Sunday, July 30, 2006
"You didn't want to come. The average man don't like trouble and danger. You don't like trouble and danger. But if only half a man -- like Buck Harkness, there -- shouts 'Lynch him! lynch him!' you're afraid to back down -- afraid you'll be found out to be what you are -- cowards -- and so you raise a yell, and hang yourselves on to that half-a-man's coat-tail, and come raging up here, swearing what big things you're going to do. The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that's what an army is -- a mob; they don't fight with courage that's born in them, but with courage that's borrowed from their mass, and from their officers. But a mob without any man at the head of it is beneath pitifulness. Now the thing for you to do is to droop your tails and go home and crawl in a hole. If any real lynching's going to be done it will be done in the dark, Southern fashion; and when they come they'll bring their masks, and fetch a man along. Now leave -- and take your half-a-man with you" -- tossing his gun up across his left arm and cocking it when he says this. end quote.
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
The most massive delusion
Couple that with the idea that the mentally ill should be incarcerated and a delusion turns into a massive abuse of human rights.
Behold and dread
“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.” ...
He said there were Christians on both the left and the right who had turned politics and patriotism into “idolatry.”
He said he first became alarmed while visiting another megachurch’s worship service on a Fourth of July years ago. The service finished with the chorus singing “God Bless America” and a video of fighter jets flying over a hill silhouetted with crosses. ...
In the end, those who left tended to be white, middle-class suburbanites, church staff members said. In their place, the church has added more members who live in the surrounding community — African-Americans, Hispanics and Hmong immigrants from Laos. end quote.
22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. end quote.
More, the expansion of Guantanamo.
Hundreds of people, detained.
American culture, poisoned.
American soldiers, fighting desperately . . . to remain alive.
The State Department, humiliated.
The Defense Department, in control.
Amnesty International's UK campaigns director, Tim Hancock, said: "This appears to make a mockery of President Bush's statements about the need to close down Guantanamo Bay. In addition to strongly urging the President to step in to prevent any extension to this already notorious prison camp, we call on him to speed up the process of closing Guantanamo and of ensuring that all detainees are allowed fair trials or released to safe countries." end quote.
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murther'?
That cannot be; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murther-
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd and retain th' offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law; but 'tis not so above.
Tyranny, cloaked as tradition, has an earthly reach
Liberty is free and divine.
America's dullness, and choice to become tradition-bound is ample evidence of the tyranny of money and circumstance, and liberty's absence in American culture.
And we see Mark Twain's two nations:
Halliburton should be recognized as the greatest producer and maintainer of unhappiness in the history of the world.
Not all American Jews
[Jonathan Tasini states]
I believe passionately in a two-state solution, which includes a strong, independent, economically viable Palestinian state existing alongside a strong, independent, economically vibrant Israel. It is the only solution that will bring peace to the civilians who now live in fear of death raining down from above—either because of the missiles of Hezbollah or the bombs of Israeli aircraft. ... I would end with this thought: As a Jew, I have always been proud of the Jewish concept of “Tikkun Olam” or “repairing the world.” I like to think that that is what brought so many Jews into the civil rights and labor movements in the 1960s and 1970s, and into the current anti-war movement—and, personally, guided me into the world of social justice work. I feel great sorrow that Israel is an occupier of another people and I believe that Israel can never be whole and can never be at peace until that occupation is ended in a just way. And I also believe that the concept of Tikkun Olam means that we must never be silent. end quote.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
False Dilemma, Mr. Bush.
Israel can justly be accused of cowardice by its enemies.
Just as the U.S. can also be justly be accused of cowardice for its clandestine prisons & torture protections of the unitary executive branch.
Americans produced one victory in 2003, Iraq.
What kind of a victory was it, though?
Estimated number of foreign fighters in Iraq in May 2003: 100
Estimated number of foreign fighters in Iraq in May 2006: 1,500
Number of civilian casualties in Iraq since U.S.-led invasion: 20,600 – 37,200
Estimated number of 88 Iraqi military battalions that are capable of operating independently: 0
Number of multi-fatality bombings in June 2004: 9
Number of multi-fatality bombings in June 2006: 57
Average number of daily attacks by insurgents in June 2004: 45
Average number of daily attacks by insurgents in June 2006: 90
Israeli warplanes blasted bridges and demolished houses in southern Lebanon, killing seven people, including a woman and her five children. end quote.
But they're not brave enough to actually fight their enemies with a sustained, direct ground assault, squad upon squad, man for man. They want an American war (and American wars have become singularly cowardly after the invention of the airplane, tank & missile).
I can't stand these air, missile and bomb attacks. An attack on civilian communities is not direct confrontation. It's just cowardice.
I want people to really fight instead of pretending to fight.
I want them to embrace their mortality and stop running from it.
I want mutual adversaries worn down by massive casualties, days of sustained fighting, exhausted, dismembered, and living on dust.
I want them all to mutually embrace despair.
I want them to fight hopelessly, with no possibility of any kind of assistance from the U.S., Iran, Syria, or anyone else.
LET THEM TRUMPET THE GLORY OF THEIR CAUSE THEN.
Only then is war respectable and its costs worth bearing.
Only then, when the suffering becomes intense among the committed, is there a chance of negotiating an end to it.
Evidently, Israel is not up to the challenge. Neither is Hezbollah for that matter.
Israel has fought this war as competently as John Bolton has served American interests at the UN.
The concept of "terrorist ties"
WASHINGTON - U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislation proposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an early version of the bill. ...
The administration's proposal, as considered at one point during discussions, would toss out several legal rights common in civilian and military courts, including barring hearsay evidence, guaranteeing "speedy trials" and granting a defendant access to evidence. The proposal also would allow defendants to be barred from their own trial and likely allow the submission of coerced testimony. ...
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England are expected to discuss the proposal in an open hearing next Wednesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Military lawyers also are scheduled to testify Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. ...
The draft proposal contends that an existing law — passed by the Senate last year after exhaustive negotiations between the White House and Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz. — that bans cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment should "fully satisfy" the nation's obligations under the Geneva Conventions. end quote.
The problem is that the signing statement the usurper attached to it nullifies McCain's law. The Congress passed it, the usurper won't enforce it, and so it may as well not exist. So the criminal regime chooses to simultaneously secure immunity in U.S. courts and to increase its power to commit more crimes. All this news in 24 hours. They're the busiest sociopaths I've ever observed.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Our nation's top law enforcement officer
I want the criminals of the Bush Regime busted, squealing, and then burnt.
From April to June, Exxon earned $114 million a day — $80,000 a minute. Or look at it this way: In 30 seconds, the Exxon Mobil Corp. makes about what an average American family earns in an entire year. end quote.
The idea of corporate personhood should be stripped from all American economic & legal practice. For once, let the people who commit these social and political crimes stand at the bar.
Less grain, less food,
One regime, a president, vice-president & secretary of state all possess direct ties to the oil industry. It must be government-corporate collusion. It must be Bushworld.
Congress suffocates the courts
Sec. 1632. Limitation on jurisdiction
- `(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), no court created by Act of Congress shall have any jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court shall have no appellate jurisdiction, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, the Pledge of Allegiance, as defined in section 4 of title 4, or its recitation.
- `(b) The limitation in subsection (a) does not apply to--
- `(1) any court established by Congress under its power to make needful rules and regulations respecting the territory of the United States; or
- `(2) the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or the District of Columbia Court of Appeals;'.
So now the jurisdiction of the courts is the business of Congress, not the dictate of the Constitution. So they would sooner protect the Pledge (which they never swore to do) and attack the Constitution & Bill of Rights (which they did swear to do). Here as observed before, they are trying to change the very structure of government by changing its functioning.
The Pledge of Allegiance is the protection of traitors and elites.
For that reason alone it should be scrapped.
Every representative who voted for this should be impeached for violating their oath of office.
And every senator who supports it should be similarly menaced.
And then they all should be run out of town on a rail by the people, the real people, the citizens who work for a living that they have betrayed.
Oh, the vulnerability of elites!
Safeguard through everlasting aggressive warfare, their capacity to profit from anxiety and death.
Safeguard their profits through everlasting initiatives to thwart the work of the IRS.
Groom and command the IRS, in turn, to go after political enemies. I'm sure that's the next step.
God, where is the guillotine when we need it so desperately.
Republican righteousness isn't right.
Israel is not applying itself
I was not in favor of Israel's war before, but now that they've bought the ticket to mass slaughter, it seems they're a little squeamish about genuine fighting. They'd rather bomb apartment blocks than confront their enemies directly. They are showing more faith in their missiles & planes than in themselves. And that is costly, and will be costlier. They are not afraid to kill, but deathly afraid of dying. Well that's just too damn bad. When you engage in aggressive warfare, you'd better be prepared for the possibility of losing, and to see a good number of your soldiers die. I'm sick and tired of seeing these small numbers of Israeli casualties in the face of so many Lebanese. It shows that the will to fight and die and sacrifice are amiss in the IDF.
When I think of the nature of aggressive warfare, I think of June 6, 1944. Remember? American soldiers were advancing and dying, advancing and dying, in vast numbers, and they kept coming until the Germans were exhausted and had to retreat. The advance was the product of death as much as death was the product of advance. Now that's aggressive warfare-- confronting your enemy and his fortifications directly and being willing to sacrifice the necessary number of soldiers to secure advance and victory. When you engage in warfare of any kind, you become the spouse of death, and you must give him his due.
The arrogant believe that victory is the product of mass murder.
Those who have really fought understand that victory is the product of movement. And movement is possible when you are willing to sacrifice the lives of your soldiers in direct confrontation.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
I think I may have an answer
He went on: "How the hell long can they refuse to raise the minimum wage?" He was furious, he said, with the Republican leaders of Congress who keep blocking bills to raise the minimum wage, which has been stuck at $5.15 an hour for years. "I'm a conservative," he said, "but they make me sound like a damned liberal the way they act. They spend like fools, they run up the deficits and they refuse to give a raise to the working people who are struggling. How the hell are you supposed to live on $5.15 an hour these days?" end quote.
The U.S. Congress can refuse to raise the minimum wage because they feel absolutely no empathy or connection to the people trying to live on it. The Congress members have been bought by the businesses that pay the minimum wage, and so the Congress does businesses' bidding. The dollar is more important than the citizen.
Condoleezza Rice is about "talk."
The male responses to crises are "determined" and "firm."
Dr. Rice's responses are designed to appease the enemy.
I don't understand.
Did we actually give something to North Korea?
Have we given anything to Iran?
Appeasement is defined as giving something, namely territory, to the dictator Hitler because Hitler said his German-speakers needed a larger Germany.
Where is the appeasement here?
What territory have we given anyone?
I don't see it.
I don't agree with Dr. Rice. She's a neocon hack.
But the objections of Cheney, Gingrich, and Perle have nothing to do with competence. They have everything to do with sexism. They want a firm response . . . and if you understand the gender values endemic to American international policy language, you know exactly what this is.
It's the State Department you idiots.
It's not the Defense Department.
Veiled sexism remains sexism.
Quote: The criticism of Miss Rice has been intense and comes from a range of Republican loyalists, including current and former aides in the Defense Department and the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. ...
Mr. Gingrich agrees and said Miss Rice's inexperience and lack of resolve were demonstrated in the aftermath of the North Korean launch of seven short-medium- and intermediate-range missiles in July. He suggested that Miss Rice was a key factor in the lack of a firm U.S. response. ...
"North Korea firing missiles," Mr. Gingrich said. "You say there will be consequences. There are none. We are in the early stages of World War III. Our bureaucracies are not responding fast enough. We don't have the right attitude." Several of the critics have urged that Mr. Bush provide a high-profile post to James Baker, who was secretary of state under the administration of Mr. Bush's father. They cited Mr. Baker's determination to confront Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein in 1990. end quote.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
An officer crosses the line
Way to go.
He remembers his heritage enough to think for himself and act upon his independent thinking.
The neocons, on the other hand, see the campaign for what it is, an attempt to invade & conquer Lebanon. But as usual, they're not satisfied with that level of aggression.
Hardline neo-conservatives, such as former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle and his colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute, have called for Washington to encourage Israel to carry its war against Hezbollah into Syria - presumably to persuade it to cut off Hezbollah and even, if possible, to realize a long-held dream of theirs - to overthrow Assad's Ba'athist regime. end quote.
Cooperation? Is that really the goal here? I don't think so. I think aggression is the first line of action in the minds of the Bush Regime and always will be. That is, until the American people cease to desire a place in these games of morbid profit.
I think Perle et al are clearer about what's really happening, and our government's part in it: which is, 1. nourishing the invaders, 2. discouraging compassion for the moribund nation of Lebanon, and 3. ignoring the UN totally. It's the neocon prescription again: attack, attack, hold, subdue, and make sure 1. the lines of refugees and the starving are long enough, 2. the lists of the wounded are long enough, and finally, 3. make sure the pile of corpses is high enough, to elicit the beaming esteem of enemies labeled too barbarous for any other interaction.
And now, the articles of faith.
What you believe, if you are a Republican.
"Republican Truth/Never Give Up/Billyboy Bennet"
Were I a member of Congress,
But then, he isn't the president, he's the usurper.
And that's what usurpers do.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Specter: government spying is fine,
He's dealing with a bunch of wolves.
If the signing statements were subject to a genuinely impartial judicial review, they would be made unconstitutional. The problem is that we have a one-party state with a majority in the Supreme Court that is fully on board. They believe that our current rulers are:
1. the most virtuous we could have, and
2. their faction deserves to hold whatever power it's gained in perpetuity.
The lure of permanent money and permanent power dominates here. I don't think principle will find a way through.
Monday, July 24, 2006
I want a check.
The signing statement should be criminalized and ejected from American political culture at every level. It deserves no precedential status in law because it is unconstitutional, anti-democratic and anti-republican.
Israel is in the deep dark corner.
No choice. Every alternative is gone. They must continue to attack, augment forces, and attack again to keep face. They must occupy Lebanon again, subdue it completely. It is the situation they have created for themselves, and they can resolve it only with force. I'm sure my own government will give them whatever help they need-- whether in the form of bunker busters or the bullying machinations that are supposed to pass for diplomacy of Dr. Rice & John Bolton. We're just nourishing cowards to confront and destroy the families of more cowards. Where a fighting force is only as good as its weapons, cowards abound.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Something's curiously missing
Bush summarizes American history of the Early Republic.
He mentions Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Franklin.
He calls the slaves another group of founders of the U.S., but does not mention slavery and slaves at all.
He implies slavery, but does not assert that it existed. Very clever.
What faith did they have to keep?
Yet through captivity and oppression they kept the faith. They carved a great nation out of the wilderness and later their descendants led a people out of the wilderness of bigotry.
Nearly 200 years into our history as a nation, America experienced a second founding, the civil rights movement. Some of those leaders are here. end quote.No Nat Turner, no John Brown, no escapes northward, no underground railroad. No attempts to occupy & spread slavery to Cuba or Nicaragua. No civil war. That's convenient too. No narrative of defiance, no hint that authority had been questioned and its hold broken repeatedly in the Early Republic. As a historian trained at Yale, Mr. Bush leaves much to be desired.
It sounds oddly familiar.
Barbarossa anyone? Grand Army before?
I'm sure the Bush Regime is up for it.
A most unfortunate metaphor
I'm not buying the goods, Dr. Rice. I guess the presentation isn't right, the timing is off, and the media are liberal.
Billmon is the best. Thanx.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Christine Nelson showed up at the Cedar Rapids rally with a Kerry-Edwards button pinned on her T-shirt; Alice McCabe clutched a small, paper sign stating "No More War." What could be more American, they thought, than mixing a little dissent with the bunting and buzz of a get-out-the-vote rally headlined by the president?
Their reward: a pair of handcuffs and a strip search at the county jail. ...
Their experience is hardly unique.
In the months before the 2004 election, dozens of people across the nation were banished from or arrested at Bush political rallies, some for heckling the president, others simply for holding signs or wearing clothing that expressed opposition to the war and administration policies. end quote.
Elitism, political repression, and aggressive warfare = the Bush Regime.
Good, I hope they're frightened.
One way to measure the fears of people in power is by the intensity of their quest for . . . control over knowledge.
By that standard, the members of the Florida Legislature marked themselves as . . . most terrified of history in the United States when last month they took bold action to become the first state to outlaw historical interpretation in public schools. In other words, Florida has officially replaced the study of history with the imposition of dogma and effectively outlawed critical thinking. ... So, as part of an education bill signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida has declared that:
"American history shall be viewed as factual, not as constructed." That factual history, the law states shall be viewed as knowable, teachable, and testable.
The Reconstruction became reconstructive after the Radical Republicans (your party, can you believe it Mr. Bush?) abandoned their supporters in the South in favor of big business, money, whites, and the power of the boot, klan & dollar.
The Native American nations were subject to sustained genocidal policies throughout the Colonial, Early Republic, and Gilded Age periods.
The war in the Philippines, 1902-1904, was rife with atrocities on both sides.
In the 1970s, thousands of mentally ill people were turned out of institutions and became a core population of the homeless that continue to exist throughout the U.S.
Veterans of several wars have joined them on the streets over the years.
No infrastructure exists to help these alienated populations. They are, for all anyone says, internal exiles.
Your brother's response to Hurricane Katrina was extremely inadequate and as a result, thousands of people died, some of whose bodies are turning up in New Orleans and in the flooded regions even now.
That is knowable, teachable, and testable.
Choke on it, you anti-democrat, you Ivy League Embarrassment.
If it were in my power, I'd strip you of your citizenship and ship you and your entire ugly, treacherous family to the Cayman Islands in hogsheads.
Now it's only fair
Wow, I feel so directed now.
Why should I question anything?
It's all just laid out there.
The narrative of the hijacking of socialism is told here:
When it is put that way, perhaps the terms "democratic socialist," "libertarian socialist," and "anarchist socialist" may not seem so strange. Is there something about a classless society that requires the existence of a government? The only balanced answer is "maybe." All of these socialist ideas have been controversial from the beginning, and have been critical of one another. For example, the libertarian and democratic socialists often argued that a dictatorship could not co-exist with socialism, since the bureaucracy and political groups surrounding the dictator would eventually form a new exploiting class, and re-establish capitalism with themselves as the capitalists. This is probably what Lewis had in mind when he included democracy in his definition of socialism.
The socialists felt that a capitalist society is unavoidably divided between the capitalist employer class and the working class of employees, so a classless society would have a non-capitalist economic system. But this does not tell us just what the non-capitalist economic system would be. There have always been several schools of thought on this, among socialists. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the major theorists of socialism in the 1800's, were careful not to describe a "socialist economic system" (though they clearly had their own opinions of what it was likely to be). Instead, their position was that the economic system of a socialist society should be decided democratically by the workers themselves. end quote.Now here's a bit of manipulation. This author wants us to believe that communism and Marxist socialism are different. They are not. They are two aspects of the same ideology. Communism is the brainchild of Marx & Engels, and this attempt to separate their names from it is particularly deceptive. The economic system decided democratically? Well that sure as hell didn't happen in Russia, did it? I think this is just a cosmetic measure, something to make the reality look good before lowering the boom. And the boom of course, is communism.
Quote: Another element in this mix was communism. Originally separate from socialism, the communism saw competition as the root of all evils. In the communist society, the economic rule would be "from each according to his ability, and to each according to his need." But that rule could not be applied in a capitalist society, because of the defective human character capitalism produces. Communists believed that human character is formed by the environment. A competitive environment would cause people to grow up greedy and aggressive. But, in turn, a population of greedy, aggressive people would create a highly competitive society, so that their children, too, would be greedy and aggressive. Thus, the communists saw the social evils of aggression and competition as the result of a vicious circle. To break the vicious circle, the communists felt that the small, intelligent minority who understood this truth should take power as a dictatorship, an "educational dictatorship," and ruthlessly suppress competition, and direct the allocation of resources "from each according to his ability, and to each according to his need." Thus, over a few generations, a new virtuous circle might be set in motion, in which sharing and action on behalf of the whole population would replace greed and aggression as the basis of society and human character.
"When Roy Veal was found hanging from a tree in Woodville, Miss., in April, for many black Mississippians, it became a tale of two headlines," writes James Varney in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Sunday. ...
"Roy Veal was a familiar figure in the Wilkinson County clerk of courts office, researching a lawsuit to defend his family's land, when turkey hunters in April found the 55-year-old hanging from a massive pecan tree," the story notes. end quote.
The crime was committed in April 2004.
The Varney story is dated 6/21/04.
I haven't forgotten it yet. I guess the seduction of the present isn't working.
I'll be rubbing salt into this wound until I see justice done.
More bad faith,
Voting Rights Act -- This was a big applause line. Bush gloated about his convincing the White Sheets Caucus of the Republican Party to go along with the renewal of the Voting Rights Act. But he forgot to mention the fine print. The Southern GOP only went along with renewing the law on the understanding that the law would never be enforced. Think I'm kidding? Check this: in July 2004, the US Civil Rights Commission voted to open a civil and criminal investigation of his brother's Administration in Florida for knowingly renewing a racially-biased scrub of voter rolls. In April 2004, Governor Jeb Bush, of the "family committed to civil rights," personally ordered this new purge of "felons" from voter rolls, despite promising never to repeat the infamous scrub of 2000. The new purge violated a settlement he signed with the, uh, NAACP. end quote.
Greg Palast is the author of The Best Congress Money Can Buy, a title statement the U.S. Congress has yet to live down. True more than a decade ago, true today, no reform in sight, institutional loyalty means retention of the elitist status quo.
Here's a pregnant question for you:
Is corporate American business inherently democratic?
Would a third world war be a boon to democracy as a result?
I think conservatives have confounded capitalism and the creation of elites with free enterprise & democracy since their huge steroid high (strength, brutality, malice & murder included) in the Gilded Age. A high they are trying to get back by any means necessary. They, in turn, were seduced by the objectives of neoconservatives.
I think the neoconservatives have turned the New Deal, Fair Deal, New Frontier, and Great Society state into state niggardliness, state control, state command, state aggression and imperialism.
The National Security State is the constitutional bastard belonging to them all.
Now the relationship is not so cozy, seems all that outwardly-directed state power is costly. The ideologically committed refrain from discussing costs, of course. It is only where the commitment was lukewarm from the start, that costs are considered & coats may turn.
I would say that if you've concluded that American business in corporate structure is not democratic or republican, that in its practices and objectives it does not serve in an individual sense, the objectives of life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness, then it should not be respected through the myriad of government indulgences, tax breaks, the Taft-Hartley Act, &c.
The premise is
In April 2003, at a teach-in at the University of California, Los Angeles sponsored by Americans for Victory Over Terrorism, R. James Woolsey, a former CIA director and founding member of PNAC, told the audience that "This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us; hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War." end quote.
But former reichsfuhrer Woolsey, your hopes are vain, because:
Quote, John Stauber, Center for Media & Democracy:
"The Cold War was the best thing that ever happened to American capitalism, and the collapse of the Soviet Union was a disaster for the Eisenhower-named military-industrial complex," Stauber pointed out.
Friday, July 21, 2006
If this is what passes for spirituality,
Do you have a spiritual heritage, do you believe this nation has a spiritual heritage?
I don't believe in either.
Spirits exist outside time and nations. The thought that one might have a spirit has had a liberating influence in American history.
For instance, in the Second Great Awakening, a denomination was born-- the African Methodist Episcopal church. It was created by people who believed that spirituality and faith gave them the freedom and equality that their nation and culture had denied them time & time again.
The rational underpinning of the antislavery movement in this country came from two sources: the Declaration of Independence and the Second Great Awakening. Because if every spirit is equal in the eyes of God, it isn't much of a leap toward the idea that all human beings should be equal in each others' eyes and should be treated equally by the society, culture, polity and government.
It isn't much of a leap to assert that the powerful have no right to weaken and destroy the impoverished.
The problem with this is that the Second Great Awakening postdates the founding of the nation, and the Pledge of Allegiance postdates both the Declaration of Independence and the Second Great Awakening.
The Declaration of Independence takes time to read and understand.
Similarly, the Second Great Awakening is a historical event that is absolutely seminal to the development of American culture.
The Pledge of Allegiance was created in a time where people, in their xenophobia and obsession with simplicity and order, wanted simple formulas to say that would show loyalty without requiring understanding.
The Pledge of Allegiance should be scrapped, never said in public again. It belongs on the trash heap of history, to be studied as a document of the American Gilded Age, nothing more.
Because simple formulas are more appropriate for people who don't want to think, and therefore inappropriate and even inimical to a democratic society.
Mercy killings, NPR?
How gentle to the medical accountants and social workers, how tolerant of the diverse crew that did these murders and how, dare I say deadly?, silent on the system that allowed them to to be committed. This is the nature of preparedeness and compassion in Bushworld, where the interest of one is the frustration and/or destruction of another. No room for severalty in the world-- the winners take all and the rest can swallow ashes.
Who is writing here?
A commentator incapable of writing for himself.
He wrote this commentary as coming from the lips of Barney Frank, yet claims the expression. He asserts little and lets Frank fill in the gory parts.
He characterizes Frank as an "exceptionally bright" liberal. So I suppose that the overwhelming majority of liberals shineth not in the dark and suffocating night of David Broder.
He is not sure that Bush's domestic policies have threatened civil liberties.
Yet he does not come out and say that this country is free and that those who complain about the wideness of the war on terror (like the vast number of states & localities that have passed ordinances in defiance of the USA Patriot Act) are paranoid alarmists.
His attitude toward the threatened, silenced, tortured and severely repressed left is outwardly one of disdain, and if he were truly honest with himself and his readers, he would just come out and acknowledge his hatred & contempt. Broder hints at debate rather than demanding it. There is a group of people out here, Mr. Broder, who have not been heard. They have no desire to see your version of their words, or to use you as an errand boy. Above all, they write for themselves. Now that's democratic.
As for Frank's assertion that this remains a "very free country," well you should tell that to girls who want abortions, gays who want to get married, and dissenters who want 1. to be represented truly in the MSM, 2. to be represented in Congress, and 3. to burn the damn flag (which is not sacred and never will be). Secular religion is for Romans, not for Americans. The Enlightenment happened, nationalism is a dream born of stupidity from which humanity will awaken with the right amount of jarring, so get over it.
As a matter of fact, I think the only things which should be communally sacred are monuments & headstones. They're democratic, and what you write on a tablet of stone is something that will stay with you for a long time.
Different time, same song.
#12: It's interesting that Bill Kristol is still treated by the mainstream media as someone with credibility, while the people who warned us that the Iraq adventure was a bad idea are still marginalized.