Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
As you can imagine, I don't agree.
By historic standards we began this latest round of appointments with a conservative court.
It's true that Souter surprised, as have other appointees occasionally surprised throughout history, but Judge Alito has a long judicial history that illuminates pretty clearly his viewpoint, and I think the primary issue here is that Alito is one of the architects of the "Imperial Presidency", or the "Unitary Executive"-- same animal. He will not surprise, I think.

Would sure like to be wrong.

I am not sure what you are referring to in your remark about zenophobia-- it's an interesting issue, one that I'd like to pursue sometime, but I don't think I wrote about it here. I agree that it is one of the favorite issues for the right-wing demagogues like lePen, but that's a centuries-old issue.
The only traditional component of a coup that is missing that I can see is the element of violence-- yet the objectives of most coups have still been accomplished. It seems that the pistol-waving was unnecessary here, unless you consider the intellectual and personal bullying of men like Boulton as violence. I do.

Some reading shows that many coups are not so much about ideology or policy as they are about naked power. In a strange way, that sort of event seems often less damaging than ours, which is about imposing a fundamental revolution in world view that is strongly at odds with the mainstream views of most Americans.
There is, in our coup, no aspect, no department, no function of importance that I can find that has not been rendered subordinate to the Coup's failed ideological doctrine. Hell, even the weather scientists have had a boot stuffed in their mouth-- worn by a 24-year-old pipsqueak kiss-ass, for a while.
We were well on the road to laying a lot of bad shit to rest, Drew, like homophobia and theocratic domination.
This is one of the two greatests ideological train wrecks in American history, I think. The other was the very similar red scare that led to the McCarthy period,  that very nearly led to a right-wing ideological coup then. A handful of brave men and women fought back.
Thank you, Ed Murrow, and the rest. Anyone big enough to fill those shoes, just speak up.  

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Wed May 17th, 2006 at 03:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mentioned xenophobia here, though my interpretation may have been incorrect:

In a world with inconceivable wealth concentrated in the hands of those who live in a gated, sterilized world of comfy, quiet illusions and xenophobic fear, noise and courage are our best weapon.

Just curious:

Some reading shows that many coups are not so much about ideology or policy as they are about naked power.

I'm having trouble thinking of many coups that actually were about ideology and policy.  I suppose the American Revolution was more about ideology, and I'm certain that there are plenty of other examples, but none that I can think of in very recent history.  The Bolshevik coup was clearly about power, in my opinion.  I suppose we could see the collapse of the Soviet bloc as a series of coups related to policy.

We were on the road to laying theocratic domination and homophobia to rest, and we are still on the road to laying the latter to rest, although it is a long and winding road that has, and will continue to, involve many setbacks.  As I've pointed out many times, public opinion has begun a fairly strong shift in favor of gay rights.  Theocratic domination also rests on the destruction of the right to privacy, which the Supreme Court has established quite clearly, and which the American people very much support.  Note how even the biggest lunatics in the GOP run away from the chance to state that they do not believe in that right.

Even if the Court were to throw out the right to privacy, tomorrow, Congress would be so fearful of an election-day revolt that it would pass a constitutional amendment in a matter of hours.  And don't think for a second that the states wouldn't pass it, too.  Even Florida, a state that is perhaps permanently dominated by the GOP (since it holds over 3/4s of each house, as well as the governer's mansion), recognizes the right to privacy.  (I believe it's even written in our state constitution, but I may be wrong.)  The public would go into a blind rage.

The point is that, given that the Religious Right's founding mission is really to throw out privacy (since that right is the foundation of, for example, Roe, it is, ultimately, a losing battle for the pseudo-Christian sociopaths.

But the two, homophobia and religious intolerance, really go hand-in-hand.  The Religious Right has been on the rise in this country for quite some time -- long before Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld were in any positions of serious power.  The Religious Right is virtually synonymous with the Old Racist Right.  (Not always, but more often than not, from what I've seen.  They're centered in the same parts of the country, among the same sorts of people -- namely, rural, working-class whites.)  The movement simply never got off the ground until Roe v. Wade was decided in the '70s.  And it didn't have any major impact on politics until 1980.

I would argue that the foundation for the current state of affairs was put into place in the mid-1950s, as the civil rights movement began to gather steam.  I would argue, further, that this is roughly as good as it gets for the Religious Right and the Neocons.  It's all downhill from here.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed May 17th, 2006 at 06:27:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A few years ago I would have agreed with many of your points. That was before I began living outside the academic and social box that is the United States.

I think one can point to many ideological coups, including the bolshevic coup. Lots of people do believe in things, and lots of them will put their ass on the line for these beliefs. Latin America is the area of the world in which Ideology is remaking the political landscape, and has been pushing hard to do so for a long time. A howl of anger at a century or two of plunder. Most recently, Chavez has shown a powerful dedication to an ideology that may well finally break the endless cycle of needless poverty that has gripped Venezuela for so long. If he lives.
Zenophobia is an American trait, sadly. That's why gated communities have gates.
The racist current that flows in American culture was there long before the civil rights movement and Selma rubbed the collective bigot's noses in it- the civil rights movement would have been unnecessary otherwise.

Yes, the question of privacy rights is central. But, many strict constructionists and conservative constitutional scholars would argue with you on the idea that the constitution protects privacy at all. Judge Bork came within an ace of joining the court, and he did not believe that there exists any inherent constitutional right to privacy whatsoever. He is still a great hero to the conservative right, and today he would join the court in a easy, triumphal march, I bet. Every action of the Dick and Don cabal show that they have only contempt for the idea of such rights. And so far, they have won every round in their efforts to circumvent them.

Yes, the Neoconsevative policy framework has crashed and burned at every turn--but since when has reality conflict ever stopped a theology? I think it was Joachim Wach who devised the best model of the functioning of religious subcults, and in his model reality conflict brings outside persecution ---which is a powerful force unifying the faithful. So, in a perverse way, failure perpetuates failed theologies. It is and will be the same with the religious right, the economic neoliberals, the Perpetual Growth fanatics--. They will (and have) cast opposition as herisy. They may battle that herisy in a nasty way.

Why? Why is it so hard for them to see the failure? Some of the Neocons do see it. But the key here, I think,  is that the Neocons who are driving the bus and the religious right reason deductively- from incontrovertible truths- to generalizations about the world, and thence to policy. Since there are not too many incontrovertible truths to be had, their shit fails as policy. Interesting reveries are possible here about the theologically guided policies of the Muslim world and the conditions of life in the Muslim world, but that would blow up in my face, so I walk on that issue. The enlightenment brought the inquisition--that passionate conflict between Holy Writ and the new breed of thinkers who collected data about the world and tried to assemble the pieces into a coherent picture with predictive utility. It's called induction, and it leads inexorably to heresy. DaVinci could talk about that, if he were here. But heresy also sometimes leads to progress, and to good policy.

The last phase of the four inquisitions was finally decared over in 1834--but the official function of the Jesuits in that task did not end till sometime in the 1960's, I sorta remember.
My question related to how far the Neocons would go in the battle against heresy. And how long will it take till Americans relearn to reason inductively?

The fundamental skill needed to manage an effective coup is the ability to sense the currents of history, the prejudices and fears of the people, and swim downstream with them. These guys do it well.
We are the ones who must swim upstream.
Got your waterwings?

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu May 18th, 2006 at 06:51:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
God, do you realize the senile old geezer can't spell Herisy? Hericy? Heerisy?
OK, Deviationism.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.
by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Thu May 18th, 2006 at 06:58:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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