Category Archives: Politics

Convention of the states?

I see some Conservatives are echoing some Liberals who’ve been saying it’s time to hold a Constitutional Convention.

Since I have for some time now believed our Constitution is functionally broken, with just about every exploitable part of the thing exploited, I think it’s a fine idea. On the other hand, this group appears to only be using their call to appeal to conservatives and conservative issues (and by “conservative” I mean Conservative in the modern American political context, not necessarily what would classically be called conservative). Doubtless, however, if they did manage this, liberals too would have their chance to give input, and would hopefully be concentrating on restoration of due process rights, limitation of corporate power and hegemony, and other items that most concern them.

I have to say that on the whole I support the effort, but I’m pessimistic at this point; the most politically active among us are now so utterly locked in the delusional “left vs. right” mold that they will instinctively reject this out of fear of what “conservatives” might do or what “liberals” might do, and won’t even think about the fact that any proposed alteration or rewriting of the Constitution would not only involve extensive debate, but would also have to be ratified, with an enormous amount of time for everyone in the country to think about what was proposed.

Meanwhile, the average citizen, who is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, neither a “Conservative” or a “Liberal” in the way they say these things among the intelligentsia, has a hard time giving a damn about any of it. So we’re locked between “liberals” vs. “conservatives” vs. everybody who no longer gives a damn.

I still vote in every election, and I still vote not just bipartisan but for a mix of third party candidates just to send a message. I’m glad I do, as I know I still have some influence; I helped get a corrupt judge off the bench near where I live for example. But I know I’m in a minority in believing I can make much difference in the grand scheme of things.

As a country, we have come to mistrust and fear not just our government, but each other, so much so that we’re terrified of even trying to alter our basic system of government–even though the Constitution itself was designed to enable us to do that very thing any time we want to.

Such is the tragedy of this era.

We’re back

Technical glitch over the holidays had this site down. Sorry ’bout that.

In the next few weeks I’ll be announcing an overhaul of this site, which will continue, although probably in the much-less-busy way than it was years ago.

Stay tuned, and have a happy new year!

Obama about as unpopular as Bush

In fact, Bush did a little better (but not in a statistically significant way).

As someone who voted for both men (although I did not vote Obama in 2008, I did in 2012) I can only snicker. Most Presidents have sucky second terms. I will just enjoy watching the smug come off of some of the faces of the rabid Bush-haters. It will remain to be seen in the legacy of history of course; anyone who thinks they can really evaluate a President until he’s been out of office at least a few terms is fooling himself.

Why I CAN get worked up about the NSA surveillance program

Earlier Dean and others basically said the NSA surveillance of US citizens was nothing new and nothing to get worked up about. I commented that my main concern was what would happen when others started seeking access to this information. Turns out I was behind the curve, because according to Reuters, this is already happening.

Via Instapundit we learn:

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

“It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”

“I expected this, but not so soon.” Maybe that should be the epitaph for our Constitution.

Michele Catalano Terrorized by US Government

No, seriously.

For those of you who don’t remember, Michele Catalano was once one of the most popular webloggers in the world. I was a huge fan of her work and she was a big inspiration to me in a lot of ways. We parted company politically some time ago as we each grew and developed in new directions, although we’re still on the same page in some things. But now grasp the irony, if you can, of a former warblogger who changed her mind now being harassed by the government under the Obama administration for policies enacted under Bush, which the left hated Bush for but mostly (with a few noble exceptions) gives Obama a free pass for not just continuing but in many cases ratcheting up.

Unfortunately for them I think they chose the wrong person this time. But it now frightens me a little anyway, and I’m not normally inclined to be frightened over government foulups, just annoyed. But the climate we’re living in today is increasingly making the first amendment a joke.