Friday, March 31, 2006

Is Violence A Conservative Value?

Good question: Is Violence A Conservative Value?

Curt Day asks and answers this question in a very interesting way. More interesting is that a Liberal Jesus and a LIberal or Progressive Christian infusion into conservative thinking would probably lessen global violence.....

Let us know your thoughts about this article.

Mary

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Is Violence a COnservative Value? by Curt Day

I stood flabbergasted. My conservative Christian friend had just said the unimaginable. His solution for Iran, if they do not cooperate, was to nuke them. Not only would such an attack stop Iran dead in its tracks, it could serve as an warning for the rest of the world. In another conversation, another conservative friend of mine said that Israel's use of force on the Palestinians is an efficient model for us. Israel's use of force includes killing 6 Palestinian children to every one Israeli child killed by terrorists. Another conservative friend of mine said that she didn’t mind war because good could come out of it.

Do Christian Conservatives have a monopoly on violence? Unfortunately, misery loves company. A right-wing Knesset candidate, Baruch Marzel, has called on the IDF to assassinate leftist activist Uri Avnery. Who is responsible for this call to violence? According to Marzel, it is the leftists who are bringing this on themselves.

Where have we heard this shift in responsibility before? We heard it when reading conservative accounts of the death of Rachel Corrie. Dennis Pragger's, in a March 2003 Townhall article claims that Palestinian terrorism was responsible. This explanation does not account for the Israeli bulldozer driver and spotter and that Rachel made herself visibe. Steven Plaut, writing for the IntellectualConservative website, claimed that Rachel committed suicide. Hans Zieger, writing an article for the RenewAmerica website blamed Rachel's college. To support those using violence while blaming someone else for the result is simply an attempt to have your cake and eat it too.

Do we find a different result when we visit Islam? No. Violent reactions to cartoons and the desire to carry out death penalties on the converts to other religions are the rage for some. Do we need to mention the desire by some Muslims to attack Israel or behead people?

What does everyone advocating violence mentioned above have in common? The answer is that they are all conservatives. Conservatives!

Do all conservatives love violence? Certainly not! Are only conservatives violent? Certainly not! But should we ignore the possibility that more conservatives than liberals favor the use of violence? Certainly not! What is needed is to understand the dynamics that could explain why today's conservatives would be more likely to favor the use of force.

Why would conservatives resort to fighting? Having grown up in a home that was both religiously and politically conservative, I would propose the following possibilities: the conservative world view, the emphasis on authority, and thinking patterns,

Conservatives, by definition, support traditional views. Traditional religious views see the world in a battle between good and evil. Thus when there is a conflict, one is dealing with an opponent who is completely the opposite. The only way to win such a conflict is to annihilate the enemy. To survive, one must use more force first before the evil enemy inevitably does the same. There can be neither time nor room for understanding their opponents' circumstances when confronting objectionable behavior. Ironically, conservatives exercise more charity when viewing their own questionable actions. Hypocrisy is a problem here.

Because Conservatives support tradition, they find themselves relying on authority more often than not. In essence, authority is a conservative's vicar for violence. With Islam, the individual is ordered(is given permission) to use violence to defend God's honor. Meanwhile, Israeli and Christian conservatives tend to use proxies--the government. Therefore, while most conservative Christians and Israelis look down on their Muslim counterparts for committing individual acts of brutality, the same Christians and Israelis urge their government to kill and destroy.

Finally, the more conservative one is, the more likely that person engages in all or nothing thinking. The same can be said of being liberal but most liberals shun violence. This all or nothing thinking contributes to the conservative practice of looking at their enemy as just being evil. To determine whether you are good or bad, you focus solely on your good traits; this enables you to overlook your bad traits.

If violence is more of a conservative thing than not, then we might come to a new and interesting world view. We could see our current wars as intramural battles between competing conservative teams. The solution to our problems would be to introduce liberalism into each conservative sphere. We must point out how odd it is that the opposite of conservative is not their military enemy. And yet it is the enemy that conservatives fear the most.

Curt Day is a religious flaming fundamentalist and a political extreme moderate. He can be reached at cday@prodigy.net.

Pillaging the Treasury and the Constitution - Bush is NO Conservative!

Reading the article below, I knew that the 60-70 active readers we get daily on our blog would want to read it in it's entirety. So, here it is - enjoy!

Full credit for this article goes to: http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts03282006.html

Peace Out -

Paul

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Pillaging the Treasury and the Constitution

Bush is No Conservative

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

President Bush passes himself off as a conservative Republican and a born-again Christian. These are disguises behind which Bush hides. Would a Christian invade another country on false pretenses, kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and show no remorse or inclination to cease the aggression?

Long-time Republican policy-wonk Bruce Bartlett recently published a book, Impostor, in which he proves that President Bush is no economic conservative, having broken all records in spending taxpayers' money and running up public debt.

Were Bush merely another big spender, his presidency wouldn't differ from other pork barrel administrations, but Bush's radicalism goes far beyond spending. Bush supports outsourcing American jobs, and he has taken an irreverent approach to the U.S. Constitution.

Bush bears no resemblance to a political conservative. A political conservative does not confuse government with country. Patriotism means loyalty to country. Bush, however, demands allegiance to his government: "You are with us or against us!" Critics of the Bush administration are branded "unpatriotic" and even "treasonous."

Loyalty to country means allegiance to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the separation of powers. It does not mean blind support for a president, an administration, or a political party.

The separation of powers and civil liberties that were bequeathed to us by the Founding Fathers are the protectors of our liberty. Bush, who swore on the Bible that he would defend and uphold the Constitution, has made it clear that he will not let the Constitution get in the way of expanding the powers of his office.

Bush has over-ridden a number of protections in the Bill of Rights. The right to assemble and to demonstrate has been infringed. The Secret Service now routinely removes protesters from the scene of Bush political events. Many unthinking Americans go along with this authoritarianism because they don't agree with the protesters, but once the right is lost, everyone loses it.

Bush has ignored habeas corpus and claims the unconstitutional power to arrest and detain people indefinitely without a warrant and without presenting charges to a judge. This is the most dangerous abuse of all, because whoever is in office can use this power against political opponents. Many unthinking Americans are not concerned, because they think this power will be used only against terrorists. However, as the Bush administration has admitted, many of its detainees are not terrorists. Most are innocent people kidnapped by tribal leaders and sold to the U.S. for the bounties paid for "terrorists."

Bush has refused to obey statutory law, specifically the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Bush claims that as commander-in-chief he has the right to ignore the law and to spy on Americans without a warrant. Many unthinking Americans are unconcerned, saying that as they are doing nothing wrong they have nothing to fear. This attitude misses the point in a large way. If a president can establish himself above one law, he can establish himself above all laws. There is no line drawn through the law that divides the laws between the ones the president must obey and the ones he need not obey.

FISA does not interfere with government spying for national security purposes. Secrecy is protected, because the court of federal judges that issues the warrants is secret. Moreover the law allows the government to spy first and then come to the court for a warrant. The purpose of the warrant is to be sure that the government is spying for legitimate purposes and not abusing the power to spy on political opponents for nefarious purposes.

When presidents sign a bill passed by Congress that they think might be interpreted in ways that could impinge on the powers of their office, they add a "signing statement" to protect traditional presidential powers. Under Bush this practice has exploded. Bush has used signing statements considerably in excess of all previous presidents combined. Moreover, Bush uses the statements not to protect president powers, but to nullify acts of Congress, such as Republican Senator John McCain's law against torture. Bush is using signing statements to turn the presidency into a dictatorship in which the executive is not accountable to laws passed by Congress. The next step is simply to announce that the executive is not accountable to elections either.

Bush's government is the first in our history in which there are no dissenting voices and no debate. Uniformity of opinion is more characteristic of a dictatorial government than a conservative one. Bush's government is all of one mind, because all important positions are held by neoconservatives.

Neoconservative is a deceptive term. It means "new conservatives," but there is nothing conservative about neocons. Neoconservatives believe in imposing their agenda on other countries--the antithesis of American conservatism.

In short, real conservatives believe in conserving the Constitution, government accountability, and civil liberties, and avoiding foreign entanglements. Judging by its behavior and its statements, the Bush administration stands completely outside the conservative tradition.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts@yahoo.com

Friday, March 24, 2006

Constitutional Law Professior Spanks Angry Republican Senator

Now, here's one for the Public Record! I wish more people would stand up and fight back against the domineering Republican Christian Right - especially in public like Professor Jamie Raskin. Perhaps someone should share this information with the President.

This reminds me of the bumper sticker I saw the other day, created in response to the radical right wing religious cabal called "Focus On the Family"...the sticker said "Focus on your Own Damn Family"! I love it.

Enjoy the article.

Peace -

Paul

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February 6th, 2006, a Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock ruled that a Maryland state law banning same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. In response to that decision, state lawmakers opposed to same-sex marriage introduced a resolution to impeach Judge Murdock (a move which was defeated in the Judiciary Committee) and a bill calling for the amendment of Maryland's constitution to prohibit all same-sex marriages. Although the bill failed to garner sufficient support for passage, it was reintroduced in a version that would define marriage as a union between a man and a women only but would still allow for civil unions. The latter bill was being debated by a Senate committee on 1 March 2006, when, according to the Baltimore Sun, "Clergy, constitutional law experts and children of gay parents were among those who packed the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee room to speak out on the issue." Part of that debate featured some give-and-take between Nancy Jacobs, a Republican state senator, and Jamin Raskin, a professor of constitutional law from Washington's American University over the influence of the Bible on modern law. The Sun reported the following exchange taking place between the two:

"As I read Biblical principles, marriage was intended, ordained and started by God — that is my belief," [Jacobs] said. "For me, this is an issue solely based on religious principals."

Raskin shot back that the Bible was also used to uphold now-outlawed statutes banning interracial marriage, and that the constitution should instead be lawmakers' guiding principle.

"People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution; they don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible," he said.

Some in the room applauded, which led committee chairman Sen. Brian E. Frosh, a Democrat from Montgomery County, to call for order. "This isn't a football game," he said.

Assuming the Sun's account is accurate, we note that the version of events quoted at the head of this page has been somewhat altered and compressed to make the exchange more direct and personal (i.e., Senator Jacobs' statement about marriage and the Bible has been simplified, and she did not issue a "What do you have to say about that?" challenge; Professor Raskin's response referred to people in general, not to Senator Jacobs specifically; and although some spectators applauded, the room did not "erupt into applause"), but the setting and gist of Professor Raskin's statement are correctly reported.

We don't know if Professor Raskin should get credit for originating this quip, however, because the concept has been used before. For example, comedian Bill Maher said the following (in reference to the Terry Schiavo case) during the 1 April 2005 broadcast of his HBO television program, Real Time with Bill Maher:

The Federal Appeals Court in Atlanta scolded [Congress and the President] the other day for acting in a manner they said, "demonstrably at odds with our founding fathers' blueprint." There are laws named after one person, like the Miranda laws, but they don't just apply to Mr. Miranda. They apply to everyone. Not so with the Schiavo Law. Does George Bush remember that he put his hand on the Bible to uphold the Constitution and not the other way around?




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