Sunday, June 30, 2013

Privileges or Immunities, yet again


The privileges or immunities of a US citizen may be many, but when the 14th Amendment was written they did not include constraint of the states by the Bill of Rights or any of the provisions of the US constitution guaranteeing specific individual rights against federal infringement, only.

The Privileges or Immunities clause of the 14th Amendment referred to whatever those privileges or immunities were and forbade states to abridge them.

It did not in any way, and did not purport to, create new privileges or immunities for US citizens.

And hence, in particular, that clause did not create new privileges or immunities as it would have done had it required the states to be bound by the Bill of Rights or by those guarantees of individual rights in the constitution that at the time constrained only the federal government.

Justice Thomas, CATO, and others who say it did are deluded or deceitful.

The text of the 14th Amendment, Section 1.

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.

A Just and Lasting Peace : The Wade-Davis Bill


The Wade-Davis Bill of February 15, 1864.

The Bill purported to rely on the first clause of Article IV, Section 4, though it is plainly irrelevant to the case.

The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.

At no time did the Southern states lack republican governments, there had been no usurpations, and their governments were never overthrown by anyone but the invading Union armies.

Nor does IV, 4 authorize federal emancipation within any state, deprivation of citizenship, or forcing abolition of slavery on any state.

Lincoln pocket-vetoed the bill and issued a proclamation expressing his disbelief congress had the power to abolish slavery in the states, though this bill did not quite seek to do exactly that.

In his comment on this proclamation of Lincoln's, editor Smith, not for the first time, seems to confuse emancipation with abolition.

A Just and Lasting Peace : The emancipation proclamations


Reading A Just and Lasting Peace,  A Documentary History of Reconstruction,  edited by John David Smith. Signet Classics, 2013.

If you read this, keep a copy of the US Constitution close by.

A truly fascinating collection of documents.

Article IV, Section 4 of the constitution says the federal government shall protect the states against domestic violence on application of the legislature or the executive.

Article I, Section 8, clause 15 says congress can provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections or repel invasions.

Was it the latter that Lincoln claimed gave the general government authority to fight a war to conquer the CSA and force those states back into the Union?

Clearly,  it was not likely the former.

As for the latter,  if this is authority at all to act without a state's request,  it is absurd to read it as allowing  or requiring use of force to prevent secession or bring states that leave the Union back in.

It is equally gratuitous to read it as implying either such permission or such a requirement.

It is one thing to use force to exact compliance from a state that's in the Union and quite another to use force to make it stay in the Union.

And yet another,  again,  to force a state that's out into the Union.

And that would be so even if the constitution expressly denied states the authority to leave the Union, which it does not.

Some have said it was the theory of the North that secession was not legally possible and so the southern states had not in fact left the Union.

But the legislation and other federal actions of the Reconstruction Era everywhere speak of their readmission to the Union,  imposing terms apparently as authorized by Article IV, Section 3.

And that supposes they did leave it.

Did the states of the South count in determining how many states were needed to ratify any or all of the Civil War Amendments?

That would make sense if they had not left the Union.

But how in that case could the government make ratification a condition of readmission?

And why in case they had left the Union?

Because in that case there were not enough states in the Union in favor to ratify?

Imagine an amendment just needing one more state for ratification,  but not likely to get it.

So congress makes admission to statehood for the next N states conditional on supporting ratification,  N large enough to carry the amendment to ratification.

Constitutional?

Yes, I think so.

Not everything deplorable is unconstitutional.

As for federal occupation and control of the southern states,  the constitution seems unhelpfully silent on the matter if they were foreign states defeated and occupied.

But if they never left the Union?

Nothing in the constitution, even now, permits such federal dictatorship on any pretext,  unless it be that same passage in I, 8, 15.

More invisible ink, I see.

Article I, Section 5 says in each house a majority of all members is a quorum.

What was a quorum during the war years?

As to the necessity for the 13th Amendment,  note that emancipating slaves is different from ending slavery.

In 1862, in apparent defiance of Dred Scott, congress abolished slavery in DC.

Lincoln's later Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in some states but abolished slavery in none.

Nor did his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction of December,  1863, either abolish slavery or require abolition, though it did require acceptance of previously proclaimed emancipations, subject to future revision by congress or the Supremes.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Shameless liars or complete nincompoops? Provocateurs? What?



A lot of people in desperate need of an enema?

Mencken on evolution in the schools


Nobody ever told Mencken the First Amendment applied to the states (via the 14th) or that state laws prohibiting teaching accounts of human origins contradicting the Bible in public schools conflicted with the establishment clause.

He thought that the people who paid for the schools had every right to decide what would be taught therein.

And he insisted pleas of “academic freedom” have place only at the college or university level, anyway.

He told Bryan on his first day in Dayton that he thought Scopes had no right to teach evolution in defiance of state law.

He never wavered in that view.

Of course, that did not prevent him denouncing the law and those who supported it in no uncertain terms, Bryan included and even Bryan especially.

Which he did.

The Amendment Process radically favors the right


The amendment process in Article V, while a big improvement over Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation, is still absurdly stacked against change and in particular against democratic change.

Tied as it is to the idea of the constitution as a compact among the states, it requires ratification by them two features of which are distinctly anti-majoritarian.

Approval by three fourths of the states is required and two of the tiniest states outvote one of the most populous containing thirty times their number of American citizens.

Approval by two thirds of the members of both houses is required and in the senate the people of the small states are powerful beyond all reason, against those of populous states.

The process gives Yokels, conservatives, the most religiously benighted, farmers, and cows amazingly disproportionate power, enabling them to both frustrate the will of the rest of us but also to force their will upon us.

Think of their most notable gift to America, the Prohibition Era.

Here is more on Article V, the amendment process, and the dominant role of small state conservatism.





All of this enormously inflates the power of conservatism in American government and American life.

And it gives them wildly disproportionate power over efforts to change anything in the constitution, including the process of changing the constitution, which itself shockingly favors them.

Hence their endless pious insistence that if you don’t like it you should just try to change it, even going so far as to retail the lie that the Article V process provides unchallengeable democratic control over the thing.

And hence the relatively good conscience with which liberals in black robes just ignore the actual text and make up tales to get the results they want.

Of course, we could always, if we really wanted to, re-write the constitution in a manner that utterly defies its own unacceptable rules for constitutional change, just as the men of Philadelphia defied the rules prescribed in the Articles of Confederation in order to basically get rid of them and move on to something better.

We could convene a constitutional convention whose delegates were chose democratically to represent all Americans equally and states not at all.

We could adopt a method of ratification that put the matter before the people, all to have an equal say, and not at all before the states.

Isn't that what we did for Iraq? Or was it Afghanistan?

Isn't that what is nowadays always done when a nation chooses a constitution?

Just a thought.

And make damn sure the new constitution includes simple provisions for democratic change.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Declaration of Independence



Make no mistake.

In this document,  the 13 colonies declared themselves each individuality separate from and independent of their common Mother Country,  their metropole, Great Britain.

Each a sovereign and independent state with all the rights and powers customary for such.

Though they here affirm an ancient and traditional consent theory of legitimacy, in a somewhat pointedly republican and Lockean variant with justification for popular revolution against a despotic regime, they promptly pivot to the business at hand and a detailed list of abuses of the colonies and their rights by the government of the British King, justifying separation.

This war of secession did not and was not meant to create a new nation, but 13 independent and sovereign states with a habit of cooperation for their common good and a desire to continue the same.

The war effected a revolution of republicanism effortlessly and by the way, since the colonial governments and societies were already, in their local structures and outlook if not in those, now gone, that had tied them to Britain,  republican.

But it was not a national revolution and it did not create "a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

It created 13 states in which slavery was legal, gathered in a loose, ad hoc association of questionable longevity, in each of which nearly everyone took such ideas not with a grain but a lump of salt.

The demographic earthquake, from another angle



Rod Dreher.

In my view, America shrugging off the Christian outlook on sex has been and continues to be mostly to the good, though I think liberals have overdone abortion and feminism and have been way too unscrupulous about how they win political battles.

They have unforgivably trashed the constitution and done much to ruin the integrity of the political process.

Mostly in a good cause, yes, but still.

But it looks to me that Dreher isn't quite getting how this works.

I don't think he sees the key role of people who have not abandoned historic Christianity and the traditional denominations.

Lots of people support the liberals on sex issues, head to head with the clergy and the Christian right.

And there just aren't enough of the unchurched or "nones" for that to happen without significant support from people who are not nones, people who show up in the pews but choose not to let the churches write their writ into law.

They may agree, for example, that abortion and much else is wrong, but they want it to remain their own choice to do them or not, all the same.

Dreher opines,

It seems that when people decide that historically normative Christianity is wrong about sex, they typically don’t find a church that endorses their liberal views.

They quit going to church altogether.

And that is likely true.

And it means some people who stay in the pews yet vote against the right and with the liberals on these issues, just as I say, voting for the legal right to do wrong.

We couldn't possibly win without them, these Christians who want the freedom to be bad Christians.

So, it is a war on religion, but it can’t be helped, says Booman.



Still, he here only sees it as about homosexuality and gay marriage.

Is he really that blind to the very much wider scope of the culture war?

Absolutely everything to do with the sexual revolution has had to be fought out at every step of the way against Christian conservatives and clergy who, also at every step of the way, have been fighting back to defend the established domination of the law and through it of our major social institutions by their religious beliefs.

And the same is true about battles over the meaning of the First Amendment establishment clause.

Abortion?

Pornography?

Lawful conditions of divorce?

What is a marriage and who can marry whom?

Can the Bible be taught in public schools?

Can or must evolution be taught there?

Can the Book of Genesis be taught there?

Can formal prayer be conducted in public schools?

Can the public high school football team pray at practice and before games?

Can the kid speaking for commencement at his public college graduation utter a prayer, or thank God?

Must employer insurance plans required under Obamacare included coverage for abortions or contraception?

Even when the employer is a Christian church opposed to both?

Can a state punish homosexual sodomy but not sodomy between heterosexual marrieds?

Can private adoption agencies refuse adoption to gays and still receive federal money to partially cover their costs of operation?

Can federal aid to private colleges go to those that are religiously affiliated?

Those that seek to imbue students with traditional Christian moral opinions regarding sex?

All of these are and have been battle-sites of the clashes between liberals and secularists on the one side and religious conservatives on the other since the middle of the last century and even earlier.

It is, exactly as Pat Buchanan famously said, a culture war not inaptly described as a “war against religion.”

Perhaps Booman and others like him have such a hard time seeing what is before all our eyes because they have fallen for their own liberal feminist propaganda and characterized many of the above battle-sites as belonging to a Republican war against women, a war for patriarchy and control of women’s bodies, women’s lives, and women’s choices.

More fool he.

Over the same time, other liberal victories not specifically related to religion have also affected matters related to sex.

Laws prohibiting racial intermarriage were abolished by fiat of liberal Supremes, for example.

And liberals have prevented efforts to limit the fecundity of people hopelessly dependent on public welfare or other forms of public assistance like food stamps, either through direct medical means (sterilization) or by imposition of limitations on aid available to oneself or one's dependent children.

Together, liberal measures of both sorts have had the clear effect of radically reducing the fertility of well-off women and radically increasing that of the sub-proletariat.

This is not a desirable demographic consequence, for many reasons, however desirable were the changes that got us to it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Talk about a ridiculous ruling, see this one on DOMA



DOMA violates the Fifth?

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.

I expected DOMA might be ruled unconstitutional by a conservative court because congress lacks authority to define marriage, though it doesn’t actually do that but only specifies a requirement for eligibility for certain benefits controlled by federal law, anyway.

And if that sort of rationale did not seem plausible I did not see any legit way for a conservative court to strike it down.

Nor did the conservative Supremes, apparently.

This one is Kennedy plus the 4 liberals, so I suppose it’s no surprise due process is getting more work, here, than we would expect from any conservative jurist.

This is Justice Kennedy talking the most shocking nonsense about the Fifth, not to mention the most damnable lies about those who wrote, passed, and signed (Bill Clinton!) the thing.

DOMA out

(On the other hand, in the Lochner era it was the conservatives who told lies about due process.)

[Update, 06262013 at 1808 hrs, EDT.

Kennedy said the only reason for passing DOMA was bigotry and contempt for a known victim group, and that this it was that violates the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Even leaving aside that, while it might be a good idea, the constitution nowhere empowers the Supremes to strike down laws whose only object is to harm and whose only motive is malice, the truth is that Kennedy’s assessment is unjust.

Over at National Review, some writers have pointed out a variety of secular reasons for DOMA that, truth to tell, seem to me flimsy, of little weight, and mere pretexts.

The real reason for DOMA is that, according to nearly every known variant of the Christian religion, marriage as desired by and acceptable to God is a relation between one man and one woman; while homosexuality is profoundly sinful and an abomination to the Lord.

And that is all there is to be said on the matter.

To my mind, that means DOMA conflicts with the First Amendment establishment clause, though I am aware that mine is not the only plausible reading and others would allow pretty much anything but full-bore establishment of a national church to get past that clause.

And anyway my point is not that, but that Kennedy simply ignored the evident and obvious fact that DOMA is not about hate, bigotry, or malice but enactment of the will of the Christian God into law.

And if the idea is that Kennedy sees this as a distinction without a difference then he is a blind, bigoted fool who most certainly ought not to be allowed to continue sitting on the court.

Anyway, there is no way to fix this.

Judges empowered with the last word, the unchecked and uncontrollable power to strike down federal laws or other acts of the federal government for conflicting with the constitution simply cannot be trusted to do their job honestly and without evident contempt for the understanding of the people or the will of anybody at all.

The only way to avoid ultimately irresponsible judicial dictatorship is to disempower the federal courts, to strip them of authority to nullify federal acts for conflicting with the constitution.

And to prevent them continuing to behave arbitrarily in their handling of acts of the states it might be necessary to find some way to rein them in, somehow, there as well.

Perhaps the answer is to deny them life tenure and let them serve subject to being summarily fired by the senate, once hired in the current manner.

Actually, that might be enough.

If we did that, we might not even need to strip them of the power to nullify federal acts for unconstitutionality.

Just firing a few of them in disgrace for evident abuse of power, once in a while, might keep them mostly honest.

Or maybe it would just force them to be dishonest in ways the senate wanted them to.

Still, even that would be an improvement over them being dishonest in ways only the totally extra-legal power of liberal PC wants them to.

/Update]

As for prop 8, the Supremes refused to rule at all, so they didn’t have to say a word about the 14th Amendment.

But the result is that a lower federal court ruling against Prop 8 on bogus, liberal grounds is allowed to stand.

President Obama, like liberals everywhere, has greeted the decision against DOMA with joy, and they are not distressed it took a perverse reading of the Fifth Amendment to do it.

Less joy, but some, is out there over Prop 8, too.

It is revealing that most of the news stories today about both decisions ignore their alleged legal bases, anyway.

The Constitution?

Nobody knows, nobody cares.

It’s a triumph for the right (the liberal) values, and that’s all that matters.

PS.

OK, I'm sort of a hypocrite.

It appears to me questionable whether Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and much else of American social democracy and the American regulatory state I am partial to has a legitimate constitutional basis.

Good luck rooting around Article I, Section 8.

But the same could be said about the Air Force, our paper money, the Federal Reserve system, and much else that only the crankiest part of the right would like to see taken away.

Yet I am pretty sure constitutional amendments for the express purpose of providing a (more) solid basis for all these things could be written and ratified.

Nobody but an idiot thinks repeal of the 16th or 17th could be ratified, or new amendments ratified expressly to provide a  legit basis for the reading of "due process" used in the Lochner era, so beloved of conservatives like George Will, say.

And liberals are clearly inwardly certain no amendments could be passed to win their culture war victories for them, fair and square - the ones currently based on wholly absurd readings of "due process," "equal protection," and maybe soon also "privileges [and/or] immunities."

That means something, I think, that takes a bit of the bite out of that hypocrisy charge.

Would the American people pass an amendment giving the Supremes both an unchecked power of judicial review and life tenure?

I doubt it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

After the “war on women,” a “war on journalism”



I think of it as a war on treason and espionage aimed at stopping leaks and journos from quite intentionally undermining American national security.

Much as media revelations of current or ongoing military operations are not infrequently intended by leakers and pressmen, alike, to make them fail.

That is treason.

Yes, it’s good to ask.

Which side are you on?

Fair enough, maybe.



The 15th Amendment says,

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Voting rights act is authorized by Section 2, say its supporters.

But if not, how not?

Apparently, because there are no reasonably current data documenting the need for such heavy intrusion on state authority regarding voting and elections.

Well?

Cheerleaders for treason



It’s interesting how much of the professional left pretends  to be, or really is, surprised at the widespread condemnation of Snowden and his accomplices.

At the Daily Beast, a story is headlined,

It's appalling to hear the Washington bureaucrats and their media allies trash Edward Snowden as a traitor, when it's our leaders and the NSA who have betrayed us, writes Kirsten Powers.

They are far from appalled that a very junior employee in the national security biz chose to knowingly violate his oath and the law and spill these beans in service to his political agenda.

Sometimes it’s surprising how little grasp they have on how far they are from the views of ordinary Americans and how alien they seem to them.

The lefty claim that our leaders have betrayed us is a moral/political judgement in which they are pretty much alone.

The claim that Snowden betrayed us is a legal fact.

Reportedly, he is a high school dropout with a GED who joined Booz Allen, the firm from which he stole secrets, specifically in order to do that.

John Cassidy’s lament, picked up by KOS.



Cassidy is on Snowden and Greenwald’s side, as is Meteor Blades at KOS.


Cassidy is shocked and appalled so many people are not.

And to support his view of Snowden as a hero he brings in whom?

Another NSA leaker who pled out to escape conviction of espionage in 2010!

These guys need to do some heavy time.

Exemplary punishment, I say.

The main stream checks in against Snowden and Greenwald


Tim Farley of POTUS radio sided with David Gregory, this morning, on the whole, against Glenn Greenwald.


He said Greenwald should have, could have, and didn’t answer the question why he should not be prosecuted for aiding Snowden, instead fleeing into a not entirely deserved personal attack on Gregory.

And he reported Alan Dershowitz on Piers Morgan said Greenwald hates America.


This was a special pleasure to read.

"Edward Snowden has said, 'I've committed a serious crime,' the newspaper has put this out there," noted Piers Morgan.

"Surely he [Greenwald] should be prepared to answer questions about whether anything they have done – in cahoots with this guy, we don't know how far he goes – anything they've done borders on criminality. 

"I think it's a perfectly reasonable question."

Dershowitz, for his part, insisted there is no gray area:

"Well, it doesn't border on criminality – it's right in the heartland of criminality. 

"The statute itself, does punish the publication of classified material, if you know that it's classified," explained the guest. 

"Greenwald – in my view – clearly has committed a felony."

Continuing his assessment of the reporter, Dershowitz held little back:

"Greenwald's a total phony. 

"He is anti-American, he loves tyrannical regimes, and he did this because he hates America. 

"This had nothing to do with publicizing information."

Allred, meanwhile, questioned Greenwald's concern with Gregory's question, and moreover, wondered if "The Guardian" columnist may need to rework his business card:

"It's bizarre that he's really upset that that question is being asked. It's an obvious question," she said.

Farley reports the Russian ambassador said Snowden is not within Russian territory and so US demands for his extradition are inappropriate.

And Farley reports Julian Assange says Snowden is “in a safe place.”

More on the war on women


Feminist paranoia and projection worked so well last summer the left has never given up that “war on women” trope.

For the men, one assumes this is pragmatic playing along, unless it's just another kind of dhimmitude.

Reputedly, that's the way things went with J. S. Mill.

Yet one has to think that's exceptional.

On the other hand, for some of the girls, at least, that labeling is perfectly sincere.

Like blacks who see racist mockery in every white man's smile, this is really the way they see the world.

For them, politics is just the battle of the sexes conducted by other means.

For them, it’s all about Patriarchy.

Or is it advancement of the Matriarchate some of them so long for, in their dreams?



And remember this?

Justice Ginsburg is right about Roe

The good is oft interred with their bones



Whatever change there actually was in policy towards Russia, China, etc. when Obama came in and whatever good it did don’t matter at all.

The right wing noise machine is back to painting Obama as a weak little girlie-man.

But this doesn’t quite vindicate Steverino’s prognostication of yesterday, since the more firmly malicious right, the hypocritical right, and the paleocon and libertarian right continue to root for Snowden even as they laugh at Obama for his inability to nab the kid and stop the leaks.

Cheering Greenwald and treason, some because it’s just another stick to use on Obama’s head and some because they really are as loony as Greenwald.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The odd couple, John Kerry and Lindsay Graham, ask Russia to hand him over


Worth a try.

Interesting this puts LG in opposition to the professional right, currently in cahoots with the radical left in undermining US national security just to be able to bash Barack Obama.

Ollie Stone for nuclear power?



Well, at any rate, that will put a spike in any claims the entire left is united against nukes.

I wonder what he thinks about genetically modified food crops.

David Gregory for national security



Why, indeed?

The little bastard should be in prison.

Better him than that patsy, Snowden.

They should have arrested him at the airport.

And I love GG’s shocked reply.

Greenwald replied on the show Sunday that it was "pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies."

Wow.

That’s all he’s got?

Loyalty to the guild trumps everything?

Substitute “shoemaker” and see how that idiotic protest reads.

Looks like Gregory scared the little twit, too.

Too bad Gregory is such an incompetent stumblebum.

Gregory Fires Back At Greenwald: He Should Take On Issues ‘Rather Than Going After The Questioner’

Little pukes like Greenwald seriously think we should all trust them to make the call in the public good when publication conflicts with national security, rather than the government.

But the government actually cares about US national security and Greenwald hates America, and loves himself and his own career, far too much.

I do not trust him nor any journo to triumph over professional and personal business interest, and even over their own political animus, and make the call right, safeguarding the public interest in secrecy against their own interest in spilling the beans, any more than I trust coal mine operators to give adequate care to mine safety and workers' rights against their own interests without the government making them do it.

Nor should you.

Of course, Gregory was only talking about prosecution of Greenwald for helping Snowden escape arrest and extradition to the US for trial.

Like helping a bank robber, murderer, or infamous embezzler flee.

I am talking about prosecuting him for his role in getting all this stuff splashed all over the world's front pages.

Who spilled the beans to the enemy?

Greenwald and the Guardian.

Snowden only spilled them to Greenwald.

Yesterday’s hero, today’s slug



They have been lionizing him for his role in pushing for “immigration reform,” meaning amnesty and a quickie path to the voting booth for about 11 million illegal Mexicans now in the US.

All part of the lefty effort to pad the Democratic demographic lead in the voting booth and continue to brown America against its will, hoping to end America's history as not only the greatest power but the greatest white power in the world.

Now the professional left is punching him for his attitude toward Snowden, the NSA, leaks, the fight against Muslim terrorism, and all that “national security state” stuff.

Though they may have been the first to say so, it is most certainly not just Republicans who think of this guy in particular and the leaker industry in general as a bunch of stupid traitors, though that is exactly what the professional left wants us to believe, just as they want us to believe they are the patriots every time they stab national security in the back.


The accusers could even be right, assuming the leaks gave "aid and comfort" to al-Qaeda or the Taliban, the only people with whom we are now at war.

Article III, Section 3 of the US Constitution.

Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. 

On the other hand, in this text, while it looks like “enemies” might refer not to the broader group of those bearing ill-will but only to parties with which the US is actually at war, it also looks like we don't have to read it that way.

It seems a fair construction to take it as referring even to the broader class of hostiles.

And in that case Snowden had better find the deepest hole he can.

Who do you suppose favor a narrow reading on this one, liberals or conservatives?

National security aficions or enemies of "the national security state"?

And if Snowden is a traitor, what is Greenwald?

Snowden has not been charged with treason, of course, and is unlikely to be.

He has been charged with espionage.


NBC reports,

Snowden has been charged with three violations: theft of government property and two offenses under the espionage statutes, specifically giving national defense information to someone without a security clearance and revealing classified information about "communications intelligence."

Each of the charges carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.

As I have said before, because of the power of the press in America, authorities have to throw the book at pipsqueak leakers who spill the beans to one unimportant guy, but leave untouched that same guy, though he tells the whole world and is the one truly giving aid or comfort to our enemies.

Make no mistake.

Greenwald and many others are hiding behind a probably accurate but certainly stupid interpretation of the First Amendment, else they would stand targets of charges of treason even more clearly deserved than the leakers.

An interpretation that makes the press lords autonomous little monarchs who, apart from libel and the like, legally can do no wrong by what they print or say, completely untouchable and uncontrollable.

And to hear them tell it their total exemption from being called to account is an absolute necessity of democracy and liberty, though no other industry in the universe is trusted to police itself and stop itself harming the public good.

All of that is egregious, self-serving eyewash.

Media conglomerates and newspaper companies have grown too big and too politically powerful in recent decades.

Time to break them up.

Time to revive the Fairness Doctrine.

Time to to put a muzzle on them.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

But of course there are witches.

It is likely there have nearly always been witches in nearly all societies.

Think of Medea, Jason's wife.

Where appeal is made to dark powers and the black arts are practiced, there is witchcraft or something like enough.

Papa Doc held down his people in terror of the tonton macoot, yes.

But also in terror of himself, the evil master of voodoo sorcery.

It is only enlightened boobs, generally lefties and liberals like Arthur Miller, who insist with bland inconsequence that there are no witches because there is no Satan,  there are neither devils nor demons, and there are no dark gods.

Even Mencken, notorious iconoclast and independent mind, bought that line, since no one has ever advanced any other reason for the claim, egregiously false but that he endorsed, that there are not and never have been witches.

As if to say there are no priests because there are no gods.

Like priests, witches live on superstition.

Unlike them - well,  unlike most priests of most religions - witches live by terror of themselves and awful faith in their abilities to harm others.

They pander to and encourage malice and terrify people into obedience.

What makes their viciousness tolerable is that a man who has paid a witch to curse his neighbor has not paid a hit man to kill him.

And that is all.

Headed for “a democratic country”


By way of Moscow and Havana, he’s trying for Caracas or Quito, both currently in the hands of democratic worshipers of that sterling example of democracy, Fidel Castro.

Oliver Stone must be chuckling.

A revealingly large swath of the left is chuckling with him.

Let me know when those abysmal hypocrites at Fox start to prioritize US national security over the joys of Obama bashing.

[Update, 062413 0502 hrs EDT.

Whoa! Maybe already.

Steve M at NMMNB.


Stevie is an enemy of “the national security state” and yet whines about media stereotyping of the Republicans as stronger on defense than the Democrats.


First you are the image and then you complain about it.

/Update]

How much of the fan base for Assange, Snowden, and Bradley Manning is made up of instinctive anarchists, crackpots with daddy issues delighted to see authority fail?

Any authority.

Fail at anything.

The same subject, continued



Fans of the 2nd commonly insist on the gun rights of non-criminals and non-crazies.

On the whole, they advocate laws permitting everyone to not just own but carry who is neither the one nor the other.

But I have seen none urge general defiance of licensing laws where they are in place, though now and again some of them go in for a bit of ostentatious civil disobedience as part of, say, a gun rights demonstration.

King Salim Shabazz, of the Philadelphia chapter of the New Black Panthers, is black, has a facial tattoo that says “Kill Whitey,” and was arrested for carrying an unlicensed and loaded weapon.

That gun rights aficionados have not, across the land, risen in protest of this arrest is cited by Steve M., as proof of their slimy and egregious white racism.

The Steverino cannot get enough of kicking whites in the balls, by no means limiting himself to due occasions.

Consistent or not with their gun-rights principles – and I would say more so than not – their pleased reaction to the arrest of this armed and dangerous racist thug doing his best to poison the world with his hate is perfectly understandable and hardly blameworthy.

Nor even racist.

And this vicious little article?

Just more stoking of liberal racism – and more cuddling up to black voters who, more often and much more openly than whites, have a serious problem with race, and base their voting choices on just that in large part.

PS.

Yes, of course.

Mecker is a loon.

Look at him.

Don’t look at King Salim Shabazz, by far the more dangerous and more loony of the two.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hate Whitey


Steve M, whom I believe to be white, is all the same a partisan exponent of hate directed at the white people of America.

Writing of Snowden hiding out in Hong Kong, he says this.

He'll probably never be extradited, and we'll probably never change the NSA program. 

And there the matter will stand.

I'm getting restless. 

I want this to turn into a summer blockbuster.

In my version, money from the Chinese government and from radical Icelandic billionaires has enabled Snowden to retreat to an armed compound, like the one Marlon Brando had in Apocalypse Now, where he practices martial arts and speaks in Zen koans.

One night, President Obama sends in SEAL Team Six for an exfil operation. 

Snowden is taken alive -- he is white, after all -- and is returned to the U.S. to face charges.

Would anyone at any normal opinion outlet of conservatism dare to heap such a constant flow of shit on the black people of America as liberals have heaped, and continue to heap, upon whites?

They have engaged in and continue a deliberate propaganda of decades of hate, directed at whites in general and the white people of the US in particular.

They hate whites so much, or so much want to encourage hatred of whites, that in order to punch us in the mouth they blandly endorse the idiotic lie, falsified at a glance, that OBL was not white.

On the right, anybody doing anything like this gets fired.

Another glance at the race-baiting, identity politics of the left.

Like a bunch of crazy Jews collaborating with the Nazis.

Heydrich was rumored to be Jewish, for example.

A convergence of enemies


The far right will say or do anything to harm Obama.

The far left will say or do anything to harm America.

And this is a natural for the jerk extremists on both ends of the spectrum who call themselves by the flattering appellation, “civil libertarians.”

Their new common hero is that booby, Snowden.

Everybody between those extremes despises the kid and, exasperated with recent challenges to national security supported by them both, wants to see the government win one.

And win it fair and square.

Not like what it did to that PFC dufus Bradley Manning, who leaked to Julian Assange.




The Guardian is just loving itself to pieces and laughing its ass off at the US on all this.


The real problem, of course, is that the pressmen, who own all of the propaganda machinery in the world, have forever constantly blared the lie that their choices what beans to spill cannot and ought not be controlled by law or punished in any case for anything, apart, perhaps, from libeling private persons or maybe corporations.

On the left we have Common Dreams, Fire Dog Lake, and all the leading fans of that jerk, Glenn Greenwald, and his safe-house, The Guardian.

On the right, with their usual unchecked lust for instant gratification at any delayed cost, the bomb throwers at Fox have betrayed the work of their former heroes, George Bush and Dick Cheney, and their quondam neocon allies in order to hammer the president.

They have joined the paleocons and libertarians in terrifying their idiot audience with their new bogey, borrowed from the firmer and really hard left, the “national security state.”

The politicians are terrified of them and the state dares not touch them.

And so they cannot hope to punish their real targets and the real villains of this story, the self-seeking glory-hounds, the corporate self-seekers, the bomb-throwers, and the ideological America-haters who staff and control too much of journalism.

And so they go after the schmucks, the sacrificial lambs, the tools and dupes of the pressmen, the leakers.

And even here their means of exemplary punishment are way too limited, thanks to the triumphs of Frank Church and his like, enabled by the stupidities of the Vietnam War, the Watergate burglary and cover-up, and our national security adventures in Latin America in second half of the 20th Century.


So they rely on the usual contempt of American law enforcement machinery for a defendant’s rights to reasonable bail and a speedy trial, imposing draconian punishment without trail for that very, very long stretch between arrest and verdict.

Those who want to deny the government the ability to do much of anything, and especially much of anything military or in the sphere of foreign policy, in secret, sell their agenda as crucial to democracy, freedom, liberty, and the safety of the people from government abuse, selling points notable for their perennial successes with the American booboisie and their special resonance on the right.

But what did you think they would say?

That they are out to cripple American foreign, military, and national security policy and restrict the government to doing nothing at all without them, the press, shouting in their ears and blaring scandal about it, at will, controlling their every move as if with paralyzing jolts from a cattle-prod?

But that is exactly what they want, these so-called anti-imperialists and anti-fascists, these anarchist baboons, many of them because they hate and want to “bring down” America or at least totally cripple American political and military globalism.

And others – so many others – merely because they are stupid.

I, too, oppose, in my way and manner, American globalism.

But I would not see America made powerless to prevent missteps most of which (not all, certainly), in my view, have been altruistic or anyway by no means deplorable in intention and to our own loss.

The war in Vietnam, for example, was a mix of altruism, stupidity, and rigidity born of cold war panic – America’s “inordinate fear of communism,” to use the words of Jimmy Carter.

Compared to which the Contra war against the Sandinistas was a reasonable choice dictated by national interest.

Much like the green-lighting (could we have stopped it, really?) of the Chilean coup against Allende.

For that matter, had Kennedy gone to war in Cuba, for instance, that would have made a lot more sense than Johnson going to war in Vietnam.

Anyway, many of those who rightly supported Obama against Romney as by far the lesser evil have now gone into steady and more or less uninterrupted opposition, not only regarding domestic economic policy but regarding that nasty old national security state.

With friends like these  . . . .

Friday, June 21, 2013

Feminism unveiled in a war against men




It is just possible the administration is right and Taranto is right about General Helms and Captain Herrera.

It is just possible Senator McCaskill is playing to her feminist constituency and the current wave of outrage against sexual assault and rape in the military.

As you recall, the military is almost entirely made up of adolescents and young adults in very good health and fine physical condition, still driven almost as mad by their hormones as younger teens and still plagued with brains not quite fully formed, or only recently knit together.

For as long as there have been armies there have been military towns with an exceptional quota of sex workers of all kinds and exceptional levels of the kinds of violent crime and generally irresponsible and damaging behavior common among males of that age, and especially common where they gather in large concentrations.

And for that long sensible folks have warned their girls to stay away.

Joining the service, oneself, is the opposite of staying away.

The increase in the number of women in close proximity to all those hormone crazed young males has resulted in an totally predictable, totally predicted rise in sexual predation.

Throw lambs to wolves, why don’t you, and then blame the wolves?

Well, yes, of course it’s their fault.

But what about you, you bloody moron?

Oh, given the details of the situation and that Helms was right that the prosecution had not made its case, why didn’t the Captain get to stay in the service?

Why was he forced to plead to a lesser charge that would also have been deserved only if the original charge stuck?

And why is there no way to punish women who falsely accuse men and ruin their careers?

(Or maybe there is such a way, generally?)

Decriminalize marijuana?



That could help a lot.

And stop the draconian punishment of users of coke, heroin, etc.

Focus on distribution and sales.

My two cents.

One of those teachable moments


For those who aren’t quite clear on what’s at issue between the two parties, Georgia Logothetis at KOS has this quoted from an NYT editorial about the failure of the farm bill.

Mr. Boehner was unable to win support from 62 Republicans on the party’s conservative fringe, who cast no votes because they believed the $20.5 billion cut in the food stamps program did not go deep enough.

Nearly all Democrats also voted no because that draconian cut would have eliminated food assistance for nearly two million people.

It appears some Democrats, who might have voted for the House bill, were repelled by a last-minute Republican amendment that added a punitive work requirement to food stamp eligibility rules.

That came on top of an offensive amendment Republicans pushed through on Wednesday to authorize states to conduct drug testing of food stamp applicants, despite studies showing they are no more likely than nonbeneficiaries to be using drugs.

People change their opinions about lots of things as they go through life, sometimes moving in circles among a small set of alternatives repeatedly adopted and abandoned, perhaps even in the same order.

But I have been on the right side of issues like these all along, with perhaps a few insignificant, brief, and rare lapses.

And the Times has always been the best paper in the country, not only for its intelligent news coverage but also for its reliable humanity.

She also quotes the L A Times editorial board, also for the party of humanity.

"The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat," Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) said in quoting the Bible last month of the 48 million hungry Americans, mostly working families and senior citizens, who require federal help to put food on the table. 

That misguided principle stands at the center of a House farm bill that threatens $20.5 billion in cuts over a decade to food stamps, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

Pursuing the sacred cause of deficit reduction, Congress would sooner shrink aid to struggling families than substantially reform farm subsidies, of which Fincher, who owns a family cotton farm, is one of the largest recipients in Tennessee history.

Update, 062213 at 1029 hrs EDT.

On the other hand, the regime of farm subsidies is part of a large package of New Deal and post-New Deal creations that were aimed at creating a stable and reliable supply of cheap and healthy food for all Americans, most especially the most down-and-out. 

Why have liberals almost to a man turned against it?

Because American cheap food keeps out the more expensive products of Mexicans and other, poorer foreign producers, to whom cosmolibs - soi-disant "cosmopolitan liberals" - say we morally owe the business, in preference to our own producers and our own consumers.

Perhaps they think the impact on poor Americans can be mitigated by means-tested, direct aid programs like SNAP (food stamps), though they usually dislike means testing.

How's that working out?

You can have a job or you can have a life


Me, I am among those who have always wanted both, and I don’t care who knows it.

18 minutes into the first episode, this season, Linden warns Holder not to obsess or he’ll wind up like her in a minimum wage job (so how is she paying for that beautiful house?) as a fire-guard or something on the ferry.

At that point she seems to see the importance of balancing professional and personal lives.

But within the first two episodes she will have refused to move to Chicago to have a bigger role in her son’s life, dumped her new boyfriend (a poor fit, anyway), and jumped back into her 60 hour a week crime-fighter mode.

Holder, meanwhile, partnered with an 8-hours-and-out kind of guy, has been racking up a string of solved cases and is moving in on the sergeant’s exam.

And he has a beautiful ADA girlfriend who, in a single ten-second speech, clues us all in that she wants to have babies and raise kids behind a white picket fence with him, as soon as possible.

But the 8-hour partner is a time-server and Holder’s partnership with him is about done by the end of the fourth episode.

Will his prospects with the ADA survive this season’s plunge into crime-fighter obsession?

Will he make sergeant?

Cop shows and doctor shows always do this and it’s just nuts.

Even cops and doctors deserve a real life.

Competition from workaholic losers with nothing to go home to when the shift is over must make it tough for the ones who want more.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Forbidden history: looking back on the Civil War


Lincoln could have let the southern states go and chose not to.

Whether the world is a better place, all things considered, today as a result is impossible to say.

Slavery might have persisted in the South and in the world longer than it did, had Lincoln let the Southern states go in peace.

But maybe neither the United States of America nor the Confederate States of America would have got involved in The Great War.

Maybe there would never have been a red Russian Revolution.

Maybe there would never have been a Second World War or both the US and the CS would have stayed out of that, too.

And even if there had been a red Russian Revolution there could well have been no cold war involving either the US or the CS.

How’s that for a peace dividend?

The only clear good resulting from the Civil War was the destruction of slavery in the South and its end in the whole United States of America.

Maybe that sped its end elsewhere in the world, but maybe not.

The negative fallout has been the entire history of America’s rise to globalism in which were squandered enormous treasure and oceans of blood, plenty of both being American.

And what about Lincoln’s decision, at the time?

Secession per se was not worth a war to prevent and an altruistic war fought by the boys of the North to save the slaves of the South was foolish and unjust to the people of the North, including but not only the draft dodgers and rioters and the men who went when Lincoln called to meet their early doom.

Anyway, water under the bridge, no?

Split milk?

But it’s an issue today because some Yankee Democrats are intent on blackening the memory of the Confederacy and its defenders in the South while foolish conservative neo-Confederates are only too glad to rise to the bait.

In the long run, and maybe not even that long a run, defending the Confederacy is a suicidal policy for Republicans, nationally.

It all too powerfully strengthens their image as a basically white, Southern, and rural party and the image of the Democrats as a national, multi-racial, and urban party.

And right now the image and the reality behind it appear both to be strangling the Republican future.

Hence the Democrats are only too glad to provoke them into such defenses.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side of the street, even when alert conservatives take steps to alter that image there are others who slap them around for it, heroically standing tall for Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee.



And the Democrats smile.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Least favorite policier?



Too much daytime melodrama?

Too much smartmouth cop?

Too many bad puns?

Another broken clock


And I pretty much never agree with this writer, either.

Still, when you’re right, you’re right.

The amnesty mob vs. America

Successful control of vocabulary



When did “intolerant” get to mean “typically Christian”?

Neat move, that.

My favorite policier


This season, they are giving us a wonderful tour of the lower depths, the place of the most desperate, resource-less, and defenseless of our society.

The framing and photography are excellent, right along with the music, and they do bleak and miserable better than anybody.

But they shoot the program so dark I had to figure out how to turn the brightness up and the contrast down on my TV set.

In fact I had to max the brightness and, surprisingly, this didn't ruin the picture on other channels or for other shows.

Didn't improve the picture, but didn't make it worse.

Surprising, how much of acting is actually in the detail of facial expressions that's lost when the picture is too dark.

Even the coarse-grained look was being lost in so many of their scenes.

Couldn't make out anything in the cattle-shed, for instance.

Or anything of Ray Seward's tattoos.

Or much of Holder's, either, for that matter.

[Aside.

Have tattoos reached the upper strata of society, as seen through TV eyes? 

Holder and the runaways on the street, the pimp, and the convict on death row all have tattoos. 

Does Linden have a tat? 

Is this supposed to be a kind of brand worn by the inhabitants of society's lowest rungs?

As wearing multiple rings on the same hand was once a mark of the lower-class female?

/Aside.]

And the shock and horror on Linden's face upon discovering the body dumping ground at the end of the second episode were totally invisible.

Four episodes in and, to a surprising extent, it's the Holder show, this season.

They have him in a suit, like all the other dicks in the department, though he wears it like the slob he has been since the first season.

He's the only guy in the department who wears his tie half-open and his white shirt unbuttoned at the neck, even when he has the suit-jacked on.

Linden is still wearing her bluejeans and sweaters, though she resumed her place in the Seattle Police Department as a homicide dick and works in the same HQ and set of offices as Holder and the other men in suits.

And still what looks like zero makeup.

And it occurs to me she might be the only female among them.

This is actually a great show and I have no idea how they can keep it up for more seasons.

But I hope they figure it out.

Holder, now, is almost at the point of separation from his intolerable and apparently time-serving partner, Carl Reddick, a part played by a fine actor, Gregg Henry.

He was great with Lucy Liu (she was very amusing) and Mel Gibson in Payback.

It would be a shame to see the character totally written out, though I say that only for the sake of the actor.

As to the character, well, the skids were under him from the beginning, weren't they?

The actors doing the street-kid roles are doing some fine acting, too.

PS, the voices are often so low and indistinct I replay scenes on mute so I can read the captions.

And what's up with Ray Seward, a remarkably literate and perceptive man, given his family and criminal history, who seems not to be guilty of the crime for which he is about to die?

Painting your enemy in false colors


Recall that Democrats spent an entire summer, last year, combating a wave of conservative clericalism, largely successful at the state level, by saying not a single word in recognition of what it was and instead misdescribing it from first to last as a war against women conducted by the old white men of the Republican Party.

Recall that they are continuing the same line against the current Republican bill in the congress to restrict abortion at will to the first 20 weeks and allow it only to protect the health of the mother or in case of reported rape or incest after that.

Hysterical alarms about a war of old, white men against women did a much better job of mobilizing the young, the female, and the non-white, identity-groups whose engagement and voting behavior are quite variable and on whom Democrats depend for success, without at the same time provoking dangerous ambivalence than calls to resist the moral authority and political power of the nation's Christian clergy could possibly have have done.

Lately, an aide to Senator Rubio, when quizzed about congressional negotiations on a pending bill, gave utterance to a lying plutocratic argument for immigration.

As reported by Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog, a New Yorker reporter wrote,

"There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can't cut it," a Rubio aide told me. 

"There shouldn't be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can't get it, can't do it, don't want to do it. And so you can't obviously discuss that publicly."

Quite true, of course.

The lie is in the unstated claim that we are now at that point, as I wrote in a comment at NMMNB, mistakenly attributing the remark to the senator, himself.

Rubio is talking like a plute in a depression pretending to be an owner of a booming industry in a period of 2 or 3 percent unemployment, explaining we need to import labor because the domestic supply is down to the unemployables.

The reason for the pose is the desire to drive down wages even further by flooding the country with low end labor used to working for a pittance and willing to work, in the USA, for notably less than any American and be honestly grateful for the job.

So, what's the actual unemployment rate, now?

7.6 percent, right?

But instead of calling him out for this imposture I suppose it's better polemical strategy to attack him for what he did not do, for insulting the honor and dignity of American labor.

And for joining into the chorus of self-righteous rich dick Patrician class whose moral take is that the Populares buy votes by throwing crumbs to the Roman mob.

Steve M., you see, had labeled the remark another note in the right-wing chorus singing that 47% of the country has been bought by the Democrats.

It is the ancient song of the Optimates that the Populares have bought the Roman mob, the complaint of the nobles that Robin Hood, after all, was a mere highwayman who bought popular favor with stolen goods.

And it has been proved effective to bash Republicans for harboring such views.

But when I wrote my comment I had missed the real point of the mischaracterization.

I noted it in a later comment, still mistaken about the actual origin of the contentious remark.

Oh, wait. 

Dems can't attack Rubio head on for what he actually did because what he actually did was make a lying plute defense of immigration.

Exposure of his deceitful pose focuses attention on strong premises for an argument against immigration that no one can fail to see as just that.

So instead Dems attack him for what he did not do.

He did not join the right wing chorus of whiners whose moral take is that the Democrats buy votes by throwing crumbs to the American mob.

Pretty big mob, too, given their estimate of 47% of the whole people.