The Battle for the Right to Challenge Environmental Edicts in Court Continues

New SCOTUS case continues the legal fight over property rights and the Clean Water Act that Sackett v. EPA started.


This week, the Supreme Court heard a case involving property rights and the Clean Water Act that could affect landowners across the country.  

United States Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes Co., Inc. pits a family-owned business that harvests and processes peat for golf courses against the federal government. Hawkes Company was harvesting peat from a bog on privately owned property in Minnesota in compliance with state environmental laws when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put a halt to their operation, citing the Clean Water Act, which gives the federal government jurisdiction over all navigable waters in the United States. The Corps demand that the company submit to its permitting process before continuing.

The strange thing about this, and other similar cases involving the Clean Water Act, is that the Supreme Court will not rule on whether or not the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is correct in deeming the property a wetland subject to federal regulation, but whether or not the property owners even have a right to challenge the environmental agency's decree in court.

SCOTUS adjudicated a simliar dispute between landowners and the Environmental Protection Agency back in 2012 in Sackett v. EPA. Reason TV profiled the Sackett's case in the video above. While the agency involved is different, the principle is the same: Do landowners have the right to challenge orders from environmental agencies in court, or is such behavior illegal defiance deserving of thousands of dollars in fines a day?

In the Sackett case, the Supreme Court decided 9-0 that EPA rulings could be appealed in court. Reuters reports that the most, but not all, of the justices appeared similarly sympathetic to the Hawkes Company:

Liberal and conservative justices alike expressed concern about the current arrangement's burden on property owners.

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts said applicants who disregard a government finding that they need a permit do so at "great practical risk."

Liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the process "very arduous and very expensive." Liberal Stephen Breyer called the government decision that Hawkes needed a permit "perfectly suited for review in the courts."

Only liberal Elena Kagan expressed support for the government, raising concerns about the impact a ruling favoring property owners would have on actions by other government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The court will likely make its ruling in late June.

NEXT: Meet The Conservative Tea Party Republican Who Legalized Pot Cultivation to Save His Town From Bankruptcy

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  1. Kagan, the gift that keeps on giving.

      1. They are getting their shot at the good life.

        When they finally get around to hanging those bastards I hope they string up Merkel too.

      2. I hate to say this, but I hope Germany sticks to it’s standing reputation for dealing with annoying religious minorities.

        1. A bold ploy for Nicole’s tiara, but no one believes you’re really that evil. Pffft. There’s a nasty rumor that you feed your orphans named meat from a known domestic animal at least once a day. How about that, my fine faux-libertarian friend?

          1. I thought everyone did that?

            I mean, I pick the poorest performing orphan, give him a name, . . .

            1. Orphans are too expensive to use for orphan-chow. I use sawdust mixed with homeless burger.

        2. I don’t think they will. Germany (and most of Europe) has killed off their alpha male types in wars and surrendered their traditional culture. They’re all Eloi now, with no defenses against Morlocks.

      3. I had a few Muslim friends/acquittances in high school and college. Funny guys, drank beer basically were normal Americans in every way except they hated Jews, I mean bitterly hated jews.

        1. You know who else hated Jews?

          1. Mark Fuhrman? Oh, wait, you said Jews and not the Juice.

          2. All the other Muslims?

        2. Growing up I had a muslim friend named Omar. He was basically indistinguishable from any other kid, except of course his name.

          But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. There was a recent USA editorial by a muslim who claimed part of the reason for the radicalization today is because muslims are actually reading the Koran. Before, they just were kinda vague about it. But the Koran is quite explicit in advocating violence.

          1. No fucking shit. The head of ISIS has a PhD in Islamic Theology, and he’s not just making stuff up.

      4. They just need more love, that’s all. If we don’t give them everything they want and stop talking about them, then it’s our fault if they get violent.

  2. Even Kagan never said the CWA orders shouldn’t be challenged – her concern seemed solely about keeping a decision confined to the topic at hand.

  3. Only liberal Elena Kagan expressed support for the government, raising concerns about the impact a ruling favoring property owners would have on actions by other government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Won’t someone think of the Wall St. Lawyers?

    1. Shorter Kagan: FYTW

  4. The decision in the Sackett case should have been obvious to any Louis L’amour fans. After all it was Sackett’s Land.

    1. Your mention of Sackett’s Land reminded me — I see there’s now a program on broadcast TV called Schitts’ Creek.

      Hard to believe that not long ago Lenny Bruce and George Carlin were arrested for obscenity for saying bad words behind the closed doors of a private comedy club.

      Of course, ‘fart’ used to be one of Carlin’s ‘words you can’t say on TV’ (his addendum list routine, not the original 7). Now they say ‘fart’ on the Disney Channel children’s cartoons all the time.

      The series about the OJ trial, on basic cable, said ‘motherfucker’ as part of the dialogue the other night. I think that’s the first time that particular word has broken through on that level.

      Not sure where I’m going with this, but it must mean something.

      1. It means the end of the Republic and the beginning of a new dark age that will last a thousands years. Cthulhu will awake, dogs and cats will live together, fire will rain from the skies, Adele will be the only music played on the radio.
        Seriously, am I the only one who can’t stand her music?

      2. Wife and I watched a film last night named ‘Horrible Bosses’. One of the character’s in the film name was ‘Motherfucker’.

      3. I don’t recall “fart”. I do recall

        cocksucker and

        “Now, #5 and #6 are derivatives of two other words, but….”

        1. You were close on the original 7 — as I said in my post, ‘fart’ was not one of the original 7 ‘words you can’t say on television’, it was one of the three words he added in a later routine.

          The original seven were: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits.

          You had ‘cock’ instead of ‘piss’, an easy one to miss (especially since so many tv shows, even national tv news, say ‘pissed off’ all the time these days). But Carlin even brought up cock as one you specifically could say back in those days, as it was even in the bible (e.g. ‘the cock crowed three times’).

          Later Carlin added these three: fart, turd and twat.

          “Twat” he thought was special because it was one of the few words for the female pudenda you couldn’t say in a Disney movie: For example, snatch, box, and pussy, you can even do in one sentence in a Disney movie — “We’re going to snatch that pussy and put it in a box and take it on an airplane!”

          1. I remember being floored when, in an episode of Hill Street Blues (1981-1987), one woman was referred to as “distempered tuna.”

      4. Dude Schitt’s Creek is fricken highlarious!

  5. Before the clean water act all water was poison. Now the government has saved us. Why can’t you just say thanks.

  6. While I despise all government agencies, I don’t know who I hate more, the TSA or the EPA. They’re both competing for the number one spot on my “List of Government Agencies That Should Be Eliminated With Extreme Prejudice.” They’ve both made this fight very personal in their own special ways.

    It’s a long list, and seems to get longer every day.

    1. It’s way too personal at this point…I think a number of us could get together and tell some rather amazing (disgusting) stories.

    2. The TSA isn’t important enough to grab top spot.

    3. No offense, but if the DEA and FCC aren’t higher for you, you probably aren’t paying enough attention. The FDA is pretty fucked up too.

      1. Agreed. While the TSA and EPA affect privacy and property rights, you’re usually still alive after the encounters. With the FDA, not so much.

      2. Yeah, DEA number one for sure.

      3. I fly commercial a lot.

    4. I’m hating there IRS now, having done my taxes. Thank you, Obama voters, for my $371 “Shared Responsibility Payment.” (Could Orwell have come up with a better term?) The instructions for possibly getting out of it are 19 pages long.

      1. I got fined too and I was pissed because i lost my insurance from my university because it didn’t comply with the ACA. So I paid for health insurance for almost the entire year last year and still got the full fine!

        1. Supposedly you are fined per month of non-coverage.

    5. If we have to prioritize i would get rid of the EPA before the TSA

      the TSA is visibly awful, and a tangible pain in the ass, but otherwise harmless. they simply make travel slower, more annoying, less safe, and more expensive.

      whereas the EPA imposes mammoth, epic-scale, unseen costs that affect nearly every aspect of life, has the power to destroy swaths of the economy with the stroke of a pen, and is constantly in the process of trying to enlarge their own mandate to get MORE power. Even the “small” stupid things they do can be monumentally destructive.

      That said = the EPA is wildly popular among the majority (who have no idea how things actually work), while the TSA is reviled

      1. Here’s an idea to try with the TSA —

        Next time you go through airport security, decline going through the scanner and ask for the manual body frisk instead. And then, each time they touch you, moan sexually and say ‘oh yeah baby, right there, yeah, that’s it.’

        Per report they get a big kick out of this and will appreciate it. Helps them get through their long day.

        1. Thank you for your great advice! I will definitely try that there next time I fly.

      2. The TSA hasn’t been around long enough to be as bad as some of the others. Just give them time, they’ll get there.

      3. Even the “small” stupid things they do can be monumentally destructive.

        Like poison the water in DC, Flint, and the Animas River?

  7. “Only liberal Elena Kagan expressed support for the government, raising concerns about the impact a ruling favoring property owners would have on actions by other government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

    He master’s thesis was the reason the communist party failed in the united states was that it had the wrong people in charge. I am shocked that her primary concern is preventing hindrance of the bureaucracy and not private property rights.

    Go fuck yourself with a chainsaw Kagan.

    1. Wait, what? Let me Google that…

        1. I did what I would normally hate doing and simply went to the last paragraph:

          “Through its own internal feuding, then, the SP. [Socialist Party] exhausted itself. forever and ?-further reduced labor radicalism in. New York to the posit{on of marginality and insignificance from which it has never recovered. The story is a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism’s decline, still wish to change America. Radicals have often succumbed to the devastating bane of sectarianism; it is easier, after all, to fight one’s fellows than it is’to battle an entrenched and powerful foe. Yet if ‘the history of Local New York shows anything, it- is?thpt American radicals cannot afford to become their own worst enemies. In unity lies their only hope.”

          1. I did what I would normally hate doing and simply went to the last paragraph:

            Why is that so wrong?

            The trick i’ve always done is
            – scan the opening, looking for the thesis in the first few paragraphs
            – jump to the end, checking the bottom of the conclusion for whether there’s any tie-in,
            – then read the entire conclusion, looking for what they’ve claimed to have established in the body

            (if at that point you still care, you go into the body to see if they really proved what they claimed to have proved from the evidence examined)

            reading things from beginning to end is for the birds.

            1. Reading Kagan’s work from beginning to end is for the birds.

              1. But I know from other reading that the “internal feuding” she refers to is between a faction loyal to Moscow and the Communist Party, USA, and a faction which wasn’t down with that.

                1. Reducing that battle to a mere “oh, silly sectarian squabbling” suggests that, to Kagan, disavowing and fighting the Communists is less than a total priority.

              2. Why do you hate the little birdies, you ornithophobe you? Subjecting them to a social science thesis must violate international law by itself, much less someones like Justice Kagan.

          2. She considers the failure of the commies a sad story? I wonder if she rejoices when she hears about the Cultural Revolution.


        2. From a brief glance, it appears to be less about “” the reason the communist party failed in the united states was that it had the wrong people in charge””, than being about the history of Socialist movements being transformed into institutional-perpetuating Unions due to anti-communist passion in the US.

          Basically, about the change from a ‘radical movement’ intent on undoing the status quo, into a mere labor-movement intent on securing its interests within the status-quo.

          1. Which, if she weren’t a statist moron, she would have understood as inevitable and not due to ‘anti-communist passions’.

          2. So, radical socialism in the United States isn’t about murdering Kulaks and cults of personality and is instead about improving workplaces, marching for civil rights, opposing imperialistic wars, and advocating for public parks and cleaner air and water. I guess those two things are pretty much equal, though. Anything that imposes a higher rate of taxes on billionaires makes Rearden Metal more unlikely.

            1. I didn’t realize that any of those things required a commitment to Joseph Stalin, or to centralized command economies. Maybe next time you crow about Venezuela or Cuba, you can direct our attention to how those things are in any way logically connected or why support for one of them implies support for all of them.

              1. Hmm, yeah, I’ll do that as long as you guys don’t bring Cuba or Venezuela into the discussion when I say that I’m alright with having Social Security around.

                1. Maybe if your username were “american social security supporter” instead of “american socialist”, we’d have an easier time doing that.

                  1. “Maybe if your username were “american social security supporter” instead of “american socialist”, we’d have an easier time doing that.”

                    that’s because I support a lot more socialism than Social Security.

                    1. I support a lot more socialism than Social Security.

                      I’m sure you’d love to waste my earnings on every ponzi scheme you jackbooted thugs can dream up. Fuck you.


            2. Funny how radical socialism in EVERY OTHER COUNTRY has been about murdering kulaks, imperialistic wars and cults of personality rather than improving workplaces, civil rights, public parks and cleaner air and water.



              2. “EVERY OTHER COUNTRY ”

                I can think of at least 30 examples where democratic socialist welfare states have provided high standards of living and zero examples of where this sort of system has failed. i have a lot of sympathy for the argument that government should be small and limited so as a fellow traveller I would say that you guys need to be able to differentiate Western European social democracies from Castro and Nikita Khrushchev. This is so in order to make serious arguments that people don’t laugh at. I want to help you out.

                1. I want to help you out.

                  Why, I’m sure you do; thanks so much.
                  Hey, everybody, Concern Troll is concerned.

            3. Venezuelan Socialist

              What is the carbon footprint of the Sanders campaign?

      1. It seems he’s referring to her princeton undergrad thesis, which was on the NY Socialist Party (“To the Final Conflict: Socialism in New York City, 1900-1933“). Her master’s thesis was something to do with the Warren Court

        1. It was about the exclusionary rule.

          Check out the last paragraph. She says the Warren Court messed up by issuing badly-reasoned decisions on the exclusionary rule, and that “[f]uture courts attempting to effect long-term change” need to avoid this and issue better, more scholarly, more persuasively reasoned opinions.

          1. So in both papers, she showed how some left-wing project foundered because of various errors – sectarianism for the NY socialists and bad opinions in the case of the Warren Court’s exclusionary rule jurisprudence. She specifically said that progs should take a lesson from these failures, the better to “effect long-term change.”

            1. (and I believe libertarians are also for the exclusionary rule)

              1. Some are. Some would prefer punishing police directly for violating fundamental rights.

    2. Pretty much all progressives would agree with her on that, so what I get from that is that she’s your average progtard.

  8. The article doesn’t mention the river the Corps says they are effecting is 120 miles away.

    1. But even if it’s many miles away something might crawl to the surface of a dark Scottish loch.

      1. Weird. I was thinking the exact same thing at the exact same time as you were writing that.

      2. Nice. My fave.

    2. Maybe it might affect the Everglades. The water body the the Corps spent decades wrecking by draining it: article

  9. Remember the asshole that used a drone to film hookers and then get them and their customers arrested?

    Well, guess what, he’s even more of a scumbag than previously thought.

    1. Best news I’ve heard all day, good, fuck him.

    2. I don’t know how I am still surprised at how horrible some people are.

    3. Have I mentioned my deep dislike of OKC, and Oklahoma in general?

      1. It’s not bad except for the damn wind. Seriously, the wind blows hard all the time.

    4. His name is Bates. Definitely prefers Mr. Bates.

  10. whether or not the property owners even have a right to challenge the environmental agency’s decree in court

    Rule of law 33 C.F.R. Pts. 323, 325; 40 C.F.R. Pt. 230; 33 C.F.R. 326.5; 33 C.F.R. Pt. 330; 80 Fed.Reg. 37,054, 37,073-37,074, bitches.

  11. I did some Googling to see what ever happened to the Sacketts. Four years later and still no house, still in court, and I apparently wasn’t the only one doing some “Googling”

  12. Your daily dose of Christian inspiration: You Barely Make a Difference and It’s a Good Thing

    You are not saving the world. In fact, you barely make a difference.

    These are harsh words. They are meant like a splash of cold water to wake us up from the dream in which we live. They are by no means meant to say that you don’t matter. In fact, you have infinite value. But your value is not based on saving the world or making a difference[…]

    The truth is, we are not in charge of history or managing the outcome of the world. For one, it’s too big and too difficult. There are so many variables within our lives at any one time that managing them is constantly fraught with the “law of unintended consequences.” In many ways, the second half of the 20th century and the first decades of the 21st should be named the “Unintended Years.” The messy state of the world in which we now live is not natural. It is almost entirely man-made[…]

    Saying these things out loud (or in print) will open me to the accusation of “not caring,” and, we are told, the world is in its present mess because “people don’t care.” That is not true. People do care; indeed, they care too much. They care so much that they say ‘yes’ to leaders who tax their money to spend on various wars and other projects meant to manage history. And it fails. Repeatedly.

    1. I think if there’s particular value to some forms of religious thinking, its that there is an emphasis on “getting yourself straight”, and ‘focus on being a good person and your duties to your family, etc’…rather than looking at the world as ‘owing you something’ or a place that needs changing, requiring you to get up in everyone else’s shit. (*don’t worry! that’s God’s business)

      that said, there’s also some people in many of the same religious communities who argue exactly the opposite = that you’re *obligated* to get up in other people’s shit and change the world.

      1. One of the pros of Axial age religion is that it seems to have had a very keen grasp on how humans actually work, particularly when you throw a bunch of us together and ask us to do something that requires cooperation (that elusive concept, “civilization”). There’s a generally solid idea of how to do family, fraternal, and community relations in a way that doesn’t result in immediate failure or purity spirals, as well as a notion that morality and everything about it isn’t entirely subject to the same type of individual scrutiny that lets you figure out how to run a better trade route or build a better chariot.

        If there’s anything wrong with how lots of secularists approach morality in the first place — I would argue that this approach actually originates with certain forms of Christianity, but that’s neither here nor there — it’s that it is an inherently rationalistic enterprise in the first place, one that adapts on-demand to what is “needed” by the circumstance as they see it — which sort of misses the point.

        That “WARNING: Here There Be Dragons” sign hung over the messianic pretentions of the mind should have stayed firmly affixed above the entrance till universal collapse or humanity’s maturation, whichever came first.

    2. How would you live, if you thought that you barely made a difference? Is it possible to live a life without making a difference?

      It is not only possible, it is unavoidable. No one alive has any idea whether their life will have “made a difference.” Can you name 15 people who lived in 1915 that made a difference? We know the names of presidents and generals, the occasional assassin, sports heroes and movie stars, but there were 1.8 billion people in the world in 1915. How many of them made a difference?

      We can make changes, but change is not at all the same thing as progress. The leaders of the Western world in 1914 started a “war to end all wars.” It was one of the greatest projects of the modern era[…] They redrew the map of Europe, laying the foundation for years of turmoil in the Balkans. They redrew the Middle East, inventing new countries with little regard to the history and composition of the new nations. The war they started gave birth to the Communist revolutions that enslaved Russia and elsewhere for the better part of a century. The treaty gave rise to Hitler. On and on the consequences go, as the world constantly struggles to cope with one new eruption after another. The United States, considered the most successful of all modern projects, has been at war 222 out of its 239 years: that’s 93 percent of its history[…] The better world has no place within the Christian life.

      1. Can you name 15 people who lived in 1915 that made a difference? We know the names of presidents and generals, the occasional assassin, sports heroes and movie stars, but there were 1.8 billion people in the world in 1915. How many of them made a difference?


        1. They were, at least, partly responsible for the 7billion people we have now, so they got that goin for them.

      2. Libertarian Christianity? Jesus’s teachings went beyond the NAP, but he didn’t seem to have had much criticism for authoritarian government.

        1. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave? just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

          While I think the term “social reformer” is a little understated for the types of things Jesus of Nazareth was trying to do, he was at least that if nothing else. Looking at the types of things he was saying and doing, his unprecedented repudiation of violence in seeking Messiahship, the way in which his followers posed their own challenge to the Roman Empire and the Imperial Cult after his death — all of these have drastically redefined how appropriate authority looks and what its exercise is supposed to be to people who claim to have a serious commitment to Christianity. Granted that Jesus isn’t libertarian — no one in the 1st century AD is nor would ideology and philosophy limited to purely political matters exist until after the Middle Ages — but I’ll be damned if anyone outside of perhaps Socrates has had as large an impact on how the West percieves the appropriate use of power, and libertarianism is certainly one of the worldviews generated by his actions and sayings.

          1. Well, the whole “give unto Caesar” thing definitely helped establish the idea that the church and the state should be two different institutions. And I have read, and tend to agree with, arguments that Christianity shares credit for the Enlightenment, by emphasizing cause and effect – a mindset more rational than magical, although things like Substantiation are magic by definition.
            All in all, while no longer a believer, I think the religion has had a deep and (mostly) positive influence on Western social and political thought.

            1. I’m still in the process of unpacking what effect Christianity has had on Western thought. At least some of Western thought is highly influenced by the Greeks; I recall that Nietzche coined the term “Platonism for the masses” as his description of Western Christianity. It certainly is interesting at the very least — and terribly counter-intuitive, at most — that a 1st Century messianic pretender and his largely illiterate followers would come up with something that stands the test of time and seems to do a lot better than the products of the best minds of the Enlightenment; that is largely what drew my attention to Christianity as a historical phenomenon in the first place and in part why I became a believer after spending the greater part of my life as a non-believer.

              1. I think Christianity suffers from old age: It’s been around so long that it has accumulated a lot of baggage. Catholicism deserves a lot of the blender for that (sorry, Eddie).
                But if you distill it to its essence, it’s quite beautiful: As God has forgiven you, forgive others, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If there whole world lived by those two principles, it would be a much better planet.

                1. * blame, not blender. WTF, stoopid phone

              2. Also, I will add this: It’s obvious that Christianity, as the (enforced) religion of Europe, obviously influenced European history and thought.
                I have spent a couple of decades, at least, reading and thinking about the results of that influence. Yes, Greek intellectual thought influenced Europe, but, that Greek influence was brought into Europe by Christianity. The early church was influenced much more by Greek philosophy than it was by Roman philosophy. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Rome had no philosophy of its own; it was all appropriated from the Greeks.
                If Jesus was an actual historical person, then his first language would have been Aramaic, but he was surely educated in Greek. Latin would have had a minor influence on his thought processes.
                Thus, Christianity, for centuries celebrated in Latin, helped keep Greek philosophy alive in Western Europe.

                1. You are right that Christianity was the vehicle to spread Greek philosophy (also in the East, where the Zoroastrian and later the Islamic rulers received their knowledge of the Greek classics from). I just wonder how much “original” content Christianity contributed to the European mind; not trying to minimize the Christian contribution (I am one, after all), but it is a curiosity and off the bat I’d say the main ones separable from Greek philosophy would be in terms of social organization (particularly universities, leprosariums, hospitals, etc) and in terms of a reconceptualization of what was “heroic” (in particular ideals of self-sacrifice and the like).

                  As regards Rome, my understanding is that a famous Athenian Stoic who spoke at their Senate was very influential on their mindset, which produced a few native Stoics of note as well. I do know that most Romans who could afford it would send their scions to Rhodes or somewhere else to get educated, or at least hire Greek scholars.

              3. Uh, Jesus is a myth.

    3. He’s an Orthodox priest, and the article is almost stereotypically Orthodox.

      The Catholics, too, have often attacked “modern civilization” (famously denounced by Pius IX), though by that they meant the abuses, heresies, and really, really bad ideas being put forward by civilization-boosters. Not to mention the real-world consequences of these bad ideas.

      The attitude of making the world a paradise, whether as agents of God bringing about His rule, or as crusaders in a Godless world saving everyone from backwardness, has lead to yuuuge suffering.

      So we can see where this guy is coming from, seriously.

      But he sounds like he’s a priest in Tsarist Russia, telling the Muzhiks to pray, obey the landlord and get rewarded in the afterlife. This is the stereotype which Christianity has contended with for quite a while.

      The Catholic Church has, for what it’s worth, to put forward a social doctrine, and while it wouldn’t be mistaken for the works of Murray Rothbard, Catholic activism has generally been an antidote to the sort of radical agitation pinpointed by the author as the cause of so much suffering.

      Really, when Catholic trade unionists are trying to take over from the Commies, which side should you be cheering?

      1. TBH, I thought the article sort of sounded like if Thomas Sowell had gotten ordained. I’m not Orthodox, just thought it was somewhat interesting in how much it aligns with what some libertarians have already said.

        he sounds like he’s a priest in Tsarist Russia, telling the Muzhiks to pray, obey the landlord and get rewarded in the afterlife. This is the stereotype which Christianity has contended with for quite a while

        Eh, I dunno. For someone who grew up in the US, that sounds like pretty terrible advice — but in retrospect, it sure seems like that peasant’s life would have been longer, happier, freer, and fuller if he’d followed that course of action instead of picking up a Mosin and joining a commune. (For that matter, the life of the Tsar and his subjects might have been all of those things had he taken the same advice instead of playing war with the big boys in 1914.) There are precious few things in the world that have gotten better as a result of taking on heretofore unknown “social” responsibilities in lieu of homesteading one’s own domain.

        1. One key phrase is “in lieu.”

          There’s the problem with politics as a religion-substitute, it gets rid of individual morality because there’s a collective morality which is supposedly superior. And in fact “conventional morality” is a curse word, a trick imposed by the ruling classes on the oppressed.

          There’s your problem, not that the peasants got the vote and used it (and they rarely voted for Bolsheviks, anyway), but that people with awful ideas ripped up religion and conventional morality in the name of manmade utopia.

          1. There’s a difference between violence enacted as a natural extension of homesteading one’s domain, and violence based on enacting a notion of change or mass movements, and while it’s not always the case that the latter has a terrible outcome it hardly ever has the positive expectations hoped for. And tbh, part of “traditional morality” includes the notion that we don’t control everything — that contentment and self-control are virtues. Granted that these are not the same thing as complacency (and that action in defense of continuing in our prerogatives is justified), abandoning them *is* an abandonment of individual morality in favor of a collective judgment of what is or is not fair about the current situation and what our response to this injustice should be.

            Finding out what our purpose in the world is and how to go about actualizing it in the best way is in itself a difficult task that should take more than enough of our energies. Pretending that utopia or some “better state” (of the Christian variety or otherwise) is a social reform away or merely needs a little more human handiwork is a dangerous idea that gets people killed. Right now, it’s getting a lot of Middle Easterners killed; who knows who the next victims of it will be after that dies down — but I’d rather it not be anyone close to me and mine.

    4. When my son was 12 I bought him a T-shirt that had ‘I am special and unique’ on the front and ‘just like everyone else’ on the back.

      At first he was a bit taken aback, but then he got it. It made him a better man.

      1. and that is the essence of morality.

  13. It’s far too early to predict how the changes that de Blasio lobbied for in New York City will play out. In the past, mixed-income housing developments have often shortchanged low-income residents, a precedent the city is trying to avoid with its strict requirements. Though it’s unlikely the newly built low-income units will come close to meeting the demand for affordable housing, de Blasio’s focus on providing low-income families with housing in good neighborhoods, with higher-income neighbors, certainly has potential.

    How hard do you have to work to be this stupid?

    1. In that same magazine (who are they, btw?) there’s a piece noting the “Unforseen Consequences” of the shitty kinds of regulations that they’re “Celebrating” in the immediately-adjacent articles.


      Leaky Homes Show Green Intentions Gone Wrong

      In another kind of housing crisis, New Zealand homes built with chemical-free wood are leaky, while their owners are up a creek.

      Everything’s a “crisis” requiring immediate and sweeping government regulatory intervention…. and they have “Hopes” it will work out this time!!

      its like they have no idea that they’re the problem.

      1. And more! The Many Failures of the New York Housing Authority

        if there’s any lesson from the history of state/federal intervention attempting to engineer “Affordable” housing, its FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE STOP. EVERYTHING YOU DO MAKES THINGS WORSE BY 10,000X

        Yet they still seem to think they just haven’t figured the right “recipe” out.

        1. The Many Failures of the New York Housing Authority

          All you have to do is imagine your landlord being one of the idiots manning the DMV or the post office and it starts to become clear. These pages and pages of hand-wringing aren’t needed.

          1. Zootopia: All DMV employees are sloths.

    2. On the plus side, the new rules only apply to buildings of ten units or more. Looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more nonoplexes in the future.

  14. The most hilarious shit i’ve read today =

    On the Underappreciated Virtues of “Boring”: A Day at a Hillary Rally

    It was a hot and cloudless day, but the people had come prepared to endure, preparation and endurance being hallmarks of a Hillary Clinton rally.

    They were excited by her lack of excitability; thrilled by her boring wonkiness; enthusiastic not about the prospect of some dramatic change but about Clinton’s promise of dogged, small-bore pragmatism, a result of decades of government experience they considered a qualification rather than a liability.

    The Bernie car sped by again.

    “Bernieeee! Wooo!” the young people yelled through the windows.

    Vincent Medina, 40, who took the day off from his job as director of early-childhood education, rolled his eyes.

    “Oh I’m very excited!” said Randall Clark, who owns a small delivery business, and pressed the H onto his shirt.

    By “excited,” he explained, he meant that he looked forward to “continued, incremental, small changes” on issues

    “We are mature and responsible people,” said Balbir Grewal, 65, raising her voice slightly over the music.

    These are people who are far less interested in a “Delicious Meal” as they are looking forward to having a good shit after dinner. “In praise of mediocrity”

    1. Maybe one day we can find an article about Hillary supporters that doesn’t make them sound like the most insufferable cunts you ever met.

      At least I understand Bernie supporters; what the fuck is this shit and how does someone find it in themselves to roll out of bed in eager anticipation for it?

    2. Amazingly, there are 13 people named “Balbir Grewal” on LinkedIn.

      1. Rearrange the letters in the name, and you get “a glib brawler.”

        1. labia brew, grl!

          1. wait, do i lose points for adding punctuation not present in the name?

      2. No, there’s not. There is one technically challenged Balbir Grewal, who keeps forgetting her password and setting up a new account.

        1. She’s more technically challenged than you think. Her actual name is Baba O’Riley.

    3. GILMORE:

      Doing fine in the Army. I’m language school in Monterey, CA right now.

      Almanian: I have a new temp address, but since I have internet now, I don’t need to use snail mail anymore.

      1. Language school, aye? Tell me if you learn to communicate with those stoner-beggar-white-kids in Santa Cruz.

        1. For the time being, I have to wear my dress uniform when I go off post. I expect that would repel most of the rabble.

          For a similar reason, I was told to avoid Salinas while in uniform or even with dog tags visible. I was told the initiation ritual for some gangs there is to beat up someone from the military.

          1. For the time being, I have to wear my dress uniform when I go off post. I expect that would repel most of the rabble.

            Hippies on one side, Greasers on the other. Well at least the weather is probably nice.

          2. Salinas is safe. Boring as fuck. But safe.

            1. I think you might be thinking of Kansas. Salinas, California is one of the most gang-infested areas in the country.

              Stay closer to the coast, Derpetologist. Plenty to see and do in Monterey, Carmel, etc. No reason to go inland to Salinas except for the In&Out; Burger off of Highway 101.

              1. That in n out is about all i knoe of salinas and im not capitalizing or puncyuating or spellcking becausr im on iphone.

          3. Hey, Derpetologist! Why don’t you visit San Francisco some weekend? We could arrange a get-together with C. Anacreon and Suell and maybe some others. I’ll buy you a beer.

    4. They’re tasked with trying to sell Hillary. Give them a break, that’s like trying to sell poop on a stick.

      They’ve got:

      1. She has a vagina!

      2. She’s not as proggy as Bernie so- she’s a pragmatist.

      3. She has a vagina!

      1. Hillary is vote-whoring machine, but not a great one. She’s the sort that gets advertised on late night infomercials.

        She’s the Slap Chop of vote whores.

        1. the Slap Chop serves a useful purpose at least.

      2. 2. She’s not as proggy as Bernie so- she’s a pragmatist.

        I think this is more that she is better at selling her influence than Bernie. The ideology is the same, but Hillary isn’t one to let that stop her from making paper.

      3. “Some people consider her less scary than Trump!”

    5. Oh, sorry – never provided the link for that actual story

      1. and I make the mistake of looking at comments. Now I have to go lie down.

    6. Clinton is not a ‘boring wonk’. That would imply that she actually has some detailed knowledge of policy – even if her priors led her to making horrible policy decisions. Clinton’s policy credential are of the ‘we must pass it to see what’s in it’ kind. “Big picture, I’m too important to deal with details’ stuff that is the antithesis of ‘wonk’.

      And she doesn’t ‘promise small bore pragmatism’ either. Like all the other front runners she promises to ‘make America great again’.

      Its kind of funny, but Trump, with that tag, has distilled out the essence of all political campaigns ever.

      1. No “boring wonk” wants Obamacare to cover illegal aliens, and to import more Muslim refugees.

  15. I hope to God this tweeter account is not fake.

    Stop Trump at Emory

    1. I thought it was obviously a parody. everyone else acts like it is. plus, the intentional misspelling is a little much

      1. one of the tweets is particularly hilarious, showing it’s no doubt a parody:

        We just showed up at the meeting room and this was on the floor. Intentionally obv. Lots of pretty shaken up folk.

        the photo is of a piece of chalk sitting on the floor

        1. Then there’s “Demand #6

          Stop Trump at Emory

          Agreed demand 6: student leaders will be given Emory golf carts to get around campus and be able to respond to students affected

          1. I couldn’t tell if this one was real or not.

            Agreed demand 2: Emory will allow a floor of a building to be a safe space for POC 24/7 with a security guard

            1. Agreed demand 4: Emory will provide a salary ($20 per HR or more) to group leaders thru Nov election w/ fac/staff parking

              The account is definitely the Poe’s Law Winner of the Week.

  16. Lucy quits The Trailer Park Boys.

    Because he’s an abuser dontcha know.…..-1.3518206…..-1.3518081

  17. Recent study concludes men better at combat

    It turns out a 20 lb machine gun does not magically turn into a 12 lb one when a woman picks it up.

    There were about 80 women in my basic training class of 200. I saw that they were cleaner and better at following directions, but did worse at things that required brute strength and got injured more often.

    1. I have the theory that our sedentary life and gender segregated sports have allowed us to entertain the delusion that the physical differences between men and women are small. Basic training will usually break that delusion.

      The differences are not small. And when forced to do something co-ed like a ruck march it might as well have been the difference in having 12 year olds competing against men.

      1. There’s a reason soldiers have universally been young men. It’s a rough job.

        1. Soldiers have also very often been 12 year old children.

          The problem is not ‘women in combat’ – its that the Army/Marine Corps has been able to keep a high standard of fitness/endurance/capability while still maintaining its staffing goals.

          The problem is not women. The problem is the acceptance of the idea that diversity is good in and of itself and that discrimination is bad in and of itself. That if your group demographics don’t mirror the general population you don’t value the former and are deliberately doing the latter.

          *That’s* the problem. And if you guys keep jumping on ‘women’ all you’re going to do is get dismissed as sexist which means you’ll not only be immediately ignored but you’ll damper your career prospects and will have no change to effect change at higher ranks.

          The current physical standards the Army/MC use to determine who gets into what MOS are . . . pretty much arbitrary to start with. They’re not shared across services inside the United States itself, let alone across countries. They’re a product of how much you can afford to pay to attract soldiers (recruitment) and economic prospects in areas outside the military (retention). If the Army saw a sharp drop in recruits meeting its current standards you can damn well bet that either recruitment/retention incentives go up or the standards get lowered.

          1. You need to fight against the standard being lowered, not against women in combat. Any woman who can meet that standard and can hack the life gets in. The rest, like all the men who don’t meet those standards, gets to go look for another job.

            You need to define what you’re *for* – one standard for all recruits – and not what you’re *against*.

            1. But lowering standards is what they will do to pay homage to “diversity.” It’s enshrined in law now. Too few blacks pass the firefighting test? Test be racist. QED.

          2. Why does the military not allow people with asthma to join? Because they’re bigots who only want to be around their own? After all some people surely could physically cut it. They might have to spend millions to find them, but it’s all worth it.

            The recruiting goals are not just driven by physical standards. Men are driven away from fields women join.

            Standards will be lowered. Consider the effect of a gender neutral PT test. Either women will be kicked out or men will get promoted faster with higher scores. Both results will be considered sexist. Foreseeable consequences are not unintended.

          3. “often been 12 year old children”


            In the “muscle propelling weapons” ear, you needed 18 yoa and up.

            Outside of Africa coup, or civil war units, do please provide 12 yoa age solider being often” cite, plz.

            1. David was supposed to have been about 12 when he went forth as his people’s champion.

      2. I have the theory that our sedentary life and gender segregated sports have allowed us to entertain the delusion that the physical differences between men and women are small

        I have the theory that the delusion comes not from observation of any kind (sedentary or no), but academic prerogatives that filter down through K-12 influencing what is socially acceptable to say. I’m unaware of any sedentary society in history which somehow forgot that, oh yeah, men and women are different much less commissioned studies regarding this basic bit of biology. Effectively, this belief is an artifact of some rather absurb beliefs, like the blank slate (in terms of mental differences between the sexes) and the idea of equality in performance, so popular in certain branches of academia.

        1. Yes, it’s mainly idiotic anti-science ideas. Feminist somehow discount the effects of different hormones on brain development and function.

      3. Watch the big air or freestyle skiing. The men are doing tricks I don’t understand, and the women are doing things that I’ve seen from park rats of either gender. I can’t do what they do at all.

  18. OT: How could anyone be confused as to what motivates ISIS? The sing damn songs in English about why the fight:

      1. My understanding is that musical instruments are a no-no, but voice-only songs are OK. Even the Taliban only banned instruments, recordings, and public performances.

        The Taliban weren’t against all music. Go listen to some of their taranas:

        They really like autotune and the echo effect.

        1. If autotune doesn’t send you to hell then what’s the point.

  19. A bog is not navigable.

    1. This is a feature of FDA regs, not a bog.

    2. with good boots, why not.

    3. Air boat.

      1. those still need fairly contiguous sections of water, they aint hovercraft.

        does one “navigate” a fourwheeler?

  20. Hey guys,

    There’s been much gnashing of teeth about approximately 10 students looking to protest the fact that some asshole trust fund kid is planning on showing up at Emory University. In contrast, I don’t see as much gnashing of teeth over the tens of millions of people who voted for this rich asshole trust fund kid in the RP. Could we have lost the ball on this one? My enemy is all these right-wing ideologues looking to go to war in the ME because their pet rock, Jeebus, told them to. Who do you hate?

    1. I’m pretty sure this has been explained to you before, but, just for the hell of it, Ima tell you one more time: LIBERTARIANS ARE NOT REPUBLICANS!
      Now, kindly fuck off.

    2. Fuck off, racist.

    3. Hi amsoc

      I bet you spend a considerable amount of time developing arguments to support helping yourself of Trump’s bank account.
      Your wife’s failure to comply with the mortgage contract wasn’t her lack of financial understanding or her husband’s inability to being home enough bacon. No, its because others like Trump and Romney have more money. That money should be yours. Jealous, selfish, materialistic slimeball that you are.

  21. OT:…../82518278/


    *goes to drink moar*

    1. Swiss
      If you ever develop a diet pill specifically for homosexuals you could advertise that it narrows gaze

      1. gayze?

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  25. “Only liberal Elena Kagan expressed support for the government, raising concerns about the impact a ruling favoring property owners would have on actions by other government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.”

    If we make it hard for the government to steal from the little people, then it could also impair the government’s ability to steal from rich people. And then where would we be? Huh? HUH?

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