The discussion over Guantanamo has been loud and heated over the decade and more of its existence, but I will note two small things I think give away a lot. First, the prisoners were put at Guantanamo largely so as to avoid the legal oversight of the US justice system and keep those prisoners outside of the law. Second, those prisoners at Guantanamo were tortured but the United States could not call it that for a long time, instead cloaking the torture in euphemisms.
If you look closely at the photographs, you will see that what looks like the front of the Supreme Court building is, in fact, a giant facade…
January 10, 2013, 5:50 pm
So, everyone (that I’ve seen, at least) seems to be assuming that, should the GOP hold the debt ceiling hostage and Obama responds with some form of
That the Republicans will cave in, raise the debt limit, and things will go on as before.
What if they don’t?
What if they simply say “Okay, you want to run things that way, go ahead.” So, they keep passing continuing resolutions (since actual budgets have been beyond the House for a few years), and leave it to Obama to figure out how to circumvent the debt ceiling for that particular bit of spending. Another coin? More 14th amendment invocation? More IOUs?
The Republicans get to hammer the President for continually violating their fiscal prudence, a lovely message going into the 2014 midterms which, after all, are on what most members of the House focus.
Eventually–as with the
January 9, 2013, 7:00 pm
An obscure law aimed at coin collectors is now all the rage in DC. It allows the Treasury to make a platinum coin in any denomination it wants, thus giving President Obama a possible, if somewhat sketchy, way around the GOP’s debt-ceiling hostage taking (“We passed a law requiring you to spend the money, now we’re going to make it legally impossible for you to actually do so! Haha! Impeachable offense no matter what!”) See here and here for some details.
That is NOT the topic of this post.
The topic instead is a tweet sent out by the National Republican Congressional Committee about the platinum coin: “The amount of platinum needed to mint a coin worth $1 trillion would sink the Titanic” along with the picture to the right.
We will ignore for a moment the complete ignorance of the concept of “fiat currency,” which suggests that the GOP last took an economics course in the…
January 5, 2013, 1:06 am
(It’s the month for guest posts! I haven’t seen either movie, so Patrick Rael, Associate Professor of History at Bowdoin College, weighs in about Django Unchained and Lincoln).
It’s hard to imagine two films set around the Civil War that differ more than Steven Spielberg’s historical biopic Lincoln and Quentin Tarantino’s blaxploitation western Django Unchained. In the broadest sense, of course, both concern the fight against the institution of American slavery. Django Unchained personalizes the struggle through a revenge-soaked bloodfest, in which an evil slaveowner receives his just comeuppance at the hands of an exceptional former slave seeking to reunite with his bound wife. In Lincoln, resistance to slavery occurs at the highest levels of government, as a great president struggles to secure slavery’s final end before his inevitable martyrdom.
December 30, 2012, 2:26 am
World War I is the war of poetry and literature. Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, Siegfried Sassoon, and Robert Graves are all laureates of that war, official or not. But other wars bring their own visions, as Roy Fisher demonstrates for World War II in his “The Entertainment of War:”
A mile away in the night I had heard the bombs
Sing and then burst themselves between cramped houses
With bright soft flashes and sounds like banging doors;
The last of them crushed the four bodies into the ground,
Scattered the shelter, and blasted my uncle’s corpse
Over the housetop and into the street beyond.
Death is always meaningful to those dying, Fisher thinks, but sometimes not to anyone else:
These were marginal people I had met only rarely
And the end of the whole household meant that no grief was seen;
Never have people seemed so absent from their own deaths.
Fisher “realized a little…
December 21, 2012, 10:03 pm
(Margaret Sankey, a military history colleague of mine who specializes in the 18th century, made a lovely point yesterday about the effect of musket technology on community and so I immediately thought “Guest post!” Here it is).
The muzzle-loader in my hands was really heavy, and I was fumbling with the percussion cap as the sergeant bellowed out drill commands. I completed the step and looked left and right quickly, to see if I had kept up with the colleagues on either side of me, and was relieved to be right with them. After what seemed like interminable tries, no one had dropped caps in the grass, or lagged too far behind, or gotten flustered. We were ready. We were ready.
I’m very familiar with guns. The bolt-action rifle I use for target shooting pushes me…