June 23, 2016 | Claire Bernish
No, Democrats are taking a stand because they want to strip those listed on the ubiquitous and utterly flawed terror watch list of the right to purchase legal firearms.
Perhaps it slipped Lewis’ mind that even he once landed on the notorious, if not opprobrious, terror watch list — a footnote so telling of its arbitrariness and extent, it should disqualify any admonishing moral stance he has to offer. Mediaite dug up the report of Lewis’ no-fly status from the bowels of CNN’s old news from 2004, which explained the congressman’s difficulty once finally finding out the mistake:
“Lewis contacted the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security and executives at various airlines in a so-far fruitless effort to get his name off the list.”
Indeed, the so-called civil rights champion, Lewis, penned a letter in 2014 decrying the lack of an appeals process for the wrongly-listed, noting there exists “no effective means of redress for unfair or incorrect designations.”
Oh, the palpable irony.
Arguments between pro- and anti-gun advocates must be set aside to grasp the pertinence of the matter the Democrats have chosen to champion — guns have nothing to do with what’s actually at stake.
Nearly half the people on the government’s various watch lists were designated as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation,” the Interceptreported from documents obtained in 2014 — meaning they had no business landing on such lists, whatsoever.
“The ACLU strongly urges you to vote against the Collins Amendment because it uses the error prone and unfair watchlist system, along with vague and overbroad terms, as a predicate for proceeding to deny a firearms permit.”
The letter warned relying on such lists “would open the door to arbitrary and discriminatory government action.”
Note, too, the ACLU does not oppose governmental regulation of firearms in the interests of public safety, among other issues, “as long as it is reasonably related to … legitimate government interests,” the letter explains.
Glenn Greenwald lambasted a proposal by Democrats to institute yet another list — this time, with a dystopically secretive bent — on Tuesday in an article for the Intercept, saying:
“To justify this new list, Democrats, in unison, are actually arguing that the U.S. government must constrain people whom they are now calling ‘potential terrorists.’ Just spend a moment pondering how creepy and Orwellian that phrase is in the context of government designations.
“What is a ‘potential terrorist’? Isn’t everyone that? And who wants the U.S. government empowered to unilaterally restrict what citizens can do based on predictions or guesses about what they might become or do in the future?”
Apparently, the U.S. government and its selectively moral Congress members do — and they hope beyond hope you’ll be too distracted by their
tantrum sit-in on the floor of the House and the hotly contentious gun topic to notice that’s precisely the ultimate goal.
Don’t be foolish.
This article (The House Democrats’ Sit-In Is Everything Wrong With the US Government) is an opinion editorial (OP-ED). The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Anti-Media. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ron Paul
If neoconservatives and progressives truly understood fascism, they would stop using the word as a smear term. That is because both groups, along with most political figures and commentators, embrace fascist ideas and policies.
Fascism’s distinguishing characteristic is a “mixed economy.” Unlike socialists and communists who seek to abolish private business, fascists are content to let business remain in private hands. Instead, fascists use regulations, mandates, and taxes to control business and run (and ruin) the economy. A fascist system, then, is one where private businesses serve politicians and bureaucrats instead of consumers. Does the modern American economy not fit the definition of fascism?
Fascism benefits big businesses that can afford the cost of complying with government regulations, unlike their smaller competitors. Big businesses, which have more political influence then entrepreneurs or small businesses, also significantly benefit from government subsidies. In order to maintain their power, big businesses finance the “deep state” — the network of lobbyists, journalists, think tanks, bureaucrats, and congressional staffers who work behind the scenes to shape government policy.
He’s the heir to Richard Nixon, not Saul Alinsky.
Back in 2008, Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich wrote an article for this magazine making a conservative case for Barack Obama. While much of it was based on disgust with the warmongering and budgetary profligacy of the Republican Party under George W. Bush, which he expected to continue under 2008 Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, Bacevich thought Obama at least represented hope for ending the Iraq War and shrinking the national-security state.
I wrote a piece for the New Republic soon afterward about the Obamacon phenomenon—prominent conservatives and Republicans who were openly supporting Obama. Many saw in him a classic conservative temperament: someone who avoided lofty rhetoric, an ambitious agenda, and a Utopian vision that would conflict with human nature, real-world barriers to radical reform, and the American system of government.
Among the Obamacons were Ken Duberstein, Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff; Charles Fried, Reagan’s solicitor general; Ken Adelman, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for Reagan; Jeffrey Hart, longtime senior editor of National Review; Colin Powell, Reagan’s national security adviser and secretary of state for George W. Bush; and Scott McClellan, Bush’s press secretary. There were many others as well.
According to exit polls in 2008, Obama ended up with 20 percent of the conservative vote. Even in 2012, after four years of relentless conservative attacks, he still got 17 percent of the conservative vote, with 11 percent of Tea Party supporters saying they cast their ballots for Obama.
They were not wrong. In my opinion, Obama has governed as a moderate conservative—essentially as what used to be called a liberal Republican before all such people disappeared from the GOP. He has been conservative to exactly the same degree that Richard Nixon basically governed as a moderate liberal, something no conservative would deny today. (Ultra-leftist Noam Chomsky recently called Nixon “the last liberal president.”)
Here’s the proof:
by Herbert Marcuse
|in: Robert Paul Wolff, Barrington Moore, jr., and Herbert Marcuse, A Critique of Pure Tolerance (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969), pp. 95-137.
This 123 page book was originally published 1965; this edition includes Herbert’s 1968 ‘Postscript.’
Note: this ca. 18 page on-line version has not been checked for accuracy. (links at bottom)
Note 10/25/2015: thanks to reader x y zed 2 missing paragraphs have been added.
Added Nov. 2, 2015: Scan of 1969 edition as pdf.
Contents of A Critique of Pure Tolerance
Robert Paul Wolff
Barrington Moore, jr.
This essay is dedicated to my students at Brandeis University.
|THIS essay examines the idea of tolerance in our advanced industrial society. The conclusion reached is that the realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed. In other words, today tolerance appears again as what it was in its origins, at the beginning of the modern period–a partisan goal, a subversive liberating notion and practice. Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression.
The author is fully aware that, at present, no power, no authority, no government exists which would translate liberating tolerance into practice, but he believes that it is the task and duty of the intellectual to recall and preserve historical possibilities which seem to have become utopian possibilities–that it is his task to break the concreteness of oppression in order to open the mental space in which this society can be recognized as what it is and does.
Tolerance is an end in itself. The elimination of violence, and the reduction of suppression to the extent required for protecting man and animals from cruelty and aggression are preconditions for the creation of a humane society. Such a society does not yet exist; progress toward it is perhaps more than before arrested by violence and suppression on a global scale. As deterrents against nuclear war, as police action against subversion, as technical aid in the fight against imperialism and communism, as methods of pacification in neo-colonial massacres, violence and suppression are promulgated, practiced, and defended by democratic and authoritarian governments alike, and the people subjected to these governments are educated to sustain such practices as necessary for the preservation of the status quo. Tolerance is extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery.
This sort of tolerance strengthens the tyranny of the majority against which authentic liberals protested. The political locus of tolerance has changed: while it is more or less quietly and constitutionally withdrawn from the opposition, it is made compulsory behavior with respect to established policies. Tolerance is turned from an active into a passive state, from practice to non-practice: laissez-faire the constituted authorities. It is the people who tolerate the government, which in turn tolerates opposition within the framework determined by the constituted authorities.
Tolerance toward that which is radically evil now appears as good because it serves the cohesion of the whole on the road to affluence or more affluence. The toleration of the systematic moronization of children and adults alike by publicity and propaganda, the release of destructiveness in aggressive driving, the recruitment for and training of special forces, the impotent and benevolent tolerance toward outright deception in merchandizing, waste, and planned obsolescence are not distortions and aberrations, they are the essence of a system which fosters tolerance as a means for perpetuating the struggle for existence and suppressing the alternatives. The authorities in education, morals, and psychology are vociferous against the increase in juvenile delinquency; they are less vociferous against the proud presentation, in word and deed and pictures, of ever more powerful missiles, rockets, bombs–the mature delinquency of a whole civilization.
According to a dialectical proposition it is the whole which determines the truth–not in the sense that the whole is prior or superior to its parts, but in the sense that its structure and function determine every particular condition and relation. Thus, within a repressive society, even progressive movements threaten to turn into their opposite to the degree to which they accept the rules of the game. To take a most controversial case: the exercise of political rights (such as voting, letter-writing to the press, to Senators, etc., protest-demonstrations with a priori renunciation of counterviolence) in a society of total administration serves to strengthen this administration by testifying to the existence of democratic liberties which, in reality, have changed their content and lost their effectiveness. In such a case, freedom (of opinion, of assembly, of speech) becomes an instrument for absolving servitude. And yet (and only here the dialectical proposition shows its full intent) the existence. and practice of these liberties remain a precondition for the restoration of their original oppositional function, provided that the effort to transcend their (often self-imposed) limitations is intensified. Generally, the function and value of tolerance depend on the equality prevalent in the society in which tolerance is practiced. Tolerance itself stands subject to overriding criteria: its range and its limits cannot be defined in terms of the respective society. In other words, tolerance is an end in itself only when it is truly universal, practiced by the rulers as well as by the ruled, by the lords as well as by the peasants, by the sheriffs as well as by their victims. And such universal tolerance is possible only when no real or alleged enemy requires in the national interest the education and training of people in military violence and destruction. As long as these conditions do not prevail, the conditions of tolerance are ‘loaded’: they are determined and defined by the institutionalized inequality (which is certainly compatible with constitutional equality), i.e., by the class structure of society. In such a society, tolerance is de facto limited on the dual ground of legalized violence or suppression (police, armed forces, guards of all sorts) and of the privileged position held by the predominant interests and their ‘connections’.
These background limitations of tolerance are normally prior to the explicit and judicial limitations as defined by the courts, custom, governments, etc. (for example, ‘clear and present danger’, threat to national security, heresy). Within the framework of such a social structure, tolerance can be safely practiced and proclaimed. It is of two kinds: