Sunday, March 31, 2013

Movement conservatism, the southern strategy, and race


Movement conservatism has defended and even advocated white supremacy everywhere in the world, Apartheid in South Africa and segregation and Jim Crow here in America, since its very beginnings.

And that most definitely includes the conservatism of the National Review since its earliest days.

And it showed in the positions taken by Barry Goldwater in the 1960 book, Conscience of a Conservative, ghostwritten for him by Brent Bozell.

The conservatives were, by personal and very public conviction, already pre-formed for a southern strategy long before the presidency of Richard Nixon, a man who was never a conservative.

Nowadays they have abandoned all that and, reduced to nearly complete racial cowardice by the contemporary power of the anti-white racist opposition, they barely dare to oppose affirmative action, the entering wedge of a liberal regime of outright racial quotas.

Nowadays, no one dares to consistently oppose the endless racket of liberal and further left racist views on whites, on white history, on American history, on the age of European exploration, imperialism, and colonialism, and on contemporary race relations in America and throughout the world.

And that bodes ill, though the actual supporters and bearers of this radical, anti-white racism are not very numerous among conservatives, far from a majority among the general population, and do not quite dominate elites anywhere in Europe, the Americas, or even Oceania.

You might not have thought so, given the weakness of affirmative action in the law and in the courts, and the possibility that a conservative majority on the Supremes might even exploit liberal dishonesty about equal protection to knock it down.

But it is entrenched dogma among liberals and still a crucial preliminary step toward a regime of frank quotas, at first allowed and later to be commanded by an absurd reading of the Civil War Amendments.

False equivalence, says BooMan



But, no.

Opposing reasonable measures to discourage impersonation for fear of adverse impact on your own party is no more legitimate than opposing early or weekend voting for the same reason.

And this use of "legitimate" is pure hocus-pocus, pure bluff.

Favoring or opposing votes for felons for partisan reasons is equally deplorable on either side.

The reference to representative democracy, rather an oxymoron, is just huffing and puffing.

Why do they want us to be sorry? It’s about power and money.


It's really the same reason they will never have done with their accusations of racism, sexism, and so on.


Denise Oliver Velez makes it pretty clear.

But what if we are not sorry since we have no cause to be?

We might regret and deplore the enslavement of Africans much as we do slavery in the ancient world.

Or as little, come to that.

But there is no more reason for us or for our country, today, to apologize for the one than for the other, since we have and had as little to with the one as the other.

And no more reason to attempt or be required to make compensation or reparations.

Would Ms. Velez like to try to recover compensation or reparations from the descendants of those who profited by kidnapping and selling Africans into slavery in the New World, now living still in the lands of their ancestors?

The entire argument that current Americans in some distinctly morally unacceptable way have profited by slavery but nobody else has, possibly excepting the whites of the rest of the Americas, is just extortionate, resentful, racist baloney.

And as to that I did warn you morality is a fiction providing a weapon of psychological abuse and coercion, often presaging actual violence.

See the posts labeled "amoralism," especially the earlier ones.

The same objections and more apply to indigenista nonsense about the whites of the Americas and Oceania owing reparations based on the racist moral notions that these places were and even are the rightful possessions of "the indigenous peoples" as a whole, while all white arrivals and all of their descendants are and have always been guilty - in contrast to their wholly innocent "indigenous" victims - of wrongful invasion, conquest, and theft of these areas. as well as genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Hamilton for majority rule



Here is a tirade against the equality of votes of the states in the US congress created by the Articles of Confederation.

Hamilton views that rule as a tool of obstruction enabling seven states, seven being the smallest integer greater than half the then whole number of states, together representing less than a third of the people, to permanently obstruct efforts of those representing over two thirds of the population, in defiance of what he calls the essential feature of popular government, majority rule.

At the time various important matters required the consent of nine states.

But the inequality of population was such that a group of nine states could be formed, nine being the smallest integer not less than two thirds of the whole number of states, to carry any such great measure as they wished against the opposition of all the others, though the nine represented less than half the population of the country.

So this, too, gave grossly disproportionate power to the small states in blatant disregard of the majoritarian principle.

What must Hamilton have thought of the Great Compromise that preserved exactly that obstructive power for the small states?

What must he think of the surenchère of the modern senate whose rules effectively, though not directly, require sixty votes out of a hundred to pass nearly anything any senator finds he deplores?

As to the alleged power of the senate to impose such a rule of voting on itself, if it lies in the power to make its own rules it is there in invisible ink, since there is no text to say such an absurd power is included in that of rulemaking.

On the other hand, there is nothing anywhere that says the two houses of the legislature must vote only by majority rule on all things not otherwise specified in the constitution itself (various confirmation votes in the senate, etc.).

To claim the constitution requires by implication majority voting on everything on which it does not forbid it is a better invisible ink argument, but still an invisible ink argument.

The fact that the filibuster in its original form was invented by accident and played almost no role at all until the 20th Century does support the idea that everyone took it for granted voting in both houses would, with the given exceptions, always be by majority, including the framers, the ratifies, the people at large, and certainly Hamilton in Federalist 22.

And while we are on the topic, is the president of the US the master of his own cabinet?

He cannot hire them at will, they cannot be fired and resign with the end of the presidential term only by helpful custom, and the constitution sees a need to say outright the president can ask them to tell him what’s going on in their departments.

By implication, they are the masters of their departments and he is so far from their master that he may not have the least idea what they and their departments are up to.

He may have to ask meekly that they tell him, something he is enabled to do only by express provision.

And they are required to reply only by implication.

More invisible ink, that is to say.

Is the president truly the boss of the executive branch?

Some boss.

Update 4/1.

There is a letter from Madison to Washington written before the convention at Philadelphia in which he deplores various features of the government set up by the Articles of Confederation, especially including the extravagant power given the small states by their equal suffrage in the congress.

In that regard, the Great Compromise ensured the new constitution would not be much better.

He also deplores that nothing in the Articles prevents the madness of paper currency and fully intends the new constitution to do that.

On that one he actually succeeded.

Oh, please bring back that constitution from its exile!

Just kidding, of course.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Nullification? Judicial Review?



The supremacy clause goes no distance to contradicting an alleged state power to nullify federal laws that violate the constitution.

Neither does anything in Article III, ignoring the invisible ink.

On the other hand, the assertion of such a power has no shred of text in its favor.

Nor is there, according to Wikipedia, any record of such a thing being asserted as constitutional either in Philadelphia or in the state ratifying conventions.

The appeal to the 10th Amendment is pure bluff.

As for the power of judicial review of federal law by the Supremes, a power some conventioneers assumed was being granted is not necessarily a power that was in fact granted.

Not even though the same view was put forward by many at state ratifying conventions.

It is certainly not unheard of for supporters of a bill, law, or other measure to be simply wrong about what is in it - or, for that matter, what is not in it.

Why assume those favoring (or opposing!) the constitution were immune to such error?

Why go to the even more absurd extreme of supposing such error to prevail over the text and actually determine the “true” or “real” meaning of the thing?

Or are we to believe the power of judicial review of both state and federal actions by the federal courts is something perhaps hidden in the inherent nature of the judicial power that is ascribed to the federal courts by the constitution without definition?

Really?

Something so controversial and questionable that Jefferson wrote of it as erecting a judicial dictatorship, somewhere, though I forget where?

More bluff, is it?

Still no text.

Invisible ink.

Hasn't the constitution always been in exile?

Aren't those who claim to want it back arrant hypocrites?

Infanticide by another name

Planned Parenthood Official Argues for Right to Post-Birth Abortion

After viability, abortion is just a geographical variant of infanticide, anyway.

Personally, I find it depressing that so many people want this to be allowed under whatever mendacious, reality-avoiding description.

Though I do sympathize with those who want to allow early abortions, before it becomes reasonable to regard the fetus as an unborn child.

How liberals disgrace the progressive agenda



I speak of the domestic, economic agenda of TR, WW, FDR, and LBJ.

And the agenda of democratic political reforms that characterized the Progressive Era.

Liberals disgrace this cause by their public support for undemocratic, illiberal, and lawless radicalism.

In foreign affairs I am a realist leaning toward isolationism.

Can the congress create a national bank? Or build canals?



There is the constitution we have, the constitution we pretend we have, and the constitution we would rather have.

This post is concerned with the one we have.

Purely academic, then?

Well, sort of.

The excerpt of Jefferson at the above link is the more meaty and interesting.

In it, he seems to reduce to nothing both the general welfare clause and the necessary and proper clause in the constitutional enumeration of congressional powers, though in the quote exemplifying his position Hamilton relies only on the latter and does not mention the former.

Personally, I think he is right both times and is right about the main question regarding establishment of a bank.

However, his argument against construing the former as a distinct grant of power to provide for the general welfare is mistaken – or perhaps only revealing and interesting – in that it utterly ignores any role for the Supremes in determining whether something congress might do under this provision really does or does not provide for the general welfare.

But this is 1791, and John Marshall will not put the world on notice of the Supremes’ power of judicial review of federal acts until 1803, in Marbury vs. Madison, basing it as he will on smoke, mirrors, and invisible ink, during Jefferson’s own presidency.

Jefferson also points out that the conventioneers at Philadelphia had considered and rejected the idea the congress ought to have power to erect canals and to create corporations for the reason that this would enable them to create a bank and that idea was politically anathema.

He takes this to be an argument for refusing to suppose congress can create a bank “as a means” to doing something congress is expressly authorized to do, viz. collect taxes, given the conventioneers rejected allowing congress to do this “as an end.”

Too, against Hamilton he urges a restrained interpretation of the necessary and proper clause, insisting that “necessary” means exactly what we think and not “convenient” or “useful,” Hamilton urging the contrary.

Anyway, here are the relevant portions of Article I, Section 8, whose meaning is disputed.


The constitution quotes them thus:

1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

. . . . .

18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

I think in 1 the only power the constitution grants is a fairly circumscribed power to lay and collect taxes to pay the debts of the US.

I think the actual meaning of the rest of 1 is best understood as equivalent to “and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States through the exercise of the powers specified hereinafter and elsewhere in this constitution.”

I think 18 merely emphasizes that congress can do whatever it needs to do to carry into execution its powers otherwise specified – which we no doubt would and should have surmised, anyway.

Here as elsewhere, the penalty for rhetorical flourish is often misunderstanding.

People sometimes say the point of having a written constitution is to ensure everyone understands what the government erected by it is empowered to do and what limits are imposed upon its doing of it.

Hence, they say, the requirement that a constitution be clear, precise, unambiguous, and not at all vague in its language.

Others also say the point of judicial review is to enable the judiciary to force the other branches to live within constitutional limits.

And life tenure, they think, is essential to enabling judges to perform this function honestly and with integrity.

Amusing, all this naiveté, no?

PS.

In Federalist 10, Madison is quite clear he understands the un-amended constitution to give the federal government no power to create or issue paper money, and to deny such power to the states.

Issuance of paper money, he says, is one of the zany disorders prompted by faction that the constitution whose ratification he is urging will rule out.


He is right, I think.

About the constitution ruling out paper money, I mean.

Not about it being a bad thing.

And I am not aware of anything in any amendment that changed this.

PS.

Considering the nearly monarchist views and nationalist proposals Hamilton advocated at the convention, I don't think he is much to be trusted regarding what its ultimate product actually does provide.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Even stupider when there is nothing to contain



Containment in Asia was always stupid.

And is this Hagel, the isolationist?

Sure.

Are the zombies in Washington waiting for a good time to pull back from pointless and silly alliances in the far Pacific?

When would that good time be, if not right now?

There are cases and there are cases



One could ban assault rifles but permit handguns, no?

One could disarm men but not women under such an order.

But liberals might oppose that since it hardly seems consistent with them insisting women be allowed to serve as combat troops in a manner that assumes practical interchangeability with men.

Time for another “Zero Dark Thirty”?



So, if it covered the attack in Pakistan would the so far un-repealed authorization for the use of force cover an attack in Egypt?

Would such an attack be less necessary, less useful, or otherwise less prudent?

For such an attack, does the president even require cover of some sort of congressional authorization?

An “act of war” is not a war and does not constitute starting one, though the other side may choose to respond with war.

The biggest mistakes at Philadelphia


Knowing they were acting illegally and in defiance of the then constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and believing it all too likely the union itself might fall apart leaving separate northern and southern confederations, if any, the conventioneers wanted to minimize potential trouble and tried too hard for general acceptance.

The big states should never have bought “the Great Compromise”; the small states could not have stayed out of the union for long over that.

The free states made two awful concessions to the slave states: the fugitive slave clause and a method of calculating population for purposes of representation in the house that allowed three fifths of the slave population to be included, giving the slave owners that much more power in the congress.

And then there was the matter of citizenship.

In the un-amended constitution, the word is used only to refer to citizens of the states; nothing is said at all about citizens of the United States or the conditions for being one or for being a citizen of a state, the determination of the latter evidently being left in the states' own hands.

The same could be said of the constitution, as amended, prior to the Civil War.

I would think that means the pre-Civil War constitution simply left it to the each state to decide who was a citizen of that state, all off them being automatically citizens of the United States.

[Or, could it be no one thought, under the Articles, there was such a thing as being a citizen of the United States.

Was US citizenship a creation of the 14th?]

Taney in Dred Scott did not so take it, however, though one could imagine him doing so with such limitations as one might think were implied by the fugitive slave clause.

And in any case that question was explicitly addressed by the Radical Republicans just as soon as they could do it, after the Civil War.

The very first use of the word to refer to citizens of the Unites States is in the first sentence of the 14th Amendment ratified in 1868, where the constitution stipulates that certain persons, at any rate, are citizens both of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.

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.

The text does not exclude others from being citizens, but insists these people are – the point, of course, being to insist that American blacks including the newly freed slaves could not be barred from citizenship.

[Aside.

The 15th Amendment casts an interesting light on what people thought had and had not been covered already in the 14th.

And Section 2 of the 14th explicitly contemplates the possibility of a case, consistent with the 14th itself, in which freedmen or Negroes, though citizens of the United States and the states wherein they reside, would be expressly denied the vote.

That is, such denial of the vote was understood by the framers and ratifiers to be consistent with due process, equal protection, and the privileges and immunities guarantee.

/Aside.]

The other part of Dred Scott call seems to fly in the face of Article III, Section 3, point 2.

The congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state.

Even granted the unnecessary decision that the word “territory” refers only to the Northwest Territory, the first clause of the sentence does not stop there and instead goes on to give congress the like power over “other property belonging to the United States.”

Why would that not include the power to stipulate that ownership of people would not be allowed in US territories that were not actual states?

What is the text for such a decision, even granted it the constitution gave no power to the federal government to ban slavery or emancipate the slaves in the states?

And then there is the small matter of presidential power.

As noted, so worried were they that the union might simply fall apart that the men of Philadelphia sought, in their unauthorized and illegal new constitution, to provoke as little disagreement as possible.

Hence, no doubt, the vast mystery of the executive power granted by the un-amended constitution to the president, and his powers as commander in chief.

Given the power to declare war is assigned explicitly to congress I suppose we should agree the president lacks that power, though the explicit grant to congress of the power to suspend habeas corpus has apparently prevented nobody from supposing he does have that power.

But fighting a war is not declaring one, though allowing the president can do the former without a declaration would no doubt too much deprive its reservation to congress of point.

All the same, it is certainly possible to engage in quite a lot of quite violent military action short of war.

Does the executive power or the power of commander in chief attributed to the president by the constitution include that?

How far?

Just asking.

Parity of reasoning?


Compare:

The 2nd Amendment grants an individual right to keep and bear arms, obviously, that one could carry about physically; it does not grant a right to own canons or tanks. It applies only to weapons available for carrying about at the time. It would not apply to a suitcase nuke.

The 1st Amendment forbids the congress interfering with freedom of speech or the press, not broadcast journalism and not blogging. It applies only to the press as technologically available at the time.

What the framers would have written into the constitution or the ratifiers would have agreed to, had they seen such changes coming, though interesting questions, are separate questions from what the framers did write and the ratifiers did agree to.

The constitution we have is the one they wrote - as amended thereafter, of course.

Anything else is speculation on a constitution we might have had, had the framers and ratifiers done otherwise than they in fact did.

Too narrow?

Where does it go wrong?

Is this better?

They might have been thinking of muskets but what they said was "arms," and so it's an individual right to keep and bear arms that one could actually bear.

No, they did not and could not have anticipated suitcase nukes, and no doubt had they done so they would have excluded them.

But what they would have said is not the law.

What they said is.

So, time for another amendment or anyway a well-timed, dishonest reading from a sensible judge, if needed, eh?

But the narrow reading of the First Amendment stands.

Well, a narrow reading, though a little broader.

The press by no stretch covers blogging, though it does cover modern, high-speed and high-tech presses.

And speech covers broadcast journalism, anyway.

Seem fair, now?

A Fifth Amendment right to legal equality?



Quotha,

There did not appear to be a majority of Justices willing to strike down the 1996 law [DOMA] based on the argument that the Obama administration and gay rights advocates have been pressing: that is, the law violates the Fifth Amendment guarantee of legal equality in general.

This is the 5th Amendment as quoted at Wikipedia.

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 offense 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.

The alleged guarantee of legal equality in general good against the federal government is a fiction, based on the liberal reading of the 14th Amendment equal protection clause, good against the states, that is also a fiction.

Ashley is out


Heard last night on the news, Ms. Judd will not run.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Just for the record, about gay marriage


I think it is cruel to deny gay couples many of the special legal considerations granted married couples.

So far as I know, however, the claim that there are no good reasons and only bad ones for gay couples not to be treated exactly the same in law in all respects as marrieds is incredible on its face, and I have seen no effort by anyone to demonstrate it.

Hence I am fully persuaded civil unions are a good idea.

But I am not at all persuaded gay marriage is a good idea.

Neither of which really has anything to do with what the constitution has to say on the matter.

The constitution seems to leave marriage law to the states, so far as I can tell; the 14th Amendment has nothing to do with it.

And it is a ridiculous notion that the constitution does, could, or should allow the Supremes to strike down cruel laws, irrational laws, malicious laws, or otherwise generally just bad laws, per se.

Anybody who says there is a constitutional bar on gender discrimination isn’t a conservative



And no textualist, either.

Writes IM,

There are probably five justices who object to California’s anti-gay Proposition 8 and who would prefer to see it struck down.

Justice Kennedy, the conservative viewed as most likely to provide the fifth vote for equality, openly pondered whether Prop 8 violates the Constitution’s ban on gender discrimination.

Ah.

Well, Ms. Sotomayor thinks there is a constitutional guarantee that state laws disadvantaging any particular class of persons (“discrimination”) have to be "rational."

And who will be the judge of that, do you think?

And she thinks there are classes of people entitled to heightened protection under the constitution.

All of that, of course, is lib-speak referencing the structure of federal protection for various minorities (and women) built up over the years on a creative and tendentious reading of “equal protection of the laws” in the 14th Amendment, coupled with a lot of tests and conditions and principles and rules that are sheer inventions of previous liberal judges and courts and are nowhere to be found in the constitution but in the paragraphs upon paragraphs of the 14th that are always printed in invisible ink.

She’s all set to officially decide gays are such a group.

As IM explains,

Under longstanding precedent, a group which has experienced a “‘history of purposeful unequal treatment‘ or been subjected to unique disabilities on the basis of stereotyped characteristics not truly indicative of their abilities” enjoys enhanced protection under the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

See?

Lib speak for people they want to protect and/or whose activities they want to be sure are allowed, though they are so repugnant to so many that they have been criminalized.

Of course, it has to be agreed in the first place for this argument even to come up that laws discountenancing same-sex marriage are discriminatory.

And that is an argument particularly hard to make given that many states discountenancing it allow the practical near equivalent of civil unions, instead.

As everybody knows, such laws do not prevent gays from marrying.

And many, many are the gays who have married and are married, though often to the chagrin of their partners to whom they routinely "come out" only well after the knot has been tied.

These laws only prevent gays, and everyone else, from marrying someone of the same sex.

They do not prevent only gays from doing the thing they discountenance.

"Bosh," you say.

"The law is intended to and actually does prevent only gays from doing this, since only they want to."

To which the appropriate rejoinder is that the exact same thing is true of any law forbidding any thing.

Laws against burglary only trouble those who want to commit burglary.

Laws against rape . . .

Laws against pederasty . . .

Laws against statutory rape . . .

Of what law is it not true that it is aimed at stopping a target group from doing something they want to do and most, if not all, others don't want to do or don't very much want to do?

Go ask NAMBLA what they think about that.

And in any case none of that is relevant to anything the 14th Amendment guarantees under the rubric, "equal protection of the laws."

And, anyway, it is the federal congress the Amendment charges to ensure state compliance, not the Supreme Court.

Note that IM regards it as normal that judges today plan a crucial and important ruling for years or decades later, refusing to make the same ruling right away not because the law does not already justify it but on the excuse that "now is not the time."

What a pile of hocus-pocus.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Profoundly missing the point



KvH writes,

But true conservatives are — or should be — offended by corporate welfare as well.

Conservative economists Raghuram Rajan and Luigi Zingales argue that it is time to “save capitalism from the capitalists,” urging conservatives to support strong measures to break up monopolies, cartels and the predatory use of political power to distort competition.

Taking that we-love-capitalism-and-we-love-it-pure eyewash a little too seriously, K.

A pretty good diagnosis from Pat Buchanan



But he hides or misses the key point.

As I commented at his post,

The conservatives have killed the New Majority, if by that you mean the folks who voted that year in that gigantic landslide for Nixon.
I was among them, myself.
Nixon got my vote in 1972 over McGovern because the latter was an incompetent tool of the unnecessarily radical left of the Democratic Party of that time, while Nixon was no conservative at all and was never thought by anyone to be incompetent - until it all went to hell with the Watergate break-in.
Since them, Democrats have been more competent and less lefty while the GOP has been totally taken over by the kinds of right-wing extremists who hated Nixon when he was in office and have lately been volubly denouncing him at conservative outlets.
This whole race thing is baloney, both when liberals pretend it's the core issue between the parties and when conservatives do, each for reasons of ideological self-interest.
The key to it all is that the GOP has been taken over by fiscal conservatives IKE and Nixon and all the moderate and liberal Republicans of their time would have thought completely bonkers.
When the conservatives give up their stranglehold on the party it will do a heck of a lot better in elections, no matter what the skin color of the voters.
Hence the liberals never point to this as the key problem for today's GOP.
The last thing they want is a more effective GOP opposition.
And you certainly didn't expect the conservatives to confess they are the GOP's problem, did you?
If the Republican Party offered candidates who accepted American social democracy and Big Government but differed from their Democratic opponents in other ways that perhaps simply varied not so much by party as by individual they would do a lot better, over time.

Call Orwell, quick.



Liberals are the great masters of this kind of deep propaganda.

An infamous decision



They decided against allowing the statewide manual recount because, allegedly, there was no statewide uniform standard for the manual counting of votes and this violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

Seven judges agreed to this point.

But that is a gross misapplication of the amendment.

And it has been pointed out that three of the five Republican judges who bought this argument and joined to make up the majority decision stopping the recount process for good were previously famous for understandings of the equal protection clause that made this decision senseless, including notably that hero of textualism and devotee of judicial principle unbiased by partisanship or personal preference, Antonin Scalia.

Democratic critics, however, have not disputed that point but the “remedy” of stopping the recount altogether, allegedly in deference to the presumed intent of the Florida Legislature to in any event meet a deadline beyond which the Florida count would not be safe from dispute in the US Congress.

The preferred remedy would have been to send the case back to Florida to do a better and more uniform recount of the whole state, by hand, even though this could not be completed by the deadline.

But in the aftermath it appeared that Gore didn't want that, anyway.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ah. Disinterested justice, above all things.



His son came out to him and said he wanted to marry a guy, so he flipped from opposing to supporting.

George Will on DOMA



The notion that the pre-Civil War constitution gave the feds the power to define marriage or even refuse to honor the power of the states to do so is nonsense.

The notion that Civil War amendments gave it such a power is absurd.

All the same, it is amusing to see an agnostic defender of social and Christian conservatism say so.

It was, after all, the social and Christian conservatives who drove the Mormons out of the East and forced upon them renunciation of polygamy as the price of statehood for Utah.

Not a hint, in this piece, of recognition that any such thing ever happened.

Nothing here to besmirch the preposterous conservative lie that they are now and have always been the defenders of the true constitution, come what may.

Still, this time he’s on the right side.

DOMA is and was federal overreach by conservative zealots led, as I recall, by the heroic Newt Gingrich, though it was signed by the altogether un-heroic Bill Clinton.

But neither DOMA nor state laws discountenancing gay marriage violate the 5th Amendment or the 14th Amendment, as the liberals want the court to say.

I wonder what Will would say if Utah decided to grow a pair and legally recognize Mormon – and Muslim? – polygamy.

Why are only one or two Republicans not on al-Qaeda’s side in Syria?



The democracy shills had their eyes wide shut to the realities of the revolution of the mullahs in Iran.

They have not been better about Libya or Egypt.

And now they are doing it again with regard to Syria.

For them, it’s never enough for us to withdraw support from a friendly but not very democratic government.

We have to provide positive support for those who would install a much less friendly government in its stead, the excuse being it will be more democratic.

In the present case it likely would.

Much like the Islamic Republic in Iran.

Whoopie.

It’s bad enough when interventionists insist we meddle in other people’s affair based on utter eyewash about crucial American interests in danger.

But when they insist we meddle to the obvious hurt of our own interests and those of our real or supposed allies – in this case, our client, Israel – it’s really silly.

Read down far enough to see the bit about SR 65, aimed at freezing the US into support for any war against Iran started by Israel, not to stop Iranian efforts to build a nuke but to remove from Iran even the capacity to undertake such project.

Pat’s claim that the policy toward Syria is about bringing us closer to war with Iran is not well explained or justified, though not absurd.

But SR 65 is bad news, all the same.

And so is the big push to force the US into support for the Syrian rebels with a lot of baloney about government forces using gas, the taboo on which is far, far loonier and stupider than the taboo on nukes.

Oh, the War Party?

Well, that’s mostly – but by no means only – Pat’s own party, the Republicans.

Not that he would desert them over this.

The bottom line is always the money, but he likes their clericalism, too.

Why a treaty?



Well, do you know how to abrogate a treaty?

Can the congress repeal a treaty as simply as passing a law?

Can the congress do it at all?

Both parties want their winnings to be as close to irrevocable by future opposition majorities as possible.

Enshrining the liberal achievement in a treaty is almost as good as cementing it into due process, equal protection, or its own shiny, new amendment.

So liberal bloggers and pundits in a news lull are using this attack in the Globe as an occasion to bash the Republicans about it, again.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The incomplete constitution


Who has the power, under the constitution, to abrogate treaties?

To fire ambassadors and the other federal officials named by the president?

Do they hold office for life?

Is that why it is customary - though certainly not constitutionally required - for them all to resign when the term of the president who appointed them expires?

Are these powers reserved, under the 10th Amendment, to the states?

Questions for sticklers for the text like Scalia.

The old faker.

J

George Will on the laws and the constitution on selection of the president. And me on that topic, too.



George Will, ably assisted by hack right wing scholarship, talks more rot about the constitution.

And to make it worse, in the present case Will is blathering about something that is not even a constitutional issue.

He is pontificating pompously about how the major party candidates are chosen.

Not how the president and vice president are elected, though he nevertheless complains sourly about every change to the process since the day the convention ended in Philadelphia.

And yes, this crank manages to give the impression that, as he has said of the selection of senators, he thinks we should have stuck with the method for selecting the president and vice president prescribed in the un-amended constitution.

When the generally liberal and solidly Democratic BooMan hears he’ll probably join him in this, as he has already done regarding repeal of the 17th Amendment, though otherwise this has been an anti-democratic aim only of the political right.

This was the wisdom of the framers from which our sinful nation has fallen, according to Will, as found in the relevant portion of Article II, Section 1, of the constitution.

The bolded paragraph (I have broken it up for ease of reading) was changed by the 12th Amendment, charging the electors to separately vote for the two offices of president and vice-president, each elector getting one vote for each.

That was the only difference that amendment made.

The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term, be elected, as follows:

Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.

The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.

And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted.

The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed;

and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said House shall in like manner choose the President.

But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each state having one vote;

A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.

In every case, after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the Vice President.

But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the Vice President.

The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.

The choices of the electors are limited by the constitutional specification of the qualification for office in the same Article and Section,

No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States.

But there is absolutely no provision in the constitution for their choice being otherwise limited in any way.

They could pick absolutely anybody for president or vice president who is thirty-five or older and a natural born citizen who has resided in the US for 14 years.

They could pick Hannibal the Cannibal, if he was a real person.

They could pick Charles Manson.

Anyway, the states, allowed by the constitution to "appoint" their electors in whatever manner their legislatures may decide, choose their electors via an elaborate electoral charade.

In what only appear to be American presidential elections, each voter in each state signifies the pair of candidates he prefers for the offices of president and vice-president.

In most states, if the state-wide plurality of votes cast for the office is for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of party X then persons designated by party X to be the state's electors in that case are "appointed" to the office.

In other states (currently Maine and Nebraska), that is true only for two of the state's electors.

As for the rest, in each congressional district within the state, if the plurality of votes cast for the office within the district is for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of party X then the person designated by party X to be an elector in that case is "appointed" to the office.

The manner in which persons are designated to serve as electors by the parties varies among the states.

And this is why, by the way, voters don’t even appear, in our faux presidential elections, to vote for the president and vice-president, separately.

It is the electors appointed by the states who will be able to vote separately for president and vice-president, as prescribed by the constitution, and will do so when the time comes.

But they are pledged or at least expected to vote in each of the two separate elections for the candidate of the party whose designee they are.

Some state laws make that pledge binding.

But it is the constitutionality of that that I deny.

The office of elector, after all, was created by the constitution and its powers were defined therein, just like the offices of senator, representative, president, vice-president, or federal judge.

Those powers cannot be modified in any way, shape, or form by state or even federal law, but only by amendment to the constitution, itself - except where the constitution itself says they can, as where it leaves to congress the power to control the appellate jurisdiction of the supreme court.

And the power of choice – the word itself is actually used – is granted to the electors, not to the state legislatures or any other state official.

The case is exactly the same as that of the votes of congressmen or senators.

The constitution grants powers of choice to the senators and the representatives and not to the legislatures of the states they represent, nor to any official of those states.

Congressmen and senators are not mere loudspeakers to publicly announce the preferences of state governments or, for that matter, of the people of the states or districts they represent; nor would we want them so.

And the argument for allowing states - or public opinion polls? - to control the votes of electors is no better than the same argument would be for allowing them to control senators, congressmen, or for that matter somehow together trying to bind the decisions of federal judges or the choices of the president.

The Supremes have gone down a wrong path on this question and, as so often, have made up a constitution for us that is, in a weird fashion, better – though not a lot better – than the one we actually have, in the opinion of most – though apparently not in the opinion of George Will.



Electoral College

PS.

Does the 24th Amendment require states appoint their electors in any particular manner?

By a popular election of them, for example?

Does it require them to continue the faux elections for president and vice-president that they now conduct?

No.

No more than it requires primaries.

An amendment abolishing the Electoral College or telling the states how their electors must be appointed (or constraining the electors' choices for president and vice-president) could at any time have been passed.

None has been.

This is the text of the 24th

Section 1

The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Section 2

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

PS.

Everyone says the 12th took account of the existence of parties in a way the original process did not.

How so?

Under the original process, the leaders of the two principal opposed parties were very apt to wind up together in an administration, the one being the other’s vice-president.

The process as amended avoids that embarrassment.

PPS.

The 14th assumes but does not prescribe that there are presidential and vice-presidential elections, those who wrote it being apparently satisfied to thus refer to our faux presidentials.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty



Brilliant. Gripping. Edge of your seat.

Personally, I was and am OK with the “enhanced interrogations” as conducted in the films, although, according to some of its right wing defenders, the movie grossly exaggerated how far such things were done at all.

And beatings, say these folks, were never allowed.


And I am delighted with the message of this movie and hope it shows all over the Muslim world.

OBL declared war on America and killed thousands of us.

We hunted him and killed him.

Brilliant.

Did I think the film endorsed the use of torture?

No, but it shows and perhaps exaggerates how extensively it was used, and in the movie torture played  a significant role in gleaning information used in tracking and killing bin Laden.

And the movie shows agent Maya participating in "enhanced interrogations" from her first day in the field and pouring over videos of torture sessions from what seemed to be numerous "CIA black sites" for hours at a time, trying to connect the tiniest shreds of data.

Has this ever happened to an innocent man?

Without doubt.

There have been many accusations, and in some cases European courts have agreed it has happened.

And that was another movie, was it not?

I can't think of its name and googling a bit didn't find it.

But, anyway, this argument against torture is as silly as the same argument against capital punishment.

Sometimes the wrong guy gets X'd so we have to stop X-ing!

Say, punishing at all, right?

MM pissing into the wind



He’s upset “they lied us into war.”

This is a crime?

It’s not even unusual.

Phooey.

But, as so often, one is left to wonder why the hell our officials really did the particular outrage they have most recently done.

As so often, the only explanations they provide the public for what they do are the most foul-smelling and evil pooh.

All we have while it happens and forever after is people with fake insight and insufficient source material making up their own answers, yelling about oil, family revenge, or personal profit.

Bush wanted war because Saddam Hussein tried to have his father assassinated and that ticked him off more than it did his dad.

Or Cheney wanted war to push up the value of his Halliburton stock.

Or somehow the oil companies got them to do it so they could take over the Iraqi industry.

Or somebody thought control of Iraqi oil would free our foreign policy from unhelpful Saudi pressure.

Or the military-industrial-complex just needed somebody to use up a bunch of the stuff they make so the defense department would order more.

Or the Israelis needed somebody to smash Saddam in the mouth for them, punish the Iraqis, and tie up a generation of would-be terrorists in Baghdad instead of in Tel Aviv.

Or a whole bunch of feckless politicians saw a way to win elections by out-jingoing each other.

Or a whole lot of stupid Americans thought it would be easy and well-deserved revenge on a bunch of towel-heads for their share of the general Muslim joy at 9/11.

A quick and cheap victory and then home by Christmas.

Well, maybe it was all of that.

But it was just another stupid disaster, like all of our wars against foreign powers since, and maybe including, the Revolution.

Looks to me like a professional sex-troll



With no sense of humor, at all, apparently.

Just the kind of person Limbaugh used to refer to as feminazis.

Check out the name of her blog.

I can hear the whining from here, and the raging victim nonsense.

Must have been some sort of last-straw thing.

Otherwise, hardly worth firing her over.

There they go, again. The lesser evil.



Apparently, nobody thought it necessary to replace the lost revenue.

Oh, those deficit hawks!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The same war, a different battle




Too many men?

Too many euro-whites?

Too many white supremacists?

Oh, you mean too many Americans!

Truth to tell, none of the founding generation would qualify as politically correct.

Nor would many of our leaders or other politically, historically, or culturally significant people for a very long time after that.

Do you want a hall of historically important Americans all the way back to the founding and maybe even to colonial times?

Or do you want a hall of the most important Americans the most orthodox and correct – politically and morally and religiously correct – of today's liberals would approve of?

Silly question, eh?

We know what they want.

One has to realize that in this whole matter of public monuments, public memory, and the public version of history there is no clear line between remembering and revering, between recalling and celebrating.

Or in other cases between recalling and blaming, recalling and condemning.

And all this revering and condemning is far from being directed merely at what was done.

At least equally importantly it is directed at who did it, or is alleged to have done it.

And more importantly still, it is directed at us, their progeny and remoter descendants and political,  social, cultural, and economic heirs.

Even within the limits of truth, what we see, what we recall, what is recalled to our attention is always only part of the truth, the part someone - and in these public cases certainly someone not our individual and powerless selves - has selected for us.

And that is why we are witnessing these conflicts.

The portions or aspects of the past selected for our admiration and celebration have an acculturating, values-teaching function that contending powers, factions, pressure-groups, and partisans seek to control.

That, really, is what the war over Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, and the public recollection of the European discovery, conquest, and colonization of America is all about.

And, yes, it is all just one continuous war in which all these apparently unrelated fights are just individual, particular battles.

Like those holidays, the selections from the past represented by the Hall of Statuary reflect and encourage the values of the victors in an older America.

And they likewise celebrate the victors and their victories.

And, not to be harsh, but those were the victories all over the Americas of colonialists and their successor settler states, made up of and ruled by and for European whites, partly powered over much of the terrain by enslaved Africans whose status was excused by beliefs in their inferiority, not only cultural but explicitly racial.

Likewise, the subjugation and displacement of the Indians over the whole continent by advancing whites was thus excused - to the extent it was thought to require excuse.

And these whites were overwhelmingly Christian, living in a society whose domination by males was sanctioned by its religion and its morality.

Much of this past is still present and in fact not much regretted, if at all, by the white Christians, male and female, who make up most of America, and even more of the culturally, politically, and economically powerful of America.

They continue, for the most part, perfectly willing to celebrate this past, though with reservations about slavery, racism, and the like, and perhaps annoyed by the dissent of those descended from defeated enemies and victims of long ago.

Not to mention the shrug of those who can honestly say to themselves and to others, after all, that they did not do any of that.

But neither that past nor the present attitude of America toward it is politically correct, a moral concept that has been defined for us over the years out of hatred by the radical left, and that has become increasingly influential with the passage of the decades.

And so even the mainstream liberals, nowadays, at least to a degree, follow the communist radical Howard Zinn and those even more extreme in a reverse racism, an anti-Christian bigotry, and a radical feminism fully misanthropic in the narrower sense that rejects the American past and all its heroes, adopting the bitter hatreds of its defeated enemies and victims.

It is a kind of eliminationism, a kind of racist and sexist and religious exterminationism of the imagination, all their own.

Hence their longing to deny the America that is - the mostly white and Christian America where to a very great extent people continue in traditional sex rolesin favor of an America that is not and in some respects almost certainly will never be - a mostly non-white, non-Christian America in which people are distributed over roles in a manner that is random with respect to sex or favors women with roles of wealth and power.

[Aside.

Given population trends and the sources of American immigration, the non-white, non-Christian parts are possible but unlikely, with the latter much more unlikely than the former.


And as to the sex roles part, that is an absurd fantasy mostly built on lesbian hatred.


/Aside]


An America in which whites pay reparations to blacks and Indians for the harms done their ancestors by those of the whites, defined as crimes against humanity by liberal moral dogma.

An America in which women dominate in many fields and men in few, if any.

And perhaps, to help us get there, an America that discriminates in its immigration policy against whites and includes some sort of affirmative action to seek out non-Christians.

[Aside.

I recommend Buddhists. Stay away from Muslims, please.


/Aside.]


And perhaps an America that adopts racial, religious, or sexual quotas for candidates for office and maybe also office holders - quotas effectively discriminating against you know who.

In the face of this essentially racist and misanthropist cultural onslaught of hatred and blame orchestrated by the radical left and the resentful, non-white losers of the world, the right has been and remains largely missing in action.

They have noticed the religious side of the thing, however, and in reply have mounted an extremist and silly, clericalist counterrevolution.

As for the rest, they do little but bleat defensively in early October and late November, and undermine private and public affirmative action.

Do you suppose today's Italians have to go through all this sort of hateful rot about the slavery and other brutalities of the Roman Empire whose monuments have a pervasive presence and cultural influence in their country?

It is certain that Christian and Muslim triumphs led to episodes of book-burning and cultural purges to wipe out the hated paganism they had conquered.

All this reminds you of the Taliban blowing up those fantastic Buddhist monuments in Afghanistan, doesn't it?

Yes, I'm saying that in this connection, this matter of a politically correct rectification of public monuments and celebrations, it's the American left who deserve comparison with the Taliban, not the Christian right, though so far as I know the Taliban are far from being the race-haters our radical left are.

I believe I have read that the Euroleft is putting the Italians through a lot of baloney, nowadays, about the historic warfare between Christian Italy and the Muslim powers of the Mediterranean, and demanding reparations for Moroccans from the Spanish for the Reconquista.

And for the Algerians from the French.

What a load of hate has to be borne by the whites, the Christians, and the males of the Occident, today!

Did Obama never understand why the Jewish State is in Palestine and not, say, Madagascar?



First, there is and has been all along the purely religious conviction of an ancient, divine land grant that justified conquest, genocide, and religious tyranny at the time and justifies forcible re-possession today.

Second, there is and has been all along a secular, moral conviction that a national state more than 2,000 years in the past justifies forcible re-creation of another for the same nation in the same territory, even at the cost of conquest and forcible removal of a civilized community established some 1300 years ago.

And, last, there is and has been since the end of The Second World War a conviction abroad in America mightily encouraged by American liberals and especially Jewish American liberals that gentile Europe and America have a moral obligation to support and defend Israel because of the Holocaust that much of Europe joined Germany in perpetrating and the rest, along with America, failed to prevent.

The first two define the enterprise of Zionism, and have done so from the beginning.

The last is the hook still in the mouths of America, the nations of Western Europe, and Germany.

The Jewish conquest of Palestine began at the end of the 19th Century and has continued since then without interruption.

Those who support Israeli expansion today are only supporting continuation of a process that was not even significantly interrupted, let alone ended or completed, with the UN creation of Israel in 1948.

In the nature of the case, that process can end only with the complete establishment of a Jewish State extending over pretty much the whole territory of the ancient Jewish state, at its high point.

However much Israel has in common with the general run of European settler states created by the wave of European colonialism and imperialism that began in the Age of Columbus, it's really something different in important ways.

And it's that difference that is the basis for an Israeli intransigence putting in the shade the comparatively flaccid wills of the French in Algeria, the Brit colonists in Kenya, or the white tribe of South Africa.

All the same, Americans and others who pin their hopes on partition and establishment of a Palestinian state in the belief that the so-called two-state solution might actually solve anything and end the conflict, bringing about Muslim acceptance of the Jewish State and real peace in the region do not understand the issue.

The Muslims vis-à-vis the Jewish State are in the position of the Muslims vis-à-vis French Algeria, or the local Africans vis-à-vis English settler Kenya or white South Africa.

They did not aim at partition but at re-conquest of settler states by the local peoples.

Israel’s Muslim opponents don’t aim at partition, now, but at the re-conquest and erasure of the Jewish State.

Still, though I would obviously not be pleased to see the Jewish people of Israel wiped out or driven into the sea by genocidal Muslim irredentists in a reversal of the Spanish Reconquista, I don't see how any of this is really our problem.

Truman was wrong to endorse the creation of Israel and he was wrong to commit the US to its defense.

America is wrong today to waste its treasure and its blood trying to make the Middle East safe for this anachronistic renewal of the ancient Jewish State.

We should end all our guarantees to Israel and all our aid.

If the EU or the UN or anyone else wants to step in and support Israel in our place, let them do so.

Not our problem.

No more than Rwanda.

Oh, and I would likewise not agree with any demands that America somehow undo establishment of the State of Israel, join in its destruction, assist in removal of the Jews from Palestine, or ever pay a penny in so-called compensation or reparations for our support of Israel for all this time.

Assuming we aren’t somehow blackmailed or bullied into it.

Libertarianism and property; or, a treatise on anarcho-capitalism

A society that eschews coercive force honors rules of property as it might honor the child’s rule not to step on a crack.

That is to say, voluntarily, if at all.

Hence, not at all, except in fun.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lesser evil? Sure. But enough less to be worth a treck to the polls?


Particularly given the underlying futility of voting, even for the best imaginable politicians or parties.


So you begin negotiations by conceding ground?

Writes Robert Reich,

Prominent Democrats — including the President and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — are openly suggesting that Medicare be means-tested and Social Security payments be reduced by applying a lower adjustment for inflation.

This is even before they’ve started budget negotiations with Republicans — who still refuse to raise taxes on the rich, close tax loopholes the rich depend on (such as hedge-fund and private-equity managers’ “carried interest”), increase capital gains taxes on the wealthy, cap their tax deductions, or tax financial transactions.

It’s not the first time Democrats have led with a compromise, but these particular pre-concessions are especially unwise.