Comments

  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    What magical powers do you think the President has? The power to persuade politicians in the pocket of the NRA to lose their seats?

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    Right. I believe that’s called ‘using the bully pulpit’, which is one thing the President can do. The idea being that it puts pressure on the people who can actually pass laws. That’s my limited understanding of US politics, anyway.

  3. says

    I say the NRA should be dissolved. Where do they get their money anyway? Seriously, where does the NRA get money? They’re better funded than Planned Parenthood. WHERE does the MONEY come from? Second question, whose legs do I have to break to make it stop?

  4. consciousness razor says

    Maybe he has a little bit of clout?

    Biden is just there to keep the seat warm. I thought this was all understood long ago, in the before time.

  5. says

    Well, the Senate’s not going to get anything done, and anyway the Supreme Court is poised to shoot down anything meaningful that does pass. Same for executive orders, which would also result in anguished cries of tyranny and rile up the opposition to an even more frenzied pitch.
    That pretty much leaves oratory and inspiration. Not Biden’s strong suit. I mean, he’s probably a nice and well-meaning man, but he’s playing a style of 1970s politics that assumed the opposition was reasonable and wanted what they sincerely thought was best for America. That’s not the case anymore, and Biden just projects this “ticket taker on a ghost train” image that isn’t going to inspire anyone.
    He needs to bring the thunder, but I don’t think that’s in him. Obama had it but rarely used it, probably because Republicans would have turned him into Eldridge Cleaver or somebody, and being a careful and shrewd politician, he kept it on a leash.
    Biden should go for it anyway, since I don’t think prospects can get a lot worse. Maybe find some writers who don’t just barf up oatmeal and lay the wood on all those conspiracy nuts, racists and assholes that control Republican politics.
    But given Biden’s persona, I’m afraid it would just turn into Jimmy Carter’s malaise speech.
    I’m hoping someone else can pick up the slack.

  6. says

    Well, the Senate’s not going to get anything done, and anyway the Supreme Court is poised to shoot down anything meaningful that does pass. Same for executive orders, which would also result in anguished cries of tyranny and rile up the opposition to an even more frenzied pitch.
    That pretty much leaves oratory and inspiration. Not Biden’s strong suit. I mean, he’s probably a nice and well-meaning man, but he’s playing a style of 1970s politics that assumed the opposition was reasonable and wanted what they sincerely thought was best for America. That’s not the case anymore, and Biden just projects this “ticket taker on a ghost train” image that isn’t going to inspire anyone.
    He needs to bring the thunder, but I don’t think that’s in him. Obama had it but rarely used it, probably because Republicans would have turned him into Eldridge Cleaver or somebody, and being a careful and shrewd politician, he kept it on a leash.
    Biden should go for it anyway, since I don’t think prospects can get a lot worse. Maybe find some writers who don’t just barf up oatmeal and lay the wood on all those conspiracy nuts, racists and assholes that control Republican politics.
    But given Biden’s persona, I’m afraid it would just turn into Jimmy Carter’s malaise speech.
    I’m hoping someone else can pick up the slack.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    The very low approval of Biden may have something to do with “not fulfilling promises”. I understand Manchin and the other corrupt senators are blocking stuff, but Lyndon Johnson got the civil right legislation done by playing hardball against a much more formidable opposition.

    In the primaries, the argument för Biden was that he was so experienced he would get shit passed in the senate.
    Today I would rate him a zero point one Lyndon.

  8. James Fehlinger says

    What magical powers do you think the President has? . . .

    I don’t know. . .

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/25/us/politics/biden-texas-shooting.html

    Biden Calls for Action After Texas Shooting, but Faces Limits of His Power
    by Michael D. Shear
    May 25, 2022

    WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr. responded to the slaughter of 20 elementary
    school children by declaring: “The world has changed, and it’s demanding action.”

    That was almost 10 years ago. . .

    But a decade after Republicans blocked gun safety legislation in response
    to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Mr. Biden remains caught between a
    desire to honor the dead by vowing to act and the reality that he cannot deliver
    on sweeping promises without consensus in Congress. . .

    [I]n brief remarks, he did not even repeat his call for Congress to
    require universal background checks for firearm purchases or to pass a ban
    on the kind of military-style weapon that the shooter used in Texas,
    positions he has often taken in the past. He asked only for what he called
    a “modest” step: voting to approve his nominee to lead the Bureau of
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. . .

    White House officials said the president was under no illusions that
    the Senate would pass gun safety legislation given continued opposition by
    Republicans, who argue that restrictions violate Second Amendment rights
    and would not stop shootings like the one in Texas.

    Mr. Biden’s staff said there were real limits on the executive power a
    president can wield, even in moments of national grief. He cannot ban
    military-style weapons or raise the age to purchase a rifle; such actions
    would require passing legislation in Congress. . .

    White House officials point to a steady stream of accomplishments since
    taking office, including regulating untraceable “ghost guns” that can be
    made at home, providing $10 billion for community policing, working to
    reduce firearm suicides among veterans, creating prison re-entry programs
    to ensure former inmates do not have access to guns and stepping up enforcement
    of gun trafficking laws. . .

    Mr. Biden has not announced plans for a splashy new task force to confront
    mass shootings, nor has he pledged to barnstorm the country pressing for
    legislation demanded by activists for years. . .

    For Mr. Biden, the limitations on presidential authority — and the disappointment
    with legislative roadblocks — go back decades.

    As a senator, he helped pass a ban on assault weapons in 1994, only to see it
    expire a decade later when Congress refused to renew it. As vice president in 2013,
    he led the effort to win bipartisan support for universal background checks,
    but that effort, too, failed in the face of opposition from Republicans and a
    handful of Democrats in the Senate. . .

    “He is the leader of the majority party in Congress and yet he can’t get them
    to do some of the very things that he views as enormously important.” . . .

    [A]fter Newtown. . . “They uncovered every rock in the federal registry and
    they did everything they possibly could by executive order. . .
    There is no more to be done. He can’t do anything more with his own authority.”

    John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, a leading gun control
    group. . . conceded that meaningful gun safety legislation was unlikely, saying
    “we’ve got a 50-50 Senate, which is not a majority in my book.” . . .

    In the aftermath of the Texas shooting, Mr. Biden took to Twitter to call for
    “action” and to pose a series of questions: “Why are we willing to live with
    this carnage? Where in God’s name is our backbone to have the courage to stand
    up to the gun lobby?”

    “What in God’s name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone?”

    He did not offer any answers.

  9. numerobis says

    Clout, but this one’s up to the legislature. The US is still not actually a dictatorship.

    I’m pretty sure that nothing will get better until there’s a party that can actually espouse legislative ideas that have widespread support. The Democrats tend to be scared to do that, whereas the GOP is really good at coming up with stirring slogans that rile up support for extremely unpopular policies.

  10. wzrd1 says

    Nothing is going to happen, the wealthy, deep pocketed campaign contributors won’t allow it. If any politician tries to bite the hand that paid for their campaign, their replacement would receive even more money to replace them with someone properly subservient to their master’s whims and needs.

  11. Rob Grigjanis says

    birgerjohansson @9:

    Lyndon Johnson got the civil right legislation done by playing hardball against a much more formidable opposition.

    The situation was much more complicated than that. While he had to contend with Southern Democrats, he had support from many Republicans. These days, Republicans seem to reflexively oppose anything a Democratic President tries to do. Add to that the ridiculous amount of power wielded by the NRA…

    I doubt Johnson could make more headway than Biden, if he were in Biden’s place.

  12. ANB says

    I’m afraid that–however much power the President has–s/he doesn’t have the power to magically make political decisions happen. Biden doesn’t lack “backbone.” He lacks votes in Congress. The people who read this blog are a very bright bunch, but many are afflicted by one or another bias in criticizing a Democratic President. (I didn’t use the word liberal or anything near, because you can’t have that label as the leader of this country, and that label means so many different things to people depending on where they are).

    The President can’t change these things. It’s “the people” who have to make the change. (And that means voting so that…well, you all know if you’re reading this blog).

  13. ANB says

    #9birgerjohansson
    (Responding to your first remark) LBJ may have been a better politician, but the politics of the R party has changed immensely. In the past 50 years, things are not even remotely the same (as terrible as they were then). The communication channels (e.g. Fox, et alia) are the primary reason (IMHO) for this case.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    Rob Grigjanis @ 13
    ANB @ 15
    OK. The situation back then was more complex than I knew.

    But the main crux today is putting enough pressure on Manchin and Sinema. A president that is determined to play as dirty as the opposition can intimidate senators whose strongest motivation is to be self-serving.
    A president that credibly can say ” I can mess you up so badly your millions of $ in campaign donations from the oil industry will not save you” will get more response than a meek president.

  15. dianne says

    birgerjohansson @17: Do we know that he’s not doing that? Maybe the public statements about “we should do something” is part of the campaign. Biden publicly supports gun control and if Manchin and Sinema don’t come through they become the senators that voted for letting your kids get killed in random school shootings. Along with whatever other pressure he can bring to bear behind the scenes.

  16. F.O. says

    Not sure I buy Beau’s argument that it is impractical to remove guns, however he does offer a solution that might be viable and could be pursued in parallel to actually removing guns.

    (Also his argument that Republicans could be inconvenienced by the “wifebeater” argument is far too optimistic).

    This is something that Biden, given his clout, could definitely push hard for.

  17. Kimpatsu says

    So why couldn’t the President pass a law protecting women’s rights to abortion?
    Just how does the US system work?

  18. John Morales says

    Kimpatsu:

    Just how does the US system work?

    Well, it’s not a dictatorship, though the president has executive power.
    Anyway, easy enough to answer your question.

    From Wikipedia:
    “The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the president and the federal courts, respectively.”

  19. John Morales says

    Actually, Kimpatsu, perhaps you were engaging in semantic shifting, and I missed that.

    After all, it can ‘work’ in the sense of the mechanism of operation — as I answered — or it can ‘work’ in the sense of being effective.

  20. Kagehi says

    @14 ANB Sorry, but while his power may be “limited” (and this seems to be mostly by one asshole that, due to our two party system, is voting GOP, but is supposedly a Democrat), I also tend to agree with TYT’s take on the subject – Biden has promised a lot of things, and said a lot of stuff that plays to his base (the same way that the GOP does this), but when it comes to actually doing any of it, he often flat out does nothing. Other presidents have proposed laws and placed them before Congress and the Senate even, but dear Joe has ignored 90% of everything he claimed he was going to do, promised to do, etc., and only ever done the few things that… weirdly, benefit him, corporate Democrats, etc., while outright reneging on many of the things he claimed to support while running for office.

    As TYT suggested, this is probably theater. It may very well just be more of his, “I really wish someone else would do something about this, but… if they don’t then I am just so terribly sorry – ‘and I didn’t really give a flip anyway, I just needed to pretend to’.” I hope I am wrong, but his track record, and the list of excuses people make for why NONE of the Democrats ever seem to do crap, or keep trying to find “middle ground” with literal fascists, as well as always pushing to elect corporate Democrats and neo-liberals (i.e. conservative on everything except social issues, and then wishy washy about actually doing anything about them) instead of standing up for their supposed principles, has, is, and continues to be appalling.

  21. littlejohn says

    Biden and the Democrats would outlaw the AR-15 in a second if they could, but they can’t. The Republicans vote unanimously to block everything proposed by Dems. They are assisted by a couple of nominally Democratic senators, from Republican states, who would not be reelected if they voted their consciences. Where does the NRA’s money come from? Primarily from the manufacturers of guns and ammunition, so that’s who they represent. If YOU were Biden, what exactly would YOU do to fight the NRA? I’ll wait. Even if, miraculously, anti-gun legislation were approved, the current Supreme Court would promptly destroy it. You must know these things. Biden doesn’t lack spine; he lacks any mechanism to do anything about the gun crisis. A majority of Americans want effective gun control, but we are not even remotely a democracy.

  22. kurt1 says

    Centrist Dems 2019: Don’t vote for Bernie, he won’t get anything done!
    Centrist Dems 2022: Well, actually the president can’t do anything.

    For all the people pointing at Manchin etc., just think about how and how quickly the GOP got rid of Madison Cawthorn, for spilling the tea on their coke orgies.

    If you really believe that your party can only change something with a supermajority or something close to it, chances of that are incredibly low of ever happening. Voting might buy you some time, but won’t change anything at this point. Start organizing locally and try to build something from there with people you know.

  23. Fidtz says

    He should at least make Senator Joe (Dem/Rep) vote against something.

    When people look back and ask Biden “what did you do after 21 people were shot in a an elementary school?”, does he really want the answer to be “I made a hand wringing tweet!”?

  24. Louis says

    Declare the NRA a terrorist organisation and ban it. And any other organisation like it.

    What’s the worst that’ll happen? You’re not going to get a general riot, so just do it. Ban gun manufacturers and lobby groups from participating in government lobbying as a special case.

    Sure this is a touch draconian, and there may be some unintended consequences (not least of which being it’s probably illegal and unconstitutional) but it’s a bloody good start. It would piss off all the right people. Isn’t that how we do politics now?

    Louis

  25. submoron says

    Make the effort anyway and when it’s blocked point to those who value their ability to murder school children over children’s right to life. Then when it happens again blame them.

  26. IX-103, the ■■■■ing idiot says

    Would it be more politically effective if, instead of “gun control” we phrased it as “militia regulations”, as specified by the 2nd amendment. Perhaps require that assault weapons be registered and stored with a local armory (as designated by local laws), with access restricted to training at approved facilities or to licensed individuals as part of an official civil defense effort (as declared by the local government)?

  27. gnokgnoh says

    @19 F.O., I normally like Beau’s take on some issues, but his idea about targeting domestic violence offenders is no more realistic than targeting guns themselves. First, many countries (Scotland, Australia, New Zealand) have experience with banning types of guns and conducting buybacks (Sacramento, NYC, other cities). We have a precedent. Ban assault rifles, large magazines and assault weapons; conduct buybacks; license and certify gun ownership; require mandatory background checks to purchase a gun. The latter is likely what Beau is suggesting, but it is no more viable than any other common sense gun control regulation or legislation. All are necessary, all will be opposed.

  28. flex says

    @F.O. at 19,

    While I generally agree with Beau, in this case I see a couple flaws in his argument.

    First, while I am not disputing his analysis that collecting guns at a rate of 1/minute would take 600 years to get them all, the rate of 1/minute is not representative of what could be done. By the same logic the US national highway system couldn’t have been built in less than a thousand years if we were building a foot/minute. If every municipality in the US held a gun collection program the initial rate would likely be much greater than 1/minute, probably get close or even surpass 1000/sec. But it would taper off pretty quickly. That would only get the guns no one wants any longer.

    Even if it wasn’t a buyback program, I suspect a lot of people don’t really have any idea of how to dispose of, or even permanently disable a gun. If the program was simply one where people could turn in guns and watch them being permanently disabled, with no questions about how the gun was acquired, you would probably get quite a few guns turned in. I have the tools to permanently disable a firearm, but someone living in a city apartment may not have the tools, knowledge, or even want to admit to anyone who might be able to permanently disable a firearm that they own one.

    For his second point, I agree with you that I suspect a lot of Republicans would oppose denying guns to people with records of domestic violence or animal cruelty. They would argue that the second amendment doesn’t allow them to make exceptions (which is bullshit). They will argue that people can change, so a permanent prohibition would be unethical (of course these are the same people who argue for the death penalty because they claim people cannot change. Hypocrisy is one of their strong points). They will argue that the experts making the assessment of cruelty or as the instigator of domestic violence are biased liberals. They will wrap themselves in the American Flag and cry “Freedom” and “Liberty” without recognizing that these ideas carry responsibilities as well as rights.

  29. James Fehlinger says

    [T]he Senate’s not going to get anything done, and anyway the Supreme Court
    is poised to shoot down anything meaningful that does pass.

    Speaking of the Supreme Court:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/25/world/americas/2nd-amendment-gun-laws.html
    +++++++++++
    In the U.S., Backlash to Civil Rights Era Made Guns a Political Third Rail

    Other countries changed course after massacres. But American political protection
    for guns is unique, and has become inseparable from conservative credentials.

    By Amanda Taub
    May 25, 2022

    . . .

    The United States is different. . . [L]ike so many other things about
    modern American politics, the reasons are rooted in the political backlash
    to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and particularly to desegregation.

    “The modern quest for gun control and the gun rights movement it triggered
    were born in the shadow of Brown,” Reva Siegel, a constitutional scholar
    at Yale Law School, wrote in a 2008 article in the Harvard Law Review.
    She was referring to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the landmark
    Supreme Court ruling in 1954. “Directly and indirectly, conflicts
    over civil rights have shaped modern understandings of the Second Amendment.”

    Desegregation sparked a reactionary backlash among white voters, particularly
    in the south, who saw it as overreach by the Supreme Court and federal
    government. That backlash, with the help of conservative political strategists,
    coalesced into a multi-issue political movement. Promises to protect the
    traditional family from the perceived threat of feminism drew in white women.
    And influential conservative lawyers framed the Second Amendment as a
    source of individual “counterrights” that conservatives could seek protection
    for in the courts — a counterbalance to progressive groups’ litigation on
    segregation and other issues.

    That turned gun control into a highly salient political issue for American
    conservatives in a way that sets the United States apart from other
    wealthy nations. The gun control laws in the United Kingdom, Australia and
    Norway were all passed by conservative governments. Although they faced
    some opposition to the new measures, particularly from hunters’ groups,
    it did not line up with a broader political movement the way gun rights
    did in the United States.

    In the United States, by contrast, the issue is so salient, and so partisan,
    that embracing gun rights is practically a requirement for Republican politicians
    trying to prove their conservative bona fides to voters. Taking an extreme
    pro-gun position can be a way for candidates to stand out in crowded primary
    fields. Supporting gun control, by contrast, would make a Republican vulnerable
    to a primary challenge from the right, which helps explain why they so rarely
    take that position.

    And even if that political landscape were to shift, there would still be
    the matter of the courts. . .

    The Federalist Society pushed for nominations of conservative judges,
    slowly reshaping the judicial branch into a conservative institution that
    enshrined a broad Second Amendment right for individuals to own guns. . .

    Shootings like the one in Texas last night are enough to draw attention to
    the power and momentum of the pro-gun movement. But changing it would be
    the work of decades. Even if politicians work diligently, there will be more
    mass shootings before that happens. . .
    +++++++++++

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/26/us/republicans-gun-control.html
    +++++++++++
    Why Republicans Won’t Budge on Guns

    Polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans support some
    restrictions on firearms, but G.O.P. lawmakers fear they would pay a
    steep political price for embracing them.

    By Carl Hulse
    Published May 26, 2022
    Updated May 27, 2022

    WASHINGTON — The calculation behind Republicans’ steadfast opposition to
    any new gun regulations — even in the face of the kind of unthinkable massacre
    that occurred Tuesday at an elementary school in Texas — is a fairly simple
    one for Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.

    Asked Wednesday what the reaction would be from voters back home if he were
    to support any significant form of gun control, the first-term Republican
    had a straightforward answer: “Most would probably throw me out of office,”
    he said. . .
    +++++++++++

  30. James Fehlinger says

    Desegregation sparked a reactionary backlash among white voters, particularly
    in the south. . .

    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/09/phases-of-american-civil-war.html
    ++++++++++
    CONTRARY BRIN
    Friday, September 19, 2014
    Phases of the American Civil War

    I frequently refer to our current era of American politics as the
    latest phase of the U.S. Civil War… in part because the political maps
    so blatantly copy a pattern that goes back almost 200 years. . .

    Phase 8 – …the Nixonian, southern-strategy “flip” leads ultimately to
    today’s full scale New Confederacy effort to finally destroy the
    United States of America.

    Not by force of arms, but by ending the effectiveness of politics as a
    pragmatic, open-minded process by which undogmatic citizens negotiate a
    mix of experiments and find out what works — the methodology behind
    all of our successes. Replacing all of that with dogma more intense
    than communism ever was.

    Pragmatism and science and re-evaluation are now portrayed to half our
    neighbors as enemies. A conviction of moral superiority that cannot be
    shaken by facts.

    Run through a long list of social ills: teen sex ages and rates,
    teen pregnancies, STDs, domestic violence, divorce rates, bankruptcy
    and debt default rates, education, economic productivity,
    net tax parasitism…even obesity rates… tell us clearly that outcome
    metrics do not support any claims that salt-of-the-earth types are better
    at life or raising kids than ‘decadent’ university-city-folk. Indeed,
    by all of those measures… and countless more… they get spectacularly
    worse outcomes.

    So? The response is to utterly ignore statistics. Truthiness is all that matters.
    I could go on, but the point is clear: this rebellion against the American Experiment
    is both ancient and culturally deeply rooted. We are in its eighth phase
    (at least). . .

    Today’s neo-confederacy is smart enough not to secede. This time, it is working
    from within to slash the things that it always hated. Especially science, which
    is the enemy of nostalgia. But also any chance of American pragmatism prevailing
    in the kind of experiment-by-politics that has always been our national genius.
    And yes, that campaign now includes seeking to ensure that
    “government of/by/for the people” SHALL perish from the Earth.
    ++++++++++

  31. logicalcat says

    @Kurt1

    Considering Sanders couldnt even convince the voters who liked him to actually vote for him not just once but twice, yea Biden was still the best answer.

    But hey you found a way to blame the fact that progressives dont vote onto centrist dems. Everythin is their fault. Who needs self reflection at all?

    Btw guys historic stimulus, infrastructure bill and reducing child hood poverty with quasi ubi already makes him the best leftist president in recent years. Not bad for a centrist.

    On the topic of gun control…do you guys remember the last time liberals tried to take conservatives property? It was the civil war and while we won that shit I am willing to kill other Americans to free black people. I am not willing to kill Americans to free guns. The guns are here to stay im afraid. Every other country that got rid of them either had a vastly different gun culture than ours or they got rid of them early on before it became entrenched in our cultural identity. I wish it wasnt so but thats how it is.

    There is still the possibility of chance but its going to be a very slow incremental process involving actually supporting democrats in state, local, and national levels. Force the republicans to shift left in order to stay politically relevant. This isnt easy but its the only path. Of course with todays modern leftists this wont happen.

  32. Walter Solomon says

    logicalcat

    do you guys remember the last time liberals tried to take conservatives property? It was the civil war…

    What the fuck are you talking about? That’s not how the Civil War started or even what motivated it. Most Republicans didnt want to end slavery just contain it.

    To those Southern pieces of shit, that was too much. The Southerners fired on Ft. Sumpter and started the war. The slave-owners themselves were the aggressors.

    Please stop it with the revisionist, “War of Northern Aggression” bullshit. I’m not even going to address the rest of the stupid shit you wrote. It’s not worth the effort.

  33. James Fehlinger says

    I am not a historian. That said. . .

    . . .do you guys remember the last time liberals tried to take conservatives property?
    It was the civil war…

    What the fuck are you talking about? That’s not how the Civil War started or even
    what motivated it.

    You sure about that? Surely, the existence of enthusiastic abolitionists
    in the North, and the existence of something like the Underground Railroad,
    and the willingness of some folks to assist and harbor runaway slaves, was
    seen by Southern plantation owners and slaveholders as nothing short of
    expropriation.

    To the plantation owners (call them the “conservatives”), the capital tied up
    in their crews of laborers (regarded as not-quite-human, and therefore rationalizable
    as morally as well as economically treatable as chattel) was Property
    with a capital P, blessed by the sacred legal covenants of ownership and the unborn
    spirit of Ayn Rand.

    The impassioned protests of the folks (call them the “liberals”) who said this
    living capital could not be (and could never have been) legitimately owned,
    on equally sacred moral grounds having to do with the intrinsic rights of human beings,
    would have been seen as a dire threat by the slave owners. Fightin’ words, indeed.

    And emancipation at gun- (or cannon-) point was certainly government expropriation.
    (Justified, IMO, as much as it cost in blood. Didn’t Lincoln say something
    about “every drop of blood shed with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with
    the sword”?)

    I’m not even going to address the rest of the stupid shit you wrote.
    It’s not worth the effort.

    No doubt I’ve unwarily stuck my foot in the middle of some long-running feud between
    two regular commenters here. ;->

  34. James Fehlinger says

    Didn’t Lincoln say. . .

    You know, I have a friend, who’s now in his mid-80s, who told me
    some years ago that when he was a young man (which would have been,
    presumably, in the fifties), it was still considered
    good manners, when travelling in the South, to always tender a
    five-dollar bill with Lincoln’s picture facing downward.
    ;->

  35. Walter Solomon says

    The impassioned protests of the folks (call them the “liberals”) who said this
    living capital could not be (and could never have been) legitimately owned,
    on equally sacred moral grounds having to do with the intrinsic rights of human beings,
    would have been seen as a dire threat by the slave owners. Fightin’ words, indeed.

    And how much power did the abolitionists have exactly? How many of them were in Congress?

    Lincoln certainly wasn’t running on abolitionism. We do know that slave-owners wanted to expand westward and freesoilers, who weren’t exactly anti-racists by any means, wanted to prevent slavery from expanding.

    The Southerners, who were supposedly for “states rights,” threw that out the window with the Fugitive Slave Act. Even free states were forced to hunt down and return slaves to their masters.

    Furthermore, it was the Southerners who fired on Ft. Sumter. They started the war. Comparing any of this to gun control or confiscation is beyond stupid.

  36. Walter Solomon says

    Surely, the existence of enthusiastic abolitionists
    in the North, and the existence of something like the Underground Railroad,
    and the willingness of some folks to assist and harbor runaway slaves, was
    seen by Southern plantation owners and slaveholders as nothing short of
    expropriation.

    I forgot to add — who gives a shit what they saw it as? Their perceptions aren’t truth. The person I was replying to said the “liberals” tried to take their slaves which, generally, wasn’t the case.

    If you want to compare this to the gun issue, that statement would be the equivalent of a gun owner saying any attempt at gun control is an attempt to “take my guns.” Obviously that’s nonsense.

  37. F.O. says

    @gnokgnoh #31, @flex #32

    Thank you, I wanted the perspective of someone actually living in the US.
    I more or less agree with your assessments.

  38. James Fehlinger says

    [I]t was the Southerners who fired on Ft. Sumter. They started the war.

    Well, you know what they say about causes. There’s proximate ones,
    and there’s ultimate ones. The former are usually more-or-less
    trivial to identify; the latter not so much.

  39. Walter Solomon says

    Well, you know what they say about causes. There’s proximate ones,
    and there’s ultimate ones. The former are usually more-or-less
    trivial to identify; the latter not so much.

    That’s the first time I’ve heard that adage actually.

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