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Friday, January 29, 2016

This Day In Andrew Jackson's Violent History: Laying On The Lumber

Mister Twenty Bucks, no fan of the wild Irish, set a wonderful precedent of ordering Federal troops to suppress workers protesting conditions whilst building the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.  One of many reasons "Jacksonian Democracy" is just a fancy way of saying 'violence'.

ntodd

January 29, 2016 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"But where our hearts truly lie is in peace and quiet, and good tilled earth."

Salon:

The only strategy that can defeat ISIS is one no Republican would ever embrace

Cut off the ISIL's supply lines, then pull *everybody* out. If we want lasting peace, we must practice it ourselves

Sadly, no Democrat would ever embrace it either.  Not even Bernie, I'd wager--because War is Easy.  Where's My Favorite Hobbit and his Department of Peace when we need them?

ntodd

January 20, 2016 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (2)

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

“We’re tough and resolute, but we’re not dicks."

Perhaps instead of resolutely swinging our dicks, we should learn more about that whole empathy thing.

ntodd

January 13, 2016 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

College Kids Are So Stupid, Ain't They?

I was a college student once.  And even as an adult I've been known to express displeasure with the status quo.  So it's probably not shocking that I support stupid college kids engaged in stupid protests as a learning experience.

ntodd

January 5, 2016 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, January 04, 2016

#BundyLivesMatter


As I understand it, this is what the "peaceful protest" looks like in Oregon.

ntodd

January 4, 2016 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, January 03, 2016

Rebellion, Schmebellion

Might as well repost something from just a coupla years back:

 [In the wake of Shay's abortive rebellion,] Madison enumerated vices he saw in the existing weak system, including:

2. Encroachments by the States on the federal authority.
5. want of concert in matters where common interest requires it.
7. want of sanction to the laws, and of coercion in the Government of the Confederacy.

We have a long tradition of rebelling in this country.  And an equally long tradition of losing.  Here is a non-comprehensive list of revolts and other violent incidents after the Constitution was implemented:

Recommend nonviolent tactics and strategies--including using the electoral process--if you want to change things.  Lasting, meaningful rebellions don't require violence.  YMMV.

And I mean really nonviolent tactics.  Bringing guns kinda negates that.  Unless you're white, of course!

ntodd

January 3, 2016 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Wave

A post from a couple months before Sam was born:

[A] memory of an old ABC special from the 80s popped into my head.  I described the movie (based on a book and real story) The Wave to Ericka, who'd never seen it, and as we were talking we really wanted more info so I looked it up online.

The setting of the book is Gordon High School in 1969. The plot of the book revolves around around a history teacher (Mr. Ben Ross), his high school students, and an experiment he conducts in an attempt to teach them about how it may have been living in Nazi Germany. He hopes this answers the question of why the Germans allowed Adolf Hitler and the genocidal Nazi Party to rise to power, acting in a manner inconsistent with their own pre-existing moral values.

Ben starts by having his history class sit up straight and obey his commands by, at first, standing at attention beside their desks and having to say "Mr. Ross..." before asking or answering questions. After seeing the students' reactions toward the experiment, he decides to continue it the next day by creating a salute, a symbol and addressing three mottoes he made up: "Strength through discipline, Strength through community, Strength through action." He calls this movement "The Wave". At first, students are sceptical about The Wave, but after seeing how everyone becomes equal, and that the stress of making choices is lifted, the class falls into The Wave, and begins to recruit others into it.

I was amazed by how much of the story had stuck with me.  I guess it made an impression on my teenaged self, perhaps because of my abiding interest in history, my own family's background, etc.  It certainly has informed my opinion that anybody can be "good Germans," as I think evidenced by how unable and/or unwilling the American people have been to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

People usually bristle when I make the claim that we're all complicit in the millions of deaths we've caused.  "I didn't vote for Bush!" they protest.  "I marched!"  But in the end we collectively laid down and allowed murder to happen in our name because our jobs were too important to lose, our lifestyles too comfortable, our weekends were already busy with the kids' soccer games.

In other words, the regime took advantage of our concerns and our fears.  That was the lesson of The Wave:

Hancock explains how Jones got The Wave to feel so real. "He made an effort to make lessons sink in, and this time it did. Big time. The first part was just doing fun games together with our favourite teacher. We'd known Jones for six months and he was always smiling. Two or three days into it, he comes into the classroom not smiling, and he didn't again until it was all over. I'll never forget that day, because it really was scary."

Jones told the students the experiment was not a game but a movement, involving 1,000 other high schools around the US. A national leader would appear on television to announce a third political party in the country. That appealed to students, who felt betrayed by the handling of the Vietnam war and faced being drafted.
...
"It moved very fast. Each day, there were more surprises. And each time you thought you had understood it, there would be a new twist. I've been to Germany to talk to people a couple of times, and when the whole National Socialism movement rolled out, it was gradual. Some people got zealous, and some weren't concerned until it was too late."

Vigilance is the only defense of liberty.  Not the President, not Congress, not the Supreme Court, not the free press, not even the Constitution.  All of those can be subverted.

The Good Germans better step up...

ntodd

December 8, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, December 06, 2015

SPQR

Peace through Potemkin Strength, good Will to Men Who Look Just Like Us.  Pax Americana, bitches...I mean, strangers!

ntodd 

December 6, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

A whole group may be regarded as an exception

[T]he mood of exception, operates in all sorts of ways...The deadly consequences of this attitude are evident.  On the same principle scapegoats are provided, upon whose helpless heads we pour our failures and our fears.

 - Howard Thurman

Now here's RMJ on crazy Scotsmen:

This is a discussion where we all end up sounding like Ted Cruz.  He's just made excessively clear what we're all thinking:  Robert Dear is not our guy, he's their guy! And it's their fault!

If we want to attach fault to others, it's our fault.  Our fault for not providing adequate mental health care to people like Robert Dear.  Our fault for allowing something as dangerous as guns to be so freely and easily available, especially to such obviously unstable personalities as Robert Dear.  This is our failure as a society.  These deaths, this trauma:  it's on us.  We are a democracy, we are the government; we are the ones who are supposed to act to make these crimes more impossible.  And every step of the way we refused to.

And now we want to point fingers.  Maybe we should consider why we are so anxious to point fingers.

We are all, indeed, responsible for our Republic.

ntodd

December 1, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, October 09, 2015

The Holocaust: All The Liberal, Gun-hating Jews' Fault

Yeah, Ben Carson's obsession with lying about the Shoah is entertaining.  Silly Jews!  They never resisted!  Which can only be done violently!

ntodd

October 9, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, October 02, 2015

Violence Control

Perhaps in the wake of our 294th mass shooting, Obama could consider proposing a Department of Peace to examine not just gun massacres, but our inherently violent society as a whole...

ntodd

October 2, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Quaker And The Gadget

A Quaker reflects on his father's involvement in the Manhattan Project.  It's not clear to me if dad was a Friend himself, but I will note once again that some of us do, in fact, get involved in wars in various ways, because anybody can get to the point where evil seems impossible overcome without violence. 

ntodd

August 12, 2015 in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Monday, August 10, 2015

#MoreThanMLK

The function of a civil resistance is to provoke response and we will continue to provoke until they respond or change the law. They are not in control; we are.

 - Gandhi (1982)

Just a friendly reminder that there's more to nonviolent struggle than what Gandhi or King did.  We can take inspiration from their work, but I hear tell there's at least 198 different methods of attacking unjust systems.  Please make a note of it.

ntodd

August 10, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, August 08, 2015

#AllTensionMatters

I'd prefer the word 'demonstrator' here, but whatevs:

Moments after Sanders took the stage at Westlake Park, two women and one man climbed the stage and confronted the Democratic presidential candidate, demanding a chance to speak. 
 
After several moments of confusion and confrontation, an event organizer took the microphone and said the protesters would be allowed to speak before Sanders. Some in the crowd booed. 
 
One protester, who identified herself as Marissa Johnson, began by saying, “I was going to tell Bernie how racist this city is — with all of its progressives — but you’ve already done that for me. Thank you.”
 
Johnson spoke, among other things, about police violence in Seattle, mentioning a federal investigation into the city's law enforcement that resulted in the appointment of a monitor to make sure Seattle police were complying with the terms set forth by the Justice Department.
 
“Bernie says that he’s all about the people and about grassroots. The biggest grassroots movement in this country right now is Black Lives Matter,” she added.
 
She then mentioned the anniversary event that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement — the shooting of an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. last year.
 
Johnson requested four-and-a-half minutes of silence from the crowd, to honor the four-and-a-half hours Brown allegedly laid dead in the street after being killed.
 
Some in the crowd jeered the protesters and yelled “get off the stage,” but others replied “let her talk.”
 
At times, shouts of “arrest her” were audible.
 
After the four-and-a-half minutes, protesters did not relinquish the stage. 
 
"If you care about Black Lives Matter, as you say you do, you will hold Bernie Sanders specifically accountable for his actions," Johnson continued. 
 
She mentioned a similar interruption by Black Lives Matter activists during the annual progressive NetRoots Nation gathering. Protestors flooded the stage early on in the event and shouted down Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley as well as Sanders.
 
"Bernie, you were confronted at NetRoots at by black women," Johnson said before adding, "you have yet to put out a criminal justice reform package like O’Malley did."
 
After the protesters and organizers continued the confrontation on stage, Sanders waved to the crowd and walked off the stage.
 
He entered the crowd to greet supporters, who chanted his name as he shook hands.
 
The event, entitled "Social Security Works," was organized to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security and the 50th anniversary of Medicare. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Seattle council-member Kshama Sawant spoke earlier at the event.

Does this make you uncomfortable?  Good.  Change doesn't come from comfort, it comes from people creating tension.  The question now is: what are we and Bernie going to do so demonstrators don't have to interrupt political rallies to get attention (and I don't mean increasing security screening)?

ntodd

August 8, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Protest Does Work Redux

Public opinion and the status quo concede nothing without a demand:

Nearly one year after Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, a new poll shows a growing number of people believe there's much to be done before black lives will be valued as much as others.

Fifty-nine percent of Americans now believe changes are needed to give African-Americans equal rights, according to a Pew Research Center poll released on Wednesday.

That's up from 46 percent in a Pew poll just last year, before Brown was killed by officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, setting off a series of demonstrations and fueling the Black Lives Matter movement. 

So much for "they're burning down their own cities and setting back the movement!"

ntodd

August 6, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Nuke The Nips

They're just vermin, amirite?

By 1945, most Americans didn’t care that the civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had not committed Japan’s war crimes. American wartime culture had for years drawn on a long history of “yellow peril” racism to paint the Japanese not just as inhuman, but as subhuman. As Truman put it in his diary, it was a country full of “savages” — “ruthless, merciless, and fanatic” people so loyal to the emperor that every man, woman, and child would fight to the bitter end. In these years, magazines routinelydepicted Japanese as monkeys, apes, insects, and vermin. Given such a foe, so went the prevailing view, there were no true “civilians” and nothing short of near extermination, or at least a powerful demonstration of America’s willingness to proceed down that path, could ever force their surrender. As Admiral William “Bull” Halsey said in a 1944 press conference, “The only good Jap is a Jap who’s been dead six months.”

In the years after World War II, the most virulent expressions of race hatred diminished, but not the widespread idea that the atomic bombs had been required to end the war, eliminating the need to invade the Japanese home islands where, it was confidently claimed, tooth-and-nail combat would cause enormous losses on both sides. The deadliest weapon in history, the one that opened the path to future Armageddon, had therefore saved lives. That was the stripped down mantra that provided the broadest and most enduring support for the introduction of nuclear warfare. By the time Truman, in retirement, published his memoir in 1955, he was ready to claim with some specificity that an invasion of Japan would have killed half-a-million Americans and at least as many Japanese.

Over the years, the ever-increasing number of lives those two A-bombs “saved” became a kind of sacred numerology. By 1991, for instance, President George H.W. Bush, praising Truman for his “tough, calculating decision,” claimed that those bombs had “spared millions of American lives.” By then, an atomic massacre had long been transformed into a mercy killing that prevented far greater suffering and slaughter.

Truman went to his grave insisting that he never had a single regret or a moment’s doubt about his decision. Certainly, in the key weeks leading up to August 6, 1945, the record offers no evidence that he gave serious consideration to any alternative.

I still can't condemn it for taking place in that racist time and context.  I find everything about the only nuclear attacks ever to be repulsive (not to mention unnecessary), same as slavery, the theft of native lands, etc.  The important thing is to not deny our history, and what we learn from it so as to treat our fellow human beings better going forward.

ntodd

August 5, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (2)

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Protest Does Work

On Ferguson:

[A] community that had felt abused by the authorities for years erupted. Vandalism broke out, along with peaceful protests, and militarized police departments aggressively cracked down. The clashes attracted international news coverage. Riots and protests injured numerous people and caused extensive property damage. The controversy surrounding Brown's killing and the police response left the community reeling.

But the protests, in many ways, worked. Those abusive municipal court practices, which many residents said had fueled widespread disrespect for authority, are being reined in. And the outcry spread far beyond the Midwest. In many ways, the Ferguson protests changed America.

You won't believe what happened next...

ntodd

August 5, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

BDS Scares Clinton, Et Al

The Hill: Is boycott a bad word?

Our Framers: hell no.

ntodd

July 30, 2015 in Pax Americana, Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Arc Of History Bends Toward A Little Less Racist Brutality

To be fair, pepper spraying black people standing up for their basic rights is a bit of progress from shooting them to death and nailing them with fire hoses.  And hey, it's not like the cop is herding the protesters into ovens like Obama is doing with the Jews.

ntodd

July 26, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (2)

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Protest Never Works

Exhibit A:

Twenty-five years ago this weekend, the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law, officially outlawing discrimination against disabled people in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and government services. The law was a long time coming: Activists had fought for decades against unequal access to jobs and exclusion from public schools. But the ADA might never have gotten to President George H.W. Bush's desk were it not for a group of activists in wheelchairs who took matters into their own hands earlier that year.

On March 12, 1990, hundreds of people with disabilities gathered at the foot of the Capitol building in Washington to protest the bill's slow movement through Congress. Dozens left behind their wheelchairs, got down on their hands and knees, and began pulling themselves slowly up the 83 steps toward the building's west entrance, as if daring the politicians inside to continue ignoring all the barriers they faced. Among the climbers was Jennifer Keelan, an eight-year-old from Denver with cerebral palsy. "I'll take all night if I have to!" she yelled while dragging herself higher and higher.

The Capitol Crawl, as it became known, made national headlines and pushed lawmakers to pass the ADA into law. When Bush finally signed the landmark bill, it was seen as one of the country's most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation to date.

Also, too, once you win, there's no need to keep fighting.

ntodd

July 26, 2015 in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0)