Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Self-Evident Truths

Today, bloated, gluttonous America consumes 150 million hot dogs, gulps down oceans of beer and oohs and aahs over neat sparkly things. This is how the fiercest nation in the world celebrates its birth -- by eating like fat pigs, blowing up things and waving flags that represent our freedom to choose between pork rinds and hamburgers.

One must wonder if Americans even remember the meaning of the holiday and what it is we are supposed to celebrate.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

230 Years ago, the Founding Fathers drafted the Declaration of Independence, the guiding framework of the American government. The Declaration was revolutionary in so many regards, not the least of which was its recognition of the fundamental principle that it is the rulers who owe allegiance to the people -- not the other way around.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 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.

To justify and legally legitimize "throwing off" the English king, John Hamilton declared the rights to life, liberty and happiness as absolutes and enumerated several offenses by the King of England that intruded upon such rights. Among the offending conduct was,

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury.

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments.

As we reflect upon the birth of this nation, we should listen to these wise voices of the past. One must question why it was not acceptable for the King of England to establish new offices and send officers to harass the people, while today we have the Department of Homeland Security and wiretaps from the National Security Administration. It was tyranny for King George to make his military independent of and superior to the civil power, but our Senate confirmed a military leader to head the CIA. It is tyranny to deny people a trial by jury, but the Attorney General has fought with vigor to deny so-called "enemy combatants" that inalienable right. It is tyranny to fundamentally alter our forms of government, but those who hate America applaud federal efforts to usurp control of education, marriage, abortion and criminal laws.

Did we simply trade King George for, hmmm, King George?

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana


At 4:40 AM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger Sarabeth said...

This is how the fiercest nation in the world celebrates its birth -- by eating like fat pigs, blowing up things and waving flags that represent our freedom to choose between pork rinds and hamburgers.

Just curious as to how you think the poplace at large should celebrate.

At 6:31 AM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

A few weeks ago, someone answered my letter to an editor and claimed that Jefferson was a religious conservative.

It's one thing to be ignorant of the past and another thing to "know" a history that is false. This country has never lived up to its promise or to its founder's dreams and with few exceptions, it strays further from the shore every day. The further we stray, the more flags we wave and stories of glory we concoct and heretics we burn.

Christianity's effects have been said Jefferson:

"to make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery all over the Earth."

And so we call him pious and we claim that his inspiration was Christian and we wave flags. when if we truly celebrated July 4th in its spirit, we would impeach George Bush, arrest the crooks and vote out the liars. We would smash the stone tablets in the courthouses and free ourselves of the monkish superstition, the racism, the class hatred, the xenophobia and all the other trappings of coercion that now define us.

Fat chance.

At 8:52 AM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger Chris said...

I celebrated the Fourth of July by standing outside my house armed with a garden hose and a baseball bat while the drunken thugs next door aimed Roman Candles at my motorcycle (which was parked in my garage, right next to the gas cans). I celebrated my right to free speech last night, too, by telling them exactly what they could do with their fireworks.

Seldom have I felt more libertarian than when I was literally guarding my property from the thugs, waving my feeble fist in the air. (I could hear the grandmother in the house yelling out the window, "Quit shootin' them firecrackers that way - them white folks is liable to call the police!" As if the police would venture into my neighborhood - they're too busy guarding the rich parts of town. Not that I'm bitter or anything... Grrrr.)

Things just gotta change. We're running headlong to the point of no return - politically, financially, and environmentally. Conservative values are simply NOT cutting it any more. ("Why shouldn't I shoot fireworks at your house? Dick Cheney shot a man in the face and walked away...")

Was it Jefferson who felt that each generation needed a revolution? Maybe it's time...

At 9:57 AM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Sarabeth -

Proper reflection regarding the Declaration of Independence, the reason for it, the relevance of the principles is what the holiday should be about. In my view, the shallow absurdity of the holiday is similar to the disgusting mockery that has been made of X-mas by overshadowing the sentiment of Jesus' teachings with a consumer greedy bonanza. The 4th of July should be a reminder of the principles of this nation instead of a day of hot-dog eating contests.

The way both holidays are celebrated shows how important consumerism is over substance.

At 10:05 AM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger mrsleep said...

Old Sleepster took a nap in the afternoon of the 4th. Did consume a couple of beers, grilled corn on the grill (topped with squeezed lime juice), and had steak sandwiches. Went to the community fireworks show. Sat next to a family who matched II's description of many Americans. Loud, hammered, wearing low cut jeans, too short tank tops, and unsightly beer guts extending into view. My wife commented to me "NOT a good look for her!".

For light reading I read the Declaration of Independence in detail (published in the local Newspaper).

Too many people don't have clue about the Declaration of Independence, or the Bill of Rights.

If they can get the dollar value meal, cheap clothes at Walmart, and relatively cheap gas, then they are happy campers.

The Country is going to hell in a handbasket, and most are blissfully unaware of the impact their apathy has on the proceedings.

At 10:10 AM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

The problem is that we the people are the ones who are tolerating and even asking for this stuff. Most Americans have absolutely no problem with the wiretapping. They haven't started snatching Americans en masse off the streets YET. One more attack, however, and all bets are off. Back in 1776, England was much more of a foreign power. Now, we just brainwash ourselves.

At 10:39 AM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...

good post II...

Most people are completely wrapped up in their own bubbles to worry about such lofty ideas as "freedom" and "liberty" ... at least they don't worry about what those words actually mean.

As you point out, consumerism has sold the sizzle of those words ... but the substance has been forgotten.

At 10:59 AM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger Sarabeth said...

Good luck with getting most people to give up their beers and brats or hotdogs.

My family went to a party celebrating the new citizenship of a friend. I told my daughters, 4 1/2 and 3, about the Declaration of Independence. I told them of the great man who used to live in our city.

We also went to see fireworks--which both of my daughters understand symbolize the battles that had to be waged so that this nation could be formed.

At 1:59 PM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger squawpeak said...

Is it tyranny to deny "people" a trial by jury, or to deny citizens that trial?

A question: Assuming for a moment that a particular enemy combatant was indeed a non-U.S. citizen, was indeed apprehended on a battlefield bearing arms against U.S. troops, and kept in custody during the remainder of the hostilities, how is that tyranny (as opposed to prudent war-fighting)?

At 3:01 PM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


As I understand it, enemy combatants are US citizens by definition. Correct if I am wrong.

All US citizens, regardless of their conduct, are entitled to a trial by jury.

At 3:37 PM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...

enemy combatant DOES NOT mean US citizen.

At 4:35 PM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

If you ask me, this whole independence business was a bad idea at the time and hasn't improved much with age. We should give Elizabeth II another look.

OK, I'm swimming away now.

:-), StS

At 6:21 PM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger Chris said...

You know, Sharkey, independence wouldn't be bad, provided we had some adult supervision...

At 8:15 PM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

RoR -

I stand corrected. You are right.

Squawpeak -

So back to your question. It is tyranny to America if it is an American citizen. If it is a non-citizen, the Geneva Convention applies and is, thus, a violation of our laws to deprive a non-citizen of due process. Presumably we can agree that it is tyranny when a government does not respect its own laws. And before you quibble about the Geneva Convention and the UN and the like, it is a legal principle that any treaty that is ratified by the country is the law of the land.

At 9:31 PM, July 05, 2006 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I take some issue with Fogg's statement that "this country has never lived up to its promise" - never is a absolute and I'm not so certain I would bet on any absolute. I think there are and have been fine, fine people who have lived up to and beyond the ideals of this country in very real ways. But I don't want to debate specifics - Fogg, your point is well taken.

To Radloff's point that "we're running headlong to the point of no return". Well, what else is new? I don't mean to be flip. I mean to say that historically the tactics of our current politicians are nothing new and short-term strategies often don't yield positive long-term results.

BOB has an excellent and often overlooked point - people simply do not care as long as it's not happening to them personally. In fact, the founding fathers knew this, as II wrote, "experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves".

And so it goes.

At 11:43 PM, July 05, 2006 , Blogger squawpeak said...

II, with respect, it is my understanding (could be mistaken) that the Geneva Convention applies to uniformed combatants of nation-states; and that implicit in the Convention is the idea that all nations/political entities fielding combatants have agreed to this convention so that both sides people benefit from the convention.

I agree that it is binding - in its context. It seems that the non-U.S. citizen, non-uniformed terrorists fighting us in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc...do not fit the definition of protected parties, and further, do not recognize the Geneva Convention.

Is this not the case?

It seems not at all like tyranny, but like the only sane thing to do with non-citizens who recognize neither the laws of man, or of nature - to keep them penned up until hostilities cease and they pose negligible harm to U.S. citizens.

In the real world, when terrorist "enemy combatants" are "caught-and-released" there are numerous accounts from our military in Iraq of their immediate return to launching attacks against our forces.

At 7:23 AM, July 06, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Birdy, we are not living in normal times. It has never happened that one of the two major parties was taken over by an ideological movement, let alone controlled all three branches of government. There are no parallels in American history to contemporary repugs. The very concept of ideology is alien to this country.

As to detainees, SCOTUS held in Hamdan that while they have a lesser status than American citizens, which only makes sense, Article 3 of the Geneva convention applies. This because no matter what level of hysteria seems appropriate to the ruling class for us peons, the rule of law still obtains in and binds this country.

:-), StS

At 8:40 AM, July 06, 2006 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stalin - true, that our government has never been unfied behind a single ideology. I didn't mean to imply that. In fact, I'm not sure that our system of government should allow such domination. However, I do think that at times there has been unification of purpose (for lack of a better term) and even noble purpose, even if the methods toward achieving that goal are debated. Of course, there will always be contrary opinions to anything, even the most altruistic of goals, but large scale government backed programs like FDR's New Deal (for example) certainly count for something.

At 8:48 AM, July 06, 2006 , Blogger LNaranjoiv said...

Ya gotta love this....geneva conventions, rules of law during warfare...lol

God I love you people.......!!
If it wasn't for ya'lls, I'd be unhappy at work!

At 11:22 AM, July 06, 2006 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...


Yes -- Rules of war: as a 'combatant' and American I fully believe in the rules of war. As do most soldiers.

Yes, our enemies may not follow them. But is that how you decide how to behave?? Based on the morality and values of others?

We stand for something here in America -- and it doesn't matter what "they do" ... what "they do" shouldn't change who we are.

So yes -- "rules of war".

Get out there and join the Guard or Reserves. You may learn something.

At 11:28 AM, July 06, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Squawpeak -

Here are some of the relevant parts of the Geneva Convention -

Art. 4. Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.

Nationals of a State which is not bound by the Convention are not protected by it. Nationals of a neutral State who find themselves in the territory of a belligerent State, and nationals of a co-belligerent State, shall not be regarded as protected persons while the State of which they are nationals has normal diplomatic representation in the State in whose hands they are.

In my reading of this, any person in Gitmo who is a national of a country bound by Geneva is protected. If the person is not a national of a country bound by the Geneva Convention, then he is not protected if his country has diplomatic relations with the US.

This is the law, whether anyone thinks it's convenient or not.

RoR -

Don't bother arguing with Leo. He just likes to do drive-by insults.

At 1:06 PM, July 06, 2006 , Blogger LNaranjoiv said...

kisses I I ....nope, no drive by here...

as for ror?? Been there, did that, retired honorably from the Army....soooo, as for your comment?? Get bent.

Secondly, perhaps if you READ the Geneva conventions, you'd find, that if they were applied as they should be?? Gitmo would've been emptied already.....for those same ' terrorists ' would have been captured, tried then duly executed as the " spies/sabateurs " that they are....
not to mention the other articles of war they're abusing, such as using hospitals/religious buildings as staging points for attacks.

Yup......mighty sound advice YOU offered, perhaps, YOU should join the services, that is, IF they allow you too.

You'd learn a lot.

At 1:47 PM, July 06, 2006 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...

LOL... apparently the Army didn't teach you much: like we're a nation of laws -- as II puts it: "convenient or not".

So I guess the FACT that we're making the terrorist situation worse, world-wide, than better also has no influence on your line of thinking.

I'm no terrorist apologist. If there's a case to be made vs. people in GITMO, make it... try and confict them. If they were captured on a battlefield, they are POWs. However, we have confirmed instances of foreign nationals being snatched up by the CIA and detained/tortured. That doesn't help our cause.

At 3:26 PM, July 06, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Kisses to you too Leo. Long time no spar. :-) Do I dare ask you whether your statement means you believe the Geneva Convention applies to the dudes at Gitmo?

FYI - RoR is an officer in the armed forces.

At 5:35 PM, July 06, 2006 , Blogger LNaranjoiv said...

Aaaaaaaaahhh......we'll have to share the spar laters on then II...always a pleasure.

If ROR is/was an officer?? I'd hate to ask, officer of what armed force? Was he uniformed?? Sounds like he's a wannabe from kansas...then again, I don't know the person, so I'll keep it to his/her words on here...ahem...

Oh, on contrar, I DO know we're a nation of laws...just like it is/was against the LAWS to fire 50 CAL into soldiers....or did you miss that class?? Just like it's AGAINST THE LAWS to spray a field of dead soldiers, to ensure their dead......or did you miss that class too? To what am I referencing?? Well, as a supposed officer of the military, you SHOULD know, then again, YOU people failed the history part but you seemed to EXCELL in the BS political part. So......for your info, it was commentary taken from US MARINES, ensuring that those soldiers killed in action, were in fact DEAD, and not playing so as to blow up more of the HELPFUL US medics who came for assistance, to yes, even ENEMY soldiers.

Now, as you're probably going to begin the endless lefty dribble about Iraq/Iran/foreign soldiers......I'm not talking about them. The above was in reference to WW2, and the SOLDIERS of the Imperial Japanese Army.

Next...you believe we're making terrorism worst?? Obviously, you're a politcal hack from the service, and only worried about RIBBONS as opposed to SUCCESS. Funny, seems the slimey's have TWICE offered truces, in order to keep alive what's left of their organizations/units. Hmmmm.....worse?? More of them you off, less of them can kill you.

Next....captured on battlefields and their POW's?? Since when? What uniform where they in, SIR!??! Or do YOU even know?? From your rantings, you don't. You dont' have a clue...so........to be fair, try them, then shoot them, in accordance WITH the Geneva conventions....just like they did during WW2......

I do believe, BOTH sides did that, because there ARE Rules in warfare.......in case you forgot, WAR is legalized murder above/beyond the NORM of civiliazations. You ARE IN uniform BECAUSE of that fact. To be OUT of uniform, and caught engaging IN any fashion in hostilities, is to be beyond the protections afforded to SOLDIERS IN Uniform. Ergo, you're a spy or sabatuer and HAVE NO RIGHTS Under Geneva.

Finally....snatched up?? Please.....don't act like a sniveling choir boy crying foul. If YOU knew of such " atrocious acts", did YOU report them, AS is your DUTY Under Military Law?!?!?!

Most likely, you didn't.

Nuff said......

At 5:37 PM, July 06, 2006 , Blogger LNaranjoiv said...

ooops, I didn't answer II's question....ahem.

Yup, I sure DO believe they're entitled to geneva accords.
Exactly as they fit.

Try em then fry em.

If they WANT the accord protections, then BE in a UNIFORM and REPRESENT the nation of your services.

Oooops........there is no nation like that....well, GAZA, but that's for another blog.


At 5:47 PM, July 06, 2006 , Blogger squawpeak said...

II, thanks for the citation. As I read that piece of the Geneva Convention, "Nationals of a neutral State who find themselves in the territory of a belligerent State (Gitmo), and nationals of a co-belligerent State, shall NOT be regarded as protected persons while the State of which they are nationals (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Algeria, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc...) has normal diplomatic representation in the State in whose hands they are (the U.S.).

It sounds like the reasoning behind the language is that since we are not at war, or belligerent with the aforementioned States, and in fact have normal diplomatic relations, the terrorist detainees are not protected - specifically because they are not acting on behalf of the States of which they are nationals but of their own, non-uniformed accord.

What do you think?

RoR, good posts and reasoning. I especially appreciate your statement that our demeanor is not dependent on how others conduct themselves, but is an objective standard reflective of our own values.

Thank you for your service, and insights.

At 9:16 PM, July 06, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Well, to break a lance for Leo, there is the legal issue that Al Qaeda is a stateless organization, and the conventions are not equipped to recognize non-state actors. Obviously, that's a legal loophole you can drive a tank through.

Problem is, though, that there needs to be some kind of legal framework, which Leo is also, in his unique way, arguing for. That's also the conclusion of Hamdan. If there's a problem with evidence, lower the threshhold to that obtaining in a civil court.

But don't just do what the junta is doing, which is say 'trust us, we know what we're doing'. No they don't. And even if they did, an unproven assumption, that does not always need to be the case, which is why we laws in place of arbitrary government.

Pretty soon, President Hillary may be in charge of all this mess. Then watch the wingers scream about due process.

:-), StS

At 8:47 AM, July 07, 2006 , Blogger mrsleep said...

STS - If Hillary is President, I'll be screaming too :)

In this case I agree with Leo. Follow the rule of Law and try them, and let the cards fall where they may. If convicted, punishment delivered. If innocent, release them.

There appears to be a disagreement in how the Geneva Convention applies or not.

At 2:29 PM, July 07, 2006 , Blogger Chris said...

We cannot fight terrorism with terrorism. The Geneva Conventions MUST hold. If we abandon the Conventions (or deliberately misinterpret them) we are then as terrorists ourselves. Are we a rogue state? It's possible.

Just my humble opinion.

At 8:38 PM, July 07, 2006 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...


Thankfully, those I served with on the ground in Iraq had, for the most part, opinions about 180deg out from our “retired” LNaranjoiv …

As for questioning my integrity… I’ll actually favor your slight with an answer: everyone in my unit obeyed the regulations and the law. We were there to accomplish a mission while following OUR laws and our “morals and values”. The rules the enemy plays by are not relevant… unless you, like most conservative wing-nuts I talk to, stand for one “thing” until it becomes inconvenient.

Sounds like you don’t like the heat (of war)… and can’t play by the rules. Thankfully, you get to sit this one out.

At 6:04 PM, July 08, 2006 , Blogger LNaranjoiv said...

LIke the whinney ribbon hogger you appear, RoR, you failed to answer the question...I didn't ASK you if anyone/everyone, obeyed the laws and rules of warfare....I specifically asked YOU; If you had knowledge of any so called ' atrocities ', did YOU report them as YOU were required too, by the laws and YOUR officer standings?!

The RULES you say you went by, are the same for ALL nations who've signed on to them...so again, as your sorry backside tapdances away from answering, I'll again ask you:

What uniforms were these so called POW's in?? CAN you even answer that simple question?

Doubtful....thank good ness your defeatist attitude ( hopefully ) has left the services. What I am gathering tho, given your commentary, is your Military service was via NG or were you AR?
Now, I"m curious...........

At 5:34 PM, July 09, 2006 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...

L - I almost wrote an in-kind reply to your insubordinate comments.

Even tho I am not in the Guard, I find your comments, like most conservative nut-jobs, offensive and ultimately un-patriotic… 40% of the people serving on the ground over in Iraq are Guard or Reserve...

You're obvious prejudice against my Guard brothers is more than annoying tho… As is often true, we see how that conservatives aren’t the ones who “support the troops” … apparently, only if you hold their view are you worthy of support… “To hell with you if you believe otherwise (even if you have served in a combat zone.)” they apparently believe…

I love the way you try to “demand” answers… I don’t answer insubordinate wacko’s who obviously have a chip on their shoulder.

I’ll give you is this tho: I’ve done my duty, honorable and lawfully in every respect… however, you strike me as someone who’d have trouble taking orders from someone like me… again, another indication of the type of person we’re dealing with – and another indication of how seriously “anti-American” these conservative nut-jobs are.

Believe as you like – I’ve wasted enough time with you.

At 10:37 AM, July 10, 2006 , Blogger LNaranjoiv said...


Funny, you admit that your a NG soldier......quaint.
You refer to one as myself, as a " Subordinate ".....now THAT"S funny.
Obviously, your pittiful self must have control issues.

Oh, you bet if you suck in giving orders, we'd have an issue.....most SGT"S would with half/azzed LT's who believe themselves godlike, and don't know squat.

I didn't " demand " anything from you......tho you chose to use the word to justify your ' holier than tho ' posistion.

Believe me, you can call me whacko all you want.......as I'll continue to refer to you as a ' ribbon wearer '.

At 10:39 AM, July 10, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Hey hey kids, what happened to supporting the troops?

At 12:44 PM, July 10, 2006 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

JEn is a little whacked over your post..

I was surfing around the bloggesphere enjoying what bloggers wrote about Independence Day when I stumbled on an America-Hater, right in my backyard. So why is it that so many people who claim to be Americans feel this way? Titled Self-Evident Truths, blogger The Intellectual Insurgent wrote this:


At 4:12 PM, July 10, 2006 , Blogger LNaranjoiv said...


We do support the troops....

This little te for ta, is between troops.

You'd have to know/be one, to understand.

0 = ]

At 4:57 PM, July 10, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Hey Anon -

Thanks for the heads up. Michelle Malkin must not have given FJ enough nonsense to rant about that day.

Leo -

That's cool. Two cousins of mine are Army Rangers and they let cousin #3 who was Air Force have it all the time.

At 8:10 AM, July 11, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Bitching Jen is such a vapid, superficial gasbag. The substance of her post is basically that a word against consumerism - which is how I read most of this - is tantamount to treason, elitist, expressive of hatred of country/Bush (which she implies are much the same thing) blah blah blah. You're probably celebrating in a wine bar; she forgot Starbucks.

The typical winger drivel that writes itself, in short. Heard it all before, and it's so unoriginal that one doesn't really need to bother to say much of anything.

:-), StS

At 1:07 PM, July 11, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

That's why her post didn't elicit the plethora of responses she probably expected. Her hollow accusations are shopworn and the audience has already seen that episode of the O'Reilly show 100x before.

They really need some new material.

At 5:56 PM, July 11, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


"Wanted: right-wing hack that is not super-lame. Apply within."

Seriously, this kind of oooh-those-wascawwy-wibewals logorrhea is so tedious. If some does it, they should at least do it well enough to not be just outright boring.

:-), StS

At 8:29 PM, July 11, 2006 , Blogger Sean said...

It's no less “lame”, “vapid”, “tedious” and “boring” than the tired "right wing" hacks and wacko shtick I see from the left of center types. It goes both ways.

No offense to II here, but your post did seem a little offensive and condescending towards what I believe you would coin as the “average American”. But your point may be correct… to a point. I say so what. Those who care and participate (i.e. vote) know what this country is about and are for the most part, informed.

As for the “enemy combatants”; they are being granted Geneva protections. The Administration has stated they will abide by the decision of the Supreme Court. So our system of checks and balances is working. So much for Bush being a dictator. At least thats my take on it.


At 9:07 PM, July 11, 2006 , Blogger Sean said...

BTW II, I bookmarked your site. Although I probably don't agree with much of what you say I find your site interesting.


At 7:13 AM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Cool. Thanks for coming by Sean. I look forward to disagreeing with you in the future. :-)

At 8:42 AM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

"The Administration has stated they will abide by the decision of the Supreme Court."

...and this is of special note and praiseworthy because why? What do you want, a cookie?

The simple truth is that the junta has operated from Day One as if the other two branches do not exist. What the Court did in Hamdan, and over the objection of all its "conservative" members too, was state simply that United States law applies to the Bush administration.

They had better obey the decision, because if they don't, the court implied legal remedies such as war-crimes prosecution.

:-), StS

At 9:21 AM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Sean said...

No, I don't want a "cookie". My point is that the system is working. The administration is hardly acting like a "junta". Get a grip.


At 10:17 AM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


Do you not see any problems with the way Bush & Co. have conducted themselves?

At 12:41 PM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Sean said...

What do you mean? You need to be more specific. Are you talking about domestic policy, the war and/or national security? I can tell you that I am not happy with everything, but one could say that about any president.


At 12:55 PM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Oh boy, I am talking about all of the above. The PATRIOT Act, deflation of the American dollar, spying on American citizens, coming up with a nonsensical theory of the "unitary executive" and signing statements to essentially exempt Bush from the law.

At 1:20 PM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger LNaranjoiv said...


Okay, NOW II you're right about THIS particular commentary, it IS drive by...lol

( sitting back watching the firestorm about to burst! )


At 1:45 PM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

I'm glad you're enjoying the fun Leo. :-) By the way, when are you going to start your own blog?

At 1:49 PM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Sean said...

I see no serious problems with the Patriot Act. As for spying, what do you refer too? Wiretapping suspected terrorists and/or their supporters here in country? I have no problem with that. Tracking financial information of organizations that may support terrorists? I have no problem that. I cannot name a single “freedom” that I have lost or anyone I know has lost under this administration.

I have seen nothing that “exempts” Bush from following the law. The Commander In Chief is granted wide latitude when conducting a war and protecting National Security. We do have checks and balances that are in fact working. We are at war with an enemy that the laws of warfare do not address. Our system is in fact working out those questions right now.

I think my major problem with how the war is being fought is we are not being aggressive enough, but that’s easy to say from where I sit.


At 2:04 PM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Wow -

I don't even know where to begin.

Wiretapping suspected terrorists is okay, but going around the warrant requirements is a problem. If someone is truly a suspect, the FISA court will give a warrant in a heartbeat. Why is the administration going around that?

Warrantless collection of the phone records of millions of Americans is problematic. Are you telling me that millions of Americans are "terrorists"?

The PATRIOT Act, which is not tailored to apply only to "terrorists" has already been used to go after domestic criminals.

How about creating a red flag to the government by paying off your credit card?


You make it sound as if the government if only going after terrorists, but it is not. Many of these policies affect every-day Americans and threaten the very Constitution that is the foundation of this nation. Just because you personally aren't bothered by it does not mean it is benign.

Presumably, as a self-designated "conservative" you believe in limited government, yet you seem to endorse anything that enlarges the behemoth's intrusion into our lives. How do you reconcile the contradiction?

At 3:34 PM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger LNaranjoiv said...

Oh, I don't know II....perhaps when all the bills are paid up, and I upgrade my system?

Ummm, when you're still on windows 95?? Blogging is the LAST thing on one's mind!

0 = ]

At 4:21 PM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

You know, it's both great and horrible that technology evolves so quickly that Windows 95 is considered ancient technology these days.

At 8:42 PM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Sean said...

I am no constitutional scholar, nor am I a lawyer so I may be incorrect in my opinion here and it has been some time since I have looked into some of these issues so bear with me.

Now, I believe our so called right to privacy is a myth. Correct me if I am wrong, but there is no right to privacy in the constitution. One could argue, presumably, that our phone records are public records as they are traveling on public lines and we share our information with the phone company freely, in essence we gave up our privacy. Same goes for our financial information as we are freely giving private information to financial institutions. Is that reasoning whacked? I may have worded it poorly.

Also, it seems to me that the Patriot Act simply gave law enforcement the same tools to go after terrorists (foreign and domestic) that it already has to go after organized crime.

We put more trust in companies trying to sell us something than we do in the people charged with protecting us. I find it kind of ironic that were ok with credit card companies sharing info with other merchants or gathering purchasing data but hyperventilate when our law enforcement and intelligence community do similar things in order to protect us. Maybe I have too much faith in my military/intelligence/law enforcement; I always give them the benefit of doubt though.

I guess, ultimately, many of these questions and concerns you have are being sorted out. You disagree with the warrentless wiretaps. I disagree with granting “enemy combatants” Geneva protections. Both have been resolved within our system of government. It is working and you have not proven to me that our constitution is being undermined by President Bush.

BTW, I do have a hard time reconciling being a conservative with the way this administration is growing government, but then again, I don’t think President Bush is truly a conservative. But that is a different issue altogether.



At 9:00 PM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Sean said...

I know this is off topic... sort of. A good example of sort of intrusion from government that I dislike is the Smog Check laws in California. II will know what I'm talking about here. I have been jumping through stupid hoops to get this car fixed so it can pass. The current Smog Laws only punish those of us that cannot afford to by a new car every 5-years. Aaaargh!



At 10:51 PM, July 12, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Well, there are a few obvious shortcomings to this logic.

First of all, it's not much of a rousing defense to say that you perceive no harm to yourself in the various activities of the government, legal or illegal. By that standard, everything that does not affect you - say, incarceration of suspect classes - is fine, because it doen't directly affect you. That's kind of not how the social contract is supposed to work, and god help you if you do run afoul of rules you may not even know.

Second, the problem with a lot of the junta's actions has been their flagrant disregard for both established law and the separation of powers. Due process is not some luxury the government extends at its pleasure; nor is compliance with congressional or judicial oversight. Neither are optional, though they have been treated as such. The constitution does not cease to operate at the pleasure of the executive branch.

Third, trust in government is a wonderful thing to have. However, our system is not based on trust, but on checks and balances. That's kind of why we have a Congress, laws and that kind of stuff; because we do not have a government of angels at the best of times, which ours are not.

As far as the right to privacy is concerned, that's inherent in the 2nd, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th amendments. By your standard, the air force is unconstitutional, because it's not mentioned in the text, either. We have limited government; that was kind of the idea in the first place. Honest conservatives - all three of them - know this. The rest find it presently convenient to argue against established rights, forgetting that there's another election coming up in 2008.

At 12:32 AM, July 13, 2006 , Blogger Sean said...

I’m not arguing that because I have not been affected that it is ok. It’s just an observation I have made. Sorry I used it.

And, there are numerous laws that the average citizen doesn’t know and runs afoul of daily. For example, it is now illegal to drive without your headlights in the rain here in sunny California. How many people are aware of that? I’m not advocating, just saying.

Sorry, I just haven’t seen “flagrant disregard” of established law and separation of powers. In fact, outside of some partisan bickering and possible overstepping in the judicial branch, I have seen our system work fairly healthily these last few years.

Actually, by my standard the Air Force can in fact exist legally. One function of the Federal Government is security set forth in Article 4. Hence a standing military is legal using my logic.

The 4th and the 9th Amendments are the only two that a right to privacy can be inferred from. And a strict reading of those does not grant a right to “privacy”; at least not in the way I believe you view it. I still believe that we have no expectation of privacy outside of our homes or in doing business. And I still do not see how this would infringe upon my freedom. I will give you that it has the potential to be abused.

Still you cannot tell me what rights and freedoms we have lost.

STS, it seems you can do nothing without insulting others. Something I find distasteful when I debate with others. Have respect. Simply because I do not see it the same way or do not agree with you does not make me dishonest. You seem to be too intelligent to be so insulting towards someone you barely know; I am not the enemy.


At 9:49 AM, July 13, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


I am not saying this to be patronizing in any way, but I am a lawyer.

Like StS pointed out, the whole sentiment behind the Constitution is that government cannot be trusted. No government, regardless of the nation and the founding fathers drafted the Constitution with that sentiment in mind.

If the 4th A's rights to be secure in your person, home and possessions does not mean the right to privacy, what else could it mean?

Another example of overreaching - the so-called defense of marriage. Marriage is a religious institution. To the extent it is not, it is a state civil institution. Any attempt to federalize the definition of marriage is a violation of the First Amendment and the Tenth Amendment.

Education has always ALWAYS been a state right, yet No Child Left Behind federalized education. Regardless of what noble goals may be behind the Act, it is an intrusion on state's rights and a violation of the 10th A.

It is a fundamental principle of precedent that treaties signed by the nation are considered the law of the nation, yet the Bush Administration has treated the Geneva Convention as if it's optional. It's not. It's our law.

Wiretapping without warrants is a violation of the Constitution.

As for financial records, the laws protecting the privacy of your finances are so extensive that, basically, all of the government's abuses thus far, violate the laws.

As for the flagrant disregard of the separation of powers, Bush and Gonzalez have argued that the president has the right to interpret the Constitution in any way he sees fit. However, that is not the law and that is not a separation of powers. See Marbury v. Madison. The legislature makes laws, the executive executes the laws and the judiciary interprets the laws. Any attempt by one branch to do the job of another branch is a violation of the separation of powers. Indeed, Bush's use of signing statements to refuse to execute laws is a direct abrogation of his duties as the executive who is supposed to execute the laws, not make them up as he sees fit.

At 10:02 AM, July 13, 2006 , Blogger Noisette said...

Another lawyer here- the right to privacy was actually guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. The Supreme Court in various cases over the 20th century used the language of the 14th Amendment to incorporate the Bill of Rights to limit federal, as well as state action. So we now read a right to "privacy," meaning a right to be free from federal or state intervention, into the First through 10th Amendments.

What you decide to share with private companies who contract with you to provide you goods and services has absolutely NOTHING TO DO with the government's right to interfere in your private life and actions. After all, freedom of contract allows you to create contracts including whatever terms you and the other party decide on. In other words, I need a cell phone; I contract with T-Mobile to provide me with this desired service; in exchange, T-Mobile demands to know certain "private" things about me; I agree because I want my phone. That is a private transaction that has nothing to do with the government (unless the contract is unfair but that is another discussion altogether).

At 8:48 PM, July 13, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


it's neither mean nor in my mind personally insulting to point out that contemporary "conservatives" have so lost their bearings that they esentially argue for unchecked executive authority. If someone wants to do that, fine, but then don't call yourself "conservative", because you're not. Some honest conservatives have actually taken a stand against the power grab undertaken by this administration; but when I say some, I mean 'a tiny handful'.

At 4:45 PM, July 14, 2006 , Blogger Sean said...

That was instructive. If all you say about Bush is true then what’s the deal then? Are you telling me that Bush has so much control that he is getting away with everything. What’s going on then?

I keep going back and looking over the constitution just to make sure I’m not missing something. But I just cannot find a “right to privacy” in there. I see many things that protect our private property. But not a right to privacy, not in the sense we are talking about here.

Like I said, I am no lawyer nor am I a constitutional scholar. And I am partly playing devils advocate here as well (I like my privacy too). Perhaps I cannot infer it because of my professional training (civil engineer). I like stuff to be defined and clearly spelled out. I cannot afford to “infer” stuff. But there are a number of just as well qualified lawyers who disagree with you guys as well. What gives? Are they all bad?

STS, go back and read what you say and how you say it, it comes off rather arrogant and insulting. Just because I don’t fit your preconceived definition of a conservative does not make me dishonest nor am I advocating unchecked executive power. I haven’t seen it. I have seen a healthy, if not severely partisan, debate going on among our three branches trying to sort out many of these “gray” areas. We are a long way from a “Junta” here and Bush is no “Dictator”.



I'm going to be gone for awhile so you might not hear from me much.

At 4:53 PM, July 14, 2006 , Blogger Sean said...

I told you that I'm going to be gone so you dont think I'm hiding from the debate. Just so you know. Personally, I think we need less lawyers and more civil engineers. :)


At 10:50 AM, July 17, 2006 , Blogger Noisette said...

Sean, I hate to be a pain, and I know you're gone so won't respond, but let me repeat myself:

"Another lawyer here- the right to privacy was actually guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. The Supreme Court in various cases over the 20th century used the language of the 14th Amendment to incorporate the Bill of Rights to limit federal, as well as state action. So we now read a right to "privacy," meaning a right to be free from federal or state intervention, into the First through 10th Amendments."

In other words, the right to privacy isn't IN the body of the Constitution, nor in the Bill of Rights. It is, however, in the Constitution as our government has defined it. First of all, read the 14th Amendment. Then read some key Supreme Court cases from the 20th Century that interpret the 14th Amendment as incorporating the provisions of the Bill of Rights against both Federal and State government intrusion. Which cases? Good question. I will need to think about that and get back to you- only Griswold v. Connecticut comes to mind, but there were earlier cases that Griswold built on. At any rate, Griswold is a good place to start.
The point is, the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution IS the Constitution, every bit as much as the body of the original document. Lawyers may argue as to the merits of the Supreme Court's right to privacy jurisprudence, but it's THERE, and it is de facto and de jure part of the Constitution.

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