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.

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.

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.

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.

“Memo to millennials, that awful feeling you’ve got is called losing”

Who knew the ignorant, Statist twit from the anti-gun utopia [sarc] of Great Britain, could actually espouse something that makes some sense??

 

Self Congratulatory, Political Masturbation

The interwebz are awash in virtual high-fives, chest bumps and back-slapping on the right…..and bemoaning, wailing and confused sobbing on the left.

While the bedwetting Statists who placed their hopes and dreams in Hillary are protesting, threatening to march and wearing safety pins [to hold up their diapers?]…….Republicans are trafficking the usual internet memes and lists…that purportedly detail the myriad of reasons that Conservatism triumphed over Statism.

Except.

Much of these ill-conceived lists don’t point to Conservative values at all, or aren’t a solely a hallmark of Liberalism whatsoever, or just don’t make any damn sense.

One of Trump’s first policy remarks since winning the Electoral vote last Tuesday,  referred to keeping much of the ACA [“Obamacare”], rather than repealing it, as he promised. Regardless of what the Roberts court surmised….there is no enumerated power in the Constitution, allowing the Federal government to administer a mandated, national healthcare program, with fees and fines. None.

The post-election rhetoric that most people engage in, serves to assuage their ego’s, or console their emotional state…..but it’s theater. It’s a shame we’re no better than that. This is why we neither still have a Republic [in practice]…..nor do we deserve one.

Yes, Donald…the electoral process IS rigged…

By the Democrats and Republicans….

Rigged 2016 Free Online Screening

Our Drive-Thru, Pre-Packaged Media

An apt description of the current American media landscape, and it’s consumers

Americans Are To Blame For The Fractured State Of The Media

Thirty years ago, there was such a thing as “the media.” The daily paper was dropped on everyone’s doorstep in the morning. When dad came home from work, he’d switch on the television and watch the nightly news on one of the big three networks while waiting for dinner

Social media platforms proliferate this practice. Many people today get a substantial portion of their news exclusively from social media, specifically Facebook. Everyone “likes,” “shares,” and “favorites” those articles expressing points of view they agree with. Social media platforms exist to make money from keeping people’s eyeballs on their sites, so they respond by giving the viewer more of the same, reinforcing existing preconceptions even more.

Prior to the internet, market forces worked as a pretty good check and balance. If a network or newspaper went too far astray, it lost viewers to one of its competitors, which eventually pulled it back to the middle. With the fracturing of the market into micro-targeted segments, that centering function is gone. Now viewers just leave to one of a thousand information sources each trying to generate inflammatory clickbait headlines. Whereas once the choice between news sources was Wheaties or Cheerios, today the traditional news media is trying to sell Wheaties while some of its digital competitors market Oreo cookies, and others are selling straight crystal meth.

As long as the media in this country remains free, which it should, it’s the responsibility of every informed person to eat his Wheaties. If you’re a citizen who considers yourself informed, whether liberal or conservative, you need to have a foundation of general news from an established news source, e.g., an organization that has actual reporters with bureaus in major cities or that at least uses major news wires like Reuters or McClatchy, not just a sketchy aggregator site. Only after that should you rely on opinion-oriented sites or sites with well-established angles on the news. You’ve got to eat a balanced meal before you eat dessert. Feed your mind nothing but garbage and it will become fat and lazy.

And as far as educating yourself, do yourself a favor and follow some that run counter to your own inclinations. Follow both Mother Jones and National Review, Fox News and MSNBC. It’s not only a good way to fact check both sides, but it will also serve to remind you that the other ideological side isn’t trying to destroy America. Most of either side sincerely wants the best for this country. They just happen to have a different perspective than you. Too many people dig into their ideological fighting holes and consume media only to throw derogatory news grenades at the other side.

Finally, for the love of all that’s holy, stop clicking on conspiracy-theory sites. You’re just feeding their cancer on society with your traffic and shares. You should know them when you see them. Gaudy banner headlines and words like “REVEALED!” and “EXPOSED!” in all caps should ring alarm bells in your mind.

Blaming the news media at large for the state of today’s civil discourse and polarization is like blaming Taco Bell for the obesity epidemic. Sure they could do more to help, but really they’re just giving the people what they want.

The solution lies in each and every one of us — stop consuming junk media before it consumes us all.

The business model of the mainstream media, is to foment argument between the ‘Left’ and the ‘Right’ [as if there are only two perspectives], in order to entice the majority of viewers who parse their politics only in terms of Left/Right….to raise revenue. Are we too far down the rabbit hole to change the course of our media?