Friday, November 25, 2011

A Revival of the Code Duello?

It used to be by the Code Duello that many in Congress solved their differences. And it was the governed who really suffered the most while foolish men of false chivalrous honor shot each other. Hamilton comes to mind. Jackson comes to mind.The code should perhaps be revived , however, as our modern legislators fail the people by mass bipartisan code duellos nowdays anyway. The difference being that real bullets are not used anymore. Hence the gridlock.
No, the legislative gridlock today is as if all 435 members of Congress, the President and the Supreme Courtesans have all gone over to Wehawken Island, NJ, and taken up respective positions at close quarters across a field and have released fusillade after fusillade after fusillade of invective, acrimony, character assassination, obfuscation, lies and propagandic manipulations at each other w/ the rising smoke enveloping the entire mess in a haze of blind, aimless inaction. And we the governed are left holding the pistol boxes over and over again.
It's a shame they're all left standing after the smoke rises on any given issue. Where are we on budget deficits, education, Medicare and Medicaid and social security and bills on limiting the power of wealthy special interests?
One thing's for sure: Hamilton died the next day after his duel w/ Burr; but they did solve a problem in an expedited manner that morning and that was that Burr was a dangerous traitor who was never really heard from again in history. We do have Hamilton to thank for this. In this sense Hamilton's expedited code duello, and his sacrifice, may have saved the country from a sure road to perdition had Burr ever become president. Maybe something good can be said about this draconian rite from the era gone by- an era of romantic chivalry. God knows the standard practices by which our legislators hear and act upon the voice of the people today in "modern times" has clearly failed the governed.
Dissent and the Patriot's Dream

Interesting and poignant and perhaps something uniquely telling in the American character that finds us viewing this OWS movement from such opposing perspectives.... yet both of us honor our respective dad's service and each of us might invoke what our fathers did in foreign wars to support the rights of this man to speak his mind -though you may view him an anti-patriot and me see him serving the spirit of answering Kennedy's asking by serving his country in dissent. One of the fiercest dissenters I met this summer when we both chose to be arrested at the White House was a decorated WWII vet, now a PHd who fought the Germans crossing the Rhine on the way to Berlin. Was his dissent against the the policies on climate change or oligarchic seizure of the 3 branches of government now seen as anti-patriot and in a different light than his sacrifice as a soldier?

Was mine because I chose to take part in a civil action answering to the dictates of my own conscience? Am I asking for a special entitlement or treatment,Tim? the country was founded upon dissent. Its life blood has always and only been instilled or reclaimed by dissent. The very first seminal American document was itself a protest manifesto called The “Declaration Of Independence" They keep this enshrined document in the National Archives. And this founding document was a direct revolt against wealthy interests. Just like today really. It's just that the suppression today comes in the form of a calculated mollification campaign where we are numbed, dumbed, and thumbed down unaware that the process of usurping is even happening..... and to a large extent those who are numbing and thumbing us down are not even aware that it is happening. It's only business you see and when a whole society subscribes to"it's only business" then we've lost our center, the center can not hold as WB Yeats might say. It's only business grants philosophical license to the Kochs of the world to increase their wealth from 7 billion in 2007 to 50 billion today- the exact same time frame during which the middle classes lost trillions of dollars. Can't you see how much it has changed since we were kids?

The suppression of a preponderantly powerful and wealthy monarchy was the cause for the separation then, and it is those same forces transposed and moved forward 230 years and coming from within that threaten now.... . It was easier then, because we had geography, an ocean, and nearly 200 years of " the separation" and the distinction and the identity of becoming " Americans" , agriculturalist, manifest destinians, settlers and stump pullers and cabin builders..... we earned the right to develop our own American identity.

Not only across a big water, but across a widening breadth of new notions on autonomous government based on for and by the people,,,, Jefferson and Adams and Paine and Franklin all agreed that John Locke would be their standard bearer and the wild notion that maybe democracy and true republican governance just might work.... again. .. a long time had passed since the 4'th century AD when Rome finally fell.. Can't you see how all this is history in redux, except that it is not monarchical rule anymore, It is a nexus of massive multi national corporate driven madness that are the usurpers now. They are the new radical insurrectionists. They aim to merge their narrow interests w/ the 3 branches of government and they answer to no ideology except one. And by now that one raison d'etre does not even need to be stated.

I'll tell you what I feel. This movement is not a revolution at all, it is a reclamation, preservation and re-instatement movement, and though you clearly interpret Kennedy's appeal , "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" above as an admonishment to this man's gripe in the above clip, it can just as cleanly be reversed to mean that he, like our folks, and like many military vets from Viet Nam and Iraq and Korea and Afghanistan I have talked to at a number of OWS assemblies, believe this man, in his dissent, misguided or not, is answering to the call of his country too in his own way. I may not champion his views on socialism and surely not anarchism, but whole heartily support him when he says something has gone terribly, terribly wrong..... and if you don't see it, Tim... if you don't see that something has gone fatally wrong with this democracy and millions of other Americans don’t see it either, I really do tremble for the fate of this country....

Anarchism? Socialism? nah, these are just tag along upstart vents of anger--- just first pass gripes that the legislative, executive and judicial branches and the 2 party system have failed the people. Party politics had been warned against vehemently by our early founders, especially Adams, and party politics is part of what is tearing it apart now. Ideologies and labels and propaganda brands and witch hunted purges to route out the traitors among us because their ideas dare to dissent from the staus quo-- this is what will tear this country apart and is doing it right now. If we are to get through this we should suspend and or neutralize both parties for they both have failed the governed from which they have derived their power and from whom they have deserted their duties. And why? It's only business don't you see? It's only a fair and inalienable free enterprise right granted in the US Constitution for the risers to the top, the corporate brahmans to be able to put together strategies of mergrs and aquisitions of all three branches of government. Tell me, how is it that a "Supreme Court " could ever, ever grant the status of an "individul" to a Corporate entity? As a citizen accorded all the right s and privelege of a citizen, but not the obligations or penalties should this individual/entity break the law? If a corporation committs atrocities like dumping toxic wastes near poor comunities where Indigenous people live for example, and many people die from cancers that have never been seen in their blood lines, and it can be traced w/out a doubt that these cancers are a direct result of the toxic` wastes dumped near these communities, might this individual entity, accorded the same right as an "individual" now be charged with 2'nd degree or even 1'st degree muder as any individual would acting w/ malice and forethought. Might this "individual entity" granted equal ststus by our Supreme Courtesans, now be tried by a jury of its peers, found guilty, and sentenced to death? If we execute individuals who murder, why not entire corporations who murder? The logic arcs out to conclusions that are fraught w/ ad absurdums and only belies just how far the democracy has come in morphing into something else yet retaining the same brand name " Democracy." It's only business, folks, doncha see? the This will die down and round out to reestablish the core --- elements that should not be seen to represent the overall aims- nor should this man's cherry picked somewhat incoherent screed be used to represent the entire movement.

Tim, some of my people were here long before the Revolution .USS Grant and John Hancock and a secretary to Washinton and a spy for tracking general Braddock's troop movement (a woman no less) , Commadore Joseph Pratt, a privateer who commanded the great 3 masted schooner, Grand Turk…and people who founded the American renaissance in literature w/ Thorerau and Emmerson et all... all in my blood line.

And you know what really saddens me after nearly 40 years in the study of history? That really intelligent people, people who I respect, people who have lived in the US over the last 30 years, do not sense the slow, creeping, insidious hollowing out of this democracy by a very narrow band of very wealthy interests, and these people call me an anti-patriot… and that I hate America as if they stand on the only high ground that true Americans must defend? Where have we gone? Where have we gone when people who have fought in wars, lost friends, been maimed and come down to OWS and are called idiots and bums and just people who expect something for nothing? Tell me, who claims the highest ground, Tim? This country stopped being the country Jefferson and Adams and Madison and Paine envisioned about 35 years ago. It began a slow insidious slide with the election of Ronald Reagan. Sure it worked ok for a couple of decades, for a small fraction of the people , but for most the so promised tide never rose. And though it has left its designer logo behind, this country is well on the way to just the kind of country Orwell and Huxley warned us about. Where have we gone? This is not the country De Tocqueville wrote about when the most wealthy were maybe 10 times as wealthy as the common yeoman.

No, the most pernicious and destructive movements that have ever threatened to tear this country asunder, other than the ideological revolution of 1800 and the economic and slavery question of the Civil War, have always been when the full hard edged,non-regulated self-interested laissez faire unfettered capitalism has been allowed to amass gross and dangerous amounts of wealth and power. That’s where we are now and those who do not accept this are but fodder for propaganda campaigns that spread this ridiculous notion that regu lation and financial checks and observance to laws already on the books like Glass- Steagle, FDIC and SEC regulations , or protections of social security, medicare and Medicaid etc., are all seen socialists subversion plots.? God what have we become when the ghosts of Joe Mc Carthy still run so rapant in this sick American attitude.

This is not new. It has happened 2 times before and this 3'rd time may bring Rome down again.... and only 230 years into empire. It happened during the Gilded age w/ the Rockerfellers, Morgans, Carnegies and Roschilds and it took strong actions from the first Roosevelt to prevent us from reverting to indentured serfdom then. 40 years later during the Great Depression it happened again when the wealth divide was just about as great as it is now except there was no real middle class then. Then, lucky you n' me and all us boomers. We lived through the most prosperous era ever known to any generation in any time in the entire history of mankind. Why? Because Jefferson's and Adams and Madison's and Paine's and even Hamilton's dream for America finally reached its beautiful and intended zenith where most of the people's pursuits of happiness were met, wealthy, upper classes, and the heart and ballast of it all, the middle class... all the governed electorate had access to better their lives and better their lots.

That’s almost all gone away and it’s not all the fault of a few Oliligarchs…. Probably only 0.01% of the total population, but they sure share a massive responsibility for all the financial crimes they have committed an for their orchestrated attempts to merge their narrow interests with the 3 branches of government. No, Hamilton and Adam Smith surely did not intend for this. Tim, I dearly love this country as my dad did. He served w/ the idea that we should long endure and that those who did sacrifice should not have left the last full measure of their devotion on the battlefield uncertain as to whether this nation could long endure. I’ll tell you what, I never served in a war. I was lucky to have missed Viet Nam and I lived down in the “Green World” for 13 years in Grand Turk. I feel this is my time to serve my country and I feel this movement, if it can strain out revolution and anarchy from its message and becomes truly democratic , is the last best hope we have of making sure this nation long endures. I feel Lincoln and Jefferson and Adams and my dad and many others feel the same. And another thing, whoever sits this out, I will not call anti-patriots, but will feel they have sadly misread the history of their own times and fallen prey to the influences of the very worst of our angels. Please don’t let this man in the above clip represent what you think OWS is all about.