“This shutdown is not the result of the two parties acting equally irresponsibly. It is the product of an increasingly radicalized Republican Party, controlled by a deeply disaffected base that demands legislative hostage-taking in an effort to get what it has not been able to attain through the electoral process or the judiciary.
Republicans in the House are making demands that are both preposterous and largely unrelated to budgetary matters. In return for keeping government running (and, even more ominously, for paying its bills), they want President Obama to undermine the health care law that he ran on in 2008 and 2012, and now considers his signature domestic accomplishment.
No president of either party could accept that kind of badgering. No president should, as it would set a terrible precedent.”—USA Today's editorial board, on the “shutdown party” and where Americans should place the blame for the federal government shutdown. When the fence sitters at USA Today take a side AND sound reasonable, y’all know you did something wrong. (via cognitivedissonance)
Madison’s bill of rights was a hodgepodge slapped together hastily to try to conciliate former opponents of the newly ratified federal Constitution. This was a typical case of damage control by a reluctant politician trying to head off a more radical alternative by enacting a watered-down substitute. Madison would have been proud to be remembered as “the Father of the Constitution.” But he would have been appalled to be told that without his Bill of Rights the U.S. would be a tyranny. That was the rhetoric of the Anti-Federalists whom he reluctantly sought to appease.
History has vindicated the skepticism about bills of rights shared by Hamilton and Madison and a majority of the drafters and ratifiers of the U.S. Constitution. Mere paper guarantees of rights have never been enough to secure liberty, in periods when the public is panicked — think of Lincoln’s excessive suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, or FDR’s wartime internment of Japanese-Americans. And the American system of checks and balances has repeatedly, if belatedly, worked to check imbalances of power, as it did when Congress reined in “the imperial presidency” in the 1970s.
In the contemporary debate about civil liberties and government surveillance, absolutist civil libertarians routinely claim that “the Founders” viewed the Bill of Rights as essential to American liberty. But paranoid rhetoric about our allegedly tyrannical government is closer to the rhetoric of the Anti-Federalists who denounced the U.S. Constitution than to the thinking of the Constitution’s drafters, ratifiers and supporters. The real Founders thought little of lists of abstract rights, putting their faith instead in checks and balances and accountability through elections. In the spirit of the real Founders, we should be debating what kind of system of congressional and judicial oversight of executive intelligence activity can best balance individual liberty with national security — and we should leave anti-government paranoia to today’s Anti-Federalists.
It’s likely that you’ve already heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: a psychological theory from 1943 proposed by Abraham Maslow, which describes the pattern that human motivation generally moves through. And although Maslow didn’t visualise his theory, it is now nearly always explained…
“Could a machine do something that human soldiers throughout the centuries have rarely done, but sometimes do to very important effect — to refuse to follow orders? I’m convinced that, if these weapons are developed, they’re not just going to be deployed by the United States and Sweden, they’re going to be deployed by dictatorships. They’re going to be deployed by countries that primarily see them as a way of controlling domestic unrest and domestic opposition. I imagine a future Bashar Assad with an army of fully autonomous weapons thirty years from now, fifty years from now. We’ve seen in history that one limit on the ability of unscrupulous leaders to do terrible things to their people and to others is that human soldiers, their human enforcers, have certain limits. There are moments when they say no. And those are moments when those regimes fall. Robotic soldiers would never say no. And I’d like us not to go there.”—Tom Malinowski (via azspot)