Like Nailing Jello To The Wall

First off, Happy Constitution Day!!!

225 years ago 55 men, the best and brightest from 13 colonies got together to address what Gen. Washington described as, “Thirteen sovereignties pulling against each other, and all tugging at the federal head, will soon bring ruin on the whole” , describing the woeful inadequacies of the AOC, and a need for federal authority to intercede amongst the 13 squabbling siblings. A nice little write of Madison and his magnificent achievement can be found here.

And with the inclusion of the Bill Of Rights (interestingly, Madison had originally wanted them be interwoven into the text of the Constitution itself, but this was rejected in favor of placing amendments at the end of the original document)the mortar that helped cement the new relationship between the states, the people, and their new national government was set.

It is always appealing to project founding father wisdom into current events, what would the founding fathers think about how we treated their grand experiment? Conventional wisdom probably points to a general shock, a surprise at how effed up we allowed the system to become. In some areas they are right. I don’t think they would be all that thrilled about the rise, power and influence of the federal government. Stuff like “Too big to fail”, the EPA, Dept. of Education, using tax payer dollars to pick winners and loser, buying whole industries by the bushel, the general reach would probably leave them aghast. Our taxation system, out national debt, Oy vey. Even things like separation of church and state and privacy issues, might cause them to scratch their head. But the arguments involving the general interpretations of the Constitution, strict constructionist’s vs. a living document, I think they would welcome the debate. Madison cobbled together his version of what our Constitution should look like from several works and several authors, from different countries and different systems, all went into the soup. But even with the finished product, the feeling that it could be improved never left them, hence the amendment process.

And today our civil liberties are still in the news, most notably now, the First Amendment and religious protections. Since that eventful day in 1787 great men have reminded us that having something is not the same as keeping it ,”“Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” Thomas Paine:
“But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.” — Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” — Wendell Phillips

And yet, free speech is still under assault:

When stuff like this can still happen in America, no one is safe, and the mob will not be placated.

They are all watching us, seeing if we can keep this Republic, the jury is still out.

Comments are closed.

  1. Thrill

    They are all watching us, seeing if we can keep this Republic, the jury is still out.

    To me, it’s a painful anniversary. We are so far off-track that I not only believe that we can’t “keep it”, but that most of the population doesn’t really want to anyway.

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  2. Hal_10000

    Happy Constitution Day!

    But you know I’m going to take issue with this:

    When stuff like this can still happen in America, no one is safe, and the mob will not be placated.

    Twitchy, as if often the case if full of shit:

    Many people are upset by Sam Bacile aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula being detained and interviewed, apparently at the behest of probation officers. I think the situation bears careful watching [Edit: to be clearer, by that I mean that I am open to evidence that it was an administration-driven political arrest.] Based on 6 years as a federal prosecutor and 12 as a federal defense lawyer, let me say this: minor use of a computer — like uploading a video to YouTube — is not something that I would usually expect to result in arrest and a revocation proceeding; I think a warning would be more likely unless the defendant had already had warnings or the probation officer was a hardass. But if I had a client with a serious fraud conviction, and his fraud involved aliases, and he had the standard term forbidding him from using aliases during supervised release, and his probation officer found out that he was running a business, producing a movie, soliciting money, and interacting with others using an alias, I would absolutely expect him to be arrested immediately, whatever the content of the movie. Seriously. Nakoula pled guilty to using alias to scam money. Now he’s apparently been producing a film under an alias, dealing with the finances of the film under the alias, and (if his “Sam Bacile” persona is to be believed) soliciting financing under an alias. I would expect him to run into a world of hurt for that even if he were producing a “Coexist” video involving kittens.

    What were probation officers supposed to do? Ignore that he blatantly violated the terms of his release? And please don’t say, “but this is what the terrorists wanted!”. We enforce laws; we don’t condition them on what Islamists might think.

    No, arresting a man for breaking the law is not “the mob”. Ignoring a criminal offense because a bunch of people think it would be what the Islamists what is obeying the mob.

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  3. richtaylor365 *

    But he was NOT arrested, so that whole post originated from a false premise. From the original Rueters article:

    “He was never put in handcuffs … It was all voluntary,” said Whitmore, who added that Nakoula would not immediately return to his home.

    So half a dozen Sheriffs wake this guy up in the dead of night and bring him in voluntarily for questioning, then he is released with no charges filed, and you really think this was not political, not a show of appeasement for those crybaby Muslims who wanted him arrested? “Don’t worry boys, we got ‘em”

    How embarrassing.

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  4. Hal_10000

    There’s a subtlety here that I’m not familiar with that lawyers understand. Doug Mataconis was explaining it last night — that he was put under arrest, but not arrested. I think because he surrendered voluntarily after they contacted his lawyer.

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  5. richtaylor365 *

    If he “surrendered voluntarily”, why the show of force? Why did they need half dozen deputies, plus press coverage? Considering:

    A senior law enforcement official in Washington has indicated the probation investigation relates to whether Nakoula broke one or both of these conditions.

    I know it is a minor point but in California, any custodial arrest, for anything, requires the arrestee to be handcuffed, it is a liability issue.

    But the underlining premise still exists, The LA Sheriffs dept. arrests hundreds of people each day, and parole officers, with case loads involving dozens of parolees, don’t have the juice to get a whole squad of deputies to go after someone who is suspected of using the internet or of using an alias, I just can”t buy it.

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  6. Hal_10000

    don’t have the juice to get a whole squad of deputies to go after someone who is suspected of using the internet or of using an alias, I just can”t buy it.

    I agree it was overkill.

    On the other hand, as Popehat pointed out, hearing this criticism from people like Twitchy who have stood around while the prior Administration did “enhanced interrogations”, while both Administrations asserted the right of indefinite detention, while people’s houses are raided in the middle of the night because they *might* have a joint, while an illegal war was launched in Libya, while both sides have created “free speech zones” to avoid embarassment during conventions … is bizarre. As Popehat said:

    In this country we tolerate a vast amount of rank law enforcement thuggery against citizens. We endure it, tolerate it, wink at it in the name of the War on Drugs, in the name of post-9/11 “security,” in the name of thinking of our children, in the name of “law and order” and of police being the “thin blue line” between us and anarchy.

    This is where we draw the line? This is not a unique circumstance. If Nokoula were suspects of having drugs, his doors would have been knocked down, possibly his dog shot and maybe him shot if he didn’t realize it was police at his door.

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  7. CM

    So half a dozen Sheriffs wake this guy up in the dead of night and bring him in voluntarily for questioning, then he is released with no charges filed, and you really think this was not political, not a show of appeasement for those crybaby Muslims who wanted him arrested? “Don’t worry boys, we got ‘em”

    How was it going to work politically if he’s let go?
    Surely if the local cops were following instructions from on-high, they’d come up with one of any number of reasons to detain or arrest him and keep him there for however long they can get away with? They wouldn’t just release him and say “we don’t know where he went’?
    Unless they did that so they could secretly pick him up again and whisk him off to some ‘allied country’ for some ‘retention’. ;-)

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  8. CM

    Los Angeles County sheriff’s Spokesman Steve Whitmore told reporters on scene that Nakoula was not under arrest.

    “The LA County Sheriff’s Department tonight about midnight assisted federal probation officers in a voluntary interview. Nobody is arrested. Nobody is detained. Nobody is in custody,” Whitmore said.

    Carter Evans, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, said Nakoula was taken to the Sheriff’s Department shortly after midnight Saturday for questioning about a possible violation of the terms of his probation after he served time for bank fraud in a federal prison.

    On Friday, Nakoula received a visit from Steve Seiden, a criminal defense attorney.

    Seiden told Evans he was hired specifically to represent Nakoula in regard to his supervised release

    .

    http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/09/15/federal-probation-officers-interview-man-at-center-of-anti-islamic-movie/

    Surely Seiden would have been talking with the probation officers and police to manage what would happen, prior to the midnight visit?

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  9. Seattle Outcast

    Jeez, do you practice being this disingenuously stupid, or does it come naturally? Or, are you just off your meds again?

    Let’s see, local cops harass someone at midnight on orders from the WH, and you’re making excuses for it because Obama/Jarrett is infallible or something like that? His crime? Oh, he was just exercising his rights to free speech in a legal manner, so of course the islamofascists have to be appeased and groveled before.

    Was it also cool with you when Obama personally asked YouTube to remove content because it upset people?

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  10. Mississippi Yankee

    SO was your question being addressed to CM or Hal?

    Yet when either of them get caught with their figurative ‘willy exposed’ it reminds me of a cat trying to cover up shit on a linoleum floor.
    Always good for a laugh.

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  11. CM

    and you’re making excuses for it

    I asked “How was it going to work politically if he’s let go?”
    Nothing to do with ‘excuses’ or whatever other bullshit you’re dreaming up this hour.
    But you should definitely ignore my question and continue with the personal abuse. It’s endearing.

    Was it also cool with you when Obama personally asked YouTube to remove content because it upset people?

    I don’t think that was the right move.

    Oh, he was just exercising his rights to free speech in a legal manner, so of course the islamofascists have to be appeased and groveled before.

    As Hal says, you’d rather ignore a potential criminal offense because otherwise you might be seen as appeasing ‘Islamofascists’? Why would you want to let them dictate how the justice system works?

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  12. richtaylor365 *

    I asked “How was it going to work politically if he’s let go?”

    You still don’t get it, do you? Quit apologizing for the apologizer.

    Clearly, this “investigation” is only in the investigative stage (otherwise he would be arrested and handcuffed) they could have handled this during regular business hours, with a phone call, or even at his attorney’s office. But no, they got to go all SWAT, dragging him out in the dead of night, surrounded by 6 burly sheriffs, all with cameras clicking like it’s the crime of the century that was just solved.

    You need some objectivity with your morning coffee, I know (once it’s place firmly on your plate) that you can see the crass symbolism involved here.

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  13. Kimpost

    It was probably a bit too high profile now, for sending out a note telling him to come to the police station in three weeks for some routine questions. Politics influence every day police work. Probably always have…

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