History

Communist Tract of the Day

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H. Bruce Franklin is a man of many hats. A professor of English and American Studies at Rutgers, he has written respected books on Melville, menhaden, and the history of science fiction, among other subjects. He is also the author of one of the most bizarre exercises in historical interpretation that I've ever read: the introduction to a collection called The Essential Stalin. This essay isn't just an ode to Stalin. It's an ode to Stalin published in 1972, painting him as a People's Hero that the New Left could love. If you're an aficionado of revisionism gone wrong, this is your Holy Grail.

The collectivization of agriculture, for example, is described as a spontaneous, bottom-up process, with Stalin serving as a moderating influence:

Eat your heart out, Bob Avakian.

the capitalist privileges allowed under [the New Economic Policy] were revoked. This was known as the restriction of the kulaks. The kulaks, whose very existence as a class was thus menaced, struck back. They organized terrorist bands who attacked the co-operatives and collectives, burning down barns when they were filled with grain, devastating the fields, and even murdering Communist peasant leaders….Virtual open civil war began to rage throughout the countryside. As a collective farm movement spread rapidly, pressure mounted among the poor and middle peasants to put an end to landlordism and usury in the countryside for good. In 1929 Stalin agreed that the time had come to eliminate the kulaks as a class. He led the fight to repeal the laws that allowed the renting of land and the hiring of labor, thus depriving the kulaks both of land and of hired workers. The ban on expropriation of the large private holdings was lifted, and the peasants promptly expropriated the kulak class….It is undoubtedly true that in many areas there was needless violence and suffering. But this did not originate with Stalin. It was the hour of Russia's peasant masses, who had been degraded and brutalized for centuries and who had countless blood debts to settle with their oppressors. Stalin may have unleashed their fury, but he was not the one who had caused it to build up for centuries. In fact it was Stalin who checked the excesses generated by the enthusiasm of the collective movement.

Franklin also pushes back against "the orthodox U.S. view of the purge trials" with a narrative that relies heavily on Joseph E. Davies' book Mission to Moscow—yes, the source for Michael Curtiz's infamous movie. The argument peaks with this passage:

Stalin…had publicly admitted, not in 1956, but at least as early as 1939, that innocent people had been convicted and punished in the purge: "It cannot be said that the purge was not accompanied by grave mistakes. There were unfortunately more mistakes than might have been expected." (Report to the Eighteenth Congress.) That is one reason why many of those tried and convicted in the last trials were high officials from the secret police, the very people guilty of forcing fake confessions.

There's much more, including a novel defense of the Hitler-Stalin pact and an argument that Stalin, at the end of his life, "began to turn his attention to the most serious threat to the world revolution, the bureaucratic-technocratic class." Sadly, The Essential Stalin is out of print. Happily, the helpful archivists at The Marxist-Leninist have scanned and posted the essay at their site, allowing everyone on the Internet to read this very original contribution to Soviet studies.

Elsewhere in Reason: Bruce Franklin, meet Gary Allen.

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  1. Yeah he was a real hero.

  2. Read “Bloodlands”.
    There are examinations of Stalin’s idiocy, paranoia and cruelty that are even more honest, but that is the most accessible.
    H. Bruce Franklin is a lying, sleazy asshole.

    1. Just saw a review on Slate for Bloodlands that was good.

      Actually that led me to two other good articles, something weird is going on here.

      One article was a man on the scene piece at Tahir Square today, great fucking read.

      The other was about cpac and the Pauls by Weigel(!)that was pretty good.

      1. Threadjack from the other thread – congrats on quitting smoking! 4 months for me – no desire to start again, except to PISS OFF non-smokers…which I believe you noted as well 🙂

        Feel much better since I quit. Hope it’s going well for you.

        1. Thanks, but quitting is just not doing something…not very hard.

          1. Except for the first three months when you want to claw out people’s eyes with your non existent bird talons. That was hard.

            1. I have that urge all the time…

          2. Per the Supreme Court:

            “Actually, we haven’t yet decided whether not doing something will be easier than doing something. We’ll keep you posted.”

    2. *stamping feet*
      I wrote about this too!

    3. Court of the Red Tsar is really good to. It is a full biography of Stalin and pulls no punches.

    4. I recommend Koba the dread.
      It?s not a history book, more anectodal. Written by an intellectual haunted by his friends? sympathy for such a monster.

      Although Stalin?s paranoia sent him to such extremes that the army lacked experienced officers in 1942 (so many had been purged), the rule by terror and constant culling of the population was already a feature of bolschevism. It was not enough to exterminate the upper classes, the kulaks, the clergy. You had to persistently weed out the less desirable from the population, in a wicked form of darwinism, to advance towards the ideal socialist man.

    5. >H. Bruce Franklin is a lying, sleazy asshole.

      Isn’t that mandatory for commies?

      -jcr

  3. The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America

    Some other guy wrote a book saying it was Cod.

  4. Stalin is my second-favorite political philosopher.

    1. As always, the Chinaman is #1.

      1. For us it’s forever Joseph.

      2. The chinaman is not the issue!

        1. someday, the yellow will be mellow.

          1. And the redman will get ahead, man.

            1. All my friends are brown and red.

              1. We’re not really your friends, Chris. We’re just using you to get laid.

              2. Aren’t I really the one to make that comment?

                1. You told me to run for the border and this is what happens?

    2. he truly was an inspiration

      1. +7 million Zimbabwe dollars

        1. Thanks for giving us your 2cents worth.

          1. I almost think it’s a promotion for an SNL skit or a Woody Allen movie. Then I realize…..

  5. We need a Ron Paul speech thread goddamnit. He basically went full-on an-cap, it was awesome.

    1. I am not a Paultard, but that was a pretty good speech.

  6. this man had both my grandfathers purged.

    1. It’s a lot less funny and quaint and explainable when your family is of Eastern European/Slav/Russian descent, isn’t it? I rarely get indignant about it or push the issue publicly, but I’m horrified by hammer and sickle displays and the red stars and all that.

      1. I was born in Eastern Europe, and have heard stories of various family members slaughtered like animals to the benevolent wisdom of communism.

        Seeing idiots like this in the US enrages me.

        H. Bruce Franklin is willfully ignorant. It would do him no good to read the books mentioned above, as he would just ignore that which didn’t conform to his wicked philosophy. Instead of reading those books, he should be beaten with those books, at least then there’s a chance the stupid would get knocked out of him.

        1. Oh, come on. Don’t forget that the nice americans were the most important allies of good old stalin…

          1. And the Brits…

            1. They used to call me Uncle Joe!

              1. Although he disliked that nickname, being very protective of his dignity. Like many alcoholics.

                I just read The Secret History of Alcoholism, which makes a convincing case, based not just on the many anecdotal reports of his heavy drinking, but on other behaviors: egomania, exaggerated suspicion of others, being a night owl, betraying of friends, abuse of relatives, premature aging, puffiness under the eyes and a “chipmunk face,” etc.

                Alcoholism would help explain his refusal to accept Sorge’s numerous reports of Hitler’s impending betrayal, and the fact that for about 10 days after Hitler attacked, Stalin basically disappeared, apparently on a bender. When he finally reappeared, his hands were shaking.

          2. The exigency of winning WWII, which seemed more important at the moment.

    2. Were your grandfathers kulak terrorists? I’m sure they were because Dr Franklin has a PhD and that means that he’s intelligent and right about stuff and not batshit insane at all.
      This reminds me of a few years back when I was writing a paper on the Korean war and found a book in the library from the 1970s, written by a couple of westerners about how great life is in North Korea. I’d pay a lot of Kim Jong Il dollars to see these people end up in their utopia.

      1. And those people had and have real academic careers. In a just world they would they would have all the credibility of David Irving. Instead, they get tenure.

        1. And what’s wrong with david irving? Oh right. He doesn’t lick the boots of the anglo-american nazis…

          1. No, he licks the boots of the German variety.

          2. He is a holocaust denier. That is what is wrong with him.

            1. He’s not just a holocaust denier: he’s one of the holocaust deniers who are trying to whitewash the holocaust with an eye towards getting another shot at it.

              -jcr

      2. There’s a lot of academic-oriented studies from the 1960s-late 1970s that seem so anachronistic today–a bunch of essays by openly communist-sympathizing holdovers from the 1950s alongside their ‘tard Mao-worshipping students as they became professors themselves.

        That was one of the most hilarious ironies about a Marxist like Howard Zinn being lionized as a progressive historical godfather–People’s History of the United States wasn’t any different than what had been written the previous 20 years or so; Zinn merely synthesized all that work into the one volume of commie propoganda that his colleagues had been clamoring for.

        That was basically when the Academic Studies Holy Trinity was established (Class, Gender, and Ethnicity), and that mindset has gotten so ossified by now that there is very little that’s being published now that doesn’t fall into this troika of left-wing fetishism. The academic disciplines are quite literally producing nothing of real insight or awareness–just a ever-increasing intellectual body of mental masturbation.

        The new profs being produced aren’t nearly as radical as their forebears were (given the increasing degradation of educational competence, their thinking is nowhere near as sophisticated), but their blind spot when it comes to the glorious communalistic authoritarian utopia is certainly no less severe.

        1. “The new profs being produced aren’t nearly as radical as their forebears were (given the increasing degradation of educational competence, their thinking is nowhere near as sophisticated)”

          See the recent Glenn Beck Piven throw down for an example of this. It is remarkable how crude the defenses offered by Piven’s fellow academics have been. Their thinking boils down to “Glenn Beck is nasty and a few people said nasty things to Piven”.

          1. Yeah, the complaints about Beck on that issue were really nothing more than reactionary tribalism.

            1. Howard and I are drinking buddies from college.

  7. I am not surprised. I signed on for a Russian history class and on the first day this is the kind of bullshit we were presented with. I went home and dropped the class, having no patience to spend my summer hearing that apologist malarkey.

    1. It does not befit a young mind to flee from encounters with ideas from outside one’s anti-Stalin echo chamber.

      1. Is the anti-Stalin echo chamber different from say, the anti-Hitler echo chamber?

        1. Also, taking a summer class by itself costs upward of three grand. I can come here and read Max’s post for free.

        2. No, the anti-Hitler echo chamber has fake shower heads installed around the walls.

      2. It’s not like there’s a shortage of Marxist courses. You may as well pick the ones that are not completely sickening.

        1. “It’s not like there’s a shortage of Marxist courses.”

          Agreed. You could pretty much take any social sciences course at any college and they all boil down to three main points:

          1. White men are bad,
          2. Everyone else is a victim,
          3. Marxism is wonderful.

          If it’s a U.S. History class you also have to include:

          4. FDR was the best president ever.

          1. 3-A) Wilson was misunderstood, but meant well. He really was an awesome president.

            1. 1-A) Rich white men are REALLY bad.

              2-A)Nature is a victim too.

              5. All criticisms of 1-3 are propagated by the capitalistic masculinist Eurocentric hegemony. It doesn’t matter if they are ‘reasonable’ because reason is just one of many ways to know the world(s) and it’s been privileged over the others by the hegemony as a self-preservation ploy. Non-reasonable attempts to criticise 1-3 are, of course, simply fascist.

              1. Reason itself is a capitalist construct whose sole purpose is the enslavement of the feebleminded.

                1. What you said, Professor.

      3. True, Tulpa, but all we need to know is a) Stalin was a murdering thug and b) communism and its inbred retarded offshoot socialism, are best left to brief, scathing, derision-laden history lessons.

    2. “I am not surprised. I signed on for a Russian history class and on the first day this is the kind of bullshit we were presented with. I went home and dropped the class, having no patience to spend my summer hearing that apologist malarkey.”

      I want to make sure I understand your comment.
      Are you saying that a “Russian History” class in a US university, denied Stalin’s crimes and murderous policies? That is was the equivalent of holocaust denial?

      1. I actually made a similar point to another person who took the class. They were saying that the prof made good points about how the western media had its own narrative on Stalin that wasn’t exactly true. I asked them what they would think of a professor that said the same of Hitler.

        1. If Hitler had never invaded Russia, these left-wing dopes would still be saying that he wasn’t such a bad guy.

    3. That’s funny. One of my Russian (contemporary) history courses was taught by Valentin Berezkhov, Stalin’s personal interpreter. Dude had some serious stories to tell.

      1. so, this one time, old Joe and me went to the rippers. He had this 5-ruble note, he kept putting in their g-strings, that he had a string tied to.
        so many laughs we shared that night.
        then he shot the bartender for putting too much soda in his drink.

        1. You laugh, but many of them were along the lines of “everyone tried very hard not to be caught in the hall when Stalin was wandering the offices. Everyone would hide lest they catch his notice.”

          1. “everyone tried very hard not to be caught in the hall when Stalin was wandering the offices. Everyone would hide lest they catch his notice.”

            Paul Johnson in “Modern Times” writes how the whole country basically suffered due to Stalin’s increasing paranoia as time passed. Reminds me of those Turkish sultans that would simply kill someone in their court for the most innocuous of reasons.

            1. But I’m funny how? Funny like a clown? I amuse you?

              1. Few people realize that Stalin led a double life; he was known in the liquor racket as “Joey Pinko”, and he supplied all the vodka Joe Kennedy sold in Boston.

                -jcr

      2. Wow. I would imagine the guy had some serious PTSD. I can’t imagine working in an environment where my boss can at his whim condemn me, my family, and everyone I have ever known to hell.

        1. For a dramatization of this, see The Inner Circle

          1. Great movie. Seriously underrated.

          2. There is a great scene in the Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle where Viktor Abakumov, the head of the Soviet Secret Police meets with Stalin. It talks about the torture of meeting him and how Abakumov knew he was too high up and too close to Stalin to quit, yet also knew that eventually he would be killed. At one point Stalin wonders to himself “has the day come to shoot him yet?”

    4. I’ve heard stories of Russian students in the 1990s in classes where the profs were trying to feed them that bullshit, and the hilarity that ensued as people who had actually lived under Soviet domination ripped them new orifices.

      -jcr

  8. Academic loves communist dictators, film at eleven.

    1. Spoken like a true Christ-fag socon asshole.

      1. Gag yourself on Stalin’s kok while struggling to apologize for him.

      2. Gag yourself on Stalin’s excrement.

      3. Gag yourself on Joseph’s excrement.

      4. Gag yourself on Stalin’s excrement.

        1. Can I book you on my show, shrike?

      5. Atheist-fag (what’s a socon?) asshole, thank you very much.

        1. Social conservative. I keep thinking “Southern Connecticut” every time I see it. I think it’s an unwieldy term, but hey, that’s the joint.

  9. Jesus christ, just a thread for the Ron Paul speech goddamn. He runs the gamut from constitutionalism to full-on anarcho-capitalism in a single speech. Who cares about discredited authors from 30 years ago supporting a dying regime?

    1. I checked it out and am glad that I did.

      He took a sip of water, pulled a napkin out of his pocket and read from it: “Get the fuck off of my lawn.”

      That was a damn good speech. His supporters made good and loud noise.

  10. You’ve convinced me. I’m watching it now. If I have anything to say, I’ll comment.

  11. That was for Bingo.

    1. They smile at me. Creepily.

    2. It’s always the damn squirrels…

      IMO, the best speech he’s ever given. Every libertarian ideal is present.

      1. Yeah, I’d say he walked right into the belly of it and talked about foreign policy and Wilsonianism quite a bit. I have to say, though, it sounded a lot like this blog does every day, so these ideas don’t fire me up as much as they might have if this wasn’t an outlet for me. But notice he went nowhere near social issues. It was free markets and foreign policy.

        Here’s the thing: I think people forget that before GWB and 9/11, most of the intellectual and young right — at least during the 90’s — was really conservative/libertarian at heart, so I’m not too shocked by any of this, really. I think the surprise that Ron Paul would be popular at this point in American history comes from those who didn’t really follow the intellectual trends on campus, in D.C., etc. I remember when William F. Buckley released a book called “Reflections of a Libertarian Journalist.” Whether he was a libertarian was one thing, but the title shows something about where sympathies were in the 90’s. That’s my two cents, anyway.

        Oh, and Paul stammers a lot and often relies on “trust me’s” and authoritative statements when he needs to be calmly citing proof. His ideas are too far out of the centrist mainstream to just announce to anyone but those already versed in the terminology and the ideas. They’d kill him on ironic and cynical talk shows. It’s sad — and ideas are what really matter — but it’s an issue.

        1. Oh, and he did also did make sure to make a big point about the increasing (and unwanted) power of the administrative state and the executive branch. That was great.

        2. He talked about getting government out of personal lives, which, you gotta admit, was a pretty big thing for a conservative audience. If you’re already experienced in libertarian thinking, then yeah, they are going to seem to be pretty common place. But this is news to a lot of people and to hear someone speaking the truth for the first time is a big deal to people.

          I think you’re almost too cynical, although part of me agrees with it. Where is your campus that you refer to? At my campus (Arizona State) he got a pretty big crowd the last time he spoke.

          The 90s were the lowest point of libertarian history, both in Buckley and rightwingers claiming to be libertarian and in that the libertarian movement was seen as bonded to the rightwingers. Really though, the free distribution of free market ideas has been the greatest factor in pulling it away from race baiters and bigots. It’s unfortunate that we have the Ron Paul newletters as part of our history, but it doesn’t change the idea that people are better at making decisions for themselves than the government is.

          1. Oh, I meant I’m not surprised by his popularity on campus. Bad wording. I went to a school in Central New York. No libertarianism to speak of, save for me. It was the nineties. I do remember a distinct libertarian movement within the right, though. I’m not sure it was as dead, nor as bad, as you think. I’ll bet most of the writers and intellects of today got their start then. Maybe what happened was the communitarian conservatives carried the politics, the libertarians carried the thought. That’s the best I can assess it.

            Sorry for the cynicism. I’m just ruthless with politics, and I forget that sometimes it’s just nice to hear a speech and get fired up. There are so many filters through which information can be distorted, and people (bless ’em) don’t pay enough attention to wade through the crap.

            On that note, he did talk about small government, though I’m not sure that sidestepping the GOPProud issue and the abortion issue are going to work for him in the future. People are going to ask him what he thinks if he’s a serious primary challenger, and I’ll bet he’s going to have to make a fine distinction about states and states’ rights that will be a little tricky to hew to when the spotlight comes calling.

            I’m glad I watched it. Peace.

            1. I am a student currently, although older and I try not to advertise my age or my political beliefs. Cynicism is my lifeblood, but I don’t think it’s warranted in the case for liberty.

              Social conservatism carries few, and fiscal conservatism only carries those that know about it (also, few). Progressive ideology is rampant and, obviously, the product of the status quo. The ideological flaws of progressivism are obvious to anyone that cares to examine it, most explicit being the nullification of the individual. Freedom to live your life as you choose will always be of the utmost importance to any young adult, and that’s precisely why the university (and the youth in particular) are so vital to our movement.

              The young aren’t progressives, but they aren’t conservatives either. They believe in themselves more than government or tradition ever will. And that gives me hope for liberty.

              Peace and success, always, hombre.

              1. I am a student currently, although older and I try not to advertise my age or my political beliefs.

                ASU grad myself(MA, 2002)–believe me, I know exactly what you mean. Funniest incident from my time there was the fellow TA who transferred to UW-Madison after our first year because the program at ASU wasn’t left-wing enough (!) for her tastes.

          2. He talked about getting government out of personal lives, which, you gotta admit, was a pretty big thing for a conservative audience. If you’re already experienced in libertarian thinking, then yeah, they are going to seem to be pretty common place. But this is news to a lot of people and to hear someone speaking the truth for the first time is a big deal to people.

            For a lot of people, that principle defines “the Right”. And for a lot of people, that principle is properly recognized as the defining ideal of the Constitution.

            If people who claim to hold libertarian beliefs wish to distance themselves from “extremes”, they would do well to remember that their beliefs depend on being extreme on principle and in practice. Moderation is not all it’s cracked up to be, especially where breathing and liberty are concerned.

            1. I realize libertarianism is at the extreme of modern political philosophy; however, in my experience, I find too many people agree with me to call it extremist. Oddly, embracing the extremes and speaking your mind as a pure libertarian gains a lot more people sympathetic to the cause than does being a milquetoast quasi-individualist republican or democrat.

              1. however, in my experience, I find too many people agree with me to call it extremist

                Popularity of a thought is orthogonal to the degree of compromise the thought represents between logical opposites.

        3. No one who answers in more than just sound bites can get anywhere on a talk show. I watched Joy Behar or whatever her name is completely ignore and cut off Ron Paul on “The View”. Then she said “you know you can’t win, right? Why are you even running?”

          1. Why Joy Blowhard is given any type of credence is a mystery.

            1. Why Joy Blowhard is given any type of credence is a mystery.

              Well, somebody has to sit there on stage every day and make me look at least minimally less retarded, dammit.

              1. And you two old sea cows get to make me look pretty!

                1. We tried to find someone capable of making Joy Behar seem pretty in comparison, but Tor Johnson and Shemp Howard are both dead.

  12. The book was odious. But it was written in 1972 fer chrissake.

    Get over it.

    1. No way. The left should constantly have its idiocy during the cold war thrown in its face. They like to forget just what crap weasels they were and pretend everyone was an anti-communist and the only real bad guy during the Cold War was McCarthy.

      He who owns the past owns the future. We shouldn’t ever let the Left air brush the past.

      1. That particular book may be old, but its principles are still lauded by leftists and other fools today.

      2. “The Left”? Like JFK taking us to the brink of war over Cuba? Like LBJ doubling down on SE Asia? Those guys? I guess they were just teasing their commie brethren, sort of the geopolitical equivalent of a noogie.

    2. I thought it was all relegated to the trash-heap of history until I got a job at a university. There are visual arts professors masquerading as political scientists asking students to produce art that reflects the eco-history of anti-capitalism and leftists galore who used to spend most of the class berating Bush a few years ago. He deserved to be berated, but that’s not a class.

      Then the whole university made a big deal when they invited this stalinist nut Zizek to speak. The business school had previously had Ron Paul come in, so there is some balance but Zizek was someone many of the humanities and social science professors and administrators just slobbered over.

    3. Why should I, or anyone else, get over it?
      It was not an off-hand remark or a drunken rant, it was a book (edited and redacted) about “the essential stalin”, how millions of farmers were killed, or starved to death, because they were terrorists. That book will follow him to his grave and forever, and it should.

  13. Is this guy running for President? Forget Christie. What about the governor of Wisconsin. This is eight shades of awesome.

    Gov. Scott Walker said Friday thousands of state workers would be laid off if the Legislature does not adopt his plan to repair the budget that includes cutting benefits and taking away almost all union bargaining rights from public workers.

    Walker also signaled that in a larger budget plan coming later this month he would cut aid to local governments and let local officials deal with those cuts at least in part through savings on their employee costs. Walker wants the Legislature – which is controlled by his fellow Republicans – to act quickly on the plan, approving it by Feb. 25. It could move even faster than that, likely going before lawmakers next week.

    The governor also said the National Guard is at the ready to take control of state prisons if correctional officers strike or take job actions. No union official has endorsed such a job action, but Walker said he was prepared for any contingency.

    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2…..-been.html

    1. The governor also said the National Guard is at the ready to take control of state prisons if correctional officers strike or take job actions. No union official has endorsed such a job action, but Walker said he was prepared for any contingency.

      +1000

      I’ve always wanted to see a Governor bring in the National Guard to look after the parks when the uncivil servants try a government shutdown and try to gain the sympathy of the people by getting images of children not being able to go to the park on the nightly news.

    2. Calling in the National Guard to deal with labor issues is b.s. That’s not the function of the National Guard. Imagine if private employers could deal with labor strikes by impressing an army to take their place.

      Of course in the old days they just called in the Guard to shoot the union members…

      1. The National Guard is there to deal with public emergencies. IF the public workers are going to try to extort money out of the public by threatening to not show up for work at prisons (thereby creating one hell of an emergency), the governor has a right to call out the National Guard to alleviate that emergency.

        You think it is okay for public sector workers to threaten the safety of the public by withholding vital services via a strike in order to get higher wages. But somehow it is wrong for the government and the voters to try to mitigate that disaster.

        Seriously MNG, your cravenness in defending these people knows no bounds. There is nothing they could do that you wouldn’t defend.

        1. “You think it is okay for public sector workers to threaten the safety of the public by withholding vital services via a strike in order to get higher wages.”

          WTF, you think though they dislike the current offer they are getting they should go to work for what, the public good? What an altruistic guy you are after all John! And contracters should supply things the government needs even if they don’t like the terms offered, you know, for the public good!

          1. But now we can drop the idea that they’re selflessly doing it for the public good, right?

      2. Imagine if private employers could deal with labor strikes by impressing an army to take their place.

        Isn’t this a lot more like a private employer dealing with a labor strike by shifting its non-striking employees around to the most pressing vacancies?

        Also, would you prefer that a governor let the prisons go unmanned during a strike?

        1. The government, as noted here often, takes money from you and me to pay for the National Guard, so it is a bit diffferent than just shifting parts of your workforce around.

          If not contractually bound the government as employer should be free to replace such workers with voluntary applicants, but they should not be able to impress the armed forces to intervene outside of their purview.

          1. The Guard is different than the regular military, and is filled with voluntary applicants.

            The Guard mission statement from nationalguard.com:

            The incredible versatility of the National Guard enables its troops to respond to domestic emergencies, combat missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more?all with equal speed, strength and efficiency.

            I think it could be easily argued that suddenly unmanned prisons counts as a ‘domestic emergency’.

          2. The government, as noted here often, takes money from you and me to pay for the National Guard, so it is a bit diffferent than just shifting parts of your workforce around.

            What? That’s how the government pays for all of its workforce.

  14. Also, this VH1 show on Lemmy Kilmister? Fucking awesome! How much does Lemmy rule? Totally.

    What a cool dude. Watch this show.

    1. Oh, I hope they air it again. I think I missed it.

    2. I wonder if one could quantify the disappointment of turning on VH1 to catch Lemmy and seeing the Arcade Fire playing live instead.

      1. Arcade Fire > !Arcade Fire

        Mot?rhead != Arcade Fire

        ? Arcade Fire > Mot?rhead

        1. Oh confusing math, you’ve messed with the guy who ignored your notations and overtures again, haven’t you?

        2. Or Motorhead = Arcade Fire and your musical taste is now suspect!

        3. I just want to reiterate what poor logic this is, and that I’m really too drunk to have an opinion on anything else.

        4. Oh and where is the damn Ron Paul speech! For a magazine called “reason”…

      2. not sure what an arcade fire is, but i’m sure it sucks in comparison to Lemmy.
        He should have won an oscar for his role as the narrator in Tromeo & Juliet.

    3. Lemmy has the greatest mustache ever.

    4. They’re selling DVD’s of the movie (and t-shirts, of course). I’m gettin me a DVD.

      http://www.lemmymovie.com

      Fuckin Lemmy – still rockin like an 18 year old. What a monster!

    5. They’re selling DVD’s of the movie (and t-shirts, of course). I’m gettin me a DVD.

      http://www.lemmymovie.com

      Fuckin Lemmy – still rockin like an 18 year old. What a monster!

  15. And lets not forget Bruce Cummings who has made an entire career explaining how the Kims are victims of Western aggression.

  16. Happily, aside from some badly drawn fictional chracters, there are no libertarian heroes to become the subjects of rivisionism gone wrong. Utter irrelevancy has its rewards.

    1. And happily, there are no libertarian leaders to splash the blood of millions on their toadies. How do the blood stains feel Max?

    2. What are you doing on the computer? Why aren’t you in my bed?

      Love,

      Mom

      1. I’m sorry, mom. There is only so much you can do to satisfy me. I’m only truly happy when there is blood cumming out of my ass.

    3. with your Maxie-heroes Joe, Mao and Adolph. I’m sure you can rehabilitate and humanize Adolph the same way you do the other two.

      1. What does the seasoned salt guy have to do with this?

  17. Since this is the open weekend thread I want to complain about bedbugs. These shits have been bothering me for weeks. I either sleep uncomfortably on top of a folding chair or wake up in my bed every 30 minutes patting myself down for the bloodsuckers. Stripping my livingspace bare has had no effect on the parasites, I feel like a small business owner in an urban district owned by Democrats.

    LvMI has been on top of the things calling out the feds for banning DDT, where is Ron Bailey with his article?

    I smushed one of the fuckers the other evening and I’ll be damned if that big goopy red spot wasn’t my blood all over the floor. Fuck you baby boomers and your stupid bald eagles and fake-ass scientific reports.

    1. Back when we were civilized, we used chemicals to kill such things and improve the lives of people. Now we don’t do that because environmentalists have turned us into uncivilized dirty hippies. Every time one of them bites you, kick a fucking hippie.

      1. John, I know you’re not an anarchist by any means, but you practically quoted Jeffrey Tucker.

        The fact that bedbugs are making a reappearance is almost proof we are losing bits of our civilization. I want to mail the fucking bugs to the dumbasses on the EPA for denying us the means to eradicate them. Have fun with a parasite that follows you, sucks your blood in your sleep, can live for 8 months without feeding, and has no legal insecticides.

        It’s like DC invented itself in insect form.

        1. It is horrible. We have abadoned basic forms of hygene in the name of barbaric Pagan nature worshiping. The things got loose in hotels because the hotels stopped washing their sheets in hot water and bleach in the name of “going green”. Think about that for a moment.

          1. Oh I think about it. I think about it a lot.

            Remember joe and his hard-on for public transportation? I use public transportation a lot. You wouldn’t believe the number of meth addicts that take the same routes that I do. I flicked a strange “beetle” off my wrist right around the time I started getting bites all over. Guess what, joe wants to subsidize the perfect disease vector for the least amount of cost, which means it never gets clean. God bless you, joe, god bless.

            1. Sorry to butt in, but I agree 100% with John here. The resurgence of bed bugs really shows the fallacy of the eco-theologists, their core belief being man is the enemy, an aberrant of an otherwise perfect ecosystem.

              Not only are bedbugs making a comeback (don’t call it a comeback, booyah!) but diseases such a malaria are rearing their ugly horns as well. The eco-theologists say “Eww, chemicals, yuck.” Give them a few weeks of bed bugs, not to the mention the two weeks it takes to eradicate the little fuckers, and I’ll bet some of those eco-theologists will change their tune pretty damn quick.

              1. Two weeks? Where can I sign up for your program?

                Part of me agrees, but another part thinks the Gaeists (Gaiasts? Gaiests? trying to make spellcheck agree here) would welcome the bites just like vegans welcome their increasingly nonathletic, and often overweight bodies.

                Needless to say, if I still have the pests in a couple of weeks I’ll be the guy getting arrested in an incoming flight from India with DDT up my ass. Not sure how Jan Nap. will construe it, but I imagine the Tea Partiers will take the blame.

                1. In that vein, a friend was raised here in muggy N. Florida with no AC, which he now thinks is idiotic.

                2. Try heater rentals. Since you live in a city with (apparently) mass transit, it s/b big enough to offer heater rentals. Heaters are spread throughout your place, and heated to about 140 degrees for a few hours. All bedbugs – eggs, larvae, adults – die.

            2. The good news, such as it is, is that the pesticide-resistant bedbugs can’t survive as long without feeding..only about 3-4 months rather than a year. Apparently the adaptation causes them to burn energy faster.

          2. Er, bedbugs can’t survive a trip through the dryer. They tend not to live in sheets, but burrow into cracks in walls, scratches in bed posts, etc.

            If washing your bedding properly was all it took to get rid of them I’m sure Bingo would have done it already.

    2. I was pissed when I found out the apartment I had just moved into had bedbugs. And that my landlady hadn’t told me for several weeks of living there. I thought I was just getting the worst acne breakout in my life for no reason. I can’t wait to finish this semester.

  18. “Stalin…had publicly admitted, not in 1956”

    There’s a pretty good case that he didn’t admit anything in 1956, since he died in 1953.

    1. Depending on where he was buried, he might still have been admitting decompositional gases.

      1. “Depending on where he was buried, he might still have been admitting [emitting] decompositional gases.”

        Yeah, it ruins your little attempt at humor.

    2. Not to defend Franklin, but the nod to 1956 is a reference to Khrushchev’s secret speech.

      1. After 1956, American universities were the only places were you could find people stupid enough to still believe in Leninism and Stalin.

      2. Thanks–I suspected it might have just been awkward writing (to my ear, anyhow), but was too lazy to properly check out the context.

    3. Yeah, but he voted in Chicago in ’56, so it’s all good.

  19. A professor of English and American Studies at Rutgers
    Makes me embarrassed to have graduated from Rutgers.

    1. I’d be more embarrassed of living in a state so bad that they don’t even call their university by the state’s name. Who do they think they’re fooling?

      1. You are clearly ignorant of both the State and the University.

  20. OK, I’ll be the first to say it:

    He tasks me.

  21. OK, I’ll be the first to say it:

    He tasks me.

  22. I actually agree with John somewhat in that the Left as a movement has a lot of work coming to terms with their support of Stalin (and Mao). Now, many on the Left consistently opposed the Soviets (think Sidney Hook or Orwell) while remaining quite leftist, but many became useful idiots of the Soviets and their propaganda. I think it was Newt Gingrich I saw years ago at a college debate who said that the American Right had to come to terms with its positions during the Civil Rights Movement but the American Left had to answer for its positions on Communism. That strikes me as correct.

    1. Correct, but what politicians is alive from either period? I abhor the entire idea of members of a certain group having to apologize for things they didn’t do just because they share a label with someone who did something wrong.

      1. “just because they share a label”

        Would that label be “murderous statist”? Yeah, it’s just a “label”. Doesn’t mean a thing except to the victims

        1. Don’t be dense. Current statists are bad because they support current coercive programs, not because of Hitler.

    2. The difference is that no one on the Right that I am aware of still claims that segregation is a good idea or that blacks are entitled to anything less than equal rights. At most they make the argument that people like Thomas Sowell make that blacks were achieving equality long before the Civil Rights Act and would have done so on their own without the act. Now you may disagree with that. I tend to. But you cannot equate that argument to defending Jim Crow.

      In contrast, there are still Leftist in the academie who are outright Marxist who are saying the equivilent of “segregation is great but the South just didn’t do it correctly.

      The Left has a massive amount of guilt and blood on its hands dating back to the French Revolution. And it has never once tried to deal with this and banish any of its members for defending all of this.

      1. In contrast, there are still Leftist in the academie who are outright Marxist who are saying the equivilent of “segregation is great but the South just didn’t do it correctly.

        This phenomenon and train of thought isn’t necessarily limited to ideology or race, John. As minority groups have amassed more financial and political clout, more Balkanization and self-segregation has occurred. This can be seen even in large metropolitan cities and the ever growing emphasis on identity politics re: The [insert minority du jour] American. This can be directly observed in the local as well as the state and national scenes.

      2. What you still see is the “things were’nt so bad” meme (expressed recently by Gov. Barbour of MS) regarding Jim Crow by southern conservatives and some Neo-Confederate glorification and I think it is pretty hard to find many self-avowed Stalinists in academe these days.

        1. “pretty hard to find many self-avowed Stalinists in academe these days.”

          Yeah, they lie and call themselves some “nice” name.

        2. I think it is pretty hard to find many self-avowed Stalinists in academe these days.

          Brown rot. It’s not hard to find when their surfaces are properly scratched.

        3. No, they claim to Marxist and say that Stalin just went too far, which is exactly the same as saying segregation was good it is just that the South did it wrong. That anyone in this day and age after the horrors of the 20th Century could call themselves a Marxist and get tenured positions at major universities is something that every liberal with a conscience should be ashamed of but isn’t.

          1. I think all the self-avowed “Marxists” tend to denounce the horrible things done in Marx’s name just like most good conservatives tend to denounce the more horrible things done, at times, in the name of Christian and/or capitalist progress (i.e., Manifest Destiny). I heard a prof on tv once say that blaming Marx for everything that was done in the name of Marxism is like blaming Indian Massacres and Hiroshima on Locke or Thomas Jefferson because in both cases we have philosophers and nations which said they were following the writings of said philosophers. I dunno if that follows imo.

            But more to the point you can find prominent conservative authors like Richard Weaver who similarly, while denouncing some aspects of the South, glorify many parts of it.

            Weaver was one of those pesky tenured faculty members btw.

            1. No most self avowed Marxist tend to minimize and lie about the crimes committed by communist countries and to excuse the abuses of real live communist and leftists regimes today in places like Cuba, North Korea Venezuala and Zimbabwe. And defended worse regimes in the Soviet Union, China and Cambodia in my lifetime. Noam Chomsky spent the entire decade of the 1980s denying the killing fields ever existed. Yet, he is idiolized by many on the Left to this day. That is a whole lot different and worse than talking about states rights in relation to the South.

              I am not going to defend Weaver. But to compare him to creatures like Bruce Cummings or Noam Chomsky is rediculous. Just admit the facts,

              Communism killed hundreds of millions
              And that it is still after that fact it is still not only acceptable but fashionable to be a communist within American leftist circles.

              That is something every liberal should be ashamed of. And complaining that your opponents are just as bad doesn’t help.

              Come MNG, I know you have a soul and some sense of morality. Use them.

              1. Religion killed hundreds of millions
                And that it is still after that fact it is still not only acceptable but fashionable to be a religious person within American conservative circles.

                That is something every conservative should be ashamed of. And complaining that your opponents are just as bad doesn’t help.

                Maybe that slight word change will help you see the fallacy of generalization you’re making.

                1. And that it is still after that fact it is still not only acceptable but fashionable to be a religious person within American conservative circles.

                  So basically, you’re saying that leftists only follow Marxism because it’s “fashionable,” like wearing a sweater from Abercrombie. Got it.

            2. I heard a prof on tv once say that blaming Marx for everything that was done in the name of Marxism is like blaming Indian Massacres and Hiroshima on Locke or Thomas Jefferson because in both cases we have philosophers and nations which said they were following the writings of said philosophers.

              That pretty much confirms my statement above regarding how utterly unsophisticated modern academic thinking has become. They can’t even provide analogies that make a remote bit of sense.

              1. The analogy is:

                Regimes purporting to operate on Marx’s philosophy do terrible things, Marx is bad.

                Regimes purporting to operate on Locke/Jefferson’s philosophy do terrible things, Locke/Jefferson is bad.

                1. The analogy is:

                  Regimes purporting to operate on Marx’s philosophy do terrible things, Marx is bad.

                  Regimes purporting to operate on Locke/Jefferson’s philosophy do terrible things, Locke/Jefferson is bad.

                  It’s still a stupid analogy. Whenever the criticisms of societies founded on Lockeian/Jeffersonian principles are criticized, it’s for not living up to the ideals of liberty and human equality that Locke and Jefferson espoused.

                  On the other hand, when societies founded on Marxism are criticized, it’s for living up to Marx’s philosophy–which was the self-contradictory notion that a vast, ignorant proletariat would be “guided” (read: controlled) by self-styled elites such as himself. Today’s third-degree sociological Marxists such as Thomas Frank and Barbara Ehrenreich are simply espousing the same philosophical playbook in a much cruder form.

                  1. Both said they were doing what they doing for the ideals professed, and both have later day believers criticizing. You just think one is correct because you belong to that “church.”

                    1. Both said they were doing what they doing for the ideals professed, and both have later day believers criticizing. You just think one is correct because you belong to that “church.”

                      Jesus, are you drunk? That comment made no sense at all.

                    2. You’re basically saying “well when Lockean/Jeffersonian espousing societies do bad they are not living up to their philosophy but when Marxist espousing societies do bad they are living up to their philosophies.” Of course Marxists claim the exact opposite.

                    3. The huge difference is that in the US, we didn’t constantly deify Locke and Jefferson with endless posters and parades and thousands of place names, make all their writings the focus of education, organize government clubs around their writings, and use their writings (and the writings of their immediate followers) as justification for unprecedented amounts of mass murder and oppression. Nobody pointed to passages in Locke and Jefferson to justify Indian massacres. Sheesh.

    3. Orwell may have opposed the Soviet style of government, but he sure didn’t recoil from Socialism in the least.

      I’m of the opinion that his works, such as 1984 and Animal Farm as cautionary tales not for those opposed to collective forms of governance, but for the proponents themselves. I think Orwell’s main drive was to educate devotees how to avoid the pitfalls of implementing such schemes via eschewing brute force in lieu of a more subtle approach. Basically, a how-to of what not to do, and the implementation will be much more successful.

      Repudiation would be consistent with your premise of what progressives would need to do in order to have their ideology more palatable to those who would otherwise reject such types of governance. Though I’m of the bent that it adds yet one symptom to the schizophrenia that is Progressivism.

      1. “I’m of the opinion that his works, such as 1984 and Animal Farm as cautionary tales not for those opposed to collective forms of governance, but for the proponents themselves.”

        +1

        Orwell actually went to Spain to fight the Fascists and saw firsthand the evil and duplicity of the forces under the Soviets that were supposed to be on “their” side.

    4. But they don?t. If it?s not Stalin, it?s Castro, Che, Chavez..
      It? the new religion, the ideological fervour is so great they are willing to excuse any dictator if he?s fighting for the cause.

  23. This one has more pearls than the Chik-fil-a article I posted last week

    Jamaica’s gays finding refuge by applying for U.S. asylum

    Five months ago, Bent, now 24, won asylum in the United States on the grounds that he had credible fear of persecution as a gay man if he were to go back to Jamaica. He joined what has become a small wave of gay Jamaicans fleeing homophobia in the Caribbean nation.

    Despite its image as a laid-back island paradise for American tourists, Jamaica still criminalizes sodomy and has long been regarded by human rights activists as virulently anti-gay.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..eheadlines

    1. Wow, I would never have guessed…

  24. Andrew Koppelman Dissects Vinson’s Opinion

    Vinson’s reasoning begins by endorsing the claim that failure to purchase health insurance is “inactivity,” and Congress cannot regulate inactivity. He acknowledges that there is no authority for this distinction, but quotes United States v. Lopez for the proposition that unless the commerce power is somehow limited, it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power.” If Congress can regulate inactivity, Vinson declared, it “could do almost anything it wanted,” and “we would have a Constitution in name only.” But there’s a big problem with citing Lopez: it imposed limits on federal power, and the law it struck down (a ban on possessing handguns near schools) did not regulate inactivity. Lopez itself shows that Congressional power can be limited without the activity/inactivity distinction. The authority on which Vinson relies completely undermines the point he is trying to make.

    Next, he rejects the claim that the mandate is authorized by the clause of the Constitution authorizing Congress to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper” to carry out its responsibilities. He acknowledges, and even quotes, Chief Justice Marshall’s declaration in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) that if “the end be legitimate,” then “all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end . . . are constitutional.” And then he admits that, under the settled meaning of the commerce power, which he does not question, “regulating the health care insurance industry (including preventing insurers from excluding or charging higher rates to people with pre-existing conditions)” is a legitimate end. But, three sentences later, he declares: “The Necessary and Proper Clause cannot be utilized to ‘pass laws for the accomplishment of objects’ that are not within Congress’s enumerated powers.” Has he so quickly forgotten that he admitted that the object was within Congress’s enumerated powers?

    http://balkin.blogspot.com/201…..-care.html

    1. Do you really want to have the same exact conversation again?

      He acknowledges that there is no authority for this distinction

      The distinction is that Congress is never given the authority to do that. The Constitution doesn’t say what Congress can’t do, it says what Congress is allowed to do.

      And of course, since you brought up this topic here is the actual text of your sacred clause that only mentions governments:

      To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

      1. Your emphasis is key, VGO. The Founders regarded State == Sovereign Country, held together loosely by the Constitution and only by their consent.

        Essentially, the federal government was supposed to be a type of arbiter between the sovereign states and step in to redress grievances between them, but otherwise maintain a hands-off position, the core of the Anti-Federalist view. How far we have strayed and how close we are to what Alexander Hamilton wanted.

        1. “but otherwise maintain a hands-off position, the core of the Anti-Federalist view”

          Er, dude, the Anti-Federalist lost the ratification debate…Saying the Anti-Federalist philosophy should be used to interpret the Constitution is like saying the Civil Rights Act should be construed according to Strom Thurmond’s ideas on the subject.

          1. Dudette. And yes, I am well aware that the Anti-Federalists lost the overall debate; however, the substance of the debate led to the amended Constitution. And quite possibly could have ended slavery at the conception of the US, had Virginia, the largest of the states and Federalist stronghold, not been the strongest proponent of not including the abolition of slavery.

            Point is, Anti-Federalists views are ingrained in the Constitution every bit as much as Federalism.

            Thurmond’s views are about as useful as Robert Byrd’s WRT the CRA.

            1. The people who voted against a measure, and lost, their views inform interpretation of the bill as much as those who drafted, put forward and voted for it?

              WTF?

              1. Yes, silly rabbit. You have heard of compromise? The Federalist’s ideas were not fully implemented: they had to yield some ground (not enough IMO). If they were, then the Bill of Rights would not have been part of the amended Constitution, as the Federalists saw no need for such enumeration.

              2. Yes, silly rabbit. You have heard of compromise? The Federalist’s ideas were not fully implemented: they had to yield some ground (not enough IMO). If they were, then the Bill of Rights would not have been part of the amended Constitution, as the Federalists saw no need for such enumeration.

      2. VGO
        I think this interpretation is completely untenable. There was no “commerce” between State governments (what would that mean, something like lisence plate exchanges?). There was commerce that went between the states as geographical units. The Constitution refers to States as both State governments and as geographical units. Take the following provision from Art. I, sec. 9:

        “No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.”

        Do you want to argue they were talking about articles exported by…State governments? Clearly they mean articles that were exported from a geographical unit, i.e., a state. Same difference with the ICC.

        Look at the surrounding language. The same clause allows for regulation of “commerce with foriegn nations.” Do you think that means they can only regulate trade from foriegn goverments? The absurdity grows…

        1. I think this interpretation is completely untenable. There was no “commerce” between State governments (what would that mean, something like lisence plate exchanges?).

          It meant that states couldn’t put up tariffs against each other, tax each others’ businesses and residents, etc. Quit acting like the men who wrote the damn thing were too stupid to even think that thought so they had to have meant something else. It said “states” for some reason, didn’t it? Why is that phrase there, if commerce between states just means all commerce?

          1. Because it refers to the commerce that goes “among the several states” as opposed to intra-state commerce? I mean, that way you don’t get the absurdity of thinking it was aimed at commerce engaged among state governments. I mean, what about the other provision I note above, you think it applies to articles exported by…state governments?

            1. It makes entire sense that for commerce that goes on in more than one state federal regulations should govern (rather than the traders having to comply with a variety of regulatory schemes). So it’s sensible that it meant for the feds to be able to make the regulations governing such commerce.

              What’s not sensible is that it was meant to only regulate state governments engaging in commerce with each other as that was non-existent at the time.

              Your bitch is really with the “substantial effects” doctrine which has pretty much gutted the distinction between intra- and inter- state commerce. I understand that. but this is an awful case to bring that up as even Vinson admitted health care insurance is an inter-state phenomena.

              1. We’re talking about tariffs, not state governments selling license plates to each other. Just stop aruging on the subject and admit you don’t care what the Constitution actually says. It says states, not people. The feds can tell the states they can’t make a law banning wheat from Iowa, but not people that they have to buy Iowan wheat.

                1. But the clause says nothing at all about the power of congress to regulate commerce, it says the power to regulate commerce. It doesn’t say it can regulate the states either, it says it can regulate “commerce among the several states.” So it is you that seems to not care about what the Constitution “actually says.”

                  1. But the clause says nothing at all about the power of congress to regulate commerce, it says the power to regulate commerce.

                    You might want to fix this sentence before we try to address your comment.

                    1. Yeah, replace first commerce with tariffs.

          2. It meant that states couldn’t put up tariffs against each other, tax each others’ businesses and residents, etc.

            Tariffs by states were separately forbidden in Article I, Section 10.

            No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

            The commerce clause was obviously intended to be larger in scope than merely that concern (though not nearly as large in scope as 20th century jurisprudence has interpreted it).

      3. “The distinction is that Congress is never given the authority to do that.”

        He’s saying there is no authority in the relevant case law, which district courts are supposed to follow. In essence Vinson says “The mandate fails because it regulates inactivity. Now, there is no precedent barring the regulation of inactivity, but note that in Lopez the Court says we must not allow the ICC to give unlimited powers to the feds. Therefore we need this inactivity distinction as a line in the sand because otherwise there would be no limit on fed power.” As Koppelman points our the problem here is that the very case he cites dealt a limitation to fed power under the clause without making this inactivity distinction, therefore it is clearly not necessary lest fed power be unlimited!

        1. The distinction is the crux of the matter MNG: The Federal Government, as more centralized and over-reaching as it becomes, apparently needs to be told, like a greedy child, when to be told, “NO!”

          1. As a philosophical matter you might be right, but as a legal matter Vinson has no leg to stand on. He admits there is no precedent for the disctinction and therefore rests it on the contention in Lopez that some restriction on fed IC power must exist. Of course he seems to forget that Lopez itself applied a limit and it was not the distinction Vinson argues he must conjure up lest there be no limit to federal power under the clause!

            1. Collywobbles. Why should Vinson have to conjure up out of whole cloth the definition of distinction, when Lopez contends that restriction exists. Vinson merely re-affirms this.

              1. Er, because Lopez nowhere mentions inactivity as a distinction but rather explicitly uses the criteria of economic vs. noneconomic as the restriction?

                1. Er, because Lopez nowhere mentions inactivity as a distinction but rather explicitly uses the criteria of economic vs. noneconomic as the restriction?

                  The activity/inactivity distinction is merely res ipsa loquitur and a permutation of economic v. non: economic can be active or inactive. I can choose to actively physically trade goods or actively refuse to; I can also inactively choose to trade through contract (an ongoing series of transactions) or choose not to enter into a contract.

                  That would apply to non-economic activity as well; the permutation is there, you choose simply not to see it.

            2. Is there a precedent that says that inactivity can be regulated?

            3. He admits there is no precedent for the disctinction …

              So, is there a precedent eliminating the distinction?

        2. There is no precedent against the inactivity distinction either. In the absence of precedent in either direction, a district court is free to strike down laws according to its own judgement.

          You seem to be arguing that, since the SCOTUS has ruled that one particular law was ruled to be outside the scope of the commerce clause in Lopez, that now every other law must be accepted as within that scope.

          1. It’s Vinson that says he has to come up with the distinction because, following Lopez, we cannot allow a commerce clause without any restrictions. But, that very case supplied a different restriction, so the argument that the distinction must be conjured up or else there will be no restrictions is goofy considering that.

  25. Is this the same series that has Superman landing and growing up in the USSR instead of the US?

    1. That was a great comic. I loved it when Batman originated when a KGB thug murdered his parents and he became an anti-Soviet saboteur, and when he used red sun radiation to weaken and kick the crap out of supes. I did not like the part where Supes defeats an entire Green Lantern Corps, nor the statist tendencies throughout the book (that planned economies work so darned well but are too paternalistic, wtf, how could someone write that after the collapse of the USSR?).

      1. Stick with the comic books lad. You don’t know a fucking thing about constitutional law.

      2. The planned economy in “Red Son” only worked because they had a genuine demigod running it.

        What’s interesting is that the book became less and less about the Cold War, and more and more about the personal rivalry between Supes and Luthor, and the perils of power in general.

        1. But Luthor plans the economy in the US and when he does so it does well. It’s the same goofy conceit.

  26. Another ICC gem around here is the one sometimes espoused by OM that the clause meant to regulate “commerce” but not “persons”, therefore the mandate is wrong. Of course this makes as much sense as saying that the Art. I power of Congress to regulate the land and naval forces applies just to the forces but not the soldiers that make them up…Commerce is just something people do.

    1. Again, why did they even bother to mention “states” if they meant all commerce? Is everyone who isn’t MNG just so stupid, in MNG’s eyes, that they can’t say what they mean and need The Great MNG to tell them what they really meant?

      Explain how use of the word ‘states’ makes the clause different than it would have been w/o it.

    2. “…Commerce is just something people do.”

      Well it took you long enough, but I think you’ve finally got it.

      Commerce = doing something
      Doing something = activity
      activity =/= inactivity
      inactivity =/= doing something
      inactivity =/= commerce

      Congress has no enumerated power to regulate non-commerce. Congratulation, MNG! You’ve finally acknowledged why it is that Obamacare violates the Constitution.

      1. I’ll grant you the activity/inactivity distinction has a lot more going for it than the argument that the clause only refers to state governments or commerce apart from people…

        What it has not going for it is any case law.

        1. There’s no case law going AGAINST it either. Are you really this stupid?

          1. But… but… the commerce clause… uh… has a gun pointed at our heads!

            1. DOWN ON THE GROUND, PUNK!!!

              1. Shoot the Christ-fag AND his dog!

          2. District courts are supposed to apply precedent, and a follower of judicial restraint should surely in the absence of any on point to strike down a democratically enacted law not create a spanking new ground on which to do so.

            1. That’s poppycock. District courts are supposed to apply the Constitution just like every other level of the judiciary. True, they’re not supposed to contradict precedent, but that’s not what’s happening here; there is no precedent on this issue.

            2. Didn’t take long to find MNG defending District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s striking down of a democratically enacted law with no precedent for doing so.

              MNG|8.12.10 @ 11:54AM|#

              I will say I think it would be terrible if Walker allows gay marriages to start now before the appeals process works out. Imagine couples getting married only to find their marriages voided by a later appellate decision. That would be irresponsible of him, though I have read some pretty harsh charges of irresponsible behavior regarding him in this case (btw-I’m not talking about the opinion which I largely agree with).

              1. Vaughn struck down the provision using several well known precedents, especially Romer. Nice try though!

                1. Romer dealt with very different issues from the case before Walker. If that’s precedent for Walker’s decision, then Lopez is precedent for Vinson’s.

                  1. But Romer held that laws that are motivated solely by animus for a group don’t pass muster. Vaughan found that Prop 8 was motivated solely by animus, no other rational reason, and so the syllogism’s conclusion followed.

                    Vinson on the other hand said “I don’t have any principle to strike this, but Lopez says we cant have an ICC that has no limits, therefore I’m coming up with this inactivity distinction so there will be limits.” Unfortunately for him Lopez itself made a limit, and a different one.

                    1. That’s not what Romer held. The holding in Romer was highly specific to the law under consideration (Colorado Amendment 2), and the basis of the Court’s reasoning in striking that law down was its breadth, as it forbade any protections for homosexuals as a class. Prop 8 was much narrower.

                    2. Also, note that the lower courts had actually ruled the same way on Romer as SCOTUS eventually did. Surely they were acting without precedent too, no? Do you disagree with their rulings?

                    3. Do you also disagree with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals striking down the DC gun ban in Heller? Again, no precedent existed for doing so.

                      Your position would require that citizens who suffer a novel breach of their civil rights by government go through several stages of court review before actually having a chance to have the law struck down.

  27. The words Stalin and Putin. Two words that will almost instantly start a fight between any given room of Russians. God knows why some Russians defend Stalin, but they do, and Putin is about a 50/50 for/against split among those I know. Fuckin’ Russians, how do they work?

    1. Hard. Especially with vodka.

    2. Putin is a total asshole. But he is not Stalin. That is a pretty high bar of evil. And I bet if you looked hard enough into the fever swamps of American academia, you could find plenty of Americans who still defend Stalin and certainly Lenin.

    3. Read the flame wars on Amazon over Ann Applebaum’s Gulag book that came out a couple of years ago. There doesn’t seem to be any Russians on there. But there are a ton of Americans who at least claim to be history academics calling her a “neocon” and “Russia phobic” and unqualified to even talk about the subject.

      1. I bought that book a while ago for full price at a bookstore, which I rarely do. And now it sits on my bookshelf like an Irish Catholic mother, just guilting away at me. I wonder how many Amazon commenters have actually read it.

        1. John, you should check out the comments on the slate review of Bloodlands.

          I read Gulag…had to renew it, but I finished it.

      2. I know you would rather see Marxist conspirators under every bed John but I’m guessing they say she is unqualified because she just has a masters degree. Shit, pretty much every second grade teacher has one of those.

        1. I know you would rather see Marxist conspirators under every bed John but I’m guessing they say she is unqualified because she just has a masters degree.

          Again, thanks for confirming my statement above that today’s left-wing academics have very little in the way of intellectually sophisticated arguments to offer.

          “APPLEBAUM HAS A MASTER’S DEGREE AND ONLY PHDS CAN PRODUCE ACCURATE AND COMPLEX HISTORICAL WORKS!!!”

          Seriously, when academics begin chimping out with grotesque appeals to authority like that, it’s pretty obvious that object of their derision has struck a nerve that they can’t substantively answer to.

          1. Of course someone with a Masters or no degree could do great work, but all other things being equal the more education, training and experience with a topic one has the better they understand it.

            1. Of course someone with a Masters or no degree could do great work, but all other things being equal the more education, training and experience with a topic one has the better they understand it.

              Which is completely irrelevant to whether Applebaum’s book was accurate or not, of course. Hence the academic chimpout.

              Seriously, MNG, stop trying to defend these aspies. You’re coming off looking like a clueless parent that defends a naughty child no matter how bad they act.

              1. Sure, it is not perfect, it is a heuristic, not everyone has freaking time to read every freaking book. So you might say, well, with my limited time if I’m going to read a book on the Gulags I’m going to read one written by a guy with a PhD and many years experience studying that subject than a journalist with a masters degree who looked over the subject for a couple of years.

                1. So you might say, well, with my limited time if I’m going to read a book on the Gulags I’m going to read one written by a guy with a PhD and many years experience studying that subject than a journalist with a masters degree who looked over the subject for a couple of years.

                  The time you have available to read a book was never the point and you know it–the accuracy of Applebaum’s work is. Stop trying to lamely deflect the appeals to authority by these aspie academics.

        2. Er, not all masters degrees are equal (assuming you’re talking about teachers getting MSEd degrees). Just like not all PhD’s are equal, as I’m reminded every time you post.

  28. Noam Chomsky is actually pretty good on this issue, for a pinko.

    I saw a video of a q & a he did and a member of the audience started giving him shit: “why do you use Stalin to criticize the USSR? He was a reactionary bla bla bla Lenin was the good guy.”

    And Chomsky calmly pointed out that Lenin set the stage for Stalin, and the difference was one of degree, not kind. Of course, he then talked about how the Bolsheviks became “right-wing” after the revolution, but still, it was refreshing to hear.

    1. Good for Noam. The whole “Lenin was a good guy whose revolution was coopted by the evil Stalin” myth and its Trotsky variant is common among leftists. The truth is Lenin might have been worse than Stalin. If there ever has been an anti-Christ, it was definitely Lenin.

      1. Indeed, there’s little reason to believe Trotsky would have been much better than Stalin. At least judging by his writings and actions before his exile

        1. The only real difference between Trotsky and Stalin is that the latter was much more cynical and cunning than the former. Stalin was essentially a glorified mafia gangster; Trotsky was a true believer, and probably would have been more like Mao in the execution of his power.

          1. “The only real difference between Trotsky and Stalin is that the latter was much more cynical and cunning than the former.”

            Well, I’d guess the real difference was only the choice of which ‘faction” to kill first.

            1. I think the only real difference was that Stalin won out in the struggle between the two. Had Trotsky won out the only change in history would have been that it would have been Stalin getting the ice-pick in Mexico. The horrors that happened in the USSR would likely have been virtually the same…

              1. MNG|2.12.11 @ 11:08PM|#
                “I think the only real difference was that Stalin won out in the struggle between the two.”

                So we’ll agree to agree. Both required “the new Soviet man” to accomplish their fantasies, and “the new Soviet man” has never been found. Unlike Sasquash, even faked foot-prints haven’t been found.
                As an aside, shirt-tail relatives adopted twin daughters from Russia. They had to deal with the red-tape, but what was more interesting is that the kids are ‘white Russians’ (as pale as black Irish) and they were retrieved from Siberia. I’m guessing that they’re two generations from when Grandpa was ‘moved’ to Siberia.
                The stories would be interesting if they weren’t so horrible

            2. Well, I’d guess the real difference was only the choice of which ‘faction” to kill first.

              I’m thinking “all of them” would have been the same answer regardless. I’m not so sure that Trotsky would have been able to fight off the Nazis, however. The mere fact that he wasn’t able to assert his authority in the power struggle with Stalin seems to indicate that he wouldn’t have had the same political and administrative ability to rally the Russians after the blitzkrieg, nor maintain control over the same party apparatus. He probably would have been assasinated whether he came out on top over Stalin or not.

              1. “I’m not so sure that Trotsky would have been able to fight off the Nazis, however.”

                More detail than I want to spend time on tonight, but Stalin wasted a lot of the USSR’s assets well prior to the Nazi attack. It’s certainly possible to argue that Trotsky might not have wasted those assets.
                Counterfactual history is seductive, but pretty much worthless.

              2. Trotsky was a much better military commander than Stalin. the Red Army was basically his invention, so I think he’d be able to maintain control during a Nazi invasion.

                Invasions usually create a “rally around the flag” effect anyway – otherwise the Bolsheviks would have axed Stalin after Hitler got past Poland.

  29. So, anyone watch the Bud Shootout? Me neither. Can’t wait for the moorsickle racing to start – WSB I think is in two weeks, then AMA and MotoGP in March. Woo hoo!

    Fucking Russian history, how does it work?

    Happy Sunday, Reasonoids!

    /back to doing nothing

    1. I saw the end while waiting for the 10:00 news to come on. I could see dropping the guy who crossed the yellow line to the position he was before crossing the line, but docking him a lap was overkill (especially since he was just trying to avoid a collision).

      1. I’m now watching the replay on Speed. Wowsers, this is weird with the paired-up racing. Different.

        On behalf of the Toyota and Ford guys, let me just get this out of the way: “The crew worked real hard all day, and I gotta give a shout out to the boys back at the shop – they done a great job, and the Smoked Walrus Jerky/Jello Pudding Pops Camusion run real good all day….but we ain’t got nothin’ for them Chevys.”

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