The inherent “conservative” hypocrisy

by lestro

One of the main tenets of the “conservative” movement is supposed to be limited government and more individual rights and responsibility.  It is supposed to be about the pure American spirit of liberty: this is my land and ain’t nobody gonna tell me what I can and can’t do.

They want strict readings of the U.S. Constitution, a document that was written with the sole intent of hemming in government power and protecting personal rights of the individual.  It’s all right there in the preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Constitution is the rule structure for our government.  It dictates the limits of what the federal government can do.

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Rights and benefits denied

by lestro

After reading this article in today’s New York Times, it is literally impossible to continue saying that marriage does not provide certain rights and benefits that are being denied to an entire class of people (to use the legal term) while being bestowed on another.

And that is wholly unamerican and unconstitutional.

Today’s article is about health care and how difficult it is for gay couples to get the same benefits married couples get simply by signing a legal contract denied to a certain percentage of the population:

Same-sex couples have been making headlines; Maine followed the lead of Iowa and Vermont this week in legalizing same-sex marriage, and several other state legislatures are now considering it. But Ms. Hudson says that fairer and more comprehensive health care coverage for partners — whether they are legally married or not — is not necessarily part of the package.

“For the vast majority of gay couples,” she said, “getting health insurance for a domestic partner is still a challenge.”

[…]

Even if the relationship is formalized with the state in a marriage or union, that does not always obligate the employer to cover a same-sex spouse. For one thing, self-insured employers are not regulated by the states.

And other benefit-providing employers that choose not to offer such coverage can sometimes use the Defense of Marriage Act — a law that forbids the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage — to trump state laws, said Ilse de Veer, a principal with Mercer.

Let’s review the 14th Amendment while we’re at it, just to make sure we understand why all this is illegal:

…No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…

Without a doubt, gay people are not getting equal protection under the laws, especially in health care.

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Rush Limbaugh is a corpulent dickbag liar

by lestro

I finally got around to watching Rush Limbaugh’s speech from the CPAC conference and I think it demonstrates almost exactly why people do not trust Republicans: We get to actually watch him lie and then fuck up the very thing he claims to “love and revere.”

And they applaud him for it. They actually applaud his ignorance and distortions. Ridiculous.

From Rush Limbaugh’s speech to CPAC on February 28, 2009:

Also, for those of you in the Drive-By Media watching, I have not needed a teleprompter for anything I’ve said. [Cheers and Applause ] And nor do any of us need a teleprompter, because our beliefs are not the result of calculations and contrivances. Our beliefs are not the result of a deranged psychology. Our beliefs are our core. Our beliefs are our hearts. We don’t have to make notes about what we believe. We don’t have to write down, oh do I believe it do I believe that we can tell people what we believe off the top of our heads and we can do it with passion and we can do it with clarity, and we can do it persuasively. Some of us just haven’t had the inspiration or motivation to do so in a number of years, but that’s about to change. [Cheers and Applause]

In the C-Span video, you can see that he, uh, has notes. There is no doubt he is doing a lot of riffing, but then again, his job is to bloviate every day for five hours (the guy can talk), but the fact is he brought out notes.

And he should have used them because he says that “conservatives” are people who “love and revere” our founding documents, and then he says “conservatives” believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains the inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights.

But it does not.  Not at all.  The Declaration does, because it is a statement of philosophy, but the preamble to the Constitution – the document designed to build a government to protect said rights – most assuredly does NOT contain that inarguable truth.  I don’t care what he and the conservatives believe.

Rush:

We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. [Applause] We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. [Applause] Liberty, Freedom. [Applause] And the pursuit of happiness. [Applause] Those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault. [Applause] Thank you. Thank you.

Preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I’m just saying, maybe the reason people think Rush and the “conservatives” are full of shit is because he says he loves and reveres our founding documents, but hasn’t even studied them enough to tell them apart?

come fucking on.

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The NY Times flunks its own Electoral College editorial

by lestro

Every four years, newspapers around the country roll out editorials condemning the electoral college based on specious reasoning that shows an incredible lack of understanding about the nature of our government, the world of the founding fathers and a contempt for the very structure on which this nation is built.

As a rule, editorial boards make their case by completely ignoring the main reasons for the creation of the electoral college as well as the inadvertently spitting on the Great Compromise that helped create the Constitution.

And the NY Times, one of the greatest newspapers in the world, is no exception. Thursday’s editorial “Flunking the Electoral College” not only trots out the same puns we always hear, but repeats the same bullshit reasons for ditching a system that has served our nation well for 200 years.

Calling for its demise shows an incredible lack of thought about the system as a whole and the consequences of such actions. It also shows a total lack of understanding about the role of the College and who controls it.

In essence, the Times is guilty of exactly what they rail against: Flunking the electoral college and supporting a system that would do exactly what they say they are trying to stop. The only difference is that under their new system, they would be sitting prettier… Read more of this post

Maybe To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books Sarah Palin would ban

by lestro

Almost a month after she made her national debut in Ohio, three weeks after her dazzling debut speech at the Republican convention and only two interviews later (though it is difficult to call the Hannity suck-job an interview by any quantifiable news standard), there are still bits of vice-presidential contender Sarah Palin’s introductory speech causing serious shivers down the spines of many Americans.

This past Sunday for example, a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer got hung up on that line about reading terror suspects their rights:

“Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America,” said Palin, and then, referring to Barack Obama, quipped: “He’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights.”

Quite apart from the cheap distortion of Obama’s position, typical of most campaign rhetoric, this is a classic lynch-mob line. It is the taunt of the drunken lout in the cowboy movie who confronts a sheriff barring the prison door – He wants to give ‘im a trial?

It is the precise sentiment that Atticus Finch so memorably sets himself against in Harper Lee’s masterpiece To Kill a Mockingbird, when he agrees to defend a supposedly indefensible black man charged with rape (falsely, as it turns out).

In all the talk about her LIES and half truths over the Bridge to Nowhere, the state jet/eBay fiasco, the community organizer bullshit, the Jerry Springer-style family baggage and the blatant distortions about her time as mayor (when she ran up a nearly $20 million debt, hired a lobbyist to request nearly $27 million in federal earmarks for her town and asked about banning books at the Wasilla library (having previously supported censorship as a member of the city council)) and governor (when she requested $453 million for her state including the Bridge to Nowhere (and including $197 million in requests for 2009), while having to make no hard budgeting decisions because of Alaska’s oil wealth), this “He’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights” line further shits on everything this country stands for and has gotten a bit of a pass.

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The Big “I”

by lestro

Impeachment is once again back in the news and once again not on the table for the Democratic leadership, although it sounds like Nancy Pelosi might be willing to talk, even if it is now almost too late:

Pressed on ABC’s “The View” about whether she had unilaterally disarmed, the author of “Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters” said she believed the proceedings would be too divisive and be a distraction from advancing the policy agenda of the new Democratic majority.

Then she added this qualifier: “If somebody had a crime that the president had committed, that would be a different story.”

That assertion only threw fuel on the impeachment fire as advocates of removing Mr. Bush cited the 35 articles of impeachment compiled by Representative Dennis Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio, as well as accusations in a new book by author Ron Suskind of White House orders to falsify intelligence, an accusation that has been denied.

Kucinich, you crazy little bastard, God love ya!

But as the story points out, the Democratic leadership absolutely does not want any part of an impeachment battle:

Despite whatever resonance pursuing the president might have in progressive Democratic circles, it is not the message Democrats want to carry into an election where they need to appeal to swing voters to increase their Congressional majorities and win the White House.

They would rather devote their final weeks to pushing economic relief and health care, even if they thought Mr. Bush and the conduct of the war merited impeachment hearings.

And leading Democrats argue anyway that Mr. Bush has already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.

“He has been impeached by current history,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. “He is going down as the worst president ever. The facts are in.”

To me, that is not enough. I think there needs to be a bitchslap in the historical record to let future generations know that what this president and this administration did were wrong and unamerican and violate almost everything we are supposed to believe in.

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You go to the voting booth with the Constitution you’ve got…

by lestro

So we all know one of the candidates wasn’t born in the US, right?

It’s true, sometimes the email chains are real! John McCain was not born in the United States.

McCain’s dad was a Navy man (both McCain’s father and grandfather were admirals) and McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone while his father was stationed there in 1936.

This is only interesting because the US Constitution specifically states that the President must be a natural born citizen. It’s one of three requirements. The others, of course, are a minimum age of 35 and having lived in the US for 14 years. McCain easily meets the last two.

However, his citizenship is unquestioned, his natural born status is something that has been discussed, to the point that earlier this year the House and Senate both passed a bill stating his eligibility to run for President, based on the idea that the founders wouldn’t want to deny the Presidency to someone because their parents were in the military. Hard to disagree with.

But according to a new, in-depth look at the issue, it’s not enough:

The analysis, by Prof. Gabriel J. Chin, focused on a 1937 law that has been largely overlooked in the debate over Mr. McCain’s eligibility to be president.

The law conferred citizenship on children of American parents born in the Canal Zone after 1904, and it made John McCain a citizen just before his first birthday. But the law came too late, Professor Chin argued, to make Mr. McCain a natural-born citizen.

Interesting. But surely, the Canal Zone, the 10-mile strip of land that surrounds the Panama Canal, which was controlled by the US from 1903 to 1979 counts as the US, right? I mean, it was US territory at the time, right?

A series of early-20th-century decisions known as the Insular Cases, he wrote, ruled that unincorporated territories acquired by the United States were not part of the nation for constitutional purposes. The Insular Cases did not directly address the Canal Zone. But the zone was generally considered an unincorporated territory before it was returned to Panama in 1999, and some people born in the Canal Zone when it was under American jurisdiction have been deported from the United States or convicted of being here illegally.

Oh come on, surely the people of the time considered it part of the States, right?

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