Friday, January 18, 2013

Conservatives: Preserve Slavery!



Addictinginfo's Nathaniel Downes has a most provacative essay, "Founding Fathers’ Words Reveal 2nd Amendment Was… To Preserve Slavery?" that needs to be read in its entirety.  Downes is the son of a former state representative of New Hampshire, and has a startling premise: that the Second Amendment was written by and for white folks to keep the black populace under perpetual slavery:

"We’ve all heard the arguments from the gun manufacturers lobby: “The 2nd Amendment was about freedom!” “The 2nd Amendment was to ensure that men could stand against their government” or other similarly absurd thoughts. But, what did the Founding Fathers think of the 2nd Amendment? It turns out, thanks to research done by Thom Hartmann, the 2nd Amendment was about slavery.



"What is ignored in the NRA’s arguments is that, at the time the U.S. Constitution was written, the militia in the south was known by another name: the slave patrol, and virtually all men of age served in its ranks at one point or another. As far back as 1680 in Virginia, the militias were organized to prevent:

“…the frequent meetings of considerable numbers of negroe slaves, under pretence of feasts and burialls is judged [to be] of dangerous consequence.” (sic)





"In other words, the Virginia Militia was tasked with breaking up slave rebellions by busting any slave who might be organizing one. It even gave ‘incentive’ to men to serve on the militia: any freed colored person (black, Native American, or any other), if caught fleeing by the Militiaman, would be turned over to them as property, enslaved. A very effective incentive in colonial Virginia.

"By 1755, the Militia was established not only as a foundation to enforce slavery in the south, but it was a structure which it could be expanded if need be. Countless records of captured free people of color, even people such as the Irish, were pressed as slaves under the system.




"With the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, there was concern among slave holders that their militias, their slave patrols, would be usurped by the new federal government using the provisions outlined in Article 1, Section 8. Patrick Henry in particular was quite vocal on the subject, saying:

"'Let me here call your attention to that part [Article 1, Section 8 of the proposed Constitution] which gives the Congress power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States. . .

"'By this, sir, you see that their control over our last and best defence is unlimited. If they neglect or refuse to discipline or arm our militia, they will be useless: the states can do neither . . . this power being exclusively given to Congress. The power of appointing officers over men not disciplined or armed is ridiculous; so that this pretended little remains of power left to the states may, at the pleasure of Congress, be rendered nugatory.' [Source]

"He also is quoted as saying:

"'If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress [slave] insurrections. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress . . . . Congress, and Congress only, can call forth the militia.' [Source]

"He was not alone either, with George Mason joining him in concern:

"'The militia may be here destroyed by that method which has been practised in other parts of the world before; that is, by rendering them useless, by disarming them. Under various pretences, Congress may neglect to provide for arming and disciplining the militia; and the state governments cannot do it, for Congress has an exclusive right to arm them.' [Source]



"In other words, the U.S. Congress could disarm the patrols needed to keep slaves in line, eliminating slavery with one bold and quick move overnight. The 2nd Amendment itself was purposefully designed to empower the states to manage and handle their slave patrols, their militias. Which is why when Thomas Jefferson had James Madison draft up the 2nd Amendment, he had the language changed, from this:

"'The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.'

"To the language we know today:

"'A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.' [Source]

"A serious redesign, would you not say? The focus shift from a civil, non-conscripted force to a state-regulated entity which can be conscripted into service fit the needs of the slave holders. In a stroke of irony, when Abraham Lincoln did free the slaves, he used the very power which Patrick Henry and George Mason feared the government would, only at that time, by the Confederate states acting in revolt, they had abandoned their voting positions within the United States and therefore were unable to block the legislation. Their petty revolt resulted in their institution of slavery being wiped away. It still was a bloody civil war, but their “right to bear arms” destroyed what they had hoped to preserve.

"When people call themselves patriots, or say they’re standing for what the founding fathers stood for when it comes to the 2nd Amendment, they are, in fact, doing nothing of the sort. Unless, of course, they’re arguing for the right to press people into involuntary, lifetime-indentured servitude, passed from parent to child in perpetuity. Or perhaps, that was, in fact, the plan all along."



And the "plan all along," a piece by sanghoee - also at Addictinginfor.org - is called, "America’s Path To Economic Slavery Under The Republicans,"an update to Conservative racist history. Take a peek:

"As Republican rhetoric leading into the elections becomes increasingly bizarre (Mitt Romney’s infamous “47%” remark being the latest example), I have scratched my head about what the Party is really trying to accomplish. But then it finally dawned on me. What the Republicans are pushing for, and what their mega-rich financial donors want, is to tie the chains of economic slavery around America, and more specifically, the working class.

"If you have any doubts about this, consider the building blocks of success for working class Americans and you will see how the Republicans plan to crush all of them:

"Public Education

"Romney has been actively lobbying for replacing public education funding with school choice vouchers, an idea that sounds great but which would instead lead to the gutting of our public education system. While some students might benefit from being able to transfer Title I and IDEA funds to public charter or private schools, public school students will suffer while money is siphoned off from the public sphere. The reason for this is that public charter and private schools have limited space and will accommodate every student who wants to move, leaving the rest of the students, many from low or middle-income families, struggling in an under-funded and neglected school system.

"...the dismantling of our basic public school infrastructure to accommodate personal choice is the wrong solution. It is a variation on the same Social Darwinian principles that the GOP applies to the business sector and which will compromise the future of millions of American children who will fail to receive an adequate K-12 education.



"College Aid

"In a display of ideological extremism, the Republicans have called for ending the federal direct student loan program that has helped college students for decades in financing the exploding costs of higher education in America. Instead, they want the government to ensure private student loans made by banks, which will be good for the banks but not the students. In a private system, banks will have the power to impose more stringent requirements, making it harder for deserving students who cannot meet some arbitrary criterion to get loans, and impose higher interest rates. Additionally, House Republicans want to cut the Pell Grantprogram for low-income students by as much as $170 billion over the next ten years, which would leave almost one million students without the financial aid they need to attend college.

"The Republicans also oppose the $8 billion Community College to Career Fund, an initiative put forward by President Obama to train millions of workers for good jobs in active industries. The Fund is an important step in expanding government resources for community colleges, which are the only option for many low-income Americans who cannot afford to send their children to private universities, as well as a powerful vehicle for preparing the workforce for tomorrow’s competition. So why would the GOP object? Because community colleges offer a chance for the kids of working class families to gain higher education, and create competition for more expensive private schools.

"... the GOP’s inexplicable support of this business just betrays their wish to dismantle public education and to hand over our future to the private sector.



"Income Equality

"The wealth gap in America has doubled over the past 50 years. The top 1% of Americans are now 288 times richer than the median household, which is staggering. This wide chasm between the rich and the working class is mainly because of income inequality: while the wages of working class Americans have declined over the past few decades, the income of the top 1% has risen, partly due to exorbitant compensation for senior executives at companies, and partly due to investment income – which the wealthy have a lot more of. Here too, the GOP exhibits its slaveholder mentality, rejecting corporate reform that would help reduce the income gap, attacking the union system that protects workers’ rights, advocating eliminating the minimum wage, ignoring calls for fairness in pay, and pushing for Wild West capitalism – even though that has already destroyed the lives of millions of Americans.

"On top of that, the Republicans want a 20% tax cut for everyone in America, which is a wonderful sentiment except that a report by the Tax Policy Center shows that those making more than $1 million per year will benefit much more from those cuts than the rest of us.

"The reason for this is that the playing field is already so uneven that any cuts will offer a disproportionate benefit to the wealthy.

"Debt and Consumer Protection

"Here are the statistics: total credit card debt in the United States now stands at $704 billion, auto loans at $734 billion, student loans at $867 billion, and mortgages at a whopping $13.4 trillion. The median household debt is $75,600 while median income is only $49,800. This is probably the clearest sign of the Republican agenda to enslave Americans. In use around the world for millennia, the formula is well-tested and proven: loan people money, land, or something else, impose a high enough interest rate so that they can never actually pay it down, and then “own” them. At one time it was noblemen and landowners, now it is banks with sharp logos and fancy offices, but the basic principle remains the same.

"While technically true that Americans often dig their own graves when it comes to debt, all too often we find that most major banks in the United States use a mixture of deceptive marketing and strong-arm collection tactics to ply their trade, tricking and defrauding customers. The abuses by credit card companies and mortgage lenders – including making attractive offers in bold print while hiding all sorts of other fees and penalties in complex language and small text, jacking up interest rates dramatically when consumers are unable to pay (thereby making it even more difficult for the consumer to settle up), threatening and harassing borrowers through proxy debt-collectors, all the while refusing to work with them in good faith to pay down their debts – are now a matter of common public record, and yet the GOP seems to have no problem with such predatory lending practices.

"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, introduced as part of the Dodd-Frank Act to prevent these types of abuses, has been ferociously attacked by the Republicans. Their claim is that the CFPB will hinder free enterprise, but in reality what it will hinder is the bank’s ability to put Americans in to large amounts of debt through trickery and deceit, therefore their ability to own them. If the Republicans have their way, consumer protection will become a charming relic of the past, opening the floodgates for large-scale exploitation of Americans by Wall Street.



"Regulation

"Closely connected with the above is Republican opposition to business regulation, which is a necessity for a level playing field, and for our economic stability. Even after the market disaster of 2008, which was the result of increased deregulation over the previous 40 years, and despite recent debacles like the massive trading losses at JPMorgan Chase and LIBOR manipulation by dozens of banks, the GOP still maintains that leaving banks and corporations alone 'to do their thing' will benefit America. Perhaps they should ask the 8.3% of Americans who are still unemployed, or those people who lost their homes when mortgage rates suddenly shot up, or the senior citizens who cannot get basic healthcare, or the workers who cannot afford transportation to their jobs because of price-gouging by the oil companies.

"...the GOP basically wants no business regulation whatsoever; and by removing the roadblocks to corporate greed and risk-taking, they can make sure that Americans stay at the mercy of big business.

"Social Safety Net

"Probably the most publicized aspect of the Republican plan – especially after Paul Ryan was added to the Romney ticket, the demolition of the social safety net for Americans is just an atrocity. These programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, are actually the hallmark of an advanced and civilized society that takes care of its weakest members. It is also an important part of the social contract that enables citizens from all walks of life to take risks and become entrepreneurs without fear of destitution and neglect in their older years.



"Economic Slavery

"All of this is driven by the fact that the Republican Party is the Party of the Rich, and its top priority is to reward its wealthiest contributors. These donors stand to benefit tremendously from herding working class Americans into the “paycheck” trap, so that the majority are so bound by their financial needs and so limited by their lack of opportunity that they practically become slaves to their employers. I had speculated about this type of oligarchic future a while ago in an article but over the course of these elections, I have come to believe that this is really what will happen if Romney succeeds.

"By systematically dismantling the public education system and clamping down on college aid, the GOP is ensuring that children from low and middle-income families are denied the opportunity to obtain the basic skills and training needed to land well-paying jobs in the future. The lack of job choice, combined with wage exploitation, debt, and discriminatory tax policies that only favor those in the highest income brackets, will widen the income gap in America even more. And finally, the removal of the social safety net will permanently relegate the working class (and their children) to “cog” status in the ruthless machine of runaway capitalism.

"Let’s not let that happen. Let’s recognize what the Republicans are really trying to do, acknowledge the true intentions of their wealthy and power-hungry bosses..."



Racial prejudice is repugnant to all but the typical bigoted Conservative, no matter what the Constitution says.  Conservatism is an evil that must be made illegal, or the chances of a level playing field for all non-whites is an impossibility.




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"All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature,
compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire."

Aristotle


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