Greed and hate are not signs of freedom, but of slavery. Free yourself.
“It’s ok. Christina Taylor Green was probably going to end up a leftwing bleeding heart liberal anyway. Hey, as ‘they’ say, what would you do if you had the chance to kill Hitler as a kid? Exactly.”–Tina King (teabagger on Sarah Palin’s FB page)
The preceding is protected under the free speech clause of the 1st Amendment. It means that I cannot ask my government to put Tina King or Sarah Palin in jail for being vipers. But there’s something they can’t do, either. They can’t ask the government to protect them from my free speech right to call on others to condemn them for their barbarism. They would like us to think that they can proceed without receiving criticism, but they are wrong. They may say that when their First Amendment right fails to move — yea even irritates — others, they can fall back on threats to employ the Second Amendment, but nothing excuses murder or the threat of murder.
This blog article is also protected under the First Amendment. Just as I am not obligated under the terms of the Bill of Rights to allow missionaries to force their way through my front door and deliver their spiel, so, too, am I not required to sit silent when the Tea Baggers make our country foolish. I have the right to deliver scorn, to point to the hypocrisy of a movement that on one hand thinks that a underdeveloped fetus must be preserved at any cost, but which celebrates the death of a nine year old who had done no one any harm. I can say that we’ve had enough violent rhetoric, that it is time to stop it and to get on with civil discussions about the way our country is headed.
What Tina King has said about Christina Taylor Green reeks worse than the bio-waste of any abortion and if Sarah Palin doesn’t go past deleting it — if she does not repudiate it, she has demonstrated that she should not command any respect from the Republicans or any other American. And if the Republicans don’t start using their power of example to police this, they do not deserve our confidence as voters, they do not deserve the peace of statesmanship but only the severe criticism due to demagogues.
Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of [[Eisenhower|DDE]], left her grandfather’s party because she was sick and tired of the Rovian takeover:
This week, I changed my registration from Republican to independent. The two political parties as they exist today, and the partisanship that they foster, reflect the many fights of the cold war, the Vietnam era, the post–cold war and the 9/11 periods. Today we are in a different place altogether, where our security as a nation is challenged not just from abroad but also close to home. The energy, health-care and financial crises threaten our national prosperity and well-being, just as surely as any confrontation overseas or an attack by radical terrorists.
The word is out: if you like Republican politics as they stand now, you are an extremist. And, given the state of affairs in Minneapolis where they are locking up demonstrators against Bush and McCain, this extremism is not in defense of liberty, therefore a vice.
I doubt Barry Goldwater would have anything to do with this crowd.
One thing that remains a problem for those wishing to expose the machinations of religious organizations is the threat of the Big Lawsuit. Witness, for example, what happened to [[Paulette Cooper]] who wrote a book about Scientology in the 1970s. She was not only hectored with lawsuits, but she was framed in bomb-threats against Arab embassies using some of her personal stationery. Cooper was indicted and ultimately exonerated, but at the cost of her mental health.
The First Amendment prevents Federal interference in religion and speech and I’d like to take that at its absolute word. As long as cults do not break laws (such as the time [[Synanon]] put a rattlesnake in the mailbox of lawyer Paul Morantz), then the government stays completely out. Which means when a religious group comes to court about a matter involving outside testimonies to its doctrines or practices, the court simply says “We don’t interfere in such matters. We don’t adjudicate cases which involve churches. You have to work that out in the free marketplace of ideas.” So say so long to nuisance suits. Say goodbye to copyrights of church testaments and holy texts. Come down only if churches are found to be guilty of harassment or if blackmail is involved.* If you want to maintain a secret covenant with your members about how aliens from strange planets blossomed up from the earth via the eardrums of gnats**, then you have to do your own policing to ensure that your esoterica doesn’t find its way to a web site. The courts of the United States will not help you.
Wouldn’t that be a rule of law worth enforcing?
A maverick former military lawyer goes toe to toe with a national security threat: Evangelical Christians:
The U.S. military, which I consider a noble and honorable institution, is technologically the most lethal organization ever created by Homo sapiens. When you have the leadership believing that to be a good soldier, good Marine, good airman or sailor you have to be not just a Christian but the right type of Christian, we’re no better than al-Qaida. And it’s hideous, beyond belief. My kids were called “fucking Jews” and accused of total complicity, they and their people, in the execution of Jesus Christ, by superiors up and down the chain of command at the Air Force Academy….
I’ve had nine death threats since about 10 o’clock last night. I usually get about two or three a week. They’re very grotesque, everything from wanting to gas all the Jews in America and send the corpses back to Israel to threatening to blow me up, threatening my house will be blown up, raping my wife, blowing up my house. We’ve had our tires slashed, we’ve had feces and beer bottles thrown at the house, we’ve had dead animals placed on the front door of the house.
I was in Topeka, on a book tour, and the local Episcopal priest came out to support me and five hours later his church was burned down. And the local synagogue in Topeka, where I was to speak that night, was desecrated with spray paint saying, “Fuck you, Jews” and “KKK,” all that stuff.
So if this is a nice, Christian response, my response is take a number, pack a picnic lunch and stand in line, because we’re not going to stop, we’re not going to ever stop, we’re going to lay down a withering field of fire and leave sucking chest wounds on these people that are trying to destroy our Constitution. This is not a Christian-Jewish issue, and it’s also not a political spectrum, left or right issue, it’s a Constitutional right and wrong issue. These officers, and what’s happening in that video, simply by appearing in a video that is blatantly and vociferously sectarian, by simply doing three things in that video, they should be court-martialed.
For the full details, click here.
In the wake of the Foley affair, the Right (which has done its best to undo our constitutional freedoms these last eight years) is suddenly concerned about Internet privacy. Like we on the Left didn’t warn them. Here’s an article from Forbes that you will want to read. I actually agree with much of what it has to say. Welcome, oh Forbes, to the land of liberty.
The Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 against the secret military tribunals being held in Guantamano Bay on the grounds that they violated the Bill of Rights and the Geneva Convention.
Welcome back to America, my friends. Those who don’t like the decision are free to move to China. You can have all the secret trials you want there. Take your guns.
None — save Republican extremists and AIPs — dare call it treason.
None — save Republican extremists and AIPs — dare call it treason.
I know you’re shocked — SHOCKED! — that George Bush is listening in on all your phone calls. Without a warrant. That’s nothing. And it’s not news.
This is: the snooping into your phone bill is just the snout of the pig of a strange, lucrative link-up between the Administration’s Homeland Security spy network and private companies operating beyond the reach of the laws meant to protect us from our government. You can call it the privatization of the FBI — though it is better described as the creation of a private KGB.
A nonfiction right out of Solhzenitsyn’s The First Circle! I wonder what names and what words I need to say. Are any of my friends on the list? Am I?
It isn’t “Big Government” that is to blame here. It is Big Corporation which has managed to privatize large sectors of our government and put it beyond our control.
For more information, read Greg Palast.
Think that when we threw the Taliban out of power we ended the mixing of Religion and State in Afghanistan? Think again.
No matter what religion controls a state apparatus, it will undermine liberty. Read this story and then Look Homeward Angel.
There’s a good question being raised by the debate over changing the mental illness laws in England: should personality disorder sufferers (e.g. sociopaths) be subject to forcible detention? The current law says that if you have a mental syndrome which cannot be treated, you can’t be locked up. So a sociopath who poses a danger to self or others may be released because he doesn’t have an organic brain dysfunction like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
Is this thought policing? Can we have a law like this and not give up freedom? Is a greater good served by identifying and restricting sociopaths? (And why only violent ones? Would the impact on the economy be too great when we lose our salesmen?)
Hitler knew he ruled a nation of cowards, and knew he had to spend the money to make the new war something cowards could fight and win. He decorated his troops with regalia to make them proud of themselves, further trapping them in their self-image. Hitler copied the parade regalia of ancient Rome, to remind the Germans of the defeat of the legions at the Tuetenberg Forest. Talismans were added from orthodox religions and the occult to fill the soldiers with delusions of mystical strengths and an afterlife if they fell in battle. Finally, knowing that it takes courage to kill the enemy face to face, Hitler spent vast sums of money on his wonder weapons, airplanes, submarines, ultra-long range artillery, the world’s first cruise missile and the world’s first guided missile, weapons that could be used to kill at a distance, so that those doing the killing need not have to face the reality of what they were doing.
A sound analysis except for the insistance that Hitler staged the Reichstag fire and Bush staged 9-11. What happened, in both cases, was that an external element committed an act on a massive scale. Instead of limiting it to the parties involved (BTW, where is Osama Bin Laden?), the two tyrants exploded them into more than they actually were. Incompetence explains the World Trade Center well enough. We have yet to have a fair investigation into the 9-11 affair. I doubt, however, that we will discover any Administration complicity: there’s plenty of evidence for excessive obsession with the War on Drugs and knee-jerk rejection of any suggestion Clinton made to his office-purloining successor to explain why the sons of Reagan were caught sleeping.
We should always question our anger, take time before we react which is precisely what the American people did not do after 9-11. I told chat room friends “Don’t give Bush a blank check.” And they did.
The only reason why we appear to be stuck is that we are addicted to Glory. We salivate for the flags, the boys and girls in uniform, the belief that we are saving the world despite all evidences to the contrary. Bigger, better, faster — deadlier. More remove from our victims. Glory isn’t glory when you kill innocent civilians, torture POWs, and lie to get a war. Now that the horror returns home, the so-called liberal media waves the flag harder than ever before, trying to blame it all on a few young soldiers who were stupid enough to photograph their sanguinary antics in Abu Ghraib prison. It feels like we failed, but we don’t have the guts to march on Washington and tell our largely unelected power brokers that enough is enough.
Greg Palast said that contrary to media reports, the objective of the Iraq War was achieved:
Bush and his co-conspirator, Dick Cheney, accomplished exactly what they set out to do. In case you’ve forgotten what their real mission was, let me remind you of White House spokesman Ari Fleisher’s original announcement, three years ago, launching of what he called,
O.I.L. How droll of them, how cute. Then, Karl Rove made the giggling boys in the White House change it to “OIF” — Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the 101st Airborne wasn’t sent to Basra to get its hands on Iraq’s OIF.
Operation Iraqi Freedom. The majesty of unchaining a country that was oppressed despite having the highest per capita rate of firearm ownership in the world eggs us on. Now that the reports of returning soldiers indicate that we are oppressors,too, we stall. “Well, we didn’t know better then”, which is the excuse many a parent makes to her/his adult survivor of childhood abuse. We know better now. The past is no excuse for action in the present.
I disagree with theories that hold that Americans were docile lambs led to slaughterhouses made of shrapnel and spent uranium. Americans did know — at least if they were reading the Internet. People like me tried to warn them and — well, we weren’t “official sources”, so even applications of common sense were rejected.
We’re still talking and Americans still ignore us. We don’t realize our individual and collective power to change this scenario. Back in the 17th century, a jury voted to acquit a young man accused of “preaching a tumultuous sermon”. The judge did not like the verdict and imprisoned them when they would not deliver the one he desired. “Do not give up your franchise!” cried one of the defendants as the jury filed off. Eventually the jurors were freed by a higher court and the principle of power grounded in the People was recovered, for a time.
We should remember that in these times of arrogant, quasi-dictatorship. “Do not give up your franchise” — your power to make the government obey your will. If you make a stand for your right, the tumultuous William Penn might tip his hat the next time you visit Philadelphia.
Remember when neoconservatives were spreading the rumor that Clinton was going to impose a modem tax? Even CNN got involved in spreading the falsehood. And they never did set the record straight as far as I know.
Here in America, the big telecommunications companies are lobbying to take over the Internet, to charge you for using your net. Certainly the neocons who cried for Clinton’s head because of the modem tax should be flagellating companies such as AT&T and Verizon for wanting to own what is public. But they would rather sell the Net to private kingships than have it part of the democratic — and free – commons.
Common Cause quotes several lobbyist and telecommunications CEOs on their latest Keep-Rich-Quick schemes:
Bellsouth’s William L. Smith told reporters that he would like the Internet to be turned into a “pay-for-performance marketplace” where his company would be allowed, for example, to charge Yahoo for the right to have its site load faster than Google. (Washington Post, December 1, 2005)
Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg says that web applications (like search engines, online video, VoIP telephone) need to “share the cost” of broadband – broadband that’s already been paid for by the consumer. “We have to make sure that they [application providers] don’t sit on our network and chew up bandwidth. We need to pay for the pipe.” (TechWeb News, January 5, 2006)
AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre said: “What they [Google, Vonage, and others] would like to do is to use my pipes free. But I ain’t going to let them do that….Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?” (Business Week, November 7, 2005)
HDnet owner Mark Cuban thinks that “we need multiple tiers of service [on the Internet]. … I want the telcos and the cable companies …to work out a way to exchange traffic at multiple quality of service levels.” What he really wants is the right to buy off Internet providers to ensure that HDnet’s video web content works faster and better than video on other sites. (Blog Maverick, January 15, 2006)
Comcast’s David Cohen doesn’t get it. He says “network neutrality is nothing more than a solution in search of a problem.” The problem is that Internet providers like Comcast only care about their own bottom lines – not protecting the open and freewheeling nature of the Net. (Congressional Quarterly, November 11, 2005)
This affects us all in a way that the nonexistent modem tax never could. What you need to do is contact your congressional representative now. Now is the time to get the corporations off the People’s backs. The load is heavier, much heavier, than the one Reagan purported to remove back in the 1980s.
Spread the word.
Spread the word.