That’s Right Justice Stevens!

Concerned the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution was only upheld by a narrow 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court, I tuned into conservative talk radio to see if anyone else thought as I did that the decision was dangerously close to completely undoing the concept that individual freedom and individual rights are the bedrock upon which American culture has been built and has flourished.

My laments were mirrored and expounded upon by Rush Limbaugh in has diatribe, not to my chagrin.

Notably, Limbaugh challenged his audience to read Antonin Scalia’s opinion and described how the Associate Justice’s argument brilliantly considered not only a careful analysis of idiom, but supported that analysis with historic precedent and generous footnotes.

What is amazing as it is frustrating is to watch our Supreme Court continue to present to the American people 5-4 decisions along ideological lines communicating the sad fact that our Constitution does in fact have no clear literal meaning.  Ergo, it provides no inherent protection of American liberties, and its guarantee’s are subject to whim engaged by the nine personalities inhabiting the high court.

In DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his dissent, The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons…

So exalted, if opponent to that oldest member of the court I would reply, that’s absolutely right Justice Stevens that is exactly what this court would have you believe!

For context, here is the summation of Stevens comment, and to authorize this Court to use the common-law process of case-by-case judicial lawmaking to define the contours of acceptable gun control policy.

And finally, Absent compelling evidence that is nowhere to be found in the Court’s opinion, I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice.

Instead Justice Stevens concludes that elected officials do have authority to deny self-defense means to citizens; even within the confines of their own domicile!?  Is self defense not an inalienable right?  According to Justice Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Souter, it is not.

Not only was it the Founder’s position, to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons… it was their position and intent to severely limit government power in every instance it might be used to subjugate individual freedoms.  How Justice John Paul Stevens and his supporting dissenters can’t know this is quite mysterious to me, after all, are they not the ones with law degrees?

Routinely American Judges comprising that third branch of government, venture outside their constitutionally defined duty as arbiter and interpreter of Constitutional intent and throw aside literal meaning to favor an evolving or activist interpretation.  Without exception, this interpretation has left Americans with less liberty forgoing individual freedom to despotic bureaucratic power.

KELO v. CITY OF NEW LONDON 5-4 granted authority to the City of New London to remove citizens from their homes and award their property, not for some public use like a hospital or a road, but to a developer promising increased tax revenue.

In those instances where bureaucratic power has been tethered by our judicial system it hasn’t been in support of individual citizen liberties but instead has provided some obsequious subservient ambition to bow to a new world order.  Continued language among Justices recognizing and deferring to European law should assuage any consideration that our judicial system has not been prostituted by anti-American sentiments.

BOUMEDIENE v. BUSH 5-4 gives Habeas Corpus rights to enemy combatants captured on the battlefield in time of war.  Already some fifty previous prisoners of Guantanamo Bay, since released, have been either again captured, or killed on the battlefield.  Dissenters have warned that consequences of this decision will not only make it more difficult for the Commander in Chief to protect American citizens, it will result in increased deaths among American service personnel.

While Justice Stevens asserts the Founders did not intend to limit the power of elected officials, there is plenty of data available to the contrary, and the data is from the Founders themselves:

For starters, the Framers specifically amended the Constitution with the Bill of Rights to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate any civilian freedoms enjoyed that would not encroach on fellow citizens, including the use and access to weapons.

In 1787 Thomas Jefferson wrote, “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.”

George Mason, who wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights and refused to sign the US Constitution lamenting that it included no Bill of Rights; while debating in Virginia in support of the document he stated, I ask sir, what is the militia?  It is the whole people except for a few public officials.

John Adams in a letter to his beloved wife notably wrote There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.

Ever the poet and wordsmith Ben Franklin explained, Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.

Even with ample evidence supporting the proposition that individual right is the primary attribute inherent to American culture; it is with obfuscating juxtaposition possible to pervert historic instances where even the Founders were not always true to these acclaimed philosophies.

Lamenting Adams passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, Jefferson complained the measures so palpably in the teeth of the Constitution as to shew they mean to pay no respect to it.”

Our objective must not only be to understand the literal meaning of America’s premier document, but to absorb its theme and overriding intent.

That DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER only ruled in favor of individual liberty by 5-4 reveals an excruciating evolution toward a European style government subjugating inalienable rights defined by God to favor rules manifest by the imagination of man.

It is not the point of the United States Constitution to guarantee our inalienable rights.  These rights are ours guaranteed by God, and no paper drafted by man can award or deny such rights.  What the United States Constitution attempts, is to insure ambition possessed by the debased subjects of arbitrary power does not subjugate those inalienable rights granted by God.

Governments, without just authority, do this all the time.

While progressive politics focuses so much attention on the 2nd Amendments preamble, A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state it seems quite enthusiastic to discount or to completely ignore a running theme which permeates the Constitution’s text, primarily, that individual freedoms are the bedrock of our healthy society and impugning these freedoms by government fiat threatens the most important foundations inherent in American culture.

The whole point of a Bill of Rights amended to the Constitution was to place reigns on government, not to free government to place reigns on people.

In the end, the most important concept that guides America is not that we have a right to defend ourselves, or that we have a right to free speech or religion, or that our property cannot be taken unless for public use and only with just compensation, our foundational theme is that America is based with individual liberties positioned at a philosophical pinnacle that government power should always defer to.

Judge Antonin Scalia obviously believes this as seems did our Founders, regardless their occasional transgressions.

Contrarily, should America’s citizens defer to bureaucratic power sometimes democratically appointed and sometimes not, defined by nine Justices on the Supreme Court, instead of by words within the Constitution of the United States?

That seems to be the sentiment embraced by John Paul Stevens and three cohorts.

Copyright 2008 Jim Pontillo

58 thoughts on “That’s Right Justice Stevens!

  1. This all comes down to the question, “What is government?,” which no politician ever gets asked — even though it’s the most important question in politics.

    The only way Justice Stevens’s opinion makes any sense to me is if I remind myself that as a “progressive/liberal” he thinks government power is something fundamentally different than I do as a conservative/libertarian.

    Progressives tend to see government power on the economic model (where exercises of power are positive, mutual exchanges), whereas we conservatives tend to see government power on the physical model (where all exercises of power are one-sided, coercive, and negative).

    So if you’re like me, you think people need to be allowed to have the means to physically defend themselves in the case of illegitimate uses of force by government (or fellow citizens).

    But if you’re like Stevens, you think that people get their power from the money government gives them (or allows them to have) so there’s nothing to fear!

  2. If you are so committed to individual rights Jim why won’t you call for an end to Guantanamo bay and the secret offshore prisons used by the US government?

  3. Matt,

    First and foremost I am interested in safeguarding the individual rights and safety of American citizens.

    Secondly, those allies of the United States who choose to embrace a capitalist democracy giving the most number of people the best chance at happiness and success, I would encourage my government to support.

    Thirdly, those states and those country-less organizations like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas, hostile to the United States encouraging their people to take up arms against our interests and our citizens, I wish for our government to be as harsh and as aggressive as is necessary to protect the American people.

    Guantanamo Bay is an unfortunate but necessary camp of internment that treats enemy combatants much better than any of our citizens are treated by our enemies.

    Given the unprovoked carnage endured on 9/11 I would say that Guantanamo Bay is quite generous in its treatment of America’s enemies.

  4. Jim,
    How do you know these ‘enemies’ (read people who are accused of crimes) are terrorists, or even related in any way to terrorist activities? The answer is you don’t, and hence the rule of habeus corpus which has been the main pillar of our justice system for any person tried in this country (be they American or non-American) since it was first instituted must remain in tact, no matter how high the emotions in the post-9/11 world.

    There is a tendency to think of 9/11 as an epochal moment where ‘everything changed’ and that America had entered into war with Al Qaeda and a other unidentified disparate threats to national security. The reality though is that these threats are not strong, let alone unified, and to think they pose any real threat to our ancient liberties is to massively over-inflate the danger they pose. Put simply, they are criminals, and they should be dealt with as such.

    If anything, the terrorists would be cheering if they knew the extent to which the US government (and other western governments) had gone in curtailing their citizens’ ancient liberties. Guantanamo Bay and the ‘anti-terror’ legislation represents not a defence against terror but a greater threat than the terror itself.

    On the subject of guns, I agree people should be able to defend their own homes. However, making guns so accessible creates several dangers, the most immediately obvious on news etc being the deranged teen who buys a gun or takes his Dad’s and goes out to slaughter his fellow classmates.

    Going on about the sanctity of the Second Amendment doesn’t really contribute anything to the debate we’re having in the modern world. I presume you would not argue that America should be governed by what it says word for word in the original constitution, given the references it makes to slavery. Hence, if we are going to talk about guns in homes please don’t accuse people who disagree with you of being ‘unpatriotic’ because they go against the original document.

  5. Matt,

    I can’t tell you I am enthusiastic about suspending Habeas Corpus, although Lincoln did it during the Civil War so the move does have some precedent. Additionally there is plenty of sustentative argument showing that enemy combatants on the battlefield are NOT entitled Habeas Corpus, no matter how hard the left will vilify Bush for ostensibly suspending it.

    As for, “The reality though is that these threats are not strong”, tell that to the 2966 who perished as result of the attacks.

    As for guns, you missed the whole theme of the article. Regardless of the fact that there is no credible study that shows gun control saves lives, as a matter of fact, the worst crimes occur in those areas where gun control is most severe and those people who obtain concealed carry permits are among the most well behaved law abiding citizens in the nation; no matter what obscure fact you might dig up to the contrary.

    You can lie about these facts, but they are well known, even to the gun control crowd.

    The point is gun control is not and never has been about saving lives, it is and always has been about further empowering bureaucracy and minimizing the freedom and strength of conviction retained by the people.

    As much as you “cling” to that emotional argument that liberals want to help and hold “antipathy” toward conservatives who are just selfish bastards, you will never obtain a comprehensive understanding of the ideological foundations that rule the left and the right.

    The right wants individual freedom with only that bit of guidance required to insure no person’s rights will infringe on another’s.

    The left wants to hold freedom and dole it out to engineer society to reflect “their” view of what it ought to be.

    Again you may find isolated and obscure facts to contradict specific politicians, but in broad strokes the right wants unfettered freedom, the left wants it controlled by the privileged class.

  6. “Additionally there is plenty of sustentative argument showing that enemy combatants on the battlefield are NOT entitled Habeas Corpus, no matter how hard the left will vilify Bush for ostensibly suspending it.”
    Enemy combatants like Maher Arar and Omar Khadr I guess!

  7. Jim,
    “enemy combatants on the battlefield are NOT entitled Habeas Corpus”

    Very true, in a situation of war. The question is, are we in a situation of outright war? The answer is emphatically NO.

    “As for, “The reality though is that these threats are not strong”, tell that to the 2966 who perished as result of the attacks.”

    Very weak. When you say “there is no credible study that shows gun control saves lives”, I could easily respond “tell that to the victims of the Virginia Tech massacre”, but I choose not to because I respect your capacity for intelligent debate. I’d be grateful if you would do the same.

    “gun control is not and never has been about saving lives”

    Strangely enough that is the very reason why I argue guns should be controlled, to stop needless killings. If we take your argument to its rational conclusion there should be no enforced law, no police and no judiciary as they all limit individuals’ freedoms with ‘bureaucracy’.

    “as a matter of fact, the worst crimes occur in those areas where gun control is most severe”

    A strange inference to make…now what do you think is more plausible, that higher gun control causes more gun crime, or that worse levels of gun crime have caused authorities to react and impose greater restrictions on guns in the area? From where I’m standing the second explanation sounds a lot more plausible. Your argument is similar to saying that immigration restrictions cause greater immigration because countries that have greater levels on immigration tend to impose more limits. It’s you, Jim, who is distorting statistics here.

    “the right wants unfettered freedom”

    No you don’t. You oppose unlimited immigration, you oppose women’s freedoms with regards abortion and you oppose the freedom that free healthcare would provide millions of people in America with.

  8. Matt,

    Taking money from me, or anyone else for that matter, to provide health care for someone else does not define freedom, not even in the most perverted definition of the term.

    Just admit that you think its OK for government authority to infringe on my rights for some ostensible “greater purpose”. You prefer a socialist government, fine, but don’t lie about it and call it freedom.

    As for the gun control; do your homework.

    Australia recently bought back all civilian arms for 500 million dollars. Guess what, crime immediately went up.

    There is more than enough data to show gun control increases crime, but you don’t want facts, only political hyperbole and dishonest propaganda to support your view.

  9. That’s right, take guns away from the good guys and guess what?

    Criminals say,

    “SHOPPING SPREE!”

    Matt, you’re a dumb ass.

  10. Do you actually have any evidence for your claims? And if so, is that evidence demonstrating a cause and effect relationship between gun control and crime, or is it only a correlation? If it’s the latter, then your argument loses all of its conclusive power.

  11. The truth is crumb, I could care less if gun control actually lowered crime (which it doesn’t) I am entitled to possess guns and protect myself.

    PERIOD!

  12. “I could care less if gun control actually lowered crime”

    Once again demonstrating my theory that what differentiates conservatives and liberals is a total lack of empathy on the part of the former.

  13. Goodness, Matt and Crumbs arguments are so tired and pathetic it is painful….I love the part about “freedom that free healthcare” would provide..LOL absolutely amazing.

  14. Excuse me, but the only argument I have made here is evidence that gun control and violent crime are unconnected in any significant way. My argument is the only one backed up by facts.

  15. OH and Matt,

    What the hell are you talking about, if a student at Virgina Tech was allowed to carry a gun he would have blasted that whack job and save a bunch of people.

    Because of gun control more people died.

    You happy?

  16. On another note….isn’t everyone gettting sick of often muslims are “outraged” at the drop of at over seemingly ridiculous stuff?

    “Muslims in the Scottish district of Tayside are outraged by the appearance of a wide-eyed, 6-week-old puppy on postcards distributed by the local police force, according to the Daily Mail.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,374564,00.html

    I get more outraged over heads being cut off, bombs in markets and women getting stoned to death…but hey that’s just me.

  17. On another note….isn’t everyone gettting sick of often french are “outraged” at the drop of at over seemingly ridiculous stuff?

    “A French-language rights group is demanding an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper for a controversial poster hanging at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2008/07/02/qc-poutinedc-0701.html

    I get more outraged over ministers being kidnapped, bank robberies and children suing their parents…but hey that’s just me.

  18. On another note….isn’t everyone gettting sick of often americans are “outraged” at the drop of at over seemingly ridiculous stuff?

    Anger. Frustration. Shock. Maybe even a few tears. That is the scene from coast to coast as Americans shell out more and more money to fill up their cars with gas. ”

    http://www.abcnews.go.com/Business/PainAtThePump/story?id=5031763&page=1

    I get more outraged over foreign citizens being interred, illegal wiretaps and the government torturing their prisoners…but hey that’s just me.

  19. To the French, yes. To your last WTF? Gas is what drives our economy, it is what gets goods to the market and to your table. And it is being artificially pushed up by restrictions on supply, speculation and who knows what else.

    What foreign citizens are being “interred”? What wiretaps are “illegal”? And what kind of “torture” is our government doing?

    Please cite facts and sources…oh, and Keith Olbermann and the Daily Kos is not a credible source.

  20. Way to miss the point – that one noisy group does not represent the whole, not even noisy American complaining about “expensive” gas [$8 a gallon in the UK, $10 a gallon in France, $11 a gallon in Turkey]
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aB9b2rPXKVBY
    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2008/Jun/2/record-gas-prices-even-worse-overseas/
    You also miss that Americans can be just as easily misrepresented as Muslims or French or anyone else – but of course, the American accusations are the only false ones!

    Way to also miss the past four years of politics. Illegal wiretaps? The fourth amendment wants to say something to you.

    Torture by government agents? Well, if you don’t count intense mental and physical duress and suffering as torture then I guess they aren’t doing it!

    Foreign citizens passing through this country with a legal passport? Ship them off to a secret prison or one of our torture-happy Syrian pals!

    I don’t need to cite evidence because this is common knowledge to anyone who hasn’t been under a rock for several years.

  21. Raul Reddy,
    “What foreign citizens are being “interred”? What wiretaps are “illegal”? And what kind of “torture” is our government doing?”

    The Bush administration has been transporting suspects to secret “ghost prisons” outside the US to interrogate them using water boarding. The Bush government does not deny that this happens, they argue instead that water boarding is not technically a method of ‘torture’, which is frankly a laughable contention.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4464962.stm

    Sake Mike,
    “…if a student at Virgina Tech was allowed to carry a gun he would have blasted that whack job and save a bunch of people.”
    Again we should all be grateful Sake Mike isn’t president.

    Jim,
    “Taking money from me, or anyone else for that matter, to provide health care for someone else does not define freedom, not even in the most perverted definition of the term.”

    Think of it like this: if I cannot leave my house because I have a serious illness, and I have no health insurance and hence I cannot get any treatment I am not free, am I? If you then earn $100,000 a year and I tax you, say, 1% of your income ($1,000) to pay for me to have treatment so I can walk out the house how much freedom have you lost and how much freedom have I gained?

    It seems quite obvious that, while you might not be able to treat yourself to that extra nice expensive meal or whatever, I have gained the ability to walk out of my house and find a job etc. It could also be argued that now I have received treatment I can contribute more to the economy by getting a job, rather than being a drain on resources whilst unable to leave my house. There is hence a net gain in freedom as you lose relatively little of your freedom whereas I gain a lot of freedom. This is a very simple example, but it demonstrates how taxation can expand rather than inhibit our freedom.

  22. Jim,
    “There is more than enough data to show gun control increases crime, but you don’t want facts, only political hyperbole and dishonest propaganda to support your view.”

    I don’t dispute that there is a correlation between areas of heavy gun control and crime levels, but you are asserting a relationship between them that is very dubious and it is up to you to provide evidence for it. I would be grateful if you could provide some link for your Australian example so we can analyse it more closely.

  23. Matt,

    I love your argument responding to Jim’s quote: ““Taking money from me, or anyone else for that matter, to provide health care for someone else does not define freedom, not even in the most perverted definition of the term.”

    Your response is absolutely priceless. In effect what you say is “it is ok to steal a little, after all what will you miss…”

    We could take the same sort of analogies to so many of your pathetic little pet causes. For example, if we “illegally inter” a few shit bag muslim terrorists and “torture” them by having big mean men yell at them but we can save the greater population of the world by subjecting a few to a little loss of freedom then it must be A-OK. You socialists are absolutely amazing in your utter hypocrisy. Matt and Crumb I bet you suave, progressive hipsters are a real hit with the ladies. Let’s say I’m not. You get sex all the time from your wife/girlfriend but I don’t get any. How would you feel if I came over to help myself to her because you get more than me? I mean, how much freedom would you two really be giving up? And I would get my share too. Jesus…the crap and lies and thievery you types can rationalize absolutely scares me.

  24. Crumb,

    No I don’t consider what you mention as torture. I don’t even consider water boarding as torture. I was water boarded as a part of SERE school. Do I think I was tortured..hell no. What I learned is that is one hell of an effective way to get someone to break.

    When someone is charged, tried and convicted for the wiretaps I will conceed that they are illegal. Surveillance techniques being caught up in political rhetoric and being ruled upon by activist judges does not make them illegal to me.

    And by the wire taps, I assume you are talking about the ones originating from overseas known or suspected terror agents contacting sympathizers/supporters/financiers/agents here at they local mosque rallying points. Are these the wire taps you are speaking of? If so, no I don’t really care. I will defer to Matt’s defense of stealing a little for health care. If that seems to work for you.

    And taking terrorists/illegal combatants to “ghost prisons” so that some socialists appointed judge won’t let them out on bail and declare that they have constitutional rights…….not too worried about that either. Geneva does not apply to these guys.

    Oh, I know I mentioned that you can’t use Angry Man Olberman and Daily Kos as a source…Matt, I should have mentioned that you can’t use THEIR source, the BBC, as a source either. Their institutionalized left wing bias is “common knowledge to anyone who hasn’t been under a rock for several years.”

  25. Matt and Crumb,

    What never ceases to amaze me about you guys and your ilk is the length you will go to to demonize and denigrate this country and its principles and the spirit with which it was founded and built.

    And I never will understand how you will soapbox so feverishly about the loss of freedom and rights that a few terrorists (who would absolutely laugh at you as they slit your throat and view you types as useful idiots) but that you are so quick to take away REAL constitutional rights from REAL American citizens…rights such as the 2nd Ammendment. WHy is that?

    Notice that the 2nd Ammendment is just that, the SECOND. It is not the 8th, it is not the 187th Ammendment (if there was one) it is the SECOND. Do you think that has any significance. Or can you rationalize it away somehow?

    Personally, I think people like are you dangerous.

  26. Once again, and as always, the commies and socialists and social engineers try to equate guns with crime, and gun control with crime as the cause de guerre.

    Let it be said again: the 2nd ammendment has NOTHING to do with crime, hunting, or any of those lame arguments. It has to do with protecting the citizens from GOVERNMENT oppression – crimes against the citizenry. Which you social engineering types applaud continually every time another heavy handed law or ruling is passed outside constitutional constraints and taking rights away from individuals to give to the “collective”. In short, the 2nd Ammendment is there to guard us all from YOU folks grabbing enough power to do away with ALL our rights through the kind of government you would establish “for our own good”.

  27. What if…. There was no gun control?

    V-TECH SHOOTER: I HATE YOU ALL
    STUDENT 1: look out! He’s got a gun!
    STUDENT 2: Don’t worry, I’ll save us! [STUDENT 2 SHOOTS V-TECH SHOOTER]
    STUDENT 1: look out! He’s got a gun!
    STUDENT 3: Don’t worry, I’ll save us! [STUDENT 3 SHOOTS STUDENT 2]
    STUDENT 1: look out! He’s got a gun!
    Etc

    Remember, kids! Escalation of force is always the solution!

  28. I see, Raul. So, anyone captured and accused of being a terrorist is guilty and doesn’t need a trial. But anyone who performs illegal wiretaps is innocent until proven guilty. Fascinating. Especially considering that there is no ambiguity, and any wiretaps based on secret warrants or no warrant at all violate the fourth amendment of the United States Constitution by their nature.

    But then I read farther down your post and realize that no, you really DON’T know about the government’s wiretaps. Why else would you deflect to another obviously illegal activity and use it to justify the first? Here is some reading material for you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSA_warrantless_surveillance_controversy

    “Geneva does not apply to these guys.”
    It doesn’t apply at all, since the US has been repeatedly repudiating international law as inferior to the Constitution and invalid.

    Nobody wants terrorists to get away. This is something that people on the “right” keep trying to hammer into the collective consciousness, but it is not true. Why do you think people have a problem with illegal detention without trial? It’s not because they’re terrorist sympathizers. It’s because these people, without a trial, have not been proven to be guilty and yet are being treated as though they murdered baby Jesus in the manger. Due process is a part of justice, the most important part of justice, and it must come before punishment, otherwise we may as well all live under Louis XVI or Caligula.

    So, if the BBC and NBC and CBS are not allowable news sources, what are? I guess Reuters is out since it’s owned by GODLESS COMMIE CANADIAN NAZI SOCIALIST TERRORISTS and the AP is a LIBERAL DEATHOCRAT AMERICA-HATING PROPAGANDA INSTITUTION. But hey! I guess MI5 are just as much COMMIE PINKO LIARS as the BBC! The only intelligence agencies are good American ones, like the CIA. What’s that? The CIA opposed the Iraq War and said there was no reason to invade? COMMIES

  29. I am not defending guilty parties. I am defending justice, and the necessity of due process to separate the guilty from the innocent. The purpose of justice is to defend the innocent from the guilty, not to punish everyone equally. If you do not stand for truth, justice, and the American way… then I guess the American way has changed since the golden age. Defending the mutilation of justice is unamerican.

    Evidently the spirit in which America was founded and built does not exist anymore.

    And another thing: Taxes are not theft. What a ridiculous redefinition of the term. Move to Aruba if you have such a problem with paying for the roads to be maintained and the police to be paid.

  30. Taxes are theft if they are not aportioned similarly to all people. If one group of people can vote to raise the taxes on anothter group of people it is theft, plain and simple.

    You want a 40% or 50% tax rate, fine, all citizens must pay the same rate, then we’ll see how beneficial the public thinks taxes are!

    And don’t blather on about how poor people can’t afford it, if they can’t afford it they should not vote for it.

  31. Only the middle class votes based on issues. The rich are powerful enough that they don’t need to vote to get what they want, and the poor are too stupid [read: uneducated?] to vote for anyone based on an intellectual reason.

    “THEY TOOK OUR JOBS” Yes, I’m sure you were just waiting to pounce on that $2.50/hr toilet scrubbing job.

  32. Raul Reddy,
    I don’t really know where to begin with your posts, seeing as they are so utterly confused and contradictory. Let’s start though with your definition of torture:

    “I was water boarded as a part of SERE school. Do I think I was tortured..hell no”
    Clearly, by defining torture as whatever we feel it might be is not intellectually satisfactory, so lets consider the definition quoted at length by that bastion of liberal wishy-washy politically correct socialism, conservapedia:

    “…any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

    Does water boarding fit this definition? Clearly it does. Frankly, it shouldn’t really matter whether water boarding IS or IS NOT torture, seeing as either way it IS a horrific practice that should never be condoned in any circumstances. However, it would seem it needs to be pointed out to you that water boarding does fit into a reasonable definition of torture given that you appear to think it’s OK given that you say you experienced it yourself (although a number of people, including John McCain who would know a thing or two about torture, would disagree with you).

  33. Raul,

    “And taking terrorists/illegal combatants to “ghost prisons” so that some socialists appointed judge won’t let them out on bail and declare that they have constitutional rights…….not too worried about that either. Geneva does not apply to these guys.”

    How do we know they are terrorists? Please tell…..

    On taxes,
    Jim: “Taxes are theft if they are not aportioned similarly to all people.”
    Raul: “In effect what you say is ‘it is ok to steal a little, after all what will you miss…'”

    You sound like some socialists shouting “property is theft” – ridiculous. Taxes are only ‘theft’ if they have not been consented to. We elect a government based on their manifesto, and if that manifesto says “we will increase/introduce new taxes” then you can’t have any complaints as you (as part of the nation) have consented to those taxes. It’s really very basic stuff. On a deeper level, it is unconvincing for you to argue that taxing a percentage of someone’s income is in some way the worst possible restriction on freedom that there is. Surely, in the example I used, the taxation of a wealthy person to fund the freedom of a poor person is a net gain in freedom. No matter how much you scream “theft!” back at me you cannot refute that point.

  34. Oh, and Raul,

    “Notice that the 2nd Ammendment is just that, the SECOND. It is not the 8th, it is not the 187th Ammendment (if there was one) it is the SECOND. Do you think that has any significance. Or can you rationalize it away somehow?”

    I don’t quite see what you’re getting at. If you’re saying that it was the second and is therefore the second most important amendment then I would suggest you read up on American history and stop thinking that the American constitution lives in some ahistorical, acontextual vacuum.

  35. To summarise and revive the debate:

    Taxation is not theft because you receive services like police and firefighters and road maintenance and hydro/electric/sewer systems in exchange for those funds. Defining “differing tax brackets” as theft has no basis in anything really to define it as theft.

    Also, I am not a “liberal” but a Tory conservative – society is organic, and everyone has a duty to provide their fair share to it.

    “Fair” does not mean “equal.” Different people have different means and needs: it is unfair to charge high taxes to those unable to pay and low taxes to those who benefit most from society. “Fair” varies from person to person.

    A question: Jim, if it is evil and wrong and theft for the government to charge high taxes to the wealthy, and evil and wrong and theft to charge high taxes to you [the middle class], and impossible to extract high taxes from the poor, then who will pay for anything? What is a fair tax scheme? One that’s lower for you and for the wealthy? There is little doubt in my mind that you would still complain if there was a flat tax rate: “I pay as much as those useless welfare blobs! The wealthy still fund all of society!!” What possible solution is there to this?

  36. Crumb,

    You are dishonest to suggest, “There is little doubt in my mind that you would still complain if there was a flat tax rate.”

    I have consistently held that a flat tax is the only just system for collecting taxes (http://formykountry.com/?p=95), furthermore I have argued that it would bring more revenue into the government and would establish that all citizens would truly share in the responsibility of supporting our government.

    If people can vote for pain that only others endure, that is invitation for corruption.

    If people vote for Universal Health Care, then they should be happy to increase their tax rate from 17% to 19% to pay for it. If not, then they won’t vote for the tax increase.

    On the other hand, I would be more than happy to have Universal Health Care as long as Crumbunist pays for it and I don’t.

  37. I’m not dishonest. I sincerely believe that you would be unhappy with any tax rate. You sound like my own working class father, always upset with paying taxes no matter what the rate was [until he got wealthy]. I remember the same rhetoric coming from him about low taxes for the poor being unfair and high taxes for the rich being unfair.

    That column is your typical “EVERYONE HATES THE WEALTHY BECAUSE THEY ARE JEALOUS” rhetoric. You only bring up the flat tax in the last paragraph, and the rest is dedicated to your usual anti-bureaucracy, anti-poor, anti-tax, pro-oligarch blather, backed up by zero facts or even reasoned philosophical arguments. Second World countries are hardly a model for America to follow. You know. Since they had Stalinism stifling their economies for five decades and all.

    I do pay for universal health care, and you do not. I wonder who reaps the benefit from that, hm?

  38. Jim,
    “If people can vote for pain that only others endure, that is invitation for corruption.”

    I find it astounding that you think taxing a single mum who earns less than $20,000 the same as a millionaire businessman hurts them both eq. Could you please explain yourself, your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

  39. Damn keyboard – I’ll start over:

    Jim,
    “If people can vote for pain that only others endure, that is invitation for corruption.”

    I find it astounding that you think taxing a single mum who earns less than $20,000 the same as a millionaire businessman hurts them both equally. Could you please explain yourself, your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

    “…I have argued that it would bring more revenue into the government and would establish that all citizens would truly share in the responsibility of supporting our government.”

    For some reason you seem to think that all citizens are equal in their ability to “support government”. This seems once again to be a ludicrous line of argument. It has nothing to do with how much revenue is raised (and it is even less relevant if you spend most of that revenue on the military, as the Bush administration has), it matters how hard you are hitting the people who cannot afford to pay the same as others.

    It would seem perfectly fair for those who earn more and are able therefore to contribute more to be taxed a greater percentage of their earnings given that they owe the opportunities they had in part to the country and society they live in. What, in principle, do you have against this position, other than some nonsense about ‘stealing’?

    Crumb,
    “I am not a “liberal” but a Tory conservative – society is organic, and everyone has a duty to provide their fair share to it.”

    Out of interest, who do you vote for? I too see myself as a Tory conservative (or “one nation” if you like) and have been a Republican voter in the past. However, I recently switched to Democrat as I disagree with the radical, fundamentally unconservative agenda of the Bush administration. Any thoughts?

  40. Matt,

    The flat tax plan exempts incomes under a certain amount, say $40,000.00.

    If you make $50,000.00

    And I make $200,000.00

    With a flat tax I pay 4 times more than you, what’s wrong with that?

    Furthermore, if the progressive tax is such a good idea, why on earth does Barack Obama want to stop the percentage increase at $250,000.00.

    Philosophically it doesn’t make sense.

    If someone making $250,000.00 per year can afford 40%, then someone making $1,000,000.00 dollars a year can afford 50%, $5,000,000.00 should pay 65%, etc.

    Where do we arbitrarily decide some poor small businessman making $200,000.00 per year pay the same rate as Will Smith who makes 50 million per year?

    The flat tax is not arbitrary, the progressive tax system is corrupt and driven by political whim.

  41. I’m not an American, so I vote for different parties than you, under a different system. I vote based on the general attitude of the party rather than the party leader, as he is really only a figurehead. Typically I vote for whomever is in favour of a more efficient and extensive welfare state, and a more progressive, freedom-embracing social policy. This tends to be the Liberal party at a national level, and the Progressive Conservatives at a local level [although recently the local Liberals have been doing a better job at the PC’s jobs]. In this recent US presidential season, I’ve been in favour of John McCain until he went all populist and pandering. Barack Obama sells empty promises, and Hillary Clinton was too much of a mess for me to even understand.

  42. Jim:

    If Barack Obama wanted to continue with progressive taxes going up to higher and higher brackets, you would accuse him of stealing from the wealthy. 65% from millionaires? 70% from multimillionaires?

    It is not philosophically broken to say that everyone should give their fair share, but after a certain point [i.e. 50%] it is more than their fair share.

    And under 40,000 income families would still be sucking down the system’s money under your plan, except the system would have less money because of the lower rates.

  43. “Typically I vote for whomever is in favour of a more efficient and extensive welfare state, and a more progressive, freedom-embracing social policy.”

    One or the other crumb.  A more extensive welfare state is paid for with more government control and less individual freedom.

    No wonder you are so hard to talk to, you don’t even understand how your own goals conflict with themselves.

  44. “One or the other crumb. A more extensive welfare state is paid for with more government control and less individual freedom.”

    Actually, you are very wrong! Shockingly, when the government runs a welfare state [unemployment pay for the poor, developed anti-poverty programs, universal health care] there is no sudden transition to a fascist state! Universal Health Care functions as an extension of public sanitation; instead of simply operating a sewer system or performing home inspections, the government is also responsible for human vectors of disease.

    You also know nothing about what I mean by freedom. I’m not talking about freedom from taxes, which is a pipe dream [an opium pipe dream!] and also selfish and socially irresponsible, but I am talking about breaking down laws and social barriers to personal freedom. Anti-sodomy laws, drug prohibition laws, any kind of discrimination, these are barriers to free action and expression and I very much like to see them go away.

    The people in my country are really very free, and it is a schizophrenic delusion to consider them otherwise. Why look! Here is a chart that says just that!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_in_the_World_%28report%29#Americas

  45. Crumb is not an American? Good, throw is ass in Gitmo and put him on the water board until he admits he is a leftist fool…a dangerous leftist fool.

    Then I will sleep better knowing we are winning the war on mindless ideology.

  46. “Then I will sleep better knowing we are winning the war on mindless ideology.”

    “Crumb is not an American? Good, throw is ass in Gitmo and put him on the water board until he admits he is a leftist fool…a dangerous leftist fool.”

    HOW IRONIC!

  47. Nothing ironic about it. I hate leftists for what they are doing to this country. I hate socialists and imho they should be hanged in the public square and not elected. I hate people that steal the fruits of labor, sweat, and risk of others to pay for their failed social programs that have done nothing but create the socially dysfunctional chaos that only more “socially responsible” and “compassionate” and “ethical” and “fair” and “community-minded” and “for the children” social welfare programs (run by the gummint) can address.

    The insanely hypocritical socialists democrats in this country have done a beautiful job of creating a class of people dependant upon them (and the socialists of course dependant upon the welfare votes) and of creating programs and environments that in turn create problems that of course only more government theft funded programs can address….

    Brilliant…and I though George Bush and the evil Dick Cheney were the evil masterminds of domination…oh wait, no they are bumbling fools. I forget and get confused each time I pass Keith “professional angryman” Olberman’s rant and screed show because that idiot can’t make up his mind. Much like the rest of the left.

    So Crumb, go put on your Che shirt and get your picture take with Uncle Hugo and send your money to Hamas, the FARC and PETA and from your world of drivel and moral high ground continue to lecture us on our evil, hateful, racist, homophobic, anti-diversity, misogynistic, pollute the earth, war for oil ways.

    Why don’t you go do something useful…like protest the use of leather or something.

  48. The irony is that you say that mindless ideology needs to be exterminated, right after using mindless ideology to devise a solution to your problem (TORTURE AND IMPRISON THE FOREIGNER FOREVER THEY ARE NOT PATRIOTS!! BURN THE WITCH!!!). I mean, socialists should be hanged in the square? You’re a raving mad ideological lunatic.

    The rest of your post doesn’t even address a single thing I said, and everything you claim I support is invented along lines of ideological slander. In your misfiring brain, “not-self” equals enemy, and the enemy=LIEBERALS, and of course, your ideology dictates that all liberals are COMMUNISTS, PREVERTS, FAGGOTS, TERRORISTS, and worst of all, VEGETARIANS.

    Honestly, when an ideology becomes a religious dogma to you, you’ve taken it much too far.

  49. Raul Reddy,

    I would suggest that you need to take a time out. If you think Democrats are socialists then you are either deliberately creating an imaginary enemy for your straw men attacks or you truly are insane. I’d say it’s a bit of both.

    You clearly have some deep psychological problems and fantasies of water boarding people and locking them up (which interestingly shows up your true commitment to “freedom” and “democracy”). On the other hand, you also need someone to rage against and the Democrats seem fair game given that they are more “liberal” than Republicans and hence they become the de facto “socialist enemy”.

    I realise it also helps your polemic to tag any policy or program that involves the state as “socialism”, and to smear anyone who advocates any measure of government involvement in social, political or economic life as a “socialist”. However, you may notice once you have taken your tablets that by defining socialism and socialists in this way you are including quite a range of right wing people in your definition. For instance, is George Bush a socialist because he advocates greater public expenditure on the military? Perhaps in your reply you could address the points I have made rather than attacking me for being one of your “socialist” enemies.

  50. I should like to point out something that a Marxist [translation: UNAMERICAN COMMIE WITCH] critic said of socialism in an article I read. They said that socialism is the perfection of capitalism, and really, it makes perfect sense. Socialism oils the machinery, it makes the capitalist system work more effectively because it takes care of all the cogs and flywheels and fanbelts. Of course, a Marxist is opposed to both capitalism and the existence of the State, so Obama is either a socialist or a Marxist. He is one or the other, and you should make up your minds.

    Unless you don’t understand the ideologies of socialism and Marxism beyond “THEY ARE UNAMERICAN NAZI-COMMIES” and other keen intellectual leftovers of the Cold War. But that can’t be the case for a clever band of True Anti-College Patriots, now can it?

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