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[Cross-posted from The Left Coaster]

"I believe in America."

So begins the classic The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.  Of course the undertaker, immediately after proclaiming his faith in the almighty US of A, asks Marlin Brando to kill some young men who got a suspended sentence for beating up his daughter.  Call it the George Bush of America™--proclaim faith in the rule of law while plotting to murder people.

I no longer believe in America, for the country I grew up in is simply gone.  I know precisely when I was sure my faith vanished:  the Sunday night the Supreme Court stole the Election 2000 and dumped the rule of law in the trash bin with Bush vs. Gore.

Having the election stolen from Al Gore was and is an outrage, but in my mind the damage has been far, far greater to the faith in the rule of law and, equally, the license it gave Bush and the Republicans to do whatever they wanted.  Why shouldn't they?  Had it not just been empirically shown to them that they were indeed above the law?

My greatest fears have been realized over the following four years as Bush, Cheney and the GOP have behaved precisely like they answer to no one--which, of course, is the plain truth.  The rule of law is dead and the United States no longer exists in anything like it's form of only five years ago.

Scoff if you will--remember Cheney's secret energy plan?  It was just a plan for energy with meetings held in public buildings by public officials, but once Cheney was aware his great giveaway to the oil companies would be exposed he just made it secret and kept it that way.  Still believe in America?

Congress, on the most flimsiest evidence imaginable, granted preemptive war powers for nothing but lies, which of course turned out to be total horseshit.  Congress just sits there after being lied to and its sons and daughters killed while shelling out hundreds of billions to continue the horror. Still believe in America?

Jose Padilla is under lock and key with no charge and no plans for trial.  He's a US citizen completely stripped of his rights just on the say-so of some anonymous security official.  Still believe in America?

Yesterday a Texas Senator encouraged and made excuses for domestic terrorism--violence against judges by a Senator.  Still believe in America?

In California the GOP, incredibly, decided it didn't like the results of a perfectly legitimate election for Governor and hijacked another election to nullify it just four months later.  Still believe in America?

The Air Force, after reviewing irrefutable evidence that rape was widespread in its cadet officer corps, decided no administrative action was necessary for the staff of the academy.  Still believe in America?

Bush was allegedly elected in 2004 yet in at least 35 states there is no way--none--to demonstrate how those votes were actually counted (this occurs precisely nowhere in the rest of the world's democracies).  Still believe in America?

I don't.  The America I knew and the rule of law are dead.  Have been ever since the Supreme Court showed us all the rule of law no longer mattered.

How is it possible for Bush to get even five votes?  Well, in the second debate Bush flatly stated he never said they weren't looking for unimportant Osama anymore, but you got some wood?  Incredibly, the next day the national media coverage was about how poor Dick Cheney was upset about the perfectly accurate description of his out-of-the-closet daughter as a "lesbian."  9-11, Osama escaping, Osama not being pursued, flatly contradicting the truth of this by Bush, yet it was all outrage about a lesbian from our "liberal" media.  Still believe in America?

I got my ass kicked silly yesterday by a very intelligent, mature Kossack I should try to emulate for this view.  If everyone thought this way the country would collapse and life would a Hobbesian nightmare!

Just because I know the rule of law is dead and my country is gone does not mean everyone should just chuck all civility and become rapacious animals.  It does not mean we should set up a rifle link for Kossacks so they can be ready for the barricades.  It does not mean anyone should follow my example.

I do not judge humans for their violations of the law, I judge them for the harm they do others.  Quite conveniently that always meshes with the violation of some law, but it means nothing to me.  The rule of law is dead.

I try to be the best person I can be--to my family, to myself, my fellow citizens, and to my country.  In some areas I have a long way to go, obviously.  But I know the right thing to do, and just because the rule of law is dead does not mean I'm going to go violate it whenever I can. Besides the obvious issue of hurting others, no matter how illegitimate the authority the cops can still coercively smash my life for not playing by their rules, so of course I keep my meek citizen profile.  Just because something is dead doesn't mean one has to raze the entire ecosystem--if there ever is any progress for the US it won't come about my smashing it.  I hope that's clear.

What do I do?  Precisely what I like: trying to be a good person while sulking and weaving out of various levels of depression as the horror show goes on--the Schiavo case, Arnie threatening to negate the California legislature this year, more deaths and mayhem every day out of Iraq.  Sometimes I write, but not very well.  Give money to liberal causes, hope there's a campaign I can get excited about in 2006.

Act As If, in other words.  As if it were 1998 and votes were still counted, the President actually got elected, and California held elections every four years.  I don't think it's going to work--voting machines here still can't be audited--but it's the only alternative I have.  I no longer believe in America, but I have to try to.

Originally posted to paradox on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:28 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Well (4.00)
    Let's be frank, here.  You are not needed.  George Bush wants to replace you with twenty-million new, non-citizen resident "guest workers" from Mexico.  Unlike you, they won't be able to vote and, since they can be deported at any time, they won't be able to cause problems, either.  We are entering a new phase of our national history.
    •  What makes you think... (2.73)
      ...illegal immigrants don't vote?

      Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

      by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:59:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Only U.S. Citizens (none)
        Only U.S. citizens can vote.
        •  Think again (2.17)

          Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

          by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:22:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  fuck you (1.90)
            i'm tired of your freeper lies re: maxican immigrants

            the only people who vote illegally are military personnel who vote multiple times for republicans.

            you also say they don't pay taxes. smoke this:


            •  Freeper lies? (2.88)

              Before you accuse someone of being a troll or a Freeper, please do yourself the service of searching the person's comments.  And at least do the courtesy of responding to the article instead of hurling ad hominem invective at me.

              You don't even know my opinion about illegal immigrant voting, jackass!

              Have a 1.

              Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

              by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:43:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  yes i do (1.33)
                you shit on eugene's diary the other day with your load of bull.
                •  Eugene's diary? Please help (4.00)
                  I don't know what you're talking about.  Please do me the courtesy of explaining.

                  Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

                  by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:02:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  In case there is... (4.00)
                  ...any doubt that you have me confused with someone else, I have never posted anything on this site w/r/t illegal immigrant voting or tax paying -- the other day, the day before that, ever.

                  Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

                  by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:11:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Can you provide a link? (4.00)
                  eugene has posted only two diaries in the past three weeks, and I've loaded both of them and did a search for "termite" -- neither of those diaries have any comments by The Termite.

                  You're making a very strong, very negative and angry accusation that I couldn't independently substantiate.  Can you link to the comment you're upset about?

                  War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Bush is President.

                  by osterizer on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:54:36 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  A quick look at The Termites numerous (none)
                  diary entries shows he/she is not a freeper. I'll guess that very few freepers actually take the time to write numerous diaries. At least take a quick look at someone's previous stuff (comments, and diaries, if applicable) before starting a flame war.

                  "Blogging doesn't make it so" - Sen. Hayworth (R) AZ 1/6/2005. Oh yeah?

                  by bejammin075 on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:14:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  ps (3.20)
                nobody in here has any obligation to respond to the washington times on anything. it's a vile and racist right-wing rag that has no desire whatsoever to confine itself to even remote truths.
                •  look, I'm sorry... (3.80)
                  ...for citing WT, but they were the first source that came up when I Googled the topic.  My mistake.

                  I'm not a troll.  Don't deserve your venom.

                  Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

                  by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:07:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Whoa! Step away from the keyboard ... (4.00)
              and take a breath!  Totally unproductive, did you even read the article?  Or did you skip it and move straight on to flaming and troll-rating?

              Granted, the likelihood of illegal immigrants voting immediately after entering our country is low, but eventually they'll get exposed to the issues and some of them will be tempted to have their say.  And, as the article points out, there's almost nothing to stop them.  Think about it.  If you were living in a foreign country and thought their government were moving in the completely wrong direction (or at least saw some awesome advantage for yourself in one of the choices for government), and you had the chance to nudge them in the 'right' direction totally free of repercussions, wouldn't you?  I think most politically active people would.  Or let's try another thought exercise:  purely hypothetical extreme case:  what if the repubs made it illegal to vote unless you were a heterosexual, Christian, white male registered with the Republican Party?  If you had a chance to vote without getting strung up for being a heretical Democrat, wouldn't you?  Wouldn't you maybe feel that it was your duty to vote despite the risks?  That it was your duty to help your less-fortunate, or less courageous but like-minded friends?

              And who was talking about paying taxes?  It's equally unproductive to flame off-topic.  Discuss and let it go.  Don't bring past arguments to a new topic.

              Also, as a member of the Air Force, I'm offended by your blanket statement attacking the integrity of US Armed Forces personnel.  Naturally, there are bad apples in the bunch, as there are in any cross section of the population, but we pride ourselves on living up to a higher standard.  Our superiors, our peers, our families, and the public we work to protect every day demand it of us.  Anyone, of any ideology, might be tempted to circumvent the system to have a greater influence on the outcome.  But I'd bet if the study exists, the data would show equal, or probably less, voter fraud exists among military personnel.

              Don't let your personal mistrust of the government or dislike of war color your view of the good, hardworking men and women of the armed forces.

              •  I genuinely appreciate... (4.00)
                ...the level-headed voice.  I'm still waiting to hear from the ratings police as to why I deserved the 1s and 0s.

                Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

                by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:45:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  bs and bs (1.75)
                in reverse order, no blanket statement of that kind was made. RIF.

                second, there is NO evidence- ZERO- there is a problem with voting by undocumented immigrants. and there is a reason for this- undocumented immigrants shy away from having to identify themselves to any government official, for obvious reasons. that article tries to weave out of thin air something that doesn't exist- a weak system or a problem. i'm fed up with racist freepers posting in here claiming to be democrats.

                •  Goddammit (4.00)
                  If you call me a racist and a Freeper one more time, I'm going to lose my fucking mind.

                  First you accuse me of posting to Eugene's thread yesterday.  I found Eugene's thread yesterday -- assuming you're talking about the Minuteman piece -- and it was the first time I've read it.  Please -- search my comments.  Find one.  I did not read it and I did not post to it.

                  Then you accuse me of being a racist?  Is the sky that black and white in your world?  You have absolutely no idea who I am, what the color of my skin is, or how I feel or behave toward people of color.  My opinions, if you weren't so lazy and reactionary, are plastered everywhere on this site.  I am a good-hearted, open-minded, tolerant individual with no beef with anyone save for the black-hearted, closed-minded and intolerant people in this world -- which seems a fairly apt description of you.

                  Please engage me with the civility we both deserve, or take your bile elsewhere.  I refuse to tolerate slander.

                  Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

                  by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:18:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Please help me understand... (4.00)
            ....the troll ratings here.  Please.  I'm begging you.  If it's the source (okay, sorry, WashTimes) then I guess I understand, but please do a Google search and you'll find many more credible sources out there on the topic.

            More to the point, I personally know two and possibly three illegal immigrants who voted in 2000 here in CA.  I have mixed feelings about that, but I also know it to be true (unless they lied, which I have little reason to believe).

            I'm not a troll, and I'm not a Freeper, and would very much appreciate the courtesy of a civil conversation and discourse on this subject.

            Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

            by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:06:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  hmm (4.00)
              There seems to be a very vocal minority of people here who think anything less than total agreement with accepted opinion is freepering and trolling.  Any opinion that strays from the as of yet undefined 'official stance' on an issue is determined to be 'not appropriate' for this site.  It sets up a climate of fear where people are afraid to say 'hmm, I see where you're coming from, but I disagree'.  If people only want an echo chamber, I guess they'll get it with their 1s and 0s.  I've embarked on a mission of 4ing differing opinions as long as they don't have personal insults, atleast for as long as I'm not troll-rated out of existence.
              •  Thank you (4.00)
                I really and truly couldn't give a fuck about "mojo" or anything like that.  All I'm looking for is to not be misunderstood, slandered, or generally maligned in a personal way.  I understand and appreciate vigorous debate, and I'm not afraid to go toe to toe with anyone over what I believe, but I really have a problem with being misrepresented so grossly.  And yeah, it is a little disturbing how quick people are to join the feeding frenzy when they smell blood in the water in the form of a non-uniform opinion.  Just as fascist as the people we're trying to defeat.

                Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

                by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:55:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Repeating Right-Wing Talking Points (none)

              The whole "illegal immigrants voting" thing is nothing more than a right-wing talking point. Nowhere is there any evidence that they vote in sufficient numbers to have any noticeable effect. Rather, the Republicans trot out this talking point every time there's a substantial minority turnout, and use it as an excuse for why there should be race-based voting restrictions. Or as part of claims about Democratic fraud attempts. Many here - myself included - find this deeply offensive.

              Monsters think it's all right to be a monster, after all. - Hitherby Dragons

              by RHunter on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 03:52:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's fine... (none)
                ...but you should make at least a cursory attempt to determine intent before you start hucking zeroes around like frisbees.  It should be obvious to you (at least by now) that I wasn't trying to advance a Republican agenda with my comment, but merely stating a fairly well-documented fact (while citing an unpopular source, unfortunately).  You chose to forego an opportunity to pass along your understanding to someone who clearly cares and could benefit from it.  It was pretty lame.

                Thanks for coming back and offering this explanation.  I agree that illegal immigrant voting has probably been inconsequential to the outcome of historical elections.

                Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

                by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 03:59:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Begging for Ratings... (4.00)

                  Is also pretty lame. And if you agree to that, then why did you post an article claiming otherwise?

                  Seriously linking to the Moonie Times is going to get you a troll rating from me almost as quickly as seriously linking to Little Green Fascists or Freeperville. Next time, choose a source that isn't owned by a cult.

                  Monsters think it's all right to be a monster, after all. - Hitherby Dragons

                  by RHunter on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:11:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I wasn't begging for ratings (none)
                    Like I said, I'm not here for mojo.  I'm here for civil debate and discourse.  If I was begging for anything it was a fair shake on this topic, and a cogent explanation for why you and others thought my post was troll-worthy.  I still haven't read one.

                    Leave your zero up.  I'm fine.

                    Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

                    by The Termite on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:31:25 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  I don't doubt that a few have voted; (4.00)
            it's a big country.  But I don't think you can make the case for any systemic conspiracy on the part of immigrants to vote.  

            It does bring up an entirely relevant question, however: Why shouldn't immigrants be allowed to vote.  In previous periods of U.S. history voting was not limited to citizens.

          •  The Washington Times (none)
            Can you find a LESS reliable reporting source?

            Have any reputable media outlets examined the charge that illegal immigrants voted?

            I knew Ted Hitler. Ted Hitler was a friend of mine. Ted Hitler ate my panda. You're no Ted Hitler.

            by nightsweat on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:43:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Their owners will vote on their behalf (none)
        ...and kick-back a little money to the politicians that make it possible.
      •  actually.... (none)
        ...i believe i read before the 2004 election that recent immigrants tend to vote Democratic. So, the article you post below from the Washington Times is probably just inflamatory propaganda from the right to give closet racist fundamentalist red-staters one more reason to go out and vote for Bush

        ... there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute. -- Twain

        by FemiNazi on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 05:53:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And bink... (none)
      ...goes and proves the diarists' point.

      When folks on our own side have swallowed the paranoid rantings about immigrants wholesale, it is clear how deep our hole is.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:39:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Apples (4.00)
        You are confusing apples and spaceships here.  Paranoid rantings?  No.  If George Bush wanders around talking about "guest worker" programs, all this means to me is that he wants to guarantee his supporters a base of very low wage workers who do not have all the rights that other citizens have.  One the one hand, this is immoral and it is un-American.  On the other hand, this hurts U.S. citizens, since there is no way that you or I can ever compete against these "guest workers" for jobs.
        •  apples and spaceships (4.00)
          good name for band.

          As to competing for jobs, I hear Halliburton pays $80-100k (source: AP) if you're willing to go straight to Baghdad and do things like construct military bases get those oil fields operational.

          Halliburton used non-US labor to consruct the Guantanamo pens in Cuba.

          And I've heard it's legal for the US Army to recruit in Mexico and Latin America now. If true, that would explain why no draft still. If untrue, since when did the law stop the Bushies?  

          •  There you go (4.00)
            I've always said that the US would never go to a draft - instead they'd recruit abroad with the promise of citizenship and benefits for the soldier and his immediate family. All empires eventually went to hiring foreigners to staff their armies. We will too.

            I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

            by eugene on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:17:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  The "Intelligent, Mature Kossack" ... (4.00)
      ... would probably be me, though I don't think I deserve the superlatives. Excerpted from my final post on that thread:

      "... Your rebuttal is that civil society is already dead, and that the United States is a de facto anarchy where citizens discard laws willy-nilly and the government takes whatever it wishes and acts however it wants. Really? Are there no repercussions for thieves, murderers, and rapists? Sure, some of the guilty are released on technicalities, while innocents are sometimes convicted. But are these not the outrage-inducing exceptions that prove the rule?

      By and large, the majority of American citizens pay their taxes, respect the property and persons of their neighbors, subsidize their schools, and work and save and marry and raise children. The proposition that law is already dead, unlike your assertion that law is abstractly artificial and irrelevant, requires that you prove those subject to the law are universally violating it.

      Can you really say that anarchy reigns in Michigan, Maine or Minnesota? Do you seriously think that some 300 million people act exclusively according to their inclinations, robbing stores of commodities they covet, vandalizing property that they find ugly, sexually assaulting those they find comely, assassinating any government officials who are disingenuous or pandering or glance at a constituent cockeyed?

      What minute fraction of Americans would agree with the proposition that "law is dead"? And if ninety-nine out of every hundred Americans abide by the laws except for occasional speeding or jaywalking, how can you possibly assert that we live in an anarchy?

      The Supreme Court established a precedent too horrendous to be taken seriously in mainstream jurisprudence, and foisted a President George W. Bush upon the United States. Yet the world keeps on revolving. We have endured for over two centuries, and survived Presidents even more brutal and lawless than this one.

      Consider America's participation in World War II under the leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We firebombed dozens of heavily populated Japanese cities in a campaign of sustained mass-murder to which this President's campaign in Iraq pales in comparison: 100,000 Japanese civilians perished in a single night of bombardment in Tokyo. We firebombed Dresden, again killing more than a hundred thousand people. Domestically, we removed 120,000 Japanese-Americans from their homes and deported them to concentration camps.

      Or consider William McKinley, an imperialist par excellence. We invented a Spanish mine as a pretext for adding Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the burgeoning American Empire. The last was unsatisfied with being a colony, and an insurrection was led by Emilio Aguinaldo; over years of counter-insurgency, we slaughtered 200,000 people.

      Or for imperialist war par excellence, observe Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Conveniently conflating nationalist and an international communist conspiracy rife with falling dominoes, we proceeded to exterminate 3.4 million people.

      What about the genocide of the Native Americans and the Trail of Tears in an exodus of the Cherokee ordered by Andrew Jackson? What about Rutherford B. Hayes, whose back-room negociations ended reconstruction and issued in a century of relentless brutality towards blacks in the South in exchange for his triumph in a disputed election? Law, precedent and political philosophy have been discarded since the founding of the United States by the powerful and the self-interested. Under your criterion, we have been an anarchy since our inception.

      But the strength of a nation is not found in the empty pronouncements and self-serving manipulation of its leaders, but in the character of its people. We recognize the law even when those who enforce it do not recognize us. This is not an exhortation to slavish passivity. As progressive Democrats, we must recognize a civil society while striving for greater prosperity and equity..."

      I appreciate the clarification of your thoughts here, and I recognize the distinction that not morality is not synonymous with law, though morality is the product of socialization. But I do not believe the proper response to a Republican Party intent on undermining the rule of law is to abandon it ourselves.

      Rather, we must push back, and harder. We must stand against the Bush administration in its attempts to eviscerate entitlement programs through budget cuts and privatization; we must oppose the administration's efforts to nationalize the media through issuing cynically pre-packaged news reports and clandestinely subsidizing willing mouthpieces like Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher; we must expose the diversionary wars of Terry Schiavo and steroids in baseball and homosexual cartoon sponges so that Americans realize they are simply being distracted while the Republican Party robs them blind.

      The correctives are advocacy and activism. And I, for one, will not sacrifice my faith in America to punish Karl Rove or the Supreme Court.

      •  Amen to that (none)
        and thank you for such an insightful, historically based and mature response.
      •  One minor correction (none)
        "We firebombed Dresden, again killing more than a hundred thousand people."

        This is inaccurate.  The number is FAR less.  The 100,000 number comes from David Irving, Holocaust denier and anti-semite extrodinaire, in one of his many attempts to exonerate Hitler and villify Churchill.

        Other than that, nicely done.

        Follow the money. It leads to the truth.

        by dhonig on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:23:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (none)
          "The 100,000 number comes from David Irving, Holocaust denier and anti-semite extrodinaire, in one of his many attempts to exonerate Hitler and villify Churchill."

          I had not heard that the 100,000+ statistic was the exclusive product of a Holocaust denier. 135,000 is the number provided by Microsoft's Encarta encyclopedia, for instance, and it is perplexing that they would rely on an outrageous number peddled by a Nazi apologist. I appreciate the correction. Was the 100,000+ figure derived from Irving's 1963 The Destruction of Dresden? It would explain the estimate's wide circulation were it introduced years before Hitler's War and Irving's subsequent discrediting.

          •  Yes (none)
            At the time, Irving was considered by many to be a legitimate historian.  It wasn't really until the trial in England that the depths of his depravity were exposed.

            Follow the money. It leads to the truth.

            by dhonig on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:01:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  What's the number? (none)
          You say it's far less.  How many were killed? What's your source?
          •  Source (none)
            First, Irving's error:

            He based his conclusions on what was purported to be a handwritten "brief extract" of a copy of a satement by the police president of Dresden listing a provisional death toll of 202,000. This document was known as TB-47, for Tagesbefehl (Order of the Day) 47. Irving said he saw it in the home of a Dresden photographer named Walter Hahn, who saw a copy of it in a Dresden doctor's home and hand wrote his own copy.  The doctor, Max Funfack, was identified by Irving as the Dresden Deputy Chief Medical Officer responsible for disposing of the bodies.  The 202,000 number, by the way, came directly from an announcement by Joseph Goebbels after the bombing.

            Now for the fun part- after reading Irving's The Destruction of Dresden Funfack wrote irving to tell him he had never been deputy chief medical officer, he was a urologist.  He was "completely uninvolved" in body disposal and only heard estimates third hand.  

            Irving also had in his possession, though he didn't use it or even mention it in his book, three letter from Theo Miller, tasked with collecting bodies after the bombing.  He described in detail how the bodies were collected and counted, and said the highest possible toll was 30,000.  

            Oh, and remember TB-47?  In 1977 a man who had been a member of the Dresden police produced a copy of the original, and it listed a death toll of 20,000, with an expectation it would reach 25,000.  Goebbels just added zeros.

            Follow the money. It leads to the truth.

            by dhonig on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:14:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Paradox is right about the rule of law. (4.00)
        The collapse of the rule of law doesn't mean that the infrastructure of the police and courts has been stripped away and that posses roam the streets with guns.  The rule of law is negated precisely because developments such as the emergence of Abu Grahib and Gitmo fundamentally undermine the integrity of continuing legal structures.  If a Saudi national in an orange jumpsuit in some quasi-Cuban prison is subject to torture, then so is a freshly-scrubbed, middle-aged Midwestern woman with a 'WWJD' T-shirt.  

        As soon as torture begins to surface in public discourse as a debatably legitimate aspect of incarceration, as soon as it enters the realm of the plausibly acceptable, then everyone's rights are jeopardized.  The problem isn't the presence or absence of the recognizable traces of due process; the problem is that the baseline supporting that process is fundamentally undermined.  The baseline for civil society -- the agreed-upon standard of human rights below which no agency would ever go -- is suddenly placed in question.  We don't need a Mad Max situation to have entered into the realm of a suspended rule of law.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:27:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Preemptive Surrender to the Radical Right? (none)
          I won't argue with you that Republicans have undermined the integrity of the rule of law; that is exactly why we must struggle to preserve it.

          Alternately, there is Cicero's Pro Milone adage that law is mute in times of war. But I think even that generalization is insufficient. The fact is that powerful elites -- and often governing elites -- have undermined the rule of law since the inception of written history; the United States is no exception. From restricted suffrage to the 'Indian Removal' to segregation to preventive and pre-emptive and misdirected retaliatory wars, the rule of law is always undermined; that does not mean we should allow it to expire.

          It is fatuous to consider ours to be an exceptional era where law is undermined like never before. The promise of America is all about overcoming adversity; as long as adversity exists, we will keep advancing. It would be an act of peerless narcissism -- and a wholesale capitulation to the reactionary right -- to throw up our arms and peremptorily declare that civil society is dead.

          •  So we never learned and we never progressed (none)
            I want to believe that the stealing on an election for the Presidency is exceptional.

            I want to believe that going to war for lies--premptive war--is exceptional.

            I want to believe that locking up someone without charge is exceptional.

            I think they are.  The other reaction I have to this statement--"the rule of law is always undermined" sort of contradicts the thesis that America always had problems like slavery but grew out of them.  We always got better and we always will, right?  You're saying we always wallow in a sea-like motion of progression/regression?

            I don't like regression.  It can lead to death and is always very, very ugly.

            I don't know who is right here.  I was perfectly aware of past US transgressions--I know US history  fairly well.  I had thought we had gone beyond the last stolen election--approximately 120 years ago--and always counted the votes of white people.  But we never really make it past 1886?  Is this a correct interpretation?

            •  Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis? (4.00)
              A stolen election is not exceptional. The 'secret ballot' was not in effect for most of American history, allowing local party operatives to bully and blackmail voters into supporting a given candidate. The elections of 1876 and 1960 were marked by serious irregularities. In 1824, Andrew Jackson was denied the Presidency in favor of a former President's son due to a "Corrupt Bargain" between John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay, who pledged his support in return for an appointment as Secretary of State. And this was not the 2000 Presidential election, where the candidate with a .5% margin superiority in the popular vote was robbed of his rightful victory; Jackson earned nearly 50% more votes than Adams. There was, of course, a "happy ending," as Jackson easily crushed Adams in the 1828 election -- and proceeded to pursue a policy of genocide towards the Cherokee, exterminating hundreds of Choctaw and Chickasaw Native Americans with whom he had once allied.

              Going to war for lies is not exceptional. President Polk manuevered the United States into a war with Mexico by sending American troops south of the Rio Grande based on an extravagant and historically baseless claim that the boundaries of Texas extended to the Nueces. If not for a war based on lies -- and commenced by a preemptive invasion of Mexico -- the United States would not have seized Arizona, New Mexico, California or Nevada. When President McKinley induced Congress into declaring war on Spain in 1898, it was based on a fabricated incident where the Maine was destroyed by a supposed "Spanish mine" in Havana Harbor. With our victory, McKinley inherited the Philippines, where the United States continued to crush an insurgency at a cost of 200,000 lives. President Lyndon Johnson used the 'Gulf of Tonkin' incident to induce Congress to grant almost unlimited power to the executive; the second wave of attacks on the Maddox and the Turner Joy which supposedly amounted to a declaration of war, in fact, never occured. 3,400,000 Vietnamese perished in the ensuing conflict. At his current rate, George W. Bush would have to persevere for about a half century to match that number in Iraq.

              Locking someone up without charge is not exceptional. No less a progressive luminary than Franklin Delano Roosevelt threw 120,000 Japanese-Americans into concentration camps without even the semblance of due process, equating treason with a racial characteristic. Again, George W. Bush can only aspire to these numbers.

              "I think they are.  The other reaction I have to this statement--"the rule of law is always undermined" sort of contradicts the thesis that America always had problems like slavery but grew out of them.  We always got better and we always will, right?  You're saying we always wallow in a sea-like motion of progression/regression?"

              The United States has been moving towards greater equality and greater justice for centuries, albiet with interruptions. Some have been relatively brief -- the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, for instance, or the prosecution and imprisonment of dissenters during World War I. Others have been prolonged, as in almost a century of racial segregation. The mere passage of years does not necessarily imply 'progress' in any meaningful sense -- the twentieth century, for instance, was punctuated by dozens of genocides and two World Wars. Hitler, Stalin and a plethora of lesser dictators caused a degree of suffering almost unimaginable in previous centuries.

              But in the broad scheme of things, the United States has been slowly moving in the right direction. Once, prepubescent children toiled in coal mines, there was no standardized forty-hour work week; health care was unattainable, life expectancies were low and education was a luxury. Once, lynching was de riguer and opposition to the practice was widely considered un-American. Once, the military was overtly segregated, and young African-American children could not hope to attend an integrated school without armed escort. Once, a hundred thousand American citizens could be thrown into concentration camps for no other reason than the color of their skin, and this was thought normal, rational, and civilized.

              We've seen some rollback on civil rights, environmental protections, and social welfare programs. We've seen greater irresponsibility in American foreign policy, and greater abuses in American capitalism. But the pendulum is swinging: President Bush's approval ratings are falling, the progressive base is organizing, and soon it will be our turn again. The rule of law in America has been undermined, but it has survived through worse. And the American people are hurting, but we have endured much, and emerged only stronger. That does not mean that this is a time for complacency. We must suppress our pessimism, reaffirm our faith in the ideal of America as a land of the free and a home of the brave, united in our devotion to common ideals of equity and due process, and reestablish ourselves as the Party of the Rule of Law, standing against an intellectually bankrupt philosophy of robber-barons and evangelical imperialists.

  •  Since 2000 it's been bad (4.00)
    but I think America jumped the shark a long time ago.

    It's gotta go back at least as far as the Gulf of Tonkin. Of course if you go any farther back than that, America was an apartheid state. So really there never was an America.

    •  Of course no country has a spotless record (4.00)
      Germany, anyone? Russia? China? Belgium (read a little on the Congo)? Japan? Argentina? Even Sweden and Norway had their share of wars.

      I'll stick take our country any day over most of the rest. And it'll look a whole lot better when the new president takes the oath in 4 years.

      •  Wrong comparison (4.00)
        Even if they've had their share of wars, none of those countries, save China, are TODAY anywhere close to fascism. Yes, I'm from Belgium and I've read about the Congo; wrong comparison. Have you heard about the Creationist movement in China? No, you haven't, but if you read the scientific literature, you'd know what the number of Chinese authors of Science and Nature journals has increased tremendously. While our government advances fundamentalism, the rest of the world laughs and advances thanks to our research. Pathetic.

        Our country won't look better in four years, because the damage these fascists are causing is long-term.

        •  Comparing countries (none)
          is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. But one way to compare is to look at the number who want to move there and the number who are looking to leave. By that standard, our country is doing better than most.

          No country except for China is closer to fascism than us?? Now, that's a hard point to argue. It's a bit like trying to convince the flat earth society that the world is round. By your definition of fascism, presumably contested elections don't count (unless you don't see any difference between the two parties - and if you can't see the difference between Ted Kennedy and John Cornyn, well, you may need a new pair of glasses). You and I are not sitting in prison the last I checked. I wouldn't be so sure of our fate if we were writing this in Syria, Iran, or Saudi Arabia about their illustrious governments.

          To argue that an imperfect America has plenty of serious problems is very different from asserting that it's the new Nazi Germany. I can see quite clearly that you have very strong feelings about America. We all do here. But hate and rage aren't much of an answer and impotent hate and rage is even less of an answer.

          •  I wrote 'none of THOSE countries' you mentioned (none)
            I didn't write "No country except for China is closer to fascism than us".
          •  well, i suppose america... (none)
            ...still draws the most immigrants proportionally. but those people could be wanting to come here because other family members are already here, or they have a mistaken or out-of-date concept of what our country is like. i really don't think the numbers of i/emigrants would be an accurate reflection of resident satisfaction(?)

            ... there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute. -- Twain

            by FemiNazi on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 05:58:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  A Clarification, Please .... (none)
          "none of those countries, save China, are TODAY anywhere close to fascism"

          So Vladimir Putin's authoritarian regime in Russia is not "anywhere close to fascism"?

      •  Ahem (none)
        Even Sweden and Norway had their share of wars.

        Sweden hasn't fought a war since 1814; Norway hasn't started any since the 13th century or so.

        Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

        by Sirocco on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 01:38:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know that (none)
          My point was simply that EVERY country in the world - bar none - has had its dark moments. And a dark, or at least ambiguous, mark certainly attaches to Sweden for its pro-German neutrality during World War II. And we shouldn't forget that Norway was the land of Quisling. So both countries' records are not unblemished. And I think we would agree that these are two of the better examples of human rights and freedom in the world.

          By the way, I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure that much of present day Norway was controlled by Sweden in the post-Viking era.

          •  I may agree about Swedish pro-German neutrality (4.00)
            - though it took place under direct threat of invasion, i.e., under duress.

            The point about Quisling is meaningless, however. He was a 100% puppet installed by the Germans. In peacetime he never came close to winning a seat in Parliament and had less of a following than Mosley had in the UK, for example.

            Norway was not controlled by Sweden but by Denmark from the late 14th century onwards. Then personal union with Sweden from 1814 to independence in 1905.

            I agree, of course, with your general point that every country has had its dark moments.

            Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. - Frank Zappa

            by Sirocco on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 01:28:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  That's true but (4.00)
      Until around 2000, I still believed that we still had a system of law, I thought we were getting better as a society and trying to show greater equality and sensitivity. I believed that most people outside of your average politician were ethical. Maybe I was naive and stupid. I'm beginning to wonder.
      •  The proof we don't have a system of law (4.00)
        is that Henry Kissinger is not in jail.

        In fact nobody involved in the "secret bombing" of Cambodia and Laos is in jail.

        Nobody ever went to jail for the FBIs COINTELPRO domestic spying.

        Nobody ever went to jail for the CIA running drugs.

        Nobody ever went to jail for training Latin American death squads.

        What rule of law was there ever?

        •  Laws seems to have always been (4.00)
          for those whom laws can be enforced upon.  

          "Get your American flag out of your blind spot, bitch!"

          by KB on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:52:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Unfortunately it had to effect me personally (4.00)
          For the absence of the rule of law to really hit home.  My vote was stolen in 2000.

          I finally, truly understood what black people must feel like--disnefranchised and spit upon for generations in a system that made a mockery of itself for hundreds of years as it proclaimed the Bill of Rights yet enslaved them.

          At some intellecutal level I knew the hypocrisy, yet until I felt the horror of my vote stolen I truly didn't know.

          I'm a white male from a middle class family.  Nothing has ever been truly denied to me becuase if who I am.  Until 2000.

          Great comment.

          •  Yup (4.00)
            You were a member of the the empowered class, about 25-30% of the population.

            I grew up in the 50s and 60s so I never had the view that everything was peachy. Segregation and women-as-property and the Bible Belt were all around me.

            Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. - Mark Twain

            by Rolfyboy6 on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:07:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Rusty Calley lives not far from me (none)
          Lives much better than I do, really - an honored citizen.
        •  exactly. (none)
          to my knowledge as well, nobody went to jail for the genocide perpetrated against Native Americans (still in progress! see: Red Lake, MN, and 40% unemployment...). a token few of the lynchers wound up in prison, but most are still running their fucking alabama trailer parks...
      •  Well... (4.00)
        considering slavery (mentioned by someone else downthread), oppressive working conditions (including child labor), state-sanction discrimination through Jim Crow and redlining, the genocide committed against Native Americans and the government's involvement in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which came out in a trial in Memphis in 1999, and which most people in this country have never heard of because of a corrupt mega-info-tainment news industry...

        ...I've always tempered by outlook on America with a heavy dose of reality.

        But I still believe in the ideal of this country. It does improve over time. It does become more just. I think what we're experiencing right now are those painful 2-steps back before moving forward again.

        "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by grannyhelen on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:46:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My question is... (none)
          Could you build a similar case for many countries?
          France - Colonialism, corruption
          Germany - Nazis..
          Russia..Oppressive Communist regime, massive corruption..

          I don't in any way mean this in a smart-ass or flippant way. I've lived in 4 other countries and honestly don't feel qualified to make that assessment.

          •  The one country I can speak to (4.00)
            is Germany. Their democracy was very young when Hitler took over (actually, France's was, too, under Napolean, but I digress).

            Germany previously had been a militaristic monarchy of little Germanic countries that had banded together based on a common language and culture after Napolean kicked their asses. Hence the "Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles" national anthem.

            In my opinion, Germany didn't have enough of a tradition of democracy, separation of powers, etc. to withstand a tyrant like Hitler just waltzing in and taking over.

            Now they do. Guess why they didn't let Bush "screen" his townhall meeting when he went over there?

            "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

            by grannyhelen on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:26:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Slight clarification (4.00)
              At the time the text of "Das Lied der Deutschen" (the formal name of the German national anthem) was written by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben in 1841, the phrase "Deutschland über alles" had a much different connotation than the militaristic one it took on in light of the horrors of the Nazi regime.  In 1848, "Germany" did not exist, only a loose federation of dozens of separately ruled principalities and kingdoms.   That phrase was essentially an appeal for a united Germany--at the time, a very liberal notion, and the goal of the failed 1848 revolutions.  Eventually, however, the project of German nationhood was co-opted by the Prussian state, which dominated the united German empire it ushered into being in 1871.

              Nevertheless, the negative connotation of that first stanza is the reason the third stanza ("Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit"--"Unity and Justice and Freedom")--are now the official lyrics of the German national anthem.  It's very rare to hear it played, let alone sung, in Germany, however, as open displays of patriotism are still widely frowned upon.  Most Germans probably only hear it when one of their Olympians wins a gold medal.

              •  Also interesting Geographical point (none)
                The frist strophe also has

                Von der Maas bis an die Memel
                von der Etsch bis an den Belt.

                [From the Meuse to the Neman]
                [from the Adige to the Belt]

                Maas is parts of Belgium, Luxembourg etc. and the Memel is the Neman river in Lithuania
                So even the Geography implied by hymn is very different than it is in Germany today.

              •  Thanks for that... (none)
       point (and I don't think I actually expressed it in the post very well, come to think of it) was that Hitler used the whole concept of German nationhood and completely perverted it, much like Bush is perverting the concepts of religion and family right now.

                I'm glad you laid out the history cuz it's easy to see how someone could tell your average German that Austria needs to be annexed, and German-speaking Poland needs to be taken over, and the Netherlands are really Germany because they sound like they might speak German...

                It was an entire perversion of this original concept of German nationhood.

                Thanks for the post!

                "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

                by grannyhelen on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 05:22:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Moment of danger, chance to learn (4.00)
              Like kids walking home across a train bridge, at that age when we think we know what we're doing, and nothing can hurt us.

              One looks down, his vision caught in the water swirling around the piers below. He wobbles a little.

              Maybe he catches himself, maybe his friend catches him by the shirt. He's not injured, but he knows he could have been. He walks more carefully next time, maybe even taking the extra half mile to the road bridge instead.

        •  great comments (none)
          about the two steps back.  At the Wester Political Science Association's annual meeting last year, a paper was presented that made the case for an expansion of liberties following a time of war.  The author specifically mentioned voting rights and the right to serve the country after the civil war, wwII and vietnam.  His theory was that we should see an expansion of gay rights once this whole bush debacle is over.  

          I'm trying hard to retain faith in my country.  I'm trying hard to believe we, as a nation, can and will be better, that we can and will take steps forward.  It's the closest thing to religion that i have.

          •  another theory (none)
            When a war ends, it takes a while for the war mentality that has seized the population to fade.  People are still energized to fight the enemy, and that energy ends up being channeled against the "enemy within".  The theory is used to explain the McCarthy period, which was a postwar era where you did not see an expansion of civil liberties.
        •  Yes, always forward (4.00)
          But I still believe in the ideal of this country.
          It does improve over time.

          It improves because we improve it. Every generation does its share. Every step is a struggle. Now and then we hit a stronger pocket of resistance, or advance past our supply lines. But we regroup and push forward again. Killing us and jailing us will only multiply our numbers.

          And the advances are as often by unintended consequences as are the failings. Von Braun's rockets, designed to terrorize London, perfected to destroy Moscow, took a side trip in 1969. A mission to the moon, to demonstrate technologoical and mlitary might, instead brought home a photo of the Earth over a lunar foreground. Was any of us unchanged, having seen that?

          Resistance will fall, die of old age, and sometimes even undo itself. We may periodically go broke, lose global hegemonic status, fight losing wars, die in epidemics, or suffer dictatorships, but we will always rebuild.

    •  Ain't that the truth (none)
      "America" as an idea exsists only for those not marginalized by American society.  Past/Present/future, this will not change.  And the hubris of America and Americans, that we are the world's super power, moral light, police force, harbingers of democracy, is a conceit shared by every empire before its inevitable collapse.  
  •  To live outside the law you must be honest (4.00)
    (paraphrasing Bob Dylan)

    The rule of law is dead because, among other reasons, there are many laws which are unenforceable and largely ridiculous.  

    How many laws prohibiting certain personal behaviors are regularly disregarded with no consequences?  Underage drinking.  Drug laws.  Speed limits.  

    And when they are enforced, it is usually in a selective manner usually having nothing to do with the offense.  To wit, how many people are serving time in jail for possessing the same amount of drugs that richer, whiter, famouser people use on a daily basis?

    So many people end up basing their actions on a code of personal morality that sometimes does and sometimes does not coincide with "the law".  

    "Get your American flag out of your blind spot, bitch!"

    by KB on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:36:24 AM PDT

  •  Ironic, ain't it. (4.00)
    The Supreme Court installed this junta, and it's this junta that will be the dismantling of the judiciary, and by extension our freedoms and this country.

    You are dead on that Bush v. Gore represents the right turn that now has the US headed toward disaster.

    We have a very, very painful decade ahead of us.  We'll likely survive, but the resulting country will look nothing like the country we love.

    The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Martin Luther King

    by Cracker on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:36:32 AM PDT

    •  Not really that ironic.. (none)
      The Scalia's and Thomas'es of the world have no problems eating their own. Look at Thomas - will oppose anything resembling civil rights legislation although such civil rights legislation paved the way for him to become a judge. Scalia will like or dislike states' rights depending on which way the wind blows. They would sell their own mothers if the Republicans could gain from it.
  •  America was founded by cynics, (4.00)
    not idealists, IMO. Our entire system of checks and balances was set up by cynics who didn't believe that people would do what is right, but rather what would give them the most power. The power sharing inherent in our checks and balances reflects the founder's basic thoughts on humanity.

    However, what they didn't plan for was Mega Corporate America. Which one couldn't fault them too much for, as the country's economy at the time was mostly agrarian with some home industries.

    Heck, we didn't even have a common currency.

    I'm sure if the founders were alive today, they'd look at Mega Corporations, shake their heads...and start writing legislation that'd make the Smoot-Hawley anti-trust act look like a traffic ticket.

    Good news - I think - is that this country isn't a fascist state. Thank your lucky stars for that system of balances and those cynical founding fathers, cuz I think otherwise we'd be in a lot worse shape than we are now.

    "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by grannyhelen on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:38:17 AM PDT

    •  We Don't Have a System, We Have (4.00)
      recommendations premised on a society that is now two epochs behind us.

      Even in their own time the Founders' checks and balances wouldn't have worked if enough of its leadership had the same interests--for example, belonging to the same political party. Congress may impeach but it doesn't have to. The Attorney General may investigate but s/he doesn't have to. And on and on and on.

      It's not only mega corporations that the Founders didn't plan for. They also had no general conception of "information" and they therefore made no provision for virtual spaces. We are now an information society which increasingly lives in virtual spaces, which politically congregates and debates in virtual spaces and does much of its business in virtual spaces. Yet all of these spaces are private property where the Founders' horse-&-buggy Constitution gives citizens and society very few rights or protections.

      The reason our system is so broadly ignored these days is because it's no system at all.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:16:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed on the virtual spaces... (none) fairness, I don't think most folks in the 1930's or 1940's could envision virtual spaces, so this isn't too surprising.

        In the area of online rights, I think you have a point.

        "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by grannyhelen on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 06:04:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Just a point of clarification (none)
      Smoot-Hawley was not an anti-trust act, it was a high tariff act, passed early during the Hoover Administration. It is viewed by most mainstream economists and historians as one of the primary causes of the Great Depression.

      There have been several anti-trust acts passed.

      The Sherman Anti-trust in 1890 was the first, Clayton Anti-trust was passed in 1914 to shore up Sherman and I believe to give labor unions an exemption to the Sherman act. And finally there was the Robinson-Patman act passed in 1936 which was an amendment to Clayton and dealt largely with pricing issues.

      •  Thanks for that... (none)
        now I feel like that scene from Animal House...don't stop her, she's on a roll :-)

        "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by grannyhelen on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 05:24:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I love this post (4.00)
      I think because I was reading it, and then I was like, "yeah"... "YEAH"... "YEAH!" ... and then, of course, you read who posted it, and the fact that the author is no surprise is actually a surprise.

      Is there a grannyhelen fan club?

      •  Tee hee! (none)
        Yes, send checks for the grannyhelen fanclub to:

        One under-the-bridge
        Olde Towne of New England
        Colonial, Connecticut 01776

        Seriously, thanks for the kind words! Very nice to hear after a long day!!

        "It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence." Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by grannyhelen on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 06:01:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Today, at least, (4.00)
    I cant help but agree.  I just posted this depressing little rant.

    Normally, I am a sickening optimist.  A fighter.  I generally believe that we can make an American we can be proud of if we just work harder.

    But today, I am just sick.  American makes me sick today.  It feels harder and harder to believe in American when I see what is going on.


    Maybe I need a hike.  or a beer.

    I'll feel better tomorrow.

    "Injustice is of such a nature, that it must be destroyed by society or it will destroy society." - John Wesley Powell

    by environmentalist on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:38:28 AM PDT

    •  beer (none)
      is an excellent idea. i had one yesterday, for the first time in quite awhile (watching the weight).
      •  I love beer. (none)
        I have little discipline when it comes to food and beer.  Not that I drink alot, but I want one or two several times a week.  The only thing saving me from Fatdom is that I run 2-5 miles a day....but I cant seem to lose any weight.

        "Injustice is of such a nature, that it must be destroyed by society or it will destroy society." - John Wesley Powell

        by environmentalist on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 07:19:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  beer is the best (none)
          in the winter, not the summer (the alcohol doesn't mix with the sun well). aficionados get it.

          by the way, the new heineken dark lager may be the best beer i've ever had. and i've had beer all over the world. and i don't like green heineken. but my gosh.

          •  I'll give it a try. (none)
            But, you know, there really is nothing better than hiding a nice big bottle of Trippel or Nutbrown (wrapped in a shirt after a few hours in the freezer) way at the bottom of your day-bag and then pulling it out after a long hike in the hot summer.  Sit under a Ponderosa in the midst of your tall yellow grammas, roughbent and sideoats and sip at that delicious, still cold brew....


            I'm glad summer is finally on the way!

            "Injustice is of such a nature, that it must be destroyed by society or it will destroy society." - John Wesley Powell

            by environmentalist on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 05:52:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I do (4.00)
    America is not a time, not a person, not a decade.

    America was a country built on slavery.  America was a country based on opressing labor.  America has held women down.  America has turned into a kangaroo court in pursuit of commies.  America has closed its borders to the world.  America has started wars.  America has pillaged the earth.  America has ignored genocide.  

    I know all that, and I believe in America.  The events of the last five years have not shaken that belief.

    America is a place with a simple mission, a simple foundation.  We are never, have never been perfect or even close to it.  That foundation has never been the establishment of a fair, equal paradise country.  The foundation is that America is a country where the next day is better than the last.  

    Where ever so slowly but ever so stubbornly we move forward.  And there are periodic ups and downs, but we keep moving forward.  I believe in that.  

    I believe that 1890, when workers were oprressed, when labor laws were non existant, when the poor couldn't get educations, women couldn't vote and blacks could be lynched without repercussion, was better than 1840.  And I believe that in America we will continue this progress, and that 2015 will be better than 1990.

    America is not a person, or a group of leaders or even a specific period of time.  America is a commitment to never give up fighting for a tomorrow that is better than yesterday.

    "You should run for office like you're one vote behind and if you get there, you should act like you won by one vote." - Tony Knowles

    by Snuffleupagus on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:38:48 AM PDT

    •  America is an idea; (4.00)
      an idea that I believe in.
      •  Yep, (4.00)
        One thing that we should always remember is this:

        There never has been, or never will be, a period of time that exists in the past that can be referred to as "The Good Ol' Days".

        The days to come are simply more ticking of seconds and it can be filled with seeking out reasons to be joyful, or seeking out reasons to curse. Some days you curse, some days you sing, but either you way, you have a choice no matter what condition your world may be in.

        The GOP and the Elephant are both Introduced Species

        by roboton on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:28:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Shit! Sorry (none)
      That was me that accidentally rated this comment "3" when I meant "4". Would liked to have given it an "8"

      Never did that before.

      "Go in peace, errant sisters." -Horace Greeley, April, 1861

      by faithnomore on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:09:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Want to Join in Your Sentiments (4.00)

      But I am 98% convinced that the Bad Guys running things will kill Americans, and in larg enumbers, before they give up power.

      I fear we are in a place that Jefferson foresaw, but few of us are willing to "fight" for our liberty, except by blogging, voting, shopping, putting bumper stickers on our cars, and maybe, once a year or so, joining in a demonstration (that will no longer be covered by major media, now owned and/or cowed by the Bad Guys).

      If the votes aren't going to be counted, demonstrations are ignored and anything more militant than that, even nonviolent civil disobedience, can be classified as "terrorism" under the Patriot Act and permits the government to sentence you to a long prison term, er, well, where do we go from there, brothers and sisters?

      "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

      by proudtinfoilhat on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:58:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Eloquent (none)
      Thank you for  the optimism....and wisdom.
    •  One thing is different though... (none)
      This time out America is the most powerful country in the world, has been a "superpower" for some 60 years now.  Your domestic upheaval, especially in light of the current integration of international economies and the realities of real time information  sharing, could have extremely serious bleedthrough into the rest of the global community, especially your closer allies.  This is an "x" factor that makes what is currently happening extremely troubling even given America's history of overcoming in the end.

      I do happen to share your belief in what America represents, and while coming from my perspective as a born Canadian have had my issues about some of America's actions, I have always been content to have America for our sole neighbour.  However, since  the rise of the power of the religious right in politics I have become increasing uncomfortable.  I track your politics domestic as well as foreign because of the inevitable and generally profound impacts many of those dynamics and results have upon us.  It is the inevitable result of the similarities with some fundamental differences between our populations and internal infrastructures.  That's why what I have been watching regarding your judiciary really, really, REALLY scares the life out of me.

      The idea of the rule of law, common law, and the separation of certain basic functions of government are common to both Canada and America, being that both our cultures have a continuous legal history to British common law.  While of course there are some differences in form, the essence of the principles behind them are essentially identical.  If anything, this is something I would have expected to have been noticed by more Americans, and more concern because of it.  That so far it has not been getting the notice and/or response something like this fundamental attack on civil government/society itself is really creepy coming from the country most dedicated historically to practicing true "all are equal before the law" governance.

      I do hope that you are correct in what is coming, I really do.  However, I have to wonder how much worse any (which is almost a certainty, I believe) collateral damage will be the longer it takes for the inevitable reaction to take place.  I suspect at heart this is what many of my informed countrymen fear, indeed many internationally as well I expect.  The rise of the "religious" society concept of America over the last couple of decades, particularly since GWB took office, is something that really unnerves many people, especially when in conflict with an enemy using religious fundamentalism as a basis for it's fight with America/the West.  However, it is also one thing to see such a practice being exported, but to see it being proposed against American citizens, well that is a real sign for concern, IMHO.

      I confess to finding myself a bit afraid of America these days, and that really hurts, because even when I was growing up living in a first strike nuclear target in the Cold War I did not fear America.  I believed in the best of what America was trying to do, and defending the planet from the fallout of WWII for several decades was a noble act.  Recently though, especially since Nov 2, 2004, that has changed.  I still really want to believe America will do as she has always done before, and eventually rise to the occasion before it's too late, but for the first time in my life I find myself having true doubts as to that happening this time.  That for me is heartbreaking, for as much as I love being a Canadian (which I do, very much), if I had to be anything other American was always my first alternate.  Not anymore.  Not until I see something that tells me that America still stands for things like the separation of powers, separation of Church and State, free speech (especially/particularly political speech).  

      Like the diary author I despair from time to time, but I am not ready to give up yet on America, nor the ideals it represents, or I would never have come here, let alone posted this...:)

      Rapturist: Someone that commits random acts of senseless kindness.

      by Haligonian on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 06:34:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My Boss (4.00)
    My boss is 85 years old and never voted for a Repubilcan in his life.  I have had long discussions about the state of the nation with him and he gives me hope.  He has lived through WWII.  He was a fighter pilot.  He has lived through McCarthy and Nixon.  And he is still hopeful that we will turn ourselves around as a nation in the future.

    Yes, the America we were raised to believe in is dead.  But, it can be resusitated.  So long as we all continue to fight the good fight and live by our morals, unlike the repugs, we will most likely live to see the day when Baby Bush will be reviled as The. Worst. President. Ever.

    Don't lose hope!

  •  The Dream isn't dead, its just on Life support (4.00)
    And I'm not ready to pull the plug

    The Republic isn't dead, this is merely the interregnum

    Do I still believe?
    Yes because the people I see everyday, the ones I encounter on the street are all decent and kind and compassionate, and I refuse to believe that they are a minority
    Yes, because there are people like you and everyone here fighting the good fight, demanding that America return to its former ideals and values.  Even though it sometimes feel like all we are managing is a "fighting retreat"  we ARE fighting, and the fortunes of war can change at any minute.
    In fact I believe they already have.  Future historians may well date late March of 2005 as the Time of the Great Awakening,  when the scales fell from a lot of complacent eyes and middle America stared into the abyss and saw for the first time a clear outline of the future the Republiban had in store for us.

    Hunter S. Thompson once wrote :

    "There was no point in fighting -- on our side or theirs," he wrote. "We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark -- the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

    well this time it was Their wave rather than Ours, But I'm Looking and I swear I can see the High Water Mark

    Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

    by Magorn on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:39:27 AM PDT

  •  Sorry...I still believe (4.00)
    I believe in America.  I define "America" as myself, my friends, and those who are willing to help change it for the better."

    Rubus Eradicandus Est.

    by Randomfactor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:46:16 AM PDT

  •  I suspect (none)
    that you're a youngster. Specifically, if you think things are bad now, you have either forgotten Nixon's last term or are too young to have experienced it. Things were much, much worse then.

    Things aren't perfect around here, that's for sure, but they're pretty bad everywhere else, too...generally worse.

    •  I remember Nixon's last term... (4.00)
      ...and things are worse now.

      There was not one-party rule of all branches of government. The borderless corporate institutions were not in complete control of both politics and commerce. There was no Deibold paperless voting. There was no Patriot Act.

      Many of the things I feared in the Nixon era were clandestine, and some were more potentially fearful than actual. Today those things are codified in law.

      Plus the media is a much more compliant subsidiary of the right-wing corporate politicos. In Nixon's day, bad as it was, the media actually did its job. Do you think Woodward and Bernstein could happen now?

      The Media Is Dead. Long Live

      by KingOneEye on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:31:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are... (4.00)
      There are actually a lot of similarities between the present day and forty years ago.  Unfortunately, God is in the details, and the specifics are almost polar opposites. :)

      Aside from the various executive scandals and abuses of power investigated by the Judiciary Committee in '73-'74, I don't think Nixon's "last term" (1972 thru 74) was nearly as bad a time in this country as the first ('1968-71).  By 1972 the Vietnam conflict was over, the antiwar violence had pretty well ended, urban race riots were (mostly) a thing of the past, the economy wouldn't hit bottom for another four or five years, the communist hysteria had largely cooled...  Aside from The Nixon Follies, the counterinaugural violence and Senator Kennedy's assassination were the only real lowlights that I can think of in Nixon's second term, though there were probably less memorable things that I'm forgetting.

      Yes, Nixon's abuses of power were legion, but (and please understand, I'm in no way an admirer of nor trying to defend Nixon) his actions, both the ones found to be sufficient for impeachment and those which were investigated but not found impeachable, were in the whole petty, self-serving, and short-sighted, and were principally to the personal benefit of Nixon himself.  It is (just barely) arguable that the Watergate coverup was, in a way, Nixon covering for the actions of subordinates for whom and whose actions he felt, and was, responsible.  The tax evasion was purely for personal gain, and the abuses of the FBI and IRS were basically for personal political gain.  I don't remember what all of the other four investigations were - something about milk subsidies, maybe? - but overall Dick Nixon's crookedness was little more than one man abusing the system for his own ends.  An "It's good to be the King" sort of thing.

      Dubya, on the other hand, is like a megalomaniacal Nixon on speed, or maybe marijuana - with his strings adeptly pulled by Rove, he's abusing, ignoring, and destroying the system, not just for his own benefit but that of his cronies (which, let's face it, is basically the entire GOP).  Dubya is Nixon with a five-year plan, a strategy, long-term planning; Nixon with ambition.  But, even more so than Nixon, Dubya is completely without redeeming qualities.

      The damage Nixon did was small and short-lived.  He didn't care about the ability of others to follow in his crooked footsteps.  Nobody died.  What BushCo is doing, and has done, is to fundamentally change the system, paving the way for further abuses of power by his and future republican administrations, and to ensure that their own abuses will never be prosecuted.  Nixon and the CRP were evil, but petty and inept, minor-league evil.  Dubya, Rova, and their minions are an experienced, professional, well-honed team of serious evil that work together like a finely-tuned diabolical machine.

      •  I have to disagree wrt Nixon (none)
        People did die. He campaigned in 1968 on a secret plan to end the war, little did we know that the plan was to bomb the hell out everyone and thing in sight.

        Nixon did great harm, he destroyed the credibility of the US government. No one foreign or domestic will ever have the trust in government that existed before government. That is damage that lives on.

        As bad as Nixon was, there was some good that came out of his administration. Detente with Russia, the recognition of China, the Clean Air and Water Acts were all positive developments.

        •  Sure... (none)
          ...but, as I was, purely speaking in terms of Nixon's second term, it wasn't, IMO, as bad as things are today, which was the point being asserted above.  It's debatable whose first term did the most damage, but I'm inclined to lean towards Bush on that one, if only because getting out of a grossly unpopular war takes more cojones than deceiving your way into one for mostly economic reasons.

          I think Shrub has done far more to damage the credibility and goodwill of the US government than Nixon could have done in three, or even four, terms.

          Nothing good has come out of Dubya's administration, either.

      •  Vietnam War Ended in 1975 (none)

        Funny, most Merkans think the Vietnam War ended in 1972, and that overall 58,000 people died in it.

        Actually, while MOST but far from ALL U.S. troops came out by 1973, and conscription for the war ended I think it was in '71, people kept dying until April 1975, when the Communists took Saigon.  (Well, people died after that, too, but not Merkans).

        And of course the 58,000 Merkans were joined in death by more than a million Vietnamese.  Not that they count for anything, of course.

        "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

        by proudtinfoilhat on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:53:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  God _was_ in the details, then. (none)
        Now God's the problem.
      •  The rule of law (none)
        didn't die during Nixon and hasn't died during Bush.  I wasn't any happier than the rest of you with the Supreme Court in 2000, but you must remember that it was the Supreme Court who brought down Nixon by ordering that he produce the tapes.  Also, it was the federal courts last week that refused to be steamrolled by Congress in the Schiavo case.  

        I am no happier than the rest of you with what I see nationally.  But I do not think the rule of law has died.  Does the Supreme Court issue bad decisions?  You bet.  It has in the past, it has in the present, and it will in the future.  But the junior Senator from Texas was making his threatening remarks yesterday about judges because he was upset about the recent Supreme Court decision that ended the death penalty for juveniles.

        So, no, the rule of law is not dead.  It is not dead when a Florida judge lives under guard 24/7 but still rules according to the law.  It is not dead when a Florida federal judge (knowing what his life will be like if he agrees with the state judge) STILL follows the law.  The rule of law still lives when the appellate Courts agree with him. The rule of law still lives when my brother, a County Court Judge, puts his robe on the day after they shot a judge in Atlanta, and enters his courtroom with his head held high, and no fear.  

        Somehow, despite all Bush & Co. try to do to destroy it, the rule of law lives, and it will live on.  

        We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

        by Mary Julia on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 06:25:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nixon wanted a good (none)
      minimum wage..except for the war thing he would be called too liberal to even run today. How could we be better off today if we can't even vote voice whatsoever in media and most print?
  •  I still believe in America (4.00)
    and I'm not giving up.

    "There's nothing wrong with America, that can't be fixed by what is right with America."

    -WJC, Jan. 1992

    •  great quote. (none)
      that's an excellent quote i'd forgotten about.  it sums up perfectly the feelings of the patriotic left in this times, and deserves to be a more famous line. thanks for reminding me, and us all.
  •  I won't give up that easily (4.00)
    Yes, they have been doing their best to destroy the nation I grew up in. The neo-Cons are destroying the Constitution, the foundation of our nation. They are trying to destroy the American worker, the foundation of our economy. They are poisoning our drinking water, our food and out air, the foundation of our very lives. They are destroying States's rights, individual liberties and judicial independence. They are corrupt and anti-Democracy.

    But this is MY COUNTRY. THEY are the unpatriotic traitors. I am NOT giving up America to Bush and the neo-Cons. I have been getting angrier, more active and louder in my opposition because I DO still believe in America and I am fighting to save it from their greedy, corrupt little grasping hands.

    Get active. Get busy. Get loud. Don't let them win.

    Delenda est Sinclair!

    by mole333 on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 11:59:54 AM PDT

  •  I know how you feel, paradox (4.00)
    I've come to that point myself, more than once.

    When I do, I go read Rev King, or Lincoln, or one of the many people who have stood up when America needed it most, to save it from itself.

    Lately, this video clip has helped.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right. Sen Carl Schurz

    by Bill Rehm on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:07:39 PM PDT

  •  there is no "America" (4.00)
    as you imagine and wish it to be

    There is, OTOH, an America where we all live and work to do our best for ourselves and our fellow inhabitants, despite failures and flaws

    Come join us here in the real world

  •  There has always been two Americas (4.00)
    The idealized America, the mythic America and the reality of America.  Each generation has the challenge of making the real America closer to the idealized America.  It's always hard.  It always looks impossible because it is.  But on balance when you look at the advancements, universal sufferage, civil rights etc you just keep moving the ball a little further down field.  That is the hard work and the reality of it.  It's our turn now.  Quitting gets us nowhere.
    •  That's what burns me up (4.00)
      about the right's insistence that criticism of U.S. policy amounts to "hating America"  What I hate is the differential between what America stands for and what it is.  Where it fails to live up to those ideals.  And unless we confront those failures we have no chance of living up to those ideals.
    •  The Way To Your America (none)
       In a global society it is selfish and arrogant to think you can have the mythical America while the rest of the world drowns in a cesspool of unrighteousness.

      The problem with America is that Americans don't see the link between the unjust wars and poverty of not only its people but the vast majority of the world's population. America can only reach its idea when its people decide to join hands with the barefoot people and shirtless people in the world and say to the oppressors that the injustice must stop.

      The video that was linked to by a poster demonstrates the most common errors of American "revolutionaries". They see the solution as Americans working to protect Americans; the solution must be seen on a wider scale. Americans must be the defenders of those who are defenseless. Americans must be a voice to the voiceless a father to the orphans a husband to the widow because America will never be what it ought to be until the lowly people of the world can be what they ought to be.

      When you see wars in Iraq & rumors of wars in Iran the response of Americans must be stronger. It must be a voice that stands up for the insurgents and gives those insurgents the voice they desire. Simply seeing them as the enemy is doing nothing more than ensuring that the America you want remains an America in ones vision. The reaction to rumors of wars in Iran must be a reaction that absolutely shows support to the Mullahs & to the people of Iran. The political rulers as well as their opposition because that support is, for those with the heart of God, support for America & her troops.

      Americans must show America that they are not blind to the ideals of the powerful that pit poor American soldiers against the poor nations and people abroad.

      To keep this short let me conclude by saying Americans have to stop thinking only about Americans & only seeing the world through the eyes of America. That is the only way to get the America you've dreamed of.

      •  not a bad point, wiseprince (none)
        actually, on days when i have the highest level of outrage overload, and feel the most like this diarist thing that makes me feel better, is to look around, to make some degree of contact, to talk to, and about, & to think about the community of people all around this little blue-green planet (even the best most progressive, intelligent, caring Americans are wickedly manic-depressive, as you might guess from reading this site: "WE'RE WINNING!" "NO, IT IS HOPELESS!" etc.)

        yes, on that Big Picture, global scale, the situation is more urgent & even scarier than it is just here at home, BUT, on that global scale, i think there is also greater hope!

        "wah?" you say, like Jon Stewart...

        we may feel like a minority in the U.S. (and a largely silent one, at that--given that less than one third of eligible voters actually voted for George, taking the "official" numbers as they stand, and only slightly less voted AGAINST him.) and we do have a military-industrial oligarchy & their End Timer pals run amock at the highest levels here, and they seem to have their grip on everything, to be attacking all the time from 10 different directions...

        but globally, WE are The Majority. WE are The Future (we HAVE to be.) and there are educated, concerned, activist, compassionate people IN EVERY NATION who share the goals we treasure here, who are fighting similar battles in their own nations, and who are also working to create a better world.

        that's why i like Welshman's international Kossack division idea so much, we need to be in contact with our true allies all around the planet, and they need us to be here and to stay active, too.

        and if i did not think that in this GLOBAL struggle, it would be required that we work here at home to stop Bush's Insane Clown Government, then i probably would have left after this past November...i had those NZ forms already printed :-)

        i'm rambling here, but shorter me:

        yeah, it sucks these days, and i'm not certain that "America" as i learned about her in high school can be saved without suffering a great deal more (if she even ever existed as much more than an ideal that not all even supported anyway.) BUT:

        We Are Not Alone.

        so, People of Earth--get your shit together! quick! (and start learning Mandarin...)


      •  I agree (none)
        It is the one form of globalization that makes sense to me.
  •  Yes, I still believe in America (4.00)
    Because America isn't a place - it's an ideal.   The men who wrote "All men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"  didn't know who "everybody" was...  they meant White, Protestant, LandOwning, Males....

    but the dream grew....    We've experienced great setbacks - but that need not douse our dreams, not end our struggle.

    I'll let Langston Hughes take it from here...

    Let America be America again.
    Let it be the dream it used to be.
    Let it be the pioneer on the plain
    Seeking a home where he himself is free.

    (America never was America to me.)

    Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
    Let it be that great strong land of love
    Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
    That any man be crushed by one above.

    (It never was America to me.)

    O, let my land be a land where Liberty
    Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
    But opportunity is real, and life is free,
    Equality is in the air we breathe.

    (There's never been equality for me,
    Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

    Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
    And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

    I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
    I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
    I am the red man driven from the land,
    I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
    And finding only the same old stupid plan
    Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

    I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
    Tangled in that ancient endless chain
    Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
    Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
    Of work the men! Of take the pay!
    Of owning everything for one's own greed!

    I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
    I am the worker sold to the machine.
    I am the Negro, servant to you all.
    I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
    Hungry yet today despite the dream.
    Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
    I am the man who never got ahead,
    The poorest worker bartered through the years.

    Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
    In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
    Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
    That even yet its mighty daring sings
    In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
    That's made America the land it has become.
    O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
    In search of what I meant to be my home--
    For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
    And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
    And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
    To build a "homeland of the free."

    The free?

    Who said the free?  Not me?
    Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?
    The millions shot down when we strike?
    The millions who have nothing for our pay?
    For all the dreams we've dreamed
    And all the songs we've sung
    And all the hopes we've held
    And all the flags we've hung,
    The millions who have nothing for our pay--
    Except the dream that's almost dead today.

    O, let America be America again--
    The land that never has been yet--
    And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
    The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
    Who made America,
    Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
    Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
    Must bring back our mighty dream again.

    Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
    The steel of freedom does not stain.
    From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
    We must take back our land again,

    O, yes,
    I say it plain,
    America never was America to me,
    And yet I swear this oath--
    America will be!

    Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
    The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
    We, the people, must redeem
    The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
    The mountains and the endless plain--
    All, all the stretch of these great green states--
    And make America again!


    I support Soulforce - seeking Justice for God's GLBT children. Please join us.

    by its simple IF you ignore the complexity on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:10:51 PM PDT

    •  i was just thinking (none)
      of this poem. Thank you.
      •  me too (none)
        on MLK day I went to a public reading/recitation of this in Berkeley.  It just made me sad sad sad.  I don't know which is sadder - that so many people still believe that the the stated ideals of this country are in operation in the real world, or ever have been, or that I never did believe, or that I don't know what to do about any of those things.
  •  I still believe (4.00)
    and I have seen some signs for the positive.

    In recent months the judiciary has been fighting back.  They would not be steamrollered in the Schiavo case, they ruled against this administration in terms of rights for detainees, they have ruled against this administration in other instances as well.

    It may not seem like a lot, but there finally seems to be more discontent among the population.

    I read LTE's regularly in my suburban Chicago newspaper, which is known for its conservation philosophy.  Whereas before the election the LTE's ran about 3:2 in favor of this adminsitration, they now run about 2:1 against.

    So yes, I understand your angst and frustration, but signs are there.  It is our job to use this opening and not miss this opportunity.

    Bush is finally realizing that just because he says something, people aren't necessarily going to believe him.  And this will spread to all his henchmen as well.

    We will never be the perfect country, but we will continue and will move forward.

    Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

    by JAPA21 on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:10:56 PM PDT

  •  America was sold (3.66)
    to the multi-nationals for about 100 billion dollars. A lot of cash, but none of it seems to head down to us, the people who give it the brand name. That's right: without the willing support of the people, America's value will decrease. Maybe we can get it back someday, but for now, you're diary is right on. America is gone, and it was sold cheap.
  •  i take inspiration (4.00)
    These are the moments when we are tired. These are the moments when it's okay to check out for a while, rejuvenate, rejoin the battle when we're ready.

    I can't give up the fight. I have two daughters, and I'll be goddamned if I let them grow up in a theocracy that tells them they have fewer rights than boys. I take inspiration from my girls who already talk about wanting to do things for others--my eldest, who fights like hell for her gay and lesbian friends, and my youngest, who shows up with her petition at the local pet store and asks people to help build a park where the local dogs can play. They are small acts, but they are acts. And from them, I take inspiration.

    I take inspiration from people like Emma Goldman, who was thrown into jail by the American government in 1917 for opposing the war, who was exiled in 1919, who was stripped of her citizenship, but who asked, at the end, to be buried in America.

    And on days like today, when it feels like all hope is lost, I go for a walk. It's not a solution, but it helps.

  •  i stopped believing in "America" ... (4.00)
    a long time ago.

    Watergate. that was the defining moment for me losing my belief in "America the Beautiful." especially Ford's pardon of Nixon. Then i started studying history and found that belief in "America" is only possible for people who don't study history. Not saying that there are any pure or better countries out there. Just that once you start to learn the horrible things that were done technically "in your name," 'cause as a citizen, you're responsible for the things these idiots do... well, i just couldn't believe in "America" any more.

    but up until Watergate, i could say to myself: well, people are just products of their time. pretty much everyone believed in the extermination of indiginous people 'cause that was the predominant world-view of the era. pretty much everyone believed in slavery and racism 'cause of the times. etc., etc.

    but Watergate proved them not to just be misguided by the circumstances of the times, but these bastards were literally crooks who not just thought themselves above the law, but WERE above the law, 'cause the next guy in would just get them off. and it's been the same way ever since.

    there are no "checks and balances" just cheques and balance-sheets. there are not reformers, just skinny pigs eager to push the fat ones away from the trough for their own turn.

    i do believe that at some point the damn crooks and liars are going to break this thing called america so badly that there will be a 2nd revolution. it's not there yet. probably not in my lifetime, but maybe my kids' or my grandkids'. and unless society can kick off the yoke of Religion (not necessarily belief, faith, or spirituality... but Religion with a capital "R"), the outcome of that revolution will not be a pretty one.

    i'm cynical, pessimistic, angry, and terrified. i'm impatient and intolerant. i'm just fed up and pissed off.

    or maybe i'm just old.

  •  We Are Not Growing as a Society (4.00)
    The decline of a rule of law is but one aspect of the withering away of American society.

    While the advanced societies of Europe and Asia continue to build safety nets and a social infrastructure, ours are under attack. A strangling selfishness has taken their place.

    The idea of consensus, so encouraged and fundamental in Europe, is discounted and often opposed here.

    Even the construction of civil works, great bridges, tunnels, harbors, continue in those societies while they stagnates here (of course military works continue).

    I fear that sense of optimism that so many foreign observers said was the very essence of American greatness has been lost.

  •  When I Stopped Believing (4.00)

    Was when I figured out that the Official Story of the 9-11 attacks was bullshit.

    By now it has been demonstrated, despite the lack of any true accounting (criminal investigation with adequate funding, full subpoena powers, access to all information, etc.) that the Official Story CANNOT be true in many material aspects.

    And that the only reasonable conclusions are that the government had sufficient foreknowledge that the attacks ought to have been prevented, or, more probably, that the attacks were an outright inside job.

    Read, please, Griffin's "The 9-11 Commission Report:  Distortions and Omissions."  The only people I know who still believe in the Official Story do so because they admit they just cannot get their arms around the possibility that Bush, Cheney, et al could slaughter 3000 people, mostly Americans, to further their conquest for oil, Project for the New American Century agenda of wars of aggression.

    However, as Hitler announced his intentions in Mein Kampf, the neocons all but confessed to the crime in "Restoring America's Defenses" (2000).  In that document, they advocated the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and greatly increased militarism in the US, clucking that alas it could only be achieved should there occur a "catastrophic and catalyzing event -- such as a new Pearl Harbor."

    Less than 8 months into W's first term, voi-fuckin'-la:  a new Pearl Harbor.

    Followed by wars of aggression.

    I don't know anyone who has ready widely on 9-11 who truly believes it was bin Laden, unaided by any government or secret service, who pulled the attacks off.  I sure don't.

    I don't believe in America anymore.  It's now an essentially fascist country, with phony, fixed elections and a phony, fixed mass media and phony, fixed politicians.

    And, as more and more people wake up to this, there may be martial law, detention camps, large numbers of extra-judicial executions, and the usual "odious apparatus of Nazi rule."

    "If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him." (Harvey Wasserman)

    by proudtinfoilhat on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:24:41 PM PDT

    •  i vacillate (none)
      when i lean to conspiracy theories (which i often do), i am sometimnes reminded of conversations i used to have with my colleagues during a former life in corporate america... we would be sitting around trying to figure out why in the world senior management would doing things that were so obviously idiocy and speculating that there must be some "secret plan" afoot... the sad news was often that there was no plan at all, just idiocy...

      now, not for one minute do i think rove, cheney, et al, are idiots... fucking far from it... are they beholden to coporate interests...? you gotta be kidding me...! is the bear a catholic...? does the pope shit in the woods...? (sorry - i could NOT resist even with the funeral not yet held...) but my jury is still out on the grand conspiracy even tho' there's a ton of circumstantial evidence... maybe i'm just not ready to admit it to myself or, more truthfully, i don't quite have enough assets at my disposal to move permanently to another country which, regardless, is my long-term plan...

      The first lesson of democracy is not to hold the public in contempt. - Ronnie Earle, Travis County DA, Texas

      by profmarcus on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:23:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A bit more... (4.00)
    Yesterday was the anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    you may have heard that he had a dream...  I share it - and no one - not Bush, not the PNAC, not the Klan, not the fundamentalist who now turn their sights on my GLBT brothers and sisters, no one can take that dream from me.

    They can deny it, at least temporarily.  They can mock me, they can persecute me, they can demean me. They can even kill me, but they cannot take the dream from me without my cooperation.

    Dr. King said...
    Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
    Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
    Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
    But conscience, conscience asks the question - is it right?
    And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.

    It's not about them.  It's about us.

    Like the slaves who longed for freedom, then the sharecroppers who longed for equality - lack of success does not mean the dream dies, that you stop believing.

    Forced to adopt white man's religion as a means of control - African Americans found in the stories of Exodus their own story.

    Working for abolition of slaves - women found they were not allowed to participate - so they met at Senaca Falls.   For 70 years they failed to make any real gains.  In 1919, Alice Pauls was arrested and sentanced to 7 months in prison

    her crime?  Carrying a sign on the sidewalk in front of the White House.  She and her National Women's Party had become an embarrassment to the White House as it fought WWI in the name of liberty....  She went on a hunger strike....   in 1920, Women got the vote.

    We only lose when we are not sufficiently willing to struggle for that we believe in.  When we look around at our losses and decide the dream is dead.

    America never was....  we are constantly creating it.  Right now we're going through yet another dark time.  All the more reason to believe in the ideals.

    I support Soulforce - seeking Justice for God's GLBT children. Please join us.

    by its simple IF you ignore the complexity on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:25:09 PM PDT

  •  The rule of law - Catch-22 (4.00)
    The rule of law in this country has always been based on Catch-22.  The gospel according to Heller: "Catch-22 says they hav a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing".

    It continues:

         "Didn't they show it to you?" Yossarian demanded, stamping about in anger and distress.  "didn't you even make them read it?
         "They don't have to show us Catch-22," the old woman answered. "The law says they don't have to."
        "What law says they don't have to?"

    "Catch-22 did not exist, he was positive of that, but it made no difference.  What did matter was that everyone thought it existed, and that was much worse, for there was no object or text to ridicule or refute, to accuse, criticize, attack, amend, hate, revile, spit at, rip to shreds, trample upon, or burn up."

    For those who have never read this book, do yourself a huge favor and introduce yourself to what is possibly the best piece of American fiction ever (IMO, the best book I have ever read).  For those who have, read it again.

    There are only 2 reasons for people to be Republicans; greed and ignorance.

    by Dedhed70 on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:33:17 PM PDT

  •  America the Beautiful (none)
    ... has always been more an ideal aspired to rather than a reality manifest. I can't point to a golden age of America.

    Of course, that isn't required to acknowledge that we're falling further and further behind any notion of a government of, for and by the people.

    I still aspire to that ideal. The growing difference between that ideal and the reality on the ground is what motivates me to work hard to change things.

    I used to be amused, but now I'm just disgusted.

    by Malacandra on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 12:34:07 PM PDT

  •  not willing to give up (none)
    this country's got a lot of problems, but they can be fixed, the fascists and fundamentalists can be defeated. 1 song that came out in the 80's but is still very revelent is The Stars and Stripes of Corruption by the Dead Kennedys.
    Finally got to Washington in the middle of the night
    I couldn't wait
    I headed straight for the Capitol Mall
    My heart began to pound
    Yahoo! It really exists
    The American International Pictures logo

    I looked up at that Capitol Building
    Couldn't help but wonder why
    I felt like saying "Hello, old friend"

    Walked up the hill to touch it
    Then I unzipped my pants
    And pissed on it when nobody was looking

    Like a great eternal Klansman
    With his two flashing red eyes
    Turn around he's always watching
    The Washington monument pricks the sky
    With flags like pubic hair ringed 'round the bottom

    The symbols of our heritage
    Lit up proudly in the night
    Somehow fits to see the homeless people
    Passed out on the lawn

    So this is where it happens
    The power games and bribes
    All lobbying for a piece of ass

    Of the stars and stripes of corruption
    Makes me feel so ashamed
    To be an American
    When we're too stuck up to learn from our mistakes
    Trying to start another Viet Nam
    Whilke fiddling while Rome burns at home
    The Boss says, "You're laid off. Blame the Japanese"
    "America's back," alright
    At the game it plays the worst
    Strip mining the world like a slave plantation

    No wonder others hate us
    And the Hitlers we handpick
    To bleed their people dry
    For our evil empire

    The drug we're fed
    To make us like it
    Is God and country with a band

    People we know who should know better
    Howl, "America riles. Let's go to war!"
    Business scams are what's worth dying for

    Are the Soviets our worst enemy?
    We're destroying ourselves instead
    Who cares about our civil rights
    As long as I get paid?

    The blind Me-Generation
    Doesn't care if life's a lie

    so easily used, so proud to enforce

    The stars and stripes of corruption
    Let's bring it all down!
    Tell me who's the real patriots
    The Archie Bunker slobs waving flags?
    Or the people with the guts to work
    For some real change
    Rednecks and bombs don't make us strong
    We loot the world, yet we can't even feed ourselves
    Our real test of strength is caring
    Not the toys of war we sell the world
    Just carry on, thankful to be farmed like worms
    Old glory for a blanket
    As you suck on your thumbs

    Real freedom scares you
    'Cos it means responsibility

    So you chicken out and threaten me

    Saying, "Love it or leave it"
    I'll get beat up if I criticize it
    You say you'll fight to the death
    To save your worthless flag

    If you want a banana republic that bad
    Why don't you go move to one
    But what can just one of us do?
    Against all that money and power
    Trying to crush us into roaches?

    We don't destroy society in a day
    Until we change ourselves first
    From the inside out

    We can start by not lying so much
    And treating other people like dirt
    It's easy not to base our lives
    On how much we can scam

    And you know
    It feels good to lift that monkey off our backs

    I'm thankful I live in a place
    Where I can say the things I do
    Without being taken out and shot
    So I'm on guard against the goons
    Trying to take my rights away
    We've got to rise above the need for cops and laws

    Let kids learn communication
    Instead of schools pushing competition
    How about more art and theater instead of sports?

    People will always do drugs
    Let's legalize them
    Crime drops when the mob can't price them
    Budget's in the red?
    Let's tax religion

    No one will do it for us
    We'll just have to fix ourselves
    Honesty ain't all that hard
    Just put Rambo back inside your pants
    Causing trouble for the system is much more fun

    Thank you for the toilet paper
    But your flag is meaningless to me
    Look around, we're all people
    Who needs countries anyway?

    Our land, I love it too
    I think I love it more than you
    I care enough to fight

    The stars and stripes of corruption
    Let's bring it all down!
    If we don't try
    If we just lie
    If we can't find
    A way to do it better than this
    Who will?

  •  Yes I do. (none)
    And if you don't, don't waste time on this blog.  The rest of us are trying to save what's left of America.
  •  JFK (none)
    The assassination of JFK was the beginning of the end.  Still, there was the Endangered Species Act ten years later.
  •  America Died of Terminal Corporatism (3.66)
    years ago at an undisclosed location.  Bush and his ilk are simply fat pink maggots feasting on the decaying flesh.

    My best hope is that the civilized countries of the world recognize what happened to us and shake off the disease before it kills them too.  That's what worries me most about European America-bashing.  They don't seem to realize that these corporations are coming for their governments next.

  •  America is for sale, but WE have the penny power (3.66)
    I think our system of democracy is under hostile takeover by SuperGlobalMegaCorp, but even if not every vote counts, every dollar always does.

    Especially in the aftermath of 11/2/04, I've been working on making every penny support things I believe in, and not support things I don't. Working on expanding our household's awareness and informedness about everything we buy and support.

    Obviously, this means no crap like WalMart or McDonalds (never went in for those), but it also means as little petroleum as possible (Americans consume one gallon of gas per day per capita -- let's reduce this), as local food and goods as possible, as natural and small-business and eco-friendly (less packaging, etc), and as fair-trade and labor-friendly as possible. Also going for lasting and quality-oriented. Am not a purist and am not worried about lack of perfection nor risking hypocracy. I don't miss anything I've substituted better things for or given up, and I'm spending less, not more, and getting better, not worse experiences and things. Too, buying-power doesn't substitute for, it only augments, active, involved citizenship.  

    Anyway, that's my response to the despairing for democracy expressed in the diary. PENNY POWER!! And, keeping on being an active citizen. The usurpers still need the permission of the populace to carry out their nefarious plans.

    Reality - Humanity - Sustainability

    by Em on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:04:05 PM PDT

  •  Americans are stupid, ignorant and gullible... (4.00)
    little twats but we eventually figure things out. That's why Bush's approval rating is only in the 40s right now. And I recently saw a poll that found that around 60% of Americans don't think any countries should have nuclear weapons.

    There is hope for this country yet; we just have to get rid of Bush and the current incarnation of the GOP.

  •  Optimism is a lousy reflex (4.00)
    The Jaunty Grin reflex, as exhibited by many of the posters here, is much-loved by Americans. Maybe sometimes it's useful, tho I'm hard-put to think of many examples. Optimism is worthwhile when it's conditional, when it gets us believing that things can be fixed, not necessarily when it gulls us into thinking things are basically OK when they're not.

    Things are not OK with America. I think the core is probably in worse shape than it's been since at least the Depression. We are split between brilliant technology on one side of the divide and grotesque voluntary ignorance on the other. I can't remember when the media was so uniformly indifferent to every traditional American value, or when the Democratic Party and every other progressive institution was so profoundly incompetent or toothless or scared stupid.

    Sometimes the worst of times are symptoms calling for putting our perceptions and assumptions on the line. Maybe our only remaining path forward must be truly radical -- which means "at the root" -- change. I think the time has come to forget the reflex Grin and start thinking about whether the value of remaining one nation really overwhelms all other values and aspirations. I think we need to open ourselves to the idea of a Constitutional Convention with everything on the table, including national boundaries.

    The diary seems to me pretty much on the mark in its take on what we've come to. Maybe now is the time to seriously consider ideas as radical as the ones that brought our nation into being.

    •  I don't know (4.00)
      if you consider my posts among the jaunty grins or not - but I hear you, I'm occasionally in that frame of mind myself.

      As you were posting this, I was posting another comment below referring people to the setting and the texts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

      Perhaps it is again such a time for us to build new systems as our nations' founders did, or, perhaps we can once again reclaim the existing one from the corporations and robber barons.

      It's a conversation worth having - but in either case - it seems to be that we are both answering a Yes to believing in "America" as a collection of ideals worth fighting for - ideals that are, and always have been, greater than our national identity.

      I support Soulforce - seeking Justice for God's GLBT children. Please join us.

      by its simple IF you ignore the complexity on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:17:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Picture yourself (4.00)
    a colonist in 1776.   You are surrounded by hostilities, there are "savage" native peoples who resent your presence on the land less than a days ride to the west.

    Communicating with anyone outside your immediate community takes days, weeks, months even.  

    You have complaints about the government, the tax system, and your lack of voice in it.

    The other colonies often have different religious foundations - you consider one another heretics.

    and yet - you and your fellow colonist - in the face of outright hostility from 1/3 of the area's residents - and apathy from another 1/3...

    come up with THIS

    and a few years later... THIS

    and for over 200 years, it works pretty well - despite some very dark times....

    I firmly believe one of the chief reason's it's threatened right now is that far too many of us are only passingly familiar with these documents.

    A long dKos thread has more words - read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Know what they say first hand.  And imagine what it took for the founders to come up with this...  marvel at how the various outcast groups have staked a claim to their share of these ideals over time.

    Leaving purely US history, but staying with the ideals...
    (the Magna Carta is an interesting read too - only, what, 120 years prior.... explore more

    oh - and if that doesn't work - read about Nelson Mandela or Lech Walensa's struggles, explore Ghandi's life in detail.  Greater odds than we face have been overcome before   :-)

    - - - -
    I do appreciate the diary paradox.  Right this moment the citizens of KS are voting on and will likely pass our hate amendment.  I've been pretty down today.  This gave me a nice rallying point and helped stoke the fire.   It's okay to be down sometimes - damned discouraging times.... but

    Illegitmus Non Carborundum!

    I support Soulforce - seeking Justice for God's GLBT children. Please join us.

    by its simple IF you ignore the complexity on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:07:07 PM PDT

  •  Not seeing what all of the fuss is about (none)
    Idealism aside, how many of you, commenting, lurking, or otherwise, really take our laws as the checkpoint in determining your behavior or not?

    Is it US/state/local law that you refer to, or is it a religious/secular morality?  Or a loyalty to friends and family?  Do you really use the law as your touchstone?  

    I don't mean making practical considerations of not getting caught, but do the laws really determine what you consider right?

    Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying I'm not quite heated about Bush v. Gore, the Schiavo case, or anything else referenced above.  Those things were wrong because they were wrong.  And I don't need a lecture about how we need objective standards of morality to judge and blah blah blah.  I'm not saying that there is no use for a system of law, and there IS an ideal state of rule of law that we should be working towards.  I'm aware, but that's not my point.

    My point is, America (and many other countries) is and has only ever been ruled by law to the extent that laws CAN be enforced on those subject.  That's why executive/corporate/government criminals responsible for war crimes get pardoned, and blacks are disproportionately incarcerated for drug crimes.  

    So I don't see the point about howling about whether or not we are a country with the rule of law.  We're both.  And neither.

    "Get your American flag out of your blind spot, bitch!"

    by KB on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:08:30 PM PDT

  •  One Good Thing To Come Out (none)
    I bet you if the 2000 election happens in 2008 then people would be out in the streets in force. We will no longer leave these matters to lawyers.

    Next time, we're going Ukraine on their asses.

    Power to the People!

    (Note about voter 2004 voter fraud: Obviously, the 2000 elections were a whole different deal in terms of the overall public perception of who should be president. I think they may have stolen it this time, too. But I need more solid evidence than is currently being offered. I hope they find this smoking gun soon, because I'll be heading to D.C. to stand outside the WH and demand accountability.)

    25 page views a day since yesterday The Tom Joad Society

    by TheChanMan on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:10:21 PM PDT

  •  America (4.00)
    America continually lurches forward and falls back like the old frog in the well problem (1. hop three feet up, 2. slide two feet down, 3. return to step 1).  It's an ugly process of refinement by which, over time, we have gradually moved toward a more just society.  The spree of political assassinations in the 60's and 70's that opened the way for the current era of right wing corporate dominance were a big lurch back, but I do not think that, historically, they were a unique turning point in American History as the assassination of Abraham Lincoln demonstrates.  Nor do I think that Gore vs. Bush was unique, as the election of 1876 demonstrates (an election which was stolen even more fragrantly than the one in 2000, I might add).

    The right is already overreaching and in their corruption and hubris they are breeding a new generation of reactionary progressives ready to press back.  I take comfort in the fact that, in the balance of time, the lurches to the left have almost always pushed further than the lurches to the right.

    We will make it through this dark period and there will be a new era moving toward human rights and transparent governance afterward.  Then there will be another facist reaction that despite its best efforts can not unmake all of the gains before it.  Then there will be more progress for the people.  Then...

    The real issue that I think could actually break this cycle is not political at all.  It is economic.  If it is time for the United States to leave the world stage as the primary agent of world history, then perhaps we should expect something new to happen.  However, my feeling is that the immense turbulence this would involve means that really all bets are off as to how it would end up - with a million butterflies all flapping their wings you never know where a storm will turn up.

    •  I am not at all sure we will make it through... (none)
      ...with control of elections and fraudulent results parroted by an Incurious Media, the Republicans have effectively moved America from the worlds greatest Democracy to a Facsist State.  By the time the public wakes up (if ever) its too late.

      ...These snakes have the WH, the Senate, the US House, the Media, and most of the Judiciary.  They control the do you see us getting anything back?

      "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything" - Joseph Stalin

      by Blue Shark on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:59:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  America only dies when it dies in our hearts (4.00)
    It's been this bad before.  In fact, it's been worse.

    Remember when Americans marched to war with our own country, and slaughtered hundreds of thousands?  Over 60,000 died in single 3-day period, and battles almost that bad were repeated over and over again.

    Remember when the Supreme Court ruled that some humans were nothing more than furniture?

    Remember when we rounded up ever Japanese-American and shipped them off to internment camps, without a fair trial or any of their constitutional rights?

    Remember when being called a communist destroyed your career- literally made you unhirable?  When "Congressional Investigations" (really just politically motivated witch hunts) destroyed the lives of hundreds, and didn't ever uncover one actual, bonafide, provable communist?

    Remember when a secret cabal plotted to overthrow the US Goverment and replace it with a fascist dictatorship?  Actually, you probably don't, as the incident didn't get a lot of press, so here's a reminder.

    Remember when a major US Media conglomerate manipulated us into an unprovoked attack on another country?  No, not this time- last time.

    Remember when the National Gaurd was firing on, and killing antiwar protestors?  When being a liberal or black in some southern states didn't get you ostericized or insulted, it got you killed?

    Remember when the United States was engaged in a program of systematic extermination of the Native Americans- our own holocaust?

    Remember when we passed the Alien and Sedition acts, which effectively made being Irish or French a crime (I'm sure that if there were a signifigant number of Arabs in country at that point, they'd have been included too)?

    We have the America we have today because people like Arthur Miller, Lawerence Chamberlin, and Smedley Butler fought for it and didn't despair.  Some risked their lives, some risked their careers, some their reputations- their lives, fortunes, and sacred honors as the original Americans said.  But they fought- in many cases through much worse times than we're experiencing now.  And their ghosts urge us to not give up, that the fight is not in vain.

    Because America isn't a chunk of sod between two oceans.  It's not a beauracracy, and it's not a peice of paper.  It's an ideal.  And the ideal only dies when we stop beleiving in it.

    Laws, sausages, and software- once you know how they're made, you'll never trust them ever again.

    by bhurt on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:20:12 PM PDT

  •  Canadian on America (none)
    I think the most depressing thing about this diary is that people have to defend America or there belief in America it's sad when we have come to that point.  Also, I find it encouraging that so many of you still believe in America.  

    As for me I'm just here sitting in the North a little worried that America one day will cause great harm to my country I love.  

    Love you country and eventually it will fully deserve that love.....because great things can only come from love.

  •  post-apocalyptic hope (4.00)
    Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.  The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes.  It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future.  But we go round, scramble over the obstacles.  We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.

    D.H. Lawrence, reprinted in the The Sun
  •  this is why I lie cheat and steal (none)
    I don't pay taxes, I steal, and I sell drugs, it beats working for the man and hating the situation you're in.  When you all are finally ready for the revolution I'll be there to sell you the guns.  

    When America gets its act together so will I.  

     As an aside, you all will be happy to know that my hard earned criminal money has gone to politicians and non profits I think are doing good work.  

    absolute freedom for one individual undoubtedly limit's the freedom of another.

    by jbou on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:35:56 PM PDT

  •  Wrong (none)
    You do believe in America.  Why else would you be posting here?
    •  I'm acting as if (none)
      It's true I desperately want to believe, but empirical evidence negates it every time.
      •  paradox (none)
        Concerning your diary.  Exactly how I feel.

        I believe in my family and friends and some of my neighbors.  I believe in people who care for others and the world around them.  But, I don't believe in this government and their followers.  I won't believe in our government unless and until it works for the betterment of people and the environment and not just for the greedy, the freedom haters and the polluters.

  •  I believe in America! (none)
    Barack Obama at Democratic National Convention.  

    Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

    That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck in our children at night and know they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody's son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted--or at least, most of the time.


    In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism here--the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. The audacity of hope!

    In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; the belief in things not seen; the belief that there are better days ahead. I believe we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us. America!

    The belief that there are better days ahead.  

    "Carry the battle to them. Don't let them bring it to you. Put them on the defensive. And don't ever apologize for anything." --President Truman

    by Eloy on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 01:42:07 PM PDT

    •  deeds not words (4.00)
      if B.O. can make a dent and perhaps help to:

      a) get real election reform so election fraud is made as diffcult as possible (ight now it's easy)

      b) get our troops home asap

      c) create a progressive, renewable, long-term energy policy that does not involve drilling in ANWR or invading the middle east

      d) balance the budget, and cut military spending by at least a half

      e) renew real respect for America in the world

      f) get Bush in handcuffs for lying about WMD and allowing 9/11 to happen

      g) stop government corruption

      ...then maybe his speech will be more than just a speech. Are my expetations high for Dems? No, but our expectations are low for this country

  •  The Bush Administration is not above the law. (none)
    When it doesn't serve their purpose, they simply legislate a new law that does.

    And they count on people being so stupid that they can't see it. So far they have been 51% right.

    Without fair, trustworthy, auditable elections, it's NOT Democracy -- Period.

    by CitizenOfEarth on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:24:35 PM PDT

  •  writ of habeas corpus granted for Padilla (none)
    There is some hope in the Padilla situation.  In a little noticed decision at the end of February, a writ of habeas corpus was granted by the district court in South Carolina that has local jurisdiction over the matter.

    If you have access to Lexis/Nexis, look up Padilla v Hanft, USDC for the District of South Carolina, Charleston Division.  (I believe Hanft is a Commander at the naval brig where Padilla is being held.) light of the foregoing discussion and analysis, it is the judgment of this Court that Petitioner's Motion for Summary Judgment on Counts One and Two of the Petition, as well as his Petition for a writ of habeas corpus must be GRANTED.  Accordingly, Respondent is hereby directed to release Petitioner from his custody within forty-five (45) days of the entry of this Order.


    Signed this 28th day of February, 2005, in Spartanburg, South Carolina.


    BushCo might actually bring criminal charges against him now, or hold him as a material witness, but at least the indefinite detention without charges has been successfully challenged.

    The 45 days will be up on April 14.

    Glimmers of hope like this keep me sane.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:28:06 PM PDT

  •  Plot Against America (none)
    This diary reminds me of a discussion I was in about Philip Roth's The Plot Against America.  In it, after Charles Lindbergh defeats FDR in 1940, the US slides quickly towards fascism and begins to persecutest the Jews.  It was horrifying, but in the end Roth's America comes to its sense, rejects the fascists, and restores the status quo.  He was very optimistic about us.  I've wondered if perhaps he's too optimistic.
  •  Does anyone remember the 60's and 70's (4.00)
    JFK assassinated.
    MLK and RFK assasinated.
    Attempted assination of George Wallace.

    Cuban Missle Crisis

    Little Rock
    Mississippi Burning

    SDS, Red Brigade, Black September, Symbionese Liberation Army, Black Panthers

    Kent State
    Chicago Convention


    Munich Olympics

    Idi Amin Dada
    Papa Doc Duvalier

    Pol Pot
    Mao's Cultural Revolution

    So what's my point?  These people, places and events were my introduction to world affairs.  They didn't make me stop believing in the idea of America.  Today's shouldn't stop you either.

  •  I came to this realization in 1998... (4.00)
    ...during Clinton's blowjob impeachment. This was an attempted coup, plain and simple. The coup was thwarted, but most of the conspirators remained in power, weakened but continuing to undermine the rule of law. I regarded the 2000 election as the most important in 100 years because we had an opportunity to administer a sharp defeat to the forces that sought power at any cost, through any means. The result was a catastrophe, but a glimmer of hope remained because Bush seemed so weak and destined to fail. Then came 9/11 and the end of any hope that we could return to the America we once knew. I now regard this country as a force for evil in the world, and I don't think that this will chane in the forseeable future.

    "Men use thought only to justify their wrongdoing, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts." Voltaire

    by chimpwatch on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 02:52:38 PM PDT

  •  what america...? (4.00)
    Quoth Mr. Jensen in Network: "There is no America. There is no democracy."

    Nah, there have always been two Americas: The imaginary one of football-game national anthem singalongs, the New Seekers, Lawrence Welk, Leave it to Beaver...the imaginary, massive hoax America that the repiggies hold aloft as a perfect paradise wherein Geo. Washington chopped down cherry trees and never told a lie, and where there was "freedom and justice for all."

    And then there's the 'America' that people actually live in. WHEN in our history has life ever been anything but a pile of shit for the underclass? When have african americans, women, gays, hispanics, ad infinitum NOT been denied true equality? When have the mass of the population not been in thrall to the corporate plantation, pissing away their lives doing useless bullshit to make other people rich while they eke out existences of quiet desperation? WHEN has the lie not been perpetrated that the answer to any anxiety is a new drug or a new product? WHEN have we not been divided in order to be conquered, pitted against our fellows and our natural allies in order to blind us to our own continual rape at the hands of the cops and corporate paymasters?

    Just because we're all working on the same plantation, our hearts filled with the same daily miseries, our heads filled with the same teevee-inculcated fears and anxieties, and moving towards death at approximately the same rate does NOT mean that we are "equal" or "free." Just means that they've got us all running on the same fucking hamster wheel, running in the same social habitrail. Just because we can't imagine what the world outside of the capitalist prison looks like doesn't mean that that world - a better world - does not exist.

    To the extent that America exists, it does so to serve as a paradigm of what society ought NOT to be, how human beings ought NOT to be forced to live. Sure, we don't get macheted to death a la Rwanda, and it's not quite as cold in Camden as it is in siberia. But that's the window dressing. The amurrican plantation machine is just more powerful and efficient; the range of possible deviance from the proscribed norm is more sharply delimited. When you're better at herding the cattle into their appropriate channels, the less you need to use the prod.  

  •  I Believe in the America... (none)
    ...that the Republicans are deathly afraid of.  It's the one you think is gone.  That's what they want you to think.

    Well, it's not dead, to paraphrase Monty Python, it's just resting.  Or perhaps, as Admiral Yamamoto characterized it, it's a sleeping giant.  Or hidden in plain sight.  

    I believe in the same America the Martin Luther King believed in.  Central to his strategy was his belief that if the American public simply knew what life was like in the South, they would support and even demand change.  And he was right.  He never expected to win over Bull Connor -- he just went over his head.

    A certain number of our fellow citizens fall into the Bull Connor category.  But they are not the majority.  Most of those who voted for Bush in 2004 did so out of ignorance (or lack of awareness if you consider "ignorance" too pejorative.)  When our fellow citizens realize what has been going on -- and they will at some point -- there is going to be a very high price to be paid.  Take Tom DeLay's comments about judges, and substitute "Republicans."   (I'm thinking in terms of politics.  I can't speak for his thinking.)

    Here's a thought I've posted more than once:  The American people will unquestionably put up with certain people getting screwed over.  But they will not put up with everybody getting screwed over.  And since that's where the GOP is heading, its long-term prospects really aren't that good.

    With the Schiavo case, people finally got to  witness unfiltered  something that's way over the line for every single American -- and they unambiguously rejected it. With the Republicans completely out of control, Americans are going to witness more and more that's over the line.  And more and more of it will be rejected.

    We feel the damage done by the Bush  administration should be apparent.  But clearly, we are wrong -- it is not apparent.  But it will be.  The only question is how much more damage will be done before that happens.

    The America you mourn is still there.  It's like a mountain on a foggy day.  At some point the fog will lift, and it will tower over everything else.

    (As long as it's not strip-mined first...)

    "...your grasp has exceded your reach/ And you put all your faith in a figure of speech..." -- Warren Zevon

    by Roddy McCorley on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 03:10:51 PM PDT

    •  Paddy Chayevsky: Better Than Nostradamus (4.00)
      "You have meddled with the primal forces of nature and I won't have it. Is that clear?

      You think you've merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country and now they must put it back. It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity; it is ecological balance.

      You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians, there are no Arabs, there are no third worlds, there is no West.

      There is only one holistic system of systems. One vast interwoven interacting multivariate multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, Reich marks, rubles, pounds and shekels.

      It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and  subatomic and galactic structure of things today. And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature -- and you will atone.

      Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale?

      You get up on your little 21 inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy.

      There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and Dupont; Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of today.

      What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state? Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minim ax solutions and compute the price/cost probabilities of their investments just like we do.

      We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world... is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime.

      And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there is no war or famine oppression or brutality; one vast and ecumenical holding company for whom all men will work to serve the common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided... all anxieties tranquilized... all boredom amused.

      And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel...Because you're on television, dummy. 60 million people watch you every night of the week Monday through Friday."


      "At the bottom of all our terrified souls we know that democracy is a dying giant, a sick, sick, dying, decaying political concept writhing in its final pain.

      I don't mean that the United States is finished as a world power. The United States is the richest, the most powerful, the most advanced country in the world, light years ahead of any other country. And I don't mean the communists are going to take over the world because the communists are deader than we are.

      What is finished is the idea that this great country is dedicated to the freedom and flourishing of every individual in it. It's the individual that's finished. It's the single solitary human being that's finished. It's every single one of you out there that's finished.

      Because this is no longer a nation of independent individuals. It's a nation of some two hundred odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter than white, steel belted bodies totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods.

      Well the time has come to say... is dehumanization such a bad word? Good or bad, that's what is so. The whole world is becoming humanoid: creatures that look human but aren't. The whole world, not just us --  we're just the most advanced country so we're getting there first.

      The whole world's people are becoming mass produced; programmed, numbered, insensate..."

      Paddy Chayevsky, Network

      Rage, rage, against the lying of the Right.

      by Maryscott OConnor on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 06:19:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My favorite line from "Network" (none)
        "We'll wipe that fuckin' Disney off the board!"

        I think about that several times a week, as I pull into work at...uh, never mind...

        "...your grasp has exceded your reach/ And you put all your faith in a figure of speech..." -- Warren Zevon

        by Roddy McCorley on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 08:55:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This rant is sanity incarnate (none)
    My answer
    activism where possible
    bea ready to run

    Darkness washed over the Dude...darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonlight prairie night...there was no bottom

    by moon in the house of moe on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 03:11:40 PM PDT

  •  Well... (none)
    I do know I no longer believe in the myth of American "exceptionalism."

    Even with its wonderful Constitution, America, when viewed honestly, reveals itself to be like many other countries in world history. Most notably in the present.

    That we are to stand by the president, right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. ~Teddy Roosevelt

    by assyrian64 on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:20:38 PM PDT

  •  Men in my family agree with you ... (none)
    and as the only man in the family who (so far as I know) currently doesn't yet subscribe to this pessimistic outlook, I am at a loss to know how to adequately respond.  

    This was well-written and extremely tough to counter.

    Things definitely look very gloomy indeed for any hope of reforming this once-great nation, certainly based solely upon 2006 and 2008---but I can't shake the conviction that we must try, and try again, to reform it nonetheless.

  •  Goodbye Cruel Patriotism (none)
    i bet someone has grandly said, whether in a pamphlet or a dkos diary, "i don't believe in america anymore" or it's slogan archetype, "goodbye cruel patriotism", every single day since July 4th, 1776. well, we're still here and on the whole getting better.

    the problem of the "hell in a handbasket" crowd seems to be dually a penchant (weakness?) for melodrama and a complete lack of historical perspective. simply within the realm of judcial and executive collusion there have been a lot of "bush v. gore" level travesties over the years, and we're still here. anyone who made their decision to terminate their belief in their home country based on "bush v. gore," or even the bush presidency either doesn't know a lot about their country's history or never cared too much about idealism in the first place.

    for those who think america is over, that bush has killed it, this too shall pass. we need to be working to reform patriotism into an altruistic emotion and not a martial or xenophobic one. so in that sense, and that sense only we need to say "goodbye cruel patriotism," so we can usher in a noble patriotism in its place.

    we do NOT need to be working to undermine the notion of patriotism, or seeking to rescind our commitment to this great country (naysayers be damned, it's a great country) just because of one lousy court decision, or one lousy president.

  •  I'm puzzled by this post... (none)
    ...just a little bit.  I'm not ready to give up on America.  I'm not sure where else I'd go.  No matter how appealing Europe or Canada might seem, I'm still an American and this is still my home.  If the Germans survived all the evil and horror of Hitler, we can overcome all the problems we have to face.  

    No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

    by CrazyHorse on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 04:54:51 PM PDT

    •  The Nazis were a one-time aberration... (none)
      with no deep roots in German culture. (Hitler wasn't even German, but Austrian.)

      The present Republican Party on the other hand has its roots in two long-standing strands of US culture: the Wilsonian idea that the US is special, a model for the rest of the world, which model it has a right to impose on the rest of the world; and Christian fundamentalism, which has its roots in Southern resentment over losing the Civil War.

      Personally, the only hope I see for America is that its religious energy shifts from Christian fundamentalism to the kind of progressive Evangelicalism one had in this country in the 19th century. The last time America faced a profound evil within itself -- slavery -- it was progressive Christianity that overcame it. Jim Wallis is good on this.

      In the 20th century, it was Nazi Germany. In the 21st, it is Republican America.

      by Alexander on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 05:25:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not True... (none)
        ...Nazism grew out of the Volk und Reich movement which dates to the 1880's.  Strongly nationalistic and anti-semitic it was the Volk und Rechers that served as Hitler's base.  Hitler played upon deep seated cultural feelings, including the notion of "ein volk, ein reich" which dates back nearly a thousand years.

        Trust me, I know this...great grand pappy Crazy Horse wasn't exactly on the winning team during WWII.  

        No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

        by CrazyHorse on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 08:16:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the correction! (none)
          I am not familiar at all with pre-WW II German "low" culture. But given that the US had a regressive low culture (Christian fundamentalism) at the end of the 19th century, it should have occurred to me that it was quite possible that Germany did, too. I shall have to look into this Volk und Reich movement at some point.

          What I was reacting to was "philosophers" like Karl Popper trying to find antecedents to Nazism in German philosophy (high culture). (Others have held Wagner to be accountable.)

          In the 20th century, it was Nazi Germany. In the 21st, it is Republican America.

          by Alexander on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 08:37:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's very sad... (none)
            ...actually.  Wagner and Nietzsche were hijacked by the Nazis not of their own accord but because of the actions of their families that came after they died.  Nazism was about as much of a structured philosophy as neo-Con'ism.  There are some intellectuals in the mix, but it's most about scapegoating, anti-intellectualism, raw capitalism, and the ideal of a permanent oligarchy.  In America, captains of industry such as Henry Ford loved the Nazis...Hitler even gave ford an Iron Cross for his screeds against the International Jew.  Bush own Grandfather sold arms to Hitler against executive order by FDR and finally had to be closed down.

            And here's the best one...remember "Skull and Bones?"  The only other chapter of Skull and Bones to exist in the world used to be in Germany...and its members became prominent voices in Volk und Reich.  

            In short, Nazism was about cash, power, and scapegoating.  There truly is nothing new under the sun.  

            No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

            by CrazyHorse on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 08:45:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Very good points (none)
              The Nazis were anti-intellectual and so didn't have a systematically worked out ideology, and the same goes for the neo-cons, despite their pretensions. Both the Nazis and the people running BushCo are opportunistic achictects of an oligarchical political system, as you point out. And both owed their support among "the people" to a pre-existing ideology of the excluded.

              As for Skull and Bones: I remember seeing some Nazi memorabilia - what looked to me as a pin that would be worn on the shoulder of a uniform - that depicted a skull and bones. (But what does that make Kerry?) Also, I think I remember reading that the placement of the Auschwitz concentration camp had something to do with the business needs of the company that Prescott Bush ran, which was a participant in that enterprise. So I don't think Prescott sold arms to Hitler -- the Germans could produce their own arms, even if they had limited resources -- it was more that he was involved in the exploitation of slave labor: see Heir to the Holocaust.

              In the 20th century, it was Nazi Germany. In the 21st, it is Republican America.

              by Alexander on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 09:53:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a bit of optimism (none)
    For your gloomy day.

    Perhaps it'll help, but no guarantees.

    None of the Supreme Court Justices have retired yet.

    Clearly they were comfortable electing Bush into office themselves, but i guess they're not interested in having him determine their successor. They didn't even though the 2004 election has come and gone. They didn't retire even though a number of them are on their way to retirement from life itself.

    Maybe they'll retire some time before Bush leaves, but i'm hopeful they won't. What could they possibly be waiting for?

    The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

    by Shapeshifter on Tue Apr 05, 2005 at 05:16:27 PM PDT

  •  So true... (4.00)
    What do I do?  Precisely what I like: trying to be a good person while sulking and weaving out of various levels of depression as the horror show goes on...

    I completely identify with that statement. I think that I need to try and purposefully have more fun in the very face of the imminent disaster.

    I've been in a nearly constant state of-I don't even know what-since Bush was wrongfully handed the presidency in 2000.

    Can you imagine how depressing it would have been at that point back in 2000 to have foreknowledge of all the shit yet to come?

    We need some fun ways to strike back.

  •  I'm pissed (4.00)
    This is one of the best diaries I've read all day, and most of the comments are an extension of some stupid flame war that's carried over from other diaries. With Kossacks acting like this, it's no wonder Paradox doesn't believe in America anymore.
    As for the diary....great insight from The Godfather. Not many people realize that the book and movie are not just about the mob--they are, in a large way, about America.
    I am also reminded of another movie, Breaking Away. There's the scene where the boy is run off the road during the bicycle race by the Cinzano team--his heroes--so he goes home, hugs his less-than-honest car dealer dad and says, "It's OK, Dad--everybody cheats."
    That's the way I've felt since 2000.

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