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All we need do is vote

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The Global Post, an online news journal out of Boston, has posted an amazing series of 7 photographs taken in Aleppo, Syria, a couple days ago. Here is the instant that a tank shell explodes among a small group of rebels holding one of the forward street corners in the city against the Syrian army. Yes, all three are being instantly killed in this photo - even though their bodies have not yet begun to be blown back.

Why post this? To just plain remind people that democracy is a dream for most people in the world. We have it but we seem to find reasons to pout and not vote. At times, a majority of registered voters ignore voting. And that does not count the many who refuse to register for any number of selfish and inane reasons. We should all vote intelligently. Vote only for those offices and candidates we know enough about. These fellows were seeking to have the right to vote and hoped and expected to live to do so. Democracy is precious, scarce and fragile.

A note on the Global Post. It is an amazing online only news journal started in 2009. It focuses on International news. I am adding a permanent link to them in the right side column.

About John Servais

Writer • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

Todd Granger

Sep 09, 2012

And 74% in Syria got a democracy a long time ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFXuGIpsdE0

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John Servais

Sep 10, 2012

Sad.  Don’t bother following the link.  It is a numbing spiel about republics that I have listened to a hundred times since the 1950s and it is just nuts.  This reasoning connects two dots and cannot connect three dots.  The link gives no clue about 74% nor about Syria ever having had democracy.  It is a total non sequitur. 

These three Syrians died fighting to gain democracy for their country.  It is sad that others start parsing and cautioning that democracy is something bad.  Arguing with the concept in this link is like arguing with an Ayn Rand true believer.  These true believers see the world as black and white.  Shades of gray do not exist, much less color.  They simply cannot fathom a complex civilization nor a complex government.

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Paul deArmond

Sep 10, 2012

*Salutes*

Three comrades lost.  Hope is not necessary to persevere.

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Todd Granger

Sep 11, 2012

Since the 50’s John?

Actually Truman’s 1948, was an interesting year in many of these local neighborhood’s too

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Spring

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”
THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to William Stephens Smith, November 13, 1787.—The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, vol. 12, p. 356 (1955).

  A related idea was later expressed by Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac in a speech to the French national assembly, January 16, 1793: “L’arbre de la liberté… croît lorsqu’il est arrosé du sang de toute espèce de tyrans (The tree of liberty grows only when watered by the blood of tyrants),” Archives Parliamentaires de 1787 à 1860, vol. 57, p. 368 (1900).

“In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture chronology there were no kings; the consequence of which was, there were no wars; it is the pride of kings which throws mankind into confusion. Holland, without a king hath enjoyed more peace for this last century than any of the monarchical governments in Europe. Antiquity favours the same remark; for the quiet and rural lives of the first Patriarchs have a snappy something in them, which vanishes when we come to the history of Jewish royalty.
Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens, from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention the Devil ever set on foot for the promotion of idolatry. The Heathens paid divine honours to their deceased kings, and the Christian World hath improved on the plan by doing the same to their living ones. How impious is the title of sacred Majesty applied to a worm, who in the midst of his splendor is crumbling into dust!
As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of scripture; for the will of the Almighty as declared by Gideon, and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by Kings…”
Common Sense Thomas Paine

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Todd Granger

Sep 11, 2012

“...It murders itself.”  Samuel Adams

According to Subhi Hadidi, a Syrian dissident, “The Ba’ath (1947) is in complete disarray. [...] It’s like a dead body. It’s no longer a party in any normal sense of the word.”

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Todd Granger

Sep 11, 2012

Democracy Now!

Walk like an Egyptian?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Democratic_Party_(Egypt)

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Paul deArmond

Sep 12, 2012

The bizarre notion of republicanism being opposed by democracy is a very recent bit of propaganda that dates to to post-WWII counter subversion hysteria.  There are no contemporary sources showing any such debate among the founders, either at the time of the Articles of Confederation or the debates between the Federalists and Anti-federalists during the Constitutional Convention or the debates over ratification.

During the post-WWII attempts to rehabilitate the political reputations of American fascists and their fellow travellers, there were numerous attempts to subvert the anti-facist and anti-racialist policies of the Rooseveldt and Truman administrations.

Two of the most notorious forgeries and distortions are the Pinkney diary fraud (http://www.adl.org/special_reports/franklin_prophecy/print.asp)and the representation of Jefferson’s opinions (written to his agent in England, William Smith) about Shay’s Rebellion while he was Ambassador to France.

Smith was in fact a British double-agent and he forwarded a copy of the letter to the pro-British loyalists who sought refuge in the Federalist Party, much the same as Nazis, racialists, and international fascists sought refuge with the Republican Party:
See Russ Bellant’s Old Nazis and the New Republican Party (http://www.publiceye.org/bellant/old_nazis.html); Goldwater and the Dixiecrats (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_strategy); and The World Anti-Communist League (http://www.scribd.com/doc/94287848/Inside-the-League-World-Anti-Communist-League(http://www.scribd.com/doc/94287848/Inside-the-League-World-Anti-Communist-League).

Jefferson’s “Tree of Liberty” letter is actually a defense of the Federalist killing of tax protesters.  Jefferson was an Anti-Federalist at the time and was much defamed by the Federalists as a supporter of the French revolution, as an atheist, in fact a Diest much like a Unitarian-Universalist today (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism), and as a subversive linked to the Bavarian Illuminatti (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/326115667).

It is an embarrassment to see these canards repeated in the present, when they are merely echoes of past tyrannies and their fuglemen.  It is even more despicable that the spirit of such lickspittles would be so trollishly spewed on the anniversary of the infamous attack on American freedom by the descendants and inheritors of absolutism and imperial authoritarianisn.

We need to do far more than vote, an act reduced to the mere consumption and commodification of propaganda by power elites.  We need to manufacture a new politics where power devolves to the public, the 99% who have been betrayed, oppressed and ripped off by the banksters, the manufacturers of consent and the hereditary aristocracy of the pseudo-centrists and the pseudo-conservatives.

When Jefferson wrote, “Wonderful is the effect of impudent & persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves.”  He is speaking directly to and about the conspiracy-mongering wackos who have dominated the right wing of American politics—fabricating conspiracy out of grass-roots sovereignty, creating faction out of debate and and labeling dissent as treason.

The spirit of Jefferson’s letter is alive (though bleeding from numerous wounds of added exemptions) in the Washington Public Disclosure Act, which states, “It is hereby declared by the sovereign people to be the public policy of the state of Washington:

“It is hereby declared by the sovereign people to be the public policy of the state of Washington:

    (1) That political campaign and lobbying contributions and expenditures be fully disclosed to the public and that secrecy is to be avoided.

    (2) That the people have the right to expect from their elected representatives at all levels of government the utmost of integrity, honesty, and fairness in their dealings.

    (3) That the people shall be assured that the private financial dealings of their public officials, and of candidates for those offices, present no conflict of interest between the public trust and private interest.

    (4) That our representative form of government is founded on a belief that those entrusted with the offices of government have nothing to fear from full public disclosure of their financial and business holdings, provided those officials deal honestly and fairly with the people.

    (5) That public confidence in government at all levels is essential and must be promoted by all possible means.

    (6) That public confidence in government at all levels can best be sustained by assuring the people of the impartiality and honesty of the officials in all public transactions and decisions.

    (7) That the concept of attempting to increase financial participation of individual contributors in political campaigns is encouraged by the passage of the Revenue Act of 1971 by the Congress of the United States, and in consequence thereof, it is desirable to have implementing legislation at the state level.

    (8) That the concepts of disclosure and limitation of election campaign financing are established by the passage of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 by the Congress of the United States, and in consequence thereof it is desirable to have implementing legislation at the state level.

    (9) That small contributions by individual contributors are to be encouraged, and that not requiring the reporting of small contributions may tend to encourage such contributions.

    (10) That the public’s right to know of the financing of political campaigns and lobbying and the financial affairs of elected officials and candidates far outweighs any right that these matters remain secret and private.

    (11) That, mindful of the right of individuals to privacy and of the desirability of the efficient administration of government, full access to information concerning the conduct of government on every level must be assured as a fundamental and necessary precondition to the sound governance of a free society.

    The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to promote complete disclosure of all information respecting the financing of political campaigns and lobbying, and the financial affairs of elected officials and candidates, and full access to public records so as to assure continuing public confidence of fairness of elections and governmental processes, and so as to assure that the public interest will be fully protected. In promoting such complete disclosure, however, this chapter shall be enforced so as to insure that the information disclosed will not be misused for arbitrary and capricious purposes and to insure that all persons reporting under this chapter will be protected from harassment and unfounded allegations based on information they have freely disclosed.”

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Todd Granger

Sep 12, 2012

And to this democracy for which it stands…

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444426404577647060576633348.html?mod=WSJ_Home_largeHeadline

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Todd Granger

Sep 12, 2012

William Eaton(R), a former school teacher, and Jefferson’s U.S. Ambassador to Libya…seems he made it back home, that complex civilization of red, white and blue, didn’t make shades grey.

Print more money, like Greece today a complex civilization, where Plato’s Republic was lost long ago, their complex civilization also on fire today.

Pay us the tribute money, we love you democrats for democracy!

When Jefferson became president in 1801 he refused to accede to Tripoli’s demands for an immediate payment of $225,000 and an annual payment of $25,000. The pasha of Tripoli then declared war on the United States. Although as secretary of state and vice president he had opposed developing an American navy capable of anything more than coastal defense, President Jefferson dispatched a squadron of naval vessels to the Mediterranean. As he declared in his first annual message to Congress: “To this state of general peace with which we have been blessed, one only exception exists. Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary States, had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to denounce war, on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean. . . .”
The American show of force quickly awed Tunis and Algiers into breaking their alliance with Tripoli. The humiliating loss of the frigate Philadelphia and the capture of her captain and crew in Tripoli in 1803, criticism from his political opponents, and even opposition within his own cabinet did not deter Jefferson from his chosen course during four years of war. The aggressive action of Commodore Edward Preble (1803-4) forced Morocco out of the fight and his five bombardments of Tripoli restored some order to the Mediterranean. However, it was not until 1805, when an American fleet under Commodore John Rogers and a land force raised by an American naval agent to the Barbary powers, Captain William Eaton, threatened to capture Tripoli and install the brother of Tripoli’s pasha on the throne, that a treaty brought an end to the hostilities. Negotiated by Tobias Lear, former secretary to President Washington and now consul general in Algiers, the treaty of 1805 still required the United States to pay a ransom of $60,000 for each of the sailors held by the dey of Algiers, and so it went without Senatorial consent until April 1806. Nevertheless, Jefferson was able to report in his sixth annual message to Congress in December 1806 that in addition to the successful completion of the Lewis and Clark expedition, “The states on the coast of Barbary seem generally disposed at present to respect our peace and friendship.”
In fact, it was not until the second war with Algiers, in 1815, that naval victories by Commodores William Bainbridge and Stephen Decatur led to treaties ending all tribute payments by the United States. European nations continued annual payments until the 1830s. However, international piracy in Atlantic and Mediterranean waters declined during this time under pressure from the Euro-American nations, who no longer viewed pirate states as mere annoyances during peacetime and potential allies during war.

 

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