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January 14, 2009

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Good sweet Jesus. Between this and the last post, I'm starting to think maybe it's time to get rid of that whole "nonviolent transition of government" business and start lining Bush administration officials up against the wall. This sentiment will presumably pass. But, holy fuck.

I don't think EITHER party can seriously claim to be "the party of civil rights"; Republicans are all too glad to violate them, and Democrats just conveniently define away any that get in their way, as the ACLU's pathetic response to the Heller decision demonstrates.

I did find the coffee remark rather funny, if a bit juvenile; But why would he want his coffee to refuse to leave the cup?

Let's see, "Democrats" =/= "ACLU"

"Heller decision" =/= "any [rights] that get in their way"

Anyone else want to join in?

BTW, Brett, you still owe me homework: I asked you for details on what the current medical screening test is for susceptibility to PTSD. Don't think this doesn't count for your final grade, young man.

I always take it as a good sign when Brett hauls out the old "everybody does it" argument in the face of new revelations of Republican wrongdoing.

It's a sign that even he has run out of any actual defense of the actions in question.

i was gonna throw in a "Brett's middle name is tu quoque", but it just doesn't have the zing it once had. i think i need a new one-liner - he's worn that one out.

This is somewhat beyond ordinary wrongdoing. It seems to me the fact that Mr. Schlozman lied when questioned indicates knowledge of guilt.

Respect for the legal system rests on two basic assumptions: a general acceptance that people are equal before the law, and the real fear that unlawful behavior will be punished. Without those we have nothing but the law of the jungle.

Bradley Schlozman should be prosecuted.

ral: Agree 100%

I'm only surprised Brett didn't mention Bill Clinton. Maybe for his next comment in the thread.

Paul Gowder -- the previous post had me reconsidering the drawbacks of lynch mobs. So, full agreement with your comment.

secondarily, one wonders if Mr. Schlozman's current employers are capable of being shamed into unemploying him.

"President Bush actually put this knuckle dragger in charge of the civil rights and voting rights divisions of the Department of Justice"

I blogged about this yesterday, by the way. You didn't mention the quest for Right Thinking Americans(RTAs).

It's also worth emphasizing that we're both quoting from the official Bush DOJ report, not from some crazy liberal reporter.

The man who declined to prosecute was Channing Phillips (yes, son of that Channing Phllips. He's a career prosecutor with impeccable credentials, and so I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on his decision. There's no real question that Schlozman lied; but that's not always the same thing as saying a prosecutor could secure a conviction.

But that's just the perjury. The OIG report suggested criminal violations of the Civil Service statutes. Channing was only asked to investigate the possibility of perjury. I haven't yet seen any indication of a criminal referral for his actions, as opposed to his lies concealing those actions, nor have I seen any explanation as to why that hasn't happened.

Screw the coverup. I want to see this guy charged with the crime.

ral: Bradley Schlozman should be prosecuted.

And the U.S. Attorney's office that declined to prosecute (while taking nine months to make the non-decision) should be cleaned out.

Observer,

Channing Phillips or not, I think Schlozman should be prosecuted. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Roger Clemens faces likely prosecution over lying to Congress about steroid use. Is this less serious? Is the evidence really too weak? Doesn't seem that way to me.

The criminal referrals should come along as soon as Obama's nominees for Justice Department positions are settled into their offices, which is one of a number of reasons the Republicans in the Senate are engaged in holding off Holder's confirmation as long as possible.

Convicting Schlozman might make it easier to clean out (or reassign to broom closets) the unqualified political hires seeded throughout the deparment.

and someone hired him to practice employment law.

truly the universe is fond of irony.

From Bradley Schlozman's employer:

There is only one way to coast. Downhill. To successfully grow, every enterprise must consistently and strategically move forward. Hinkle Elkouri attorneys are skilled in navigating the legal obstacles and roadblocks which may impede progress.

If you are looking for a progressive law firm with the expertise and resources to create a roadmap for success, we invite you to contact us.

Convicting Schlozman might make it easier to clean out (or reassign to broom closets) the unqualified political hires seeded throughout the deparment.

I'm imagining a bunch of new titles like Deputy Assistant AG for Bringing the Donuts, or Director of the Office of Changing Toner Cartridges.


I'm imagining a bunch of new titles like Deputy Assistant AG for Bringing the Donuts, or Director of the Office of Changing Toner Cartridges.

I vote for Deputy Assistant AG for Making Mary Frances Berry's Coffee.

But were they really commies and crazy-libs?

Because if they were then how else are you going to put the department on the correct footing unless you root them out?

Ha.

Bradley Schlozman should be

disbarred.

Probably achievable, even if the DOJ and Congress decline to prosecute.

Let's see, "Democrats" =/= "ACLU"

"Heller decision" =/= "any [rights] that get in their way"

Anyone else want to join in?

Devil's advocate for a second.

I'm pretty sure that Heller was meant as an example and not an exhaustive list. Left- and center- judges and legislators have been pretty pathetic on eminent domain abuse (Kelo), free expression (pick your favorite hate speech legislation; any will do), second amendment jurisprudence, reserved powers, and punitive taxation.

It's just a different flavor of "we don't like those rights".

I'm pretty sure that Heller was meant as an example and not an exhaustive list.

You may be right, Elemenope -- in fact, you are right in terms of certain rights getting defined too narrowly depending on where one falls ideologically.

But I'll bet if you were to ask ol' Brett for a list of all the rights that the ACLU* has "defined away," gun rights will be the only one he can think of.

*Or Democrats, once he figures out just who he's talking about.


But I'll bet if you were to ask ol' Brett for a list of all the rights that the ACLU* has "defined away," gun rights will be the only one he can think of.

Perhaps. I am of the mind that it is always better to give one's interlocutors the benefit of the doubt when debating, as I view arguments as a search for truth rather than a competition. Somebody being wrong simply because they lack particular vision or mastery of the facts doesn't help anyone learn anything from the argument.

Eh, it's not as if he comes to these things tabula rasa. And Brett has never shown any particular predilection for learning anything here. He generally drops by comments to pontificate, get corrected, and quietly disappear from the thread until he gets another opportunity to say, "Clinton/Democrats/liberals/the ACLU do it too!"

Eh, it's not as if he comes to these things tabula rasa. And Brett has never shown any particular predilection for learning anything here. He generally drops by comments to pontificate, get corrected, and quietly disappear from the thread until he gets another opportunity to say, "Clinton/Democrats/liberals/the ACLU do it too!"

Well, you do have more experience with the guy than I do.

Brett's been posting here for more than a couple of years.

In fairness to his disappearing, he and his wife did have a newborn only a few months ago.

WPE?

Worst. President. Ever.

Thanks, Gary. He might be starting to teeth, too. :O

By any measure the 2nd amendment is the right the ACLU is worst on; It's an explicitly guaranteed right the organization actively tries to write out of the Constitution in the teeth of a Supreme court ruling to the contrary, and at huge cost in potential membership and clout. (Imagine the ACLU with the NRA's membership!)

However... The ACLU is generally bad on any right with an economic element. Not terribly surprising for an organization founded by a communist, of course. You'll search in vain for any hint of respect for property rights at their site, and they've been pretty much silent about the Kelo decision.

Then there's the organization's recent enthusiasm for hate crime laws, where the penalty for violating a law depends on who your victim is, and your prior speech.

No, I wouldn't say Democrats and Republicans are the same on civil rights, they disrespect different rights, and which is worse depends on how you weight those rights. Very much a judgment call.

But neither is GOOD on rights.

It's an explicitly guaranteed right the organization actively tries to write out of the Constitution in the teeth of a Supreme court ruling to the contrary

Can you detail for us all how they're "actively trying to write" the 2nd Amendment out of the Constitution? Are they leading a drive to repeal it? Lobbying for its repeal? Details, please.


Then there's the organization's recent enthusiasm for hate crime laws, where the penalty for violating a law depends on who your victim is, and your prior speech.

Cite, please. You also appear to be attempting to conflate hate speech codes with hate crime laws, which is a no-no, as they are very different things.

LOL at the idea that punishments for crimes don't ALREADY vary depending on who your victim is and your prior speech, though. Try killing, say, a homeless guy and the CEO of a Fortune 1000 company, and see which nets you more years in prison. Hell, rob a house in the poor part of town and one in the rich neighborhood and see which one gets you jail and which one gets you probation.

Not even that, Phil, the law already recognizes differences in the same crimes based on prior thoughts and actions. Nobody seems to argue against the concept of first-degree murder by OMG thoughtcrime!!, though.

The obvious question on hate crime laws is whether you agree with the assumption behind them, that it's worse to beat someone up because they're gay/black/left-handed/whatever than to beat someone up for some other reasons. It seems to me that unless they're arguing that point, critics are just trying to confuse the issue. (My favorite was the ad with gagged preacher, from which I can only conclude the good reverend was planning to bite some gay people.)

The obvious question on hate crime laws is whether you agree with the assumption behind them

This assumption:

If someone beats up Person X, that's a crime. Assault is assault is assault. And it's certainly true, as Perkins and the FRC argue, that assault is already against the law. But if Person X was selected as a victim because the assailant intended to "send a message" -- i.e., to terrorize -- everyone else like Person X, then the assailant has not only committed one crime. In addition to the assault, the assailant has terrorized an entire community of people, and done so intentionally. That is also a crime and those victims too deserve justice and the protection of the law. (Slacktivist)

The assumption here is: Terrorism is a crime.

If you disagree with this assumption, "hate crime", a specific form of terrorism, should not be regarded as a crime.

Well, jes, the assumption are actually:

1. That hate crimes legislation is narrowly tailored to situations where "sending a message" was intended, and that sending a message constitutes terrorism.

and

2. That terrorism is a crime above and beyond the underlying criminal act. Not just whether terrorism is a crime.

For example, a terrorist might blow up a building injuring nobody. That person could be charged with the destruction of property crime committed - in so doing, the terrorism would be treated as a crime.

But should that person also face additional penalties by virtue of the terroristic intent?

Maybe, maybe not.

I'm not weighing in on the matter, I'm just distilling the argument down to its core:
Whether or not "terrorism" should be a crime distinct from the actual criminal acts committed in connection therewith, such that additional penalties are warranted.

Eric: That hate crimes legislation is narrowly tailored to situations where "sending a message" was intended, and that sending a message constitutes terrorism.

Where the "message" is: "All black people in this neighborhood should live in fear", or "Anyone employed by this health clinic, should be afraid for their lives", or "All LGBT people should be afraid of having their sexual orientation known" - yes I would say that message is terrorism.

Whether or not specific hate crime legislation is tailored to properly prosecute people whose intent was to terrorize groups as well as to commit a specific crime, is a separate question. But "witless guy"'s claim that hate crime legislation assumes it's "worse to beat someone up because they're gay/black/left-handed/whatever" kind of misses the point: the point is that hate crime legislation acknowledges that (for example) a lynching is two crimes, not one - both the crime of murder, and the crime of terror.

I don't disagree Jes. I was, again, just trying to distill the argument to its essence.

"Can you detail for us all how they're "actively trying to write" the 2nd Amendment out of the Constitution? Are they leading a drive to repeal it? Lobbying for its repeal? Details, please."

By lying about what it means, and persisting in the lie even after they've lost in the highest court.

Look, if the ACLU just said, "We're going to give this civil liberty a pass because our donor base doesn't like it.", that would be kinda cowardly, but it would at least be honest. But they want the reputation of defending all civil liberties, without having to actually defend all of them, and to that end they devote a certain amount of effort to denying the civil liberties they don't want to defend ARE civil liberties.

That puts them in active opposition to the civil liberties they won't defend, not just neutral bystanders.

Eric: I was, again, just trying to distill the argument to its essence.

Fair enough.

Brett, back on guns again? Don't you care about anything but the NRA's interpretation of the Second Amendment to eliminate the part about a well-regulated militia? (We discussed this to death in March last year, so perhaps it's time for another go-round.)

your favorite hate speech legislation

There is no "hate speach legislation." None. Zero.

The 2nd Amendment is not and has not for some time been an absolute (in that it has more than a little resemblance to 1 and 4).

Unless some NRA lover here can cite where and when they can buy Nuclear Missiles, then your "right to bear arms" has in fact been "infringed".

At this point, all we're arguing about is where we put the line. You might WANT to get self-righteous about handguns or assault rifles, but putting the "you can have them" line right or left of them makes as much sense as putting the line right or left of: fully functioning M1A2 Abrams tanks, howitzers, hand grenades, mustard gas or Jonah Goldberg books.

As long as I get an NRA member whose willing to admit that we're discussing a non-absolute, shades of gray line, trading off public good and private rights regarding firearm ownership (or halberd ownership, for that matter) I'll respectfully examine their argument.

The fact that I've yet to encounter an NRA member willing to engage in that debate is a fact I consider telling. (Mostly they nod in a startled fashion, and then NEVER AGAIN bother me with pro-NRA diatribes...the second most optimal result.)

By lying about what it means,

How will this result in the 2nd Amendment being written out of the Constitution?

and persisting in the lie even after they've lost in the highest court.

Was the ACLU a party in Heller? In what capacity? Did they file an amicus brief?

and to that end they devote a certain amount of effort to denying the civil liberties they don't want to defend ARE civil liberties.

Details, please.

"The 2nd Amendment is not and has not for some time been an absolute (in that it has more than a little resemblance to 1 and 4).

If speech was regulated the way firearms are, we wouldn't prosecute falsely crying fire in a crowded theater, we'd mandate ball gags anywhere within a 200 foot radius of one. The degree to which the two rights are regulated, to say nothing of violated, is radically different. You just can't compare the two that way, and say that "neither is absolute".

If yelling "Bullet" at someone could kill them just the same way as firing a bullet from a gun at them can, then perhaps speech would be regulated the way firearms are, Brett.

Hey, here's some real rights protection for Brett. I believe these same five buffoons - Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy - were the majority in Heller. Thank dog they're out there protecting our civil liberties.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that evidence obtained from an unlawful arrest based on careless record keeping by the police may be used against a criminal defendant.

The 5-to-4 decision revealed competing conceptions of the exclusionary rule, which requires the suppression of some evidence obtained through police misconduct, and suggested that the court’s commitment to the rule was fragile.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said that the exclusion of evidence should be a last resort and that judges should use a sliding scale in deciding whether particular misconduct by the police warranted suppressing the evidence they had found.

“To trigger the exclusionary rule,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “police conduct must be sufficiently deliberate that exclusion can meaningfully deter it, and sufficiently culpable that such deterrence is worth the price paid by the justice system.”

That price, the chief justice wrote, “is, of course, letting guilty and possibly dangerous defendants go free.”


The case itself is noteworthy. Bernie Herring had an adversarial history with a cop in his Alabama town. His truck was impounded and he went to the sheriff's office to pick it up. The cop ran a check for outstanding warrants and found what he thought to be one, he arrested Herring. The officers detained Herring, and found a gun and traces of methamphetamines on him. Minutes later, the officers discovered that the arrest warrant was faulty. Nevertheless, he was tried for drug possession and sentenced to 27 months(!).

And the Supreme Court now has ruled that the evidence, gained through what amounts to a warrantless search, is admissable.

If yelling "Bullet" at someone could kill them just the same way as firing a bullet from a gun at them can, then perhaps speech would be regulated the way firearms are

William S. Burroughs said:

If I were a really good writer, I'd be able to write something so that when someone read it, it would kill them

If he had been a really good writer, would you argue that speech should be regulated the way firearms are?

"Hey, here's some real rights protection for Brett. I believe these same five buffoons - Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy - were the majority in Heller. Thank dog they're out there protecting our civil liberties."

What part of "NEITHER party can claim to be 'the party of civil liberties'" didn't you grasp? The same part you don't grasp in "they disrespect different rights, and which is worse depends on how you weight those rights." If we have a party of civil liberties in this country, it's the pathetically small and marginalized Libertarian party. Both major parties are quite enthusiastic about violating rights in their own ways, and not particularly interested in undoing the damage the other party did when they come to power.

"If yelling "Bullet" at someone could kill them just the same way as firing a bullet from a gun at them can, then perhaps speech would be regulated the way firearms are, Brett."

Speech CAN kill; That's why you can be prosecuted for falsely yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater. But that does not lead us to require people to not speak at all, or place highly arbitrary restrictions on speech, on the theory that if you prohibit people from having the word "fire" in their vocabulary, or discussing the weather in a theater, it will save lives.

The rather glaring difference between regulation of speech and firearms, (Both being rights, remember.) is that the former is limited to circumstances where actual harm is likely, while in the case of the latter the connection between the regulated conduct and any harm is frequently so tenuous as to be merely pretextual.

Given that the regulations are crafted by people who largely deny that the right exists, or should exist, that's about what you'd expect...

Bold away!

Bang. You're dead.

End of argument.

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