Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Courage to Face the Light

The world is not a place built to soothe our anxieties. Something is always going wrong. If we wait for the world to quiet, for people to be good, and our enemies not to threaten us to live up to our ideals, we’ll never realize the true vision of our framers, or go beyond it to even more exceptional heights of glory.

People like to caricature the liberal attitude towards government as some kind of slavish love. That's a childs way of characterizing things, the old, "if you don't hate it, you must be head over heels for it."

I don't love government that way anymore than Republicans love anarchy. My attitude towards government is that it belongs to the people, for the people to sort out by trial and error. I don't believe that it can never be useful, that it can never do good. But that doesn't mean I have to take the converse position, that it always does good, always does right.

Government is human. Not good. Not evil. Not even a shade of gray. More a shade of Murphy. It will work however we let it work. That's why I hate all the talk that speaks of government like it's debased nature is some kind of objective, innate fact, whether it's calling it a corpocracy like some on the left do, or taking the standard GOP anti-government position, that it must fail, can't do anything right. Phrasing it, thinking of it in that fashion is a surrender of the chance, the opportunity to take a different path. Both good and bad outcomes are possible, but good ones require effort, and effort requires motivation.

Of course, summoning the motivation can be difficult, because it's difficult to directly achieve things. We don't have complete control, not as individuals. Unfortunately, people have led us to think that means our level of control is meaningless. We're taught to think of ourselves only as isolated individuals. What can we possibly do?

It's a deceptive position, not the least of which because it's proponents turn around and take a position that doesn't work without collective, socially moderated and modulated actions. Markets don't work if people only act and think as individuals, if people aren't watching other people. If people can, through common action, decide what kind of equity a corporation has to work with, they certainly can decide what kind of political capital a politician has at the polls.

More to the point, we've managed this nation before, and others have done it, too.
Sure, you can never completely do away with corruption and incompetence, but then, the framers knew that. The key is not quitting.

Look all around you. Individuals didn't do all those things by themselves. One person didn't build the highway you rode to work. One person didn't write the computer program that runs your phone. One person didn't put together that car or that phone. People act together all the time. We can end up doing some pretty freaking amazing things when we do. But some people have subscribed to this excessively atomistic philosophy of humanity, which says that there are these great people who come along, and all the stupendous things in the world come from their sheer willpower and selfish pursuit of their dreams and desires.

(Picture the man or woman, drawn in all straight lines, looking out over the horizon, over your head in Oympian fashion, feet shoulder-width apart, fists to their side like Superman.)

It's not that people are some kind of hive mind, and that everything good comes only from masses. That is as naive a position as the one that looks at human beings as capable of being the unshakeable, unmoveable pillars of willpower, determining all things, with nobody's help.

We are both social creatures, and creatures possessing of an individual nature. In fact our very concept of self may be bound up in having a unified persona for society to act upon. If we had no concept of self, how could we be shamed, how could we feel approval so strongly?

The question in any system like ours is "What do YOU want?"

The answer, of course, is never as simple as wish fulfillment. But if it was so simple, we would not need a system like ours. We need a system like ours, because voters and politicans are both fallible, and replacing it with some sort of permanent leader doesn't improve on this because those people are just as fallible- just harder to get rid off.

When they're right, we need not fear, for they won't easily be dislodge. But very often such strong leaders demonstrate their failings as human beings. How many revolutions eneded in blood and tears at the hands of a once heroic-seeming leader?

We don't need strong leaders. We need to be strong leaders ourselves. When we are strong ourselves, then we exert the pressures that bring better leaders from among us, weed out the weak.

Weak people like Donald Trump. Trump has emerged in the lead because the field is so weak, so rife with failures and showboats candidates.

I mean, ban all Muslim travel to the US? Like the opposition to Syrian refugees, it's a policy idea built on unreasoning fear of immigrants. We don't deny entry to Russian Immigrants over the Russian Mafia types, much less Italians over the original Mafia types. It's no more dignified a position than the Yellow Peril Quota cuts of the late 19th, early 20th century, the refusal of Jewish refugees, or any number of other eugenic policies that regarded a certain group of people as undesirables, on no other account than association and fears of conspiracy.

It's also weak-minded. For one thing, there are plenty of people already here who could conceivably be radicalized. The male of the two who shot up the San Bernadino office was American by birth, as was the shooter in Fort Hood.

Oh, so what, we shut off the internet? Yes, he said something like that.

As an IT guy, I'm shaking my head. Why stop at the internet? Why not close up the border to all immigrants? Any of them could be secret Muslims! And of course, why stop with the Internet? Shut off international phone service! Cut off mail service, to and from the rest of the world!

His answer to things seems to always be, "let's use some kind of brute force power in reaction to our intuitions."

He's targeting an older, whiter, more male set of voters, and telling them exactly what they want to hear. Unfortunately, he's also telling people like ISIS what they want to hear.

What they want to hear is that we are so afraid of them, that we will reveal ourselves to be hypocrites and posers on the principles we claim make us better than them. When we torture, they say this proves we are no less medieval than them. When we express hatred and fear of Muslims, say none of them can be trusted, should be seen as good people, we confirm the view that we see them and their culture as enemies. Why ally with your enemies against ISIS, when it seems like they'll turn around and attack you?

It's mission creep of the worst kind if you're looking to take the fight to the terrorists themselves. Oh, we're not just going to make war with al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but with Iraq, too! Oh, we're not just going to talk about this in terms of making war with those who we've got the clear moral high-ground to attack, but are going to talk about spreading this attack to anybody who opposes us! We're going to treat people as subhuman, and get shocked when their reaction is to intensify an insurgency trying to kick us out!

We're going to take the actions of a few, and use it as a reason to bar everybody whos religion even relates to theirs. Make enemies of the many, reacting to the few, the radical.

And what about who we are? You can't define yourself strictly in opposition, because that not only robs you of your initiative, it robs you of your self-consistency. Why? Because human beings always have something in common. I reject communism, broadly speaking, but I do not reject people working together. I believe in people taking collective action through cooperation, as well as in competition. We have both sides in us, it makes no sense to deny one or the other.

What made Communism a bad system is that they let their belief in ther superiority of their philosophy, their ideas, run away with itself. They let their opposition, their bogeyman in capitalism, become the focus of how they constructed their lives, their government. Rather than simply moderate the evils of capitalism, they attempted to tear down every vestige of the system..

But even so, the world caused a sort of emergent, convergent evolution to take place. They had not thought out what to replace Capitalism with, or how to test their efforts to avoid fiascos and failures. So, they turned to authoritarian systems, systems which, despite best intentions, behaved much like those they replaced.

To be truly revolutionary in a truly positive way, we must embrace the difficulty in making things work, embrace the friction that takes place between our ideals and the real world, allowing the real world to tell us where our means are not living up to our ideals.

America has never fully lived up to its ideals. But we have the potential, each and every year to do more, to be more than those who came before us. That isn't to disparage their contribution, to declare them villains to be despised. That is to recognize that all improvements must have as their starting point a less ideal beginning.

Even though we separated from England, we kept many of the systems of common law, of precedent, of trial and judgment that they governed us by. We improved on what was already there. The Constitution itself is an improvement on the well-intentioned, but ultimately ill-fated beginnings of American government, largely forgotten by most Americans. The Articles of Confederation tried a looser, more libertarian arrangement than that the British had over the colonies. Ultimately, we moderated back towards a stronger government. However, we also moderated that with the Bill of Rights, and so things went, and have gone back and forth for centuries and decades since.

It is not some inherent spirit that separates us, makes us exceptional in the world, it is that we have learned better than other places how to live with differences that have destroyed many other republics and democracies.

One way we've done that is by avoiding religion as a matter of governing policies. You either sink or swim as a religion on your own. Government won't throw you a life preserver, nor will it grab your head and push it underwater. As such, Islam is just one of many religions that has sprung up here, and in fact lingered here for much of our history, often without much trouble. America has contained many religions peacefully within its borders that other nations have seen contend with each other in bitter civil strife.

The main reason? I think it's that here, there isn't a need to contend with the other religions to survive, nor any real point to trying to take over the government to improve their fortunes. If you are a Sunni, living next to a Shi'a here, there's no chance that the Sunni in question will get together with the others and outlaw or pass laws undermining your faith. It just can't be done.

Congress can't pass laws to forbid your worship. It can't pass laws to make your church the one that stands above the rest. It's a private affair which church is most popular, which religion, if any, gains favor.

I believe that does religion a huge favor. You don't have people sitting in the pews just because they'd get fined or harrassed for not being there. You just have the people who want to be there. You don't have government intruding on what theology you can practice, on questions like whether you take everything literally in the bible or not. I don't need to care about fundamentalists until they start trying to impose laws inspired by their faith, which I don't share, on me.

And that is the big mistake in indulging this anti-Muslim sentiment. Once you open this door, you start saying that if some religion, or more precisely, adherents of that religion, even if they're outside the mainstream, do something bad, the government can turn around and discriminate against them, infringe on their rights, in the name of the security of the state.

Consider: what if the government changes hands, and the people who take over take a dim view of Christianity? It could happen, these things have happened in France and other countries. What if somebody could interfere with your church based on its theology, investigate it, impose taxes on it, put legal pressure on its adherents, and block their immigration from other countries?

If you are too cowardly, if you react too unthinkingly to the threats in the world, you will end up opening doors to giving government power to interfere in your life that you would have rather remained closed. People need to have the courage to trust in the central notions of our framer's charter, that people are both capable of governing themselves, and capable of doing it without resorting to all the authoritarian controls over opinions, expressions, faiths, and philosophies that far too many governments in this world wield.

If you are truly American, you should operate from the principle that our government's primary focus should be on what people do, what laws they break, rather than whether they share a group with some never-do-wells people dislike. Neither the Muslims of the world, nor those of this nation of ours should be held accountable for ISIS. ISIS, and those who do in fact provide it suppport, should be the only ones held accountable. Everybody else isn't our enemy but rather a potential ally, or at worst, a person we can convince to let ISIS sink on its own terms, rather than help them.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at December 8, 2015 3:22 PM
Comments
Comment #401352

Sorry, but it’s hard to take this seriously when it comes from the party that calls for ignoring the “central notions of our framer’s charter,” and calls for “authoritarian controls” every time somebody doesn’t want to pay to provide something like birth control, or when some nut shoots up a place.

Posted by: kctim at December 10, 2015 1:04 PM
Comment #401360

Oh yes, how authoritarian. We ask for something as simple as barring people on the no-fly list from getting guns. You know, the people we think are terrorists.

Nope. Close the Gun Show loophole? Nope. Update the system so folks aren’t running over the border with the fifty rifles they bought for the cartel before we shut the door on them? Nope.

Oh, and that birth control thing. What are we asking them for, something new? No. They’ve had to cover birth control since folks started covering viagra. Only after Obamacare reduced the copay to zero did they sit up and take notice. What’s more, these people are demanding that two other third parties, the employee and the insurance company, adjust their choices to suit their religious beliefs.

All so these people can say that none of the money they’re paying to OTHER PEOPLE is going to paying for birth control measures they don’t like. They can’t even accept a rider paid for by the employee themselves.

That’s being authoritarian. The boss, I mean. An individual employee’s right to contraception should not depend on the theology of the employer.

You seem to want to stand up for those who have power over many, rather than for the many who the few have power over. Do you think bosses should dictate the votes of their employees? Do you think their health and safety rules should be vulnerable to the theological whims of the employer?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 10, 2015 6:23 PM
Comment #401364

Stephen

Sorry, can’t strip someone of their rights without due process. That’s the problem with the no fly list. If they are truly a danger they should be contacted, and investigated. Then either arrested and charged, or taken off the list. people put on the list are not notified or told the reason they’re on it. Sorry, to much room for abuse.

“That’s being authoritarian. The boss, I mean. An individual employee’s right to contraception should not depend on the theology of the employer.”

No one has a right to contraceptives. I suggest you learn the difference between a right and an entitlement. The boss can’t stop someone from using birth control. They can just refuse to pay for it. Don’t see a problem. Birth control is relatively inexpensive these days.

Posted by: dbs at December 11, 2015 5:00 AM
Comment #401368

Not even close, Stephen.

You’re not asking for anything, you are demanding that government impose laws inspired by your fears and beliefs, which I do not share, that infringe on my rights, in the name of the security of the state.

You’re not trying to close some ‘loophole’ that doesn’t even exist, you are demanding that government control the private transactions between individuals.
And don’t even try to pretend that you give a crap about folks running over our borders.

You aren’t asking people cover something, you are demanding that a private business provide it, and mandating that individuals pay for it against their will.

“An individual employee’s right to contraception should not depend on the theology of the employer.”

There is no right to have contraception provided to you, and it is a blatant lie to say that your employer can prevent you from getting it.

“You seem to want to stand up for those who have power over many, rather than for the many who the few have power over.”

Gee, that must be why I advocate so hard for government to dictate where and how people exercise their religious freedoms. For it to infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms. For it to take aggressive action against anyone who says the wrong thing. For it to mandate oppressive taxes to pay for the irresponsible.

For it to be ‘successful,’ liberalism is dependent on enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom, and you favor that.

Stop trying to project your own faults onto others. You are the one who needs “The Courage to Face the Light.”

Posted by: kctim at December 11, 2015 10:33 AM
Comment #401377

A lot of Americans like to imagine a strong America. But I am impressed by just how weak our country really is, and a good example of weakness is Donald Trump and his supporting conservatives. These same people imagine the US is exceptional, yet they routinely express fear. They imagine themselves members of an exceptional country, yet these same conservatives cheer Trump’s expressions of bigotry, hatred, misogyny, and racism. They are true No-Nothings. And when knowledge and science and economic statistics run counter to their cheerleading, they declare everything is a conspiracy, and once again DEMAND we be fearful.

Is the unemployment rate 5%, non-farm payrolls 211,000, and has the number of people working part time who want to work full time gone from @ 3% before the recession, to @ 6% in 2010, and now back down to under 4%? It’s a fix! The books are cooked! Don’t change the subject! Be afraid!

Is Obamacare a job-killer? NO? Never mind! Doesn’t matter! Repeal it! We have no idea of what we’ll replace it with! And above all, be afraid!

Should we ban all Muslims? Is it an idea ridiculous on its face? Should we ban Syrian refugees who are Muslims, but allow Christian ones entry? Doesn’t matter! Because conservatives are very, very afraid, and Donald Trump is there for them.

Are over 80 Americans killed everyday in gun violence? Should we allow people on the no-fly list to buy military assault weapons? Doesn’t matter! Be afraid! ISIS is coming to get us! Everybody buy guns! Cause… Muslims!

Posted by: phx8 at December 11, 2015 12:41 PM
Comment #401378

It amazes me the left can’t grasp the concept people being denied rights without due process being wrong, and cometely unconstitutional.pretty straight forward really.

Posted by: dbs at December 11, 2015 12:52 PM
Comment #401380

For it to take aggressive action against anyone who says the wrong thing.

Kctim, what are you talking about specifically. what has the federal government done that would be considered “aggressive action against anyone who says the wrong thing”?

Posted by: j2t2 at December 11, 2015 1:20 PM
Comment #401382

Oh I don’t know maybe using the IRS to go after conservative nonprofits.

Posted by: dbs at December 11, 2015 1:27 PM
Comment #401383

dbs,
“Oh I don’t know maybe using the IRS to go after conservative nonprofits.”

Fake scandal. Didn’t happen. No indictments, no trials, no convictions. Zero. Zip. Nada.

“… people being denied rights without due process…”

Not sure what this refers to. If it’s the 2nd amendment, the amendment says rights will not be infringed because the people are participating in a WELL-REGULATED militia. Key word: REGULATED. People on the no-fly list are presumably not planning on participating in a well-regulated militia, unless we grant ISIS status as a militia. If regulations determine there has been an error on the no-fly list, they should be clear to buy firearms. No harm, no foul.

Posted by: phx8 at December 11, 2015 1:50 PM
Comment #401387

The constitution does not grant rights. It acknowledges natural rights and forces the govt to protect them. If believe the fact that doj didn’t indict is proof that nothing happened, you’re delusional.

Posted by: dbs at December 11, 2015 2:02 PM
Comment #401388

phx8,
“Fake scandal. Didn’t happen.”

If you say so…Not even a smidgen of corruption

Posted by: Watcher at December 11, 2015 2:02 PM
Comment #401391

No indictments. No trials. No convictions.

Deal with it.

Lots of innuendo. Lots of fake scandals. Issa’s committee issued over 330 subpoenas, more than all his predecessors combined, and the result?

No indictments. Not trials. No convictions.

Not on Fast and Furious. Not on the IRS fake scandal. Not on Benghazi. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Get back to me when you have something concrete.

Stick with being afraid. It’s what you do best.

Posted by: phx8 at December 11, 2015 2:22 PM
Comment #401392

How about the guy that had his cash confiscated by the TSA because he had more than the TSA said he should have?

How about the old lady who had her house seized by police because a fleeing suspect discarded his contraband in it while trying to avoid being caught?

How about the victims killed in No-Knock police raids that target the wrong house?

How about getting shot 19 times for carrying a knife in the middle of the street?

phx8 has his head buried so far up the Democratic’s sand hole he can’t see the obvious destruction of the U.S. Constitution the rest of us see everyday.

Hey phx8,

Keyword: REGULATED

But then he goes on to repeat “Well Regulated” over and over. It’s Well Regulated, phx8, not “regulated out of existence”.


Posted by: Weary Willie at December 11, 2015 2:52 PM
Comment #401393

J2, I said advocating for government to take aggressive action against anyone who says the wrong thing.
A current example of that can be found in just about any search of the racist organization known as black lives matter.

Posted by: kctim at December 11, 2015 3:04 PM
Comment #401395

WW,
You cite several cases of police excesses which are clear violations of civil rights. You cite another case of a person carrying a large sum of cash without declaring it, in which case the person failing make the declaration (was it an international or national flight?) was in clear violation of the law.

What is your point? When the police are in violation of the law they should be prosecuted. That is hardly controversial.

Posted by: phx8 at December 11, 2015 3:19 PM
Comment #401396

Phx8,
So even though Lois Lerner ADMITTED the targeting took place, you still stand by the fact that it didn’t happen?
Fact #5 from my previous post: “On May 10, 2013, during a bar meeting, Ms. Lerner admits targeting, calling it “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.” Four days later, on May 14, 2013, the Inspector General issued a report confirming targeting.”
Particularly read facts 2, 5, and 19.
Funny how they lost all of the emails in this case, too.
Government employee emails are somehow pretty easy to lose. I know, just a coincidence. Nothing to see here. Nada, zip, zilch…

Posted by: Watcher at December 11, 2015 3:31 PM
Comment #401397

Was Lerner indicted? Tried? Convicted?

No.

“Funny how they lost all of the emails in this case, too.”

Bullshit. You don’t even know what you are talking about. Just another sucker following another fake scandal. This one has been dead for quite a while, but you’re still on the line, thrashing and flailing. Swallowed the hook, I guess.

Posted by: phx8 at December 11, 2015 3:56 PM
Comment #401398

Let me guess, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman weren’t murdered either, were they Phx8.

LOL!!!

Posted by: kctim at December 11, 2015 4:05 PM
Comment #401399

Phx8,
Who would have charged Lerner? Just curious.

Just to be clear, you are telling me this statement is a lie: “the IRS first says it lost Ms. Lerner’s emails from 2009 to 2011. The IRS says hard drives and backups are destroyed, for 6 other IRS employees’ too.”
Yes or no please, that statement is, in your words, “Bullshit.”

Posted by: Watcher at December 11, 2015 4:17 PM
Comment #401400

phx8, Lerner’s hard drive crashed, very convenient or Hillary scrubbing hers convenient to.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at December 11, 2015 4:19 PM
Comment #401401

You poor slobs, trying to resurrect a failed conspiracy theory from years ago. Sucks to be you.

No evidence of wrongdoing, just allegations, accusations, innuendo, but no proof. No indictments, not trials, no convictions. When you have something other than questions, let me know.

Go back to being afraid of ISIS, Ebola, and illegal immigrants. Cling to guns. Cling to religion. You’re much better at doing that. Concentrate on fear. And remember- it’s Obama’s fault! He’s a Muslim! Global Warming is a hoax! The economic numbers are a fraud!

Boo!

Posted by: phx8 at December 11, 2015 4:42 PM
Comment #401402

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“People that have trust issues only need to look in the mirror. There they will meet the one person that will betray them the most.”
“Feelings are something you have; not something you are.”
Shannon L. Alder

Posted by: Speak4all at December 11, 2015 4:45 PM
Comment #401403

For the record, I asked:

“Who would have charged Lerner? Just curious.

Just to be clear, you are telling me this statement is a lie: “the IRS first says it lost Ms. Lerner’s emails from 2009 to 2011. The IRS says hard drives and backups are destroyed, for 6 other IRS employees’ too.”
Yes or no please, that statement is, in your words, “Bullshit.””

You answered:

“You poor slobs, trying to resurrect a failed conspiracy theory from years ago. Sucks to be you.

No evidence of wrongdoing, just allegations, accusations, innuendo, but no proof. No indictments, not trials, no convictions. When you have something other than questions, let me know.

Go back to being afraid of ISIS, Ebola, and illegal immigrants. Cling to guns. Cling to religion. You’re much better at doing that. Concentrate on fear. And remember- it’s Obama’s fault! He’s a Muslim! Global Warming is a hoax! The economic numbers are a fraud!

Boo!”

Thank you for such direct answers to 2 (should be very easy) answers, one would think.

1. Who would have charged Lerner?
2. Is the statement a lie?

Posted by: Watcher at December 11, 2015 4:50 PM
Comment #401404

Also speaks, when you point a finger at someone 3 are pointing right back at you.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at December 11, 2015 4:50 PM
Comment #401405

dbs-
Maybe you’re right on the abuse thing. Even so, it seems odd to trust these people with the purchase of a weapon when we suspect them of being hostile to this country. It’s the Second Amendment evisioned as a suicide pact, the right extended even to the point where it threatens national security.

As for rights to contraceptives? I suggest you relearn the bill of rights, which says that the enumeration of the rights doesn’t disparage or deny other rights. We can very well give women the right to contraceptives without co-pays. The Constitution doesn’t say we can’t do it.

And no, they’re not refusing to pay for it, they’re even refusing the insurance company the right to pay for it, on the notion that some sort of secondhand guilt might manifest itself. They’re insisting that everybody else has to act in a way consistent with their morality, lest they feel guilty for being associated with it at all.

kctim-
I think we should at least know when a person on that list is trying to get a firearm. Is that reasonable?

You need to step back from the rhetoric. Rhetoric simplifies for the sake of force and persuasiveness. The thing is, we’ve required health coverage for full-time employees for some time. We’ve required they cover contraception since the rise of Viagra (ahem.) Only now are people on the right wing talking about government takeovers.

And for what? You say there’s no right to contraception, but the Ninth Amendment says that there can be rights that aren’t listed in the Constitution proper or the Amendments. We didn’t insist on contraception, though, just said that insurance companies must completely cover the cost of that, and other preventative measures.

The law can give people rights that didn’t exist before, and it can impose obligations that weren’t there before, like taxes, regulations, and prohibitions.

We don’t live in some magical land of complete freedom. Your rhetoric soars in the lands of fantasy.

Here’s the thing: We’re not talking about a church here. Churches naturally get exempted, because people recognize that within a religious organization, people have a right to refuse services that contradict their beliefs.

We’re talking about stores that sell arts and craft supplies. Hospitals which aren’t used for religious purposes, but which instead constitute secular enterprises, even if nonprofit. But people want an exception carved out for them, or worse, not just an exception, but the ability to force an insurance company to deny coverage that isn’t even directly sold to them. That is, the Insurance Company’s ability to do business with willing customers, to do something that is in line with the law as originally written, is interfered with, because that person happens to be the employee of somebody who has certain religious beliefs.

So face that, damn it. Stop pretending that you’re some pure champion of liberty. Stop pretending that everybody else is out to get you, some maniacally laughing, goose-stepping, mustache twirling villain. Stop arguing politics like a third grader, with good guys and bad guys.

Recognize this: our liberties must be balanced against one another. That Hobby Lobby decision basically says that if I were some young woman from the North who followed Wiccan beliefs, or one of the more liberal churches that don’t frown upon birth control, I could not ask the insurance company that handles my insurance with that company to sell me a rider, for which I would pay with my own money, to get what I was entitled to under the law.

And why, because suddenly, magically, I agree with my employer? No, because suddenly, magically, the employer can object to my buying something from a company that they give money to, on the grounds that their money might, by second hand and association, come around and pay for birth control. My rights are being disrupted to preserve them from a shadow of responsibility for my actions, even though I’m the one taking them, I’m the one buying the service, and the insurance company didn’t ask me to pay for it myself.

If I buy a cake from somebody, should I be entitled to determine what everybody else’s cake is like, lest their cakes offend me? If I watch movies on Netflix, can I sensor other people’s watch-lists or disc cues, on the grounds that the money I pay them might go to pay for content I don’t like?

How the hell do you think this is appropriate, given your libertarian bent?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 11, 2015 5:31 PM
Comment #401406

dbs-
Natural rights are a philosophical construct. You would need to believe in that philosophy for them to apply. Other people believe there are no natural rights, only rights agreed to by social contract, or imposed by forces of arms.

Whatever your beliefs or thoughts, the constitution puts that contract, that covenant in writing, and as such, makes the philosophical underpinnings a largely academic matter.

Rather than having the authority of government come from some supremely mutable debate, the Constitution tells us what the government can and cannot do, what rights and freedoms people have, and so on and so forth. We can argue about that, but at least we have a legally binding agreement.

Unfortunately, that agreement is only as strong as the willingness of people to agree with it, and sometimes I think your people, for all your boasting and posturing, don’t really know the agreement all that well, or follow it that well. Your notions of government are often primitive, founded in force and conflict rather than cooperation and consensus.

If you want to accuse people of crimes, it matters that the investigators couldn’t find enough on them to pursue a case. You might dream up any number of reasons, partisan or otherwise why it didn’t go, or perhaps you could consider that your own, distant appreciation of the situation missed critical details that would serve to exonerate people of the crimes you claim they committed.

It is precisely because people can be so pig-headedly stubborn about seeing offenses where none exist that the framers put in due process and all that other stuff.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 11, 2015 5:40 PM
Comment #401407

As for Lerner and her hard drive?

I work in IT. Standard practice is to save and backup your stuff off the hard drive. Doesn’t always happen. Hard drives crash. Computer get infected with malware, in which case they often tend to get wiped.

Also, we do destroy information on hard drives, if not the hard drives themselves when we decommission computers, because customer information is often on those things. In the IRS’s case, their customers are literally ALL THE TAXPAYERS in the country.

So, not bullshit. Plus, data retention costs money. Money that Conservatives love to deprive the IRS of. If they’re behind on updating servers and refreshing computers, hard drives will begin to fail all the time, as they are mechanical devices, and those wear out, or develop errors.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 11, 2015 5:46 PM
Comment #401408

Yea Stephen we know stuff is backed up, but when asked for the stuff it’s funny nobody can find the backed up stuff or it gets mysteriously deleted. As far as depriving money seems to me one family could put a curb on their vacations that are costing the taxpayers millions.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at December 11, 2015 5:59 PM
Comment #401409

Stephen

“As for rights to contraceptives? I suggest you relearn the bill of rights, which says that the enumeration of the rights doesn’t disparage or deny other rights. We can very well give women the right to contraceptives without co-pays. The Constitution doesn’t say we can’t do it.”

That would be an entitlement, not a right.

Posted by: dbs at December 11, 2015 6:00 PM
Comment #401410

I don’t think liberals know the difference between a right and entitlement, dbs.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at December 11, 2015 6:09 PM
Comment #401413

Republicans don’t know the difference either.

Posted by: Warren Porter at December 11, 2015 7:51 PM
Comment #401414

Stephen Daugherty’s first of three latest comments makes that perfectly clear.

phx8, police seizing property without due process is standard operating procedure. It caught on rapidly when the police found out they can keep the proceeds of those seizures.

The guy was traveling from Illinois to Georgia, I believe. He had 7000$, 1000 over the limit set by the TSA. Why they think they can set a limit on how much money a person can have on their person is beyond me. They claimed the guy was dealing drugs and it was drug money, but he wasn’t charged, they found no drugs. They kept his money. He never got it back.

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 11, 2015 7:59 PM
Comment #401416

Warren Porter, didn’t we have this discussion before?

We don’t have a right to an attorney. We have a right to a fair trial.

Was that you?
I think in the end, you admitted there is no right to an attorney, that an attorney being provided was a social contract made by the citizens of the community.

In that case, It was you who didn’t know what was a right and what was an entitlement.


Posted by: Weary Willie at December 11, 2015 8:02 PM
Comment #401417

That the best you could do, Warped?

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at December 11, 2015 8:04 PM
Comment #401419

“We don’t have a right to an attorney. We have a right to a fair trial.”

Please! Have you read the 6th Amendment? “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State …….and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”

Posted by: Rich at December 11, 2015 8:51 PM
Comment #401422

Where does it say the government must pay for it?

He has a right to have someone speak in his defense. He doesn’t have the right to force someone to speak for him.

I’m adding you, Rich, to the side that doesn’t know the difference between a right and an entitlement.

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 12, 2015 2:13 AM
Comment #401423

In the cases Weary mentions it is the money that has been confiscated that is on trial. Not the person with the money. It is a civil trial not a criminal trial. It costs 30K to get your money back. This has been going on for years at the state and local level. In fact some counties pay cops just to patrol for out of state tags and pull them over, grab the drug dog and search for money. They, the local authorities, get to keep the biggest share of the money.

phx8 has his head buried so far up the Democratic’s sand hole he can’t see the obvious destruction of the U.S. Constitution the rest of us see everyday.

Weary I would suggest you and most conservatives have their heads buried up the same a** they accuse others of. These attacks on the Constitution have been going on for 40 years, Reagan and GWHB started these with the escalation of the drug wars, and not one conservative has done squat to stop any of it. Instead they spend their hours on the failed conspiracies mentioned in this thread. Not one conservative president, not one conservative representative in the HoR not one Conservative Senator has done squat yet they set in these witch hunts and cannot even bring charges on …well on anything. Mean while people are losing money every day. Yet you want to make it sound as if it is the dems sand hole that is the problem, how foolish is that?

Posted by: j2t2 at December 12, 2015 2:59 AM
Comment #401426

I never said it was the money that was on trial.

Where do you get that? Since when did money commit a crime, j2t2?


Posted by: Weary Willie at December 12, 2015 4:00 AM
Comment #401427

j2t2, is what you’re describing normal to you? Do you really think it is normal to have to pay 30,000 dollars to correct a government’s abuse?

It is a civil trial not a criminal trial. It costs 30K to get your money back.

I don’t know how to respond to this.

I only hope I never experience having j2t2’s gestapo coming to my home. I hope having the experience I described becomes a crime, not the norm.

j2t2 thinks it is the norm. I think it is a crime. j2t2 thinks it is a crime. It wouldn’t be a crime to carry 7000$ from Illinois to Georgia if j2t2 and the TSA didn’t say it was! It wouldn’t be a crime if j2t2 didn’t support the TSA.

Why was this student’s tuition confiscated, j2t2?

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 12, 2015 4:23 AM
Comment #401428

How would you feel, j2t2, if your Dad gave you 7000$ on your 18th birthday, and you were walking home, and a cop stopped you and took that 7000$?

The cop thought 7000$ on your person was an excessive amount of money to have on your body while walking home, so he took it from you.

He told you to talk to the judge while he put it in his pocket.

What would you do?

What could you do, j2t2?

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 12, 2015 4:58 AM
Comment #401429

These attacks on the Constitution have been going on for 40 years

Why do you forget the Democratic party has been a major factor in this?

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 12, 2015 5:02 AM
Comment #401430

not one conservative has done squat to stop any of it.

This is a lie. A bald face lie.

How dare you say this!

This is how Democratics win arguments. They lie!

Why should we listen to liars like you, j2t2?

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 12, 2015 5:07 AM
Comment #401431

Weary,

Come on! The right to counsel in criminal prosecutions is clearly a Constitutional right. The Supreme Court has held that the right to counsel applies to state criminal prosecutions through the 14th Amendment.

The Supreme Court has also held that the Constitutional right to counsel requires the government to provide effective assistance of counsel in cases where the defendant is indigent and cannot afford counsel. The mandatory nature of the requirement to fund counsel for indigents follows from the fact that assistance of counsel is a right not an arbitrary decision of government or entitlement in your words.

Posted by: Rich at December 12, 2015 7:08 AM
Comment #401432
I never said it was the money that was on trial.

I know Weary that is why I did it for you.

Where do you get that?

Where do you think, it is the fact of the matter so it certainly didn’t come from the conservative media.

Since when did money commit a crime, j2t2?

Once again a civil issue not a criminal issue, so the money is the issue and it is suspicious.

I don’t know how to respond to this.

I’m not surprised Weary so I would suggest you look it up and see for yourself.

I only hope I never experience having j2t2’s gestapo coming to my home.

It isn’t my gestapo Weary it is the get tough on crime conservatives who championed this gestapo.

http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Forfeiture#sthash.e4dZ2wxm.dpbs

I suggest 25 through 29 on the link for your perusal Weary

I hope having the experience I described becomes a crime, not the norm.

Weary, as you review the provided link I suggest you think about unintended consequences and the constant drumbeat of conservatives, the lower taxes chant, the demand by conservatives of cutting taxes have IMHO forced law enforcement to just steal from the citizenry.

How would you feel, j2t2, if your Dad gave you 7000$ on your 18th birthday, and you were walking home, and a cop stopped you and took that 7000$?

Weary once again I am not in favor of this theft by police. But I am surprised you would suggest I am as I have railed against this for years. I would also ask you to think about another scenario a more likely scenario IMHO. How about you are on your way to but a car from a Craigslist or Ebay source, where cash is king, and you get pulled over by a state police equipped with a dog that can smell drugs and money? The dog acts out at your front fender, gets his treat, and the police tell you this means the dog has smelled drugs or money and they have probable cause to search your vehicle. They find your money and the money is confiscated. That is the reality of cash in your pocket today in conservative America.

Another reality, try driving the interstates with Colorado tags Weary. These cops just love that, seeings as pot is legal in Colo, and pull you over and search your vehicle.

This is a lie. A bald face lie.

Is that so Weary, well the prof is in the pudding show me where conservatives in the HoR, the Senate, at any level state local or federal, has done anything to stop this type of confiscation.

Why should we listen to liars like you, j2t2?

Because then Weary you can gather the facts for yourself, you have been pointed in the right direction now go and look it up. Show me what I have said that is a lie and link to a reputable source. Or upon finding that I haven’t lied apologize for claiming I have.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 12, 2015 12:44 PM
Comment #401433

Weary, the short version of what Ihave been saying in this thread, for your perusal.

https://www.aclu.org/issues/criminal-law-reform/reforming-police-practices/asset-forfeiture-abuse

Posted by: j2t2 at December 12, 2015 12:56 PM
Comment #401434

Better yet Weary in lieu of an apology why not a donation to the ACLU so they can continue to fight this scourge upon our nation?

Posted by: j2t2 at December 12, 2015 1:07 PM
Comment #401436

I’ll go with the apology, j2t2. I went out of bounds.

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 12, 2015 2:50 PM
Comment #401438

Weary, no problem, apology accepted. I even got a warm and fuzzy feeling for a few moments as I think we agree on the issue. But it is bigger than just us, many conservative, libertarians, liberals, progressives and centrist agree on the issue. Yet our leaders keep us fighting over God, Guns, Gays, Greed and the faux scandals of the Issa era.

Even the Koch Bros have been supporting the ACLU, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Center for American Progress, and Families against mandatory minimums as they fight to stop the “overcriminalization” of Americans and the Civil Asset Forfeiture laws that IMHO violate the rights of all of us.

In Congress we see no movement towards revising the CAF laws. Obama’s DoJ made a recent token change to the laws but with so many states having their own CAF laws it made little difference. The conservative state legislatures have made no effort to reign in the abuses allowed by the CAF laws of their states. I don’t know of any conservative groups that fight these laws yet you and I am sure many other conservatives are against these laws. Time to force our leaders to summon up the “courage to face the light”.

The groups I mentioned earlier the NACDL, the ACLU, FAMM, and the CFAP tend to be liberal or progressive so to have the Koch Bros involved is a good sign. Time for other conservatives to get on board and make the criminal justice system and civil asset forfeiture an election issue at the Federal, State and local levels.

Posted by: j2t2 at December 12, 2015 3:54 PM
Comment #401470

Rich KAPitan-
What’s mysterious to me is that people powerful enough to make the information disappear like you say didn’t get the other information that made her look bad.

One reason I am always skeptical of the Conspiracy Theories out there, is that the critical information is always somewhere else. You might think that you’re just “raising questions,” but hidden in those questions are accusations you’re not even bothering to provide evidence are even plausible.

As for the first family putting a curb on their vacations?

Let’s be blunt here: you’re at it again. You’re assuming, for one thing, that Obama takes a whole lot of vacations. Compared to Bush, or even Clinton, he doesn’t. He’s a fairly hard worker. Plus, the taxpayers pay millions for his security, for him hosting foreign heads of states, etc. Nothing a President does these days is cheap. The folks we’re really wasting money on are the Republicans in Congress, who work two days a week when their predecessors worked five, and who regularly cut things short even when they got critical matters before them. There’s a difference between skepticism about the utility of government, and contempt for doing your job when its your job to govern.

dbs-
Merriam Webster defines “Right,” among other ways as:

: something to which one has a just claim: the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled

And “Entitlement?”

a : the state or condition of being entitled : right

b : a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract

I think you’ll find this pattern elsewhere. I know you have this certain connotation to the word “entitlement,” as opposed to “right,” but it’s not a useful distinction in legal reality. If the law says that after paying into Social Security for X number of years, and reaching such and such an age, I can get Y dollars per year for the rest of my life, that is entitlement, but you can also say it’s my right.

It doesn’t mean much in casual language. If I say I am entitled to travel anywhere in my country without having to submit paper work at each state border I cross, or change of county for that matter, that’s no different than saying I have a right to travel freely within my country. If I say I am entitled to have my say in the public forum, it’s no different than saying I have a right to free speech. If I say I am entitled to worship as I please, and nobody is entitled to government support for their faith, that is no different than saying what the framers said with the Free Exercise or Establishment clauses in the Constitution.

Just to be clear on this, the Framers deliberately wrote the Constitution in plain language, and the Bill of Rights as well. Entitled to, have a right to; they’re synonyms. The only difference is that you’ve been conditioned to see entitlements as illegitimate rights. Well, you have the right to consider anything you like illegitimate, even the Constitution itself. But as far as the law is concerned, what people are entitled to, and what they have rights to, are the same thing.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 15, 2015 11:45 AM
Comment #401471

Stephen, Hillary said “NO CLASSIFIED MATERIAL ON HER PRIVATE SERVER” 1000 have been found on her private server. Lerner had her hard drive mysteriously crash and you say lack of funds to up grade. You may have IT experience but your excuses are juvenile. Yet e-mails have been found from Lerner. I know you are in love with Obama but his vacations and especially his wife’s have cost the Tax payers big time, even you can admit to that.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at December 15, 2015 12:05 PM
Comment #401472

KAP,
Seriously? You are still stuck on this fake conspiracy? At the time the e-mails were sent, none of them were classified. They have been retroactively classified because of ensuing developments over the years. Hillary did nothing wrong. Nothing. The Benghazi Committee came after her on live tv and failed miserably in front of a nationwide audience.

Weren’t you the one who believed someone had issued a ‘stand down’ order to prevent the military from coming to the aid of the besieged compound? Don’t all those fake scandals ever get you down? All those accusations, all those terrible aspersions cast upon people’s characters, and yet, somehow, nothing ever happens. No indictments, no trials, no convictions. Just move on to the next fake scandal. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Lerner’s computer crashed. At the time, the IRS followed standard procedures. There was no reason to do otherwise; remember, there was no investigation into a fake scandal at the time. Since then, the e-mails have been recovered. The result? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. No indictments, no trials, no convictions.

In the meantime, Issa’s committee set an all-time record for issuing subpoenas. The result of all those subpoenas? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. No indictments, no trials, no convictions.

Posted by: phx8 at December 15, 2015 1:30 PM
Comment #401473

“The only difference is that you’ve been conditioned to see entitlements as illegitimate rights.”

To be fair, KAP is simply making a distinction between immutable rights as set forth in the Constitution and discretionary rights or “entitlements” established by Congress under its powers granted by the Constitution. There is not practical difference except that Congress can take away those discretionary rights as easily as it can establish them, e.g., Social Security.

It should also be noted that even the rights explicitly or implicitly established under the Constitution can be changed, eliminated or increased by an amendment process.

This is all pretty basic stuff. However, it appears that there is occasional confusion. The culprit appears to be the use of the term “entitlement.” It simply means that a person who meets certain criteria established under law has a legally enforceable right or “entitlement” to receive designated benefits. There is no discretion based on budgetary concerns, etc. However, Congress can amend the criteria for receipt of “entitlements” and indirectly control outlays in that manner.

Posted by: Rich at December 15, 2015 7:06 PM
Comment #401474

Rich, I didn’t write that.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at December 15, 2015 8:02 PM
Comment #401475

I understand that KAP. Just backing up your distinction between Constitutional rights and legislative determined rights.

Posted by: Rich at December 15, 2015 8:30 PM
Comment #401476

The problems are that entitlements come at the expense of actual rights and the amendment process is ignored.

Posted by: kctim at December 16, 2015 12:15 PM
Comment #401488

Rich-
KAP is doing more than that. He’s essentially missing one of the ten amendments in the Bill of Rights specifically meant as a response to those who would claim that only rights spelled out in the Constitution are real or good.

I think if you’re going to say that your people are the best judges of what the Constitution says, you should familiarize yourself with the document to the point where you’re not caught forgetting important principles.

kctim-
What do you mean “actual rights?” That’s a very vague phrase, and I’d like to know how many of these “actual rights” are just your philosophical, individual preferences.

So long as the exercise of government power is supported by the Constitution, and the courts because of that, the actual rights are what the law says they are, plus the rights reserved after that.

As for the amendment process being ignored?

Look, I believe if you’re going to take a conservative position about the Constitution, you really shouldn’t be advocating endless revision to keep up with the world. It’s like programing a computer: the simplest foundations to a program tend to work the best. It’s a lot easier to whittle down the complexity of statutory law than it is to untangle the effects of new amendments to the Constitution.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 18, 2015 1:48 PM
Comment #401495

“So long as the exercise of government power is supported by the Constitution, and the courts because of that, the actual rights are what the law says they are, plus the rights reserved after that.”

So very Goofy, comparing constitutional rights endowed by our Creator with laws.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 18, 2015 4:56 PM
Comment #401497

Aren’t Democratics the ones who are calling it a “living document”?


Posted by: Weary Willie at December 18, 2015 5:06 PM
Comment #401498

Now he’s blaming conservatives for doing what Democratics have been doing for 100 years.

Make up your mind, Stephen Daugherty.

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 18, 2015 5:07 PM
Comment #401499
It’s like programing a computer: the simplest foundations to a program tend to work the best. It’s a lot easier to whittle down the complexity of statutory law than it is to untangle the effects of new amendments to the Constitution.
Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 18, 2015 1:48 PM

Sounds like we should welcome Stephen Daugherty to the conservative fold!

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 18, 2015 5:09 PM
Comment #401500

Stephen, our founders wrote the source code and I am the one ‘advocating’ for us to use it as it was meant to be used. Why? Because it is the ‘simplest foundation’ and they do tend to work best.

You are the one promoting ‘endless revisions,’ not me. Unfortunately, you are one of those programmers who would rather add code upon code to attain your desired results, rather than take the time and do it right by addressing the source.

The worst part though, is that after decades of adding your own personal code, you are now trying to pass it off as the source.

Posted by: kctim at December 18, 2015 5:16 PM
Comment #401502

And which amendment would that be Stephen?

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at December 18, 2015 5:42 PM
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