Westboro Supreme Court mis-rule

SUMMARY: This isn’t Free Speech, it’s freedom of politico-(pseudo-)religious gang-persecution organized on a national basis against random mourners (as such) uninvolved in the grievances supposedly being protested by Funeral Invasion.


Mob pseudo-religious persecution of mourners’ Free Exercise of Religion — the Baptists’ “speech” is usually not on-point, but irrelevant to the life and death circumstances of the decedent at funerals they INVADE — is just like the mob persecution of Christians in Turkey, long winked at by a supposedly-secularist State.  It violates the civil rights of decedents and their grieving survivors.  Only an unholy alliance between the Court’s fellow-fundamentalists and its (this time) misguided “liberals” would rule that the civil rights of off-topic, political, media-hog, worship-invaders trump Freedom of Religion.

Yes, all defenses of Westboro defend their protests as political, though they are veiled in religion.  If (Westboro) politics now trumps (everybody else’s) religion, maybe the rest of the Religious Right IS right, that religious freedom is being flushed down the toilet with the politicization of everything — IRONICALLY, BY THEM!

Another way of approaching it is that the Religious Right, a vast well-organized group, may now abuse its “rights” to violate the rights of usually-tiny groups of mourners anywhere in the country — not unlike the invasive, disgusting, terroristic tactics of Operation “Rescue” abortion-clinic protesters and their incited gunmen / bombers / racketeers / conspirators.  If the Bill of Rights is about anything, it’s about protecting the rights of the oppressed — not only those oppressed by governments or officials, but by their fellow human beings in this country generally, especially by groups bigger than them.  Look for other hate groups to go back to the Courts now for vindication against explicit civil rights legislation — the Ku Klux Klan, “sovereign citizens,” (neo?)Nazis, self-appointed “militias” and border guards, “Dot Busters,” ‘crosshairs’ assassins, the whole sorry, scary lot of them.  What will the lawless Scalia/Roberts Court say then?  Cross-burnings and lynchings are OK again?  Literacy tests and poll taxes for voting?  Forced segregation of public schools?  ‘The disabled or mentally ill, gay or “different,” should be neither seen nor heard’?  Torching Catholic churches?  Slavery?  Human females as their males’ property?  State-Established religions again?  Swastikas scrawled on synagogues’ outside walls are OK because they don’t violate the “privacy” of the interior of the building??!!  It seems the Court liberals, including two Jewish women and a “wise Latina,” have been tricked into signing on to the rollback of the whole 20th century, if not worse.  (And Clarence Thomas? Nevermind!!!)

Ironically, this unholy alliance represents the difference between Classical Liberalism, in all its forms, and Classical Conservatism, ie, progressive conservatism … the former represented by the whole near-unanimous Court Westboro majority, the latter represented by most Americans’ gut-reaction to Westboro’s atrocities, and this ruling, more bad law, ie, incorrect law, from the Republican Courts and Party.

Learn about the ascendant hate groups and domestic terrorists from the  Southern Poverty Law Center, and support the SPLC.

And how did this case become merely about “privacy and emotional distress“?  The mourners’ lawyers should be disbarred for incompetence!  Were they law students?!  Was this one of those volunteer, workshop, law school projects they do???


Furthermore, does the ruling consider that funeral “privacy” only applies inside a building-of-worship, funeral parlor, chapel, mausoleum, etc.?  What about processions outdoors, burials, cemeteries, motorcades, even the going TO the funeral by the mourners — Some Protestant services even sacralize this with a “Gathering for Worship” recitation or song.  What about Neopagans, adherents of Indigenous religions, or other “outdoorsy” faiths, which might not often even USE a building with a real “indoors” component?  Obviously outdoor portions of a funeral share the vicinity with the neighbors, if any, of the funeral sites, so that’s presumed within Free Exercise.  I’m not sure being attacked, verbally assaulted, or finding yourselves involuntarily amid a political demonstration, controversy, or riot, especially one featuring offensive language, IS presumed within Free Exercise, except during times of Persecution of your freely-chosen (or -retained) religion … something the Court seems to endorse today, even its Fundies!  (Appropriate, I suppose, since their fellow Repugs drove the President out of the church of his choice, then complained he wasn’t Christian enough!  “I played you a tune but you did not dance, I sang you a dirge but you did not wail….”)

I’m willing to consider that baptisms/circumcisions, funerals, and weddings aren’t the same as routine religious services which might be invaded by hecklers urging you to change your religion.  I’m not sure though!  When I was a Quaker in the 1990s I admired George Fox and his Friends’ doing so in 17th-century Anglican and other Protestants’ “meetinghouses.”  Maybe they would’ve really converted  England if they’d just waited till after services, and stumped outside the buildings as the faithful were leaving!  But IIUC these Baptists aren’t recruiting, merely advocating for their ethical or political positions.  And often their protests seem aimed not at anyone present, except the newsmedia.  That’s just rude … Supremely rude.

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“We the Dollars, in order to form a more perfect Union…”

I’m DISGUSTED with all the money Democratic Party organizations and candidates and progressive groups now have to cravenly beg from me, to have a shot at making a showing in elections in this brave new Scalia/Citizens United world we’re forced to live in!  I guess Repugs like him think it’s a fair clawback for the personal government assistance some of us need … nevermind the Corporate Wealthfare you KNOW they’re now pouring through the floodgates.  That illegal, immoral ruling was “the mother of all Nuclear Options.”  Apparently “limited government” only applies when the GOP is out of power, and “originalism” and “judicial activism” and “legislating from the Bench” only when they’re IN power.

Naturally, we can’t hope to win the money race against our own Corporations, most rich people, and corrupt government officials/politicians, which is exactly how Scalia et al. timed this unprecedented procedural power-grab, a coup d’etat under color of law.

What can we do?

Actually, “conservative” support for Corporations attacks the culture, family,* tradition, family farms, small towns, etc., so they should be with us in trying to oppose this new trend by somehow MAKING CORPS.’ MONEY IRRELEVANT.

(*–As theologian Stanley Hauerwas pointed out a generation ago.)

Is Prince Charles crazy, or Maclean’s?

A ‘newsmagazine’ I hardly recognized, on the eve of the ‘critically panned’ Fall Homecoming of the Heir to the Throne (including of Canada), published an opinion that he’d taken leave of his senses.  Is it possible that His Royal Highness is just a Classic, ie Progressive, Conservative, such as I’ve tried to be*, rather than the U.S. regressive Republican (GOP) kind?

Is it also possible HRH is “becoming Orthodox“??  Certainly he has opportunity to reflect on the world he sits almost at the top of in terms of wealth, fame, and access to power.  And/Or just chat with our First Among Equals, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (yes, that’s Istanbul in Turkish), “The Green Patriarch.”

But children must play … instead of providing reportage and analysis that knows what on earth it’s talking about.  Looks like I got out of journalism just in time – ‘My skills, it seems, are no longer required!’

(*–He said humbly!! 😉 )

Sarah Palin, meet Jean Poutine!

UPDATE: Found a mostly-usable form of the video from 22 Minutes, not on their site but at YouTube.  I dunno, but did anyone hear what Palin actually said the same way I did?  In fairness, I didn’t hear “dismantle,” only that the government should share the market with the private sector, IOW a single (big) step backwards, not the giant leap.  No difference though.  “Commonsense conservatism”?  Sweetheart, it left the U.S. during/after the Revolution, and remained among Canada’s Red Tories until they lost their party in the Harper/Reform takeover a couple years ago.  And Sarah and Steve ain’t it!

The other thing I noticed is that, while the lovable “Marg Delahunty” (OK, I really can’t take the voice, but admire her “all lies” review of the book!!) was woman-handled out of the library, her camera crew was allowed to stay.  PURE PHOTO-OP!  No questions, just pictures.  I hope Muscle-Melon wasn’t on the public payroll facilitating that ‘un-campaign’ appearance for Palin.

——————————————

ORIGINAL: That’s right, the Canadians who ‘punked’ W. got last week what may be the only policy remarks Alaska’s disgraced, resigned, unqualified, eye-candy governor will allow herself to be drawn on involuntarily, unscripted, during her eternal, fluff book tour/photo-op … and her own country is not the subject (nor is Russia!): ‘Yup, yup,’ like most self-important Republican politicos, she’s now become an expert on Canada’s model single-payer healthcare system — and all she cares about is corporate profiteering instead, and RATIONING on the basis of wealth, Whiteness, suburban residence, non-Indigenous status, etc.

If that’s “going rogue,” then John McCain’s a maverick!  The free ride she’s been getting from the MSM ever since her (losing) nomination is a danger to America and the world, because the hard right wing will back her as their savior just to feel they get back in power, even if she doesn’t know what to do with it in any way that will benefit, apparently, anyone other than CEOs and wealthy stockholders … short-term, anyway….  TALK ABOUT “DEATH PANELS”!!!  ‘Whose plug would Jesus pull?’

SEIU next for ACORNuts?

OK, this time it’s personal.  The Service Employees International Union is one of my labor unions, and they came to my aid when I was being targeted by management on the job apparently because I wasn’t enthusiastic enough about … well, that’d go off-topic. 😉

As tonight’s Rachel jag continues(!), she’s revealed that, thinking prematurely that they’ve run ACORN into the ground [“Unless a seed falls to the ground…!”], the Right Wing Conspiracy — Big Business, Big Lobbyists, astroturf, AM radio, the Republican Party — may target SEIU (video) next for teaming up with ACORN to try to make poor people’s and workers’ lives a little less awful.  How does this hurt them?  Business has to pay slightly higher wages, sharing their massive profits (often already subsidized by one or more levels of government one way or another) with THOSE WHO ACTUALLY DO THE WORK THAT CEOs AND OWNERS GET THE CREDIT FOR.

And these guys attack US for “class warfare”?!! or “revenge”?!!

And if her guest’s idea that soon they’ll attack the National Council of Churches too, sounds exaggerated…  Conservative Evangelical leaders have long considered this Mainline Protestant ecumenical organization Communist.  (The Catholic bishops’ conference, too, though that group has swung Hard Right as they smell a Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade, and in reaction against same-sex marriage.)  Furthermore, they’ve been dancing on the grave of the Mainline for about a generation now, even though it’s not really going away (even though many of the Mainline think it is too), and recent research suggests that the relatively slight gains of Evangelicals vs. Mainline proportionately, are only because Evangelical women/couples are adopting artificial contraception more slowly than Mainline women/couples.  The Evangelical ‘bulge’ (no pun intended) is already slowing, but will continue growing for about another generation before ISTM the numbers start returning to their classical proportions.  (This is research sociologist Andrew Greeley has been involved in, but where I read it I can’t recall now.  [Many Years, Father!])

Two other things: What they’re now calling living wage has sometimes been called family wage.  So much for “family values”!

And another Greeley truism is that Democratic bigwigs, candidates, campaigns, either take their Catholic voters for granted, or don’t care about/are embarrassed about them … risking losing them to the Reagans and Bushes of this world.  Are workers and unions in the same fix?  Just like Official Dems, natural allies of/advocates for “bitter” small town and rural residents, don’t give them reason to switch their generation-long Republican voting habits?  Folks, I don’t see WASP “Limo Libs” reproducing fast enough anymore to warrant such a cavalier attitude towards our Party’s traditional coalition, the “Patchwork Quilt Majority”!!!  And many People of Color who get richer go Republican….

Socialism

If it were socialism, its critics would be unheard from, in jail, in Siberia, under heavy sedation or other psychiatric drugs… or dead.

How soon we forget.

Irish Jacobitism/Legitimism?

A fascinating discussion here!  I’m not sure I buy it all, whether as an Irishman, an Indigenous person (whether of North America or of Ireland/Europe), or a half-baked Red Tory … even an Orthodox Christian … but intriguing reading and thinking.  I may have to re-read it.

Why do ‘conservatives’ hate Kumbaya?

I’m just sayin’!

Sounds like somebody had his bed short-sheeted or something!

If memory serves, it’s even Christian!

Metro areas and Countrysides II

…considered in the New York City statehood discussion of 1971Time then concluded on something like my Autonomy idea, or even a semi-federalization ala the Tennessee Valley Authority or the MTA.

More on-point is a Harper’s 1999 piece on discussing — just discussing! — whether the 1787 Constitution is obsolete, inspired by Columbine and the 2nd Amendment rants of recent decades, and its virtual unamendability.  The older Time article concludes,

The new consideration of national cities and city-states is a refreshing move to examine the rationale of the nation’s long-accepted governmental divisions. One of the most important national problems throughout the next 20 years, predicts Bell, will be to decide the most effective social unit to handle each social problem. “What is best left to the neighborhoods?” he asks. “What to townships? What to municipalities? What to metropolitan areas? What to regions and what to the Federal Government?” The questions are simple, the answers elusive—but an imaginative quest for them is essential to the future of the nation.

It’s questionable whether we really looked at those things seriously as a Federation — or whatever — during the predicted ’70s and ’80s.  Maybe now it’s time.

BTW, I know a bit more about the background than the Harper’s writer, and the reality about English village and town “militias” and posses and whether they were “volunteerism” or compulsory.  Also, how even these supposed bulwarks of local freedom could be used to enforce local conformity, oppress next-door neighbors, “different” people, dissenters, gays, immigrants, Catholics, Quakers, church reformers, “liberals” — which would cover both today’s U.S. “liberals” AND “conservatives”! — etc etc etc.  Plus, the main body of our Constitution empowers — Guess who? — CONGRESS!!! — to “regulate” the State’s Militias.  Simply reading the text will sometimes work wonders itself.

On the lighter side, it’s entirely possible that the 2nd Amendment isn’t about guns at all, but heraldry: “Bearing arms” also means, and meant, publicly presenting yourself as validly possessing a coat of arms, i.e., as armigerous.  “Well-regulated militia”?: Heraldry was invented in order to distinguish fighters on and near a field of battle, i.e., to tell them apart.  It’s still used today by modern armed forces in those logos and patches that distinguish military units and countries’ forces … even countries themselves, hence national flags like the Stars and Stripes, the Royal Colours (aka Union Jack), the Tricolour, etc etc etc.  So it’s possible the Framers weren’t thinking about guns OR militias, but shields and crests, ribbons and supporters!  But AFAIK the USA has never granted individual arms of this kind, leaving that to WWW bucketshop frauds seducing you with “mists of antiquity” and “ancient seats” and hints of … royalty and nobility!!!

Maybe some scribe even switched the two words around, and it’s about arming bears … knowing how crazy we’d always be arguing about guns and militias, coats of arms and “crests” and “mists of antiquity,” etc.!  Maybe we’re not even supposed to bear arms at all, just sic armed bears on our enemies!!!

The phrase “one-world government” is ungrammatical.

Unless it’s preferring to limit government to a single world, say Earth, so it doesn’t also cover, I dunno, Mars, the Moon, Europa, Venus….

Why do they use the hyphen, making “one world” a single adjective instead of part of a phrase, as in, “I support (or oppose) one world government” or even just “a world government”?

My first encounter with the expression was I think on the back of a Keith Green album (along with anti-Catholicism) when I was spinning Christian Contemporary music on my college radio station in the early ’80s (I also spun Adult Contemp, Classic Rock, Classical, and read and wrote news), and it sounded as conspiracy-theorist then as it does now … even with some religious tilt I don’t quite comprehend, even after spending most of the ’90s among Protestants.

Inquiring minds wanna know!

GOP borrow-and-spend, engineered fiscal crises

The Republicans like to run against Democrats by calling us “tax-and-spend liberals.”  They also pretend to fiscal restraint and conservatism, competence and responsibility, supposedly in contrast to us.  What’s become clearer to more and more Americans in the last 28 years is just how untrue this all is.

Anybody who gets into power in government has political or financial ‘debts’ to pay, support to buy, punishment to mete out, interests of their own to pursue, maybe even once in a while sincere attempts to do the right thing.  We Democrats are supposedly averse to cutting programs – for the rich as well as for the poor – because we’re softies, or usually feel sensitive to cross-aisle criticism with an eye on re-election.  In fact Democrats in Congress are frequently brutalized into cutting programs for the poor, rarely for the rich.  But when we want to do more, we’re generally honest about the cost, and try to “pay as you go.”  It’s cheaper that way: no years of interest piling up.  But it’s politically costly unless it’s a ‘home run,’ and national Democrats haven’t hit many of those since the ’60s and ’70s.

Republicans, OTOH, have figured out a neat way to spend what they want.  They borrow the money, cynically put the government, ie, you and me, into debt to finance their grand schemes usually for the rich and business, stockholders I mean – certainly not workers who do the work!  This may be called BORROW-AND-SPEND.  It ingeniously separates the issue of the proposal from the issue of paying for it, by years.  And their beneficiaries are very grateful, and show it.  Doubt me?  Reagan was a master at it; the fact that Clinton left office with a huge surplus was little short of a miracle.  But just as fast, W. and Co. have put us back into a deep hole with no bottom in sight.

But surely the chickens come home to roost eventually, you say?  So much the better from the Republican perspective.  Fiscal crisis makes it politically easier for them to get away with cutting help for the poor, needy, and workers; they’re definitely not softies.  Also, by the time crisis comes, all that accumulated debt is just a huge dollar sign, and they can make us forget what it was for.  “Certainly we have to pay our debts,” they say, and everybody agrees.  “But if we overtax the rich and businesses, they’ll leave us in the lurch.”*  And so our already-regressive tax system goes into a higher gear, hitting the poor and workers even more, while their rich, powerful friends remain grateful, and keep on showing it.  To add insult to injury, the GOP now gets an undeserved reputation for fiscal restraint and responsibility.  IT’S PURE POLITICS, SMOKE AND MIRRORS, BAIT-AND-SWITCH.  More recently, they “create facts on the ground,” getting us into wars that benefit mostly nobody but their contractor buddies; now it’s, “We can’t leave that country in a mess, can we?”

There’s a place for borrowing by government: needs such as capital construction or repair or purchase, or emergencies.  But Republicans borrow excessively, at least at the federal level.  In effect they SPEND-AND-TAX: They tax future generations!  That means interest on top of the initial (unworthy) cost.

This habit of theirs actually undermines two foundational principles of English/American democratic government: The people may not be taxed without the consent of their legislative representatives, aka, “Taxation without representation is tyranny**;” and, No legislature may bind a future legislatureDebt-abuse taxes future generations unnecessarily without their advance consent.  And it binds future legislatures to tax, to pay for this unnecessary debt.  Historically these principles are on a level with the Magna Carta, and ought to be considered more weightily than they have been in recent decades, especially by the GOP as it claims a “conservative” and “small government / anti-government” mantle … unless these too are just blowing smoke.

(*–What an undermining of our sovereignty!!  That’s treason!)

(**–Although there are certainly worse forms of tyranny!)

Rethinking II

WHEW!  Just found out Bob Barr’s running for the Libertarians.  Yes, by all means, Libs, nominate him Sunday!  Could be your best year ever!  Racist, persecuted a sexual act between consenting adults, against drugs, pro-war, but nominate him anyway!  He’ll get you ballot access in more than 28 states, to be sure.  The party of principle … smaller government, lower taxes, and more freedom” … for those who can afford it, anyway!!!

Surely after the 2000 and ’04 debacles, no real Democrat is voting third party this time, so the Libs will get all those anti-McCain “conservatives” from the Republicans.  Remember the “Christian” Coalition takeover a couple decades ago?  Could the Libertarians be next?

WE HAVE A QUEEN? Some American monarchists, I hea…

WE HAVE A QUEEN?

[Updated 10 April 2009, filling-out list of Rebel allies, adding Categories, Tags, and Summary.]

Some American monarchists, I hear, question the legality of the American Revolution. Other American monarchists, I hear, reply that U.S. independence (including the abolition of monarchy) became legal when the lawful Sovereign, King George III (or his representative on His Majesty’s behalf) signed the Treaty of Paris of 1783. [To this day Brits usually date American independence from that year, not 1776, the year it was jointly “declared” by 13 of the colonies.]

Let’s try a thought experiment.

Can the Monarchy be abolished? It’s a principle of Western moral and legal philosophy that “an unjust law is no law at all.” This is so old it’s attributed to Bishop Augustine of Hippo, Roman North Africa, 5th century A.D., considered a saint by the Western Church as well as some Orthodox.  Theologian Thomas Aquinas, also a Western saint, fleshed it out.  Now, republics throughout history are almost always, at best, oligarchic (in a bad way), and frequently, dictatorial…protestations of “democracy” notwithstanding. From ancient Athens to America to the USSR to Idi Amin’s Uganda, “republics” are usually lorded over by one or a few, who simply lack the noble or royal titles of monarchies – and their (more usual than not) respect for law, tradition, and ethics. Therefore, any law creating a republic is arguably unjust, and in the Western legal tradition, “no law at all.” Keep in mind that an important job of the British Monarch was to protect the people – his subjects – from the Barons’ – their local lords’, including landlords’ – exploitation. Yes, creating our oligarchic republic was a step backwards in terms of political development! Remember how much the “Founding Fathers” harked back to republican Athens and Rome – with good reason it turns out! Those of us outside the American oligarchy have been living with the results ever since. In fact, since 1980, they’ve been turning this country – and the whole planet – into even more of a plantation than ever before – remember most of the colonies were founded as plantations. But they forgot one thing: English (and Welsh and Irish) people take the Common Law anywhere they colonize. Now granted, there were a few problems with Britain’s colonial policies, and certain inconsistencies. What probably should’ve happened was the formation of the colonies, with their cooperation (as opposed to the imposed 1686-89 “Dominion of New England”), into an autonomous Dominion as would happen with Canada less than a century later (1867). Canada started negotiating on trade with the United States almost from Day One, was a distinct signatory of the Treaty of Versailles ending World War One, and became completely free of British government advice in the 1920s and ’30s; in 1982 Canada’s right to amend its own constitution without even the pro forma approval of the Parliament of Westminster was recognized; and Canada retains Her Majesty as Queen of Canada voluntarily, separate and distinct from her roles as Queen of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, and eleven other independent countries.

Of course, The Crown assented to the American independence and republic under the duress of eight years of armed rebellion (even of a tiny minority of colonists), aided by French, Spanish, some Native American, some German, and Polish forces. Another Western legal principle is that consent given under duress is not binding either. But both The Crown and most Americans, being loyal to it, nevertheless acquiesced to the de facto conquest of this country by its wealthiest landowners and their supporters, who had previously overthrown their provincial governments, harassed or killed or exiled their political opposition, conspired under the color of a joint “government,” and made war on their lawful Sovereign. And make no mistake, the Revolution was not launched with the consent of the American people – this was conquest! My research leads me to conclude that when John Adams said a third of Americans supported the Revolution, a third were Loyalists, and a third were “neutral,” he was being generous to his own side; more like twenty percent supported the Revolution, and the rest by any definition would be considered Loyalists, active or passive.

If the Revolutionaries were going to set up their own monarchy – and some briefly considered it – the King’s assent might have been warranted, provided his subjects’ wellbeing was to be taken care of at least as well as under his rule, if not better. But despite what you here from (small-R) republicans about flirtations with Continental princes or George Washington (formerly de Washington), it was never very serious. Having freed themselves from one Monarch, these oligarchs weren’t about to subject themselves to another!

I won’t begrudge certain African and Asian countries essentially conquered by Britain – or the Irish Republic for that matter – their abolitions of the Monarchy. It might not have been a good idea for them, either, to become republics, but generally they were more dominated than colonized by Britain. But the 13 American colonies (plus Vermont) were essentially new England (sic), English and Irish and Scottish subjects of His Majesty transplanted here, or others who willingly moved into His Majesty’s Realms (or African slaves who, at that point in British legal and social development, had no choice). Even the Indians were mostly pushed out and/or killed.

The fact that both The Crown and American republican propaganda have ignored the above facts for 223 years doesn’t make them go away. Any freedom and rights you have weren’t given to you by the “Founding Fathers,” but are recognized at all by dint of the English legal tradition, whose fount is The Crown. “If you heart your freedom, thank The Queen!”

If you want it back (nonviolently)….

(Quite a thought experiment, eh?)