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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

You're A Grand, Old Blog

Congress tackled the biggest issue of all facing our new nation on June 14, 1777:

Resolved, That the flag of the ∥thirteen∥ United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.

And on June 14, 2003, I started tackling the biggest issues of our time via my powerful blog.  There are many, many excellent reasons to support DM Industries at the Bog Road Compound.  Actually, there aren't, but if it works for Lord Dampnut, why not for me?

Anyhoo, if you'd like to do something financially, Paypal is fast and easy (snail mail addresses can be requested at ntoddp@gmail.com). 

So it's been 14 years on this June 14th.  Why not contribute 14 dollars?  Or 13 bitcoins for the 13 stars on Flag Day?  Or 614 Euros for today's date?  1990 for all the oxen we're gonna lose on our way West?  LOL.  Ahem.

ntodd

* 14th Blegiversary: wanna help feed our oxen? *

June 14, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, June 12, 2017

One Pill Makes You Traitor, And One Pill Makes You Trump

On June 12, 1775, General Gage declared martial law in a certain unruly colony:

The authors of the present unnatural revolt, never daring to trust their cause or their actions to the judgment of an impartial publick, or even to the dispassionate reflection of their followers, have uniformly placed their chief confidence in the suppression of truth...not only from the flagitious prints, but from the popular harangues of the times, men have been taught to depend upon activity in treason, for the security of their persons and properties...

In this exigency of complicated calamities, I avail myself of the last effort within the bounds of my duty, to spare the effusion of blood; to offer, and I do hereby, in His Majesty' s name, offer and promise his most gracious pardon to all persons who shall forthwith lay down their arms, and return to their duties of peaceable subjects, excepting only from the benefit of such pardon, Samuel Adams and John Hancock, whose offences are of too flagitious a nature to admit of any other consideration than that of condign punishment. 

He didn't come right out and say it, but it seems clear that Adams and Hancock, called out specifically by name, were to be arrested and transported to England to be tried for treason.  As early as 1773, for example, a representative met with Adams to bribe and threaten him:

[H]e was authorized from governor Gage to assure him, that he had been empowered to confer upon him such benefits as would be satis-factory, upon the condition, that he would engage to cease in his opposition to the measures of government. He also observed, that it was the advice of governor Gage to him, not to incur the further displeasure of his majesty ; that his conduct had been such as made him liable to the penalties of an act of Henry VIII. by which persons could be sent to England for trial of treason, or misprision of treason, at the discretion of a governor of a province ; but by changing his political course, he would not only receive great perso- nal advantages, but would thereby make his peace with the king.

By early 1775, Lord Dartmouth was exhorting Gage:

[T]he essential step to be taken toward reestablishing government would be to arrest and imprison the principle actors and abettors in the Provincial Congress (whose proceedings appear in every light to be acts of treason and rebellion)...

And:

As the 5th of March drew near, several British officers were heard to declare that any one who should dare to address the people in the Old South Church [at the annual remembrance of the Boston Massacre] would surely lose his life. As soon as he heard of these threats, Joseph Warren solicited for himself the dangerous honour...
The boldness of Adams and Hancock in attending this meeting was hardly less admirable than that of Warren in delivering the address. It was no secret that Gage had been instructed to watch his opportunity to arrest Samuel Adams and "his willing and ready tool," that "terrible desperado," John Hancock, and send them over to England to be tried for treason. Here was an excellent opportunity for seizing all the patriot leaders at once; and the meeting itself, moreover, was a town meeting, such as Gage had come to Boston expressly to put down.

Having received his orders (which rebels had apparently learned of before), Gage prepared to march on Lexington and Concord, but:

His written orders for the expedition said nothing about seizing Whig leaders, despite explicit instructions from London for their apprehension.

Regardless, after actual hostilities erupted, Gage seemed more than comfortable singling out Adams and Hancock as traitors.  And his King followed suit later in the summer:

[W]e do accordingly strictly charge and command all our Officers, as well civil as military, and all others our obedient and loyal subjects, to use their utmost endeavours to withstand and suppress such rebellion, and to disclose and make known all treasons and traitorous conspiracies which they shall know to be against us, our crown and dignity...

Before being officially branded as rebels, Congress had tried to offer one last ditch olive branch, and even afterward still were less inclined toward becoming independent than trying to avoid the "calamaties [of] civil war."  But it's hard to put the genie back in its bottle when you declare people guilty of treason, and sure enough, 364 days after Gage put his foot down, the traitors named a committee to begin work on declaring themselves free and independent.

Then Putin's hackers got in the game...

ntodd

* 14th Blegiversary: wanna help feed our oxen? *

June 12, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Worse Than Whitewatergate

I've told you people before, my first political memory is Nixon's waving just before boarding Marine One for the last time.  Sam's won't be Lord Dampnut's doing the same, but one hopes it'll be a close second.  His first will be that dark morning after election day, a play in one act:

Sam to Principal Dodge: Donald Trump won the election last night.  We're all gonna die.

Principal Dodge to Sam: Let's go sit down and talk a bit, Sam.

ANNNNNND.....scene!

ntodd

* 14th Blegiversary: wanna help feed our oxen? *

June 11, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Thomas Jefferson Stole A Lot From Himself, Too

As I've noted in the past--like when I first blogged this post years ago--one could call this Conception Day for our Bill of Rights (everything else in the state ratifying conventions was just a glimmer in George Washington's eye).  James Madison ultimately introduced his proposals based on Virginia's suggestions to the House.  But he was given the blow off before he could started by several other Representatives with varying levels of disdain for the idea of amending the Constitution (some were for it, but not so early):

Smith
Jackson
Goodhue
Burke 
[Madison gets a word in]
Sherman
White
Smith
[Page is fairly supportive]
Vining 

He soldiered on, though:

I am sorry to be accessary to the loss of a single moment of time by the House. If I had been indulged in my motion, and we had gone into a Committee of the whole, I think we might have rose and resumed the consideration of other business before this time; that is, so far as it depended upon what I proposed to bring forward. As that mode seems not to give satisfaction, I will withdraw the motion, and move you, sir, that a select committee be appointed to consider and report such amendments as are proper for Congress to propose to the Legislatures of the several States, conformably to the fifth article of the constitution.

I will state my reasons why I think it proper to propose amendments, and state the amendments themselves, so far as I think they ought to be proposed. If I thought I could fulfil the duty which I owe to myself and my constituents, to let the subject pass over in silence, I most certainly should not trespass upon the indulgence of this House. But I cannot do this, and am therefore compelled to beg a patient hearing to what I have to lay before you. And I do most sincerely believe, that if Congress will devote but one day to this subject, so far as to satisfy the public that we do not disregard their wishes, it will have a salutary influence on the public councils, and prepare the way for a favorable reception of our future measures. It appears to me that this House is bound by every motive of prudence, not to let the first session pass over without proposing to the State Legislatures some things to be incorporated into the constitution, that will render it as acceptable to the whole people of the United States, as it has been found acceptable to a majority of them

The Father of the Constitution laid out what ultimately became 17 articles of amendment in the House, boiled down further to 12 articles by the Senate, and eventually after a bit more back and forth haggling, agreed to in September.

Before they got to that point, Congress debated everything about the proposal, including whether they should be talking about amending the Constitution at all.

Should the Preamble be altered?

Mr. Page thought the preamble no part of the constitution; but if it was, it stood in no need of amendment; the words "We the people," had the neatness and simplicity, while its expression was the most forcible of any he had ever seen prefixed to any constitution. He did not doubt the truth of the proposition brought forward by the committee, but he doubted its necessity in this place.

Mr. Madison.--If it be a truth, and so self-evident that it cannot be denied; if it be recognised, as is the fact in many of the State constitutions; and if it be desired by three important States, to be added to this, I think they must collectively offer a strong inducement to the mind desirous of promoting harmony, to acquiesce with the report; at least, some strong arguments should be brought forward to show the reason why it is improper.

My worthy colleague says, the original expression is neat and simple; that loading it with more words may destroy the beauty of the sentence; and others say it is unnecessary, as the paragraph is complete without it. Be it so, in their opinion; yet, still it appears important in the estimation of three States, that this solemn truth should be inserted in the constitution. For my part, sir, I do not think the association of ideas anywise unnatural; it reads very well in this place; so much so, that I think gentlemen, who admit it should come in somewhere, will be puzzled to find a better place.

Should the amendments be interwoven into the Constitution?

The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, Mr. BOUDINOT in the Chair, and took the amendments under consideration. The first article ran thus: "In the introductory paragraph of the Constitution, before the words 'We the people,' add 'Government being intended for the benefit of the people, and the rightful establishment therof being derived from their authority alone.'"

Mr. Sherman.—I believe, Mr. Chairman, this is not the proper mode of amending the Constitution. We ought not to interweave our propositions into the work itself, because it will be destructive of the whole fabric. We might as well endeavor to mix brass, iron, and clay, as to incorporate such heterogeneous articles, the one contradictory to the other. Its absurdity will be discovered by comparing it with a law. 

Would any Legislature endeavor to introduce into a former act a subsequent amendment, and let them stand so connected? When an alteration is made in an act, it is done by way of supplement; the latter act always repealing the former in every specified case of difference.
...
Mr. Madison.—Form, sir, is always of less importance than the substance; but on this occasion I admit that form is of some consequence, and it will be well for the House to pursue that which, upon reflection, shall appear to be the most eligible. Now it appears to me, that there is a neatness and propriety in incorporating the amendments into the Constitution itself; in that case, the system will remain uniform and entire; it will certainly be more simple when the amendments are interwoven into those parts to which they naturally belong, than it will if they consist of separate and distinct parts. We shall then be able to determine its meaning without references or comparison; whereas, if they are supplementary, its meaning can only be ascertained by a comparison of the two instruments, which will be a very considerable embarrassment. 

It will be difficult to ascertain to what parts of the instrument the amendments particularly refer; they will create unfavorable comparisons; whereas, if they are placed upon the footing here proposed, they will stand upon as good foundation as the original work. Nor is it so uncommon a thing as gentlemen suppose; systematic men frequently take up the whole law, and, with its amendments and alterations, reduce it into one act. I am not, however, very solicitous about the form, provided the business is but well completed. 

And so on.  This is one reason why I'm always amused by people who claim to know how "The Framers" thought, when they themselves squabbled over so much from the very start.  We have the end result of compromise and a lot of dissent--acting as though any particular person(s) back then spoke for the Truth of our Constitution is disingenuous and counterproductive.

ntodd

PS--Donald Trump might want to study up on what became the Fifth Amendment.

June 8, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, June 02, 2017

This Is Intolerable

June 2, 1774:

WHEREAS doubts have been entertained, whether troops can be quartered otherwise than in barracks, in case barracks have been provided sufficient for the quartering of all officers and soldiers within any town, township, city, district, or place, within his Majesty’s dominions in North America: And whereas it may frequently happen, from the situation of such barracks, that, if troops should be quartered therein, they would not be stationed where their presence may be necessary and required: be it therefore enacted by the King’s most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That, in such cases, it shall and may be lawful for the persons who now are, or may be hereafter, authorised be law, in any of the provinces within his MajestyÂ’s dominions in North America, and they are hereby respectively authorised, impowered, and directed, on the requisition of the officer who, for the time being, has the command of his MajestyÂ’s forces in North America, to cause any officers or soldiers in his Majesty’s service to be quartered and billetted in such manner as is now directed by law, where no barracks are provided by the colonies.

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if it shall happen at any time that any officers or soldiers in his Majesty’s service shall remain within any of the said colonies without quarters, for the space of twenty-four hours after such quarters shall have been demanded, it shall and may be lawful for the governor of the province to order and direct such and so many uninhabited houses, out-houses, barns, or other buildings, as he shall think necessary to be taken, (making a reasonable allowance for the same), and make fit for the reception of such officers and soldiers, and to put and quarter such officers and soldiers therein, for such time as he shall think proper.

Thankfully, we still have a Third Amendment, because the Colonials hated that shit...

ntodd

June 2, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, June 01, 2017

Traitors In Our Midst

In the present case, a sense of duty and a regard to candor oblige [the Commander-in-Chief] to declare that he considers [Major General Arnold's conduct] as imprudent and improper.

 -  George Washington, April 6, 1780

So it begins:

PROCEEDINGS OF A GENERAL COURT MARTIAL OF THE LINE, HELD AT RARITAN, IN THE STATE OF NEW-JERSEY, BY ORDER OF HIS EXCELLENCY GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq General and Commander in Chief OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, FOR THE TRIAL OF MAJOR GENERAL ARNOLD, JUNE 1, 1779.

Major General HOWE, President.

PUBLISHED BY ORDER OF CONGRESS.

THE court having met, the judge advocate produced his excellency the commander in chief's order, dated May 29, 1779; which being read, is as follows:

Head-Quarters, Middletown, May 29, 1779.

A GENERAL court martial of the line is to be held on Tuesday next, the first of June, at the usual place, for the trial of major general Arnold, as directed by a resolution of the honorable the congress, passed the third of April, 1779.

Major general HOWE, PRESIDENT.

Brigadiers general Smallwood, Knox, Woodford and Irvine, colonels Wood, Harrison, Hall, Gunby, Moylan and Butler; lieutenant colonels Popkins, Simms and Harmar, members.

Before the court was sworn, major general Arnold peremptorily objected to brigadier general Irvine, colonel Butler and lieutenant colonel Harmar, which objection was allowed by the court The president and members then adjourned the court until to-morrow ten o'clock.

Tomorrow would be...December 23, 1779.  Arnold was aqcuitted of everything 'cept a couple minor charges, then went on to betray his country.  Treason!  Whiskey!  Covfefe!

ntodd

June 1, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, May 29, 2017

The Perverse Sister

Rogue Island, who didn't send a delegation to Philadelphia, finally got on board with Lord Dampnut's least favorite document:

Under these impressions, and declaring, that the rights aforesaid cannot be abridged or violated, and that the explanations aforesaid, are consistent with the said constitution, and in confidence that the amendments hereafter mentioned, will receive an early and mature consideration, and conformably to the fifth article of said constitution, speedily become a part thereof; We the said delegates, in the name, and in the behalf of the People, of the State of Rhode-Island and Providence-Plantations, do by these Presents, assent to, and ratify the said Constitution. In full confidence nevertheless, that until the amendments hereafter proposed and undermentioned shall be agreed to and ratified, pursuant to the aforesaid fifth article, the militia of this State will not be continued in service out of this State for a longer term than six weeks, without the consent of the legislature thereof; That the Congress will not make or alter any regulation in this State, respecting the times, places and manner of holding elections for senators or representatives, unless the legislature of this state shall neglect, or refuse to make laws or regulations for the purpose, or from any circumstance be incapable of making the same; and that n those cases, such power will only be exercised, until the legislature of this State shall make provision in the Premises, that the Congress will not lay direct taxes within this State, but when the monies arising from the Impost, Tonnage and Excise shall be insufficient for the publick exigencies, nor until the Congress shall have first made a requisition upon this State to assess, levy and pay the amount of such requisition, made agreeable to the census fixed in the said constitution, in such way and manner, as the legislature of this State shall judge best, and that the Congress will not lay any capitation or poll tax.

Done in Convention, at Newport in the County of Newport, in the State of Rhode-Island and Providence-Plantations, the twenty ninth day of May, in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety, and in the fourteenth year of the Independence of the United States of America.

Apparently had something to do with the US Senate passing a bill to fuck the state's shit up earlier this month...

ntodd

May 29, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, May 26, 2017

It Was A Lousy Impeachment, Anyway

May 26, 1868:

The President pro tempore announced that at the hour of 12 o'clock, to which the Senate stood adjourned, being the hour fixed for the sitting of the Senate for the trial of the impeachment of the President, under the rule the legislative business of the Senate was suspended; and

The Senate, sitting for the trial of the President upon articles of impeachment, resumed its session; and after proceedings had therein as stated in the record,

The President pro tempore resumed the chair.

On motion by Mr. Doolittle, at 1 o'clock and 30 minutes p. m.,

That the Senate adjourn,

It was determined in the negative.

Missed conviction by one vote, 35-19, again.

ntodd

May 26, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

So It Began

Philly, 1787:

Seven States were not convened till, Friday 25 of May...

Mr. ROBERT MORRIS informed the members assembled that by the instruction & in behalf, of the deputation of Pena. he proposed George Washington Esqr. late Commander in chief for president of the Convention.

Mr. JNo. RUTLIDGE seconded the motion; expressing his confidence that the choice would be unanimous, and observing that the presence of Genl. Washington forbade any observations on the occasion which might otherwise be proper. General WASHINGTON was accordingly unanimously elected by ballot, and conducted to the Chair by Mr. R. Morris and Mr. Rutlidge; from which in a very emphatic manner he thanked the Convention for the honor they had conferred on him, reminded them of the novelty of the scene of business in which he was to act, lamented his want of better qualifications, and claimed the indulgence of the House towards the involuntary errors which his inexperience might occasion.

[The nomination came with particular grace from Penna. as Docr. Franklin alone could have been thought of as a competitor. The Docr. was himself to have made the nomination of General Washington, but the state of the weather and of his health confined him to his house.]

Mr. WILSON moved that a Secretary be appointed...

On reading the credentials of the deputies it was noticed that those from Delaware were prohibited from changing the article in the Confederation establishing an equality of votes among the States.

The appointment of a Committee, consisting of Messrs. Wythe, Hamilton & C. Pinckney, on the motion of Mr. C. PINCKNEY, to prepare standing rules & orders was the only remaining step taken on this day.

Christ, what a bunch of assholes.

ntodd

May 25, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

In A Fit Of Kulturkampf

Romer, on this date in 1996:

'Equal protection of the laws is not achieved through indiscriminate imposition of inequalities.'" Respect for this principle explains why laws singling out a certain class of citizens for disfavored legal status or general hardships are rare. A law declaring that in general it shall be more difficult for one group of citizens than for all others to seek aid from the government is itself a denial of equal protection of the laws in the most literal sense.

And Fat Tony is still dead as a doornail, equal to all the other dead haters in a most literal sense.

ntodd

May 20, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Arrest The Protesters, Too

If your bodyguards can't strangle First Amendmenters, what is this country coming to?

ntodd

May 19, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Was Jerusalem builded here, Among these dark Satanic Mills?

And did those feet in ancient time...

Even when John Dean spilled the beans, there were still defenders of Nixon.  Even after the Saturday Night Massacre, it wasn't clear what the outcome would be.  Nixon had his defenders in Congress well into 1974.  When they finally turned, they turned like an ocean liner:  slowly, but once turned, decisively.
...
Remember, Nixon won 49 states; it was one of the greatest landslides in U.S history.  He had massive political capital, and it evaporated relatively quickly.  The thread Bob Woodward pulled that night in a D.C. courtroom soon unraveled the whole tapestry of a Presidency.

Samuel walked into Mr Dodge's office the Day After, solmenly announcing to his principal: "Donald Trump won the election yesterday, and we are all gonna die."

My first political memory, as I've noted before, is Nixon getting onto Marine One and waving that one last time.  Sad to think my kids will have a similar one, only to have it repeated by their kids, should we survive this epoch...

ntodd

May 11, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Right To Steal Arms

Ethan Allen wrote to the Albany Committee of Safety in May, 1775:

I have the inexpressible satisfaction to acquaint you, that, at daybreak of the tenth instant, pursuant to my directions from sundry leading 110 gentlemen of Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut, I took the fortress of Ticonderoga, with about one hundred and thirty Green Mountain Boys...

Colonel Arnold entered the fortress with me, side by side. The guard was so surprised, that contrary to expectation, they did not fire on us, but retreated with precipitancy. We immediately entered the fortress, and took the garrison prisoners, without bloodshed or any opposition. They consisted of one captain and a lieutenant, and forty-two men.

Little more need be said. You know Governour Carlton, of Canada, will exert himself to retake it ; and, as your county is nearer than any other part of the Colonies, and as your inhabitants have thoroughly manifested their zeal in the cause of the country, I expect immediate assistance from you, both in men and provisions.

You cannot exert yourself too much in so glorious a cause. The number of men need be more at first, till the other Colonies can have time to master. I am apprehensive of a sudden and quick attack. Pray be quick to our relief, and send us five hundred men immediately ; fail not.

The Second Continental Congress, which convened the same day as Allen's assault, heard about the victory a week later:

The president laid before the Congress, some important intelligence he receivd. last night, by express from New York, relative to the surprising and taking of Ticonderogo, by a detachment from Massachusetts bay and Connecticut, which was read as follows...

Upon motion, Agreed, That Mr. Brown, who brought the express, be called in to give an accot. of the disposition of the Canadians, the taking of Ticonderogo and the importance of that post. Whereupon he was called in--and having given the necessary information he withdrew. 

Congress resolved that cannons and such be removed from the fort to be used against the British in places like Boston.  Then we won the war and liberty reigned supreme over all the land.  Until Lord Dampnut fired the guy who won him the election.

ntodd

May 10, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Tuesday Night Massacre

New York Times, May 10, 1974:

Following is a transcript of the opening public session of the House Judiciary Committee yesterday in its hearings on the matter of the impeachment of President Nixon, as recorded by The New York Times:

PETER W. RODINO Jr.: The meeting will come to order.

Three months ago, the House of. Representatives ‘considered House Resolution 803, and the resolution read as follows:

“Resolved, that the Committee on the Judiciary, acting as a whole or by any subcommittee thereof appointed by the chairman for the purpose hereof and in accordance with the rules of the committee, is authorized and directed to investigate fully and completely, whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States of America. The committee shall report to, the House of Representatives such resolutions, articles of impeachment or other recommendations as it deems proper.”

The House adopted that resolution by a vote of 410 to 4. We are proceeding under the mandate of that resolution

I don't need to stress again the importance of our undertaking and the wisdom, decency and principle which we must bring to it.

We understand our high constitutional responsibility. We will faithfully live up to it.

For some time, we have known that the real security of this nation lies in the integrity of its institutions and the trust and informed confidence of its people. We conduct our deliberations in that spirit.

History rhymes...

ntodd

May 9, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, May 08, 2017

To state the obvious...

You don't want your national security advisor compromised with the Russians, and you don't want to run afoul of former Acting AG Yates.

ntodd

May 8, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, May 06, 2017

Corruption, Ruption, What's Your Function?

Apropos of nothing:

Article II, § 1 provided that the President should "receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected," and that he should "not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them." Alexander Hamilton had explained the reasons for these provisions in the Federalist. "[A] power over a man's support" was "a power over his will"; the salary guarantee meant that Congress could "neither weaken [the President's] fortitude by operating upon his necessities; nor corrupt his integrity, by appealing to his avarice;" the ban on other emoluments assured that he would have "no pecuniary inducement to renounce or desert the independence intended for him by the Constitution."

Washington caused something of a stir in his first inaugural address by disclaiming his constitutional compensation. His sense of duty, he announced, had always required him to serve his country without remuneration; and thus he requested Congress in making "estimates for the station in which I am placed" to provide only for payment of "such actual expenditures as the public good may be thought to require."

Undeterred, Congress proceeded to debate and enact a statute providing the President with a $25,000 annual salary." John Page of Virginia began the House discussion by denying that Washington had the right to refuse his pay: "[Tihe constitution requires that he shall receive a compensation, and it is our duty to provide it." This was not a frivolous argument, for the salary provision was not designed for the President's benefit. If the constitutional premise was that financial independence was a crucial barrier to corruption, an officer who impoverished himself by declining his wages endangered the public interest. Moreover, if Washington was right that he need not accept his money, there would always be the risk that a President's waiver was not truly voluntary; reading the Constitution to mean what it said would obviate the need for inquiry on this unpromising score. Thus, Congress determined that Washington would be compensated whether he liked it or not, and he ended up by accepting his salary.

Oh yeah, fuck Lord Dampnut.

ntodd

May 6, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Brass Throats Are A Pre-existing Condition

No such thing, but:

There is a tradition that Jefferson coming home from France, called Washington to account at the breakfast-table for having agreed to a second, and, as Jefferson thought, unnecessary legislative Chamber.

"Why," asked Washington, "did you just now pour that coffee into your saucer, before drinking?"

"To cool it," answered Jefferson, "my throat is not made of brass."

"Even so," rejoined Washington, "we pour our legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it."

Now it's more like Paul Ryan cracks open a Bud, the Senate does a shitty pour with lots of head into a plastic cup, we all get a nasty hangover.

ntodd

May 4, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

No matter my philosophy, I am saddened by this judgement against my friend Des:

On Wednesday, a jury convicted a 61-year-old female activist who had laughed during Sessions’s January confirmation hearing in the Senate. Desiree Fairooz, a longtime protester affiliated with the anti-war group Code Pink, had been escorted out of the room for laughing in response to Senator Richard Shelby’s assertion that Sessions had a “clear and well-documented” history of “treating all Americans equally under the law.” (Sessions had, in fact, been denied a federal judgeship in 1986 because of a history of racially charged remarks, and Shelby himself had once run a campaign ad suggesting that Sessions was a Klan sympathizer.) Fairooz, along with two other protesters, faces up to a year in prison.

Some post-verdict reporting suggests the jury would not have convicted had Des not been loud after the rookie cop tried to remove her for laughing.  Whatever.  We are accustomed to such abuse of power, and calls to not be uppity.

For now, let us remember what another noble person said when testing the bounds of civil resistance:

know that I was playing with fire. I ran the risk, and if I were set free I would still do the same. Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also last article of my creed. I know that my people have sometimes gone mad. I am sorry for it. Their crime consisted in the love of their country.

I am here to submit not to a light penalty but to the highest Penalty. In my opinion, non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good Nonviolence implies voluntary submission to the penalty for non-co-operation with evil. I am here to invite and submit cheerfully to the highest penalty that can be the inflected upon me for what in law is a deliberated crime and what appears to me be the highest duty of a citizen.

The only cause open to, judge, is either to resign post and thus dissociate yourself from evil if you feel that the law you are called upon to administer is evil and that I am innocent or to inflict on me the severest penalty, if you believe that the system and the law you are assisting to administer are good for the people of this country and that my activity is therefore injurious to the public weal.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, etc.

ntodd

May 3, 2017 in Conscience, Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

They Laughed At Carrie, Too

My favorite House Mama is still at it!

It is hard to believe this is happening, but it’s real: The US Department of Justice is literally prosecuting a woman for laughing at now–Attorney General Jeff Sessions during his Senate confirmation hearing earlier this year.

According to Ryan Reilly at HuffPost, Code Pink activist Desiree Fairooz was arrested in January after she laughed at a claim from Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) that Sessions’s history of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.”

Sessions, in fact, has a long history of opposing the equal treatment of all Americans under the law. He has repeatedly criticized the historic Voting Rights Act. He voted against hate crime legislation that protected LGBTQ people, arguing, “Today, I'm not sure women or people with different sexual orientations face that kind of discrimination. I just don't see it.” And his nomination for a position as a federal judge was rejected in the 1980s after he was accused of making racist remarks, including a supposed joke that he thought the Ku Klux Klan “was okay until I found out they smoked pot.”

Given this history, Fairooz laughed at Shelby’s claim.

I admit that this story made me wax nostalgiac for the olden days when I'd Amtrak down to DC.  Which is weird because back then, I thought Bush was the worst thing that ever happened in my lifetime...how wrong I was.

ntodd

May 2, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

В «Пра́вде» нет изве́стий, а в «Изве́стиях» нет пра́вды.

Josh:

A number of press reports have picked up this exchange this morning between ABC’s Jonathan Karl and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. But people have missed the real significance. Priebus doesn’t discuss changing ‘press laws’ or ‘libel laws’. He specifically says that the White House has considered and continues to consider amending or even abolishing the 1st Amendment because of critical press coverage of President Trump.

I think he gives a fair reading of what Priebus said.  Yet we may take comfort in the fact that Lord Dampnut's Gang can't legislate its way out of a paper bag, unless it's naming Post Offices and such, so an Article V action seems unlikely...

ntodd

April 30, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)