Monday, September 23, 2019

John Wayne illustrates Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's "La propriété, c'est le vol!"

It's amazing, but the clearest video representation I've ever seen of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's famous slogan, "Property is theft!" (first formulated in French as "La propriété, c'est le vol!") is found in Howard Hawks' classic western, Red River. I had posted this movie back in 2011 with the same message, but that earlier clip had been removed from YouTube. Here's the key section of the film again, courtesy of Fandango MovieClips.

The movie ends with John Wayne a respected large-scale landowner, rancher, and all-around successful capitalist asshole. Here he is very early in the film, beginning his Texas real-estate and cattle empire with a murder and the brazen theft of Mexican land that formed his original ranch on the north side of the Rio Grande. I don't think any further explanation is needed to connect the dots to Proudhon's thesis.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

God-Given Guns?

A couple of days ago, the most recent ex-Minister of Information for the Trump Administration, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, tweeted that "Democrats say we have guns in America because of 'corruption'. No, we have guns because it’s our God-given right enshrined in the Constitution."

Being the smart aleck that I am, I replied with "It seems sacrilegious (as well as ridiculous) to blame modern America's firearms plague on a mythical 'God-given right' to bear arms." and "But if the right to bear arms (as part of a militia) in the Constitution is 'God-given,' then so is the #emoluments clause." Checking back a couple of days later, I was heartened to see that my replies acquired more than a few likes and retweets, and that there were over 25,000 other replies to her original tweet, most of which were amazed and surprised at her invocation of The Almighty in her defense of assault weapons.

I wasn't surprised. This wasn't the first time I heard this claim about a God-given right to bear arms. It seems to be an article of faith among a certain subculture of Americans. Back in 2012, I quoted at length from the document of a right-wing extremist group, The Platform Committee of the Republican Party of Texas. Not only did they talk about the "God-given right" to open carry your firearm on page 14 of their 2012 platform, but that was one of their less controversial planks. Abolishing Social Security and Income Tax; withdrawal from the UN, IMF, WTO, and World Bank; anti-homosexuality and pro-confederate-monument planks; repealing the Endangered Species and Voting Rights Acts; and much more that makes Donald Trump look like a flaming moderate on the GOP scale of fucknuttery were included. You can read more excerpts here, or the full document here. We sometimes forget in these days of Trump's constant headline-grabbing distractions, that the foundations of know-nothingism run deep in the GOP and USA. The nightmare didn't begin in November 8, 2016.

(Also -- having an open mind -- if anyone can cite the Bible verse in which God gives people -- especially Americans -- the divine right to carry guns, I'm willing to listen.)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Poll: C or P?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The True Blue Liberal Poll About the First Democratic Debates

Please vote in the following poll in the next three days. If you thought someone other than Harris, Warren, Castro, or Biden won the two nights of debates on that crowded stage, please tell us why in the comments here and on Twitter.

Friday, June 07, 2019

A Twitter Poll for Mike Pence's 60th Birthday

In the parallels between Watergate and the current #StupidWatergate, what role do you believe that Vice President Mike Pence is playing?

"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Caussidière for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the Montagne of 1848 to 1851 for the Montagne of 1793 to 1795, the nephew for the uncle. [...Trump for Nixon, Pence for Agnew and/or Ford...]" 
--Karl Marx, "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon" (1852) 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

"Her Body! Her Choice!"

I'm a middle-aged American white guy, so I should have absolutely no say in what any woman decides to do with her body. Period.

Neither should these 25 middle-aged American white guys (The Guardian has supplied mug shots) who voted yesterday in Alabama to outlaw abortion (with sentences of 99 years in an Alabama prison for doctors who perform the procedure) from conception, even in cases of rape and incest (yes, the doctor would get a longer sentence than the rapist).
January 21, 2017. Washington, D.C.
Reading about the men of Alabama blithely stripping away the rights of the women of Alabama, I keep thinking back to the Women's March in D.C. on the day after the current occupant of the White House moved in. We couldn't get near the speakers on Independence Avenue, but sat most of the day perched precariously on top of leftover inauguration-day cyclone fencing just outside the Hirschhorn Museum taking lots of photographs of the massive overflow crowd filling the Mall. One of the most common chants that we heard was "My Body! My Choice!" All of the men in my area would respond with a loud, "Her Body! Her Choice!" That's the echo I keep hearing today. I want to scream it again, but since I'm sitting here alone by a computer, I'll scream it into cyberspace hoping that one of those self-righteous holier-than-thou Alabamian legislators might get the message that women's bodies (in addition to being complete mysteries to them) are also none of their business.

As men we have the right to say, "Her body, her choice," or we can shut the fuck up. Period.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Has the True Blue Liberal blog's raison d'être been resurrected?

Yesterday I posted here for the first time in a while. With war drums beating again and one of America's most prominent war drummers, John Bolton, again in a position of power, it seemed necessary.

Today I went back and looked at one of the earliest posts on this blog from December 2004, while we were still dealing with the trauma of George W. Bush's re-election and I felt the need to jump into the leading social media of the time. I titled the post "Peace Bloggers." It had occurred to me when I decided to start a blog of my own to look up "Weblog" on Wikipedia. That article placed a lot of emphasis on the role of organized "War Bloggers" in the run-up to the Bush/Cheney war on Iraq as a key factor in the history of blogging (the current Wikipedia entry no longer even mentions "War Blogging"). So I proudly proclaimed that this little corner of the web would be a place for peace blogging, and that's why it's time for me to become more active again. If Trump thinks that war on Iran (or Venezuela or wherever) could help his popularity in the run-up to next year's election, does anyone believe that he would restrain the most hawkish of his advisors? Can some of us help to make war unpopular? Isn't it worth trying?

Monday, May 13, 2019

"...before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran..." --Mustachioed Chickenhawk John Bolton to M.E.K. terrorists on July 1, 2017

As we get closer and closer to the 2020 election, we should never forget that Donald Trump has selected the number-one cheerleader for war against Iran as his National Security Advisor, especially since Bolton's publicly-proclaimed deadline for meeting his terrorist allies in Tehran has already passed. This New York Times video from last year, "John Bolton Wants Regime Change In Iran. What's His Alternative?" should be seen by all Americans before the Trump Administration's gunboat diplomacy turns the Persian Gulf into another Tonkin Gulf with trumped-up reasons for yet another disastrous American war. There have already been many too many misguided military adventures carried out under our flag in my lifetime.

"I have said for over ten years, since coming to these events, that the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs' regime in Tehran." -- Chickenhawk N.S.A. John Bolton speaking to the M.E.K., July 1, 2017

I haven't posted much on this True Blue Liberal blog in the past year, but with the current administration currently rattling sabers in Venezuela, Iran, Yemen, North Korea, and elsewhere, we should all be prepared to speak out loudly and immediately and publicly (especially since we have a Congress that has handed all of its constitutional war powers to an authoritarian executive branch elected by a minority of Americans) whenever military action seems imminent. It doesn't seem like it's enough to type #ImAlreadyAgainstOurNextWar on Twitter every day. I need to start stating my anti-war opinions more clearly than can be done in 280 characters.