UTTERLY RANDOM IN BERLIN

it's whatever strikes my fancy, innit?

Today what is perhaps the last of the legal barriers is tumbling. There will be many actions and many difficulties before the rights woven into law are also woven into the fabric of our Nation. But the struggle for equality must now move toward a different battlefield.

It is nothing less than granting every American Negro his freedom to enter the mainstream of American life: not the conformity that blurs enriching differences of culture and tradition, but rather the opportunity that gives each a chance to choose.

For centuries of oppression and hatred have already taken their painful toll. It can be seen throughout our land in men without skills, in children without fathers, in families that are imprisoned in slums and in poverty.


For it is not enough just to give men rights. They must be able to use those rights in their personal pursuit of happiness. The wounds and the weaknesses, the outward walls and the inward scars which diminish achievement are the work of American society. We must all now help to end them—help to end them through expanding programs already devised and through new ones to search out and forever end the special handicaps of those who are black in a Nation that happens to be mostly white.

—President Lyndon Johnson, Remarks in the Capitol Rotunda at the Signing of the Voting Rights Act, August 6, 1965.  (via ilyagerner)

ilyagerner:


“Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom for this group or that, ask yourself whether he is advocating more government action or less.” - Ron Paul, ignorant or mendacious?

Among the more cringe-worthy aspects of the contemporary American Right is its preferred ahistorical narrative of lost liberty. Once, goes such thinking, before the income tax and the IRS, before welfare, the FBI, and Social Security, before occupational licensing, and before rent control, there was freedom; noble, independent, Jeffersonian freedom. It wasn’t perfect, of course, with the whole slavery unpleasantness marring the American experiment, but at least most Americans - or rather, white, male, heterosexual, protestant Americans - weren’t on the Road to Serfdom. Liberty nostalgia is most pervasive among the libertarian set but not exclusive to it; presumably the guys who dress up to look and smell like the Founding generation aren’t doing so to make a fashion statement, but to make a point about reclaiming Revolutionary freedoms supposedly lost to the maws of growing government.
More sophisticated advocates of small-government reject the most extreme version of this narrative, recognizing that low tax rates could never make up for the existence of slavery, Jim Crow, and coverture laws. They understand the United States is more free today than it’s ever been in the past. What’s sometimes missing is the recognition that an empowered federal government is what made these advances in freedom possible.
Coercion is at the heart of all wars, and the suspension of habeas corpus, military conscription, and introduction of the first US income tax, meant the Civil War would be no different, but it’s impossible to disassociate these facts from the War’s aims and consequences: the salvation of a Union free from slavery. States’ rights and property rights were attentuated at the barrel of a gun - federal guns! federal guns purchased with tax increases and the printing of greenbacks! federal guns held by conscriped soldiers! - but to see this as anything but an expansion of liberty is to be a special kind of blind. The federal government grew more muscular and the nation became more free.
A century after Appomatox, an empowered central government again coincided with an expansion of liberty.  The Civil Rights Acts outlawed state-sanctioned and enforced racial discrimination, trampling on community control. The laws went further: they regulated private behavior, with Title II of the1964 Civil Rights Act forbidding discrimination in ”public” accomodations and Title VII banning discrimination based on race in the terms and conditions of employment. Again, “more government action” meant more freedom.
None of this is to say that every new law, regulation, and agency spending plan is a strike against tyranny. Most of what the federal government does has little to do with enforcing civil rights laws. The justification for the rest of the welfare state has to be made separately - though it’s not difficult to justify in freedom-enhancing terms, either. The important point is that we should be wary of those who make blanket statements about the coincidence of government power and personal freedom. Sometimes, Washington is the oppressor. And some times, it’s the guardian of liberty. 
(Image: Coca-Cola machine labelled “whites only”)

Gosh, I was familiar with white-only fountains, toilets, lunch counters, etc., but Coke machines?? I am having trouble actually reading Ilya’s post because my eyes keep wandering back to that bloody Coke machine.
I can’t even …

ilyagerner:

“Freedom is living without government coercion. So when a politician talks about freedom for this group or that, ask yourself whether he is advocating more government action or less.” - Ron Paul, ignorant or mendacious?

Among the more cringe-worthy aspects of the contemporary American Right is its preferred ahistorical narrative of lost liberty. Once, goes such thinking, before the income tax and the IRS, before welfare, the FBI, and Social Security, before occupational licensing, and before rent control, there was freedom; noble, independent, Jeffersonian freedom. It wasn’t perfect, of course, with the whole slavery unpleasantness marring the American experiment, but at least most Americans - or rather, white, male, heterosexual, protestant Americans - weren’t on the Road to Serfdom. Liberty nostalgia is most pervasive among the libertarian set but not exclusive to it; presumably the guys who dress up to look and smell like the Founding generation aren’t doing so to make a fashion statement, but to make a point about reclaiming Revolutionary freedoms supposedly lost to the maws of growing government.

More sophisticated advocates of small-government reject the most extreme version of this narrative, recognizing that low tax rates could never make up for the existence of slavery, Jim Crow, and coverture laws. They understand the United States is more free today than it’s ever been in the past. What’s sometimes missing is the recognition that an empowered federal government is what made these advances in freedom possible.

Coercion is at the heart of all wars, and the suspension of habeas corpus, military conscription, and introduction of the first US income tax, meant the Civil War would be no different, but it’s impossible to disassociate these facts from the War’s aims and consequences: the salvation of a Union free from slavery. States’ rights and property rights were attentuated at the barrel of a gun - federal guns! federal guns purchased with tax increases and the printing of greenbacks! federal guns held by conscriped soldiers! - but to see this as anything but an expansion of liberty is to be a special kind of blind. The federal government grew more muscular and the nation became more free.

A century after Appomatox, an empowered central government again coincided with an expansion of liberty.  The Civil Rights Acts outlawed state-sanctioned and enforced racial discrimination, trampling on community control. The laws went further: they regulated private behavior, with Title II of the1964 Civil Rights Act forbidding discrimination in ”public” accomodations and Title VII banning discrimination based on race in the terms and conditions of employment. Again, “more government action” meant more freedom.

None of this is to say that every new law, regulation, and agency spending plan is a strike against tyranny. Most of what the federal government does has little to do with enforcing civil rights laws. The justification for the rest of the welfare state has to be made separately - though it’s not difficult to justify in freedom-enhancing terms, either. The important point is that we should be wary of those who make blanket statements about the coincidence of government power and personal freedom. Sometimes, Washington is the oppressor. And some times, it’s the guardian of liberty.

(Image: Coca-Cola machine labelled “whites only”)

Gosh, I was familiar with white-only fountains, toilets, lunch counters, etc., but Coke machines?? I am having trouble actually reading Ilya’s post because my eyes keep wandering back to that bloody Coke machine.

I can’t even …

ilyagerner:

I’m sorry more people aren’t Anthony Weiner as well, but I’m also perplexed by the gap between his national image (progressive superstar) and my local take on him (another Chuck Schumer apprentice).
The man is sharp tongued and has a sincere honest-to-God contempt for Republicans. This I can respect.
But is he some kind of profile in courage?
He voted for the Iraq War.
He’s appallingly hawkish on all matters Israel (he introduced legislation to bar the Palestinian delegation from travelling to the UN: “[they] should start packing their little Palestinian terrorist bags.”)
And he’s just a gem on local NYC issues: 

When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing?” Mr. Weiner said to Mr. Bloomberg, as tablemates listened. “I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”

All of this, from the hawkish foreign policy to the anti-bike demagoguery, is exactly what you expect from a representative of New York’s 9th Congressional, a Queens-based district populated with middle- and working- class white ethnic voters. Weiner represents them well. I would not foist him on the rest of the country.
thepoliticalnotebook:

GPOY all day, everyday. Anthony Weiner for president.  Via mohandasgandhi.


Thanks Ilya. I don’t know anything about Rep. Weiner and it’s good to have your take on him. 

ilyagerner:

I’m sorry more people aren’t Anthony Weiner as well, but I’m also perplexed by the gap between his national image (progressive superstar) and my local take on him (another Chuck Schumer apprentice).

The man is sharp tongued and has a sincere honest-to-God contempt for Republicans. This I can respect.

But is he some kind of profile in courage?

He voted for the Iraq War.

He’s appallingly hawkish on all matters Israel (he introduced legislation to bar the Palestinian delegation from travelling to the UN: “[they] should start packing their little Palestinian terrorist bags.”)

And he’s just a gem on local NYC issues

When I become mayor, you know what I’m going to spend my first year doing?” Mr. Weiner said to Mr. Bloomberg, as tablemates listened. “I’m going to have a bunch of ribbon-cuttings tearing out your [expletive] bike lanes.”

All of this, from the hawkish foreign policy to the anti-bike demagoguery, is exactly what you expect from a representative of New York’s 9th Congressional, a Queens-based district populated with middle- and working- class white ethnic voters. Weiner represents them well. I would not foist him on the rest of the country.

thepoliticalnotebook:

GPOY all day, everyday. Anthony Weiner for president.  Via mohandasgandhi.

Thanks Ilya. I don’t know anything about Rep. Weiner and it’s good to have your take on him.