Monday, July 5, 2010

Commanding the Djinn

Independence Day got me thinking.


Thinking about what, Jim? I hear you all ask in that fascinated and curious tone you use when you wonder what I’m going to do next.

Well, America’s Birthday got me thinking about so-called state’s rights.

And that in turn got me wondering were the Tea Party and the Conservative’s outrage is given the latest outrageous Supreme Court ruling that clearly denies states the right to self determination.

Which decision?

We’ll come back to that.


States Rights are a central tenet in Tea Party Conservatism (as distinct from other flavors of conservative extremism) and they are a major rallying cry of the movement. The basic idea here being based on a literal interpretation of the US Constitution as originally written – and ignoring the last two centuries of interpretation and modification to said document along with ignoring the parts of the Constitution that they don’t agree with (sort of like a fundamentalist’s view of Christianity, which, not surprisingly, many Tea Party Conservatives also are).  To achieve this viewpoint you have to either pretend that the US Civil War never happened or have a total and complete lack of understanding of both the causes and the aftermath of that conflict and how it fundamentally answered the question of state’s rights once and for all within the Union.

Now however, since Tea Party Conservatives are increasingly the crank that turns the GOP machinery, States Rights have become a central battle cry of conservatives in general.

Sharron Angle wants to abolish the US Department of Education so that states can determine what they’ll teach our kids without Federal government interference (one presumes they will also take a pass on federal money for education as well. What?).  Angle and others pushing this idea believe that public education should not be based on a national standard, but rather on the desires of local populations. It doesn’t take a lot of reading between the lines here to see that the real agenda is to get Creationism and the Teabagger version of America into the schools – especially since Angle has also made it clear that her version of the Constitution says the Federal Government must stay out of her church, but the converse is not true – i.e. church should be involved in government (well, not just any church, only hers apparently). In fact, most of Angle’s position can be described as anti-federal government.

Here in Alaska, Joe Miller also wants the Department of Education abolished, along with the EPA and every Federal Government department and agency not specifically mentioned in the Constitution (Joe points out that he’s a decorated combat veteran, one wonders how then he’ll explain to his fellow veterans the sudden disappearance of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. But hey, I digress). 

The Texican GOP issued their 2010 policy which says that they believe states ought to be able to ignore US Supreme Court rulings they don’t agree with – especially anything that says gay people ought to be considered, well, you know, people.

Down there in Arizona, Tea Party Conservatism is raging. The governor wants to build a copy of the Berlin Wall around her state – being more concerned about keeping Washington out than the cannibal hordes crossing the boarder from the south - and power commission candidate Barry Wong wants to cut off utilities to anybody deemed unsavory.  John McCain looks positively Socialist in comparison.

Over in Kentucky, Rand Paul is a simmering pot of states rights and anti-federal government rage. Paul claims that he “abhors racism,” but nonetheless thinks that businesses should be able to ignore the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act – both of which were imposed on the citizenry by the Fed (and by “citizen” Rand means white people). Doh. He also thinks that federal income taxes should be abolished along with the Federal Reserve. Geez, wonder where he got that idea? Unsurprisingly, Paul wants the Department of Education eliminated and he wants no federal standards for homeschooling.

Palin? Ahhh, you know, to hell with Palin. We could go on and on about her anti-federal government rhetoric, whatever sells, you know. She’s been talking state’s rights for decades now – from back when she and her doofus loser of a husband were blovating on about Alaska seceding from the Union and going its own way.

These things are the central core of the mindless mob mentality that is the Tea Party and the modern GOP, which is busy purging its ranks of moderates, centrists, progressives, and anybody who isn’t beating the party’s purity drum. Across the nation this weekend, Tea Party Conservatives rallied to put the “independence” back into Independence Day. They handed out copies of the Declaration of Independence and selected quotes from various Founding Fathers (while studiously ignoring those Founders they wish would just fade quietly into the dustbin of history).  There were Revolutionary War reenactments and even booths selling Native American crafts (the irony there is staggering). Up on Capital Hill this last week, the Senate grilled Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and while there was plenty of assholery on both sides of the aisle, Conservatives were particularly concerned about Kagen’s views of the 10th Amendment - that’s the one that grants the states all powers not specifically given to the federal government (You know, the 10th amendment, something that was added later, modifying the original Constitution, but I digress).

You know what they say, right?

When you command the djinn, be very, very careful what you wish for.

Because you just might get it.

See, near as I can tell, what Tea Party Conservatives have in mind is something that looks a lot like a loose confederation of states that share a common currency.

Something that looks a hell of a lot like the European Union.

And, you know, I find that just funny as all hell.

I do.



I’m forgetting what?

Oh, yes, that. You’re right, I did open this post with, “…and I’m wondering were the Tea Party and the Conservative’s outrage is, given the latest Supreme Court ruling.”  And I promised to revel which decision I was referring to.

You haven’t figured out what SCOTUS ruling I’m talking about yet?

I would have thought it obvious, since we’re talking about states’ rights and all.

I am, of course, referring to Supreme Court’s decision last week in McDonald v. Chicago, striking down State and local government restrictions regulating gun ownership.

I eagerly await Tea Party Conservative outrage over this latest suppression of states’ rights…


Something tells me I’ll be waiting a long time.

A long time indeed.


  1. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for intellectual consistency out of this crowd.

  2. "Something that looks a hell of a lot like the European Union."

    It also sounds like the United States of America under our original form of government, the Articles of Confederation. For those out there who were asleep during high school history classes, our original form of government left all of the power to the states governments. No federal government to speak of, except for a unicameral legislature where each state sent a single delegate (who possessed a single vote). The federal government was responsible for foreign policy and war. but was given no money to wage either (with taxation being a sore subject then, the government was given no power to levee taxes, it instead had to request money from the states which were at liberty to grant or refuse such a request). The federal congress could not override state government on any issue and there was no way to enforce government policy. Military officers the rank of Colonel and below were chosen by the various state legislatures.

    What was the result of this utopia of states rights? Our shared currency was worthless, our national will was fractured, cogent foreign policy was impossible and every foreign power was a direct threat to our existence, because there was no guarantee one state would come to another's aid militarily (even though the articles bound them to do so, there was no enforcement possible as a practical matter).

    So, by all means, lets scoot back to that, shall we? Texas and Arizona should realize that Mexico would soon start to look with envious eyes at all that land and resources. The rest of us would be under no real obligation to defend them. Sarah Palin really would be able to see Russians from her back porch, as they would own Alaska. Florida, you could become the northernmost province of Cuba. We would all have to resort to subsistence farming or starve, as no foreign commerce would be possible either. Instead of a federal worker sending me a form letter that I may owe some money on my taxes, a state or local agent can actually come to my house and take me to debtors prison when I can't pay my bills. We can all go back to not having any hospitals and being treated by country doctors. Fuck yes, sign me up right now!!!

    The problem with teabaggers is: They have no concept what in the fuck they are asking for. If they ever got it, we would all be permanently and irrevocably fucked. How about this: We force anyone wanting to identify as a tea bagger to pass a civics class(that alone will get rid of about 90% of their numbers).

  3. Vagabond,

    You're being too damned pessimistic. According to a recent Marist Poll, a clear majority of Americans know we fought the Revolution against the English.


  4. Vagabond, I hope you're happy with yourself, because you basically just stole tomorrow's blog post.

    hmmmm, perhaps I'm overdue for a "Things that Chap My Ass About Enthusiastic Stonekettle Station Commenters..."

    ;) Kidding, of course, well said and exactly right.

  5. Nick from the O.C.July 5, 2010 at 8:02 PM

    You know, I think the Teabaggers do know, pretty much, what they're asking for.

    They're asking for a return to America circa 1950, as experienced by white people. Preferably white people living in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California.

    Any other option you offer 'em is pretty much second place.

  6. Damn . . . sorry to steal your thunder, Jim. I'll submit myself for a summary stoning! Hell, write the post anyway. It's bound to be better than my quickly written and anger filled rant.

  7. Vagabond, I thought about the Articles of Confederation as soon as I started reading Jim's post.

    Now, I ain't smart like the teabaggers, but didn't wasn't there a bit of unpleasantness in the mid-19th century, wherein the concept of states' rights v the federal government was basically rejected?

    flaccul -- what Dracula is before he takes his Viagra.

  8. @ Nick - that is white men, not white people.

    @ Bill The war of Northern Aggression did not resolve the concept of state rights vs the federal gov. for any but the North.

  9. Sorry Jim, didn't mean to steal your thunder! I'll submit myself for a summary stoning! Hell, write the post anyway. It will undoubtedly be better than my hastily written rant!

    Bill, I do seem to recall some small event wherein President Lincoln (whom I do believe was a Republican) used armed force to forestall secession and armed insurrection. What the hell, it only cost us half a million dead to settle that argument . . . 'tis a bit ironic that the "Party of Lincoln" can't seem to remember that!

  10. Jim, I find it hilarious that you expect consistency from neocons and TEAbaggers.


    Canada, with it's socialist healthcare system occasionally looks very inviting.

  11. I'm just cute that way, doc. Ever the optimist, that's me.

  12. Speaking of state rights, it seems that the GOP has some pretty interesting ways to flex that power once achieved. Someone shared this with me via FB and I thought it was pretty interesting. I hope that I’m not committing any Faux Pas, I’ve read the posting rules and I think I’m ok, but I’m still pretty new here so please forgive me if I error.
    I have never heard you mention this individual so I’m not sure what you think of her work, but the few instances that I have seen show her to be... well... interesting.


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