Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The last sensible politician

"If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve."

Or words to that effect, though not so well chosen.

BBC, voice of the Establishment

Humanizing the illegals.

On a hill, in sight of Europe

Your government got us into this


OK, for 60 years the reason Europe was our problem was Communism.

And now?

If those jackasses want another European war, why do we have to be involved?

Because the kinds of people who run our politics want us always to be the most important player, no matter what the game, no matter where in the world.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eisenhower and Brown v. Board of Education

IKE dragged his feet on any effort at enforcement not because he thought Brown wrongly decided - as it was, both by claiming the constitution forbade compulsory segregation and by claiming it required compulsory integration - but because his sympathies were with the people who wanted segregation to continue.

He gets more credit than he deserves as an anti-segregationist, say, from the likes of Ann Coulter.  

Newton thinks segregation a terrible moral injustice America had a duty to end.

He thinks Brown a dazzling moral victory.

But then, who today could write otherwise in a mainstream history and expect to keep his job?

Of course, if you wrote otherwise, yours could never be accepted as a mainstream history. 

And no mainstream publisher would touch it.

Reading Eisenhower, The White House Years.

Making excuses for Eisenhower

In Eisenhower, The White House Years, Jim Newton briefly narrates the America-engineered coup in Guatemala of 1954, to get rid of President Arbenz.

The story as he tells it, particularly the highlights concerning the interest in the matter of United Fruit and that company's influence in the US government, is a disgrace to America and especially to Eisenhower and the Cold Warriors he had surrounded himself with.

All the more reason to reject the Cold War, altogether.

All the same, Newton makes excuses for him.

Surprisingly.

In truth, the only two important decisions IKE made about the Cold War for which we ought to be relieved, if not grateful, that I know of, were the decisions not to rescue the French at Dien Bien Phu and not to commit the US to continental war with China in the event that the Chinese helped Ho Chi Minh and other Communists overrun Southeast Asia.

Update.

No, there were others every time he refused the repeated urgings of the Joint Chiefs to go to war, apparently often with China, just in his first term.

Another update.

So Eisenhower took out Arbenz and Mossadegh, neither of them a communist and neither aligned with the Russians but left unmolested Castro, both a communist and aligned with the Russians.

Sure signs of a great president and unsurpassed Cold War leader.

Eventually, other Cold War leaders would have us fighting a desperate 10 years war against communism half a world away in Southeast Asia - the very war Eisenhower had rejected - while refusing to do so 90 miles offshore.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Why do men marry bipolar women?

Catherine and Michael, for instance.

I know several such couples.

Always sheer hell on the men, and the children run away from mom just as soon as they can.

Is this to go on forever?

When will Europe be free?

Nazi memorabilia auction cancelled

Liberalism. My last word on Newton's view of the law, maybe.

Reading Eisenhower, The White House Years.

Newton is a great admirer of those who decide cases liberally based on hokum and bombast.

He quotes with admiration Robert Jackson's majority opinion in a 1943 decision upholding the right of Jehovah's Witnesses to refuse to salute the flag in school.

You might wonder why this was anybody's idea of a federal issue, at all.

But never mind.

Newton quotes Jackson.

The first sentence is false as history, the concern for limiting the power of popular majorities being an issue for the men of the Philadelphia convention.

The Bill of Rights was adopted against Madison's urging after the constitution was ratified, and the point was to limit the power of the federal government.

Too, the power of judicial review to which the sentence alludes is in fact not granted in the constitution, and was not even asserted to exist until 1803, when it was immediately and correctly denied, though many might argue not ultimately opportunely, by Jefferson and a great many others.

File that in the drawer marked "Whoppers" in the cabinet of constitutional lacunae.

The very purpose of the Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. . . . 

The second sentence apparently alludes to an inflated understanding of the First Amendment, conflating a questionable assessment of the effects of the amendment with the amendment itself.

And then again it, as well as the first sentence, also supposes that the same amendment binds the states and not, as the amendment says, the federal congress.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.

This is how liberals write when they decide to claim that the constitution forbids or requires something, though they can find nothing in the constitution that actually does so.

Too, Newton was (of course!) a great admirer of Hugo Black's insistence again and again in his opinions that the privileges or immunities clause of the 14th Amendment "incorporates" the Bill of Rights and means that state law can no more violate its constraints on government than can federal law.

The clause, cut and pasted from the privileges and immunities clause of Article IV, itself cut and pasted from the Articles of Confederation where it had a reasonably clear meaning and real significance, reads as follows in the 14th Amendment.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States

This is how it looks in the US constitution's Article IV, already commonly misread.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

And this is how it originally looked in the Articles of Confederation, Article IV.

The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions, and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State, of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the United States, or either of them.

In sum, as its context within the entire article substantiates, and with the noted exceptions, if you are a "free inhabitant" of state A passing through or sojourning in state B you shall have the privileges and immunities under the law of state B that belong to "free citizens" of state B.

You cannot be denied them, exceptions noted.

The meaning is the same in Article IV of the constitution.

Black's view of the clause in the 14th Amendment is today CATO's position and the position of many liberals, though that opinion and the entire notion of incorporation continue to be rejected by those who do not accept that this one amendment so radically altered, or was meant or even imagined to so radically alter, the character of the constitution and the union.

And there is no clear evidence that the originator, those who passed it in Congress, or those who ratified it in the states ever intended by it to make so great a constitutional revolution as to impose the huge, radical, and novel limitation on state power that would be entailed by forcing state law to comport with the restrictions imposed on the federal government by the Bill of Rights.

And that is really the point.

To read the clause as CATO wishes is to accept that it created very radical and new privileges and immunities for citizens of the United States, privileges and immunities that did not exist beforehand, for example, privileges or immunities from state laws establishing religion or abridging the freedom of the press, or state laws denying jury trials for state offenses.

And yet from its very wording we see the clause allegedly is concerned to protect citizens from abridgment of existing privileges or immunities.

Anyway, the earliest judicial interpreters rejected the view Black espoused and CATO now espouses, alongside numerous liberals.

If CATO is really right about what was meant by that clause you would expect a lot of people would have been howling about it, right then, leaving no doubt the court was full of beans.

As for me, I see the thing as basically gibberish, passed by group-think under the pressures of the Reconstruction Era, in keeping with the traditional, urgent political syllogism,

Something must be done.
This is something.
This must be done.

And were the civil war amendments actually adopted and ratified lawfully, in accord with Article V, fairly interpreted?

Update, for the record and in aid of understanding the significance of the Bill of Rights, here is what the federal congress sent to the states.

Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The above ten amendments were ratified December 15, 1791.

Update 2.

This is Section 1 of the 14th Amendment.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. 

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Since its passage and especially since about mid-20th Century and ever increasingly, the Supreme Court has erected upon the three clauses of its second sentence an awesome dictatorship over the states, with much spillover onto the federal government, entirely owing to astonishing fairy tales about their meaning.

The Congress has often followed the trail blazed by the courts.

The due process clause repeats that of the Fifth Amendment and insists upon the lawfulness of the most crucial exercises of fundamental executive power.

The equal protection clause was imposed to deal with the refusal of white-dominated state governments to afford the protection of the law, the literal protection of the law, to blacks against waves of terrorism and crime in which those governments, or officials of them, were often personally complicit.

It is about prosecuting and punishing crimes against blacks - against anyone - with the same rigor as those against whites - or other, and that is all it is about.

As to privileges or immunities, enough said, above.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

IKE, Warren, and civil rights

Newton is an adherent of the liberal line on the 14th Amendment and equal protection.

Well, why not?

Even Plessy was halfway there.

Even Plessy, though rightly decided, was wrongly reasoned.

The equal protection clause is about the protection of the law against attacks on one's person or property.

The law and law enforcement in the states must protect all equally with others, regardless of race, etc.

It was written with an eye toward the white terrorism directed against blacks in the South in the immediate post-Civil War period that Southern states did little to prevent or prosecute, when they were not actually complicit.

And that has nothing to do with train service.

But that is not how even the Plessy court had seen it, and Newton finds fault with Fred Vinson that his Supreme Court did not decide that separate was per se unequal and so forbidden by the 14th.

An idea from which originates the myth of constitutionally mandatory integration.

Analogously, the due process guarantee means only that government cannot deprive anyone of life, liberty, or property except lawfully.

No small thing, this is the essential repudiation of executive absolutism.

But that is all it is.

IKE, the global Cold Warrior

Newton says he won the stalemate in Korea only by threatening Mao with nuclear war.

The threat was perfectly sincere.

Recall that the war happened in the first place only because Atchison publicly and clearly excluded Korea from the global perimeter within which America was pledged to contain communism.

And then Truman just freaked out in the event.

Though the charge was baseless, Churchill pushed IKE's anti-communist buttons to get him to depose Mossadegh and thus protect British oil interests in Iran, where Truman had refused his predecessor.

Nixon favored the move.

Newton reports IKE was delighted to do it.

To what extent did the Cold War happen because a lot of people found it a very compelling and exciting belief system?

Too much of America's leadership and permanent government came out of WW2 hooked on global crusade.

See the title of IKE's wartime memoirs.