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Forum Post: "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

Posted 1 year ago on June 8, 2012, 2:40 p.m. EST by LeoYo (4812)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

"all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

Declaration of Independence 1776

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"Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going downhill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion."

Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the State of Virginia) 1781

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"Experience has taught us, that men will not adopt and carry into execution measures the best calculated for their own good, without the intervention of a coercive power."

George Washington in a letter to John Jay dated August 1, 1786

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"In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other."

Benjamin Franklin in his address to the Constitutional Convention dated September 17, 1787

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"Those who contend for a simple democracy, or a pure republic, actuated by the sense of the majority, and operating within narrow limits, assume or suppose a case which is altogether fictitious. They found their reasoning on the idea, that the people composing the Society, enjoy not only an equality of political rights; but that they have all precisely the same interests, and the same feelings in every respect. Were this in reality the case, their reasoning would be conclusive. The interest of the majority would be that of the minority also; the decisions could only turn on mere opinion concerning the good of the whole, of which the major voice would be the safest criterion; and within a small sphere, this voice could be most easily collected, and the public affairs most accurately managed."

"We know however that no Society ever did or can consist of so homogeneous a mass of Citizens. In the savage State indeed, an approach is made towards it; but in that State little or no Government is necessary. In all civilized Societies, distinctions are various and unavoidable. A distinction of property results from that very protection which a free Government gives to unequal faculties of acquiring it. There will be rich and poor; creditors and debtors; a landed interest, a monied interest, a mercantile interest, a manufacturing interest. These classes may again be subdivided according to the different productions of different situations & soils, & according to different branches of commerce, and of manufactures. In addition to these natural distinctions, artificial ones will be founded, on accidental differences in political, religious or other opinions, or an attachment to the persons of leading individuals. However erroneous or ridiculous these grounds of dissention and faction, may appear to the enlightened Statesman, or the benevolent philosopher, the bulk of mankind who are neither Statesmen nor Philosophers, will continue to view them in a different light."

"Divide et impera, the reprobated axiom of tyranny, is under certain qualifications, the only policy, by which a republic can be administered on just principles."

A few selected thoughts of James Madison from a letter written to Thomas Jefferson dated October 24, 1787

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"If, then, control of the people over the organs of their government be the measure of their republicanism, and I confess I know no other measure, it must be agreed that our governments have much less of republicanism than ought to have been expected; in other words, that the people have less regular control over their agents, than their rights and their interests require."

Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Taylor dated May 28, 1816.

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"Hamilton’s financial system had then past. It had two objects. First as a puzzle, to exclude popular understanding and inquiry. Secondly, as a machine for the corruption of the legislature; for he avowed the opinion that man could be governed by one of two motives only, force or interest: force he observed, in this country, was out of the question; and the interests therefore of the members must be laid hold of, to keep the legislature in unison with the Executive. And with grief and shame it must be acknowledged that his machine was not without effect. That even in this, the birth of our government, some members were found sordid enough to bend their duty to their interests, and to look after personal, rather than public good."

Thomas Jefferson in "Anas" dated February 4, 1818

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In the beginning...

The Founding Fathers, on September 12, 1787, had voted against a national Bill of Rights (that later had to be insisted upon as a consideration by certain state legislatures for the ratification of the Constitution and didn't protect people at the state level until the 14th Amendment).

During and after the Constitutional Convention, legislation for the People to recall their federal representatives had been denied.

In 1791, the Whiskey Tax had been passed favoring eastern big business while burdening western small business resulting in rebellion.

In 1798, the Alien and Sedition Acts had been passed and only enforced against critics of the Federalist Party.

Consider the form of government that the Founders had instituted in contrast to a form of government similar to a Democratic Congress http://occupywallst.org/forum/amendment-for-a-democratic-congress/ that the Founders (including James Madison) would have been opposed to simply for being a democracy. Also consider the actual democracy that has existed in Switzerland since 1848 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_in_Switzerland that the United States Congress has never considered for the American people.

We like to refer to our elected officials as being our public servants yet Thomas Jefferson had plainly referred to them as being our rulers. Under the form of government agreed upon by the Founding Fathers, the electing body must obey the laws of the elected body. The electing body cannot create laws for itself. The electing body cannot revoke the laws of the elected body and the most that the electing body can do to affect the members of the elected body who choose not to represent the interests of the electing body is to continue electing members to the elected body. We are obliged to abide by their decisions but they are in no way obliged to abide by our public interests. So, who is truly the servant? ("None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.") In short, while people talk of fascism as a growing danger to American freedom, the Founding Father republicanism of restricting the people to a representative democracy had been detrimental to American freedom from the start. What just and selfless cause in the interests of liberty could a group of men have had in establishing themselves (or their class) above the collective will and revocation of the people? As they had plainly known, a non-initiative representative democracy is a restrained democracy, an imposition upon the political freedom of the American people, denying them the status of being a sovereign people.

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So, in the beginning, in what way had America been a free country?

If America hadn't been a free country at that time, then, at what point in history did America ever become a free country?

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19 Comments


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[-] 3 points by jimmycrackerson (940) from Blackfoot, ID 1 year ago

I like that quote. I used to believe America was a free country. Then I joined the military and learned how disgustingly false that assumption was. I guess we've all made mistakes.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (4812) 1 year ago

What particularly brought you to that realization?

[-] 2 points by jimmycrackerson (940) from Blackfoot, ID 1 year ago

Once you're in the military, you're no longer a human being. You're a disposable piece of government property, and you're treated as such. Just another part of the machine, your value is determined by rank. Rank is a way to show how indoctrinated one is to the militaristic core values and for how long.

But there wasn't any single particular thing that brought me to that realization. It was more of a snowball effect, and connecting the dots.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

GI = Government issue.

My Dad ran a close risk of facing courts martial in WWII when he was on a two day furlough in Hawaii and got severely sunburned - damaging Government property.

[-] 2 points by jimmycrackerson (940) from Blackfoot, ID 1 year ago

Wow, I want to say it's surprising that they go as far as a court martial for sunburns. But it's to be expected I guess. If someone doesn't like you all they have to do is find something in military misconduct code that could apply and nail you with it.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

The reasoning was sabotage. Taking military resources out of operation in a time of war. You were very much considered property - war material. I doubt if much has changed in this regard to military personnel.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (4812) 1 year ago

Through the federal income tax, a person's labor becomes the property of the government or more precisely, of the Federal Reserve bankers to receive our tax payments http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-752291.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

I have seen this post before and admit I have not yet stopped in to take a really good look yet - but just skimming through right now it looks to contain a lot of good food for thought and discussion. I am not in a particularly good place with my health at the moment and this provides obstructions to my ability to contribute in a meaningful way at the moment. I look forward to getting more in depth with the post though as these are things that need fleshing-out.

[-] -1 points by auargent (-600) 1 year ago

dk is lying

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (4812) 1 year ago

Well, even though I agree with your assessment, lack of freedom in the military isn't quite the same as a lack of freedom in the counrty a military serves. In fact, short of illegal abuses, a certain lack of military freedom is expected in facilitating the discipline required for soldiers to protect their country. Was there something made known to you in the military that affected your perspective of freedom in general American society?

[-] 2 points by jimmycrackerson (940) from Blackfoot, ID 1 year ago

Well no, there was nothing I had discovered through "being on the inside" that changed my perspective of freedom in American Society. But the experience as a whole presented me with the ability see our society from a different angle once I'd finished serving. Something along the lines of: everyone is supposed to be in a certain place in order for the system to function properly.

And maybe it wasn't necessarily the military, I'm sure there were other factors

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (4812) 1 year ago

Now Make Me Do It: The Mythical Apathy of the Electorate

http://my.firedoglake.com/mymarkx/2012/10/19/now-make-me-do-it-the-mythical-apathy-of-the-electorate/#

By: mymarkx Friday October 19, 2012 10:52 pm

Many liberals and progressives, not to mention conservatives and wingnuts, bemoan the apathy of the electorate. It isn’t enough to just vote, they insist, once you elect somebody you have to actively force them to represent you, and they cite Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, “I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.” The problem, they claim, isn’t with the system or with our representatives, but with us for not being organized and active enough to make our representatives represent us. Many elected representatives claim that they would like to represent their constituents, but, like FDR, they can’t unless they are made to.

If true, this would reflect poorly on us as a people. We have a basically good system, and some good representatives, but we are just too lazy and apathetic to make our representatives represent us.

This is all a lie. Let me give you an example. Back during the Bush administration a lot of people wanted to see Bush and Cheney impeached. In one district the desire for impeachment was so high that activists were able to collect signatures from more than 80% of the residents asking their representative, John Olver, to support impeachment. But when he was formally presented with the petition, his response was, “Spare me! I’m well aware that the overwhelming majority of my constituents want me to support impeachment. I will not.” His response would have been the same if the petition had signatures from 100% of his constituents. It wasn’t that people were too apathetic to care, or too lazy to try to make him represent them, it was that our Constitution never gave people the power to exercise their will through their elected representatives. As both the Bush and Obama administrations made clear, our government does not allow public opinion to influence policy decisions. We are not a democracy or a republic. In the United States power is vested in the hands of the government, not in the hands of the people.

In both a democracy and a republic, by definition, supreme power over government is vested in the hands of the people. In a democracy, the people exercise their power directly by voting on budgets, policy issues, and other matters of import, but in a republic the people exercise their power indirectly through their elected officials. In the United States we have no such power. We can ask our representatives to represent us, we can protest if they don’t, but we have no way to make them do our will because we have no power over them. Once they are elected, they are free to represent us, if they wish, or they can, if they choose, represent their big campaign donors, their personal ideologies, the interests of a foreign country, or anything else they want. We can petition until we turn blue and protest until we get ourselves shot, but we have no way to sway them. Sure we can wait until their terms of office, the only time they’re supposed to represent us, are over, and then try to elect somebody else who can’t be held accountable, but while our representatives are in office, while they are supposed to be representing us, we cannot make them do so.

Of course we can ask Congress to impeach them, but Congress doesn’t like to impeach its own Members. If one Member was impeached, other Members might be subject to impeachment in revenge, so that’s a can of worms they prefer not to open. Sometimes they threaten impeachment, or even begin impeachment proceedings, but they don’t impeach. There have been impeachments of some district judges, but no sitting President, Supreme Court Justice, or Member of Congress has ever been impeached: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_in_the_United_States

If your representatives appears to be representing you, it is because they chose to or their big donors told them to, not because you made them do it. You have no power to make them do anything. When you vote, you are not voting for representatives, you are voting for petty tyrants who may or may not represent you and over whom you have no power whatsoever. Once their term of office is over and they are no longer representing you, you cannot bring back to life the dead from the wars they funded with your taxpayer dollars or renounce the debts they incurred that your granchildren will still be paying . The damage they do while in office can be irreparable and you have no control over them while they’re in office. You can try to elect somebody else, somebody who tells smoother lies, but you will have no real power over them either.

Of course with corporate money even in local politics, gerrymandered districts, easily hacked and totally unverifiable central tabulators, you can never know for sure that your vote for a new representative was counted at all, no less counted for the candidate you tried to vote for.

Yet approximately 50% of the electorate vote anyway, hoping against hope that their vote might be counted and that they might be represented. The other half of us know better.

In a democratic form of government, a vote is the most precious right of all because it is the way that people exercise their power over government, either directly or through their representatives.

We do not have a democratic form of government in the United States. The Constitution gave us a plutocracy where we have no power over government to exercise.

So don’t berate yourself and your neighbors for not making your representatives do their jobs. You can’t. The 39 plutocrats who wrote the Constitution, the wealthy elite 1% of their time, made sure that you wouldn’t have that power, as they didn’t trust the “mob and rabble” of democracy and wanted those who owned the country, people like themselves, to always rule the country.

You’re not apathetic. You’ve been had.

[-] 2 points by gnomunny (5662) from St Louis, MO 1 year ago

That was the best explanation I've ever seen on this forum. Hammer, meet nail head.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (4812) 9 months ago

Discourse on Voluntary Servitude

The Discours sur la servitude volontaire of ÉTIENNE DE LA BOÉTIE, 1548

Rendered into English by HARRY KURZ

[Published under the title ANTI-DICTATOR]

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I see no good in having several lords; Let one alone be master, let one alone be king.

These words Homer puts in the mouth of Ulysses,[1] as he addresses the people. If he had said nothing further than "I see no good in having several lords," it would have been well spoken. For the sake of logic he should have maintained that the rule of several could not be good since the power of one man alone, as soon as he acquires the title of master, becomes abusive and unreasonable. Instead he declared what seems preposterous: "Let one alone be master, let one alone be king." We must not be critical of Ulysses, who at the moment was perhaps obliged to speak these words in order to quell a mutiny in the army, for this reason, in my opinion, choosing language to meet the emergency rather than the truth. Yet, in the light of reason, it is a great misfortune to be at the beck and call of one master, for it is impossible to be sure that he is going to be kind, since it is always in his power to be cruel whenever he pleases. As for having several masters, according to the number one has, it amounts to being that many times unfortunate. Although I do not wish at this time to discuss this much debated question, namely whether other types of government are preferable to monarchy,[2] still I should like to know, before casting doubt on the place that monarchy should occupy among commonwealths, whether or not it belongs to such a group, since it is hard to believe that there is anything of common wealth in a country where everything belongs to one master. This question, however, can remain for another time and would really require a separate treatment involving by its very nature all sorts of political discussion.

For the present I should like merely to understand how it happens that so many men, so many villages, so many cities, so many nations, sometimes suffer under a single tyrant who has no other power than the power they give him; who is able to harm them only to the extent to which they have the willingness to bear with him; who could do them absolutely no injury unless they preferred to put up with him rather than contradict him.[3] Surely a striking situation! Yet it is so common that one must grieve the more and wonder the less at the spectacle of a million men serving in wretchedness, their necks under the yoke, not constrained by a greater multitude than they, but simply, it would seem, delighted and charmed by the name of one man alone whose power they need not fear, for he is evidently the one person whose qualities they cannot admire because of his inhumanity and brutality toward them. A weakness characteristic of human kind is that we often have to obey force; we have to make concessions; we ourselves cannot always be the stronger. Therefore, when a nation is constrained by the fortune of war to serve a single clique, as happened when the city of Athens served the thirty Tyrants,[4] one should not be amazed that the nation obeys, but simply be grieved by the situation; or rather, instead of being amazed or saddened, consider patiently the evil and look forward hopefully toward a happier future.

Our nature is such that the common duties of human relationship occupy a great part of the course of our life. It is reasonable to love virtue, to esteem good deeds, to be grateful for good from whatever source we may receive it, and, often, to give up some of our comfort in order to increase the honor and advantage of some man whom we love and who deserves it. Therefore, if the inhabitants of a country have found some great personage who has shown rare foresight in protecting them in an emergency, rare boldness in defending them, rare solicitude in governing them, and if, from that point on, they contract the habit of obeying him and depending on him to such an extent that they grant him certain prerogatives, I fear that such a procedure is not prudent, inasmuch as they remove him from a position in which he was doing good and advance him to a dignity in which he may do evil. Certainly while he continues to manifest good will one need fear no harm from a man who seems to be generally well disposed.

But O good Lord! What strange phenomenon is this? What name shall we give to it? What is the nature of this misfortune? What vice is it, or, rather, what degradation? To see an endless multitude of people not merely obeying, but driven to servility? Not ruled, but tyrannized over? These wretches have no wealth, no kin, nor wife nor children, not even life itself that they can call their own. They suffer plundering, wantonness, cruelty, not from an army, not from a barbarian horde, on account of whom they must shed their blood and sacrifice their lives, but from a single man; not from a Hercules nor from a Samson, but from a single little man. Too frequently this same little man is the most cowardly and effeminate in the nation, a stranger to the powder of battle and hesitant on the sands of the tournament; not only without energy to direct men by force, but with hardly enough virility to bed with a common woman! Shall we call subjection to such a leader cowardice? Shall we say that those who serve him are cowardly and faint-hearted? If two, if three, if four, do not defend themselves from the one, we might call that circumstance surprising but nevertheless conceivable. In such a case one might be justified in suspecting a lack of courage. But if a hundred, if a thousand endure the caprice of a single man, should we not rather say that they lack not the courage but the desire to rise against him, and that such an attitude indicates indifference rather than cowardice? When not a hundred, not a thousand men, but a hundred provinces, a thousand cities, a million men, refuse to assail a single man from whom the kindest treatment received is the infliction of serfdom and slavery, what shall we call that? Is it cowardice? Of course there is in every vice inevitably some limit beyond which one cannot go. Two, possibly ten, may fear one; but when a thousand, a million men, a thousand cities, fail to protect themselves against the domination of one man, this cannot be called cowardly, for cowardice does not sink to such a depth, any more than valor can be termed the effort of one individual to scale a fortress, to attack an army, or to conquer a kingdom. What monstrous vice, then, is this which does not even deserve to be called cowardice, a vice for which no term can be found vile enough, which nature herself disavows and our tongues refuse to name?

Place on one side fifty thousand armed men, and on the other the same number; let them join in battle, one side fighting to retain its liberty, the other to take it away; to which would you, at a guess, promise victory? Which men do you think would march more gallantly to combat — those who anticipate as a reward for their suffering the maintenance of their freedom, or those who cannot expect any other prize for the blows exchanged than the enslavement of others? One side will have before its eyes the blessings of the past and the hope of similar joy in the future; their thoughts will dwell less on the comparatively brief pain of battle than on what they may have to endure forever, they, their children, and all their posterity. The other side has nothing to inspire it with courage except the weak urge of greed, which fades before danger and which can never be so keen, it seems to me, that it will not be dismayed by the least drop of blood from wounds. Consider the justly famous battles of Miltiades,[5] Leonidas,[6] Themistocles,[7] still fresh today in recorded history and in the minds of men as if they had occurred but yesterday, battles fought in Greece for the welfare of the Greeks and as an example to the world. What power do you think gave to such a mere handful of men not the strength but the courage to withstand the attack of a fleet so vast that even the seas were burdened, and to defeat the armies of so many nations, armies so immense that their officers alone outnumbered the entire Greek force? What was it but the fact that in those glorious days this struggle represented not so much a fight of Greeks against Persians as a victory of liberty over domination, of freedom over greed?

It amazes us to hear accounts of the valor that liberty arouses in the hearts of those who defend it; but who could believe reports of what goes on every day among the inhabitants of some countries, who could really believe that one man alone may mistreat a hundred thousand and deprive them of their liberty? Who would credit such a report if he merely heard it, without being present to witness the event? And if this condition occurred only in distant lands and were reported to us, which one among us would not assume the tale to be imagined or invented, and not really true? Obviously there is no need of fighting to overcome this single tyrant, for he is automatically defeated if the country refuses consent to its own enslavement: it is not necessary to deprive him of anything, but simply to give him nothing; there is no need that the country make an effort to do anything for itself provided it does nothing against itself. It is therefore the inhabitants themselves who permit, or, rather, bring about, their own subjection, since by ceasing to submit they would put an end to their servitude. A people enslaves itself, cuts its own throat, when, having a choice between being vassals and being free men, it deserts its liberties and takes on the yoke, gives consent to its own misery, or, rather, apparently welcomes it.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-902070

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (4812) 9 months ago

III: Mental Slavery – Conditioned Consciousness

“To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill.” - Sun Tzu, The Art of War, 246 BC

The mainstream media is the most effective weapon of mass oppression humanity has ever known.

Since the early 1900’s and World War I, a massive propaganda system has been in place. This is not a conspiracy theory; it is all well documented. Research Edward Bernays, Walter Lippman, Ivy Lee, George Creel and the Committee on Public Information for starters. In fact, you don’t even need a conspiracy theory; you just need a basic understanding of propaganda, social psychology and behaviorism – more on that later.

The bottom line, as Dewey once said, “We live exposed to the greatest flood of mass suggestion humanity has ever experienced.” Speaking from personal experience, having been born and raised inside this propaganda system, and still obviously living inside it, I have come to realize that even the most independent minded among us vastly underestimates how mentally conditioned we all are. Most people are no more consciously aware of this mental domination than they are aware of gravity. It’s like the air we breathe.

For two obvious examples, let’s start with television consumption and advertising. The average American watches more than five hours of TV a day, every single day of their life. American children view more than 40,000 ads per year, every single year of their life. Think about that. That’s intensive mental domination administered on a daily basis, from the cradle to the grave.

Ultimately, as Phil Merikle summed it up, “It’s what advertisers have known all along: if we just keep the exposure rate up, people will be influenced.” Repetition, it’s all about repetition.

Repetitive messages fill our mental atmosphere. To paraphrase Philip Lesley in Managing the Human Climate, ‘When a message appears all around you, you tend to accept it and take it for granted. You find yourself surrounded by it and your subconscious mind absorbs and becomes immersed in the climate of repetitive ideas.’ They form the origins of your thoughts. It’s where your desires, opinions and perspectives are born.

To spin a McLuhan riff, the mainstream mass media is the software on which our minds run; it’s our operating system. It’s an extension of our nervous system. Repetitive mainstream propaganda creates a belief system, popular reference points, symbols, archetypes, mental patterns, a mindset and groupthink, all based on repetition – and groupthink is a highly contagious infectious disease.

It’s hard to escape groupthink. As with freedom and democracy, you must be ever vigilant to avoid the tyranny of groupthink and cultural conditioning. As Walter Lippmann said, “In the great blooming, buzzing confusion of the outer world, we pick out what our culture has already defined for us, and we tend to perceive that which we have picked out in the form stereotyped for us by our culture.” To remix a quote from Dostoevsky, ‘Leave people alone without mass media and they will be lost and confused. They will not know what to support, what to cling to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise.’

Malcolm X said it best, “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

The mainstream media keeps everyone isolated inside a false reality, a pseudo mental environment. People are trapped in a bubble of status quo supporting reality, in a bubble of what’s good for shortsighted, short-term corporate interests.

People’s consciousness and awareness gets conditioned and contracted, they become isolated and detached from wider reality. People are born and raised inside mass media created illusions. As Eduardo Galeano put it, “The majority must resign itself to the consumption of fantasy. Illusions of wealth are sold to the poor, illusions of freedom to the oppressed, dreams of victory to the defeated and of power to the weak.”

As Harold Lasswell said in 1927, “The new antidote to willfulness is propaganda. If the mass will be free of chains of iron, it must accept its chains of silver. If it will not love, honor, and obey, it must not expect to escape seduction.”

Now, let’s sharpen our focus a bit and look from a more practical perspective.

IV: The Spectrum of Thinkable Thought

The censorship that is most prevalent today is the most dangerous form. Not censorship of explicit words, sex or violence, but censorship of any thoughts outside of shortsighted corporate ideology. Any thoughts that lead to critical thought on the established power structure or veer outside of the spectrum of status quo supporting opinion are left out of the debate, out of mainstream public consciousness.

The mainstream press does not cover the most vital social, economic and political issues. The more important something is, the less they report on it. If mentioned at all, it’s mentioned in passing, with little, if any, in-depth reporting, discussion and debate on it. It’s censorship by omission and bullshit on repetition.

As Noam Chomsky observed, this is how propaganda and social control posing as freedom and democracy works: “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum…. That gives people the sense that there’s freethinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.” To paraphrase Alex Carey, they create ‘the spectrum of thinkable thought. They set the terms of debate, to determine the kinds of questions that will dominate public consciousness, people’s thoughts. They set the political agenda in ways that are favorable to shortsighted corporate interests. The debate is never about the curtailment of the manipulative power of entrenched global corporations.’

Imagine wall-to-wall 24/7 news coverage of the trillions of dollars in fraudulent activity that got us into this mess. Imagine in-depth coverage of the corruption of our political process through a system of bribery that makes the mafia look like amateurs.

What about the staggering consolidation of wealth? Imagine if the media kept discussing how a small percentage of the population has 50 trillion dollars, then they started debating how we could use just a fraction of that money to solve problems, create solutions and evolve society.

What if they reported on all the wealth and resources that a small number of corporations control, then debated how that wealth and those resources could be redeployed to get us onto a sustainable and thriving path?

When you understand what is possible, you see how truly corrupt, shortsighted, ignorant and obsolete our system of rule is. You then realize that our mainstream media system is pure propaganda. When you see the reality that they don’t tell you about, it becomes all too clear. If you were to just look at what they don’t tell you, you would see. Mainstream media is the most effective weapon of mass oppression humanity has ever known. It’s hard to break free, when you are always told you are free.

As Huxley put it in Brave New World Revisited, “The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that they are a victim. To them, the walls of their prison are invisible, and they believe they are free.”

You can’t break free until you see the walls. The whips and chains have evolved into TVs and radios. As William Blum said, “Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to dictatorships.” If television was around in the 1770s, we would still be living under British rule.

In the land of propaganda, tyranny is democracy. It’s “enlightened despotism.” When it comes to oppression, it’s all cyclical yet evolutionary. Most people live in a mental cage now, they toil on mentally conditioned plantations.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-980991

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (4812) 11 months ago

Congressmen Pocan and Ellison Introduce "Right to Vote" Constitutional Amendment

Saturday, 18 May 2013 11:25 By Brendan Fischer, PRWatch | Report

http://truth-out.org/news/item/16450-congressmen-pocan-and-ellison-introduce-right-to-vote-constitutional-amendment

"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected," wrote Thomas Paine in 1795.

Yet contrary to popular belief, there is no affirmative right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. This gap in our founding document has provided an opening for the wave of voter suppression measures that swept the country in recent years, and before that, the poll taxes and Jim Crow restrictions that disenfranchised millions. This week, two Congressmen -- both from states at the epicenter of today's voting rights struggles -- are seeking to fix that.

“The right to vote is too important to be left unprotected,” said Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, who is co-sponsoring an amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing the right to vote.

“Even though the right to vote is the most-mentioned right in the Constitution," added Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the bill's other sponsor, "legislatures across the country have been trying to deny that right to millions of Americans, including in my home state of Minnesota. It’s time we made it clear once and for all: every citizen in the United States has a fundamental right to vote.”

U.S. Constitution Does Not Protect Voting Rights

Under the U.S. Constitution, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments ensure the vote cannot be denied on the basis of race, the Nineteenth prohibits discrimination based on gender, the Twenty-fourth outlaws the poll tax, and the Twenty-sixth Amendment extends voting to age 18. When the U.S. Constitution was ratified, the franchise was limited to white, property-owning men, and these amendments have edged the document closer to its democratic aspirations.

But beyond those amendments -- and a few federal statutes, like the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which might be neutered by the Supreme Court this term -- the right to vote is mostly a matter of state law. And states in recent years have hardly been careful about protecting access to the ballot box.

After Republicans gained new statehouse majorities in the 2010 elections, a majority of states introduced proposals to enact restrictions on the right to vote. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 25 laws and 2 executive actions passed in 19 states between 2011 and 2012 to impose strict ID restrictions, or shorten early voting, or limit registration drives, among other measures. More restrictive bills have been proposed in 2013.

Wisconsin's Constitution Includes Express Voting Protections

Pocan's state, Wisconsin, passed one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country in 2011 after Governor Scott Walker and a GOP-dominated legislature took power. The law threatened to disenfranchise more than 300,000 voters who did not have the required forms of ID, primarily people of color, students, and the elderly. (Like many of the restrictive voter ID laws proposed since 2011, the bill tracked a "model" Voter ID Act from the American Legislative Exchange Council). But just months after Wisconsin's law was enacted, a state court struck down the law based on the Wisconsin Constitution's protections for voting rights.

"Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district," the Wisconsin Constitution reads.

Four years earlier, in 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court found that Indiana's relatively similar voter ID law did not violate the U.S. Constitution -- which unlike the Wisconsin Constitution, does not expressly safeguard the right to vote.

Pocan and Ellison are seeking to ensure that citizens across the country can share the voting rights protections that have (so far) been enjoyed by Wisconsin residents.

Pocan: "Our country is at its strongest when everyone participates" The Pocan/Ellison proposal, if approved by Congress and ratified by two-thirds of state legislatures, would affirmatively guarantee the right to vote, prohibiting not only restrictive ID measures, but also new limits on early voting, and measures to crack down on registration drives or same day registration, and other voter suppression efforts.

The proposed amendment language is simple, yet broad:

SECTION 1: Every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age, shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides.

SECTION 2: Congress shall have the power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.

“At a time when there are far too many efforts to disenfranchise Americans, a voting rights amendment would positively affirm our founding principle that our country is at its strongest when everyone participates," Pocan said Monday at a press conference in the Wisconsin Capital.

"As the world’s leading democracy, we must demand of ourselves what we demand of others—a guaranteed right to vote for all.”

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (4812) 1 year ago

Lifting the Veil of Mirage Democracy in the United States

Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00 By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers , Truthout | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/14489-lifting-the-veil-of-mirage-democracy-in-the-united-states

We live in a mirage democracy," Zeese and Flowers assert, as they trace the history and describe the institutions of a not-so-robust US democracy.

"Democracy" demokratia = demos+kratia; or democracy = people+power.

The "greatest democracy on Earth" is how the United States is portrayed to its people and the world. The hallowed words "We the people" and "Of, by and for the people" echo in the minds of Americans to characterize the United States. But do they accurately describe the "democracy" we have?

In reality, a constant conflict that has existed throughout US history, indeed throughout the history of democratic states, is present between the elites and the people. Justice Louis Brandeis said it well when he stated, "We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."

Over the past 40 years, income inequality in the United States has exploded from its lowest level in 1978 . What kind of democracy exists under these circumstances? And is real democracy possible for a global empire? How does nation-state democracy exist within the new globalized economy that serves transnational corporations?

A New Vocabulary for "Democracy"

A new vocabulary is developing to describe the current state of democracy in the United States. We begin with some key words and phrases.

Managed Democracy: A governmental system that includes widespread voter franchise and competitive elections, but the elections are managed so that no matter what candidate(s) are elected, the elites win. The role of citizens in government is to choose between two pre-selected candidates, neither of whom will represent the people's interests and both of whom will represent the elites' interests. Chris Hedges refers to this as "political theater."

Polyarchy: A term highlighted by Cliff DuRand, author of "Recreating Democracy in a Globalized State," that is very similar to managed democracy. He calls it a low-intensity democracy that veils the rule of elites and allows citizens to think they are participating in power through contested elections that do not change the elite power structure.

Inverted Totalitarianism: Classical totalitarianism is the model of Hitler or Mussolini, an all-powerful government led by a charismatic leader that partners with business interests in a security state. Inverted totalitarianism is a similar marriage of government and business, but the measures employed to maintain this relationship are more subtle. It is the coming of age of corporate power, maintained through a security state working in tandem with corporate propaganda that permeates influential institutions such as the media, education, popular culture and evangelical religion.

Globalized State: This is a government that serves the interests of transnational capital devoid of any real connection to the people of the nation. The globalized state rules through economic structures such as trade agreements, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization and through international military actions.

Capitalism: An economic system based on private ownership of capital, goods and the means of production. Goods and services are produced for profit. It is an inherently unequal system. In feudalism, political power and the economy were united in the noble class. Under capitalism, there is a separation of political and economic power, which gives people the impression of participation.

Neoliberalism: The dominant economic ideology of the last three decades which insists upon an extreme separation of government and capital so that the market can operate "freely." The market operates only in the interests of individuals without allegiance to the collective society. Government exists solely to provide basics such as standards for weights and measures, laws and courts to protect property and infrastructure for the market. Neoliberalism welcomes state intervention only when that intervention is to corporate advantage as in trade agreements, bailouts or corporate welfare. Under neoliberalism, state resources and public programs are decreasingly funded and increasingly privatized. DuRand states that neoliberalism is the "default position of capitalism to which it reverts unless restrained by popular struggles."

Neofeudalism: This is the reconfiguration of political and economic systems to create an empowered tiny oligarchic elite class. Chris Hedges points to the structure described by George Orwell in "1984" in which there is an inner party (2 to 4 percent) of corporate and political managers, an outer party (12 to 14 percent) that consists of managers, the security state and the propaganda arm, and the rest of the population exists as "proles."

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (4812) 1 year ago

The Birth of US "Democracy"

The United States celebrates the founding of the country and the so-called "Founding Fathers" as the birth of democracy, but the real democracy movement occurred before the American Revolution. In fact, it was the founding fathers, a group of propertied elites, slave holders, noted lawyers and wealthy merchants, who created a system designed to prevent a truly democratic state.

In the pre-Revolutionary period, the American democracy movement involved small farmers, laborers, artisans, shopkeepers, seamen, women, African slaves and native Indians who revolted against the grievances of the day. There existed abolitionists who opposed slavery and slaves who rebelled against plantation owners. Disputes over taxes, ordinances, and land titles and of being ruled over by a royal governor, who represented a distant British government or a corporate monopoly like the British East India Company, were sources of democratic revolt.

Colonial governments were structured for the elites and only those with substantial property ownership had any right to participate. Sheldon Wolin, in Democracy Inc. describes the rise of a "fugitive democracy" in this period. There were spontaneous protests, assemblies, petitions, tarring and feathering of government officials, burning effigies of officials, surrounding courthouses and removing government officials from office and storming jails to free their own. Committees of correspondence were formed to coordinate actions with counterparts in other colonies. This democracy movement was born out of necessity, out of the struggle for survival against deep-seated grievances and was improvisational rather than institutionalized.

Ray Raphael in The First American Revolution: Before Lexington and Concord describes colonists in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, filling the courthouse to prevent British judges from entering. And, in Worcester, 4,622 militiamen from 37 surrounding communities lined Main Street as crown-appointed officials walked the gauntlet, reciting their resignations 30 times each, "so all could hear." Raphael reports that these common people were intensely democratic, disavowing all leadership. In fact, "when they elected representatives, they did so on a day-to-day basis."

Wolin writes that in the period from 1760 until the Constitutional Convention, there was intense political interest that formed an "American demos" that "began to establish a foothold and to find institutional expression, if not full realization. State constitutions were amended by provisions that broadened voting rights, abolished property qualifications for office, and in one case, instituted women's suffrage. There were also efforts to ease debtor laws, even to abolish slavery." It was these attacks on property that prompted several "outstanding politicians" (also known as the founding fathers) to "organize a counter-revolution aimed at institutionalizing a counterforce to challenge the prevailing decentralized system of thirteen sovereign states in which some state legislatures were controlled by 'popular' forces."

These outstanding politicians were some of the wealthiest property owners in the United States, slave holders, well-known lawyers and merchants. James Madison, credited as being the "father" of the Constitution, wrote in The Federalist Papers #10: "Democracies have ever been . . . incompatible with . . . the rights of property . . . [because it would threaten] the unequal distribution of property." The founders were concerned with "the excess of democracy" as one delegate to the convention said. The new Constitution put property rights ahead of human rights.

The "founders" proposed a new system of national power that discouraged the "American demos," removed people from the councils of government and reduced the power of states. The Constitution favored elite rule and protection of property. It established a republic in which courts protected minority rights and property rights from majority sentiment, and government power was limited.

Only the House of Representatives would be directly elected by the people, at least the limited group of six percent of the white, male property-owning population that was allowed to vote. Wolin writes, "The Constitution of the Founders compressed the political role of citizen into an act of 'choosing' and designed it to minimize the direct expression of a popular will." The president was not directly elected, but rather citizens voted for electors who chose the president in the Electoral College. Senators were selected by state legislators, and judges were appointed by the president. It created a representative, not participatory or direct, democracy. The "right to vote" is not even mentioned in the Constitution.

While people were declared "sovereign," they were, in fact, "precluded from governing." "From the beginning," Cliff Durand writes, the country "was designed to be undemocratic." The role of the people was limited to choosing from among the political elite the representatives who would rule them. This managed democracy or polyarchy is far removed from the people power of real democracy. As Durand writes, "Democracy means people's power, not the legitimizing of elite rule."

[-] 0 points by redandbluestripedpill (333) 10 months ago

Freedom is an ideal we need to work towards with the rights secured by the constitution.

There is a missing concept. Free speech. It played a bigger role than history records from 1776. There was competition for what was to be included in the Declaration of Independence and the constitution.

The right to alter or abolish must be exercised with informed unity. Therein is where the greater meanings of free speech needed to be placed but there were elements that did not want it.

If the greater meanings of free speech were held by the people, it would be much harder to dominate them and nullify any part of the coming contract. Those meanings include a respect for understanding. Without knowledge, that doesn't happen. If the greater meaning of free speech had been included, people would have NEVER allowed the dumbing down documented by the Reese commission, a basic conspiracy.

If the greater meaning of free speech had been a part of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitutions Bill of Rights, citizens would never have allowed media to take over social communications.

The greater meaning of free speech is found in an understanding between people. From the understanding can come; forgiveness, tolerance, acceptance, respect, trust, friendship and love, protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

That philosophical doctrine comes from the same place as the concept of the 13 United States as demonstrated by Chief Canasatego to Benjamin Franklin in 1744.

http://federationmsta.org/algonquin.html

http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/6Nations/NAPSnEoD7586.html

http://www.ratical.org/many_worlds/6Nations/NAPSnEoD95.html