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A.C.L.U. Hypocrisy

By skyknight in Op-Ed
Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 01:28:07 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Excerpted from the nytimes (free registration required):

The American Civil Liberties Union is using sophisticated technology to collect a wide variety of information about its members and donors in a fund-raising effort that has ignited a bitter debate over its leaders' commitment to privacy rights.
Some board members say the extensive data collection makes a mockery of the organization's frequent criticism of banks, corporations and government agencies for their practice of accumulating data on people for marketing and other purposes.
Daniel S. Lowman, vice president for analytical services at Grenzebach Glier & Associates, the data firm hired by the A.C.L.U., said the software the organization is using, Prospect Explorer, combs a broad range of publicly available data to compile a file with information like an individual's wealth, holdings in public corporations, other assets and philanthropic interests.
The issue has attracted the attention of the New York attorney general, who is looking into whether the group violated its promises to protect the privacy of its donors and members.
"It is part of the A.C.L.U.'s mandate, part of its mission, to protect consumer privacy," said Wendy Kaminer, a writer and A.C.L.U. board member. "It goes against A.C.L.U. values to engage in data-mining on people without informing them. It's not illegal, but it is a violation of our values. It is hypocrisy."


Supposed proponents of American civil rights frequently implore US citizens not to sacrifice their liberties in exchange for scant security. The means do not justify they ends, they reasonably argue. What are we to think, then, when their own mission seems to be internally inconsistent when it comes to privacy matters? On the one hand, they put out parodies of Orwellian government databases that annihilate any reasonable expectation of privacy, and on the other hand they engage in alarmingly similar data gathering themselves, surveilling their own unwitting donors, canvassing them for future fund-raising opportunities. Perhaps their new motto ought to be "trust us", mirroring that of the authoritarian governance that they claim to oppose. Give the A.C.L.U. your money, so that they can fight the very methods they used to tap your wallet. It's for a good cause.

I, for one, do not welcome our new civil libertarian overlords.

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o Excerpted from the nytimes
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Display: Sort:
A.C.L.U. Hypocrisy | 233 comments (202 topical, 31 editorial, 0 hidden)
it is hypocrisy (2.00 / 3) (#11)
by circletimessquare on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 10:38:12 AM EST

and the aclu should remedy that asap

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

What you have to remember (3.00 / 4) (#18)
by zrail on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 11:35:07 AM EST

is that all non-profits do this to some extent. It really pays to know who your donors are and what their interests are. The only problem I can see with what the ACLU is doing is that they are not notifying donors before doing this. I'm sure it was an ethical oversight that will be remidied shortly.

Sure... (none / 1) (#20)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 11:44:46 AM EST

but given the nature of the ACLU, you'd think that they might hold themselves to a different standard. I mean, they are outright breaking the principles that they claim to uphold to get money to protect said principles.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
And the fact that it was done (3.00 / 2) (#44)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 02:51:48 PM EST

under the board's nose is interesting as well.

RUN !! IT?S AN ATTACK OF THE ?WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS? NAZIS!!!! - Brian Crouch
[ Parent ]
A.C.L.U.? (1.50 / 2) (#22)
by dimaq on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 11:57:47 AM EST

you didn't mean U.C.L.A.?
no, really?
oh how sad, then this article is really trash...

po-1itics? /nt (none / 1) (#23)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 12:05:34 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I dunno (2.53 / 13) (#31)
by kitten on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 12:40:29 PM EST

combs a broad range of publicly available data to compile a file with information like an individual's wealth, holdings in public corporations, other assets and philanthropic interests.

Keyword is "publicly available". Key phrase, whatever. The point is that, unlike that parody you linked to, we're not talking about the ACLU sacking your medical records and airline purchases. It makes a certain amount of sense to know who your donors are and what sort of financial status they have, so you know how much you can hit them up for next year.

individual's wealth, holdings in public corporations, other assets and philanthropic interests.

So basically they want to know how much money their donors have and what other organizations they donate to. This is hardly an Orwellian nightmare.

on the other hand they engage in alarmingly similar data gathering themselves

There's nothing "alarming" or even "similar" about it. The parody showed some poor slob calling a pizza place and the order-taker had access too the guy's medical records, his credit card purchases (including what size pants he bought), and a whole suite of other stuff that was nobody's business.

surveilling their own unwitting donors,

You make it sound like the ACLU is sending out men in black suits and slim wristwatches to follow people around, keeping tabs on them. All they're doing is a slightly more advanced version of plugging someone's name into google.

canvassing them for future fund-raising opportunities

Yes, that is what a nonprofit organization does. If they don't, they cease to be an organization very quickly.

It's not an unimportant issue but this particular story just seems more like FUD than anything else.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
hypocrisy (3.00 / 2) (#49)
by DanK on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 03:26:05 PM EST

You say:
The parody showed some poor slob calling a pizza place and the order-taker had access to the guy's medical records... and a whole suite of other stuff that was nobody's business.
But right before that you said:
So basically they want to know how much money their donors have and what other organizations they donate to.
Wouldn't a person's income and how they spend it (including charitable donations) be "nobody's business," too?

I used to be an ACLU member, and I agree wholeheartedly with their stated purpose. It's been a long time since they've directly pursued action for that purpose, though.




--
"If your mother says no jihad, then no jihad." - Abdul Nacer Benbrika
[ Parent ]
It's the non-profit's business (none / 0) (#50)
by zrail on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 03:34:21 PM EST

By definition, the non-profit makes money through donations in order to give that money away for their cause. Donor income level is almost directly related to how much they're willing to give to charity, and knowing their philanthropic interests allows the organization to pursue goals that their donors find worthwhile.

[ Parent ]
I don't think so (none / 0) (#65)
by trane on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 07:27:56 PM EST

Wouldn't a person's income and how they spend it (including charitable donations) be "nobody's business," too?

If the person really wanted to hide their charitable donations, I suppose so. Or if you wanted to conceal how much wealth you had. But if you're George Soros or something and you buy a new appartment for $44 million, it's pretty hard to keep that secret.

The ACLU should make it clear what they are doing. And maybe discontinue doing it for principles' sake. But personally I don't see it as violating any rights to privacy. If the information is out there in newspapers or on websites or in lists of charitable contributions to a cause (often rich people want the publicity), I don't see how collecting it is immoral.

skyknight is just out to try to prove to himself that the ACLU is just as hypocritical as he feels himself to be. You know, the "misery loves company" syndrome.

[ Parent ]

wOw HoW pRoFoUnD!! (1.00 / 12) (#75)
by Your Moms Cock on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 11:23:20 PM EST

tHaNkS fOr ThE aNaLySiS oF tHe SiTuAtIoN gUy!!


--
Mountain Dew cans. Cat hair. Comic book posters. Living with the folks. Are these our future leaders, our intellectual supermen?

[ Parent ]
helpy helperton (1.71 / 7) (#32)
by Your Moms Cock on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 12:43:36 PM EST

i, ymc, am going to do u all a huge favour that the author of this story (a walking vagina) is unwilling to do and that is provide u with a nytimes login acquired from bugmenot.com i have tested this login and inconvenienced myself:

username: nybastards
password: FuckYou


--
Mountain Dew cans. Cat hair. Comic book posters. Living with the folks. Are these our future leaders, our intellectual supermen?

Name the oxymoron (2.00 / 6) (#34)
by Sarojin on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 01:00:43 PM EST

Is it: [American] + [Civil Liberties], or is it [Civil Liberties] + [Union]?

(nt) -1, vaguely pro-religion (1.00 / 11) (#35)
by JanneM on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 01:24:25 PM EST


---
Trust the Computer. The Computer is your friend.
Are you kidding me? (none / 0) (#36)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 01:26:55 PM EST

That's certainly a first for me.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
how so? (none / 0) (#51)
by zrail on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 03:35:47 PM EST

n/t

[ Parent ]
i accidentally voted this down (1.00 / 7) (#37)
by Your Moms Cock on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 01:30:49 PM EST

really anything that makes the aclu look bad is kewl with me so if someone honest dan was planning on voting this down please vote it up to balance the universal karma

thanks in advance


--
Mountain Dew cans. Cat hair. Comic book posters. Living with the folks. Are these our future leaders, our intellectual supermen?

Who cares? (2.16 / 6) (#38)
by Sarojin on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 01:43:01 PM EST

There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the world because there never was any to begin with. You can't lose something you never had. We live in a web of interconnecting lives. Our actions have long-reaching effects on others, as theirs do on ours. The idea that a single man may live as a hermit in the midst of the civilized world is both absurd and problematic for being such a popular idea. Privacy doctrine in this country has existed for one purpose: shielding domestic violence from public scrutiny. The whole private-sphere/public-sphere distinction arose so that some men could prevent other men from interfering in what they manage to pull off behind closed doors. Marital rape and worse violences have always been justified as located in the mystical private sphere. As you cling to the arbitrary notion of privacy, you're doing little more than empowering men to rape and torture women. It's time we got rid of the private/public distinction. No one ever had any actual privacy; merely artificially imposed curtains that conceal malicious actions by some against others. If this does anything to undermine public respect for such a morally bankrupt institution as privacy, then I'm all for it.

moralist wankstain (none / 1) (#39)
by Your Moms Cock on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 01:45:33 PM EST




--
Mountain Dew cans. Cat hair. Comic book posters. Living with the folks. Are these our future leaders, our intellectual supermen?

[ Parent ]
That is the least convincing troll ever. /nt (2.75 / 4) (#40)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 01:45:48 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Much ado about nothing. (3.00 / 7) (#41)
by jubal3 on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 02:11:20 PM EST

Charities have been doing this since long before computers.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
Not surprising (2.36 / 11) (#42)
by cburke on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 02:36:28 PM EST

from the organization that fights so hard for the 1st Ammendment (good for them, btw) while dismissing the 2nd.  Maybe a rename to American Certain Civil Liberties Union is in order?

But the fact that this hypocrisy is being pointed out by an ACLU board member tells me that it isn't a systemic hypocrisy.  Someone thought this was a good idea without thinking through the whole "Civil Liberties" angle, and hopefully drawing attention to it will help stop it.

Indeed. That is a huge beef I have with them. (1.85 / 7) (#43)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 02:49:46 PM EST

Any organization that claims to support civil liberties but cannot be bothered with gun rights is highly suspect in my eyes.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
gun rights (2.50 / 4) (#48)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 03:21:35 PM EST

Many of us urban liberal folk don't attach much importance to guns, per se. Guns are what criminals use; guns are what hunters use in rural areas. The idea that guns are useful as self-defense seems mythical (guns were important as self-defense when we were a fronteir society, sure); the idea that guns will protect us from an overweening government which has tanks and SAMs and nuclear weapons is absurd (the *best* outcome down that path is the disordered violent chaos of pre-Taliban Afghanistan - which is a "cure" worse than the disease). Attachment to guns strikes the urban left as being a bizarre anachronism.

The other civil liberties, though - freedom of speech, freedom of privacy, freedom of religion - are the bedrock of a civilized and civil society.

[ Parent ]

lol (1.14 / 7) (#52)
by Your Moms Cock on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 03:45:12 PM EST

The other civil liberties, though - freedom of speech, freedom of privacy, freedom of religion - are the bedrock of a civilized and civil society.

idiotic


--
Mountain Dew cans. Cat hair. Comic book posters. Living with the folks. Are these our future leaders, our intellectual supermen?

[ Parent ]
True enough (2.20 / 5) (#53)
by godix on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 03:56:41 PM EST

Many of us urban liberal folk don't attach much importance to guns, per se.

Many of you urban liberal folk don't attach much importance to the Constitution either, at least if your reaction to the second ammendment is anything to judge by.

This is the problem I have with the ACLU. They seem to think they can ignore parts of the Constitution while at the same time they demonize anyone who ignores the parts they like. Either defend ALL the Consitution or quit using 'but it's a Constitutional right' arguement while turning your back on, and in some cases actively support, destroying the Constitution.


"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]

This pick-and-choose mentality is endemic. (2.40 / 5) (#56)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 04:09:52 PM EST

It's not limited to decimating the Constitution. It is quite prevalent in religion as well. Just look at how people excise the bits that are inconveniently counterposed to their world view. I just about laugh out loud every time some says that [Christianity|Islam|Judaism] is a religion of peace and tolerance. Yeah, right. Have you read the damn holy texts?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
All or nothing is more sensible? <nt> (none / 1) (#114)
by GenerationY on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:33:09 AM EST




[ Parent ]
For a lot of things... (2.50 / 4) (#120)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 06:15:24 AM EST

all or nothing is a lot safer than trying to pick some mid-point that is a slippery slope, a soft position that can easily be whittled away in times of political pressure. Just think under how much fire the US's First Amendment has been, and imagine what chance it would have had of surviving the last 200+ years if it had not been so absolute. When people ask this question, I like to quote David Hume who noted that "it is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once". If you are sloppy and lazy about defining your stance, you will gradually find that your stance is too ill defined to defend effectively in the long run.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
More intellectially honest at least (none / 1) (#180)
by godix on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:46:11 AM EST

The fundamental idea of US government is supposed to be that the Constitution is the ultimate power, the be all end all of law, and NOTHING it says is supposed to be circumvented. The Constitution isn't a static document, we have ways of changing it if the country doesn't like what it says. If someone opposes something in the Constitution the intellectually honest way to oppose it is to propose an amendment to repeal whatever it is. When a group instead proposes to circumvent an amendment  I consider it an attack on the core idea behind the US. When that very same group turns around and claims they're protecting the Constitution while trying to do an end run around it, well, I'll leave it to you to figure out appropriate words for it.

Notice that I did not specify any amendment or issue. The above sums up my opinion any group that attacks one part of the Constitution while worshiping another. The ACLU is as guilty as the KKK or right wing religios wackos and I despise them all for it. The Constitution isn't a buffet, you can't say 'Give me some freedom of speech and racial/sexual equality but none of that gun rights  please, it gives me gas'.

On a total side note, chalk this one up as one more difference between the US and Europe. The US tends to be more in love with our founders and their ideals than most European countries. Probably because the US is still so damned new compared to Europe but that's just a guess.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]

Thank you for your answer (none / 0) (#189)
by GenerationY on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 03:36:50 PM EST

It kind of passed me by that there was a higher principle at stake; I wasn't aware this was circumvention vs. wanting to change the Constitution. The rule of law should always be respected as far as possible even if we don't agree with the law itself.

European countries never had founders, just victors.
I don't think we stand for any ideal or vision in particular, France excluded (ironically).

I can respect the view that the Founders had a worthy and good vision, but I must admit it makes me roll my eyes when they are taken as all-seeing and all-knowing Gods because not being idiots, that was not their original intent as far as I can tell. When someone wants to make the case for carrying firearms (or whatever) I think they should make it with regard to the world we live in today rather than pulling up odd phrases from the correspondence between Madison and Spaight (or whatever) as evidence of their Divine Intent for All Time.

[ Parent ]

But you can't ignore history either (none / 0) (#191)
by godix on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 05:22:04 PM EST

The Constitution is part of todays world in the same way Queen Elizabeth and the Magna Carta still have relevence today even though they've both been outdated by later developments. It forms a baseline for how the legal system should work, the proper way to deal with issues, and perhaps most importantly what happens if neither side convinces the other. If we were talking about English law then you would be correct, the pro-gun side would have to make their case for carrying firearms and if they couldn't convince others then firearms would not be allowed. However if we are talking about US law then the situation changes; the anti-gun side needs to make a case to ban firearms by ammending the Constitution and if the anti-gun side can not convince the other side then US citizens should be allowed guns.

So for this reason the founding fathers opinions do still matter in todays world even though the hunting for food/defense from indians/etc arguements don't hold true in todays would. America has guns. We will keep those guns until the anti-gun side gathers the support needed to change that. Having guns is, currently, the default option if there's no agreement amoung the various sides in the same way that Englands default is to not have guns.

This is, of course, theoretical. This is how it's SUPPOSED to work. The reality is that the anti-gun side doesn't have enough support to pass an ammendment repealing the second ammendment so they set out to intentionally circumvent the Constitution and deny citizens their default rights. I personally find that disgusting, especially in a group that claims to defend the Constitution. I absolutely agree with the ACLUs defense of the first ammendment however I find their attitude towards the second ammendment shows that they really aren't concerned about defending civil liberties, instead they're just insterested in promoting their political agenda regardless of what the Consitution says and it so happens I agree with some of their agenda.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]

You're living in in the early 1700s (none / 0) (#218)
by heavenstorm on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 02:56:53 AM EST

The reality is that the anti-gun side doesn't have enough support to pass an amendment repealing the second amendment so they set out to intentionally circumvent the Constitution and deny citizens their default rights.
Please, that is 90% of the function of the federal government and every exception to the Bill of Rights (of which the list is huge). The Constitution has no authority, because it has no teeth. The notion that one needs an amendement in order to change the Constitution has been almost completely absent from politics for at least 70 years. The fact of the matter is, it's way too hard to amend the Constitution; it is much easier (indeed, very easy) merely to ignore it.

This, of course, is an essential flaw in the very idea of a Constitution. There is no solving it. Give up.

[ Parent ]

Of course, there's always the militia argument.. (none / 0) (#119)
by Kwil on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:49:13 AM EST

..that is, given that the US has an extremely well-armed and regulated militia, is the 2nd amendment fully applicable?

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
I don't follow... (none / 0) (#123)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 06:56:04 AM EST

Are you saying that the National Guard is a militia?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Pretty much. (none / 0) (#138)
by Kwil on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:41:53 AM EST

And a well-regulated one at that too.

After all, each of the other amendments is taken as a whole, why is it only the second one that people neglect that first half?

When you read the whole thing, it looks pretty clear to me that it was designed to be sure that states were allowed to have a militia. Not John Doe being allowed to carry his shiny colt down the street.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
No, it's obviously both. (none / 0) (#149)
by cburke on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 03:20:42 PM EST

First, the NG isn't really a militia, it's a branch of the national military without the full-time commitment.  Militias would be state-run, and used only in cases of national emergency for defense.  Traditionally militias were unorganized until such time as they were called upon, and generally consisted of every able-bodied (and armed) adult male.  Article 1 Section 8 gives Congress this power:  "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions"  Nothing in there about occupying Iraq.

Second, the anti-individual-gun-right people aren't taking the ammendment as a whole, because they want the first clause to be the only one that matters.  

When you read the whole thing, it is obvious that the ammendment is meant to provide for both a well-regulated militia and a personal right to own firearms (it says right of the People, not right of the Militia), and that the second half was viewed as fundamental to the first.  

[ Parent ]

However.. (none / 0) (#155)
by Kwil on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:40:36 PM EST

..the amendment does not say that people are guaranteed the right to keep and bear arms for anything other than the security of a free state as protected by a well-regulated militia.

So long as any federal regulations do not impinge on that particular goal (as decided by the State) then it seems to be constitutional to me.

Further, I'd suggest that if the State feels a well-regulated militia is one that does not have a certain type of firearm, it is also constitutional for them to ban that.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
That's not the way the constitution works (none / 0) (#229)
by kerinsky on Tue Dec 28, 2004 at 01:15:34 AM EST

That's not the way the constitution works, at all.

You as a citizen are allowed to do anything that the federal, state or local government is not specifically, clearly and appropriatly given the power to prevent you from doing in the law.

The Bill of Rights was inteded as extra armor against muddy headed thinking that would have (and has) used the neccesary and proper clause to expand proper federal government mandates into other areas.  Provisions are made to be able to formally amend the constitution as needed, not shoehorn new powers into well founded mandates.

The caveat of course is that you mentioned state, not federal, infrigment of the free bearing of arms by citizens.  I can't quite fathom what your exact viewpoint is here, in that I get the impression from you post you hold that the federal government cannot infringe at all, whereas the state is held only to having to play with the definition of "well regulated militia"  I can't fathom that viewpoint and as such I'll assume I'm misreading you, but to me there are only two sane ways of looking at this.

One is the strict constructionist view of the constituion.  The power to regulate the ownership of arms was not specifically barred to the states, so under the tenth ammendment they have it.  The second ammendment does not apply at all, any state that goes through the proper legal channels can pass a ban on all guns for any reason whatsoever.  As for the federal government, it's hands off "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  They gave a reason for barring this power, but they did NOT make it contingent upon that reason or up for any interperitation against said reason.  If it's an arm, you can have it and the federal government can't stop you legally unless they change the constitution.  That's what the constitution actually says.

The psuedo-realistic approach is that since 1947 Adamson v. California decision the supreme court has been "incorporating" almost all of the bill of rights under the 14th amendment, that is applying them to the states.  Thus, the state has no more legal power to regulate arms than the federal government, that is to say, none.  I don't think I need to point out the stupidity of this approach, which is why the courts have layered on more stupidity to prevent their previous stupidty from being suicidal.

-=-
Aconclusionissimplytheplacewhereyougottiredofthinking.
[ Parent ]

Which is total BS (none / 0) (#178)
by godix on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:06:45 AM EST

The founding fathers defined EXACTLY what the term 'militia' meant elsewhere. That definition basically was 'any white male citizen under a certain age (45 I think)'. Throw in the later ideals of equality of the sexes, races, and ages and you end up with a definition meaning 'any citizen'. Anyone who argues that 'militia' was supposed to mean the National Guard is flat out lying. To be fair most using this arguement probably aren't intentionally lying, they're just to fucking stupid to hold an educated opinion on the subject.

Since I don't really feel like getting bogged down in yet another gun arguement I'm keeping this short and not bothering with proof. If you want proof then feel free to look up any one of the god knows how many gun articles on K5, some moron almost always brings up the 'militia' arguement and someone usually points out how full of shit that is.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]

The Second Amendment... (2.42 / 7) (#54)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 04:00:32 PM EST

is not about protecting oneself from common criminals. Rather, it is about protecting oneself against an out of control government. At least, this was the purpose of it when the founding father wrote it.

Your conceptions about the force mismatch is valid only in the case of combat on a wide open plain, in a desert, etc. Things become much more complicated on varied terrain, and infinitely more complicated in an urban environment. If you don't think that low tech weapons can hamstring high tech forces, look at the trouble that is being had in Iraq today, and look at the problems that were had back in Vietnam.

I know it's easy to feel like the Second Amendment is anachronistic when we live in such a civilized society, but it's folly to think that we got to where we did in a vacuum. We didn't. Our Bill of Rights was crafted very deliberately by people who knew first hand what it was like to be under the thumb of a government that had a monopoly on force. If I were you, I would not take the lessons of history so lightly.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I don't know how you could possibly say this: (2.28 / 7) (#55)
by cburke on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 04:03:13 PM EST

The other civil liberties, though - freedom of speech, freedom of privacy, freedom of religion - are the bedrock of a civilized and civil society.

without being completely ignorant of how we came to enjoy those civil liberties in the first place.

And as regards this:

the idea that guns will protect us from an overweening government which has tanks and SAMs and nuclear weapons is absurd

So you say.  However I and other patriots are keeping our eye on Iraq and Chechnya.  Those tanks and SAMs and nukes sure look pretty worthless on the streets of Falluja, don't they?  It's funny to me that urbanites apparently don't think they could resist when cities are one of the best places to engage in guerilla warfare.  Though admittedly it will still be as hard as fighting anywhere else if you don't have any guns.

[ Parent ]

You are incorrect (2.33 / 3) (#58)
by fluxrad on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 04:43:50 PM EST

Those tanks and SAMs and nukes sure look pretty worthless on the streets of Falluja, don't they?

They are worthless because they are not being used as an overwhelming display of force. This was not done in order to maintain the good will of the rest of the country.

If the US had wanted to take Falluja in a single day they very well could have done so by leveling most, if not all of, the city. Fortunately for the rebels, it reflects poorly on CENTCOM if they kill as many civillians as insurgents. That would probably not be the case if cities and states in the US were to engage in open rebellion against the central government. We're talking about civil war here - but this time instead of pitchforks against gatling guns it would be Tek-9's against Apaches with Vulcan cannons. Have you ever seen what a 35mm cannon firing depleted uranium rounds does to whatever it hits?

The notion that a AR-15, MP5, or even AK47 will stand up to the US army when it's actually trying hard to win a battle (regardless of casualties) is laughable.

Oh, FWIW - I am a firm supporter of the 2nd amendment. But I also believe that, these days, guns are more for fun and hunting than they are for protecting yourself from "The Man."

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
And that's why Chechnya is so peaceful? (none / 1) (#80)
by jubal3 on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 01:21:24 AM EST

The Russkies leveled Grozny, they levelled other towns, they randomly massacred whole villages. And they've lost HOW many troops doing it?

Successful guerilla war against a determined, ruthless opponent is difficult, dangerous and bloody. It certainly is not impossible.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

"success" (none / 1) (#99)
by aphrael on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 01:36:28 PM EST

Would you claim the Chechens have been successful? I wouldn't; they've increased the cost to the Russians of staying - but the Russians are still there, so their primary goal has not been achieved. Meanwhile, how many of their people are dying?

[ Parent ]
Ask me again in 5 years (none / 1) (#106)
by jubal3 on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 05:50:32 PM EST

Guerilla insurgencies are never fast. This one's only about 11 years old, or a lot less, depending on when you start counting.

Hey, the Vietnamese fought for over 25 years before they got what they wanted, going through three different sets of occupiers in the process.

I would predict in the long run, the Chechens will win,unless they implode from within.

What's more interesting than the war part, is that there is a very large, well-supported and viable political wing to the insurgency, which is growing in power, international prestige etc.

Look for the Russkies to cut a meaningful deal with these folks sometime in the next several years.


***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
[ Parent ]

serious answer (3.00 / 2) (#126)
by Battle Troll on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 08:13:01 AM EST

Vietnam had a long history of independence and coherent self-government. The Vietnamese maintained their nationhood and ethnic distinctness through hundreds of years of Chinese rule.

The Chechens have managed the second, but not the first. The main reason that the Russians invaded them was fear of an independent Chechnya (which there was for a short while) because an independent Chechnya would always be a huge security threat to the neighbouring Russian provinces, as a haven for the illegal arms trade, drug smuggling, banditry, and general lawlessness.

The USA would never tolerate a 'Chechnya' on its own border. Why should Russia?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

That's a somewhat reasonable stance... (none / 0) (#127)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 08:26:51 AM EST

but I'd like to think that the US would do a better job of not raping the women and executing unarmed men. Sure, we've done some bad, odious shit in Iraq, but it really pales in comparison to the stuff that is going down in Chechnya. Whereas the American public was outraged about Abu Ghraib, I get the impression that a long history of brutal totalitarianism has left the Russians somewhat desensitized to atrocities. They lost, what, 20M in WWII? As such, it is dubious that the stuff happening in Chechnya even registers on their radar. I'm not really qualified to make this assertion, but it's the gut level feeling that I get from the situation. I suppose I'd have to read Russian newspapers to make fair judgment. Er... Then again, aren't all of their media outlets state run?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
yes and no (none / 1) (#130)
by Battle Troll on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:18:47 AM EST

The USA is not in Russia's situation. I would say that the US extirpation of the Native Americans is the closest historical analog to this situation; wild border peoples are never tolerated by civilized nations, period.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Fair enough. (none / 1) (#131)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:24:56 AM EST

I guess there's probably not that much utility to saying "oh those poor people". It's just the way of nation states to act as such. In any case, though, I don't really blame the Chechnyan terrorists for doing the insane stuff that they do. I can't say that I'd act very civilized if I'd had my family wiped out by a nation state bent on my extermination. So it goes.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
extermination? (none / 1) (#135)
by Battle Troll on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 10:00:22 AM EST

Sorry, my analogy wasn't clear. Russia doesn't want to eradicate Chechnya, it wants to destroy its autonomy. If Russian police could patrol the streets of a pacified Chechnya tomorrow, Russia would have achieved its war aim. Moreover, most Chechens are apathetic about Russian dominance.

However, there is a hard core of about 20% of the population who will fight Russian governance at any cost, and there are others who are willing to fight Russia because of what the Russians have already done, which means that there are way more than enough people to keep the war going.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Interesting point (3.00 / 3) (#102)
by sllort on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 03:14:04 PM EST

So you're saying that modern weaponry is only good for levelling a city, not conquering it? This means that, in an America with private gun ownership, the only way to conquer the nation is to destroy it utterly, leaving nothing behind to rule over?

And you don't consider this a deterrent to fascism?

This is why you conservatives always leave me scratching my head in the end.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

Heh. Conservative. (none / 0) (#107)
by fluxrad on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 06:32:17 PM EST

Considering my friends at work call me a tree-hugging liberal douchebag and I tend to vote democrat, I think you pegged the wrong guy. Plus, a conservative would be more likely to buy the line that an armed US can never be subjugated by its government. I don't.

So you're saying that modern weaponry is only good for levelling a city, not conquering it? This means that, in an America with private gun ownership, the only way to conquer the nation is to destroy it utterly, leaving nothing behind to rule over?

These are two disparate things. You ask about levelling a city and then, in the next breath, assume that coincides with conquering a nation. Also, you assume that a city has to be leveled to be conquered. In fact, what I had said was that the easiest way to conquer a city was to level it. This of course still leaves room for starving out a city or house to house fighting with overwhelming firepower (i.e. Falluja).

But then you go even further in your assumptions, asking if you'd have to level a country in order to win a war. And we both know that's rather puerile thinking. What wins you a war is controlling access to major cities, ports, and supply lines.

That's something a hick in a pickup with a bottle of molotov cocktails ain't gonna get done.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Don't call me a hick (none / 1) (#117)
by sllort on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 01:18:25 AM EST

And don't underestimate me. Like other liberals, I stand a determined opponent of fascism. You can call yourself whatever you want, but you stand alongside Hitler when you call for the end of private gun ownership. That makes you a conservative to me.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
Erm... (none / 0) (#118)
by fluxrad on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 01:45:14 AM EST

Who the hell said i called for the end of private gun ownership? I'm looking to get a Glock 17 myself.

I said small arms were ineffective against a uniformed military. I didn't say we should get rid of them because of that.

And don't worry, you're not a hick. You're just a dumbass.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Well excuse me (none / 0) (#171)
by sllort on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 10:19:52 PM EST

I mistook you for one of the guns-arent-essential-to-freedom-so-its-ok-to-ban-them folks. You are instead a gun owner who doesn't believe that guns are essential to freedom.

Not sure what to make of you, then. At least I was able to reduce your argument to "you're a dumbass".

Private gun ownership makes subjecting a populace to martial law wildly more difficult. I love watching people deny this and then see it every night on TV.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

My argument wasn't that you're a dumbass. (none / 0) (#173)
by fluxrad on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 10:58:45 PM EST

I simply called you a dumbass because you have consistently failed it correctly read what and interpret what I have written. For example, you now call me a gun owner, which I am not. You also said that I believe guns aren't essential to freedom, which I have not at all asserted.

But like I said. You're not a dumbass because you disagree with me. You'd have to actually pay attention to my argument to disagree with me. And your lack of that particular ability is what makes you a dumbass.

Meh. I'm done with this argument.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
palestinians (none / 0) (#143)
by mpalczew on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:41:42 PM EST

yeah, Israel sure is able to make this work.
-- Death to all Fanatics!
[ Parent ]
I'm perplexed here. (none / 1) (#98)
by aphrael on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 01:35:18 PM EST

How does saying that freedom of speech, privacy, and religion are the bedrock of a civilized and civil society imply that one is ignorant of the philisophical and political histories behind these ideas? Or, perhaps more to the point, what is in the history of these concepts that you think undermines the claim?

I would argue that a society which does not allow free speech, privacy, and freedom of religion is neither civilized nor civil; and if that means that I'm saying that no country in the eighteenth century was civilized or civil, then that's what I'm saying. I'm quite aware of the breadth of my statement: but I don't think it's unreasonable to claim that there is something quite uncivilized about fighting a civil war over religion, as France, Germany, and (arguably) England did; nor do I think it's unreasonable to claim that there is something quite uncivilized about a state in which people are not free to express their political opinions.

Perhaps, on the other hand, you believe such behavior on the part of states to be civilized. If so, I'm glad I don't live in your world. :)

[ Parent ]

Clearly. (3.00 / 2) (#110)
by cburke on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 08:42:54 PM EST

How does saying that freedom of speech, privacy, and religion are the bedrock of a civilized and civil society imply that one is ignorant of the philisophical and political histories behind these ideas? Or, perhaps more to the point, what is in the history of these concepts that you think undermines the claim?

You completely missed what I was saying, and I'm willing to take partial blame for that.  I have no idea what you were talking about with "Perhaps, on the other hand, you believe such behavior on the part of states to be civilized." but I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with my point.  So let me explain.

You didn't just say freedom of speech, privacy, religion are the bedrock of civil society...  You said that freedom to bear arms is not, while these other things are.  My response was meant to make you recognize that these Bedrocks of Civilization didn't spring from nowhere -- they were earned from an oppresive government through the force of arms, a fact the founders were well aware of but modern Americans seem to have forgotten, despite having multiple holidays honoring our military victory and the General who led us to it.

Bedrock implies stability, sureness.  Rights are meaningless if someone can come and take those rights from you and you have no recourse.  That isn't bedrock.  The bedrock of free society isn't the freedoms.  The bedrock of free society is a people who are willing and able to ensure those freedoms.

Without that, you aren't building on bedrock.  You're building on dried mud and hoping it doesn't rain.  Maybe you think it's too arid where you are, it couldn't possibly rain, so no worries.  You're still on mud.  That won't stop you from being washed away when the unthinkable happens.

The founding fathers weren't about ensuring freedom through wishful thinking.

[ Parent ]

A bizarre anachronism? (2.66 / 6) (#57)
by Polverone on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 04:36:43 PM EST

I love this argument.

"Society is very different now than it was in 1776. The Founding Fathers were good but not infallible. They did not see the coming technological advances or societal changes that would render their cherished tools more dangerous than useful. They did not properly envision these tools becoming more hazardous to their fellow citizens than to potential government tyranny. So, even though the right to possess these items with no regulation is enshrined in our foundational legal documents and our history, we should work to regulate and control these items so they are no longer so dangerous and readily available. Old ideals should not imperil modern safety and order."

Am I talking about muzzle loading rifles vs AK-47s, or am I talking about hand-operated printing presses vs. web servers?

I'm an ACLU member, but I need an NRA membership too to fill the gap in their defense of the Bill of Rights.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

That is an excellent line of reasoning. (2.28 / 7) (#59)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 05:44:18 PM EST

If the anti-gun folk want to argue that the Second Amendment is anachronistic since we've gone from muzzle loading weapons to Kalashnikovs, we might just as well argue that the First Amendment has been rendered obsolete as the result of our going from printing presses to web servers. Web servers, don't you know, are more harmful to our fellow citizens than to potential government tyranny. We ought to regulate and control them so they are no longer so dangerous and readily available.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Counterfeiting, talk radio, and spam prove (3.00 / 8) (#64)
by Polverone on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 07:20:47 PM EST

that the power to publish should not fall into the wrong hands. Unregulated sales of publishing equipment is all well and good if you're a firebrand revolutionary or living in the lawless West of 150 years ago, but this is the 21st century. We must make certain compromises to protect people from themselves and each other. That's why we so desperately need a BATFE (Bureau of Art, Theology, and Free Expression) to bring the same reasonable restrictions to 1st Amendment rights as we have brought to the rights enshrined in other amendments.

I think we can all agree at least that high-capacity, high-speed web servers should be restricted to those who can show a legitimate need for them. Those meddlers on the Supreme Court bench might try to nullify our safety measures though, so instead of outlawing possession by the general public, we're just going to put a $50,000 transfer tax and registration requirement on any web server capable of serving more than 200 pages per minute.

Soon to follow: eliminating mail-order sales of routers, servers, presses, photocopiers, transmitters, and other communications devices. There will be a background check, waiting period, and a modest license fee before you can purchase whatever communication equipment remains legal. People with a history of trouble with the law or mental illness will not be permitted to buy or own such equipment.

Don't think of it as an erosion of rights. Think of it as an enhancement of safety. It can't really be a bad idea as long as more than 50% of the population likes it.

You think that the BATFE appears to regulate the T much less than the FE? Well, true, but T and the government have a reasonably good relationship. There's no urgent need to rock the boat over it. You might think that T kills more people than FE and should be treated more strictly, but it's that sort of thinking that gives you away as a dangerous kook.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

That is beautiful. /nt (2.00 / 2) (#66)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 07:32:35 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
+1FP. Seriously. (3.00 / 2) (#91)
by BadDoggie on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 09:36:18 AM EST

Flesh it out a bit more and file it under Politics or OpEd. I will log in with every du... I mean, I'll call every person I know on k5 and get them to vote it up.

I hate to say it but it was a comment along these lines only a few months ago that let me play a thought game ad absurdium, taking the arguments to their extreme -- but logical -- conclusions, and the one that I came to is that I can't sanction gun control. I don't like that idea, but the logic is there.

So seriously, write this up and put it in the Edit Queue.

woof.

"Eppur si muove." -- Galileo Galilei
"Nevertheless, it moves."
[ Parent ]

I smell a front page story here (3.00 / 2) (#92)
by Edit Queue on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 09:45:44 AM EST

It's not the usual forced "humor" I usually get. It's also not so subtle that only five people here would catch on. I like it. Finish it up and gimme gimme gimme!

"Oh man, I'm so lame. -- Rusty
[ Parent ]

We've just never seen it abused enough (none / 0) (#142)
by shinshin on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:26:33 PM EST

I tend to be a pretty extreme civil liberties nut, but I diverge from the pack in that I think that sometimes there should be limits on speech. Just because completely unrestricted speech has not brought about catastrophe in the US in recent memory doesn't mean that it doesn't happen.

Read about hate radio in Rwanda and how it lead to neighbors hacking neighbors to pieces with machetes until nearly a million people were exterminated.

And don't tell me it can't happen here, either. The trend exists, and their names are Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh.1

Your's is not the only slippery slope we need to beware of.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

The US already has limits on speech (none / 0) (#153)
by Polverone on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:10:48 PM EST

For example, counterfeiting, slander, and child pornography are not protected even though they may involve publishing or speech of various sorts. Direct incitements to violence are also unprotected. I am firmly opposed to the expansion of limits on speech, however. If the only way to circumvent a Rwanda-scale breakdown of the rule of law is to perform extralegal surgery on our foundational legal documents, then I think the US is screwed either way.

To parallel the real-world restrictions on weapons ownership in the US, I facetiously proposed that equipment, not behavior, should be strictly regulated. The difference between outlawing incitements to murder and outlawing private presses is the difference between outlawing murder and outlawing weapons.

I realize that it is still possible to make an argument that weapons are dangerous and should be strictly regulated. But I believe that the only legitimate way to do this on the Federal level, or to weaken/alter any other liberty granted by the Constitution, is to garner enough support to amend the Constitution, not to say "things are a lot different from 200 years ago" and simply bypass those tired old freedoms. The "things are different now" argument applies equally well to any Constitutionally-protected right you care to name. I believe that another legitimate approach would be to allow individual states to preserve fewer freedoms than the federal government, but this would have to permit (for example) the possibility of state-sponsored religions, slavery, and warrantless police searches as well as strict gun control and anti-hate-speech laws.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

Get back to me.. (none / 1) (#158)
by Kwil on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:59:45 PM EST

..when the main purpose of a printing press is killing things.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Propaganda Kills /nt (1.50 / 2) (#160)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 05:54:12 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Goals and methods (none / 0) (#227)
by Polverone on Sun Dec 26, 2004 at 05:55:28 PM EST

I think that "weapons are dangerous, and we should control them" is a respectable line of argument. I do not think that "weapons are dangerous, and we should control them regardless of what our foundational legal documents say" is a respectable line of argument. If you want modern gun control, don't force the individual states to adhere to the restrictions on federal power outlined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (so they can enact their own strong gun control and otherwise neglect the Bill of Rights), or amend the Constitution. If you do otherwise, you are working to weaken the guarantees provided by other provisions of the Bill of Rights as well. Wave goodbye to freedom of speech and religion, speedy public trials, and limited police search powers while you're at it. That's what you invite if you believe that liberties should be quietly curtailed when they appear dangerous.

I realize that I'm tilting at windmills when I dream of a government that respects the limitations originally crafted for it (or at least always makes expansions of its power highly visible and undertakes them only with broad support among the people and their representatives). Still, I'm amazed by the number of people who love being pissed on by centralized power, singing about the refreshing rainwater and isn't it lucky we live in such a damp climate because in arid regions people often set themselves on fire and burn to death.

Sometimes the urine of Power must fall upon the tinderbox of Liberty so that we can all enjoy the rich, smoldering odor of Modernity.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

TELL IT TO FALLUJAH (none / 0) (#101)
by sllort on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 03:08:02 PM EST

THEIR QUEST FOR INDEPENDENCE FROM AMERICAN RULE RIDES ABACK THE AK-47
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
And we see how well they're doing, too. (none / 0) (#144)
by aphrael on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:58:01 PM EST

The Americans don't seem to be gone. :)

[ Parent ]
Well we'll see who lasts longer (none / 0) (#170)
by sllort on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 10:16:20 PM EST

Any guesses on who has the shortest attention span?
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
guns alleviate dependence on police (none / 0) (#216)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 06:28:40 PM EST

That is the real social benefit of gun ownership.  Individuals defending themselves are far more likely to be humanistic and reasonable than policemen enforcing other people's laws for money with an army backing them up.  If every citizen owned a gun, the police would not be able to justify gross violations of liberty, privacy, humanity, and reason in the name of safety.

[ Parent ]
IAWTP (none / 1) (#67)
by trane on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 07:32:36 PM EST

Guns are like drugs, or pornography. You will just make things worse by trying to prohibit any of them.

8-year olds should be able to buy Hustler, crack, and Saturday Night Specials.

[ Parent ]

In the Glorious United States of America... (none / 0) (#69)
by BJH on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 08:19:59 PM EST

...they already can!

(So that's what they mean by "advanced nation"...)
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]

not to mention (2.16 / 6) (#46)
by Delirium on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 03:13:13 PM EST

That they fight for a lot of things that are just generic "liberal causes", like affirmative action. I'm not sure how you can even construe that as a civil liberty, even if you support it: Civil liberties are rights that must be protected from government encroachment, while affirmative action is actually an active program.

[ Parent ]
I support Affirmative Action (1.50 / 2) (#68)
by trane on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 07:34:25 PM EST

for white crack smokers.

[ Parent ]
Yeah (2.50 / 4) (#61)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 06:09:16 PM EST

And why is it that the NRA only defends the second amendment and not the first?

For that matter, why doesn't the NRA defend the second amendment rights of children and the mentally disabled.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]

There is a huge difference. (2.00 / 2) (#63)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 06:21:19 PM EST

The NRA does not speak out against the First Amendment. The ACLU, however, is in fact antagonistic to the Second Amendment. Do not conflate those two stances. They are very different.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I think the 2nd should be supported (3.00 / 2) (#71)
by GenerationY on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 08:46:51 PM EST

I think its high time you spent a few years in the "well-regulated militia". The only people funnier than fundamentalists are gun-nuts trying to twist what the words "militia" and "well-regulated" mean.

[ Parent ]
Actually not that I mind (none / 1) (#72)
by GenerationY on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 08:59:31 PM EST

You'd need a damn big gun to shoot me from where you are. I just wish people who liked guns would just say so and let me call them names instead of acting the injured traditionalists y'know... its like, switch off the reggae, if you want a spliff just roll the damn thing and have done with it.


[ Parent ]
People who like guns? (2.00 / 3) (#74)
by Polverone on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 10:16:54 PM EST

I own a couple of guns (both inherited) that I leave at my parents' house. Where I'm living right now I have no use for a gun. I don't even really "like" guns. They're expensive and need to be handled carefully. I don't hate or fear them, and I'm not ignorant of theoretical and practical aspects of their use, but I can get much better enjoyment value for my dollar elsewhere. Still, I believe that the right of people to bear arms should be defended as vigorously as any other provision of the Bill of Rights. Not every absolutist defender of the 1st Amendment wants to become a pornographer. Not every absolutist defender of the 2nd Amendment wants to become a gun collector or mercenary. Not every absolutist defender of the 4th Amendment loves criminals.

I support individual freedoms in general, even those I don't intend to immediately and thoroughly exercise. My apologies if you genuinely mean to refer only to people who like guns and not everyone who tries to defend the 2nd Amendment from a historical standpoint. In any case I also support your right to call anyone names for any reason, so have at it if I'm on your list.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

Pray tell, oh wise one... (none / 0) (#73)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 09:23:11 PM EST

What do "militia" and "well-regulated" mean? I'm not sure I can trust you anyway. My country had to come up with the Second Amendment to deal with countries like yours. :-p

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Have you even read the thing? (none / 0) (#81)
by cburke on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 02:01:30 AM EST

The only thing funnier than people trying to twist what "militia" and "well-regulated" means is people trying to twist what "people" means.  I think it's funny that both "liberals" on the 2nd Ammendment and homophobic "conservatives" on the 14th Ammendment have the same problem. People means people means people means people!

PEOPLE have the right to bear arms.

THE MILITIA should be well-regulated

THAT is what the 2nd Ammendment says.

Oh, and fyi, regulated doesn't just mean "restricted" but it means "functional", like a well-regulated engine.

[ Parent ]

Nah, the opposite (2.00 / 2) (#83)
by GenerationY on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 03:49:15 AM EST

The 2nd ammendment, to paraphrase, says everyone should be allowed to own arms so that if they have to fight together against an enemy of the Free state they know how to do it right?

I believe firearms CAN protect the Free state: why don't the NRA and their colleagues?
And freedom is under threat every second of every minute of every hour of everyday. Perhaps tommorrow will be the day to die in a hail of bullets outside the capitol?

The Founding Fathers were writing about hardy pioneers and farmers when they said The People. Strong yeomen, hardy outdoorsmen who were in various ways already veterans. They couldn't have imagined widespread obesity and people who won't walk to the postbox. All I'm saying is that if that people are unable to be effective combatants (through physical/mental/moral condition or unwillingness to train) they shouldn't be allowed to own firearms as they cannot constitute a part of a well regulated (meaning functional) militia. You can't have out of condition or untrained people fighting, they become a general liabity and a source of friendy fire casualties. They are a danger to their countrymen and thus a danger to the Free state itself in other words. They should stop hating their homeland that has given them so much and take up fishing or something instead.

How come there is at the same time 1. A firearms lobby claiming record membership figures and 2. A recruitment problem in the National Guard since the Iraq insurgency began?

[ Parent ]

Wow. Your logic could not be more flawed. (2.00 / 2) (#87)
by skyknight on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 07:01:04 AM EST

Has it occurred to you that people not wanting to serve in Iraq has more to do with a disagreement about the validity of the Iraq war than it does about a general martial unwillingness? Your comparison could not be more out of place if you tried.

Also, your question as to why we aren't at the capitol taking shots already is ridiculous. Nobody wants to exercise their Second Amendment rights. They are much like the ownership of nuclear weapons, in that you hope that they can be leveraged as a bargaining chip and nothing more. Things have to get really bad before people are willing to use them. Politics in the US are currently aggravatingly stupid, but not brutal. We're in the most prosperous country in the world, and as rude and uncultured as we are, we are pretty damn civilized overall and have an excellent albeit flawed legal system.

This isn't Chechnya. However, if soldiers were to roll up, kill my brothers and fathers, rape my mother and sister, and loot my property, you can bloody fucking bet I'd be out there planting IEDs and taking pot shots at soldiers with a sniper rifle. We're just not there, though, and to say that I'm lazy about my Second Amendment rights just because I am not marching on the capitol and threatening violence every week is ridiculous. I'm not lazy. I'm sensible and extremely conservative about the use of force, like any adult should be.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Your fathers? (none / 1) (#111)
by Dr Gonzo on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 10:12:13 PM EST

I'd like to hear the story behind that one, LOL!

"I felt the warmth spread across my lap as her bladder let loose." - MichaelCrawford
[ Parent ]

Okay, I think I misunderstood you. (none / 0) (#93)
by cburke on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 09:53:39 AM EST

The 2nd ammendment, to paraphrase, says everyone should be allowed to own arms so that if they have to fight together against an enemy of the Free state they know how to do it right?

Pretty much, yeah.  Where "enemy of the Free state" includes the government.

I believe firearms CAN protect the Free state: why don't the NRA and their colleagues?

I think they do.  I'm not sure why the NRA doesn't advertise this facet more; I think it's because it doesn't resonate with a lot of complacent Americans.  Especially the part about using these arms in revolt against an oppressive government -- that could never happen here!  Or so they think.

The Founding Fathers were writing about hardy pioneers and farmers when they said The People.

Well, fine, as long as you recognize that they're talking about The People.  A lot of peolpe -- Americans! -- try to argue that the terms "militia" and "well-regulated" mean the 2nd Ammendment doesn't refer to a personal right to own firearms, when it's right there in writting:  "the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed".  So yeah, I assumed that is what you were saying.

All I'm saying is that if that people are unable to be effective combatants (through physical/mental/moral condition or unwillingness to train) they shouldn't be allowed to own firearms as they cannot constitute a part of a well regulated (meaning functional) militia.

Nope, sorry... The right of the people shall not be infringed.  You might as well talk about a literacy test before people should be allowed to vote, lest they do more harm than good.

You can't have out of condition or untrained people fighting, they become a general liabity and a source of friendy fire casualties.

Oh, I agree with that completely.  I would very much like to see more State militias and free firearm training programs, etc.  I have no military training, but I do know how to use rifles and shotguns.  I believe that providing training for State militias was part of the initial intent, but that would be under the auspices of the state governments.  These used to exist; I'm not certain of how and why they stopped but I suspect it was post-Civil War.

How come there is at the same time 1. A firearms lobby claiming record membership figures and 2. A recruitment problem in the National Guard since the Iraq insurgency began?

Well, it goes back to the beginning of your post:  Iraq is not an enemy of the Free state.

The thing is, the National Guard is really not the State militias that are spoken of in the Constitution.  For one thing, the purpose of the militia is to defend the country and that is it.  According to the Constitution, it is to be used in a time of national emergency for purposes of defense.  It is not supposed to be an extra pool of soldiers for the Army to use when they don't have enough troops to occupy a foreign land.    If the National Guard were truly a militia, then it would be only the Army/Navy/Air Force that were in Iraq and the National Guard would be responsible for defending the country in their absence.

I would join a State militia in a heartbeat if the purpose was to train for the defense of my home city/state/country.  I would pick up a firearm right now in defense of my home if necessary, and yeah it'd be nice to have training.  As soon as you want to send me off to some foreign land for dubious reasons, the deal is off.  Why would I want to go overseas to shoot at some Iraqi that's never done a damn thing to me?

This probably isn't the reason for the phenomenon in many cases, but I feel that increases in firearm lobby membership and decrease in National Guard recruitment are perfectly consistent with an appreciation for the 2nd Ammendment.  Tricking the people into foreign wars is kind of what you might call a "warning sign", if you understand my meaning.


[ Parent ]

Heh fair enough (none / 0) (#97)
by GenerationY on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 12:03:34 PM EST

I hope you did notice I know I wasn't being entirely serious, I wasn't trolling but I was being rather radically hypothetical shall we say.

I can see where the 2nd ammendment comes from in the European context; for centuries there were laws about commoners doing weekly archery practice observed by a clergyman so they could be banded into an army by the local gentry if required. So the 2nd ammendment is sort of the same thing, but with wording added to make it clear that we aren't talking about the people fighting as someone else's army like European peasants, but for their own interests.

When I'm not being silly I do think that some organised training might be a good idea to make it 'live' so to speak. I think I'd also have more sympathy if the gun fraternity were more into the weight of responsibility and duty rather than whooping and hollering about 'dead fingers' and so on. Personally it seems odd to me that people have firearms privately, although I've carried one in the context of being a cadet.

I think its interesting that the National Guard aren't the civil militia, I have to admit I thought thats how it worked. Otherwise the State Governors are acting like the gentry in the European example, raising an army for the king. Sounds like reform is needed. An administration hell bent on Homeland Security would, you think, have spotted the contradictions here.

[ Parent ]

try your States Guard (none / 0) (#232)
by gandalf23 on Tue Dec 28, 2004 at 05:40:09 PM EST

See if your state has a State Guard. Several states have them, Texas has a pretty large one.

Texas's State Guard are controlled by the governor and are used for the defense of the state and for help after disasters, both man-made and natural. A lot of the Columbia cleanup was done by the TSG.

One weekend a month. After a year's service you get tuition assistance at any (Texas) state university/colege, which is damn nice.

[ Parent ]

Perhaps he should (none / 0) (#96)
by davidduncanscott on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 11:35:04 AM EST

but where could he do that?

The National Guard is clearly not at all what the framers had in mind. A militia, in the sense they used the term, would need to be independent of the government, whereas today's Guard is simply an auxilary US Army. Far from being prepared to fight against the government, the Guard has been called to fight for it.

[ Parent ]

twisting words (none / 0) (#215)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 06:16:06 PM EST

"well-regulated," of troops, means (meant) trained; i.e., ready for battle, according to the fundamentalist gun-nuts at the Oxford English Dictionary.

[ Parent ]
Explain (none / 0) (#112)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 10:35:32 PM EST

How is the ACLU against the second amendment?

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
They can't be everywhere, and choose their battle (2.00 / 2) (#85)
by cactus on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 06:12:38 AM EST

It not like somebody else isn't keeping a close eye on protecting the 2nd amendment. Yeesh.
--
"Politics are the entertainment branch of Industry"
-- Frank Zappa
[ Parent ]
You don't get it. (none / 0) (#86)
by skyknight on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 06:47:23 AM EST

It's not about the NRA being silent on First Amendment issues. It's about the ACLU being openly antagonistic to the Second Amendment.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
ACLU is anti-2nd Ammendment. They're Democrat. (1.66 / 3) (#95)
by cburke on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 10:05:39 AM EST

They don't fail to lobby for the 2nd Ammendment, they dismiss it as irrelevent and claim it doesn't give the rights that it does.  

The ACLU basically follows a Democratic liberal view of Civil Liberties.  They are pro-1st Ammendment and pro-gun control, just like a good Democrat.  They support affirmative action, which is not a Constitutional right.  I'm more or less for affirmative action myself, but that doesn't mean I can't recognize when someone is following a party line.

So no, it has nothing to do with "choosing their battle".  It has to do with "choosing which Ammendments count".  Sorry.

[ Parent ]

No, they have an honest disagreement (3.00 / 2) (#103)
by cactus on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 03:45:16 PM EST

Look, I don't agree with their interpretation of the 2nd amendment either. But that's okay - they don't focus on the 2nd Amendment and are easily counterbalanced by the NRA. That's why I donate to both of them.

I would hardly call defending the KKK and Rush Limbaugh Democrat causes - you're taking a distorted, simplistic view of the ACLU.

NOBODY else is doing the great pro-first amendment work that the ACLU is. I'm willing to forgive their more state-centric interpretation of the 2nd Amendment because they don't damage it much, and the NRA overwhelmingly makes up for what they do do.

Bottom line: I'm much, much happier to have the ACLU with all of its blemishes than I would be to not have them. In reality, we can't insist upon 100% agreement from valuable allies.
--
"Politics are the entertainment branch of Industry"
-- Frank Zappa
[ Parent ]
Honest and exactly matching the Dem. line (none / 1) (#109)
by cburke on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 08:21:47 PM EST

I would hardly call defending the KKK and Rush Limbaugh Democrat causes - you're taking a distorted, simplistic view of the ACLU.

I'm not talking about them being Democrats in the sense of working on behalf of the DNC, I'm saying their political stances are an exact mirror of the Democratic party.  Defending the KKK and Rush are both consistent with that stance, but the DNC would never bother to actually do it.  That does not make the observation that the ACLU is Democrat distorted or simplistic.

You're simplisticly assuming that all organizations which are Democrat in politics must therefore pursue the same goals.  There are anti-gun lobby organizations with the exact same politics as the ACLU, but they pursue gun regulation rather than fight for 1st Ammendment rights for unpopular groups.

NOBODY else is doing the great pro-first amendment work that the ACLU is. I'm willing to forgive their more state-centric interpretation of the 2nd Amendment because they don't damage it much, and the NRA overwhelmingly makes up for what they do do.

I agree completely.  I really like the ACLU.  

Bottom line: I'm much, much happier to have the ACLU with all of its blemishes than I would be to not have them. In reality, we can't insist upon 100% agreement from valuable allies.

So am I, and I didn't suggest the ACLU should go away so what's your point?  We can't always agree 100%, that doesn't mean we shouldn't express those disagreements.  

[ Parent ]

ACLU on gun control (2.00 / 2) (#139)
by shinshin on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:05:18 PM EST

Not surprising from the organization that fights so hard for the 1st Ammendment (good for them, btw) while dismissing the 2nd.

While it seems to be part of the collective mythology of the Right that the ACLU are a bunch of namby-pamby liberals that want to take away your huntin' gun (or, more often than not, your "kill the niggers and jews once the South rises again" gun), they actually have a good record on gun rights. They've formed a coalition with the NRA on a number of occasions. But don't let that get in the way of your Limbaugh-scripted knee-jerk reaction to anyone who mentions the ACLU.

No reasonable person in this country thinks there should be unrestricted arms ownership. No one outside of the Branch Davidian headquarters thinks that individuals should be allowed to own nuclear weapons. It is not a question of whether to restrict ownership of arms, it is a question of how much we should restrict it.

To be specific, their official policy can be found here:

"The ACLU agrees with the Supreme Court's long-standing interpretation of the Second Amendment [as set forth in the 1939 case, U.S. v. Miller] that the individual's right to bear arms applies only to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia. Except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected. Therefore, there is no constitutional impediment to the regulation of firearms." --Policy #47

In the end, the number of gun homicides in the United States is over 11,000 per year (about 3.8 per 100,000 population). The UK (which has 1/5th the population of the USA) averages only about 100 gun homicides per year (about 0.16 per 100,000), and most of the other industrialized countries have a similiar low rate of gun homicides compared to the US. If that doesn't bother you, then you are a contemptible human being.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

PLEASE keep calling me a limbaugh-scripted righty. (2.50 / 4) (#148)
by cburke on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 03:03:02 PM EST

Doing so shows that you only engage people long enough to pigeon-hole them into one of your pre-fabricated stereotypes, and then you speak only to the stereotype, not the person.  Finding this out is usually time consuming, so I appreciate you volunteering the information so readily.  Plus it makes me laugh.

They've formed a coalition with the NRA on a number of occasions. But don't let that get in the way of your Limbaugh-scripted knee-jerk reaction to anyone who mentions the ACLU.

Whoa!  You mean the ACLU and the NRA will actually cooperate to oppose legislation when it serves their mutual interests?!  You're blowing my Limbaugh-scripted mind!

In case you didn't notice, the ACLU's problems with the proposed legislation was almost entirely centered around expansion of police powers, restriction of free speech and association, and violation of privacy.  Which is great, good for them, but this does nothing to demonstrate that the ACLU has "a good record on gun rights" because gun rights had little or nothing to do with their complaint.

It is not a question of whether to restrict ownership of arms, it is a question of how much we should restrict it.

It is also a question of whether there is any Constitutional limit to how much you can restrict it.  Nobody thinks you should be able to scream "fire!" in a crowded theatre, or be able to publish slanderous stories, so the 1st Ammendment doesn't matter?!  Of course not.  

As to the ACLU's official policy, which I'm well aware of, thank you very much, let me highlight this:

"Except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected."

Bullshit.  The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  Yeah, yeah, "well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a Free State".  I'm still waiting for the definition of "well-regulated militia" that makes People not mean People.

Well?  I'm waiting.

most of the other industrialized countries have a similiar low rate of gun homicides compared to the US. If that doesn't bother you, then you are a contemptible human being.

First, go fuck a pigeon-hole.
Second, if you'll notice, most other industrialized nations have a low rate of gun homicides irrespective of gun ownership.  The clue this should give you:  The problem isn't the guns, the problem is something deeper and unique to the U.S.  Maybe it's cultural, maybe it's related to our large class of disenfranchised urban poor, but believing that guns are the source of the problem does not correlate with reality, and is as foolish as blaming Columbine on video games.

If the U.S. had an unusually high number of stabbings and baseball bat beatings (and we would if you banned guns) would you be trying to ban knives and bats?  Or would you finally realize that to solve the problem you have to solve the underlying causes?

[ Parent ]

At least you said "please" (none / 0) (#154)
by shinshin on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:26:18 PM EST

Doing so shows that you only engage people long enough to pigeon-hole them into one of your pre-fabricated stereotypes, and then you speak only to the stereotype, not the person. Finding this out is usually time consuming, so I appreciate you volunteering the information so readily. Plus it makes me laugh.

I'm sorry I seem to have hurt your feelings. But when you say things like "Maybe a rename to American Certain Civil Liberties Union is in order", it is clear that you are reading directly from Limbaugh's "how to lose your reasonable liberal friends by ridiculing and minimizing their beliefs" script. Thank you for your contribution to demagoguery!

In case you didn't notice, the ACLU's problems with the proposed legislation was almost entirely centered around expansion of police powers, restriction of free speech and association, and violation of privacy. Which is great, good for them, but this does nothing to demonstrate that the ACLU has "a good record on gun rights" because gun rights had little or nothing to do with their complaint.

The point is that the ACLU, despite your assertions to the contrary, is not against the rights of gun ownership. They have teamed up with the NRA on this, and numerous other, occasions.

It is also a question of whether there is any Constitutional limit to how much you can restrict it. Nobody thinks you should be able to scream "fire!" in a crowded theatre, or be able to publish slanderous stories, so the 1st Ammendment[sic] doesn't matter?! Of course not.

No one said the second amendment doesn't matter. However, no one needs an assault weapon to hunt. No one needs an assault weapon to defend their home. When going up against an oppressive government, an assault weapon will be as useful as a shotgun. The only thing you need an assault weapon for is to murder people.

As to the ACLU's official policy, which I'm well aware of, thank you very much, let me highlight this:

"Except for lawful police and military purposes, the possession of weapons by individuals is not constitutionally protected."

Bullshit. The right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Yeah, yeah, "well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a Free State". I'm still waiting for the definition of "well-regulated militia" that makes People not mean People.

That isn't the ACLU's official position. It is the Supreme Court's, and it has been for 65 years (since U.S. v. Miller). It is the only Supreme Court decision to date to directly address the 2nd Amendment. You'll notice the NRA never actually makes any of their challenges on Constitutional grounds? That's because they know they don't have a Constitutional leg to stand on.

U.S. v. Miller is the law of the land, not the overblown rhetoric of you and the people that feed you these ideas. I'll quote:

The signification attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. "A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline." And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.

That's the law of the land. Period. Get used to it.

Second, if you'll notice, most other industrialized nations have a low rate of gun homicides irrespective of gun ownership.

Do you have a single source to back this up? I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but I'll need to see some real numbers.

The clue this should give you: The problem isn't the guns, the problem is something deeper and unique to the U.S. Maybe it's cultural, maybe it's related to our large class of disenfranchised urban poor, but believing that guns are the source of the problem does not correlate with reality, and is as foolish as blaming Columbine on video games.

Ahh, the old fallback. Blame the Blacks and Mexicans. Tried and true. You're straying away from Limbaugh and moving into Michael Savage territory here.

If the U.S. had an unusually high number of stabbings and baseball bat beatings (and we would if you banned guns) would you be trying to ban knives and bats? Or would you finally realize that to solve the problem you have to solve the underlying causes?

I don't want to ban guns. I never claimed that I did. However, these wackjob "from my cold, dead hands" people give real civil libertariens a bad name. Pretending they are the only ones to respect the Constitution is both disingenuous and despicable.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

Close, but no cigar... (none / 1) (#186)
by Democratus on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:40:08 PM EST

Two points here:

1) Your link does NOT go to the case that you claim. It goes to an Eminent Domain case from 1945 - not the 1939 case to which you are referring.

If you want me to believe that you read a case, you should be able to point to the correct one.

2) Here I will quote you:

When going up against an oppressive government, an assault weapon will be as useful as a shotgun. The only thing you need an assault weapon for is to murder people.


If you read the case, you would notice that the issue debated was weather a sawed-off shotgun could be considered "ANY PART OF THE ORDINARY MILITARY EQUIPMENT" (all caps because I copy/pasted from the court document).

The court further declared that the 2nd ammendment protects the rights of the people to keep weapons that are consistent with military use - for example, assault weapons.

So it seems that the court ruled in favor of assault weapons (including tommy guns) and against the shotgun.

Please don't use a ruling out of context.

[ Parent ]
Assault weapons are doubleplus ungood (none / 0) (#213)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:53:46 PM EST

No one said the second amendment doesn't matter. However, no one needs an assault weapon to hunt. No one needs an assault weapon to defend their home.
What the fuck is an assault weapon?

[ Parent ]
According to the Assault Weapon Ban... (none / 0) (#223)
by Kal on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 12:21:59 PM EST

It was simply a gun that looked scary.

[ Parent ]
_only_ for murder? huh (none / 0) (#231)
by gandalf23 on Tue Dec 28, 2004 at 04:11:45 PM EST

The only thing you need an assault weapon for is to murder people.

Ak!

And to think, I just used mine for sporting purposes.

Damnit! Next one I'll be sure to read the owner's manual. :)

Three Gun match, May 2004

Three Gun match, October 2003

Of yeah, I also use one of my "assault rifle" to hunt deer, although in many states I would not be allowed to as it's not powerfull enough (.223)!

Look, if you don't want to own one, that's fine with me, but stop trying to take mine away, please. And please stop slandering those of use who do own and enjoy them.

[ Parent ]

2+2=4: clear & present danger (none / 1) (#212)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:50:15 PM EST

It is also a question of whether there is any Constitutional limit to how much you can restrict it. Nobody thinks you should be able to scream "fire!" in a crowded theatre, or be able to publish slanderous stories, so the 1st Ammendment doesn't matter?! Of course not.
Of course. The First Amendment originally prevented the federal government from regulating speech in -any- way -- because that was the job of the states. If the 14th Amendment is taken to prohibit states from making laws the First Amendment says Congress shall not, then the states shall make no law prohibiting the screaming of "fire!" in a crowded theater, because when the First Amendment was ratified, everyone knew that Congress could not.

[ Parent ]
A little more. (none / 1) (#150)
by Arker on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 03:44:58 PM EST

I really really strongly agree with what cburke already wrote. And as to dismissing us as limbaugh blah blah, I'll point out to you that I've done volunteer work for the ACLU, in fighting to preserve reproductive rights. If you still think I've got anything in common with Limbaugh...

The ACLU is a strong force for civil rights on a number of issues, and recognising that I've supported them for years. But that doesn't change the fact that they are, as you unwittingly pointed out, actively opposed to the fundamental civil right recognised, among other places, in the 2nd amendment to the US Constitution, and because of this any civil libertarian must give them only very conditional support.

Now one further point: you, and the ACLU, clearly don't believe in this right. That's one thing, and I'ld be happy to argue with you at length on that, but at this point it's really quite beside the point. If you disagree with the 2nd amendment and want to reverse it, which you clearly do, then there is a procedure to do this. It's a difficult one, by design, but it's there. However, until you do get that changed, you cannot pose as a defender of constitutional rights while simultaneously attacking the 2nd amendment without opening yourself up to valid charges of hypocrisy. And to do as the ACLU position you quoted does - to pretend, with your bald face hanging out, that you are incapable of reading and understanding that simple clause - is not just hypocritical, it's cowardly and deceptive.

[ Parent ]

A very, very little more (none / 0) (#157)
by shinshin on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:47:42 PM EST

If you disagree with the 2nd amendment and want to reverse it, which you clearly do, then there is a procedure to do this.

I don't disagree with the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment permits militias to bear arms. We have a militia: it is called the National Guard (which is being grossly abused right now, I might add).

Before you start parsing and shrieking and getting all red-faced, I want you to read the full text of U.S. v. Miller.

My position is backed up by the law of the land. Yours is backed up by ill-informed and paranoid rhetoric.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

Wha? (none / 0) (#185)
by Democratus on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:19:13 PM EST

Why did you make me read that?

What the heck does a case regarding Eminent Domain and the 5th Amendment have to do with the wording of the 2nd Amendment?

Also, the 2nd Amendment does not say "the right of militias to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

It says "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

[ Parent ]
The National Guard is not a militia (none / 0) (#211)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:41:46 PM EST

The purpose of the second amendment was to avoid the need for a standing army, which the National Guard is. A militia is the ability of ordinary citizens to show up on the battlefield with their own weapons and organize themselves -without- a government telling them what to do (which sounds absurd, but that is the mechanism of violent revolution, which the Second Amendment was supposed to protect). Of course, the idea of a militia is absurd when military power is primarily used for offense, as in the US. (But that was actually part of the idea).
My position is backed up by the law of the land.
This is only true insofar as the Constitution is not the law of the land. Which is to say it is completely true.

[ Parent ]
I hate to be the one to tell you... (none / 0) (#209)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:32:26 PM EST

Now one further point: you, and the ACLU, clearly don't believe in this right. That's one thing, and I'ld be happy to argue with you at length on that, but at this point it's really quite beside the point. If you disagree with the 2nd amendment and want to reverse it, which you clearly do, then there is a procedure to do this. It's a difficult one, by design, but it's there.
...but the process has already been carried out, and it's not so difficult as you think (hint: it involves the Supreme Court). If you think anything remotely resembling constitutional authority has existed in your life-time you are as deluded about the Constitution's original meaning as the ACLU pretends to be.

[ Parent ]
Why is the "gun homicide rate" relevant? (3.00 / 2) (#151)
by Kenoubi on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 03:45:17 PM EST

In the end, the number of gun homicides in the United States is over 11,000 per year (about 3.8 per 100,000 population). The UK (which has 1/5th the population of the USA) averages only about 100 gun homicides per year (about 0.16 per 100,000), and most of the other industrialized countries have a similiar low rate of gun homicides compared to the US. If that doesn't bother you, then you are a contemptible human being.

Why would I (or anyone) care about the number of gun homicides, rather than the overall number of homicides? It does bother me that the homicide rate is so high in the US, but I really don't think it's so much worse to get killed with a gun than any other way.



[ Parent ]
Why the "gun homicide rate" is relevant (none / 1) (#156)
by shinshin on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:41:35 PM EST

Why would I (or anyone) care about the number of gun homicides, rather than the overall number of homicides?

I hate to state the insanely obvious, but the reason why you should care is that 71 percent of murders are committed with firearms.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

Correlation != causation (none / 1) (#162)
by Kenoubi on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 06:44:18 PM EST

So you're saying that because most murders in the US are committed with guns, that gun murder rates should be interesting. However, gun murders and murders by any other means are pretty good substitutes for one another. I mean, look at the gun suicide rate. Would you say this is at all relevant? I'd imagine the gun suicide rate is higher roughly in proportion to the number of guns people own, but if a gun isn't available, people will just kill themselves another way.

My point is that citing gun murder rates seems to assume that more guns cause more murder. However, I find the reverse hypothesis more plausible—more murders and the resultant perceived environment of greater danger make more people want to arm themselves. Citing gun murder rates strikes me as dishonest because it leaves the “guns cause murder” assumption implicit, where people are more likely to unconsciously accept it instead of consciously considering whether or not they agree with it in light of the available evidence.



[ Parent ]
Gun murder rates (none / 0) (#163)
by shinshin on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:14:03 PM EST

Are you really, honestly, saying that you truly believe that if all the guns magically disappeared from the country overnight that the murder rate would remain unchanged?

Obviously, people cause murder. Guns just make it a hell of a lot easier.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

Do you have any numerical basis... (none / 0) (#164)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:27:46 PM EST

for believing one or the other, or is this entirely speculation on your part?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Any numerical basis for what? (none / 0) (#165)
by shinshin on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:43:45 PM EST

Any numerical basis for what? That guns make it easier to kill people? If you are challenging that guns make it easier to kill people, then you live in a very different reality from mine.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]
Duh... (none / 0) (#166)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:57:22 PM EST

Murder rate, not ease of killing...

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Of course there are numbers (none / 1) (#167)
by shinshin on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:16:26 PM EST

Of course there are numbers. Overwhelming numbers.

To cite just one example from the National Bureau of Economic Research:

After peaking in 1993, gun homicides in the United States dropped 36 percent by 1998, while non-gun homicides declined only 18 percent. In that same period, the fraction of households with at least one gun fell from more than 42 percent to less than 35 percent. Duggan finds that about one-third of the gun-homicide decline since 1993 is explained by the fall in gun ownership. The largest declines occur in areas with the largest reductions in firearm ownership.

There are many, many other examples of scientific studies finding a direct correlation between gun ownership and murder rates, which you will find if you spend 5 minutes searching around with an open-mind. Who are we kidding, though? We both know that you aren't interesting in hearing any scientific data that doesn't support your preconceived notions.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

I am very interested in relevant data... (none / 1) (#168)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:38:37 PM EST

However, I am a real stickler for statistical validity. If you knew anything at all about statistics you wouldn't try to tout the above paragraph as scientific evidence. Have you ever heard of sampling bias? Do you realize that sampling bias makes the overwhelming majority of all statistical studies worthless? Furthermore, if you are going to pick any old arbitrary time slice, you can almost always find one that jives with your hypothesis and ignore the inconvenient ones. So... What were the sampling methods for this study? Why did they pick the time range that they did? Do you know anything about statistics? Are you at all competent to judge the statements that studies make, or do you just take them at face value without questioning any of the assumptions? I suggest that you take a college level statistics course before you cop a snooty attitude and start parading such "facts" as evidence for your cause.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Ahhh, that game (none / 1) (#169)
by shinshin on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 10:15:17 PM EST

I'm not going to play the game of dissecting the minutia of the study until one side gets bored and leaves. It's a foolish way to get out of an argument. You asked me for numbers, I gave you numbers.

That being said, I'm not going to claim to have studied in depth the report by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It's a respected organization, so I give them the benefit of the doubt, but if you have found something wrong with their numbers, then I'm sure they (and everyone else here) would like to hear your refutation.

Do you realize that sampling bias makes the overwhelming majority of all statistical studies worthless?

This is exactly what I am talking about: when faced with any evidence that you don't like, you're just going to cry "sampling bias" (without, of course, providing any evidence of it). It is clever, though, that you first accuse me of not knowing anything about statistics, but, then to hedge your bets, leave open the possibility that if I do know what I am talking about, you will still be able to get out through the back door of sampling bias (which you know can be used to try to refute even the most airtight statistical evidence).

Come back when you want to be intellectually honest.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

The burden of proof lies on the person... (none / 0) (#172)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 10:28:15 PM EST

who is making the claim. This is a fundamental tenet of argument. If it were the other way around, namely if the burden of disproof were to lie on the person to whom the claim is being made, then we would never get anywhere. I could say "some pigs can fly", and then you would have to go about examining every pig in the whole world to disprove my statement. Clearly that is not a good way to go about things, as it would in effect allow for denial of service attacks, as it were.

You have presented an incomplete synopsis of a study as evidence of a claim that you are making, yet you have no basis for claiming that this study really supports your claims. If the study really is so great, why are you not bothering to give a little back ground information? Were you hoping that your debating opponents would be intellectual lightweights, or that they would engage in a bout of incestual amplification? There is enough of this out of context sound byte pseudo-intellectual bullshit on television and in the newspapers. Why bring it here? Why bother bringing this study up at all if you can't be bothered to fully flesh out your argument? Do you expect to be able to just drop a paltry few numbers as proof and have everyone shut up?



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Burden of proof (none / 0) (#174)
by shinshin on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:02:56 PM EST

I made a claim that there was a correlation between gun ownership and gun homicides. You asked me for numbers, I gave you a study with numbers. You immediately dismissed it as being statistically invalid or biased (with any evidence, mind you). I asked you why, specifically, you think it is invalid, and you respond by saying the burden of proof is on me.

Now I accuse you, skyknight, of being intellectually dishonest. You misdirect when you can't argue; you lash out at imagined hobgoblins when you can't back up your claims with evidence.

I'd be happy to continue debating this if I had any confidence that you wanted to do so in good faith. The first step will be for you to provide to me a single iota of information from the report that I cited that is wrong, statistically invalid, or misleading. If you're just going to waste time and bandwidth mechanically discounting any evidence that is provided to you with imagined claims of bias, then I feel you've already wasted enough of my time.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

Bullshit. (none / 1) (#176)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:21:39 PM EST

First of all, I did not start out by making a claim. You did. You made a claim that was highly unsubstantiated. I asked why I should believe it, and you have done nothing but dodge. I did not say that the study was invalid. Rather, I asked you why I should believe that it is valid. That's an important distinction, and not a particularly subtle one.

Secondly, in fact, I made a very specific criticism, in that it is statistically dishonest to pick arbitrary time slices and state that it supports your hypothesis. Pick an arbitrary time slice, conflate cause and correlation, and you can "prove" damn near anything.

Third, you gave no treatment whatsoever of what are relevant variables, and how those variables were addressed and controlled so as to keep the study on the up and up. Virtually all of these studies lazily ignore a panoply of variables that can have an effect on the outcome. Any middle school science fair student knows that that is bogus. What was the economic situation at the time? The police force level? The demographics? Any study that picks an arbitrary time slice and disregards these variables and others is being incredibly intellectually dishonest.

Fourth, I don't care what side of the issue from whence the statistics are flowing. I am brutally critical of them regardless of whether the study supports or refutes the stance I take on the issue. I don't want to prop myself up with bogus studies only to be humiliated anymore than I want my opponents to dupe people with fallacious studies that support their position.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
What is it, exactly, that you want? (none / 0) (#177)
by shinshin on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:50:23 PM EST

This is ridiculous. Are you really asking me to do a full analysis of the study for statistical validity in order to back up your arbitrary claim that it is probably invalid? What precisely is it that you want?

It sounds to me like you are pointing out that all statistics in social science is highly dubious due to the uncontrollable and untracked environmental factors. If so, then you are stating the obvious, and you should have just done so in so many words. However, when you asked me to provide numbers, you should have instead said: "Do you have any numbers to back that up? Note that I won't believe them anyway, regardless of where they came from. Hell, I won't even bother reading the source! I'm just going to carp on and on about all the possible things that might be wrong with any study that you might provide".

If you had just said this, then you could have saved me some time. Shouting at pinecones is more intellectually stimulating than arguing with you.

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

Answer me this... (none / 0) (#179)
by skyknight on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 12:08:29 AM EST

If you aren't going to bring to bear all of your statistical reasoning capabilities when citing a study, why bother citing it at all? I'm serious. What was your objective in citing it? At this point, we're having a meta-argument, but I think it's an important argument all the same. When people go the route that you tried to take us by citing those statistics, they end up not talking to each other, but rather talking at each other. Each cites statistics that claim to support his viewpoint, neither bothers to fact check those assertions, and everybody goes home none the wiser. What the hell is the point? This isn't about intellectual dishonestly so much as outright intellectual laziness. Having a good argument is hard. It takes a lot of work to fully form an argument, but it is a worthwhile endeavor. There is no shortage of simple minded tripe in this world readily available for consumption. Why add to that?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#181)
by shinshin on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 01:00:59 AM EST

Everything you just said is very sensible, and I mostly agree with all of it. However, you act as if I had offered up the study as some central tenant of an argument. I didn't.

Please take a moment to look back up the thread. In response to a Kenoubi's comment (which was, by the way, tangential to my earlier comment, which I find much more interesting and would much rather be discussing right now), I asked: "Are you really, honestly, saying that you truly believe that if all the guns magically disappeared from the country overnight that the murder rate would remain unchanged?" You asked if I could provide some numbers. I did. For some reason, this seems to have really, really upset you, and you started down to road of dissecting the study (which you haven't read) for all the theoretical problems that it might have.

So I ask you again: what, specifically, do you want? What response should I have given to your question of "Do you have any numerical basis for believing one or the other"? Should I have said "Ahh! You got me! While I do have plenty of scientific studies, I will certainly not mention any them, because I would, of course, then be honor-bound to provide a detailed mathematical proof of their validity and completeness here on kuro5hin for you to be satisfied."

You were the one to challenge me to provide numbers. I did. And now you are criticizing me for doing so? And now you suggest that it is me that reduces the quality of online debate?

____
We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons --Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003
[ Parent ]

This does not address my objection (none / 0) (#188)
by Kenoubi on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 02:51:33 PM EST

I never claimed that higher gun ownership rates are not correlated with higher gun murder rates or higher overall murder rates. I concede that this is probably the case, but not that this proves that guns cause murder. Thus, more analysis of the statistics you provided is actually necessary in order to have any bearing on what I said.

[ Parent ]
Also of note (none / 1) (#208)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:25:39 PM EST

The US non-gun homicide rate is higher than the UK total homicide rate.  Yes, we have that many homicides!  Even if you not only removed all the guns, but prevented all the gun-homicides, the UK would still have fewer homicides per capita.

However, murder is not evenly distributed across the country.  In fact, relatively few isolated, poverty-stricken urban areas are responsible for almost all the homicides.  These sorts of places don't exist outside the US in the first world.  Whether or not they are the culprit (which they are), they at least provide a confounding factor to conclusively invalidate almost all of the arguments in this thread.

In any case, the ACLU's policy on the second amendment is an affront to history.  Their interpretation is simply false, and in fact, strategically false (i.e., dishonest).  Whether or not we agree with the Constitution, we can at least not lie about it.

(I'm perfectly willing to admit the Constitution requires many policies I find absurd and/or dangerous, and fails to provide many important protections.  Meanwhile, there is a social fiction that every good policy is constitutional; you can't support a policy while also recognizing that it is not constitutionally valid.  This social fiction is the mechanism by which the Constitution has been made irrelevant.)

[ Parent ]

-1 (1.09 / 11) (#45)
by The Black Ness Monster on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 03:04:40 PM EST

Please resubmit as "Badtux the Goatfucking Penguin" account.

You know... (none / 0) (#90)
by skyknight on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 08:22:04 AM EST

The image of a penguin trying to mount a goat is quite an hilarious one. Just picture it for a second, the penguin furiously waddling after the goat, the goat bemusedly sauntering away. Occasionally the penguin might manage to grab the goat by one of its hind legs, but I would guess that overall it would be a rather dissatisfying experience for the horny penguin.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
not to mention (none / 1) (#124)
by Battle Troll on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:57:33 AM EST

Penguins don't have penises. Hmm, maybe that logo makes more sense in that light...
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Wait a second... (none / 0) (#125)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 07:58:46 AM EST

How on earth does that work?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
most birds don't have true penises (none / 1) (#129)
by Battle Troll on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:13:21 AM EST

Nor do most other non-mammals. In fact, most don't even have false penises. They mate by merging cloacae, which triggers ejaculation.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Hm. (none / 0) (#132)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:26:07 AM EST

You learn something every day. However, I think I might have already learned this at some distant point in the past, and my brain lost the index for it due to the rather infrequent requirement of knowledge about avian ejaculatory functions.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
shallow but broad, that's me, baby /nt (3.00 / 2) (#134)
by Battle Troll on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:53:53 AM EST


--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Isn't there a difference (2.33 / 3) (#47)
by aphrael on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 03:17:02 PM EST

between a private entity doing this and the government doing this? Surely, if it's OK for TRW to have a database of detailed information on *everyone*, it's ok for the ACLU to, right? :)

-1 Free regstration required (2.00 / 3) (#60)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 06:01:50 PM EST

I'm sorry I don't want to have to give the New York Times information just to look at a fucking article.  I might be paranoid, but the idea of the Times keeping tabs on me and figuring out exactly what I read and when I read it is a little frightening.  Why don't you give a google cache instead?

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
I wish they didn't require it either. (3.00 / 2) (#62)
by skyknight on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 06:16:52 PM EST

However, it is their content, and they can do with it as they please. I view the two legitimate choices as registering for an account and viewing the content, or abstaining from viewing the content.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Yes, and (none / 1) (#116)
by Arker on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 01:10:25 AM EST

And I abstain from viewing it, and will absolutely never vote up an article that depends on one of their broken links. Those who agree with me on this may not be a huge group, but it's certainly more than one or two, and possibly a significant fraction of those likely to vote on stories on this site. Would make sense simply to humour us and provide the info through an alternate source (google news or cache are good bets, along with newspapers that actually have websites who often pick up these articles on their own sites) if you actually want us to vote it up, regardless of your feelings on the matter, no?

Btw, the yes is agreeing that it is their content to distribute how they want - it doesn't mean that I regard their 'website' as actually being on the web. By breaking the rules of the media, so that their links only work for people using browsers that accept cookies, and happen to have their cookie ready to serve back to them, they have effectively removed themselves from the web - that's what I mean when I say their links are broken. It is their right to do that, however, it's also my right to treat them as lepers for doing so. In fact, that's only a figure of speech - I wouldn't treat an actual leper like that, but I think you know what I mean.

[ Parent ]

Sure, that's reasonable. (none / 0) (#121)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 06:17:33 AM EST

Vote your conscience.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
http://www.bugmenot.com/ 4tw /nt (3.00 / 2) (#77)
by Undefined Variable on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 12:04:06 AM EST



___
"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
[ Parent ]
-1 author is a known fag (1.08 / 12) (#76)
by Jason the Mathematical Solo Guitarist on Sat Dec 18, 2004 at 11:50:34 PM EST

i thought you and tweetsy were going to flee in shame?

In a math sense this sig is just applied group theory: what we are talking about is the decomposition of the direct product of 2 irreducible representations of the rotation group into a direct sum of irreducible representations

Still trying to live down (1.66 / 3) (#78)
by trane on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 12:16:44 AM EST

the memory of your pwning, huh.

[ Parent ]
Prosecuting the ACLU for hypocrisy? (1.75 / 4) (#79)
by sllort on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 01:17:33 AM EST

These are the same assholes who won't fight for gun rights right? Isn't this like prosecuting the mafia for greasy hair?
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
True enough. (none / 0) (#88)
by skyknight on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 07:04:14 AM EST

Take a look at some of the below threads, and you'll note that this has been hashed out in great length. :-)

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
What's there to fight? (none / 0) (#183)
by Mason on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 02:21:33 AM EST

Gun ownership hasn't been threatened in any form in recent memory.  Even the pinkest of Dems only ever wanted some common-sense regulations (remember, "well-regulated militia"?).  Freedom of speech, seperation of church and state, freedom from unjust prosecution or incarceration, etc., have all been eroded massively in the past four years, and the last intelligence bill just made things worse.

So fight for your RPGs on your own, pansies.  Jeez, how sad is it that you all come crying to the liberals to fight your right-wing battles for you?

[ Parent ]

There's no such thing... (none / 1) (#193)
by kurtmweber on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 09:19:24 PM EST

...as a "common-sense" restriction on weapon (not just gun) ownership. As civilian ownership of weapons is necessary to defend a FREE state (that is, a state that is free--which essentially means revolt against government), government regulation of weapon ownership is absolutely opposed to common sense.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
Eye ov thee beholder, again (none / 1) (#82)
by ksandstr on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 02:23:28 AM EST

It would appear that some would jump at the chance to brand as hypocrisy any sort of behaviour on the part of their perceived enemies that could be judged as inconsistent on any arbitrary level.

Anyway, -1 for the overtly provo title.


Hmm (2.00 / 2) (#84)
by trhurler on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 05:01:04 AM EST

I doubt skyknight regards the ACLU as an enemy. He probably just enjoys pointing out that as time goes on, they're becoming more and more intellectually lightweight. They don't understand the theoretical underpinnings of their own professed ideas anymore, if they ever did. It is sad, somewhat amusing if you're in a lousy mood, and a bit frightening - if THEY don't get it, who will?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Correct. (2.00 / 2) (#89)
by skyknight on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 07:18:07 AM EST

More so than as an enemy, I view them as a maddeningly incoherent ally. As you suggest, it is dubious whether they have any substantial philosophic underpinnings aligned with mine, as opposed to just having a collection of beliefs that to a large extent intersect with mine, perhaps by chance. Indeed, if an organization, as one might reasonably infer from its name, committed to upholding civil liberties cannot get it right, that does not bode well for the rest of the world. Or perhaps there is another lesson to be learned here, in that the sensibility of any organization is inversely proportional to its size. Get enough people together and you are bound to have a mob run by the loudest and the stupidest folk among them.

The really sad things about the ACLU is their half-assed support for the First Amendment, and their open antagonism toward the Second Amendment. They would do well to read the former in its entirety, making special note of the bit about freedom of assembly, and then can their support for affirmative action, and they would do us all a great service by recognizing that Second Amendment rights have underpinned all of our rights, and that it's highly questionable whether we would have made it this far without them. I was about to say that at least they are reasonably consistent about the Fourth Amendment, but then I recalled the other part of the article to which I linked, from which facts flow that put even that claim on somewhat tenuous ground.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Perhaps it's conscious. (none / 0) (#113)
by Kasreyn on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 11:35:10 PM EST

I recently joined the ACLU simply because, while incoherent, they are still an ally. (for now?...)

I've wondered a great deal about why they're incapable of realizing the flaws in their position. But you have to realize, practically every ACLU member is a liberal democrat; and the same positions are held by the Democratic Party. I've wondered the same thing about Democrats - why they insist on believing banning guns does any good, why they insist on reverse racism as a tool to combat racism, and why they in general seem to be just as illogical as the Republicans. But then I always just remind myself that the Democrats are human, and humans are like that.

Maybe the ACLU haven't been taken over by the mob. Maybe they're simply taking a position that is palatable to the mob in order to get other work done. That would be both dishonest and hypocritical, but it would at least be effective. There are people out there who find some issues, like freedom of speech and of religion, so important that they're willing to use dirty means to protect them. You could call it hypocrisy, or you could call it politics.

Any public organization can, in my opinion, either choose to let the public tell it what to think, in which case it will devolve into little more than a mob opinion poll, or it can choose its own agenda. If it chooses its own agenda, though, it's going to have to lie to the public to maintain their support, unless that agenda is as ignorant and childish as the public typically is.

"Typical liberal contempt for people!", I hear you cry. Yeah, maybe so. I didn't make my species so weak and selfish, I'm just reporting the facts. Maybe the ACLU is carrying this torch for some future generation that will wake up and put childishness aside, but I really doubt man will ever improve.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Don't worry, I myself... (none / 0) (#122)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 06:34:00 AM EST

am quite filled with a robust contempt for most people too. Also, as you may have inferred from my article title, I am quite comfortable with calling it hypocrisy, not politics. In any case, though, yes, given that most people are utterly uneducated when it comes to history, logic and statistics, politicians sensibly realize that sensationalism and philosophical whoring are the only things that will keep them in office. It is why I could never be a politician (well, that and the fact that I am utterly non-religious, and the unwashed masses need a religious wanker because they believe that morality without religious wankery is not possible).

When I got to grad school last fall, I went to the student activities fair. One of the groups I researched was the ACLU chapter. I learned more about it than I had previously known, and ultimately I could not in good conscience join it. There is no way that I could abide an organization that is against the Second Amendment, and so embarrassingly wishy-washy about the First Amendment. I would be ashamed of the affiliation, and would quickly tire of explaining to people that my affiliation did not entail agreement. To be fair, though, these days I cannot not in good conscience affiliate myself with any political group. I am not even registered as libertarian on the voter rolls anymore, but independent. Something I have realized over time is that there is nothing intrinsically evil about government. Rather, it's all about size. Namely, evilness and stupidity are directly proportional to size. To say government is often terrible because it is government is to conflate cause and correlation. Rather, government just tends to grow without bound, and large things are often terrible, thus governments end up being terrible.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
The way I see it, (none / 1) (#146)
by Kasreyn on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 02:23:58 PM EST

the larger a population is, the more evil its most evil people will be, and the more saintly its most saintly people will be. Stands to reason to me.

Unfortunately, politics appears to be a sifting function that gives preference to evil. Therefore, ultimately an evil person gains control, and that person will be more evil the larger the society. How's THAT for wankery?

Of course, I think the recent article about Pitcairn Island shows that this is only a trend or tendency. It's perfectly possible to have a population of 30-some who are, if not evil, at least overly accepting of its presence.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Why political parties appear irrational (none / 0) (#206)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:57:47 PM EST

I've wondered a great deal about why they're incapable of realizing the flaws in their position. But you have to realize, practically every ACLU member is a liberal democrat; and the same positions are held by the Democratic Party. I've wondered the same thing about Democrats - why they insist on believing banning guns does any good, why they insist on reverse racism as a tool to combat racism, and why they in general seem to be just as illogical as the Republicans. But then I always just remind myself that the Democrats are human, and humans are like that.
You falsely equate political parties with ideologies. The Dems and the GOP are similar in that they are unions of diverse interests, only some of which are even remotely ideological.

It is far easier to make sense of either party by viewing the ideological branches as the PR strategies of the rationally self-interested branches (and, likewise, the latter as the self-interested power-strategies of the ideological interests). The Dems incorporate economic populism into their policy to win the votes of the poor, and the GOP incorporates religious populism to do the same. In either case there is a union of rich and poor, each group trading something of its own interests in exchange for the benefit provided from the union. Naturally, in such an arrangement, the union viewed as a single interest group does not appear to be rational; yet all of its constituent groups are in fact acting rationally by negotiating their interests and receiving desired policy in proportion to the political power they can provide.

Any decent book on social choice theory would explain this notion (and its ramifications) in detail.

(Apropos, there is an irony here in that the major parties are essentially governed by the economic principles of free negotiation, whereas the Libertarian Party, which advocates economic principles as the ideal basis for social decision-making, remains, in my opinion, the only genuinely ideological third-party not completely off the radar).

[ Parent ]

footnote (none / 0) (#207)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:00:43 PM EST

Naturally I don't mean to imply that the poor/rich union is the only one which comprises the major parties.  I do think, though, that it is the most important.

[ Parent ]
I don't think it's that bad... (none / 0) (#203)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:33:47 PM EST

But I think you are deeply mistaken about the motives of the ACLU.  They are not idealistic defenders of the Constitution.  The ACLU believes in a certain set of values, which happened to be some of those which inspired the Bill of Rights.  As such, they have found the BoR useful in their pursuit of these values.  That is the extent of their association with the Constitution.

There is a completely different notion, to which the ACLU appeals when it is to their advantage, that a strong Constitution can provide a check against tyranny, and thus should be supported.  I think this is cause is futile, and so does the ACLU, I imagine.  (Constitutions may seem like a good idea at first, but never in history has any been effective, and really this is no surprise -- there is nobody to enforce a Constitution; it works almost entirely on the honor system).  In any case, it is not their cause.

HTH.

[ Parent ]

Well, yeah, basically... (none / 0) (#204)
by skyknight on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:36:25 PM EST

they are trying to treat the Bill of Rights as a buffet style luncheon.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
That's all that it is -nt (none / 0) (#224)
by heavenstorm on Fri Dec 24, 2004 at 08:30:44 AM EST

nt=no text

[ Parent ]
Also... (none / 1) (#205)
by skyknight on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:37:31 PM EST

I don't think that historical precedent alone is a good reason to dismiss the utility of a constitution. America has broken all kinds of historical precedents. Why not be the first nation to take a constitution seriously?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
It's too late (none / 1) (#219)
by heavenstorm on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 03:03:09 AM EST

We're the country that has -set- the precedent of ineffective constitutions.  A constitution depends entirely on the good-faith compliance of legislators.  That is clearly impossible; every legislative body devolves over time into an economy of power.  Nowhere is this exemplified more than in the US.  The federal government is radically different from the one specified in the Constitution.  To even begin to take it seriously as a piece of functional law, the entire document would have to be rewritten -- which would defeat the purpose, because the new document, if written by the current legislature, would simply codify the progressive corruption that has already taken place.

[ Parent ]
I think it should be okay (2.66 / 3) (#105)
by NotSoEvilGwyn on Sun Dec 19, 2004 at 05:48:45 PM EST

Since the ACLU are the good guys, they should be able to do whatever they want.

True in a way (none / 0) (#115)
by blaaf on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 01:10:01 AM EST

The ACLU opposes basic things like national ID cards, yet they issue each "card-carrying member" an ID card with their member number. This isn't too surprising, they're not immune to the same practices any charity does, despite the good works they do. Hopefully they will shape up though.

I quit. (none / 1) (#128)
by yet another coward on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:09:19 AM EST

I quit the ACLU about five years ago. After joining, every pinko group began soliciting me. The ACLU sold me out.

I almost joined last year. (none / 0) (#133)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 09:27:00 AM EST

Fortunately before signing up I learned a bit more about the group and changed my mind.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Am I just lucky? (none / 0) (#140)
by cromulent on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:05:29 PM EST

I've been an ACLU member for about eight years now, and I've never received unsolicited junk mail based on that membership.

Amnesty International are the ones that sold me out. I sent them some money, and when I received a confirmation from them, it had my name misspelled. Shortly thereafter, I got junk from dozens of other groups with the same misspelling. I still "support" them in a "Yeah, great, you go!" kind of way, but I'll never trust them with my personal info again.



[ Parent ]
Maybe (none / 0) (#152)
by Sgt York on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 04:01:30 PM EST

Maybe it's the timing. 8 years ago, they may not have done this kind of thing, and now only apply it to new members.

It would be interesting to see how long the victims of this kind of action have been members, and compare that to the experiences of long-term members.

I was about to go on how this is them shooting themselves in the foot, but then I remembered how 90% of the people are either unobservant, sheeplike, or both. So they'll lose 10% of their membership, at the most.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

Same here. (none / 0) (#147)
by Skywise on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 02:27:02 PM EST

I joined the NRA and the ACLU simultaneously (figuring that would cover the bases).  While the NRA would hit me up for donations with slick marketing brochures the ACLU put me on every "bleeding heart liberal" cause imaginable including Planned Parenthood, NOW and Greenpeace and ALL of them would continue to hit me up with FUD messages about how my rights were being destroyed and if only I would just send a few dollars, everything would be fine.

The NRA does that too, but they also do some clever non-hype fundraising like selling Christmas Cards at $20 for a box of 20 which is a combined donation but you get something out of it deal...

[ Parent ]

Ha (none / 0) (#159)
by yet another coward on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 05:07:54 PM EST

Are NRA Christmas cards clearly from the NRA? I would like to know how those messages get combined.

[ Parent ]
No they're actual Christmas Cards (none / 1) (#175)
by Skywise on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:07:33 PM EST

And most have little to 0 to do with guns.  Those that did were things like a snow scene of dad returning from a hunt with pheasants for the holiday feast, etc.  No ideological messaging inside except for Merry Christmas or Seasons Greetings.  (Maybe "This card made by the NRA" or something on the back, but I never saw an actual card)

They weren't anything like Planned Parenthood's "Choice on Earth" Christmas Cards...

[ Parent ]

The real hypocrisy (2.80 / 10) (#136)
by hkb on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 10:44:15 AM EST

The real hypocrisy is their "neutral" stance on the 2nd amendment. They take such liberal (as in wide-ranging) views of the rest of the Constitution. but dump the 2nd amendment to placate their liberal shills.

Go read their arguments in their papers on workplace drug testing, and then go read their paper on why they don't fight for the second amendment, you'll have a good laugh:

http://www.aclu.org/PolicePractices/PolicePractices.cfm?ID=9621&c=25

I joined the ACLU some time ago and was BOMBARDED with all sorts of activist junk mail from all walks of life. It was a total nuisance. That combined with their stance on the second amendment led me to cancel my membership. I sent them (to several people there) a poignant letter announcing my cancellation of membership and a request to stop sending me all mail, and to stop sharing my personal information with other organizations.

In addition to not a single person responding, even with a boiler plate letter, I am still BOMBARDED (yes, in all caps, its that bad) with membership renewal letters every couple weeks, along with a non-stop stream of crap from every activist organization in existence.

I am now pondering a way to stop this madness. I'm going to the Post Office today to see if I can block mail from certain sources. Yes, it is that bad.

Do not join the ACLU. Join someone who respects you. Join someone who doesn't compromise. Join someone who respects your privacy.

This organization does not deserve your money, unless you're a transgendered african american who is mentally challenged and wants a job an an astronaut. That's all they seem to dump their money into anymore...the fringe element.

It almost wouldn't fit, (none / 0) (#161)
by skyknight on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 06:01:25 PM EST

but you are sigged. I even redacted your typo . :-)

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
A well regulated Militia... (1.66 / 3) (#182)
by Mason on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 02:12:56 AM EST

...being necessary to the security of a free State... Sound familiar? When you people speak of enforcing the second amendment, you really mean the enforcing of its main clause with no regard for its clumsily-worded sub-clause. As soon as gun nuts stand behind the full text of the second amendment and commit to gun-ownership only as part of well-regulated militia, I'll support them fully, and I'd consider the ACLU hypocrits for not doing the same. The current pro-gun position is a misreading of a fairly clear statement, though, and why should the ACLU spend money in advocacy of that?

[ Parent ]
Re: A well regulated Militia... (3.00 / 3) (#184)
by Democratus on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 10:48:52 AM EST

The current pro-gun position is a misreading of a fairly clear statement


On the contrary, this phrase is famous for being one of the least clear in the Constitution.

The security of a free State could be interpreted as keeping the citizens of a state free from the tyranny of the federal government. The term 'militia' also had a different meaning in the 18th century than it does now. A militia was simply a call of all the able-bodied men in a town/city/state who would then show up with guns that they owned.

The militia "clause" is the reason given for the right to bear arms. But, regardless of this reason, the right is given. The final part of the amendment states "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Now the founding fathers could have thought that we all needed guns to stop an alien invasion. That is irrelevant. The federal government is clearly prohibited from interfering with a citizen's right to bear arms. Period.

If the citizenry really want to change this, they can always amend the constitution again.

Of course, the Constitution does nothing to stop State governments from regulating firearms.

[ Parent ]
Incorrect on your last point (none / 0) (#192)
by LilDebbie on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 08:17:41 PM EST

See amendments IX and X, those are,

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

&

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."


Consitutional law trumps State law, and if the Constitution says "shall not be infringed," that applies to all States.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Didn't you get the memo? (none / 0) (#194)
by skyknight on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 10:10:27 AM EST

Those were repealed when we had the Civil War. Or, at least, that is about the time when we initiated their gradual repealing.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Regulation by States (none / 0) (#196)
by Democratus on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 12:18:10 PM EST

The key phrase I used was regulate.

States do, indeed, regulate firearms.  For example, there is a registration and waiting period enforced by Texas for purchasing a handgun.

Also, you must apply for a permit that will allow you to carry a concealed weapon on you person.  This is also a state regulation.

I apologize if my language implied that states can locally override the constitution.

[ Parent ]

Ah...I see (none / 1) (#197)
by LilDebbie on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 01:23:50 PM EST

Sorry, I made the assumption that you included bannination in the general sense of "regulate." Being the paranoid gun-nut that I am, words like "regulate" and "control," when attached to "guns" or "arms," immediately parses to "ban."

But you are certainly correct, States may regulate firearms in the sense of licensing and tracking.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
regulate does not mean what you think it means (none / 1) (#199)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:06:41 PM EST

"regulate" in the second amendment means "train"; a well-regulated militia is a well-trained militia.  The inference of some right of the government to enforce regulations on arms is simply incorrect.  It doesn't even talk about regulating -arms-, anyway.

Regulated
[obsolete sense]
b. Of troops: Properly disciplined. Obs. rare.

1690 Lond. Gaz. No. 2568/3 We hear likewise that the French are in a great Allarm in Dauphine and Bresse, not having at present 1500 Men of regulated Troops on that side.

 -- Oxford English Dictionary

[ Parent ]

Texas doe snot have that... (none / 0) (#230)
by gandalf23 on Tue Dec 28, 2004 at 03:08:12 PM EST

For example, there is a registration and waiting period enforced by Texas for purchasing a handgun.

Huh?

Since when?

There _was_ a waiting period enforced by _federal_ law when that part of the Brady Bill was in effect, but Texas does not have such a law, nor did it.

And Texas does not now, nor has it had, registration of handguns.

[ Parent ]

Not true (none / 0) (#228)
by kerinsky on Tue Dec 28, 2004 at 12:38:27 AM EST

The original poster was correct, until after the 14th amendment passed after the civil war anyway, and even restrictive application of the Bill of Rights onto the states only applies in specific cases. The relevant text "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

There were certain considerations given to both common law and natural law in both federal and state courts when deciding the legitimacy of state actions previous to the passage of the 14th amendment, but I would be amazed if you could find any record of any case being decided with a constitutional protection given the people against the federal government being held against the states.  For example at the founding of our nation it was not uncommon for non-federal governments to directly tax citizens to support specific churches, I recall seeing writings of Washington defending the practice at the time.  If you didn't like it, you could always move to another state or town.

The key legal term here is "incorporation"  check out http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_bor.html for a bit more detail.


-=-
Aconclusionissimplytheplacewhereyougottiredofthinking.
[ Parent ]

The Constitution does not stop state governments (none / 0) (#195)
by skyknight on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 10:13:41 AM EST

from regulating things that are not mentioned in the Constitution. However, it most certainly does prevent the curtailment at the state level of rights that are guaranteed at the federal level.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Nothing like selective quoting, eh? (none / 0) (#190)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 05:21:27 PM EST

I like how you leave off the next couple of words there.

RUN !! IT?S AN ATTACK OF THE ?WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS? NAZIS!!!! - Brian Crouch
[ Parent ]
"Fairly clear"? You don't even know (none / 1) (#200)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:11:38 PM EST

... what "regulate" means. Or what it meant circa 1700, at least. See my post to Democratus.

[ Parent ]
Heh (3.00 / 3) (#226)
by trhurler on Fri Dec 24, 2004 at 04:52:39 PM EST

You do realize that in the 1700s, "well regulated" meant "skillful" and that the "militia" was generally accepted to be anyone and everyone male between certain ages, right?

Oh, that's right, you have no fucking idea because you have made no serious attempt to find out. You assume that there is no evidence as to what was meant, and probably have never heard of the federalist papers, the anti-federalist papers, and the other various "stuff" written by the men who authored the Constitution and its first amendments. The idea that they might have said quite plainly what they meant is beyond you. The idea that maybe you should inquire as to what was meant and see if someone who is an expert on the period, legal writing of the period, and so on has any insight is beyond you.

Instead, you just take a reading of the text that suits your prejudices and go with it. Let me guess: the product of a public education?:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
EFF, FWIW (none / 1) (#137)
by Mr.Surly on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 11:35:17 AM EST

I've contributed to the EFF before.  They do not share any info whatsoever, and send 1 or 2 polite letters per year asking that I donate.

Considering the strong nerd-centric interest here, and the issues that the EFF adresses, it might be worth a look.

Having spent a lot of my career in non-profits (2.80 / 5) (#141)
by jolly st nick on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 12:15:43 PM EST

we used to say the only difference between non-profits and for-profits is one less line on the income statement (actually not precisely true -- just relabel "profit" as "retained earnings").

Non-profits have expenses, and have to have cash flow, and don't stay around if they don't have income in excess of expenses (or alternatively if they don't grow enough to cover excess expenses). Consequently, you consider all the practices that a for-profit uses, with their attendant ethical implications. I know. I personally fought the anti-spam battle very early in one of the organizations I worked for.

The fact is that there is a very real difference between a non-profit and a for profit. While making a profit (or alternatively growing over the short term) is a sine qua non for a non-profit just like a for profit, a non-profit has a higher calling. It not only has the obligation to serve the particular purpose for which it was incorporated, but it also has a special duty to serve the public interest. Thus, the need to safeguard member privacy is in theory higher in any non-profit, not just a non-profit incorporated to look after privacy interests.

But you also have the imperative to surivive and in some cases to grow. This requires a lot of precise reasoning that can readily degenerate into sophistry. It's very easy for people at an operational level to lose their ethical way. In practice, with the pressures on a non-profit (especially after a protracted economic downturn), questionable practices will inevitably arise. People working in the institution have a duty to speak up, and if they are overruled by management then it is the responsibility of the board to bring things back in line. The public can and should expect a higher level of ethical scrutiny in marketing practices by a non-profit.

So I wouldn't write off a non-profit that steps out of line. I'd write to it.

um? (none / 1) (#202)
by heavenstorm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:21:22 PM EST

Non-profits don't pay dividends.  So when they do turn a profit, the owners don't get to spend it (on themselves).  That is a pretty fucking huge difference.

Non-profits do not have any duty to serve the public interest.  A non-profit's incorporated purpose could well be to detract from it.  The only duty a non-profit has is to keep its owners away from its assets.

[ Parent ]

Well, not really (none / 0) (#221)
by jolly st nick on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 09:55:15 AM EST

In theory having to pay dividiends is a big difference, but from an operational standpoint their absence makes zero difference in your day to day operation or even your business strategy. Trust me, I've been on both sides of this situation.

WRT to serving the public interest, it depends on what section of the tax code you are incorporated under. I'm familiar with 501(c)(3), which are tax exempt because of the charitable nature. One of the requirements to incorporate under this section is that the prupose of the organization be to benefit society as a whole. However, this doesn't mean that everyone in the world has to agree that everything the organiation does is good for society as a whole. You can look at an organization an. It does mean that that the activities the organizaiton undertakes are with the intent of benefiting society as a whole.

So there.

[ Parent ]

We're on the same page (none / 0) (#225)
by heavenstorm on Fri Dec 24, 2004 at 08:42:19 AM EST

In theory having to pay dividiends is a big difference, but from an operational standpoint their absence makes zero difference in your day to day operation or even your business strategy. Trust me, I've been on both sides of this situation.
I don't think we disagree here. Either way, half the goal is to make money. But in the for-profit case, the other half is spending it however you want, and in the non-profit case, it is spending it on some predetermined, legally required purpose. Whether that is a "big" difference is, I suppose, a matter of perspective.
One of the requirements to incorporate under this section is that the prupose of the organization be to benefit society as a whole.
That may be nominally true, but many a non-profit has as its legal purpose the benefit of some small group at the expense of society.

[ Parent ]
Hypocrisy has always been their M.O.... (2.25 / 4) (#145)
by HardwareLust on Mon Dec 20, 2004 at 01:47:02 PM EST

and has been since Day 1. How can a group claim to be the defender of the constitution, and yet completely ignore (and in some cases fight against) the 2nd amendment?

Hypocrisy is the norm with them, not the exception. It's not like this is new information.



If you disagree, POST, don't moderate!

Oh boo hoo (1.50 / 2) (#187)
by DominantParadigm on Tue Dec 21, 2004 at 02:28:36 PM EST

You're probably just pissed that the ACLU broke the story about the ongoing, sanctioned torture of prisoners of war by Americans.

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


I applaud you! (none / 1) (#198)
by Karl Rove OBrien on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 03:59:06 PM EST

One of the irritances that afflict the Party is organizations such as the ACLU, which talk of "civil rights" and "open government" and interfere with the Party's proper dominion over the sheeple. We cannot simply quash them, because that would disturb the illusion of freedom (the velvet glove over the iron fist) that keeps the sheeple happy and complacent and blaming themselves rather than we of the Party for their pitiable lives of quiet desperation, but it is important to discredit and marginalize them as much as is possible. I applaud you for your work for the Party, if you are ever in Washington D.C., come look me up, I may have a job for you in our ACLU Propaganda Division!

Orwellianly Yours,
Karl Rove O'Brien, Ministry of Truth
(On detached duty from the Ministry of Love).
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever

Might it not stand to reason... (none / 0) (#201)
by skyknight on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:16:39 PM EST

that the ACLU is a velvet glove on an iron fist, and that destroying it would go against your aims?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Must not become too effective (none / 0) (#210)
by Karl Rove OBrien on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:40:58 PM EST

As you note, and I note, having organizations such as the ACLU organize a pretense of opposition to minor portions of the Party's rule is useful for maintaining the illusion of freedom, the velvet glove on the iron fist of the State. However, we must not allow them to become too effective at their work, thus they must be discredited as much as possible.

The frangible nature of Truth is of use here. Truth is what the Party says it is. You may believe that reality is something fixed and unchangable. I tell you that this perception on your part is a delusion. Truth is whatever you believe it is, and what you believe it is depends on what the Party has taught you to believe, via long years of indoctrination and exposure to the bleatings of the Party's pet goats in the news and opinion industry. If the Party tells you that 2+2=5, then 2+2=5. Indeed, you will fight to discredit anybody who insists that 2+2=4 if the Party and all its many commissars tell you that 2+2=5, and will adamantly insist that anybody who continues to maintain that 2+2=4 is insane and a danger to society. You may have delusions of 2+2 once being equal to 4, but we shall cure you of such delusions. After all, the number of people diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses in the United States is the largest per-capita in the world.

Orwellianly Yours,
Karl
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever
[ Parent ]

how droll (none / 0) (#217)
by akulkis on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 12:29:42 AM EST

Spot the paranoid leftiset weenie.

You lefties lost...get over it.

Remember the name of your whiners' organization...."MoveOn"

it's about time you took your own advice, and MOVED ON.....

[ Parent ]

Thank you for your support (none / 0) (#222)
by Karl Rove OBrien on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 11:41:46 AM EST

Your Party applauds you. Remember, hatred is the backbone of the Party - hatred of liberals, hatred of MoveOn, hatred of Michael Moore, a cool and cleansing fire that gives meaning and purpose to your pointless existence of masticating and defecating and collecting shiny little baubles like a chipmunk on speed until the day that your dessicated and shrunken form is lowered into the ground and nobody remembers your name. I am gratified that you have so thoroughly absorbed that message.

- Karl
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever
[ Parent ]

Claims of hatred of and working against 2nd ammend (none / 0) (#214)
by DominantParadigm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:55:29 PM EST

2nd ammendment, which i'll guess is the bang bang blood squirting children dying with holes in them amendment. where is the proof of this hatred and/or working against the 2nd amendment by the aclu?

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


kinda scary isn't it? (none / 0) (#220)
by nous on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 08:54:34 AM EST

If the fucking ACLU is scourging databases looking for more info about its donors what the fuck is going to be next? The Christian Children's Fund pimping little kids on the coners of Bangkok?

The ACLU hypocritical? (none / 0) (#233)
by epepke on Wed Dec 29, 2004 at 11:28:03 AM EST

Well, call me hornswoggled and twitterpated and tie my pecker to a tree.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


A.C.L.U. Hypocrisy | 233 comments (202 topical, 31 editorial, 0 hidden)
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