There's an argument that is all the rage anymore, but it needs to die a speedy death. It is bogus, and needs to be seen as such.
"If you've done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide."
The simple logic of this is If ~A then ~B (If not A then not B). On the surface, that does sound very noble. No one should be willing to hide anything if they haven't done anything wrong, right? Uhh, not so much. That's a conditional statement. The one condition relies on its truth from the truth value of the other.
You see, If ~A then ~B is the equivalent of If B then A. If it is not sunny, then John will not go outside. John goes outside, therefore it must be sunny. Isn't that simple? So, if doing wrong = A, and hiding something =B, we have the statement "If you've done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to hide." If ~A then ~B. And the equivalence gives us the obvious, "if you have something to hide, then you have done something wrong".
Still with me? In this structure B is a necessary condition of A. In other words, if you hide anything, then you have done something wrong. The very act of privacy itself becomes proof of your guilt. Are you comfortable with that? Tell you what, the Constitution isn't.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise
infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury,
except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia,
when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any
person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of
life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a
witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property,
without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for
public use, without just compensation.
It seems pretty clear to me that the people who hold to the argument "if you've done nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide" are clearly standing against the 5th Amendment. They argue that the very act of not incriminating yourself ... incriminates you by default. So, I would argue, that any who use that particular argument are enemies of the Constitution, and I will treat them as such.
And just for bonus points, please note that Justin has pointed to the obvious: the definition of what you've "done wrong" lies in the hands of the people who would use your resistance to their charge to prove that you've done that wrong.
One of the wiser men I've ever met seemed to intuit that I tend to get down around the Winter Solstice. It's not Christmas; I love the holiday. To be honest, I think it has more to do with New Years, and the empathic feedback loop that is my life, telling me that everybody and everything is hustled out, stressed all the way up, and generally over Winter before it really even begins. (Thank you very much for the card, Randy.)
The comments to the post below this are the real reason I treasure this blog. Things get a little heated, but not hostile. (Not that I mind hostile, but I tend to prefer it directed at me.) I very much respect Pokey's input to comments, as a veteran, and I was gonna warn him that my sister-in-law has also proudly served, but she handled that well all on her own. It does bring up a good meta-point. It's hazardous to assume that you might know what background anyone brings to the debate. And the truly marvelous thing is that that's how we learn.
I really should not have read this, first thing this morning. Peter Daou is right, and it is highly likely that Bush will skate on this offense. But I reiterate: the most important thing in this entire domestic spy fiasco is NOT that Bush get his comeuppance. It is that the Executive Branch not be given a free pass to further circumvent the Bill Of Rights.
My ex-father-in-law believed a lot of wacky and stupid stuff. But there was enough truth to some of it to keep him believing that "they" were out to get us. His greatest nightmare was that tyranny would take hold with the Brady bill, the assault weapons ban and further erosion of the second amendment. My ex-dad wasn't exactly a tactical genius. If he'd have had clue one, he'd have seen that the real danger is, and has always been, the concentration of enforcement power in the very branch of government tasked with enforcement control, the Executive. That doesn't mean taking away your guns so that you can't fight back. When it comes to that, it's already way too goddam late.
The concentration of power for a dictator does require erosion of the Bill of Rights, but the second amendment is *way* down on the target list. First, you take away the ability to dissent. "Free Speech Zones"? Are you fucking kidding me? That Americans don't puke at even hearing those words taken seriously amazes me. The first American right that you attack and constrain is free speech and free assembly. NO resistance can organize if communicating such a will is considered treasonous, and organizing around such a message is subject to control and will of the enforcers.
After the 1st Amendment, a prospective tyrant would go after the 5th, 6th and 7th. If you bypass due process (enemy combatants?, extraordinary-rendition?, military tribunals?) then you can enforce your will, and still have the support of gun-toting second amendment supporters everywhere. After all, it's only bad guys that get hurt here, right?
It's the attack on the 4th amendment that we're seeing right now. If "enemies of the state", as defined solely and secretly by the Executive branch, can be searched at the will of that Executive without judicial review (no warrant) then obviously anybody, *ANYBODY*, can be defined as an enemy of the state.
People, if this doesn't scare the shit out of you, then nothing should. It does no good to look backwards towards Clinton, or Carter, or anyone else at all. The problem lies in the future, not the past. If the rest of the rights we have relied on to give us justice in the face of tyranny are eroded, and handed piecemeal to whomever sits in the White House at the moment, then I guarantee you, some asshole will exploit it for power and control. All of the guns you've worked so hard to keep will do you no good whatsoever against the national guard unit (or ATF squad) that comes to take you to the camps, just because you agreed with an overseas buddy that something needs to change in America.
I wish desperately that I was one of those jokers who could blog full time. As it is, I strongly urge everyone to read Atrios constantly. Even if you can't stand his "lefty" politics, hold your nose and read it. He's doing the best job I've seen of bringing all of this together. This is stuff you need to know, and you need to know it accurately. Not because this could bring down a President that isn't all that well liked, but because this could bring down your country.
I noticed this morning, while talking to a beautiful young lass, that I may have the singular distinction of being the only person to have ever guest-posted at Montana's premier right-leaning website, as well as Montana's premier left-leaning website. (Now I just need to guest post for Dave Budge, and I'll have the trifecta.) Simply put, it took a lot of courage for Matt and Craig to hand me the keys to their kingdoms, especially considering the explosions I present here at Not Pillage. The fact is, they've trusted me, with little reason to do so.
"But Wulfgar" you exclaim, "trust is always earned! It must be so." Nope, not so much. Not so much at all. It is a sad commentary about trust that many, if not most, cling to the common and incorrect belief that trust is earned. If trust is only proven and earned, then I defy anybody to give me the litmus test for trustability. Show me the reagent that you can throw trust in a test tube with that will react to the color of "true-blue". If someone doesn't hurt you once, is that any evidence that they won't hurt you at the next opportunity? Of course it isn't. You can have confidence when placing your trust, but there is no scientific or logical proof that another person must be trusted.
I'm grateful, truly grateful, when another trusts me. I imagine that most of you are as well. So, why should we be grateful for something that we've earned? Simple, we didn't earn it. Trust is a gift, always and forever. And it can be given at any time. When you hire an employee, you're trusting them, regardless of certain knowledge that they will behave as you wish. When you release any amount of your security to another, either in love, friendship or property, you've offered them a part of yourself. You've handed them the only gift that matters to social animals.
When we speak of betrayal, of trust being destroyed, we speak in terms that deal as much with self-doubt as they do doubt of another. If we'd have just known more, thought it through a little better, had more information ... What we talk about isn't that somebody "un-earned" trust, it's that they devalued one of finest gifts that each of us has to give; they devalued us, the giver. It's not that we can take back what was earned; that's totally illogical on its face. It's that we had a choice, and we chose poorly.
MOMMY, Wulfgar's hitting the sauce again! He's got a Current Affairs post up and he's babbling about trust.
Well, yes I am. I'm sitting here with a nice blended Scotch wondering why any would defend a betrayer of our trust. Any that would do that hurt us personally. We chose to give them trust and we made that choice poorly. People, this should be properly basic (a philosophical given) to our thinking, and yet it's not.
I'm not going to rehash the factual news that the Administrative branch of the US government has been spying on the citizens of this country. You all know this now, and if you don't, go visit Matt's place, 'cause that boy is all over it in a big way. And yet, still there are people who would chose to trust, in the face of all reason, the Bush administration. As I've laid out, trust is a gift, and when its betrayed, there is a strong element of self-doubt. To continue to give trust in the face of that is to deny the self in order to avoid the pain of having made the wrong fricking choice. The facts are out there, and yet still the defenses of the executive branch flow freely.
1) Others did it too! Haven't we, on this website, already discerned that two wrongs don't make a right? If that's your only lame defense (Squid) then just shut the hell up. You're not correct, you're just hurting the rest of us.
2) It wasn't really illegal! As yet to be determined, but all facts point to the truth that yes, yes it was. Who cares? Do you trust this administration to hold your gift as sacrosanct in the face of their desires? I don't. No one should. I'd love to see the argument that really justifies betrayal in the name of good.
3) We need strength to protect us, and those things (the Constitution) that stand in the way need to be disregarded. Why? Bush had the legal power to perform wiretaps legally with no disregard for the Constitution. He chose not to. How is this strength? Here's a clue, idiots, it isn't.
4) Secrecy is the only defense against an enemy like terrorists. Keeping secrets from you and me is a matter of trust. Keeping secrets from our judiciary is a matter of law, and is illegal. If you wish to argue that secrets must be kept for safety, I will agree. If you argue that no one should know, that we have gifted truly blind trust, then I would say that you're full of it. I never agreed to that, and neither did the Constitution of my country.
5) We only need fear the terrorists, and our leaders were only struggling against them. BE AFRAID!!! That's stupidly naive. Who have killed more people in the world, suicide bombers or dictators? They both operate in secret machinations, so who should have my trust? The simple answer is "neither". Our Constitution was written to protect us against tyranny, and it is tyranny that trust exploits most. I have a small question to those who would defend the administration using this talking point: Who was being spied on? Do you know? No, you don't. And neither do I. None of us do, except the Gestapo-loving idjits who did this. That my leaders would do this frightens me far more than some asshole with a pipe bomb.
So, I have one final question. I just want to know why. Why do you trust? Why do you give your gift of self-sacrifice to the administration that defies the Constitution? The executive that lies to you? You gave them a gift and they've spat on it. That means spitting on you. I know its painful to admit that you've made a mistake in choosing. That's alright, we all do it. Why continue? Why do you trust them further?
Despite the accusations from the morons claiming that us "lefties" only want bad news from Iraq, I've been trying my level fricking best to find anything positive about this fiasco. I *want* the Iraqi people to be safe. I *want* the Iraqi people to succeed. How can this happen when we treat them like junior high fuck ups?
(Cheney's) next visit was to Taji Air Base, where he saw tanks that Iraqis
had rebuilt and watched while they practiced a vehicle sweep at a
U.S. forces guarded Cheney with weapons at
the ready while Iraqi soldiers, who had no weapons, held their arms out
as if they were carrying imaginary guns.
Are you fucking kidding me? I'm actually glad that Dick Cheney showed a purpose beyond his sneer'o'evil in support of Halliberton. I'm actually pleased that he went there to attempt to convince Americans torn from their loved ones that they reside in that foreign country for a reason. But, why do it in secret? Is the country in control or not? And worse by far, why treat the Iraqis as if they are stupid? Can they handle weapons? Are we terrified that they would choose to train those firearms on our vice-president? Why make them go through the fucking motions if we are going to deny them a real live goddamn gun!?!?! They are not trained monkeys, and treating them as such is an affront to them, and to one who would happily wish to support the American effort in Iraq ... if we would just use half a fucking ounce of common sense in doing so. It's an affront to me.
I'm giving back the stinky tainted badness-laced dollars I got from that evil bad Abramoff guy!
This is your Senator, Montana. A guy who has done nothing wrong, but will wish woe on a guy he has done nothing wrong with, and will give back money he doesn't have to give back, that he has no reason to give back in the first place. Riiiiiighhht! ~wink~
I honestly think, in my opinion, that Conrad traded influence for campaign donations. But that isn't half as infuriating to me as watching him insult my intelligence, and concern for my state, by lying and flip-flopping on the issue of his influence peddling.
I hope Conrad has a big steaming pile of waffles for breakfast, tomorrow. He's earned it.
I would like to personally wish a Merry Christmas to
all Gallatin Valley residents. I now have a better understanding of
what military spouses go through when their loved ones are called up to
go somewhere other than home to serve their country.
How very sad. A letter to the Chronicle begins with the profession of deep tragedy that befalls loved ones left behind in time of war. My heart strings are just ever so very plucked! And what service calls this poor woman's husband that she feels such loss? Is he a fire-fighter? A police officer? A minister torn from his family's comfort to aid the needy? Uh, no. He's John Sinrud, who undertook the arduous task of spending 2 days in Helena to review funding for our Montana school system. Yep, that's some fierce ass service, she tells ya'. You remember Kim Sinrud, I'm sure. She's the one who was angry that the Democrats spent less of your money instead of supporting her husband's plan to spend more of your money for some kind of socialist statement.
Last week our governor called a special session ...
11 days before Christmas. I understand the need for a special session,
but why call it 11 days before Christmas? I know why ... the governor
doesn't have to be in Helena during the special session, he can be home
with his family preparing for their Christmas celebrations.
Uhhm, Kim? Brian Schweitzer was in Helena the last two days. He kinda lives there now. He's the governor. You know that, right? (I think Kim might be off her meds a little. Perhaps I should walk softly around here ... not.)
My husband, Rep. John Sinrud of HD 67, won't be
home to help us prepare for Christmas, attending end-of-the-season
basketball games and Christmas programs ... he will be in Helena,
listening and voting.
Two days. 2. A deuce of Diem. Very much like our soldiers in Iraq, wouldn't you agree? I shouldn't poke fun. It's possible that every bit of Christmas preparation in the Sinrud household is deeply held as traditionally being done on the 14th, 15th and 16th of December. If its not done then, the tradition is destroyed! I really shouldn't poke fun, if that's the case. Boy isn't my face red.
Yes, my husband chose to run for representative and
was blessed to win, just as our brave men and women choose to serve our
country in the military, so I can't complain too much. And after all,
he will be drawing a salary of $76 a day while he is in Helena, which
if he is lucky enough to just put in eight hours a day makes it $9.50
Underpayed! Our legislators need more money! Their children are starving!
Uhhm, Kim, your husband chose this, as you admit. Unlike soldiers, he isn't risking his life for low pay; he's sitting, listening and bloviating in the capital building. His only dread service is having a vote that he has shown consistently will be phoned in on party lines. That isn't worth $9 an hour, and you want me to give a shit that he's underpayed? Why are we supposed to care about what he gets payed for doing what he chose to fricking do?
I know the governor called the special session just
before Christmas so the legislators wouldn't draw it out and stay
longer than necessary. But goodness sakes, when my husband can leave
his successful family business and make $9.50 (or less) an hour just
before Christmas, why shouldn't he drag it out!!! Don't you see how
ridiculous that thought is?
Now that makes no sense at all. The Governor called the session when he did such that lawmakers would be dis-inclined to drag out inappropriate or personal agendas for their own purposes. But Kim seems to argue that this is wrong because when the Governor does this, they have reason to lose money and be underpayed just ... why again? That paragraph is ridiculous because it makes no sense whatsoever!
Let's see if I can help Kim out here. What she wanted to argue was that the low pay (lack of higher pay) makes legislators dis-inclined to drag out any session, so it would have been just as good to hold this special session sometime other than around Christmas. All well and good, as arguments go; but it's not supported by fact in the least. Several Republicant lawmakers attempted to extend this session, inconvenient as it was, just to promote thier own agenda items which had nothing to do with school funding. Schweitzer did well by offering as many disincentives to extend the session as possible. Kim would be better off railing at Joe Balyeat then at his Honor Brian. She won't do this, of course, because she's an idiot who thinks of herself first, and the party second, and her husband third, regardless of the facts at hand.
Kim, your husband agreed to do a job. He did the job. I suggest you quit disrespecting him by alluding to the idea that you know who else controls his choices. Here's the thing, I doubt it's you, honey, and it ain't Brian Schweitzer, and it ain't Joe Balyeat. I think your husband does. Give him some credit, would you?
So Merry Christmas to you, Governor ... no don't
bother to send our family your best wishes for this holiday season, you
already have done enough to make my holidays bright.
That's right, dear heart. The governance of Montana is all about you. Thanks for clearing that up for us.
As some of you may have noticed, Typepad took a big crap this morning. The application has been down, and what has been presented is an archival image from many days ago. The program is back up, such that we can now post, and Six Apart assures us that all of our missing posts will be restored by the end of the weekend. I sure as hell hope that they're right, because we all know that what I've written in the last 6 days will change the very course of human history!
Okay, maybe not so much. But I would miss very much the comments from friends who read this website. Though others out there are cursing Mena and Anil and the TypePad crew, I do not. I wish them all success and Godspeed in restoring my wisdom to the Internets.
Edit: The previous posts are back up, but comments haven't been restored yet.
Folks, there are political predictions, then there are political theories ... and then their are conspiracy driven fever dreams. Kos points to such leaps beyond reality concerning Montana. It seems The Hotline has an "insight" into the motivations of Conrad Burns that the rest of us simple Montanans aren't quite privy too. Unnamed sources are alluding to the idea that Burns won't give back the tainted Abramoff contributions because he intends to parlay it into future wealth and power. Give me a fucking break. Let's dissect this, piece by piece, shall we?
1) Conrad didn't collect "tens of thousands" from Abramoff clients. He collected ~ 150 thousand dollars from Abramoff clients. Understatement is a lie of the devil.
2) Burns may indeed step down and choose not to run for a 4th term. What the hell, the lying prick promised not to run for a 3rd, and yet he did. So it is possible that conscience pangs have convinced him to avoid a further escalation of his founding lie. Who knows ... he hasn't said one way or the other.
3) If Senator Burns chooses not to run for re-election it sure as the hell won't be because he wants to keep the Abramoff money for himself. He collected $146,000 from tribes represented by Jack Abramoff. His current campaign war-chest is approaching $3 million. Can we have a reality check here, please? What's at stake to Conrad isn't the money; it's what the money represents. If Conrad Burns chooses to step down because of lobbyist funding, it will be because of the taint of said, not because he "wants to preserve his campaign kitty". His claim that "the (Abramoff) money is already spent" is ludicrous on its face value. He wants no lessening of his campaign funds, clearly. But assuming that he wants to keep that money personally is just goofy.
4) Regardless of whether he sets up a PAC and funnels money into it and then pays himself a generous salary, Conrad won't see the personal benefits that he does from being a Montana Senator. He won't. The guy isn't poor anymore. His value as a lobbyist goes well beyond a funded PAC that will quickly deplete funds. I see no incentive here, and to suggest otherwise is loony type conspiracy theory.
5) Denny Rehberg has what he wants, and part of that is easy races for re-election. The guy is worth about $55 million. Would somebody please explain to me why he would want to jump into a race that will be hotly contested, and nationally scrutinized, when he has a sure bet in front of him? (Yes, hopefully Monica Lindeen will change that view.) The guy has no incentive at all to run for Conrad's seat ... zip, squat, zilch. This is where the Hotline conspiracy theory really jumps the shark. Watch it. If Conrad steps down, and he won't, then Brown will run for his seat. Rehberg won't. (Shee-it, the bastard just voted to support torture as an American ideal of intelligence gathering. You think that dickhead wants to be closely scrutinized? Not so very much at all.)
Look, if I'm wrong about any of this, and just maybe I am, then I will happily admit it.
To any Republicants reading this: Be strong. Your candidate will carry forward to defeat next year. Yes he may be one corrupt and lying mofo, but he'll press on. Trust me. And you will have my sympathy that you supported a guy who doesn't represent Montana or this nation's values, come next November.
To any Democrats reading this: Do not, I repeat, do not buy into this bunch of bullshit that the Republicants are so well organized that Conrad will enrich himself while passing the torch to Denny. Stop the fantasizing, right now. It does no good. We have the upper hand in terms of truth and integrity. We don't need to come up with fantastical scenarios to win. Let's concentrate on beating Conrad because he's bought and payed for, and Denny because he's fond of the thought that bad folks get anal raped with glow sticks. Let's just get 'er done.
First, THANK YOU all for wishing my beloved and me a happy anniversary. It was very nice. In answer to Rocky, Chris has been putting up with my sh*t for 9 years now (officially, 10 otherwise). And as Mike pointed out, the wedding does seem like it wasn't that long ago at all. We went to very nice dinner last night, had too much of a great Beaujolais, and some truly terrific food.
Second, thank you all for the suggestions on how to deal with the CFoA telemarketers. They are outside the controls of some rules because they list as a charity ... and besides, I've decided to just screw with them anyway. After Chris and I got home from dinner, crawled into comfy clothes (we ate too damn much!!!) who do you think called? Of course, at 9:30 I get another solicitation from the CFoA.
CFoA Stooge: "Hello Mr. Kailey, I'm calling on behalf of the Cancer Fund of America. You pledged some time ago to give a donation and I wondered if you'd sent that out yet."
Me: "Yeah, that would be before I found out that they were sued by 11 different states. Just wondering, but did you know that?"
Me: "Well did you know that they pay $2 to you for every buck they spend on doing anything useful? Betcha didn't know that, did ya?"
CFoAS: "Uhh, not really."
Me: "I'm not gonna send them any money. And I'd appreciate if you would put me on the do-not-call list, like I've already asked 3 times before. And you really might want to check into this scam company you're working for. Didn't you know any of this stuff before? Shouldn't you be concerned? Don't you think that would be good?"
I'm actually looking forward to them calling in the future. I'm gonna screw with them as much as possible, politely of course; but this will be fun.