Grotesque Nationalism

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the sea venture.jpg
(“The Sea Venture in a Heavy Sea in 1609”, Jesse Helms (R-NC) revved up traditional American isolationism into a variant of what I frequently call “pugnacious nationalism”.
Helms hired and trained hundreds of leading national security and foreign policy operatives during his tenure on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and morphed together strident isolationist sensibilities with the seemingly conflicting but, in the end, happily cooperating neoconservative movement.
But after reading John Jeremiah Sullivan’s new article in GQ, “American Grotesque“, I think “grotesque nationalism” may fit just as well as “pugnacious nationalism.”
Read the entire, fascinating essay (which I think can only be purchased in magazine form right now) — but I want to share two clips here — one recounting a battle between pugnacious colonists sent from England to relieve the embryonic Jamestown colony and ‘would-be socialists’ on the expedition. The other is a selection on an assault by a group of anti-health care reform zealots on a town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Tom Perriello (D-VA) in Virginia.
And when you are done, for more — go check out Max Blumenthal’s Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party.
America’s First Revolution — Pugnacious Colonists vs. Socialists, from “American Grotesque”, GQ, January 2010:

The first American Revolution was fought over socialism, in 1609. This is never mentioned. Even before slavery and the Indian genocides, it’s a founding schism.
In that year, a ship called the Sea Venture wrecked off the coast of Bermuda. She’d been on her way to relieve the struggling infant Jamestown colony in Virginia. So the ship hadn’t even reached here yet–that’s how early this was.
Among the passengers were several of separatist tendencies, the Brownists and Familists, whose ideas about society and Christianity had been shaped by the radical sectarian movements that rose up before the English Civil War. These were the parents, then, of the Levelers, Diggers, and Quakers (the people you read about in Christopher Hill’s 1972 classic, The World Turned Upside Down). Most of those movements contained at least some communitarian element.
The passengers made it ashore and right away set to work building another ship.
Some of them did. The others said, What are we doing? Why are we killing ourselves to get to Jamestown, where they’ll put us to work as colonial drones until we starve or get eaten by heathens, when we have everything we need on this island? Fresh fruit, seafood, plenty of space. Let us live here in common, worshipping God and sharing the bounty of the earth, and no man shall be master to any other.
Nor was there was any indigenous population in Bermuda. It was terra pura, pure soil.
What happened? The ones who intended to go to Jamestown tried to imprison, banish, and execute the ones who wanted to stay. The latter ran off into the forest.
The governor killed one of their leaders, a man named Henry Paine, to set an example. He wanted to hang him, but Paine begged to be shot, as more befitting a gentleman. His last recorded words were “The governor can kiss my arse.” That’s literally what he said.
In the end, almost everyone went to -Jamestown and perished.

Siege on Perriello, from “American Grotesque”, GQ, January 2010:

I ARRIVED AT the town-hall meeting in Virginia on time, but the doors were locked. Too many people inside already; the fire department had made the call. A bunch of us stood outside, going through the ritual bonding gesture of greeting each new person who came up to try the door. “It’s locked,” we mutter in friendly warning. Really? (Trying anyway.) What the hell? “We know! What the hell!”
I asked a willowy redheaded woman who looked about 40 why she was there.
“Because I’m afraid,” she said. “I’m -really afraid of this president. I mean, they’re starting to talk about limits on family size, how many children you can have. In our America.”
A guy came up and pulled on the door. “Figures,” he said. “He’s a liberal” (meaning the Democratic congressman hosting this town hall).
People around me snort and harrumph, but there are some guys here from a union.
“Oh, some of us are pretty smart,” a white-bearded one of them says.
“Oh yeah?” the guy says.
“Yeah,” the labor guy says. “Some of us even have master’s degrees and Ph.D.’s.”
Pretty tame, as political combat goes, but still you could tell it made the people in our little group edgy. (A couple of days later, someone bit somebody’s finger off at a Move-On event. We were ready.)
Three people exited, the fireman let in three, that’s how it worked. It took me over an hour to sausage-press my way through this process into the hall itself, where Representative Tom Perriello (D-Va.) was facing questions from a constantly self-refreshing queue of disgruntled Republican constituents. It turned out I needn’t have worried about missing anything; this meeting would go for hours. It seemed every person who’d come intended to speak.
As we shuffled up the hallway toward the room with the microphones, distinct words began to emerge from the doors. The one we heard clearest and loudest, and that generated the biggest response by a huge measure, was “socialism.”
A man you couldn’t see from where I was standing got up and said to Perriello–he didn’t so much say as intone–“From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs.” He paused. “Karl Marx said that was the credo of Communism. Now, I want you to tell me the difference between that…and what we’re headed for.”
It was the one time all day the place actually shook.
“But that’s from the Bible,” I muttered. “From the New Testament.” (I couldn’t help it, I used to be a hard-core Christian. Acts 2 and 4: The believers “had all things common…as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”)
The lady next to me reeled and looked at me like she’d just caught me sniffing my finger.
“It is!” I said.
The next man up to the mike was very somber, soft-spoken, bearded; a study in browns and khakis; he walked slowly. He had been waiting for this moment. “I have one question,” he said to Perriello. “Where in the Constitution does it state that we are required to provide health care for everybody?”

It’s probably taking things too far to say that if the tea-baggers were in control, that America and Americans would perish under their leadership. . .but then again. . .
— Steve Clemons

Comments

37 comments on “Grotesque Nationalism

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    In July 2002, Christopher Deliso recounted in antiwar.com that Dutch Radio, based on reports leaked by a Dutch military analysis firm, accused the US government of aiding and abetting terrorists in Macedonia. Not for the first time, the Americans were rumored to have hired the services of MPRI (Military Professional Resources, Inc.) to train and assist the rebels of the NLA, the Albanian National Liberation Army, which skirmished for months with the Macedonian police and military throughout last year.
    MPRI is a leading Private Military Company (PMC) whose presence was espied in other Balkan trouble spots, such as Croatia, Kosovo, and Bosnia. The absurd is that MPRI has been training the Macedonia army – to little avail it would seem – since 1998 under a “Stability and Deterrence Program”.
    Croatian former Foreign Minister Tonino Picula described MPRI’s role thus:
    “We started at the beginning of the 1990’s lacking all kind of assistance. We faced a war of aggression. We needed all kinds of friends to enhance our capability to keep a schedule. I know that it (MPRI) did a significant job in Croatia as a part of US assistance to Croatia during the 1990s.”
    Other governments – notably Colombia’s and Nigeria’s – were less sanguine about the utility of MPRI’s services. Colombian officials complained “the MPRI’s contributions were of little practical use”, while according to the Center for Democracy and Development, the vociferous objections of the Nigerian military led to the dismissal by the president of senior army officers, among them General Malu, the Nigerian chief of staff.
    continues…….
    http://samvak.tripod.com/pp160.html

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Heres another one. Note, MPRI is a piece of L-3 Communications. Notice what atreas of the globe they are meddling in….
    http://www.business-humanrights.org/Categories/Individualcompanies/M/MPRIpartofL-3Communications

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Hows your deductive reasoning powers??? Heres a bit of a puzzle. L-3, a HUGE communications corp, that is manufacturing the advanced screening technologies that are being hawked on the heels of this scam job, the Crotch Bomber and his amazing Exploding Balls Caper, is also involved in the ABU Ghraib interrogations and translations, and many more aspects, arenas, and technological markets facilitated by this fuckin’ con job. How many coincidences shall we tally before we begin to see a sinister pattern develop, that points to a monumental global con job unprecedented in the history of mankind?
    I mean good God, when will we wake up? Even Ron Paul is now making tempered statements about an “agenda” being marketed with the constant stream of surreal “coincidences” occurring within the framework of this scheme known as “the Global War On Terrorism”.
    And guess what? All roads lead back to Israel.

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  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Billions in Recent Yememi Investments and The Underwear Bomber’s Daddy. It’s a Small World Ain’t It?
    by Scott Creighton
    Did Daddy Warbucks sell Little Orphan Umar to the CIA?
    Why are we attacking the people of Yemen? Because some kid is alleged to have sewn a big fire-cracker into his underwear then sat on it in a plane over Detroit? Nope. Not even close. If you want to know what this is all about, follow Daddy’s money all the way to the IMF and Jaiz Bank.
    Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t brave soldiers used to throw themselves on grenades back in the day to absorb the shock and therefore save their fellow soldiers. Isn’t there a saying about “throwing yourself on a grenade” to that end? So the big “terrorist” plot here is to get a small amount of PETN onboard a plane and then SIT ON IT, thus absorbing the relatively small explosion… with his ass and his 150lb body?
    That’s the “plan” that requires, as President Obama blusters, “every element of national power” to fight? I don’t think so. You gotta look a little closer than a singed pair of tightie-whities if you want to know why President Obama is going to kill more people in Yemen. I have. Take a look.
    The other day I wrote about President Obama’s attempt to assassinate a witness in Yemen as well as the IMF and World Bank connections related to that nation as the probable reason the US feels compelled to invade. The premise was, that with all the free-market “reforms” being forced on the people of Yemen by these privately owned international banking institutions, the poor of that nation were rising up against the corrupt government and it looks like without our help, there will be a regime change. I wrote about the involvement of the Kuwait Energy company and their connections with the World Bank as it relates to the multiple ongoing oil and LNG pipelines running throughout the country. Basically, I estimated based on information from the websites and publications from the World Bank, IMF, and Kuwait Energy websites that there was about a quarter of a billion dollars at stake and that it was that money that was the reason President Obama chose to attack the people of Yemen.
    Once again, Obama and his adminstration are serving the banks interests first.
    Well, hold onto your hats folks… I was wrong. Yes, you heard that right. Scott Creighton (willyloman) is admitting he was wrong. My research was incomplete and I missed the mark by quite a bit.
    Instead of having a quarter of a billion dollars of foreign investment on the line… it’s more like 5 billion dollars.
    Yemen’s foreign debt has increased from $8.9 million to $5.9 billion since July 2009, according to the report on banking and currency developments issued by the Yemen Central Bank.
    The IFC’s institutions topped Yemen creditors, with Yemen owing them about $3 billion, including $2.2 billion for the International Development Foundation.
    The rest of the debt was for the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the International Fund for Agriculture Development IFAD, the Islamic Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the OPEC and the EU.
    Yemen’s debt for the Paris Club Members came second by about $1.8 billion, with $1.3 billion in Russian loans.
    Many outstanding loans come from Japanese, U.S., French, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Dutch and German sources.
    The country’s debt for other creditors came in the third place with Yemen owing Saudi, Kuwaiti, Chinese, Algerian, Korean, Polish and Iraqi funds about $836 million. The debt for unidentified sources reached $195.7 million by July. YOB Sept. 2009
    Since July of 2009, money has been pouring into Yemen fast and furious; money that may never be recovered were there to be a revolution and subsequent regime change in that nation. President Obama can’t allow that to happen. But how is he going to go to the American people and tell them that foreign investors and international banks are worried about their billions in investments in the “reforms” of Yemen’s socioeconomic system? That wouldn’t be an easy sell to a post TARP Bill nation now would it?
    Be Afraid!
    Enter Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his ridiculous “underwear bomb”.
    Now, all this time after the terrorist attack on Flight 253 (and I will call it that because whether it was done by one “lone gunman” or the state, it’s still an attempt to effect change through the use of fear so it is terrorism) what do we really know about Abdulmutallab? Well, we have been told by an agency that has lied to us many, many times that he has “confessed” to the attack because he was “radicalized” and that he received help from terrorists in Yemen. All too convenient of a story isn’t it? Billions on the line in Yemen, Obama tries to assassinated a guy there killing scores of innocent people instead, and ALL OF A SUDDEN we have this guy coming out of the woodwork with his silly “underwear bomb”.
    After scouring though all his emails (I told you they keep every single comment and email forever) the only “radical” thing the media can say about him… is he’s lonely. Imaging that; a lonely student.
    Well, what isn’t the MSM and President Obama telling you about Abdulmutallab that is relevant to the story? Let me fill in some blanks.
    continues…….
    http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2009/12/30/billions-in-recent-yememi-investments-and-the-underwear-bombers-daddy-its-a-small-world-aint-it/

    Reply

  5. questions says:

    http://washingtonindependent.com/72807/is-this-really-an-intelligence-failure-real-talk-on-abdulmutallab
    “1) he bought a round-trip ticket
    2) Nigeria isn’t the US. Nigeria is still a cash-based economy. Only 1% of the population has credit cards. Yet again people who know nothing flap wildly about.”
    Just a couple of points to help correct some of the internet rumors about Abdulmutallab. The one-way-ticket meme is everywhere, as is the “he paid cash and so he should automatically have gone straight to the torture chamber.” Also, if a report on anyone could set off a chain of government actions, imagine what your next door neighbor could do to your life should you piss him off over the length of your grass, the volume of your stereo, the noise of you kids….
    The institutional issues regarding information collection, sharing, sifting, and understanding are huge. We can collect information on every human being, but that doesn’t mean we know anything at all. There is a crucial distinction to be drawn here, and some information theorist think tanker is going to get a huge government grant for trying to deal with how one turns information into knowledge. Now THAT would be spinning straw into gold.

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  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://original.antiwar.com/scheuer/2009/12/30/barack-obama-interventionist-and-ultimate-jihadi-hero/
    “In a statement of less than a quarter-hour, then, Obama demonstrated how thoroughly he slicked Americans in the last presidential election. The “hope” he offered turns out to be not less but more war-causing interventionism framed by a secularist “moral compass” alien to most non-elite Americans; the “Yes we can” slogan has proven to refer to making Obama’s Washington the agent of forced Westernization from the Congo to Afghanistan, and from Burma to Iran; and the president’s much-touted “audacity” seems nothing more than Obama’s brass in continuing to reassuringly chant the Bush-Clinton-Bush lie to Americans that Islamists attack us because of our way of life not because of our interventionism”
    “And thus is how a great republic is being ruined by the littlest of arrogant and willful” men”
    Michael Scheuer

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  7. Paul Norheim says:

    “The Left is objectively pro-Islamist and pro-fascist, and you are a great example of
    the Left. You are a disgrace to the Western civilization whose benefits you take for
    granted.” (Nadine to Dan Kervick on a thread below).
    “POS, Kervick is sane compared to you” (Nadine to PissedOffAmerican on this thread).
    —————————————————————
    So, here is the trivia question of today – the last day in 2009:
    If Dan K. is objectively pro Islamist and pro-fascist and a disgrace to the Western
    civilization – but sane compared to POA – what does that make POA, in the eyes of
    Nadine?
    1) Satan.***
    2) A merciless and crazy commie who believes that health care should be for everybody.
    3) A maroon and an anti-Semite who openly supports the Goldstone report.
    4) A fanatical carpenter who doesn`t like Elliot Abrams, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin and
    Fox News.
    5) A disgrace to mankind who actively attempts to brainwash the readers of TWN to
    believe that the Geneva Conventions is a good thing, and not a nasty plot to undermine
    the power and glory of the IDF and the US Army.
    ***Nadine usually address him as POA, but as POS – PissedOffSatan? PissedOffShit?
    PissedOffSocialist?
    ———————————————————–
    Happy New Year to everybody – pro-fascists and demonic carpenters included!

    Reply

  8. Mr.Murder says:

    Health Care as a right is implied, not stated.
    Implied powers were just as essential to the Founding fathers as were things stated.
    Federal powers were deemed important enough their purpose be granted in explicit framing of words, state powers(those reserved to the people) were taken to be broadly implied.
    Unfortunately this would open windows of liability to new levels, such that federal power has an obligation in this era of lawyers, to provide sustainable framework for health care.
    See also, “The Pursuit of Happiness.”
    Perhaps you’ve heard of it, if you dig the beeswax out of your ears, that insulates your mind from the dangers of socialism.
    The GOP controls the 51st state. Its state bird is an Ostrich. Living in the state of denial doesn’t make the need for health care go away.

    Reply

  9. David says:

    Ayn Rand all over. Intellectually interesting, but “full of shit as a Christmas turkey”. In today’s conditions, obscene.
    Thank you, DonS, for that most appropriate observation. And thank you, OA, for:
    But that is capitalism with a small “c” not Goldman F-ing Sachs.
    I would add capitalism not as a secular religion but Mainstreet captitalism as an economic mechanism available to and for the commonweal, not the plaything of very, very powerful $pecial intere$t$. Americans really did once know what the phrase special interests actually meant, until the reactionaries twisted it into referring to advocates of minority rights, women’s rights, and now gay rights, turning the once legitimate pejorative on its head.

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://panafricannews.blogspot.com/
    Read the reporting at this site, and note the attention to detail, and the willingness that is exhibited to ask pertinent questions.Don’t just read the first article, scroll down the page and read a few of them.
    Do you see ANY resemblence to the shallow empty SHIT that our own media feeds the American people?
    Its not relevent that the Crotch Bomber’s father once headed Defence Industries Corporation in Kaduna? Its not relevent that he seems to have circumvented Nigerian and British intelligence and went directly to the US intelligence to offer his son up as a patsy?
    This whole thing is so layered in intrigue, we will NEVER know what the fuck really occurred. So the obvious avenue, open to those of us that still have a brain that isn’t befuddled by the Al Qaeda boogie man the CIA and Mossad has inserted underneath every bed in America, is to go back to deductive reasoning. Who benefits from the Crotch Bomber’s actions, and the choreographed media extravaganza we are seeing enacted on our airwaves? Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula??? Bullshit. How would this work towards their best interests? What, it doesn’t matter, because “they hate us for our freedoms”???? HOGWASH.
    Who REALLY benefits? Saleh??? American money and hardware, on its way as we speak, just in time to counter an ever burgeoning Houthi insurgency. And how about the Dick Cheney contingency? They have to be literally orgasmic over this. If they didn’t put it together, then they ALL must in unison be chanting “There IS a God!!!!”, because this fuckin’ charade reads like a Cheney/Bolton, Perle/Wolfowitz/Kristol wish list. I don’t buy into coincidences of this scale.
    You want to REALLY investigate what and who is behind the Crotch Bomber? Start with Dick Cheney.

    Reply

  11. Outraged American says:

    Pure common sense tells us that people will work harder to achieve
    greater rewards. But that is capitalism with a small “c” not Goldman
    F-ing Sachs.

    Reply

  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Gaza is reaping the result of Hamas’ bad choices”
    No one’s buying it anymore, you despicable bigoted liar. Operation Cast Lead was a war crime, and a crime against humanity, of epic proportions, and the entire world knows it.

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  13. me says:

    Hey Steve, not to be left out — BEFORE Jamestown — there were the religious massacres in Florida.
    Below quoted from Kenneth Davis’s NY Times article “A French Connection,” about the French dissident Christian colony established in Florida in 1564:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/26/opinion/26davis.html?_r=1
    “In 1565, King Philip II of Spain issued orders to “hang and burn the Lutherans” (then a Spanish catchall term for Protestants) and dispatched Adm. Pedro Menéndez to wipe out these French heretics who had taken up residence on land claimed by the Spanish — and who also had an annoying habit of attacking Spanish treasure ships as they sailed by.
    “Leading this holy war with a crusader’s fervor, Menéndez established St. Augustine and ordered what local boosters claim is the first parish Mass celebrated in the future United States. Then he engineered a murderous assault on Fort Caroline, in which most of the French settlers were massacred. Menéndez had many of the survivors strung up under a sign that read, “I do this not as to Frenchmen but as to heretics.” A few weeks later, he ordered the execution of more than 300 French shipwreck survivors at a site just south of St. Augustine, now marked by an inconspicuous national monument called Fort Matanzas, from the Spanish word for “slaughters.”
    “With this, America’s first pilgrims disappeared from the pages of history. Casualties of Europe’s murderous religious wars, they fell victim to Anglophile historians who erased their existence as readily as they demoted the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine to second-class status behind the later English colonies in Jamestown and Plymouth.”
    😮

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  14. kotzabasis says:

    Some notice, than whenever Clemons posts a ‘provocative’ post such as the present one “Grotesque Nationalism” presumably for the purpose of bringing into port the spiritually and cognitively leaking armada of anti-America Americans and anti-free marketeers, who are too scared and cowardly, and spiritually and intellectually too enfeebled to be motivated to sail into the Schumpeterian heavy seas of “creative destruction,” and makes a bungle of an apparently serious post he stands to be corrected. And as ever with such posts it’s the resourceful, doughty, and politically and historically savvy American Jewess, Nadine, who corrects him, and so many others, like Dan Kervick, who in another post being intellectually disabled to give a serious answer to Nadine’s unassailable facts that Israel is engaged in defensive wars and not in expansive wars as Kervick claims, and whom Nadine accuses of being a “disgrace” to Western civilization. And to this accusation Kervick deploys a queasy defence by saying that for eighteen years he taught the philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Ockham, Leibniz, Hume, and Russel, as if such philosophic pedigree absolves him from his incompetence to answer cogently Nadine’s argument.
    Why Clemons is in need to fall back from the total failure of “high octane socialism” to even the weakest low octane version of socialism in the face of a brilliant constellation of economists, such as Amartya Sen of Britain, who cogently argue that it was capitalism, with all its shortcomings that Adam Smith himself noted, in the last hundred years that has substantially decreased relative poverty and has incrementally increased the standard of living of the masses. In any version socialism has proven to be an irreversibly bankrupt policy.

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  15. Carroll says:

    I have to say the idea that the American Revolution was fought over socialism is absurd.
    Articles like this are an example of what happens when some writer is out of ideas and takes one historial event and tries to link it to a present
    movement….thinking it will garner attention and be hailed as pentrating historical insight.
    It’s crap.

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  16. Carroll says:

    Who said this..?
    “Pure Socialism fails for same reason that pure Capitalism fails.”
    You have to have balance, which you aren’t going to get from a corruped congressional and political system.

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  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I wonder how the “framers” would feel about turning a blind eye while a nation fries women and children in white phosphorous, Nadine?
    Frankly, it nauseates me to see you discussing the Constitution, and my country as if you somehow have a clue how to be what we should be, AMERICANS.
    You accuse Kervick of anti-americanism and taking things for granted? Who the hell are you to launch such venomous assaults, when you call the murder and oppression of an entire people an “act of defense”?
    Frankly, I think you have overstayed your welcome. You care about Israel FIRST, so you should shag your ass over there, ON YOUR OWN DIME, and pick up arms to “defend” that which you constantly tell us needs “defending”. Here you’re just a leech and a coward. Go sacrifice YOUR OWN kids, YOUR OWN life for a change, and leave us out of your racist campaign of oppression and extermination.
    Anyone that can support what Israel is doing doesn’t have a single friggin’ clue about what the “framers” intended or believed in.

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  18. PissedOffAmerica says:

    “It’s probably taking things too far to say that if the tea-baggers were in control, that America and Americans would perish under their leadership. . .but then again. . .”
    Well, Steve, the way Obama is going, you are going to get an opportunity to find out.
    If there’s anything left to perish. We are already getting pretty thin on finding anything worth saving. Its being dismantled pretty damned quick.

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  19. nadine says:

    “Essential to CEO’s, maybe. But CEO’s were unknown to the framers, and by everything else they wrote, would have been anathema to the intent of the Constitution.” (JamesL)
    CEOs were unknown to the framers? Really? They had joint stock companies with hired managers in the 18th century. They understood CEOs very well. This was the era in which one very large and wealthy joint stock company, The East India Company, was taking over the Indian subcontinent, state by state. Don’t tell me the Framers didn’t understand CEOs.
    Don’t you know that one of the leading Framers, Benjamin Franklin, was an extremely successful self-made businessman – printer, newspaper owner, publisher of Poor Richard’s Almanac? By the time Franklin was in his forties, his businesses were so successful that he was able to sell them, becoming a millionaire in today’s terms, so he could devote himself to the pursuit of science. Other framers were wealthy merchants, like John Hancock, or planters like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, or lawyers like John Adams. The Framers were men of business and professional men.
    Why do you think the Constitution is so insistent about protecting property rights as a necessary safeguard to liberty? Really, if you think the Framers were anti-business, you have no idea what you are talking about.

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  20. DonS says:

    “Government in a country is like overhead in a corporation, a necessary evil. It works as long as it remembers that its job is to enable the productive part of the country/company to do its job well.” says Nadine.
    Ayn Rand all over. Intellectually interesting, but “full of shit as a Christmas turkey”. In today’s conditions, obscene.

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  21. JamesL says:

    Out of the mouth of Nadine: “necessary evil”. We “need” an “overhead” of evil. I don’t know exactly what the framers of the Constitution would say to this, but they would damned well say something about “productivity” being a key element in individual freedom, which WAS the key element of the Constitution. Essential to CEO’s, maybe. But CEO’s were unknown to the framers, and by everything else they wrote, would have been anathema to the intent of the Constitution.

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  22. nadine says:

    Government in a country is like overhead in a corporation, a necessary evil. It works as long as it remembers that its job is to enable the productive part of the country/company to do its job well. But the day that the CEO thinks that corporate headquarters is actually making money instead of consuming overhead dollars, is a very dangerous day for the future welfare of the company. That goes triple for government.
    Happy New Year to you too, Steve.

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  23. Steve Clemons says:

    Nadine….maybe so. Though I tend to be someone who encourages folks to read Adam Smith again — and to reacquaint themselves with the role and function of the state, as he defined them. He wasn’t preaching socialism — just the limitations and deficits of markets. I had a good time in the 1990s when various Republican leaders at that time were trying to shut down parts of the government and throwing Adam Smith around. I got the Senator I worked for to give a speech that we internally titled “Read Adam Smith Again…” I really should dig that up. Have a great new year, steve clemons

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  24. nadine says:

    Steve – Ah, but you persist in thinking you know how to design the low octane version of socialism that will work, unlike its predecessors.

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  25. Steve Clemons says:

    Nadine — actually I agree with you about high octane socialism. Very interesting response. Wish I could post the entire article — but it is available in the magazine or via I-Tunes. Happy New Year…Steve

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  26. nadine says:

    Steve, you have the history upside down. Jamestown was another example of Christian Communitarianism – that’s one reason it nearly failed. So was Plymouth Plantation in Massachuseets Bay. In both cases, they only survived after nearly starving to death because they abandoned their early socialist organization. In Plymouth, Governor Bradford realized the failure of socialism:
    After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.
    This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.
    This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that are most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.
    To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.
    Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible results. At Jamestown, established in 1607, out of every shipload of settlers that arrived, less than half would survive their first twelve months in America. Most of the work was being done by only one-fifth of the men, the other four-fifths choosing to be parasites. In the winter of 1609-10, called “The Starving Time,” the population fell from five-hundred to sixty.
    Then the Jamestown colony was converted to a free market, and the results were every bit as dramatic as those at Plymouth. In 1614, Colony Secretary Ralph Hamor wrote that after the switch there was “plenty of food, which every man by his own industry may easily and doth procure.” He said that when the socialist system had prevailed, “we reaped not so much corn from the labors of thirty men as three men have done for themselves now.”
    http://mises.org/story/336
    Socialism. Does. Not. Work.

    Reply

  27. MNPundit says:

    Steve, can you comment on this WaPo story about the instability and unreliability of the Japanese PM?
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/28/AR2009122802271.html

    Reply

  28. Jackie says:

    I’d have to vote for Cleese in 2012, even if he can’t be president here. At least he’d be entertaining.

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    How do you argue with such people?
    The only adequate response I can think of to the tea-bagger examples Steve
    provided is a good old Monty Phyton sketch. And if Sarah Palin becomes a
    candidate in 2012, the honorable John Cleese should be her opponent.

    Reply

  30. Paul Norheim says:

    “What a case study of the incipient hope of the past election that Obama seems to be both
    squandering, and turning his back on.” (DonS)
    And if he does, Palin is ready to take over. She is a perfect incarnation of the immoral
    stupidity and ignorance of the tea-baggers.

    Reply

  31. JohnH says:

    There seems to be a lot of gloom and doom among
    members of the thinking elite.
    Chris Hedges from his piece “Soon we’ll all be
    terrorists:” “This corruption of our legal system,
    if history is any guide, will not be reserved by
    the state for suspected terrorists, or even Muslim
    Americans. In the coming turmoil and economic
    collapse, it will be used to silence all who are
    branded as disruptive or subversive. Hashmi
    endures what many others, who are not Muslim, will
    endure later.”
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/one_day_well_a
    ll_be_terrorists_20091228
    Sadly, Obama contributes to this by tacitly
    endorsing most everything Bush did.

    Reply

  32. Paul Norheim says:

    Well Steve,
    although Roger More reportedly visits my current home town Bergen frequently (a
    girlfriend? I don`t know), I can`t claim that I hang out with him – still I enjoy the
    Bond films. Le Carré held me awake many nights when I was a student. I should revisit his
    early books. Just finished reading Lawrence Wright`s “Looming Tower”. I think his
    composition is influenced by the old cold war master.
    Those tea-bagger quotes were really bizarre. Should we laugh or cry?
    “A man you couldn’t see from where I was standing got up and said to Perriello–he didn’t
    so much say as intone–“From each according to his abilities; to each according to his
    needs.” He paused. “Karl Marx said that was the credo of Communism. Now, I want you to
    tell me the difference between that…and what we’re headed for.””
    I assume that the tea-bagger crowd must think that the cold war basically was about
    avoiding heading in that nasty direction… Amazing!
    Happy new year to you and yours, Steve!

    Reply

  33. DonS says:

    It was one of the brightest spots in the last election here in Virginia when Tom Periello eked out a bare victory over Virgil Goode, conservative dem turned conservative independent; he of the utter disdain for Muslims which he voiced loudly from the House floor and all around his district in central and southside. The only question was whether liberal leaning Charlottesville could defeat this nasty throwback since being incorporated into a redrawn district. It did, and Periello, a thoughtful middle of the roader prevailed.
    It was testimony to the depth of possibility in the Obama election and the rejection of the eight years of hell under Bush.
    From the start the rightists continued to attack Periello and it has been clear that he could be a one termer as he has been a clear lightening rod for the angry right wing mob mentality. From my tangential following of Periello he has performed with honor; if he is to be a one termer it appears he will not have sold out in order to try to retain the seat (as opposed to neighboring district rep Goodlatte who pledged to serve no longer than 10 years but conveniently got over the pledge).
    What a case study of the incipient hope of the past election that Obama seems to be both squandering, and turning his back on. If Virgil Goode reclaims the seat in the next election, it will be in some measure because Obama has indicated to those who flocked to the polls for Periello that it was a cruel joke; confirmation of political misleading at it’s most hurtful.

    Reply

  34. Steven Clemons says:

    Thanks Paul — and Stephan…and happy new year to you both.
    Max Blumenthal’s book is unbelievably good. I felt guilty reading it
    because as Hendrik Hertzberg wrote, it felt like porn he couldn’t
    put down.
    Paul — enjoyed your comment about how I see the world in James
    Bond-ish terms. While I did hang out with both Sean Connery and
    Michael Crichton a bit — my real star that I’m pulled to is John Le
    Carre…in his older works.

    Reply

  35. Paul Norheim says:

    So THAT`S what the tea-baggers think about European “socialism” – not to speak of us
    hardcore Scandinavian Stalinist commies – that we regulate our societies according to the
    principle: “From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs”, and
    that we try to “provide health care for everybody”.
    Now I understand why the tea-baggers and many Americans are so horrified when someone
    mentions Europe and socialism…
    I can`t wait to see Nadine`s comment to your post.

    Reply

  36. Stephan says:

    Thanks for posting this Steve. I look forward to reading the whole GQ article. Am reading Blumenthal’s book right now, but have to put it down every so often, as it is too disturbing.

    Reply

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