Tuesday, June 14, 2016

As President Obama & Mrs. Clinton ask: What's in a name, you should ask: What isn't in it?

What is in a name?
President Obama and Hillary Clinton, after avoiding a certain name for a number of years, are now turning back and asking 'What's in a name?'

CNN reports that on being pressed on the matter of using "Islamic Terrorism", President Obama 'went on a tirade':
"He hammered Trump over his "dangerous" mindset and "loose talk and sloppiness" about who exactly America was fighting, implying that Trump's remarks were actually driving Muslims who might be prone to radicalization into the arms of ISIS.

And he doubled down to repudiate Republican campaigns that he was abetting terrorism by refusing to use the words "radical Islamic terrorism."

"What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change?" Obama asked during remarks at the Treasury Department. "Would it make ISIL less committed to try and kill Americans?" he continued, using a different acronym for ISIS.

"Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above," he said. "Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away.""
The Washington Times notes of Hillary:
"Mrs. Clinton said she preferred the term “radical jihadism.”

“To me, radical jihadism, radical Islamism, I think, means the same thing. I’m happy to say either, but that’s not the point,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show. “All of his talk and demagoguery and rhetoric is not going to solve the problem. I’m not going to demonize and demagogue and declare war on an entire religion.”

The former secretary of state later dropped “radical Islam” when she delivered a speech in Cleveland, where she vowed to defeat terrorism with a sustained air campaign and the help of an international coalition."
And, no, of course "Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away", is quite correct, merely using a name, in and of itself, does and will do, nothing, nothing at all, and "demagoguery and rhetoric is not going to solve the problem" is so very, very true, they are quite right there.

But that hardly makes it unimportant. In fact, the only thing their comments and questions serve to do, is to distract the listener (that'd be you America) from what is worthwhile in that frustration which they are now responding to. Finally.

It might make things a bit clearer, to take a moment to ask another question:
"Why avoid using the correct name?"
That opens up some interesting issues... yes indeedy.

You see, what with few people today being nominalists, the name itself isn't the issue, but what it identifies IS, and not using the correct name, avoiding using the more meaningful name, using other less appropriate names, can succeed only in misidentifying the nature of the problem that is being spoken of - as President 'adjunct professor' Obama, and Mrs. 'the meaning of IS is' Clinton, must surely be aware of. And directing people's concerns and efforts towards a misidentified, or by that means, unknown, purpose, is potentially a very dangerous thing, especially when you're talking about the security of an entire nation.

Why don't they understand this? Or worse, why do they understand this, and persist in the diversion?

Maybe an additional small example would help... maybe, for instance, if someone were to identify President Obama and/or Mrs. Clinton as... say... Traitors - would that be an issue?

Ahhh... I sense that that particular mis-identification might have stirred up a few emotional responses... why is that? Isn't 'traitor' simply a label for a person in leadership who fails to act decisively against an enemy? Wuh? There's more to it than that? Why quibble over details? Hmm? Because they're not traitors? Well what of it? Why demagogue on the issue, it is only a name, after all.


Hmm? Oh, you think it does matter? Really. Why?

Might it be, because a name isn't simply a sound that we mouth, but a term that serves to correctly identify and distinguish one thing, from other like things, as 'throne' and 'stool' do. More, when a name is attached to a complex concept, one that is integrated within a deep and wide ranging set of additional issues and concepts, one that is likely stir a particular response in your listener, then using the correct name can serve to motivate a people with a certain sense of mind, and determination towards a very particular purpose, and with such motivations, even an entire nation's attention and efforts can become galvanized and united towards a definite and particular goal.

So again, it's not 'what's in a name' that is the important question here, but what isn't in the name that is being used, and why are they avoiding that?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Identifying the Transgender Bathroom Issue: Flushing the West down the toilet

With all the media overload that's been put on the 'Transgender bathroom' issue, it might be worthwhile to look at it from a somewhat different perspective, one that goes in somewhere just below the froth of the spin-cycle. Unfortunately, there aren’t many of the typical articles floating around that are worth reading - mainly because most of them seem to think that the transgender issue, is about the transgendered, and if there's one thing that this latest drive towards 'toleration’ is not about, it's those afflicted with transgenderism.

Now wait, you say, these Transgender edicts and laws and demonstrations... they're all about the well intentioned concerns and efforts to make life easier for those unfortunate few afflicted with gender dysphoria... aren't they? Oh Hell no. You don't comfort the sick by inflaming their illness, nor do you afflict the healthy by forcing them to accommodate the delusions of the mentally unhealthy. What's worse, you don't impose restrictive behaviors upon all, which flatter one set of the mentally unhealthy, while enabling a more dangerously mentally ill set, the hetero sexual predator, with legal red carpet access to their prey in the most secluded and vulnerable condition - while at the same time preventing those who would defend them, from even identifying or acting upon the obvious threat. As you might be aware, identifying the obvious in that way, is... frowned upon. Why do you suppose that is?

There is one post on the issue though, by Heather MacDonald , that I can recommend, because rather than being too distracted by the transgender issues and laws themselves, she turns to some of the more fundamental issues involved. She identifies, lays fault and blame upon, the willingness of people to simply chuckle at the 'laughable' statements that have been flowing steadily out of Academia, for decades and decades. Because as she notes,
"One take-away from the transgender-bathroom wars is that the public ignores arcane academic theory at its peril. For two decades, a growing constellation of gender-studies, queer-studies, and women’s-studies departments have been beavering away at propositions that would strike many people outside academia as surprising — such as that biological sex and “gender” are mere ideological constructs imposed by a Eurocentric, heteronormative power structure. Even though skeptical journalists have regularly dived into the murky swamp of academic theory and returned bearing nuggets of impenetrable jargon and even stranger ideas, the public and most politicians have shrugged off such academic abominations, if they have taken note at all. (Senator Marco Rubio’s deplorable jab at “philosophy majors” during his presidential run demonstrated how clueless your typical politician is about the real problems in academia.)"
She's absolutely right, in that '...the public ignores arcane academic theory at its peril', but is simply noting that going to get that same public to look at these 'arcane' theories with any deeper interest? Sure, she notes how disastrous public policies have eventually followed from those who've been indoctrinated with these theories, yyyearsss down the line - as today’s issues stemmed from those theories two decades ago - but is that enough? I mean, seriously, can you imagine anything more worthy of being thought of as irrelevant by and to the public at large, than silly, unrealistic, academic theories about 'heteronormative power structures', and 'patriarchal hegemony's'? Why should they care about them? Yes, we should care, but unless people understand how to get the 'what', 'why' and 'how' of it, no one who's ignored them in the past, is going to take note of them in the future.

Isn't there something about those inane theories that should have stood out then, now and tomorrow, to alert people that they should be noted, refuted, denounced and derided as the clear and present dangers that they are to everyone from the most casual observer, to the parents of, and the students themselves, that are being subjected to them?

I believe that the answer to that is yes, there is a 'Tell' that any observer can easily identify and call them out on.

And the secret Identity Is...
There was, and still are, real, real time consequences, to the pernicious ideas of arcane wacademic theories, but it requires looking past the appearances and spin of things, it requires your not being distracted by those features that are meant to catch your attention and distract you from their real target, and thankfully in this latest issue, they've put that secret target right up front and center in their boilerplate - even though that secret is also their Achilles' heel.

To see it, ask yourself this one question:
  • What do you mean by 'identify'?
At first it would seem puzzling that there is such confusion over these issues, as the words 'Identify', or plain old 'Identity' have some fairly cut & dry definitions. For instance: Identity:
i·den·ti·ty - ˌīˈden(t)ədē/ - noun - 1. the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
, and Identify:
i·den·ti·fy - īˈden(t)əˌfī/ - verb - 1. establish or indicate who or what (someone or something) is.
synonyms: recognize, single out, pick out, spot, point out, pinpoint, put one's finger on, put a name to, name, know..."
Or IOW, to be able to identify something is to be able to distinguish one thing from another, and so become able to think more clearly about it - it is in fact one of the fundamental features of thinking itself. Now ask yourself, is that what you suppose these professors, activists and politicians are intent on doing, or avoiding doing? Is carefully Identifying what's what, what they are after? Do they themselves seem more able to identify the fundamentals of what they are yammering about - what men and women are - or do they seem astonishingly confused by the question? Look at this video, and forget about the transgender distraction for the moment, and just focus on the spectacle of the students unwillingness to identify the obvious fact that a white man identifying as a Chinese woman is and should be immediately ridiculous, but it isn't until the 5'9" man identifies as being 6'5", that finally causes some of these students to hesitate - what kind of 'education' are they receiving? What sort of education is it, whose ideas demand that you deny what you can clearly identify as being true?

The fact that they can't clearly identify or explain the positions they want you to comply with, has got to have you questioning their commitment to identifying what is real and true - doesn't it? Don't they seem more interested in passionately playing let's pretend that our positions - not reasons, but assertions - make us better than you are? It takes very little to rephrase their own statements, to identify what they intentionally evade, and to show them to be self refuting.

IOW, their "Tell" is that their reams of posturing verbiage is not meant to better reveal what is true, but to obscure the identity of what it is that they are claiming to support, they 'darken council with words without understanding'. Their 'Tell' is that their self important language of 'let’s pretend' and 'lets admire ourselves for our pretense!', consistently obscures your ability to be able to identify what it IS that they are talking about, making wise action unknowable, and unwise results probable.

Their "Tell" is to avoid identifying what they claim to be speaking about, their "Tell" is to make contradictory statements and demand that you let them get away with them, their "Tell" is to demand that, like Orwell's '1984', that we not only nod, but embrace the idea that 2+2=5, which is not simply inane, it is dangerous. And those agitating for norms and laws based upon these "Tells" are uninterested in identifying that obvious fact.

The one thing that they do seem to be interested in doing, is identifying just how much more, at this moment in time, that they can get away with, how much more they can remove from your ability to identify, and so to think clearly about, and to understand and stand up for in the world around you. No, this sudden cultural push is not about men or women 'identifying' as women or men, neither is it about being kind or tolerant towards the mentally ill, or 'fighting back!' against those who'd bully the dysphoric few, those serve as pretexts for, not the purposes of, the transgender agitators. The agitators are not being agitated up in order to help those few men or women who identify as being the opposite sex, but to take advantage of our best and brightest who have been 'educated' to the point of being unable to even identify what a man or a woman is.

And why? How well can a people who are unable or unwilling to identify what a Man or a Woman is, be counted upon to identify what an Individual Right is, or be counted upon to recognize when one is being wronged? Might that not present certain political opportunities for those whose passionate ambition is to use the power of the state to change how we all live (and even use the bathroom), for the greater good? Might that not present opportunities for those who long to live our lives for us... for us?

That, not transgenderism, is the identity of the serious issue facing us, in this and most other popular issues and causes. In much the same way that a 'Memorial Day Sale!' has far less to do with Memorial Day, than with increasing a stores' sales; the Transgender Laws, edicts and popular press, have less to do with 'the plight of the Transgendered', than with transforming and multiplying our laws into ever more versatile tools for imposing power upon the public at large, as justified on the basis of inflamed passions, rather than upon identifiable reasons – because that’s where the Power lies.

If you are unable to identify the essentials of an issue, then you become prey to any convenient pretexts serving not so hidden agendas. Just as identifying undocumented workers’ or 'Dreamers', was not about identifying those who are in the country illegally, just as ObamaCare wasn't about Health care, but about govt gaining massive political power in every aspect of our lives; just as free contraception wasn't about contraception, but a means to distract us from infringing upon individual rights of choice and property; and just as gun laws and registration aren't about reducing gun violence, but as distractions from the aim of eventually eliminating even the expectation of self defense; it is because the ability to identify such fundamental distinctions, are vital to understanding and standing up for your individual rights, that they are being undermined and evaded, and it is why saying what is, and is not true, is frowned upon by those who benefit from that distinction remaining unclear.

The vast majority of the issues trumpeted in our headlines, are but useful pretexts for channeling the passionate grievances of a popular few - or many – so as to enable legislators, bureaucrats, media and educators, to exercise ever more power over the public at large; and how better to revel in that power, than to tell an entire people that the normal expectations and behaviors which they have long held, are no longer to be respected? That what they feel is Right, is Wrong. That their personal opinions and habits are to be forced to give way, not because a clearer understanding and delineation of Right and Wrong has been reached, but to make way for a mostly undefined and indefinable claim of some, against all?

And again, why? How many things are more infuriating, than feeling that you can't speak up, and must accept what is 'politically correct' at work, in a restaurant, at an event, family dinner or when trying to relax?

Contrary to popular belief, and as any bully can tell you, tyranny doesn't really need laws to tyrannize you, it only needs to be feared by you.

In a time such as ours, where ‘Political Correctness’ can result in the ruination of lives, careers and associations, then legally 'toothless' pronouncements such as Obama’s bathroom edict do not need to be enforced everywhere, or even anywhere, at all - it only needs to be asserted, and clamored after by mobs who are visibly ready to shout down or even violently attack, those who gainsay it. Not everywhere, only somewhere, publicly, in order for its threat to be felt everywhere. And so it is that corporations feel pressure to make statements and policies about it, people are afraid to speak out about it, or to be condemned about their own observations and beliefs about it, even though 'it' has no legal leg to stand on. This is the ultimate in spinning executive action ‘under color of authority’, knowing it will be bolstered by the fear of a threat from unseen forces, it is an abuse of Power all its own, that will cloud your ability to identify, to distinguish, to think, inducing anger on all sides of the issue (AKA Community Organizing).

The stupefying power of power
And once again, why? A useful quote to keep in mind, is one from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
"“Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. … The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other...."
What Bonhoeffer (in 1920's-1930's Germany) was observing, and what people like Saul Alinsky are adept at exploiting [see inset], is the stupefying power that power has, when exerted over people. It's not so much that the people are stupid, but that intelligent people find themselves unable to identify or act upon what the actual issue is, and so their actions become indistinguishable from someone acting stupidly. As Power is imposed upon their lives in ways that they are powerless to prevent... unless a person very consciously attends to it, identifies the nature of what is happening to them, then there is going to be slippage between their thought, and that which is thought about, and that slippage expresses itself as both cracks and pressure release valves. People become stupefied as that place where idea and reality should have been firmly connected in their minds, has instead been forced aside, and now anything, usually in the form of meaningless catchwords and popular sentiments, will pass easily through their thoughts and possibly into poorly thought out actions, and more likely than not, leaving a persistent anger in its wake.

Because more power is ever the desire of the powerful, and because heated passions are the time tested means to swaying popular opinion, that is what is repeatedly used to turn We The People to their latest purposes. Whatever momentary mask such causes might wear, from gay marriage, to Christians baking wedding cakes, Seals, Whales, AIDS, Global Warming, Acid Rain, Global Cooling, DDT, etc., it is their emotional appeal and the agitation which they induce, and together with the lack of clear identification which they make difficult, at best, which serves as a means to better gain and impose power upon society 'for the greater good', and for the benefit of those seeking or maintaining power over them.

Given all of that, the issue of the day, which just happens to be Transgenderism today, becomes more clearly identifiable as but a means to an end, and it's the tomorrows of their ends, that we should all be deeply troubled by. Worse, the true identity of the problems facing us, is that every time we let a ridiculous statement go by unchallenged and unchecked, to posture about as if it is a true and meaningful thought, we give those empty words the power of an actual point, and that point will be turned against us - that is its point. To fail to identify these issues as such, is what started us down the path to where we are today - is this where you wanted to be? What will be the tomorrows that follow from this today?

The real trouble with the Transgender issue, is what you and I fear to clearly identify it as, either by inducing an unwillingness in you to identify that which is as being what it actually is, or through requiring you to not say or act on what you know to be true. Such unchecked power is a clear and present danger in all of its forms - not only legislatively, but intellectually, socially and culturally - as it forcibly separates your thoughts from your actions, which effectively flushes the West down the toilet. Who needs an army to invade us, when we'll so willingly eliminate ourselves?

IOW, while you're busy bickering about Hillary/Bernie and Trump, what made their candidacies possible is slipping past you, unidentified, and growing ever more powerful over every aspect of your life.

Is that the America you want to identify as?

President Obama's response to terror attack in America: "we have to decide if that's the kind of country we want to be"

Last night, a homegrown islamic radical, used the 911 (!) emergency line to publicly declare his allegiance to ISIS, and attacked an Orlando Florida nightclub, killing 50 people, and wounding at least as many more. The reason he gave his father, was that he saw two men kissing, and was angered by it. Do you believe that somehow during his previous decades of life, in Florida, he had managed to avoid such offensive scenes? No, me neither.

This man Mateen, a registered Democrat Muslim (you know, like 'Conservative Christian') was an Islamist sympatheizer, something which had brought him to the attention of the FBI more than once in the recent past, once through his relationship to a suicide bomber in Syria, but they didn't have enough to bring charges against him.

He'd worked for several years as a security guard, had a conceal carry license, and legally complied with the laws, regulations and background checks, to purchase at least some of his weapons. Worse, he was fully armed with Islamic radiclism, locked and loaded with terrorist ideals, and set loose on America.

Following the terrorist's massacre, Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, lept to his preconceived conclusions, and following standard leftie procedure, decried how bad guns are, demanded gun control laws and background checks, to 'keep America safe'. Which, as that is standard leftist SOP, is entirely understandable. But if you want to understand what that means, keep this in mind:

  • #1 Misidentify the problem - call it something anonymous and vaguely threatening, like 'gun violence', sort of like 'tornado damage'.
  • #2 Propose solutions that will solve no actual problems other than to push the left's political agenda,
  • #3 Above all else, avoid naming the real issues:

    • - People who have no respect for life and individual rights, will deprive others of their rights and even their lives, for the crime of being inconvenient to them.
    • - Once again, an Islamic Terrorist had easy access to legally disarmed Americans, whose respect for the law prevented the possibility of resisting their murderous assault.
For those who, either due to an overly emotional reaction, or an acute infection of fact aversion, might have caused them to miss the facts just recounted, let's recap it for the record,

  • The murderer passed a background check such as Sen. Sanders called for.
  • He went through the waiting period to get a concealed carry license.
  • The nightclub was legally designated a gun free zone
  • None of these 'common sense' regulations or laws did a thing to stop the attack
The only thing that did work according to plan, was that despite the fact that Florida has a high number of conceal carry permits, everyone in that nightclub was legally disarmed in its 'gun free zone' and unable to defend themselves against a zealot who'd pledged his allegiance to ISIS.

So once again, the gun control laws that Sen. Sanders and Secretary Clinton want, were in place and in effect, and once again they were entirely ineffective.

As immediately after Sanders' interview, all my leftie friends picked up the meme:

To one of them, Dixie, I pointed out the bullet points above. She replied:
"What the F how can any norrnal citizen feel thats somehow infringeing on their rights. . ...so at what age do we arm our children ..3 , 5 ,10 ??? every person must be armed ??? come on is that the vision of America? we are getting this all F'ed up!! ONE of the problems is we allowed the NRFA to have their way ..way too long. now we are and will pay the price! just another day."
Which didn't really seem to make any point about my points, so I pointed out again that
"Dixie:"... how can any norrnal citizen feel thats somehow infringeing on their rights..." The point was that what Sanders was calling for, is already in place. And it long has, and will continue to be, ineffective. The point is, that calling for more of what has demonstrably not worked, anywhere, is pointless. If you see someway it does make sense, please, explain.

"...so at what age do we arm our children ..3 , 5..." What proposal are you getting that from?

"...of the problems is we allowed the NRA to have their way ..way too long..." The 2nd Amdt preceded the NRA by many years, and there are many groups of people, blacks during the Civil Rights era for instance, who lived through exactly what the 2nd Amdt exists to prevent, local govt attempting to disarm and subjugate them, and still feel that they owe their lives and those of their families, to it. I assume that That isn't the problem you're referring to... so ... what is?"
For asking those quesitons, I was called a gun nut. And unfriended. Huh. Go figure.

Others were blathering on about "STOP THE HATE". Tell me, how do you "STOP HATE"? Presumably using force isn't the answer they have in mind, so... how? By repeating wishful platitudes and memes? Here's a thought, if you'd like to stop hate, stop promoting thinking that is divorced from reality and ambivalent towards truth. Those are, after all, the necessary foundation for the continuation of irrational hate... but then... that would fly in the face of what is the pro-regressive mantra, to demand that we pass more laws, restrict more liberties, infringe upon more individual rights, and above all else, to never, ever stop lying and evading what the real issues and agendas are.

Speaking of which, President Obama helpfully chimed in with words of wizdumb, in which the U.K.'s Daily Mail noted that he had made:
"... no reference to ISIS or Islamic terror in his brief remarks. "
But he did go on to observe that:
"'Although it's still early in the investigation we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate,' Obama said, making no reference to ISIS or Islamic terror in his brief remarks. "

"Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history. The shooter was apparently armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle. This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that's the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well."
WTH? Yes, Mr. President, it is a time for choosing, we as Americans need to ask ourselves whether we want to be the kind of country that disarms its own citizens, or not. Do we want to be the kind of country that uses its media, regulations and laws to bully its people into being unable to defend themselves, or not. Do we want to be the kind of country that understands that a free people have, first and foremost, the right to live, to live their own lives, and to defend their lives and their property - or not.

But even more importantly than that, we need to decided if we are going to continue to be the kind of country that refuses to identify the nature of the problems we face, in order to peddle a politically feel-good agenda of 'correctness', that oppresses our liberty and gets our people killed.

And you are right again, Mr. President, "...to actively do nothing is a decision as well."

America? What's it gonna be?

Monday, May 30, 2016

Always Remembering Memorial Day

From five years ago, Remembering Memorial Day:

American war dead, Flanders Field, Belgium
Memorial Day... it is enough to remember today those who have fallen in defense of our nation. But it's not all we can do, for them or for us, and to leave it there, I think, deprives them, and you, of an important part of what they died for. It seems to me that you can remember them even more completely if you will remember what it was that they gave their lives in defence of. If you remember why it was that their lives came to be remembered on this day, then you can in some sense repay them and also deepen your own position in your own life.

Do you remember what Memorial Day was designated for you to remember? It has changed over the years, but it began as 'Decoration Day', back in 1868, on May 30th, a day chosen because it didn't mark the anniversary of any battle - an important point - as a day to officially mark, what people had unofficially been doing across the land on their own for some while, decorating the many, many graves of those who had 'died in the late rebellion'. After WWI, when many more graves were dug, the day was changed to Memorial Day to remember all of those who have died in service of their country, in all of its wars.

But what does it mean to remember? What can it do? Remember... the members of our lives who were lost can never be re-membered... those who are gone are gone forever, but in the service of... what? Why did they give their lives? Why decorate the graves of soldiers, those who have gone before their time, lives which were violently lost... why? Family and friends will remember their fallen family and friends, they have no need of a national holiday to do that, there is no use for you who they do not know to pretend to remember those you never knew - but that is not what we pause this day to remember.

What did their untimely deaths have to do with your life here and now?

Does their death have any relevance to your life? Asking another question might put us closer to the trail, what relevance can your life have to your nation without remembering why they lost theirs?

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who gave their lives, the 'last full measure of devotion' in the service of the United States of America, but not just to their homeland - any country can do that, and they do - nothing exceptional there.

But we are an exceptional nation, and simple remembrance will not do, because simply defending their homeland is not what they did or why they did it.

Why did they do it? What did it mean?

Maybe it'll help by looking at it from the perspective of the Oath which led them into the military life which put their own lives at risk for yours,

"I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

That is what they risked and lost their lives for, was it worth it? Do you grant their lost lives a value in yours? And that is the heart of it isn't it? Does the life they lost have value in yours?

Well, if you can say the words "your life", as something you live, something which you value and have some measure of control over, then yes, their lives were lost in service of your being able to think of your life as yours, and that - that is something which should cause you a spasmed breath, one abruptly caught in your chest in reverence and awe... that another's last breath was let go as 'darkness veiled his eyes' not just so that you could draw your previous, current and next breath as you wish, but so you could do so in a state of liberty.

Now I think we're getting closer to re-membering them and memorializing their life, through yours. Let's chase that a little further.

What does it take to say 'your life'? What does it take to live your life? What must you do, absent simply having others take care of you, what must you do to live? First off, you must use your head, you must think... but just thinking isn't enough to continue living, after all, you could very well choose to think that by imagining very clearly and distinctly that your shoe would become a salmon if you declare it so, but such thinking would do nothing to advance your life. For your thinking to benefit your life, it must be productive, and to do that it must reflect reality... your life will continue on only if at least some of your ideas help you to transform the reality you face on a daily basis into those materials and conditions which benefit your life... food, shelter, etc, IOW 'nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed'.

For your life, to be lived, you must be free to think, for your thoughts to benefit your life you must see to it that they respect reality - cherish truth -  for your freedom of thought to be anything other than a mockery, you must be free to put them into action, and again, for your thoughts and your actions to be a benefit to you, rather than a mockery, you must be free to retain and use that which your thoughts and actions have produced, and what they produce is called property.

Today, for the lives we remember having been lost, to have meaning and value to us, your life must be able to be lived in the spirit which they gave their own lives up for, that of liberty; the liberty to live your life in the pursuit of happiness in your life.

Those we memorialize today gave their last full measure of devotion in service of the document which makes that possible, the Constitution of the United States of America, a document which outlines the ideas necessary for ensuring your ability to live your life, in liberty and pursuing happiness. They gave their life for the ideas which best reflect the reality of life and the requirements of man living in liberty so that in his life, if he applies his thoughts to actions which serve to produce the materials he needs, that will enable you to live your life and pursue the happiness you seek in life, secure in that property which you expend the actions of your life in producing.

The Constitution was designed to do just that. It was worth fighting and risking death for, because it was seen as the means to securing a life worth living for, for themselves, their families, and their posterity - you.

The Constitution, was designed with a profound understanding of human nature in mind, and was structured in such a way as to give voice to the major perspectives of life so that:
  • - the people at large, concerned in the issues of the moment, shall have a voice in the House of Representatives
  • - the states shall have a voice through those people who have lived successful will have a perspective favorable for preserving everyones property through their voice in the Senate
  • - these two perspectives shall be combined to use create legislation operating for the benefit of the people, within certain enumerated powers
  • - when both houses agree upon laws, the nation has a voice in the President as chief executive, to reject or sign legislation into law and see to it that the laws of the land are faithfully executed
  • - the law itself has a voice in the Judicial branch which is concerned that laws are applied justly to the people in whose name they were written
These branches are structured in such a way, utilizing the famous checks and balances, so as to have just enough interest in the other branches as to wish to see them function well, as well as to wish to preserve their own branches from becoming slighted and unbalanced.

The founders knew well that most states fall into ruin not under promises of harm but under promises to better the conditions of one group or another for the betterment of all. And so our system is designed to keep each branches desires to 'do good' in check, by the other branches benefit as well, and that none gains power over the others - each must see 'their point' of the other and work together, securing a state that enables you to live your life in pursuit of happiness.

But the people who ratified the constitution didn't think that the original document, which united government into balanced cooperation, was enough to secure the liberty and freedom of the governed, and so they insisted that it also specifically uphold and defend a few key rights, Rights which long experience as Englishmen... and then as Americans deprived of those rights, knew would be required to prevent a new tyrant from turning their government against their liberty 'for their own good'. They demanded the Constitution be amended to secure the peoples liberty to live their own lives, secure in their property and associations and activities which seemed to them to best hold the promise of pursuing happiness through, and that produced the Bill of Rights.

This foundation of government was and is an ordering of ideas, designed to enable each persons actions the liberty to act and secure their property without violating others rights in pursuit of the same, so that each person can have the incredible gift of being able to live their own lives as they see fit.

This is the Constitution which was, and still is, worth fighting for, and risking dying for, because it makes possible the kind of life worth living, lives in which each person might choose to pursue; and the idea of living in service to that, of making not only your own, but others lives livable... is a glorious pursuit, and those in the military who offered up their life in service of it... they are truly worth our pausing on at least one day a year, in solemn remembrance of the life they offered up to make your life a possibility.

Remember them, thank them, and with them in mind demand the liberty to live your life secured under, and securing, those laws which they gave up their life defending, do that, and you will truly be memorializing their lives and making their sacrifice worthwhile.

In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields, Moina Michael replied with her own poem for Memorial Day:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
 That grows on fields where valor led,
 It seems to signal to the skies
 That blood of heroes never dies.

In Flanders Fields John McCrae, 1915.
 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
 Between the crosses, row on row
 That mark our place; and in the sky
 The larks, still bravely singing, fly
 Scarce heard amid the guns below.
 We are the Dead. Short days ago
 We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
 Loved and were loved, and now we lie
 In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
 The torch; be yours to hold it high.
 If ye break faith with us who die
 We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
 In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

The bitterest losses are those handed to you by your fellow supporters.

Blame is a tricky thing to assign in an election, and most of the substantial reasons for the difficulties of this election, I went over in a previous post. But there's no doubt that one key reason for why Cruz lost this one, was the inability of his supporters to convert those who weren't inclined towards him, to him. And one of the key reasons I've seen for that, and tried to warn against from early last summer on, was the ineffective and counterproductive obsession that many of his supporters had, to either begin their every comment with, or give prominent place to, an insult to those that they should have been trying to persuade.

So come on all of you out there (many of you Rubio supporters too, you know who you are) who've so enthusiastically enjoyed your memeing and shouting of 'Drumpf!', 'Stupid!', 'Cultist!', take a look at Cruz's loss and withdrawal from the race, and take the bow for it that you so richly deserve.

I'll do my best not to be bitter about it.

No promises.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

It's time to vote - Why? The Primary reason for Voting

It's time for a number of states to vote again, and so it's time to ask the question that few seem to give much thought to - Why Vote?

If any of the following reasons, are the fundamental reasons for who you're voting for, then you're voting for the fundamentally wrong reasons:
  • Voting for your political party - wrong!
  • Voting for who you think can win 'the' election (primary or general) - wrong!
  • Voting for who you think is the most [intelligent or principled or effective or conservative or ___] candidate - wrong!
Nope. No. Huh-uh, wrong, all wrong. Sorry, but although those may be factors, when taken as reasons for voting, they are amongst the key reasons for why we are in the mess that we're in today.

So why should we vote?

For that one reason which does not change from election to election, from year to year or from crisis to crisis, for that reason that does not change as candidates come and go, or even as political parties rise up and fade away - it doesn't even matter if we're talking about a popular vote or the voting by delegates. Through it all there is one thing that is constant and remains the same, and that is that the office which the candidate is being elected to, is there to serve a defined purpose for your (Ward, Assembly, City, County, State, Nation), and the fulfillment of that purpose, in as most favorable a fashion as is possible, is why you cast your vote.

That's it. Candidates are merely a means to that end.

If you're voting for any other reason, then every vote you cast is miscast, and can, in some sense, even be a harmful one. It can also be harmful if you fail to distinguish between the purpose of a primary (and oh my is there ever a lot more to say about those, in an upcoming post), and that of the general election.
  • In the Primary election, you cast your vote in order to fill that office with the candidate that is, in your judgment, best able to fulfill its purposes, and will most responsibly utilize the powers of that office.
  • In the General election, you are voting on how that office, and its powers, will be occupied and utilized.
If that difference isn't clear, in the General election, you are no longer dealing with your personal wish lists, but with reality; not your preferences for it, but the actuality that will follow from the results of that election. In the general election, it is incumbent upon you, as a citizen,  to give full and careful consideration to the matter of who that office will be occupied by,  as a result of that election, rather than as another means of giving vent to your personal feelings about the options remaining for you to choose from.

And given that the purpose which that office fulfills, is the reason for your voting, then in all elections,  you should be looking at what that office's purpose is, and at the powers it entails,  and only then at how well, or ill, a particular candidate might be able to fulfill it. Since for most of us the most recent election just passed, or held today, or coming up soon, is a primary election for determining your political party's candidate in the general election for President of the United States of America, lets start with the oath of office that the winner of the general election will take, and the oath of office, says:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
, which, it seems to me, means that in order to judge whether a candidate is a good candidate for executing the duties of the office, they, and you, ought to be familiar with what the duties of that office are, right? And to do that... you might want to bone up on the rest of Article 2, beginning with Section 1, Clause 1... not to mention the rest of the constitution too, of course.

Spoiler Alert: The Constitution doesn't say anything about health care insurance, student loans, making America great again, who can marry who, building fences, minimum wage, or much else about what is being talked about in this election cycle. No, it pretty much sticks to limiting govt to its defined powers (see Article 1, Section 8 (clauses 1-18), the roles of the Commander in Chief, and defending the constitution by passing no laws that violate its laws or infringe upon our individual rights, especially those noted in the Bill of Rights.

Just sayin'.

Although if you'd like to broaden that view somewhat beyond the oath of office, you could do worse than following the admonition that Congress used to issue to territories that were petitioning to be admitted to the union as states, that they should order themselves so that they,
"... when formed, shall be republican, and not repugnant to the constitution of the United States, and the principles of the Declaration of Independence..."
Meaning that, in considering whether or not the office of the President of the United States will be faithfully executed, shouldn't a part of your consideration involve taking into account how that candidate might further those principles, or be repugnant to them? And what is your responsibility in the matter?

And what if none of the available candidates shows an understanding and commitment to the principles of the Declaration and the Constitution... or to the Rule of Law, or towards Liberty itself? What then? Do you stay home? Vote for a negligible candidate? Write in someone else's name?

In the Primary, where selecting the candidate that is, in your judgment, the best for executing the duties, responsibilities and powers of that office... you could make a case for those options, but what about in the actual election, where it is not about your preferences, but about the actuality of how that office will be occupied? Can you then legitimately consider staying home? Voting for a negligible candidate? Writing in someones name?

Leaving aside whatever strange stroking that might give to your own ego and vanity, ask yourself this: Will such a 'vote' contribute anything towards how the principles of the Declaration, the Constitution, and our liberty, might be employed, or abused, through that office, or to the benefits or damages that will result because of who succeeds in entering the office?

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say... no. Not at all, and you're blowing smoke up your own butt if you think it does.

Why do I say that?

Well, if this were a card game, or maybe a game of monopoly, and you noticed that one or more of your fellow players were cheating, you could, in good conscience, leave the game and refuse to play along, right? Why? Because you can leave the game!

You cannot, however, short of leaving the country, leave 'the game' of a Presidential election, or its effects on you, on your fellows, or on your position and responsibilities as a citizen. You are encompassed by it. You cannot opt out, while remaining within the nation's geographical boundaries. Pretending as if you can, is not only a sophistic pretense more worthy of petulant children than responsible adults, but worse, it cannot fail to aid that office holder who will do the most damage to the nation through that office... which you made no meaningful effort to oppose their being elected to.

Oh, sorry, what's that? Are you saying:
  • 'At least I'm not helping XXX candidate!' I'd never violate my principles to do that!'?
Are you not listening?

#1, you do not, Should NOT, ever, in any meaningful way, VOTE FOR a Candidate! Not for any Candidate!

We should only elect candidates for the purposes of executing the duties of that office as effectively as possible, in order to fulfill its purpose as defined by our laws. Yes, the office will be filled by a person, but they aren't the purpose of your vote, it is - candidates are but a necessary means to that end.

Note: Casting your vote for that candidate which you judge will best execute the duties of that office, or bring about the least harm through it, is not the same as voting for a candidate - it involves putting your focus on the office, rather than on the officeholder.

Voting primarily for a candidate, or a party, or even a pet litmus issue, is a short cut to disaster. Why?

Because Voting for a candidate, immediately and necessarily means that rather than focusing primarily upon the purposes of the office and the principles and policies best suited to executing its duties, your focus would instead be upon personalities - both theirs and yours. And if you let yourself get sucked into voting for candidates, becoming personally invested in them, then you are prone to being blinded by your passions for them, and you will almost inevitably be sucked into defending that individual person or party, or issue, rather than upon the purposes of that office, and the quality of the principles and policies which the officeholder will support, and - see if this sounds familiar this year - you will be drawn into petty disagreements and arguments and fights that have very little, if anything to do with those purposes which your vote is intended to serve, such as, oh, I dunno, things like "... you know what they say about small hands...", or "...their face annoys me...", or "... he's a little liar...", etc., comes readily to mind for some reason.

And if you focus upon the candidates personally, then you might even wind up saying incredibly poorly thought out statements such as: "I'll NEVER vote for ___! They're a ____ Scumbag! Hashtag #NeverTrump, #NeverCruz, #NeverKasich", even at the cost of putting a potentially worse candidate (hello Hillary or Bernie) in that office, who very may well be committed to horrendously more destructive purposes, principles and policies those candidates you are so upset at, which would that office, and its powers, upon the entire nation.

Choosing not to vote, or casting your vote in a manner that can have no impact on who the winner will actually be, are actions that make it more likely that the greater evil will win - that is what it means to choose the lesser of two evils.

Never choose the lesser of two evils! Don't Do That! Don't be that guy!

Instead, being mindful of the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, and the Liberty of We The People which our laws derive their just powers from, and being mindful of the Power which the resulting holder of that office will have over all of those, and all of us, due to their being elected to that office, you must cast your vote where it will best advance, or most thwart the greatest threat, to them.  Nothing less can provide any service to any of them, at all!

Being Principled doesn't mean being destructive
If one of the candidates poses a more immanent threat to our liberty than the other, then it is your duty as a member of the republic (not of a Party, but of the Republic) to oppose them with as much power as you have available - and assuming that you stand for the Rule of Law over mob violence, that means voting, and it also means that staying home or writing in a useless name as a 'protest vote', can and will do nothing to thwart the greater threat to our republic, and there is no excuse for that.

Please, don't give me any crap about your being too 'principled' to vote for XYZ candidate, if they, and not your guy, win your primary! Hogwash!

Principles by their very nature require you to be mindful of the bigger picture, focusing on the whole, and not obsessing myopically on a particular part. By failing to take into account the primary purpose of your actions - you are not demonstrating that you have a sound conception of what principles even are, let alone what they are for. That is Not making a principled stand, and that is Not making a stand for Liberty - it is deserting it in its greatest hour of need (and probably because of your feelings for a candidate... am I right?).

Principles are not ends in themselves.

Principles are not substitutes for thinking.

Principles are guides for thinking well, they are a means to, not the ends of, principled thought.

Principles are what virtue and experience have shown to be reliable guides to wiser thought and actions - what do you suppose qualifies as 'wiser' thinking? Thinking that primarily strokes your ego and polishes your vanity, doesn't, I'd hope, qualify, does it? Principled thinking - what was once commonly known as Prudence, practical wisdom, means guiding your thoughts along principled paths, towards sound, long-range actions, ensuring that the best outcomes are most likely to be achieved. But if you are aiming your thoughts and actions at no further point than the guides to those actions, such shortsightedness cannot be wise, and they cannot be described as acting in a principled manner.

To focus upon you guides themselves, as if they were your ends, is but another form of the ends justifying the means - and isn't that what a principled person most recoils from?!

Employing Prudence in the voting booth, requires focusing upon the long-range intentions and effects which the office being voted upon will be turned towards; what will be brought about through that office, is what your choice in the voting booth should reflect and be striving towards. It is not about stroking your own vanity, but about giving as much aid as you're able to give, to, in the case of either the primary or general election for the President of the United States of America, the preservation of the constitution and our republic for which it stands; if you don't understand that that is the wisest course of action to aim towards, or that you'd prefer to allow your own shortsighted pride to take precedence over such considerations, then you are, politically speaking, no matter how many doctoral degrees you might have behind your name, an uneducated rube.

Are you voting for a candidate who is knowingly, avowedly, serving Socialist, Communist, Marxist and/or 'Progressive' aims?
If so, then you are voting in direct opposition to our Constitution and to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, and it is a self evident fact that you and I have little at all in common philosophically or politically; that you are in pursuit of regressing our nation, friends and family, towards a land that will be ruled over by those who are primarily in pursuit of power, and that you would prefer to give them power over your own choices, than to suffer making them yourself, that you would rather be ruled over, than to rule over your own life; that you are willing to subject others to that same fate, because you fear having responsibility for your own life. You, like some of my friends and family, may very well be a nice person in most respects, but, IMHO, the state of your political thought is a putrid wasteland. You are voting for regress, you are avowedly pro-regressive, and advancing towards what is evil - may God have mercy on your soul.

Are you still abstaining from voting because you refuse to choose the lesser of two evils?
You should Never, EVER vote for the lesser of two evils. You should either cast your vote in service to that which is the greater Good (qualitatively speaking, not in the quantitative or utilitarian sense), or in opposition to the worst evil - that is all. If you are unsure why, take a few moments to think about the meaning and implications of the word 'evil'.

Will your vote aid the best, or thwart the worst, use of the office of the President Of The United States? Or not?

Worst of all, refusing to vote for either, means deserting the field and letting that greater evil advance unopposed - deliberate passivity in the face of evil, is evil. Choosing not to vote, is choosing the lesser of two evils. Choosing to cast your vote for an avowed leftist, rather than a flawed or even foul candidate from the right (and if you find the two comparable, you need to examine your premises), is choosing the greater of two evils.

If there is not someone in the race representative of what you can comfortably vote for - one which will best serve the office's purposes through appropriate principles and policies - then you must cast your vote for that candidate that will best serve as opposition to the Greater Evil - not for the person, not for the candidate, not for the party, but with an awareness of those ideas and policies they will be brought to that office if you don't oppose them - meaning once again, though from a slightly different perspective, that you Do Not choose the lesser of two evils, instead you consciously, with full awareness and consideration for how that office will be employed, you use your vote to pit the lesser evil, against the greater evil, but you should never, ever, cast your vote for an evil.

Anything less, is so much less than zero.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Primary Stupidity and Political InTrumpretation: "But wait, there's more!"

Yes, I too am fed up with this Primary - it's been, to say the least, aggravating. It's deprived us of the benefits that a worthwhile primary should have brought us, it's turned friend against friend, and brought smart people to condemn themselves with the stupidity of calling those they don't agree with, stupid.

This primary has brought out the worst in the entire electorate, but the one most blamed for it, Trump, he hasn't caused it - he's revealed it. He's an effect, not a cause, and if he goes away, 'it' remains. Donald Trump, when held up to our problematic electorate, is, however, a startlingly useful prism of political optics, and as you turn him this way and that, he reveals the full hued spectrum of where it is that We The People, think that everyone else is standing, and is exposing the problems we'd all thought it'd be so much easier... to just ignore.

Worst of all, for me... it, the politics of it, are of no interest.

And yet, it's been living rent free in my noggin for a couple months now, and with the exception of a couple rants, has dragged all of my other blogging interests to a standstill. I've been wanting to get this damn post out of my head, but it keeps trying to sprout more pages, and as I try to chop it down to size, from out of the scratch of a single comma, out it bleeds another 2,000 words. Well this time it's going down and staying down.

Chop. Chop. Chop! If you're seeing this, I finally succeeded in cutting it down as close to the bone as I can (yay!).
"The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.”
The Origins of Totalitarianism, Part 1 - By Hannah Arendt

"The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or  the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exists.”
Totalitarianism: Part Three of The Origins of Totalitarianism By Hannah Arendt
Note: This post is not about Trump - I'm not talking about the arguments against him or the arguments for him, but about the arguments about Trump, which, for the most part, are simply unhinged. Especially on the part of those new political interpreters on the scene, both those for and against Trump - let's call them 'InTrumpeters' - who regale us with how 'Stupid!' or 'Dishonest!' the opposing side is, when the sad fact is that neither charge - especially that of 'dishonest' - truly applies, and for worse reasons than you might think (which I'll get to at the end of this post).

So let's get down to it. The first issue that just has to be gotten out of the way, is the stupid 'Stupid!' charge (other equally 'legit' terms being tossed at each other, such as 'cultist!', 'liar!', apply as well, but let's keep it simple and stick with 'stupid'). Taking Webster's simple definition,
Stupid: not intelligent; having or showing a lack of ability to learn and understand things; not sensible or logical
Hopefully I don't shock you, but even though most people who hold their fellows up to the Trump Prism, see any signs of disagreement as proof of 'Stupid!', I've yet to see a single person (and I'm even including those in the video at the end of this post) who could truly, justifiably, be called stupid. BTW, that should be far more disturbing and scarier for us all, than if they actually were stupid. So, let's get to banishing the "Stupid!" with, appropriately enough, a thought experiment.

Stupid Test Part 1: The question of the stupider stupid
What do you suppose these supposedly stupid people would do, if we were to make these propositions to them:
  1. Will you allow me to put a lethal dose of cyanide in your drink, which you'll then drink, if I add enough sweetener, or if I promise to provide you with a secure job, and a fabulous increase on your investments, after you've died?
  2. If it were proved that the nations water supply were suddenly poisoned, would you want to know how to test and purify the water before drinking it, or would you rather not be bothered?
The person who would go along with the first, or not want to be bothered with the second, could justifiably be called stupid. I'm willing to say that neither Trump, Cruz, Sanders, nor 99.9999% of their supporters would make those decisions (I'll leave it to you to decide about Kaisch).

IOW they grasp the operations and importance to their lives of 'If this, then that' logic. They also implicitly understand what many would prefer to deny: that they grasp the reality of Reality; they grasp the meaning and importance of Identity, and they attach a reasonably high value to their own conscious self awareness and its active application to their lives - none of which a stupid person would, or could, do.

Note: I do not mean to excuse those, on any side, whose words and actions are vile - there is no excuse. This also doesn't mean that I think that their positions and actions are intelligent, only that they aren't arriving at unintelligent positions because they are stupid or otherwise incapable of doing so (that too should alarm you). There is most definitely a point of disconnect, where their ideas, and
their perceptions of reality, part company - what I am saying is only that the issue involved isn't one of stupidity, and I'm cautioning that if you mis-define the problem, as most people that I've observed on both sides are enthusiastically doing, then a solution that solves the actual problem, is not what your efforts are going to provide you.

Or in other, other words, if you willfully fail to identify either their disconnect, or the basis of their decision, then you are effectively disconnecting from reality as well. Get it?

Of course any of us might let fly with a Stupid! charge in the heat of the moment, but that's less an evaluation than an exasperated four letter word in drag, and is of no real consequence - an expletive is but an expletive and easily deleted, and is not our concern here. But an expletive that's used as an explanation, or as an excuse to avoid an explanation... that's something entirely different, and should
be deeply disturbing, especially as it becomes the rallying cry for your actions.

And seriously, consider some of the people that you're attempting to slur with your 'stupid!' ('ignorant', 'cultist', etc.) charge, and from either side of the Trump aisle, with Thomas Sowell(!) on one side, or Phyllis Schlafly on the other?! Seriously? These are the people that you InTrumpreters, pro or con, are trying (explicitly or implicitly) to see as being stupid, uninformed, ignorant of the Constitution and unconcerned with the Supreme Court? Are you kidding me? Of course you can disagree with them - vehemently so - but to include them in that type of name calling, sorry, but it's simply bouncing off of them and sticking to you. Get a grip.

So tell me, you inTrumpeters (pro or con) who are throwing out the Stupid! charge, are you doing that to excuse yourself from having to do the work of figuring out exactly what your disagreement is about?

Sorry, rhetorical question - the answer is yes, you are throwing out the 'Stupid!' charge in order to spare yourself the effort of understanding their position, and of having to make your own argument more understandable and persuasive... to those you're trying to persuade. (?!).

Who Benefits? Do you suppose that makes your argument more capable of getting through to more people, or does it leave it weaker?

Again, rhetorical question - the evasive Stupid! charge leaves Your argument weaker, and just as deliberately disconnected from reality as you claim that theirs is. And if you really do want to persuade the maximum number of people to your point of view as possible, then your Stupid! charge is in fact stupefying to your own argument. Which is... sorta... stupid... isn't it?

And how do you suppose your 'argument' looks to the person you're calling 'Stupid!', and to their

Monday, March 21, 2016

Moderating either between which cheek a victim is punched upon, or the speed of your retreat, is no virtue - Judge Garland and the U.S. Senate

Regarding President Obama's nomination of D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. I know the Senate has wussed out and said that they won't consider any nominations to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, until after the election (I ranted against the Right gone Wrong here), but it'd be nice if they would give this nomination the consideration it's due - two, maybe even three hours - and then simply issue a statement, such as:
"After a brief review, it is obvious that Judge Garland has a preference for ruling in favor of regulatory agencies exercising their power over, and against, the interests and rights of the American people. He has shown a questionable lack of respect for the individual rights that are protected by the 4th & 5th amendments, and a clear hostility towards the protections of the 2nd Amendment. We therefore see no need for further consideration of this judge potentially having a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States of American, where his views could further endanger the individual rights of our citizens.
Our consent is denied, and our advice to the President, is to fuhgedaboudit.


The United States Senate. "
Alas, our Senate lacks the intestinal fortitude for such a statement, so we'll have to settle for the (hiding beneath the) blanket rejection which they've re-affirmed.

Note to my Conservative friends: I'm not saying that the Senate must vote on a nominee - ignoring a nominee is not only constitutional, but a feature, several nominees have received no consideration, let alone a vote, in the past, as the Democrats know full well, having pushed it themselves, and more than once. What I'm saying is that the GOP's position to oppose 'any nomination' to the SCOTUS, even before a nominee is made known, doesn't look to me like an example of taking a 'firm stand', it looks more like a cowardly retreat, it looks like someone seeking to flee from not just confrontation, but the fear of stating their reasoning and positions for all to see. I see it as a dereliction of, if not their constitutional duty, then at the very least as a dereliction of their moral responsibility to advise the nation of the substandard, harmful, candidates for the Supreme Court of the United States of America, which the President of the United States of America, is nominating to sit in judgment over our beleagured liberties.

Note to my Pro-Regressive friends: this is not about me disagreeing with a nomination simply because it was President Obama that made it, or about the 'impeccable reputation' which Judge Garland enjoys - he does seem to be quite a scholar and a gentlemen.

What this is about, is whether or not the ideas and judgment of the nominee, and of the President, demonstrate a respect for, and an understanding of our Constitution and of the Individual Rights it was designed to uphold and protect. And as it is my judgment, based upon the evidence of their opinions and actions of record, that they have no such respect or understanding of either, and that they have instead demonstrated a desire to disregard both in pursuit of their shared pro-regressive ideals, which are explicitly in opposition to both a written constitution and to Individual Rights as such. Nominees such as these, pose real threats to the preservation of our liberty, and to our ability to enjoy the pursuit of happiness under a sound, limited, constitutional representative form of government, securely bound down through the Rule of Law.

To say that Judge Merrick Garland, fine person though he undoubtedly is, has an undoubtedly fine legal mind, is as frustratingly uninformative about how he uses that mind, as it is to say that someone is a fine sharpshooter and leaving it at that, while withholding the knowledge of whether he is a soldier or an underworld assassin - a person should not be called a paragon of fine legal reasoning, without first knowing the purposes and principles, if any, which his reasoning skills are aimed at serving. Do those aims comport with the Constitution? IMHO, no.

Judge Garland's fine legal mind is not aimed at legal reasoning, but at legalism. He supports the idea that laws, in and of themselves, are the sufficient basis for, and justification of, other laws (what I've called the Doppelganger's Rule of Rules to rule the people by).

Legal Reasoning, on the other hand, is only achieved by proceeding from an understanding that no law is a valid law, which violates Reason, and that in respecting the reality of the nature of being human, the necessity and importance of our individual Rights become self evident, making it necessary
"... to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"
, and so become the basis of our laws, which all additional laws must integrate with. If you ignore that, or disregard that, then you devalue and disregard Individual Rights as such, let alone the defense of them.

We don't need to make an exhaustive examination of Judge Garlands judicial opinions, when a brief inspection shows them to be at odds with the understanding of the 'conservative' majority in the senate (just don't play coy when such dismissals comes back to bite us in the future). For instance, in the New York Times,
"If Judge Garland is confirmed, he could tip the ideological balance to create the most liberal Supreme Court in 50 years. Measures of ideology by four political scientists show where the justices stand in relation to one another. Judge Garland’s score is based on the score of his appointing president, Bill Clinton. This methodology is considered to be a “reasonably good predictor of voting on the Supreme Court,” says Prof. Lee Epstein of Washington University."
, a position that places him far to the left on the court, nestled snugly between Justice Ginsberg and Justice Kagan, and despite the NYT's seeing that as bringing a 'new perspective' to the court, it's a new seating chart that I'm not all that comfortable with, and there's no constitutional reason why a conservative majority should approve of that.

This is not, and should not be about jockeying for political power, but about how the law is to be interpreted and applied, and the effect that will have on our liberty. The fact is, that Judge Garland's opinions and rulings consistently show that he sees that the purpose of the court to be to uphold the interests of the state, over the interests and individual rights of the citizens, and demonstrates insufficient interest in keeping the power of the state securely within the boundaries set out for it by our Constitution, and it is for that reason, that I say his rulings, especially if elevated to the SCOTUS, would pose a grave threat to the safety and integrity of our individual rights.

For instance, this is from a SCOTUS Blog entry in 2010, that was intended to portray him in a favorable light,
"Judge Garland has strong views favoring deference to agency decisionmakers. In a dozen close cases in which the court divided, he sided with the agency every time. ."
That's a problem.

Numerous times he's voted on the side of the National Labor Relations Board, against the interests of both the employers, and the employees, in favor of the NLRB and of Labor. He's voted with the Dept Labor, with the EPA, with the FCC, the SEC, the Army, FED, Commerce Dept, and in opposition to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) - and those are just the cases mentioned in an article that was written in glowing approval of his judgment, aiming to show how moderate he is.

This is what we're supposed to see as 'Moderation'? An attacker who moderates between between using the left hand and the right hand to punch you in the face with, is not being moderate. Such moderation is of no benefit to the person - We The People - who's being punched. Such 'moderates' aim only to appeal to the powerful of both the left and right, which is no virtue, it is only a progressive grinding down, of our rights, favoring giving those in power, even more power over us - that is no virtue,

In the the case of 'NRA v. Reno' in 2000, Garland refused to require President Clinton's DOJ to follow federal law and destroy the records of legally purchased firearms, intruding upon and arguably seeking to aid in the abridging of the Second Amendment's defense of the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. His lengthy defense of the attorney general's policy of retaining the records of firearms purchases for six months, despite the law saying that they must be destroyed, amounted to, as the dissenting Justice Tatel ably characterized as the protests of petulant children:
"...In no case has a court held that power has been granted to a federal agency by Congress's failure to enact a limitation to a directly contradictory statutory command.   Congress said, “destroy all records.”   Congress said, do not “require that any record ․  be recorded.”   Brady Act § 103(i), 107 Stat. at 1542.   The Attorney General asserts, “Congress did not say that I have to destroy the records immediately.   Therefore I am empowered to retain the records.”   The Attorney General's position strikes me as reminiscent of a petulant child pulling her sister's hair.   Her mother tells her, “Don't pull the baby's hair.”   The child says, “All right, Mama,” but again pulls the infant's hair.   Her defense is, “Mama, you didn't say I had to stop right now.”

I do not think that the parent's command to the child is ambiguous, nor that of Congress to the Attorney General.   I do not find the child's response reasonable;  nor is that of the Attorney General."
IOW, he went to a great deal of effort to rationalize giving govt the power to do what its functionaries desired to do with that power, despite what the law told them to do, at our expense, pecking away at our liberty, violating not only the letter of those laws, but the spirit of the 2nd Amendment and arguably the 4th amendment as well.

He also voted to retry the Heller Case,
"...But Garland has a long record, and, among other things, it leads to the conclusion that he would vote to reverse one of Justice Scalia’s most important opinions, D.C. vs. Heller, which affirmed that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Back in 2007, Judge Garland voted to undo a D.C. Circuit court decision striking down one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation. The liberal District of Columbia government had passed a ban on individual handgun possession, which even prohibited guns kept in one’s own house for self-defense. A three-judge panel struck down the ban, but Judge Garland wanted to reconsider that ruling. He voted with Judge David Tatel, one of the most liberal judges on that court. As Dave Kopel observed at the time, the “[t]he Tatel and Garland votes were no surprise, since they had earlier signaled their strong hostility to gun owner rights” in a previous case. Had Garland and Tatel won that vote, there’s a good chance that the Supreme Court wouldn’t have had a chance to protect the individual right to bear arms for several more years...."
Thankfully, in the Heller case, Justices Scalia and Thomas' opinions prevailed (BTW, in the opinion of myself and others far more suited to such opinions, Justice Thomas' opinion was the better opinion), reaffirmed the rights of the people to keep and bear arms. Justice Garland opposed, and opposes that view.

That doesn't make him a bad man, or any less the scholar and gentleman that he was before, but it does make him someone whose ideas are in direct opposition to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution - which 'conservatives' supposedly want to conserve - it makes him someone who prefers the Pro-Regressive view that administrative 'experts' in government should hold power over the choices, rights and lives of We The People, for the greater good - as they define it, rather than as we choose to live our own lives by. That doesn't make him a bad man either, but it does make him unfit to hold a judicial chair with such great power over the laws that are supposed to uphold and protect our Individual Rights.

Our Bill of Rights were amended to the constitution, because We The People
",,,expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added,,,"
in order to prevent the federal government from infringing upon our rights and liberty, and in too many ways, Judge Garland has supported, aided and abetted, the government in encroaching upon at least three of them:
, and that's only what I came up with after only a couple hours of digging. For that reason alone he is unfit to serve on the Supreme Court, and is cause enough for the U.S. Senate to issue a statement such as I noted above.

And the failure of our Senators to make such a statement, and to list the reasons for it, is, IMHO, negligent, cowardly and despicable.