I’ve Been Hearing This Since…

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…that fifth grade essay I had to write for a State Standards exam. You know the type – Write a five hundred word essay on the importance of voting. It is therefore easy to imagine just one of the reasons why I cringe every time I hear something like this:

Mrs. Obama also told her audience that turnout was a large part of her husband’s victories, especially “women and minorities and young people.” Republicans, she explained, counted on “folks like us” to stay away from the polls.

And I don’t know if you remember, but people were shocked when Barack won — they’re still shocked — (laughter and applause) — because they were counting on folks like us to stay home.  See, but then we proved them wrong.  Barack won because OF record numbers of women and minorities and young people who showed up and voted.

But the Fifth Grade was way back in the past. And Adulthood is left with the basic premise that your husband, Mrs. Obama, was initially elected based not on the content of his character; Isn’t that what the vetting process used to do? No, Barack was elected because a majority of the sleepy electorate were like, dude, he’s black and that’s enough for my vote.

In grown up terms, Michelle, he was elected based on the color of his skin. And the irony is that you and the Black Caucus are spitting on MLK Jr and all the good the old Civil Rights Movement represented and accomplished.

But then again I’m white. So what do I know about any of this.

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Dick Cheney The Ol’ Neocon Bastard

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Compare the philosophic differences in the following quotes:

She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when the conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart….Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

John Quincy Adams, 4 July 1821

As quoted recently by Dick Cheney:

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan said, “If history teaches anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.”

One knows he is on the right track when neo-cons start up with their tired tirades. The two good things Obama has done in the last six years is to “end” our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq and draw down the size of the Armed Forces. Regarding the latter, America has done so after every war before World War II. Yet after that war, we actually grew our military, to combat an imagined threat in the Cold War, thanks in part to Truman’s missteps and Ike’s missed opportunities to open up talks with the Soviets in the early-mid 1950’s.

Cheney seems to have forgotten that putting Iran into the Axis of Evil in the 2000’s nixed a reformist Iranian governmnet and brought Ahmadinejad to power. Does he also forget that Kuwait was carved out of Iraq by the British? Or that modern Near East states were created by the Allies post-World War I? How our loans to Saddam during the Iraq-Iran War collapsed an Iraqi economy that had been on the rebound before the war? That both reasons led Saddam to invade Kuwait? Does he remember we fed supplies and money into the Iraq-Iran war? Or what of Afghanistan – that we did the same to the Mujahideen and Taliban fighters to spite the Soviets?

Does Cheney, who views the surge with warm feelings because of its “success” understand it was necessary because Rumsfeld refused to understand the concept of invading with overpowering numbers? Would Cheney be able to honestly tell us he believes the American Way is not a cookie-cutter experience for all peoples in all places in all times? If not, I would suggest he read Orestes A. Brownson.

No, the clear evidence Dick Cheney sees he wrongly interprets. The world has not spoken any clearer in telling America to return to its Enlightenment principles. The world does not need another Imperal parent. Spurn Churchill’s desire and lay the British Empire to rest.

In Cheney’s view:

Tragically, [Obama] is quickly proving…that without American pre-eminence, there can be no world order.

As Marcus Aurelius tells Maximus in Gladiator, empire does not mean the end of war for there will always be someone left to fight. We should care to recall that the world was so ordered before America and will be so after America. What is world order other than individuals [nations] acting in their own best interests? Obama cannot be any more right in saying “[a]ny world order that elevates one nation above others cannot long survive.” As Brownson argues, America or any other nation, does not exist in and of itself, it exists as so Divinely created. Exclude the Divine to one’s own peril. What is peril other than to view one’s country as the benefactor of civilization and order?

I hope Dick Cheney’s march takes him straight to the insane asylum.

One For The Queers

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The decision leaves in place another provision in the law that says no state is required to recognize gay marriages performed in any other state. [Courtesy of the LATimes]

I must split with the faux-Conservative community regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act handed down today. I personally believe the law to have been un-Constitutional on two points. On account of the Tenth Amendment, the power to decide who can or cannot marry lies with each individual State. Whether Roberts et al agree with that or not, it is the correct way in which to adjudicate.

And, secondly, there is no such thing as the regulation of morality, which was the basic essence of DoMA. My working theory is the ceding of religious authority and personal morality over time to the governance of Modernism, which entails everything from Relativism to Darwinian Moralism, is the heart of the issue. But this is not the time to expand on that thought.

Regarding my stance on the regulation of morality, those more aligned with religious fundamentalism would disagree with me. They might say morality laws are necessary to slow the onslaught of social deviancy. Or that all law is inherently moral. With the latter point I would agree. Yet there is a sharp difference between a government having the power to print coinage and declare war with a government which says thou shall and thou shalt not. The morality of law, at least in the tradition of Western Enlightenment, is of a more humanistic nature: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Reintroduce religion into government and the theocratic State will do as much if not more harm than what we now have. In other words, the problem is not that we lack law regulating morality, it is that we lack personal morality.

Ergo, where I break with Justice Kennedy is on the issues of morality, the definition of marriage and the individual’s duty to society.

The law “places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage,” Kennedy wrote for the court. “The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects, and whose relationship the state has sought to dignify.” [Courtesy of Bloomberg]

The Constitution does not protect anti-social forms of sexuality. Why, in the face of allowing homosexual marriage, should we also not allow other forms of sexually deviant behavior. Logically, what society says is wrong about every other conceivable form of sexuality would also amount to discrimination and injustice. But such couldn’t be further from the truth. Every society operates on conceived ideals, what we might call the social glue, or societal fabric. Thus, should a strand be ripped out, the society falls apart, ie changes.

The term anti-social might bring to mind anarchy or some other such means of anti-government sentiment, but true anti-social behavior is that which completely subverts the normative, in this case a form of sexuality that on one hand does not provide for the propagation of society. And on the other hand fundamentally changes the social fabric at its most basic level, the individual family unit.

The pro-LGBT crowd would here cite two seemingly logical arguments as to why homosexual unions are no different than certain heterosexual unions. One, couples are allowed to marry who either cannot have children or are past the age of childbearing years. Second, couples are allowed to marry and choose not to have children. However, these are nothing more than smokescreen arguments. Every society throughout the expanse of time has understood marriage to be a contract, both social, religious and economic, between a man and a woman. By and large, marriages produce children. It is a rule of natural law. Equally so, homosexual unions cannot produce children. Only in our modern scientific age have we perverted the child-bearing process into the choice and convenience of a petri dish.

I am oddly struck that the Supreme Court did not amend the disparity of marriage recognition between the various States [Ref quote at top]. If Justice Kennedy and his four cohorts are truly out to find justice under the law for the homosexual community, would it not therefore be appropriate to wrest the power of marriage away from the individual States and form a Bureau of Marriage at the national level?

And We Should Care What Mitt Said Because…?

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Buyer’s remorse? Another morsel of proof that Romney was perhaps the better choice? An aha! towards the naysayers?

A yes to any or all of those questions. And more to questions I don’t care to bother to think up. Big deal about Romney’s quip during the final presidential debate last year that proves he was right about what is now happening in Mali.

Anyone with half a brain could have seen this coming. They could have seen everything that’s happened in the last decade. The last twenty years. The last near-century since we decided to prop up Near East dictators so we could have access to cheap oil. Bush’s War hasn’t helped the matter either. Colin Powell was right at least on this point – that if you break it you have to put it back together. Well, we broke Iraq and our wise politi-crats in Washington still have no idea how to put it back together. Personally speaking, unless Islam goes through a fundamental ideological change, or the region’s religion coverts to something else, nothing will change except for which of the strongest tribes wields power.

I have a hard time understanding how Bush 43 and his Circus Administration wholly ignored the balance of power between Saddam and Iran. But stupid is as stupid does and stupidity bequeathed to us yet another Imperialist president who likes to foment the hornet’s nest of the Near East. Romney may have correctly assessed the potential for upheaval in Mali but he fell short of the question which begged asking: Why are we in Mali? I dare say we might find the least of wisdom in taking a hard look at the Washington Administration. I propose closing down all Embassies. Perhaps in the future when we feel we have State issues with a foreign nation, we should send an entourage over with a clear and specific purpose. Doing so just might save us the headache of yet another American bureaucrat taken hostage and/or killed.

Let’s Enjoy What Good Things May Occur

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This is fantastic news.

The Grand Ol’ Party is holding the Speaker accountable rather than it being the other way around. Obviously, the more conservative members of the party are responsible for the intra-party coup-de-tat-lite. But with trillion-plus dollar deficits for each of the last for years, a small victory is a victory nonetheless.

After today, Senate Democrats and the White House are going to have to act on this measure.

If only we could tackle more than one problem at a time. When is Boehner going to realize it is not up to the White House [I’m hoping and assuming he means the President] to initiate legislation? The takeover of the Congress and the legislative process is a far cry higher than sickening. It is at once disturbing and antithetical to what was once termed the grand experiment of this former Republic. For the Executive to trample upon things such as the power to declare war at will is one thing. To essentially hand not only lawmaking, but also the power of the purse to the Executive is perhaps the last nail in the coffin of Republican government.

Not that such possible tragedy goes unknown over time. Always it is a foregone conclusion of the corruptible nature of power. Though this foresight does not make our present age any less melancholy. The purpose of government, our government at least, is decayed and I would argue irredeemable. What that means for the Libertarian tenet of the utmost personal freedom possible is a waning arc towards loss.

Many within the broad spectrum of the Conservative tent [Republicanism through Anarchism] would blame much of the loss of Democratic ideals on the education system. To a small degree they are correct.  I think the better path to take is to remember the decaying manner of the human experience. That ideas, in this case, Lockean, Humean etc first corrupt and then are forgotten.

In any case I hope Jim DeMint’s thoughts on Boehner’s Speakership are correct: that the Fiscal Cliff will ultimately cost Boehner his job. There are those of us in Ohio, however few, who understand the Libertarian who ran against Boehner in the 2010 midterm election was the better choice. A Republican who voted for the first Bailout is no Republican at all.

Election Day Ruminating

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My small near-mid-western town likes to think big when it comes to racing police cruisers, the fire engine and an ambulance up and down main street multiple times a week. But other than the nuisance of that noise, it’s a rather hum-drum life here and I quite like it.

Returning a few movies to the library after voting, there was an older man, somewhere around retirement age, standing on the corner of the two intersecting main streets in town holding a sign:

Teamsters For
Romney/Ryan

I honked, gave him a thumbs up and he waved back. This juxtaposed against the Democrat headquarters on the opposite diagonal corner, a sign in the window reading:

Stop The War On Workers

I love following politics. I’m a junkie, an amateur admittedly. I watched all the Republican Candidate debates last summer and earlier this year, as well as the two Presidential Debates a few weeks ago. I’m not at all a Romney fan. I voted for the Constitution Party candidate again this time. Joe Lieberman said it well after running as an Independent, that I didn’t leave my party, they left me. I feel the same about not only the Republicans, but most politicians in general. It would be whitewashing historical context to say that politics has always had the individual’s best interests in mind as government is at best a cruel master. But why is it so difficult for elected leaders to pass something that’s good for the country as a whole and then stay out of everyone’s business? 60 Minutes had a good story relating to that question just this past Sunday.

In any case, it would be nice to vote for a major party candidate who didn’t have his hands tied to the Israeli Lobby. Or thought closing military bases around the world constitutes retreat and defeat. For that would bring to the forefront the fact that despite the Cold War being “over”, the U.S. still effects that very mission. I never heard Romney explain why having a large military presence around the world was good for our security and interests. In fact, he never admitted what he believes our interests are. What is just as scary to me is Romney’s belief that an Executive Order is permissible to pass positive or negative law. He was rather adamant early on in saying he would use such a process to repeal ObamaCare.

I’m hoping Sherrod Brown loses his Senate seat tonight. I didn’t like pulling the lever for Josh Mandel since he is just as moneyed and tied to special interests as Brown. This was the most difficult decision for me since I’d rather have gone with Scott A. Rupert. But I finally decided that getting rid of Brown was best done in voting for Mandel. And that putting in a Rupert will be a better road to travel in the future.

In relation, I wish the electorate wasn’t so caught up on who wins the White House. True, the President sets the general political tone via his leadership but it is the Congress which ultimately sets policy via legislation.

Ohio has risen to the top in importance this last week of the campaign season. Anyone can win the state. Yet I have not heard one news agency explain Ohio politics well and why we are a purple state. It is somewhat like New York State where just a few counties in NYC will give a politician the state. For Ohio, it is the story of its cities. Obama did not win one rural county in 2008. For Romney to carry the state, he has to take or split at least one city with Obama. I believe it comes down to ethnic relation – how well did Romney present himself and his policies to Ohio’s black population? As Cincinnati was a major hub of the Underground Railroad, one would assume the black population would skew Republican. Yet I think it actually comes down to Cleveland. Urban blight coupled with how district lines are drawn will determine whether we in Ohio skew red or blue this time around. Urban blight and redistricting are why our ballot’s Issue 2 is so important.

And finally, keeping in line with my last two posts, I’ll leave off with some election humor.

Gingrich The Misguided

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**Update: New information has come to light that the Qu’ran burning was done to prevent messages being sent between prisoners and those outside. It may also have to do with the fact that old, tattered copies of the book are required to be burned. Even with this new information, my argument still holds. It also has one added thought – U.S. military personnel should be smarter than to receive copies of the book from outside the base. The issue disappears if the U.S. provided copies of the book.**

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If there is one thing the U.S. has yet to grasp after two-hundred forty or so years it is an aptitude of basic foreign policy.

Once in a while, in the midst of overarching error, we get something right. I must extend a thank-you to Obama for apologizing to Hamid Karzai for the burning of copies of the Qu’ran on a military base in Afghanistan.

At the same time Ginrich’s reaction to Obama is nothing less than insolent pride, the all-too-familiar American vanity packaged within co-opted Conservatism’s City on a Hill exceptionalism. Whether there is a strain of radical Muslims fueling the protests is of rather little concern. The greater problem is that prior to 2001, Afghanistan, a very conservative culture, had next to no understanding of America other than hearsay of the power of our military. Since crossing their border to pursue the 21st century’s version of Pancho Villa, Afghans have much to justify their increasing dislike of America.

Gingrich, as well as Santorum and Romney, has a profound non-understanding of what Commander-in-Chief entails, Constitutionally speaking. As history currently stands, no American President has been given approval by the Congress to use the military since Truman. Some might cite the War Powers Act of 1973 but that legislation is wholly unconstitutional, granting power to the President that the Constitution expressly gives to the Congress alone. Thus, any would-be Commander-in-Chief who cites the War Powers Act as justification for intervention is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, punishable by impeachment. And, since no war since WWII has posed a real or feigned existential threat to the U.S., the President need not worry regarding ‘defending our borders’.

In any case, the rationale with which Bush 43 took us to war has been rendered moot with the killing of Osama Bin Laden last year. It is therefore high time not only to bring the troops home, but some of our guns could stand to be turned into plowshares.

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