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Riva reports: "Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter is so concerned about the NSA spying scandal that he thinks it has essentially resulted in a suspension of American democracy."

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. (photo: Reuters)
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. (photo: Reuters)


Jimmy Carter: US "Has No Functioning Democracy"

By Alberto Riva, International Business Times

19 July 13

 

ormer U.S. president Jimmy Carter is so concerned about the NSA spying scandal that he thinks it has essentially resulted in a suspension of American democracy.

"America does not at the moment have a functioning democracy," he said at an event in Atlanta on Tuesday sponsored by the Atlantik Bruecke, a private nonprofit association working to further the German-U.S. relationship. The association's name is German for "Atlantic bridge."

Carter’s remarks didn't appear in the American mainstream press but were reported from Atlanta by the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, whose Washington correspondent Gregor Peter Schmitz said on Twitter he was present at the event. The story doesn't appear in the English-language section of the Spiegel website and is only available in German.

The 39th U.S. president also said he was pessimistic about the current state of global affairs, wrote Der Spiegel, because there was "no reason for him to be optimistic at this time." Among the developments that make him uneasy, Carter cited the "falling of Egypt under a military dictatorship." As president, Carter managed to get then-Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin to sign the Camp David peace agreements in 1979.

Carter said a bright spot was "the triumph of modern technology," which enabled the democratic uprisings of the Arab Spring; however, the NSA spying scandal, Carter said, according to Der Spiegel, endangers precisely those developments, "as major U.S. Internet platforms such as Google or Facebook lose credibility worldwide."

 

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+200 # MEBrowning 2013-07-19 09:21
Of course President Carter's remarks were not reported in the mainstream press, because it's not in the best interests of their corporate masters. What else don't we know about? Thanks to RSN and a handful of other sources, some of what's really going on is beginning to come to light.

As for President Carter's remarks, I would add that the U.S. has not had a "functioning" (or, more accurately, "functional") democracy since Carter's administration.
 
 
+52 # hillwright 2013-07-19 10:15
Beyond Reagan. I'd say since the Cold War. The technology was not as "slick" then but it was happening behind our back. Did anybody care?
 
 
+118 # MEBrowning 2013-07-19 11:53
Yes, someone did care. Outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower went on television in January 1961 to warn the American people about the encroachment of democratic values by the Military-Indust rial Complex (now the Military-Indust rial-Congressional Complex, although you could add "Judicial" in there, too). Did anybody care? Apparently, not enough.
 
 
+6 # Mannstein 2013-07-19 15:02
The rot began with Wilson who was out to make the world safe for democracy.
 
 
0 # James38 2013-07-20 06:36
And Eisenhower was no shining light of perfect democracy himself.

His statement was, and is, something we should understand and act upon.

However, I think we need to go much deeper in one area, and this is one place Carter may have a blind spot: The pervasive effect of "Religious Faith" causing confusion on a very fundamental (no pun intended) level of politics.

For example, could Carter's often referenced belief in Christianity be blinding him to a major part of the Egyptian situation? Mursi was not elected fairly, and he does not represent the majority of Egyptians. The relatively non-sectarian Arab Spring groups ran several candidates without holding a primary. Thus Mursi wound up the leader of the largest intact faction with a candidate, and barely got enough votes to win. Had a primary been held, and Mursi been faced with the winner, Mursi would have lost the election.

It is similar to the election of GW Bush. That election came down to Florida, and Ralph Nader, who knew his candidacy could throw the election to Bush, refused to step down and urge his supporters to vote for Gore. The result was Bush "won". Had Nader held his ego in check, his portion of the Democratic/Libe ral vote would have easily and clearly elected Gore. (We are still waiting for Nader to admit his mistake. Thanks to him, we got the "War of Lies" in Iraq.)

In Egypt, Mursi blatantly violated the universally necessary principle of Separation of Church and State.

(Continued)
 
 
+6 # James38 2013-07-20 06:41
(Continuing)

Mursi is a “faithful” follower of one of the most blatantly egotistical religions, one which urges its followers to think of themselves as superior to all others. His religion demands to be in charge of all society, and feels so certain of its supremacy that instituting religious dictatorship through Sharia law (that everyone is forced to follow) is not only fully justified, it is the “will of god”, and that his particular “Invisible Sky Fairy” is the “really real” and “truly true” best of all the various “Sky Fairies” that men have invented along with the rest of the myths, nonsense, and fantasies of their religions.
We have our own versions of this problem in the US., and our overblown acceptance of the importance of religion may be the source of our blindness to the important forces operating in Egypt. We at least have a rudimentary, but largely ineffective, provision in our Constitution mandating a separation of Church and State (in spite of which we have the absurdities of “in God we trust” festooning our currency, the nauseating “Under God” crammed into the Pledge of Allegiance, and the cliquish foolery of swearing fealty and honesty, hand on (some) bible, “So help me God”. Pardon me, but what a crock. Folks, belief has nothing to do with the truth or lack of truth of any idea, including the improvable existence of god. A Belief, however “Fervently” held, is nothing but an opinion on a pedestal.

Continued
 
 
+15 # James38 2013-07-20 06:43
(continuing)

Government exists to serve all citizens equally. Religious preferences and beliefs have nothing to do with Government, and keeping the two separate is essential to democracy and freedom. Freedom of religion includes Freedom From religion.

While many (if not most) religions fairly obviously feel and state that they (and their particular Sky Fairy) represent the true and best faith, most religions keep the feelings toned down below the outright level of a physical battle for dominance. However, we have religious sects in the US who definitely feel that they have the “right stuff” and should be in charge. My only brother in law is a Christian Fundie Fanatic, and he states very openly that he wants a Religious Dictatorship in the USA.

Mursi represents the contradiction of religion and government, and fortunately for Egypt, the military, for all its other failings and (hopefully former) corruption, at least sees that a religious dictatorship is not ideal or proper for Egypt (or any nation). Therefore it is not quite correct to refer to a “Military Coup” in Egypt. It is actually the majority voice of the Nation being expressed in the only way available at the moment. The fact that the military leadership is willing to turn the reins of government over to a civilian (non-sectarian) group is a good sign. Egypt needs to take the next step, and codify in its constitution the absolute necessity of separation of Church and State.

(Continued)
 
 
+4 # James38 2013-07-20 06:44
(concluding)

I can only hope that Jimmy Carter reads and understands all of this. I have long felt that something, probably related to religion, was confusing Carter, and keeping him from living up to his full potential. Religious “faith” will do that for a person. It keeps part of your mind totally blank and shut down.
 
 
+9 # ganymede 2013-07-20 12:24
James38, Many thanks for opening up one of the most brilliant political discussion I've ever seen on any blog. History will be very kind to Carter because he was the brightest and most ethical President we've had probably since Lincoln,even ahead of FDR. Yes,we no longer have a functioning democracy, but we can get it back. All we need to do is put down our cynicism, negativity and backbiting and start acting in a positive, mature organized fashion, whether it's out on the streets or in pressuring the moribund Congress and the corrupt corporations. Obama is not the problem, he's just a well-intentione d empty vessel who will respond to pressure, especially as his time in office winds down.
 
 
+1 # grandma lynn 2013-07-23 04:21
I appreciate this summing up of Obama, on whose watch this upped level of surveillance is taking place, on whose watch Bradley Manning is going unhaled as a true whistleblower, and now Edward Snowden - the same. "Obama is...just a well-intentione d empty vessel."
 
 
+1 # LML 2013-07-23 15:07
Well-intentione d to whose benefit?
 
 
+10 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-07-20 20:54
"Religious 'faith' will do that for a person. It keeps part of your mind totally blank and shut down."

And then, while the mind is blank and shut down, the predators take over. As we in the U.S. lose our democracy, the Conservatives will shout, "This Is The Greatest country In The world."
 
 
+44 # MainStreetMentor 2013-07-19 15:28
Jimmy Carter – the only living President who speaks to the issue of the true, most deadly issue confronting our country today – or any other day: The diluting of our forefathers’ choice of governance, which has served America well for centuries, into a mere nearly ignored formality of manipulation by avarice laden corporations.
We’ve allowed the foundation on which our country sits to be chopped, hacked, sawed, dynamited, eroded and damaged – and then have the unmitigated gall to question why nothing works.
President Carter is correct, of course, in his statement(s). The issue remains: Are you and I willing to make the hard decisions and withering sacrifices to assure Democracy’s re-construction ?
 
 
-1 # grandma lynn 2013-07-23 04:24
How simple the Brits have it - just get a new baby king-candidate in line and be happy. What we have at stake depends on so many of us - on all of us or often the majority of us - on concrete rights that are written down and depend on us reading them and remembering them, not on a symbol of no-change (new baby boy across the pond).
 
 
+46 # lorenbliss 2013-07-19 11:55
Actually the United States stopped being a "functional democracy" on 22 November 1963. That's the date historians of the more distant future -- if indeed there is any such future -- will mark as not only the end of the U.S. experiment in constitutional governance, but the death of the so-called "American" Dream as well.
 
 
+30 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-07-19 14:39
Bingo, Browning! So sad but true, what has happened with this coup. I just emailed Pres. Jimmy with my thanks and kudos.

However, I do not similarly honor the wife of another former Pres. named Bill, and former Sect. of State (I've come to call her Hill the Shill), who is now so obviously being thrust upon us as the next Dem. candidate for pres. in '16.

I do so hope that longtime Dems. (I confess, I have a former Dem. pres., Andy Jackson, hanging in my family tree) will speak up and out for justice and peace for all, reinstatement of basic rights, rule of law, voters' rights, healthcare not warfare, etc. etc. etc., and back only those ethical, real McCoy people serving pols. like Pres. Jimmy.

Lots and lots we've gotta due to...
UNDO THE EVIL COUP and get a 'functioning' democracy in place v. this current POLICE STATE AIN'T GREAT!
 
 
+8 # Erdajean 2013-07-21 06:35
Thanks rita for pointing out what will too soon be too obvious -- the vandals killing democracy have their trump card waiting to finish off the game. We'll think we're getting a toe-hold in our country again, and along will come Hillary-Shillar y, to use her seat on the Democrat throne to finish us off.

The Gullibles are already chanting for her -- without a serious look at anything she has said and done in her current lofty spot. God help us then!
 
 
+3 # grandma lynn 2013-07-23 04:26
Hillary has experience, yes, but not the experience we need. She is the status quo, someone who has really, really entrenched herself - as in digging into the deep holes deeper. I'd love to vote for Bernie Sanders, myself.
 
 
+4 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-07-21 13:03
We have had a fascism pounded into our heads by corporate interests since we enrolled in kintergarden, first grade, and it bacame a religion:"Free Enterprise System!" What we have not done, not even come close is school our citizens from youth, "nuture and strengthen our Democracy."
 
 
+170 # DaveM 2013-07-19 09:30
Am I the only one wishing we had listened to Jimmy Carter while he was in office? Take a good look at "The Global 2000 Report To The President", commissioned by Carter, and you'll find abundant examples of how things could have been handled SO differently.
 
 
+134 # myungbluth 2013-07-19 10:17
The truly steep slope of America's decline began when we chose an actor for president instead of Jimmy Carter. We have only ourselves to blame for the mess that continues to this day that Reagan left us. Carter told us the painful truth. Reagan blew smoke up our asses, so we elected him. How typically American...
 
 
+82 # karenvista 2013-07-19 11:43
Ever heard of "the October Surprise?"

Reagan sent Bush to Paris to negotiate with the Iranians to hold the Embassy hostages until after the election and promised to pay them off in illegal weapons sales.

That was happening at the same time that the Carter administration was trying to negotiate the LEGAL release of the hostages.

Did no one think it was odd that Reagan announced that the hostages had been released during his inauguration?

Reagan at least kept his word to the Ayatollah (if no one else.) That was just a very small part of the massive crimes of the Reagan/Bush Iran/Contra scandal.

He wasn't legally elected. He was elected because of the propaganda value of his crimes.
 
 
+2 # grandma lynn 2013-07-23 04:34
Reagan/Bush/Ira n/Contra scandal also pulled in Bill Clinton. The Oliver North planes that traded in the guns - drugs - money triangle flew out of Mena, Arkansas, El Dorado and McRay Arkansas. A Nation magazine article back then showed Clinton knew it. Exposed in "Beat the Devil" column by now-deceased Alexander Cockburn. When H.W. Bush and Clinton ran against each other, neither mentioned our war of attrition on Nicaragua - another reason not to elect Hillary. It continues all the manipulation of truth and hiding of truth, if she should win. The plot, ongoing, would thicken some more.
 
 
+63 # maddave 2013-07-19 10:54
But we didn't listen to Jimmy, Dave!

We listened to the perennial lies of greater revenue from tax-cuts and more-jobs & higher paychecks through supply-side economics, We heeded the clarion call of America's trickle-down Svengali, Ronald Reagan, who led us down the garden path of deregulation and unbridled predatory capitalism.

His siren song with the sweet and coded (racist) lyrics lured disillusioned, disgruntled Jim Crow hold-outs, Dixiecrats pecker-woods and and crackers out from their bayous, back-woods and ante-bellum depression . . . straight into the GOP where they took root and stayed around to hijack the Grand Old Party; throw out what it stood for; and then claim to be "The Party of Mr. Lincoln" - - - Don't you know that it was the Republicans (from Texas, Mississippi, etc ) who initiated the anti-slavery movement and authored the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves?

Ah,yeah! It all sounded so good - at the time!
 
 
+46 # maddave 2013-07-19 11:04
Your attention is invited to: Institute for Political Economy -"It's Time for Americans to Admit That We've Had a Coup d’etat" By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, one of Ronald Reagan's Economists.

His thesis is similar in direction to Jimmy Carter's.
 
 
+86 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-07-19 11:07
I liked the guy, voted for him. He did not fire one missile. He did not fit in with the military industrial complex. "They," with their financial power, collectively "kicked" him out of office.
 
 
+2 # grandma lynn 2013-07-23 04:36
He wore his sweater and changed the temperature settings in D.C. institutional buildings to save energy. He founded (good idea, though it was hijacked by the Pentagon for weapons-costs source)our Dept. of Energy.
 
 
+29 # Sully747 2013-07-19 12:28
...and how different the world would be had Henry Agard Wallace been vice president instead of Truman. No A-bombing of Japan and most likely no 50 year cold war. South Americans would like us today.
 
 
+26 # josephhill 2013-07-19 12:57
Quoting Sully747:
...and how different the world would be had Henry Agard Wallace been vice president instead of Truman. No A-bombing of Japan and most likely no 50 year cold war. South Americans would like us today.

------------------------------------------
Thank you SO much for pointing this out, Sully747. The accession of VP Truman to the Presidency signalled the beginning of the "American EMPIRE". Had Henry Wallace been allowed to continue as VP on the FDR ticket, the U.S.A.--AND the World--could have been a much different (and much more Just and Civilized) place!!
 
 
-39 # Mannstein 2013-07-19 15:07
Yes we could all be singing the International instead of the Stars and Stripes.
 
 
+8 # reiverpacific 2013-07-20 15:48
Quoting Mannstein:
Yes we could all be singing the International instead of the Stars and Stripes.

So -you probably sing "Stars and Stripes" with hand on heart and tears a-startin', eh?
Just like the twits that still sing "God save the Queen" in ol' Blighty, both wrapping themselves in the flag of big-bully "Empah" as the drones and cannon-fodder they needed to make it function and stay aggressive!
The "Internationalé " is for freedom from slavery, the 'S & S' for finks and patsies of the owner classes.
 
 
+9 # josephhill 2013-07-19 13:00
....and, Sully747, if you are who I suspect you are, I'd vote for you as President in a "New York Minute"!
 
 
+6 # NAVYVET 2013-07-20 16:52
Could you really, really be the awesome
747 Sully (to reverse your handle)? But who else would use that name?

I share your opinion of Henry Wallace!
 
 
0 # reiverpacific 2013-07-22 17:27
Quoting Sully747:
...and how different the world would be had Henry Agard Wallace been vice president instead of Truman. No A-bombing of Japan and most likely no 50 year cold war. South Americans would like us today.

Great note.
South - and Central Americans, in most case, are at least throwing off the mantle of 'Banana Republics" the US stuck them with and are in most cases more progressive than "El Hermano Grande al Norté" these days.
It's almost like how different the Middle East would look if Iran's Mohammet Mossadegu had been left to serve out his time in office.
 
 
0 # grandma lynn 2013-07-23 04:28
I do remember that he sided with the nuclear industry, walking around in Three Mile Island nuke, during its post-accident time, with little booties on his feet. If only he'd recognized, then, that corporations are wed to quarterly profits, not honesty and fair-dealing. What if that was a turning point?
 
 
+15 # moafu@yahoo.com 2013-07-19 09:32
Yes,
He calls it the "New Malaise"
 
 
+114 # SMoonz 2013-07-19 09:44
I'm glad President Carter is talking about the reality our country finds itself in, one in which civil liberties don't exist anymore. What this article leaves out is the fact that Carter gave his support of Edward Snowden by saying the leaks were beneficial.
 
 
+109 # Milarepa 2013-07-19 09:46
Good for Carter to come out with this. I mean what is anybody going to do to him? Once, democracy was a great idea, these days it no longer seems to be. The danger has been for a long time that the external trappings of democracy can be maintained while the interior is hollowed out. What you eventually end up with is a lot of properly elected empty suits who do the bidding, not of the people, but of the capitalist elite.
 
 
+60 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-07-19 09:46
A slice of history. When then Russia declared bankruptcy due to the "cold war" with the U.S., Capitalism had no competitor. The American military- industrial complex fought hard and won with your tax dollars. Which made the 1 %, military-indust rial complex very wealthy. A few years later, after bankruptcy, Russia ceased to be a cultural or economic threat to the U.S. You may remember, if you are old enough, how the Russian school children were then exceeding the U.S. school children in math and science. That Russian excellence was a social threat to U.S. Capitalism. Rather than compete with Russia, improve our school system, why not financially destroy Russia? Capitalism then started going after, attempting to crush labor and public unions, U.S. educational systems. With Russia out of the way, the Conservatives invented the slogan, "this is the greatest country in the world." Most everybody believed the slogan and which slogan was an attempt to make the working class "feel secure" while the middle class was being broken by the Capitalists. Before the predator strikes, the smart predator doesn't rustle the leaves.
 
 
-5 # Mannstein 2013-07-19 15:13
If I recall it was good old Uncle Joe who engineered a famine in the 1930s Ukraine to liquidate the middle class farmers, the Kulaks, to accelerate the world revolution. Result 7 million dead. Now that was a real holocaust.
 
 
+4 # suzyskier 2013-07-20 08:18
You are hopefully not implying that the Nazi organized Holocaust wasn't real?
 
 
0 # maddave 2013-07-22 22:28
This is horse-shit. The Ukraine food was unconscionably confiscated to feed dangerously hungry, restive masses in Moscow and other large cities.
 
 
+21 # SMoonz 2013-07-19 09:47
It is funny that Carter has been censored by the Mainstream Media on his opinions on Snowden and the NSA. Not surprising but definitely odd.

I also didn't see much talk about Jimmy Carter's support of the Zimmerman verdict when he said it was the right decision.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/17/jimmy-carter-george-zimmerman_n_3609912.html
 
 
+32 # Brooklynite 2013-07-19 11:51
Quoting SMoonz:
I also didn't see much talk about Jimmy Carter's support of the Zimmerman verdict when he said it was the right decision.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/17/jimmy-carter-george-zimmerman_n_3609912.html

Having just read the above link, I would disagree with Carter's particular line of reasoning concerning the Zimmerman verdict, but he was addressing the legal aspects of the jury verdict, and it is true that the way the trial was set up, it precluded the consideration of the single most important issue, the over-riding white supremacist racism of the US. Given the constraints to the trial,I can see where one might argue that, from a strictly legal perspective, the jury had little choice. I could go on much more why I think the Zimmerman acquittal was wrong, but this is not the thread for that.

The best thinkers aren't 100% correct all the time. Just because I disagree with Carter's analysis of one particular event, that doesn't take away from his overall very much on-point analysis of the world events, especially as he is "a voice crying in the wilderness".

Residing as I do in the state of Georgia, I am amazed that a person of Carter's intellectual and moral stature ever got elected as governor of Georgia, and, for that matter, president of the US.
 
 
-17 # Mannstein 2013-07-19 15:15
Where was the Left after the OJ Simpson verdict came down? Oh I forgot, the victims were a white woman and man so they did the right thing and headed for the tall grass.
 
 
+7 # NOMINAE 2013-07-20 17:46
Quoting Mannstein:
Where was the Left after the OJ Simpson verdict came down? Oh I forgot, the victims were a white woman and man so they did the right thing and headed for the tall grass.


Congratulations upon yet another totally fact-free rant. Are you on an truth / accuracy free diet ? Or just too lazy to research a few well-known facts?
 
 
+19 # tomo 2013-07-19 16:19
I'm with you on both counts, Brooklynite.
I didn't like the verdict on Zimmerman nor Carter's defense of it, either. (In fact I'd say the jury should have slipped out from the over-reaching of the prosecution, and found that Z. had recklessly endangered T.M.'s life in a series of acts leading to T.M.'s death--and was guilty therefore of manslaughter.)

It is however your second point that is germane to this article, and you are right to praise Carter for speaking out while almost all other prominent Democratic politicians are playing the role of sheep. They seem to be saying, "If our guy is making a fool of himself, let's keep quiet about it--lest we weaken the party." I can't think of anything more certain to ruin the party and the nation than an attitude like that and I think you're right to praise Carter for--in an altogether characteristic way--breaking rank with cowards and opportunists.
 
 
+18 # Activista 2013-07-19 21:58
right to praise Carter for--in an altogether characteristic way--breaking rank with cowards and opportunists ..
Carter (only human - not perfect) - is the last moral president with courage we had.
Clinton and Obama (democrats) censoring Carter shows how deep is the corruption of the present political system.
 
 
+7 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-07-19 17:28
Jimmy Carter made an intelligent comment on the Zimmerman case. The prosecution he said, "inadvertently set the standard so high. Turned the case into a legal issue than a moral issue. That Zimmerman was required to defend himself." The real point Carter maade was that "it was the right decision based on the evidence presented." In other words, "the jury is to listen to the evidence, see the evidence and make a decision on what they see and what they hear." What Carter was saying I believe is (my quote marks, my understanding) "was all the evidence presented to win the case not just as a legal issue but as a moral issue?" Unfortunate, and very sad that Travon based on the evidence presented had to die as " the criminal" in this matter.
 
 
0 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-07-19 19:37
(Continued) If Zimmerman wanted to defend himself, (if that was a fact in the case) during the scuffle, it is a much longer route and much more difficult for Zimmerman to take a pistol out of a waist holster, somehow move the pistol up to the chest level (how do you swiftly do that if Travon was on top and close to Zimmerman?)and discharge the weapon into Travon's chest. That is like asking Travon "please move back a little so that I have the necessary room to turn the pistol 90 degrees toward your chest and kill you." If his original intent, to not want to kill Travon, he could just as easily shot Travon in the foot, a leg. The gun was originally pointed in that direction assuming the pistol was not withdrawn from the holster. If an "attacker" is wounded,(let's say in this case the attacker is Travon) he or she is much more interested in treating the wound than winning a fight.
 
 
+1 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-07-20 11:57
Remember, Jimmy Carter, I thought, implied that not all the facts and evidence was supplied to to the jury to win the case. But, since all the jury had to woek with was the supplied evidence, what could they do? He implied that an armed man has no moral right to kill an unarmed man to save himself from an assult started by an armed man against an unarmed man. That is my understanding of what he said. I could be wrong in my assessment of what Jimmy Carter thought and said.
 
 
+4 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-07-20 21:04
Jimmy Carter has a way to be polished in speech. Remember, he did say, "based on the evidence presented, the jury acted on what they saw and what they heard." This statement, and I do not speak for President Carter, has great implications. I think he said, "had the prosecuters done their job much more professionally, that professional effort could have yielded a different verdict."
 
 
+1 # grandma lynn 2013-07-23 04:40
Our former NH Senator Gordon Humphrey sides with the whistleblowers, publicly siding with Manning last week. A wonderful surprise. I wonder if he and Carter have talked about this.
 
 
+26 # Inspired Citizen 2013-07-19 09:48
Where has Carter been? Buckley v Valeo (1976) shot democracy in the chest, and Citizens United v FEC pounded another nail in the coffin.

We can and must fight this corporate plutocracy, including what the NSA and its contractors are doing to this country. Join the fight today. Go to Move to Amend and sign the petition to get involved before corporate fascism becomes habit.
 
 
+20 # Dhimmi 2013-07-19 09:49
Bless you, Jimmy Carter!

But aren't you overstating America's problems. Democracy is to functioning in the United States. It just isn't functioning very well.

May your presidency be long remembered for your prescient statement that securing America's energy future should be regarded as the "moral equivalent of war".
 
 
+9 # Mannstein 2013-07-19 15:19
The only way to rouse the American people is to declare war by claiming it's 1938 and Munich again. Didn't Bush and Blair fall all over themselves wanting to look Churchillian just before the illegal declaration of war on Iraq?
 
 
+1 # grandma lynn 2013-07-23 04:42
Jimmy Carter - if you read this - please be in touch with our former (conservative) NH Sen. Gordon Humphrey. He's on the side of whistleblowers, sees the Manning treatment as wrong. Join forces with him and other former elected officials who see this, please!
 
 
+53 # tedrey 2013-07-19 09:49
If you have any lingering idea that we still might have a free "mainstream" press, see how long it takes that media, if ever, to report these remarks of a past American president in his own country in his own language.
 
 
+15 # tedrey 2013-07-20 06:07
24 hours later. I just tried Google News on "Jimmy Carter democracy Snowden" and got 156 news reports. Among these were NOT the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the major TV and magazine outlets, etc, etc.

This is absolutely clear.
Hold onto the free internet and the Progressive Press. Otherwise,
we have attained the situation of the Soviet Union under Pravda and Trud.
 
 
+59 # fredboy 2013-07-19 10:33
Carter was the last President of the U.S. to understand the nation and its principles.
 
 
+38 # NOMINAE 2013-07-19 12:46
Quoting fredboy:
Carter was the last President of the U.S. to understand the nation and its principles.


Well said ! I would just add what I think to be equally true in saying that Carter was the last POTUS who *CARED* about the Nation and it's principles.

But Carter was "toast" before he ever got to Washington. Famous as being an "outsider", the entire Congress just stonewalled him at every possible turn.

He was about as popular to "insiders" as an Eagle Scout among a den of thieves. That's why he was made to sweat blood for every little inch he gained on the political scene. He was, in that respect, the "proto-Obama" to his opposition, which was made up of almost everyone IN Washington and on Wall Street back then.

In spite of that, the man managed, against huge odds, to actually make some difference for the country.

Of course, he wasn't up against the huge, well-oiled Takeover State of today. That would begin in earnest with Carter's successor.
 
 
+10 # Activista 2013-07-19 22:03
Carter was the last President of the U.S. to understand the World and its principles also - foreign policy that is win for US and win for the rest.
 
 
+19 # CAulds 2013-07-19 10:53
It was published on September 5th, 2002 in the Washington Post ... I read it then, months before the shameful invasion of Iraq. Reading this changed my life.

Jimmy Carter, "The Troubling New Face of America" (05 Sep 2002):

http://www.cartercenter.org/news/documents/doc1061.html
 
 
-19 # Harold R. Mencher 2013-07-19 10:59
How does that compare to his (incorrect) opinion on the George Zimmerman/Trayv on Martin murder case?
 
 
+18 # karenvista 2013-07-19 12:07
Quoting Harold R. Mencher:
How does that compare to his (incorrect) opinion on the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin murder case?


He obviously didn't follow the case closely enough and neither did virtually everybody else.

To actually understand the case one must have watched the entire case on TV, read the transcript and then, it is necessary to seek legal advice to understand the Jury Instructions that, as one juror said left them no choice except the "Not Guilty" verdict.

I was outraged by the verdict, particularly when I read the Jury Instructions which included the verbiage from the "Stand Your Ground" law, word, for word even though Zimmerman and his attorneys had announced that they were NOT using a "Stand Your Ground" defense .

I posted this information everywhere and sent multiple threats to NBC and MSNBC if they didn't include that information in their coverage.

A couple of days later I got an email from an attorney explaining that in states that pass "Stand Your Ground" laws, one of the requirements of that law is that, no matter what self-defense case if presented in court "Stand Your Ground" protection MUST be included in the Jury Instructions.

NBC and MSNBC do now sometimes say that this was not a 'Stand Your Ground" case and occasionally remark on the Jury Instructions but almost no one, outside of the people at ALEC who created it, and the legislators who passed it, know how destructive it really is.
 
 
+13 # tomo 2013-07-19 16:50
The spirit of your comment, Karenvista, seems to me admirable and thoughtful and well informed. In the face of its good points let me say however if ever there was a good case for "jury nullification," this was it. Stand Your Ground is very bad law, and the excuse for disregarding it is that it is in conflict with other far more longstanding law which does not lightly allow one to kill another. Also, if one can define "Manslaughter" as "the reckless endangerment of another leading to that person's death," the jury could have ignored the miserable judgment of the over-reaching prosecution, and found Zimmerman guilty of manslaughter. The judge offered that as a possibility. The charge of manslaughter does not entail either a finding of premeditation or a finding of malice; all it requires is a finding of incredible foolishness leading to the death of another.

Regarding Jimmy Carter, he may have called this wrong, but regarding the matter of democracy and the state of the nation, he is a remarkable and courageous keeper of the national conscience--sec ond to none.
 
 
+4 # Harold R. Mencher 2013-07-19 19:50
Let's take this one point at a time:

1. Carter is well respected, one of our more honest & ethical presidents we've had in this country. His opinions carry a lot of weight as far as the more decent people in this country are concerned, so he has to be especially careful with his opinions, especially when he could be wrong.

2. I told a friend today that jurors aren't legally or ethically bound by a judge's instructions. They can reject those instruction if they feel morally & ethically bound to do so when the instructions basically hide the truth.

3. Jurors are not machines. They're not without feelings and, more importantly, they should have enough intelligence to be able to see through the smoke & mirrors & the noise to be able to get to the real truth. Computer programs follow instructions precisely & they never swerve from those instructions. Human beings should be more intelligent than that. They're better than that. As a juror, you don't make a decision based coldly on unjust & irrational laws like "Stand your ground." I would've filtered out all of the BS & found Zimmerman guilty of murder, and no one would've been able to persuade me otherwise.

ALEC created the "Stand your ground" law, and they covered all of their bases, including adding the wording of the law to the jury instructions. In addition, the law also states that if a civil lawsuit is brought against Zimmerman by the Martins & he wins, the Martins must pay all his legal fees.
 
 
+8 # brux 2013-07-19 22:02
I am troubled by the whole stand your ground thing.
Allen Dershowitz calls it an appeal to macho ... but I am not so sure. It is against the nature of a free man to have to skulk away when someone else is the one in the wrong.

The problem with it is, and always has been, that of if you do have a stand your ground law, you have the wild west. if there are not sufficient witnesses there can be any excuse for deadly force and if there is not enough evidence, which there usually is not ... then the perp gets away with murder ... in addition to however many others may how have to skulk away and feel bad about being "punked" for the rest of their lives.

I really have a problem with both sides of this. There are people who have more or less come at me in public, and in order to avoid a scene I have had to just turn around and walk away when that person deserved to be "humbled".

One example was when I was going out with an Asian woman and filling my car in the gas station. A crazy person started ranting and raving at me about my Asian girlfriend, coming at me, right up to me, I was in fear, but I had to stop pumping my has, go pay the bill and just drive away.

I know that somewhere along the line that person created a problem, maybe a deadly problem for someone else, because he was never remanded, punished, or called on his uncivilized and even criminal hateful behavior.
 
 
+32 # walt 2013-07-19 11:22
What? The USA has no democracy?

I wonder if he means: preemptive invasions, torture, wire-tapping, secret prisons, indefinite detention by the military of civilians, targeted killings with drones, spying on our own people and allies, attempts to restrict people from voting, a GOP Congress that deliberately obstructs everything, or maybe something else?

How can President Cater even suggest this? (Choke)
 
 
+40 # firefly 2013-07-19 11:25
I miss having a President who spoke the truth...it has been a long time.
 
 
+36 # soularddave 2013-07-19 11:32
Mr. President, I believe you & Fritz may be remembered as the last fully functioning team to occupy the White House. Its about moral leadership.
 
 
+37 # angelfish 2013-07-19 11:38
Thank you, President Carter, for pointing out the 800 lb. Gorilla in the room!
 
 
+40 # socrates2 2013-07-19 11:39
Carter so scared the elites back in the late 70's that they had to concoct anything to demonize the man. Iranian students unknowingly helped. Kissinger's good friend, Ted Koppel, embedded at ABC night after endless night salted the sore of wounded American pride and turned the public against Carter. Meanwhile traitors in the Reagan camp sabotaged Carter's October Surprise by promising Iranians a better deal (arms- for-hostages") if they held on to the hostages till after the election.
This high treason got Reagan elected. Thus began in earnest the mass transfer of wealth from the middle class to the 1% and our current economic "troubles."
A failed hostage rescue and high treason changed the historical course of the American republic. We now live in Empire.
Amnesia's a bitch.
 
 
-5 # Mannstein 2013-07-19 15:23
Ted Koppel was doing what was good for the Jews.
 
 
+5 # NOMINAE 2013-07-20 17:52
Quoting Mannstein:
Ted Koppel was doing what was good for the Jews.


Mannstein, there is a Skinhead group up in Idaho wondering why you never call !
 
 
+28 # brux 2013-07-19 11:42
I am heartened a little that a former President would have the honesty and integrity to express these thoughts.

The SOB's in our country have gather up all the money, all the power, all the means of production, all the means of investment, and are trying, maybe succeeded to put in place without agreement or understanding of the people a system that is forcing the hands of the clock backwards to some of the worst times in our history ... and the one sign of agreement they have that they blare at us over and over are the far right wing idiots who make nasty comments all over the media.

America right now seems to me to be ripe for the picking or some kind of NAZI military group. It will not be the NAZIs and it will not look the same, but in most ways it will be stronger and worse, and in the end will erupt with just as much evil, and probably more because technology makes it even stronger than the NAZIs were.
 
 
+7 # A_Har 2013-07-19 12:51
No democracy? No kidding. See:

*10 Ways That The Iron Grip Of The Big Brother Prison Grid Is Tightening On All Of Our Lives*

http://investmentwatchblog.com/10-ways-that-the-iron-grip-of-the-big-brother-prison-grid-is-tightening-on-all-of-our-lives/
 
 
+33 # Legion 2013-07-19 13:50
Carter is, in my estimation, an authentically great man. It disturbs me profoundly that no U.S. media outlet other than this one picked up his remarks. What passes for broadcast news today is beyond ludicrous, and many metropolitan daily papers have become more like television in their provincial outlook and their surfeit of human interest or pop pyschology non-news items.
 
 
+29 # tigerlille 2013-07-19 13:57
I am proud to have voted for President Carter, the last U.S. president I could respect. Didn't always agree with him, but he had a central core of decency. And he's still a courageous man of integrity.
 
 
+19 # reiverpacific 2013-07-19 14:47
The "American Mainstream (Owner) Media" demonized the Hell out of Carter when he was in office, especially later in his term when it bought into -and persuaded the electoate likewise- big Ronnie "Aw gosh!" R's crappy acting and "government is the problem" rhetoric.
Any chance at 'American Democracy' has since faded as fast as it's "can do" and brim-full sense of enterprise that used to so energize newcomers like myself, beginning in 1980.
Reagan subsequently increased government and it's spending -especially on the arms front and pandering to extractive industries under James Watt's cynical direction, by 189%, and all time record!
His final victory was helpfully pushed along by the back-door shenanigans of Bush the senior making a deal with the Iranian hostage-takers to keep them there until Reagan had been officially declared the winner of that ill-fated US election and it's long, accelerating downhill slide into almost totalitarian plutocracy, greased by that same appalling, content-free media.
Carter wasn't even close to being perfect (who is. or was?) but he has struggled hard to uphold standards of human dignity and decency for this country at home and especially overseas, in the face of some of the most venal, exploitative, corrupt and just plain stupid holders of the offices of president and VP in the country's history.
 
 
+12 # tm7devils 2013-07-19 15:23
Of course it wasn't reported in the MSM...we don' t have a "free press"!!!
Thank god (uh, sorry...lost my head) for the Internet or we would all be interacting at a snail's pace and ignorant as rocks.
 
 
+12 # She Cee 2013-07-19 19:50
You say, "thank god for the Internet".

Don't hold your breath because when the Internet is shut down (and don't think for a moment that it can't happen) than maybe those who have their heads in the sand as to what is really going on in this country,,,will finally wake up to the catastrophe that has happened in and to our country.

About 30 years ago I asked, "WHo is to say that Democracy will endure? I see us going down the path of the Romans ". I don't know why, but It just seemed to me that's what was happening with America's increasing decadence.
 
 
+7 # A Different Drummer 2013-07-19 18:13
Hey Jimmy, thanks for your opinion. Now how about actually putting your money where your mouth is.

I voted for you twice and supported your policies, almost to lock step.

As a fellow geezer, what do you have to lose to really stand up for the American republic? Can you really stand by with the war crimes, violations of US law and vilification of all you hold holy? Get off your ass and finish the job you took on. We elected you to lead us, your job is not done as long as you draw breath.
 
 
+10 # reiverpacific 2013-07-20 06:57
Quoting A Different Drummer:
Hey Jimmy, thanks for your opinion. Now how about actually putting your money where your mouth is.

I voted for you twice and supported your policies, almost to lock step.

As a fellow geezer, what do you have to lose to really stand up for the American republic? Can you really stand by with the war crimes, violations of US law and vilification of all you hold holy? Get off your ass and finish the job you took on. We elected you to lead us, your job is not done as long as you draw breath.

I'd say that he's been doing that ever since his ousting by the blighted Reagan and Daddy-of-Dimwit s' back door machinations.
Best ex-president that you ever had but he could and can only do so much almost single-handedly in the face of so much anti-progressiv e downslide.
 
 
-11 # brux 2013-07-19 21:53
My skepticism about Carter is what always happens with progressive causes, that someone comes in saying all the things every Progressive wants to hear ... Obama for example ... to endear themselves to the Progressive cause, collect followers & votes - for their own benefit or the benefit or someone they are working for.

The problem with Carter is that he has been more or less irrational on the whole Palestinian issue for decades. So, although I totally agree with him on this issue and some others, like his assessment of the Venezuelan electoral system ... I simply cannot go there in terms of the Palestinian issue.

I may not like what Israel does, but the problem is not driven by Israel and could be solved in 30 mins. by a reasonable Palestinian leader not owned and controlled by Syrian, Iran, and radical Islam.

I sincerely wish that Progressives, would start to realize how they are co-opted & driven to lose by the different ways they have accepted what are virtual moles that discredit them into the movement.

Virtually all the big shots in the Progressive movement are shills for other forces - often radical Islamic. Democracy Now!, which I love, is another one that is irrational on the Middle East.

Progressives would be much better off ignoring certain issues,, and focusing on, like universal health care, free education, FDRs Second Bill Of Rights, and restoring a progressive tax system, ... there is a logical sequence that they need to be done in.
 
 
+6 # James Marcus 2013-07-20 01:15
the NSA is a Treasonous outfit; and Obama, as Commander-in-Ch ief is responsible.
NDAA and 'Patriot' are both TREASONOUS Acts.
 
 
+9 # Anarchist 23 2013-07-20 06:37
We have not had a functioning democracy in the real sense since they blew off JFK's head in 1963 and called it a 'magic' bullet. then they killed MLK Jr and RFK and again, history swerved toward the right. The corporate monsters have destroyed not only civil society but are going for the entire planet and for the most part they have succeeded; we have tipped over and it is not going back to what it was. And Nate Silver predicts the Repubs will win the Senate! How stupid are 'we'? Well what can you expect from the party that, since Nixon, has exhibited a party badge with three reversed five pointed stars? According to occult lore, the reversed pentagram is a sign of the devil. What is going on in this country with its worship of wealth achieved by destruction and its disdain for the 'other'-the people of color, the women, the children, the elderly, the poor, the sick and disabled, the environment- all that can certainly be accurately termed Satanism. Welcome to Hell: the Stassi States of Amerikkka. Sheeple awake! Don't continue marching toward your doom with eyes wide shut.
 
 
+7 # wrknight 2013-07-20 08:32
Also reported in the German language version of Der Spiegle but not reported in the U.S. media and not reported here were Carter's comments "The invasion of privacy has gone too far." and "The disclosure by whistleblower Snowden was useful".

I would go a step further and say that the disclosure by Snowden was a truly commendable public service.
 
 
0 # reiverpacific 2013-07-20 16:08
@ 'brux".
I kinda half get what you are saying but there are no real serious "progressive" critical masses in the USA to have "big shots", any more than there is a left wing force for substantial change away from the plutocratic status-quo and there never will be until money, citizens united, lobbyists and the appalling owner-media are taken out all at once by a massive revolution, or in increments by a few courageous individual representatives with a backing of non-corruptible solidarity .
I for one never thought that Carter was perfect, as witness his friendship with Shah Reza Pahlavi just for one but I can't think of anybody, in or after-office, who has consistently stood up and spoken out for a semblance of Democratic policies and aspirations at home and abroad, including Palestine/ Israel (I am NOT goin' to get into a war of words with you on that subject; let's agree to disagree there, as we obviously have totally apposite views on the Middle East, OK?!).
Your last paragraph is a bit impractical, as I agree with the list of "likes" but you can't just ignore "certain issues", or turn the other cheek, as this invariably gives opposing and regressive forces openings to undermine truly significant goals.
 
 
-3 # brux 2013-07-20 21:14
Please when you are replying to me reply to it in the space provided so I can see it and we can talk - OK? You've done this I don't know how many times and it is kind of chicken***.

What I was trying to get at is that the bog-shots of the Left are fake. They are like Al Gore ... and environmentalis t whose family owns and oil company. The Left has been co-opted ... or at least the faces of the Left we see in the Media. It is as Noam Chomsky says, these people are more or less hired to provide a limit to the bounds of acceptable thought. I oppose them.

I agree, Carter has a lot of good opinions. We can agree to disagree on the Middle East. I'll just say that anyone who tells me they believe in Leftist causes and then supports the Palestinians and behind them radical Islam is morally incoherent.
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2013-07-21 09:06
Quoting brux:
Please when you are replying to me reply to it in the space provided so I can see it and we can talk - OK? You've done this I don't know how many times and it is kind of chicken***.

What I was trying to get at is that the bog-shots of the Left are fake. They are like Al Gore ... and environmentalist whose family owns and oil company. The Left has been co-opted ... or at least the faces of the Left we see in the Media. It is as Noam Chomsky says, these people are more or less hired to provide a limit to the bounds of acceptable thought. I oppose them.

I agree, Carter has a lot of good opinions. We can agree to disagree on the Middle East. I'll just say that anyone who tells me they believe in Leftist causes and then supports the Palestinians and behind them radical Islam is morally incoherent.

I tried and there wasn't room "In the space provided (1,500 word limit)" but I did my best, so enough of the "chicken shit" OK!
I don't support "Radical Islam" or any other organized religion. If you can't see Israel under LIKUD as the aggressor, like most progressives, then the blinkers are yours.
Israel (Nukes'n all) is the product of the British post-WW11 carving board. Palestine is a Millennia-old sovereign nation, now the largest open-air prison in the world with LIKUD's scorched-earth policies, including destruction of millennia-old olive groves for expansionism, home demolition, wall building and oh aye -remember Rachel Corrie?
Just sayin'.
 
 
-3 # brux 2013-07-22 00:08
Let's assume Israel was the aggressor ... to be the aggressor against terrorists is not a bad thing. The Islamics have oppressed non-Muslims for centuries in this area and lots more. At least the Jews had to the audacity to stand up for themselves and demand independence. Trying to them look like the victim and demand independence is almost comical, except for the fact that the Palestinians with a global network of terrorist support and funding are trying to terrorize the whole planet into giving up pieces back to the Islamic caliphate ... in a movement reminiscent of the European fascists motivating people by recovering the glory days of past empires.

That's the bottom line. No one likes how any of this is done, but there is no alternative. If it was the other way around and Israel was the ones occupied, as they were for centuries, the "aggression" and human rights violations would be many times worse and I wonder if then you would be complaining so loud.

Palestine was an area ruled by the Ottoman Empire and it's equivalents. Just making stuff up is CH*******IT. Making Rachael Corrie the issue is another CS thing ... and yes, you are "just saying" ... words that do not add up.
 
 
0 # brux 2013-07-20 21:15
I am not sure which one of my posts you are talking about in your last paragraph about my last paragraph ... can you explain please.
 
 
+3 # reiverpacific 2013-07-21 09:09
Quoting brux:
I am not sure which one of my posts you are talking about in your last paragraph about my last paragraph ... can you explain please.

The one beginning with "My skepticism about Carter".
I'm done with this, as we agree on many things and I don't wish to bore the readers with any more verbal tennis.
Hope we can leave it at that; we need to use RSN as a force for solidarity methinks, what?
 
 
-2 # brux 2013-07-22 00:09
When you go off the deep end for no reason about Israel that can never happen ... which I guess is your object.
 
 
0 # reiverpacific 2013-07-22 17:49
Quoting brux:
When you go off the deep end for no reason about Israel that can never happen ... which I guess is your object.

Look, I told you, I'm not getting into a war of words about the Middle East, Israel as we are utterly in opposition on that issue; in fact I thought that we'd agreed to disagree. on this, so why are you perpetrating it?
Our project as progressives or wanna-be same, is to find common ground so we can resist the age old reactionary tactic of "Divide and conquer", so I'm not going to dive into your chicken-shit, accusatory, rather offensive pool of rhetoric.
I'm inclined to cut you off this time as I will not join the "Drift into vitriol" you seem to be prodding me towards and I don't wish to weary the RSN readership over a seemingly personal cut-and-thrust difference.
I would really suggest you look at your own comments as examples of 'going off the deep end'. The Israel "That can never happen" is being perpetrated in the US and by LIKUD as part of it's "perpetual war for perpetual peace" program -with apologies to George Orwell for my poor inference to '1984'.
I'm trying to establish a peripheral discussion on a touchy subject which has wandered off the main and is in danger of becoming irrelevant
So please, respectfully, consider this my coda, or if you prefer, I give up. Call that Chicken Shit if you like; I'm not really sure what that term means anyhoo.
Please loosen up and get a sense o' humor.
By-eee.
 
 
+2 # EverythingSolidMeltsIntoAir 2013-07-21 21:37
USA is a representative republic. The popular vote is not legally relevant. The nations origins lie down in the loving embrace of international corporations formed for the specific purpose of looting the natural resources of the continent. Many have met their fate in the shadow of this locomotive. Many more will, with or without weapons. With or without the NSA, phone recordings, facial recognition or whatever the newest boogyman/conspi racy theory might be. Carter was right about the environment. Carter was right about how a POTUS should act. Carter told us that peak oil was happening, because it was obvious that it was happening. WE (yes, you) chose EGO over LOGIC. WE (yes, you) chose evil over good, in the end. Focus on your community. Dismantle corporations. Do not use oil. Divest hegemony. Ignore the House until election day. Make where you live into the place you dream of living. It is not too late for social democracy to ascend and theocracy and ego worship to descend. Peace must be embraced in the future of the Republic.
 
 
+1 # easter planet 2013-07-25 22:06
Thank you President Carter, right on! Excellent comments above, for a change.
As your new interim president, I have suspended the Obama Administration, Congress and the Courts, while I take two weeks to write a new constitution. Following that there will be an election under the new constitution. I can share with you a few of the main points - the Senate is abolished. There will be a house that addresses the Public Good, and another house that represents the collective private interest. There will be an enumeration to create a federal voter's list with strictly federal voting rules that apply to all citizens. The federal government will not recognize state governments, only local governments, that is why the Senate is no longer needed. Nobody can afford that intermediary level of government anymore. Are you with me on this??
 
 
0 # easter planet 2013-07-25 22:07
Thank you President Carter, right on! Excellent comments above, for a change.
As your new interim president, I have suspended the Obama Administration, Congress and the Courts, while I take two weeks to write a new constitution. Following that there will be an election under the new constitution. I can share with you a few of the main points - the Senate is abolished. There will be a house that addresses the Public Good, and another house that represents the collective private interest. There will be an enumeration to create a federal voter's list with strictly federal voting rules that apply to all citizens. The federal government will not recognize state governments, only local governments, that is why the Senate is no longer needed. Nobody can afford that intermediary level of government anymore. Are you with me on this??
 

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