Politics

Bundy Bungle: Conservatives and Their Slavery Delusion

Carrey

I am getting sick and tired of conservatives saying that having to pay taxes to service a large federal debt is the same or (and I cannot believe THEY even really believe this) WORSE than the enslavement of black Americans. Sure it sucks to have to pay taxes to finance a debt that is out of control (mostly because of wars ad corporate welfare and subsides and because we plundered the SS fund) but to compare that to SLAVERY?

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote in the Atlantic (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/04/cliven-bundy-wants-to-tell-you-all-about-the-negro/361152/)

“Slavery is torture as a system of governance, corporal destruction taken as the mere cost of doing business […] Enslaved black people were, with some regularity, beat with cowhide whips, tongs, pokers, chairs, and wooden boards. Nails were driven through their palms, pins through their tongues. Eyes were gouged out for the smallest offense.”

If you think that even REMOTELY resembles having to pay a debt you think is too high then you are so stupid that I am surprised you did not stab yourself in the eye with your toothbrush this morning.

Bundy is a thief one step above a cattle rustler. He is obviously a racist and has no comprehension of how stupid he actually is. We need to ignore this man and let the Federal Government get our money back from him. What worries me more is how many conservatives who normally would keep their mouths shut on issues of race and gun rights are now coming out and declaring this man a hero or a revolutionary. This is dangerous. This is how Oklahoma City happened. This is how doctors get assassinated. This is how people start dying.

The conservative movement in this nation has been taken over by people who are not even classically conservative at all. They are militants hoping to reestablish a racially segregated and violently maintained economic and social utopia that never existed and could never have existed. Conservative white America is eating itself alive. Many cannot comprehend the idea that white supremacy would be the a priori state of US society and governance. They buy more guns, buy more self-segregated housing, go to more economically segregated schools, and even read/watch a self-segregated media. Far less self-delusion and ignorance has led to violence of unimaginable intensity and cruelty. It is not if the Right wing will violently strike out against a liberalizing and diversifying nation but when. We as citizens and as human beings must be prepared for this and we must not give in to the temptation to strike back or take revenge. We must not behave like these people because we are not these people. Of course we should defend ourselves but as a society, not as bunch of scared-shitless individuals armed to the teeth and closing their eyes against reality and the tide of history.

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2nd Amendment, Activism

Repeal and Replace…The 2nd Amendment

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First off, I am not going to make an argument against the 2nd Amendment by analyzing the opinions and ideas of the founders. They lived in another world with another set of realities that do not apply directly to the situation today in a nation of 1/3 of a billion people. We need to divorce ourselves from the idea that we must justify contemporary ideas on civil rights and societal reform by couching it in self-satisfying quotations and references to men who would wet their pants if they saw an AR-15 in action.

In case you missed the context:

Cliven Bundy, a cattle rancher from Nevada who does not recognize the existance of the US Federal government, brought a bunch of armed milita members and “sovereign citizen” activists to support his “right” to pillage & destroy public land for his profit without compensating YOU. Mr. Bundy has been illegally grazing his herd of cattle on public land for 20 years without paying the government, the people, for that privilege. So he is stealing from you, and he is doing it while defying dozens of summonses, court orders, and citations. Mr. Bundy and his friends believe that if you have enough guns and you wish really really hard you do not have to listen to US law. Isn’t that special? The Bureau of Land Management stupidly backed down in order to protect people from the potential gunfire from the insurgents (because that is what they were, not “protesters”…protesters are not armed). The motivations of the BLM may have been admirable, but they have set a dangerous precedent here that if you have the firepower the government will back down and let you continue to be a law unto yourself. Expect incidents like this to continue and get worse. Eventually blood will be spilled and it will not be pretty. The government, at its best, is supposed to preserve and protect the rights of all the citizens, using force if confronted by force, and by backing down they have shown that the law only applies when it is safe to apply it, and that if you act like a big enough bully you can get away with attempted murder and theft. On her public blog Rachel Maddow and her editorial staff have a wonderful and insightful analysis of the situation and I suggest you read it—

( http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/the-bundy-crisis-nevada )

This incident got me thinking about the 2nd Amendment, the legal device used to justify this continuing assault on the safety of US residents and the sanctity of the law itself. With over 300 million firearms in the US (more than most national armies possess) there is hardly a war on firearms ownership in this nation. For context, according to the Geneva Institute of International Studies, the US has 89 firearms per 100 residents, which is 30% more than the next nation on the list, Serbia (which recently went through a violent civil war and genocide) and 90% more than South Korea, a nation with similar levels of economic development and a similar form of government. The US, supposedly the most safe, stable and prosperous democratic nation on the planet, has nearly as many gun deaths per 100,000 as does Mexico, a nation in the midst of a bloody war against armed drug cartels. The US population is armed to the teeth and, as recent activism in favor of open and concealed carry, stand your ground laws (shoot first ask questions later doctrine) and arming everyone from airplane pilots, teachers, and preachers has shown, is eager to use these weapons. The US has 50% 0f the world’s civilian weapons and less than 5% of the world’s population. Again, this is not a nation in danger of losing its essential right to own a deadly weapon of war.

The 2nd Amendment is perhaps the most successful of all the amendments…far too successful in fact. People criticize every other Amendment, rightly or wrongly, and these arguments are largely embraced or at least considered by the general population and our representatives. Every Amendment save for the 2nd. If you dare to bring up any reservations about our most archaic of Amendments you are deemed a traitor, a fool, a weakling or worst of all, a supporter of tyranny. Somehow we as a nation have come to believe that if 100 million + arm chair patriots are not armed the US will turn over night into a Orwellian hellscape complete with death camps for Christians and tattooed social security numbers on foreheads. Talk about a Straw Man argument!

I could go on an on about the logical fallacies underpinning many of the conservative arguments in favor of unlimited gun rights but that has been done better and more thoroughly before. Instead I am going to move on and suggest some common sense ideas to allow US to balance resident’s desire to own firearms and the public’s right to be safe from what is essentially a nation that has become a free fire zone. If you have some suggestions or some revisions to my proposals please feel free to mention them in the comments. I may even debate you!

1. Repeal the 2nd Amendment and replace it with a new one establishing more common sense and humane gun laws and rights. The right o bear arms must not be held on the same level as the right to speech or the right to not be enslaved. Here is a proposal for the wording of such an amendment:

“The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution is hereby repealed. The right to bear arms, based on tradition, historical precedent, and for reasons of personal safety, shall be respected but shall not be unconditional nor shall it override the right of the people to a safe and secure public space. The people have the right to regulate and restrict firearms and to set standards for ownership and proliferation of arms.”

2. Based upon this new Amendment institute some laws and regulations to protect US citizens from gun violence and proliferation. I propose the following as a start:

Ban the importation of all firearms.

Mandate that only a certain number of firearms are manufactured every year and only at federally owned and regulated factories.

Ban sales of semi-automatic handguns, semi-automatic rifles, and fully automatic rifles

Round up all non approved weaponry using a gun turn in program (with the price every weapon turned in counting as a deduction or credit on Federal and State income taxes)

Faze out all semi-automatic and automatic weapons used by law enforcement and federal agencies

Mandate mandatory penalties of at least 10 years in federal prison for the conviction of the the unlicensed manufacture or selling of prohibited firearms. 5 Years for individuals who repeatedly [more than 3 convictions] violate of federal laws banning ownership or use of prohibited firearms.

Firearms for use in hunting and/or sports will be regulated by state authorities as they see fit.

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These are just a few ideas and I have many more. New Zealand has laws similar to these I have listed and they are hardly a Stalinist dictatorship. Just some food for thought.

UPDATE:

Bundy supporters planned on using unarmed women as human shields so that they would be the first to die after they provoked the Feds to shoot. According to both the hyper-conservative website the Blaze and the left wing site Think Progress Bundy supporter, and former AZ sheriff Richard Mack told Fox News Sunday:

“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.”

So not only did the supporters of Mr. Bundy all but admit on national tv that they were willing to let unarmed innocents die to make their anti-federal government point they also show that they are using what are terrorist tactics in their attempt to nullify federal, democratic, authority. This is concerning and shows that milita/tea party/2nd amendment types may now be prepared to kill to preserve their perverse sense of entitlement. These people are armed and afraid and see hate as one of their greatest weapons. This is a violent insurgency waiting to happen. The 2nd Amendment may have a long and storied history in the US but to quote Robert H. Jackson talking about another amendment, the 1st, “The Constitution is not a suicide pact”.

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poetry

Live Without Despair

Wild_Turkey_-_Sportsman_and_Naturalist_in_Canada

I wept for a year too long

Forgetting I had so little time to spare

Now I realize I have no tears left to shed

And that my sorrows are dulled enough to bear

Whoever said time heals all wounds was wrong

A fully mended heart is all too rare

I no longer feel like I am dead

Life can be cruel but in the end it’s often fair

The breeze sings me a soothing song

And ruffles my unkempt hair

And I am not alone in my bed

It seems sadness and I have a few more nights to share

I believe now that I am strong

And for myself once again I care

I’m coming to terms now with the thoughts in my head

I shall soon be able to live without despair

 

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Book, Politics

Libertarianism & Democracy…20 Sold so Far!

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Hello everyone! In honor of my book Libertarianism & Democracy (https://www.createspace.com/4227121) selling 20 copies (self published!) I thought I would announce that I have lowered the price down to $5.50! For the price of a large latte from a certain mermaid company you can get an enlightening and unapologetic examination of libertarianism and how it works to undermine social justice and democratic reform. You’ll also help out an independent writer!

As thanks for all those who have already bought their copy here is an excerpt from my forthcoming book “Terror: How Revolution Begins and Ends”. Enjoy!

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What is terror? The system you live (and die) in is an evil, destructive one, what we may have once have defined as terror, political or socially motivated violence, may now be understood better as the natural expression of creatures who wish to be free from this evil. All terror, all conflict, all action leads to the dissolution of the Capitalist order and its Imperialist system. All these anti-human forces have left to them is reaction against the boiling anger and yearning of the People. Reaction is termintive, a political expression of the scientific tendency of all things to eventually collapse into chaos and disperse back into the mixture of all things. This is a truth understood since at least Democritus that has influenced humanist thought in what is so stupidly, but now all but unavoidably, called the Western World for at least 1000 years. All things tend towards their most natural state unless prevented by another force or happenstance. War is a force that takes societies, cultures, landscapes and most importantly people and grinds them down to a bloody nub approximating the raw and painful animal state that tortured and terrified 99% of our forebears. This, though, is not the natural state of humanity as a political animal, as homo philosophicus. We can only live so long as creatures before we grasp desperately at what surrounds us so that we may craft a less galling existence.

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Uncategorized

The US Constitution in Context: Part II

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The movement was always centered in the upper middle class and aristocracy, bourgeois in its demands and concerns: taxation that infringed upon the capitalist endeavors of the merchant class and their aristocratic investors, and high-handed dictates that insulted the honor and autonomy of classes that saw themselves as rulers by right of a continent that was just then being opened to imperial market exploitation. The Founders, as they are called, did not envision a state run for or by the poor, workers or for the betterment and empowerment of the marginalized and exploited. They wanted to do for themselves with their own systems of power and privilege what the British had done by imperial fiat. With 1 out of every 4 Englishmen now living in the colonies, and the vast amount of market growth and capitalist earning potential also located in the states, there seemed to be nothing but downsides to remaining united with crown.2 The United Kingdom and its imperial prerogative was a middleman the colonial power structure decided it could no longer afford.

The War that followed was led and financed by the aristocracy and the merchant class that so desperately wanted to join that class. With appeals to tropes of imperial brutality, patriotism, promises of land, enterprise and greater local control these privileged elites were able to bring the working and agrarian classes into the movement as fodder for the brutal grinding Continental style of warfare that would come to full horrible flower in the Napoleonic wars and the early engagements of the American Civil War. Erroneous promises of land and free agency, as well as intimidation, economic pressure and manipulation of the strained relations between tribal nations, also brought the indigenous population into the war on both sides. Neither the British nor Americans would hold up their end of the bargain though. The war was won by the American aristocracy over the British Imperial state on the backs of those who had no stake in the coming system of power and privilege and with a generous bit of assistance from the abominably cruel and brutal French Monarchy. The soldiers fought proudly and many organized and protested what they saw as injustices being perpetrated against the colonies by the British. What is lost though is the constant battle being waged by the destitute and the marginalized against the powerful and wealthy in the colonies themselves. With the British gone a new system would have to take their place, and that system would not necessarily be an improvement over the old system. Many fought for a new way of life in the colonies, a “new birth of freedom” if you will, but the war in the end would lead not to this potential but to “the rule of property, free markets, and a gilded elite of landowners, merchants, and bankers.”3

This is the context in which the US Constitution was crafted. But Constitutional Federalism was not a fait accompli; the interests of the various states, and those who held sway in them, were seen to be best served by a looser Confederation that diffused authority and control away from a central governing system familiar to the colonies through their experience of colonial rule from Great Britain. Article 4 of the Confederation charter made clear that this system would benefit the entrenched powers and classes:  “the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States”.4 Property ownership and economic power became the basis of rights and privileges and set up an insurmountable wall keeping much of the people from true political influence and power. This point of view would be cemented, albeit in a more palatable language, in the Federal Constitution and system that would replace the articles of Confederation.The state sovereignty envisioned by the crafters of the Articles of Confederation would not be sufficient to maintain the sort of control the aristocracy and merchants desired. The lack of taxation powers, a military limited by the opposing interests of the various states, and especially the proliferation of debt held by the states, and of course their wealthy creditors, would be the death knell of this form of union. The debt held by the creditors of the states was an especially powerful lever used against Confederated authority. The various states were responsible for the debts accrued during wartime, but such an arrangement would complicate attempts by Federalists to establish a more powerful central authority that was allied with (and therefore to a certain degree beholden to) wealthy creditors.  A new constitution would allow the government to take on debt of the states, and work directly with the monied powers that controlled the debts of the states, and distribute it onto the working people and farmers of the nation through taxation and penalties.

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