Tuesday, January 17, 2012

 

US Wars: Jeers to Cheers in 60 Seconds

Watch the video below to see how Ron Paul at a Republican Party presidential candidate debate last night takes the audience, in less than a minute, from jeers--when he prescribes Jesus' Golden Rule* for US foreign policy--to cheers--when he declares, "This country doesn't need another war, we need to quit the ones we're in. We need we need to save the money and bring our troops home."



Here's a transcript of his remarks:

"My point is, is if another country does to us what we do others, we're not going to like it very much. So I would say that maybe we ought to consider a golden rule in, in foreign policy. Don't do to other nations what we don't want to have them do to us. So, we, we endlessly bomb, we endlessly bomb these countries countries and then we wonder, wonder why they get upset with us? And, and yet it continues on and on. This idea that we can't debate foreign policy, that all we have to do is start another war? I mean, it's, it's warmongering. They're building up for another war against Iran, and people can't wait to get in another war. This country doesn't need another war. We need to quit the ones we're in. We need to save the money and bring our troops home."

* Matthew 7:12 - "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
Luke 6:31 - "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you."

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Friday, January 13, 2012

 

Some Lessons of "Unintended Consequences"

John F. Ross' novel Unintended Consequences (St. Louis, MO: Accurate Pr., 1996) is an 861-page monster. It is also a disturbing terrorist revenge fantasy that depicts its protagonists carrying out cold-blooded murders in gruesome detail with little or no remorse or hesitation. It's not a book or a vision I can say I admire or unreservedly recommend. And yet I learned some interesting things from it.

One of the opening vignettes in the novel is the 1932 Battle of Anacostia Flats, i.e. the US Army's assault during the Great Depression on an encampment of impoverished WW I veterans seeking early payment of the bonus promised them for their wartime service. The author returns to this repeatedly in his chronicling of US government assaults on American citizens.

The book left me with a better appreciation of how some conservative, gun-rights advocates view the episode and I also learned that Jim Crow was banned from the encampment though in 1932, Washington, DC was a Jim Crow stronghold. Ross erroneously attributes an article entitled "The Bonuseers [sic] Ban Jim Crow" to the New York Times. It turns out the article was by Roy Wilkins and was published in the NAACP's house magazine The Crisis in October, 1932.

Wilkins' article is quoted in The Bonus Army: An American Epic by Paul Dickson and Thomas B. Allen (Bloomsbury, 2006) on p. 118:
[At Camp Marks in Anacostia] I found black toes and white toes sticking out side by side from a ramshackle town of pup tents, packing crates and tar-paper shacks. Black men and white men, veterans of the segregated army that had fought in World War I, lined up equally, perspired in sick bays, side by side. For years, the U.S. Army had argued that General Jim Crow was its proper commander, but the Bonus marchers gave lie to the notion that Black and white soldiers--ex-soldiers in their case--couldn't live together.
I had either never known or else forgotten about this aspect of the Bonus Army's occupation. I also learned about the inspiring story of the Battle of Athens from Ross' book. In 1946, WW II vets and other locals successfully took up arms against a corrupt, local Democratic Party regime in Athens, TN, the county seat of McMinn County.

Ross' righteous anger about the ambush at Ruby Ridge and the Waco Massacre is refreshing. I remember many of my Liberal and Lefty friends being non-plussed about these two atrocities at the time. Unintended Consequences reveals that infamous FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi was at the scene of both crimes. Other government atrocities featured in the book include the Ken Ballew raid and the MOVE massacre. No government officials were ever held criminally or civilly responsible for any of these crimes.

From Ross' book, I learned of an interesting 1982 report on "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms" from the US Senate's Subcommittee on the Constitution. Here are two paragraphs from the report's "History: Second amendment right to 'keep and bear arms' ":
That the National Guard is not the "Militia" referred to in the second amendment is even clearer today. Congress has organized the National Guard under its power to "raise and support armies" and not its power to "Provide for the organizing, arming and disciplining the Militia". This Congress chose to do in the interests of organizing reserve military units which were not limited in deployment by the strictures of our power over the constitutional militia, which can be called forth only "to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions." The modern National Guard was specifically intended to avoid status as the constitutional militia, a distinction recognized by 10 U.S.C. Sec. 311(a).

The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner.
You can read more selections from the report here.

Ross makes the point in the book that early gun control laws were enacted to keep guns out of the hands of free Blacks. A surprising fact mentioned in the book is that Vermont has always permitted the open and concealed carrying of handguns without requiring a permit.

I'll close with two thoughts. One of the ironies of the books is that several of its characters train law enforcement officers in firearms usage and marksmanship as a means to get around gun control laws. The book has conflicted views on law enforcement personnel. Another irony is that the book's author and characters have a blind spot a mile wide. While they can see domestic government repression quite clearly, there is no clear acknowledgment that US government violence against foreigners is unjust and dwarfs domestic repression. Likewise, there is no evident appreciation in Unintended Consequences for the dialectical relationship between the killing of foreigners and the killing of Americans.

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Poles as Pigs

In "Some Lessons of Maus" I mentioned Art Spiegelman's typology which cast his characters as animals according to their ethnicity. Below are links to three articles which take up Spiegelman's decision to cast Poles as pigs.

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Quotable: What Liberalism Is (or Why I'm Not a Liberal)

Liberalism is and has always been about intervention. ... Liberals understand that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Left to their own devices, people with weapons and money will always try to exploit and dominate people without weapons and money unless they are stopped from doing so. It is not because we are taught to do so. It's just innate human nature. ...

When the government steps in to stop a corporation from dumping noxious chemicals into a stream, that is intervention at the point of a gun, by a superior force against a lesser force attempting to exploit the weak and powerless. When the government steps in to enforce desegregation in schools, that is intervention at the point of a gun, by a superior force against a lesser force attempting to exploit the weak and powerless.

When Abraham Lincoln and the North decided not to allow the nation of the Confederacy--and make no mistake, it was a separate nation with separate laws and an entirely separate culture--to secede from the Union, in large part because the North had an interest in ending slavery in the South and in striking down a competing agrarian economic system, that too was intervention by a superior force against a lesser force attempting to exploit the weak and powerless. To this day, many Southerners feel that their land is being occupied by an illegitimate and invading power, and theirs a Lost Cause that will rise again.

This is what liberalism is. It is unavoidably, inescapably paternalistic in nature. It is so because it understands the inevitable tendency of human beings to be truly awful to one another unless social and legal rules are put in place--yes, by force--to prevent them from doing otherwise.

Source: David Atkins. "No, Stoller and Sullivan: there is no liberal conflict over Ron Paul." January 03, 2012.

See also: "Quotable: The Man to Fear"

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

 

Quotable: Lawyers as Warriors

So you want to be king? You want to control the greatest nation in the world--perhaps control the world as well? As we’ve seen, you must first own the people, own their minds. You must be able to command their prejudices like one can toot a boy's horn. And, if you are to be king, you must also destroy their warriors.

The people are always the enemy of the king, "the stupid mob," as Hitler called them. The people can rise up. They always do in the end. It is only a question of when.

But how can the people fight against the king without their warriors, without champions to fight for their causes? Destroy their warriors and the people can holler and foam but they can do no harm, for even they who are aware enough to shake off the king's propaganda like a dog shakes off fleas, even they are helpless against the king if there are none who can enter the fight for them.

The warriors for the people are trial lawyers--those villains who are not to be trusted, not even when they are shackled and held helpless in those strait jackets of hate. And we have learned to hate them because every day through the King's media we are told outrageous stories of how trial lawyers have aborted the fetus of justice, and we hear malicious jokes so that we have come to believe that the cause of every ill that befalls us lies at their feet.

Source: Gerry Spence. "Kill All the Lawyers" (PDF).

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Sunday, January 08, 2012

 

The God of "The Adjustment Bureau"

The Adjustment Bureau is a 2011 film written, directed, and produced by George Nolfi and starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. The god of The Adjustment Bureau, aka "The Chairman", is a very strange fellow and clearly not the god of the New Testament. The Chairman kills people without reservation, or rather, he has his angelic henchmen, known as "Associates", kill innocent people in order to fulfill "The Plan".

A monologue (at about 1:04:00) by one of his chief associates, Thompson, indicates that the Chairman and his minions brought humanity "to the height of the Roman Empire". As if that bloody empire, which killed and enslaved multitudes, including the execution of Jesus Christ, was a good thing. At that zenith, humanity was then granted free will and we ruined things. Among the litany of evils blamed on humanity are the so-called "Dark Ages" and then, after another 600 years of intervention to rescue us from our post-Imperial downfall, "World War I, the Depression, Fascism, and ... the Cuban Missile Crisis". Imperialism, WW II and its other, non-Holocaust atrocities, and the millions of people killed in the name of communism merit no mention. The god of The Adjustment Bureau is apparently quite tendentious. It's also revealed that he is neither omniscient nor omnipotent.

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The Last Words of Otto Zehm

"All I wanted was a Snicker's bar." According to one of the seven police officers who helped killed him, those were the last words of Otto Zehm. Zehm was a 36-year-old mentally disabled janitor who died after lingering in a coma for two days after he was beaten with a baton, tasered multiple times, and hogtied on March 20, 2006, by Spokane police for a crime that was not committed. As of this writing, only one cop was charged in the death and although he was convicted by a jury, his sentencing was recently postponed, and the verdict may get tossed out.

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Friday, January 06, 2012

 

Quotable: When Police Are Not Your Friends

You must realize that when police are ordered to violate your rights, they are not your friends. That brings us to number three: Do not hope police officers will resign instead of carrying out orders they do not like. They will not. The State Police did not resign thirty years ago. Instead, they used tear gas, billy clubs, and German Shepherds on civil rights marchers. Federal police in Waco, Texas last year did not resign. Instead, they used machine guns and tanks on a group of people they suspected had not paid a $200 tax, and they burned all eighty-six of them alive.

Source: John F. Ross. Unintended Consequences. (St. Louis, MO: Accurate Pr., 1996) p. 566.

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

 

Imagine a Revolution

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

 

United Bases of America

From Canada's National Post newspaper (click to enlarge):Thanks to Ken Dalton of Veterans For Peace, Chapter 21 for passing this along.

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