By: Jennifer Lynne Ziemann
The first time I voted for George W. Bush, I was twenty-six years old. It was probably the first time I had ever truly taken an interest in politics having been too wrapped up in my own personal trauma to look much further than a sideways glance to the right or left. I was raised Republican, my Daddy voted for Reagan and Bush I. I was so excited to finally take an active interest in politics. I was two years into being single again, making my own life with my two boys and I thought this was the “grown-up” stance to take. I did not know the social issues at stake. I only thought that “W” would bring tax-cuts. What else could a single mom want?
The second time, I was just plain stupid. I was already beginning my disenchantment with this administration, but I still believed they could somehow make it right. I believed you did not change Presidents during a time of war. I thought “they” are in charge and know what is going on, “they” will fix things.
In the last three years, I have learned Republicans are not “grown-up” but neither are Democrats. I realized violence is not “grown-up”. Neither party takes any responsibility. Dick Cheney said the elections do not matter. Whether or not the war is popular, again does not matter. They (the administration) will continue to do what they think is right. I do not believe Democrats have the courage to do any better. Until the Cold War mentality of our governing generation changes, American policies will stay the same.
I received an email the other day from a family member that stated, “We hear that Bush is a war monger, but no one has come up with a sound solution on what to do with those that want to bring down not only the United States but any country that does not believe in their ideology”, (that is fear talking). “Talk doesn’t work anymore”, (so says the Bush administration, you know the whole we will not enter into bi-lateral talks with North Korea or Iran), “ There are those in this country that want to bring down our democratic way of life also; we don’t attack them because the government has a responsibility to protect all Americans no matter what their beliefs. But when we are threatened by outsiders and that includes those that cross our borders and those on foreign soil that wish to do harm to us we should do all what is in our power to prevent them from succeeding. I don’t want to read in the papers in 2010 that the president signed into law a national health care plan and also in the news there was anther car bomb explosion in Chicago this morning…”
This is the fear mentality of the generation that leads our country today. They grew up Cold War kids during the McCarthy period of the “Red Scare.” They lived under air raid drills, “duck and cover,” “stop ‘em all at the 38th parallel, blow those yellow reds to hell” (Billy Joel Leningrad). The United States believed that they were the Big Dick on the block after Little Boy and Fat Man. The rest of the world better stand up and recognize. No country and I mean not a single one better make a change in their government without the blessing of the United States of America.
Cold War kids lived through the Korean War and saw revolution in Cuba. The Bay of Pigs occurred because of an unsuccessful attempt by the United States to assert their will on a country that was not a threat to us. The threat was created with our “attempted” invasion bringing on the Cuban Missile Crisis and “omigod” the commies are in our backyard. Did it ever occur to the United States that Cuba would have made a peaceful transition to a more socialistic government had WE STAYED OUT OF IT?
Next was the Vietnam War. Again, everyone run and hide! Communism is striking again. Hi-ho the United States of America to the rescue. By this time these children of the Cold War weren’t hiding under their desks during an air raid drill, they were being sent into the line of fire under the premise that American freedom was yet again in jeopardy (from the Vietcong who possessed no nuclear weapons). They fought bravely for an ideal they had been raised on: spreading democracy. Sometimes they did not even know who the enemy was. I cannot even begin to understand their fears or describe the bravery it took to fight in a jungle across an ocean against people who were willing to die for what they believed in, too.
I have seen two wars now in my lifetime, the Persian Gulf War and now the “War on Terror” AKA, the war in Iraq. During the Persian Gulf War, I was eighteen years old, homeless, expecting my first son and with a husband that believed I was his country and he was the dictator. I was clueless at the time to what impact if any the Persian Gulf War had to the American way of life. Now, with the so-called “War on Terror” my understanding to war has been honed to a cold realistic view of the United States of America and the current administration. Where is the threat to the United States of America? I do not see any.
Since WWII we have had the atomic bomb, the ability to wage nuclear warfare. Russia, North Korea, Cuba, the Vietcong, Iraq, Iran they were never a threat to the American way of life. It is one thing for the U.S. to work unilaterally for democracy in nations where the overwhelming populace is screaming for freedom under tyrannical dictatorship but quite another to invade a country for corporate gain, (oil). Our country is the subject of terrorism because we seek in the name of corporate gain to rule the world not spread democracy.
Why would I come to that conclusion?
Because the United States of America only invades in the name of spreading democracy to those small countries that will bring us corporate domination and corporate gain. We are not stopping genocide in Darfur. We did not stop North Korea from obtaining nuclear power. We did not step in and help during the Tiananmen Square revolt in China. We did not stop Great Britain from oppressing the greater populace of Ireland. We did not stop France from invading Algeria.
To the contrary forty-eight nations have received overt military action and twenty-two nations have received covert action from the United States to further our corporate interests since World War II.
As long as small nations feel threatened by the United States of America, terrorism will continue. As long as we continue to assert our power world wide instead of taking our money and resources and investing them back into our own country (as in Costa Rica, Switzerland, Finland, Austria, Sweden, Liechtenstein, and the Republic of Ireland); smaller nations will continue to feel the need to develop nuclear weapons in order to stave off the threat of an invasion from the United States of America. In the past when we began to disarm, others disarmed.
It took me two wars to realize that there is a better way. Two wars to realize that violence is not the answer. Two wars to realize that the citizens of the United States deserve better, deserve to be taken care of, deserve to no longer live in the fear propagandized by Corporate America. The Cold War kids that lead our nation have been through seven wars and still have not changed their fear mentality. It is simply not going to change by mere election of a different party. The people of the United States of America need to stand up and demand, yes demand, a revolution of peaceful change.]]>
In case you live under a rock and perchance have not noticed that in the recent Democrat debates, Obama, Clinton, Edwards, and Richardson are running for president to stand up for middle-class Americans. Every plan, concoction and soapbox initiative they peddle is for the middle class. From healthcare to ending the war in Iraq they are soldiering forward for that upstanding group in dire danger, middle class America. All of whom are one to two paychecks away from, dare I say it out loud, the dreaded LOWER CLASS or what some call THE POOR. A class that is comprised of people who used to be middle class and others who simply never got the chance to rise above the station life allotted them.
Yet none of the candidates are talking in the debates about THE POOR who consist of roughly twenty-five percent of America and here’s why: They are frequently unemployed and do not have a high school education thus causing many of them to be ignorant of their rights and benefits. If working their income falls below poverty level meaning they make less that 15,000 a year. These two items alone make for an unstable household causing them to move around frequently and thus hard to target for voting campaigns. Often times they do not even have an address, staying with relatives, in cars, homeless shelters, or on the streets. Yet again, not a likely group to vote. And if you factor in lack of transportation, you come up with an entire class being left out of the election machine.
This is unacceptable and is no different than the rich being catered to by the Republicans. We have a quarter of our population disenfranchised and according to John Edwards in the debate on Saturday night, 200,000 of them are homeless veterans. Way to go Edwards, one shout-out to the Poor…now what are you going to do about them?
What I want to know is what kind of programs are these candidates going to initiate to bring in and retain more people in the middle class. They have lots of programs listed on their web sites to combat poverty. Why with 25% of Americans falling into the poverty category are these programs not being discussed in debate on television? The lower class generally does not have access to the Internet, so it is up to these candidates to chat about these items when they are televised. This election is about all of America not just the middle and upper classes.
As Edwards stated, change means doing something different than the current government status quo. Well, if the current Democratic candidates are what we have to choose as leadership, then nothing has changed. It is still the status quo catering only to the upper classes, discussing only those things, which make the United States look like a shiny industrialized nation. Simply ignoring the rest that live in third-world poverty within our own borders.
With just fifty-six hours of training in an intensive course you too can learn how to detect facial behavior that could thwart a terrorist. You too can be a hero! At least that is what the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) would have you believe.
The TSA is stepping up there much scrutinized “behavior detection officer” program in an attempt to keep Americans safe while they travel. As of now they have 600 officers trained and by the end of the year they plan to have a 1,000.
Of course, you got to ask. What, in fifty-six hours of training, could possibly make a person knowledgeable enough to decode the myriad of ticks and facial idiosyncrasies a person can display at any given moment. Does this not require some form of degree in psychology? Or at least a degree in criminal profiling? According to the TSA it does not.
Imagine this, you have taken a trip to Las Vegas sans your husband with a couple of old college buddies. You lose everything; the kid’s college savings, your retirement fund. You are now flying home and you have told your husband that everything is fine. You are sweating, your eyes are shifty, and your hands are shaking. Next thing you know, two burly men approach you. They chat you up and then ask you to come with them. You, being significantly stressed as it is, refuse. You must get home you say. You are then grabbed behind each elbow and escorted away much to your frantic protests.
Habeas Corpus be damned! Ok, so TSA says it is not an actual arrest they just reserve the right to talk to you further based on their authority even if you refuse. They are trained to believe that they can detect slight facial expressions that indicate your lying such as sweating or shifty eyes. They are also looking for behavior such as constantly checking your bags or the people around you, acting in a hesitant manner, or just being nervous which could simply all come from a fear of flying. They claim to be experts in the field of facial profiling based on a mere fifty-six hours of intense training. Certainly a curriculum that would earn them a degree at any major university in psychology.
What about your rights? Your right to not be held by the government for any amount of time without a lawyer present or charges brought against you. Significant evidence? A search warrant? Your accuser? Probable cause? A jury by your peers? This is simply a form of rendition without transportation to a foreign country.
As much as the next citizen, I want to be safe. But to believe that low- paid airport security personnel (starting pay is $31,400) can protect me from the sophisticated terrorist threat President Bush is always screaming about is just ludicrous.
It is time to stop listening to this buffoon and his bought and paid for Congress. It is time for a new government.
Tentatively scheduled to begin on Sept 25th, Congress will be holding a hearing titled From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degradation. They will focus on the entertainment industry, which is interpreted to mean hip-hop’s misogynist lyrics and violent views. Chairman of the House sub-committee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill), will be spearheading the issue. He says the hip-hop culture is not the only industry they will be discussing. Well, if that is the case, I suggest they turn the spotlight on Congress.
You cannot stop the degradation of women when we live in a nation that believes women are of a lower caste. I have mentioned this time and time again: if a man commits an assault on a stranger it is considered a felony charge, if the assault is committed by him upon his significant other then it is a misdemeanor charge. Law after law, state after state this is the case. Congress must set the precedence that mandates that domestic violence is to be considered a felony, no matter if it is the first time the abuser is caught or the fourth time. Until this is done they have no right to attack any industry that is just following the misogynist standards that were set when this country was founded.
Furthermore, I believe we voted our new Congress in to bring home our troops, end the war, focus on peace-building initiatives, and direct our tax money to better help those in need at home such as the poor, and especially our women and children. We do not need some half-ass hearing about what type of music our citizens should be listening to.
As citizens of the United States of America we can always turn off our radio or televisions if we do not like what we are hearing. Unfortunately you cannot turn off the woman’s screams next door as her husband beats her, you cannot silence the homeless person’s cry for food, and you most certainly cannot halt the bloodshed of our soldiers a continent away
We elected our Congress to do these things.]]>
A Guide to Revolution
By: Jennifer Lynne Ziemann
The story begins in 2008 where we meet an assassin named Miguel who has been hired to kill a political writer that has shamed a man of power connected to the government of the United States of America. It becomes the story of a boy dealing with the tragic murder of his father and mother who meets and falls in love with a girl that was abused and then eventually raped by her stepfather. After years of living assumed identities apart the two find each other again. The boy, who is now known as Coilean, a rock and roll guitarist, realizes it is time to avenge the death of his parents after witnessing on national television the horrible death of a friend at the hands of the security police at a protest. Shortly after this decision he reunites with the girl now known as Petra. Together, they decide to bring justice down upon the nation that is making so many suffer through its quest for world domination.
This nation is the United States of America, which has entered the Third Petroleum War as the wars in the Middle East have become to be known. The events in the story are eerily similar to present day events in real life. In the story the government has now become a dictatorship just like it is on its way to becoming now. People are not allowed to protest, martial law has been declared, and rendition has become a way of life. The United States foreign policy is you’re with me or you’re dead.
As the book unfolds we get to see the plans laid for a strike that will send a loud and defiant message to the dictatorship of the United States of America. It lays the foundation for how a revolution can be built. The thing I found most thoughtful about this story was that after the strike was through, others around the United States and the world rose up to strike back at the heart of imperialism. After I finished reading the book, it is this message that I took with me: It only takes one to stand up against the face of tyranny, one defiant act to lead a revolution. If your cause is just others will follow.]]>
By: Jennifer Lynne Ziemann
Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs, and drank a cup
And looking up, I noticed I was late…(The Beatles)
And the similarities end there to a victim of domestic violence. Here is how the rest of the day went.
Noticing she was late, she woke him up so he could take a shower. She knew she had about ten minutes before preparing his breakfast in order to have it on the table and to make sure it was still hot when he was finished. He had the same thing every morning; two eggs over easy - don’t break the yolks, cream of wheat - not instant and no lumps, toast light brown with grape jelly and butter, three pieces of bacon, orange juice and coffee. She took her coffee into the living room and put it down on the end table. She lay down on the couch on her stomach and dozed off.
By Jennifer Lynne Ziemann
One of the greatest social observations of our time is the song “Piggies” by the Beatles:
“In their styes with all their backing
They don’t care what goes on around
In their eyes there’s something lacking
What they need’s a damn good whacking…”
It represents the working middle-class struggle against the establishment, i.e. the capitalists, government for hire, those who wage war away from home for world conquest while refusing to take care of their own people. Although Charles Manson tried to make it his own with blood-filled terror when he committed the Tate-Labianca murders, he was unsuccessful. This song still remains a cry for revolution.
When I first heard this song I was a teenager in the late eighties and my thoughts ran along the lines of anger towards all authority as in “Hell, yeah, down with the Piggies”. Of course then I viewed the song as more of a cry for anarchy and at that age I could really dig that. As I grow older the song comes back to haunt me with thoughts of what can I do, how can I fight this establishment? How do I help preserve democracy? I have come to the realization that you cannot sit idly by and watch democracy fall. In their eyes there’s something lacking, it is called humanity. I decided to create a moral call to action in order to take a stand.
The first thing I will do is fly my American flag upside down, which signifies a nation in distress. No one can argue this stance. While we send our troops to die in an unjust war, Americans are barely surviving natural disasters (Hurricane Katrina, Greensburg, Kansas) across our nation and lacking the support they need to rebuild. People are going without health care. Homelessness runs rampant, and domestic violence is on the rise. I challenge everyone who feels that this nation is in distress to do the same. We should then have a march down Main Street, USA flying our flags upside down.
I will fly my star and stripes at half-mast. Although it is stated that the President of the United States generally makes the decision when a flag should be flown at half-mast, I can no longer allow a man with questionable sanity to make decisions about my patriotism. This country is in mourning, I am in mourning, and my family is in mourning as long as our soldiers continue to die. I pledge that their deaths will not go unnoticed by me. As long as our government continues to provide negligent care for our soldiers when they do come home, this nation is in mourning. As long as my fellow citizens are going hungry in a land of plenty, we are in mourning. As long as we continue to allow the imprisonment and torture of people who have not been given the benefit of innocent until proven guilty, we are in mourning. Do I need to go on?
I will no longer pledge allegiance to a flag that has come to represent the Corporate States of America. A country, A GREAT NATION, cannot be run with visions of profit or global domination. Its resources must be used to better the lives of all of the people who live in it and then shared with the world.
I encourage the removal of our current administration by whatever democratic means necessary. We the people spoke in the Declaration of Independence written in 1776 “That whenever any Form of Government 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 foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” We the people spoke again in the November, 2006 election
It was clear: end the War, impeach Bush, and preserve the unalienable rights of the people, which are equality, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The time has come, these unalienable rights are in peril and the power to change the course of history falls upon the People.
I now issue a citizen’s arrest for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
I will go one step further and state that as long as Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, refuses to do what the constituents have asked her to do, then it is necessary and vital in order for a continued democracy that she be removed from power too. I request that the Congress be charged with treason for going against the wishes of the people and harboring enemies of the state: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
It is said that action can be the enemy of thought. If we could just stop…listen…we would hear and understand the task that has been set before us. It is a necessity, an unalienable right to preserve democracy.
Start the revolution, it begins with you.
Down with the Piggies!]]>