My response was to leave the US, just as many intellectuals, artists and activists left Germany in the 30s. I choose not to live in a fascist country. I don't think it very likely that fundamental change will occur in the US, regardless of who gets (s)elected in November. And nothing less than fundamental change is required to address the myriad problems that have for decades not been seriously addressed.
Costa Rica. Far from a perfect place. But at least its government is not invading one country after another on bogus grounds, endeavoring to dominate the planet forever militarily. Nor is it fascistic, like the US.
I'm aware the CR govt. tends to be pro American, but I don't know that I'd call it American owned. As for activism, I don't know. I'm trying to get residency. Activism is the last thing you think about when you're trying to start your life over in a new country. This country is very different from the US, it is more socially democratic. And it has no military. If you want more info I'd recommend Erin Van Rheenan's book. Also www.therealcostarica.com
Haven't talked much politics with people here. I have an American landlord who is pro-McCain. Some Canadian seem more left-liberal. I'm sure there is the same spectrum of political views among US expats here as there are in a sampling of US citizens in the US. Americans are some of the most duped people in the world, and I have no doubt that applies to Americans here as well.
A relative worked in Costa Rica in the 70s and she just loved it. But it sure changed a lot and I almost moved to Nicaragua in 2003. Did a LOT of research, including reading the expat's Nica forum. And as you mention, there's all kinds, just like back home.
I focused on Nicaragua because it is the poorest country I can drive to. And they stood up to the American imperialism and paid for it dearly. I also learned that Costa Ricans are rather racist and treat Nicas like Americans treat Mexicans. I'm generalizing, but you get the idea. Nicas stealing their jobs, crime, etc. It's the same thing everywhere.
I wasn't going to move to Nicaragua to retire, thought I might be able to DO something there to help the people. There's so much poverty. I just turned 50, feeling like 120, but still not old enough to just sit at the beach.
Getting situated in a new country is a challenge. Been there, done that. It does make it easy to ignore what's really going on, but it doesn't change what's going on.
I would like to move into a community in Mexico or Central America that's DIFFERENT. Not a retirement community, but where people create and build and invent, grow organic food, try a different life style. International, self sustaining, high tech, off grid, democratic, ...
I know what you mean by the attitude to Nicas here. My landlord and his wife have evinced some of that racism. Funny you should mention eco communities. That was my idea of moving to CR as well. Many people have moved here with this idea, as more and more are aware of global warming, global peak oil, and the need to change our lifestyles. One of the reasons I chose CR is precisely because it has the perfect climate for becoming energy independent. You can live here without heating all year round. Also, you can grow food all year round. If you go to the Intentional Communities website, you'll find a number of them here in Costa Rica. (I believe the URL is www.ic.org. They have a Directory you can find from there, where you can put in a country, or other parameter, and do a smart search.) A friend of mine told me about one that is being planned in Mexico as well, and sent me the guy's email. I personally would not want to live in Mexico because of the rampant corruption of its government, and it seems it would be VERY hot, which I don't care for. It's also even more tied in with the US govt. than Costa Rica, due to NAFTA and the North American Union.
I turn 50 next year. I really want to get into permaculture, but haven't done more than book and web research on it yet. I've been busy with studying Spanish, caring for a sick cat (who has since passed away) doing some writing, and just shopping (a much more time consuming process here, also considering that I sold my car before moving and don't have one).
My first impulse is to leave the country and Costa Rica was one of the places I had considered. I traveled through Costa Rica in the 80's and was very impressed with the people and the government (democracy and the lack of a military). However, I learned at the time that Costa Rica was (and probably would still be except for Iraq) getting the most foreign aid from the U.S. than any other country. It was vital to the U.S. to maintain a democracy in Central America. What would the possibilites look llike if all foreign aid to Costa Rica ceased? Would the country be able to take care of itself and it's inhabitants?
But as I contemplated my other options, I was snagged by my sense of obligation to "fight" for the country given to us by our Founding Fathers. As I came across Naomi Wolf's book, I also found the following, written by a journalist named Charlie Reese. I think it answers the question, "What do we do now?"
545 People by Charlie Reese
Politicaians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits?
Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?
You and I don't propose a federal budget. The president does.
You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.
You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.
You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.
One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices, 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domesitc problems that plague this country.
I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, cental bank.
I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 millions dollars in cash. The politican has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.
Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party. What separates a politician from a normal human is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.
The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the Speaker of the House? She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.
It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted --by present facts-- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.
If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.
If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.
If the Marines are in Iraq, it's because they want them in Iraq.
If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.
There are no insoluble government problems.
Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let then con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like 'the economy,' 'inflation,' or 'politics' that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.
Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.
They, and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable 100% by the people who are their bosses provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.
We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess! (Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper)
After reading this article we have several choices. 1. We can send this to everyone we know and hope THEY do something about it. 2. We can agree to vote against eveyone that is currently in office, knowing that the process will take several years. 3. We can decide to run for office ourself and agree to do the job properly. 4. Lastly, we can set back and do nothing, or re-elect the current bunch.
Right now I'm chosing #1 & #2. Later I hope I can get more involved, but for now I'm arming myself with all the information I can about how else to save this Country. I feel like I owe it to the hundreds of thousands of people who have given up their life for it. So, for now I can't leave, I still have some energy and some hope that enough people (voters, not military) will step up to turn things around.
More power to you, Christine. I disagree with Charlie Reese's assumptions. He assumes, for starters, that you have free and fair elections in the US, which is provably false. The last two presidential elections were "won" via widespread electoral fraud. There is some evidence some senate races in 2002 were fraudulent as well, such as the ousting of Max Cleland in Georgia.
Secondly, I don't buy the "throw the bums out" theory of political change. It says that all you have to do is throw 'em out and replace them with better people. Well, the bums in there now are different from the bums that were there 20 years ago, but things weren't so great 20 years ago either. Corporate lobbyists DO have tremendous influence over the legislative process, because corporations can afford to have people lobby Congress 365 days a year, whereas you and I can at best get an occasional letter and phone call off to our so-called "representatives." Even if you do a lot of that, you have far less influence than the pharmaceutical lobby, which has more full time lobbyists than members of Congress.
And then there are the members of the corporate media, unelected but very powerful. They set the agenda for what counts as real issues, what politicians are worth paying attention to, even what counts as factual news. The networks - NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox, etc. -- all have a symbiotic relationship with the Military Industrial Complex, i.e., the "defense" contractors, because at the level of their boards of directors, they hold interlocking positions. The networks thus have a vested interest in war, and rarely if ever do they permit an anti-war voice on their shows, unless it is a protestor in a black mask, throwing rocks or smashing windows. The corporate media is hugely powerful in dumbing down the American populace. For example, how many people know that the Federal Reserve is a private entity, and not a government agency? Do you think it is accidental that so few people know about this? I don't think so. The corporate media are in bed with the big banks and the war contractors, they don't want the American people to wake up to how they are being screwed by all these corporate interests, year in and and year out. I don't wish to sound gloom and doom, but producing fundamental change in America is far bigger than "throwing the bums out." It requires revolutionary change, and revolutionary change is not possible at the ballot box. Citizen movements, mass movements, civil disobedience, tax resistance, general strikes, etc. are what is called for. But the American people are still basically asleep. They have to suffer more, before enough will be capable of the anger necessary to get active and change things.
Everything you say is true and I still want to try. I can't let myself be overwhelmed by the realities of which you speak because that is part of the problem; being overwhelmed. Doesn't thinking we are powerless, make us powerless?
If we vote the bums out every election, either they will learn to reap all the benefits of corruption in one short term or they will decide that they want their political career to last longer than that. I know how simplistic that sounds, but sometimes the most difficult problems have the simplist answer. I guess that's why Charlie Reese's article appealed to me.
As far as the corporations are concerned, we vote with our dollars (what's left of them). They can't operate without customers. If they hurt this country or others with their policies and products, then they need to experience the drastic reduction or cessation of their income. Of course all of the above requires a committed and informed public and is even more difficult to achieve in a global economy. And that's the biggest problem, a public that's "basically asleep". I'm hoping that the economic situation will wake enough of the public up, that along with books like Naomi Wolf's. Hopefully this economic climate will bring about the beginning of the "citizen movements, mass movements, etc" that you mentioned. Either way, I don't want to abandon the ballot box. There are still some unsullied elections happening, however small, and I believe that large changes start out slowly, for the better or for the worse as Wolf has pointed out.
I'm really not as naive as I must sound, just hopful and possibly in denial.
I haven't discarded the option of leaving the country, I'm just not ready to "cry uncle" yet.
I understand. For me, the US now is like Germany in the early 30s. There comes a time when it just makes sense to leave, as many intellectuals, artists, and dissidents left Germany then. It's not a matter of thinking one is powerless making one powerless, it is a matter of seeing what one is facing and choosing to get out. Obviously, the US form of fascism will be very different than Nazi Germany, but that doesn't make it democracy. I think Wolfe is if anything overly optimistic, overly sanguine. She doesn't even get into 9-11, which was obviously an inside job. And then the question becomes, when did We the People get to vote on the War on Terrorism? When did we get to vote on whether to have a $500 billion military budget every year -- up substantially since 9-11? Oh, that's right, our "representatives" keep voting for that. But you know what? You throw them out and you just get other corporate shills to replace them. Why? Because political campaigns are a big business these days. It takes lots of money to win high office, and where does the money come from? Big business -- big Pharma, big Agri, big Banking, big Media, etc. Yes, there are exceptions, genuine progressives like Denis Kucinich who are able to hang on and continually work for the peoples' best interest, but they are few and far between . . . and it isn't because we lack good people, it's because of structural facts about how the American political system works. It is, as Greg Pallast's book attests, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Which is to say, it's not really a democracy at all. For the people who opt to stay, I think it is important to work to change things. But just do so with a clear-eyed view of what you are up against, and the risks living in such a country presents for yourself if you choose to become a dissident, and even if you don't.
Below is a link about the 14 points of fascism and how they are manifest in America since 2001.
Tom, Thank you for your patience and time. The links you supplied are most appreciated. I have a lot of studying to do with all the detailed information that you (and others) have provided. It will certainly help me find the direction I need to continue my journey.
Mark Stynes' book :America Alone" is similar in detail without downloading on President Bush, but there are 89 million gun owners in the US and the 2nd Amendment is the Bilderberg Groups next target after the 1st Amendment is all but taken away. To quote a phrase "Freedom is not Free". Over 700,000 people lost their lives in the civil war and 10 times more than that will lose their lives in the coming civil war. Read Daniel Estulin's "The True Story of the Bilderberg Group" and Chuck Norris book "Black Belt Patriotism" R.W.K>
You guys are awesome. The country was built with respect to esoteric laws that will never allow it to come under fascist rule. That doesn't mean things won't be painful and suck as people TRY to achieve those states, but they can never succeed. It is completely impossible. The government was constructed under a law that will ALWAYS cause power to swing back and forth. Only when the pendulum has run out of energy will the country implode and that won't be for a long time. As it progresses, though, it will, like any organism, have growing pains, illnesses and sometimes backslide a bit... but if you look at the story of the Revolutionary war, you can see that there were many times when the colonists should have been destroyed and what people refer to as "Divine Providence" seemed to always intervene. I know that was before our govt was constructed but the point is that it was because FREEDOM wanted a womb where it could be born and find full expression.
And here we are. Chill people... yeah, there's some weird stuff going on but stop vilifying each other and find ways to reconcile what appear to be opposites.
Sam, respectfully, you are engaging in extreme magical thinking here. For those of us who have been paying attention since Bush stole the White House in 2000 & 2004, and since the Mossad/Military Industrial Complex false flag on 9-11, it is clear that the US is ALREADY fascist. No, there are not goose-stepping troop rallies in DC, no brown shirts or Gestapo, but those were earmarks of Nazi fascism, not all fascism. Fascism is the unification of big business and government. And that is exactly what we have in the US. "Freedom" is just a buzzword. We are not free, at least not in the political sense, because we no longer have self-governance, or sovereignty. The corporations have become enthroned, as Abraham Lincoln warned us about in his famous quote, and we are living in the resulting era of unbridled corruption and avarice. It is like the Enronization of the country. The rich keep rewarding themselves ever more while the poor and middle classes are pushed further down into the mud and mire. Witness the debt ceiling deal: no tax increases for the wealthy, just cuts cuts cuts for vital programs for middle class and poor.
To Robert Knapp: You gun nuts are always predicting the govt's imminent taking away of your guns. Really, it gets tiresome. After 10+ years of this kind of nonsense, and probably longer, why not just drop it and admit you are WRONG about that? that people, e.g., gun manufacturers, are manipulating you with fear? The NRA nuts have been predicting Obama is gonna take your guns away. He's done nothing of the kind and there's no reason to think he will. The oligarchs that Obama works for are not worried about a few million people with guns, or even a hundred million. They worry more about organized movements for change based on popular awareness of REAL threats, e.g., working people are getting ripped off by corporate lackeys like Obama and the whole DC power structure, including both parties. The Civil War was fought over slavery. There is no indication of any similar issue giving rise to a new civil war. Chuck Norris? Isn't he some right wing nutter that I've seen on Faux News? What does he have to do with the message of Daniel Estulin?
Do you SERIOUSLY believe Obama and George W. Bush are not on the same team, working for the same folks (i.e. Bilderberg)?
Those whom you imagine to be "in control" are not. Each has dedicated his or her soul to the very same Master. All too soon, this one will be revealed in Astana. Shrink in terror from the praise which will be given this one.
Why did Peter Uebberoth, in his capacity as Head of the L.A. Olympic Organizing Committee (c. 1984), see to it that five military assault helicopters were deeded permanently to the LA County Sheriff's Office? Why was the MONSTROUS assault, in Philadelphia, on M.O.V.E., ordered by a mid-level, on-site functionary of the supposedly "advisory" Federal agency. the Law Enforcement Administration? Why was a similar assault ordered on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, TX? Why was a mother, her baby in her arms and never a weapon upon her, executed by a Federal paramilitary sniper at Ruby Ridge? Why does this same man (with the suggestive name) show up in different Federal agencies, either at the scene or during a later whitewashing of the infernal truth? What exactly IS this man's relationship with dear leader? Or, is it the Other way around?
I'm hoping that you're even further convinced of the existence of the Permanent Party in Washington. Three points: (1) Paul is almost certainly a Pied Piper. His music loses its appeal when one observes the effects that it has on all too many of its listeners. (2) Kucinich is a beautiful thing. Who says this? A lifelong conservative, many of whose opinions would send the editorial staffs of The Old Grey Lady and Mother Jones into convulsions of political correctness. (3) The home of that Permanent Party will all too soon shift to Astana.