Saturday, June 28, 2008

Supreme Court Rules on Gun Control Laws

Before plunging into a commentary on this week's Supreme Court decision on gun control, note that I added two book reviews to, of Memoirs by Harry S. Truman and of How Nonviolence Protects the State by Peter Gelderloos.

I am in agreement with the basic line of reasoning of the United States Supreme Court in their opinion that the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does recognize the right of an individual citizen to own firearms, within reason. [See full text of DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ET AL. v. HELLER]

Liberals, and other gun-control advocates, have long argued that the right to be armed only applies to a "well regulated militia." Before examining the issue, here is the full 2nd Amendment (Ratified December 15, 1791":

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.

This section of the Constitution, like the rest of it, was not handed down by some God, but was created by a committee of men (in this case, white, prosperous, male men). I think guns are a problem for our society. I find some of the arguments for gun-control to be strong. The problem for the gun-control advocates is that they want the 2nd Amendment to have a meaning different than what it actually has. Even in law books I have noted arguments that simply ignore history and contextual clues to the meaning of this important section of our Constitution.

If you don't like the 2nd Amendment, you should try to amend the Constitution. Misreading the Amendment just shows people how dishonest you are.

Think back to the general context of the writing of the Constitution and the subsequent ratification of the Bill of Rights. Each state had its own government, and they were united under the Articles of Confederation during the Revolutionary War. Most people were content for the States to merely be confederated, but some wanted a stronger central government, in particular the wealthiest, most powerful and most conservative families. In the late 1780's in many States debtors and creditors were practically at war with each other; the economy was limping along; and the debts of most States and the national government that had accumulated in the Revolutionary War were mostly unpaid. In Pennsylvania the legislature had been taken over by small farmers, to the discomfort of its previous controllers, the merchants of Philadelphia. Then Shays' Rebellion took place in Massachusetts. Rebellion against England was one thing; rebellion against the ruling classes of the States was intolerable to them.

A convention to amend the Articles of Confederation had been called to take place in Annapolis [Annapolis Convention], with the sole purpose of the agenda being to facilitate trade and commerce. But a quorum did not show up. Panicked by Shays Rebellion, the representatives of the most powerful men in the Americas then met in secret and decided that to insure their rule and the security of their private property, the Articles would have to be thoroughly re-written, with much power taken away from the States and invested in the national government. Yet there were many conflicts of interest among these ruling men, and in some cases they did look to the good of the entire nation. The result was the proposed U.S. Constitution.

A majority of citizens did not like the proposed Constitution, if only because it was new and strange. When allowed to vote on it, a majority voted against it. However, by combining the use of some pretty dishonest tactics with a promise to add a Bill of Rights to the document as soon as possible, eventually all the states chose to join the new national government [and all states believed they could voluntarily leave a government that they voluntarily joined].

So when you look at the first ten amendments to the Constitution, what you are seeing is a manifestation of the concerns of those who opposed a strong central government. They wanted individual rights protected, and one of the most sacred individual rights is to have a say in decisions that are going to be applied to you. Just as citizens did not want decisions made for them in London, they did not want very many decisions made for them by a distant national government.

In particular, they remembered that the London government had sought to disarm them at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. To be disarmed is to be defeated. To be disarmed when another party is armed is to be the slave of that other party.

People feared a strong central government. They did not want the Army of the United States of America to be the sole possessor of armaments. They wanted the states to have militias. And within the states they did not want one political faction disarming another political faction. The best way to insure that is to allow individuals to own weapons or to store the weapons owned by the militias in their own homes. As people had learned in the Revolutionary War, if all the arms were in one place, they were easily seized.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State ..." Note it does not say "being necessary to the security of a free Nation," or "being necessary to the security of an individual." A free state is one that cannot have its rights, or the rights of its citizens, trampled on by the national government, or a foreign power, or the national government in league with a foreign power.

I am frankly surprised that the Supreme Court does not want to disarm all Americans. It seems like the very model of an unelected, dictatorial government. But note that 4 members of the Supreme Court did vote to disarm the citizens.

Guns are dangerous. People get killed by accident every year, and many are killed in anger by people who regret such actions later. But intelligence is dangerous, and electing people to govern for us is dangerous; danger lurks even in things we create for our own safety.

If we want to minimize people's desire to own hand guns for self defense, we must first make them feel secure. If we want to minimize crime, we need to minimize economic injustice and maximize education and opportunity. People may have forgotten about the dangers of government, but they cannot forget about the dangers posed by criminals. There are other ways to limit the dangers of weapons besides the draconian gun laws of cities like the District of Columbia.

I am a critic of the Supreme Court as an institution, but in this particular case five people who are actually part of the court made the right decision.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A History of Egypt by James Breasted, commentary

title: A History of Egypt from the Earliest Times to the Persian Conquest
author: James Henry Breasted
year of publication: 1905 A History of Egypt

Anyone interested in the human species and its civilization will want to know how things got started. Egypt, specifically the Nile river valley, plays a central role in the development of civilization. Breasted's history of ancient Egypt was once the accepted standard of scholarship on the subject. Today's serious student will find that more recent archeologists and historians find many of Breasted's details to be incorrect, or interpret them differently. On the other hand in another century more corrections, or differences of opinion, are certain to come in. Breasted makes a good, detailed, readable introduction to the ancient Egyptian civilization.

I was struck by how little social organization has changed from 4000 years ago. The Egyptians could undertake massive projects, for good or ill or for silly religious reasons, despite having a population that was a fraction of most modern nations. At times ethics was raised to a high level. Almost all the religious ideas that would be woven into the various religions that survive - Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and even Atheism - can be found in ancient writings that somehow survived the ravages of millennia.

One realizes that Israel, in ancient times, was never more than a petty state, often comprising little more than Jerusalem and the countryside for a few miles around. Christianity appears to be the old cult of Osiris grafted onto the more ancient cult of sun worship with Hebrew and then Greek-Roman name changes. The ancient Egyptian religions appear enlightening only in the sense that they show that Christianity is just another layer of folly glossing over more ancient folly. People did not like the idea of dying, so they went into massive denial. The Osiris cult was a resurrection cult, just like the Jesus cult, except healthier in that at least a female, Isis, was part of the Trinity.

The best of Egyptian philosophy I already covered in An Ancient Egyptian Song with Commentary [February 22, 2008]. Breasted also follows the development of the idea of a supreme, rational god, Ptah, cumulating in "The Egyptian thus gained the idea of a single controlling intelligence, behind and above all sentient beings, including the gods. The efficient force by which this intelligence put his designs into execution was his spoken word and this primitive logos is undoubtedly the incipient germ of the later logos doctrine." [my italic]

When I was young I bought into some pop theories about how impossible it was to build the pyramids and other ancient monuments made of large stones. Breasted does not even go there. Apparently kings of Egypt thought nothing of mounting expeditions to far off quaries and bringing back large stones. It was a well-worked out system that lasted thousands of years and required no magic. It was simply a matter of organizing enough people to use the tools and skills available at the time.

The scope of this history is vast. The standard view numbered 27 dynasties in ancient Egypt; any one king's reign might have deserved a full book. Picking and choosing what to write about when so much history is available is the main task of the historian. Time, of course, destroyed most of the records and even many of the monuments from those ancient days. So some kings are barely mentioned, while others get a great deal of space in the book. One thing I like is how Breasted takes time to show that some kings had an awareness of what we call a good life, or civic virtue, consisted of. Prosperity then, as now, depended on to what extent the government looked after the welfare of the common people. When greed and corruption ruled, civilization declined. You can follow many cycles of prosperity and depression and their relation to civic policy in Egypt.

Recommended, but when I have a chance I'll read a more modern work covering this period for comparison.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Review of The Fifties by David Halberstam

title: The Fifties
author: David Halberstam
publisher: Fawcett Columbine [hardcover], Ballantine Books [paperback]
year of publication: 1993
reviewed date: June 25, 2008
The Fifties at Amazon

David Halberstam's The Fifties is not a standard history. It does not start in January 1950 and end in December 1959. It does not dryly narrate wars and treaties and acts of Congress. Instead it tells historical stories that give insight into the events, politics, and culture of the 1950's. Many of the stories start in the 1940's or trail into the 1960's. Often the stories are deftly woven together, as when a story about a business turns into a story about politics.

I enjoyed reading about Estes Kefauver, the maverick Democrat who earned the party's wrath by investigating the party's close relationship with organized crime. I found the story of the creation of Holiday Inn by Kemmons Wilson quite enlightening, because it showed how people's lifestyles were changing. I don't like the McDonald's restaurant chain, but the story of its creation from a single drive-in restaurant in southern California was fascinating.

Then there are the choice quotations, including this from Stewart Alsop on the possibility of a Republican electoral victory in 1952: "We shall have a first-class fascist party in the United States if the Republicans don't win. The real need for a change in this country arises, not from the decay of the Democrats, but from the need to give the Republicans the sobering experience of responsibility."

Of course there is quite a bit too of famous political characters such as Harry Truman, "Ike" Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and the Kennedy brothers. There is much about Fidel Castro and a bit about Vietnam, stories that would become more important in the 1950's. Of course Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare are covered in some detail. The progress of the civil rights movement reminds us that the Republican Party was far more important to African-Americans obtaining civil rights than was the Democratic Party, at least until roughly 1965.

There is also a great deal about movie stars, particularly Marilyn Monroe. To me the story of Grace Metaliou, author of Peyton Place, was more compelling. The culture of the 1950's was much about facade. Peyton Place, more so than Elvis or On the Road or any other Beatnik fare, showed the sexuality that lurked beneath the surface of the American dream of suburbs, big cars, and well paid union jobs for all.

The prosperity of the 1950's was built on two pillars: unionization of the workforce and lack of international industrial competition. By forcing the manufacturers to share the wealth, the unions increased the wealth. Domestic consumption fueled demand, which fueled full employment, which made more profits for the rich to share. But World War II had destroyed most of the world's factories outside the United States. Eventually the dream would come to an end; but there was no end in sight (if you except the possibility of nuclear war) on December 31, 1959. No wonder everyone liked Ike.

The Fifties is an excellent book that should interest not just those who lived through the period, but everyone who has lived in its wake.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vietnam by Stanley Karnow, a review

I picked up a used copy of Vietnam by Stanley Karnow to help with my current book project, The U.S. War Against Asia. I found the book to be well written, but focussed on history in the context of what we call in the United States the War in Vietnam. In my generation that was frequently just called The War.

There is a general history of Vietnam leading up to the French colonial period that emphasizes the various independence struggles in the area we now call Vietnam. If you want a cultural history of Vietnam, or a detailed look at Vietnam before 1500, this book does not cover that adequately.

If you want to understand the motives of the Vietnamese independence movement and major players like France, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States, this book is great. Karnow views everyone with an eye that is capable of both compassionate understanding and a hard gaze. He does not gloss over any parties attrocities or stupidities. On the whole it seems like a fair, balanced, factually-based book.

Karnow shows that there were times when France and the United States came quite close to at least a temporary defeat of the Vietnamese communists. In a sense the book supports the hypothesis that America lost the war because of its lack of intelligence (that is, spying capabilities). It creates a strange symmetry with the War against Japan (part of World War II) in which it is fair to say that the U.S. won the war because it had better intelligence capabilities. In Japan's case, the U.S. broke Japan's encryption, and simply new everything Japan would do in advance. In Vietnam encryption was not an issue: on the Vietnamese end it was a low-tech war, and intelligence was provided mostly by sympathisers inside the domestic establishments of the South Vietnamese regime and the American invaders.

We tend to see the war as a two-sided affair, with the communists on one side and the U.S. and its local allies on the other. But in fact is was extremely complicated, with many groups trying to maintain an independence from both the U.S. and the communists. In a civil war groups and individuals flip sides; the winner is usually the group that is best at gaining the support of formerly neutral groups.

The effects of politics in the United States are well-documented. President Eisenhower, a Republican, tried to avoid involvement in Vietnam largely in reaction to Truman's policy in Korea, which itself was in reaction to accusations that President Truman lost China to the communists. President Kennedy greatly increased involvement in Vietnam. A member of one of the most successful capitalist families in the United States, he lacked Eisenhower's gravitas and allowed himself to be pressured by the Pentagon. Lyndon Johnson inherited the war and felt the Republicans and his enemies in the Democratic Party, in particular Robert Kennedy, would crucify him if he lost Vietnam. Richard Nixon actually started pulling troops out of Vietnam soon after his election in 1968 and was still in office after they were all withdrawn, yet the liberal establishment still insists on blaming Nixon and the Republicans, rather than themselves and the Democrats, for the war.

The French come out looking badly as well. When Hitler conquered France and set up the Catholic, nationalist, racist Vichy regime, the French colonial structure in Vietnam simply agreed to follow orders from Japan. So the Japanese did little fighting in Vietnam in World War II. To the extent there was fighting, it was with the Vietnamese resistance movement that was already fighting the French. The U.S. encouraged the resistance even though it was dominated by communists (we were allied with the communists in World War II) and implied Vietnam would become independent when Japan was defeated. Of course Vietnam was handed back to the French just as Britain was given Hong Kong and the U.S. and Russia divided up Korea.

This book is probably the single best book on the Vietnam War. It was fascinating to read. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Vietnam or in U.S. history.

This book should be generally available in libraries and used book stores, but you could also pick up a copy of Vietnam at

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Charles Darwin Was God's Prophet

Charles Darwin is hated by fundamentalist Christians. To accept Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selectiona as true, to them, means having to abandon their belief in the literal truth of the King James translation of the biblical books into what is now archaic English.

As a writer I have to appreciate the idea that one of God's principle activities was writing a book, and of course I am impressed by the fact that it is a best seller and the strongest backlist title in history. Also, it is encouraging, because my own writings have not sold well so far, and neither did God's early on. Bible sales did not really take off until the time of Martin Luther.

And if God is a writer, and had a successful book, don't you think he would want to do a bit more writing?

I think the concept of God is confusing [See God: A Confusing Concept]. Some people, however, have made an identity between God and Nature, and for educational purposes I'll go with that dual-natured god in this essay.

Let us suppose that God or Nature has prophets. These human beings get the truth about something or other from God and make it known to the rest of us. The Old Testament Jews had prophets, but so did the far-more-ancient Egyptians. Jesus is accepted as a prophet by many people who do not believe he is God. Mohammed declared that he was a prophet, and that worshipping him as the Christians worshipped Jesus Christ would be blasphemy.

But when you think about it, what these people revealed was good, but just a tiny bit of what God could reveal. I am a big fan of ethics, whether you want to take them from practical experience or from some higher authority. Predicting war or revolution or droughts or plagues is also all good and fine. Prophet is an honorary title I am willing to bestow when appropriate.

What Charles Darwin revealed was the fundamental order of nature, or at least of plant and animal life. True, he spent his life in careful study, observation, and experimentation. He thought a lot. He delayed publication of The Origin of Species because he knew it would upset a lot of people.

Charles Darwin himself was part of nature, part of creation. He claimed no supernatural powers. If you believe God creates everything, then God created Charles Darwin. If God inspires everything, then God inspired Charles Darwin.

Not remarkably, God's second book, the Origin of Species, (unless you count the New Testament as his second book) is much better written that his first book, the Bible. It documents the facts pointing to evolution by natural selection in a compelling manner. The contradictions in edicts we find in the Bible are largely eliminated. A big picture is painted out of small details. Troubling questions are asked and answered. Homely examples from the breeding of dogs and pigeons are given. Anyone with an open mind can understant it.

Having unveiled the true basis of life, and of the modern science of biology, God inspired mankind to get about the business of extending our knowledge of Nature. The science of genetics was worked out. The molecular basis of inheritance, DNA, was discovered. Now we have wonder medicines starting to be produced for ailments that were previously incurable. All because God revealed the Truth to the Prophet Darwin.

The Catholic Church, if it had any sense, would discover that Darwin was a saint. Many, many medical miracles have occured from people subscribing to the theory of evolution. We know the Church recast a number of pagan gods as saints; why not Charles Darwin?

The earth is not such a big place any more. It is crowded with people. It exists in the context of a Universe so large that even scientists cannot tell us exactly how large it is. Many of God's creations are being destroyed because of human overpopulation and its attendant polution and destruction of natural habitat. God has given warnings. Nature has made the consequences of continuing on our current path clear. Natural disasters and the toppling of evil and incompetent governments are upon us.

It is too bad Charles Darwin was not an American. I think the American fundamentalists would have a lot more trouble attacking God's True Prophet if it were unpatriotic to do so. The people of Great Britain should be proud to have produced such a man. But America has its Prophets of Nature too. John Muir, for instance. We should be proud of them.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hugo the Puppy, Victor Hugo, and John Steinbeck

Jan brought back a puppy from San Diego, a gift from her parents. It is supposed to be a poodle crossed with a Maltese, but he looks like a small poodle to me. I wanted to name him Danton or Robespierre after the French Revolution figures, but eventually we settled on Hugo, after Victor Hugo, the author. Jan is a big Victor Hugo fan.

Hugo, as a puppy

Victor Hugo's best known works include The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables. In the latter work he alternates between chapters about Paris in general and chapters in which we follow the characters while the plot moves forward.

California author John Steinbeck used a similar pattern in The Grapes of Wrath, a justly famous book. I just finished reading it, for the fourth time in my life, this week. Steinbeck had become famous upon publication of Tortilla Flat, a novel where questions of ethics are raised to high humor, but in which poverty is made to seem more fun than middle-class existence. But the poverty of Tortilla Flat is an established, well-worked out poverty. In Wrath the leading characters are well-removed from their former middle-class farm existence, having become tenant farmers on land they formerly owned, before the book begins. But a new and terrible poverty is their fate in California, where they were treated with an amazing lack of hospitality. They are not treated as citizens, or as people, just as movable and expendable pieces of farm equipment.

I have written a great deal about the problem of overpopulation in the United States and the world. Immigration to the U.S. is a perplexing problem. Even legal immigration contributes to overpopulation. Yet I believe every human being should be treated with dignity and respect where ever in the world they go, no matter what their national origin.

It would be nice if we could persuade humans to voluntarily control their reproduction, and of course many do. But too many do not, and I don't buy the argument that as the world gets wealthier reproduction rates always go down. I don't believe that the poor of the world, lets call that about 3 billion people, are going to get wealthier any time in the near future. This year, because of inflated food prices, most of them became much poorer. I also believe there are cultural issues that determine the number of children women have. Religious beliefs play a big part.

I don't know what Victor Hugo would think, but I suspect John Steinbeck would be having the same dilemma. Steinbeck had a fine appreciation of the natural world and natural science. Two of his best novels, Sweet Thursday and Cannery Row, feature a biologist protagonist. John would tell you that when all the fish in the sea are caught, there will be no more fish to eat. And animal populations that get out of control always crash eventually, for one reason or another.

Here's a bit of The Grapes of Wrath, near the beginning of Chapter Five:

Some of the owner men were kind because they hated what they had to do, and some of them were angry because they hated to be cruel, and some of them were cold because they had long ago found that one could not be an owner unless they were cold. And all of them were caught in something larger than themselves. Some of them hated the mathematics that drove them, and some were afraid, and some worshipped the mathematics because it provided a refuge from thought and from feeling.

More data:

John Steinbeck
Victor Hugo

Books at

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Les Miserables
The Grapes of Wrath
Tortilla Flat
Cannery Row
Sweet Thursday

Saturday, June 7, 2008

John McCain and Barack Obama Already Failing

The Friday, June 6, 2008, vote to kill the progress of the Climate Change bill in the Senate of the United States of America should be like a cold shower on Monday morning after a long weekend of partying. John McCain may offer experience and Barack Obama may offer hope, but whichever one gets elected will be the President of a quagmire of special interests, giant egos, and partisan back stabbing. The two-party system has failed, or at least the two current parties are both failing to deliver what America needs. Both McCain and Obama promise to bring the two parties together, to end partisan feuding. But they intend to do this by compromise, by standing in the middle of the quagmire and inviting everyone to drown.

The bill is Senate Bill 3036, Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008, meant to address the issue of global warming. In the Senate, having passed out of committee, the bill needed 60 votes to end debate and proceed to a vote. It gathered only 48 votes. The Democratic Party leadership refused to allow a full debate, and the offering of amendments, on the bill. Four Democrats [Brown, Dorgan, Johnson, Landrieu] voted against the bill and six [Biden, Byrd, Clinton, Conrad, Kennedy, Obama] could not be bothered to vote. McCain was also too busy trying to lead us around the quagmire to vote. Republicans voting Yes included Collins, Dole, Martinez, Smith, Snowe, Sununu, and Warner.

While the bill itself could be criticized from any perspective, mostly not strong enough for environmentalists and too strong for those who don't take global warming seriously, at least it would have gotten the ball rolling. Policy could be tweaked in future bills. Now there will be no action until at least 2009. Given that Al Gore was Vice-President to Bill Clinton and nothing was done about climate change, nothing at all, for those 8 years, you might think environmentalists in the Democratic Party would be wondering about the quality of their party leadership.

There are things, sociopathies if you will, that are wrong with the American people, and those sociopathies are reflected and amplified in the two alternately ruling parties. We have become a lazy, greedy, immoral, and spineless people. We whine about conditions, but won't even vote for independents or third party candidates on the one day a year (or every two years), the five minutes every two years we are given the opportunity to vote.

Don't forget that the Senate is an undemocratic institution by design. States with just a few people in them get as many Senate votes as states like California, Florida, Texas and New York.

Send both the ruling class and your fellow Americans a message this November. Yell it from the roof tops. Vote for Cynthia McKinney for President and for the best candidates in each race regardless of political party. Vote for Cindy Sheehan and Carol Wolman for Congress. I can't vouch for each and every Green Party candidate, but here is a list of California Green candidates [See also my Green Party pages].

And plan on a social system based on anarchism. America is falling apart so quickly, that might be your only real choice anyway when the government collapses. At least when the government collapses the national debt will disappear. Setting up a new national government, which would have to re-assume the national debt, would be economic folly of the first order.

Yes, it is true. If the Democratic Party succeeds in crushing the Green Party, my fallback position is not to become a war crimes supporter by becoming a Democrat. For voting purpose I would become independent, but for organizing purposes I would promote an anarchist social organization.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Jeff Hawkins, Chiang Kai-shek, and Pileated Woodpeckers

Tempting as it is to try to write a coherent essay about Jeff Hawkins, creator of the PalmPilot, former dictator of China Chiang Kai-shek, and woodpeckers, in fact they come together as only a temporal coincidence.

Yesterday Jan had the camera out to take pictures of her PeacefulJewelry and saw, for her first time ever, a Pileated Woodpecker, a rather large and magnificent bird. You can see a picture I took of it at the Pileated Woodpecker page I created yesterday.

I had some time to catch up on book reviews as well. Part of Natural Liberation is understanding how the human mind works. I just finished reading On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins, and wrote a review of it.

I would like to get back to my U.S. War Against Asia writing project, and in my stack of books to review was Hollington's biography of Chiang Kai-shek. There is a lot about U.S. - China relations in the book, as well as Chinese history as seen by supporters of the generalisimo.

Meanwhile, today is election day in California, so I am going off to vote later . There is not much on the ballot in California (we had our presidential primary earlier); see my recommendations. I am looking forward to Barack Obama and the party bosses proclaiming themselves the rulers of the Democratic Party. I think an Obama-Clinton ticket would be great. It is a chance to show that non-white Americans and women can make it to the top of a corrupt system of government if they are greedy enough, power-hungry enough, and slick enough. It will be hard for my candidate, Cynthia McKinney, to make headway against a salt-and-pepper ticket. Or pepper-and-salt ticket, whichever it may be.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Florida, Michigan Voters Deserve Full Representation

Corruption comes in many forms. And all of those forms can be found in the Democratic Party.
Last year some States rebelled against the Republican and Democratic Party bosses. They were tired of nominees for President being picked by a few mostly white, rural voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. So they moved up the dates of their own Presidential primaries.

The Democratic Party bosses responded by nullifying the votes in Florida and Michigan. However, Senator Hillary Clinton and others were fighting to seat the delegations elected by the voters of Florida and Michigan.

Barack Obama is seeking to disenfranchise the voters of Florida and Michigan. A long-time favorite of the party bosses, a get-along, go-along kind of politician spit up by the Daley machine in Chicago, Barack Obama wants to be the first sort-of black major party nominee for President badly enough to disenfranchise the rather large number of black voters in those two states to achieve his goal.

But let's take this out of the context of rival presidential candidates. What is the right thing to do if we believe in democracy?

I believe it comes down to this question: do the governments of the States have the right and responsibility to set dates for elections, or is that up to the self-selected bosses of the Democratic Party?

The governments of the states represent the people of the states. Unless their is a federal law to the contrary, there is not even an argument here. The national party bosses can suggest dates, but the elections take place when on dates set by the States. The state governments are elected. The people of Florida effectively chose their own primary date. To deny them their rightful role in the nomination of a party candidate because they showed they can govern themselves just illustrates that the Democratic Party still has a fascistic character.

Giving Florida half its normal representation, rather than doing what is right, is an outrageous insult. It is a cutting the baby in half decision. It was cynically calculated to insure the nomination of the bosses' candidate.

The party bosses want to control the nomination process. They've had problems with the rabble getting out of control in the past, for instance when George McGovern was nominated.
One fair way to deal with the problem, going forward, is to have a rotation system. Let a different state be in the lead position each election cycle.

Iowa, be gone. The astonishingly, globally stupid Ethanol scam is a result of Iowa's long prominence in the nomination process.

Of course, in the long run the best thing for the American people is to leave both of the major parties and form or join other parties that more reflect the will of the people.