our Constitution, and when it does not; what does The Declaration Of Independence proscribe as a remedy?



We are in the midst of a political crisis that goes right to the heart of our constitutional government. Yet, without a depression or civil war on the horizon, we have been slow to respond to this threat to the future of our democracy. We can’t seem to embrace the idea that we have to be citizen soldiers, freedom fighters!



The Founding Fathers made interpreting the Constitution easy. Gouverneur Morris, the delegate tasked with polishing its prose, preferred clear expression. Where the framers wished to be specific, he made the document transparent. Where they preferred to be vague, he produced felicitous phrases like the famous "necessary and proper clause." Where they utterly failed to anticipate a development like the emergence of political parties, there was an amendment process that could separate the elections of president and vice president, as did the 12th.



However easy to interpret, sustaining a consensus around any particular interpretation of the Constitution has proven more difficult. Our Supreme Court justices have never failed to fill up their docket.


Against this background of successive and contending interpretations of the Constitution, it's important to distinguish between differences of opinion and a crisis.



The differences arise over how to apply the Constitution in specific cases. When a development threatens the heart of our Constitution, a crisis looms. And it does so now with a president who explicitly and consistently works to extend his power in a way that upsets the balance of authority among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our government.


Like some wasting diseases, this constitutional crisis began years ago with WW I and the Great Depression and accelerated with the Cold War.



The communist threat at the end of World War II, part of it real and part of it self-generated, wrought substantial changes in our balance-of-power, checks and balances constitutional system. Authority shifted to the executive branch.


Much of this shift came from an outright grant of power by successive Congresses unwilling to assume responsibility for conducting a novel kind of warfare that was not concentrated on the open battlefield but in the back alleys of the world. Given the way they operate it should have been right up their ally, but then again there are only a handful that are not of mediocre intellectual stature, and that groups talks only to itself and leads the rest!


Declaring massive support for the South Korean government to be a "police action," President Harry Truman in 1950 sought congressional authorization to make war only obliquely under the aegis of the United Nations, not a formal declaration as required by the U.S. Constitution.


This set a pattern that would be followed by successive presidents for the next half century. Truman further warned the Soviet Union not to meddle in Greece and Turkey through a policy that came to be known as the Truman Doctrine.


The National Security Act of 1947 established a National Security Council, along with a permanent Department of Defense and United States Air Force, that quickly came to rival the Department of State for presidential attention and policy initiative.


That Act also created a Central Intelligence Agency whose activities soon spread to destabilization, and sometimes overthrow, of unfriendly governments or those seen to be too friendly to the Politburo in Moscow.


Truman's decision to use atomic weapons in Japan, and his brisk, authoritative manner, caused few to want to challenge him where the communist threat was concerned.


Conservatives, newly minted as anti-communists, found it difficult to question his increasing use of covert operations to counter Soviet initiatives or the emergence of the United States as the world's stabilizing force.



The Cold War badly battered American traditions. We fought police actions, proxy wars, and covert operations, using euphemisms to cover up our failure to follow the Constitution.



The secret operations and lesser-of-two evils alliances of these years made a mockery of an earlier Wilsonian tradition of "open covenants, openly arrived at.", and Kissinger made sausage of it, and it wasn’t Kosher!



The stark choice presented between a world of democratic governments and totalitarian communist regimes smoothed the path away from earlier American practices. Cold War diplomacy was anomalous, but an anomaly that lasts half a century can become the norm.



When President Richard Nixon's covertly subverted checks and balances 30 years ago during the Vietnam War, Congress passed laws making clear that presidents were not to engage in unconstitutional behavior in the interest of "national security."



Then Congress was reacting to violation of Fourth Amendment protections against searches and seizures without judicial warrants establishing "probable cause," attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, and surveillance of American citizens.


During the Cold War, intelligence became a marshal's baton. Those who had access to it, particularly the president, held a trump card over those who did not.



The theme of "if you only knew what I knew you wouldn't question my decisions" helped a succession of Cold War president keep Congressional inquiries at bay.


It has resonated most blatantly in the George W. Bush administration. "We know secrets having to do with national security that we cannot divulge even to Congress, let alone the American people," has been their message. Access to intelligence, real or imagined, became the justification for unilateral presidential action.


Bush's prosecution of the Iraq war has included similar abuses. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, providing Constitutional means to carry out surveillance, and the Intelligence Identification Protection Act, protecting the identity of undercover intelligence agents, have both been violated by an administration seeking to "restore the power of the presidency," even those powers have been explicitly prohibited by acts of Congress.

The issue of presidential power in wartime has plagued the American republic throughout its history. Once past the founding era principle of "no foreign entanglements," various administrations have tried to use conflict, whether genuine or not, to consolidate and concentrate power in the executive branch. Characterizing the fight against terror as a war has accelerated this pernicious development.


Terror is a method not an ideology or tangible enemy, but declaring "war" on it has enabled the Bush administration to justify unlimited detention of "enemy combatants" (a unique, self-invented category meant to avoid both the criminal justice system and international conventions). So too has the "war on terror" permitted surreptitious domestic wiretaps and surveillance, in violation of U.S. law and in circumvention of established judicial warrant procedures. Its exigencies have been called in to defend unilateral, preemptive invasions of sovereign states.


During the first post-Cold War decade of the 90s, power had become a bit more balanced between the Article One legislature and the Article Two executive. Not everyone liked this course correction.

There is little question that Vice President Richard Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, veterans of the Ford administration, came into office determined to reverse this trend and consolidate the executive authority that they perceived to have been eroded during Nixon's travail after the Watergate break-in. The Neocon prescription was filled in New York!


There was little in January 2001 that could provide a fulcrum to lever an expansion of presidential powers. Then came 9.11. Al Qaeda provided the opportunity to carry out the long awaited project of restoring a dominant executive branch. War is always a convenient excuse to do that. Instead of overtly and directly announcing their intensions, the executive "restorationists" carried out their project largely in secret.


No speeches were given, no mandate articulated. Senior Bush administration officials simply went about their business of making the presidency primus inter pares despite the importance in the Constitution of maintaining a balance.


The creation of a constitutional crisis became virtually inevitable once this program was in gear.



Though the systematic effort to place ideologically motivated judges in federal district courts, courts of appeals, and Supreme Court positions was largely read as motivated by a social agenda centered on reversal of Roe v. Wade, there is now reason to believe that this effort was even more motivated by a realization that extra-constitutional concentration of power in the executive would, sooner or later, required judicial scrutiny and approval.



The Bush administration has built on the Cold War foundations of an imperial president, accelerating the rate of the power shift and openly defending the unlimited nature of the president's power in time of war.


Years and many decisions later, President Bush and his most trusted advisors have pushed the expansion of presidential power so far that we now confront a constitutional crisis.



President Bush has given Commander-in-chief Bush unlimited wartime authority.



Relying upon legal opinions from Attorney General Albert Gonzales, then working in the White House, and John Yoo, in the Justice Department, Bush has insisted that there can be no limits to the power of the commander-in-chief in time of war.


More recently the president has claimed that laws relating to domestic spying and the torture of detainees do not apply to him.


President Bush's interpretation of his war powers has produced a hellish conundrum, for no peace treaty can possibly bring an end to the fight against terror.



There will always be some rogue terrorist. The emergency powers of the president during this "war" can now extend indefinitely, at the pleasure of the president and at great threat to the liberties and rights guaranteed us under the Constitution.

The entire scheme has required not just a president intent on accumulating and consolidating executive power, but a compliant Congress, and a judiciary willing to ratify this systematic march toward a quasi-authoritarian structure as well.


Arguably, there is no precedent for this dangerous project in American history. Upon its outcome rests the future of our republic, and we are still trying to make nice as reasonable law abiding folk who believe in peaceable assembly that has no news value and threatens no one’s reelection.


Nor has it only been in foreign affairs that President Bush has usurped the authority of Congress. Using an innovation from Ronald Reagan's presidency called "presidential signing statements," he has flouted his constitutional duty to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed," as stated in Article 2, Section 2.

Rather than veto legislation and thereby give Congress a chance to override his veto, he has elected to announce that he does not intend to execute the law, in effect putting the president above the law.


The Boston Globe has found more than 750 "presidential signing statements" expressing the president's intention not to execute the law before him. Many of these laws have specifically addressed President Bush's expansion of powers as part of the "war on terror," a notorious example being his rejection of the law against the use of torture after failing to stop its passage through Congress.


This policy seems not to be terribly troubling to a complacent Congress, but it is one that massively unhinges the Constitution.


All of these novelties could be written into the Constitution through the amendment process, but of course that would trigger the debate we're not having.


There are other ways to change the Constitution while avoiding the laborious amendment process. One is to silently ignore a provision, a course of action which takes the collusion of those in office. A spectacular example involves the Constitution's investment of the power to declare war to Congress.


Despite the many hostilities the United States has engaged in over the past 60 years, Congress has not declared war since December 8th, 1941, when Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked Congress for such a declaration following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.


Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution is quite explicit in giving Congress, not the President, the power to declare war. No ambiguity here of the original intent. Nor should the Constitution be selectively respected.


So accustomed have Americans become to the president's assuming this authority that in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq, during the spring of 2002, Alberto Gonzales, then presidential counsel, advised the president that he need not consult Congress.


When the president decided to do so any way, it was not to ask it to declare war, but rather to authorize the use of force, leaving him to decide when or if.


A distinction without a difference? Hardly.


The drafters of the Constitution gave this power to declare war to Congress because its members were the closest in contact with their constituents who would fight and pay for any war. Representatives of those who would bear the brunt of war would make the awful choice of resorting to violence. The Founders also sought to balance the power of the commander-in-chief against that of Congress, to avoid a dangerous concentration of power in the presidency.


To make matters worse, , after President Bush announced that he would consult Congress, as though it were a matter of his choice, not a constitutional imperative, he told crowds gathered in Indiana and Kentucky that he did not expect a Congressional debate to change his position.



Later the president indicated his impatience with any prolonged congressional deliberations about his intentions. Yet it is exactly this function of hearing from experts, canvassing opinions, and expressing constituents' concerns that distinguishes Congress from the presidency.


Few in Congress complained publicly about this abrogation of the power to declare war, set forth in art. 1, sect. 8, but over 1,400 American historians complained in a petition presented to a delegation of representatives. The petition noted that "Congress has not asserted its authority to declare war for over half a century, leaving the president solely in control of war powers to the detriment of our democracy and in clear violation of the Constitution.


And we’re going to “talk” about how to hold these people accountable, when I firmly believe it is time to ACT to hold them accountable!


" To merely authorize the use of force, as Congress eventually did, is to avoid responsibility and leave the ominous decision to go to war with an officer who benefits from the extension of powers war brings.


The trouble with the course of action President Bush has taken is that it directly contradicts both the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution.


The Founding Fathers, who always come to mind when the Constitution is in danger, anticipated the possibility of power grabs.


Writing in the Federalist Papers, James Madison defined tyranny as the concentration of powers in one branch of the government, going on to point out that "the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department consists in giving to those who administer each department, the necessary constitutional means, and personal motives, to resist encroachments of the others."


Warming to his subject, Madison continued, "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition;" the interest of the office holders must "be connected with the constitutional rights of the place."


Recognizing that he was making an appeal to interest over ideals, Madison concluded that it "may be a reflection of human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government." "But what," he asked, "is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?


If men were angels, no government would be necessary; If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary."


What James Madison would have thought of a latter-day president who held himself above the law, treated Congress as a nuisance, subjected American citizens to state intrusion, and manipulated intelligence, meant to protect the people as a whole, is difficult to fathom.


But it is most certainly the kind of presidency he was concerned to curb.


Madison's solution to the concentration of powers that he believed led to tyranny relied upon either Congress or the Supreme Court to check the overreaching from a president. In our present crisis, Congress has been supine in the face of the president's steady assertion of unconstitutional, unlimited power, and the Supreme Court has yet to decide on cases affecting detainees and executive surveillance of Americans' telephone calls and email messages.


If Madison's reliance on the ambition of other office holders has failed us, we need to look elsewhere. Can what Thomas Jefferson called the "common sense and good judgment of the American people" help us now?


In the past, they have been a critical last resort when our leaders endangered the constitutional checks and balances that have made us the world's oldest democracy. But first the public must wake up to this constitutional crisis.


The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll results vividly show a population incredibly dissatisfied with their nation’s political system. In other countries in other times such a depressing level of confidence in government would send a signal to those running the government that a major upheaval is imminent.


But not here in the USA. Why?


First, here are the highlights of the poll that surveyed 1,008 adults from June 8-11, with a margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points. A whopping 68 percent think the country is on the wrong track. Just 19 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction - the lowest number on that question in nearly 15 years. And most of those with the positive view are probably in the Upper Class. Bush’s approval rating is at just 29 percent, his lowest mark ever in the survey. Only 62 percent of Republicans approve, versus 32 percent who disapprove. Take Republicans out of the picture and a fifth or less of Americans have a positive view of Bush. Even worse, only 23 percent approve of the job that Congress is doing.


So Much For That Wonderful New Democratic Control Of Congress.


Bipartisan incompetence is alive and well. On the economic front, nearly twice as many people think the U.S. is more hurt than helped by the global economy (48 to 25 percent). Globalization does not spread wealth; it channels it to the wealthy, making billionaires out of millionaires. I have long asserted that Americans live in a delusional democracy with delusional prosperity and these and loads of other data support this view.


There is an obscenely wealthy and politically powerful Upper Class that is literally raping the nation.


Meanwhile, the huge Lower Class continues to lose economic ground while their elected representatives sell them out to benefit the Upper Class. Yet no rational person thinks that a large fraction of the population is ready to rise up in revolt against the evil status quo political-economic system that so clearly is not serving the interests of the overwhelming majority of Americans.


Why not?


For a nation that was built on a REVOLT against oppressive governance by the British, something has been lost from our political DNA.


We apparently no longer have the gene for political rebellion.


It has been bred out of most of us. And those of us that urge a Second American Revolution are seen as fringe, nutty subversives.


Part of the genius of our contemporary ruling class elites is that they have engineering a state of political and economic oppression that paradoxically is still embraced by the Lower Class.


The rational way to understand this is that ordinary, oppressed Americans are in a deep psychological state of self-delusion.


Despite all the empirical, objective evidence of a failed government, they fail to see rebellion opportunities.


Many still believe they live in the world’s best democracy.


But across all elections considerably less than half the citizens even bother to vote anymore.


Yet, as the new NBC/Journal poll results show, people are cognitively aware of just how awful the political-economic system is.


Yet they are not feeling enough pain to seriously consider rebellion. And it is visceral pain that must drive people to the daring act of rebellion.



Why is there insufficient pain for revolution?


I fully understand the words that follow are as relevant an observation of human nature today as they were the day that the delegates of The Second Continental Congress enshrined them in our heritage with their votes to adopt The Declaration Of Independence.


“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”


How much more are we expected to accept before we act upon those words?


This is a deadly serious issue. What is historically unique about America is that even the most oppressed and unfairly treated people are distracted by affordable materialism, entertainment, sports, gambling, and myriad other aspects of our frivolous, self-absorbed culture.


Even failed school and health care systems do not drive people, paying enormous sums to fill up their SUVs, to rebellion.


So, Americans are aware of their oppression, but the power elites have successfully drugged them with a plethora of pleasure-producing distractions sufficient to keep them under control.



We are free to bitch, but too weak to revolt. The Internet has provided a release valve for some pent up anger and frustration. But it too has mostly become another source of distraction, rather than an effective tool for rebellion.



Though these new poll statistics make news, those in control of the political-economic system are not afraid that the population is on the verge of retaking their constitutionally guaranteed sovereign power and take back their nation.



Thousands of people like me keep writing, keep communicating, keep trying to make the system and our institutions respond in every acceptable way, but those in power just find new, ingenious ways to keep the population distracted – if not through pleasure, then certainly through fear of terrorism. Growing economic insecurity also contributes to self-paralysis, as do never-ending political lies.



What a degenerate perverted system we have at the moment.



Even as the population has growing awareness of the dire condition of their nation, the move by the politically powerful on the right and left continues to seek a new immigration law that will solidify the selling out of America.



Business interests want more of those fleeing Mexico and other nations to keep wages low. Instead of Mexicans rising up in rebellion against their oppressive government and economic system they escape to the USA.



But Americans have no such viable escape solution, though global warming will certainly make Canada increasingly attractive.



So what do Americans have – other than a terribly bleak future? Where is hope in our dismal demented world?



In a bizarre twist of history that further illustrates just how impotent Americans have become, virtually all citizens are either unaware of or unreceptive to the ultimate escape route that the Framers of our Constitution gave us. They anticipated that Americans could become quite dissatisfied with the federal government.



They feared that the political system could become incredibly corrupted by moneyed interests. They were right.


So here we sit over 200 years after our nation was created unwilling to use what is explicitly given to us in Article V of the Constitution – the option to have a convention outside the control of Congress, the President and the Supreme Court to make proposals for constitutional amendments.


Do we really believe in the rule of law?


If so, then we should understand that the supreme law of the land – what is in our Constitution – is the ultimate way to obtain the deep political and government reforms to restore true democracy and economic fairness to our society.


Make no mistake: an Article V convention has been stubbornly opposed by virtually all groups with political and economic power.



This is most evidenced by the blatant refusal of Congress to obey the Constitution and give us an Article V convention, even though the single explicit requirement for a convention has been met.



This fact alone should tell rational people that they are being screwed and oppressed. The rule of law is trumped by the rule of delusion. Our lawmakers are lawbreakers. Go learn more about the effort to get an Article V convention at
http://www.foavc.org/ and become a member, participate. It is at least a legal and peaceful avenue you can explore. Do not keep witnessing the unraveling of American society, voting for lesser evil candidates, and believing the propaganda that putting different Democrats or Republicans in office will actually improve things for most of us.



Choose peaceful rebellion by using what our Constitution gives us while that option is still available. Fight self-delusion.


"Increasingly, Americans are a people without history, with only memory, which means a people poorly prepared for what is inevitable about life -- tragedy, sadness, moral ambiguity -- and therefore a people reluctant to engage difficult ethical issues."



In August 2002, when President George Bush began to drum up a war fever in America with a view to toppling Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein, alleged to be the possessor of weapons of mass destruction. Bush did so without providing the evidence, the costs, the "why now" explanation, or long-term implications of such a war.



And by October 2002, The United States Congress not only granted the president a virtual declaration of war for an historically unprecedented "pre-emptive war," but did so without raising any questions about the whys, the evidence, the costs, or long term implications for the nation -- and for the world -- of such an unprovoked invasion.


Only a democratic society accustomed to war -- and predisposed to the use of war and violence -- would accept war so quickly, without asking any questions or demanding any answers from its leaders about the war. Does this not tell you what we have become as a nation?


And only the opposition of the French, Germans, Russians, and Chinese finally forced some Americans to raise questions about what was actually being planned. This, coupled with the anti-war demonstrations on February 15th, 2003 by millions of people in 350 cities around the globe, delayed President Bush from actually launching this war against Iraq by mid-February 2003.


Nothing, however, seemed to stop the bush administration's drive for war.


Nor did the failure of American diplomatic efforts to get authorization from the United Nations' security council seem to bother the members of the congress, virtually all of whom remained silent or in support of war.


The incessant polls showed that a majority of the American population continued to support a preemptive war even as -- or perhaps because of -- increasingly angry objections were voiced by important long term allies and antiwar demonstrators all over the world.


Yes sir, by God, no one was going to tell the USA that we could not invade any piss ant third world power we chose to. No one was going to tell this beacon of democracy and purveyor of freedom that we could not have our way with any nation on Earth, for whatever reason!


We became willing accomplices to murder, genocide and a fiction of a “Holy War” against terrorism. But we are too big, too strong, to admit we were wrong. We are after all excluded from being held accountable by anyone in the world. We are the USA! We can bring the wrath of American violence down upon anyone anywhere at any time, for any reason, real of imagined of cause.



The reality untaught in American schools and textbooks is that war -- whether on a large or small scale -- and domestic violence have been pervasive in American life and culture from this country's earliest days almost 400 years ago.


Violence, in varying forms, according to the leading historian of the subject, Richard Maxwell Brown, "has accompanied virtually every stage and aspect of our national experience," and is "part of our unacknowledged (underground) value structure."



Indeed, "repeated episodes of violence going far back into our colonial past, have imprinted upon our citizens a propensity to violence."

Thus, America demonstrated a national predilection for war and domestic violence long before the 9/11 attacks, but its leaders and intellectuals through most of the last century cultivated the national self-image, a myth, of America as a moral, "peace-loving" nation which the American population seems unquestioningly to have embraced.



Despite the national, peace-loving self-image, American patriotism has usually been expressed in military and even militaristic terms.


No less than seven presidents owed their election chiefly to their military careers (George Washington, 1789, Andrew Jackson,1828, William Henry Harrison, 1840, Zachary Taylor,1848, Ulysses S. Grant,1868, Theodore Roosevelt,1898, and Dwight David Eisenhower, 1952) while others, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, for example, capitalized upon their military records to become presidents, and countless others at both federal and state levels made a great deal of their war or military records.


Starting with President Woodrow Wilson early in the 20th century, national leaders began to use moralistic rhetoric when they took the nation to war.


They assured Americans that the nation's singular mission in the world required the nation to go to war, but that when it went to war, America only did what was morally right. Do you remember some history teacher reciting with pride of voice the phrases: “The war to make the world safe for democracy!”, and “The war to end all wars!”


War is not now, nor has it ever been romantic. Only on film is war heroic and romantic. And if folks had paying attention in those history classes they should have recalled words worth the remembering as they sprouted in our soil and from our own experience as a nation torn asunder!


"Some of you young men think that war is all glamour and glory, but let me tell you, boys, it is all hell!"-General William T. Sherman,


"I am sick and tired of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell." From "On Killing" by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman



Secretary of State John Hay, in 1898, lauded the Spanish-American War as a "splendid little war."



Commentators have touted World War II as the good war and those who fought in it, "The Best American Generation," and President George Bush, as he was about to launch a War against Iraq on January 29, 1991, asserted: "We are Americans; we have a unique responsibility to do the hard work of freedom. And when we do, freedom works."


This is not to suggest that all American wars have been fought for base motives, cloaked by self-serving moralistic rhetoric, but rather that Americans have little genuine understanding of the major role played by war throughout the American experience.


Historians, however, are well aware that war taught Americans how to fight, helped unite the diverse American population, and helped stimulate the national economy, among other significant things. But this is not the message that they have presented to the American people, concerned perhaps they might undermine Americans' self-image.


Just how frequent war has been, and how central wars have been to the evolution of the United States, only becomes clear when you start to make a list.


American wars begin with the first Indian attack in 1622 in Jamestown, Virginia, followed by the Pequot War in New England in 1635-36, and King Philips' War, in 1675-76, which resulted in the destruction of almost half the towns in Massachusetts. Other wars and skirmishes with Native American Indians would follow until 1900.


There were four major imperial wars between 1689 and 1763 involving England and its North American colonies and the French (and their Native American Indian allies), Spanish, and Dutch empires.


During roughly the same years, 1641 to 1759, there were 18 settler outbreaks, five rising to the level of major insurrections (such as Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia, 1676-1677, Leisler's Rebellion in New York, 1689-1692, and Coode's Rebellion in Maryland, 1689-1692), and 40 riots.


Americans gained their independence from England and boundaries out to the Mississippi River, as a consequence of the Revolutionary War.


The second war against England, 1812-1815, reinforced our independence, while 40 wars with the Native American Indians between the 1622 and 1900 resulted in millions upon millions of acres of land being added to the national domain.


In 1848, the entire southwest, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Utah and Wyoming, was obtained through war with Mexico. The Civil War between 1861 and 1865 was simply the bloodiest war in American history.


America's overseas empire began with the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection (1898-1902) by which the U.S. gained control of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico.


Then, there were World Wars I and II, the Korean Police Action (1949 - 1952), and the longest -- and most expensive war -- in American history, the Vietnam War between 1959 and 1975.


Meanwhile, between 1789 and 1945, there were at least 200 presidentially directed military actions all over the globe.


Among other places, these military actions involved the shelling of Indochina in 1849 and the U.S. military occupation of virtually every Caribbean and Central-American country between 1904 and 1934.


Indeed, in his effort to justify U.S. military intervention in Cuba against Fidel Castro, on September 17, 1962, Secretary of State Dean Rusk presented a list to a U.S. Senate Hearing of all of these 200 plus "precedents" (now called "low intensity conflicts") from 1789 to 1960.


During the Cold War between 1945 and 1989, the U.S. waged war, directly or through surrogates, openly and covertly, from military bases all over the world.


After the Cold War ended in 1989, other important military actions have been undertaken, such as the Gulf War (January and February 1991 in Iraq), in the former Yugoslavia (in 1999), and the 2001 war against the Taliban government and international terrorists in Afghanistan and the Philippines in 2003.


To this roster, we must add the 2003 war against Iraq, to be followed, perhaps, by one with North Korea, which has lately brandished its nuclear weapons and missiles.


American historians have avidly studied war, especially the Civil War and World War II, but their focus has almost always been on war causation, battles, generalship, battlefield tactics and strategy, and so on.

The Miscalculation Waiting In The Shadows



Overlooked, for the most part, are the general and specific effects of war upon American cultural life; the possible connections between war and civilian violence is still largely unexplored territory.


Has war directly or indirectly encouraged an American predisposition toward aggressiveness and the use of violence or was it the reverse?


This question has never been satisfactorily investigated by American historians or other scholars. Yet, the overwhelming majority of historians have always known that America was -- and is -- a violent country.


But they have said very little about it, depriving the population of a realistic understanding about this important aspect of their national culture.


This omission is most clearly observable in U.S. history textbooks used in high schools, colleges and universities, on the one hand, and popular histories derived from these texts, on the other, which have never devoted serious attention to the topic of the violence in America, let alone sought to explain it.


Consequently, there seems little genuine understanding about the centrality of violence in American life and history.


The overwhelming majority of American historians have not studied, written about, or discussed America's "high violence" environment, not because of a lack of hard information or knowledge about the frequent and widespread use of violence, but because of an unwillingness to confront the reality that violence and American culture are inextricably intertwined.


Many prominent historians recognized this years ago.


In the introduction to his 1970 collection of primary documents, "American Violence: A Documentary History," two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Richard Hofstadter wrote: "What is impressive to one who begins to learn about American violence is its extraordinary frequency, its sheer commonplaceness in our history, its persistence into very recent and contemporary times, and its rather abrupt contrast with our pretensions to singular national virtue."



Indeed, Hofstadter wrote the "legacy" of the violent 1960s would be a commitment by historians systematically to study American violence.



But most American historians have studiously avoided the topic or somehow clouded the issue.


In 1993, in his magisterial study, "The History of Crime and Punishment in America," for example, Stanford University Historian Lawrence Friedman devoted a chapter to the many forms of American violence.


Then, in a very revealing chapter conclusion, Friedman wrote: "American violence must come from somewhere deep in the American personality ... [it] cannot be accidental; nor can it be genetic.


The specific facts of American life made it what it is ... crime has been perhaps a part of the price of liberty ... [but] American violence is still a historical puzzle."


Precisely what is it that historians are unwilling to discuss? Basically, there are three forms of American violence: mob violence, interpersonal violence, and war.


What is the extent of mob violence?


Indiana University Historian Paul Gilje, in his 1997 book, "Rioting in America," stated there were at least 4,000 riots between the early 1600s and 1992. Gilje asserted that "without an understanding of the impact of rioting we cannot fully comprehend the history of the American people."


This is a position that director Martin Scorsese just made his own in the film, "Gangs of New York," which focuses on the July 1863 Draft Act Riots in New York City as the historical pivot around which America's urban experience revolved. However, occasional gory movie depictions of violent riots, or Civil War battles, as in "Gods and Generals," provide little real understanding of a nation's history.

M.I.T. Historian Robert Fogelson, in his 1971 book, "Violence as Protest: a Study of Riots and Ghettos," concluded that "for three and a half centuries Americans have resorted to violence in order to reach goals otherwise unattainable ... indeed, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that the native white majority has rioted in some way and at some time against every minority group in America and yet Americans regard rioting not only as illegitimate but, even more significant, as aberrant."


Part of the fascination with group violence is the spectacle of mob rampages. But for historians there is more; group violence is viewed as a "response" to changing economic, political, social, cultural, demographic or religious conditions.


Thus, however violent the episodes were, historians could see larger "reasons" for these group behaviors; somehow, these actions reflected a "cause."


(This might be likened to the way many American historians still view the southern secession movement and Civil War.

Seeking to maintain their institution of human slavery, southerners started the bloodiest war in American history which almost destroyed the union.



But because they claimed to be fighting for their "freedom," historians have treated their action as a legitimate cause, whereas in other nations such action is ordinarily viewed as treason). The Revolutionary War was an act of treason…the act of over throwing a legitimately established ruling authority of Great Britain, and you can rest assured that had we lost that war or revered forefathers would have ended their lives not as the leaders of a new nation, but at the end of a rope!


Now, to the nitty-gritty: How many victims did riots and collective violence claim over the 400-year American historical experience?


This can never accurately be known, considering it includes official and unofficial violence against Native American Indians, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Asians and untold riots, vigilante actions and lynching, among other things.


But a conservative guesstimate of, perhaps, about 2,000,000 deaths and serious injuries between 1607 and 2001 (or about 5,063 each and every year for 395 years) seems a reasonable -- and quite conservative -- number for analytical purposes, until more precise statistics are available.


At least 753,000 Native American Indians were the intended victims of warfare and genocide between 1622 and 1900 in what is now the United States of America, according to one scholar. The number for African-Americans might equal or exceed the estimate for the Indians, 750,000.


The total number of deaths for all other forms of collective violence seems well under 20,000. The greatest American riot, the New York City Draft Act riots of July 1863, resulted in between 105 and 150 deaths, while the major 1960s riots (Watts, Los Angeles, Newark, N.J., and Detroit, Mich., accounted for a total of 103 deaths, and the 1992 Los Angeles riot claimed 60 lives.



The estimate of deaths from the 326 vigilante episodes is between 750 and 1,000. Approximately 5,000 individuals were known to have been lynched between 1882 and 1968, and about 2,000 more killed in labor-management violence.


Horrendous as this sounds -- and it is horrendous -- this 2,000,000 figure pales when compared to the major form of American violence which historians have routinely ignored until very recently.


Historians of violence have largely ignored individual interpersonal violence, which, in sharp contrast to group violence, is very frequent, sometimes very personal -- and far deadlier than group violence.


In 1997, two distinguished legal scholars, Franklin Zimring and Gordon Hawkins, compared crime rates in the G-7 countries (Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States) between the 1960s and 1990s in their book, "Crime Is Not The Problem: Lethal Violence In America Is." Bluntly, they stated their conclusion:


"What is striking about the quantity of lethal violence in the United States is that it is a third-world phenomenon occurring in a first-world nation." We maintain capital punishment where it has been banished in those lesser third world nations we consider as part of our Imperial play ground.


Instances of personal violence include but are not limited to barroom brawls, quarrels between acquaintances, business associates, lovers or sexual rivals, family members, or during the commission of a robbery, mugging, or other crime.


How does the carnage in this category contrast with the 2,000,000 victims of group violence between 1607 and 2001?



During the 20th century alone, well over 10 million Americans were victims of violent crimes -- and 10 percent of them -- or 1,089,616 -- were murdered between 1900 and 1997. The "total" number of "officially reported" homicides, aggravated assaults, robberies and rapes between 1937 and 1970 was 9,816,646, but these were undercounts!


Every year during the 20th century at least 10 percent of the crimes committed have been violent crimes -- homicides, aggravated assaults, forcible rapes and robberies. Between 1900 and 1997, there were 1,089,616 homicides. How were they murdered? 375,350 by firearms and the rest were due to other means, including beating, strangling, stabbing and cutting, drowning, poisoning, burning and axing.


Between 1900 and 1971, 596,984 Americans were murdered. Between 1971 and 1997, there were another 592,616 killed in similar ways.


More Americans were killed by other Americans during the 20th century than died in the Spanish-American war (11,000 "deaths in service"), World War I (116,000 "deaths in service"), World War II (406,000 "deaths in service"), the Korean police action (55,000 "deaths in service"), and the Vietnam War (109,000 "deaths in service") combined. ("Deaths in Service" statistics are greater than combat deaths and were used here to make the contrast between war and civilian interpersonal violence rates even clearer.)


So, what accounts for the American ability to overlook collective violence, interpersonal violence, and war, and now our acceptance of Genocide as an acceptable part of the human condition?



The explanation lies, first, with historians' abdication of responsibility systematically to deal with the issue of violence in America ... and, second, with the American population's refusal directly to confront any very ugly reality -- which came first I do not know. This is what historians refer to as " mutual causation."



There are, of course, several factors that have enabled Americans to overlook their violent past.



Many of these were actually defined by Richard Hofstadter in his 1970 introduction to "American Violence: A Documentary History." First, Americans have been told by historians that they are a "latter-day chosen people" with a providential exemption from the woes that plagued all other human societies. Oh, there it is again!


Historians of the 1950s had not denied that America's past was replete with violence; they just preferred during the Cold War to emphasize a more positive vision of America. Historians refer to this as the "myth of innocence" or the "myth of the new world Eden."


In an open, free, democratic society, graced with abundance of natural resources, and without the residue of repressive European institutions, virtually any white person who worked hard had the opportunity to achieve the "American Dream" of material success and respectability.


Violence, especially political violence when it erupted, was dismissed out of hand as somehow "un-American," an unfortunate by-product of temporary racial, ethnic, religious and industrial conflicts.


Second, American violence had not been a major issue for federal, state or local officials because it was rarely directed against them; it was rarely revolutionary violence. Rather, American violence has almost always been citizen-against-citizen, white against black, white against Indian, Protestant against Catholic or Mormon, Catholic against Protestant, white against Asian or Hispanic.


The lack of a violent revolutionary tradition in America is the principal reason why Americans have never been disarmed, while in every European nation the reverse is true. It is also a function of weaponry chosen by those in street revolt.


Thus far the guns have been in the hands of those representing the state.


The people have more typically filled their empty wine bottles and beer bottle with mixtures of lighter fluid, paint stripper, gasoline or kerosene, added liquid soap, plugged it with a Tampax and tape for a home grown version of a Napalm filled Molotov Cocktail, relied: on flares, lengths of pipe, baseball bats, picket sign standards, bricks, stones, bottles, broken pavement and sidewalk concrete,(any handy trash).



Occasionally a stick of dynamite has been know to be thrown; throwing usually means throwing tear gas canisters back at the blue line. Knives and ice picks are never too far from the ready and burning vehicles provide cover, rally and diversion while cutting fire hoses and destroying fire hydrants and every plate glass window shattered provides new on scene weaponry.



Our revolts are more reminiscent of peasant revolts; you know the pitch fork, shovel, hoe, rake, sickle and Scythe variety. It’s the “Man” who kills with bullets!



So, for the most part, Americans, laymen and historians alike, have been able to practice what some historians have termed "selective" recollection or "historical amnesia" about the violence in their past and present.



Since the 1960s, historians' works, cumulatively, have demonstrated a causal connection between American culture and the American predisposition to use violence. We might now be experiencing yet another by-product of this national penchant for violence -- a willingness to engage in a major war without asking very many hard questions. It's the American Way.



I have said it before the level of our technology, the level of our civilization be as it may; is not a measure of our civility. Violence is as American as our cliché Apple Pie. We are not far removed from our frontier imprint. The last fabled gunman of the frontier died at his desk at The New York Times in 1910. His gun was found in his desk drawer.


Unleashed on the streets of America?



But it is time again to remind everyone of the slippery slope of Fascism upon which this nation has been embarked for some time. It is not even a slope any longer; it is now the steep downward side of the roller coaster. There is no question that the corruption and dissolution of our Democracy as have to know and understand it is fast evolving into an American Corporate Fascist design.



The end of the Revere ride is in sight; and someone needs to mount a new steed and cry out across the land the Fascists are marching; the fascists are coming!



I have said often enough that the rise of fascism in America will all seem so normal. Our expectations and acceptance of a growing level of corruption and insensitivity and ineffectiveness have paved the way for a less than stealthy approach of the imposition of Fascist rule in America. The first step is the establishment of a full-fledged functional Fascism. That does not imply a recognizable military dictatorship



Fascism in America won’t come with jackboots, book burnings, mass rallies, and fevered harangues, nor will it come with black helicopters or tanks on the street. It won’t come like a storm—but as a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: Everything is the same, but everything has changed. Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality will have taken its place.



But it will all seem “normal”.



All the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns—plenty of bread and circuses.



It will all seem “normal”.



But “consent of the governed” will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small and privileged group who rule for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons.



But it will all seem ““normal””.


The change in America is taking place as I write, and Sinclair Lewis prophetically said” “That when Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”



And when it happens, somehow; it will all seem “normal”.



To be sure, there will be factional conflicts among the elite, and a degree of debate will be permitted; but no one outside the privileged circle will be allowed to influence state policy. Dissidents will be marginalized—usually by “the people” themselves.



Deprived of historical knowledge by a thoroughly impoverished educational system designed to produce complacent consumers, left ignorant of current events by a corporate media devoted solely to profit, many will internalize the force-fed values of the ruling elite, and act accordingly. There will be little need for overt methods of control.



It will all seem “normal”.



The rulers will act in secret, for reasons of “national security,” and the people will not be permitted to know what goes on in their name. Actions once unthinkable will be accepted as routine: government by executive fiat, state murder of “enemies” selected by the leader, undeclared wars, torture, mass detentions without charge, the looting of the national treasury, the creation of huge new “security structures” targeted at the populace. In time, this will be seen as ““normal”,” as the chill of autumn feels “normal” when summer is gone.



It will all seem “normal”.



Fascism is a political
ideology and mass movement that seeks to place the nation, defined in exclusive biological, cultural, and/or historical terms, above all other sources of loyalty, and to create a mobilized national community.[1] Many different characteristics are attributed to fascism by different scholars, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: nationalism, authoritarianism, militarism, corporatism, statism, collectivism[2], anti-liberalism, and anti-communism.


There are numerous debates between scholars regarding the nature of fascism, and the kinds of political movements and governments that may be called fascist. For further elaboration, please see
definitions of fascism and fascism and ideology.



The term fascism was first used by
Benito Mussolini, and it comes from the Italian word fascio, which means "union" or "league", and from the Latin word fasces (fascis, in singular), which means rods bundled around an axe. The fasces was an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of magistrates, and the symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is very difficult to break.



Since the end of
World War II, there has been considerable stigma associated with fascism, and few political groups in the past 60 years have dared to openly identify themselves as fascist.



Unlike other ideologies, fascism never generated a large body of dogma or political theory, and, most importantly, there have been no significant political texts written from a fascist point of view since
1945. Thus, nearly all works on the topic of fascist ideology have been written by non-fascist and anti-fascist authors, and it is often difficult to determine the fascist position on many important issues.



The word "fascist" is often used
pejoratively, a label used by people of all political views to draw criticism upon an opposing viewpoint. This has spilled over into debates concerning the ideological nature of fascism, with adherents of some ideologies trying to draw parallels between fascism and their own ideological opponents.


Many diverse regimes have identified themselves as fascist, and many regimes have been labelled as fascist even though they did not self-identify as such. Historians, political scientists, and other scholars have engaged in long and furious debates concerning the exact nature of fascism and its core tenets. Since the 1990s, there has been a growing move toward some rough consensus reflected in the work of Stanley Payne, Roger Eatwell, Roger Griffin, and Robert O. Paxton.



Mussolini defined fascism as being a
right-wing collectivistic ideology in opposition to socialism, liberalism, democracy and individualism. He wrote in The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism:



Anti-individualistic, the fascist conception of life stresses the importance of the State and accepts the individual only in so far as his interests coincide with those of the State, which stands for the conscience and the universal will of man as a historic entity.... The fascist conception of the State is all-embracing; outside of it no human or spiritual values can exist, much less have value.... Fascism is therefore opposed to that form of democracy which equates a nation to the majority, lowering it to the level of the largest number.... We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century.



If the 19th century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the 'collective' century, and therefore the century of the State.
(a version of the text is here).



Since Mussolini, however, there have been many conflicting definitions of the term "fascism." Former Columbia University Professor Robert O. Paxton has written that:



"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."
[4]



Paxton further defines fascism's essence as:1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions;



2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits;



3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts;



4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without legal or moral restraint;



5. fear of foreign `contamination."
[5]



Fascism is associated by many scholars with one or more of the following characteristics: a very high degree of
nationalism, economic corporatism, a powerful, dictatorial leader who portrays the nation, state or collective as superior to the individuals or groups composing it.



Stanley Payne's Fascism: Comparison and Definition (1980) uses a lengthy itemized list of characteristics to identify fascism, including the creation of an authoritarian state; a regulated, state-integrated economic sector;
fascist symbolism; anti-liberalism; anti-communism; anti-conservatism.[6] Semiotician Umberto Eco also attempts to identify characteristics of fascism in his popular essay Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt.[7] More recently, an emphasis has been placed upon the aspect of populist fascist rhetoric that argues for a "re-birth" of a conflated nation and ethnic people.[8]



Most scholars hold that fascism as a social movement employs elements from the political left, but many conclude that fascism eventually allies with the political right, especially after attaining state power. For example,
Nazism began as a socio-political movement that promoted a radical form of National Socialism, but altered its character once Adolf Hitler was handed state power in Germany. Some scholars and political commentators argue that fascism is a form of socialistSoviet Union.[9]



The evolution of Fascism in a Democracy is the most insidious of political transitions, assembling many components from divergent intellectual, pop culture sources and fringe organizations that have fanatic devotees. Even in the face of warning, the words of the courier most often go without heed, and in fact, are frequently attacked as the ranting of lunatic alarmists; the evolutionary/transitional process, both by design of the usurpers and the climate of gradual acceptance isolates the messenger until it is too late. Everything seems rational; everything seems “normal”. Just look inside the following and tell me: Is this your idea of “normal”? From such sources is the stew being cooked up!



Neo-Fascism

Neo-Nazism

Neo-fascism and religion

Christian Identity

Creativity Movement

Ku Klux Klan

National Alliance

Nouvelle Droite

American Nazi Party

Alain de Benoist

William Luther Pierce

George Lincoln Rockwell

International Third Position

National anarchism

National Bolshevism



And the Top Neocon Think Tanks



Project for the New American Century (PNAC)Established in 1997 by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, PNAC's goal is "to promote American global leadership." Creating a blueprint for the US' current role in the world, PNAC's original Statement of Principles called for the US to return to a "Reaganite foreign policy of military strength and moral clarity."



American Enterprise Institute (AEI)Founded in 1943, this influential Washington think tank is known as the headquarters of neoconservative thought. In a crucial speech in the leadup to the war in Iraq, US President George W. Bush said this to an audience at AEI: "You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds."



Jewish Intitute for National Security Affairs (JINSA)Based in Washington, JINSA "communicates with the national security establishment and the general public to explain the role Israel can and does play in bolstering American interests, as well as the link between American defense policy and the security of Israel." Some of the strongest supporters of Israel's right-wing Likud Party in the already pro-Israel neoconservative circles are on JINSA's board of advisers.



Center for Security Policy (CSP)CSP's 2001 annual report boasts of its influence saying it "isn't just a 'think tank' – it's an agile, durable, and highly effective 'main battle tank' in the war of ideas on national security." Securing neoconservatives' influence at the nexus of military policymakers and weapons manufacturers, CSP's mission is "to promote world peace through American strength."



The Hudson Institute

The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies

Ethics and Public Policy Center

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

Further Sources For Investigation



In his
original article, "Fascism Anyone?", Laurence Britt (interview) compared the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and identified 14 characteristics common to those fascist regimes. This page is a collection of news articles dating from the start of the Bush presidency divided into topics relating to each of the 14 points of fascism. Further analysis of American Fascism done by the POAC can be read here.


1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

September 11 Freedom Walk



New Majority Leader: Iraq War “May Be The Greatest Gift That We Give” Our Grandchildren


Headstones of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are inscribed with the Pentagons

war-marketing slogans



White House and the RNC are going to make a habit of using uniformed military personnel as props at Republican political rallies, despite the fact that it is a plain violation of military regulations banning politicization of the armed forces.



"You must glorify war in order to get the public to accept the fact that your going to send their sons and daughters to die." The inside story of the cozy relationship between big box office American war movies and the PentagonMore...


2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.



We are now a torturing police state: Bush signing into law that will get rid of habeas corpus, allow hearsay evidence, and allow the President to determine what is allowable torture.



Bush Offers Himself Amnesty for Human Rights Crimes



Bush threatens to veto $442b defense bill if Congress investigates detainee abuses.



Guantanamo Judge: “I don’t care about international law. I don’t want to hear the words ‘international law’ again. We are not concerned with international law.”



Rumsfeld to approve new guidelines that will formalize the administration's policy of imprisoning without the protections of the Geneva Conventions and enable the Pentagon to legally hold "ghost detainees,"



US 'preparing to detain terror suspects for life without trial'



U.S. oks evidence gained through torture



July 1, 2003: U.S. Suspends Military Aid to Nearly 50 Countries: because they have supported the International Criminal Court and failed to exempt Americans from possible prosecution.


US has at least 9000 prisoners in secret detentionMore...



3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.



Congressman: Muslims 'enemy amongst us'



SB 24, Ohio law to muzzle "liberals"



Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has joined a conservative Washington think tank, where he will found and direct a program called "America's Enemies."



Sean Hannity creates weekly "Enemy of the State" segment on his new program



Fox radio hosts suggests putting liberal commentators and activists in concentration camps.



World history textbook used by seventh-graders at Scottsdale’s Mohave Middle School was pulled from classrooms mid-semester amid growing right criticism of the book’s unbiased portrayal of Islam



Rallies planned against 'Islamofacism': Event to 'unify all Americans behind common goal'
More...



4.) Supremacy of the Military: Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.



If you haven't seen the Oreo flash animation yet, see it here (It puts things in perspective!)



Bush’s Domestic Program Hit List (What Priorities are important?)



Bush slashes domestic programs, boosts defense. Arlen Spector calls it "scandalous"



Funding for job training, rural health care, low-income schools and help for people lacking health insurance would face big cuts under a bill passed Friday by the House



Pentagon to spend 75 billion for three new brigades



Three cable channels now feed news, information and entertainment about the armed services into millions of living rooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week: The Military Channel, the Military History Channel and the Pentagon Channel.
More...


5.) Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.



It's legal again, to fire gov't workers for being gay



Bush calls for Constitutional ban on same-sex marriages



Bush refuses to sign U.N proposal on women's "sexual" rights



W. David Hager chairman of the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee does not prescribe contraceptives for single women, does not do abortions, will not prescribe RU-486 and will not insert IUDs.



The State Department has awarded an explicitly anti-feminist U.S. group part of a US$10 million grant to train Iraqi women in political participation and democracy.More...



6.) Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.



FBI Acknowledges: Journalists Phone Records are Fair Game



Report shows U.S. government has been engaged in illegal propaganda aimed at its own citizens and the story gets only 41 mentions in the media


Free Press details recent governmental propaganda efforts, from faux-correspondent Jeff Gannon to paid-off pundit Armstrong Williams, and from the demise of FOIA to video news releases passed off as news.



also...
See a Whitehouse fake news release here (opens realplayer)



US seizes webservers from independent media sites-



Bush's war on information: US editors forbidden to publish certain foreign writers-More...


7.) Obsession with National Security: Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses



Bush Aides ADMIT 'stoking fear' for political gain:



Bush adviser said the president hopes to change the dynamics of the race. The strategy is aimed at stoking public fears about terrorism, raising new concerns about Kerry's ability to protect Americans and reinforcing Bush's image as the steady anti-terrorism candidate, aides said.-



The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level.



GOP Ad These are the stakes-



Keith Olbermann: "The Nexus of Politics and Terror."-



Cheney warns that if Kerry is elected, the USA will suffer a "devastating attack"



GOP convention in a nutshell (quicktime) –


Rove: GOP to Use Terror As Campaign Issue
in 2006More...



8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.


Jerry Falwell cleared of charges that he broke federal election law by urging followers to vote for Bush



NC congressman proposes law making it ok to preach politics from the pulpit



Texas Governor Mobilizes Evangelicals



Family research council: Justice Sunday



Thou shalt be like Bush:



What makes this recently established, right-wing Christian college unique are the increasingly close - critics say alarmingly close - links it has with the Bush administration and the Republican establishment.



Park Service Continues to Push Creationist Theory at Grand Canyon and other nat'l parksMore...


9.) Corporate Power is Protected:



The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.



The K Street Project is a project by the Republican party to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republicans in top positions, and to reward loyal GOP lobbyists with access to influential officials. It was launched in 1995, by Republican strategist Grover Norquist and House majority leader Tom DeLay.



American Conservative Magazine: One U.S. contractor received $2 million in a duffel bag... and a U.S. official was given $7 million in cash in the waning days of the CPA and told to spend it “before the Iraqis take over.”



There are 6 Congressional Committees investigating the Oil-for-Food (UN) scandal, yet not a single Republican Committee Chairman will call a hearing to investigate the whereabouts of 9 billion dollars missing in Iraq



Bush money network rooted in Florida, Texas: Since Mr. Bush took office in 2001, the federal government has awarded more than $3 billion in contracts to the President's elite 2004 Texas fund-raisers, their businesses, and lobbying clientsMore...


10.) Labor Power is Suppressed:



Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.



Labor Department warns unions against using their money politically



President Bush Attacks Organized Labor: Bush attacked organized labor Saturday, issuing orders effectively reducing how much money unions can spend for political activities and opening up government contracts to non-union bidding.



March 2001:
President Bush signed his name to four executive orders on organized labor last month, including one that cuts the money unions will have for political campaign spending.


Congress and the Department of Labor are trying to change the rules on overtime pay, eliminating the 40 hour work week, taking eligibility for overtime pay away from millions of workers, and replacing time and a half pay with comp days.More...



11.) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.



The A to Z guide to political interference in science



Bush's new economic plan cuts funding for arts, education



Artists from all over the world are being refused entry to the US on security grounds.



A group of more than 60 top U.S. scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and several science
advisers to past Republican presidents, on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes



Freedom of Repression: New ruling will allow censorship of campus publicationsMore...



12.) Obsession with Crime and Punishment: Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations



The 10 most outrageous civil liberties violations of 2006 dictatorship similar to that in




The United States has now become the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-8 times the rate of other industrialized nations.




American Gestapo is here: "There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the 'United States Secret Service Uniformed Division.'"




America: secret jails, secret courts, secret arrests, and now secret laws
Snitch-or-Go-to-Jail bill will make pretty much anything short of reporting on everyone you see for doing just about anything a jailable offense. With minimum sentences, up to and including life without parole.




The problem with Gonzales is that he has been deeply involved in developing some of the most sweeping claims of near-dictatorial presidential power in our nation's history, allowing him to imprison and even (at least in theory) torture anyone in the world, at any time




Police officers don't have to give a reason at the time they arrest someone, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a ruling that shields officers from false-arrest lawsuits. More...



13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.



Bush Cronyism: Foxes Guarding the henhouse



Who's been indicted, named as a co-conspirator or convicted? The Grand Ole Docket tracks trial dates, court appearances and sentencing hearings for players in the current array of national political scandals.



Making Sense of the Abramoff Scandal



In preparation for upcoming Congressional hearings, Bush Administration firing federal attorneys and appointing ringers without Senate confirmation via the patriot act.



If Bush's pick is confirmed, that will mean the five top appointees at Justice have zero prosecutorial experience among them.


Iran-Contra Felons Get Good Jobs from Bush



Big Iraq Reconstruction Contracts Went To Big Donors



Bush Wars -- Crooks Get Contracts : The main companies that were awarded billions of dollars worth of contracts in Iraq have paid more than $300 million in fines since 2000, to resolve allegations of fraud, bid rigging, delivery of faulty military equipment, and environmental damage.



US Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) lost track of $9 billion



"Contracting in the aftermath of the hurricanes has been marked by waste, corruption and cronyism"More...



14. Fraudulent Elections: Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.



A couple of election workers have been convicted of rigging a recount in Ohio following the 2004 election



Rolling Stone does some investigative and rather exhaustive digging into public documents and says we’re almost guaranteed the 2004 election results were massively rigged



Powerful Government Accounting Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings
Conyers hearing in which Clinton Curtis testifies that he was hired to create hackable voting machines (.wmv)



The Republican Party has quietly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide private defense lawyers for a former Bush campaign official charged with conspiring to keep Democrats from voting in New Hampshire.



The Conyers Report (.pdf)



No explanation for the machines in Mahoning County that recorded Kerry votes for Bush, the improper purging in Cuyahoga County, the lock down in Warren County, the 99% voter turnout in Miami County, the machine tampering in Hocking County



Less access than Kazakhstan. Fewer fail-safes than Venezuela. Not as simple Republic of Georgia. The 2004 Elections according to international observers.



This picture is what stopped the ballot recounts in Florida shortly after it seemed that legitimate President Gore had a lead. The "citizens" started what was later called "the preppy riot". Screaming, yelling, pounding on the walls, these "outraged citizens" intimidated the polling officials to halt the court mandated recount. A closer look reveals who they really were. They were bussed and flown in at Republican law makers expense. Some even flew in on Tom Delay's private plane.



If Mussolini defines fascism as "the merger of corporate and government power" what does that make the K Street project?



Related Articles:



"Now and Then"- Part 1 A 3 part series by W David Jenkins III on the similarities between America now and Germany post Reichstag fire-



"Now and Then"- Part II: The Propaganda Machine-



Now and Then- Part IIIHitler's Playbook: Bush and the Abuse of Power-



It may sound crazy to some, but the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism.-



Is America Becoming Fascist?-



Eternal Fascism:



Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt-




The Danger of American Fascism:



With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.-




Sheila Samples: Freedom To Fascism -- A Bumpy Ride: Republicans don't seem to realize that they are no longer individual members of a coherent "party," but are merely part of a mean-spirited and dangerous movement that is threatening to sweep away democracy as we know it.-



Germany In 1933: The Easy Slide Into Fascism-



The Brownshirting of America:


Bush’s supporters demand lock-step consensus that Bush is right. They regard truthful reports that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and was not involved in the September 11 attack on the US – truths now firmly established by the Bush administration’s own reports – as treasonous America-bashing.



Fascism then. Fascism now? When people think of fascism, they imagine Rows of goose-stepping storm troopers and puffy-chested dictators. What they don't see is the economic and political process that leads to the nightmare.



What is Fascism? Some General Ideological Features



Hello. You are now living in a fascist empire



Neo-fascism in America : Too many people believe fascism is only about goose-stepping, jack-booted Nazis. Too many people believe that American democracy is so strong that fascists could never take control of America. If you are sympathetic to those views, I invite you to consider the possibility that you are mistaken.




It is in times of fascism rising that armies of ignorance are once more resuscitated from the bowels of a society bordering on the edge of mass psychosis. The America at the dawn of the twenty-first century is no exception...



Republican Party Brown Shirts: "The Wide-Awakes": The organization was known for virulent anti-Catholicism, secretive rituals, and a military-style organization complete with "officers" and units.



Harper's Magazine: We Now Live in a Fascist State



They Saw It Coming: The 19th-Century Libertarian Critique of Fascism



Victims of Creeping Fascism: We are witnessing nothing less astonishing than the demise of the American experiment. 12-20



The ten phases of a Bush scandal. 12-22



America is headed for a soft dictatorship by the end of Bush’s second term.



The Rise of Fascism in America; A Little Repeat Reminder and Review




Fascism in America won’t come with jackboots, book burnings, mass rallies, and fevered harangues, nor will it come with black helicopters or tanks on the street.



It won’t come like a storm—but as a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: Everything is the same, but everything has changed.



Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality will have taken its place. All the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns—plenty of bread and circuses.



But “consent of the governed” will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small and privileged group who rule for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons.


The change in America is taking place as I write, and Sinclair Lewis prophetically said” “That when Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”


The rulers will act in secret, for reasons of “national security,” and the people will not be permitted to know what goes on in their name.



Actions once unthinkable will be accepted as routine: government by executive fiat, state murder of “enemies” selected by the leader, undeclared wars, torture, mass detentions without charge, the looting of the national treasury, the creation of huge new “security structures” targeted at the populace.



In time, this will be seen as ““normal”,” as the chill of autumn feels “normal” when summer is gone. It will all seem “normal”.Since the 1970’s, American businesses have grown larger and more monopolistic, helped along by deregulation, the repeal of anti-trust laws, and a steady transformation from manufacturing to capital management (dare I say, “capital manipulation”?).



As Paul Bigioni puts it in his excellent essay entitled “
The Real Threat of Fascism”: “If we are to protect ourselves from the growing political influence of Big Business, then our antitrust laws must be reconceived in a way which recognizes the political danger of monopolistic conditions.”


Bigioni continues by emphasizing that “Antitrust laws do not just protect the marketplace, they protect democracy.” It is well to remember that conditions like these led to fascism in both Germany and Italy in the 1930’s, and Bigioni points out that the transformation toward fascism occurred in both countries while they were still liberal democracies.



In America, since at least 1971, the rich have gotten much, much richer and the poor have become poorer and far more numerous, largely because our government now sees its primary function as serving the interests of Big Business and its Big Money.


As of 2003, according to a Congressional Budget Office report, the top one percent of households in America accounted for 57.5% of America’s wealth, up from 38.7% only twelve years earlier.



And this does not take into account the last three years of the Bush tax-cuts. In the U.S. today, there are 374 billionaires, approximately 25,000 deca-millionaires ($10,000,000-$999,000,000) and 2.5 million millionaires; and this does not even take into account the wealth of corporations!



Under such conditions, competition is minimized or thwarted, and capital is exalted over labor, the consummation of Marx’s contention that “Capital is dead labor.”



In every industry, huge monopolistic cartels dominate the playing field, following the spate of mergers and acquisitions throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. To cite just two examples: (1) Four media giants (AOL-Time Warner, Viacom, Disney, and Rupert Murdoch’s NewsGroup) control everything we read, view, listen to, see at movie houses, and do at entertainment parks. Just four conglomerates, which have oh so much in common with one another, produce (for profit) every newspaper, magazine, major internet site, movie, cd, dvd, television program, and so on.



The pressure to stay within fairly narrow bounds of covering and the fear of losing one’s job should one “think outside the box” is detailed succinctly in Danny Schechter’s March 27, 2006 column the title of which is taken from a line Edward R. Morrow utters in the movie “Good Night and Good Luck”: “
The Fear is in the Room: Inside our Unbrave Media World”; Robert Fisk’s March 19 column, “The Farcical End of the American Dream”; and Bill Gallagher’s March 28th column, “There is No ‘Good News’ in Iraq."



To note one other example: if Wal-Mart were a country it would have the 19th largest economy in the world!



Do not be hoodwinked by labels here: there was nothing “socialist” about Hitler’s National Socialist Party, despite his clever employment of terms such as “volk” (the people or the folks), “heimat” (homeland), or the solidarity sounding “ein land” (one country)!



Likewise, there is no genuinely human freedom in the free market, despite the intoxicating rhetoric of the neo-liberals. Bigioni quotes Thurman Arnold, the head of the Anti-trust section of the Justice Department in 1939:



“Germany, of course, has developed within 15 years from an industrial autocracy into a dictatorship. Most people are under the impression that the power of Hitler was the result of his demagogic blandishments and appeals to the mob. . . Actually, Hitler holds his power through the final and inevitable development of the uncontrolled tendency to combine in restraint of trade.” And in another address, Arnold told the American Bar Association that “Germany presents the logical end of the process of cartelization.”



And, of course, every cartel needs a strong leader, a commander-in-chief with an iron fist, And Arnold says that Hitler filled that role, but that if it had not been Hitler, it would have been someone else.



(Americans today might draw an analogy: if it were not George W. Bush, the first M.B.A. President, who would serve as the front-man for Big Business, it would be someone else.)



Bigioni writes, “Compulsory slave labor was the crowning achievement of Nazi labor relations.” By analogy, Employment-at-Will, the outsourcing of manufacturing and even service jobs, and the rejection of a living wage, is the crowning achievement of American labor relations. (See, for example, Harold Meyerson’s article, “Three Ideas to Radically Reorder Economy” (Providence Journal, March 24, 2006) and Princeton University Professor Alan Blinder’s article in the March-April issue of Foreign Affairs.



The disappearance of union jobs, outsourcing and downsizing has been the crowning achievement of American business relations over the past 30 years or so. The other factors contributing to what Bigioni calls “the fascist trajectory” includes low taxes, various forms of corporate welfare, the decimation of small businesses, and the ability of corporations to discharge obligations to employees, to the environment, and to the country as a whole.



In short, the United States is suffocating from the deleterious effects of Big Money interests in virtually every arena, from public political processes to the privatization of much of what belongs to all of us. Corporate advertising secures the pernicious effects. From time to time, one hears a call for public financing of elections, for truth in advertising, and for more regulation and oversight of lobbying activities, but on the whole, Americans seem glib about the way things are, supposing that this is the only way they can be.



The status quo breeds resignation in the citizenry, and this resignation, too, is in large part an effect of Big Business and its Big Money. It keeps ordinary folks and their common sense away from the political arena, which might otherwise force a change in the way things are done. Big Money does everything it can to sour people on political participation, so that the little guys who just don’t know what’s best for themselves or the country will leave matters of governance to the professional ruling class.



To formalize this relatively recent reality, it would seem necessary to reword our Constitution to reflect those entities called “corporations,” which have now been deemed “persons” and whose capital is now regarded as a form of “speech.” (See, for example, Jeffrey Kaplan, “
Uncivil Liberties: ACLU Defense of ‘Money=Speech’ Precedent Undermines Democracy.”) The United States has become a country “of the corporation, by the corporation, and for the corporation.”



Public financing of elections and campaign expenditure limits are shouted down as communism or socialism, in a manner very similar to Big Money’s cries of “class warfare” when the population at large objects to additional giveaways to the richest few Americans.

Big Money (representing a small, elite class) does everything in its power to prevent the American people from awakening to the fact that what it is seeing really is class warfare: warfare that is being waged from the top down, against the poor and what we used to call the “middle class,” which are now subsidizing Big Money interests that control the political agenda and its legislative processes.



The influence of Big Money on U.S. elections cannot be underestimated. (See, for example, Greg Palast’s “Jim Crow in Cyberspace” in The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, the work on election fraud by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, and the recent articles by Warren Stewart “
Do You Know How Your Vote Will be Counted?” and Fred Grimm “Election Official Hammered for Telling the Truth”. The problem with the role of money in a supposedly democratic country is not restricted to the many and all-too regular scandals—such as the Abramoff affair or the conviction of Randy “Duke” Cunningham—nor is the problem restricted to the corruption that has ensnared elected officials and exposed lobbyists as little more than bribes makers and bagmen.



(See Geov Parrish, “
That Old-Fashioned Corruption,” and Katrina vanden Heuvel’s, “Annals of Outrage I, II, and III) It is, rather, that money, as John McCain famously said, “is the mother’s milk of politics” (at least in the U.S. political system.) The need to raise money at every level, from city to state to federal offices, pollutes and perverts the democratic process.



The corruption is bipartisan; at present, the Republican Party enjoys greater favor with the corporate paymasters than does the Democratic Party, but both parties are “on the take”.



It does little to assuage one’s concern for democracy that one party gets 55-60% of the paymasters’ money and the other only 40-45%. In a country that prides itself on being democratic, private money peddles its influence across the political spectrum.



To cite one illustrative example, Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen, an energy industry watchdog, reports that Big Oil and Gas doled out $55 million to various campaigns for legislative and executive seats since 2001. And why not, ExxonMobil alone made a profit of $36.1 billion in 2005, the most profit ever recorded by a U.S. corporation in a year, and a rate of return on investment of 46-59%.


And what did these donations buy the industry? Among other things, when the executives of the top five oil and gas companies were called before Congress to testify about possible price-gouging and the prospect of a windfall profits tax, the five company representatives were not required to testify under oath!



Big Money and the future of Democracy in America



I suspect that everything just recounted is entirely by design: not by the design of our framers, but by the design of Big Money interests. The role of money ensures that only the wealthy and well-connected have any chance of influencing the political process or holding elected office at a significant level.



In the 2004 election campaign, 549 people each raised $100,000 for Bush’s re-election, and John Kerry, too, relied on big donors on his side of the political equation. Thus, it was not by sheer coincidence that, in the 2000 presidential campaign, voters were given a choice between a Yale graduate, whose father had been President and whose grandfather was a Senator, and a Harvard graduate, whose father was a Senator.



And in the 2004 presidential contest, the choice was even more narrow, between a multi-millionaire Yale “Skull and Bones” man and a billionaire Yale “Skull and Bones” man. Nepotism, like corruption, discourages most good Americans from participating in elections, to say nothing of running for office!



If in 1968, I had hung a poster on my bedroom wall that read: “Wanna Be President of the United States? First Find $25 Million”! Today, that wouldn’t buy a Senate seat or even a New York City Mayor’s job.



We should be either shocking or disgusting to realize that John Corzine spent $63 million for a New Jersey Senate seat, and Michael Bloomberg spent $70 million to become the mayor of New York City. With rumblings that he is considering a run for the Presidency we need not worry about being hounded for contributions by Mr. Bloomberg. He can foot the bill himself, and should he run you can rest assured that he won’t have to; there will be freely volunteered contributions to curry later favors.



Corporations give money to both parties in staggering amounts, and what they do not give directly to their favorites, they spend on advertising to shape the public mind. The result is a net loss both for the public good and for democracy. It costs the corporations only a small fraction in contributions for what they gain through their wheel-greasing.



Do you wonder how much the oil and natural gas lobby paid to secure that $9 billion in windfall profits that they stand to gain from the Bush administration’s plan for “royalty relief”. And that million dollar donation by the UAE to the Bush library in Crawford was surely just a down-payment on the ports deal they hoped to get!



It seems quaint nowadays to reflect back on the corporate culture of the 1960’s. John Kenneth Galbraith wrote the following description in his1967 book, The New Industrial State, as quoted by Paul Krugman in his excellent October 20, 2002 New York Times Magazine article, “For Richer”:



“Management does not go out ruthlessly to reward itself---a sound management is expected to exercise restraint. . . With the power of decision goes opportunity for making money . . . Were everyone to seek to do so . . . the corporation would be a chaos of competitive avarice.



But these are not the sort of thing that a good company man does; a remarkably effective code bans such behavior. Group decision-making insures, moreover, that almost everyone’s actions and even thoughts are known to others. This acts to enforce the code and, more than incidentally, a high standard of personal honesty as well.”



Does anyone believe that such a self-policing culture exists today? If the corporate scandals of the 1990’s taught us anything, it is that corporations no longer even aim to stay in business, a goal that used to temper their penchant for excess and bridge-burning. The cases of Enron, Tyco, Adelphia, WorldCom, Global Crossing, and many more perpetrators, should have made abundantly clear that there is no limit to corporate excess or insatiable greed, and, in the absence of federal and international regulations, it is usually the stockholders and the public at large who end up underwriting the thefts, cleaning up the pollution, and dealing with the displaced workforce.


Most of this is not new. In fact, the seeds of corporate rule over America were sown by the 1971 ”
Powell Memorandum.” And we need only think back to the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980’s, to recall another half a trillion dollar boondoggle that taxpayers had to underwrite.


There have been plenty of books written about such scandals (see, for example, William S. Greider, Who Will Tell the People?, Arianna Huffingtom, Pigs at the Trough, Jim Hightower, Thieves in High Places, and David K. Johnston, Perfectly Legal, for starters.) Yet despite the recurrent malfeasance, little has been done to curb corporate excesses and outright frauds.


What is more, trans-national corporations need have no allegiance to the United States of America. They have offices in many countries and on many continents, and most of them have already shipped their profits offshore to avoid the patriotic duty of paying their fair share of U.S. taxes.



Remembering President Eisenhower’s Warning



Several commentators have recently reminded us of General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s January 17, 1961 farewell address, warning of the threat posed by the “military-industrial complex”.



Usually omitted from discussions of President Eisenhower’s warning is the less well-known fact that, until the final version of the speech, Eisenhower used the phrase, "military-industrial-congressional complex”.



He is said to have deleted the reference to Congress from his final version to avoid offending legislators.



But President Eisenhower regularly referred to “the triangle” and even to “the iron triangle” consisting of the military, the industries that profit from war, and the Congress, which is charged with declaring war, appropriating funding for wars (and everything else the federal government spends money on), and for exercising oversight functions of various kinds.



According to University of Washington Emeritus Professor of engineering, public affairs, and social management, Edward Ward Wenk, Jr.: “These three cornered fellowships coupled hungry defense contractors, ambitious military officers whose promotions rested on husbanding new defense systems, and members of Congress eager to steer new funds and job opportunities to their district.”



Eisenhower might have added “educational institutions” to the list, since universities conducted research for the Manhattan Project and institutions, such as UC Berkeley, which managed the Los Alamos laboratory (which produced the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) from its inception until last year, when the University put Los Alamos on the auction block and Bechtel secured the management contract.


President Eisenhower’s speechwriter—whom Professor Wenk revealed to be Malcolm Moos—recalled that Eisenhower feared a “pathological influence of the military-industrial coalition beyond a healthy arm’s-length relationship, especially if the national psyche was prodded artificially by fear. A future chief executive might exploit political energies of the coalition to further a narrow and dangerous agenda” (Italics mine).



Professor Wenk, who served in the administrations of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and who was the first incumbent in the post of science advisor to Congress during the Eisenhower administration, draws this conclusion in his March 17 article, “
Ike’s Warning Reverberates Today” by saying: “I see coalitions increasingly entrenched.



Failed weapons systems are seldom canceled. Auditing is cursory for moving and feeding troops; malperformance is accepted in the fog of war, and penalties for fraud uncollected. . .” “Influence of coalitions also has grown with the cost of political campaigns. Members spend half their time raising funds, rather than forging policy. . . In the absence of strong vigilance, their concern about a corporate state hatched by stealth might yet happen.”



Indeed, it has already taken place, repeatedly!



It appears glaringly obvious these days that Congress has failed miserably in its oversight, appropriation, and war-declaration functions. This lack of oversight is apparent not only with respect to the Administration’s reckless adventure in Iraq, but also with regard to the passage of the Patriot Act (and its renewal), the muted response against policies condoning torture, the suspension of Habeas Corpus, the practice of “extraordinary rendition”, the warrantless wiretapping on American citizens, and the insuring of free and fair elections with verifiable ballot-counting.



What we have now is a military-industrial-Congressional complex indeed…a real foundation for Fascist formulation!



I nonetheless, really believe that “most” public officials begin their careers with a desire to serve the people and to make America better. I do not believe that members of Congress, or members of state legislatures, for that matter, run for office merely to enrich themselves. No, I think that most of them begin their political careers as genuine and sincere people. But the systemic role of money, as I have said, pollutes and perverts processes and people.



It is a bit like boiling a frog. If you drop the frog in boiling water, it will immediately jump out of the kettle; but if you drop the frog in lukewarm water and slowly increase the temperature, the frog will neither jump out of the kettle nor croak anymore. And that is just what happens to far too many of our public servants and to the citizenry as a whole.



It is ironic that Big Business tries to insure that government stays on the sidelines and pursues laissez faire policies, until Big Business needs the government (usually aided by the U.S. military) to make some country or region “safe” for its business interests.



From making Cuba safe for the United Fruit Company, to securing access to Persian Gulf oil and South Asian gas, Big Business is always ready to have the government protecting its interests. One notes again and again, however, that such security is paid for by taxpayers, while the profits go straight into the corporate coffers.



But beware, Big Business; for as Bigioni warns: “Just as monopoly is the ruin of the free market, fascism is the ultimate degradation of liberal capitalism.” It’s sort of like be careful of what you wish for…



But then again the drift downward will be in a comfortable proper patriotic, flag wrapped, Christian, Family Values fog will all seem so “normal”…except, sooner of later the fog lifts and reality become clear.



It’s sort of like mowing the lawn on a hot summer day and having one or two too many beers. You lay down on the sofa for a few minutes with a fan blowing on you to cool down, and sleep comes quickly, a sleep broken by the rudeness of your neighbor ringing your door bell to report you left you mower running and it is now at rest against the side of his house….



Or you’ve had a good party with friends and your pitchers of Martinis were good and gone, and you awake to find yourself on that sofa again, and as you stumble in the Martini haze through the darkened house, you discover the bedroom door locked. You don’t know what you did, but you know you are in trouble, and at that moment you don’t know what you are going to have to do.



The arrival of Fascism is like that, seductive, intoxicating, and comfortable because your leaders have assured you that they are strong enough and have the answers to keep you safe and happy, and then comes the political hang over that can last for generations!



I on the other hand have no question as to where I stand, for the following words are, and will be, my refuge and resort when everyone has failed and the Fascist Flag Flies; I will be on the other side ready to begin anew the fight to regain what we all once knew before we succumbed to the intoxication, woke up in a fog pondering: “What do we do now, or as was written on the original book jacket of Sinclair Lewis’s, “ It Can’t Happen Here: “What will happen when Dictatorship comes to America?”



We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.



That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.



Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.



But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.



When Fascism comes to America it will wrapped in the flag carrying a cross, and I will be wrapped in The Declaration Of Independence carrying a gun. It’s as American as Apple Pie!

We cannot stop our resistance, but I fear we must be prepared in our thinking for the possibility of not so much "Civil Disobedience", as we must be prepared for Rebellion. The fork in the road is fast leading, not down the road of Ghandi, but down the road of Samuel Adams.


These are dangerous times, made so not only by technologies that can reduce our world to a barren charcoal briquette floating silently in the icy void of space, and those that can persuade our species to alter their perception of their existence in such fashion as they are reduced to, and succumb to, the opiate like futility of a submissive surrender to fear, but, by those who are all to willing to gamble and employ both those technologies for their interest.



History tells me; my innate instincts tell me; my self sense of hope, though I be in the presence of the those who given themselves over to hopelessness and the sickness of despair tells me that in the midst of the greatest of perils there is inherent the possibility for the greatest of achievement; the restoration of right, justice and the renewal of liberty, if we are but willing to confront circumstances and ignore the machinations of those who would be our oppressors.



At such a juncture we find ourselves. We have choices that must be made. We have actions that must be taken, lest we are willing to see our way of life and the dreams that this nation has been founded upon, nourished by the blood of every generation, to simply, silently drown in the sea history awaiting generations hence to document and dissect our desertion of those dreams and the demise our democracy.



In this nation it has become common place to be critical of all, to fault everything, to blame someone else for every problem, to expect corruption and an uneven application of law and justice, to accept passively any dictum of government with the attitude that nothing can be or will be changed, as we assume our impotence and inability as individuals to either alter the direction of this nation, or to regain command of our human condition.



We are treading water, at this point, in the pages of history, contemplated our own drowning demise, and seemingly unwilling, or unable to shed the paralysis that will take us down in the inevitable fatigue of the continued flailing of failure.



In the first “Letters To A German Friend”, Albert Camus wrote: “No, I didn’t love my country, if pointing out what is unjust in what we love amounts to not loving, if insisting that what we love should measure up to the finest image we have of her amounts to not loving.” When, as now, pointing out injustice and appealing to hope is labeled as treasonous, the pendulum has come to rest at the Fascist end of the arc.



The cross has been fashioned on the anvil of political manipulation into a sword to be deployed as a weapon in an internal social, culture clash war of deflection and deceptions.



Blood has always been spilled in the name of God and every manifestation of oppression known to man has been imposed in the name of God in the pages of human history.



In every instance the cross turned sword, and the legions sent forth on some “Holy Mission” have marched into the blood letting to evade the solutions of more worthy challenges.



If religion has any value it should be that of uniting humanity in a common community of understanding, toleration and embrace. The Cross, The Bible, The Koran and all symbols and sources of faith should be tools of unity and peace, not weapons of division and bloodshed.



But when man is impoverished of food and hope, self worth, immersed in the pains of loneliness, despair, futility, impotence an unimportance, as personal sense of irrelevance, he grasps for anything that gives him a sense of meaningfulness, a sense of purpose, a sense of place and being, even if it is the most negative and perverted expression of truth and goodness gone corrupted and corrosive; lies become accepted truth.



It is bad enough that in the evolution of species, our development has from time to time given rise to circumstances that spawn such tragic aberrations, but it is unforgivable when the conditions for yet another season of unreason are the product of premeditated man made circumstances, fashioned to satisfy personal whims and agendas at the expense of the unaware masses quickly ensnared in the net of deception and marched across life’s stage as puppets of the evil masters, and they are admittedly evil, through and through.



Our nation is desperate need of a serious introspective examination. There are so many divisive forces in active play. They are not only tearing at our societal fabric but like the smoke accompanying a raging fire they are obscuring the root source causes and pathways to resolution.



The fires of division rage on and those pouring on the accelerants are escaping necessary exposure. So many, in particular a co-opted conforming media, have become unwitting accomplices to those dedicated to a dictatorial control of the American nation. The threat is that serious and that simple of definition.



Do we really believe that the whole hosts of ills that confront us as a matter of coincidence. Do we believe that the cultural, racial, economic, educational and political divides surrounding us have converged simultaneously by historical accident?



Do I say that there is some great conspiracy afoot with a master plan for disassembling our democratic institutions?



No, that would be a grandiose inaccuracy, but there are conspiratorial forces at work whose agendas, perhaps more limited in design at the moment, that are in their successes contributing to growing infections that, if not stamped out, will eventually disease the body politic into a sufficiently comatose state, that those individuals and organizations will be able to accomplish a power grab that is currently only their dream, their ultimate fantasy.



Are the phenomenon of political character assassination and predictable political campaign tactics mere natural evolutions in our system? Hardly; and we are all well aware the techniques of negative campaigning, yet America continues to knowingly dine and digest with some degree of relish, the poison fruits served up in our obscenely expensive political feasts. There is something wrong with that, clearly in need of examination and explanation.



It is not a simple as one might be knee jerk response inclined to attribute to the gullibility of the American public. If that be the symptom; what is the underlying root rot that has given rise to the malady?



With what kind of pride do we announce to the world that we are a: Homophobic, Xenophobic, Racially Bigoted, Religiously Intolerant, Revenge Crazed, Blood thirsty, Execution loving, Arrogant, Insensitive to our needy, Mercenary to a fault nation?



How do we explain to the world, (and the inherent problem here is we feel no obligation to explain to anyone, anything as a nation) that we can ignore the problems and afflictions of the young, the old, the mentally challenged, the mentally ill, those who are impoverished, the homeless sleeping in our streets, the growing number of suicides, a health care health insurance system out classed by some near third world nations?



How do we justify to the world sending our youth off to die in war after war worthy of Hauge prosecution, praising them as patriots while they weapon in hand, only to have them have to wage war at home for their benefits and adequate medical treatment of their ravaged minds and bodies in civilian life. How do we justify the return of our soldiers home to jobs no longer theirs, to the ruination of their families and their entry into the ranks of the homeless on our streets. How do we do this?



How do we tolerate something a simple as raising the Minimum wage in this country to be held hostage while politicians attempt to use it as a vehicle to create new tax loop holes, tax breaks and tax reductions for the wealthiest Americans as if the poorest among us is not worthy of a pittance in their pay envelopes, after years of deprivation, unless the wealthy and well placed are awarded yet another “entitlement” of evasion of paying just dues to the support of a government that services them disproportionately well; yes this is an “entitlement” for the rich, a word they spit through their teeth with venom when is applied to any other class in this nation…curious?



But let us continue our consideration of and shed some light on why we find ourselves so deeply divided today, placing much of the responsibility for the current chaos and confusion squarely on Bush and his advisors.



The Bush presidency has never been about broadening his support among moderates and progressives. It has focused narrowly and tenaciously on solidifying his support among the right-wing conservative and fundamentalist factions and his “base” of corporate interests and the wealthiest two percent of Americans.



This strategy–a gamble that Karl Rove and his cronies may shortly regret–is yet another reason for American ferment, and distrust of George W. Bush. It proves, yet again, that our President has never had the best interests of America in mind while governing the nation, and invariably seeks to further his own political and economic interests and those of his “base,” and the rest of us be damned.



That is both an analysis and the current general perception in the land, but yet again; we know what is going on and we know it is an abuse of power, but when are we and the Congress going to rise up and put an end to to this philosophy of government, a philosophy that inherently say from each American as much as we can take, and into our pockets as much as we can make off with.


All of the things that matter to us all, regardless of political stripe–jobs, the economy, the environment, education, our children’s future and our own well-being–have all been imprisoned swept into a dark locked closet while Bush, his henchmen and advisors sequester us deeper and deeper into divided, fearful and disinformed, misinformed, misled camps of the Culture War conscripted.



“Religion” has been manipulated into a strong and growing force in the way Americans think about politics bearing down on political affiliation, political values, policy attitudes and candidate selection. Its’ increasing influence on political opinion and behavior rivals race, region, age, social class and gender considerations.



More specifically, religion currently has a significant impact on the political views of Christian Americans representing 84% of the voting age population. Christian political conservatism is associated with every religious dimension covered in all research and political polls.



Regardless of denomination, people who “express more faith” are more conservative.



People who engage in more religious practices are more conservative.



Those who report that religion plays a very important role in their lives are more conservative.



Polling data indicates that religious influences lead to a more liberal position on some issues, but there is little indication of a coherent pattern of liberal belief associated with any major religion or religious group.



This suits the administration’s agenda as a failure to coalesce behind “liberal” humanitarian social/political issues/causes leaves free to manipulate the hot button “life and death polarize/divide/distract and redirect issues’, of Abortion, Stem Cell Research, Euthanasia, Capital Punishment.



Add the deflection of Gay and Lesbian Rights, Same Sex Marriages, Prayer and Flag matters, Treasonous Un-American conduct of “liberals who dare to question the expected obligatory Patriotism as defined by the administration, terrorism yesterday, today and tomorrow, International Security, “Illegal Aliens”, “American right or Wrong, support it, support our troops package, the ever present harpy Anti Tax rhetoric, “Family Value?”, and you have “almost” the complete emotional polarizing refocus package!


When people buy into this mental paint job, they feel Patriotic, they: make their personal dutiful patriotic sacrifices “To the Cause” in terms of individual freedoms in the name of “necessary to deal with terrorism impositions”, accept economic decline, stagnant wages and loss of rights and voice in the work place, join the mob that: “Oh woe is me, I hope they can fix the health care, health insurance disaster “someday”.



This is all part and parcel of the “Flock Mentality” that this administration has worked so diligently at cultivating.



Too many have succumbed; the Democratic Party dissolved into a paralyzed timid, complain only entity, and now, with some vestige of power to change things in their hands, they have been baited into in fighting, posturing on “non binding resolutions” and the sort, that somehow are supposed to demonstrate some manifestation of backbone when in reality they display a continued totally ludicrous picture of a White House castrated Congress.



The White House continues to believe it need only wait out the “minor annoyance” of media meddling and work out a strategy to minimize the impact of a massive March 17 “March On The Pentagon”. They will turn to right an attempt to rally the Crusaders in their Army of “The Christian Right”, to launch an internal version of a “Holy War” against the resistance protestors from the left. I maybe too late, if only those who care to reclaim the integrity will rise to the moment!

"Fascism in America won’t come with jackboots, book burnings, mass rallies, and fevered harangues, nor will it come with black helicopters or tanks on the street. It won’t come like a storm—but as a break in the weather, that sudden change of season you might feel when the wind shifts on an October evening: Everything is the same, but everything has changed. Something has gone, departed from the world, and a new reality will have taken its place. But it will all seem “normal”."

All the old forms will still be there: legislatures, elections, campaigns—plenty of bread and circuses. It will all seem “normal”.

But “consent of the governed” will no longer apply; actual control of the state will have passed to a small and privileged group who rule for the benefit of their wealthy peers and corporate patrons. But it will all seem “normal”.


The change in America is taking place as I write, and Sinclair Lewis prophetically said that:

“When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

And when it happens, somehow; it will all seem “normal”.

We Are There Now!



Our Very Way Of Life And Every Thing That This Nation Has Ever Stood For, And Was Intended To Stand For, Stands In Peril.

The War Must End!

The Congress Must Act Responsibly!

America Must Wake Up!

Bush, Cheney And All Other Guilty Parties Must Be Impeached And Brought To Justice!

We Dare Not Be The Generation Of Which It Will Be Written: "They Did Not Have The Courage, Will, Intelligence, Conviction Or Strength Of Character To Preserve Democracy."



Our Ultimate Rights And Highest Duties As Americans Reside In These Words:



We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.



Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.


That Time May Have Again!

Base Document: 136 Pages. 39,598 Words…

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