The blood on Obama's hands

Among many who admire Barack Obama, people like Bill Moyers, there is a growing concern that he has some big blind spots. First is the continuing escalation of the war in Afghanistan. Moyers likens this trend to the earliest days of John Kennedy's presidency, a trend that proved disastrous for America's moral standing in the world. Obama is on that same dark path as his generals on the ground do what generals on the ground always do: ask for more and more and more troops.

A second blind spot for Obama is the continuing use of Blackwater mercenaries, not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Pakistan. There is ample evidence that these people are murdering war-profiteers, and it is a blight on Obama's young presidency that they've been allowed to maintain contracts with our government.

A third blind spot is Obama's failure to begin dismantling America's outrageously costly and ineffective war on drugs. People are dying from drug-related crime everyday, not only in our country but also in other countries where the useless war is being fought with armed drones, troops on the ground and worse.

Apparently politicians these days need moral support from We the People to do the right thing. Unable to stand on their own against the tide of corporate pressure, they seem to require bullying from constituents before they'll act for the common good.

Bully away.

Comments

Camp Lejeune

For a while, it's been "give him time"....

but it seems the more time goes by, the more it looks like a continuation of the Bush administration. Have we left Iraq? Guess not. Now the markets are even betting that there will be a half-assed 'reform' bill, without any 'public option', but guaranteed to increase the profits to the same bunch of crooks who have been running the rackets. Oh yeah, I did get my $250 stimulus, so I should be happy.

Judge a tree by its fruit

Obama might even be a more effective imperialist than Bush. He's doing just as much or more than Bush to impose US hegemony, and he's able to do so with much less negative publicity.

He's escalating the war in Afghanistan and expanding the conflict into Pakistan. He continues to threaten Iran, support Israeli apartheid, and occupy Iraq. Once again we are providing military assistance to Georgia, our little AEI neo-con project, and pushing for missile defense in eastern Europe (although it's been reported that they are backing off a little on that front). Just what we need right now is a stand-off with Russia!

We continue to be friendly with a Chinese government that violates human rights on a daily basis. We impose sanctions on several countries around the world that only serve to help prop up the regime and hurt the people. Why are we still treating Cuba like a threat?

And why the HELL are we spending money we DON'T have on new military bases in Columbia?!?! Bush would have caught way more shit for pulling a stunt like that.

Meanwhile Cindy Sheehan is being completely ignored by the mainstream media ("enough already").

Since this is a foreign policy post, I want to plug the very best website for foreign policy news and views. http://antiwar.com/

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

You'd have to be crazy to agree with our foreign policy

I figured we'd see eye to eye on the foreign policy front - it's just pure common sense. Even Pat Buchanan thinks U.S. imperialism is a bad thing.

I enjoyed your post on Russia - I know a little about the subject (mainly what I've read here and there, and from Crossing the Rubicon), but it was definitely a more subtle form of neoliberal looting and I don't know all the details of how it went down.

As someone who does believe strongly in real free market economics, I especially hate neoliberalism and the vulgar libertarian ideology employed to justify the kind of corporate imperialism (state-capitalism) you describe. IMO, it's a form of fascism and creates a backlash that only further perverts the free market.

Oh, and a lot of people die in the process.

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Oh GOD !! I agree with Quigley on something

The difference between socialism and facism is distinct. Socialism is all about the government being involved in everyone's life and making sure that everyone has everything they need to survive and ultimately to make sure that there isn't a "class" society where there are those that benefit from success and if they do, the fruits of that success will be taken away to provide benefit to those that don't succeed. Now, I'm sure that's an extremely "rough" presentation on "socialism", but suffice to say it goes to the point.

Facism is all about allowing those that succeed: Businesses and Industry and investors and so forth, to do so only under direction and control of the government. In other words, people can invest in a small business and achieve good results with that yet they will be "governed" almost completely in what they do.

I agree with Quigley on this one. Our country has been successful for a very long time because we have a free market economy. Government intervention and control will only weaken that in my opinion (although there is a case to be made that there has been a lot of corruption and graft in that respect). I am a moderate that believes there is a place for government in our lives but not to the point that sees the state controlling innovation and entrepeneurship.

Pleasantly surprised

I'm glad you agree that a truly free market (in which the government doesn't create a legal system designed to favor certain institutions over others) is the foundation of a prosperous society.

Socialism is much more honest about the state's control/ownership of industry. In fascism, we're told to believe that we really own our businesses, that competition drives the economy, and that the law doesn't play favorites - when it fact none of those things are true.

Socialism, like when government owns an industry overtly, means that people will thus demand a certain amount of political accountability for the type of services they receive. A fascist economy is controlled by a state that, due to the mechanisms of control, is less likely to come under populist pressure.

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Happy you liked my presentation

But, Quigley, the truth is the truth. We're on the same wavelength on this one. And, I'm surprised just as you are on this one.

BlackWater CIA Blood Continues?

When the CIA revived a plan to kill or capture terrorists in 2004, the agency turned to the well-connected security company then known as Blackwater USA.

Blackwater changed its corporate name to Xe Services in early 2009. With Blackwater's lucrative government security work and contacts arrayed in hot spots around the world, company officials offered the services of foreigners supposedly skilled at tracking terrorists in lawless regions and countries where the CIA had no working relationships with the government.

Blackwater told the CIA that it "could put people on the ground to provide the surveillance and support — all of the things you need to conduct an operation," a former senior CIA official familiar with the secret program told The Associated Press.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/WireStory?id=8446378

Generals asking for more troops

saying, "The war can be won."

What does that mean ... "the war can be won"? By when? At what cost? Will "winning" look like the so-called victory in Iraq? We can all see how well that's going.

It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

You know what you are talking about

This "war" in Afghanistan is a wastful effort on America's behalf. We're losing a lot of troops trying to do what we have been unsuccessful doing for decades in this country and that is "nation building". I know the impetus behind Obama's reasoning that the Taliban/Osama were the perps in 911 and we must go after them and crush them, but let's all be honest people. We haven't been attacked since September 11, 2001 and we are pretty secure in our country and the countries like Afghanistan and Iraq and other muslim countries around the world are taking big efforts against these terrorist elements. We should be involved in "advising" and in helping to direct "nationals" and so forth. We need to get our collective A..es out of both countries mach schnell !! All these efforts are doing is costing taxpayers a great deal of money that we can and should be spending elsewhere.

Send Ron Paul Armed Supporters to Afghanistan?

"One of the Town Hall Phoenix protesters, a former Paul campaign volunteer, carried an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. “This government is the most corrupt Mafioso on the face of the Earth.”

But there’s a darker side to the story: Some of Paul’s grassroots supporters have protested, armed, at health-care town-hall meetings. They are connected in a loose-knit, nationwide network of activists who believe the current federal government is largely illegitimate and unconstitutional. Some have ties to the “birther” movement, which believes—disregarding all evidence—that President Obama is not a natural-born American citizen.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-08-30/revenge-of-the-paultards/

The Dark Side

They are connected in a loose-knit, nationwide network of activists who believe the current federal government is largely illegitimate and unconstitutional.

I can't imagine how someone could possibly hold those views.

/s

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Order! Order! Put those guns away!

I can't imagine how someone could possibly hold those views.* DR Q

Easy! It's call the Republican Party and a perfect example of unconsitutional insanity gone wild at Tea Party Town Hall meeting.........

/s was for /sarcasm

I actually agree with the right to openly carry firearms, and the political statement of exercising that right at a political rally in a peaceful and non-threatening way.

I also think that the Federal Government is completely illegitimate, and operates almost entirely outside the bounds of the Constitution regardless of one's preferred method of Constitutional interpretation. I'm not saying that the Constitution actually grants any true legal authority to Congress to begin with, but even if it did they aren't following it so it's not even an issue.

It is, however, true that Glenn Beck, the Republican Party, and a lot of the town hall protesters are morons.

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Dead Man's Hand?

I actually agree with the right to openly carry firearms, and the political statement of exercising that right at a political rally in a peaceful and non-threatening way.* Dr Q

Has it ever occured to you why Saloons in the ole wild west days demanded that guns be check in with the local Sheriff until the Card Game was over?

In any civilize society or a democracy base government of State or for that fact! There are Umpires or Refrees [Judges] or civil officals to sort out or keep order during the public hearing of the masses. Anything else is consider mob rule or a lynch mob!

In the early ancient Roman Republic, Swords and Draggers were check in at the Senate meeting, and when a Roman General return from a Victory over the Barbarians, he check in his Sword at the Gates of Rome as his submission to civil authority.......You don't bring a Sword or a Dragger to hear Ceasar Speak at the Senate about Peace?

So?

The people who have legally concealed or openly-carried weapons weren't breaking the law, and they weren't a threat to anyone. Those political events were swarming with law enforcement and security personnel - and everything was fine.

I really don't see what the security policy of Western Saloons or the Roman Senate has to do with any of this, seeing as how there were security policies in effect at all of the events in question and the security policies weren't being violated.

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Sword Control at a Town Hall meeting?

I really don't see what the security policy of Western Saloons or the Roman Senate has to do with any of this, seeing as how there were security policies in effect at all of the events in question and the security policies weren't being violated. * Dr Q

Well! Than I guess you need to bring a bigger weapon to the Town Hall meeting to gain mainstream media attention about the 2 nd amendment. How about renting out a used M-1 Abrams Battle Tank and parking it across the street from the meeting?

You are aware that Ceasar was speaking about the pros and cons of " Sword control" at the Senate meeting until some Senators found a dragger legal loophole in his speech?

Ask yourself one question? If you were in the National Finals of Hold'em Poker in Vegas and you knew that Billy The Kid was sitting across the table from you!

1. Would you call him a cheat when he show you 5 ACES? And not expect him to draw on you? Or would you fold and tip toe out of the Saloon?

Our honeymoon didn't last long :/

I actually agree with the right to openly carry firearms, and the political statement of exercising that right at a political rally in a peaceful and non-threatening way.

Okay, so: You classify our government as violent, even though the vast majority of (state+federal) government workers are unarmed. But when random people show up in public actually carrying weapons openly, they are "peaceful and non-threatening"?

Q, you're killing me.

Here's the edge __ and here's you >--)o

way the hell on the wrong side of it.

Even shorter than Obama's honeymoon!?!? Noooooooooooooo

Just hear me out on this

Okay, so: You classify our government as violent, even though the vast majority of (state+federal) government workers are unarmed.

Yes, the government is a violent institution, by definition. The fact that it has a moral/legal monopoly on the right to initiate violence is what sets it apart from all other social institutions. Without the ability to use physical violence, a government is no longer a government, because people can't be coerced into obeying law. At the bottom of every stack of legal documents is a gun - it's just the nature of the institution.

But when random people show up in public actually carrying weapons openly, they are "peaceful and non-threatening"?

Were they peaceful? Yes. Were they threatening anyone? No. They weren't random people at all - they were people making a political statement emphasizing the importance of preserving the right of the people to be armed, which is one of the important things that mitigates the danger of having a state which otherwise has a monopoly on the use of force.

As George Orwell said, "That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there."

I don't see how armed citizens could possibly be any scarier than armed government agents, who have a history of misusing weapons (including WMDs) unlike the vast majority of private gun owners (myself included). Weren't we just talking about US Imperialism overseas, and all the death and suffering the government has caused with it's weapons? Our nation's military is the group that needs some fkn gun control.

Where do you think I'm going wrong here?

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Ethics depend on relevant situational factors

The (implied) gun at the bottom of a stack of government documents is evil, but the visible and handy gun on the hip or under the arm of a citizen is holy.

The gun at the bottom of every aspect of government (sometimes hidden, sometimes not) might be the same gun as is held by a citizen, but it's function is different. The government's gun is more often used to initiate aggression towards others. It's purpose is to secure and impose the government's monopolistic grip on power in a given territory. The citizen's gun, in this context, exists to suggest a limit on that power - to stand up against tyranny.

My ethical concern focuses on violence itself instead of being narrowly concerned with guns in particular. I'm concerned about the role of violence in our society, and the institution of violence in our society is the government, with street gangs coming in at an extremely distant second.

Is it not a good thing for the population to be armed, rather than the state? Who do you trust more with guns? Who has a history of misusing power to oppress?

You say we should pursue all non-violent approaches to conflict resolution first, and I agree.

I don't think you really agree in practice, although I might be mistaken. If you did agree, you probably wouldn't support arresting people for non-payment of taxes.

But when one citizen is visibly armed and the other is not, the unarmed one is likely to avoid any dispute with the armed one. In that scenario, whose rights and freedoms are more likely to suffer?

But when the government is visibly armed and the people are not, the people are likely to avoid any dispute with the government. In that scenario, whose rights and freedoms are more likely to suffer?

Handing over all power, including the power to use force in self-defense, to our government will not make us safer or more free.

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Guns and trust and violence and ethics etc.

1. I don't trust anyone with a gun.

2. My ethical concern focuses on violence as well. But the availability of guns ratchets the violence up several notches, or more accurately brings much more tragic results than violence with some other type of weapon.

3. There is a big difference, IMHO, between a healthy distrust of government and paranoia.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Disarm the state

If you don't trust anyone with a gun, do you trust anyone with a knife?

If guns ratchets the violence up several notches, and brings about more tragic results than other weapons, why should we be arming the police with guns?

How much distrust of government is healthy?

My point is, it's impossible to be against violence and guns if you believe in promoting a society dominated and controlled by an institution that operates by employing violence to subject humanity to its authority. Without the ability to administer violence, the state would no longer be the state. Violence is its MO. That's why anyone who cares about non-violence and cooperation should oppose any expansion of state power. If you don't do what I say, I can't legally or morally use violence against you. If you don't do what the government says, it has the legal power to use violence against you - but it does not have the moral right to do so, because to do so is immoral. Accepting that last part is the key to revolutionizing the ethical foundations of society.

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

So what?

Yea, arresting people for buttons, bumperstickers and t-shirts is shameful and ridiculous. So?

The point being, that a loaded gun in a crowd of people is much more dangerous than a t-shirt or bumper sticker or sign.

And? Just because something is more dangerous than a t-shirt, it shouldn't be allowed? Do you think that cops should be carrying guns at political events?

I just don't see where you were going with this. I agree that arresting people in the situations you mentioned was absurd and unwarranted, but it's not relevant.

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

I didn't expect you to understand

The difference between a slogan on a t-shirt and a loaded gun is obvious to most people.

I trust that sworn law enforcement officers who have a duty to protect the safety of the public would handle their firearms appropriately under all circumstances. Unfortunately, they are human and sometimes their emotions get the better of them.

I don't trust "Joe man on the street" to have the same professional judgment as those sworn law enforcement officers. A crowded political rally or town hall meeting, where emotions run high, is no place for a loaded gun in the possession of a civilian. Period. End of discussion.

The presence of a firearm in the vicinity of the President of the United States should not be allowed, except by the Secret Service and other law enforcement there for the express purpose of protecting the President.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Sure, you can trust the government

You "logic" as follows:
1)Arresting people for bumperstickers, t-shirts, and buttons at political events has occurred in the past.
2)Such arrests were unfounded and stupid.
3)Guns are not bumperstickers.
4)Therefore, guns should be banned from political events.

That was basically what you said in your last comment, and yes, I wouldn't expect anyone to understand how your conclusion follows from those unrelated premises.

I trust that sworn law enforcement officers who have a duty to protect the safety of the public would handle their firearms appropriately under all circumstances. Unfortunately, they are human and sometimes their emotions get the better of them.

So basically, you trust them but you know you shouldn't?

A quick refresher course on why you should never ever ever talk to the police, and why you shouldn't trust the police to begin with.

I don't trust "Joe man on the street" to have the same professional judgment as those sworn law enforcement officers.

Ah yes, the dirty ignorant masses who can't be trusted, unlike our loyal public servants. *barf*

A crowded political rally or town hall meeting, where emotions run high, is no place for a loaded gun in the possession of a civilian. Period. End of discussion.

Nope. Not the end of discussion. Why should a political event be a good place for armed "non-civilians" (quasi-gods)? Ever seen any video of the RNC in 04 and 08? Heck, did you care to watch the police use their "professional judgment" at the Democratic National Convention where they nominated Obama?

So if someone has a gun where they are legally allowed to have it, they should be arrested? Who would be initiating violence then? What are you suggesting?

The presence of a firearm in the vicinity of the President of the United States should not be allowed, except by the Secret Service and other law enforcement there for the express purpose of protecting the President.

By vicinity do you mean a couple thousand mile radius? Seriously though, some guy standing on the side of the road openly and visibly carrying a firearm is not a serious threat to the president's life. Then again, Oswald acted alone! ;)

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Rapid left-to-right movement

Quigley, that had to be the quickest left-to-right (or right-to-left as it were) movement kind of post I've ever seen. I think you wanted to get one point across then cowtow to anyone/someone that might give you grief over it.

Please tell me you aren't going concilliatory on us :)

Two places at once

I believe the left-right paradigm is a weak conception of the spectrum of political ideologies, so I definitely have never had any intention of being labeled one or the other.

I also don't have any plans of "going concilliatory" on you guys - but what I'm not quite sure of is which posts you are referring to? Which is the "right" one, and which is the "left"?

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Here's your post

You seem to have a very good command of the english language so I expect a quip or two and a lavish rebuttal on this...but, here's your post that made me believe you might be "going concilliatory" and/or from right to left (most of it is right-leaning...then there's that last statement). Just an observation...don't get your panties in a bunch over it:

"I actually agree with the right to openly carry firearms, and the political statement of exercising that right at a political rally in a peaceful and non-threatening way.

I also think that the Federal Government is completely illegitimate, and operates almost entirely outside the bounds of the Constitution regardless of one's preferred method of Constitutional interpretation. I'm not saying that the Constitution actually grants any true legal authority to Congress to begin with, but even if it did they aren't following it so it's not even an issue.

It is, however, true that Glenn Beck, the Republican Party, and a lot of the town hall protesters are morons."

Ah, I see

Yea, I was kinda trying to distance myself from the right-wing wackos on purpose because otherwise the rest of my post might make someone think that I'm a 'birther' and all that jazz. So yea, I guess I was being a bit concilliatory there :P

Don't worry, I not going to get my panties in a bunch. I usually go commando anyway.

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"The natural wage of labor is its product." -- Benjamin R. Tucker
A liberal is someone who thinks the system is broken and needs to be fixed, whereas a radical understands it’s working the way it’s supposed to.

Gotcha

I love an honest man.