Archive for November, 2012

That’s my question to Representative Marcia Fudge (D), The new Chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus, who in an expression of her bona fides last week held a press conference to let the world know that the opposition to the appointment of Susan Rice as Obama’s Secretary of State by some Republicans was both racist and sexist, despite having been predicated on incompetence and a marked lack of qualification.

“All of the things that they have disliked about things that have gone on in this administration they have never called a male unqualified, not bright, not trustworthy. I don’t recall it ever happening,” Fudge said.

Really?  I guess Turbo Tax Timmah Geithner doesn’t count, right?

The micro issue of Geithner’s taxes was enough to make him unfit to address the country’s macro economic issues, according to some Republicans and Democrats.

Most of the opposition, however, came from Republicans. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., who said he spent part of the weekend puzzling over his own taxes, said on the Senate floor, “Here we are making an exception to the rule and I, for one, think it’s not the time to make an exception.”

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a middle-of-the-road Republican who often sides with Democrats, opposed him.

In a speech prepared for the Senate floor, Collins said, “Throughout the state of Maine and, indeed, throughout the nation, millions of hard-working Americans pay their taxes on time and in full. Our taxation system is essentially an honor system that depends on self-assessment and honesty. When taxpayers make mistakes, they are expected to correct them promptly and completely. How can we tell the taxpayers that they are expected to comply fully with our tax laws, when these laws have been treated so cavalierly by the person who would lead the Treasury Department and, ultimately, the Internal Revenue Service, when he was applying them to himself?”

Hmmmmm.  I guess memory isn’t what it used to be.

Still, Representative Fudge wasn’t the only one trying on the mantle of victimhood that day.  Representative Gwen Moore also seems to have forgotten that politics is a bare-knuckle sport.

“What unmitigated gall for these men to attack the permanent representative to the United Nations Susan E. Rice,” Moore said.

“We all understand that all of us have been disappointed in one way or another about the results of the election – but to batter this woman because they don’t feel they have had the ability to batter President Obama is something that we, the women, are not going to stand by and watch.”

Yes, of course.  It is “gall” to be angry that she stepped up to the plate and lied to the American people repeatedly about Benghazi.  As a high-ranking State Department official, she certainly didn’t have access to information in the week between the attack and her Sunday morning appearances to at least form a reasonable suspicion that the youtube justification was crap.  And as someone who has been a high-ranking State Department official for years, she certainly shouldn’t have been able to come to the conclusion that the “insulting video” excuse was insulting to the American People.

And to call her “unqualified” after a brief review of some of her actions over the last 10+ years certainly rises to the level of “battery”.   In fact, not only is this OUTRAGE!!!111!!! justified, I wish that the same models of this year’s victimhood could have found the same voice and outrage when Condolezza Rice was under attack.

But then, these defenders of the flower of womanhood embodied by Susan Rice are the same people who hurl venom and vitriol even today at Sarah Palin, and cheered at Sandra Bernhard’s racist rape fantasy for her.

If we keep accepting lies, we will continue to get them. 

As long as that happens, an honest conversation is impossible, and we are all screwed.

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Oh what a difference a few years makes.

Name that President who was a Senator in 2005:

“You know, the Founders designed this system, as frustrating it is, to make sure that there’s a broad consensus before the country moves forward,”


“And that is now prompting, you know, a change in the Senate rules that really I think would change the character of the Senate forever.”


“And what I worry about would be you essentially have still two chambers — the House and the Senate — but you have simply majoritarian absolute power on either side, and that’s just not what the founders intended,”

But he isn’t the only one with a change of heart.  Name that Senate Majority Leader:

The filibuster is far from a “procedural gimmick.” It is part of the fabric of this institution. It was well known in colonial legislatures, and it is an integral part of our country’s 217 years of history.

The first filibuster in the U.S. Congress happened in 1790. It was used by lawmakers from Virginia and South Carolina who were trying to prevent Philadelphia from hosting the first Congress.

Since 1790, the filibuster has been employed hundreds and hundreds of times.


A conversation between Thomas Jefferson and George Washington describes the United States Senate and our Founders Fathers vision of it.

Jefferson asked Washington what is the purpose of the Senate?

Washington responded with a question of his own, “Why did you pour that coffee into your saucer?”

“To cool it,” Jefferson replied.

To which Washington said; “Even so, we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.”

And this is exactly what the filibuster does. It encourages moderation and consensus. It gives voice to the minority, so that cooler heads may prevail.

It also separates us from the House of Representatives – where the majority rules.

And it is very much in keeping with the spirit of the government established by the Framers of our Constitution: Limited Government…Separation of Powers…Checks and Balances.

Mr. President, the filibuster is a critical tool in keeping the majority in check. This central fact has been acknowledged and even praised by Senators from both parties.


Mr. President, the right to extended debate is never more important than when one party controls Congress and the White House.

In these cases, the filibuster serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government.


For 200 years, we’ve had the right to extended debate. It’s not some “procedural gimmick.”

It’s within the vision of the Founding Fathers of our country. They established a government so that no one person – and no single party – could have total control.

Some in this Chamber want to throw out 217 years of Senate history in the quest for absolute power.

They want to do away with Mr. Smith coming to Washington.

They want to do away with the filibuster.

They think they are wiser than our Founding Fathers.

I doubt that’s true.

Oh, I know, I know.  The noted pederast, Harry Reid deems this to be an important measure to be taken now because of the GOP “abuses” of the filibuster rule.  (I guess it isn’t an “abuse” to avoid passing a budget for 4 years, but I guess when you can’t guarantee Federal love for cowboy poetry, I guess it is important to make sure you can ram through whatever you want.)

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation is at it again.

Never content with the free exercise of religion, or other exercises of the First Amendment by people of faith, they have again stepped up to the plate with a new lawsuit determined to limit the First Amendment and further deny pastors and clergy the right to express their First Amendment rights.

First, the lawsuit cites Billy Graham for his full-page ads in newspapers before the election. The offending ad?

“The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and this great nation is crucial.  As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this could be my last,” he said. “I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.  Vote for biblical values this November 6th, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.”

This same lawsuit also cites Catholic Bishop Jenky of Illinois, who send a letter who instructed the priests in his diocese to read a letter prior to the election.  This letter stated :

“This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system,” Bishop Jenky wrote. “Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin.”

While the FFRF might get its undies in a bunch over religious figures warning followers about one of our first freedoms…the right to life, it does not run afoul of the restrictions on political speech placed upon them by the Section 501(c)(3).

From the IRS Publication 1828: tax guide for Churches and Religious Organizations:

All IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, must abide by certain rules:

…they must not participate in, or intervene in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office,…


Under the Internal Revenue Code, all IRC section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise tax.

Certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances. For example, certain voter education activities (including the presentation of public forums and the publication of voter education guides) conducted in a non-partisan manner do not constitute prohibited political campaign activity. In addition, other activities intended to encourage people to participate in the electoral process, such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives, would not constitute prohibited political campaign activity if conducted in a non-partisan manner. On the other hand, voter education or registration activities with evidence of bias that: (a)would favor one candidate over another; (b) oppose a candidate in some manner; or (c)have the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates, will constitute prohibited participation or intervention.

This isn’t rocket science.  The restriction is plainly stated.  Neither of these statements named names.  They discussed the issue, which they are not prohibited from doing, neither by the statement set forth in the IRS’s own publication on the matter, or by the handful of cases that the IRS has prosecuted since LBJ got his grudge restriction through Congress.  That said, the FFRF insists that the IRS is not doing its duty enforcing the 501(c)(3) restriction against “electioneering” by churches.  It states that not enforcing it is a violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment and a violation of equal protection rights because the same preferential treatment is not provided to other tax-exempt organizations such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

While it is true that other tax exempt organizations don’t enjoy this freedom, they also don’t have the same history.  And there is one other key distinction, recognized by the IRS in its guidance on this matter:  Churches are automatically exempt.  They do not have to apply for this exemption in order to get it. 

This raises a question that has yet to be addressed in litigation “How can the IRS take away a status that does not have to be applied for by the entity to begin with?” 

That said, the usual suspects will no doubt get themselves worked into a froth on the matter, with much table banging, and outrage that a certain group may enjoy this privilege, without a thought to what was painfully obvious to those who established this exemption in the first place: The power to tax is the power to destroy.  And if the state were ever granted this power, then even the correct interpretation of “separation of church and state” would be forever destroyed, as the government would be free to levy any cost it saw fit on religious belief.  The government could exercise de facto control on the belief and conscience of those who are its masters.  This is already being attempted with the HHS mandate, which seeks to impose government’s will on religious organizations, regardless of the fact that it directly contradicts the tenets of those organizations.  But the other reason for this exemption is that the people who enacted it understood that government had its separate sphere of authority, and that the church had the other.  The church was not to have the power of enforcement; this power belonged to the state.  The church did have the moral authority, which served as the philosophical basis and morality that the law was to be centered on. 

As the holder of that authority, the church had not just the right, but the duty to speak out when moral precepts were being flouted, or ignored.  Rebuking the state’s authority when it was being abused, or misapplied was part and parcel of maintaining a healthy society and a limited government.  This held true until LBJ got section 501(c)(3) passed.  While this arguably assisted the state in expanding its own sphere of authority until it overlapped with others, it does not vitiate what the church should still be doing, or its freedom to do so.  And that is why, although a part of me would enjoy seeing this lawsuit dismissed with prejudice, and Rule 11 sanctions being brought against FFRF, I would also like to see the merits, which do not favor the FFRF’s position, argued in the forum of the courts.  For if the First Amendment is to mean anything, it has to preserve the freedom of religion, and the right of moral authorities to speak plainly on moral issues at times when we as Americans are selecting our leaders.  To do less would be a rejection of this right, and the beginning of the end for individual conscience and belief.

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No, really.  Once you substitute “taxpayer” for “human”, it all makes sense.  And the part about “passing laws more beneficial to the community”…yeah.  “Exit” taxes on the wealthy who don’t want to put up with this nonsense, taxes on “the rich”…you get the point.

Of course, I’m not the first to see this.

The Vampire State needs blood. It can never have enough. The deal it cuts with the victim is simple enough. “You are weak,” says the Vampire State. “You are needy. You will soon die. I can help you. I can make you last forever. But you must give me your blood: your initiative, your moral strength, your independence, your manhood and womanhood, your folkways, and your self-government. I have the money—my business with other of my, er, clients. I will give this to you. The gift involves a little transfusion. Kindly loosen your shirt collar, and it will be over in a moment.”

The Vampire State must have victims, whom it “helps” in this way. Its prime directive is to survive as it is, upon the blood of false charity. The Amish govern themselves, and keep the Vampire State at bay. The Vampire State will encourage none of the habits and the virtues that would make the victims of its benevolence more like the Amish.


Healthy people seek solutions to problems. The Vampire seeks problems. The Vampire State must, however, appear to be attacking crime, and will therefore multiply crimes to attack. This it will do in two ways. It will criminalize perfectly ordinary things, like spanking a child or drinking soda; and it will permit and encourage pathological things that help to destroy those institutions that provide for genuine life, genuine community, and genuine law. After it has reduced the churches to rubble, the Vampire expresses astonishment and grave concern when rogues rule the streets; which gives the Vampire cause to “intervene,” with canines.

Kind of like watching a crummy little 12 inch TV with poor antenna signal in the 70s, and suddenly having an 80 inch High Def signal snap into focus before your eyes. 

Time to stock up on garlic.

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MeggieMac is upset with the Republican Party.

I’ve spent most of my adult life fighting for change from inside the Republican Party.

So the person who said “Age is just a number” was correct.  Another refugee from nuance, apparently, as she fails to distinguish between a legal distinction, and a figurative one.

We Republicans need to look at the future instead of living in the past.

Oh, we’re looking at the future.  And we see a place completely disconnected from the heritage and birthright of Americans.  Seriously, if the brightest lights of the Constitutional era could see us now, most of them would be angry or weeping at what we’ve done with it.  And then there would be a few, like Robert Yates, and Patrick Henry, who would be shaking their heads and saying ” I told you so.”
Maybe if you understood these things, and could then incorporate it into your opinion in a serious attempt to persuade, rather than berate me, I might take you seriously.  But then, if you actually understood these things, then you might not say the silly things you do to begin with.

We have to learn from what the last two presidential elections have taught us.

I agree.  The dumbing down of the population over a period of decades has made it quite easy to lead a slim majority by the nose into following people who tell you that your misfortune is the result of other people’s success, and that others aren’t “paying their fair share”.  The lesson is that we have to educate people.  And we have to be creative about it, because there are really good ways to make the salient points to people, even when they don’t want to listen.  We also have to challenge them.  There are a lot of people who can tell you that Romney was “GAFFE-TASTIC!!!11!!!”, but it is a little bit more difficult for them if you ask them for an example, and even MORE difficult if they can come up with an example, and you give some context, and ask them if they feel the same way.  The easy answer is…well…easy.  But at the same time, it doesn’t give much cover if you’re actually asked to defend your opinion.  And yet, I’m sure that this has NOTHING to do with MeggieMac’s deep and insightful analysis.

We must accept each other and the different opinions within the party instead of trying to cannibalize people that diverge from an arbitrary purity test.

Except that Republicans aren’t the ones who are obsessed with identity politics.  We don’t divide the electorate up by genitalia, race, ethnicity, and then pander to each of these groups while at the same time telling them that the only way they can achieve their goals is with OUR help once we’re in office.  You might consider that.  It’s why we had so many varied speakers at the convention.  Do try to keep up, dear.

I refuse to let the extremists win. We can’t let the Tea Party bully us any longer.

So much for accepting diverse opinions.  I guess its difficult to fathom your own tyrannical tendencies from behind the redwood in your own eye, right Meggie?

We can’t keep worrying about ultraconservative white male voters.

How about we worry about families, and government’s increasing intrusion into them, either through “Life of Julia” style programs that make Uncle Sam the father and the husband, or policies that cheapen life, and make its value correspond to the value a given person has to the state?  Or regulations that strangle the economy, and make it much more difficult for families to rely on themselves for their sustenance?

At the end of the day, I still believe I’m on the right side of history, and we can’t let this party sink away.

At the end of the day, it is invariably someone completely lacking in perspective and a good intellectual foundation to help them to meaningfully interpret the world around them that round out their remarks with the cliche “at the end of the day.”   As for “believing you are right”, I’m still waiting for you to say anything that has some substance.  Being the daughter of a Senator might open some doors that would be closed to other people of your advanced years and experience, but it might be refreshing to actually hear you advocate for something in a manner that sounds like something more than a slightly more erudite version of “I think it’s a good idea, and my opinion matters because I am my Daddy’s daughter, and if you don’t agree, you’re a poophead” some other negative classification.

We can and we must evolve.

Now, again, you make my point for me.  You obviously think that it is smart and persuasive to speak to me of “evolving”, without any understanding of why it is that is the least persuasive thing you can say to me.  You think you’re invoking science and reason, and if we were discussing this in person, it might never occur to you that I actually know more and be better able to explain to you the facts of the science of that word, and it is precisely for that reason that people like me see the water wings on your arms as you wave from the shallow end of the intellectual pool.

I don’t know exactly how yet, but I for one am ready to spend the next four years helping us get there.

Until you can articulate why the Republican Party is not, and has never been what the media and its window-licking followers keep insisting it is, I’d think I’d really rather you just worked on fundraisers for your Dad, and stayed out of it.

And if we don’t move forward, adapt, and become relevant again, the Republican Party isn’t going to survive.

Ah, yes.  The death of the Republican Party.  If you knew the history you keep trying to disparage, you’d have to come to grips with the fact that it has been predicted since Watergate.

It will just continue to alienate more moderate voters like myself.

“Moderate” the way you use it simply means “not really willing to accept a real distinction; upset over the Ecru candidate because you really believe that it was Eggshell’s year”.

If I don’t see some changes in the next four years, I’m going to consider registering as an Independent in 2016.

Really?  Because after a few years of your inane ramblings, I’m quite certain that the Democrat Party is your ideological home.  But then, I forget that you are your Mother’s daughter, and surely know there is more money to be made by being a celebrity “Republican” who can be relied upon to agree with all the right people in the media than it would to declare yourself just another celebrity with Democrat leanings.

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…is that the members often can’t realize just how stupid they sound.

A professor at FAMU and a faculty member in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation named Barbara Thompson has authored a book called ‘ The Gospel According to Apostle Barack – In Search of a More Perfect Political Union as Heaven Here on Earth’.

The absurd premise it is based on is this :

She provided a complete breakdown of the good that has happened during the President’s 4-year term. Healthcare, the economy, education and federal initiatives interests are the “Good news” from the apostle.

Government interference. Usurpation of power. Centralized Planning.  And all the failure that inevitably comes with it.  If this is “gospel”, then we live on Bizarro World.

Jesus never preached about “collective salvation” or having government taking care of “the least of us”.  That duty was specifically delegated to us.  And there are many reasons for this.

If she knows the gospel, then she should be ashamed for insinuating that this ersatz messiah is anything like the real thing.  But then, she is a professor, and she obviously believes that government can and should be involved in our lives the way that the President advocates for, so clearly, education doesn’t really mean what it used to when the most educated among us know so much that is not so.

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One of the things I have learned in my brief time on this planet is that knee-jerk post-mortems are often wrong.  I find that blame and recrimination are too often part of the process, and it tends to cloud thinking and obscure what is important.  The post-mortems of the 2012 elections have been no exception.   And while I would dismiss many of them outright because of the desire to point fingers and lay blame, I have to confess the one that surprised me was the one offered by my brother from a different mother and father, Rosetta.

Here in my own state of Washington, we had gay “marriage” and pot legalization on the ballot this year, both of which passed, either on the strength of what I call “reefer logic” or warm and fuzzy lies, but both offer insights into what happened nationwide.

First, the gay marriage referendum, R-74.  In 2008, our legislature passed the State Registered Domestic Partnership Act which allowed people to form officially sanctioned relationships with a member of the same or opposite sex, conferring all the same benefits that are conferred by marriage, except for the name.  This meant that same sex-couples would be eligible for “spousal” benefits offered by employers, inheritance rights, and community property rights, as well as all other benefits conferred by being in a state-recognized relationship.  But that wasn’t good enough.  And after waging a campaign that cynically stated that redefining the term marriage would grant same-sex couples the right to hospital visitation (a lie, as thank to HIPPA, even “straight: couples need to execute Medical Powers of Attorney to make medical decisions for incapacitated spouses, and to have a free and full exchange of health information with their spouse’s medical doctors.), and as a “civil rights issue”. It became a cause celebre of sorts to change a centuries-old specific legal definition, and the fact that it was based on a blatant lie, and the diminishing of a genuine “civil rights” issues, didn’t detract at all from the allure that this measure held for proponents.  No doubt it made those who voted on it feel good, and it was certainly easier than thinking.  I’m sure that some of you are asking “So they redefined marriage.  So what?”  Well, it may seem like a small thing, and an easy thing, and not worthy of the effort to stop.  Except that for every change we make to the bedrock of the law, robs what remains of a little of its meaning.  Do this enough, and then it gets easier to look at the law and say “It doesn’t make sense, so let’s just chuck the whole thing.”  I know that the possibility seems remote, and as long as you are only surveying from each incremental change, this only seems more certain to be the case.  But think of it as being in a boat on the ocean.  Off to the left, you see a rocky shore.  There are no oars in the boat, but you have an anchor, which keeps you from being pounded against those rocks, no matter how high the waves get.  Now imagine a fog bank that conceals the shore, and the rocks.  And that fog bank lingers for days.  Maybe you hear the waves braking on the rocks, but aren’t able to interpret what you hear.  Maybe you can’t hear it at all.  And then you wake up one day, and decide that it is pointless  to have that anchor.  Now you are heading for those rocks, and you don’t even know it.  And that’s where we find ourselves today, as we collectively pat ourselves on the back and feel good about our enlightened view on the matter.

Our other ballot measure was one to legalize possession and use of up to an ounce of marijuana by persons 21 years old or older in this state, which plays into the first suggestion made by my friend Rosetta to help Republican’s be successful in future elections, which was “Legalize Marijuana”.    Both he and the proponents here in Washington share the idea that this isn’t a serious crime anyway, and therefore, it doesn’t make sense to be enforcing it.  Rosie’s point is that we can empty a lot of prisons; the argument pre-election here in Washington was that it would free up law enforcement resources to prosecute “serious” or violent crimes.  I remain unconvinced.  Rosetta also shares the belief with advocates here that this will be a revenue opportunity for the state, because a legal trade can have the snot taxed out of it.  And finally, he glosses over the idea of collateral damage as being minimal, and something that should be the interest and crusade of private killjoys, rather than the government.  Yesterday morning, I heard the Seattle City Attorney being interviewed on the radio while I was driving to work.  He employed what I call “reefer logic” in talking about the reasons for legalizing marijuana, and what happens next now that Washington has said “Yes.” 

Among the rationales he described was that it is just “sound policy”.  He stated that the “War on Drugs” has been a crashing failure, which has cost trillions of dollars, and therefore, it just makes sense to end that war for those reasons.  At this point, I was shouting “GREAT!  Since that is the measure of “sound” policy, I expect that we will also end the “War on Poverty” tomorrow, since the government has also spent trillions of dollars with little or no objective success to show for it!”  (I know, I know.  That’s been about creating dependency, not fighting it, so there is no reason to expect it to be measured by the same standard.)  He then expressed his belief that the Federal government would resist this, and that it would end up in Federal court, which he welcomed because it would allow for an “adult conversation” about the concept of federalism, which is only proper as “it concerns the decisions made by the people of two sovereign states”.   At this point, I could not believe what I was hearing.  Abortion was not an issue for a discussion about federalism?  Welfare was not an issue for a discussion about federalism?  Not Obamacare?  Not environmental regulations.  But Pot…Pot was a hill to die on with concern for Federalism.

Frankly, I think the idea that this was going to free up lots of resources for law enforcement isn’t necessarily so, but the bigger issue is that of collateral damage.  I am concerned that the idea of tax revenue being a primary driver of legalization.  There is a moral component that doesn’t appear to have been considered, that being government sanctioning a vice not out of a belief that the individual has a right to self-destruct without interference, but because it can make money from it.  I can hear you. dear reader, as you say “But we tax alcohol, and we tax cigarettes.  Why is this different?”  the short answer is that those taxes are incidental to their legalization, and not the reason for it.  It is a fine distinction, but I have a hard time believing that government should be more concerned about what’s in it for them, rather than the effect on the individuals and the society in general.  Then there is the matter of feeding the beast…the fact that government almost NEVER uses these kind of tax revenues for stated purposes, and instead uses them to find more ways to regulate things that are none of their business.

Then there is the question of impairment.  We all know a functional alcoholic, or those who drink to excess too much.  But the collateral damage to society has become a bigger issue than in past decades.  Driving drunk is frowned upon, and prosecuted severely because of the potential of harm to others.  In many ways, though it is still not often characterized as such, we no longer think of drinking to excess as being harmful to only the person imbibing.  And yet we still allow people to characterize pot as a “victimless crime”.  While the majority of studies appear to have been published by NORML or similar groups, I think most people have at least empirical experience that would call into question the issue of impairment with marijuana use.  Even more laughable is the notion that by taxing and regulating, we will be able to keep it out of the hands of young people.  Ask police departments about the resources they spend addressing the purchase and sale of alcohol with teens, or dealing with the effects of underage drinking.  And many of us have had the experience of asking adults to buy alcohol for us.  Now consider the fact that a gram of pot is much easier to conceal than a six-pack of beer.  

The second idea for new success is simplification of legal immigration.  I actually like the idea.  And the way that my friend presents is unobjectionable, because it is still based on an exchange…you have to meet the requirements, and you still have to pass the test.  If there is a point that I would like to see shored up, it would be to manage the skills of those we allow in under this program.  While there is something to be said for filling jobs that qualify as unskilled labor, there is also something to be said for future generations learning the value of work.  No one should have their first job be their career.  Flipping burgers and working retail will teach the value of labor, the pride of making your own paycheck, and the importance of being on time and having a good attitude.  And given the current unemployment rate of teenagers, the current high rates should not be exacerbated with a policy that allows them to be constantly undercut in the labor market.

The third idea proposed by Rosetta is a $50,000 payment to anyone of verifiable slave heritage.  My response? Absolutely NOT.  The reasons are simple.  First, this won’t be the end, matter how much you try to tie the payment of the cash to the condition that they finally lose the attitude that they are somehow owed something because of a practice that was ended 155 or so years ago in the greatest shedding of American blood in conflict ever.  The idea of reparations is one that is a remedy to the person who actually suffered the harm, which is why, although still offensive, the reparations made to the Japanese American survivors of the World War II internment could at least be defended on a quasi legal basis.  An argument could be made that the Great Society and the War of Poverty has damaged blacks and especially black families, with a policy of deliberate infantilization, and dependency on Uncle Sugar.  The part where the analysis breaks down is the fact that the federal government hasn’t been doing this to just blacks, but has been waging this without regard to skin color.  The other component would be that the victim should recognize that they are a victim, and as the election proved, the victims don’t see themselves as victims, and instead think that they can and should be “punishing” others who don’t share their servitude, and who recognize that a shiny shackle is still a shackle.  Finally, the idea is the kind of irresponsible spending by government that we as conservatives are supposed to oppose.  This is not about “justice”, and cannot seriously be considered as such.  It is a cynical attempt to buy an attitude that is contrary to that which is fostered by decades of government spending, and continues the idea that peace or more abstractly, salvation, can be found if you spend enough of other people’s money.  It’s an idea that has brought this country to the brink of disaster and ruin, and it is hubris to think that we can use the same tactic and get a positive result.

The fourth idea posed was that contraception and abortion are for the beneficiary to pay for.  I can agree with half that concept.  Contraception can and should be the province of those who use it.  The inherent mistake was accepting the notion that abortion is valid as contraception, and it is ok because it is inherently a “private” act.  Although the legal rationale set forth in the Roe decision was dubious at the time (the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply, because…well, because it doesn’t, so don’t ask again) the truth is that the science has advanced even further.  It only underscores the hypocrisy of a society that can shed buckets of tears for whales being killed and forests being clear-cut, and not seem to give a second thought to the slaughter of thousands of children in the womb annually, without sparing a thought to the fact that each one of those children is a separate being, with its own organs and DNA, and the same government that has been founded on the principle of an unalienable right to life sanctions this ongoing genocide without any due process, or even thought given to it.  This happens daily, in very profitable centers set up to perform them, and human beings who have committed no offense other than being conceived are killed with less due process than we demand be afforded to child rapists and cop killers.  This is a shameful stain on our national character, and should be no more encouraged than giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

Finally, my friend suggests that these ideas are not damaging to the ideas of libertarianism or republicanism.  While that may be true for the principles of libertarianism, I think the question is a bit more difficult when applied to republicanism.  Largely because I think people couldn’t tell you what the republican party stands for.  And that is reflected in the candidates we have had since Reagan.  While I believe that many of the party’s standard bearers since Ronaldus Magnus have been good men, I don’t think that they have done a great job clearly stating clear principles that offer powerful explanation of why conservatism is a better alternative to what the left offers.  Instead, we have relied on candidates who were chosen because they wouldn’t allow themselves to be pinned to an ideology, because they couldn’t or wouldn’t stand on principles because they couldn’t persuade others why they were right.   It doesn’t make sense to lose because you didn’t have the courage to be yourself.  And telling yourself that your win is more important than a choice between clear ideas is a recipe for failure.  

But this is only one part of the puzzle.  We are faced with an electorate that would rather have Idiocracy, and that has decided that bread and circuses are better than personal responsibility and the right to determine their own destiny.  It’s hard to fight the idea that free stuff is better than freedom.  It’s hard to fight Greed’s retarded sister, Envy, and the idea that successful people are responsible for your lack of success, and should therefore be punished is a seductive one.  If you think that a candidate can or should overcome these factors, will combatting a negligent and complicit media, then you aren’t seeking a candidate, you are seeking a savior.

Circumstances can and will contribute to the recognition that what was chosen on Tuesday was the sad and tired ideas that have failed and made things worse for people who have had to live with them whenever they have been tried.  And it sucks that those of us who already knew this will have to suffer with those who still have to learn.  But we share in this failure because we refused to demand something better from those who would be our standard-bearer.  And we share in this because we each have to be the standard-bearer for conservatism ourselves.  We have 70 years of indoctrination and sloppy thinking to counter and bypass, because the obvious is anything but for people who have been taught to look past it.

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The thing about voting for ruin and death is that you’ll get it.

The sad part is that it will be a surprise to some of those who chose it.

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“Revenge is a confession of pain.”Latin proverb

“Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance of justice. Injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged.”  –Samuel Johnson

“Revenge is sweeter than life itself. So think fools. [Lat., At vindicta bonum vita jucundius ipsa nempe hoc indocti.]” – Decimus Junius Juvenal

“Revenge is always the weak pleasure of a little and narrow mind. [Lat., Semper et infirmi est animi exiguique voluptas Ultio.]”Decimus Junius Jivenal

“By taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing over it, he is superior.”Unknown

Just when I think that he can’t debase the office any further, President Obama manages to get another stain on the image of the Presidency.  In a speech to followers in New Hampshire, the President stated “No, no, no — don’t boo, vote. Vote! Voting is the best revenge.”

Since then, I have watched the Obama faithful attempt to spin this into another erudite utterance from the 21st Century’s First “Smart Like Spock” President, including this claim that it was actually a brilliant allusion that the doddering idiot Mitt Romney was just too thick to understand.   Having observed the President for four long years now, I find this claim dubious at best, if only because I have a tough time swallowing the idea that a man with such strong anti-colonialist tendencies is such an astute student of English poets. (Although something in the back of my head says “Maybe, but drawing a mental parallel between “lying” and “voting” doesn’t seem like such a leap for him.”)

Instead, I find it more in keeping with the kind of imagery that he has generally used throughout his career…imagery that invokes violent images, and that reveals a base contempt not just for his opponents, but what it means to be American. 

Admittedly, he has occasionally hit the right note in his rhetoric, and this has been enough to influence those who were not already paying attention, or those who chose to see only what they wanted to.  For those people, words like these offered inspiration, and the illusion that the President was a figure of reconciliation in a country with some divisions.  Words like :

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”>”But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

I can admit that this was the speech that would have DEFINED other Presidents.  The problem is that it was spoken by someone who had already “damaged his witness” with things said in moments when he didn’t believe that everyone would hear him, or when he was not scripted, and spoke from the heart.  They were spoken by a man who had already expressed his disappointment with people who embraced the First and Second Amendments, and were thus “Bitter clingers, clinging to their guns and their religion”.  They were words spoken by a man who spoke of “getting in people’s faces”, and “bringing a gun to a knife fight”.  They were the words spoken by a man who refused to listen to other ideas, because “Elections have consequences” and ” I won”. 

The great miracle of American politics has always been the acceptance of the decision of the electorate by those who would lead them.  Power is a the strongest combination aphrodisiac and narcotic that there is, and it takes a strong man to walk away from it, with the greatest portion of that strength being the knowledge and complete belief that the Republic can only continue if the choice its people makes is accepted with humility, and the good grace to turn the reins over and walk away if told to do so by the voters.  This trait seems to be lacking more and more in the President’s party, and if his rhetoric is any indication, in him himself.  From Gore v. Bush, to the constant admonitions about people “voting against their interests” because the reject the notion that they have to be represented by identities rooted in sex organs, skin colors, ethnicities, and income status, to a rhetorically violent demonization of their opponents, the Democrats seem to be willing to divide, and play the part of Janus, with the words of derision flowing freely from one mouth, and a song of reconciliation flowing from the other.  And the more they talk, the more they reveal.

It really doesn’t matter if the President was trying to use a literary device, or if he really was nursing a grudge against a campaign that offers something he can’t.  Revenge is a word that has no place in American politics, because it fosters a division in the country’s soul that cannot be overcome by competent leadership alone.  This is something understood by another President that Mr. Obama would love to be compared with.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

Of course, the assassination of Lincoln put the government on a much different course, and as a result, after a brief respite, the blessing of liberty were denied to the people for whom so much blood was shed to bring to them for nearly another 100 years.  That is something for the President to consider as he faces the prospect of a resounding loss on Tuesday next.

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I spent Friday afternoon in the auditorium of the Washington State Historical Museum in downtown Tacoma in a CLE (Continuing Legal Education) course on Electronic Records Management.  It wasn’t just an academic exercise. 

The course had three components.  The first was on “the cloud” and its ramifications not just for data storage, but for the way that we do business over all.  It was less about the practicality and uses tied specifically to how attorneys practice law, and more about the importance of having a plan on how it should be used, a serious examination of the question if the collaborative capabilities it presents are something that we can use in our profession to increase efficiency and efficacy, understanding how the service provider works, how long the information should be preserved, and whether or not the limitations and strictures of how the cloud is operated can be reconciled with the requirements of our profession.  The sheer amount of uncertainty regarding many of these issues is one of the reasons why I’m not gung-ho on this idea and ready to buy into it just yet, as much as I like the idea of being able to log in from anywhere, read any file our office maintains, and use our software without having to have it loaded on whatever device I might be using. 

The second portion dealt with some of the emerging social media case-law.  It is an area with many worthy questions, but few concrete answers yet.  It an area of life where technology has made a lot of things possible that previously weren’t.  Questions include what data can and should be able to be subpoenaed from social media outlets in discovery, as well as the more obvious admissibility and authentication issues.  It isn’t as simple as you might think at first blush, and branches out to cover other electronic media such as emails and text messages.  Probably one of the most alarming moments came when the presenter reminded us that under Washington law, there are a number of questions that a prospective employer can’t ask of a potential employee in an interview.  This is something that isn’t considered especially controversial by those in the profession, for obvious reasons.  But, he pointed out that much of this information can be discovered by nosing around in someone’s Facebook profile, if it isn’t limited or locked down.  Suddenly, with a few keystrokes, you can find out that the young woman you were interviewing is part of a fertility support group and is trying to get pregnant, or the applicant’s religion, or that they are politically vocal, and have a viewpoint that opposes yours.  Now discrimination on the basis of any of these facts is generally illegal, which is why they can’t ask, but now they can tell anyway, and the only way to avoid this is avoid exercising the right of freely associating with others across this medium.  There was also some discussion about how a Facebook posting with comments can meet the criteria of a public meeting, and how that creates unique governmental challenges for those charged with preserving such information.  The other major shock was how the NLRB has actually intervened in some social media/employment cases on behalf of non-union employees, ruling that employer’ actions against employees for violating social media policies, even those drawn up at great expense by law firms who carefully consider the limitations and prohibitions written into these policies, have been held to violate these workers’ rights.  I imagine that the law will be interesting as it develops over the next few decades, but I think for better or worse, it will have a noticeable impact on the notion of privacy that many people have.

The final segment was a Q and A session with the presenters, and some records management professionals.  In many ways, I found this to be the most alarming portion of the entire afternoon.  Of particular interest was a story relayed about how one lawyer had really been dragged in to cloud management of their practice by a client, who was convinced that it would be more efficient, and refused to pay for the attorney to do it their own way.  While he clearly told a tale which he believed had a happy ending (in the end, the attorney liked it, and wanted to do it with all of their clients), I looked around and realized that many of my peers did not recognize the obvious ethical issues raised by the story he told.   Then he went on to say that the implications of cloud computing would change the culture.  He pointed out that there is an entire generation which has lived its life in online social media, and how it was unavoidable that they would end up have very different notions of privacy than we would, and how that fact was probably going to end up having the biggest impact on law as we move forward.  I admit, I’m not comfortable with the notion, but this is in part due to the inherent impermanence of electronic data.  I don’t like the idea of a society that is so reliant on technology that knowledge can be lost with a blackout, EMP, or other interruption.  And yet this is the world we are already moving to occupy.   We can carry an entire library in a small tablet, but without power, you have nothing but an attractive paperweight.  But there is also the lack of hard documentation.   I can’t help but wonder what future generations will think of us, as there will be no paper records as there have been in the past.  No reams of correspondence between average people.   Fewer newspapers.  No habit of written journals.  Heck, even more and more textbooks are electronic in nature.  And being part of a profession that requires records and redundancies, I find that I think about this more and more.  Especially when, like after a storm, our internet connection became annoyingly intermittent.

Something to think about when the center of our center of economic commerce knocked out for two days last week due to weather.


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