Archive for November 30th, 2011

Credit where due.

Nov 30, 2011 in Drugs

If more politicians talked like this, and were actually willing to act on it, there might be some hope for America exiting this war on its own peaceful citizens. I’m doubly impressed that it’s coming from a Republican. Unfortunately, while President Obama has given some lip service to the senselessness of the Drug War and must surely know about the racial disparities in its enforcement, it hasn’t even been on his radar and the DEA under him is going bananas on harmless marijuana users. It sickens me to think that it’ll take a Republican with the “toughness” credibility to implement sane measures, because all it would take is a Democrat with actual toughness.

-hw

Our post-Constitutional era.

Nov 30, 2011 in Abortion, Christian Right, Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, Politics, Religion, Sophistry, Straight-up madness, teh gay, Torture, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

This is becoming inevitable, as the Republican Party, while ever ready to say the word, “Constitution,” is a complete and udder fraud on the subject, and has categorically dismissed most of the Amendments and the underlying philosophy behind the Constitution’s writing.

Now, I know it is required that I disclose the presence of a certain contingent of chickenshit Democrats who regularly cave whenever Republicans get hot and bothered, but they’re never the driving force, and they’re a minority within the Democrat Party, so there. It’s the wholly unbridled unified army of the Republican Order that drives an agenda that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, except as their protections pertain to white Christian heterosexual males.

1. They’re actively pro-torture, even though they square that by declaring any form of torture they like to not be torture. Simple, right? Not only is the Constitution unambiguously against cruel or unusual punishment, i.e. torture, but the entire history of the country at war has hewn to the same principles. Ronald Reagan was explicit in his condemnation of torture. The Republican Party today is best represented by Rick Santorum telling John McCain that he doesn’t understand torture.

2. They’re consistently against or dismissive of the religious freedom of gays, gay-supporting straights, Wiccans, atheists, Muslims. That the First Amendment ever be read in context with a world of varying beliefs is verboten. It’s about the Christian right to inject Christianity into anything they do, even and especially as a public employee. But when it comes to gays, the Christian right directly posits its beliefs as important enough to cancel out those of gays and to directly affect how gays live their lives by forbidding them marriage. The thought that Jesus might look kindly upon a loving gay couple cannot be entertained.

3. Search and seizure, forget it! Everything is open, up for grabs, ready to be peeped upon by Uncle Sam whenever he wants. The Drug War paved the way, the War on Terror planted the settlement and opened shop. Merely being suspected of having drugs can result in asset forfeiture, meaning your property rights are violated without due process, the police department acting as judge and jury. The burden of proof is often reversed onto suspects in such cases, and property is rarely returned regardless of charges.

Every phone and internet conversation has been opened up, and siphons through the NSA’s data miners.

Binney, for his part, believes that the agency now stores copies of all e-mails transmitted in America, in case the government wants to retrieve the details later. In the past few years, the N.S.A. has built enormous electronic-storage facilities in Texas and Utah. Binney says that an N.S.A. e-mail database can be searched with “dictionary selection,” in the manner of Google. After 9/11, he says, “General Hayden reassured everyone that the N.S.A. didn’t put out dragnets, and that was true. It had no need—it was getting every fish in the sea.”
Binney considers himself a conservative, and, as an opponent of big government, he worries that the N.S.A.’s data-mining program is so extensive that it could help “create an Orwellian state.” Whereas wiretap surveillance requires trained human operators, data mining is automated, meaning that the entire country can be watched. Conceivably, U.S. officials could “monitor the Tea Party, or reporters, whatever group or organization you want to target,” he says. “It’s exactly what the Founding Fathers never wanted.”

Power creeps, as the Founders realized, and always, always had to be balanced.

4. While ever ready to claim that rights not spelled out in the Constitution aren’t really rights, directly contradicting the Ninth Amendment, the Republican Party has declared that money equals speech. Why then should I be punished for bribing a police officer or judge? I’m merely talking to the them.

No, anybody knows exactly what money in politics means, it means buying politicians, period. Money buys politicians, it buys media outlets, it pays people to spout theories that testify to the greatness of the wealthy, and it’s all done for the sake of ever more money. As Danny DeVito said in The Heist, “That’s why they call it money.” It’s not the same as speaking your mind, it’s engaging in a transaction. There’s a reason “money talks” is a cliche. With money, speech isn’t so important anymore. It becomes the pretty envelope on a fat wad of cash.

5. Nor does it say anywhere in the Constitution that corporations constitute distinct immortal citizens with full rights. The very construction of a corporation is a legal designation, a product of government legislation. Who ever talks about it in those terms? Certainly not Republicans. Apparently God made corporations?

Ruling in Citizens United that not only could these corporations donate unlimited funds to candidates, but do so anonymously? Does anybody on this planet think the politicians don’t know exactly who donated? It merely creates a gigantic firewall against the public, keeping them out of the process, refusing to tell them who’s bought their supposed representative.

Jesus declared that the rich would not easily find their way into Heaven. He said no such thing about those with lots of opinions. Yet a party built on Judeo-Christian superiority delivers the sentiment, “money equals speech,” to us with deeply sincere faces, even strident faces. Add to that, “a corporation is a person,” whereas one soulless legal entity is equated to a human being, and the conundrum deepens. How do these people maintain such cognitive dissonance? With great strain.

6. Indefinite detention. Like torture, it is the complete and utter opposite of each and every plank, nail, and window in the Constitution’s house. It is the Gulag. It is the dungeon. It is the concentration camp. And now one of the two major parties has not merely let it fly under their radar, but made it their agenda. Take a few Dem politican scalps if you will, but only lefties and a few libertarians (where are you guys when we need you?) are going to bring this fight at all. Lesson from 2010: Letting more Republicans get into office is not a solution.

7. General Welfare: Abolishing the EPA? YHGTBFKM (You have got to be fucking kidding me). The Koch brothers need to dump more poison in our groundwater, Michele, won’t you help them?

The entire concept of the general welfare of the country has completely evacuated the Republican Party. In their eyes, fuck the general welfare. People get what they deserve, and if your life sucks, blame yourself. Of course, if everybody did a lot more looking in the mirror at themselves, we wouldn’t have many Republicans left. Instead, they survey only the oily shell of the individual, and perceive nothing of the complex lattice-work of society that supports their existence.

If you don’t fund schools, you end up living in a world of noisy uneducated people giving you rotten service, and you can only keep moving to new suburbs so long. If you don’t fund police departments, you end up with high crime rates and decreased property values. If you fund prisons while not funding rehab clinics, your Drug War will result in financial incentives that outweigh regular crime prevention. A Drug War waged primarily on minorities will turn jail into a martyrdom ritual, and your children will revere felons as heroes.

President Obama turned the health care system into a universal program, for which he is reviled by the right (not to ignore the political convenience…had there perhaps been a President Romney in 2008, his Massachusetts plan would be considered to be a rightful and just conservative blueprint to accomplish the goals of liberals through free-market means). The rather explicit permission of the Commerce Clause gives the government more than fair leeway to point out that uninsured people merely transfer the cost of their care to others. A mandate is really little more than a distribution of that cost among all citizens. You might not like it, but who’s going to be there for you if you have a stroke in twenty minutes and spend your remaining decades fully paralyzed?

8. Abortion. The government should enter the womb and put up a sign telling the mother to keep providing the nutrients but she’s not in charge anymore? That assertion of domain over the entirety of her body and its natural processes isn’t listed in the Constitution as a specific right, thus it does not exist?

As I mentioned, this is in direct violation of the Ninth Amendment, which explicitly states that the enumeration of certain rights is not meant to disparage the others. The Constitution is not a finite list of rights, and it says so clearly! And it certainly grants the government no power over a woman’s reproductive process. Anti-abortion sentiments were rare at the time of the writing of the Constitution, unfit for a special extension of government powers. And yet as the subject has become a crusade for religious fundamentalists, attempts to justify its Constitutionality have naturally occurred. Their crowing is as predictable as a rooster.

______

Republicans have in many cases not merely gone passive about certain rights, they’ve turned outright aggressive against them. Such a republic facing this prospect would rightly be deemed to be in or near its death throes, about to face a civil war. No matter how casually Republicans treat the Constitution, they’re emphatic about it, often moreso than Democrats. And that should just never be the case, because the only people I see left standing up for the Constitution anymore are left. And if libertarians were to be believed for half the things they say about liberty, there wouldn’t be Republican majorities anywhere.

-hw

Killing America to save America.

Nov 30, 2011 in Clueless Conservatives, Constitution, Disappointing Dems, National Security, War on Terra, Where's the outrage?!?!

Fortunately, the White House is issuing a pretty stiff veto threat to a law invalidating the US Constitution and pretty much Western Civilization for those accused of terrorism (or supporting terrorists, of course, or possibly knowing something about terrorists…) and locking people up indefinitely, US citizen or otherwise.

Yet, as usual, we have a Republican Party that long ago stopped caring about due process for non-Republicans and enough chickenshit Democrats peeling off at the slightest whiff of being “weak” to get it passed in the Senate. Where’s Newt Gingrich with a history lesson when you need him?

-hw