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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.


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?


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...


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.


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...


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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...


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

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The Post Office is perhaps the only mercantile project which has been successfully managed by every sort of government

Jim Hightower has apparently fallen in love with my darling Postal Service.  And rightly so.


April 30, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Things Moved Slowly Back When America Was Great

The Second Congress convened in May of '75, and the folks from Mass got right down to it:

Mr. [John] Hancock produced and laid before the Congress a Letter from the provincial Congress of Massachusetts bay, together with certain resolutions formed by Sd. Congress, and a Copy of a letter, sent by Sd. Congress to their agent in England, and an address to the inhabitants of Gt.-Bn, on the late engagement between the troops under Genl. Gage, and the inhabitants of Massachusetts bay; on Wednesday 18 ult: also a number of depositions, duly attested, relative to the commencement of hostilities, all which were read...

North Carolina delegate Richard Caswell wrote his son, William:

Scarce any thing But Warlike Musick is to be heard in the Streets, there are Several Com- panies of Quakers only, and many of them beside enrolled in Other Companies promiscuously. Tis sayed they will in a few days have 3000 Men under Arms ready to defend their Liberties. They are raising Men in New York & all the Northern Governments, the Yorkers I am told by their Delegates are determined to Defend their Liberties & since the Action between the Kings Troops & the Provincials scarcely a Tory is to be found amongst them. I herewith inclose you a paper in which is a List of the Killed & Wounded of the Kings Troops, But 'tis said this is not Genuine, a Much greater Number being Actually Killed. On the side of the Bostonians 37 were Killed outright 4 are Missing & I forget The Number of Wounded I think thirty odd.

Can you believe it took Congress more than another year to declare independence?  If only Lord Dampnut had been there, he woulda negotiated a great deal, the best deal...


April 21, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

An Island In The Pacific

Indeed, Hawaii also shouldn't be allowed to breed presidents.  And judges from the Coastal Elite States?  Also cannot rule on things.  Only people from the True Heart of America, like Oklahoma, can do shit like that.  As the Framers intended.


April 20, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

let no more be heard of confidence in man

A spurious TJ quotation popped up on my timeline:

The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.

But yeah, why not mash shit he said with Ayn Rand?  Slaveholding believer in liberty and selfish fucking inspiration for Paul Ryan...like chocolate and peanut butter.


April 13, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

We See Things So Very Differently

This thing about Gorsuch and SCOTUS reminded me of the differences that have been with us since the Republic was still gestating.


April 11, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, April 09, 2017

Enter The First Patent

On this date in 1790, it was recorded in the House and Senate (with slight variation in language) that:

[T]he Joint Committee for Enrolled Bills...reported that the Committee did, yesterday, wait on the President of the United States. and present him with the enrolled bill, entitled "An act to promote the Progress of Useful Arts," for his approbation.

Mr Washington did indeed grant his approbation to our very first patent statute the following day.  The very first patent wasn't issued until July.  According to the USPTO, it was a Vermonter named Samuel Hopkins, but somebody else asserts it was a Marylander named Samuel Hopkins.  Whatever, we finally had the recipe for potash that made America great.


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

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Saturday, April 08, 2017

We had to destroy the Senate in order to save it

This is a pretty good deconstruction of how Mitch McConnell destroyed the Senate.


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

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Friday, April 07, 2017

Let's Raise An Army!

In the House on this here very date, 1812:

The amendments proposed by the Senate to the bill "authorizing a detachment from the militia of the United States" were read: Whereupon,

Resolved, That this House doth concur in the said amendments of the Senate, with amendments.
A message from the Senate, by Mr. Otis, their Secretary:

Mr. Speaker: The Senate have passed the bill, entitled "An act in addition to the act, entitled "An act to raise an additional military force," passed January eleventh, one thousand eight hundred and twelve," which bill was passed by this House under the injunction of secrecy.

Now the War of 1812...THAT was a good war!


April 7, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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O, The Judiciary!

On this here very date, 1789:

Ordered, That Mr. Ellsworth, Mr. Paterson, Mr. Maclay, Mr. Strong, Mr. Lee, Mr. Bassett, Mr. Few, and Mr. Wingate, be a committee, to bring in a bill for organizing the Judiciary of the United States.

Then the Framers were like, what if somebody a couple centuries from now really fucks this up?


April 7, 2017 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)