The Watering Hole: Wednesday, July 13, 2011: Hump Day: The Supreme Court

Guess what? There is no Supreme Court in the American Constitution. Newt Gingrich said it, so it must be so. Right?

Well, let’s take a look at Article III:

The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.

Ok. The Constitution does establish a Supreme Court. But what about what else Gingrich said, “the fact is the Congress can pass a law and can limit the Court’s jurisdiction.” Is that true? Can Congress simply pass a law and limit what the Court can hear?

In a word, Yes.

In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

So, only in cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction. That means one can file a claim directly to the Supreme Court. IN ALL OTHER CASES, the Supreme Court acts as a Court of Appeals…the matter has to be heard by a lower court first.

Therein lies the rub. Congress has the power to “ordain and establish” lower courts. Without lower courts, there cannot be appeals to the Supreme Court. If Congress abolishes the lower courts, the only cases the Supreme Court can hear are those involving ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party.

By eliminating the lower federal courts, Congress can eliminate the ability of the people to obtain relief if their Constitutional Rights have been violated. This is what Gingrich is advocating: Go to jail, go directly to jail. Do not pass Go; do not collect $200. And forget about the Bill of Rights.

This is our daily open thread. Freedom of speech on this thread has been upheld by a 5-4 vote. That means one vote the other way, and we censor the hell out of you!

214 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: Wednesday, July 13, 2011: Hump Day: The Supreme Court

  1. Janice Hahn Keeps California House Seat for Democrats

    Janice Hahn survived a costly battle to hold onto a congressional seat for Democrats here, defeating a Republican businessman, Craig Huey.

    Ms. Hahn, a Los Angeles city councilwoman, collected 55 percent of the vote to Mr. Huey’s 45 percent, according to a semi-official tally. She will succeed the district’s longtime congresswoman, Jane Harman, who retired in February.

    Are we on a roll? Feels like it.

    • 55 to 45–that’s an impressive margin for a ‘replacement’ vote and especially when congressional Dems are at risk of “sucking by association” with Pres. Obama.
      But IMHO retaining a seat isn’t “a roll”, it’s just a relief. . .

      • When added to the congressional seat won in that conservative district in upstate New York a few months back, it’s a mini-roll…

      • I think Dems will shoot themselves in the foot by distancing themselves from Obama. This reminds me of Gore, when he tried to distance himself from Clinton. I know the situations are not entirely the same, but I’d be concerned that history could repeat itself and we end up losing some easy ones.

  2. Thanks BnF for this post. I like to have the facts. My son this morning asked me if there wasn’t this 14th amendment possibility for Obama to raise the debt ceiling. I said no. He asked why. I said: “because “BnF” said so, go read it. You can learn a lot about US laws reading the Zoo on Wednesdays.” 😀

    • I’m hearing on MSNBC that News Corp is buying back five billion dollars of its stock, in order to prevent it dropping further. I think they are afraid of a takeover.

      • $5B of stock buy-back – well that $4.5B in taxes that the American tax-payer *gave* them should help with that.

        (Newscorp had a net *negative* tax bill of -$4.5B last year – that’s right – the US government simply cut Murdoch and Ailes a cheque for $4.5B last year)

    • I heard a comment about this on Bill Press this morning, but when you think about him just shuttering a thriving business such as the News of the World, rather than selling it; or hanging on to it; I think that speaks volumes as to the serious of what’s taken place.

      Also read that he’s dropped his bid to buy another media company in the UK.

      Murdoch’s in trouble. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

      • Don’t forget he just dumped Myspace for a half billion dollar loss. That’s probably on his books for this fiscal year, unless a loss like that can be averaged over multiple years.

  3. The subject of SCOTUS jurisdiction has come up several times recently on the Thom Hartmann show. He cites the case of Marbury v. Madison as the precedent for the process of judicial review, which is when the Court upholds or declares a law unconstitutional. Because of Citizens United, Thom now believes that the Court shouldn’t have this much power, that unconstitutional laws should be overturned by the people electing new legislators who will vote to change the laws. I find this method of review to be unworkable. Part of the purpose of the Constitution is to protect a minority from the tyranny of the majority. Without the courts to rule on such cases, the minority has no such recourse. You would always have laws that only protect the will of the majority, and could vary from state to state, and even city to city. Our rights should always be consistent throughout the country, and should only vary with respect to unique geographical conditions in any specific jurisdiction.

    • I find it interesting that the righties who think we should go back to the original constitution have no problem with Judicial Review. It’s not an enumerated power of the court. It’s a power they granted themselves.

      • Ah, but they do have a problem with judicial review when one of their laws is overturned. Those durned activist judges!

        • Indeed.

          I would like to see Congress reassert a bit of authority over SCOTUS. I’m not necessarily against Judicial Review as a concept, and the need for it may very well be implied in the constitution… however… there doesn’t seem to be the necessary checks and balances against abuse by the court. It really gives them a bit more power than they were intended to have. IMO.

            • If Obama was re-elected, and a conservative justice died or had to resign for any reason, and if Obama couldn’t get a new judge appointed right away, resulting in a number of 4-4 tied case votes, what happens to the decision? Does the lower court ruling stand in such circumstances?

    • Part of the purpose of the Constitution is to protect a minority from the tyranny of the majority. Without the courts to rule on such cases, the minority has no such recourse.

      Generally true, but there is the other side of the coin. The Citizens United case enabled, in a sense, a tyranny of a minority in that it effectively gave the wealthy, effectively the top two percent or so, the tools to essentially buy elections, and in the process essentially equated money with free speech and corporate entities with people.

      If it were up to me, a minority of one, I’d mandate that because of the Citizens United decision it is now a requirement, effective immediately, that income tax rate of the top 2% be raised to 101%, and with no deductions of any kind allowed, and that the same tax rate applies as an estate tax rate on that same group, and that the revenues raised be applied only to programs which assist the poor and middle class.

      I think I’m becoming a Marxist, maybe. In my old age. Or maybe it’s just that my very wealthy (inherited wealth) Republican P.I.T.A. cousin has convinced me that he’s already had enough cruises, enough Canada fishing trips, enough new cars and new houses and that, well, you know, it’s now time to give the rest back. Uh huh. 😈

  4. This is on Think Progress Morning Checkup on the Health topic page.

    Birth certificates for stillborn babies: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) has signed a bill “allowing parents of stillborn infants to receive birth certificates for the first time.” Parents can now apply for a “certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth.” Philly Inquirer

    Since a ‘Certificate of Live Birth’ isn’t good enough for proving one eligible to be President, will this suffice? At least for Republican candidates? (Yes I know, that was in bad taste.Or was it?)

    • HoR, no not in bad taste. The hypocrisy gets me every time. While I know that acknowledging a stillborn child as a person can be important for parents to cope with the loss, I do not think this is what this bill is about. I hate it when situations which are so tragic for most are used to promote an agenda to put pressure on others.

    • With a “Certificate of Dead Birth” someone is going to have to list a cause of death. I can see this leading to more arrests of women whose pregnancies end tragically.

      • What on earth is the point of a “Certificate of Dead Birth” ?
        To have an acknowledged existence in this country you need multiple proofs of existence; clearly this proposal is inadequate.
        I suggest they also provide a Utility Bill addressed to Resident, #1, mother’sname Womb, Wherever, and a Dead Driver’s license that, unlike its possessor, NEVER expires.

          • Don’t forget that Forthy Santorum insisted that his miscarried fetus be listed as “20 weeks” on it’s death certificate.

            Based on my birthday, I think I just missed my “Happy Conception Day” party in May. Is it too late to register for gifts?

            • I missed mine too, but no worries, my birthday is the day after the upcoming October Rapture and end of the world, so the point is moot.

      • I agree, BnF. In some states a miscarriage is challenged with the mother having to prove she didn’t induce the miscarriage herself. Birth certificates for still borns may help grieving parents, but it certainly goes one more step toward abusing the rights of women.
        They are banning abortions at the 6-week level.
        They are eliminating clinics that provide health care and contraception.
        They are forcing women to prove that any miscarriage was not her fault — (was she riding a bicycle, was she playing softball, did she not get pre-natal care, did she smoke or have a glass of wine, the list is endless).

        • marie, you know what this reminds me of?

          The Ceausescu regime took more aggressive steps in the 1980s. By 1983 the birthrate had fallen to 14.3 per 1,000, the rate of annual increase in population had dipped to 3.7 per 1,000, and the number of abortions (421,386) again exceeded the number of live births (321,489). Ceausescu complained that only some 9 percent of the abortions performed had the necessary medical justification. In 1984 the legal age for marriage was lowered to fifteen years for women, and additional taxes were levied on childless individuals over twenty-five years of age. Monthly gynecological examinations for all women of childbearing age were instituted, even for pubescent girls, to identify pregnancies in the earliest stages and to monitor pregnant women to ensure that their pregnancies came to term. Miscarriages were to be investigated and illegal abortions prosecuted, resulting in prison terms of one year for the women concerned and up to five years for doctors and other medical personnel performing the procedure. Doctors and nurses involved in gynecology came under increasing pressure, especially after 1985, when “demographic command units” were set up to ensure that all women were gynecologically examined at their place of work. These units not only monitored pregnancies and ensured deliveries but also investigated childless women and couples, asked detailed questions about their sex lives and the general health of their reproductive systems, and recommended treatment for infertility. (source)

          That was Communist Romania one of the most repressive countries in the Eastern bloc.

          • Makes a good case for the development of male-dominant hermaphrodites who can self impregnate and then birth all the children their little hearts desire. Earthworms do it all the time — why can’t Mitch McConnell?? (yuk)

            I suspect that’s one level of human genetic and stem cell manipulation that the Republicans would support without question.

            Let us pray prey.

            • As someone who detests violence, I nevertheless rejoiced over their dead bodies. See, I had seen footage from Romanian orphanages before, and that really breaks my heart even today. I still hope the bullets hurt.

    • A friend from Wisconsin reported on this on FB, and I was very pleased to hear that. In most cases, it appears that about 33-35% of the votes were from crossover Republicans, and Senate District 10 was really close. Maybe some Badger can explain that particular result.

    • Next is the six REAL Republicans in August. THEN it’s Wanker’s turn.

      After the Indycar race Sunday, One of the drivers called another a wanker, then he said ‘can you say Wanker?’ Then he said ‘how about tosser, then?’ I just had to crack up! 😀

  5. This is sweet. Washington Monthly has a short piece on the tension between Boner and Cantor. The sweet part is the exchange between Cantor and Obama. Republican leadership has been repeatedly lying that the Democrats have presented no plan.

    • Can’tOr thinks (I know, oxymoron) he can play it both ways, walk away from the negotiating table in a hissyfit, then demand to know what the deal is.

      Sorry, jerk, you play or you watch.

  6. Why has there been no follow up or charges pressed against Sen. Lori Klein?

    Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute 13-1203(2) and 13-1204(2), a person commits aggravated assault if they “[I]ntentionally place another person in reason…able apprehension of imminent physical injury” while using “a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.” Aggravated assault, pursuant to these sections, is a class 3 felony. What Klein did could also constitute reckless endangerment, another felony.

  7. An Oregon District Attorney denied the abortion request of an apparently suicidal woman who was in custody after she attempted to set herself and a hotel room on fire. DA Brad Berry argued that the woman, 23-year-old Bridget Burkholder, was not mentally fit and shouldn’t be allowed to get an abortion…

    He raised the question, “If we wouldn’t allow her to have her breasts reduced in this state,” or have a benign tumor removed, how could she be allowed to choose an abortion? He said a guardian might have to be appointed to make that decision for her.

    Besides violating her civil rights, apparently Berry would rather have this unwanted child born to a woman willing to set herself on fire in a suicide attempt. I predict a short, violent life for that child.

    • I knew a child that had mental disabilities because her mother shot herself when she went into labor. The baby was born and stopped breathing and the paramedics on the scene revived the baby. The mother survived and was placed in a mental institution. Even though the mother remained in a mental institution, It took 8 years to terminate the mother’s rights so that this little girl could be adopted.

    • OMG, what the fuck does having her breasts reduced have to do with reproductive choice? And why would she not be “allowed” to have a tumor removed, benign or not?

      “The Handsmaid’s Tale” should be required reading for ALL women, staring in middle school.

  8. Mitch McConnell: We Must Rewrite The Constitution Because ‘Elections’ Haven’t ‘Worked’

    The time has come for a balanced budget amendment that forces Washington to balance its books. If these debt negotiations have convinced us of anything, it’s that we can’t leave it to politicians in Washington to make the difficult decisions that they need to get our fiscal house in order. The balanced budget amendment will do that for them. Now is the moment. No more games. No more gimmicks. The Constitution must be amended to keep the government in check. We’ve tried persuasion. We’ve tried negotiations. We’re tried elections. Nothing has worked.

    Uh, elections haven’t worked your way, you psycho bastard, because THE PEOPLE DON’T WANT YOUR STUPID SHIT.

    Thom Hartmann is going off on this like fireworks this morning. Un-fucking-believable.

    • Yes, his main objection is that it will make raising taxes as difficult as it is in California, which will result in the same economic problems on a national scale.

      You need a certain amount of national debt to allow people to make safe investments in bad economic times also.

      • Agreed.

        And if we weren’t allowed to run a debt, then in times of true crisis, we may not be able to actually survive it. WW2 comes to mind.

    • Imagine the Bush years had we had a balanced budget amendment in place. He couldn’t have afforded his tax cuts. His wars. We wouldn’t be in the hole we’re in now. Is that what McConnell meant?

    • Ever notice how when ‘pubs win by even a razor slim margin, they consider it a “mandate” to do whatever the hell they want but when Dems win by HUGE majorities and start the work of fulfilling the campaign promises that delivered the wins it’s characterized by everyone, including that librul media, as shoving their socialist agenda down the throats of the Real Americans?


  9. Well, I got the big limb to break off and fall in the yard, so I no longer have to worry about when it would fall and what it fell onto. It’s just about pruned too, so I can rent a chain saw and cut it up when it’s convenient now. I made it inside before it really warmed up outside too.
    My next door neighbor came out and sat on his porch, which gave me a spotter in case the thing fell on me as I made the last cut that brought it down. It was propped up on a limb that I had to partially cut so it would fall when the limb broke.

    • Chainsaw!

      Hey, have I been committing adultery? I’ve been using a chainsaw the last three days and soon I’m expecting to go get an even bigger chainsaw!

    • That was HILARIOUS! I love it when Colbert breaks character – the best one I remember was when he was talking about PAP smears at the local Walgreen’s, saying to look for the stirrups in aisle 6…

    • That was HILARIOUS! I love it when Colbert breaks character – the best one I remember was when he was talking about PAP smears at the local Walgreen’s, saying to look for the stirrups in aisle 6…

      (in response to whoever the douchebag du jour was who suggested that healthcare services were available at local drugstores, or something like that)

  10. I had a full term stillborn son. The experience sucked, and I can’t imagine how receiving a birth certificate for him could have made it suck less.

  11. Good news for the US and for American girls who play sport….. US women are back in the World Cup of Soccer final after beating France 3-1 just a few minutes ago….

    US women are world beaters at soccer and have delivered an entertaining and exciting ride for watchers of the game. Congratulations to them and I am SammyTheTurtle will be watching the final this weekend!

  12. Quote of the Day:

    “If they’ve got a good relationship, I don’t want to see a bad one,” – Representative Jim Clyburn, on Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor.

    • A medical interview established the self-styled ‘pastafarian’ was mentally fit to drive

      Strainer on noggin and all. A great day, indeed.

  13. REP. PETER KING BECOMES FIRST REPUBLICAN TO CALL FOR NEWS CORP INVESTIGATION | Joining a growing number of Democratic lawmakers seeking investigations into News Corp…

    Read rest over at TP.

    The beginning of the end of Fox? Can we dare to dream?

    • Louie Gohmert accuses the president of lying and fear mongering even though Obama has never once, afaik, even MENTIONED the threat of Terror Babies!

      Watching the political stage in DC these days is akin to watching a real shitty cartoon show. Might even be more painful than sitting through a screening of The Black Swan!

      Gohmert, Bachmann, and King — I can say in all honesty that in my nearly sixty years of watching politics play out I have NEVER seen a more stupid and uninformed (and probably dangerous) trio.

      At least the Three Stooges were good for laughs!

  14. Zooey on July 13, 2011 at 10:15 am said:

    Mitch McConnell: We Must Rewrite The Constitution Because ‘Elections’ Haven’t ‘Worked’
    Nice political stunt by Mitch the turtle just to make his constituents believe he is against government spending and adding to the deficit. (Think two unfunded wars and unfunded medicaid part D)

    McConnell is so full of shit. If I remember correctly adding to , subtracting from and amending the constitution is a very lengthy endeavor, taking years and years to possibly accomplish.

    But he knows what he says sounds so simple, so logical to the ignorant, brain washed, Kentuckians who vote for him.

    Mitch the turtle could stand in front of a podium at a one of his rallies, a fire blazing to his right and a bucket of water to his left and all he’d have to say is “To put fire out, pour bucket of water on flame” and his supporters would stand there in awe of his sheer brilliance as they cheer, nodding their heads in agreement.

  15. “Elections don’t work” — Mitch McConnell

    What does he mean they don’t work? That they don’t work because of what happened in Florida in 2000? That they don’t work because of vote flipping in Ohio? Or because the republicans and their corporate masters couldn’t win the senate in 2010?

    But Mitch is onto something. In the future, thanks to the citizens united decision, elections won’t work, not in the way they should. Instead Americans will be bombarded 24/7 with political ads on TV attacking a ethical candidate while building up his/her pro business opponent, effectively brainwashing the ignorant masses in America.

    • The irony in all this is that the righties won’t agree to the Governor’s deal (which meets them about half-way) because it includes tax cuts on the rich. “That will destroy jobs” they say.

      Yet, this shutdown has laid off thousands of people. Those people are no longer spending money like they were before. Businesses in tourist areas are suffering due to the closure of state parks and museums. Liquor licenses can’t be renewed which is also hurting local pubs. As you point out, liquor companies such as Miller can’t renew their license to sell here so how many jobs will that cut if that distribution network grinds to a halt.

      The lie in this is that tax cuts for the rich produce jobs.

      The truth in this is this shutdown is costing us more money (we don’t have) and is hurting businesses.

      • So the tax cuts for the rich, in place for 10 years, wasn’t producing any appreciable increase in jobs. Now, in just two weeks, supporting tax cuts for the rich is costing many, many jobs.

        The solution is incredibly obvious. More tax cuts for the rich!

        • Sorry. Crucial typo in my post. The governor’s plan calls for a tax increase on the rich.

          (I hate it when I’m a roll and screw it up like that. )


      • As I’ve mentioned before; an answer, locally and nationwide, is to combine a tax hike with a tax credit for hiring people. The government would collect a larger share of profits being sunk into bank accounts while employers would have an incentive for hiring. It would also pull the teeth from the Reichwhiners incessant bitching about “hurting job creators”.

  16. Thanks Terry, great link. Especially liked the soldiers watching the match in Afghanistan!
    The MSM broadcast (rabbit ears) news shows didn’t seem to acknowledge the WWOC was even going on, nor that the USA was in it, until USA won their quarter final.
    “Oh by the way, the USA just won a WWOC game, somewhere”
    Given that so many women front the news shows, that women are such major consumers, you’d THINK the networks would want to pay attention—but they don;t.

    (I’ll also add that the industry neglect of Women’s soccer in the UK is also a national shame).

  17. BTW everybody…. my landlady is starting eviction proceedings on me again.
    It’s been a year, she forgave several months rent, now I’m three months behind, no Unemployment, just food stamps and cash assistance and my brother’s unemployment.

    I’ve had a total of three pseudo job interviews (actually just signing up for some employment racket biz) in the last 7 months.
    So…. thanks a bunch to all the Republitards and to Obama for being such a clueless naif.

        • That’s more time than I thought you’d get.

          We Critters and Zoosters should put our heads together (like coconuts?) and figure out how to keep you and your brother off the streets — or just get you out of there. Pachy, too.

          • That’s a kind thought, but everyone should attend to their own issues first in this awful economy and political/policy shithole we are in, and I think keeping things simple is the best way..
            Just knowing I have friends is a comfort…the rest is up to me and the local conditions and options.

            • It’s a way of saying don’t complicate your life by trying get involved with my life, which is about to get more complicated on the simplest of levels, in the simplest of ways.
              And you dear, especially, have your own life to look after—there not much distance between us at the moment. YOu don;t need the complications either. :}

  18. Since the original topic on the thread was the Supreme Court, I feel compelled to once again make the argument that speech is:
    1. The expression of or the ability to express thoughts and feelings by articulate sounds.
    2. A person’s style of speaking.

    The first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Money is not speech. Speech is speech.
    Elections should not be for sale. Allowing unlimited donations to political campaigns is not free speech.

    • While I enjoy pinging on Crazy Shelly, this one is flash. All Protestants disagree with the idea that the Pope is anything of a direct representative of the Divine. WELS has held this position for a very long time and if anyone wants to hold it against Shelly, you better include a whole shitpot full of MN & Wi residents as well.

      • I’m thinking it is a toss up between him and Rupert. Protestants have been wondering about the Pope for centuries. I mean, what is it with running around in fancy bathrobes and talking to cardinals?

        • Oh, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, if Obama is the Pope who is that German runnin around the Vatican in gold foil? St John would be havin a heart attack over such nonsins about his words written by a sun baked maniac.

            • See that was funny back then because it was absurd–as far as the audience knew.
              It isn;t funny to me now, because not only is not as as absurd as the nonsense the most popular preachers spew now, it’s also not as absurd as the crap we hear from ‘serious” politicians who aren’t supposed to be preachers, let alone permitted to be absurd preachers.

              And above all that, they dopn;t just yell into space, out of passion—instead they plot and maneuver and pretend and parlay into positions of serious influence and actual power to make the world in their own absurd image, for real.

              And it isn’t the least bit funny. .

        • Does that make Obama the first muslim atheist pope?

          I’m sorry to hear of the death of your friend Badmoodman, may he live in your memory.

          • How can three things be polar opposites? Muslim…Atheist…Pope.

            We best study up on string theory and such.

    • Having been raised a Lutheran, I can remind some that anti-Catholicism was the very basis of Martin Luther’s Reformation.

      But I never heard (or didn’t bother to listen…) that the Pope was the anti-Christ.

      This should play well with the anti-choice Catholics who vote ‘pub based on that principle only…

  19. I am frightened. I can see that Cheeses is probably the American spelling of Jesus. And Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland, home of the Cheeseheads. Since doG has ordained that Amurka is blessed by his divinity and choice, it follows that Wisconsin is the new Holy Land. This is unsettling since the home of the Milwaukee Bucks is a place called the Mecca. Or it used to be.

    This religious stuff is pretty freaky.

    • I don’t mean this as a jab at President Obama, lord knows I’ve bashed him here at the Zoo on numerous occasions but it’s sad that he has to start showing his steel on something like the debt ceiling, you know the thing that was raised seven times under Bush with out too much fuss.

      May the republicans burn in hell. Playing politics with peoples lives at stake. It’s high time we the people start to demand that these corporate whores in both parties start upholding their oaths of office or be thrown out of office and stripped of all government benefits.

      Now for President Obama….Is he going to start playing hardball with these evil phuck’s on the right, the banksters, the crooksters on Wall Street?

      Any intelligent man….and Obama is obviously an intelligent man, who cares about how people will remember him as the first Black President of the United States of America.

      He can go down as a president who caved in to the opposition, time after time, made back door deals with the insurance and pharmaceutical companies, filled his cabinet full of capitalists/corporatists and turned his back on the middle class, the working class and the poor.

      Or he can go down as the first Black President, a president who tried working and trusting the republican party, started following too much advice from the capitalists/corporatists in his cabinet. A president who starts standing up to the republicans, the corporations, the media, etc, etc…starts fighting for the middle class, the working class, the poor, the elderly, the disabled. Using the power of the bully pulpit as he shames the wealthy, the multinational corporations, the US Chamber of Commerce, the GOP, big business, questioning their loyalty to their country, and their fellow citizen in tough times.

      An intelligent man would become a populist. Start speaking the truth about income disparity, the truth about tax cuts and job creation, about how the republican party is just a political tool for the wealthy and powerful.

      Is President Obama this intelligent man?

      • That’s a question that can not yet be answered but I hope the answer is “yes”. The way that I look at it; he’s already getting crap from the GOoPers and “librul media” no matter what he says or does so I think it’s time for him to start deserving it. TheReichwhiners are never going to like him or respect him for compromising so I think he should fire back and see if he can at least get a little grudging respect for taking strong positions. He should give them a reason to get mad and I think he’ll gain a lot more respect from those of us who have been calling for it since about the end of January 2009.

      • I thought he was that intelligent man until he conceded on health care BEFORE even the election!
        I haven;t seen a shred of political intelligence from Obama since. I’ll still vote for him in 2012—assuming I can vote then, of course—because the alternative is too appalling, but if he hasn’t learn anything by now, then the next 4 years will just a living death.

      • “Is President Obama this intelligent man?”

        A story in the Chicago Sun Times, well before the ’08 elections, talked about State Representative Obama. He realized that, in order to get anything done, he needed to get on the “inside” with other State Rep’s. The best way of doing this was to get in on the weekly poker games. However, Obama had never played poker before, so he bought himself a book (Hoyle?) taught himself the game, and joined in.

        The phrasing in the story still sticks with me: “Week after week, as he left with everyone’s money, the other representatives came to regard Obama as a nice guy, but a little naive.” (My emphasis.)

        Lefties pule and whine about the health care package he passed, resolutely ignoring the fact that he passed one at all because, after all, it wasn’t perfect and didn’t give them everything they wanted, exactly the way they want it, the instant they wanted it. Apply that same standard to Social Security, Medicare, &/or Medicaid and what you have is the shrieking demand from the left that all those programs be eliminated immediately. After all, they weren’t perfect when they were first implemented, and they are still not perfect now.

        Lefties pule and whine that Guantanomo is still open, that DADT is still not quite off the books, that DOMA remains the law of the land, ignoring the unambiguous fact that every one of these items IS A FEDERAL LAW, PASSED BY CONGRESS, THAT CAN ONLY BE UNMADE BY AN EQUALLY BINDING FEDERAL LAW PASSED BY CONGRESS. Obama signed an executive order to shut down Guantanomo in his first 100 days; Congress overturned that order by a vote of something like 90 to 4. Exactly what sort of political capital was he supposed to exhaust on this subject, thereby unmaking even the possibility of doing ANYTHING else?

        There was the endless handwringing about the most recent budget “compromise,” in which Obama “weakly” gave away $37 Billion in spending cuts to the Reichwhiners. Except that $34 Billion of that was nothing but number shuffling: not a penny of it amounted to actual cuts in spending. I’d like someone to explain to me how the HELL someone learns how to do that, then thoroughly bamboozles lifetime politicians into swallowing this like they were being handed something substantial? And — is anyone actually surprised by this — almost no one on the left actually bothered to notice that this “compromise” was little more than smoke-and-mirrors; nothing but Obama pulling an imaginary rabbit out of the GOP’s collective asses. Certainly none of the folks who snivelled &/or howled about how he was eviscerating the New Deal ever went back to comment upon what was actually done.

        The same, of course, seems rather evidently the case with his supposedly putting Social Security, etc., on the chopping block. The fact is that Obama is enough of a poker player to know how to bluff, and that includes upping the pot just enough that his opponents will fold. Included in those offers were trivial tax increases that he knew the GOP would never accept. (And, one must add, if, per impossible, the GOP leadership DID accept it, their membership would not, and the Dem’s in Congress would prevent it from ever passing.) As a result, Obama stands out as the Great Negotiator, the GOP as the inflexible dmagogues, and every bad thing that follows is their fault.

        “Is President Obama this intelligent man?”

        I’ll tell you what, when someone posts an itemized, step-by-step program that conclusively demonstrates how a person in Obama’s position and time could have successfully done more and better than Obama has, then I’ll be more interested in the hand-wringing about what he has not done. But I insist it must be detailed, it must be comprehensive, and it must allow for no possible ambiguity as to outcome, and show that all these things were available to, and knowable by, a person in Obama’s position. Otherwise, all I am seeing is a lot of infantile puling and whining by people who have not got the first clue what they are talking about.

        If I seem impatient with folks on this account — most specifically folks on the left, the ones who are supposed to be on my side — it is because I am. I am sure there are ways that Obama could have done better, but I am still waiting for the detailed, logically comprehensive exposition of how this might actually have been brought to pass. Vapid vagueries and wishful thinking do not count.

        • I agree. The simple fact is that the “librul media” has not told us President Obama’s, or Nancy Pelosi’s Congress’, accomplishments.

          A president can make general proposals but he doesn’t write legislation. He can cajole and suggest but has no real authority but the veto. The part that doesn’t get mentioned often, but should be shouted from the rooftops, is that Pelosi’s Congress passed over 400 pieces of legislation that were obstructed by the GOoPers in the Senate. And I think there are still over a hundred people appointed by President Obama who’s confirmations have been blocked.

          Still. My biggest criticism of President Obama is that he hasn’t been more confrontational. The right-wingers hate him with a fiery passion that will not be quelled by any conciliatory efforts so he might as well kick some ass.

        • Gary, I love your post. Spot on.
          Obama plays the long game — we are accustomed to the short ones — in the end, he wins.

          • We are an “instant gratification” society, so it’s difficult for us to be patient — especially after being SO patient through the Bush years. It should be our time to get things done, but we have to recognize that Obama does not operate in a vacuum.

            Also, candidate Obama said a lot of things that I’m sure he hoped he’d be able to get done — just like every other candidate for president. Reality kicks in soon after inauguration day.

        • Great post gary, the instant gratification thing is a vice that affects liberals as well, it seems. There is reason to be frustrated, but there are so many ills Bush created that it takes ages to sort,however. On top of that we may have to live with the fact that much of your society (and ours, too) has been changed for good, even if not for the better. One man alone won’t be able to change this and as I recall President Obama said so during his campaign. Where are liberals now when he needs them, complaining and bickering. I’m rambling and confused again… Sorry

    • Showing steel is not necessarily the best way to get things done. Inflexible dogmatism is also “showing steel,” yet I cannot imagine the possible world in which I would even consider the abstract possibility of saluting such a grotesque and overt abandonment of reason.

      It is easy to criticize Obama for what he has failed to do, especially when one takes no account of the political capital one must spend in order to do anything at all. The more I watch the actual results coming out of Washington these days — especially when considered over the medium term, past the initial spasms of histrionics, and puling and whining — the less convinced I am that I have any meaningful grasp of what it really takes to get anything done in our government.

  20. Interesting thought. A very devout Christian being sworn in to public office at the national level.

    Is it possible? Can a devout Christian swear allegiance to a secular code that includes no Christian ethic? The Constitution is a secular document with no religious orientation. Can a Christian honestly speak a vow of allegiance to a secular code that quite probably supersedes their religious one?

    Rationally viewed the Constitution does align with NT theology in concept. This assumes religion is rational, which is contrary to all existing evidence.

    • Rationally, the Constitution contradicts Conservative philosophy. In fact, Conservatives who enter government with the plan to impose their views on the nation are already in violation of the Constitution.

    • So Hooda, you reject the American Civil Rights movement — its goals, its methods, and its achievements — for its inherent and ineliminable irrationalism? Because even a casual glance at its sources, its leadership, &/or its philosophy conclusively demonstrates beyond even the barest shred of reasoned dispute that it was religious through and through.

      In addition, I can safely assume (since you kerygmatically declare that ALL religion is irrational, and that ALL existing evidence shows this) that the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King was nothing but a ranting, irrational, mindless ideologue?

      If not, then you might consider exercising so much rationality as to employ your quantifiers (in this case, “ALL”) with something more akin to reasoned care. It requires only a single counter-example to disprove a universal claim. And I remain entirely at a loss to reconcile the notion that persons on the political left are somehow to be held to a less stringent intellectual standard than those self-same persons would demand that those on the right be held.

      • I’ll take a stab at that, Gary.

        I think that’s it’s possible for sane, intelligent people to sincerely Believe in just about anything. Mostly I think it’s all in the upbringing and education. It’s like the operating system of a computer. Windows, Mac, Linux, and even the old, much maligned, DOS all do essentially the same thing and results are largely governed by the facility of the operators. The frustrating part is when one tries to design, or even use, applications in a cross-format configuration. That’s when you get weird things like “*#help-” when one has merely typed a hyphen.

        At best; humans with different worldviews can cooperate without ever really sharing the same conceptual ideals. At worst? We kill each other. But? Those “best” and “worst” seem to be more a question of character then ideology. Christianity as exemplified by Dr. King or Jimmy Carter is a very different thing than what’s preached by a Bachmann or a Fred Phelps.

        At least since the dawn of the written word Men have claimed to know the will of God. What they have really done, assuming they aren’t schizophrenic and hearing voices in their head, is look within themselves and been convinced that there’s no other possible answer. Men like Dr. King look within themselves and see good while men like Fred Phelps see a withered garden full of serpents. Dr. King saw his Faith as a comfort and a guide while Fred Phelps uses his Faith as a weapon.

    • Damn Hooda why didn’t you just ask this question instead? If a chicken comes from an egg and an egg comes from a chicken how come chickens don’t taste like eggs? 😉

      My 22 year old nephew once asked me that when he was 6 years old….I told him to go ask his mom. 😉

  21. Which brings up a whole other idea. “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?” I could say yes and it wouldn’t mean a damn thing.

    • You know, I don’t think I could take that oath in a court of law. Before doing so, I would turn to the judge and say, “You honor, I am an atheist, and I believe that swearing to tell the truth ‘so help me God’ would, in itself, constitute perjury. So I will affirm that it is my intention to tell the truth, the whole truth,and nothing but the truth under penalty of imprisonment for perjury.”

      I hope that would satisfy any judge.

      • Heathen…. 😉

        You must abide by the black robes rules or risk being ruled obsolete.

        (Insert The Twilight Zone music)

      • Serious question: Are there any states that still use the “so help you God” language? The only places I’ve been in a court in the last 30 years (which, not that I think of it, I can expand to “ever”) had dropped that from their respective oaths.

          • Society of Friends (Quakers) live the life of truthfulness – so having to ‘swear to tell the truth’ infers they would lie at some point in life.
            (presently most would take the oath. In days past – Friends would refuse as it implied untruthfulness was part of life).

        • I’ve never had to testify in a court but I would like to think that I would have enough bravado to ignore the Bible and face the judge and say that; “I absolutely respect your authority and swear to tell you the truth and that’s the deepest oath I can swear”. Or something like that.

    • Now you done it. I just have to trot out an old “blond joke”.

      A dumb blond goes to the sex shop to return a vibrator because it’s defective.

      “What’s wrong with it”, says the proprietor.
      “It chips my teeth” says the dumb blond.

    • It’s beyond creepy and I can’t imagine a mother wanting her child to participate in these things.

    • So, assuming that she hasn’t been sold into slavery, we can look forward in 12 years to her telling the world “evolution” shouldn’t be taught in schools. I guess we also would have to assume that women are still allowed to say “evolution” in 12 years.

        • It sounds like Mom might be starving her to fit into her gowns (A quick side note. I don’t have children but what kind of idiot fits a piece of clothing for a six year old six months before an event? I would think that a gown designed to reach the knee would barely cover her crotch six months later.) so fertility may not be an issue. (Issue, fertility. No pun intended.)

            • The final segment on the PBS Newshour tonight was about child brides. One story was about a five year old who was married to a 30 year old man at 4:00 in the morning because they were evading the authorities. Her uncle carried her, still asleep, to the ceremony. It pretty much spoiled what should have been a very nice meal.

              I was, however, pleasantly surprised that they blamed fundamental religions for condoning/justifying the practice.

  22. I’m off to bed on this note, this is the wretched Eric Cantor, as quoted in the Post:
    “The president told me, ‘Eric, don’t call my bluff. You know I’m going to take this to the American people,’ ” Cantor said. “He then walked out.”
    I reckon our president is a bit of a poker player.

    • I sincerely hope Obama does take this thing to the American people.

      Nice how that dooshbag tried to make it seem as if Obama stormed out — when he was getting ready to leave anyway.

      • That’s the point I’ve been trying to make all night. The GOoPers and “librul media” will condemn the president no matter what he says or does. I think he should try being a dick and see what happens. Some of my favorite people are dicks.

        • Obama and I share a certain personality trait — we’re way to damn patient. (I’m talking about real life, not cyberspace) We put up with a lot of shit, because surely people will be reasonable at some point.

          Then it just starts to kick over in the brain that no matter what you do or say, whomever you’re dealing with is just an asshole. After that it doesn’t take long to get royally fucking pissed. Then, as they say in the movies, shit gets real.

          On that note, I’m off to bed. Sleep is elusive these days…

      • The president ALWAYS ends the meetings. It’s protocol.
        Eric Cantor is a prick. A disrespectful, little pissant of a man, with an enormous ego and a stubborn streak to match.
        Obama has taken this to the people and the people are with him. He will sarifice his presidency before he yields to insanity. People won’t let that happen.

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