Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ron Paul Stirs Mutiny in the Babalunian Galaxy


They are having another debate right now at Babalú over the trade embargo. What distinguishes this debate from all others is that a Babalunian satellite has left its orbit and is headed on a collision course with its sun. We are speaking of Tomás Estrada Palma, fallen under the sway of Ron Paul, who is more loony even than the Babalunians. We are much grieved to hear this because Tomás is a genuinely good and kind man and, what is rarer, a conciliator. At the time of my rupture with Val, he was the only one who thought it possible to effect a reconciliation. He was wrong, of course, but it says much for him that he tried. Unity should always be preserved when possible, but not at the price of sacrificing one's principles. We can only be true to the cause when we are true to ourselves.

Tomás is also Val's cousin. Perhaps this is the reason that he was not insulted, ostrasized or banned when he suggested that Ron Paul is right to favor the lifting of the trade embargo. Frankly, I don't think Ron Raul is right about anything. I take his opposition to the trade embargo as yet more proof that it should remain in place until Castro agrees to democratic reforms (which will be never) or until the restoration of democracy in Cuba by other means makes it unnecessary. Hugo Chávez is the band-aid, as was the Soviet Union before him. But the perpetuation of the Castro regime depends on its ability to be self-sustaining. This it will never be while the embargo is in place. Right now, the regime is one heartbeat away from collapse. That heart is not Castro's but Chávez's, which is why Castro is forever cautioning him to shield himself from the people and to be always on guard against would-be assassins. If, however, the embargo were lifted tomorrow, Communist Cuba would be provided perhaps not with the rope with which to hang the U.S., but certainly with rope enough to keep its people tied-up for several generations more. The Red Chinese have proven that human rights are not an unavoidable consequence of free market reforms; indeed, an economically viable tyranny, which has been integrated into the world market and no longer lives a precarious existence, will use its economic might to perfect and expand its apparatus of repression. Just as a democracy is more viable because it is prosperous, so, too, is a tyranny more sustainable because it can pay its bills (or, in China's case, because the U.S. pays its bills).

While supporting the lifting of the embargo without preconditions, Tomás still favors the ban on travel by Americans to Cuba. I don't know why Tomás feels that he must agree with Ron Paul in respect to the trade embargo but disagree with him on travel restrictions. Ron Paul is more forthright on this subject than on any other. He does not claim that contact with Americans will innoculate Cubans against tyranny. In fact he doesn't care at all whether Cubans are delivered from tyranny or not: it is their problem. All he wants is that his "right to travel" not be impinged. Of course, there is no constitutional "right" to visit foreign countries. But, then again, Libertarians often believe that the Constitution violates rather than guarantees their rights.

I received an e-mail from Tomás this week — which I suppose he also sent to other Cuban bloggers — encouraging me to write about Ron Paul. To his credit he did not suggest that we should write positively or negatively. He was unaware, apparently, that I had already followed his injunction. The article, published almost 2 month ago, was in fact picked up by Ron Paul 24-Hour Blog Radio, which linked it on its site. This astonished me because it was a highly critical review not only of his Cuba policy but of libertarianism itself. And then it dawned on me: they used it to attract pro-Castro liberals. My attack on Ron Paul as a Castro-appeaser was his bona fides. On the positive side, many hundreds of Ron Paul's supporters came to read that post at RCAB who would not otherwise have found their way here, and perhaps I was able to convince some that Ron Paul is a fraud and that to support him is a derogation rather than affirmation of American democracy.


UPDATE:

It seems that not even Tomás' relationship to our first president or even to the august Val Prieto can save him from abuse at Babalú for taking a position contrary to its canon. The first to lead the attack, of course, was George Moneo, who accused Tomás of "scrapping the bottom of the barrel" and cautioned him against "bumping into Hillary, Chris [Dodd] and Baraka" there. Guajiro de Broward later admonished the other commenters "Why do you all argue with a closeminded 'Ron Paul Fanatic.'" So far Val has abstained from the discussion. Or is he only waiting for the repudiation to grow to oust his own cousin from Babalú for the crime of lese majestie?

Notable & Reprehensible: Liberty Is Not for All, Says Ron Paul

35 comments:

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

I do not advocate lifting the travel restrictions because slave labor for tourists is the last commodity that Castro has plenty of and that would extend his rule. This is not a mutiny. We are discussing ideas. How about adding cars parts to the list of trade items we can sell Cuba? You see Manuel I don't think Castro has any money to buy anything for cash. I'd love to expose that.

As for Ron Paul I understand that you do not like his policies but which ones? He and libertarians support the US Constitution while the other candidates have been systematically ignoring it. The other Congress men tell Ron Paul's that his unyielding SUPPORT for the U.S. Constitution is "antiquated." So asserting that Libertarians are somehow against the Constitution is absolutely opposite from the facts. The U.S. Constitution may not be perfect but it is a darn sight better than what we have now.

One of the main reasons I support Ron is his opposition to the Federal Reserve Board and the fiat money system that allow the bankers to diminish our labor value by printing up oodles of money and flooding the marketplace with this funny money.

Finally, in my post last night I should have said that 20 years not ten concerning the time it took to inflate the dollar to amounts where the US government could no longer provide gold for the dollar. Sorry!

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Manuel you stated that Ron Paul is a fraud. How would that be so? You see having worked with libertarians for over 30 years I know they are totally against any form of fraud. If Ron Paul had ever committed even one act of fraud in his life he would be shunned by libertarians. They are a tough crowd - even tougher than Cubans. Please give me examples of some of Ron Paul's fraudulent acts. Maybe somehow I and the other thousands of libertarians never knew of these frauds and if true we will be eternally grateful to you for exposing them. Give me some examples Manuel.

Thank you.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Tomás:

Before I proceed to answer your many questions in this and another thread, I should like to ask you one simple question:

You have said that Ron Paul is your personal friend. Have you ever asked what his opinion of Fidel Castro is or of Communist Cuba? Please feel to answer at length.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Great question! No I haven't in the past but I just did. I haven't talked with a real person yet but it's Sunday. I've emailed and left a phone message. I explained the gravity of the situation here and that standard Libertarian 3 sentence responses will not do with this complex question. I gave them your link and Babalu as well. I think they will be shocked at how badly Cubans perceive Congressman Paul. I can see how you guys could think him flippant and uncaring of Cuban suffering. In addition, with the smear campaign ongoing I could see how one could even fear Ron Paul. But these misconceptions are wrong with respect to this man of great character who has my deepest admiration.

If I can I will try to arrange contact between you and the other Cubans with Ron Paul. Of course he is a very busy guy these days but I'll see what we can do because this is so important.

Thank you!!!

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Tomás:

If I were a supporter of Ron Paul let alone a personal friend, the first question I would have asked him is his position on Cuba. I am surprised that you did not. In fact, I don't know that he has ever voiced one word of opposition to the Castro regime. Perhaps he regards this as "interference" in another country's affairs. If this is so, then he is both amoral and a fraud: amoral because he is indifferent to the suffering of an entire people, and a fraud because he cloaks his amorality in nationalism. Now, Tomás, who else did that?

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

It's not that at all with respect to Ron Paul. He will only use powers given to him as president under the Constitution. I can't find power in the Constitution for the embargo from the federal government. Congress can set export tariffs however. It's Congress' authority where you can be sure Ron Paul would not interfere since this method of smart embargo is constitutional. I wrote briefly on this on Babalu. If Congress took its responsibility seriously they could use tariffs to do a damn sight better job than the one size fits all current embargo. Don't you think?

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Let me give you an example Manuel. Currently, under the embargo that you support, Castro can buy all the food he wants with cash for his tourists. Under a smart embargo based on tariffs he would pay a large tariff for tourist food but none for the Cuban people. Naturally he will cheat but when we catch him his tariff's go up and his cash in the pipeline in confiscated as a fine without the produce being delivered in full or at all. Wouldn't you like to make Raul pay more for tourist food?

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

By the way the fraud information is still important to me. You have good information normally. If you have any information about a fraud that Ron Paul committed I would really appreciate knowing about it. Send me everything you've got. Maybe I was wrong? My mind is always open to new information. Thanks.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Tomás:

I am glad to hear that your mind is open to new information. This proves that you are not a fanatic, as some at Babalú have alleged over these last two days. At least they have let you have your say, which is more than they would have done for others. I hope you have read my post on why libertarianism is akin to Communism. The link is at the bottom of this post.

I will see what I can find on Ron Paul and Cuba. A preliminary search has yielded nothing, which is in itself disturbing. Has he managed to spend his entire political career before becoming a candidate for president without once taking cognizance of the suffering of the Cuban people or supporting measures in Congress that at at least sought to alleviate it? Free trade is not a universal panacea. If it were, most of the world would be free, and most of the world is not. Free trade is desirable when it does not itself impinge on freedom, and it should never be the lifeline of a tyrannical regime.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Manuel I can't see how libertarianism could be like communism. Both ideologies are pretty straight forward. Communism calls for the individual to sacrifice for the group. Libertarianism is a belief the no one has a right to use violence, threat of violence or fraud to achieve their goals. As you may have surmised by my efforts here - we use persuasion and logical argument. So this is the political opposite of communism which of course calls for violence, threat of violence and fraud to achieve their goals. Libertarian communist is an oxymoron.

Have you ever taken the Nolan test?

Go here:

http://www.quiz2d.com/

and take the quiz. I suspect you will find yourself in the libertarian quadrant. But let me know. I'm curious. Thanks for doing the research.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Tomás:

I could never be a libertarian because I believe in the social contract and not in the survival of the fittest.

To quote from my previous post on libertarianism:

Where there is no fellow feeling for others there can be no fellowship, and without fellowship you can't found a church or a party, much less a state. Communism is itself a more restricted variant of libertarianism. In Communist society, the libertarians are the party elite, who enjoy rights and privileges in a vaccum and at the expense of those not as favorably situated. Ultimately, a libertarian government — were such a thing possible — would also tend towards tyranny, since the maximum freedom for some will always mean a minimum of freedom for most.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

This social contract, does it require me to anything? If I don't want to do those thing will I be punished? Who decides these things?

I'm not sure where you get the idea that Libertarians oppose fellowships. Quite the oppose we believe in absolute freedom of association and voluntary agreements. Communist enforce everything they want at the barrel of a gun. Again I must point out that communists and libertarians are complete opposites. By saying that the leaders in Cuba are libertarian you conflict words. Sadly there are no absolute libertarian governments on earth now. But take a good look at Costa Rica. It has one of the most libertarian governments in the world. I don't see the things you describe in Costa Rica. Could you explain that conflict in what you say a libertarian government would do and the closest working example we have to examine? I think you'll find this libertarian run government (the libertarians are the ruling party there but I forget what they call themselves and they've had libertarian presidents) in Costa Rica to be quite different than all the horrors that you describe but do not say how we would perpetrate those things using words of persuasion rather than guns.

jcr@mac.com said...

Oh, for crying out loud.

The policy you're advocating has done nothing for Cuba, and has been great for Castro, just like the sanctions on Iraq that made Saddam richer than he'd ever been before.

The US embargo is Castro's #1 excuse for the dismal state of the Cuban economy. The fact is, that Cuba can trade with every other country in the world, and there are very few items that can only be obtained from the USA. Take that excuse away from him, and then let him explain to the Cuban people why they're living in such dismal poverty.

Let Americans visit Cuba, and let as many Cubans as possible get some information through sources that Castro doesn't control. "What do you do for a living in America, that you have so much money"? "Oh, I'm a cook in a restaurant." The best possible argument against socialism, the one that will really make a Cuban sit up and notice, is the sight of fat American businessmen and tourists.

-jcr

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Remember libertarians can't use force to get their way. If ones does that then by definition he is not a libertarian. So if the top in Cuba have grabbed rights that they deny others by definition this precludes them for being libertarians - by definition. That's like saying a pacifist wife beater. Like communism and libertarianism - these words cannot be used logically together to mean the same thing - again by definition. I've been a libertarian party member for thirty five years and before I or anyone can join we have to sign a pledge Not to initial violence or use fraud. In the few cases where a member was found out to have done so they were immediately thrown out of the party.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

JCR:

"Fat American businessmen" will not be going to Cuba to instruct the natives on the glories of freedom and capitalism, which they know well enough to have risked and sacrificed their lives hundreds of thousands of times over the last 49 years to obtain for themselves and their children.

Americans will be going there for the same reason that Canadians, Spaniards or Italians visit Cuba — to rape its children and plunder its wealth in concert with the Pimpmaster General.

When Cuba is free, that is, when Cubans are not second-class citizens in their own country, tourists will be welcome to share our beaches and hotels and foreign capitalists to provide employment for our people. Then Cubans will be free to organize independent unions and will not be rented out to foreigners by Castro; nor will any foreigner enjoy greater rights in our country than do its people.

As friends and guests we will welcome you, but not as accomplices in our exploitation.

For now, Yankee Stay Home.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Tomás:

Both libertarianism and communism are constructs of social-Darwinism. Communism is even more brazenly individualistic than libertarianism since it satisfies — in practice, which is all that matters — the needs and interest of one individual and his immediate retinue. Libertarianism also favors the rights of the individual to the exclusion of the commonweal, and in granting absolute licence (not liberty) to everybody it makes every man a petite tyrant and effectively limits the liberty of all by upholding every individual usurpation as a natural right. The collective good is immaterial to both communism and libertarianism and both systems are more a fetish than a rational scheme for the organization of society.

Communism empowers one absolutely; libertarianism empowers all absolutely and hence empowers none.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Why is Costa Rica then not this Orwellian nightmare which you warn libertarianism would lead to. You can't be a libertarian and communist or do the same things as that conflicts with the definition. You could claim to be a libertarian and act as such your entire life but the second you violate the non aggression principle you ceased to be a libertarian by definition. The things you say are assertions and allegations which is everyone's right to level. However, in Court and in the court of public opinion you must also bring evidence to gain a conviction. You have level many accusations today but I'm sorry to say no evidence yet. Just more allegations masked as evidence. My pointing out the Costa Rica example IS evidence. I point out that it is and claims to be a libertarian country. Its leaders claim to be libertarians and many are very eloquent writers on liberty. So evidence that could refute my evidence would be to examine Costa Rica and show examples of how this type of government is bad over and above just asserting the Costa Rica is bad cause you says so. Could you give me example of what you are worried about and how it could occur and still be considered libertarian under the definition?

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Tomás:

Do you mean that libertarians eschew wars of aggression, or just simple aggression? If the latter, I may stop comparing it to communism and start comparing it to Scientology.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

I know you're busy amigo but we talked about these topics tonight on my blogtalk show. It explains my thinking and motives as well as Ron Paul's. I'd like you you hear it because many times I was speaking about our dialog but I think - no I know I was able to totally explain my thinking because it was over two hours. But my cousin Bobby called to talk some sense into my head and left understanding my motives and thinking and thought we should explore this approach. It's here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/tomasestradapalma4a

I'm sorry it's so long. But I would appreciate if you could find time to listen.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

I can't say about Scientology as I'm not familiar with the ideology. As for the initiation of ANY aggression against another to get what YOU want it is forbidden under libertarianism. So is fraud and threat of violence to get what you want. Any examples of these things occurring at ANY level by definition is not libertarian. The things you write about sound more fascist. Politically it is the opposite of libertarianism. We believe you own you time, your body and you labor output. All other political movements claim part or all of these things that do not belong to them. We were made by the creator not to be owned by others in any fashion nor our labor nor our thoughts. Fortunately libertarians agree with this. I hope you do as well. No...I pray you do.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Tomás:

I will listen to your radio show and make observations on it.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Thanks amigo!

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Tomás:

Money is not inherently evil; it is the purposes to which men put money that are good or bad. If a Nazi did make a sizable contribution to the Ron Paul campaign, I would not regard it as incumbant upon him to return the money. In fact, I would be glad that The Nazi gave it to Ron Paul because he certainly could have put it to a worse use.

By the same token, aggression is not in itself an evil; it is what provokes the aggression that determines whether it is justifiable or not. If there really had been weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which Saddam Hussein intended to use against the U.S., then the Iraq War could have been justified even though it was a war of aggression. Since there were no WMD in Iraq, the war was not justified. It is, then, the circumstances surrounding the aggression, not the aggression itself, which should be questioned. The proscription of all aggression, however, is the answer to nothing.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Exactly my friend exactly! I'm no pacifist. There is a place for aggression as in the example you stated. Libertarians are not totally against aggression per se. It is the initiation of aggression. But violence is appropriate to defend one self or to prevent attack. Even the Bible says if a man comes to kill you rise up and kill him first. Thank you for conducting a logical dialog. You have not called me names or anything negative in this discussion. You have remained civil and cerebral. I appreciate that Manuel.

Agustin Farinas said...

Tomas,
is so strange to me that an educated and very intelligent person like you (I have read many of your comments in different blogs) can follow Ron Paul. I saw the debate where he participated and he sounded to me like a very strange fellow confused and a member of the old gang of America First isolationists from the 1930's.
"Let everyone have their form of Govt they want and we do not care about what happens because is not our business, let's worry about America first".
Had FDR thought that way we might be marching to the Horst Wessel song today in the USA. He may have good intentions but his methods and politics are way off base. Of course this is just my opinion.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the administrator and all who visit this excellent blog.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Actually Augusto, Ron Paul was just named the man of the year. Look on my blog. You see Augusto my friend things are so distorted today from the original constitutional form of government that we were meant to have but are denied by our own ignorance, that you have never even looked into the possibilities of how we as exiles would have been able to legally free Cuba. Sure the embargo is unconstitutional...but tariffs are not. The embargo lets the Castro boy load up the tourist salad bars with American food. Export tariffs could make those salad bars prohibitively expensive. But you have to be honest with yourself: you never gave that a thought because you did not know of this constitutionally legal maneuver that would be far more effective in ridding Cuba of Castro. Look at the Neutrality Act that unconstitutionally outlaws us from taking up arms against Castro. You see that's the problem. You and millions of others go clamoring to the feds to do your unconstitutionally mandated do-good things but that opens the door wide open for the feds to think they can do anything they like - which they do these days. You want Castro to just abide by the Cuban Constitution while demanding the federal government ignore ours. Then you chastise an honest man, Ron Paul, who's only crime has been to take an oath to defend and uphold the U.S. Constitution and mean it. If you can show me in the U.S. Constitution where the federal government has authority to do the things that Ron Paul cannot support show me. I'll apologize and immediately drop my support for Ron Paul. But I can warn you right now...he is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!

Buy Merry Christmas anyway amigo!

Have a Happy New Year as well...

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Before doing any research into the Constitution let me steer you away from dead ends. Most important is the 9th and 10th Amendments. What they say is the federal government has only the powers given to it by the Constitution. Other responsibilities are the responsibility of the states and individuals themselves. It says that just because the responsibility is not mentioned in the Constitution still does not give the federal government any power whatsoever in these areas.

Also this crap about the "Commerce Clause" - it was meant to prevent one state from taxing and regulating free trade between the various states. It gave no right to Congress to regulate every commercial aspects of our lives right down to the legal American toilet. If the Flounders HAD meant this to be the meaning then they would not have bothered writing the rest of the Constitution. The document would have simply read: The U.S. Congress can do any damn thing they want." Because that is what they are doing now under this unconstitutional government we're saddle with.

Rene said...

Tomas, I went to your site to listen (The Pink Panther theme? Well, o.k.) but could not determine which link was the appropriate one. Most have the title "to be determined". I also took the quiz, but to tell you the truth I was disappointed. The problem with those tests is that they are not in enough depth.

For example, "Should government subsidize critical industries?" I answered "No", but I could just as easily answered "Yes". In an ideal world the answer is "No", in a world where China, Russia and others subsidize their key strategic industries the answer is "Yes". In an age where we are financing our enemies by buying their oil and borrowing their money, I'm all for a massive subsidy of every conceivable alternative energy scheme out there and for every tariff imaginable against trade "partners" that refuse to play under the same rules and standards of civilized competition and a modicum of respect for certain basic human rights.

My results in the test yielded what these kind of tests always yield for me, "there is no political party for you". This has never surprised me, but what does surprise me is how many people, far more intelligent, educated and experienced than me, spend enormous amounts of time and energy defending, justifying and refining political ideologies. Why not just let the sum of your opinions on the various issues stand for themselves?

Of course, that was a rhetorical question, since we all know the answer. Nothing like a Team name to get a group pulling in the same direction. Uniforms and a mascot help too. Get a few slogans and bingo, now you got something. Then when people question your pronouncements and programme, you can just accuse them of being (insert scorned political label here).

I agree strongly with some of Ron Paul's convictions, I agree strongly with some of Dennis Kucinich's beliefs and yet I also believe they are both "nut cases". I love the Constitution, it literally brings tears to my eyes to read it, but I'm very suspicious of people who don't think that some of it is open to interpretation and that they are the only ones qualified to administer it. They sort of remind me a little bit of the Taliban.

Hope you had a great Christmas and I wish you a Happy New Year.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Interesting thoughts Rene. I guess we must have some kind of starting point or basis for our system. That is the Constitution. The Founders realized either we can be a nation of men or of laws. The issue of interpretation is unfortunately a scam perpetrated by politicians. English need not be "interpreted" for an English speaker. Should circumstance change the Constitution could always be amended by honest politicians. The two politicians that you mention, Ron and Denise I believe fall into that category.

But he is what we face:

Every right and responsibility we hand over to the federal government to handle, either out of laziness or the misguided belief that they can do a better job than the people, removes that right from the people to make those decisions. So 100 years ago Cubans and Americans could and did fight to free Cuba from the Spanish. But under today's "interpretation" of the Constitution that would be forbidden and Cuba would officially still be a Spanish property. Any of the things you mentioned like all the subsidies (the federal government taking our money and spending it on things that it thinks are more important than what we want to spend them on) could be legally done by amending the Constitution. I would not recommend it though. The reason people ask for the government to subsidize whatever is they have the mistaken belief that money is wealth and the government has its own wealth to spend. But the reality is money is a symbol of wealth used to transact more easily in the marketplace and every cents of it that the government has was taken from we the people. Government has no wealth, never has and probably never will. They take our wealth and spend it for us. Fortunately there is a mechanism to make that happen if you believe the federal government should spend your money for you. Just donate your money to the federal government. But I believe I will spend my money more frugally than the $800 toilet seat purchasing federal government. So other Americans should not expect me to donate my money to these crooks. They are crooks too. They swear they will uphold the Constitution but they lie. These crooks create an unconstitutional scam like the federal reserves private banking monetary system which allows the bankers to add extra money into the marketplace, created right out of thin air, which they get to spend not us. But this devalues the dollars and the value of our labor. That is stealing.

Finally, sorry about the vagueness of my Blogtalkradio titles. The show that I explain my reasoning about the embargo and Ron Paul is the most recent one on the 23 of December. Rene I am doing a million things, have four kids, a fleet of cars my family drives that I must fix (later today I have to install a new rack and pinion steering on my 90 Celica), my blogging for Cuba, etc. Could I do a better job at the Blogtalk? Big-time but I'm a one man show. I don't have enough time in the day. Like tomorrow I will spend all day cutting firewood. However, I will try to do a better job in the future especially since I think the cars are in a relatively stable condition. I labeled this week's show about the embargo. Please listen and call in as well. Thanks Rene. Merry Christmas!

Alfredo said...

Even though I do not support Ron Paul, Tomas is a GOOD guy and a TRUE PATRIOT in regards for fighting for a FREE Cuba. I am proud to call Tomas mi hermano!

Rene said...

Hola Tomas:

I agree that everyone should have some basic principles and that collectively, as a nation, we should have them as well. I further agree that the Constitution is the basic guiding light for American principles and that most of it is not ambiguous. I also think it is a very good thing that it is difficult to amend.

Having said all that, I do think some parts (such as the second amendment) are open to interpretation. Congress can and does pass laws that are only Constitutional under certain interpretations and not under others. The President proposes and lobbies congress for certain laws (parts if not all of the Patriot Act) that may or may not be constitutional. But, correct me if I'm wrong, under the constitution itself, neither he nor the congress, gets to decide if a law, proposed or even passed and signed, is constitutional. That is the job of the courts and ultimately, the Supreme Court. Sure, the President can try to influence that by his judicial appointments, but we have seen how that sometimes backfires as jurists seem to appreciate the law and the Constitution more than politicians do.

Finally, my fears for this nation lie not with our politicians, whatever their party affiliation might be. They lie with the people themselves. Not enough of them seem to care about those $800 toilets you mention, or the trade deficit, or the fiscal deficit, or the unnecessary erosion of our civil rights, or earmarks, or...the list is too long to enumerate here.

I don't care who, or what party is in power, if the people are too busy watching "Lost", "Survivor" or whatever, to keep up with their civic duty, we will continue to decline. In the old days, this country could afford to wait for a crisis to be plain to all before taking corrective action, those days are gone. There are too many candidates emerging for the position of Top Dog and many of them are not democracies.

Saludos,

Rene

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

Thanks Alfredo! Actually Rene the 2nd Amendment is not up for interpretation. The militia was every able bodied man. Switzerland has a citizen army and most households have guns, even automatic. Sadly, the real problem in America is all the other things that you mentioned. As a non gun owner, I feel we would all be much safer if we had more guns in society rather than less. I certainly do not want only criminals and government to have guns and not regular folks. That's how Hitler took over so easily. The government had already registered the gun owners who then had the arms confiscated. I pretty good indicator of what is good is to be wary of what the big media says is bad.

Happy New Year!

Rene said...

Happy New year Tomas, Manuel and everyone!

Tomas, as also a non gun owner, I agree with you that anyone not a convicted felon or not mentally ill should have the right to own a gun and that is how I interpret the second amendment, but I do think that it is unclear whether the founding fathers meant that, or just that militias should not be banned (in case we all needed a second American Revolution). Whether they had in mind one or the other or both, seems ambiguous to me and yes, I read English very well.

You mentioned that the way the Constitution is being "interpreted today" the United States and the Mambises could not have liberated Cuba and Cuba would still be Spanish property. I realize blog commentaries are a short forum and it's not possible to expand on all kinds of things one throws out there in the middle of making another point, but I really don't know what you are talking about here. If you could explain what "interpretation" of the Constitution is currently dominant which would preclude the U.S. from "liberating" Cuba but yet, not preclude it from doing what they are doing in Iraq, I would appreciate it very much.

Also, although I freely admit that I am not a scholar of Cuban History, what I have read about 1898 is that the Mambises would have won without the American "help". Basically, the U.S. saw a very weak world power - Spain - and jumped at the chance of a land grab and to enter the ranks of World Power with a splash. Don't get me wrong, I personally would have done the same if I had been McKinley, but as a Cuban, I would have rather he had sunk the Maine in Manila Bay instead.

I just "met" you (and Manuel)here on this blog a couple of days ago, but as far as first impressions go, I agree with Alfredo. I'm glad I found this blog, it seems to contain civil, courteous people (the host sets the tone) who can argue vigorously without the vitriol of the "chusma griton" or the intolerance of the junior despot.

Once again happy new year.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

I have not been abundantly clear Rene. Today the interpretation of the Constitution does permit our federal government and even allows one man, the president, to wage a war. But the unconstitutional Neutrality Act prevent exiles from taking up arms against Castro from American soil. That is backwards from the original intent. Originally only Congress could vote to wage war against another country but individuals could do as they saw fit and accept the consequences. They knew the federal government possessed no right to stop them from going off to armed conflict against tyrants nor the money to bail them out if things did not go as planned.

About the Second Amendment and militias, all of the Founder's writing have made it completely clear of their intent. Gun ownership and the right to defend oneself from their government was a God given right.

Tomás Estrada-Palma said...

One more thing about the 2nd Amendment, the rights in the Constitution are all individual rights. The document does not even give one example of a collective or group right.