Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Name:
Location: Illinois, United States

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fair Play


Turnabout
©2015  Ross Williams

 

 

A number of years ago there was a nationally sensationalized video bomb purporting to expose the unglamorous aspects of obtaining pate de foie gras for the commercial market.  Pate de foie gras is Froggish for "paste of fat liver".  Pate, as it's called, is a culinary delicacy obtained from force-fed geese and ducks, whose livers go into overdrive, thus becoming fat, while attempting to metabolize all the food they are being force-fed.  It's rather unappetizing to think about, but it's just another of the myriad unappetizers which are necessary in the human food industry.  And as far as outright animal brutality goes, the process of fattening up poultry liver for pate is comparatively unremarkable.  There's a dozen things I can think of right now that I do on my small farm that are more disgusting than sticking a food delivery tube down a duck's throat. 

The notorious video showed fat ducks waddling around, fat ducks having their heads tilted back and being tube-fed a slurry of — essentially — creamed grain, what we humans eat for breakfast if we are pretending to have a healthy start to our day, and it showed an ill duck in a cage being unable to get away from a rat attack.  America's liberal sympathy junkies all had a hissy fit of neatly choreographed spontaneity.  Populist boob legislatures in various jurisdictions overpopulated with liberal sympathy junkies went on pandering legislative attack and outlawed the practice of force-feeding poultry in the first place, or simply outlawed the sale, purchase, or use of pate de foie gras.

As a result of this moronic moralizing legislation, America's chefs de cuisine staged their own neatly choreographed spontaneous hissy fit.  One of Chicago's more famous master chefs, operating one of Chicago's more famous [and expensive] restaurants, went so far as to publically announce that he would openly defy the ban on pate imposed by Chicago's Aldermen, who are virtually all liberal boobs.

Chicago's city council rescinded their ban on pate a few years later.

Over the years there have been easily a dozen similar insider videos showing the inner workings of slaughterhouses and the manner by which humans obtain their hamburger.  And, true to their script, America's liberal sympathy junkies, after each new video, arranged a spontaneous, choreographed hissy fit and wet their panties in public by the thousand.  Sadly, though, for the idiot liberal sympathy junkies, America is too in love with beef to do about it like was done with pate.  No matter how you slice it, pate is a food for the culinary one-percent; hamburger is cupidium populi.

But the table has been set on video sneak attacks.  If liberal ideologues can use this tactic to conjure up support for their faux-pious liberal cause celebre, then so can bluenosed conservatives use it to drum up sympathy for their own faux-pious issues.  Sure enough, James O'Keefe, apparently believing that political corruption only exists on the left, stuck a hidden camera in his navel a number of years ago, wandered into an ACORN office with a female accomplice, and asked the ACORN operative how he might be able to set up a human smuggling ring, a prostitution den, and vote fifteen times for Barry Hussein in the '08 general election.  The ACORN operative was only too glad to assist in those illegal endeavors.  The resulting legislative attack defunded ACORN which had, to that point, gotten its hundreds of millions of dollars in annual operating expenses from the federal treasury.  ACORN was thereupon forced to decentralize its operation and rebrand itself into a hundred or more local offices, all with different names, and all obtaining their hundreds of millions in combined operating expense dollars in individual federal grants.  Corruptio populi.

But still, what's good for the idiot liberal goose is good for the bluenosed conservative gander, and idiot liberal geese have no claim to squawk and honk in moral outrage when they are hoisted on their own fattened pate — as it were.

… which brings us to today's video sensationalism.  There are a handful of hidden camera videos floating around showing the seamy underbelly of the heretofore unassailable iconic bastion of gender politics: Planned Parenthood.  It seems that apart from obtaining their half billion dollars of annual operating expenses from the federal treasury, Planned Parenthood supplements its income by selling fetuses, in whole or in part, to researchers and/or ghouls.  Irony compels me to inject an Eric Cartman/Shakey's Pizza reference at this point … so consider it injected.

Planned Parenthood is universally lauded, by those who laud it, as a "women's health" operation dispensing birth control, gynecological exams, and otherwise serving "the women of America".  Yet there are no Planned Parenthood storefronts outside major metropolitan areas.  Planned Parenthood thus only serves urban — and therefore disproportionately poor and disproportionately liberal and disproportionately black — American women.  And while they do indeed give gynecological exams and write prescriptions for birth control pills, the lion's share of the service that Planned Parenthood provides is abortion, a fact that bluenosed conservatives continually harp upon and that idiot liberals continually dissemble after.  Planned Parenthood is therefore a front-line operative in ensuring a reduced future crop of poor blacks and liberals, exactly as its founder, eugenicist Margaret Sanger, envisioned all those years ago when she derided blacks as being wholly inferior to whites and needing to have their population controlled.  Irony compels me to inject another reference here, but I'll resist the urge and leave it as an exercise for the reader.

Federal law prohibits federal dollars to be used to fund abortion, and Planned Parenthood uses a common financial parlor trick to juggle their books on the matter.  In the same way states which justified lottery and, later, casino gambling in the name of public school funding never saw a dollar-for-gambling-tax-dollar increase in public school funding as they promised, Planned Parenthood never sees a dollar-for-federally-funded-dollar increase in their own funding for non-abortion services.  This juggling is childish, yes, it's verging on unethical, and it's undeniably dishonest and disingenuous.  But it's not illegal.

Also not illegal — yet — is selling fetal parts, although it is disgusting, repulsive, nauseating and, to many, emotionally wrenching.  And while I have sympathy for those who consider Planned Parenthood to be ghoulish beasts preying on poor, urban, black women, partly because I share some of their sentiments, the fact of the matter is: I am a libertarian who understands, when no one else seems to [or seems to even care], what it means to have genuine political freedom.

In a nation, such as ours, which is defined to have political freedom belonging to its people, it does not matter one gilded god damn whether a 50.001% or 99.999% majority of the population want the government to stop other people from doing the disgusting thing they're doing; all that matters is whether the defined powers of the government permit the government to get involved.  If the defined powers of the government do not include doing what the majority wants it to do, then the majority needs to go pound sand.  The government, furthermore, needs to stop pandering long enough to tell the majority that what the majority wants is outside the scope of defined governmental power.

Whether bluenosed conservatives like it or not, there is no defined power of the government to get involved in abortion.  Or fetal part sales, for that matter.  This means the government has no legitimate authority to stop abortions regardless of how many think it abominable, nor to stop what is being done with the resulting "tissue" irrespective of how many think that is abominable … which includes me.

It also means — idiot liberals — that the government has no legitimate authority to promote abortions, either.  "Not involved" means just that.  The government is required to stay out of it.  It may not prohibit; it may not promote.  If this means that our major metropolitan areas will be overrun within a generation by a superabundance of poor and mostly black youths all demanding their share of the federal, Chinese-funded pie that the idiot liberals sliced up in prior generations for the sole purpose of creating liberal voters, then so be it.  Our nation will simply run out of money faster, is all.  When China,  in mid-century, seizes those parts of California that Mexico could not annex as a collateral forfeiture for the sovereign debt the US cannot repay, thank the liberals who made it happen.  I plan to thank liberals from my retirement residence in Baja.  Liberals shit everyone's bed on this; they need to own the future consequences of their policies.  And change the sheets.

In the meantime, the next step in the video bomb script is for Congress to defund Planned Parenthood — and the call has already gone out.  The videos are so disturbingly callous that even many of those who support abortion rights, like me, are sickened and appalled by what Planned Parenthood has been doing.  There are more hidden camera videos waiting to come out as well, but the conservatives who took those videos appear to be barred from using the First Amendment; a federal judge in California is abusing his authority by prohibiting the release of any more videos.

No matter; the damage is done, and Planned Parenthood will soon cease getting federal money with which they can juggle their books and thereupon backhandedly perform abortions on poor, urban, black women.  …and that's as it should be; Congress has no legitimate authority to fund Planned Parenthood in the first place.  The Constitution gives no power to Congress over the matter, so Congress can neither prohibit abortion, nor promote it.  Not even if abortion is disingenuously redefined as "women's health".

Friday, August 14, 2015

Justifiable Paranoia


Justifiable Paranoia
©2015  Ross WIlliams

 


I've recently gotten into discussions — albeit short — with a few local media types over the spate of police shootings and the turmoil that follows.  The discussions are short because I am [probably] perceived as an ideologue who has all the time in the world to badger the media-type upon this issue while they have better things to do than indulge me.  It's the "never wrassle with a pig" thing, where I am naturally the pig: the pig likes it and you'll just get dirty.

My position in these dialogues is contrary to both of the standard police-state positions, by which I mean the typical conservative law-n-order mentality which posits that the police are always objective actors who do no wrong, and when they do it's only one in a million and "waddaya expect? ya gonna have a few bad apples!" and also the standard liberal big government position with its schizophrenic belief that the government agencies which actually enforce the big government on everyone is inherently racist.  They're both wrong.  And as usual, I'm the only one I see yammering about the matter who  is correct.

By Memorial Day of 2015, police killed 380-some-odd Americans with firearms.  This is a yearly rate of around 900.  The yearly average for the prior ten years was something like 320 per year.  That figure does not include the Eric Garners who died from a choke hold, nor the dozens who died from "non-lethal" tasers, nor the schlub in Baltimore who died, handcuffed, in the backseat of a police car from injuries sustained from bouncing around as the police car was being driven by a Bobby Unser fan.  Nor does it include the probable jail cell suicide death of Sandra Bland who should never have been in jail in the first place but who was put there by an autocratic asshole cop on a power trip who was too busy abusing his authority to do his job of policing a small portion of a free country in the manner in which police, in a free country, are required to behave.

It does, though, include the death of an unarmed Texas college football player who was ransacking a car dealership, the murder of a feeble Chicago octogenarian waggling a knife around in a medication-induced stupor, and the assassination of a Cincinnati resident who was no longer willing to participate in a needless traffic stop imposed upon him by another autocratic asshole cop on a power trip.

Simply put: police are targeting Americans.

Now, an overly simplified conservative position suggests that those who are killed by police deserve what they get, while an overly simplified liberal position would maintain that virtually all of those killed are black.  Notwithstanding that some and possibly many of those killed do in fact "deserve it" and that a good number of those killed are actually black, the reality is … I've said it before … police are targeting Americans.

ALL Americans.  Not just blacks.

The reason for this is … and I've said this before as well … police are, generally speaking, autocratic assholes on power trips abusing their authority, and with nearly universal impunity improperly granted them by the courts no longer willing to do their own duty in compelling the other branches of government to abide by the severe restrictions on their power that our nation was founded upon.

If statistics are to be relied upon, and they usually can be, the ratio of blacks being killed in 2015 will be roughly one-third that of whites being killed.  Race-baiting liberals will say that this proves blacks are being targeted more, because whites outnumber blacks by five-to-one.  It's simple math, they'll claim: five-to-one multiplied by one third means blacks are targeted 1.67:1 more often than whites … so there.

Sandra Bland and Eric Garner aside, police in our country rarely use weapons unless crimes are actually being committed — they confine their power abuses in most citizen encounters to being bossy, imperious jackasses.   The rate of criminal activity, where cops using weaponized force will nearly always be seen, is almost four times higher for blacks than it is for whites, which thus erases [and then some] any asserted racial bias in the use of police force.  Blacks are fractionally less likely to die at the pointy end of a cop's bullet when you factor "presumed criminal activity" into the equation.  This is not to say that criminals deserve to be killed on the street, but … sometimes they do, in fact, bring it on themselves.

Of course, this "presumed criminal activity" is very difficult to quantify, since this factor is not included in the statistics compiled by the Justice Department even though it is undoubtedly a valid consideration.  Michael Brown, for example, was killed after attempting to boost a cop's gun as he was being stopped for previously boosting a local convenience store, but this fact escapes the official tallyman.  It also escapes the mob which is tired of listening to official excuses for cops killing citizens by the score, and they are refusing to listen.  But let's just say that the figures are a statistical wash that do not support the hypothesis of a rampantly racist nationwide police force.  Individual cops' mileage may vary.

Instead, what the figures show thus far in 2015 is that police are killing Americans three-to-one more than they have since records were kept, and that the majority being killed are white, both in raw numbers and pro rata.  This supports, therefore, the hypothesis that cops are autocratic assholes on power trips abusing their authority.  They don't care who you are; they are going to push you around every chance they get and — since they have nearly universal impunity — no court is likely to say they were wrong to do so if you complain about it.  After all, do you think this is a free country or something? where citizens have rights and the government has strict limitations on its power to push people around?

The natural and predictable result of this is that citizens will fight back — it is the universal outcome of every history book ever written.  Nearly all citizens, though, will fight back like I am: by timidly using words of varying rudeness to unflatteringly describe the totalitarianism of the police-state we see emerging around us.  This, then, will ensure that more of us will be badgered, harassed and goaded by cops if we are ever officially encountered, thus supporting the "autocratic assholes on power trips abusing their authority" hypothesis.

Just as naturally and predictably, a small portion of the citizens who are badgered, harassed and goaded will elevate their pique to something more sinister, and still others will do the same as a sort of pre-emptive measure … and sure enough, the cops shot by Americans has "spiked", according to the FBI, up 89% in 2014 over 2013, and the preliminary figures for 2015 show another near-doubling.  Why, we're almost up to the number of dead cops we saw during the Prohibition Era!

And the comparison is telling.  The natural and predictable consequence of a citizenry which believes itself to be a free people in a free country and thus defined not to have to endure its government badgering them endlessly … is to fight back when they find that they are being badgered endlessly, over matters they were designed to be free from being badgered upon.

A free people does not have Prohibition thrust upon them.  When it is, resistance follows.  And during Prohibition, we saw resistance and cops died.  Thousands of them over the decade and a half that Prohibition lasted.

A free people does not have to prove they aren't terrorists at airports, nor to buckle their seat belts, nor to buy health insurance if they want to risk it, nor to stop selling loose cigarettes on the street, nor to stop smoking AFTER the traffic stop is concluded, nor to do any of the other countless things we are told — "for our own good" or otherwise — we must do or else have some uniformed and armed assholes abuse their authority at us about it.  When it happens, resistance follows.  We are seeing resistance today, and cops are dying as a result.  Hundreds of them.

This is a "duh" moment.

The only reason free citizens in a free country set ambushes for cops is because those citizens do not believe they are free.  They believe the government is out to get them, so they want to get the government first.  And when nearly 900 citizens are going to be killed by cops this year, up from 300 or so last year, those paranoid citizens would seem to have a good point.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

When Will We Get It?


When Will We Get It?
©2015  Ross Williams

  

Cops killed someone else last week, this time a woman in Texas.

Her offense?  She mouthed off during a traffic stop.

Why was she stopped?  She changed lanes to get out of the way of the cop car — which was undoubtedly defying posted speed limits, as they virtually all do — and she was pulled over for her failure to signal that lane change.

The cop gave her a warning, and commented that she seemed "irritated".  Well, duh, she was pulled over for trying to get out of the way of the arrogant cop — who had appeared to be speeding his way to some important business elsewhere … apparently not, since he had time to pull her over and write out a warning.

Ooh!  Sass!  Cops don't like sass, and they will go out of their way to manufacture an arrestable confrontation when a free citizen in our free country uses the First Amendment in the way it was designed to be used: to backtalk the government and its agents.  And this cop followed the police-state script to a T to manufacture an arrestable confrontation.

First he ordered her to put out her cigarette.  He had no cause to do so.  He had no cause to do anything other than get his arrogant ass back in his car and arrogantly drive away to arrogantly harass the next motorist he encountered.

When the woman refused to put out her cigarette he ordered her to step from the vehicle — again, having no cause to do so.  He informed her that she was being placed under arrest … despite having committed no crime.  Mouthing off is not a crime; smoking a cigarette in one's own vehicle is not a crime.  The cop had no cause to prolong his interaction with the woman.

When she refused to budge, he threatened to drag her out, which constitutes assault.  He finally pulled his stun gun and threatened to "light her up" unless she complied.  This move is otherwise known as "assault with a deadly weapon".  The cop, without cause and under color of authority, threatened a citizen with a weapon that has been known to cause permanent injury and fatality. 

The dashboard camera shows her finally emerging from her vehicle, where he orders her to the side of the road.  Verbal confrontation continues off-camera, as does — apparently — excessive force during the illegal arrest, if we are to believe what the woman says about having her head slammed into the ground.

The woman was ultimately taken to jail where she died three days later, a plastic garbage bag wrapped around her neck.  The official report calls it suicide, and it may very well have been.

However, the point that no one is willing to mention is that this woman should never have been jailed in the first place.  She committed no crime.  To the degree that failure to signal a lane change is a crime, the incident was finalized on the roadway with the issuance of a warning; her traffic "crime" was completed.  What followed after was a total fabrication by the police force: as with Eric Garner, the cops push, harass and goad a citizen until the citizen mouths off … as citizens are fully entitled to do.  Once mouthing off occurs, the cops escalate.  With Eric Garner, it escalated to his death on a New York City sidewalk during a chokehold; with this woman, Sandra Bland, it escalated with her probable suicide death in jail.  Both deaths caused by the police for a citizen's rightful act of mouthing off.

What cops refuse to comprehend, and what government officials in general refuse to acknowledge, is that citizens have the right to mouth off … with impunity … under all circumstances.  The primary purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the right of a citizen to say what he wants — to and about his government or its agents —to the government's face or behind its back — without the government being able to do one damned thing about it.  Yes it's rude.  That's the cost of a free society.

Furthermore, what "law and order" types routinely fail to recognize is that there would likely be significantly more in the way of both "law" and "order" if our government in general and our police forces in particular were to cease attempting to recreate the gestapo in order to attain law and order.  Government bully tactics lead inexorably to smart-mouthing and worse.  In the absence of government bullying, there wouldn't be as much rudeness because the government wouldn't be inspiring it.

The biggest scold, though, belongs to those minorities who see the government as the securer of all things good: the minorities.  Sandra Bland was a black woman; her arresting officer was hispanic — it was Texas, after all.  Both blacks and hispanics disproportionately view the government's role as an in-yer-face institution, ensuring that other people conform to a set of "proper" behaviors.   The ultimate power of the government to accomplish this beneficence lies in the multiple layers of uniformed and armed police forces to impose the necessary compliance.

The only thing is: most of the improper behaviors our minorities would want our government to eliminate from others are called "freedom".  Indianapolis pizzerias must have the same freedom to not cater gay weddings as black motorists or street peddlers must have to mouth off at the cops harassing them. The moment we use the bully power of the state to impose on pizzerias is the moment we justify cops manufacturing confrontations with citizens.  And when government agents with guns get involved, people start dying.

So … IS the government the Great Protector some wish to believe it is?  Or is it just an opportunistic bully?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Simplify, Simplify

Simplify, Simplify
©2015  Ross Williams

 

There was a television game show back in the 60s called Truth or Consequences.  It was hosted, when I watched it, by Bob Barker.  It featured audience members being pulled up from their seats, asked a goofy question in order to win a prize, and if they didn't get the answer correct they would have to face the consequences — an even goofier game.  I believe the same prize awaited them at the end.  Of course the object was to get these people to play the game, because that's where the laughs were.

I watched this show frequently as a child, because the questions were goofy and the games even goofier, and it appealed to my childish notions of high comedy.  One day, Bob Barker asked a young woman from the audience the question: "Why are Russians red?"

The correct answer is trivially simple, "rus" [pronounced "rooss"] is the Russian word for red.  The pertinence of this is slightly more complex — but only slightly — and it involves centuries of the land now known as Russia being invaded, plundered, conquered and colonized by Swedes — Scandinavians known for having red hair, an oddity among the Eurasian inhabitants living among the plains and swamps east of the Ural mountains.  The Swedes emerged from Scandinavia in the Middle Ages and went east at the same time as the Norwegians emerged from Scandinavia and went west; they were both known as Vikings [pronounced "veekeengs"], as 'viking' was their word for, loosely, 'pirate'.  The new ruling class were called 'Rus' by those they conquered, the territory became known as 'Russia', and red has ever after been associated with Russia, being prominently displayed in their flags and other symbology.

This answer, though, would have been wrong in the game show theatrics of Truth or Consequences.  The correct answer, as nearly as I recalled it, went roughly as follows:

Why are Russians red?

Because blood is red, too, and two times two is four, and four times three is twelve.  And there are twelve inches in a foot, and a foot is a ruler.  A ruler is Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Elizabeth is a ship.  Ships sail the seas, and in the seas there are fish.  Fish have fins, and the Finns are next to the Russians.  Fire trucks are always rushin', and fire trucks are red.  So that's why Russians are red.

I was immediately enthralled by the hilarious homonymic and linguistic equivocation meandering through this gag, and repeated the joke like this for years[*].  Apparently, the American legal establishment also heard this joke, but didn't recognize it as one; they employ this manner of convolution to everything they do.  They collectively seem to believe that endless streams of rationalizing equivocation are necessary to explain the trivially simple answers to trivially simple Constitutional conundrums.

For example, the Constitutional question: "Why are homosexuals allowed to get married in the United States?"

I couldn't begin to give the long-winded rationalizations used by the US Supreme Court in their "correct answer but incorrect thinking" 'opinion' they shoveled out recently.  Instead, I will give the correct answer with the correct thinking.

We, The People, are guaranteed Equal Protection of the Laws in this country.  If the legislature passes a law allowing this or prohibiting that, the law must apply evenly to everyone.  The moment it doesn't apply evenly to everyone is the moment some people become "more equal" than others and tyranny ensues.  If the government is dead-set on not treating people equally under the law then it must have a damned good reason for it.  No "damned good reason" exists for excluding homosexuals from the privilege of being screwed by divorce courts and the petite napoleon which preside over them.

Did you miss the correct answer?  Here it is again, in one sentence instead of in one paragraph: The Constitution limits the power of the government to tell people what they can and cannot do; on those occasions when the government is allowed to get bossy, the Constitution requires that the government treat everyone the same within that bossiness.  There is no reason for Supreme Court decisions to be prattling on for pages and pages and pages.

Additionally, the legislature must be legitimately permitted to write that law in the first place.  For example, Congress passed a law a number of years ago [with full bipartisan support, by the way] called the Defense Of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, and which defined marriage as a legal institution to be entered only by one man and one woman, and that any 'marriage' consisting of any other pairing would be ineligible for federal considerations normally granted to married people.

So … find the power of Congress to define who can and who cannot get married.  Don't bother; it doesn't exist.  Thus, according to the 10thAM, the power to define marriage is a State power.  DOMA was declared partially unconstitutional eight years after passage, which was the wrong answer.  The correct answer to this conundrum would have been to declare it wholly unconstitutional.  There is no power of Congress to write laws on this subject matter, period, so no matter what the law said, the law was not allowed to exist.  Defining marriage is [and will be until the Constitution is amended] a State matter. 

Any State can create a legal institution called 'marriage'.  And they can define it how they wish.  …with one major caveat: they are required to treat all people equally under that law, for We, The People, have Equal Protection.  If the State does not treat people equally, it must have a damned good reason.

Many States saw the writing on the wall and decided on their own that yes, indeed, homosexuals can get married, because there is no "damned good reason" to disallow it.  There are only personal reasons, full of subjective notions of 'taste' and 'tradition' and 'belief' and, while these reasons may be very, very tangible to the people who espouse those reasons, personal likes and dislikes are supposed to hold no sway in a nation built on the political freedom from being bossed around by the government.

Many other States, however, populated by a more conservative people, determined that the personal was political, in a curious reversal of soft-skulled liberal sentimentality, and refused to allow homosexuals to marry.

The "damned good reasons" commonly cited for denying Equal Protection were:

1] Marriage is for procreation; homosexuals cannot procreate within the marriage.

Marriage is irrelevant for procreation as any cursory glance at society will inform, and to prohibit "non-breeders" from marrying would extend the ban to post-menopausal women, the infertile of either sex, and those who have better things to do than go prematurely gray waiting for their offspring to get the hell out of the house.  And this would only compound the violation of Equal Protection, besides.

1-a] It's science, dammit!  Gays can't reproduce!

Our nation was not founded to further "science" [global warmers, take note]; it was founded to create a government which protects its citizens' rights to do whatever the hell they want under almost all circumstances of human interaction … because the government was defined to have almost no power to stop them from doing most of those things.

2] Marriage is a religious institution, and requiring marriage to include conditions which are doctrinally contrary to a given religion is a violation of religious liberty, and effectively "criminalizes" that religion.

A nation in which religious liberty is identical to political liberty is called a theocracy; we do not have a theocracy.  Marriage, in our nation, is a secular institution which the government permits religions to administer … if a religion chooses, and to the degree it wishes, to administer it.  For example, the government allows divorced people to get married, but the Catholic Church doesn't, and the government cannot force it to.  The government allows people who don't have any religion to speak of to get married, but most churches I know of only allow members to marry.  I know a couple, members in good standing of their church, who were disallowed to marry in their own church … because they had been living together, "in sin", prior to being married.

No church is forced to marry divorcees; no church is forced to marry non-members; no church is forced to marry anyone.  No church would be compelled to conduct a gay marriage against its wishes.  Nor to accept married gays as members.  This ruling has no bearing on religion.

For all the unchristian Christians wetting their panties about how this ruling "criminalizes" christianity, just think how the muslims in our nation feel.  That should make some "christians" feel better if nothing else does.

2-a] But… but… but … it's traditional!!

The United States was founded in the first place for the express purpose of violating all previous political traditions.  Protecting the rights of the citizens to be free from almost all government intrusion and bossiness? Unheard of!  Government power is traditionally unlimited.  Requiring laws to apply to rich and poor equally? to friend and enemy both? to in-favor and out-of-bounds alike?  Unthinkable!  What good is political power if favors can't be doled out to political friends and official harassment thrown at political enemies?  Yes, it still goes on, but at least we have the integrity to see it for what it is: corruption, at least when "the other guy" does it.

Tradition is untrustworthy, and face it: to be American requires us to discount tradition in almost all circumstances; discounting tradition is the reason we are not British subjects today.  A citizen can still be traditional if he wishes to be, but our government is not permitted to impose that tradition on everyone unless it has a specific power to do so as defined by our Constitution — and it probably doesn't.  People wishing the government to impose "tradition" on this matter are, in very real terms, anti-American.

3] It's immoral, it's disgusting, and it's stomach-turning.

So what, and lay in a supply of antacids.  Freedom works that way — or it's supposed to.  Anyone who wishes the government to step in and compel some people to abide by their notions of "morality" are setting the stage for others to do the same thing in return … and the case can already be made that this very thing, using the government as the blunt [and dim-witted] instrument compelling "moral" uniformity among its citizens, as defined by loud-mouthed, self-righteous crusading minority interests, has long gotten out of hand.  Why, if we imposed moral uniformity just to shut up the loud-mouthed minorities, we might see Prohibition and, after it fails miserably, incremental neo-prohibition; we might see mandatory seat belt and baby seat laws; we might endure shrieking fits about the need to prohibit tobacco smoke concurrent with tear-stained mewling over the stupidity of criminalizing marijuana smoke; and we might suffer endless justifications as to why every person wanting to fly to Orlando must be considered a terrorist until he proves himself to not be.  …to name just a few of the millions of examples.

We were designed to be free in this country; freedom means being immoral when we wish to be, to disgust everyone around us, and upset their poor little tummies.  Deal with it.

4] Marriage is a State matter, and it's up to the states to construct as they see fit.

As long as the State abides by the mandatory restrictions on how it administers its laws … yes.  The US Constitution requires Equal Protection, and federal courts have the duty and obligation to slap the hands of States which do not apply Equal Protection.  This is not a case of the State denying two six year-olds a marriage license.  You can make a damned good argument that six year-olds don't have the wisdom necessary to choose whom, or when, to marry.  You cannot make a damned good argument that adult homosexuals don't have the wisdom … more or less than any other adult has, that is.

4-a] But the majority doesn't like it.

Even if that were true [and it is, in certain parts of the country], we are not a democracy and imposing what the majority wants requires the legitimate power of the government to give it to them … which, on this subject, it doesn't have.  Democracy is, in any event, nothing more than an exceedingly polite term for mob rule, and fickle mob rule at that.  Our government was specifically defined as a constitutional democratic republic to prevent the majority from voting gays back into the closet, from voting blacks to the back of the bus, from lording over every marginal interest it encounters.  While the argument can be made that we have been extremely inconsistent in applying this principle and have become a tyranny of loud-mouthed minorities, our government is, in fact, limited in what it is legitimately permitted to do, regardless of why it may wish to do it.  The majority can go pound sand.  As can loud-mouthed minorities.

4-b] Okay, so maybe a gay couple has a Federal Right to get married, but the States are a separate jurisdiction and can create their own legal rights.

This is a version of the argument made by the sniffle-nose Scalia.  Read the Constitution, Tony.  Specifically, in this case, read section 1 of the 14thAM.  In so many words: a citizen of any State is therefore a citizen of the United States and may not have his US-protected rights denied him by State law.

If you accept the notion of gay marriage as a federal right, then it is, by definition, required to be a State right as well.  This amendment, ratified after the Civil War for the purpose of ensuring that previous slave states would not reinstitute slavery by state law after it had been abolished by the Constitution, had the net effect of "incorporating" states into the Bill of Rights.  In practical effect, it limits the power of the states to legislate to those things Congress is permitted to legislate upon.  A State may create an institution of marriage or not, but if it does, it cannot make many distinctions among those who can be married.  If a State doesn't want gays to be married, their only option is abolish marriage altogether.

You may think what you like of "incorporation", but until the 14thAM is properly and legitimately struck from the Constitution, the Supreme Court is required to make the States obey it, regardless of the subject, regardless of the consequences.

Interestingly, both liberals and conservatives love "incorporation" when it suits their partisan hackery.  And they both loathe "incorporation" when it doesn't.  … owing, of course, to the simplistic notion that American politics can be devolved into such a crisp dichotomy as "liberal" and "conservative" in the first place.

Liberals love "incorporation" today because it makes States accept gay marriage as a matter of Equal Protection when those States don't necessarily want to, and conservatives are wetting their panties over it.  Yet, when the courts rule that States cannot impose gun control in violation of the 2ndAM, conservatives love "incorporation" while liberals loathe it.

It is hypocrisy among both liberals and conservatives, to support "our" idea of freedom when that freedom is for "us", and deny "their" idea of freedom when that freedom is for "them"; to support a limit on government power to boss people around when the bossy government gets in "our" way, but deny a limit on government power to boss people around when it gets in "their" way.  It is the unwillingness or inability for our "legal" "scholars" to do their jobs without reeling off delusional, self-important screed to explain it all, usually getting it wrong, and which mainly serves to obfuscate the subject, that will ultimately prove fatal to our definition of liberty.

Our government — at all levels — has virtually no power to legislate, to boss people around.  It is the job of the courts to recognize when governmental bossiness exceeds the defined power to be bossy, and then to explain, "You don't have that power".  Any court ruling which exceeds a few sentences in length [and they all do] is rationalization, constructing — for example — terrorism exemptions in the 4thAM when one does not exist, or why legislative power partially exists by distinguishing between trimesters while prattling on about "umbras and penumbras" when the power to legislate on the subject of abortion is nonexistent.  Courts abuse their power by permitting legislatures to abuse their own in writing laws they are not permitted to write … which are most of them.

Unctuous, self-serving blather is how the courts told us that even though Congress has no power to create, for example, an old-age pension system, it does have the power to lay and collect taxes, and also the power to spend those taxes; therefore it can create a tax for an old-age pension system, collect that tax, and then spend the money it collects to fund the Social Security pension system it otherwise does not have the power to create.  For another example, Obamacare.  As long as Obamacare is a tax instead of the regulation of a form of commerce Congress is not permitted to regulate, Congress can do what it is not permitted to do, the idiot court told us.  And only grasping, tyrannical police-statists see nothing wrong with this line of anti-constitutional thought.

Our Constitution is simple: the government has a only few legitimate powers to get bossy with its people, and when it uses the power given to it, it must apply that power equally; when it doesn't have the power then it must sit down, shut up, and leave us alone.  And yes, this "leaving us alone" thing can get loud and messy; freedom works that way.

Instead, our Constitution has been rendered into a farcical Truth or Consequences game show, where only the most convoluted, ridiculous and moronic explanations in defense or, more likely, contradiction of freedom ever get heard.  Our Constitution deserves simple explanation:  The power to define marriage belongs to the States, but it must include everyone equally  — period.  Why is this so difficult?


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* — After having repeated the hilarious homonymic and linguistic equivocation on "Why are Russians red" for 25 years as described above, I learned over a decade ago that it is, instead, a hilarious homonymic and linguistic equivocation on "why are fire trucks red" with "Russians are always red, and fire trucks are always rushin'" being the endpoint.  I had failed to properly follow the inane reasoning in the correct answer to the question, and reconstructed my own question to fit what I recalled, possibly because I was only 8 or 9 years old when I saw the show, and DVRs, let alone VCRs, did not exist at the time for me to go back and review.

And, as if it needs to be said, the US Supreme Court continually fails to properly follow its Constitutional duties, and perpetually retrofits the Constitution's words to match what it chooses to do in any given circumstance — legalistic equivocation.  This allows, for example, the greasy hypocrite John Roberts to apply a non-argued argument to his Obamacare decision and then to wet his panties about the "bench legislation" of the recent gay marriage ruling.  But the unctuarian Roberts doesn't have the excuse of only being 8 or 9 years old; he was supposed to have studied law to include reading the Constitution.  I am perplexed as to why he's done neither.

Thus it seemed most fitting that I use my misremembered rendition of the joke.

 

 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Sooner be a Hoosier


Sooner be a Hoosier

©2015  Ross Williams

 

 

Indiana recently passed a bill stained with the self-pitying tears of a religious minority called The Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  Such a law would be completely unnecessary if our nation's courts were doing their job in vacating laws which deny someone the ability to practice his religion as he sees fit over the objections of those around him.  But as we've seen over and over and over again, they aren't.  Hence, the need for specific laws.

To be honest, when I first heard of this new law, I assumed it was a yet another Hobby Lobby swipe against Obamacare, pitting a state law to not be compelled to provide birth control coverage due to the religious sentiments of a business owner against the federal law which compels all business owners to provide birth control coverage despite their religious sentiments, thus setting up a court showdown over federal incursions into state matters.  Lo and behold, however, the liberal orthodoxy and its media lapdogs has defined it as a christian bigot swipe against the rights of homosexuals to compel a bakery to bake a wedding cake with two grooms — or two brides, as it may be — on top.

I've already made my position on this so clear as to be transparent: the Constitution conveys no power of the [federal] government to control who can and who cannot be married, and therefore, because of Section 1 of the 14thAM, neither can the states' governments; ergo, gays cannot be legitimately denied the right to a future divorce, and laws [state or federal ] which prevent it must be voided … if our courts were to obey the Constitution.  But the Constitution also does not convey any power of the [federal] government to compel a business owner to do business with someone he doesn't want to do business with and therefore [etc] neither can the states'; ergo, if a bakery, florist, photographer, et cetera, doesn't want to be hired into gay nuptials, no power can legitimately compel him there, and laws which do must also be voided … if our courts were, again, to obey the Constitution.  Let the business risk bankruptcy.  It's the owner's business if he wants to deliberately turn away the business of homosexuals and the growing legions of their family, friends and other sympathizers … which includes me.

Lining up to predictably, if tediously, spout their own self-pitying tears and denounce Indiana as christian bigots are the usual liberal suspects in politics and Hollywood, but also Angie of Angie's List fame which is foregoing plans to expand its internet service to Indiana [because Indiana obviously doesn't yet have an Internet Service Provider], and the band Wilco which I'd never heard of until it made headlines by cancelling its Indianapolis concert over the matter.

The mayor of Seattle and the governor of Washington have imposed travel bans of municipal and state employees to Indiana in the performance of official business.  My guess is that this move is designed to be symbolic, as I would hope — for the fiscal sake of Seattlites and Washingtoners — that the opportunity to perform "official" city or state business in Indiana is vanishingly rare.  Connecticut has followed Washington into pointless spitefulness, and my hopes for fiscal sanity extend to Connecticants as well.

I will do my best to ignore the nation as it descends into the inevitably faddish and boring orgy of sanctimonious accusation and recrimination in this matter.  Instead, I'll use the time to remind everyone of what happened just five short years ago in Oklahoma, and hope that some people will pull their heads out of their asses long enough to stop being hypocrites.  Yes, I know: doubtful.

In response to a group of muslims in, I recall, Oklahoma City asserting the superior authority of islamic Sharia Law over state law in settling the divorce of a muslim couple, the Oklahoma legislature passed, and the Oklahoma governor signed into law, a bill that would prohibit the courts from entertaining the validity of "Sharia or international law" in Oklahoma's state courts.  In the divorce in question, the husband — a muslim — claimed that his wife was duty-bound to submit to the one-sided terms he offered her; the wife, whose muslimity was either gone or never there to begin with, claimed otherwise.  The state court ruled that Sharia Law was superior to Oklahoma's divorce statutes in this case, due to the husband at least being muslim, over the objections of the wife and every sane person in the state.  Soon thereafter, the Oklahoma legislature passed the law designed to prevent this from happening again.

The law which would have prevented further idiocies of this type was later struck down by a federal judge in Oklahoma; the ruling claimed that it would deny muslims their religious freedom manifest in the subjugation of women, even in defiance of state laws which would prevent the subjugation.  The United States apparently cannot deny a person his religion and prevent him from practicing it on those around him, no matter how repressive his religion may be.

Liberals were immediately thrown into a quandry!  Do they support the federal court's ruling as the enlightened validation of muslims?  Or do they denounce the ruling as a benighted backlash against women's rights?  [Liberals were not moved to question whether the entire fiasco impinged upon American constitutional democratic republicanism; liberals don't seem to recognize the concept exists].

Further questions plagued liberals in the aftermath of this federal court ruling: Sharia Law permits — indeed requires — the exclusion of many, many people from the daily activities of good muslims going about their business.  People such as: Jews.  People such as: atheists.  People such as: homosexuals.  Under islamic law, the only people permitted to be treated equally are other muslims, and then only if they are male.  Muslim women are only millimeters above dogs and Jews in second-classhood.

A few liberal contrarians posited the notion that if muslims could subjugate women during a divorce in defiance of state laws prohibiting such, then they could also, as businessmen, deny service to improperly-clad women, atheists at all, Jews not willing to pay double, and — yes — to homosexuals who may wish to rent a canopy for their gay wedding reception from Omar the Oklahoma Tent-Maker.  This denial of service would meet the "religious freedom" mandate of the federal court ruling which asserted that Sharia Law is superior to domestic law when the person desiring the Sharia outcome is a muslim, regardless of who any other party may be.

But these liberal contrarians were immediately shushed by the liberal mainstream.  No, the mainstream claimed, Oklahoma is a conservative, redneck state full of snake-handling bible thumpers and the only reason their legislature passed a law prohibiting Sharia's superiority over state law was because they are religious bigots and racists who hate muslims … even though islam is not a race, but a religion; one cannot be racist toward a religion.  Liberals have a duty to support muslims over a perceived christian majority no matter what backward bigotries muslims impose on everyone around them. …because christian bigotry is far, far worse.  Obviously.

Need proof?  Okay:

Did Angie's List pull out of Oklahoma in 2010, after learning that muslims are permitted, with federal protection, to be religiously free to treat women as chattel?  No.

Did Wilco cancel their Oklahoma concerts, and did their lead singer's wife, actress Megan Mullaly, whose acting style consists of turning every character she ever plays into Megan Mullaly, issue condescending scolds of Oklahoma over muslims there being religiously free to treat Jews as fully-formed second-class citizens?  No.

Did self-satisfied liberal politicians and Hollywood simpletons issue their trite, canned, scripted screeds about the religious intolerance of muslims in their doctrinal denunciation of atheists now permitted to be enacted in Oklahoma under federally-protected Sharia Law?  No.

Did the self-aggrandizing "progressive" governors of various "progressive" states issue pious, sniffling, self-aggrandizing travel bans to Oklahoma in protest of the Oklahoma muslims' religious freedom to deny service to homosexuals that Sharia Law, now protected by federal court ruling, requires?  No.

The liberal mindset, such as it may be, deems it permissible, outright obligatory, to allow muslims to defy local, state and federal laws in their vassal-like treatment of the general [i.e., non-muslim] public required by their religious convictions as a testament to American-style religious freedom, and American-style "tolerance" of different ethno-cultural values.   Yet that same liberal mindset sees any other religion being granted the same privilege as a dog-vomit stew of every bigotry imaginable.

…with one notable exception: anti-christian bigotry.  That bigotry is owned by liberals.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Spotty Thinking


Spotty Thinking
©2015  Ross Williams

 
 

A few thousand people have contracted measles out west, originating from the Disneyland amusement park in Anaheim, probably from an unimmunized tourist who had the disease and then came into contact with unimmunized Americans in the close quarters of the long lines for Mister Toad's Wild Ride.  C'est la vie!

In this day and age and in this country, measles is more annoyance that anything and, since the advent of HIPPA and Obamacare, a labyrinth of paperwork and an overly costly treatment regimen.  But still, who wants measles?

Throwing gasoline on this ember of semi-social panic is the faux libertarian Republican Senator with presidential aspirations from Kentucky, Rand Paul.  He announced last week that forcing immunizations upon everyone but those with religious exemption is not the business of the government.  He claims it should be each individual's choice — in the case of children, the individual child's parents' choice, I suppose — whether to immunize or not.  He cited as support the thoroughly anecdotal connection between those mandatory immunizations and the onset of autism.  This connection is seen very clearly by Playboy bunny and sometime actress Jenny McCarthy and a handful of those often seen wearing tinfoil hats, but very few others.  Their argument is highly post hoc in foundation and entirely speculative in causation, and as such I tend to scoff and impolitely backbite those who offer it in public.

Yet, autism is very much a first-world medical condition, arising in just the last several decades.  Second- and third-worlders don't get "autism spectrum disorder" and it's not from lack of looking for it, either.  So either something causes first-world children to develop autism in the 2 to 3 year age range, or autism is a maliciously fabricated diagnosis contrived by self-serving doctors seeking to place their names in the Diagnostician Hall of Fame or pad their medical practice with a steady flow of languishing patients.  Don't believe that medical science would stoop so low?  Let me just throw out a few letters: A D H D.

I'm willing, at this point, to assume that autism is indeed real; the questions, then, for anyone who wishes to actually eliminate it rather than rake in money on perpetual treatment of it are:
1] why do first-world children get it and second- and third-world children do not?
2] see question 1?
3] see question 1 again and answer it this time? and finally
4] once you've answered question 1, can you please stop doing to first-world children what you do NOT do to second- and third-world children and which makes those first-world children develop "autism spectrum disorder"?

In the end we may well find that the method of brewing first-world vaccines does indeed cause autism [second- and third-world vaccines are gotten with manufacturing methods cast off by first-world vaccine makers several decades ago], just as Jenny and her legion of loonies have speculated — shrilly, at the tops of their lungs, to all who would listen and even many who would have preferred not to.  Anything is possible at this point.

Hence Rand Paul's declaration that the government has no place mandating immunizations and it should remain voluntary because "he's seen" too many children suffering "debilitating mental disorders" as a result — he is apparently smitten by the ex-quasi-Mrs Jim Carrey.  Because I'm a libertarian [a real libertarian, and not the Republican comb-over that the Pauls represent], my first stop at determining whether the government has a place in the discussion at all, let alone any authority whatsoever, is Article I Section 8 of the US Constitution.  And … nope, I don't see a power of Congress in preventing communicable disease by any method.  And because Congress doesn't have the authority, the 14thAM says the states don't either; the states were incorporated into the Bill of Rights just as all the pseudo-libertarians of the Libertarian Party claim did not happen.

Conclusion: ain't the government's business, at any level of government.  Rand Paul is correct on this, his anecdotal reasoning notwithstanding.

Regardless, Paul's position on this has caused an epidemic of "medical establishment" and Liberal political backlash.  I find it ironic to the point of hypocrisy that Liberals, the self-declared political philosophy of freedom of choice in this nation, would be against the freedom of choice in the matter of childhood immunizations.  It couldn't be that they want choice only for themselves and that everyone else must submit to government intrusion, could it?

Perish the thought.

And the argument put up by the medical establishment is full of as many intellectual holes as Jenny McCarthy's anti-vax reasoning.  Celebrity doctors are calling Paul's voluntary communicable disease vaccination stand "irresponsible".  My question is, why?  They're doctors; they know better than to make such statements.  …or perhaps, since they're only celebrity doctors, appearing only on television news shows and holding no office hours and having no patients, they have gotten so out of scientific practice that they no longer know better.

In any event, the "vaccinations cause autism" theory is not widely held, and the vast vast vast majority of parents would end up immunizing their children anyway; the anti-vax cohort is, at last count, a significantly smaller group than the Christian Scientist sect which is religiously exempt from mandatory vaccination programs.  In the mathematics of socio-political policy-making, we are discussing statistical noise here.

Children not immunized from these once-dangerous-but-with-modern-medicine-merely-annoying diseases will be susceptible to measles and diphtheria and pertussis … and those who are immunized will not be, and it will be a self-contained outbreak among the nonvaccinated; the general population will be safe.  Serves them right … right?

…unless, of course, those who were immunized are still susceptible to these communicable diseases, in which case we must consider the notion that perhaps the vaccinations aren't as omnipotent as the self-serving medical establishment [not to mention the self-serving, bloated and imperious government] makes them out to be.  If vaccinations aren't effective at preventing disease and it becomes "irresponsible" to deliberately not immunize because the risk to the immunized general population is too great, then [and I shall pull a method of proof from the Global Warming gang] the merest possibility of vaccination causing autism is justification enough to not simply leave vaccination voluntary, but to eliminate it altogether.  By force, "regardless of cost", if we are to complete the Global Warming thought train down to their Pascalean caboose.

The latest I've read, the Disneyland measles outbreak came back to Arizona with an American vacationer, and there are now something like 8,000 cases [or suspected cases] of measles among the vaccinated Americans in the Grand Canyon State.  If I've done my math right, the ratio of infection among the immunized population in Arizona is just about the same as any "under-developed" world outbreak of the same disease among the never-vaccinated.  Which suggests either that vaccines don't work to begin with — in which case it is neither responsible nor irresponsible to refuse vaccination and "Doctor" Sanjay Gupta is blowing fart gas — or the effectiveness of vaccination wears off over time, in which case an argument for booster shots every quarter century or so can be made.  If "Doctor" Sanjay Gupta was a true medical professional he would have made that argument instead, and left his tear-stained tirade off the public airwaves.

I'm willing to accept that medical science does not irretrievably have its head up its own ass even if its talking heads on television do, and that vaccines work although they may wear out.  But, since I'm still a libertarian, and there is still no provision in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution granting the US government the power to mandate it, and because the 14thAM limits the states' power to those powers granted to the US government and therefore the states cannot mandate it either, getting those quarter-century measles boosters must remain a voluntary thing.  Any measles outbreaks will thereupon be confined to those who:
1] don't get immunized at all for whatever reason, and
2] those who don't want to get their boosters.

And … serves them right.