Archive for the ‘News and Politics’ Category

James Madison, Militarism, and the Motives of the Radical Jihadists.

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

On a surprise trucking mission from Aspen to Carbondale this morning, I was listening to the Con Man ask questions about radial Jihadism, including an obvious question: “Why do they hate us?”

A caller had called in with three quotes from James Madison.  I was surprised to draw a connection from the radio show to two books that I recently read.  Neither one was specifically about Madison, but both contained new information that I had digested.

One book is Undaunted Courage, by Stephen E. Ambrose,  and the other is Nemesis by Chalmers Johnson.

In Undaunted Courage, Madison was the Secretary of State to President Thomas Jefferson.  As president,  Jefferson provided a vision to his cabinet:  to ensure that the United States would have sovereignty from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and that no European power would pose a threat to that.  Simply put: North America belongs to the United States, and no army of Britain, France, or Spain would be tolerated near her borders. (Obama was recently quoted, as claiming to provide “a vision” for his cabinet to carry out.  To my amusement, this quote was highly criticized by right wing talk radio.  I will let you draw your own conclusions)

In fact, when Madison traveled to France to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans (Jefferson never imagined the entire Lousiana territory was up for sale at the time) from France, Madison also carried a message from Jefferson to Napoleon.  That message informed him that should France station a single soldier in New Orleans, the United States would consider it an official act of war.

Now, back to the question of the day:  Why do the radical Jihadists hate us?  Could it be because of our presence in the Middle East?  Jefferson had a Manifest Destiny about the soverignty of the United States in North America (which is why Napoleon, being the smart man that he was, assumed that the American pioneers were going to spread out all over Louisiana anyway, so he might as well make some money off of it). Our federalism was designed to be the opposite of the imperialism of European Nations.

However, now the United States has military bases in over 30 countries across the globe!  This includes Germany, Austrailia, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Egypt, Italy, Spain, Britain, and Japan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.  (Surpring to me: not in Mexico.  Not surprising to me: not in France!)

How would you feel if there was a Colombian military base in Nebraska?  How about an Egyptian base in New York?  A Japanese base in California?  Israelis in Colorado?!

“Hell no!” is what any sensible citizen of any nation will say.  Could you imagine?   With that said: what is our place to station troops in another country?  Jefferson would be appalled at such an idea.

In Nemesis, the author opens up about “Militarism and the Breakdown of Constitutional Government”, claiming “The United States has been continuosly engaged in or mobilized for war since 1941.”

Johnson (as well as the caller on Conniff’s show) quotes Madison:

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

Madison also said:

In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.

 

Madison knew the threat of militarization (and fear that the U.S. would ever be in control of another military dictator such as King George III), which is why he and his peers incorporated a very important balance of power in the Nation’s governing document.  According to the Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war, and the President is the commander in chief of the military.

However, the Bush Doctrine changed all that.   This power was stripped away from the Legislative Branch and rewarded to the Executive Branch, thus throwing the fragile balance of powers defined by the Constitution.  The President can now use the military, (as well as CIA operations designated as so “top secret” that they cannot even disclose budget spending dollars to Congress!) to preemptively strike against any sovereign nation believed to be harboring “terrorists”.

Putting the final straw on the militarization outrage is the most striking, shocking, and appalling news to me this week: The Pentagon’s plan to deploy 20,000 troops in the U.S. for domestic security. Specifically, the 3rd Infantry, 1st Brigade — a combat brigade!

This act ensures that the President will have the resources necessary to enforce martial law instantaneously, at any time, for any reason.  On January 20th, Madison’s fears will be realized when George W. Bush transfers a military dictatorship over to Barack H. Obama.

We may as well have just burned the last copy of the U.S. Constitution.

-Adam

 

Citigroup Bailout: Feds Offer Massive Rescue Package To Financial Giant

Monday, November 24th, 2008


“To big to fail.” I have heard this a lot lately. What exactly do they mean? Wasn’t this the purpose of breaking up monopolies and establishing anti-trust measures by Teddy Roosevelt and others in the beginning of the 20th century: to ensure no corporation would grow “to big” to threaten economic disaster if they were to fail? Where did we go wrong on this?
More on Financial Crisis
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Another Option…

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Authors note:  before I begin this post, I would like to call your attention to two valuable websites that I have used to analyze candidates and their positions, to assist myself in making the correct decisions on my ballot.  They are www.votesmart.org and www.ontheissues.org.

For those of you, like myself, who have become increasingly frustated by both of the major presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, I’m here to tell you that you have other options.  There are at least 3 options for president on every state ballot (including a record-setting 16 on the colorado ballot).

The first obvious choice for a major third party in this election is the Libertarian Party. However, after doing some research on their platform and their candidate, I find that my disagreements with them outweight my agreements, especially with their candidate, Bob Barr. (he clashes with his own party by supporting increased defense funding and is hard on drug crimes, as two examples).  I should add, however, that I support the election of a Libertarian to any State position, because the selling point of their platform is the decentralization of the federal government and increased power to the states (one philosophy that I take pride in for living in Colorado).

The second most prominent choice for a third party is the United States Green Party.  Many people would likely recognize this party as the party of two-time candidate Ralph Nader.  However, this year they have nominated former Democrat Cynthia McKinney as their candidate (coincidentally, Nader is still running as an independent.)

To some, the Green Party platform may seem very similar to the Democratic Party, especially on issues such as abortion, civil rights, gun control, health care, and business regulation.  However, one sharp difference is that, much like the Libertarian party, the Greens favor decentralization of the government from the federal toward the local levels.  It has become very clear to me after watching the presidential debates, is that both the Republicans and the Democrats favor a large and authoritarian federal government. This is something I personally cannot tolerate.

Some of her positions that I agree with are as follows:

  • Reform the electoral system.  I think that the electoral college system is not fair nor effective  (for example, should I think that my vote for anyone other than Obama will make a difference in the City and County of Denver, where I am registered?).  It may have made sense in ‘the dark ages’, but now we have all the methods available to conduct an nationwide popular vote for president (the ‘American Idol’ voting system is proof of that).
  • End the war in Iraq now.  McKinney’s specific point for her leaving the Democratic party was their support for the war.
  • Abolish the death penalty.  This is another testament to an authoritarian government in which citizens are kept in line by fear.
  • Repeal the patriot act.  (see ‘death penalty’ above)
  • Legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs.  If you don’t know where I stand on this issue, you haven’t spent much time with me in the mountains.
  • Create a path for immigrants to earn citizenship.  Furthermore, unless we as a society adjust our self-centered vision of our continent and understand that “America” consists of over two dozen counties, the majority of them being Hispanic, then the caucasian minority on this continent is dooth are as follows:
    • Reform the electoral system.  I think that the electoral college system is not fair nor effective  (for example, should I think that my vote for anyone other than Obama will make a difference in the City and County of Denver, where I am registered?).  It may have made sense in ‘the dark ages’, but now we have all the methods available to conduct an nationwide popular vote for president (the ‘American Idol’ voting system is proof of that).
    • End the war in Iraq now.  McKinney’s specific point for her leaving the Democratic party was their support for the war.
    • Abolish the death penalty.  This is another testament to an authoritarian government in which citizens are kept in line by fear.
    • Repeal the patriot act.  (see ‘death penalty’ above)
    • Legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs.  If you don’t know where I stand on this issue, you haven’t spent much time with me in the mountains.
    • Create a path for immigrants to earn citizenship.  Furthermore, unless we as a society adjust our self-centered vision of our continent and understand that “America” consists of over two dozen counties, the majority of them being Hispanic, then the caucasian minority on this continent is doomed to extinction.

    Frankly, the only major issue that I disagree with her is on gun control.  She holds a typical liberal stance against guns.  However, I find that issue irrelevant so long as the laws concerning guns in Colorado are always maintained by the State Government, where they belong.

    On a personal level, there are a number of things that make McKinney unique and interesting.  One is that she was the first black woman to be elected to the Georgia State House.  An achievement like that in the “Deep South” is nothing but extraordinary.

    During her terms in the U. S. House, she has been on the forefront of uncovering the truth behind all the secrets kept in the Bush Administration.   She was among the first to question the legitimacy of the 9/11 Report.  She has also pushed for the release of the full report behind the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Most recently, she has criticized the federal government’s response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

    As evidence to her courage and bravery when confronting those in power, her website has a great video of her questioning of Donald Rumsfield and the rest of the DOD executive staff.

    All things considered, Cynthia McKinney is a great American Patriot.  However, there is one more  achievement that is truly deserving of praise.  In December of 2006, she proposed a bil

Russians in American waters…

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

The Prophetic Carpenter was at it early this morning, while The Foreman and I discussed the failing economy and his desires to see all the Republicans run out of Washington, The Prophetic rocked back and forth in his plywood chair.

“Russia is sending an armada over to our side of the Atlantic.  They’ve joined forces with Venezuela.  Hundreds of submarines, in OUR waters!”  he chuckled in a sinister way.

I just had to do a fact check, and found this article from September 8.  This may have missed the MSM.

Russian Fleet Plans Joint Exercise with Venezuela

Neil Richard Leslie | September 08, 2008

Russia and Venezuela may stage joint naval exercises around Venezuelan territorial waters this November when four Russian warships arrive in the Caribbean, according to BBC reports.  Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez has welcomed news of the Russian fleet’s proposed visit, dismissing US concerns about Russian enroachment in the area.  Mr Chavez said: “Russia’s naval fleet is welcome here. If it’s possible, we’ll stage an exercise in our Caribbean waters.”  It will be the first time such an exercise has been undertaken in the Americas.

Despite American concerns, Russian foreign ministry spokesman, Andrei Nesterenko, inisisted the move had no connection to events in Georgia, and was in no way directed against any third country. President Chavez, who has already called for a strategic alliance between Venezuela and the Kremlin, supported the Russian intervention in Georgia, and has accused the US of being scared of Moscow’s “new world potential.”

So it is true.  It is very scary.

“Putin…never…bluffs.”  he said.   And Chavez is crazy enough to instigate something with the U.S.  He keeps a low profile.   While the “President Ahmadinejad Show” continues to tour the news circuits, Chavez is secretly hatching this mischievous scheme against the United States, by making an ally of our former “#1 Enemy.”

Hey may even try to turn the rest of Latin America against us.  That is when we will need our brothers and sisters from Mexico, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.  The very same immigrants that many Americans despise may be our only hope.  Unfortunately, most of their governments are already corrupt (supposedly, the President of Mexico draws a higher government salary than the President of Los Estados Unidos).

When these governments go to war, no working class person of any race or nationality will be spared.

Where are the issues?

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Obama mocks McCain in Nevada stops

“And if they tell you that, ‘Well, we’re not sure where he stands on guns.’ I want you to say, ‘He believes in the Second Amendment.’ If they tell you, ‘Well, he’s going to raise your taxes,’ you say, ‘No, he’s not, he’s going lower them.’ You are my ambassadors. You guys are the ones who can make the case.”

This quote sums up the problems with Obama’s campaign. There is an old man on my job who seems like a down-home, Tennessee raised, red-blooded conservative. A few weeks ago, he barged into our office and said “You better get yourself a large dry box, put all your guns in it, and buy it in the ground, because when Obama gets elected, he’s going to take them all away from you.”

He most likely has no clue what Obama’s stance on gun control is. I can’t say I do either.  According to this article, his supporters are supposed to say “He believes in the Second Amendment.’ But what does that mean, and why must his supports be in the faces of the uninformed? Why can’t both candidates just come on TV with a commercial that simply describes one single issue and where he stands on it, instead of all the confusing attack ads?