Monday, July 6, 2015

The Strange Descent of Antonin Scalia

North of Arkham, the hills rise dark...Oops, wait a minute, wrong monster story.  Let's start over again.

It has always amazed me that Antonin Scalia has been held up so long as a paragon of legal brilliance.  As long ago as the Bush v. Gore decision, it seemed to me that what he had to say was a patently fallacious justifiction for the five Conservatives' action, as brilliantly outlined in Vincent Bugliosi's short book, "The Betrayal of America."  I began to watch the comments of this supposedly great legal mind, and again and again, he seemed to be engaging not in a search for the truth, but for a justification for a predetermined decision, filled with sophistry and contempt for his listeners.  Needless to say, this is just about the worst basis on which a judge can operate; yet he has long reigned as the supposed intellectual champion of the Conservative judiciary. 

I have really wanted to write about this mystery for a long time, but extensive quotes from Supreme Court decisions do not a blog make, particularly one like mine, so I never did it.  What's more, I am not a lawyer, so I suspected that what I had to say, no matter how obvious, would simply be dismissed as the ravings of an ignorant autodidact.  So, I collected some source material and did nothing more.

The intemperate, nonsensical statements of Scalia over the last couple of weeks, however, have pushed me over the edge.  So, I am finally going to say something about his place in the history of American Jurisprudence.  I am going to leave Bush v. Gore to Bugliosi's capable hands, for those who really want to see a Supreme Court Justice eviscerated, and in fact, am going to deal with only two issues: his recent comments, and some of what he had to say in the gun control case of District of Columbia v. Heller, from 2008.  They illustrate two clear phases in his decline, I believe.  I will start with the latter. And just to keep things clear, lets remember the actual text of the second amendment:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Well, here is a little of what Scalia had to say about this seemingly clear single sentence, with a bit of a response from admittedly non-legally trained Green Eagle.  Let's see the masterful logic and grasp of the law demonstrated by Scalia:

"The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home...

The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause."

In other words, even though the framers of the Constitution deliberately put this remark in the second amendment, the only time in the whole Constitution that they qualified one of its passages, it doesn't really have any meaning.  Even though the amendment speaks about the militia, it doesn't have a thing to do with the militia.  I don't think you have to be a constitutional scholar to see that for the absurd rationalization that it is.

 "The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense."

In justifying his position, Scalia cites all sorts of supposed evidence; among them State Constitutions, failed alternatives to the second amendment and even supposedly analogous English law.  What it does not cite is Federalist Paper #29, which along with its brother, Federalist Paper #28, contains the explicit explanation of the intent of the people who actually wrote the second amendment:

 "To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. It would form an annual deduction from the productive labor of the country, to an amount which, calculating upon the present numbers of the people, would not fall far short of the whole expense of the civil establishments of all the States. To attempt a thing which would abridge the mass of labor and industry to so considerable an extent, would be unwise: and the experiment, if made, could not succeed, because it would not long be endured...the scheme of disciplining the whole nation must be abandoned as mischievous or impracticable"

Scalia replies:

"The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing  army or a select militia to rule.  The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved."

But of course, the Antifederalists lost the argument, in favor of the Federalists, people who intended the militia to be controlled by the Federal government:

"If standing armies are dangerous to liberty, an efficacious power over the militia, in the body to whose care the protection of the State is committed, ought, as far as possible, to take away the inducement and the pretext to such unfriendly institutions. If the federal government can command the aid of the militia in those emergencies which call for the military arm in support of the civil magistrate, it can the better dispense with the employment of a different kind of force. If it cannot avail itself of the former, it will be obliged to recur to the latter."

Still, in Scalia's interpretation, thei Antifederalists' word (because it supports his own intent) counts for more than the actual statements of the people who wrote the amendment.  Of course, the Constitution was the result of negotiation between different factions.  But, in Scalia's mind, only the ones who agree with him count for anything.  But then, this is always the Conservative interpretation of original intent.

It should be noted that this absurd argument parallels his treatment of the recent Obamacare case, in which he gave immense weight to the claims of people who had fought the law for years, and no weight at all to the  clear statements of the people who voted for and passed the law.  Opinions only count to Antonin Scalia when they agree with Antonin Scalia; again, not a very desirable quality in a Supreme Court Justice.  And let us remember, we are hearing these all-too-familiar bogus arguments coming not from one of the endless legions of ignorant gun nuts you can find online, but from Antonin Scalia, in whose hands we have placed the fate of our system of laws.

"The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately followed the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms."

What three State Constitutions say is highly relevant in Scalia's mind; the amendment's "drafting history," i.e. the actual words of the amendment's writers, as detailed in the Federalist Papers means nothing.

And let's be clear about this:  there is absolutely no chance that Scalia is not familiar with the Federalist Papers, so this cannot be written off as innocent confusion.

Well, there is so much more, but this should suffice to give you a taste of the Scalia of a decade ago- a person with utter contempt and indifference for anything which does not enable him to do what he wants.  This is the worst sort of judicial reasoning, and makes a mockery of the impartiality that we expect of judges.  However, things were about to take a serious turn for the worse, as we can see when we examine some quotes from his current decision:

"When the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, every State limited marriage to one man and one woman, and no one doubted the constitutionality of doing so. That resolves these cases."

By this reasoning, of course, it would have been a great crime to end the institution of slavery, or to extend the vote to women.  And now a bunch of his miscellaneous remarks:

"But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch. The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003."

"The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic."

"It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; it is something else for the official opinion of the Court to do so." 

"Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality (whatever that means) were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie. Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands, what one can prudently say."

"The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie."

It has also descended from any sort of legal reasoning to cheap taunting on the level of an eighth grade playground argument.

"Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall."

"This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it re-writes the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare."

Note that Scalia reserves to himself the right, as we have seen above, to cite any unrelated thing as a justification for his behavior; he also, as with the second amendment, allows himself the privilege of utterly ignoring what the people who wrote and passed this legislation (still living in this case) had to say about what it meant.

And finally, a little more of this contentious nonsense:

"The Court's next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves..."

"Pure applesauce. Imagine that a university sends around a bulletin reminding every professor to take the "interests of graduate students" into account when setting office hours, but that some professors teach only undergraduates. Would anybody reason that the bulletin implicitly presupposes that every professor has "graduate students," so that "graduate students" must really mean "graduate or undergraduate students"? Surely not."

"The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed ... will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence."

As I mentioned, I am not a lawyer, but like a lot of people, I've had the opportunity to read a few legal documents in my time.  The intemperate phrases above are not a legal opinion; they are a scream of anger at the notion that anyone would dare challenge him.  I would venture to say that the most provincial county court judge would be enraged to think that a submission like this was made to him, with the implication that he could be so confused about the law that it would possibly affect his judgment.  It is simply the scream of a toddler at not having his desires instantly gratified.  It is absolutely shocking that a Supreme Court Justice could permanently  and deliberately degrade the status of the court, and of the American justice system as a whole by placing a statement like this in its eternal record, with the implication that it is legitimate to make decisions based on such name calling and insults.

Again, there is lots more.  But this should be sufficient to chronicle the descent of a supposedly brilliant legal mind into first, a dishonest hack willing to use his position to advance the partisan interests of his backers without regard to truth or decency; and finally into a screaming, angry tyrant with no respect for the country's laws, and a heart filled with rage at the thought that anyone would dare to disagree with him.

Now comes the fun part- taking a stab at why this could happen to someone.  There is a suggestion that Scalia has descended into senility, his once great mind dulled by the passing of years.  I do not believe that is the case, but first a seemingly unrelated digression.

Serial killers are widely regarded as among the hardest criminals to catch.  Their lack of relation to their victims presents a painful problem for detectives, so that often they can go on killing until they make a serious mistake.  Experts in the subject have often remarked that these people, who start out with a belief in their own vast superiority to the common victims they sacrifice, grow more and more convinced of their invincibility with each successive crime, and consequently take less and less effort to cover up their real nature.  This growing lack of respect for their adversaries leads them to let their guard down step by step, until they are identified.  This is, I believe, what has happened to Scalia.  As the years pass; as he has succeeded in removing the real President from office and replacing him with a tool of the rich, as he rules nonsensically that corporations are people, as he defends religious fanaticism and open corruption without ever seeing his reputation and status diminished, as he writes that States are justified in executing people who they know to be innocent,  as he writes opinion after opinion that he knows are utter rubbish, without ever being challenged for his malice, let alone for his legal irrelevance, he has become more and more careless about disguising his belief that his supposedly supreme intellect allows him to do whatever he pleases, without concern for anyone or anything else.  Now, he has reached the point of openly mocking his fellow Justices for their inability to halt his malicious behavior, as certain serial killers have done with the police.  He is not senile, he is an out of control monster, a serial killer of the American Judicial system, turning its rulings into a contest of who has the power to force their will on the country, regardless of right and wrong.  And I give Scalia this much: I do not believe there is a thing the rest of us can do about it.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Wingnut Wrapup

Well, a couple of Supreme Court decisions and a right wing terrorist really have the wingnuts up in arms these days.  Here's a taste:

Alan Keyes, Renew America:  " The demand to take (the Confederate flag) down has more to do with fomenting racial division for political purposes than with any concern over racial bigotry and conflict. Many of the same people who make a show of grieving over the Christians murdered in Charleston have greeted the likelihood of America's Obama-led complicity in arming the Christian-slaughtering terrorists of ISIS without batting an eye."

"The likelihood" of Obama-led complicity in arming the Christian-slaughtering terrorists of ISIS...  "The likelihood."  I guess I don't have to explain what that means, do I?  If he had the flimsiest shred of evidence, he would be screaming it from the rooftops.  But, boy is it "likely" that The Kenyan Usurper is helping ISIS kill Christians.  Yes sir, it surely is.

Alan (a black man, remember) has more to say, about the Civil War:

"Never was a war so righteous fought on lines more susceptible to evil. From Lee's allegiance to Virginia to Sherman's infamously destructive march to the sea, the Civil War foreshadowed the dilemma of Hiroshima"

You see, Lee kept his allegiance to his State, while Sherman was infamously destructive, just like Hiroshima.  It's pretty obvious which side were the good guys in Alan's opinion.  It's a mystery how anyone, let alone a black man, can say something like this, without immediately going out and throwing themselves in front of a train.  Oh well, there is an upside to Alan's position.  If his side had won the Civil war, at least Alan himself would never have been allowed to learn to read and write.

And just to make it clear that it's not just black men that can be colossally stupid when Renew America comes calling, here's a black woman:

Sylvia Thompson, Renew America:  "It is now time for civil disobedience"

Not when your government was destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of helpless people in this country, many of them black like you, no...not when they were killing millions in criminal wars of aggression, or selling millions more into little more than slavery, so the rich could grow even richer... not when cops are gunning down whoever they want, without a shred of, that was not the time for civil disobedience.  Now is the time, when the government is going to let anyone have a marriage license.  Well, you go, girl.  Anyone think Sylvia and her friends will get the same beatings and tear gas that we got back in the day?

Cliff Kincaid, Renew America:  "Overthrow the judicial dictatorship...Commentators have missed the real significance of Justice Antonin Scalia's dissent in the gay marriage case. He calls the decision a judicial "Putsch," an attempt to overthrow a form of government – ours. His dissent, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, was written "to call attention to this Court's threat to American democracy."

It's all okay until the second they make a decision the wingnuts don't like.  Then, string them up.  Because only God, i.e. the American right, can make a judgment.  Cliff continues:

"Scalia understands the power and meaning of words"

Well, Scalia certainly understands the power and meaning of a tantrum.  It's just taking the rest of the country a little while to get used to tantrums from the Supreme Court bench.

Wes Vernon, Renew America:  "BOOK REVIEW: 'Adios America: The Left's Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third World Hellhole'

Too late, Wes.  The right already beat them to it.

Bryan Fischer, Renew America:  "From a moral standpoint, 6/26 has become our 9/11. On this day, June 26, 2015, five justices of the Supreme Court became moral jihadists who blasted the twin pillars of truth and righteousness into rubble. They did this by imposing sodomy-based marriage on the United States through an act of judicial tyranny.   June 26, 2015, is a date which will live in infamy."

Oh come on, Bryan...lighten up.

Mike Huckabee, Washington Times:  "Conservatives can ignore gay marriage ruling like Lincoln ignored Dred Scott"

Well, of course, Lincoln did not "ignore" the Dred Scott decision, nor did he have any tantrums, nor did he call for the Supreme Court to be eliminated, or claim that they were traitors.  What he did do was give a very famous speech, which catapulted him into the national spotlight, in which he said that the Supreme Court had changed its mind before, and that he was confident that they would change their minds about this.  Another Conservative lie about history told in order to get their way, when they know they are in the wrong.

Todd Beamon, Newsmax:  "Ted Cruz on Court Rulings: 'Darkest 24 Hours in Our Nation's History'

Darker than Pearl Harbor.  Darker than 9-11.  Darker than the day the South started the Civil War.  Sheesh, what an idiot.

World Net Daily:  "Don't let U.S. flag become extinct on July 4!"

What, are there no breeding pairs left?  Are hunters killing flags for their ivory?  Oh, thank heaven, it's just another try to get money out of their stupid followers, by buying a flag for July 4th. 

Doug Wead, World Net Daily:  "Why Rand Paul reminds me of Reagan"

Because you're really stupid?  Because Rand Paul is really stupid?  Okay, I give up...what lunatic nonsense are you trying to force down our throats now?  Oh, forget it.  Let's just move on.

Ann Coulter:  "The Confederate flag we’re talking about never flew over an official Confederate building. It was a battle flag. It is to honor Robert E. Lee. And anyone who knows the first thing about military history, knows that there is no greater army that ever took the field than the Confederate Army. "

Yeah, I'd like to see them go up against the Wehrmacht.  Let's see how Lee's army responds to an attack by a bunch of FW-190's, or maybe eight or ten thousand tanks.  Listen, Ann: the issue is not what a great fighting machine they were; the issue is that they were a bunch of traitors fighting to maintain one of the worst barbarisms in world history.  Got it straight now?

Guy Benson, Town Hall:  "No, Mr. President, the Obamacare Debate Isn't Over"

Why would we think it is?  The debate over your fucking Confederate flag isn't even over.  And here's a little more from Mr. Benson:

"Fail: Another Terrible Week for Obamacare "

Another few terrible weeks like this one, and Obamacare will be declared the greatest written document since the Bible.

Hank Adler, Town Hall:  "GOP - A Bold Response to the Supreme Court...Immediately, Congress should pass very straight forward, concise and meaningful changes to Obamacare."

They haven't done anything but blab about that for five years.  I just know things are going to be different now that the court slammed the door in their faces.

Brent Bozell, Town Hall:  "So Much for the Free-Speech Left..To look at virtually anything produced by Hollywood is to register confirmation that the libertine left cherishes clogging our popular culture with vulgarities."

Listen, Brent:  "Hollywood" is not the left.  You've been screaming about Hollywood for years now- one would think you would have figured that out already. Hollywood is a bunch of huge corporations shoving each other out of the way as hard as they can to snatch a few dollars out of the hands of people all over the world.  That's not my idea of the left- it's actually like virtually every corporation on earth.  Although at least Hollywood has some kind of scruples.  I mean, they haven't made a blockbuster movie glorifying slave owners since 1939. That's something.

Humberto Fontova, Town Hall:  "While liberals applaud how the smiling, slobbering, tail-wagging Obama recently rolled-over yet again for Raul Castro (plan to open U.S. embassy) Cuba-watchers remind that the U.S. Constitution is again being trashed. "

Imaginary slobbering is violating the Constitution?  Well, I guess it is, if that's all they've got.

Justin Haskins, Town Hall:  "Supreme Court May Have Saved Obamacare, but It Doomed Young Americans’ Health Care Options"

Yeah, it doomed their option to have no health care coverage at all.  I'm sure they will be very angry once they realize that.

Daniel Davis, Town Hall:  "Unspeakable: ISIS Has Executed Over 3,000, Including 74 Children"

This must be particularly painful to Republican favorite Rick Perry, who only managed to preside over 278 executions.  No children, but a few mentally disabled people.

Charlie Martin, PJ Media:  "Let’s Start Calling Public Schools What They Are: One of the Biggest Swindles in History. What else would you call it?"

I'd call it a sacred obligation that we owe to future generations, and which you Republicans are too God damned greedy to acknowledge.

Bridget Johnson, PJ Media:  "Revealed in Hillary Emails: 2009 Iran Hostage Case Got Special Attention..."

And this is the smoking gun that they found after reading thousands of pages of e-mails.  Well, I guess she's finished now.

Andrew McCarthy, PJ Media:  "No, GOP Candidates Did Not ‘Embarrass’ Themselves in Rebuking the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling"

They aren't capable of feeling embarrassment.

Bryan Fischer, Renew America:  "When it becomes illegal for Christians to hold public office...The Supreme Court last Friday, through an act of judicial tyranny, made sodomy-based marriage a part of the Constitution.  Mark my words on this. The ultimate outcome of this unconscionable act is that one day, before too long, it will be officially illegal for Christians to hold public office in the United States."

Yeah, sure.  I'm putting my money on the Cubs winning the World Series.  Nine times in a row.  That will happen before Bryan's prediction comes true.  Bryan continues:

"The left will argue we cannot let an individual with such antiquated and virtually racist views assume public office. We must have officeholders who will uphold and defend the entire Constitution, not just the parts he likes, and see that all its laws, not just the ones he likes, are faithfully executed. This man will not in good conscience be able to do that, liberals will argue. He must not be allowed to threaten our entire system of government through his refusal to endorse this most fundamental and basic human right."

Well, that is what decent people have been arguing for years.  But of course, we restrict ourselves to voting out jerks like that when we can, not, say, getting some fascist billionaires to rig the system so good politicians can't win, like Bryan's side does.

Donald Hank, Renew America:  "What's behind Bolivia's economic success?"

Cocaine?  That's my guess.

Well, enough.  See you soon.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Gaza Delusion Reaches a New High

Here, from a recent article in the Washington Post, are a couple of interviews with Palestinian spokesmen, about the issue of whether the state of Israel is occupying Gaza.  Since there is not one single Israeli in Gaza, this would seem to be an easy question to answer, but things are never that simple where Palestinians are involved.

First, let's remember the background.  Israel withdrew all of its military and Jewish civilian population in 2005, in an act of what might be considered self-ethnic cleansing:

"The Israeli disengagement from Gaza (Hebrew: תָּכְנִית הַהִתְנַתְּקוּת, Tokhnit HaHitnatkut; in the Disengagement Plan Implementation Law), also known as "Gaza expulsion" and "Hitnatkut", was the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Gaza, and the dismantling of all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip in 2005. Four small settlements in the northern West Bank were also evacuated...The Gaza Strip contained 21 civilian Israeli settlements...

The disengagement was proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, adopted by the government on June 6, 2004 and enacted in August 2005. Those Israeli citizens who refused to accept government compensation packages and voluntarily vacate their homes prior to the August 15, 2005 deadline, were evicted by Israeli security forces over a period of several days. The eviction of all residents, demolition of the residential buildings and evacuation of associated security personnel from the Gaza Strip was completed by September 12, 2005..."

Well, on with the story:  The Washington Post interviewed two Palestinian spokesmen for their views on this issue, Raji Sourani, human rights lawyer for the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza and Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian lecturer of political science at Birzeit University in Ramallah, West Bank, and a former Palestinian minister.  Here is some of what they have to say, punctuated predictably by a few squawks from Green Eagle.

"Q: Does Israel still occupy Gaza?

A: Gaza is definitely still occupied, and Israel is still the belligerent occupying force, and they have no right to enforce this illegal, inhuman collective punishment. It is entirely against the Geneva Convention."

The first incident in the entire history of the human race of Occupying From Another Country.  Those tricky Jews.

"Q: Israel says it withdrew from Gaza, so how can you say it's still occupied?

A: This is a very well-known trick. Whenever they want to, they can occupy Gaza again...This claim is ridiculous."

Note that by this standard, the United States occupies Canada, since we could occupy them any time we want.  By the way, doesn't the statement "they can occupy Gaza again" pretty much admit that they are not occupying Gaza now?  Those tricky Jews again- they can occupy a country even when they are not occupying it.  Could there be a greater example of patent absurdity?  And yet, most of the nations of the world seem to accept this nonsense as a legitimate argument.

"Gaza has not been rebuilt since the [Israel-Gaza war] of 2008/09, and it is not rebuilt after three wars because Israel does not want to do that."

Well, how about if someone else does it; say the Palestinians themselves?  They get plenty of foreign aid money, and they can bring the supplies in via their border with Egypt, but of course they have other uses for that money- namely to enrich their leaders, who cannot, of course, be changed because Hamas did away with elections after it took control.  This is, predictably, Israel's fault

"Israel can decide to kill anyone anywhere in Gaza. They can do what they want in Gaza they are the secret power."

The "secret power."  I see.  You know what? Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and a whole bunch of other countries can do whatever they want in Gaza too.  So I guess they are all occupying Gaza.  In fact, any country with an air force could do the same.  Gaza-occupied by about eighty countries at once.  No wonder things are so bad for them.

"If there is no occupation power, then why is there a siege on Gaza?"

Maybe because otherwise, Gaza would be flooded with weapons for another attack on Israel?  Oh no, who could think a religious leadership like Hamas would do that?

Q": Does Israel still occupy Gaza?

A: Yes, it does, and this is not only the view held by Palestinians. It is also seen this way by experts in international law, who confirm the Palestinian understanding that Israel did not withdraw from Gaza but merely redeployed from inside Gaza to around it."

This is one of my favorite comments in a long time.  Israel did not "withdraw" from Gaza, but merely "redeployed" by removing all troops from Gaza.  In fact, since there are no Israelis in Gaza, there is no way that they could satisfy demands to cease "occupying" Gaza except by committing mass suicide. 

This sort of thinking, by the way, is the result of humoring the Palestinians about their endless distortions of their history.  They are at the point where (sort of like Republicans) they no longer feel a second of shame at uttering the most preposterous, malicious falsehoods.

"The presence of the Israeli army inside Gaza was removed, but the Israeli military still controls the borders of Gaza, meaning the Gazans do not have control over their borders and, consequently, their movement and movement of goods going into and out of Gaza.

I am not a legal expert, but I would say that Israel’s control over the borders is a continuity of the occupation."

Well, I am not an expert either, but as far as I can remember, when you pull all your people out of a country, you are no longer occupying it.  So, now they insist that Israel abandon control of its own borders with a country whose government  is at war with it.  I'd like to know of the last time that was ever considered a fair demand.  During World War II, for example, was it a war crime for England to not allow free entry to German troops?  That is the standard of non-occupation the Palestinians are demanding of Israel, and it serves as a perfect example of how irrational their position is.

"Q: Israel says it has relaxed restrictions on goods and people going in and out of Gaza, and figures from international organizations show the numbers of both are up in 2015.

A: Israel increasing its restrictions or relaxing its constrictions confirms the idea that Israel is controlling the border. When it is in Israel’s interest, they relax restrictions. This means that Gaza is under Israeli control."

Even relaxing restrictions is a sign of evil intent. Because, Jews.  And because the Palestinians know that no matter how vicious their claims are, a large part of the world will just swallow them whole.

"Q: Israel says it controls the crossings because of Hamas rocket fire.

A: The Israeli restrictions, Hamas rockets and all other aspects of the conflict all take place within the framework of an illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories. We have resistance and rockets; sometimes it's legitimate and sometimes it's an illegitimate means of resistance, but it's all because of the occupation."

Translation:  Anything we want to do- aggressive war, terrorism, sabotage, it's all fine because we say that we are the good guys.

"Evacuating part of Palestinian territory, changing the form of control from inside to outside, does not mean the Palestinians should give up on their efforts to get complete freedom."

And in case you don't get what the guy just said, according to him, evacuating part of "Palestinian territory" is not enough.  Nothing is enough until all Jews in Israel are slaughtered and the country is obliterated, so this currently vibrant, economically strong state whose two million strong Arab community enjoys a standard of living about ten times that in the surrounding countries, can join its neighbors as a war torn hellhole of ethnic slaughter.

And don't forget- a large part of the world's supposedly sentient residents will buy into all of it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Wisdom of Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz speaking about Karl Rove:

"I never imagined that his response would be a straight-out falsehood." 

I can't even figure out a way to make fun of that.

Do They Ever Think

how utterly lame and idiotic they look to the rest of us?

Today's exhibit:  Harold Covington, whose writings apparently had a big effect on Dylann Roof:

I guess that a lot of people thought Hitler was a fool too, until he took over Germany, but I'm betting that this is not the guy who is going to lead the next Aryan revolution.  And I love the Haroldjugund member there, and a guy that I think I remember from some Monty Python skits.

They're Not Giving Up Yet

The Confederate flag huggers are apparently not quite ready to pack it in.  Here they are, in Dalton, Georgia, showing their mighty force, and also showing how they normally end up.  Video with an excellent voiceover:

Courtesy of Crook and Liars.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Confederate Might on the March!

In keeping with Green Eagle's long tradition of bringing you the most up to date information on the great Conservative tide that is sweeping the country (right back into the 16th century,) here is a demonstration held today at the South Carolina State Capitol, supporting the importance of seeing to it that the American Swastika remains a vital symbol of our country's values:

Hmm, let's see... it's a little hard to tell because so many people are kind of obscured by their sacred symbol, but I'd put the attendance at about 30.  TEH REVOLUTION IS ON THE MARCH!!!!!!1!!11!!!!11!!!

Oh, and later, some woman took it upon herself to just shimmy up the pole and cut the damned thing down.  Finally,  a sensible response to all of this.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Wingnut Wrapup

You just know it's going to be good times for hunters of right wing delusion, over the next few days.  So, let's get to work:

And first a new height in malignant abuse from the Christian right:

Cortney O'Brien, Town Hall:  "Texas Gov Bars Planned Parenthood From State Cancer Screening Program...All the good pro-life news seems to be coming from Texas lately.   While Planned Parenthood supporters can’t fathom why the governor would be so cruel as to bar the organization from a program that provides health screenings to women, the necessity to do so comes down to one word: abortion"

Because of course it does.  Because it's so "pro-life" to let people die of cancer in order to push your lunatic religious agenda.  Because if they have to temporarily ease up on manipulating the Dylann Roofs of this world to murder for Jesus, they have to find another way to kill.  Because that's just the kind of people they are.

Katie Pavlich, Town Hall:  "US Under Highest Level of Threat...Ever"

Katie illustrates her article with this photo, of some guys carrying flags halfway around the world. 

I think she's a little off base.  Maybe she should have used this photo of a guy with a flag.  He's ahead of the other ones by a score of nine to one.

David Limbaugh, Town Hall:  "Of all the annoying things President Obama does, one of the worst is his hectoring Republicans and conservatives for their partisanship when he is the quintessential divisive partisan."

Unlike your brother, huh, David?

Ken Blackwell, Town Hall:  "The Impending Collision of Obama’s Failures...Like two speeding trains heading toward the same collapsed bridge, the dangers and failures of Barack Obamas foreign, economic, and social policies are heading rapidly toward implosion."

Yeah, Ken makes a really good point about Obama's failures.  Like his failure to start any three trillion dollar wars, his failure to cause a gigantic economic collapse, his failure to massively increase the budget deficit like all good Republican Presidents do, his failure to make a few hundred million more people around the world hate us, his failure to do the Koch brothers' bidding...well, you get the idea. 

And here's an important contribution to our current national dialogue:

 Mark Nuckols, Town Hall: Tarring Conservatives With The Brush of "Domestic Terrorism"...There is already a rush to call Dylann Roofs murder of nine black churchgoers in Charleston an act of domestic terrorism. This is a deliberate political strategy, intended by its ultra-liberal authors to transform this terrible tragedy into an indictment of American conservatism"

While it is really, apparently, one of American Conservatism's crowning achievments.  Here's a little of Mark's reasoning:

"How is Dylann Roof’s insane act of multiple murder different from (examples of Islamic terrorism)? Well, to go back to the legal definition, the PLO and al-Qaeda operations were carried out in furtherance of clearly articulated political objectives."

Whereas starting a new civil war and driving black people out of the country are not, apparently, clear enough political objectives.  

Nicholas Ballasy, PJ Media:  "Fiorina: ‘We’d Better Have a Nominee Not Afraid to Throw Punches All Night Long’

Too bad they can't find one that isn't afraid to act sane all night long.

Bridget Johnson, PJ Media:  "Unite to Demand Confederate Flag Come Down...Governor says while not all who display the flag are racist, fact that it "causes pain to so many" is enough to move it."

Yeah.  The pain she is worried about is the pain to "so many" Republicans, of not getting re-elected.

Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit:  "Statues of Confederate Generals Vandalized in Texas"

Oh, so sad.

And could this be the biggest lie/projection ever told about Barack Obama?

Ed Lasky, American Thinker:  " Barack Obama is a master of trading future calamity for temporary gratification.  As is true of most addicts...He doesn’t seem to even care about the future world he will be leaving behind."

This, from the guys who deny the existence of global warming and who spend most of their time trying to start more wars.

Selwyn Duke, American Thinker:  "Keep the Confederate Flag Flying...What currently exists is an emotionally charged environment, and, as a rule, that’s the worst possible time to make decisions"

When is the best time to make decisions (except ones involving cutting taxes on the rich)?  Never.

"And make no mistake about it, the current drumbeat to hang the flag is the mob’s handiwork..."

Because only the mob could want racial equality.  And let's not forget the most important reason of all for flying that mighty flag high:

"In this, these “conservatives” side with Barack Obama"

Can't have that. 

Ann Coulter, Town Hall:  "Thank God it's extremely rare for whites to target black people for attack."

Well, maybe we can't count brown people as black people, or we would have that little thing of the three million dead in Vietnam and the one million dead in Iraq. 

Derek Hunter, Town Hall:  "Never ones to let a good crisis go to waste, Democrats made overtures on gun control. But after being unable to articulate a single proposed law that wouldve prevented the attack, they moved to plan B: the Confederate battle flag."

How about this proposed law:  Anyone who sides with the Republicans can't even own an X-Acto knife, let alone a gun.  That would have stopped this particular tragedy.

And boy are they angry at the Supreme Court.

Leon H. Wolf, Red State:  "For all the liberal bloviating about the new direction of SCOTUS under CJ Roberts, today’s opinion in King v. Burwell demonstrates that essentially, nothing has changed. The court is still forced into feckless pragmatism whenever a conservative principle is at stake, but is perfectly willing to venture beyond the expressed will of Congress in order to advance liberal agenda items on their own initiative."

It's a little hard to remember that the guys that Leon is talking about here are the ones who said okay to Citizens United and who put George W. Bush in the White House; the ones who said we don't need civil rights laws any more because there aren't any racists left in America any more.

Bridget Johnson, PJ Media:  "GOP Vows to Keep at Obamacare Repeals, Make It 2016 Issue"

Because, what else would they do?  I wonder what bogus lawsuit they will come up with next.

Roger L. Simon, PJ Media:  "90% of the Racism in America Comes from the Democratic Party and the Left.  My conclusion is inescapable."

Of course it is.  Because you are a Republican, and for you, lies about Democrats are always inescapable.  So, get on with it.  We barely hear it any more.

Tom Harris, PJ Media:  "The Pope’s Climate Letter Urges ‘Dialogue with Everyone,’ So Why Did Vatican Single Out and Harass Us?"

Uh, maybe, because you are the only people left on earth that won't face reality on the issue?

Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit:  "Breaking: House Republicans Considering IMPEACHMENT of Partisan IRS Commissioner"

If he's a Democrat, he's standing in a long line.

Cliff Kincaid, Renew America:  "A Russian link to the Charleston massacre?"

Yeah, that's the ticket, it's the RUSSIANS!  Anyone but the good old White American right wing haters that the murderer said were behind it.  Some day they will face the truth about themselves.  Nah, who am I kidding?

And while we are on the subject:

World Net Daily:  "Is the problem 'racism' – or demonic evil?  Exclusive: Pat Boone challenges Obama to recognize source of ongoing violence:

I think I'll go with racism.  Really, which would you pick?

And now a really well-meant suggestion from a wingnut:

Fay Voshell, American Thinker:  "conservatives must cry out loudly, Halt! Stop the iconoclastic frenzy.   Next, let’s insist on telling history, including the history of the Civil War as it really happened in all its facets.  Tell the good, the bad and the ugly history of the South, the North, the East and the West.  Tell the truth. Tell it all -- the whole miserable, glorious, mixed up, fascinating and complex mess.   

Keep the flags.  Keep the statues.  Keep the portraits.   Teach about them."

Well, that's a good idea.  And what should we teach?

"Son, this is a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest.  He was brilliant and courageous in battle, but he was brutal."

Oh, and he founded the KKK.  I guess that wasn't worth mentioning.

 "This park named after Robert E. Lee?  Daughter, he was brave and a gentleman who was worshipped by his men, but it is said he was cruel to his slaves."

And he was a traitor who deserted his country to lead the fight against it, in furtherance of one of the most revolting practices in the history of mankind.  Again, I guess that didn't make the list of things worth including in our history lessons. 

"This portrait of Jefferson Davis, whose statue Mitch McConnell now wants removed from the capitol of Kentucky? Davis, my dear girl, argued against secession, but believed each state had a right to secede from the Union."

Of course, whatever Jefferson Davis did or didn't believe, he did agree to lead the country that fought a war of treason against the United States.  Once again,I guess that fact is just too insignificant to include in the rolls of history, which has a different meaning, I guess, to people like Fay than it does to the rest of us.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Oh, That Will Help With the Confederate Flag

So, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina says that they need to wait to consider removing the Confederate flag from the grounds of the State Capitol, because people need time to heal.

You know what, Governor Haley?  We've been giving you Southern traitors 150 years of "time to heal" from the Civil War, and you know what we've gotten?  If you are not sure, ask the people at that black church in Charleston.

How much "time to heal" are we expected to wait before we can remove the American Swastika from your State Capitol?  Another 150 years?  1,000 years?  Or just until the rest of us give up and let you have your slaves back?

Well, screw you.  As far as I am concerned, the "time to heal" you get is enough time to cut that damned thing down and be done with it.  More than that, and we will know that you are a traitor too.

Update:  So, she caved, along with a lot of other Republican demagogues.  Is there a person in the country that thinks they did this out of any kind of sudden moral awakening?   They are running scared, and if
Democrats aren't terminally stupid, they will keep them running until Republicans have all run out of the country.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Lost Cause

It should, unfortunately, be obvious to all of us that, no matter what barbarities are perpetrated on us by out of control, violent haters with guns, the Republican party is so in thrall to their corporate masters that there is never, in the foreseeable future, going to be a chance to stop them from polluting our country with more and more guns, in the hands of people so out of control that they shouldn't be allowed to own a slingshot.  So, if we are to have any hope of a better society, we must turn to something different.  This is my suggestion for how to do it, or at least a necessary way to start.

We need to attack the grotesque irrationality that has allowed an endless succession of malicious  notions to flourish on the right.  They start with things like denying the existence climate change or Keynesian economics, subjects which require some degree of knowledge to understand, and are, consequently easy prey for liars. And once people get accustomed to believing the word of corporate shills, or just whatever they want to believe, it's only a short step to claiming that liberals are the real racists, in fact they are really Nazis, that people who actually know something are in a vast conspiracy to destroy freedom, that the world is 6,000  years old, that the twice-elected President is a Communist Muslim plant dedicated to crushing the country, that cutting taxes raises revenue, or any other evil, self serving thing they can think of.

I don't want to write about this in general here; we all know it is true.  I only want to talk about one particularly malicious specimen of this behavior; one that is not mentioned that much these days, but which, in its conception and its results, is one of the worst of all of these delusions: the notion of the "Lost Cause."  This is a horrible falsehood which has existed now for close to two hundred years, and which initially flourished in the aftermath of the (God, why do we still have to talk about this?) Civil War.  Here's a good brief description:

"In the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, a number of white southern writers and political leaders worked to construct a favorable history of the old South and the Confederacy.  Seeking vindication of the white South in the wake of seemingly crushing defeat, they resurrected pro-white southern imagery and ideology of earlier years.  In doing so, these advocates for the white South constructed a “Lost Cause” mythology and memory of the Civil War and white southern history and culture.  Specifically, they celebrated the South’s natural beauty and idyllic plantations, supported a white supremacist racial hierarchy in southern society, claimed liberty as a southern principle and the American Revolution as southern heritage, wrapped their sectionalism in a constitutional theory of state sovereignty, and nostalgically glorified the southern past.  In pushing these ideas, these postwar “Lost Causers,” such as former Confederate president Jefferson Davis and the then-famous Virginia journalist Edward Pollard-whose 1866 book, The Lost Cause, probably coined the phrase with its title-picked up where earlier white southern advocates had left off, working to construct a public memory that would sustain earlier white southern advocates’ vision of an ideal South and white southerners."

And a little more:

"Many people have made the point that, for all their alleged disdain for “revisionist” history, those who hold to a “Southern” view of the war are themselves embracing an explicitly revisionist historical narrative. It’s a narrative that was carefully crafted in the decades following the Civil War to exonerate the Confederate cause, depict Southern leaders in the most flattering and noble way possible, and to undermine or denigrate the Union effort to highlight the contrast. This effort, which lies at the core of the Lost Cause, probably reached its zenith in the second decade of the 20th century. But with a few concessions to modern sensibilities — e.g., “faithful slaves” have now become “black Confederate soldiers” — the narrative remains largely as it was a century ago, and is held dear by many. But great longevity doesn’t make a revisionist narrative any less revisionist."

It is important to understand that the proliferation of this tendentious, nonsensical history, was a product of an implicit bargain:  In return for Southerners ceasing their treasonous, evil and murderous years-long rampage and returning to the role of decent citizens, the rest of us would agree to let them pretend that they were noble patriots struggling to preserve the natural order of things, rather than the killers and traitors they were.  So, Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were let go, their criminal followers were allowed to return to their former lives unpunished, and we all assumed that an end had come to that. 

Except, of course, for the inevitable fact that, being right wingers, they refused to keep their end of the deal.  The vicious abuse of former slaves continues to this day, fueled by an absolute refusal to accept the truth about what happened, and the demagogues who are so plentiful in their midst still insist on portraying them as the true victims of the era of slavery and the war that took 600,000 lives to end it.

So, we are not going to get reasonable restriction on guns any time soon, but at the very least, we can come down hard on the right wing liars who incite damaged creatures like Dylann Storm Root to carry out their terrorist acts.  This means that, from now on, none of us should ever let a reference to anything good that supposedly came out of Southern treason to go unanswered.  We must recognize the Confederate flag for what it is: the American swastika.  We must never tolerate again the supreme lie that the the Southern rebellion was about anything other than allowing the 1.2% of Southerners that owned slaves to continue living off the misery of others.  We must make it clear that all of them, including the supposedly saintly Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were deeply evil people who betrayed their country to maintain one of the greatest possible crimes against humanity- people who were granted their freedom in return for some sort of display of regret for their behavior- a display which never materialized.

And as a specific, many of us were forced to memorize the Gettysburg Address in school.  There is another document that needs equal exposure to that short speech: the so-called "Corner Stone Speech" delivered in 1861 by Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederacy, which lays out the true purpose of the Southern rebellion.  Here is a sample; the link will take you to the rest, if you can stand it:

"The new constitution (of the Confederacy) has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution...The prevailing ideas entertained by (Thomas Jefferson) and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away...Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth."

There is the unvarnished, ugly truth, and it is time to cram it down the throats of Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Bill O'Reilly and every other right wing hater that denies this.  It is that denial that is currently able to hear the most clear statements from Dylann Storm Root himself about the racist, white supremacist nature of his cause, and invent any kind of utterly ludicrous lie that serves to deny the obvious truth.

We cannot afford that denial any more.  We cannot afford to leave unchallenged the disgusting, hateful beliefs that allow it to exist.  If we cannot stop miserable little worms like Dylann Storm Root from getting their hands on lethal weapons, we must at least deny right wing leaders our consent to spread their hatred without challenge, in a manner that will inevitably produce more Dyall Storm Roots.  At this point, we cannot live with the forebearance that led our ancestors to let the Southern traitors go home in peace, to believe anything they chose, if only they would stop murdering people in the name of one of the most hateful causes in human history.  It is the duty of every American with a decent heart to not shy away from confronting the evil that has infected our country.  Sorry, this is not a solution that promises any quick progress toward ending something that is clearly a monstrous evil in the eyes of any sane person, but I just can't think of anything else to do.


A couple more sites about the Lost Cause, if you are interested:

I don't want anyone to think there is a bit of question about what happened here.  Offering this deal, in a spirit of magnanimity, was a tragic mistake.  We now see the tremendous damage that was done when we allowed the Southerners' hateful myth to outlive their treason; it is time to correct that error.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Whole Wingnut Wrapup in One Post

And by whom else, but the Dumbest Man on the Internet, Jim Hoft?

"Like a Typical Leftist...Mass murdered Dylann Storm Root is sounding more and more like a typical disgruntled leftist."

Uh huh.  A leftist.
Yeah, that's what he is.  Wanting to start a new civil war, repeating the most worn out attacks on Jews, raving on and on about how worthless black people are...a typical leftist, for sure.  Well, thanks, Jim.  After that, Green Eagle doesn't have to ever do another thing to document how truly deranged and evil the American right is.

Friday, June 19, 2015

And Yeah, This Hits a Little Close to Home for Me

Yeah, I lived in Charleston, SC.  Here's a map showing where I lived, and the church where this massacre took place:
Just a few minutes' walk, from my 1710 carriage house, down a street filled with historic buildings, and there you are- a location that became historic this week, thanks to all the white haters in this country who got together to enable this guy to believe that what he did made total sense.