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.

Location: Illinois, United States

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cal Thomas Doesn't Own the Constitution

A Response to Cal Thomas’s Editorial Curiosity About Why the Constitution is Also to Be Enjoyed by Homosexuals
©2013  Ross Williams

Cal, normally I find you irrelevant and I don't pay much attention to you.  I'm a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian – no, not the anarchist/pacifist/isolationist that passes for "libertarian" in so many places.  A real by-god libertarian.  Your commentary and analysis of so much that you write on indicates that you only like – just like every idiot liberal under the sun – certain parts of our Constitution.  Hence I have never paid much attention to you.  Plus, you're just a little too self-righteously religious for my tastes.

But you asked a question, it seems you asked it in earnest, and so I will answer you.  I trust you can figure out the difference between your statements from the editorial and my responses to them.  So please enjoy this email with my compliments.

What advocates for same-sex marriage should be asked is whether they consider any other human relationship worthy of similar constitutional protection and based on what standard?

Without having a clear notion of what range of "relationship" you're willing to go to for this exercise, I'll have to say "probably", and based on the only standard allowed in our nation: the Constitutional limitation on the power of the government to interfere with free people doing what they want under most circumstances.

The Constitution doesn't guarantee the right to marry

This is patently false.

The 9thAM says that not all our rights were written down, but we still have them.  Please read it if you don't believe me.

The 10thAM says that what was not given to the US government to interfere with [most notably in A I § 8] is retained by the people.  The states may also address it if they wish.

Since there is no authority for the feds to define family, or regulate marriage, they don't have the power to do it AT ALL and DOMA must fall based on that fact alone.  Because the 14thAM transfers all federal rights to citizens of all states based on them being dual citizens of the state and nation, the right to marry exists in all 50 states, territories, protectorates, etc.  And because there is Equal Protection, there cannot be artificial constraints placed upon some people in order to exercise the same right the schmuck down the street just exercised.

I will concede right now that the thought of two men all oiled up and grunting is nauseatingly repulsive to some ... possibly even many.  I would guess you are among them.  And, well, I can legitimately sympathize.  But what is nauseatingly repulsive to ME is Cardinals fans who don't know the first rule of good sportsmanship: be a congenial winner.  What legitimate expectation do I have to silence or censure Cardinals fans who can't shut their goddamned mouths when they win yet another division title? And can I get the government to help me?

The answers are "none" and "no".

The same is true for you.  Freedom is, by definition, very very messy, and it requires that people put up with others doing one hell of a lot of "stuff" that gripes us or makes our skin crawl.  Even if a majority of Americans view Cardinals fans the way I do – I'm pretty well convinced that the majority of baseball fans do – the government is limited by the Constitution to a very slim set of powers, and "enacting the peevish public whim" isn't among them.

The Cardinals fans are my cross to bear; gays humping away in marital bliss [and impeccable stylishness, I'm sure] is yours.  Bear it with the grace your god expects you to display.

States, not the federal government, issue marriage licenses

Please reference the 10thAM.

I am fully aware that most people are perfectly willing to ditch the 10thAM altogether – particularly liberals – because it simply gets in the way of their quest for an all-powerful central government.  The 10thAM was even called, by some USSC justice-past, a "non-amendment" or something of equal dismissive self-superiority.  They have, however, not ditched it.

Many, similarly, refuse to acknowledge the 9thAM, particularly when they – as you did above – attempt to deny the existence of a civil right by virtue of the fact that it was not written down.  Both liberals and conservatives do this, relative to their own dirty-laundry list of things they don't want free people doing in their free country.  "I need to be free from being exposed to things I don't like!!!"  Nice try.  Doesn't work for me with Cardinals' fans, doesn't work for you.  The 9thAM is still there.

How many times do we have to hear "Driving isn't a right, it's a privilege"?  The TSA, and its brainless adherents, has modified that to "flying isn't a right".

Uh ... yes they both are.  Because there's no power to deny or regulate it.

"You don't have the right to use your 1stAM to be rude to me or my ideas!" Yes I do.
"You don't have the right to use your 2ndAM to amass an arsenal of weapons I think are excessive!"  Yes ... I do.
"You don't have the right to use your 4thAM to get onto the airplane without proving to everyone in line that you aren't a terrorist."  Yes. I. Do.

what's to stop polygamists from demanding legal protection and cultural acceptance?

Nothing; nor should there be.  Laws against polygamy are primarily justified on the premise that polygamy is conducted in secret – not simply from the state, but also from the other spouse[s].  Thus polygamy is presumptively a type of fraud.  But if it's entered with the full knowledge and consent of all persons, the fraud angle is empty, and the only thing you have to fall back on is the secondary rationalization for denying polygamy: "fairness".  It's "unfair" for one man to hog so many women to himself.  And it may be, from a biological imperative perspective, or some socialist "from each/to each" nonsense.

But our Constitution wasn't written to impose biological constraints through law, nor to render our disparate population into one-size-fits-all cogs, each of which gets – thanks to Mommy Government – the exact same one-size-fits-all set of life assets with which to enjoy pre-digested "freedom" as defined by the lowest common denominator.  The "fairness" of one spouse [at a time] does not exist in the Constitution.  Ergo, there is no Constitutional basis for requiring one spouse, or denying multiple spouses.

Besides, I have a feeling that if polygamy laws were overturned, there'd be as many women taking multiple husbands as there are the other way around.  But that's just my guess.

Other than that, your complex question is noted and denied.  The Constitution can only speak to legal protection; cultural acceptance is a completely different animal and it is well outside the scope of this discussion.  Not to mention the Constitution.

Laws, however, ... if someone is so "culturally unaccepted" that he is robbed, beaten or murdered [e.g.] ... we have laws to deal with that.  And, for the record, "hate" is presumptive and not appropriate in a legal discussion.

... if "fairness" and "equality" are the standard ...

That's a somewhat disingenuous reduction.  Who am I kidding? It is a WHOLLY disingenuous reduction.  "Fairness"? whose?  "Equality"? whose?

The only source for definition of these terms comes from the US Constitution, which STILL hasn't been amended to allow the US government to define marriage or family structure, STILL requires that all states convey US-guaranteed rights to state citizens, and STILL requires those rights be equally applied.

"Fairness" is fair only when it abides by the constraints imposed by the Constitution; ALL of them, not just the ones you prefer at the time you prefer it.  Same with "equality".

Since we are rapidly discarding the rules for living and social order set down in a book found in most motel room drawers ...

...this is where you skip the tracks, completely.  Our "rules for living", as can be imposed by the government, does not come from "a book found in most motel room drawers" ... unless the Gideons have started dispensing pocket Constitutions recently.

They come ONLY from the Constitution, period, end of story.  Stick with the program.

Your private mileage may vary, but that's up to you.  You have no legitimate expectation of imposing your rules for living and social order on anyone, regardless of how many like-minded people you can find to support you, and thereupon getting the government to do your dirty work for you.

We are FREE, remember?  All of us are, not just you.

Besides, if you get the government to do your dirty work regarding DOMA, then how in the hell can you complain about idiot liberals getting the government to do their dirty work on Obamacare?  Hypocrisy is all the rage among the standard left/right political wankers, but I still think it's tasteless.

...what is to replace it?

NOTHING is replacing it.  The only thing that matters is the Constitution and its fairly strict limitation on the power of government to boss people around.

Many things may seem "unfair," but not all can, or should, be addressed by courts

This, of course, is unvarnished truth.  ...mostly.  The courts' role in these matters of "unfairness" is limited to asserting and reasserting and re-reasserting [etc, as needed] the limitation of the power of government to remediate what people want to whine about.  “Unfair” doesn’t often mean a Constitutional damn.

It's "unfair" that some people can afford health insurance and others can't.
Probably, but it's not the government's place to do anything about it.

It's unfair that I'm a Cubs fan who lives 25 miles from St Lose and I have to listen to asshole Cardinals fans being assholes.
I'm sure it is ... so move.

It's unfair that other people get to do things I think are disgusting and violate my religious beliefs.
No doubt.  Ignore them.

"'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'..."

That's very ironic for you to mention.  "Ironic" is my euphemism for "hypocritical".  As mentioned above, I'm a strict libertarian.  And I've noted BOTH liberals and conservatives play this little rhetorical parlor trick whenever it suits their fancy.

You did it here: "The Constitution doesn't guarantee the right to marry".

That's because you willfully refuse to see it in the 9thAM.  I see it there, as does everyone else who is not desperately trivializing, as Mr Dumpty would do, the relevance of the 9thAM.  I also see in the 9thAM the right to be stupid ... and not wear seat belts; the right to be stupid and irresponsible ... and not buckle up my children; the right to be tasteless and crude ... and repeat the ethnic jokes I heard constantly when I was a kid in the 60s.  Additionally, the right to drive, the right to fly, the right to drink a beer in public, the right to not have health insurance ... and if you give me some time I can make quite a long list of things I have the right to do simply because the Constitution does not give the government any authority to stop me.

Including reading bible verses on street corners, and a few dozen other things that I have essayed upon in the last few years that are among the items that the idiot left refuses to see in the 9thAM themselves which – I would guess – you could see quite clearly.

Justice Anthony Kennedy lamented that the Supreme Court is asked to settle too many politically charged issues.

Frankly, I believe they wouldn't "lament" the task if they handled it the right way in the first damned place.  They attempt to decide politically-charged issues by regurgitating politically-based screed.  Most such "political" issues are Constitutionally fairly simple, and do not, in fact, require words to mean "so many different things" as Alice inquired after; it is politics which makes one word mean 15 different things – based upon who uses it.  It is politics which has given us the "reasonable search" that is separated from the writ which describes the "reason" for it: the warrant.  It is cowardly political expedience which has given us the "terrorism exemption" to the 4thAM, the "drunk driving exemption" to both the 4th and 5thAM [and 14th], the "public buildings exemption", the "drug test exemption", etc...

How difficult is it, really, to tell whiny, pissing and moaning litigants, and their [usually] equally whiny loyyers that freedom is messy, and they simply have to put up with others doing things they may find repulsive? or dangerous? or tasteless? or stupid? ...because the government has no Constitutional authority to stop them?

I've done it countless times already, here, in several different ways, and I have a feeling I'll do it a few more before I send this email off.  Trust me: it's a piece o' cake to say this; you simply have to possess the ability to stop being a [traditional] political toady.

...we have to show ourselves first -- that democracy works because we can reach agreement on a principle basis

While I would agree with Kennedy in theory, the "principle basis" that our nation was created under was the principle that the power of the government was to be strictly LIMITED, and among the necessary components of a limited government is that it is NOT allowed to be hefted as a cudgel by some people to compel the rest to conform to a private idea of right and wrong, moral and immoral, fair and unfair, good and bad, et cetera.

I'll match up your opposition's Obamacare to your own DOMA for private-agenda cudgel-wielding.  You are BOTH my opposition, and both of these are onerous extensions of government power into areas it was never defined to belong.

The fact that no one seems to be able to "reach agreement on a principle basis" is due to the very fact that no one, for the last [roughly] century, who has the authority and obligation to enforce this basis has done so.  It IS the USSC's duty to make distinctions between political issues and Constitutional ones.  If the government is allowed to do something ... okay, now it's political; use the political process to figure out how best to accomplish it.  If the government is NOT allowed to do it [as forcing health insurance or preventing certain types of marriage] ... sorry, it's Constitutional.  And the Constitution says you gotta put up with gay marriage, and not having someone else pay for your health insurance.  It doesn't say you gotta like it; doesn't say you have to remain silent in your dislike; doesn't even say you can't be offensive in your non-silence, either.  But you gotta put up with it.

Freedom consists mostly of other people rubbing you the wrong way and you being unable to do much about it.  Ain’t it grand?

And I'd wager that the lion's share of these Constitutionally simple "politically-charged issues" Kennedy laments in the first place were improperly defined as a Constitutional power by a USSC granting the other branches of government the power to do something they were not, in fact, given the power to do.  Prime examples would be [apart from the several 4thAM "exemptions" which do not exist]:
1] Social Security – Congress has no authority to create an old age pension ... but if they create a TAX – which they're allowed to do ... they can create an old-age pension with the money it collects ...  Right?  Wrong, because they aren’t allowed to create an old-age pension.   How dumb are you?
2] "welfare" – "general welfare" does not mean "poverty amelioration"; it means "the benefit of everybody".  Welfare is not "everybody".
3] EPA – no mention of environmental watchdogging; it may be a good idea – if you can get the super-majority needed to add it in … do it.
4] DEA – TSA – DHS – USDA [etc] and the rest of the alphabet soup of regulatory agencies whose authority to regulate appears nowhere in the Constitution, and Congress's authority to grant this regulatory power does not exist either.

The High Nine have refused this portion of their obligation for damnear a century, and to now whine about the ramifications of them serially refusing to do their job over decades ... I'm unmoved.  It's their own bed they shit in.  No one did that for them.

The states, or Congress, should be allowed to sort out how they wish to define and license marriage, not the Supreme Court

Congress doesn't have the authority; states cannot prevent it even as they draw up the rules by which it must be properly attained.  The USSC sometimes [as now] needs to remind everyone of that, and if the High Nine doesn't wish to be accused of playing politics with it when they issue their ruling on DOMA, then they need to abandon politics in their decision, and quote the Constitution instead.

They may use me as a source for how this can be done if they wish.  It seems to be a difficult task, though I'm not sure why.  Perhaps it's because of the massive unfamiliarity with the Constitution suffered by so many in our government, not least by those who claim to have the credentials to teach it at the college level.

You made a few quotes in your op-ed; here's mine:
"I hate to hear people say this Judge will vote so and so, because he is a Democrat – and this one so and so because he is a Republican. It is shameful. The Judges have the Constitution for their guidance; they have no right to any politics save the politics of rigid right and justice when they are sitting in judgment upon the great matters that come before them."
- M Twain

Anyway, there you are: the answer[s] you asked for.  Hope it helps.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Gordian Abortion

The Gordian Abortion
©2013  Ross Williams

I still have no idea why this has to be so difficult, but liberals, take note.  This is what happens when you do the “right thing” the wrong way – as you invariably do whenever you happen to come across the right thing to do.  Which isn’t as often as you think, frankly.

It’s very simple: the Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution says that not all of our rights were written down, but we still have them; the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution says that unless the power was given to the US government, the US government has no authority in the matter, and the power belongs to THE PEOPLE or to the state.

Abortion, birth control, family planning, pregnancy, defining the beginning of life ... these authorities were not given to the US government, therefore the US government does not have any authority in the matter.  Therefore ... you guessed it ... the power to abort, choose birth control, plan a family, deal with pregnancy, and define the beginning of your offspring’s life belongs to THE PEOPLE.  Or to the states.

But: THE PEOPLE come first.

The Fourteenth Amendment says that every citizen of any individual state is also a citizen of the United States and may not have his US Constitution-mandated 9thAM/10thAM rights taken away by the state, even if the state chooses to address the subject under its own 10thAM power, so the state government cannot materially interfere with a person’s power to abort, choose birth control, plan a family, deal with pregnancy, and define the beginning of his offspring’s life even as it puts modest limits and qualifiers on them.

But in 1973 you couldn’t have that, could you?  You could only see a nationwide, one-size-fits-all behemoth of Mommy Fed making edicts they aren’t allowed to make just to satisfy your political whim of the day.  Were you correct that abortion is a right belonging to THE PEOPLE?  Yes, you were.  Were you correct about it being something that the US government had the authority to define for the states?  No, you were not.

The only – ONLY – authority the US government has in the matter is ensuring that states do not materially interfere with THE PEOPLE’S right to abort by enforcing the 14th Amendment on the states.

Instead what we got was the dog’s vomit of Blackmun’s mincing, mewling meandering through, over and around the subject, picking up stray bits of pulverized phlegm-coated freedom, and concocting out of it what he acknowledged were arbitrary distinctions, creating constitutionally insupportable impositions upon state jurisdiction in the process.

He spoke of “umbras and penumbras” of individual rights among the words of our Constitution, and not the government’s obligation to leave people the hell alone to do what they want in areas of their lives in which the government was given no authority to interfere.  He discussed a right to privacy, which – while it itself does exist as yet another 9thAM/10thAM right – has little direct bearing on this subject; it is a tangential rationalization to conclude it was privacy the state could not mess with instead of abortion.  This litigation was about abortion in case you forget, and just like privacy, it is not an area the government is allowed to interfere.

Stick with the subject.

As a direct result of his cockeyed, equivocated, mangle of disingenuous gooseshit, we have been subjected to a few different legacies which will not seem to die.  First is the equally equivocative nonsense that pregnancy falls under the Thirteenth Amendment’s proscription of slavery.  Right ... a barely-congealed mass of cells in utero is a slave-holder, with the power of the State acting as overseer.

Lay off the mushrooms, hippies.  It does no one any good to make it more complex, not to mention more indefensibly stupid, than it needs to be.

The second legacy is that we, as a nation, have to incorporate the inconsistent, hackneyed, arbitrary screed of Roe into our state laws.  In doing this, we are seeing our state legislatures making their own inconsistent, hackneyed, arbitrary screed into law.  Witness: Arkansas.

Let’s review the major dictates of Roe as Blackmun fished them out of his toilet bowl after wiping his ass of it:
1] the first three months belong to the pregnant woman to do as she pleases;
2] the last three months belong to the state to do with as it pleases;
3] the middle three months belong to either the pregnant woman or the state, depending on state law.

Enter, now, Arkansas, which recently passed, and overrode the Governor’s veto of, a state law reputed to be the nation’s strictest.  Arkansas’ legislature has taken Blackmun’s cogitational turds on their face.  Their law effectively declares, “We can’t touch the first three months? Fine.  The last three are ours no matter what?  Okay.  The middle three depend on ‘state law’?  Gotcha.   Try this ‘state law’ on for size...”

The result: no abortions in Arkansas after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The best part about it, from an anti-abortionist’s perspective, is that it is fully compliant with Roe.  The fact that the Arkansas legislators took forty years to find the ‘out’ Blackmun left them only attests to their being, like Moses perhaps, slow on the uptake.  The fact that the reasoning for this law contains at least as many irrelevant and needless rationalizations as Blackmun’s contained simply adds useless fluff: laws are about limiting freedom, and not about fulfilling science.  Science can take care of itself.

The worst part about it, from a pro-abortionist’s perspective – not that they will acknowledge it – is that it is fully compliant with Roe, which pro-abortionists uniformly love, mostly for their ability to misrepresent it.  Pro-abortionists, nearly to a screaming meemie, believe that Roe affirms the right to abortion on demand.  It does no such thing, and never did.

Of course, from a libertarian’s perspective, this is another object lesson on doing the right thing the wrong way; the right thing becomes wrong.  Yes, liberals, abortion rights in this country are stated incorrectly and do not, in fact, exist the way you believe they do.  They DO exist, but no one would know it from listening to you yammering on ... and on ... and on ... and on about it.

You painted yourselves – and the rest of us along with you – into this uncomfortable corner by insisting on doing something the wrong way; who could figure that your political opponents could take political advantage of this wrong way?  ...besides everyone with a political IQ above zero, that is.

There’s no one here to blame for it but you.  You were all smiles about it back in ’73.  Aren’t you proud of yourselves, now? 

So what are you going to do to get us out?  Yes, I know you’re going to flop your arms across your chests and decry this law in every court you can find as being violative of Roe ... when it isn’t.  You may even win.  But that would simply be adding another new layer of ‘wrong’ to the current constitutional train-wreck.  And of course, you still don’t suspect your political opponents could take advantage of that.

Might I suggest, instead, doing it the right way this time?

Monday, March 04, 2013

Sticks & Stones

Sticks and Stones
©2013  Ross Williams

“It’s dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.”
- Voltiare

James D Humphrey.

Get a good look.  This is the picture of a corrupt dictator, a tyrant, ... a criminal and a child abuser.

Yes, that’s a judicial robe he’s wearing.  Yes, that is [ironically] the American flag he sits before.  I’m somewhat surprised that his skin hasn’t begun sizzling from his proximity to it.

Mr Humphrey sits as a judge in Lawrenceburg IN, just outside the interstate beltway around Cincinnati OH and a whoop and a holler from the boonies of KY.  He apparently picked up everything he learned about the law and the US legal system from Mein Kampf.

In the course of Mr Humphrey pretending to be a judge, he hears divorces.  In the course of him hearing divorces, he sanctions improcedural nonsense to include taking expert testimony from those not allowed to provide expert testimony in the state of Indiana, and prohibiting the sharing of discovery.  He either seems to be unaware or unconcerned that he is required, as a judge, to treat all divorce litigants before him as equals, and give them equal consideration, unless and until there is sufficient cause to not do so.  As a judge, he is strictly forbidden to indulge hearsay provided by others, and is not allowed to brownbag his own.

Finally, as a judge he is absolutely required to grant all litigants their full slate of civil rights.

Civil rights include the right to call ass hats who studied law under Stalin and later graduated to a black robe criminals and child abusers.  Whether they are or not.  It’s pretty much guaranteed that a judge in a divorce, though, is those things.  And more.

There’s a gentleman in the Indiana state prison system convicted of “intimidating” a judge – this judge.  By blogging.  Blogging also constitutes, somehow, “obstruction of justice”.

Among the statements made on that Repository of All Truth and Veracity which is the internet is that Mr Humphrey is a criminal; he is a child abuser; he is corrupt; and he engaged in unethical and illegal behavior regarding this divorce.

Aren’t they all and don’t they all?

The answer, naturally, is yes they are and yes they do.  That is the nature of divorce in our country.  ...our free country, where all citizens are required to be treated the same until they prove they cannot be trusted with the consequences.  In divorce, where the primary issue is simply that two people have stopped liking each other anymore, there is no allowable assumption of distrust that can – or should – be found acceptable by the government to excuse giving one litigant preferential treatment.  None.

Any official distrust must be earned.  Certain actions which do permit official distrust to sufficiently justify treating two divorce litigants manifestly differently are physical child or spousal abuse ... abuse which has been proven to a degree sufficient to satisfy a criminal court.  Allegations with only circumstantial evidence behind them, and even those without evidence of any sort, are all too common in American divorce courts, and are all too commonly swallowed whole by idiot divorce judges.

Any judge who would not require some manner of corroboration for the accusations he allows to be made in his courtroom and upon which he will, in whole or in part, base his rulings has a very imperious notion of his place in the legal landscape.  He believes he can listen to what he wants, silence what he doesn’t want to hear, and in the end he gets to render decisions which satisfy him and not the presumptions of limitation of authority our government has over free citizens.  This is the very definition of corruption, not to mention unethical and illegal behavior on the part of a judge.

This judge, Mr James D Humphrey, allowed – hand-picked, even – a custody evaluator, Edward Connor, who is licensed only in the state of Kentucky and not in Indiana, to conduct a custody evaluation of a divorcing couple.  The man, father of two girls from the marriage being dissolved, had no attorney and was acting pro se.  The father is entitled to all discovery materials which would include, here, not simply the final report from the custody evaluation, but all notes and rough drafts as well.

He was denied access to that material.  This, also, is the very definition of corruption, as well as unethical and illegal behavior on the part of the judge.

While the divorce was pending, the father – whom I am leaving nameless for the moment because his name could be, almost literally, any of a few million men at this point in the narrative –  ...the father was given access to his children 3 days a week.  Three days out of seven temporary custody arrangements.

It had been a different judge which assigned this.

Three days out of seven, if they are full days and not simply an evening or a weekend which both bring with them artificial parenting constraints, is called joint physical custody and it is all the rage among those who know that standard preferential divorce adjudication brings with it a whole host of psychological traumas inflicting themselves upon children.  There are justifications, of course, for awarding sole physical custody with visitation for the noncustodial, but they are pretty much limited to the physical abuse mentioned above, the non-custodial’s own preference to not have equal time, and certain types of work schedules – military deployment, for example.  And when it comes to those work schedules, when the schedule gets normalized, any excuse for not, then, granting joint physical custody betrays a gross non-comprehension of the principles of our legal system.

The bottom line is that children, even children of divorce, who are raised by two parents in virtually equal amount fare significantly better in all – not in a few, not in some, not even in most – ALL studies of the effects of divorce on children where the two parents were
1] not provably physically abusive; and
2] willing to take on the assignment.


Across ALL measures of potential childhood social pathology.


This holds true even in cases where the one parent – most notably the mother – was against the other [i.e., father] having equal time.  The children fared better in long-range studies even then.

The notion that sole physical custody is “in the best interests of the child” was born out of the false notion that court cases must have a clear loser, and the political preferment that certain demographic groups enjoy in this day and age when it comes to divorce litigation.

There is virtually no excuse for reducing around 90% of America’s divorces to a custodial mother, and a father who is seen by The System® as little more than a live-action ATM, and by his children as less important than an uncle or – let’s face it – any random male Mom picked up off the street.  Provable physical abuse is thankfully rare; as is, since the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, the unwilling father.

Let me be clear: These winner-take-all solutions should not be de rigueur in divorce.  There’s a whole raft of other social issues and realities swirling around the subject of children born out of wedlock that this is neither the time nor place to address.  But in divorce? Routine sole custody is the fallback position of the legal dinosaur.

Or, in other words, it is, in and of itself, sufficient evidence to support a claim that the judge so ordering is corrupt and engages in unethical and illegal behaviors.

Any judge who would – knowingly or otherwise – subject the children of parents whose sole legal claim is that they no longer like each other to an entire litany of social pathologies which are sometimes preventable when they are not drastically mitigated, by ordering sole custody when there is no need, is abusive of those children.  To explain it all away as “the best interests of the child” is to advertise that the judge making that claim has all the integrity of a white-slaver.

In the case in question, the final custody evaluation report made not one mention of physical abuse of a spouse or the children, nor contained any of the other typical red-flags: drug or alcohol addiction, or verifiable “neglect”.  None.  About either parent.

Yet Mr James D Humphrey, “judge”, gave the mother sole physical custody and reduced the father’s access to his own children – commonly, and offensively, called “visitation” – to zero.

It was at this point that the father took to the internet, calling the judge a criminal and child abuser, corrupt, and engaging in unethical and illegal behaviors.  ...but not so refined as I just did.  And, waddaya know?  The guy is right.

Which led Mr James D Humphrey, “judge”, to quiver his chin and get all misty-eyed because someone – to quote the prosecutor’s charges in this charade – exposed the judge to public “hatred, contempt, disgrace or ridicule”.  Humphrey asked the county prosecutor, Aaron Negangard, to prosecute and – lackey that he is – Negangard did.  By all accounts, the kangaroos were out in force for the proceedings.

[N.B.: the charge of, and conviction for, perjury was apparently predicated on an incomplete statement Brewington made under oath where he was interrupted by the prosecutor himself and not permitted to complete his statement.  As I said, the kangaroos were out in force.]

The father also laid into the “judge’s” wife as well as the good doctor practicing in Indiana without a license; the doctor was called a “pervert” for his predilection for asking women – but not men – sexually provocative questions during the course of his custody “evaluation”.  Interestingly, the charges of similarly intimidating Mr Humphrey’s wife and the doctor were either not prosecuted or resulted in no conviction.

The father ended up being convicted of 5 of 6 counts against him, by a jury that was told it could not take into account a free citizen’s right to say what he wants in defiance of the government which rules over him.

This father, Dan Brewington, sits in Indiana state prison for petitioning the government for a redress of his grievances over the government’s complete lack of comprehension of its duties and obligations to the free people it claims to serve.  Unless the Indiana Supreme Court does what IT is required to do now – nullify the conviction and pillory Mr Humphrey – Brewington will be there for 5 years from last July, with possible early release later this year.

There are, naturally, quite a number of individuals and organizations on Brewington’s side in this ... like, all of them.  This cuts across all political stripes and even most demographics.  But the folks who are filing amicus curiae briefs are busy genuflecting in the direction of the same type of autocrat that Mr Humphrey has shown himself to be: they are dismissing Brewington’s internet rants as completely “figurative”, “hyperbolic” and “opinion”, thus granting him the ability to inelegantly say what he wants about the judge who deserves every inch of it.

That is grade-A prime, loyyerly cowardice.  Brewington – incoherence aside – was completely accurate in the statements he made about Mr Humphrey which were prosecuted as “intimidation”.  Thoroughly.  Wholly.  Without factual or analytical error.  ...incoherence aside.

It is simply that no one in our legal system cares to acknowledge their individual part in giving a wink and a nod to the petty tyrants of divorce judges who do what they want, legal principles be damned.

Without a substantial finding of gross unfitness [and very little else], there is no legal reason, sustainable by the principle of Equal Treatment Under the Law, for granting one parent who simply dislikes another a grossly disproportionate amount of time with the children she shares with him.  There is, further, no scientific reason for doing it, either.

The reason it’s done is because the judge simply does it that way, carrying into the courtroom his opinion, his bias, his prejudice ... unverified by any evidence or testimony, whatsoever.  The judge serenely falls back onto hearsay, supplied by none other than himself; he listens to those who corroborate his prejudice, he silences all who challenge his prejudice.  If they won’t go away quietly, as Dan Brewington did not, he has them sent to prison.

For daring to be correct.  In public.

Here’s a hint, Mr Humphrey: if you don’t want to be exposed to public “hatred, contempt, disgrace or ridicule”, then stop inviting it.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Our Warm, Living Fingers

Our Warm, Living Fingers
©2013  Ross Williams

It’s been a weird winter.  Late January and very early February were unnaturally warm.  It felt at times like April.  The daffodils had even erupted over the septic tank.  By mid-February it had turned normal, and for the past two weeks it’s been January.  We’ve had snow three times in just over a week in a part of the country where the average high temperature for this time of year is pushing 50.  We’ve barely hit 30.

We’re running out of hay, and every time the ground is clear the horse comes out of the pasture to be tied to a tree so he can eat yard.  The sheep aren’t so docile, and though they obviously want to join him in the yard, they have to make do with the remaining hay.  The last few mornings I’ve heard coyotes yipping and howling a lot closer than they normally are.  These have mostly been lone males; the packs sing in a chorus.

The first thing I think of when I hear coyotes is that we’ve wanted to get a rifle for some time.  Probably a .22, but I’m open.  I shot my grandfather’s .22 as a teenager – he’d sent me out to his back yard to kill the ground squirrels eating the roots out from under the 6 acres of trees he’d planted.  I’d sit out there a few paces from a hole in the ground, all 14 and fierce, waiting for a squirrel to poke its head out so I could splatter it with a .22 scatter-shot.  It often took two or three shots.

My first kill was traumatic, but the several dozen after were just another day on safari for Bwana.

The next time I touched a gun was in basic training when we were given a 2-hour lesson on stripping down, cleaning, and reassembling an M-16 – fitted with a .22 barrel.   Then after lunch we had to pass the test on stripping down, cleaning and reassembling an M-16.  The next day they took us out to the rifle range for qualification – using M-16s stripped, cleaned and reassembled by professionals.  Sitting, standing, prone.  For some reason, I managed to qualify as a US Air Force Marksman: I can kill paper targets like they’re ground squirrels, and I should probably thank the guys on the lanes next to me for missing their own targets so badly.

Most people in our very rural neighborhood – to include those in the subdivision sadly springing up in the corn field across the road – allow their dogs to run free for at least several hours a day.  Free-range dogs tend to mark their territory far afield, and this tends to make coyotes keep their distance – coyotes are dogs themselves who obey canine urinary survey stakes.

But if they’re hungry enough, coyotes are not averse to trespassing on another dog’s turf to find whatever might be around to be eaten.  Among the things we have for coyotes to eat are lambs and chickens.  I don’t worry about the coyotes with the horse, or with the sheep.  Horses don’t put up with guff, and I’ve seen what the sheep do to a single dog who thinks it’s fun to chase them around.  But if they’re quick enough a coyote could grab a lamb and leave the pasture before mom or dad could head-butt it into submission, and chickens go missing frequently enough already to be replaced by a pile of feathers.  A rifle is therefore one of those things on our to-do list.

But getting a rifle, today, might present some problems.  Seems a lot of people have become suddenly a-skeert of guns to the point that they’ve forgotten which country they live in.  I never knew paranoia affected one’s memory this way.  They believe they’re in some country that doesn’t tolerate individual rights and the Second Amendment which protects one of them – like California.   Yet they are.  And because of a few notorious examples of Americans going postal, soft-skulled dinks who’ve never read our Constitution are now demanding laws that defy individual rights.

Sadly, some of these dinks are in Congress.

Various cities and at least one state have already passed laws banning all guns, some guns, certain types and styles of ammunition, and increasing the number of hoops a person has to jump through in order to avail himself of his Second Amendment.  The D-half of Congress wants to do much the same thing to all Americans.

Yet I cannot find in the words of the Second Amendment any authority to do what these dinks wish to have done:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

I’ve tried making anagrams out of the letters and I can’t get any magazine size limitation; I’ve tried sneaking up on it in the dark and turning on the lights suddenly hoping to catch the “assault gun exemption” scurrying off like a kitchen cockroach at 2am.  Nothing.  What these people want to do is not allowable.

But that’s not stopping them from trying, and their National Savior – the one who purports to be so Constitutionally knowledgeable that he is qualified to teach the subject at a college level – is on his publicity tour drumming up support for obliterating yet another individual right because some people abuse it.  They are as much as saying: the right to a gun doesn’t convey the right to use it indiscriminately on people, therefore NO ONE can have the right to a gun.  We’ve been given an inch, and a handful of people have taken a mile.

This may come as a shock to these dinks, but those who are far more likely to make a mile out of their allowed inch are the folks in our own government.

I know!  Politicians abusing their authority!  Who knew?!

That very argument – exceeding authority – is undoubtedly going to be brought up in response to the reactions these new laws – passed and potential – have created among certain state, city and county government around the country.  The most recent example is Susquehanna County PA, just across the state line and a little west from where I grew up in New York.  They passed a county ordinance, unanimously, with zero objection from any resident, declaring that if Congress passes any laws prohibiting or even regulating guns, ammunition, or who can exercise their Second Amendment rights, those laws will not be enforceable in that county.

This would set up a showdown between armed Sherriff’s deputies and county residents on the one side, and the armed ATF and FBI on the other … if this were the plot line of a Hollywood script.  But it’s not.  In all likelihood it will merely set up a showdown between the loyyers for civil rights groups interested in the entire Constitution and not just pieces of it [ACLU, I’m looking at you, here], and the loyyers for the Justice [sic] Department whose main line of work for the last several decades has been to argue why the Constitution doesn’t need to be obeyed by the only people it applies to: our government.

It was the early 90s when state and local lawmakers passed laws negating the federal 55 MPH speed limit in their jurisdiction.  The feds spent a few months writing letters and formulating lawsuits expressing outrage at the effrontery of it all, and then Congress read the writing on the wall and killed their own law – that nothing in the Constitution allowed them to make in the first place.  Setting speed limits is not among the powers of Congress.

Neither is regulating guns.  The Supreme Court, in a rare acknowledgement that they have, themselves, read the Constitution, have thrown out all city, state and federal laws banning guns which reach them, including the gun ban in Chicago and the last federal law which tried to ban assault weapons.  There’s little doubt they’d do the same thing to New York State’s new law, to Chicago’s newly-desired law [both the Mayor and police chief want to try again even though gun violence decreased sharply once the USSC allowed Chicagoans to own guns], and to a new federal assault weapon ban, with or without the federal registry of gun owners attached to it.

When enough state and local jurisdictions exceed their own authority and declare that federal laws will not be enforceable in their territory, the feds will do what they did when their speed limits were challenged: they’ll pout and whine and threaten, and then they’ll comply.

And if it keeps complying, it may become the government we were promised it would be.