Faux Democracy

“The government did not want the people to communicate with each other, and it did not want the press to communicate with the public.”–Hillary Clinton speaking about Egypt at an Internet Freedom seminar, while a 71 year old man who had been standing quietly with his back to her was dragged out before her eyes.

Return of the Brown Shirts:

Hillary Clinton looked on with the same Stepford Wives stare, that used to be the hallmark of Laura Bush, as an elderly gentleman was man handled out of the auditorium in front of her.



She continued reading her prepared speech in her automaton tone, apparently unaware of the irony of her words.  As she spoke of democracy and free speech triumphing in Egypt, it was crumbling in the United States in front of her spooky, unblinking eyes.

This is not the first time, former CIA analysis, Ray McGovern has defied the powerful in America.  The 71 year old man has a track record:

“I find myself wondering if this show of brutality may be a signpost on a path to even wider and more brutal repression. I have been comparing what happened during Clinton’s speech Tuesday with my four-minute mini-debate with Donald Rumsfeld on May 4, 2006 in Atlanta. Halfway through, Rumsfeld gives the nod to a black-hatted security fellow to elbow me away from the microphone.

I shout, ‘So this is America.’ Rumsfeld takes one look at the TV cameras streaming live, makes a snap decision, and tells the security fellow to let me stay. During that same speech in Atlanta, one fearless witness stands dead-center in the audience with his back to Rumsfeld for the entire speech and is not bothered, much less beaten and jailed.

The contrast between the experience of May 2006 and February 2011 can be viewed through the prism of the proverbial ‘boiling frog.’ There does seem to be a subtle but successful campaign to get people gradually accustomed to increasingly repressive measures; and many, perhaps most, Americans seem oblivious.

After 9/11 Norman Mailer saw a ‘pre-fascist climate’ reigning in America. If we don’t stand up for our rights, it may not be long before we shall have to drop the ‘pre.'”–PD

Unlike his encounter with Rumsfeld, McGovern was taken outside, not by officer’s of the law, but by private security and beaten.  Still bleeding from his wounds, he was taken to jail.

The irony is not hard to see.  This is of course, number 9 on Naomi Wolf’s list of signs of a fascist government.  But the irony is made all the worse by the fact that, during her speech, Clinton announced a multinational agreement to censor the internet.

Hillary Clinton at GW University:  “We have also ratified the Budapest Cybercrime Convention, which sets  out the steps countries must take to ensure that the internet is not  misused by criminals and terrorists while still protecting the liberties  of our own citizens.“–Adam Curry

Granted their main targets were pedophiles, but they also will censor “racism” and “xenophobia”.  While I am not fond of any of those forms of communication, they are political thoughts and not criminal acts.  Making it illegal to speak them in cyberspace is a toe in the door of internet censorship.  After all, I don’t agree with neonazi’s at all, but I will defend their right make any argument that they want to make at any peaceful rally they choose to have.  Censorship of thought can be a s lippery slope.

When I look upon this whole spectacle, I can’t help but feel pity for the emerging government of Egypt, already fighting the first hurdle to democracy, rule by the military .  As someone who has lived her whole life in a faux democracy, what advise could I give them?  If I could speak Arabic, what would I say to Egypt?

Enemies at the Door

Clinton and Obama do not believe in democracy.  When the  Egyptian revolution first started, they were all about the “stable” Egypt  that Mubarak had granted them for decades: a stable, suppressive Egypt  where half of  the average person’s wages went to buy food and torture was a fact of every day life.  They did not  seem to realize that democracy is messy and chaotic.  Democracy, at its  core, is mob rule.

If the Egyptians are not successful at throwing off military rule, little will be lost for the leaders of the Western Corporate Empire.  They will simply start dealing with the Egyptian military to outsource their torture victims, etc.  Things will go back, pretty much, to the way they were…for everybody.

But what if they do through off the military shackles?  After all, none of us thought they could throw off Mubarak.  What then?

Then, they will need to fight a direct assault from the Western Corporate Empire.  The World Bank and the IMF will tempt them with high debt contracts.  Like the devil is the old Twilight Zone series, the IMF with swoop in and offer them money to build their democracy.  But just like the devil, the contracts they offer will have hidden clauses that only lead to the capture of one’s soul, and never to the happiness promised.  They will use the contracts too rip the remaining wealth of Egypt away and give it to multinational corporations, enslaving the people of Egypt once again.

My advice is simple and obvious.  Decline the offer, no matter how sweet.

Enemies Within

But let’s say that the people of Egypt are as remarkable as they have proven themselves so far.  They fight off a military junta and the World Bank.  What then?

Then they run the risk of becoming like us.  Enslaved and incapable of seeing our own enslavement:  giving trillions to banksters and corporation while denying health care and retirement to teachers; giving away an open and neutral internet that could have helped save us.  Then they must fight those within the country who would use the new government for their own power while calling it a democracy.

How should they combat that?  I can’t say that I know, as it has never been done.  But, of course, I do have suggestions:

1.)  Hold all forms of communication (press, television, speech, internet) sacrosanct.  The way you obtained your freedom is the same way all of us started out–by talking to each other.  No law should supersede the freedom of communication between individuals.  No process should either.  Here, in my faux democracy, all television and radio are held in the hands of only 5 wealthy, white men.  They have destroyed free press in my country.  Now there is a 24 hour propaganda cycle, where you will never hear about Ray McGovern’s beating.

Ownership of media, itself, is a great evil.  My suggestion is to find ways to make media transcend ownership.  No one should own your ability to communicate, not the rich or the government.  Make it like the internet–owned by all.  Keep the internet neutral–all sites on an equal footing.  Let the people decide what is important.  Allow everyone to produce media and allow it to be seen on a mass scale.  Something like Current TV.  This may require a different organization than the commercial model the Western Empire touts.  So be it.


2.)  Print your own money.  Do NOT let commercial banks print the money for you, and then loan it to your fledgling government.  You might as well not even bother making a government if you let the super rich control your money.  The banks and the rich will simple buy the government with the money they print, as they did in my country.  You may loan money into existence, as they do, but do so wisely.  Strictly control how much is to be loaned.  And loan it for the good of your country, not as a bet against state solvency.  Loan it out to make things that will help your people: schools, transportation, hospitals, small businesses, cooperatives.  Use the interest on the loan to finance your government.  Better yet, consider a Demurrage currency.  This would prevent the rich from hoarding money all together.

3.)  Never allow people to pay for political speech.  Create a method for those who wish to comment on the way you run things for free.  Everyone should have an equal footing in this place and a method for the best candidates and ideas to rise to the surface.  Never, Never, NEVER allow the rich any advantage at this process and disallow them from advertising or other modes to take over the conversation when it comes to governance.  My country’s Supreme Court has just ruled that our entire “democracy” (one person=one vote) is nothing but a “plutocracy” (one dollar=one vote).  We are literally the slaves of the rich.  Do not let this happen to you.


4.)  Keep a firm hand on corporations.  They may or may not be necessary, but if you find that you need them, keep them leashed and muzzled.  They are dangerous animals.  Do not allow them to ravage the country,  as we have done, giving them more power than actual human beings.  You would go from being Mubarak’s slave to the corporation’s.


5.)  Keep a tight reign on your government’s purse strings.  This is perhaps my best advice.  You can strangle any enemy with closed purse strings.  My best advice is to read and translate into Arabic my friend, Roger Rothenberger’s book Beyond Plutocracy.  There, you will find a blueprint for a government blessedly free from the enslavement of the rich.  A government where Senators are chosen for their ability to champion the little person’s cause.  Representatives must obey the will of the people or be ousted immediately.  Consider if England could throw out the Parliament that voted to gut their education system.  If America could replace legislators that allowed privacy to be a thing of the past, health care to become a joke, banks to own our government, and austerity to become a reality.  Rothenberger’s book contains so much more.  It holds a key to having the people decide the size and scope of their government, how much tax burden should be placed on the backs of its citizens, and who exactly should pay that tax.  It allows a method for the people to decide the minimum work week and the minimum wage, completely usurping the power of  the owner over the owned.  What power!

It’s not much, but it is the wisdom I can offer from inside the economic walls of my own enslavement.  I watch your struggle and I hope and pray that you succeed.  I pray that you succeed because it would mean that someday, after I am long gone most likely, my country might also succeed.