Defense Counsel Calls Out DOJ For Falsely Accusing His Client Of Trading Sex For Access . . . Court Imposes Gag Order On Counsel

09dc-butina-jumboYesterday, we discussed the prosecution of accused Russian agent Maria Butina and how prosecutors put out clearly false allegations that she traded sex for favors.  Butina’s defense counsel Robert Driscoll called out the government for the clearly baseless allegations spread throughout the media.  U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has now responded by gagging counsel, an order that has become all too common in federal cases.I have long criticized imposition of gag orders as a standard pre-trial measure.  These orders used to be the exception rather than the rule. They prevent counsel from responding to leaks and  baseless accusations, as raised in this case.  The government has long used leaks to coerce pleas and destroy targets.  While Chutkan chastised the government for its baseless claim, she gave the government what it wanted in gagging Butina’s counsel.

All defense attorneys expect that they must be circumspect in public comments before trial. However, Driscoll was merely responding to the overwhelmingly false accounts being peddled to the press in the interests or his client.  Those leaks and the false allegation were already compromising the jury pool. If Driscoll had not responded, it would be doubtful that they would have seen a public statement from the court rejecting the allegation.

The court’s denial of bail was understandable.  Chutkan insisted that “I cannot envision a scenario where it’s not possible,” for Butina to walk out of jail, get in a car with diplomatic plates and flee the country.  Double negative aside, the risk is a valid reason for holding over Butina for trial.

The government’s baseless claim of a “honey pot” spy operation only added to questions over the strength of its case against Butina.  Indeed, as shown with Richard Jewell a decade ago, the Justice Department often seems to take the greatest steps to publicly disgrace people when their evidence is weakest.  Then, as in this case, they seek gag orders when defendants actually respond publicly. As in this case, there is no sanction for those prosecutors responsible for such attacks.

I see a value for gag orders in some cases but judges now turn to such orders as the first rather than the last resort.


348 thoughts on “Defense Counsel Calls Out DOJ For Falsely Accusing His Client Of Trading Sex For Access . . . Court Imposes Gag Order On Counsel”

  1. Ayn Rand was wrong because she assumed that the successful people in her novels succeeded on their own merits alone. This is ridiculous on its face. When a person runs a successful business, there are many factors that play a role in its success. For instance, all of the infrastructure in the society that exists helps a business prosper.

    The fallacy that is at the heart of Rand’s philosophy is the fallacy of mistaking a necessary condition for a sufficient condition. This is elementary logic. A necessary condition is something that is needed in order to make something else happen. A plant must have water, for example, in order to live. But a necessary condition is not the same as a sufficient condition — which is something that provides everything needed for something else to happen. Water is not sufficient to make a plant thrive. Other ingredients are needed, like soil and sunlight.

    An entrepreneur will get nowhere without a capitalist or a government agency in charge of a budget to finance his or her ideas; the production will require a labor force; it will need to make use of public infrastructure and a framework of the rule of law; and the fruits of the production will be of no value if no one wants them. Thus the creators, entrepreneurs, investors, taxpayers, legislators, jurists, workers, and consumers are all necessary conditions for the production of the value that we find in the marketplace; but none of them, including the entrepreneur, is a sufficient condition: none can make it happen alone.

    1. An entrepreneur will get nowhere without a capitalist or a government agency in charge of a budget to finance his or her ideas

      You need to sober up.

      Enterprises compete for financing, for supplies, for labor. What point do you fancy you’re demonstrating?

    2. Marry – you are dead wrong. John Sutter struck out into the California wilderness to find a place for his settlement, fort, etc in 1839. He even named the river the American because he was the first there. He built it, he hired and paid the laborers. He supplied the infrastructure. No government was involved.

      This “you didn’t build it on your own” crap that liberals have been throwing around is just that, crap. There is an old saying among entrepreneurs “Why work for some else for 40 hours a week when you can work 60 hours a week for yourself for free.” And all the time he/she owns that business they are paying for creating infrastructure for the next person. In essence they are repaying what was done for them. The government isn’t doing it.

      Now, where I live, the Town of Gilbert makes the developer pay for changes to the infrastructure, which are then included in the price of the house or the ground rent of the commercial property. They pay for all road widening, sidewalks, enclosing irrigation canals, moving utility poles, expanding the size of the sewers, etc. The Town no longer pays for these things. They do pay for the stop lights though.

    3. Marry, I tend to agree with most of that. Success is usually a team effort. Social conditions are necessary to provide the infrastructure of markets, finance, labor and capital and so forth. But entrepreneurship is still a real thing and, as you say, a necessary one for the advancement of new ideas in business.

      You people depreciate the value of entrepreneurship habitually especially with respect to the esteemed POTUS DJT, a successful billionaire, who did have a good inheritance and helpful education and family opportunities, for sure, but he made a lot of them and make no mistake he is a great team leader proven many times over.

      Rand spun fables about John Galt and all, posited him sneaking off to a valley Colorado and coining his own money and somehow hiding it all by his Tesla energy thingee, if I recall correctly. Most folks who can’t invent machines to pull free electricity out of the air should plan on getting power from the grid.

      I feel like my whole lifetime in conservative circles, there was a constant failure to appreciate the team effort, and all this cowboy lionizing of the individual was excessive and often counterproductive. About the only exception to that attitude is sports where damn near anybody can realize the necessity of team play.

      The left with its emphasis on social factors and history of labor organization, has a constant advantage over American right wingers in certain forms of conflict. Elections for starters. In America the right never goes back far enough, because it only goes back to the beef with the Crown. it’s cut off from the sense of society that pervaded feudal Europe for millenia.

      We can see that even today, it’s not the same in Europe where the “Right” harkens back to a traditional forms of social organization that predated all this individualistic stuff. They show a better ability to organize and engage in parliamentary action than “the right” does here, a perpetually ineffective force at organizing, however influential otherwise.

      DJT has a Germanic sense of leadership and team building intuitions that is not often seen in American politicians. He is Providential to us, all Americans, even those who are fighting him.

      1. And yet in sports some players get multi-million dollar contracts and some will be lucky if they net enough at the end of their carreer to buy a couple of Arbies franchises

        If the linemen do not do their job – the team loses.

        Yet, it is still inarguable that the value of a great runningback substantially exceeds that of a great center, and a great quarterback is worth more still.

        One of the functions of the free market is to allocate scarciity, including the scarcity of human talent, and to supply that tallent with the resources necescary to make it most productive.

        Nor BTW is everything inherently a team effort.

        A great lawyer might also be an excellent typist and paralegal. That lawyer might need no additional assistance to produce their work.
        And yet the lawyer will still be more productive by hiring a mediocre typist and paralegal.

        Much of what is accomplished by a team – can be accomplished by one entrepeneurial individual – but not as productively.

        The use of people with lessor abilities is a productivity multiplier – not a necescity.

        “It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy. The ta[i]lor does not attempt to make his own shoes, but buys them of the shoemaker. The shoemaker does not attempt to make his own clothes, but employs a ta[i]lor…. All of them find it [in their best interests] to employ their whole industry in a way in which they have some advantage over their neighbours, and to purchase…whatever else they have occasion for.”

        Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776.

    4. Multiple fallacies.

      Classical liberalism does not hinge on Ayn Rand. It does not hinge on a any single advocate or thinker.

      Newton noted that he stood on the shoulders of giants.
      The fact that some credit is do others does not alter Newton’s accomplishments.

      The Telephone would have come about without Bell, the airplane without the wrights, the transistor without schokley, the iPad without Jobs.
      But destroy all these people – and they are less than 10% of humanity, and we are all back in the mud.
      Merely do so little as to reduce their incentives and you impoverish all of us.

      You fail to grasp that the majority owe far far more to those who are exceptional, than the converse.

      In fact the confusion between necessary and sufficient is YOURS.

      Subatomic particles are necescary for everything.
      But we do not credit them with building bridges.

      Entrepeneurs have existed as long as humans have, long before government.

      Government is not even a necescity – though it may be a convenience.

      BTW – where do you get the idea that government agencies are responsibile for private capital and budgets.
      That is lunacy.
      Some production requires a labor force – all does not. In fact labor is ultimately a convenience too.
      There are plenty on the left and the right who worry what will happen as labor becomes less and less necescary.

      Absolutely producers are they to satisfy your wants – think long and hard about that.

      Almost no one (outside of government) becomes wealthy without providing to others more value than they trade in exchange.
      The more wealthy someone is the more likely they have positively contributed to meeting the wants and needs of others.

      In the past 50 years we have gone from 3.5B people to nearly 8. At the sametime – the standard of living of all has doubled.

      All the charity in the world, all the aiide ever given, all the largess of all governments ever in existance have done less done less for the world than
      the rejection of socialism and the weak embrace of free markets by billions of people in the past 50 years.

      There is no argument. Competing conceptions – have failed – miserably.

      Freedom and those who will take advantage of it for the benefit of themselves and others, are a requirement that we have never been able to effectively meet in any other way.
      All atempts to do so have left us poorer.

      1. Gawd, quit rehashing John Galt’s speech already. zzzzz. are you just trolling me now or what?

        I don’t fail to grasp that 80% do 20% of the work. Pareto principle. People understand that all along if they are smart. This is besides the point.

        tighten up your game, don’t bore me with propaganda

        1. Still fixated on Rand.

          Biologists have discovered that 30% of ants do 70% of the work.
          It is not Galt, it is science or more accurately the consequence of bell curve distribitions of a wide variety of traits accross the population.

          Even Adam Smith observed 250 years ago that beyond a relatively low threshold the actual wealth of productive people goes almost entirely to others – more than a century before Pareto.

          Regardless, the fundimental point is NOT about the pareto principle.

          It is about who is truly dependant on who.
          It is about L4D misunderstanding of necessary and sufficient. Probably because she has erred in presuming a fixed end.
          The capabilities of the most productive are both necessary and sufficient – for their own benefit. They are not alone sufficient to benefit others too.

          This will become both increasingly evident and important in the future as progress decreases the need for lessor skills and increases the demand for higher ones.

  2. Calling Foxtrot Foxtrot Sierra! Do you see what happens when L4D is not around, Foxtrot Foxtrot Sierra? Look at it. Just looks at it. What a mess.

    1. FF Sierra,
      If “L4D is not around”, the comments thread would lack her daily imitation of Joseph Finsbury.

      1. If L4D is Joseph Finsbury, then Tom Nash must be “The Bournemouth Strangler,” who dies in a train wreck, shortly after Joseph leaves the car to smoke a fag and is miraculously spared from the train wreck.

        P. S. You can keep the coat. I won’t be needing it anymore.

        1. L4B,..
          I would more likely identify with Joseph Finsbury’s brother, Masterman Finsbury.
          Although I would not go to the extremes he went to in attempting to silence Joseph once and for all.

          1. The casting director does not get to cast himself in a role. It’s an all too obvious conflict of interest. You cast me as Joseph Finsbury presumably because of that character’s habit of blurting out trivial facts. So you don’t get to cast yourself as Masterman just because he was in it for the money in the tontine. Get back in your piano. Keep the coat. Rest in peace, Bournemouth.

            1. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – The person who casts the play or film can also cast themselves. You have just not been around the theatre or films enough.

              1. Nash can have a cameo role only. Masterman is the lead role. The Bournemouth Strangler is the exact sort of cameo in which Hitchcock would cast himself.

                1. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – Hitchcock cast himself in all his films. A piece of trivia is to know where Hitchcock is in “Lifeboat”

  3. dhilli i know the John Locke and Ayn Rand stuff inside and out trust me, I don’t need a refresher course. Thanks for introducing these ideas to other folks however

    In the meantime outside the rarefied atmosphere of Randian speculations and Locke-liberal dicta, there is the real world of courts.

    Here is where Locke and Rand have things historically wrong.

    Authority precedes rights.

    Natural rights are a fiction because in the state of nature, there are no rights. there are natural laws, but those are like physics and natural selection and so forth.

    In the mists of shrouding the birth of civilization, who knows how it got started.
    But we know that the oldest authorities were essentially kings who were also high priests.

    In the type of the Pharoahs, or Melchizidek. That’s the most ancient form of the state.
    Those authorities ruled by force and by whatever other cultural tools they had, religion or whatever, but the rules of force they dictated are called law.
    The rules which define how the subjects can treat each other and be treated by the state are called rights.

    But at the end of every day in every place and every time, from the chaos of an uncivilized island to the order such as it is of China or America, where there is Authority it is Authority that says what rights are.

    That’s the job of many parts of government, but operationally, in the day to day, it’s up to courts.

    Consult Oliver Wendell Holmes. He will tell you how it really is.

    1. an equal fiction to the dated notion of natural rights, is the modern left counterpart, human rights.

      there are neither natural rights nor human rights. rights are strictly just what the law and the actual authority in the territory says they are.

      I am not rejecting morality and ethics and all that. Rights may be in need of changing, vindicating, updating, restoring, etc. Authorities that are actual may not be good and they may not even be legitimate.

      But authority is authority. You know who it is because it is in charge. You don’t need to agree; you need only to understand the rules and comply.

      That is what makes it authority. It is in charge. That is all. The fact it need not reason with you is precisely what makes it authority.

      And hence it cares not a whit for the whole world of Locke-liberal, Randian, or human rights speculations about uncodified principles lacking black and white definitions on paper. Those are just ideas, notions, not law. It’s got to be held by a court or stated by a legislature or an executive to be law. If it is not said then it is just speculation. Maybe wonderful and worthy speculation but it is the imprimatur that makes it law, or not.

      This is easy for old people to get, and young people don’t get it. With time you learn.

      1. thus , if a legislature or court SAYS thus and such is a right, as a matter of law, in their own jurisdiction, then voila! it is…..
        and tomorrow they can say otherwise

        that’s how it works everywhere


        DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE IS NOT LAW…It is inspirational propaganda
        The US Constitution and amendments, ARE law.

        here is law. today, in New Jersey, the age of lawful consent to sex is 16. That means on old perv of any age can have consensual sex with a 16 year old high school student boy or girl but if at least 16 it is lawful consent age-wise.

        Tomorrow, maybe they will raise it to 17, 18, or maybe a decade from now it will be less.’

        The law is what the legislature say it is and the courts say the application.

        What people think it should be, that’s just opinions… unless they are judges higher up in rank and file. And then maybe they make it law, because they can.

        1. What people think it should be, that’s just opinions… unless they are judges higher up in rank and file. And then maybe they make it law, because they can.

          Last I checked Judges and Lawmakers are people too. The law as you describe it then is nothing more than the collection of opinions created by some majority faction. It would be based in nothing other than the opinions of whatever majority faction is able to take power. Oh but we have a constitution you say, that defines how those laws may change. Yeah, but that constitution is rooted in a philosophy that you’ve already stated is false. Congratulations, you’ve been laying the foundation for the rise of every evil regime this planet has ever seen.

          Please explain why slavery and genocide is wrong? I’ll wait.

          1. the law is what the state says it is. that’s the first point of law school. you can like or dislike it but it is what it is. it was hard for me to learn this but i did eventually.

            ethics and law are related but different. ethics informs law, and you know, so does law inform ethics.

            but you ask me an ethical question. why is genocide wrong? it’s wrongest of all for those who are exterminated. and history is populated with peoples who conquested others.

            why, my ancestors came all from Europe, some over 200 years ago, and none less than a 100. but before that, Native Americans, now mostly gone. so remember our great American nation, took land by conquest just as others did, including lest we forget, many Native American tribes warred same way alike. Aztecs, for example, genocidists of epic scale, or so i read.

            slavery is worst of all for slaves. for slave owners, it’s perhaps something they consider their rights, under some system, most systems in most times throughout human history, don’t forget, and no special thing to hang on white folks.

            slavery in many forms was not abolished in parts of Asia until well into the 20th century, as a legal institution in one form or another

            And I read that the Chinese Communist party has locked up over a million people in Xinjiang just for being Muslim agitators, without even that thin judicial process that the accused normally get in China

            but, one could look at that from a different perspective too. i can’t give any good answers to these questions, im afraid i just will have to ask many more in reply. sorry

          2. “Please explain why slavery and genocide is wrong? I’ll wait.”

            He can’t. What he is offering is inherently nihilist – it leads nowhere.

            It is absent the concept of morality.

            He is making the same error as the post modernists, and the marxists before them, as well as the flaw in Bork’s form of democratic originalism.

            Ultimately humans have a conception of right and wrong. While that conception has been flawed at times, at its core it rests on free will – which is an intrinsic human attribute – though we see some flashes of it in other mammals. Free will and rights, and morality are inseparable. Something Mr. Kurtz has completely missed.
            And that is why we can know that slavery is wrong and that government that supports it is illegitimate.

            We innately know that some decisions of courts or some acts of legislators are just, and legitimate and some are not.
            We are often wrong – particularly often we mistake what is not just for what is.
            But most of the time when we see injustice we are right.

            And ultiumately some philosophies work – Mr. Kurtz’s has not anywhere ever.

            1. I am not an ethicist that’s for sure. I do not feel comfortable just saying this and that are right and wrong. I am not a priest. Go elsewhere for firm categoricals, I have none for you today.

              Slavery bad, you say, but have wage earners always been better off than slaves? Sometimes the invocation of the historical demon slavery is just to exorcise the inequities of today.

              Likewise genocide. Who ever remembers all the exterminated people killed off by Chingis Khan? uh, uh, uh. bad, ok. But not bad for the Mongols. They just heaped up the skulls and kept riding.

              I said it’s really bad if you lose. By implication, it’s less bad for the victor. History is littered with genocides. Who remembers the expulsion of Greeks by the Turks, or their simultaneous extermination of a million or more Armenians? Mostly just Greeks, Armenians, and the Kurds who get the Turkish boot today. I don’t like Turks, but if you are a Turk, hey, Turkey’s great. Turks could have been exterminated by the Khan too– and many Turkish peoples were. So how does this advance our conversation?

              When I hear genocide i often wonder who is pushing it. Do all the people who cry foul about the Burmese expelling Rohyngya Muslims really care or is this a strategic propaganda to establish a “humanitarian crisis” problem in SE asia to lay heat on Chinese?

              Because the Chinese government is abusing a hell of a lot more Muslims in Xinjiang, but nobody has much to say about that. I did hear Rubio mention it however.

              So the point about genocide is, it’s a frequent feature of war, and if you have some sepcifics that relate to our concerns here today let me know, otherwise, yeah ok it’s bad. What else?

              1. I think genocide is more appropriately described when there is no state of war with some other country. Civil war is not really a state of war so that is more situational.
                It is when there is a directed wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians based upon some class or attribute.
                That is genocide that is hard to apologize for, even by moral relativistic standards.

                1. genocide: im not apologizing for it. I am just not clear how it fits into the conversation at all.

                  I get tired of hearing about Hitler all the time and the same goes for Mao and Stalin. History is full of genocides including the one that lies at our feet. if you think that the conquest of North America by our ancestors was accomplished nicely without deliberate ethnic cleansing and wholesale slaughter of Indians by the US army then you are not familiar with the Indian wars.

                  Now I am no angel. I am not feeling guilty about that. I am not offering to pay reparations. And the Indians had the same idea about the settlers. At least once they came to understand that it was an invasion of their continent by the white man., some of them eventually settled on war and genocide indeed of the pioneers where were caught without sufficient cover. But they lost just as the Aztecs who had slaughtered countless tribes were in turn subjugated by the Spanish.

                  I am just saying that is all ok or justifiable. It is horrible. And yet in every age it happens. Who were the Hittites? The conquered and now they are gone. Thus it proves little. The Holy bible itself says that HOLY GOD HIMSELF told the Hebrews to slaughter the Amalekites and various other peoples, …remember Jerhico? not only he who pisseth against the wall, in certain cases, but in some, every man woman child and beast of the field! Now do we consider that right? Here are all these Christians and people today whining about genocide all the time who have never heard of this. And I ask, what is the point? I tire of Americans using the term genocide loosely in conversations to justify their point when it does not really do so. Don’t just accuse me of things that i had no part of and trot out genocide as your evidence. Nonsense.

                  The most important point anybody needs to understand about genocide is:
                  DONT LET IT HAPPEN TO YOU

                  btw speaking of genocide. i just read Viktor Frankl’s memoir of the concentration camp. They call it existentialist, that’s why i read it. A captivating read. I recommend it.

                  1. The reason I inserted slavery and genocide into the thread is very simple. If you believe there are no rights that do not come from government, then everything the government gives to you and takes away is just.

                    1. well, i don’t see how that follows. The rights are what the government says they are. That’s just a fact.

                      Natural rights: maybe there are such things, though i doubt it.

                      In any either case, that does not make laws just. They may be just or unjust, but rights are defined in law, and law is defined by government. That is what government does.

                      See, one day slavery was a property right, then they passed the 13th amendment by victory in Civil War, and then POOF! it was no longer a right.

                      It may have been unjust all along, but it was a right and then it was not.

                      Is the right to collective bargaining just? I think so, some do not. But it is a right, as far as it is defined in law.

                      Natural rights are one theory of justice. that is not the only theory of justice. And individual rights are a theory of justice but not the only one either. There are collective rights all around you, like the right of collectives called corporations to own property and “speak” in their own respect as well. Nations have rights defined in law, treaties and so forth. Ethnic groups can too: look at Indians, again. Or look at the “historically persecuted minorities” that benefit from official government sponsored quotas at various times and places or “strict scrutiny” review of state action by federal courts. But if I say, whites have rights as a group, well, I am not familiar with anything in US law that says any such thing, collectively speaking, in the same way it does about Indians or historically persecuted minorities like blacks. Maybe that is unjust in my view, and just in the viewpoint of other people. But law is law and the government says what is by definition.

                      Religious groups can have rights defined in law, and they can be defined out of law too. In Germany I hear, they don’t count the fraudulent cult Scientology a religion, but hey, here we do. There is a tiny cult of Thor worshipers here who can hold ceremonies in jail together under BOP guidelines too i read. Cool! Iceland calls that a religion now too even though it was totally wiped out and exterminated by the Church a thousand years ago or so.

                      Law is what the government says it is. That is a simple proposition and you guys are really riled up about it!

                    2. You’re unnecessarily complicating your theory of law and rights. Justice would be what the law says it is. If law is written that permits silencing speech from conservative groups, then that law is just. If law is written that no property may be owned by non-hispanics, then that would be just. If you want a different idea of just, then you’d better get in the majority.

                    3. olly. i never said or implied, that, by saying government defines law, it is necessarily just. you guys seem to think that i did. perhaps i do not communicate clearly

                      justice and law, two different things. related, hopefully coexistent, but not necessarily.

                      you have to understand and admit that law is defined by government. that is law education 101. i’m sorry that i have not been clear about this. but it is what it is.

                      a law is a law if government says it is.

                      it may or may not be just.

                      imagine a venn diagram, two moving circles. sometimes overlap, or maybe not, or more or less at any time. just two different things.

                      I DID say that I do not believe in natural rights. that is a different proposition. it’s a related conversation but farther down the line than the preceding point. i do believe there can be meaningful debates about justice without adhering to notions of natural rights.

                      now if we get into natural law per Aquinas, then you are talking about yet another thing. Natural rights are an Englightenment thing and natural law is a medieval thing. They are related but not the same.

                      But i gotta go. A demain mes amis!

                    4. If all rights are provided by government, and that government creates the law, then how would there be any legitimate argument that a law is unjust?

                    5. Mr. Kurtz’s scheme is not only absent the concept of justice, it is inherently lawless.

                      If the legislature passes a law abolishing elections and the courts uphold it – then in Mr. Kurz’s view – we must all accept that – it is legitimate binding law.

                      Alternately Mr. Kurtz will argue “that will not occur, and I need not refute what is not going to happen”.

                      Maybe, but that will not occur – is an assertion, it is not rooted in any principle or clear impediment.

                      Regardless, my counter may be hypothetical, and Mr. Kurtz, may be correct and it will not occur.

                      But there are many other possibilities and absent defined limits all of those will not occur – atleast not immediately, but some will.

                      As lord acton observed – Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

                      In Mr. Kurtz;s view government has the power to unilaterally give itself more power – legitimately.

                      How that ends I do not know.
                      But it will not end well.

                    6. Your argument appears to be shifting.

                      i do not think anyone has argued that government does not make the law.

                      The argument is about what are the constraints on govenrment law making.
                      That is not a 1L legal question.

                      Nor is the statement “the govenrment makes the law”
                      Logically equivalent to “a law is a law if government says it is.”

                      You are correct in noting that Just is an independent attribute – so are legitimate, and binding.

                      I am not aware of moving circles in venn diagrams – “new math ” ?

                      “I DID say that I do not believe in natural rights. that is a different proposition.”

                      Our founders did – absolutely unequivocally.

                      Further their views were much more developed that your discussions here.

                      All natural rights are not innalienable. All inaliable rights are not natural.
                      Or founders (and the framers) beleived that natural rights and individual liberty were the same thing.
                      That both were very nearly infinite.

                      They beleived in civil rights – as distinct from natural rights – civil rights are government created rights – such as the right to a jury trial, a lawyer, protection for self incrimination, that are a part of the quid pro quo of the social contract. That individuals trade their personal sovereiingity and their right to redress the injuries of others to their riights to government in return for civil rights.

                      They also beleived in priviledges and immuniities – natural riights, in fact all rights are a subset of priviledges and immunities.

                      I will concede that like all of us our founders and the framers were on occasion hypocritical and/or self contradiictory.

                      You can find remarks – sometimes by the same person that contradict some of what I note above.
                      But you can find 100 times as many that re-affirm that.

          3. “Yeah, but that constitution is rooted in a philosophy that you’ve already stated is false.” — Olly

            Kurtz did not state this, Olly.

            But the simple fact remains that since your first post here you have seen the DOI as law. It is not. Kurtz’s perspective of propaganda is simply too much for you; yet it is an apt description.

            As Thucydides documented,the Athenian perspective in the negotiations between Athens and Melos in the lead up to Melos’ slaughter::

            “But you and we should say what we really think, and aim only at what is possible, for we both alike know that into the discussion of human affairs the question of justice only enters where the pressure of necessity is equal, and that the powerful exact what they can, and the weak grant what they must.”

            1. Mr.Kurtz rejects the self-evident truth of natural rights. He states the DoI is nothing more than inspirational propaganda. In my opinion he is arguing the entire premise of the DoI to be false.

              I have never stated the DoI is law. I have however stated it is the foundation for our constitution.

              1. I would agree that it is inspirational. It is foundational for the constitution, in my mind, however, only because it was the successful Declaration of war by belligerents who were victorious. Then they had one verson of government that is gone, the Articles if you recall, superseded by the Constitution. So i would not say foundational except as a preceeding declaration of war by the victorious belligerents.

                I do think it informs norms: that is, it is a sort of inspirational holy writ that people take on a level roughly equal to the Decalogue. It is a cultural relic of great importance. It is certainly mentioned in a lot of cases, maybe due process ones, but it is not a codified law itself.

                But it is also propaganda.

            2. yes a great quote Lien, and that echoes Thrasymachus.

              I think a lot of conservative people are uncomfortable with some of the things that I say about money, that is, the effect of exchangeable power in our society, that is to say again, money, and I recognize it as a factor in every part of American “justice” from a to z. Americans are really uncomfortable talking about “class,” too, even though it’s a very real thing and has been known to all society since the dawn of civilization.

              People have a knee jerk reaction and hear commie when i talk that way. I never called myself a communist and not even a progressive. But there are some things that the Marxists figured out about liberalism-capitalism as a system, and I say, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!

              I am not sure we can ever get past that fact however, so call me a nihilist if you like. Certainly in China for example, they have not succeeded in establishing equal justice for the poor. From what I read and hear, nearly everyone accused of a crime has to pay a bribe to cops, judges, jailers, you name it, again and again, if they have the money to pay, it helps, and, if they don’t they get squeezed anyhow. Some worker’s paradise, not!

              So call me a nihilist i guess. oh, you did already!

              1. I never called you a nihilist.

                The big point Marx figured out is that unfettered capitalism leads to monopolistic control of markets. Expanded on by Lenin, this leads to imperialistic means of sustaining economic growth.

                Americans do have a terrible time in seeing this — even given the points you raise — though we are living in the imperial stage of capitalism as we speak.

                1. It was dhili that called me a nihilist. that is not a label i claim, but it is also not unfair. I have looked into the abyss and maybe too much.

                  since you mention it Lien, yes, Lenin was prophetic on that point. I am not a Marxist but the work named below, is full of insight and i recommend it to anyone who wants to understand current events.


                  They made me read it in school, which I resented because I was trained to hate commies. But in spite of myself i could see the truth of it then and there and many decades hence it still seems right to me, at least much of it.

                  1. Neither am I.

                    I only mentioned Lenin earlier for the essay you linked to.

                    I leave it to others to expand their own knowledge if curiosity captures them and they can rise above the ignorant hubris of today’s discourse.

                    Lenin’s assessment is difficult to argue against; it is difficult to read this essay and not see the mercantilism of historical England and our current militaristic approach to world affairs.

                    1. Oh thank heavens. I was beginning to think that I was the only one who sees the connection between militarism and merchantilism.

                      They say that when it comes to rules for government intervention in the economy military goods and military services are the “echt” public goods and public services. Or maybe it was Adam Smith who said that. I really don’t remember. Ask TStD.

                    2. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – so, the Soviet military with all of their tanks and AK-47s are just a distant memory to you?

                    3. L4D wishes to conflate free markets with merchantilism when it is more closely related to socialism.

                      If there is a connection between merchantilism and militarism – that would not surprise me.
                      There is a connection between socialism and militarism.

                      Merchantilism one of most regulatory forms of government there is. it is a close relatiive to sociialiism and just another form of statiism.

                    4. dhlii – actually the US is/was the largest arms merchant in the world. When we sell new fighter jets to the House of Saud, we take their old ones off their hands and sell them to someone else. We take whatever they had and down market that to someone else. It is really fascinating.

                    5. I do not disagree with your remarks, but they are tangent to what I was arguing with L4D.

                      Absolutely there are many things the US government does that we should not.

                      Further there are remnants of middle ages merchantilism throughout the world – Trump actiively argues merchanitist garbage, and it appeals to some of his base.
                      But it appears that his actions are more free market, than merchanitilist.

                    6. Mercantilism is an economic form whose only redeeming quality is that it is less vile than marxist-leninism.

                      Though both the left and the right periodically attempt to incorporate some elements of merchanitilism into free markets, merchantilism is not free markets and iit far more strongly resembles the regulatory state that the left wants – or even forms of socialism.

                      I have no position on whether it connects to militarism – if it does, that would not be surprising – as socialism which is closely related clearly corellates to miliitarism.

                    7. What are you getting at, now?

                      During the Russian Civil War, the Communists in the Soviet Union went to extraordinarily bloody and brutal lengths to keep the Tsarist Russian Empire from falling apart any more than it already had under The Tsar. They even expanded a bit into Central Asia after that. And then, after The Second World War, the Russians got most of the Tsarist Empire and then some back in the form of The Warsaw Pact and the dreaded Iron Curtain. Communism and Imperialism are not antonyms. Come to think of it, The Soviets may have been the biggest Imperialists of them all.

                      Now what the devil were you trying to get at, anyhow?

                    8. “merchantilism only redeeming feature is not as bad as marxist leninism?”

                      first off do you know that both China and Russia had massive failures with collectivization and reverted to something people fairly call “state capitalism” or just plain old “socialism” so the critiques of marxist leninism however perceptive were not translated into a functioning system of significant difference from most other economies

                      secondly the chinese today could be argued to be extremely mercantilist and the CCP and its pet industrialists are certainly benefiting from it quite nicely. maybe some of that trickles down to the peasants

                      and the British plutocracy benefited quite nicely in its day too. prolly a lot trickled down in the Empire too.

                      As for Trump he is an economic nationalist. that is a nicer word for “mercantilist” and a more appropriate one considering we are not talking about 19th century financial and trade relations and things have evolved quite a bit

                      does one policy another benefit the industrialist or the industrialist’s workers? does one favor the worker but penalize the consumer, how much? do tariffs distort, do they discourage efficient competition, etc? that’s a good subject for economists but better the ones who count things acccurately and make well grounded observations and do not get too far into ideological name calling. that’s just my preference however

                    9. Massive failure is usually considered worse than failure.

                      I would be happy to agree that there has been no marxist government – every attempt has failed.

                      Most people would conclude from that that marxism can not be accomplished.

                      With respect to China today – I would recommend reading “How China became Capitalist” by Ronald Coase – presumably you know who Ronald Coase is.

                      Your merchantilist observations have some merit but China is both simpler and more complex than that.
                      Regardless Coase is a very easy read despite being brilliiant work.

                      I am reserving judgement on Trump for the moment as it remains difficult to tell whether Trump’s merchantilism is primarily a threat in an effort to acheive freer markets or whether it is a goal. Additionally even if iit is only a threat, there is the possiblility that it is a threat that Trump must go through with. finally there is the fact that Trump speaks merchantilism as a means of political appeal to a particular voting block.
                      In the end what he actually does matters not what he says.

                      As to your final paragraph – all policies have winners and losers – even socialism is often net positive – meaning that growth is not negative.
                      That said we know by theory and experience that the less government involves itself in the economy – beyond providing the rule of law, the more rapidly standard of living rises.
                      And that no other arrangement provides more benefits for more people.

                  2. Chinese is state-capitalist and less hostile to private enterprise than it used to be. It is also corrupt as hell and not in any sense comparable to the Western version of capitalism where there are clear contracts and strictly observed legal conventions applicable to commercial transactions.

                    Coase is another U of Chi economist. I only know a little bit about his work. What I do know is that between the world of theoretical economics about privatization and the reality of privatization as it happened in post-Communist regimes, there is a wide gulf.

                    if he had something to say about China maybe it was insighftul or not, but things are happening very fast there today. I would not spend much time trying to apply the work of someone like Hayek to China. The differences in commercial practice and society and culture are vast. A deal here and a deal there are not the same. Deals there can change in a way that nobody tries to do here. For starters. So the essential quanta of some economic work like contracts are not even the same here and there. I can only wonder how the hell they approach accounting and probably GAAP is not a general commercial principle rather a Jap is just a hated Ji-pon-ren person. And Hayek’s work emerged from a very western sort of thinking about the world. Things in China mostly happen the Chinese way. The more I learn about it the more I understand how profoundly different it is from our ways and how little I understand.

                    Rather, the simplest way to understand what is happening in China today is called nationalism, but really, the communists there were genuinely nationalist in the first place, so, not much has changed just how they manifest it.

                    Nationalism in America is experiencing a rebirth. And DJT is not afraid to give the Chinese hell and another 200 billion in tariffs are going to be imposed., That will pose quite a problem for the Chinese even if it means Americans may have to pay a little bit more for all the junk they like to buy from Walmart in the meantime.

          4. Chief Olly asked, “Please explain why slavery and genocide is wrong? I’ll wait.”

            Sorry to keep you waiting, Chief. Slavery and genocide are wrong because nobody in his or her right mind voluntarily submits to either slavery or genocide. It is regrettably necessary to allow exceptions for people of unsound mind. Nevertheless, we have a right to flee our oppressors and our conquerors, alike. And if you want to call that right to flee by the name of a natural right, then please explain why forcible military conscription is right, or wrong, depending on . . . well, it is at least possible voluntarily to submit to military service. But that possibility hardly makes forcible military conscription right–nor wrong–depending on . . . what’s the difference between forcible military conscription versus slavery?

            Does anybody here know whether the advent standing armies with professional soldiers has anything at all to do with the advent of the civil state?

            1. “nobody in his or her right mind voluntarily submits”

              To the extent that is an argument the argument is that consent is necescary.
              And that fact completely obliterates pretty much every other argument you have ever made.

              Locke’s social contract is consensual.

              There are good arguments for government powers that do not require consent.
              But those arguments only justify very limited government.
              Regardless, if you make an argument for government – broad of narrow, that does not require the same consent that one would have to give to genocide or slavery,
              you are back to having to explain why slavery and genocide are wrong.

              BTW your “right to flee oppressors” is but a small logical step from the justification for limited government.

              With respect to conscription – given and actually Lockean social contract – when you voluntarily accept the contract, you accept the WHOLE contract, which includes the obligation to defend the state.

              If we go beyond the consensual social contract, the defense of the state itself – so long as the state is otherwise conforming to iits legitimate powers and role, is itself a legitimate role of the state, and therefore one in which government can legitimately use force.

              Regardless the point – which you are completely ducking, is that the power of of government is limited.
              Government may not legitimately do whatever it pleases.

              You appear to be willing to accept that with respect to slavery and genocide.

              But you offer no explaination – beyond consent – which I will be happy to accept, and will not permit the government you want.

              In fact the broadest justifications for government power that still preclude genocide and slavery leave you with insuficient just power within government to do pretty much anything the left tries to get government to do.

              1. Which type of government conducted The Trail of Tears?

                Which type of government practiced the peculiar institution of chattel slavery?

                Are all of your people historical amnesiacs? Or is it mostly just you?

                1. So you respond to there are only limited instances iin which non-consensual government is legitimate, is to provide numerous examples of illegitimate government ?

                  You make my point.

                  All law is not legitimate, or moral.

                  Do you now understand that when you choose to make law – whether the left or the right or whoever, that you EITHER must get the unanimous consent of all you impose that law on – something that is impossible in the context of government, but is the norm inside of quasi governmental private institutions resting on free association – unions, churches, civic groups, ….

                  OR you must meet some criteria in your law making that assures that your law iis legitimate.

                  Accept that absent unanimous consent the power of government to make law is constrained and we can then get into the discussion of what constitutes the criteria necescary to make legiitimate law.

                  1. Well, that was a painfully redundant exercise, and well done on your part. But I sincerely doubt if you got anywhere. I think the switch clicks off when there is a possibility of discovery that is at odds with personal ideals. And yes, isn’t postmodernism just plain laziness? It doesn’t finish any arguments, that is why we keep going around in circles and ending up here, in the same place.

                    1. Hogwash. The federal government of the United States of America was extremely limited at the time that Andrew Jackson drove The Cherokee off their lands so that Jackson could hand them over to land speculators who subsequently financed Jackson’s bid for The Presidency. Nobody ever asked The Cherokee to grant their consent to The Constitution of the United States of America any more so than African American slaves were asked to grant their consent to the same. And that necessarily means that limited government is substantially worse at securing the rights of its citizens than a more expansive government is as an empirical observation of historical fact. The argument to the contrary is precisely amnesiac. Philosophers have been palming The Painted Lady of History up their sleeves for 2,500 years already.

                      Enough. Wake up. Snap out of it. Start paying attention to what’s really going on around here. Pshaw!

                    2. There are few who would pretend that US history is entirely enlightened.

                      That we are often hypocrits does not say anything about the merit of the principles we sometimes ignore.

                      But no, that does not mean that limited government is worse at securing rights.

                      While we are not shooting indians today – our modern treatment of them is barely better than Jackson’s.

                      Blacks in the US should be thankful – slavery was eventually ended.
                      The opression of indians continues to this day.

                      So much for progressive government.

                    3. dhlii – problems on the reservations are the fault of either the BIA or the tribe itself.

                    4. dhlii – the BIA runs circles around the VA for mismanagement. I think the BIA is a hybrid organization.

                    5. It is hard to confront challenges to ones beliefs and principles.

                      It is also the most important purpose of debate.

                      If you are challenging MY fundimental principles – I expect that you will make the counter point compellingly otherwise I am unlikely to rethink my positions.
                      But I am obligated to do exactly that if you do.
                      Further i am obligated to look into all the nooks and crannies of my own positions – even if I do not want to, to find error.

                      I am particularly obligated when my position is the basis for the governments use of force against others.

                      It is extremely rare that some other poster today (and through my life) challenges some position I hold in a way that requires me to rethink it.
                      BUT IT DOES HAPPEN. The most common basis for altering my opinion is my own further thought or what I read.

                      Regardless – particularly when I seek to use the force of government against others, it is incumbent on me to know with the greatest possible certainty that I am right.

        2. Are you familiar with post modernism – because you are channeling it beautifully.

          Get a clue, it is an inherently nihilist philosophy, you can justify anything – or nothing from it, and it ultimately devolves to slavery and destruction.

          1. I have been studying the works of Martin Heidegger. I also like Alexander Dugin’s “Fourth Political theory” which does draw on some post modernist influences, and Marxist ones too. However, both Dugin and Heidegger are considered right wing extremists usually.

            There is more respect for Carl Schmitt, another jurist I study and admire, but he was obviously a right winger too.

            as for nihilism, I wont go into Fred, but, hey, there is a lot there and you should not dismiss it so lightly.

        3. You are also channeling Bork who should have been smart enough to no better.

          Regardless, if authority is somehow self referentiially legitimate – then the Nazi’s were moral, as was stalin and Mao.

          If your argument can not survive a trivial reductio ad absurdem it is crap.

          1. Bork so very under-rated by everyone besides constitutional scholars.

            I won’t elaborate, last time I did nobody noticed.

            But on this one point he is worth remembering: the First amendment’s core principle is the protection of POLITICAL speech most of all. not to the exclusion of other types of speech, but that most of all. Obscenity and sexual expression to some degree perhaps, but on a far lesser level of concern, both for the Founders and for the majority of our Republic’s existence.

            And that too leads into this whole thing about Trump and the “Russian collusion,” because at the end of the day guess what, foreigners including Russians in America have protected speech rights too. Quite a lot of the supposedly nefarious conduct Meuller probes is just a lot of stuff that any foreigner can say to an American and there is not a whit of illegality about it.

            1. Then why didn’t Mariia Butina register with the Attorney General as an agent of a foreign government in keeping with the requirements of 18 USC 951? Because, the Russian Official who was directing and controlling her told Mariia Butina to avoid being listed as an “agent of influence.” Because registered agents of foreign governments have to be publically disclosed, subject to monitoring–including surveillance–and, most of all, the people they contact are routinely informed that they just communicated with a registered agent of a foreign government.

              Thus the notion that being a social butterfly in political circles would ordinarily be perfectly legal studiously ignores that the exact same behavior would also have been perfectly legal had Mariia Butina only bothered to register with the Attorney General as an agent of a foreign government. Mariia Butina knowingly, willfully omitted to register as an agent of a foreign power precisely and exactly just so that her efforts as an agent of influence would not be publically disclosed, nor would she be monitored, nor surveilled, nor would any of her contacts be duly informed of her status as an agent of a foreign government.

              1. on paper that makes sense, unless you remember that nobody cared about registering under FARA before Meuller breathed new life into it


                Ken Silverstein wrote, and I will quote it all here because it’s important context:

                “The real news in the indictment of Paul Manafort on charges of laundering and failing to register as a foreign agent is that someone has actually been prosecuted under a foreign lobbying law that has existed for decades but has almost never been enforced. The indictment may or may not prove that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government, but it has already proved how flawed the foreign lobbying rules have always been and how easily they are flouted.

                I’m not going to weigh in on whether Manafort or his associate, Rick Gates, did in fact launder more than $18 million dollars, largely gathered as fees from Ukrainian strongman and Putin ally Viktor Yanukovych, but I can say with certainty that the law, which Manafort is accused of violating, known as the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, is a complete joke. The law was enacted in 1938, but it’s been under-enforced or not enforced at all for ages.

                How do I know? Because I’ve written about foreign lobbying and Manafort for more than 20 years. During that time, I’ve seen only a handful of cases brought against people or organizations accused of not registering as foreign agents. And it was always some foreign group, or Washington outsider, or foreign group—the Cuban 5 or someone allegedly connected to Irish Republican Army—never a wired Washington lobbyist like Manafort. Yet Manafort, like dozens of other influence peddlers, has been operating in plain sight for years. I wrote about Manafort as recently as August 2016—one story for Fusion focusing on his Ukraine work and another story for my website, that looked at his historic work for dictators and crooks.

                In 1992, Spy magazine ranked his lobbying firm as the “sleaziest of all in the Beltway,” giving it a “blood-on-the-hands” rating of four. As I wrote in my piece: “That was a full bloody hand more than the rating accorded to runner-up Edward von Kloberg, whose clients—listed in his Rolodex under D for dictators—including Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Romania’s Nicolae Ceaucescu, and Liberia’s Samuel Doe. It’s no surprise that when asked by the Washington Times what historical figure he’d like to meet, Manafort replied: Machiavelli.” Furthermore, I added, Manafort was born to modest wealth but “monetized his misdeeds at every step of the way.”

                I’m hardly the only one who has reported on Manafort’s rather checkered career. The same year as the Spy piece, the Center for Public Integrity issued a report titled “The Torturers’ Lobby,” which cited Manafort and his firm’s work on behalf of human rights abusing regimes in Nigeria, the Philippines and Kenya, as well as a thuggish band of Angolan rebels known as UNITA. All this work, for which he was well-paid, was known precisely because he registered under the FARA laws. But somewhere down the line, it appears, Manafort discovered that registering simply wasn’t necessary, which made it harder to follow his activities.

                Now it has come out in excruciating detail. It certainly appears that Manafort received undisclosed money from the Ukrainian government or its business allies, and maybe it was laundered offshore. If true, and it has looked that way for a while, that’s bad. But if you’re going to indict and prosecute lobbyists for failing to disclose their activities, roughly half of Washington would be under arrest. Manafort actually should get points for ever filing and disclosing anything at all, although he didn’t in the case of Ukraine. The Center for Public Integrity, again in the early 1990s, reported that only about half of foreign lobbyists bother filing under FARA, and it’s surely gotten worse since then.

                And why would anyone file? Almost no one who cheats gets called to account, so why bother? If you rob banks and TV stations broadcast video images of you pointing a gun at the teller, but the police never bother arresting you, you’d keep robbing banks, right?

                It’s the same with lobbyists. The last time I can remember a stir about a lobby firm evading disclosure law was in 2004, when Qorvis Communications’ offices were raided by the FBI in a probe about its work for the royal family of Saudi Arabia. However, nothing much came of it, and business carried on as usual among Washington lobbyists. Two years ago, reportedly, a number of Qorvis lobbyists quit because they were uncomfortable with the firm’s work. According to this 2015 story in the New York Observer, more than a third of Qorvis partners had left the firm—to start their own lobby shops—“partly because of the firm’s work on behalf of such clients as Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the Central African nation of Equatorial Guinea,” reported the Huffington Post. “‘I just have trouble working with despotic dictators killing their own people,’ said one Qorvis insider.”

                The Department of Justice’s own inspector general has confirmed just how toothless the FARA enforcement is. In September 2016, DOJ issued a report that tallied all the prosecutions under FARA since 1966—a total of seven. Only one of the individuals charged was convicted at trial; according to the report, two pleaded guilty to FARA charges, two were convicted on non-FARA charges and two saw their cases dismissed. An important reason for this lack of enforcement is that there are virtually no enforcers. The FARA team at DOJ is small, poorly funded and relies on voluntary compliance. According to a POLITICO story from October, “it usually investigates possible failures to register only when its staff reads about them in the media.”

                So, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that the only reason that Manafort got busted was because a special counsel was appointed after the firing of FBI Director James Comey to look into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia. Manafort has been under investigation since 2014, but if the DOJ’s track record is any indicator, it’s quite likely that had he not been Trump’s campaign manager, Manafort would be kicking back and enjoying his allegedly laundered cash at this very moment.

                Manafort is hardly the only Washington lobbyist who appears to have flouted the FARA rules. Evading registration is child’s play for Washington pros. Look at lobbyists, PR executives and opposition researchers caught up in the Russiagate investigation. (And let me emphasize here that I know a lot of them and like them, and I’m only reporting what I’ve read in media accounts and what various lobbyists—not the ones I like—have told me about how little they fear FARA. This is all an open secret in D.C.)

                Many of the people involved in the case were lobbying against the Magnitsky Act—the law passed in 2012 that sanctioned and barred some Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses. Putin definitely doesn’t like the Magnitsky Act, and quite frankly, I don’t either—but that doesn’t make me Putin’s agent. More relevantly, none of my lobbyist and PR friends were working, to my knowledge, for the Russian government. Instead, some of them apparently worked, directly or indirectly for the Russian oligarch Denis Katsyv, who was a DOJ target under the Magnitsky Act. Earlier this year, a group of companies owned by Katsyv, who was represented by Natalia Veselnitskaya (the Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr. in the summer of 2016), agreed to pay nearly $6 million to settle allegations that the firms laundered proceeds of a $230 million tax fraud.

                And here’s another trick that’s even better, and it’s not just used by Russia. Let’s say a government wants a lobbyist or someone else to do some work for them in Washington. Maybe it’s lobbying and maybe it’s not exactly lobbying. The country simply has a major American law firm hire the lobbyist or PR executive, and now you’re not lobbying for Russia, you’re providing litigation support for a certified American law firm. And it’s 100 percent legal and outside the purview of the ever more meaningless FARA statute.

                Makes you wonder why there’s a law at all.”

                1. Why does Mr. Silverstein presume that doing what virtually everyone does is “cheating”.

                  Cheating normally means to harm someone through deceipt.

                  No one is harmed throught deceipt by failing to register.

                  I would further note that in Manaforte’s Ukraine work, he did not directly lobby politicians or government – he did so through intermediaries, The Podesta group among others.

                  The most reasonable application of FARA is that those with direct contact with the US government or politicians are the “agents”.

                  I would further note that Clinton’s efforts to push the Steele Dossiier on DOJ/FBI would be more of a FARA violation than Manafort’s work.

                  The Steele Dossier is the product of multiple foreign sources – Steele himself, as well as the GRU/FSB sources of his in Russia.
                  Given that most of the sources are unlikely to have acted without the permission of the Russian government – everything about the Dossier is derivative of Foreign efforts.

                  Isn’t then everyone who provided the Steele Dossier to the FBI/DOJ acting in violation of FARA ?

                  McCain is dead we are unlikely to prosecute him. But most of the others are not.

                  Fundimentally FARA is both bad law, impractical law, and illegitimate law – law outside the bounds of government power.

                  The one argument you have made that has tiny merit – is that is quite common.
                  Murder, and other crime is quite common too. Being Commonplace does not make something legitimate.

                  1. Historically FARA was used to discourage anyone from being agents of hostile foreign powers. I am not clear on what the difference betrween a legal lobbyist for a foreign government is and one that needs to register under FARA. Apparently most of DC is not clear on it either.

                    For example, H Kieth Thompson, was a lawyer who actually was a registered agent for various former officials of the German NS regime, and maybe some disfavored successor political parties in West or East Germany, after the war. I can’t remember the details, but I read a book that quoted him about historical things and his experiences in law practice related to that. I doubt that helped him get a lot of business with regular clients, and it put him under a lot of uncomfortable surveillance.

                    FARA is a bad law and unfairly enforced is the opinion of many it seems incl. Mr Silverstein quoted above.

                    The Hillary people, I have read, had some workaround to make “their” Russian dirt, legal, but I can’t follow the distinction between that and the Russian dirt that Trump supposedly got. One has to be an expert to get that kind of thing, it’s as arcane as some tax law.

                    1. Trump had Don McGahn as campaign counsel. McGahn was a Commissioner for the Federal Election Commission for five years from 2008 through 2013. Don McGahn gave thirty hours of interviews with Mueller on three occasions over the course of nine months. Gee. I wonder what they talked about. Obstruction? Or conspiracy? Maybe a little of both–eh?

                    2. Or maybe the weather ?

                      It would be trivial for Mueller to find 30 hours to interview McGahn wiithout reaching anything of substance.

                      Do you have any facts that would support the claim that McGahn has information about a crime ?

                      As you note McGahn has held a variety of roles for a long time. Most of those roles did not have priviledge attached.
                      Even he role as campaign counsel ethically precluded him from even passively participating in any criminal act.

                      Put simply the presumption must be that no crime occurred – otherwise McGahn would have had to act previously.

                      But logic is not an attribute of left wing nuts.

                    3. We are mostly in agreement.

                      Except possibly the part where you do not understand that bad law has multiple consequences.
                      That it inherently undermines the rule of law.

              2. Or maybe because Butina was a college student who was politically active and FARA is an unworkable, stupid law that pretty much no one has followed, and that if we are going to start jailing people for, we are going to jail most of both political parties.

                Regardless – get a clue. Is it beyond your your perception to grasp how the despots of the world including Putin can follow the US lead to destroy all political opposition in their own countries and to make the world unsafe for americans ?

                If Cher or Sean Penn or more likely someone of lessor stature speaks on Russian (or Turkish) politics – what prevents Putin (or Erodegan) from jailing them using the very arguments you are making regardiing Butina ?

                What BTW is the difference between a politically active college student and a foreign agent ?

                1. The law at issue with Butina is 18 USC 951 Agent of a Foreign Government. FARA is a different law. The issue with agents of a foreign government is that they are being directed and controlled by that foreign government. Your false equivalency vis-à-vis Cher and Sean Penn is just that–a false equivalency–unless the US government were directing and controlling Cher or Sean Penn. BTW, Mueller has communications intercepts in which Butina takes direction from a Russian government official under whose control she was working. Moreover, Butina also committed visa fraud for the express purpose of concealing the fact that she was working under the direction and control of that Russian government official. And she committed visa fraud because that Russian government official directed her to do so.

                  1. There is no false equivalence.

                    First the US has actual agents – people directed by the US government who act on foreign countries – at one extreme these are spies in the CIA, at the other these are people within our state department. Everything that either do is inherently political.

                    If we prosecute Butina – we legitimize the prosecution of our own people.

                    Penn and Cher are at the opposite extreme – with myriads of americans in foreign countries falling in between.

                    You may think that Cher is not acting at the direction of the US government – but I a sure Erodegan thinks otherwise.

                    What of Denis Rodman ?

                    I doubt Rodman, or Cher or Penn will run afoul of some tin pot despot, but by criminalizing politics you are justifying tyrants elsewhere doing the same – more expansively.

                    I would further note – why are we to beleive that the FSB and GRU agents that Steele used as sources were not acting at Putin’s direction ?
                    Frankly beleiving that FSB and GRU agents were NOT acting at the direction of the kremliin is seriously reaching.

                    What of Steele himself – he is former MI6, are we so sure he is FORMER Myriads of people involved in this have connections to MI6 – there is more evidence that Hillary was workiing wiith foreign agents than Butina is.

                    BTW how is the use of foreign agents in a political context different than the use of US agents ?

                    How is Halper’s spying somehow acceptable ?

                    Ultiimately Butina is a US person – that is a person legitimatley in the US, with most of the same rights and privileges as US citizens.
                    You can deport her. That is all you can do legitimately. And all you should.

                    AGAIN – crime is CONDUCT. With very few exceptions that conduct must be wrong independent of whether you are Donald Trump or Joe Blow.
                    The only instances where conduct that would not otherwise be a crime should be a crime – is where you owe a duty.
                    Such as if you are a public servant.

                    Butiina is not a publiic servant and owes no one a duty. Her actions were overt not covert. While II have not heard credible evidence that she is a russian agent rather than a political actiivist, I honestly do not care.

                    Besides the left has become paranoid and sees russians and russian agents everywhere.

                    The 50’s want their unamerican activities committee back.

              3. If conduct is legal when you have filled out the appropriate forms – the same conduct is legal if you do not.

                Law – real law, legitimate law, the rule of law, are about conduct, not forms.
                Specifically law is a proscription and punishment for conduct that causes actual harm to others.

                When you buy a hamburger at McDonalds – that is a completed contract. Yet there are no forms you had to fill out, no paperwork you had to complete.

                1. The primary purpose of 18 USC 951 is public disclosure of agents of foreign governments. !8 USC 951 also facilitates monitoring and surveillance of foreign agents. But most importantly of all, 18 USC 951 routinely results in the offical notification of US citizens with whom the registered agents of foreign governments have had contact that they have, in fact, had contact with the registered agent of a foreign government. And that’s why everything that Butina did would have been perfectly legal if only she had registered with the Attorney General as an agent of the Russian Federation. She did not do that specifically so that none of her American contacts would be officially notified that she was an agent of the Russian Federation. That makes Butina’s actions a crime under 18 USC 951.

                  1. Why do you presume that the public has a right to know whatever it wants to know ?

                    It is our government that is obligated to conduct as much of the public business as possible in the open.

                    Not private individuals.

                    Presumably you have heard of the right to privacy ? The 4th amendment ?

                    BTW I would suggest that you reread your response – your argument is circular.

                    And AGAIN – conduct that is not otherwise criminal – remains legal even without the impramatur of government.
                    “Securing the blessings of liberty” – you will find that in the preamble to the constitution, if the constitutional assertion that everything is not the governments business.

                    You keep reverting back to law is if that is meaningful in this argument.

                    A few posts ago you noted that slavery was “legal” in this country at one time.

                    So clearly you understand that there is not a tautological relationship between right and wrong – or crime, and law.

                    You have accepted that what Butina did – her actual actions are not criminal.
                    You are making this about paperwork.

                    You do not seem to grasp – that if you have the riight to do somethiing.
                    You have the right to do it – even if you have not filled out paperwork ?

                    Is your right to free speach, a free press, free assembly conditional on filling out paperwork ?

            2. Honestly, I swear, it’s almost as though the Trump Troupers want to start a civil rights movement for Russian spies. “Free Mariia Butina!” How the blazes do you all get yourselves into these pickles?

              1. I genuinely feel like there is an undue focus on “Russian spies” at a time when they do not pose a significant strategic threat, and it runs the risk of distraction from China as a greater threat in every sense. Not that I want to demonize the Chinese– the same factors may emerge against them one day. But why this “Russian collusion” narrative is so compelling?

                Two big reasons
                a) Trump is hated by the bureaucracy, for various reasons, maybe they are good or bad reasons but the hate coming from mass media and certain corners of government is palpable. And that he or or at least his people had some Russian connections– nothing inherently illegal about that, but, it’s provides the opportunity to be exaggerate it all into a crime.

                b) it is the lonstanding geopolitical strategy of England and America to compete with Russia around the globe for influence, natural resources, markets, everything.

                That predated the Soviets, it grew with their ascendacy, and it outlived their fall. It is perhaps just a feature of geography as explained by george Mackinder and others but it is still something that we should be aware of and perhaps encourage our national government to tame its imperialistic impulses towards Russia.

                But it should concern us because at least according to Noam Chomsky, whom I would hope my friends on the left would respect, Noam said Trump’s best policy was that of diplomatic engagement with the Russians, in light of the continuing risk of nuclear war.

                For these two reasons i remain skeptical of all prosecutions targeting Russians or implicating them.

                I have no problem persecuting real espionage by Russians. Dont forget the Rosenbergs, Ames, or Hanssen. Those were very real and damaging incidents of espionage.

                But none of this comes close to any of that. Not at all.

                I find it interesting that people who often come to the defense of perceived bigotry aimed at Muslims, appear to be confident prejudging and slandering and demeaning Russians.

                I think in both cases, it’s not because of genuine bigotry. Anti-Muslim advocates probably don’t hate Muslims and people thumping the drum against Russian collusion probably don’t hate Russians. Rather, it serves perceived strategic interests to have an enemy to rally the troops. I feel that a certain part of the Democrat party and a certain element in the “military industrial complex” or at least the recently-retired part of it. is demonizing Trump as colluding with “the Other” simply to rally the troops in the ongoing struggle that is our democratic society.

                1. It’s Halford Mackinder and his work is taught by geographers as being of intellectual-historical interest.

                  1. sorry thanks.


                    Around 1900 the young geographer, Halford J. Mackinder, grew concerned with the changing balance of international power. He argued that Russia’s vast, central territories were outside of the reach of British sea power, that the vast Eurasian territory possessed an invulnerable ‘Heartland’, and that whoever controlled this Heartland would dominate the world. This idea became a powerful notion in early twentieth-century international politics. This article presents Mackinder’s idea in context and traces its impact. First, it follows the evolution of the idea. It then shows how the idea developed during the First World War, buoyed Mackinder’s criticisms of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, and drove him to expand on the nature of two rivalling approaches to questions of war and peace. Finally, it follows the impact of Mackinder’s idea on the evolution of the geopolitical tradition: first in Great Britain, where its impact was slight, then in Germany, where its impact was enormous, then finally in the United States, where it provided a framework that helped President Roosevelt prioritise a war in Europe against Germany over a war in Asia against Japan.

                2. Of course the bureaucracy, the left and the media hate Trump – that is an act of self preservation.

                  Anyone with a job in the federal government should treat Trump as a threat to their job.
                  He has made clear both before and after the election that he is looking to downsize and to demand performance.
                  Whether he will be able to signifiicantly alter the character of the federal government is an unanswered question, but obviously he is a threat.

                  I am not surprised on whit that “the state” deep or otherwise is fighting back overtly and covertly.
                  I am not surprised that republiican statists see Trump as evil incarnate.

                  Without totally disagreeing with your argument regarding Russia, it is highly overstated.
                  The absence of meaningful connections to the ocean mean that Russia is and always has been a regional power rather than a global one.
                  A very very significant regional power, but regional nonetheless.

                  Russia’s importance has for centuries exceeded what one would assign based on the scale of its government or economy.
                  At the same time but for Nuclear weapons today Russia would be a second rate power – and in fact iis a second rate power,
                  just a dangerous one. The collapse of the USSR revealed Russia as largely a paper Tiger. The entire Russian economy is a bit larger than the US defense department budget.

              2. Or maybe some of us – regardless of our views on Trump would like to prevent the left from shredding the concept of civil rights because at the moment it interferes with getting who they want.

                Rights – all rights, including civil rights are that which you permit those you loath the most.

                The only rights you have are the rights you allow those your hate.

                Whatever rights you deny Butina, you deny yourself.

                It is irrelevant who she is. What he views are, who she may or may not work for, what she says.

                If her actions are illegal – then anyone else engaging in the same conduct is also acting illegally.

                In her case her actions are political speech. If Butina is not free to speak politically, none of us are.

      2. Your argument is the argument of the left.

        You ask me to “trust you” that you know about this, and yet you parrot the same arguments made by living constitutionalists, or critical theory nutjobs or or post modernists.

        It is your definition that leads to things like healthcare as a right – which is a fiction that is only sustainable because of the high standard of living freedom has brought us.

        Though I can recommend some legal theory to you – I would sugest that you start with philosophy. The arguments you are making have consequences. They lead places that have long long ago been rejected. Nor is that rejection some esoteric questiion of intellectual preference – they have been rejected because they do not work.

        You can not have free will without natural rights, and if you really want to argue in support of those few positions that do not have free will – be my guest.

        All the questions you are addressing do not exist in a vacuum.

        You can not construct a system with authority at its apex – without logical consequences – ones that are demonstrably false.
        You can not reject natural rights without rejecting myriiads of other things that are interdependent.

        And NO Human Rights and Natural Rights are not inherently the same – though they overlap.

        The fundimental problem with many of the human rights of the left – such as healthcare, is that they are positive rights, they impose a positive duty to act on others, and are therefore inherently unsustainable.

        If as in East germany in 1989 the people decide that authority is not authority – then it vaporizes, instantly.

        Authority is not foundational, it is not fundimental, it is derived.

        Though in reality you are talking about a particular type of power, because all “authority” is, is legitimate power.
        It should be self evident to you that the self sufficient power of a single individual fairly limited. Greater power is iinherently dependent on some form of consent or acquence from others. Put more simply – power is derivative. It is given in return for something. It does not exist on its own.

        And quite absolutely it cares greatly about maintaining whatever is necescary to sustain it – because iit is self evidently not self sustaining.
        Again – power – authority is derivative, not fundamental.

        1. “Authority is not foundational, it is not fundimental, it is derived.”

          I just disagree with you on this. Authority is derived first of all and usually most of all, from victory, of some kind, war, elections, treaties, but some victory of belligerents.

          The consequence of victory in the form of seizure of state power in one form or another, throughout history. If that is a leftist position, then they may have that point correct. But i think that is a very ancient idea fully understood by every belligerent who waged war.

          “Though in reality you are talking about a particular type of power, because all “authority” is, is legitimate power.”

          If you are talking about auctoritas versus potestas, that is a worthy subject with deep and meaningful differences. it feeds into what we are discussing but my assertions are aimed at a very simple concept and one that i must have failed to explain sufficiently The whole thing is not very simple and the main point i am trying to make is this:

          the government defines what is law.

          your opinions about justice may or may not coincide with it.

          judges, executives, and legislatures get to define law.
          if we are not them, then our opinions are just that. opinions not law.

          1. as for “trust me” that remark was aimed at one even smaller assertion, that i need not prove to myself, and that is that lawyers give up first amendment freedoms as compared to other folks who are not licensed. if you want to argue that point i won’t waste my time, because like i said, it hardly matters to anyone who isnt a lawyer anyways, and you guys can’t even believe it when it’s explained to you

            but if you are lawyer who said the wrong thing, you can lose your license, get fired, even thrown in prison for contempt.

            look it up if you dont believe me. and yes the states can deny law licenses to anybody they don’t like. in re Anastaplo and some more recent cases, it’s all out there. and the feds will not say otherwise. because the courts are the final regulators of the practice of law, that’s just how it works. sausages, ya know? laws are like them…. don’t look to closely at how such things are made, it may disgust you.

        2. Mr. Metalogic said, “Put more simply – power is derivative. It is given in return for something. It does not exist on its own.”

          How is it possible for an accomplished Three-Card Monte dealer such as Mr. Metalogic to be so seemingly unaware of the Painted Lady he had palmed up his sleeve?

          Governments [powers] are formed to secure inalienable rights. Powers [governments] are given [consented to] in return for something [security for inalienable rights]. Put more simply–security for inalienable rights is derivative. Security for inalienable rights does not exist on its own [in the state of nature]. How than are the “natural” rights inalienable except in the civil state?

          1. From Merriam-Webster:

            Definition of inalienable: incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred ·inalienable rights.

            1. I am not looking to quibble with webster. As Ii do not have much problem with there definition.

              But you are again making a common left wing nut error and confusing a concept with a definition.

              You are pretty literally seeking to win an argument through the same newspeak technique of 1984.

              Words and their meanings are critically important – because most of us think and communicate in words.

              But like the totalitarian leftist you are you think that if you can control the definition of words – like the Orwell’s ministry of Truth, that you can control thought and concepts.

              Those things that I can “inalienable rights” exist independently of webster’s definition – they are a concept, and idea, an attribute of humanity, they exist even if we do not have a name for them. They exist even if you misdefine them.

              You are not going to win the argument semantically – partly because you are not that good at semantics, but more importantly because the argument is not semantic.

          2. And not to put too fine a point on it, but some people, I won’t say who, because they know who they are, are of the opinion that there exists in the state of nature an inalienable “natural” right to contract. If so, then is it truly impossible to surrender or otherwise to transfer to another party one’s own erstwhile inalienable “natural” right to contract?

            1. “And not to put too fine a point on it, but some people, I won’t say who, because they know who they are, are of the opinion that there exists in the state of nature an inalienable “natural” right to contract. If so, then is it truly impossible to surrender or otherwise to transfer to another party one’s own erstwhile inalienable “natural” right to contract?”

              Why the opaque sinister language ?

              “The propensity to truck, barter and exchange one thing for another is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.” – Adam Smith
              Smith is actually wrong there are limited examples in other mammals.
              Smith goes on to note that free exchange is “a necessary consequence of the faculty of reason and of speech.”

              I am not going to directly address whether it is an “inalienable” right. It is certainly a right – it is a right of all beings with the capacity to reason and speak.
              It substantially predates government.
              And again the purpose of government is the protection of that right.

              Almost all meaningful human interaction is free exchange. All jobs are free exchange. All commerce is free exchange.

              Unless you live out in the lawless wilds and produce for yourself absolutely everything you need – you inevitably engage in contract.

              And even in that case – if you have a spouse, procreate and have children – your engage in contract.

              Much of our criminal law is about the breach of contract through violence.

              Rape is sex without consent – a contract.
              Theft is taking by force rather than agreement.

              Inalienable of not, whether you call it a right or not, contract is MORE fundimental that government.

              1. i used to hold that notion and again have come to reject it.

                there is not much to contract without an exterior force to ratify it and fill in its unspoken terms. that can come from the state and law– or in some people the authority comes from tribe and culture. we see for example how ethnic groups will continue to do business in their own way abroad as well as at home, again, jews and chinese come to mind., the exterior force there is the authority of ethnic culture.

                in some cases contracts outside the law work over time, but usually in the context of some other set of rules laid down, again, forcefully by some authority like organized crime.

                any deal outside the state and outside the superior force of the state, religious authority, a strong ethnic culture, or organized crime, had better be pretty simple or else it will fail for one side or the other due to fraud, or, soon devolve into a shooting match.

                even a simple dope deal exchange of material for money on the spot is liable to fall into an ambush or fraud without recourse to external rules and punishment. fake money or fake dope, what can the buyer or seller do? once they walk away and figure out later there is only find the cheat and violently punish, or have recourse to somebody else to do it. thus a market for extralegal adjudication arises and organized crime finds its niche. the bigger the black markets the bigger the organized crime gangs that protect the deal with their own subrosa states.

                individuals are very weak alone. teams win.

                in its focus on individualism, American conservatism has run down the wrong road for too long. it has not future unless it can appeal to groups. that’s what Trump has done. He has succeeded where the others have long failed.
                He has appealed to industrial workers, and natives, most of all.

                Even a lot as individualistic as the average American gun-nut can rise above the mystique of the lone cowboy and come together in the NRA. that’s the sort of thing that conservatives need to do more, one way or another, or they are destined to fail.

                in this way, liberterianism, for all its relatedness to classic liberalism and American political heritage, is a dead end street when it comes to democracy. you can’t herd cats.

                1. Mr. Kurtz

                  I do not care if you think I have a good heart.

                  As a practical matter we know nothing of each other by words in blog comments.
                  You do not know if I am mother theresa or Jeffrey Dahmer.

                  Nor is the fact that we agree on many things particularly interesting.
                  The foundation you argue – whether we agree or not, leads elsewhere.
                  It does not support your conclusions – even where we agree on the ends.

                  Your arguments are indistinguishable from those of post modernists, who are marxist derivative.
                  That does not seem like where you wish to go, but it is where your arguments end up.

                  Unless you place an anchor somewhere – you end up with the nonsense of the modern left – that everything is an opinion that all oppinions are equal – except when they are not,
                  That what is can not be questioned – except when it can.

                  You end up just making things up as you go.

                  Your argument about law is circular.

                  Your argument about society inverts reality, iit confuses the top with the bottom, the foundation with the roof.

                  Family does not exist without individuals.
                  Kin groups do not exist without iindividuals.
                  Tribes do not exist without indiividuals.
                  Nation states do not exist without individuals.

                  It is inherently obvious to all but the blind that individuals create these abstractions for their benefit.
                  But all starts with the individual.

                  1. no human a self-generating biological clone. sexual reproduction is your physical origin and that takes a “society” of two for starters. so just get in touch with that obvious fact and get over the delusional adherence to this ayn rand dogma and we can talk.

                    as for marx he had a lot of insights. the left was not wrong for studying him. there is a lot there to learn. likewise it’s to their credit that the left took heidegger seriously. The English speaking right is mired in Enlightenment fantasies I think, other parts of the Continent moved on but here we are still stuck with its legacy. The only “republican” that is known to have any insight into Continental right at all is Stephen Bannon. But I don’t know him and I don’t know if that is just a rumor or not.

                    you can call me names like marxist and it doesn’t affect me. i have been called other names too. call whatever names you like in your frustration if it makes you feel better.

                    i am not a fan of postmodernists but I am a student of existentialism and other schools of thought that are considered part of the right but I sense yo do not care so I wont bore you.

                    about all your hitler stalin mao questions….. quit worrying about all that. those are not arguments. this is not math. reduction to absurdity does not work the same way in social topics. if you are scared of authoritarianism then you are scared of Plato’s Republic too. and the Sparta that without which you would maybe be a zoroastrian speaking Persian today, who knows.

                    here’s a confession you can denounce me with if you like. alexander dugin, who is a Russian philosopher and Putin supporter, banned by the state department from even coming to the us, yes I confess i have read his books. i confess! collusion! I read books! luckily nobody need fear, I am a nobody and don’t run for any office and never will.

                    I not only read Marx and Sartre and Bakunin and Lenin and Mao and Guevara. But I also read Nietzsche and Hitler and Junger and Evola and Schmitt and Heidegger. I found them all worthwhile to read. Lock me up!

                    1. I was created by a biological process that is millions of years old.
                      It has nothing to do with either society or government.
                      Neither existed in any form at that time.

                      This is a ludicrously stupid argument, and you keep trying to equate biological processes – which in your best case have nothing to do with your argument, and in the worst case refute it.

                      Regardless, society had nothing to do with it.

                      And still the fixation on Rand ?
                      Your more persistant than an objectivist – and more irrational than a christian fundimentalist.

                      The delusional adherence problem in this debate is yours.

                      Government and society (different things), are useful human constructs, they procede not precede from the individual.

                    2. Very little of the US right is particularly interested in the enlightenment and classical liberalism. With a few rare exceptions the right has at best been less hostile to the enliightment than the left.

                      A stopped clock is right twice a day.
                      Yes, Marx has some value, but inarguably his primary contribution is disasterous.

                      Whether you are a fan of postmodernists or not you are parroting the same bad arguments.

                      “Don’t Worry” is not an argument.

                      Lots of Wiemar politicians said the same.

                      Logic works EXACTLY the same everywhere.
                      When you falsify something – either it is false or you have made a logic error.
                      There is no this is false but we can ignore that in social contexts,
                      Further – as I keep trying to get through to you – society, and government are NOT THE SAME THING.
                      In fact law and government are not the same thing either.

                      If your argument runs afoul of a reductio ad absurdem whether in physics or “social” spheres, there are two posibilities,
                      your argument is false, or there is a limiting principle involved.

                      Your “don’t worry” assertiion – is essentially a claim that there is a liimiting principle – without stating that limiting principle.
                      You are saying – we need not concern ourselves with Stalin’s or Hilter’s because we will not get there.

                      That MIGHT be true. But if so, it is true for a reason, and that reason needs to be stated explicitly form many reasons inlcuding that it may no longer be true tomorow.

                      Getting you to openly accept that there must be a limiting principle is PRECISELY what I am arguing.

                      BTW that is very UN Randian.

                      Once you accept that absent a limiting principle – your concept of legitimate government does not survive logic – there are other successful counters besides reductio ad absurdem and I have addressed some of them, but RAA is sufficient, falsification is falsification. To paraphrase Einstein all my lifes work can be refuted by a single paper.

                    3. We can debate the merits and faults of plato iif you wish just as we can of Rand.

                      I did not offer those as absolute truth, but as reflections of the influence of philosophy as well as its development over time.
                      You have said history influences philosophy – and that is true, but so is the converse.

                      You are relatively well read – but unfortunately relatively narrowly read.
                      Or you missed the point.

                    4. of course law and government and society are different things.

                      all of them precede our entry into this world and all have a claim on us whether we “consent” or like it or not.

                      of course history and philosophy influence each other in both directions

                      I am not going to have any political debates that predictively assert that this and that is going to lead to hitler or stalin. 99% of those arguments are lazy excuses for working something out precisely, just scare tactics, nonsense. they are not mathematical RAA they are just scare tactics.

                      Slippery slope arguments in law are valid, to a point, the point at which they conceive of possible developments. Where they deviate into extreme unlikelihood they become useless.

                      But they are typical of libertine or liberterian approaches to justice. So now, we have a situation in which kids can dial up porn on their cell phones, because of the ridiculous over-extension of free speech rhetoric to where it is now– every cell phone has become a sewer pipe of sexual obscenity directly into the mind of every kid who gets one from his or her stupid naive parents. I won’t be deceived by “slippery slope” scare tactics like everyone else is, sorry.

                      Well in England they have no promulgated laws to require age verification for online porn services. Oh, the free speech crowd in the USA is up in arms about it! but it is hardly a threat to speech, in all sincerity, just peddling filth to minors.

                      And in England, they also have much legalized sex work, between consenting adults, so that gives the lie to the notion that they are somehow antisex or puritannical.

                      I have the freedom not to engage in specious arguments based on slippery slope scare tactics, and I wont.

                    5. “of course law and government and society are different things.”

                      Then do not conflate them.

                      “all of them precede our entry into this world and all have a claim on us whether we “consent” or like it or not.”

                      At the very least ALL are extremely different from what they were at my birth. Those changes did not “precede” me, and they took place without my consent.

                      Regardless, your argument is crap.

                    6. “I am not going to have any political debates that predictively assert that this and that is going to lead to hitler or stalin. 99% of those arguments are lazy excuses for working something out precisely, just scare tactics, nonsense. they are not mathematical RAA they are just scare tactics.”

                      My argument is RAA not slippery slope – though they are related.

                      You do not get to dismis a valid logical argument that you do not like as “scare tactics”.

                      There is no provision in logic that if an RAA is “scary” it is false.

                      There is only one way around a valid RAA – that is to provide a limiting principle.

                      That must either be some law of math or science that the RAA fails to account for that actually prevents the RAA from being reachable,
                      Or it must be an imposed condition – a new premise that constrains your original argument.

                      In this case that constraint is simple.

                      “Laws are only legitimate, binding, moral, if …..”

                      and then offer the conditions underwhich laws are legitimate, moral and binding.

                      Thus far you have made a “pre-existing” argument – which is both false on numerous levels – and would preclude making new law regardless.

                      And a “take it or leave it” argument.

                      Neither are are limits and therefore continue to fail the RAA.

                      You are correct that many people offer invalid RAA’s – but we do not get to reject and RAA because in your view 99% of RAA’s are just scare tactics.

                      An RAA is either valid or not. That is testable. As noted an RAA is typically invalidated either because a natural condition makes it unreachable, or because a human imposed condition makes it unreachable.

                      I would further note that “Hitler” is just convenient. Everyone understands Nazi references, and that the nazi regime was lawless regardless of having all the trappings of lawfulness.
                      But the Nazi’s are not the only example. In this country Slavery was the law of the land for just less than a century. We can go all over the world at any time and find myriads of lawless regimes. Nor do we throw up out hands and say “oh well, that is their law” when say ISIS beheads an american. Or when Putin murders his political competitors.

                      ALL OF US completely grasp that all lawmaking is not inherently legitimate and binding. Merely because it exists.

                      I am just askiing you to get past the left wing nut garbage or deciding what law is and is not legitimate based on your “feelings” and actually contemplate what are the real requirements for binding legitimate law.

                      I am asking you to diiscuss what are “the laws of lawmaking”.

                      You are unwiilliing to accept that there are any – and that is precisely why the Nazi RAA is a powerful and abslute refutation of your premises.

                    7. You do realize that your entire libertine sex obsessed rant pretty much makes my case.

                      It is quite clear that you do NOT subscribe to your pretense that “the law is what it is, and is legitimate, moral and binding” merely because it is.

                      You arbitratily preclude me from even asking what are the requirements for binding legitimate moral law,
                      but spew a diaria of words rejecting the legitimacy of the very law as it is of your own argument.

                    8. i meant to say “now” not “no


                      while the US free speech advocates were ringing their hands over that, they completely ignore the super-chilling of free thought and expression by the socalled private entities google facebook twitter who single out right wing users for deplatforming, demonetization, and bans, under the excuse that it’s all private action, ignoring the monopolistic claim that these massive online users of public bandwidth have any free expression responsibilities at all.

                      which basically is because Silicon valley is both a purveyor of filth en masse, huge profits, and also has bought off the Democrat party. So they won’t cry wolf at them.

                      You are a SUCKER if you think that a lot of lofty principles go into the actual implementation of these kinds of censorship regimes. Basically the left wants to censor the right and the right is too stupid to want to do the same. And the liberterians keep pretending that there is some ideal state in which nobody’s ox will get gored.

                      These days I worry less about slippery slopes that might kick my ass one day far off, and I worry more about who’s kicking my ass today. You folks out there still laboring under all this libertarian hogwash should do the same.

                      I would apply that to such non-issues as the poor little Spaniard who is in trouble because he says he wants to poop on God and the Virgin Mary. I won’t lose any sleep over that one, trust me.

                    9. So you are perfectly happy using your own “guts” to determine which law and lawmaking is legitimate, binding and moral.
                      But you are unwilling to consiider that there might be a requirement for legitimacy aside from your own gut.

                    10. “oh dhili, make no mistake, equality is at the core of your individualist ideology as much as any. me denouncing the DOI and its equality talk is part of what got this witty reparte underway.”

                      Perhaps we should use a different word besides equality – equality has many meanings, one is in comparing two things.

                      Equal protection of your rights, is quite different from egalitarianism.

                      The failed schemes I reference all are egalitarian, attempting to achieve some form of actual equality rather than equal protection of the law.

                      I would specifically note from the DoI that the purpose of government of law is to PROTECT RIGHTS.

                      In your argument – government has no purpose. It can do as it pleases and we are all stick with whatever results.

                      Except by your own rants it is clear you do not really accept that.

                      You are just unwilling to impose any constraint on government except that of your own guts.

                      That is a very bizzarre posiition for a lawyer.

          3. Once again LOGIC is not your forte.

            “Put more simply–security for inalienable rights is derivative. Security for inalienable rights does not exist on its own [in the state of nature]. How than are the “natural” rights inalienable except in the civil state?”

            Partly, though not completely true.

            Inalienable rights exist – absent the state. They exist absent being secured.
            It is the “security” of those rights (sort of) that is derivative.
            Not the rights themselves.

            If I own property and I am worried that a fire might destroy it, I can purchase insurance to “secure” my property.

            The property exists whether I buy insurance. In fact it exists even if insurance does not.

            The property is NOT derivative. But the insurance is.

            Further Insurance (or government) is ONE way of providing security for inalienable rights, it is not the only way. It MIGHT be the best way.

            The entire tribal structure that eventually evolved into modern government was just a poor form of Locke’s social contract.

            Trading some power for some protection of rights.

            But even without tribes and chiefs and pharoh’s we still had rights – and still had the ability to secure them – albeit badly.
            We could do so using our own power – and to a large extent we continue to remain free to do so.

            We are still free to defend our person and our property from the use of force by others.
            Just as we were free to do so 150,000 years ago.

            Inalienable rights are not derivative.

            Securing them MIGHT be.
            Government and POWER – beyond that of the individual is derivative.
            And in fact only exists because the rights do.

            1. no, the baby is born into a family with rules and a social structure.
              which family is part of an existing kin group.
              which is part of a tribe.
              which is the analogy and origin of the nation-state.

              all that precedes the individual and his or her own concerns–
              and it survives after them.

              or not. and that is why the tribe curtails the individual, so the group can survive. mostly in competition with other tribes who are out to take resources by any means necessary. just like chimps.

              this is evolutionary biology, history, and fact.

              the Enlightenment brew is a heady drink but when you come off it for a while it clears your head and you can see straight again.
              the Bible Thumpers are right about one thing for sure: secular humanism is as much a religion as anything else, full of unverifiable articles of faith!

              good luck dhilli!
              I can tell you have a good heart!

              1. “no, the baby is born into a family with rules and a social structure.
                which family is part of an existing kin group.
                which is part of a tribe.
                which is the analogy and origin of the nation-state.”

                Nope, the baby is just born. That is all. Everything else you note are patterns that have varied throughout all human existance.

                I would further note you analogy is crap.
                Our bonds are first and foremost to ourselves.
                With very few rare exceptions we will act in our own perceived self interest above that of family, kin, tribe, state.
                Further with each step away from self our connection to those abstractions weakens.

                Using you logic – why end with nation-state, why not world government ? Why not all humanity ?
                Why not all mammals ? All animals ? All living things ? All living things ?

                “all that precedes the individual and his or her own concerns– and it survives after them.”
                All those other things are abstractions – concepts, they have no existance outside of the minds of individuals.

                “this is evolutionary biology, history, and fact.”
                Something you are quite clearly ignorant of.

                “the Enlightenment brew is a heady drink but when you come off it for a while it clears your head and you can see straight again.
                the Bible Thumpers are right about one thing for sure: secular humanism is as much a religion as anything else, full of unverifiable articles of faith!”

                You lob these unsupported and unsuportable platitudes as a substitute for arguments.

                Please identify the actual logical argument in anything you have written ?

                You claim fealty to reality – and yet your arguments have nothing to do with reality.

                Things are as you say that are – because you say so, and any right thinking person should be able to see that.

                That is not logic, that is not reason, that is not argument.

                I can touch an individual – I can not touch a family, a kin group, a tribe, a nation-state.
                They are not – in your words – REAL.
                They are useful abstractions created for our convenience.
                That does not mean they are not powerful – they most certainly are.
                But it does mean that they are not foundational,
                they are derivative, everything about them rests on something else.

                1. disagree. have fun with your viewpoint. be careful however because family kin ethnos nation and empire are all very, very real and they have a claim on us like it or not.

                  and don’t be disingenuous. this is straight out of Ayn Rand. nobody ever made such a radical claim and stuck to it as persistently and famously as she. What you say reminds me of John Galt’s speech except shorter and less boring.

                  1. I have not argued that the concepts of family, kin, tribe, nation do not exist.

                    What I have noted is that for the most part those bonds weaken is they distance from the individual – which BTW is the CENTER of that construct.

                    While bonds driven by ideas are stronger or weaker based on the merit of the ideas, not the distance from the individual

                  2. Everything I am arguing is my own spin on several prominent modern federalist legal scholars. Not Rand.
                    Their work rests on that of generations of scholars that preceded them – Rawls as one example. Much of what I have argued was resolved generations ago.
                    The insufficiency of passive consent as an example, or the concept of popular sovereignty.
                    Many parts of this discussion go back to the Magna-Carta or Roman law, or the Greeks or Jewish law.
                    Long before Rand.

                    It has been a long time since I read Rand, but I do not recall her ever addressing what constitutes valid law.

                    You are the one with the fixation on Rand.

                2. if i am devoid of logic and irrational then you might as well be arguing with a rock. i certainly feel that you are not getting it. will not call you irrational because I used to be under the sway of such a false ideology. and you invoke self interest like rand too, ok well in my viewpoint it’s self interested to understand society and our place in it and not take a narcissistic viewpoint and dress it up into an ideology. you know ayn rand criticized adam smith “because he was a collectivist” ? preposterous !

                  obviously society precedes the individual. believing otherwise you are free to do. ….. but the world makes a lot more sense when you don’t make a god out of yourself and the vaunted “individual”

                  “No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man
                  is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
                  if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe
                  is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as
                  well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine
                  owne were; any mans death diminishes me,
                  because I am involved in Mankinde;
                  And therefore never send to know for whom
                  the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”

                  MEDITATION XVII
                  Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
                  John Donne

                  1. We are dealing with law and philosophy – as well as reality not poetry.

                    Of course I am not “getting it”.

                    Your arguments are poor and easily discredited – what do you expect ?

                    I have no idea what you beleive now – beyond your words, and certainly no clue what you might have beleived in the past.

                    With respect to “like Rand” – I also have two legs and a head “like Rand”.

                    This is not a discussion about Rand, I do not recall her addressing most of the issue that we are addressing.
                    If she did and was right – bully for her. If not, her mistakes are her own.

                    But pretty much every legal theorist has.

                    You are dodging all over the place – you are fixated on Rand. I am not. Rand is not a primary influence for me. She leaps from Aristotle to the present, ignoring more than a millennia of thought. In fact I am not wedded to any specific influence, but like Newton I stand on the shoulders of many giants. I have listed a few of those – but you keep fixating on Rand.
                    Rand criticised lots of people that I place more weight in than her.

                    As I noted you are jumping all over the place – partly because you keep making assumptions about me and my arguments.
                    If you want to debate Ayn Rand – go find an actual objectivist.

                    One of the other fallacies that you keep falling into is a binary fallacy, a black and white fallacy.
                    You seem to think there are only two choices – narcisciistic individualism and paternal collectivism.

                    You lose ground because you continue to deny the obvious. Individuals are real tangible, they exist. Society and SEPARATELY government are concepts – ones with value, that is why they exist, but constructs nonetheless. They are derivative. They can not be primary – without individuals they do not exist.
                    There is no mankind without man.
                    Society serves people – not the otherway arround. Government more particularly serves the people.
                    Neither exist without people – individuals.

                    The social contract is a CHOICE – an excercise of our FREE WILL, we exchange a few rights in return for the protection of others.

                    There are few political, economic, legal philosophies that do not premise government on the protection of rights.
                    Protection NOT creation (yes there are some actual legitimate rights created by law).

                    When our framers say as our DoI does that the purpose of government is to secure inalienable rights, that is not trite. meaningless pablum.
                    Severing our ties with Britian was justified on the basis of the failure of the British to secure our rights – to deliver the rule of law.
                    The premise and obligation of that new country is to do better.

                    For every quasi collectivist remark you can find of one of our founders – you can find 10, 100 that make clear they took very seriously those words in the DoI.
                    There was extensive debate over the inclusion of the Bill of Rights – those who were affraid of the usurpatiion of riights by governent that could occur wiithout iit, and those who were affraid that enumerating some rights would lead (as it did) to the presumption that those were the only rights we had.
                    The necescary and proper clause were intended to preclude that – Madison and the framers did not consider the N&P as a grant of power, but as a limit on government. The 9th amendment was the resolution. But note NEITHER group was arguing that individual rights were limited to those enumerated and that government that did not infringe on those was legitimate. There were two camps – each with different concerns about different forms of government infringement on rights.
                    And if the framers were not explicit enough the 39th congress and the authors of the 14th amendments were even clearer. The priviledges and immunities clause in the 14th amendment (echoing a similar clause in the constitution itself) was deliberately intended to go BEYOND rights, and beyond the federal government.

                    I would further note that you are arguing that what currently is, is presumptively legitimate – because it has always has been.

                    Aside from the other reasons I have noted that is false, it is also note true.

                    If a sheriff broke down my door at 3am in 1830 and I shot him dead – oh well he would be dead. He should have known better than than to attempt to break in without a warrant at 3am. While our constitution and 4th amendment guarantee that – the right goes back centuries to england.

                    It is only in my lifetime – and only the latter half that the presumption of illegitimacy has been reversed.
                    Put more simply the status quo that you are claiming based on preemption – is very modern.

                    1. Oh, Rand didn’t skip the Enlightenment. She deliberately ignored attributing it, lifting many things directly from Locke. She was dishonest in that regard, and pretended to base it all on Aristotle. That was her branding, just sales talk.

                      “The social contract is a CHOICE – an excercise of our FREE WILL, we exchange a few rights in return for the protection of others.:

                      There’s no choice. You live in America you must follow American law like it or not. You were born in Nigeria it would be the same. This social compact thing is patently false.

                      A choice with no alternative is not a choice.

                      The only choice you have in it is to stay here or get out. Really, not a choice. You are just born into a society and it imposes itself on you. and because that is the same condition and rules in every society on Earth, there is no “choice” in the matter hence no “contract.”

                      That’s not an argument that’s observance of reality and you can think otherwise if you please. If you don’t get it then maybe you misunderstand what is involved with genuine contracts and consents.

                      I would not be surprised if you have that confused since you never admitted the distinction between stating what the law IS, and what rather you think it SHOULD BE. You just imputed falsehood and immorality to me for making it, and moved on to your next point. So there is no conversation to be had on this, go back to haranguing someone else.

                    2. You keep looking for a debate about Rand.
                      I am not interested.

                      “There’s no choice. You live in America you must follow American law like it or not. You were born in Nigeria it would be the same. This social compact thing is patently false.

                      A choice with no alternative is not a choice.”

                      Your last statement is correct – what you are arguing is obviously immoral.
                      It is also self evidently WRONG – first the very actions of our founders are an enormous assertion to the world that is FALSE.
                      That the obligation to follow the law is NOT unconditional.
                      But beyond that the reductio ad absurdem of Hitler – who won 80% of the vote in a 1938 plebicite further demonstrates your error.

                      It is quite firmly established as a matter of LAW that the legitimacy of government and the obligation to follow its dictates iis NOT absolute.

                      The question I am looking to address – which you fail to admit even exists, is what are the conditions under which law is legitimate, moral and binding.

                      Further you are making stupid legal theory arguments that pretty much no one actually accepts.

                      This “you were born into society” argument is both false and crap. I have addressed multiple errors – including that we are not born into society – you can not be born into a concept – and idea. Further your argument rejects free will – and like it or not that has consequences – the absence of free will is the absence of morality, and ultimately the absence of law.
                      Further society is STILL not government.

                      Your argument requires that people be free to make moral choices – otherwise we are not free to punish them for violating them, but at the same time not free.

                      You “take it or leave it” argument – does not come without requirements either.

                      You can not impose a “take it or leave it” arrangement on someone – and subsequently change the conditions of the agreement.

                      You can not legitimatley (or morally) change the conditions, without a low cost to exit.

                      An employer as an example can not change the conditions of your employment at whim – if leaving their employ would require you to have to abandon your property – such as your home.

                    3. “That’s not an argument that’s observance of reality and you can think otherwise if you please. If you don’t get it then maybe you misunderstand what is involved with genuine contracts and consents.”

                      You are confusing what is immutable with what is not.

                      Slavery was “reality” at one point. We are not required to accept it.

                      Further you continue with this binary fallacy. THAT is our real point of contention.
                      The edicts of government of law are not binding, legitimate solely because they exist – or worse still, come into existance in the future.

                      I am asking you to think, to grasp that law is not binding merely because it exists.
                      There are conditions that must be met in order for law that is imposed wiithout consent to be legitimate and binding.

                      We have not gotten to discussing what those conditions might be, because you are still taking that mowest position that all power comes from the barrel of a gun, and that the edicts of government – whatever they may be are binding because they exist..

                      You have already touched on the fact that the courts may invalidate laws, which whether you like it or not iis an admission that law making is not unconditional.

                    4. “If you don’t get it then maybe you misunderstand what is involved with genuine contracts and consents.”

                      I am not sure what you think you are getting at. But if you are trying to claim that the social contract is exactly like any other contract – I will be happy to accept that.

                      No contract can be imposed against a persons will. People must affirmatively choose to be bound by a contract.

                    5. “I would not be surprised if you have that confused since you never admitted the distinction between stating what the law IS, and what rather you think it SHOULD BE.”

                      We are not discussing what the law is, or what the law should be.

                      We are discussing what are the conditions for legitimate moral binding law.

                      Your argument is circular and self referential. Your argument keeps devolving to either “law is legitimate, binding, moral, because it exists” or “the law is legitimate, binding, moral because the law says it is”

                      Both arguments are false.

          4. “How than are the “natural” rights inalienable except in the civil state?”
            Are you practically, morally, and ethically free to defend yourself and what is yours against the initiation of force by others ?
            Is that not true whether you are in a civil state or the wild country ?

            1. not legally free to do so, that is for sure. or else chaos as everyone with an opinion decides to take law into their hands. a wise policy to allow self defense but indirect “initiation of force” by taxation and regulation etc need to redressed in orderly social fashion.

              as for the wild it is simple, there is no concern for such things, it is tribe versus tribe. not individual versus individual.

              the state of nature for man is not individualistic it is collective. it is one band of genetically related hominids against another, just like chimps.

              therein lies the most profound misunderstanding by Ayn Rand and others championing individual rights ideology as a normative basis for all government.

              the state is based on the tribal kin group successfully asserting dominance over its own members and all outside competition. the individual as a concept did not even emerge until ancient Greece. and the Greeks still had the cooperative institution of the citizens’ muster into a phalanx, and the maxim:

              Eis Aner, Oudeis aner

              One man, no man.

              put in more anglosaxon terms, the berserker makes a fine song and dance, but he does not prevail alone against the shield-wall.

              reality informs ethics. social reality is predominate reality for all humans who are born into society. and it long predates “the individual” and all political concepts and norms based on that notion.

              that’s what Ayn Rand dismissed as collectivism and she threw all religion and ethnic considerations on the same rhetorical dungheap. She was very arrogant.

              the funny thing, at least she and her inner circle could laugh about, is that they were nearly all Jewish, a famously tribalistic and religious people, and jokingly called themselves “the Collective” as Nathaniel Branden recounted.

              1. Mr. Kurtz – you make broad pronouncements without providing any rational basis to support them.

                The choice is not between whatever law can pass a legislature and chaos.

                We have been through much of this before, as well as with other posters.

                Any claim that the law is binding, valid, and just resting on popular sovereignity or similar foundations ultimately justifies Stalin – Hitler, and most every despot that ever was.

                YOU must explain using some clearly defined basis what distinguishes you theory of binding valid law, from that of the Nazi’s or Stalin or Mao, or any of myriads of other despots with popular support. Alternately you must own them as legitimate.
                There is no third way without resting the legitimacy of law on some other foundation – which thus far you refuse to do.

                We can have a discussion of what is required for law to be binding, valid, just – when you are prepared to get out of the mud.

                I am going to presume that you do not think that all the laws of all the despots that ever were are legitiimate merely because they had the power to make them.
                I hope that I am right in that assumption.

                If so – what is it that you think distinguishes valid law from that of despots ?

                You keep ducking the issue.

                We can not get past these binary fallacies of yours – until you are willing to take a position regarding the conditions required for law to be legitimate – and stick to them.

                One obvious counter that has appeared here repeatedly are slavery and genocide – if those in power make genocidal laws – are those legitimate – if not why not.
                If law is enacted that allows slavery – is that legitimate – if not why ?

                If your arguments do not surviive a simple reduction ad absurdem – they are obviously invalid.

                1. Dhili, you think you are trying to make me be rigorous, but attend to your own rigor, or lack of it.

                  You said:

                  “Any claim that the law is binding, valid, and just resting on popular sovereignity or similar foundations ultimately justifies Stalin – Hitler, and most every despot that ever was.”

                  You’re confusing what I said, conflating, or maybe not understanding.


                  We have a lot of laws that are valid and binding but not just. We were just talking about a bad law FARA for example.

                  We don’t need to get to Stalin and genocide and all that.

                  You just miss the point and conflate these things again and again.

                  I will never agree with your proposition, that an unjust law is not binding. because, I am a lawyer. and i fully understand that what is binding is not necessary just.

                  the old question of , is one obliged to follow an unjust law?
                  is a decent conversation

                  Perhaps you should read Lukas’ Book “On Justice.” this distinction is covered thoroughly


                  Let me put it a different way. In America, an unconstitutional law, is not unconstitutional ab initio. if it was validly passed by a legislature, it is good law that is binding on state and people, UNTIL a court says it is unconstitutional. Then and only then, is it retroactively declared unconstitutional and void.

                  So you and i can have opinion about what is unconstitutional or good or bad, but only judges of competent jurisdiction have the authority to utter that they are unconstitutional and have such decision be binding on state and people.

                  Now with respect sir, I do not need to get this point clear. You do.

                  Then we can continue a discussion of what is just. But understand first, what is LEGAL. They are hopefully together, but need not be. Often are not. But what is legal is legal until authority says otherwise. That is what makes authority what it is!

                  1. I might add, moreover, that the executive and legislature can also come to decision that a law is unconstitutional and void, and either repeal it, or in the case of the executive, refuse to enforce it. they can do this even before the third branch the judiciary has issued a binding order striking down a law. that comes up from time to time as well.

                    but it is the government that decides what is constitutional and binding on the people. not the people. the people can change the law indirectly through elections, legislation, case litigation, etc, but a private person has no inherent authority to declare a law void.

                    simple concept but a lot of the Americans are confused on the topic.

                    a person can try and get a law declared invalid, that’s called a test case. but they are subject to sovereign authority whether they “consent”” in some vague Lockean sense or not

                    1. You seem to continue to assert this.

                      Since you wish to do so – exactly how is it that congress the president, the judiciary government are empowered to create and enforce these laws.

                      You do not get to call something a “concept” and pretend that ends discussion.

                      Can I impose rules on my neighbor and take their property or their freedom if they do not comply ?
                      What about me and 10 other neighbors ?

                      What is necessary to distinguish between theft and legitimate government ?

                      This is a major part of what I am addressing – and you are just ducking it under the pretence – “that is the way it is”.

                      BTW it is not at all a “simple concept”.

                      Just to be clear – I am not claiming that government does not have the authority to make law.

                      But that authority did not come from thin air.
                      There is no divine right of congress.

                    2. Being required to follow the dictates of an arbitrary party is called slavery.

                      And we have already been through the argument that just because an entity exists and calls itself government does not make it or its dictates legitimate.

                      Or need we revisit Stalin and Hitler ?

                      I have also addressed that the will of the majority is NOT sufficient – again see Stalin and Hitler.

                      My point which you keep trying to evade is that authority, and the very attribute of being legally binding have an actual foundation.
                      They do not arise out of thin air, and they are conditional.

                      I would also note – because you keep trying to pretend that a discussion of the philosophy and legitimacy of law is somehow specific the the US – it is not.

                      But since you are making this US centric – maybe you should read the declaration of independence.
                      While it has problems – it more honestly addresses this than you do.

                      It also makes it clear that philosophy – including legal philosophy drives history.
                      The colonists felt compelled to make a powerful legal argument that they were no longer subject to the authority of Britain.
                      That argument was necescary – both to gain sufficient support within the colonies and to be able to demand to be treated as legitimate by the rest of the world.

                      They knew what they were doing – and they did not accept your “simple concept”

                    3. maybe you should read the declaration of independence.
                      While it has problems…


                      What problems are you referring to? Because the founders signed a declaration stating what they believe are self-evident truths for mankind?

                      I believe everyone is at least vaguely familiar with strategic plans and the planning process. The purpose of the plan is important but in that planning process, the organization revisits or develops mission, vision and guiding principles. The vision sets the ideal state of the organization sometime in the future. It is written in present tense language. The planning team (and likely everyone else in the organization) knows that vision is not present reality. If it were then it’s not a vision statement. A gap analysis is done to identify the gap between the present reality and the desired future as stated in the vision statement. Strategic goals are identified, plans are put in place, and the organization develops policies, procedures and everything else to achieve the goals and move toward that vision.

                      The DoI is that vision document. It states in present tense terms what they believed this country should be at some point in the future. They and everyone else knew this wasn’t present reality. Everything else that followed from that has been designed to move us towards that vision. And like every organization, transforming a country from the present state, with present beliefs, customs, traditions, processes, etc. is not easy. Not everyone buys-in to the vision. Not everyone wants to give up the only thing they and their ancestors every knew.

                      We will always have disagreements over how best to achieve that vision, but are people truly willing to argue they have no rights other than what comes from government to get their way? That is terribly myopic, bordering on insane.

                    4. The DoI posits that the power and authority of government comes from the consent of the governed.

                      That is false – or more accurately only partly true.

                      No government has the unanimous consent of the people.
                      The DoI does not address how government can be legitimate absent unanimous consent.

                      It is possible, but most of what most of us believe – if we even bother to think about it is crap.

                      Far too many are like Mr. Kurtz – where the argument essentially is – government is a necessary good,
                      therefore it must presumptively have the power and authority necessary for the task of governing
                      as that power and authority are necessary, we need not consider under what conditions is that power and authority legitimate or not.

                      It is not actually necescary to agree on the conditions under which the power and authority of government are legitimate to grasp that such conditions must exist.

                      Mr. Kurtz has not recognized the obvious – that the power and authority of government ARE conditional.

                      This BTW is ONE of the reasons that government MUST be limited – because absent unanimous consent the excerciise of power and authority is liimited to what can be done without consent.

                    5. dhlii – I agree with Neibuhr that a government can be immoral or amoral, but never moral. Government is more of a necessary evil than good.

                    6. No government has the unanimous consent of the people.
                      The DoI does not address how government can be legitimate absent unanimous consent.

                      It doesn’t need to. The point in the DoI is to define the principle source of power for government. And it won’t be unanimous, but it had consensus to define the rules under which a government would be formed. One of those rules was to define what consent means.

                  2. Mr. Kurtz;

                    Not missing any point at all.

                    I do not recall “restating” anything that you have said.
                    But I have responded with arguments.
                    Those arguments “conflate” nothing.

                    But they do ask two questions of you.

                    Is the argument valid – True ?
                    If so is there a conflict between that argument and your assertion – for the most part you do not make arguments, just lob assertions.

                    You claim to be a lawyer – well there is an enormous amount of legal theory – centuries of it, on precisely the issues we are debating.
                    And you seem completely oblivious to all of it.

                    The right to trial by Jury started with the Magna-Carte – specifically to remove the last word on what was the law and whether it was binding from government.

                    The british allowed colonists to argue that a law was not binding – something we are arrogantly forbidden from doing.

                    Beyond those facts there is the law itself.
                    The entire Nuremberg Trials were premised on the legal concept that sometimes the law itself is sufficiently wrong and must be disobeyed.

                    You can agree or disagree all you wish. Your agreement does not change things.

                    The binding nature of involuntarily imposed laws rests on the requirement that those laws are just.
                    We can have a debate over precisely what the requirements of a just law are, but the concept is beyond challenge.
                    The american revolution – the declaration of independence is a LEGAL assertion – backed by the FORCE of a new government,
                    that the binding nature of law is not absolute. That if the law is sufficiently unjust and that is not corrected that the law is not law, need not be obeyed and can be opposed by force.

                    There is also plenty of literature that any law that is sufficiently vigorously resisted by about 10% of people is unsustainable.

                    Violations of the law result in FORCE – but the government does not have infinite force available to it.
                    The government of East Germany ceased to exist in a moment – because the necescary force did not exist to continue to make the law bindiing

                    Every single law we pass weakens the strength of the law – because the force available to government to impose law against our will is limited.
                    Every bad law weakens that even further.

                    You are looking for an absolute where one does not exist.

                    Drive down the NJ Turnpike – you can see the “binding” nature of the law at work. Drive the speed limit and you will be mowed down.

                    Discretion on the part of the police and courts is all that sustains our existing legal system.
                    You need not obey much of the law today – so long as you do not piss off someone with power in government.

                    That is precisely the lawless rule of man that Adam’s warned us of.

                    “The rule of law” requires that the law actually be enforced – as uniformly and blindly as possible.

                    You claim that law is “binding” is clearly not true – most of us are not bound most of the time.
                    There are too many laws, too few law enforcement, and no real interest in actually making much of the law binding.

                    Without entering a moral or philosophical discussion at all.
                    Actually binding law – enforced law, would require far more limited law than we have today.

                    Just to be clear – I am not suggesting that every person who violates the law must be caught and prosecuted every time.
                    No system of law is capable of that.
                    I am saying that government must actively enforce all the laws it makes.
                    If it does not the law becomes arbitrary and capricious. Both unjust and impractical.

                    You are making an argument for a world that does not exist.

                    The actual rule of law requires no laws that require arbitrary or selectiive enforcement.
                    It requires no more law that we are willing to afford sufficient law enforcement to impose.

                    Those are not philosophical arguments – those are practical ones.

                    Getting slightly more philosophical – it would be wisest to impose laws that are extremely broadly supported – that will be obeyed with little enforcement.

                    The cost to impose such law is low.

                    There are attributes that laws that are very strongly supported share, but that is getting deeper into the philosophical.

                    But to go further into this – the courts strike down laws all the time. They may not do so as I wish or consistently, but everytime that do so they are refuting your argument that all law is binding. Self evidently it is not. But the rest of us are playing a gambling game regarding which law will be enforced and which law the courts will declare invalid.
                    Regardless, the very concept of judicial review inherently means all law is not legitimate.

                    There is a difference between the presumption that law is binding and an immutable principle. The first exists, the latter can not.

                    If you do not already understand most of these things – then I do not think you are much of a lawyer.

                    Further if all law is absolutely binding – we have little need for lawyers.

                  3. Mr. Kurtz;

                    I do not need your pseudo respect.

                    Nor am I obligated to accept your dictates.

                    You make a few points in your remarks without fully grasping their significance.

                    You are pretending we are in a court before a judge, you are also pretending that the law is owned by courts and lawyers.
                    Neither are true.

                    I am making an argument about legal theory and phiilosophy. I know that you regard both as fictitious.
                    But reality tells us otherwise. I have given you plenty of counter factuals for your assertions.

                    Nor am I specifically arguing about “the US” though my arguments apply there too.

                    Law passed by legislators is presumed binding because it is presumed to be just.
                    The world is not perfect and the legal system can tolerate some degree of injustice.
                    But exceed the level of tolerance of the people – errode too significantly the faith of people in the justice of the law and the entire system fails.

                    As noted that sometimes happens on grand scales as in East Germany, but it also happens n small scales such as the Rodney King Riots.

                    I am not asking you to go into court and argue that this law or that is unjust or otherwise illegitimate – and there are many ways a law can be invalid – not being just is only one.

                    But I am asking that you think about the fact that your premise is quite obviously flawed.

                    I am more concerned with law making – that with law enforcement and courts – though the failure of the legislatures may play out in the courts.

                    Not only are your arguments mostly inapplicable to that area – they are dangerously wrong.

                    A significant part of what I think both you and I see as wrong today. Is that far too much of our law is rooted in whim. In someone’s conception of a good idea.

                    I would note that the support of a majority of the people is NOT sufficient to make law, and will ultimately result in failure if you make sufficient law.

                    Though there are strong philosophical arguments – most of the arguments I have just made are pragmatic.

                    You can cite dozens of books – though probably you can’t, that say otherwise. there are practical limits to law making.
                    If you do not recognize that things are likely to slowly go to hell.

                  4. I would further note from your last paragraph you are looping into another problem – what constitutes authority ?

                    We had a version of that question in the courts during the Obama administration, we are now having a different version of that mostly outside the courts with Trump.

                    While Trump and the republican congress were elected according to the rules that apply, it is quite clear that a very significant portion of the country does not view our current federal government – and Trump particularly as legitimate.

                    You can argue “legally binding” all you wish. The scale and vigor of that opposition actually has very real consequences. The extent of the authority of the current federal govenrment is much more limited than it would be absent opposition on the current scale.

                    At the same time I would note that Trump was elected atleast in part as backlash against the overreach of the prior government.

                    The point I am making is that authority – power comes from the people – exactly as Jefferson stated. We have constitutions, and process and law to pave over the fact that we do not have unanimous consent, and so long as we are not strongly divided that mostly works and we presume authority from process.
                    But it should be self evident at the moment that is not the case.

                    Trump and the current republican congress have alot of power and authority – but nor nearly so much as if the opposition was not so great.
                    This is not a question of law or constitution – it is a question of reality.

              2. “reality informs ethics. social reality is predominate reality for all humans who are born into society. and it long predates “the individual” and all political concepts and norms based on that notion.”

                All interesting and refuted by actual history.

                If as you say – reality informs ethics, then progress is impossible.

                Like it or not “The individual” predate all political concepts and society. That should be self evident – you can not have “society” or politics without individuals.

                In fact everything you know about “society” and “politics” – everything you know about everything is through your existance as an individual.

                You are tangible and real.
                Society is a concept – an often useful one.
                Politics is a concept – also sometimes useful.

                Concepts that do not exist without individuals.

                1. nope, just wrong. “individuals” are human beings who are hominids that evolved. unless you think God just plopped us down here fully formed. i dont. i think our bodies emerged from our parents’ bodies and so forth. maybe God waved his magic wand at the Big Bang or something but mostly we come from other creatures in existence before us, that is “society,” we do not “preexist” it !

                  we evolved from other hominids that were fundamentally social, that is, they had parents, families, kin bands, tribes, just like chimps do

                  a person does not leap into existence fully formed like athena. you are making a godling out of “the individual.”

                  society precedes the individual. if you can’t admit to that reality then we are not able to progress this conversation further. say whatever you like about it but you are starting with a flawed premise.

                  as ayn rand said, “check your premises”

                  1. its this simple: were you born before your parents? before all other mankind? are you the first man? if your name is not Adam and your wife’s name is not Eve then you are not some “individual” that precedes “society”

                    and I might add, having mentioned the Bible, that even Genesis implies the existence of a preceding human society. Not well known, but what was the “land of Nod” from which Cain got his wife? did god whip that one up too, alongside Eden, populate it in some other sense, and the writers just leave it out of the story? i never quite understood that one.

                    I will leave it to the rabbis to figure that out but from it I can draw the point that yes society preceedes the individual even on down to the mythical first man. In this respect the figurative truth of Genesis makes sense even if literally it is perplexing.

                    1. I was born of a woman – like all mammals.
                      There was no “society” or government.

                      Love existed before I was born, I beleive I was born of the love of my parents – does that make me not and individual, but a part of some eternal love coven ?

                      Society is a construct of the human mind – of each individual. It exists because we find it useful. Should we ever feel differently it will cease to exist.
                      Government even more so. specific governments are constantly ceasing to exist.

                      I made no reference to religion or the bible – yet you who demand acceptance of your beliefs on faith while accusing me of a religious argument now what to assert that because Caine found a wife elsewhere than his home that some eternal society exists.

                      indiividual Humans existed before “the land of nod” and they still exist. I do not beleive Nod does.

                      Society and government are human constructs coming, going, changing as we choose.

                    2. You are not doing very well on your argument for society, and government, do you really want to expand into the truth of the bible ?

                      Regardless, you are he one trying to argue that philosophy is subordinate to history – and you want to move into religion ?

                  2. I do not recall making an argument about god.

                    Regardless, society is not being born from other creatures – that is just absurd.

                    Nor is society and government the same thing.

                    I exist as a real flesh and blood tangible human. You can touch me. I am real.

                    Society and separately government are constructs of the human mind.
                    They are useful, but they are not tangible and they do not precede the individual.

                    You can not have a rock pile – without the rocks.
                    A rock can exist without a pile, but a rock pile can not exist without individual rocks.

                    And you attribute more to society and government than a rock pile – which is at least tangible.

                    Society exists because humans choose to create it. Government exists because humans choose to create it.
                    Even families and Tribes exist because humans choose to create them.

                    Most other animals – including most mammals do not have families.
                    The female typically cares for offspring for a relatively short period and then they are off on their own.

                    What you call human society does not exist in most of the rest of nature. At best a very pale and limited imitation of it exists in a small portion of other species.
                    And no other creature has anything even approximating government.

                    Society not merely does not precede the individual – it is not even a real tangible thing.
                    It is nothing more than a concept – it exists in our mind because we choose.

                    Why would I admit something that is patently false ?

                    I do not even understand why you continue to argue this.

                    Your own arguments work against you.
                    You keep refering back to nature, but it does not support you.
                    Nature has no equivalent outside of humans of govenrment.
                    And the rough equivalent of “society” – which is NOT the same thing as government, is not widespread in nature, nor particularly similar.
                    Nor is there some clear evolutionary pattern by which you could claim that society and government are evolutionary developments.

                    In nature – the over whelming majority of living things have nothing but the individual. There is no cooperation between individuals.

                    There are a few animals – a very small subset of insects mostly – with fairly well developed social structures.
                    But unless you place insects at the pinnacle of evolution – that is an ancient evolutionary back water.

                    Regardless, there is no evidence in evolution of the development of society and government with human society and government at its pinnacle.

                    You are making claims about society and government that have no foundation.
                    You are asserting things without support and claiming that is just how things are.
                    You are asserting a prior basis – without evidence – and in fact in conflict with the evidence.

                    The concept of government has pretty close to no antecedent in nature.
                    The concept of society has only poor antecedents and no evolutionary pattern.

                    You are correct – it is very difficult to take this conversatiion farther if you expect me to accept as fact things that are not tangible and have no evidence.

                    You are the one arguing religion – expecting to be accepted on faith.

              3. As I have stated before – I am not an objectivist.

                Rand has some interesting observations to offer. Some right, some wrong.

                She is neither the first person to make many of those, nor the only one.
                The expressed concept of free will is many millenia old.
                As a reality – it is older than humanity.

                If you wish to take issue with some particular position – whether of Rand’s or some other, in the event I disagree with you I will be happy to defend MY position.
                Rand’s personal life, her circle of friends, or the cult of objectivism have little interest to me.

      3. As young as I often think I am my body reminds me frequently that I am on the far side of 60.

        Need I cite how old Locke was when he published Two Treatises of Government or Rand was when she published Atlas Shrugged or ….

        Today I would suggest that it is the young that share your misperceptions, not the old.

        The concept of rights as created and authority as inherent are the ill conceived ideas of youth and inexperience.

        1. The Randian cult, of which I was an enthusiastic member at one time, has special attraction for young people who lack humility. It has its merits, and its faults. You have trotted out some of the faults with language about politics that is very similar to Piekoff who was Rand’s chief rabbi. Just pull it all up on amazon if you haven’t read the nonfiction, you sure sound like you have. it would reinforce your stated opinions. I am over it, i read it all and actually parroted THAT for way too long, to people who were patient with me explaining things as I am patient in spending a couple hours typing this today

          Locke spun up a lot of fables in his inspired work. There are other things in his work that seem silly to me now too, the tabula rasa for example, false fiction that.

    2. The obvious outcome of such a philosophy is no rights at all; merely privileges extended by government to the masses. Well done!

        1. Mr. Kurtz, is quite litterally parroting the philosophy of the modern left – intentionally or otherwise.
          It is a murderous philosophy that has resulted in more bloodshed than anything else in history.

          Nothing has so thoroughly been discredited by reality.

          1. i parrot nothing. You can insult me if you like. But like i said, nobody has a definitive answer for the perennial challenge of Thrasymachus.

            John Locke’s social contract: that’s nonsense. Consent of the governed is just a dream. Consent is a phony word. What there is mostly is just SUBMISSION.

            “consent of the governed” is only what people do when they are not interested in the trouble that goes with not-consenting: that is, disobedience, insurrection, and civil war.

            as for homicide, make no mistake, government is built upon homicide in the first instance and in every day thereafter. a constitution is just the rules the government sets on itself. organic law, defined by the victor.

            thus when the Southern states did no longer consent, they started their war. And the tyrant Lincoln answered them with the final word in all political debates, homicide.

            the fourteenth and thirteenth amendments were shoved down their throats. it was not a consent it was a dictate by the victor.

            government, essentially the most powerful organized gang in any territory:

            thats why there are cops and armies and bailiffs carrying guns. wake up dhilli! it is what it is. that’s the reality staring you in the face. my views work, be sure and remember what I told you the next time you get pulled over by a cop for speeding, because if you start in arguing with them, you will quickly find out how much they really care about “justice” when they are busy doing their jobs.

            law, just their own self defined rules on how they will knock heads if they see fit.

        1. No , that is your reality of law. By dismissing the DoI as propaganda, you have accepted or rather resigned yourself to the progressive theory that all rights and laws come from government. You say you don’t like it or praise it, but you’re promoting it. That accomplishes the same end. The fact is you either believe you have natural rights or you don’t. If you don’t, then kindly stop arguing in defense of tyranny.

          1. sorry, olly, i don’t see it that way. one thing i have never been called so far yet before you, is “progressive”

            I go back to Plato’s Republic. Thrasymachus understood and put it in so many words long before “legal positivism” was a thing. the philosophers have been trying to define justice differently all along, and they will keep trying, and Thrasymachus’ observation will rule the day even as they chatter all night.

            You go be a lawyer as long as i have, and you will feel it in your bones too.

            i will defer to wiki for a short summary of this:

            “In Republic I, Thrasymachus violently disagreed with the outcome of Socrates’ discussion with Polemarchus about justice. Demanding payment before speaking, he claims that “justice is the advantage of the stronger” (338c) and that “injustice, if it is on a large enough scale, is stronger, freer, and more masterly than justice'” (344c). Socrates counters by forcing him to admit that there is some standard of wise rule — Thrasymachus does claim to be able to teach such a thing — and then arguing that this suggests a standard of justice beyond the advantage of the stronger. The rest of the dialogue is occasioned by Glaucon’s dissatisfaction with Socrates’ refutation.

            His name means fierce fighter, which may have influenced his role in the dialogue.

            In Leo Strauss’s interpretation, Thrasymachus and his definition of justice represent the city and its laws, and thus are in a sense opposed to Socrates and to philosophy in general. As an intellectual, however, Thrasymachus shared enough with the philosopher potentially to act to protect philosophy in the city.”

            I think we should have ideas about justice and ethics and morality; good! and develop such notions and use them to inform law.

            but understand the law is just this:

            it is what the government says it is.

          2. also it is not progressivism to say the dec of independence is not law.

            that is called fact. let me know your citation if you think it is law.

            I also double down on calling it propaganda. not because jefferson had slaves and was thus a hypocrite, maybe that is fair or not. all the rich men had slaves in those days just as all the rich men now have “employees”…. rather because he was a rich man ginning up advertising copy as an enlistment agent for an army, aimed not at his fellow landowners and plantation lordships, but rather, as always, the cannon fodder: poor and underemployed Continentals who would hopefully sign up in droves to fight and die for his rich man’s war. Which they did and Jefferson became as much an even bigger lordship even if he had not titles.

            Maybe it turned out well and better than the Crown would have done had it kept sway over America, but, at the time it was just a lot of propaganda. My ancestors were patriots not royalists. but i was not alive and it was not my choice just my inheritance as an American. a pretty good one, but i am realistic about how it came to me. by other mens’ cleverness, and acts of war and politics and work and culture, on down to today. I can be lucky and appeciative and yet understand how these things came about. And I tell you: these Founders were smart and strong, but they were not saints! When we make godlings out of them we shortchange ourselves.

            “all men are equal” they say. i say how? some are old and young, some are fat and some are thin. some stupid and some smart. mostly men are all different, and so pretty damned unequal in most dimensions if you ask me. but what do i know. i am dull now that i age, and i guess and lack the imagination i had when i was little and took these things as holy writ hook line and sinker

            and if you understand that men are not equal in reality, especially when it comes to money, then that whole “all men are created equal” thing kind of falls flat in the face of everyday experience and factual reality.

            that notion of equality however is certainly inspirational in American law, and kind of elevates the Declaration to a level somewhat equal to the Ten Commandments, for an American, inspirational but not codified law. there is a difference.

            1. Jefferson stated that all men are created equal with the natural right to pursue happiness. There is no natural right for equal outcomes.

              For the signers of the DoI to commit themselves and this nation to principles they weren’t currently complying with does not negate the principles. Call it hypocrisy, but everything they did from that point was to commit themselves and the country to that vision.

              1. It was fine in its day but I do not take it as holy writ.

                Men arent created equal. I don’t know what that means. I know what it means in Christian thinking but Jefferson was a Deist not a Christian per se.

                And we live in a materialistic and atheist age. I am a Christian but I grow up in the culture which I do. Which is not really Christian. it is naturalistic. It means i don’t think a lot about creation, rather, usually, i think about a zygote that matures in utero and then comes out. At that point we are all only equal in our infantile weakness. There is little else equal about us. We are different shapes and sizes and different dna and so forth. Different families, backgrounds, parents, resources, opportunities and all that. We experience in different times and places different things. Not even twins are equal in every sense.

                So I don’t put a lot of stock in equality.

                That means, people on the right don’t like me, because I denied that is how things are; but the people on the left don’t like me, because I also deny that is how it should be. As you say, they are interested in equal outcomes. Well, that is also impossible.

                Equality is just some fantasy that obscures the facts of existence that we all swim in like fish in the sea. It is an overused shibboleth and should be put on the shelf and replaced by words that are more useful. That’s my unpopular opinion.

                One equality idea i can get behind is equal protection of law, and its twin due process, in the narrow sense that it comes up in law. That i can understand and it has some definable currency I can exchange.

                1. How do know men aren’t created equal if you don’t know what it even means? So you have the answer without even knowing what the question means. There’s no humility in that.

                  What would be reasonable is to understand what create equal was understood to mean and then argue the merits of that. I believe it simply means we are all created with equal natural rights. The purpose then of the law is to secure those rights.

                  1. It’s Jefferson’s claim, not mine. I am justified to observe that it is vague and imprecise. I am justified to say that which is vague, imprecise, and inconsistent with observable reality, is probably false.

                    The purposes of law are many. that is a cultural conversation, a social one, an ethical one. It informs legislation and case decisions.

                    One big purpose of law is to secure the rich in their possessions. In Jefferson’s time, he probably was understanding that freed from the dictates of the Crown overseas, he and his cronies could issue their own dictates and secure themselves a hell of a lot more property. And so they did.

                    I don’t fault Jefferson for being racist. hell everybody was back then, I don’t fault him for being an inventer, a planter, a polymath, nor even a propagandist…. but, I fault him for being a phony. And I am not the first. go read Gore Vidal’s novel Burr, it’s full of delicious insults of Massa Tom.

                    1. Mr. Kurtz – how you read “Burr” is whether you decide Gore Vidal is more novelist or historian. I voted on the novelist side when I read the book. I fault Gore for being a phony.

                  2. I think Gore Vidal had a lot of genuinely perceptive insights into American history and culture. He was called a maverick but in fact he had deep roots, strong, authentic, powerful American roots; and knowing that, he had the confidence to illustrate things to us about ourselves that we did not want to hear, but needed to hear. That’s my viewpoint.

                    I also liked his book on Emperor Julian.

                    The book Burr is historical fiction. But historical fiction can sometimes convey historical truth better than the dusty tomes of officially accepted propaganda that get revised by panels of educational bureaucrats year after year.

                    It comes across in the book that Burr was a reckless adventurer. Yes. He was. But it is equally true that his peers and rivals were no saints including most of all Hamilton and Jefferson.

                    The book illuminates some of their faults and I recommend it. The Founders were men, not gods, admirable, smart, hard working, bold men, but men with feet of clay.

                    1. I think Gore Vidal had a lot of genuinely perceptive insights into American history and culture.

                      Delivered from his perch in Italy, betwixt and between buggery with strangers.

                      Yes, calling Wm. F. Buckley a ‘crypto-Nazi’ and uttering such gems as ‘we are occupied by the military-industrial complex’ are fine insights.

                    2. i don’t hold it against Gore Vidal that he was a homosexual. I was not an advocate of legalizing gay marriage but I do not think private sexual tastes determine insight. Just because he was queer doesn’t mean he was wrong, in other words.

                    3. but I do not think private sexual tastes determine insight.

                      His conception of social life was most certainly distorted and disfigured by how he’d lived his.

                      That aside, he was able to craft salable fiction. Not exactly sure why people found him as appealing as they did. He wasn’t a particularly educated man and his statements about contemporary history were strings of verbiage from the red haze opinion press conjoined to the sort of status games to which portside politics is now reduced these days. All delivered in a mid-Atlantic accent you never hear anymore and you only ever heard from people who’d been stewed through boarding schools. (The perfidy of the Jews was among his subjects in his old age).

        2. Mr. Kurtz,

          While you are self evidently wrong – and it takes nothing more than to take your representations seriously to refute them,

          You promised that you were actually familiar with history and legal theory and that you had the wisdom of age.
          You expected our trust and you trot out what is indistinguishable from the garbage of marxists.

          Perhaps you are familiar with Mao “power grows out of the barrel of a gun”

          Why would you wish to shill for such a discredited philosophy ?

          1. I know a lot about Mao and Chinese history too, yeah.

            and when he said that he was right. power came out of guns that he used to whip the KMT and send them packing once the Japs were gone. and power that he used to keep foreigners at bay and power he used to stay above his rivals. power that also lead to the deaths of 30 millions or more. but yeah, guns and power. you got it.

            whereas, a lot of moralistic cant came from the British who in the 19th century, dumped tons of opium on the market and induced major drug addiction among the Chinese people. And a weak Chinese government before Mao which had not enough guns, tried to oust the British and lost badly to better british guns and had to cough up millions in silver coin, twice, and hong kong to boot, as a penalty for daring to act like a sovereign and protect their authority and reduce the scourge of opiate addiction. oh the British with all their phony Christian missionaries and vaunted Enlightenment philosophy about rights: mostly an apology for guns, money, and power, directed by authority, peddle dope to the sick man of Asia! The British are masters of AUTHORITY and have little concern ever truly for “natural rights” that is just fog to befuddle the subjects of the Crown.

            Mao, he may have been a monster but that doesnt mean he was wrong on every point. any more than the other names you have trotted out hitler and stalin. they too had certain insights and that’s why they were in the positions they were as sovereigns. Lenin had a lot of smart things to say too. I can give you a syllabus if you want.

            But I am talking past you at this point. You are fixiated on the notion of natural rights and defending it with all the vigor of a true believer. I am not an ideologue.

      1. Chief Olly said, “The obvious outcome of such a philosophy . . .”

        Please don’t be too upset, Chief, but . . . I have to find fault with any noun phrase that presupposes the occurance of “outcomes” from “philosophies.” You see, the philosophies are the outcomes from histories. They are neither the causal forces driving the histories nor the causal agencies of the humans who do cause the histories. Philosophies are effects, only. Otherwise, natural rights would not have existed prior to, nor independently of, any philosophical belief in the existence of natural rights. IOW, it’s better to put the “beliefs” in the category of “outcomes” than to derive “outcomes” from the category of “beliefs.” After all, there is a fairly well-known history behind the political philosophy of natural rights. Besides, the philosophers still haven’t figured out exactly how to choose their very own thoughts let alone anybody else’s.

        1. Late,

          You are not very nice to people and I almost find myself embarrassed when we agree.

          You said:

          “You see, the philosophies are the outcomes from histories. They are neither the causal forces driving the histories nor the causal agencies of the humans who do cause the histories. Philosophies are effects, only. ”

          I would agree with that, mostly. I add that philosophies or more precisely, ideologies, become implemented in social changes that are then causative, in turn. So, commerce and technological innovation helped give rise to capitalism in england, as did certain things Henry VIII did, but once capitalism became a dominant ideology increasingly reflected in law, it perpetuated other things. So ideas emerge from people and facts and history, but the ideas in turn can become causative agents too.

          The main point you made was sound in my view however. Isnt it obvious, that people, humans, existed before humans had philosophy? We had at least maybe as many as 8 or 9 thousand years of agriculture before “philosophy” was born in Greece. There were ideas in that time of course and society and states. But philosophy as such emerged long after the state.

          To me, that’s important. And does not fit very well with Locke.

          This comment of yours reminds me of the notion of facticity, which is a feature both of Heidegger and Sartre. We could call Sartre a leftist but certainly not Heidegger.

          1. When you deal with philosophy abstractly you deprive it of its meaning and make it easier to conflate with other ambiguous terms.

            The fundimental philosophical principle of the west – the right of the individual to control of their own life, took milenia to evolve, but ultimately is the foundation for representative government, free markets, free trade and just freedom generally. That expansion of individual freedom is the driving force behind the explosion of technology, life expectance, quality of life, standard of living that defines the modern era.

            Absolutely all of these things are intertwined.

            Greater freedom causes greater innovation, which in turn increases freedom.
            Greater freedom causes greater prosperity which in turn increases freedom.

            But the core is the recognition of the autonomy of the individual. That development has been millenia in the making. But it came to the forefront with the enlightenment, and as it did iit changed the world as nothing before has done.

            I would further note that – Greece, China, India, many other ancient world cultures had many of the elements necescary but lacked the philosophical foundations, and therefore did not have the same impact on the world. Western Europe was behind much of the world – particularly china and india in technology and many many other things even into the start of the enlightenment. Through to the early 20th century the wealth and power of the Chinese emporers dwarfed that of the british.
            Yet China did not transform the world as the west has.

            The difference is not technology. It is not philosophy in the general sense – Asia had and still has very well developed philosophies.
            It is the concept of free will (which is at the very least as old as Judeo Christianity) and the meaningful development of that concept that moved to the forefront with the enlightenment.

            To be clear – I am not disparaging other periods, nor pretending that the concept of free will is not ancient. Nor that it remained totally stagnant until the enlightenment, nly that the subsequent explosive growth required a more fertile garden for it that previously existed.

            1. The Emperor of China got severely humiliated by the British in the 19th century. Opium wars. To say nothing of various other impositions of “free trade” on China by force as a consequence of military losses to Western powers.

              I do not agree that individualism is the “fundamental principle of the west”
              I agree that it is integral to the west however.

              I am also not disparaging other cultures when I say, that people or a group of related peoples, are not just defined by ideas but also by blood and soil, that is to say, shared ancestry, experience, language, and culture. Those things are often overlooked by liberterian ideologues. Ideas are not just happening in a vacuum and are not necessarily equally applicable to every people around the globe. I reject that.

              I realize that some may call me a multiculturalist or a racist or leftist but I simply don’t believe that every nook and cranny of the Earth lies a people ready for awakening into a new life as Americans.

              I suppose I might even believe the same thing about Catholicism too which is perhaps a doctrinal error on my part, but, considering some stuff the Pope has said, maybe not?

              1. You make my point.

                I am interested in facts, not your agreement.

                Blood and Soil do not get you very far.

                You note Family, Kin, Tribe, nation – the more distant the relatiion the greater the difficulty getting people to bond, to fight and to die to defend these.
                Yet, you can get people who do not know each other, and share no family, no tribe, no country to fight and die together for liberty.

                Classical liberalism did not as you note evolve in a vaccuum.

                Our Individual natural rights to liberty is the only way in which we are actually equal. And yes – across the world.

                Actual rights impose no positive duties on other individuals. They impose only the negative requirement not to infringe.

                Our nation is obligated to protect the natural rights of its citizens. Neither it nor we are obligated to protect those of the world.
                The fact that the natural rights of others in the world are not so well secured as our own, does not make them any less rights.
                Further actual history tells us that just as we over time came to grasp the fundimental importance of those rights and the benefits that accrue to protecting them,
                so have and will other nations.

                We do not perfectly understand the structure of the atom today. We understood it far less two centuries ago.
                The evolution in our understanding is NOT an evolution in the atom itself. Just because it has taken many milenia to reach our current understanding of natural rights,
                does not mean they were less our rights in the past, or less rights where they remain poorly protected.

                Your assertions regarding the rest of the world are tangent. The imperfect and disparate evolution of our understanding of natural rights does not change them.

          2. Mr. Kurtz said, “Isn’t it obvious, that people, humans, existed before humans had philosophy?”

            Please don’t be too upset, Mr. Kurtz, but the more obvious thing about our remote ancestors is that they didn’t write their “philosophies” down on very many things that have managed to survive the ravages of time. But we might reasonably presume that they had something along the lines of loosey-goosey “philosophies.” We might further surmise that a writing system might be conducive to the development of the more rigorous sorts of “philosophizing.”

            After all, and as I’m sure you know, there are triangles wherever the Sun shines on shadow casting objects. And The Austronesians somehow managed to get from roughly Taiwan to Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Easter Island and The Aleutian Islands over the course of roughly one thousand years beginning roughly ten thousand years ago. Maybe they knew a thing or two about triangles. Or else they just threw out their gold teeth to see how they rolled.

            1. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – if you study enough anthropology, you will see almost all cultures use the triangle. Some the circle. Some the straight line.

        2. “You see, the philosophies are the outcomes from histories. They are neither the causal forces driving the histories nor the causal agencies of the humans who do cause the histories. Philosophies are effects, only. ”

          What garbage.

          Are you saying that people have never gone to war for freedom, for liberty ? For some principle ?
          Get a clue. You can only pretend that history drives philosophy by forgetting that fact that philosophies are about ideas, principles.

          Is the Magna-Carte a reflection of the increasing sense of importance that the people of the time placed on PRINCIPLES or is it some happy accident of history ?

          Did the colonists in the US declare independence based on some historical tide that remains hidden today or did they do so because their LIBERTY was being violated ?

          The Magna-Carte is the product of PHILOSOPHY of that time. Subsequent history is significantly impacted by the Magna-Carte.
          There are numerous other philosophical landmarks of english history that reflect the evolving philosophy of individual liberty that is nascent in the Magna-Carte and continues through to the US Declaration of Independence.

          1. Those remarks were not directed at me but I would say:

            the Magna Carta was definitely the product of specific facts on the ground between King John and his barons. There was no grand philosophy informing them. There was a power relationship at hand and King John got caught up shorter than he wanted.

            The main operative political principle was related to limiting the power of the sovereign king, which, keep in mind, it was not the first time the lordships limited the sovereign. Seems to me it was just an emergence in federalism. You know in the Holy Roman Empire the lordships limited the Emperor various ways and times too. Rebellion, and war are the means to such ends, in most places and times., Not philosophies.

            But I would agree sometimes people do go to war because of ideologies. Of course. For my part I said they are both emergent and also causative.

            As for the DoI i believe that it was propaganda for the most part. Jefferson and his compatriots wanted to secure their own power here, and so they engaged a war against the Crown to make themselves sovereign. They played on all the liberty talk that was au courant in the day particularly because of the likes of Patrick Henry. To what extent did they believe such things, I do not know, but I wonder. I still think it was mostly a recruiting pitch for the Continental Army.

            I think today “we the people” have far more beefs against the Federal government than they had against the Crown by far. The difference is we are disunified and lack any cadre of powerful leadership the likes of Jefferson and so forth who could take us to war successfully.

            The Southernors tried their own war of independence and they lost.

            These conflicts come down to material factors most of all, not spirit or disembodied slogans and vaunted ideals. In the end I think politics, the life of the city, is most of all about material things too, that is, food, money, land, and culture; ideas play a role in organizing those things but they are the primary motives and factors.

            1. The facts on the ground that purportedly drove the Magna-Carte had existed innumerable times before

              Those circumstances resulted in the Magna-Carte because of the philosophical developments that preceded them.

              As to our founders – absolutely they were as petty and power seeking and imperfect as any politicians.
              That does not change what they did, nor why they did it.

              There is no requirement in logic or reason that to be right one must also be pure.
              Our founders were heavily influenced by the scottish enlightenment, which in turn was influenced by myriads of developments preceding it – including the Magna-Carte,
              And our founders and the declaration influenced the future here and elsewhere that followed.

              Our founders concurrently were petty and had and spoke of lofty ideas – just as the baron’s confronting King John.

              Both the Magna-Carte and the DoI are of particular note – because they are more than the particular outcome of a power struggle, but beyond being a list of demands which were within the reach of those demanding them to achieve, in BOTH and many other instances they also represent a moral justification for satisfying those demands.

              You are correct that material factors impact all of this.

              In completely different contexts I have pointed out Maslowe’s heirarchy of needs.

              It is not common for man who is starving to care enough to fight and die for freedom.

              Individual liberty is intrinsically intertwined with standard of living.
              Greater liberty means faster improvement in standard of living.
              But without sufficient standard of living our interest in liberty is weaker.

              You are correct that modern US government infringes on liberty far more than out founders would have accepted.
              At the same time the liberty we have has produced a standard of living that has expanded liberty in ways inconceivable to our founders.

              We are concurrently more free than ever before, while restricted in ways ‘our founders would never have allowed.

              Material factors matter. But material factors DO NOT make decisions for us. They merely make easier acting to more fully realize and better secure our rights.

              1. dhlii,
                I’ve enjoyed reading your comments in this thread. You are certainly far more patient than I am and you present a far better philosophical explanation than I’ve been able to make. My arguments stem from the same sources you’ve cited but I tend to get to this point as often as possible it’s also why I inserted genocide and slavery into the thread):

                Arguing against natural rights is arguing that others, including government have a legitimate claim to your life, liberty, property and conscience. That is suicidal.

                There are only two explanations that I can come up with as to why anyone would believe the only rights we have come from government is 1. these people believe human nature is not constant. 2. they argue that because our natural rights can be infringed, that means they are not unalienable. Unalienable doesn’t mean they cannot be alienated, it means they cannot be justly alienated. And alienated is not the same as disabled. For example, alienated would be slavery, while disabled would be imprisonment. The latter implies one violated positive law and through due process have had natural rights disabled. Once the sentence has been served, those natural rights are enabled.

                Logically, if one believes all rights come from government, then government decides what is legal or illegal without the people having any basis other than force to question it. We’d have no foundation to argue against an amendment to make slavery legal. Just don’t be in the crosshairs and don’t be in the minority.

                1. If you are interested in this further, I would suggest Randy’s Barnett’s “restoring the last constitution”.
                  Barnett’s first couple of chapters specifically address all of this, as well as all the assorted historical counter arguments arguments and their flaws,
                  as well as many of the traditional classical liberal arguments and their flaws.

                  Much of what I have posted is based on thought and learning predating reading Barnett

                  But he directly confronted some of the common counter arguments.
                  Barnett also notes and addresses all the other positions – such as that of Rawls.
                  Most of those support the majority (but not all) of my arguments.

                  It is really pretty standard theory of law and government that the justification for government and law is NOT consent.
                  All other law requires consent to be affirmatiive, clear and unequivocal. Very few scholars believe that you can be bound to the law by passive consent.

                  The more interesting question – which Barnett and other scholars address, which we have not gotten into is if the legitimacy of law does not rest on consent – what does it rest on ?

                  We have barely touched on that argument – I can not even get Mr. Kurst to the the question of consent. He is arguing that law is legimate and binding because well it just is.
                  That is not a very compelling argument. He also keeps trying to get into this evolutionary and societal thing.
                  That does not help. Society is not government. The legitimacy of the use of force does not descend on the annointed by magic.

                2. I would also note that – though we have not really gone their either.

                  It is not necescary for rights to come from nature.

                  The purpose of government is to secure them – regardless.

                  Further completely absent nature we can derive what can practically be a right and what can not.

                  As an example – anything that imposes a positive duty to act on another, can not be a right, because it is unsustainable.

                  Further there are rights that are NOT natural rights.
                  There is room to debate whether property is a natural right or not.
                  Whether it is, experience teaches us iit is an essential right if we expect improvement in quality of life.
                  But there are many things that are specific to our relationship with government – that are rights, but not natural rights.

                  Most of the founders and framers conflated rights and liberty viewing them as the same.
                  That persisted atleast through the end of the civil war.

                  The civil war and the reconstruction amendments – particularly the 14th are important. too.
                  The 39th congress in drafting the 14th amendment debated the priviledges and immunities clause.

                  While our founders meant much more than riights by priviledges and immunities, there is no lack of clarity to the fact that the 14th amendment meant much more.

                  The 14th amendment was criitical recently in Heller and its progeny – whatever ambiguity the founders might have had over the individual ownership of guns,
                  the drafters of the 14th amendment made it crystal clear they meant ARMED BLACK MEN.

          2. Mr. Metalogic asked “Are you saying that people have never gone to war for freedom, for liberty ? For some principle ? What garbage. Get a clue.”

            Are you saying that people can’t fight for their freedom and their liberty without first formulating an abstract philosophical principle that imbues their freedom and their liberty with “meaning” worth fighting for?

            1. First you say that people can fiight for liiberty and freedom and then argue that I am claiiming they must formulate some abstract phiilosophy first.

              Nope – individual liberty IS the “abstract philosophy”.

              Though I would bet the ordinary pre-revolutionary colonist knew a great deal more “abstract philosophy of liberty” than you do today.

              Have you read Thomas Paine – they did.

              Misrepresentations of Nietzsche were used to justify the Nazi’s.

              You have a very bizzarre concept of philosophy – have you read Locke ? Or JS Mill ? – Not particularly abstract.

              Or you could try Plato ?

              Marx certainly lead to wars revolution and bloodshed all over the place. You can tell me whether he is “abstract philosophy”.

              Can I make a suggestion – as you write – think about what you write. When you say “abstract philosophy” iin the same sentence as you use words like “freedom” and “liberty” you might wish to consider that maybe “abstract” is a miisrepresentation.

              You should also consider them same when you try to pretend that “Media Leak” and “Media Leak Strategy” are the same phrase.
              Particularly when it is unclear in a few of the DOJ ML references whether Page is talking about DOJ leaking or going after leakers.

          3. Consider this: Had it not been for the history of the inclosures in England and the clearances in Scotland, the American colonists might have been far less willing to fight The Redcoats for the sake of their liberty and their national independence. Come to think of it, Locke might not have written his treatise on the topic under that same condition. One can think of other examples of “histories” imbuing people’s lives with more “meaning” than “philosophies.” And especially so back in the day when far fewer people were literate, let alone learned.

            1. Wow! You have discovered that philosophers (and ordinary people) observe the mistakes of government, learn from them formulate ideals and principles and then act on those.

              You have this very artificial concept of philosophy.

              Absolutely what Locke (or Mill, or Plato, or …) saw and experienced influenced what the wrote – as did what they read – whiich was influenced by what that author experienced and read and so on and so on.

              The left BTW does exactly the same thing – but very badly. The left gets the lessons of history wrong and misunderstands human behavior.

              Are you going to cease to discuss income inequaliity or wealth redistributiion or social justice – because these are either abstract philosophies” or derivative of abstract philosophies ?

              The most fundiimental difference between the two of us is that my core principle is indiividual liberty. Yours is equality.
              The former actually exists and can be improved. The latter does not.
              Greater freedom has increased the qualiity of life of the entire world radiically in the past 200, 100, 50 years.
              Efforts fixated on equality – from the french revolution through to Venezuela have left us poorer and bloody.

              1. oh dhili, make no mistake, equality is at the core of your individualist ideology as much as any. me denouncing the DOI and its equality talk is part of what got this witty reparte underway.

                I can see you are not very easy for other people to talk to either, spicy remarks for everyone not just me! lol

                as for French revolution, it was very much an overthrow of feudalism by the emergent bourgeoisie with their focus on property rights, as anything.

                they used the rabble to justify their wider war against feudalism in favor of secular individualism. Napoleon used both ideology AND the rabble in favor of his more tangible goals, conquest and territory.

                there was no consent of the governed ever: not under ancien regime, not under the Terror, and not under Napoleon or ever since. The government is and always was and will be, in the first instance, the most powerful group forcing its set of rules on everyone else.

                American war of Independence: Yankee industrialists, Southern planters the American plutocracy, hiding their economic interests under a guise of liberty-ideology, versus the overseas Crown and its mercantile oligarchy, hiding its economic interests under a guise of feudal institutions that it didn’t really care about deep down, either.

                Marxism in focusing on material, economic concerns as a primary motivation and decisive factor in historical and social analysis, brought a more frank perspective, unmasking a lot of lofty nonsense in the meantime. It’s part and parcel of our thinking today by the way even as Americans. You can rail against it as much as you like but it’s cooked in the bread of culture like salt is in sodium bicarbonate and pretty much can’t be removed.

              1. You have to follow the thread in order to refute that false claim. I seriously doubt that you can follow the thread.

                1. “”The conflatiion of beliefs and outcomes was yours.”

                  You have to follow the thread in order to refute that false claim. I seriously doubt that you can follow the thread.”

                  You can doubt that the sun will rise tomorow.

                  The conflation was still yours.

                  1. you were calling him an idiot, not me I think, but may i observe, calling names does not advance a conversation in a constructive fashion

                    1. You are correct my response what not to you.

                      Calling someone an idiot is not an argument.

                      But it is often a fact.

        3. “After all, there is a fairly well-known history behind the political philosophy of natural rights.”

          Or put more accurately – part of history is the record of the evolution of philosophy.

          The history of something is not the thing itself.

          Further it is the thing that determines history, not history that determines the thing.

          1. Here today; gone tomorrow. Now you see it; now you don’t. Easy come; easy go. Hey wait a second there. Freedom is not at all easy to come by. But there is a history of freedom being here today; gone tomorrow; now you see it; now you don’t. Easy go? Well . . . If you take a people’s history away from them, then . . .

            1. “But there is a history of freedom being here today; gone tomorrow”

              Actually there is not. Most of recorded history is a slow progression to greater freedom.
              There are rear reversal’s – Mao’s China, Modern Venezuela.
              Most efforts at socialism or communism.

        4. “Besides, the philosophers still haven’t figured out exactly how to choose their very own thoughts let alone anybody else’s.”

          What do you think this statement means ?

          As best as I can tell you are asserting that free will does not exist.

          In which case slavery and genocide are moral.

          Regardless, think before you write, it will reduce the trouble you get into.

          1. Free will may very well illusory. Most physicists think it is. I do not always agree with them but I respect them. It may just be entropy, something deeper, manifesting itself in our choices.

            It does not follow that slavery or genocide are “moral.” That is what you say.

            Just as people misinterpret Nietzsche saying “God is dead” to mean that anything is moral– certainly not what he meant— I hear that a lot when it comes to free will too. No, I think that we can downgrade “free will” to allow for material influences, and still have ethics and morality.

            Just as we can say that a person with compromised free will, due to disease or accident or congenital infirmity, may still be responsible in some wise for their choices;

            we can say that our free will is delimited by the facts of reality, sometimes quite a bit… and yet we still definitely have meaningful choices to make.

            1. Free will may very well illusory. Most physicists think it is.

              They’re just having fun with you.

              1. Think of it as a coin-toss with a edgewise outcome. If nobody nudges the card table, then it just might hold steady for awhile. Or not.

            2. I do not claim to know what most physicists claim of free will – nor do I beleive that you know either.
              Nor does it matter. I do not hire a plumber to repair my computer.

            3. Mr. Kurtz;

              You are trapped in a resolved rut.

              The absence of absolute truth does not preclude relative truth.
              Nor does it rule out absolute falsity.

              We need not know the absolute truth to know that somethings are more probably true than others.

              Philosphers discovered that long ago.
              More recently physicists are finding it true.

              I do not have to prove that I am absolutely right, only that I am relatively right.

            4. First Rand, now Nietche – do you have an actual argument – beyond inserting and pummelling to death your own straw version of some straw philosopher ?

            5. You do not seem to understand what free will is.

              It is the inherent human capacity to choose between things that are possible, and the incumbent responsibility for those choices.

              There is no morality without free will. Unless you are free to make good and bad choices, you can not be held accountable for your actions if you had no choice in them.

          2. Mr. Metalogic asked, “What do you think this statement means?”

            People choose their actions. Perceptions, thoughts, feelings and desires can be trained. And the training of one’s perceptions, thoughts, feelings and desires could involve choices of actions. But it doesn’t have to involve choices of actions. People have their perceptions, thoughts, feelings and desires trained every day now. People are almost, but not quite powerless to resist the involuntary training of their perceptions, thoughts, feelings and desires. So the real question becomes exactly how relevant to one’s choices of action might one’s perceptions, thoughts, feelings and desires be? Totally irrelevant? Or at least partially determinate?

            1. “People are almost, but not quite powerless to resist the involuntary training of their perceptions, thoughts, feelings and desires. ”

              Really ? Modern advertisers would love to know how to pull this off.

              It is well known in marketing that you can not make someone want something.
              You can only shift their priorities.

              You can persuade someone to buy something sooner than they would otherwise, or persuade them to purchase this thing that they want rather than that.

              If people were as easy to control as you claim – communism would work.
              It does not.

              Free Markets work because they RESPOND to peoples wants and desires striving to meet them rather than control them.
              Other schemes like socialism fail because they presume to know what people should want and presume they can change them from what they do want to what they sould.

          3. dhlii,
            At it’s root, what is being argued here? Existing alone in the state of nature, what rights does man have to secure that existence? Those rights that come naturally to the individual do not go away when we add others into the equation. Moving from the individual in the state of nature to the collective in civil society does not change the nature of rights we have as individuals. It does mean that the only true purpose of the collective is to provide a better means of security of rights that we wouldn’t be able to do individually. If the collective didn’t provide better security, then what would be the point? To argue against this is suicidal. It would be no different than the slave arguing against freedom.

            1. OLLY;

              Well written.

              The purpose of government is to secure our rights.

              I would separately note that society, communiity, voluntary collectivism are entirely independent of government.

              Barney Frank liked to say “government is what we do together” – NO!!!!
              Government is what we do together BY FORCE.

              Churches, unions, civic groups, companies, insurance, and all kinds of forms of voluntary collective action are society, they are not government.

              Liberty is not just about the freedom as individuals to do as they please harming none, It is the freedom of iindividuals voluntarily acting with others.

          4. Mr. Metalogic said, “As best as I can tell you are asserting that free will does not exist. In which case slavery and genocide are moral.”

            I defy you to compose a valid material implication in which the consequent logically follows from the antecedent. Feel free to assign those positions either the one way or the other.

            Keep in mind that no one in his or her right mind voluntarily submits to either slavery or genocide.

            1. Keep in mind that no one in his or her right mind voluntarily submits to either slavery or genocide.

              Call it insanity or call it ignorance, but the outcome is the same if you argue you have no rights other than what comes from government.

              1. I’m sticking with my previous argument, Chief. Whatever rights exist in the state of nature are effectively useless because the exercise of one’s right to self-defense is all too often ineffective. There may be other reasons as well. But that’s the most basic one.

                1. Whatever rights exist in the state of nature are effectively useless because the exercise of one’s right to self-defense is all too often ineffective.

                  If that were true, then humans would no longer exist. It’s not that the security of rights in the state of nature was all too often ineffective, it was that they were not as secure as they would be in civil society. The transition from being a nomad in nature and a member of a society didn’t eliminate the natural rights, it made them more secure.

                    1. dhlii – I am not a natural rights person because I think natural rights are an artificial construct. They sound good, but unless someone else is willing to recognize them, you do not have them. For instance, if I have power and I decide you do not have the natural right to vote, you do not have it.

                      Let’s take this midterm election, for example. If you are a natural rights person, you would say that all people have the right to all information to make an informed decision. However, Google, Twitter and YouTube are banning and shadowbanning conservatives. Does this mean conservatives do not have natural rights? Or just less natural rights? That natural rights come in levels and if you are a conservative you get x amount of natural rights and if you are a liberal x+1 amount of natural rights?

                      See how confusing it can become?

                    2. The debate over natural rights is an independent one.

                      Though the founders and framers were not 100% consistent, for the most part they equated “natural rights” and liberty.
                      There is an enormous body of writing from the time noting that natural rights are pretty much infinite.

                      There was a great debate over the bill of rights and the result was the ninth amendment.

                      The core of that debate was assuring that listing a few specific rights would not constrain government to respect ONLY those rights.
                      It is amazing how despite the 9th amendment that debate was prescient.

                      I would also note that our founders and framers, as well as the authors of the 14th amendment went beyond natural rights.

                      They explicitly recogniized that some things – such as “civil rights” WERE constructs of government, that they are what we got as the quid pro quo in the sociial contract.
                      They further recognized that many things that were beyond rights were outside the domain of government – the priviledges and immuniities clause in the constitutiion itself and the 14th amendment were explicitly intended to constrain government interference in things that were neither natural nor civil rights.

                      I am not personally hung up on natural rights – and what exactly they are.

                      What is important is that the purpose of government is to protect rights, and that large portions of human conduct are excluded from the domaiin of government.

                    3. dhlii – if these “natural rights” are so natural did they need an amendment to protect them and why was that amendment only valid against the federal government, not the states?

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

                      The 9th amendment arguably applied to the states at the time it was past.
                      The priviledges and immuniities clause int eh constitution which iis broaders DID apply to the states, and was argued (unsuccessfully) as barring slavery.

                      The 14th amendment EXPLITICTLY applied to the states.

                    5. Paul,
                      I agree it can be confusing. First of all voting is not a natural right. It is a positive right that is granted to an individual based on criteria set by government. I struggled to know how to tell the difference between a natural right and other rights. The easiest way to tell the difference is to consider the individual alone in the state of nature where no government exists. What rights does that individual have in that existence? Every other individual has those same rights. If they and others choose to come together as a group, they bring those rights with them. If they decide to set rules, those rules are to do for the group better than what they were able to do as an individuals. The individuals may agree to enable the group with certain defined powers to secure the rights of the group. This means individually they disable certain defined powers.

                2. Useless ? No. Just less useful.

                  Hence government and the social contract.

                  Read DoI – the purpose of government is to SECURE your rights.

                  Self Defense – is another natural right. One we all hope never to have to use.
                  One of the purposes of government is to secure our rights so that we do not have to defend ourselves.

                  Government exists for the purpose of securing rights.
                  Again from DoI – when government fails to do so or becomes itself abusing of our rights, we are free to abolish it and start over.

            2. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – there is a history of people selling themselves into slavery in the Roman Empire. There was a whole process for it under Roman law.

            3. L4D:

              “Keep in mind that no one in his or her right mind voluntarily submits to either slavery or genocide.”
              History is replete with counterexamples of heroic voluntary mass suicide: Masada, Pilėnai, Battle of Saipan, Slave revolt at Guadeloupe, Puputans, Astapa and ones too numerous to catalog in 1945 by Germans unwilling to submit to the Red Army.

              1. Equivocation. The dilemma between slavery versus mass slaughter is inherently coercive. Coercion is not volition.

            4. I challenge you to write a clear english sentence that says what you mean.

              As best as I can tell you continue to admit you are wrong and demand that I prove you are right.

              People choose not to be slaves when they are able to. Obviously free will exists.

              In humans voluntary slavery iis rare to non-existant. Slavery only occurs when free will is abrogated by force.

              Your assertion that “no one in his or her right mind voluntarily submits to either slavery or genocide.”

              is tautologically the same as “free will exists”

              1. You appear to be either incapable of, or unwilling to, follow your own argument. Here it comes:

                If free will exists, then slavery and genocide are immoral.
                Given that free will does not exist,
                It follows that slavery and genocide are not immoral.

                That is a fallacy known as denying the antecedent. Here’s the next one:

                If free will exists, then slavery and genocide are immoral.
                Given that slavery and genocide are immoral,
                It follows that free will exists.

                That is a fallacy known as affirming the consequent. Here comes a valid form (albeit unsound):

                If free will exists, then slavery and genocide are immoral.
                Given that free will exists,
                It follows that slavery and genocide are immoral.

                That argument form is called modus ponens. Here comes a valid modus tollens (albeit, also unsound):

                If free will exists, then slavery and genocide are immoral.
                Given that slavery and genocide are not immoral,
                It follows that free will does not exist.

                If you will only bother to notice, the conclusion to the valid modus tollens argument form is identical to the “given premiss” in the invalid argument form that commits the fallacy of denying the antecedent. Likewise, the conclusion to the valid modus ponens argument form is identical to the “given premiss” in the invalid argument form that commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent.

                As a general principle of logic, if the conclusion to a valid argument is the premiss of an invalid argument, then the putative connection between the antecedent and the consequent is either not logical or not complete. Time to drop The Painted Lady out from up your sleeve.

                1. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – your example is invalid on its face. The Romans were very religious, moral people yet believed in slavery. They also believed that you could buy your way out of slavery (100,000s did) some becoming in today’s term billionaires. They also believed you could sell yourself into slavery or as a father, you could sell any member of your family into slavery. Still, these are a people who would not leave the house without praying to the family gods first.

                  We used to have a commentor on here who owned a slave. He gave him up when he moved to the US. Slavery is a culture and your culture views it as legal or illegal. Within that culture you will have outliers. However, for the most part, all the Democrats in the South supported slavery. And all the Democrats, in the South, supported the “Jim Crow Laws.” Being a Democrat in the South meant you had to either have slaves or support slave-holders (remember women didn’t vote until long after the War of Northern Aggression). Democrats were suppressing black votes, yes, can you believe it, Democrats!!!! So, the only people voting in the South were white Democrats. Yes, the party of the first black President, Bill Clinton suppressed black votes.

                  1. Duress is not volition. Duress is coercion. When you have a system of tenant farming, or sharecropping, or even a feudal or manorial system, for that matter, you have systematic duress that is highly coercive. Even as we speak, there are dirt poor tenant farmers in Cambodia who are selling their “surplus daughters” into child sexual slavery in Thailand. I’m pretty sure that both Mr. Metalogic and Mr. Kurtz will call that immoral. But I could be wrong. It is a contract. And there’s not much evidence of free will behind the thing, either.

                    1. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – the first car I bought was a VW bug. It was not the car I wanted, but it was the car I could afford and it came with 4 extra tires. Life is not always a bed of roses. You weigh the pros and cons and make a decision. It may not be the decision you would make in a perfect world, but their often isn’t a perfect world. Do you live in a perfect world?

                    2. Evidently L4D lives in a world overrun with false equivalencies. L4D will gladly concede that such a world is far from perfect.

                    3. IF as you say – there is no free will – then there is no morality.

                      Given that free will exists selling your children into sexual slavery would be immoral – it violates their free will.

                      If free will does nto exist it is amoral, and there is no duress or coercion – as both of those words imply you have a choice that is being influenced or taken by force

                2. P. S. It should be pointed out that the conclusions to the valid form modus ponens will always be the given premiss in the invalid form that commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent. Likewise, the conclusion to the valid form modus tollens will always be the given premiss in the invalid form that commits the fallacy of denying the antecedent. And that’s why all four forms should be analyzed to test for the completeness of the logical connection asserted between the antecedent and the consequent. If the logical connection is incomplete, then the assertion is probably unsound.

                  1. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – cutting to the chase, you are admitting that you are so full of sh*t that your eyes are brown. 😉

                    1. Nope. That’s not it. What I’m admitting is that the same analysis applies to all arguments involving if/then statements. And that analyzing all four forms of the argument is useful for ferreting out unsound premisses. If you do it often enough, then you can spot the unsound premisses on the spur of the moment without having to spell it all out the hard way. In this case, the hard way was useful.

                    2. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – I got an A in my graduate Logic class and I can tell you that even after all these years your initial premise is unsound.

                    3. Do you know what a premise is ?

                      A premise is a statement that is part of an argument that is assumed to be true.

                      If a premise is “unsound” the remainder of the argument is meaningless.

                      You can often prove that a premise is false rather than true by applying the rules of formal logic to the argument – until you get a contradiction.
                      Whenever you can prove that an argument results in a contradiction, you can prove that one of its premises is wrong.

                      Most of the analysis that you keep doing is so full of errors that it is tedious to address.

                      Premises are not “unsound” – they are true or false – so long as the law of the excluded middle applies (and in many instances even if it does not).

                      MP is NOT the same as any logical fallacy.
                      Any MP with true premises produces a true conclusion.
                      That is axiomatic – it is a law of logic. It can not be proven.
                      You do not have to accept it, but if you do not, then whatever you are doing it is not logic.

                      I would also note that logic is not just about proving things true.

                      It is also about proving things FALSE.

                      I represented the following:

                      Free will does not exist.
                      Slavery and genocide are immoral.

                      as premises of YOURS

                      I added the tautology

                      morality requires free will,
                      and noted that results in a contradication.

                      That means one of YOUR premises is false.

                      Either YOU accept free will or
                      You accept that slavery and genocide are not immoral.

                      I am not looking to prove free will exists,.

                      I am only proving that you can not have your values without free will.
                      In fact you can not have morality without free will.

                  2. “P. S. It should be pointed out that the conclusions to the valid form modus ponens will always be the given premiss in the invalid form that commits the fallacy of affirming the consequent”

                    God, no!

                    You are quite litterally claiming that formal logic which is the basis of all math science and engineering is unreliable.

                    This and only this is what you know.

                    If you can express an argument in the form of modus pollens AND the premises are true – then the conclusion is ALWAYS TRUE.
                    MP and MT are AXIOMS of formal logic – they are unprovable, but universally accepted as true.

                    “affirming the consequent, denying the antecedent, and evidence of absence.”
                    are all INVALID logical forms that RESEMBLE MP and MT respectively.

                    “And that’s why all four forms should be analyzed to test for the completeness of the logical connection asserted between the antecedent and the consequent.”

                    Affirming the consequent and denying the antecedent are NOT MP and MT.
                    If you are certain you have MP or MT and you have true premises, then your conclusion is true PERIOD.
                    No further testing required.

                    Though I would encourage thorough review – as is self evidently needed because you are unable to tell a valiid MP or MT from a fallacious affirmation of the consequent or denying the anticedent.

                    In symbolic logic MP is

                    P implies Q
                    Therefore Q

                    MP is axiomatic it is assumed valid. ALWAYS.

                    Affirming the consequent is

                    P implies Q
                    therefore P

                    This is NOT the same as MP.
                    It is fallacious – that does not mean it is false.
                    It means that the truth value of the result can not be established from the premises.

                    There is not an issue of logical completeness – whatever you think that is.

                    The only issue is valid form

                    1. Pleas pay attention. The following is the argument that you made more than once on this thread.

                      If free will exists, then slavery and genocide are immoral.
                      Given that free will does not exist,
                      It follows that slavery and genocide are not immoral.

                      That is a fallacy known as denying the antecedent. You have exhaustively demonstrated your inability to follow your own argument. It is tiresome and boorish.

                    2. L4D

                      I have responded to this many times.

                      My “argument” is that YOUR argument results in a contradiction and is therefore invalid.

                      That contradiction is

                      If free will does not exist, (your premise not mine)
                      It follows that slavery and genocide are not immoral.
                      A conclusion that I do not think you accept.

                    3. L4D you have quite conclusively demonstrated a complete inability to think logically.

                      MP is NOT denying the antecedent.

                      Following YOUR argument until it results in a contradiction – or atleast something most of us do not find acceptable is standard logical process.

                      Please at the very least skim Wiikipedia’s section on logic. It is not sufficient, but it is a start.

                      You can not get the very basics – such as Modus Ponens down without error.

                      MP and Denying the consequent – are similar. They are NOT identical.
                      The one is an axiom of logic.
                      The other has no meaning.

                    4. Please pay attention, again. The following is a valid modus tollens with an unsound given premiss.

                      If free will exists, then slavery and genocide are immoral.
                      Given that slavery and genocide are not immoral,
                      It follows that free will does not exist.

                      Now here is a direct quote from dhlii, “If you are certain you have MP or MT and you have true premises, then your conclusion is true PERIOD.
                      No further testing required.”

                      That is a valid modus tollens. And the unsound given premiss is the conclusion to your fallacy of denying the antecedent. Moreover, the conclusion to that valid modus tollens is the given premiss in your fallacy of denying the antecedent. Once again, you have exhaustively demonstrated your inability to follow your own argument. It is tiresome and boorish.

                    5. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – the problem is that your original premise is invalid. After that everything else falls apart.

                    6. There are SO MANY problems.

                      First my actual argument is to demonstrate that two premises that I claim L4D accepts, result in a contradiction.
                      Therefore both can not be true.

                      In formal logic when you reach a contradiction you are supposed to stop – because one of your premises is false.

                      It is perfectly valid in logic to takes someone else’s premises and following the rules of logic demonstrate that they result in a contradiction.

                      You are also supposed to stop in formal logic when you reach a contradiction because any argument that contains a contradiction can subsequently be continued to prove ANYTHING.

                      Next L4D clearly does not know what MP or MT are. It is likely that she has read somewhere that MP and MT very closely resemble affirming the consequent and denying the anticedent and she has been confused into beleiving that MT and MP are the same as the fallacies of affirming the consequent and denying the anticedent.

                      Next the argument that she has presented as mine – is a mess that has nothing to do with anything I have said.

                    7. dhlii – I was taught, back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, that if your major premise was invalid you stop. Full stop.

                    8. If any required premis to an argument is false, you are supposed to FULL STOP.

                      Once you have a conflict you MUST stop, because if you continue you will be able to prove anything.

                      One of the many problems with L4D’s posts is that “my argument” is that HER premises result in a contradiction.

                      I was not lookng to prove the argument she claims I made was valid.
                      I was lookiing to prove it was false.

                      Getting a contradiction establishes that.

                      I do wiish to be just a bit carefull – because I DID NOT prove free will exists.

                      I proved that L4D can not BELEIVE that free will does not exist and that Slavery is immoral.

                    9. “Please pay attention, again. The following is a valid modus tollens with an unsound given premiss.”

                      More nonsense.

                      If you can demonstrate that a particular premis is invalid – the form of the argument is IRRELEVANT.

                      All logical axioms require valid premises to produce valid results.

                      Regardless, you continue to repeat an argument that is NOT the one being address.

                      MY argument is (or atleast one of them)

                      Free Will exists.
                      Morality requires free will
                      Slavery and genocide violate free will
                      Therefore slavery and genocide are not moral.

                      You need to take care because morality is NOT binary.
                      Something can be moral, immoral or amoral.

                      Slavery is immoral if free will exists and amoral if it does not.

                      With respect to my comments to YOU.

                      I am not actually making an argument.

                      I am pointing out that you can no have a system in which free will does not exist and slavery is immoral.

                      In fact without free will you do not have morality at all.

                      You are off on a tangent – mangling my arguments,
                      Your own arguments,
                      the rules of formal logic.

                      and the definitions of various fallacies.

                      It is very hard to address your remarks – because they have so many errors.

                  3. I word further not that if you have an argument in the form of “affirming the consequent”.

                    All that means is that without further premises you can not determine the truth value of the results.

                    That is what Fallacy means.

                3. Logic is clearly not your forte.

                  Lets start with your first purported refutation.

                  You misstate the premises. Probably because you completely miss the fact that slavery is the deprivation of free will
                  Put simply the argument premiises are not independent in the way needed to reach the fallacy you claim.

                  I would further note that fallacy does not mean false. A conclusion is not falsiifiied by a fallacious argument. It is just not supported by it either.
                  But your primary error is failing to grasp that free will, morality and slavery are not independent terms that might be connected by implication.
                  Morality is a particular excercise of free will. Slavery is the absence of the ability to excercise free will. There is no denying the antecedent – becuase there is no antecedent,
                  You have made a catagory error.

                4. Please do some actual reading on formal logic.

                  MP and MT are among the fundamental rules of formal logic. In a valid argument they can NEVER contradict.
                  The very fact that you have derived a conflict means that you have a false premise.
                  In this case your premise that genocide and slavery are not immoral.

                  By reaching a conflict you have just logically proven by contradiction that slavery and genocide are immoral.
                  (presuming that there is no middle that is not excluded).

                  That is the only thing that you have established – aside from a shallow understanding of formal logic.

                  I do not like appeals to authority – particularly my own. But I have extensive formal education in logic – in the humantities, in mathematics, in science and iin engineering.

                  One of the several ways I make a living – and have for decades is through programming logic systems.
                  In some instances the work I do could result in catastrophe or death if I make a logic error.
                  In nearly all instances if I make a mistake there will be serious harm and cost.
                  No one is perfect, and I make mistakes – but rarely.

                  You are not going to go to some wiki and pick up some tidbits of symbolic logic and confound me.
                  Logic is not left wing nut ideology – it is inflexible. you can not bend it to your will.

                  Logic does not provide the answers to all the questions we might have. But when it provides an answer it is correct.
                  Logic underpins Math, Science, Engineering. If it were as maleable as you are trying to make it,
                  your car would probably blow up on your way to work tomorow.

              2. Mr. Metalogic said, “Your assertion that ‘no one in his or her right mind voluntarily submits to either slavery or genocide’ is tautologically the same as ‘free will exists'”

                Well, there’s The Painted Lady face up on the game table, for sure. Here comes the material equivalency:

                Human actions are either moral or immoral if, and only if, free will exists.
                Given that human actions are either moral or immoral,
                It supposedly follows that free will exists.
                And, given that free will supposedly exists,
                It supposedly follows that human actions are either moral or immoral.

                Notice what happens when one substitutes the supposed tautology cited above:

                Human actions are moral if, and only if, humans of sound mind voluntarily submit to those human actions.
                Given that the human actions of slavery and genocide are immoral,
                It follows that no humans of sound mind voluntarily submit to the human actions of slavery or genocide.
                And, given that no humans of sound mind voluntarily submit to the human actions of slavery and genocide,
                It follows that the human actions of slavery and genocide are immoral.

                Thusly are we asked to affirm that if free will does not exist, then humans must voluntarily submit to the human actions of slavery and genocide. And, if humans voluntarily submit to the human actions of slavery and genocide, then the human actions of slavery and genocide are not immoral.

                1. Please do not waste my time with your poor attempts at logic.
                  I get well paid for this – and you are not paying me.

                  First – the arguments you are constructing – whether they are correct or not are not mine. They are actually yours.
                  My argument is that morality derives from free will.

                  But lets parse this a bit at a time.

                  “Human actions are either moral or immoral”
                  False binary.

                  Formal arguments do not contain “supposedly”
                  A premis is presumed to be true.
                  If an argument and premises can be deconstructed following the rules of formal logic into a form that is completely made of the rules of formal logic without reaching a contradiction then the original argument is valid.

                  Your second restatement or YOUR argument – though not the structure and form I would have chosen and more opaque than it needs to be because of superflous prose – this is logic not poetry, appears to be valid based on a cursory examination.

                  Your final paragraph has no actual logical connection to the rest.

                  If free will does not exist – morality does not exist and voluntary does not exist. The latter is is definitional.
                  So the first problem is you must remove every occurance of voluntary (and submit) – you have assumed that free will exists,
                  but adding voluntary (and submit) – you have contradicted that assumption and you have an invalid argument.
                  Refer to what I said before about the use of superfluous prose.
                  Regardless, your final paragraph is only related to the preceding text in that it shares many of the same words.
                  It is not the same argument. It is not a properly derived argument.

                  A correct version of your final paragraph is that if free will does not exist morality does not exist.
                  Absent free will slavery and genocide are amoral (not immoral). Morality requires choice.

                  We do not pass moral judgement on the behavior of most the the animal kingdom.
                  If a tiger kills a lamb that is neither moral nor immoral. The tiger does not have sufficient free will to make a moral choice.

                  Elsewhere you touch on this with the addition of “sound mind”.
                  Mental disabilities that impair ones ability to make choices freely also free us from moral culpability for those choices.

                  Your digression into all of this is establishing a few things.

                  You have no idea what morality is.
                  You have no idea what free will is.

                  Free will is so deeply ingrained in you that you keep trying to introduce it into your own hypotheticals where it is not supposed to exist.

                  This debate goes back to atleast the greeks.

                  The absence of free will means the absence of morality.
                  Without free will you can not draw moral conclusions.

                  Voluntary and submit are words reflecting a choice, ie. Free will.
                  If you introduce Voluntary – you have just interoduced free will.
                  If you introduce submit – you have just introduced free will.

                  1. Mr. Metalogic said, “First – the arguments you are constructing – whether they are correct or not are not mine. They are actually yours.”

                    I’m going to be generous and assume that you do not know that you have asserted a falsehood. Be advised: Anyone other than you who bothers to read this thread will have no trouble finding repeated examples of dhlii (that’s you) asserting the argument that dhlii (that’s you, again) now disavows whilst attempting to foist that same argument upon L4D. Some of those readers might mistakenly conclude that dhlii posts comments in bad faith. But L4D knows better. And L4D wants other readers to know that Mr. Metalogic (that’s dhlii) just can’t help himself. He can’t follow a thread any better than he can follow his own argument. So, of course he thinks the fallacy of denying the antecedent was not his argument. But it was.

                    1. L4D

                      I stand behind every single comment I have made.

                      What I “disavow” iis the garbage in your responses.

                      In the specific instance you are addressing.

                      I did not actually make a formal argument.

                      I pointed out that any philosophical system that does not have free will produces results that it is unlikely that you accept.

                      I am NOT trying to prove that free will exists.

                      What I have asserted – which is more definitional that formal logic, is that without free will you do not have morality.
                      Morality is making choices that are right.
                      Free will is the capacity to make choices.

                      If you can not make choices,
                      You can not make right choices.

                      It does not matter how you define “right”.
                      You can not have morality without free will.
                      That is a tautology.

                      I have made the assumption – I hope not a false one.

                      That you beleive Slavery and genocide are immoral.

                      I have not attempted to prove that.

                      I have asserted that as a premise.

                      If you wish to tell me that you beleive slavery and genocide are either moral or amoral,
                      then my argument does not lead anywhere – it is not wrong, it is just inconclusive.

                      BUT so long as YOU accept that slavery and genocide are immoral,
                      YOU are stuck with accepting the existance of free will.

                      Put differently – I am not seeking to prove that free will exists.
                      I am seeking to prove that YOU accept that free will exists – even if you attempt to deny it.

              3. Is there no other conceivable basis for refusing to submit to slavery or genocide besides affirming the existence and operation of free will? Must humans freely choose to refuse to submit to slavery and genocide? Is there no other sort of volition besides free will? How do our sometimes cousins in the world of non-human animals do it? Instinctively? Reflexively? Determinately?

                But if we bribe them with a sugar lump ever and anon, then we can strap a saddle to their back and ride them into town. Who would do such a thing to another of his or her fellow human beings?

                1. “Is there no other conceivable basis for refusing to submit to slavery or genocide besides affirming the existence and operation of free will? Must humans freely choose to refuse to submit to slavery and genocide? Is there no other sort of volition besides free will? How do our sometimes cousins in the world of non-human animals do it? Instinctively? Reflexively? Determinately?

                  But if we bribe them with a sugar lump ever and anon, then we can strap a saddle to their back and ride them into town. Who would do such a thing to another of his or her fellow human beings?”

                  Refuse, Submit, Volition, freely choose. refuse – all the same thing Free Will.

                  Use any of myriads of words that mean that you have a choice, and we are discussing free will.
                  Just like car, airplane, bus, bicycle are all forms of transportation.

                  Absent free will morality can not exist.
                  You can not make a right or wrong choice – if you can not choose.
                  The absence of free will tautologically precludes morality, because morality is defined as culpability for an act of free will – a choice.

                  I do not need formal logic to demonstrate the tautological relationship – because the relationship is definitional.

      2. OMG! Poor Foxtrot Foxtrot Sierra! Who else but L4D would demand to know exactly how philosophers go about choosing their own thoughts? Nobody thinks of questions like that. Which came first: The chicken or the egg? Sure! Everybody’s heard of that question. But which came first: The perception or the thought? The feeling or the desire? Nobody pesters people with pesky problems like that. Nobody. Ontology? Huh? Whaaa. . .?

        1. Don’t come crying to me, Late. If you’re stuck, that’s your problem.

          1. That’s true. I have no one but myself to blame. And then there’s Mr. Kurtz and Mr. Metalogic. Did you see how much extra mileage I provoked from those two?

            Anyway. You go to a Chinese restaurant. You’re seated at a table. The waiter gives you a Chinese menu with four “neuro-psychological” columns: Perceptions, Thoughts, Feelings and Desires. You peruse the menu looking for items you haven’t sampled yet. The waiter returns and asks, “Are you ready to order, Sir?” You reply, “I’ll have the gestalt psychosis, please.” The dutiful response from the waiter, “Excellent choice, Sir.”

            After awhile the waiter brings a small jar of strained peas to your table. You try some with the tiny little spoon. They taste just like strained pears. And then it dawns on you. “So that’s how philosophers go about choosing their very own thoughts! I never would’ve guessed that in a million years.”

        2. Randian thought posits that it is Aristotelian in metaphysics and epistemology and then it launches straight into Lockean Classical liberalism for politics. Ontology never made the list of concerns for Ayn Rand!

          They fancy that it somehow pursues a golden mean between neoplatonism and empiricism. Thus rand denounced communists as idealists and religious platonists as a different version. I still can’t fully understand that one. never could.

          She aped the empiricists a lot even in her brand name “objectivism” but tried to justify and differentiate herself from the academic ones she didn’t like, by hammering away on the virtues of intellectualism and how ideas matter and so forth which was kind of avoiding the subject and denouncing it instead. A very Stalinist like habit that she had btw.. Basically she veered all over the place and was an amateur philosopher and not a very rigorous one.

          Peikoff as her executor and a trained philosopher tried to clean it all up, which was good for a paycheck but not all that convincing to the world.

          I asked a lot of people trained in philosophy about this and some thought better of her than others. I admired her a lot at the time. Now I remember the guy who said, “trust me she was an amateur at philosophy.” What little more i have learned in the decades since has left me agreeing with that guy, even if I am just an amateur too.

          The fiction had the most to offer and it still does, however tiresome Atlas Shrugged can be at times, it still had fine and inspirational moments. The Fountainhead sure made for a better movie, however.

          We the Living, her early and underrated work, i most enjoyed, denounced by some as “too Nietzschean,” which was an unintentional compliment.

          1. The screenplay for The Fountainhead was quite horrid.

            but not all that convincing to the world.

            Almost no one reads academic philosophy and those who do aren’t free of sentiment and status considerations.

            Now I remember the guy who said, “trust me she was an amateur at philosophy.”

            She produced imaginative literature for a living.

          2. Still not an objectivist.

            Since you are off on a Randian tangent.

            Atlas Shrugged is excellent – though about 300 pages too long.
            The fountainhead was tedious.
            We the living was not quite as good as Atlas Shrugged.
            Anthem was probably one of the best dystopias written.

            Rand rejected classical liberalism. Objectivism is a cult – like many cults it mixes in alot of truth.

            II am not iimpressed with many modern “philosophers”.

            I am also not especially iimpressed with people trained in my own profession – why would I place significant weight in your claim that some people you asked that you claimed are trained in philosophy claim somethiing or other ?

            Make arguments not fallacious appeals to fictitious authorities.

            I am arguing with you – not Nietzsche, not Rand, not some random people trained in philosophy that you have talked wiith.

    3. Not an objectivist.

      I have no special bone to pick with you – but “trust me” is not a credible argument over the internet.

      If I tell you that I know Rand, Locke, …. better than you “trust me” are you going to accept that ? Should you ?

      If you want me to beleive you are expert in something – show it.

      “Authority precedes rights.”

      Bzzt, wrong.

      “Natural rights are a fiction because in the state of nature, there are no rights.”
      Self evidently wrong.

      It is not rights that are missing in nature – it is the security of those rights.

      BTW though weaker and less well developed many human rights are actually evident in lessor mammals.
      So much for the argument that rights are not natural.

      I would further note that authority is quite obviously and logically SUBORDINATE to rights.

      No authority is sustainable without at the very least the acquesense of the people.

      Presumably you are old enough to remember what occured in East Germany when the East German people decided they no longer supported their government.

      Authority can not exist without the consent in some form of the governed.
      Even the most totalitarian states have to deliver to a significant portion of the populace stabiliity and ….. protection of their RIGHTS or they must ultimately fail.
      At the barest minimum the most authoritarian state requires the support of those who are part state, and the acquesence of most of those who are not.

      Authority is derivative, it is not fundimental.

      I would suggest refreshing your history. There are myriads of examples of Pharohs and others who lost support and failed.

      I would further note that many scholars have argued that “the devine right of kings” was a means of constraining them – and their subordinates, not a means of empowering them.

      Regardless, we started in anarchy. That is pretty self evident. That does nto make anarchary inherently supperior, but neither does it mean that some authoritarian regime is inherently superior.

      I would also note that the form of government is ultimately not that critical.
      Many many dictatorships and monarchies have better protected rights than democracies have.

      The purpose of government is not intrinsic to its structure. The social contract – whether an explicitly lockean one or some other that works, does not actually dictate the form of government only its purpose.

      From the begining of time to the present – when authority fails to perform its appointed task – to secure peoples rights to their satisfaction – that authority fails.

      I would further note that your definition of “rights” defines them out of existance.

      A right remains that which you have even when “authority” would prefer otherwise.

      II will be happy to agree with you that authority quite often attempts – and sometimes succeeds in weaking rights – but it does not define them.

      1. bzzt, wrong. Lockean fantasies.

        the people do not have to consent. maybe some do and some dont. the people is not one thing it is many. many people. enough consent to form a police and army, the rest of those who labor will consent or die. understand that,. it is the foundational princple of every state in history. the people: they consent because they have to or their heads get knocked in.

        there is no natural right known to a lion who eats you for breakfast on the savannah.

        law only exists because stronger men lay down rules for how they apply their force.

        the rules of organized crime are little different. in some niche the mafia has displaced the power of the state and instituted its own rules.

        the state hears about it and smacks them down. the law is reinstated.

        insurrections happen, stronger sovereigns emerge.
        sometimes war overthrows sovereigns.
        stop laboring under these Enlightenment fantasies dhilli, you are bright person i can tell. free your mind from ideology and look around you.

      2. Putin was ready to crush the rebellion and was on the horn to Moscow to send tanks. If they had the steel in their spines that he had, it might have been a different outcome.

        I would submit the East German rebellion was as much a nationalist impulse to reunify as it was anything else, like, some kids wanted blue jeans and sneakers, or maybe human rights activists wanted whatever. Mostly just a nationalist effort in my view, and I applaud the German people for it.

        in the context of geopolitics, it played well into the US’ hands, and Germany is still an occupied nation with tons of US troops in it and a limited ability to diverge from political orthodoxy limitations set up in the wake of World War II.

        After reunification, US diplomats lied to the Russians about not expanding NATO past a unified Germany a promise broken many times over. And we are busy antagonizing the Russians more as we speak, and they have extra fast nukes now online to answer American imperialism and mischief with unimaginable horrific violence to end all debates. Kudos to Trump for diplomacy with them and to hell with those who insult him for this.

        Yeltsin was a drunk and most communists were just busy for a decade figuring out how to cash in on privatization and become rich. The Russians love Putin because however flawed he may be he is a nationalist too.

        I dont hear anything in what you say that addresses nationalism. You think that is postmodernist whatever, I don’t know. All the talk of rights is besides those points.

        I also don’t give a care if you think i am an expert in anything,. the only expertise i have claimed was on the question of certain narrow legal things particularly today the question of lawyers giving up certain first amendment freedoms due to licensure. A point on which I am indeed quite right and certain sure.

        You are the expert on moralizing i will give you that.

        1. in the context of geopolitics, it played well into the US’ hands, and Germany is still an occupied nation with tons of US troops

          Utter rubbish. The entire population of American troops in Germany is 34,000. That might be enough to secure Lower Saxony if they were deployed as an occupying force. Lower Saxony encompasses about 10% of Germany’s population. And, of course, they’re not deployed as an occupying force.

      1. sorry i never had a problem with Buck v Bell

        as for his legal positivism you can read this as an intro to the subject. i am not too interested in the philosophical explanations. i understand it with my bones.

        link discusses some book touching on all that jive.

        ” Kellogg recognizes that Holmes has often been identified as a legal positivist in connection with his views about the separation of law and morality. Kellogg counters this characterization of Holmes. A recurrent theme throughout the book is that Holmes, as a historical matter, was critical of John Austin’s views of law in at least two key respects. Austin, by Kellogg’s account, engaged in purely abstract conceptual analysis and he maintained a strict “ontological separation” between law and morality (41). Kellogg insists that Holmes’s view that the law develops through a multitude of decisions by juries and judges in the context of specific and recurring disputes is contrary to the abstract bent of legal positivism (111). Moreover, Holmes’s position that the moral views of a community make their way into the law via this mode of decision making is inconsistent with the separation thesis. Hence, according to Kellogg, Holmes did not, “as with Hobbes and Austin, draw an inviolable barrier separating contemporary ethical standards of conduct from law” (88).

        Legal positivism, which serves as the villain in this book, obviously provokes Kellogg’s ire. Although a number of theorists — including critics like Ronald Dworkin and John Finnis, as well as others like Jeremy Waldron and William Twining — have asserted that contemporary legal positivism is becoming an obscure preserve of a narrow band of legal philosophers,[1] Kellogg thinks otherwise.

        I suggest that positivism does exercise continuing influence beyond academia, and on contemporary modes of legal thinking. Its long shadow is cast over the problem of constitutional interpretation, where text is viewed as supreme and exhaustive. (116)

        Kellogg appears to “blame” legal positivism for Scalia’s textual approach to constitutional interpretation: “The roots of textualism are, if not grounded in analytical positivism, certainly closer to it than to common law” (153). Kellogg offers no evidence or argument to support these striking claims.

        Two points stand out about Kellogg’s discussion of legal positivism. First, although he discusses Austin and Hart, he does not explicitly engage the work of a single current legal positivist. Second, it is not clear that any legal positivist espouses the separation thesis in the sense that offends Kellogg. Austin and Hart both acknowledged that the moral views of the community underpin many legal rules, and it is not obvious that they would disagree with Holmes’s account of how this comes about. Furthermore, contemporary “inclusive legal positivists” — which Kellogg belatedly and briefly mentions two-thirds into the text — find it perfectly acceptable for a legal system to incorporate moral standards, which belies his repeated assertions that legal positivism maintains a strict separation. These flaws might be excusable in a purely historical account, but Kellogg presents his book as a contribution to legal philosophy today.”

  4. In picking the jury the defense counsel should tell the jury panel about the government lies, trash, and phony accusations. Counsel shouild tell the jury about the gag order issued by the judge. If the judge does not like it then keep talking and get put in jail by the judge. This needs to get out in the media. Fake news, fake government lies and terrible judge.

    1. The defense is generally not permitted to tell the jury all kinds of things that would be helpful to its case – thiis is one of the reasons that defense attorney’s speak to the press.

      1. there are strict rules of relevance. without some facts to nail it down hard, imputing false motive to prosecutors is something that gets a lot of heat from judges. we saw that with manafort. it’s a brave lawyer who will unleash all the rhetorical angles that are possible.

        and as you say they sometimes speak to press and for good reason.

        but as I observed, the system sets its own rules and the plantation field hands the lawyers better obey or they get the whip

      2. you don’t add an apostrophe to make a word plural. just an s is all you need.
        “…defense attorneys, no apostrophe. defense lawyers – no apostrophe. the attorney’s car. lawyer’s car.
        Got it? GET it. Do you also not know the difference between you, your, and the contraction your’e? its and it’s?

        1. bill– yeah i know and if i was trying to write properly i might capitalize correctly as well. however i am just trrying to write quickly so i let all that go. feel free to argue the merits, i am pretty sure you can understand my english such as it is

  5. This third world banana republic BS is by the same DOJ that progressives including HRC herself used to excoriate. Now they elevate the DOJ/FBI to deity solely because they can cause legal problems for a GOP admin, and no other reason.

    If Hitler was alive and hating Trump, Isaac the poster here, and Enigmainblack would be the first to enlist in the Reich.

        1. theskepticalcynic – we seem to have hit a nerve with you. Do you live in Mad Max’s district? She doesn’t.

  6. Why was Maria Butina arrested for “conspiracy” and “acting as a foreign agent” and Saudi and “Israeli” agents were not?

    1. Sam,…
      – I don’t know if there are Saudi or Israeli agents/ lobbyists who are in violation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act ( FARA).
      If agents of the countries that you mentioned are in fact violating the requirements of FARA, it”s unlikely to be headline news.
      Or in any news.
      The haphazard application of FARA has been a subject that the Senate Intelligence Committee has taken up with DOJ.
      Specifically, the DOJ was asked why Veselnitskaya, Akhmetshin, and Fusion GPS were not in compliance with FARA.
      ( These are the two pro-Russian advocates who were at the Trump Tower meeting; Fusion GPS has worked in tandem with Veselnitskaya in at least one court case).
      Additionally, the DOJ intervened on behalf of Veselnitskaya to allow her back into the U.S. prior to the Trump Tower meeting.
      The DOJ overruled the U.S. Attorney ( Preet Bahahra sp.?l) who recommended that she not be allowed back in the U.S.
      The Maria Butina case is evolving, and if recent news reports are correct, it looks like she is angling for a plea bargain.
      She is reportedly willing to incriminate her long term lover Paul Ericson, who is described as a “GOP operative”.
      Based the news reports that I’ve seen, it looks like Marina Butina has been singled out for rigid enforcement of FARA requirements.
      As I said, the case is evolving and there may be evidence produced that point to more serious violations than failure to comply with FARA.
      But it still seems to be an open question why pro-Russian agents like Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin “get a pass” for violating FARA, and Butina and others are targeted for for criminal prosecution.

      1. Because everybody was getting a pass on FARA before Mueller, that’s why. see the article i have posted by Ken Silverstein

        the point is this is a witch hunt.

        Why stop at Israelis and Saudis? Who are the agents of the Crown? There is lot of incestuous back and forth with the British intelligence and military, how are Americans to know who is truly on our side or not?

        FARA as legislation has a lot of problems with it. Who knows there may be a constitutional challenge coming to it at some point.

        one side gig that may be getting a lot of new business for Beltway lawyers, is handling new FARA registrations. I would not know, I am firmly ensconsced in flyover land. Such things are beyond my ken.

        here is a white paper on it.

      2. Tom Nash – I got a notification that you had sent one or more msgs to my FB acct. I am not longer active on FB. If you want to contact me we can set up a different method. 😉

        1. PC Schulte,
          Thanks, Paul. I have your contact info “buried” in an old email, which I think I can find.
          I’ll let you know with an email to your account when I find it.
          I think I still have a Facebook account, but I haven’t logged into it in months, maybe years.

      3. FARA is both stupid and probably unconstitutional.

        Almost no one has ever made any serious attempt to enforce it for decades.
        That is a pretty good sign that it is bad law.

        When it suddenly is used, and only in a particularly way – that is a sign of corruption.

        If you are going to “enforce” FARA – then do so universally with little discretion, until you have arrested nearly all the political class in the country or repealed a bad law.

  7. On April 10 of last year, according to Meadows’ letter, Strzok texted Page from his government-issued phone: “I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go.”

    Then, two days later, he sent Page another text telling her that two new articles were coming about about former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, whom Strzok referred to as her “namesake.”

    “Well done, Page,” Strzok wrote to Lisa Page.

    On April 11 of that year, between the two text messages from Strzok to Page, The Washington Post broke a story with the headline, “FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page.”

    Is there any doubt our government agencies abuse their power with little recourse for defendants? Why is the FBI/DOJ permitted to make public statements and defendants are not? Maybe the defendants are very bad people and the case against them is weak, that is certainly not a valid basis to weaponize the media against them without them being able to respond in kind.

    1. Assuming momentarily that your source of the quotes are accurately recounting actual transmissions, you are conflating prior knowledge of impending newspaper stories with some sort of causative involvement with the impending newspaper stories. False. There are a myriad of scenarios where these two purported individuals would have prior knowledge of an impending news story without having any involvement with same. So sorry for you loss. Maybe hannity has further “evidence” for you.

      this is to “I didn’t even think the check the washington post” olly

      1. Prior knowledge of an impending newspaper story demonstrates involvement with the story.
        That is not a conflation.
        What is not known – but given the stories themselves can reasonably be inferred is the extent of that involvement.

        I would further note that a “media leak strategy” is CAUSATIVE – or at the very least is it a deliberate attempt to place specific stories,
        Success being controlled by the media.

        There are not myriads of innocent scenarious were two individuals would innocently discuss a media leak strategy.

        I would further note that Neither party was of sufficient authority to authorize a communications with the media.
        Therefore either they were in violation of DOJ/FBI rules or there is something much larger than Strzok/Page.

        Either is a problem.

      2. II have no idea what Hannity might be saying about this. But your response is plain nonsense.

        Read what was ACTUALLY said.

        Absolutely there are hypothetical scenarious in which foreknowledge does not mean involvement.
        None of those are consistent with what Strzok texted to Page.

        Hannity did not write the texts, Trump did not write the texts.

        Strzok wrote the text to page – both government employees involved in these investigations.
        Neither with the independent authority to release anything to the press,
        Further Strzok was not texting about foreknowledge of a story.
        He was texting about PLANTING alot of stories.

        What do you think a “leak strategy” is ?

        Again no one on the right put words into Strzok’s mouth.
        He wrote what he wrote freely. We can presume that he meant what he said.

        Further this text does not “stand alone” but in the context of myriads of other texts between Strzok and page.
        The IG has already found that Strzok and Page’s conduct was inapprporiate and that they were obviously politically biased.

        The fundimental question from this particular text is:

        Was Strzok acting alone (or with Page) – which would be a serious violation of DOJ/FBI rules.
        Or was Strzok acting within the direction of others – which in conjuction with Pages other texts indicates a much larger problem.

        1. You are just plain flat out wrong. The fact that you do not know that you are wrong does not make you right. The phrase “media leak strategy” specifically refers to the investigation of unauthorized leaks to the media. In this case, the investigation of James Wolfe, who has already been arrested for the leak at issue in the text messages between Strzok and Page that Mark Meadows is raising such a risible ruckus over. What’s worse is that Meadows already knows exactly what the phrase “media leak strategy” means and that Strzok and Page were investigating Wolfe for the leaks at issue. Meadows technique is remarkably similar to Russia’s technique vis-à-vis Sergei Magnitsky and Bill Browder. So once again the question becomes coincidence or koinkydinky?

          1. But wait, there’s more. We know what the phrase “media leak strategy” means because Page and Strzok used the same phrase in text messages to refer to the investigation and arrest of Reality Winner as well as every other leak investigation they were involved in.

            But it gets even better than that: After Jerrold Nadler and Elijah Cummings released a response noting some of Meadows’ errors, he fixed just one of the errors in his letter, admitting that the “well done, Page” language was actually from an April 22nd, 2017 text that reads, “article is out! Well done, Page,” and which obviously refers to an NYT article about James Comey that was not even an unauthorized leak let alone the disclosure of anything classified.

            Now why would Meadows change the date from April 22nd, 2017 to April 10th, 2017? Did Meadows do so knowingly, willfully? Or was Meadows just confused the way Ninny Na-Na Nunes gets confused sometimes?

            1. Neither Nadler nor cummings are credible or ever have been – about anything.

              I am surprised that they have participated enough in any of this to be aware of any texts.

              Page used the acronym “ML” to refer to the winner arrest.
              She did not refer to it as “Media Leak Strategy”
              and the implication from her text was she was unhappy about the arrest – not involved in it.

            2. Why would meadows change the date ?

              For the same reason that you have gotten the date wrong.

              A mistake, they happen.
              Given the multiple sources that one has to use to peice together all of what iis publicly available of Page/Strzok’s texts – what is in Horriwitz’s report – which also confirms extensive media leaking BY the FBI, as well as those obtained by Judicial Watch, and those obtained by the house, and the differences iin redactions between them, minor errors are nevitable.

          2. L4D you are following too much “fake news”

            Aside from the fact that you have to butcher the phrase “mediia leak strategy” to get iit to mean what you want – as well as entirely removing it from the context of the rest of the text,
            You run into trouble because there is more than one text, more are coming out all the time, and your convoluted word mangling is not holding up.

            As I noted in a prior post – it was a common FBI tactic to leak to the media as a means to pushing and investigation.

            Either agents seeking to push higher ups to act by subjecting them to hostile press of agents seeking to provoke targets into bad conduct by leakiing false or misleading information to the press. As noted this is not some issue unique to Strzok. It is part of the culture of corruption at the FBI.

            Regardless, the Wolfe investigatiion did not start until Strzok was transfered to HR.

          3. BTW if the texts are purportedly about catching leakers – not actually leaking then why is Strzok celebratorialy notifying page that two stories about her “namesake” are about to come out ?

            Just to be clear – iit is already established that the FBI leaked to the media.
            At the bare minimum we know that McCabe leaked atleast one story to the media.
            I would note that some of the texts related to the “media leak strategy” reference McCabe.

            Do you really think that the string of “fake news” and misrepresentatiive stories over the past two years is all the work of James Wolfe ?

            II would also note that the April 11, 2017 WaPo story contained information about the Carter Page Warrant that Wolfe would not have known at that time.

            1. Preposterous. Meadows change the date on the email from April 22nd to April 10th for the express purpose of falsely implicating the WaPo story published on April 11th.

              1. You know this – because you are a mouse inside of Meadows head ?

                Typical left wing nut. Whether it is Strzok or Meadows, or, …. you should be very carefull about speculating on other peoples motives.

                If I engaged in the sort of speculation that you do regarding those on the right routinely – they would be locking me up.

                As an example – I do not know why Strzok and Page did or wrote what they wrote – but I know what they did and wrote and that is what I judge.

                From what I have been able to tell Strzok and Pages used MLS only ONCE. But they did refer to Media Leaks in several texts.

                In many of those it is clear that it is about prosecuting them – BTW those do not tend to be enthusiastic posts.
                It is pretty clear that they are not happy about investigating and prosecuting leaks.

                In some of those the most natural reading is that they are discussing DOJ/FBI actually leaking
                In one Text Page appears to be upset about specific DOJ leaks, but it seems clear it is not leaking she is upset about but the specific reckless leaking at that moment.

                The MLS sequence is celebratory. It requires incredible linguistiic contortions to conclude they are happy because they are prosecuting the WaPo leak.
                The timing does nto work, and as best as I can tell neither were actually involved in leak prosecutions.

                They appear to be happy because the leak came out, and because it is consistent with a strategy and not the reckless leaking they complain about in other texts.

                You can read things differently from that – but you have to work hard to do so. It is not an natural read, and iit is not consistent with the time line.

                II do not thiink even Trump was talking about prosecuting the WaPo leak the day after the story.

              2. Like a typical left wing nut you seem to always know WHY others do what they do.
                Not to mention that you are assuming that Meadows did something.

      3. Mark M:

        stop fabricating quotes. you’re not cute and not funny. you are a slanderer and a defamer.

        do you withdraw your fabricated quote that I do not respect the rule of law? do you withdraw your malicious and false statement that I ‘watch hannity and bag his balls?”

        You alone out of every regular poster here should be banned for persistent fabrications and actionable defamatory comments against other users.

    2. Chief Olly, they already arrested James Wolfe for that leak. And even more to the point, Strzok and Page were the ones investigating Wolfe. Mark Meadows may very well end up become an even bigger nincompoop than Ninny-Na-Na Nunes. Stayed tuned for more details on that last one.

      1. Bzzt, wrong.

        Page left, and Strzok was transfered to HR long before the investigation of Wolfe.

        Wolfe appears to be responsible for a large number of sensitive and classified leaks.
        Strzok iis self admittedly responsible for many sensitive and classified leaks.

        I would be shocked if there is not some overlap.

        Regardless, A leaking strategy is NOT a leak, it is a conspiracy to leak.
        Further revelations indicated that Strzok was coordinating with McCabe and others in the FBI/DOJ.

        I would note that Steele was fired for leaking.
        I would further note that the leaks in question and the time frames have possible connections to the press stories that were used to validate the Steele dossier.
        While we already know that Steele hiimself was a source for those stories. We do not know that he was the only source.

        We do however know that it was misconduct to use storiies that were based ont he Steele Dossier to buttress the steele dossier.
        That miisconduct becomes worse if the FBIII separately was a source for the stories.

        And we also know – from other investigations that have nothing to do with Trump that it is common practice in the FBIII to leak to the press as a means of pushing a criminal investigation. It would be surprising of Strzok was NOt doing that. The fact that it was commonplace does not alter the fact that it is criminal.

  8. False assumptions.

    The prosecutor is bound to the requirements for justice.

    The communication of the prosecutor with the press or public should ALWAYS be severely constrained.
    The prosecutors oportunity to make their case is in court.

    The defense counsel is representing their client NOT justice.
    That is a much broader mandate. Further the defendant is an individual – they have rights, the prosecutor represents government – there are no rights at issue.

    In this instance the prosecution apparently knowingly publicly created a false impression about the defendant.
    Outside the context of litigation – that would be defamation. The judge had an obligation to sanction the prosecution.

    We continually mistake criminal proceedings for adversarial conflicts. They are not. The prosecutors duty is to justice, when winning overshadows truth the prosecutor is acting immorally – and possibly criminally.

    Next Turley is incorrect regarding bail. The argument that the defendant could flee is ALWAYS true. The right to bail is enshrined in the eighth amendment.
    The prosecutor or judges fears of what might be theoretically possible are irrelevant.
    Is there actual evidence that the defendant sought to flee ? Absent that they are constitutionally entitled to bail.

    Overall the entire prosecution is ludicrous. We are jailing Butrina for a crime that is rarely if ever prosecuted, would ordinarily be unlikely to result in jail, and that is dubiously constitutional.

    We are seeing with much of the nonsense that is being argued regarding the 2016 election that our laws have in numerous instances criminalized persuasion.
    That is clearly an affront to the first amendment.

    While the purported facts the left has claimed regarding the election are themselves highly dubious.

    At the same time – even if true they do not reflect conduct that we should or can control.

    Efforts to persuade are NOT force. The entire process of an election is about the efforts of candidates, their surrogates, their party, interested individuals and groups to persuade voters to vote in a particular way. It is both unreasonable and impossible to dictate that only certain means of persuasion are permitted or that only certain people are permitted to engage in persuasion. At the very least dictating that one party or another may not engage in persuasion is a violation of the first amendment. Further experience informs us that attempts to control persuasion must fail.

    As alleged we are to determine whether Butrina was a college student engaged in efforts at political persuasion or an agent of a foreign government – engaged in efforts at political persuasion.

    Absence evidence of the use of force or bribery this case never should have been brought.

    This is also stupid because however we deal with Butrina we can expect our own citizens – and even agents to be treated elsewhere.

    If Butrina is convicted – Putina will be justified in jailing those who oppose him in Russia – all he need do is assert that they are acting as foreign agents.

    Free speach requiires allowing those that you least belive should be allowed to speak to do so. Otherwise you will find yourself being unable to speak.

    1. You argue that efforts to persuade are not criminal, but Butina (no “r”) was an agent of a foreign government. What “right” does a foreign government have to attempt to “persuade” Americans on how to vote, by hacking social media, and, most importantly, NOT identifying themselves by their true identity? Face it, Fatso cheated, and was helped by Russians, and that’s illegal.

      1. Ha, you say it’s illegal!

        Actually foreign governments have a right of free speech here. they can say what they like at cocktail parties and on tv and they do it all the time

        they can buy advertising too. just like corporations.

        They can broadcast their opinions– like RT, Russia Tv does, which is NO different than BBC in respect of this topic.

        they can make donations kind of like all that money the the Saudis gave clinton foundation– and they can lobby.

        Ever heard of AIPAC? are they violating FARA?

        Before you call me an antisemite for asking, here is the Jewish Forward saying so:

        I am having a hard time understanding, given the wide scope of free speech that applies to foreign governments, precisely what the provable illegal conduct was at the base of all this?

        1. Natasha and her brain dead ilk, and many GOP types for that matter, praise the USA for putting bullets in the head of our perceived foreign leader adversaries, and for HRC hiring alleged “Islamic moderates” (as if such exist) to anal rape and behead legally installed heads of state like Gadaffi, while crying murder for Putin spending $50k on FB ads.

          Pure, utter hypocrisy.

          To Natasha, Trump’s evil and deceitful fatness forced the Electoral College to elect Trump over Hillary.

          Hey Natasha, does Trump’s being fat make it easier to digest that he has personally and single handedly changed American juris prudence for an entire generation, by installing soon his 2nd SCOTUS nominee? I hope not. Hey, did you hear that Ginsberg is pulling the plug soon? I hope Trump nominates a 30 something next time.

          Just keep repeating this mantra: “It’s all OK because Trump is fat. It’s all OK because Trump is fat….etc………..”

          1. Nothing about Trump is OK, and it’s not because he’s fat, either. I only mention his gross obesity because he refers to women he doesn’t like as “fat pigs”, and claims he’s a “very stable genius” in “astonishingly excellent health”, neither of which is true. His actual weight has been misrepresented, but, according to Trump, don’t believe your lyin’ eyes.

            Trump is unfit to be POTUS because: 1. He only wanted the position for the power and prestige; sadly, he’s learning that prestige must be earned and power can be throttled back, even from within his own Administration. People in his administration don’t trust him and are afraid because of his erratic and impulsive behavior; 2. He’s no patriot; in fact, he has a 5th or 6th grader’s understanding of how the US government works; 3. He is a misogynist; 4. He is a racist; 5. He is a serial cheater on his various wives, all 3 of them, so far, and he even brags about it, so he’s no role model, either; 6. He is a chronic, habitual liar; 7. He is a malignant narcissist. Everything he does is calculated for attention and praise because he is insecure, shallow and can’t concentrate long enough to even read a simple document.

            Trump never “singlehandedly” did anything in his life, except maybe to masturbate, grab womens’ genitals or shove Big Macs into his pie hole. He knows nothing about the judicial appointments he’s made, except that doing so would win the support of people. including donors and members of Congress he needs to avoid impeachment. Kavanaugh is also a liar and manipulator of facts. He was added to the Federalist Society’s list of approved judges after Mueller’s investigation heated up because of his position that a sitting President can’t be compelled to answer to a subpoena or be criminally prosecuted.

            1. All of your reasons Trump is unfit to be president:

              Are reasons not to vote for him
              Are things that voters knew and they voted for him anyway.

              None are requirements that exist in the constitution.

              You are free to vote against him in 2020 – I would guess you already have and did not get the outcome you hoped for.
              Your odds of doing better in 2020 are small.

              You can attempt to impeach him – that did not work so well for Republicans with Bill Clinton,
              who actually lied under oath, actually abused power using Arkansas state police to cover up.
              Actually sexually assualted women and probably raped atleast one.

              Whatever Trump’s offenses they do not reach Clinton’s.

              BTW No one “single handedly” does anything in this life.

              Regardless, Trump has a long list of accomplishments.

              I have no idea what Trump knows of his judicial appointments.
              No one knows what is in the mind of another.

              What I do know is that with few exceptions they are among the best of any president in atleast 50 years.
              Nor am I alone in that oppinion – in fact many many libertarians like myself who voted against Trump are very pleasantly surprised by his judicial nominees.
              We might manage to get the rule of law back and recover some tiny portions of the constitution.

              Are these nominees perfect ? No! But as I said – they are the best I have seen in my lifetime.

              There is no “federalist society list”. Trump has offered a list that he prepared with the advice of many including some from the federalist society.

              Are you going to try to paint a bunch of libertarians as uber conservative authoritarian tyrants ?

              I do not know how I feel about Kavanaugh, and likely will not until he starts to write opinions.
              But I am cautiously optomistic. Outside of national security issues where he – like virtually all judges is far to deferential to the government, he has a pretty consistent record of favoring individual rights, and limiting government – atleast for a federal court judge.

              The legal position that a sitting president can not be indicted dates back to BEFORE watergate.
              Kavanaugh is not old enough to have originated it.

              1. Most Americans who voted in 2016 did NOT vote for Trump. That is a fact. The Constitution is not the be all, do all and end all when it comes to expectations of the American people for qualities we expect from our President. We Americans expect our POTUS to be a principled person who understands and respects our system of government and who doesn’t think the DOJ and FBI exist to help them avoid criminal prosecution. We also expect our President not to be a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, or a narcissist. Trump fails all of these expectations. Poll after poll consistently show that more than 50% of Americans do not like Trump and do not approve of the job he’s done so far. He takes credit for things like the economy, which began its recovery under Barak Obama. He has appointed agency heads whose values and goals are the antithesis of the agencies they head, like the DOE and EPA, for instance. Rolling back regulations will result in environmental pollution, eliminating consumer protections and they’re trying to take away health care for millions of Americans and to privatize Medicare, all of which will literally cause people to die. The tax cuts primarily benefit the ultra-wealthy, not regular people. The only reason most Republicans don’t go after him on the record is that they are beholden to wealthy donors who don’t want to pay their fair share of the tax burden and who don’t want regulations to protect the environment and consumers because compliance cuts into their profits. What are Trump’s “accomplishments” anyway? Did I list any of them?

                Isn’t it amazing just how many people who have worked with Trump say the same negative things over and over again about him? Omarosa, Bob Woodward, Wolff, and Brennan, just for starters.

                1. Most Americans who voted in 2016 did NOT vote for Trump.

                  Most didn’t vote for Hillary either.

                  Given that in this forum you’ve proven incapable of anything other than shewish outbursts, it must be quite trying for the people who have to deal with you in meatspace.

                2. If you do not like the way elections are conducted – change the constitution.
                  It has been done 27 times so far.

                  The constitution is the defined powers and limits on the federal government, it dictates the means by which we elect people to various federal offices.

                  It is the “be all, do all, end all” in regard to the powers of the federal government.
                  Absolutely the american people are free to change it. As noted they have done so 27 times.
                  If you do not like it – change it. that is what our founders did, and it is what every prior generation did when they found the constitution lacking.

                  I would further note that with respect to the excercise of the powers of the federal government as president there is a near infinite distance between the consent necescary to reduce the federal governments infringements on individual liberty and that necescary to expand it.

                  There is no requirement – moral, ethical, constitutional, legal or otherwise for anyone’s consent to increase individual liberty.
                  To infringe on a persons liberty you either need unanimous consent – if “all minus one agree” that is insuffiicient, or you need to be able to justify your action.
                  The requiirements for an act of government – for a new law to be just are not the whim of the left or of congress, They are that the action secures rights rather than infringes on them.

                  Trump has for the most part engaged in undoing the unconstitutional actions of his predecessor as well as increasing liberty.
                  There is no requirement that he have a mandate for that, much less unanimous consent.

                  Further – you do not speak for the american people – you speak for yourself – just as I speak for me.
                  You got your oportunity to vote in Nov. 2016 as did I. Neither your prefered candidate nor mine won – that happens alot, get over it.
                  Trump was elected in accordance with the constitutional requirements for the election.

                  I expect alot of qualities from a president that I have never gotten.

                  Absolutely. I expect my president to be principled – can you name a president that was ? I can’t. I can not name a credible presidential candidate I think was principled.

                  “You can’t always get what your want, but if you try, sometimes, you get what you need”.

                  Thus far it is self evident that Trump respects our system of government more than his predecessor.
                  Trump has been acting consistent with the constitution.
                  Pres. Obama during his tenure set an unlikely to ever be matched record of unanimous supreme court decisions against him.
                  I repeat UNANIMOUS. Arguiing that he respected our system of government is lunacy.

                  Thus far while complaining with idiotic lower court decisions by mostly constitutional cretins appointed by Obama, Trump has ultimately prevailed in all cases of his that have made it to the supreme court.

                  It sounds to me like your argument that Trump does not respect our system is really an argument that you do not like what he has done.
                  That is not the same. Regardless, it is not that widely shared.

                  The DOJ/FBI do not exist to help Trump avoid criminal prosecution.

                  Do you have a specific crime to allege and actual evidence that he has committed that crime ?
                  I have not seen any such crime or evidence yet.

                  What I have seen iis the prior president using the FBI/DOJ to pursue political investigations without any evidence.
                  What I have seen is Pres. Obama getting away with the stuff of Richard Nixon’s wet dreams.

                  The FBI/DOJ are NOT political weapons for the party in power.

                  You got to convert your views on whether Trump is a racist, mysoginist, xenophobe or narcisist on Nov. 2016 – clearly the american people did NOT agree with you.

                  Trump fails your expectations – honestly he fails mine – as has every other president in my lifetime.
                  You are not entitled to a president that meets your expectations. That is inherently impossible.

                  At this point in his presidency Trump’s approval is with 2pct of Pres. Obama’s at the same point – where it has been since the inauguration.

                  I am not prepared to declare economic victory YET. There were periods during Obama’s presidency that came close to what we are seeing with the economy right now.

                  That said claiming Trump is taking credit for the accomplishments of Obama is just assinine stupidity.
                  Pres. Obama had 8 years to bring about economic revovery. Growth during those 8 years averaged 1.8% – the weakest recovery since …. The great depression – the last time a quasi socialist tried to fix an economic downturn. Get a clue. The left is WRONG about economics.

                  If we are in the midst of a strong recovery – the credit inarguably goes to Trump.
                  It is early to declare that we are in a strong recovery – though it appears we are.

                  Further actually bother to look at the facts, growth in 2016 was BELOW 2% and declining. Pres. Obama left Donald Trump no economic presents.

                  Absolutely Trump has appointed people to head various federal agencies that offend you.
                  Whoopy ding. Pres. Obama appointed people who offended me.

                  There is plenty of evidence that regulation is completely ineffective at accomplishing the purposes that it is drafted for, and damaging to standard of living at the same time.

                  I would suggest looking into Maslow’s heirachy of needs. As our standard of living rises – our wants and desires increase – they climb the pyramid.

                  Starving people do not give a damn about clean air or water, or CO2 or whatever.

                  All improvements in the human condition have occured AFTER humans increased their standard of living sufficiently to be able to afford them.
                  Government and regulation has never had anything to do with it.
                  Regulation or not – when people actually want something – and they can afford it, it happens.

                  The quality of our environment – outside of a WWII and immediately after has been improving for centuries, and will continue to do so – even if government does nothing.

                  And no none of this is going to “litterally” cause people to die.

                  PPACA had absolutely ZERO effect on life expectance or mortality in the US.
                  In point of fact, in study after study over DECADES, insurance in general has ZERO impact on health outcomes in the US.

                  This should not surprise anyone with a brian – insurance, ALL insurance is about protecting MONEY.
                  Does fire insurance stop fires ? Does auto insurance stop automobile accidents ?
                  Why would you expect health insurance to be different ?

                  The reasons that Republicans do not go after Trump – iis because is approval rating among republicans is sky high – just as his approval rating among left wing nuts is in the toilet.
                  Get a clue. Trump is extremely popular among most republicans.
                  But how would you know – I doubt you ever leave your bubble.

                  No one is “taking away” anyones healthcare or anything else.
                  You are just batshit crazy. First – if government failing to do something can result in your losing something – it NEVER was yours n the first place.

                  Free speach is a right, your free speech imposes no obligation on others.
                  Food is not a right, nor is healthcare.

                  Regardless, at sometime – soon, the federal government is going to have to deal witht eh fact that medicare and Social Security are unsustainable.
                  That will be painful – whether republicans do it or democrats do it.

                  We will be better off if we act NOW rather than later.

                  We are in this position because left wing nuts such as yourself have been LYING to people for decades.
                  The lies are no longer sustainable.

                  ObamaCare was absolutely lunacy. Instead of trying to fix the problem, you actually made it worse.
                  The failure falls on you and all those who supported that idiocy.

                  I really do not care what people say – not Trump, not woodward, not the media, not Clinton, not Obama.

                  I care what they do.

                  I do not pay much attention to the latest purportedly outrageous Trump tweet of the day.

                  I am watching as our economy – particularly small businesses, which have always lead recovery and which were in the dump through the entirety of Obama’s presidency start to recover. I am watching as the stall in regulation results in rising standards of living.

                  I am watching as not only is unemployment continuing to decline – but labor force participatiion is rising again – which it has not done in 8 years.

                  I am watching as ISIS is nearly gone.
                  I am watching as we are increasingly uninvolved in the mess that is the mideast – and would be even more so had Trump listened to himself instead of “the generals”,
                  Trump is accomplishing things that left wing nuts have claimed they wanted.

                  I am watching as after 8 years working class wages are starting to rise again.

                  I am watching as consumer confidence hits levels it has not been at in many decades.

                  These are things that matter.

                  1. i think that Meuller is run amuck. but I do not know of the evidence that Obama is behind it. Why not Hillary who was the one who lost and has her own perpetual Clinton clique active at every level of fedgov for 20 plus years?

                    or the usual suspects in the Deep State like that obnoxious Phil Mudd a former cia spook who is often on CNN calling for insurrection. I doubt Obama gives Phil Mudd a script to read from. Likely Phil Mudd has other taskmasters.

                  2. Wow, dhlii, that was a great response to her vomitous crap. If she can’t learn from that very clear explanation of the facts on the ground, I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t bother to try anymore, as she is obviously very content in her own despair.

                  3. the shorter path to changing it is to win election and stuff the court with your guys who then change the interpretation of it. thats what FDR did and that’s what the Dems did other times and that’s what they always want to do.

                    most of all now, with the second amendment, which they hate. US v Heller is a lot more on their minds than Roe I promise you that. No matter what they say.

                    Men don’t care too much about abortion either way, but man for man, men generally want to be able to own guns even if they dont have one.

                    I hear there are men that don’t want that right but they have been drinking too many soy milkshakes and probably aren’t vigorous enough to make a difference.

                    1. Generally aside from a few completely inalienable rights – and maybe not even those, you can actively consent to infringement of any of your rights.

                      We do so all the time – though typically in voluntary governance – such as jobs, churches, unions community groups.
                      In those instances we also have the ability to revoke our consent and end the infringement with little or no exit costs.

                      Government is not consensual, and can not morally, validly or legitimately infringe on our rights at whim.
                      Law must be consensual or it must meet other requirements otherwise it may not legitimately be imposed by force.

                      Unless you are prepared to assert that genocide and slavery are moral, valid and legitimate, you agree with what I have said.
                      The only discussion that remains is what constitutes the criteria that distiinguish between law that is moral, valid, legitimate – and that which is not.

                      I am not asking at this moment for your precise agreement on those condictions. Just the recognition that such conditions must exist.

                      In fact we need not ever agree precisely on those conditions. But I think we can agree that when law departs too far from those conditions – whatever they may be
                      it loses the presumption that it can be imposed by force, It loses legitimacy. We generally acknowledge genocide and slavery as wrong, and laws that impose them as invalid.

                      On another context here we are debating Butina and FARA. I would suggest that FARA is wrong – and that one of the critieria is because it does not work.
                      We are prosecuting Butina for activities agents of our government have done in other countries, For activities that US citizens have done iin other countries, for activitiies that various citizens have done in their own countries.

                      FARA has almost never been enforced – because we have a sense that it is bad law.
                      Now as Mueller is trying to do so – iit is pretty obvious that Mueller is empowering despots across the world – that pretty much the definition of law that does not work.

                      BTW much of the law the left seeks to impose – fails the “works” test.

              2. Kavanaugh is an appeals judge. He has written a lot of opinions already, there is no need for him to “start.” Go look em up if you want.

                1. One must take care when weighing the opinions of lower court judges. They remain constrained to the constitutional views of the supreme court – at least the better ones do.

                  I am BTW familiar with many of Kavanaugh’s positions – and mostly encouraged. But I will reserve judgement on Kavanaugh the Supreme court justice until I have the oppinions of Kavanaugh the supreme court justice.

                  He would not be the first justice to diverge significantly from his prior record.

            2. your sexual thoughts and remarks about Trump are too extensive. i do not share such interests. please confine remarks to things which are relevant

            3. Natacha – 1. Shame on you for “fat shaming”!!!! 2. He wanted to be President because Obama insulted him. 3. He has accomplished more in 18 months than Obama did in 8 years. 4. There has never been any proof that he was ever a racist. 5. As a serial cheater, I do not think he has caught up to either Jack or Jackie Kennedy. 6. He is not the one who gave a speech the other day using I or me 132 times, that would be Obama. If Trump is a malignant narcissist, just what the hell is Obama? 7. He has a business model where other people do things like read contracts, etc and he signs them. 8. Assuming for the sake of argument that he bonked Stormy Daniels, he seems to have done that by himself. BTW, what does a community organizer by himself or “singlehandedly” as you put it. 9. He appears to have a disease that qualifies under the ADA, as such, you are making fun of him for his disability. How typically liberal of you. When I was teaching, the teachers (generally) who could not understand “invisible” disabilities were the most liberal.

      2. Axios seemed to have the lowest number of excuses for Hillary’s defeat; I think they counted 15 or so “reasons” that Hillary herself gave as the cause of Trump’s win.
        Some counts have the 2016 “loss
        excuses” over 50….not all necessarily Hilllary’s, but stooges for Hillary like Natacha who parade lame excuses without evidence.
        I would sometimes play doubles in tennis with a partner ( and friend) who would almost automatically (and jokingly) whine “dirty cheat”, instead of saying “nice shot” when the other side hit a clear winner.
        It was a running joke that anyone we’d likely face in doubles knew about, so it was always taken as a joke by the opponents.
        I hadn’t thought about him and his “dirty cheat/ sour grapes” joke for years, but for some reason 😉 I’ve been reminded of him since November 2016.

      3. Do you know what an inalienable right is ?

        It is one that you can not be deprived of.

        The very legitimacy of government depends on the protection of rights, not infringement of them.

        Further Maria Butina is a “US person” and as such entitled to the protection of her rights by the US government.

        We MIGHT be free to remove her from the country.
        But so long as we allow her to remain, she has the same rights as all others that are here.
        And the same obligation to obey our LEGITMATE laws.
        Put simply – the social contract applies to her.

        Thus far the DOJ has failed to make the case that she is a foreign agent, rather than merely a foreigner expressing political opinions.

        But even if DOJ succeeded – so what ?
        What is the difference ?

        Are you saying that you are free to limit a persons rights – because you do not like how they excercise them ?

        Or are you saying that you can limit someones rights – because they excercise them in concert with others ?
        Wouldn’t that make unions illegal ?

        Or are you saying that you may not excercise your rights as you please – because you have accepted payment ?
        Wouldn’t that make the media illegal ?

        If Butina is in the US, if she is not using actual force and not violating those legitimate US laws that are their to protect our rights rather than infringe on them,
        then what justification do you or our government have for limiting her excercise of those rights ?

        Next, why are you so stupid as to give the Russians and every other oppressive regime in the world carte blanche to do to US citizens and their own disidents what you wish to do to Butina – merely because you are angry that you lost an election and need someone to blame ?

        You bemoan Putin – yet you empower him.

        His purpose was never to elect Clinton, but to disrupt our elections – to get our people to question the legitimacy of our own elections – because if we do not trust our own elections we can not legitimately challenge Russia’s.

        But you have gone further. You are justifying every political arrest that Putin or any other tyrant engages in.
        If you are free to silence and Jail Butina – than why can’t Putin or Erodegan, or name that tyrant do the same in their country ?

        It is trivial to blame foreigners, or foreign influence – tyranical regimes accross the world do it all the time.
        Why do you seek to join them and legitimize them ?

        Finally – even if there were some legitimate argument that you can silence foreign voices in US elections,
        That has not been possible for several decades and been difficult for centuries.

        It is extremely unwise to pass and attempt to enforce laws that in reality are unenforceable.

        Lets say that instead of the piddling efforts of the Russian’s in 2016, that Russia actually spent $1T on speech in a US election.
        What are you going to do about it ? Are you going to go to war ? Are you going to shutdown the internet ?

        1. i agree that all the demonizing of Putin empowers him. Moreover, Meuller “Russian collusion” witch hunt does what a little bit of Russian Facebook advertising or personal lobbying by the likes of Butina, could not: make our electoral system look very, very bad and almost illegitimate.

          The apparent reluctance of anti-Trump forces to accept the lawful electoral outcome, and allow Trump to govern, is a form of bad sportsmanship that might just make the average Russian say, autocracy is a more stable and efficient form of government. I often wonder that myself! If I did not know how corrupt autocratic regimes tend to become– here again China is a stellar example— but for that knowledge, I might be tempted to take that view.

          So in this way I feel that Meuller’s persecutions have played into Putin’s hand, at least in terms of where he stands vis a vis his own “electorate” such as they are.

          1. We are in substanative agreement – though I would go farther.

            The entire Trump Russia garbage has empowered despots throughout the world.
            It has enabled them to more effectively target our countries politiical efforts elsewhere,
            as well as making americans abroad at greater risk. It has legitiimized the concept of “interfeing” with elections merely by advocacy,
            which legitimiizes an abusive regiimes persecution of its own people and its enemiies.

            Further the attacks on Trump legitimize despots to criminalize the conduct of their opponents – as if they did not already do that.

            But more importantly it has signifiicantly weakened our voice in the world against despots and tyrants and in defence of free political expression everywhere in the world.

            The left can not grasp that its actions have consequences.

            You can not argue for political freedom iin the rest of the world and then claim to be entitled to supress voices you do not like in our country.

            1. in theory that is true, but, i think in practice it has never really bothered America to hook up with despots abroad when it suited American interests.

              that certainly continued under Obama, in spite of his lofty rhetoric, as we watched the post “Arab spring” Egyptian elections get nullifed when they elected a Muslim brotherhood guy, and then a newer military junta locked him up. America ratified and approved of that anti-democratic coup. As an American, I have no problem with it, but let us see it for what it was.

              The term “Deep State” is even more clearly in play in Egypt. It was a term applied a lot to the Turkish secular state, but Erdogan, who has support among the religious, seems to have defanged the resistance.

              The notion of an American “Deep State” resisting Trump is not fanciful. But America has more genuine elections at least compared to these other places.

              So a lot of this comes down to Midterms. A strong electorate that turns out in favor of Republicans will be seen as a caution to the “Resistance” but an outcome which would appear to strongly favor democrats will embolden it. Surely both sides will spin and claim vindication but majorities of elected representatives one way or another will count as much come the end of this year as it has ever counted in all of American history.

              It’s actually an anxious prospect in either direction. This is not a peaceful time and remember that the previous Civil War was not only between states but regions which were dominated by one major party or the other. It is not outside possibility that factional conflict could deepen and cause difficulties not seen in our lifetimes.

              1. The propensity for the US government to support oppressive foreign regimes – regardless of which party was in power is an independent issue.
                Again one in which we are in agreement.

                It is at best remotely connected with our government doing stupid things in the US that empowers foreign despots to silence both US citizens and their own people when they speak out politically.

                The concept of genuine elections and “the deep state” are also independent.

                At the very least we have a president who has promised to “drain the swamp” who has a track record of keeping promises.
                It is entirely reasonable to expect that the “swamp” would fight back.

                The rule of law does not devolve to elections.

                Popular soverignity was well understood as a route to despotism by our founders – and myriads of others from that time.

                More is required for law to be binding that the momentary whim of a majority

  9. Then, as in this case, they seek gag orders when defendants actually respond publicly. As in this case, there is no sanction for those prosecutors responsible for such attacks.

    Well, abolish absolute immunity for judges and prosecutors, and have them face justice in front of tribunals dominated by laymen. The lawyers you put on such tribunals should be about 80 years old and retired.

    1. Throughout our system today we have failed to heed James Madison’s assertion that democratic process alone is NOT sufficient basis to ensure the integrity of government.

      Men are not angels, and our government is made of men. Men who are driven by the same motives as those who commit crimes.
      Government exists to provide oversight so that the ambitions of private people do not violate the rights of others.

      Who oversees our government to assure that the ambitions of public servants to not violate our rights ?

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  10. A gag order (also known as a gagging order or suppression order) is an order, typically a legal order by a court or government, restricting information or comment from being made public or passed onto any unauthorized third party.

    The occasionally competing First Amendment and fair-trial interests have to be weighed against one other when it comes to gag orders. Balancing the considerations requires conducting a fact-specific inquiry, depending on the exact gag order—what it’s protecting, who it restricts, and what the realities of the trial are.

    1. A gag order applied to someone who is NOT an agent of the government is a violation of the first amendment.

      You do not surrender constitutional rights by being accused of a crime or by representing someone accused of a crime.

      1. So, we’re going to try our cases in the media, then? A gag order is temporary, employed to assure a fair trial for everyone involved. Without such orders, a pool of jurors would have their views tainted by whatever news media they follow.

        1. the government and more importantly the partisans of the mass media, assisting the government, will definitely run their mouths off about cases., so what you say is an ideal but it is as much breached in practice by one side as the other.

          today you defend the judge, but if it was some favorite of your own, you might see it otherwise

        2. The defendant can say whatever they please to anyone who will listen – and that includes the media.

          That is precisely what the right to free speech means.

          The prosecutor represents the government – the government has powers not rights.
          The government is not free to interfere with the rights of others.
          The prosecutor iis limited in what they can say publicly.

          The first amendment has no provision for “temporary” violations of an inalienable right.

          BTW the right to a jury trial belongs to the DEFENDANT.
          The defendant is free to try to “taint” the jury.

          The right to a fair trial belongs to the DEFENDANT

          Individuals have rights – even when accused of crimes.

      2. oh like it or not, lawyers most definitely DO surrender first amendment freedoms, though many people don’t know this including lawyers, and a lot more than even those who are aware may realize. there is an ugly line of cases that would make you blush. dont get me started

        1. Bzzt, wrong.

          The authority of the judge regarding the speech of a defense lawyer and more importantly their client ENDS at the courtroom door.

          It may not be wise to piss off a judge. But it is not legal.

          You can counter that judges can – and quite often do issue unconstitutional orders.

          That does not change a whit that they are unconstiitutional.

          You have a choice between the rule of law which REQUIRES the government and the courts to protect our iinalienable rights such as speach – or lawlessness.

          If you wish to argue that courts and judges are often lawless bulliies – that I can agree with.

          1. I know a lot about the topic Dhilli. Trust me I am right. I am not handing out my CV or name on the internet but yeah I know a lot about this.

            A presiding judge can certainly censure a lawyer for what he says outside of court, it happens all the time in many different ways.

            there are principles about free speech but they are all vindicated in courts. and courts are controlled by judges. they have inherent powers of arrest, incarceratoin, and to impose fines. and only other judges can gainsay them.

            this is the true independence of the judiciary– here, it’s a powerful thing with big muscles some of which are rarely flexed.

            understand too, that lawyers are the slave servants of judges. judges rule them like feudal fiefs. in a lot of ways.

            then there are the ethics cops. These are administered by state judges, mostly.
            A lawyer may speak wrongly and end up losing license. Happens plenty.
            They can also impose fines on lawyers and jail lawyers for contempt. happens and it will happen again.

            Trust me if you are a lawyer then you have lost first amendment freedoms that other folks still have. Mostly lawyers don’t whine about this because it’s too complicated and people don’t like us much anyways.

            There are a lot of law review articles and cases proving it. Send me money and I will brief it for you. otherwise, you only get the conclusion for free not the details.

            That is not to say the system such as it is, is perfect, or does not need adjustment, i am just saying what it is.

            1. I am sure that you do know alot about the topic – and you are likely right about what judges get away with.

              There is pretty much no means in existence for oversight of the judiciary – it would be surprising absent oversite to get good conduct.

              You can not sue a judge – even if they quite clearly abridge your rights.

              Obviously that means that a “presiding judge” can do whatever they please.

              Long ago the dictates of judges during the course of legal proceedings lost any connection to what they are legitimately empowered to do.

              All that said a judges legitimate power over those in court is quite limited – even if you or they believe otherwise.

              There is no provision in the constitution for a temporary judicial override of inalienable rights – and in the event their actually were, that would delegitimize the constitution itself.

              The use of force AKA government, is only legitimate when it is justified.
              We do not get to make up what constitutes justification.

              The use of force is justified when it protects our inalienable rights – not when it infringes on them.

              The authority of government to use force against us, against our will, requires that use of force is legitimate – justified.

  11. So foreign espionage in the US is illegal but US espionage around the world is fine. That position lacks logic, fairness, and integrity. Spying is either ethical or it isn’t.

    1. “Gentleman don’t read each other’s mail.” Has turned into three falsehoods. They aren’t Gentleman, They do read and then selectively let others read, and sometimes they fabricate the mail of others and pay for it by falsifying the use of government funds…..and so do their women.

    2. Is Butrina charged with espionage ?

      All I have heard is that she openly engaged in efforts at political persuasion.



    Judge Chutkan then blasted Butina’s attorney for giving interviews opining on his client’s innocence and publicly characterizing evidence. The exchanges, the judge noted, violated court rules that bar attorneys from making public statements that could prejudice potential jurors.

    “You’re going all over the networks giving explanations for the evidence in this case,” Chutkan said icily to Butina attorney Robert N. Driscoll. “I don’t think you’re going to be a witness in this case.”

    The judge noted that Driscoll named a potential witness, discussed financial transactions between Butina and alleged associates, described government surveillance, falsely claimed that the government made a concession when it had not, and purported to speak for Butina in public, potentially biasing jurors without opportunity for cross-examination.

    Chutkan went on to quote what she called “very inflammatory” language from defense filings that accused prosecutors of “desperation,” “cowardice” and “a craven willingness” to mislead that was “frankly shocking.”

    “I’m not sure if the language is designed to affect my deliberation, but it is quite colorful,” the judge said.

    Edited from: “Judge Orders Accused Russian Agent Maria Butina To Remain In Jail”


    1. If every claim the judge made were true – it would all still be “free speach”.

      Far too many seem to think that defendants (and their counsel) lose all their rights by virtue of being accused.

      The wishes and rules of the court do NOT trump the constitution.

      Only the prosecution has a duty to try the case only in court.

      1. Courts have the right, and duty, to take reasonable measures to ensure a fair trial to both sides of a controversy, including, if necessary, sequestering jurors, ordering them, under the penalty of contempt of Court, not to read newspapers, and also gagging litigants and witnesses from trying their cases in the media. Without this power, there could be no fair trials.

        1. Bzzt, wrong.

          Courts – like ALL government have no rights. They have powers.

          Their “duty” is to uphold the constitution.

          The constitution and bill of rights impose a number of specific duties on the government regarding the prosecution of criminal defendants.

          There are no specific duties it imposes on the courts regarding the prosecution.

          “Fair” does not appear in the constitution and to my knowledge anywhere in our law. It is an undefinable concept.

          Criminal defendants are entitled to the protection of their rights. Justice consists of due process respecting the rights of the defendants.
          Where there is doubt – the rights of the defendant must prevail.

          There is no right to a “fair trial” as we do not agree on what that is.
          There are such things as the right to a presumption of innocence, to procedural due process, to confront your accuser, to a jury of your peers, to be free from warrantless searches and seizures. To reasonable bail.

          The courts powers are only legitimate if they protect these rights.

          You do not get to make things up as you go along.

          There is no constitutional prohibition restricting a defendant in a criminal case from speaking publicly to the press.
          The right to a jury trial is a right of the defendant. The right to sequester the jury – is actually a right of the defendant.

          It is irrelevant whether you think judges need certain powers to acheive YOUR idea of a fair trial.

          Judges are obligated to uphold the constitution.
          If their actions are not in upholding provisions of the constitution – protecting our rights – they are illegitimate.

          Like all left wing nuts you wish to create principles, values, etc. from thin air.

          It is because too many judges think as you do that we have such a mess.

          The results of that mess is the abrigement of our rights.
          I hope that you never are iin a position to discover how preciious they are and how you and your ilk have let go of them so lightly.

        2. Natacha – we know the DOJ has been poisoning the jury pool, why doesn’t the defense have the same right?

        3. Prospective jurors would have already read the libel in the newspapers, and are therefore tainted. Gagging the defense prevents him from trying to clean this taint.

          In effect, it is the government who is fraudulently trying this case in the media, using either false information or deliberate lies.

          Imagine if you were in her shoes, the government said terrible, and untrue, things about you, and the judge gagged you from refuting them. What would your silence on the matter tell the public about the veracity of the claims?

    2. prior restraint, never applies to newspaper publisher printing classified materials, only people accused of crimes!

    3. oh those article 3 judges. they are great at protecting the prerogatives of the crown

      how dare a defense lawyer bring a zealous defense!

      in the mind of prosecutors, the main role of defense counsel is to try and force reluctant people accused of crimes to cop a plea for half time off, regardless of the merits.

        1. The place for a Zealous defense is wherever the defendant and defense counsel think it is.

          The mere acusation of a crime – if false is defamation.
          The processes of countering defamatory claims begins the moment they are made,
          and is a right of the person defamed and a duty of the defense counsel.

          A criminal defendant faces not only a judge and jury but even if acquitted the stain on their reputation.
          The process of mitigating that begins on accusation – not acquital.

          A criminal defendant – exactly like anyone else who is defamed is free to counter those claims publicly any time they wish.

  13. Turley asserts with no proof that the government was chastised for a baseless claim whereas the part of the transcript I’m familiar with shows the judge severely criticizing the defense for providing a video of the “loving couple” lip-synching as proof of their true love. The judge was at least partially upset at the video being provided at the last second, requiring her to change her schedule to view it. She gave it no credence. If Turley is going to claim the government’s charge was baseless, he ought to document it.

  14. Shouldn’t gag orders violate some Constitutional Amendment or something? Asking for a friend.

    1. Of course it does.

      But then the entire process of criminal prosecutions in the US today is a gigantic violation of the constitution.

      If the court errs on a matter of law – it is the obligation of the defense to object.
      If it fails to do so – the error is attributed to the defense attorney.

      Throughout a criminal prosecution the burden of ensuring that the government has played by the rules – lies with the defense,
      and should prosecutors of the courts fail to follow the law they will not be held accountable.

    2. basically, newspapers can say whatever they want about a case, including lies, but if a defendant says too much to defend themselves publically, that’s ok for a gag order

      in theory lawyers arent supposed to about pending cases but a lot of lawyers do., not just prosecutors who get in trouble for that regularly, but defendants who are supposed to make their case in court.

      but everything is tried in the media now, so it makes people feel really unfair when the internet is full of lies against them and they are supposed to stay mum

      often the social punishment dished out on the internet is worse than whatever the police pass down.

      the excesses of the “free press’ especially when acting covertly with government agents, are reprehensible.

      1. You have an odd notion of the rights of a defendant – that is excusable because as you note elsewhere there is a long string of caselaw foreclosing the rights of defendants.

        But you do not seem to grasp that when government fails to protect our inalienable rights – it is lawless and illegitimate.

        The very existance of government – to use force, rests on the premise that it does so to protect our inalienable rights – not to infringe on them.

        The rule of law is more (or actually less) than the pronouncements of legislatures and courts.

        While it certainly does not exist when the courts follow their whim rather than the law.
        We are no less lawless when our courts, legislature, government act without justification – without legitimacy.
        Act for their own purposes rather than to protect our inalienable rights.

        Any argument otherwise – justifies the Nazi’s or Stalin or any other tyranical regime that acting withing the laws of its own making.

      2. Mr. Kurtz;

        It is likely that you and share the same low opinion of much of the press.

        Where we differ is that you seem to presume that your dim view of the press justifies government action to reign them in.

        That is not how rights work.

        Rights precede government.
        The purpose of government is to secure our inalienable rights, not to infringe on them.

        The excercise of a right – by definition may offend some – even most.

        Being permitted to do what the majority (or any others) deems acceptable – is pretty much the opposite of rights.

        A right is what you are free to do – even if it offends everyone.

        The media today – seriously offends me.
        I am free to:
        Turn them off
        Tune them out
        Speak out against there errors (or anything I want).

        I am not free to use force to shut them down.

        Further the problems that the freedom of the media miight cause for the courts do not justiify the courts curtailing anyone’s rights, not the media, not the defendant, not their attorney.
        Doing so is a violation of the social contract that is the foundation for the legitimacy of government.

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