Clarke 4 Congress 2012

2012 Federal Issues

Fire the Democrats
 Fire the Republications
Do Not Vote For Either of Them,
But do Vote for Someone else for that Seat.
Tell Your Friends
-------- Brooke Clarke 4 July 2011 -------

7 Key Ideas


4 July 2011 Video

Clarke 4 Congress 2012




Democrats the same as Republicans on the big issues
The Problems
    Justice
    War
    Politicians & Campaign Money
    Words: Left Right Liberal Conservative
    The Economy
    Ethics
    Social Security & Health Care
    Approval
The Solutions
    Fire the Democrats and Fire the Repbulicans
    Ending the Purchase of Congress
    Ending War
    Ethics Reforms
    Monetary Reform
    Constitutional Convention
Related Web Pages

Democrats the same as Republicans on the big issues

The Democrats and Republicans have the same position about war, the economy, health care, justice. . . .   While running for office they tell voters what they want to hear, but when in office they don't even try to deliver on the campaign promises.  Obama is a good case in point.

In the 2012 2nd district Congressional race there are a number of Democrats saying things that the people want to hear, and they may even believe it themselves, but once in office they must follow their party line.  Even if they got elected without much help from thier party, if they don't follow the party line they will be replaced at the next election.

The two parties vote on party lines, not because of PAC or SuperPAC money, but because of the higher dollar value support they get from their respective national committees.  This shows up in Congressional votes that block bills and nothing gets done.

For an independent to make a change it's not necessary to have a majority.  Instead only a few votes are required to give a whole new complexion to Congress.  A very small number of independent votes can make all the difference in getting a bill passed or blocked.  This forces both parties to come up with good bills and court the independent votes.

Constructing Public Opinion: How Politicians and the Media Misrepresent the Public a documentary by Media Education Fund (6 min YouTube, small format full length preview)
based on the book: Constructing Public Opinion: How Political Elites Do What They Like and Why We Seem to go Along With It by Justin Lewis (2001)

This is a MUST watch video interview.
PBS - Bill Moyers Journal - WEB EXCLUSIVE: Glenn Greenwald - Transcript
Salon.com - Glenn Greenwald - With Liberty and Justice for Some (Book)

The Problems

Justice

Added this as a new problem category after reading the first chapter of the book "With Liberty and Justice for SOME: Who the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful" by Glenn Greenwald (2011).  It's very clear that the founding fathers and pretty much everyone up until Watergate believed that the law should apply to everybody equally and when it's didn't there was a move to make that happen.  If the law is not applied to everyone equally then it becomes a suggestion to those who are immune and so the Constitution no longer has any meaning.  Justice if for poor people, not the elite.

When Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon everything changed. 

After a number of the top administration officials were found guilty of felonies in the Iran-Contra arms for insurgents deal they all were pardoned.  While the Bush43 administration was doing it's ad campaign to gain support for attacking Iraq they brought up the fact that Saddam Hussein gassed his own people.  But they didn't mention that at that time the U.S. was supplying him with weapons of war.  The 1982 Boland Amendment which explicitly banned any government assistance to the Contras.

The Bush43 administration was carrying out wholesale wiretapping of U.S. citizens in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  During the cold war it was discovered by the Church Committee that the government was using it's wiretap privilege not to catch communists, but rather for political spying and that's where the FISA came from.  They violated: FISA, the Wiretap Act, the Communications Act and the Stored Communications Act.  As part of this illegal activity the telecommunications companies (with the exception of Quest who refused to break the law) were also liable to criminal prosecution.  So Congress passed a law in Aug 4, 2007 (emergency update to the FISA) granting them retroactive immunity.   As part of this the Bush43 administration dismantled the Dept. of Justice (DOJ).  The Bush43 administration went after QUEST by charging their CEO of insider trading.  Similar to their attack on Eliot Spitzer, i.e. they find a place where someone who is correct in the big picture is open to an attack on a much smaller issue.

In the case of Valerie Plame who was outed by the Bush43 administration because her husband was providing factual evidence that they were lying about WMDs. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was found guilty on two counts of perjury, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of making a false statement to Congress.  But Bush43 pardoned him in 2007.

Michael McConnell (Mr. revolving door) joined the private sector with the government in the area of security.  On July 9, 2008 Congress passed The FISA Amendment Act of 2008 that gave the telecom industry retroactive immunity for breaking the law.  Although he had promised to filibuster any bill that granted retroactive immunity to the telecoms and instead voted AGAINST the filibuster.  AT7T spent a fortune supporting the Democratic convention a couple of weeks after they were granted immunity.

During his campaign Obama talked of looking into any wrong doing during the Bush43 administration, but as soon as he was elected he's worked to block all attempts to bring any Bush43 official on felony charges.

In July 2010 hedge fund manager Martin Joel Erzinger at Morgan Stanley hit a bicyclist in Vail, Colorado and sped away.  The bicyclist suffered spinal cord injuries.  Instead of being charged with two felonies he receives a single misdemeanor charge and paid a small fine and he paid the victem, but no jail time, i.e. Too Big to Jail.

War

Since the Spanish-American war of 1898 the U.S. has been an (now the most) imperialist country in the world (Wiki).  After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 (Wiki) a group called Project for the New American Century PNAC (now called: Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI)) didn't want a "peace dividend" (Wiki) but rather saw this as a time to increase defense spending and (my paraphrase) for the U.S. to become king of the jungle and take whatever they want.  Their 1997 policy statement called for a regime change in Iraq.  Clinton signed the Iraw Liberation Act (Wiki) in 1998, calling for regime change.  This is where the Eisenhower's warning about the  Military Industrial Complex (Wiki) has ended up.  Note the driving force is not oil but rather the idea that the U.S. can take whatever it needs by military force.

Obama has continued the U.S. tradation of imperialist war mongering by attacking Libya.  No NATO county was attackes so NATO has no cause to go to war with Libya.  The UN Security Council only called for a no fly zone, wihch involves RADAR and jet fighters.  So using bombs on Libya is far outside the UN.  That leaves Obama with "When our interests and values are at stake", I don't see how that's a reason to start a war.

The key references are:
Against All Enemies (Wiki) by Richard Clarke (2004) (Amazon) - (Wiki) Starting with Bush41 through Bush43 head of counter terrorism
The Price of Loyalty (Wiki) by Paul O'Neill (2004) (Amazon) - (Wiki) Sec of Treasury under Bush43 & member of the National Security Council (Wiki)
Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire (Wiki) (2004 DVD) (Amazon) by  Julian Bond (Wiki) (My Review at Amazon)
--------------------- secondary references---------------
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism  (2007) (Wiki) (Amazon) by Naomi Klein (Wiki)
Review of Shock Doctrine by Herbert Gintis -
Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about lying in international politics (2011) by John J. Mearsheimer (Wiki)
War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death (DVD) (2007) (Wiki) by Loretta Alper, Jeremy Earp
For God's Sake: The Christian Right and US Foreign Policy (2008) by Lee Marsden - the Moral Majority and their like have a lot to say about policy

Conservatives Without Conscience (2006) by
John W. Dean - really about conservative Christians and why they are authoritarian.  Dean is a Goldwater conservative who is upset by what the Rebublican party has become.

Authoritarian governments are identified by ready government access to information about the activities of citizens and by extensive limitations on the ability of citizens to obtain information about the government.  In contrast, democratic governments are marked by significant restrictions on the ability of government to acquire information about its citizens and by ready access by citizens to information about the activities of government. 
- Robert G. Vaughn - American University   page xxxvi

The Authoritarians (officially free on line) by Bob Altemeyer (Wiki)

Whil reading Conservatives Without Conscience there was a reference to this free on line book, so I've been reading it.
People can be ranked on an authoritarian scale.  People like me score very low, and people who are in the moral majority score very high.  But this is different than religious belief and is a better predictor of many things.  One of the things people who score high on this scale do is fight wars.

But there is still a very high correlation between the Christian Right (Wiki) and high authoritarianism.
Christian Reconstructionism (Wiki) and Dominionism (Wiki) have a considerable influence on the Christian Right.  This is very similar to Islamism (Wiki) where the religious ideals take over the political and judicial  sytems.

American Theocracy : The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in The 21st Century (2007) by Kevin Phillips
While reading The Authoritarians I came across a description of this book and have it on order.

"religious conservatives have taken control of the Republican Party, turning it into the first religious party in U.S. history and endangering everyone else’s rights, the future of the country, and that of the world.  How did this happen?"

Authoritarian (Wiki)

Leo Strauss (Wiki) - at Univ of Chicago, like Milton Friedman (Wiki) Paul Wolfowitz was his student
Ayn Rand (Wiki)
In glossary of the book:  Seal Team Six (2011) by Howard E. Wasdin & stephen Templin they have:
CIA Christians In Action

Neocon Background (Where did the PNAC come from)

After Neoconservatism by Francis Fukuyama (Wiki) - This gets to the heart of the matter.
As Kristol and Kagan put it in their 2000 book "Present Dangers": "To many the idea of America using its power to promote changes of regime in nations ruled by dictators rings of utopianism. But in fact, it is eminently realistic. There is something perverse in declaring the impossibility of promoting democratic change abroad in light of the record of the past three decades."

This overoptimism about postwar transitions to democracy helps explain the Bush administration's incomprehensible failure to plan adequately for the insurgency that subsequently emerged in Iraq. The war's supporters seemed to think that democracy was a kind of default condition to which societies reverted once the heavy lifting of coercive regime change occurred, rather than a long-term process of institution-building and reform.

. . . the neoconservative position articulated by people like Kristol and Kagan was, by contrast, Leninist; they believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will. Leninism was a tragedy in its Bolshevik version, and it has returned as farce when practiced by the United States.

Movie:  Arguing the World  bio on neocons Irving Kristol is William "Bill" Kristol's father.

Movie: Ayn Rand: In Her Own Words.

DVD: Speaking Freely: Vol. 4: Chalmers Johnson
In 1991 the U.S. said we've won the cold war, but that's not true, we both lost.  So the U.S. started acting like Rome, building empire.  Imperialism leaeds to Militarism.
A country can have either domestic democracy or foreign imperialism (Wiki), but not both.  Imperialism is a form of tyranny (Wiki).  An example is Iraq today. 

When Iran revolted aginst the puppet dictator the U.S. had put in power in 1989 we lost our military bases in Iran.  When Saudi Arabia forced the U.S. to close (Wiki) the military base used for the Gulf War (Wiki) in 2003.  That left the U.S. without a major base in the region.  Johnson says getting a new base was one of the key reasons for the attack on Iraq in 2003.

In his farwell address George Washington said in paragraph 26 (Wiki):
26 It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.

Neither the Democrats nor the Repbulicans want to restore the balance of power (Wiki: Seperation of Powers) between the Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches.  They want to use the presidential powers for their own benefit.

G.W. Bush instituted signing statements (Wiki) which amounts to an unconstitutional line item veto.

Dianne Feinstein (Wiki) is on the defense subcommittee which funds the military.

*MUST SEE* Amy Goodman Interviews Glenn Greenwald *MUST SEE*
promoting his book "With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful"
http://www.democracynow.org/2011/10/26/glenn_greenwald_on_two_tiered_us

Politicians & Campaign Money

Politicians are highly motivated to get campaign money (either as part of an election campaign or as lobbying for a bill in process).  All the key players in the federal government have been bought and paid for.
Constructing Public Opinion: How Politicians and the Media Misrepresent the Public a documentary by Media Education Fund (6 min YouTube, small format full length preview)
based on the book: Constructing Public Opinion: How Political Elites Do What They Like and Why We Seem to go Along With It by Justin Lewis (2001)

60 Minutes: Jack Abramoff: The lobbyist's playbook - he says (paraphrased)  that it should be against the law for anyone who works in government to leave and work for any business that has dealings with politics.  That's to say stop the revolving door.  Even promising a staffer a job when they have completed their current assignment puts that staffer in the pocket of the K street lobbyists.

Words: Left Right Liberal Conservative

They no longer have any meaning.  Both the Republicans and Democrats are now far to the right.
Lefties by Mark Foire


The Young TurksBill Maher: Democrats Are the New Republicans






These words and the concept behind the Democrat and Republican parties relate to a 2-axis system (economic and social freedoms) that no longer is relevant to today's world.  The Democrats and Republicans for the past three decades have similar views on things like war, defense spending, health care, social security, etc.

The book The Authoritarians makes it clear that how the lawmakers behave depends more on their Authoritarian and Social Domination scores than on their party affiliation.

The Economy

The economic system determines how goods are allocated.

Marxism (Wiki)

The Soviet Union (U.S.S.R) was based on a Marxist (Wiki) economic system: "to each according to his needs".  The guns on the Berlin wall were pointing toward the Communist side to keep their people from escaping, they were not pointing outward to prevent people coming into the country.  There was no motive for anyone so things just got worse.  In order for central planning to work smoothly there can not be any unexpected events and so where socialism is the governing policy individual freedoms are not allowed.  This system failed.

Capitalism (Wiki)

The U.S., starting with Ronald Reagan, adopted Milton Friedman's (Wiki)  free market (Wiki) capitalism.  "To each according to his ability".  The result has been great for those few individuals who have become extremely rich, but bad for society as a whole.  This system failed during The Great Depression ( 1929 until W.W.II).  Laws were enacted to regulate the banks, but these laws were repealed in 1980 and 1999 leading to the current depression.

Something New - Nashism

John Nash (Wiki) proved the idea that Adam Smith (Wiki) was wrong about capitalism, i.e. "There's an invisible hand (Wiki)...).  This is the basis of the Repbulican (Milton Freeman) hands off form of Capitalism.  But Adam Smith was wrong as John Nash has shown.

There's two factors controlling what happens, first there's the classic Adam Smith idea that everyone is out for himself, but in addition there's an overriding benefit to be had by doing not what is in one's own self interest, but also what's in the interest of the group.  This is well illustrated in the bar scene in the movie A Beautiful Mind (IMDB). 

The Constitution is big on individual freedoms maybe to the point that they hurt society as a whole.  An example of this is the number of lawyers per capita (1 in 265 people in the U.S., only 1 in 1230 in Denmark).

A new system (Nashism) based on both doing what's in the best interest of a group (there can be many different groups) and at the same time doing what's in your own best interest would be a much better solution.  For example a single payer health care system (Wiki) makes more sense than any other option.  It amounts to a very large insurance system.  This is a case where by joining the group you get a personal benefit.  But since it's an insurance polity there will be limits on what's covered so those with more money can hire a private doctor to treat something that will not be covered for group members.

This potentially has the advantage of capitalism in motivating people and the advantage of socialism in helping those in need.

Work

The Puritan Ethic (Wiki: Protestant Work Ethic "Hard work and frugality were thought to be two important consequences of being one of the elect; thus, Protestants were attracted to these qualities, seeking to be obedient to God to whom they owed their salvation.") It's commonly paraphrased as "work hard and you will be rewarded".  The economic system is based on this idea, that wages are paid for "work".  But work can be accomplished in a number of ways.  For example:
Luis B. Kelso promoted the idea that workers should be paid in capital (stock of their company) in addition to being paid in money.  His "two factor theory of economics" used 1. Labor and 2. Capital.  But his "Capital" factor maybe should have been called "Energy".  That's to say the main thing doing work in today's world is energy not humans or animals or "capital". 

Starting about 1800 more and more of the "work" done has been by machines.  The source of their energy has been primary by burning something (wood, coal, oil).  The economic systems to not account for this change.

Monetary System

The Constitution has provision for the federal government to print money.  Through very unethical means including bribery, etc. Federal Reserve System (Wiki) came about even though it was being opposed by a majority of the people and a majority of Congress (the Federal Reserve Act vote was 23 Dec 1913 (Wiki) while many Congressmen were off on Christmas break).  The central bank has been responsible for most (if not all) the depressions in the history of the U.S.
The Money Masters (Google Video)  (3h:35m).

Ethics

There are a number of ethical problems in government and they all need to be fixed.  A number of them show up in this congressional report:
House Committee on the Judiciary Majority Staff Report to Chairman John Conyers, Jr. Jan 2009
Reining in the Imperial Presidency: Lessons and Recommendations Relating to the presidency of George W. Bush (pdf)

A big problem with lawmakers with high Authoritarian scores is that they don't care at all about equality and just give lip service to freedom.

Social Security & Health Care

The Social Security system is what's called a Ponzi Scheme (Wiki),

Multi Level Marketing (MLM) schemes also use the Ponzi method.  The idea is that those who are new pay money to those who have been there longer.  This works as long as the number of new people is greater than the number of old people, i.e. in a growing economy.  But a growing economy is not sustainable.

In Social Security it's not the case that you pay in money and you get back what you paid in plus some interest, rather what happens is that you get back all of what you paid in within a few years (ask someone you know who is getting SS income the total they paid in and their monthly benefit and do the math).  So the comment by Bernie Sanders about the current surplus does not mean much.  The SS system depends on the current workers to pay the benefits of those who are getting benefits, i.e. a Ponzi Scheme that can only work if the workforce/economy is growing.  But nothing can grow forever.

If the workforce/economy decreases then within a few years there will not be enough money to pay the benefits.  This is now happening in Europe, Japan, etc.

I think it's a good idea to remove the cap on SS tax as Sanders is proposing, but I question if that's enough.  I also agree that privatizing SS is a huge mistake, how many people do you know who can retire on their 401k benefits?  I think what's going to happen is they will raise the age when you can start to get SS benefits and remove the cap on SS tax.  This is going to be more acceptable than cutting benefits for those already getting them. 

One of the expenses of the SS system is providing Medicare to retired people.  This would be much more efficient if the whole country was on a single payer health care system, but Obama sold us out and took that off the table right from the start.  I predict that the Obama Care plan will increase the health care insurance rates of working people a lot when the plan is fully phased in. That's when you the reader of this web page can fire the Democrats and fire the Republicans by voting for anyone else.  This is most important in the House of Representatives and Congress.

Approval

The polls show that the approval rating of the U.S. Congress is very low (maybe the lowest possible?).  See:
Congress’ approval problem in one chart at The Washington Post 11/15/2011 where The IRS, lawyers, Nixon during Watergate, Banks, Oil & Gas Industry, BP During the Oil Spill, Paris Hilton all have a higher approval rating.
Gallup Congressional Approval 2001 - 2009
The Feb 2012 Gallup poll shows approval at a new low of 10%.  

It took a lot of searching to find anything with an approval rating as low as congress. 
Congressmen have the lowest rating and are tied with car salesmen. 

The message here is to fire them all and elect a completly new congress.

Gallup poll of Professions & their Ethics

The Solutions

Fire the Democrats and Fire the Repbulicans

The first step is to vote for another canidate rather than vote for either a Democrat or Republican.  They need a clear message that they no longer are responsive to what the people want. 

New Political Party

A new political party is needed based on a multi-axis concept rather than the 2-axis economic-social concept (Wiki:Nolan Chart) that's long been obsolete.  The axis might be based on freedoms such as: freedom from war & terrorism, unreasonable searches and seizures, right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury (i.e. things that have been taken out of the Bill of Rights by the Patriot Act), assembly, association, movement, religion, speech, press, thought, privacy, to bear arms, of women to vote, Scientific, Academic, Economic.  Many of these should not be "Free" but rather balanced between the needs of society and the individual.  The Constitution leans toward individual freedoms over the needs of society.

Ending the Purchase of Congress

Campaign Finance Reform (Wiki) is one of the first things that are needed to decrease the outside influence on Congress.  There are other things that also need to be done to prevent the revolving door (Wiki), Regulatory capture (Wiki) and a host of other Ethics Violations.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

This was sent to me as an email and it looks like a good idea.

1. Term Limits. 12 years only, one of the possible options below.
A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
2. No Tenure / No Pension.
 A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
3. Congress (past , present and future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
 7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.

Ending War

For many decades the office of the President has taken over the right of Congress, as spelled out by the Constitution, to declare war.  Although the people want to end war, Congress is powerless to do this for a number of reasons.  First, the industrial-military complex wants war and so there are campaign contributions and lobbying money that a Congressman stands to loose if he votes to stop war.  Second, it's almost impossible to pass any legislation when both houses are split 50-50 on party lines.  Campaign Finance Reform needs to come first.

Ethics Reforms

This involves a number of areas.

Monetary Reform

American Monetary Institute has put a lot of effort into this topic and needs Congressional support. 
Note:  The economic system must ve viable assuming no growth.

Constitutional Convention (Wiki)

Related Web Pages

Clarke For Congress 2012
Ethics
Aug 2011 Complex version of this web page
Monetary System
Politicians & Campaign Money
Research on Reasons for Iraq War
War
Words: Left Right Liberal Conservative

Brooke Clarke © 2011 - 2012