Our Enduring Constitution: Liberty

(Craig Crawford, The Orlando Sentinel, 8/16/1987) — Alan Reitman reaches for what he calls “The Bible,” a blue looseleaf notebook filled with provocative policies he has advanced during 39 years as a national spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union.

“We take policy-making seriously,” said the ACLU’s associate director, flipping through the 500-page book in his New York City office. “We study and argue for months, sometimes years.”

The book reads like a history of the modern struggle over what Reitman calls “our client, the Bill of Rights.” Through it all, the ACLU has become perhaps the nation’s most unpopular private institution.

“We are not destined to be loved by a majority of Americans,” Reitman, 66, said. “We are the nation’s gadfly, its Jiminy Cricket conscience.”

Begun in 1920 to combat the Wilson administration’s mass arrests of protesters against American involvement in World War I, the ACLU has represented, without charge, a wide variety of people whose civil liberties were challenged:

  • John T. Scopes, a high school teacher who in 1925 was convicted of violating a Tennessee law against teaching evolution.
  • The approximately 110,000 Japanese-Americans held in camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
  • Government employees who refused to take anti-communist loyalty oaths during the 1950s.
  • Florida inmate Clarence Gideon, who claimed successfully in 1963 that criminal defendants should be given a lawyer if they can’t afford one.
  • The American Nazi Party, which in 1977 won the right to demonstrate in Skokie, Ill., a largely Jewish suburb of Chicago.

The ACLU has grown steadily from its initial 40 members to nearly 200 full-time staffers, more than 250,000 members and a $15-million annual budget from grants and membership dues.

During Ronald Reagan’s presidency the ACLU enjoyed a dramatic rise in membership and contributions. Reitman attributes that to anti-libertarian views espoused by several administration figures, including Attorney General Edwin Meese, who said the Bill of Rights affords citizens protection from the federal government but not from the states. “In Meese,” Reitman said, “we have a live devil.”

ACLU officials insist that they defend the liberties under attack, not the individuals. They believe that even the most unloved Americans should be protected from restrictions of their rights, in order to preserve constitutional freedoms for everyone.

“The Bill of Rights puts limits on what the majority can do to the minority,” legal director John Powell said. “But it seems we’re always fighting a rear-guard battle against those who ignore the limits. Americans should understand that what we’re doing is the best way to protect people from government.”

Still, the ACLU is at odds with most Americans in case after case, reinforcing its reputation for being wrongheaded.

Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff Lawson Lamar echoed that sentiment when he was told last month that ACLU officials criticized his program of using undercover deputies wearing black masks to stop and question motorists on a street notorious for drug dealing.

“We’re not trying to harass anybody,” Lamar said. “Frankly, if the ACLU is concerned about this, it underscores the fact that this is a good program.”

The ACLU’s maverick image is reflected throughout its eight-story building about a block from Times Square, the world’s capital of free expression. Some workers wear sandals. Others make pots of hot tea at their desks. Waiting for a slow elevator, one employee curses loudly, and no one seems to notice.

“We go to the heart of what a person does, not outward appearances,” Reitman said, “although we would object if someone considered wearing no clothes their means of personal expression.”

Even though it provokes hostility, the ACLU represents hope for many Americans.

“We’re a private organization that defends the Bill of Rights,” receptionist Cheryl Douglas tells a caller who is asking for legal help. She answers nearly 500 such calls every day. Many are referred to ACLU chapters, which are found in all 50 states.

On the wall near Douglas’ desk, a poster sums up the ACLU philosophy: “The Bill of Your Rights. Celebrate it. Defend it. Use it.”


[Update: Reitman died at age 91 in July, 2012, at his home in Palm Desert, CA]

88 thoughts on “Our Enduring Constitution: Liberty

  1. I have always tried to push the dialog. Where ever I was .
    This makes me a complete, and total pain-in- the- ass.

    cbob, our very own mr. liberty, happy birthday!

  2. Regardless of the outcome, on November 7th the media will begin handicapping the next horse race.
    Look for Clinton vs. Rubio, or Clinton vs.Christi.

    jace, first tho’ the intermural internecine pre-lims of jeb vs. marco vs. chris and hillary vs. lizzy

  3. tony, thanks for the amazing grace update. and also thanks for the link on the senate races.
    the warren/brown one seesaws too much to be a sure thing. maybe sea could give us an insider’s forecast that’s more reliable.

  4. Skokie was a turning point for many liberals who stopped supporting the ACLU.

    A tiny group of Nazis wanted to inflict emotional pain on Holocaust survivors, and the ACLU, which placed abstract principle over common sense and simple humanity, tried to help them do it. Deciding which case to take on is always a judgment call. The ACLU demonstrated very poor judgment and it cost them thousands of dues paying members.

    It has been my observation that the ACLU often chooses to represent the most vile people they can find, simply so they will get more publicity. There are countless other cases they could take on but those cases are not as controversial, and don’t allow the ACLU to play the role of “martyrs for principle.” Their mindset has never changed. If it had, the ACLU would NOT be proud of what it did at Skokie but would admit it was a mistake. I would respect the ACLU more, if it could do that.

    The leader of the Nazi group was later convicted of child molestation. I don’t think the ACLU represented him in that case.

  5. Daily Kos reports that Romney was seen driving towards Canada. Paul Ryan was in a dog carrier, strapped to the roof of the car.

  6. In their satirical book America, But Better, Brian Calvert and Chris Cannon are asking Americans to choose Canada -- not a specific Canadian but rather the entire country.

    Brian Calvert, who plays the Face of Canada in a series of viral YouTube videos, and writer Chris Cannon argue that their homeland already leads the US when it comes to quality of health care and education.

    The BBC joined them during a campaign stop in New York City where they explained why they think the US has much to learn from its northern neighbour.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19594334

    one of those viral videos:

  7. Gosh…with the hard right America seems to have taken this century, I sure miss the old days when it wasn’t your portfolio or how much you made and paid, but what was in your heart and soul.

    Neocons have temporarily stolen this from us, but I know it is human decency is protected by many today.

    I am reading Paul Horgan’s Great River The Rio Grande in American History. This year is the 100th anniversary of the state of New Mexico. I had no idea the ACLU was formed under Prez Wilson. Wilson and Mexicans…he sure was a prejudiced man.

  8. As Jewish and Muslim groups in France condemn the drawings, the French government has announced that it will close French embassies and schools in around 20 countries on Friday as a precautionary measure (Muslim leaders in France will also urge calm in mosques across the country on Friday). “Given this absurd video that has been aired, strong emotions have been awakened in many Muslim countries,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius observed. “Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour oil on the fire?” For their part, Charlie Hebdo’s editors (including Stephane Charbonnier, pictured above) have defended their right to free speech.

    On Wednesday, assailants attacked a kosher supermarket in a Paris suburb, though police have not determined whether the incident was related to the cartoons. Today, Iranian students and clerics protested against the drawings outside the French embassy in Tehran.

    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/node/1372811

  9. Yep Nash I remember talking to Reitman about Skoie, he said it was one of the most fierce internal battles they ever had but insisted it was a classic free-speech case of people being denied a demonstration permit for their views. ACLU did lose money and members but a few years later Reagan came along and they were back in business

  10. nash, would this be an example of what you hinted at as aclu cherry-picking issues?

    In response, free speech groups such as the ACLU and EFF expressed serious concerns about the White House’s actions. While acknowledging that there was nothing legally compulsory about the White House’s request (indeed, Google announced the next day they would leave the video up), the civil liberties groups nonetheless noted – correctly – that “it does make us nervous when the government throws its weight behind any requests for censorship”, and that “by calling YouTube from the White House, they were sending a message no matter how much they say we don’t want them to take it down; when the White House calls and asks you to review it, it sends a message and has a certain chilling effect”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/16/conservatives-democrats-free-speech-muslims

  11. I’m a member of the ACLU. Have been for many years. But it’s such a silly organization--giving people the impression that if you pay the dues and carry the card and dial the number on the back, that help will be forthcoming.

    Practically speaking, how else are they going to get the numbers of people joining up to keep the real Bill of Rights mission going? I mean, it’s really not a big deal, is it?

  12. And then it makes me wonder why I’m also a member of that group out of Atlanta, the SPLC, that fights, in court, people like the Nazis who deprive other Americans, through violence, of their Constitutional liberties.

  13. CBob… happy, happy birthday, pal…

    German chocolate cake is Rick’s favorite… and he too only gets it on his birthday.

    patd… just saw a poll that says Brown is slightly ahead of Warren. It was a Boston Herald poll…. and anyone who knows Boston, knows the Herald is the equivalent of Fox News.

  14. I was at a university with quite a few liberal professors, many of them Jewish, when the Skokie event occurred. I heard more than one angry debate in the hallways. I thought then, as I do now, that the issue was really about principle vs practicality. Abstract principles may sound nice but if their practical application has horrific consequences, then you have to be flexible.

    What the Nazis wanted to do in Skokie, was to march down the street with Nazi flags, just like the Stormtroopers did in the 1920s-30s in Germany. They deliberately targeted the mostly Jewish community of Skokie, Illinois, because there was an exceptionally large number of Holocaust survivors living there. Their goal was to traumatize those people, to cause them psychological injury. This was NOT simply the exercise of free speech, and the ACLU knew that.

    The ACLU asks its liberal dues-paying members to provide free legal assistance to domestic terrorist organizations, like the Nazis, KKK, and militia groups. I say let the right wing crazies pay for their own lawyers. Yes, they have the right to free speech, but LIBERALS shouldn’t be paying for it.

    I used to be a “card carrying member” ACLU but I finally got tired of subsidizing hate groups. There are many better places to send your money. (Like the Southern Poverty Law Center which FIGHTS hate groups.)

  15. Nash, leaving ACLU out of it, do you think Skokie should have been allowed to deny the march permit? I get all your points but can’t figure out how that exception to free speech could be made in a way that doesn’t create precedent for government to make choices based on the protester’s beliefs. The “incite to violence” argument is dicey because it lets govt assume the march will be dangerous without having to prove it.

  16. And Nash, I’m also a member of the ADL--the Anti-Defamation League, which is a good one, and the ADA--Americans for Democratic Action. But, as you point out, the SPLC is right at the top so far as jumping in feet first.

  17. btw, ACLU did finally win the Skokie case in SCOTUS, a decision routinely cited in preventing future attempts by local govts to stop protests they didn’t like

  18. a good one from one of my favorite tweeters:

    @pourmecoffee: Please form single-file line as you abandon Romney campaign, no horseplay and keep the line moving. Safety first.

  19. I think Skokie should have permitted the nazis to line up for their parade in a tiny alley, at 6am on a Sunday in the second week of January. Then it should have allowed them an hour to parade, beginning at 3pm.

  20. In the 30s, william dudley pelley wanted to move his ‘silvershirts’ nazi operation to Mpls, MN. He rented a hall there in which to make speeches, and drum up support. Pelley’s ‘stormtroopers’ handed out notices of the event. A local anti-Semitic, anti-Black, anti-Union, pro-chamber of commies newsrag promoted it.

    Pelley was gratified to see the hall was filled to capacity. What he didn’t know was that most of the attendees were Jewish war vets. When the first speaker made his first anti-Jewish remark, the vets rose, and tossed the ‘storm troopers’ out the windows. Pelley, who was waiting behind the curtain to make a dramatic, hitlerian entrance, instead fled out the back door. By the time the police arrived, everything was tidy again.

    Pelley’s organization made their home in Asheville, NC instead of Mpls, MN. Apparently, there weren’t so many Jewish war vets in Asheville.

  21. Umm, it bothers the dickens out of me that presidents are able to preemptively keep groups of citizens out of sight and sound of ‘public’ events. At the same time I recognize presidents have the right and need to be heard by their greater audience, the people as a whole.

    If some ‘questionable’ people are excluded, shouldn’t all people be excluded?

    And I abhor the practice of drafting uniformed military people to serve in the smiling human backdrop behind politicians on the stump.

  22. I became aware of and have been an ACLU supporter (in principle) since my college years although while in grad school I disagreed that the Skokie case was one that they should have been involved with. I think Nash’s comment about their involvement in high profile, but low morality quotient cases is well taken, but they aren’t pushing morality- they are pushing personal liberty as granted in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We discussed the Skokie case in my ConLaw class in law school, and at the end of the day, even the (few) liberals in the class agreed with the prof (an ex-fighter pilot) that the cause was within the free speech guarantee, despite how despicable the speaker was.

    BTW, had to go driving around this morning and heard a spot on the news that made me feel better. Apparently a study has just come out linking declining brain function to high blood sugar. They say the decline is normal, but i say my sweet tooth is to blame!!! At least now I have an excuse or two.

  23. LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge on Thursday denied a request seeking to force YouTube to remove an anti-Muslim film trailer that has been blamed for causing deadly violence in the Muslim World.

    Judge Luis Lavin rejected the request from Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who appears in the clip, in part because the man behind the film wasn’t served with a copy of the lawsuit.

    Garcia has said she and her family have been threatened and her career damaged since the 14-minute trailer for “Innocence of Muslims” surfaced.

    http://www.windstream.net/news/read.php?rip_id=%3CDA1DK6PO0%40news.ap.org%3E&ps=1018

  24. more from that wsj bret stephens column linked above:

    So let’s get this straight: In the consensus view of modern American liberalism, it is hilarious to mock Mormons and Mormonism but outrageous to mock Muslims and Islam. Why? Maybe it’s because nobody has ever been harmed, much less killed, making fun of Mormons.
    [....]
    That it’s okay for the federal government publicly to call on Google to pull the video clip from YouTube in an attempt to mollify rampaging Islamists. That it’s okay to concede the fundamentalist premise that religious belief ought to be entitled to the highest possible degree of social deference—except when Mormons and sundry Christian rubes are concerned.

    And, finally, this: That the most “progressive” administration in recent U.S. history will make no principled defense of free speech to a Muslim world that could stand hearing such a defense

  25. Soon only Gov Bob McDonald and Mary Matalin will be available as Romney surrogates

  26. On Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Wednesday, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul said that as far as he was concerned, Mitt Romney was already the victor over incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama.

    “You know, I think — I’m in the minority here, but I think the election is over,” said Paul, who was on to promote his new book “Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds.”

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/20/rand-paul-i-think-the-election-is-over-i-think-that-romney-has-already-won/

  27. I interrupt the blog for a photo of the Space Shuttle on its way to LA --

    http://tinyurl.com/9lv9zuf

    I took this at 11:30am. The plane w/shuttle took off from El Paso and flew over White Sands (where the shuttle landed in the 1980s) to NASA facilty at the base of the Organ Mts. and over Las Cruces. This was taken from my backyard. A big piece of history just flew by!

  28. Cool picture BW

    The final journey has been in the news lately because they are chopping down a bunch of trees to make the on-ground trip possible. People along the route are not happy.

  29. Pat,
    Love that you view things from all sides. The two pieces you just linked are so refreshing. ‘Why not’ talk about why we can put down some peoples’ way of life, but not others? Isn’t that height of hypocrisy?

    The reason I thought it refreshing, is that if we take these thoughts we have, and the things we say to their ultimate conclusion, we become more aware of the extent of exactly what it is we are saying (doing so doesn’t leave much wiggle room… if we are honest with ourselves those times we are not being opened minded to ‘all’ peoples ‘equal’ rights — assuming we believe in equal rights to begin with). I know I find it so easy to rationalize whatever it is I want to say or do. But eventually, later…. I have to admit that I rationalized, and therefore must accept the consequence (whether inner or outer) for my mistakes (and believe me, I have an over-active conscience).

    … from your daily caller link:
    “The Brief Against Obama: The Rise, Fall & Epic Fail of the Hope & Change Presidency,” that things are lining up much like they did in the 1980 election for “Ronald Reagan on the economic front, which will work in Romney’s favor.

    “But you remember when Reagan just pulled away from Carter at the end?” Paul continued. “I think that’s what we’re going to see is people coalesce and find that the country’s just not headed in the right direction with all this unemployment and economic stagnation and that they want somebody who’s been in business, somebody who’s run successful businesses and created jobs. I think that’s the way it’s going to break down, simply on that issue, is which way do we take the country — with someone who likes American business, or someone who can’t wait to sort of punish, regulate and tax American business.”

    ….. unlikely, but just the same…. it’s nice to read (and be aware of) different views.

  30. Craig, This ‘thumbs up’ thing is handy, because we don’t have say any thing and by giving a thumbs up we remain anonymous.

    That’s the part I like, but not so much the part that it feels like we’re being ‘graded’ by an unknown source. If that’s true, it’s more obvious that I’m failing (not that there’s anything wrong with that). :)

    …. but it does make things seem a little more ‘cult-ish’.
    I know that you won’t take offense to me giving my opinion, Craig. But I’m positive that some will.

  31. Having said that, Craig…. I too have gotten a lot of use out of that thumbs up feature.

  32. KGC I saw the piece on the trees — more irony as the shuttle is a technological achievement, but no technology available to make it whole at the museum without destroying the beautiful living trees.

  33. Watching current-tv I heard Jeff Greenfield being a bored cynic. I guess he has to put up with interviews so he can write more fantasy history. I hardly know what to think of his books which are what’ifs about history so really fiction but I guess not really good enough to be fiction so parading as some sort of odd ball (and totally without value) non-fiction political opinion….I guess the fact that he publishes them as ebooks says something

  34. is this a sinking ship rat thing?

    Romney called Pawlenty a dear friend who will be missed.

    “While I regret he cannot continue as co-chair of my campaign, his new position advancing the integrity of our financial system is vital to the future of our country. I congratulate him on his new position and wish him every success in carrying out his new mission,” he said.

    As the industry’s top lobbyist, Pawlenty will play a major role in the industry’s efforts to make new Dodd-Frank rules, which Congress passed in 2010 in response to the 2007-2009 financial crisis, more favorable for Wall Street as regulators implement the law.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49102195/?ocid=ansmsnbc11

  35. Pro-Israel adverts that equate jihad with savagery are to appear in 10 of New York’s subway stations next week, after officials failed to block them.
    [....]
    New York’s transportation agency barred the ads citing demeaning language.

    But a judge ruled in July for the American Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI), the group behind the campaign.

    The FDI has been battling to display the ad since it was refused by the New York authorities last year.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19665225

    craig, when i read this it was hard not to think of your former cohort and what happened to her with less inflamatory expressions.

  36. Hooray! I found something to complain about that won’t ruffle too many feathers:

    New York City has provided $1 million in public funds to build a Japanese artist’s vision of a temporary living room around the Columbus Statue in Columbus Circle. What a colossal waste of tax-payer money.

    Edit: I should add that I do appreciate the art installation and what I understand to be the artist’s intentions, but not only should it be completely privately funded, the city should be compensated for allowing it on public property and to mitigate the costs associated with its impact on the park, in my opinion. Right?

  37. Regarding the topic du jour:

    It seems a great many like to fancy themselves Jeffersonians until it contradicts their own agenda.

  38. LOL Champ!
    If ‘not ruffling feathers’ is our goal, I’d never get to say (or write) another word for the rest of my life — not that-that would bother anyone (but I sure would hate keeping it all bottled up).

  39. Democratic Party leaders are growing more upbeat about President Obama’s reelection prospects, but on-the-ground organizers are warning that well-funded conservative groups have developed a new level of sophistication in mobilizing voters that could give Republican nominee Mitt Romney an edge if the race is close.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/conservative-groups-reaching-new-levels-of-sophistication-in-mobilizing-voters/2012/09/20/3c3cd8e8-026c-11e2-91e7-2962c74e7738_story.html?hpid=z1

  40. I pick and choose from the founding fathers like everyone else.

    The tee pottie claims to follow ALL of the oeuvre of ALL of the Founding Fathers plus michele bachmann. They quote a lot of guys they’d hate, if they knew anything.

    They’d really go for rural wildman Ethan Allen, but he wasn’t a Founding Father, at least not of the USA. Allen’s Vermont decided not to sign the Constitution and went off on their own for a while.

  41. Why doesn’t the ACLU support the scalia proposition that spending money equals speech, or does it?

  42. On the ACLU topic. Hated the whole idea of Skokie. Letting Nazi’s march was loathsome and excruciatingly painful … but it had to be done if only so Jews could stand on the sidelines and say, “Never Again!”. You have to let the ugly be seen so that the beautiful can survive.

  43. XR

    The trouble with TP crowd is that they circulate false quotes and interpretations of quotes plus quoting out of context. The whole idea of nuance and reality is lost on them.

  44. Champ, isn’t that almost always the truth? We humans tend to have thinner skin than we like to admit. One point about the article Pat linked -- there is nothing to stop the government from expressing its repudiation of what it views as reprehensible. From what I know about the 14 min. trailer that has caused all the hubbub, there is not anything like a comic or sarcastic quality to it. It would arguably not fall under the protections of Hustler v. Falwell, if some affected Muslim sued for defamation or intentional infliction of emotional distress (unless he/she is a public figure), but short of what I view as violation of unconstitutional anti-hate speak legislation (Snyder v. Phelps is an example), the gov’t. has no power to prevent its publication. But that doesn’t mean the government can’t distance itself from the film (assuming it exists) or its trailer without having to do so for every work of art that offends one religion or another.

  45. Champ

    Whenever I see one of those “art” things, I always have to ask how the grant happened because right wingers don’t have a clue about such things.

    1. Was it a “direct” grant to the artist -- If so, this was truly stupid. If not, see #2

    2. Was this a grant to a entity where the city had no control? If so, who is in control? See #3

    3. Who is on the Board and why are they making decisions like this? Is there some other purpose … See #4

    4. Is it possible that this just might have been a good idea with educational rewards … obviously we need to know more than just the headline.

  46. Pogo,

    I was speaking in more of a general sense, and not in regard to THE ‘movie’, or whatever-the-hell-it-is. I somewhat ignore religious controversies, as they are inherently ridiculous.

    I recently traveled through your state, by the way. It’s very beautiful country, and its denizens sure love the hell out of some “Robert C. Byrd”.

  47. A final point on this fair day:

    I find it intriguing that “Citizens united” is still a talking point for many, especially those espousing a Liberal perspective, as it isn’t nearly the worst ruling to come out of the SCOTUS, in my long memory, at least.

    The Scotus recently ruled that it is every citizens’ duty to bolster a corrupt healthcare industry, under financial penalty, and I would assume imprisonment eventually. They have effectively made breathing a privilege, not a right. Roll that around your head for a while. All because people are afraid of the inevitable, and because healthcare professionals want to go golfing on a Thursday. Land of the free?

    Time for some Tolstoy. Un bon soir a vous. Tee hee hee.

  48. Jamie,

    You can do a news search for it, and all your questions will be answered. I try not to clutter the board with links, for a variety of reasons, one of which being a reluctance to post blind links, as requested by the host, understandably so.

    Fin. Pardon moi.

  49. “The whole idea of nuance and reality is lost on them.” -Jamie the tee ‘party’.

    Yes. In fact, nuance and reality along with compromise and negotiation are anathema to teapirs.

  50. Kinda like an elephant, but no memory. The smaller trunk indicates no baggage, like no ethics,no gratiutude, no mutuality, etc.

  51. A bit of wonderfulness … Fugelsang interviewing Cavett … It doesn’t get any better than Current this afternoon. If you missed it, it will get repeated today and I hope shown on Current website. Cavett is a national treasure and Fugelsang brilliant enough to interview him.

  52. IxG,

    Yup,the roberts med insurance decision sucks, and still citizens untied is worse.

    1. citizens untied says corporations are persons, not just for standing in courts, but for political campaigning.

    2. c.u. allows foreigners to meddle in US elections.

  53. Craig,
    Well for you wisdom and wise political analysis of course you shouldn’t go on air without pay! Bill them, yes. Oh and your gonna be a married man soon, the honeymoon can be costly :lol:

  54. Mark McKibbons or McCribbons or something like that
    geeze what a sleezy guy. I saw him on current saying that 47% comment was the kiss of death. Today on CNN he talked about how Shrub was down in the polls and came back

    My tv needed a shower after he was on

  55. CBob,

    Extraordinary is the only term I can think of that describes a man who can limit himself to German Chocolate cake only one day a year. ;-)

    That said, Happy birthday! Eat the whole damn cake.

  56. a reluctance to post blind links

    champ, those that are pasted with the link button are not “blind” (like the tiny urls) and can be spot checked before jumping into unknown waters. just run your cursor across the blue word/phrase the commenter hi-lited and a box will appear temporarily (bottom left on my computer) identifying the source.
    before i discovered this i was like you and skipped over the links for fear of falling into evil hands.

  57. Happy birthday to you both, RR and CBob!

    I also was a member for several years of the aclu when I could finally afford to give money away. In the episode of Skokie, I was sickened but had to concede the logic. Years later there was an episode of a Russian immigrant family whose father decided to return to Russia taking his family with him…he didn’t like it here. His daughter was old enough to choose to stay but her brother
    wasn’t quite old enough so he was ordered to go back. He was a teenager who had been very successful in school and making friends.
    The issue went to court and the aclu fought to send this boy back to pre-1991 Russia. Happily the sister and/or someone managed to get the kid out of the way. I was disgusted but not a mamber yet.

    When I did finally send them money, they did me in by defending
    equal opportunity housing for convicted child molesters. Sorry.
    They need to live in prison, period. Not long after I was walking in a beautiful nearby park and walked past two men who were sitting on a bench watching young teenage girls playing soccer. They looked like some of the cast in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and I did wonder if maybe they were in a play. They stared at me as I was walking past with a really scary affect. They wore
    institutional shoes, black thick-soled shoes with white cotton socks. I got on my computer and did a search and found that there is a “home” down the street from the middle school. I also checked
    photos of all the men in the area. I checked with the people at the da’s office that I used to work with who knew the situation, but the descriptions were not at all familiar to them. I knew then that I had made the right decision to give money to someone else.

    I have for years been a member of SPL and thank god for them.

  58. “On Friday, Sept. 7, Russia announced, that as of today, we will supply China with all of the crude oil that they need, no matter how much they want… there is no limit. And Russia will not sell or trade this crude oil to China using the American dollar.” 
    These duo actions by the two most powerful adversaries of the U.S. economy and empire, have now joined in to make a move to attack the primary economic stronghold that keeps America as the most powerful economic superpower. Once the majority of the world begins to bypass the dollar, and purchase oil in other currencies, then the full weight of our debt and diminished manufacturing structure will come crashing down on the American people.The world changed last week, and there was nary a word spoken by Wall Street or by politicians who reveled in their own magnificence as this event took place during the party conventions. A major blow was done on Sept. 6 to the American empire, and to the power of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. And China, along with Russia, are now aiming to become the controllers of energy, and thus, controllers of a new petro-currency.

  59. If you know anything about monetary policy
    Which I only have a superficial understanding ,
    But do have enough sense to pay attention
    You would know the only thing that has saved us so for is that the dollar is the worlds reserve currency , and that up till now we have been able to export our inflation ,
    The world is watching the fed and the politicians
    Destroy the value of the Dollar with out of control spending and out of control printing ,
    Once they move to other reserves to replace the dollar ,
    Well the gig is up , we’re down for the count ,
    It won’t matter who is president
    QE3 is just a back door bailout for the banks ,
    The fed is creating money from nothing ,buying bad paper from the banks ‘ mortgage backed securities ‘
    And sending the bill to the America people in the form of inflation

  60. Once the full effects of all this newly created money hits home , there will be run away inflation ,
    It’s already showing up in commodity prices ,food and fuel ‘
    it will hit the poor and middle class the hardest ,And the people on fixed incomes
    Of course the politicians will vote for more money to help those in need , but they have no money to give , so they will run to the fed to create more money ,
    Causing more inflation , to the detriment of the very same people their trying to help
    It’s an economic death spiral that we can’t recover from

  61. But hey there’s a political game going on ,no need to worry about all that junk ,
    Those darn goopers, and repugs , they won’t let me have my free condoms , sonsabitches

  62. It’s been fun (for me, at least) playing with the Constitution this week. Glad some of you did too. We now return to regular programming, which doesn’t seem a whole lot different than last week’s.

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