Archive for the Ron Paul Category

Libertarianism, Anarchism, Socialism and Democracy

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, analysis, anarchism, Bertrand Russell, Chomsky, Jefferson, Kropotkin, libertarian, libertarian socialism, libertarianism, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, right, right wing, Ron Paul, social theory, socialism, sociology, the right, Thoreau on April 19, 2011 by jtoddring

Fundamental questions

And

The future of humanity on earth

Or,

Further reflections on political economy in the real world


The questions of philosophy, and in particular, political philosophy, are of course large: and the implications of our responses, vast, far-reaching, and profound. We must take a moment to gain, as much as we can, a fresh look at things. From this freshness of perspective, we can gain a basic clarity of view. It is that basic clarity of mind, combined with a basic and shared goodwill and a courageous spirit, that we shall prevail; that victory over injustice and tyranny, as well as the madness of ecological self-destruction, shall be won; and we shall have, as human beings on this earth, and our children shall have – even more importantly – a better and brighter future than any of us might have dared to imagine, or dream of. It starts with clear-eyed and honest, thoughtful reflection. It starts here, now, in this moment, as in every moment. The future is wide open, but to create out of this vast openness, and not out of precluded possibilities or blinkered, presumptive, shallow thinking and narrow prejudice, requires our full attention and our well-considered thought. Let us dive in. There is much to discuss, and much to reflect upon. We can afford, and must demand of ourselves, a few moments of reflection, or else we will continue to rush madly and headlong into our own enslavement and self-destruction – which is the path we are currently drifting upon, and drifting with increasing speed, toward that cliff which approaches now. Let us stop for a moment, pause, and consider or reconsider, our groundwork assumptions, in a little more depth perhaps than we are ordinarily inclined, so that we can muster the clarity with which to act in the greatest interests and for the greatest benefit for all, including for ourselves, for our children, and for our children’s children.

*

I heartily agree with Thoreau on most subjects, including his views on government: he is at once a far-sighted idealist, and also a very clear-eyed pragmatist, with his feet firmly on the ground. His thought is always refreshingly lucid, frank, honest, good-hearted and direct, and he is a definite kindred spirit. A quote from him will open this short essay on political philosophy:

“I heartily agree with the statement, “That government is best which governs the least” – and I would like to see it acted up to more readily and more completely; and I would extend it to say this: that government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that is precisely the kind of government they shall have.” (Emphasis added.)

Thoreau here makes it clear that he is a kind of grassroots Jeffersonian democrat, with strong anarchist inclinations. He goes on to clarify precisely what he means, however, in order that we have no confusion or misunderstanding in our minds: “But I would not count myself among the no-government men. I do not call, at once for no government, but at once for a better government. Let every man state what kind of government would command his respect, and that shall be one step towards attaining it.” In other words, anarchism is the long-term ideal, but men and women are not likely ready for it just yet. In the meantime, let us have the least heavy-handed government possible, and also the most noble that we can create. Thoreau is, in a word, eminently sane. (The very well-considered views of Chomsky and Bertrand Russell echo Thoreau on this point as well, and both are of a rare lucidity, generally speaking – though naturally no one is infallible.)

All forms of elitism and authoritarianism are based in the urge to control and repress. The impulse to control and repression is based, clearly, in fear. The problem with control complexes – be they in personal life or the political sphere – is that they tend to compound problems, and end up creating more problems than they solve. As the old sage and first philosopher of Taoism, Lao Tzu said, “If you want to control the cattle, move back the fences.” He continued to say, with emphasis, “The greatest danger is the excessive use of force;” “Trust them: leave them alone.” And, as Jefferson said, piercing the Hobbesian delusion to its core, “If you can’t trust people to govern themselves, how can you trust them to govern others?” We would be wise to ponder these statements at length, and in depth. Or as Chuang Tzu, the second major thinker and sage of Taoism has said, “You should govern a large country like you cook a small fish.” That is, lightly.

Jefferson, Thoreau, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and others of like spirits – such as Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Bertrand Russell, Chomsky, Bookchin, Rianne Eisler, David C. Korten, Ron Paul, Kropotkin and Etienne de la Boittee – I would say, are all in a mode of mind which represents a basic clarity with regards to political life and human society. We might want to look more into these thinkers, for they have much to offer us today in light of our current social issues and global crises. We are running headlong into a kind of global neo-fascist corporate feudalism, and that spells the end of both freedom and democracy if we allow this trend to reach its chilling final conclusion. A little quiet reflection is sorely needed now, to avert disaster of the greatest magnitude, to defend over 800 years of rule by law and constitutional due process, to prevent us from being thrown back into “a more brutal age of empires” (as Zbig wishes for us), and most essentially, to secure a future of well-being and freedom for all.

*

From my own perspective, I would be happy, in the short term, with a form of democratic socialism, with the emphasis on democratic – and for this or any kind of democracy to be just, it must be a constitutional democracy or republic, with the rights and freedoms of all individuals enshrined in and protected by constitutional law. I would be even happier with an environmentally conscious social democracy, or what can be called a red-green democracy – again with the critical emphasis on constitutional democracy, freedom and civil rights for all.

With regards to socialism however, I would have to state clearly that questions of wealth pale in significance to questions of power. Therefore the vertical axis of political thought, which ranges between libertarianism and elitist authoritarianism, is far more important than the more commonly focused-upon horizontal axis of right and left. The vertical axis indicates relations of power, from decentralized to totalitarian. The horizontal axis chiefly emphasizes relationships, dynamics and distribution of wealth, from communal to hyper-individualistic. Wealth shapes power, if it is allowed to do so. The converse is also, and even more fundamentally true: the distribution of power determines the distribution of wealth. Therefore, if we are concerned with equitable distribution of the fruits of the earth or of our labour, we should be concerned first and foremost with the distribution of power. Libertarian socialists understand this; most Marxists and state-socialists seem not to. And in any event, and much more importantly yet, any society that claims to be just or free, but in reality concentrates power in the hands of the few while disempowering and making slaves of the many, is anything but just or free, no matter what it calls itself, or what grand rhetoric it invokes.

There are major questions with regard to economic systems, and above all, with questions of economic democracy, or the lack thereof, which fundamentally pertain to the subject at hand, but these are beyond the scope of this short essay. For excellent reflection, analysis and thought on these subjects, see Bertrand Russell’s Roads To Freedom, along with the writings of Kropotkin, Bookchin, Chomsky, Joanna Macy and Michael Albert.

I would be happy with either a right-leaning or left-leaning democracy, whether it be conservative or liberal, republican or democratic, libertarian or progressive, socialist or capitalist, or any blend of the above, so long as it is a true and functioning democracy, with constitutionally protected rights and freedoms for all individuals, and above all, true rule by the people – unfortunately, such a thing is still very rare anywhere in the world at present: but this is certainly open to change, and change – real change – is coming, and is emerging now, rapidly, all over the world. The tide is turning in Latin America, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and also, though it is still gestational and yet to blow the lid off, so to speak, in North America and Europe. Real change is on the rise, I assure you. Freedom and justice are at hand. Democracy is coming.

*

To further clarify the fundamentals of democracy and political economy, let the following be stated and the subject matter elucidated. The word democracy is beautiful, meaning, from the Latin, demos kratos: people power, power to the people, power of the people, or rule by the people themselves. The word or idea of democracy must be clarified however, so that it is not abused or misunderstood. Most essentially, for a democracy to be just, noble and free, or even for it to be effectual, intelligent and to function at its best, it must be a constitutional democracy or republic, in which rule by majority vote is held in check and balanced against certain basic laws which are enshrined in a constitution, in order to protect the freedom, rights and well-being of all individuals, and in order that the voices of all may be heard and considered. Without such constitutional safeguards, democracy degenerates into that ugly description of its dark side or dark potential: two wolves and a sheep sitting down at the table, and deciding what to have for dinner. “Tyranny of the majority” is not just a phrase: it is often the reality. This is why democracy requires a constitution, with protection for the voices, rights, freedom and well-being of all individuals.

Another critically important note must be made here: that constitutional democracy and corporatism are fundamentally and unequivocally at odds. The one grounds power in the hands of the people; the other silences and marginalizes the people, nullifying any genuine substance to democracy, quietly or overtly eviscerating both democracy and freedom, along with the destruction of constitutions and rights, while concentrating all power, increasingly and steadily, by coup or slow stealth, in the hands of a reigning financial or economic elite. The one values, safeguards and upholds the well-being, rights and freedoms of all individuals, while the other is a deception: pretending that corporations are real persons, when clearly they are not, so that the corporate powers can trump and triumph over the people. In short, the rights and freedoms of individuals apply to real people, and cannot be applied to or appropriated by corporations. When the latter happens, democracy and freedom are dead or in peril, and nothing but slavery is on the horizon. Failing to understand this antagonism and fundamental difference between democracy and corporatism is the reason that democracy is in peril now (though many, amazingly, still do not realize it) and freedom is facing its darkest hour.

*

It must be emphasized, that while democracy is the best form of government – that is, rule by the people, and not by any self-proclaimed elite – for democracy to be at its best, or even to function properly at all, it must be bound to constitutional law. In order that democracy may function as the rule of the people, and do this in the best possible way for all, it must be open to the voices of all. This means that a constitution is required in order to provide the grounding of fundamental laws protecting, at the very least, the freedom of the individual from arbitrary arrest, detention, torture or summary execution, along with other basic freedoms and rights, such as the freedom of speech, freedom of thought and belief, and the freedom of expression and assembly of all individuals. Without such protections and safeguards to freedom of person, speech, thought, assembly and expression being constitutionally enshrined and upheld, individuals and minority groups can and often are silenced by the majority, and democracy becomes both far weaker and far less just. Without the safeguards of basic laws enshrined by a constitution which protect and defend the rights, civil liberties, freedom and well-being of all individuals, democracy reverts to a kind of crass and blind rule of the majority, which often and easily degenerates into a tyranny of the majority. For democracy to function well, the voices of all must be heard and not silenced or marginalized; and for democracy to avoid becoming a simple-minded tyranny of the reigning majority, a constitution must enshrine and defend and protect – even cherish – the well-being, rights and freedoms of all individuals. So when we say democracy, let us understand that this must mean constitutional democracy, and not simple majority rule, so that the well-being and freedom of all individuals is upheld and promoted.

It must also be emphasized that for democracy, freedom or justice to be real and to prevail, not only political power, but also economic power must be addressed. As Chomsky put it, cutting as usual to the very heart of the matter, “It is an axiom that power follows property.” If we allow economic powers to become so staggeringly concentrated, as they have over the past 200 years with the rise of the corporation, then we will naturally see the eclipse of both freedom and democracy, all justice will be gone, and we will, once again, be peasants under the boot of feudal lords. If this sounds familiar, it is because we have left unchecked for too long, the staggering growth of economic powers: we are now serfs, and are rapidly becoming slaves. It is not too late, but monopolistic or oligarchical, plutocratic powers of excessive concentrations of financial or economic power, must be checked.

The powers of finance, corporations and the economic realm in general, cannot be permitted to continue to encroach upon, dominate, or functionally eviscerate the democratic process, as they are doing now. This is a basic requirement for democracy and for freedom, as well as for justice – in fact, given the ecological crisis, it is a requirement for any future for humanity at all.

If Tom Paine were alive today, he would be urging revolution, now as then. And he would not be speaking in denunciation of a king, but of a far more grotesque, more pervasive, and all-encompassing form of tyranny than King George could ever have imagined. He would be speaking truth to power, and urging us to resist, to defy, and to overthrow that unjust, undemocratic and tyrannical power which is oppressing and exploiting us, and holding down the freedom, creative power, imagination and true potential of humanity. The power he would today be decrying and urging resistance and revolution against, is the new money powers of the corporate aristocracy and the global corporatist empire, which has arisen over the past 200 years, and which now threatens to swallow up the dreams of humanity, along with our freedom and civil liberties, our democratic process and governments, our wealth and potential and very future on earth.

Thomas Jefferson saw this danger 200 years ago: the very real, and even then, imminent danger of “the new monied aristocracy” and rising corporate powers usurping the powers of the people and of democratic government, and leaving in their place a new kind of slavery and tyranny over the earth. We have failed to listen for nearly 200 years, and so are at a very dark hour. We had better listen now.

*

To further state my own views as to political philosophy, I would say that I am libertarian, or more simply put, anti-authoritarian. I am not opposed to the term anarchism, but prefer the less misunderstood term of libertarianism, since the elitists, globalists, authoritarians and corporate propagandists have made such a successful attack on the term anarchy that it immediately strikes fear in the hearts of otherwise intelligent people, rendering them blinkered bleating fools, incapable of any kind of rational thought.

It is a libertarianism of the left that I am speaking of here, and not the laissez-faire capitalism which constitutes right-wing libertarianism. Right-wing libertarianism is an oxy-moron, as far as all evidence and logic would indicate. Socially or fiscally conservative libertarians must understand, as many do, that both economic and political powers can and do threaten our basic freedom and well-being; and therefore, it is imperative that both political and economic powers be kept in check and within certain bounds, so that freedom, democracy and the well-being of each and all can be secured and promoted.

Presently, big money is a far greater threat to freedom than is big government – and while I am a fan of neither, I am interested in choosing my battles intelligently: first things first. Reign in the corporate elite, restore the rule of constitutions and democracy, return the power to the people, and then we can go from there.

In order to accomplish these most critical and urgent aims, the people must unite: this means that we must begin to realize that the primary battle is not between left and right – it is between freedom and democracy on the one hand, and the rule by an unchecked and anti-democratic, arrogant and tyrannical, self-serving elite on the other.

The real battle is not between liberal and conservative, nor left and right, but between the people and the would be “masters of the universe.” Let’s get things straight: if we do not come together on the fundamentals – the preservation of freedom, democracy, and rule by the people, there will be nothing left to debate, for we will all be slaves, and democracy shall be no more. It is time for the people to unite. Unite!

*

We could also call left libertarianism by other terms (hopefully, without frightening too many people into irrationality, or into fits of rage or frothy-mouthed vitriol, or glazey-eyed unthinking presumption, or name-calling stereotyping, or bleeting group-think, or asinine guilt-by-association absurdities, or glib, smug, thoughtless reactionary jingoism, or else into a terrified grab for the remote control and the soft pain of somnambulant self-medication through the great grey tube of the tv and the virtual enslavement system of the mass media trance – the shot in the arm of the digital opiate). To speak in broad terms, a libertarianism of the left can also be described as, or at least closely related to, that which has been called variously, libertarian socialism, anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism or democratic communitarianism. To put it most simply and directly however, let us say that left libertarianism is most readily and easily, and also most accurately understood, as this: grassroots democracy, with an emphasis on sharing, cooperation and mutual aid.

It is hard for anyone of sound mind and good heart to argue against such a position as this: Jesus meets Jefferson, you could say; or the Buddha meets and meshes with the Enlightenment values of freedom, equality, solidarity and democracy. Left libertarianism evokes our better selves, our higher impulses and thoughts and motivations, and aspires to our highest values as human beings on earth: love and compassion, freedom and democracy, mutual aid and caring, justice for all, and a basic instinct towards peaceful coexistence, cooperation and sharing. Who dares denounce such values openly? I dare them to profess aloud that they despise these things.

Are these values and views out of touch with reality? Are they childishly naive or whimsically idealistic? Hardly. History shows that such a view as this, which is deeply sceptical of all forms of excessive concentration of power in society, is the most lucid, the most sober, and the most prescient and prudent. One need not be an optimist about human nature to agree with a left libertarian view. If one is sceptical about the darker potentials of human nature, then one should all the more be a democrat, and, a democrat in the populist sense, the Jeffersonian sense, or the libertarian sense, for we have seen all too often, too repeatedly, and too gruesomely, that power does indeed corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Therefore, if we are sceptical as to human nature, or at least as to human fallibility, as Hobbes was, we should, unlike Hobbes, be rational, and prevent any one person or group of people from acquiring too great a power in human society. This means, taken to its logical conclusion, that we are strongly in favour of grassroots participatory democracy, constitutional checks and balances and limits on all forms of social power, including, not only political power, but also economic and cultural power, such as media powers or church powers or financial or corporate powers, so that freedom can prevail, and so that no one group or individual can dominate the rest, and so that tyranny, exploitation, oppression and injustice can be averted and avoided, to every extent possible. In short, if you are a democrat, and are rational and lucid, or have given the subject clear-eyed and in-depth thought, then you are a libertarian democrat, or a grassroots democrat, or a Jeffersonian democrat, however you wish to phrase that basic clarity of mind.

This does not mean that one must be socially or even fiscally conservative with regards to political economy or political philosophy. What it means, is that all forms of excessive concentrations of power are regarded with a serious scepticism, and that freedom and democracy are valued, not only in rhetoric, but in policy and action.

To be a true democrat, one must value, in thought, speech and action, democracy and freedom – that would seem to be self-evident, but alas, it is rare. What this entails is this: to be a true democrat (or republican) one must be anti-authoritarian and anti-elitist. And to be a consistent – or one could even say – an intelligent democrat, one must address not only political power, but also economic power. To address both political and economic power, along with a valuing of freedom, justice and truly authentic, substantive participatory democracy, requires one to be both a democrat and also a libertarian. Anything other is simply self-contradictory, irrational, or else either disingenuous or flatly undemocratic.

“‘Rugged individualism’ has meant all the ‘individualism’ for the masters, while the people are regimented into a slave caste to serve a handful of self-seeking ‘supermen.’ America is perhaps the best representative of this kind of individualism, in whose name political tyranny and social oppression are defended and held up as virtues; while every aspiration and attempt of man to gain freedom and social opportunity to live is denounced as ‘un-American’ and evil in the name of that same individuality.” – Emma Goldman

As Chomsky so aptly and cogently summed it up: “You’re either an aristocrat or a democrat.” There is no third choice, in reality; and all aristocratic sentiments and notions are anti-democratic and ultimately tyrannical, if not simply mad. The aristocratic notion of political philosophy or ideology amounts always and most essentially to this one simple-minded thought: I, or else me and my buddies, should rule supreme over all. The infantile grandiosity and megalomania should be readily self-evident to all. To be a genuine democrat is to resist and reject all such notions of elite rule, in favour of a genuine rule of the people, by the people, for the people. In short, you can choose freedom and responsibility, which are a package deal, or you can choose a childish dependency upon a supposed benign parental figure of elite rule, and hope that your slavery is pleasant, or at least not too damaging. I would say in conclusion, we are left with a choice of sanity or madness, and the path of democracy and freedom is the only path aligned with the former.

J. Todd Ring,
March 17, 2011
http://www.jtoddring.wordpress.com
Prajnaseek on Youtube

See Chomsky, Bertrand Russell, Rianne Eisler, Bookchin, Kropotkin, Aldous Huxley, Erich Fromm, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Emerson and Thoreau for similar views on society and political philosophy.
(See the Nolan Chart for the four dimensions of political philosophy – there are more than two.)

HEY YOU! Lefties, liberals and progressives – Listen up

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, democracy, Dennis Kucinich, election, fascism, Hillary, Ron Paul, U.S. on February 4, 2008 by jtoddring

I know Obama is the darling of many of you, and I realize that some even like Hillary, but let us consider this most crucial fact. There were only three candidates in the US presidential race with demonstrated integrity in terms of that most essential criterion for becoming the next president of the world’s most powerful nation state – or any other nation for that matter: upholding civil rights and the rule of constitutional democracy during a time when these are under escalating and highly deliberate attack. Many of you will know immediately who I mean. Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel, and Ron Paul. These were the only three candidates with proven records of defending constitutional rights and freedoms, as well as the rule of democracy, against the by now undeniable assaults on the same. Mike Gravel, honorable as he is, I do not believe has a chance of winning. Dennis Kucinich has now dropped out of the race. This leaves us with only one serious candidate – that is, one serious candidate if we are serious about protecting civil rights and constitutional democracy. He is US Congressman Dr. Ron Paul.

If we look beyond the rhetoric for a moment, it becomes undeniable that the commitment of the others to upholding or even abiding by the Constitution, is highly questionable, at best. Obama and Hillary both voted in favor of the Patriot Act, which strips away critical liberties, nullifies much of the Bill of Rights, and is an abomination to democracy and the Constitution. Not only did these two chameleons vote in favor of the Patriot Act, but they voted a second time to make 14 of its provisions permanent. Hillary and Obama both voted in favor of the Military Commissions Act, voting in favor of making torture legal in the United States. These are not the actions of democrats. These two are not democrats: they have chosen to side with an assault on democracy. In the now unfolding battle between the corporatocracy and the people, they have shown where they stand. And it is not with the people, however pleasing their slippery rhetoric may appear.

Obama and Hillary have both shown their allegiance, moreover, to the military-industrial complex, to the on-going wars of empire – despite high-sounding words – and to unremitting deaths and destruction in support of global imperial ambition. They have both said, in regards to Iran, “Everything is on the table.” So pre-emptive war and nuclear attack are on the table. This is not only pro-empire, it is dangerous in the extreme, and risks an ecological and humanitarian disaster of the greatest magnitude.

Both Obama and Hillary voted in favor of the war in Iraq – repeatedly, voting to fund it every time Congress was asked. Now they talk of peace. This is sheer hypocrisy. Only Kucinich and Gravel on the Democratic side showed genuine integrity on the issue of war. Obama and Hillary will most likely become a united love-in ticket for the military-industrial complex, and I would advise you in the strongest of terms to re-examine them, and most crucially, their demonstrated records of action, their voting records, before endorsing Mr. and Mrs. corporate war establishment.

If you still have some doubts as to Hillary and Obama, consider also who they have chosen as their key advisors. It will reveal, if we are willing to look, a portrait in imperial criminality. Each of them have chosen as their key advisors, long standing establishment figures, all with blood on their hands, all with grave records of war crimes, crimes against humanity or mass murder. This is not the peace ticket, my friends. This is the ticket to a deepening hell of empire-fetish.

Hillary has named Madeleine Albright as a key advisor, the woman who single-handedly blocked the efforts to halt the genocide in Rawanda, endorsed the sanctions against Iraq, and when questioned on the fact that the sanctions had by that time killed half a million women and children in that country, coldly responded, “We think it’s worth the sacrifice.”

Obama has publicly named Zbigniew Brzezinski as his key advisor – the man who bragged of having created the band of militant extremist Muslims that later became Al Queda – with CIA funding, weapons and training, when he was Carter’s National Security Advisor – in order to lure the Soviet Union into a destabilizing war, “their own Vietnam.” Obama’s right hand man is thus one of the most cold-blooded as well as pre-eminent of Machiavellian strategists for the empire, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, and chief intellectual in residence to the US business elite. In light of this, Barack Obama should gives us chills – and not of inspiration.

The Washington Post has recently commented on a very strange phenomenon: the political right is joining in a chorus of warmth toward Obama. One voice from the right has said, “We can work with him.” Given Obama’s adoring words toward Reagan, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. But what does it mean when the political right in America says, “We can work with him.” I would contend that it means the obvious, as outlined above: he is no threat to the present establishment of power. Alan Greenspan has said that Bill Clinton was the best Republican President we’ve had in a long time. I think it’s safe to say that Hillary and Obama would be there, right next to that glorious legacy.

In a comment to Jim Hightower’s excellent article on the dismal state of the Democratic party, one writer said, “If something does not happen, very soon, we are going to have a laughable choice between two Republicans come November for President of the United States.” I’m afraid this is only too true. The only thing progressive about Hillary and Obama is their zeal for serving the corporate empire – it is a progressively demeaning form of treason to the people of the United States, and the Constitution, rights and freedoms upon which their future stands or falls.

I realize it is difficult to even consider voting for someone who is running under a Republican ticket, but remember, the Republican party machine hates him, so he can’t be all bad. Ron Paul has been asked if he is running for the wrong party, to which he replied, he is running for the party that used to be opposed to excessive executive powers, that used to be opposed to interventionist wars – that he is running for what the Republican party used to stand for, long before the emergence of the neoconservatives.

You may not agree with Ron Paul on every point, as I do, being a progressive; you may even disagree with him on some very important points, but you cannot help but agree with him on the most essential points: end the wars of empire, and stop the assault on democracy and civil rights.

Get with the program. This man is going to help save our collective behinds: he is the only candidate we can trust to stand with the people, and not the empire or its corporate backers. Check him out. A great deal rides on the outcome of this election. As the venerable Mike Gravel has said about the US 2008 Presidential race, “We have to get this one right.”

Please see:

*****“The End of America”: Naomi Wolf Warns U.S. in Slow Descent into Fascism – Democracy Now! |

Vote for Change? Atrocity-Linked U.S. Officials Advising Democratic, GOP Presidential Frontrunners – Democracy Now!

Chomsky: Do the Democrats have a different answer on Iran?

Changes – Presidential Candidates feat. Bowie

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama & John Edwards Equal No Change

Noam Chomsky – The Political system in the USA

Ron Paul on the “Patriot Act” and the assault on civil rights and freedom

Ron Paul & Dennis Kucinich (1)

Indications of the US political climate at the grassroots? “Obama made me cry”

Kucinich Picks Ron Paul For His Running Mate!

Ron Paul talks about Dennis Kucinich

Mike Gravel: “Politics makes strange bedfellows…You never know what can happen…This election is pivotal. We have to get it right.”

Ron Paul & Dennis Kucinich (2)

Kucinich on the Patriot Act

YouTube – Dennis Kucinich War on Iraq

Recent mass bombing of civilians in Iraq: brought to you by the Democrats who continue to fund the war – notably, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton:

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Bombs Away over Iraq

Vote Different

Ron Paul is the next President of the United States 2008

The End of America :: Chelsea Green Publishing

America: A Fork In the Road

Money, Banks and Democracy: The reality beneath the ideological fantasies and spin

Posted in banks, currency, debt, democracy, economics, economy, money, political economy, Rockefeller, Ron Paul on February 4, 2008 by jtoddring

“Power follows property.”

The Golden Rule, as cynically applied by the financial elite: “He who holds the gold makes the rules.”

Of course, if you can dispense with the need for gold, and still make the rules, that’s even better.

I think the evidence is enormously strong that democratically elected governments need to have greater control over their national currencies, not less. The “independence” of a privately owned central bank means economic policies which benefit the private bank’s shareholders, rather than the people of the nation.

There is simply overwhelming evidence to support this view. Without democratic control of national currency, via democratically elected bodies such as Congress, sovereignty becomes an impossibility. We need to be dealing with reality here, not ideology.

Central banks that are privately owned – that is, controlled by large corporations or small groups of financial elites – tend to damage national economies while benefiting the financial elite, and more critically, undermine all ability of democratic governments to hold real power on behalf of the people, giving power to the bankers and corporations, and removing effective power from parliament or Congress.

Allowing private empires, such as those who control the FED, to “manage” the nation’s money is pretty much letting the wolves guard the hen house. Democratically elected governments have the right, the mandate and the power to print and control the nation’s currency.

To forgo this right and pass this power to highly concentrated financial dynasties, is both unwise and highly dangerous. Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln knew this, and fought to prevent the handing over of control of the nation’s currency to a private bank. They were far more prescient than most people or politicians today. Their advice on keeping the central bank public and democratically controlled should have been heeded. Having failed to heed their warnings, we must today correct our mistake. The issue of control over national currency is absolutely central. All talk of freedom or democracy is meaningless and hollow if this is not addressed.

William Lyon Mackenzie King

Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes the nations laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation. Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of parliament and of democracy is idle and futile.

Thomas Jefferson

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

“I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world – no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”
-President Woodrow Wilson

Lord Acton

The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.

James Madison

History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance.

Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws.

Napoleon Bonaparte

When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson.

Lord Acton

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear.

David Rockefeller writes on pages 404 and 405 of his memoirs:
"
The anti-Rockefeller focus of these otherwise incompatible
political positions [across the political spectrum] owes
much to Populism. 'Populists' believe in conspiracies, and
one of the most enduring is that a secret group of
international bankers and capitalists, and their minions,
control the world's economy
. Because of my name and
prominence as the head of the Chase for many years, I have
earned the distinction of 'conspirator in chief' from some
of these people…
Some even believe we are part of a secret
cabal working against the best interests of the United States,
characterizing my family and me as 'internationalists' and of
conspiring with others around the world to build a more
integrated global political and economic structure - one
world, if you will. If that is the charge, I stand guilty,
and I am proud of it."

Samuel Adams

If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of Almighty God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.

Charles A. Lindbergh

This Act (the Federal Reserve Act, Dec. 23rd 1913) establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the President (Woodrow Wilson) signs the Bill, the invisible government of the Monetary Power will be legalised… The worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking and currency Bill.

H. L. Birum, Sr.

The Federal Reserve Bank is nothing but a banking fraud and an unlawful crime against civilization. Why? Because they “create” the money made out of nothing, and our Uncle Sap Government issues their “Federal Reserve Notes” and stamps our Government approval with NO obligation whatever from these Federal Reserve Banks, Individual Banks or National Banks, etc.

Grace Commission

100% of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the Federal Debt … all individual income tax revenues are gone before one nickel is spent on the services taxpayers expect from government.

Henry Ford

It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.

Robert A. Heinlein

Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.

Lord Acton

Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.

Thomas Jefferson

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

Samuel Adams

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!

Thomas Jefferson

Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction.

Buddha

Believe nothing merely because you have been told it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings — that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.

John Adams

Be not intimidated… nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice.

Samuel Adams

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.

“The ultimate authority … resides in the people alone.” – James Madison

“It is more honorable to repair a wrong than to persist in it.” – Thomas Jefferson

John F. Hylan

The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities states and nation. At the head is a small group of banking houses generally referred to as ‘international bankers.’ This little coterie… run our government for their own selfish ends. It operates under cover of a self-created screen…[and] seizes…our executive officers… legislative bodies… schools… courts… newspapers and every agency created for the public protection.

Justice Felix Frankfurter

The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes.

Charles-Louis De Secondat

There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.

Major L. L. B. Angus

The modern Banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banks can in fact inflate, mint and unmint the modern ledger-entry currency.

“Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men’s views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the Field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere — so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive — that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.” – Woodrow Wilson

Carroll Quigley

The powers of financial capitalism had (a) far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank…sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.

“They must find it difficult…those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority.” – Gerald Massey

“Where is the knowledge that is lost in information?

Where is the wisdom that is lost in knowledge?”

– T.S. Elliot

“Put fear behind and save the country.” – Simon Bolivar

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt.

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending
too much liberty than to those attending too small
a degree of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

“If there is anything which it is the duty of the whole people to never entrust to any hands but their own — that thing is the preservation of their own liberties and institutions.” – Abraham Lincoln

“The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” – Abraham Lincoln

A diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty. – James Madison

“I have the Confederacy before me, and the bankers behind me, and for my country I fear the bankers most.” – Abraham Lincoln.


Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. – Thomas Jefferson

Money, Banks and Democracy

For a tutorial on the nature of money and banking, see the excellent film: Money As Debt. You can find it on Google Video.

Money As Debt

For a critical look at Friedmanite economics, see Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine. (2007 book, film, interviews on Democracy Now!)

The Shock Doctrine: Naomi Klein on the Rise of Disaster Capitalism – Democracy Now!

Other sources:

John Perkins on “The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption” – Democracy Now!

Self-Described Economic Hit Man John Perkins: “We Have Created the World’s First Truly Global Empire” – Democracy Now!

Free Market Fantasies, by Noam Chomsky 1/5

Monopoly Men (Federal Reserve Fraud)

Ron Paul on Federal Reserve, banking and economy

Ron Paul Challenges the Federal Reserve

Ron Paul of Texas – The End of Dollar Hegemony

Noam Chomsky – Emerging Framework of World Power

The Secret History of the CIA – John Stockwell

Former CIA agent Philip Agee on Permanent War

The Corporation

Life and Debt – Globalization and Jamaica

Noam Chomsky – Class War (Part 1)

America : Freedom to Fascism – Director’s Authorized Version

The Power of Nightmares: BBC Dissects War on Terror – Part 1: Baby it’s Cold Outside

*****“The End of America”: Naomi Wolf Warns U.S. in Slow Descent into Fascism – Democracy Now! |

“Liberal Democracy is moving toward a form of corporate dictatorship” – John Pilger on Propaganda, the Press, Censorship and Resisting the American Empire

Big Ideas That Changed The World : Democracy-Tony Benn

HR 1955: The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

Posted in AFA, AFC, American Freedom Agenda, American Freedom Campaign, democracy, fascism, HR 1955, police state, Ron Paul, Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Preventi, war on democracy on January 22, 2008 by jtoddring

What is HR 1955, and why should we be interested? Here is a short introduction. More than we may imagine rides on the peoples’ response to this newest development in the war on democracy.

Passed by a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives with a vote of 404-6, October 23, 2007.

Freedom of speech, association and assembly will be illegal in the US once the Senate and President sign on – and neither oppose it.

With this law, dissent will be illegal.

The unmistakable import of this new law is the criminalization of dissent.

The FBI’s infamous Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) stated clearly, in documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, that, “through counter-intelligence, it should be possible to pinpoint potential trouble makers (sic) and neutralize them.” J. Edgar Hoover said of his COINTELPRO operation that his intent was to “neutralize political dissidents.” The FBI’s COINTELPRO operated illegally. HR 1955 now makes legal the mechanisms for neutralizing dissent. Expressing an opinion or view that is not favourable to the current ruling powers may be met with repression. America is now officially a fascist state.

The bill is moving rapidly through Congress, and may be signed into law by February. Dissent and debate in the US House of Representatives was virtually non-existent. The media networks have been silent. Spread the news: the internet and face to face communication seem to be the only means to get this critical information out.

“Legislation such as this demands heavy-handed governmental action against American citizens where no crime has been committed,” Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul stated to the House in December, after missing the vote while campaigning. “It is yet another attack on our constitutionally protected civil liberties. It is my sincere hope that we will reject such approaches to security, which will fail at their stated goal at a great cost to our way of life.”

“It will no doubt prove to be another bureaucracy that artificially inflates problems so as to guarantee its future existence and funding,” Paul predicted in his House speech. “But it may do so at great further expense to our civil liberties.” It is, he concluded, an “unwise and dangerous solution in search of a real problem.”

“If you understand what his bill does, it really sets the stage for further criminalization of protest,” said Dennis Kucinich. “This is the way our democracy, little by little, is being stripped away from us.”

“There is no way to overstate how crucial this piece of legislation is. We are at a turning point, and without the restoration of the rule of law the “blueprint” for what I have called a “fascist shift” — the closing down of democracy — calls for scarier recriminations against citizens, greater tightening of social controls — the ever-growing, disturbingly political TSA watch list is, alarmingly, due to go from the airlines’ administration to that of the TSA itself — and more corruptions of the electoral process. Blackwater is a truly terrifying wild card. Without the rule of law we will be powerless as each of these assaults on liberty continue to escalate. With it we can fight back.” – Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America, and American Fascism, in 10 easy steps.

“The most pressing liberty Ron Paul, the ACLU, Dennis Kucinich and pretty much most left- and right-leaning organizations fear outright is a restriction on the right of internet access, since the House Subcommittee hearings and text of the resolution seized upon it with almost draconian intent. “The Web as a Weapon?” The question begs another: How do you disarm that weapon?” – Punishing Thought Crime: Would New Bill Make YOU a Terrorist?by Scott Thill, AlterNet. January 17, 2008.

Look at the definition of terrorism in this bill. It is defined “the use, planned use or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual’s political, religious or social beliefs.” Note that the bill states that terrorism may be the use of violence or force to advance political goals. The bill then specifies that the use of “intellectual force” by way of “compelling logical argument” falls under the definition of terrorism. This should make us all shudder. Thought crime. This is the destruction of democracy, civil rights, the constitution and freedom of speech.

It is important to remember that violence is already illegal, and therefore this bill is not about dealing with violence. Hence, this bill is about the use of non-violent “force” – the force of opinion, intellectual force, the force of a logical argument. In short, the bill is designed to combat free speech, and further, to suppress any form of protest, through association, assembly or expression. There is no other way to describe such legislation in any milder terms: this is fascism.

HR 1955 marks the beginning of the police state in America. When this bill is signed into law, dissent will be punishable by arrest without trial, and indefinite incarceration in the detention centers which Haliburton is busy constructing across the “homeland,” not to mention torture, which the Military Commissions Act of 1996 already made legal. Speak now, while you can. (See Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps and YouTube – Olbermann: the beginning of the end of America.)

Write, speak, blog, send letters to your representatives, email the news outlets and let them know that this critical unfolding of events, designed deliberately to destroy democracy and constitutional rights and freedoms, including this latest and most heinous of fascist legislation.

Here are some contact listings for getting the word out.

totn@npr.org, morning@npr.org, atc@npr.org, letters@latimes.com, fair@fair.org, ireport@cnn.com, netaudr@abc.com, evening@cbsnews.com, ftn@cbsnews.com, today@nbc.com, letters@nytimes.com, nytnews@nytimes.com, editor@usatoday.com, wsj.ltrs@wsj.com, letters@newsweek.com, letters@washpost.com, letters@usnews.com, info@ap.org, zmag@zmag.org, countdown@msnbc.com, mail@democracynow.org

People of America, here is a coalition, across right and left, that is working to defend freedom, democracy and your constitutional rights. You might want to get involved. The hour is late.

the American Freedom Agenda

American Freedom Campaign

“This is the answer both to those who say “What we can do?” and to those who claim (actually, sometimes whine) “there is nothing we can do.” And if we don’t act on this now we will get the democracy we deserve — which is no democracy at all.

“Put aside your partisan ideal world — sometimes issues simply transcend partisanship — and if ever there is an issue that is above and separate from party politics, it is the restoration of the democratic system we inherited. There are good people and passionate patriots across the political spectrum.

“Let’s do it. There is no excuse now. The restoration of democracy is up to you — as the Founders intended it should be.” – Naomi Wolf

Get informed, get involved. There is much to be done, and little time.

J. Todd Ring,
January 22, 2008

Declaration of War vs. The People

YouTube – Freedom of Speech and H.R. 1955 pt. 1

Thinking for Yourself is Now a Crime – Paul Craig Roberts

ZNet |Repression | The House of Reps Vote 404 to 6 to Pass the Bill that Legalizes COINTELPRO?

Punishing Thought Crime: Would New Bill Make YOU a Terrorist?

ZNet |U.S. | Congressional Shame and Duplicity

Naomi Wolf: Fascist America, in 10 easy steps | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

*****“The End of America”: Naomi Wolf Warns U.S. in Slow Descent into Fascism – Democracy Now! |

The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot – Naomi Wolf

America: A Fork In the Road – Writings of J. Todd Ring

Ron Paul: It’s not utopia. It’s only a beginning. First things first.

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, American politics, analysis, CIA, civil liberties, common ground, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporatism, crisis of democracy, democracy, Dennis Kucinich, election, empire, fascism, FDR, freedom, geopolitics, Global War on Terrorism, globalism, globalization, human rights, imperialism, inspiration, Iran, Iraq, libertarian, Middle East, Mussolini, neoconservatism, Patrot Act, police state, policy, political economy, politics, Republican, Republican Party, Ron Paul, Roosevelt, U.S., war, war crimes, war on democracy, War on Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2008 by jtoddring

Ron Paul: Key policies for anyone who values democracy, freedom or peace

End the war in Iraq – bring the troops home now.

Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are the only two US presidential candidates who voted consistently against war in Iraq, and who would bring the troops home from that illegal, unconstitutional and bloody quagmire of malfeasance and pandering to corporate oil interests, immediately. With 70% of Americans now opposed to the war in Iraq, these are also the only two candidates who in sync with the views, values and voice of the American people. Incidentally, Ron Paul, with his firm and strong anti-war stance, has received more support from US military personnel and veterans than any other candidate.

No war on Iran.

Given the intelligence reports released this past December, showing Iran to be no threat either now or anytime in the near future, halting plans for risking what would certainly be a humanitarian and ecological disaster, and could easily be a conflagration that spins dangerously out of control, is a clear urgent imperative. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are the only two candidates who unequivocally oppose a US military attack on Iran.

End wars of aggression.

“Improving” the world by force, “spreading democracy” through the barrel of a gun, does not work – even if, as evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates is not the case, these are the intentions of the political elite and the business elite who pull their strings. Wars of aggression are war crimes under international law. If the Nuremberg trials were held today, the results would be decisive: numerous high government officials, military brass and intelligence operatives would be hauled of in chains. Wars of aggression are furthermore unconstitutional and against the advice of the fathers of the American Revolution. Only Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich have shown by action, by their voting records, as well as their clearly stated policies, that such wars are an abomination to humanity as well as to any democratic nation, and must be decisively opposed, categorically and in principle.

“Military force is justified only in self-defense; naked aggression is the province of dictators and rogue states. This is the danger of a new “preemptive first strike” doctrine. ” – Congressman Ron Paul, September 4, 2002

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/3/vote_for_change_atrocity_linked_us

http://www.wanttoknow.info/powerofnightmares

Abolish the CIA.

As Ron Paul has rightly stated, the CIA has been busy for decades assassinating leaders in countries around the world, and for this reason must be abolished. Secondarily, as Ron Paul has also rightly and intelligently noted, being both honest and aware of geopolitical realities as well as history, the CIA’s actions make Americans and the world much more unsafe, due to the reality of what the CIA calls blowback. As Dr. Paul noted frankly, the CIA assassinated Mossadegh in 1953, (because he was going to nationalize the Anglo-American Oil company and return the oil profits to the people,) installing the much hated bloody dictator, the Shaw of Iran, and the Iranian people have never forgotten it. It led to the militant extremism of the Ayatolla, and still provokes hostility from many in Iran, decades later. Ron Paul has boldly and with intelligence, good reason, great courage and moral integrity, called for the abolition of that bloodied organization which has destroyed both hope and democracy around the world for over fifty years. Enough!

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=4028

http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Hope-Military-Interventions-Since/dp/1567512526/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200080001&sr=1-1

http://www.amazon.com/CIAs-Greatest-Hits-Real-Story/dp/1878825305

http://www.amazon.com/Whiteout-Drugs-Press-Alexander-Cockburn/dp/1859842585/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1200080038&sr=1-1

http://www.alibris.co.uk/booksearch?qwork=743852&matches=46&author=Simpson%2C+Christopher&browse=1&cm_re=works*listing*title

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13922

Halt the destruction of liberty and democracy at home!

For anyone who has not noticed, democracy, liberty and the rule of constititutional law are under attack across the Western world, and particularly so in the US. The only candidates who have any integrity in terms of protecting constitutional democracy, freedom and civil liberties, are Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. These are the only two candidates who voted consistently against the rabidly anti-democratic constitution-shredding Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act. The rest talk a good sound bite, but action speaks louder than words. Look at their voting records. They either have no integrity, or no spine – assuming they have the intelligence to understand what is going on.

“The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“The domination of government by corporate power is the essence of fascism.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“Fascism, properly named, should be called corporatism, for it is the merger of business and the state. – Benito Mussolini

“Beware the military-industrial complex.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“There is never a reason that we have to sacrifice liberty for our safety.” – Congressman Ron Paul

Perhaps the most crucial thing about Ron Paul: he is uniting people across the political spectrum, across the United States, and now, around the world, in a fierce shout, backed by solidarity and action: No to war, yes to constitutional democracy, civil liberties and freedom!

“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” – Thomas Paine

“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” – George Washington

No to tyranny. No to war. Yes to democracy and freedom under constitutional law. It’s not utopia. It’s only a beginning. First things first.

Get informed. Get involved. Google Ron Paul and decide for yourself.

If you like the poetry of the spoken word, listen to these tracks by a liberal and a former Obama supporter:

(My apologies for the formatting – will fix it up shortly.)

An Outbreak of Democracy in America?

Posted in Barack Obama, Clinton, Democratic Party, free speech, Hilary, Media, Obama, police state, politics, Republican, Ron Paul, U.S. on May 17, 2007 by jtoddring

The Republican Party and corporate media are scared – actual democracy is threatening to break out in America.

Ron Paul is under attack by the Republicans – because he is a serious threat to business as usual. Who is Ron Paul? He is a maverick Republican candidate for the up-coming U.S. presidential election, and perhaps the only hope that the U.S. has of averting a full-blown police state. That may sound extreme, but it is quite possibly the case. No other candidate that stands a chance of winning the coming U.S. presidential election has any spine when it comes to abolishing the draconian and anti-democratic thrust of the Patriot Act and Military Commissions Act, which, along with executive signing statements and other maneuvers, have gone a long way toward institutionalizing executive privilege and the of undermining constitutional democracy.

Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton both voted not only to instate the Patriot Act, which effectively nullifies the American Constitution and Bill of Rights, but also, more recently, to extend it and to make 14 of its provisions permanent. The mainstream Republican candidates are no better.

Anyone who has kept abreast of U.S. politics should know that America is in crisis, and democracy is at stake. Ron Paul needs and deserves support. If there are American citizens reading this, please learn more about Ron Paul. Whether or not you support him, if you value democracy or freedom of speech, then you must defend his right to participate in the electoral and democratic process without being blackballed, silenced or buried under the weight of corporate media influence. The grassroots love him, and he is apparently in the lead in polls for the GOP nomination. Speak now. Time is short.

With the corporate media shutting out the legitimate candidates in the American presidential race – the only ones with integrity, such as Kucinich and Paul – the internet has become the primary political organizing tool. If you are reading this, you are in the thick of it. Make it meaningful.

Below is the full email sent from the social networking Facebook group, Dr. Ron Paul for President.

Action Alert: Keep Ron Paul In The Debate
Neo-Con Republican Elite Seek To Silence Front-runner
Sign the petition (http://www.petitiononline.com/r0npaul/petition.html), jam the phone lines (1-202-863-8500), save free speech and the electoral process
Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
Prison Planet
Thursday, May 17, 2007

From Fox News, to GOPAC to factions of the Republican Party, the Neo-Con elite have sworn to crush free speech, kill the electoral process and kick the clear frontrunner – Congressman Ron Paul – out of the debates. Only by taking immediate action can we fight back against these anti-American enemies of freedom.

Ron Paul’s message of limited government, personal liberty, abolishing the IRS and bringing U.S. troops home for good resonates with the mass body politic of the American people – which is exactly why the establishment are attacking the Congressman and attempting to smear him from every angle.

Now the Michigan chapter of the Republican party wants to kick Ron Paul out of the debates altogether, despite the fact that he won both debates, crushed his nearest rivals in the polls and is clearly the frontrunner for the candidacy.

This is akin to an analogy where the Mafia owns nine of the ten horses in a race. The only horse that isn’t owned by them is the frontrunner and is a full length ahead. Now the mob boss simply wants to rig the race by shooting that horse dead in broad daylight.

Let these enemies of free speech know that there is an army of informed and outraged activists holding their feet to the fire and demanding that Ron Paul be included in all the subsequent GOP debates. If the Congressman is a “second tier” candidate as they claim then why are we witnessing a concerted effort to silence and censor Ron Paul?

Why are these bullies attempting to destroy the electoral process?

This is an action alert – we need everyone to flood the RNC phone lines with their support for Ron Paul and for keeping him in the debates.

ACTION: Call the RNC now at 1-202-863-8500 – jam their phone lines and let them know that we will not tolerate any effort on behalf of any faction within the GOP to silence Ron Paul or kill the electoral process!

Tell them you are extremely displeased with Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis who is leading this scurrilous, undemocratic, unpatriotic, un-American charge against a real hero.
Sign the petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/r0npaul/petition.html

PLEASE SPREAD THIS INFORMATION TO THE FOUR CORNERS OF THE INTERNET!

P.S. Please join all other Ron Paul support groups on facebook or elsewhere on the internet in solidarity with our fellow patriots.

Kudos to Alex Jones. I may disagree with him on many important points, but he is totally solid on this issue.

JTR

For more background on Ron Paul, see:

Ron Paul: Honest Abe Lives

For a critical perspective on Democratic lovable Barack Obama, as well as Hilary Clinton and the rest of the Democrat and Republican heirs to the dynasty see:

My Buddy Obama

On Libertarianism: Right & Left

Posted in Chomsky, democracy, far right, Hobbes, Jefferson, left, libertarian socialism, libertarianism, philosophy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, Ron Paul, social theory, Thoreau on April 15, 2007 by jtoddring

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

~Albert Einstein

Libertarianism is a term that has come to be identified with the right, with limited government, ideals of freedom, free market capitalism and laissez fair economics, however, the term originally meant libertarian socialism, a libertarianism of the left. The distinction of two kinds of libertarianism, or more appropriately, a spectrum of views within what is called libertarianism, is important. Both right and left libertarianism have a deep skepticism about excessive concentrations of state power, encroachments of government power in the lives of individuals and communities, and a belief that ultimately, “That government is best which governs the least.” Beyond this agreement, there are considerable differences between libertarianism of the right and that of the left. But before the distinctions between left and right libertarianism can be discussed, we need to clarify just what is essential to a libertarian perspective, and also, to distinguish between the ideal and the immediate in terms of advocating or working towards specific goals for human society.

Thoreau expresses a very clear and lucid view of the subject, recognizing the ideal, yet also the immediate reality: ideally, and “when men are ready for it,” no government, which we shall have, and which shall be a degree of liberation not yet seen or imagined; but in the immediate sense, not “no government, but at once, a better government.” In other words, work toward and keep in mind the ideal – freedom from state power messing up and intruding on the peoples’ lives, liberty and communities, but also seek more limited victories in the short term: a better government.

I HEARTILY ACCEPT the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have…..But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

– Henry David Thoreau, On Civil Disobedience

Bertrand Russell also came to the same conclusion. His cool, rational conclusion, after a very fair-minded and objective analysis, was that anarchism – from the Latin, an-archos, meaning absence of an over-arching power, not chaos – is likely the best form of human society (as well as the full and self-consistent application of libertarian values), but we are not likely ready for it; in the short term, what he called libertarian socialism is the best order for society to which we can aspire. By that he meant limited government, with all government power kept as close to the community as possible, and as close the hands of the people as possible – as Jefferson urged – but also with strong values of voluntary free association and human cooperation for mutual aid and benefit (a la Kropotkin). Ideally, and in the short term, he recommended we work toward a society where power lies primarily, not in the hands of a few bureaucrats and lobbyists in a far away capital where power is centralized, but in the hands of the people at the level of community, with federations or networks of human cooperation and solidarity, trade and communication between and among communities and individuals for their mutual benefit and protection. Jefferson would certainly agree in spirit if not in all details.

Chomsky clarifies the distinction between long-term ideals and short-term goals within a reasonable and clear-headed perspective which is skeptical of concentrated political power, or any form of social power for that matter:

“Classical anarchist thought would have been more opposed to slavery, feudalism, fascism, and so on, than it would have been to parliamentary government. There was a good reason. Classical liberal thought, and anarchism coming out of it, were opposed to any concentration of power, that is, unaccountable concentration of power. It is reasonable to make a distinction between the more accountable and less accountable. Corporations are the least accountable. So, against the corporate assault on freedom and independence, one can quickly turn to the one form of social organization that offers … public participation and … that happens to be parliamentary government. That has nothing to do with being opposed to the State. In fact, it’s a sensible support for the State.” – Noam Chomsky

This is precisely why I can admire a democratic socialist like Hugo Chavez, who was democratically elected in closely monitored free and fair elections, who has introduced and held public referenda on every major decision faced by the people of Venezuela – a thought inconceivable to the elitist politicians of Washington, Ottawa, London, Paris or Berlin – and who is presently utilizing, with great popular democratic support, the institution of constitutional parliamentary democracy to protect the people of Venezuela from the greatest threat to human freedom and well-being on the planet today: the tyranny of unaccountable private empires – the global corporate raiders. It is no contradiction to say support libertarian socialism, or left libertarianism, while admiring a social democrat like Chavez. As Chomsky put it, it’s sensible support for the state – under certain limited conditions.

Chomsky as well expresses a view of libertarian socialism. And Chomsky, as well or better than any other, clarifies the distinction of right and left libertarianism. Libertarians across the spectrum are opposed to excessive concentrations of political power, as it is viewed that such high degrees of concentrated political power in society have more often than not created more harm than good – a view that is shared among Jefferson, Thoreau, Bertrand Russell, Kropotkin, Chomsky and many others.

The history of the world shows that this view is the most realistic perspective on government and political power. The opposing view, that government is the saviour and redeemer of humanity, has brought about Stalinism, Nazism, fascism, Maoism, and lately, neoconservatism, among other evils. The view that is opposed to the libertarian desire to keep political power firmly in check, sees government as a kind of benign big brother, a paternal or maternal figure, a parent that treats citizens like children, who need to be coddled and scolded, controlled for their own good. It is a dangerous elitism, breeding naturally authoritarianism. It comes from a fear of freedom, as social psychologist Eric Fromm correctly pointed out, and not just megalomaniacal dreams of power.

Plato was the most famous and influential of the “government as saviour” camp. The philosopher kings, the wise few, would rule with benign despotism over the hapless and ignorant many. Sounds desirable, maybe, until you reflect that if you do not trust people to govern themselves, how can you possibly trust them to govern others? (A flaw of basic logic which was not missed by Jefferson.)

Hobbes furthered the view, presenting the anthropologically ignorant and incorrect view that life before civilization, by which he meant life before centralized government, was “evil, nasty, brutish and short.” The revolution in anthropology that occurred in the 1970’s with the discovery of new and conclusive evidence about our human history prior to the age of empires, refutes Hobbes unequivocally. Hobbes knew nothing of anthropology, of course, and the data would not be revealed for another few centuries, but he was wrong, and we know that now – or at least, we can know that now, although almost no-one is aware that such a revolution has occurred in anthropology and our knowledge of human history: we live in a pre-Copernican time with regard to the general culture’s understanding of anthropology and human history; most still believe the sun revolves `round the earth, though the evidence to refute this fallacy has been made clear.

In any case, Hobbes was engaging in a kind of rational self-deceit. Hobbes view of human beings was jaundiced and pessimistic in the extreme. He felt, as many do, that if there was no powerful over-arching force to restrain human beings, they would instantly rip each other’s throats out, and everything would descend into a war of “all against all.” Again, the anthropological data refutes this terrified view, but even if one were to accept it for sake of argument, it simply begs the question. If you do not trust people, then why would you give a few people extraordinary power? Would this not seem even more dangerous? Who did Hobbes expect to govern us, aliens? Hobbes did not trust people, so he argued that some people have an all-powerful position in order that these people protect people from people. This should strike us as immediately self-contradictory, ridiculous and absurd.

As Jefferson said, “If you do not trust people to govern themselves, how can you trust them to govern others?” It is therefore not idealistic and utopian to think that government should be kept to a minimum of centralized, concentrated power, but on the contrary, it is a healthy and prudent skepticism that informs such a view.

(When you combine Plato, Hobbes and Machiavelli, you get the neoconservatives – or their mirror image, neoliberalism. You get wildy elitist, authoritarian, ruthless, predatory, self-delusional, megalomaniacal empire fetish. That is what we are experiencing now.)

Thoreau demolishes Hobbes’ fantasy-scape with a few strokes on the pen:

Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others, as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders, serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. – Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience

Libertarianism: Right and Left

The libertarianism of the right has a view of power that does not keep to its own self-consistency. It views political power as potentially dangerous, having the great potential to be abused, and therefore needing to be kept in close check. But it does not recognize economic power as a power in society, which is an oversight that is hard to fathom, such power being so plainly obvious. Because libertarians of the right tend not to recognize economic power as a form of power in society, they are unconcerned with its concentrations – even when concentrations of economic power become staggeringly large, as they have over the past twenty or thirty years. This is an oversight that is frankly dangerous, if not delusional.

Libertarians of the left share the skepticism of highly concentrated political power, but, naturally, recognize the potential for harm and abuse from excessive concentrations of economic power. Thus, in the present order of things, corporate power is to be addressed equally, along side state or governmental power. To do otherwise is to contradict oneself, and worse, to leave the door open to serious and extreme abuses of power, and also, to fascism, which, as Mussolini said, is rightly called corporatism, since it is the merger of business and the state (and that is exactly what is happening now, and on a global scale) due to the lack of foresight to correct and put in check all forms of great concentrations of power in society.

Right libertarianism questions, challenges, and repudiates high levels of concentration of political power in society – and rightfully so, I believe – yet it is, or at least has been until recently, unwilling to question the role and nature of high levels of concentrations of economic power.

This is, once again, frankly, a gross oversight, and one that makes right libertarianism a contradiction in terms: you cannot advocate limitations on powers that unduly constrict human freedom and pose threats of tyranny in a self-consistent, coherent, or even rational manner, if you are only willing to look at one form of power in society, and remain blind to others. Economic power is every bit as real as political power – some would say more so.

The 500 biggest corporations on earth now have combined revenues that total three times the GDP of the world’s biggest national economy – that of the United States. If this does not constitute power in society, I’m not sure what would.

OK, well, corporations have immense power, but that does not mean it translates into political power – does it? They are competing with one another. Yes, they are competing with one another, and they also share common interests: drive labour costs and wages down, eliminate or circumvent labour and environmental standards, find the cheapest source of labour and resources and move there, then dominate them, open borders to free flow of capital, but not to labour…..The commonalities are pretty clear.

And do they meet, discuss common interests, work together cooperatively? Of course. Wouldn’t you if you were in their position?

Do teachers join together to pursue common interests, such as decent pay, pension plans, etc.? Do janitors get together to pursue common goals of better pay and working conditions?

It is obvious, or should be, that there are common group interests – or, heaven forbid we use the term, class interests – that bring otherwise competing parties together to pursue common goals. The corporate elite are no different. This is not a conspiracy, but simply common sense.

The world’s corporate elite gather, among other places, at Davos Switzerland, every year for the World Economic Forum, and there seek to push governments to their will, to advance common interests among the elite global investment class, the billionaire class, or the class of ruling oligarchs, to every extent that they are able to do so – and that is a considerable length.

The billionaires, and the large corporations they control, do not control the world – but they certainly dominate it, and they dominate virtually every nation and government on earth, as well as dominating the global economy, the financial system and most of the media. This is, by any sane or reasonable definition, hegemonic power: corporations and the billionaires who control them, now effectively rule the world. The only way to properly define such a system or order of things, is not democracy, certainly, but oligarchy – or plutocracy, or neo-feudalism, or most starkly, and what we are fast approaching in its full, ugly form: global, neo-feudal, corporate fascism.

It is impossible to deny the very real power of corporations in society without digressing into ideological fundamentalism and willful blindness. Refusing to challenge economic concentrations of power while espousing a libertarian philosophy is self-contradictory: right libertarianism is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

Would a laissez-fair, free-market capitalist, who supports only limited government – a libertarian as it is known on the right – be considered an oxymoron or a self-contradiction if he was also a slave owner? Of course. But it is not very different if a libertarian advocates checks and balances on political power, yet does not question the giant corporate monopolies and oligopolies that now wield more power than democratically elected governments.

Right libertarianism is truly a contradiction in terms, unless by that you mean a conservative libertarian, who also questions and challenges excessive concentrations of corporate, economic and financial power, and not only state or governmental power. U.S. Congressman and 2008 Presidential candidate Ron Paul, for example, I would describe as a conservative libertarian in this sense. He has his head on his shoulders when it comes to corporate powers, as far as I can tell. He is not stuck in ideological dogmatisms.

The left is equated – wrongly – with heavy-handed, bureaucratic, if not totalitarian government – or at least this is the view of the left that we get from the right wing; however, there are, broadly speaking, two wings or schools of thought within what has been called the left, and only one of the two fits the above description.

In the socialist movement of the 1800’s there was a definite rift, and a fierce debate, between the two very different currents of thought within what is loosely described as the political left. Marx led the wing we are most familiar with, Bakunin the other. Bakunin and the libertarian socialists were ousted, lost the battle, and were to some considerable degree eclipsed from history – at least until very recently. Bakunin warned that Marxist ideas would lead to a new form of tyranny – and of course he was right. The Soviet Union was the prime example, and Bakunin predicted the tyranny long in advance.

Now, with the Marxist-Leninist school of thought being in full disgrace within the left, as well as within the broader community of humanity world-wide, and with global neoliberal corporate capitalism experiencing a deep and profound, and rapidly growing crisis of legitimacy world-wide, with rapidly rising popular discontent, people are beginning to look for alternatives – and the alternative is becoming clear to many. That is, in the short term: a freedom-loving and anti-authoritarian, democratic socialism in the short term; and libertarian socialism in the longer term. I would say they deserve our thoughtful attention, and merit respectful consideration, at the very least, and to put it most mildly.

The War on Democracy: Unchecked Power Out of Control

Under what we should more honestly call monopoly capitalism, the era of the small shop owner being the primary economic player having long ago vanished, corporate power has become so concentrated – that is, economic power has become so enormously concentrated – that it now threatens to engulf and eviscerate all remaining democratic power of societies world wide. We should be concerned. Jefferson warned of this 200 years ago. We did not listen. We are now facing the results of our lack of foresight.

Those on the right and the left with a libertarian perspective would do well to communicate. There is a natural alliance here, if we can learn to speak in ways that are mutually understandable. There is no time for bickering or ideological warfare. We need to get together to protect the basics: decent, although flawed, human, imperfect limited government, within the framework of constitutional democracy and basic human rights and freedom.

If we do not come together, and not just right and left libertarians, but more traditional liberals, conservatives, social democrats, greens and progressives, and all who oppose the, by now undeniable, drift into oligarchy and corporate fascism, and stand together for constitutional democracy, civil liberties, human rights and freedom, all other considerations will become merely abstract, and we will find ourselves living in a brave new world, in a very dark age.

  1. Todd Ring

April 15, 2007

Further reading:

Writings of J. Todd Ring

Amazon.com: Civil Disobedience and Other Essays (Dover Thrift Editions): Books: Henry David Thoreau

Amazon.com: Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism & Syndication: Books: Bertrand Russell

Amazon.com: The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future: Books: Riane Eisler

Amazon.com: The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy: Books: Murray Bookchin

Amazon.com: Escape from Freedom: Books: Erich Fromm

Amazon.com: The Power Elite: Books: C. Wright Mills,Alan Wolfe

Amazon.com: The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power: Books: Joel Bakan

Economist’s View: You’ll Miss Us When We’re Gone

Economist’s View: Can Democrats and Libertarians Find Common Ground?

“Their Libertarianism and Ours” – from:

Amazon.com: Don’t Think, Smile!: Notes on a Decade of Denial: Books: Ellen Willis