E to the 4th

A Virtual Book Club

 

Ethical News: Possible, Plausible and Probable, but not Proven

 

As a global leader, is it not a sine qua non for the American public to be well informed regarding our Nation's domestic and international policies? Let us then do so! Ignorance of the public is fertile ground for special interests deals, conflicts of interest by elected officials, government fraud and mismanagement, corporate greed ruining investors, etc.  Is it not true that business and government entities may behave unethically because "We the People" are not vigilant? Without being held accountable for such actions, there is no real disincentive for such conduct when it occurs. Both politicians and lobbyists in Washington representing special interests are often successful in surreptitiously getting legislation passed that exploits the American public. Who represents the interests of the public any more? At a time when many business leaders, politicians and other public officials are as corrupt as Mafia bosses, "We the People" can ill afford to be lackadaisical! When we allow corporate CEO's to defraud the public of their life's savings, with a mere slap on the wrist,  is that not our fault? When we allow our "public servants" to grossly mismanage and misappropriate billions in tax revenue, why should they cease to do so? When we further allow billions of our tax dollars to be spent on Mars, or in an "unholy war", at the expense of affordable health care, Medicare, Social Security, and other domestic programs vital to the American People, whose fault is that? When we allow big business to pollute the environment and even the food chain with impunity, is not our silence tantamount to consent? Thus, when legislation unfairly protects certain industries or big business interests more than it doe the average American or the environment, whose fault is it other than that of an acquiescent public? E4's workbook implores an informed citizenry to restore ethics and integrity to American business and government so that we not deny our grandchildren their inheritance, America the beautiful!

E4, as evidenced in our workbook, does not believe that the American public is too ignorant nor too impotent to influence our Nation's domestic and international policies! We do not believe that all Americans are caught up in the rat race, wherein the rats often win! As the Bill of Rights admonishes, the People must petition government for a redress of their grievances. How else can we remain a great Nation? However, when an entire Nation is in denial of or impervious to its political truths, its citizenry becomes incapable of making well informed opinions about the ethics or efficacy of government. Lamentably, these political truths often are deliberately manipulated or masked to keep the public perpetually ignorant of questionable, if not unethical, conduct on the part of government. Albeit the media often portrays the "axis of evil" as belonging exclusively to other political systems, E4 challenges our members to candidly examine the "American axis of evil" wherever it exists in Washington or around the world. We want to discuss and discern how America's own terrorists have destabilized and disrupted governments around the world! We often label responses to our intrusion in other governments as "anti-American". What, in the name of "American interests", gives us the right to assassinate presidents, other government officials and even innocent civilians abroad? Who in the media is telling this very real story of cause and effect, which is often hidden from the American people?

E4 hopes that some of our members will indeed become scholars, researchers, and journalists, of a sort, in discerning and discussing these unassailable truths! Those few Americans who unabashedly ferret and report the truth are often molested and maligned by the powerful and corrupt individuals and institutions they expose. Often these "Ethical Heroes" are ostracized as being "a trouble-maker",  "unpatriotic", "not a team player", "a whistle blower", or even worse. E4 relishes such activism by Martin Luther King, Jr., Stetson Kennedy, Michael Moore, Bill Cosby and other indeed patriotic and courageous heroes and heroines who expose the truth to the American people! Akin to salmon swimming upstream, "We the People" must process these truths, participate in the electorate, and strive to create a better society in our neighborhoods and in our Nation. That will never take place if we tacitly continue with business as usual. As a great philosopher once said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." In the absence of truth, ignorance circumvents our ability to think or to reason with clarity. Like Caesar's "bread and circus" axiom, Big Brother proffers us copious entertainment and even propaganda via TV or the "idiot box". Eventually, a steady diet of such broadcasts renders the audience comatose with respect to the truth. Albeit many Americans do enjoy inane entertainment, at the expense of factual news, E4 believes that others of us also want to discern the truth about current events. Ergo, is not the truth regarding the war in Iraq more important news than a dog that can ski, a movie star's personal life, or record deal for a talented singer? In the absence of unbiased information about the war and other important issues, the Ethical News is where E4 proffers a probable antecedent, rather than trying to prove any particular point. Erudite members of E4 can then form their own plausible, but not proven consequent and conclusion. As such, we give audience to our members' many intelligent points of view. We will publish the best of them, should you choose to share them with our book club. Rather than telling you what to think, E4's Ethical News is more concerned that you indeed think critically and intelligently confront ethical issues impacting our Nation and the World.

 

War And Peace

Revisiting the Presidential Election of 2000, in what way was the US Supreme Court, shall we say, made a "political puppet" of certain political interests? Since that debacle, in what way has our President served the agenda of those "certain interests"? In what way, both domestically and abroad, has Pres. Bush failed to serve the best interest of the American people? Explain.

"To the victor go the spoils," is often said of warfare! Throughout human history, nation has risen up against nation in order to rape, pillage and plunder the vanquished. Philosophically, this attitude is often a mere rationalization to seize and exploit another country's petroleum, people, gold, diamonds, iron ore, etc. Is all fair in love and war, or should the ethical considerations of the Geneva Convention also apply to the United States? Explain. 

Concerning our Commander in Chief's military record, what political strings, if any, were pulled to get him into the Texas National Guard? Why did his questionable six year "commitment" to serve his country end after only four years? What do you know about the character and behavior of Pres. Bush during that period in the late 1960's and early 1970's? Speaking of character, what clandestine activities did Bush's father and his grandfather support that were more akin to Hitler's ideology of a "final solution" than to America's ideals of "liberty and justice for all"? Explain. Based upon his personal and political history, how has President Bush's character or behavior remained consistent with those political ideologies since he took the oath of office? Explain.

Although he did graduate from an Ivy League university, do you feel that Pres. Bush is intellectually and politically astute? Do you think that the Vice President, Bush's father or some other parties might be actually calling the shots during this presidency? Explain.

Regarding the World Trade Center attack, was Pres. Bush inept in his handling of the CIA & FBI information at his disposal or did he deliberately allow the 9/11 tragedy in order to incense the American public, knowing that he would soon attack Iraq? Explain. 

When in US history has our military previously bombed or invaded another country without provocation? How is the US occupation of Iraq any different from Germany's unprovoked occupations under Hitler during World War II? How is our hatred of Muslims any different from Germany's hatred of Jews? In the absence of military opposition by the former USSR, is the US plausibly forging ahead to establish a One World Order? Explain.

Name four ancient Chinese Dynasties and their most prominent contributions to human history. Name four ancient African civilizations and their most prominent contributions to human history. Name four ancient Indigenous American civilizations and their most prominent contributions to human history. I rest my case regarding the "ubiquitous ignorance" of Americans regarding human history, which was not the case a half century ago. American students today are actually learning less about the real world than ever before. In spite of our trite slogans and clichés about global leaders, tolerance, freedom, democracy, and diversity, millions of us who are "college educated" lack an accurate or realistic world view. No nation devoid of such knowledge is truly a "global leader". Thus, whether or not you join E4, let the learning begin! "Euro-centric" can describe both America's public education and public policy. For centuries, have not we, like Great Britain, promulgated the fallacious notion that Europe is the pinnacle of human civilization? Why do we still discount, disavow, or altogether ignore virtually every notable contribution by African, Asian, and Indigenous American cultures to humanity? At times, we even have rewritten and taught our students a fraudulent history. Instead of embracing diversity, history has become "his story" in American education. Ergo, one could also argue that "Euro-centrism", as inculcated within the US, partially explains the manner in which our military so readily ravages and violates non-Europeans. Does our public policy not also confirm such a bias? Contrary to the wishes of both the UN and the global community, the President of the United States unilaterally declared war in Iraq in 2003. A gullible public supported this invasion of Iraq as an act to "protect America". Au contraire mon frere! Is this war not an act of aggression? Is this war not tantamount to a personal vendetta regarding the events surrounding former Pres. Bush's Gulf War? In a global community, is our militaristic imposition of European values upon non-European cultures without consequences? Is it even ethical? Was 9/11 a terrorist attack or, de facto, retribution for our acts of terrorism abroad? Who among us can walk in restrictive and uncomfortable shoes imposed upon us by foreigners without resentment? Did not the Roman Empire fall? Did not Hitler's world come to an abrupt end? Did not even Great Britain's Colonial Empire ultimately fail? Dare we even forget that our own colonies rebelled against Great Britain in the quest for freedom and self-government? Do we feel smugly confident that we can now succeed in establishing a One World Order? Hail to the Chief, as we force non-Europeans to comply with "American interests" around the world. Let us not delude ourselves into thinking it is now our turn to rule the world! How can any rational person expect those who are being abused to not ever rebel against their abusers? Has not history proven that to be the case on numerous occasions? Have not beaten and battered wives even slain their abusive husbands? Lamentably, we know that the US military virtually exterminated the Indigenous Americans. During World War II, the US government forced Japanese Americans from their homes and businesses into concentration camps. The egregiousness of slavery, Jim Crow, and other discriminatory practices comprise our government's incontrovertible legacy regarding African descendants as well. A century later, have we ceased to discriminate against non-European identity groups? How ethical would it be for us to pass a law requiring the imprisonment of all Muslims, all Blacks, all Buddhists, all people taller than six feet, all redheads, or even all blondes, etc., in the name of "homeland security"? Stop laughing; some of us Americans are that obtuse in our thinking. Were our "ubiquitous ignorance" to precipitate such inane public policy, it would not be unprecedented. Because attitudes do shape behaviors, E4's workbook explores how Euro-centrism abets America's nefarious ethical, ethnic, educational, and economic bias. Are all of us so terrified of Big Brother that we cower in silence instead of protesting against a most unjust and unprovoked war against a Muslim Nation? Or do we celebrate our fighting against "rebels" and "insurgents", as if this conflict is a Western movie and the US Cavalry is on its way? Thank God someone cried out against Hitler's war against "undesirables" in Nazi Germany. When, if ever, will we Americans speak out against our own acts of terrorism with respect to sovereign governments around the world? Or are we actually in support of our government potentially establishing a One World Order? In spite of their political differences, should foreign governments be dominated by "American interests" in their internal affairs? Globally, what is America's militaristic, versus diplomatic, track record with respect to African, Arab, Muslim, Latin American and Asian countries? You do the research! These facts are unassailably true. As Michael Moore and others have shown, this is American history. What corner of the globe, other than Europe, Israel and North America is unmolested by the US military's terrorism and aggression? Hypothetically, were Iraq a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant nation, do you think that US public policy would still have been as militaristic as we have seen, or perhaps more diplomatic? Months after pictures showing American soldiers abusing prisoners made the news, a more recent news article indicated that our Justice Department drafted a memo authorizing the CIA to clandestinely transfer Iraqi detainees out of Iraq. Were we planning a Hawaiian luau for them? Such press releases intimate that our military is far more brutal toward these non-Europeans than the American public even suspects. Yet, few of us seem to comprehend or to commiserate with the Iraqi public's resentment of an American occupation of their country. Throughout this "Bush War", our government has contravened many provisions of the United Nations and the Geneva Convention. Thus, do we ever intend to protect sovereign countries from our military industrial complex or do we intend to circumvent their developing adequate defenses against the United States? Even though our press will invariably make it appear that other countries are on an "anti-American" offensive, how can conscientious Americans ferret the truth regarding our Pentagon's clandestine and covert actions? Should the American public support our relentless militaristic global aggression in a so-called "War on Terror"? Is not such nomenclature, along with "Holy Wars", "Crusades", "Freedom Fighters", etc., merely a thinly veiled repackaging of Euro-centric militarism in the Arab world? Do we have an ethical responsibility to vigilantly insure that our Justice Department is not becoming the world's quintessential bête noire or terrorist organization? Speaking of ethics, where in the Scriptures does God authorize Euro-centrism over "loving thy neighbor as thyself"? Explain.

From the onset, in opposition to the UN's position on Iraq, was this administration's unilateral attack ethically justified by a so called threat of weapons of mass destruction? In retrospect, some government officials have claimed that Pres. Bush was planning military action in Iraq during his first month in office! Why should any sovereign nation disarm itself, as Pres. Bush had demanded, if an unprovoked US military attack is imminent? Explain.

Unlike the Vietnam War, the American public is not boldly speaking out and protesting US occupation in Iraq. Is a mother culpable via her silence, although she knows that her husband is raping her daughter? Is the driver of the get away car culpable, although he did not physically shoot three people who died during a bank robbery? Have we Americans become morally base, as evidenced by our comportment of business as usual? Why aren't we expressing outrage and moral opposition to the Bush War? Perhaps, those of us who, like Judas, are profiteering from this Administration's involvement in Iraq have no objections. Whether thirty pieces of silver or thirty billion dollars, greed buys our complicity and our silence. How can patriotic Americans support our troops and yet oppose the war for ethical reasons at the same time? Why are we silent? Like Pilate, are we trying amiss to wash our hands of innocent blood? Could continued US military aggression portend global annihilation? Who wins that war if we all die? Explain.

How much is this military occupation of Iraq costing the American taxpayers each month, not to mention the loss of human lives? How might that same amount of money stimulate our domestic economy, were we not at war and so inclined to do so? Explain.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs, if not millions, have disappeared from our economy during this administration. Yet, Pres. Bush sometimes pontificates about the economic recovery. If his claim is factual instead of mere political rhetoric, then what specific industries are growing at a rate that substantiates the President's claims? Explain.

Do you believe the US actually paid the multi-million dollar bounty for the tip that lead to our assassination of Hussein's sons? What is the official dollar amount our taxpayers have spent associated with our "Most Wanted Lists" in Iraq and Afghanistan? Even without more pictures, speculate how many of these captives might the US military covertly torture or even murder as our occupation continues? Explain.

With the removal of Hussein from power and our failure to uncover weapons of mass destruction, why do you think this administration insists upon US troops remaining in Iraq? Although the US media reported that the Iraqi people praised US troops for "liberation", have we not seen many more US soldiers killed since Pres. Bush declared victory in Operation Iraqi Freedom? How does one explain this discrepancy?

Regarding our inefficient military operation in Iraq, how many office buildings, mosques, homes, schools, hospitals, etc. have US soldiers bombed or otherwise destroyed thus far? Excluding soldiers in combat, what is the Iraqi civilian death toll of innocent men, women and children at the hands of our American troops?  Explain.

Inconsequential to the pictures we have seen from Iraq, is not this unethical behavior inveterately associated with our military presence around the globe? To what extent does the US military have a track record of being a global bully beating, raping, torturing and murdering countless civilians and soldiers abroad? Explain.

Was this Bush War really about oil, and if so, to what extent has the media exposed the audit trail from the oil tankers to your gas tank? Which American companies are currently profiteering most from the world's second largest supply of oil? Explain.

Regarding our troops' fatalities, injuries, suicides, desertions, low morale, etc. resulting from a protracted military occupation in Iraq, should the President weigh those issues in his time line for our withdrawal? Has our President even proffered such a time line for the withdrawal of US troops? Prototypically, when GI's return to civilian life from Vietnam, the Gulf War, and now this conflict, does the Department of Veterans Affairs insure that veterans receive all of their promised benefits? Has this Administration increased or decreased veteran benefits? What should our government do to take better care of our veterans? In your community, are there any honorably discharged US veterans who are not receiving the medical care and other services they need? Among America's homeless population, why are so many of them men who have honorably served our country in times of war? Are these truths explained by recruiters to America's idealistic eighteen year olds before they sign the "dotted line"? Do you favor reinstatement of the draft? Explain.

Regarding this Bush Administration and this Bush War, what have some former cabinet members, such as Paul O'Neill, said about our Commander in Chief and his policies? How much media coverage has been devoted to these well-informed, yet controversial points of view? Who owns the media? Do you feel as if the media is proffering the American public an unbiased or propagandized view of the conflict in Iraq? Does the media have any ethical responsibility to allow enlightened opposition to this military conflict, or should it continue its pro-Bush censorship? Explain.

To further keep Americans in the dark, Bush brilliantly insured that the public will not have access to his official deeds or misdeeds! Testing your vigilance of your government, where are the records of Bush's tenure as governor of Texas? Explain. Likewise, where are the records of SEC investigations into allegations of insider trading and Bush's bankrupt companies? Explain. Now that a pattern has been established, please share with E4 members the disposition of the records of his Administration's public energy policy? Some Americans espouse that what you don't know can't hurt you. Au contraire, mon frere!  IF such records are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public viewing, then how is the United States a free society? If America is a Nation wherein our government is of the people, for the people, and by the people, then one must ask, "Which people?" Although our Commander in Chief is elected, in theory at least, how can the electorate monitor a "secret government's" domestic and international policies? What citizenry, other than our own, is even capable of challenging the New World Order or any such unbridled global power? Philosophically, how is America's political reality any different from that of George Orwell's 1984, wherein the individual exists solely to serve the State? Explain.

In this election year, how well has our President lead our Nation, in terms of ethics, education, economics, etc? Has poverty or unemployment in our nation decreased? Have over a million American jobs been lost to less expensive labor forces abroad? Have Bush's tax cuts and other policies helped the working class more than they have benefited the rich? How well do you trust the veracity of our Commander in Chief's public speeches?  How often has the President changed his position on both US domestic policy and US justification for this war? Is Medicare providing better health services to seniors? Is Social Security truly secure for those who may retire a decade from now? Do you feel as if the Democratic Party's candidate is a better choice than Pres. Bush for leading America for the next four years? Has the President clearly articulated an ethically and politically sound plan for his Administration over the next four years? Will you support his reelection? Were America to have four instead of two prominent political parties, with approximately equal memberships, how would that change the political landscape in our Nation? Regarding the polls after the recent Presidential debates, IF Kerry were actually leading Bush by at least fifteen percentage points, what motive might the media have in not reporting that statistic? In view of the debacle of 2000, do you feel as if integrity or subterfuge will actually determine the winner in 2004? Explain.

Approximately one third of America’s voters will vote for President via electronic machines, which lack any kind of verifiable audit trail. Ergo, in the absence of a paper trail, a physical recount is technically impossible when such machines are used in any election. As such, they are actually less accurate than paper ballots. Are these new electronic voting machines perhaps susceptible to both fraud and error? Reputedly, this has been proven to be true, upon inspection of the software by a Ph.D. in computer engineering. However, this expert also said that bright high school students have the wherewithal to bypass or violate the software’s obsolete security measures. More importantly, the software could even be corrupted prior to dissemination to end users across the country. In such a scenario, fraudulent election results at countless polling places could go virtually undetected. Hypothetically, IF one political candidate were able to do so with impunity, do you feel as if such a tactic might ever be employed in the United States? With early voting on such machines in a large number of states, is it plausible that those ballots could be manipulated to yield a desired result? In this Presidential election, how can the voting public know that their electronic ballots are secure and that their votes are accurately counted? Explain.

Election 2004 is now history. "We the People of the United States" have spoken. "Four more years" will undoubtedly become a most interesting chapter in both our Nation's history and in World History. Today, exactly one week after Super Tuesday, I stumbled upon and borrowed Mo Tzu (ISBN 0-231-08608-3) from the public library. What was so profound about this book, written circa 400 B.C., was that it accurately described many of the flaws in our political system here in the United States. One week after President Bush was reelected, a small and obscure Chinese book, which incidentally had not been checked out in years, seemed to address the "State of the Union", as if Mo Ti himself was yet alive! Please read just the first thirty-eight pages if you lack the time to read the entire book in one sitting. What do you think about this sage's political philosophy? How might this Administration's implementation of such an ideology benefit both our Nation and humanity, were the United States inclined to do so? Explain.

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