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Author Topic: Republican Presidential Primary News & Discussion Center 2012
EarlNMeyer-Flask
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People don't understand Ron Paul's solutions because they don't understand economics.
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fugu13
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I've never heard a more concise explanation of why Ron Paul doesn't understand his own proposals.
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Rakeesh
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The trick is, though you won't find hardly a lick of support for Paul's policies among even lifelong economists who've studied and lived it their whole lives, or successful entrepreneurs...well, they don't understand because they don't understand. Or they've sold out. Or they're brainwashed. Or...something. It's never that the ideas might just be bad, they're in fact SO good that to disagree in itself is evidence of some flaw.

And yet we're supposed to take Paul supporters seriously, and not treat their politics with contempt.

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Rakeesh
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Destineer, Awlaki did a hell of a lot more than exercise his right to free speech. It's not limitless for pity's sake, it's not a damn suicide pact with our enemies!

I'm sorry to react so stridently, but free speech simply does not give me the right to advocate for the violent overthrow of the American government. It doesn't give me the right to goad others into waging violent jihad against the US.

I've got my problems with the means by which we arrived at the decision to assassinate him, but to suggest it was done because he 'exercised his freedom of sleech'? That's simply ludicrous! I have to wonder if you're aware of what some of his words were, or the sorts of people he lent his media support to.

God. Assassinated for free speech indeed. There's a case to be made that the system by which approved the assassination needs further scrutiny. But for someone who advocates the only just war is for Islam, that Islam needs to be the world's religion, violently if need be (and of course it would be), someone who speaks and preaches repeatedly to imminent terrorists and even in the case of a few of the 9/11 'hijackers' actually gave them material support...

Kill him. And don't let's pretend it's because he was 'exercising his right to free speech'.

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Dan_Frank
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Rakeesh I just wanted to say I agree with you wholeheartedly re: Awlaki.
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EarlNMeyer-Flask
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Lifelong economists like F.A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, etc. Where do you thing he gets his ideas?
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EarlNMeyer-Flask
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If you don't think advocation of violence is protected speech, how do you make sense of Brandenberg v. Ohio ? Where does it go wrong?
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Rakeesh
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Of course, Earl, I'm sure Awlaki never once in his many close personal consultations with multiple either past or soon-to-be terrorists advocated specific violence, or gave approval for it. Goodness, no.

They were exchanging snickerdoodle recipes, I'm sure.

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Dan_Frank
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Man, I bet there are some Hatrackers with some killer snickerdoodle recipes.
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Dan_Frank
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Should I have italicized "killer?" Too on-the-nose?
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by EarlNMeyer-Flask:
Lifelong economists like F.A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, etc. Where do you thing he gets his ideas?

Economic Mad Libs and an 8 Ball?
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Rakeesh
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You could follow up by saying that our snickerdoodles are to...to...*choke*...die for....*expire*
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EarlNMeyer-Flask
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by EarlNMeyer-Flask:
Lifelong economists like F.A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, etc. Where do you thing he gets his ideas?

Economic Mad Libs and an 8 Ball?
This isn't a very good argument.
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Rakeesh
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Dude. You can't say, "People don't understand Ron Paul's solutions because they don't understand economics," and leave it at that and then criticize other people's arguments. C'mon, Earl.
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Destineer
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Again, Rakeesh, I have to cite Greenwald (I'm not a disciple of the guy, I actually think he's kind of a dick, but he's right about this issue).

quote:
Indeed, the First Amendment not only protects the mere “attending” of a speech “promoting the violent overthrow of our government,” but also the giving of such a speech. The government is absolutely barred by the Free Speech clause from punishing people even for advocating violence. That has been true since the Supreme Court’s unanimous 1969 decision in Brandenburg v. Ohio, which overturned the criminal conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader who had threatened violence against political officials in a speech.

The KKK leader in Brandenburg was convicted under an Ohio statute that made it a crime to ”advocate . . . the duty, necessity, or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform” and/or to “voluntarily assemble with any society, group, or assemblage of persons formed to teach or advocate the doctrines of criminal syndicalism.” The Court struck down the statute on the ground that it “purports to punish mere advocacy” and thus “sweeps within its condemnation speech which our Constitution has immunized from governmental control.” The Court ruled that “except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action” — meaning conduct such as standing outside someone’s house with an angry mob and urging them to burn the house down that moment — “the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force“ (emphasis added).

http://www.salon.com/2011/06/01/free_speech_4/
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Destineer
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quote:
Of course, Earl, I'm sure Awlaki never once in his many close personal consultations with multiple either past or soon-to-be terrorists advocated specific violence, or gave approval for it. Goodness, no.
Do we have any evidence of what he said in these meetings?

Reminder: This is America. The burden of proof rests with the accuser.

ETA: I mean, why should cops even have to use wiretaps anymore? Everyone knows Stringer Bell was meeting with a bunch of drug dealers. What do you think they were doing, exchanging Snickerdoodle recipes? Let's just lock 'em all up.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
... but free speech simply does not give me the right to advocate for the violent overthrow of the American government.

Huh, I guess with this change, OSC should start watching out then.
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kmbboots
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Dan, I am curious about the Founding Father Fenomenon. Who do you consider the founding fathers to be? (I am looking for actual names, here.) Do you consider them to be in some way different than other men?
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Rakeesh
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Destineer,

quote:
Do we have any evidence of what he said in these meetings?

Reminder: This is America. The burden of proof rests with the accuser.

ETA: I mean, why should cops even have to use wiretaps anymore? Everyone knows Stringer Bell was meeting with a bunch of drug dealers. What do you think they were doing, exchanging Snickerdoodle recipes? Let's just lock 'em all up.

First of all, let's be clear: do you actually believe for a second that he didn't speak with terrorists about specific, near-term acts of terrorism during his many, many, many encounters with them and encourage them that it was not only justified but actually required for political and religious reasons?

As to the issue at hand, I have no real doubt that Awlaki didn't speak to 'incite or produce imminent lawless action'. Were specific statements produced openly by the government to the public to that effect? Nope. Then again, how could they do so? And to ask a further question, if they had, such statements could only have come from, well, the government-either through human intelligence or some sort of surveillance. Would you then trust the government's word that he said what they said he said?

I just want to point out I suspect there isn't anything you would accept as evidence aside from an open public statement from Awlaki to a specific terrorist to committ a specific act of violence, and that terrorist then committed that act of violence. You can correct me if I'm wrong on that, Destineer, but if I'm right about what you would regard as sufficient surely you see how absurd it is.

Underlying your premise seems to be-and again, you can correct me if I'm wrong about this-that Awlaki is the same as ordinary domestic criminals. That the means by which we police and prosecute, say, local drug dealers should be what we use on Awlaki-limited to that extent. If that is in fact what you're saying, let's just be clear: it will mean we cannot find them, listen in to what they're saying and doing, and kill them nearly as often. Just to get that out there on the bottom line: international terrorists require a different kind of law enforcement than local drug dealers if they're going to be impeded in any meaningful way.

(Oh, yeah, hey-I remembered I was in America. Thanks for the reminder, though.)

ETA: Stringer Bell is a curious example for you to use, Destineer, I must admit. Throughout five seasons, he would hardly even have been known to law enforcement much less seriously investigated had more than a few corners not been cut and some line-crossing here and there been done.

It would've been a pretty boring show had the police and prosecutors and judges played absolutely 100% by the letter and spirit of the law at all times and in all instances. McNulty and a few other people would've harbored personal suspicions of conspiracy and drug empire, and perhaps they would've gotten some wires up and running, but that's just about where it would've stopped.

In any event, Stringer was not exactly shall we say apprehended by law enforcement anyway.

-------------

Mucus,

Actually, Card has been pretty careful if memory serves to not advocate violence in the present, or even to advocate future violence. There were at least two or three degrees of haziness in between his lips and acts of violence. Something like 'if, in the future, liberals/liberal judges continue to overthrow the will of the people, they would then be justified in armed revolution'. Pretty sneaky language, really.

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Blayne Bradley
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To bad we will never know as he was never tried, even in absentia.
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Destineer
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quote:
First of all, let's be clear: do you actually believe for a second that he didn't speak with terrorists about specific, near-term acts of terrorism during his many, many, many encounters with them and encourage them that it was not only justified but actually required for political and religious reasons?
I think it's entirely possible--not extremely likely, but maybe about 20-30% likely, which is enough to support a reasonable doubt--that he met with them to express sympathy with their cause and/or to discuss how to propagandize more young Muslim men to become terrorists. It's entirely possible that they said, "Hey, Anwar, here's our plan we've already settled on," and he said, "God bless you. Here's what I've been doing to convince people to join your cause."

quote:

I just want to point out I suspect there isn't anything you would accept as evidence aside from an open public statement from Awlaki to a specific terrorist to committ a specific act of violence, and that terrorist then committed that act of violence. You can correct me if I'm wrong on that, Destineer, but if I'm right about what you would regard as sufficient surely you see how absurd it is.

I'd accept sworn testimony from witnesses who heard him give orders to a terrorist. I'd gladly accept a surveillance tape in which you hear and/or see him doing so.

quote:
Just to get that out there on the bottom line: international terrorists require a different kind of law enforcement than local drug dealers if they're going to be impeded in any meaningful way.
What's your proof for this? UK authorities foiled many Irish terror plots over the years while staying within the bounds of due process (although sometimes they broke those rules, to tragic effect, as in The Name of the Father).

But yeah, more attacks would get through. That's not that big a problem in the big scheme of things. With one big exception, terrorists kill way fewer Americans than drug dealers do.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Dan, I am curious about the Founding Father Fenomenon. Who do you consider the founding fathers to be? (I am looking for actual names, here.) Do you consider them to be in some way different than other men?

I'm not sure I understand your question. I mean, everyone is different, so...

Are you genuinely asking me to list all of the founders? Or is it that I keep using founder/framer interchangeably, which I know can lead to some confusion.... so, to clarify, I'm generally referring to the framers of the US Constitution as opposed to, say, the signers of the Declaration or the Articles of Confederation. There's massive overlap here, obviously, but it's specifically the framers that I've been thinking of. Does that help? I can direct you to their wiki page if you'd like to know all their names.

Seriously, though, I'm really not sure what you're asking me. Do I think they're different than normal men? Sure. Are you asking if I think they were somehow supermen given to us by God? No, of course not.

In terms of how different they were, well, of note, despite living in horrifically oppressive times they managed to create the first government in history which explicitly put the freedom and individual rights of the citizens before the interests of the government. It was an exceptional achievement and I think they were exceptional men, despite their flaws.

Once again, for the umpteenth time, I'm not saying they were flawless, or that we should whitewash their flaws. Heck, some of their greatest accomplishments in the Constitution (and the ensuing government precedents) came as a direct result of their flaws.

All I said on that issue was that, having seen some of the ways a really intensely anti-American teacher can spin their flaws into denigrating everything they built, I understood the impulse the stupid saps in Tennessee were acting on (to force teachers to present the framers as exceptional). Sort of the way I imagine you can understand the impulse that might drive someone to an Occupy protest, even as I'm sure you would disavow the Occupiers who rape, steal and vandalize.

So again, for clarity: Those guys are historical vandals, and that's not something I support.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
...Something like 'if, in the future, liberals/liberal judges continue to overthrow the will of the people, they would then be justified in armed revolution'.

That seems pretty mushy to me.

To be clear, there are factors that distinguish OSC from this other American. I'm just don't think that OSC limiting his remarks to the indefinite future is one of the important ones. It also leads to weird results where this guy gains or loses rights by jumping in between, e.g. "If the Americans continue to meddle in the Middle East, we should blow them up" vs. "While the Americans continue to meddle in the Middle East, we should blow them up."

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kmbboots
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Dan,

I am not asking you to list all of them - but what are your boundaries? The men in the Continental Congress? The leaders of the Continental Army? Patriots like Paul Revere? The drafters of the Constitution? All of those?

For contrast, I don't think that they, as a group, were in some qualitative way different from ordinary men. I think that the times they lived in were, while horrific for many, extraordinary times for privileged white men which they were. There were living during the Enlightenment for heaven's sake! The "founding fathers" as I think of them were not remotely horrifically oppressed. They, as a group, had considerable freedom, wealth, education, and leisure. I think that they did an extraordinary thing, but it wasn't a thing without precedent. The idea of individual rights hardly started with the US. Our manifestation of it was part of an evolution of thought and our idealizing the founding fathers as somehow special stifles further growth. Which I think would disappoint them.

Also, for someone so enamoured of their achievement, you might want to recall that they thought a trial by jury was a fairly significant individual right.

Destineer, I can't express how dismayed I am by the idea that we should be looking up to the civil rights example of the British in N. Ireland.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Dan,

I am not asking you to list all of them - but what are your boundaries? The men in the Continental Congress? The leaders of the Continental Army? Patriots like Paul Revere? The drafters of the Constitution? All of those?

Again, I'm generally referring specifically to the framers. That is, the delegates who drafted and signed the US Constitution. This includes many of the Patriots and signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, but there those aren't what I'm really focusing on.

quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:

For contrast, I don't think that they, as a group, were in some qualitative way different from ordinary men. I think that the times they lived in were, while horrific for many, extraordinary times for privileged white men which they were. There were living during the Enlightenment for heaven's sake! The "founding fathers" as I think of them were not remotely horrifically oppressed. They, as a group, had considerable freedom, wealth, education, and leisure.

I'd take living in poverty in our country today over living as any of them did.

If you get what I'm saying, you'll probably call it a cheat because of how insanely improved the quality of life is, even for the impoverished in our country today, compared to pre-industrial times.

But that's the point.

They lived in horrific times. Even privileged white land-owners could die of smallpox, or an infected blister. They certainly had it great compared to most people in their time, and their comparative level of leisure gave them the time to study things like philosophy, which of course led them to their greatest achievement.

And by our lights they were hypocrites, racists, and misogynists... but comparatively? To my knowledge, the only significant group of abolitionists in their time were the Quakers, who were essentially a fringe movement. Despite this, the US Constitution included numerous pieces of anti-slavery language, and was fundamentally an anti-slavery document. That's a pretty good accomplishment for a pack of privileged racist white men.

quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I think that they did an extraordinary thing, but it wasn't a thing without precedent. The idea of individual rights hardly started with the US. Our manifestation of it was part of an evolution of thought and our idealizing the founding fathers as somehow special stifles further growth. Which I think would disappoint them.

I don't see how it stifles further growth.

It might stifle erratic and ill-thought out "growth," but I really don't see how it stifles growth as a whole. Clarify?

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Rakeesh
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Actually, my single biggest problem with Awlaki's death was that he wasn't tried in absentia. It's not as though he wouldn't have known we were gunning for him all along anyway, so it wouldn't have served as a warning to him to be more careful and thus make the hit harder. We could've-and should've-tried him and convicted him in absentia years ago.

--------

quote:
I think it's entirely possible--not extremely likely, but maybe about 20-30% likely, which is enough to support a reasonable doubt--that he met with them to express sympathy with their cause and/or to discuss how to propagandize more young Muslim men to become terrorists. It's entirely possible that they said, "Hey, Anwar, here's our plan we've already settled on," and he said, "God bless you. Here's what I've been doing to convince people to join your cause."

I would grant that as a much, much lower possibility. It simply doesn't make sense-why on Earth would he limit himself to that in private? Certainly not because he didn't actively agree with and endorse suicide bombings and other terrorism, I hope you'll agree.

In any event, I'd be fine with offing him even if that was provably all he'd done. Sorry, if you're going to operate internationally in an effort-successful or really damaging in many cases-to destroy or weaken our government or those of our allies, to help incite civil wars, to be an effective recruitment tool for those who will do so, we might just kill you, if we can. And won't have violated any sort of decency in doing so.

quote:
I'd accept sworn testimony from witnesses who heard him give orders to a terrorist. I'd gladly accept a surveillance tape in which you hear and/or see him doing so.
Now he has to give orders? And in any event, you'd accept government testimony of such a thing, but you wouldn't accept for example government claims that they exist? In the case particularly of a surveillance tape, isn't that much the same thing?

quote:
What's your proof for this? UK authorities foiled many Irish terror plots over the years while staying within the bounds of due process (although sometimes they broke those rules, to tragic effect, as in The Name of the Father).

But yeah, more attacks would get through. That's not that big a problem in the big scheme of things. With one big exception, terrorists kill way fewer Americans than drug dealers do.

How do you know they did this while staying within the bounds of law, Destineer? But even if for the sake of argument they did (you even note they didn't, dismissing it pretty off-handedly), why is it reasonable to consider the IRA and associated groups and Al Qaeda the same sort of animal?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Troubles Lots of pseudo-legal shenanigans on the part of both sides throughout the decades, Destineer. It's strange to hear you claim their record was so legally clean.

Your comparison to drug dealers isn't very valid. For one thing, the clear problem with drug dealers isn't one of law enforcement, it's of policy. We've also got a much vaster array of tools with which to deal with drug dealers (and admittedly a larger group to deal with)-I hardly think you'd support vastly amping up special forces, intelligence services, cooperation with local (often pretty nasty) governments, etc. etc. in order to fight terrorism, would you?

(At least we're not talking about Stringer Bell anymore, eh?)

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Rakeesh
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quote:
And by our lights they were hypocrites, racists, and misogynists... but comparatively? To my knowledge, the only significant group of abolitionists in their time were the Quakers, who were essentially a fringe movement. Despite this, the US Constitution included numerous pieces of anti-slavery language, and was fundamentally an anti-slavery document. That's a pretty good accomplishment for a pack of privileged racist white men.


Errrr. Dan, slavery was built into the US Constitution, I'm afraid. Argue political necessity all you like, and there's a great case to be made (one I agree with) that it wouldn't have happened without it, but to me it seems to take a very strange PoV to regard the US Constitution as 'fundamentally anti-slavery'. Unless we're going to look at its ideals expressed in the late 18th century through an early 21st century lens, which is something of a bit of trickery I think.
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kmbboots
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I think that it stifles further growth in the same way that the Catholic Church's idiotic ideas on infallibility* hold us back. We think that some humans are "special" and can't make mistakes and we start to think that what they did is, rather than being really good, is perfect. And that keeps us from improving it.

*Not the actual doctrine of infallibility which is fairly narrow, but what we tend to think of as infallibility.

For what it is worth, I don't particularly blame them for being no better than most men of their time. I think that, generally, they were good men. I think that many believed, as did their society, that slavery was not a bad thing. Jefferson did though, and kept slaves anyway. He even admitted the hypocrisy of this. He doesn't have to be perfect to have done a remarkable thing but he did know better.

If we are going to give them a pass for living in the 18th century, we don't also get to pity them for the trials of living in the 18th century many of which would not have occurred to them as being trial.

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Mucus
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Note for the future:
It turns out the Chinese government *can* assassinate suspected terrorists living in the US without violating any sort of decency.

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Rakeesh
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Yemen just hated having him dead or targeted, hmm? In this future hypothetical, these terrorists against China, they wouldn't be apprehended or attempted to apprehend by the US, right.

Pithy is fun, Mucus, but I know you can do better than that.

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Mucus
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Why do you think I'm talking about the future or that this is a hypothetical?
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
And by our lights they were hypocrites, racists, and misogynists... but comparatively? To my knowledge, the only significant group of abolitionists in their time were the Quakers, who were essentially a fringe movement. Despite this, the US Constitution included numerous pieces of anti-slavery language, and was fundamentally an anti-slavery document. That's a pretty good accomplishment for a pack of privileged racist white men.


Errrr. Dan, slavery was built into the US Constitution, I'm afraid. Argue political necessity all you like, and there's a great case to be made (one I agree with) that it wouldn't have happened without it, but to me it seems to take a very strange PoV to regard the US Constitution as 'fundamentally anti-slavery'. Unless we're going to look at its ideals expressed in the late 18th century through an early 21st century lens, which is something of a bit of trickery I think.
I think Frederick Douglass argues the point much better than I ever could.


quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I think that it stifles further growth in the same way that the Catholic Church's idiotic ideas on infallibility* hold us back. We think that some humans are "special" and can't make mistakes and we start to think that what they did is, rather than being really good, is perfect. And that keeps us from improving it.

*Not the actual doctrine of infallibility which is fairly narrow, but what we tend to think of as infallibility.

Ah, I see what you mean. I don't think that what they did was perfect, nor do I think they were infallible. Sorry if I gave that impression.

But I do think that it would be harder than many people seem to think for us to devise a better system, and I don't really think that doing so should be a priority.

I respect our traditions, but I don't worship them.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
Why do you think I'm talking about the future or that this is a hypothetical?

Well...
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
Note for the future:
It turns out the Chinese government *can* assassinate suspected terrorists living in the US without violating any sort of decency.

Maybe I'm missing something...
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Mucus
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Ah, I see the confusion.

What that means is that the note is for the future for my records in case the topic comes up again. However, the assassinations with Rakeesh's blessing may as well start now.

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kmbboots
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Another problem that I have with idealizing either the Constitution or the men who framed it is that those who do it often tend to enshrine American Exceptionalism as if we were special because of who we are rather than what we do. As if being special was a quality that simply came with being American no matter what we do. They then tend to believe that (because we are the ones doing it) whatever we do is good.

I believe that it is the other way around. It is what we do or don't do that makes the US "special" and these days we are letting go of a lot of those principles. For example, I (used to) think that America was special because we didn't kill or imprison people without a trial.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
And by our lights they were hypocrites, racists, and misogynists... but comparatively? To my knowledge, the only significant group of abolitionists in their time were the Quakers, who were essentially a fringe movement.
I'm sorry Dan but this is factually incorrect. At the time the US constitution was written, abolitionism was very well established. The rationalist philosophers of the enlightment, who were the primary inspiration for the framers of the constitution, considered slavery a violation of the rights of man and were outspoken proponents of abolish. Slavery was abolished in England in 1772. It was abolished in Portugal in 1777. Nearly all the northern states had either abolished slavery or had adopted laws to gradually abolish slavery well before the constitutional convention began. Slavery was perhaps the most controversial issue at the constitutional convention. Many delegates wanted the constitution abolish or severely restrict slavery. Abolish was not a fringe issue in anyway, it was a major controversy. Many of delegates in the constitutional convention strongly favored Federal regulation or prohibition of slavery. The pro-slavery states prevailed not because abolitionism was unpopular but because the delegates, as a body, felt the need to form a union was greater than the need to settle the slavery issue.

quote:
Despite this, the US Constitution included numerous pieces of anti-slavery language, and was fundamentally an anti-slavery document. That's a pretty good accomplishment for a pack of privileged racist white men.
I believe this is also factually incorrect. I am unaware of any anti-slavery language in either the US constitution of the Bill of Rights. Perhaps you could point out the parts you think are anti-slavery.

The closest thing I can think of is that the US constitution did not restrict the right to serve in elected office or vote in elections to property owners.

On the other hand, the constitution also did not (and still does not) guarantee any individual the right to vote in any election. States were given the right to choose "electors" for the house of representatives with the sole restriction that the electors must meet the requirements to serve in the house (i.e be male citizens over 21).

States were free to limit voting rights as they saw fit until after the Civil War and the adoption of the 14th and 15tht amendments. Even with the 14th and 15th amendments, states could still restrict the right to vote on almost any criteria except race, but doing so incurred a proportional decrease in the number of representatives they would be granted. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited states from denying voting rights on criteria (such as literacy tests) that had the effect of discriminating based on race. To the best of my understanding, there is still no constitutional provision that would prevent states from severely restricting voting rights on grounds other than race, gender or age. A state could for example, limit voting rights to people with over $1 million in personal property or persons with doctoral degrees or person affiliated with selected parties** or persons weighing under 200 lbs. Choosing to do this would result in a proportional decrease in the number of representatives allotted to the state, but it would not be prohibited.

**Outrageous as that may sound, many states do exactly this for primary elections and a state could, at least in theory, opt for this kind of restriction in other elections as well.

[ January 24, 2012, 05:16 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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Lyrhawn
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Dan -

Your definition of the Framers makes them almost useless in a historical context. Founders, as a broader term that encompasses a couple of extremely important extra individuals is far more helpful for one very important reason. After the Constitution was ratified, no one still knew what the hell it meant. Because, even as Frederick Douglass pointed out, do you count intentions or a plain text reading? What do you do when a plain text reading of the document results in two different interpretations, because the framers were simply too vague on many, MANY points? Who is the final arbiter? Well, the Constitution does NOT clearly state that it's the Supreme Court. Congress thought that THEY were the final word, and would basically police themselves. So John Marshall ended up being maybe the most important Founding Father, because his words on what the Constitution meant set the tone for decades after.

That's why the document was in so many ways IMPERFECT, because it led to so much damn fighting over what the hell it actually meant.

Frederick Douglass was just plain flat-out wrong, for a number of reasons. I understand the argument he was trying to make, and it was a bold one at the time, but there wasn't a court in the land who agreed with him, especially not the Taney Court that was in power at the time and expressly DISAGREED with him. Guess whose word carried more weight? Douglass was trying to form a legal argument that could be used under the current regime that would guarantee freedom, but it took a 100 years, a real war, a virtual guerrilla war in the 50s and 60s, and hundreds of course cases and laws to prove that that Constitution meant what he thought it meant (it also took three constitutional amendments).

I tend to agree with kate about the problems with idealizing the document. The more you sanctify it, the harder it is to fault it, and thus to remedy its problems. It's why I think the GOP spends so much time waxing rhapsodic about the founding fathers. The more infallible you make them appear, the harder it is to assail their creation.

Plus you have to consider that a great deal of the Constitution was derivative. They were borrowing, and outright stealing from a host of European Enlightenment thinkers. They put it together in a very, very interesting way, but the vast majority of the pieces weren't original.

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Lyrhawn
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Rabbit -

quote:
I'm sorry Dan but this is factually incorrect. At the time the US constitution was written, abolitionism was very well established. The rationalist philosophers of the enlightment, who were the primary inspiration for the framers of the constitution, considered slavery a violation of the rights of man and were outspoken proponents of abolish. Slavery was abolished in England in 1772. It was abolished in Portugal in 1777. Nearly all the northern states had either abolished slavery or had adopted laws to gradually abolish slavery well before the constitutional convention began. Slavery was perhaps the most controversial issue at the constitutional convention. Many delegates wanted the constitution abolish or severely restrict slavery. Because several southern states refused to join the union if slavery was not allowed the constitution allowed states to regulate slavery
Based on what Dan said, specifically, I don't think he's far off. He said the "only significant groups of abolitionists." Northern states by and large did not offer manumission when they outlawed slavery. Mostly, one of two things happened: 1. Northern slave owners simply moved south. 2. Northern slave owners simply sold all their slaves to the south and made a boatload of cash by liquidating their investments right around the time the Atlantic Slave Trade was illegalized. And why was the Slave Trade made illegal? It certainly wasn't for humanitarian reasons. More slaves in the South meant more economic and political power, and the North was already staring down the barrel at 70 years of Southern political power, and didn't want to make it any worse.

Abolitionist groups in the sense that Dan is talking about didn't come about until the nineteenth-century. And since he's largely talking about sensibilities, you have to look at motive. Many, even by the time the Free Soilers came about, didn't want slavery spread because they didn't want to be anywhere near blacks, not because they actually gave a damn. The Garrisonians were a great minority until the 1840s and onward.

The only explicitly anti-slavery piece of the Constitution I can think of is the part that put a two-decade moratorium on the issue of the Atlantic Slave Trade...though how you interpret that is debatable. They knew that as soon as the moratorium was over that the Trade would be outlawed...but then they did include the protection to begin with. So do you count the protection as pro-slavery, or do you look at the fact that it had a sunset provision as anti-slavery? Either way I fundamentally agree with you on it as a pro-slavery document.

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Dan_Frank
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Heh, I think it's interesting how my stance of "I dislike how schools denigrate the Constitution" has been flipped around to "How dare anyone speak ill of the infallible Constitution." I think this makes sense in light of something Sam said a page or two ago: He's never encountered the attitude that I'm talking about. So clearly, at least insofar as the Constitution is concerned, the attitude I encountered in school is rare. That's great! It pleases me.

But I think it also means that you guys are trying to interpret my comments through what you're aware of in schools, as if I am calling whatever that might be "Denigrating the Constitution," when in fact I probably wouldn't.

I think I'm done trying to argue this, because I agree with most of what Kate, Rabbit, and Lyr are saying. I don't think the Founders/Framers/Constitution are infallible. I think that trying to act as if they are (like the Tennesseeans of the original topic were trying to do) is totally wrongheaded.

Just to poke this bear of an argument one more time, I will say to Lyrhawn: I have a significant problem with the Supreme Court as arbiters of the Constitution. I understand that, practically speaking, people argue about what the Constitution means, so I understand why things developed the way they did. But I think that SCOTUS has done at least as much harm as good over the years, which to me is fairly unsurprising considering how much power is being given to a very small group of people.

Given this problem, arguments against Douglass like "He's wrong because the courts in his time disagreed with him" really don't persuade me. Right and wrong is not a function of the courts.

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kmbboots
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Dan, that was specifically why I asked you if you thought the Founding Fathers were "different" than other men. You responded, "Do I think they're different than normal men? Sure."

Now. I think that you are far from the worst or even a typical example of what I am talking about, but you are on the edge of it and a window into the mind set.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Dan, that was specifically why I asked you if you thought the Founding Fathers were "different" than other men. You responded, "Do I think they're different than normal men? Sure."

I also think that Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill were different from normal men.

In this way: most men don't achieve greatness. For those that do, I think it has more to do with their intellect and character than simple luck or happenstance. So I think that makes them different and, yes, better, than "normal" (average) men. Certainly better than me!


quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Now. I think that you are far from the worst or even typical example of what I am talking about, but you are a window into the mind set.

Thank you I think.
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The Rabbit
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Dan_Frank, I think reason people may be misinterpreting what you have said, is that we really aren't familiar with anything schools do that might be reasonably be considered denigrating the constitution. Since we aren't familiar with things schools do to denigrate the constitution, we are referring to things we know happen -- schools teaching about the legitimate failings of the founding fathers and real limitations of the constitution.

Could you please give us some specific examples of what was taught in your school that you think denigrated the constitution so I have an idea what you are talking about.

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Dan_Frank
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I think I'd rather accept that the experience I'm remembering was rare and unique, and not dwell on it. And go forward with the belief that, although there may be a leftist bias in schools, this does not generally extend into actually denigrating the founding document of our country. Which is A-Okay with me.
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Lyrhawn
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Dan -

quote:
Just to poke this bear of an argument one more time, I will say to Lyrhawn: I have a significant problem with the Supreme Court as arbiters of the Constitution. I understand that, practically speaking, people argue about what the Constitution means, so I understand why things developed the way they did. But I think that SCOTUS has done at least as much harm as good over the years, which to me is fairly unsurprising considering how much power is being given to a very small group of people.
Soooooo....who gets the final say then?
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kmbboots
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Dan, maybe if you could explain what you mean by different...?

For example, (to draw again on my Church) many Catholics (fewer these days)) think of priests as special - as having some quality that ordinary men don't have. Something that makes them better.* Is this what you mean? Or do you mean that the were normal men who had some ordinary advantages in intelligence, education and so forth?

* This belief did not make protection children from predators any easier.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Dan -

quote:
Just to poke this bear of an argument one more time, I will say to Lyrhawn: I have a significant problem with the Supreme Court as arbiters of the Constitution. I understand that, practically speaking, people argue about what the Constitution means, so I understand why things developed the way they did. But I think that SCOTUS has done at least as much harm as good over the years, which to me is fairly unsurprising considering how much power is being given to a very small group of people.
Soooooo....who gets the final say then?
I don't have a good answer for you, man. Yeah, I'm not very happy with how much power they have, and how their very loose interpretations of text allow for what I see as all sorts of shenanigans. But I don't advocate dismantling SCOTUS or any other radical solution I've ever seen proposed. I guess I'm just a grumpy, sideline curmudgeon on this issue, only able to bitch about what I see as wrong without proposing a viable solution.

Edit: I really should just always quote who I respond to, as it takes me so long to type a response that someone ninjas their way in between 9 out of 10 times.

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Lyrhawn
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I think they've been highly problematic in the past. The history of SCOTUS is fascinating. Sometimes they're a trailing body, in that they're the last ones to get on board with the changing social mores of society, and sometimes they're on the leading edge, dragging the rest of the country kicking and screaming along with them.

The legal history of civil rights in this country, especially as pertains to race, is a see-saw of opinions as to what the Constitution means.

When they don't agree with me, I think they're destructive. When they do agree with me, I think they're a saving grace. Funny how that works.

I think once you stop and think that there's simply no solution that will make 100% of the people happy 100% of the time, you realize this is the best thing we can do. In 1800, Congress thought they had the final word, which strikes me as the worst idea possible.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Dan, maybe if you could explain what you mean by different...?

For example, (to draw again on my Church) many Catholics (fewer these days)) think of priests as special - as having some quality that ordinary men don't have. Something that makes them better.* Is this what you mean? Or do you mean that the were normal men who had some ordinary advantages in intelligence, education and so forth?

* This belief did not make protection children from predators any easier.

Ah, wow, okay!

So, I am about as non-spiritual/mystical/religious as it is possible to be. I was barely even brought up religious (my parents are devout Tibetan Buddhists but they were also pretty hands-off), and was completely atheist by the time I reached adolescence. So this interpretation of my words honestly didn't even occur to me. Sorry to use phrases that had a loaded meaning.

I think in the context you mean, they are normal men who accomplished a form of greatness that is essentially within everyone's grasp. The reason I think they are extraordinary/special/what-have-you is because so few people actually manage to realize this potential. So, when someone does, that makes them exceptional. That's pretty much it.

Lyrhawn: Yeah I largely agree with you re: SCOTUS. If a group that is supposed to be nonpartisan/impartial pisses off each side roughly 50% of the time, they're probably doing an okay job. Still, man, they sure do piss me off sometimes. [Big Grin]

And I stand by what I said about truth and rightness not being beholden to the courts. The fact that the courts didn't agree with Douglass did not make him wrong, in my opinion.

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Destineer
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quote:
Actually, my single biggest problem with Awlaki's death was that he wasn't tried in absentia.
Uh, mine too. I thought that's what we were arguing about.

quote:
In any event, I'd be fine with offing him even if that was provably all he'd done. Sorry, if you're going to operate internationally in an effort-successful or really damaging in many cases-to destroy or weaken our government or those of our allies, to help incite civil wars, to be an effective recruitment tool for those who will do so, we might just kill you, if we can. And won't have violated any sort of decency in doing so.
Do you at least agree that we will have violated the US Constitution by doing so?

quote:
-I hardly think you'd support vastly amping up special forces, intelligence services, cooperation with local (often pretty nasty) governments, etc. etc. in order to fight terrorism, would you?
I actually think that's exactly what we should do!
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Destineer
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quote:
Now he has to give orders?
I was using "give orders" as short for exhorting immediate violence.
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