Archive for category Tribalism & Blind Obedience to Authority

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

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“God’s Not Dead” – But Your Acting Career Might Be

There’s a Christian movie making its way to theatres this month – entitled God’s Not Dead.  It tells the story of young believer confronted by a dogmatic, inflexible nonbelieving philosophy professor.  Kevin Sorbo, formerly Hercules, plays the cold-hearted professor.  I suspect this film might be a sign that Sorbo’s career is dead.

The trailer  is truly cringe-worthy.  Courtesy of Dan at Camels with Hammers:

If I am viewing the trailer correctly, the core story can be pieced together with little work. The whole message the trailer (and I’m expecting the film) is aiming to Christians who feel intellectually embattled is abundantly clear: “All those intellectual arguments that you get from educated atheists, philosophers, and scientists are all just smokescreens for their emotional problems with God. Real science is on your side and they know it. They hate God in their hearts for some unfair reason. You have God in your heart and know about how wonderful he really is. So if you can just be brave and wave away all their excuses and confront them about why they really say they don’t believe in God, you can save them.”

It’s fascinating to see the Christian persecution complex project onto the screen a bizarro world of inverted reality. The philosophy classroom, which, outside of religious fearmongering, represents intellectual awakening, open-ended speculation, and personal liberation for so many is feared like the Roman coliseum. It represents tyranny and death to people like them. Why? Because for depressingly many Christians anyone who dares to apply the same standards of rigorous analysis to Christian beliefs that they would apply to any other truth claims about the world is trying to hurt them personally as Christians. Because it is so hard for them to separate their beliefs from their identity, anyone challenging their beliefs is challenging them as a person. They are their beliefs. There is no separation between heart and mind and person possible.

Listening to the dialogue in the trailer, I wondered if anyone involved in creating this particular film had actually attended an actual institution of higher learning.  Seriously, watch the trailer, cringe in horror, and worry about the poor benighted abused Christians who actually think this movie represents what its like to attend a real world, secular college.

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Our Political Brains

I stumbled across this article by Joshua Holland at  Bill Moyers website discussing the ways in which psychologists and sociologists are studying cognitive styles and how those styles shape and influence political positions.  The article is an interview of science writer Chris Mooney.  The basic insight that keeps coming up in these studies is that liberals and conservatives think very differently about the world.  Lakoff described as “strict father” versus “nurturant parent”, but that’s just one way of thinking about the differences.

For me, the key insights are in this graph:moral-foundations Read the rest of this entry »

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The US Needs to Start Unraveling the Homeland Security Mess

A good place to start is repealing the disaster that is the Patriot Act.

However, a proposal before Congress right now would limit the scope of the NSA’s information gathering.

The amendment [pdf] basically defunds the NSA’s dragnet collection of every bit of metadata on all phone records as well as other bulk records that have not yet been revealed. The amendment still would allow the NSA to collect information under the original intent—and understanding—of the law, that is information actually related to actual investigations.

Of course NSA supporters are pushing back, including, unfortunately, the Obama administration.  Like too many people in positions of power, the administration and the President seem to in the grip of fear about terrorism and have convinced themselves that any means necessary to keep us “safe” (what that means) are acceptable.  They are mistaken.  Such an attitude only feeds a creeping tendency toward authoritarianism in our culture, one which seems to be growing stronger because too few people in elected office see it as a threat.  We see it in the militarization of police forces, in spying on Americans, in the absurd theatre that is the TSA striptease in airports.  It is fueled by fear and it fuels fear.  I believe it is dangerous.

 

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Ten Years Ago Today . . . And No It Was Not Worth It

I hate looking back.  Ten years ago today the US invastion of Iraq began. 

The push for war with Iraq felt like a time of public madness.  The American media has never been less absolutely incompetent than in those months.  Yeah, the media pretty much sucks now, but back then they were awful beyond the telling of it.  The largest peace rallies in history got no coverage.  American media has spent the last decade hoping no one reminds them how bad they were, how gullible, how insanely biased for the Bush administration they were and how they mindlessly lapped up any lie they were told. Read the rest of this entry »

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Conservative Patriot Gives In: “As half the nation is in sheer awe of this American Idol “rockstar” presidency.”

I’ve followed this Facebook page for several months. Its one of the best in it’s genre; an excellent reference for study of the authoritarian mind and an excellent resource for tracking the Tea Party memes since 2010.

Its run, and run well, by a single person. Id love to speak with him and find out how I’ve been “dumbed-down.”

He posted the following today:

Conservative Patriots of America: Folks, I cannot do this any longer, it is of NO use. As half the nation is in sheer awe of this American Idol “rockstar” presidency, and the mainstream media is further enabling the STUPIDITY & NONSENSE with the dumbing-down of the citizens, Obama has just played his 115th round of golf — lucky he, huh? Well, how about that UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, or the fact that he met with his now defunct “Jobs Council” only FOUR TIMES before dissolving it — or that National Debt, or that China owns us — I mean, REALLY, WHERE do I begin??

I have sat at my computer for nearly THREE YEARS wasting my time & energy on a matter that cannot be resolved. We are less than one month into the second term, and if any of you have any “foresight,” methinks you will agree with me that NOTHING is going to get done, NOTHING is going to get better, and NOTHING can be done about it. I’ve done what I can & that’s about it, there is nothing more I can do or say. I’ll be hanging Old Glory upside-down for the next four years.

Oh, and to the Trolls, P.S. Do NOT talk about Bush’s vacations, the world was a MUCH different place during Bush’s 2 terms — find something else to bring to the table on this presidency.  Join us at: Conservative Patriots of America — on facebook.

Here’s a picture from his page that almost made me want to join up with them “patriots.”

teabagger idiots

Isn’t being anti-choice messing with family?

I sent him a Tweet asking him to contact me through Facebook. I hope he’ll give me an interview.

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“My Conundrum:” A Crack of Light In The Collision of a Conservative Mind and Life: Could TeaPartyCommunity.com Be a Good Thing?

Cade Robinson TeaPartCommunity.com/user

Update 2.6.2012:  It appears teapartycommunity.com blocked my IP, which is exposed by design in our comments. This is remarkable given the amount of effort that must have been invested to not only find this post, but to inspect the comments in order to discover my IP address.  My next post on the subject will be about the astounding hypocrisy of the underlying justification for starting TeaPartyCommunity.com

Perusing the new TeaPartyCommunity.com Facebook-like platform, I was riveted by “Cade’s comment” as an excellent illustration of the tension between high self-conviction and low emotional intelligence in the conservative religious mind.

…which compelled me to read the top post “My Conundrum” which struck me as so perfectly juxtaposed to Cade’s comment as an example of the opposite tension, lower self-conviction, higher emotional intelligence. “My Conundrum” is posted also in its entirety below Cade’s comment immediately below.

Christopher Noyes – Well Cade, you are what we call around here, complicated. Truth is we all are complicated, how we resolve inner conflict plays a big part in determining our character.

Jesus Saves Teapartycommunity.comFirst, you did not abuse the safety net, and I do not believe the safety net ought to be removed. The problem with the safety net is the abuse of it that is cultivated and facilitated for either criminal or political reasons. It is there for people who, like you, had an untimely life threatening event, an emergency of life or death. Reforms may not be able to correct the safety net, and I would rather see it in the hands of the church like it was at one time, but the truth is the only way the government got a foot hold into social welfare is the church abdicated its responsibility a long time ago.

Second, God has never left you, he does not despise you, he has brought all of these things in your life for your edification because you are his adopted son and he loves you. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rodney Boyer’s Opinion on ObamaCare

Sometimes, I see a comment that makes me afraid for our country.

Rodney Boyer's Opinion

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Children are Often Oppressed in Religious Households

“Children are often oppressed in religious households”; when I read that line in Mark Galli’s op-ed over the weekend, I literally stopped reading mid-sentence.  Here’s the whole passage:

But the fact that children are often oppressed in religious households suggests that there is indeed something in religion which tempts parents in this way. That temptation is the inherent human fascination with law and control. People become religious for many reasons, good and bad. One for many is that their lives are completely out of control morally and socially, and they see in religion a way to bring order to the chaos. Religion as inner police. Such adherents are attracted to religions, or denominations within religions, that accent discipline and obedience. This happens — surprisingly — even in Christianity.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Our Multidimensional Crisis: Institutional Breakdown

The signs are all around us – our crisis continues to deepen and to engulf us in its complexity.

Manuel Castells, in the introduction to The Power of Identity:

The Iraq invasion was the return of the state in it most traditional form of exercising its monopoly of violence, and it followed a major crisis of international governance institutions, starting with the United Nations, marginalized by the United States, and the apparent triumph of unilateralism in spite of an objectively multilateral world.  [snip]

Not only was the United States drawn into protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as al-Qaeda wanted, but its inability to build a global governance system led to a multidimensional, global crisis of which the financial collapse of 2008 was only its most damaging expression.[snip]

. . .. in the long term the trends that characterized the social structure ultimately imposed their logic, but in the short term the autonomy of the political agency could oppose such logic because of the interests and values of the actors occupying the commanding heights of agency.  When such is the case, as during the Bush-Cheney administration period, the discrepancy between structure and agency induces systemic chaos, and ultimately destructive processes that add to the difficulties of managing the adaptation of the nation-state to the global conditions of the network society.

Read the rest of this entry »

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A Romney Supporter Reported Me To Facebook? I Am Blocked for 7 Days.

Anyone can report anyone on FaceBook for a violation of their ‘Community Standards.’Facebook gave me a 3-day timeout for suggesting to Tagg Romney that “Obama would pummel your pasty White trash face” had he elected to “take a swing at him.”  It could be fairly construed as over the top in the hypocritical world of LDS Republican Politeness Enforcement. But the 7-day time out I got for my comment on a Utah Clean Politics post suggests Facebook has a serious problem.

Facebook censorship or whiny Republicans or both?

 

To be clear, this action was initiated purposefully and without cause by the same sort of person who finds nothing wrong with the voter suppression going on across the red states with a vengeance. Republican behavior is shameful.

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Fundamentalism Feeding Polarization

In an article at Alternet,Katherine Stewart observes:

There is an obvious answer, and it is, in a sense, staring you in the face every time you watch a political debate or read about the latest antics of Focus on the Family and the AFA. The kind of religion that succeeds in politics tends to focus on the divisive element of religion. If you want to use religion to advance a partisan political agenda, the main objective you use it for is to divide people between us and them, between the in-group and the out-group, the believers and the infidels.

The result is a reduction of religion to a small handful of wedge issues. According to the religious leaders and policy organizations urging Americans to vote with their “Biblical values,” to be Christian now means to support one or, at most, a small handful of policy positions. And it means voting for the Republican party [snip]

When religion is thus reduced to a single policy decision and support for a political party, it becomes shrill and bigoted. This abuse of religion for political purposes has been tremendously damaging for American politics. But it is worth pointing out that it has been destructive of religion, too. According to another poll this month, this one by the Pew Research Center, record numbers of Americans are now reporting that they have no particular religious affiliation. Perhaps that is because, right now, the God of hate seems to be shouting louder than the God of love.

Stewart’s article is a good one, but I don’t believe she pushes her thesis far enough.  I’ve written before about political fundamentalism on the American Right: Read the rest of this entry »

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