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Land of the Free? Home of the Brave? (RIP)

By Rob Kezelis
January 31, 2010

1919 – Antonio Gramsci, Italian communist leader, creates the New Order, L’Ordine Nuovo an effort to educate the masses and lead them to a social revolution.

1990 – George HW Bush promotes a New World Order based on US economic and military strength.

COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!

“The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order. Mankind’s ordered life hath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System – the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.” – – – -Bahá’u’llá, creator of the Bahai faith, 1889,

“A great Jewish conspiracy has existed in the world working through Freemasonry and a secret Order of the Illuminati, a group combining Masons and Jewish Bankers.” – – – – Pat Robertson, author of New World Order

From the Church of Ineffable Stupidity:

Land of the free? Home of the Brave?
No longer

Let’s take the second point first. One only has to look at the reaction of New Yorkers to the possibility that a criminal trial will be held in their city. Brave? Hardly. To the contrary, the brave New Yorkers look like scared lemmings, racing to the nearest video camera, decrying the “danger” that one man’s criminal trial may pose to a city of 8.5 million inhabitants.

Even worse, take a look at the GOP’s hysterical reactions to the possible transfer of Gitmo detainees to empty SuperMax prisons in Illinois or Michigan. If you ever visited a SuperMax, you’d be rolling on the floor in laughter, at the fear created by GOP politicians. Houdini managed to escape from a variety of prisons, picking locks on doors, removing handcuffs, blindfolds and chains. But Houdini never saw a SuperMax. Even he would be impressed. Ah yes, one thing we still build well is prisons.

To be sure, there are many Americans who remain brave. We have two great examples: Our occupying forces in IraqNam and Afghanistan. Our troops invaded and now occupy two countries that do not take kindly to occupying forces. The enemy our troops face in each country, for the most part, is a citizen of that country. They use guile, hidden weapons, camouflaged IEDs, and and hidden mines to kill and maim our brave soldiers. Their bravery in the face of a deadly and aggressive domestic insurgency is incredible.

Our soldiers’ bravery is even more notable when you compare it to the lack of bravery back at home. For eight years, the GOP ruled America by fear. Congress and President Bush both used fear as a tool. As a weapon, fear was hugely successful. As a result, warrantless surveillance, the Patriot Act, FISA, Orange Alerts, and offensive, ineffectual searches of flying travelers are the norm, not the exception.

While the GOP based its authority and leadership on fear, the Democrats fared no better. The best way to describe the rudderless, inane, and MIA leadership in a Democratic congress might be “Leadership OF fear,” ie, our members of congress abjectly refuse to take any strong, brave steps on a whole variety of issues. There is no other way to describe the spinelessness that seems to grip the leadership in both houses, as well as most of our Blue Dogs.

I can almost understand why today’s Democratic pols might feel snake bit. For six years during the Bush era, any effort to tell the truth, to question military strategies, to even question the invasion and occupation of Iraq, resulted in a hailstorm of abuse and accusations: “Traitor! Unpatriotic! Muslim lover! Why do you hate America? Support The Troops!” In the face of such unprecedented attacks on one’s character, it is no surprise that so many Democrats have lost their spine.

Even now, the GOP trots out each of those tired canards whenever possible. Amazingly, with all facts to the contrary, the GOP still manages to succeed with such threats and attacks. As a result, the Democrats hide, afraid of their own shadows, unwilling to take any bold step.

Home of the Brave? This country used to brave. It used to be made up of pioneers, first to the west, then to the earth’s poles, the bottom of the seas, and even to our moon and other planets. That America no longer exists, and in great part, the kind of leadership from which we have suffered of late, both Republican and Democratic, is to blame.

We did witness one act of political bravery, recently. When Obama went to the lion’s den, armed only with his tongue and his brain, he dismantled the worst GOP talking points, he disarmed their constant attack on his policies, and he showed their cupboard of ideas to be little more than a vast, barren wasteland of No.

Whether the Democrats in Congress are somehow energized by his performance remains to be seen. Clearly, they cannot continue down their same path, for that path will lead only to electoral disaster. However, if even a few Democrats start acting like responsible, brave leaders in Congress, taking such a step will energize America in a way we have not seen since 9/11, Pearl Harbor, or landing on the moon in 1969.

A word to the wise, Congress. Grow an effing spine.

– – – – –
Land of the free?

Are you kidding me? There are three kinds of freedom, each of which has been steadily attacked and eroded.

Economic Freedom.

It simply does not exist. We are the victims of an unregulated banking industry, which controls our mortgages, leases, car loans, credit cards, – in fact, Wall Street controls every economic decision in your life. Whereas they can become too big to fail, while they gamble with hundreds of billions of your money, (and from which they personally profit greatly) you are not. If you fail, you lose your car, your house, your job, and quite possibly your family and your life.

There is no economic freedom in today’s America, and so far, Congress has done nothing to equalize this seriously unbalanced situation. It is up to us to demand changes.

Social Freedom.

A federal court recently ruled that if the government wishes to spy on all Americans, people are powerless to complain about it. The EFF (a 20 yr old organization working for your social freedom) has had a few successes, but has seen too many failures. In their most recent loss, they protested the warrantless spying on your e-mails and internet use. That loss is telling, but not surprising.

In 1963, Fred Cook authored The FBI Nobody Knows, a devastating look at the real goings on in the FBI. The illegal spying, detentions, evidence destruction and creation were the norm, not the exception, especially against liberals, progressives and socialists. J. Edgar Hoover personally authorized spying on thousands, including Martin Luther King, many famous authors, activists, politicians, and anyone else he viewed as a threat.

Since 1972, the Supreme Court has permitted the use wiretaps in national security cases, where a foreign threat may exist. Investigators collected evidence against Viet Nam anti-war protesters with wiretaps but without getting any court order. Our government argued that it the authority to authorize surveillance without having to go through the courts. In that litigation, we learned that such warrantless wiretaps existed since the late 60s, without any accountability.

These are but two examples showing how aggressive our federal government has been in surveilling you and me, since at least the first World War. The actual list is too long to quote here, but could easily make several separate diaries on its own.

Unfortunately, the situation has become worse. The original Patriot Act is a despicable collection of attacks on your constitutional rights and protections. After 9/11, few people recall that thousands of innocents, many of them US citizens, were rounded up like cattle and held without counsel, without charges and without reason. (We also did this in WWI, the Labor Movement on the 20s, and WWII. Our history is filled with such events, to our shame). FISA is now a fact, not a paranoid fiction. Today, the NSA knows every word that you read or type on the intertubes. The FBI can enter your home and specially tag your computer, search your under your bed, and even learn how many sex toys you have in your sock drawer.

When Americans rose up against the IraqNam invasion, we were treated like criminals on our own city streets. When we protested W’s policies and appearances, we were shuttled away to remote locations, often in caged holding areas. When we organized to protest IraqNam, the FBI recruited and embedded spies in every meeting and organization that showed promise. (Anti-war nuns and Quakers posed a threat to national security? Go fuck yourself, FBI) In advance of Bush appearances, the FBI shared photos, names, even car license plates with local authorities, with the understanding that the locals would make life difficult for some of the most brash and loud opposition leaders. They even used techniques as simple as waylaying luggage on domestic flights by people attending conferences or anti-Bush meetings.

Social freedom? When you really cut to the chase, this so-called freedom is a figment of our imagination. It is not as bad as some countries, but it is a far cry from complete freedom. If we truly want to be free, we have to fight for it, then defend it from an over-reaching government. That fight has been missing of late.

Religious Freedom.

This remains the scariest topic, and the most lively.
If you are Muslim, Agnostic, or Atheist, you suffer for it. Two states still suffer from a requirement that before you can hold public office, you must swear allegiance to their christian god.

If you do not believe that Religious Freedom is not under attack, just look at how our president was, and still is, treated. He is accused of the mortal sin of being a secret Muslim. He is conspiring against Christians. He attended a Muslim school as a child. My gawd, He’s a Muslin!

The entire Birther movement is little more than an overt religious and racial display of bigotry and hatred. If you find that hard to believe, go to the next Teabagger meeting (assuming they survive) and just look at the signs. “Our Four Fathers were Christians!” or “Ours is a Christian nation!” or “Atheists go home. To the devil!” For some reason, America stopped enjoying and celebrating its different customs, languages, religions, and beliefs. (that is assuming that there was such a golden, magical time) Today, except for a brave few, every politician must display his/her christianity on their sleeve. Ask yourself this: Can any proclaimed atheist or agnostic ever succeed in a run for public office?

I am not simply agnostic, I am loud, proud, angry, and militant about being agnostic. On the tubes, I am in your face about religion, if you hadn’t noticed before. In person, I have a ready response to any argument about faith, creed, jesus or god. For many reasons, I’ve studied every popular religion’s texts, and have often written about them. (I suspect that the real reason that Christians claim that the devil will use the bible against them is because their holy book is so filled with idiocies and fallacies)

When George W. Bush first proposed, “They hate us for our freedoms,” my first thought was “What freedoms?” At that very moment, I was reading the text of the Patriot Act and thinking how close to the Soviet Union we had become. It is a sign of how badly our democracy has stumbled, when politicians have to repeatedly remind you of how free you are, when the reality is something very different.

Freedom and Bravery are strongly inter-related. One cannot exist without the other. The fact that both have been under attack will require a new mindset, a new approach, and a great deal of sweat and toil to recover. Obama’s Q&A appearance before a mob of angry, braindead Republicans was but a first step. Now is the time for the rest of us to support him and demand real leadership from Congress.

8 Responses to Land of the Free? Home of the Brave? (RIP)

  1. logtroll

    January 31, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Well said, Mr. Kezelis. I’ve taken some heat for thinking that the SOTU speech was worthy, because most don’t believe there will be follow-through. My position is not that Obama will do all for us, but that at least he said many of the right things and made many astute observations.

    Are we lacking in civility? Without a doubt. And in my local “political” experience I know that a lack of civility, and its unrelenting attack dog companion disrespect, ensure that nothing good can happen. It’s a sure-fire self-fulfilling failure behavior.

    Not supporting proper things said in a speech, because it’s “all talk” is a bit ludicrous. Of course it’s all talk, it’s a speech! To condemn the speech because one doesn’t believe that the speaker can pull it off is self-fulfilling defeatism.

    Placing all one’s hope in one person is deism. Why not take Obama at his word, recognize that he is but one man, with not much more influence than the bully pulpit (which is just talk, as well), support what he said (that is worth supporting), and hold him to it (with our words, again).

    If anyone posting to CHB believes words are meaningless, then why are they posting?

  2. almandine

    January 31, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    To speak or not to speak… that is the paraphrase.

    Even my dog vocalizes when he wants a biscuit.

  3. bryan mcclellan

    January 31, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Only time is that which we cannot afford to spend. It passes as we wait to see if he,
    the president of the United States recognizes that we are a Republic first, and a Democracy second.
    Will I support any political figure placed before me with oaths of universal dreamland’s returning?
    Too unfathomable to swallow.. Nope.

    He’s not in any form a deliveryman, whether or not purpose driven, or neutered, the fact remains, he is the head of the Justice dept.

    Yours is beautifully written and the melody is clear in refrain, but our Presidents rope is bereft of slack, with Lady Liberty plum out of pancake flour.

  4. logtroll

    January 31, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    O’ oracular orator, is there a move to be made, or only a motion of the mouth?

  5. bryan mcclellan

    January 31, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    There are many ways to have bacon and eggs, subtracting one or the other changes the menu.

  6. logtroll

    January 31, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    “Tis the base nature of man, to eat fine things, digesting their substance into shit.

    Quite unnatural it is then, to dine on shit, transforming it into that which transcends.

  7. almandine

    January 31, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    That’s why the dog wants a biscuit and not a turd.

  8. bryan mcclellan

    January 31, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Beyond Mothernature’s experimentation on hind legs;
    Her motherhood as she plucks her children free of the turbulence,
    as is beget of the vagina of origin,
    to our initial benefit.
    After that the ball is headin your way.
    .McGregor.