Sunday Scattershot

Criticism of Chávez Stifled by Arrests

And Vaclev Havel, someone Penn, et al. should admire, states

Under Chávez’s rule, a radical form of state-sanctioned lawlessness has taken hold in the country. You could say that Venezuela now exists as a “lawless legality”, a political system within which officials deny that in making or interpreting laws they are bound in any way by the spirit of justice that underpins those laws.

But the idea of arbitrary power exercised by any leader or political movement, no matter how much he or it claims to represent the poor and downtrodden – as Chávez does – is alien to all concepts of liberty. It is the legalism of the barbarian, and the instinctive political philosophy of all who are in revolt against democratic norms of behaviour.

Or let’s go populism. Only, where?

Ah, yeah. Or as the Tea Partiers (Express or local stops only) and all good Cons will want to declare these days: this is a constitutional democracy, not an autocracy.

  • Jeff Weintraub tells us what to say the next time someone declares that federal mandates to buy health insurance are unconstitutional, unprecedented, and not what the founders would have wanted.

In July, 1798, Congress passed, and President John Adams signed into law “An Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen,” authorizing the creation of a marine hospital service, and mandating privately employed sailors to purchase healthcare insurance.

This legislation also created America’s first payroll tax, as a ship’s owner was required to deduct 20 cents from each sailor’s monthly pay and forward those receipts to the service, which in turn provided injured sailors hospital care. Failure to pay or account properly was discouraged by requiring a law violating owner or ship’s captain to pay a 100 dollar fine.

  • From the perspective of a secular, Buddhist Jew (a particular demographic as yet, I believe, unheard from on this matter), the Vatican’s shameful response to the molestation issue, its institutionalism, valuing and protecting the institution above all else – in effect, rendering unto God the things that are Ceasar’s – is generally speaking the reason for the Protestant Reformation. Glad the Church learned something. And why not drag the Jews into it!

Pope’s preacher says attacks on Catholics are like anti-Semitism

Victims, Jewish groups slam ‘shameful’ remarks at Vatican

  • And while we’re considering the defense of dogma, apparently the Aussies are celebrating Easter with an atheist brouhaha.

Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen uses an Easter sermon to declare non-belief an “assault on God” and atheists hit back. Now who else thinks non-belief an assault on God?

The daily Melbourne Age similarly weighs in on that city’s recent Global Atheist Convention and surrounding controversies and hits on this learned notion:

It is not only censorship – now rarely encountered in the West – that can threaten freedom of speech, but also any campaigning movement that denies intellectual legitimacy to its opponents.

Of course, it is precisely an aim of the truth to deny legitimacy to the false and of the well-reasoned and better idea to deny intellectual legitimacy to the ill-reasoned and lesser idea. Or would The Age declare, to paraphrase Mao, “Let a thousand Nazism’s bloom”?

(H/T Metamagician and the Hellfire Club)

  • Adam Holland, focusing recently on the rightward anti-Semitic drift of Green Partier Cynthia McKinney, reports now on tendencies from renowned, wrongheaded journalist Chris Hedges, who recently interviewed McKinney.

I’ve been in touch with Hedges since this was originally posted and he says he was aware of some of McKinney’s work with far-right racists.  He also says that he supports working with far-right and racist groups and individuals when working against a more powerful enemy. I intend to write more about this soon.

Hedges, like McKinney, now rails against elites. I’ve had this to say about that. And there is a place you can always count on railers against elites to go – the insidious, historical force behind them: the Jews. We’ll see if Hedges, notoriously anti-Israel, goes there too.

  • Regarding my post of Thursday about the injustice perpetrated by Britain against the Chagos Islanders, Britain now declares the Chagos Islands good for the fishes, still not for the Chagossians.


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