Monthly Archives: June 2010

The Radical Jihadist Second Amendment

After its second consecutive display of judicial activism on the matter, the Supreme Court has reiterated that individual’s have a Constitutional Right to bear arms. In popular lore – as accepted by the Court’s conservative majority – individuals have a right to protect themselves against an oppressive government. As I have written before, deep in the American historical consciousness, there is this romantic notion of the Founding Fathers as revolutionaries. If in fact that is the basis on which the Second Amendment stands, then under today’s standard wouldn’t our “revolutionaries” who were insurgents and fought by guerrilla warfare, be considered today analogous to terrorists? And how different is a Jihadist than an insurgent whose reason for fighting is to defend one’s nation?

(As an aside, the term “jihad”, roughly meaning “struggle”, outside of the spiritual context was historically used to refer to an obligation to defend one’s nation against foreign attack. In modern Arabic, the term is also a common first name amongst Arab Christians).

Isn’t there something incredibly Jihadist in the psyche of the American who truly believes that the Second Amendment grants an individual the right to armed insurgency? The whole idea of “Second Amendment Remedies” is a fairly standard Republican talking point spewed from the likes of Newt Gingrich to Sharron Angle. According to Ms. Angle,

You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said it’s good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years. I hope that’s not where we’re going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.

As is usually the case, though, we don’t always appreciate that each of our American values be spread around the world. Also times change. For example, contrary to British protests, our closest allies, the Israelis, unashamedly commemorate the Israeli terrorist bombing that killed British and Arab citizens in 1946. And even though idealist American writers such as Hemingway and Langston Hughes, took up arms against the Franco regime during the Spanish Civil War, under the current political climate, fighting an oppressive regime is tantamount to an act of terrorism against the U.S., even when the U.S. is not a party to that conflict (as is the case of Somali Americans traveling to take up arms in Somalia). During the war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, then Senators Dole and Lieberman had proposed a bill to lift the arms embargo, so as to give the Bosnians a fair chance. Can you imagine our Second Amendment guardians in favor of exporting an American style right to bear arms to the Afghanis, Iraqis or even the Palestinians?

So for all those who believe in this radical Jihadist reading of the Second Amendment as a fundamental pillar of American democracy, should the U.S. be pushing a similar right to bear arms when promoting democracy around the world?


Filed under Essays

Do Palestinians Have the Right to Exist: Part II

I recently observed that in the face of the undeniable fact of Israeli’s existence — a country that is a member of the U.N., with embassies around the world, universal health care, 8,419 millionaires (2,519 new ones since 2008), nuclear weapons, and billions of dollars in aid from the world’s largest military power —  the real question should be whether the Palestinians have a right to exist.

Today, according to the Associated Press, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman answered that question: “As an optimist, I see no chance that a Palestinian state will be established by 2012.” In other words, not yet.


Filed under Essays

Extrajudicial Targeting of U.S. Citizens for Assassination

Here is Glenn Greenwald on the Obama Administration’s extrajudicial targeting of U.S. citizens for assassination and the Democrats’ hypocritical support thereof.

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Filed under Obama 44

Brasil 1982

The best doesn’t always win. And it is certainly difficult to imagine a more talented squad than the 1982 Brazilian national team, even by today’s standards. Cristiano Ronaldo has nothing on these guys hairdos (or shorts).


Filed under Digressions

Torres Should Be Sanctioned

Torres, whose athletic performance has been well below par during the first round of World Cup play, did at least successfully pull off this fine display of theatrics. The result was a red card for the Chilean player. FIFA often reviews video footage of games to determine whether to sanction players for unsportsmanlike conduct — usually limited to aggression or disrespect for the referee — but this practice should be expanded to castigate unsportsmanlike theatrics and other tactics that undermine the game.

When Thierry Henry’s undetected handball helped France qualify for the World Cup, the French public — in large numbers — actually protested the injustice (one of the first drops in the bucket leading to the popular disrespect for their national squad). It would be nice to see the Spanish press ostracize Fernando Torres for his shameful display. The Spanish should leave the cheap tricks to the Italians and Argentines.


Filed under Football/Soccer, Living la vida española

The Lamentable State of Mainstream Journalism

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'McChrystal’s Balls – Honorable Discharge
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

This is a nice job by Jon Stewart highlighting the lamentable state of mainstream political journalism in the U.S. Particularly revealing is the comment by Celeste Headlee where she says to the Rolling Stones journalist who revealed the McChrystal story, “you were obviously not worried about access in the future; I can’t imagine you are going to get it”. In other words, in the mainstream press, you don’t report on unfavorable news, lest you not be given access to the politicians in the future. Welcome to the White House. Easy questions, easy answers, easy access; become one with the propaganda machine.

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Filed under Essays, Obama 44

Law & Order and the Republican Mantra

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'Tron Carter’s Law & Order
Chappelle’s Show
Buy Chappelle’s Show DVDs Black Comedy True Hollywood Story

At the suggestion of ReWrite, here is a video from The Chappelle Show that serves as a good accompaniment to yesterday’s post on the Republicans’ cynical worldview of due process for corporations only.


Filed under Essays