Saturday, June 18, 2005

Power is in the hands of an unelected few....

"Power is in the hands of an unelected few who have retained power through an electoral process that ignores the basic requirements of democracy,"

A quote by George W. Bush concerning the elections in Iran recently. I don't think I have to even further comment on the quote. But if I didn't just tell you who it was by and what it concerned, you may have thought it just the opposite. An article on BBC World News states that Iranians turned out in droves, against adversity in many cases, to cast their votes. Where is passion like that in America for Bush to criticize?

Recently, I was asked a provocative question. Someone asked me what I would do if I found that our government flat out lied. After the initial shock of finding someone that doesn't presume the govrenment always lies and acidentally lets truth slip trough occisionally, I began formulating my response.

Thomas Jefferson said,
"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience [has] shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."
The question I am left to answer as a responsible citizen is "What is the tolerance limit?" I alluded, albeit in a very circuitous manner, to the process by which we are duped, in my entry Boiling Frogs. The process of boiling frogs is how we become accustomed to the transgressions bestowed on us. For those that are not familiar with boiling frogs, the old addage says,
If you want to boil a frog, you can't just drop it into a pot of boiling water; the frog will get burned and jump out in reaction. Instead, put the frog in cool comfortable water to put it at ease. Then over time, increase the flame. By the time the complacent frog realizes the water is too hot, it is too late for it to react.
The tolerance limit is what we individually must determine for ourselves. Then we must work collectively to have our voices heard.
The bureaucracy is a circle from which one cannot escape. Its hierarchy is a hierarchy of knowledge. The top entrusts the understanding of detail to the lower levels, whilst the lower levels credit the top with understanding of the general, and so all are mutually deceived. --Karl Marx
So how do we get our voices heard? How do we measure our success? Well, we've started the process already on this blog, and many like it. Several times there has been such impassioned debates about the core topics and motivations that face us all as members of the American society. We have shown that many of us are not complacent frogs. Also, we can see how our voices are being heard concerning the non-existant "Exit Plan" for the Iraqi war. Bush refuses to create one. But the topic has gained momentum enough to come to the forefront of social concern.

We need to know who we vote for, their integrity. We may even be inclined to join local politics like an old friend of mine hopes to. Take matters into our own hands in a pointed, peaceful, and noticeable way. Act on what you believe in. I am in Iraq, in the Army for just those reasons. I never considered it a great act of patriotism, I consider my choice a simple act of living how I speak. We must bring politics back to the political process and not have it be based on celebrity. Politicians racing toward the middle give voters little choice and disaffect the most citizens. We need a polarized, multi-party system based on plans for action, not neverending military actions and beaurocracies. Politicians should have no outside sources of wealth, no personal investments, no positions within corporations. Politics should be a life of consignment so that personal interest is not a factor and corporations can't amass power behind the curtain.

Karl Marx suggest this as our measuring stick,
Anyone who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without feminine upheaval. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex, the ugly ones included.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK Dorman, put up your dukes! I am quoting here from Gore Vidal's Inventing a Nation. "Hamilton argued that every society produces a ruling class. Why not accept this given without fuss? In 1787 in Philadelphia, he opened, as it were, his closet door: 'All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and wellborn, then the mass of the people...The people are turbulent and changing: they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct permenent share in the government. They will check the unsteadiness of the second, and as they cannot receive any advantage by change, they therefore will ever maintain good government.'" I quote further here. "'Power', writes Adams, 'always follows property. Men in general, in every society, who are wholly destitute of property, are also too little acquainted with public affairs for a right judgment, and too dependent upon other men to have a will of their own.'"

My point, men of money and power have always been in control. I don't see this changing. In the last election, it was (to me) choosing the lesser of two evils. I agree with you, it shouldn't be that way, but again, that's how it has always been. Our country was founded on it.

And let us all give thanks to Abigail Adams for running the presidency for her husband!

Anonymous Carol said...

Whoops, that previous one is from me.

Blogger Dorman said...

Well, Vidal is obviously quoting something representative of result and not cause. Give reasons why the rich end up the ruling class? Easy, the rest of us are at work all day earning bread. Though the assessment of the many is pretty accurate, it paints a picture of uneducated peasantry caught in the system of serfdom. The quote sounds more of a justification for the arm-bar hold government has on us rather than a prescription for a well balanced society. Now, if we really want to look at a prescription for a well balanced society, we should all read Utopia by Thomas More. As Vidal shows a justification, Huxley shows us the results in A Brave New World. (Btw, if someone comes across a hard bound version of this book cheap, I would love to have a copy here.)

So what you are advocating by quoting Vidal and Adams, is that we as the many just accept our role as mule upon whose backs the currently overly-wealthy ruling class rests their burdens? I am a capitalist for sure, at least in a Libertarian capacity. But there is a social component to a nation that is not cdonsidered in a purely capitalistic society. I have lived in a socialist democracy for 18 months and see its effects.

Our political system was not always a 2 party lesser-of-two-evils circus. That is a 20th century evolution and it need not continue. You have just evidenced the results of being tamed; now fall in line with all the rest of the powerless disaffected unrepresented masses that lack hope. I for one would rather go down fighting for what the founders inscribed on that glorious hemp paper than accept a political neutering.

Blogger Dorman said...

For those unfamiliar with Utopia...

Blogger Robert Chase said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger InterstellarLass said...

Jeez Dorman. Making me think again. To quote (loosely) Tommy Lee Jones in MIB, '"Individuals are smart. People are stupid."

People will believe what they are told because it allows them to feel safe and secure. Putting forth thought that scares the bejeezus out of yourself isn't an easy task to accomplish. Complaceny and apathy is much easier to achieve, I should know, as I am guilty of it myself.

IMO, with the 'lies' that have come to light regarding the 'selling' of the war (see what a good marketing strategy can do for you), the non-existance of WMD's (oh, you mean they didn't really exist), and the inability for this administration to plan their way out of a wet paper bag, I give little to no credibility to anything Bush says. To me, he sounds like the pot calling the kettle black. Considering the our own democracy is filled with self-serving politicians, political interest groups, lobbyists and beurocrats, I take issue with Bush criticizing any other sovereign (oooh, there's that word again) country's electoral process.

To your Thomas Jefferson quote, I agree. People will suffer in silence as long as the suffering is bearable. Then, the slow grumble starts, rising to a chorus of voices, and eventually the cacophony reaches such a level that those sitting in their lofty seats can no longer ignore, assuage and otherwise placate the discordant peoples. But, should it not be up to those peoples within the sovereign state affected by such dissonance as to make the decision when to throw off their opressors?

This is where we enter the catch-22. We're damned if we do, we're damned if we don't. Noninterference. One of the constant themes in American economics -- the laissez-faire approach. As well, the US, up until the point we were forced into WWs I & II, had a policy of neutrality in world affairs. But no more. Our 'global economy' will not allow us to isolate ourselves ever again. We have been put in (and we readily, greedily accepted) the position of being the world's 'big brother', yet we are the unwelcome bastard at the world's dinner table.

The call for an exit strategy would almost be laughable, if it weren't so dire. When the people (remember, 'people are stupid') thought that we had a good reason to go in, what was the concensus? "Let's go. No matter what it takes, no matter how long we could be there or what it will cost (in money or lives). Write Bush a blank check." We had 'credible evidence'. Now, these same 'people' (yes, the stupid ones) realized they were lied to and want us out. Sorry Charlie, but you can't have it both ways. We never should have been there in the first place, but now that we are, we can't leave the job done half-ass. The sad truth is, I believe there is no exit strategy. We will never be able to gracefully bow out of this dance. We will be there for eternity (however long that may be).

You describe a politician with no outside source of wealth, personal investments, positions -- a life of consignment. To me this sounds like a call for our leaders to commit to voluntary indenturement. Actually rather like a priest or a nun committing their lives to the church. (Let's not foray into separation of church and state at this time.) Can that kind of purity exist? I have a hard time believing it. It is not the nature of (most) people to serve other people on terms as extreme (bordering on martyrdom) as those except in the context of religion. Some select individuals perhaps, but do they have the capability, the foresight, the intelligence to be chosen to guide the people, even if they have the passion?

I don't know if I'm making any sense at this point. I've re-read what I've written, and it's my strongest desire to hit ctl-A, delete, at this very moment. Perhaps these topics were too broad for me to try to address at once. Perhaps they were too complex for me to attempt to address at all. I'm an English major (British lit), not a history major. I don't profess to dissect and review history, and what was fuzzy in my memory I tried to verify online, which on it's own is dangerous.

Oh, and I now see that you have responded to Carol's post in the eon that it has taken me to jot down my sad excuse for an opinion. Utopia. I must disagree with you there. I do not see that as a prescription for a well-balanced society. More of a Christmas wish-list. What is the absolute best that we could hope for in any situation? Again, a purity that I don't believe can exist. Was the society well balanced, or was it a dreamers guide to the universe? (What I wouldn't give to find the paper that I wrote on that book in college! It was an A+ paper!)

Again, I am guilty, as I readilty admitted of apathy and complacency. I disagree with the fact that our government chose to enter us into this unecessary war. I disagree with their energy and economic policies. I disagree with so many things on so many levels, yet, my extent of effort to make a change? I voted. For who I considered to be the lesser of two evils. Since then, I have criticized but not acted. Why? Most likely time. It takes significant time and dedication to be active, time that at this point I don't have. Is that a cop-out? Perhaps. Thank you, Dorman, for having the conviction of spirit to make this commitment where I could not. Thank you for making me force my mind to consider these things that I would not have contemplated on my own.

Blogger Robert Chase said...

I voted for the lesser of two evils as well. Unfortunately, the bigger evil won.

Blogger Dorman said...

I.L. I am glad you didn't delete, that was an awesome comment. I put up Utopia not as something I suggest but as purely an example of such a prescription...yes a dreamer's wish list. And me being a Psych major doesn't automatically qualify me for a job as political analyst.

In short, I would just like to ponder the idea that when our government establishes a new gov't in other countries (eg, Germany, Iraq) we do not set it up modelled after our own. Curious to me if we are the propagators of democracy, shouldn't we have then the model gov't for all to follow? Why do we set up Socialist Democracies with Prime Ministers? I don't completely know.

Blogger Robert Chase said...

I talk to a few republicans and when I bring up your first-hand knowledge of the lack of reconstruction or exit plan, they dance around it. Some of these people will buy into anything Bush says, even when confronted with a rock-solid contradiction to their "beliefs". The biggest arguement that occurs is that 9/11 or not, we were going to go into Iraq for "regime change". 9/11 just put it on a fast track. Despite NOT finding bin laden, despite the lack of wmd's and using that as the emphasis for war NOT regime change, despite no "smoking gun" or "mushroom cloud", despite that there were no ties to al qaeda or bin laden and iraq. I feel awful for the slodiers who have lost their lives, for the families that have to grieve for loved ones because of this "war on terror".

Knowing you for as long as I have , dean, and knowing that your family loves and worries about you every day (i consider myself family, after all you are like my brother)I pray to god that you get the hell out of there safely.

I don't know where I was going with the last part, but there it is.

That was my gay moment for the day.

Blogger Dorman said...

food for thought and research.....

Research Saddam's request to change the oil industry standard currency from USD to Euro.


Blogger Robert Chase said...

Where should I look?
I tried to google that whole phrase, but no luck.

Blogger Dorman said...

Ok, here's a slow pitch as a starter.

Never ever ever take one source as gospel. Look for other corroborating resources.

Blogger InterstellarLass said...

Or here.

And here

And here

And I could go on.

Google 'petro euro' and you'll find these and more. Wonder why this hasn't been on CNN...

Blogger Dorman said...

and every one of you out there that "voted for the lesser of two evils" are exactly part of the problem. We do not actually have a 2 party system, but with the media's help we are programmed to believe we do. Oh, and God forbid that your vote won't count unless you vote for either of the big 2. What a lame way to think. For our system to overcome its downfalls, the voters need to regain their integrity. We talk endlessly about how brave the Iraqis were to show up to vote despite death threats. true. Then you all sit back and vote lazy. I vote Libertarian typically, didn't vote last time because there was nothing to vote for. Plus being in Germany makes it a bit harder. No excuse but I chose not to promote someone I didn't agree with. I needed to do more research myself.

Here is another interesting thing on a related topic.... Iraqi opinions via the BBC. Very interesting except these folks are all in Baghdad. Remember 80% of the population is not urban. Check It out.

Blogger InterstellarLass said...

Well, I suppose I'll take my lashings for being part of the problem. I have yet to find a candidate where I can agree on every platform they run on. I'm definitely liberal, but not necessarily bleeding heart. I primarily hate the 'handouts' of the 'welfare system' and the abuses of that system. I hate that people come to this country, don't learn the language, manage to live off welfare, use public healthcare and my taxes pay for it all! Grr. Maybe I'll start my own party. Or just have another poker party. Dorman, where should I send the evite? ;)

Blogger Dorman said...

Liberal? Doesn't like you are. And I do understand the voting thing, wasn't intending to sound caustic but I hear the same excuses so much. We are not helpless citizens. Many have just gotten used to relying on the gov't for every need and decision. Before FDR, the federal gov't was intended to be only for infrastructure and defense. States ran the show, people had more say.

I was a social worker for 6 years. I lost my compassion for 'the poor'.

Blogger InterstellarLass said...

Ah, but yes I am. I'm anti-death penalty, pro-choice, anti-big business, pro-environment. I do believe welfare and medical programs are needed, but are not long-term solutions. No nukes! I'm for humanitarian aid to nations where it's needed. I believe we need alternative fuel sources, and I don't think we should be drilling in the Arctic. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Make love, not war. Legalize and tax prostitution. Preserve Social Security and provide public healthcare. Balance the budget. Allow stem-cell research. Improve public education -- standardized tests are a joke. Sign the dang Kyoto Protocol. And, on the 'civil union' issue...I don't see how marriage could be downgraded any further than it already is (statistics vary between 38% and 50%). A person's sexual orientation isn't going to cause them to care more/less about their 'marriage'. It's the way we as a society look at our 'disposable' lives and we feel 'entitled' to a certain level of 'happiness'. Is that liberal enough?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

why don't you two get married, your blogging is just too "special".

Blogger Dorman said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't hmmmm me, just give her your direct email account, or i will. reading your accounts of what is going on are interesting, your back and forth socio-flirting is just getting UNBEARABLE. i am pleased as hell that you found someone who can actually match wits with you, but honestly. if you are a psych major, you have to be able to see that, the rest of us do. i am going to start an anti-dorman site, just so your "devoted fans" don't have to read the interstellarlass/dorman love connection blog any longer. and don't ponder the fact that i am listing this as anonymous, it is just the way it will be.

Blogger Robert Chase said...

The interstellarlass/dorman love connection blog has a nice ring to it. ;)

Anonymous Carol said...

You rock Lass! And just for the record, I'm not trying to flirt with you but have the same opinions you have listed here, even at the risk of being called a tree hugger. Dean, you've got the passion it takes to make changes. Others may feel as you do but don't have the passion it takes to make a difference. You've got quite a challenge ahead of you and if you can recruit others to jump on your band wagon...cheers! Voting for one of the two obvious winners in a race at least allows your vote to be counted (so to speak). Why vote for a Nader when you know darned well it just isn't going to happen? Again, I agree with Lass that it's quite difficult to agree with a candidate on all then what? You have a long road ahead of you Mr. Dorman but it's wonderful to hear that someone is passionate about something more important than who's going to win the next American Idol.

Blogger Robert Chase said...

Don't get me started on American Idol and the other crap reality TV shows.

I can proudly say I have never watched a single episode of American Idol. It's a complete joke.

I could care less about any of those fools.

Blogger SpiderLord said...

I really don't see the point in sending anyone economic aid. What does that do.
Here is a little scenerio.

Oh those poor people are dying from malaria, oh we can help. Oh shit now their numbers are too great now they are dying of starvation. I know let send them food. Hmmmm I guess we civilized them now they are no longer nomads. Oh fiddle sticks that are trying to plant crops in soil that will be no good for a few years, but they can keep trying. If they were nomads then they wouldn't be in this area until it was good to harvest from again. Oh well lets keep sending them more and more food so they have to become completely reliant on us for our future exploitation. I guess our job is done, what about the people thay are still dying. Oh its natural selection :-)

Blogger InterstellarLass said...

Oh my. I leave to go play volleyball for a few hours and you people get totally out of hand. Why..I actually think I might be blushing! I sure hope it isn't a sunburn. I liberally applied sunscreen twice!

Socio-flirting? That's a new one. What trend-setters we are. :)

Thanks Carol! Being a tree-hugger isn't so bad. I would never spend the night in one though. Although I know most politicians are liars, I still have to try to believe in the inherent goodness of people. I might be deluding myself that they are, but without hope, where would we be? Hopefully good, intelligent individuals with passion, such as Dorman can make a difference, and not lose their compassion in the process. (ok, just stop it, no puking allowed)

And Dorman, thanks for pointing me to the BBC site. I read it occasionally, but that was good. I wish we heard more directly from the Iraqi people.

Blogger InterstellarLass said...

Ahh, spiderlord. You posted your comment as I was writing mine and I didn't see it. Natural selection? See, this is where I get sad, because you have lost your compassion for your fellow man. "Let them starve and die, it won't affect me." If we aren't the ones starving and dying soon, I would be surprised. Will you ask for help if you need it? And the response? Sorry, natural selection.

Blogger mattandriver said...

anonymous, sir or maam. If you don't like what you are reading, don't read it!It's kind of, well, simple!

Blogger Crystal said...

one weekend, all of this went down in one weekend. Happy Father's Day guys!

Blogger Crystal said...

i really would like to know, are there more hours in the day where ya'll people live? could you send me any extra time my way? thank you, i would surely appreciate it.

And yeah, I agree with mattandriver. Anonymous, you need to get a life and be a little nicer. Its a blog for crying out loud. (this is funny cuz i think saije told me the exact same thing matt said about a month ago, lol) But anonymity is so super dumb. Unless you are going to use it to say something unique and profound, not knock on others. So really, devoting your time to being pathetically mean is hilariously unmeaningful.

Anonymous Findley Labrador said...

I am 54...the boys I went to high school with were drafted and went to Vietnam the summer we graduated. My father fought in WWII and the Korean War. I can't begin to understand the REAL reasons we go to war. I am guilty of only praying and not acting on my beliefs. I am guilty of finding fault with the powers that be and the ones who hold their strings. I don't want kids to go to bed hungry ANYWHERE on the planet, I don't want people killed half way around the world or 3 blocks from my house. I don't have the answers but maybe we talk to each other not to be lonely? We share our angst, our anger and our hope to remind ourselves that we are more than our possesions. We are blessed to be able to speak our minds and we do owe a debt of gratitude for those who went before us for securing that right. Dorman, spiderlord defend that right every day, thank you. Carol, thank you for turning me onto this blog...I have done a lot of thinking....crys and lass always have deep feedback, robert chase-I am going home tonight and shoot my TV (no officer I did not hear gun shots)and anonymus, with your e-flirting counseling. Staying annonymus is like a drive by shooting.

Blogger InterstellarLass said...

Excellent comment findley. Thank you.

Blogger Dorman said...

Stat counters are amazing to see who visits and posts to my page and at what times.

Blogger Crystal said...

can you see all of that (:/, haha, im a little embarrassed)

Blogger Crystal said...

in my defense, i really don't work, i just pretend to. they pay me to play on the internet all day long.

Blogger Harland.Dotie said...

When I read your quote from the D of I by Jefferson it reminded me of the Viet Nam war. The 5th Dimension recored the D of I as a song. Armed Forces radio was forbidden to play it.
I downloaded the mvoie to my mac. I got the message: "This fiel may not play correctly because it was compressed by using a codec that is not supported." Sure enough, I can hear the music, but no picture.
Keep up the good work!!

Blogger Dorman said...

Your Mac probably doesn't have the Windows Media codec, don't know if you can get that for the Mac. Tomorrow I will be posting a Divx / Xvid version which you should be able to find the codec for your Mac.

Blogger Harland.Dotie said...

I live in the reddest state. So I voted for Ralph Nader. The electoral college system is part of the problem. In all but a copule of states the electoral votes are awarded on a winner take all basis. The electoral votes are what really elects the president. The number of votes a state has are based on their representation in Congress. Each state has two senators and a number of members of the House of Rep.s based on the population. Smaller states have more say than they would without the two senators.
In my state all of the votes went to Bush even though there were areas where he didn't receive the majority of the votes. On my blog I have some interesting statics on the election results.

Blogger Dorman said...

I agree a straight vote tally would seem fairer but then it puts too much power in the hands of the largest cities. I sure don't my rural america to be fashioned after the depravity of Detroit, per se.

Blogger InterstellarLass said...

I'm thinking we have something better than an election...maybe like a 'winner take all' elimination contest of some sort. Kinda like Survivor...(not that I watch reality shows! I don't! I swear! However, don't call me after 8:59 tonight...season premiere of Rescue Me...Dennis Leary...YUM! Oh, and not that anyone would be calling me...)


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