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2008 Election

The next president will doubtless encounter problems as yet unforeseen. As if that were not enough, the traditions of violence, rivalries, witch hunts and empire as historic solutions will surely cloud his vision. At least clouded vision will be so for the mainstream candidates already running for president. Unlike 2000, there is no wild card in the field. Of the candidates who are sitting senators, Kucinich and Obama at least have their feet on solid ground; each offers a lot of logical positions unusual for politicians. Bill Richardson would be included for his strong administrative ability and effective experience on the world scene where he has gone toe to toe with both the best and the ugliest. We are less sure of his insight and foresight, needed for the future, but for the near term he is surefooted. As much as we would applaud a woman president, we fear Clinton is too much establishment to accomplish the roll back needed to abolish the Unitary Presidency, that euphemism for dictator.

John McCain also has the credentials, and some good ideas, but his conversion to Bushism sealed our vote against him. The Neocons essentially control the Republican agenda. And that is a huge negative for their candidates--with one exception: Representative Ron Paul is a Republican with more than his feet on the ground. His head is clear. He sees issues well beyond what any other candidate sees. He at least has an open mind on most issues--if his words mean anything at all. He is running against the incumbent records of the last two decades. Paul served honorably in Vietnam, unlike the present incumbent. Paul properly favors free trade. He sees the Neocon movement as the insanity it is. Also in his favor, Paul opposes the Patriot Act and the war on drugs. He has been labeled Libertarian. He favors responsible fiscal policies, as we do. He realizes that China, Japan and Saudi Arabia are supporting our profligate spending, which will eventually end with possible financial disaster.

For all that, Paul has negatives in his closet. He favors withdrawal from the UN and NATO when these two institutions comprise a significant bulwark against violence. The UN indeed has its faults. It is not up to controlling the nuclear equation for a most glaring example. It needs to be reformed, not abandoned. Paul opposes Roe vs Wade when most women do not. He favors abolishing most government agencies and eliminating federal income taxes. That could be a recipe for chaos.

Whoever wins will have a hornet's nest in dealing with some major issues:

  • Polarization within societies and within societies is particularly acute.
  • A national debt reaching unsustainable levels.
  • Acute energy dependence world-wide.
  • A deeply wounded domestic economy.
  • Unstable nuclear-armed states.
  • Broken relationships with allies.
  • Unabated terrorism with increasing probability that nuclear terror will surface.
  • A plutocratic bureaucracy with government positions heavily bloated by individuals embracing policies of evangelical religion and corporations, not to mention the imperialistic Neocons who will be around for awhile by virtue of life-time appointments in the Supreme Court.
  • A unitary Presidency also known as dictatorship. Since absolute power still corrupts absolutely, there will be great temptation here for the powerful.
  • What to do with the 737 American military bases world-wide that have been established to protect "American Interests." Do we continue to expand them, or will we roll their numbers back to a reasonable level?
  • Runaway industrial pollution.
  • Runaway populations in the undeveloped world.
  • Green-house gas emissions and increasingly rapid global heating and climate change that may already be past the tipping point for a 20 meter rise in sea level.
  • A bloated defense budget in a polarized world.
  • A noticeable increase in bigotry here at home (the noose and the Nazis) that arose in response to Bush's polarizing "You are either with us or against us." attitude.

All of these issues must be dealt with effectively and soon.

Who among the candidates have priorities similar to the above?

The "unitary executive", dictatorship in reality, most urgently must be rolled back at least to pre-9/11--preferably to pre-Truman days. The Homeland Security Department must be slimmed down, made efficient, and, most importantly, inspired. The First and Fourth Amendments must once again become the laws of the land. Sustainable energy sources must become national priorities. Allies and supposed enemies alike must be treated in a less polarizing manner; we might try simple respect. As for the first issue, banks foreclose when debtors cannot pay. At the same time runaway population growth, greenhouse gases and nuclear proliferation remain on collision courses under the Bush/Neocon agenda.

The latest evidence is that glaciers calving into the sea is not the steady state proposition assumed. When the lakes upon which ice-sheets sit heat and increase their volume, an entire sector of an ice sheet can suddenly head for the sea. The day the sea level begins to rise noticeably, by shoreline denizens, will arrive sooner than we think.

Ponder for a moment what a such collision between forces of man and nature might mean.

  • The technically strongest nation on earth runs out of creditors.
  • Traditional trading patterns and procedures become obsolete.
  • Sea levels rise unexpectedly.
  • Earth temperature rises at increasing rates distorting historic patterns; storms increasing in violence flood large areas of nations such as Bangladesh, Mexico, other low-lying countries, and Florida. Add in the catastrophe of an ocean behaving like an African lake that turned into a fountain of carbon dioxide--a surprise when it happened. For the ocean, such an event is pure conjecture, but has anyone studied the possibility that a carbon dioxide fountain could not happen worldwide? If not and it happens, what then? Well, politicians will blame the scientists who failed to warn us. In actual fact, we think such an event is most unlikely given the dynamics of ocean currents and subsequent mixing. Our point is, is anyone looking for "unexpected" human made disasters? They could be more serious to human history than terrorism.
  • In politics, the issue, the only issue usually, is power. By its very nature, for people practicing politics, it is to practice conflict of interest, and therein lies the rub. Politicians (of any party) facing the above could well entertain the traditional solution: A COUP. Conflict of interest is inherent in democracies, but it need not be.

Practicing politics, is to practice conflict of interest,
and therein lies the rub.


Of course a scenario such as is painted above, may not happen for any number of reasons. We surely hope not. However, this Administration's response to the testimony of Major General Taguba, in particular, gives us serious pause. The military, conceivably, might actually go along with a coup. Our take is that Mr Bush would scream in denial--unless he were the beneficiary. As for the American people, Milgram showed decisively how Authoritarian we Americans are by nature. Altemeyer demonstrated that North American politicians are seriously influenced by authoritarian thinking. If that seems OK, then consider that the Authoritarian approach to violence is more violence. Since that has never worked in recorded history, there is no reason to think it will now. The Stanford Prison experiment and Abu Ghraib prove we are still animals in our basic emotionality. All this is antithetical to what America is to stand for--what our founding fathers put into the Declaraton of Independence and Constitution.


The bottom line in 2008 is to elect a new president who will not make matters worse. On this score we rate Richardson, Kucinich, and Obama as the best possibilities for holding the line. Edwards might be included, but to us, he seems too short on charisma (mass appeal) to be electable over say, John McCain.

It is imperative to elect a Democrat in 2008 to stop radical appointments to the Supreme Court. The Roberts Court has already taken sides with the Neocons--in all logic, too: Neocons or Neocon cohorts now sit on the Supreme Court bench. McCain and Paul are the least dangerous of the Republicans running. We fear any winner will not be able to govern with the openness required to lead us out of the swamp. Supreme Court appointments coming up demand Democratic appointments just to hold the line against the Neocon stranglehold on a venerable institution.

Could Authoritarian Democrats in the Senate be expected to oppose their own basic instincts and stop such appointments?
We wonder!
2012 is too far away to predict, but it is not too early to begin grass-root activity toward resolving these critical issues permanently. If we truly are a "can do" society, we can make it happen.

In short, the US must become a trusted world citizen in behavior. Only by example can the US win trust, hearts, and minds.


Wasn't the Cold War an excercise in the knd of patience terrorism calls for? Of course, terrorism is only an excuse for our aggressive behavior in the Middle East.

Posted by RoadToPeace on Sunday, November 04, 2007 at 21:52:21

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