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June 26, 2016



Suspending civil liberty in times of war (declared or otherwise) has a glorious history going all the way back to The Founders. See also Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR. The nonsense of the "War on Terror" is just the latest manifestation of this tendency.


I can't top this:


I'm feeling a Texit coming on.

ISIS, China, and Jesus join the anti-American right-wing in rooting for the Trumpocalypse:




And he didn't even have to offer the first three government-ending tax cuts.

Jesus, of course, has never paid a f*cking tax bill in his 2046-year life, but then he doesn't receive AARP discounts.

He, Jesus, shoots for free at NRA gun ranges across the country, so I don't understand why HE feels like he's always being crucified.

"The latest being the lack of due process around the no fly list in general. (+bunch of stuff that hasn't happened YET) which I could see seeming ok to way too many Americans."

Okay, Marty. Who's running for office that promises to get rid of the 'no fly list'? Anyone?

If not, what do you suggest be done? Court challenges (ongoing, SLOWLY)? Civil disobediance?

You first. Show us how it's done.

I can't put my finger on the polls he references on Democracy being the #1 concern. Important, IMO, if true..

I think I posted this large exit poll a bit earlier, which bears out Hannan's claim to some extent:

Excerpt from Marty's quote of the GG piece:

More importantly still — and directly contrary to what establishment liberals love to claim in order to demonize all who reject their authority — economic suffering and xenophobia/racism are not mutually exclusive. The opposite is true: The former fuels the latter, as sustained economic misery makes people more receptive to tribalistic scapegoating. That’s precisely why plutocratic policies that deprive huge portions of the population of basic opportunity and hope are so dangerous.

While I disagree with, or at least don't understand, what he says about "establishment liberals" (maybe I don't know what he means by that) attributing Trump, Brexit, and the like solely to racism/xenophobia, I think the rest gets to the heart of the matter.

I suppose there is some faction or other out there claiming that economic suffering and racism/xenophobia are mutually exclusive, but I've been reading lots of different stuff from quite a few sources about the Trump phenomenon for some time, and more intensely over a shorter period about Brexit, and the vast majority of it discusses economic suffering, loss of control and powerlessness, disenfranchisement, etc.

I haven't read much from GG over the years to have developed the intense dislike for him that others here have, but I guess I'd say he's generally right about the Trump and Brexit phenomena, but he seems to be wrong in thinking he's in anything approaching rare company in making the diagnosis he is.

Beyond that, I'd say that some of the debate here leaves me agreeing with all sides (here on ObWi) at least to some extent. Yes, people will lash out at "elites" irrationally, but "elites" also fail to address the interests of the general populace in favor of their own or their fellows' interests. (Don't we all, or at least most of us, bitch about that stuff all the time here on this blog?)

And, yes, some pundits and public figures will frame this stuff a particular way to ride their particular hobby horses. It's complicated stuff, so there's a lot of room to shape the narrative if you're not interested in a good-faith attempt at objective analysis. But some truth will find its way into what is otherwise an agenda-furthering exercise. That doesn't then invalidate whatever that truth might be.

Bobby, I've got to agree with Marty and the Count. We have indeed suspected parts of the Constitution in wars going way back. But those were all wars where there was an enemy (not a tactic) that we could actually beat. That is, there was some expectation of an end to the suspension.

Also, those suspensions were generally explicit. The President (usually) announced that we were suspending a provision. CF Lincoln and hebeas corpus. The government didn't just implement something, something which just happened to conflict with it.

But where is a Korematsu vs US case? It's taken twice as long as is that one for a case even to make it into US district court, let alone to the Supreme Court. Possibly because you can't even find out you are on the nofly list (or otherwise in one of the terrorist databases), in error or otherwise, until and unless you actually get denied boarding.

can I ask a dumb question?

what part of the Constitution does the current implementation of the no fky list violate.

I'm not defending it, I'm just unclear about our sacred right to fly in airplanes.

I suspect Russell that being refused the privilege of flying without your right to due process violates at least one part of the Constitution.

Also, the no fly list is just one of several "terrorist watch" list databases currently being maintained. With, as Marty says, a lack of due process for being put on.

Or for getting off. You don't even have a right to know why, on what criteria let alone on what information, you are on them.

what part?

to reiterate, I'm not defending the no fly regime, it's just unclear to me that it's a constitutional matter.

nor does it need to be, it's sufficient Imo to say that it's unfair and prone to abuse.

the right to fly in planes just seems thin, to me. not everything is a matter of inalienable rights.

I don't know that I am disagreeing with anybody on this matter, just pointing out some history. As to the no-fly list, certainly there is no right to board an airplane, but somewhere in the emanations and permutations of the Constitution is the implied right to not arbitrarily be put on a list that can impact your abilities to participate fully in commercial and political life.

Another instance of this type of behavior were the various "lists" of suspected commie sympathizers that were assembled during the late 40's and through the 50's.

A lot of good people got treated like shit as a result.

Perhaps you can point me to the "announcement" by Truman and/or Eisenhower.

Due process, equal protection, interference with private contracts, right to interstate travel.

The problem with the "fight it out in the courts" approach is that the Gov't has been cheating: slow-walking, hiding evidence, for example. That's in addition to use of "state secrets privilege" (SSP), which his not to be found in the Constitution or in Federal Law, and in EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE in which the 'underlying cause' for invoking SSP has been revealed, it's turned out to be "it's embarrassing".

The Obama DOJ has been as bad as the Dubya DOJ on these issues.

Really, given the proven track record of invoking the SSP, courts should respond by immediately ruling against the Govt and hold all their lawyers in contempt, with sanctions. Rant off.

I believe the Constitution says nothing about the sacred natural right to fly, but if you are a hijacker without any previous criminal record carrying a concealed AR-15 on to a flight, you are well within your sacred rights to possess arms right up until the moment you finish your drink and you and your unregulated militia storm the cockpit.

This was all discussed in the Federalist Papers by some of the Founders before James Madison had to flap his arms and soar off to stop his young buck slaves from transgendering into demure hoop-skirt attired southern belles and using the wrong pee pot.

Which brings to mind this question:

Let's say you are a man transgendering to female, and while attending a major sporting event or concert, you need to use the facilities badly, because too much beer.

You hustle to the restrooms, in full Nordstrom's regalia mind you, and there you find a tortuously long line of thigh-clenching ladies winding into their restroom, but, look, no line into the men's room.

Do you take the chance of wetting your big girl pants in the long ladies' queue and then being beaten up by some cracker Republican thug, or do you head straight into the men's room to quickly relieve yourself without the fear of mess, and THEN take your beating from the aforesaid Brexit-loving oaf?

But those were all wars where there was an enemy (not a tactic) that we could actually beat...

The only instance of which I could even remotely think of defending would be Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus.

If you are on the no-fly list, what did the Founders say about owning and operating a drone for commercial purposes?

There is always duct tape, Count.

If you are on the no-fly list, what did the Founders say about owning and operating a drone for commercial purposes?

They would probably say go fly a kite.

I liked the Greenwald article. He seems to have toned down his stridency for this. Said stridency was, I think, what turned many of us off a few years back. Scott Lemieux seems to have taken his place in the impossible to read department.

I believe Anthony Scalia and Clarence Thomas cited Monte S Skew in their majority arguments during Duck vs Wabbit in 2006, and I quote the honorable Mr. Skew: "You may board a four-in-hand coach in Roanoke and order the driver to tell his horses to fly my pretties, fly to Philadelphia, but if at any time the coach leaves the ground, the sanity clause must be invoked, but sanity clause is not a belief recognized by the Constitution, so Bob's your uncle as long as he doesn't dandle you on his knee while not wearing trousers."

I hope that clears it up.

A college buddy tried his best to reproduce the Franklin kite thing. We never let him try long enough to get results. He is an Air Force pilot now, so I suppose he is closer to that objective now.

I'm thinking the 9th Amendment covers something like access to commercial flight. It's something that just about anyone who can afford it gets to do, many people do it every single day, and it can be and often is damned important to people for the purposes of business, pleasure, health or family matters in this modern world of ours.

Russell, I would say that the no-fly list is unconstitutional because it violated the Due Process clause.

Certainly being restrained from flying is a deprivation of liberty. So it is a matter of whether there is anything that could constitute "due process" involved in putting someone on the list.

There is no notification when you are being put on it. And no way to force the government to tell you why you are on it, once you happen to find out. Which sounds it's a long way from meeting that due process requirement.

I think Russell's question has to do with what right can't be exercised because of governmental restriction, requiring some form of due process in the first place.

I'm not allowed to just walk into the White House anytime I feel like it, despite there being no process to determine that I can't. It's a restriction on my movement, but since I have no right to walk into the White House in the first place, due process isn't required.

The question is whether or not commercial flight is something that can rightly be restricted without due process or not, constitutionally speaking.

"I hope that clears it up."

Now that is the genius I have been missing from the Count. Well done.

Yama, that reminds me of a true story if y'all will indulge.

In the fragrant college Spring of 1971 in a small town in Ohio, a few of my college comrades and I came across a design in the Whole Earth Catalogue for a candle-powered hot air balloon. Humanities majors-of-all-types all we were, without a lick of engineering or common sense between us, so we began constructing these balloons in a frenzy of entrepreneurial affliction and test launching them out behind the house we lived in a residential area next to campus.

Briefly, you suspended a framework (we made ours of cardboard holding the lit candles) below a thin but very large plastic bag (ours were five or six feet high at full hot air inflation) and held it aloft until it could fly on its own and off it would go.

Like the early flight pioneers, we experienced a few quick crash landings until the first of our beauties took flight, but that one soon got caught up a tree in the neighbors yard and burned (yes) itself out just out of reach of the weak hose stream our fire brigade could muster.

No one seemed to notice (ha ha ha) so with a bit more tinkering and timing the prevailing breezes we able to get two or three more aloft which sailed like beacons off over the rooftops of the town, to land who knows where.

Well, some one of us suggested launching at night for the spectacle of the five or six candles lighting up the sheer plastic balloon as it canaveraled into the town's airspace.

It was glorious.

A day or two later, we had procured even larger plastic bags and as all six of us (I have a 45-year old photo in postcard form of a previous launch wherein we look like the Marines hoisting the flag atop Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima) were holding this latest firetrap aloft just prior to launch, we were set upon by it seemed every constabulary in the tri-state area emerging from behind every hedge and fence, from neighbors garages, great platoons of them grabbing all of us, and wrecking our contraption and stomping on the candles, and off we went in the paddy wagon to the town jail, which come to think of it, was right in the path of the prevailing winds on most of our previous successful flights about 3/4 of a mile away.

Long story short, we were very lucky to say the least. No fires had been set, but numerous folks had complained, justifiably. Our hearing, which we attended without counsel, not wanting to alert our families of our tomfoolery, before the Judge consisted of His Honor giving us one of those "what in tarnation did you damn fools think you were doing" tongue lashings as the city attorney sat there smoldering. The Judge actually pointed at us and said "I'm watching you" as he then pointed at his own eyes with two fingers, like in a Deniro movie.

The charges were reduced from some awful stuff to one misdemeanor count of whatever for the lot of us and we paid the fine and slunk home fully set on giving up the wonders of flight and returning to our now disdained-upon liberal arts pursuits.

We were on the no-fly list. I don't think I even bought a helium balloon at a carnival for years afterwards.

I expect today we would be trussed up like turkeys with our radical internet commenting histories read out loud for all the world to hear and sent packing to Quantanamo under some statute in the Homeland Security legislation.

I can hear Donald Trump now, "These are nasty guys, I'm telling you, with bad, bad thoughts" as our lungs filled with water.

But it was a small college town. The Judge had seen worse from the campus rowdies.

when did they release you from Area 51? Or did you escape? Inquiring minds want to know.

Oh, and "well done". Juvenile high-jinx are undervalued.

HSH, yes you can't just walk into the White House; the folks who live there, and the folks who own the building, have some say on access. But you can just walk down the public streets. It's not really a parallel situation.

A better analogy might be driving. You can't be told you can't drive on the public roads just because someone had a hunch and put you on a government list. If they are going to revoke your driver's license, they have to tell you that they are doing so (not just have you liable to arrest for driving without a valid license if they happen to pull you over). They also have to tell you why, and there has to be a process to contest their reasons.

I understand, wj, and I wasn't trying to suggest the situations were analogous. My point was that I don't think Russell is at all unclear about the lack of due process so much as unclear as to whether or not it is required in the first place, or if it is, why it is.

My earlier response involved how the use of commercial flight can constitute a right, such that it would trigger a constitutional requirement for some form of due process, which is what I think he was looking for. (My response may be utterly inadequate, but that's the question I was attempting to address, none the less.)

That one balloon we launched at night looked for all the world like those large jellyfish photographed from underneath as they drift back lit by the sunlight above the surface of the water.

"The question is whether or not commercial flight is something that can rightly be restricted without due process or not, constitutionally speaking."

basically,yes, that is my question.

there are lots of reasons that people are prevented from flying, driving on public roads, and any number of other things. it happens every day, and quite often for reasons of basic public safety, which is the motivation for the do not fly list.

you have to submit to a full body electronic scan to get on a plane. unreasonable search? why not?

there should be a reasonable level of transparency about who is placed on no fly lists, and there should be a straightforward way to get off of them.

you don't have to go to the level of costitutionally protected rights for that to be so.

in any case, seeing the no fly list as the harbinger of the totalitarian state, as Marty seems to do, seems overwrought. to me.

in any case, seeing the no fly list as the harbinger of the totalitarian state, as Marty seems to do, seems overwrought. to me.

Most likely true. However, insofar as such things become the 'new normal', they pose a distinct threat. Will the so-called war on terror come back to bite us in the ass?

More on Brexit: Can fascism come to Britain?

Again...probably not. But disturbing nonetheless.

Russell, my point was that, while there are lots of reasons why you can be restricted from driving, flying, etc., they all have one thing in common. There is a process, a transparent process, for the government putting that restriction on you. And for you getting youself off the restricted list. That due process is lacking with the no-fly list.

I'd say that the full body scan is, indeed, an unreasonable search. Not least because it is not clear that it actually succeeds in doing what it is purportedly for.

But also because of who is doing it. If you want to go into a government building, the government (the owner, or at least leasee, of the building) can legitimately demand a search. If you want to go into a private business, the business can do so.

But with TSA, the Federal government is insisting on a search in order for you to go into a facility which it neither owns nor operates. In order to patronize a private business. The constitutional basis for that is, IMHO, shaky at best.

It occurs to me that had we not been interdicted in the great hot air balloon caper, we might have progressed to launching a fleet of the balloons, all connected to a lightweight lawn chair with one of us perched in it and maybe delivering pizzas and other comestibles to sorority row on weekends.

You see how the heavy hand of gummint regulation nipped us in the bud. We coulda been an early Dominos or Amazon with our drone technology.

Young men are not supposed to live through these things, Count. Somebody must be looking out for us.

Mythbusters kind of took the fun out of it.

As to racism/xenophobia, it's more likely driven by the influx of pasty pale plumbers from Poland than by beautiful brown baristas from Barbados.

Very likely, immigration from Europe has crowded out some of the immigration from former colonies.

"there should be a reasonable level of transparency about who is placed on no fly lists, and there should be a straightforward way to get off of them."

Yes, but since neither is true, it is, in effect, punishment for being suspected of possibly committing a crime in the future.

Let me count the ways that's wrong.

more on what we are seeing this election cycle from the lunatics at Jacobin.

"[the no fly list] is, in effect, punishment for being suspected of possibly committing a crime in the future."

Suspected of being so very very dangerous that cannot be allowed on an airplane, even after extensive search and screening. And yet cannot be arrested for a crime.

Considering how incredibly broad the terrorism and conspiracy statutes are written, that is simply amazing.

I agree with Marty: it's totally wrong, totally unacceptable, and whatever idiot came up with the idea should be locked up for life.

Yes, but since neither is true, it is, in effect, punishment for being suspected of possibly committing a crime in the future.

...or having a name too like some such person and not being able to satisfy the airport that you're not them.

Well, if "driving while black" is grounds for being pulled over, why should "flying while named similarly to some (reputed) low life" not be equally culpable?

"I would trace that to the EU reaction to the global financial crisis. In broad terms, the EU reacted by saving the banks and abandoning the general population. That was followed by Merckel's reaction to the later Greek crisis. Again the banks were bailed out, and the populace forced to accept a heavily deflationary economic environment."

I'm sceptical of this argument, because I don't think the majority of Leave voters would have been too upset those failures - to the extent they were even aware of them.

The way the Greeks were represented in the press was much like the way people on benefits are represented - as lazy people looking for a hand-out. I doubt too many Leavers were offended by Germany and the EU's imposition of tough terms.

As for the bank bailouts, the same thing happened in the UK and the States. People might see these as bad policies without especially associating them with the EU. Why would Leavers in general be particularly upset about Eurozone deflation or lack of moral hazard for European banks - if they were even aware of them?

I agree tribalism played a significant part. But I wonder if in terms of issues it wasn't more a protest vote against wage stagnation and unaffordable housing, which the media encouraged people to think were caused by immigration.

I was so disappointed when I clicked on bobbyp's go fly a kite link and it wasn't this


That was a cracking great Jacobin article.

"da plane, da plane!"


It's almost tempting to want to hear just one SOTU out of this lunatic.

Meanwhile, not we know what Chris Christie sounds like when he hits pavement:


This is a great interview with Mark Blythe

I first saw the part about the Brexit

Will have to check out his book "Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea"

Overnighters in the Lincoln bedroom might want to watch who they call during the Trump Presidency:


Trump and the NSA together! And you guys are nervous about the Constitution now?

Just wait.

We're goin to be looking at a lotta tings over heah:


Hey, Vinny, go oveh deah and look at does tings already.

Scratch the SOTU temptation.

I want violence.

Does it really fulfill the Constitutional requirement for a report on the State of the Union if it's a fantasy about an alternate reality? Which seems like the only thing Trump would be capable of delivering.

Although failing in that particular Constitutionally-required duty would be an unexpected, and probably unique, grounds for impeachment....

Let me count the ways that's wrong.

I don't disagree. I may even be able to count more ways than you.

Wrong does not equal unconstitutional.

Why do I care? Because framing issues as if they are matters of inalienable rights makes it impossible to have a conversation about them.

Flying is a form of commercial public transportation. In most cases, it involves crossing state boundaries. In many cases, it crosses international boundaries. That puts it within the purview of the feds.

Airports are a common point of entry to the US, and egress from the US. That puts them in the purview of the feds.

Airports and airplanes are common targets of acts of political terror. The institutions we have established to deal with that are generally federal. The TSA, specifically, is a federal agency. All of that seems appropriate to me. I.e., the feds are an appropriate place to locate that responsibility.

Airports and related infrastructure are not simply public places. Government agencies of all types and jurisdictions are involved in their planning, construction, and operation. Including the feds.

The "F" in "FAA" stands for "Federal".

From the very inception of this country, the feds have been involved in enabling, supporting, regulating, and otherwise messing with modes of transportation that cross either state or international boundaries. From day one. Read the acts of the first few Congresses, and notice how much of what they address has to do with the shipping industry, and with transportation infrastructure in general.

If you haven't taken the time to actually read the acts of the Congresses prior to the compilation of the US Code, then I have more information than you do on this topic. So just trust me. Or, go read them, come back, and we can discuss.

I do not dispute, and in fact agree, that the no fly list as currently implemented is insufficiently transparent and does not provide sufficient opportunities for folks who find themselves on it to challenge and review their status.

That's wrong. And, it's one of about ten gazillion examples of a national security apparatus that has taken the concept of overkill to heights that boggle the mind.

I'm all for addressing that.

Addressing that does not require us to see every point of federal overstep and non-accountability as a violation of Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights.

Sometimes it's just stupid. Stupid, inefficient, often counter-productive, and in almost all cases an occasion for the worst kind of corrupt pork barrel bullshit. That's a sufficient justification for changing it.

I don't see a Constitutional right to fly in planes. Nor do I see, in the no-fly list, a giant step forward for jack-booted tyranny. I see a program with, possibly, initially good intentions, which has been overcome by the obsessive CYA need to not be the person or agency that let the next act of terror slip through.

What I really see is a nation that lost it's freaking mind on 9/11/01. I don't think we'll ever get over it. We don't seem to be making much progress.

I don't need to see a Bill of Rights issue there to say that things need to be fixed.

If you're looking for harbingers of the totalitarian state, there are much, much, much, much, much bigger fish to fry. IMVHO.

That's all I got. Over and out.

IIRC SCOTUS blessed subjecting everyone to a metal detector before getting on a plane as Constitutionally kosher in part because of the danger and in part because everyone was searched and thus no possibility of subjective judgment. Similar rationale was used for sobriety checkpoints on highways, although had to be objective criteria if not stopping everyone (e.g. Every fifth car).

My guess is that there is a fair bit in the SCOTUS metal detector opinion about how they are not that invasive. Query whether the current full body scanners might cause SCOTUS to reach a different result.

I don't think it's too much to think of the issues surrounding the no fly list in constitutional terms. Could they out you on a secret list and keep you from any kind of transportation? there being no general right to motorized or animal assisted transportation in the Constitution. After all you can always walk.

IMO, the fact that you so vigorously think disallowing a subset of people from flying without any due process is not a violation of our basic rights makes my point. Lots of things are unconstitutional by extension, IANAL, but I suspect that:

"nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" pretty much covers it.

I don't really see the no-fly list as a step towards jack booted tyranny either.** Which doesn't keep it, at least in its current incarnation from being constitutionally suspect.

** Ridiculous, badly managed, and probably a massively inefficient way to approach the problem. Sure. But if the goal is to avoid tyranny, those are probably features rather than bugs.

It was a 9th circuit case I was thinking of, not SCOTUS which apparently had never ruled on this.

Summary of airport searches and 4th A. Here:


If you're looking for harbingers of the totalitarian state, there are much, much, much, much, much bigger fish to fry. IMVHO.

Now that had me intrigued. Tell me more.

Great links lj.

You know, I don't why I get out of bed in the morning or even why my dear mother taught me how to talk after what russell said.

Somebody asked about establishment liberalism upthread. Here is an explanation--


It's yet another sweeping explanation of what is wrong with our political culture, like the Rauch piece in the Atlantic, and sweeping explanations are nearly always overstated. But I'm more sympathetic to this one.

The problem with both the Rauch piece and the one I just linked ( which I am much more sympathetic with) is that the writer has a grand overarching theory to propose about politics and people with such theories usually ignore facts which don't fit and stereotype a large class of people-- in Rauch's case, all Trump and Sanders supporters ( conveniently lumped together) and in Steele's case, liberals.

That said, I think people like me need to read people like Rauch and I would say the same thing about liberals needing to read the Steele piece.

I'm the author of the blog post linked above by Donald. I don't actually have a grand overarching theory. It's just a blog post presenting one particular view that resonates. But I'm always entertaining different views.

The blog post was more about my having come across a book review that offered a grand overarching theory and my sense that, at least in this particular situation of the campaign season, it seems to have much explanatory power. That isn't to claim that it can and would explain all politics in all situations.

By the way, I wasn't attempting to explain all liberals. I would note two things.

First, I've identified as a liberal for as long as I remember identifying as anything in particular. I was raised in a pansy liberal new age church. And I've lived most of my life in a liberal college town. I live and breathe liberalism.

Second, even in that post, I state there are other kinds of liberals. It's just that they've been disempowered and silenced. Those other liberals don't represent the liberalism in the mainstream media and in politics. I've also written other posts about the varieties of American liberalism and their historical origins.

This piece was a specific response to a specific set of issues in a specific context. It's part of my ongoing struggle to consider if there is any value to continue identifying myself as a liberal when the rhetoric has become so often empty, so often obscuring ugly truths and uncomfortable realities.

My blog is a process, the development of my thoughts over time. As such, much of it is me simply thinking out loud, offering ideas and seeing what others think.

welcome, Benjamin, you have a very interesting blog. I find myself asking a lot of the same questions you are, only with less thoughtful results.

thanks to Donald for making the introduction.

To answer my own question from way upthread, I would say that the ability to travel at will is a basic and assumed human right, even if not explicitly enumerated. As such, it deserves substantive due process. That is, it should not be infringed in the absence of some transparent and accountable legal process.

Since it's completely unclear who is on the no-fly list, and how one gets on the no-fly list, and who makes the decisions, I would say that the no-fly regime fails the test of transparency and accountability.

So as it turns out I agree that there are Constitutional issues involved in the no-fly regime.

The reason I asked the question way upthread was basically because, now that the idea that access to firearms might be constrained by the no-fly list has been proposed, suddenly everybody is up in arms about the no-fly list.

The no-fly list has been around for years. If I'm not mistaken, it precedes 9/11. At no point has it ever been a transparent or accountable institution.

Suddenly it's a thing? Where has everybody been for, like, 20 years?

It's of a piece with most of the national security apparatus of the US, and probably most other countries. Not transparent, minimally accountable if at all. A freaking bureaucratic Orwellian nightmare if you find yourself for some reason at odds with them.

I think the end result of all of that is, in fact, an undermining of Constitutional protections, but I don't think that's necessarily by intent. The ability to operate in secrecy is a kind of power, and people guard, and seek to extend, whatever power they can accumulate.

There is also the CYA principle of overkill at work - it's better to annoy millions of people, and seriously inconvenience hundreds or thousands, than to be the person or organization that let one bad guy slip through.

All of that said, it's unclear to me what "due process" would look like in the context of something like a no-fly list. Do we have some kind of court or review system, where anyone who is proposed for the no-fly list can see and challenge the evidence that led to them being placed on the list?

Civil liberties aside, from a purely procedural perspective the basic problem with the no-fly list is that it uses names to identify people. That's a really, really inaccurate way to identify individuals, and one that is enormously prone to false positives. Especially when many of the names of interest have their origins in languages other than English, and have no consistent spelling in English.

An interesting quote from Benjamin's blog (original source linked):

“One of the reasons that big business hasn’t been able to step in and reverse the electoral train wreck that is the Trump campaign is not that the racist rank and file of the GOP base has so much power that big business is helpless. It is instead that big business feels relatively assured that even if the GOP goes down to defeat, it will have a friend and ally in Hillary Clinton’s administration and neoliberal elites within the Democratic Party.”


Sounds about right.

It was glorious.

Your story reminds me of a prank my late father-in-law pulled.

Somehow or other, he acquired something like 100 or so helium balloons. To each one, he attached a note, stating that anyone finding the note could present it to his brother-in-law for a $5 reward.

This was in the days when $5 was a credible sum.

The brother-in-law's name, address, and phone number were included in the note.

The army of balloons was released. Merriment ensued.

He was a clever man.

"The reason I asked the question way upthread was basically because, now that the idea that access to firearms might be constrained by the no-fly list has been proposed, suddenly everybody is up in arms about the no-fly list."

Well, yes. I suspect if you tried to use it to deny something else even more people would care. The use of a no fly list and an FBI watch list to deny anything else exacerbates the problem of using the lists for the original purpose. So more people would be up in arms. My point though, is that a growing number of people don't care. That's the risk, if Trump suddenly said the Constitution was a product of those Washington elites and we should get rid of it and throw out the do nothing Congress lots of people would shrug and move on. Boom, he's 2/3 to a coup. Declare martial law to take care of those really bad people protesting and who wouldn't support that?

All the sudden, though by no means suddenly, we have a new form of government

Now that is one slippery-ass slope. (Up in arms - hah!)

Funny, I wish I had intended it, or at least noticed. :)

As brother-in-law pranks go, that one by Russell's father-in-law is performance art on a worthy par with Yoko Ono getting a Beatle to climb a ladder and peer through a magnifying glass at the word "Yes", and all that ensued.

That stunt was like getting Allen Funt (Candid Camera) and Franz Kafka (Candid Gregor Samsa) together to come up with a premise for a really good indie movie that starts out with the harmless prank and then evolves into some very deep and potentially dark but in the end enlightening interaction between he who owes what he thinks he doesn't to those he doesn't know and those who demand payment of the pound of flesh from strangers.

An unwitting Antonio to a battalion of eager Shylocks. Presbyterian ones.

What would have happened if a low-level, literal-minded ("but it says right here dat you owe ME five dollah") Mafia guy would have found one of the balloons on his lawn and decided to knock on the brother-in-law's door.

Or worse, what if a mortgage banker found one of the notes.

I think in the end it would end up as a love story.

Just wanna say that the link to Benjamin David Steele was really a piercing read, and I'm glad you showed up here Benjamin.

I request that he be added to the blogroll.

I felt a little like I'd been sat down by some Cultural Revolutionists 50 years ago for some painful but absolutely necessary self-criticism, and I mean that in the best sense possible.

My calculation in voting for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, despite my views adhering closer to Sanders', is that I just can't see Sanders surviving the whirling blades of the Republican hate machine, which by September would cut him into a very small dice.

But his constituency is real and the Democratic Party had better learn that.

Maybe I'm wrong, given the nutzoid Trumpeting going on.

I also have the shallow reason that I just don't think I could listen to Larry David for four years.

On the other hand, all of the candidates have been the most grating crew in history.

My calculation in voting for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, despite my views adhering closer to Sanders'

Could you elaborate which policies you prefer?

russell, if you can find evidence of a pre-9/11 'no fly' list, please cite it. IIRC, it was a direct result of the hysteria post-9/11. And was immediately put to use by Dubya to hamstring suspicously-lefty protesters.

If tying the no-fly list to gun purchases kills of the no-fly list, I'd say that's a good outcome.

I would not be surprised if someone decided that anyone on the no-fly list is too dangerous to be allowed in a polling place. There's not even a metal detector, typically.

Apparently there was some kind of list prior to 9/11, but it only had 16 names on it.

the discussion here">http://concurringopinions.com/archives/2010/01/a-very-brief-history-of-the-no-fly-list.html">here is pretty much my understanding.

Prior to 9/11, the list was quite short, but it existed.

Marty, I don't have much to disagree with in your 9:56.

I second the suggestion to blogroll Benjamin David Steele.

tThe no-fly list has been around for years. If I'm not mistaken, it precedes 9/11. At no point has it ever been a transparent or accountable institution.

Suddenly it's a thing?

For some of us, it's been a thing for a long time.

But admittedly, tying it to gun sales was a brilliant (albeit perhaps unintendedly brilliant) political move. Nothing like getting the NRA and the security establishment at each others' throats to raise visibility. Not to mention blood pressures. All good.

Bejamin, from your blog:

Everyone knows that Clinton is the weaker candidate against Trump. She is one of the most unpopular candidates in US history. Everyone knows the only reason she did so well was because of a political establishment backing her, a media biased toward her, and a system rigged in her favor. Everyone knows that Sanders would have easily won the nomination if there were open primaries not excluding Independents. Everyone knows Sanders would win vastly more votes than Clinton in a general election.

am i reading this wrong, or do you and i have vastly different concepts of what "everyone" means ?

(sorry: Benjamin, not Bejamin)

Benjamin, I'd have said that this line:

"on social issues, it is mildly libertarian in having a live and let live sensibility, such that being perceived as lazy is worse than being perceived as gay."

describes what I'd consider a true conservative (not liberal) point of view. (That's conservative, as opposed the the reactionary views which currently masquerade under that label.)

It is also about valuing what we have, but recognizing that it isn't perfect. About making changes to address the imperfections, but keeping them as small as possible while still dealing with the problem. And it's about taking a basically life-and-let-live view on social issues, when the individual behavior doesn't harm others.

It's what one of my liberal friends once called "being a tolerant conservative."

It's a philosophical view of the world that is also almost invisible in the media. But, for all that, seems quite widespread in the real world outside the media and the political arena.

Everyone knows that Sanders would have easily won the nomination if there were open primaries not excluding Independents.

I guess I'm not part of "everyone" either. Because I'm far from sure of that. Independents might have shifted the ground, but I suspect that they would have shifted it in directions other than Sanders.

And, FYI, California did have exactly the kind of open primary (i.e. open to independents) for the Democrats that you describe. Clinton won easily.

I had the same thought, cleek. Perhaps the things that everyone is said to know are true, but not everyone knows them. But I'm not entirely sure the things, themselves, are true in the first place. If not, they can't really be known, but only believed. And, even then, I don't think everyone believes those things, true or not. Since I, myself, am unsure of them, I neither believe nor know them, though I'm open to the possibility that they're true.

I'm also open to a non-literal use of the word "everyone," but my standard for that requires a closer approximation than I think exists in this case.

Cali was also on the last major primary day, and Clinton shrewdly just so happened to soft-clinch the nomination the night before. An awful lot of people I know (e.g. Count here) voted for Clinton because of her famous electability, and momentum and perception of such weigh very heavily on that score (and have since before the Iowa caucus). These sorts of things also apply to Sanders' campaign, ofc. But Cali didn't go to the polls in a vacuum. We have no control. Either way, we're speculating.

hsh, I'm pretty sure the truth value of at least some of those things depends significantly on how widely they're perceived to be true or false. Post hoc speculation about things this subjective is a tangled mess at best.

NV, the other way to look at it is this. Since Clinton, as you say, had "soft-clinched" the nomination the night before, Democrats (and independents voting in the Democratic primary) were free to vote their hearts.

No need to worry that they might be voting for a less-electable candidate. Even if Sanders had won California, he wasn't going to become the nominee. But a win in California would have given him a lot more leverage with regard to the platform. So anyone preferring his views had a pass to vote for him; no damage to the general election if they did.

And yet, it didn't happen. You can blame a band-wagon effect if you like. But "more electable candidate" doesn't really fly as an explanation.

Post hoc speculation about things this subjective is a tangled mess at best.

Are you daring to suggest that my comment wasn't sufficiently tangled or messy, NV?

I read that comment a couple times. It was more than sufficiently tangled and messy. It would have been better without any punctuation :)

I would agree with your assessment about 'everyone'. Pure fantasy. Clinton did have all those advantages, and she beat Sanders fair and square.

I have put out an APB for "everyone". Are they armed and dangerous?

NC voted in March. we have early voting, and a mixed primary system whereby registered D or R can only vote in their respective party but unaffiliated voters can choose a ballot from any party they wish. in most counties, unaffiliated voters outnumber either the GOP or the Dems. so, that's a pretty good setup for Sanders.

ex. Wake county (Raleigh):

D 256,643
R 185,487
L 3,666
U 225,631

Mecklenberg (Charlotte):
D 298,984
R 167,487
L 3,167
U 197,237

Clinton won by a mile.

No need to worry that they might be voting for a less-electable candidate.

...and no need to vote at all if they were hoping to make a difference (against all statistical reason, natch) rather than send a message (which, yes, goes squarely against the conventional wisdom that voting against Clinton was always a protest vote in the voters' hearts of hearts). Waiting until the night before to announce that she had enough superdelegates in her corner to secure the nomination come July was a strong play psychologically and tactically. Credit where credit is due.

Both of our commentaries are mass-mindreading, though, and should be taken as seriously as that deserves.

In response to the overwhelming demand (otherwise know as what Russell said), I've added Benjamin David Steele to the blogroll. And, as possessor of one set of keys to the kingdom, I'd invite Benjamin to write a guest post introducing his blog. If you send it to libjpn at the gmail outpost of the Borg, I'll put it up. We've also had promises/threats from some of the regulars to write a guest blog post, so this is the quasi annual invitation to do so. How to define a regular? If you have to ask, you probably aren't.

I return you to your programming.

on the other hand...

maybe Dems should quit pandering to the "white working class":

One of those things is that working-class voters are motivated to vote for demagogues out of fear for their future. This requires believing that American voters all receive one set of facts, which they are equally adept at processing, when of course a sizable minority of voters is undereducated and gets its “facts” from pretend news sources that make things up.

I don't understand this. Why does believing that economic insecurity is a large component of the Trump phenomenon require one to believe that everyone gets one set of facts and is equally able to process them? I don't think that at all, just as I don't think economic insecurity causes racism. It might enflame it or activate it, but it has to there (though it may sometimes be there because it was learned from people who taught it out of economic self-preservation).

I find myself arguing with both sides on this all the time - the people who say there's no racism involved and it's just liberals smearing their opponents as well as the ones who say there's no underlying issue apart from racism.

We, generally on this blog, complain about how the system is rigged in favor of capital over labor regularly. I don't know why that would be such a controversial thing to think is a factor among Trump's (and Bernie's, for that matter) supporters. (I'd say Bernie's supporters are more likely to be better informed about such and that Trump's supporters are happy to blow everything up while irrationally hoping it somehow works out better for them than the status quo has been, but still....)

But, yes, the racism is racism, not just some weird mutation of economic insecurity. It's just not only racism at work, particularly when we're talking about lots of different people all over the country who are not of one mind.

I'd say Bernie's supporters are more likely to be better informed about such and that Trump's supporters are happy to blow everything up while irrationally hoping it somehow works out better for them than the status quo has been

It seems like what you are saying is that both groups feel that the system has been rigged. Specifically rigged against the majority Not necessarily rigged against them personally.

But, again if I am understanding you correctly, you are also saying that the reasons they believe that the system is being rigged are different between the two groups. And one group has it mostly right about what the rigging entails, while the other group is simply wrong -- which is why their ideas for a solution to the problem are so different.

I don't understand this. Why does believing that economic insecurity is a large component of the Trump phenomenon require one to believe that everyone gets one set of facts and is equally able to process them?

Because otherwise, benevolent - nay, altruistic - third-way liberal capitalism might not benevolent - let alone altruistic - and instead could just be "I've got mine" plus a thick layer of veneer?

But no, questioning whether the rising tide lifts all boats is pandering to racists, and working class whites never vote Democrat anyway, so let's just ignore those uncomfortable questions and cheerlead whatever status quo candidate our benevolent philosopher-monarchs deign to offer us.

Simplistic, comfortable explanations like the pandering, exculpatory narrative offered by that Daily Beast lecture contribute to the multiplicity of understandings of facts in the body politic rather than alleviating them. And/or what hsh said.

"the all-powerful, mysterious, conspiring elites did it" isn't a simplistic comfortable explanation ?

Maybe not comfortable, but otherwise, yes. Who said it wasn't? Either way, if you're suggesting that's the mindset of a significant portion of Trump supporters, while it may be simplistic, it's still not based on racism.

just to be clear ... i linked to that article because it seemed like an interesting take, not as an "AH HA! HERE IS THE ANSWER!" endorsement.

"(I'd say Bernie's supporters are more likely to be better informed about such and that Trump's supporters are happy to blow everything up while irrationally hoping it somehow works out better for them than the status quo has been, but still....)"

No. I doubt that there is any significant difference in the level of information across the two sets of voters.

Yes. The Trump voters have been promised and lied to typically much longer so they are more likely to believe having it blown up is more likely to have it work out better. Nothing else has.

Trump voters have been successfully lied to for longer, maybe. I'd guess confidently that far fewer of Bernie's supporters ever believed in trickle-down and such in the first place. It's just that there haven't been any viable candidates really focused on doing something about it. Bernie's ideas may not all be realistic, but they are at least actual ideas with some sort of substance behind them. Trump is a babbling id, and his campaign is a farce.

What you are saying is, the solutions Sanders is proposing might work. (Or might not.) Whereas the solutions Trump is proposing won't work.

Which is pretty much my take as well. I don't actually think that Sanders' overall set of proposals is the answer, although some of them might help. But the damage that they might do, if they don't work, is far less than the damage that Trump's would do when they don't work.

The problem is that Bernie's is over and Trumps is not quite over yet. A whole lot of Bernie's voters couldn't tell you what trickle down economics is or why it worked so well for thirty years, they weren't born yet.

Worked so well at what, or better yet, for whom? It took 30 years for lots of people to start noticing how bad it was for most people, maybe. And I think you're wrong Bernie's people, depending on the value of "a whole lot." Those kids are more edumucated than Trump's. They read.

"Those kids are more edumucated than Trump's. They read."

And you wonder why people might be unhappy. This is just insulting bullshit, more a part of the problem than any other thing.

And trickle down economics worked great for thirty years in creating a stable economic environment that allowed people to be successful Real wages didn't go down, what inflation there was added value to there homes etc, not in a straight line, and interest rates were low enough that huge swaths of society that had never before been able to envisioned buying a home. It takes a really outlandish revisionist history to find a problem with that.

what trickle down economics is or why it worked so well for thirty years

opinions vary

Real wages didn't go down

I'd call that damning with faint praise.

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