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Essay on the American Way and Circumstance
That some want an authoritarian society governed by a unitary executive is within the cabin of their right to desire whatever it is they wish, but to insist that this model of a republic become the reality of this
republic is, at best, folly, for it will be stopped; at worst, it is rebellion, something wholly unacceptable to any state.
Claiming that the Constitution is not a "living, breathing" instrument summarily and wrongly denies the basis of American tradition in English common law. Those who want something other than a progressively interpretive law will find their repose in the many, many countries of the world tied to the withered body of Lex Romana
as it has evolved into its modern forms in the countries that were subjugated by, and came to embrace the documentary and political authoritarianism of, the Roman Empire. This is not such a country. We are free people in a way entirely opaque to those whose history informs their political systems otherwise.
It is unfortunate that countries still laboring under the inflexibility of scribal law do not see the inevitable perversity that comes from such a system, evidenced in the incontrovertible record of Rome, itself, as it degenerated into tyranny and finally, because of the self-destructive forces that are bred by it, into the weakness that allowed the uncivilized hordes to overrun it. The state whose citizens, from the generals to the plebeians, believe little in its core values is become the state awaiting its conclusion in the alchemy of apathy inflamed of violent radicalism.
A republic that provides its citizens with exemplary justice separating one or more persons of import from all others renders a cumulative effect that is, as one appellate court described it, "to invite cynicism" of the judiciary as an objective arbiter. The failure of extremist jurists like Judge John D. Bates, who dismissed the lawsuit by outed CIA operative Valerie Plame
, to allow redress for torts committed by men of high office protecting themselves against the civil consequences of their lies bespeaks a judiciary that has already and irretrievably invited cynicism; and that invitation to a degraded republic is accepted. We should hope, however, that the embrace of this position is not a prelude in surrender to radicalism, but instead is a haranguing drumbeat to firm, resolute, and unyielding opposition to those who would try to take this country down the well-worn road to tyrannical ruin.
The danger therein is this: once cynicism becomes pervasive, the society is no longer held together with the benign benefit
of the state but, instead, under the forceful demand
of those who manage the state. The difference of the latter from the former is not a matter of "consent of the governed"; it is, instead, a matter of how consent forms. A progressively tyrannical state can well exist, at least for a while, consensually; however, it inevitably falls prey to the most corrosive effect of cynicism: the awful thing of despair that replaces essential optimism, which holds that, even if circumstances, laws, and times are in some period bad, they will improve over time and in the political process at the insistence and power of the governed.
That Right-Wing Authoritarian Followers do not understand this core and valid motivational force in governance does not mean they are somehow "bad" or "evil"; it means, instead, that they have great fear (in some aspects, well-founded
fear) of pervasive equality under the law becoming license to erosion of compliance with authoritative enforcement of it. That noted, the difference between a Right-Wing Authoritarian and a true conservative is the firm and inviolable belief of the latter in its genuine form that, even in the presence of a system of laws that permits flexibility and sometimes upsetting liberalization, and even in the presence of a state that insists that the highest of individuals in stations of governance must answer entirely, fully, and sometimes dramatically to law, we can and will have an enduring nation.
In a comment to a recent article
of mine, a Right-Wing Authoritarian Follower reached for a grand simplification of the solution to this Administration's multi-faceted intransigence by insisting that the process of stopping the unpopular, unwinnable, unjust American-Iraqi War is as simple as "[The Congress] can DE-FUND THE WAR." (That statement was intended as nothing more than a taunting dare.) As I have made clear here in previous articles, not even most of the Democrats in Congress believe that to be either possible or advisable, and that is not just a political calculus that informs such a conclusion, but also a military reality. We cannot simply return from the mire of the Point B in which we now wallow to that glad Point A at which we started. We just cannot
. We have created a wholesale mess–for tens of millions of Iraqis and for ourselves–and it matters not a whit how excellent our generals are: from long-before the initial siege of Baghdad, what was prepared for their war skills was a disaster crafted by utterly naïve, non-military fools who thought in terms of visionary nonsense rather than persistent, well-planned, marginal advancements of state interests around the globe. In the real world of statecraft, only rarely is large-scale drama the order of the day. By ignoring that fact, the Bush Administration has utterly eviscerated the capacity of our military to wage effective, decisive war against a real threat to our nation's interests. The world might very well now have at least one such menace with which we will be compelled to deal in the coming few years; yet, as our military posture now stands, we would be unable to swiftly and prejudicially do what might have to be done, certainly not without unconscionable loss of treasure, life, and war matériel. This Administration and its theoreticians have wrecked our ability to project decisive military power in such theatres as our state interests would, in the rare instance, call for extraordinary violence. Not only is that shameful; it is sedition by uncorrectable incompetence and unforgivable corruption of both means and purposes.
We as a nation are in a precarious time in terms of our ability to defend our true national interests, not the least of which is our domestic economic stability. I am more than glad to hear people demand of Congress, even though it won't happen, that this war end right away. Such is the way of a fruitful democratic process, where insistent voices call for the impossible to force leaders to expand their own grasp of what is feasible in the interim, until the impossible becomes less so. It is in that angry process of condemning weak and disingenuous leaders to make them stronger and more earnest that a more perfect Union becomes formed in every political generation as those elected to high office find themselves incapable in a democracy of permanently imagining that they–in the long run, at least–know more than those they govern or that they have more power than those they would wish to silence.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
For a nation to be in the position we are now, I would think a few fortuitous(?) conditions have to have been met.
The populace had to have been pre-primed toward the coming attitude change. This didn't happen over night.
They had to have reason, legitimate or not, to feel the way they think they should. Someone had to instill suggestion, innuendo and basic hatred traits in them.
They need to be gullible enough, afraid of shadows; people easy and ready to believe lies that have been implanted for 30 years by insidiousness at the lowest levels of civilization, namely religion.
They have to be easily driven by managers that have cornered the market on information.
And by now they have to be so unswervingly biased that nothing will change their minds to another direction.
Rove studied the Third Reich well. This isn't something that happened since 1998 with the NWO or even 9/11.
In Asimov's famous Foundation Series he talks about the difficulty of moving beliefs as needing a massive amount of inertia. That mass is going to be difficult to stop since it had such a head start; like the ship in "Speed 2.".
Yet it must be stopped if for nothing other than the survival of those who supported it to begin with. After all, even though they'll never realize it, they really are just sheep; albeit stupider than the actual animals.
I think I need some of weaseldog's Scotch!
good evenong, Father Tyme.
Asimov's assessment is spot on; Inertia has firmly established itself, with the well-meaning and indifferent suffering equally. That's the problem right there, though, isn't it...any suffering is by sections of the population only briefly touched upon by the media, the same media whose interests lie in providing better distractions from unpleasant news than the others. (NPR excluded; I stand by them as the least agenda driven information source available at large.)
As others have pointed out, by the time enough people can agree that things must change, it may be too late.
Or, Notre Dame could win it all this year, and prove again that they are, indeed, God's gift to football. Time will tell.
Notre Dame is done, unless, as usual the officiating gives them more wins! Nyah nyah!
It seems that irony is lost on a team that has to be in good physical shape yet has a coach somewhat over-extended!
I don’t care if he’s a genius or not. College time is for pure athleticism; be true to your school; honor above all else; play fair; it’s not whether you win or lose but how you played the game but win one for the Gipper; …just like our involvement in Iraq.
Ok, I have some water front property in Florida to sell if anyone is interested! And Santa Claus IS coming; no, really!
Maybe we need a poll here at the local diner to lay our “money” down so to speak on the teams that will prevail. For entertainment purposes only, of course. Being that this are an eeko gnomic forum, we could use pretend currency of different countries and even times. Correcting for current inflation and other factors might interest our benefactor; not to mention lessons on probabilities and odds (maybe even visual ones)!
Wouldst thou be interested in such an endeavor and couldst thou speaketh with our liege to suggesteth (as Daffy would say) such a chart e'en tho' he art not ath-el-etically inclined? It could be funneth!
The more cynically-minded might say that this was the beginning of the long day's journey (from the Library of Congress.gov website):
"The New York Stock Exchange traces its origins back to the signing of the Buttonwood Agreement by 24 New York City stockbrokers and merchants on May 17, 1792 outside at 68 Wall Street under a Buttonwood tree. In the beginning there were five securities traded in New York City with the first listed company on the NYSE being the Bank of New York."
Thanks a lot, Pedro...I mean Padre. I read these posts out loud so the entire household can enjoy the wonderful banter presented here, and saying suggesteth like Senor Duck, and thus sthprayething sthpittle all over my Uncle Haiphong, ignitedeth a conflagration still raging two hours later. I hope you're happy. I still love you, but my wife thinks that "you sir, are Desthpicable!"
Your blaspheming against the "Blessed Eleven", give or take 50 or so, plus the "Holy Trainers and Assembled Faithful", saddens me, sirrah! Yet that the unlearned may partake of the Lord's bounteous forgiveness only shows that, indeed, He doth covereth the spread. Amen. Go and giveth thanks, ye Idiopatheth, and please, bringeth us some more hotdogs n brewskis while your up, wouldja?
I should get stronger liquor for the cash bar, here.
I guess you haven't noticed, (Maybe you thought someone was dipping in the till.) but Peter and I have been sneaking out to the 'forum boards' and swigging from a bottle of some hooch he manufactured for those of us with resources too meager to afford the jacked up prices you charge for that watered down anti-freeze you've been pushing. The money we've saved should just about cover the seeing eye dogs we no doubt will require.
I just finished reading an item pertaining to the SCOTUS having a 57% approval rating, which is down from previous polls. This little stinkbomb caught my eye:
Forty-one percent said Bush's appointments of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito have not changed the court's ideology, while 36 percent say it has become more conservative.
Okay, I quit. If anyone needs me, I'll be setting up shop in DW's fallout shelter, where, if anybody's really looking...I won't be at.
Good morning, Thomas Moore.
Is that your two cents? ;0)
Good morning, Thomas Moore, and welcome.
That story just amazed me: it comports with similar stories about coins and paper currency in other countries and other times, but that one just beats them all.
Suffer me a small anecdote from the present era, a story the significance of which I am entirely uncertain at present. Over the years, when I've had to supplement my income by working at places like all-night truck stops, I've met all manner of interesting, odd, and eccentric people. One group rather more common than one might expect are the "Silver Certificate guys," as I called them. They're the fellows who carry wads of the old paper currency with the "Silver Certificate" mark rather than the more modern "Federal Reserve Note" declaration.
These men I encountered would frequently carry their stash of Silver Certificates in a plastic bag or some cheapo leather pouch. (Interestingly, never did the container, itself, appear to be of any value.)
The worst mistake anyone could make is to ask one of the Silver Certificate guys about the currency he carries. Good Lord, the wildness of the ensuing conspiracy theory rant is enough to peel the skin off your ears. From person to person, the story is quite consistent, spanning everything from the Federal Reserve to the Rockefellers, from the Jews to the Freemasons, from this shadowy group to that world-controlling interest that's been around since the Middle Ages or before.
Anyway, as a teacher of economics, I like to keep a couple of Silver Certificates on hand for lectures about everything from the history of currency in the United States to the difference between "commodity" and "fiat" money. That said, I learned very quickly not to ask one of those conspiracy-obsessed truck drivers to sell me a few from his stash because that was a guaranteed invitation to the short or long version of the usual rant.
What I do is go to the big flea markets in the Midwest, where I've always been able to buy a couple of Silver Certificates of reasonably good quality for $3.00 each, a price I have found to be a little silly considering their intrinsic value is that of the paper upon which they're printed.
Last month, I decided I wanted to get five for the coming year to go with the ten I already have. That way, in a larger lecture hall, each student would have more time to look at one before having to pass it down a row of seats.
Son of a gun: two flea markets so far this Summer, and the dealers in currency and coins are standing firm for moderate-to-low quality Silver Certificates at $7.00 a pop. I was going to start fussing to the last dealer I saw; but right before I did, I looked at that man's eyes and thought, "Truck driver eyes!"
I cannot imagine that the price of Silver Certificates has actually shot up that much. It has to be some peculiarity of demand and/or supply conditions in this area.
I haven't bothered to check the Internet to see asking prices sought by reputable online dealers, but it's a little creepy to me that, even in a narrow strip of the market, those pretty-much-worthless Silver Certificates have gone up that much in just the last year.
As I noted, it simply has to be some aberration... at least, I hope that's all it is.
The Dark Wraith should probably brush up on this conspiracy theory knowledge just in case.
Good morning, Mr Wraith.
I am by no means a specialist in this field, so please correct me if I am wrong, but isn't it a given that constitutional law is necessarily vague?
I was under the impression that this was the reason behind having a penal code and civil statutes in addition to the constitution.
Not entirely sure of the particulars of this philosophy, but I know that laws are made according to the three branches of government-- by legislative process, executive order, and judicial opinion. Are all three of these held equal in this original intent or original meaning view?
Also, what of the laws concerning various professions which are written by committee? For example, the laws governing real estate agents, engineers, and architects. These are regulated by the states, and it is common that the laws governing them are written by a committee that also oversees the licensing.
Just wondering how much they actually believe in this sort of thing.
Good evening, Thomas Moore.
Asking one of those cats why he's holding that stack of Silver Certificates is an invitation to a couple of hours of diatribe about a Global Conspiracy going back almost a thousand years. I pretty much go from sentient being to brocolli during the part about the Popes, although the Jewish-Communist conspiracy and the Club of Rome is pretty good once you get past the part about the microfilaments in paper currency used for tracking everyone.
The Prescott Bush stuff is pretty fun, too, especially the variant part about how Hitler was a pawn of orbis unum jockeys. The ancient orders of knights that play into the whole scheme is pretty cool, too, as is the connections to Roman Caesars. And, of course, these guys were hinting at da Vinci Code stuff before even da Vinci, himself, was cold in his grave.
The Silver Certificates are talisman-like objects to these people: lost to the powerful interests controlling the world, this kind of currency represents a value-laden structural economic sphere where "real" money (the kind that has metal in it) still lives and thrives.
I've even had a few older students in community colleges give me this whole run-down. Also, when I posted lectures on "Money Economics" on YouTube, these cats came out of the veritable woodwork, some of them thinking I was talking in code, calling them to the struggle or some such thing.
Now, from here I could take this comment down a path so strange I'd scare just about everyone away from this site forever. Although I have for a very long time suffered a temptation to tell a wide-ranging story of personal experience, I won't do that. I've had enough weirdness for one lifetime, and I don't think I want to go for double-or-nothing.
Not tonight, anyway.
Tonight, I'm going to do some work on my next article for publication, then I'm going to sit with my cat here in front of my computer and watch a movie I was lent for the night.
The Dark Wraith knows how to have a peaceful evening.
Good evening, Progressive Traditionalist.
You are pretty much right on target: the very last thing you want to do in legal matters is to reach for the Constitution. Playing the Constitution card is a sure way to have everyone and his uncle offer an interpretation of what is being said, what is meant, what is relevant case precedent, and what is the color of your socks. It's a no-win situation; and although it's fine for people to speak in an informal environment about what the Constitution says about this matter or that incident, it's the very worst idea to hope the Constitution is going to offer unmitigated clarity and unarguable guidance.
This, by the way, is why you will see highly skilled law debate teams from reputable schools get slaughtered as they are by the whackos from the law debate teams of Right-wing religious law schools like Regent University: no matter how hard you try, if you have a broad, subtle understanding of law, you'll get eaten alive by a pack of wolves who have an impenetrable understanding of a singular interpretation of law.
Now, let me mention another topic you addressed. In one of my lectures that, because of technical difficulties with the audio, never got to YouTube, I broke "law" down along a number of bifurcations: common law versus statutory law; criminal law versus civil law; tort law versus contract law; substantive law versus procedural law; etc.
Among the breakdowns is a whole area of law most people understand only vaguely if at all. It has to do with so-called "administrative law" and regulation. You see, quite often Congress will enact legislation whereby law will be established and enforcement will be carried out by an agency of the Executive Branch. In rare cases, the law that is passed must actually "enable" the formation of the agency, itself; usually, however, monitoring and enforcement of the provisions of a law will fall to some agency already in existence. For example, when Congress wanted to show that it could git tuff with the crooks in the securities end of corporate governance, it passed the abomination commonly known as "Sarbanes-Oxley," which was then administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Here's the problem: once the law enforcement aspect of a law is in the hands of the agency, it is then incumbent upon that agency then to manifest that law through regulations, which are, in and of themselves, effective law. In other words, unelected bureaucrats essentially become the creators of law as it is enforceable at the "street" level.
The problem gets worse, though. Generally speaking, no company or individual has recourse to fight an administrative ruling outside the administrative agency, itself, until it can demonstrate an "exhaustion of remedies" available within the agency. Only on the rarest of occasions will an ALJ–an administrative law judge, whose court is charged with sole authority over administrative agencies and the issues arising therefrom–contemplate violating that hard-and-fast rule.
-- continued below --
-- continued from above --
Now, some might be thinking, "Well, it's just corporations that have to face this apparently bad arrangement, so who cares?"
The answer to that is two-fold. First, small corporations can get kicked every bit as hard by regulatory law as large corporations, and there is not prayer that a small business can afford a protracted regulatory battle in the same way that a huge corporation with lawyers trained in regulatory law can.
Second, regulatory law can bite people in the butt, too. My favored examples are of the way so-called "children's services" agencies at the county level run roughshod over parents, especially single mothers. The national news media pant breathlessly about the unusual, albeit horrendously tragic, cases of child abuse, and that just feeds fuel to the fire of giving children's services agencies all the power they want to craft "regulations," "rules," and "guidelines" that are abusive, sexist (on both men and women, believe it or not, in different ways), and unproductive. I've seen the consequences of this on maddening display. In one county, for example, the "children and family services" department had crafted a regulation that no child under the age of 12 could be at any time without adult supervision. The regulation was so specific that "adult supervision" meant that a responsible adult (parent or caregiver) had to be within 25 feet of the child at all times.
Well, it was a game of spite for people with nothing better to do than to call this agency to "report" unsupervised kids. In one case, a single mother's 10-year-old daughter arrived home from school at 4:05 p.m. on weekdays and was alone until her mother arrived at about 4:40 p.m. from her job. The local busybody (who had already been responsible for a number of these "anonymous" call-ins) had children's services over there. The child was hauled off, the mother was charged with neglect, and the girl was poked and prodded and asked lurid questions that were uncalled for yet entirely permissible because of broad latitude the agency has to craft enforcement of its mandate as it sees fit.
Lives nearly destroyed by the sheer fiat of regulatory law and its enforcement handed off to agencies unaccountable to normal courts. (And "family courts" are arguably nothing but administrative courts by another, friendlier name, by the way.)
Now, President Clinton signed legislation to deal with overly zealous regulatory interpretations at the national level; and, going way too far with this good idea, President Bush has expanded that effort by turning it into a political game where his ideologues review all proposed regulatory interpretations. Unfortunately, though, at the state level, rare is there any effort at all to put the brakes on regulatory excesses; and even when there are, some advocacy group or another will trot out the bloody red shirts of rare but shocking problems that need more, not less, regulatory action.
Forgive what turned into a rant, there. This is a matter insufficiently discussed in progressive forums like this one, which means that it is left to the zealots of the Right to address it. I'd prefer to lay out some principles here, where people are well educated and well informed, thereby allowing for what might constitute intelligent, reasoned discourse.
The Dark Wraith has typed enough for a while.
Good evening, Mr. Wraith.
And Gold bless you, sir. The regulatory laws, especially 'Child Protection Agencies' hits too close for comfort, as I know and am still learning.
The value of money?
"THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week said Zimbabwe's year-on-year inflation rate could reach over 100,000 percent by the end of the year, news agency reports said, casting a pall on economic reforms by the government and reinforcing fears of an unprecedented economic meltdown."
I thought it was a misprint when I first saw it, but it is "one hundred thousand".
Article at AllAfrica.com.
I read an article a few weeks ago on Mugabe's price controls. When shop owners tried to hide their back stock, they were arrested and their goods confiscated. Nice little spiral he's got there.
If you want to talk about hyperinflations, try some of the post-World War II fun. Hungary had an annualized inflation rate something like this:
I think that's right. Anyway, from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, that breaks down to 19,000% per month, or about 19% per day.
That, I would submit to you, is no longer even hyperinflation; that meets the technical definition of just-plain-stupid-inflation.
The Dark Wraith would recommend under such circumstances that people not even bother carrying fiat money anymore.
I bought one of those little inexpensive Italian cars once.
For the purchase I used my Fiat money.
I'll run and hide now....
I would like to briefly perform a semi-secular rendition of a voodoo zombification ritual, so that I might provide a link embellishing upon a recently buried thread commentary by our Overlord-DW.
This site has photos relating to the "Drunken Astronauts", and insights into the current investigation. Enjoy!
The pretenedocrats that voted to continue kissing Bush's ass have me madder than anytime I've been in my life since the summer of '68. (Didn't have time to get mad in '69 and '70).
Hey Americans. How does it feel to have the same rights as any enemy we're at war with? The Germans and Japanese and VC we captured were treated better (in most cases) than we will be.
We now know how the aware German People of the 30s felt. The 28% can rationalize all they want thinking themselves immune from this fascist treatment. When their time comes, and it WILL, I will treat them the way sympathizers were treated during WWII.
I feel sorry for the people that will simple and blindly follow orders or the families of any law enforcement officers or military people that try to enforce Bush's dictatorship.
While the Holocast was horrendous, the coming dark age of America will make the rest of the world forget about it.
Who are the real enemies of America? NEoCons, most conservatives, evangelicals, big business, senators and congress and of course, he who must not be named.
And we all grew up fearing the Soviets. Khrushchev must be shoeless and rolling on the floor!
New Hampshire has it right!
Thanks DW. I looked up how you did that, so I can't claim ignorance next time!
Good morning, Father Tyme. I presume that before this election season is finished, anyone with any inkling of what truly needs fixing, will be jaw-droppingly disappointed; not only by the way that this lame fuck administration disregards anything that the people want, but also by the tough guy stances of the crummy list of candidates on both sides.
I would love to see the voters say NO to all incumbents.
I HAD A DREAM!
Well sort of. I woke to find that all the presidential candidates disappeared and all the Senators and Reprehensibles had their mouths grown over with ass skin except for a small pustulant hole that would only let fecal matter and phalluses IN; the CEOs and management of Big Oil, Pharmco and all other big businesses had miniaturized lobbyists stuck half way up the butts of these Reprehensible and standing on the shoulders of the lobbyists were the appointees and friends of Bush and Cheney; Bush and Cheney were locked together in Ouroboros style; all the religious right and evangelicals were being sodomized again and again by Satan under the approving eyes of a pissed off Jebus...
Then that damn alarm rang.
Got an old one I can borrow? Mine seems to have malfunctioned!
WHOWEEEEE!! wowser, remind me to NEVER piss you off. Nothing in the Voodoo Handbook for Dummies was mentioned to counteract a 'Dreaming Spell' like that! Sure, lesser ones can be aborted, but one as strong as yours means only one thing...Ease up on the Nyquil, wouldja?
I noticed you typed "Good Affairnoon", HAHA!!! How silly. It's supposed to be "Good AFTERnoon, not AFFAIR!
G_ddangit, I can't stop pitcherin' them faces with nasty little holes! That's funny, right there.
A couple of years ago I actually took some of the videos of the talking heads of Fox and the Bushies (when Scottie was PS) and supered various asses over their mouths, added their comments as "voice overs" (with some special appropriate sound fx!). Got it all ready and my machine went to Valhalla. Of course I didn't back up the stuff on discs, I used another drive on the same machine. The electricity didn't care; zapped them both! Everything is so many free electrons!
But I've been thinking about doing it again. Maybe meaner this time. If DW thinks the youtubers hit him hard, I'd probably be crucified!
Also on the drive was a parody of the shampoo commercial that started with one girl saying "tell two friends" then two more ,etc and the screen kept adding more of the same.
Only I used the current (then) crop of WH Assholes and in the end set them up like the dancing hamsters with O'Reilly in the center singing the praises of Bush.
If I ever get time again...
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