Archive for category Cliff’s Picks

The War Power, The Sergeant, the Senator: Treason or Heroism

The Sergeant who some years ago left his post in that unnecessary and unwinnable war in
Afghanistan is either a hero, a traitor, or just a terribly young man in the wrong war at the wrong time. He spent terrible years of torture and probably said things he didn’t really mean.

Some years ago in Vietnam, Senator McCain was shot down over Vietnam, another unconstitutional war, and equally unwinnable war, confessed repeatedly to things he later recanted, once safely in the United States, and is, quite rightly regarded, despite his confessions to American war crimes, a hero. The two cases are not quite completely on all fours, as we say in the law. But the similarity is sufficient to compare with each other and with the undergirding of law.

Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, who are visited by war, either their own or, like Obama, inherited from another (in Obama’s case two other) fools who preceded them, have always had this power. While not yet president, and without this act may well not have become president, Ronald Reagan communicated with Iran, telling them, in effect, just to refuse to deal with Carter on releasing our citizens from the U. S. Embassy in Iran, and await his presidency. Their deal (which killed Jimmie Carter’s hope for a second term and by the way was treason, meriting a firing squad.)

The 30, 60, 90 day notification of Congress is also unconstitutional, but not for the reasons the Republicans and Democrats alike, trumpet. Saint Paul, as I recall, said “this trumpet has an uncertain sound.” And I know he said that some leaders have “zeal without knowledge.” This is Republican and Democratic leaders on steroids, just like my former wife.

The reason the War Powers Act is unconstitutional is not what is now said by either Republicans or Democrats, as I told Joe Biden when he was both Minority Senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and when he was chair. I testified before his committee a few times, and he called me at the law school sometimes to chat about this. The reason is simple. Due to both a few but very senior Democrats and almost all Republicans, Congress forced the Demo’s to give the president 30, 60, or 90 days to play with Congress’ army while he picked his nose. War has not been officially declared since FDR did it in WW2. George Bush (the first) and Colin Powell, in my opinion, got it right, constitutionally, by voting 50-50 in the Senate, and then the Dark Lord, Vice President Cheney, broke the tie and we went to war in Iraq the right way by law; and they had the smarts to stop when their limited mission was accomplished. And until this time, the President, as Commander in Chief, has no constitutional power to use the United States armed forces, save self-defense.

In the Framers’ mind that means only when the United States of America, not our allies, are attacked. For Utahns, the reason J. Reuben Clark, my hero and a great patriot, a rock-ribbed Republican who served under many Republican presidents, served variously as chief legal adviser to the Department of State (then, as an deputy Attorney General on loan from Justice to State,,,,,,now called Legal Adviser to the State Department; and Vice Secretary of State, and Ambassador to Mexico; and advised many presidents between world wars one and two, on all arms control treaties between those to dreadful wars) opposed NATO was because it delegated the war power to a generation not yet born and for the defense of people, and nations, not yet born. Neither the United Nations (Korean War) nor NATO (Ukraine?) can declare war for the United States of America. This is the statement of law, the War Clause, that makes this beyond debate. Remember, that it is also the sole right of Congress: not the President of the United States, nor NATO, nor the United Nations, that decides what constitutes International law, as well. So, both Constitutional Law and International Law, save an attack on the United States, inform us that Congress, not the president or these international bodies, who determines for war or peace.

So screw the people and the Congress and president now living. When the president, any president, has this army to use, that army will never return to Congress’ care. This is unconstitutional because it is an illegal attempt to delegate to the President a plenary power, given exclusively, textually, to the Congress. Like the power over interstate commerce (the road by which most civil rights legislation is constitutional), along with the equal protection and due process of law clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. It’s as if Congress were to say to Obama, “Say, friend, we’re so damned tired of life in Washington, despite the cherry blossoms, we will do what the Supreme Court does, and reconvene when good weather returns. We’re going to go to Balboa Island, California, where it’s nice and sunny, in ocean or on the beach, and pick our nose and scratch our butts. And better yet, we have one in eight chances not to pick both with the same finger. Even though we’ve proven, time out of mind, that we in Congress cannot chew gum and pick our nose, simultaneously (a great blessing). So, pres., you now have the taxing and the spending power, and we’ll sweeten the loaf by throwing into the pot, since you do have to stick around in this shitty weather, and give you the power also to fund and provide for the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. And don’t sweat it about financing things by the provision in the Constitution that spending bills begin in the House. Since you already have the taxing and spending power, do all this in the White House. P.S. please instruct the Treasury Department to deliver our checks, our salaries, and all the REALLY big bucks from the armaments industry and all those other lobbyists. We really have earned this right by selling our souls to the devil. Have a good life.

I say that both Senator and Soldier are bona fide heroes. Ed Firmage xoxox


Watch this important video featuring Tim DeChristopher!

Do something. Peaceful Uprising


Critique of Timothy J. Daily Article: “Homosexual Parenting: Placing Children at Risk”

Introducing guest Blogger Diana Black Kennedy (another exception to the ever loosening OneUtah editorial policy).

Follows is Ms. Kennedy’s response to an article written by Dr. Timothy J. Dailey is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Marriage and Family Studies of Family Research Council in which Dr. Dailey attempts to dismiss the “conclusion… echoed in the official statement on homosexual parenting by the American Psychological Association’s Public Interest Directorate, “that children raised in gay and lesbian households fare no worse than those reared in traditional families.”

Diana Kennedy writes:

Specializing in issues threatening the institutions of marriage and the family

Dr. Timothy J. Dailey: Specializing in issues threatening the institutions of marriage and the family (from the perspective of a Bible Thumper)

I have a friend on Facebook with whom I often debate politics. I am the self-described flaming liberal and he is the Mormon libertarian. We have some great debates—always respectful, and always challenging. Recently, during a discussion of the recent Prop 8 ruling, he posted an article by Timothy J. Dailey Ph.D., called Homosexual Parenting: Placing children at risk. This is my critique.

1) Daily spends a lot of time pointing out methodological problems in the pro-equality literature and then totally abandons those strictures in his citing of anti-gay literature.

“Thus, all generalizations must be viewed with caution. . . . Because all uncorroborated self-report data are subject to biases, and because parents may deliberately or unconsciously minimize the extent of conflicts with their children, these findings cannot be accepted at face value.24”

However, when discussing anti-gay literature, he writes: “A survey conducted by the homosexual magazine Genre found that 24 percent of the respondents said they had had more than 100 sexual partners in their lifetime. The magazine noted that several respondents suggested including a category of those who had more than 1,000 sexual partners.31”

Could not the same presentation bias have something to do with over-estimating the number of partners gays have had in their lifetime? Talk to any 22 year old frat boy, gay or straight, (outside BYU, of course) and I think you’d see a similar presentation bias.

Also, in the “comparison with heterosexual couples” section, he offers no direct comparison. He goes from studies of homosexual couples who have been together 1-37 years to look at monogamy, and then compares that stat with heterosexual couples in marriage. I bet if you included hetero couples living together before marriage, the comparison number would be almost identical.

Again, in the comparisons section, he says, ” In Sex in America, called by the New York Times “the most important study of American sexual behavior since the Kinsey reports,” Robert T. Michael et al. report that 90 percent of wives and 75 percent of husbands claim never to have had extramarital sex.36″ Oy. Talk about presentation bias! Someone calls you on the phone and asks if you have been faithful to you spouse–well, you don’t think people may want to present themselves as better than they are? Read the rest of this entry »

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Freeper Literature Reaching New Heights – Cliff’s Pick

There is little grace or beauty in the Obama-Hating crowd. For they are generally dull and uninformed people.

This comment posted on TheDonovan (Johan Goldberg Fans) struck me as uniquely articulate as it is incredulous.  Extra points for writing skills.

A must read.


If by ‘concrete-headed, ignorant, and arrogant group of people,’ you mean those of us who were (and remain) unimaginably pissed off by the unjustified 9/11 attacks on our country, and by the pussified, back-biting, loathsome egoism of the failing-state Eurabians and their US-wannabee-but-can’t-stand-themselves for-it cousins, the Canadians, I can only say I’m glad to be counted among them. Moreover, everyone across the water or the border who doesn’t like it can just kiss my ‘concrete-headed, ignorant, and arrogant’ American a$$.

It may look like strength to people who have no courage, no dignity, and no history of standing up for themselves or taking care of themselves, but from here it looks like little ‘Bama-boy’s taken the ‘please don’t hurt me’ approach to dealing with mean people and bullies. He may have a plan, and he may be following a script designed to play well in washed-up old Europe or among the inbred-misogynists of the middle east or in dying Russia, but most Americans see Europe and even Canada as the Lands of Lost….well…Everything. For many of us, the rest of the West has no strength, no dignity, no reason even to exist, except to take without giving, to demean without leading–to serve as nothing but an example of the decrepitude and self-pitying, pap-eating, soylent green future the rest of the world will face if it follows the same self-destructive path.

And people wonder why I am so totally for open immigration? How could anyone who can think or see what is happening to Europe, Russia, Canada, and Japan not be!

You know, a very smart fellow named Thomas Cahill wrote an excellent book titled “How the Irish Saved Civilization,” in which he discusses how Ireland became the storehouse of western knowledge and culture during the dark ages. It may be a bit of stretch to say so, but as I see it, most of the West is facing another dark ages, except it won’t recover from this one because all the life–the core essence of humanity that fuels our survival–has finally been all but bred out of the overly nice, overly peace-loving peoples of the Western world.

And the US? Well, if we don’t allow ourselves to become like the continental Europeans, if we keep encouraging immigration and letting our nation evolve as new peoples and new bloodlines are added to it, the US will survive intact and probably even prosper. And the connection to Cahill’s book is this: I see the US taking on the role of Ireland during the dark ages. All of us here today, regardless of our status or caste are descended from the smart and the tough who left those old places to find better places. We all carry within us what I’ve heard referred to as the ‘warrior’ gene, which in this case means the essence of that inner fire that makes people fight to survive–the drive that God put in all the strongest species on the planet. If the West falls into ruin and decay, it damn sure won’t be because the U.S. took it there, it’ll be because the old world finally collapsed in on itself, just as the Warsaw pact did in the ’90s

In fact, I suspect India and China are evolving toward primacy on Earth, but the US will be there too, only we’ll be there alone of the western nations (except maybe Britain and Germany, both of which may still have it in themselves to fight their way back from the brink of dissolution). As for the rest, I suspect these are the end days, give or take 100 years, which is really funny considering how the rest of the world looks at the US with disdain and loathing. Personally, I’d say they need to look to themselves and forget about us because the barbarians are hammering at the gates again, only this time they’re bringing babies and a religion that says ‘Europe is a disease. Islam is the cure.’

And finally, although I hate to see Islam win, I can’t say I mind the idea of Europe losing. Maybe it’s time for some new management over there, and the reign of some people who–if nothing else–don’t think of themselves as too smart or too intelligent to talk to God, or too cool to even allow for his existance.  People who may not agree with our choice of God, but who also don’t mock us as ignorant hicks for believing, the way most Europeans do.

And you say we’ve a group of “concrete-headed, ignorant, and arrogant” people?  Yeah, pot and kettle to me, my friend… pot & kettle.



Messing with God’s Perfect Creation & The Fabulous Kingdom of Gay Animals

Re-Posted from July 2006

Asking the opinion of the executive director of Evergreen International if there is scientific basis for homosexuality is akin to asking a chicken farmer if eggs are good for you.  The beguiling nature of the entire article is betrayed in the first sentence “the simple ‘born gay’ theory has faded from the science scene.” You’d have to have just arrived from another planet to have not heard about the just released study known as the “older brother effect”.  It was a feature story on Sixty-Minutes and published in about a million papers and broadcast news.

Evergreen is essentially a boot camp founded by the LDS church to try to get gay men to want to have sex with women, also known as ‘re-orientation therapy.’  Someone should do a scientific study on how effective THAT is.

So it should come as little surprise that The author, Evergreen’s Executive Director’s real thesis can be found in this statement, “The simplistic biological theory has been dismissed by all of the researchers whose studies have been cited to support the notion that homosexuality is so deeply compelled by biology that it cannot change.”


I had to read it several times to get the gist. I think it is saying that no scientist will claim that sexual orientation cannot be changed. So there ya go. If you wanna meddle with God’s perfect creation, Evergreen is for you!

One need not read too far into the article to find the predictable hallmark argument of the anti-gay crowd and most duplicitous manipulation of the uninformed. The Director disguises his ruse like a pro. Let’s examine the words of just one of those (researchers) often incorrectly cited as providing evidence for a “gay gene.”

To date, NO human behavior, let alone sexual behavior, has been connected to genetic markers and it is unlikely that there ever will. Many diverse sources of data have shown that any two individuals are more than 99.9% identical in sequence, which means that all the differences among individuals in our species that might be attributed to genes fall in a mere 0.1% of the sequence.

The Director’s shameless distortion through the use of omission and semantics does not stop there. Citing a recent genetic study by a University of Illinois team, which unsurprisingly found “no [sic] one gay gene.” He selectively summarizes that the lead researcher Dr. Brian Mustanski noted that environmental factors were also likely to be involved, but conveniently leaves out this comment by the same man, “Our study helps to establish that genes play an important role in determining whether a man is gay or heterosexual.”

Be also careful of the use of the phrase “environmental factors” by the snake oil salesmen trying to book rooms at Evergreen. It doesn’t always mean mommy was a monster in jackboots, “environmental factors” include hormonal conditions in the womb.

Lastly, I want to point out the cunning in the sentence, “If the innate-immutable theory of homosexuality has no basis in science” blah blah blah. That’s the same Rovian technique the neo-cons use to ignore global warming. If you need innate-immutable proof before you can accept anything, what are you doing in church?

At least 450 species exhibit homosexual behavior. Interestingly, our closest ancestral species exhibit quite a bit of it. I love this article, “The Fabulous Kingdom of Gay Animals”.

But the best evidence that homosexuality is not a choice is that there is a homosexual near you (You may have even created one), and if you can gain their trust, they will convince you they didn’t choose it.


Nora Ephron – Thinking About Bill (Kristol)

Another real record of this time….and a GREAT piece of writing. – Cliff
Nora Ephron Nora Ephron – Posted November 4, 2008 | 11:14 AM (EST)

As I listened to Sarah Palin’s recent phone call with "Nicolas Sarkozy," I couldn’t help thinking about Bill Kristol.

I think about Bill Kristol far too much. I almost never used to. Before he began writing his Monday column in the New York Times, I rarely saw him on television. Whenever I did, I was mostly mesmerized by his uncanny resemblance to Bob Woodward (whom he no longer resembles) and his incredibly self-satisfied, smug, smirky demeanor. It was my theory that his need to please the Republican White House — a need that seemed to trump his alleged intellect and even the factual evidence on hand — must stem from some unresolved issues with his father, the famous Irving Kristol, one of the first neo-conservatives. But I didn’t dwell on it, because I saw so little of him. And in any case, I truly couldn’t stand him. I just couldn’t stand him.

I don’t enjoy being in this position. I much prefer to be perversely fond of people others find problematic. I am crazy about Pat Buchanan, for example, and I have fantasies of following him around for a day in order to find out what it’s like to never ever be off the air. I am utterly entranced by Keith Olbermann, and I watch his show in much the same way others go to hockey games. Don’t get me started on Chris Matthews: I am practically in love with the guy. But it seemed impossible to find a way to like Bill: he was just too irritating.

And then, unaccountably, amazingly, astonishingly, he was hired by the New York Times to write a once-a-week column. You cannot imagine the thrill of horror that passed through New York on hearing the news. The Times already had a conservative columnist (of whom I was already perversely fond), and one conservative columnist was quite enough, thank you. Then Kristol’s column began. I read it religiously every Monday. And slowly but surely, I became infatuated with him. How could I not? The man could not write his way out of a paper bag. His column was simply awful. Reading it was like watching someone dance on the head of a pin: his need to prove to his base that he hadn’t gone over to the other side was so strong, his need to please his constituency was so moving, that I began to wish he would quit his job as editor of the Weekly Standard and become a Times columnist full-time. It was certainly not going to inconvenience him: the column couldn’t have been taking him more than about twenty minutes to write. And it was great having him there, visible, so people like me could see what people like him were like. He was wrong about everything. It was such a comfort.

In recent months, I have thought about Bill more and more. Every time someone turned over a rock, he crawled out from under it. In Jane Mayer’s recent New Yorker piece on Sarah Palin, for instance, he turned out to be the man who’d discovered Palin, during a cruise of Alaska, and brought the news of her potential stardom back to the New World. And of course he was one of the reasons why we’d gone to war in Iraq. Iraq. Sarah Palin. The man was uncanny. Last week I watched him on Jon Stewart, insisting that McCain might yet pull an upset. "It’s not a psychodrama," he said. "It’s only an election."

People like me sometimes wonder what it would be like to be involved in mistakes that end up killing people; we wonder about sleepless nights and remorse and guilt. Bill Kristol exists to remind us that these are pathetic liberal fantasies, and that some people are never sorry. Only last week I saw Kristol on television continuing to defend Sarah Palin: she was a bright woman, he was saying, who’d simply been mismanaged by the McCain campaign.

Which brings me back to Sarah Palin’s radio phone call with the Canadian comedian who pranked her into thinking he was Nicolas Sarkozy. As I listened to it, increasingly horrified, I couldn’t help thinking about Bill Kristol and hoping that somehow, he would have to spend eternity locked in a room listening to a continuous tape of it.

There are rumors that the New York Times is not going to renew his contract. I just pray they’re not true.

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America IS a Police State: Any questions?

I hadn’t heard about this. I’ll bet most Americans haven’t either.

The obvious question is, how many times each day does this happen in American and an innocent man goes to jail?

PLEASE pass this around. It needs to be part of our national psyche.

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The Enlightenment Changed Everything

Ed Brayton has a great post The Athiests are Coming, the Atheists are Coming! up at his place. In it, he points out a tendency among at least some conservative Christian writes for:

vaguely hysterical writings that get his credulous followers without ever actually identifying what they should feel threatened by, as brilliantly displayed in his latest screed. He begins by expressing just how baffled he is that atheists could actually publish books in Christian America . . .

Read the rest of this entry »

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Larry’s pick: The News From Hell!

The corporate media circus exposed via BradBlog in all it’s commercialized glory. Don’t miss “Lapdogs Of The Corporate Press!

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Larry’s Pick: Losing Your Democracy Can Be Funny

This video from The Onion proves it. You’ll notice the voting machine in the piece is the very one most Utahns will be using until we get informed enough to toss them in the Great Salt Lake and save millions of dollars in the process.

I can dream.

This is not the first time Diebold machines have been used in a comedy sketch. In fact, Letterman, Colbert, Maher, Stewart and many others were getting laughs for years before Utah’s top election officials got excited as a child in a toy store and spent their multi-million dollar allowance in an action that would disappoint any parent, but apparently not the taxpayers.

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The Nexus of Politics and Terror (and Lying)

I wonder how a Bush Lover would hear this? Do they still think the heavy-handed unilateral approach to terrorism is the proper course? Are they really still so afraid they are willing to subvert the constitution and the rule of law?

It must feel like being betrayed by a lover who used and abused you, and having to go home and face your family, head hung low, and admit you were wrong and they were right.

Never in our history have so many Americans had to deal with a sense of having been personally violated and embarrassed before more well-informed family and friends.

What IS the social impact of mass humiliation. Is this case more like Germany after WWI or WWII?


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