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President's martial law powers expanded
October 28, 2006 2:34 PM   Subscribe

A bill President Bush signed on 17 October grants the President expanded powers to declare martial law (currently Slashdotted; Digg mirror). Text of the bill; see "SEC. 1076. USE OF THE ARMED FORCES ...".
posted by jam_pony (160 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, this will go well.
posted by deadmessenger at 2:37 PM on October 28, 2006


jesus fucking christ on a pogo stick
posted by sourbrew at 2:40 PM on October 28, 2006


I think he should declare it and prohibit upcoming elections. This is a time of war and we need continuity and clear direction to our efforts.
posted by Postroad at 2:40 PM on October 28, 2006


So this is when we start stockpiling unregistered guns right?
posted by pwb503 at 2:40 PM on October 28, 2006


So this is when we start stockpiling unregistered guns right?
You haven't started yet??
posted by Rubbstone at 2:42 PM on October 28, 2006


Well, this is making the 2nd Amendment much more popular among liberals, anyway.
posted by orthogonality at 2:44 PM on October 28, 2006


This may well lead to the cancellation and destruction of Battlestar Galactica.
posted by juiceCake at 2:46 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


> Well, this is making the 2nd Amendment much more popular among liberals, anyway.

About forty years late, but I suppose better late than never.
posted by jfuller at 3:00 PM on October 28, 2006


as if rifles and handgun matchup to tanks and machine guns
posted by edgeways at 3:06 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Bush may have signed this thing, but he didn't invent it all on his own. There are senators and congresscritters by the hundreds who were all in on it: these things come about through committees and hearings and other processes.

Within a couple weeks you all have the ability to tell those people who helped create this, whether you agree with what they've done.

Get out and vote. It's important.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:13 PM on October 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


This is one of the reasons why i (and others) don't think there'll be 08 elections.

fff, it was in the annual defense authorization act, which is always voted for by everyone, especially if they're at risk of being accused of "not supporting the troops"--every single incumbent voted for this, without reading all the fine print, which is par for the course.
posted by amberglow at 3:15 PM on October 28, 2006


Interrobang, you might need to switch to decaf. My statement was actually referring to the public reaction to the law (the public controversy over which is going to go very, very badly indeed), not this thread.
posted by deadmessenger at 3:21 PM on October 28, 2006


This is one of the reasons why i (and others) don't think there'll be 08 elections.

Wait, amberglow. You knew about this? And you didn't say anything? Who are these "others"? What kind of deal have you worked out with the executive branch?

/FUD
posted by felix betachat at 3:21 PM on October 28, 2006


every single incumbent voted for this, without reading all the fine print, which is par for the course.

Oh, so then that makes it alright. I guess I won't go vote now.
posted by fatbobsmith at 3:21 PM on October 28, 2006


amberglow, care to make a long term bet? I'll bet you $10,000 that there will be national elections in 08. Care to go over to LongBets and register to put your money where you (ignorant) mouth is?

Seriously.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 3:25 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oh, so then that makes it alright.

deliberately obtuse or stupid. which are you, fatbobsmith?
posted by quonsar at 3:25 PM on October 28, 2006


Actually, not Longbets, since the money goes to charity. I want the money to come to me. I retract the offer! :)
posted by peeping_Thomist at 3:26 PM on October 28, 2006


It's worth pointing out that this bill passed with unanimous consent in the Senate, and a in the House 398-23.
posted by sbutler at 3:27 PM on October 28, 2006


as if rifles and handgun matchup to tanks and machine guns

Jesus. Like goddamn clock work.

Well FYI... it seems to be working against us in Iraq pretty fucking well. And there are WAY more guns in circulation in private hands in the US than there were in pre-invasion Iraq. Build it - they will come so to speak.

PS. I know what your gonna say next. So. Just to save time: You can buy semi-auto AK's in the US. Converting them to auto is not hard. Making IEDs ain't that hard either. Even without readily available hard munitions. So mounting an insurgency in the US is every bit as viable a tactic here as in Iraq. Or anywhere else.
posted by tkchrist at 3:28 PM on October 28, 2006


All kidding of our resident chicken little aside, I wonder if the Democrats are going to run on this in the next week. It's terrible, terrible stuff.

On the plus side, Bush could hardly maintain troop levels for a domestic action if they're still committed in Iraq. Funny, this might prove to be the tactic he needs to shut up the Democrats who want to "bring the troops home."
posted by felix betachat at 3:29 PM on October 28, 2006


Also, remarks were put in the congressional record by Sen. Leahy about this very issue. I don't know if his statement was read on the floor.

So no, this isn't just a "fine print" issue that no one reads. Ultimately, the vast majority of Congress thought this was okay. Including Sen. Leahy himself.
posted by sbutler at 3:31 PM on October 28, 2006


Apologies, then, deadmessenger.
posted by interrobang at 3:38 PM on October 28, 2006


it's almost as if they're getting ready for something big.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 3:39 PM on October 28, 2006


tkchrist, ok, well I understand what you are saying, and the argument on both sides is clockwork. When I wrote the little throwawy line I too knew you whould bring Iraq into the discussion, so ok the argument is old. I personally don't think the American people have it in them to do such things with enough conviction to pull off an armed resistance, you might, and it's fair to think so. I think there are a lot more factors going into the successful implementation of a resistance in Iraq then what is can occur here in the short-medium term. About 8 years ago I crunched the numbers regarding revolutions going back about 500 years. Statistically revolutions have a very low success rate >10%, and often the political end result, even in successful revolutions, is no better, if not worse than the starting point.
So, I am dubious, at best, about the logic behind saying we need to be armed becasue we may need to overthrow our government. I don't think we physcially could, I don't think we have the mindset to do so, and I don't think the end result even if carried out would be any better.
posted by edgeways at 3:41 PM on October 28, 2006


StrasbrourgSecausus, who are this "they" who supposedly are getting ready for something big?

And what is it about stupid conspiracy theories that people find so irresistable?
posted by peeping_Thomist at 3:42 PM on October 28, 2006


sorry replace the first -you- with -someone- in my comment
posted by edgeways at 3:43 PM on October 28, 2006


as if rifles and handgun matchup to tanks and machine guns

Apparently they do
posted by delmoi at 3:44 PM on October 28, 2006


what is it about stupid conspiracy theories that people find so irresistable

People want to believe that someone is in charge, no matter how malicious they might be.

The reality that we are blind and led by fools is too horrible to imagine.
posted by felix betachat at 3:47 PM on October 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


Don't you know who "they" are peep? The reptilian humanoid, and they are the deadly enemies of trolls.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 3:50 PM on October 28, 2006


Make that humanoids. You cannot have a conspiracy of one, even if it shapeshifts.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 3:51 PM on October 28, 2006


So, I am dubious, at best, about the logic behind saying we need to be armed becasue we may need to overthrow our government. I don't think we physcially could, I don't think we have the mindset to do so, and I don't think the end result even if carried out would be any better.

There is a huge difference between saying "it won't work and it will suck anyway if it does" and saying "guns won't do any good against tanks" If anything, the Iraq war seems to be illustrating the exact opposite, tanks don't do any good against an armed populace with popular support. What's going on in Iraq isn't a "revolution" it's resistance to invaders which has a better success rate.

If the majority of Americans believed that 1) the government was illegitimate and 2) (this is important) that the government was actively fucking up their lives they might create an insurgency.

The other factor is employment. If the economy is so badly damaged that people can't find any work outside of the occupation or resistance, you're going to see a lot more resistance.

What would it take for Americans to rise up against the government? Historically, not that much. Americans have been willing to go rebel over economic and status issues in the past, in the civil war and the revolutionary war. Those were different times, of course but if the economic incentives for stability were removed, people very well might rise up.
posted by delmoi at 3:52 PM on October 28, 2006


felix_betachat: The reality that we are blind and led by fools is too horrible to imagine.

That's close, but not quite right. The problem isn't primarily that we are led by fools, though there's plenty of evidence of foolishness on the part of various leaders. The deeper problem is that the idea that anyone even could be in charge of something as massive as a modern nation-state is just absurd. Politicians go through the motions of pulling the levers of power, but no one has any idea how to actually produce the desired results. Your way of putting the point makes it sound like there could in principle be non-foolish leaders who would be able to produce better results. No one is, or could be, in charge.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 3:56 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


1. The whole law-making process is fundamentally broken.

2. Don't discount the possibility that if Bush were to unjustly declare martial law, the military might tell him to fuck off.
posted by neuron at 4:02 PM on October 28, 2006


neuron: The whole law-making process is fundamentally broken.

Oh, it works .
posted by peeping_Thomist at 4:08 PM on October 28, 2006


2. Don't discount the possibility that if Bush were to unjustly declare martial law, the military might tell him to fuck off.

You crack me up.
posted by Mr_Zero at 4:11 PM on October 28, 2006


2. Don't discount the possibility that if Bush were to unjustly declare martial law, the military might tell him to fuck off.

Right, because the entire body of world history so far really backs up that assumption. Militaries almost always refuse to take over when given the chance.
posted by signal at 4:14 PM on October 28, 2006


Well, we do still have the November 7 elections.

God knows what the Bush Brained Snake Monsters will do to subvert the basic foundation of our democracy, but hey there’s still hope.

But yes, it may soon be time to lock and load.

Now would be a good time to ask yourself, “How will I do in combat?” I know kid, I felt the same way back in ’69 in Nam. Truth is you’ll be scared shitless.

I shook like a rabbit and cried for my mama. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and your natural fear can be a beautiful thing if channeled correctly into your pants.

Keep your knife sharp and handy, and your powder dry. Lose your noisy, shiny bling bling. Keep the sun at your back, and the wind in your face. Stay off high points and ridges. See everything that moves.

At night, be very careful with light, don’t be third to share a match. A bible in the pocket will usually stop a long range intergalactic missile if you believe. Believe, or duck and cover.

Now when that tank comes roaring down Main Street, stay calm and wait till you see the whites of the three tours, pissed off, Bagdad-trained killer's eyes. He'll be the grinning guy holding the flame thrower.

Remember he’s probably just as afraid as you are, or not.

Am I going have to General Patton slap the snot right out of you? Hold your position rebel. You’ll thank me for this later.
posted by BillyElmore at 4:26 PM on October 28, 2006 [9 favorites]


The Republicans would not have snuck this into the bill if they did not intend to use it.

America was fun while it lasted, but it's over. R.I.P.
posted by Jatayu das at 4:32 PM on October 28, 2006


deliberately obtuse or stupid. which are you, fatbobsmith?

Who says I can't be both?
posted by fatbobsmith at 4:32 PM on October 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


Ya know i predicted martial law before Bush's term is out, and now its closer to happening.
posted by MrLint at 4:36 PM on October 28, 2006


This may well lead to the cancellation and destruction of Battlestar Galactica.

So that's their evil plan. Frakkin' necons.
posted by homunculus at 4:40 PM on October 28, 2006


Within a couple weeks you all have the ability to tell those people who helped create this, whether you agree with what they've done.

how many people who voted for these rubber stamp republicans in the first place do you think will learn about this power grab in the next couple of weeks. Where are they going to learn about this? Foxnews? Rush Limbaugh? Sinclair Media owned cable stations? The corporate controlled national newspaper that bought all the local newspapers in their town and donates heavily to the Republican party? Face it, the only people who know what's going on are the people who were informed enough to not vote Republican in the first place.

All they are brainwashed to care about is gay marriage and abortion. It's the modern form of bread and circuses.
posted by any major dude at 4:46 PM on October 28, 2006


I would like to point out that right-wing idiots were predicting martial law or UN takeover before then of the Clinton era and it didn't happen. The Republicans already control voting and are masters at using fear to garner popular support from idiots-- they don't need to use this to keep you in your place.

Get a fucking clue, outraged American commenters: YOU ALREADY AREN'T LIVING IN A DEMOCRACY. The water got hot enough to kill us poor frogs years ago. We're already dead, but some of you refuse to recognize it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:46 PM on October 28, 2006


Um, Mayor Curley? If you failed to notice, the Democrats gave up power voluntarily. That means we were still in a working republic. At the time.

We'll see what happens in two weeks, but I really think America as we have known it stands or falls based on this election. And it may already be too late. We will see.
posted by Malor at 4:55 PM on October 28, 2006


Right, because the entire body of world history so far really backs up that assumption. Militaries almost always refuse to take over when given the chance.

I don't know about "militaries" but in this particular case I think Bush would have a hard time getting full and enthusiastic implementation beyond the hand-picked Joint Chiefs.

And yes, militaries have blocked coups and refused to participate in them before. Ever hear of Moscow? 1991? In the case of our military, 50 veterans are running for Congress, and 48 of them are from which party? That may not be representative of the leadership, but it certainly points out that the military is more heterogenous than you make it.

Anyway.

Let's parse this a bit. (Text of H.R. 5122 here, click on the ENR version.) The US code section on Insurrection (TITLE 10 § 333) has been expanded to a more general definition of the conditions under which the President can federalize the National Guard in a state, and includes a key new provision allowing him to federalize troops over the head of a Governor in the case of public disorder and "inability to enforce the laws". This is what we may call the "Blanco clause".

The tricky question here is whether they would dare invoke it in the case of, oh, a State Supreme Court sitting on a question of a recount. Such, you know, "that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law" ...
posted by dhartung at 5:00 PM on October 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


*Confessor nods*

The nation's political sentiment recently is such that barring foul play, the Democrats are virtually assured of earning a House majority during the upcoming elections.

I'm not frightened of the elections so much as I am of the 2+ months between elections and congressional succession in the new year.

What will the outgoing Republican junta do? Will they engage in another disastrous preemptive war? Will they suspend succession for the duration of some manufactured emergency? Will they use military force to crush the inevitable protests? Will we have our own Tiananmen?

Or should I consider anti-psychotic medication?
posted by The Confessor at 5:10 PM on October 28, 2006


tkchrist, delmoi,

I didn't know the insurgents were only equipped with rifles and handguns. Amazing.

Further, tkchrist's Red-Dawn-esque "PS" of weaponly love really only disproved the "Nazis took away the citizens' guns!" paranoia of the pro-shooting crowd - after all, gun control laws mean little in the face of a truly necessary revolution, as somebody will always be able to get that shit anyway.
posted by dgbellak at 5:12 PM on October 28, 2006


Good thing I've got a few "loaner" pistols and rifles.
First come, first served.
posted by shnoz-gobblin at 5:14 PM on October 28, 2006


Yep, gotta agree with dhartung. I think this is a direct result from the fighting between Gov. Blanco and Bush over the national guard during Katrina. Also, after Katrina, Mayor Nagin, not Bush, declared martial law (even though he couldn't because we only have a state of emergency down here...) Nothing more folks. Hope I'm not ruining anyone's Halloween scary story.
posted by superchris at 5:17 PM on October 28, 2006


I nominate Smedleyman to head up the Metafilter Militia.
posted by EarBucket at 5:17 PM on October 28, 2006


Thank you dhartung, you made the whole thing more clear to me now. I appreciate it.

This whole thing scares me. Ability to move troops into a state regardless of what the state's governor thinks about it.

I wonder if the domain name NothAmericanUnion.com or .gov has been taken yet?
posted by BillsR100 at 5:19 PM on October 28, 2006


moaning, moaning, moaning. You people are becoming french.

By the way

I stumbled today onto Karl Rove's "biography" on wikipedia (I don't want to read an official biography for obvious reasons) .. I was amazed by the lack of data ... Who is in charge of the country nowadays? Where can i get detailed resumes? Where can I get a full chart of the White house decision makers besides Rumsfeld and Condi? Is there a good reason why it is supposed to be so secret? ... I was just wondering what was doing my good friend Jerry Boykin right now.
posted by nims at 5:25 PM on October 28, 2006


Yeah, Smedlyman. . . where are you?

Start shittin your drawers now, cause the next time a white powder is sent in the mail, you can pretty much guarantee that things are going to go goddamned martial, food lines, curfews, re-education camps and Patrick Swayze's 2nd coming in Red Ghost 2.
posted by isopraxis at 5:34 PM on October 28, 2006


This whole thing scares me. Ability to move troops into a state regardless of what the state's governor thinks about it.

Um. Moving the 101st Airborne into Little Rock over the objections of Arkansas' governor was what made desgregation actually happen.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:40 PM on October 28, 2006


I just think people are failing to apply parsimony to this. If martial law was imposed and used for some bizarre application (like most of these scenarios), do you really think that most republicans would stand by and let it happen? Do you think that most people in middle america would let it happen?
posted by Fuka at 5:44 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Fuka: If martial law was imposed and used for some bizarre application (like most of these scenarios), do you really think that most republicans would stand by and let it happen? Do you think that most people in middle america would let it happen?

Didn't you hear, Fuka? "They" are planning something. Something big.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 5:53 PM on October 28, 2006


Fuka: Is that a trick question?
posted by empath at 6:00 PM on October 28, 2006


edgeways writes "I am dubious, at best, about the logic behind saying we need to be armed becasue we may need to overthrow our government. I don't think we physcially could, I don't think we have the mindset to do so, and I don't think the end result even if carried out would be any better."

In a civil war the goverment is going to be hamstrung from not being able to using theatre weapons. They won't be able to level 6 square blocks to kill a single sniper. They can't indiscrimently destroy infrastructure. Even if they were willing to incur the economic costs on their home field they couldn't afford the recuitment. They aren't going to want to use mines or cluster bombs either.
posted by Mitheral at 6:01 PM on October 28, 2006




Yeah, scary as this may appear without context, it sounds like it's just a regulatory move to prevent another fiasco like Katrina where the feds didn't bring in troops immediately, allegedly in deference to the state powers in Louisiana.

Not that I like giving this particular government any more power, but I do think that it makes some sense to allow the feds to override paralyzed local governments in a situation like Katrina.

At least, if there's another disaster with an insanely slow federal response, there won't be the excuse that they were waiting for permission to go in from the state.

This is why I think this hasn't made news-- and why I think the account of it linked is irresponsible and shows why there is actually a role for professional journalists.

In the link, there wasn't even a *mention* of Katrina and anyone who knows anything about that catastrophe knows that the alleged reason the feds weren't in there sooner was that they didn't have permission from Blanco.

So to cover the story without that context is insane. Now, of course, this could be a power grab under cover of that, but if you're going to claim that, at least show me that you know the pretext for it. If you don't, then how am I going to believe you know what you're talking about regarding the rest of the story?
posted by Maias at 6:06 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


do you really think that most republicans would stand by and let it happen? Do you think that most people in middle america would let it happen?

In a word... yes.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:07 PM on October 28, 2006


If martial law was imposed and used for some bizarre application (like most of these scenarios), do you really think that most republicans would stand by and let it happen? Do you think that most people in middle america would let it happen?

If the government lied to us about WMD to invade a sovereign country under false pretenses, do you really think that most Americans would let it happen?

If the government started wiretapping thousands of American citizens without warrants, in violation of statuatory law and the Constitution, do you really think that most Americans would let it happen?

If the government started kidnapping innocent people off the street and holding them indefinitely without charge or trial, do you really think that most Americans would let it happen?

If the government started torturing people--torturing people--do you really think that most Americans would let it happen?
posted by EarBucket at 6:27 PM on October 28, 2006 [5 favorites]


EarBucket, most people don't care about those things. People would care a lot if elections were canceled or martial law were declared.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 6:32 PM on October 28, 2006


Do you think that most people in middle america would let it happen?

Considering homeland military action to suppress unfavorable election results would likely take place in urban areas where most of America's non-white, non-straight, non-Christians live, I think most of "middle america" would probably cheer Bush on, but only during commercial breaks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:33 PM on October 28, 2006


I'M IN UR CONSTITUTION EATIN' UR RIGHTS
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:37 PM on October 28, 2006


I didn't know the insurgents were only equipped with rifles and handguns. Amazing.

I didn't mean to imply that they were, although most of the sectarian violence seems to be done with them.

Imagine two separate situations, one with guns and the other sans. In the first situation, the military is restricted to moving about in armored vehicles and staying inside where it's safe the majority of the time (like in Iraq). In the other case, enforcers (the only ones with guns) can walk around with impunity, doing far more 'oppression', and doing a lot more to prevent people from even acquiring guns and such.

In the first situation, the ability of the occupier to prevent the construction and distribution of higher-powered weapons is greatly reduced.
posted by delmoi at 6:40 PM on October 28, 2006


Considering homeland military action to suppress unfavorable election results would likely take place in urban areas where most of America's non-white, non-straight, non-Christians live, I think most of "middle america" would probably cheer Bush on, but only during commercial breaks.
This and other similarly misanthropic sentiments expressed here scare me as much as Mr Bush's ruling junta. Is it time for radical moderates yet?
posted by Fuka at 7:01 PM on October 28, 2006


I can't get jam_pony's last link, "Text of the bill" to load. Many thanks to dhartung for follow-up.

I think it is long past the time for persons who believe in the US Constitution, perhaps such as Smedleyman, who has been called upon, to quiet their rhetoric and quicken their labors.

How can anyone who would hope to resist, should Martial Law be declared to abrogate the Constitution, or something equally grievous, think this was a useful place to carry on discussions?

Fuka, in some circumstances, I would expect every American to resist; but, a Pogrom here...a Pogrom there...maybe not so much until the Pogrom comes home.

At any rate, if a real line in the sand is near at hand, it may be drawn or not. We shall see.

Personally, I think it's time to vote. Then we'll see what's what, I hope.
posted by taosbat at 7:08 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Beat you to it, Kraftmatic.
posted by fleetmouse at 7:15 PM on October 28, 2006


Yeah, let's pile up the snark. "Stupid conspiracy theories" might get in the way of your TV consumption, can't let that happen. Toe the line, keep up the faith, support the government, support the troops. Wouldn't want to be a liberal leftie commie hippie thinker, no siree.

In case no one is noticing, Bush and Rove have been recently stating, emphatically, that they KNOW the Republicans will hold onto their power in the House and Senate after the upcoming elections. THEY KNOW. Not feel, not hope, not pray. Hell, it worked the last three times, it'll work this time, too.

And what happens if it does? The predicted Democratic sweep doesn't happen, what then? What will happen when gas prices start zooming up again within weeks, the Christmas season is soft, home sales keep heading south? Will the American people finally wake up out of their antidepressant haze, pull the stale pizza out of their pieholes and get ANGRY?

Conspiracy theories emerge when we are confronted with an actual conspiracy, a plot to take the US into a THIRD World War without Congress actually declaring an act of war. Did anyone notice that Bush used just those words this last spring? Any of you call your congressperson's office to ask WHAT THE FUCK that was all about? When the president of my country states that we are in a NEW WORLD WAR, I for one want an explanation. For those of you who are Americans, do you support your president waging a WORLD WAR on Islam? Do you understand the meaning of that? There are 300 million Americans, and somewhere around 1.5 billion Muslims on the planet. Take a cold, hard look at those figures. The US military is stretched might thin, and if some Islamic nutcase manages to get a nuke detonated anywhere near the Green Zone, well, that kinda put a kink in the whole US military superiority thing. Do you know the meaning of the word TERRORIST? Well, do you? Your government shits on you, your rights, your children, your future, and you can't be bothered to pay attention. Gotta pay that mortgage, pick out tiles for the bathroom, get the kids to school, earn those bucks to make the car payment, that new ipod looks mighty fine.

Do you folks think that the high crimes that have gone down over the last 6 years are just a bunch of nonsense? Do you think that the world will just forget this whole situation, ignore our failed Iraqi occupation? Do any of you wonder how many US troops will be deployed in those permanent military bases being built in Baghdad? Do any of you give a damn, as long as it doesn't impact your material lifestyle? Aware of the miliary buildup around Iran? Ready to engage yet another country in a conflict with the potential for tactical nukes, one planned by a bunch of wealthy, God-fearing assholes who have never fought in ANY war?

Snark away, kids. This is not a video game, this is not a reality TV show, this is not some fodder for late-night comedians. This is the fall of the American Empire, it happened while you weren't looking.

An entire country, sold out for a promise of a tight pussy, loose shoes and a warm place to shit.

So type some clever words up, impress us with your finely-honed irony and egocentric pap. I'm ashamed of my country, I'm in shock over what has happened the last number of years, I'm stunned that most people just don't fucking care. When this country collapses, I won't be surprised. We will have deserved this outcome. All the signs were there, and so very few gave a damn. A big chunk of my mother's family died at the hands of Nazis, so I was brought up to understand the signs of fascism. We're there, folks. This is not a drill.

OK, back to your regularly scheduled programming. Someone wants to sell you a car and some nice gubmint approved drugs. Have fun.
posted by dbiedny at 7:20 PM on October 28, 2006 [19 favorites]


An entire country, sold out for a promise of a tight pussy, loose shoes and a warm place to shit.

what a gyp. i sold my country and all i got are these lousy hush puppies and a space heater.
posted by quonsar at 7:31 PM on October 28, 2006 [3 favorites]


Well, do you? Your government shits on you, your rights, your children, your future, and you can't be bothered to pay attention.

Oh dbiedny, the governments have shitted on people for the last two-three thousand years , even if people still have all the power needed for change, they are more apathic then I ever personally remember.

Yet nothing brings the news of war more close to earth then a DRAFT without race,money,color exception from age 18 to 50.

That would wake up a lot of people, or a return of civil disobedience capable of attracting media attention for entertainment, color and audience value.
posted by elpapacito at 7:31 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


it sounds like it's just a regulatory move to prevent another fiasco like Katrina where the feds didn't bring in troops immediately, allegedly in deference to the state powers in Louisiana.

Yes, that's what it sounds like.

The reality, however, is that Administration — and quite possibly a cartel of powerful political players — has consistently used disasters as a means to increase their powers.

Go hit wikipedia and read up on Mussolini's rise to power. It's a step-by-step playbook for hijacking a country.

I think the USA is right on the cusp of failing: this November election is going to be the one that decides whether you have another. I'm honestly surprised there isn't a helluva lot more panic about it all. You don't even know if your election machines are safe!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:16 PM on October 28, 2006


Here's a direct link to the enrolled version of HR5122, and here's a link to the relevant page in the PDF of the bill.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:24 PM on October 28, 2006


WOW. The level of conspiro-lunacy in this thread has surpassed even my already-low assessment of the Hate Bush crowd that normally congregates in such topics.

What peeping_thomist said: amberglow, care to make a long term bet? I'll bet you $10,000 that there will be national elections in 08. Thanks for calling them out on their hyper-hysterical predictions.

I don't have quite that much cash sitting around, but I will seriously put up a modest wager to any MeFite who believes that there will NOT be elections in America in the year 2008.
posted by davidmsc at 8:25 PM on October 28, 2006


Thanks, MrMoonPie. So we compare Section 333 in the version you linked to the (May 2006?) version of the Section dhartung linked to see what's been changed? Is that correct?
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:45 PM on October 28, 2006


This is fucked!
posted by chance at 9:01 PM on October 28, 2006


Stanley wanted me to find out if you got settled in at your hotel, Slim, and if everything is all right." Slim had this unusual habit of sometimes prefacing his reply to a question with a small grimace and a wipe of his mouth against the back of his hand, a gesture of modesty or self-deprecation somehow. "Wal," he said, "its like this ole friend of mine from Oklahoma says: Jest gimme a pair of loose-fittin' shoes, some tight pussy, and a warm place to shit, an' ah'll be all right." *
posted by hortense at 9:04 PM on October 28, 2006 [3 favorites]


I suggest you buy your Canadian and Mexican land now, before the borders are closed and American money is worthless.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:14 PM on October 28, 2006


davidmsc: some of us are sure there will be elections well into the future. Not that they'll mean much (or do now), but they'll happen.

That one particular issue does not make backhanded attempts to take dictatorial control over the U.S. just fine and dandy, however.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:16 PM on October 28, 2006


"WOW. The level of conspiro-lunacy in this thread has surpassed even my already-low assessment of the Hate Bush crowd that normally congregates in such topics.", davidmsc chants the neocon brain-dead line. Speaking of toeing the line from some Rove boiler room:

I'll bet we'll have elections too. But the 2008 election without a Democrat win in 2006, will likely be one of those 99 percent enforced turnout elections.

One puppet candidate, sadly, will likely be our choice. We all will be required to hold up stinky, ink stained fingers or Dear Leader won't our children in the soup line.

I say we hold our fingers up now.
posted by BillyElmore at 9:43 PM on October 28, 2006


I've spent 20-odd years warning my fellow Americans this was going to happen, that tyranny was the inevitable result of all those step-by-step erosions of civil liberties, and with very few exceptions I was called "paranoid," "wacko," "deluded," "irrational," etc. Now that it's here, that it's been here since those Senator creeps sang "God Bless America" (which is NOT the National Anthem) on TV, all I can do is smirk the dreadful smirk of one who Told You So. If I don't kill myself before this year's out it'll be because schadenfreude is too much fun, because my spiteful glee at watching y'all squirm surpasses my own discomforts. Fascism: you voted for it, you paid for it, you got it; you might as well lay back and enjoy it.
posted by davy at 9:55 PM on October 28, 2006


I say we hold our fingers up now.

That would be an amazing show of solidarity among those concerned with the direction things have turned: a high-profile "purple thumbs" demonstration post-vote-booth. A media-whoring event in which everyone who voted anti-neofascism (ie. didn't vote for a powerwhoring lobbyistfucked bastards) stamps their thumbs and shows it to the cameras.

It'd make hijacking the vote a little more difficult.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:10 PM on October 28, 2006


You are all under arrest
posted by growabrain at 10:23 PM on October 28, 2006


"ie. didn't vote for a powerwhoring lobbyistfucked bastards"

But in the U.S. of A. those are the only Serious Candidates who run in elections, i.e. politicians from one of the two Major Tweedles. Americans have had several chances to vote for somebody besides one of those "lobbyistfucked bastards" but they chose to vote for a Tweedledum or a Tweedledee because otherwise they'd be wasting their vote on somebody who can't win -- because nobody'd vote for him/her because the Deep Thinkers in the MainStream Media said s/he wasn't electable because nobody would vote for him/her.

Anyway, sadly, there's really no need to hijack the vote: all they have to do is find a way to darken the Terror Alert level in the week before the elections, or paint one of the leading candidates as a pro-homosexual communist who'd love to crack a smile for Islamofascism, or get Britney Spears to endorse the favored candidate(s), and voila: Representative Democracy will win yet again. (Not that any of those tactics has been tried before, of course.) It's nice for them that they'll be using voting machines scientifically engineered to producing easily fasifiable results, but outright cheating is hardly necessary: there's no need to try to steal candy from a baby.
posted by davy at 10:32 PM on October 28, 2006


If I don't kill myself before this year's out it'll be because schadenfreude is too much fun

Don't worry - it is.
posted by mek at 11:02 PM on October 28, 2006


Heh. You conspiratorial types sound exactly like the right-wingers I heard in 1999-2000. They thought for sure that Clinton was going to declare martial law and cancel the election.

And, you know? It didn't happen. And it won't happen this time.

Here are reasons three:
1. The military will not, en masse, support President-For-Life Dubya. For one thing, the Pentagon is filled with Bush-hating generals and colonels. For another thing, officers swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, and you can bet that a bunch of them aren't going to walk away from such an oath. And finally, the enlisted are trained to obey orders, but they're also trained in knowing when it's right to disobey a order because it violates the UCMJ or the Consitution. Some may fire on American citizens, but you can bet more than a few of them will join the protest. And oh, how sure are you that the National Guard will not listen to their own governor and turn a deaf ear to the new dictator?

2. Without full military support, it's going to be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain order at cities and ports, much less seal the border. You'll have protests in the streets in most cities. Some of the military may join them, making an insurrection -- and civil war -- a possibility. Dubya would be drawing down Iraq and Afghanistan in order to keep DC and NYC from burning to the ground. And imagine what this will do to the US economy. If the economy stalls, Middle America is going to start feeling the effects of the rebellion. Dictatorships are much more economically inefficient than democratic republics. It's going to be more than just people who didn't sleep through civics class in the streets of red states

3. And honestly, some of you have it all backwards. Dubya can't declare martial law without the fiat of the whole of the military. He doesn't have it, no matter what your atheist liberal disdain for the Mid-South tells you. And, for the most part, the American armed forces have chosen the Constitution over a person. In that sense, we're like Romans, but we're not to Caesar yet -- we're still in the Sulla-Marius days. The ideal of the Republic remains, even if it's being played fast and loose by the leadership.

Dubya is not popular. He can't seize power without holding the popular support of the military. He doesn't have it.

You want to worry about this country breaking down? Worry about pandemic influenza. Dubya and his cronies seizing power would require a level of treachery their small minds are incapable of, even Karl Rove.
posted by dw at 11:07 PM on October 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Martial law? Is he really that far whacked out of his fucking gourd? We were going to the pumpkin patch tomorrow, looks like we'll have to swing by the gun shop as well.

What's a good caliber for a small child to wield effectively? And do they make a gun I can mount on my dog's back?

Purple fingers will mean nothing to these people, they do not care about symbolic gestures, they care about grinding their boots on yours and my throats (and water boarding, don't forget water boarding!).

But isn't martial exactly what the terrorists want? Isn't this just playing directly into their hands?
posted by fenriq at 11:07 PM on October 28, 2006


An entire country, sold out for a promise of a tight pussy, loose shoes and a warm place to shit.

what a gyp. i sold my country and all i got are these lousy hush puppies and a space heater.

posted by quonsar at 7:31 PM PST on October 28



Bless you quonsar!


Is this some sort of daylight savings hysteria? Have all the rationals slept in?
posted by Surfurrus at 1:20 AM on October 29, 2006


I don't have quite that much cash sitting around, but I will seriously put up a modest wager to any MeFite who believes that there will NOT be elections in America in the year 2008.
posted by davidmsc at 8:25 PM PST on October 28


How about this one: I'll bet you $20 that the Republican party manages to hold a majority in both the House and Senate in this upcoming election, despite what all the current polls say.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:21 AM on October 29, 2006


How about this one: I'll bet you $20 that the Republican party manages to hold a majority in both the House and Senate in this upcoming election, despite what all the current polls say.

I'm guessing that the Democrats will retake the House but not the Senate.

For those who like to say that Americans are losing control of their government: well, so are you, unless you're actually part of the high-level policymaker crowd in your government.

And I wish that amberglow and dbiedny would stop using up all the tinfoil.
posted by oaf at 1:59 AM on October 29, 2006


The reality that we are blind and led by fools is too horrible to imagine.

the idea that anyone even could be in charge of something as massive as a modern nation-state is just absurd


you guys don't read the Wall Street Journal or the Financial Times much, right? because the very public list of the people (ie, corporations) that are indeed running things is there, every day. and they may be fools but they really look after the bottom line. the politicians are just their (dutiful) butlers, in the end.
posted by matteo at 1:19 AM on October 29, 2006


matteo: WSJ, FT, Il Sole 24 Ore (well ok not that important, but still Confindustria) ; I don't read them back to back and daily, but the sensation is that they are into convincing me you and others about what is going on and what stock to pick, more than into revealing the moves of the powers that be.
posted by elpapacito at 3:34 AM on October 29, 2006


In my deepest, darkest moments, this is what I fear the most. That said, it just doesn't make any sense.

Here you have a group of people that are abjectly terrible at governing in a nation where the powers of the federal goverment are relatively weak by design. Why on earth would they want more power?

As it stands today, they can take the nation to war with a weak faraway nation -- virtually unopposed domestically -- set up no bid contracts with their own and their friends' companies to ostensibly take care of logistics and reconstruction and borrow at will to fund the whole thing. Sounds like they have a pretty sweet deal.

When this cash cow is sucked dry, and the US collapses economically, they'll pack up the kids, and hop on their Gulfstreams to live out their days in Dubai.

Why bother with something as messy as martial law? It doesn't make any sense, does it?
posted by psmealey at 4:18 AM on October 29, 2006


The threat of immediate, incipient fascism is the Democratic version of gay marriage. Yes, it's fucked up that we're at a point when it is the meme that gets trotted out every time there's an election, but 85% of this gloom and doom will die down in less than a month. The erosion of civil liberties and the expansion of federal powers are important, but this sort of thing has been going on longer than just under Bush, and the "ZOMG! Fascism!" reaction and its corrolary, vote Democratic, isn't going to solve a damn thing. The Democrats are just a wing of the same corporate party as the Republicans, and frankly on any of the issues people who talk about fascism are concerned with, they've been running right along with the Republicans to not seem "weak on security."
posted by graymouser at 4:19 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


> And, you know? It didn't happen. And it won't happen this time.
>
> Here are reasons three:

Don't spoil their party. You'll ruin ceiling cat's fun.
posted by jfuller at 4:36 AM on October 29, 2006


Stuff like this has been around for years.

The excutive branch can legally suspend the constitution just by arbitrarily declaring a state of emergency.

That's been around since regan/bush I.

It comes in waves people. They manufacture peace in the same way they manfacture war.
posted by milarepa at 5:39 AM on October 29, 2006


You loonies forget that even the USSR and Saddam had elections. Democracy is not the fountainhead of justice and elections are no sure sign of democracy.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 5:44 AM on October 29, 2006


The threat of immediate, incipient fascism is the Democratic version of gay marriage.

Yes, exactly. Thank you for saying that.

Don't spoil their party. You'll ruin ceiling cat's fun.

Ceiling cat is watching them bloviate?
posted by dw at 7:20 AM on October 29, 2006


Ceiling cat is watching them bloviate?

Granted, there's no shortage of hyperbole on this thread, but those of you scoffing at it with tin foil hat comments, don't you think there's any reason at all to be disturbed by this legislation? You have no concern at all about it?

As I've expressed, I'm not inclined to believe that this administration could pull off a coup like this, based on their repeatedly demonstrated incompentence. But I'm very concerned about the legacy -- a very damaged US Constitution -- they will leave behind. Worse still is the casual indifference expressed by those who simply don't care, or don't understand the issues well enough to be bothered by any of it.
posted by psmealey at 7:38 AM on October 29, 2006


Apparently the nay-sayers can't agree:

A. The election process is already gamed, stop bitching.
B. How dare you suggest Bush and the GOP would stoop to gaming the election process in the first place?

I wish I could get the talking points straight.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:51 AM on October 29, 2006


A lot of commentors make the point, more or less, that this sort of shit has always been going on, or that right wingers thought the same of Clinton, or that concerns for the state of our government are conspiracy theories which are the equivalent of believing in Reticulans or the Gnomes of Zurich.

Oh, fuck it, I do not know where I am going with this before coffee. Something different is happening here and dbledny nailed it.

I don't begin to deny that this country has been sold out to corporate interests for a long time now, or that power gets power and seeks more, or any of the interim consequences that comes from such structures and goals. But take that pattern in which power grows and along with it disdain for anything but power grows, and plot that forward. How does it end? I'm thinking we'll find out in the next few years.
posted by kingfisher, his musclebound cat at 7:51 AM on October 29, 2006


"You want to worry about this country breaking down? Worry about pandemic influenza. Dubya and his cronies seizing power would require a level of treachery their small minds are incapable of, even Karl Rove."

Oh, they are smart enough to put a small minded useful idiot like Dubya up as the face of their treachery. You see, bringing the United States into check is the work of corporate planners. These guys, The Smart Money, are world citizens and our quaint idea of a country is in their way. It amuses them.

Pandemic bird flu or something like it could easily be exploited to bring us into line. You don’t want your children to die, do as we say.

Homeland Security really has been buying remote farms in the cold north. Good place to keep a few thousand rag tag rebels. How about a big fence someplace? How about a law or two that lets the military ship you off to such places?

Why bother taking over this continent and not just fly off to off-shore villas with all the money in the world? Let’s all chant Greed.

We've got a whole chunk of the planet's resources the world's corporations would still love to exploit as much as possible. Besides they want us off their beaches, ski slopes and golf courses.

I've seen parts of the world every bit as lovely as any of our National Parks turned into private estates, toxic dumps or heap-leached strip mines by the very same people and corporations who are trying to rule us now.

In South America, I wrote about an Italian zillionaire who had a small tribe of Native People declared extinct, so he could load them in trucks and ship them off to a desert where most of them died.

He then had their reservation, a 40-square mile ranch, where he could ride his horse and not have to see unwashed savages. He only visited his little ranch once or twice a year and kept it patrolled with airplanes and gunmen on horseback to keep his land “clean” of the surviving Natives who tried to return.

Know your enemy.

Bush, Rumsfeldt, Rove, Cheney et al are just the idiot front men for some really bad actors. These guys have just started sucking our sweet plum. Please pass your beautiful daughters to work on our estates.

Yosemite might make a nice private hunting preserve for the elite. Congressman Pombo here in California actually proposed that part of the Channel Islands National Park be converted to a private hunting preserve for the military.

Basically, the world’s ruling elite wants our treasure, especially our public lands. Why clutter up their lovely estates with people who should be working for a dollar a day?
posted by BillyElmore at 8:03 AM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Granted, there's no shortage of hyperbole on this thread, but those of you scoffing at it with tin foil hat comments, don't you think there's any reason at all to be disturbed by this legislation? You have no concern at all about it?

Oh, I have concerns about it. But, in the larger context, this is a response to a problem with authority during a major crisis -- in this case, the Blanco-Bush National Guard chaos. And there was discussion about this rule right after Katrina, and whether it was even constitutional. (And it has some parallels with the use of the National Guard during the Civil Rights Movement to integrate schools -- some of the same arguments came up then.)

What it comes down to is whether we the people trust the government to make the right decisions and using our votes to throw the bums out if not. Obviously, if the electoral process is gamed you have a broken system. But systems change as paradigms shift. I mean, look at Teddy Roosevelt and the first Progressive movement.

On preview: You know, BillyElmore, I've heard the exact same things you've said from the far right and militia types for years. The names change, but the arguments are the same.
posted by dw at 8:25 AM on October 29, 2006


So we compare Section 333 in the version you linked to the (May 2006?) version of the Section dhartung linked to see what's been changed?
Yeah--the new law alters the U.S. Code, but the online version of the Code won't reflect that change until someone gets around to revising it. The new regulations are still law, though.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:29 AM on October 29, 2006


But take that pattern in which power grows and along with it disdain for anything but power grows, and plot that forward. How does it end? I'm thinking we'll find out in the next few years.

Whatever happens in next week's elections and in 2008, I would hope that citizens are aware that Bush's actions over his two terms, and in some small way, citizens' own growing cynicism — as displayed so amply and sadly here in this thread — have been slowly whittling away at the checks and balances that keep the executive branch in line.

It's those checks and balances that make this particular country's system unique and accountable, even if that accountability has lately become largely symbolic.

If pursuing accountability is a fool's errand, then let's be honest about it and do away with the election process altogether. Why grant the privilege of voting if citizens are so apparently bitter about any discussion of how their rights are evaporating?

Let's make the cynics happy: Get rid of voting, ignore the expansion of executive powers, install Bush for life and solve the problem. Possibly less snark, maybe, but certainly no more liberal bloviating on Metafilter or any other forum not labeled a free-speech zone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:30 AM on October 29, 2006


optimus chyme: "I'll bet you $20 that the Republican party manages to hold a majority in both the House and Senate in this upcoming election, despite what all the current polls say."

Not much of a bet for either of us -- the "current polls" show that it is going to be remarkably close no matter which side of the aisle you are cheering for, so speculating that the GOP is going to retain control via some sort of skullduggery and stolen ballots is just a waste of time. If the polls were, say, 80% for Dems and the GOP still wound up in control, then the conspira-nuts might have something.

And to be honest, I think that the GOP will indeed retain both houses, albeit with very small margins. I truly don't think that most people are as enamored of the "new faces" (they're different! they're not your Daddy's Dems!) of the Dem party as CNN and Time would have everyone believe.
posted by davidmsc at 8:58 AM on October 29, 2006


what a gyp. i sold my country and all i got are these lousy hush puppies and a space heater.

You forgot the box of kleenex.
posted by y2karl at 9:08 AM on October 29, 2006


BillyElmore says: Congressman Pombo here in California actually proposed that part of the Channel Islands National Park be converted to a private hunting preserve for the military.


What'd ya mean proposed?

Please refer to dhartung's link to HR 5122. Sec 1076 is the martial law stuff we've been discussing. It's followed by Sec 1077 which reads, in part:

INCREASED HUNTING AND FISHING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES, RETIRED MEMBERS, AND DISABLED VETERANS.

(a) Access for Members, Retired Members, and Disabled Veterans [...] to utilize lands under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense that are available for hunting or fishing.

(c) Recreational Activities on Santa Rosa Island- The Secretary of the Interior [...] shall not exterminate or nearly exterminate the deer and elk.

The fuckers have been busy, haven't they?
posted by ryanrs at 10:44 AM on October 29, 2006


Geez you people are . . . something. What is this perverse joy that comes out of predicting imminent cataclysm?

For one, all these calls of fascism seem to ignore the truly incremental nature of possible authoritarian takeover, especially here. There aren't going to be jackbooted thugs and IEDs in NYC. That isn't to say that everything is peachy: it can happen here. But all this hysterical shaming (and I'm looking at you fff & dbiedny) isn't going to do a thing for real resistance. In America Day by Day Simone de Beauvoir chronicles her visit to the States in 1948. She discusses the persecution of communistis and left-wingers and the way that many Americans who she meets seem to have no interest in these domestic politics or post-war foreign machiniations. As someone intimately familiar with life under fascism, de Beauvoir would be well within her rights to rage like these folks. But she looks at our culture and sees the way certain very laudable characteristics leave people who do care and who do have good hearts feeling totally adrift and without the ability to create change. So they turn and work on other things, not because they don't care but because feelings of helplessness are hard to overcome, especially in a place where individualism is the fundamental viewpoint but collective action is the only way most individuals can bring about giant changes.

That's all a long way of saying: if you give a shit, it behooves you more to work out how to bring people together for collective action (and make such action appealing)--a formidable challenge--than to throw big hissy fits about how we're giving in to the Nazis again because we prefer to shit inside, looking at pretty tile.
posted by dame at 10:50 AM on October 29, 2006


Not much of a bet for either of us -- the "current polls" show that it is going to be remarkably close no matter which side of the aisle you are cheering for, so speculating that the GOP is going to retain control via some sort of skullduggery and stolen ballots is just a waste of time. If the polls were, say, 80% for Dems and the GOP still wound up in control, then the conspira-nuts might have something.

Psst. That's how it's done. You can only steal close elections.

I can nudge a golf ball six inches into a cup and no one will notice. If I pick it up and throw it in from a sandtrap, it's bound to call attention to my golf game.
posted by quite unimportant at 11:17 AM on October 29, 2006


"Democracy is not the fountainhead of justice and elections are no sure sign of democracy."

That too. Yes indeed.
posted by davy at 11:20 AM on October 29, 2006


Surely our time is the most important and its events the most relevant to the outcome of history.
posted by fraxil at 11:31 AM on October 29, 2006


dame: it behooves you more to work out how to bring people together for collective action (and make such action appealing)--a formidable challenge--than to throw big hissy fits

I agree, but the crucial question is what kinds of collective action are going to be worth pursuing under such constraints. I'd be pleasantly surprised if it turned out to be anything more substantial than building up networks of like-minded (i.e., non-mainstream) families, churches, and schools.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 11:57 AM on October 29, 2006


Well, those don't seem to have worked very well so far. But my point was more that asking the question is more helpful than dissing people who worry about paying their mortgages.
posted by dame at 12:10 PM on October 29, 2006


So mounting an insurgency in the US is every bit as viable a tactic here as in Iraq. Or anywhere else.

Maybe stockpiling guns is a good idea, but long before it gets to that point, it would be good to have other things before mere posession of them becomes reasonable suspicion: cryptographic software, fertilizer, plasma cutters, generators, big pieces of pipe, infrastructure-less tranceivers (ham 2M & 40/80M, GMRSS/FRS).

Anything the state of California recommends for an Earthquake, all the tools and materials you see on Mythbusters and the Anarchist's Cookbook.

Look at what's happening with United Nuclear and Steven Kurtz for handling things previously legal & you might see where this is going.

What was the science fiction book where the govt. secretly nuked Florida to justify martial law & the anarchists sabotaged BART with thermite on the rails? Probably Brunner.
posted by morganw at 12:11 PM on October 29, 2006


This thread is an embarrassment.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 12:24 PM on October 29, 2006


dame writes: For one, all these calls of fascism seem to ignore the truly incremental nature of possible authoritarian takeover, especially here.

Not to take away from your larger point, but I really disagree with this particular statement. Maybe it's just because I'm young, but it feels like the decline of America happened pretty damn quickly. Since I was born in 1980, my awareness of politics and world events began around 1995 or so. So maybe this death spiral I see is really just the downslope of a repeating cycle. Maybe older Americans have seen this rise and fall repeated many times. That would comforting, I suppose. But from my perspective, it seems like we went from the Webby Awards to Iraqi death squads in no time flat. Remember when the biggest threat to the American Way of Life was Y2K? That was only seven years ago. Now we have domestic spying, secret prisons, and torture. Honestly, it never occured to me that my first car would outlasted democracy. (yay Toyota)
posted by ryanrs at 12:28 PM on October 29, 2006


psmealey:

> those of you scoffing at it with tin foil hat comments, don't you think there's any reason
> at all to be disturbed by this legislation? You have no concern at all about it?

ps, I roll my eyes at this not because I think it's trivial but because U.S. presidents have been accumulating "emergency" powers since Woodrow Wilson. It's nothing new, as Libertarian ... lunatics ... have been trying to tell you for decades. I roll my eyes because you people suddenly wake up and freak out when Bush does it, while you snored through similar arrogations of extraordinary power by eight previous Presidents. Here's a convenient list of National Emergency declarations conferring extraordinary powers on the Executive branch, as signed by Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, Truman, FDR, and Woodrow Wilson.

You'll note a lot of the pre-1976 declarations of emergency were rolled into the National Emergencies Act of 1976, but no sooner had this (sort-of) cleanup legistation been passed than the sainted Habitat for Humanity hammerer, Mr. Jimmy "Nobel Peace Prize" Carter himself started the whole process over again , creating the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) -- by executive order, of course. Heard of FEMA? Heard a little bit about what the government has the power to do just by declaring an "emergency?" Well, every bit of that long predated the current administration.

Here's one more useful list of Executive Orders and National Security Directives that are easily as scary as the thing that rattled your cages this morning and started this thread. It would be nice if, now that you boys have awakened to this business, you would put some effort into staying awake. I'm not holding out much hope for this, though. Just as soon as you people don't have Bush-hate to arouse you, you'll be going right back to your rudely interrupted naps.
posted by jfuller at 12:30 PM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


This thread is an embarrassment.

Hilarious coming from the guy who posited: "I'M IN UR CONSTITUTION EATIN' UR RIGHTS"

Raise the level of debate for us, willya?
posted by Hypnic jerk at 12:31 PM on October 29, 2006


dame - just to be clear, not a shred of this gives me any pleasure or joy. I absolutely hope that my interpretation of the situation is wrong, NOTHING would make me happier. Really. That said, I know that I see, and I have to say, after over ten years of not having broadcast television access, and recently getting access again, I am stunned by the climate, tone and content that provide the primary worldview for the majority of US citizens. A fascist swing is not only possible, I see many signs that it's underway. But hey, I could be wrong and everything is just fine. Silly me.
posted by dbiedny at 12:34 PM on October 29, 2006


... WHAT I see, that is. Oy.
posted by dbiedny at 12:35 PM on October 29, 2006


Look at what's happening with United Nuclear and Steven Kurtz for handling things previously legal & you might see where this is going.

I knew about Steve Kurtz's case, but I hadn't heard about United Nuclear. Thanks for that link.
posted by homunculus at 1:09 PM on October 29, 2006


Point taken, jfuller.

I don't agree that it's Bush-hate that precipitated this awakening, however. I think it's the realization after six years of bad decisions that a rigid and inept president can do very violent damage to a lot of people's lives as well as the fabric of the nation when the congress and the press are too cowed to do their jobs competently.

I think that when Carter, Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton made legal efforts to broaden the limits of executive power, it went largely unnoticed because (rightly or wrongly) the press and people whose business it is to follow such things felt comfortable that those administrations were self-constrained enough not to abuse those powers.

The current administration, by contrast, seems not to know any such thing as self-restraint or even, at times, a regard for the law.

After further reflection, one of the more amusing little twists about this particular matter is that I honestly think this legislation really is about the response to something like Katrina, and nothing more sinister than that. Because, if the administration wants to deputize local law enforcement and declare martial law, as others have pointed out, they will probably not bother with the legalistics of it. They can just go ahead and do it based on some crisis of their or someone else's making, and few will utter a peep about it, because "in times like these, we need to rally around the president". The groundwork has already been laid for that scenario.

In terms of any kind of resistance or uprising mentioned above, people in this country won't take up arms against their government if they feel they have been intentionally disenfranchised by election fraud. They won't do it if the democratic republic disintegrates into National Socialism. They won't do it if there are American soliders in their cities and towns. They will only do it if they don't have enough to eat.
posted by psmealey at 1:25 PM on October 29, 2006


morganw: Anarchist's Cookbook

Ah ha! This is another situation in which the year of my birth grants me a unique perspective. Unlike older kids who downloaded the cookbook from BBSes or younger kids who read it on web sites, I went through my blow-shit-up teenage years during the golden age of usenet. In those days, rec.pyrotechnics was frequented by a couple professional fireworks engineers and a handful of serious amateurs. This small band of regulars defended the newsgroup from misinformation through the lost art of flamage. Because of their efforts, rec.pyro was mostly free of the dangerous bullshit commonly found on BBSes and web sites. Bullshit like the Anarchists Cookbook. It's not worth the paper it's printed on (even in electronic form).

Generally speaking, one does not construct IEDs from common household items. Go rob a quarry instead. But enough terra-talk. Go discuss tactics with your neighbors.

(on preview) Kurtz was one of those rec.pyro regulars. Overly susceptible to odd and complicated situations, I recall.
posted by ryanrs at 1:52 PM on October 29, 2006


> I think that when Carter, Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton made legal efforts to broaden the limits of
> executive power, it went largely unnoticed because (rightly or wrongly) the press and people
> whose business it is to follow such things felt comfortable that those administrations were
> self-constrained enough not to abuse those powers.

Possibly. But if someone, anyone, actually was paying attention and felt comfortable with what they saw, it doesn't seem to have occurred to them that the apparatus set in place by the restrained and statesmanly Carter and so on is still going to be right there humming, well oiled and handy to hand, the day President-elect Jim Dobson takes the oath. In the heat of Defending Our Nation (or Solving Social Problems) whoever remembers that power handed to President A whom we like is also power handed to future Presidents B, C, and D whom we haven't met and may not like at all, for good reason?
posted by jfuller at 2:27 PM on October 29, 2006


"Here's a convenient list of National Emergency declarations conferring extraordinary powers on the Executive branch, as signed by Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter, Nixon, Truman, FDR, and Woodrow Wilson." jfuller says from the Rove boiler room. Nothing to hear or see here move along, you silly tinfoil hat clad Bushwhackers.

Thing is about the extraordinary powers declared by past presidents—most people trusted those presidents. We don’t trust Bush. Only a small group of brainwashed Fox News ditto heads, are still staying that course

Many conservatives thought FDR took us over the line to Socialism with the extraordinary powers of the New Deal. History says those Republicans were wrong, and the New Deal is a proven success. It’s ironic that the whole gist of the Bush administration has been to trash FDR’s social success.

Fascism, as Bush gleefully brings us daily, strikes me as bad for all but the moneyed elite. I’m 60 and I don’t recall feeling this close to losing our freedom under any past president. Well, Nixon in Watergate and Reagan in Iran-Contra were dicey moments, but then the press and congress had our back. Bushco has given us a weekly scandal since 2000 and the press and the congress are his toothless lapdogs.

Say what you want, I feel it all comes down to November 7th.
posted by BillyElmore at 2:36 PM on October 29, 2006


ryanrs: Maybe it's just because I'm young, but it feels like the decline of America happened pretty damn quickly.

I think maybe it is being young. I'm not that much older than you are, but I don't know that things are particulary worse now than they were in 1968 or 1941 or even 1860. That is, I suspect things are cyclical. I know people who were about our age in the early and mid eighties and they were just as afraid of Regean starting shit as I am of our current government taking the fight to Iran, say. Of course, some fears come true and some don't: the same people who worried about Reagan grew up to profit in the dot-coms, but the kids of 1855 got the Civil War.

However, that also wasn't exactly what I meant. In speaking about the incremental nature, I was thinking about the fact that it isn't democracy today and jackboots tomorrow. There were Germans for whom the 1930s were "the good years" and it wasn't because they were heartless bastards.
dbiedny: just to be clear, not a shred of this gives me any pleasure or joy. I absolutely hope that my interpretation of the situation is wrong, NOTHING would make me happier.

I don't think you want bad things to happen. But your writing, like people who are obsessed with pandemic flu or peak oil, implies that you get a certain frisson out of this disaster thinking. I could very well be wrong.
posted by dame at 2:48 PM on October 29, 2006


"I feel it all comes down to November 7th."

Optimist.
posted by davy at 4:01 PM on October 29, 2006


Call me an optimist, too: I voted Friday and we're going to win. Then, we're going to investigate, impeach, prosecute, imprison and maybe even execute a few of the deserving.
posted by taosbat at 5:45 PM on October 29, 2006


Did y'all see this?
posted by taosbat at 6:10 PM on October 29, 2006


BillyElmore has it 100% wrong (and I say this as a committed leftist). The problem is not that Bush and his cronies are exceptionally fascistic; they really have no need to be. Fascism is only on the table when there is a serious crisis and the real possibility of a revolution. And as much as I feel that it's necessary, there is no revolution in the cards today.

The thing is -- there are serious problems in this country, and what the Bush administration has done are a part of that. But it's not that new; there were things that were horrifically unconstitutional done in the Reagan and Bush and Clinton administrations before this one. Underlying this are comments like taosbat's, which are exactly the opposite of a solution: relying on the Democrats to ride in as white knights and stop "incipient fascism" before the Republicans call martial law and cancel the 2008 elections. And honestly, if you're seriously afraid of fascism in this country, you should probably beat the rush and emigrate now; the Democrats aren't going to do any investigations, impeachments, or prosecutions, much less executions; this is liberal Democratic kool-aid. What the Democrats will do is continue the erosion of civil liberties in the name of "security," and continue corporate rule and continue U.S. imperialism, albeit with a slightly more "progressive" face. Look at the rhetoric in the current race -- it's not about Democrats stopping fascism when the country's at the brink, it's about the "new Democrats" who are more right-wing than Bill Clinton. (And Clinton, in point of fact, governed to the right of Nixon.)

"Incipient fascism," as I said upthread, is the Democratic version of gay marriage. It's a meme put out to rally the base, and in a couple of months it will lie all but forgotten, whether the Democrats win or lose. What is important isn't electing the nominally left wing of the party of corporate capitalism, but working toward an alternative to imperialism, to corporate rule, and to the security state. And that will take a hell of a lot more than the Democrats winning an election here or there.
posted by graymouser at 6:36 PM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


Well, one key to change is to actually vote for change. Electing yet another corrupt liar into power is just stupid.

I've watched a number of TDS and CR interviews with politicians who are wise, caring, and wanting votes. Good people are out there: it's up to us to make sure we support them.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:59 PM on October 29, 2006


fff:

I have a (current) Newsweek that has as its front page article a piece about how these are "Not your Daddy's Democrats," with a picture of Harold Ford, which is basically celebrating the run to the right of Democrats. How is voting for an "I Can't Believe He's Not a Republican" Democrat actually voting for change? These aren't people gearing up to stop a fascist regime at the last opportunity; they're playing power games at the top levels. Anyone who is in the least modicum progressive in rhetoric will be viciously sidelined in fact in the name of things like "bipartisanship," "national security" and "moderation." That's the way US electoral politics work. Relying on the Democrats for change is tantamount to admitting that progressive political change will never come in this country. It is far more important to build social movements and a solid left than to support the Democrats; the Vietnam War was ended, Roe v. Wade was decided, and the Environmental Protection Agency was created under an old-school conservative Republican like Nixon, while welfare was gutted, repressive "tough on crime" legislation passed and the most rapacious trade pacts to date were signed under a supposedly liberal Democrat, Clinton. Change is not doled out in drips from above -- it is won by hard, practical work from below. And when you have a movement powerful enough to force the hand of the government, it doesn't matter whether they have (D) or (R) behind their names.
posted by graymouser at 7:13 PM on October 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


And honestly, if you're seriously afraid of fascism in this country, you should probably beat the rush and emigrate now; the Democrats aren't going to do any investigations, impeachments, or prosecutions, much less executions; this is liberal Democratic kool-aid. What the Democrats will do is continue the erosion of civil liberties in the name of "security," and continue corporate rule and continue U.S. imperialism, albeit with a slightly more "progressive" face. Look at the rhetoric in the current race -- it's not about Democrats stopping fascism when the country's at the brink, it's about the "new Democrats" who are more right-wing than Bill Clinton. (And Clinton, in point of fact, governed to the right of Nixon.)

Where are we supposed to go, pray tell? Would we go? I don't feel like leaving.

You may be right, that'll make me feel less like leaving.
posted by taosbat at 7:40 PM on October 29, 2006


It's completely pathetic and proves your point, graymouser, that only Leahy spoke out about it: ...On September 19th, a lone Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) noted that 2007's Defense Authorization Act contained a "widely opposed provision to allow the President more control over the National Guard [adopting] changes to the Insurrection Act, which will make it easier for this or any future President to use the military to restore domestic order WITHOUT the consent of the nation's governors."

Senator Leahy went on to stress that, "we certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law. Invoking the Insurrection Act and using the military for law enforcement activities goes against some of the central tenets of our democracy. One can easily envision governors and mayors in charge of an emergency having to constantly look over their shoulders while someone who has never visited their communities gives the orders."

A few weeks later, on the 29th of September, Leahy entered into the Congressional Record that he had "grave reservations about certain provisions of the fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authorization Bill Conference Report," ...

posted by amberglow at 8:25 PM on October 29, 2006


I personally don't think the American people have it in them to do such things with enough conviction to pull off an armed resistance, you might, and it's fair to think so.

How many do you think it takes? What percentage of people started the insurections in Serbia? Kosovo? Chechnya? Hell, IRAQ (early on) or even the American revolution!

It only takes only a tiny percentage of people to get the ball rolling.

How did the Iraqi insurgency get the hard arms to build IED's? Some were artillery rounds stashed by the Fedeyn militias. Well. Interesting. What about the Shia militias doing the same thing? Those were smuggled in by Iran. Interesting.

Ok. So in Iraq you had a completely closed country with strict limitations on arms suddenly collapse and nearly overnight the materials and the technology to build IEDs to fight American occupation spread all over the place. Most people who are setting these things now had ZERO training before the war.

And all of them STARTED with small arms tactics until they got organized. ALL of them.

We in the US got HUGE borders north and south with nieghbors who would be JUST as pleased to send a US insurgency arms. We are not one tenth has controlled or guarded as pre-invasion Iraq.

So. Yes. You NEED small arms to build a movement long enough to stay out of deportation centers or concetration camps or whatever and to get organized.

Then you can get anything else you like the longer you stay alive. With small arms you prove your a force to sympathetic (or greedy, or nations with "agendas", etc) arms suppliers. Just like every other rebellion in history.

-----

This rant is not addressd to anybody specific. Like most of mine.

This so-called "Red Dawn" fantasy people have accused me (and Delmoi) of having is all irrelevant to why I believe in maintianng second amendment rights and firearm ownership.

I want a gun for the same reason I want to sky-dive, or to travel to Mexico, or have vintage car or a HAM radio: To attract chicks.

No. That's not it.

The reason I want a gun is: Because I FUCKING CAN. That's why. That's what freedom IS.

If you don't want a gun? Fine. Don't. Some of us do want one.

I WON'T tell you you can't: fuck your wife — or boyfirend, or your wife AND boyfriend — up the ass, in the ear or in the eye socket; or go to jury duty dressed like Warf from Star Trek; or own an SUV or a Ninja sport bike; or what ever the hell you want to do.

And I won't bitch to you about what ever reason you like to do what ever wierdo thing you want to do. If you believe it will save the universe or not. I don't care. That's your business. Because we are free. And it is a mutual tollerance thing.

I have never shot anybody. As long as maintain that record then I should be allowed to have a gun. Like YOU should be allowed to have a car until you drive into a highschool gym prom night.

And if we believe owning gun might afford us the slightest chance of preserving our freedom in some far flung scenario... what is it to you? If not just in off chance we MIGHT be right. You have little to lose if good liberals like me nurse this fantasy. What? You want only right wing fag haters to have guns? THAT'S smart.

And PS. No I DON'T think the 2008 elections will be canceled. They don't need to be for the GOP to continue to get everything they want.
posted by tkchrist at 10:41 PM on October 29, 2006


"Yeah, Smedlyman. . . where are you?"

Busy. 'I am Sparticus.'

"Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franklin
posted by Smedleyman at 10:59 PM on October 29, 2006


And if we believe owning gun might afford us the slightest chance of preserving our freedom in some far flung scenario... what is it to you?

Ditto rocket launchers and tanks. "Might" mixed with "slightest chance" = almost anything you want.
posted by dreamsign at 12:05 AM on October 30, 2006


tkchrist wrote: And if we believe owning gun might afford us the slightest chance of preserving our freedom in some far flung scenario... what is it to you? If not just in off chance we MIGHT be right.

Actually, your fighting-the-government scenarios aren't especially improbable. This country's only been around for three lifetimes and it's happened twice. Our history is roughly 5% insurrection.


dreamsign write: Ditto rocket launchers and tanks.

Do you really plan on fighting helicopters and armored personnel carriers? An occupying force will be on foot. You're thinking of the LAPD.
posted by ryanrs at 12:31 AM on October 30, 2006


Plan? No. But we're talking anything that might afford us the slightest chance of preserving our freedom.

Now where's my flamethrower?
posted by dreamsign at 1:04 AM on October 30, 2006


Now where's my flamethrower?

Flamethrowers aren't actually illegal. Enjoy!
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 2:52 AM on October 30, 2006


*lightbulb* Oh, you were alluding to gun control and the right to bear napalm. But instead of all that, why don't we just swing by Walmart on the way to the revolution? Don't lose sight of why we're here: bullets are cheaper than gasoline.

Which raises an interesting issue... I don't actually know anything about guns. I'm not even sure if I've even seen a gun that wasn't strapped to a cop. Perhaps there's some truth to that librul stereotype.

But despite my complete ignorance of firearms, I think I've got this second amendment business firgured out. Here's my theory: guns are like home furnishings.

More specifically, rifles are like chairs. And the rifle San Francisco loves to hate can be found just over the bridge on the outskirts of Oakland: the IKEA chair. It's black, it's shiny, and it's made of metal tubing. It probably has lots of fiddly little adjustments and clever mechanisms. It's also stylish and modestly priced. Teenagers love 'em. But once you get over the cool factor, you find it's not a particularly good chair. It's a bit uncomfortable and not especially well made. A little too utilitarian.

So after you graduate and move out of your dorm, you probably find yourself a more grown-up chair. It doesn't have the flashy modern looks of the IKEA chair, but it really is quite handsome. And when you set it aside, it sort of blends in with your other furnishings (that IKEA chair was endlessly drawing attention). Even though this new chair doesn't have the complicated mechanisms of the old one, it's much more functional—simply because it's more comfortable. But the best part is the beautiful craftsmanship. It's a chair you can enjoy for a lifetime, then pass on to your children. And Sarah Brady will never try to ban it.
posted by ryanrs at 6:01 AM on October 30, 2006


tkchrist: And if we believe owning gun might afford us the slightest chance of preserving our freedom in some far flung scenario... what is it to you? If not just in off chance we MIGHT be right.

I just think it's a bit of a perverse obsession--definitinely one I do not understand. And therefore it's interesting. Especially the vehemence and careful attention to detail in your imaginings of the coming apocalypse.
posted by dame at 6:08 AM on October 30, 2006


Does that shit make any sense at all? If so, someone post it on dailykos, then send a link to freep. I'm going to bed.
posted by ryanrs at 6:11 AM on October 30, 2006


The difference, tkchrist, is that who I have sex with doesn't have any effect on you. Unless I'm especially powerful, you won't accidentally get shot through the wall of our adjoining apartment. If you surprise me one night during the throes of passion, it's not likely that I'll overreact and blow your head off (again, unless I'm incredibly well endowed). A proliferation of guns, especially in untrained hands, can be a danger to those who choose not to own guns.

Note that this isn't a contradiction of all the good reasons to own guns; I'm mostly playing devil's advocate here. If I felt that I needed to buy a gun to protect my family, I would not hesitate to buy one. But it is important to understand that there are some very good arguments against other people's gun ownership.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:06 AM on October 30, 2006


dreamsign writes "Ditto rocket launchers and tanks. "

A guerrilla force doesn't want tanks, they are a logistical nightmare. Rocket launchers could have limited usefulness. RPGs would also be useful and are more versatile.
posted by Mitheral at 7:23 AM on October 30, 2006


What happens when the Administration ignores all the subpeonas and investigations that are coming? When they refuse to testify before Congress?
posted by amberglow at 8:27 AM on October 30, 2006


The difference, tkchrist, is that who I have sex with doesn't have any effect on you.

I agree. But SOME people don't.

Some people think you having sex very much effects them. They think they have a legit argument, too. These people seem to have undue power in our present administration. And THEY have guns. These people are clearly irrational in their fears.

Who do you want to have guns? Me? Or them? Your not getting rid of guns. Not in this country. Not ever. So. Who do you want armed? "None of you" is not a realistic option.

Some people think you shouldn't have cars. Cars kill a great deal of people. But banning things merely based on what happens when they are mis-used is not rational. These people are clearly irrational in their fears.

I think you should have a car. Until you kill somebody with one. Then you shouldn't.

I have never shot anybody. By accident or any other way. The vast majority of guns in this country have not shot anybody. Taking away a thing, in this case a gun, from somebody just because you are afraid of the THING itself- a thing that is proven to be mostly harmless by itself - is ignorant and an irrational fear. Once a person harms somebody with a gun they shouldn't own a gun.

As for the tanks and rockets thing. Somebody always says stupid shit like this. C'mon. Can we stop being absurd for five seconds? Those types weapons have always been in the control of the state. They do not kill one at a time. They kill quite indiscriminately once unleashed. They're by their very nature dangerous even when stored and handled properly. They use explosive materials that degrade over time and take serious effort to maintain. We have no tradition of owning tanks or rockets personally nor do we have the infrastructure to do so.

First off I am NOT opposed to gun control. I support enforcing our current gun laws.

And, again, for the record I do not want to own a gun so I can go off in the woods and fight with the Wolverines. I want to own one because it is part of my culture and my family tradition. I want one because I want one. Because they are fun. It's fun to shoot like it's fun to drive. Like it's fun to sky-dive.

I want a gun because it won't harm anybody else unless I fuck up with it. And in a free and rational society that should be enough.

Right this second I don't even OWN a gun on premises. Yet just my desire to have one fills people on this board with fear, anger and hate.

Even if I fucked up with a gun I can’t shoot them through the internet. But people are afraid of just the idea of somebody, anybody, owning a gun. In that regard it is NO different than people afraid of you fucking your boyfriend in the ass.

Worse, people base their fears on the INTENT of the object ("it is designed to kill"). We now enter into the realm of basing our rights on metaphysical “intent” of inanimate objects. Like just the idea something has been made to kill people is too evil evil to think about. How niaive is that?

So I prefer to maintain that freedom with same vehemence many fellow lefties pretend to defend our other freedoms (most are hypocrites). For me there is no separation. Our freedoms are not line-items to be discarded over the irrational fears of few ignorant people.

Do I really think an apocalypse is coming? No. I don’t.

Do I think having citizenry with the right own arms is good for democracy? Yes. If they are educated, principled and compassionate. Yes. It’s a good thing. And to me THOSE people are better represented by the left right now. So I want YOU all to own guns.
posted by tkchrist at 10:15 AM on October 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


careful attention to detail in your imaginings of the coming apocalypse

That was not imagination. That was simply an imaginative use and application of historical fact.
posted by tkchrist at 10:25 AM on October 30, 2006


But it is important to understand that there are some very good arguments against other people's gun ownership.

Yes. Other people. There are always good reasons to curb the rights of other people. For their own safety is a big one.

Let's say we ban guns in this country. And a miracle occurs and every law abiding citizen hands over his/her guns. You and I both know that for a long time after criminals will still have firearms. Honestly that doesn't bother me. What bothers me is the elites will still have guns. Or goons with guns. Either on their own private pay-roll or the in the police forces. And with that they can muscle through anything they want. Everybody not rich will be "other people." Do we want to risk that kind of open disparity in rights and power? Do we want to place that much trust in our leaders? Look at who is in charge now? You trust them?
posted by tkchrist at 11:07 AM on October 30, 2006


i'm with tk, but i think parents/guardians should be forced to always have them locked up good--too many kids either shoot themselves or friends, or bring the guns to school.

There's no need to ban guns--there's need for registration and enforcement of Brady laws and background checks and safety training.
posted by amberglow at 3:37 PM on October 30, 2006


As for the tanks and rockets thing. Somebody always says stupid shit like this. C'mon. Can we stop being absurd for five seconds?

This was absurd:

And if we believe owning gun might afford us the slightest chance of preserving our freedom in some far flung scenario... what is it to you? If not just in off chance we MIGHT be right.

That's a ridiculous standard and deserved a ridiculous answer. What you've said afterward makes some sense (though I disagree with most of it) but that was just shite.
posted by dreamsign at 5:14 PM on October 30, 2006


I’ll add that the “standard” you used is well-worn by fearmongers everywhere, including the current US admin. “Might” doesn’t cut it on its own. You want to argue that small arms will be useful in situation, go right ahead, but “might be useful” belongs with “they might attack us at any time” in terms of complete rhetorical shams. And what I answered – ridiculous in any serious discussion of gun control – FIT your standard so either adjust and meet reality yourself or go find a corner to rant and count your ammo.
posted by dreamsign at 5:24 PM on October 30, 2006


            \\//
        ⊂(@ @)⊃
—oOO— (_)— OOo—

   Kilroy sez VOTE!
posted by taosbat at 6:26 PM on October 30, 2006


... the President's team has been planning for what one strategist describes as "a cataclysmic fight to the death" over the balance between Congress and the White House if confronted with congressional subpoenas it deems inappropriate. The strategist says the Bush team is "going to assert that power, and they're going to fight it all the way to the Supreme Court on every issue, every time, no compromise, no discussion, no negotiation." ...
posted by amberglow at 8:33 PM on October 30, 2006


That's a ridiculous standard and deserved a ridiculous answer.

No. No it's not. It's as good a reason as any. Because owning a "Thing" that is harmless by itself shouldn't need ANY reason.

My original point was it can be clearly demonstrated that small arms ARE useful in resisting opressive regimes. That is historical fact. The only arguable question is how likey is a Fascist coup or something in the US? I don' think all that likely. But having firarms just in case? Why not. I own an earthquake kit, too.

Your retort implied anybody who wants to own a gun must be crazy and out for wanton destruction. And the rest of your "clarfication" shit about comparing me to fearmongers or whatever was just idiotic and insulting and made no sense what so ever.
posted by tkchrist at 9:47 PM on October 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


And if we believe owning gun might afford us the slightest chance of preserving our freedom in some far flung scenario... what is it to you? If not just in off chance we MIGHT be right.

That statement applies to any weaponry I might care to name. As I said to begin with, "might" plus "the slightest chance" = anything you want. You wouldn't extend your lazy "owning a thing" analysis to nukes or anthrax or many other things -- probably -- so you need to do a little better here, tkchrist.

Absolutely fearmongers use the same logic as you did. We'd better (arm, invade, plant spies, send assassins, or just about any damn thing) so long as it MIGHT provide THE SLGHTEST CHANCE to avoid disaster. I mean c'mon. Who's spouting shit, here?

I didn't think most of what you said was nonsense, but that statement clearly was. You can defend it, amend it, or recant, but don't sit there jerking off.
posted by dreamsign at 2:27 AM on October 31, 2006


Or tell me that I took your words too literally, which would be fine. I'd know not to take them seriously from now on.
posted by dreamsign at 2:45 AM on October 31, 2006



Absolutely fearmongers use the same logic as you did.

Fear mongers wear pants. You wear pants. Oh noes! You must be a fear monger!

Look out! It be da Fear MONGERS! AAAAAAH!

Eh. At least your euphamism for "Hitler" was original. I give you 2pts for Godwin effort.
posted by tkchrist at 9:05 AM on October 31, 2006


tkchrist wrote: And if we believe owning gun might afford us the slightest chance of preserving our freedom in some far flung scenario... what is it to you? If not just in off chance we MIGHT be right.

dreamsign wrote: That statement applies to any weaponry I might care to name. As I said to begin with, "might" plus "the slightest chance" = anything you want. You wouldn't extend your lazy "owning a thing" analysis to nukes or anthrax or many other things -- probably -- so you need to do a little better here, tkchrist.

dreamsign, you're the only person here talking about large-scale weapons of war. You've mentioned flame throwers, rocket launchers, tanks, anthrax, and nukes. Everybody else is talking about guns. Obviously stuff like rockets and tanks have all sorts of problems which argue against general ownership. Nobody has mentioned those issues because private ownership of nuclear weapons is absurd. What, you want arguments in favor of tanks? Write 'em yourself, you brought it up.


dreamsign wrote: You want to argue that small arms will be useful in situation, go right ahead

OK, how's this: As violent resistance against the government is a common and celebrated part of American history, adults without a history of violent crime should be free to own long guns.

And before you ask, YES, insurrection is more common than elections. The American Revolution lasted about eight and a half years and the Civil War lasted four years. That's 12.5 years out of 231 or 5.4%. In comparison, we have two days of elections every two years which amounts to about a quarter of a percent. That makes insurrection twenty times more common than elections.

Also, there are three federal holidays devoted to wars of insurrection and those who fought: Independence Day, Presidents' Day, and Memorial Day. There isn't a single holiday celebrating elections, although you might get a few hours time-off to vote.
posted by ryanrs at 9:41 AM on October 31, 2006


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