I honestly don’t recognize this country. So, basically, you can be strip-searched for any little thing, even for a ticket you’ve already paid.
The decision is a defeat for civil liberties groups and a New Jersey man who was strip-searched twice after he was stopped on a highway and taken to jail over an unpaid fine.
Albert Florence was held for six days and finally released when he showed the fine had already been paid before he was arrested. He then sued county jail officials for violating his privacy and subjecting him to a humiliating strip search.
Short of leaving the country, I really am at a loss.
As you may have noticed, blogging here has slowed down to a trickle. Real life calls, and then there’s that other thing I’m hooked on. Between my class and my 365 project, it takes up a lot of my free time.
Insomnia is my companion these days too. Don’t know why, but it seems I can’t drag my ass to bed much before midnight these days, regardless of what time I’m required to be up.
I’m sure that’s contributing to my mood today.
That, and other shit that I thought settled a long time ago.
I’m considering bringing on a guest blogger. I’ve extended the invitation and even gotten some posts in response, and yet I hesitate. This is my place, neglected though it is at the present time.
Maybe the juices will start flowing again.
I don’t know.
“Gitmo will never close. That is a fantasy,” Begg said in a phone interview from his home in London. “I’ve stopped wishing for it. Even if it closes its doors, it will be only symbolic. The detainees who are still there will go somewhere else to be held and be treated possibly worse, and still not get their time in court. And Gitmo, in a way, will always be open. It will be in my memory, in my head, just like everyone else who experienced that hell.”
Honestly, there are days when I wish I could change my citizenship. I don’t recognize my country any more.
I just caught wind of this fool today.
Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum is just going to come right out and say it: registering the poor to vote is un-American and “like handing out burglary tools to criminals.”
“It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country — which is precisely why Barack Obama zealously supports registering welfare recipients to vote,” Vadum, the author of a book published by World Net Daily that attacks the now-defunct community organizing group ACORN, writes in a column for the American Thinker.
“Encouraging those who burden society to participate in elections isn’t about helping the poor,” Vadum writes. “It’s about helping the poor to help themselves to others’ money. It’s about raw so-called social justice. It’s about moving America ever farther away from the small-government ideals of the Founding Fathers.”
None of that “promote the general welfare” nonsense for Vadum.
And he gets worse. In attempting to “clarify” his language from sounding so, I don’t know, Marie Antoinette-ish, Vadum digs himself in deeper.
Responding to what he says are misrepresentations of his view, Vadum writes that of course he thinks poor people have the right to vote, he just doesn’t want anybody to help them since their votes “could lead to the destruction of the republic.”
Vadum clarifies that it is “destructive to register welfare recipients to vote so that they can vote themselves more government benefits. It is even worse that our tax dollars are used to register welfare recipients at welfare offices. It is a policy that would cause the Founding Fathers to roll over in their graves.”
But, he adds: “Of course those who are legally qualified to vote should be allowed to vote but our tax dollars shouldn’t be used to underwrite the destruction of the republic.”
But what Vadum is saying isn’t anything new. Please go read Michael Lind’s Why Libertarian Apologize for Autocracy, in which he lays out very clearly that proponents of Libertarianism consider democracy anathema to their goals.
While progressives betray their principles when they apologize for autocracy, libertarians do not. Today’s libertarians claim to be the heirs of the classical liberals of the 19th century. Without exception the great thinkers of classical liberalism, like Benjamin Constant, Thomas Babington Macaulay and John Stuart Mill, viewed universal suffrage democracy as a threat to property rights and capitalism. Mill favored educational qualifications for voters, like the “literacy tests” used to disfranchise most blacks and many whites in the South before the 1960s. After the Civil War, Lord Acton wrote to Robert E. Lee, commiserating with him on the defeat of the Confederacy.
In a letter to an American in 1857, Macaulay wrote:
Dear Sir: You are surprised to learn that I have not a high opinion of Mr. JEFFERSON, and I am surprised at your surprise. I am certain that I never wrote a line, and that I never, in Parliament, in conversation, or even on the hustings — a place where it is the fashion to court the populace — uttered a word indicating an opinion that the supreme authority in a State ought to be intrusted to the majority of citizens told by the head; in other words, to the poorest and most ignorant part of society. I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must, sooner or later, destroy liberty, or civilization, or both.
By “purely democratic” Macaulay meant universal suffrage; he opposed democracy even with checks and balances and written constitutions.
It is quite plain that your Government will never be able to restrain a distressed and discontented majority. For with you the majority is the Government, and has the rich, who are always a minority, absolutely at its mercy. The day will come when, in the State of New-York, a multitude of people, none of whom has had more than half a breakfast, or expects to have more than half a dinner, will choose a Legislature. Is it possible to doubt what sort of Legislature will be chosen? On one side is a statesman preaching patience, respect for vested rights, strict observance of public faith. On the other is a demagogue ranting about the tyranny of capitalists and usurers, and asking why anybody should be permitted to drink champagne and to ride in a carriage, while thousands of honest folks are in want of necessaries. Which of the two candidates is likely to be preferred by a working man who hears his children cry for more bread?
Macaulay’s solution was to limit voting rights to those who drink champagne and ride in carriages, on the proto-Reaganite theory that some of their wealth would trickle down to people with hungry, crying children, “none of whom has had more than half a breakfast, or expects to have more than half a dinner.”
The history of democratic nation-states since the 19th century proves that Macaulay, and von Mises, and Hayek, as well as lesser lights like Patri Friedman, have been right to argue that democracy is incompatible with libertarianism. Every modern, advanced democracy, including the United States, devotes between a third and half of its GDP to government, in both direct spending on public services like defense and transfer payments. Given the power to vote, most populations will not only vote for some system of government-backed social insurance, but also for all sorts of interventions in individual behavior that libertarians object to, from laws banning nudity in public to laws mandating that people support their children, do not torture or neglect their pets and water their lawns during droughts according to scheduled rationing.
Slideshow of gay couples getting married in New York City. Blub. More at link.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ~ The 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America
Turning “standing” into an all-purpose excuse to dismiss a lawsuit is an increasingly common tactic of conservative judges. Another example is the awful 2007 Hein decision which held that expenditures of money by Congress to promote religion confer standing to sue, but expenditures of money by the executive branch somehow don’t. This nonsensical and indefensible decision was obviously decreed by conservative justices in order to reach their desired policy result: permitting the faith-based initiative to continue. (I fear that there are now five members of the Supreme Court who are prepared to bless any church-state violation whatsoever.)
Yet another example would be the Bush-era legal position, shamefully perpetuated by the Obama administration, that even if the government is spying on American citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment, no one has standing to bring a lawsuit unless they can prove that they personally were illegally surveilled. This is a ludicrous claim that creates a horrendous perverse incentive: the government can get away with any lawbreaking conduct as long as they can successfully cover it up, in which case the courts will do nothing to adjudicate the truth.The evisceration of the standing doctrine creates a legal paradox: it may well be that some actions by the government are unconstitutional, but no one can do anything about it because no one has standing to have their objections heard. This position makes the Bill of Rights meaningless. The laws set out in the Constitution aren’t just noble aspirations our government should try its best to live up to: they are strict and settled limits on what our elected public servants can and can’t do, and the reason we have a system of checks and balances is to enforce that guarantee.The court, in effect, is abdicating its constitutionally given role by denying a hearing to citizens with a grievance.
“Freedom of speech does not include the freedom to deliberately offend other people’s culture, religion and traditions,” said de Mistura.
Sir, that is exactly what freedom of speech means. (H/T Gaius)
Honestly, I don’t get this. Read them their rights. It will take all of, what, 30 seconds? Maybe? And then get on with the interrogation. Why do we think we have to sacrfice one for the other?
I have Obama’s answer to my letter.
With respect to Private Manning, I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are.
Our basic standards?
You do not speak for me, Mr. Obama. This does not meet my basic standards.
From The American Conservative, for chrissake.
It doesn’t seem like the degrading treatment Pfc. Bradley Manning is being subjected to is improving. Antiwar.com’s Jason Ditz reports:
In the wake of announcing 22 additional charges against him, Pfc. Bradley Manning’s clothing was seized by the guards at the US Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, leaving him naked in his cell.
The seizure of Manning’s clothing was revealed by his lawyer, David E. Coombs, who said Manning’s clothing was seized at 5:00 AM and he was ordered to stand naked outside of his cell. Reports indicate his clothes weren’t returned for at least 7 hours.
Brig officials have confirmed that nightly forced nudity will continue indefinitely.
For more background on the inhumane conditions of Manning’s confinement, see this Glenn Greenwald post from December 15. Manning has now been held in solitary confinement for more than seven months. He is not permitted to exercise in his cell, and he is not allowed a pillow or sheets for his bed.
Where do I turn in my USA membership card? I don’t want to be a part of this club any more.