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Hoodwinked Hijacked & Bushwhacked!

It's Time For A Change!

July 21, 2008 - In November there is a real opportunity for America and the World to experience some actual Change. For too long people have been led down a path of destruction that has now reached the tipping point on a number of fronts. This article is about that path and some of the Changes so desperately needed. Rather than go into great detail about many of the root causes, I have posted links to relevant sites where the reader may explore these issues more fully.

For the past several months I have been keeping an ever expanding list of areas to explore. Areas where the next U.S. Administration should immediately direct their efforts to bring about Change. The first item on the list is the American Government. The current leadership in Washington has been the most destructive government in the history of the United States. George Bush and his cronies have brought about a hatred for America that will be extremely difficult to correct. Their leadership has been as destructive to the world as Hurricane Katrina was to Louisiana and Mississippi. The monetary loss worldwide is incalculable. Congress has done little, if anything, to stop this madness. They continue to fund an unpopular war while they support George Bush in shredding the Constitution. Their popularity has hit an all time low. We need to replace all of them!

So, what led to this latest crisis? Speculation and greed!

We could start with the Panic of 1837 , when every bank stopped payment in gold and silver coinage causing a five year depression that led to widespread unemployment.

In 1907 there was a similar crisis which led to a bailout by J.P. Morgan with his own capital and ultimately the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913 as a substitute for a central bank. The plan adopted in the original Federal Reserve Act called for the creation of a System that contained both private and public entities and a single new United States currency, the Federal Reserve Note .

Since its creation the Federal Reserve has been criticized as a tool of the rich and powerful, giving private bankers the ability to manipulate the monetary system in the U.S. for their own personal benefit. Many have called for the repeal of the Federal Reserve Act. Poor policy decisions within the Federal Reserve and a continuing crisis in the banking system eventually led to the Great Depression of 1929 which, similar to today's financial situation, led to a worldwide economic collapse. Cheap credit fueled strong short-term growth but created consumer and commercial debt.

Today, in addition to numerous other problems, the World is teetering on the brink of yet another Great Depression. Fueled primarily by property and oil speculation, we are faced with global restructuring that is affecting three fundamental necessities of life: food, water and fuel. In 1776 Adam Smith published his famous book, The Wealth of Nations. In it he said, “A monopoly granted either to an individual or to a trading company has the same effect as a secret in trade or manufactures. The monopolists, by keeping the market constantly under-stocked, by never fully supplying the effectual demand, sell their commodities much above the natural price, and raise their emoluments, whether they consist in wages or profit, greatly above their natural rate. The price of monopoly is upon every occasion the highest which can be got. The natural price, or the price of free competition, on the contrary, is the lowest which can be taken, not upon every occasion indeed, but for any considerable time altogether. The one is upon every occasion the highest which can be squeezed out of the buyers, or which, it is supposed, they will consent to give: The other is the lowest which the sellers can commonly afford to take, and at the same time continue their business.”

The latest World Crisis actually began in 2000 and continued in 2004 when the Republicans literally hijacked the presidential election by cleverly disenfranchising millions of voters These elections produced what is arguably the worst president the U.S. has ever had, George W. Bush.

He managed to pretty much stay beneath the radar until that fateful day of September 11, 2001 when the twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed leading to much controversy. Among the testimony left out of the 911 Commission report was that of William Rodriguez, a janitor in the North Tower during the 911 attacks. For a short period Bush and America enjoyed worldwide support until the neocons began rattling the war saber at Iraq and Saddam Hussein. This led to the disastrous Iraq War which was based on lies and has cost the lives of more than 4000 “coalition” forces and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Shortly after 911, President Bush urged Americans to “go shopping,” and then in 2006 as the war dragged on, he recommended “go shopping more!” Additionally oilman Bush and his Chaney Energy Policy quietly maneuvered the price of oil from an average of $23.00 per barrel in 2001 to a recent high of $145.00 in July 2008. The result is all forms of transportation are in serious trouble. Airfares are literally driving customers away which is having a ripple effect on many travel related businesses. Truckers and fishermen are giving up their rides because they can no longer compete and this is helping to raise the cost in transportation and food products. All of this has given us the Orwellian control doled out by the Department of Homeland Security Insecurity driven by the constant drumbeat of fear, fear, fear! President Bush has fanned the flame of terrorism with his “you're with us or against us” attitude.

Meanwhile the Subprime Loan Crisis coupled with the high fuel prices has created a global financial crisis which has dropped the dollar to its lowest value in 26 years, bankrupted thousands of businesses, caused widespread unemployment, and led to foreclosure on millions of home mortgages. Much of this is due to poor or non-regulation. Some of it is fueled by out and out criminal activity, but the great bulk of the problem is directly due to uncontrolled speculation. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer or poor people are poor because rich people are rich! The gulf between the haves and the have-nots widens every day.

To make matters worse the Bush neocons have launched a massive biofuel program which is turning corn into ethanol and biodiesel as a substitute for gasoline and diesel. While the government and agriculturists deny that this conversion of food crops into fuel has had any effect on the rapidly rising costs of food, the World Bank disagrees. The World Bank study, the most detailed analysis of the global food crisis so far, concludes that biofuels have forced "food prices up by 75%." While Bush and his fat cats are getting rich, the rest of the World is plunging deeper into poverty Many people in the Executive and Judicial Branches of Government should be held criminally responsible for the worldwide dilemma they have caused. One of the greatest failures of the Democratically controlled Congress is that they refused to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney. Where are the checks and balances?

To make matters worse companies like Monsanto are genetically modifying seed which has led to worldwide problems in agriculture The need to purchase genetically modified seed is but one reason that has led to more than 100,000 suicides by farmers in India during the last decade

Trade agreements such as NAFTA have had a devastating effect on employment and now the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are working on the Security and Prosperity Partnership -SPP- which, with no Congressional input is creating an unequal alliance dominated by the U.S., which can only exacerbate the crisis we now face

Now, let's talk about Change. Barak Obama has based his campaign around Change. His fiery speeches have drawn thousands who see Obama as a ray of light in the tunnel of darkness that President Bush has led the World into. President Bush has made terrorism the hallmark of his presidency. He has done just about everything to alienate Muslims while angering most of the population of the entire World. His wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the U.S. treasury deep in debt. Obama has promised to try to end the Iraq War within 16 months. At the same time he has said he will increase forces in Afghanistan as well as increasing the U.S. military in both numbers and their budget. He has also said he will negotiate with those whom the U.S. believes to be unfriendly or of some threat. So, here are my recommendations to Senator Obama should he be so lucky as to capture the election in November.

End the Iraq War as quickly as possible. Talk directly to the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds and get their opinions rather than simply relying on U.S. generals and advisers. Close the Green Zone. Get rid of mercenaries such as tax payer supported Blackwater. Get all troops out of Iraq.

In Afghanistan we need to have an open dialog with the forces who oppose us. Peace and compromise should be the only expedients. We cannot afford to expand this war. Granted Bin Laden and the Taliban have caused great problems, but to simply label them terrorists and refuse to do anything but attempt to kill them is fool hearty. You cannot win democracy with the point of a gun! Poverty is a large part of the Afghanistan problem as well. For generations people have grown opium poppies most of the time in plain view to supply the World drug market. The U.S. has turned a blind eye to this crop. Perhaps it's time to legalize most drugs and control them like alcohol. Negotiate a lasting peace and get out of Afghanistan.

Rather than constantly threatening Iran with war, the U.S. must sit down and negotiate a peace settlement which will allow Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear power.

While on the subject of negotiation, the U.S. must immediately take the lead to negotiate a permanent peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This wound has festered for 60 years and will never be solved unless the Palestinians are made a part of a one-state solution within Israel or are given their own state based upon the 1967 borders. America's one-sided support of Israel is one of the main problems fueling the unrest in the Middle East and hatred of America. Polls within Israel and Palestine show that their people want peace. The stumbling block is a relative handful of Zionists in Israel and their supporters and lobbyists in the U.S. The U. S. needs to talk directly with Hamas and Hezbollah. The only reason they are “terrorists” is because we drove them into it. They have no real desire to kill us or Israelis. They simply wish to live in peace like we do. Talk to them!

As to military might, the U.S. does not need a larger military. America now spends more per year than the other 9 countries combined who spend the most on their military. And that does not include the money going down a rat hole in Iraq! The U.S. has more than 2,500,000 serving worldwide. The total of America's military bases in other people's countries in 2005, according to official sources, was 737. We should close most of these foreign bases and bring our troops home.

While I'm on the subject of peace, the United States needs to sign the Land Mine and Cluster Bomb Treaties NOW! There is no excuse for not banning these terrible weapons which claim mostly civilian victims.

Another treaty that needs to be signed is the Koyoto Protocol on Climate Change. 182 countries have ratified this agreement, but the U.S. continues to refuse to take this important step toward controlling global climate change.

Again, on peace, close Guantanamo! Give the prisoners the same rights America would demand to be given to American prisoners. While you're at it, give Guantanamo back to Cuba. Repeal the hastily written Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and repeal the newly agreed upon FISA Act. Restore habeas corpus. The writ of habeas corpus has historically been an important instrument for the safeguarding of individual freedom against arbitrary state action. Restore the 4th Amendment. These actions need to be taken immediately. The U.S. cannot afford to wait and hold long meaningless discussions about these terrible laws.

Speaking of law, hopefully the Democrats will win control of the House and Senate along with the Presidency. Should that happen, they need to replace of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Neither has done anything constructive since they obtained their positions. Furthermore Senator Joe Lieberman should be stripped of any committee appointments. Let him become the Republican he obviously is. The Judiciary Committee needs to thoroughly investigate the Bush Administration's criminal activities. And, a new 911 Commission should search for the truth and attempt to answer numerous unanswered questions about this tragic event.

It's also time for a little Constitutional revision. When our forefathers wrote that document, the average lifespan was somewhere near 33 years. There is no way they could have contemplated that judges, Senators and Congressmen would hold office well into their 70s, 80s, and beyond. Lifetime appointments to the bench are a joke and can only cause more harm as people live longer. I think the rules should change so that judges, Senators and Congressmen can only serve for a maximum of 20 years or until they reach 65, whichever comes first. After that give them a substantial retirement and fill the halls of Justice and Congress with new blood.

One of the first steps the new Congress should take is to repeal the Federal Reserve Act and replace it with a “real” Central Bank under control of the Treasury and not private bankers.

Senate and Congressional rules should also be changed so that all members are required to actually be on the floor during all discussions and debates. To watch these people talk endlessly to an empty chamber on CSPAN breaks my heart! Because the members rarely hear arguments pro and con for the legislation they pass, much of the actual decision making is based upon staff advisories or party arm twisting. This is not governance! Surely the schedules can be changed so that certain days are devoted to committee meetings while others are designated as days when all members are on the floor to actually participate in the legislation they passing or rejecting.

Rules should also be made and enforced regarding ethics, corruption and bribes. Campaigns should be held only from August to election day. Retiring members should not be able to work as lobbyists for a period of 5 years following their last day in office. There needs to be real campaign reform that takes the election process away from lobbyists and corporations. Senators and Congressmen are supposed to represent ALL of the people! These measures can all be accomplished if, and only if, there is real desire on the part of the new president and the Congressional leaders to finally bring about honest and needed change.

Jury nullification of law, as it is sometimes called, is a traditional American right defended by the Founding Fathers. "If a juror accepts as the law that which the judge states then that juror has accepted the exercise of absolute authority of a government employee and has surrendered a power and right that once was the citizen's safeguard of liberty." 1788 I Elliot's Debates, 94, Bancroft, History of the Constitution, 267 Those Patriots intended the jury serve as one of the tests a law must pass before it assumes enough popular authority to be enforced. Thus the Constitution provided five separate tribunals with veto power -- representatives, senate, executive, judges and jury -- that each enactment of law must pass before it gains the authority to punish those who choose to violate it. Thomas Jefferson said, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.

In 1895, the Supreme Court, under pressure from large corporations, ruled in a bitter split decision that courts no longer had to inform juries they could veto an unjust law. Despite the courts' refusal to inform jurors of their historical veto power, jury nullification in liquor law trials was a major contributing factor in ending alcohol prohibition. Today in many states jurors often refuse to convict under the marijuana prohibition laws.

On to energy policy. Other than benefiting a handful of Bush supporters, there is no reason to continue the dependence upon oil. The technology is already here to totally eliminate oil dependence in as little as 10 years. If biofuels are to be a part of the future they should be made out of cellulosic material and not food or feed crops

Wind and solar power are there just waiting for an enlightened government to finally adopt them as an alternative to petrofuels. Increasing the public transportation systems throughout the country will greatly reduce the need for private transportation. In fact the U.S. had a significant public transportation system which was intentionally destroyed by a handful of greedy corporations Many of these systems could and should be rebuilt. Not only will they greatly lessen the energy burden, but their construction and operation will provide many needed jobs. The same can be said about all of the alternate energy sources. Embracing them now will promote energy stability, lessen global climate change and provide millions of jobs. Altogether a win-win situation! Along with transportation and alternate energy, America needs a robust program of repairing and upgrading its infrastructure while creating new jobs at the same time.

Health care is another hotly debated subject in this year's campaign. The reality is that the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee access to health care as a right of citizenship. The reason for this is located in Washington DC. The medical industry and their hired lobbyists don't want it and they annually pay Congressmen and Senators huge sums to make sure they don't do something foolish like the right thing! Senator Obama talks about a pie in the sky “Universal Health Care Plan,” but this is nothing more than repackaging of the same old thing. The time has come to rectify this situation and legislate real single payer health care that guarantees every citizen the right to quality health care.

Millions of retired Americans now live abroad where they can obtain quality medical care at substantially reduced prices compared to those charged in the U.S. However their Medicare benefits will not pay for medical care out of the U.S. and untold billions have been wasted because these people are forced to return to the U.S. for their medical care. Perhaps it's time that Congress looked into changing this inequity.

The new president can do the “right” thing and finally normalize relations with Cuba. The U.S. human rights abuses at Guantanamo far outweigh those of Cuba! Then we could accept Castro's offer to train American students in Cuba to become doctors and return to the U.S. to serve in intercity and rural health clinics

Speaking of Cuba, they have instituted a very successful program of cultivating food crops on small plots. Cuba's urban farming program has been a stunning, and surprising, success. The farms, many of them on tiny plots, now supply much of Cuba's vegetables. They also provide 350,000 jobs nationwide with relatively high pay and have transformed eating habits in a nation accustomed to a less-than-ideal diet of rice and beans and canned goods from Eastern Europe. I see no reason why this program could not be implemented in the U.S.

The U.S. should lead the World in developing and using sustainable organic farming. Food is not really the problem, distribution is and because of it, millions worldwide starve each year. Agricultural runoff is causing huge dead zones in rivers, seas, and oceans. A handful of corporations are attempting to totally control worldwide agriculture and they must be stopped. Along with better agricultural practices, the World needs to invest substantially in new desalination technology and do everything possible to improve water quality.

In the U.S. the system of justice is based upon Punitive Justice. Rehabilitation is not the name of the game. Prisons have been privatized as “for profit” institutions which goes totally against the grain of justice The U.S. currently has more than 7 million citizens under some type of judicial control. Many of these people have been charged with non violent and minor drug crimes. Little or no effort is made to rehabilitate anyone with the result that offenders are continuously recycled through the system. America should also end the death penalty!

Harping back to the opium poppies in Afghanistan, all drugs should be legalized and controlled just like alcohol. As you cannot win democracy from the point of a gun, you can never win this endless War on Drugs. Prison populations could be reduced by 70% with just this one move. Taxes from legalized drugs could go a long way toward funding educational and health programs. If rehabilitation and education become the hallmark of the prison systems, further reductions in recidivism can be achieved. As it stands today the only people benefiting from the War on Drugs are the drug czars and numerous public officials from policemen to border guards who willingly look the other way for a financial gain. It's time to end this War!

And, finally, in global groups such as the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and NAFTA need to add the letter “P” to their initials. The “P” stands for People, the one and main ingredient which is constantly left out of any trade related negotiation. Instead of closing factories and/or moving them far away, globally conscious corporations should begin thinking about establishing many smaller plants to supply the country they sell their product in and to employ local people. All of the so-called “fair trade” agreements need to be renegotiated so that People and not corporations are the main beneficiaries.

With Bush's “No Child Left Behind” program, many children are being left, not only behind, but totally out of the loop. There's no “P” in his program. Teachers need more pay. Good teachers need to be offered incentives to teach in difficult or rural locations. Schools need to be built and repaired. To cut record dropout rates students need to be offered vocational training. Reading and comprehension should be the only goals during the first few years of education. If they can't read and understand, they will never learn other subjects. College must be affordable.

There are many other areas needing Change, but the ones listed above are seriously in need of Change NOW. If Obama is elected, he cannot afford to waste even one minute in bringing about these Changes. If he is not elected, the People of America and the World will be the real losers.

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