Come On, Take It

Yesterday, on a private forum a friend of mine who here will go under the name Sam Anderson said the following:

Patriotism is good. Nationalism through a patriotic lens, seeing your country as worthwhile, as having prospects and things to be proud of, is not only acceptable but necessary for the health of any nation. But MOST especially the United States, because it’s one thing for the French to be ashamed of being French, but at the end of the day, they’re still going to be French. France is established on ethnic and historical foundations, and even if the French think they suck, there can still be citizens of France. Just not very long, since self-loathing aligns you, first metaphorically, then inevitably in practice, with enemies who ALSO loathe you.

But an American just CAN’T believe in nothing, CAN’T reject the philosophy underpinning America, and be one. Philosophy IS America. There’s nothing else to base it on, and there’s no “philosophy on the side” option. There’s no “shared values” or that bullshit. There’s a piece of paper that lays out precisely how the government functions, tells it what it doesn’t get to do, and tells YOU to go shift for yourself. Now yeah, maybe you can quibble with a point or two of it. Lots of people did then, too. But people who reject, wholesale, that that makes sense as the foundation of a country- who complain about negative rights, who call the constitution outdated- de facto, aren’t American, the same way you couldn’t be a Catholic but not believe in G*d. Aphilosophical American is a contradiction in terms. The most they can do is live somewhere between Mexico and Canada. We’ve got a lot of that kind of “American”.

But nationalism is only a problem when it starts to supersede rather than represent a people. The American people, left mostly to their own devices, with most of their own money and most of their own time, even if they only SORT OF try to adhere to their founding principles, can turn the world upside down. It’s not because of any particular genetic, ethnographic, economic, or so on reason. You could do it with anyone… they’d just have to agree to the challenging but rewarding terms of freedom, which historically much of humanity would rather trade for security. But America, the national body- the government bureaucrats meant to represent the people, who increasingly act in contravention of same- that America cannot find its ass with both hands. It’s just the resurgence of a far inferior product coming back under a much more successful and respected brand.

One of the lines you can draw between right and left is, when a conservative roots for America, they mean the individual entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, and scholars- the millions of little people who even now, every so often, by the grace of determination, judicious risk taking, and hard work, manage to do a few really big things. When a liberal roots for “America”, they back the bully-boys in the government with the private jets… the big institutions that nevertheless manage routinely to fuck up thousands of little things.

THAT’S the form of nationalism that’s toxic.

Let’s go back to what Sam said “Philosophy IS America.”  If you don’t believe in the founding principles, you’re not an American.  You’re at best a permanent resident who grew up here and behaves generally within the law.

We’re a volitional citizenship.  Yes, if you were born here, you are LEGALLY an American.  You can legally be a lot of things that you’re not even close to being in reality.  Take all the college people running around screaming they want to be protected from micro-micro aggressions.  They are legally adults.

My younger kid is also legally an adult, and although closer to an adult than most of the micro-aggressed, he still lives at home and has never had to provide for his daily upkeep.  He’s a legal adult, but not an adult like say any of you who have to work for a living.  (We let him only because he’s taking two stem degrees concurrently and not taking accommodations for his sensory issues.)

Do I think it was a mistake of the founders to allow citizenship of birth in a nation of volition?  You bet your beepy I do.  They got so much right, though, and they were only human.  They couldn’t believe anyone born here, enjoying the blessings of liberty could possibly wish to believe that a system where “we belong to the government” is better.

They were wrong.  In a way, again, understandable, since they’d given their life, their fortunes, their sacred honor for this endeavor and many lost it.  (Read a book called Signing their lives away, if you haven’t yet.)  On the other hand, not understandable, since they knew how revolutionary their system was.  Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness?  You must be mad.  The government as a servant to the sovereign citizen?  Cooee, what world do you come from?  Separation of powers to make it difficult to “get things done”?  Mister, you must be one of them escapees from the asylum.

And yet — and yet — some of us are very much citizens of the volitional nation.  We embrace the vision of the founders, we work to protect the constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.  We took an oath, and we keep it.

Come on.  Go ahead and take it.  Take it by yourself in the privacy of your heart; take it with your family; take it with a co-worker.

Take the oath.  Then keep it.

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen [or a moonstruck admirer for those on the right and left who think those people abroad have a better idea- sah]; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

 

479 responses to “Come On, Take It

  1. I remember taking that oath, or a close variant of it, now almost 30 years ago.
    Some rumor says that the “renounce all allegiance… to foreign prince or potentate” part has been removed, i.e., that you can now retain your original citizenship at naturalization. I hope that’s a false rumor; it’s certainly an abomination.

    • My husband took it some six and a half years ago. (Counts on fingers, subtracts, yes, really was that long!) The renouncing all allegiences part was there then.

    • It does bear a great deal of resemblance to the oath I took when joining the Army.

      • When the Oath Keepers (?) started up, I pointed out to them I’d taken a very similar oath.

      • Yes – very similar to the one I took when I went into the Navy.

        • It’s also similar to the oath I had to take working as an Election Board member.

          • And, yes, even the Postal Service has something like this. Rather watered down, as I recall, but the utter core of protecting the (ideas in the) Constitution rather than loyalty to a person or office was there.

            • That’s where I took it. For the post office. In a training room on the wrong side of little rock. Got a little teary eyed way back then in that room with other new carriers. We all did I think. And then again just now rereading the gist of it. Yeah we choose and if you don’t travel with us, bend down n kiss the chains you hold so dear they r worth your free will ( to paraphrase a founder) . Thanks for being one of the standard bearers Sam n Sarah!

                • I took similar oaths every time I re-enlisted, and then with each new rank after I was commissioned. Seven times, I believe. The Constitution requires the oath to “uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic” for every person who takes ANY office of responsibility with the Federal or State governments. Every cop, every fireman, every county or state employee, takes the oath.

                  Too bad we can’t impeach the ones who don’t really mean it and throw them out of office.

            • “I, ________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”

    • My wife took the oath last year; it’s still there.

    • I read that it was in Canada that they had discussed changing their oath because of something that collided with Islam, so the change would be to accommodate the incoming Moslems. Not the “can’t wear a niqab” idea, but something within the oath itself.

      I would wager that the civil service oath would cause more heartburn, because of the “without reservations” clause. You could argue that it was historically aimed at discriminating against Catholics (although there is another group that is far more likely to have “reservations” today) and thus should be dropped.

    • 49 for me, next Monday. Thanks for your service, Paul!

    • Reality Observer

      The oath did change – sorta. What Obama has done is make the “bear arms or perform noncombatant military service” optional. If you have a “religious or personal objection” to such (not that they are apparently verifying that such is the reason).

      Yep, you may object to killing, or supporting the killing, of an enemy of the country, and not be required to do so. At the same time as you may NOT object to killing an unborn child, no matter what (yes, the lawsuits against Catholic hospitals have started now, to force abortion services).

      • Tucson’s Catholic hospitals have been purchased by a Texas for-profit entity. While the new article said that the hospitals would keep their Catholic heritage and identity (and charitable work) through an agreement with the Diocese of Tucson, part of me wonders if the move wasn’t to shelter the Diocese from that kind of lawsuit.

        • *news article*

          Typing’s a useful skill, must remember to learn it someday.

        • Part of the consideration might be the fact that Texas seems pretty far down the road on the You Ain’t Worth Keepin’ Alive Trail. [ http://www.nationalreview.com/human-exceptionalism/429771/futile-care-arrogance ]:

          “The Texas Advance Directive Act (TADA) allows a hospital bioethics committee and doctors to veto wanted life-sustaining treatment if they believe the suffering thereby caused is unwarranted–with the cost of care always in the unspoken background.”
          – – –
          “This effort [to block enactment] has been impeded repeatedly by the Texas Catholic Conference … perhaps because the state’s Catholic hospital association likes the law. (Texas Alliance for Life often carries the Catholic Conference’s water on this matter, in agreement on this issue, ironically, with the utilitarian bioethics movement.)”

          • I haven’t heard anything about a law like that in Arizona. Though AZ has been know to follow Texas’ lead in things.

            (Ever hear of the Arizona Rangers? Guess where we stole that idea from…)

            • Check out about 1:45

              • A fun song and a fun video; and the Arizona Ranger’s badge always makes me smile.

                A production company was scouting the park for a Willie Nelson film earlier this year, but we haven’t heard anything in a while. Hopefully this wasn’t another production headed to New Mexico because of their tax credit.

    • My wife’s family still has the written oath her grandfather signed when he became a citizen. He had come from Germany, and the oath he signed reads “renounce all allegiance… to foreign prince, potentate or Kaiser — especially Kaiser … etc.” 😳

  2. Thanks!! This is a wonderful post!!

  3. A lot of us took this one which I think is a rough equivalent:

    I, , do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    Yeah, the orders part is a bit different and you could argue as a general rule puts you in the “belongs to the government” box but it’s also situational.

    Even though I am released from that part I still believe I am held to the first two clauses which are the common element of both.

    • Yes. It’s roughly the same, and it has the same effect.

      • One hopes so but even with a youth of multiple readings of Starship Troopers under my belt it took quite some time in the service before the philosophical import of the oath struck me. Joining up was just something you did because that’s what men did.

        In some ways, it only consciously affected me after I got out. I think the first time I realized that I was holding myself to the first two parts after I got out of the service was when the importance of the oath hit me. Before then it was subsumed into military duties.

        Then again, as much as I grew up in the Navy I did a huge amount of growing up after (given my age it is quite embarrassing to admit looking back I wasn’t an adult in a lot of ways until this century) so that may be a factor.

    • And I know I can trust those of you who took that one and meant it to have my back, thank heavens.

      • Reality Observer

        Some of us who never took such an oath, too!

        BTW – the taking of oaths by State employees must depend on the State. At least here in Arizona, the only ones required to take a similar oath are elected officials and appointees. Not regular civil service people (which I, for two years of my life that I would rather forget, was).

    • I took it also

    • I’m with you… while getting out means there are no longer officers lawfully appointed over me, nor am I under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, for I am no longer in uniform. Nothing has even suggested negation of the first part.

      • You know, it’s funny, but when I got my discharge, they never said I was released from that oath that I took. Somehow I think most folks feel the same way about it, that we’re still supposed to defend it.

        • Did you have the full 8 required by law or did you have that unorganized reserves period after?

          • I had the ‘unorganized’ reserves afterwards. As I was an officer I was pretty much offered to stay in it as long as I wanted to, for some strange reason. But I eventually got tired of having to show up once a year and do paperwork, usually at a place 150 to 200 miles from where I was living and separated.
            Sometimes I regret not joining the guard or the reserves, some guys in the Navy reserve tried to get me to join their unit back when I was doing DOD work, they used to do a lot of partying and just having a good time. But I was so sick of dealing with the Air Force that I turned them down.

            • The SeaBees and the Connecticut National Guard tried to get me. The former talked about how you could get black BDU fish and how snazzy they looked. The latter told me they wanted me to work on helicopters.

              I just wanted to be a college student.

            • Officers are technically committed until they formally resign their commissions or have them stripped. It’s rarely invoked, but you bet your bippy that if we had a major war, there would be some surprised former servicemembers coming back to watch over the shake and bakes coming out of the abbreviated basic courses. Of course, most would volunteer to come back under those circumstances, but some would find out that they weren’t “too broken” after all. After all, the parts of our military that are truly irreplaceable are the hearts and minds of our members, not their limbs, as has been proven more than once.

              • When I was separating I was informed that, even after my something like six months of IRR was over, I could still be called up…but it would be just slightly ahead of a forced draft, and only if my specific skills were really needed, because it’s hella expensive.

                There have been folks who were not allowed to separate, or were called back up, but they don’t complain much because it is serious bank.

                • If you have the right set of skills, they’ll call you back with no remorse and no pity…

                  I basically served call-up papers to a ROWPU guy who’d been tossed out on his ear after 12 years of service because he hadn’t managed to get himself promoted past Sergeant. This was like ’87, or so. Came Desert Storm, Uncle Sam decided they wanted him back, and we went out to get him. He was working for Culligan there in Chicagoland, and was some kind of tech specialist for them. Anyway, recalled to active duty despite completion of his Military Service Obligation, and then some. Adding insult to injury? From what I understand, Culligan was the subcontractor for the Army ROWPU, and was about to send him to Saudi Arabia at an unGodly rate to be their tech rep. Instead, the Army dragged him off to go be an E5, again.

                  That guy was seriously, seriously unhappy. And, I don’t blame him.

              • One of my good friends had that happen to her. She had retired 11 months ? 17 months? previously, as a major in the Army Nurse Corps, when she was re-activated to help design / organize the MASH units to be sent to Saudi for Gulf I, as she was the last serving nurse officer with Vietnam MASH experience.
                She said that the lack of knowledge of what to prepare for and how to prepare for it on the part of those she was advising boggled her mind. She was VERY glad that the expected casualties did not materialize.
                JPDev

                • I saw a recent article that stated that between wars, the military’s medical services forget everything that they learned in the last conflict.

                  • Not just the medical services.

                    • Reality Observer

                      But only the useful things that apply to any conflict. They have an excellent memory for whatever no longer applies to the current conflict.

                    • The military tends to have an excellent memory for what strategies won the last war, coupled with the expectation that an enemy will repeat the same losing strategies in hopes this time they will work.

                    • Mmmm… No, not precisely. It’s more down to the innate conservatism that results from being in a field where experimentation has a high price in terms of consequences when the experimentation doesn’t quite work out. It is one thing to be all edgy and avant garde when the worst thing you have to worry about is a mean-spirited review in the paper, but when people are shooting at you…?

                      Yeah, all of a sudden the idea of not changing what worked last time looks really, really good. Not to mention, you’ve likely spent years thinking about what went wrong, and how to do it right, this time round.

                      Risk is one thing, when consequence is light. Heavy? You play it safe…

                  • A lot of it has to do with the way people are promoted. War fighters get promoted for fighting abilities. During peacetime, what tends to get you promoted are skills that are not in line with fighting. Fighters also tend to be aggressive people, that kind of behavior doesn’t go over well in the regular military during peacetime.
                    So the fighters leave and the non-fighters take over. The push the regs real hard and they follow the book to the last letter.
                    When I was in the AF, every time there was any kind of competition in air combat, or ground attack, the National Guard guys won hands down. Because that’s were all the war vets from Vietnam and Korea went. They still got to play with the toys, and didn’t have to put up with the BS. Meanwhile the regulars, who had newer shinier equipment couldn’t figure out why they weren’t winning.
                    Sometimes leadership figures this out, and tries to get units together that have looser rules and promote for aggressive fighting behavior. And other times not.
                    But there is nothing worse in the world than a sheep with officer’s rank who wants to be ‘friends’ with the wolves of lower rank. It embarrasses him, and sometimes destroys their careers. It’s even worse when said sheep (the ‘political’ officers, because they got their rank due to politics) make it to colonel or general rank.

                    • How does that happen, exactly?

                    • Bill Maudlin observed that during World War II, there were units with two sets of non-coms. Whenever they went in, or out, of combat, one set would get promoted and the other busted back to private. There were the set who would keep you alive in combat, and the set who would keep you out of trouble with the MPs.

            • Actually – unless there have legislative changes – officers can be called back to duty if/when needed – even out of retirement. ‘Course it’s been 25 years since I had dealings with my guard unit so…

        • This is exactly the understanding many of us have that lead to the creation of Oath Keepers. If you’re not already a member, check it out. Don’t buy the definitional attempts being made by the left; Oath Keepers is not a “rightwing militia” organization.

          • I was actually a member of a militia in Oregon when I lived there. Mostly we did it as a joke and a big FU to the Clintons who at that time were trying to take away gun rights.
            The fallout from the government over doing that was substantial, and the harassment lasted for quite a while. I was rather shocked to learn just how much some members of our government abuse their powers.
            I stopped going when I moved and they disbanded after Ok City, which was blamed on militias (of course).
            So these days, I pretty much avoid any of those organizations that the government is down on. The days after 9/11 were again not fun, because apparently my name was still on certain ‘lists’ from the Clinton era. So I really don’t want to relive any of that crap again, or go through some of the things I’ve seen them do to other people.

    • I recently reaffirmed that oath. Last November, in fact, the day after Veteran’s Day. I wanted it to be ON Veteran’s Day, but no one was at work that day.

      I raised my right hand under a bright Middle Eastern sky, right in front of the Fifth Fleet headquarters. Not gonna lie, it was a mite dusty under that flagpole.

      • Nice. Very nice.
        My favorite reenlistment was in Schloss Frankenstein. It was only twenty minutes away from my Kaserne. They have a decent restaurant, or at least did a few (mumble15mumble) years ago.

        • Darmstadt? What the hell was left there, in 2000? I thought all of it was shut down before that, or was Cambrai-Fritsch still open?

          I was over at Kelly Barracks from ’84 to ’86. Semi-fond memories of the area. Always thought I’d spend most of my career in Germany, but it turned out the flippin’ communists took their toys, folded their tents, and went home… Killjoys.

    • Those parts which render you a subject of the government applied only to your professional duties and responsibilities (which could, admittedly, become all-encompassing.)

  4. Catticus Finch

    This was a very interesting post and it’s one that I’m going to have my husband read when he gets home because we were just talking about oaths of allegiance.

    When I began employment at the state, I was given a state-specific version of this oath:
    “I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    to sign. It was the same wording with additional wording about defending my state.

    I read it over and signed it. I remarked on it to some of my fellow employees and their collective response was: “What oath? Does anyone remember signing an oath?” Turns out, most of my coworkers just saw that a piece of paper required their signature and signed it off. It occurred to me that the oath should be administered verbally by a supervisor and the in-coming civil servant should have to repeat it. Then they can sign so that it’s documented that the oath was taken. That oath, which should be at the heart of a civil servant’s commitment to work, deserves better than to simply be shuffled in amongst the reams of in-processing paperwork.

    • If you are joining the National Guard or Air National Guard the state parts are added to the military oath of enlistment.

      • Herb, makes me wonder why our ocean-fronting states don’t have a Naval National Guard,

        • I think that would be a National Coast Guard…most states wouldn’t want the expense or find value in a blue water Navy. A green water one, on the other hand, could be useful although I think more for Great Lakes states than costal ones.

        • Anonymous Coward

          If they did, it would only take a couple of years before bills would be wending through congress with appropriations for the coastal defenses of Kansas. 😦

        • They do. That’s why there’s that provision about Letters of Marque.

        • California has just such an organization under Governor’s orders: The California Naval Militia (see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Military_Reserve#Naval_Militia ).

          It had been inactive for lots of years, but supposedly is standing back up, though I believe there’s been no money since 2005 from the folks in Sacramento. Too many feelz to service before you do anything like secure the ports and the coasts, I imagine.

          • The Other Sean

            Ohio has the Ohio Naval Militia, whose main mission is patrolling the waters off of Camp Perry to keep recreational boaters from getting too close. Something about the targets for ranges being right near the waters edge and wanting to prevent easily-preventable accidents, IIRC.

        • Not part of the Militia and expensive as all hell.

        • There used to be state naval militias before WW1. Sometimes the regular navy would let them have a small obsolete ship to practice on.

    • If actually administered I wonder how many would refuse to take it. I also wonder how long until it wound up in court.

      It would be educational.

      • Catticus Finch

        I could probably count on one hand the number of weeks before it went to court, especially considering that the state was California.

    • wanderingmuses

      When I went to work at West Point we took that oath aloud. I meant it then. I still mean it now.

    • When I entered Federal Civil Service, almost 40 years ago, I spoke a oath very similar to the one of Catticus. I read it aloud from the paper, right hand raised, in the presence of my Supervisor, who witnessed the oath by signing as did I.
      Now, admittedly, I took the oath in Texas, where things like oaths and ‘your word’ still mean something, but spoken and witnessed it was.
      The ‘discharge of duties’ still binds today, I am charged with not disclosing and Confidential or Secret information I acquired while working. I’m pretty sure in my ‘duties’ part, there was an admonishment NOT to cover the classification markings, copy and fax to Hillary in the clear.

    • Pursuant to Arkansas 5-73-309/14, I had to swear and sign statements of allegiance to both the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Arkansas when I got my concealed carry permit.

      That required finding a copy of the state constitution and reading it first. Fortunately it is short…

    • Bibliotheca Servare

      I wish I could say I was surprised. I’m not. I am a little depressed though… In addition to it being sad that the oath is not read out, isn’t it a little scary, if predictable, that government employees would sign a piece of paper without even reading it? Wait…that sounded less stupid in my head, lol. 😉

    • Courtesy of both the government and a couple of social organizations, I have had the privilege of taking several variations of that oath. IMHO such oaths should always be formally administered to remind folks of seriousness and importance of their positions/offices.

      Regards
      Dann

  5. … I reject and renounce any faith, philosophy, or organization that is opposed to the American concepts of individual liberty and responsibility, …

  6. When I took the oath as a navy officer, I thought is was very poetic, and correct that I swore allegiance to the Constitution and the country whose course it directs. Constitution first and foremost.

  7. with single manly tear, YES

  8. One reason STARSHIP TROOPERS resonates. He assumes a nation where you have to take that oath (or close to it) to have a voice in that nation’s government.

    And then go out and *prove you meant it.*

    Volitional citizenship. Sounds good to me. Along with felony status for perjury and oathbreaking. (Boy, wouldn’t *that* be popular…)

    • The problem with felony perjury can be summed up in two words: Scooter Libby.

      Absent eidetic memory, anyone can claim you committed perjury, and when you have a jury foreman who later confessed “We wanted Karl Rove or George Bush, but Libby was as close as we could get,” the perils are obvious.

  9. This was my *intent* behind the “Pledge of Allegiance” That I first did in Grade School. I recommend reading/hearing The “Red Skelton version.” It’s very similar in intent.

  10. I think it is not so much a matter of the Founders didn’t foresee that some of their fellows were natural-born subjects (and more than a few verbs) but that they anticipated such people would be subjects of their State. The national government would not claim allegiance of the citizens except through their State. Those who couldn’t handle more than a little bit of freedom would remain in states that restricted it, with those seeking more would naturally migrate to states more generous in what subjects were allowed to do … or to the Frontier. People were Citizens of the USA, but subjects of their State. This is why, for example, individual states were permitted establishments of religion — if Massachusetts wanted to be run by Puritans it was no skin off Pennsylvania’s nose.

    That states would be so casual about ceding authority to the Federal government and resign themselves to becoming, essentially, administrative districts, was beyond the imaginative capacity of the Founders. (For more on this, see Kurtz, Stanley: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/429693/affh-preview-obamas-hud-takes-over-dubuque-iowa )

    If you wouldst blame the Founders for lack of foresight, get the charge right.

    • That states would be so casual about ceding authority to the Federal government

      it was not always casual. There was a lot of real blood shed over that ceding of authority.

    • “natural-born subject” – interesting phrase. It would make an interesting argument to contrast it with “natural-born citizen” and query whether that contrast does more to define the latter term that is generally acknowledged.

      • Let’s acknowledge it — some (many?) are born to wear the yoke. It moots naught until they try to demand we wear it too.

        • “We here in this room are wild, we do what we do because it is needful and because it is right. No other motivation, ja? If you make slaves of us, you be wise never let us near a weapon.” He waved at the city lights gleaming far below. “But out there, how many people would be happy to exchange freedom to someone who will give them orders and see to their needfuls? Quite so many! Is it not the sadness, that the free wild-animal men are born so heartbreaking seldom?”

          Once again, he gestured at the window, black eyes glaring. “Do you think that they yonder is free?!?” His hand chopped downward in scorn.

          Nick van Rijn, Trader To the Stars, last scene, Poul Andersen

          • Americans–chaotic good, chaotic neutral, neutral good, or straight-up neutral. The natural bane of any DM who wants to railroad a scenario. Including those who consider themselves rulers.
            How they wish we ran as lawful ANYTHING instead!

            • At least in 3.5, being an American would be quite lawful– having a moral code and sticking to it.
              Liberals would be chaotic, because principles drop as they’re not useful. (Any sort of romantic/sexual interest in a co-worker is evil! Unless you’re the president and get sexual favors from her, AND are an abortion supporter, in which case I’ll do a degrading sex act on you. *gag*)

              • We read it as good/neutral/evil describes moral code, lawful/neutral/chaotic describes law-abidingness. And yes, 3.5. I played chaotic neutral and drove our DM pure nuts.

                • The D&D alignment system consists of taking every ethical issue that the wisest and best minds have broken their hearts over for millennia, misunderstanding half of it, boiling it down to a set of rules that a DM can adjudicate, and handing it over to a bunch of sophomoric players (some of which will have the excuse of being sophomores).

                  Law-vs.-Chaos is one of the silliest because they conflate three issues, how you live your life, your relationship to society and government, and your views on the cosmos, as if Lawful in one meant lawful in all.

                  • It has its roots in fantasy literature where Chaos was the power of destruction (not necessarily evil, but amoral) and Law was its opposition.

                    • And some of them got pretty silly, too. Moormock’s depiction of “pure order” as a featureless utterly unified plane in which there was no order because there were no things to be ordered.

    • Sorry, after 1861 there was nothing casual about it. Kind of like wondering why someone stays in an abusive relationship when they’re chained to the bed.

      • Au contraire — that only settled whether the states could sever by force the relationship; the question of a state’s ability to sue for dissolution of its bonds has never been tried. At least two states, California & Texas, might have significant grounds to assert such a right.

        After the War of Southern Secession the states still retained significant authority over their internal affairs. It is debatable just when they ultimately resigned that authority, with some adherents pointing at the 17th Amendment, others pointing to Wilson, FDR or LBJ, but at this point it hardly matters. While the SCOTUS still recognized state authority to regulate the workplace in 1918 (Hammer vs Dagenhart ), by the New Deal the tide had turned and the Court’s adherence to precedence (something lauded by the Left only when the precedent favors their conclusions) bent its knee to FDR’s court packing threat with N.L.R. B. vs Jones (1937) and bowed its neck with U. S. vs Darby (1941) and turned belly up in Wickard vs Filburn (1942).
        http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/federalcommercepower.html

        FDR was certainly not one to let a crisis go unexploited.

        • Except it didn’t start with force until it was obvious any argument save the last argument of kings would be ignored. And that hasn’t changed.

          • Had the South not fallen prey to hubris and gone to force prematurely their chances of success might have been better. Now that we’ve trod parlously near a Tar Pit topic I suggest the thread be closed and in furtherance of that I have nothing more to add to comments already made.

            • Bibliotheca Servare

              Close? I’m pretty sure that’s tar on them there boots o’ yers, pardner. 😛 But I’ll refrain from responding because, 1: I’m neither suicidal nor inclined to tempt our Dark Mistresses hand to rest upon the Hammer of +infinity Banning, and 2: you have (to understate grossly) seniority. (You’ve been here much longer than I have, that is.) No disrespect intended. 😀 😉

    • Bibliotheca Servare

      The question is, how do we go about undoing that intolerable situation? Is such a thing even possible? Dear God I hope so. And I wish I could believe no one would oppose the undoing by threats (or acts, even. Natural born subjects are violently opposed to freedom as sane persons define it.) of violence. Why must history always rhyme? Damn it.

      • The Gingrich Congress was working on this, providing block grants to states with goals and targets rather than regulatory prescriptions for their use. I don’t recall what happened to that approach. *cough*earmarks*cough*

  11. I don’t think they were wrong– if things get bad enough that we need a test on philosophical grounds more than we need the assumption of American-ness, then the folks doing the testing are just as likely to be corrupt as any of those born here.

    • scott2harrison

      I think that people are conflating citizen with enfranchised citizen. The franchise was never ment to be extended to all, or even most citizens. It had to be earned, primarily by having a stake in the community that you lived in. (usually property, or a profession).

      • The Founders had a deeply rooted distaste for popular democracy, which is why they established a republic. It must greatly grieve their ghosts that their descendants have so squandered our inheritance.

        • Bibliotheca Servare

          And if.you said that on msnbc or similar, you’d (universal “you”) be tarred and feathered. Or at least a good sized chunk of the citizenry would *want* to tar and feather you. It’s depressing, really. How hard is it to say “republic” instead of “democracy”? Evidently, quite hard. *sound of head striking desk, repeatedly*

  12. ” when a conservative roots for America, they mean the individual entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, and scholars- the millions of little people who even now, every so often, by the grace of determination, judicious risk taking, and hard work, manage to do a few really big things. When a liberal roots for “America”, they back the bully-boys in the government with the private jets… the big institutions that nevertheless manage routinely to fuck up thousands of little things.”

    In what insane, Bizarro world, is this even close to being true? Who’s the leading GOP candidate? Donald Trump – a bully who screws up regularly, owns some of the world’s largest private jets, talks constantly about his wealth, tells his followers to ‘rough up’ undesirables at his rallies, fucks up regularly then blames it on others. Who’s pulling out in front of the opposition? Bernie Sanders, a liberal even by the most liberal standards, who at 70 has holdings estimated at $300,000, refuses big PAC money, champions the needs of the average, underserved American.

    My God, you’re so busy agreeing amongst yourselves and patting yourselves on each others’ back for your supposed ‘patriotism’ that you have lost all sight of reality.

    I guess you’ll have to trash me now, since there’s no way you’re going to acknowledge this and emerge from your fantasy. So, have at it. But if there’s anyone reading this who honestly wonders why the right is falling apart at the seams, why its ranks are shrinking, why it is the butt of jokes, here’s a hint: It’s NOT because everyone ELSE is wildly deluded and has “lost sight of their values”. Try again.

    • He’s the “leading candidate” sure, but have you looked at his polls innards? It’s mostly “democrats who identify as Republican” whatever the fuck that even means.
      Try again. And this time look at who people are and not the party stamp on them. Trump is, has been and will always be a Liberal.

      • I see Donnie boy as the archtypical crony capitalist. I expect he would make a piss poor president. But if he becomes the candidate I will do everything in my power to get him elected. However badly he does it will not be worse that what we’ve had to endure these past seven pitiful years. As for the Democratic candidate, flaming socialist or greedy, lying, and most important stupidly incompetent witch lady, hard choice there.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Trump is no worse than any other Democrat.

          Jeff had to insist that Sanders would win, because the Clinton Foundation is substantially worse than Trump’s holdings. (Trump at least hasn’t been using Federal office to shake people down for bribes.)

          Jeff’s contentions about Sanders having poverty virtue undermine the contention that Sanders will win the Primary. At this point, the candidates need to have their organizations up and running. Those polls lead one to think that Sanders has a good organization in those two states, but they do not show that he has effective organizations in the other states.

          Hillary and Sanders were in a competition many weeks ago for political technicians that know how to win elections for Democrats. The one that did best will have better organizations.

          • But Trump IS a good attack dog. The sad thing is, that would make him a great vice-president — but one doubts his ego would let him take 2nd place.

      • I don’t like Trump. I have never liked Trump. He’s another liberal masquerading as a conservative, and doing it poorly. Look at the handful of “conservative issues” he talks about. It’s all liberal accusations about conservatives writ large.

        Trump “presents” as a caricature of what liberals think of conservatives. The source of his support is mainly “name recognition.” He was a well-known public figure long before the current election cycle. Add in the impressive amounts of airtime the liberal media gives to talking about him. Give a heaping helping of the press misrepresenting a lot of things he says so that when he does go off the rails, people have to wonder if that’s not another media misrepresentation. Then throw in that people, a lot of people, are utterly sick of the years of gaslighting from the left and his support is broad but shallow.

        • I’m thinking the actual primary results, especially in closed primary states (open primaries are an abomination) are going to show Trump’s support isn’t as deep as he or the pundits thinks it is. If for any reason it’s Donnie vs. Bernie in the general election, it will be entertaining as hell, and I suspect Donnie will win.

    • Wrong on the merits. Try again. To quote Tolkien, “Yo crooked eyes, the truth may wear a wry face.”

    • I seriously doubt that you will find much Trump support here. He isn’t a conservative. In the historical record, there are strong indications that he is actually quite liberal, much like the Rockefellers of old. His major support comes from people who think he can win versus those who seek a conservative candidate. You might also consider that a healthy dose of Democrats support Trump.

      I hope that introducing facts does not constitute ‘trashing’ you, but I suspect that, in your world, not joining in lockstep movement is considered such.

      • I do know some rather rock-ribbed Conservatives who poll as supporting Trump– but they all point out that they don’t want him to win, it’s because he’s a salesman that’s advertising what they’d want to buy. The famous “send a message” thing.

        Not sure anybody expects him to DELIVER on what he says he’s selling, outside of the usual “3% of those polled believe in anything.”

        • I’m more concerned he’s tapped into a sentiment in the public that after four or eight more years of same-old is going to be much wider spread and significantly more dangerous. I don’t think people are quite out of patience enough to go full on kill them all and let God sort them out. Yet. But I think they could quite easily get there. (I might have been there a decade and a half ago for a certain value of ‘them’, but I’ve stepped back, for now. So I comprehend the feeling from the inside.)

          I don’t see anyone running with both the ability and the willingness to defuse that bomb, so maybe we should set it off now instead of packing dynamite around it for the next four to eight years. Some of those who probably have the ability are too busy being beholden to those who don’t want it defused to do the defusing. But I know a lot of you have different views of the willingness quotients of the candidates.

          Put me in the camp of preferring someone who isn’t beholden to party leaders. However, I live in one of the most Republican states in the country, and I mostly vote to encourage the others. I voted for a big party presidential candidate in only the first election I was old enough to vote for. That Isolationist guy in 1998. Remember him?

          • I wasn’t old enough to *drive* until ’99.

            • Young’un. Well, depending on driving age, you might not be that much younger. It amuses the heck out of Eldest that he’ll get his driver’s license before his three-years-older cousin gets hers.

              • Oh, heavens, don’t get me started on the stupidity of countering young folks getting into accidents by making it so that the people BEST SUITED TO LEARN TO DRIVE DECENTLY are not allowed to learn.

                • Oh, is that what it’s supposed to be?
                  And here I figured it was all about keeping competition for road space down, like the mandatory school age keeps competition for jobs down.

                  Guess it could be multi-tasking.

            • You make me feel old. My first Presidential election was 1980.

              • Oh my aching knees! My first presidential election, I got to choose between Nixon and McGovern (one reason I do not so much despair over the coming debacle.) To my shame, I voted against Jesse Helms. While I was indeed young and new to NC, that was inexcusable. Never has history worked so well to make me glad my vote was for a losing candidate. Never again did I vote against Jesse, in spite of the sterling (snicker) candidates nominated to run against him.

                • Bibliotheca Servare

                  I just moved to NC from the Midwest, so I had to Google Mr. Helms. Based on the despicably, though unsurprisingly, biased, vitriolic nature of his Wikipedia entry, he was a damned good man. Nice to know my new home has men like that in it’s recent history. I still have to (I’ve only been here two months) read up on North Carolina history, obviously, heh 😀

                  • You have some fun reading ahead! NC was among the first to take up arms against the British — look up the Battle of Alamance (1771), the real first shot of the Revolution. A few years on and The Battle of Cowpens was a decisive victory as those Scots-Irish Blue Ridge settlers kicked Colonel Banastre Tarleton in the behind in 1781. At Guilford Courthouse, a few months later, troops under the Fighting Quaker, General Natty Greene, gave Cornwallis’s army a Pyrrhic victory, forcing him to withdraw to lick his wounds in Yorktown.

                    In the War Between The States NC had the fewest slaveholders and sent the most troops of any Southern state (so the fable goes), primarily those demmed hillbillies from the Appalachian Mountains.

                    Make sure you study about the Wilmington Riots, aka

                    The Wilmington coup d’état of 1898, also known as the Wilmington massacre of 1898 or the Wilmington race riot of 1898, began in Wilmington, North Carolina on November 10, 1898 and continued for several days. It is considered a turning point in post-Reconstruction North Carolina politics. The event is credited as ushering in an era of severe racial segregation and disenfranchisement of African-Americans throughout the Southeastern United States. Laura Edwards wrote in Democracy Betrayed (2000), “What happened in Wilmington became an affirmation of white supremacy not just in that one city, but in the South and in the nation as a whole.”
                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilmington_insurrection_of_1898

                    and take note that it was the Democrats who seized power then and for generations to come.

                    Jesse Helms is generally credited with delivering the NC primary vote to Ronald Reagan in 1976, keeping his challenge of Gerald Ford alive and ensuring Reagan’s victory in the 1980 primaries. Be aware that any praise of him will likely make Democrats become incoherent (how this differs from their natural state is anybody’s guess.)

                    For funsies I strongly recommend Louis L’Amour’s two novels set in this area, bringing Barnabas, the first of the Sacketts, to America around the time of Queen Bess: Sackett’s Land and To the Far Blue Mountains.

                    • “The Battle of Cowpens was a decisive victory as those Scots-Irish Blue Ridge settlers kicked Colonel Banastre Tarleton in the behind in 1781.”

                      Hold it! You’re thinking of King’s Mountain, in South Carolina but barely so, where said Scots-Irishmen beat Colonel Patrick Ferguson’s Loyalists to death after he threatened to lay waste with “Fire and Sword” if they did not swear allegiance to the Crown.
                      Cowpens was when Tarleton got hammered by Daniel Morgan, the “Old Wagoner” and his force of Continental regulars, militia, and a few Overmountain men.
                      And was also in South Carolina.

                    • Oops. Quite right; serves me proper for remembering History late of an evening. In my defense I plead that I have never considered South Carolina a proper state but rather a evil step-child to North Carolina.

                      North Carolina’s militia was, of course, present at both engagements and gave those lads what fer.
                      http://www.britishbattles.com/battle-cowpens.htm

                    • Yes, you’re definitely a North Carolinian–every one I’ve met and talked to says the same thing about their southern neighbor.

                    • You know I became an American in NC, right?

                    • Protective colouration. I do everything I can to fit in short of pretending to give a [REDACTED] about basketball, college or otherwise.

                  • I got to vote for him twice.

                    • In separate elections, I presume. Ah reckon one of those was against Harvey Gantt, whose main campaign theme was to vote for him to prove NC wasn’t racist? (For those not familiar, one of Harvey’s main claims to achievement was being the president of an African-American media company that got “minority set-asides” on behalf of their White financial backers.)

        • The best thing about Trump is that his pretending to be a conservative is shoving the Overton window way over so that actual conservatives might actually be in the running.

          • I accord concern over Trump in direct proportion to the number of delegates pledged to his support.

            Right now, that number is zero.

            As for his polling numbers? Raspberries. How many polls in the last decade proved accurate within two standard deviations?

            • I agree with you about the polls. However, you might want to take a look at the crowd numbers. Trump is getting thousands of people to wait up to 7 hours in winter conditions to see him. No other candidate has been able to show comparable crowds…. and they would if they could.

              He’s not paying them; there’s no way that secret could be kept, especially with trolls from Clinton, Sanders, et al mingled in and getting in to be thrown out.

              • But Steve, he’s a CELEBRITY. They’d probably also wait on the Kardashians. I mean he had a TV show and “you’re fired” entered the national slang. I think you’re underestimating the celebrity factor.

                • That’s also possible. However, most of the crowd has hit that point where “mature wisdom is the same as being too tired.” These are not Star Wars fans or college students or government drones; most of them seem to have actual jobs.

                  Underestimating your opponent is also deadly.

                  • I’m not underestimating him. I told you that I am actually reconciled to the fact we’ll get him. BUT his supporters are CERTAINLY not conservatives with ANY logical/philosophical underpinnings.

                    • No, most of them have just reached the “Mad As Hell” stage.

                    • You do have to admire his brass, though:

                      http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-rents-iowa-theatre-to-show-benghazi-movie-for-free/article/2580618

                      Pretty sure this wasn’t Hildebeeste approved. 😎

                    • And why couldn’t someone in the GOP have done this? 😦

                    • The Other Sean

                      Because the other GOP candidates are politicians campaigning as most candidates have in the past. Trump, much as I loathe him, has stepped outside the box in how he’s campaigning. He’s also unafraid to say and do things that politicians interesting in keeping their current cushy jobs, or obtaining a new cushy job in the next administration, are afraid to do and say. He knows how to use spectacle.

                    • Sean, don’t underestimate the media’s hand in creating this impression. They really are treating Trump favorably. They COULD destroy him if they reported some things he’s said to the actual Republican voters, but those they hide. OTOH the other candidates are in the same “cone of silence” that doomed Romney. Periodically I find out something Cruz said three months later and go “Da*amn I like the cut of his gib.” Poor Carson NEVER escapes the cone of silence except to be misreported.
                      The media is aiding and abetting the destruction of America and one of their own taking over.

                    • The Other Sean

                      True. A big part of the reason Trump can get away with some of what he does is how the media decides to slant their coverage. There are things he says they’d be more critical of if they came from another GOP candidate, and others that they give positive attention to that they ignore if it comes from another GOP candidate.

                • I’ll always associated the words “you’re fired” with this scene more than The Donald.

              • In 1984, Mondale & Ferraro started their post-convention campaigning in Merrill, WI at the county fairgrounds. A good many people, my family included, went to see them. We sat. We watched and listened. I can’t say for sure who my folks voted for, but I am fairly sure they did not vote for Mondale/Ferraro. I recall one teacher mentioning that it was odd that he’d be voting for a Republican, but “I don’t know what Reagan will do, but I know we can’t afford what Mondale will do.”

                The thing I remember was the building of a small audience-space rather than using the Grandstand for seating. I can see it partly as that brought everyone closer and made for better pictures, but also as it would be easier to make it appear a large crowd rather than possibly largely empty space.

                Also that it was obvious that some of the audience were plants. Someone well into that mentioned that signs were fine, but no, absolutely NO ‘signs on sticks’ were to be permitted. And guess what some people, carefully positioned, had? Yup, signs on sticks.

                • I always get a hoot out of “spontaneous” protests featuring professionally printed signs. It is even more amusing to see English-language signs in countries where English is not the primary language.

                  • Strangely, I’ve seen pictures of the recent protests in Germany (over the New Years Eve attacks in Cologne) that had signs printed in English. I’m used to that sort of thing in the Middle East. But seeing English-language signs in what appeared to be a popular German protest was odd.

                    • The Other Sean

                      I wonder sometimes if they’re specifically playing to the English-speaking world (particularly America), of if it is just a case of wanting to get attention throughout the world and English being the closest thing to an international lingua franca these days (Ha! Take that, France!).

                    • That and wordplay can be easier in English for the topics they are protesting. “Rapefugees” can’t be done in German, but it’s clear to everyone in English.

      • Such support for Trump as I have seen here has tended to come from the “Burn it All Down” crowd. Others have been enjoying his pulling the noses of the MSM but expressing hope others will get the nomination. Some of the weak supporters have ranged from “Better Trump than Hillary” to “Better Trump than Jed!”

    • didn’t realize that Bernie Sanders was the Dem front-runner. Hmm, learn something new every day.

      • Actually, as of this week he is leading in Iowa and NH. Not sure about the nationwide polls.

        • If I remember the article correctly Sanders was leading everyplace except SC. I’m really not surprised. Hillary is a horrible candidate and between Benghazi and the email scandal I think she’s down to only her (thankfully few) hardcore supporters.

          Except if Sanders gets the nomination and is elected I will seriously weep for what this country has become.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I doubt that Jeff could think of anything “nice” to say about Hillary. [Wink]

      • I’m pretty sure Trump is the Democratic front-runner.

        • And you’d be right. Bernie is the socialist front runner, though.

          • Anybody think there’s a chance under “Truth In Labeling” laws of forcing the Democrat Party to be renamed the Socialist Party … and the Republican Party renamed the Democrats?

            While this would not create an opening for a genuinely republican party, it would help reduce confusion for folk like Jeff.

      • I’m not sure that it matters whether he’s currently the front-runner or not. There are rumors floating around right now that if charges aren’t brought against Hillary for the e-mail mess, then the FBI rank and file will revolt. In short, the fallout from the investigation into Hillary’s e-mail server may very well make the current tussles between Bernie and Hillary moot.

        • Some people say they’re warming up granny Warren.

          • I think it’s too late for her to enter this cycle.

            Also of note – Biden’s been saying good things about Bernie lately at Hillary’s expense.

            • (holds up right hand, flattened palm downward, waggles)
              It’s hard to say. One reason (supposedly) Joe Biden opted out of running was that the filing dates for the primaries were too close to be confident he could get in all the races. While this has not proven a problem in past (Bob Menendez) campaigns, there is always the risk it will prove a bridge too far for a damaged party.

              • The Democrats could still do something at their convention, but if they do, they’ll have the same problem as the Republicans will if they nominate anyone but the primary winner.

                • I can imagine Hillary entering the convention with the delegate count in her handbag and an impending indictment, giving a speech declining the nomination and turning her delegates over to [whoever has the damning photos of Bill en flagrante Lolitas] while tearfully denouncing the sexism rampant on the American Right, unable to stomach a powerful female leader and so determined to destroy the Clintons (as they have been for three decades (its only been two and a half, but what does accuracy matter to Clintons?) and she now realizes, from the way they have gone after her emails of diet tips with dear Huma and the emails planning baby showers with poor pregnant Chelsea that those rage-filled sexists will destroy everybody around her to prevent Hillary from being president, and she now realizes that she must step out of it, that somebody must rise above personal ambition, above her desire to give Americans the wise enlightened female leadership the country so greatly yadda-yadda-yadda …

                  Of course, she does that and the news stories are all about Hillary and her noble sacrifice and how mean the Republicans are and nobody has any idea who the actual Democratic nominee is.

          • Or Michelle.

    • umm, also Sanders is an avowed socialist (“a set of social and economic measures, policies and systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production”), and Trump (whatever his faults) is a capitalist (“an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods and services for profit”).

      Maybe your concern is that Trump has gotten rich and you feel that people shouldn’t be allowed to enrich themselves; that the fruits of their labor in fact belong to the government, to disburse as it sees fit?

      *shrug* I get itchy when people talk about tax cuts as costing the government money, because the only way government gets money is by taking it from people. I’d quote a conservative here who had a rather pithy comment about socialism, but that might upset you further.

      • No. My concern is that Trump has talked — when the press isn’t frantically covering it — about doing the same things Obama tried only more so. Trump is a crony capitalist. That’s not a capitalist.

        • Nope. It’s a fascist.

        • Trump is a crony capitalist. That’s not a capitalist.

          *hand wiggles* Eh, sort of is; capitalism as a moral system– where it’s hammered into being a sort of mirror of socialism.
          It’s a perfectly good economic system, kind of like fire is a wonderful servant and chocolate is a much better dessert topping than floor wax.

          • This is what comes of employing the enemy’s terminology. if instead of Capitalism and Socialism we spoke of Free Markets and Managed Economies it would be easier to make our meanings clear.

            We would then discuss candidates in terms of the degree to which they wanted to manage the marketplace, which would slide Trump in just this side of Hillary and Sanders and well to the Left of Cruz and Rubio. Christie, Jeb and Kasich would probably land somewhere in the middle but because of the inadequate political terminology in use it is hardly possible to tell where.

            Orwell was right: control the language and you control the thoughts of which people are capable. Right now we’re essentially forced to argue about “pussy” because we haven’t the words for arguing “monkey.”

      • Furthermore, I’ve read that Sanders said he is a national socialist. Now I don’t know about you, but that really hits some uncomfortable historical resonances for me. Sanders is old enough he ought to have some history–I could understand someone publicly educated in the last thirty years not getting it, which explains why he’s got the ‘youth vote’. So presumably he meant it. Assuming the reporter got the quote right.

        I always think the reason why liberals tend to be so perplexed by the anti-tax standpoint of the working poor is that the liberals tend to have enough resources they don’t notice all the little nickle and dime taxes–$20 on your land line, $10 on your cell . . . which add up pretty darn quick when you don’t have much, but aren’t much of anything when you do have much–or when someone else pays the bills. It has the same effect as the idea of changing income tax payments so that the non-self-employed also have to cut a check rather than their employer doing it before they get their pay.

    • Anyone that thinks the right is falling apart needs to take a close look at their State Assembly and wonder where all the Democrats have gone.
      At least the Republicans have some candidates that aren’t either a grandmother, or a socialist old enough to be her father. You know, like, young fresh new ideas (and Jeb! for those that like old fossils).
      As for Trump being wealthy, when did it become a sin to work hard and reap the rewards? Trump has certainly put more people to work than Obama has.

      • In some circles that sin is automatically assumed based on the conviction that it wasn’t hard work that earned your success, but rather some form of privilege based on gender or skin color.
        With special dispensation naturally to anyone who becomes fabulously wealthy by looking pretty on screen or through back room deals in politics just so long as they hold to the proper party line and utter the right phrases in support of the narrative.

        • “that sin is automatically assumed based on the conviction that it wasn’t hard work that earned your success, but rather some form of privilege based on gender or skin color.”

          But, mind you, not having people assume you are an AA beneficiary is “white privilege.”

        • Don’t be forgettin’… or having the right set of muscles to that let you run or throw a ball.

      • I have no problem with Trump’s wealth. The thing that disturbs me the most is that Trump supported the Kelo decision. He supports expanded imminent domain.

        That, to me, indicates that he simply does not respect freedom.

        Having said that, I am happy that he’s speaking what I suppose is his mind (I’m somewhat convinced he’s saying some of the things he says because he knows that’s what his supporters want to hear); it’s done interesting things to the debate. I have the feeling, though, that someone else will take the nomination instead of him….

        • Pretty much my thoughts, as well.

        • I confess, I’ve kind of been assuming he’s saying what he thinks will get the reaction he wants (from multiple sides, supporters and non) without any necessary relationship to what he actually wants to do.

          • Take a look at some of the insights offered by Scott “Dilbert” Adams in his blog discussion of “Master Persuaders.” Part of what Trump is doing is playing the MSM like the morons they collectively are. They can no more help their reflexive responses to his provocations than Pavlov’s dogs could not salivate.

            • My quibble there is, some know outside the border issue, Trump is just like them, and they hope he gets the nod, so if dems don’t win the election, the still get one of theirs in office, and even better,the still get to rant about how racist America is.

    • You quote someone talking about conservatives, and then start trashing people due to a GOP presidential candidate. You’re fairly unobservant, apparently. Conservatives and the GOP aren’t synonymous, and aren’t even especially close these days. Yes, in the past conservatives haven’t had much option but to hold their noses and support the GOP against the overtly socialist Democrats, but very very many are recognizing the GOP as just one wing of the government UniParty these days. The GOP won’t have their support much longer (if it still does at all) unless it truly starts to act upon the principles it pretends to espouse.

    • The right is falling apart at the seams, its ranks are shrinking, it is the butt of jokes? In what Bizarro world?

      Look at the growth in governorships held by the Right, look at the increased control of state legislatures. Look at who owns the lock on Congress.

      You’re being taken in by the clown show put on by the MSM and missing the real changes in American politics.

      As for being the butt of jokes … that is a most peculiar political metric. Often it indicates where the <Ireal power sits, as those makiing the jokes are typically politically impotent, else they’d not need to diddle themselves with mockery of those holding power so securely they can tolerate ridicule (as assuredly the current president cannot.)

    • I don’t think those words mean what you think they mean.

      Sarah’s quote “when a conservative”

      Your response “Trump”

      How is Trump a conservative? Just because he runs under the “GOP” label? If you spent a little time with your eyes open, you might just realize that Conservative and Republican are not the same thing.

      Try again.

      • Goldwater’s (ghostwritten, but he put his name on it and, I presume, agreed with it) “Conscience of a Conservative” (I do recommend that book) is where I get my definition of conservatism. It’s actually pretty close to small-l libertarianism and fairly close to my own philosophical views.

        • Free-range Oyster

          I’ll have to add that to the to-be-read pile (or move it closer to the top). My personal philosophy keeps adjusting as I learn more. As reassuring as a label can be (and I’ve used several over the years), I’m currently at a point where I don’t have a good name for what I think, and no one has the time to listen to a lecture on all the nuances. 🙂 Ce la vie. I just wish I had the time and energy to study some of the things I’m uncertain about so I could develop a better position on those. I like working from solid principles and good information, and it’s demmed inconvenient at times.

          • Conscience of a Conservative was

            ghostwritten by L. Brent Bozell Jr., brother-in-law of William F. Buckley. Bozell and Buckley had been members of Yale’s debate team. They had co-authored the controversial book, McCarthy and His Enemies, in 1955. Bozell had been Goldwater’s speechwriter in the 1950s, and was familiar with many of his ideals. The first edition, 1960, is 123 pages in length and was published in the United States.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Conscience_of_a_Conservative

            His son, L. Brent Bozell III, is also a conservative activist and the founder and president of Media Research Center and the Cybercast News Service (CNS.).

            Don’t fret about not having a good name for your beliefs — most anybody who’d want to know the label would immediately misunderstand it anyway.

        • My first presidential vote was for Goldwater!

          • Sigh. My first was for George H. W. Bush. BUT be fair, I worked for Reagan’s campaign. I still have no idea if that was QUITE legal.

            • Reality Observer

              Probably was, Sarah. Although I could be wrong, it depends on the State. Here, you must be a registered voter to register other voters, or serve as an election official or polling monitor. That’s it for restrictions.

              The Feds actually have few, if any, restrictions on campaign workers (I do vaguely recall something about a US bank must be the processor for donations – I think that was put in after somebody was using the Bank of Toronto as their processor, because they gave them a better transaction rate.)

            • Mine was a well because November 10th is just days too late to beat any election day.

              I’m not sure why it isn’t January 3rd for the cutoff given when the people elected start serving (that’s when Congress takes office and given all Presidential elections are Congressional ones I’d say that the right cutoff).

          • Oh yeah, I helped set up the original “Young Americans for Freedom” group at the college I was attending when AUH2O was running.
            Thanks to the lying rotten media-whores/democraps(BIRM) who kissed lying Lyndon’s ass like they do barrack’s these days he lost. Buuut that brought the conservatives out of the basement they had been consigned to for so many years.
            I really would have like to have seen Goldwater and JFK going head to head for the presidency. The press still would have been all in for Camelot, but Goldwater might have been able to point out the unclad nature of the occupants. Jack along with his brothers and friends doing their best bj clinton routines downstairs at the swimming pool while their wives swapped recipes in the Green room.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Well Jeff, plenty of people here aren’t sure about Trump.

      Of course, few people here believe what the News Media says about any Republican, Trump or otherwise.

      As for Sanders, he may be a “nice guy” but his policies would be the death of the US economy and the US we love.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        In fairness to Jeff, I don’t see a big flashing Cruz banner over on the sidebar. Nor is ATH selling Pro-Cruz T-Shirts and donating the money to Ted’s Campaign. Nor have I seen any evidence that we are running a PAC.

        At least nothing other than my ‘Paid for by Friends of Pat Buckman for President, 2016’ comments.

        • Look, Jeff is a self-described Libertarian who’s gone Berniite. His comment was so disjointed or sounded it because I couldn’t even believe that one, but just checked his page, and hot damn.
          I don’t know who removed his brain with a hammer, but here’s the thing: Bernie is Chavez. I have family in Venezuela. If I wanted to live there, I’d have done it. I don’t. Keep your fucking socialists away from the white house, please.
          Man of integrity. Sure he is, like all the others who have filled mass graves by omission and commission. As for me and my house, we’ll remain free, thank you.

          • “Man of integrity” is a phrase which does not, when combined with what Bernie threatens promises to do, provide much reassurance.

            Don Corleone was a man of integrity, as were Charles Foster Kane, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun.

          • Jeff is a self-described Libertarian who’s gone Berniite.

            Can anyone explain how that happens? I sorta get the “burn it all down!” attitude that gets people supporting Trump… but I have no mental model to explain this sort of mental gymnastics.

            • Joel, most American “Libertarians” do not actually have any grasp of what constitutes a true libertarian philosophy. Mostly they want to smoke dope and avoid actual participation in democratic compromise in lieu of claiming themselves “pure.” They are closely related to the so-called anarchists protesting elimination of government benefits.

              I would call it a form of intellectual tantrum, but that gives a more generous presumption of intellect than has been earned and disparages the toddlers’ appropriate frustrations.

            • No. The only thing I can figure is “I’m better than those trump supporting idiots, and all my smart friends are for Bernie.” Crowd following and virtue signaling.

            • Christopher M. Chupik

              Bern it all down?

        • Wait what? Since when is a Cruz banner required to be not-in-favor-of-Trump?

          Dude, around here we kind of expect folks to be able to read. And, you know, understand some of it.

    • Trump may be leading polls for the Republican party nomination, but if you think his purpose entering the race was anything but as a stalking horse for Hillary you’re a little on the deluded side.

      His job was to play Ross Perot to Hillary’s Bill Clinton (i.e. to pull off enough votes from the Republican nominee to allow the Clinton to skate back in to the White House); that things have blown up beyond that is a testament to how frustrated people are with business as usual.

      • Now that I don’t buy, simply because when Trump started being a serious contender for the Republican nomination I went to the library and checked out his books. He was writing back before he did The Apprentice about considering being President someday.

        If he can see the future well enough to plant that line back then, maybe we ought to make him President based on just that!

        I’d buy that both Republican and Democrat Bigwigs *thought* that he was going to be a stalking horse, though. Probably because they never realized that anything could get the ‘Morality Voters’ to hold their noses and vote for a guy with two ex-wives.

        • Holly, what they thought is that they were still Masters of the Universe and could spend enough money to buy the election again. What they forgot is that it still comes down to individual votes. What they didn’t realize is that 2014 was the year people realized they lied to us, and now they have no trust left to draw on.

          • I’m with you on this. Ordinary people have been pissed on by DC for a long time and it seems to have gotten worse under Obama. After 7+ years of being told we’re racist because we don’t agree with his policies is way to much. Seeing somebody hit back against the PC culture being pushed by DC and the media is kind of fun.

            The last couple GOP candidates did a horrible job of pushing back against the media and the liberal agenda.

            I’ve been watching in horror as the Patriot Act was passed, the TSA was formed and we were told they would never unionize only to see them do exactly that a year or two later, Real ID passed (which if I remember the law means that we’ll be sharing American’s identity information with both Canada and Mexico), the ACA, and now CISA. Oh yah, can’t forget Solyndra, the IRS, and Fast and Furious. (Yes, I know I’m missing some but at this point there are so very very many).

            The only real bright spot I saw along the way was the Cruz supported USA Freedom Act which has since been pretty much wiped out by CISA.

            • Trump is following the path Newt Gingrich blazed in 2012.

            • Some things you’re forgetting: Benghazi, the myriad “pen and phone” deal with Iran, starting the Syrian war.

              • Not so much forgetting as running out of space 🙂 I keep promising myself I’m going to stop watching the news and focus on making my life better but then I get a few minutes of free time and I’m looking at the news again 😦

                Xcom2 on Feb 5 🙂 I’ll be ignoring the world for a good month or so when it comes out. Not to mention my diet, workout, and study plans.

                Also 10 US Navy sailors being used as propaganda to show how weak the US is under Obama. I’d really like to hear what exactly happened.

                • I understand the Iranians explained it as the crews didn’t seem very well trained.

                  BTW: I hear that Bernie has won the coveted endorsement from The Nation magazine … and that putting Chelsea out to bring home the Millennial vote brought in over $1.5 million in donations for Sanders in the first 24 hours.

                  One more reason the MSM is keeping the spotlight on Trump.

                  • I hadn’t seen that but I’m not surprised! Hillary’s political instincts don’t seem to be the best. Trotting Bill out while saying all women who bring out accusations of sexual assault should be believed wasn’t the brightest move in the world. The media doesn’t love her like the do Obama so she’s not going to get near as much cover from them.

                    My favorite is still ‘What difference does it make’. I’m sure there is a nice warm toasty spot reserved for her in Hell.

                    • “My favorite is still ‘What difference does it make’. I’m sure there is a nice warm toasty spot reserved for her in Hell.” This, so much THIS.
                      Or they just hand her over to the victims of Benghazi for a little fun.

                  • I would note the last person the get The Nation‘s endorsement won two terms as president.

              • If only the victims of Benghazi were around to get justice. Ever long for the days of frontier justice when you could tar and feather politicians? Of course once started where would we stop? Great, now I’m laughing maniacally at the thought of Obama giving the SOU covered in feathers 🙂

                The rule law for thee but not for me seems to be the current DC motto.

            • I take exception to this comment. DC is where real people live. The politicians are in Washington. Just because they occupy the same real estate doesn’t mean you should conflate the two.

              • Sorry, I’ll try and do better but DC is much faster to type 🙂

              • A very well know Mage: The Awakening campaign (Broken Diamond for those interested) was set in Washington D.C and the dichotomy of Washington vs. D.C. was a issue in the game, especially in the spirit world (although I think the labels are the reserve of what you used).

                • I haven’t seen that. Never got into playing Mage but they had some of the usual game based novels out early 2000ish that i enjoyed.

                  Anyway! I had always thought it was the same as well. DC is where the pols are and Washington is for the more normal people.

                  Though I have to admit i don’t understand wanting to live someplace that disarms you.

          • And this little gem from Ace of Spades is the cherry on the sundae:
            http://acecomments.mu.nu/?post=361053

            The GOPe decided to tear a page from the Yasser Arafat playbook:

            It Gets Worse: GOP’s Spanish Language SOTU Rebuttal Doesn’t Even Mention the Barebones Nods to Border Security that Nikki Haley Did; Instead Promises to Find Way to Legalize Those in the “Shadows”
            Oh yeah, totally, let me get on board with this corrupt, corporate anti-American organization.

        • On the one hand, yeah.

          On the other hand, as Fiorina noted in the very first debate, Trump’s last phone call before declaring his presidency was to the Clintons.

          I’m *very* curious about that phone call.

    • Jeff, can you please list who was the leading GOP candidate 30 days before the Iowa Caucuses in 2012?

      Because I realize you have trouble with actual facts (I noticed none in your screed), the answer is Newt Gingrich, by ten points.

      When the Iowa Caucuses first began achieving importance, in 1972, Ed Muskie led George McGovern by half again (36% to 23%). In 2008 Hillary still led Obama at this point, and Howard Dean was the Trump of 2004. In 2007 the Republican front runner leading into actual voting was Rudy Giuliani; tell me: how many delegates did he end up with at the convention?

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Ted Cruz will be America’s next President.

      • From your mouth, to God’s ears. He’s the best of a bad lot, in my view.

        That said, I really, really do not like a single one of any of the prospects that they’ve put before us in the last several decades. I’ve had to hold my nose and vote, but I did so only as having made the lesser of two evils choice. And, I really resent having been forced into that, by the corrupt and incompetent party leadership of the unified party system we have.

        I think it is far past the time when we should start forming new political systems in this country. The party system isn’t even in the Constitution, and I think the two we have are a huge part of the problem. I’m not saying “form a third party”, I’m saying “Do away with them completely, and find another path”.

        It strikes me that the parties are an artifact of an era when communication in terms of information and physical presence were both slow and lengthy processes. In today’s era, with the internet and near-instantaneous communication, I don’t understand why we’re still using these ancient institutions that aren’t at all responsive to our desires or needs. So, why the hell do we have them, still?

        Neither the Republican or the Democratic Party speak for me, or to me. Why are they the only choices? Why haven’t we supplanted these fools and tools with something that is responsive, and is actually speaking for us?

        • Because the disintermediation provided by the internet and instant communication is equally deadly to a republican form of government where our representatives are supposed to be middlemen. It leads by about three simple steps to mobocracy.

          • I’d point out that the intermediation we’ve got going right now ain’t exactly answering the mail in a satisfactory manner, either.

            Something has to change, and if the bloated, out-of-touch, and entirely unresponsive party apparatus won’t, then what?

            I don’t know too many Democrats that are happy with the direction the greater Party is going, nor do I know many Republicans that are happy with their mass of idiots. Neither group has much luck trying to shift direction of the parties from the local level, and the national parties don’t pay attention to the rest of us out here in voter-land, at all. So, what is the answer, in your mind?

            I’ve engaged the local Republican party apparatchiks. They’re either co-opted, or literally fucking morons. My concerns are brushed off, and they only want money from me while they go off to be Democrats, Lite.

            Frankly, I’m of the mind that the entire system is dead, and just doesn’t know it yet. We badly need to revamp and revive something to take the place of the parties. What do you propose? The Tea Party organizations tried, but what did they get for their trouble? The national organizations have basically blown right by them, and aren’t doing a damn thing they promised to do.

            I’m about at the point where I think that the only thing that’s going to work is taking some of these legislators prisoner, holding people’s courts, and then hanging the bastards from the nearest lamppost, right along with their “consultants”.

            Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats speak for me, or to me. What is my recourse, pray tell? These people have basically taken the nation hostage, and put the Constitution in abeyance, so that they can retain illegitimate power over all of us. Where, in the Constitution, does it speak to there even being such entities as “parties”, in the first place?

            • “I’m about at the point where I think that the only thing that’s going to work is taking some of these legislators prisoner, holding people’s courts, and then hanging the bastards from the nearest lamppost, right along with their “consultants”.”

              Been there for years, actually. The Left in this country is too untrustworthy to build a society with, and I doubt they or their plantation residents will leave voluntarily. That really only leaves one route.

            • The Other Sean

              Some of the Federal government still listens to the American people. After all, there is the NSA. 😛

              • Bad Other Sean! My keyboard’s only two weeks old!

              • Waves to Fed the Fred

                • He worries me, you know? I don’t think they know we moved. He’s probably sitting in his little van across from the old house, thinking I don’t love him because no hot chocolate or sandwiches.

              • Sometimes I wonder how long before I get in trouble for walking into an unoccupied room and saying, “I know you’re listening. They shoot spies, don’t they?”

                • We do this all the time. Also fairly sure at least for a while the line was bugged…

                  • Anyone I know, including me, who’s held a secret or higher clearance is convinced their phone lines have been bugged at random. In the days of landlines, mysterious clicks and buzzes other people didn’t experience. Now, in the days of cell phones and digital signals, there’s no way to guess when someone is listening. I know people convinced the NSA records EVERYTHING, and computers screen it all for patterns and words, flagging those who need actual monitoring. I’m not sure if they’re paranoid- or if I’m not paranoid enough.

                    • Bugging cell phones:
                      slightly harder than cordless phones (those can be “bugged” with an FM radio, I did it on accident with my mom) but mostly prevented because it’s illegal.

                      I know that that, officially, we weren’t allowed to have cellphones at China Lake because the equipment the intel/coms office used could and would pick up the same frequency bands used by them, and that various gov’t agencies have admitted that they’ll have what amount to flying tower drones going around and giving you better cellphone reception, which is win/win unless you’re the one they’ve got a warrant for. 😀

                    • No, you’re not paranoid… we like that shirt you’re wearing today, goes pretty well with your socks…

                    • Maybe not paranoid enough! There is an interesting article on schneier.com about an Indian company that is using sounds outside of human hearing to track what sites people are using from their IoT connected devices and cell phones/tablets. (I think Indian, it’s been an info overload kind of day!)

                      I’m not sure why people feel the need to connect every device in their homes to the internet but for me it’s another reason not to give my toaster internet access no matter how much it complains.

                    • No matter how much I desire a device to synchronize all the clocks in the kitchen (stove, oven, microwave, coffee-maker #1, coffee-maker #2, coffee-maker #3, toaster oven, toaster, food processor, radio, CD/Cassette/MP3 player, refrigerator, clock) after every and any minor power glitch (there have been times I could measure the glitch by which items were blinking 12:00 and which weren’t) I still would not have them all on internet.

                      I have seen reports about such ploys several times the last few months, including monitoring your TV watching and fast-forwarding the DVR through commercials.

                    • “I laughed, she laughed, the toaster laughed. We shot the toaster. It was a good time.” 🙂

                  • Is there a story behind that?

                    • I grew up with my phone bugged. Mom had a radio program for a while, where she said the sort of things I say on this blog, only more so because mom is nuts and also far more religious than I am (at least publicly religious.) So for a while our phone was bugged. She and I used to have entire conversations with the buggers. It was a win if you could get them to laugh (and with Portuguese equipment at that time, you could hear it.) Until recently we had a land line and about a year ago I started hearing the characteristic click. Now it could be something else, but we’re writers, so the improv started.

                    • scott2harrison

                      To Sarah: Even if you had a landline, it is almost certain that it went to and electronic exchange. Thus bugging your line by a government agency would mean the exchange duplicating some bytes while they flew around inside the exchange and would not cause clicks on your line.

                      Of course it is also possible to deliberatly add clicks to your line as an intimidation tactic. I have not heard of this being done, but it has been decades since I was involved in telecom.

                • An old joke I once heard –

                  A group of friends living in the Soviet Union are staying in a hotel. It’s late, and one of the men wants to go to sleep. But his friends are all complaining noisily about the government, and they’re so loud that he can’t fall asleep. So he secretly calls down to room service, and asks them to bring him up a drink in exactly ten minutes.

                  Several minutes go by, and he goes out to sit with his friends. Just before the ten minute mark arrives, he leans over, speaks into the arm rest on his chair, and says, “Comrade Captain, could you please send up a drink?” Almost immediately after he says this, there’s a knock at the door, and his drink is delivered. His friends get spooked, their conversation comes to a sudden end, and everyone goes to bed.

                  The next morning, the man wakes up and his friends are all gone. He asks one of the maids about his friends, and she tells him, “They were all arrested for seditious talk. But Comrade Captain has a sense of humor, and decided to leave you alone.”

                  • Spent a year doing stuff in Beijing. Living in a nice apt/hotel; except the TV set had a camera built into the picture tube. The builders made a slight mistake and plumbed the power so that it stayed on a little longer then the main tube. So you’d turn off the set, the face would go dark except for a small round circle in the lower corner which would slowly close down.

                    • You sure that was a mistake? Perhaps their thinking was it is less important that they watch you so much as that you are aware of being watched.

                    • Possibly, except my people (and the russkies) were even more anal about watching me/us. (I’ll tell THOSE stories sometime when there’s more space.)

        • Neither the Republican or the Democratic Party speak for me, or to me. Why are they the only choices? Why haven’t we supplanted these fools and tools with something that is responsive, and is actually speaking for us?

          Because they’re entrenched. I read an academic paper some years ago that described how the election laws in the US effectively forced a two-party system, and how laws in some other countries promoted large numbers of single-issue parties that had to combine to form coalition governments.

          It’s possible in our system for a third party to replace one of the two, as has occurred in the past, but having significant third parties is apparently not in the cards.

          • It’s not possible, right now. You see, the two parties have made it impossible to get a third party on the ballot most places.

            • About the only place that has a work-around for this is NY, which allows multiple listing so that a candidate can run on (for example) the Republican line and the Conservative. If I understand the politics correctly (not being a NY voter) this tends to make the third party endorsement highly valuable and offers a way for a third party to supersede (in state politics) one of the major two.

              The fact that this empowers leftist fringe groups such as the Working Families Party or the Rent Is Too Damn High Party should not be discounted.

          • Looking at what the other systems turn out, it seems to me that our system requires forming coalitions before the folks are elected, and other countries form coalitions after everyone’s been elected.

            I rather like our way, especially after living in Washington State, which has a system where you have a pre-vote and then the top two duke it out– which was sold as a means to get more variety, but actually results in the incumbent having to be really bad in order to not be on the ballot the next time.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        I can only hope.

        No, seriously. I’m Canadian, and I can’t vote (not until the Michelle Obama administration, at least).

      • If he’s elected, he’ll have to divorce his wife – A VP at Goldman-Sachs, heh, heh.

    • Of course you see it that way. You’re wrong, but there’s no argument that will convince you.

      Sarah’s the nice one here. She still believes in a peaceful resolution. I don’t. The only permanent answer to your attempt to enslave us to government is “Leave us alone or we’ll kill you.”

      • Which is why they are so intent on disarming everybody but themselves. I think they are really missing the boat on that one since it would only require people to me more creative in the forms of mayhem and destruction.

        The other downside to that is that for every one of us that is crying out to just be left alone there are a whole lot of squeaky wheels that think government is the answer to every problem.

        • Government is the answer to every problem.

          Just as euthanasia is always the most cost effective medical treatment.

          • I think the end result is actually very similar. . .If you ever go to despair.com check out the Government demotivator. . .Government. . .If you think the problems we fix are bad just wait until you see our solutions. (Or something to that effect).

    • Trump vs Sanders would be a really difficult choice. Right now, I’m leaning toward immanentizing the eschaton and voting for Sanders. Meanwhile praying for a better choice.

    • Patrick Chester

      Hm. Interesting. Did you happen to read Sarah’s earlier postings criticizing Trump, or is your Narrative too important to let things like that get in the way of your screed?

      Hm. Bernie Sanders. The “national socialist”? Yeah, what a saint.

    • Jeff, Jeff… I’ve seen you show evidence of a functioning brain. I don’t know where you put it, but you really need to bring it out of storage and start using it again.

      To start with, in what universe does GOP = conservative? Certainly not in this one: one only has too look at the policies being suggested by the various candidates to see that.

      For seconds, Sanders is hardly someone to hold up as an alternative. Unless of course you really want to add to the hundred million plus corpses the various flavors of socialism have piled up around the world. Even without the socialism, he’s a total economic illiterate who’d drive the country even further bankrupt than it already is.

      The “right” isn’t falling apart at the seams. The GOP is, largely because the establishment has no desire to be anything but Dem-lite. It’s still better than full Dem, but by less and less each year.

      Go and find your brain and put it back in gear. This kind of nonsense is just wasting everyone’s time.

    • In what insane, Bizarro world, is this even close to being true?

      It’s called reality, and you apparently have let your acquaintance with it lapse.

      Who’s the leading GOP candidate?

      Foul! Non-sequitur! The GOP and “conservatives” are not one and the same. The Venn diagram has substantial overlap, but it’s not even close to 1:1, and assuming that it is can be construed either as dirty rhetorical pool on your part, or colossal ignorance, also on your part.

      So, which is it: are you lying, or stupid?

      Donald Trump – a bully

      True.

      who screws up regularly,

      By whose standards? Not by his.

      owns some of the world’s largest private jets,

      Non-sequitur. But points for trying to use envy to whip up the masses in a venue where that’s ridiculously unlikely to work.

      talks constantly about his wealth,

      Did you know the modern American equivalent of non-sequitur is “so fucking what?”

      tells his followers to ‘rough up’ undesirables at his rallies,

      Oh look, we’re still deep in the weeds of “this has jack shit to do with the straw man you’re arguing against”. Anybody got a GPS?

      That said, yeah, Trump’s a no-goodnik. He’s also not a conservative. So pointing to him as representative of conservatives in general is preposterous.

      fucks up regularly then blames it on others.

      Which only makes him a modern politician.

      Who’s pulling out in front of the opposition?

      It’s cute how you treat the Republican race for the nomination as if the candidates aren’t opposed to each other. Kind of definitional, there.

      Bernie Sanders, a liberal even by the most liberal standards, who at 70 has holdings estimated at $300,000, refuses big PAC money, champions the needs of the average, underserved American.

      Jeff, buddyboy, that one–afternoon seminar in using sales pitch techniques to win over voters in blog comments? Money wasted, man. Money wasted.

      Should have gone for the underwater basket-weaving class.

      Or, better yet, “Why saying you’re libertarian and support a socialist makes everybody laugh at you For Dummies”.

      My God, you’re so busy agreeing amongst yourselves and patting yourselves on each others’ back for your supposed ‘patriotism’ that you have lost all sight of reality.

      My goddesses (I have a harem of ’em), you’re so busy trying to use social proof to sway people smarter than you to a truly idiotic position that you have really lost sight of how hilariously inept you are at doing it. The Keystone Kops were Kompetent by komparison.

      I guess you’ll have to trash me now, since there’s no way you’re going to acknowledge this and emerge from your fantasy.

      I’m not trashing you. Just mocking.

      And laughing.

      So, have at it.

      Well, gee, thanks for the “permission” I didn’t need. Feel free to return in kind, though you could do with less imperious pomposity.

      Unless you want to make me laugh harder. Then by all means, amp it up!

      But if there’s anyone reading this who honestly wonders why the right is falling apart at the seams,

      Is it? The mainstream media are trying mightily to create that impression, but it doesn’t appear to be working. Certainly no better than your attempts to make Bernie 19 Trillion Anderson appear to be a reasonable choice and a rational human being.

      why its ranks are shrinking,

      Right. Which is why conservatives have been gaining majorities at the state level for the past decade. Because they’re losing. Got it.

      why it is the butt of jokes,

      Been that way since before I was born, so you can’t claim it’s due to anything recent.

      here’s a hint: It’s NOT because everyone ELSE is wildly deluded and has “lost sight of their values”. Try again.

      You probably think Obama did awesome with the Iran situation in the past few days, too, you poor thing.

  13. Sorry, I accidentally made two consecutive references to Trump screwing up. But, let’s face it…

  14. I would willing take that oath, but I am going to offer this single caveat – that the first clause, “that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic” be held in superior position to all others.

    In the world of the progressive/SJW, the next to last clause, “that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law” is supreme and they have the given right, by virtue of their right thoughts, to dictate the law.

    I may be a bit touchy on this subject as I am reading Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas.

    • FIRST comes the constitution.

      • I’m AGREEING with that, just pointing out the progressives will use the nature of the oath to try to force people to violate the first provision for the last. I retain the right to maintain the proper order and to act honorably and accordingly on that basis.

        • Of course. I would expect that.

        • For good or ill, the Nuremburg trials took the “I was just following orders” off the table as a legitimate defense. Our sworn military are expected to refuse to follow an illegal unconstitutional command.
          I really do fear that a continuation of the Obama presidency may very well put that ruling to the test.
          I yet again harken back to John Ringo’s “The Last Centurion” for a fictional speculation of such repercussions.

          • I need to re-read that. Did I pack it? Or is it in my bedroom somewhere?

          • Uncle Lar, the only problem with that is that many in our military are a product of the modern education system and I’m not sure they get the constitution.

            Over the summer I had a waiter who was a recently discharged from the Navy. We were having an interesting talk until he started saying he thought Obama was going to be the greatest American President ever. As far as he was concerned Obama could do no wrong. I almost threw up my rather pricey steak dinner.

            I thought Kratman did a great job of detailing out some of what might happen in State of Disobedience. Military families being held hostage to insure that they would follow orders. Various government agencies being heavily armed and acting as an enforcement arm of a dictator president.

            • We’ve already seen the latter. Nearly every large government bureaucracy has a SWAT team these days. It’s never been explained to me exactly why the Department of Education *needs* a SWAT team, but apparently it has one.

  15. Reblogged this on Things I Discuss With My Cats and commented:
    Without reservation

  16. I had some similar thoughts a while back: “… this is not an oath to be taken in haste, or renounced lightly. It is an open-ended commitment that is specifically not linked to the duration of time served in any particular office.”

    http://etheo.blogspot.com/2013/01/not-just-words.html

  17. Several years ago, I came across the claim that the Pledge of Allegiance was a Socialist construct, and there were even pictures of school kids saluting the flag Nazi-style to back up the claim.

    I didn’t believe it, but a few minutes of Wikipedia searching confirmed the claim. The page also had a list of objections to the Pledge, and I found that I agreed with about half of them.

    Example: “One nation, indivisible”. I attended a family function where we were discussing the potential outcome of Heller, and what would happen if the courts ruled incorrectly. It was a given that Montana would secede, that Idaho would likely follow suit, and that Utah, after some debate, would follow suit as well. And I was nodding, thinking to myself “And I’m going to support withdrawing from the Union, if it came down to that.”

    Another example: “And liberty and justice for all”. Besides being contradictory (well, somewhat: I’d support the abolishing of prisons, but we’d have to make significant societal adjustments before that could even be a consideration), justice itself is something we cannot guarantee, and in some cases, it might not even be appropriate: we need to have room for mercy as well!

    Having decided I didn’t like the Pledge now, however, I had this sense that I wanted to replace it with something more fitting to my acceptance of the beliefs of the Founding Fathers. So I came up with:

    “I pledge my life, my fortune, and my sacred honor, to the securing of the blessings of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, for myself and my posterity. So help me God!”

    Not having served in the military, nor having been naturalized, the idea of “defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic” wasn’t as much on my radar as it probably should have been; that, and I wanted the concept that our rights needed to be protected, regardless of what circumstances we might find ourselves in! In particular, I wanted Russians, Chinese, and Mexicans to be just as comfortable taking this oath, as anyone else…

    • It is interesting that the Reverend who wrote the original pledge left God out of it as figuring mixing any religion at all with any government at all would be harmful to both. And yes, he was a socialist. Though I recall the salute you mention being something associated with an alternate pledge by someone else.

      • With regards to the salute, I think I could see that. It wouldn’t be the first time that someone misused (deliberately or even accidentally) somewhat irrelevant photographs to make a point!

        Honestly, though, I don’t think I’m bothered by that salute per se, in much the same way that I don’t consider the Swastika in and of itself to be a symbol inherently evil. Both became tied to the Nazi party, who had adopted both, so I also understand why people stopped using that particular salute (and keep their distance from the symbol). It’s nonetheless…interesting…to see the black-and-white photos of students saluting the American flag that way…

        I think the reason why the above objections stuck with me (I have trouble remembering the other objections I agree with, without looking them up) may be, in part, because of the hints of socialism involved.

        And in that regard, the Pledge isn’t as bad as the song “This Land Is Your Land”, which was written by a Communist, and once understanding *that*, the Communist message rings out clear.

        • It wouldn’t be the first time that someone misused (deliberately or even accidentally) somewhat irrelevant photographs to make a point!

          Like how a lot of the “KKK is still a big deal!” photographs are Hispanic Catholics doing pre-Easter penance?

            • Free-range Oyster

              Waitwaitwait… the ceremonial attire of the nativist and anti-Catholic Klan is nearly identical to certain Catholic penitential garb?! *howls of derisive laughter* That is fantastic in every sense of the word!

              • Reality doesn’t HAVE to make sense! 😀

                • Reality does make sense, however, because the Creator is not a lunatic. As Tolkein pointed out, the adversary does like to ape His work.

                  He does, of course, think in 19 dimensions simultaneously. Or maybe it’s 21 dimensions; only He truly knows.

                  • There’s “makes sense” in the form of “has a rational basis,” and “makes sense” in the form of “common sense” AKA “just about anybody CAN reasonably follow how this works.”

                    God is probably #3, which is waaaaay before #1.

              • Surely you didn’t think they had the wit or creativity to come up with something like that on their own? Klan lackwits?

                It’s really interesting to go back and look at the various influences on the sartorial uniform choices made, back in the days of the early republic. Zouaves, ferchrissakes? How the smegging hell were those poor bastards supposed to keep those outfits clean? And, all the other accoutrements of the Great European Nations? You look at the uniforms the idiots came up with for the Army, and all you can do is go “Wow… Really? Who the hell thought Americans would look good in a smegging Picklehaube?”.

                We probably only missed having cavalry troops dressed up as French Hussars by a little bit, and that was probably mostly Congressional unwillingness to finance the whole thing. Believe me, there were people who wanted all that sartorial glory, and who thought that was the entire point of the military, in the first place: Grownup men playing Barbie with their troops.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                I imagine that some of the Confederate veterans and Democratic Party activists in Texas were Hispanic Catholics. Perhaps some had the clothes on hand, used them, the custom spread to the rest of the movement, then the KKK went anti-Catholic later.

                • No. It was anti-Catholic from the beginning.

                  • The Other Sean

                    Indeed. However, as far as I can tell, their most pronounced period of anti-Catholicism (and anti-Semitism) came in the two decades following World War One. This was the period of time during which they were burning crosses on the lawns of, or on lands adjacent to, Catholic colleges and universes, attempting to burn Catholic churches, setting off bombs at such places, etc. They also spent a lot of time denouncing Catholic political candidates, such as an Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate during the 1920’s. For some reason, much of this history is forgotten now; Catholic university histories ignore, gloss over, or merely make oblique references. But if you dig through the old news stories you can find some coverage, and some faculty and students at Notre Dame and University of Dayton have started researching this topic in greater depth.

                    • When the KKK controlled Colorado government they sent a letter to the university president demanding he expel all Jews or lose funding. He said “cut funding and be damned.” The university survived. His address at that graduation is read every year. And I confess it got a little dusty.

                    • BobtheRegisterrredFool

                      I’d heard their big Anti-Catholic push was in the ’20s and ’30s. I do know that for some reason the Catholics ended up heavily aligned with the Democrats, and that Catholics, the Democrats, and one presumes the KKK were on the same side of the wet dry dispute. (Conversely, Oklahoma and some other states were dry during the period they were Democratic satrapies.)

                    • There was that little tempest in a teapot, a little while back, where black students had vapors because a white student was reading a book about the Klan attacks on Notre Dame.

                      Though, to be sure, I think they would have objected to any book on the Klan.

                    • The Other Sean

                      The Democratic/Catholic alliance appears to have been strongest in the Northeast and the big lakeshore cities of the Midwest, but weaker elsewhere. Most Catholics I know in greater Cincinnati are Republican and come from a long line of Republicans.

                    • Well iirc the klan’s first “official” act of terrorism was attacks on a Catholic church, and Republicans

                    • As best I can tell, the 1860s KKK being anti-Catholic doesn’t get much notice because it was part of a bigger anti-Catholic thing going around.

                      Plus, kind of hard to tell if you hate Catholics because they’re Catholic, or because Catholics are doing stuff you hate. (Apparently a lot of slaves were Catholic because that’s who would do services and officiate at weddings.)

                    • That’s unpossible…everyone knows to be a Republican you have to join the Klan (and you get special non-polluted Republican air and water services).

            • Yes, but do their robes have yellow happy faces on the back?

        • As regards salutes and so on, my father was during the late 30s and early 40s a member of a Boy Scouts-equivalent organization, Pathfinders, that our church has had since about 1928.

          It has several level; Friend, Explorer, Ranger, … with the two top levels being back then Comrade and Master Comrade. (Eventually those were changed to Guide and Master Guide … wonder why?) I have a vague recollection that they used the old salute to the flag back then, that got changed in the early 40s, IIRC.

          Connotations change, don’t they?

          • In junior high choir we sang “The Cowboy’s Lament.” The ancient song sheets said, “in the saddle I used to be gay…”

            (I can’t find that version online, but as is usual with popular music, it seems there were many different versions…)

            We were instructed ignore that and sing different words.

            Connotations. I’m pretty sure “being gay” didn’t mean quite the same thing when those sheets were printed…

            • In “The Silver Chari” by CS Lewis, the female protagonist “made love to everybody”. Even with the context that took me a moment. 😉

            • When I was in elementary school, we sang a song that started, “On his bronco the gay cabellero went riding to the fiesta.”

              I still remember the first verse, but I don’t remember if there was a second. Probably be charged with homophobia (for using “gay” in a non-sexual reference) as well as inappropriate cultural appropriation if I tried to sing it today.

      • The roman salute had no negative connotations prior to WW2. It was adopted by the fascists in 1919 but Francis Bellamy wrote the pledge of allegiance in 1892. Also, the original salute associated with it was different, “the pledge was begun with the right hand over the heart, and after reciting “to the Flag,” the arm was extended toward the Flag, palm-down..”

        As far as indivisible, the Nation was formed under the “Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union”, note the Perpetual part. While people will argue anything the question on if States can secede under the Constitution was resolved 1865. Furthermore, if the Government is acting contrary to the Constitution all those of use who have taken the oaths in question are obligated to correct it, peacefully if possible but violently if not.

        • I would propose that the question of State secession hasn’t been resolved, and cannot be. All that the Civil War did was demonstrate that, if you try to secede, and the folks at Washington disagree with the secession, you can expect armies to come visit you. What happens afterward can get complicated…

          Apparently Montana even has a provision in its admission to Statehood that if the Right to Keep and Bear arms isn’t recognized by the Federal Government, they have the right to secede. That was why the outcome of Heller was dependent on Montana’s actions…

          • There’s also this bit of American Philosophy: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

            The biggest problem with the South wasn’t that the seceded, but why they did so. You don’t get to take your ball and go home because your team couldn’t get its act together and lost a Presidential election.

            Right now I’m not sure if the train of abuses and usurpations could be called long, but it certainly isn’t short.

  18. We have so many domestic enemies now.

  19. I’ve always felt that you ought to sign a written document, and swear an oral oath upon taking up the duties of citizenship here in the US. Don’t want to? Fine, you’re a resident American, not a citizen, and cannot be drafted for duty, nor can you vote. Ever.

    Part of that oath-taking would be an affirmation that you’ve read and understand the Constitution, and agree to abide by the compact formed between your fellow Americans and yourself. You’d also be affirming your availability for military or other service, and if the rest of the citizenry determined you were needed, you go. Don’t? You lose citizenship and revert to Resident American.

    Never really felt comfortable with the Starship Trooper form of mandatory service for citizenship. Something about that just rankles me, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s enough to merely be born on the soil of these United States. I think, instead, you ought to sign a compact with your fellow citizens, and spell out the basis of your association with them, based on the Constitution.

    Don’t want to, and change your mind? At some point, say past the age of 25, I think I would require automatic induction into something, because if you want to change over from “free rider” to “citizen”, you shouldn’t be able to do it after you’re no longer at risk to contribute your service and body to the cause. So, yeah, there’s a penalty involved for that–Automatic 2 years or so, picking up trash in the National Parks, or something.

    • Free-range Oyster

      picking up trash in the National Parks

      *narrows eyes* And where pray tell is the Constitutional authority for the very existence of the National Parks, or any Federal land outside the District itself? [/soapbox]
      I agree with you on the Troopers model; I’ve always been uncomfortable with it, though I find articulating my objections difficult. Your version needs some tweaking (what doesn’t?) but I like it a lot better over all.

      • And where pray tell is the Constitutional authority for the very existence of the National Parks, or any Federal land outside the District itself?

        For the later, Article IV, Section 3, Paragraph 2:

        The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

        In order to disposes of or make needful rules and regulation respecting the Territory of the United States there must be such territory. The District and the ability of Congress to do the same for it is explicitly listed as a power of Congress in Article 1. The authority for the existence of Federal land outside the District can be concluded thus be logically derived.

        It is also implied earlier in Paragraph 1:

        New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

        This clearly implies a belief in the existence of Federal territory independent of the capitol district for the creation of new states independent of that in the several states.

        In fact, as part of the Constitution’s adoption all the non-New England states

        As to the former one could argue the continued existence of Federal land in any state which claimed their Western borders as the Mississippi, the entire continent to it having been surrendered by Great Britain, gave up such claims to the Federal government.

        • I don’t know about other Western States, but it’s my understanding that Utah has an explicit written promise with the Federal Government that most of the land within Utah borders will be reverted to State control at some future time. The Federal Government has yet to do so, though, and now State legislators (as well as Utah’s senators and federal representatives) are beginning to get a bit antsy about the issue.

          Things would be fine if the Federal Government managed the land well, and didn’t pursue policies that conflicted with the interests of the locals (and even the local environment!). On the other hand, there are locals who claim that the State couldn’t manage the land, that it would be too expensive, yadayada. I would propose, however, that even if it costs the locals more, it would be a good idea: we *ought* to have the responsibility of our own land, even if that responsibility costs us more.

          (Indeed, I would propose that “responsibility” means that you do it, even if it’s more expensive than you would like!)

          • It would be … entertaining to see a state (or consortium of states) bring suit for reversion of of properties held by the Feds under grounds of mismanagement and neglect.

            • If I understand correctly, Utah is working on it. And several other Western States are also probably working on it…

      • Article 1, Section 8:

        “…To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;–And…”

        That “other needful buildings”, could include National Parks if you squint and hold your head to the side.

        • I’m pretty sure that is limited to military and government offices and the District. I think Article IV is a stronger case.

          • And this–arguing validity from the Constitution based on the actual Constitution–is one reason why I love ATH.

          • Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 limits what the federal government is allowed to own in regards to land, and what it is used for. Federal territories are public land until such time as they become a state; they are not federally owned, but controlled. It is limited to only the area required for the aforementioned items, nothing more.

            Article IV specifically says, “dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory.” Once the territory becomes a state it is no longer subject to those federal rules outside of the ones allowed by the Constitution as a power of the federal government. Essentially, the moment a state becomes recognized as such it actually gains power beyond what it had as a territory.

            In addition, the vast majority of current federally held land WAS privately owned, or owned by the various states, until after the Civil War when numerous laws were passed creating additional nonsense like the national parks. They have been steadily gobbling up more and more in the last 50 years or so; and aggressively pursuing anyone that refuses to sell.

            • Free-range Oyster

              aggressively pursuing anyone that refuses to sell

              Yeah, we’ve a bit of family history with that. *spits* I don’t know all the details, but they stooped to aiding and abetting harassment and vandalism. I don’t think my grandfather sold to them, but they did finally drive him off the land. There are amazing people who work with the parks; we learned the hard way there are scumbags, too.

              • The Other Sean

                While I have some concerns regarding the Constitutionality of the National Parks, most of the western parks themselves were established largely from existing Federal lands. The problems came in largely with what you’re referring to: forcible additions of private in-holdings (private land within the “authorized boundaries” of the park) or adjacent lands for expansion. Some of the acquisitions made bordered on outright theft.

                Although none of those incidents in the western parks quite compare with some of the eastern parks. Shenandoah was the absolute worst. The early National Park Service wanted a grand park in the east, more convenient to bulk of the populace than the ones at west, and Congress agreed. One of the criteria was minimal dislocation of people, ideally by purchasing large tracts of land from lumber or coal interests, and that the Park Service would accept the land from a state or states. Instead, some Virginia politicians pitched Shenandoah, lying to the Congressional committee studying the issue about population, land ownership, etc. They suckered the local residents into publicly supporting it by selling them on the advantages of the Skyline Drive that would be built, and never mentioning to the local residents that they’d be displaced by the park that went with it. They sent in unethical researchers to conduct “research” that “demonstrated” the local residents were ignorant and backward. The Virginia legislature then passed a law that effectively prohibited land owners from contesting in court the eminent domain proceedings that acquired the land. Thousands of residents, land owners and tenants alike, were displaced. Great Smoky Mountains was pretty bad, too, though not as bad (more large tracts of timberlands, so fewer people displaced), IIRC.

                I think our National Parks are wonderful, and constitute a unique concept America has contributed to the world. They even act as a decent source of foreign income. I just wish they’d been properly authorized by Constitutional amendment, and a better job done protecting the property rights and interests of citizens in or adjacent to the parks that were established.

                • I take exception to your use of the phrase “unethical researchers.”

                  In my experience, the proper classification of researchers is into “tame” and “feral” categories.

                • Everybody seems to miss the textual qualification, “to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be.” The federal government must have the consent of the applicable state legislature to purchase any land within the state. This clause is ignored, I’m pretty sure, but it’s definitely there.

                  • What about land purchases that are not from states or even US citizens?

                    • Well, places not within states clearly wouldn’t fall under that clause. I’d have to look through the Constitution to see where the authorization to purchase land for embassies, etc., is found; I’d think your purchases would fall into that category.

                    • That’s why I mentioned Article IV above.

      • I R nagging the head royal of Elf Land to elaborate his view on this. 😀

        It’s quite a good rant, and deserves viewing beyond the confines of family BBQs.

    • I agree generally, though I never had a problem with the Starship Trooper method, neither do I have a strong preference for it.

      I know several permanent residents who have lived here in the US most of their lives and intend to spend the rest of it here. With permanent resident status the only difference is you don’t vote. I’m not sure why they don’t become citizens but each to their own I guess. You wouldn’t know they are American if they didn’t tell you as they mostly grew up here.

      • How would jury duty be resolved? Would permanent residents only be permitted on a jury for another permanent resident, with full citizens sitting on juries for cases involving their peers? What happens when a permanent resident and a full citizen bring a case to trial? What about when a permanent resident assaults (or is assaulted by) a full citizen?

        Even such matters as leases might require adjudication. While I am sympathetic I wonder about establishing a second class resident status when I ponder how such disparities have been abused in the past.

        • I’ve batted around the idea of a voluntary jury pool. It would take some work to prevent it from being stuffed with slanted politics, but on the flip side you theoretically have jurors who are willing to be there and interested in what they’re doing, as opposed to “thirteen people who couldn’t get out of jury duty.”

          • Careful — that way lies the Stampede of Old Men, as described in, IIRC, Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae, wherein it was the custom in Athens to pay the citizens who sat in government three gold coins for each assembly. Thus whenever it was called, the old men of the city, who had the most time and their hands and little other income, would charge wildly through the agoura, trampling everything in their path, to get a seat and bicker crotchetly and ignorantly over the laws for all.

        • Digression:
          I’ve never been called for jury duty EXCEPT for a year and a half after I had either moved or deployed- (one each) but I’d be happy to volunteer, if they could have some standing for the kids of jurors to be allowed into the federal employees’ daycare (if they meet vaccination requirements as required for the area) and/or for nursing infants to be allowed in the courtroom.

          I’d do it for free, or even pay a small fee to defray the cost; instead, if I’m ever called up, I’ll be getting a deferment because it’s not possible to get day care for four kids, one an infant that isn’t bottle trained.

          • I got called for petit court. One parking ticket and a dog ordinance violation. FYI, photos of the dogs are a lot more convincing than “but I love them and I promise they come in when it gets below 0.” Especially after the neighbor testified on the county’s behalf.

        • Currently Permanent Residents don’t serve jury duty. (I know this because my husband has magic jury duty selection attraction powers–both before he became a citizen and after moving but before the DMV processed the paperwork–never served, always selected.)
          I have three siblings-in-law who have chosen, so far, to remain Permanent Residents. I’ll ask them sometime and report back.

        • Permanent residents and other legal aliens can not serve as jurors as they are not citizens. To the best of my knowledge they have all the rights of a citizen except for voting and, serving in elected office or on a jury. I have heard some States restrict CCW permits to citizens, I do not believe that is the case here in Alaska.

          In the case of going back to further restricting the right to vote I would look at how it was handled in the past. I would not support separate jury pools and we do not use them in the case of legal issues involving non-citizens.

        • I’ve only been accepted for jury duty once, It was an educational experience and I actually recommend it. Just not as a habit.

    • You have to remember that Starship Troopers was written based on the experiences of WW 2 when there was resentment about guys who avoided military service. At least that is how I read it. In fact, a critic should have WW 2 in mind when analyzing the Book

      • Terry Sanders

        Heinlein, in the book, makes it clear. The government he describes was put together by veterans in the aftermath of “the big one.” Only soldiers were citizens because those veterans didn’t trust anyone else. Their descendants keep the requirement because it seems to work, and if it ain’t broke…

        He actually has a scene where the OCS cadets are asked “why do we do it this way.” The instructor lets them throw out high minded theories for a while, then cuts them off at the knees by telling them the above…

    • There was no “mandatory service” in Starship Troopers. All service was voluntary. To gain the right to vote- and to be elected- one had to volunteer and serve honorably a term at whatever was assigned. And not all assignations were military. Most were not, in fact. And most of the military was volunteers amongst the volunteers. If you volunteered for the military, and were qualified, you got it. If you weren’t qualified, you did something else. The military portion is what is emphasized in the book. But the other is mentioned.

      • Indeed, the only mandatory part of the service was that if you volunteered the government had to let you serve in some capacity and earn your franchise.

      • Further, you couldn’t vote while you were serving, which is a distinction that many critics of the book frequently fail to note.

    • I think I was uncomfortable with it the first time I read Starship Troopers but seeing the direction we’ve been going for the last few years it’s starting to have some appeal.

      Giving people anything tends to cause them not to value it. You can tell how much it means to the people that have moved here while most of us that were born here tend to take it for granted.

      Plus the old line ‘democracy works until the populace realizes they can vote themselves bread and circuses’.

      I’ve also wondered if it would be a good idea to remove voting rights from people who live entirely on welfare. Offer them a path to get those rights back once they rejoin the productive (currently less than half) of the population. Of course that will immediately get me branded racist even if it should apply to everyone on welfare and not just certain segments of that population. (The majority of which is actually white!)

      • Up until the Great Depression, there was something in many jurisdictions called the pauper’s oath which you had to swear you couldn’t take care of your family to receive assistance from the government. When that was recorded you lost the privilege of voting as long as you were on welfare.

      • It should be pointed out that “not paying income tax” and “not productive” are not the same thing.

  20. What does “work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law” refer to? I can see bad interpretations of this, so what are the good ones?

    • code decoding in some basement. Translation/scientific work. Hospital work (think Agatha Christie) etc.

      • Ah, so this is meant for wartime conditions/true emergencies along with the military clause prior? Because I am not working for the gubberment just because the slugs in Congress pass a law saying I should.

        Now, if I were asked to serve as the Congressional Momentum Transfer specialist, I would take my dollar and serve very, very hard. With a two-by-four. Because I’m civic-minded like that. 😀

        • I like the idea… Momentum Transfer Specialist. How about a sub-specialty of “Entropy Enhancement Technician”, who would do their good work with a rope and a fixed, stationary object?

          • Peercussive Adjustment Specialist?

            • An easier way would be to make them all ride the Orange Line to and from work everyday. (Note for people unfamiliar with the DC Metro – NEVER get on the Orange Line and if you do, ride it to the end and then back to where you made your mistake.) Lotta diversity riding that color…

        • Yep. It’s a war time thing, like the clause above.

  21. Pingback: Come On, Take It | Be Swift, Be Precise

  22. Let’s go back to what Sam said “Philosophy IS America.” If you don’t believe in the founding principles, you’re not an American. You’re at best a permanent resident who grew up here and behaves generally within the law.

    I have long said that an “American” is simply someone who can read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and Bill of Rights and say “well, duh” or other words to the effect of having, say 85% agreement. Some of them are born here. Some took a while to get here (including our esteemed hostess). And some, sadly, haven’t made it yet. And, even more sadly, entirely too many who are born here aren’t.

    I use a somewhat different oath:

    I, David L. Burkhead, do solemnly swear (none of this “affirm” crap), that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, that I will bear truth faith and allegience to same, so help me Thor, Odin, and whatever gods there be.

    • As you can see, I drop the parts about obeying the orders of the President, and officer appointed above me because both of those are contingent on “according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice”. Since I’m not subject to the UCMJ nor the “regulations” any more, that part of the original oath is null. The remainder is in full force.

      • I, too, drop the pants toward obeying the orders of the President, and officer appointed above me.

        I eschew description of what more I do after that, but be assured: nobody wants to see it.

    • I think the “affirm” is there for two reasons.

      First, when taking an oath, theoretically, you only need to take it once. If you repeating the oath, you are merely affirming that you already took it.

      Second, there are Christians who believe it’s sinful to take any sort of oath: their word is their bond, so they swear by nothing. Instead, if they say they’ll do it, they’ll do it, if they say they won’t, they won’t. It is my understanding that such people will “affirm” rather than “swear” they will do something…

  23. Thanks for the reminder, Sarah. I took the oath when I became a citizen. That was a great day. It’s a shame that so many “citizens” don’t get what citizenship is all about. I’m having the older kids take it now. 🙂

    • When you’re a citizen you don’t really think about it. It’s just the way things are. Plus we were pretty much told in civics class that the Bill of Rights and rule of law are there so you don’t really have to worry.

      Then we get to where we are today wondering how it happened. I’m going to blame it on the 90’s. I drank a lot and wasn’t really paying any attention. It’s like the Hangover but with politicians and considering how long it’s lasting I must have drank way more than I thought.

  24. I guess I’m too libertarian to take that oath — more “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” than “Starship Troopers”. Looks rather too much like pledging my service to the bureaucrats and the politicians.

    I should point out that when the conservative roots for America, he may not be rooting for the people in the private jets… but he is rooting for the people in the F-16s and the Humvees, the military. That’s certainly not a bad thing, but it does muddy Sam’s distinction.

    • For the decent conservative “only when needed” which is how I take the pledging my efforts. In time of war, you shut up and win it. The alternative is unthinkable. After that we can resume our squabbling.
      The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress is my favorite book but a) we’re not an isolated moon colony. b) I know how he evolved that society.

      • “The Rolling Stones” is a pretty clear sequel. In that book the decay of Lunar civilization is already in progress. By the time of “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls” it’s pretty far gone: the core of our “freedom” is that you have to do what ever any public official tells you to do.

      • I knew you had good taste in books, Sarah…

      • scott2harrison

        The society in Moon was so free only because it was a tyranny with a tyrant who just did not care about them in any way. In a way it was similar to Sarah’s threat to take over the world and leave it strictly alone. When they rebelled and threw the tyrant out, they brought in a government that did care resulting over time in the destruction of liberty.

  25. I can’t believe that the comments have gone this far without someone replying to the title of the post with, “That’s what HE said.” (runs)

    • The Other Sean

      Some of us were merely exercising restraint.

      • Others were restrained with ropes. They are sooooooooo kinky!

        • Hides velvet lined handcuffs and blinks innocently. You have to be super special to get those. For the others it’s ropes.

          • Just be sure not to tie the ropes with slip knots. Struggling causes them to cinch down and cut off blood flow.

            *blinks innocently*

          • Fleece is better than velvet.

              • Boy, does someone give mixed indications of knowledge 😉

                And I don’t need to get them; I come with my own. It is the first thing I tell newbies to buy (you want them to fit right).

                • I have a lot of second hand knowledge. For reasons I can’t understand I attracted A LOT (AS IN A LOT) of submissive males, when I was in the dating pool. And some remained friends when our relationships didn’t work. I would actually like to know what about me gives off the “I must get this woman to dominate me.” I had a Tor editor at a con beg me to dom for him, while I was wearing a sweet little embroidered green dress. A friend who is into the lifestyle/community says that it’s my accent. JUST my accent. I find that weird.

                  • I dunno.


                    Never underestimate the effect of an accent.

                  • As an educated guess I’d say a lot of it has to do with body language. Toppy women carry themselves in some fairly specific ways.

                    Some of it might have to do with scent as well. Although that’s not nearly as universal in my experience a lot of toppy women have a certain difference to their general…what do you call it when it isn’t BO but is just how they smell even fully clothed in social situations.

                    Also, there are a couple of personality traits you clearly have that would be signalling especially if you have the body language.

                  • I don’t. You’ve said your accent comes across as Russian / Eastern European. Think about how women with that accent have been portrayed in popular media for decades. James Bond’s Rosa Krebs and Onatopp are caricatures, but are examples.

            • scott2harrison

              Nylon webing covered with ensolite.

  26. BTW: Dr. Helen
    What is the interplay between liberal democracy and communism?
    [SNIP]
    The warriors of political correctness think of themselves in the category of the struggle between David and Goliath. Noting can be further from the truth. They belong to the mainstream, having all instruments of power at their disposal. On their side are the courts, both national and international, the UN and its agencies, the European Union with all its institutions, countless media, universities, and public opinion. The illusion they cherish of being a brave minority heroically facing the whole world, false as it is, gives them nevertheless a strange sense of comfort: they feel absolutely safe, being equipped with the most powerful political tools in today’s world but at the same time priding themselves on their courage and decency, which are more formidable the more awesome the image of the enemy becomes.

  27. I recited my oath on January 20, 1961 at the Army Induction Center in Los Angeles. There was a TV in the upper right corner of the room and the oath was administered simultaneously with the swearing of John F. Kennedy as president.

  28. One of the better moments of my Army career was when I, a young officer, got to administer the oath to a reenlisting soldier. I was proud to take it myself and I have never deviated from its principles. Watching the left so willfully trampling on the values this country was built on–the real ones, you know, hard work, the freedom to make your own way, personal responsibility, love of and duty to country–makes me aware every day how important that phrase about defending this amazing country against enemies domestic really is. Most great nations fall to foreign enemies only because they have already been eaten out from the inside.

  29. As others have mentioned, that bears a passing resemblance to the oath of enlistment and oath of commissioning that US military service members swear. That said, I wonder how many of us actually know the Constitution, beyond the 1st, 2nd, and5th amendments.

    • I read it every so often. Haven’t memorized it, but I can sort of know the tune.

    • Enough to know when someone is spouting nonsense about it. Which is far too frequent these days.

    • The Other Sean

      Off the top of me head, I can remember:

      Preamble, more or less.

      Ages for the various elective Federal offices (25, 30, 35).

      Article I section 8 has most of the Congressional powers spelled out, of which I could maybe remember half. Coining, letters of marques and reprisal, establishing military and naval facilities, regulating the military, regulating interstate commerce, etc.

      I know the first 5 amendments, plus amendments 9 and 10 cover rights of the people and the states, and income tax, direct election of Senators, Prohibition, and women’s voting rights came pretty swiftly in a row as the 16-19 amendments, IIRC. The 11th or 12th altered the presidential election process slightly after the mess during one of the early elections (Jefferson in 1800?). 13th abolished slavery, 14th added equal protection and punished traitors. 2Xth prevents a president from serving more than 2 terms. 2Yth (effectively) lowered the voting age to 18.

  30. Sarah, have I scared people off? Please tell them that I’m friendly

  31. Pingback: If You Don’t Believe In The Founding Principles, You’re Not An American | Tai-Chi Policy

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