Sunday, November 1, 2015

Empire or Democracy?

Jean-Paul Sartre had a warning for the French people regarding their country's long occupation of Algeria. Whatever a country does to an occupied people, it in turn does to itself.

With 800 foreign bases in 150 countries, the US is no doubt the world's largest empire in history. Since 1945, our country has overthrown dozens of democratic governments unfriendly to US business interests, and put in their place compliant military dictatorships. 

Now we see the destruction of our own democracy. Obama has established the president's right to kill anyone in the world, including US citizens, based on secret evidence presented at closed White House meetings. The National Defense Authorization Act overturns over 150 years of domestic law to allow the US military to enter our homes, remove us to some unknown detention center here or abroad and keep us incommunicado until "the end of hostilities." Section 1021 would strip US citizens of any due process whatsoever. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act making its way through Congress would legalize mass surveillance of all Americans by the national security state, enabling it to build a case against anyone.

Finally, two massive trade deals pushed by Obama, the TPP and the TTIP, would create secret courts of corporate appointed judges to dictate policy on pollution control, worker safety laws, consumer protection, food safety, etc. The rules of America's economy would be completely decided by the multinational corporations rather than by its citizens.

Empire or democracy. Nations have never managed to have both.

Fred Nagel

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