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NPR belittles Byrd

Byrd "entertaining show" "anachronistic"
NPR supresses opposition to those standing up for constitution

What a sham job!
House passes war resolution - 130 "no" 10.Oct.2002 12:35

other news

130 still vote against the resolution

Senate limits debate 10.Oct.2002 12:41

this morning on radio

Senate this morning moves to limit the dehate

Total of 30 hours - (two days so far) to decide the hundreds of thousands lives - the complete giveaway of congressional war power to an administration -

i heard no belittling 10.Oct.2002 12:50

The One True b!X

I too heard NPR talking about Byrd, and none of that sounded like belittling. For one, it WAS entertaining. During the push to try for a filibuster, I made sure to tell people just how entertaining it would be. That it's entertaining hardly makes it irrelevant. As for anachronistic, if you heard all if what NPR was saying, it was clear that their point was that Byrd himself probably looks around the Senate when he needs other Senators to behave like he does, and when he sees little or no such support, he must wonder what the Hell happened to the U.S. Senate? Once upon a time, many people iin the Senate would get rield up like he does, would argue about the Constitution the way he does, would argue the Senate rules like he does.

Now, almost no one other than Byrd does.

That DOES make him an anachronism. That doesn't mean anyone who poitns out this fact thinks it SHOULD be an anachronism.


The Republic is Dead 10.Oct.2002 18:31

Frank Huxley

I listened to Sen. Byrd for about 20 minutes today. If he is an anachronism then the American Republic is too.

He spoke of the Constitution. If the congress cedes their responsibility to declare war to the shrub then the Republic is dead.

I listened to Ted Kennedy. He is a f****** sell out. Jack would have disowned him.

Re: Republic is Dead 10.Oct.2002 19:47

anon

Actually, it died 50 years ago, with the birth of the National Security State. The US has waged numerous wars, hot and cold, but the US Congress hasn't actually declared war since 1945.

It's funny. Thinking about it now, I see how it's easy to ridicule the Senators. Sure, they're a pack of egregiously swinish politicos, out for nothing more than to jockey for position in their little careers. But, if you think about it some more, by abdicating Constitutional responsibility for declaring war, and just telling the Great White Father, "Go for it! Just do whatever you feel like...," what they're really doing is exactly what American citizens do everytime they vote. Voting in federal elections is a ritual in which citizens give up the right to make any decisions for themselves, and allow someone else to do it for them. And they can't even have the decision or the decider recalled if they don't like the result afterwards. And then this sham is called "democracy" (of course, strict users of the language remind us that it is nothing of the sort; it is "republicanism" or "representative" government).

I guess the only thing that makes Senators more contemptible than ordinary Americans is that we don't actually have a choice about giving up and delegating away the right to make decisions about life and death. The authorities have guns and clubs and bombs, and they will simply crush anyone who doesn't agree to go along with giving up the right to make decisions to someone else. But the Senators have voluntarily given up their Constitutional powers. That does make them more contemptible in a way. However, the basic principle is the same: Don't confuse giving away and delegating power and responsibility to others with taking it for yourself.

I think a big part of why the "polls" always reveal the most appalling, war-mongering, inane sorts of popular sentiments is precisely because the electoral system both forces people to give up the right to make any meaningful decisions for themselves, and also shields them from having to take responsibility. Afterall, if the Great White Father decides to vaporize people on the other side of the world, it's not my fault. Even if I voted for him, he's the one making the decision, not me. I don't really have anything to do with it. Even if I didn't agree with his decision, it's not like that would necessarily make any difference in the outcome. He can do whatever the hell he wants, and the only adverse consequence for him might come four years from now, maybe...

Thus freed from any moral responsibility for the actual actions of the government, the citizen is free to indulge any sort of whim or caprice. I can tell a pollster anything I want, without being in any way forced by conscience or real consequences to deliberate about it, or spend time learning the facts of the matter thoroughly. Under such circumstances, how could anyone seriously expect, 9 times out of 10, to get any result different from the one promoted by the dominant propaganda, which is always spewed out by the powerful, and their instruments in the corporate media?

For myself, I've decided to allot exactly as much of my energy to the formal political system in this country as it affords me actual responsibility and decision making power -- which is to say, infinitesimal. Instead, I'd rather spend my energies in ways that can have tangible results that directly reflect and dignify my efforts. To me, the real problem is how to live an ethical and fulfilling life in the longterm, and I can't achieve that by attaching undue importance to particular outcomes within a political facade dreamt up by others inimical to my values. To me, the challenge is to develop a sustainable practice that is both personally fulfilling and socially engaged. And it's clear to me that formal politics as we know it has little or nothing to offer me in that regard.