Friday, December 28, 2007
Can it be that others cope with the reality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Patriot Acts I & II, retroactive immunity for the telecoms and government actors complicit in the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens by a process of cognitive dissonance? If I shop enough, exercise enough, and play enough all the threats to my liberty will vanish. I read somewhere that most Americans loosely fall into one of two categories: cowards or conformists. It stung but I could offer no rational defense. When citizens of a republic fail or refuse their duty to hold their elected officials to account the consequences are never good, as the merest glance at history reveals.
Ray McGovern, a 27 year veteran of the CIA (retired), has noticed an ominous thread in our recent history that can be traced to the dissolution of the German republic in the early 1930's. The dangerous combination of a largely indifferent population and a highly aggressive, reactionary political leadership imbued with a corporatist agenda is a trademark our nation now shares with the doomed German republic.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Edward S. Herman and David Peterson in a recent Znet post had this to say.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The framers of our Constitution had in mind a lasting document which would formalize a system of government that discouraged the concentration of power and safeguarded certain liberties, while also serving the needs and interests of elites within the society. Of critical importance to an understanding of the Constitution is an examination of the context under which this document was created. It was determined that the original Articles of Confederation provided insufficient support for commerce and trade. Furthermore, to better defend the union from external threats or internal insurrection, the benefits of a centralized system over one of loosely aligned confederates were self-evident. The Founders recognized that the Confederacy was a fragile union and their concerns about possible encroachment and other abuses from European rivals were well founded.
This essay, however, will not address whether consolidation was a more efficient method of governance than a confederation of semi-autonomous states, but rather if the consolidated government that was formed served the powerful at the expense of the masses. Was ideology the primary motivating factor animating the Founders in creating our Constitution, or was ideology merely an expedient rationalization for the hierarchical republican system that it produced? How great an influence did the economic interest of elite sectors of 18th century America have on the Founders, and how were they ultimately reflected in the Constitution? Finally, what are the justifications for republican forms of government and are they inherently destined to become the tools of the powerful?
Charles A. Beard would be among the first to present an "economic interpretation of the Constitution" with his book of the same title and published in 1913. While this work has many weaknesses, they do not in any way detract from the central question he raised: did the Constitution as created by the Founders, serve, defend, and preserve the interests and priorities of the elite class to which they belonged? As Beard made clear, laws and statutes are not created within a vacuum, they reflect the social conditions on the ground not amorphous theories. He writes:
Inasmuch as the primary object of a government, beyond the mere repression of physical violence, is the making of the rules which determine the property relations of members of society, the dominant classes whose rights are thus to be determined must perforce obtain from the government such rules as are consonant with the larger interest necessary to the continuance of their economic processes, or they must themselves control the organs of government (Beard 13).
He further notes that the former occurs in a stable despotism (a perfect monarchy for example), but in a system in which power is to be shared by different groups in the society, the mechanisms and protocols of establishing control are the fundamental concerns of constitutional law. It then follows that, “The social structure by which one type of legislation is secured and another prevented—that is, the Constitution—is a secondary or derivative feature arising from the nature of the economic groups seeking positive action and negative restraint” (Beard 13).
Contrary to many of Beard’s detractors, the genesis for his approach to constitutional history was provided by the polemics of James Madison in Federalist Number 10 of The Federalist Papers. Incredibly, some have accused Beard of “misreading” Madison here, as though this accomplished scholar had somehow lost the facility of comprehension. Madison, a towering intellect, knew well how to make himself understood. In Number 10 he carefully presents his argument in clear, unambiguous terms which do not easily lend themselves to misinterpretation. Madison recognized that any society in which there is an unequal distribution of resources and property will be home to factionalism. This inevitable circumstance, Madison insisted, can be addressed in one of two ways: in the first by eliminating its cause, and in the second by mitigating its effects. While the causes of factionalism can be as varied as humanity itself, Madison identified the following universal truism regarding factionalism, property and the role of government:
The diversity in the faculties of men from which the rights of property originate, is not less than an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of society into different interests and parties…the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property (Fed 10).
Madison and the Founders represented a distinct class of Americans and it is my contention that the document they created to regulate the new republic reflected their priorities and fears. The Constitution thereby insured that republicanism would prevail. A republican form of government is based primarily on two assumptions. The first is that an elite “specialized” class is properly qualified to rule by reasons of intelligence, breeding and “virtue”. These qualities render this class of men immune from the common human frailties that prevent lesser beings from placing the public welfare before their self interests. The second is that the masses are inherently dangerous and cannot be trusted to exercise its will. Invariably, the leaders of a republican system are drawn from its elite sectors and are sensitive and responsive to the priorities of this class. At the same time there is the recognition that the needs of the masses must be addressed (within limits) if society is to profitably function. Thus, republicanism seeks a balance between the prerogatives of the elite and some limited form of liberty for the masses; however, all important decisions are proposed, evaluated, and advanced amongst a small core of elites who then provide the masses with the means with which to ratify those decisions through qualified (and often sympathetic) electors. For example, Beard makes this observation of the Constitutional Convention:
No special popular elections were called to complicate the problem of securing the right kind of Convention and the leaders were confronted with the comparatively simple task of convincing the legislatures of the advisability of sending delegates. Naturally the most strenuous and interested advocates of change came forward as candidates (Beard 64).
It is the ideological underpinnings, the foundation, if you will, upon which republicanism rests that are at variance with democratic principles and go a long way in explaining how the Constitution primarily served the interests of elite sectors of 18th century America and how it was (and is) justified. Joyce Appleby writes of the antecedents to the American republic in her essay The Social Origins of American Revolutionary Ideology. Here she points to England’s mixed constitution as a source of inspiration for the Founders for it provided the necessary protections against the “fatal usurpations of power”. She explains:
According to the theory…the classic forms of government—monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy—were subject to degeneration into their debased alter egos, tyranny, oligarchy, and anarchy. Hope of breaking with this fated corruption lay within combining the known forms into a constitutional arrangement in which the monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic elements acted as checks upon each other. This checking would only take place, however, if the three elements were independent of one another and if members of the political body possessed the necessary civic virtue to place constitutional duties above private concerns (Appleby 938).
What is perhaps most striking about this passage are its unconsciously elitist assumptions. By what rationale does one legitimize the existence of the monarchy or an aristocracy in society at all? Precisely what makes these institutions so critical to the proper functioning of society that it becomes necessary to check the democratic impulse? Concomitant to these assumptions is the belief, the certainty in fact, that democracy or its “excess” will lead to anarchy. The implication being that the people are incapable of governing themselves outside of hierarchical structures from which they can be managed.
Appleby further notes that the leaders of a republic are expected to be beyond reproach owing not only to their virtuous nature, but due also to the fact that they would be men of substantial wealth, thereby insulating them from the temptations which would fell men of lesser means. She reasons that, “Since the principal means of subverting virtue were bribes and places of profit, it was concluded that virtue could only exist among those who were not dependant upon others for such favors” (Appleby 938).
These assurances aside, once in power there is really nothing to prevent these remarkably virtuous men from defending and promoting the interest of their class at the expense of society’s less fortunate majority. One will search long and likely in vain for perfectly selfless men to lead anything much less an entire society with so much to gain and lose. The virtuous man is a myth, a Superman, conjured by elites to rationalize hierarchical society and little more. Rubbish such as the “divine right of kings” served a similar purpose.
Appleby notes that the emerging merchant class of England recognized these limiting features of classical republicanism which viewed change of any kind as dangerous and destabilizing—including the growing free market economy. Aristocrats feared the corrupting influence of a market economy and vehemently opposed Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole because of his advocacy of it. The classic aristocrats were inexorably being muscled out by this aggressive new breed of men. For the merchant class, private enterprise was as vital as the air they breathed and nothing would dissuade them from grabbing the reins, Appleby writes:
On a scope unheard of before, private enterprise supported by government policies could create wealth in a variety of ways. And the bogeys of the opposition press were precisely the instruments of the new capitalist economy—the Bank of England, the funded debt, the expanding national bureaucracy, and the plethora of investment opportunities that led to stock jobbing. From the view point of classical republicanism these were the engines of corruption. They were also elements of a fairly coherent national policy to promote the productive possibilities of Great Britain in an expanding world trade (Appleby 939).
The merchant class was now in the driver’s seat. Though still a relative minority, this dynamic class was vastly greater in number and in many instances came from far humbler backgrounds than the aristocratic class they were now marginalizing. There can be no question that they were aware of their growing power and influence, as well as the necessity that the government be responsive to their interests—above all others. Appleby describes the changing of the guard in 18th century England this way,
…the case that lay between the men who ran England in the 18th century and their critics was not simply one of being for or against the use of patronage, but rather of being for or against a national engagement that required the support of private enterprise, aggressive national policies, and the elimination of obstacles to increasing the productive power of groups within society (Appleby 940).
The American counterparts to Britain’s merchant class were no doubt paying close attention to these developments and were in an even more advantageous position, not just geographically but politically. There was no established aristocracy in the American colonies per se so, in a sense, there really was no higher class to overcome. The American equivalent to the British merchant class was arguably already a part of 18th century America’s upper strata. Seizing political control was mere child’s play. More critically, these new American elites adopted many of the “positive” features of republicanism, paying particular attention to containing the democratic impulses of the masses. However, no power relationship is complete without an accompanying ideology to justify it. Kings have their divine rights, aristocrats have their virtuous men, and capitalists have the benefit of what Appleby describes as, “The idea of a natural social order embedded in human nature and worked out through the voluntary, but natural, interaction of individuals” (Appleby 941). Lost amid this beautiful imagery is how perfectly such a theory aligns with the interest of those who benefit from the status quo. Quite naturally the function of government should be in assisting this process along with minimal interference, for to do otherwise would run the risk of violating a “natural law”. Governments may of course, “design laws to achieve specific national goals”, but should keep in mind that, “only those statutes that worked within the economic order could be executed successfully” (Appleby 942).
In light of these sentiments, fully embraced by the Founders, it becomes clear why scholars such as Beard argued that economic considerations were foremost in the minds of those who hammered out the Constitution in Philadelphia.
The ideology that accompanied these economic concerns served the purpose of explaining to the masses why so little had changed in their lives since the Revolution and how the new Constitution—about which they were not consulted—would assure “liberty” nonetheless. The people, as Gordon Wood details in his study The Creation of the American Republic 1776-1787, were proving to be slow learners. Mistakenly assuming that the soaring rhetoric of the Revolution applied to them, the people began to actively participate in the governing of their society. Wood writes, “Despite the success of the war against Britain the people remained possessed by a ‘general uneasiness…without the least apparent cause’. Instead of a community of placid yeomen, celebrated in Crevecoeur’s Letters From an American Farmer, the society appeared filled with inveterate grumblers” (Wood 399). Oddly, Wood does not attempt to examine the valid grievances which so agitated the populace, but managed to provide a barrage of vitriol from elite sources who were no doubt appalled by the dangerous turn of events.
If the new republic was to survive in its proper hierarchical format then the rabble must first be disciplined and brought to reason. It was imperative that order be established and quickly. A centralized republican form of government was the only way this could realistically be accomplished. The Articles of Confederation proved inadequate to the task and were a disaster for business. The Constitution, however, would change all of that.
How does one adequately explain, from an ideological standpoint, the extraordinary protections written into the Constitution for the institution of slavery and indentured servitude as witnessed by Article I, section 9, first clause (slavery); and Article IV, section 2, third clause (indentured servitude)? If, as many insist, the Constitution was a document of exalted ideals, how does one explain the protections of so profitable an enterprise that stood so completely at variance with the principles upon which it was founded? The merest fraction of the population could profitably afford slaves or, for that matter, indentured servants (itself a form of slavery) yet the concerns—demands in fact—of this powerful class were addressed.
Moving forward through time it doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to see how the interests of Big Oil has, from the very beginning, been the driving force behind the Team Bush assault on Iraq. I’ll write more on this subject in my next essay.
Beard, Charles A. An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. New York: The Free Press, 1913
Wood, Gordon S. The Creation of the American Republic 1776-1787. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1969
Madison, James et al. The Federalist Papers. New York: Penguin, 1987
Appleby, Joyce. “The Social Origins of American Revolutionary Ideology”
The Journal of American History. Vol. 64, No 4 (Mar, 1978), 935-958
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Ok, enough of that. It's time to get back to the subject nearest and dearest to my heart: my country's fucked up foreign and domestic policies. Today I came across an essay on TomDispatch.com which is without question one of the most important sources for information that's generally downplayed or ignored in the mainstream media. This particular essay was penned by Chalmers Johnson whose trilogy on American Empire, Blowback [written before 9/11 yet remarkably prescient], The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemisis: Fall of the American Republic are simply must reads for anyone who gives a damn about this country and where it's headed.
Johnson reviews The Matador's Cape, America's Reckless, Response to Terror by Stephen Holmes--itself a review of several books by various neo-cons explaining away the shit-pile they helped construct. What I found most striking about this essay was a quote Johnson includes from Andrew Bacevich, writer of The New American Militarism, about our prospects under possible Democratic leadership in 2008:
"None of the Democrats vying to replace President Bush is doing so with the promise of reviving the system of checks and balances…. The aim of the party out of power is not to cut the presidency down to size but to seize it, not to reduce the prerogatives of the executive branch but to regain them."
Encouraging isn't it? Read on.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 09, 2007
"People of America: the world is following your news in regards to your invasion of Iraq, for people have recently come to know that, after several years of tragedies of this war, the vast majority of you want it stopped. Thus, you elected the Democratic Party for this purpose, but the Democrats haven't made a move worth mentioning. On the contrary, they continue to agree to the spending of tens of billions to continue the killing and war there."—Osama bin Laden
Well…he certainly seems to have his facts straight. I mean the world IS following very closely the events in Iraq, and since the beginning has opposed our actions there. Check the polls if you still harbor doubts. Point 1: Osama
“…after several years of tragedies of this war, the vast majority of you want it stopped”--OBL
Hmmm, yes it would also appear that our murderous occupation has indeed been “very bad” for the people of Iraq seeing as how it has reduced much of the country to rubble and killed perhaps 1 million of TWSNBN*. Oh, it also has killed over 3000 American cannon fodder and promises to add many more—in addition to the thousands who have been maimed and psychologically scarred for life. That counts as a tragedy doesn’t it? It would also appear from polls of American opinion across the political spectrum that most Americans are against our continued presence there. Point 2: Osama.
“Thus, you elected the Democratic Party for this purpose, but the Democrats haven't made a move worth mentioning”—OBL
Wow! Osama is even hip to the bipartisan nature of American Empire, that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two wings of the Business Party when it comes down to fundamentals. Both wings believe America to be uniquely qualified to violate the sovereignty of other nations at will in order to promote “democracy” [at gun point] where we find it lacking. The fact that these “failed states” also happened to be the source of stupendously profitable natural resources is the merest coincidence of course. Point 3: Osama.
“On the contrary, they continue to agree to the spending of tens of billions to continue the killing and war there”—OBL
Yep, I’m afraid he’s right again SCC. Bush asked for a supplemental budget of 100 billion dollars to continue the imperial campaign in Mesopotamia and the “opposition” party gave him an extra 24 billion for the surge. This of course was AFTER the public, in an anti-war fever voted the Democrats to the majority in the House and Senate. The first thing Pelosi did upon assuming power in the House was to take the impeachment of Bush and the draw down of US forces in Iraq off the agenda. The Democrats rode a wave of anti-war sentiment to power in the November 2006 mid-term elections and promptly voted for every funding increase or appropriation Bush asked for in prolonging the assault on Iraq. How’s that for “representative democracy” at work? Point 4: Osama.
It's really bad when THIS guy makes more sense than you do SCC. On second thought, scratch that...you've never made much sense when the subject is US foreign policy. Let's examine the following example:
“Every single time the democrats beat the drum to surrender in the War on Terror, Osama bin Laden himself pops up to remind everyone just what is at stake”—SCC
What’s at stake SCC? What was at stake in March of 2003? Osama and Saddam were oil and water. Secular Iraq would not tolerate Al Qaeda, in fact did not tolerate it. There was no connection between 9/11 and Iraq. None, nada. There were no WMD in Iraq, as the UN weapons inspectors had long ago confirmed. Saddam had been effectively disarmed during Desert Storm and further weakened by the murderous sanctions regime maintained by the Clinton administration. It’s important to recall that conditions in Iraq during this time approached genocide, killing as many as 5000 children per month. The first two directors of the UN Oil-For-Food program, Dennis Halliday, and Hans von Sponeck resigned in protest over the issue followed soon after by Jutta Burghart, the director of the UN World Food Program. All realized how radically the sanctions violated the UN Charter as it sought to punish the Iraqi people for Saddam’s crimes [committed with US assistance]. When we invaded Iraq it posed a threat to no one, not her neighbors and least of all the US. This would help explain why Arab nations weren’t flocking to join in—not even Iran or Kuwait both of which suffered at Saddam’s hands in the past [the former with US assistance].
Here’s what’s at stake SCC: our democracy [such as it is] and the prospects for peace on earth. The US can continue down its present course of militarism and conquest in increasing isolation as a rogue state thus marshalling the world against it OR it can help restore respect for international law and the treaties and institutions that ensure peace. The solution is quite simple. If we wish to stop the spread of terrorism then we must stop committing acts of terror ourselves on an unprecedented scale. If we support the rule of law then we must no longer lead the world in violations of international law.
Sorry SCC, you’re all wet again.
* Those Who Shall Not Be Named, thus TWSNBN. This refers to the estimated 700,000 to 1 million Iraqis who have perished as a result of America’s invasion of their country. SCC finds the unwelcome implications of these numbers so distressful that any mention of them sends the moderators into apoplectic rage. As a result of their peculiar sensibilities regarding this matter I agreed to forevermore refer to the Iraqi dead as TWSNBN in my correspondence with them.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Let’s reflect on the issues he raises in this recent post regarding the state of denial among progressives who cling relentlessly to the fallacy that somehow, some way the Democrats Will Save Us. He calls this essay appropriately enough, “Blinded by the Story: Liberals and Progressives as Political Creationists”.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
“Hillary's people have to be licking their chops. First, they berated Obama as a foreign policy lightweight for saying that he'd meet with enemy states like Iran or North Korea despite that fact that they have, time and again, violated UN sanctions and International Law”—SCC
Obama steps in it? Steps in what? The Barockstar is merely playing the game fellas. Hillary plays it as well. As representatives of the Business Party’s milder wing, both The Hillerator and Barockstar must demonstrate to the owners of our plutocracy (corporations and major investors) that they will keep their eye on the prize. You see guys, the Bushistas have fucked things up royally. Let’s briefly revue how they’ve run the imperial train off the rails:
--Iraq is “lost”, that is to say it cannot be profitably exploited by the USuk energy corporations after what has to be the most inept occupation in history.
--The illegal USuk invasion/occupation has managed in fact to do the precise opposite of what its planners envisioned—increased the influence and prestige of Iran in the region.
--The Bushistas have repeated the fundimental mistake of the Vietnam War in attempting to conduct a war of imperial conquest with volunteers instead of mercenaries. Though an attempt to get around this obstacle has been made with the increased use of private contractors (i.e mercenaries) there simply aren’t enough of them to overcome the Iraqi resistance.
--The US Army is nearly broken. Yep, that happens when you try to get around the fact that you just can’t find enough cannon-fodder to enlist, so you just keep rotating the same troops through over and over and over again. Futhermore, it is bankrupting the Treasury and drowning the nation in foreign debt.
--As a result of the above, the US is unable to slap Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and others who defy the Hegemon (and its corporations) back in line with a quick invasion like back in the good old days. We’re spread too thin.
The Democrats have to show that THEY are the better managers of Pax Americana thus the tough talk from Barockstar, it’s the only card they have since they share the same imperial values. Obama-Bad-Ass is speaking directly to a particular audience when he sprouts off about Pakistan—namely elites. He means to reassure the owners of our society that a Democratic victory in ’08 will not lead to a constriction of America’s aggressive foreign policy. Look at where both The Hillerator and Barockstar converge on the issues: (1) both agree to leave the possibility of a nuclear strike on Iran, a major violation of the UN Charter—just the threat—“on the table”; (2) both have no intention of removing US troops from Iraq or the region as they staunchly support the continuing construction of the largest US embassy in the world right in the heart of illegally occupied Baghdad, as well as the 14 massive permenant bases also undergoing construction in strategic locations throughout Iraq—all of which ensures US control of ACCESS to the vital and stupendously profitable energy resources of Iraq.
An attack on Pakistan is indeed madness SCC—we can’t subdue Iraq let alone the nation you’ve described—but Barockstar knows this. As he and Hillerator jockey for position as Imperial America’s Chief Manager, they use code-speak for the audience that counts which roughly translates as follows: We won’t let you down like those other fools, just give us the power and we’ll bring home the bacon.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
As Americans we are accustomed to thinking of Other Places where the rule of law goes unacknowledged or where the writ of habeas corpus is held in such trivial esteem as to be non-existent. Certainly OUR president would never authorize the domestic wire-tapping of American citizens without a court order as required by law. Surely there is a LEGITIMATE explanation for why our elected officials ratified the radical and Orwellian-titled legislation known as the Patriot Act which so fundamentally undermines our Bill of Rights without bothering to READ IT first.
I sometimes feel as though I’ve awaken from a bad dream only to discover that yes…both houses of congress did in fact pass the terrifying Military Commissions Act of 2006—virtually without debate. In a stroke, extraordinary powers were granted to the President the likes of which the founders never intended for his office as Amnesty International’s report on this legislation makes plain.
The Unitary Executive
The founders understood that there existed no greater threat to the republic than the unchecked power of an Executive who would be King. As a precaution they unambiguously enshrined in our Constitution critical checks and balances designed specifically to separate the powers of government into clearly delineated spheres from which neither institution could come to dominate and thus draw to itself the power of Cesar. The Bushites would change all of that. Legislation such as the Patriot Act which serves to undermine our Bill of Rights and the Military Commissions Act which so radically challenges James Madison’s separation-of-powers concept and basic tenants of liberty such as habeas corpus goes a long way towards completing their project.
The Bush administration has aggressively pursued its “unitary executive” theory since its first days in office but following 9/11 and the subsequent “war on terror” this agenda has taken on a heightened urgency. In brief, the unitary executive theory posits that the president enjoys far greater authority over regulatory agencies (originally conceived and designed to be independent of politics) such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) than has heretofore been acknowledged. Furthermore, according to its proponents, the Executive has tremendous leeway in his interpretation of legislation passed by Congress and its applicability to his chosen course of action.
Let’s turn now to the subject of this post, one George W. Bush. Recently the good people at Consortium News.com (Robert Parry, et al) had a psychological profile of our Commander-in-Chief drawn up and folks, the results are frightening.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
You are likely to be as fascinated as I was by the following revelations in an article from Anti-War.com about those famous words by Ahmadinejad and how they have managed, like Saddam’s WMD before them, to take on a life (and new meaning) of their own.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Now that I‘ve gotten that out of the way, let’s turn to the purpose of this post courtesy of Dennis Perrin.
PS. I can't promise that there won't spells in the future where I don't post for a few day's or so but NEVER AGAIN will it be anywhere near 2 months!
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Let’s first enjoy the SCC moderator’s penetrating “analysis” of my first response on the thread:
Ah, our favorite softball returns, spouting the tired liberal cliches:
coldtype said...SCC I haven't researched the matter thoroughly but I'm convinced that the above words are your most ridiculous to date.
and yet, you make the blanket accusation. how very typically liberal - no research, and yet an opinion. nice to see you haven't changed.
So your answer to the case of a single madman going on shooting spree on campus is to arm college freshmen. Listen, the days of the six-shooter on every hip are long over and shall never return--for good reason. Americans of the 19th century had the good sense to begin the process of disarmament after witnessing some of their communities dissolve into chaos and terror.
we didn't advocate arming freshmen - we advocated a sensible Concealed Carry policy as duly authorized by state law - if you qualify, you can carry. and actually, the days of the six shooter on the hip are retuning with a vengence. as of today, FORTY states have some form of concealed carry permitted within their boundaries. upwards of a dozen have reciprocal agreements that permit their qualified citizens to carry firearms across state lines. so not only are you way off base, you're completely wrong - again. and we'd really like to see which communities you describe as "dissolv[ing] into chaos." we can't find any. in fact, in most frontier towns, firearms were expected to be owned. all that Hollywood BS you see about the outlaws riding into town to shoot it up? never happened. most times homesteaders and townspeople were civil war vets who weren't about to take any shit from outlaws. so until you can come up with some actual historical evidence, we'll assume the rest of your argument is bullshit, too.
I didn't think it would be necessary to point this out here of all places but oh well: POLICING IS A STATE FUNCTION! We agree as members of a CIVILISATION to not presume to take the law into our own hands--which possession of a concealed weapon both implies and encourages.
and the state was where in this case? minutes away? hours? how long does it take to kill 30+ and wound another 20+? we enter into a social contract to abide by laws and rules. but what happens when the rules are disregarded? how long is the state allowed to respond? what is the acceptable threshhold of dead bodies for you liberals? the state failed, not only by not responding instantaneously, but by preventing citizens from defending themselves in an appropriate and legal manner.
Every citizen does not qualify as a police officer (for this is surely what you imply) and cannot be expected to possess the training and decision making skills that constitues a police officer.
BWAHAHAHAHA. find where we said everyone has to be a police officer. you are so full of shit you have to present an "argument" we never made. every citizen doesn't have to qualify as a police officer, just as a MARKSMAN - or at the bare minimum, a qualified user of a firearm. and what the hell decision has to be made in this case? to return fire or not? to protect the lives of fellow students, teachers and self or let everyone be slaughtered? you want to talk about ridiculous words? read your last paragraph - you are truly softer than baby shit.
The Virginia Tech tragidy was a random, isolated incident, something analogous to the crash of an airliner--not a pandemic. We don't seriously consider banning air travel when a plane goes down and, for the same reason, we shouldn't give way to the chimerial hysteria of the gun-nut lobby on those rare occasions when a madman with a gun makes himself known.
ah, but when an airliner goes down, there are hearings to determine where the error lies or cause of crash originated. in this case, VT officials declared the campus a gun free zone and in 2005, actually initiated disciplinary proceedings against a student who was authorized by the state to carry a weapon and did so on a state supported campus. so the obvious error in this case is that gun bans didn't work and the offender disregarded signs to that effect. as to your "isolated incident" argument, tornadoes are isolated incidents, yet we still have sirens, run drills and people build storm shelters. again we ask, what is the acceptable level of dead bodies for you when the state fails in its "duty" to the citizenry?
we will - we're armed - all the time.
To which I responded…
Research complete. They WERE the most ridiculous words you’ve ever published, surpassing even your claim that the US never sought imperial possessions abroad (to which my response prompted the TLC Rule).
“you know what your problem is? You and your ilk are too willing to surrender your individual rights and liberties to the nanny state. you expect the state to solve all your problems. you fail to realize that the state is subservient to the citizen, not the other way around. we are the state. the state gains its power from the CONSENT of the governed. and we maintain that consent by remaining armed, plain and simple”-SCC (aka “The Wild Bunch”)
“Wow! Where do I begin with this classic? Really SCC, you’ve outdone yourselves. Let’s see…
You and your ilk are too willing to surrender your individual rights and liberties to the nanny state”-SCC
We are? I thought it was the Left leading the charge against Team Bush’s warrantless wiretaps of American citizens and the suspension of Habeas Corpus for “enemy combatants”? [You walked into that one and I just couldn’t resist]
“you fail to realize that the state is subservient to the citizen, not the other way around. we are the state. the state gains its power from the CONSENT of the governed.”-SCC
Could have fooled me. The last time I checked 70% of the citizens of this country wished to see US forces withdrawn from Iraq yet Congress just approved—with bipartisan support—a supplemental bill increasing funding for the Team Bush “surge” to the tune of 124 billion dollars. This amount by the way was MORE than Bush asked for. Furthermore, most Americans by an overwhelming margin would like to see our disastrously inefficient health care system overhauled and replaced by a socialized system more in line with that of Canada, Cuba, and many countries of Western Europe. Not likely to happen anytime soon, something about it being…”politically unfeasible”.
So it would appear that the so called “democracy deficit” (the disconnect between public policy and public opinion) in this country is as broad as ever. Our government most certainly operates with the consent of elites, but of THE PEOPLE I’m not so sure.
What was that? OOOOOH! You weren’t referring to issues of ACTUAL democracy, just the “crisis” facing gun nuts and their “right” to carry assault weapons! My bad.
“ah, but when an airliner goes down, there are hearings to determine where the error lies or cause of crash originated”-SCC
Thanks for stealing my line. Yes, airline disasters, tornadoes, and such are isolated incidents that require RATIONAL responses SCC, thus no one in a position of real influence will seriously consider the “insights” from the gun nut lobby when drafting a response to the Virginia Tech tragedy.
I then followed up with a response to some of the other posters (we’ll call them minnows) on the thread who were mighty offended as well:
Now for the minnows…
“F*** Y*** Coldtype! I'm sure you would feel differently if it was one of your loved ones. Go change your name to Coldfuckface!” -4/17/2007 12:45:00 PM
No. My opinion wouldn’t change in the least. There is nothing that will convince me that we would be a safer society if MORE of us were armed. This is already the most violent society in the industrialized world. Sorry simple one, but more guns is not the answer. And I happen to like my name.
“This guy just shot up your school killing 32 innocent people and based on fuking ethics you won't realese his grades and journals, typical liberal bullshit” -4/17/2007 01:16:00 PM
Not “liberal bullshit”, just ethics and the right to privacy—the same ones that you and I enjoy (for now). So, for example, if you were to confide in a mental health professional you’d have every right to expect those conversations to be kept private. There are of course exceptions to these rules.
“Add a crazy Korean kook to this soup and you get spontaneous combustion” -4/17/2007 02:06:00 PM
Hmmm. I wonder what his race had to do with it. Perhaps Koreans have a proclivity for madness that I was unaware of.
“Instead of gun control issues, how about shutting down our borders completely. This goof moved to the U.S. in 1992 from South Korea. Now he is responsible for the biggest masacre in history!” -4/17/2007 02:10:00 PM
Ahhh! There’s the answer…xenophobia. Your last statement would no doubt come as a profound shock to Native Americans, European Jews, and the natives of East Timor.
“Another immigrant has fucked up this country” -4/17/2007 02:12:00 PM
No. That responsibility lies with a guy living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave Washington, DC. I believe he’s from Texas.
“Because there are bad people in the world”-Murphy40pct
I know that Murph, and while the random nutjob with a gun is disturbing I’m far MORE concerned with the truly dangerous among us—in Washington—where the nuclear annihilation of millions of Iranian people who pose no threat to us is “on the table”.
“Hey Mr. Soft-As-Shit
Not every policeman qualifies as police material-just ask the family of Rondayle White” -4/17/2007 04:23:00 PM
Hi Dip-Shit. Demonstrate that you actually know something about the Rondayle White incident before you presume to comment upon it. That’s all folks.
To these responses from me the SCC moderator huffed and puffed:
Sorry coldtype, but we aren't publishing your drivel today. You fail to address any of our arguments save the conclusion and take up too much space doing that. We addressed (and destroyed) your entire response piece by piece. We pointed out your specious claims and requested you back them with facts - you failed miserably and declined to cite even a single example to back your assertions. You insist on tying in your Bush Derangement Syndrome to every single post. You continue to attribute the argument that you want to defend to our posts rather than address the facts we actually present. Frankly, we're sick of it. And as you have no expectation of actually being published here, we're going to fulfill that expectation. You can go cry about censorship all you want and whine to the universe at large, but congratulations on being part of the 3% of comments that never make it to the site.
4/18/2007 01:33:00 AM
Sunday, April 01, 2007
What makes the Herman/Peterson essay remarkable, however, are not necessarily its contents which merely retraces some of the steps leading to the present “crisis”, but the peculiar reactions to it among newspaper editors across the nation. You see Herman and Peterson can’t seem to get it published anywhere in the mainstream.
Although they have submitted this piece to editors at all of the mainline newspapers for space on their op-ed pages, none to date have deemed it worthy of further dissemination. This circumstance is most curious given the fact that Herman and Peterson’s voices were among the most prescient detractors during the lead-up to the criminal assault on Iraq. This during a period, I remind you, when the corporate mainstream media served as a bullhorn for the Team Bush fabrications of the Iraqi “threat” to the US—indeed the world. One would think given the mainstream media’s appalling performance four years ago that it would leap at the opportunity to present the warnings of those who got it right back then, but such is not to be for it seems that some things are just not fit to print.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The U.S. Navy on Tuesday began its largest demonstration of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by a pair of aircraft carriers and backed by warplanes flying simulated attack maneuvers off the coast of Iran.The maneuvers bring together two strike groups of U.S. warships and more than 100 U.S. warplanes to conduct simulated air warfare in the crowded Gulf shipping lanes.The U.S. exercises come just four days after Iran's capture of 15 British sailors and marines who Iran said had strayed into Iranian waters near the Gulf. Britain and the U.S. Navy have insisted the British sailors were operating in Iraqi waters.U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Aandahl said the U.S. maneuvers were not organized in response to the capture of the British sailors nor were they meant to threaten the Islamic Republic, whose navy operates in the same waters.He declined to specify when the Navy planned the exercises.Aandahl said the U.S. warships would stay out of Iranian territorial waters, which extend 12 miles off the Iranian coast.Overall, the exercises involve more than 10,000 U.S. personnel on warships and aircraft making simulated attacks on enemy shipping with aircraft and ships, hunting enemy submarines and finding mines."What it should be seen as by Iran or anyone else is that it's for regional stability and security," Aandahl said. "These ships are just another demonstration of that. If there's a destabilizing effect, it's Iran's behavior."
* * * * *
Imagine if you will, the naval foces of a foreign power conducting exercises 13 miles off the eastern coast of the United States which incompassed 2 carrier battle groups. Imagine further that the foreign power in question has, for the past four years, invaded and occupied Canada. In response to American protests regarding the provocative nature of these latest actions a spokesman for the foreign power responds that:
“What it should be seen as by the US or anyone else is that it’s for regional stability and security. These ships are just another demonstration of that. If there’s a destablilizing effect, it’s America’s behaviour”. The spokesman concludes his comments with a warning that continued US support for the Canadian “insurgents” may invite harsh reprisals in the near future.
What if I were to tell you, however, that I have found an example of the opposite being true? Would you believe that there is a realm where incompetence and venality are rewarded with wealth and praise? The world of political punditry is just such a place gentle reader. Jebediah Reed of Radar Online.com has just chronicled the divergent fortunes of eight political commentators—four who accurately predicted the consequences of America’s illegal invasion of Iraq four years ago, and four who sang its praises to the tune of riotous applause. Behold “The Iraq Gamble” and learn, as I have, that pigs do fly.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
At just the time when the American public (to say nothing of soon-to-be-slaughtered Iraqis) needed the Fourth Estate to subject the Team Bush assertions (WMD, Iraqi connivance in the 9/11 attacks) to critical analysis, the highly credulous media uncritically reported the justifications for war from official sources—with the near total exclusion of articulate anti-war voices. In short, what the public needed were actual journalists, however, what it got instead were stenographers.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Thursday, March 01, 2007
I should be used to this routine by now but no matter how often I'm exposed to the spectacle of Team Bush lies and distortions dutifully reported in the MSM as "news" I am still shocked and amazed at the sheer chutzpah required of our leaders and media elites to think it possible to pull this one over on us yet again. Read the latest from Phyllis Bennis on Team Bush's manufactured "crisis" with Iran and see if you too don't feel a sense of dejavu.
I know its been quite a while since my last post but unfortunately circumstances beyond my control have conspired to rob me of what little time I have for some of the research that goes into this blog. Things are now settling down somewhat so you can expect more frequent posts in the future. Stay safe.
Friday, February 02, 2007
It makes me wonder how Democrats interpreted the results of the mid-term elections. Did they take from that experience somehow that the public was at ease with the FACT of the war in Iraq just not its execution? That’s the only explanation that I dare voice for their steadfast refusal to actively investigate the Bush administration. Try as I might, however, I cannot escape the knowledge that many of these same actors on the Democratic side of the isle were complicit in the Team Bush decisions during the run-up to war. Furthermore, it doesn’t stretch credibility to assume that the Democrats simply don’t care what the public desires given the long history of bipartisan support for policies that directly contradict the public will.
Recently at TomDispatch.com the work of two ACTUAL journalists (as opposed to the stenographers to which we are accustomed in the MSM) is presented, which lays out the clearest case I’ve yet seen for opening congressional investigations into the conduct of the Bush administration. Read this piece by David Swanson and Jonathan Schwarz and then ask yourselves if these Democrats serve the republic.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Dr. Johnson has just completed the third work of his trilogy on American Empire which began in 2000 with Blowback, followed shortly by The Sorrows of Empire. His latest book, Nemesis: Last Days of the American Empire, gets a preview at TomDispatch.com. So without further ado...
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Dennis Perrin over at the Red State Son blog posts on this unwarranted enthusiasm among progressives in his critique of Virginia Democratic Senate nominee James Webb's speech last night and, depressingly, the fawning reaction to it.
Friday, January 19, 2007
I know it's useless presenting yet more evidence but I'll make the effort anyway. The following article was written by Antonia Juhasz, visiting scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and chronicles the clear planning and foresight that went into the Team Bush decision to invade Iraq. Juhasz's investigation reveals that the popular perception of the Bush adminstration having occupied Iraq without a plausible plan for success is quite mistaken. Many of the neo-con wet-dreams are rapidly nearing fruition in the region. For example, the Middle East Free Trade Agreement is on fast track and, far more ominously, the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) that allows for the virtual theft of Iraq's critical oil resources is firmly in place. I trust you will find The Spoils of War a fascinating read.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Our disfunctional republic has long embraced the useful fiction of a two party political system. Completely ignored by those who adhere to this belief is the voluminous record of bipartisan support for the most reactionary, corporate-friendly policies of this and previous administrations from welfare "reform" to "free-trade" agreements to our current depredations in Iraq. As I've stated here and elsewhere, there is no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties on fundimental issues. Check the record.
Obama is but the latest in a long line of hustlers distracting the public from the fact that neither party remotely supports its positions on critical issues, as polls have long revealed. A quick perusal of the polling links on this site will make this plain.
Paul Street has a proud record of pointing this stuff out as he did late last year when the first rumblings of an Obama run for the White House began. In his latest post, Street revisits this theme with some added comments on mainstream liberals in general. Read on.