Warning: Constitution!

Disclaimer said:

This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work.

I don't even know where to begin with this, it's just so stupid wrong on so many levels it's infuriating. A&D Publishing includes that disclaimer on the inside cover of a book they're selling which contains a copy of the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Federalist Papers, and Common Sense. The founding documents of our country of all things. As if history should carry a disclaimer.

This is yet another example of political correctness run amok and it's about time this crap be stopped. I don't have any problem at all with people actually discussing the issues the disclaimer raises, I have an issue with the disclaimer itself. How long is it going to be before we start making everyone spit out disclaimers before saying or writing anything? People need to start waking up and standing against this sort of thing before we really do become what Orwell predicted.

Fortunately I am not alone in this opinion as a quick look through the Amazon.com reviews for it shows that a whole lot of people are mad about this and have left negative reviews behind directed at the publisher. Some going so far as to call for a boycott against their products. Sounds good to me, that's the only way these bozos will ever wake up.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Jun 9, 2010 8:35 pm by Samson in: | 37 comment(s) [Closed]
The following words are strictly my own opinion and not based upon established facts and thus may be construed as offensive to some, please do not proceed to read this statement if this may cause you undue stress: Ok, with my Orwellian personal disclaimer out of the way, I agree too, that's utterly insane. The very reason these documents are revered is because of their timeless nature and amazingly insightful directives towards a world the original authors couldn't have dreamt of. I'm all for a boycott of this publisher based on this ridiculous disclaimer too. American parents should already be aware of the general content of these documents before showing them to their kids to start with so that they can answer questions the kids are bound to come up with regardless of any silly disclaimer. Political correctness is bullshit anyway, but to call a need for PC about the documents that founded our nation and are still in use today as determinative as to whether any new law is valid is absurd beyond even imaginative claims.

Two points:

I think a good history education ought to include a discussion of the values that the people of that era held dear and how they compare to the values of today, and how our values today might or might not reflect or be direct descendants of the values of other historical eras.

I also think this disclaimer is dumb, because it makes it sound like the values of other eras are dangerous and a child must be innoculated against them - it's the "before reading" that gets me. You should discuss these things with a child, I think, while they're reading or just after they've read - let them come up with their own questions and draw their attention to insights or problems they may have missed or understand at some level but can't articulate.

I'm also curious because you didn't link to it - what's the actual textbook under discussion?

I do, however, call shenanigans on the "Orwellian!" description. This is far too plain to be Orwellian. It says exactly what it's about. Nothing Orwellian would ever do it. This is just overly PC and litigation-shy.

I agree, a good education should include such a discussion, but not at publisher's demand and not because reading such outdated materials might introduce dangerous ideas to our children. (Though many of the ideas contained in these documents actually were extremely dangerous ideas to be espousing at the time.)

Hmm, good point. Samson, you didn't give us a link to the book or it's actual published title. :(

Oh come on, the Orwellian notion was the fun part. ;)
No, it's not really Orwellian since it doesn't involve enforcement of said disclaimer or any such. In this case it really is a matter of taking PC a few steps too far. The litigation shy aspect may yet change once some lawyers get their teeth into this one, but so far it stands too.

I don't like the implication that the new values are better.

I think it should read:

"This book is a product of its time and reflects values which have been lost today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on religion, economic class, and personal responsibility have changed since this book was written before forcing them to read this classic work."

In a more serious vein, there are some contextual assumptions that should be understood, I think. Jefferson really was bugged by the "Divine Right of Kings", something pretty much lost on a contemporary American reader. "All men are created equal", while often quoted by civil rights fans to raise people up was really intended to bring the King down. And, "one nation, under God" has a similar meaning - i.e., there's no King as an intermediary.

Then there's the issue of what was meant by "the pursuit of happiness", given the major crop of Mount Vernon was marijuana. ;)

Oh, and don't forget the "right to bear arms". Seems to me any legislation that attempts to prevent the overthrow of the U.S. government is unconstitutional.

Mount Vernon's major crop was marijuana? That's a new one for me, when you take the tour there that's not what they tell you...


Google has several hits, the truthfulness of which isn't entirely known, but it makes sense. Marijuana wasn't grown for smoking back then, it was grown for use as hemp. It wasn't his primary crop though, most hits indicate his primary crop was wheat, and tobacco before that.

Edited by Samson on Jun 20, 2010 6:29 pm
That's what they say on the tour, sans the mention of hemp... :lol:

Hemp is an amazing fiber and if it was not for special interest groups and the so called drug type of marijuana, we would still be using hemp, which is far superior to cotton in many respects and the plant is far more versatile and has less of an environmental impact.

Indeed, and we probably wouldn't have needed to synthesize nylon either since hemp is actually stronger.

I've been a proponent of legalizing marijuana for many years, I just had no idea that George Washington maintained it as a primary crop despite having been to Mount Vernon several times and having studied him and our other founding fathers in grade school. Somehow that was a minor detail they always managed to overlook in classes. ;)

I wish I could remember where I stumbled on that fun factoid.

I'm sure it was a site similar to this one:
The Oatmeal

How very odd that the comment by Sandi above didn't make it to the recent comments list. I only knew it was here because it did show up in the RSS feed... :huh:

Sandi, interesting site. It looks likely to be rather amusing, but I didn't see anywhere on the site that indicated the owner/operator has in any way verified his factoids. :(

That's because Akismet flagged it and I had to tell it it was wrong and by that time we'd pushed plenty of other comments back to the top :)

Hey Samson, i would like to see you do a piece on Obama's broken election promises in regards to human rights and civil liberties. It would seem of late, that he has taken the Bush way of doing things and turned it up to 11, going back on many of the things that swayed my view towards him, like protections for whistle-blowers, it would seem there is no protection coming for Julian Assange, founder of wikileaks, for his roll in outing the US military for murdering unarmed civilians and reporters in Iraq. You know, the last thing that i would have ever thought that the Obama administration would be more draconian than the Bush one, but, slowly and surely it is becoming just that.

Jon Stewart on Obama and Civil Liberties.

Well, I dunno how much more of a piece you want, one episode of Glenn Beck would do far more than anything I could possibly come up with here.

I'll have to stop you though on the clever attempt to equate Obama's real and substantial assault on civil liberties to the lies the left wing media spread about Bush. Nobody was ever able to come up with any evidence of it in the entire 8 years he was in office, or the 2 since he left.

As far as Julian Assange, he should be arrested and tried for espionage. If the Obama administration is actually going after him for that, that's one thing I'll gladly back them on.

Oh, that explains it then. Glad I had the RSS feed watched... if a bit too many times...:lol:

Fury, if you really want a caustic view of Obama, subscribe to Floyd Brown's campaign to Impeach Obama. ;)

I'm not entirely sure where my own position lies with regard to wikileaks, partially because I really haven't bothered to keep that up to date on his exploits. On the one hand, it's not really a bad thing for someone to have a whistle blower site for the sake of freedom of speech and so forth, but perhaps some things shouldn't be getting released regarding current actions in the war zone during time of war, especially when they disparage our military who's out there trying to fight our declared enemy who happens to like to hide behind seemingly innocent civilians. The fact that Mr. Assange has had to go into hiding repeatedly from multiple governments and has, fairly recently, had his passport confiscated by your own government seems to me to indicate that there are multiple countries out there who think he's very much in the wrong. Could they all be conspiring together to cover up what he's trying to expose? Sure, it probably wouldn't even be the first time for any of them and might not even be about the most crucial of the things they've conspired to keep from the public. Could they just as easily simply all be right? Again, sure, they very well could be.

but perhaps some things shouldn't be getting released regarding current actions in the war zone during time of war,

Maybe, they should, maybe, being transparent is a much better option that burying it and giving your enemy more reason to hate you. I saw an current affairs article on the leaked film, and its plainly obvious that the people in charge of the helicopter fucked up and it wrong, and if it was me and that it was i saw i would have thought they were carrying guns too and not cameras. Making a mistake and admitting it afterward and compensating the victims would be the human and American thing to do, pretending that it never happened and trying to bury it is an admittance of guilt and ultimately that is what everyone is upset about. Weather we like to admit it or not, the US military is made up of humans and as such will make mistakes, but to an outsider like myself, it seems that the culture of the US military is that they are somehow beyond human and making mistakes.

Fury, if you really want a caustic view of Obama

Well im not really after that, but there are things that i am seeing from the Obama administration that i am not liking, and this is just one of them. And besides, it would be nice to discuss obama policies with you guys and be in agreement for a change ;)

Edited by The_Fury on Jun 23, 2010 1:52 am
Since we've now stepped on things I care about, I shall weigh in.

Re: civil liberties - Unformed opinion as yet. My best analysis tells me this is an issue that's much deeper than any one president or any one year in office, but we'll see.

Re: Wikileaks - The short answer is, let Assange burn.

The longer answer is, there's a place for responsible whistle-blowing in our government and culture, and it seems to me that the more I see of Wikileaks, the more I see them as NOT being responsible, hinging primarily around the so-called Collateral Murder video and the conduct of SPC Bradley Manning, the alledged leaker.

As far as Manning goes, his actions appear to me to be unresponsible and unethical in the truest sense of the term, not just to the Army and the government, but in totality - the helicopter footage is perhaps one thing, although I disagree and will get to it in a moment, but the leaking of however many hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables, most of which he presumably did not read? How is that responsible? Moreover, it doesn't appear to me that Manning had any sense of the consequences involved, ie, getting arrested.

Now, say what you will about a guy like Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers leak, but at the very least Ellsberg went about it in a proper fashion. Leaked to a responsible news organization, more on that in a sec, and leaked with the full knowledge that the hammer was going to come down on him. I can pretty much respect that.

Secondly, as regards the conduct of Wikileaks in the Collateral Murder video affair, I find them to be poor stewards of the information. I've seen that video numerous times, and am highly uncomfortable with the editorializing and editing done by Wikileaks to the footage, turning it into propaganda and not an unbiased record. I'd contrast that to the NYT, which as far as I understand more or less just ran the Pentagon Papers and let them speak for themselves.

In addition, it does not seem to me, after repeated viewings and the reading of several informed commentaries by people who I can presume know what they're talking about (read: military officers and scholars versus journalists), that the so-called Collateral Murder video describes what Wikileaks wants us to believe, especially in the first part before the destruction of the van. The small arms are perhaps one thing, the presence of RPG tubes, the nearby raging firefight, and the furtive conduct of the subjects in the video quite another. I can't really find fault with the pilots for that bit. The bit with the van is perhaps different, and it's been long enough that my reading on the specific ROE and situation are a bit fuzzy, but again, inclined to give benefit of the doubt to the pilots.

Edit: On that further military note, how about that McChrystal thing, eh?

Edited by Dwip on Jun 23, 2010 2:54 pm
inclined to give benefit of the doubt to the pilots.

So am I, being in a situation where someone could potentially kill you can do strange things to people, i could not tell if they were cameras or guns, which is why i ask, by bury it, why not admit that you got it wrong and move on from it. To my mind, the only person who does not admit wrong is a guilty one.

Edit: On that further military note, how about that McChrystal thing, eh?

Actually this shocked me, not for what he said, but that Obama went so nuts over it and forced his resignation. For me this is just another example of Obama being totally out of touch with his election platform and wanting to bring credibility back to the White House. It would seem that to question Obama and his AUTHORITAH is something you do at your own risk.

On Wikileaks: I think that this serves its place, especially when the main stream media is unlikely to say anything really bad against Obama, and their access to the white house would be in stripped from them, thus effecting their bottom lines for doing something as grand as the Pentagon Papers today. The white house would squash things like this from appearing in the main stream so fast no one would see it. The one thing wiki leaks guarantees is absolute anonymity, and that is what governments really hate about it and Assange.

There would be no place for something like Wikileaks if whistle blowers had true protection under the law as they should, and if governments were not hell bent on covering up their fuckups all the time, if they were honest, there would be no need for all of this.

Edited by The_Fury on Jun 23, 2010 4:53 pm
1. Heard all sorts of explanations for that, one of which is a culture of document secretization within the US military/government for things that ought not or don't have need to be secret. Which I can get behind to an extent. Just not via Wikileaks.

There was also a debate about trying to snag the pilots for war crimes, which is not something I can get behind, and was part of why I said what I said.

2. As far as this goes, the oft-quoted statuate is:

UCMJ Article 88 said:

Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

Which if you listen to the American media/military, there's not really a lot of debate that what McChrystal said falls under or perilously close to this article. It also violates a very long and sacred tradition in this country of civil supremacy over the military and military respect for civil authority, and one of the things inherent in that is that if you are a serving officer, you just don't dis the President. Obama, whatever he may have thought of McChrystal, and the evidence is that he thought pretty highly of him, really had very little to no choice as to whether or not McChrystal got fired. In the interests of upholding civil supremacy, he had to do what he did, or something very close to it. It's not really about Obama at all, but the institutions.

Edit: Oh, and another thing - all issues of institutional primacy aside, it shows astonishingly poor judgement to A, give a reporter that kind of access to you; B, get completely hammered in the presence of said reporter; C, say any of the things that were said; D, do so to Rolling freaking Stone of all places. Not, shall we say, a particularly media savvy moment for McChrystal.

Edited by Dwip on Jun 23, 2010 5:09 pm
On McChrystal, I honestly think the guy got the shaft. I haven't read the Rolling Stone article, but there's plenty of analysts who have that say there wasn't anything in the article that approached the level required to violate Article 88. In my mind this runs dangerously close to punishing someone for exercising their right to free speech in criticizing the government. Being military does not relieve you of that right.

In fact, one might argue that McChrystal had a duty to make his criticism known since it appeared at the time that the President was not listening to him. Perhaps McChrystal knew what it would ultimately cost him, but I think he's going to step away from this whole thing knowing he did right by the people he's actually serving to protect.

I am happy to see that they picked Petraeus to succeed him though. Perhaps some small acknowledgment that Obama knows he needs competent military commanders in place, and nobody can really argue with the architect of the wildly successful Iraq surge.

I've already said my piece on Assange and wikileaks. You just don't go around splattering classified information like that and expect to walk around a free man.

No, the military is comprised of humans and does make mistakes, but we need strong support at home for the military during time of war not negative propaganda. In every military action there are a few who take their jobs beyond what they should and use them as an excuse to commit actions which are wholly unauthorized and unsanctioned and, in some cases atrocious and, in the end, they're usually appropriately punished. Things like that shouldn't be used as weapons of propaganda against our own fighting forces during the official war though. Aside from that, what Dwip and Samson said, there's a distinction to be made for responsible whistle-blowing and there are consequences to disclosure of classified materials. When I was in the military I saw classified materials that were highly questionable, and as an act of responsibility, I brought them to the attention of my chain of command and an officer above me was punished for his involvement in the matter, but I'd never have considered bringing those materials to the public instead.

The_Fury said:

it would be nice to discuss obama policies with you guys and be in agreement for a change

It would be a nice change of pace indeed to have you finally understanding our position from a perspective of clarity. I can't say that I'd consider it having won anything though to have gained you to our side of the debate, the win will only come when Obama is no longer in office. Even then, it will take years to repair the damages wrought by him and his administration.

Again, really don't have enough interest to squander my otherwise tight bandwidth on wikileaks.

Dwip said:

On that further military note, how about that McChrystal thing, eh?

I also haven't read the Rolling Stones article myself yet, and I would agree that this clearly wasn't McChrystal's most shining media moment, but like Samson, I think he got shafted. He was proclaimed as the best general we've had in Afghanistan, it seems crazy to demand his resignation over an exercise of free speech this way. On the positive side, at least Obama (or his advisors?) had the sense to appoint Petraeus as his replacement. I also agree that no one seems to be saying that what he said actually fell under the auspices of Article 88, if it had they wouldn't have asked for his resignation at the White House today but instead would have sent him to a court martial. Since they did not, one is left without choice but to accept that this was not a matter of National Security as Obama has claimed but a matter of Obama's hurt personal pride.

You just don't go around splattering classified information like that and expect to walk around a free man.

So how is one meant to leak classified information that is in the public interest to have known and not shuffled under the carpet, IE Abugarde prison, Gunatanimo Bay prison or a mistake being made and innocent civilians and media being killed? You yourself have said many times that the main stream media is a puppet mouth piece for the Obama administration, so where is one meant to turn when you feel so compelled about what you see being swept under the carpet?

See, i am happy to know that someone made a mistake, i am not happy when they claim nothing ever happened. For the most part in Afghanistan, when a mistake is made and a civilian gets killed, they give the next of kin a few goats and a wad of cash, which is customary to do and everyone is happy for the most part, if not greif stricken for the loss of a loved one.

Mistaking a camera for a gun at 500m above the ground and killing 20 people is not a war crime, but pretending that you never killed those people is IMO. The whole thing just reeks us US arrogance, and it is this arrogance that only the USA matters is what fuels the terror organizations.

Edited by The_Fury on Jun 23, 2010 7:05 pm
One is not meant to leak classified information, period. There's a reason it's classified.

I thought the Abu Ghraib incident was overblown. Definitely isolated to a few numbskulls. The public didn't need to know about it in any case as leaking the info wasn't being done for our good, it was being done with the sole purpose of making Bush look bad.

Guantanamo Bay is like a fucking country club compared to most prisons we keep people in. There's never been any proof that anyone was tortured there despite media having regular access to the site. And they did, don't let the leftist media here fool you otherwise.

War is hell. Mistakes will be made. Innocent civilians will be killed. All of this gets sorted out through the proper systems. The general public has no real need to know about it unless it's an actual atrocity. By atrocity I don't mean undies on a prisoner's head. I mean something rising to the level of massacring an entire city full of unarmed civilians.

What fuels the terrorists isn't US arrogance. It's religious fanaticism in the name of Allah. You can dispute this all you want, but when they go blow themselves up in the name of their god with the belief that they die a martyr and get 72 virgins in heaven, that's crazy.

The general public has no real need to know

What about the families of the victims, do they deserve to know why and how their loved ones came to be killed? What about the mothers of American soldiers killed in Iraq, do they deserve to know how their sons died? and is there any real difference between either party and should they be treated any differently?

One major aspect of this war on terror has been that of the moral high ground, that, not matter what, civilians should never be the target of military action. There is no difference at all between 5000 people in the twin towers and those 20 in an Iraq street, all were innocent and none deserved to die. And if we are going to take a morally superior position to that of our enemy, then, we owe it to the families of civilians accidentally killed to be open and upfront about it. If we are not, we are no different to our enemy and have become baseless animals, who will anyone and everything in the name of our religion or whatever our motives are.

Edited by The_Fury on Jun 23, 2010 8:22 pm
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