Anti-Constitutionalism Among Conservatives?

a writer for the website of popular Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham produced  a rather disturbing article the other day. In it he was  defending the populist pro-Trump wing of the Republican party against “establishment”  Conservatism,  but then he begins to take aim at certain core values of that Conservatism which he suggests are narrow-minded . One of them he refers to as   “Constitution worship” . Now I have seen this type of rhetoric used by Progressives but never by American Conservatives. He goes on to explain that man is flawed and imperfect and consequently anything created by him ( including a constitution) will also be flawed and imperfect.  Why then,  he asks,  should Conservatives adhere so inflexibly to the Constitution?

By offering  this objection he reveals that it is he himself  that is the believer in perfection. For this is the only  basis upon which he can object to something on the  grounds of its imperfection. Now if he has an issue with some specific aspect of he Constitution that is different, there is a means within the document itself of addressing that  called the Amendment process. It places the power to make changes in the hands of the people, not  in the hands of the Court, the Executive branch or anywhere else. The entire  basis of  the rule of law is precisely the understanding that humanity is flawed, and that we should not therefore be ruled by the whims and arbitrary preferences of individual men, but by the closest thing to a constant body of just principles that we can conceive. If humanity  is not governed by the rule of law, it will be ruled by the whims of men.

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Good News, Everyone! Wisconsin Blocked from Reinstating Its Unconstitutional Voting Restrictions.
On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit refused to block a lower court decision invalidating large chunks of Wisconsin’s Republican-sponsored voting restrictions.

The ruling effectively ensures that Wisconsin’s most burdensome new voting laws will not be in effect during the 2016 election, unless the Supreme Court intervenes—an extremely remote possibility. With this denial, the 7th Circuit joins a growing list of federal courts that are willing to question the impact of voting restrictions on minorities’ constitutionally protected right to vote.

The 7th Circuit’s refusal to stay the lower court’s ruling is especially remarkable in light of that decision’s broad holding. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson barred Wisconsin from enforcing a significant rollback on early voting—especially on days favored by black voters—along with more stringent components of the voter ID provision. Peterson found that these measures placed an undue burden on citizens’ right to vote and violated the First, 14th, and 15th amendments, as well as the Voting Rights Act. He also found that a Wisconsin law that slashed hours for in-person absentee voting intentionally discriminated on the basis of race, a serious charge against the state legislature. In one startling passage, Peterson slammed Republican legislators for their “preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud,” an obsession that “leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement, which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections, particularly in minority communities.”

Earlier this month, the same panel of judges that refused to stay Peterson’s ruling agreed to stay a different judge’s decision softening other elements of Wisconsin’s voter ID requirements. The order would have allowed voters unduly burdened by the law to sign an affidavit instead of presenting ID. In its ruling, the 7th Circuit found that the district court hadn’t differentiated between individuals for whom the ID requirement presents a “substantial obstacle to voting” and those who could easily get an ID but don’t want to “make the effort.”

As election law expert Rick Hasen notes, the same panel’s willingness to let Peterson’s ruling stand is rather revealing. Even for these conservative-leaning judges, it seems, Wisconsin’s race-based early voting cuts go beyond the pale. And thanks to their willingness to peer beyond the legislature’s laughably pretextual justifications for disenfranchisement, thousands more Wisconsin voters will be able to cast their ballots this November.


Two Irish women live-tweet abortion in protest of nationwide ban

Since 1983, abortion has been constitutionally banned in Ireland, leading thousands of Irish women to seek abortions by either illegally ordering pills online, or crossing the border to England to get the procedure. To shine a spotlight on what the realities of this ban truly mean, an Irish woman, along with her friend, live-tweeted her abortion journey from Ireland to England over the weekend.
FLASHBACK: 'Stalk them and kill them,' Farrakhan says, calling for 10,000 volunteers to kill whites
In August 2015, in a sermon reminiscent of the fiery rhetoric of an Islamic State preacher, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, 82, said in Miami the time has come for 10,000 black volunteers to kill white Americans. Was gunman Micah Xavier Johnson one of Farrakhan's "fearless?"

“Inciting to violence” is not constitutionally protected free speech as a result of what’s known as “the Brandenburg test.”  Its that whole, ‘you’re not free to scream “FIRE!!” in a crowded theater’ thing.

In 1969 the Supreme Court made this ruling (rather, upheld a lower court’s ruling) against Clarence Vandenburg, a KKK official and white supremacist for his vile and violence-suggesting rhetoric. A lower court (in Ohio) had found Brandenburg guilty of violating state law, which prohibited “advocat[ing] … the duty, necessity, or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform,”

Given these truths and given that since he gave this vile speech, we’ve had a man take a rifle and slaughter 5 police officers in Dallas last month, others place false reports with police dispatch and then murder the responding officers, people in the streets proclaiming 'since we cannot live with whitey its time to kill him’, and more than a few other such incidents - is not this disgusting cretin Farrakhan guilty of “speech inciting to violence”?

"Probability neglect": why policy-makers are constitutionally incapable of formulating evidence-based anti-terrorism policy

A Policy Maker’s Dilemma: Preventing Terrorism or Preventing Blame (PDF), a study in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, argues that counterterrorism policy fails to address real terrorist threats because politicians and bureaucrats perceive more risk from being punished by voters if they preside over an attack than they do in attacks arising from actual, probable sources.

#Repost @onealrodriguez with @repostapp
After engaging in a thorough investigation, initiated at the request of the City of Baltimore and BPD, the Department of Justice concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law. BPD engages in a pattern or practice of: (1) making unconstitutional stops, searches, and arrests; (2) using enforcement strategies that produce severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of stops, searches and arrests of African Americans; (3) using excessive force; and (4) retaliating against people engaging in constitutionally-protected expression. This pattern or practice is driven by systemic deficiencies in BPD’s policies, training, supervision, and accountability structures that fail to equip officers with the tools they need to police effectively and within the bounds of the federal law. We recognize the challenges faced by police officers in Baltimore and other communities around the country. Every day, police officers risk their lives to uphold the law and keep our communities safe. Investigatory stops, arrests, and force—including, at times, deadly force—are all necessary tools used by BPD officers to do their jobs and protect the safety of themselves and others. Providing policing services in many parts of Baltimore is particularly challenging, where officers regularly confront complex social problems rooted in poverty, racial segregation and deficient educational, employment and housing opportunities. Still, most BPD officers work hard to provide vital services to the community. The pattern or practice occurs as a result of systemic deficiencies at BPD. The agency fails to provide officers with sufficient policy guidance and training; fails to collect and analyze data regarding officers’ activities; and fails to hold officers accountable for misconduct. BPD also fails to equip officers with the necessary equipment and resources they need to police safely, constitutionally, and effectively. Each of these systemic deficiencies contributes to the constitutional and statutory violations we observed.

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Join us tomorrow for our #RightsAtRisk Townhall!

Though Women’s Equality Day is intended to commemorate the day when voting was constitutionally guaranteed for women, it is important to note that many Black women and other women of color were not able to vote until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965– almost 45 years much later– and continue to face significant barriers that prevent them from voting today.  

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that what we are is something so soft so humanly skinned
so profoundly constitutionally big and light and kind as soul
so caring as to surpass all understanding
we are what we are because we are of each other

why then do we keep on being so wrong?

I lay my cheek next to yours
I want to breathe into us
to care
to care

—  Antjie Krog, in Skinned
Hillary Health Trutherism, Misogyny And The Media [TW: Sexism, Misogyny, Clinton Derangement Syndrome, Conspiracy Theories]
Conservatives sure are worried about Hillary Clinton’s health. Not that they are actually concerned with her well-being. Instead, they have created a new blend of trutherism that uses exaggerations and even outright forgeries to construct a false narrative that a medical disorder disqualifies Clinton from the presidency.

Conservatives sure are worried about Hillary Clinton’s health. Not that they are actually concerned with her well-being. Instead, they have created a new blend of trutherism that uses exaggerations and even outright forgeries to construct a false narrative that a medical disorder disqualifies Clinton from the presidency.

Eight years ago, the fever swamps of the far-right were obsessed with proving that Barack Obama was constitutionally ineligible to be president because he was born in Kenya. Based on racism, birtherism was designed to depict Obama as not fully American. Proselytizers of this lie were far too often granted a platform by the media, sometimes lending undeserved credibility to their claims.

At the time, Republican nominee John McCain refused to engage in these bigoted attacks and actively dissuaded his supporters from doing so. The same cannot be said for Donald Trump. His birtherism helped elevate him from reality TV star to presidential contender and now he is actively engaged in promoting this new lie about Clinton’s health.  

In an interview this week, Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson diagnosed Clinton as suffering from “dysphasia.” Trump himself has declared that Clinton “doesn’t have that strength and stamina” to be president. The Trump campaign has been joined in this smear by its partners at, Sean Hannity’s radio and television programs, and the birthers at World Net Daily.

On Fox News Sunday, Trump surrogate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed one of the reasons Hillary Clinton leads in national and state polls is because the media refuses to cover conservative conspiracies about her health.

Like the birthers of the Obama era, Hillary health truthers base their accusations on a convoluted mix of conspiracy theories, exaggerations and outright lies that forces believers to willfully ignore any evidence to the contrary while twisting themselves into logical pretzels.

Ignoring the standard physician’s letter that Clinton’s campaign, like most presidential campaigns, has released, they are convinced that the candidate making a joke about rapid-fire questions from reporters in a Washington, D.C., coffee shop in June is evidence that she had a seizure. (Oddly, these truthers must believe that journalists next to Clinton reacted to her apparent seizure by laughing). They also point to a single picture of Clinton slipping on icy stairs as proof of her poor health, while there are literally hundreds of pictures in existence of her climbing steps unaided. The Drudge Report splashed across the top of its page a link to a conservative blog pointing to the fact that a pillow is often found on the seats upon which Hillary Clinton sits, because apparently desiring lumbar support is somehow evidence of a major medical malady. (Unlike Trump, her physician has not declared that she “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”)  

Hillary health truthers have also released fake letters, fake medical records claiming to be from Clinton’s doctor and even a fake MRI.

Just as racism drove birtherism, health trutherism is undoubtedly driven by misogyny. There is an extensive history of demeaning women by calling them “crazy,” not to mention undercutting their ability to serve in positions of prominence and power.

Accusing the first female presidential nominee of a major political party of being brain damaged is simply an attempt to use fake medicine and outright lies to elevate this sexist trope into the mainstream political discourse.

Pushers of these theories will feign offense at these accusations. How dare they be accused of sexism, they will complain, when they’re not saying that Hillary is crazy, just brain damaged. They’re just asking questions. They will say that these queries simply come from concern about the health of the future president. Nonsense.

Hillary health truthers see this as an open opportunity to claim that the potential first female president of the United States is unfit for the job. And as in the case of birtherism, there will be no evidence presented to the contrary that will satisfy those spreading these falsehoods. They will either deny the proof at hand or move the goalposts as they invent new conspiracies.

The media has been put in a bind by these stories. Because the accusations are emerging from the Trump campaign itself, not covering them is nearly impossible. Yet even coverage that debunks this health trutherism also helps to spread it. In that way, even well-meaning reporters providing factual information— even, I admit, this piece— have the potential to give legs to these lies. Once again, the Trump campaign has successfully hacked the media.

The only appropriate response is to repeatedly, consistently and without hesitation call out not only these lies but also the misogyny that undergirds them.

H/T: Ari Rabin-Havt at RWW