I originally thought this had no chance being signed into law, but after some researching into how the bill was secretly passed through the Senate and how supportive both Republicans and Democrats seem to be of the bill I have this dreadfull feeling that the death of our American Democracy is upon us.
Like I said before in this thread: that died a long time ago, either in 2000 when the Supreme Court ruled for an unelected president, or even further back in 1963.
This is a disgusting turn in politics, and I don't know of anything we can do at this point. I feel like one of those crazy people you see on the streets that are crying "the end is nigh!", but seriously what else am I supposed to think when we are seriously looking at a law that will strip people of their constitutional rights? On top of that, it's being done completely under our noses by people we've elected into office.
The problem is three-fold:
1. Roughly 50% of the people in the US don't vote and/or are not politically active. It's much easier to get away with things like this when half the population simply doesn't care.
2. The two-party system. I've seen liberals cheer when they realized all the Republican candidates were dolts and far-right nutjobs. Why? This doesn't give Obama and the Democrats any incentive at all to move to the left. Over the last 30 years, the Democrats have moved to the right and the right has moved into a mental hospital. There's no real choice anymore.
3. Money in politics. Congressional approval rates are among 13%, but most Congressmen are very popular in their own state. Both things can't be true at the same time. They remain unchallenged and unseated because they get enough money in for 'their' state. And remember that most people in the Senate are millionairs. Why should they care about you instead of their "base", their fellow millionairs? Plus, Congressmen are on the phone begging for donations half of the time. Can't work for the people like that, can you?
What can be done? Expecting anything from electing another person president is useless. There simply aren't any FDR's and JFK's anymore. The few politicians actually working for the people are being marginalized and ridiculed in the media. I think what's needed is a new American revolution.
I understand that we are scared as a people, why wouldn't we be? We've been attacked by terrorists, our economy is shaky at best, the climate is changing, and China is quickly rising to de-thrown us as the greatest economic power among many other things. This is no reason to undermind the foundations of our country and ignore our basic human rights.
Well, that's what the power elites count on: keeping people scared and confused in order to push through measures that benefit them and set us commoners on a disadvantage. Crises are either manufactured ('the war on terror') or real crises are being exploited in order to ram through legislation that otherwise, under normal circumstances, never would've passed. You see it in Europe right now, where national parliaments are being stripped of their sovereignty in order to give more power to the European Commission in Brussels.
We're being told that, to save the Euro, we simply have no other chance than to allow Brussels technocrats to dictate how to run our countries and our economies --meaning, raising retirement age; making it easier for companies to lay off workers; having one similar tax system in all 27 countries; privatization of government tasks etc. All under the guise of "preventing a new collapse" like Greece, Italy, Portugal and Ireland, by avoiding too big deficits. But only in Greece the cause of financial implosion was the deficit. And the people who are now prime minister of Greece and Italy (Monti and Papademos) are the same people who worked for Goldman Sachs while that bank was lending billions of dollars to those countries when they knew they would never be able to pay those loans back. The foxes are now in charge of guarding the henhouse. And the measures they're proposing to "level the deficit" are not hurting big business or the rich elite, but the ordinary worker and the massive wave of privatizations of government tasks in southern Europe will only benefit the private sector.
All these measures would have been unthinkable under normal circumstances, but, like with this bill and so many other bills in the US (Patriot Act, anyone?), they're made possible by, and accepted by the general public, because we're confused and scared and most of us are made to feel (by our politicians and the media, which are either lazy and dumb or complicit) we simply have no other choice in the face of these crises and therefore, most accept it.
This is called "the shock doctrine". The term is coined by Canadian activist and writer Naomi Klein. Like I said, it works like this: shock the people into a panic and confusion and then use that opportunity to pass measures that benefit the power elites. Her book of the same name has been turned into a very good documentary, too.
A short version of that film:
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