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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 9, 2007 4:45 AM. The previous post in this blog was Tech request. The next post in this blog is Is it legal in Portland to fix potholes yourself?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Monday, July 9, 2007

You have rights -- they just aren't enforceable

In Bush World, the federal court system is fast becoming the Catch 22 system. On Friday an appeals court in Ohio (sigh) ruled that even if Bush's secret, warrantless domestic spying programs are unconstitutional, lawyers and news media folks don't have legal standing to challenge them. The only people who would be eligible to go to court and object to them, according to the Sixth Circuit, are people who can prove that they themselves are being spied on.

Of course, they can't possibly know they're being spied on, because the program is secret. Ta da! There ya go. Any questions?

This is right in line with the Supreme Court's ruling in late June that if the executive branch of the federal government tries to establish a religion in violation of the First Amendment, regular citizens don't have standing to challenge it. Therefore, in effect, it's not clear that anyone can go to court to stop the President from doing it.

It's perfect for the regime of Nasty Dick Cheney, isn't it? Of all the mindscrews that have been applied over the last six and a half years, the "concept" of constitutional rights with no meaningful remedies is likely to be the most memorable.

I wish I were making this stuff up. The religion case is particularly troublesome, because the Supreme Court has held for quite some time now that if Congress tries to establish a religion, average Joes and Janes do have standing in court to try to stop it. But to this Supreme Court, the President is different, and his or her actions don't get the same judicial review that legislative acts do.

After all, as one right-wing commenter on this blog has pointed out, the Bill of Rights says merely that "Congress shall not" do this and that -- it doesn't say anything about the President, the FBI, or the CIA. And although it's been settled law for many decades that the same rules apply to both the legislative and the executive branches, the current crop of judges, mostly appointed by Gipper, Wimp Sr., and Wimp Jr., are themselves judicial wimps, determined to nullify their own jobs and largely neutralize the judicial role in what was once known as our system of checks and balances. Soon after they reverse Roe v. Wade (three years max), they'll be after Marbury v. Madison, which established judicial review under the Constitution of the acts of the other two branches.

You don't like it? Right after these guys get done genuflecting to Pope Benedict, they'll tell you that your only recourse is to vote the rascals out. Don't expect the courts to do anything.

If you want to see what the Bush Court is really about, the signature case of the past month is this one. A suspect was convicted of murder, and a federal judge hearing his case explicitly gave him 17 days to appeal the denial of habeas corpus -- habeas being a centuries-old court procedure, guaranteed by the Constitution, which allows those convicted of crimes to appeal their convictions. The judge explicitly gave the man a 17-day deadline. And he met it, filing an appeal on the 16th day.

But oh, no. The federal statute on appeals in this situation gives you only 14 days, and so even though a federal judge told this person he could appeal until day 17, his appeal couldn't be heard.

So nowadays, when a federal judge explains the law to you, you're supposed to go back to your prison cell and make sure that he or she got it right. If you don't, and the judge is wrong, it doesn't matter what else the judge may have screwed up in your trial -- you stay in jail, or go to your death, I guess, if that's your punishment.

This is justice? It is to the Honorable Clarence Thomas, the Human Middle Finger of George Bush Sr., who's in charge of your civil rights now. He survived his "high-tech lynching," but that doesn't mean he's going to stop your real-life one.

Yes, it is scary. And there's not much that can be done about it. The oldest of the five Supreme Court justices with the hand grenade pins in their teeth are the Two Tonys: Scalia, who just turned 71, and Kennedy, who hits that age in two weeks. They're likely to be around for quite a while longer -- a decade or more -- and by the time they're done, it will be a frighteningly different legal landscape from the one we have now. The civil rights revolution has been on the run since Nixon started remodeling it in the early '70s, and now it's clearly being routed. Guantanamo is next on the High Court's agenda -- I shudder to think what's going to come out of that. Combined with increased technological intrusion into our privacy, the nation is approaching what the parents and teachers of the '60s would have told us was a police state.

What's the answer, then? Hard to say. Obviously, a Democratic President would help -- and one who's good for two terms. At least a couple of the liberal justices on the Supreme Court will no doubt be leaving us over the next eight years, and we can't let this get any worse. Can you imagine what Giuliani (another genuflecter) or Fred Cheney Thompson would do with two appointments to the Court? Or picture a couple of Romney appointees.

Meanwhile, you can also pray that Justice Kennedy comes to his senses, but I doubt that will ever happen now that the Bush Boys have his ear. It's all starting to make sense to him now.

The only realistic comfort at this point is to hope for the pendulum to swing back in 20 or 30 years. Folks my age may not live to see it. But teach your children well. It didn't have to go this way, and nothing's forever.

Comments (14)

With the purge of Ada's in the doj what can be expected. This administration has sullied every part of government and the stains will be there long after I have terminated. Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas lied in every hearing and unless they are convicted of such, will be there for the 20-30 years you mention. Kennedy had the chance to be the mediator and queller of extremism, alas, he has failed and will known as an incompetent flunky.

What a great uplifting post for a Monday morning. I want to kill myself now, thanks a lot.

"Of course, they can't possibly know they're being spied on, because the program is secret."

Jack, I wondered the same thing myself, and I'm glad you brought up this topic. I can't believe The Oregonian article about the Supreme Court ruling didn't address this issue. I'm not sure which "estate" I'm more disgusted with - the media or the Court.

One piece of hope is that the political atmosphere can change radically, reducing the influence of a far-right judiciary.

If the other two branches of federal government somehow fall into progressive hands for the next decade and a half (far-fetched, I know), a lot of good legislation is possible.

This doesn't do much for poor women in states like Kansas, but it's at least a small glimmer of hope.

Impeach, in this order:

Richard Cheney
George W. Bush
Antonin Scalia
Clarence Thomas
Alberto Gonzales
Anthony Kennedy

Presumably, Gonzales would resign upon the impeachment of one or both of his superiors, but one can never tell with this crowd.

Hey...I can dream, can't I?

Ever since I read this post this morning I've had The Clash's "Know Your Rights" running through my head.

Here's a link to the lyrics, which should make it self explanatory why I have this song running through my head:

And for a decent live performance of the song from back in 1983, we have a you tube clip:

RIP - Joe Strummer

"You don't like it? Right after these guys get done genuflecting to Pope Benedict, they'll tell you that your only recourse is to vote the rascals out. Don't expect the courts to do anything."

Having been around for the 1960 Presidential election and listened to all the talk about whether a Catholic could be elected President.

I've been wondering lately what the anti-Jack Kennedy crowd would think about a Supreme Court with a conservative Catholic majority. Do you think the fact that it's conservative would make the difference?

Greg C

The product of 12 years of Catholic education thank you.

Do you think the fact that it's conservative would make the difference?

I certainly do. For pretty much all of the half century or more that I have been tuned in, these arguments about religious affiliation always come from the political opposition. That doesn't necessarily mean the arguments are invalid. It just means that people are more inclined to be pragmatic than principled. I do think, though, that it is different to have a Catholic majority on the Supreme Court, because of the constitutional protection from politics that the justices have "during good behavior", and because of the RC church's fairly blatant interference in politics and social policy.

Well, I confess I don't get it. I know a lot of folks have this rabid, unreasoning hatred of George Bush and Dick Cheney, but it's pretty incomprehensible. Other than just pure, visceral hatred, I mean.

I was all for cleaning up Afghanistan and getting rid of the Al-Qaeda training camps there. I thought going into Iraq was a stupid idea. Who didn't? Oh, right, that would be Mrs. Billary Clintoon and Mr. "I was for the war before I was against it" John "Reporting For Duty!" Kerry - among many others.

Who fought hard on Bush's side to get an amnesty bill rammed down our throats? Umm...Ted Kennedy.

So I've read and re-read your post here, and still find it incomprehensible. Okay, you hate Bush, and call him stuff like "the Chimp" and so on.

At least, unlike AlGore, Bush's home in Texas is both small in scale and energy-efficient. And while I notice that you support the Breck Girl, what makes you think that a guy who nonchalantly drops a few hundred on a haircut will somehow be better for America?

What, in fact, makes you think that Democrats are somehow going to be better for our country than Republicans? They're mostly stamped from the same mold.

Was America better under Bill "cigar" Clintoon? Oh yeah, he bombed an aspirin factory when the Monica thing started unraveling, and he had a firm offer to take custody of bin Laden and said "no, thanks". Yeah, that's real leadership.

So what have Bush/Cheney done that's setting the country back so far? Oh yeah - they cut taxes for the rich. Sorry, I'm not rich, but I do appreciate the break. Of course, I happen to believe (gasp!) that I can put my money to better use than the government can.

I know, I know - that's absolute heresy. But the fact of the matter is that I don't trust either major party, and certainly no unions, when it comes to matters of money, life, or liberty.

Try another approach. Try thinking of what Bush and Cheney would have to do before you saw them as incompetent, twisted losers. Or think of how mad you were at the people who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Now imagine that Bush and Cheney deliberately misled us into a war that also got that many Americans killed.
Oh, forget it.


Sorry, but the "deliberately misled" thing doesn't work. It's just a subtle twist on the "Bush lied" syndrome. The fact of the matter is that Democrats had access to the same data that Bush/Cheney had, and they voted to fund Iraq.

I hold Democrats and Republicans equally culpable in the invasion of Iraq. As noted previously, I thought it was a really stupid idea. Bush could not have done it without the support of Democrats.

Anybody who believes that things will miraculously change if we just elect another Democrat to the presidency likely also believes that Homer Williams has everyone's best interest in mind.

South Waterfront is a wonderful thing, and all we need to do to set the country right is to elect another Democrat. Oh, and build more fixed-rail. Yeah - that's the ticket!

Did Max even read the original post?

Was going to comment on Max's use of every Limbaugh talking point, but decided it would be a waste of my time. I've been knocking down the SAME points that happen to be repeated verbatim for a few years now.

Anyway, without patting Jack on the back, he articulated what I've been feeling about the recent damage to the SCOTUS: it's not so much that they've wreaked havoc, it's just they've consciously neutered themselves out of their responsibilities. As a result, the General Accounting Office is the only sector in government left (nearly) untouched by partisan hackery. People are people and they will always have their biases... but these were the last bastions of perspective and ethical grounding, for crying out loud. The GAO doesn't have teeth, only facts, so we're SCREWED. No one has legal recourse in this country anymore unless you can afford a battery of attorneys...

The next election is indeed for all the marbles. Although I can't see any of the current GOPers winning it all, neither can many in the Republican party... that's why they're throwing all their money and backhanded support behind Hillary, knowing an 'Anybody but Clinton' mentality is their only hope. Whatever the case, the next two-termer will have vacancies to fill and I hope to God people keep that in mind. Hillary is still better than anyone the Republicans have.

Still... Edwards in '08 y'all.

Jack, you terrify yourself. Ain't none of it needs to stand, and, quite calmly, none of it is going to stand.

One election of one Congress sustaining one wholesale impeachment of incompetent and oath-violating Justices removes them wholesale -- I can count five in violation of their oath, gone in 2009; and continuing to the repeal and redaction of every Administration-signed enactment since 2001, legislative or otherwise, and voila your self-crazed nightmare is vapors. A good idea to check that your candidate for Congress intends to so impeach, repeal, and redact, before you vote for him or her.

Think XXIst Article of Amendment to the Constitution: The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed. Done.

So much of getting things done is simply stating in the affirmative what to do. Buying into the idea holding you hypnotized, (from hypo- meaning 'beneath,' or 'under;' and gnosis meaning 'knowledge,' or 'word'), being 'under-knowing,' 'untold;' having that propaganda-framed worldview being your only and filling your total consciousness -- that 'everything is all set this way,' (for 20 or 30 years), that it is 'fait accompli, a done deal,' that your future is only more of your today, that laws and lawmakers cannot be changed wholesale and entire, and even if they could be, powerless you cannot do it or handle it -- not thinking beyond all of that is a total waste of the potential further scope of your consciousness.

Why think at all if you ain't going to use it and are going to restrict your thinking to only using, in mind, your faculty of memory, to store what you are told there is and are told that is all there is? You have a faculty of empathy, and a faculty of estimation, and a faculty of anticipation or extension, and a faculty of judgment or balance. Eat some ginko bilbo or something. It's like STP oil treatment for your mental faculties, the advertisers say.

These war criminals in the Executive and the injust, corrupted incompetents in the Judiciary have NOT established anything, in any permanent or providential sense of 'establishment.'

You say, "I wish I were making this stuff up." Even realizing your sarcastic usage is dramatic exaggeration, rhetorical theatrics, still -- Jack: you are making this stuff up. As long as you believe the charade is substantive, and you recite the litany of it, and as long as you sustain in persisting in it and persist in sustaining it, you are what, in fact, establishes it. And so you are -- you are, the one making this stuff (up).

Versus '(down)'. Down is nothing. Down is where it falls when you see and tolerate none of it. When your thoughts don't hold it up, it falls down. When you tear at it and pierce it and cut it and shred it and rip it and violate it and void it, it falls down. Because it is nothing. (Down) is nothing, all you see was made (up). See nothing. It all falls down.

As for Max, we have to feel sorry for the pathetic people, the Lamebrains and the LIARS, whose sum of information is (with much work) listed in the comments; and sorrier for them the more, that Max is their representative of it. If Max had had any additional information of an individual's own, to connect and buttress the false lies of LIARS Larson or FUXnews, the personal attestment of Max might have imparted some substance or material to the hallucinatory fiction. Max did not add, and gives nothing. The fascist fiction falls down. It is sorriest that the mentally ill fascist-extreme rightists rely on Max as the most coherent representative to carry their ideas and beliefs.

It is sort of like Jesus sending Robertson or Falwell to expound Spirited ideas and beliefs, while they are uninspired.

Or like the Holy See's Opus Dei sect -- of the most refined doxology, sending Scalia or Ashcroft to propound the ideas and beliefs, while they are inhuman zombies and mentally ill; or like Thomas pronouncing Lamebrain and any woman to be man and wife, while Lamebrain is a big fat idiot mouse.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
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Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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