America, the great country and power that it is, is in deep trouble, failing in many of its wars: Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Libya. Failing in its drug war and in its war on terrorism, the country also has a failing, polarized political system that is failing the people; a financial system that is colluding with the political powers in Washington; and a Federal Reserve that is waging a merciless war against the American people and the world. As if America’s internal problems are not enough, the great country which it is, is being held hostage by Israel and its American lobby (AIPAC) acts as a Fifth Column. More than ever, America needs a Second Declaration of Independence and needs to write new social and political contracts with its citizens. I say this out of love and concern for America and the American people.
As Americans, native born and immigrant, we have every reason to celebrate the birth of the nation and its Declaration of Independence. I am writing from the City of Tangier in the country of Morocco– both of which had great significance at the birth of the new nation of America.
Morocco was the first country in the world to extend full diplomatic recognition to the United States of America, and Tangier was the site of the first diplomatic mission for the US anywhere.
As an immigrant, being an American was a matter of choice, thanks to my late father who made the first choice and made it much easier for me, my late mother and all of my brothers and sisters to immigrate to the US and become US citizens.
I will always remember the happy face of my late father on election days, when he put his time and his car into service for the Democratic Party machine in Gary, Indiana. My father, who worked in the steel mills and as a house-to-house peddler, was so proud to be an American. He went to night school at the local YMCA to learn how to read and write English and even how to read and write Arabic.
Franklin Roosevelt was my father’s idol and hero, and he always spoke of this president as “the president of the people,” the man who gave people jobs, dignity and enabled them to get off the soup lines. The man who introduced Social Security and other social benefits to the working class of America. Franklin Roosevelt was the one and only president that my late father cared about, and I can now see the reasons.
Over the years my late father, as a US citizen, was perhaps directly and indirectly though marriage of his children, responsible for bringing to this country some one hundred persons, and, thank God, all did very well. We have so many professionals within our own family: lawyers, prosecutors, professional journalists, contractors, builders, international media executives, scientists, college professors, small business owners, artists, teachers, hospitality executives, and food professionals.
In my household alone, my-mother-in law has two university degrees (bachelors and masters), my wife has three degrees (bachelors, masters and a doctorate degree), and I myself have three degrees (bachelors, masters and jurist doctor). My son, Jamil, has two degrees and will be working on the third and my daughter, Diala, has one degree and is working on the second. She is a Legislative Director in a Congressional office. My other daughter, Laila, has her bachelors and masters degrees in Paris, and is looking for a job. Only in America can a family with modest means and background have access to these kinds of opportunities. I always wonder why education is not a constitutional right. It seems to be left to the local districts with no national educational policy covering primary, middle, secondary and college education greatly affecting our national and economic competition with countries like China and India? I also wonder why higher education is so expensive and why vocational and industrial education is so lacking in our country? And why we are not following successful vocational education such as Germany and Switzerland.
As proud Americans, happy with the opportunities and citizenship we have received, we have also answered the call to serve this nation. Five out of six boys have joined the military: three went into the army and two joined the marines. Doing military service was the least we could do for this country that gave us rights and freedoms we did not have before. And yes, we will always be proud of this; although we did not believe in the wars our leaders engaged us in.
Of course the America of the Sixties and Seventies saw much turmoil. It was hard to believe that Blacks were not yet full citizens some two centuries after the birth of the nation, and the Sixties saw the transformation of America into a country where the doctrine of “separate but equal” was thrown out the window, with the Civil Rights Movement paving the way for the election of the first Black American to the US presidency… no country in the world can match such a great transformation.
The War on Vietnam also was a watershed, and a weekly visit to the Memorial Wall in Washington is a constant reminder of the more than 50,000 who lost their lives, soldiers I personally knew in high school and shared basic training with. It seems our leadership has never learned from the lies that put us at war with Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos. Someone like Henry Kissinger, who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, and the highest honors this country can bestow on its citizens. Unbelievable.
During the last two decades American politics has turned ugly and against the people. It has become dirty, unprincipled and hostage to money, special interests, and lobbies. It is polarized between the Left and Right; and, for the most part, hijacked by AIPAC and Right Wing Evangelical politics and the Tea Party.
Hard to believe in a country like ours that it costs $1-2 million for a candidate to run for the House and $20-30 million for a Senate seat. Of course this money does not come free of strings, and for sure it is at the expense of citizens of this country. Politics today is a far cry from what was envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Politics has become a profession and a business and does not provide a service to the nation and its people.
These days we only see our politicians through their own handlers or their own pollsters or through thirty-second sound bites. All of them are polished and mere actors who are told what to say and what to do. They are not spontaneous or dealing with people on their own level. The media and the pollsters are only interested in winning elections, offering thirty- second sound bites solutions to answer lifetime problems, with “taxations” offered as the only solutions to our demise as industrial nation and solutions to our ever increasing unemployment. It seems all politicians even those in government, are anti-government these days, competing with each other in their attacks on a government that was responsible for rebuilding the nation immediately after the Great Depression and World War II. At that time America became a great industrial power because of Washington’s policies and great industrial leaders, not greedy Wall Street financiers and politically corrupt politicians.
All that, of course, has changed. Congress and its allies on Wall Street are on a course of self-destruction, taking down this nation and its people down the drain. Industrial, defense, health, labor and tax laws are drafted by industry and special interests and formally voted on by our Congress. This has resulted in millions of jobs going overseas, while here in the US some five million Americans, who were working in industries, have lost their jobs forever. This war against America and the American people remains the primary agenda of Congress and national politicians that are beholden to special interests and to the greedy crooks on Wall Street.
During the last two decades local businesses in small-town America have experienced a drastic loss of trade and many small-town shops have closed down: an estimated 500,000 small business owners have lost their business to Wal-Mart. The wealth and family business suddenly shifted from these small business owners in small towns to the bank accounts of some 100 members of Sam’ Club. Millions of lifetime jobs became minimum wage jobs for one of the largest employers in America.
Wall Street was not far behind. In the old days, it was the managers of businesses and industries who were in the driver’s seat, building great industrial powers and companies such as GM, Ford, Chrysler, US Steel, Inland Steel, IBM. CEO’s spent their time making decisions and spending time on the factory floors managing their products and workforce. These days, perhaps with the exception of Apple and Microsoft, business executives and managers spend their days and time managing and massaging the ego of young, ruthless, greedy Wall Street “business and financial analysts”. It is Wall Street not Main Street that is in charge and in the driver’s seat. Wall Street and the politicians in Washington have conspired to turn this country from a great industrial power into a country with a constant trade deficit and tax policies that work against the American labor force causing millions to lose their jobs forever. “Managing the stock price” became the focal point and the primary business of executives. Stock prices determined the bonuses and salaries of these business managers, not the quality of the products and certainly not the number of people they employ.
Fraud and lies substitute for hard work and a sense of common decency. There’s no need to mention Enron and other companies where business managers colluded with auditors and Wall Street ruining the lives and livelihoods of millions of people who lost their lifetime savings and pensions and jobs and their sense of worthiness. This is all a result of American managers shifting from being the best in the world to being a bunch of liars and thieves, beholding to the crooks of Wall Street.
Committing fraud and committing tax evasion became the primary business of many. And many of those who have committed financial fraud in the billions, have ended up paying only hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. So many shareholders lost everything under the unscrupulous business managers in the auto, airlines and especially the health care industry. Additionally, some who committed billions of dollars in fraud have become leading politicians rather than spending the rest of their lives in jail.
Over the last couple of decades in America there have been so many instances of lies and fraud and robbing people of their lifetime savings. Yes, our primary savings remained in our highly- mortgaged homes and that too was taking away from us. Over the years, we have witnessed the Saving and Loan Associations scandal, the Junk Bond Scandal, the Internet Bubble, the collapse of the Telecommunications Industry, in addition to the bankruptcy of major airlines such as Pan Am, TWA, Eastern, and later United and Continental. The chain continued with the collapse and bankruptcy of such American industrial icons as General Motors and Chrysler Corporation mostly driven by the greed’s of Wall Street. The health industry has also seen major transformation with Wall Street helping small-time crooks to take over national health services whose primary purpose was not to provide quality and affordable health care but to cheat the government out of tens of billions in Medicare charges. Some of these small-time crooks have gone on to become leading politicians and even governors.
The recent sub-prime lending scandal was encouraged by the Federal Reserve, its member banks, investment banks and leading Washington politicians and lobbyists who have continued in their quest to fleece the people one more time, relying on the propensity of people to be greedy and forcing so many people into default and foreclosures with banks which hire unscrupulous law firms to take whatever is left in the bank accounts of the people.
Greedy, unscrupulous bankers and financiers flushed their companies down the drain with hundreds of thousands of employees losing their jobs, while making hundreds of millions in salaries and bonuses; and our government, both Republicans and Democrats, rather than coming to the people’s rescue went overboard in making sure these bankers stand whole. Trillions of dollars went to rescue these financial institutions while millions of people lost their homes to foreclosure and millions more lost their jobs forever as both industry and services collapsed. It is hard to believe that “usury laws,” outlawed for centuries, have become the standard operating procedure for the banking and credit card industries. It is even harder to imagine that “payday lenders” who as “bankers” get their money to lend almost for free, turn around and charge poor Americans living from payday to payday 30% and even 50% interest.
The Neocons all were gearing up to create the America of the New American Century, prompted by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. They decided to implement the “shock doctrine” in America, which is often used by greedy bankers to transform economies to their liking as they did in Chile and Argentina. Then came September 11th, which was no accident, and to date we do not know the complete truth as to what happened that fateful day. Obviously, the Neocons succeeded in what they wanted: a police state at home and wars everywhere– and they got both. Rather than spending the billions in our reserve and surplus on rebuilding the nation and getting it ready to compete in a new world economy, we went into many wars and heavy debt (trillions of dollars) without any material benefit to the American people, losing jobs and lives. Our economy shifted from an industrial manufacturing economy to a service economy with some 1.5 million working in the “War on Terror” industry producing paper and intelligence reports not worth the papers written on, product and services we could not sell to China or India or Latin America to offset our trade deficit.
To pay for these private and self-serving wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Neocons have wasted trillions of dollars of in budget surplus. In addition, their vision of America and the New American Century has put our citizens and taxpayers at great security risk and in debt forever.
Israel remains America’s main source of insecurity, and it is weakening our national sovereignty. The triumphant visit of Bibi Netanyahu and his reception in Washington as a conquering hero and his condescending insults to the president of the United States and the repeated standing ovations he was given by the US Congress should remind all of us of the need for a Second Declaration of Independence. America’s political, financial, economic and industrial sovereignty is at stake here. Israel, through its Fifth Column and its AIPAC Lobby in Washington, remains the single most dangerous thing to American freedom, independence, and leadership in the world. Our Congress is as much an Israeli Occupied Territory as Gaza and the West Bank.
However, there is always hope, and the hope is that the people of the United States will sooner rather than later take charge and make the right decisions through a complete change and the retirement of an ideologically-driven Congress, controlled by big money, Wall Street, AIPAC, the NRA and now the Tea Party. It will take time, but the people will not have any choice but to take charge and revamp a political and financial system that went awry. The recent Supreme Court decision allowing corporation to contribute as much money as they want to political candidate should give the people enough reasons to defeat such a ruling by voting the “people’s candidate” rather than “corporate candidates”. It is a choice we must make for the good of this nation.
America will always remain great country; enriched with its diversity of people of different colors and different faiths who are all working hard and looking for a better life. America will always remain a place I call home and a special place in my heart and mind.