How did it happen that we came to find ourselves in this deep dark place that seems to border on World War III. How, in just over two years have we come so far down the ladder of civilized behavior, even as we continue at breakneck speed toward ethical and financial bankruptcy on a scale heretofore unseen and unknown?
It hasn’t been a simple process or a pretty one. Since what I do involves mostly images, I decided to try to explore this implosion of things American, in some illustrations. In an effort to add to what the images allude to, I thought a few words on each might help untangle some of the more difficult underlying conditions for our collective fall from sanity.
In 2000, after a truly fractious political campaign, there was an illegal ending to the farce. The Bush camp, running as the All-American Right Wing, enfolded in a cloak of “Compassionate Conservatism” found itself petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to ‘stop the vote count in Florida’ because to allow the counting to continue would be to severely penalize the Bush administration’s schedule for taking the office which they had decided belonged to them. The question of counting the votes to see who really won – was beside their point.
For their part the Supreme Court in direct violation of the Constitution, chose to honor the demands of the Bush campaign – and so on December 12, 2000 appointed George W. Bush, to be the 43rd president of the United States. There being no outcry from the people or from the Congress – this obscenity became a part of history.
NOTE: By having sanctioned this illegal action – the legality of the Office of the Presidency, as described in the U.S. Constitution – has now ceased to exist. Technically the United States of America has undergone a bloodless coup – and the result of that coup has been the death of the Office of the President: and the birth of the first American Dictator – George Walker Bush.
After a grim nine months – in which the world was repeatedly shocked by a United States government that seemed to have no use for any treaty or international agreements, previously agreed to or signed by the US – the horrific acts of September 11, 2001 occurred. Shortly after that slaughter of nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington D.C. and in Pennsylvania, the ‘president’ demanded from Congress a “License to Kill.” Congress immediately complied, and the world stage was now set for the unfolding of the mega-drama that we are now in only the first act of witnessing.
With the illegalities in-place, and the public suitably cowed into complete submission – the new Dictatorship began to function. Against the backdrop of the Stars and Stripes, the nation watched the unfolding of corporate greed, Wall Street manipulations, massive fraud and grand theft on an unbelievable scale. We were now in the midst of a righteous WAR on TERROR, and so we couldn’t spend a lot of time on investigations of these civil matters – especially since Enron, the ‘president’s’ major campaign backer was the most offensive violator of all kinds of laws – yet somehow it’s CEO has still not been charged with any crimes. This despite the fact that the Vice-President, whose “Office” has also constitutionally disappeared – was the one in charge of ‘national energy policy decisions’ that came to favor Enron and his old company Halliburton Oil. That investigation too was blocked, this time by “Vice-Presidential Executive Privilege.” Which, given his illegality to exist as such in the first place, is an oxymoron.
While the ‘WAR’ on Afghanistan was heating up the ‘president’ was busy protecting all his father’s secrets from ever seeing the light of day – by Presidential Executive Decree. And for good measure John Ashcroft encouraged government employees to disregard the Freedom of Information Act – as this might prove troublesome for the government’s prosecution of the War on Terror. When the public demanded an investigation of 911 – they were given instead a complete re-organization of the government. This re-organization was designed to eliminate any possibility of any direct blame for any act in the future, while it fully guaranteed complete government gridlock – to eliminate any substantive actions by future government whistle-blowers.
Note: The Congress in its ‘complicity’ with the reigning Dictator has ignored or deferred its duties to enforce the checks and balances, which they are charged to uphold under the Constitution.
So now there was a second attack upon America, this time upon the Liberties of the citizens, and the general population of the United States. That’s what is going on in the lower left had corner of the hourglass. When Americans wanted to know how they could help in this time of national crisis, the ‘president’ told us: “just go shopping.” And without much further ado – we did just that.
As we began 2002 the texture of life in America began to change. The strains in Bush administration policies began to show. Gaps appeared in the orchestration of our star-spangled patriotism. More of the behind the scenes players began to make their presence known, and ‘new realities’ began to take their place in the hierarchy of the class struggle between the rich and the rest of us. The government began to withhold documents from key committees who wanted to investigate 911, while draconian new domestic laws were promulgated to crush the Bill of Rights and subject the population to a tyranny never seen before.
The Aegis for these abrupt changes in the ways of American life were directed to “protect America and Americans” from all the dangers in the world. But there are many ways that a free people can protect themselves from harm and hatred. One of those ways is by insuring that our policies abroad are as clear and open for others as they are supposed to be for us. Neither is the case. We were attacked because we have allowed our foreign policies to rape, to pillage and to plunder almost every nation with which we’ve become involved – irrespective of their religion or their national customs.
Note: But the real point is that the people were supposed to have a say in policies, through the voices of our elected representatives. This has not happened. So without the Courts to protect either the constitution or the people, and without the Congress to give voice to dissenting points of view in active and open debates there can be no legal government for people to turn to when there are disagreements as to what course the nation will follow, either inside or outside this country.
The steel fist of imprisonment that Bush is using upon America is unnecessary for a nation that is at peace with the wider world. The kind of ‘security’ we seek is not possible to obtain – because we can never be safe from all those who have come to hate us. The only real protection any civilized nation has is to behave in a civilized way toward others in a viable and prosperous world of order. Bush has done everything in his power to insure that we have violated that ideal in every way possible – unilaterally.
Under the guise of the need to ‘protect the public’ from everything known to threaten human life – The USA P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act became the law of the land. This flawed and re-cycled piece of quasi-legal trash was rushed through a compliant congress in the dead of night. The members later told a disbelieving public, that there hadn’t been time to even read the document before they had rubber-stamped its fascistic decrees. ‘Security’ became our new American watchword (our only real concern), while suspicion and fear became our new bedfellows in every household in the land. And the public bought it all with open arms. A nation that was founded on an ideal that worshipped openness and dialogue, in a non-sectarian marketplace of ideas – had now become just another slave state that feared every different person, every new idea. We allowed our Dictator to kill the very ideals that have made us who we are. We allowed these American Outlaws to do unto us what no other nation could ever even dream of doing. It was not the terrorists who stole this nation’s spirit – it was a bunch of thugs pretending to be our leaders, while in actuality they were plotting to steal the wider world. And thanks to our failure to stop this travesty – our fall from nationhood will drift almost unnoticed into its silent place in recorded history.
As we closed out 2002 and began 2003 Iraq replaced Afghanistan as our new target in a lengthy new series of coming wars – wars that would be based on the successful takeover of Iraq. Now the flags once so proudly waved in support of “America the Victim” were being waved again, but this time in support of a war of vengeance – a new kind of war for the US, because this time we would initiate the war, instead of defending ourselves from an attack. Bush screams that this we must do – but he fails to mention that we never had a voice in any of his decisions: Decisions that he made as Dictator and never as a sovereign and lawful president.
Note: On December 12, 2002, exactly two years to the day after he completed the theft of the Office of the Presidency – he announced to the world that as president, he would now have the right to use Nuclear Weapons, whenever he deemed them to be necessary.
Still more characters began to surface, with all the baggage of their dirty little deals in tow. The public began to hear from relics of other times and places – people that many felt had been dealt with long ago. But these were the undead that magically returned to haunt the offices of the government once more. Some were convicted criminals, one of these was put in charge of Total Information Access – the ultimate spy program designed to spy on US citizens with the blessings of the same government that had sworn to protect the people from just such terrors. And still the public slept.
Meanwhile the economy that had been dying at a phenomenal rate since day one of the Bush administration was becoming critical. What to do? More tax cuts in the middle of the second war, which this administration started. No accountability has yet been given for the disastrous state of the national budget. Just as no accounting has been forthcoming for the complete failure to fund social programs, education, health, or any of the other needs of the people of this country because according to our Dictator – the only thing that matters now – is the war To speak of anything else is to be unpatriotic, if not outright treasonable.
And throughout all this there are no jobs available, and no solutions, no waiting promises on the horizons of our lives. Between the brutality of the Criminal Justice system, and the travesty in the administration of the courts, the plight of decent jobs has remained completely overlooked. Some 3 million jobs – the ones that pay more than minimum wage have been moved offshore, and what remains of opportunities here are being downsized or eliminated altogether. That’s on top of tax giveaways to the richest 1% of the people. For all who find the ‘going difficult’ – there are always the streets or that black hole of the forgotten among us – the perpetually unemployed. But despite all this we have the reassurance of total SECURITY in America. Which is interesting in that we are seeking to “Free the People of Iraq” while we have succeeded in enslaving those of us who still chose to call ourselves Americans.
Most recently we come to the dire situation in which our Dictator, not having been content with stealing the United States, is now determined to begin stealing the rest of the world as well. He’s anointed himself to be the new ruler of the New-Old world. However this has not gone as well as did his theft of the Office of the Presidency. This time the world, that other 94% of the planet is not accepting his personal view of his own divinity. To reinforce his demands we are now threatening to use nuclear weapons to get our way with Iraq. And the rest of the planet is not nearly as pliant or as docile as were the Americans when he imprisoned us. The world is planning to fight back.
With the imposition of “Shock and Awe” as a weapon of suppression upon the civilian population of 5 million in the city of Baghdad: the United States of America is signaling the opening of the Gates of Hell itself. Should the US use its powers to their full extent – that event will mark a major shift in world history – a shift that will not be forgotten by any who survive it.
There is a simple remedy for this situation within the Constitution. And while the remedy may be simple, the implementation of it is not. Impeachment is required for not only the corrupted office of the presidency, but for all those who are equally guilty of aiding and abetting this conspiracy of illegal power. Since those who would need to bring the charges are the same ones who have directly benefited from this seizure – the likelihood of such actions, as are advocated in these two images is unlikely to occur. But Impeachment must be pursued.
To break out of this black and white nightmare of ‘us and them,’ of good and evil,’ we must return to that full color world where everything is not perfect: We must recapture that time where we concerned ourselves with making the world a better place for ourselves and for our children of whatever race, religion, or nationality: Because if we are ever to awaken from this continuing and ever-darkening nightmare – we must chose life with all its uncertainties and all its problems. It is within our power as Americans to stop this coming War upon the World, and because we have allowed this cancer to grow – it now becomes our duty to remove it from power. If any of us are to survive at all, there can be no other choice.
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All images are © kirwan, all rights are reserved (unless otherwise noted).