May 31, 2005 § Leave a comment
TPMCafe || The Coffee House:
Josh has started a more complex conversation, with multiple personalities and a complex site. Can this really be conversational and make headway? Deeper understanding of issues is required. This is really a new online serious political environbment. It may alter the landscape, or it may fizzle out if it doesn’t catch depth. Right now, it takes some real attention, and I’ll be excerpting from it here and in the adjoining link blog (link on the right lower down.)
“What Would We Do?
By Joshua Micah Marshall Section: Politics
Just what is it Democrats (or progressives or the center-left or liberals, or whatever) would do if they were back in power in Washington? And what is the ‘frame’ or narrative they hope will get them there?
The honest answer for most of us, I think, is that we would stop doing what George Bush has done for the last four years. That goal covers over the various differences that divide us. And, many would say, this gets us off the hook when it comes to coming up with that fetish of the policy wonk, ‘new ideas’. “
May 30, 2005 § Leave a comment
Perhaps, at this time, you may require some reassurance. Perhaps, if you are one of the handful of Americans not otherwise occupied with Amber Alerts and runaway brides and the curious sleepover habits of washed-up eighties pop stars, you may have accidentally happened upon a few bodies halfway across the world (Afwhatsistan? Bagrawho?), which may or may not have pricked whatever remains of a long-dormant and desensitized National Conscience. And you may be asking yourself what the point of all this has been, what has driven Americans halfway around the globe to sieze innocent men, beat their legs to pulp, and chain them to ceilings until they die.
Regrettable, yes, but let us remember that these two eggs, like the dozens before them, and the tens of thousands before them, were broken to make the greatest and worthiest of omelettes, the most succulent of breakfasttime generational commitments, the proudest and most visionary of truck stop slop. And when it is finished and served, to whomever it is served, will it not have been worth the mound of eggshells, the broken crockery, the shattered glass, the mountain of murdered cooks, the acres of burning kitchen, the unbroken stench of dead flesh? And if that omelette is never made, won’t the idea of the omelette – finer and purer and more pristine than the thing itself – have been worth them all, in the end?
We must remember that for each complete failure the media reports – the innocents tortured to death without reason – there are hundreds of mere semi-failures we can never know about for reasons of vital national security, when the torture and murder of innocents stops a treacherous ticking bomb. Indeed, we must believe – no, assume – that with each new horror a new blow is struck for freedom, that with every new atrocity a fresh-painted Iraqi school blooms like a rose bud in spring.
The day will come when the justice of this is made manifest, when these heaps of corpses will be vindicated as unquestionably righteous. That day is ahead of us, a bright light at the end of this dark tunnel. Can you see it growing closer, brighter, louder? Victory is bearing down on us with the sound of thunder.
May 25, 2005 § Leave a comment
Garrison this morning posted one of his fine historical pieces, filled with nuance. But then I had a conversation last night about federalism and succession, so this comes in handy. I highly recommend his daily pieces from Writer’s almenac www.writersalmanac.publicradio.org You can get them sent by email from the site, and listen as well as read.
It was on this day, in 1787, at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Constitutional Convention got underway. Many people agreed
that the Articles of Confederation under which the colonies organized after the revolution was not working. The colonies had remained relatively independent of each other, almost like separate countries, and the result was a sort of anarchy.
So the Congress agreed that a stronger central government was necessary to keep the country from falling apart. Thomas Jefferson was not there. He was in Paris. John Adams was in England. Patrick Henry refused to come. He was suspicious that a stronger form of central government would lead to tyranny.
The convention decided to scrap the Articles of Confederation and start over, and so they decided to work in secret. The windows were nailed shut, guards were posted, not a word was leaked to the press. 55 delegates were there of 74 who had been invited to come. Most of them were young; only four of them over 60, five of them still in their 20s. Rhode Island didn’t send anybody. They didn’t approve of the whole thing.
George Washington would have preferred to stay home, but he presided over the convention. Other delegates had persuaded him that his prestige was necessary to guarantee success. He rarely spoke during the debates, but his presence alone affected what people said. Many of the delegates later said that they had been reluctant to give the office of the president much power for fear of creating a king, but when they saw Washington up front and imagined that he would soon hold that position, they felt better about granting the head of state more power.
It took some persuading to get the constitution adopted, but today ours is the oldest written national Constitution in the world. It’s also one of the shortest, at only 7,591 words.
I’ve also been working on Locke’s theory of property, so powerful in the US in forming our institutions. More about this later, but now to say, he was much softer in his sense of public wlefare and the good of the whole than we usually hear about, and our overwhelming reliance on his views leads us to a more and more Hobbesian view of the world, all against all. Locke was a much more easy going fellow. And key to his private property argument is that he was arguing against the ownership of everything by the Monarch. So his position was motivated by a context we now feel less, since Locke without softening leads to Hobbes, and the free and independent people end up with a defacto tyrany anyway.
May 24, 2005 § Leave a comment
I’ve been pretty busy, but there is much to read at my link blog, see link on lower right.
May 18, 2005 § Leave a comment
This is helpful in legitimizing a more healthy and democratic society. It helps me legitimate Garden World
End the Cold War Economy By Stirling Newberry t r u t h o u t Perspective
Tuesday 17 May 2005
The recent decision announced by the Office of the Secretary of Defense to close US military bases, and the reactions of law makers, not merely Democrats but hard right figures like Senator Jim Thune of South Dakota and Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, reminds us that the United States still has a war economy. But it also reminds us that that war economy is passing. It is not only base closings that tell us this, but seemingly unrelated announcements – for example, the use of bankruptcy by United Airlines to end its pension funds.
The era of mass mobilization
May 16, 2005 § Leave a comment
to the heart of the matter..
What Lucas has devised, over six movies, is a terrible puritan dream: a morality tale in which both sides are bent on moral cleansing, and where their differences can be assuaged only by a triumphant circus of violence.
May 16, 2005 § Leave a comment
Early availability major article..
Tomgram: Mark Danner on the British Smoking-Gun Memo
In its June 9 issue (on sale this week), the New York Review of Books will be the first American print publication to publish the full British “smoking gun” document, the secret memorandum of the minutes of a meeting of Tony Blair’s top advisors in July 2002, eight months before the Iraq War commenced. Leaked to the London Sunday Times, which first published it on May 1, the memo offers irrefutable proof of the way in which the Bush administration made its decision to invade Iraq — without significant consultation, reasonable intelligence on Iraq, or any desire to explore ways to avoid war — and well before seeking a Congressional or United Nations mandate of any sort