AFTER THE GOLD RUSH
A Song Sung Blue


     "I dreamed I saw the silver spaceships flying
      In the yellow haze of the sun
      There were children crying and colors flying
      All around the chosen ones...

       However inadequate the completed outcome may now be, the writing of this book took over a decade and many more years of research through personal experience in the real world of economic and social struggle, as well as from historical, scientific, literary and other sources.  Some historians are of the opinion that it is a serious mistake, due to lack of fair and adequate perspective, to attempt written analysis on events taking place within one’s own lifetime. Many more consider it unwise to suggest the honorableness, mediocrity or fallacy of persons, ideas and events as they currently unfold and otherwise, self-destruct in the immediate present.  Bowing to the latter if not the former persuasion, though actively involved in the protest movement against the recent illegal American invasion of Iraq, I have for the most part, resisted an overwhelming temptation to address the current Bush administration directly, limiting most comments concerning Bush Junior and his corrupt crew of corporate cronies to a few select credits and footnotes.  Here perhaps, Credit #1 at the bottom of the chapter entitled Ronald and His Ray-Gun bears repeating and thus, it is copied verbatim (minus the first sentence) in the two paragraphs immediately following. . .

        Obviously to anyone possessing rudimentary intelligence, Bush Junior is leading us down the same crooked pathway promulgated by Ronald Reagan and Bush Senior towards national bankruptcy, if not first, nuclear or worse oblivion. Based on their combined rhetoric and a few scattered memos uncovered by a reluctant press (and for the most part, deliberately buried in back pages beneath mounds of superfluous pro-war ‘patriotic’ propaganda), it would appear that the only reason that Bush, Rumsfeld and Company have not already dropped a 'limited' nuclear bomb on Iraq or some other relatively small and defenseless nation is fear of national and global public outcry. ¹   Judging by the administration's own words and more importantly, actions, it appears that neither patriotism nor common horse sense have even a remote connection to their maniacal warmongering, corporation coffer-enhancing neo-conservative agenda.  Posing as homeland ‘protection’ and ‘democratization’ of the world, the obvious goal is more aptly defined as globalization of American economic interests at the expense of democracy, peace and both homeland and international security.

        The destructive legacies of the Reagan and Bush Senior administrations included deliberate cuts in aid for the sick and poor, heating subsidies for impoverished senior citizens (some of whom literally froze to death) and programs to feed and immunize poor American children.  Many of these were severely curtailed or dismantled entirely in order to fund massive buildup of armaments without historical precedent or practical necessity.  Meanwhile, denial of America's growing homeless and jobless populations became the accepted White House theory of political rhetoric, while ‘supply-siding’ huge tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy at the expense of everyone else emerged as standard backdoor political partisan practice.  And as bad as these legacies may be, they will more than likely pale in comparison to the disastrous mess left by the tyrannical thugs of Bush Junior's national and global wrecking crew, again offering up huge tax cuts for the benefit of less than one percent of the population ²  at the expense of education and programs for the jobless, homeless and poor and the economic future of all Americans (including their own offspring).  All the while, in flag-waving step with neo-conservative political corporate cronyism, media advertiser-pleasing and ratings-protecting bias (more correctly, outright propaganda) and the full blessing of onward conservative Christian soldiers of the genocidal right, marching us on down the utterly corrupt deep and wide pathway of historical death and destruction towards international suicide row. *

        Some survivors of the sixties claim that what turned the majority of Americans against the Vietnam war, forcing Nixon and Kissinger to eventually march to a political drum of a somewhat different beat, were two things unique to the historical timeframe: 1) Scores of Vietnam War veterans were publicly seen demonstrating against the very war in which they had risked their lives and 2) Bloody television footage in real-time of the actual maiming and blowing to bits of both soldiers and civilians by the thousands.  Judging by the opaque media farce of “embedded” journalism ‘covering’ the recent Iraq massacre, including a most obviously censored camera blackout of virtually all civilian casualties, if nothing else, the Bush administration has perhaps unwittingly underscored the death of American journalism and of a free press in the United States (not that we have necessarily achieved much true freedom of the press in the past). **   It appears that the corporation-patronizing non-elected neo-conservative hawks actually controlling and setting American political and media policy have learned a thing or two from the Vietnam experience and thus, Bob Dylan’s now famous line “only a pawn in their game” ³   has perhaps more than ever before, become a clearly defined American political and media reality.

        When sincere men and women are labeled “traitor” and “un-American” for daring to speak out against a blatantly unconstitutional, illegal and morally bankrupt attack of unwarranted aggression, waged in open defiance of our own Constitution, as well as international conscience and law and, when a few brave American authors, commentators, musicians and poets are black-balled whole-sale McCarthy-style for having enough conscience and integrity to insinuate a dissenting view, there can be little doubt that the American ideal of government of, by and for the people has long since been left in the corporate gold dust of oligarchy (perhaps more correctly, “oil”igarchy) by the wealthy elite, of the wealthy elite and for the wealthy elite.  And though it may be true that Bob Dylan still abhors being called a voice for the sixties generation, there can be little historical doubt that a “hard rain’s a gonna fall”
4   on the United States of America---likely to come down very hard and perhaps sooner than later.  Our Father in heaven probably can only stomach so much and apparently, even the current pope believes that neo-conservative far, far, very far wrong so-called “Christian America” is most assuredly, no historical exception to the Sodom and Gomorrah sick and poor ignoring rule of Thumb.

        The recent feeble attempt by Senators John McCain and Russell Feingold at campaign finance reform was whitewashed down to a compromised barebones and entirely ineffective legislated minimum before passage and, as predicted (probably the only reason many members of our ever-malfeasant congress cast a favorable vote), was soon after almost entirely thrown out by the federal courts due to alleged unconstitutional technicalities.  Perhaps as much as any reform attempted in recent history, McCain/Feingold clearly demonstrates the total inability of much needed legislation even remotely favorable to the American majority becoming actual applied law.  Obviously, any hope of true election reform requires a complete overhaul of the election process, including abolition by constitutional amendment of the electoral college and of all political contributions except for limited individual donations (absolutely no business, special interest or other organizational contributions of any kind can ever be allowed if true election reform is to be accomplished) and complete elimination of all special interest, business and lobby perks and other gifts to elected officials for any reason. ***

        Because of the corporation-entrenched stranglehold of utter corruption that grips the modern-day American political reality, there is very little reason to hope for any effective legislative reform helpful to the vast majority of We The People of the United States in the foreseeable future and there is every reason to expect the opposite.  Short of a well-coordinated national march on Washington D.C. involving millions of angry taxpaying Americans demanding major changes by threat of a national strike of unheard of magnitude and cooperative effort, involving major unions, small business associations, activist organizations of every legitimate cause, wealthy individuals of conscience and the joint cooperative effort of a great many media pundits and personalities, the United States of America is more than likely to dissolve into the depression, chaos, revolution and destruction of warmongering, greedy and foolhardy civilizations past.

        There is a collective voice burning deep within the heart of We The People of the United States:  “This land is your land, this land is my land. . .” This is a song for Sitting Bull, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez and Mitch Snyder.  This is a song for a generation that remembers a great depression and a worldwide war, a song for the beat generation of Woody Guthrie, for an angry nineteen-sixties generation, for generation “X” and for generations of America’s future. . .  This is a song for The People’s March. . .  A song sung blue if there ever was one. **** ***** ******


   ...All in a dream, all in a dream
      The loading had begun...
      I was thinking about what a friend had said,
      I was hoping it was a lie
      Thinking about what a friend had said..." 5


Earth Share      MoveOn Democracy In Action

WE THE PEOPLE OF CONSCIENCE, UNITE ! ! !


DEDICATED TO:   Wes Boyd, Joan Blades and Eli Pariser of MoveOn Democracy In Action.  Also dedicated to Ed Asner, Martin Sheen,  Susan Sarandon,  Tim Robbins, Sheryl Crow,  Ed Begley, Jr., Phil Donahue and the far too few other media personalities willing to speak out against the corrupt war-mongering Bush administration of international ill repute.


Credits:

1. A defense appropriations bill working its way through Congress at the time of this writing (May, 2003) contains a clause revoking the Spratt-Furse Amendment (1993) prohibiting U.S. development of ‘limited’ nuclear weapons.  According to CBS News, the Bush administration claims that “smaller nuclear arms may eventually be needed to deal with the emerging threat of rogue states hoarding weapons of mass destruction” and in 2002, “the U.S. spent more in real terms on atomic defense activities than [anytime] since 1962.”  Also according to the same source, “in its Nuclear Posture Review [2002], the [Bush] administration identified Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, North Korea as countries where contingencies could arise that U.S. nuclear strike capabilities must be geared towards”---this information was obtained from a leaked copy of the report.  A leaked memo obtained a few weeks before the recent invasion of Iraq quoted Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as asking the recipient of the memo, one day after the 9/11 tragedy, if this would now be enough so we could justify (i.e., sell to the American public) a war against Iraq.  In other words, while the president was publicly seen expressing his supposed sympathy for 9/11 victims, his fellow henchmen were already plotting how to use this tragedy toward their New World Order war-machine corporation coffer-enhancing advantage.  Another news report in early 2003 noted Vice President Cheney commenting that dropping a ‘limited’ nuclear weapon on Iraq may be a viable option.
        In a May 2003 editorial, Robert Scheer of the Los Angeles Times wrote:  “It turns out the threat is not from Iraq but from us. . . the Bush administration is now doing its best to ensure that the world becomes increasingly unstable and armed to the teeth.  Although the nuclear threat from Iraq proved to be nonexistent, the United States' threat to use nuclear weapons and make a shambles of nuclear arms control is alarmingly vibrant. . .  Having failed to stop a gang of marauders armed with nothing more intimidating than box cutters, the U.S. is now using the war on terror to pursue a long-held hawkish Republican dream of a ‘winnable nuclear war,’ as the president's father memorably described it. . .  In such a scenario, nukes can be preemptively used against a much weaker enemy---millions of dead civilians, widespread environmental devastation and centuries of political blowback be damned.”
        FOR THE RECORD:  A kiloton is equal to the explosive force of one ton of TNT.  A one-kiloton bomb detonated 30 meters below the earth’s surface would leave a crater wider than a football field on the surface.  So-called “limited” nuclear weapons carry an explosive force of 4.75 kilotons and up.  To compare, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima carried an explosive force of about 15 kilotons and the current submarine-launched MK-5 has eight WW88 warheads of 475 kilotons each.  One such submarine-launched nuclear missile detonated on a large population center would create approximately 250 times as much damage as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, estimated to have killed 100,000 people initially and 100,000 or more from after effects, not to mention untold thousands more were left homeless, limbless, severely burned, crippled and blind and a major metropolis was left in shattered ruins. (Source; CBSNews.com).  Some sources, including President Truman himself, claim that the atomic bomb had an explosive force of over 20 kilotons and killed an initial 130,000 civilians (Nagasaki 70,000 more).  There is overwhelming evidence that dropping weapons of mass destruction on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was entirely unnecessary in order to end World War II and prevent many thousands of more allied soldier deaths, the excuse given by Truman and his advisors at the time (and swallowed whole even today by a gullible public).  There is strong evidence that Truman and his advisors new this but were determined to drop them anyway (see Ronald and His Ray-Gun; FootNote for more details).  The common saying that one would have to be out of their mind to desire the presidency of the United States is apparently, far more accurate than most of us choose to believe.

2. In a recent Washington Post article, Warren Buffett, one of America’s richest men, slammed the Bush administration’s (final Senate version) tax cut plan as representing “voodoo economics” and Enron-style accounting”.  Comparing his own tax situation with that of his secretary, Mr. Buffett stated that the Bush plan would shift massive tax burdens away from the wealthy and onto the backs of poor and working-class Americans.  Meanwhile according to ABC News, after four years of revenue surplus under President Clinton, the Bush administration in a little over two years, has managed to create a growing deficit that required raising the U.S. borrowing limit by 984 billion dollars, largely due to massive tax cuts in 2001 that benefited the ultra-wealthy far more than everyone else combined and utterly failed to “jumpstart” a sluggish economy as Bush promised (this 984 billion figure does not cover the protracted cost of rebuilding Iraq, Afghanistan and proposed massive shifting of troop and equipment positioning around the globe).  Tax cuts agreed to by the Senate in May, 2003 of 330 billion dollars, again benefiting the top 1% of the population more than all other Americans combined, will likely cause the deficit to spiral well beyond 1 trillion dollars by the beginning of 2004 and most probably beyond 2 trillion by the end of 2006 (if not sooner).
        This ‘conservative’ agenda comes from the party that claims to want to “limit big government” and “wasteful spending” and which consistently blames the Democrats for being the cause of federal deficits.  Although Bush asked for more than double this amount initially, the latest tax cuts of 330 billion approved by a tail-wagging Senate of knee-jerking miscreant pawns, due to their legislative chicanery, may eventually exceed the Bush requested amount. At the time this reverse Robin Hood fiasco was approved, the majority of states were experiencing massive deficits, several major American cities were cutting back on police, fire and other necessary services, some states such as California were laying off thousands of teachers and virtually every state was raising the cost of college and university tuition.  All of this despite earlier claims by Bush Junior of representing the “compassionate conservative” party line which will “leave no child behind” in education.  Quite obviously, if the vast majority of American tax-payers receive a few dollars in federal tax cuts and end up paying higher sales, state income and other taxes (not to mention, higher tuition costs and losses of necessary services such as fire and police protection), there will be no benefit to anyone other than the super-rich, nor will such an utter twisted lie ‘jumpstart’ the economy toward anything other than increased recession, if not depression.  Additionally, the vast American majority and our offspring will be paying in the form of higher future taxes to make up current mounting deficits for generations to come.  Calling the current administration and Congress thieves and liars is truly not fair to the average flimflam artist, who would never in a million years contemplate pulling off a national public-fleecing of utter disgrace such as this.  (See also FootNote V below.)

3. “Only a Pawn in Their Game” by Bob Dylan; from The Times They Are A-Changin’ (1964).

4. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” by Bob Dylan; from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963).

5. From “After The Gold Rush” by Neil Young (last two lines out of sequence of original work, as is America clearly out of sequence at the turn of the 21st and perhaps, final century of the current civilization of our species); from After The Gold Rush (1970).


*FootNote I:  Those who might tend to balk at some of the harsh verbiage directed toward the Bush Junior administration here may want to first consider the following.  Shortly after the physical invasion of Iraq in 2003, in spite of pre-invasion objections by millions of both U.S. and world anti-war protestors, often seen carrying signs reading "No Blood For Oil" and, in spite of Bush administration and conservative pundit loud denials of the invasion having anything to do with oil and other corporation profit advantage (yeah, sure) and, in spite of Bush Junior himself promising that Iraq would be given control over its own oil, here are a few of the many contradicting Bush administration actions that actually transpired. . .
        Halliburton, a shadowy company of extremely shady reputation (see below) formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney personally, was awarded (actually, outright given) without benefit of fair market (or any other) competition, contracts amounting to 71.3 million and an only later disclosed 425 million dollars for various and sundry 'war-cleanup' projects.  It was also later disclosed that Halliburton was awarded an additional 200 million contract to provide barracks for long-term occupation of Iraq by American troops.  Not that this isn't corporate cronyism enough to warrant much more than the relatively mild descriptive retaliation here, these numbers pale in comparison to the potential billions that Halliburton is bound to eventually reap due to the fact that, in spite of direct pre-invasion promises by Bush himself to the contrary, this politically graft-connected company was given control of the entire Iraqi nation's oil output indefinitely, again a secretly bid contract 'awarded' without competition or public discussion.  Also clearly demonstrating the true motivation behind the illegal invasion, U.S. television networks proudly announced while the bomb-explosion dust was still settling, that the Iraqi oil flow had been reinstated---this all-important priority was secured before attention was given to restore hospital, electric or even water supplies to a defenseless Iraqi population (imagine trying to survive in a recently bombed city hotter than Phoenix, Arizona without electricity or water)---it would seem that there is nothing like a little oil to put Bush Junior administration priorities in true "compassionate conservative" perspective.
        And just what kind of law-abiding patriotic American company is this Halliburton? According to California congressman Henry Waxman, Halliburton has gone out of its way for years to conduct business with Libya, Iran and Iraq, three countries that the United States has accused of supporting terrorism.  In an April 30th letter to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Waxman wrote:  "Since at least the 1980's, federal laws have prohibited U.S. companies doing business in one or more of these countries.  Yet Halliburton appears to have sought to circumvent these restrictions by setting up subsidiaries in foreign countries and territories such as the Cayman Islands.  These actions started as early as 1984, . . . [continued]between 1985 and 2000, when Vice President Cheney headed the company and, they are going on even today [April, 2003]."  Waxman also claims in the same letter to Rumsfeld that a subsidiary called Halliburton Products and Services opened an office in Tehran in February 2000, that Halliburton was fined 3.8 million dollars in 1995 for re-exporting U.S. goods through a foreign subsidiary to Libya in violation of U.S. sanctions, that Halliburton has been accused of overcharging the U.S. government for work it did in 1990 and in 2002, Halliburton agreed to a 2 million dollar settlement in order to avoid possible criminal charges of price gouging.  Talk about sleeping with enemy, in today's climate of unprecedented blatantly open corporate mega-donor bribery and reciprocal multi-billion dollar contract payoffs, it is becoming increasingly difficult to know just who the terrorists in fact, in reality are.

**FootNote II:  The myth of a “liberal” media appears to have been formed by the about face that many (perhaps most) journalists gradually took, including Walter Cronkite himself, regarding the gross immorality of the Vietnam War; the truth being that for the most part, a very conservative media was simply wagging their corporation-sponsored tails to the surging American ratings-points threatening tide of anti-war sentiment.  This turnabout took several years and should not be confused with the “wagging the dog” love-it-or-leave-it parroting of the current flag-waving, ratings-points embedded American media.  The obvious reality is that major American media has only achieved a semblance of moderation at best (it has never been even remotely liberal by any known historical standard) and today, the overall slant may be accurately described as conservative to ultra-conservative to fanatically blind (in the case of Fox Television News and day-time radio).  The most ‘liberal’ aspects of major modern media are “moderately conservative” at best.  For example, which of the four major networks during the recent illegal invasion against Iraq openly opposed this pointless massacre and how many newspapers of national prominence portrayed Bush as the illegitimate warmongering international bully he obviously had become?  An even moderately liberal (and any sane) voice would have opposed this utter atrocity against the Iraqi people and our own people’s future in a heartbeat.  Phil Donahue, the one lone moderate liberal (very moderate by historical standards) voice of major television news media, was perhaps the first known casualty of this brutal aggression against a population of helpless men, women and children whose only sin against America, it would appear, was being born in the Middle East.

***FootNote III:  For any semblance of true election reform to occur, a bare minimum of changes required would be the following:  1) Abolition of the Electoral College by constitutional amendment.  2) Elimination of all political donations other than by private individuals up to a maximum of 1% of the national median wage by constitutional amendment (constitutional amendment necessary to avoid Supreme Court and other court challenge).  3) FCC requirement that qualified candidates be given a predetermined amount (according to station size, regional population size and elective office sought) of free television and radio airtime; stations not complying would lose their FCC license to operate and qualification of candidates determined by a minimum amount of signatures (number determined according to population size of region and public office sought)---this would eliminate the excuse currently espoused for a necessity of large business and personal donations to pay for media exposure in order to win public office.  4) Elimination of all lobby, business and personal (or any other) gifts and all other perks to elected public officials; i.e., absolutely no bribery allowed.

****FootNote IV:  In no small part because of internet technology, the recent rapid mobilization of millions of anti-war demonstrators in cities throughout the United States and around the globe to oppose the illegal invasion of Iraq clearly demonstrates that The People’s March is a viable and feasible option.  If there is not a strong and coordinated enough massive effort to wrench control of government away from corporation and other power-broking thieves and placing control in the hands of the people where our Constitution already dictates it should be, the only reason will be is that a great many sincere individuals of conscience sat around bemoaning the “impossibility” of such a dramatic positive peaceful shifting of power ever taking place.  Mohandas Gandhi did not end up being the most effective individual for positive peaceful change in modern history by bowing to criticism of the recalcitrant and fearful foolish, nor did Martin Luther King, Jr. end up giving the greatest speech in American history at the Lincoln Memorial by sitting down and crying about impossibility.

*****FootNote V:  Former commerce secretary for President Nixon Peter Peterson recently stated that when Bush Junior first took office, the projected ten-year federal budget was a $5.6 trillion surplus.  After the ensuing first and second Bush tax cuts, coupled with the projected cost of the invasion against Iraq, the ten-year projection is now a $4 trillion deficit. In other words, in less than three years under the Bush Junior administration, the party that habitually blames Democrats for being the “tax and spend” party has initiated an approximate $10 trillion dollar federal government deficit.
        According to Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, the $5.6 trillion alone could have easily solved our looming social security insolvency woes for years to come.  Friedman went on to say that the federal government will not have nearly enough funds to offset huge deficits now being faced by almost every state and what the Bush tax cuts actually should be called are “service cuts”, because that is what they in fact are.  That is, cuts for ‘wasteful’ government spending on services such as health care, education and of course, eventually cuts in social security.  (See also Credit #2 above.)

******FootNote VI: Title concept inspired by “After The Gold Rush”, by Neil young; After The Gold Rush (1970) and “Song Sung Blue”, by Neil Diamond; Moods (1972).



WE THE PEOPLE OF CONSCIENCE, UNITE ! ! !

       If we would desire peace and social justice, if we desire a clean and healthy environment for our children’s future, if we desire individual and collective freedom and free quality public education for all, if we desire to alleviate and eliminate poverty and disease and the murder and mayhem we experience daily in our cities and communities, if we would desire to be a positive force and influence for our fellow brothers and sisters and our fragile planetary home, then we must set aside our petty political, social, intellectual, religious and other differences and unite under the common banner of Human and Civil Rights.  For this is the great and just cause and sum of what matters, that we love our neighbor as our self.  And as the greatest American, who saw better than most, heard better than most and spoke more eloquently than most, has left for us a clear understanding and a common inheritance:  “Alone we can do so little and together, we can do so much.”



           


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Copyright © August 20th, 2003 by Richard Aberdeen.

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