Sunday, December 22, 2013

A World Which Did Not Exist

Winter solstice 2013. My thoughts go back to Christmas 1945 or 1946. I had perfect parents and perfect grandparents. They met every need but added so much more above the necessities of life. I was just a child of 3 or 4 years. On Christmas morning(now-a-days I do not spell that with a capital C) I awoke to a beautiful electric train all set up on the wood floor in front of the gas space heater which I still have in my garage almost 70 years later. The train was all metal, perfect in every detail. Its whistle sounded so real like the massive steam engines which thundered past our back door at all hours of the night shaking the ground as we tried to sleep. There on a side track one train would wait on the other to pass while it hissed and blasted steam in a night shattering game of waiting. When it was finally clear to go, the monster would begin a rhythmic series of massive blast of steam and slowly increase its rhythm eventually fading into the night. The idea of Santa Claus was so magical and exhilarating...he brought me a toy train. Mother and Dad poured their essence into making my sister and I happy. I can still see the single strand of tree lights with heavy cord, large bulbs all of which seemed to last 20 years or more. We were allowed to put the lead based "icicles" on the tree...the presents under the tree were off limits. It seems that was the year my uncle Ken came back from the Navy and the war in the Pacific to reunite with his bride, my aunt Helen at our home. He was laden with gifts which he purchased from the Japanese in Tokyo, Japan. For me he brought a tiny Japanese camera which would fit into the palm of my small hand.It had real film and took real pictures. For my sister there was a hand painted picture of her on a silk roll painted by a Japanese artist from a black and white snap shot. The colors were vivid, the lips so red like the lips of a Geisha. I remember one other gift which I never considered to be good because I was terrified of chief Wahoo, a carved coconut with a fearsome glare on his face. His angry eyes were embedded seashells with great black pupils on bulging white eyes. His face was painted in warpaint, bearing his teeth in a menacing grimace. At his ears hung long dangling sea shells. It seemed I could see his fearsome face even in the dark and could never sleep in the same room. I would never enter the room without a tight grip on Mother's hand. Looking back it seems that I grew up sheltered from the hardships and the sorrows of life. I knew mostly joy and laughter...with out want, because in one way or another I was always in the grip of my Mother's or my Daddy's hand...and looking back, I realize, now that they are all gone, that world only existed in my mind and my oblivion was nothing like the reality of the rest of the world in 1945. More than 50 million people were killed in WWII, including more than 300,000 American service men and women. Millions across the globe were left with scars which I never laid eyes on. Radiation burns, wounds of war, combat fatigue, empty chairs at the dining table. I grew into the 1950s and 60s. Safe neighborhoods, walking to school, then bicycling, lots of guys in the neighborhood, sharing an idyllic life in the perfect post-war family nor really realizing that negro children in my town Tyler Texas, didn't have it so great. There was a public swimming pool 5 blocks from my house where no Negroes came. I hardly noticed. There were no Negroes in any of my schools. I became of age, got a license and a car. When I joined the military service in 1960, for the first time in my life the people in charge said, "there will be no discrimination regarding race or creed". I slept in a bunk next to Negroes and ate with them at the chow hall. When I later enrolled in college, there were just a few black students, from foreign countries. One of those students was a black man from Nigeria in his early 30s. Three slash marks on each cheek...of royal blood. In Nigeria he had been a school principal, a Baptist minister, a father of three children who with his wife waited for his return. He was a product of Southern Baptist missionary work there and came to East Texas for college. He was however not welcome at any Southern Baptist church in Harrison county Texas because he was black and was told to go to the local black churches. He visited and slept in my home, ate at my table. His name was Benjamin Adawoosi. It's been almost 50 years. No...the world I thought existed did not. Gradually over time I have become a skeptic.Some people call me a pessimist because I have become someone who insists on facing realities. I am so dissatisfied with reality because I believe that people can actually choose to be good and to do good. There are lots of people doing just seems that they are not the ones in charge. I believe that democracy would work if we actually tried it. Eventually it will be the work place. That's where it will do the most good; businesses owned and controlled by the people who work there. Practicing democracy at work. Winter Solstice 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Letter to President Obama

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, D. C.

Dear Mr. President,

The Declaration of independence states the basic purpose of government, "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men,...; securing the rights of The People. National Security therefore should mean to secure liberty and civil rights to the nations citizens. The "just powers" to carry out this purpose are derived "from the consent of the governed". But how can The People consent to what is kept secret? How can the powers of the government be controlled if the People do not have the opportunity to consent or decline? In a republic, representatives exist to represent citizens. I was struck by the last line in the movie Killing Them Softly when it concluded that "the United States is a business"...similar to a conclusion which I have over time come to: that "the national interests" are synonymous with "business interests". This corruption of representation has degraded the essential element of representation of its ordinary citizens, replacing it with Fascism. It follows that we no longer have a republic.

You know from my letter of October 28, 2009 that I voted and campaigned for you in '08. I hesitatingly voted for your second election. However my support and lack of support is tempered by your own challenge that we who elected you hold you accountable. Since both your elections, I have been disappointed. The basis of my disappointment is contained the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth amendments to the Constitution. You, federal, state, and local governments are "infringing" on our civil rights. The purpose of government according to the Declaration of Independence , is to secure that cloud of inalienable rights. When government fails in this duty, The People have a right to change it. But how can the common citizens change the government in the face of literally billions of dollars of power injected by the multinational  corporations while SCOTUS backs their power grab? The only hope appears to be some form of revolution. A violent revolution is not an option because during such an event the citizens would be slaughtered. It therefore appears that system is beyond our reach and growing more sequestered. President Lincoln reiterated this right saying the Citizen has the right to "...rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better..." But the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, and the suppression of civil rights is turning our country into an Orwellian police state. The corporations buy anything they want...auctioned off to the highest bidder. John Q. Citizen has 0% political power. Many Americans are very dissatisfied with this state of affairs. I among them feel that you are leading us deeper into this bad dream, when you should be leading us out of it. Sir, to these actions of government I do not consent.

The American people have not had the opportunity to consent to the present status of government surveillance which infringes on our privacy. A photo of every piece of mail! Really? The fourth amendment is being violated. As you have said,  we need to have that dialogue. Many in government seem to think that the people are too ignorant to have a discussion before a government action. We seem to do so when there's a leak which reveals some of the truth. I recently read Legacy of Ashes, a well documented account of on the record information showing how our foreign policy for 60 years has operated outside international law and US law...that is if we could expect the CIA to operate within its Charter. Billions of tax dollars and illegal dollars to do what? Promote democracy and human rights? No! The "national business interests"! The cold war was advertized as a fight for democracy vs. communism, but was it? It was a fight to make sure our multinational corporations could continue their corporate Colonialism. We removed democratically elected governments and leaders in foreign countries beginning with Iran in 1953, installing dictators who would provide stability for capitalism, "free markets". We do not promote democracy internationally, we promote "free markets". Everyone and everything is bought. In '08 you said you would change this. That's why you won the election! You said you would "change how Washington works". You have let us down! You doubled down on serving the big corporations. The People have no Voice! You had a mandate! You know the Constitution. It was your oath to defend it! What a glorious administration yours would have been had you done what the People elected you to do because they are tired of big bank Republican government, big money, global government. It is past time for someone to defend the Constitution not the corporation! I do not consent!

Some of the accusations which the Declaration hurled at King George III can now be leveled at our own governments, federal, state, and local. "He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power"..."For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us"..."For depriving us in many cases of the benefits of trial by jury". Sir, state, federal, and local police engage in enforcement of criminal, and regulator laws with armed squads in riot gear, weapons drawn and overwhelming force. The People have not consented to the present police state atmosphere where law enforcement across the nation line up with weapons and tear gas against peaceable assemblies where citizens protest and air their grievances as is their right. The nation is criminalizing dissent! Why did you not protect the citizens exercising their First Amendment Rights during the Occupy Movement? On this issue you seem to have lined up on the side of the Orwellian-like state, not on the side of The People.You seem to ignore their expressions of outrage at the felonious activities of the banking industry and the abuses of giant corporations. You have carried on the Bush era Republican big bank policy of "non-prosecution" of Wall Street's felons with "deferred prosecution agreements", while you are determined to fight the ignominious War on Drugs against the common citizen. It is the right of The People to expect that the words of the pledge, "...with liberty and justice for all" be true not false, that the 1% abide by the laws of the land like the 99%, and be prosecuted with the same vigor as the poor! It appears that there has arisen a two tiered system of justice, one protecting the elite from prosecution from their felonies and another going hard after the poorest of the nation. The People resent this!Officials in the present government are unwilling to "do justice", they just want to talk justice. We hear a lot of that on the Fourth of July. Perhaps the speech of Fredrick Douglas on July 4 1852 should be repeated annually. Speaking of the nation he said, "I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot: for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins". He stated, "...the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced." But we prosecute the whistle blowers who expose criminals rather than the government criminals, the war criminals and the banking criminals, letting the real criminals go free. I do not consent to these actions of government! How can The People in this course of human events, make a new Declaration of Independence from this tyranny?

I confess that I have succumbed to some form of American radicalization which was mentioned in your Drone speech. I think many on the left of the political spectrum have drifted in that direction.In the days of the Cold War, George Kennan was perhaps considered a radical because he voiced his opinion that our foreign policy should be the political containment of communism not exclusively military containment. He said that the foreign policies we carried out actually created much of the hostility and the threat which we blamed on the Russians. We are doing the same thing today. Creating 100 terrorists when we kill 10. While you are concerned about the radicalization of Americans, many Americans are immensely concerned about the radicalization of the government. Our "democratic" government is terrorizing its own citizens! Many are afraid of the government. I have some fear that there could be some form of reprisals against me because I am expressing my honest opinions of what our government has gradually become. Americans are tired of government secrecy, of attacks on dissent, and on Freedom of the Press, the last line of defense against government corruption and criminality. We cannot trust the government to police its own behavior , or the banks and corporations to monitor themselves to abide by the law. They write our legislation because the Legislative Branch of government is too busy soliciting re-election money. Mr. President, why are you attacking whistle blowers and journalists? Who will expose the white collar criminals, government criminals and war criminals if journalists fear they will be prosecuted for exposing criminal behavior? You are terrorizing journalists!Why does the Constitution guarantee freedom of the press? When government classifies massive amounts of information, who will hold individuals or the government accountable? We are tired of the perpetual wars and the Orwellian-like "war atmosphere". Big Brother knows best saying, "we can't reveal our government us". Richard Nixon is known to have said, "If its secret, its legal". The Founding Fathers did not trust government in any form. They would be repulsed and horrified by our militarism, our police state atmosphere, this retreat behind classified information hidden from the scrutiny of the American People. Why should government have total access to all the information of our lives but we are not permitted to know enough about what the government does to give or withhold the consent  of a democratic people. Sir I do not consent to these policies of government.

I am specifically very displeased that you signed the NDAA into law on Dec. 31, 2012 with the provision of indefinite detention of US citizens by the United States military. I am equally dissatisfied that you have failed to close Guantanamo Prison. And I am totally exasperated and appalled that Congress passed both the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act with the violations of Civil Rights contained therein. For these government actions I do not give my consent. With St. Augustine, I must agree that "an unlawful law is no law at all"...especially when it is in conflict with the Constitution and the very principles of the Declaration of Independence. These are basic American ideals! It does not and should not require a law degree to understand their meaning!

The international community became quite disappointed with the United States during the Bush Administration and our "war on terror" with one sordid revelation after another: lies, no WMD, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and a policy of torture. We  regularly place our international activities above international law. We helped create the ICC but refuse to recognize its jurisdiction over our own actions. We have made our military and civilian contractors into mercenaries, exempt from international law. The best soldier is the citizen as Stephen Ambros suggests in Citizen Soldier. The world disapproves of our attempts to be in charge of the globe. That's why so many hate us. It is time we reestablish the precept found in the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, to have "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind...". We should forsake these actions in fact as well as in political speeches. I do not consent to such illegal shame.

Mr. President, I live in the Congressional District of Louie Gohmert and have Ted Cruz and John Cornyn as Congressional and Senatorial "representation". I have no representation! I have consistently voted the Democratic ticket for my entire life. Here in Tyler Texas only the corporations are represented...along with the political and religious fundamentalists. My best friend, an attorney who has had 5 brain surgeries related to Parkinsons  Disease goes out to fight the carbon industry and the Keystone pipe line in East Texas. For my Texas Representatives, big oil is a "slam dunk" hell with the environment and anything which carries out one of the stated purposes for writing The Constitution, to "...promote the general welfare".

I realize that this letter seems harsh and negative. But the first step in changing things for the better is facing the facts. God knows I have a broken heart about our sordid past of slavery, racism, genocide of the Native of our land, a foreign policy which focuses more on business "interests" than on basic harmony between nations, a government which has been hijacked by corporate money, and the continued theft of the American Dream by the 1%. Its time for the US government to listen to people like me. In the same way that the Declaration of Independence was an expression of outrage, as it was also recognition of what government ought to be, the Bill of Rights was an expression of general distrust for government, and an attempt to avoid the slippery slope of tyranny. The People must control the government or...the government will control the people. I respect the office of President of The United States and I respect you Mr. President as a gifted man, dedicated, of good intentions, and with a good heart. In '08, we were thrilled beyond measure with optimism and elated in anticipation that finally a man who knows both sides of America will act on the promise we remember so well, "to change how Washington works". Everyone knew then an knows now "how Washington works"...billions of dollars injected into the process of electing public servants. And we know that whomever puts in the most money gets the most "representation". We know that the political power of The People is not on equal footing with the political power of the corporations. We know who Washington listens to. We are still waiting Mr. President ...for that change.

Sincerely yours,

Judson Dennis Malone