What Did We Learn From This Election? We Learned We Have No Choice
By Timothy V. Gatto
12 November, 2012
I’m getting old. I’ve seen this crap played out every four years of my life. The election…what can I say? If I say I’m pleased as punch that Obama beat Romney, I would be lying. If Romney beat Obama, I would be just as sad. In fact, I wished that no one would have won this election. I wished everyone would have stayed home. The fact is, many more people opted out of voting this election.
According to The Associated Press, around 117 million are estimated to have turned out to vote for president this year. In 2008, a record-breaking 131 million voters showed up for the historic election. If these early numbers are to be believed, then voter turnout was down roughly 11 percent.
That is astounding. When you figure in population growth, the numbers should have been much higher. Still, I don’t want to bullshit anyone. People like me stayed home because this election was a farce. Nobody said anything.
We have real issues in this country and electing Mr. Drone attack Kill master is not going to solve any of them. In reality, he is the cause of many of our problems, problems that did not come up in any of the three debates. Let’s discuss some of these problems without any of the tacky bullshit the Democrats and Republicans came out with.
Loss of American civil rights. We have lost more of our civil rights under this African-American President than we did with our former Neo-Con President. I’ll gladly list some of them, although I’m sure that there are more we don’t know about.
Bush-Cheney to Obama
Of course the initial 2000 seizure of the Presidency by stopping the vote count in Florida was a kind of “coup,” but following 9/ll the Bush administration defined its reign when it rolled out its anti-terrorism plan:
• The doctrine of global supremacy and the advocacy of preemptive war, outlawed by the United Nations charter.
• Refusal to recognize international law or the applicability of the Geneva Accords.
• Roundup of immigrants after 9/ll, thousands of persons held without charges.
• The Patriot Act, authorizing massive government spying, now renewed by Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress.
• Domestic deployment of the military as law enforcement in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.
• Secret deportation hearings.
• Seizure of citizens as “enemy combatants.”
• Massive secret wiretaps in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), later made legal by Obama and Congress.
• Issuance of secret administrative warrants for all kinds of records under the Patriot Act.
• Suppression of Muslim charities.
• Secret “sneak and peek” searches under the Patriot Act.
• Classification of most government records. A reversal of the idea that government should be transparent, but people’s lives private.
• Legitimization of torture. (Obama said he made torture illegal — it already was, even when Bush authorized it. Those who authorized and carried it out must be indicted and tried. Obama doesn’t want to touch that possibility.)
• Special rendition (outsourcing torture, which Obama still upholds).
• Establishment of private military contractors like the mercenaries of Blackwater.
• Assertion of Executive supremacy through “signing statements.”
• Doctrine of “Unitary Executive,” elevating the Executive Branch above Congress and the Judiciary.
• The 2007 John Warner National Defense Act, which allows the President to deploy the National Guard of one state into another state without the permission of either governor.
• The contracting for $385 million with Kellogg, Brown, and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, for the construction of a detention camp meant not just for immigrants.
• The introduction of military commissions to try criminal cases.
• The assertion of the state secrets privilege to protect the government from lawsuits by victims of torture and government abuse. http://www.solidarity-us.org/site/node/2675.
Yes friends, this comes from a socialist website, but please don’t discount the facts, and the Socialists are the only ones that are telling you the truth. Don’t sit there and take in the crap the Republicans and Democrats are selling you. It just doesn’t add up. Where was the discussion of these actions by the Federal Government? Are these just issues that “terrorists” should be wary of? Remember that the Fed’s branded an OWS movement a “terrorist organization”. Where was the discussion on that? There was no discussion because there was no disagreement on how to deal with OWS.
The disparity of wealth in America
What can I say that the graph doesn’t tell you? Read the article. By the way, I tried to go to the University of California at Santa Clara article called “Who Rules America?” and was blocked for some reason. I just went back and it was up on the web again. This is probably the most definitive article on wealth distribution around. It’s no wonder that OWS is around. For those who believe it’s gone, don’t kid yourselves. As long as this problem exists, this movement will go on.
Trade Union Busting
This is a disturbing trend in America. When the government took over the auto industry, it essentially busted the auto workers union. It created a two-tier system. The auto workers that were there were forced to buy their healthcare. If this wasn’t bad enough, new auto workers had to come in at half the pay that existing auto workers were being paid. This was a plan that essentially made the auto workers buy into the company. Who actually won in the end…the shareholders. The auto workers union is dead meat.
Talking about dead meat, there are scores of trade unions in this country under attack. Where is the Democrats partnership with the unions? The Unions keep supporting the Democrats while the Democrats keep screwing them to the ground.
Union membership now bobs around 12 percent of the workforce. It has been this low before -- 80 years ago. In 1900, just 7 percent of Americans were union members. So an elegant economic explanation of the fall of unions (not to diminish the good political explanations, but we're an economic section) should also explain the rise of unions
The above article was from Derrick Thompson from The Atlantic, it’s an interesting read. Another good read is the article from The Washington Post “What Happens If America Loses It’s Unions?” Where was that discussion in the debate?
American Foreign Policy. What did we learn from that debate? Absolutely nothing. Both candidates agreed with each other. It was a virtual “love fest” between Romney and Obama. This “War on Terror” which has become a give-away to the defense contractors and has become a plan for American military “World Hegemony”
The Pentagon is preparing for more efficient future responses to 4GW so as to achieve what it, in Joint Vision 2020, calls “full spectrum dominance.”
Add to this that the historical memory of the American people tends to be short, and we can conclude that we must anticipate continuous U.S. military power projection, and with it, more 4GW challenges to meet it in some instances. Each challenge may come with significant global security costs: 4GW conflicts take place over long time periods, may spill over to neighboring countries, may lead to civil war, may increase illegal weapons trade, etc.
This is a problem that is really a breath-taking event in our lives. “Full Spectrum Dominance” is what Rome had for almost 400 years. In this day and age with the threat of nuclear weapons, is this a practical idea?
I spent almost 21 years in the Army. I worked with nuclear weapons for 12 of those years. I know how the military works. I’ve seen Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) used in Korea. The end result of SOFA was that US Forces in that country were virtually untouchable. I spent years in Korea doing things that would have put me in jail in America. That’s what SOFA does. I imagine Roman soldiers had similar agreements. The point I’m making is that SOFA agreements are totally one-sided. It was an amazing thing when the Iraqi government refused to sign a SOFA agreement with America. The reason America wanted it was to protect U.S. Forces from Iraqi law. SOFA agreements are in effect in Japan, Korea and I suspect many other countries that accept U.S. bases. They are agreements that accept US domination.
So what have we discussed here? We went over our loss of civil rights. The Constitution is really no longer in effect. We went over the disparity of wealth in this nation. We haven’t had such a disparity of wealth since the 1900’s. Wages are low, profits are high. This is what sparked the first progressive movement . I suspect that history will repeat itself with a Progressive Movement in the 21st Century. In other words, the real fight has just begun.
We discussed Trade Union busting. I suspect that Trade Unions will get smaller and eventually disappear, but something else will take their place. Workers in America are not especially happy doing slave labor for shareholders.
American Foreign Policy is something that affects every one of us. As long as this country is officially “at war”, the government has carte blanch to do with us as they will. This is becoming a real problem for dissidents and activists. We are becoming a “Police State” if we are not already.
Did we win a victory in this election? In a way yes and in a way no, the people rejected the far right but we had no real choice in this election. The facts are that we have had no real choice for decades. This country continually moves to the right. The powerful choose our candidates. We get to run candidates that gain no media attention or support from the government. The two-party system remains dominant because they control the election process. The truth is that we had no real choice in this election.
There is hope. The Progressive Movement could morph into a real movement. Capitalism has failed us. We need a new way forward. We need to reform this government. This will take courage and resolution. People can’t give up. We need to address these issues. What do we really want? The choice is ours to make. It’s up to the American people.
Tim Gatto is former Chairman of the Liberal Party of America, Tim is a retired Army Sergeant. He currently lives in South Carolina. He is the author of "Complicity to Contempt" and "Kimchee Days" available at Oliver Arts and Open Press. Tim Gatto's new book "Contempt to Outrage" will be available soon from Oliver Arts and Open
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