Do You Remember The Alien And Sedition Acts?
High school civics and US history are not as widely or comprehensively taught these days as they once were, but some teachers are still trying to tell their pupils about the Alien and Sedition Acts. The overall attitude is that these laws were nasty and unconstitutional excesses, bad for the nation and corrosive of its ethical underpinnings.
The A&S Acts, though they date to the turn of the nineteenth century, are relevant today. For example, did you know that one of them is still in force?
Unfortunately the major significance of the A&S Acts is that the issues underlying them remain debatable. That’s disappointing, because the nation has had plenty of time — more than two centuries — to get it right. No, history is not repeating itself, but every age has its rascals, and all enemies of Liberty throughout history are pretty similar.
Today’s threat to good governance is posed by the terrified Bicoastal Elite. These folks are trying to find a way to silence Obama’s critics, undercut the Tea Party Movement, and shield as many Congressional seats as possible from the voters’ rage. Therefore entertainers like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and popular orators like Sarah Palin are targeted. The most frustrated segment of the political left is wondering whether they can have the most effective right-wing propagandists arrested for sedition.
No, seriously. Here’s Time magazine’s Joe Klein explaining the danger to the Republic:
I looked up the definition of sedition which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious.
That and more are to be found here.
TLB refers to Beck very rarely, and has no brief to make for Limbaugh. Nor has much ink been spilled here on Sarah Palin, except to note the obscene things said about her and her family, and to certify that she was right about those “death panels.” Yes, it’s true that TLB has made some remarks that amount to something like saying, “They told me if I voted for McCain, an idiot would be vice-president, and damn, were they ever right!” Of course TLB’s slaps at Joe were not intended to endorse Palin, even by contrast.
Palin, Beck and Limbaugh neither understand nor represent this newsletter’s political philosophy, except peripherally and incidentally (once in a while they say something correct or useful; the same is probably true of the kid who bags your groceries). So defending their pronouncements is not a priority for TLB.
This newsletter would, however, angrily defend the right of even the likes of Noam Chomsky to promote his insane takes on ethics, governance, US foreign policy and alleged war crimes.
When Herbert Marcuse said that conservatives do not merit freedom of speech, he was protected by the Bill of Rights he loathed, and that was entirely appropriate.
Now consider Sarah Palin and her co-conspirators from the viewpoint of a hardcore member of the Bicoastal Elite:
Perhaps Backwoods Barbie can be prosecuted for inciting the inbred to disobey The One. After all, she seems to be telling mouth-breathers to resist the Obama administration, and her friends in the Tea Party Movement are primitive racists and neo-Nazis. Beck and Limbaugh, as well, might go to prison for opposing progressive goals by encouraging simple-minded citizens to protest, object and, worst of all, vote improperly.
Those hypothetical sentiments have a legion of supporters. To the pampered and smug governing segment of society, a groundswell of conservative/libertarian sentiment is lethally toxic. Surely promoting the involvement of non-“progressive” citizens in the political process should be illegal; everything inimical to the growth of government and the extension of its authority should be forbidden.
This newsletter reminds you that all forms of collectivism, however dilute, must ultimately depend on the police power of the state to restrict mutually voluntary acts by individuals. According to the currently ruling class, dissent is fine, as long as it amounts to burning draft cards and denouncing all military veterans as necessarily war criminals (recall John Kerry), along with other politically correct demonstrations of solidarity.
The Tea Partiers’ dissent expresses justifiable anger over catastrophic levels of debt and an end-run around federalism, yet collectivists are damning the objections as speech that does not qualify for First Amendment protection.
Fascism has many faces. Its most familiar one is the expression of hatred reserved for those who uphold the individual.
Now about those Alien and Sedition Acts:
The Sedition Act (officially An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States; ch. 74, 1 Stat. 596) made it a crime to publish “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” against the government or its officials. It was enacted July 14, 1798, with an expiration date of March 3, 1801 (the day before Adams’ presidential term was to end).
Read the section “Constitutionality” found here, and you will see that once again the Republic faces a dispute over policy — a dispute in which zealots propose the use of the police power of the state to silence defenders of Liberty.
As a consequence of the enormity that is the current federal administration, those who argue for freedom from collectivist repression protest the abuse of power. They summon up the shade of Jefferson to remind everyone why the nation must revere inalienable individual rights.
How galling it is to recall that the Democrats of today count Jefferson among the founders of their party. The man would be outraged by Joe Klein and his foul fascist notions.
A True Tale Of Horror
On the 4th of February, 2005, The Terrapin Gazette reported on Eason Jordan’s oh-so-revealing accusation that the US military was assassinating journalists in Iraq. That would have been utterly uninteresting if it were not for the fact that Jordan was at the time the head of CNN News. Thus, the TG pointed out indignantly, does the prevailing mindset of journalism pollute the stream of information.
The next day, the story was again reported in the TG, but in greater detail. The truth that was allowed out was even worse than it had originally appeared to be.
Well, and it’s nauseating to contemplate it, the fact is that Jordan the mythologizing ideologue is back…
…and it seems (at first look) that his hatred of the military of his nation is undiminished. The man has not changed, but times have, so today the crux of the story seems to be not Jordan, but the CIA and Panetta.
As one might expect, the NY Times is also involved, for that skewed news outlet is trying to serve Jordan’s (and the CIA’s) purposes in their long-standing feud with the military.
The story may seem a bit complex at first glance, but if you spend a little time watching it unfold, it will make sense. It may also make you angry. Click on the hyperlink above, please.
A little background is in order. The CIA has lots of money, prestige enhanced by obscurity, and a tradition of wanting to make policy (which is not its mandate). Accordingly the outfit has had its squabbles with the White House, and it seems reasonably fair to say that some important folks in the CIA look upon each president as just a new kid on the block who needs to be controlled.
The nation saw how dangerous that mindset can be when a very naive and awed John Kennedy did not tell the CIA its plans for the invasion of Cuba were utter garbage.
Had he been wiser, Kennedy would have not just nixed the amateur plan. He would have fired the entire top rank of the CIA’s officials, gone to the agency and collected all the decision-makers in an auditorium…and scared the hell out of them with a scolding worthy of the most snobbishly contemptuous, literate, cosmopolitan and sharp-tongued member of the New England, Harvard-educated, wealthy, privileged elite. He would have given the spooks such an elegantly intense hammering that not one of them would ever doubt who was The Man. Hate him, want to assassinate him, loathe his guts, the hyper-glorified civil servants would nevertheless have realized that they worked for him and that he could turn them all into roadkill — and would if he so chose.
But you don’t do that to the CIA, now do you?
As bad as it was for the agency, the outcome of the catastrophic Bay of Pigs “invasion” did not prevent the Seers of Langley from subsequently waging war on the White House and the military as they saw fit. The lesson was not learned. Consequently, every president has had to cope with these idiot savants. It’s testimony to the fanaticism and hubris of the CIA that no one has been able to get the outfit under control so it can simply do its job.
The latest visible go-round in the eternal feud was the Plame disgrace, about which this newsletter had plenty to say. This risible effort to discredit the White House, coming as it did from the nation’s most prestigious intelligence agency, did tremendous harm in spite of its utter vacuity. The entire misadventure amounted to a prostitution of the jurisprudential system. The investigation and the consequent legal actionshould be intensely studied in graduate schools of government, political science, law, philosophy and history. The lessons to be learned are multiple and horrible, for it was a tragic farce for all concerned, revealing and profoundly embarrassing.
And it only verifies that the CIA remains a mad dog on a weak chain.
This newsletter does not know what is wrong at the CIA, how to fix it, or even whether it might be fixed. Secrecy is the bureaucrat’s friend. It is clear, however, that the folks who never noticed the Soviet Union was literally falling apart are not fundamentally different from the crazies who sent anti-Castro zealots to death and capture. The crude Plame case is proof that bureaucratic warfare — which inevitably involves breaches of the intelligence professional’s oath of silence — has not been rendered obsolete by decent leadership.
Today, handicapped by the mischief of the harebrained Jamie Gorelick and shamed by ineffectual performance in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan again, the CIA has fallen in with a true rascal — Eason Jordan. Things have gone from horrible to hopeless.
If this newsletter could see any way to deal with the rot, or if TLB could suggest the right man to head the CIA, this bitter screed would end on a note of cautious optimism. The future, however, looks gloomy indeed. It appears very likely that past horrors will return to savage the nation.
Reform? For all practical purposes, it’s impossible now.
This Has A Familiar Reek — Aha, It’s Essence Of Plame, Isn’t It?
Prosecutors have fun jobs. They get to throw stuff on the wall and hope that some of it sticks — and they don’t even have to hit the target to win. That Plame fiasco is one example, and then there’s the Martha Stewart case:
Comey didn’t charge Stewart with insider trading. Instead, he claimed that Stewart’s public protestations of innocence were designed to prop up the stock price of her own company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and thus constituted securities fraud. Stewart was also charged with making false statements to federal officials investigating the insider trading charge — a charge they never pursued. In essence, Stewart was prosecuted for “having misled people by denying having committed a crime with which she was not charged,” as Cato Institute Senior Fellow Alan Reynolds put it.
Alas, poor Justice — she who is repeatedly raped by the least of us.
The Tea Party Movement Survives Lies And Smears — And Makes An Impression On Perceptive And Adaptive Democrats (Who May Not Be Influential In Their Floundering Party)
So what does all this mean to the Democrats? Democrat pollsters spell it out in an interesting report, from which come these quotes:
Democrats need to start embracing an agenda that speaks to the broad concerns of the American electorate. It should be somewhat familiar: It is the agenda that is driving the Tea Party movement….
The swing voters, who are key to the fate of the Democratic Party, care most about three things: reigniting the economy, reducing the deficit and creating jobs.
These voters are outraged by the seeming indifference of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats, who they believe wasted a year on health-care reform.
Well, now. Mohandas K. Gandhi speaks from Beyond to the Tea Party folks: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Maybe he should have said, “First they ignore you; then they trivialize, ridicule, smear, libel you, besmirch you with scatological language and slander you; then they oppose you incompetently, and then you win because they pretend to agree with you.”
The Tea Parties have always been inspired by principle. As the Democratic pollsters quoted here make plain, the Tea Partiers will see their values promoted — not at all sincerely adopted — by cynical hypocrites who do not want to lose their prestigious jobs. The Republic is not well served by malleable, amoral rascals. A thorough housecleaning is in order. Let neither crimes against representative governance nor libel of individuals be forgiven!
How to use graphs to lie — and to distinguish the liars from the true scientists. This is truly revelatory. Don’t pass it by.
If you have a debit card, read this. You are welcome.
AGW madness prevails at The Foggy Bottom Home For The Ethically And Intellectually Depraved (the institution’s motto: “Ignorance is bliss, and this place is blissed out to the max, Baby”). Of course the inmates can’t be bothered to read what a genuine expert has to say.
Here’s some information on the significance of some very well-connected Muslims in Washington DC. Oh, you say the source is Jewish, and therefore biased? Jewish, yes, but biased, not necessarily. Any data can be denounced as inaccurate or slanted; you have to come to your own conclusions about the credibility of all news. This newsletter has tried very hard to expose bias and lies in the media, and proof of malicious deceit has often been available. TLB commends this article to you as opinion and highly reliable fact. Yes, that judgment could be in error.
For fans of the US intelligence community, here are some newspaper articles on NSA. The weblog on which they appear may lead you to other information of interest.
Consider the immoral insanity of Obamacare…and did you know this? “Twenty years ago, a catastrophic illness insurance program for senior citizens was passed in Washington and it lasted maybe a week and a half, as senior citizens rebelled.” Read more.
The power of “green” organizations and their nutty members has been literally deadly. For just one reason why these groups should be abandoned and left to wither, have a look at this video.
“Progressives” casually refer to the Stimulus legislation as effective. They are wrong, and there is proof of that fact.
A court rules against religion! How dare it break God’s law? Well, it dares to do the right thing, no matter what anybody’s claims about ultimate reality are. This is an excellent decision, and all people of faith should realize that.
Vaguely related: Oliver Kamm on the controversy over child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. Kamm is correct, so this is worth your time and eyesight.
This is an interesting website; the link takes you to a thought-provoking post on US foreign policy and Israel.
“Progressives” should read this short piece. It describes a mode of censorious political myth-making. Be not deceived, Pilgrims, though authority figures lecture you on your ethics; in many cases (such as this one), those scolding you are profoundly flawed individuals who practice illogic in the crafting of calumny.
Related: To hear Slick Willy and Big Sis Napolitano tell it, it’s the Tea Partiers and the military veterans who are dangerous. So what are the NY cops doing arresting these gentlemen? — More: commentary on Slick’s gastro-intestinal distress.
The Canucks showed the world back in the 1980s that there was something really, really wrong up there. (Oops! YouTube removed the gut-wrenchingly perverse clip. Maybe try Googling the URL to find an archived copy?) There still is a lot wrong in the land of frozen prefrontal lobes.
The White House copes with reality…my, how professional, how principled, how graceful and how admirable…not. It’s amateur night on Pennsylvania Avenue, and the world is invited to watch. How embarrassing for the voters who put these twits in power.
Notes on psychotherapy as political activity: an extraordinarily dangerous, intrinsic aspect of collectivist policy is discussed cogently here.
From TLB’s Trendy Baloney Exposed file comes this rumination on the USA as a bad example for the rest of the world.
Says an academic: “…YouTube has done more to expose the reality of police abuse than all the blue-ribbon commissions combined.” TLB agrees, and argues that cops who don’t like being in videos made by the citizenry should look for another line of work.