Friday, January 23, 2015

The Fears Of Small Men

Capt. Jerome, USMC: It seems quite obvious, I would think, sir. We must seize the government and make our own negotiations!
Gummere: Seize the government?
Capt. Jerome: At bayonet point!
Gummere:  Well, I certainly would like to see that old son-of-a-bitch at bayonet point, huh? But it's ridiculous! It's outrageous! It's lunatic!
Adm. Chadwick: Yes, isn't it though? I think Teddy should love it.
Gummere: But, what about the French? The Germans? The British? Why we're in the shadow of Gibraltar!
Gummere: You realize, of course, that if we fail in even the slightest way, we'll all be killed?
Adm. Chadwick: Yes, and the whole world will probably go to war.
Capt. Jerome: Gentlemen, if we fail and are killed, I certainly hope the world does go to war!

The men raise their glasses in salute.

Adm. Chadwick: The world at war!
Gummere: A world war. Now that would be something to go out on...
     - The Wind And The Lion, 1975


Spot the problem.

This morning Senator Ted Cruz (R-Jesusland) posted this to his Twitter account:



Do you see it?

I mean, can you spot the problem other than our nation is being run by idiots.

Cruz says we must preempt any efforts of those [Americans] who fight with terrorists to reenter the United States and launch terrorist attacks.

I don’t often agreed with Sweaty Teddy, but sure, okay. I might have said we should do our best to capture these people and bring them to justice, rather than just keep them out of our own country and let somebody else deal with them, but okay, sure. 

But then we get to this part:

"We must protect our homeland by declaring that Americans that go fight with radical Islamic terrorists have renounced their citizenship."


I see.

Take away their citizenship.

Make them, what? Stateless? Force them to become citizens of some other nation, is that it?

Sounds good right? ‘Merica! and all that patriotic flag waving dreck.  Sure. Shithead American goes to Terrorist Summer Camp, joins ISIS or ISIL or whatever the current bogeyman is, then tries to come back to America and attack us where we live.

I think we can all agree that’s not a good thing.

So, Senator Cruz suggests we start revoking American citizenship. Why we’ll make them no longer Americans! The dirty Muslim bastards, that'll fix ‘em! That’ll fix ‘em good!


Not to be a wet blanket or anything but before we start revoking citizenship, I have a couple of questions.


First, how big of a problem is this, really?

Sure, there have been a handful of cases where Americans have gone over to the other side, nobody says there haven’t, but how big of a problem is this?

Last year, two American converts to radical Islam, Troy Kastigar and Douglas McArthur McCain, declared Jihad and went to fight with the Islamic State. Both were killed. Now, I suppose you could take away their citizenship, you could take up the court’s time and pay the clerks and banish their ghosts to Jahannam.  But, really, they’re dead. As such, they’re unlikely to return to the US and engage in terrorism. The vast majority of Americans have never heard of these two assholes.

So why then does the party of fiscal conservatism want to spend money on an empty gesture?

Anwar al-Awlaki was an America Muslim who became a militant Islamist. He joined al-Qaeda and was killed along with his son, also a US citizen, by an Obama authorized drone strike in the Yemeni desert. A rather large number of Americans, both liberal and conservative, lost their goddamned minds over it. I wrote about that incident, in exhaustive detail, here, in one of the most popular essays I’ve ever penned.  Again, the guy is dead. He’s not coming back. We jammed a couple of Hellfire missiles up his colon, is sending a final Fuck You really that important at this point?

Most Americans have long forgotten John Walker Lindt – or Abu Sulayman al-Irlandi as he now calls himself. Lindt is currently rotting in the Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana. He pled guilty to joining the Taliban and fighting against American forces in Afghanistan.  Now, he’s in a SuperMax prison, in solitary confinement, for the next 20 years without the possibility of parole. His lawyers petitioned the government to have his sentence reduced and that was denied by President Bush on his last day in office.  He hates the United States and prays for its destruction every day. So, what? You’re going to take away his citizenship? I’m sure he’ll be all broken up over that. But here’s my real question: And then what? When Lindt gets out of prison ten years from now, and he’s not a US Citizen, what are we going to do with him? He can’t stay here. He can’t go anywhere else because he’s not a citizen of any country. So, once again, the party of fiscal conservatism will have to spend money to negotiate his transfer to … where? Are we going to dump him into Gitmo and just keep him “detained” forever at our expense and in defiance of our law? Or are we going to ship him  off to another country. And are we going to keep an eye on him after he’s released, because that would be a whole lot easier (and cheaper) here in the US than in Pakistan or Qatar or the UAE.

There are others. A few each year. But it’s hardly an overwhelming tide.

American airports aren’t full of eager Muslim converts headed out to join the Islamic State.

So, you’ve got to ask yourself, how come the poster child for smaller government and fewer laws and less regulations and reduced spending is proposing another law? One that would apply in only a few cases per year.

One that will cost us unnecessary money.

And one that does nothing.

Worse than nothing actually.

Say today the CIA becomes aware of another John Walker Lindt, another Troy Kastigar, or another Douglas McArthur McCain. 

Some white-bread American boy who got a case of the disgruntled Muhammad and went to North Africa or Pakistan and got himself all radicalized.

If you take away his citizenship, then should he attempt to return to the US he'll be forced to use a false identity.

Which bypasses all the intelligence flags attached to his real identity.

So, you’re going to have to hope that the CIA and the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are able to equate the real identity of some heretofore unknown bit player to a brand new false identity created by professionals, and you’re going to have to hope they do in time to flag him at customs. But don’t worry, as history shows, the US Intelligence community is really good at this, right? Probably nothing to worry about. Naw.

But it does sort of make you wonder about the whole point of that no-fly list and all the security apparatus we've had to live with for the last goddamned decade.

Now, certainly, there's nothing to prevent this theoretical homegrown terrorist from using a false identity even if you don't take away his citizenship, but by revoking his citizenship you've closed the door on the easy option, the low hanging fruit, and made it just that much harder for Immigration/Homeland Security to pick this guy out of the crowd.

The better bet is to pretend you aren't watching him and let him believe he's safe.  That's basic intelligence work.  If you’re a cop on stakeout, you don’t sit in front of the suspect’s house in a black&white with the flashers on and the siren going.

And while we’re on the subject: if you make this guy not-American, what are you going to do if he doesn’t come home?

Ah, didn’t think about that, did you?

Al-Awlaki, Lindt, Kastigar, McCain, these guys, none of them tried to come home. Now, I’m not saying they might not have attempted to return in the future, but they all were caught or killed fighting overseas.

Three of them, Lindt, Kastigar, and McCain, were killed or captured in active warzones.

But al-Awlaki wasn’t.

It's one thing to drone-zap an American citizen engaged in  terrorist activities in the middle of a Yemeni desert - sure, the legalities are open to some debate, but you can take those secret clauses in the various patriot acts and the fact that the foreign government asked us to clean up our own mess and roll them right up into a get out of jail free card.  You will note that despite all the various protestations regarding the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki by the US government on foreign soil, there's been no legal action by us or by foreign nations or by the international court.

Because it was legal.

Because al-Awlaki was an American.

And he was our responsibility.

But it's an act of war to kill a non-US citizen on foreign soil outside a combat zone.

If the target isn’t an American, and he's not in a combat zone, and he's not actively engaged in terrorism right at that very moment, and America drops a Hellfire on his head on foreign soil, then we're breaking all kinds of international treaties.

Remember the international and domestic outcry about this very thing when we went after Osama bin Laden inside the borders of one of our allies? And that was Osama bin Laden. And it was sort of kind of in the warzone - sort of, if you squint your eyes. And it has caused us all kinds of grief since, particularly in Pakistan.

But so? So what? Right? We're America. We can damned well kill whoever we want, wherever we want, whenever we want, right? Damn the legalities! Damn the treaties! Damn the legations!

You're probably going to need to rethink using the term "rogue state" though.

But what if we don’t catch up to him?

What if somebody else does?

Say this guy, this former-American, this terrorist, is captured by foreign forces. Alive.

How you going to extradite him? He's not an American anymore.

If he didn't commit a crime on US soil or against US assets, what's your legal standing in international law to bring him back here to face justice?

Or are we Americans just going to shrug and say, hey, not our problem, he’s not an American anymore, you deal with it. 

Is that the kind of people we’ve become? The kind of asshole whose dog craps in somebody else’s yard and we pretend it’s not our responsibility?

But all this is just window dressing.


Have you figured out the real problem with Senator Cruz’s statement?


Well then I’ll tell you: The problem is that a Harvard educated lawyer who is now charged with making the laws of our country and who bleats endlessly about the Holy Constitution, doesn’t seem to know very much about the goddamned law.

While it is possible for a naturalized U.S. citizen to have his or her citizenship revoked through a process called "denaturalization," a natural-born U.S. citizen may not have their citizenship revoked against their will. 

May not.

The government does not have that authority.

A natural born US citizen may renounce their citizenship, but the government cannot, repeat can not, force someone to renounce their citizenship or do it for them in their absence.

More than that, suggesting that the US Federal Government should be able to revoke citizenship from an American is the ultimate hypocrisy for an outspoken advocate of individual rights, liberty, freedom, and small government.

Cruz  seems to be suggesting that the government should have the power to revoke citizenship.

Think about that. Think about it real hard.

Who decides? The Court? The Military? Homeland Security? The Senate? The President? Is this a power you really want the government to have? The ability to make you a non-citizen? Really?

So, do we vote on it?  Because, hey, no mob mentality or room for error there, oh no. Especially when it comes to terrorism, right? Just go ask Richard Jewel.

And where exactly does this end?

First we revoke the citizenship of radical Muslim terrorists, right? Sure that’s okay, we hate those sons of bitches and who doesn’t?

Then maybe less-radical Muslims. Cruz said “preempt” did he not? We’ve got to get ahead of terrorism. Deport ‘em before they become radical radical. Because really, radical, less-radical, they’re all terrorists aren’t they? Isn’t that what people like Ted Cruz have been telling us? Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim. Right? Right?

Then maybe other religions we don’t like. We’ll get rid of the Sikhs next, can’t tell them from Muslims anyway. And the cults, sure.  Oh, and the Jews! Heck, there’s even a precedent for making Jews non-citizens, isn’t there? Hmmm, give me a minute, I’ll remember the details, something about America for Americans and all that, dontcha know.  And the Jews can hardly complain, after all if you check in with the modern Jewish state, you can find a precedent for making Muslims non-citizens too, so there’s that. Fair’s fair, I guess. And hey, at least Jews have a homeland they can fuck off to.

Who’s next? Political ideologies? Sure, it’s not like Ted Cruz and his political party haven’t been accusing the rest of us of being shitty Americans – but no, now I’m just being silly, no way rational people like Ted Cruz would abuse this power to banish liberals and progressives and conservatives who don’t toe the party line. Nooooo, that would never happen.

Gays? No gay people, no gay marriage. How about the poor? We’ll use the Hawaii model and just export them somewhere else. Problem solved! No more welfare, no more food stamps. It’ll be a Koch Brothers paradise!

And the sick, don’t forget the sick, we can banish them too and why not?

Oooh, wait, I know! How about people who are only half American?

Yeah! You know, say like they were born in Canada?


Too far?





But, look out there. Look out into the world. Look into the past. Genocide. Atrocity. Totalitarianism. Disenfranchisement. Terrorism. All the horrors of our past.

People always ask, how could it happen?

How could it happen? Well you see, it begins just like this.

Very small.

And with the best of intentions.


  1. An educated public is not in these folks favor. Once again, thanks for (once again) pointing out the error of their ways.

  2. Cruz actually knows the law, he's counting on the rubes he wants to stir up not knowing it.

    Because Muslims.

    Cruz is one of the most contemptible poseurs out there, and that's saying something.

    1. Alan... not merely Because Muslims... Because EGO! That little cruz creature has a Napoleon complex and this contemptible poseur certainly is dangerous if we ignore his capabilities to invoke and stir up the lowest common denominator in the electorate.

  3. Excellent Sir! I would only add that the ability to identify and arrest a US citizen returning from a war zone would also be an intelligence boon. Cruz would posture and in so doing, actually make the task of defending America more difficult.

  4. You nailed it, Jim.

    I think Cruz is exactly trying to establish that the government has the power to revoke citizenship. I wonder who he intends to use it against? Children born of undocumented Mexicans in Texas, perhaps?

    "Today so-called aliens are deported. Tomorrow native Americans will be banished. Already some patrioteers are suggesting that native American sons to whom democracy is a sacred ideal should be exiled."—Anarchist Emma Goldman, 1919, before her denaturalization. She was deported to Russia along with some 249 other people who had been swept up in the red scare of the period.

    1. Next step is to say that certain people only count as three fifths of a human being. No idea who we could choose as being only three fifths of a human being. Nope, no idea.

  5. Brilliant as usual, Jim!

    One minor faux pas: "One that would apply in only a few case per year." should be "cases per year."

  6. After more thought, it seems this is the beginning of an attack on the 14th amendment, which established birthright citizenship in the USA, reversing the finding in Dred Scott that African-Americans were not, and never could be citizens.

    Cruz is not thinking small.

    1. Not that we've done such a great job of paying attention to birthright citizenship at times. George Takei has a thing or two to say about that.

  7. The 14th amendment also establishes the universal right to vote among adult men.

    This is a brilliant attack on the foundations of our democracy.

  8. As I read this, I'm nodding in agreement. All the way to the last bit where you say "very small. And with the best of intentions." Because you see, I don't think a guy like Cruz is acting with the best of intentions. I think he knows his bullshit rhetoric will get his patriot tea party buddies all whipped up into a nice righteous Muslim killing frenzy, which is EXACTLY his intent. No sir, there is NOTHING best about his intentions.

    1. Well, now, I guess that would depend on how you define "best" of intentions.

      Which makes you wonder why I wrote it the way I did.

    2. Best of intentions ... and for who, I mean.

    3. Hey there Jim. I did get that part of your message. Just couldn't resist pointing out that, IMHO, Cruz is a major league asshat who absolutely does NOT have the best interest of any American who differs from him in appearance, religious leaning, political views or gender. Well, he can go fuck himself. Or fuck off. Whichever he prefers, so long as he does it soon.

  9. Seriously wondering which one is the incarnation of Nehemiah Scudder.

    Gretchen in KS

    1. Gretchen, I worry that it's not ONE of them, it's MOST of them!

    2. Its ALL of them, instead is sharia law it will be Old Testament law. And kudos for knowing how he was, I've talked about this since SCOTUS 'elected' W.


    3. I wonder... Nehemiah Scudder had to have been a true believer, with plenty of opportunistic career politicians to back up his rhetoric along with whichever corporatists with the money to back his first election. It appears we have plenty of the politicians, and plenty of money people. We seem ripe for this political take-over. Just waiting for the right true-believer with enough charisma to come along. W came close but he did not have the charisma to pull it off. Most of the other politicians are of the career opportunistic sort, including Cruz.

      All we are missing is the charismatic true-believer for the right factions to coalesce around. And then God help the US and us. And this would also be why the right was al up in arms over Obama.

  10. Ted Cruz scares me. He is good at inciting people. Hitler always comes to mind. I feel that the ones that voted for him might also have followed Hitler.

  11. Your freedoms do not end in the din of battle. They are taken from you by the rustle of papers in a file in an office to which you have no access and of which you have very little knowledge. Critical thinking is a vanishing species here in the complacent land of the free. Glad we have Jim and others to carry it on.

    I can't figure out how to post as myself. So I'll have to do it anonymously.

    1. Your freedoms do not end in the din of battle. They are taken from you by the rustle of papers in a file in an office to which you have no access and of which you have very little knowledge.

      What a perfectly descriptive sentence. Well written 1:29. It gave me chills.


    2. Anon on January 23, 2015 at 1:29 pm... no matter whether you cannot "figure how to post as yourself", you did, and you have my unmitigated gratitude for sharing your thoughts. I shall pass on those insights to all who may listen, as well as to those who choose to remain wilfully ignorant.

  12. How about someone convicted of treason? I thought they lost their citizenship.

    1. Nothing in the Constitution (where treason is defined) about that. If there is some other law like that, I'm not aware of it.

    2. Generally the penalty for treason is death. Taking away their citizenship after that is like gilding the lily, isn't it? :)

      Check out how they used to execute the traitors too. eek.

  13. Cruz exemplifies all that is wrong with our politicians. Instead of working together for the greater good of all Americans, he finds a way to divide the people into "us" versus "them", with "us" the good guys. You know them, they are the ones who are the leaders because they are so much smarter than the rest of the populace, the ones who have god on their side, the ones who have the power to make decisions that can destroy - or lift up - our country. Cruz is a hater, a clone of McCarthy and his witch hunts. I do believe that the man believes that he truly is one of the chosen according to god's word.

    I failed to capitalize chosen and god because I don't believe that Cruz even believes in god but uses the entity to reach out to the truly uneducated believers in America. He is a destructive man who should never have been voted into a position of power because power is what he wants for himself.

  14. "a natural-born U.S. citizen may not have their citizenship revoked against their will.

    May not.

    The government does not have that authority. "

    Not a lawyer or a constitutional scholar, but:

    8 U.S. Code § 1481 - Loss of nationality by native-born or naturalized citizen; voluntary action; burden of proof; presumptions

    Seems to in fact give the government that authority in certain circumstances as spelled out in the Code for both native born and naturalized citizens.

    It seems Cruz has/is trying to amend the law (which was written during WW II it looks like) to include terrorist organizations as the statue addressed "nations" and "armies" which was apropos at the time but a bit anachronistic now.

    The statue also says the several acts listed (Including Treason) must be voluntary and with the intent of renouncing citizenship.

    I guess proving intent would be the legal hard nut to crack there, but it does seem that the government has the authority to do so.

    1. I was going to post this, but you beat me to it. It seems that Cruz does not know that it is already in the law that taking up arms against the U.S. is presumed to be a voluntary renunciation of citizenship. However, it is not automatic. Jim Wright is not a lawyer, but Cruz writes laws and should know better. Then again, there are a vast many things that Cruz and his Tea Bagger ilk should know better, starting with the fact that their own Tea Bagger ideas are an insult to our country's history and principles.

      8 U.S. Code § 1481 - Loss of nationality by native-born or naturalized citizen; voluntary action; burden of proof; presumptions
      (a) A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality—
      (3) entering, or serving in, the armed forces of a foreign state if
      (A) such armed forces are engaged in hostilities against the United States, ...

    2. True, Jim is not a lawyer. He is a blogger with strong opinions. But I assume he has Google an can check to make sure his opinions are based on facts before publishing same . His statement , as you have shown, is incorrect on its face. Jim said the US Government does not have the authority to rescind citizenship of natural born citizens, when it appears they do, under certain circumstances. I believe Cruz does know the law and he knows that the statute cited above exists; however, the law does not address the current state of affairs – ISIS/AQ/ terrorist orgs are not nations, and do not have constituted armies, so technically, it is not currently “legal” to rescind citizenship of those who do join and fight.

      The crux of Jim’s argument appears to be that Cruz is creating a law out of thin air that has no precedent, no basis in history, and is completely against what we as Americans stand for. That cannot be if the statue cited already exists. The slippery slope Jim feels Cruz’s legislation would create already exists. By refining the law to include the modern concepts of stateless terrorist organizations, Cruz seems to be following the concept of law and updating it to reflect reality.

      Also, I found it interesting that the statute establishes the burden of proof as “the preponderance of the evidence”. Jim may not be a lawyer, but as a retired Navy CWO, he has no doubt had to endure a few military law classes and participated in administrative punishment and court martial proceedings . I would assume he knows the difference between a level of proof of “preponderance of the evidence” and “beyond a reasonable doubt”. So wringing our hands over who will decide may be a good rhetorical exercise, but the law as it exists sets a pretty clear definition of the acts and that intent is based on the acts themselves. So, someone who joins a terror organization that has, through words and deeds placed itself in armed conflict with the US shows the intent of the participant and is certainly the preponderance of the evidence needed to revoke citizenship.

      I would encourage all here to read the statute, ( the CFR data base at Cornell also has notes and case law appended to give a full picture of the statute and its history) read the DoS posting on the issue, do other research and then marshal arguments why I am wrong. If I am right, then the debate should be about the law as it is, not about how small men try to create things that already exist.

    3. In plain language and within a legal notion of free-will:

      "Losing your citizenship

      For a natural-born citizen, losing your citizenship is actually quite difficult. The law prohibits the taking of your citizenship against your will, but there are certain actions a citizen can take which are assumed to be a free-will decision that constitutes a voluntary renunciation of the citizenship."


      Mr Wright's point is still valid. Mr Cruz may say he is intending to close a modern loophole to the long standing law but his rhetoric about getting-out-in-front of it all ? Pure bullshit ramp up of the same nature as Mr Bush's get-em-afore-they-get-us .
      Mr Cruz is a snake.
      Alaska Pi

    4. Which point is still valid? If you agree that Jim’s main point, that the US cannot revoke citizenship, is in fact valid, then please provide rebuttal to my posts about the existing law.

      If it is invalid, then the rest of the post is mostly invalid as well. Jim paints a hypothetical set of scenarios where Cruz and his side will eventually deny citizenship to a large number of classes of people Cruz and company find reprehensible. That is impossible under the law and its interpretation by the courts.

      If you are addressing the ‘getting out in front of it’ point, I don’t see where Cruz is getting out in front of anything. Amending the statute to ensure that a citizen who of their own free will takes up arms with a terror organization is denied citizenship AFTER they have done the deed (Rather difficult to revoke before I would think) seems to be reactive, not proactive. Please provide the rhetoric from Cruz where he says/implies/hints at what you attribute to him. The Tweets from Cruz cited by Jim say two things: 1) revoke citizenship of anyone who fights against US; 2) Revoked = can’t return freely. Jim has extrapolated this into a chain of events that will cast out all types of Americans Cruz apparently finds reprehensible. Since the statute specifically states a citizen must willfully renounce, Jim’s hypothetical scenarios are simply that – hypothetical.

      Jim may have valid points about possible issues resulting from revocation, and Cruz may certainly be an idiot about many things, but not about this particular point. If we agree that the government under current law has the authority to deny citizenship, then discussion should shift from “Ted Cruz is an idiot” to “is the current law what America believes in today?”

    5. I'm a native-born Texan. Can we please send him back?

    6. I disagree with Anonymous at 11:04. Jim's overall argument is sound, just not the (admittedly big) part about this being unprecedented. Revoking citizenship from people who go fight with terrorists makes it easier for the terrorists, not harder. Secondly, other countries have a better approach to fighting terrorism- it's a crime to be fought within the law, not an excuse to piss ourselves and use a whole host of extreme and unlawful measures (rendition, torture, destroying the 4th Amendment protections on search and seizure for the whole world in general and US citizens in particular). US "Homeland Security" is not making us any safer than other countries' law enforcement; it's just promoting panic, trashing the Constitution and moving towards our own useless expensive Iron Curtain on the southern border. Finally, when did Republican pronouncements and promises to protect us from terr'ists ever end well? Have we so soon forgotten W's skew turn from hunting bin Laden to following his own handlers pre-determined agenda to fight what was once a contained Iraq? Those promises cost us over $2 trillion with a T, hundreds of thousands of deaths and maimings (not just our own many tens of thousands of casualties, but counting all human cost), and have arguably made us less safe globally. No, any promises and assertions Cruz makes will not have a happy outcome for anyone, and move us towards more Gitmos and torture. It will just make the horror technically legal. Not right, not even useful, just technically legal. In that, we will move one more step away from being a beacon of democracy and one more step towards that which I was raised to deplore. That is not a cost I am willing to pay just for the empty promises of safety.

  15. Hitler was not born in Germany either, just saying.

  16. Not a lawyer or scholar or speller neither... statute, 2X, not statue. Sorry.

  17. I feel that I should again, as I have before, apologize -- on behalf of Canada -- for Ted Cruz.
    I will also say again, as I have before, that you can keep him.

    1. Why would Canada be responsible for Ted Cruz? Because his mommy and daddy ran to Canada to have an illegitimate child?

    2. Having been born here and educated here, something from our culture must have made him what he now is. Or, perhaps, he reacted to our values in a way that few of us would approve of.

      I'd not welcome him back to Canada, but yah... :(

  18. I like to believe in the best part of people. However, I also follow the adage of "believe the face people show you, not what they say". Ted Cruz reminds me of the worst part of humanity and I believe it is intentional. Spot on Jim.

  19. Whoa, it's a real bill! In the House and Senate! I suppose the intention is to get this horror to the Supreme Court, and get them to rule on the possibility of revoking citizenship. If it gets there, Mexican-Americans look out!

    Anon, Findlaw says not. I assume that is based on case law; the Roberts Court could conceivably alter the interpretation of the law, making them far too literally Taney Court II.

    This is all very far-fetched. I expect such a law would have to be passed over Obama's veto, which would be difficult. Still there have been times in US history when such things have become law.

    1. Findlaw says "Natural-born U.S. citizens may not have their citizenship revoked against their will, but may choose to renounce their citizenship on their own. - "

      I think we are getting hung up on 'free will'. My reading is that intent = free will and the acts spelled out in the statute are interpreted by the courts as de facto expression of intent. Therefore a US citizen who performs the act(s) listed is expressing intent to denounce and so their free will (i.e. – on their own) has been shown.
      My read is the intent piece is based on case law that led to amendments to the statute – thus ensuring the government could not do what Jim seems to think could happen – arbitrary and capricious revocations without recourse. AS the law has been on the books for over 70 years, I don't think we can label it 'far fetched'.

    2. And, in fact, the current law says it is revoked when a citizen applies for citizenship in another country. The proposed bill adds swearing allegiance to "designated foreign terrorist organization." Only, who designates? And is this even constitutional in the first place? It would seem to conflict with the 14th amendment.

    3. I cited the applicable law and reference link to the DoS list of terrorist organizations down @ January 26, 2015 at 10:52 AM. So someone may have to further define "Swear allegiance" as I don't know if terrorists hold any kind of swearing in ceremony (at least not like in Animal House anyway :-) ) but the mechanics are already in place to enforce the law.

      Also, note the statute says" …person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality—"

      'Shall' in legal terms is usually construed as a declarative term. The law does not say "may" "might" "can" "Could" or even "will". They shall lose their citizenship. Since the law is 70 years old and appears to have withstood several legal challenges (and has been modified slightly as I noted in other thread comments) it looks like it is here to stay. I very much doubt any legal challenge to what Cruz proposes would be successful.

  20. As usual, you got it just exactly right. Ted Cruz scares me to death. That and the fact that there are so many Americans who buy what he is selling. How did it ever come to this?

    1. Cruz came from Canada, to Texas, the largest green cow pasture on earth to deposit his bullshit.
      God, Guns, Big Bidness. Incarceration, not education.
      Not the State Motto.... but close.

  21. Did some additional searching on topic. Here is link to DoS info on it.


    Again, as I am a layman, the leagalese makes my head spin, but it seems to reaffirm that a person who is US citizen/national who takes up arms against US with the intent to renounce citizenship loses citizenship. I also stumbled through some of the case law re: intent. If I go to Canada and join up there, as Canada is not in an armed conflict with US, my intent is construed to not relinquish. As AQ/ISIL/etc. are not nations, the murky part seems to be that since the statute does not expressly address that situation (it being enacted to cover more conventional times) does the law need to be changed, or not?

    That seems to be Cruz's argument.

  22. An observation. Mr. Cruz statements are on revoking citizenship based on radicalized Islamic motivations in an American Citizen. As Jim pointed out that is a slippery slope with very clearly no precedent in the Constitution. I have heard this line of reasoning among Conservatives before. But I have never heard that argument made for Edward Snowden. Not once. Anywhere. Why is that? I will tell you why. Because "we" consider him one of us. And he betrayed us. You know. That guy that looks like us. With a nearly identical cultural identity to ours. And that is treason from within. We want to prosecute him with OUR laws and not just let him slip off to Russia right? Or that is the way some Conservatives (some Liberals too) feel. Because dehumanizing brown Muslims is easy for some. It is natural to the small minded. But middle class white people with middle class white problems should know better. We can't dehumanize someone so obviously similar to us. The crazy fucks who strap bombs to themselves, or worse to others, shit yeah. The guy we talked sports to all night having some beers? No. Well not until we are farther down that slippery slope as Jim suggested. So right now the game is different between Snowden and most of those others. I wonder what the (obvious) difference could be? I can't say. I hate when people say I play cards.

  23. This is how liberty dies...with thundering applause.

    ~Queen Amidala
    (Dorks Unite)

  24. Many people living outside the US who are plagued with US citizenship (for example, children or grandchildren of US citizens who never set foot in the US or those born to non-US parents in the US and left the US as toddlers), thanks to the efforts of the US Congress to make it impossible for them to have bank accounts and live a normal life, would be happy to forego the $2450 fee the US now charges for voluntarily renouncing US citizenship. That's it, $2450 to exercise a basic human right!

    Maybe Mr. Cruz has suggested a solution to their problem... If you claim to be a terrorist, the US will forego the ridiculous fee. Or do you actually have to be a terrorist?

  25. I heard on the radio this morning that a young American woman, native born, stopped in the Denver airport on her way to join ISIS, has plea-bargained her way, with a guilty plea, into a four year sentence. Part of the bargain, or perhaps it is heartfelt, was a public thank you to the FBI for catching her and so preventing her from throwing her life away, and a promise to rat out every one of her former radicalized friends. That' s just got to be a better result than stripping her passport and dumping her in Syria or somewhere.


  26. Two thoughts - the road to hell is paved with good intentions and Cruz has a serious case of foot-in-mouth disease.

  27. I've said before: It's a very short walk from "Them damn Muslims" to "Them damn Methodists".

    "How big of a problem is this, really?" Well, it's as big as McCarthy - oh, excuse me - Cruz can make it.

    As mentioned above, Hitler was not born in Germany. He came there from a neighboring country, got elected to a prominent office, whipped up a frenzy by telling the people of a faded empire that they were exceptional and that the world owed them its servitude, and picked out an ethnic "enemy" for them to blame.
    But, that has nothing to do with Cruz, right?


  28. Dear Jim: Let me simply cite Niemöller, when he said,

    "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."

    They cannot stand freethinking and the ability of the people to be informed and be caught in their lies. The only thing that I don't understand is how low Harvard has fallen to give this ignoramus a degree...

    Keep being blunt, keep speaking your mind. And thank you for being an oasis of reason in this world of deceptions.

    1. The rhetoric we are hearing from the likes of Ted Cruz is probably for the purposes of making people see the enemy as 100% bad. It keeps us occupied. There are no 100% good guys and no 100% bad guys. I would guess that most conflicts are brought on by one group of people exploiting another group. One religious group exploiting another. Rich exploiting poor, etc … In the case of ISIS, who is the exploited? I am sure ISIS feels that they were being exploited by some one. In that capitalism thrives on exploitation, how many world wide are being exploited? I would think that the reason ISIS is attracting so many followers, is that the world is filled with disgruntled exploited. How does one fight capitalistic exploitation? Terrorism maybe? Terrorism is brought on by the fact that we are animals. There are animals, on both sides of any conflict, who are capable of atrocities. People seem to have forgotten Vietnam. Through out history the exploited have fought the exploiter. If the exploited win, they then become the exploiter. I would sure hate to see ISIS win and become the exploiter. A lot of progress has been made by the exploiters. They have learned how to exploit, and blame it on others or give the ones they are exploiting an enemy, to keep them occupied. (Cruz) Anyway one can see that things are not black and white. 100% forced equality through out the world would probably put and end to conflict. People think that because they are superior to another, that translates into them having more, so I do not see any way for equality to ever happen. The beat goes on.

    2. Alfio FerreaI do not know how my comment became a reply to your comment. I must have messed up. Sorry about that. BTY, loved your comment.

  29. Looks like your vacation did you good, Jim. Welcome back!

  30. I usually read the comments first before I post. Not this time! That GD Son of A Bitch resembles McCarthy both physically and mentally. He's got to be his Bastard Son!

    Once again, great post and such a treat so soon after the last one.

  31. You quoted from one of my all-time favorite movies, and then eviscerated Ted Cruz. You ARE my god.

  32. Well, that's another one you've hit out of the park. It's a good thing this isn't baseball, you'd shame the players.

    Love the hit on Cruz, loved it more to find out that Cruz renounced his Canadian Citizenship. I do wonder if the man will end up like another Canadian who did that kind of thing. Lord ex-convict Black, of some harbour somewhere, ran back to Canada after he visited your nation for a few years. Seems he's not happy living in England, where he's still a Lord. :) He is said to want his citizenship back, not even Steven will give it back to him though.

    People who'd strip citizenship from others, are also people who'd call others 'unpersons' or 'subhuman'. They're very dangerous. I'm sorry we exported the likes of Teddy to you. But no. There's no way we want him back.

  33. Oh, let's just deport Ted Cruz and be done with it.

    Yours crankily,
    The New York Crank

  34. The tricky point here is "actions with the intent to renounce"

    Sure, you can *say* they want to renounce if they join ISIL/ISIS/Whoever, but what if the *intent* is to "free Syria from the heathen," and nothing to do with the USA.

    Or, they could be taking up arms in an act to protect the nation from usurpation (yeah, I know, the winners make the determination as to who is the patriot/rebel/usurper/innocent bystander)

    1. I don’t think it is tricky at all. See 8 U.S. Code § 1189 - Designation of foreign terrorist organizations for the statute that describes how organizations are so designated. See http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm for the current list. Their intent is presumed to be that they renounce citizenship by their actions. The courts have held that the very acts themselves as described in the statute constitute intent.

      The world is a lot messier and more complicated than it was when starry eyed American communists trundled off in 1937 to Spain to enlist in the Lincoln Brigade to fight fascism. If one way to free Syria from the heathen is to decapitate American citizens who are there as noncombatants, then by the statute they are in fact terror orgs, and anyone who joins does so under that umbrella, whether they had anything to do with the beheadings or not. Once an American citizen becomes a casualty, they own it.

      As terrorist organizations are by and large ‘stateless’ there can be no nation to protect. If they are members of, say, the Syrian military, different story. To argue that their intent is murky may be a fine point of discussion for a cocktail party, but it does not appear to be so murky under the statute as currently written.

  35. The entire Islamo-phobic madness scares me. I read this week where a young woman, a nurse, was sentenced to prison for INTENDING to aid ISIL. Holy cats, what is next, jail for poor people who make a smart-assed crack about robbing a bank? How can someone go to jail for something they WANTED to do, but didn't do? I mean, hell, they might as well come lock up MY ass for wanting to stuff a large potato in Dick Cheney's open mouth....

  36. When the good people of Texas threw out Ann Richards as governor and replaced her with Shrub (the little bush that ain't grown up, yet) I left the state. I figured they couldn't sink any lower. Now that they have given us Ted Cruz, I may have to reassess my position.

  37. "So why then does the party of fiscal conservatism want to spend money on an empty gesture?"

    See: ACA, votes to repeal;
    Vote fraud, crackdown on;
    Welfare recipients, drug testing for;
    Benghazi hearings;
    Planned Parenthood hearings

    Short answer: They aren't fiscal conservatives, and spending taxpayer money on useless gestures is what they *do*.


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