12 October 2007

Illusory Games in the Political Theater

Political disourse today is incorrectly perceived as an absolutist zero-sum game in which the various actors tend to sustain a belief that it's possible for one political philosophy to contain all the answers to the challenges that face a wide-ranging, constantly changing, heterogeneous polity. The truth is that the very nature of politics in a free society requires constant conflict, disagreement, and experimentation to derive results. That is the design of our system, yet we have in our midst always a contingent of authoritarian/totalitarian brothers and sisters for whom there is no room for any political instruments that violate the spirit of the Market's invisible hand, that dignify the sensitivities of any other than Judeo-Christian practices, that respect the concerns of poor Americans domestically or of developing nations abroad, or violate any other sacred principle of governance - according to the Correct System .
It's wrong to think that one party, faction, or person is going to have all the solutions to political problems or social concerns. Our adversarial process of selecting members of government is a form of theater in which each side's Unified Theory of Everything Political is only a script. It is useful fiction presented to voters for the purpose of signaling what kind of person the candidate is. The picture that is revealed can provide needed clues about leadership style, decision-making processes, the kinds of people that will work in the staff, moral compasses, etc.
But in reality - offstage, after the show - the office-holder should look at any available option and be ready to junk the script and improvise.


M Roehr said...

Good to see you back Gordon!

All politicians play a sophisticated game of winking to their audience/constituents in which everyone is encouraged to believe the wink was meant for them. We all interpret the winking (it is of the essence of a wink that it be open to interpretation, and worthless without it...) and project upon it the things we hope or expect to see. So while our candidates wink is meant for "us", our adversary's wink is meant for "them" (fill in the blank). We all see what we want to see, and are reinforced in out preconceptions. The wink represents a slight break in the fourth wall, to the effect that it acknowledges the theater of it all, and asks indulgence of it's excesses and simplifications. While we blow a lot of hot air about wanting politicians to be honest and authentic, we are really most reassured when our guy acknowledges the artifice of it all. The scary guys are the honest, authentic ones who seem to believe it all and can't ever break character. That's what always frightened me about Reagan, and now unbelievably more so about Bush. I'm afraid they're not just posturing, but they really do believe the simplistic world-view they profess to -- that Bush really does go to bed each night at 9:30 satisfied that with the guidance of his faith in God he's doing all the right things, has no nagging doubts, and really does sleep soundly -- that truly frightens me.

11 October 2007

The Greedy Soul

The Iraq occupation/counter-insurgency stands as one manifestation of our nation's Greedy Soul.

The poet Robert Bly talked about "The Greedy Soul" a few weeks ago on Bill Moyers' Journal (PBS). The Greedy Soul is that dark insistent thing inside each of us that makes us dissatisfied with what we already have, that makes us envious of others, that whispers in our ear "you're not good enough," that makes us fly too close to the sun, that makes us play God. The Greedy Soul can drive us to destroy ourselves and others while we blindly pursue ephemeral treasures like "security" or "sustained economic growth."
The Greedy Soul is the self's attempt to salve personal insecurity with the accumulation of more power, more wealth, more distance from the inevitable pain of being mortal, fallible, and vulnerable.


M Roehr said...

And what could be greedier than the desire for eternal life? The Greedy Soul becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as one becomes ever more the shell of one's inadequacies. Such a condition tends to generate a great deal of resentment, which will ultimately seek an outlet -- no doubt in some inapproriate, irrational, disproportionate, indiscriminate outburst of violence and revenge. Post 9-11 anybody?

30 August 2007

August 28: Citizens in Action - Gainesville, FL

Jim White sends this youtube link to video of the MoveOn vigil protesting the Iraq occupation. It's a moving example of ordinary citizens speaking out and is accompanied by a haunting musical selection.
Thanks to Jim and
Well Done, Gainseville!

28 August 2007

Reader Responds

[This is overdue. I'm sorry for taking this long to relay the following comments to the site...]

jim white said:

It looks like a major demonstration is planned for September 15 (I know, another Saturday!). Do you have any links for people to get in touch with groups that may be helping various cities to organize group transportation and the like? If not, I'll see what I can find tomorrow.

20 August, 2007 22:04

jim white said:

The September 15 demonstration is sponsored by both ImpeachBush.org and ANSWER. There is a listing of charter buses on the ANSWER site: http://answer.pephost.org/site/PageServer?pagename=S15_transportation.
MoveOn.org is also organizing vigils on August 28 to prepare people for the Petraeus-Crocker report. To find an event in your area check out http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/index.html?action_id=92.

21 August, 2007 18:48

20 August 2007

At Glenn Greenwald's blog today...

in Salon.com, comment section writers have a mini sub-thread going about mass demonstrations. (The actual topic concerns the pro-war bias of foreign policy think-tank analysts.)

Here is my hastily-written contribution (edited - a little - for clarity):

OT: on being in the streets

Diverse Anti-war Protests Largest in DC Since Vietnam
by Benjamin Dangl and Brendan Coyne

Demonstrators from a variety of backgrounds and representing numerous causes came together Saturday by the tens of thousands with a unified message demanding an end to US military involvement in Iraq.

Washington, DC; Sept. 25, 2005 – [...] Estimates of the demonstration’s size ranged from 100,000 to 300,000 protesters. [...]

It's not enough to mass somewhere; something has to happen, a specific, achievable, and measurable goal; otherwise, the resource of a massive presence of souls is squandered. The problem in the example above is that it took place on Saturday, not much different than a picnic family reunion or Independence Day celebration. To be effective today, a disruptive presence mid-week is better. For one hypothetical example, thousands of people assembled peaceably in a way that ties up traffic in a window of time before a major vote in Congress could make the media take notice. The media are much more an integral part of the self-referencing noise machine of political power, industrial, and military interests than they were 40 years ago. That's why it is not enough to just show up en masse. The action has to be planned, timed, and coordinated with the understanding that the target audience is not so much "the American People" as it is the Media and elected/appointed government officials. (Unless I am misreading the poll reporting, "the American People" already want the erosion of Constitutional liberties to abate and already want us out of Iraq.)

I would argue that sustained large scale protests, or even sustained mid-scale protests, especially in DC, would have an effect whether or not they are accurately or extensively covered in the mass media. The simple fact of people assembling again and again -- or staying assembled until their just cause is recognized and public policy action undertaken -- can have a profound effect on those who make public policy.

One off protests almost never work.

But cynical dismissal of Public Protest is even less likely to lead to positive change.

-- Ché Pasa

This rings true.

Repeated actions are another specific tactic that could pierce the wall of obstruction willfully erected by the news media and Congress.

Any successful Direct Actions are components of an organic process which is part of a larger system. The questions we face should not devolve to debates over which tactic is better: blogging or demonstrating. Instead, we ought to deploy all useful tactics simultaneously.

It will probably be most useful to consider a systems approach to asserting the will of We the People as a long-term strategic value (several years), as opposed to thinking in terms of the end of the current Bush Regime as the over-arching time-frame.

If something additional is to happen (other than in the blogosphere, on AirAmerica, in LTEs, via PACs, and in letters to Congress), we really have to start now. A few weeks ago, in response to a similar OT sub-thread about "taking it to the streets" I established a blog site intended to serve as a central communication node (at least as a temporary initial staging area) for brainstorming, planning, and implementing a variety of some additional activist-oriented projects (demonstrations, workshops, boycotts, etc). It's still hovering over there at http://www.AchievingOurCountry.blogspot.com.

I invite anyone inclined to start now. You can't wait for someone else to do it. You have to do it. That is how people power generates.

Gordon Ginsberg

12 August 2007

Where Things Stand Today - Part One!

I'm laughing at myself as I re-read today's post just below.

It's definitely not the post I intended to write (although I do mean every word of it).

I meant to touch on the offenses of the Bush Authoritarian Regime (The White House, Congress, the Courts, the Media, enabling military commanders, wealthy corporations, religious fundamentalists). I meant to note the buzzing through the blogosphere, at AirAmerica talk radio, in editorial pages and over NPR and PBS concerning things like the recent FISA legislation, lies about the Iraq occupation, etc.

And then I meant to show those who are waiting for a massive push-back why it is I believe we are already now actively engaged in the counter-revolution to return the USA to its traditional identity as an open society and a Free Nation. I meant to share my hope, my optimism, my happiness in seeing all around me a continuing surge of resistance to the Regime's shameless and cynical manipulations.

Instead, somehow I "surged" forth the rant below.... which I will let stand.

[I hope the militant tone is not cause for worry. Our country was born in violent revolution, a bloody resistance to tyranny because sometimes there is no other way. That's still true today.]

Here is the main thing I wanted to say: our species is not exempt from the power of a chaotic world, simply by virtue of being human. Life is messy. Our so-called civilization is an organizational social structure of animals - animals with complex brains, but still animals. The injustices we see, and the pain and the loss, the waste and the evil, are all forces that will always be with us.

In the face of that, it's heartening to know that so very many of us are indeed calling and writing, sending checks, standing around with signs, standing up. This too is part of the natural order of things, a restorative force for good, for compassion, for peace, and for justice.

Something is happening, even if it doesn't always seem like it. And it is building.

That's what I wanted to say.

Where Things Stand Today

"Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. You have only to persevere to save yourselves."
--Winston Churchill
This is what our government has promised:

The United States will occupy Iraq for years to come.

The United States will strike Iran militarily (my guess: early December 2008).

The US Government will continue its assault on Civil Liberties via Executive Orders, legislative bills, and court rulings overly deferential to the State.

Taxes on the middle and lower classes will rise to fund the expanding police state, imperialistic military actions, and maintenance of our failing infrastructure; taxes on the wealthiest will fall still more.

Middle-class Americans will work longer hours to sustain a gradually declining standard of living.

Things can - and probably will - get worse before they get better, only to worsen again.

And yet, ultimately...

As long as we keep on paying attention, as long as we keep on writing to ourselves and each other, as long as we keep on making campaign donations - large or small - to good candidates, as long as we keep on calling and writing to our elected officials (can't really bring myself to say they are "Representatives" as of now), as long as we keep on doing these things and whatever else we individually believe will further the cause of protecting the United States of America from the unpatriotic, fear-mongering, greedy, power-obsessed authoritarian movement currently running ruining our government and our country, there is cause for optimism.

The long-term nature of the fight can't depress our energies; it's not realistic to expect we will fully reverse our country's totalitarian slide within the next election cycle, or two, or three. Please keep in mind: our right-wing enemies and their Tory followers have been gradually laying the foundation of their movement for fifty years. They have established think tanks, consolidated resources from sympathetic corporate benefactors, and insinuated themselves firmly into local, state, and federal legislatures (beginning with school boards and then working on up). They have used shrill hectoring tactics within those legislative bodies to ensconce a judiciary that upholds their agenda. They have bought a shallow insipid news-media culture and then bullied it into relaying authoritarian conservative propaganda, without question and without investigation. It is reasonable then for us to expect to need at least as many decades for the struggle to undo the damage.

We ought to expect setbacks and take them in stride.

We ought to continuously reassess our tactics. For example, I have hewed to an ideal of non-violent civil protest as one way to project our collective voice beyond the barrier of noise, obfuscation, distortion, and outright lies that impede informed good-faith civic debate. Anything other than a dignified, legal, and non-violent action would alienate the people we are trying to reach (that would be Congress, the Courts, and the Media outlets) as well as the majority of U.S. stakeholders who, according the polls, already agree with the Opposition (that would be We the People!). That ideal, however, does not rule out the possibility of employing other means if needed, as conditions change. Here's another altogether different example: the rulers of our country should not expect to start "disappearing" those of us who oppose them without fierce resistance! Here's yet another: they ought not think they can maintain dossiers on freedom-loving patriotic dissenters without attempts to sabotage the warehouses in which those files are stored.

The struggle will never end. It is our right and our duty and our privilege to make the Achieving of Our Country an ongoing adventure. The forces that lead to totalitarian impulses (aka Human Nature) never go away; at best they can be kept temporarily at bay.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
--Winston Churchill

09 August 2007

A Voters' Platform... revised

Karen M proposes a collaborative effort that would culminate in a "Voters Platform" composed of planks crafted by We the People directly, instead of party apparatchiks. I'll let Karen explain (edited from comment posted today):
In the past, the "party" would always come up with the "platform." However, things have already changed by a few degrees, and there is more back-and-forth between candidates (Democrats anyway) and voters. Why not in this, too?

... [We'll] brainstorm first-- online, perhaps with a list of suggestions, but also asking for free-text suggestions, just to indicate any interest in a topic/issue. Once there is a critical mass, have someone or ones refine the list, and then invite people to vote on them in some way...

... maybe by then, some other group who knows how to administer such surveys would step into help.

What do you think?

[Tops on my list is restoring the Constitution.]

From the Comments Area

jim white said:

I'd love to see a return to all political appointments being made on the basis of genuine qualifications rather than ideology. Of course, this must be accompanied with a purge of both political and ostensibly nonpolitical hires during the Bush administration that brought in the current slate of political hacks that currently permeate the government.

14 August, 2007 21:59

karen m said:

Okay, I'll go again.

In the latest thread at GG's blog, I came up with a couple of things new to me.

Along with public financing of presidential elections (maybe others, too?)...

I think it's worth discussing the benefits of replacing the military industrial complex with a non-profit scenario. Surely, it would be more patriotic to produce weaponry and equipment on a cost only basis, thus sharing the sacrifices demanded by war.

[Amended 14 August 2007: During wartime, production ... should be done for the costs of materials and labor only. No profit. There is something obscene about war profiteers benefiting so greatly from the deaths of our soldiers, the grief of their families, not to mention the deaths and casualties of the many, many civilians who are victims, even to our "strategic" air strikes. ]

And... I read a very interesting post at TPMCafe by Mark Schmitt about "transitional justice" as an alternative to impeachment. Go read it for yourself; I think it would make a compelling plank in any candidate's or party's platform, and thus definitely belongs in a voters' platform.

09 August, 2007 21:16

karen m said:

And while I'm thinking about it... I really, really want a candidate who will, if necessary, fight-- for all of us-- to have all of the votes counted correctly. No waffling or caving, etc.

Otherwise, what does any of the rest of it really mean?

09 August, 2007 21:19

gordon said:

  • Close Guantanamo.
  • Clearly annunciate a new legal framework for the arrest, detention/bail, discovery, and trial of suspects - consistent with all pertinent treaties and with all current U. S. statutes.

09 August, 2007 09:56

gordon said:

  • Clearly renounce torture.

09 August, 2007 10:00

gordon said:

I would like to see some new entitlements:

  • affordable comprehensive health care for all
  • safe, effective public schools with a commitment to comprehensive meaningful vocational, professional, or liberal arts tracks according to individual talents and desires.
  • affordable (FREE!?!) post-secondary education (college or job training) for all qualified HS graduates.
12 August, 2007 18:12

07 August 2007

Musings on Marching

No expression of the will of We the People is as moving or as impressive as hundreds of thousands of citizens gathered peaceably to demonstrate commitment to a cause. Think about the Civil Rights and Anti-war demonstrations led by Dr. Martin Luther King. Recall the Tiananmen Square uprising, the strikes of the Solidarity union in Poland. There is something inherently strong, dramatic , noble and awe-inspiring about a citizenry silently standing together in dignified opposition to the State.

There is a March on Washington scheduled for 15 September2007.

It is an anti-war demonstration that will have associated actions for a 7-day period beginning on the 14th. Here is some text from the organizers' site:

A broad spectrum of national groups have united to mobilize for a massive fall anti-war mobilization called the Days of Action. September 15-21 will be a major showdown in Washington, DC at the very moment that the Petraeus Report is released and Congress takes up spending over $100 billion to prolong the war. Launched with a huge March on Washington on September 15, led by veterans who have returned from Iraq, there will be seven days of actions to send a shockwave through Washington and the nation with the reverberating demand: End the War Now!
AirAmerica's Thom Hartmann exemplifies the belief of many: that massive grassroots civil action will take place in the blogosphere, in phone-calls, by email, and talk radio, and that in this new era, demonstrations are not where change will happen. Hartmann has been a part of Leftist activism for a long time, has been a steady, reasonable, compassionate, impassioned presence at AirAmerica, and seems to know his stuff. I find him credible.

Something like the planned September 15th March could work, though, if it is executed in a way that cuts through the shallow biases of most major news media outlets and thereby makes an impression on members of Congress and on the White House. To be effective it will have to look something like the vision posted here. The target audience must be properly understood to be the groups just mentioned , not the American populace at large who are already convinced. This march could get a fair hearing for that American majority message, thus far mostly ignored by the DC chattering classes, the Congress, and the White House.

If the actions devolve into a lawless messy spectacle, the target audience will be alienated and the energy going into the event will be wasted.

I don't have plans to attend, but I will be observing with interest.

Update (20:38): I just saw fine print at the bottom of the march site referencing ANSWER Coalition.

05 August 2007


It's hard to gauge the extent of anger among freedom l0ving Americans over the passage, in both the House and Senate, of bills amending FISA that expand the ability of Our government to perform surveillance on U.S. citizens without obtaining a warrant. One can observe the usual gnashing of teeth, name-calling, and other expressions of disgust on all the usual anti-authoritarian blog sites. Makes me wonder if I'm seeing a pattern here:

We get the bad news.
We wail and clench our fists.
We write brilliant exposes and prescriptions.

And then we settle back down to wait for the next offense by the Bush White House (backed up by a statist/corporatist-stacked Judiciary) and our feckless Congress.

Now, this patter-n of ours is not necessarily as useless as it may appear, and we can look upon this behavior with affection and hope. If each episode raises the temperature of the burn, eventually a critical mass of energy will combust, possibly resulting in - oh, I don't know - action, maybe?

What we are witnessing then, is the continuing gestation of We the People's organic and intrinsic resistance to the gradual imposition of State oppression.

04 August 2007

Backlash to S.1927

In the last (27 July) entry, I acknowledged a process-driven mechanism for political change (as opposed to a street-level people-powered activist uprising) that might be at work within our constitutional system of checks & balances, despite the egregious insults to that Constitution that our own government has perpetrated. It is, therefore, with some amusement (and more than a little chagrin) I note the passing of the FISA amendment bill by the Senate - with the complicity of 16 Democratic members - and the ire it has inflamed among liberals in the blogosphere . As of this writing, no one seemed clear on what the bill does or does not mean. Some serious students of law are trying to parse the thing (see DClaw1 and Mona at Glenn Greenwald's blog and Balkinization for some current comment). It appears that the bill enables more latitude to spy on citizens in the US by way of loopholes in the legislation resulting from ambiguous language. Balkinization provides this link to a draft of the bill, S1927. Among those uncertain about the intent and effects of the amendment are the Senate members themselves!

Prominent blogger Glenn Greenwald, a former Constitutional Law litigator (see link above), has reacted with uncharacteristic emotion (he's been hanging out at YearlyKos in Chicago - could that have influenced his tone?) and his comment section is also afire with condemnation toward Democrats. There is much talk about third-party candidates and about eschewing voting altogether.

These are not useful ideas.

What we patriots must all remember is that any effort to take back our government from the Republican Authoritarians will take time, patience, and the ability to endure many setbacks. We must devise and deploy a multi-pronged approach to the problem, always keeping in mind (and in our collective back pocket) the possibility of mobilizing masses of concerned citizens asserting our rights. Our Tory enemies have worked hard and long (biding their time, being patient, and enduring setbacks) to achieve their power and they will not give it up without a no-holds-barred fight.

We will ultimately succeed; but to do that, we shall have to persevere.

27 July 2007

On the Other Hand...

Today I have been pondering other ways of asserting the will of We the People.

It is possible - and this is not news to me - that the AOC project is unnecessary. In the short discussions a few weeks ago that led me to create this blog many argued just that, saying that the system as is (i.e., Congressional oversight and investigations, investigative journalism, growing awareness on the part of the U.S. citizenry, etc.) would eventually work toward some justice regarding the President and his corrupt anti-American regime. Others thought there was no hope, that the undoing of the Constitution of the United States is fait accompli. A significant number of insightful experienced minds are either unimpressed by the expressed need for, or skeptical about the tenability of, a street-level action-oriented activist movement.

New developments over the past month make it easy to argue that the steady drip of revelations and allegations of wrong-doing by the administration, coupled with the growing restlessness of the populace and an unimpressive crop of Republican presidential candidates, will assure additional Democratic advances in the House and Senate along with a Democratic Party victory in the 2008 race for the White House. The extension of this argument is that the new Democratic government will restore recognition of our Constitutional rights.

I believe this. I think the system as designed by Patrick Henry, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, John Hancock and all the rest will work as intended, that our beloved institution of self-government will survive intact.

I also think that it is wise to have an insurance policy in place. If, in the course of Human Events, things do not transpire as we hope, well... what then? If our nation's elected men and women, in whom we place our trust to hew to the founders' ideals, are unwilling or unable to perform their sworn duty to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, are We the People not obligated to intervene?

Assuredly, there is the possibility that mass expressions of grievance will arise spontaneously across the country, inspiring the Legislative Branch into growing a backbone and the Judiciary into interpreting law in deference to the individual, rather than to the state or to corporations. It could happen. But maybe the mainstream news media outlets will continue to downplay the insults of the Bush regime. Maybe the citizenry will remain subdued by the "struggle for the legal tender" (in Jackson Browne's memorable words) and by the onslaught of deliberate high-decibel misinformation and distracting, content-less entertainment media trifles.

More ominously, the administration - and its co-conspirators in the Congress and the Courts and the Press - could, in the name of national security, solidify the authoritarian dictatorial suppression of liberties they have been working steadily to impose for the past five years, culminating in a decisive comprehensive curtailment of the right to free expression and of peaceable assembly.

If the time comes, and if the new Minutemen/women of the Twenty-first Century American Crisis are to be able to respond in a timely fashion to the rallying cry of modern Paul Reveres, the groundwork must be in place in advance. Lead time must be kept to a minimum, in order to overcome the obstacles the Republican regime will surely have in place.

Thus, AOC proceeds in a measured, prudent pace... in the fervent hope that it is never needed.

New Link (Old Site) added to Resource Library: Rapid Response Resources


In their own words:

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

Launched in May 2004, Media Matters for America put in place, for the first time, the means to systematically monitor a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation — news or commentary that is not accurate, reliable, or credible and that forwards the conservative agenda — every day, in real time.

Using the website www.mediamatters.org as the principal vehicle for disseminating research and information, Media Matters posts rapid-response items as well as longer research and analytic reports documenting conservative misinformation throughout the media. Additionally, Media Matters works daily to notify activists, journalists, pundits, and the general public about instances of misinformation, providing them with the resources to rebut false claims and to take direct action against offending media institutions.

25 July 2007

More Brainstorming About AOC's Work In Progress: Tactics & Issues

If you've been following these AOC posts since its beginning - or backtracked through the archive - you probably know the aim of AOC and how the site came to be. Here's the "Readers' Digest" version: one day not too long ago a lot of savvy Netizens were bemoaning the lack of aggressive activism against an increasingly authoritarian neo-conservative regime. The commutation of Scooter Libby in the Plame case just before Independence Day was particularly galling and stimulated a lot of wailing. My response was to offer this site as a facilitation node for coordinating dynamic activism. Now, it's not really my nature to do this kind of thing. I like to work on solo projects. You give me an assignment and I'll execute it the best way I know how, teaching myself new skills as I go if I have to in order to get it done.

[A digression: Maybe you've heard or read about Keirsey's Temperament Sorter, or the Jungian Archetypes on which they're based, or Meyers-Briggs. Keirsey would type me as an INTP. Google it. Or click over to here or here and navigate around for some general info. I always find typing people interesting and useful. If I know some one's temperament, I can adjust my expectations accordingly.]

Anyway, back to this activism thing. I'm not saying there's a need to reinvent the wheel here. There are already many sites providing information for letter writers; many organizations creating, disseminating, and submitting petitions; many places to send money for good causes. Some of them are linked at this site. And, yes, MoveOn does organize some occasional demonstrations, though it doesn't seem to be a priority and I'm not sure they have honed an effective way to deliver that kind of statement yet.

That's why I'm here.

I envisioned a place where ultimately a pretty large group would divide labor to push effective campaigns. Absent further input, I identified some problems to discuss at AOC. We need snail-mail letter-writers, for example, lots of 'em. Because e-mail, while somewhat useful, doesn't have the impact it used to. It's too easy to simply click in response to a solicitation and our Senators and Representatives know this. But well-written, reasoned letters on paper mean a little more. We need phone callers. Lots of 'em. Angry persistent ones demanding to talk to the Congressperson instead of settling for a staffer. Not that we'd get through, but we must get irate and raise hell! We anti-authoritarians have been too damn reasonable. And we need to bully the opposition, including news media outlets and the judiciary. Just like they (the opposition) do us. We also need to call and write business owners - or their lackeys anyway - to inform them, loudly and passionately, that their support of this regime is going to cost them.

Which leads to another area: boycotts. Targets could be companies that subsidize neocon think tanks, and organizations like The Federalist Society. Established news media outlets would be good.

And we need to organize bodies. We need to put lots and lots and lots of bodies in places they'll be noticed. We need to disrupt traffic and business for a day or two, non-violently and within the law. We need to let the news media know we are serious. We need to let the politicians know we are serious and that we are watching. We need to let the politicians know that it is safe for them to act against the Bush regime, that we have their backs.

We need researchers to weed through all the resource sites and make the talking points accessible to the callers & writers. This information has to be available on the fly. It has to be accurate - most of the time. And when it isn't completely accurate (propaganda & talking points?), we need to know so that we can spin accordingly. Just like the opposition does.

Okay, thus far we've identified the following functions: Information/Persuasion, Boycotts, and Demonstrations/Civil Disobedience. Each function falls into a tactical section. For example, organizers, educators/trainers, and researchers are in the Planning section. The foot soldiers and their leaders - those doing the calling, the writing, and the marching - are in the Operations section. Fund-raisers and disbursers (is that a word?) are in the Finance section. And the good folks making the behind-the-scenes things happen like transportation, food, hygiene, etc... they fall into the Logistics section.

Now, there are a variety of issues that need attention. Some people are hot about the war in Iraq and little else. Others are more into environmental issues. There's a big desire for Impeachment out there. And so on. And of course, most folks are interested in more than one thing. But the issues have to be researched and targets identified for each issue.

So, what's going on in this little reverie of mine is: we are trying to build a Command and Control apparatus. Except there is no we. It's just me. And I can't do it all. I can't do very much.

That's why my focus in these AOC pages is on restoring the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. In my world-view, nothing happens meaningfully without those things in place first. So that is what I'll be working on. As other people come on board, they can focus on the issues and functional tactical sections that move them. We will operate under a Unified Command, meaning we'll have to cooperate for the greater good, keeping ego impulses and turf wars to a minimum, and always be willing to compromise with each other (NOT with the opposition!).

My project: find a way to have a massive demonstration, an impressive presence of law-abiding dignified patriotic Americans, supporting our Constitution and the Rule of Law, with a time targeted for Spring of '08.

It might not happen, but we should try.

If You Haven't Read David Halberstam's Article In Vanity Fair

this month and would like to, you can check it out here.

Mr. Halberstam had a remarkable talent for conveying complex historical events with concision and flair. In this article, the last before his fatal car crash, he examines George Bush's claim that history will validate his decisions regarding war in the Middle East. Mr. Halberstam deftly punctures any illusions one might have in comparing Bush favorably with President Truman.

"...when I hear the president cite history so casually, an alarm goes off. Those who know history best tend to be tempered by it. They rarely refer to it so sweepingly and with such complete confidence. They know that it is the most mischievous of mistresses and that it touts sure things about as regularly as the tip sheets at the local track. Its most important lessons sometimes come cloaked in bitter irony. By no means does it march in a straight line toward the desired result, and the good guys do not always win." -- from the article

24 July 2007

What would a hypothetical people-powered rebellion look like?

[If the momentum fueled by anger and the rising demand for action we are seeing today do not inspire Congress to initiate some form of meaningful response, and if our citizenry doesn't become aroused enough to push harder (in the streets, if need be), then it would be wise for concerned patriots to start making plans.]

We are in an atmosphere of
paranoia not seen since the days of McCarthy and the HUAC.

"Interesting" times.

Therefore, one hypothetical People-Powered exercise would:

  • be well-planned, anticipating obstacles, hazards, and consequences... and contingencies for same.
  • comprise a critical mass of people in order to break through the news media myopia.
  • would have a structured support apparatus of planning, logistical, legal, and financial functions.
  • be bold, yet measured and prudent.
  • be within the law.
  • be non-violent.
  • be attended by participants prepared through workshop training.
  • emerge in Spring like the cherry blossoms. On a Wednesday?
Think: What would Martin Luther King do? What would Mahatma Ghandi do?

What else would help complete this hypothetical picture?

Revised Letter to Bush

  • I received help from my son, from an English teacher friend, and from a kind and talented reader named Jim White of Gainesville, FL. This will go out in today's snail mail with copies to my senators and representative (who sits on the Judiciary committee). There is still time ( a couple of hours) to make further suggestions. -- GG

Dear Mr. President:

I am troubled by your actions over the past four years that undermine the basic premise of our country. This premise is to be found in the freedoms and protections listed in our Constitution’s First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. It seems you have decided that the 9/11 attacks on our country justified extraordinary curtailment of civil liberties and due process. Many Americans feel that the level of offense against us on that terrible day does not justify the continuation of the extreme measures you imposed. Further, the unilateral nature of these actions and your absolute secrecy in developing and enforcing these measures are in direct contradiction of the Constitution and the American tradition of open government by consent of the governed.

I understand that you are doing what you think is right, yet I disagree with the assertion that"9/11 changed everything." It is fair to say that it changed some things. For example, as a nation, we are now more aware of the infrastructure we need for response to domestic crises, whether they are natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or industrial accidents. This is a correct thing.

Eroding civil liberties codified in the Constitution is not a correct thing. Further, as a beacon of liberty for the world, we should not be reserving those rights for our own citizens only, on our own soil. Our traditional practices as a free nation ought to be extended to all, without regard to nationality and without regard to presence inside or outside our borders. America's moral standing in the world was at its highest as World War II drew to a close and the humane treatment we provided to our prisoners of war was made public by those very prisoners as they returned to their homes.

Further it is important to note that the individual liberties of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment are not luxury items reserved for times of peace. Instead, they are necessities for our national identity at all times. The fact that our United States has in the past sometimes fallen short on issues like habeas corpus, unreasonable searches and seizures, due process, and unlawful imprisonment does not make it right for us to do those things today. We always must strive to be better, to improve on our nation’s founders’ ideas about how a country of truly free citizens should govern itself.

It’s my understanding that Civics classes get less emphasis these days than when I attended grammar school a few decades ago. I loved those classes and their lessons stuck with me. They left me with a notion of service that guided me to my current career as a municipal firefighter.

I was at working at the firehouse the day those infamous Al Qaeda members from Saudi Arabia, U.A.R., and Egypt executed their attack. I was an active member of the Federal Urban Search and Rescue Response team that responded first to the Pentagon site that day and the wounds of 9/11 remain. I love my country and have faith in the strength of our ideals.

The damage you have inflicted on our Constitution far exceeds that inflicted on the country by the terrorists. It is not necessary to subvert the Constitution of the United States of America to prevent more attacks against us. I don't believe you properly honor the memory of my fallen brothers and sisters in Public Safety by dismantling the very foundations of freedom and liberty that they lived to serve and protect.

23 July 2007

Bush's Executive Order Amending Title 50 U.S.C. Ch. 35 - International Emergency Economic Powers

Bush's recent Executive Order (EO) of 17 July authorizes freezing or seizing the assets of...

anyone "determined to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of... undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people."

I think any reasonably intelligent debater could argue that Bush and Cheney have undermined their own efforts in Iraq.

I'm just sayin.'

22 July 2007

Draft: Letter to the President... comments/corrections welcome

This is a revision since this morning...

Dear Mr. President:

I am troubled by your actions over the past four years that undermine the basic premise of our country, the freedoms and protections listed in our Constitution’s First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. It seems you have decided that the 9/11 attacks on our country justified extraordinary curtailment of civil liberties and due process. But the level of offense against us on that terrible day does not justify the continuation of these extreme measures.

I understand that you are doing what you believe is right. Yet I disagree with the assertion that “9/11 changed everything.” It is fair to say that it changed some things. For example, as a nation, we are now more aware of the infrastructure we need for response to domestic crises, whether they are natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or industrial accidents. This is a correct thing.

Eroding civil liberties codified in the Constitution is not a correct thing. Further, as a beacon of liberty for the world, we ought not be reserving those rights for own citizens only, on our own soil. Our traditional practices as a free nation ought to be extended to all, without regard to nationality and without regard to presence inside or outside our borders. And it’s important to note: the individual liberties of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment are not luxury items reserved for times of peace; they are necessities for our national identity at all times. The fact that our United States has in the past sometimes dropped the ball on issues like habeas corpus, unreasonable searches and seizures, due process, and unlawful imprisonment does not make it right for us to do those things now. We must always strive to be better, to improve on our nation’s founders’ ideas about how a country of truly free citizens should govern itself.

I am told that Civics classes today get less emphasis than when I was in grammar school a few decades ago. Those lessons stuck with me. They left me with a notion of service that guided me to my career as a municipal firefighter.

I was at the firehouse the day those infamous Al Qaida members from Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., and Egypt executed their attack. Memories of watching the planes strike the Twin Towers and of witnessing their fall still sear. As an active member of the Federal Urban Search and Rescue Response team that responded first to the Pentagon site that day, the wounds of 9/11 remain. I love my country and have faith in the strength of our ideals.

That strength supports this knowledge: it is not necessary to subvert the Constitution of the United States of America to prevent more attacks against us. I don’t believe you properly honor the memory of my fallen brothers and sisters in Public Safety, nor of the fighting men and women of the Armed Services throughout our history, by dismantling the very foundation of freedom and liberty that they lived to serve and protect.


Gordon Ginsberg

  • Note to AOC readers: I'd like to leave this up for a couple of days... might 'tinker' on it a little, and I'd love some input before sending to the White House (with copies to various others in other branches). Your help is needed and appreciated. -- GG

Sunday Morning Musing

It's been a matter of faith the past five years that the passing of time would let us, the People of the United States of America, get some distance from the 9/11 events. We thought that the fear and anger that drove our excessive rejection of basic civil liberties law would ebb enough that We the People could return to sober common-sense and again embrace our constitutionally embedded individual rights. Now it seems that the loud, relentless, lying Right Wing Authoritarian propaganda machine has permanently neutered our political leaders. It seems that we, as a nation, are going along - some willingly, others absent awareness - with ceding our First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment protections to an Executive Branch totalitarian power-grab in the guise of "National Security."

I wonder how we will feel looking back five years from now, asking ourselves - maybe our children or grandchildren asking - what we were doing while Bush took away our freedom and destroyed the very nature of our national being.

20 July 2007

The Big Truths

An effective Opposition in today’s media-saturated, media-inflected world, must learn to execute rhetoric the way that the established entrenched Regime does: to rehearse it and to have fun(!) with it. We should do the homework, anticipate arguments and tactics... and be ready with counter-responses.

Let's establish a few Big Truths to counter their Big Lies.:

"9/11 did not change everything; it only changed some things."

"It's not a war; it's an occupation."

"They are not 'terrorists'; they are insurgents."


Time To Make Our Will Known

I have a dream:

I dream of a massive gathering of determined citizens, silently and strongly taking their rightful ground and demonstrating to Congress, to the President, and to the Judiciary that we are paying attention, that we want the constitutional abuses to cease, that we want accountability from our governing entities.

I dream of hundreds of thousands of us converging outside the Supreme Court of the United States of America to demand that the Executive Branch respect our constitution, that the Legislative Branch assert the will of We the People, and that the Judiciary uphold the laws our Constitution.

I dream of sober concerned Americans solidly standing watch in dignity, eschewing the clichéd chanting from protests of a bygone era. I see the crowd poised shoulder-to-shoulder, challenging the anti-American unpatriotic limits of "Free Speech Zones." I see a vanguard of courageous prepared dissenters stoically receiving the sacrament of State-sanctioned abuse (the police officer's baton) and being taken without resistance to jail.

I dream of a mass movement powered by the people, evoking not the WTO protesters in Seattle or those against the G-8 in Davos, but instead emulating Ghandi and King and their followers.
I believe that this is the only way for We the People to breach the insulating wall of noise and obfuscation erected by an out-of-control authoritarian government.

It is time.

19 July 2007

The Central Issue

to me pertains to preserving the US Constitution, which has been the primary instrument for 1) assuring that we are a nation "of laws, not men" and 2) protecting our liberty from states' congenital tendency to encroach on individuals' rights. It is the heart of who we are. We can have varying opinions concerning the Iraq Occupation, on Impeachment, or about Universal Health Care Coverage. What we cannot abide, however, is perversion of the critical built-in Checks & Balances of our tripartite representative democracy.

18 July 2007

9/11 Did NOT Change Everything;...

... it did change SOME things!

Good: Heightened awareness of the need to get serious about a domestic counter-terror reponse capability. (Europe is about 30 years ahead of us on this.)


  • Free Speech Zones! What the @#!$???
  • Myopic, unimaginative, inneffective, & Plain Stupid "counter-measures" at airport check-in sites.
  • Cowardly knee-jerk dismantling of Constitutional Rights and inherent Creator-Endowed Unalienable Rights.
  • Denial of Self-Evident Truth
Add to the list by posting here!

17 July 2007

Scenes from the Citizen Counter - Filibuster

These Memphis, Tennessee patriots, exercising First Amendment rights, stood vigil against the Republican filibuster of Senate Amendment 2087, the Reed/Levin bill providing for a "reduction and transition of United States forces in Iraq."

Outside the Memphis offices of Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, participants held signs and waved at passers-by, while others took turns reading aloud letters and essays from armed services members and their families.

Citizens show their support with hearty displays of: "Thumbs Up!"

The Citizen Counter-Filibuster

Today in my city, Memphis, Tennessee, a group of citizens will gather at the Federal Building downtown (167 N Main St # 102, Memphis, TN (901) 526-6771) to demonstrate solidarity with Senate Democrats, while the Republicans carry out a planned filibuster of the current troop withdrawal proposal. This MoveOn sponsored event is scheduled in various locations nation-wide. In MoveOn's words:

Counter-Filibuster to End the War

Republicans in the Senate are planning to block a vote early next week on ending the war. Let's be perfectly clear on this: Republicans are blocking this vote because they know they'd lose.

It's time to leap into action. As Republicans filibuster on Tuesday, we're holding citizens' counter-filibusters on Tuesday night. We'll gather outside Senators' offices and in public places to read first-hand accounts from Iraq vets and military families about the cost of the war. We'll send a clear message to Senators and the media that this isn't about partisan games -- it's about people's lives.

Click here to find a citizen's counter-filibuster near you.

15 July 2007

Some More Things That Make the VRWC Go...

I. Lobbyists' control of legislators time.
Lobbyists who represent sources of campaign funds get too much access, leaving no time for Congressional members to seek out and absorb independent data on issues.

II. Legislators devote too much time to fund-raising, not enough to studying the bills upon which they debate and vote.

III. A stacked Judiciary branch at the district, circuit, and supreme levels.
This has been a major component of the Republicans' plan for dominance in U.S. politics. It stacks the deck against openness and individual freedom when Congress passes extreme or unfair legislation that is challenged in the courts.

IV. A willingness within the Republican party to stay on message for the sake of the 'team.'
Also known as "message discipline."

V. A highly motivated base of Right-Wing Authoritarians (RWAs)
Please refer to link The Authoritarians here or in sidebar.

VI. A highly motivated alliance of strange bed-fellows composed of business interests,
low-tax zealots, neo-conservatives, religious fundamentalists, and the above-referenced

VII. News media outlets almost uniformly repeat the Republican Party line and relay Bush White House communications unexamined, unchallenged, and absent independent sourcing.

The result of the VRWC is that the three branches of government are insulated from pressure to serve the will of We the People.

A Thought...

until I can return to post...

"The Chinese symbol for Crisis is the symbol for Danger combined with the symbol for Opportunity."
John F. Kennedy

14 July 2007

New Link Added to Resource Library

"How to Write a Letter to the Editor" is a useful and good-humored series of articles by Dave Romm. Part I is a basic outline of sensible, specific letter-writing rhetoric and technique. Part II is an essay on choosing words for maximum effect and minimal audience alienation. The topic of Part III is "Responding to Obvious Lies." Some of Mr. Romm's actual letters comprise Parts IV and V.

13 July 2007


I have been thinking a lot lately about how people generally don't seem to think of the Supreme Court of the United States as a target of feedback campaigns or demonstrations. In theory, the Court is supposed to operate outside the sphere of political public influence, that of the other two branches of government and of the citizenry at large. On the other hand, the justices and their clerks do read newspapers and watch TV... and presumably even read weblogs. I'll be giving some thought to directing some concentrated attention on SCOTUS; and in addition, I'd be interested in any opinions regarding massive demonstrations on the Supreme Courthouse steps.

12 July 2007

AOC 'Housekeeping' Update

This is:

  • A quick note about what it is I'm doing with Achieving Our Country (AOC) these days.
  • A reminder that whatever I do is subject to change, depending on readers' input.
  • An expression of thanks
There is an ongoing series of posts that I plan to conclude within at most one week, describing the conditions necessitating a new activist network. The history and analysis in that series is over-simplified and, most certainly, old news for readers. My purpose in doing this short exercise is more for my benefit than anyone else's. It's enabling me to: 1) begin a regular writing process, 2) begin organizing my thoughts, and 3) get something published, get the ball rolling, so to speak. Readers' patience is appreciated. I suspect that by just getting started, something will arise - in collaboration with you, I hope - in an organic way, leading to some kind of framework for action. This does not have to be perfect (Good thing! Because obviously it won't be), or all things to all people. As the process continues, we can fill perceived 'holes' in the framework.

Simultaneously, I will "pop in" with some specific ideas pertaining to the AOC project. For example: today I have a added a link in the Resource Library to SourceWatch, "a collaborative project of the Center for Media and Democracy to produce a directory of the people, organizations and issues shaping the public agenda. A primary purpose of SourceWatch is documenting the PR and propaganda activities of public relations firms and public relations professionals engaged in managing and manipulating public perception, opinion and policy."

I am planning to set the Comments feature to post directly to this page. Anyone who wants to add ideas, correct my mistakes, or take off in another direction is welcome. Comments will continue in the pop-up window until I finalize the change; if you want those comments posted "up front," I will make it so.

Karen M, proprietor of The Chocolate Interrobang blog and a prolific, erudite, and compassionate poster at Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory blog, helped me start this blog. My heartfelt thanks go out to you, Karen.

That's all for now.

11 July 2007

What Constitutes a Right-wing Monolith?

I want to take up just a little bit of bandwidth in the next few posts pointing out how the Right Wing Noise Machine (RWNM) has created an unfair playing field, serving to keep the opposition from making a thoughtful case against the conservative agenda, and thereby denying our citizenry the dignity of deriving its own synthesis of a political prescription for the challenges facing the United States and its world partners in the post-Cold War era.

Most observers trace the birth of the 'modern' Conservative movement to William F. Buckley, Jr., who wrote God and Man at Yale (1951) and who, shortly thereafter, founded the National Review magazine. Kindred souls of a heretofore disparate and isolated conservative political sensibility coalesced around the ideas espoused by the founding editor and his staff. The magazine and its readers maintained a steady drumbeat of rhetoric, championing the rise of conservative political and economic theory, and giving momentum to the public face of this new "Movement Conservatism," incarnated as a re-configured Republican Party. Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, respectively, served as the standard bearers for the ascendant movement.

In the mid 1960s through the 70s, wealthy benefactors (the Coors and Scaife families, conspicuously) began funding the implementation of tactics intended to serve the grand over-arching strategy of attaining Conservative political dominance in the United States. The first significant tactic then, was the establishment of an organizational structure centered on newly created think tanks dedicated to conservative causes, and the initiation of direct mail campaigns to inform, inflame, consolidate, and solicit funds from a burgeoning block of voters perceived to be sympathetic, or potentially sympathetic, to conservative causes. This structure, fueled by its wealthy patrons, is the strong vigorous root system nourishing today's conservative dominance of political life in the United States, and is one component of the right wing's powerful, monolithic noise machine.

I'll be looking at other parts of the machine, in the next installment.

Bringing Down the Vast Right-Wing Monolith

Hillary Clinton first used the term vast right wing conspiracy (VRWC) in reference to a persistent group of special interests who had been funding and executing the political pursuit and harassment of her then-president husband. The organized effort to destroy Bill Clinton's political life began as a smear campaign called the Arkansas Project, and the group resolved to use any means necessary to accomplish its goal. Today the term VRWC fairly applies to the massive, various, coordinated, and message-disciplined groups and individuals allied to assure a vice-grip on conservative control of the United States' political infrastructure forever.
The result of this remarkable coalition of wealthy benefactors, think tanks, vested corporate interests, religious fundamentalists, and a mass media machine that places profit before reliable news reporting is that the so-called VRWC has become a virtual monolith. The members comprising this monolith have created an environment in which volume and obfuscation effectively smother thoughtful debate; and they have, by design, squelched almost all effective opposition since the Republican party retook the White House in 2000 and consolidated power in the legislative branch in the elections following the 9/11 attacks.
It's become evident that what we have to do in order to get our country back is derive methods for effectively countering the monolithic hold that the VRWC has had on the terms of debate, level the playing field (if not tilt it in our favor!), and get the message of liberty, democracy, Rule of Law, and courage to the sensible majority of our nation, whose will is thwarted by the monolithic strangle-hold on reasoned discussion about the issues facing the United States and its partner countries across the globe.
When I come back, I'll begin itemizing the components of the monolithic right-wing power structure, with the goal later developing thoughtful tactics for breaking through that monolithic structure.

10 July 2007

Site Management Notes -or- A Work in Progress

  • Beginning tomorrow, I will be making some general notes expounding on the problems I presented in yesterday's post.
  • A post to follow shortly thereafter will begin addressing the broad and deep challenges that present in the face of those problems.
  • With the many developments in the political sphere this week (Meiers/Taylor testimony conjecture, McCain campaign meltdown, Vitter scandal, GOP shift re: Iraq (!), among other things), is there now a momentum shift in the national mood that could benefit the causes of the Left? If that is the case, the stated rationale for this site might evolve, as a result. Achieving Our Country began in response to an expression of frustration on the part of many writers (in the comment section) on another site (Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory at Salon.com) about the lack of a massive activist push in this country. These writers were astonished that the clear majority of the US citizenry that are dissatisfied and angry at the government, media, and business powers that persist in pursuing an agenda that is destructive to our nation, and who have refused to acknowledge that majority opinion (and common sense!) opposing that agenda, are failing to "take to the streets" and demand change. I volunteered to help facilitate an online venue in collaboration with these writers, and any other interested volunteers, for making a comprehensive people-powered response happen. Clearly, the enterprise requires many hands, which just as clearly, might not appear. All this is to say that I recognize the inherent tenuousness of this proposition. Therefore, conditions will drive the raison d'etre of this blog site, which can certainly change if the collaborative participation needed does not materialize. We shall see.

09 July 2007

A New Activist Network?

: There is a disconnect between the will of the people of the United States of America and its government, if we are to believe various public opinion polls circulating today.
Problem: The ongoing complicated ménage among the press, our government, and business has stacked the deck against traditional models of mobilizing "people power."

A new multi-pronged, organized, and disciplined approach (not the Left's biggest strength since the days of the last war-time draft and civil rights protests!) can possibly overcome the obstacles that are in place in this new environment. I hope that some brainstorming can begin here about creating effective, coordinated responses to the Right Wing Noise Machine in order to enable We the People to assert our collective will.

In order to get the ball rolling, I have started this blog site. I have had some vague ideas, which I will list here. Nothing is written in stone; everything is potentially subject to the wisdom of any members who choose to participate.

Some thoughts:
People might self-select activities based on two over-arching functions: Issues and Tactics.

Issues could include any, all, or something different altogether (not an exhaustive list):

  • Rule of Law
  • Constitutional/Civil Rights
  • Impeachment
  • Labor/Trade
  • Universal Health Care/Environment
  • Torture/Unlawful Imprisonment
  • Voting Rights/Election Reform/Electoral College
  • Foreign Policy/War/Multi-lateralism

*Information/Reference/Fact-checking resources for Issues

Examples of Tactics (again, just for example... not an exhaustive list):

  • Demonstrations
  • Rapid-response Letter-writing/Telephone campaigns
  • Boycotts
  • Civil Disobedience
  • Education/Awareness
  • Advocacy

*Coordination among various organizations deploying respective tactics.

---Any/all thoughts and corrections are welcome.---

Richard Rorty, Patriot

Professor Richard Rorty (1931-2007) was an American philosopher of the Pragmatist school who understood that the promise of the United States, its vision and ideals, as set forth in its founding documents (the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America) are best understood as "works in progress." He thought that the United States' failure throughout its history to live up to the lofty standards codified in those founding documents in no way lessened their meaning, nor their value. He understood that the good that the United States has in fact achieved since 1776 has served to reinforce the idea of a country striving, by design, to be better than its all-too-human and very imperfect nature. Most important, he believed that those ideals exist as real, true things that We the People can achieve. It's the hopeful intent of this site to discuss and facilitate ways of actually achieving our nation, and thereby continue to form, as the Constitution exhorts, a more perfect union. Professor Rorty's book, Achieving Our Country (1998), is the inspiration for this site name.