Friday, May 15, 2015

RANDOM THOUGHTS #4 - B.B. KING, WYOMING/FIRST AMENDMENT, FAST TRACK/PROGRESSIVES

B.B. KING
Rest In Peace.

I'm not capable of adding significantly to what will be written about B.B. in the coming weeks and months. But here's a tip. If you're not into guitar-driven blues, and I understand that not everyone is, give a listen to Let the Good Times Roll: The Music of Louis Jordan. It's mostly swing and jive. It's upbeat and fun. And the players are top notch. You won't hear overmuch of B.B.'s guitar but you'll get a good feel for the man's joyous feel for music.


WYOMING/FIRST AMENDMENT
Slate reports that the Wyoming legislature has just passed a law making it illegal on open lands to gather data intended for use to report, among other things, environmental crimes to the state or federal government. The report suggests that taking a photograph of a criminal environmental act in Wyoming (illegal dumping in a watercourse on federal land, for instance) would result in a jail term for the photographer.

Folks out West are fond of saying that the federal government has overreached its authority, that it's time for citizens to take back their government. Instead of government telling us what to do, so the rationale goes, we should be telling the government what to do. Well, how do you take back your government if your government criminalizes that act of exposing lawlessness? How do you tell your government that your neighbor has polluted your water if your government doesn't allow you to provide the proof?

Libertarians should be up in arms. My Libertarian friends have justified defunding the EPA to me by insisting that citizens have the right to sue polluters who befoul their air and water. That should be enough, they say. But how do citizens sue polluters if citizens are prevented from gathering evidence against them? How can the First Amendment be twisted sufficiently to ban photography on open lands, notwithstanding the First Amendment right to petition the government?

Shame on Wyoming, whose legislature is over 80% Republican. I wonder. Do they call themselves Conservatives?

FAST TRACK/PROGRESSIVES
There's nothing more disappointing to an old-school Liberal than being presented with proof that Progressives are just as intellectually dishonest as Conservatives.

Senate Democrats continue to oppose Obama's request for 'fast track' trade pact authority. Understand, the Senate is not considering a treaty. The Senate is considering fast tracking the treaty, whether or not to hold an up-or-down, simple majority, no amendments, no filibuster vote on whatever treaty Obama eventually negotiates and sends to the Senate. It seems like just yesterday that Senate Democrats were excoriating their Republican counterparts for interfering with Obama's ability to negotiate with a foreign power (Iran), interfering before the terms of the deal were known. In the recent past, Senate Democrats have also spoken forcefully for up-and-down, no filibuster, simple majority votes on any number of issues.

Shame on Senate Democrats. Shame on Progressives. They have acted with no more philosophical consistency than their Conservative counterparts.

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