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Jewish Tyranny At Supreme Court Real Jew News Bait and switch: Definition of bait and switch 1 : a sales tactic in which a customer is attracted by the advertisement of a low-priced item but is then encouraged to buy a higher-priced one 2 : the ploy of offering a person something desirable to gain favor (such as political support) then thwarting expectations with something less desirable Build that Wall. “As opposed to you saying, ‘We will not pay,’ and me saying, ‘We will not pay.’ After reading the intelligence community report on Russian activities in the 2016 election, it would be a good idea to look back at the events that played out during that period as we witnessed them in real time prior to our knowledge about the extent of Russian interference that has now been revealed by unanimous concurrence of the intelligence community. We should both say, ‘We will work it out.’ It will work out in the formula somehow,” Trump said according to transcripts obtained by the Washington Post. It got to the point where on one of the earlier calls of his presidency, Trump urged Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to stop saying that Mexico will not pay for the wall. He’s talking about the American People spending BILLION to build a wall that he told you “Mexico is going to pay for. Believe me” Mexican lawmakers have said it many times — they are not paying for the wall. This story has obviously taken on global implications for the basic fact of the status of the United States on the global stage. It’s become clear that the US election has become tainted by outside interference from a belligerent state. 7 edition of the Times of India published this article: Donald Trump trashes US intelligence report, says hacking had ‘no effect’ on election WASHINGTON: The US intelligence community told President-elect Donald Trump to his face, and subsequently disclosed to the American public, that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a persistent cyber-attack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and engineered his (Trump’s) election to the White House. The extraordinary and unanimous intelligence conclusion, which undermines the Trump presidency even before he has been sworn in, was delivered to him at a two-hour briefing at Trump Tower in New York on Friday. Shortly thereafter, a declassified version of the report was released to the public, some 60 million of who voted for Trump as President. The report was blunt and uninhibited, almost to the point of telling Trump he is a tainted “Siberian candidate” redolent of the infamous Manchurian candidate. “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” it said. Trump, who has repeatedly praised Putin, trashed the American intelligence community, and expressed skepticism about their work and conclusions, issued a statement saying he had a ”constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the Intelligence Community,” and while he has “tremendous respect” for their work and service, “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines.” ( make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US intelligence community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.) But he also promised some action to combat cyber-attacks in a nod at the broader threat. “Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks. I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm,” he said. But in an assertion that he will not be derailed by the intelligence report, he maintained, “Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America’s safety and security will be my number one priority.” The jousting between the incoming President and the intelligence community, which does not itself have an unblemished or unsullied reputation given its record of interference in democratic processes worldwide, is unprecedented in American history. Already, there are signs of fissures at the top level of the incoming administration, with former CIA Director James Woolsey disassociating himself from the Trump transition team (where he was a senior advisor) amid pledges by Trump’s National Security nominee Maj Gen Michael Flynn that he would revamp the spy agency. Among the more striking aspects of the Intel report was the unanimity in America’s spookdom about Russian interference and the fact that it was directed from the very top viz., at the instance of President Putin, who has a mutually antagonistic relationship with Hillary Clinton. ”We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence,” the report said. 17 of 2015, ABC News reported this: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump seems to have a new fan in his corner –- Vladimir Putin — and the real estate mogul thinks it was a “great honor” to get compliments from the Russian leader. Speaking to ABC News earlier today, the Russian leader said Trump is “a very colorful person. “But it’s not our affair to determine his worthiness – that’s up to the United States,” Putin added. “But he is absolutely the leader in the presidential race. He wants to move to a different level of relations, to more solid, deeper relations with Russia and how can Russia not welcome that – we welcome that.” Trump tells ABC News in a statement that “it is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.” “I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect,” Trump’s statement continued. On the campaign trail, Trump has often said he thinks he could have a good relationship with the Russian leader. He has also called Putin his “stable mate” since both were featured on the same episode of a recent edition of CBS’ “60 Minutes.” On Sept 8 of 2016, Trump said this as reported by the BBC. Trump says Putin ‘a leader far more than our president’ Donald Trump has showered Vladimir Putin with praise as he and rival Hillary Clinton took pointed questions from military veterans. The Republican presidential nominee told the forum the Russian president “has been a leader far more than our president [Obama] has been”. It came on the same day the chief of the Pentagon accused Russia of sowing the seeds of global instability. Clinton, meanwhile, defended her judgment despite her email scandal. The White House candidates appeared back to back on stage in half-hour segments at the Intrepid Air and Sea Museum in New York on Wednesday night. Quizzed by NBC host Matt Lauer on his previous complimentary remarks about Mr Putin, Mr Trump responded: “He does have an 82% approval rating.” ( Mr Trump also predicted that if elected in November, “I think that I’ll be able to get along with him.” The property magnate recently drew sharp criticism when he urged Russia to dig up the emails that Mrs Clinton deleted from her email server. According to the Intelligence Assessment: “Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.  We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. CIA and FBI have high confidence in this judgment; NSA has moderate confidence. Moscow’s approach evolved over the course of the campaign based on Russia’s understanding of the electoral prospects of the two main candidates. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign began to focus more on undermining her future presidency. Under the section of the report titled: Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election Putin Ordered Campaign To Influence US Election We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him. We assess Putin, his advisers, and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump over Secretary Clinton. Beginning in June, Putin’s public comments about the US presidential race avoided directly praising President-elect Trump, probably because Kremlin officials thought that any praise from Putin personally would backfire in the United States. (Obviously, one of the candidates getting praise from the Russian leader would backfire and turn the public against that candidate. Praising Clinton wouldn’t have worked since Clinton had a long history of harsh and critical statements aimed at Putin. Trump on the other hand would be very receptive to flattering statements from anybody, even Putin. However, the public would become skeptical so Putin avoided any overt statements of praise for Trump.) Nonetheless, Putin publicly indicated a preference for President-elect Trump’s stated policy to work with Russia, and pro-Kremlin figures spoke highly about what they saw as his Russia-friendly positions on Syria and Ukraine. Putin publicly contrasted the President-elect’s approach to Russia with Secretary Clinton’s “aggressive rhetoric.” Moscow also saw the election of President-elect Trump as a way to achieve an international counterterrorism coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Putin has had many positive experiences working with Western political leaders whose business interests made them more disposed to deal with Russia, such as former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The report goes on to say; “We assess the influence campaign aspired to help President-elect Trump’s chances of victory when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to the President-elect. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the presidency the Russian influence campaign focused more on undercutting Secretary Clinton’s legitimacy and crippling her presidency from its start, including by impugning the fairness of the election. “ This coincided with Trumps non-stop declarations that the election was “rigged”. True Jersey As Trump talked of rigged election, Putin plotted to tarnish Clinton win. WASHINGTON — While Donald Trump warned of a rigged election, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign focused on “impugning the fairness” of an election that Hillary Clinton seemed likely to win, according to a declassified intelligence report of foreign interference in the U. The report by the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency said part of the Russian effort involved challenging the legitimacy of a possible Clinton victory. That’s the same message Trump delivered in the closing weeks of the campaign, when he said “this whole election is being rigged” and refused to pledge to support Clinton if she won. Donald Trump Speech 10/14/16: Greensboro, North Carolina Donald Trump said the accusations of sexual harassment leveled against him are part of an effort to rig the election. These lies spread by the media without witnesses, without backup or anything else, are poisoning the minds of the electorate.” Trump has issued earlier warnings that that election would be rigged against him, and has defended voter identification laws that federal courts have said prevent blacks and other minorities from casting ballots. They never would happen.” Trump repeated his allegations that Clinton met privately with international bankers, a charge that the Anti-Defamation League said has been used as anti-Semitic trope. “The process is rigged,” Trump told a cheering crowd Friday in Greensboro, N. “I’ve been saying this for a long time: The whole thing is one big fix,” Trump said in Greensboro. It’s one big fix.” “The stories are total fiction,” Trump said Friday. “Behind closed doors, speaking to these international bankers, Hillary Clinton is pledging to destroy the sovereignty of the United States,” Trump said. He also repeated the charges made in his announcement speech that Mexican immigrants were bringing drugs across the border. “Right now, we’re a one-way highway into Mexico,” Trump said. “They get the jobs, they get the factories, the cash. We get the illegal immigration and we get drugs.” Before the election, Russian diplomats had publicly denounced the US electoral process and were prepared to publicly call into question the validity of the results. Pro-Kremlin bloggers had prepared a Twitter campaign, #Democracy RIP, on election night in anticipation of Secretary Clinton’s victory, judging from their social media activity. The Kremlin’s campaign aimed at the US election featured disclosures of data obtained through Russian cyber operations; intrusions into US state and local electoral boards; and overt propaganda. Russian intelligence collection both informed and enabled the influence campaign. Cyber Espionage Against US Political Organizations. Russia’s intelligence services conducted cyber operations against targets associated with the 2016 US presidential election, including targets associated with both major US political parties. “We assess Russian intelligence services collected against the US primary campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups they viewed as likely to shape future US policies. In July 2015, Russian intelligence gained access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks and maintained that access until at least June 2016.” The General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) probably began cyber operations aimed at the US election by March 2016. We assess that the GRU operations resulted in the compromise of the personal e-mail accounts of Democratic Party officials and political figures. By May, the GRU had exfiltrated large volumes of data from the DNC. We assess with high confidence that the GRU used the Guccifer 2.0 persona, DCLeaks.com, and Wiki Leaks to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets. Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be an independent Romanian hacker, made multiple contradictory statements and false claims about his likely Russian identity throughout the election. Press reporting suggests more than one person claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 interacted with journalists. Content that we assess was taken from e-mail accounts targeted by the GRU in March 2016 appeared on starting in June. We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to Wiki Leaks. Moscow most likely chose Wiki Leaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity. Disclosures through Wiki Leaks did not contain any evident forgeries. In early September, Putin said publicly it was important the DNC data was exposed to Wiki Leaks, calling the search for the source of the leaks a distraction and denying Russian “state-level” involvement. Sept 2, 2016 Vladivostok (Russia) (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday denied Moscow was behind an email hack that embarrassed White House hopeful Hillary Clinton but said it was important the information got into the public domain. “I don’t know anything about it, and on a state level Russia has never done this,” Putin told Bloomberg News in an interview aired Friday. Hacked emails leaked by Wiki Leaks in July revealed that party leaders had sought to undermine the primary campaign of Clinton’s rival Bernie Sanders and US officials said Russia was behind the release. Putin slammed the accusations as attempts to “distract the public’s attention from the essence of the problem by raising some minor issues connected with the search for who did it.” “The important thing is the content that was given to the public,” he said. (,) Clinton’s rival Donald Trump has made no secret of his admiration for Putin, leading some to conjecture the Kremlin strongman was working to put the real estate billionaire in the White House. The report goes on: “The Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) has actively collaborated with Wiki Leaks. RT’s editor-in-chief visited Wiki Leaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August 2013, where they discussed renewing his broadcast contract with RT, according to Russian and Western media. Russian media subsequently announced that RT had become “the only Russian media company” to partner with Wiki Leaks and had received access to “new leaks of secret information.” RT routinely gives Assange sympathetic coverage and provides him a platform to denounce the United States. These election-related disclosures reflect a pattern of Russian intelligence using hacked information in targeted influence efforts against targets such as Olympic athletes and other foreign governments. Such efforts have included releasing or altering personal data, defacing websites, or releasing emails. Russia collected on some Republican-affiliated targets but did not conduct a comparable disclosure campaign. (They aren’t likely to conduct a comparable disclosure campaign against the very people that they want to see elected. However, it should be alarming that a similar campaign of destruction could be aimed at Republicans including Trump himself, just as easily in order to sway those officials to being more receptive to and doing the bidding of Russian policies.) Russian Cyber Intrusions Into State and Local Electoral Boards. Russian intelligence accessed elements of multiple state or local electoral boards. Since early 2014, Russian intelligence has researched US electoral processes and related technology and equipment. DHS assesses that the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying. (There has never been any suggestion that the voting machines themselves were hacked. Trump issues false statements all the time, but this one is particularly egregious. For Trump to make the statement that the voting machines were not tampered with is a Red Herring argument. Trump stated this in a Tweet on Jan 7 Trump is deliberately lying here. The Intelligence never stated that there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. They said this: “We did NOT make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US intelligence community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.) His comment that Voting machines not touched, is a Red Herring argument. A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim. The basic idea is to “win” an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is actually not relevant to topic A). Starting in March 2016, Russian Government– linked actors began openly supporting President-elect Trump’s candidacy in media. This sort of “reasoning” has the following form: 1. CNN: Russian State TV is backing Trump Russian state television appears to have thrown its support behind Donald Trump, hailing him as an anti-establishment candidate willing to cooperate with Moscow. Source: CNN BBC: US election 2016: Russian state TV backs ‘anti-establishment’ Trump A top presenter on Russian state TV has come out firmly in favour of Donald Trump in his bid to become US president, hailing him as an “anti-establishment” candidate who is ready to co-operate with Moscow. Russian state TV has regularly shown sympathy towards Mr Trump, especially after his apparently complimentary remarks about President Vladimir Putin. But it is only in the last week or so that it has started to unequivocally praise him. Fronting his two-and-half hour news review on official channel Rossiya 1 on 13 March, Dmitri Kiselyov hit out strongly at what he saw as a conspiracy by the US political elite to stymie Mr Trump’s White House ambitions. () He said Mr Trump was an “anti-establishment” candidate, who stood apart from the hierarchy of the Republican Party in wanting to forge good relations with Putin. “This is why Mr Trump is not wanted and is even seen as harmful,” he said. Dmitri Kiselyov is a key figure in the Kremlin’s media operation. As well as presenting a flagship current affairs show on state TV, he is the head of the government-funded international news agency Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today). He is also known for his outspoken attacks on the US. On more than one occasion, he has boasted of Russia’s ability to reduce it to “radioactive ash”. That’s a weakness in his personality and it’s easy to exploit for a former head of the KGB) Russian state TV is often scathing about attempts by wealthy businessmen to carve out political careers for themselves. Rising Star A week earlier, Mr Kiselyov had praised the “anti-establishment” Trump in even more glowing terms as the “rising star” of US politics. But the Russian TV anchor appeared to see a virtue in Mr Trump’s vast personal fortune. ( what this man doesn’t know is that Trump exploited his workers and contractors by not paying them what they were owed. ( this plays right into what Putin knows about Trump. ( what they see is somebody who’s weak ego can be exploited by the former head of KGB) “In his own words, he is the only one of the contenders to have hired people with his own money. Small businesses that contracted with Trump were ruined because of his refusal to pay them what they were owed. He also hired undocumented workers from Poland that he could pay less. ) Mr Kiselyov’s praise of Mr Trump has skirted around his more controversial views, such as his proposed ban on Muslims entering the US and his plans for building a wall along the border with Mexico. ( Trumps Muslim ban is a direct violation of the First Amendment to our constitution, and his “Great Wall” will NOT be paid for by Mexico. They might actually have something to say about that. He intends to get congress to pay for it and then tells us that we’ll be reimbursed by Mexico. ) But the New York businessman also has a strong following among extreme Russian nationalists, such as Alexander Dugin, who have links with anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant parties in Europe. In a video posted on You Tube after Super Tuesday, Mr Dugin gave a ringing endorsement of the US property billionaire in his broken English, declaring “In Trump we trust”. He was also perhaps more explicit than Dmitri Kiselyov in identifying why Moscow might be favouring Trump’s candidacy. “Trump is the voice of real right-wing America which, in fact, doesn’t care about foreign policy and American hegemony,” he said. In the course of the video, Alexander Dugin also poured scorn on Mr Trump’s Republican rivals and critics. He used a homophobic slur to attack Florida senator Marco Rubio and labelled Senator John Mc Cain, a notable Putin critic, as “insane” and “disabled”. Trump’s attempts to expand his business and his brand there date back decades, and this history casts a shadow over his pro-Russian foreign policy. ( just the kind of guy Trump would love ) Bloomberg reports this: Trump’s Long Romance With Russia March 15, 2016 AM EDT By Josh Rogin When Donald Trump talks about his desire to have good relations between the U. As a presidential candidate, he courts Putin’s favor, extending the charm offensive intended to build the Trump real-estate empire. “Wouldn’t it be nice if actually we could get along with Russia? ” Trump asked at a recent Republican presidential debate. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have exchanged praise and Trump said he “would probably get along with him very well.” Trump’s attraction to Russia seems to be mutual. There is a Russian-language website that collects Trump news and offers sales of Trump books and products. There’s even a Trump 2016 Russian language mock campaign site. What Trump rarely talks about is his decades-long effort to do business in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia. S.-Russian relations are potentially very lucrative for the Trump Organization. The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment. In the 1980s, Trump was often seen on news shows offering his services to negotiate with the Soviets. “Why don’t you negotiate the SALT talks for Reagan, Donald? ” a man on the street once yelled at Trump, according to a 1990 profile of Donald and Ivana Trump in Vanity Fair. “It’s a totally interesting place,” Trump said at the time. In 1987, Trump traveled to Moscow and Leningrad to discuss building hotels there. “I think the Soviet Union is really making an effort to cooperate in the sense of dealing openly with other nations and in opening up the country.” In a 1997 New Yorker profile, Trump talked about his trips to Russia to explore having the Trump Organization take part in skyscraper and hotel development projects in Moscow, including the reconstruction of the Moskva and Rossiya Hotels. “That’s a very big project; I think it’s the largest hotel in the world,” Trump told Russian politician Alexander Ivanovich Lebed at the time. “And we’re working with the local government, the mayor of Moscow and the mayor’s people. So far, they’ve been very responsive.” Lebed, a former Russian presidential candidate, was eager to help Trump get established in the Russian market. “If Trump goes to Moscow, I think America will follow,” he told Trump. Trump traveled to Russia in the 1990s with developer Howard Lorber, whom Trump recently told the New York Times was one of his best friends. Lorber has “major investments” in Russia, according to Trump. Negotiations over the two hotels eventually fizzled, but in 2008 the Trump Organization was at it again, announcing it planned to build elite residences and hotels in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi, and license the Trump brand for other projects. Donald Trump Jr., the candidate’s son, made the announcement in a speech at the 2008 “Real Estate in Russia” conference. The younger Trump made over half a dozen trips to Russia on behalf of the Trump Organization in the two years during which the U. real estate market was collapsing during the Great Recession. “The emerging world in general attributes such brand premium to real estate that we are looking all over the place, primarily Russia,” Trump Jr. He said that while Russia was on the Trump Organization’s “A-list” of emerging markets for investment, doing business there carried risks due to corruption and “because it is a question of who knows who, whose brother is paying off who, etc.” Trump Sr.’s interest in Russian real estate development escalated in 2013. He met with Russian partners including developer Aras Agalarov to discuss building a replica of his So Ho residential development project in Moscow. Trump’s other partner in the So Ho deal was Alex Sapir, son of Georgian billionaire Tamir Sapir, a well-connected real estate developer in Russia. “The Russian market is attracted to me,” Trump told Real Estate Weekly. “I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.” That was also the year that Trump brought his Miss Universe pageant to Moscow. Trump invited Putin to the event, although the Russian President ultimately didn’t attend. The event was held at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow, which Agalarov owns. “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend? While he was in Moscow for the pageant, Trump announced that he was planning to build a skyscraper in Moscow. He gave no details and there’s been no news about the project since. to leave Syria and “let Russia fight ISIS.” He believes the U. shouldn’t lead the international effort to help Ukraine fight Russian intervention. states hold their contests to nominate Republican and Democratic candidates for the White House, saw the frontrunners on each side underline their credentials for the nomination. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out victorious on the Democrats’ side. During this presidential campaign Trump has repeatedly espoused positions that are closer to Moscow’s policies than his rivals’ are. He said that there isn’t enough evidence to prove Russia is to blame for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Before he was a presidential candidate, Trump’s hunger to be popular in Russia was less troubling. At minimum, there is the appearance of wrongdoing: The candidate’s foreign-policy positions are conveniently aligned with his long-standing business agenda. Why Russia sympathizes with Trump: Super Tuesday in the Russian press March 3, 2016 Anna Sorokina, RBTH Following big wins for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the contests for the Republican and Democratic nominations for the U. presidency on Super Tuesday, Russian media offered their interpretations of the leading candidates’ credentials. Donald Trump won seven of the 11 states, which strengthens his potential to become a Republican candidate for the White House. Despite the general opinion that Russians support Trump, the mass media gives diverse evaluations of the presidential candidates. But what’s good for the Trump Organization isn’t necessarily good for America. Gambling on the populist Out of the two favorites for the primaries – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – Moscow knows Clinton very well, but sympathizes with Trump, writes the RBK newspaper. Once, when speaking with journalists, President Vladimir Putin referred to Trump as a “talented person.” “It is not our business to evaluate his merits, this is for the American voters. Russian officials have been following the unfolding U. But he is the absolute leader in the presidential race,” said Putin. “Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have their pluses and minuses concerning relations with Russia,” said parliamentarian Vasily Likhachev, Russia’s former permanent ambassador to the EU.” Trump is more active and wiser in playing the Russian card, and it’s interesting that his positions and views are supported by the electorate. “He says that he wants to switch to another level of relations with Russia, a more compact, deeper level. Clinton knows a lot about Russia but she has a big problem: She is prone to occasional anti-Russian and Russophobic sentiments, which she has had since she was first lady,” explained Likhachev. In his opinion, Trump has more potential for creating positive dialogue with Moscow, but Russia should prepare itself for all possibilities. At the end of 2015, after Putin made his compliment, Trump responded that for him it was a great honor to receive praise from “such a highly esteemed person, in Russia and elsewhere.” On Feb. 27, Reuters said that Trump’s advisor on Russia was Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who supports closer cooperation between Moscow and Washington. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has often been critical of Russia. Last year during an event at the Brookings Center she expressed her conviction that efforts must be made to steepen the cost of Russia’s policy on Ukraine for Putin. “I belong to the category of people who want America to do more as a response to the annexation of Crimea and the continuing destabilization of Ukraine,” said Clinton back then. The BBC: Donald Trump blasts ‘fools’ who oppose good Russian ties US President-elect Donald Trump has posted a series of tweets condemning those who oppose good relations with Russia as “‘stupid’ people, or fools”. Mr Trump vowed to work with Russia “to solve some of the many… ” His comments came after an intelligence report said Russia’s president had tried to aid a Trump election victory. Mr Trump said Democrats were to blame for “gross negligence” in allowing their servers to be hacked. In a series of tweets on Saturday, Mr Trump said that having a good relationship with Russia was “no bad thing” and that “only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad! ” He added that Russia would respect the US more when he was president. Mr Trump said frequently during his election campaign that he wanted to improve ties with Russia. He has also repeatedly questioned US intelligence claims of Russian hacking in the election campaign. Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday: “Only reason the hacking of the poorly defended DNC is discussed is that the loss by the Dems was so big that they are totally embarrassed! ” () He was referring to the Democratic National Committee, whose email accounts were hacked during the election campaign. Key findings from the report Hacking into the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and top Democrats Using intermediaries such as Wiki Leaks, and Guccifer 2.0 persona to release the information acquired from the hackings Using state-funded propaganda and paying social media users or “trolls” to make nasty comments After being briefed by intelligence chiefs on the report on Friday, the president-elect declined to mention Russia, but did say he had “tremendous respect for the work and service done” by those in the US intelligence community. He also insisted the election outcome was not affected. In the wake of the report, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that voting machines and other election databases would be classified as “critical infrastructure” and given more protection from cyber-attacks. The unclassified part of the report says that the Kremlin developed a “clear preference” for Mr Trump. ) In the wake of the report, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that voting machines and other election databases would be classified as “critical infrastructure” and given more protection from cyber-attacks. Russia’s goals, the document added, were to “undermine public faith” in the US democratic process and “denigrate” his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton, harming her electability and potential presidency. “We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” it said. It gives no detailed evidence of Mr Putin’s alleged role. ( right, however it’s ludicrous to think that anything of this magnitude would be taken on without the knowledge of the Head of state himself. If the campaign to disrupt the US Election were done without Putin’s knowledge, that would suggest that he could be caught in an international conflict with the US without knowing the details of such a mission. Heads would roll in Russia if he were put to that kind of embarrassing situation by a few zealous underlings. Nobody would take that kind of risk without Putin’s approval) The report says Mr Putin liked Mr Trump because he had vowed to work with Moscow and the Russian leader had had “many positive experiences working with Western political leaders whose business interests made them more disposed to deal with Russia, such as former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder”. Mr Putin has called Mr Trump “a clever man” who should “quickly understand” his role. ( that will always get Trumps attention and Putin knows it) Russia has not commented on the report but has previously denied the claims about influencing the election. Last week, President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US over the alleged hacking. The Report Continues: Starting in March 2016, Russian Government– linked actors began openly supporting President-elect Trump’s candidacy in media aimed at English-speaking audiences. RT and Sputnik—another government-funded outlet producing pro-Kremlin radio and online content in a variety of languages for international audiences—consistently cast President-elect Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional US media outlets that they claimed were subservient to a corrupt political establishment. Russian media hailed President-elect Trump’s victory as a vindication of Putin’s advocacy of global populist movements—the theme of Putin’s annual conference for Western academics in October 2016—and the latest example of Western liberalism’s collapse. ( Trumps special advisor, Steve Bannon, is an advocate of Nationalist populism as CEO of Trumps National Security advisor, Gen Mike Flynn has close ties to Putin and wants to restructure our intelligence services and reduce their effectiveness to provide the President with the intelligence needed to keep America safe.) Putin’s chief propagandist Dmitriy Kiselev used his flagship weekly newsmagazine program this fall to cast President-elect Trump as an outsider victimized by a corrupt political establishment and faulty democratic election process that aimed to prevent his election because of his desire to work with Moscow. Pro-Kremlin proxy Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, leader of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, proclaimed just before the election that if President-elect Trump won, Russia would “drink champagne” in anticipation of being able to advance its positions on Syria and Ukraine. RT’s coverage of Secretary Clinton throughout the US presidential campaign was consistently negative and focused on her leaked e-mails and accused her of corruption, poor physical and mental health, and ties to Islamic extremism. Some Russian officials echoed Russian lines for the influence campaign that Secretary Clinton’s election could lead to a war between the United States and Russia. 21, the NY Post ran this: Hillary is dealing with mounting health issues, new book claims “Hillary Clinton faces “mounting health issues” — and she’s secretly worried that she’s too sick to run for president, according to a new book. In August, Kremlin-linked political analysts suggested avenging negative Western reports on Putin by airing segments devoted to Secretary Clinton’s alleged health problems. The 67-year-old Democratic front-runner has been “frequently plagued” by “blinding headaches” and a series of strokes over the course of the campaign which have left her second-guessing her chances of winning in 2016, says the upcoming book “Unlikeable — The Problem with Hillary.” Excerpts were published Tuesday by Radar Online. “For the first time I’ve known her, she’s showing self-doubt about her strength and vitality,” a friend of Clinton’s told author Edward Klein, who has written about the Obamas and Kennedys in the past. …that’s not revealed) The presidential candidate has also been battling bouts of insomnia that have ultimately “worried her, because it sapped her energy just when she needed it most for the campaign,” Klein writes.” She is exhausted and depressed a lot of the time,” a friend is quoted as saying, adding that Clinton even tried taking sleeping pills to combat the problem, but to no avail. “She said they made her less sharp the next day,” the friend explained. In late 2012, Clinton suffered from a life-threatening blood clot on her brain that left her “constantly worried” she would develop another one, according to Klein. Clinton has insisted she’s in good health and released a letter from her doctor over the summer attesting to her fitness. Lisa Bardack of Mount Kisco, NY, outlined Clinton’s medical history, which included her treatment for a brain concussion, an analysis of blood clots affecting her legs and brain on separate occasions, an underactive thyroid gland examination, and a complete family history of heart disease. Her findings showed that Clinton’s electrocardiogram and her blood lipids were reported as normal, and her cancer screening tests — including mammography, breast ultrasound, colonoscopy and gynecological examination — were also normal. But Klein says the former first lady is keeping her medical ailments under wraps. “There were incidents on the campaign trail when she felt faint and nearly swooned,” he claimed. “Those incidents were kept secret.” To summarize: “In August, Kremlin-linked political analysts suggested avenging negative Western reports on Putin by airing segments devoted to Secretary Clinton’s alleged health problems.” One month later, on Sept. 21st, the NY Post ran this: “Hillary is dealing with mounting health issues, new book claims” On 6 August, RT published an English language video called “Julian Assange Special: Do Wiki Leaks Have the E-mail That’ll Put Clinton in Prison? ” and an exclusive interview with Assange entitled “Clinton and ISIS Funded by the Same Money.” RT’s most popular video on Secretary Clinton, “How 100% of the Clintons’ ‘Charity’ Went to…Themselves,” had more than 9 million views on social media platforms. RT’s most popular English language video about the President-elect, called “Trump Will Not Be Permitted To Win,” featured Assange and had 2.2 million views. For more on Russia’s past media efforts— including portraying the 2012 US electoral process as undemocratic—please see Annex A: Russia—Kremlin’s TV Seeks To Influence Politics, Fuel Discontent in US. Russia used trolls as well as RT as part of its influence efforts to denigrate Secretary Clinton. This effort amplified stories on scandals about Secretary Clinton and the role of Wiki Leaks in the election campaign. The likely financier of the so-called Internet Research Agency of professional trolls located in Saint Petersburg is a close Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence. A journalist who is a leading expert on the Internet Research Agency claimed that some social media accounts that appear to be tied to Russia’s professional trolls—because they previously were devoted to supporting Russian actions in Ukraine—started to advocate for President-elect Trump as early as December 2015. Influence Effort Was Boldest Yet in the US Russia’s effort to influence the 2016 US presidential election represented a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations aimed at US elections. We assess the 2016 influence campaign reflected the Kremlin’s recognition of the worldwide effects that mass disclosures of US Government and other private data—such as those conducted by Wiki Leaks and others—have achieved in recent years, and their understanding of the value of orchestrating such disclosures to maximize the impact of compromising information. Election Operation Signals “New Normal” in Russian Influence Efforts We assess Moscow will apply lessons learned from its campaign aimed at the US presidential election to future influence efforts in the United States and worldwide, including against US allies and their election processes. We assess the Russian intelligence services would have seen their election influence campaign as at least a qualified success because of their perceived ability to impact public discussion. We may have won the cold war, but it appears that Russia is having the last laugh) Putin’s public views of the disclosures suggest the Kremlin and the intelligence services will continue to consider using cyber-enabled disclosure operations because of their belief that these can accomplish Russian goals relatively easily without significant damage to Russian interests. Russia has sought to influence elections across Europe. We assess Russian intelligence services will continue to develop capabilities to provide Putin with options to use against the United States, judging from past practice and current efforts. Immediately after Election Day, we assess Russian intelligence began a spear-phishing campaign targeting US Government employees and individuals associated with US think tanks and NGOs in national security, defense, and foreign policy fields. She has a healthy ego and has no problem with self-deprecating humor on occasion. This campaign could provide material for future influence efforts as well as foreign intelligence collection on the incoming administration’s goals and plans. Knowing the extent of the Russian espionage efforts to affect the election in the United States; it shouldn’t take much effort to understand just how effective this effort has been. Trump has an inflated ego that betrays his insecurity. Knowing their intentions, it shouldn’t be hard to recognize that not only the DNC and White House and State Department have been hacked, but the GOP as well. In fact, it’s likely that Russia has an entire room housing information on Donald Trump that can and will be used to bring him down unless he gives them what they want, which will likely be an endorsement of their goals. One can only guess at the information and photo’s that can be used against him. He can’t handle criticism of any kind and can never admit a mistake. Trumps properties around the world have his name splashed all over them in huge bold letters. In an interview, Kellyanne Conway actually asked the question, “Why would Russia want to back Trump? There are many reasons why Russia would want Trump, but they really all boil down to the fact that they know that he can be manipulated, and easily. Trump is target rich with character flaws that can be exploited. Conway, claims that if somebody attacks him, he has the right to fight back. ” It’s astonishing that she doesn’t already know the answer to that question. Actually Kellyanne, the President is supposed to be above petty bullshit like that. You need a much thicker skin to be president of the United States. Most likely he’ll dive into a Twitter war with whoever he feels has crossed him, including heads of state. Trump is acting like a child and you have four of them. You must know the difference between an adolescent and an adult. That’s a weakness and he resorts to twitter to amplify that weakness. Putin can lead him by the nose in any direction he chooses, most likely because he already has damaging information on Trump. And that is a weakness that the former head of the KGB can easily exploit. If you doubt that, then you’re a bigger fool than we thought. Somebody to use as long as he needed him and disposable when no longer needed. The Russians are clearly adept at misinformation and manipulation of facts to achieve their goals, one of which was to get Trump elected. We won the cold war, but we’re losing the Cyber War. When the time comes, Putin will take Trump down and cause havoc once again in the United States. Trump has not come forward and said if he accepts the Intelligence Communities findings or rejects them. I suspect that with a Press Conference looming he knows that question will come up. It appears that we’re headed into a Global Plutocracy. So far it appears that he’s not inclined to accept their findings. It would look like he needed the help of the Russians to win, which of course he did. With each country an extreme right wing Authoritarian Autocracy. If that’s the case, then it’s a demonstration of the truth that maintaining his ego is more important to him than this country which just had it national election sabotaged. I don’t believe that the country is willing to go there. I also don’t think that Donald Trump will make it for two years before he’s impeached. However, unless there is respect for the Constitution as the law of the land, its nothing but a piece of paper. How all of this plays out, especially with the vast conflicts of interest between his business dealings and the public interest that he’s required to serve will come to a head on Jan 20. At the moment he takes the oath of office, he will be in violation of the Constitution. ( Article 1 sec 9) Donald Trump intends to use his office to enrich himself and his family at the expense of the American tax payer. How this stands with the US Congress will tell us what we need to know about our future. Read Full Post » One definition for “reason” is the power of the mind to think and understand in a logical way. Obama has always demonstrated his ability to think and understand things in a logical way. He grasps the basic law of non-contradiction which states that you cannot be A and not-A at the same time. That makes him a rational person because rationality is the quality or state of being agreeable to reason. Most, if not all reality based people are agreeable to reason. Obama also displays empathy to the least among us which is a Christian value to be applauded by those professing to actually be Christians as opposed to using their religion as a political weapon. Even an atheist can understand this value as an American value. Because an atheist will recognize the truth in a value even when there may be religions that share that value as a truth. Truth doesn’t care if you have a religion or don’t. On Morning Joe today, Mika and others were questioning fmr Rep Chris Shayes about Trump and other leading Republicans who continue to endorse him and what kind of impression that leaves in the minds of large segments of the population. When asked if Shayes thought that Ryan or Mc Cain and others actually thought in private that Trump would make a good president, he said no. Shayes was pressed on this being asked; when does it become glaringly, undeniably obvious that they are putting party ideology over the very foundations of this country. They are willing to put the United States and the fate of the free world and the world itself into the hands of somebody they know would be bad for the country. When pressed by Willie Geist about the obvious cynicism that is on full display by Republicans to the voters, Shayes attempted to dismiss it as part of doing business in politics. He tries to create a distinction between endorsing somebody and voting for that person as somehow being different. A distinction without a difference is a type of logical fallacy where an author or speaker attempts to describe a distinction between two things although no difference exists. But of course that’s a distinction without a difference. It is particularly used when a word or phrase has connotations associated with it that one party to an argument prefers to avoid. Ask Kelly Ayotte how that’s working out for her in New Hampshire. In this case, the fitness of Donald Trump to be the man with his hands on the nuclear codes. It’s the assertion that a position is different from another position based on the language when, in fact, both positions are exactly the same — at least in practice or practical terms. It’s like saying, A is not the same as the first letter in the alphabet. Shaye’s then goes on by drawing some strange analogy between CNBC and NBC as relevant to what he’s trying to say in order to justify the contradiction he finds himself in, which left me and the panelists scratching our heads . Well, at least he’s not voting for Trump, so I guess that’s a good thing. But why he feels a need to try to justify the party over country views of Paul Ryan and other Republicans isn’t clear. When presented with this very stark choice of Party or country first, Shayes says that for some people change; apparently any kind of change, is preferable to the “status quo”. It appears that the status quo that the Trumpers want to abandon is one of reason, rationality and empathy. That’s the stark contrast that Trumps candidacy demonstrates. None of those qualities can be found in Donald Trump. Trump relies on boastful exaggerations, outright lies, religious bigotry, racism, xenophobia, scapegoating. He reacts to every perceived slight or criticism with the mentality of a “Valley Girl” with a Twitter Account. One has to ask how me might respond to criticism from foreign leaders? If we put this logic and reasoning process to a hypothetical test we can force ourselves into having to make a crucial choice, and that’s where our own moral compass reveals itself. Like a 5 grade bully, he goes after Governors, Senators, Federal Judges. Why would anybody expect him to act any other way than the way he has already shown us? But they asked me the question: What do you think of waterboarding? Let’s look at the ticking time bomb scenario: Our intelligence people have uncovered a time bomb that will explode in Times Square killing hundreds if not thousands of people. What we see in Trump, is Anti-reason, Anti-rationality and Hate as the alternative to the “status quo”. They have found a suspected terrorist and taken him to a secure location for interrogation Trump style. I doubt that the vast majority of voters in the United States want the kind of change that Trump represents. It represents a total break with what we know as the United States. But they also bring along his 7 year old daughter from his home. One man stands over the daughter with a garden clipper and spreads her fingers prepared to lop off one finger at a time in front of the girls father. The question now is whether we condone the torture of a child to get our information? If Hillary Clinton represents the status quo, and that is defined as using reason and rationality tempered with empathy, then I suspect that we’ll see her working with Republicans as much as they’ll allow themselves to work with here in doing the people’s business. Logically there should be no objection to torturing the child since we have already accepted the doctrine of going after the families of terrorist as legitimate, and also the doctrine of torture. What she won’t do is invoke racism, or bigotry into our policy making and she won’t abandon our allies. Neither of those policies are conditional in any way. The choice becomes one of voting for Torture works. The age or the sex of the person being tortured is irrelevant to the logic being used. If we are going to go after the family members and we agreed that we need to go beyond water boarding then the age and sex of the victim doesn’t matter. We don’t even know if the suspect is a terrorist but what matters is stopping the bomb from going off, and if torturing a 7 year old girl accomplishes that task then it’s morally acceptable. Do we subscribe to a utilitarian view of consequentialist morality? (The moral thing to do is to act in the best interests of the greatest number. Doing the greatest good for the greatest number) Or do we hold to a Catogorical Imperative. The categorical imperative was contrasted with the hypothetical imperative of Utilitarianism. And the idea of a hypothetical imperative was if/then. So if you want your society to be safe, then you must torture the child. Categorical imperative is, don’t torture a child ever under any circumstance. So the idea of a categorical imperative is that it’s not dependent on an if/then statement, right? So that’s the notion behind Kant’s ethics; that we should look for propositions that we would affirm regardless of the consequences. The answer for the person that subscribes to the Kantian view of the Catagorical Imerative is that it’s wrong to torture a child under any circumstances and we don’t do that. The Utilitarian view is that we torture the child if it means we save some lives. In his lecture on The Origins of the Modern American Conservative Movement given to the Heritage Foundation in 2003, Dr. In this case we sacrifice values for a perceived greater good. Lee Edwards cited Russell Kirk, author of The Conservative Mind as providing the central idea upon which American conservatism is essentially based, calling it ordered liberty. So if there are always exceptions to our values which are often sacrificed to the greater good, then why do we hold them knowing that they can and will be compromised? We bring it to another level.” Read Full Post » The very first sentence in Mark Levin’s book reads, “THERE IS SIMPLY NO scientific or mathematical formula that defines conservatism. If there were a scientific or mathematical formula for conservatism, we would find some logic in the ideology. Conservatism does however have a prescribed doctrine. Kirk described six basic “canons” or principles of conservatism: 1. Why bother pretending that our principles are never compromised when we see it every day and an entire political party embraces contradiction as normal part of the political process. Maybe we could make logical inferences and draw logical conclusions that would show that conservatism was steeped in some form of logic. A divine intent, as well as personal conscience, rules society; 2. Man must control his will and his appetite, knowing that he is governed more by emotion than by reason; and 6. Edwards states that “the work established convincingly that there was a tradition of American conservatism that had existed since the Founding of the Republic. Traditional life is filled with variety and mystery while most radical systems are characterized by a narrowing uniformity; 3. With one book, Russell Kirk made conservatism intellectually acceptable in America. Indeed, he gave the conservative movement its name.” Lest we minimize the writings of Kirk, we should point out that one of his biggest supporters was “Mr. Reagan said this of Kirk: —Ronald Reagan, 1981 For several years he was a Distinguished Scholar of the Heritage Foundation. In 1989, President Reagan conferred on him the Presidential Citizens Medal. In 1991, he was awarded the Salvatori Prize for historical writing. He is qualified to speak on the meaning of conservatism. This prompted me to examine a few of Kirks ideas which he put forth as his 10 principles of conservatism, in addition to his 6 “canons”. Dr, Kirks conservative credentials are established. Kirk begins with his first principle as being that “the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order”. He states, “Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. The problem of order has been a principal concern of conservatives ever since conservative became a term of politics. Well, in taking a close examination of Plato, we see that to Plato, there was no natural sense on how men ought to live, education was to be the key to the construction of a better society; from that the “educated” would arise the elite to rule society. Plato thought it essential that a strict threefold class division be maintained. In addition to the rulers, the Philosopher-kings, there were to be “Auxiliaries” (soldiers, police and civil servants) and the “Workers” (the rest of us). Plato’s view of society was pinned by the belief that philosophers are capable of knowing the absolute truth about how to rule society and thus are justified in wielding absolute power. Such a view is in striking contrast to that of his principal teacher, Socrates (469-399 BC), who was always conscious of how much he did not know, and claimed superiority to unthinking men only in that he was aware of his own ignorance where they were not. Slave State: Putting it mildly, Plato’s view was that we are ineradicably social, and that the individual person was not, and could not, be self-sufficient. For example, he should get up, or move, or wash, or take his meals … In a word, he should teach his soul, by long habit, never to dream of acting independently … In fact, Plato offered up humans like so many animals that could do nothing for themselves unless they had constant and detailed direction from those who were to be their leaders: “… There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.” (The Republic.) Incidentally, Plato took a dim view of democracy. To Plato, it made no sense that we should proceed to put people in charge who have shaky, or, worse yet, no philosophical positions. A “democratic” system turns up people to govern on the basis of what the majority of the voters say, a majority which when compared to the number of citizens (non-voting included) is likely in fact to be a minority of people who have no plans, no answers other than that necessary to get themselves elected. Plato may have been right in his views on democracy; the difficulty is Plato’s avowed and stated belief that men were unequal to one another. I say unequal, but that is putting it on a too charitable basis. To Plato society was to break down to those few who were to be the philosopher kings, and the rest of us, who were to be treated like laboring beasts of the field. The Platonic view of man is one that is in complete accord with the view of the socialist. Not exactly what Sir Karl Popper would have called, an Open Society. Kirks third principle states that, “conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription”. Kirk is justifying prejudice here and we have many examples of conservatives over the years taking that justification to heart. This is an ample of the logical fallacy known as Appeal to Tradition (): This line of thought asserts that a premise must be true because people have always believed it or done it. It is almost an automatic knee jerk response by conservatives who base their ideology on preserving existing institutions. Alternatively, it may conclude that the premise has always worked in the past and will thus always work in the future: “Jefferson City has kept its urban growth boundary at six miles for the past thirty years. That has been good enough for thirty years, so why should we change it now? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”( Healthcare anyone? ) Such an argument is appealing in that it seems to be common sense, but it ignores important questions. Might an alternative policy work even better than the old one? Are circumstances changing from the way they were thirty years ago? The conservative Dixiecrat’s of the South such as Strom Thurmond who opposed the Civil Rights Act are prime examples. It’s no coincidence that Thurmond’s racist prejudice and an ideology that allowed him to justify that prejudice would find each other down in Dixie. Conservatism, whether in the hands of a Democrat or a Republican has never been friendly to minorities. When Kirk states that ”, what he is in fact endorsing is a collective theory of rationality and dismissing the liberal critical rationalism of the individual. It seems that although conservatives like to speak of individualism, it really amounts to little more than words. What they subscribe to according to Kirk, is a collective theory of rationality. A conservative is without any doubt, a traditional rationalist. This simplifies his life since he need only apply his theory of rationality to whatever assertion is in question. As such, he need never distinguish between truth and falsity. There is a conservative position on issues, and no more needs to be said. As Liberals have no such theory of rationality, they must distinguish between truth and falsity themselves. I think it’s important to see that Conservative doctrine and dogma precedes Levin’s “Conservative Manifesto” Levin is merely the latest version of something we’ve seen before. What we have here is a justification for a hierarchal society. We also see a justification for prejudice and bigotry as being a good and necessary part of the conservative concept of society. We also see, a justification for the segregation that occurred in the south where natural and institutional differences were destroyed in the eyes of conservatives. In short, if you aren’t a conservative, you’re a tyrant. Getting back to Levin’s book, on the very first page of the book, Levin states that “what follows are my own opinions and conclusions of fundamental truths, based on decades of observation, exploration, and experience, about conservatism and , conversely, non-conservatism – that is, liberty and tyranny. He cannot demonstrate why what he’s saying is true, but if you don’t agree with his ideology…it’s because you aspire to being a tyrant. On page 4 of his book, Levin says, “The Modern Liberal believes in the supremacy of the state, thereby rejecting the principles of the Declaration of Independence (written by the Liberal Thomas Jefferson) and the order of the civil society, in whole or part.” He goes on to say that “As the word “liberal” is, in its classical meaning, the opposite of authoritarian, it is more accurate, therefore, to characterize the “Modern Liberal” as a Statist. Levin creates a monolithic character called “Modern Liberal”. The definition of monolithic is characterized by massiveness and rigidity and total uniformity; “a monolithic society”; “a monolithic worldwide movement” The “Modern Liberal” here is characterized by massiveness and rigidity and total uniformity; “a monolithic society”; “a monolithic worldwide movement”. Therefore, all liberals are part of a massive and rigid and totally uniform way of thinking. This probably comes as quite a shock to liberals who don’t ever seem to agree on anything. Organizing liberals has been equated to trying to herd cats. The humorist Will Rogers once said,” “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat! The founding principles of the United States are grounded in liberalism. ” However, Levin casts non-conservatives monolithically as “statists”. Throughout his book, Levin describes all evils as the designs of the “statist” otherwise known as, “the modern liberal”… He claims that conservatism is the antidote to tyranny precisely because its principles are the founding principles. What Mark Levin is doing here as attempting to co-opt and re-write the very historical foundations of this country into a conservative ideology that was totally at odds with the reality of the American revolution. Hayek; whom Levin loves to quote, wrote in his essay, Why I’m Not a Conservative, “There has never been a time when liberal ideals were fully realized and when liberalism did not look forward to further improvement of institutions. He’s trying to present conservatism in a light that gives it a patina of patriotism and legitimacy. Liberalism is not averse to evolution and change; and where spontaneous change has been smothered by government control, it wants a great deal of change of policy. Levin and others make a distinction between what they call “classical liberals” and today’s “modern liberal”. To think that the “classical liberal” of the 18 century would remain in one spot is to ignore completely what liberalism is, and give it conservative characteristics that it doesn’t have. So far as much of current governmental action is concerned, there is in the present world very little reason for the liberal to wish to preserve things as they are. This shows a basic lack of understanding of what liberalism is. It’s the conservative that remains steadfast in a position. Hayek, the man he loves to quote, would tell him that. It’s never completely fulfilled like that of conservatism. It would seem to the liberal, indeed, that what is most urgently needed in most parts of the world is a thorough sweeping away of the obstacles to free growth”. In this sense, conservatism is ideological and dogmatic. He goes on : “As has often been acknowledged by conservative writers, one of the fundamental traits of the conservative attitude is a fear of change, a timid distrust of the new as such, while the liberal position is based on courage and confidence, on a preparedness to let change run its course even if we cannot predict where it will lead. The conservatives are inclined to use the powers of government to prevent change or to limit its rate to whatever appeals to the more timid mind. In looking forward, they lack the faith in the spontaneous forces of adjustment which makes the liberal accept changes without apprehension, even though he does not know how the necessary adaptations will be brought about. The conservative feels safe and content only if he is assured that some higher wisdom watches and supervises change, only if he knows that some authority is charged with keeping the change “orderly.” A conservative is authoritarian by nature and his entire ideology is an appeal to authority. His very acceptance of a theory of rationality such as conservative ideology is an appeal to authority. In John Deans book, “Conservatives without Conscience” he pointed out the authoritarianism of the conservative. “It’s difficult for most rightwingers to talk about any subject about which they feel strongly without attacking others. Right wing authoritarians are motivated by a fear of a dangerous world. The factor that makes right wingers faster than most people to attack others, and that seems to keep them living in an attack mode is their remarkable self-righteousness. They’re so sure they are not only right, but holy and pure, that they are bursting with indignation and a desire to smite down their enemies.” Ad Verecundiam An appeal to authority is an argument from the fact that a person judged to be an authority affirms a proposition to the claim that the proposition is true. Appeals to authority are always deductively fallacious; even a legitimate authority speaking on his area of expertise may affirm a falsehood, so no testimony of any authority is guaranteed to be true. Does the inclusion of comments by Hayek amount to an appeal to authority? Hayeks comments are his views on why is is not a conservative. Hayek is also a source used by Levin to support Levins conservatism. But Hayek is NOT a conservative and here he is telling us why. Hayek adds : “This fear of trusting uncontrolled social forces is closely related to two other characteristics of conservatism: its fondness for authority and its lack of understanding of economic forces. Since it distrusts both abstract theories and general principles, it neither understands those spontaneous forces on which a policy of freedom relies nor possesses a basis for formulating principles of policy. Order appears to the conservative as the result of the continuous attention of authority, which, for this purpose, must be allowed to do what is required by the particular circumstances and not be tied to rigid rule. A commitment to principles presupposes an understanding of the general forces by which the efforts of society are co-operating, but it is such a theory of society and especially of the economic mechanism that conservatism conspicuously lacks. So unproductive has conservatism been in producing a general conception of how a social order is maintained that its modern advocates, in trying to construct a theoretical foundation, invariably find themselves appealing almost exclusively to authors who regarded themselves as liberal. Macaulay, Tocqueville, Lord Acton, and Lecky certainly considered themselves liberals, and with justice; and even Edmund Burke remained an Old Whig to the end and would have shuddered at the thought of being regarded as a Tory”. He continues : “Let me return, however, to the main point, which is the characteristic complacency of the conservative toward the action of established authority and his prime concern that this authority be not weakened rather than that its power be kept within bounds. This is difficult to reconcile with the preservation of liberty. In general, it can probably be said that the conservative does not object to coercion or arbitrary power so long as it is used for what he regards as the right purposes. He believes that if government is in the hands of decent men, it ought not to be too much restricted by rigid rules. Since he is essentially opportunist and lacks principles, his main hope must be that the wise and the good will rule – not merely by example, as we all must wish, but by authority given to them and enforced by them. Like the socialist, he is less concerned with the problem of how the powers of government should be limited than with that of who wields them; and, like the socialist, he regards himself as entitled to force the value he holds on other people”. “When I say that the conservative lacks principles, I do not mean to suggest that he lacks moral conviction. The typical conservative is indeed usually a man of very strong moral convictions. What I mean is that he has no political principles which enable him to work with people whose moral values differ from his own for a political order in which both can obey their convictions. It is the recognition of such principles that permits the coexistence of different sets of values that makes it possible to build a peaceful society with a minimum of force. The acceptance of such principles means that we agree to tolerate much that we dislike. I know of no general principles to which I could appeal to persuade those of a different view that those measures are not permissible in the general kind of society which we both desire. To live and work successfully with others requires more than faithfulness to one’s concrete aims. It requires an intellectual commitment to a type of order in which, even on issues which to one are fundamental, others are allowed to pursue different ends.” “It is for this reason that to the liberal neither moral nor religious ideals are proper objects of coercion, while both conservatives and socialists recognize no such limits. I sometimes feel that the most conspicuous attribute of liberalism that distinguishes it as much from conservatism as from socialism is the view that moral beliefs concerning matters of conduct which do not directly interfere with the protected sphere of other persons do not justify coercion. This may also explain why it seems to be so much easier for the repentant socialist to find a new spiritual home in the conservative fold than in the liberal.” “In the last resort, the conservative position rests on the belief that in any society there are recognizably superior persons whose inherited standards and values and position ought to be protected and who should have a greater influence on public affairs than others. And the Liberalism of our founders was always meant to evolve. The liberal, of course, does not deny that there are some superior people – he is not an egalitarian – but he denies that anyone has authority to decide who these superior people are. A man that Levin, the conservative, loves to quote. The conservative may not like what it has evolved into by their conservative standards, but that’s to be expected. While the conservative inclines to defend a particular established hierarchy and wishes authority to protect the status of those whom he values, the liberal feels that no respect for established values can justify the resort to privilege or monopoly or any other coercive power of the state in order to shelter such people against the forces of economic change. Today’s modern conservative will be quick to tell you that today’s modern liberal is not a liberal by their standards. Again, it isn’t liberalisms intention to meet conservative standards. Though he is fully aware of the important role that cultural and intellectual elites have played in the evolution of civilization, he also believes that these elites have to prove themselves by their capacity to maintain their position under the same rules that apply to all others.” These are the words of F. Liberals have their own, and those standards continue to evolve as new challenges are confronted. It is still true that the American liberal believes that society can and should be improved, and that the way to improve it is to apply human intelligence to social and economic problems. The conservative, on the other hand, opposes efforts at purposeful change — especially when they threaten the existing distribution of power and wealth — because he believes that things are about as good as they can be reasonably expected to be, and that any change is more likely than not to be for the worse.” One thing we have learned from the writers and spokesmen of the conservative movement is their love of tradition. With this in mind, it’s hard to imagine a conservative going along with a radical revolution in 1776 that was certain to upset the custom, convention and continuity of the devil they knew, in order to replace it with the devil they didn’t know. It’s the liberation from those things that would restrict its freedom to think and act according to one’s own conscience. It goes completely against the ideals of conservatism. I can only speculate, but I have little doubt in my mind as to who’s side the conservative would have been on. The founding principles of this country are rooted in the rejection of the concept of the Divine Right of Kings. The American revolution took place during the late 18 century during the height of the Enlightenment. It’s a rejection of the aristocracy, the embrace of self rule, and freedom from authoritarian dictatorship whether it be a monarchy or any other form of supreme authority. Looking back at Kirk’s claims, one can examine the statements that “A divine intent, as well as personal conscience, rules society”, and ” Civilized society requires orders and classes.” A divine intent pre-supposes not only that a divinity is at hand, but that its intent can be determined. The freedom of speech is not a conservative concept. A personal conscience is, of course, a matter of subjectivity. A religious view appears to be essential to conservative thought. According to Professor Gerhard Rempel of Western New England College, “to understand the Enlightenment and the foundations of democracy is to know that doctrinal substance was less important than overall philosophy.” It wasn’t as much Descartes’ reason as it was Newton’s Laws. Not abstraction and definition, but rather observation and experience. Liberalism is more easily recognized for what it is not, than for what it is. The real power of reason lay not in the possession, but in the I of truth. Since it doesn’t subscribe to a rigid theory of rationality it doesn’t employ a positive or assertive methodology in determining truth. The ideal for knowledge was a further development of 17 century logic and science with an emphasis on: 1. A liberal critical rationalist would recognize that there simply is no “positive” method whereby we can obtain the truth. Not only this, liberalism suggests that attemping to hold to such a “positive” method might narrow our viewpoint such that the quest for truth is made more difficult. In an attempt to get our decision about the truth to fit with some narrow view of what the method of truth “should” be, we will be restricting ourselves in a way that is unnecessary. After all, there is no one method that is the end-all-be-all of obtaining truth. Rush Limbaugh and certainly Mark Levin would tell you otherwise. A liberal will argue against “positive” methods for obtaining the truth, which overly restrict our viewpoints. As this is your meta-theory, used to decide on a theory of rationality, it cannot judge itself in terms of rationality. “By asserting there is a theory of rationality, this leads you to the next move, which is why is the theory of rationality, in and of itself, rational? Critical Rationalist Philosopher Matt Dioguardi, pointed this out in an essay: “An important thing to note is that conservatism (traditional rationalism) leads to irrationalism. Any “positive” argument in regards to rationality cannot judge itself without creating circular argument.” For example: A: Why are you rational? A: How do you know that listening to God is rational. Here you can only assert it was an irrational choice and all such first choices are by necessity irrational. As such you open the door to whole scale irrationality. A critical rationalist avoids having to make this capitulation to irrationality by NOT offering any “positive” theory of rationality.” “The only possible benefit you can possibly receive from having a “positive” theory of rationality is it can give you a sense of moral superiority when dealing with others. That is, if you think your theory of rationality is correct, you could be “sure” you were right and whoever disagrees with you is wrong. However, your opponent could merely point out your theory of rationality itself was also irrational. You both take your irrational stand and the only way to resolve the conflict is to engage in violence.” “People with theories of rationality take stands, critical rationalists keep arguing. They keep trying to shift through the ideas to try and figure-out where the disagreement lays and what might resolve it. It might not be resolved until some new ideas come along. But even then, this will probably only lead to new disagreements. All the better.” Liberalism could almost be viewed as the complete absence of holding of any traditional theory of rationality. Of course this is the very thing that irritates the conservative who is steeped in traditional thinking. In an interview with Sean Hannity, Levin states that conservatives are the beneficiaries of thousands of years of human experience. He then refers to Obama and others as relying on philosophies a couple of hundred years old. That’s interesting considering that aside from the Ancient Greeks, Democracy as we know it is only as old as this country itself…approximately 218 years old. Those philosophies that preceded it were aristocratic, authoritarian, or theocratic. They were exactly the philosophies that our founders rejected. Essentially, Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy. Conservatism is incompatible with democracy, prosperity, and civilization in general. It is a destructive system of inequality and prejudice that is founded on deception and has no place in the modern world, which is exactly why it’s floundering today. Going back to Kirk, we see that In Kirks Fifth principle he states, “conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety”. In this principle he claims that “For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at eveling must lead, at best, to social stagnation. Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality”. What we have here is a justification for a hierarchal society. We also see a justification for prejudice and bigotry as being a good and necessary part of the conservative concept of society. Levin re-iterates that “our principles are tried and true. Yet again, Democracy as we know it only began at the time of the ratification of the constitution. So what philosophy is he talking about that preceded democracy? Certainly it wasn’t something that our founders sought to replicate. He states that we can’t salute a philosophy that is antithetical to our history (that’s a subjective view and could be debated forever) or to our BELIEF SYSTEM. Conservatism is by Levin’s own admission, a belief system. But being so it can never demonstrate itself as being true. It’s an ideology actually formalized by Russell Kirk who provided 6 canons that conservatives follow. Conservatism today has taken on the mantle of a religious cult. Is it even remotely possible that it could be wrong? The question is can it even demonstrate how it’s true. It has a doctrine that must be followed religiously or you risk excommunication. The problem with ideological thinking like this is that it assumes its own infallibility. If it can, then maybe Levin could provide the methodology that he uses to prove it. It is a Theory of Rationality that cannot justify itself through any authority other then itself. He writes a book that is the Conservative Manifesto, defining conservatism. By defining it, he is unconsciously limiting the reach of its own effectiveness. Once he defines it then it’s not possible to be something beyond that definition. Its potential for greatness is limited to what he’s described. That is self limiting and completely contrary to free-thought and democracy. If, in a democracy those ideas are rejected as they have been recently, then perhaps he might reevaluate his ideas. That isn’t possible because the ideology can’t be wrong. He can’t demonstrate how it’s true, but it can’t be wrong. But if something cannot possibly be wrong, then how can it be right. In order for something to be right it must contain the possibility of being wrong. For something to be true, it must contain the possibility of being false otherwise you’re merely preaching a belief, rather than something that can be proven right or wrong empirically. In the world of Mark Levin, conservatism cannot be wrong. The tactics of conservatism vary widely by place and time. But the most central feature of conservatism is deference: a psychologically internalized attitude on the part of the common people that the aristocracy are better people than they are. His only interest is a return to an aristocratic society of Lords and serfs. Sweeping generalizations that are simply stunning in their stupidity. I was asked by a poster on a political forum once to tell why I thought conservatism is a “twisted ideology”. They look for definition but since the Enlightenment, liberal thought realized that it wasn’t abstration and definition, but rather observation and experience that was important. It would be like me trying to define what a muslim is. I was expected by this Poster X to define conservatism. That the real power of reason lay not in the possession but in the of Truth. They don’t present themselves and expect me to define them to satisfy my preconceptions. Not being a muslim, how could I possible know what it means? But these very people will attempt to define a liberal in a monolithic sense as if all liberals are this, or all liberals are that. A Muslim can define his religion far better and more accurately then I ever could. So the complaint that I’ve used the definition of conservatism as provided by conservatives themselves, is empty headed and shows enormous ignorance of how the process of critique is done. This critique is based on conservative definitions of themselves and the lack of logic and rational critical thinking that it uses. There is no basis for it to rationally justify itself, any more than any other religion. As Russell Kirk, author of The Conservative Mind, the man that gave the Conservative movement its name, and Ronald Reagans political guru said: “It cannot demonstrate itself as true, and is simply another authoritarian theory of rationality that has all the charactoristics of a cult religion complete with it’s own doctrine, rigid ideology and dogma. Adagio4639 The question seems really strange to me. I understand that there are some out there that think racism is dead and gone, (Chief Justice Roberts is one of them) but these are people that don’t seem to have any awareness of what’s going on around them. The election of the country’s first Black American President, (Some still don’t think he’s an American, and that includes members of Congress ) hasn’t erased centuries of hate. Obama won two terms because of his appeal to minorities that outnumbered the majority white population. Despite Chief Justice Roberts declaration that “Racism is dead in America”, I have to disagree and suggest that the Chief Justice is wearing blinders. The systemic institutionalized racism that exists has recently been uncovered with the Justice Department’s investigation of the Police Department of Ferguson MO. The Police actions in Staten Island with the killing of Eric Garner caught on video tape and no indictment defies reason. I would say that as long as conservatism exists as a “legitimate” ideology, racism will be with us. That’s probably going to offend some people, but I really don’t care about offending them. The video tape of the SAE Fraternity, and most recently the murder of Walter Scott in North Charleston SC, with the attempted cover up and planting of evidence all caught on video lead us to think that this kind of thing is happening with too much frequency to be coincidental. I’m offended by what I see, and it seems that we are deliberately avoiding the elephant in the corner of the room. I hope to continue to grow and learn each day for the rest of my life. We’re seeing “Snuff” Films on TV now showing white police killing black men and even children. The available technology is just bringing it to light. A young (black) boy is shot and killed by a cop in Cleveland within seconds of arriving on the scene because the boy is waving a toy gun. Nevertheless, I’ll give my reasons, but first we’ll need to understand what is meant by “conservative”. There’s a line from a song that goes, ” There are so many things that I’ve left undone, so many places to see. We ask ourselves, did all of this start with the advent of the cell-phone camera? Had it not been for the video in North Charleston, the officer would not be in jail charged with murder, but back on the job. Let me begin by saying I don’t define other people. I could never put a fence around who or what I am and say… And there ain’t enough time in what’s left of this life, but it’s more than I thought it would be”. In fact, without the video it’s quite likely that a campaign of destroying the credibility of the only witness would have been launched on Fox News immediately vilifying the witness as a liar or worse and the victim, Mr. Life is for learning, and that makes everything interesting for me. Thinking that I know all I need to know, would be a huge mistake. For one thing, it locks me into a box of my own making. And the definition then becomes dependent on other definitions. I’ve been asked many times by conservatives in political debates, to define conservatism. Besides, if I were to put forth a definition, I would likely be told that I don’t know anything about it. My response is always the same: It’s not up to me to define what a conservative is. So I leave it to them to define themselves which they are more than willing to do. They’ll tell me about it whether I ask them or not. Conservatives seem very big on defining things, and that includes conservatism itself. They’re very proud of their conservatism and love to aggressively demonstrate it at every opportunity, usually in the most belligerent manner possible with snarky and snide attempts at humor intended to insult – always falling flat but never failing to give them a perverse sense of satisfaction . I’ve been asked to define Liberalism as well, and the best I can offer is to tell those asking that I can more easily tell them what it is not then what it is. My position is to critique the definition that others are giving, to see if there are any holes in the logic or reasoning process. So, with that in mind, my own understanding of conservatism comes from those that defined the ideology itself. The conservative movement goes back to the anti-Enlightenment views of Edmund Burke in the late 1700’s. Burke was an Irishman of a Catholic sensibility in believing that the authority of tradition, lies at the core of Christian practice. This stands in stark contrast with Locke’s workmanship ideal, with it’s emphasis on the sovereignty of each individual’s subjective relationship with God. As a traditionalist-conservative, he thinks about social change in a cautious and incremental way and characterizes the social contract as binding on those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are yet to be born. He was the major voice of the anti-Enlightenment, and of course this country was founded upon the Enlightenment ideas of Locke, Voltaire, and others of that time. If there is a single overarching idea shared in common by adherents to different strands of Enlightenment thinking, it is faith in the power of human reason to understand the true nature of our circumstances and ourselves. The Enlightenment outlook is optimistic to its core, supplying impetus to the idea of progress in human affairs. As reason’s reach expands, it seems plausible to think that understanding will yield the possibility to control and perhaps even improve our environments and our lives. So, those claiming a conservative tradition in this country, are claiming that we were a product of the Anti-Enlightenment, and that’s simply false. Jefferson was profoundly interested in the work of the French Enlightenment philosopher and historian Voltaire and owned seven works by the author. Jefferson even had a bust of Voltaire in his home in Monticello. We are and always have been an optimistic people, going back to the time of actually believing that we could break from England and defeat the most powerful army in the world. Today, Modern Conservatives look back to Burke as the father of the movement. That’s not me saying this; it’s Conservatives themselves. Thinkers like Burke place individuals as subordinate to society and its traditions. Burke believed that conserving an imperfect inherited world from the worse imperfections that human beings are capable of contriving is the business of political leadership; hence his emphasis on preserving tradition. He is famous for propounding the doctrine that a Member of Parliament— which he was for a good part of his life— owes it to his constituents not to sacrifice his judgment to conform to their opinions. ( I can certainly see how he would make for a good Republican) He was unimpressed by the human capacity for reason to understand much, let alone to reshape the world in accordance with the particular wills of any generation. Therefore, the anti-Enlightenment is a rejection of both of the central tenets of the Enlightenment; the commitment to individual rights, and to science and reason. So tradition plays a profound role in the conservative ideology. Now, I don’t see how they can demonstrate those values as true, but – that’s at the core of the ideology, and that’s on them, not me. And in doing so, are establishing a foundation for the ideology. The problem is that Foundationalism leads to infinite regress. What that means is there’s no way to establish a basis for the basis that will justify the basis required to justify the original foundation. Attempting to do that leads into a black hole with no escape. So, it just sits there, proclaiming itself as its own authority which is an exercise in circular reasoning. It’s authoritarian in it’s nature, and it is its own authority. The Ideology of Conservatism: In 1953, Russell Kirk wrote a book called The Conservative Mind. Canon #1, “A divine intent, as well as personal conscience, rules society”. and in #2, ” Traditional life is filled with variety and mystery while most radical systems are characterized by a narrowing uniformity.” Traditional life”. In his lecture on The Origins of the Modern American Conservative Movement given to the Heritage Foundation in 2003, Dr. Religion and Traditional life are his first 2 Canons. Lee Edwards cited Russell Kirk, author of The Conservative Mind as providing the central idea upon which American conservatism is essentially based, calling it “ordered liberty”. Man must control his will and his appetite, knowing that he is governed more by emotion than by reason. One of the key elements of Tradition is preserving existing institutions. Now, I’m looking at a Conservative ( Lee Edwards) lecturing on the origins of the Modern Conservative Movement to the Heritage Foundation which is a Conservative Think Tank. “ “A leading historian of American conservatism, Edwards is the author or editor of 20 books, including biographies of Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater and Edwin Meese III as well as histories of The Heritage Foundation and the movement as a whole.” Ok. Especially those institutions that blend easily with or enhance other traditional institutions, that help define traditional life to the conservative. I have to assume that this man understands conservatism as well as, if not better than most. I accept his credentials as somebody that can tell me what conservatism is. This is demonstrated by the conservative view on same-sex marriage. So there needs to be an upper and a lower class of people either socially or economically or both. This is all very Burkean, but updated to appeal to a more contemporary audience. Edwards states that “the work established convincingly that there was a tradition of American conservatism that had existed since the Founding of the Republic. His resume’ reads; “Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought, B. As Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought, Lee Edwards, Ph. Edwards states this: Kirk described six basic “canons” or principles of conservatism: 1. The gist of the argument centers around a challenge to traditional values on the subject of marriage. With one book, Russell Kirk made conservatism intellectually acceptable in America. A divine intent, as well as personal conscience, rules society. Traditional life is filled with variety and mystery while most radical systems are characterized by a narrowing uniformity. Canon #3 says that Conservatism requires “classes”. Indeed, he gave the conservative movement its name.” So Russell Kirk is providing the “Canon” of Conservatism. To begin with I find that issuing what he calls the Canon, is pretty presumptuous. This is the doctrine as he defines it, and Edwards proclaims it as the definition of conservatism. He’s proclaiming himself as the authority of what conservatism is, but Dr. Lee Edwards at Heritage agrees, so who am I to argue? It sounds more Ecclesiastical as if it’s a religion, then a political philosophy. Nevertheless, he’s setting the foundational table for the movement. If you aren’t following the 6 Canon’s, you aren’t a conservative. He later expanded on this with his 10 Principles of Conservatism. Ronald Reagan ( Mr Conservative) was a big fan of his and gave him the Medal of Freedom, so he seems to have struck the right chord with the right people. I think I can draw from this that Kirk has articulated the “essence” of conservatism. If I see these values being expressed, I can probably see the conservative mind at work. Actually, what I see today, are these ideas taken to the furthest extreme, but they still call it conservatism. Conservatism is the product of the anti-Enlightenment ideology of Edmund Burke and the re-affirmation of it by Conservative writer Russell Kirk. Burke was a traditionalist conservative as was Kirk and traditional values are held fast by conservatives. (There’s probably a strong connection here as to why so many conservatives are evangelical Christians as well. They can easily identify with traditional and fundamentalist values as expressed in the Bible. In his chapter on Southern Conservatism from his book, Kirk writes “that while human slavery is bad ground for conservatives to make a stand upon, yet the wild demands and expectations of the abolitionists were quite as slippery a foundation for political decency”. Conservatism seems to adopt the mantle of a religion requiring the same commitment of belief.) These “authorities” that identify themselves as “Conservative” have told me so. In the practice of Critical Thinking, the language used by the arguer may not be especially unclear, but often it is awkward to deal with because it does not even take the form of proper sentences. Rewriting the material in terms of ‘if— then’ sentences makes the argument easier to handle and its logic more obvious. There are many, many ways in which ordinary language can be awkward to reconstruct, and in which logical relationships can be concealed; But here is one ‘rule of thumb’ that you should apply whenever you can do so in a way that remains faithful to the arguer’s apparent meaning: 1. Where appropriate, rewrite sentences as either conditional or disjunctive sentences of one of the following forms: If A then B. If not-A then not-B Reconstructed, Mr, Kirk says this; IF human slavery is bad ground for conservatives to make a stand upon, Then the wild demands and expectations of the abolitionists were just as slippery a foundation for political decency”. What kind of demands would the abolitionists have made that could be morally equivalent to slavery? I think we could even simplify Kirks statement with this: “human slavery is bad ground for conservatives to make a stand upon, BUT the wild demands and expectations of the abolitionists were just as slippery a foundation for political decency”, without distorting the meaning at all. Kirk seems to find a moral equivalency between slavery and the “wild” demands of the abolitionists. Just remember; everything before BUT, doesn’t count. Kirk describes“Negroes” as; “the menace of debased, ignorant and abysmally poor folk” he argued they “must tend to produce in the minds of the dominant people (re: White) an anxiety to preserve every detail of the present structure, and an ultra-vigilant suspicion of innovation”. In complete accordance to the high values of traditionalism that are embedded into the Canon, and reach back to Burke, the preservation of existing institutions is vital and necessary to the conservative theory of rationality. Any challenge to them will be met with conservative resistance. According to Kirk, “In politics we do well to abide by precedent and precept and even prejudice, for the great mysterious incorporation of the human race has acquired a prescriptive wisdom far greater than any man’s petty private rationality.” (He gets this directly from Burke, and rewords it for those who never heard of the man.) Kirk is justifying prejudice here. Conservatism is that system of ideas employed to justify any established social order, no matter where or when it exists, against any fundamental challenge to its nature or being, no matter from what quarter. Again, prejudice is necessary to the conservative theory of rationality, and we have many examples of conservatives over the years, decades and centuries, taking that justification to heart. It’s not difficult to see that the conservative position on race would necessarily follow form. What we gain from this is an understanding of what Conservatism means to the Conservative, as told to us by the very Conservatives that defined the ideology and the movement that followed it. They have strong solid values that they don’t compromise, and they take great pride in that non-compromising stand. Being an ideology that is definable by its adherents, it would be open to a logical syllogism:. Conservatism believes in preserving existing institutions as a value P2 Slavery was institutionalized in America (Article 1 Sec 2; Article 1 Sec 9; Article 4 Sec 2 ) C: Therefore, Conservatives believed in preserving slavery. Conservatives believe in preserving existing institutions as a value P2. That seems to have been born out with the fact of the Civil War. Segregation was institutionalized in America C: therefore, Conservatives believe in preserving segregation Again, if the premises are true, the conclusion Must be true. Conservatives in the South believe in traditional values P2. If the premises are true in a deductive syllogism, the conclusion MUST be true. White Supremacy is a traditional value in the South C: therefore, Conservatives in the south believe in White Supremacy. If they no longer hold that as a value, then they have obviously compromised their values by letting it go, which is something that conservatives simply don’t do. To do so would be hypocritical, and demonstrate a crack in the ideology. If they are maintaining their Conservative principles, either they still hold that view, or they are demonstrating their own hypocrisy by compromising a traditional established value. If they are traditional-conservatives, then they would hold that view. The question now becomes, are these values that the conservative holds today, or has he compromised those values? And if so, how many other values does he cherry pick, and still claim that he doesn’t compromise his conservative values? What parts of traditional conservative values has he let go of, and what has he maintained? Is Conservatism a unified system of thought, or is it a hodge-podge collection of unrelated absolute values without any basis that can never demonstrate their truth? I think that any time an ideology defines itself, it opens itself to that kind of logical scrutiny. The Civil Rights movement was a direct challenge to the existing institutions of the time, and conservatism as an ideology is thus a reaction to a system under challenge, a defense of the status – quo in a period of intense ideological and social conflict. The very notion of a race of people that was; at our beginnings as a country, only considered to be 3/ 5’ s of a human being, now having equal footing with those that actually believed in this idea, is a direct challenge to a long held traditional social concept. It denied the idea of white supremacy as legitimate. It’s surprising how many people still cling to this idea, and will go to extreme lengths to perpetuate it. The idea that a person that could have been your slave at one time, could today be your boss, or even President of the United States, is more than some people can deal with on an emotional level. I don’t pretend to be a psychologist, but when long held beliefs are not only challenged but overturned, and deemed illegitimate values, some people are probably not happy about it and might be filled with resentment, and even hatred for those that made that happen. White supremacy as an institution is renounced, discredited, and dismantled, and that is a major blow to an existing order and traditional institution, and conservatism is always a reaction to a challenge to an existing order or traditional institution. It’s my observation, that these are people that desperately need somebody to look down to in order to validate their own self-worth. Maybe it’s that “class” thing that Kirk was talking about in Canon 3. But at least I’m White.” They can no longer rely on a policy that used to be institutionally enforceable. When that is removed by law, hostility is the result; hostility for those that have been emancipated by law and elevated to equal status, and hostility for the law itself including those that proposed it and passed it. Just because a law or an amendment is passed doesn’t meant that the attitudes that opposed that law have changed. Passing a law doesn’t change conservative ideology. A conservative isn’t going to change his position just because a law that challenged it was passed. If anything, he’s more likely to take on an even more defiant position. We saw that after the Civil War and Reconstruction with Jim Crow. The south may have lost the war, but even if the slaves were freed, the conservative would see to it that those that were freed, were now worse off than they were as slaves and nobody would be there to stop them from making that a reality. This is the ideology of conservatism as presented by those who gave the conservative movement its name. Racism and prejudice are embedded into it, and conservatives must grapple with this as long as they call themselves “conservative”. When I’m asked; “how long I thought racism would exist in America”. My answer is that it will exist as long as Conservatism exists. Racism is Conservative ideology DNA as much as tradition itself. It can’t be stripped away without altering the concept of preserving traditional institutions and values. Preserving existing institutions and traditions are the very things that define the ideology for conservatives. It was embedded into our constitution in Article 1 sec 2, Article 1 sec 9, and Article 4 sec 2, and 3. A Civil War was fought to preserve that institution. After Reconstruction, Jim Crow laws were established to preserve the racial and social hierarchy (Class) in the South. Those laws were racist, and an era of racial terrorism spanning decades was established to preserve those traditions. Segregation was an institution that conservatives fought to preserve. If you are a conservative, you hold those values as essential to who you are. It’s a fundamentalist way of thinking, and shares the same commitment to the dogma as found in any fundamentalist religion. The conditions imposed upon Blacks in the South were so intolerable that it took Acts of Congress in the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act to force Conservatives, especially those in the South that were the most vocal in their opposition, to accept the fact that blacks now had equal rights and the days of White Supremacy were over. We can see today that there is no room for the “moderate” in the Republican Party. The fact that the laws were passed does not mean that the attitudes of the conservative mind accepted those laws. If you are a conservative you don’t compromise your values. Each person running for office must demonstrate that he’s more conservative than his opponent, and that pushes them ever further to the extremes of the right wing. You can’t demonstrate that by compromising your beliefs. Your conservative beliefs must be without question or compromise. Each candidate becomes more extreme than the next, and his commitment to those beliefs must be demonstrable. There is no justification for the continually extremist views that he holds, and his traditional views must include its embedded racism in order to maintain consistency. If we claim a basis gives us truth, we then are making the implicit claim that truth requires bases. William Bartley said: “Beliefs must be justified by an appeal to an authority of some kind (usually the source of the belief in question) and this justification by an appropriate authority makes the belief either rational, or if not rational, at least valid for the person who holds it.”However, this is a requirement that can never be adequately met due to the problem of validation or the dilemma of infinite regress vs. He is staring into the black hole of infinite regress of justification with each position more extreme than the last. But then it is plainly obvious our own basis lacks a basis, as it cannot be its own basis. The only outlet for him is to say the conservatism is based on itself, which is a circular argument. David Miller, in his book Critical Rationalism: A Restatement and Defense, points to Bartley’s formulation of Comprehensively Critical Rationalism: In speaking of his Pan-Critical Rationalism: “This framework permits a rationalist to be characterized as one who is willing to entertain any position and holds all his positions, including his most fundamental standards, goals, decisions, and basic philosophical position, open to criticism; one who never cuts off an argument by resorting to faith, or irrational commitment to justify some belief that has been under severe critical fire; one who is committed, attached, addicted, to no position.” If Bartley, or anybody else for that matter, subscribed to that idea, how can prejudice enter into it? There doesn’t seem to be any room for it in that statement. Because if you are willing to criticize even your own most fundamental standards, goals, decisions, and basic philosophical position, then your own prejudices would be included among them. In other words, if you subscribed to this thinking, it would force you to confront those prejudices wherever and whenever they arise, and you would not be able to resort to faith, or irrational commitment to any ideology to justify that prejudice. All your positions are open to criticism and that would include your prejudices. It seems to me that a person committed to the idea of criticism must be willing to direct that criticism at himself as much as he is toward any outside ideas presented to him by others. I never had to fight for my place in the social fabric of this country. Although it’s impossible to be completely objective about ourselves, if we are confronted with a prejudice that lies somewhere hidden within us, and we hold to the Pan-Critical Rationalism that Bartley has put forth, we can either address that prejudice and rid ourselves of it, or accept our own hypocrisy and inconsistency in our thinking, and look for some way to justify it, but we can’t do both. I never had to fight, bleed or die for the right to vote. I was never denied access to a hotel, a restaurant, a school. You can’t hold two opposing positions simultaneously. When I look back at this country’s history, it’s impossible to separate race as a major factor in who we are as a nation. I was never beaten, or tortured, or lynched for not saying “sir” or stepping off the sidewalk when a white woman was coming toward me, or refusing to work without pay. No blood was ever shed to have the same rights as everyone else. I never had “the talk” that black parents give their sons on how to act if stopped by the police. Not being black, I can’t really put myself in their shoes. There was a time when I was told I couldn’t marry a person of another race, but we eventually got past that. They came to me free of charge courtesy of the genetic lottery. But if I can empathize with others, and I think I can, then I can begin to understand how blacks might not be too trusting of the motives of some people, especially those whose entire ideological identity is grounded in the very traditions and values that were deployed against me, or my ancestors over our history, to block or deny me the same rights that everyone else enjoys, and relegated me and my family to second class status. Other than that, I benefited from the genetic lottery. Why would I believe that their Canon, that is the doctrine and dogma of the ideology that they base their identity on, has somehow been modified and altered for my sake? If they really believe this stuff, they aren’t about to change it on my behalf. I can look at the legislation that is offered by these people, and see clearly that it impacts people of color in ways that it doesn’t affect others. Whatever their reasons are, I doubt that they’ve been able to justify its views on race. They are certainly useful to other conservatives to illustrate how open to minorities they really are. I can see on TV the video snuff films of unarmed blacks being killed by white cops, and see no indictments coming forward, and I question if this is justice. It’s the complete benefit of the doubt toward one group, and the total skepticism toward another. That would certainly be a way of showing inclusiveness, but why would conservatives feel a need to show that, unless they recognized that it was a problem with the ideology all along? This is how I see the racial situation in our country. It’s like the time when they called themselves “compassionate conservatives” (? I see it perpetuated by an ideology that will never let go of its traditional views on race. ) Why would they feel a need to call themselves that, unless they knew that conservatism is not, nor has it ever been, viewed as a compassionate ideology? I think that Conservatism is a racist ideology and that racism is literally woven into its fabric, and it can’t escape that fact without radically altering the entire concept of conservatism. We have a long, long history of that ideology that would inform us that the ideology isn’t going change to accommodate a few minorities. In order for that to change, Conservatives would have to discard the most significant part of the Canon; Traditionalism, and their dedication to preserving existing institutions and never compromising on their traditional values…(except maybe when it’s expedient to do so). But without that, Conservatism no longer exists, and we’d all be the better for it. Ideology v Philosophy: So which political party in America is the Racist party? The answer is that neither party is inherently racist, because parties don’t come to us with political philosophies or ideologies already attached to them. The parties take on the direction that the dominant philosophy or ideology imposes on them. There are very fundamental differences between philosophy and ideology. People will tell you that it’s the Democratic Party that was the party of Jim Crow and the KKK and White Supremacy in the south. There is no philosophy course at any University that teaches Republican or Democrat Philosophy. The parties are nothing but platforms for the philosophy or ideology that animates them. If you don’t like the program you’re watching, don’t blame the TV. That’s what guides and directs the party just as YOU guide and direct the program choices on your TV set. Ideology refers to a set of beliefs, doctrines that back a certain social institution or a particular organization. The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln and Lincoln freed the slaves. Philosophy refers to looking at life in a pragmatic manner and attempting to understand why life is as it is and the principles governing behind it. So, clearly the Democrats are the party of Racists. Ideology expresses dissatisfaction with the current state and aspires to be some future state whereas philosophy tries to understand the world in its current state. In other words, ideology is aimed at changing the world whereas philosophy is aimed at seeking the truth. Ideology is rigid and once fixed on certain beliefs, refuses to change its stance irrespective of any change in the surrounding environment. Challenging an ideologue can be the most difficult task. A philosopher, on the other hand, may arrive on some construct for the basis of life and other things but will be willing to discuss and ponder other philosophies. A philosopher is open minded and willing to listen to criticism whereas an ideologue will refute anything challenging his or her ideology outright. This also suggests that while philosophy encourages people to think, ideology discourages any thinking that goes against the basic doctrines that govern the ideology. The above definitions and differences clearly indicate that philosophy and ideology, if measured on a scale, would occupy two extreme ends of the scale. The purpose of any philosopher is to seek knowledge for the sake of wisdom and truth whereas an ideologue’s sole aim is to advocate and enforce his or her ideology wherever he can. Philosophy is objective whereas an ideologue will always impose his or her ideology’s vision and discard anything against it. Philosophy requires structured thinking whereas ideology has lot of personal emotions in play. Philosophy is neither harmful nor helpful as there is no advocacy behind it. On the other hand, an ideology can bring both harm and good to the society. This is because the set of doctrines that govern the ideology may always not serve universal interests and ideology demands advocacy and conversion of other beliefs and thoughts to that particular ideology in order to reign supreme. However, every ideology is born out of some philosophy. In conclusion, here is a summary of differences between philosophy and ideology. Philosophy refers to a pragmatic approach of looking and analyzing life. Ideology refers to a set of beliefs and rules belonging to a particular group or set of people 2. Philosophy aims at understand the world as it exists whereas ideology is born out of a vision for the future and aims at changing the current state to that particular vision 3. Philosophy is objective whereas ideology is dogmatic and refuses to participate in any discussion that does not agree with that ideology 4. Liberal Democrats from the North and the West embraced Civil Rights as a foundation to their party platform. Philosophy does not have as much impact as an ideology would have on the world ‘“ for ideology aims at spreading the beliefs and imposing them on the rest of the society irrespective of its relevance 5. And its that traditional conservatism that produced the racist views that dominated that region including the Jim Crow laws that followed Reconstruction, the KKK, and White Supremacy. The Democrats were now the stated party of Civil Rights. All ideologies have some underlying philosophy but it is not vice versa. Southern Conservative Democrats would never accept the idea of Civil Rights and were now marginalized within their own home. One by one over several years they left the party to become Republicans who welcomed them into the fold along with all their conservative values on race, religion, and guns. And when that ideology infects a political party, the party takes on that character trait and is defined by it. African/Americans and liberals moved toward the Democratic Party because that’s the party that embraced their cause and liberal values. We rejected the authoritarianism of a Monarchy, and declared ourselves a Democratic Republic. Our values and vision were articulated by visionaries such as Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and Madison. And that Conservatism is what defines the Republican party of today, right along with the racism that is in the very DNA of the conservative ideology. Here’s another way to demonstrate the truth of this argument: Most conservatives Voted for Donald Trump in the last election. He won over the Republican Party and the Republicans are a conservative party. Conservatives moved toward the Republican Party because that party embraced their traditional conservative values. That is the necessary core ingredient that defines it’s stated traditional values as articulated by Burke and Kirk, and Buckley and the Heritage Foundation and Ronald Reagan himself. So he won most of the conservative vote and in fact he holds sway with about 98% of the conservatives in Congress. So the once racist Democratic party was now the liberal civil rights party. Trump also won the support of White Nationalists, Neo-Nazi’s and the KKK included glowing praise from David Duke himself who declared that White Supremacists have a friend in Trump. And the once party of Lincoln was now the party of Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy. It’s the ideology that drives the party that’s racist. They may have changed their party affiliation, but they’ve never changed their conservatism. Now, there aren’t very many people in the Republican Party that call themselves Conservatives that would ever admit to having anything to do with David Duke and the KKK. They would tell you that they reject him totally and unequivocally. And yet…some point along the political spectrum, their values and those of David Duke intersect and meet in agreement on Donald Trump as their choice for a President that reflects their views. They have IN FACT, something in common with David Duke and the KKK; some point where they find themselves in agreement with these people that they would never admit to giving the time of day to. At some point they do share a common interest as articulated by Trump. But at some point, if you’re a conservative that voted for Trump, then you have found a place of agreement with the KKK. No liberal will ever have anything in common with the KKK or David Duke. A shared mutual interests in what Trump has to offer. There is no point of agreement that can be found between them. And that should be enough to jolt you back into the real world. If not, then this country is in very serious trouble. Read Full Post » The Hobby Lobby Decision In her dissent on the contraception ruling, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg notes that “the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities.” That used to be true. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals explained last year that courts have “long recognized the distinction between the owners of a corporation and the corporation itself.” Ruling that “a for-profit corporation can engage in religious exercise” would “eviscerate the fundamental principle that a corporation is a legally distinct entity from its owners.” In the Hobby Lobby ruling, the court’s conservative majority made up of 5 Catholic men, makes the opposite assumption. Justice Alito wrote: And there we have the crux of the problem with this decision. The religious inclinations of the owners of a corporation are now extended outward into the corporation itself. This is made possible by the ridiculous “Citizens United” ruling by the SCOTUS that Corporations are People. Clearly, if money = speech, then speech isn’t Free. The more money you have, the more speech you have at your disposal. Those with very little money, have virtually no speech at all. With campaign’s now hitting the Billion Dollar mark, the transition from Democracy to Plutocracy is completed. The owners of the corporation most certainly have their own individual religious identity which is respected as well it should be. However, they are accountable to no-one but themselves for their beliefs. They are free to hold whatever beliefs they may have, but now have the added legal authority to impose those beliefs on their own employees. If proselytize means, promote, advocate, champion, advance, further, spread, proclaim, peddle, preach, endorse, urge, recommend, boost, which Hobby Lobby engages in even to the extent of pumping Christian religious music into their stores, then it’s clear that every employee and every customer is a target for conversion to the owners own brand of ideological thinking. Depending on the owners religious inclinations they could claim that their beliefs oppose all forms of vaccinations, or medications. The Hobby Lobby ruling makes those religious beliefs a priority within the corporation itself and felt by those that work for the company, whether they subscribe to them or not. They could oppose other laws on religious grounds that are designed to counter discrimination in the work place. They could oppose providing services to some people based on their religious beliefs. But it does mean that by using the logic that the court applied to Hobby Lobby, there is nothing standing in their way. They are now afforded the same religious exemptions as a church which is exempted from the Civil Rights Act. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: UNLAWFUL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES: SEC. [Section 703] (a) Employer practices It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer – (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or (2) to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Title VII contains only one religious exemption, which applies to any “religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society.” Such groups are allowed to make employment decisions on the basis of an individual’s particular religion. The same protection is extended to any “school, college, university, or other educational institution” if the curriculum is “directed toward the propagation of a particular religion.” That exemption now applies to a for- profit, closely held corporation that claims to have a religious identity. This exemption does not apply to the other protected classes like sex, race, and national origin — it only says that religious organizations can discriminate based on religion. Again, Hobby Lobby now qualifies as a religious organization in the eyes of the Supreme Court. It’s a for profit corporation owned by a Christian family. If it were a religious corporation it could enjoy the same tax free status as that of a church. It’s also a corporation licensed to do business by the state, which cannot allow discrimination of any kind, religious or otherwise, to be acceptable. In effect, the state now engages in religious discrimination as well. It is casting a favored status toward one religion, that other’s do not enjoy. And the taxpayer is paying taxes to that government which is now offering a favored status to one religion. Hobby Lobby can avail itself of the benefits of religious exemptions previously extended to the church but denied to secular organizations. How is that possible where the separation of Church and State is the very principle that is necessary for a Democracy to exist? In his statement; Alito believes corporations have the right to exercise religious beliefs – and that right demands protection. The court majority takes it as a given that a corporation, and not the literal people in it, can attend worship services, pray, contemplate moral quandaries, read scriptural texts, and reach spiritual conclusions that now include what medications their employees can avail themselves of through their healthcare plans. And that right trumps the individual rights of its employees to exercise their own religious beliefs or non-beliefs, in favor of those held by the owners. A persons religious or political or philosophical beliefs belong to him. He doesn’t surrender them for the privilege of working for Hobby Lobby. Forced to do so, Hobby Lobby would be openly guilty of violation of the Civil Rights Act Title VII which prohibits discrimination in the work place with regards to among other things; Religion. Assuming that Corporations are People Too, when may we expect to see a corporation playing Tight End for the Patriots, or second base for the Cubs? If a corporation is responsible for the deaths of people using their product, are they capable of receiving the death penalty in a place like Texas? In a place where torture is redefined as “enhanced interrogation”, I suppose anything is possible. Alito stated this; “Any suggestion that for-profit corporations are incapable of exercising religion because their purpose is simply to make money flies in the face of modern corporate law.” This is hard to digest since corporate law has actually said the exact opposite. The Constitutional Accountability Center’s Doug Kendall specifically noted in a press statement, “For the first time in our nation’s history, the Supreme Court has ruled that for-profit corporations have religious rights and have accorded them religious exemptions. Despite their attempts to qualify that ruling, it opens the floodgates to claims by corporations for religious exemptions.” Ahh…so there he qualifies this ruling as only applicable to contraception; a direct shot at the Affordable Care Act which he opposed . Justice Alito it appears, is not above playing politics. If any degree of logic has been used to come to this decision, then what Alito is telling us is that Logic is arbitrary. It applies when we decide it’s useful to achieve a particular result, but denied in all other circumstances. By what reasoning do the five conservatives conclude that a Corporate Person’s objections to contraception are more legitimate than a Corporate Person’s objections to blood transfusions? What is the logic that is being used to come up with this? According to Justice Ginsberg; “Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.’ The Court, I fear has ventured into a minefield.” The issue is ridiculous for the simple unavoidable fact that the first Amendment, (Religious Liberty) which Hobby Lobby and of course the Conservative Republicans; which would include the majority of the members of the SCOTUS, are claiming is their basis, clearly states that ““. The First Amendment forbids not only establishments, but also any law respecting or relating to an establishment. Most importantly, it forbids any law respecting an establishment of “religion.” It does not say “a religion,” “a national religion,” “one sect or society,” or “any particular denomination of religion.” It is religion generically that may not be established. Examine this phrase: Clearly the example makes no sense on its own. It must refer back to the establishment clause to get its meaning. When a Conservative stands on his soap box and preaches “Whatever happened to the first amendment right to Free Exercise of Religion? ”; he says this being completely oblivious to the wording of the amendment he is citing. His argument is over birth control, which is not a religion. He is claiming birth control violates his religious beliefs and his freedom of expression. However, when he cites the free exercise of religion , he must refer back to the establishment clause for his definition. The establishment clause does more than ban the federal government from establishing religion; it bars even laws respecting establishment. The Supreme Court’s decision violates the establishment clause of the 1 Amendment. The First Amendment does not say that Congress shall not establish a religion or create an establishment of religion. It says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. Whether “respecting” means honoring or concerning, the clause means that Congress shall make no law on that subject. The ban is not just on establishments of religion but on laws respecting them, a fact that allows a law to fall short of creating an establishment yet still be unconstitutional. The Free Exercise Clause not only protects religious belief and expression; it also seems to allow for violation of laws, as long as that violation is made for religious reasons. In the terms of economic theory, the Free Exercise Clause promotes a free religious market by precluding taxation of religious activities by minority sects. They rise or fall on their own merits without the table being tilted by the government. Constitutional scholars and even Supreme Court opinions have contended that the two religion clauses are in conflict. As mentioned previously, the Free Exercise Clause implies special accommodation of religious ideas and actions, even to the point of exemptions to generally applicable laws. Such a special benefit seems to violate the neutrality between “religion and non-religion” mandated by the Establishment Clause. Connecticut Obviously, a person cannot engage in murder and claim that his religion calls for human sacrifice, and he’s simply engaged in the Free Exercise of his religious beliefs. The Establishment Clause actually trumps the Free Ex clause. There are limits to what we may see as Free expression of our beliefs. You may not expect a free pass to act on those beliefs. An overlooked aspect of the free exercise clause which is a blind spot among Conservative/Republicans, is that it looks back to the establishment clause for its definition of “religion.” This is why scholars and even the court itself have made the argument that the two clauses act against each other and present a paradox. The establishment clause says that Congress may make no law respecting an establishment of “religion,” while the free exercise clause says that Congress cannot prohibit the free exercise “thereof.” Logically, the word “thereof” must have the same content as the object to which it refers. Accordingly, what counts as “religion” for one clause must count as “religion” for the other. The free exercise clause makes no sense unless the word “religion” is read to encompass more than a church, denomination, or sect. The state abridges free exercise when it interferes with only small parts of an individual’s religious practice. The state, for example, abridges free exercise when it tells students they cannot pray during school, even if it allows them complete freedom to practice all other aspects of their faith. Similarly, the state cannot tell a church it must provide contraception coverage even if the church is otherwise left free to use its property as it wishes. Private prayer and contraception are protected by the free exercise clause despite the fact that neither of these practices constitutes religions in and of themselves. If prayer and contraception count as “religion” for the purposes of the free exercise clause, they must also count as “religion” for the purposes of the establishment clause. Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a student she cannot pray, so too does it establish religion when it requires prayer to be said in the schools. Just as the state abridges religion when it tells a church it must provide contraception coverage, so too does it establish religion when it makes a law that would deny contraception coverage to people outside the realm of the church , based on a religious exemption argument. The state does not cross the line to establishment only when it goes to the trouble and expense of setting up a state church; it crosses that line when it sets up any religious practice that constitutes “religion” for the purposes of free exercise. To the extent that Conservative/Republicans want to read the “thereof” in the free exercise clause broadly, they must also accept a broad reading of “religion” in the establishment clause. This ruling is really a totally transparent attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act. It opens a loophole that you could drive a battleship through. It gives a religious or moral exemption to anything an employer may object to. To accept the logic and reasoning of Alito, if an employer decides that prayer cures all, then he could deny any kind of health care to his employees based on a religious or moral objection. It introduces government mandated discrimination based on religious or moral objections outside the title VII exemption of the Civil Rights Act for the church. If held as valid, then logically that same argument could be used for denying a veteran a job because the employer doesn’t believe in War, and it could also introduce discrimination based on a host of other moral or religious objections. Discrimination appears to be a common thread running through conservatism. But we live in a pluralistic society whether we like that or not. We all sacrifice certain amounts of our individualism in order to function in that society. The object is to balance that important sense of individuality within the framework of our society. We cannot function with 300 million people making decisions over what laws they will follow based on moral or religious objections. We cooperate with each other in order to make that society work. To the extent that some of us are unwilling to make that effort, our nation is suffers the consequences. When your ideology is so all consuming that you cannot recognize its own built in fallibility as well as your own, the countries interests are never served. Only the interests of that ideology are being served. And why would anybody follow an ideology that presents itself as infallibly true, but can never demonstrate why? SCOTUS is a political machine of the Left. And the Left’s got their best on the bench 4 Jews and a modernist Catholic. No matter how they slice it with legal.

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