Posts Tagged ‘Glibertarianism’

This post is the result of a “discussion” on Facebook between some self-proclaimed libertarians and their accusations that Obama Supporters ignored a long list of things about the President–cool aid drinking and all that.  I couldn’t answer their “list of things” on Facebook so I will address them one by one on my blog.  Unbeknownst to these libertarians, they don’t understand that Obama Supporters really do consider these “things” and think them through.  We just come to different conclusions than they do.  Maybe this series of posts will open their mind and allow them to see how a “liberal thinks” (like observing us in the wild maybe /snark) but I won’t hold my breath.  At the very least, maybe someone will be a little more informed, which is all good.

What is the NDAA and who signed it into Law?

Okay, some history because it matters. The original AUMF 1 of 2001 (passed by Congress, signed by G.W. Bush) was to be used against Terrorists. It allowed Pres. to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those that perpetrated or harbored those who perpetrated in Sept 11th. This has been interpreted to mean that the Feds could use warrantless wiretapping, even against American citizens and later interpreted by G.W. Bush for the purposes of indefinite detention and to justify the use of Military Tribunals to prosecute terrorists in Guantanomo Bay 2. There was another AUMF in 2002 that was used to invade Iraq. In 2011, Congress proposed another AUMF that allowed for the indefinite detention by the Military of any accused terrorists.

Critics charged that the way the law was written, indefinite detention could be used against American citizens. This third AUMF renewed the 2001 AUMF with even more expansive language on who the Feds could target. So in addition to  those who were responsible for 9/11, they targeted anyone who substantially supports Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces. Last thing it did was put restrictions on the Excecutive Branch’s ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo  This third AUMF was not passed on it’s own but included in a larger Dept of Defense budget bill in 2012, called the The National Defense Authorization Act, signed by President Obama.

All of these bills and provisions were begun by Congress, passed unanimously by conservative Senators and Representatives and some liberal defectors. They are, for the most part, Congress giving powers to the Executive Branch. President Obama openly spoke of his problems with the powers that Congress seemed so awfully eager to give him. The Supreme Court and the lower courts had already stated that the AUMF 2001 was considered Constitutional. The President had no qualms re-newing those provisions. But in regards to detaining citizens and other provisions not addressed by the Supreme Court, he was very, very concerned–Concerned enough to openly threaten a veto. In the end he created a signing statement, in which he said:

“The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it. In particular, I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists….under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any “existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” My Administration strongly supported the inclusion of these limitations in order to make clear beyond doubt that the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF. Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.

He also had other problems with the bill, such as Congress preventing him from transferring Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil so they could be prosecuted criminally, which in turn prohibited him from being able to close Guantanamo . Furthermore, if he didn’t sign the bill it also meant that our active soldiers, veterans and their families would have gone unpaid and unsupported. Beyond the moral implications of not taking care of them, there is a practical consideration too. You don’t just stop paying your soldiers 3, particularly in the middle of two wars.  Unfortunately his signing statement does not in any way bind future Presidents. And that’s really where the problem lies.

Now I want to know why Pres. Obama’s critics want to pin this on him and him alone? The two other branches have created and supported these hideous laws. How is the Executive supposed to control that in a legal manner? He can’t except through veto power.   At the time the NDAA was being passed the Senate had enough votes and the House would have likely found the votes to override his veto ( remember this is when Republicans were reflexively doing the opposite of what the President wanted). Then it would have become law without ANY limitation statements being added (i.e., the change in language that says not construed to affect any existing law regarding detention of citizens) AND without the signing statement, little comfort as that may provide. It’s still better than nothing, which is what the veto would have gotten us.

It confuses me when conservatives critics call the President a dictator (or Hitler) because of the NDAA and yet demand he act like a dictator to stop passage of the law.  You can’t have it both ways.  He’s a real President abiding by how our system works and following the rules.  This often constrains him as much as helps him (or any President that gives a damn about the Constitution–G.W. Bush couldn’t even spell the darn word much less abide by it).  It also means that we end up with abominations like the NDAA sometimes and the process to reverse such things is drawn out and very frustrating.

So in the end, I don’t blame President Obama for the NDAA but I do very much oppose it. I also believe that his signing statement is sincere. On the other hand, I have no confidence whatsoever that any conservative of either party or even a center-Democratic President would have such reservations or abide by the signing statement 4. Indeed American history has shown us time and time again, that regardless of which party controls the Executive Branch, once that Branch is granted powers, that Branch never gives it up unless forced to 5. Therefore, critics of President Obama on this particular issue need to be pressuring those idiots in Congress and/or hope that some more liberally minded Justices get appointed to the Supreme Court.  Otherwise, every four years habeas corpus could be threatened anew.  That’s not how it’s suppose to be.  But blaming President Obama alone for it, is simplistic and distracting.

Notes:

1. Authorization for Use of Military Force
2. On the issue of the Military Tribunals, SCOTUS rejected this argument so technically it doesn’t include that power.
3. That’s what happened just after the American Revolution and almost caused our very young country to experience a military coup, wherein the unpaid veterans of the Continental Army met to find out how they could force Congress to pay them. Washington went becasue he wanted to give input and because he was afraid that violence might result. During the meeting the Veterans discuss a coup and proposed that Washintong be made King…he declined, calmed the veterans assuring them that Congress would deliver and our democracy survived.
4. The 2011 version of the AUMF was sponsored by Sen. John McCain, former Presidential candidate–phew, thank God it was Obama who in won in 2008. As for Romney, the guy who was once again advocating for the use of torture, he wouldn’t have thought twice suspending Habeas Corpus. So any conservative that supported Romney or told you Romney was more in support of Liberty than Pres. Obama because of NDAA is just plain wrong. And on the issue of Romney’s views on Liberty and women’s rights…I’d supposedly be free under a Romney admin but the government could shove things into me without consent and they can condemn me to death or a lifetime of obligation, expense, effort, etc I do not want if I just so happen to be pregnant.  That sounds an awful lot like slavery to me.  But I digress….
5. Hence the War Powers Resolution of 1973

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This is why we shouldn’t get rid of agencies like the FDA, EPA, etc and replace them with private for profit auditors (i.e., Libertarian paradise of the “free market”):

Six audits gave sterling marks to the cantaloupe farm, an egg producer, a peanut processor and a ground-turkey plant—either before or right after they supplied toxic food. Collectively, these growers and processors were responsible for tainted food that sickened 2,936 people and killed 43 in 50 states;

Read the whole thing and then think about this the next time you buy food or eat out.

I came across an article about a study that looked at why we are so much ruder online than we are in person. They basically boiled it down to the freeing nature of anonymity, a lack of consequences (or at least a failure to recognize that real world consequences are possible) and the fact that many online communities inflate our sense of self. The “like” buttons, diggs, etc. feed into our egos. Who doesn’t feel good when someone “likes” our post, photo, etc? So if we are really truly honest, Facebook, our blogs, etc. are, to a certain extent, vanity projects. In my case blogging, using Facebook, commenting on other blogs, etc are also a tools.

However, the article misses some other deeper questions. I would like to see a deeper analysis of this issue. To what degree is physical contact important to controlling unsocial, rude, and/or offensive verbal communication? There are lots of studies like this but most were done before the Internet even existed. Time to redo some of them1 with an Internet component. To what extent does it control our expression of emotion? Could this study (and others like it) indicate that the majority of humans really need community, a physically present community, to keep us in check? Or is it simply because of some kind of disconnect between our perception of the “virtual” world versus the physical? I.e., is there some kind of difference in our psychological construct of the Online world versus the Physical world? I would posit this to be true. Back when I was teaching ethics, it never failed to amaze me many of my students could not see that breaking into someone’s house, hanging out and using the homeowner’s stuff was no different, ethically speaking, than breaking into someone’s server or network, hanging out and using the owner’s resources. Their excuse was always one was virtual and the other was “real”. No harm, no foul. I couldn’t get them to understand that some things were “mala en se” or “wrong in itself” regardless of consequences. They had no problem thinking this about some real world unethical behavior, but to them the virtual world was a whole new ballgame. I don’t think our culture (or any cultures for that matter) has caught up so that the post-Internet generations were not taught to apply their real world ethical framework to online behavior. However, I think it is more complicated than “if no one is watching, people will not behave” 2, or is it?

This article also got me to thinking about my own online activity. For me it serves several different purposes. First, I don’t have a lot of social interaction in my life3. Second, I also do it because I am an introvert. Online communication allows me to control how much exposure to other people I get. If I’m just too tired and can’t handle dealing with other people, I don’t have to. That’s not a pretty truth, I know. Third, I communicate better in writing than I do in person (at least I think I do). Fourth, it allows me to find people of like mind anywhere in the world. So instead of being limited to people in my neighborhood, church, kid’s school, etc. the world is opened up to me. Furthermore, it allows me to keep in touch with friends and family who live very far away and whom I would rarely get a chance to talk to otherwise. Fifth, it’s a great creative outlet that allows me to be with my kids at the same time. Sixth, it provides me with introspection.

The introspection afforded me online is much more in depth than real world interaction allows. When I’m writing here, I go over things repeatedly, re-drafting, re-thinking, trying to be honest about what I need and want to say, to the factual truth of what I am writing about and to the perceptions of my readers. I think about who might be reading my blog, how they might perceive things and what that says about what I’m saying. I think about consequences and if what I have to say is worth facing those consequences. Not to say I am pandering to my readers, but that I take into account how the readers are likely to understand what I am saying. For example, if I am writing something and using really angry, filthy language I will sometimes back off on that in re-draft because the point I am trying to make might not be heard if it isn’t said in a way that is somewhat palatable. And I think this is something mature people do in face-to-face communication too. How many times have you started out in an angry way, only to have the other person completely ignore the second part of what you said, the part that you felt was most important. Once someone is angry, hurt or sad, it is much harder to reason with them. This has been a hard, hard lesson for me to learn. So for me this blog reinforces positive communication behavior. I don’t know if this is true for most people. I suspect not. It is far too easy for people to dash off some quick post in anger and then just hit Enter. And perhaps that’s another point–the technology makes it so easy to communicate a lot in very short period of time.

Not to say that I’m a model of good behavior online. I had a spat with an old acquaintance online (on Facebook of course) about politics and religion. I wanted to just be happy for him and his beautiful new baby, to hear about his day to day life and to share those kind of positive things. Instead it was a constant stream of libertarian and evangelical4 offensive vitriol and constant challenge of my own political posts. I don’t put the full text of my posts on Facebook because I recognize that some of my friends and family are on the other side of the aisle. I only post the title and part of the first sentence or two. People don’t have to click through and read it. In fact, my entire family lives far away and they, for the most part, only read my personal posts so they can keep in touch with what is going on with me. I’m okay with that. He had to read my blog and respond on Facebook. And I couldn’t resist responding to his posts on Facebook.

I started out trying to honestly engage him and understand where he was coming from. I tried to see if we had any common cause. And on the surface we did agree on some things. But once I dug deeper it became impossible. He was constantly baiting me, purposely riling me with talk about “revolution”, “second amendment remedies” or saying horrible things about the President. When I would counter his posts on Facebook, his libertarian friends would often pile on. Our final conversation was over gun rights and/or the upcoming election. He basically baited me by talking about the coming Revolution (he’s a Paulite) and hinting at treason5. I called him on it and basically said (paraphrasing), ‘I wish a mutha would because my gun is just as deadly as his and if he thinks Liberals will sit at home let him and his buddies commit treason, he is sorely mistaken’. He responded that I was being threatening and violent. Really? Wow. I promptly unfriended him. Silly me, treasonous talk is where I draw the line on friendship and nothing, I mean nothing, gets me riled up faster.

Could I have communicated better with my friend? Absolutely. Should I have left emotion out of it? Yes. But I never purposely provoked him, sicked my friends on him, or tried to manipulate him. I started out with good intentions but he couldn’t play nice in the sandbox. I wasn’t so nice in my response to the provocation and I take responsibility for that. I should have been the grownup. So I think online conversations do have the potential deteriorate faster due to a bunch of things–anonymity, lack of consequences (or perceived consequences)6, lack of physical communication7, inflated sense of self (in the extreme delusional thinking), neediness for social interaction, the ease and speed of communication, the widening of the social network8, and the feedback loop and resulting in amplification9.

I’m going to try to be more mindful of how I “speak” to people online. Maybe modeling good behavior will encourage others to do the same? What do you think? Is it a waste of time to try to even be polite online? Have you caught yourself being rude online and regretted it?

Notes:
1. Many of the early studies were very unethical because subjects were not completely informed as to the nature of the study and subjects were physically or emotionally hurt. Modern research ethics do not allow this and no legitimate researcher would ever step over those boundaries (it would be a career killer in academia and possibly a crime). A classic example of this kind of abuse were the Milgram Experiments. [back]

2. This is usually one of the first steps toward ethical behavior for children. We first obey our parents because we don’t want to disappoint them and/or be punished by them. But if we didn’t have the threat of being caught, it was much easier to misbehave. That’s why it is said that “Character is what you do when no one is watching”. I personally could never get away with anything. The universe made sure I was caught every single time. For example, I skipped school only one time during my K-12 education. I got caught and had to go to detention. You know what I did on my skip day? I spent it doing volunteer work at the Hispanic center in downtown Harrisburg, PA. Yep, I was a wild and crazy gal. If I can’t get away with something like that, I can’t get away with anything.[back]

3. And before you tell me to go out and meet people….you try and do that working 45 hours a week as a financially struggling single mother of two kids, and then get back to me on how easy it is. Plus, I’m a shy introvert. You might meet me and think I’m not, but that’s not who I am inside. I can fake extroversion like a mutha but it is absolutely exhausting for me.[back]

4. I still can’t wrap my head around how those two things go together in any way, shape or form. I mean how can someone claim to be a libertarian (which by definition means socially liberal, fiscally conservative and deeply suspicious of governmental tyranny) yet also be perfectly okay with laws that force transvaginal ultrasounds on women or that force rape and incest victims to carry a baby to term? Or demand that government get out of lives and yet support incursions of government sponsored religion into our lives? I don’t understand the whole “Liberty for me but not for thee” kind of mentality. Do only male libertarians have liberty? Do they think that the incursion of government sponsored religion is okay so long as it is THEIR religion? [back]

5. My ex was a big fan of Ron Paul and is real big on those “Second Amendment remedies”. So I’ve had these kind of discussions many, many times. I consider myself a patriot. I would fight and die on behalf of my country and I would revolt if I thought my country needed saving from destructive internal forces AND that was the only option left. However, I don’t think this country is anywhere near bad enough to revolt against the government. Our system still works, albeit slower than we want and need it to and certainly more corrupt than it should be, but it works. If we lived in some place like Nigeria, Libya, Liberia, Cuba, etc where real dictatorships exist, you bet your ass I would be a revolutionary. In the U.S. the idea is not only unnecessary, it’s dangerous to our stability and undermines the very system that keeps us from being a Liberia, Cuba, etc. Talk of revolution in the U.S. right now is like wanting to amputate a limb to cure a sprain. And all this talk of revolution has gotten really, really heated since the supposed Kenyan Muslim Usurper was elected to the White House. Funny that. [back]

6. A lot of people have learned, much to their dismay, that online posting can get them fired, sued or arrested. [back]

7. As primates we rely a great deal on gestural, facial, and paralinguistic communication cues. Paralinguistic cues include things like grunting, breathing patterns, modulation of pitch, volume and clarity of voice. We also rely on smell (not consciously, of course), size comparisons (would I argue with a 6 ft 5 in man in real life as readily as I would with him online, probably not). I am very sensitive to the non-verbal communication cues. I can often tell when someone is angry, lying, uncomfortable, etc but trying not to show it. This lack of visual cues causes us to misunderstand intention, emotion, etc and it also allows us to hide our own emotions and intentions. It’s certainly easier to write something naughty online than to say it in person because no one can see you blush. Shame and/or embarrassment is amplified when seen, isn’t it? [back]

8. I can now communicate with hundreds of people in a single post–this was impossible before the Internet unless you were on radio or TV and with those only a limited number of people had access and control of their broadcast content. [back]

9. With radio and television communication is one way. They broadcast out. Now, we have very fast two way communication which can create a feedback loop. Almost like a virtual mob. One person starts it, but others join and get caught up in it. Then the frenzy starts and people behave in ways they would never on their own. Maybe the mob mentality is connected with online rudeness? Hmmmmmm, something to think about. [back]

Source:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/why-we-are-so-rude-online.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

For years I felt that it was pretty clear we had the right to bear arms but I never had an answer to those who insisted it needed to be a completely unfettered right because the Founding Fathers intended it to be a safety against tyranny from within. A conversation on another blog made me re-think things.

For instance, modern weaponry simply didn’t exist when the Constitution was drafted and what did they mean by “arms”?   There is no way the the Founding Fathers could have envisioned rifled barrels being widespread, 100 round mags, infrared scopes, etc. Muskets, the individual weapon of choice for the Continental soldier had no rifling–the twisting grooves in modern gun barrels that turn the bullet and improve accuracy. Although it had been invented in the 1500’s, the ability to manufacture rifled barrels in mass didn’t occur until the 1800’s1, long after the Founding Fathers were dead.

When most people armed themselves during the 1700’s they would buy a musket. In fact, because people usually hunted in addition to farming, almost every family in America had a musket of some kind (not to mention for personal defense because we had nothing like modern law enforcement at the time). If they had a bit more money and anticipated the need to defend themselves in close quarters, then they might have purchased a flint-lock pistol and/or a sword. However, those weapons weren’t common because they were expensive and the average citizen/soldier was not expected to carry anything more than a musket and a hatchet. Other things that the average citizen was NOT expected to have were the Colonial equivalents to automatic weapons such as  cannons, grenades, howitzers, etc.

Even if you don’t buy the argument that the Founding Fathers could not have conceived of things like the AR-15 assault rifle nor could have wanted the average citizen to have one, there are other things to think about. For example, what did they mean by a “well regulated militia”? The concept of a militia2, as we recognize it in the U.S., was created by the Anglo-Saxons (think back to England between the 5th Century until the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror in 1066). In Anglo-Saxon England a militia consisted of every able-bodied free male and its purpose was to protect the populace from outside invasions and to enforce the ruling feudal Lord’s laws, etc when the Lord’s standing Army was not around. These militias were called to duty by men called Sheriffs (the origin of our modern Sheriffs). In Colonial America, the militia was basically always “on duty” to defend colonists from hostile Native Americans. Thus it was that when the Founding Fathers decided they had no choice but to fight for independence, they turned to the standing militia as their army since it was the closest thing to a standing army.

So yes, armed citizens were a part of the militia and that militia ended up being the military force that fought against British tyranny. However, there was also a firm belief by many in the Colonies that we should never have a standing army as we do now and that a militia would have to be maintained as a result. One can see this in The Virginia Delcaration of Rights3 and its definition of a militia:

SEC. 13. That a well-regulated militia, or composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

Note there, the consensus was that a militia was meant to exist if we had no standing army. In spite of the widespread cultural attitude of wariness of a standing army, the Founding Fathers felt it would be necessary. So as soon as the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1784 to end the War, the Founding Fathers disbanded the Continental Forces and then immediately re-formed them as the United States Army–this became our standing military4.   As a result, the consensus was that no militia was needed at that time. The concept of a militia didn’t disappear, of course, because we have the National Guard and the Reserves. The modern National Guard was formed in 1903 as both a reserve force for the standing army but also as a “militia” in the traditional sense to keep the peace at home5, if necessary. That’s why we say a Governor “calls out” the National Guard. The Executive of each state has the right to “call” up that militia. The Reserves were formed early in the Cold War in order to act as a true strategic reserve in the case of a ground war between us and the very large Communist armies of China and Russia and can only be called up by the Federal Government.

So the concept of a militia remains an important part of our culture. However, what is new is the conservative veiwpoint that a militia consists of untrained, armed civilians. The National Guard is highly trained. Reservists are highly trained former active duty soldiers. Your fat La-Z-Boy surfing neighbor with his gun safe in the basement full of automatic weapons is not, nor should he ever be part of a militia UNLESS he signs an official piece of paper and verbalizes an oath, loses 50 lbs, gets some damn training, learns how to follow orders, etc. A “well regulated militia governed by civil power” also does not include the various indepdent groups formed by charismatic libertarians (or neo-Nazis as is sometimes the case in AZ) that build compounds out in the hinterlands. Sometimes these groups take it upon themselves to patrol our national borders with Canada and Mexico, but they are certainly not what the Founding Fathers defined in our Constitution. These self-same militias and conservatives sometimes encourage secession of a state and openly renounce the power of the Federal Government (especially since President Obama became the Democratic Party’s nominee for the President in 2008). For some reason they fail to note that the militia was supposed to be governed, like all military forces should be according to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers, by civilian power. In the U.S. Constitution civil power is the people and the people wield their power through their elected representatives that are sent to State and National Legislative Bodies and Executive Offices.  This is why we have never suffered from a “military coup” and it distinguishes us from many other countries in the world.

Okay, so you don’t agree with this historical interpretation of a “well regulated militia”. What about the fact that the Founding Fathers never wanted bloodshed during the Revolution? Yes, you heard that right. They tried, repeatedly, to find a diplomatic solution. A careful reading of the history shows that they only acquiesced to the idea of a bloody revolution when they felt they had no other choice.

Still don’t buy it? Then what about simple logic (which I am borrowing from a post on another blog by someone who regularly makes incredibly intelligent comments–GrafZeppelin127). Graf posits that it makes absolutely no sense for the Founding Fathers to create a new form of government that was supposed to be stabilized by the three separated powers of Executive, Legislative and Court branches and then allow for its violent, bloody overthrow by a bunch of angry armed citizens6. We absolutely, positively KNOW that the Founding Fathers, almost all of whom were patricians, feared the violence and capriciousness of the mob. They were not fans of ‘direct democracy’.  So when the French Revolution devolved into various factions fighting for control and mob killings not only of the nobility but each other, their fears were justified.   That fear is  precisely why the Founding Fathers created the Legislative Branch, to create a filter and a process that would make the change of laws a more deliberative process. In fact, the entire concept on which our United States is built is the concept of a peaceful, bloodless change of power through election. Graf argues:

If any person can unilaterally and arbitrarily decide, on his own initiative and for any reason, that “the government” is by his own subjective definition “oppressive,” take his gun, go to Washington and shoot his, your, my, and others’ duly-elected representatives, then this is neither a free country nor a republic nor a democracy nor a nation of laws. The exercise is ultimately and entirely self-defeating.

I think Graf is absolutely right. The Founding Fathers feared instability as much as they did tyranny. That’s why they created our “experimental” form of government. Furthermore, the argument made by conservatives that our right to bear arms was meant to protect us from internal tyranny of our own government ignores the fact that the actual structure and process of governance (i.e., elections, the three branches, the states versus the federal, the separation of church and state, etc) are our protection against internal tyranny.   No particular group–not the military, a church, the rich, the poor, the majority, the minority–could gain enough power, quickly enough to establish tyrannical control.   To claim that the Founding Fathers meant to introduce the wildcard of armed yokels with itchy trigger fingers into that wonderfully stable and tyranny free system is absurd.

Strangely enough I have made this argument to libertarians before but I never realized it.  I would always sputter something about, ‘well that’s what Congress is for….go vote…don’t take up arms”.  The next time I encounter a conservative that wants to discuss why he can’t have an Uzi, I’ll be much better prepared.  Thank you, Graf!

Sources:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rifling
2. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/223015/fyrd
3. http://www.constitution.org/bcp/virg_dor.htm
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Armed_Forces#History
5. http://www.ng.mil/features/birthday/index.html
6. http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2012/07/progress-10.html#disqus_thread

Perhaps I should just title this, “Why Mitt Romney is the worst choice this country could make at this point in our history” but it’s not as snappy.  Bob Cesca explains it so much better than I can.

Yes, Mitt Romney has expertise in the private sector, which is often and ignorantly ballyhooed as a qualification for president. But it’s not the kind of expertise we should be seeking in a president. There are countless differences between running the government and running a corporation, but that’s just the beginning. If Romney’s record is any indication, we know that he’s comfortable with outsourcing jobs, he’s comfortable with de-regulatory policy that allows unlimited mergers and acquisitions to point of near-monopoly, he’s comfortable with using tax loopholes and secret off-shore accounts to hide his money and he’s comfortable with paying himself huge windfalls at the expense of everyone else (his tax policy, for example, would personally save Romney around $5 million annually, while adding to the deficit and debt).

I recommend reading Bob’s entire article and sharing it with anyone who might be sitting on the fence or any liberal who is unmotivated to vote this Fall.  We need a very good turnout in order to keep the U.S. going in the right direction….forward to a better, stronger and more ethical country and not backward to a second Gilded Age where the “robber barons” of the world (the Mitt’s, if you will) enrich themselves at our expense.  And if you needed even more proof that corporations and the 1 percenters that own and/or run them aren’t looking out for the country’s best interests, check out how much cash they are NOT investing in the U.S. right now.

Sources:

http://thedailybanter.com/2012/07/why-the-bain-capital-story-is-so-important/

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/06/04/494686/romney-would-save-5-million-in-taxes-if-he-wins-the-election/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilded_Age

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/16/us-column-dcjohnston-idlecash-idUSBRE86F0GK20120716

Panderosity TM noun 1. When a politican panders to the lowest, craziest and/or most extreme members of his party in order to win their support even if the beliefs of those extremists violate both the nation’s and the candidate’s self-stated values.

Mittens has a new man crush.  He’s gone from swooning over Trump’s hair piece to the long, skanky locks of someone who needs little introduction, Ted Nugent.  Oh, you don’t know him?  He’s the washed up rocker from the 70’s that called Hillary Clinton a “worthless b*tch” and the President a “piece of sh*t” with a machine gun in hand.  His diatribe ended with a loud shout of “FREEDOM!”  I bet Ron Paul followers heard it across the nation….a dog whistle for die-hard libertarians everywhere.  After all, conservatives can never resist the siren call of  any phrase containing the following elements:  the term “freedom”, juvenile name calling, misogyny, and the brandishing of an automatic weapon.  The people applauding and cheering him on in the audience are some true patriots (of loonyville).

Well it turns out the Nugent has more to add to the national discussion in regards to the recent SCOTUS ruling on the ACA.  Evidently he thinks we would have been better off as a nation if the South had won the Civil War.  Really? REALLY?!  How can Romney sleep at night after pandering to someone like Nugent?  Ewwww, I feel I need a shower after reading about it.

 

SCOTUS ruling on SB1070….I am not surprised, are you?  They upheld the “Paper’s Please” portion and struck down the rest.

This Court has ruled in such a way as to wait until harm has been done instead of the traditional approach used by Courts in the past to see to prevent harm.  In other word this Court believes it is better to wait and see if anyone’s rights are violated, then wait for those parties to sue and if that suit makes it to the Supreme Court, they would then have to find a pattern of abuse that was due directly to the law itself and then they might rule it unconstitutional.  What I don’t understand is how they think that abuse, i.e., racial profiling and violation of habeas corpus rights, won’t occur.

Let’s look at it logically.  The Court has ruled time and time again that if a police officer pulls you over for one violation (e.g., speeding or a taillight is out), the officer cannot perform further searches (I.e., fish for evidence of other crimes) unless they have reasonable suspicion that some other crime has occurred and suspicion must be based on something in plain sight or by a voluntary admission of the driver.  So in the case of speeding, if the officer sees smoke pouring out of your window and smells the strong odor of pot, the officer has the right to search further.  Same goes for lots of alcohol bottles and cans in the car, the presence of blood on the seats, loaded weapons in view, burglary tools in view, etc, etc.

So what is going to be in plain view and what other things can an officer legitimately ask for that will provide reasonable suspicion that the driver and/or the passengers are illegal immigrants?  Well, you can bet your bippy (whatever the heck that is) that they won’t be voluntarily admitting such a thing.  The officer can look and try to see what is plain view but what are they going to see?  Mexican Flags, I heart Mexico bumper stickers, what?  The officer can ask to see their driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance.  Now the DL and registration are not a sign of illegal status and should not be enough to satisfy the standard of “reasonable suspicion”, UNLESS the license is a very obvious fake.  Even the lack of insurance isn’t enough to point to illegal status as many American citizens are caught every year without having insurance.  So how do they determine reasonable suspicion…because they don’t speak English or because there are way too many people in that tiny dilapidated car or because they happen to be brown…..

This Court is taking the classic ‘free market approach’.  What I mean by that is…the attitude that we don’t need safety regulations to prevent businesses from doing the wrong thing, so instead let the buyer beware.  If harm comes to the buyer, they can sue and THEN a law, if the harm is egregious enough and widespread enough,can be put into place to regulate something.  The only problem with that is, people (and usually many, many people) have to suffer egregious harm AND they have to be able to sue or have someone sue on their behalf before the business is punished and their behavior gets regulated.  This kind of “free market” approach will always favor the wealthy since access to our Justice system is, and make no mistake about, severely limited if you don’t have the funds.  I will regale you on another day about just how unfair our justice system is on another day.