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Hope- Changes

There are many things wrong with the world today. There is no other species that destroys its own with such ferocity and on such an immense scale. I would like to present you today with the words of unquestionably one of the greatest scientific minds of all time, Albert Einstein, with help from Bertrand Russell.

From the Russell - Einstein Manifesto:
Almost everybody who is politically conscious has strong feelings about one or more of these issues; but we want you, if you can, to set aside such feelings and consider yourselves only as members of a biological species which has had a remarkable history, and whose disappearance none of us can desire.

We shall try to say no single word which should appeal to one group rather than to another. All, equally, are in peril, and, if the peril is understood, there is hope that they may collectively avert it.


Here, then, is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable: Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war? People will not face this alternative because it is so difficult to abolish war.


"In view of the fact that in any future world war nuclear weapons will certainly be employed, and that such weapons threaten the continued existence of mankind, we urge the governments of the world to realize, and to acknowledge publicly, that their purpose cannot be furthered by a world war, and we urge them, consequently, to find peaceful means for the settlement of all matters of dispute between them."

Now, I do not consider myself a pacifist. I believe that there are situations, as described in Article 51 of the UN Charter, in which military action is appropriate. However, military action as a first resort, rather than a last resort, is a danger to all of us, and a danger that can easily be avoided.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty demands that its signatories not only refrain from producing new nuclear weapons, but also take steps to dismantle existing nuclear arsenals. The Bush administration's continued simultaneous assertions to be against the proliferation of WMDs and intent development of "low yeild" "bunker-buster" nuclear weapons are not only hypocritical , but a danger to all of us. Their actions have already triggered the beginning of an arms race, and their constant war-like posturing is increasing the danger posed to all of us. Simultaneously they claim christian piety, and as such, to them and their supporters I say "first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:5).

On this page I had previously planned to illustrate the un-democratic nature of American governance, but not for the purpose of inspiring despair, or causing people to surrender to what they see as an unbreakable system for the "protection of the minority of the opulent," but rather because real change, for the better, is possible. In any event, a discussion of the American Republic form of government (republic, not democracy) and its implications for the world will be postponed.

Rather, at this point it is necessary to point out some key facts that are relevant to the world's current state of affairs.

The first is American Militarism. Most Americans are in fact not the militant "chicken hawks" that are so often highlighted in the media. The majority of Americans do not wish to go to war unless no other options are available. As we have seen with the collapse of all pretexts for the invasion of Iraq, those in power are not catering to the will of their people. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and "liberation," by any rational definition, does not entail 500,000 civilian deaths as a direct result. The only people who have reaped any positive benefit from the invasion are the small number of people who made a profit off of the $350billion in congressional budget appropriations for the conflict, and a profit from the redistribution of Iraq's wealth of natural resources to private companies. A well informed American would not have chosen such a course of action. A byproduct of this invasion, brought about by a militarism that is not in the wishes of a majority of the population, is an increase in support for organisations that assert their intentention to launch reprisals against what they perceive (rightly) as American Imperialism.

Another byproduct of this militarism, or resort-to-force-as-the-first-option, is that other countries are developing their own military capabilities, including nuclear weapons, as a deterrant to the American threat. This is evidenced by North Korea's recent Nuclear test. This increases a danger to us all, due to the fact that they increase the risk of provocation of a larger conflict, and as discussed by Russell and Einstein above, this would have disasterous effects for our species as a whole.

But how can this situation be changed? Because it is America that poses this threat, it is the American people who are in the best position to alleviate it. It is widely understood that the coming American election will have little or no effect on US government policy. Simultaneously, there is a pervailing sentiment (rarely articulated) that regardless of who is in charge (in the US), things will stay the same. This is partially right. Madeline Albright (Bill Clinton's Secretary of State) has intoned that every president over the past few decades has had a strategy like George Bush's in their back pocket, they just know better than to bash people over the head with said strategy. We need look no farther than the first months of the Clinton administration to see that he was more than willing to engage in military strikes as a first option, with disasterous consequences for hundreds of children holed up in a Baghdad childrens shelter.

However, a change in regime as far as the US congress is concerned could lead to additional positive moves. Most notably, the American public would likely be let in on the realities that have been so vehemently hidden from them for the past 6 years. As we all know, an ignorant population is easy to control, and the Bush administration has excersised this control to the fullest. Their unprecedented control over the flow of information to the population has allowed them to excersise unprecedented control over public discussion on major issues, many of which are not open for public discussion to begin with. A few examples:

The first that comes to mind is the recent "conflict" between Israel and the civilian populations of Lebanon and Palestine. The very limited discourse on the subject was limited to the scope of Israel's actions, proportedly against "terrorists" but realistically against civilians (in violation of the Geneva conventions), was evidenced both in the mainstream and so-called "fringe" media. I'm including in the "fringe" media blog sites and information websites, including the well known site "MyLeftWing." On that particular site I was directly threatened with expulsion from discussion by the site's owner for a comment regarding the fact that those who supported the Israeli military incursions that killed thousands of civilians, many of whom were children, was tantamount to support for murder. And this site is proportedly the epitome of "the left" in America, which it was observed to me by a source that I trust that there really is no "left" left in America, and "the right" committed political genocide against "the left" decades ago. Aprepo, though not entirely accurate. The fact of the matter is that most Americans, even those who consider themselves well versed in news and politics, and of a "liberal" bent, are inherently subject to the information control mechanisms of an overreaching Executive, which has the power to disseminate a very large volume of disinformation to the public so as to cloud any attempt at rational discourse. Supressed from the public was the fact that Israel's invasion plans were drawn up long before the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, that Israeli soldiers had kidnapped "suspected hizballah" members just days before, and the fact that the weapons used to flatten Lebanon were handed to the Israeli military with the costs deferred to the American taxpayers.

Another example that comes quickly to mind is of course the Iraq war, wherein civilian and military death tolls are surpressed to an unprecedented extent by the Bush administration. This has included going so far as to arrest Hospital personnell in Iraq for realeasing accurate but "too high" casualty figures, and barring the US media from covering the return of injured or dead American soldiers. Due to current disagreement in elite circles as to the effectiveness of the US's Iraq policy, some dissent has filtered through into the US Media (much the same as in later stages of the Vietnam conflict), and as such the issue is receiving a large amount of coverage. However, even policy makers on the democratic side of the aisle (including Chuch Schumer and Hilliary Clinton) do not disagree with the administrations stated goals, merely question the methods. Again, even a "regime change" in the US congress is unlikely to have any impact on policy.

However, that is not to say that people should give up hope in initiating change. One of the first steps for making changes is to be presented with the full picture, which influential analysts argue will increase in likelyhood with a change in those in charge (in congress) of overseeing the actions of the government as a whole, specifically the executive. It is pointed out that Democratic oversight committees would be able to share much needed information with the American public, and put them in a better position to make informed decisions, one of the most important aspects of reclaiming democracy in America.
From Unclaimed Territory:

A Democratic takeover of one or even both houses of Congress is unlikely to result in any new affirmative legislation or policies, since their control will be by only a small margin, dependent on conservative lawmakers in their majority, and subject to a presidential veto. With some exceptions (such as the power to control appropriations and cut off funding), the real power they will have will be to investigate and expose the conduct of the Bush administration and to reveal to Americans what has really been going on.

It is difficult to overstate how crucial that is for exposing what the Republican Party has become and undermining those who control it. The administration has been able to ward off even the most incriminating accusations and disclosures because they control the primary sources of information. They can deny anything, selectively release misleading exculpatory information, and operate in the darkest shadows and behind the highest walls of secrecy. As a result, disclosures about what they have done are always piecemeal and easily obscured.

Armed with a more realistic view of what's going on, Americans are put in a much better position to initiate the so-badly-needed changes that the rest of the world is screaming for. Hope for a better tomorrow always exists as long as there are those who are willing to work for it, and who are aware of the needs and opportunities involved.

Naturally, there are those whose vested interest in seeing that things continue as they are leads them to continue to take steps to quiet their opposition. The murders ("unintentional") of dozens of foreign journalists by US troops notwithstanding, the tactics employed are nothing new: maintaining claims that "everything is allright, trust us" or playing upon the most negative of emotions, fear and anger.

To give just a couple of examples, today the BBC published a report by the US Ambassador to Iraq that "success" by the US in Iraq was still possible. This was in response to the admittal by a US State Department official that the US was "arrogant" and "stupid" in Iraq, a statement claimed by the White House to have been mistranslated but verified by the BBC to have been accurate. It was also immediately following an analysis by Robert Dreyfuss, echoing the sentiments of many prominent analysists, that a coup was on the cards in Iraq.

Facing such grim news, the Bush administration reverts to its classic strategy of playing upon the fears of the American population. The latest of a virtual plethora of examples is a video recently published on the Republican party's website RNC.org designed to scare the American public into obedience (much the same as Mao scared his population into obedience). The video is below:

The Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadi-Nejad had some thoughts and observations on this very subject in his letter to George Bush a few months back:
All governments have a duty to provide security and peace of mind for their citizens. For some years now, the people of your country and neighbors of world trouble spots do not have peace of mind. After 9.11, instead of healing and tending to the emotional wounds of the survivors and the American people -- who had been immensely traumatized by the attacks -- some Western media only intensified the climate of fear and insecurity – some constantly talked about the possibility of new terror attacks and kept the people in fear. Is that service to the American people? Is it possible to calculate the damages incurred from fear and panic?

American citizens lived in constant fear of fresh attacks that could come at any moment and in any place. They felt insecure in the streets, in their place of work and at home. Who would be happy with this situation? Why was the media, instead of conveying a feeling of security and providing peace of mind, giving rise to a feeling of insecurity?

I think the answer is obvious. To constantly push the buttons of the population and use their fear as a tool of manipulation is an intense disservice not only to the American population, but to those against whom the fear is used to mobilise militant action. But I have hope. I have hope that Americans are as fed up with the situation as the rest of the world is. I have hope that the "elites" in the american business world are not right in their assessment that the candidate with the largest campaign war chest [must have] superior grass-roots support, the war chest referring to the amount of money they have left for their campaign. I have hope that Americans are intelligent enough to realise that the Dow Jones' record performance recently does not represent the economic welfare of their nation or themselves as individuals.

I think Americans are at a breaking point, that the situation is bad enough at this stage (domestically, for americans, and internationally) that many are coming to realise that major changes are needed, of which making a showing at their election next month is an important first step.

I have hope that the strength of morality and human decency will overpower the will of those whose greed, arrogance, and or fear have monopolised their decision making processes. I have hope for the future.

We have the power, we must only choose to use it.

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