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Radical Incline

Supreme Law of the Land is the Constitution

When 70% of Americans do not know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, guess what! It isn't.

"When asked three separate times due to the astounding callousness as it relates to trampling the inherent natural rights of Americans, he emphatically indicated that he would use random house to house checks, adding he felt people will welcome random searches if it means capturing a criminal."
—Allison Bricker[*]

"'What is the supreme law of the land?' 70 percent of the 1,000 citizens polled by Newsweek couldn't answer correctly."
—Nat Hentoff[*]

When 70% of Americans do not know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, guess what! It isn't.

The Tea Party is the greatest revolutionary movement since the founding of the forgotten Libertarian Party (heh — sorry, LP), because of its steadily maintained focus on Constitutionality and the rule of law, and, relatedly, constrained government. I expect that the reason the movement is still relatively small and utterly misunderstood has much to do with the above statistic. So the grassroots push to educate the electorate on that one point would be slow going, even without the armed and dangerous opposition. But what else matters? Go door-to-door, person-to-person. Hand out literature for Palin (or your candidate). Encourage folks to vote — message: We want you to vote for [Sarah], but above all, we want you to get out and vote! Push the primaries! Push for November!

But reinforce first and foremost that the Supreme Law of the Land is the Constitution. Otherwise, all other efforts will be moot, for democracy without the Constitution is four jihadis and a libertarian voting on who gets to be the suicidal bomber.




Radical Incline

Vengeance is not Justice

Human understanding of justice progresses. Ideals of justice constantly draw us forward.

Breaking from self-imposed lurk to object strenuously.

Bridget! I appreciate your degree of outrage, but think! This is not "justice," this is disgusting! Barbaric! If you want to get Biblical about it, the Lord says "vengeance is mine." God's early attempt to inform us that vengeance is not ours to exact. (It's a bit of divine humor, really, talking down to the primitive human soul, for we find in heaven that God is never actually vengeful like animalistic mortals; God can only be just.) That crazy homeless man who beheaded a woman in a supermarket[*] this week, would you have the woman's relatives stab him to death and run down the street with his bloody head? Followed to its logical conclusion, why wait for the tedium of evidentiary hearings and all that delay of the courts? If thy neighbor offend thee, haul out the AK-47 and start blasting! That's the path you're praising! Mrs Webworker adds, the concept that this will be good for women, that she will be better off because she's done this to someone else is [I'll substitute the word, misguided].

It is precisely because such horrific offenses as this woman's mutilation blind us (no pun intended) with rage and affect our judgment that we have as a society moved beyond personal vendetta to (ideally) impartial judges and juries, standardized imprisonment or (in the case of the crazy homeless man) incarceration with whatever medical and chemical help he might need, if only to protect his jailers.

I'm not a Fundamentalist so I don't have to try to make God say "eye for an eye" out of one side of his mouth and "Turn the other cheek" out of the other. Without the scriptural literalists' strained exegesis, there's an obvious progression from "eye for an eye" to "turn the other cheek," representing, not a bipolar or capricious Deity, but rather the development — improvement — of human understanding of the justice and mercy the Spirit would reveal through us.

Once, justice was an individual matter. Later, courts — the will of the group — replaced personal revenge, a decided advance even if the forms of "justice" still involved vengeance. That's the level of society you're posting about & praising. Most of our "justice" system — and most of the population — has not progressed far beyond that desire for vengeance, but our rejection of "cruel and unusual" punishments represents a vast and Jesusonian advance over "eye for an eye." Fines, incarceration and not exacting eye for an eye have replaced bloody vengeance in modern justice.

Someday, our meager and in-name-only "rehabilitation" efforts may actually rehabilitate many who choose criminality but could be reformed. The criminally poor we will have with us always. Some few we might even really, in the balance of mercy and self-protection, remove as life forms from among us (merciful, painless state execution), but in no case should we step backward into the cesspools of this kind of mentality.

Want to walk that back a bit, darlin'?

I later posted a reply[*] to myself (always a bit weird):

(Speaking of walking back, I see some edits I might've made if I could've, but I can't, so, sorry if my own hastily-toasted comment offended anyone's beliefs or seemed scolding, Bridget.)

To expand upon that and other points, I add this, from discussing the above with a cousin.

"Those who know do not speak; those who speak do not know."

Meher Baba must have taken that to heart, because he said, "Love one another" and never spoke again. What a way to emphasize the message! (He had a great smile.)[*]
Lao Tzu's statement is hardly without exception, but there's a lot of good advice in his remark. I post in haste, and regret at leisure.
Our humble human efforts can never catch up to our advancing idealism, so to be in the realm of ideas is to increasingly accept being one who "speaks but does not know." To act, to move, to engage, we usually more or less err, fall short of the perfection to which we are compelled. However right our purpose or deliberate our method, we are mortal, and we could almost always have done it better.
Your reply said some things I'd thought of but didn't include, and some things I wish I'd said.
Hey! I should run all my posts by you first! (Cousin's hair stands on end.) Mrs Webworker tries to be my editor, but often shares my passions or opinions of the moment so she can't tell any better than I do where I may be right in message but wrong in spirit.

Paul clearly teaches that it is right and proper for government officials to "bear the sword." ...
"government officials... are under no obligation to turn the other cheek."

Indeed, although that "proper response" of turning to law, was followed in the Iranian case.

Seeing "justice" that's a notch above personal revenge but still below the mercy-based prohibitions on "cruel and unusual" punishment is like seeing fists fly in Congress. Old joke: I'll believe we evolved from apes when we finally do.
I know you (and Paul!) mean that they rightly use force (vs mercy) because they're employed to do so on society's behalf, but judges, jailers, police, soldiers, all those given power and engaged in confrontation on behalf of social justice are actually under all the greater burden to turn the other cheek -- in their case meaning keeping supreme self-control, doing things by the book, by the rules of engagement, even when under fire. Talk about tricky, yowch, and nigh-impossible! Thus, well worth every prayer for the job they do!

I am forbidden to hate him.

Yes! Revenge is hate in action. That's the core problem of Bridget's message. My reply addressed social justice, but not so much the personal and divine forgiveness upon which rests the "blind justice" aspect of our system. Maybe it's best; I already felt I laid into Bridget too personally.

My wiseacre remarks on Biblical literalists concerned me because the road to severe misunderstandings is paved with attempts at humor gone horribly wrong, many of those stones of my hewing. Not all Bible believers of my experience see the progression of social understanding that I see in scripture. What the anthropologist calls social evolution this believer understands as the unfolding revelation of God to and through us. But I sure don't want to get into open debate on the web about it! I'm out of practice on public speaking.

Back when I could better withstand the heat in the kitchen, I frequently engaged in extended "discussions" :) of approach to scripture. With inerrancy evangelists, I always concur, all scripture is good and valuable for study, but if the scriptures are all perfect the way some folks interpret them, it just hasn't sunk in that way for me. ;) (Therefore if I've got it wrong, I pray to be forgiven my benighted understanding!)

Frequently, such evangelists being ardent students of scripture, enthusiastically living and preaching the Gospel, and strong in faith, my relative position is (or ought to be) as listener, student -- one who does not know.

I have to keep re-learning restraint. All commenters replying so far support returning cruelty for cruelty, and against my better judgment, and I have left another reply. I'm swearing off after that, though. Really!
If you skip the sidebars, it's not such a long message. :-/

Why do I get into these things? Emotionally driven thinking I suppose. Well, my comment generated unexpected responses. One correspondent[*] picks up on the nit of "a difference in a premeditated crime vs a crazy homeless guy going off..." and still says that "the punishment should fit the crime." Another agrees, "this is one way to teach those men a much needed lesson."[*] The same commenter actually says, "I think that you are taking the Bible out of context in order to justify your position." Okay. I replied once more.[*]

[For my prior abusive invocation of scripture, I am rightly admonished and regretful.]

Dear friends, I have no heart for this debate, but consider how badly thinking can be unprincipled when emotionally driven. Hasn't similar ends-justifying-means emotionalism been remarked upon as the error of liberalism?

Shall we cut off the hand of the thief, too, or would that be two eyes for an eye? How about just a fingertip for petty theft? (Where's Kevin? Was Bridget just baiting us? What is going on here?) Look, friends, when we say that the punishment should fit the crime, do we rape the rapist, eat the cannibal, murder the family of the person who murders a family? Of course not! "That'll teach 'em" doesn't and revenge is lust that will never bring spiritual satisfaction.

Society must behave like a sober, loving, patient, but firm parent, even like the divine parent. Exacting judgment, yes, and when we're dealing with returning stolen value and paying fines, recompense (not revenge) can sometimes be achieved. In violent crime, there really cannot be recompense. One cannot bring back the murdered, repay for wounding, undo terror and pain.

Exacting justice never involves cruelty for cruelty. We forbid cruel punishment in the heart of our Law. We forbid vigilantism and vendetta, the means of revenge when barbaric people are unsatisfied with civil judgments. We leave whatever "vengeance" there may need to be to the Higher Judge.

The appropriate combination of punishment and rehabilitation is set by a wise and impartial arbitrator. Not always possible, but the ideal, the principle, to which we aspire. While society must protect itself, we can only stop the crime, and if we're not going to execute then hold the prisoner until "rehabilitated," if ever. (As if.) Our justice system is poor, fails to exact justice perfectly and those who operate in it are too often more concerned with dollars than principles, but it's the best we've got to separate us from anarchy. We strive for true justice and do not sink to the level of the criminal to do so.

Late-breaking news. Along comes Pam,[*] succinctly saying in six sentences of less than sixty words what takes me sixty thousand.

The success of Western jurisprudence is that is is based on taming man's lowest nature. As satisfying as it would be to have acid poured into that man's eyes as punishment, it would not be justice. It would be revenge. There's a difference. And it does not lift mankind to seek revenge instead of justice. It keeps us low.

Think I'll go back to doing abstract wallpapers.




Radical Incline

Everyone Knows It's Romney

Who's gonna be the GOP loser?

"Herman Cain trails only Chris Christie as the top choice among Republican primary voters in the race for the 2012 Presidential nomination. Mitt Romney ranks fourth, but voters see him as the most likely nominee by a wide margin over the rest of a 13-person field. " —Zogby Poll[*]

Herman Cain trails only Chris Christie, but voters see Romney as the most likely nominee?? What does that say about Republicans!

Who's gonna top the GOP ticket?
Who's gonna be the next John McCain?
Who's gonna be the GOP loser?
Everyone says it's Romney.

Who's gonna be the one to go under?
Who's gonna blow this critical chance?
Who's gonna give Obama a free ride?
Everyone says it's Romney.

And RomneyCare never worked
And Romney's a pack of lies
And Romney's the nominee
Who will not fly
Who will not win
(Who will not fly)
Who will not win

[Repeat ad nauseum]

Related Mindful Radical Incline Webwork:
Oh, Well! Guess It's Romney! bumper stickers



Radical Incline

Taking Osama Out vs Bringing Him Back Alive

Osama bin Laden - Wanted: Dead or Alive?

Osama bin Laden's death (presumed here to be fact) has resurrected the longstanding question whether America should have attempted instead to capture him alive. Below, I contrast the choice of taking him out over bringing him back for trial.

THE CHOICE TO KILL OSAMA BIN LADEN

In some ways, I almost wish the pathetic old loser had just been allowed to continue to wither and fade rather than be a martyr. (I've even wondered if Bush had his location but made such a decision, rather than risk the storm Obama now has created.) Instead of a suicide belt in case he was confronted, it turns out he had Euros sewed into his robes,[*] presumably so he could flee quickly if necessary! Instead of a booby-trapped compound, he was defended by one booby who was taken out immediately.[*]

It's not that I have pity for the creep, but it's a little bit like when they find some WW2 Nazi concentration camp guard[*] has been living for decades as a peaceful, friendly, respected family man somewhere in America and drag him to prison for crimes committed 70 years ago. However heinous the crime in the midst of WW2, with no statute of limitations it might be a kind of mortal justice done, but what good does it really do?

On the other hand, the whole thing about "don't show the photos," and worrying about inflaming the Muslims seems ludicrous.
(A) It's not like we're going to make them hate America any more than they already do anyway, and sometimes if you get them riled up they get careless, and charge out in the open where they're easier to target, right?
(B) What nobody seems to have said is, remember how whenever we turn tail and run they disrespect us, so this time shouldn't we get more respect from those primitive thinkers for our success in counting coup?[*]
Barbarians who do not choose sides by intellectual debate or moral reasoning nevertheless respect strength even when used against them, and might just learn it's really the Taliban/Kyduh who are the losers.

On weekend talk radio (different crew from the weekday usuals), I even heard some extreme right wingers (I presume that's what they were) arguing how, basically, we killed a man outright without trial or evidence. There's substance to that objection. We've all heard and most of us believe that he was the "mastermind" or at least a chief instigator behind 9/11, and all the rest of what he's supposed to have done (and likely did), but propaganda and rumor are not evidence. He wasn't killed in the heat of battle. In an undeclared war with too many enemies, too many fronts, and too many complicated and convoluted purposes, we took out a sick, aged, self-absorbed old fool, hiding in a dump, who had actually already been usurped and marginalized. Not quite the same thing as taking out Hitler at the height of the war.

Of course, if as reported Osama was still trying to regain his position, allegedly had been traveling around trying to position Al Kyduh in the various Middle East uprisings, and was still doing his best to plan deaths of our soldiers and otherwise attack us, so, no pity, no qualms, just good riddance to bad rubbish.

THE OPTION TO CAPTURE OSAMA AND TRY HIM FOR WAR CRIMES

First and foremost, I sure hope not one of those SEALs involved ever suffer a moment's doubt for their excellent work, that's for sure. They were sent into they knew not what but succeeded spectacularly. Quoth Tennyson, "Theirs not to reason why...."[*]

Second, someone -- some say Obama himself -- chose to put boots inside the compound instead of just dropping a load on the place. That turned out to be a good decision, in the way that a guy gets to be a hero instead of a goat (as Bill Cosby put it long ago in his stand-up comic days) if he gets away with some risky move on the battlefield. The women and children were mostly saved. We got to be sure it was Osama. None of our guys was even hurt. We did expose and possibly compromise our stealth helicopter technology, and it seems Pakistan is threatening to turn it over to China,[*] but that's the hazards of war. We also got a lot of intel that would have been lost. Although it turned out well enough, the decision could all too easily have been another Carteresque Desert One.[*]

Third, the team sent in was what the Lefties during Bush called "Cheney's hit squad,"[*] now magically transformed into Obama's heroes. As many have said, you don't send those guys in with orders to capture.[*] So, that debate ended before they took off.

Still, if we pretend for a moment that they didn't have clear kill-not-capture orders, and also suppose that Osama had managed to plainly, obviously, non-threateningly surrender (as if he was given the chance, surprised in the dark in the middle of the night!), instead of ducking back into his bedroom[*] where our guys would be facing who-knows-what (I wonder if his video prop AK47 reportedly under the bed even worked), then we might have had to figure out what to do with him.

So, IF we'd arrested Osama, we'd be dealing with
(1) security nightmares out the wazoo,
(2) the whole Guantanamo "issue," and relatedly
(3) what kind of trial.
Most of the Left did a 180° pirouette, celebrating that Obama did what they would have screamed about if Bush had done, so maybe they wouldn't have insisted Osama get a civil trial in Cleveland instead of a quick, safe military trial and firing squad in Guantanamo, but it very well could have dragged out for ages, with all attendant threats and problems.

Pop. Pop. Splash. Done! Hard to beat that for concise.

The folks who say he should have been buried in an unmarked grave filled with pork fat... that's just... okay, it's funny.

The folks saying the war is over, and that kind of thing -- yeah, of the whole mess, that's the weirdest! You really have to wonder how bad the public schools have been. Unfortunately this conflict is a game of Whack-a-Mole. Jesus said, the poor you have with you always, and I think that applies to the moral and intellectual poor. We still have people around who think of themselves as Nazis, even ones that aren't just noisy but cause real trouble. You can't justly kill them just for claiming to be Nazis, you just try to make sure they never have any significant power again. That'll be tough with Islam!

But you know, it is really all our fault that the radical jihadists hate us. We just need to quit doing those things which offend Muslims, and everything will be hunky-dory. Here's the still-growing checklist.[*] Keep this list handy. There will be a test later.




Radical Incline

Nation on the Precipice

We have a challenge greater than any faced in the 20th Century.

Posted by email to HillBuzz.

"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action." —Ian Fleming, Goldfinger (attributed as a Chicago saying)

Yet another comment of mine failed to get posted Saturday. I am always left wondering, was it just tech-eaten or moderated away? If the former, good luck fixing the bugs. If the latter, see, I like you guys and your site, and I sure don't want to post what's unwelcome, wasting my efforts and your time and dampening your Smithsonian-worthiness! [har] Not knowing is the worst part.

I note that for a long time there was just one comment on Saturday's open thread. This morning there are several (but not mine), including an earlier comment than the one which had been standing alone all day. Hm. There were no Friday comments all day, then late (and of course right after I mention Friday's lack of comments in my unposted Saturday message) a bunch of comments finally show up. Hm. Yes, I know you all have tech problems and also the moderators have lives and jobs and HillBuzz can't be your main thing, at least not yet. Still….

Broken links, belatedly- or never-posted messages (not just mine, evidently), paginated and javascript-managed comments making some hard to link to, and (personal problem) the huge overhead of the new site, which you worked so hard to set up, taking so long to download on our not-broadband rural connection... it's like HillBuzz's enemies broke it. I wasn't on the "old" HillBuzz long, and I do appreciate what you did (and why) in the tech changeover, but in these ways, like some others have said, I miss it.

Darlings, we can't keep meeting like this. Time for me to resume lurk mode, and let my self-consciousness circuits relax. (Overtaxed moderator lets out sigh of relief?) :)

Can't go without a parting shot, of course. But I'm not going to bother leaving it as a comment. Here, just for whoever's reading this:

A Mindful Webworker comments:


I like the community of folks here. Running around on some other sites in recent days has made me appreciate this site all the more. I like the way the place is run. I really appreciate the links folks post here. Most of all I like the (ironically Democrat-inspired) will to action.

Before my father's untimely death in 1968, I once asked him how he became Republican National Committeeman from Oklahoma. Dad told me, it began with a get-out-the-vote campaign by the Republicans across our county which he initiated and led. Volunteers went door-to-door, handing out literature and repeating this message: "We want you to get out and vote. We encourage you to vote Republican, but however you vote, get out and vote!" The effect was so record-breakingly, headline-drawingly dramatic, it got the attention of the state Republicans, and he was tapped to do the same thing state-wide.

What he found as he moved into the state level, though, was what HillBuzzers know too well as Cocktail Party Republicans, RINOs not so much interested in winning, nor in principled government, as in the lucrative benefits to being even a lame-ass 2nd party. Dad did the unexpected. He came to make such a significant impact that the late, great honorable gentleman, Henry Bellmon became the first Republican governor since Statehood, and a formerly solidly Democrat fiefdom was utterly transformed from those days.

Dad and Ike at the 1960 Republican National Convention

Bellmon went on to serve as a US Senator before returning to the Governor's chair. There's a sad lesson to be found in Bellmon's biography, in his frustration at the impossible glacial mess of Washington DC politics after serving in an effective state government.

Life & Times of Henry Bellmon at Amazon.com

Bellmon is often credited for the state's turnaround. That's true, too, but not for nothing is there an entire chapter in his biography devoted to my behind-the-man Dad. It started with that get out the vote campaign, about the time I was born.

Hardly anything is as infuriating to me than those who don't vote because they think their vote won't have an impact, when more than half the people don't vote! I know it's sometimes frustrating. Here in the reddest of the red states, the main election is really the primary, just as it is in Chicago, because the election is pretty much a foregone conclusion. By the time a vote comes up, it's like it often seems already too late, things are decided. Still, not to vote at all seems not just un-American to me, but socially suicidal.

It's absolutely unpredictable what an impact it would make if even half the non-voters voted. Or as Dad's results demonstrated, maybe it is predictable, if the discouraged majority still love liberty and respect the Constitution. I have enjoyed the groundswell of those ordinary people inspired to take an interest in government, self-rule, by what they've come to see in recent years, and certainly not just because the current President is half-Swedish. I'll never forget the one woman I got to talking with in a doctor's waiting room, who was so enthused, so inspired by the grassroots movements, and so frustrated that she still couldn't get her relatives and neighbors to wake up. One by one. Slowly. Then it builds. Then it's a flood-tide that sweeps the country. That's what I hope will continue.

How to start a movement TED video at YouTube

I remember how the Hungarians and Czechs were crushed in their moments of hope, and only decades later did the Poles (quelle surprise!) finally break the Soviet Union. Pidgen history version to make the point, there is no divine protection in being on the right side. Jesus said, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." He knew (and died because of) how the wolves devour. His words might ring empty, had he not also lived to the full what he commanded. Good people, be that canny, while remaining innocent!

When I see articles like this one at National Journal discussing "a showcase of five Republican presidential hopefuls, including Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and [Mitt] Romney" (and... #5?), I feel kind of sick and hopeless for my country and the very future of liberty on our world. In my life I have seen America sway back and forth from Eisenhower to Johnson to Nixon to Carter to Reagan to Clinton to Bush to Obama. (Yes, I skipped a few.) How could a country be so bipolar? In the end, like so many discouraged citizens, it looks like all the parties and politicians are ruinous.

We stand on a delicate precipice. We have a challenge greater than any faced in the 20th Century. We are opposed by well-organized, well-funded, and absolutely immoral enemies, allied only in their hatred of what really matters about this country. A third of the country is insane, a third is confused, so the remaining third face incredibly tough challenges.

Kevin, O HillBuzz Originator, my ragged cowboy hat is tipped to you and all those on both sides of this site, and all those across the nation taking action, being involved, employing tactics and strategies in canny fashion. I pray it will be enough.




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