Monthly Archives: August 2010

"Rights"

It’s not a “right” if you have to do it with other people’s permission.

The right has now given up on denying that muslims have a right to build mosques. Now they, like the ADL, are talking about “hurt feelings.” I might be more interested in this—in the “wisdom” of it as Obama said—if it really was at Ground Zero. It’s not. This is really about building mosques anywhere at all—the excuse is popping up all over the country.

I’m not an “interfaith” kind of guy. But because of that, I’m sensitive to the fact that others might not be too, so we have to deal with each other. You can try and reason with people. If they are reasonable, you can work with them. Imagine:

Can’t build a mosque there? Not enough parking? Fine. Here—we’ll build a free, patrolled parking ramp. Still not good enough? Sorry. We aren’t bargaining anymore, this is our right.

The privilege of being “reasonable” about this was lost the minute the distortion of its location began. This was always about no mosques period. That’s why they have to lie about where it is.

Dark Age Justice

Theodoric, a Gothic king, in the sixth century, writing to the Jewish population of Milan in letting them build a new synagogue:

For the preservation of civilitas the benefits of justice are not to be denied even to those who are recognized as wandering from the right way in matters of faith.

That’s right, folks. The right wing in this country has become less concerned with civil rights than a barbarian king in the dark ages.

Prop 8 Rejection Might Be Limited to California

Very quickly. From Plaintiffs-Appellees’ papers opposing an emergency stay at 7:

The issue in Baker is different from that pre-sented by Plaintiffs’ constitutional challenge because, unlike California, Minnesota had not used the ballot initiative process to strip its gay and lesbian citizens of their previously recognized right to marry…

Why is this important? Because it is yet another important distinction between the facts in this case and just a general right to gay marriage. I would very much like to see this declared a right, but I would also like to make sure that the striking of Prop 8 continues.

Marriage is one of the areas traditionally reserved to the states in the Tenth Amendment. As such, there is at least an argument that each state may determine what its marriage rights are. Indeed, this is the case with cousin marriage, which is allowed in some states and not in others. Of course, to the extent that anything a state does, even under the Tenth Amendment, conflicts with Constitutional rights, such as those in the Fourteenth Amendment, they are void. But, I’m making this point to show a way out for the courts, not necessarily the most sound legal decision.

The technical action that the district court took in this case was to strike down Prop 8, which was a specific law enacted by the voters to repeal an existing right, as the Appellees note in their papers. It could arguably be the case that Prop 8 taking rights away is unconstitutional but that this does not compel it being granted elsewhere. If this is the case, it would mean that only in places where there is an existing state-based right to gay marriage would this apply. Splitting hairs? Yes. Some might call it “judicial minimalism.”

This is separate and distinct from the separate standing issue that many feel may cause this case to end before there is a total reckoning.

Fed's Mandate

Unlike this robber baron from the KC Fed, I remember that the Fed has a dual mandate: prevent inflation and unemployment. They’ve been under the spell of theories that say zero inflation will create employment for a long time now, but in reality this is just a pro-creditor, pro-rentier, pro-wealthy, anti-employment monetary policy built on fantasy economics that only people who read Ayn Rand novels believe. These people are simply dedicated to destroying the middle class. It’s a class war.

Imagine if the Pentagon decided that it was no longer going to defend us against air attacks because those are all meaningless without ground forces.

There is no data supporting any risk of inflation in this country, even if you believe that mild inflation is bad (I don’t) or that you can’t have mild inflation without hyperinflation (you can—see the post WWII boom).

A very simple way to ease the pain (not that they care about our pain) would be for the Fed to buy huge amounts of state and local government debt, thereby driving the price down and helping alleviate the need for budget cuts. Of course, you know, it would be immoral for billionaire bankers to support these greedy public sector workers making more than minimum wage.

What Clemons Says

Here.

I have no doubt the Israelis will bomb Iran if they feel they have no other choice. But they do have a choice: cut a deal on Palestine and change the geo-political calculus and the security situation in their own backyard first. If Iran still rattles sabers after that, I would not be surprised if the US or some “Coalition” does it.

I still think if anyone does it, it will be us.

Sad.

I think Paul Krugman is right most of the time. For example, his criticism of the Fed today. But what may be his optimism about the public rising up about the specter of structural unemployment is where we part company.

There is simply too much belief among the public that tax cuts for the rich and huge corporate tax breaks are the only things that will give them jobs. Sure, not everyone believes this, but enough to stall any movement from Washington do. It used to be bad politics to attack the unemployed. It used to be good politics to enact programs for the middle class. Now, everything that does the latter is “socialism” including demand-boosting unemployment benefits. The bright line distinction between “welfare queens” who ostensibly live just to get government assistance and people who were out of work has been blurred.

In a way, this sort of makes sense. Many lefties are baffled that trying economic times haven’t created more of a move to the economic left. But when everyone is scraping for what they have, it is actually tougher to get people to give anything up for others.

The only way out of this—or at least permanently out of it—is to force people to learn through tough experience that Hoover economics are not good for them. We’ve blown up bubble after bubble trying to prolong things. Maybe there will be another one. But in the end, until people stop believing that there is a benefit to them in the wealthy paying lower taxes it probably not only will not change, but any solution based on that reality that does not immediately fix it could create an even more unproductive counter-blowback.