“All this seems to show that change of ministers amounts to nothing. One goes out, another comes in, and still the same measures, vices, and extravagance are pursued. It signifies not who is minister. The defect lies in the system. The foundation and the superstructure of the government is bad. Prop it as you please, it continually sinks into court [authoritarian] government, and ever will.” — Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791-92
In almost all cases, those who oppose the national government’s universal surveillance of U.S. citizens are correct. It is unconstitutional because it violates the 4th Amendment, undermines the 1st Amendment, and is only necessary because the national government has put the United States in a lose/lose situation. It will not stop the U.S.-led overseas military, political, and cultural interventions that motivate the Islamists to attack Americans, but it will not use the U.S. military to its fullest potential to destroy the enemy it has motivated to kill Americans. So long as this status quo continues, the civil liberties of Americans will be incrementally abridged and perhaps ultimately eliminated. That is simply the unavoidable result of prolonged and unnecessary wars, and the executive branch’s aggrandizement of power that inevitably accompanies such wars.
“The commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcasses of dead policies. When a mast falls overboard, you do not try to save a rope here and a spar there in memory of their former utility. You cut away the hamper altogether. It should be the same with policy, but it is not so. We cling to the shred of an old policy after it has been torn to pieces, and to the shadow of the shred after the rag itself has been torn away.” — Lord Salisbury, 1877
I suppose it was to be expected. Another presidential election cycle, another Hollywood effort to whitewash Bill Clinton’s singular responsibility for the attacks of 11 September 2001, an effort also probably meant to aid Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential ambitions.
The current clouds of hot and noxious gas being huffed and puffed about by the U.S. governing elite, media, academy, and the immigrant-worshiping Christian churches regarding Donald Trump’s suggestion that the national government temporarily ban the entry of non-U.S.-citizen Muslims into the United States can only build the American public’s confidence in Mr. Trump.
“Stand your ground, don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.” — Captain John Parker, Lexington, 19 April 1775
The previous piece published here (18 November 2015) and a subsequent interview on Michael Smirconish’s CNN program have drawn a surprising number of irate if juvenile comments, not to this site but to CNN, the Huffington Post, and a considerable number of other apparently defeat-loving websites. Now widely tagged by these folks as a “sociopath,” I am encouraged to write a bit more as a follow-on to the piece that drove these Obama-like, arrogant adolescents into vituperative snits that demonstrated nothing so much as that they share Obama’s profound historical ignorance and a daft believe that the United States can continue to exist without acting to defend itself via all-out war or — preferably — neutrality and non-intervention.
Honoring Paris’s dead and wounded is now being done with crocodile tears, candles, moments of silence, crowds of strangers holding hands, pledges of solidarity, the endless, pro forma singing of national anthems, and bouquets of followers mounded up as colorful, if wilting, temples to the dead.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in the 1830s that the education systems in Europe and the United States had stopped teaching children how to command when they became adults, and were teaching them only how to obey. Mr. de Tocqueville had that judgment right nearly two hundred years ago, and President Hollande, President Obama, and Prime Minister Cameron revalidated its accuracy in statements made after the superbly planned and executed Islamic State (IS) attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015.
From this distance, Mr. Putin, it appears that when you unleashed the Russian air force on 30 September 2015 you expected to save Bashir al-Assad’s regime and bring order to Syria and Iraq in a relatively short period of time. Well, the application of Russian air power is continuing, but only a month after its start, the Islamic State’s (IS) fighters responded by executing a superbly professional operation that destroyed a Russian airliner flying over the Sinai, killing the 224 people aboard.