In the Constitution those wise men went about setting up the mechanisms by which the people of the United States were to be served by a government. The first three articles of the Constitution set up the system of government still basically active today. These begin the framework for setting up the relationship of the federal government to the citizens of the country, the individual states and even other nations. They set forth unequivocally that, in terms of the federal government, all governmental powers, sectors of government, agencies, etc. underneath it are just that. They are underneath what those sections described which are the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government, first and foremost, with respect to the relationships and respective powers of each.
Today constitutionality and what the founding fathers intended is a very hotly debated issue. The last administration really helped kick this into overdrive on virtually all sides of the political spectrum with their response to the events of September 11, 2001. After that the relationship between the government and the citizenry came under serious scrutiny.
Before that most of us assumed the government was working for the citizens with the best intentions – at least at that time in this country’s history. But the overreach was so great in terms of a power grab and the lies, in conjunction with their ignoring of the place of the government relative to American citizens, ordinary folks woke up.
There was a massive progressive reaction and independent reaction in the 2008 election and one of slightly less size, but still large in the 2010 election from conservatives and independents. In both cases Americans were upset with the two wars and the faltering economy mostly. In the case of the latter election it was mostly the economy and the huge taxpayer bailout of the very financial industry that got us into the problem in the first place and this was not the first bailout. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-Term_Capital_Management)
People began to look at the size of government and the way our government had gotten to the point where the rich and powerful had begun to have an inordinate amount of influence over our government. The economy really brought this issue under the heat lamps. Here was a once vibrant nation that had obviously not lived up to what its people had expected of the leadership.
Americans started to take a look at ourselves and our government to see what went wrong and how things slipped away from the hands of the voters to such an extent. Where did it start and what people and more importantly policies led to our state? Though still the most powerful nation in the world people could feel a noticeable slip. It had been felt for a long time, but things were beginning to coalesce and make some sense now. Although Americans started to look, it went unseen that, though perpetuated by current circumstances, this started long before Bush or Obama.
Our nation during the Cold War, or rather politicians and those tasked with this county’s defense (under the Executive Branch) decided on a strategy to develop allies in various parts of the world to combat the and contain a similar policy implemented by the USSR (now Russia). One of the ways we decided to do this was to build up governments that were to be touted as models of American style government and the benefits over communism and socialism of doing so. In Asia we took Japan and worked out a system that would be a structural guide that developed into what we told most folks back home was an American style democracy but was actually a false one where there was an Emperor and elections were held but the same party kept winning.
After some time we began a false currency manipulation system with Japan where products manufactured there would be shipped here for sale on the cheap to our markets and they would keep their market closed and prices on our goods high. Their manufacturing base expanded greatly and this went from smaller products to larger ones. They became a wealthy nation as a result and many others in the area followed suit all with our government’s tacit or explicit approval to show up the Soviets by letting all in the region know those sided with us would be better off.
During those times American investment in Asian countries rocketed up and many of our companies started moving their manufacturing bases to Asia to have their goods sold more cheaply here with greater profit for them. Folks in America were told this was a part of the hands off/ free market American style system working and in Asian countries they were told the same things. Americans who questioned what was happening – specifically the loss of good solid American manufacturing jobs – were called un-patriotic and Commies. To be called that could mean the loss of work and social isolation whether the allegations were true or not. They called it “globalization.” Almost sounds too big to do anything about huh?
Yet this was not the free market and middle class America paid a huge price that continues today. We just heard the president and other politicians address different ways to have innovation help spur our recovery and way out of the recession and debt. He rightly stressed manufacturing, but perhaps not as much as he could have. He said jobs that went overseas cannot come back. There has been a lot of talk from economists saying the exact same things from all sides. They have told us those jobs won’t come back and cannot. Americans should write them off they say. Yet is that true?
The president and most politicians are just listening to their advisors. They have so much on their respective plates they have to. They can’t be masters of it all. Yet, advisors said we would be recovering by now with the bailouts. Advisors said the warnings of plane attacks on major cities in August of 2001 could be ignored. Then they said we could invade Iraq because it would be over soon. They said Afghanistan could be ignored in favor of Iraq. They said having Egypt’s Mubarak as an ally fit with the ideals of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Experts and advisors aren’t always right.
The fact is those jobs are there in Asia still as a part of Cold War policies which are as outdated as the idea women should still be in the kitchen rattling the pots and pans. Period. We don’t need so many troops in the Asia Pacific Rim, East Asia or Southeast Asia. This doesn’t mean pull all out now, but it’s time to start a process of draw down as this stuff is costly – too costly. We don’t need so many in friendly places like Europe. 40,000 in Germany alone in 2011? What for? There are even parts of the Middle East we could draw down a little and start cutting corners on, though much less there.
See, taxpayers are footing the bill so certain people under the Department of Defense can stay very powerful which gives them inordinate influence over our leaders and the top three branches of government in general. This is not talking about the troops of course because they don’t call the shots, make policy or draw up the plans. There are sprawling bases and many expensive private contractors to service them. The middle class in America is slipping while still footing these bills. It is unfair and has to stop.
Some of it is preposterous. Sure people need soap, laundry, food, etc. But some of what we support and pay for is not things most Americans wouldn’t approve of nor can afford quite frankly.
Let’s look at golf courses a little. Some folks may be saying, “doesn’t he mean gulf?” but no the game of golf. Nick Turse says in a book published by Metropolitan books in 2008, “According to its officially stated mission, the DoD engages in war-fighting, humanitarian, peacekeeping, evacuation, and homeland-security missions and, says the Pentagon, provides ‘the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of the United States. Everything we do supports that primary mission.’ How, exactly, golf courses ensure that primary mission is a little murky, especially since the United States has more than 8,100 public courses and over 3,500 semiprivate courses (that allow some access to nonmembers). A more apt explanation is the fact that when it comes to golf, like much else, the Pentagon does what it wants, no matter who gets tee’d off.
“They, however, never make mention of the fact that these facilities are located on public land and pay no taxes; that they require funds for security; and that in all likelihood the public pays for the roads, water, and electric lines that service the courses — sore points raised by former Arizona senator Dennis DeConcini in the mid-1990s when Andrews Air Force Base was sinking $5.1 million into its third course. (If the DoD really wanted to raise revenues, it would sell its courses. For example, the army’s Garmisch, Kornwestheim, and Heidelberg golf courses in Germany are worth, says the DoD, $6.6 million, $13.3 million, and $16.5 million, respectively, while the DoD’s Sungnam golf course in the Republic of Korea is reportedly valued at $26 million.)” (http://www.alternet.org/economy/82009/?page=2)
There are such golf courses in Japan, Thailand and elsewhere. We love our troops and we want them to have the requisite downtime and r&r they need, but again this is about the military just overstretching and the huge prices taxpayers must dole out to foot the bill. We simply don’t need that many bases. That doesn’t not mean close them all it means cuts, cuts and more cuts. This is but a tiny aspect of the totally unnecessary costs we have to shoulder. These bases are propping up the financial arrangements for wealthy company owners to have their manufacturing bases in places like Asia.
Also it protects oil for wealthy Americans in the Middle East to name a couple of concerns. They have already shipped our jobs overseas, what more do they want? Close down the golf courses and let wealthy Americans donate them for the troops out of patriotism.
But does that really help our mission of helping to spread democracy and liberty around the world? Let’s look at South Korea, and a golf course not owned by our military, but which speaks volumes about our legacy in that area and how perverted our views regarding foreign policy have become. In 1948 our government handed control of South Korea over to a dictator named Syngman Rhee. Although the people of South Korea had tried to set up a democracy we instead gave him the reigns.
His rule was responsible for many atrocities in South Korea and brutal repression of dissent. On April 3, 1948 during a demonstration commemorating the Korean struggle against their former Japanese colonialist rulers the government of Rhee decided to crack down. As in Egypt today the people rebelled. There were some communists in the crowd as the government points out, but there were non-communists also.
The government began a massacre brutal and bloody as any. In the process there were between thirty thousand and sixty thousand people slaughtered. As part of the crackdown the government with our government’s approval sent in untrained civilians that slaughtered men and children then forced the widows to marry them, thus forcing them to cede their land to them.
They profited as this became a resort beach years later. The graves of the victims went unmarked and were landscaped over with a golf course for tourists. The people of South Korea never forgot and it always stung them. Yet American citizens have been oblivious to it and kept in the dark. An example of this can be seen from April of 1996.
Then President Bill Clinton went there to that now beach resort and played golf on the unmarked graves without mentioning anything about the victims that were buried. Nor did he make mention of the women still alive forced to watch him play golf on the bones of between thirty and sixty thousand of their dead husbands and children while they were forced into matrimonial bondage as slaves. They would die as such. (http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=1907872) (Johnson, Metropolitan Books/ Henry Holt, 2000)
Today we see in Egypt an example of a government we supported because it fit our aims though not our stated ones. The dictator given the title of president there Mubarak has been one of our allies that we turned a blind eye to so we could get what we wanted and hold onto power in the Middle East. As a report from Human Rights Watch points out he, “epitomizes the authoritarian Arab ruler, presiding over a system in which opponents are muzzled and imprisoned, and where torture is widespread. Yes, Mubarak greeted Obama’s inauguration by releasing Egypt’s most famous political prisoner — opposition politician Ayman Nour.
“But he has shown no inclination to pursue broader reforms, and seems intent on installing his son as his successor. And he keeps dubious company, having flagrantly challenged one of the Obama administration’s priorities by inviting President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan to Cairo after his indictment by the International Criminal Court. Mubarak reportedly refused to visit Washington during George W. Bush’s second term because of that administration’s occasional criticism of his repressive policies. How the Obama administration receives him will tell us a great deal about the importance it attaches to promoting human rights and democracy in the Middle East.” (http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/05/13/mubarak-test)
That was published in May of 2009. Our overseas policies have often come back to bite us in the backside and not been in keeping with our supposed ultimate foreign policy goals of spreading democracy and freedom for all. Often this is because the top three branches of our government have found themselves being manipulated by special interests including the interests of those in the now too large Department of Defense overseeing the vast military infrastructure we have built up first to combat the tyranny during World War II then to keep the Soviets in check.
Yet when you say Soviets or USSR to a young person today you are likely to get a quizzical look as it is no longer on the radar. Perhaps one reason is the USSR no longer exists. There are those that believe we still need to bolster dictators, tyrants and financial arrangements that make Americans poor while enriching other nations. But, that is something that benefits not America, whether those profiting want to see it or not. It’s time to rethink those policies and put the power back into the hands of the Three Branches of power as laid out in the first three articles of the constitution.
Whether they like it or not that is American. Americans are becoming poor to keep generals playing golf on lush million dollar resort level courses and much much more. It’s time to end those policies. We the people are subservient to no one –like it or not. Don’t believe that? Read the Constitution.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.