Joe Miller Says He’ll Hold His Breath Until They Let Him Win

Dec 28 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski

Fairbanks attorney and would-be totalitarian strongman Joe Miller apparently will not try to perform a citizens arrest on Lisa Murkowski. He will, however, take her to federal court for having the audacity to defeat him in the general election after losing the August 24 primary in a write-in campaign.

Never mind that it was the Tea Party that originally came in to steal Murkowski’s seat out from under her.

We all remember Karl Rove’s judgment:

“Absolutely no she can’t win. Under the law, you have to carefully spell the name exactly correct, now everyone go to your pencil and paper and write the name ‘Murkowski’ and see if you got it right.”

“No, she’s going to lose,” he said.

And Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) used a Tea Party fundraiser to call her a “big-tent hypocrite” and said she had betrayed the conservative cause.

Republican cannibalism at its best – or worst.

But she didn’t lose. She outraged the Tea Party by actually winning.

And what neither Karl Rove nor Joe Miller (nor, most certainly, Sarah Palin) reckoned on was the innate fairness of the process. The state Division of Elections established guidelines before counting even began that the voter’s intent had to count when writing-in a vote.

God forbid fairness should enter into the democratic process. “We can’t have that!” the Tea Party says.

So Miller lost fair and square. That’s not just a liberal writer saying that, it’s the Alaska Supreme Court, the law of the land. But that is Joe Miler’s whining lament: she cheated! Egads, people misspelled her name. Has she no shame claiming the victory?

The Alaskan Supreme Court ruled against him. The message from the voters was “You lost, Joe.” The message from the highest court in the state was the same: “You lost, Joe.”

“There are no remaining issues raised by Miller that prevent this election from being certified.”

But Joe claims that the sanctity of the election process is at stake. Meaning, he can’t possibly have lost. Perhaps God promised him a victory or something. After all, he promised one to Sarah Palin too on the eve of the ’08 Election Day.

Apparently, those nasty feds aren’t so nasty when Joe’s victory is at stake. To hell with the State of Alaska. What do the feds say? Does the Tea Party have no shame, throwing the state under the bus and trying to trump with the federal courts?

Did the world just turn upside down?

I’m unclear as to how losing an election fair and square violates the sanctity of the democratic process but then, I’ve never performed a citizens arrest on somebody who asked me a question.

For the record, this is Joe’s reasoning:

“After careful consideration and seeking the counsel of people whose opinion I respect and trust, I have decided that the federal case must go forward. The integrity of the election is vital and ultimately the rule of law must be our standard. Nevertheless, I have also decided to withdraw our opposition to the certification of the election, ensuring that Alaska will have its full delegation seated when the 112th Congress convenes next month.”

What a guy. Such a gesture of magnanimity!

There really wasn’t much magnanimity evident in Joe’s official protest. As his spokesman Randy DeSota said on Wednesday,

“We are disappointed the Alaska Supreme Court has ignored the plain text of Alaska law and allowed the Division of Elections to effectively amend the state election code without even giving the public an opportunity for notice and comment.”

Of course, the Alaskan Supreme Court made just that ruling, that state law had not been violated. End of story.

Not so, says Joe.

Of course, none of this surprises Lisa Murkowski, who has already been exposed to the limitless, mindless hate and nihilism of Tea Party politics. Her campaign fully expected Joe Miller to be a big crybaby.

Perhaps the most amusing aspect of this whole situation is that with or without the contested votes, Joe Miller has lost. Lisa Murkowski ended up with a lead of 10,328 votes.  Joe says 8,159 of those votes can’t count. Even without them, however, Lisa Murkowski still has a 2,169 vote lead.

There is a great deal wrong with this picture. There is the Republican betrayal of Lisa Murkowski later reinterpreted as a betrayal by Lisa Murkowski, another Sarah Palin demagogue who like Christine O’Donnell showed himself completely unequal to the office to which he sought election (a real chip off the old block), and then, when the people had spoken, when the State of Alaska had spoken, these Tea Party tenthers turn around and appeal to the hated feds to overturn the state. We’ll leave aside for the moment the sheer childishness of Miller’s position on this. What does he do for an encore? Hold his breath?

No, take your medicine Joe. In Palin-speak, find your cojones and man up. Vox populi: The people have spoken. Isn’t that supposed to be what the Tea Party is all about? But it isn’t, is it Joe? It’s not about what the people want: it’s about what you want, what Sarah Palin wants, what Christine O’Donnell wants – a free lunch.

13 responses so far

Civil Liberties Not Part of the Republican Plan for America

Dec 24 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

Jeff Sessions, R-AL

This is no surprise to liberals, of course. We’ve known it for some time. Repression and authoritarianism has been in the air for some time – it was not invented by George W. Bush – it merely coalesced under his administration. The result was a crushing blow to Americans’ civil liberties, including suspension of habeas corpus on October 17, 2006. Bush’s actions were, in Sarah Palin’s words, a “refudiation” of the Constitution and all it stands for.

Article I, Section 9, clause 2 of the Constitution states,

“The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

Obviously, the United States had not been invaded, and there was no rebellion. But when you treat the Constitution like a loose set of guidelines you can fudge a little.

But habeas corpus is only a single example, There are many ways in which the Republican Party has chipped away at our civil liberties.

You can search the news and speeches and press releases but you won’t see much being said about civil liberties by Republican politicians or pundits. What you will see are efforts to discourage voting, to disenfranchise voters, especially minorities, but now also by wishing to restrict the franchise to property owners; the restriction of constitutionally-guaranteed rights to gays and lesbians, racial equality, women’s reproductive rights, and the destruction of the wall of separation between church and state.

Still, it is surprising when the Republicans themselves admit their abhorrence of civil liberties, as did Senator Jefferson Beauregard “Jeff” Sessions III (R-AL)  of the Senate Judiciary Committee (in fact, its ranking Republican) who denounced the American Civil Liberties Union on the Senate floor this week.

He was concerned, he said, about Obama judicial appointees who have what he termed “ACLU DNA.” It might help here to know that Senator Sessions was the National Journal’s fifth-most conservative U.S. Senator in their March 2007 Conservative/Liberal Rankings, just below DeMint, SC, Bunning, KY, Cornyn, TX and Kyl, AZ. “August” company indeed.

“[T]he administration,” he ranted, “needs to understand that this is going to be a more contentious matter if we keep seeing the ACLU chromosome as part of this process.”

For the record, the ACLU defends the civil liberties of ALL Americans. That includes, despite right-wing propaganda, the civil liberties of Christians – including defending the right of Christian students to protest against the ACLU at school and the wearing of anti-Islam t-shirts at school. And it also of course, defends Republicans when their civil liberties are challenged.

Some Christians seem to recognize that the ALCU is not evil – that is the title of an article in an evangelical magazine, Christianity Today. But Republicans seem not to recognize this.

It is not a matter of the ACLU taking sides; they did not put themselves against the Republican Party. It is the Republican Party that has put itself against the civil liberties of all Americans.

Civil liberties, you see, are non-denominational. They apply to everyone. And everyone has them; we are all equal before the law according to the Constitution.

And yet, according to Senator Sessions, support of those civil liberties is now as disqualifying as such things as paganism, atheism or Islam or homosexuality, some other notable right-wing shibboleths.

As the ACLU asks, what would the existence of such a thing as ACLU DNA indicate?

A predisposition to defend the rights enshrined in the Constitution for everyone, regardless of their political beliefs? A tendency to think that indefinite detention, religious bigotry and racial profiling are unprincipled and un-American?

An inclination to protect the Constitution and defend the rule of law without exception?

The anti-ACLU atmosphere engendered by Republican rhetoric is reminiscent of the anti-Communist hysteria of the ‘50s. All of us who are old enough remember the old “card-carrying member of the Communist party” rhetoric. As the ACLU says, “We’ve been down this road before. We’ve seen attacks on ‘card-carrying members of the ACLU.’ We can never yield to this kind of intimidation.”

As the ACLU says, “freedom can’t protect itself” and the Republicans have proven they won’t protect it. Apparently it’s not enough to oppose civil liberties and the Constitution, or to be ignorant of them; now you’ve got to denounce them publicly too. That, my friends, is Republican Purity.

Note: The ACLU’s official response to Sessions can be found here.

6 responses so far

Christofascist Group CADC Threatens Divine Wrath for America

Dec 21 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

“destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” – God, The Bible 1 Samuel 15:3

In the wake of the repeal of DADT the level of hatred unleashed by Republicans and Christofascists has been as shrill as we would have expected. As previously reported here by Rmuse, Bible-based bigotry did not carry the day and you’d think the world had come to an end. And according to some of these crazies, it will. Peter LaBarbara of the ironically-named “Americans For Truth About Homosexuality” (because they’re really about lies) talked about the “gaying down” of our military. But it was perennial bigot of the week Bryan Fischer’s words that stood out:

“The new Marine motto: ‘The Few, the Proud, the Sexually Twisted.’ Good luck selling that to strong young males who would otherwise love to defend their country. What virile young man wants to serve in a military like that?”

I dunno, Mr. Fischer. I know of at least one ancient Greek military unit that would have mopped the floor with any comparable force of heterosexuals you can care to name. The Sacred Band’s accomplishments show them to have been pretty damn virile.

You have to remember the lesson of the Old Testament, that those who turn away from God are vomited forth from the land. Everyone remembers what happened to those islands of tolerance and diversity known as Sodom and Gomorrah, whose only sin was to not toe the extremist religious line of the day. (Actually, it was because they were a bunch of selfish rich people that they were struck down by God, not because they engaged in sodomy – read it yourself. Ironic isn’t it? Turns out it was a bunch of Republicans…)

The ironically-named (they all seem to be ironically-named – for example, the Freedom Federation is about taking freedoms away, not protecting them) “Christian Anti-Defamation Commission” (CADC), which claims it is Christians who are the victims of bigotry (not the actual victims of Christian bigotry who are deprived of constitutionally-guaranteed rights), is now talking divine vengeance. Gary Cass’ secure line with God must have been ringing off the hook because he is telling us that God is about to unleash the “mighty sickle of His wrath” on America for “drinking from the dregs of civic debauchery.” Let Sarah Palin try to spell that!

This is serious Old Testament stuff here.

After a long and difficult fight, the struggle for maintaining the military policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was lost for now. There are some hard truths for those who uphold traditional biblical morality to face. Being able to admit we have a problem is the first step towards making the changes we need to reverse this and other gains made by sexual anarchists and secularists.

“Sexual anarchists” he says.  It is clear that Mr. Cass has a very negative view of the modern liberal democracy, which has as its strong spine an adherence to tolerance and diversity.

The last thing we need to do is surrender biblical moral standards to sexual libertines, as if God’s holy nature has somehow changed with public opinion polls.

It’s appropriate here to suggest to Mr. Cass that there is no need (nor indeed any suggestion) that he surrender his biblical standards. Nobody is asking him to do anything he is not personally comfortable with. That is, after all, the essence of the modern liberal democracy. Nobody has suggested that Christians surrender their beliefs. They are merely asking that Christians tolerate the beliefs of others. This task is, apparently, too difficult for the CADC’s bigotry expert.

Homosexual behavior is intrinsically sinful and we cannot renegotiate God’s moral law. No apologies are necessary for agreeing with Jesus, the Apostles, the Law and the Prophets. History, science, scripture and eternity concur.

No apologies, but loads and loads of apologetics (For the record, an “apology” in this sense is “a defense of” so Christian apologetic works are a defense of Christianity – the bookshelves at your local bookstore probably sag under the weight of these tomes).

Homosexual sin, like every other kind of sin, always results in some kind of death. But sexual sin in general, and homosexual sin in particular, is singled out in the Old and New Testament as particularly deadly. Because of this, the unrepentant person trapped in homosexuality, just like all other sinners, is to be pitied and the object of our compassion.

I don’t know…most things result in death, including life. It’s the one thing none of us can escape. But to address Mr. Cass’ point about “sin” the Old Testament doesn’t really say what he says it does. Lesbianism, for example, isn’t outlawed in the Bible. No seed is wasted, you see.

IMPORTANT: And there is more ambiguity in the texts than he suggests. For one thing (and this is important) seed is the issue here, because the ancient Jews thought the seed contained ALL OF LIFE. No egg in the woman – just the man’s seed putting life in her womb. But modern science knows otherwise. Turns out God didn’t fully understand his own creation – or – God didn’t write those words so often quoted, or even say them. Jews who did not have the benefit of modern science wrote them. On the basis upon which they’re written, the injunctions against homosexuality, being a admonition against what amounted to basically murder, is now seen to be without merit.

Spiritually, they are dead to God’s mercy and transforming grace in Christ. Sadly, it was unrepentant homosexual Ellen DeGeneres who emceed the Christmas in Washington TV Show this year with President Obama and family smiling as they blindly celebrated the birth of the Savior. They never saw the incongruence of it all.

As I said, Mr. Cass, lesbianism, deplorable as it was seen, isn’t addressed in the Old Testament as a sin. You should really consider reading your own scriptures before you start “quoting” from them. Even unrepentant bigots – perhaps especially – should read before they talk.

Ultimately, we must resolve that Providence has ordained the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” for now. It could not have happened if God had willed otherwise. But why?

Amusingly, perhaps, it was not God who repealed DADT but mortal men and women, duly and constitutionally elected. According to the Constitution, God does not get a vote. No god does.

In times like these when our nation defies the moral law of the living God, we must ask, “Is God hardening our heart like he did the defiant Pharaoh?” God did it to show His mighty power in the outpouring of ten plagues on the gods of Egypt and by destroying Pharaoh and his army.

I hate to break this to Mr. Cass given that he is on a roll here, but there is no evidence whatsoever that the whole Israel in captivity thing ever happened. The pyramids were built by Egyptians. Archaeologists have found their houses. What they have not found is any evidence that thousands of people wandered in the Sinai for decades. We have a lot of records from that period and no Egyptian sentry seems to have been aware of all those people crossing the border, coming or going.

And you thought the United States had trouble with illegal immigrants!

Is God letting America ripen in her rebellion before He wields the mighty sickle of His wrath? It’s worth considering as our nation’s military now serves under a shameful, pink flag.

Who is going to rebel, Mr. Cass? You? Polls demonstrate that some 75% of Americans supported repeal of DADT. If there is a rebellion, it will be a very small one. I almost hope that you will lead it. Or are you suggesting that America is rebelling against your God? Because I will happily remind you here again that God doesn’t enter into the picture. He’s not in the Constitution. We owe our fealty to the Constitution, not a deity, no matter how pissed off he may or may not be (and really, how can a perfect being even be pissed off? Such human frailties ought technically to be a logical impossibility).

In the meantime Christian, humbly pray, boldly preach and persevere by the power of the Holy Spirit knowing that God is not mocked and one day His righteousness will prevail.

God is not mocked here, Mr. Cass, but the Constitution, which was ratified by every state in this great nation, the Constitution written by our Founding Fathers. That is being mocked – by you.

Nobody is asking you to act against your beliefs. We are merely expecting you to respect our rights – according to the Constitution, the same Constitution which has protected yours for over 200 years.

7 responses so far

START Treaty Overcomes Two Republican Amendments

President Obama and Congressional Democrats hope to ratify the START Treaty Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty ) negotiated between the U.S. and Russia back in April, before the 111th Congress breaks for the final time. The 112th Congress with its diminished Democratic majority takes their seats in January; their 58-42 majority was reduced to 53-47 in November.

We have addressed this matter frequently here at PoliticusUSA, and with good reason. Republican opponents have made clear their intention to obstruct passage of the Treaty and in this at least, if not their economic policies, they have been true to their word. I wrote originally about this Republican gamesmanship back on November 17. And as Sarah Jones reported on December 4, and both she and Jason Easley reported again on December 16, the Republicans are guilty of holding our national security hostage.

RMuse reported on December 17 about the Republican attempt to use Christmas as an excuse to ignore important matters of national security. They could apparently impeach President Clinton for Jesus’ birthday but not ratify a treaty. This holiday, they tell us, is all about world peace; but apparently not world peace when it’s sponsored by a Democrat.

The many excuses offered read like a Letterman Top 10 list, and are as unconvincing:

1)      We don’t have time because there is too much else to do

2)      We don’t have time because it’s Baby Jesus’ birthday

3)      We don’t have time because it’s too complex for us to understand

4)      We’ll lose our ability to set up a missile defense system

5)      We want tax cuts for the rich first

6)      We have to modernize our nuclear weapons complex first

The Democrats and the White House have taken note of these many absurd excuses and have been pushing all the buttons they can, and have several cogent arguments to offer:

Wednesday, the Senate voted 66-32 to open debate on the treaty. At that time, nine Republicans voted with 55 Democrats and two independents, including Richard Lugar of the Foreign Relations Committee, and John McCain. Those 66 votes are one short of what would be needed to ratify the treaty.

The Republicans countered with an attempt to amend the terms of the treaty. An amendment by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., failed on Saturday on a 59-37 vote.

The Russians have made clear that any amendment means the treaty is dead. We’d have to go back to start on START, and negotiate an entirely new treaty, which suits Republican purposes well.

On Sunday, that attempt failed on a 32-60 vote. The amendment was put forward by Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho. It would have changed the preamble to the treaty to address the “inter-relationship between non-strategic and strategic offensive arms.

Republicans continue to complain that the preamble would inhibit U.S. development of a missile defense system.

Democrats hope to vote on ratification on Tuesday. Republicans have their hackles up, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed to CNN that “Members are uneasy about it, don’t feel thoroughly familiar with it, and I think we would have been a lot better off to take our time. Rushing it right before Christmas strikes me as trying to jam us. … I think that was not the best way to get the support of people like me.”

Of course, a vote on Tuesday would not be rushing it. The Senators have had all year to look at the treaty. It is not as if it was negotiated yesterday.

Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, isn’t having any of that. He has pointed out that there had already been several delays to give Kyl and the other Republicans an opportunity to have their concerns addressed. “We kept the door open until we finally are at a point where obviously we had to fish or cut bait.”.

Despite Republican opposition by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz, Fox News reports that “Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a supporter of the treaty, said several Republicans will support ratification and he believes the votes are there.”

Senator Evan Bayh missed the vote but according to an aide would provide the needed 67th vote, offering some hope that Republican efforts will be for naught.

It goes not only against the spirit of Reagan, who proposed the original START Treaty, but the advice of the military (who, after all, ought to be the experts in this area) to obstruct passage of this very important treaty and which makes clear that continued Republican opposition is simply a continuation of their two-year-old effort to block everything President Obama tries to do.

At least Jim DeMint, R-S.C., has given up his attempt to have the document read on the floor of the Senate, a process which would take some fifteen hours given the treaty’s 17 pages plus 339 pages of protocol and annexes, a sign that perhaps he realizes he can’t stop the process at this point as he turns his wrath on the $1.1 trillion government spending bill, should it come up. There are always new battles to fight, after all, and new excuses to invent. Life’s busy for a Republican senator these days.

8 responses so far

President Obama’s Tax Compromise Passed by Congress

President Obama and Republican Leaders

On Thursday, the unthinkable (to many progressives) happened: Congress passed the tax cuts, a compromise deal which includes an $801 billion package of tax cuts and $57 billion for extended unemployment benefits. The bill will extend the Bush tax cuts for two years (all of the tax cuts) and provide for a one-year payroll tax cut for most American workers.The extends for two years all of the Bush-era tax rates and provides a one-year payroll tax cut for most American workers.

As FOX News relates,

Workers’ Social Security taxes would be cut by nearly a third, going from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, for 2011. A worker making $50,000 in wages would save $1,000; one making $100,000 would save $2,000.

Many progressives see this as a betrayal. The Republicans, rightly or wrongly, have been accused of holding unemployment benefits and taxes for the Middle Class hostage in exchange for helping out their rich friends. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for example, leveled the accusation that Democrats were forced “to pay a king’s ransom in order to help the middle class.” Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) said it was “craziness” and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) said “This legislation creates too few jobs and too much debt.”

The final vote?  277 to 14 with nearly identical numbers of Republicans and Democrats voting “aye”: 139 Democrats and 138 Republicans. The Senate had previously approved the package 81 to 19 on Wednesday.

There was an attempt to change an estate-tax provision in the bill (one that Obama had previously agreed to in his negotiations with the Republicans) but even after that failed, 139 Democrats voted for it as opposed to 112 against.

Two years, of course, will bring us right to 2012, when the future of the tax cuts will become more important than ever in the midst of a presidential election. This is not the last we will hear of the matter by any means. Some Republicans would like to see the tax cuts made permanent. Since tax cuts for the rich demonstrably do not create jobs, this position will be a tough sell for Republicans, particularly if the groundswell of opposition swings the other way at the end of the next two years, and it is the Republicans who find themselves under attack for perceived failings.

It is obvious to many people that the economic stability of our nation is at stake and that this deal is not going to fix those problems. It is no more than a finger in the dyke.

For now, the New York Times reports that administration officials say President Obama will sign the bill into law today.

This moment marks both a way forward and signals a lack of progress. Cooperation and compromise are essential facets of government in a modern liberal Democracy like ours and the willingness of Republicans to compromise at last should take center stage over what is seen as President Obama’s capitulation to Republican demands. The President has governed as a centrist and he did what a responsible president would do. Rather than stand on principle and make people suffer, he made a deal.

Rather like the framers of the Constitution back in 1787, none of whom got everything out of that deal they wanted and the New York Times tells us “The White House and Republicans hailed the deal as a rare bipartisan achievement and a prototype for future hard-bargained compromises in the new era of divided government.”

FOX News called it “a remarkable show of bipartisanship.” Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL), called it “a bipartisan moment of clarity.”

And so it is.

Progressives, like their Republican opponents, seem of late to have forgotten that lesson. To stand on ideological purity and refuse compromise while the country crumbles around you is not an admirable thing, however they frame it. Government needs to continue to govern. In a sense, a politician hasn’t the luxury of principles, and that includes the president.

Ideological purity is for dictatorships.

For the first time in two years we have seen government function as it should. And if nobody got everything they wanted out of it, so be it. That’s how it works. That is how it has always worked. Sometimes one side gets more, sometimes the other. As House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said, “There probably is nobody on this floor who likes this bill. The judgment is, is it better than doing nothing? Some of the business groups believe it will help. I hope they’re right.”

In this case, most Republican opposition centered around the creation of additional federal debt, but most of them voted for it anyway. Of course, Republicans did not get everything they wanted either.

Political reality suddenly meant something again to the arrogant GOP, as Eric Cantor (R-VA) was forced to remind his colleagues:

“We could try to hold out an pass a different tax bill, but there is no reason to believe the Senate would pass it or the president would sign it if this fight spills into next year.”

It remains to be seen if Democrats and Republicans can find other ways to work together, other areas in which compromise is a possibility, such as repeal of DADT and the DREAM Act, an amnesty program for illegal aliens who came to the United States as minors. There are things the Republicans will want and things the Democrats will want and the current balance of power does not grant to either the ability to pass that legislation without regard for the opinions of the other.

If anything at all is to get done for the next two years, this will not be the only compromise. In the end, both the achievement of bipartisanship in the face of ideological purity and the continuing problems (and its root causes) must be underscored. Fingers in dykes won’t make the flood on the other side of the wall go away. That deluge remains, waiting to sweep us all away. The question is, can our two major political parties stop their bickering long enough to fix it?

4 responses so far

The Right’s False Patriotism: American ≠ Israeli

Dec 14 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Confused some?

I’m an American. A citizen of the United States. When I sing, “My country ‘tis of thee…” I’m singing about that country. When I “pledge allegiance to the flag…” the flag I am talking about has thirteen red and white stripes and a blue rectangle with fifty little white stars. It does not have a blue Star of David on a white background, between two horizontal blue stripes. My national anthem speaks to the American flag in glorious poetry, composed when it was under attack by an invader: “O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Notice that it was not an Israeli flag flying over Fort McHenry that day.

I’m an American. Like most people, I love my country. And like most people, I’m willing to complain about it when things don’t seem quite right. When my leaders make mistakes or break laws. “My country right or wrong” is true only in a sense, that sense being that I would not betray my country simply because it did something I don’t approve of, say like invading a sovereign nation for no legitimate reason whatsoever, but rather for political gain. My country made a mistake, but I still love my country.

I can criticize my country when it does wrong; I can also apologize for it when it does wrong, as it did repeatedly for eight years of the Bush administration. I’m not sure I can ever apologize enough for that.

American Exceptionalism is the poisonously radical nationalism of the 19th century all over again. It identifies my country with the god of a specific pantheon and credits not only its creation but it’s survival and prosperity with that god, and so of course, any complaining or criticism is taken as an attack not only on the country (really, the country’s policies) but on that god. It’s that same old ancient trick used in the days of state-sponsored religion known as the divine right of kings. If the king is chosen by god he can’t possibly ever be wrong, can he? Well, neither, it seems, can a country chosen by god.

But I’m here to tell you: if God chose Bush, he made a mistake. I mean, he blew it big time. Let’s make no bones about it.

All this might seem bad enough, but I want to get back to the issue of the flag here for a minute. As I said, there is no Star of David on my flag. I owe no pledge of allegiance to that flag, any more than I do the Union Jack or the tricolor. I don’t sing about their flags in my national anthem. I don’t pay them taxes. They supply me with no essential services. Their soldiers do not stand on a wall to ensure that I can sleep safely at night.

Why did Sarah Palin keep an Israeli flag in her governor’s office in Juneau? She needed an American flag and an Alaskan flag. Didn’t her governor’s obligations stop there?

Why is it that Americans are expected to express loyalty to another country? You can see how bonds of friendship, such as those which exist between the U.S. and Great Britain might be a good thing for both, and none have been tighter since the Second World War, but nobody is expecting me to say, “Great Britain right or wrong!” But that is precisely what they want me to do for Israel.

Israel right or wrong?

In case you hadn’t clued in yet, I’m an American.

Not only do I have the right to criticize my own country, but I have the right to criticize others.

The problem, while frustrating enough for me, a Pagan, is far worse for American Jews. Roger Cohen wrote in the New York Times about ‘[t]he view that American Jews supportive of Israel but critical of its policies are not “real Jews”.’ As he points out,

Israel-right-or-wrong continues to be the core approach of major U.S. Jewish organizations, from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Cohen writes that Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the progressively-oriented organization called J Street, told him:  “These organizations’ view remains essentially that any time you engage in an activity critical of Israel you are trying to destroy the state of Israel.” Fundamentalist Christians take the same attitude in this country, that to criticize Israel is to seek its destruction, simple criticism labeling you a “terrorist” or “terrorist supporter.”

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? We non-Jewish Americans have heard all that and had it directed at us, often enough when criticizing Republican policies.

Christian fundamentalists (Christofascists) have criticized Obama for not being “Christian enough” – a euphemism for “not being the right kind of Christian” (their kind) and they have criticized him for not defending Israel enough, missing somehow the point that Obama was elected president of the United States to defend Americans – like me. I didn’t vote for him to put my interests – my safety – behind those of another country.

And we are two different countries. I can understand being torn if you have dual citizenship, but 99.99% of Americans don’t have Israeli citizenship. I damn sure have a right to criticize Israel’s policies and I’m not going to lose any sleep doing so. But the problem is a real one and it has the potential to affect millions of lives. As Cohen points out,

President Barack Obama had virtually no domestic constituency for his attempt to denounce the continued growth of settlements as unacceptable and as undermining a two-state peace at its core: land.

Obama was left dangling, more so after the midterms, and had to retreat. This is not merely a failure of the parties. It is a failure of U.S. politics and the way those politics are straitjacketed by an Israel-right-or-wrong mantra that leads inexorably, over time, to one state with more Arabs in it than Jews.

Israel, it seems, is more important to some Americans than America is.

Cohen relates how Ira Strup, a Columbia graduate who experienced the effects of this mantra while performing a one-year fellowship based in Tel Aviv, asked, “Why is it poisoning minds to encourage them to think critically about the actions of the Israeli government?”

Why indeed? The real poison is not the willingness to criticize, but ideology that suppresses all questioning, the poison of nationalism – the poison of a twisted American or Zionist Exceptionalism that demands utter and unquestioning devotion. That might be a reasonable request in a theocracy, or even within a religion, but it has no place in the diversity and pluralism of a modern liberal democracy such as the United States, or, supposedly, Israel. It might have a place in the Old Testament, but it has no place in the Constitution. And the Constitution, not the Old Testament, is the founding document of the country I love, the country I am free to criticize.

The Constitution nowhere demands a religious test. It nowhere demands loyalty to any country other than the United States.

I would cordially suggest, therefore, to those who hold to that mantra that they emigrate to Israel, where they can “rah rah” all they want to a flag with a blue Star of David on a white field between two horizontal blue stripes, kibbutzing with radical Zionists on the West Bank. I, meanwhile, will live in my country under my flag with thirteen red and white stripes and a blue rectangle with fifty little white stars.

I will continue to be critical of, but continue express my love for – just as I would my own children – its actions when they are disappointing. For that is real love; not the “right or wrong” type of devotion that has become not love, but a twisted obsession.

18 responses so far

Palin, Beck, and Limbaugh: The Idiot Influence in American Politics

Dec 11 2010 Published by under Featured News

American politics is out of control and it’s not only because of the lies and deceit from Republicans, or their incessant call for less taxes and corporatism. The problem is that pundits, media celebrities, and think tanks are defining the narrative for ignorant voters and it is destroying democracy.

Radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh spout hateful racist commentary to their audiences and rail against imagined enemies to the point that their lies become reality to listeners. Does Limbaugh have expertise in governance or setting policy for America, or is he just an entertainer? It is obvious that although he has no standing as an elected representative, he does wield power over the Republican Party, and their relationship is strong enough that he is a featured speaker at Republican functions.

Glenn Beck is not an elected representative, but he “educates” his audience daily about government and Obama’s Socialism and tyranny. Beck is instrumental in pushing the Tea Party agenda on his radio program and his show on Fox adds visual acuity to his vitriolic rhetoric against all things not Glenn Beck. Although Beck and Limbaugh are staples in the nonstop attacks on Democrats and especially President Obama, it is Sarah Palin who is most offensive.

Palin holds no political office, and in fact, quit her job as governor when her incompetence became well-known and she became the target of investigations for malfeasance. The question is; what does Sarah Palin do? She weighs in on every subject as if her opinion carries any weight outside of her moronic Facebook followers. It doesn’t matter that every time Palin opens her filthy mouth, she gives her detractors reason to belittle and demean her.

It is also curious that the main stream media gives Palin coverage when she is a big nothing in American government. Does the media give Palin attention because they think she has any prescient insight Americans can learn from, or do they publish her remarks so intelligent people can deride her? In a non-scientific poll, 70% of men said they like Palin because they want to have sexual intercourse with her. The remaining 30% said that regardless of her attraction, they wouldn’t have sexual intercourse with her because she is too stupid. Outside of the ignorant Christians and gun fanatics who worship her, Palin’s reputation is little more than a joke.

Palin is a clown and a curiosity for most Americans, and few think she is qualified to lead the country. Her reality show on The Learning Channel is one big advertisement for guns and Sarah Palin. Does the network believe that Palin beating fish and shooting majestic animals is a teachable moment? Palin’s show is a mutual benefit for the network and her, but it sends a message to Americans that she is little more than an idiotic killer. Even Karl Rove has commented that Palin or her show do not represent leadership necessary to be president. Karl Rove is not a politician either, but he at least has experience in government; although why he continues to wield power is a mystery; unless one follows the money.

The problem with allowing entertainers and pretenders to educate and inform the voting public about issues is that, like all things American, they are fueled by money. Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, and the commentators on Fox News are money-making machines, and that is not bad in itself. It is bad that their unilateral opinions favor the party that is raping America and they are responsible for much of the support Republicans have today. It doesn’t matter that their commentary has as its basis nothing but lies and deceit; they are making money for themselves and conservatives.

If Americans were intelligent, they would look to more than one source for their information about American government they elect. But Americans are lazy and full of hate so they hear exactly what they want to believe whether it is true or not. The main stream media is culpable as well as Fox News and the lying entertainers because they refuse to cover stories that expose the lies from the right wing entertainers.

It is sad that so many Americans listen to the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, and Palin to learn how they should vote.  American politics is becoming a carnival with clowns and actors setting the narrative and policy of one political party, and it has damaged democracy in the process. Voters base their beliefs on lies from Beck, Limbaugh, and Palin, and refuse to look elsewhere for verification or repudiation of alleged facts from the right.

The midterms demonstrated what happens when voters choose candidates based on an entertainer’s endorsement. Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, and Joe Miller are examples of idiots who are so bizarre that voters rejected them for their ridiculous views and policy statements even though they enjoyed undying support from Sarah Palin.

Until Americans learn the issues that shape America’s future, we are in for a wild ride. There is no justification for listening or following the suggestions of money-grubbing entertainers who have no sense of what government is or does. But that is what happens when people with no standing in the governing process make policy for Republicans from a position of stupidity.

Although Beck and Limbaugh are hate-mongers, everyone knows their game, but why anyone would listen to Sarah Palin is a mystery. She is wrong all the time, makes up facts to suit her pea-brain, and has no standing in the government. Just what does Palin do? What gives her the right to weigh in on every single issue in politics? The answer is so obvious; Americans like success stories and Palin has parlayed a failed political career into a multi-million dollar industry. It always boils down to money; truth is not relevant.

7 responses so far

Iowa Case Shows GOP Doesn’t Really Believe in States’ Rights

James Bopp, Jr of Indiana wants to force Iowa to pass Republican Purity Standards

The Republican Party is host to the tenther movement – extreme form of “populist” outrage that says the Constitutionally ordained federal government is, well…unconstitutional. Somehow, and in some way, the federal government that was established to run the country in the post-Articles of Confederation world, has no legitimate right to run the country.

It is no surprise that tenthers have found their happy spot in the Republican ranks. The Republican Party has traditionally been the party of “smaller government” and Republican discourse in general has become ever shriller on the issue of federal interference in our lives, and in the “state business” of individual states. Even those Republicans who don’t drone on incessantly about states’ rights rail against big federal government and about being told what to do by that government.

The “tenthers” are crazy about the 10th Amendment (thus the name). The Tenth Amendment deals with states rights – that is, in a Constitutional sense – those rights which are not retained for the federal government. What is left over belongs to the states.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The tenthers seem to think that pretty much everything is left over to the states. They take a very “minimalist” approach to the Constitution, one that seems a bit at odds with the ideas of some of the important authors of that document, including James Madison, who was very concerned about the threat to liberty posed by state legislatures.

Apparently, he was right to worry.

Though to be fair, even if he had managed to get the phrase “The states have no rights” into the Constitution, Republicans today would be interpreting that to mean the “federal government has no rights.”

Those pesky facts again.

It interests me that a group – I’m speaking of the Republicans a a whole here and not just tenthers – who are so interested in stripping down the powers of the federal government (and that is general Republican rhetoric since a black man was elected to be president) are so anxious and willing to interfere in the rights of other states.

Take California and Proposition 8. That’s supposed to be the business of California and of Californians if this whole states rights thing has any meaning at all, isn’t it? But conservatives shipped support INTO California to ensure that a segment of the population that they did not like was stripped of their constitutional rights. And in so doing – by their interpretation at any rate – stripped Californians of theirs.  I’m thinking about all those Mormons, for example, and all that Mormon money – from Utah.

What does Utah have to do with California?

We might ask too, what do out-of-state Republican interests have to do with Iowa? Well, they don’t like Iowa’s judiciary. They say it fails THEIR purity test. It has to go, they say. They want Iowa to toe the line.

Where’s the tenther outrage? Or is it outrageous only if a black Democrat – who happens to head the Executive Branch of the constitutionally established federal government – wants the states to follow the constitution? The states have no rights if its something the Republicans want? Is that how this works?

The Iowa Independent reports that

James Bopp, Jr. — the Republican National Committeeman behind failed “Purity Test” and “Socialist” resolutions — filed a federal lawsuit this week in hopes of changing the judicial selection process in Iowa.  The suit, filed on behalf of four state residents, charges that attorneys have too much influence in the selection process.

I don’t know…I just want to throw this thought out there…bounce it off the wall so to speak…but isn’t it IOWA’S business how they nominate their judiciary?

It’s not as if the system is a violation of the Constitution – national or state – it’s simply that Republicans don’t like that the system doesn’t force Iowans to nominate the kinds of judges they want.

In Bopp’s opinion, the nearly 50-year-old Iowa system provides “attorneys a stranglehold on the judiciary” while denying “ordinary voters” an equal voice.

My kingdom for populist outrage! Round up for locals and sue on their behalf.  But do four Iowans rounded up for the purpose amount in any legitimate sense to “populist outrage” among Iowa voters over how the system is handled?

It seems to work pretty well for Iowans.

You all might remember Mr. Bopp

Bopp, who has also worked in Iowa on behalf of a state affiliate of a national anti-abortion group and a national anti-gay organization, is hardly a newcomer to politics or lawsuits in relation to election law. A key supporter of and advisor for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney during the 2008 presidential cycle, Bopp was also a key architect of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, which led to the U.S. Supreme Court striking down limits on corporate spending in elections.

Bopp has represented anti-gay groups in Iowa, California and Maine, “petitioning that laws which require the groups to form Political Action Committees (PACs) and disclose their donors are unconstitutional.”

It doesn’t seem to matter that Bopp himself isn’t a citizen of any of the states he interferes with. He is, I am ashamed to say, a Hoosier, a Terre Haute, Indiana resident. Shouldn’t he be concerning himself with Indiana’s affairs? I mean, if the chief executive of the United States has no business worrying about what happens in say, Kentucky, what right does an Indiana lawyer have saying Iowa lawyers have no right to what happens in Iowa?

In point of fact, Republicans are more than happy to interfere in affairs of states not their own and they’re happy to have the federal government interfere as well if they can push their socially conservative agenda, and that is the business of James Bopp, Jr, who has served as general counsel for National Right to Life since 1978 and as the special counsel for Focus on the Family since 2004.

Yeah, I think you smell what I’m cooking here. Don’t be fooled. None of these people, the Republican Party as a whole or the tenthers as a group really want the federal government stripped of its powers – specifically its power to force states to toe the line – if that happened, a conservative-controlled federal government would have no ability to ram a socially conservative agenda down your throats. States Rights are only an issue because a black man – a Democrat – was elected president. Like the Tea Party, there was no Tenther movement before the Republicans were kicked out of office in 2008. Some states’ rights advocates like to claim as a genesis of their movement opposition to Bush’s unconstitutional attacks on individual freedoms after 9/11 but if so, they have been subsumed and their rhetoric along with them, by the Republican Party and its icons like Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle.

The Republican Pledge of America said,

We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored – particularly the Tenth Amendment, which grants that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Like the Tea Party, the tenther movement has become – however it originated – a reaction to Republican loss of control, a counter-revolutionary socially conservative force and not a radical revolutionary force, and one that pays no mind to the rights of states when it comes to standards of Republican purity.

5 responses so far

Liz Cheney Lies About Obama’s Afghanistan Policy

Dec 07 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

Dishonesty as Policy Making: Dick and Liz Cheney

Look at that photo above. Would you trust those two to babysit your cat? Or even your gerbil? Alright, enough morbid creepification. I want your attention, not the contents of your stomach. This is a simple story to tell. The subject is Afghanistan.

Enter President Obama, stage left:

“We Will Execute This Transition Responsibly, Taking Into Account Conditions On The Ground.” From Obama’s speech announcing the deployment of additional troops to Afghanistan, December 1, 2009

“The Presidents further recognized that developing the Afghan National Security Forces’ capabilities is necessary to facilitate implementation of an orderly, conditions-based security transition process.” In a Joint Statement with President Karzai of Afghanistan, May 12, 2010

“The Pace Of Our Troop Reduction Will Be Determined By Conditions On The Ground.” Discussing the end of combat operations in Iraq on August 31, 2010

And enter Liz Cheney, stage right:

“You know, what I’d like to see — because I do believe that setting the 2011 deadline did cause significant damage to the effort, in terms of convincing people that we’re committed to be there to win — I’d like to see the president repudiate it. I’d like to see him say, ‘Just let’s be clear: We are going to make our decisions based on conditions on the ground, not based on dates we set back here in Washington.’ Fox Broadcasting Company’s Fox News Sunday, December 5, 2010

What conclusions must we draw from the evidence? Liz, you went to law school. This should be an easy one for you, a gimme. I’m sure the University of Chicago Law School must offer a class in ethics.

But let’s not be needlessly magnanimous. Liz Cheney is demonstrably no better than her father was in adhering to facts, as Media Matters for America has revealed. At least she didn’t say “refudiate,” but proper English doesn’t improve her fact quotient and character references.

Oxymoron: See Republican character references

Republican pundits and politicians show repeated and consistent aversion to facts. They are not really interested in the facts but in building a narrative, a narrative that puts liberals and progressives and in particular, President Obama, in a negative light. Contrasted to these is the shining Camelot-like purity of the Republican Party.

Cheney is supposed to be a Republican expert on Near Eastern/Middle Eastern affairs.  Granted, “expert” in a Republican context doesn’t mean much to judge from the examples of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann but Liz Cheney’s resume at least isn’t entirely imaginary: From 2002-2003 she was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs under the Bush administration. After taking 2004 off to work on the Bush-Cheney campaign she returned to the State Department  in February 2005 as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State For Near Eastern Affairs and Coordinator for Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiatives. In 2006 she added to her resume by heading the Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group (ISOG), a part of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

Impressive credentials. We have a right to expect that experts try to stay abreast of affairs in their fields. I mean, how do you make or understand policy if you don’t understand the facts on the ground? Isn’t that what she is saying, that policy should be based on the conditions that actually obtain?

Ah yes, but the facts are often at odds with narrative. And when facts get in the way, facts must go in order to not impair the ideological purity of the narrative. When push comes to shove, the conditions on the ground give way before the demands of ideology. Isn’t that right, Liz?

FACT: Liz Cheney and her fellow Republicans feel they are themselves free of any reality-based constraints that (they insist) must bind the president and do not only truth but the American people a disservice by throwing the facts (and our president) under the bus in the name of political posturing.

As Bill Maher said the other day, “the Republican brand of ‘American exceptionalism’ is based on an unrealistic ‘fantasy’ that’s contradicted by facts.” Liz is not a cause but a symptom. “These people love the truth, they just hate facts,” Maher said.

It’s not as if Liz has ever really shown herself to have a scrupulous regard for the facts. Like father like daughter: Liz is a real chip off the old block, the daughter of one of the most reprehensibly creepy figures in modern American history. And this is not the first time Liz has told a big old lie about our president.

Back in September, President Obama reportedly said (according to Bob Woodward),

“We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever … we absorbed it and we are stronger.”

Liz was apparently ignorant of his words when she said,

“Americans expect our President to do everything possible to defend the nation from attack. We expect him to use every tool at his disposal to find, defeat, capture and kill terrorists. We expect him to deter attacks by making clear to our adversaries that an attack on the United States will carry devastating consequences. Instead, President Obama is reported to have said, ‘We can absorb a terrorist attack.’ This comment suggests an alarming fatalism on the part of President Obama and his administration. Once again the President seems either unwilling or unable to do what it takes to keep this nation safe. The President owes the American people an explanation.”

The real explanation is owed by Liz Cheney (and perhaps Bob Woodward). Why do you keep telling lies, Liz? Why don’t you tell the truth? Why don’t you give us an honest response to what has been said rather than inventing conditions to which to respond? You owe the American people an explanation.

We’re waiting.

9 responses so far

Republicanism Kills History on Contact

Dec 04 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Republicans are fond of describing liberalism as a disease of some sort which infects the body politic, weakening it and eventually, destroying it. You’ll find this on countless conservative websites and blogs. You will find it on the racist white supremacist site Stormfront. This is no coincidence. You can Google it (feel free to take some time to laugh, or perhaps to cry).

The truth of course seems to be rather the opposite. Liberalism, the idea of liberty, the endorsement of the idea that people possess certain inalienable rights – natural rights – is a development of the European Enlightenment. Liberalism freed Europe from the Dark Ages and from the horrors of state sponsored religion, from inquisitions, holy wars and witch burnings.

Before liberalism, it was impossible to talk about individual human rights.

Disease?

No. Liberalism is not the disease. It is the cure.

Republicans hold that universities are places of evil because they are liberal-leaning – meaning students are not properly indoctrinated per Texas School Board Standards.  Academics are obviously as ill-thought of as under various totalitarian regimes – Communism and Nazism come to mind. In this anti-intellectual atmosphere, education is a weakness and people with book learning are, in a monumental display of insecurity, to be despised and feared.

Any of us who have cited our sources in our writing have experienced the reaction, generally an infantile rejection along the lines of “you’re childish!” – a remarkable claim from people who apparently can’t think without being told what to think. The poster of Reagan shown above is really rather ironic. Conservatives really don’t believe in common sense.

Remember, modern Republicanism, wedded to Christian fundamentalism (Christofascism), endorses the idea that choice is heresy (and yes, that’s the meaning of the word heresy – choice). If common sense and choice entered into it, it is difficult to believe so many Republicans would say the absurd things they say, let alone believe them.

Speaking of absurdities (and childishness), you can’t go far down that road without Glenn Beck’s name coming up.

Media Matters for America presents a truly remarkable example of Republicanism’s historical revisionism. Glenn Beck has become obsessed with historical parallels, mostly recently with the Roman Empire. He fancies himself a student of history (much like Newt Gingrich, I suppose) but he shows the understanding one would expect of somebody who got their history from comic books.

Glenn Beck Invents Roman History

Some of Beck’s mischaracterizations:

  • Beck Points To Beginning of Roman Empire As Example Of “What’s Happening To Us”
  • Beck Ignores Years Of Slaughter To Claim Octavian Rose To Emperor “Without Violence”
  • Beck Misleadingly Claims Roman Republic Was Characterized By “Freedom”
  • Beck Incorrectly Claims That First Emperor Of Rome “Refused To Be Called Caesar”
  • Ignoring Caesar, Beck Calls Octavian “The Last Guy Of The Republic”

If you know any Roman history you are now pulling your jaw up off the floor. Neither Hollywood nor Television are famed for their faithfulness to the historical record, but even the HBO miniseries Rome got history better than Beck. In fact, it is difficult to imagine getting history more wrong.

There are a great many lessons to be learned from history, but as philosopher Georg Hegel observed, “What experience and history teach is this – that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it” (Philosophy of History, 1832). We can add Glenn Beck and the Republican Party to this list.

But then, we are talking about principles here.

It might seem remarkable that a person who occupies such a public position as Beck would not bother to check his facts, but then Beck knows his audience – his audience won’t fact check. They listen avidly, feverishly, hanging on every word – and believe all of them. They have had their Republican-approved history lesson and they will all feel the required levels of righteous anger at the evil liberals who have brought low the American Republic.

It doesn’t matter that the evidence speaks to the opposite conclusion because they won’t be checking the evidence either.

Beck, like other Republicans, have fabricated a history more congenial to Republican ideology. Real history – that is, the actual facts of the past 2,000 years, are inconvenient – Stephen Colbert’s reality has a liberal bias lament. Since the real history won’t do, a new one must replace it. History books must be re-written in the same way the Communists and the Nazis rewrote the history books. History must be understood from an ideological perspective. The problem is, history does not survive contact with ideology. If you invent the history, what can you learn from it?

Nothing.

You can justify what you have done, but what you have done is in ignorance or defiance of the past and its lessons. Marx’s demonstrably false claim that “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” (The Communist Manifesto, 1847) comes to mind.  Demonstrably false, yes. Yet millions died for that demonstrably false claim.

If the Republican revision of history runs its course, millions more might die from their demonstrably false claims. Bush made a good start in Iraq. Other Republicans want to continue to pogrom in Iran or North Korea. And they kinda like the idea of state-sponsored religion too. It’s no accident that the only vice-presidential candidate to have a witch hunter for a pastor is Sarah Palin.

Ironically, given Beck’s complete disregard for Roman history, it was a Roman historian who said it best: “The knowledge gained from history is the truest education and training for political action” (Polybius, The Histories).

It’s a shame Republicans seem aware of this, and would rather do whatever they want and then re-write the history books to justify it because they’re not the only ones who will pay the price of their ignorance.

6 responses so far

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