This is the personal blog of Rick Staggenborg, MD. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Take Back America for the People, an educational 501.c3 nonprofit established by Dr Staggenborg.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011


Fundamentalists in the US, Iran and elsewhere have a point in saying that the US is the cause of the world's moral decline. As the place where modern "democracy" was born, the United States has been a testing ground for the experiment to determine whether it is possible that a free People can rule itself. Plato warned us in his Republic how easy it is to manipulate the masses, most of whom have no concern for anything but their immediate needs and wants. Democracy is not possible in a nation that cannot put the needs of the least among it above those of the elite that inevitable arises to control them if not prevented from doing so by the majority. 

America is in decline precisely because its citizens have lost faith in their ability to govern themselves. In good times it seemed enough to take advantage of America’s unique opportunities and turn a blind eye to the fact that its prosperity was the result of international corporate terrorists who had caused the World Wars and who were quietly assuming control of all the levers of power in the US government. We are now paying the price of complacency and must again engage ourselves in the messy business of electoral politics if we want the children of the world to know the blessings of freedom for which so many good men and women throughout the world have died to defend.
When an ostensibly democratic society becomes rich from the spoils of war, its people forget to protect themselves against their own government and the men who control it. In times of  prosperity as in the decades following WWII, it was easy to think of oneself as an “American” without stopping to think about what that meant. The “greatest” generation was given a reward for fighting fascism that should be the birthright of every person in a democratic society: A free education, medical care and an equal opportunity to share in the American dream of individual prosperity as the result of their own hard work. Now the survivors of that generation and their self-absorbed children of the next have given away democracy to the very fascist powers that the West mobilized to fight in WWII.

It is in adversity that Americans have traditionally come to the realization that if they are to have a government of, by and for the People, they must do so together. When the Robber Barons controlled the US government the union movement began. Workers put their lives on the line for their families and their fellow workers. In 1901 an assassin’s bullet thrust Theodore Roosevelt into the Presidency, from which he fought for the rights of the common man and recognized for the first time the right of workers to be represented in negotiations with their corporate adversaries. It is because that realtionship remained adversarial that unions became ever stronger until a degree of parity was reached such that the worker eventually earned a fair day’s wage for a fair days work. A thriving middle class created a market for the goods that used to be manufactured in America with pride.

During the Great Depression, the great mass of Americans awoke to the fact that the Roaring Twenties had been an illusion of wealth for all. With 25% of breadwinners out of work, homes foreclosed by the millions, family farms lost and Washington insisting that things would work out through the magic of the free market, people emerged from the Matrix and experienced reality one again. They responded by rejecting the lie that workers rights and a social safety net were “communist” ideas. They elected a man who would put the interests of Main Street over those of Wall Street and the greatest period of prosperity in American history followed.

While true that ultimately it was the boom in jobs created by WWII that pulled America out of its depression, the more essential truth is that deficit spending had been working until Roosevelt became nervous about the growing deficit and acceded to Republican demands to scale back government spending. This was at a critical time before the private sector was prepared to pick up the slack and keep the economy moving forward with robust job growth. The predictable result was that unemployment began moving upward while Republicans of the time claimed this was proof that stimulus spending to create jobs did not work and that therefore the nation could not afford to take care of the poor created by economic policies designed by those who were elected to make the rich richer.

America is going through much the same problems now that it experienced during the Great Depression. Once again, Republicans in Congress are claiming that the deficit is the result of the costs of the social safety net and stimulus spending that they made sure to water down with tax cuts for the wealthy. Corporations are argued to be the “job creators” and therefore deserving of keeping as much of the wealth produced by workers as possible. They defend the costs of the military-industrial complex as if the jobs it produced were worth the cost in lives and human misery of what has become endless war for corporate Empire. They continue to have faith in the free market that they have made sure will never exist will guide America back to prosperity. They argue that government must shrink small enough to be drowned in a bathtub so that it cannot get in the way of the corporate vultures that are determined to strip the bones of America’s once vibrant economy.

Each of these myths is demonstrably false, so why do Americans continue to accept that they still have the ability to pull themselves up by the bootstraps when the economy has been destroyed by international corporate terrorists not loyal to any nation or its Peoples, souless creatures that exist only to increase their power and wealth? The reasons are plain, but the corruption of the the elected representatives of both major Parties that manage our nation ensures that until the American Revolution is complete, ours will be a government of, by and for the corporations rather than We the People.

Plato’s warned that self-interested men by their nature would seek power and influence in a democratic society. This assumption is directly contrary to the assumption that a free People are good enough to govern themselves. As he predicted, Sophists have twisted language so that free men and women have chosen to live in the Matrix of this false reality instead of the realworld, where the only way a nation can survive is to assure that the rights of all are ensured. This then is the crux of the problem: Can citizens of the US achieve the Tectonic Paradigm Shift in American consciousness that will be necessary to end fascism in America for good, or will they miss the historic opportunity to free themselves and the world from economic slavery forever?

The answer lies in whether Americans can learn to think of themselves as each a part of a seamless whole that is the world society. If we can first learn to abandon false distinctions among ourselves, we will inevitable come to see that the best interests of every person on the planet are best served by assuring liberty and justice for every inhabitant of the planet, an Earth whose fate hangs in the balance. Only when we achieve this will we have proven ourselves worthy of self rule.

Let us consider the major obstacles that must be overcome to reach this state of transformation of human civilization into one that will be able to guarantee our posterity wil live in a free world, secure in the belief that they need never fear war or poverty again:

Americans must start by recognizing that our so-called leaders in Congress and the White House are Puppets of the international corporate terrorists that control them by choosing who will represent them in Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court that gave them personal rights that were endowed only to humans by their Creator. We the People are the creators of corporations and it is our God-given right to control them. It will take a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood to establish for the first time a true democracy in the United States.

Next, partisan supporters of both corporate Parties in the Duopoly that rules America in the interests of the economic elite must abandon the delusion that any candidate with a D or R after their name will best serve their interests. In some cases this may be true, but in the vast majority of cases they will succumb to the lure of power offered to them by their corporate masters. The only way to end this system of fascism is to abandon party distinctions and put aside ideological differences in order to elect members of Congress willing to support a constitutional amendment that will end corporate power over the US government and create a new one that will truly be of, by and for the People.

In order to achieve such a coming together of the Left and Right to close circle around the economic aristocrats who would make us economic slaves in a permanent fascist New World Order, we must learn to speak to those with whom we differ politcically. We must recognize that we are all in this together and each of us shares blame for letting democracy nearly slip from our hands. Only when we begin to regard each other as fellow Americans and citizens of the world will we reclaim the power of a People united to determine their individual and collective destinies.

A key piece of the strategy must be to create a worldwide ecumenical movement dedicated to the twin causes of justice and peace for every man, woman and child on Earth. With over 80% of Americans and the vast majority of the rest of the world professing to believe in God, we simply cannot ignore the obvious fact that we must have these believers on our side. We must convince them that in each of us there is a spiritual side that compels us to seek liberty and justice for all, even when it conflicts with our selfish animal nature. If we achieve this, the message of all the great prophets will be clear and the hate-filled fundamentalists will have no sway over the sheep they have led willingly toward slaughter.

Fundamentalists in every religion have always used the pulpit to advance whatever ideas serve them. The Bible can be interpreted in many ways and has been used to justify capital punishment, war and other acts that Christ and other revered spiritual leaders throughout history would clearly have condemned. The basic message of all religions is the same: We are all one People under God and our individual and collective fates are interdendent. Only by recognizing that each of us has inherent value and a duty to serve the interests of all can the worldwide Revolution succeed and the destruction of human civilization averted.

We know that the corporate media and politicians manufactures crises to deflect blame from their own corruption. Wars are said to be fought for the freedoms our so-called “enemies” hate and our children are sent to war to expand and defend the corporate Empire that will eslave us all if we cannot unite now. The Puppets in Congress and the White House each blame "the other side," pitting American against American and delaying the inevitable: the culmination of the Revolution and the dawning of true democracy in the United States and the world. If we can learn to see beyond the self-imposed artificial distinctions that we allow to divide us, we can ensure that liberty and justice for all will be preserves for the rest of human history.

Monday, December 12, 2011



Most discussions of how to pass a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood dismiss what is likely to be the only possible solution. Instead of calling for a constitutional convention as argued by Lawrence Lessig, the Young Turks and others, we should be focusing our efforts on getting an amendment introduced into Congress. While a number of prominent amendment advocates regard this as impossible, the idea of calling for a constitutional convention is far less plausible and much more complicated. With the rapid expansion of corporate power in the politics of the United States, we simply do not have the time to spend focusing exclusively on the unlikely goal of getting a constitutional convention.

The assumption behind the skepticism of those who reject the idea of getting an amendment introduced into Congress is that it won’t pass because Congress as a body is too corrupt. This is clearly true, but recent events belie that argument. There are now some half dozen amendment proposals introduced in Congress. While the initial timid attempts were worse than useless, public and private pressure has led to several that are worth considering as each has elements that could be incorporated  into an even better amendment. As more come out in favor of such an amendment, support for it can become a prominent campaign issue. This will enable the public to easily discern between candidates wishing to be elected to serve corporate interests and those who intend to work for the citizens who actually elect them.

With nearly 80 percent of both self-identified liberals and conservatives opposed to Citizens United, we can make support for such an amendment a litmus test in every subsequent congressional election where we can find candidates willing to take a pledge to amend, as dozens did in 2010. On May 22 at the Green Festival in Seattle, Kucinich publicly pledged to actively work to get cosponsors in Congress. We can hope that it is in part his work behind the scenes that is in part responsible for the flurry of amendments that have been introduced in the last few weeks, but certainly some of the credit goes to those who are posing this question publicly to candidates and incumbents. Others are working directly with members of Congress. Free Speech for People's John Bonifaz and Jeff Clements deserve credit for first encouraging Barbara Lee to introduce a toothless amendment and then getting Congressman McGovern to put a much better version on the floor.

Average Americans can help get an even stronger amendment on the floor by making their members of Congress know that we will support them if they do. One way to do this is by gathering petition signatures and passing resolutions at local and state levels calling on their members of Congress to introduce and champion the amendment. In the Arizona House District of Raul Grajalva, the Executive Director of Abolish Corporate Personhood Now has single-handedly gathered nearly 3,000 signatures for a petition in favor of the introduction of an amendment abolishing corporate personhood. Paul Winger reports that over 95 percent of those he has approached in his door-to-door effort have been eager to sign the petition. As a member of the National Council of Alliance for Democracy, I have proposed a campaign to solicit endorsements to a pledge to amend from 2012 candidates for Congress. The campaign will be very similar to the one carried out by Public Citizen in 2010, though the wording of the pledge will be different. The Public Citizen campaign resulted in dozens of candidates declaring their support for an amendment that would strip corporations of the “right” to pay for the election campaigns of their favored candidates.

Imagine the difficulty a contender for national office would have convincing voters that they will represent their interests if they oppose the one measure that would assure that they cannot win election by soliciting corporate money. Once the amendment is passed, members of Congress would have no choice but to serve the people because they won’t be able to depend on propaganda campaigns financed by the corporate interests who put our current crop of legislators in office. Thus, a strategy designed to get an amendment introduced and passed in Congress is feasible because it should gain wide support of voters across the political spectrum who recognize that this is not a partisan issue, regardless of how the corporate media spins it. This is the essential strategy of the Pledge to Amend campaign.

In contrast, the idea of a constitutional convention is widely opposed by both liberals and conservatives. Both are justly concerned about the results of a convention where a fundamental restructuring of the constitution could conceivably take place.  Coming from fundamentally different perspectives, neither camp would be willing to take the risk that the other side would hold the day in an open convention. The process would also run the risk of being subverted by the same corporate interests that we are trying to challenge. It is hard to imagine that we would do any better selecting representatives for the convention than we do when we select our representatives in Congress. It seems unlikely that in the end there would be many who would want to take that chance. 

The idea of calling for a constitutional convention has one merit, however. It is a way to get students, union members and others who understand the threat to democracy posed by corporate personhood involved in the grassroots educational movement needed to convince our legislators that they have no real choice but to support the amendment if they wish to keep their privileged positions. With tens of thousands of students and union activists on the streets, going door to door and speaking to groups and individuals about the idea of a constitutional convention, the level of public understanding of the need for an amendment could grow exponentially. Members of the Occupy movement have passed resolutions both in General Assemblies and in city councils, most recently in Los Angeles.

There are members of Congress who have shown that they are passionately committed to democracy and to addressing the many critical needs of the nation that their less idealistic colleagues seem willing to ignore or to treat with half-solutions that always seem to benefit their corporate patrons. It is our job to convince them that the only path forward is to challenge their colleagues to choose between the people of the United States and the corporate plutocracy on which both major parties have come to depend for campaign cash.  With the recent spate of amendments, they know now that they will not be alone in challenging the corruption of Congress by corporate money.

Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley are two senators who clearly understand the problem. Sanders recently introduced an amendment in the Senate that is virtually identical to the Deutsch amendment previously introduced in the House. While it explicitly bans most corporate money in politics and authorizes Congress and the states to limit individual contributions to campaigns, it has the fatal flaw of exempting unions and nonprofit corporations. What is to stop a nonprofit like Citizens United from using this exemption to continue lobbying as if nothing had changed? For Merkley's part, he became a co-sponsor of the far worse Udall bill that would merely give Congress the authority to regulate corporate money, a power our corrupt Congress would clearly never use if by some miracle it passed.

Senator Merkley is listening. He has privately withdrawn his support for the Udall amendment and his staff is looking at alternatives such as the recently released Move to Amend version. It can fairly be said that this amendment combines the best of the McGovern and Deutsch amendments, clearly stating that corporations are not people, money is not free speech and Congress, the states and local governments have the authority to regulate corporate activities. We are hoping that Merkley will talk to Sanders and both will talk to the other supporters of the Udall amendment in the Senate and together introduce an amendment containing the elements of the Move to Amend version.

If such a coalition of reformers in the Senate were to convince other senators and House members to work with them, they could get a bipartisan coalition to introduce the amendment. There is already one Republican House member who has cosponsored the McGovern amendment, Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina. Imagine the effect if Ron Paul were to cosponsor a Move to Amend style amendment: Millions of his adoring supporters would immediately grasp the importance of the issue. Working as a group to jointly introduce the amendment would make such a band of renegades less easily targeted by corporate-funded attack ads. More importantly it would demonstrate to voters that this is not a partisan issue but the one problem that needs to be addressed for Americans to move forward together. All it would take to succeed is for these members of Congress to have the political courage to put into motion a process that would cost the careers of those of their colleagues who are unwilling to stand up for the people in challenging their corporate patrons.

The problem of course is that even these stalwarts of democracy might balk at the idea of making themselves targets of corporate-funded groups that would surely pour millions into targeted campaigns to defeat them when they run for re-election. That is where the growing coalition of Move to Amend and others trying to get corporate cash out of politics come in. It is the job of these organizations to work together to educate voters that not only is corporate personhood the problem, but that there is a realistic way to end it through the electoral process. It is my hope that Alliance for Democracy will take the next step toward getting the amendment they favor on the floor of Congress by endorsing and promoting the Pledge to Amend campaign.

If Move to Amend decides to adopt the strategy, the idea of abolition supporters lobbying their members of Congress should gain widespread traction nationally. They are a coalition of groups championing causes ranging from ending war to establishing environmental and health care justice. The common thread is that each recognizes that the only way to advance the people’s agenda is to end corporate control of government by a constitutional amendment that would end all corporate "rights". 

Only human beings have rights. Corporations exist to confer the privilege of limited liability to investors. personal rights for corporations have been granted by activist Supreme Courts that have consistently favored the interests of corporate power over the needs and desires of the American public. The groups in the Move to Amend coalition know that only way to overrule the Supreme Court is by constitutional amendment.

The differences between the coalition of Move to Amend, which wants to abolish corporate “rights” entirely and groups like Public Citizen which are focusing solely on corporate money in elections are in the end irrelevant. It is Congress that will decide the form any amendment takes. If we succeed at forcing the issue, at that point these groups can lobby for whichever type of amendment they favor. By working together these groups and coalitions can raise awareness that this is not just another issue but the only issue on which the people have a fighting chance of being heard.

The Occupy movement graphically demonstrates that we are at a tipping point where our congressional representatives will have to realize that citizens of the United States are going to hold them accountable for their acquiescence to corporate control of our government. Those who fail to heed the warning will suffer the consequences at the polls.  If progressives and conservatives can work together on the common cause of restoring democracy to America, there is a real chance that we can remove the corporate puppets from Congress. An important goal of the abolition movement must be ending the partisan politics that masks the fact that both major parties have become corrupted by corporate money.

The coup de grace for corporate rule would be to co-opt the Tea Party by convincing these angry voters that they should be focusing their wrath on corporate control of Congress and not on the illusory “socialist” government they have been trained to fear.   When the issue of what has gone wrong in government is phrased as “corporate welfare” it is possible to persuade those who are looking for real solutions that they have simply misidentified the problem. A unified Right and Left speaking as one on this issue could launch the new American Revolution and end the threat of fascism in the United States once and for all.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


To assure an American Spring, we must first assure that the American Revolution outlasts this, the winter of our despair. Summer soldiers and sunshine patriots must continue to press the cause of liberty and justice for all through the cold months ahead. Our youth will man the front lines where they can find refuge from the assault by the growing police state that America is becoming.

The senate bill to allow violations of posse comitatus and the violent suppression of dissidents in the US is a direct threat to the democracy we are fighting for. The internet is under a concerted attack, our young are becoming economic conscripts in wars for corporate Empire, our economy is devastated and too many of the 99% support policies designed to benefit only the 1%.

We must take heart in the fact that as fascism in America affects a growing number of the complacent and those fighting for corporate privilege through the Tea Party are awakening to the fact that we are all in this together. As we gather around the fire to stay warm in the winter, let us remember to let into our hearts and our homes those who have forgotten the true meaning of America, the shared sense of responsibility and destiny to be a beacon of democracy for the rest of the world. It is this that has enabled us to overcome adversity throughout our history.

Despite a growing awareness that the people of the United States must demand a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood, most people seem to think that the abolition movement has about as much chance of victory as a snowball has of surviving the fires of Hell. I believe that these skeptics need a lesson on the physics of snowballs. After all, we cannot win if the members of the resistance give up hope of achieving the first and most important objective in the war against fascism in America.
The abolition movement can grow as easily and rapidly as a snowball rolling downhill if only enough people start pushing. The movement is on a downhill path and can only gain momentum now that we have gotten the ball rolling. Like a snowball, as the movement grows the rate of growth will increase. Just as the area of a snowball grows by the square of its diameter, so does a movement grow faster and faster as people see that it is building enough momentum to sweep any obstacle from its path.
The corruption of Congress has led many people to think that it will be a cold day in Hell before Congress will pass a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood. They have written off the prospect of democracy in America as doomed. If democracy is dead then I say bundle up its coffin ‘cause its crazy cold way down there! Believing is seeing in that until we believe that victory is possible we cannot see how to achieve it. In the end, the difference between the optimist and the realist is whose vision prevails.

Those who lack faith in our collective ability to Take Back America must open their eyes to the progress we have made recently. If they open their hearts to the idea that the last, greatest hope for Mankind depends on their decision to join or sit out the coming struggle then they can be a part of the solution. It is an essential assumption that democracy depends on a People good enough and wise enough to rule itself. Each of us has a duty to our children and to generations yet unborn throughout the world. When we awaken to our collective power, victory over the oppressor is guaranteed. A People of the world united shall never be divided. This is the hour of our liberation and we hold the key to freedom in our hands.
Last week, Democratic members of Congress who have taken a stand to end the madness of corporate control of elections were joined by the first Republican cosponsor of the McGovern constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood. In typical fashion, some in the abolition movement have downplayed the importance of this accomplishment They correctly point out that it is less than ideal but fail to acknowledge publicly that this is a breakthrough in raising public awareness that there is a solution in sight.

So many have given up on Congress that they are missing the fact that some members of Congress actually represent the interests of We the People over those of the international corporate terrorists so many of their colleagues depend on to maintain their personal wealth and power. They are not alone in their cynicism, however. This is a fundamental challenge to the creation of a unified international front against fascism and war that is necessary to unify the Left in the United States who are competing to be the leaders in the New World Order all are trying to create.

The anarchical Occupy movement is faced with a dilemma. How does it move forward with a democratic structure that empowers each member to be a leader? The answer is to be found in studying the anarchical network that is Soldiers For Peace International. We are activists around the world each working on what we feel is most important to further the cause of liberty and justice for all. We choose our own missions and work together as individuals and members of groups to support the efforts of all our comrades worldwide to promote justice and peace in their communities, their nations and the world at large.

The American front of the war against fascism is the critical one upon which the success of the worldwide Revolution depends. The international corporate terrorists that control its government use its legislature, judiciary, military, intelligence agencies and the power of the President to wage war on the poor and middle class of the world. Only the citizens of the US can Take Back America through the electoral process and establish a government of, by and for the People. The key to success is to overcome the artificial Left-Right divide that keeps us fighting each other instead of the real enemy: fascism in America and the world.

Winning the war against the 99% in America will require a coalition of the willing to make support for a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood a campaign issue. If leaders in the abolition movement can overcome ego and the desire to compete for the limited money our supporters have to offer, together we can build the grassroots movement that will end corporate rule in America.

Those of us fighting for universal health care, environmental responsibility, the end of war, government accountability and economic justice are beginning to understand that success in any of these efforts depends on getting the corporate tools out of government. The only practical way to do this is to force every candidate to publicly declare whether they will support an amendment to abolish corporate personhood. Those who are with us will replace those who stand with the corporations only when we use the Pledge to Amend campaign to sort them out.

There was a day when Americans thought of themselves as having a common interest despite political, religious and cultural differences. We who are fighting for social justice in America and the world must help our fellow Americans understand that in order to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare, we must all learn to think of ourselves as Americans and citizens of the world before all else.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


With the Arab Spring and the Revolution that has become visible in the Occupy movement in the US and around the world, many people are beginning to have hope for the first time in their lives that the imposition of a permanent fascist New World Order that would enslave us all can be stopped and reversed.

The question is, is this starry eyed optimism or are the pessimists who dismiss the Revolution as a temporary phenomenon right? The answer may depend on how you view the situation. In any event,the pessimists are guilty of accepting a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they do not believe that democracy or the end of war are possible, they will not see how they may be wrong. Therefore, they will not know how to help the Revolution succeed and even if they try, their efforts could lead to the opposite effect of what they want if they promote division rather than the union of the international front against fascism and war that has the collective power to crush the corporatocracy if enough people believe that it can.

Whether the pessimist or the optimist proves to be the realist depends on whose vision prevails. That is why we must encourage doubters to suspend their disbelief in the possibility that we can save human civilization and join us in convincing others that war can and will end when enough people reject the self-fulfilling prophecy that it is inevitable.

If you wish to know the objective truth of something you must seek to understand it from every point of view and find that which is true from all of them. To understand the world as it is enables one to understand the world as it should and can be, if we apply our collective will to creating that world.

Planning for the future in what seems like a chaotic world situation requires a unified world view that sees the future as one of many possibilities. To develop such a way of looking at the world, you must have a clear grasp of what is important to attend to based on a good understanding of what has led us to the present moment.  

In today’s world of information overload that may seem impossible, but it is not. The key to overcoming America’s Attention Deficit Disorder is to help our neighbors understand what issues are fundamental to the process of taking America back for the people. In selectively focusing attention on information that answers the most pressing questions of how to create a united front against fascism in America and war in the world, patterns begin to emerge that make the importance of new information easier to recognize.

Once enough people understand the pattern of recent history, the collective consciousness will shift in the direction of positive change that is possible only through collective action. It is not true that history repeats itself. History is made by those who refuse to accept this futile proposition.  Those who make history are those who study the mistakes of the past to find new paths that we can take together to a more promising future.

Some look at world history as one of endless warfare and an individualistic struggle for supremacy in a hostile universe. These people implicitly reject the idea of democracy in the belief that selfishness is an indelible part of human nature. Thus, the falsely believe that history repeats itself regardless of the efforts of individuals and societies to change.This worldview is distorted by the failure to recognize the abundant evidence to the contrary.

Those of us with the faith that men and women are capable of governing themselves know that they are wrong. It is those who reject the idea that we cannot individually and collectively change history who will be the agents of the change for which the world is clamoring. The stubborn refusal of pessimists to challenge the self-fulfilling prophecy that their own neighbors cannot be trusted to make sound judgments about what form our society should take is a danger to democracy itself and ultimately, to the survival of human civilization.

There are examples to be found throughout history of social cooperation creating critical positive change. Here are a few:

-There have been many centuries in which Jew, Christian lived in harmony throughout much of the world.
-In the American Revolution, men put aside fundamental differences on the issue of slavery in order to ensure that they did not all become enslaved by the fascist Old World Order of the British Empire.
-Americans came together in crisis of the Great Depression to try social experiments that would have been unthinkable ten years earlier, at the height of the Red Scare.                                                                       
-There was shared sacrifice during WWII and a sharing of the benefits of the economic prosperity that followed, including with the vanquished nations of Germany and Japan.

-Throughout the history of the US there has been an evolution toward democracy punctuated with stunning successes by both the forces of democracy and those of the fascist mindset that currently controls the US government and its military.

When trying to develop a strategy to create the fundamental social and political changes that must be made to save human civilization from the depredations of the selfish elite class, we must keep in mind the lessons that history provides. If we apply to our current situation the lessons of both our successes and failures in the past, we can together create a road map to peace based on mutual respect, empathy and a deep appreciation of our interdependence. Any such map must lead to a world in which all enjoy the benefits of liberty and justice. Only in such a world is democracy possible. Without democracy, there can be neither true freedom nor peace for anyone.

If we begin with the assumption that democracy is possible, then we must assume that we are capable of achieving the consensus necessary to create a government and a society that will function according to the wishes of We the People. One of the fundamental contradictions in the American collective consciousness is that we can somehow force the other side to accept our vision of America through waging a Civil War for the hearts and minds of our neighbors using weapons of ridicule and invective.  This has led to a social psychological disorder I call America’s Borderline Split.

US society has the characteristics to merit the diagnosis: Idealization and devaluation of our leaders, self-destructive anger, generally unstable emotions, and a disturbing tendency to be preoccupied with death while doing little to help ourselves overcome our self-destructive behaviors. Like the individual with borderline personality disorder, we feel profoundly empty and as a society struggle to maintain a coherent image of ourselves and others as basically worthy of love despite the imperfections all humans share.

We are so busy fighting each other that we cannot come together to fight the real enemy: fascism. Our common enemy is not those who vote for leaders whose policies we despise, or even the corporate Puppets in Congress. The real enemy is the small group of counter-Revolutionaries that was never happy that the US government was designed with a view toward creating a society in which each citizen had an equal voice in the operation of the government. From the Hamiltonian Federalists to the modern Republican Party, there has been a never-ending battle between those who believe that democracy is necessary and possible and those who have no faith in We the People to decide our collective or even individual destinies.

Those who reject the notion that we can achieve the consensus necessary to assure the continuity of progress toward democracy are the COINTELPRO agents among us. Wittingly or unwittingly, they serve as agents of the State in helping to divide us, just as the survival of human civilization depends on our coming together. Some might assume that these are those who would consider themselves “conservative,” but they would be wrong. Many self-identified liberals are so used to despairing at the corporate media and politicians manipulating the public discourse that they have given up hope of reasoning with those with whom they disagree. The truth is that both sides are entrenched in a pit of despair and loathing. Only we can free ourselves from this trap. The time for recriminations is over. Politics does not have to be a battlefield if we learn to think of each other as fellow Americans and citizens of the world.

A world in which everyone has the right to the benefits of freedom, justice and peace starts with the idea that such a world is possible. If you do not believe that it is then you cannot conceive of how to help create it. If you do not consider what it would take than you will miss the obvious signs that such a world is right in front of us in the near future, if we work to get there from here. If you believe as I do that the pattern of history is coming to a dramatic punctuation point, the signs are all around you.

The pattern of change is unmistakable if you know what to look for. The Occupy movement is the most obvious sign of a Tectonic Paradigm Shift that is taking place in human consciousness. At the same time, international activist communities are learning better how to unify their efforts, a world ecumenical movement is building and vast networks are forming that are connecting the dots that represent our individual interests. Projects like John Perkins' Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream are painting a picture of a world in which it is generally recognized that the interest of each of us is intimately connected to the best interests of all.

All humans are much more alike than they are different. The commonalities that we share make us human. Our differences give rise to the variation in thought that can help us adapt to a world that is changing in dangerous ways. As long as we continue to think of ourselves as members of this or that group first rather than fellow travelers on Earth, we constrain our individual and collective power. Only by uniting can we realize our potential to change the world into one fit to leave our children.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


There have been a slew of constitutional amendments introduced in Congress recently, each claiming to “reverse Citizens United.” This is the result of pressure from activists passing resolutions around the country calling for an amendment that would actually do this, which none of the amendments introduced to date would do.

Each of these amendments is limited to giving states and the federal government the right but not the obligation to control the flow of corporate money in elections. It is preposterous to expect that a Congress dominated by corporate money would even consider using such a power if by some miracle the thing were passed. Do not be fooled by these generally well-meaning efforts by members of Congress trapped in the mentality that they must work on only what is possible now. The fact that they are working with colleagues who have accepted the self-fulfilling prophecy that they have no choice but to sell their loyalty to the highest corporate bidder is no excuse. While some willingly sell their loyalty, others feel this is the only way that they can make a difference in Congress because they have to be re-elected to do the public any good.  

The 99% cannot give up on the electoral process if they want to effect real change. They need to recognize that we do have real representation in Congress, but they will only take risks when they know we are backing them. Some members of Congress have been elected and re-elected without being tainted by corporate money. Senator Bernie Sanders comes immediately to mind as an example. We have to ask the question why is he afraid to do what must be done: introduce a constitutional amendment that would abolish corporate personhood outright? He knows as well as anyone that only by ending the power of corporations to buy members of Congress can we hope to elect those who will put the interests of We the People over those of They the Corporations. The answer may seem clear but it is not as simple as many people think.

Although Bernie doesn’t rely on corporate money to run, he has to realize that planting a dagger in the heart of the corporatocracy would invite retaliation, making himself the target of right-wing campaign PACs like Karl Roves’ Crossroads. In addition, he would be setting the corporate Democratic leadership up by making support for the amendment a campaign issue. We all saw what happened to Dennis Kucinich and Anthony Weiner when they dared challenge Democratic leadership to put the interests of American citizens over those of their corporate Puppetmasters: Kucinich was marginalized even by real liberals in Congress like Peter DeFazio of Oregon, while Weiner was left twisting in the wind when he got caught in a scandal that had nothing to do with the performance of his duties as a Representative.

As long as Democrats and independents in Congress are cowed into following the Democratic leadership in lockstep toward the Right, voters will continue to abandon the party in disgust. Many are concluding that a party willing to be led by the nose by the same corporate entities that have wholly bought the Republican Party is not worth their support. The perception is that the difference between the two is not important enough to fight for. The Democratic Party has not so much been abandoned by their supporters so much as they have been abandoned by it.  

Democrats supporting the amendments presently in Congress fall into two categories. There are those like Max Baucus who have long ago sold themselves out to corporate interests, and those who believe that incremental change is their only choice. Baucus took in over $6 million dollars in the election cycle preceding the Democratic effort to bail out a failing medical insurance industry that was cynically labeled “reform.” The resulting gift to the corporations that comprise the medical-industrial complex was obvious. What was less obvious to many is that this was the intent of Democratic leadership when they decided to take on the issue. There are lessons here we must heed if we are going to get a constitutional amendment introduced and passed that will accomplish what the members of Congress proposing the current bills claim.

Prior to the public debate about the public option and its far worse alternatives, Rahm Emanuel put Democratic leaders on notice that single payer was off the table. Inside sources say that Howard Dean was told that he would not be a player in the debate if he could not get Democracy for America to support the public option bait-and-switch. DFA responded by claiming that their million-plus members supported the public option strategy when a simple poll would have proven otherwise. In getting other progressive leaders and members of Congress to fall in line, they managed to sell to the Democratic rank and file the self-fulfilling prophecy that single payer was “not politically possible.” 

This Machiavellian plan to satisfy corporate interests in the name of “reform” was reminiscent of the Bush Administration’s marketing of the Medicare Modernization Act that appears to have been designed to kill Medicare by establishing an unfunded prescription benefit plan whose costs were deliberately and grossly misrepresented. Among other gifts to the medical-industrial complex, pharmaceutical manufacturers were given the power to set their own prices by a ban on the government negotiating drug prices. In what came as a shock to those who are unfamiliar with how some Democrats receive underserved credit for being “liberal,” Oregon’s Senator Ron Wyden crossed party lines to cast the deciding vote for this bill that is putting the viability of the Medicare program at risk.

Not surprisingly if you follow the money, Wyden introduced the only serious competitor to the public option plan, the Healthy Americans Act. It was so bad that it received bipartisan support. While quickly shelved, key elements of this mandate plan were quietly put into the Orwellian-titled “Affordable” Care Act, including massive cost shifting to the consumer that was not taken into account in the CBO analysis. As a result, health care costs continue to rise even while the Democrats proclaim victory in producing health care ”reform.” 

The bait-and-switch going on in Congress now is even more insidious and dangerous. If we do not call on these members of Congress to abandon their effort to placate the public while doing essentially nothing about the problem, the movement to abolish corporate personhood will be split and a historic opportunity lost just when the economy, the environment and the families of those serving in wars for corporate personhood cannot stand the delay. 

This is a call to action for those who understand the difference between abolishing corporate personhood and enshrining it in the constitution through an amendment that would validate the doctrine by recognizing that Congress should have the power to regulate it. If corporate personhood is abolished then there is no need to regulate corporate money going to campaigns because it will be illegal.

Those of us engaged most deeply in this modern abolition know just what is at stake. In our educational efforts we need to let the public know the danger of supporting this pig with lipstick. We can pass an amendment abolishing corporate personhood outright and win the war being waged against the 99% if we focus our efforts on making support for a proper amendment a campaign issue in 2012 and beyond.

Monday, November 7, 2011


There is a famous illustration in game theory of how moral reasoning works when someone is faced with the choice of betraying another in order to save his own skin. The idea is that if a prisoner is questioned knowing that his co-conspirators are being questioned at the same time, the knowledge that confessing will save them while dooming their confidantes influences their decision as to whether to cooperate. The chance that they will confess under these circumstances often depends on their estimate of how likely it is that the other will betray them.

They say there is no honor among thieves, but when the prisoner is certain that no one would risk the consequences of betrayal they will often refuse the deal. This is what often happens when Mafiosi are captured and questioned. It is also what happens when most members of Congress are asked whether they will support a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood. Knowing that this would reveal many of their colleagues to be corporate tools when they fail to support the amendment, most will not tell the truth and admit that this is what they want.

This analogy may seem like a stretch, but in fact basically honest members of Congress are prisoners of the mentality that they must protect other members of their party in order to protect themselves. This has been made quite clear to Republican politicians for decades, as moderates were systematically purged from their ranks. As their political power has grown as a result of their craven pandering to the corporate interests, Democrats have meekly moved ever further to the Right until our government crept across the line into fascist territory.

The key then to success in getting a constitutional amendment passed is to convince members of Congress that the first to tell the truth will be rewarded while the others will meet their just fate. Of course, no one of them is going to do this alone, but what if we let those who express interest talk among themselves about whether they might want to stage a prison break that would enable us to punish all those who have chosen to work for the criminal enterprise that is corporate America?

Those of us working to make support for an amendment a campaign issue are using just this variant of the prisoner’s dilemma. We are offering liberty to those who want to free themselves from the chains of corporate dependency. When they decide to own up to their own complicity in the imposition of fascism in America, they will be free to do what needs to be done to save our nation and the planet from economic, environmental and moral destruction: Abolish corporate personhood now!

Friday, November 4, 2011


Money was originally created for the wealthy to keep score of how they were doing compared to their rivals in the game of Monopoly, where each player sought to acquire the most wealth and property. Once the game was started no new players were allowed unless they took a player's money and property by war in another game we call Risk. The risk of war of course is that players can lose everything in the pursuit of global conquest, and as in Monopoly there is only one winner. Of course, in both games if it gets too tedious the players can decide to put their time to better use. That time may be coming as those left out of the game are demanding that the bank gives up more of what it has taken from them.

When money was created it was not needed by commoners, who were given sustenance by the Lords of whatever feudal Kingdom in which they lived. No wages were paid as they were subject to the will of their Lord Protectors, whose responsibility it was to protect them from those who sought to seize their lands through force of arms. In turn, they tilled the fields like slaves and were expected to go to war when told, much like modern society. The Lords in turn paid a tithe to the King or Queen, who were regarded as entitled to the wealth of the nation by divine right.

A third class arose from the artisans who produced the goods necessary in any society. Originally they were expected to do this as a duty to whatever King, Pharaoh, or High Priest who had been given or had seized authority to rule over the society that was created and maintained by slave labor. Later, artisans were allowed to engage in a system of barter that allowed peasants to acquire these good by exchanging the products of their labor.

Eventually Lords and Kings were expected to pay for these goods and services and money began trickling into the hands of the petit bourgeoisie of the day. This custom originally arose no doubt when competition began among the Lords to acquire the finest goods that their artisans would compete to create. It was a necessity as Lords agreed in most nations to cease making war with one another so that they might combine forces to defend their Kingdoms from powerful foreign invaders.

Peasants eventually came to acquire money when they began to be paid in cash for their labor, a practice that became universal in developed countries during the Industrial Revolution. The barter system persisted to a lesser extent but was supplanted by a cash economy as peasants began to dream that they too could become wealthy Lords in their own right. This radical idea was popularized when America became the first nation to declare that every free male was entitled to this opportunity. This is the origin of the myth that each of us can survive and prosper by the sweat of our own labor if we are willing to engage in the game of Monopoly.

At the founding of the American republic, this proclamation was nearly true, even though only about ten percent of the population was allowed to play. Women, African American slaves and indentured servants were left out of the game and only the indentured servant was allowed to work his way into it. The others had to wait generations before slaves were freed by a bloody Civil War and women gradually acquired the right to own property, a right that had existed even in feudal Europe, at least for those from wealthy families.

Throughout history there have been those who profited from the slavish insistence of the privileged that the object of the game of Life is no more than to acquire enough property to be declared winners. The players did not have to be the first to reach this goal; they only had to make sure that they would not be last and thus losers in the game. Those who profited most were the money lenders, who after generations of living off the sweat of others became the modern aristocracy that is the banking industry. Through their unmitigated greed they have become chief among the international corporate terrorists who are seeking to enslave us all in a fascist New World Order as the final stages of the global game of Risk are played out. The banksters hold the keys to the Kingdome that each of the leading players in the game of Monopoly is sure awaits him.

Something important happened recently that resulted from the banksters and their chief co-conspirators sensing that there was an easy way to win the game: They changed the rules so that a quick victory seemed assured. The first step was for the leading national player to cede sovereignty to the banks upon which they had come to depend to finance their wars of corporate Empire. They did this by creating an international system of currency that they controlled. Initially backed by gold at a fixed price, ultimately it was backed only by an empty promise to repay. Flush with successes since WWII, the banksters and their Puppets in the US government were so positive they would ultimately be the winners in the game of Monopoly that they had no fear that a roll of the dice might result in all of these IOUs to be called in.

The conversion to a promise-based monetary system allowed the banksters to create paper money whenever they chose. In a free market system of currency exchange this would cause the money to become less valuable. Not so under the new rules of Monopoly unilaterally declared by Nixon and New York-based international bankers. As the US was the dominant player in the game of Risk, the other players were compelled to agree to this rule change. This is how the dollar became the standard medium of exchange for the world and the agreed upon petrocurrency. The threat of war did not at first intimidate the other two leaders, China and Russia. However, Russia took a large gamble in invading Afghanistan and lost much of her cash and influence in the game of Monopoly.

Russia then capitulated to the leaders of the game, privatizing the resources of the state so that a few might still earn it a place at the table in the game of Monopoly, even if it could no longer afford to play Risk. In proclaiming itself democratic, the then-leaders of the Politburo repudiated its nonsensical claim to have been the first truly democratic socialist republic. The chief beneficiaries were of course well connected within the communist party and its organ of control, the KGB.

As Orwell predicted in 1948, until 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, we found ourselves in a situation where there are three main power blocs that used the threat of war to subjugate their people to their will. Eurasia is still a player but one in the weakest position. Neither Eurasia nor Eastasia is in a position to actually wage the all-out war that will determine the winner in the global game of Risk and therefore the game of Monopoly, but Eastasia is building their military and Eurasia retains a share of the prize that will determine the shape of the New World Order: oil.

Oceania has taken the same gamble that cost Russia so dearly. Its arrogant leaders seem to believe that victory in the game is near. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan are a proxy war against Eurasia and Eastasia. The citizens of Oceania are hostage to the banksters who finance and profit from these wars of corporate Empire. China has become an uneasy ally of  Oceana following its embrace of capitalism, but its leaders know that the US and UK governments have already set in motion plans to finish the creation of a permanent fascist New World Order in which they would become the Kings by what they considered to be divine right. In such a world order, the Chinese people too would become their subjects.

What none of the Monopoly players ever seriously considered was the possibility that their own Peoples would rise against them and demand that their stolen wealth be returned and that the threat of war be ended once and for all time. We now see ourselves in the midst of a global Revolution where the Peoples of the Earth are beginning to sense their interdependence and the power of collective action. We are witnessing the rise of a united international front against fascism and war that could have prevented WWII had we had the power of the internet at the time.

George Dmitrov laid out the strategy in a famous speech before the Seventh International Communist Conference, but the petit bourgeoisie did not join the workers to demand that their “democratic socialist” governments refuse to capitulate to fascist demands. Too many workers did not join the global protests against the rise of fascism. Global arms dealers were allowed to continue to sell weapons to Germany despite the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The stage was set for global war, pitting fascist nations in the US, Europe and Asia against each other, with Russia playing both sides against the middle. The result was a world where nations were subsumed by alliances among the players determined to be the winners in the game of Monopoly at any Risk.

Fascism arises when the peoples of a nation are impoverished by other players in the game of Risk, as Germany was under the conditions of the armistice ending WWI. After a brief flirtation with democracy under the Weimar Republic and under direct provocation from Great Britain, beleaguered Germans gave up the power to determine their collective destiny and placed it in the hands of a madman who promised security and wealth. As we have seen, a similar thing took place in the United States after 9/11, the equivalent of the burning of the Reichstag that fueled Hitler's rise to power. The only difference is that Hitler was a dictator of the People while working hand in hand with the corporate powers that profit from war, while in the US the war profiteers dictate to the President.

History does not repeat itself unless we allow it to. The people of the US face a stark choice at this singular moment in history. They can capitulate to the international corporate terrorists Hell-bent on world domination or they can abandon the illusion of our separateness from the rest of the world and the cause of liberty and justice for every citizen of Earth. If we let go of our fear of terrorism and demand an end to the Anglo-American War of Terror being waged against the Peoples of the world we will soon see victory and the death of fascism and war.

The banksters are fearful and perhaps beginning to regret that their feral attack on the people of the United States has unleashed a power that for once they cannot control through propaganda and economic slavery. The Peoples of the world can end this global war once they accept that only by ensuring liberty and justice for all can any of us truly be free. That means giving up our narrow self-interest and laying our prejudices aside so that we can combine forces to eradicate the scourge of greed from the Earth.

One of the most powerful tools at our disposal is the ability to take the wealth out of the hands of the banksters by moving our money from their accounts and placing it in the trust of the collectives that are credit unions. When we do we become part owners of a collective enterprise created to serve the community and each of its members. They use the money to provide loans that allow small businesses and thereby communities to thrive and prosper. Every dollar we move is food placed in the mouths of our hungry children.

Move your money to depositor-owned credit unions and encourage your local governments to do the same while we work for state-owned banks and ultimately, a national bank that puts the power of the money press in the hands of the People. Show the banksters that they have no power over us that we do not willingly give them.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


When Adbusters Magazine called for an occupation of Wall Street, it recommended that occupiers have a specific political goal in mind. Their short list of suggestions included calling for a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood, the Supreme Court doctrine that corporations are people with constitutional rights, among them the “right” to contribute unlimited sums to elect candidates of their choice.

The occupiers have been criticized from both the left and right for adopting an anarchical process that has led to no clear demands other than that all of the problems besetting 99 percent of Americans be addressed. The problem is that with members of Congress so beholden to corporate money to stay in office, none of the things that must be done to redress their grievances will occur when the interest of We the People conflict with those of the corporations that control the levers of power in the US government.

It is not too late to adopt a strategy that embraces support a constitutional amendment as the central issue by which to advance the cause of economic and social justice for the 99 percent. The laborious decision making process of direct democracy as practiced by the occupiers will not lead to this outcome. It is up to each of us who support the movement to decide for ourselves whether we will choose to promote this idea in General Assemblies around the country and within other groups. This is a social justice issue that should concern all Americans.

Members of local party central committees, political activist groups, unions, churches and other organizations need to talk about the central importance of abolishing corporate personhood in protecting the American dream and ensuring liberty and justice for ourselves and our posterity. We can then take the discussion from our meeting places to the town hall meetings that are already beginning to take place across the country as the 2012 election season begins. If we show up and ask candidates to take a position on whether or not they would support a constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood, we will easily determine who is willing to put our interests over the corporate Puppetmasters of Congress.

We cannot be distracted by the usual half measures proposed to deal with excessive corporate power, such as proposed constitutional amendments introduced by Kurt Schrader, Donna Edwards and Max Baucus. Each of these would if passed give Congress and state governments the power but not the duty to regulate corporate money in elections. While nice in theory, it is clear that given the conflict of interest between serving We the People and serving their corporate patrons, the majority of members of Congress are not going to willingly bite the hand that feeds them.

As an example, Peter DeFazio of Oregon has endorsed the Schrader amendment, lending credence to an idea so obviously mistaken that even well known corporate beneficiary Max Baucus is willing to promote it in a Senate version. At least two Democratic central committees in DeFazio’s district have passed resolutions calling for an amendment to abolish corporate personhood and others around the state have passed or are considering similar resolutions.

The question is, even if every DCC in Oregon’s District 4 endorses such resolutions, will Congressman DeFazio listen? A resolution to call on him and other members of the Oregon congressional delegation narrowly failed on procedural grounds at the last CD-4 convention. It appears certain that the resolution will be reintroduced and passed at the next convention.

This well-known liberal Democrat ignored resolutions calling on him to back HR 676, the single payer bill that was ignored by Baucus and others during the health care “reform” debacle that resulted in the “Affordable” Health Care Act. That Act has proven unaffordable and to not provide health care but a bailout for the medical insurance industry but was the bill Democratic leadership wanted. Had DeFazio and others listened to the local Democratic Party rank-and-file when they spoke loudly and clearly, the Democratic Party might not be suffering the well-deserved backlash from its blatant sellout to the corporate interests of the medical-industrial complex.

There is only one way to reclaim democracy and make our government one of, by and for the People. We must make support of a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood a campaign issue in 2012 and beyond. Candidates around the country are taking a pledge to amend. As they challenge incumbents and better-known challengers in the upcoming primaries, the issue will gain prominence in other races. Eventually it will become generally recognized that when faced with a choice between candidates willing to prove that they are seeking office in order to serve the interests of their constituents and not those of their corporate patrons and themselves, the choice will be obvious. As voters in more and more elections respond by electing candidates who have taken the pledge to amend it will become clear that the amendment will pass.