• Inauguration Day for Mr. Lincoln, Dr. King and Barack

    January 21, 2013

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Other Ideas

    Four years ago, we had hope. We thought he would right the wrongs of eight horrific years.

    During those eight years we lost ourselves. Following a singular day– one day– of terror attacks, we set fire to the whole world. Willingly, almost gleefully, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, the former on the promise of bloody revenge and the latter based on flimsy falsehoods that today seem as real as childhood beliefs. But we wanted to believe and so it was easy to lie to us, just like with the Tooth Fairy.

    Worse yet, we turned on ourselves. With a stroke of a pen, we did away with 200 some years of bitterly fought for civil rights– silence the First Amendment and do away with critics and whistleblowers, rip open the Fourth Amendment and allow the government to spy into our lives. Plumbing for the depths of evil, we as a nation tortured men, created an archipelago of secret prisons, a regime of indefinite confinement and renditions to feed our concentration camps, hungering for flesh. How much would be enough for revenge? When even that was not enough, we unleashed death from the sky, smiting people who bothered us, maybe occasionally threatened us, often times simply people who were near by or looked like our possible enemies. In the calculus of the day, we would kill them all without a concern that any deity would sort the bodies out later.

    Then in 2008 hope we were sold and we slobbered over it like the pigs we had become. He was a king, awarded a Noble Peace Prize simply for not being George W. Bush. He could have turned it all around, in those first weeks he could have asked the rivers to flow backwards and they just might have. He could have grounded the drones, torn up the Patriot Act, held truth commissions to bring into the light our tortures, re-emancipated America in ways not unlike Lincoln did in the 1860s. Slam shut the gates of Guantanamo, close the secret prisons that even today still ooze pus in Afghanistan, stop the militarization of Africa, bring the troops home, all of it, just have done it. What a change, what a path forward, what a rebirth for an America who had lost her way so perilously.

    Today, this day, four years later we are left with only ironic references to where we were and what we had been. We re-elected him mainly just because he wasn’t the other guy, everybody’s reluctant guilty choice. We now today go though the motions of a celebratory inauguration like an old married couple dutifully maintaining civility where joyous lust once was. We are raising a second generation who accept that their nation tortures, invades, violates and assassinates, all necessary evils requiring us to defame democracy while pretending to protect it.

    People who saw the movie Lincoln were struck by the personal anguish the president then brought upon himself ordering men to their deaths in support of a moral cause, ridding this nation of the horrors of slavery, human bondage, once and for all. That president enduring many necessary evils in pursuit of a goal he knew to be noble, the unfinished work of creating a truly democratic and just nation. On this same day we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, who wrote to us all from a jail cell in sweltering Birmingham to remind that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. King’s guidance in that letter was that the “means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.” We cannot fight wrongs by committing wrongs.

    So you Barack, who so shallowly call forth Lincoln’s legacy, for what cause do you condone our modern necessary evils? For what noble crusade do you allow the torturers to walk free? To claim the right to kill people, even Americans, anywhere in the world simply because you can do so? Why do you prolong the war, long ago not just lost but rendered pointless, in Afghanistan? On what crusade do you keep your enemies in Guantanamo?

    Lots of talk today, inauguration day, Martin Luther King Day. But those are the questions Mr. Lincoln and Dr. King would demand answers for from their graves, Mr. Obama.



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  • Recent Comments

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      1

      Cross-posting this prior comment of mine from your prior thread, as it’s more apposite here:

      So, although the Emperor’s legal inauguration has already taken place yesterday, he’s going to go through the ritual a second time, today, as a public spectacle.

      The Queen of the UK (and of some Commonwealth Dominions) is subject to an analogous division between her public and personal identities, however in her case it’s a Constitutional requirement to separate them, and furthermore it’s the inverse of how Obama’s PERSONAL role is the inflated one. I’m referring to the “Queen’s Birthday”. The present Queen’s REAL, PERSONAL birthday (sometime in May) is a PRIVATE matter, not for public celebration. However the UK, by law, celebrates a PUBLIC holiday called “The Queen’s Birthday”, but it’s not on the same day as her real birthday. (Australia does the same thing although on a different day than England!)

      In other words, the PUBLIC celebration of “The Queen’s Birthday” – which is in a similar spirit as the American Emperor’s PUBLIC “inauguration” – is set by law. And its being set by law is a symbol of how her PUBLIC, constitutional role is NOT THE SAME as her private personality. It’s a reminder that the Monarchy transcends the individual personality of whoever happens to be the monarch.

      But Obama’s second, unconstitutional, public “inauguration” is the inverse of the Queen’s Birthday. It’s NOT set by law, rather it’s his willful public celebration NOT OF HIS OFFICE, but of his personal self.

      01/21/13 1:08 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      2

      And then perhaps to put this matter in an even broader perspective, the fact is that Obama’s office is not principally that of Lincoln, but of George Washington, whose character was unimpeachable. The main contrast? Washington had three horses shot out from under him in combat, and he always rode out into the front lines under fire to inspire his troops. Yet as President, Washington purposefully UNDERPLAYED his minor role as “Commander in Chief”, emulating the spirit of the ancient Roman Republican Cincinnatus who eschewed military “glory” and emphasised the superiority of civilian citizens over the military. But Obama constantly refers to himself as “Commander in Chief”, reveling in that role while he sends his poor subjects to kill and die at his unlawful word.

      Oh and one more contrast between the Roman Republic and the present US Empire: At today’s public inauguration, lots of military will participate and be glorified – but in the Roman Republic, no soldiers were permitted to enter the city of Rome under arms or in uniform.

      01/21/13 1:33 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      “During those eight years we lost ourselves. Following a singular day– one day– of terror attacks, we set fire to the whole world.”

      It may be before your time, but we started down this fire-y road to hell on 11/22/1963, PVB. Since then we have become addicted to a steady diet of war and aggression and demonization to the point most of US are incapable of discussing “alternatives” that do not involve causing the deaths of others.

      01/21/13 2:11 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      “But those are the questions Mr. Lincoln and Dr. King would demand answers for from their graves, Mr. Obama.”

      NOT according to this Obama clown:

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/01/14/pentagon-official-martin-luther-king-support-iraq-afghan-wars/

      01/21/13 2:34 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      5

      Hm, well JFK’s assassination is as good a date as any to mark the apogee of the American Empire AND the beginning of its end, but such things are always gradual, never caused suddenly.

      Still, Mr Bauer’s choice of date strikes a parallel with how the apogee of the Roman Empire coincided with the beginning of its decline. Similar to how American power AND prestige reached its peak around 1963, so did Rome around 180 AD when Marcus Aurelius died. It was all downhill from there, particularly after the death of his successor Commodus (the GW Bush of Rome), after which the title of Emperor (literally “Commander in Chief”) was literally sold to the highest bidder and consequently decided by military strongmen.

      This clip from 1964 (significantly just after JFK’s death) is inaccurate insofar as it shows Commodus dying in the arena; actually he was poisoned. However it accurately depicts how the office of Emperor was then sold to the highest bidder. (I’m sentimental about this movie because when I was a small boy, seeing it on TV, it provoked my lifelong interest in Roman history :-) The prophetic warning at the end about how civilisations crumble, is a quote from Will Durant:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxoCM1yQqEA

      01/21/13 2:36 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      6

      “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. “–Will Durant

      That explains “American (fallen) Idol.”

      01/21/13 3:08 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      7

      @ Mr Bauer, “That explains “American (fallen) Idol.”…

      …And conversely, idolatry explains the fall of all arrogant empires throughough history – idolatry meaning in its broadest sense “to worship creatures as if they were the Creator”. Or in secular and non-theistic terms, “to regard any mortal men or their institutions as having transcendent personal authority.”

      In light of which, secular non-theists (of whom I am not one, I’m a hard-core believer in one of the Abrahamic faiths) – as I was saying, secular non-theists OUGHT to be the FIRST to object to the American Emperor’s pretensions of MORAL “authority”! Because if there is no Divinely ordained moral order, then there is even LESS cause to regard any MORTAL (ie one who will die) politician as ANY kind of moral authority whatsoever!

      And so, even atheists – in fact ESPECIALLY atheists! – ought naturally to be inclined to be sympathetic with the Old Testament Prophets’ warnings to their leaders, about the perils of arrogance, of hubris and how it inevitably causes its own downfall. That’s not just religious revelation, it’s also empirical evidence from thousands of years of recorded history.

      (I dedicate this song in honour of Pitchfork! :-):

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2bL4DGq7Ds

      01/21/13 3:52 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      8

      Eh what the hell, I may was well quote from parts of the Bible that Obama does NOT like! HAHA!

      I’ll use the King James version because that’s the most commonly known standard in the English-speaking world. From Ezekiel, chapter 8:12 ff:

      12 Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.

      17 Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence…

      18 Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.

      4 And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

      5 And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:

      6 Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.

      7 And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.

      8 And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?

      9 Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not.

      10 And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head….

      2 Then said he unto me, Son of man, these are the men that devise mischief, and give wicked counsel in this city:

      3 Which say, It is not near; let us build houses: this city is the caldron, and we be the flesh.

      4 Therefore prophesy against them, prophesy, O son of man.

      01/21/13 4:07 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      9

      PS re the above quotations from Ezekiel:

      He was the first Old Testament prophet to make any clear distinctions between collective guilt versus personal guilt. So, when he wrote about putting a “mark” (of protection) on those who had personally chosen to be righteous, it was his way of saying “Even if one belongs to an accursed nation (eg Nazi Germany), those of that nation who strive to be righteous will not personall incur God’s wrath against the nation’s collective guilt.”

      Thus, we can deduce that Ezekiel would say PVB (and some others) deserve to be spared from God’s punishment of the USA.

      But on the other hand, often the innocent suffer for the sins of others. Christians say the ultimate example of an innocent victim was Jesus. But in more modern and secular terms, there are the examples of the children of Hiroshima…and of Iraq.

      Hm, in sum there are at least two major ways of looking at how the innocent suffer for the collective evils of the unjust:

      1. In Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), it’s a matter of faith that God ultimately sanctifies innocent victims, such as the Massacre of Innocents (babies) by Herod after Jesus was born (those children are all Saints in Catholic and Orthodox Christianity), OR,

      2. IF there is NO God, then how is it Obama’s business to play that role, claiming the personal power over life and death, including the power to destroy the entire world?

      01/21/13 4:33 PM | Comment Link

    • jo6pac said...

      10

      I think I’ll work in the greenhouse and garden today that way I’ll feel clean. I think this is a slap to the legacy of MLK.

      Then again this could be a fun drinking game on how many times 0 says. I’ll leave the list up to other commenter’s.

      01/21/13 4:33 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      11

      ” we are left with only ironic references to where we were and what we had been.”

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/21/iraq-demands-u-s-energy-giant-exxonmobil-abide-by-constitution/

      That’s the difference between them and US.

      01/21/13 5:16 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      12

      re jo6pac’s comment “I think this is a slap to the legacy of MLK”…

      But MLK does not personify the office of President. MLK was never President, therefore it’s inappropriate for Obama to equate the Presidency with MLK.

      01/21/13 5:52 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      13

      PVB. Your words are blazing like carbon steel raised to tempering glow. Bravo.

      meloveconsullongtime said…
      quote:(I dedicate this song in honour of Pitchfork!” unquote
      Fantastic. Lightfoot was a beacon of the times.
      He was part and parcel of the spearhead of freedom forging the moment.
      In that light, I dedicate this one to Obomination on his inauguration. It was an epiphany for me.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb_Uu0eTNWk

      And thanks for the Ezekiel and Roman things too.

      For me, history, prophesy and song do not fail to underscore the path we are on. Unfortunately, hindsight and wisdom within the USG is non-existent. On the contrary, they seem to revel in their attempt to circumvent whatever these lessons may reveal. The books of the bible weren’t called “Testament” for nothing. Hence the USG shamelessness.

      01/21/13 6:12 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      14

      I’ll put in my vote for a song worthy of the day: Paul Simon doing “American Tune”. As true today as it was when he wrote it. We have learned nothing.

      Makes me cry every damn time.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE3kKUEY5WU

      -Teri

      01/21/13 6:24 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...

      15

      On this day, as this disgusting Usurper basks in his moment of history, I propose a toast.

      Here is to all of the innocents who have died, those who are left with pain and suffering, those who are facing a life in living hell, those who are being threatened with destruction, and those who seek remedy from the madness of our newly inaugurated Murderer in Chief. May you receive God’s grace and rest.

      For those who, though not yet blind, are helpless in their choice of right and wrong, may you receive the moment of monumental righteous epiphany.

      And for those who do know right from wrong, and choose the latter in pursuit of political idol worship and monetary reward.., I offer you these words of consolation.

      “Ye who knowingly eat from the bread of evil shall eternally wear your pants full of your soul.”

      pitchfork 1/21/13

      01/21/13 6:59 PM | Comment Link

    • Lafcadio said...

      16

      Since this is MLK day, I feel we would be remiss if we didn’t have a post on the state of racial and , let’s also add, gender discrimination, in certain American institutions. Just as a wild example, let’s use, ohh, say, the State Department.

      Diplopundit recently had an excellent post on awards at State. She notes that women really got the shaft on the most recent Department wide awards.

      One assumption she makes that is a little mistaken about the awards is that the awards are given for outstanding performance.

      When State Department bureaucracy is involved, never make an idealistic assumption like this.

      Although a majority of the awards are given for something like outstanding performance, (note the qualifier “something”) a lot of them are “consolation prizes” or what I call “fuck you” awards. Let’s take for example, the Consular Officer of the Year Awards. If you were to find a list of people who won this “award” you would see that a lot of male minority officers have won this award in the last twenty years. (You won’t find a list of any of these State Department award winners, and I don’t know if that’s due to sheer incompetence, which is always a pssibility with State, or they know that someone would figure out the keys to the awards, which would be really bad for them).

      The big takeaway here is that none of the male minority officers have a chance in hell of getting into the CA Front office, regardless of how good they are (three female minority officers, Ruth Davis, Wanda Nesbitt and Maura Harty, who amazingly is considered hispanic because she has a Columbian mother, have served int the CA Front Office in the last 20 years).

      So the awards, like most everything else at State, are really a sick joke (incidentally, one of the minority officers listed achievements
      in his award was decorating his waiting room with childrens art. Seriously). A lot of the awards are consolation prizes, not just for minority officers who will never see the inside of a Front Office, but also for people who lose choice assignments.

      Now two salient facts on gender discrimination: as I’m fond of quoting, CA has not had a male Assistant Secretary since 1983 (Diego Ascensio) and P, the top political officer position in the Department, just appointed it’s first female, Wendy Sherman, who is a political appointee (which pissed off a lot of career folks). To my knowledge, no minority has ever served in the P position. Minorities and women are generally restricted to heading CA, OIG, AF and the DG (the Department’s chief personnel officer).

      So, on Dr. King’s holiday 2013, what is the state of equal opportunity in the State Department. It’s like everything else there: a fucking calamity that satisfies no one.

      I could go onfor days about the gender/racial discrimination at State, but I’ll declare victory and stop here.

      Some necessary links below:

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

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

      http://diplopundit.net/2013/01/10/2012-state-dept-annual-awards-greatest-achievements-in-many-fields-mostly-by-men/

      01/21/13 7:17 PM | Comment Link

    • Random Thoughts » Inaugural Day, 2013. said...

      17

      […] First, Peter Van Buren on today’s inaugural:  http://wemeantwell.com/blog/2013/01/21/inauguration-day-for-mr-lincoln-dr-king-and-barack/ […]

      01/21/13 7:41 PM | Comment Link

    • Lafcadio said...

      18

      Whirled Vieew has a great post on one of my favorite subjects, and somehting I’ve been harping on, the Maura Harty scandal:

      http://whirledview.typepad.com/whirledview/2013/01/maura-hartys-latest-state-department-reincarnation.html#tpe-action-posted-6a00d834515f8469e2017d40496232970c

      01/21/13 7:45 PM | Comment Link

    • JVC said...

      19

      PVB… Well done, again. Thank you.

      01/21/13 10:26 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...

      20

      We’ll have more on Maura here later this week.

      01/21/13 10:59 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      21

      My feeling is that Lincoln’s decision to battle the Southern states was purely to insure a favorable legacy. He didn’t want to go down in history as the president who allowed the so called “union” to come apart. My feelings are that this continent should have encompassed maybe four or five distinct nations. From sea to shining sea was more about ruthless ambition not lofty nation building. I also feel that self emancipation is the only route that works in the long run. The North and anti slavery sympathizers elsewhere could have supported a slave insurrection in the seceded Southern confederation and maybe after one hundred years the slaves could have emancipated themselves. If they hadn’t then they would have been an extinguished tribe along with many of the aboriginals. As it is now we have a mess where many blacks seem to relish exploiting their historical victim status and this huge continent is hardly a “unified” entity.

      01/23/13 12:25 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      22

      Off topic – January 23 in DC will be cold as a witch’s … but Hillary will be sweating. Maybe she will throw the Drone Czar under the bus with DS.

      http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/11/16/who-changed-the-cias-talking-points-that-originally-called-benghazi-an-al-qaeda-linked-terrorist-attack/

      01/23/13 3:44 AM | Comment Link

    • Expat said...

      23

      “… and this huge continent is hardly a “unified” entity.”

      What unites most US Americans is American exceptionalism, which is part and parcel of US nationalism (“an extreme form of patriotism, esp. marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries”). U-S-A! The greatest nation on Earth! We’re Number One! And I’m sure you remember this gem from the mouth of Obomba in December 2011 when he announced the “end” of the Iraq war: “The United States military is the finest fighting force in the history of the world.”

      01/23/13 10:21 AM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...

      24

      re “The United States military is the finest fighting force in the history of the world.”…

      …Modern wars aren’t comparable to ancient ones, but if Obama meant in Modern times, then the laurels go to the armed forces of the Third Reich.
      It took THREE superpowers to defeat them – America, the British Empire, and the Soviet Empire. And the Russians did most of the heavy lifting.

      But even in that light, even giving due credit to what the American armed forces USED to be in WW II when America (albeit with strong allies) defeated two of the most powerful militarist empires in the world, Germany AND Japan – how the f— does that square up with spending ten years in a shitty little country like Iraq and still having no control over it?

      01/23/13 2:03 PM | Comment Link

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