Our Mothers (and Thomas Paine) Warned Us about People like the Disciples of Strauss
by Jason Miller
How much more will the American people endure?
"Find out just what people will quietly submit to, and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
---Frederick Douglass, African-American slave, and abolitionist
229 Years Later Have Passed and True Freedom Still Eludes Most of Us
In support of the brave and intelligent citizens of Vermont who recently passed a resolution to secede from the union, I decided to update and modify our Declaration of Independence to fit the circumstances we are facing in 2005. Despite the numerous distinctions between then and now, in some significant ways, little has changed. Like our Founding Fathers, I enumerated grievances of the Oppressed in my version of the Declaration, and many are similar to those spelled out in the original version drafted in 1776. Even the name of the lead Oppressor remains the same.
I realize this updated Declaration has no authority, and that such a movement towards independence from our corrupt plutocracy would require significant grassroots support and organization to be successful. However, I believe it is crucial to fan the dying embers of the American spirit of independence in a time of unprecedented apathy, conformity, and complicity in the crimes of our abomination of a federal government. George Bush is not fit to lick the boots of a man like Thomas Paine, yet he is one of the most powerful men on the planet. With the might of the US government at their disposal, he and his loyal minions have committed duplicitous, larcenous, and homicidal acts virtually on a continual basis throughout their reign. In a symbolic act of defiance against King George, and an act of support for social justice and human rights, I have signed my revision of the Declaration.
Thomas Paine was one of the few Founding Fathers who championed the rights of the "common people". Paine recognized the universality of human rights, which is why he has not been enshrined in the "American pantheon" with the likes of Washington and Hamilton. Were he alive today, he would once again be vehemently agitating for change as he caught scent of the overwhelming stench emanating from the seemingly grand epicenter of inhumanity rising from the banks of the Potomac River. In deference to Paine's spirit, I wrote this revised version of the Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration of Independence of the Fifty Colonies and their Poor and Middle Class Inhabitants from the Imperialist Federal Government of the United States of America
The unanimous Declaration of the Fifty Colonies of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political chains which have enslaved them to another, and to assume among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God of each person's understanding and choosing entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions to mankind demands that they need declare the causes impelling them to separate.
We hold these truths to be self-evident and irrefutable, that all Humans are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Human Rights (as delineated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html
). ---That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among the People, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Governed, --That whenever any Form of Government usurps powers without the Governed's consent and becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that Humans 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 obscene abuses and heinous crimes, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right and responsibility to depose such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Fifty Colonies, their Poor and Middle Classes, and most of the rest of the world; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of the United States [George II], and that of his predecessors [of the Royal Houses of Elephant and Donkey alike] dating back to the reign of King Richard of the Royal Family of Nixon, is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations [by kings and their trusted advisors], all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these Colonies and their Poor and Middle Class inhabitants. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
They [King George II and his royal advisors: Lords Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith, Wolfowitz, Gonzalez, and Lady Rice] have refused their Assent to Laws and Policies, most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
They have engaged in acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the city of New Orleans through acts of criminal neglect and gross mismanagement of the aftermath of a natural disaster, the willful creation of a diaspora of the poor Black inhabitants of New Orleans, the suspension of labor laws which would have ensured fair wages to those rebuilding the city, and the dispensation of generous federal contracts to crony corporations to rebuild a city favorable to the interests of the wealthy.
They manipulated facts and presented lies to the American People and to Congress to gain necessary approval of a "preventive", illegal war against the sovereign nation of Iraq on the shifting premises that this nation posed an immediate threat to our national security, that the Iraqi people needed a champion to topple a ruthless dictator, and that their purpose was to spread "freedom and liberty". It has now come to light that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction, had no connections with Osama bin Laden, and was little or no threat to the United States. They knew this prior to the invasion. They subverted a government led by a former US ally whom the US supported when it knew he was committing genocide. They installed a puppet Iraqi regime fortified by 140,000 US military personnel and call it "Democracy". They are responsible for the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqi civilians. Their hands drip with the blood of innocents slaughtered using monies from our Treasury and the blood, sweat and tears of our children.
They recruited and trained US military personnel under the pretext that they would be engaged in defending their nation. After enticing young men and women to serve based on blatant lies, They thrust them into imperial conquests like the one in Iraq. They are responsible for the sacrifice of over 2,000 American lives which They sacrificed at their sacred alter of the almighty Dollar.
They have continued to perpetuate, protect, and expand the powers of corrupt, avaricious corporations These cornucopias of avidity for wealth and power pay sub-standard wages, offer minimal benefits to their employees, increasingly utilize inexpensive "offshore" labor, manufacture products in "sweat shops" which egregiously violate the human rights of their employees, profiteer during wars and natural disasters, rape the environment and plunder our precious natural resources, utilize "creative accounting methods" to increase their stock value, capitalize on laws enabling them to create hostile environments for unions, demand virtually endless increases in corporate welfare, and strangle competition through mergers and acquisitions accomplished with their over-inflated stocks.
They have perpetuated and expanded an executive branch of government which is in many ways indistinguishable from the leviathan corporations and wealthy elite which it serves and represents.
They have forsaken their primary responsibility, which is to preserve the universal human rights of their citizenry, and to secure its general welfare. They have rapidly eroded federal domestic programs promoting health care, education, basic infrastructure, and housing, while directing unconscionable sums of public monies to the military industrial complex comprised of current and former government officials and the wealthy elite. They seize the lion's share of taxes from their citizens and spend obscene amounts to finance a grotesquely powerful military [and their imperial adventures], while a significant number of their citizens want for proper education, housing, transportation, and even nourishment.
They have created a rogue military state which engages in terrorism of such magnitude that terrorist acts committed by the Iraqi Resistance, while equally as morally objectionable, are modest in comparison.
They have, through their willful neglect of the general welfare, allowed 46 million Americans to languish with no health insurance, 13% of their citizenry to experience poverty, 3% to experience homelessness, 24% of their Black populace to live in poverty, and 6% of their citizens to experience unemployment. These glaring blights on humanity are inexcusable in the wealthiest nation in history.
They have continued to loosen federal regulations on the "free market" economy, thus further enriching their plutocratic allies while impoverishing more and more Americans. They have worked tenaciously to perpetuate the exportation of Neoliberal economic policies to Latin America, crushing economies throughout that region, and creating chasms between their rich and poor.
They have employed chemical weapons in Iraq, violating numerous treaties, conventions, and International Laws.
They have exposed their own soldiers and the civilian inhabitants of occupied Iraq to the dangers of depleted uranium.
They have employed a variety of illegal and unethical means to manipulate and taint the results of two presidential elections to ensure Their ascendancy to the seat of power.
They have enacted laws and policies hostile to science and intellectual viewpoints, thus leading our nation down a path of ignorance and superstition.
They have grossly usurped their powers by intimidating Congress into enacting the Patriot Act, decimating Habeas Corpus and due process by illegally detaining Jose Padilla [an American citizen] for three years, and violating virtually everything for which the Bill of Rights stands by illegally detaining, torturing and murdering accused terrorists at Abu Gharib, Guantanamo Bay, and other undisclosed locations around the world.
They violated Posse Comitatus in New Orleans and have since stated their intention to crush it by deploying US military personnel on a wide scale in future domestic disasters.
They have consistently rewarded or promoted those members of their Royal Court who have committed criminal or grossly incompetent acts.
They have pillaged the public Treasury, dispersing tax monies to their cronies and collaborators in their corrupt schemes. They have created an astronomical national debt which will hang from the necks of future generations as a millstone of astounding proportions.
They have virtually relieved themselves and their wealthy compatriots of their tax obligations. In so doing, They have placed the burden of filling the public coffers on the backs of those who benefit least from their governance [the Poor and Middle Classes].
They have financed and enabled the ruthless Israeli colonial occupation of Palestinian territory, and have allowed elements closely aligned with the radical Likud to shape their foreign policy decisions, particularly in the Middle East.
We [those amongst us who do not remain entranced by the powerful propaganda of the mainstream media] have Petitioned for Redress in humble, reasonable terms in a variety of ways. Our repeated Petitions have been answered by repeated injury. A Prince of the American Royal Family of Bush, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our brethren in the federal government, their corporate allies or the wealthy elite. We have warned them from time to time of their attempts to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of our inalienable rights derived from Natural Law, the US Constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We have appealed to their senses of justice and magnanimity, and we have beseeched them to disavow these usurpations based on our common kindred. They have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of Humanity, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the Fifty Colonies of America and their Poor and Middle Classes, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these Fifty Colonies and United Peoples are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent of the United Stated Federal Government; that We are Absolved from Allegiance to the Federal Crown, and that all political connections between them and us, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent People forming a true Constitutional Republic, we have full Power to provide for the General Welfare of the Populace, to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence (by the Higher Power of each person's understanding), we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.