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.

Feel free to reproduce any blogs by Dr Staggenborg without prior permission, as long as they are unedited and posted or printed with attribution and a link to the website.

For other blogs, please contact the author for permission.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


As I write this, I am en route to Madison for the Democracy Convention, of which Alliance for Democracy is a part. As a member of the national council of this partner in the Move to Amend coalition, my hope is to convince as  many  organizers and attendees as possible that we are at the point where we can quit playing defense and launch an all-out coordinated assault on the corporatocracy. By working together each in our own way as individuals and members of such groups we can get a constitutional amendment introduced in Congress in time to affect the outcome of the 2012 elections.

I have been working to convince people since 2009 that the economic catastrophe brought on by the greed of an unregulated banking/finance industry was only the first of many consequences of turning control of the government to corporations that would give us the hook to help Americans get over their learned helplessness and get involved in the revolution that must take place in order to ever realize the dream of democracy in the United States.

The international corporate terrorists that control the US government have no loyalty to the United States, its people or the Peoples of any other nation. Like a series of timed dynamite explosions, we have seen the predictable consequences of unregulated capitalism unfold, one outrage after another. Only the corporate media and the corporate Puppets in Congress and the White House are preventing open revolt by creating the illusion that these crises are all unrelated.

First the Massey disaster revealed the ineffectiveness of token regulation of energy interests, then the BP spill revealed the power of an international corporation over our government and military. Next, the Fukishima disaster failed to slow plans to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to prop up an economically and environmentally indefensible private industry. Together, these events proved to anyone who didn’t know it that big Energy and the banksters control the levers of power in government.
Amid all this, the medical-industrial complex flexed its muscle by controlling the process of the “health care reform” debate that was a thinly veiled bailout of a medical insurance industry. On the verge of collapse as its inefficiencies and lack of cost controls were making it increasingly inaccessible to millions of Americans, private insurance would have become unaffordable to the vast majority of Americans in just a few years without the massive infusion of taxpayer money provided by the “Affordable” Care Act. 

Adding to the 45 million without access to medical insurance before the debate began were the swelling numbers of unemployed and underemployed victims of the housing crisis.  The myth of the free market promoted by the corporate media and corporate politicians was enough to head off any efforts to find the only real solution, a single payer Medicare-for-All universal health plan. Instead of advocates being invited to the table, they were arrested for speaking at the Finance Committee hearings without being recognized by chairman Max Baucus.

The promised savings of PPACA will be proven an illusion as surely as Part D was found to cost several times what the Congressional Budget Office forecast on the basis of the unrealistic assumptions they were forced to work with. It defies common sense to conclude that adding millions of less healthy citizens who have not had access to health care to the pool of those covered by taxpayer-funded health programs is going to save money when the act eliminates the use of pre-existing conditions and other methods of denying insurance to those who need it. This has to drive up costs to private insurers, which will lead to further numbers of uninsured who will then qualify for taxpayer-funded assistance. Even if it were true that the taxpayer will save a bit initially, the difference will be more than made up for by the already skyrocketing premiums we have seen for those who do pay for their own, increasingly shoddy insurance.

The banksters of Goldmann Sachs who financed Obama’s campaign were rewarded with control of the Fed, Treasury and several regulatory agencies. The Democratic banking “reform” bill was as much of a sick joke as the medical insurance “reform” corporate-dependent Democratic leaders were able to eke out. The Wall Street casino that crashed the world economy was financed by the savings of investors used by banks gone wild after the removal of the barrier between investment and commercial banks erected to prevent just such an economic collapse. This eerily paralleled the stock market crash in 1929 that led to the previous Depression.

In the 1930s, people had been brought up to take care of themselves and their families. In the Roaring 20s work was plentiful and successive Republican Presidents promised that everyone could get rich if they trusted the invisible hand of Big Business to assure that the economy would be self-correcting without any messy government interference. We saw how that worked out, but a combination of the decline of the American educational system, the rise of a media that is completely devoted to advancing the corporate agenda and a jaded citizenry that has lost interest in politics produced the conditions that have until now prevented the rise of a grassroots revolution that would unite the Left and Right in the cause of ending fascism in America.

Complicating all this of course is the intensification of the use of the politics of division to keep Americans fighting each other instead of fighting together against the real threat: corporate personhood. Since 1968 the Republican Party has honed the technique to a fine art. They have systematically used the corporate media as a means of misinforming voters and keeping them angry and fearful at the prospect of creeping socialism in a society that has been sliding into fascism the entire time. In 1968, Nixon’s southern strategy used racism to split the Democratic majority of Americans in response to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

1968 was also the year of the police riot in Chicago at the Democratic National Convention, when peaceful protestors were assaulted by Mayor Richard Daley’s goon squad while many union leaders looked on in approval. Traditionally conservative police, fire and construction unions abandoned McCarthy, who had been a loyal union supporter, in favor of the candidate of the Party representing corporate power. With union leaders like this, who needs union? 

Union membership has been declining ever since for a variety of reasons aside from their systematic demonization and scapegoating by the corporate media and corporate politicians. The most important reason for loss of union membership is the manner in which national union leaders have remained cozily in bed with corporate Democrats even as these cynical corporate Puppets were increasingly abandoning the worker in pursuit of corporate campaign cash.
In Wisconsin, even at the state level many unions have failed the workers in this time of crisis. While very good at organizing large rallies, union leaders resisted using the strike, the very instrument by which unions came to power. It is true a strike should only be called in response to an outrage, but what could be more outrageous than an assault on the right to collective bargaining? With virtual unanimity of purpose of all Wisconsin unions in fighting this attack on democracy and the rights of workers, the time has never been better for a general strike. Had this happened months ago, Democrats would likely have now been in control of the Wisconsin Senate. 

The absence of national Democratic leaders in Wisconsin during the united stand of Wisconsinites against the fascist takeover of their state government was instructive. It once more illustrates graphically the price of remaining loyal to a party whose leadership depends on the patronage of the same international corporate terrorists who are waging war on America’s middle class.

Republican leadership is waging total war against the social safety net constructed in response to the horrifying suffering of the first Great Depression and the only thing preventing an equal amount of suffering today after they and corporate Democrats sold out the country by turning it over to fascist corporate interests for a few pieces of silver. The only solution is to do what we did in 1775 and again in the years 1890 to the 30s as union power slowly built up: We must put aside our differences and fight in common cause to move the country in the direction of democracy. The alternative is to allow our children to be trapped in the nightmare of a permanent fascist New World Order in which Americans will be as repressed as citizens of the nations now under military siege by the Armies fighting for corporate Empire.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I am the son of an anti-union small businessman who is a rock-solid Republican. My mother on the other hand was a liberal with such a bleeding heart I thought that she was going to exsanguinate at any time during the 60s, as her heroes were assassinated one by one. Her depressed disposition was in sharp contrast to my father’s sunny one, which did not waver through the Vietnam War until my brother was severely affected by serving as a marine in Vietnam.

There was difference of opinion between my parents over the idea of killing or dying for a country so sick that it killed its own President, his brother and an internationally respected civil rights leader who just also happened to be opposed to the war for corporate Empire in Vietnam.
  My brother served because my father expected him to to serve, not because he believed the lies of the corporate politicians and media that promoted the war as part of the “war” on communism. The effect of my brother’s emotional injuries caused a rift in my family that took decades to heal.

I was ten years old when my brother went off to Vietnam. By that age I had learned to think for myself, as my father had taught me. I listened to both sides and understood the argument for fighting communism but my eyes told me that we were in a hopeless fight. In those days the war was on in the living room every night, unlike today when the blood and madness of war are carefully kept from a public more interested in whether they can feed their families and keep a roof over their heads than the connection between wars in far off deserts and the war on the middle class at home.

At ten years old I read the newspaper editorial page every day. Our local newspaper struck me as neither particularly liberal nor conservative, as I understood the terms. I developed a facility for looking at both sides of every argument and testing them for logical consistency. Eventually I felt forced to conclude that I was a liberal. What I didn’t know at the time was that traditional conservative values had become so distorted by corporate politicians and the media that the term “conservative “ had lost much of its traditional meaning and that most of the values I picked up from my father were in fact traditional conservative ones.

I didn’t find out the truth until years later, when I met former Nixon Chief Legal Council John Dean and had a long talk with him in 2009 at an American Civil Liberties Union banquet where he was the speaker. We talked about his then-new book Pure Goldwater. It was a biography of a man he knew well and regarded as the epitome of the conservative politician. He had recently completed a trilogy of books about the demise of traditional conservativism and the rise of fascism in the ranks of the Republican Party. Recognizing this, he had left the party some years before and become an independent. This is certainly understandable, as a man like Dean clearly also saw that the Democratic Party was leaning in the same direction as both parties became increasingly dependent on corporate money.

We talked about and mourned the loss of traditional conservative values like tolerance for minorities, avoidance of foreign entanglements, the individual liberty to conduct ones private life as one wishes without government intrusion, paying for wars and other costs of government as you go and respect for the loyal opposition. He had seen firsthand how the naked lust for power could destroy someone like President Nixon, who at one time he had considered a good man. We talked about parallels with John McCain, who had briefly stood out as a maverick within the Republican Party until he was smeared by the Bush slime machine in 2000.

Dean professed no particular affinity for John McCain, who his research showed was held in disdain by Barry Goldwater. McCain’s brief dalliance with standing on principle could not compensate for the hypocrisy of abandoning every principled position he had ever held as the price for securing the Republican presidential nomination. In his blind ambition, he had willingly become a tool of the international corporate terrorists he was fighting for when he was captured and tortured by the Viet Cong.

Once my eyes were opened to what real conservatism was I realized that I was as much a conservative as a liberal. My father taught me the virtues of hard work and self-sufficiency at a young age. Working with him I found him to be as scrupulously ethical in business as he was in his personal life. I learned that he paid union wages and provided health benefits because he believed that it was the right thing to do, not because anyone pressured him to do so. He took pride in his work and taught me the value of hard labor.

I love my parents equally despite their differences. Both taught respect for others, the importance of honesty and integrity, the inherent value of every human being, how to be a good citizen and how to deal with conflict without acrimony. They were both as quick to praise good behavior as to criticize my failings while always making it clear that they did so out of love and in the hope that I would grow to be a good man some day. They understood that to accept the responsibilities of an adult, I must be given the autonomy to fail and to grow from my mistakes.
Having grown up to think for myself, in the end I concluded that I am neither conservative nor liberal, as those terms have been redefined by corporate politicians and the media. I am an American. I value my independence of thought. I refuse to be labeled as being on one side or another of an artificial divide that we have accepted as reality only because of indoctrination with false beliefs in school, in our homes and in the corporate media. I am as proud of my conservative beliefs as those that others would call liberal. They are the product of being raised properly with respect for the ideals that this country was founded on and respect for my fellow Americans and other Peoples of the world.

When enough other Americans realize that our similarities are more important than our differences, the time will come when we will arrive at the collective conclusion that our government has failed us not because the idea of a democratic Republic is inherently flawed. The democratic experiment is failing because we did not maintain the vigilance necessary to ensure that a government created to be of, by and for We the People would thrive and flourish. Under our eyes and with the support of many, our government has been given over to corporate interests with no allegiance to the United States, its people or the other Peoples of the world suffering under the yoke of fascist tyranny.

it is not too strong to label the American government and the New World Order it is fashioning as fascist. It is a sad commentary on the ignorance of history of most Americans that so few remember that the term was coined by Mussolini to describe a government of, by and for the corporate interests. That is what ours has become. If we wish to avoid the mistakes of Germany in the 193os we will remember that if we do not cry out against injustice to any of us, there will be no one left to save us when the fascists come for us, as they clearly intend to do.

There is yet hope that our children will not grow up in a fascist New World Order. All that is required is for Americans to remember their proud history of fighting liberty and justice for all. If we can cast aside the artificial and self-imposed distinctions that divide us we can unite to restore representative democracy to the United States. The key is to recognize that nothing in this world is perfect, including the constitution. The Founders knew full well that selfish men would seek to assume power not meant to be held in a democratic society. That is why they provided a mechanism to change the constitution without overthrowing the government.

The Revolution was sparked by a Tea Party that was a reaction to the granting of special tax privileges to a corporation that had far too much influence in the British government, the East India Company. We are now faced with an similar situation where financial, medical insurance, banking, armaments, security and other corporate interests control all the levers of power in Washington. The revolution is not over, it has just begun. Those of us who want to be proud to live in a nation whose highest values are liberty and justice for all must reach out to our countrymen and unite in the common cause of the modern abolition movement: The abolition of corporate personhood through constitutional amendment.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I live in an area of rural Oregon that like most or rural America has a history of producing more than its share of volunteers to serve in the military when their government calls. Most of us who have answered the call are proud of our service, but those of us who are not proud of what our country called on us to do are Veterans for Peace. Whether we served in war or peacetime, in combat or support units, inflicting our treating the wounds of war we are bound by our mission to stop the madness of war through purposeful, nonviolent action.

VFP Chapter 141 in Bandon is a small group of veterans in a much larger and largely neoconservative veteran community. As everywhere, the local posts of the VFW and other veteran service organizations are dominated by the Vietnam veterans who have come to outnumber the veterans of previous conflicts. These men and women by and large are proud of their service and their country to the point that few publicly question the role they played in establishing what has become a fascist neocolonial Empire. 

After coming home from war many Vietnam veterans found themselves shunned by “the greatest generation,” who were angry that the US had unequivocally lost in war for the first time. Just as did many in the peace movement, so all too often did veterans of previous wars blame the warriors and not the war itself. It was decades before those who had fought in Vietnam were generally accepted into the band of brothers that are all veterans of foreign wars. Now that the Vietnam veterans have been accepted into the larger community of veterans, the tradition of glorification of military service has been passed to a new generation.

As a former VA psychiatrist who practiced in that community I have a good idea how many of these veterans truly support the actions of the US government in times of war and how many are opposed, whether or not they are willing to admit it publicly. Most veterans in this community would be surprised to learn that privately, the majority of those who served in combat not only realize the criminality of the government’s actions in Vietnam but are opposed to the current wars. Most of these are also opposed to all future wars.

There are many reasons that Veterans for Peace are a small minority in this and most communities. Aside from the fact that many veterans have never questioned their role in promoting the imposition of a fascist New World Order, the most important reason is peer pressure. To understand why grown men and women are so susceptible to influence commonly assumed to affect only teenagers, you must understand the consequences of trauma on human development.

At the age that most are recruited or drafted into military service, a sense of self-identity has not yet been fully established. Teenagers who become part of the military are still struggling to define themselves. When they are trained to ignore the basic human prohibition against killing, their self-image becomes distorted. When they are forced to kill and to watch their friends be killed, the trauma reinforces this distorted self-image. The severe nature of this type of trauma has the effect of arresting further development until it is fully processed, which sadly occurs all too infrequently. 

Just as the chronically sexually abused child often grows up without resolving the basic task of individuating from the abuser, combat veterans all too often grow up without having accomplished the basic developmental task of creating an integrated identity and remain susceptible to role confusion. They may feel ashamed, unlovable and unworthy of forgiveness. They are often incapable of living up to their own expectations as spouses, parents and members of society. For them to truly come home they must come to terms with what they did and what they were a part of. Being a member of Veterans for Peace is one way some find their true selves.
You might ask why so many veterans who did not serve in combat adopt the same pro-military, anti-life positions. The answer is rooted in the same explanation. Those who served during or around times of war know service members who died or were irreparably scarred by combat. These veterans identify with and empathize with their peers. To publicly challenge their beliefs takes a stronger sense of self than most people are capable of.
The pain of that empathetic response to the suffering of their compatriots is so unbearable that the emotion often turns to blind anger. Such an attitude primes these people to prepare to accept the next war for Empire in the disguise of fighting whatever “enemy” the state determines most threatens the interests of the international corporate terrorists who control the Puppets in the US government. This is how those corporate politicians are made to dance to the drums of war when so ordered. To refuse would be seen as weakness. The corporate media that is also owned by the corporate war profiteers makes sure of that.
The groupthink that causes noncombat vets to unquestioningly support war for corporate Empire can be seen more generally in the larger society. The vast majority of Americans have friends, relatives or ancestors who have served or are serving in the military. Every generation has had its war and each has contributed to the myth that wars are necessary to assure our “liberty.” Now we are in an era of what could become endless war.

If we do not mature individually and as a society to the point where we are capable of making individual decisions on right and wrong, the self-fulfilling prophecy that war is inevitable cannot be challenged. If we do learn to think for ourselves and to speak out when we see injustice, then surely we will stop the madness of war, the ultimate injustice.

There are no longer any innocent bystanders in war except the children whose future war is ostensibly to “protect.” Each of us has a moral responsibility to ask ourselves why we are at war and what we can do to stop it. Simply refusing to participate is not enough. If we pay taxes we support the war. If we do not we risk losing the means to fight back, either by foregoing the income necessary to wage our personal war on fascism or by being neutralized by the state in being prosecuted for tax evasion.

The only way to end war is to recognize that we who are willing to speak out are a minority but if we work together to educate our neighbors about the true cost of war we help them realize that those of us opposed to the wars are the majority. We can and must succeed. The future of our children and their progeny is at stake. 

Seventy percent of the American public want out of Afghanistan. This is similar to the proportion of people who favored the initial invasion and nearly the same percentage who do not realize that grand pronouncements to the contrary, the Iraq War continues with no end in sight. If those who want peace would become Veterans for Peace or associate members, Congress would be forced to listen.

Soldiers For Peace International requires nothing of its members but a commitment to work for social justice. There are no dues, meetings, or leadership. We were started by veterans, few of whom were willing to become part of any organization because the trauma of war had caused them to become uncomfortable with being a part of society or any group.

The difference between a Soldier For Peace and a Veteran for Peace is thus only the fact that each Soldier For Peace is in essence an Army of One, trying to further the interest of social justice in whatever way we feel capable. Serving in our virtual Army need entail no more that speaking the truth to whomever we do choose to associate with. We may choose to act in concert with other groups such as Veterans for Peace but in the end, we speak only for ourselves.

In a democracy, the People ultimately decide the question of whether to go to war and if we do, when to end it. The United States is no longer a democracy because too many citizens have given up the right to decide for themselves whether war is an obsolete concept other than as a means to further corporate Empire. We have decided that the wars for control of oil supplies are not worth the price, but until enough of us become Soldiers For Peace, our so-called leaders will continue to be Puppets on the strings of international corporate terrorists who seek to enslave us all in a permanent fascist New World Order.

Until we rise up as one People, we dishonor those who have died in the belief that they were defending the freedoms that we have so casually discarded. We cannot in good conscience give in to the belief that we are powerless. We must wage an asymmetric, peaceful war against fascism, injustice and war, the ultimate injustice.

More disgraceful than allowing the sacrifices of generations of warriors to have been in vain, if we fail to do this we will have abandoned our children to a fate that will be determined by the fascists who now control the US government. I will die before accepting this ultimate dishonor. How many billions will die before the rest of us choose to fight?

Friday, August 12, 2011


The only way to win a war is to take the offensive. It is clear that the political leaders of the Right are waging war on the middle class and that the Democratic Party will not take the offensive as long as they are dependent on the same sources of campaign cash as the Republicans. The international corporate terrorists who have seized control of the US government, military and media have been playing offense for decades. It is time that We the People got out of the trenches and attack the corporatocracy where they are most vulnerable: their weak and corrupt Puppets in Congress.

The only way to challenge the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United is through amending the constitution. Since we cannot muster support for a constitutional convention given the fears on both the Left and the Right that the “other side” will prevail, we must get such an amendment introduced and passed in Congress. Those who think that we can restore the democratic Republic by electoral and campaign finance reform legislation are not paying attention. The Supreme Court has made it clear that public financing is off the table for now the Democratic leaders are too deluded to even whimper about the theft of votes on a massive scale.

The seeming paradox of how to get an amendment passed in Congress has baffled even such luminaries as Thom Hartmann, Jim Hightower and Amy Goodman, all of whom seemed to ignore the fact that dozens of candidates in 2010 were willing to run for Congress on a pledge to amend. Where were they when we were trying to point out that by making this a campaign issue, with their assistance we could have challenged both Republicans and corporate Democrats? Hartmann alone has three million listeners and viewers every weekday. He and Hightower sit on the boards of the largest and most influential progressive organizations in the nation. Goodman has thousands of loyal followers. The idea that they fail to realize their collective power is incomprehensible.

Hartmann declined to have me on the show when I was running for the US Senate. He repeatedly dismissed the idea that passing an amendment was possible when I called in to the show to talk about why I think corporate personhood can be abolished. Hightower stopped answering my emails and ignored my phone calls. Goodman covered the 2010 Netroots Nation, where we met for the second time.
  I watched her interview a candidate who appeared to be 25 years old, only to ignore my speech the night before about the critical importance of electing candidates who had taken the pledge. 

One might ask why this topic is treated as unimportant by these pundits of the Left, who are often referred to as “gatekeepers.” Many have speculated that only Democrats can walk through that gate. Worse, closet Blue Dogs like my opponent Ron Wyden are treated as though voters have no choice but to re-elect them. This is what I refer to as the politics of fear on the Left. These gatekeepers are so frightened of Republican rule that they will not even give exposure to candidates like me who had no serious chance of defeating a 30 year incumbent in Congress.

Rather than question the motives of these great spokespersons of the Left, I would prefer to think that the problem is a failure of imagination. Hope for change is great, but real change will only happen when partisan Democrats and Republicans are willing to challenge our elected representatives of both parties. President Obama told us throughout his presidential campaign that we needed to create the change that would compel him to do what must be done to save American economically, socially and morally. We cannot expect him to do much better than he has if we do not demand that Congress challenge corporate interests and stand up for We the People.

Thousands of us worked for real health care reform but the single payer, Medicare-for-all solution was all but ignored by Congress. Instead, we were treated to the spectacle of watching 13 doctors, nurses and lawyers arrested at the Senate Finance Committee hearings for asking questions about why single payer was off the table when representatives of the medical-industrial complex were all at that same   table. It was predictable that the Democratic leadership would sell out the American people in the end from the outset. When the public option plan was unveiled as the starting point to negotiate with a party that never met a corporate robber baron it didn’t like, it was obvious that any real reforms would be traded away in the end.

The same can be said for promises of real financial regulation, winding down the wars, protecting citizens facing foreclosure and essentially anything else that Americans need or want. If the gatekeepers of the Left continue to see their only function as getting Democrats elected, we have already lost the battle for democracy in America. Further capitulation to corporate Puppet masters will lead us inevitably the rest of the way down the slippery slope of fascism. If on the other hand progressive pundits wake up to the fact that we have very little time to act then we may still have reason to hope.

The abolition of corporate personhood is not just another issue. It is THE issue that must be addressed in order to get a Congress willing to put the interests of Americans over those of transnational corporations. The beauty of the concept is not just that it strikes at the heart of corporate power over government but that it is the only issue that is likely to bring together people who consider themselves conservatives with those who think of themselves as liberals. With 80% of both self-described conservatives and liberals opposed to Citizens United, the time has never been better to come together as Americans to fight for justice.

With the enormous unpopularity of Citizens United making this issue one of the few on which most Americans agree, the failure of pundits on the Left to aggressively promote Move to Amend is stunning. The easiest way to build a progressive movement is to build it around one central issue on which all progressives and in this case most conservatives agree. Those who have been fighting for single payer health care, an end to the war and economic and environmental justice must realize that the only way to assure victory is to force candidates seeking federal office to take a firm position on whether they are running to serve We the People or the corporations that currently have a stranglehold on the US government.

It would take little political courage to champion the cause of the abolition of corporate personhood. The popularity of such a position would virtually guarantee victory for anyone running for either of the two major parties who would support it. The enthusiasm gap between the Left and the Right would become a thing of the past. The only downside for candidates who take this position is that it will likely cost the jobs of corporatists in their own party. Until we have candidates who will put their country over their party, nothing will change. That is why it is critically important that everyone who hopes for change will become active in the Move to Amend campaign to abolish corporate personhood.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


In the wake of Citizens United it is becoming increasingly apparent to even its least attentive citizens that the United States government has fallen victim to a corporate coup. The debate going on now is whether there is anything to be done to fight back or whether it is time to cash in our chips, enjoy it while we can and then hunker down for the Apocalypse.

Those who have retained their optimism are those of us who remember the Chinese concept that in every crisis there is opportunity. It has been clear for some time to those of us who have been working in the trenches for years that things had to get worse before they get better. Now that unions, the elderly, our youth and all of the middle class in America are under attack, it should be a relatively easy matter to build
  a virtual Army that can wage asymmetric warfare against fascism and war.

There are many obstacles to be overcome in order to restore democracy to America and thereby end war, but we have no choice but to succeed. The soldier’s job is not to reason why, our mission is such that we must do or die.
  No less than the survival of human civilization is at stake. If we have any regard for those who have died in the belief that they were fighting for our freedom we will not give up the fight. If we have any love for our children and our posterity, we must hold fast to the belief that we can win.

The chief obstacle to be overcome is the belief that war is inevitable. It is cannot be true that war is inevitable if we accept that men and women are inherently good enough to rule themselves. In a democratic society we can collectively choose to reject war. No democratic nation has ever waged war on another democratic nation. If we value democracy and want to see it spread then we must believe that our efforts will result in the end of war. A war based economy only benefits the international corporate terrorists who stage wars for  corporate Empire.

In a fascist society such as the United States has become it may seem that democracy is dead, but the roots are still alive. We must nurture those roots if we are to end war and all of the other evils that threaten civilization: environmental destruction, famine, pestilence and global pandemic. At the root of all of these threats is the invasive parasite of corporate personhood.

The assumption that politics is by nature corrupt is another dangerous idea that has infected the American collective consciousness. Just as the belief that war is inevitable is fundamentally opposed to the idea that democracy is possible, so is the idea that ordinary citizens lack the power to alter a form of government that is not of the People, by the People and for the People.

While other nations have generally had fascism thrust upon them by violence, the citizens of the United States have willingly given up their government to fascists who are the CEOs of multinational corporations that care nothing for America, its citizens or any other nation or People. Now that we are witnessing the results of corporate control of government we have the opportunity to reach out to former cheerleaders of the New World Order and work together to end fascism in America and the world.

The United States has never been a truly democratic Republic, but the American experiment in democracy has moved forward in fits and starts over the years, most of the time in the direction of becoming a more perfect union. Slavery was only ended by civil war, but such fundamental social change is usually only possible when the People demand change in the form of a constitutional amendment. Freed slaves were given the vote by constitutional amendment, as were women and citizens old enough to go to war but formerly considered to young to vote. 

School segregation ended through the action of the Supreme Court at a time when it served a democratizing function. Now that the Court is in the hands of fascists, we must resort to a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood. Our never ending struggle against slavery will continue until the People demand that the 14th amendment guarantee of equal protection from the usurpation of our rights by government only applies  to human beings. Corporations by any rational argument should have no rights; their very existence is a privilege  granted by We the People from whom all just power to govern is derived.

The only reason that the Equal Rights Amendment failed to pass is that there has always been a counter-Revolutionary reaction to the democratization of American society and government.
 John Adams feared rule by the mob and passed the Alien and Sedition Acts in part to silence critics of the new central government. Slave owners fought abolition even to the point of provoking civil war. The Robber Barons fought Teddy Roosevelt’s Square Deal and the fascists who provoked the Great Depression fought the New Deal. Their sons and daughters are the current generation of fascists who implicitly accept that they have an inherent right to rule the rest of us.

As the modern forces of fascism step up the assault on the poor and the middle class they are creating a new generation of warriors who possess the power to collectively stop the imposition of a fascist New World Order. All it will take to succeed is to put aside our self-imposed artificial distinctions and work for freedom in America and the world, the end result of which will be the end of war.

Skeptics would do well to consider that the American colonists shook off their chains at the risk of their lives at a time when they faced the mightiest nation in the world. How much easier would it be for us when we outnumber the fascists 1,000 to one and the government depends on maintaining a fa├žade of democracy to avoid the revolution that is surely coming? If the special tax break on tea granted the East India Company was enough to spark a revolution, the corporate takeover of the US government surely will inspire us to end our un-Civil war and finish the American Revolution.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Friedrich Nietzsche wrote about the difference between the slave mentality and the master mentality, arguing that the masses display a herd mentality dictated largely by prevailing views of the relationship of the individual to society. This is the essence of the slave mentality and stands in sharp contrast to the mentality of the Ubermensch (“Superman”), who recognizes that true freedom lies in freedom of thought.

This does not necessarily lead to the idea that radical individualism in action is the highest ideal, because he warned of the dangers of moral relativism. He rejected the idea of an objective system of morality, arguing instead for a morality based on the recognition of the fact that one’s actions always affect others and so our personal morality should depend on considering these interrelationships.

Some would falsely equate moral relativity with utilitarianism, which argues for making moral decisions based on the greatest good for the greatest number.  Such people tend to argue that such a basis for morality leads to self-serving decisions that in the end harm both society and the individual who behaves according to this principle. These are those most likely to embrace fundamentalist, authoritarian ideals that Nietzsche criticized in his work. 

In typical seemingly paradoxical fashion, he argued that Christ was a proponent of the master mentality in the sense of promoting self-mastery. His famous pronouncement that  “God is dead” meant that those who had constructed a model of God and reality that encompassed the belief in an afterlife had abandoned the Christian principle of enlightened self-interest in favor of giving in to control by those whose will to power was such that it was perverted into a will to domination.

He argued that the problem was in part biological, in part sociological and in part a willingness to ignore personal responsibility. The pursuit of freedom from fear leads to the acceptance of external authority of the state and religious leaders, as Erich Fromm argued in Escape From Freedom, his exploration of the aspects of human psychology that led to the Nazi rise to power. Put simply, the herd is willing to accept a loss of freedom of autonomy as the price to pay for accepting the slave belief in the necessity of submitting to powerful leaders. This is the essence of how the ideal of democracy becomes perverted to the self-imposed slavery of fascism.

The essential problem as I see it is the widespread popularity of radical individualism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Right wing politicians, aided and abetted by a corporate media have advanced the fascist agenda through convincing enough Americans that their defining cultural value is the right to do whatsoever they please without government intervention, regardless of the cost to society or other individuals.

This dangerous notion is the antithesis of real conservatism. I remember in the 60s the anger at the hippies and antiwar protestors who were attempting to change the social order faster than conservatives could adapt their thinking. The idea was expressed as a resistance to the "anything goes" attitude of the most far-out free thinkers.

A real conservative looks at history and sees a long tradition of Americans helping each other and being protected by reasonable regulation of the corporations that have bought and now control the US government for their own purposes. This corporate coup was made possible by the implicit understanding among brainwashed neo-"conservatives" that corporations were not only persons but our rightful rulers.

The jackboot of the corporate state is now on the necks of each of us. The responsibility lies not only with those whose thinking was radically changed by Reagan's simplistic and radical idea of running government like a business. Putting corporations in charge required the acquiescence to the privatization of government functions and giving away our sovereignty to the WTO. Had there been more resistance from the Left in the early stages the transformation of US government into a corporate-controlled fascist entity might have been prevented. However, partisan Democrats did not do enough to challenge their own leadership when Clinton sold America to a group of international corporate terrorists by allowing the US to become a signatory to the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

The passive acceptance of this abandonment of the American worker was in large measure do to defensiveness caused by the relentless attack on Clinton when he did not conform to the Republican/fascist agenda. However, the larger reason was that Americans were satisfied with the economic achievements of the Clinton administration despite the long-term costs to America and emerging nations. NAFTA led to the outsourcing of jobs overseas, loss of tax revenues from offshores, the consolidation of power of transnational corporations, increased poverty in Mexico and a doubling of the illegal immigration rate after its passage.

The problem that America must face to regain its greatness and standing in the world community is one of combating the herd mentality that assumes that our only recourse as citizens is to invest all power over our lives to a few men and women who make decisions of policy and law that serve only the self-interest of a narrow group of corporatist whose interests are sharply divergent from those of average citizens and of American society at large. The slave mentality of the average American can only be challenged if enough of us reject identification with subgroups of society and instead embrace the recognition of our interdependence that is the basis for democratic society.

The tendency to divide ourselves into more or less discrete subgroups is not primarily biological but psychological. All decision making results from considering our core beliefs and deciding on a course of action that is logically consistent with those beliefs, to the extent that decision making is logical. In reality, most of our beliefs are based on emotional considerations. Therefore, our decisions as to what is best for society are usually colored by our belief in what is best for ourselves.

This feature of the herd mentality is the product of a fundamental fact of logic, which is the basis for how we view the world. To make a decision on the validity of a concept we must consider the validity of its opposite and decide between the two on the basis of our experience. To the extent that we allow our thinking to be influenced by emotional considerations that have nothing to do with the truth of either proposition we become susceptible to manipulation by those who would enslave us by promoting beliefs that are opposed to our true self interest.

This binary feature of logic serves a purpose when we are young in that it allows us to make hypotheses that lead to conclusions about the confusing world we are trying to understand. The assumptions by which we create the reality in which we live as young persons are thus characterized by simplistic assumptions heavily influenced by our parents, our peers and the herd mentality of whatever segment of society in which we are raised. The process of maturation should be one of challenging these beliefs as we mature and broaden our experience but too often, people are willing to live their lives constrained by this childish worldview.

Such black and white thinking has led to a model of social and political reality in which authoritarian leaders are rarely challenged. The slave does not question the Master. The only recourse is to beg the Master to care for its basic needs. In modern society this means that those involved in partisan politics are reduced to begging their chosen leaders to put their interests over those of the corporate Puppetmasters who are ultimately in control of the US government.

All this has led to what I refer to as America’s borderline split. In the extreme, those who rely on emotional reasoning are stuck in a phase of early mental development in which thinking is so heavily influenced by environment that there is no stable sense of self or sense of one’s relationship to other individuals or society. Such unfortunate souls are slaves to their emotions and subject to wild emotional swings caused by forces they cannot understand. They are referred to as having borderline personality disorder. This disorder is so rampant in the US that the American collective consciousness itself has become borderline.

The solution to the healing of America is to heal this borderline split by reaching out to each other with unconditional acceptance and teaching and learning from each other how our worldviews differ. By opening our minds to all possible realities we free our own minds and become capable of the self-rule that defines democratic society. If we value our children we must treat our fellow citizens as we would ideally treat our own children, with unfailing love and respect and with the best interests of human society in mind in all that we do.

This is the way that we can all become doctors who heal ourselves and teachers who will train us to change the world. If as Nietzsche’s proposition that God is a human construct is correct, then it is our responsibility to mold our collective consciousness so that God is no longer dead but alive in our personal lives and society. If he is wrong, we have nothing to lose by trying, for either way the collective consciousness is what ultimately determines our individual and collective destinies.