Saturday, August 31, 2013

Miscellany And Errata

Because sometimes, you just gotta say, "What the fuck," right? Right?

First, and irrelevant to most Gentle Readers, so please excuse the deferral of today's parade of trivia:

WIFWA is now open for business.

I must express my great gratitude and tremendous appreciation for the efforts of WIFWA's Webmaster, Steve Sumner -- Don't laugh; he's a real person, not the fictional politician from Shadow Of A Sword, and yes, the coincidence is almost too great to be true, but really! -- who took it upon himself to create and configure the WIFWA site, entirely as a labor of love.

Indie fiction writers, your hour is upon you. It's time to put your best foot forward -- and WIFWA is here to tell the world that you're good enough. Don't waste this opportunity!

"Blurred Lines?" "Rainbow parties?" "Hannah Montana" twerking?

Dear God in heaven. I must be getting really old.

Syria? The news is entirely about Syria? All the talking heads are obsessing about whether or not it would be wise to strike Syria? We must bomb Syria because Syria is bombing Syria??

Yo, assholes. Allow me to clue all of you in: It wouldn't be wise. It would be moronic. It would be counterproductive to the interests of the United States of America.

That doesn't mean Barack Obama will restrain himself, of course.

Some commentators have advanced the thesis that our Maximum Leader is "unserious," and have offered Obama's vacillations over the Syrian civil war as evidence to that effect. I must disagree, at least in part. Obama is perfectly serious -- about Obama. He's sensed that his waffling on this subject has made plain his lack of leadership qualities, most important among them the resolve to follow through on a commitment. The chiefs of state who've declined to help him are snickering at him in private, and he knows it. If there's anything that stirs him to fury, it's being mocked -- or, as his Chicago homies would put it, "dissed."

Granted, most of us wouldn't launch the B-52s over such a slight. But most of us aren't figments of the imagination of a political machine, raised to the heights of power with no preparation in serious statecraft. Most of us aren't painfully aware of our complete personal hollowness and acutely sensitive to any infringement upon our unearned self-esteem. Most of us, in other words, aren't Barack Hussein Obama.

In connection with the above, there's a lot of talk about whether Obama can strike Syria -- i.e., take the United States to war -- exclusively on his own authority.

No, he can't. The Constitution does not give the president the power to take the country to war. As Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the president can deploy them to defend the United States or its extraterritorial possessions against ongoing or imminent attack -- and that's all. For a hostile act against a nation which has neither struck nor threatened the U.S., he requires Congressional authorization. This is in the Constitution by implication, and made explicit by the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

Two wars -- Korea and Vietnam -- made plain the importance of that constraint. Harry S. Truman took the U.S. to war on the Korean peninsula without Congressional authorization. Lyndon B. Johnson deceived Congress into allowing him to escalate America's participation in the Vietnam War, on the strength of the fraudulently obtained Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. America continues to suffer the consequences of those actions to this day.

Yes, the Constitution's reservation of the warmaking power to Congress has been violated several times. Yes, some of the presidents who've done so are well liked by the historians and generally approved by the American people. The consequences of such a violation of the Supreme Law of the Land don't care about anyone's opinion:

    “Why are you so...fixated on the Constitution, Mr. Sumner? Isn’t it a little bit naive to think a document two centuries old contains all the answers to the problems of a complex modern society?”
    “Have you read it, Miss Weatherly?” Sumner’s voice remained mild.
    “Not lately, no.”
    “Then you might have forgotten that it’s the supreme law of the land. All other law and all government action must conform to it. If it needs to be revised or expanded, it contains provisions for that.”
    “A lot of people would say,” Weatherly cooed, “that we’ve done that, only informally.”     Sumner pursed his lips and glanced down at his shoes. For a moment, Weatherly thought she might finally have scored against his infuriating self-assurance.
    “Miss Weatherly,” he said with a note of regret, “I’m a lawyer. I was raised by a lawyer. He taught me to think of the law as our most precious possession. One of the questions he repeatedly insisted that I ponder was ‘What is the law?’ Not ‘What would I like the law to be,’ but ‘What is it really, and how do I know that’s what it is?’
    “My profession, sadly, has made a practice of twisting the law to its own ends. There aren’t many lawyers left who really care what the law is, as long as they can get the results they want, when they want them. So they play the angles, and collaborate with judges who think they’re black-robed gods, and generally do whatever they can get away with to get what they want, without a moment’s regard for what it does to the knowability of the law.
    “I care. I want to know what the law is, what it permits, requires, and forbids. I want my clients to know. And the only way to reach that result is to insist that the words of the law have exact meanings, not arbitrary, impermanent interpretations that can be changed by some supercilious cretin who thinks he can prescribe and proscribe for the rest of us.
    “The Constitution is the supreme law, the foundation for all other law. If it doesn’t mean exactly what its text says—the public meanings of the words as ordinary people understand them—then no one can possibly know what it means. But if no one can know what the Constitution means, then no one can know whether any other law conforms to it. At that point, all that matters is the will of whoever’s in power. And that’s an exact definition of tyranny."

[From Shadow Of A Sword]

Either that matters to you or it doesn't. If the latter, move very slowly around me and keep your hands where I can see them.

But soft! What real crisis through yonder window peeks?

Hilarity ensued Monday after @Andria_XX complained that social-media criticism of Miley Cyrus included “bodyshaming/slutshaming” and “heteropatriarchal crap.” Readers will recall that Andria has an “Honors BA in Social Justice and Peace Studies” and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Gender Studies. So . . . how’s that going?

For the answer, read Tweet #1 and Tweet #2.

As we Certified Galactic Intellects have been known to say, ignorance can be cured, but stupid is forever -- and no creature that fits into any recognized taxonomic category is as deeply or as irretrievably stupid as a female American "peace studies / social justice" major in her twenties. Still, perhaps all is not lost for this poor soul. There's probably a federal program to provide minders for such persons, lest they foul up traffic by standing naked in the middle of Grand Concourse to protest the insidious wiles of the Evil Dead White European Male Capitalist Heteronormative Patriarchy and get hit by a bus. Also, I understand the "sex worker" industry is still hiring, but perhaps Our Heroine should hold that possibility in reserve.

I'm afraid that will be all for today, Gentle Reader. This fine Saturday has presented me with an agenda that would make a lifelong teetotaler take up blackout drinking. But do please enjoy your Labor Day weekend. Word on the street is that it's about to be bumped off the calendar by an Islamic holiday. And with that, it's off to the toolshed.


Anonymous said...

Not to arbitrary but if anyone asked me which president I'd like to swap places with I'd say "Gerald Ford."

Presidents aren't made great by who they are but what they do with the smorgasbord of events that pass before them in their time at the table. Many presidents serve in dull times and have little to show for their years in the White House. Some, TR jumps to mind, make great hay from little grass

Ford had some great opportunities, hobbled as he was by the Nixon years and lack of a mandate. He is seen now as a placeholder.

I would have bombed the Viet Cong into jungle burger when they invaded the South. I would have backed up those magnificent carriers and offloaded enough hardware into the hands of the South Vietnamese that they could have made a good will dash for Peking. And when Tip ONeil and his army of leftwing Congressional occupiers moved to impeach me as Vietnam was united under Saigon not Hanoi I would have walked, head held high, into retirement.

Should the impeachment have trundled on long enough, North Korea would not have survived the Mayaguez incident.

But then, I'm a wild eyed rebel and a cowboy to boot.

Brad Ervin

Anonymous said...

Okay, looks like I got the Mayaguez and the Pueblo incidents blended pretty thoroughly in the mix-master of my mind. My apologies. But had Ford smashed the VC there would have been no Mayaguez incident.