The gun safety debate is filled with the requisite amount of scary disinformation - "Senator Feinstein told 60 Minutes she intended to confiscate all guns," except she didn't. When you boil away the gullible repetition of deliberate deception, the arguments of anti-restriction advocates boil down to two. The government will be strong or the government will be weak. Which, I suppose, covers the bases.
That the government will be strong supposes a Nazi like "Amerika" that will oppress real patriots. Armament is needed to fight the onrushing tyranny. The coming conservative revolution that is destined to overthrow the United State government will require weapons sufficient to destroy US military personnel and local police. For example:
I disagree with Mr. Deming that it boils down to whether a shooter has to reload after 6 shots or after 60. It boils down to whether We The People will retain our God-given right to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government when it becomes necessary to do so.
Under the tyrant Obama, our Bill of Rights is being steadily eroded, and the loss of the 2nd Amendment, even in a small way, diminishes our ability to defend the rest of them.
And Obama knows it.
This is what I see as an oppressive violation of human rights.
The government is uncaring and callous if it provides inadequate protection for the future right to carry out the massive killings that will be needed to carry out the revolution.
The movie fantasy of mowing down the military minions of a future oppressive authority is not always confined to the juvenile right wing. Some conservatives, while they do not share the revolutionary zeal of their brethren ("I am not advocating nor anticipating having to engage in armed conflict against our government"), nevertheless introduce into the assault weapon debate an historical analysis that abuts the coming overthrow:
While America today is not like Nazi Germany of the 1930’s, there are increasingly similar circumstance that are developing ... That said, if there are lots of like-minded people with such firearms, the possibility of survival is definitely improved.
In our household, we are certainly comforted by the thought that some conservatives see the killing of dozens of little kids at a time as an undesirable, but necessary, risk. The more important objective is the killing of multiple members of the of US Marines, infantry, and other military personnel in the coming armed insurrection. The target, we are assured, is not a classroom of children, but rather our own young Marine.
The other argument is that our government is too weak, and we must be prepared to take the law into our own hands when the inevitable anarchy comes upon us. The NRA's Wayne LaPierre envisions the second term of the Obama administration: "terrorists, crime, drug gangs, the possibility of Euro-style debt riots, civil unrest or natural disaster."
Statistics may show illegal immigration at a low with increased Obama-ordered border law enforcement. FBI data may show that states along our southern border have the lowest crime rates. That is to be disregarded. Civil disorder during natural disasters is almost unheard of. Mr. LaPierre is unswayed. International terrorism against the United States is suffering one hammer blow after another as President Obama subjects al Qaeda and associated terrorists to deadly force. We are all missing the point.
Mere facts do not overrule principle.
Government will collapse under the Obama administration. Hurricanes, earthquakes, massive terror attacks, illegal immigrants roaming the streets hunting for any patriots not huddled fearfully out of sight:
Gun owners are not buying firearms because they anticipate a confrontation with the government. Rather, we anticipate confrontations where the government isn't there -- or simply doesn't show up in time.
The Not-Too-Filling vs Tastes-Great factions join in the mirror arguments, reflections of each other. Because the government is too strong/weak the coming revolution/collapse into tyranny/anarchy requires real patriots to stockpile, and defend at all costs, military grade weapons.
There is no certain stopping point here. If freedom requires patriots to carry surface-to-air missiles toward airport runways, government must not interfere.
The giving up on civil society, the tossing aside of social norms, the assumption of roles we used to entrust to police and military, is also reflected in other, less lethal, rhetoric. Calhoun-style nullification, secession, rejection of democracy itself in voter suppression laws, the manipulation of electoral laws and legislative procedures to thwart the majority are lesser effects of the same reasoning.
The new insurgency has been brewing for a while. This fringe of conservatism pits itself against the rest of America. As they see it, the American majority has let them down.
They turn on the America that has turned on them.
Cross-published at Mad Mike's America
Legend has it that Daniel Boone moved from Kentucky to what now is Missouri in 1791 because it was getting too crowded. He knew this because he could see smoke coming from a neighbor's chimney.
The story is almost certainly false, invented by writers generations later to help sell magazines and books. The move was likely made because most game had been killed off in Kentucky and Boone had a desire to continue to feed his family.
The nearest we have to neighbor-aversion is more a motivation of hermits, who don't want to be close to humanity, and Republicans, who don't want to come near non-conservatives.
Okay, okay. It's not a perfect analogy. Republicans don't avoid everyone, just ideas that differ from their own. It isn't an intolerance to disagreement, it's a complete insularity from other views. Liberals are more likely to peruse National Review online than conservatives are to glance toward the New York Times.
The core reason for this lack of contact with other points of view is technology. The computer chip, and all that flows from it, give Republicans a new opportunity to a universe separate from the outside world. Cable television and the internet did not exist a generation ago.
There are, of course, other forms of insularity. A while back, I was invited to join an audience for a panel discussion. It was conducted as part of the formulation of the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I came away deeply discouraged. With some exceptions, the experts on the panel were quite unaware that ordinary consumers, those they seek to protect, did not share their viewpoints, their knowledge, or even their vocabulary.
The panel devoted a substantial part of the discussion to various implications of "REO lending." There was not a word of explanation of just what REO lending is or why it is important. Actually, REO property is real estate owned by a lender, and it involves a class of lending that impacts on the treatment of ordinary mortgage buyers.
Members of that panel would, I suspect, have been surprised to find most of their audience, and almost all Americans, to be unaware of what was consuming their professional interest. It was only one of several examples of how disconnected the experts were from ordinary lives of ordinary people, and how their expertise could affect those lives in positive ways.
It is not technology that insulates them. It is their own expertise. Their efforts to hone that knowledge puts them into daily contact with other experts. A mutual vocabulary, a shared way of thinking, develops. And a realization that everyday Americans are not part of their little world fades from consciousness. An empathy with a mortgage holder faced with misrepresentation or fraud, or a foreclosure during which alternatives are not offered, is also lost.
Deficit spending is a Washington DC obsession. Ordinary Americans worry about employment, and regard deficits as an issue to be solved after current economic survival is assured.. Mainstream economists, and those students who have taken Macro-Economics 101, are concerned with deficits as a vitally important long term problem, one that does not need short term solutions,particularly during a recession.
It is one of those instances in which what is apparent to average folks, and what is apparent to experts in economic models, pretty much coincides, at least for now.
But those in Washington are insulted from both groups. Journalists, pundits, congressional staff members, and lobbyists do not lunch or commune with economists. The rare mainstream economist that comes across the radar, insisting that deficit reduction is a bad thing during recessions, is regarded as something of an outlier - a bit of a kook. And most who roam the halls of Washington have little daily contact with everyday Americans, those concerned with jobs and paychecks.
Their contact with the narrow groups in the nation's capital put them into a stream of habit and concern that has been shaped by 30 years of conservative political dominance. That deficits are evils in all times and places is not a conclusion, based on evidence. It is a premise, impervious to challenge.
Thus politicians and pundits regularly assure national audiences that deficits represent a problem that must be solved right now. As they speak in serious tones about the need for instant austerity, they seem to be unaware that they are saying anything that is at all open to disagreement.
The insularity, the separation from expertise and ordinary experience, is at least partly cultural. But like the technological insularity that is killing a political party, and the academic insularity that disconnects experts from ordinary people, DC cultural insularity has very real effects. When ideology overrules the real world, unnecessary suffering is almost always the result.
Simple economic theory is based on a century of real evidence, reinforced every year. It coincides with current mainstream thought among the public. Deficits are a problem during times of prosperity. They are to be solved by cutting costs and raising taxes during the good times.
Austerity during a recession is a cure that kills the patient.
Killing the patient is generally thought to be a bad idea, outside the insular world of Washington DC.
In Response to Burr Deming's
Abortion - New Bill Will Charge Women With Murder
If she takes a morning-after pill, she will be charged with murder.
- Burr Deming, February 8, 2013
This idea right here, I feel, is key to understanding why people say there is a war on women and a war on science.
A conservative position, as I understand it, is that life begins at conception, ie: when the sperm and the egg meet. I think it's important to remember this is opinion, but that's irrelevant to my point.
Accepting the above position, any act which "kills" the zygote (the cells before implantation) or the fetus (the cells after implantation) is homicide. And if it's a human life worth the same as every other human life, the "death" of these cells should be investigated, which Mr. Deming goes into in his post. But this too is irrelevant to my point.
Here is what bothers me:
Neither the birth control pill nor the morning after pill destroys these cells. They both prevent ovulation (the woman from releasing the egg). If there is no egg present, there can be no conception and therefore no life as defined by conservatives. But the facts on how these pills work is ignored or not known. Even the FDA labels are bad: (here is an article about it)
So while I disagree with the idea of life beginning and conception and think personhood bills are horrible for all the reasons Mr. Deming described, I am doubly enraged because of the bad science and what reliance on poor science leads me to believe. I have no doubt that the effect of these bills will be to outlaw the morning after pill and potentially the birth control pill as well. And trying to ban the birth control pill or the morning after pill because of a belief that life begins at conception is beyond disingenuous.
It shows that certain people are more interested in controlling women and controlling their sexuality than in protecting life, implanted or not.
Emily frequently participates in our comment-section debates. We appreciate her further contribution today. Welcome aboard, Emily.
It used to be the howitzer of abortion debate. Consistency.
Life is a continuum. It does not begin at conception. It begins back when lightening or cosmic rays or something provoked the tiny stirrings in an earth filled with amino acids. Life began a long time before conception. Conception is simply not a practical place to draw the line.
But that did not stop the passion of those holding to revealed truth. Debate was strongly on the side of abortion rights. Politics was on the side of anti-abortion advocates.
The debate was one sided. It involved the sober contemplation of consequence. Consistency was a heavy burden.
If you insist that life begins at conception, what should be the penalty to a woman who uses a morning after pill? Murder is, after all, a capital offense.
A tiny egg, once fertilized, must attach itself to the wall of the uterus. Commonly, that does not happen, and pregnancy does not occur. If that failure must legally be considered the suspicious death of a zygote, how will a woman be investigated? By what means will authorities enforce the legal requirement that every woman account to them for each instance of sexual activity?
If a childless couple seeks in vitro fertilization, the last best hope many have for children, the procedure provokes many such fertilized eggs to get to the wall. With luck, one will succeed. What penalty must a couple be subjected to after prosecution for murdering the many zygotes that don't make it?
A woman who actually seeks an abortion in the early weeks after a zygote begins to attach to the wall of a uterus will be prosecuted for murder. Will she be imprisoned for life, or will execution be more fitting?
When a rapist goes on trial, should the rape victim who later seeks an abortion go on trial separately? Or, since proving the rape and proving the murder of the zygote will involve some of same evidence, would it be more practical to prosecute both in a joint proceeding?
Such arguments, meant to show the absurd but logical outcomes of a legal standard that protects the survival of every zygote, were once regarded with eye rolling contempt by anti-abortion activists. The ultimate logic of restricting the freedom of women was sort of dodged. Activists cast women as the victims, not the perpetrators. It was doctors who should be prosecuted, not the women who sought them out.
The dodge was obvious to most folks. A legal standard that elevated a few cells best seen through a microscope above the rights of a woman would have involved some - uh - inconvenience.
As long as the logical limits weren't reached, the debate about when life begins held all the drama of a theology construct about angels and heads of pins.
Politics was another story.
The political debate was not framed by majority, but by intensity. Most Americans are not crazy about outlawing all abortions, but the argument was not central to their political outlook. Those whose moral code included the rights of each zygote to life, liberty, and happiness were, and still are, much more willing to vote their convictions. That is how a minority view sometimes prevails in a democracy.
But when "transvaginal" was introduced into our vocabulary, and it turned out not to be an airline, the seriousness of zygote citizenship hit home to many. A bill backed by Virginia Republicans, including the governor, was introduced that would have required every woman seeking an abortion to have a probe inserted. Each woman would then be ordered to view an ultra-sound image.
The uproar was heard round the nation and Republicans eventually backed away. The effort continues by fits and starts. This week a similar bill in Michigan, requiring a transvaginal probe so that women might be better instructed in the evils of personal choice, was also withdrawn by Republican sponsors.
The weakness of the anti-abortion argument has been the severe constriction of personal liberty that must be imposed on every woman of child bearing age. When that complication goes beyond philosophical speculation about the nature of life and is imposed as an incontrovertible fact of life, the theoretical turns into a rock solid bloc of votes.
In Iowa, this week, Republicans introduced legislation that would take those silly arguments of a few years back into legal reality, and impose the charge of murder if the existence of a zygote is ended. And those penalties are directed at women.
If a woman interrupts the journey of a zygote toward the wall of her uterus, she will be charged with murder.
If she takes a morning-after pill, she will be charged with murder.
If she seeks out, then undergoes, an abortion, she will be charged with murder.
Rape victims will be charged with murder if they do not nurture the zygote into development of a baby. Incest victims who are impregnated will be charged with murder if they deliberately fail to produce a child.
We must, I suppose, mourn the loss of a powerful debating point. As the anti-abortion movement does indeed become a war, with any sexually active woman regarded as the potential enemy, anti-abortion advocates are eliminating an opposing argument.
Republicans are innocent of inconsistency.
Michael Isikoff's summary of the Obama administration drone policy seems pretty scary. The President can order an American killed if that citizen crosses the border and stands outside the United States.
Although some allegation has to be made of an imminent threat, the word "imminent" is treated a bit cavalierly. It doesn't have to be an immediate threat, only imminent. The distinction may be lost on the uninitiated.
And there is no procedure except that the President, or an appointed bureaucrat, makes the accusation, considers the charge, determines the verdict, and executes the sentence.
I listened to a conservative Republican yesterday morning as he mocked those of us who protest against torture, but express not a murmur against killing someone without trial. Isn't killing a bit more extreme than torture?
Some policy we've got here.
Well, maybe not.
Isikoff chooses his words a little more carefully than that. He implies, rather than states. But his source is impervious to challenge.
The document he managed to obtain (pdf) is a White Paper put out by someone in the Justice Department. For a White Paper, it is surprisingly brief, only 16 pages, including footnotes. And it is readable. Each point is referenced with multiple legal citations, Supreme Court decisions with standing, much of it going back a hundred years.
For the most part, the legal justification deals with wartime protocol. If an American citizen puts on the uniform of a hostile army, that citizen sacrifices certain procedural rights. You don't hold a trial before shooting such a person on a field of battle. When practical, attack and ambush are not only justifiable, but mandatory. In a war of terrorism, the lack of a uniform is not a barrier.
It is not until page 9, a little more than halfway through, that the authors get to the analogy that seems clearest, at least to me. If a US citizen begins firing at a police officer or at others while within range of that officer, nobody questions the right or the duty to respond with deadly force. And it is all done without a jury, or a warrant, or a judge.
I think of the deranged man in Alabama who killed a courageous bus driver, then kidnapped a youngster from the bus. When the FBI determined that the man had a gun and supposed a danger to the child, the man was killed. There was no judicial process before the kidnapper/murderer died. There was no proof that he was about to kill the little boy, only a reasonable possibility. Still, there was no objection from any reasonable person.
The argument is a bit dodgy. A police officer is subject to after-the-fact review of any death. I suspect the FBI action is also subject to some scrutiny.
As for the hypocrisy of opposing torture: if a suspect was not killed, but only wounded, we would object if that suspect was tortured after capture. Killing may be worse than torture, death being an everlasting condition, but killing may be justified when torture is not.
The principle is that not all killing is murder, and not all extra-judicial killing is illegal.
The conditions, as outlined in the discovered document, are as defined as can be expected without a specific case in mind.
There must be no reasonable opportunity of capture.
There has to be an imminent threat, which may be a pattern of action. The fact that the deranged individual in Alabama had killed a bus driver made the threat to the child several degrees more likely.
The window of opportunity for attack must be found to be limited.
The action must be proportional, to the degree that risk to bystanders be low.
- If there is some signal of surrender, that surrender must be permitted.
What seems to me to be missed is that the document is not, at least as far as I can see, an expression of policy. It is a legal analysis of the farthest possible limits of the law. If policy does take us to the extreme, you may go this far but no farther.
If the document is not policy, and nothing indicates that it is, it leaves open the question of just what the President's policy may be.
And it leaves open future actions. If the law is as the document describes, it is leaves a lot of latitude. Former Presidential Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski advocates the establishment of a procedure of formal review. I see that as a necessity.
I trust President Obama. I could have trusted a President Mitt Romney. But there are a lot of potential candidates.
I don't want to trust everybody.
The dustbowl was still dry in 1937. The great migration of those who had depended on the Midwest farm economy had slowed. Now it was no longer those who had given up hope. They had already gone. It was those who had grimly held on, but who no longer had the means to continue. They had lost everything they had, and then some.
But the economy had turned the corner. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had been re-elected. Most of the nation was optimistic about the future. Things were looking up. Unemployment had gone from almost 25% to less than 15%. That was high, but a 10% drop was encouraging.
President Roosevelt had been called a lot of names during his first term. He was "that man in the White House" and "a traitor to his class." He responded in kind. "They are unanimous in their hate for me," he had said to the roaring crowd in Madison Square Garden during the campaign, "and I welcome their hatred."
What did worry Roosevelt was the political attacks on deficit spending. The cries for government to tighten its belt, just as ordinary families had to, pleas to keep from saddling future generations with debt, to end profligate spending, were a concern. Roosevelt was not a President afraid to act on his concerns.
In 1936, FDR cut back programs severely for the coming year.
And in 1937, America experienced a downturn. Austerity is a good idea in prosperous times. It is a horrible idea during a recession. Unemployment jumped up to 19%. That was still better than the Hoover years, but it was definitely the wrong direction.
It wasn't just government jobs being ended. Government spending has a ripple effect that can be substantial. Manufacturing output fell by 37%. Unemployment stayed high for the next year and a half.
When World War II hit us, with a sneak attack by the Empire of Japan, nobody was concerned with deficits or tightening our belts or having the government act as impoverished families needed to act. Unemployment went way down and the Great Depression ended once and for all.
The closest we have come in recent times to the 1937 FDR recession has been in the last complete quarter. As Obama entered office in 2009, the economy was shrinking at an almost 9% annualized rate. After he managed to add an emergency stimulus to the Bush 2009 budget, we experienced a continuous growth.
But in the last three months of 2012, the economy shrank again by one tenth of one percent. Economists say the cause was a reduction in government employment. Teachers, police officers, subcontractors who hire workers to maintain roads and bridges, defense workers, and others had lost jobs. And, once more, the ripple effects outweighed the reductions themselves. In fact, employment itself kind of netted out as jobs increased in the private sector.
January showed a net increase in employment. The economic contraction may turn out to be a mirage. These things have to be recalculated as more data comes in. November and December employment figures, for example, were substantially better than initial measurements.
But it served as a reminder. Austerity in Europe was hailed not too long ago as the model America should be following. Now Europe is teetering on the brink of depression as Germany insists on starving the patient back to health.
Conservatives here are pointing to the, for now, apparent economic contraction as a demonstration that Obama policies don't work. Paul Ryan, who had declared Keynesian economics a proven failure, told an NBC audience that "Spending is the problem." He would be right if he had meant that not enough spending was the problem. That's not what he meant.
The time to cure deficits, and begin retiring national debt, is during significant economic expansion. The last time we had that opportunity was in 2001. Republicans instead insisted on tax cuts, cuts weighted toward the wealthy.
We do hear from Republicans that deficits hurt the economy. For the most part, it is a values based argument: Deficits are bad, so deficits must be hurting the economy in some way.
The traditional fear is that deficits will drive up interest rates. Hasn't happened so far, and there is no sign it will any time soon. In fact, the government is in the unique position right now of borrowing at a slightly negative interest rate. Ezra Klein has even speculated that the American taxpayer might realize a net profit if the Federal government declared a fiscal year composed of 365 tax holidays. Don't collect any taxes. Just borrow the money and make a profit on it.
I have yet to hear a compelling case that could lead a reasonable person, which is to say me, to believe that increasing deficits right this minute will do anything to hurt the economy.
We need jobs right now. And there is plenty of infrastructure that needs mending.
The time for austerity is when austerity will not push the economy down. When people are employed and the economy is healthy, start cutting back.
Until then, let's take 1937 to heart. Repeating the mistakes of the past hurts real people who do not deserve to be hurt.
Conservative David Brooks laments what has been happening to the Republican Party. He quotes John Podhoretz of Commentary, "...as soon as Republicans start talking about what kind of regulations and programs government should promote, they get accused by colleagues of being Big Government conservatives."
And he gets to the root of the Republican resistance to modernization toward a more inclusive view.
Change is hard because people don’t only think on the surface level. Deep down people have mental maps of reality — embedded sets of assumptions, narratives and terms that organize thinking.
He is right, as far as he goes. Political parties have a long history of getting out of step with those they seek to represent. Successive loss of elections tends to provide a clarity of thought. This is not happening for the Republican party.
If he went a little deeper he might notice a political base whose members have wrapped themselves in a new type of cocoon. Internet and cable television now augment radio, giving conservatives their choice of input.
It goes beyond news. Hard core rightists build their own reality, completely separate from that experienced by the rest of us, separate, in fact, from that seen by less doctrinaire conservatives. The sources they choose are those that tell them they don't need to moderate or even consider other views. They only need to expel those less conservative than themselves, the RINOs. And so the GOP shrinks, then shrinks some more. With each expulsion of those less extreme, the base becomes more extreme.
The internet forms the basis for the prediction here that the Republican party is the victim of an irreversible sociological phenomenon. The GOP will not survive the process.
The analysis Brooks offers does not get to the technological basis for a Republican party traveling backward in time. He simply sees the hopelessness of it all. Where are thoughtful, which is to say reality based, conservatives to go?
Brooks suggests the formation of a new political home, a party rooted outside the deep south and the rural west, a party composed of those "who recoiled at President Obama’s second Inaugural Address because of its excessive faith in centralized power, but who don’t share the absolute antigovernment story of the current G.O.P."
A reaction separate from David Brooks is that of a group of Country Club Republicans, establishment types looking to further the financial interests of those in the Romney class of wealth. Their future is firmly rooted in the American financial system. They have no stake in the economic damage that is routinely risked, sometimes advocated, by the Republican base.
This is how the New York Times begins to report it:
The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate.
The group calls itself the "Conservative Victory Project" and, as I read the report, want to take back the Republican Party from the know-nothing fringe that now defeats winnable candidates.
My thesis, seen here, is that the political party that was once identified with Abraham Lincoln, is now destined to become insignificant in national life. If I am wrong, I believe the GOP will most likely be rescued by the brute force of self-interested big-money. It is possible, but I do not see it as plausible.
The "third way" type of new GOP, the alternative advocated by David Brooks, may yet come. It is one of several possible developments. But I think that is premature.
It is cruel to bury anything that is still in the process of dying.
The questioning of prospective Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel by Republican Senators was startling in its ferocity. Thoughtful answers were interrupted with demands of "Yes or No." Gotcha questions of the when-did-you-stop-beating-your-underaged-illicit-lover type were pursued well past any dead end.
You can expect today's Republicans, fresh from what to them was a surprising and emotionally crushing defeat at the ballot box, to take a harshly partisan tone whenever the opportunity presents itself. A habit that began on January 20, four years ago, will hardly end right away. And there is an element of fear of the Republican base at work. We saw this in the Benghazi rage, with one Senator a few days ago speculating that the Secretary of State had gotten away with murder. Lindsey Graham seemed quite sincere about that, as he made his murder charge on Fox News Monday evening.
But the questioning of Chuck Hagel was personal. The anger was palpable. And there was a measure of outside power behind it. It is reflected by some of the big money running anonymous ads from "liberals" who say they will remain nameless out of fear of retribution from the ruthless Obama administration. Uh huh. I suppose there is someone, somewhere, who believes the television ad campaign is not financed and run by well heeled conservatives, with a well known Republican agency funneling the money. I confess to a degree of suspicion about that.
As late as 2000, then Senator Chuck Hagel was known as a reliably conservative Republican from Nebraska. He was co-chair of John McCain's campaign for President in 2000. McCain, during that campaign, spoke warmly of Senator Hagel as his own prospective Secretary of Defense.
What happened between then and now? What caused not just the opposition but the snarling junkyard dog level of white hot hostility?
It seems obvious to me it was Hagel's lukewarm endorsement of the Iraq invasion, followed by his increasing criticism. It is true that Hagel was long, long ago critical in retrospect about the Vietnam war as well, the war in which he was a combat hero. But by the time he revealed his feelings about that conflict, pretty much everyone had tired of defending a war that turned out to be such a disaster. Nobody resented Hagel for that, because pretty much everyone, even blowhard rightists had long ago decided that the best thing about Vietnam was that it was a model of what to avoid in the future.
Most everyone, by now, has decided the same about Iraq. The war was sold to us by fraud and misdirection. Some sources were secretly known by insiders to be making it up. Torture was used in the hope of extracting "evidence." Pressure was brought to bear on intelligence agencies to find an atomic link. All this has become more or less known to most everyone, with the obvious exception of devout Fox viewers.
But Hagel was skeptical from the beginning. Then he became more critical when most conservatives still embraced the cause.
It reminds me of another war hero. When John Kerry was the Democratic nominee in 2004, a few Vietnam veterans were recruited by big money to deny that he had exhibited any sort of bravery under fire. The recruited stories turned out to be documented as falsehoods. But the anger on the part of the televised vets was genuine. Nobody could be that good an emotional actor.
Vietnam was a travesty. We went in under false assumptions about a monolithic worldwide conspiracy controlled by the occupants of a few rooms in the Kremlin.
But, like Chuck Hagel, John Kerry had come out against a war before most of America came to that conclusion. The fact that the war later became unpopular even to conservatives was beside the point.
Sometimes those who find the truth first get trampled.
In the late 1930s, volunteers flocked to Spain to aid those fighting for the Spanish Republic against General Francisco Franco and the general's allies, Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy. The volunteers lost that fight. Those who came from the United States lost more. They became suspected security risks. They were denied promotions. They were investigated by hostile Congressional committees.
They were known by the FBI as "premature anti-fascists."
The smears and falsehoods against Kerry have faded with time. He is thought to have overcome the campaign against him. The passage of years and his diligence in his role in the Senate has redeemed him.
The sort of anger by a few recruited veterans toward Kerry in 2004 is now repeated by a few Senators against Chuck Hagel. But the tradition of stomping on those who see truth too soon goes back for generations. It lived decades ago, targeting those called Brigadas Internacionales, the brigade of volunteers fighting a Nazi-backed tyrant on the Iberian Peninsula.
Like Kerry before him, and the premature anti-fascists before that, nominee Chuck Hagel is guilty of being right too soon.
In response to Comments on Burr Deming's
Cameron, Gun Safety, Social Security, Abortion, Palin
Nazi Germany did not arise from a vacuum, but from a set of circumstances that we do not face today in our country.
- Ryan, January 26, 2013
While America today is not like Nazi Germany of the 1930’s, there are increasingly similar circumstance that are developing. After losing WWI, Germany was in an economic mess. Hitler came to power with his national socialist party (Nazis) to restore economic prosperity. He blamed much of the economic woes on the Jews. Today, we have wide-spread (and horribly under-reported) unemployment, multiple rounds of quantitative easing which will eventually create horrible inflation, and a national debt that exceeds the entire GDP of our nation. We are inching ever closer to economic collapse. Many progressives in elected positions are blaming this on the rich that refuse to pay their fair share, hence all of the Occupy protests, which at times turned violent. If economic collapse does come, it is very likely that martial law and restrictions on our constitutional freedoms will indeed be mandated. The fact that you don’t think it can happen when the foundation for such catastrophe already exists shows that you are either not paying great attention to history, or you have far greater faith in our government and people today than I do.
Your AR-15 doesn't stand a chance against a drone or, if it came to it, a nuclear strike.
- Ryan, January 26, 2013
First, the likelihood of a nuclear strike, even during a widespread revolution is exceptionally unlikely, so I won’t even bother with that argument. As for drones etc. you are correct that a single person with an AR-15 is hardly a match. That said, if there are lots of like-minded people with such firearms, the possibility of survival is definitely improved. Ask the rebels in Syria fighting against the cruel and repressive regime under Bashar Assad if they wish they could all have AR-15 style weapons, or would be okay with only five shot revolvers. Regardless, I am not advocating nor anticipating having to engage in armed conflict against our government. I am simply exercising my 2nd amendment right in a prudent and safe manner.
...being armed is by no means a sufficient condition for effective resistance against our government.
I just acknowledged this to be true. That said, being unarmed or armed with only revolvers is even less likely to help ones’ cause in such a case.
Does one really need an assault rifle or grenade launcher to fend off a thief? Isn't a handgun sufficient?
I last qualified in the military as an expert shot with a rifle and as a sharpshooter with a handgun. That said, a pistol is something that you place in your night stand safe to provide you the time necessary for you to be able to get to your rifle in the case of an emergency. The technically inaccurately named assault rifles are deemed such by IDIOTS like Senator Feinstein because they can hold more than ten rounds, or have a removable magazine, or have a flash suppressor on the muzzle, or any of a number of other arbitrary characteristics that evidently “scare” her. A true assault rifle is a fully automatic weapon. They have been illegal to the general public since the 1930’s, if I am correct. A grenade launcher is not needed to stop a thief, but a shotgun with six rounds in a magazine and a forward grip to ensure accuracy sure would do the job, except those are proposed to be banned by Feinstein’s legislation too.
Unless you think that people should be allowed to carry assault rifles around with them in public (what, over their shoulder for all to see?)
Do you mean like this guy in my state that walked into a JC Penny’s with his AR-15 on his shoulder did in order to exercise his 2nd amendment right a few weeks ago? (He called the cops ahead of time to inform them what he was doing, even though by state law he was well within his rights to do so.) Most people in Utah were very supportive of him.
...it is a legal argument that has already been rejected by the Supreme Court.
Actually, the SCOTUS just affirmed again in 2010 that the second amendment is an individual right and guarantees average Americans the right to keep and bear arms regardless of bans and restrictions placed on citizens by the states or cities.
If you have a gun, everybody in your home is more likely than your non-gun-owning neighbors and their families to die in a gun-related accident, suicide or homicide.
- Jerry Critter, January 26, 2013
Not in my household. The only one more likely to die there is the uninvited criminal breaking in to my home. I have seen many such discredited studies, sir. If someone purchases a weapon and has no idea how to operate, clean, and store the weapon and ensures that all members in their household are appropriately trained, then I suspect the chances of accidents are indeed much greater. That said, I am a military veteran that is very familiar with my weapons and keep them secured where no one else can get to them except my wife and me. She is similarly trained, is a great shot, and was raised with guns since her father was a deputy sheriff. In other words, if a person acts responsibly, the chances of an accident is not very likely. The same could be said with owning a car. I would hope most drivers are trained and act responsibly there too, but based on my morning commute today, I am not certain that this is the case. Perhaps we need to ban automobiles for the average Americans next.
T. Paine, a frequent contributor, owns firearms and an automobile, and is trained in the use of both. He also writes for his own site, where neither is banned.
Please visit Saving Common Sense.
The question occurs to me pretty much every time I bump into the current major conservative conspiracy theory. Why would anyone want to confiscate all guns from every American? But this sort of motivation is projected onto even the mildest of safety advocates. Those who want to take obvious moves to save lives are thought to be predatory, looking to take away all weapons.
That is the message of the NRA. The slippery slope is the basis for nearly all NRA arguments. Gun safety sounds sensible. But if you surrender your assault weapon, the semi-automatic firearm with a magazine that allows you to spray dozens of bullets without reloading, then they'll soon come after your hunting rifle, your target pistol, and pretty much everything.
Why? Because those anti-gun people just hate guns, all guns, every gun, without exception. Why would they just hate all guns? Well, they just do, that's all.
Every once in a while, we do hear an argument that goes beyond the "that's all." Sometimes it involves Bambi lovers whose imagination is held captive by Disney animation. More often it involves the obligation of government to safeguard the future right of conservatives to wage a war of revolution on the rest of America.
It is true that a weapon that can mow down little kids in a classroom can also be used in the future envisioned by some conservatives to kill dozens of police officers and US troops. Conservatives seem unnerved by the the lack of enthusiasm on the part of most Americans to that planned uprising and the mass killing that will accompany it.
Apart from objections to the planned uprising, apart from those mythical anti-hunters who are horrified at killing Bambi, what reason could anyone have for wanting to ban and confiscate all guns?
I can't imagine it. Neither can most conservatives.
What conservatives can offer is evidence that a prominent Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein, for her own elusive reasons, has said that the only thing holding her back from universal gun confiscation is that she doesn't have the votes . . . yet.
In fact, they can point to a video of an interview conducted in 1995. There she is, eighteen years ago, stating her goals straight out:
"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren't here."
Wow. Confiscate all guns. Clear as day.
The problem with that argument is the original 60 minutes segment is available on line. It is an exploration of why rapid fire assault weapons could be used in the Columbine massacre, even though such weapons were temporarily banned in 1995. The actual interview was conducted by 60 minutes in 1999 - conservatives sometimes get dates wrong. You can see the Feinstein interview as a major part of the segment beginning at about the 3:15 mark.
The answer to the 60 minutes question, the question of how an assault weapons ban could have allowed a tragedy like Columbine, is quite simple. The ban was only on new assault weapons. Weapons already in circulation were unaffected, and so children died.
Human nature sometimes dictates that the truth shouldn't interfere with a good story. The conservative rage machine takes that directive seriously, stretching it as far as elasticity can go. Run a Google search, and you can get a picture of right wing blogs: Dianne Feinstein wants to take your guns. All of them.
Theintelhub.com shows the hypocrisy of Senator Feinstein stating in 1995 that she has a personal carry permit, and yet a video from 60 minutes shows she wants to take all guns from everyone.
"Dianne Feinstein Assault Weapons Ban Could Be the Start Of a Total Gun Ban" is the headline at policymic.
"Here is video," says Free Republic, "of Dianne Feinstein from “60 Minutes” in 1995, saying she wants guns confiscated."
Even our own T. Paine, a conservative who is pathologically truthful, is taken in.
Her interview on 60 minutes back in 1995 reveals exactly what her agenda is: disarming the American people. Feinstein is heard to say, “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States, for an outright ban, picking up every one of them (every gun) Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in. I would have done it.” So what kept her from doing it? She didn’t have the votes. She likely does have the votes in the senate this time, if not the House… thank God.
Why do so many - not all, to be sure - conservatives feel the need to slice and dice the truth into falsehood? I suspect it is for the same reason so many want to rig elections, making it hard for legitimate voters to cast ballots, trying to make their votes count for less.
They have come to realize they cannot win a fair election. So they need to rig elections to protect voters from wrong choices.
They cannot win a fair argument. They need to help the truth along, when the truth, all by itself, does not support them.
In their lack of confidence, they have hit upon a sad, sad fact. Cutting corners is the only way they can win.
You would think that one of the easiest, no thought necessary here, issues that ever could have been would be whether to oppose apartheid in South Africa. In 1986, Congress passed economic sanctions against South Africa over the oppression of black subjects. President Reagan vetoed the sanctions.
So both houses in Congress voted to override. Almost all Democrats voted for the sanctions. Most Republicans did, too. Only 86 members of the House voted to sustain the veto.
One of those voting against sanctions was future Vice President Dick Cheney. At the time, he said he just didn't believe in the effectiveness of economic sanctions. Most observers saw economic sanctions as the main cause of South Africa ending apartheid and, more important, going on to majority rule.
The argument about apartheid in those days concerned whether black people in South Africa were ready for democracy. Conservatives argued that black people, coming from a tribal tradition, were institutionally unprepared and culturally backward.
The history of American conservatism has included a heavy dose of resistance to democracy. Most of it has been tied to race.
Years ago, we were taught in school that the electoral college was designed to protect small states from large states, to protect political minorities from the "tyranny of the majority."
"Tyranny of the Majority" is an important idea. Certain basic rights should be protected against majority votes. With apparent approval of the majority, descendants of Japanese Americans were rounded up and shipped to camps after the Empire of Japan launched their sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Majority didn't make it legally right.
But we were, not to put too fine a point on it, taught lies. Textbooks in the mid-20th century were based on historical research begun during a long, long post-reconstruction era in America, when "Birth of a Nation" films reinforced a national narrative of reconciliation. This reconciliation came at the expense of descendants of slaves, and the lies were part of that reconciliation. Actual accounts of constitutional debates make pretty clear the electoral college was designed to protect slavery from those who might, in the future, succeed in convincing a majority of voters to abolish ownership of one person by another.
In the segregated south, black people were ostensibly allowed to vote by constitutional amendment. So a series of thinly disguised workarounds were devised to prevent the exercise of voting rights.
This effort of disfranchisement has been reinvigorated by those conservatives who find themselves in a majority in traditionally blue states. The effort to keep minority voters from casting ballots has, up to now, been aimed at the working poor. Those who use public transportation to commute to and from work don't have drivers' licenses. Requiring photo IDs, rather than traditional identification, then making it especially difficult to get those non-driving IDs, has been justified as a measure to prevent non-existent voter fraud.
Now a new scheme has been launched to rig the Presidential election. The idea is to put into Democratic states, and only Democratic states, a division of electoral votes by gerrymandered congressional districts. Thus, even a landslide in favor of a Democrat would result in a Republican President.
The traditional attitude of Americans apart from conservatives has been pro-democracy. If my side loses an election, I will work to convince voters in the next election. There is always a next election. This universal respect for democracy seems no longer to be universal.
Republicans, quite simply, quite accurately, have no confidence in themselves or their arguments.
I think back to Cheney era hostility toward black equality and majority rule in South Africa. I remember the arguments about black people, that they were institutionally unprepared and too culturally backward to sustain a democratically elected government.
South Africa elected Nelson Mandela, who was followed by a succession of democratically elected leaders. It turns out they were indeed institutionally prepared and culturally advanced enough to sustain a democratic tradition.
In our own country, it appears democracy may falter. It seems conservatives are captives of an ethic that values country less than ideology, that their political party is institutionally unprepared, that they are too culturally backward to sustain a democratically elected government.
It used to be easier to talk about the legal status of abortion. We mainly had to demonstrate absurdity. The debate involved drawing lines where there were no sensible lines.
If we talk about when life begins, we fall into an endless loop. Life begins several billion years ago. It is a continuum. Before an egg and sperm unite, they are both alive. After they unite, the resulting zygote will not survive unless it becomes attached to the wall of the uterus around a week or week and a half later. Even that is a process that begins several days after conception when the blastocyst hits the wall and completes several days after that. Viability, the point at which life is self sustaining, happens about 5 months into the pregnancy. It is sometimes earlier, sometimes later.
So do we define the beginning of life as happening at birth? How about the most common popular definition, the ever shifting point of viability? Does the medical definition of pregnancy, the attachment to the uterus, work? Even that is a little ambiguous, since it takes a few days of work on the part of the zygote. How about what most anti-abortion folks want, the moment the sperm collides with the egg?
How about the true definition of life, well before the great-grandparents of the parents were born?
Applying religious teachings isn't a big help. For one thing, how far must we go in imposing a set of religious principles on an unwilling subject? A bigger problem is that God has been remarkably silent on the subject. There is no direct mention of abortion in the Bible. A few friends, from time to time, bring up scriptures that talk about identity. For example, David talks about how he was "conceived in sin." Aha! He didn't specify that he meant to refer to his fetus that later developed into himself, that it was the fetus that was conceived. Should King David have elaborated in order to forestall confusion thousands of years later? That awkward rhetorical responsibility seems a heavy burden to place on an ancient King. There is some biblical discussion about God knowing us before we were born, an expression of divine knowledge which you would think might go to the beginning of time. God knew each of us before humans walked the earth, right?
That is not to say the termination of pregnancy isn't mentioned at all. Exodus proscribes death as the penalty for killing someone. But a culprit guilty of injuring a pregnant woman to the point of miscarriage is forced to pay a fine, a distinction that would seem odd if the same laws advocated by anti-abortion advocates were in force back then. Such implied definitions of the value of life are not firm, though, are they? The more ancient of the scriptures also endorsed slavery. Authors, even when inspired, are limited by the wisdom of their times.
The real question is not when life begins, but rather when abortion should be illegal. This practical application, and the necessity of severely restricting women, is what produces a hard obstacle for anti-abortion activists.
Criminal law demands fixed lines. Otherwise the law becomes only advisory. Determining fixed lines on the basis of when life begins leads us into territory that ranges from absurdity to oppression.
I suspect it is the attempt to resolve religious ambiguity into religious certainty that pushed some political conservatives into self-destructive rhetoric. Humans have an abhorrence to injustice that runs deep. Sometimes it motivates us to act against injustice. Sometimes it drives us to deny that injustice exists. Every once on a while, Fellowship Hall discussions in the occasional house of worship fall into denial. Should we really punish rape victims if they seek abortions. Oh, that never happens with legitimate rape. If she looks for an abortion, she is evil. If she is evil, she must have been asking for it. And pregnancy can't happen unless the sin of sex is voluntary.
And so a candidate goes down in flames and "legitimate rape" becomes the talk of the nation.
The truth that God creates life even before sperm meets egg, knowing and loving us eons before, can lead some to a prohibition of any contraception at all. Contraception was indeed forbidden for a long, long time. It still is for some religious folk. The problem is the logical next step that is almost never mentioned, that God might regard pregnancy, even from rape, as a gift not to be tampered with. The step after that would see resistance to rape as immoral, but nobody goes there. Thank God.
So another candidate sinks beneath the waves and rape pregnancy as a "gift from God" gets a national airing.
Where to draw the line of prohibition, when we endow developing life with the protections and rights as developed life, becomes a problem when the implications are confronted. One of the most uncomfortable questions that anti-abortion advocates try to get out of is one of penalties for women seeking abortion. How long a prison term should be imposed on a woman? How about in cases of rape? How about incest? How about danger to a woman's life?
Should miscarriage be investigated as a possible homicide? Many zygotes do not find a uterine wall. Should a woman have to answer to authorities on whether she took a morning after pill to prevent uterine implantation?
The early abortion debates: those were the good old days.
Now the theoretical reduction of anti-abortion laws to silly standards - how long should prison sentences be on women - is no longer an uncomfortable hypothetical issue.
This is a bill introduced by Republicans in New Mexico that makes it a felony for a raped woman to get an abortion. The reasons? Well look (pdf):
Tampering with evidence shall include procuring or facilitating an abortion, or compelling or coercing another to obtain an abortion, of a fetus that is the result of criminal sexual penetration or incest with the intent to destroy evidence of the crime.
Yeah. The Republican bill, if passed, will regard an abortion following rape as a felony. The rape victim will be prosecuted for tampering with evidence.
Those absurd hypothetical questions are becoming real, existential, facts as the attack on abortion takes the necessary leap into an attack on women.
When Henry Lavanda Marsh, Jr. was growing up in Wadesboro it wasn't all that easy for a black kid to get an education in North Carolina. Desegregation was considered an ultra-liberal dream, and "separate but equal" was a useful euphemism. Everybody knew that only the "separate" part was a reality. Euphemism has been the tool of choice in race relations ever since the Civil War era amendments made it a legal workaround against equality.
There was no high school in that part of North Carolina that would allow black children in. So Henry left home to find a school in another part of the state. As a young adult he met Lucy Phillips. They got married and started a family. The oldest of their four children was just six when Lucy died. Henry was working as a waiter and had to break the family up. There just wasn't enough to live on.
The second oldest was Henry III. He went to live with an aunt and uncle in a rural area. There was just a one room schoolhouse and one teacher for 78 black kids of all ages, but at least it was a school. That's where young Henry went to get an early education. He was 11 when his father was able to get the family together again.
The value of education was drilled into them. Henry the father went back to college, working a full time job, studying, going to class, and raising his kids.
Henry III took that lesson to heart. He followed in his father's footsteps to the extent of graduating college. Then he went on to get a law degree, then served his country in the army.
He became an early advocate for civil rights.
In the early 1950's, conservatism got a big setback when the euphemism of "separate but equal" was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Racists in Virgina organized under the banner of "massive resistance." They would fight back with any legal means at their disposal. School desegregation was held up. Only when the issue was forced in court and federal law enforcement was invoked would they go along, and then only as far as they were forced.
Henry Marsh was still in college when he testified before a hostile audience of state legislators in Virginia against massive resistance by white racists. Public advocacy of any sort by black people was a dangerous thing in states that had composed the Old Confederacy. Henry Marsh was making a name for himself.
He was elected to the city council in Richmond. Eventually he became mayor, then went on to the state legislature.
In the early days, voting rights were attacked in the massive resistance movement. Politicians were frank, at first, in attacking "the black vote." But, as Strom Thurmond campaigned for President as a segregationist Dixiecrat, it eventually became a campaign against "the block vote."
The block vote was resisted by telling black voters they had to pass complex literacy tests, reciting the Bill of Rights by memory, or guessing the number of jellybeans in a bottle. The "block vote" was the term of choice through the 1970s, in some parts of the Old South. It later became known as the "Urban Vote."
The "Urban Vote" is a newer theme, still used by conservatives as the new, socially acceptable, term for people that many kind of don't like. In several states, photo ID laws that discriminate against those who do not drive automobiles, restrictive voting hours, and other impediments are used to hold back "the urban vote."
The electoral college itself, originally set up to keep slavery in place, is often justified as a counter-weight to "the urban vote." As voting patterns have changed, the electoral college does not carry the conservative weight it once did. In fact, some speculate that the system may soon reflect an advantage to Democrats.
Rather than move toward the popular vote, conservatives are pushing to move the system even further from democracy. There are moves to distribute electoral votes by congressional district. With what is called the "urban vote" more concentrated in fewer districts, this would enable conservatives to win the Presidency, even if voters cast ballots overwhelmingly for Democrats. Barack Obama, who won decisively last November, would have lost to Mitt Romney if the decision had been made by Congressional district.
But even this is not enough. Conservatives want this change to voting for President by Congressional district to apply only to states that tend to go to Democrats. One state that is the center of this effort is Virginia. State Senator Marsh has been in the center of the battle in favor of equal votes for all and against that type of Presidential gerrymander.
Throughout these battles, Henry Marsh III has served in the state senate, quietly pushing for voting rights, education, and economic development. Racial equality has been a constant theme.
On January 21 of this year, Henry Marsh, now 78, journeyed to Washington, DC, to see the second inaugural of President Barack Obama. It was a reminder of how far the country has come from the days of Jim Crow and massive resistance.
While he was gone, conservatives used his absence to sneak through a bill to reorganize the state Senate to re-gerrymander seats to get more conservatives elected. They also pushed forward with a law to cast Virginia's votes for president by Congressional district. With Marsh spending the day in Washington, Republicans had the one vote majority in the state senate to do it.
As the sponsor of the surprise move explained it:
"It comes down for me, as a rural legislator, to a fairness issue. I’m making sure the people of my district are represented."
It was was a reminder that massive resistance to equal voting is still alive, under a new name.
Conservative Republicans yesterday expressed their outrage at the death of Hillary Clinton's colleague and friend, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and three others. At separate times, they accused her of indifference, neglect, and of generating false information about the death of her friend.
"Had I been president at the time ... I would have relieved you of your post. I think it was inexcusable," said Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who has proposed cutting the Department of State Budget, including security measures, by 71%. Rand Paul is hoping to be in the position of firing more future security administrators, having said he is interested in running for President in 2016.
He was especially disturbed that Clinton had not reviewed memos recommending increased security at the American Embassy in Libya. The American Embassy in question is located in Tripoli. The attack happened in Benghazi, 400 miles away from the requested security.
Secretary Clinton may also have delegated details of security arrangements at 400 other embassies and consulates, as well as thousands of diplomatic installations, to various military specialists, rather than making personal security decisions on each one.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), who voted on November 17, 2011 to cut back security and intelligence at US Embassies around the world, was critical of the lack of accurate information. "We were misled that there were supposedly protests and something sprang out of that, an assault sprang out of that and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact."
The heated exchange between Senator Johnson and Secretary Clinton provoked headlines. Clinton repeated previous testimony by intelligence leaders that information revealed to the public was consistent with what was known at the time. She said she was less concerned with the motivations of the attackers than the fact that they were able to conduct a lethal attack at all. "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."
Earlier in the day, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who had voted on Sept 25, 2010 to cut back funding for embassy security, attacked Clinton for not being better prepared for possible violence at US embassies.
Later, after the Senate hearing, Representative Jeff Duncan, who had voted for a total elimination of $296 million from embassy security in the last two years accused Secretary Clinton of what he called "national security malpractice." He said she personally had let the consulate in Benghazi "become a death trap." Representative Duncan had also voted to de-fund other embassy security accounts.
A year before the attack, Secretary Clinton had warned Congress that proposed cuts in security by Republicans would be "detrimental to America’s national security." Republicans rejected those warnings as unjustifiable.
Others joined in the attacks on Secretary Clinton, accusing her of ignoring security shortfalls that were clearly evident.
It is obvious she should have known. After all, her critics did.
THE PRESIDENT: Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice,
members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:
Each time we gather to inaugurate a President we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. (Applause.) The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.
And for more than two hundred years, we have.
Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.