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Author Topic: Tommy Franks doubts US Constitution will survive WMD attack
beluga2
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posted 22 November 2003 04:58 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Gen. Franks Doubts Constitution Will Survive WMD Attack

quote:
Gen. Tommy Franks says that if the United States is hit with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicts large casualties, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government.

...

Franks then offered “in a practical sense” what he thinks would happen in the aftermath of such an attack.

“It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution. Two steps, very, very important.”

Franks didn’t speculate about how soon such an event might take place.

Already, critics of the U.S. Patriot Act, rushed through Congress in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, have argued that the law aims to curtail civil liberties and sets a dangerous precedent.

But Franks’ scenario goes much further. He is the first high-ranking official to openly speculate that the Constitution could be scrapped in favor of a military form of government.


Fourth Reich, here we come...


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 22 November 2003 10:29 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
General Franks was, of course, speaking in that well-known journal of enlightened thought, Cigar Aficionado.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
banquosghost
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posted 22 November 2003 11:15 AM      Profile for banquosghost     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I thought Cigar Afficionado was an organ of the Democratic party.

Low blow. Oops.

Well, isn't it nice they're so self-importantly promoting the establishment of something in Iraq that their leading military types are admitting probably won't survive at home.


From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 22 November 2003 05:26 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Gen. Tommy Franks says that if the United States is hit with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicts large casualties, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government.

Sounds like wishful thinking to me.


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 22 November 2003 05:40 PM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If Franks said that he can no longer be considered a serious thinker. Just more evidence of why Generals need civilian bosses. No frikkan way, Tommy. Sorry, not even close.
From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 22 November 2003 05:42 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And Gen. Franks was fired how soon after that interview hit the newsstands?

Still in his job, hey? Curious, that. Meanwhile generals, and Secretaries of the Army, who correctly estimate that successful occupation of Iraq would take around 300,000 troops at least, not the 100,000 fantasized by Rumsfeld et al, get defenestrated without ceremony.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 22 November 2003 05:51 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There has been a defenestration??? How did I miss that? *alarmed but slightly disappointed smiley*

I thought the interview said that Franks had just retired, although it isn't entirely clear how much he has retired from. Anyway, I figured that that would be the only way he would dare to talk this way.

Military and police persons mouthing off about any policy issues disturb me too -- I live in Toronto, after all -- -- but I figure that, once they retire, fair enough, they are citizens again and can babble just like me. I guess.

Still: it makes one nervous, no? To hear what the guys with all the guns are thinking?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 22 November 2003 06:07 PM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think he’s retired.

I only now read Beluga’s link. It’s from Newsmax.com, which, like Indy Media and Common Dreams, is to always be second sourced if not more. Franks’ comments, as quoted in the article, are more nuanced than the summary statement suggests. I’m somewhat relieved. He seemed to be expressing concern about an over-reaction. Quite a reasonable concern, I’d say.


From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 22 November 2003 06:11 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I thought the interview said that Franks had just retired, although it isn't entirely clear how much he has retired from. Anyway, I figured that that would be the only way he would dare to talk this way.

You're right: it says:

quote:
The usually camera-shy Franks retired from U.S. Central Command, known in Pentagon lingo as CentCom, in August 2003, after serving nearly four decades in the Army.

On re-reading this, it's also not clear whether or not Franks himself would approve of this development:

quote:
Franks, who successfully led the U.S. military operation to liberate Iraq, expressed his worries in an extensive interview ...

(emphasis added)

And the thing is, he could be right. Enough Americans, or enough influential ones, could be panicked enough to demand martial law in a case like he describes.

[ 22 November 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 22 November 2003 06:23 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The thing that worries me is that it seems too eerily similar to the Seven Days in May scenario, or other books I've read where a military government is either imminent or actual in the USA, with the resulting suspension of civil liberties and boosting of militarism above all else.

How long will USAians put up with being ruled by generals and admirals? And how long will Canadians be able to stay out of the military-government orbit?


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
faith
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posted 22 November 2003 06:25 PM      Profile for faith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Although the ramblings of the armed and dangerous ruling class are alarming ,I did appreciate learning a new word - defenestration - I love it.
From: vancouver | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 22 November 2003 06:33 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good word, that. I read a nice little rant by some critic essentially accusing John Bentley Mays, then arts editor of the Glob, of being a pretentious git and a pseudo-intellectual. The title was "A Prolegomenon to the Defenestration of John Bentley Mays."
From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 22 November 2003 06:39 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The first time I ever encountered the word, I leapt to the conclusion that it was a naughty word and probably had something to do with an operation to remove somebody's generational bits.

Imagine my surprise when I looked it up. For a long time afterwards, and occasionally ever since, I wondered: why would anyone invent such a word in the first place? I mean, was it once the fashion to off people in this manner? Such executions were so common that a term was needed???

I still puzzle over this puzzle.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 22 November 2003 06:50 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I mean, was it once the fashion to off people in this manner? Such executions were so common that a term was needed???

I don't know, I just recall from a European history course an incident called (after the fact) "The Defenestration of Prague."

This was in the early 17th century. There was some kind of meeting in a castle between local Czech nobles, and two envoys of the Holy Roman Empire (... insert standard joke... OK, let's move on), who'd come to convey the Emperor's respects, i.e threats that if they didn't cough up the appropriate tribute, or land or whatever, he'd respond with blahbity blah blah. (I'm simplifying a bit, not least because I forget the details and am feeling too lazy to google for them).

Feeling their oats, the gentry not only made anatomically rude suggestions as to what the envoys ought to do with the Emperor's messages, they picked them up bodily (the envoys I mean) and chucked them out the castle window.

The envoys landed in a pile of horseshit and straw, and survived. The Thirty Years' War, however, ensued. Though it likely had other causes.

Edit:

Here's some details. Remarkably, there have been three Defenestrations of Prague.

[ 22 November 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
banquosghost
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posted 22 November 2003 07:14 PM      Profile for banquosghost     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
French can be such a wonderfully expressive tongue. "De-window-ing" just doesn't have the same rrrring to it.
From: north vancouver, bc | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 22 November 2003 07:40 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If Franks said that he can no longer be considered a serious thinker. Just more evidence of why Generals need civilian bosses. No frikkan way, Tommy. Sorry, not even close.

Whoa...a chink in SHH's emotionless armour...are you going through Pon-faar, Spock?

...Welcome to my world of recognising that fascism creeps in on the periphery....I always remember the discussions I had with my German "vize-Mutti" who adopted me when I lived there. Most people in Germany didn't believe it could ever happen until it was too late, and they were powerless to change anything.


From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 23 November 2003 07:30 PM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There’s an American expression, Hinterland, which I used to hear often but which has faded over the years. I think it rings more with my parent’s generation. It is: “...being a good German...” and it’s decidedly insulting. It was used to berate a perceived conformist or dogmatist; someone who towed the line or cowed to authority.

US military WWII guys are fond of saying: “The Germans; they gots their procedures and theys stick to'em”. I don’t remember his name, but some German general, when commenting on US military tactics in WWII expressed surprise that the US generals had the temerity to violate their own stated military doctrine.

The point? Current Americans have little in common with the Germans circa 1930. This democracy has taken root. Deep root. From within or not, attempts to remove it are likely a task being nothing short of suicide.

Even the most gifted politician, under the most trying times, would be immediately (and maybe violently) stopped in any attempt along the lines of Frank’s suggestions. I think we can safely take this off our worry list.


From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 23 November 2003 07:58 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It looks to me that the US constitution is dying the death of a thousand cuts. Little by little, the fascists are taking over.
From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 23 November 2003 08:21 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The point? Current Americans have little in common with the Germans circa 1930. This democracy has taken root. Deep root. From within or not, attempts to remove it are likely a task being nothing short of suicide.

Even the most gifted politician, under the most trying times, would be immediately (and maybe violently) stopped in any attempt along the lines of Frank’s suggestions. I think we can safely take this off our worry list.


Sorry, SHH. I know the Germans and the Americans very well, and you have a few worrisome things in common right now; an unassailable national mythology, an attitude of exceptionalism vis-a-vis the rest of the world, and a sense of impending crisis (dominated currently by the threat of terrorism, but largely more inchoate than that). I'm not taking anything off my "worry list" (such as it is; I really only care because such a catastrophe as the suspension of the US constitution would likely threaten this country as well). I think the comment about "this democracy has taken root, deep root" is a bit of an eye-roller; you have a glorious (and old) written constitution of course, but the lapses in democracy that have occurred in the US throughout its history suggests the roots are not as deep you'd like to think. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, SHH (...I'm very proud of coining that phrase, by the way).


From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 23 November 2003 11:41 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It is: “...being a good German...” and it’s decidedly insulting. It was used to berate a perceived conformist or dogmatist; someone who towed the line or cowed to authority.

You know, SSH, it might notr always come across, but I have a great respect for Americans. Some of you are so utterly courageous and genuine.

But, you also know, in your country they also talk of the "good American" and conformity and dogmatism to many are virtues.

Ask any of those American who dared speak out and loudly against the neo-cons' war if they believe the American people still adhere to the old saying " ... I will defend to the death your right to say it."


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boinker
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posted 24 November 2003 12:16 AM      Profile for Boinker   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think that if there a real military coup in the US it might begin with a staged WMD attack...

But so far - touch wood - it hasn't happened.

So this is just part of the rhetoric and fear mongering. There have been no attacks against the US since 9/11 because none are really needed from the terrorists strategic perspective. The US is acting exactly as the terrorists hoped. It is revealing itself as an imperialist power with little regard for the principles of justice that it claims to be upholding.

What happens if US troops get killed in large numbers as a result of terrorist attacks?

The weakness of the US military machine is that it cannot sustain great numbers of casualties. This would create political problems. Good article in today's star by a right wing commentator who says the US seems unwilling to learn from the folly of Vietnam and leave the region quickly.

The intent of the Iraqi resistance is to inflict a politically lethal number of casualties to make the US leave.

I doubt it will work ultimately because the military industrial complex has a mind of its own and may not even listen to the government when push gets to shove...

But the idea of peace is a powerful concept. If the US leaves a UN peace force funded by oil revenues might be more suitable to those opposed to the return of Hussein despotism but there are many who view the UN as just more imperialism in a mildly different form.

If the US left today what would happen?

[ 24 November 2003: Message edited by: Boinker ]


From: The Junction | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 24 November 2003 01:05 AM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Frankly, Haliburton and friends won't let the troops go home. Guess who's calling the shots?
From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 24 November 2003 01:43 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Brings up an interesting question. Seems to me in this case the "military" and the "industrial" suddenly have different motivations. Large parts of the Pentagon were never too keen on this war in the first place, and certainly aren't keen on mission creep, lack of an exit plan, plummeting morale, and so on. They don't mind fighting short, victorious wars, even with a few casualties. They're not at all thrilled with the idea of sticking around and doing police actions afterwards. Even if the casualties are lower, which they generally aren't, morale and discipline go to hell and there are no clear-cut objectives. There's no glory in an occupation, and a lot more blame than credit to go around. So the military, by and large, are probably in favour of fucking off and gearing up for the next fight, in Iran or Syria or North Korea or Venezuela or wherever.
The "Industrial" side of the complex, on the other hand, is raking in the profits and would probably love to stay--although even there, there's probably some ambivalence. At this stage I suspect the oil interests are starting to figure they'd be better off even with the Iraqis owning their own oil than with this blown-up-pipeline nonsense. Halliburton loves it, 'cause they get paid to fix 'em, but Shell?

But the question is, if the two halves of the complex are at odds, who wins the day? So far the industrials, but that may not last, especially with the intelligence community basically on the "military" side. Bush and the executive are starting to look increasingly isolated.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Willowdale Wizard
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posted 24 November 2003 01:58 PM      Profile for Willowdale Wizard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
the patriot act was the result of all the bills rejected on civil liberty grounds over a 10-year period being stapled together and rushed through congress in the aftermath of sept 11th. we have enemy combatants, guantanamo bay, the patriot act I and II, total information awareness and FBI surveillance on anti-war groups.

that's from 3000 people dying, and what if an attack with more widespread effects happens?

moreover, who does it serve if the US becomes less civilian-run and more military-oriented in policy and civil liberties? hint: rhymes with osama.


From: england (hometown of toronto) | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 24 November 2003 02:20 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Never thought about that, but you're right: Bush rhymes with Osama.
From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 24 November 2003 04:37 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No democracy is ever free of the threat of military dictatorship, especially in times of crisis.

I don't think Franks would want that to happen, but I agree with him that it is certainly possible in the event of a massive attack like that. Any population would likely cast about in panic looking for some form of security. We would, hell we had martial law after the FLQ kidnapped a couple of people.

The Achilles heel of the US public is that they have a very powerful mythology of being the shining city on the hill. Any coup d'etat would be sure to maintain the pretense of a democracy on the surface I'm sure. Most people who subscribe to such a strong mythology will go to great lengths to convince themselves that it continues, and it takes a lot of cognitive dissonance and contradictory information to believe anything else. Unfortunately, by the time that happened there might well be a very powerful cabal at the head of the most powerful country in the world, bar none. Terrifying concept, not impossible either.

Let's not pretend that Rummy etc. wouldn't leap at the chance, after all.

So, to bring the question back to Canada, what should we be doing to ensure that if something like that happens to our "Close friends", what will we do to ensure we get to keep voting and making decisions for ourselves? How will we defend ourselves if they decide they need our resources to sustain whatever adventures their military is on? What will we do to build an international coalition to prevent such an eventuality?

All the more reason to argue against the overconcentration of power in any one country or place. When all the power is in one place, like the White House, all those who really want power above all else need to do is capture that one place. I thought that was the whole purpose for the UN, to diffuse power and prevent its abuse.


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
clearview
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posted 24 November 2003 04:42 PM      Profile for clearview     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It strikes me as funny, in an odd sort of way, that the Michigan and Montana militia's don't look so paranoid given Frank's concern.
From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 24 November 2003 05:03 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Unfortunately, by the time that happened there might well be a very powerful cabal at the head of the most powerful country in the world, bar none.

Well, they already have that.

quote:
I thought that was the whole purpose for the UN, to diffuse power and prevent its abuse.

Curiously, so was the US constitution. It was specifically designed to prevent abuse of power. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, Congressmen and Senators have seen fit to step down from responsibility and let the Presidents do what they want.

For example, the right to declare war resides squarely with the Congress. Have you ever seen the Congress tell a President that he can't wage war?


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 24 November 2003 05:07 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, I think they verge on a dictatorship now. I worry about the computer voting stuff, if they remove the paper trail from voting and leave it in the hands of a Republican owned company, they are practically giving up on having real elections. However, the mythology of being the best democracy in the world has stopped de-emphasised the need to continue ensuring that it remains so. The logic is that it is so incredibly wonderful and great that it is unassailable. Very risky.
From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 25 November 2003 12:47 AM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Sorry, SHH. I know the Germans and the Americans very well, and you have a few worrisome things in common right now; an unassailable national mythology, an attitude of exceptionalism vis-a-vis the rest of the world, and a sense of impending crisis (dominated currently by the threat of terrorism, but largely more inchoate than that).
I’ll grant you an over-reaction to the Red Menace and maybe even AQ-terrorism; but when you have a new G35 you're just naturally a tad more concerned about door dings than if you’re sportin’ a rusty ’78 F-150. (Dang, that just supported your exceptionalism claim didn’t it?) Okay, guilty again. As to national mythology, sure, it’s there. Sometimes in heavy doses. But I get around a bit, and I don’t find the US variety unique among great nations other than the very commonly held notion that people all over the world want to migrate to the US, ergo, it must be something special.
quote:
I think the comment about "this democracy has taken root, deep root" is a bit of an eye-roller; you have a glorious (and old) written constitution of course, but the lapses in democracy that have occurred in the US throughout its history suggests the roots are not as deep you'd like to think.
Maybe not; there have been lapses. But surviving such I view as new found strength.

The US has been tested. A massive civil war. Tea Pot Dome. A depression. OrgCrime. A two front World War. An extremely popular wayward general fired by his civilian boss. McCarthyism; Missile Gaps; Assassinations; Cold Wars; Vietnam; Watergate; Impeachment; Bubble-burst; Election crisis; 9/11; War.

That’s quite a resume’ of constitutional and democratic resilience.

I strongly suspect that if some general or prez attempted to ‘suspend’ the constitution – I’m not talking about getting the Patriot Act Plus passed or abusive wire-taps or Git-Mo, I’m thinking more along the lines of delaying elections or handing ‘temporary’ control over the Joint Chiefs of Staff or suspending Congress – this place would lock-n-load (thanks Pat!) so fast and so furious, that the offending party/person, even if previously extremely popular, would be disposed of in mere hours.

Consider what happened, Hinterland, in Georgia yesterday; a relatively young democracy. I think the US constitutional democracy, with all its warts, has a few more years of life.

[ 25 November 2003: Message edited by: SHH ]


From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 25 November 2003 07:58 AM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I strongly suspect that if some general or prez attempted to ‘suspend’ the constitution – I’m not talking about getting the Patriot Act Plus passed or abusive wire-taps or Git-Mo, I’m thinking more along the lines of delaying elections or handing ‘temporary’ control over the Joint Chiefs of Staff or suspending Congress – this place would lock-n-load (thanks Pat!) so fast and so furious, that the offending party/person, even if previously extremely popular, would be disposed of in mere hours.

They would do what CNN and Faux News tells them.

Look, your entire nation was brought to war on the basis of a lie. Your citizens are dying everyday, and killing, on the basis of that lie. And your civil liberties,m that you hold so dear, are being eroded away like a sand castle on the beach.

And more Americans, like you, look for the kernel of truth in the lie and defend the loss of liberties than oppose them.

Give me a break.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 25 November 2003 08:33 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with WingNut. I think it will be a long, slow, gradual process rather than a coup if it does happen. We're at the beginning of the process right now, but every step, such as the ones SHH mentioned (e.g. the Patriot Act) leads to more military rule and less civil rule and civil liberties.

And not only are the Americans not doing anything about it, the majority of them are supporting it. Bush and his puppeteers are smart enough not to do an overnight coup. They will do small things behind the scenes, little by little, which the left-wing will raise a hue and cry about with each small step, and which right-wingers and Bush apologists will pooh-pooh as insignificant or temporarily necessary or the lesser of evils.

A friend was telling me about having had a conversation with a couple of Americans who thought that the New York City mayoral election should be temporarily suspended after 9-11, so that Giuliani could lead through the crisis and so that there would be stability for the people of NYC. The people suggesting this were intelligent, educated, and generally progressive in outlook (although probably not as left-leaning as most of us here on babble). If there were an attack on the US on a much larger scale than the WTC, I can definitely see the average American being scared into supporting martial law, or being grudgingly willing to see elections "temporarily" suspended.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 25 November 2003 11:34 AM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My biggest concern is that, along with these small steps, the average American is not even made aware of the significance of each change. This is due in big part to a media that no longer informs or interprets complicated (...in many cases, deliberately so) applications of a wide variety of rules and regulations by various levels of government and bodies such as the police, the FBI and the CIA (to name a few). This is along with a central government that appears quite happy with the situation...just have a look at Whitehouse.gov...not a sober reflection of what the issues are, but a dreary combination of hysteria and boosterism.

Let's face it; keeping up with developments in the US has always been a hugely time-consuming affair and it's no wonder that, among the main-stream media, who are quite eager to trot out experts to explain everything in their own, arcane vernacular, there are very few players honest enough and confident enough to explain a lot of what this means to the average person. Just one example I've had on my mind lately (since the CBC documentary on Sunday) is the issue of embedded reporting (which should be vocally rejected by all journalists as anti-journalistic). I read in the Globe today, in Naomi Klein's column, that the police were embedding journalists to cover the protests in Miami, where, predictably, all that resulted were action-packed scenes of chaos and non-information (...such as finding out what the reporter had for breakfast). What is the average, not so-politically-engaged but well-meaning viewer expected to get from all of this? That dissent is necessarily violent, that dissenters are all radical lunatics with nothing better to do, and that the issues are incomprehensible. When you've got a job to go to, kids to take care of, and a relentlessly baffling choice of consumer products to wade through to make a simple choice like deciding what toothpaste to buy a complicated affair, how much time do you have left over to waste thinking about the ramifications of globalisation and free-trade agreements, or the journalistic ethics of embedding? Or the signficance of the Patriot act, or free speech zones, or the difference between prisoners of war and "enemy combattants"? With no one around to give you an unbiased (as is humanly possible) account of what all this really means, the average person will give up, and let people like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity explain it for them, in soothing, patriotic, demonise-and-blame-someone-else terms.

These trends have been observable in American society for decades (...or maybe they've always been there, but I've been seeing them for as long as I've been conscious) and this is the periphery on which fascism creeps. It only takes a few ideological geniuses (such as the Straussian PNAC'ers who are either now in, or have a lot of influence on) the current White House to decide that they'll run things the way they want to from now on, and in this case, a strong constitution looks mighty inconvenient.


From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Black Dog
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posted 25 November 2003 11:42 AM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But I get around a bit, and I don’t find the US variety unique among great nations other than the very commonly held notion that people all over the world want to migrate to the US, ergo, it must be something special.

I'd say that's more a testament to the power of marketing and the growing reach of the U.S. mass media than an actual indicator of the U.S.'s inherent superiority.

quote:
If there were an attack on the US on a much larger scale than the WTC, I can definitely see the average American being scared into supporting martial law, or being grudgingly willing to see elections "temporarily" suspended.

So we can probably expect a WMD attack on U..S. soil in October, 2004.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Polunatic
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posted 25 November 2003 12:15 PM      Profile for Polunatic   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Rethinking White House Term Limits" - An Essay by George W Bush
quote:
In 2008, at the end of my term, everything I have built to take out terrorists at home and abroad will be at the mercy of a new Commander-in-Chief. Why should we take that kind of risk? If you were winning a football game in the first quarter, would you put in your second-string quarterback?

[ 25 November 2003: Message edited by: Non-partisan partisan ]


From: middle of nowhere | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
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posted 25 November 2003 12:29 PM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The sad thing is that it actually took a while to determine that that was satire. It's kind of hard to tell these days.
From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Polunatic
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posted 25 November 2003 12:34 PM      Profile for Polunatic   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's why I added the bumpersticker. I wanted to spare the Bushies on Babble the embarrassment of trying to defend it.
From: middle of nowhere | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cougyr
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posted 25 November 2003 01:55 PM      Profile for Cougyr     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
But I get around a bit, and I don’t find the US variety unique among great nations other than the very commonly held notion that people all over the world want to migrate to the US, ergo, it must be something special.

I get around a bit, too. The people I've met who want to migrate to the US have expressed a great deal of interest in making money and driving big cars. I've yet to find someone who envies the Americans for their democracy, although there must be some. I was in Korea last spring and met lots of young Koreans who wanted to go to the US; all of them were interested in high paying jobs; none had any interest in politics, government, etc.


From: over the mountain | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
April Follies
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posted 25 November 2003 02:04 PM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Of course, y'all know I share your fears, and am planning to hit y'all up for couch space if it comes to that.

But I'll dwell on the "hope" side for a moment. Reading through various Internet site, I've discovered a lot of very angry progressives in the U.S., particularly the "Deaniacs", who also share these fears and who are beginning to make themselves seriously felt politically. (A huge corporate givaway laughingly titled an "Energy Bill" was just defeated at the last moment, largely due to their pressure.) So there's some hope both for informing USians and getting them moving to prevent this sort of silent coup.


From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 25 November 2003 04:55 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There is a lot of hope, April.

We sit up here looking down our noses but then we get a lot of our inspiration, both left and right, from USian sources.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 25 November 2003 05:16 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I'm not looking down my nose at anyone. I figure if fascism can happen, it can happen anywhere, including the US.
From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 25 November 2003 06:32 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hey, SHH, read this: http://www.democracynow.org/static/miamimodel.shtml it is your country and only the "police" are locking and loading.
From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 25 November 2003 07:00 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The biggest weakness of a democracy is hubris. Get overconfident and someone will abuse it for their own ends.

No coup d'etat leaders worth a hill of beans would fail to maintain the pretense of a democracy in the US. The desire to believe the mythology of being the biggest and best is so strong that most people would be willingly fooled. Refusing to believe can be an awful lot of work and involve personal danger after all.

No doubt the consumer society would charge on as always (just as it does in moderately wealty dictatorships), though it would likely drop a bunch of folks off the back of the truck.

All it would really take is a careful manipulation of the odd election, a pliant news media, a powerful militaristic culture, a strong officer class in the military (indispensable for most coups), and the desire or political will to sieze and keep power.

Let them have a few elections, just be sure the right people win... Hell, allow a little free speech here and there, just let your pet media organs shout down, or ignore, any serious criticism. Just don't let anyone near the levers of power, and nobody is the wiser.

Another attack would certainly be the nail in the coffin. Personally I suspect the coffin is already built, though it hasn't yet been nailed shut. The 2000 election was a blatant theft, and the results of that theft are right in front of us.


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 25 November 2003 07:47 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
"Our goal was to drown you out," one Miami-Dade police officer explained to me, and that's exactly what they did. Small, peaceful demonstrations were attacked with extreme force; organizations were infiltrated by undercover officers who then used stun guns on activists; busses filled with union members were prevented from joining permitted marches; dozens of young faces were smashed into concrete and beaten bloody with batons; human rights activists had guns pointed at their heads at military-style checkpoints.

Police violence outside of trade summits is not new, but what was striking about Miami was how divorced the security response was from anything resembling an actual threat. From an activist perspective, the protests were disappointingly small and almost embarrassingly obedient, an understandable response to weeks of police intimidation.

Listening to the incessant roar of helicopters and the march of police boots, I couldn't shake the feeling that something new was going on. It felt less like we were the targets of this operation than the target practice, unwitting extras in an elaborate military drill.

--Naomi Klein, Globe and Mail


Maybe the lid is on and we are just waiting for the last nail.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 25 November 2003 10:51 PM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Wow. Line up with the chickenhawks, SHH. Your cavalier bravado is impressive.
Bravado? As in false courage? I don’t understand, Mr Bong. Seems more like simple logic to me, eg, bad v worse. That type of choice often presents itself. SWAT team leaders, for example, are required to make these types of life and death decisions as part of their job.
quote:
Tell me, SHH, does that principle extend to everybody? Does China have the right to kill whoever it wants, as long as they're claiming to "save" somebody? Does Russia? Colombia? Indonesia? Or just the US of A? Is the US government the only one blessed with such moral purity that they can be entrusted with the right to arbitrarily decide who lives and who dies, anywhere in the world, anytime? Has the US government been anointed from On High as the universal arbiter of what's "right or wrong"?
In order beluga:

Yes. If it’s true....eg, if China thumped that little twerp in NK, that might be a good thing. Ditto, Ditto, Ditto. No. No. No. (yes I’m being snarky, but I’m short on time).
quote:
Oh well. At least you've followed the example of Richard Perle and admirably acknowledged that this invasion is completely outside the bounds of international law. International law is specifically designed, after all, against the kind of international vigilante-ism you and Bush are so terrifyingly advocating.
I actually went a little further. I suggested the Charters were antiquated and thus irrelevant from a realpolitik perspective. The AQ-like attacks have not only made MAD obsolete, they’ve entirely changed the rules and I don’t know what the new rules should be. Heck, I never understood the old rules, partly because damn near everybody seemed to violate them whenever they deemed it necessary.
quote:
When you've got a job to go to, kids to take care of, and a relentlessly baffling choice of consumer products to wade through to make a simple choice like deciding what toothpaste to buy a complicated affair, how much time do you have left over to waste thinking about the ramifications of globalisation and free-trade agreements, or the journalistic ethics of embedding? Or the signficance of the Patriot act, or free speech zones, or the difference between prisoners of war and "enemy combattants"? With no one around to give you an unbiased (as is humanly possible) account of what all this really means, the average person will give up, and let people like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity explain it for them, in soothing, patriotic, demonise-and-blame-someone-else terms.
I’m baffled, Hinterland. If Americans are strapped for hours tending to toothpaste, how do they find the time read Coulter? Or watch O’Reilly? Could it be you’re just sore that the Right has found a media voice...that your monopoly is being challenged?

Goldberg has a challenge.

quote:
They would do what CNN and Faux News tells them.
That would be difficult, WingNut, since very, very few Americans watch cable news. Seriously. You might find it interesting to know that the over-whelming majority of Americans get their so-called 'news', from local teevee stations. (And not only does local teevee devote almost no time to national or international affairs – as compared to police chases, sports, and weather, that is – it has the added value of being even more sensationally vapid than cable). So if you think Americans are being directed by CNN and FOX, I have ‘news’...it’s worse than that!

But it doesn’t matter. I’m rushed right now, maybe I’ll elaborate later.

I hate to be repetitive, but you gotta understand that most Americans don't care about politics at all until something really bugs them personally. IME, when enough Americans are really PO’ed about something, when it’s moves from annoyance to serious for many, they generally get the result they want. Indifference and low turnout strikes me as an indication that overall dissatisfaction levels are low. (As a large HOA prez, trust me, the last thing I want to see is a large crowd at the annual meeting).

Y’all know I play the foil here, yes?

[ 25 November 2003: Message edited by: SHH ]


From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4014

posted 25 November 2003 11:08 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, for God's sakes, SHH. Why don't you start dialoguing with people here rather than "play the foil". You've been doing this for as long as I've been on Babble, and quite frankly, you've yet to make a real point (..yes, I know you know what the word Realpolitik means; but it doesn't give your posts any more meaning. As far as this is concerned:

quote:
I’m baffled, Hinterland. If Americans are strapped for hours tending to toothpaste, how do they find the time read Coulter? Or watch O’Reilly? Could it be you’re just sore that the Right has found a media voice...that your monopoly is being challenged?

...you're just being obtuse. If you're interested in a real discussion, fine. If you're just manning the defense posts of the Empire on its northern frontier, frankly, you're wasting your time. The Gauls up here are not that interested, and we don't speak your language, anyway.

[ 25 November 2003: Message edited by: Hinterland ]


From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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Babbler # 1292

posted 25 November 2003 11:29 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
ou might find it interesting to know that the over-whelming majority of Americans get their so-called 'news', from local teevee stations

Wow. It is worse. I guess I'm right then.

From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
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Babbler # 3838

posted 26 November 2003 03:08 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Yes. If it’s true....eg, if China thumped that little twerp in NK, that might be a good thing. Ditto, Ditto, Ditto. No. No. No. (yes I’m being snarky, but I’m short on time).

Wow. So SHH isn't just advocating a world in which the US has license to be a "rogue state" -- he's advocating a world entirely composed of rogue states. 193 of them. How encouraging.

PS: on the basis of WingNut's link on the FTAA protests, not to mention the whole let's-strip-the-blacks-of-their-right-to-vote thing three years ago, I nominate Florida as the State Most Likely To Slip Into Full-Fledged Fascism. If it isn't there already. Ye friggin' gods.


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 27 November 2003 01:21 AM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

[ 27 November 2003: Message edited by: SHH ]


From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1527

posted 27 November 2003 01:24 AM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Oh, for God's sakes, SHH. Why don't you start dialoguing with people here rather than "play the foil".
I thought I was doing both Hinterland, though I do, I admit, have a taste for foil. All in good fun of course.

I took one of your points to assert that harried Americans, seduced by the siren song of the colossal right-wing corporate media, and ill-informed on the issues of dissent are inexorably, and unknowingly, slipping into the throws fascism. You specifically referenced right-wing media types as part of the process; as facilitators and/or seducers.

I pointed out that a) most Americans pay no attention to politics at all but still manage to get the government they want thru wile and gut, and b) very few of those that even bother to vote ever consume any of the right-wing media you cited.

Even Limbaugh, whose influence is probably trumped by only the WSJ Op/Ed page, gets, at his peak, single digit percentages (and roughly a third of his audience hates him!)

I also offered up c) Goldberg’s rant which argued, with damning specifics, that the notion that there’s some right-wing media monolith was just so much nonsense.

MY point was that I find your assertion, if I understand it correctly, (or the premise upon which it stands), to be flat-assed wrong. And if the reasons I’ve given so far aren’t enough, I have more.

quote:
I'd say that's more a testament to the power of marketing and the growing reach of the U.S. mass media than an actual indicator of the U.S.'s inherent superiority.
Boy, that’s not my experience, black_dog. It’s only anecdotal, but I’ve had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of immigrants over the years and virtually every one was damn glad to be here and although they call home a lot, they had no intention of ever ‘going home’. That’s some marketing.

I’ve recently become work-friends with a 30-ish Asian Indian woman. She’s an IT person educated at one of India’s finest universities in computer science. Immigrated thru a job in Ottawa.

She tells me that although she finds Americans very friendly, she still feels very lonely (she’s the tip of the spear; all by herself). A brave and smart woman for sure. But when I asked her if she’d ever go back home, she almost exploded with her contempt for the patriarchal chauvinism that is still India today. This, from an upper class woman with great beauty.

quote:
I was in Korea last spring and met lots of young Koreans who wanted to go to the US; all of them were interested in high paying jobs; none had any interest in politics, government, etc.
This is entirely consistent with what I see in my own travels to other countries. And when ‘they’ get here, and land that job, they call home. I guess you could call that marketing.
quote:
Wow. It is worse. I guess I'm right then.
How do you figure? Few are paying attention. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a keen (or very cynical) sense of when they’re being conned. They do. They really do. It’s a natural ability after being lied to 5000 times a minute by advertisers. These people aren’t ‘sheepole’ they be ‘savvy’. They’re more like cats than dogs.

You don’t have to eat, live, and breathe history, current events, and politics to smell an asshole. No faith in ‘the people’, WingNut?

quote:
Wow. So SHH isn't just advocating a world in which the US has license to be a "rogue state" -- he's advocating a world entirely composed of rogue states.
I’m not really advocating anything. I’m just acknowledging what is, what has been, and what will be for the foreseeable future.

From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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Babbler # 3807

posted 27 November 2003 01:46 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Bravado? As in false courage? I don’t understand, Mr Bong.

It's more like a Chester and Alfie thing, Mr. SHH.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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Babbler # 1527

posted 27 November 2003 01:57 AM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Can you at least give me a link, Mr Bong? So I know what you're talking about.
From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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Babbler # 3308

posted 27 November 2003 02:20 AM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The immigration discussion is silly.
Yeah, the third world is still immigrating to the first as fast as it can.
Some come to Canada, some the US, and many come to Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, England and whatnot.

Meanwhile, it's been some time since we had any waves of immigrants to Canada or the US from Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, England or whatnot. Or Japan, for that matter.

Migration, then, seems largely to be from dirt poor places to much richer places, without much regard to questions of whether they are right or left wing.

Meanwhile on the woman from India SHH mentioned, I don't blame any woman from anywhere that's got revoltingly traditionally sexist views (most of which places are poor) getting out to somewhere with less sexism. But given that in the US and Canada there's a strong correlation between antifeminism and the right, I'm not sure where SHH is going with that.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 11 January 2004 01:52 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Update on Patriot Act II

quote:
Legislation could include power to take DNA samples from citizens

Say you're pulled over for a traffic violation - maybe your tail light is out. The officer asks to see your license and registration, and either issues a citation or a warning.

And then he or she runs a cotton swab through your mouth to collect a sample of your DNA for the federal government.


quote:
Patriot Act II, officially known as the Domestic Security Enhancement Act, has reportedly been in the works from the Bush administration for nearly a year. Although Justice Department officials denied its existence to the Senate Judiciary Committee, shortly afterward an internally circulated 120-page Justice Department memo about the proposals, and a copy of the act, was leaked.

Expanding on the original, the new measure is said to instruct the government to build a database of citizen DNA information that could be collected without a court order on anyone suspected of wrongdoing; allow the government to wiretap anyone for 15 days and snoop on anyone's Internet usage, including chat and e-mail, without a warrant; allow the government to strip Americans of their citizenship if they have been found to have contributed material support to organizations deemed by the government, even retroactively, to be "terrorist;" and allow legal permanent residents to be deported, without a criminal charge being filed or evidence presented, if the attorney general considers them a threat to national security.


As if John Ashcroft's minions already don't have enough power, or enough tendency to bully people into getting what they want.

quote:
It would also erase many of the original act's "sunset" provisions that stipulated law enforcement's expanded powers would be rescinded in 2005.

Gee, kinda like how that Enabling Act was originally "provisional", and then Hitler and his cronies found it convenient to... extend the duration of that law.

Or, if y'all are not yet keen on direct comparisons, I could point to the Communist rhetoric about the state "withering away", and yet Stalin presided over one of the most ruthless expansions of state power in the 20th century, all in the name of making it go away "any time now".


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
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posted 11 January 2004 04:05 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sounds like some parallels between Tommy Frank's statements and the 1964 John Frankenheimer political thriller "Seven Days in May" starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.

Lancaster plays a disgruntled general who tries to stage a military coup d'etat in the U.S.

Truth stranger than fiction? Life immitating art? Rod Serling apparently wrote the script and maybe we are living in "The Twilight Zone".


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rod Manchee
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Babbler # 290

posted 11 January 2004 12:28 PM      Profile for Rod Manchee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm a little surprised that no-one has commented on the painfully precious phrase "to begin to militarize our country," which pretty much sums up the popular consciousness of reality.
From: ottawa | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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