The Gross National Debt

Friday, June 30, 2017

Getting a bigger stick

Hey you. Yeah you.

What country do you live in?

Most of my readers are in the US. Readership beyond that is scattered across the world.

So to my few readers in Brazil, I ask you this:

Are you going to let a Canadian court tell you what you can and can't do in Brazil?

My reaction is also pretty much unprintable too.

Of course not. Yet a Canadian court has decided it is going to tell you what to do.

Suppose Brazil applies its laws to Canada? How long do you think Canada would stand for that?


This Canadian court decision is for Google. You may say it does not affect you.

But when you use Google to do a search, Canada now says if it wants something blocked or removed, you won't be able to search for that anymore. Even if you live in Brazil.

"The internet has no borders - its natural habitat is global," the Supreme Court wrote in its judgment. "The only way to ensure that the interlocutory injunction attained its objective was to have it apply where Google operates - globally."

Canada is reaching across its borders and have its laws apply in other countries.

Talk about the long arm of the law.


And from the Land of Jorge "Let me show its features" Sprave comes a law that also reaches across borders.

This German law seeks to force Internet companies to shut down, stop, block pretty much exterminate with extreme prejudice anything that violates German law. Examples: "any content that is illegal in Germany — such as Nazi symbols or Holocaust denial."

Germany arrests people for saying the Holocaust did not happen.

Germany also wants to arrest people who are natives of and live in other countries who deny the Holocaust.,amp.html "
Although Toben is Australian and his Web site is hosted there, Grossmann said that German law allows for his prosecution here on charges of denying the Holocaust because the site can be accessed in Germany."

Our neighbor to the north feels the same way. "In several European countries, including Germany, Austria, Belgium, Poland, Spain and France, Holocaust denial is a specific criminal offence. In Canada, Holocaust denial can be prosecuted as a hate crime."

Never mind that speech in Canada is illegal there but 100 percent legal in the US.

Has your head gone splodey yet?


Yassee, these countries, Canada, Germany, France, CHINA, and all the others can do this because no one will stop them. They can create laws that apply to citizens of other countries. They can try to enforce those laws across international borders. They DO in enforce these edicts across international borders.

North Korea does the same thing. Its enforcement methods are so far limited to assassination. Of course, that's a really freekin' effective enforcement method.

These countries can get away with this utter bull**** because ... they can.

Do you really think the United States is going to tell Canada, "knock of the BS. You can't tell us what to do within our borders." Do you really think the US is going to tell Canada it can't dictate operating terms to a US-based company? Oh sure, the US could do it. It would not cause a "diplomatic incident" either. Canada and the US need each too much. 

If you have a big enough stick, you can get away with anything you want to do. 


Let some third world country try that cross-border law crap on the US and they'll be staring down the barrel of an M16. Don't think so? Manuel Antonio "Pineapple Face" Noriega was arrested by the US for violating US drug laws. We went down there, arrested this guy and brought him to the US and tossed him in jail. The US made our law apply to another country and invaded the country to make it stick.

Anyone else remember the global protests, threats and embargoes against the US by Canada, England, Germany, France et al?

Yeah, this is a case of the US enforcing its law in another country. Not quite the same as another country enforcing its law here. Not quite the same as in the tail side of a coin is not the same as the head side of the same coin.

The US has the world's biggest stick. A double handful of other countries have big sticks too. These Big Stick guys are not interested in beating each other up over this BS. So, we beat up other small countries over this crap. Korea. Vietnam. Grenada. Nicaragua.

Ah heck. Get you some facts.

When it comes to sticks, the US is packing the biggest Miss Pine the world has ever seen.


It is entirely acceptable for the superpowers and allies to create a law and enforce it in other countries. Yay. Rally round the flag and let's teach them furriners some manners.

Let one of those much-picked-upon countries try that shift and we got another World War. Canya queue up the B-side on that record, Walrus?

When the US decided to get a summer home in Afghanistan, 58 - that is FIFTY-EIGHT - other countries pitched in. Sounds purty World Warish to me.

Look at WWII. Eliminate the countries that were invaded by the Axis powers. When you do that, you get maybe a dozen countries that had troops in WWII.

Now do the same for Operation Slash & Burn Urban Renewal for Afghanistan.

12 v. 57.

Redefine your definition of World War?


Bully much?

For the most part, what you are looking at here is a case of cis gender white male privilege. Yup. Yup. Yup. A bunch of white guys decide "Hey. Enough of THIS crap. Let's make it illegal everywhere on the planet."

And they do.

No one stops them. Ain't nobody got a big enough stick.


One country's laws stop at the border, unless of course that country carries a big stick. In which case, the law is infinitely portable.

Lemme make this very clear. The Holocaust happened. So did the purges in Russian and China and a whole bunch of other countries, including the United States of America. But more importantly from a crossing-the-border-with-our-law perspective, the Holocaust did happen. Millions died in gas chambers. No idea how many. The Nazis systematically carried out mass executions.

It happened. I believe it.

However, some people do not believe it happened. I support their right to share that belief, even though they are so wrong.

Because some people espouse this belief, they are subject to arrest if they visit a country with Holocaust denial laws.

In other words, what you say in your own country can get you arrested if you visit another country. This makes a whole lot of people criminals-in-waiting. What you legally DO in your own country can get you arrested in another country.

Sooner or later one of these multinational giant global conglomerates is going to stand up and say, "Hey cool. That's your law. We're good. We're cutting off access to your country. Problem solved."

I look forward to that day.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Sound of Splodey Head II

In a 7-2 decision, further fractured a lil bit on one of the footnotes to the majority decision, The Supremes said tax dollars can go to a church-based preschool-day care center for playground equipment.


I looked up what the Constitution has to say on the "separation of church & state."


The word "church" does not appear in the document. The word "separation" does not appear in the document. Call this a niggling point if you will. I'm gonna refer you to the word "militia" every time you do.

The phrase used to support this erroneous notion of "separation of church & state" is found in the First Amendment. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…" This also applies to state governments courtesy another Amendment.

That's it.

No law limiting religion or creating a religion. SCOTUS has reigned in some religious practices and allowed others.


The Declaration of Independence, which SCOTUS uses as a basis for decisions, makes references to a higher power.

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

And, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…"

And, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."


Nothing in the Constitution or the Declaration says government and religion must stand completely apart. The Declaration says the people who make a government need to rely on the divine.

Nothing in either document says an elected official must abandon his faith at the door to his governmental office.

Nothing in either document says an elected official cannot be guided by religious principles. 

In fact, those in government are expressly permitted to have a religion and use it. "…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…" This also means those in government need not express a religious faith. It also means, government types cannot force their religious preferences on others.

It also means those in government may be Christian, Satanist, Islamist, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster-ist (Pastafarian), Voodun, Sikh, Buddhist, Jedi and so many more. (and lo, the sound of splodey heads from my Babdist relatives!)

SCOTUS has ruled, sort of, that a government official cannot use religion to accept or deny a request for government services. See this exact decision for specifics.


Trinity Lutheran has a playground for the preschool and daycare center. Anyone can send their children there.

The church wanted to replace a pea gravel surface in the playground with rubber. It applied to the state for a grant to do so. The state said no.

The majority of the High Court dropped a nuke on this one. "The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has not subjected anyone to chains or torture on account of religion. And the result of the State’s policy is nothing so dramatic as the denial of political office. The consequence is, in all likelihood, a few extra scraped knees. But the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand."

The issue here is - All chitlins are welcome. All can come. All can play. Yeah, it is based at a church. So? Let the lil chilluns come unto us.

Now, lemme beat some of you over the head with your own stick.


A baker MUST make a cake even if it violates his religious principles, some of you say. He pays taxes, buys a business license and etc. He agrees to be bound by the rules of commerce.

Lean in a little closer.


pantpantpant. Now behave lest I loose Miss Pine on your noggin yet again.

The day care center has to get a license. It has to be inspected. It has to abide by state rules regarding daycare. It has to take anyone who can pony up the bucks to get their child in. It pays taxes. Get you some laws.

If the day care center is bound by all the rules of other day care centers in the state, it gets to play by the same rules as the other day care centers in the state.

That you don't like it, well now, I am just highly amused at your discomfiture. Now you get an idea of how I feel. Ain't so much fun when your rules get applied to you, eh? The sound you now hear is my laughter at your pain pealing off the distance fringes of our galaxy.


The 7-2 split saying Trinity Lutheran could get tax dollars for its playground was split even further.

Breyer, voting with the majority, posted a 2-page opinion of his own. "I see no significant difference. The fact that the program at issue ultimately funds only a limited number of projects cannot itself justify a religious distinction. Nor is there any administrative or other reason to treat church schools differently. The sole reason advanced that explains the difference is faith. And it is that last-mentioned fact that calls the Free Exercise Clause into play. We need not go further. Public benefits come in many shapes and sizes. I would leave the application of the Free Exercise Clause to other kinds of public benefits for another day."

Gorsuch, also voting with the majority, has a 3-page opinion of his own. "First, the Court leaves open the possibility a useful distinction might be drawn between laws that discriminate on the basis of religious status and religious use. See ante, at 12. Respectfully, I harbor doubts about the stability of such a line. Does a religious man say grace before dinner? Or does a man begin his meal in a religious manner? Is it a religious group that built the playground? Or did a group build the playground so it might be used to advance a religious mission? The distinction blurs in much the same way the line between acts and omissions can blur when stared at too long, leaving us to ask (for example) whether the man who drowns by awaiting the incoming tide does so by act (coming upon the sea) or omission (allowing the sea to come upon him).

"Neither do I see why the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause should care. After all, that Clause guarantees the free exercise of religion, not just the right to inward belief (or status).

"Of course the footnote is entirely correct, but I worry that some might mistakenly read it to suggest that only “playground resurfacing” cases, or only those with some association with children’s safety or health, or perhaps some other social good we find sufficiently worthy, are governed by the legal rules recounted in and faithfully applied by the Court’s opinion. Such a reading would be unreasonable for our cases are “governed by general principles, rather than ad hoc improvisations." And the general principles here do not permit discrimination against religious exercise—whether on the playground or anywhere else."

Justice Thomas's own opinion says in part "The Court today reaffirms that “denying a generally available benefit solely on account of religious identity imposes a penalty on the free exercise of religion that can be justified,” if at all, “only by a state interest ‘of the highest order.’”  The Free Exercise Clause, which generally prohibits laws that facially discriminate against religion, compels this conclusion."


Justice Sotomayor and Ginsburg were the two dissenting judges. Sotomayor's opinion is longer as the majority opinion. Ginsburg musta sat on her hands.

She opens with, "To hear the Court tell it, this is a simple case about recycling tires to resurface a playground. The stakes are higher. This case is about nothing less than the relationship between religious institutions and the civil government—that is, between church and state. The Court today profoundly changes that relationship by holding, for the first time, that the Constitution requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church. Its decision slights both our precedents and our history, and its reasoning weakens this country’s longstanding commitment to a separation of church and state beneficial to both."

She ends with, "If this separation means anything, it means that the government cannot, or at the very least need not, tax its citizens and turn that money over to houses of worship. The Court today blinds itself to the outcome this history requires and leads us instead to a place where separation of church and state is a constitutional slogan, not a constitutional commitment."

As Nina Totenburg said in her NPR report, "To opponents and supporters of such taxpayer aid to religious schools, Monday's decision in the Trinity Lutheran case is the camel's nose in the tent."


What's REALLY gonna create splodey heads is when a Satanist church applies for a government grant to do something similar.

And one rule to ring them all.

The sound of splodey heads Part I

The US Supreme Court today delivered two opinions that are causing terminal migraines, especially for those on the left.

The great majority of those with splodey heads did not and will not read the High Court's decisions. I did.

I wish I could find the left-winger who recently said people who complain about the High Court's decisions should just shut up. He said the Court decided and that is the way it is.

Ain't enough Tylenol in the world right now to cure his headache.

Cognitive dissonance will do that to a person.

On wid de show!


The High Court unanimously blocked the major injunctions of lower courts on the president's travel bans. Unanimously. As in all of 'em, including the most liberal justices. None left out. Evvabuddy.

And the sound you hear is that burning brain cells. But I already said that.


Here is the SCOTUS decision in full.

In case you wonder, "certiorari" - a writ or order by which a higher court reviews a decision of a lower court.


Here is the executive order. 

It is referenced in the SCOTUS decision often by a funny looking symbol, §, that is the legal squiggle for Section.


To start, I wanted to see what authority the Liar in Chief has over international affairs. As I will say often, don't take my word for it. Find out for yourself.

Under the Executive Branch powers, "Section 8: 1: The Congress shall have Power…3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations…"

Is granting people permission to come to this country is the same as commerce? It is a bit of stretch, but only a bit. People constantly come here to get jobs. That's commerce. Is that a function of the government where they come from or an individual decision? Both. Governments do send people to other countries to do work. Individuals make a decision to move to another country to work.


Connection actually matters here. Part of the EO deals with commerce and part of the SCOTUS decision references commerce. "At the same time, the Government’s interest in enforcing §2(c), and the Executive’s authority to do so, are undoubtedly at their peak when there is no tie between the foreign national and the United States. Indeed, EO–2 itself distinguishes between foreign nationals who have some connection to this country, and foreign nationals who do not, by establishing a case-by-case waiver system primarily for the benefit of individuals in the former category." The "tie" can be economic or a matter of having family already here.

SCOTUS said the EO ban on people who have no connections to the US can stay for now. "We grant the Government’s applications to stay the injunctions, to the extent the injunctions prevent enforcement of 2(c) with respect to foreign nationals who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States."

Straight outta the decision; punctuation marks and all-

"But the injunctions reach much further than that: They also bar enforcement of §2(c) against foreign nationals abroad who have no connection to the United States at all.

"Denying entry to such a foreign national does not burden any American party by reason of that party’s relationship with the foreign national.

"(“[A]n unadmitted and nonresident alien . . . ha[s] no constitutional right of entry to this country”)."

And "To prevent the Government from pursuing that objective by enforcing §2(c) against foreign nationals unconnected to the United States would appreciably injure its interests, without alleviating obvious hardship to anyone else."

"appreciably injure its interests," is a major point here. SCOTUS does not define what those interests are in this decision. It has defined those interests in other court cases. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, which SCOTUS does use and reference in decisions, also spell out those interests. and for SCOTUS cases which rely on the Declaration - .

Got a bona fide connection? Y'all come on in. "The injunctions remain in place only with respect to parties similarly situated to Doe, Dr. Elshikh, and Hawaii. In practical terms, this means that §2(c) may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of EO–2."


The High Court also SEEMS to say what we already know. Campaign promises are a bunch of hooey. "In addition, the Fourth Circuit erred by focusing on the President’s campaign-trail comments to conclude that §2(c)—religiously neutral on its face—nonetheless has a principally religious purpose."

In other words, what the POTUS said on the campaign trail and what he does in office have to be considered differently. Actions matter. Words, much less so.


Three of the judges wanted to body slam this right away.

"JUSTICE THOMAS, with whom JUSTICE ALITO and JUSTICE GORSUCH join, concurring in part and dissenting in part. I agree with the Court that the preliminary injunctions entered in these cases should be stayed, although I would stay them in full."


If you read this far, you may be wondering what my opinion is.

After reading the SCOTUS decision, I support it. Like is another matter. The High Court has reasoned this one out very well.

Under the current state of the state in this nation, this is workable. If things were different, I might have a different opinion.

What I do not believe is: The current administration will take this time to develop reasonable and intelligent screening protocols to let people into this nation. Rather, the current Golfer in Chief (and where the HELL are the cantservatives and why aren't they complaining about this?) is going to use this time to blather inanities, make vague promises and complain that his efforts are being thwarted.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

You're the wrong color to sit there

Be certain. I do not care for Bill Maher. However, I support his right to say what he wishes, including his use of the "n word" as the NPR report so mincingly puts it.

I also support the entertainer Ice Cube's free speech. 

He is wrong and given the opportunity, I'll say that to his face. He's still got the right to say it.

The issue is, of course, Mr. Maher referring to himself as the "house nigger."

Unlike NPR, I am not going to dance around this subject like it is radioactive. I'm not going to put out a hint so strong that the whole word might as well be used.

It is a word.

It is a collection of letters that form phonemes which create syllables which then become a word.

In the English language, this particular collection of sounds is offensive to some, a term of endearment to others and just a matter of everyday speech to yet others.

Interject those sounds into a conversation in another language, say Mandarin, and the result is either nonsense or something else entirely.

It is a word.

If the word is racially charged, then so be it. If the word is comforting, so be it. If the word is nothing more that another word, just like every other word in this post, hallelujah we have achieved communication!

It is a word in the English language.

If one person gets to use it, another person also gets to use it. If one group gets to use it, another group gets to use it.

It is a word.

From the NPR report, "But, as Cube told a visibly frustrated Maher, 'that's our word now, and you can't have it back.'"

Yes. It is our word. It belongs to everyone and anyone who speaks English. It belongs to people who want to learn to speak English. It belongs to people who do not and will never speak English.

It is a word.

If this word nigger is so charged with invective and hate. If this word nigger is so reviled. If this word nigger is such an offense, well, let's do something about it.

Use it. Make it familiar. Treat it as just a simple word. Exorcise the hate.

I'm old enough to remember when the word sucks was considered offensive and borderline profanity. Repeated and regular use of that word degenerated the meaning. It became a byword for something is not very good. It is now part of the routine vocabulary of the average English speaker.

The other problem here is Ice Cube is perpetuating racism. As are all the other people who claim some segments of society can use the word nigger and some cannot.

Racism. Pure and simple.

Ice Cube appears to believe that his recent African heritage gives him special rights to that word. He then denies others not of recent African descent the right to use that word.

That is racist.

Lemme rephrase.

Ice Cube appears to believe that only people of recent African descent may sit down at the diner to have lunch. Everyone else must stand or eat outside.

I hear the howls of anguish. Oh ye who doth protest to the moon, please enlighten me.

What is the difference between where someone is supposed to sit and what words they are allowed to use, if you are making that division based on skin color?

It comes down to this. We are all human beings or we ain't. We are all truly the same in the fundamental matters, or we ain't. Minor matters like a tan line, hair, the need for glasses and etc. that's just a thang so we can tell each other apart because if everyone looked exactly the same, how boring that would be.

If Bill Mahr wants to be the "house nigger" good for him. Bill is trailblazing here. He's ripping the hate from that word. He's trying to turn it into nothing more than some sounds. Bill is trying to say we are all equal. He's got my respect for that.

Ice Cube is trying to widen the chasm that needs to be filled in. That's his right, but I will not respect it or him.