Our National Honor

It’s no surprise to any who know me, that I don’t care for Trump’s character, demeanor or rhetoric….and I don’t hold much hope for the sanctity of our Constitution, given Trump’s very own narrative and apparent ignorance of our civil liberties.

That said, I hope his assembled team can keep him blissfully distracted with trite and meaningless trivia…allowing Pence and the other adults the latitude to manage the nations affairs as they should be.

On this Inauguration Day, I’m reminded [thanks to War on the Rocks] of James Monroe’s inauguration speech, where he eloquently states: We must support our rights or lose our character, and with it, perhaps, our liberties. A people who fail to do it can scarcely be said to hold a place among independent nations. National honor is national property of the highest value. The sentiment in the mind of every citizen is national strength. It ought therefore to be cherished.

A Traitor gets an undeserved commutation

Shame on Obama….

President Barack Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentence of Chelsea Bradley Manning, who was convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks. CNN

I refuse to call Bradley by his feminine pet name. Given the public deal offered by the latest darling of the Right….it remains to be seen whether this move will also result in the extradition of Julian Assange.

My Leftist Governor unintentionally supports the 2A

From Reason Magazine:

Four months later, the governor grandly announced that he was restoring the voting rights of 206,000 felons. Republican heads exploded, and the ensuing debate eventually had to be settled by the Virginia Supreme Court, which struck down McAuliffe’s order, requiring him to continue making restorations on a case-by-case basis.

In the meantime, though, a question arose: What about gun rights? Although McAuliffe’s order stipulated that “nothing in this Order restores the right to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms,” the governor’s order made it much easier for a felon to get his gun rights back. Formerly, an offender first had to petition for restoration of his civil rights, and once they were restored, go to court to retrieve his gun rights. McAuliffe’s order eliminated the first step.

That was purely unintentional. “My actions were about giving you the right to vote, to serve on a jury and run for political office,” McAuliffe admitted. “My action, I didn’t think it had anything to do with gun rights. I stayed away from that.”

Since the Supreme Court decision, the governor has continued to restore felons’ rights on an individual basis; he’s up to 140,000 now. And lawmakers are introducing bills to make the process automatic. Along similar lines, Republican Del. Greg Habeeb has introduced a measure to automatically restore gun rights to nonviolent felons.

Anybody who supports restoring voting rights will be hard-pressed to produce a persuasive argument against Habeeb’s bill. Both voting and gun ownership are constitutionally protected, fundamental rights. The rationales that support restoring voting rights (e.g., the offender has paid his debt in full, African-Americans are disproportionately affected, the restriction has a sordid racial history, and so forth) apply with equal force to restoring gun rights.

Politicians of all stripes appear to have a deficit in foreseeing 2nd and 3rd order effects of their legislation. This time at least, the deficit is in favor of the Citizen.

“The Myth of Conservative Patriotism”

Posted in its entirety, from Christian Newman at LewRockwell.com. A tough read if you’re a modern “Conservative” and actually have an open mind. It does an admirable job at illustrating the political correctness of the modern Right, and well as framing the various means by which the Right seeks a status of victimhood every bit as much as does the snowflakes on the Left.

The word “patriot” holds a special place in the heart of America, and the attachment to that word, in particular, runs deep into the roots of the United States’ history to its founding. While the word has taken on a meaning of national pride and attachment to one’s homeland, the American usage of the term brings with it a certain kind of pride that goes back to the American revolution. For it was the Patriots who ultimately loved their homeland, who stood for local and (in most cases) limited self-government, and grew to hate the established and increasingly obnoxious and interventionist Imperial British regime.

In contrast, modern “conservatives” and right wingers also lay a claim to the word “patriot,” and on the surface, it seems like the shoe fits. After all, it is the loud and proud American right that stands up for such time-honored American traditions like standing for the national anthem, keeping “under god” in the pledge of allegiance, proudly displaying their “thin blue line” bumper stickers (sometimes ironically and paradoxically next to the Gadsden flag), and honoring the veterans of America’s wars abroad. It’s nearly easier to start a “USA! The USA!” chant at a sporting event than a wave. After all, since July 4th is a revered holiday, surely there couldn’t possibly be a contradiction in rhetoric and reality?

Yet upon closer examination, it seems the rank-and-file right-wing is rather picky and choosy about exactly what American patriotism means. They proudly give lip-service and reverence to the founding of the country, to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, but their actions speak otherwise. Modern conservatism seems to have severed its relation to the Patriotism of America’s birth and instead has embraced a nationalist, collectivist strain of statist pride dating back to the Progressive Era and bolstered by two “victories” in the World Wars. Today, the right wing with their almost religious and spiritual devotion to support for military servicemen, will proclaim their devotion to swift justice and an active foreign policy to fight for “freedom” abroad, to topple dictators, and to defend our vital allies and friends around the world from boogeymen that never seem to go away.

The parallels are eerily similar to the glory days of the British Empire, where British dominance on the field of battle or in the sporting arena was a testament to its greatness, as if the random Midwestern American conservative had any hand at all in Michael Phelp’s amazing Olympic achievements. Enemies of America’s foreign policy today are dehumanized right-winging news outlets, Assad and Gaddafi were brutal dictators committing human rights violations, and Palestinians are bloodthirsty monsters who launch rockets unprovoked into poor, defenseless Israel.  The evangelical conservative (who has far more in common with Puritan Progressives than the Patriotic Classical Liberals of Jefferson’s era) faithfully does not question the American-Israeli alliance. They’re all alone in the region, after all, and if there’s anything apple-pie Americans love, it’s an underdog story. Unfortunately, the backing of the awesome military might conservatives love to flaunt about (ex: the idea of singlehandedly saving Europe during WWII) of the United States hardly makes Israel an underdog in any sense of the word, much less from the right’s own perspective. Nevertheless! Any good American supports the noble colonies (correction: allies) around the globe.

The military industrial complex easily harvests the military devotion of the right. It openly boasts in their television recruitment ads of the number of ships they have deployed globally, and luring America’s youth into the servitude of the political class by offering numerous “opportunities” anywhere in the world. The expansive and intimidating reach of the American empire exerts far more influence today than the British ever did. To the new recruits and their families, they are performing an honorable service defending American freedom, which somehow waddled its way halfway around the world, and now must be retrieved by refueling Saudi jets that coldly and often bomb civilians in Yemen in their own local crusades. Conservatives are proud of spreading the American doctrine and making the world safe for democracy in a way that would put a smile on accomplished Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s face. It doesn’t matter to them that now their boys and girls in uniform have been used to train the same bin-Ladenite jihadis that shot at (and in some regions, are still shooting at) their brothers a decade previously. What matters is “getting the bad guys,” and defending America’s colonies from whichever dictator or radical guerilla organization is a foe today, and forgotten ally yesterday. What matters is a return to World War dominance, victory for victory’s sake, and civilizing a barbaric foreign foe. Not even pretending to abide by “conservative” principles of fiscal responsibility is enough to reign in the leviathan and gluttonous size of the supposedly “dismantled” Pentagon (that still seems to procure massive budgets despite its misplacement of $6.5 trillion).

Combined with the right’s reverence for the international might of the American state is a desire to “civilize” his or her own neighbors. Whether it be a prohibition of drugs (mother knows best, after all), or a desire to teach the conservative’s backwards and ignorant countrymen that the rule of law must be followed, and that our police must always be respected, we must all move into a civilized age of practices approved by their own code of ethics. After all, the police are just trying to protect and serve the living daylights out of you, because smoking pot might be a gateway drug. The statutory law, the collectivist will divinely inspired as “one nation under God,” has become the new ten commandments. Conservatives no longer wish to conserve such long-dead traditions of individual liberty and federalism, they wish to uphold the tradition of an all-powerful state to actively assert itself on the side of “good.” The propaganda of the lurking and seemingly imminent threat of religious terrorism is enough for conservatives to give up their fourth amendment rights to a warrant and thank the omnipotent NSA for keeping them safe through their civilian surveillance program that has stopped a whopping zero terrorist attacks. The Patriot Act, as it was so Orwellian named, has become the new Quartering Act with the Central Government able to enter anyone’s home on a whim of presumed guilt by association. After all, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, correct?

Modern conservatives have shown not a love for country, a love and respect for the liberties and freedoms of their neighbors and people who live alongside them, but they have shown a love for the state and the American empire. They’ve shown a love for activist government, for taxation above and beyond what their supposed heroes dumped tea into a harbor for. They’ve welcomed the red-coats into their homes through warrantless searches, and they worship the red, white, and blue calf that the Bible warned them against. Through their action, they’ve shown time and again that rather than freedom and liberty, they love empire, the divine right of ‘Murica, and a heavily armed police state with a nanny complex. They have their own form of PC, and one must not dare question friendship with Israel or point out the futility and moral atrocity of America’s own military interventions. Yet how ridiculous it would have been for Benjamin Franklin to lecture Patrick Henry to keep to himself his disdain for the British troops- after all, some of them died fighting during the French-Indian war, and criticism is disrespectful. It’s time for the American right to dump the word “patriot.” Freedom, liberty, and a love for their fellow countrymen now plays second fiddle, if in the orchestra at all. They’ve shown time and again that they’re nothing less than invasive government-loving, expensive (in terms of lives and money) empire building, collectivist Tories.

Idiot Virginia Legislator Coming After Your Porn — The Liberty Zone

OK, not quite, but my favorite uber-religious nutbar Bob Marshall, who is famous for using the government to sniff around in your pants, now wants to use taxpayer dollars for “education, research, and policy change to address the public health crisis.”

…………

Whenever petty tyrants in three-piece suits seek to infringe on our freedoms via government force, they always seek to create a crisis. Whether it’s the “epidemic” of “gun violence,” which is a transparently stupid manipulation of weak minds to instill fear in the ignorant and uninformed, or precious snowflakes venting their angst on suicide hotlines, because they’re too weak understand and respect our system of government, everything that power-hungry statists want the government to address by force becomes a “public health crisis.”

derp-to-potatoBob Marshall’s particular brand of DERPITUDE has everything to do with where adults insert their sexual organs. Whether it’s attempting to ban gays from serving openly in the Virginia National Guard, because apparently, they’re just not going to be able to resist inserting their penises into their buddies in the shower, or blocking a stellar prosecutor from serving as district court judge, because said stellar prosecutor is open about his committed relationship to another man (and ostensibly sticks his penis into said man), or claiming “sodomy is not a civil right,” showing just how little he knows about the nature of civil rights, Bob Marshall loves to launch government assaults on the privacy and fundamental rights of the individual.

via Idiot Virginia Legislator Coming After Your Porn — The Liberty Zone

Reblogged from Nicki’s site.

Very Conflicted……

So, as I do every Friday, I treated myself to a Starbucks Quad Mocha and a Double-smoked Bacon-Cheddar and Egg sandwich, on my way into work. This morning, instead of being assaulted by whatever caterwauling hipster music they usually play…..I was greeted with Christmas music. Honest to goodness, by-God Christmas tunes. Still don’t care for it, but it was a change from the norm.

My Mocha [in the red, godless, minus-the-naked-baby-Jesus cup] was delivered to my hand by the Barista who wished me a “Merry Christmas“,  while my sandwich came with a “Happy Holidays“.

The detour left me wondering where on the battlefield of the made-up “war on Christmas” was I? It was all very conflicting.

Just kidding. I don’t need a random stranger to validate my religious beliefs, especially in the course of taking my money during the crass commercialization of a holiday season [of which, there are 14 religious observances during the month of December]. I went about my day wishing my fellow co-workers [the ones not already of vacation] a joyous Festivus and a Happy Saturnalia. And Merry Christmas…….

A Open Letter to Democrats

Eric from Armed and Dangerous penned a concise letter to Democrats that is well worth the read:

It’s now just a bit over a month since Election Day, and I’m starting to be seriously concerned about the possibility that the U.S. might become a one-party democracy.

Therefore this is an open letter to Democrats; the country needs you to get your act together. Yes, ideally I personally would prefer your place in the two-party Duverger equilibrium to be taken by the Libertarian Party, but there are practical reasons this is extremely unlikely to happen. The other minor parties are even more doomed. If the Republicans are going to have a counterpoise, it has to be you Democrats.

Donald Trump’s victory reads to me like a realignment election, a historic break with the way interest and demographic groups have behaved in the U.S. in my lifetime. Yet, Democrats, you so far seem to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Indeed, if I were Donald Trump I would be cackling with glee at your post-election behavior, which seems ideally calculated to lock Trump in for a second term before he has been sworn in for the first.

Stop this. Your country needs you. I’m not joking and I’m not concern-trolling. The wailing and the gnashing of teeth and the denial of reality have to end. In the rest of this essay I’m not going to talk about right and wrong and ideology, I’m going to talk about the brutal practical politics of what you have to do to climb out of the hole you are in.

We need to start with an unsparing assessment of that hole.

……………….

Your “coalition of the ascendant” is sinking. Tell all the just-so stories you like, but the brute fact is that it failed to turn out to defeat the Republican candidate with the highest negatives in history. You thought all you had to do was wait for the old white men to die, but anybody who has studied the history of immigration in the U.S. could have told you that the political identities of immigrant ethnic groups do not remain stable as they assimilate. You weren’t going to own the Hispanics forever any more than you owned the Irish and the Italians forever. African-Americans, trained by decades of identity politics, simply failed to show up for a white candidate in the numbers you needed. The sexism card didn’t play either, as a bare majority of married women who actually went to the polls seem to have voted for Trump.

But your worst problem is less tangible. Trump has popped the preference-falsification bubble. The conservative majority in most of the U.S. (coastal enclaves excepted) now knows it’s a conservative majority. Before the election every pundit in sight pooh-poohed the idea that discouraged conservative voters, believing themselves isolated and powerless, had been sitting out several election cycles. But it turned out to be true, not least where I live in the swing state of Pennsylvania, where mid-state voters nobody knew were there put Trump over the top. Pretty much the same thing happened all through the Rust Belt.

That genie isn’t going to be stuffed back in the bottle. Those voters now know they can deliver the media and the coastal elites a gigantic fuck-you, and Republicans know the populist techniques to mobilize them to do that. Trump’s playbook was not exactly complicated.

…………

Here’s what I’ve been building up to:

You Democrats don’t just need to reform your gun policy, you need to reform your attitude towards the voters to a place from which your present policy looks as vicious and absurd as it does to them.

You Democrats don’t just need to reform your rhetoric about racism and sexism, you need to reform your attitude towards the voters to a place from which your present rhetoric looks as vicious and absurd as it does to them.

It’s all of a piece. You’ve forgotten how to be the party of the people. Trump was the price of that forgetfulness. Now, you need to relearn it, for all our sakes.

The alternative is that something like the Republicans, or possibly worse, dominates American politics for the foreseeable future. I don’t want that, and you should fear it more than I do.

So get your act together now.

Read the rest here……

Trump punks his base…again

Campaign Trump stated to a wildly adulating audience: “I didn’t think I’d say this, but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it, but if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception, there has never been anything like it and we’re going to have a special prosecutor.”

POTUS-elect Trump now says: “No, it’s okay,” Trump said as the crowd jeered a reference to Clinton. “Forget it. That plays great before the election. Now, we don’t care, right?”

Character, integrity and honor don’t matter to sycophants. This is what we get when we elect a vaudeville act as President.

Mattis of Quantico, Patron Saint of Chaos

mattis-of-quantico

There’s finally something I can proudly say that I support Trump for…his pick as the 26th Secretary of Defense. [Trivia fact, SecDef is 6th in line of Presidential succession].

Most by now at least know of Gen. Mattis (ret), from the glossy, tweet sized headlines on cable news, but there’s much, much more to know about the man….and why modern Marines (and lowly Soldiers like myself) revere him like no other [sorry Chesty Puller]. There are several articles to choose from, but this offering posted at The Federalist is pretty good. The 800+ comments are pretty good too….

America knows Gen. James Mattis as a character, Mad Dog Mattis, the font of funny quotes and Chuck Norris-caliber memes. Those of us who served with him know that he is a caring, erudite, warfighting general. We also know that there is a reason he uses the call-sign Chaos: he is a lifelong student of his profession, a devotee of maneuver warfare and Sun Tzu, the sort of guy who wants to win without fighting—to cause chaos among those he would oppose.

 To Marines, he is the finest of our tribal elders. The rest of the world, very soon, will know how truly gifted he is. Our friends and allies will be happy he is our new secretary of war; our enemies will soon wish he weren’t.
Read the rest here…..
BTW…for any who like to read all things military and strategy, here is the command reading list when Mattis led MARCENT.

Welcome to Trump’s America…..

Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016

To no great surprise, the defense of this asinine tweet, by his sycophants on the right…..illustrate the facade perpetrated by the GOP. Defense of this sentiment proves beyond all doubt that there are special little snowflakes needing a politically correct safe space, on both sides of the political spectrum.

Taken with his previous statements and actions with regard to the 1st and 4th Amendments….as well as Eminent Domain….Trump is every inch the autocratic tyrant that Clinton would have been.

Thanks America….you had two chances to get it wrong this cycle…..and you chose one of them.