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LACMA Collections

March 15th, 2013 Comments off
Categories: general rant, Uncategorized Tags:

History Fails to Penetrate the GOP Mind

March 13th, 2013 Comments off

This from the first page of the “Path to Freedom”:

Senate Democrats never balance—ever.

via Fiscal Year 2014 Budget | Budget.House.Gov.

Forgetting, or course, that the only budget to balance since Eisenhower  was under the Clinton presidency.

 

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Stock (market) Wealth by Quintile

March 12th, 2013 Comments off

 

From WaPo

stock wealth by quintileHere’s what that means in dollar terms: “In 2010, according to Wolff’s analysis, the stock holdings of the middle fifth were worth about $9,000. The holdings of the top 10% were worth $500,000, and those of the top 1%: $3.5 million.”

 

Categories: Charts, Economics, politicas, Uncategorized Tags:

THE SECOND AMENDMENT: THE REAL HISTORY

March 3rd, 2013 Comments off

Excerpted from “The Real Rationale for the 2nd Amendment, That Right-Wingers Are Totally Ignorant About”, on AlterNet.org, 12/21/2012 found at www.sshsny.org.


Right-wing resistance to meaningful gun control is driven, in part, by a false notion that America’s Founders adopted the Second Amendment because they wanted an armed population that could battle the U.S. government. The opposite is the truth, but many Americans seem to have embraced this absurd, anti-historical narrative.

The reality was that the Framers wrote the Constitution and added the Second Amendment with the goal of creating a strong central government with a citizens-based military force capable of putting down insurrections, not to enable or encourage uprisings. The key Framers, after all, were mostly men of means with a huge stake in an orderly society, the likes of George Washington and James Madison.

The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 weren’t precursors to France’s Robespierre or Russia’s Leon Trotsky, believers in perpetual revolutions. In fact, their work on the Constitution was influenced by the experience of Shays’ Rebellion in western Massachusetts in 1786, a populist uprising that the weak federal government, under the Articles of Confederation, lacked an army to defeat. …

The rebellion alarmed retired Gen. George Washington, who received reports on the developments from old Revolutionary War associates in Massachusetts, such as Gen. Henry Knox and Gen. Benjamin Lincoln. Washington was particularly concerned that the disorder might serve the interests of the British, who had only recently accepted the existence of the United States. …

“If three years ago [at the end of the American Revolution] any person had told me that at this day, I should see such a formidable rebellion against the laws & constitutions of our own making as now appears I should have thought him a bedlamite – a fit subject for a mad house,” Washington wrote to Knox on Feb. 3, 1787, adding that if the government “shrinks, or is unable to enforce its laws … anarchy & confusion must prevail.” …

Washington’s alarm about Shays’ Rebellion was a key factor in his decision to take part in – and preside over – the Constitutional Convention, which was supposed to offer revisions to the Articles of Confederation but instead threw out the old structure entirely and replaced it with the U.S. Constitution, which shifted national sovereignty from the 13 states to “We the People” and dramatically enhanced the power of the central government.

The drastic changes prompted strong opposition from some Revolutionary War figures, such as Virginia’s Patrick Henry, who denounced the federal power grab and rallied a movement known as the Anti-Federalists. Prospects for the Constitution’s ratification were in such doubt that its principal architect, James Madison, joined in a sales campaign known as the Federalist Papers in which he tried to play down how radical his changes actually were.

To win over other skeptics, Madison agreed to support a Bill of Rights, which would be proposed as the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Madison’s political maneuvering succeeded as the Constitution narrowly won approval in key states, such as Virginia, New York, and Massachusetts. The First Congress then approved the Bill of Rights, which were ratified in 1791. …

The Second Amendment dealt with concerns about “security” and the need for trained militias to ensure what the Constitution called “domestic Tranquility”. There was also hesitancy among many Framers about the costs and risks from a large standing army, thus making militias composed of citizens an attractive alternative.

So, the Second Amendment read: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Contrary to some current right-wing fantasies about the Framers wanting to encourage popular uprisings over grievances, the language of the amendment is clearly aimed at maintaining order within the country.

That point was driven home by the actions of the Second Congress amid another uprising which erupted in 1791 in western Pennsylvania. This anti-tax revolt, known as the Whiskey Rebellion, prompted Congress in 1792 to expand on the idea of “a well-regulated militia” by passing the Militia Acts which required all military-age white males to obtain their own muskets and equipment for service in militias.

In 1794, President Washington, who was determined to demonstrate the young government’s resolve, led a combined force of state militias against the Whiskey rebels. Their revolt soon collapsed and order was restored, demonstrating how the Second Amendment helped serve the government in maintaining “security”, as the Amend-ment says.

Beyond this clear historical record – that the framers’ intent was to create security for the new Republic, not promote armed rebellions – there is also the simple logic that the Framers represented the young nation’s aristocracy. Many, like Washington, owned vast tracts of land. They recognized that a strong central government and domestic tranquility were in their economic interests.

So, it would be counterintuitive – as well as anti-historical – to believe that Madison and Washington wanted to arm the population so the discontented could resist the constitutionally elected government. In reality, the Framers wanted to arm the people – at least the white males – so uprisings, whether economic clashes like Shays’ Rebellion, anti-tax protests like the Whiskey Rebellion, attacks by Native Americans, or slave revolts, could be repulsed.

However, the Right has invested heavily during the last several decades in fabricating a different national narrative, one that ignores both logic and the historical record. In this right-wing fantasy, the Framers wanted everyone to have a gun so they could violently resist their own government.

This bogus “history” has then been amplified through the Right’s powerful propaganda apparatus – Fox News, talk radio, the Internet and ideological publications – to persuade millions of Americans that their possession of semi-automatic assault rifles and other powerful firearms is what the Framers intended, that today’s gun-owners are fulfilling some centuries-old American duty. …

Today’s American Right is drunk on some very bad history, which is as dangerous as it is false.

 

Categories: general rant, politicas, Uncategorized Tags: