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The Washington Post’s Brief Encounter with Honor

Steven Spielberg’s new film about the publishing of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 has two themes. The first is in the main plot of the film: journalism as a crucial safeguard against official secrecy and abuse of power. The second, which is barely touched on, is the corruption of journalists who protect powerful people and interests due to friendships or political bias. According to this movie, there was a moment when journalists considered putting aside political bias and personal ambition to act with honor. As we can appreciate from surveying the disastrous landscape of the modern media, the moment was allowed to pass.

The Post tells the story of how the federal government tried to stop the New York Times and Washington Post from printing the Pentagon Papers, a secret history of the Vietnam War that military analyst Daniel Ellsberg stole from the defense contractor Rand Corp. The documents revealed that U.S. government officials had been lying about the war, having admitted internally, as early as 1964, that it was not winnable the way it was being fought. The government sued to prevent their publication, and legal battles led to the Supreme Court. The Washington Post won the case, setting a modern precedent for press freedoms.

Tom Hanks plays Post editor Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep plays its publisher, Katharine Graham, who became the first female Fortune 500 CEO in 1963 when she assumed control of the company after her husband’s suicide. Screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer have written a fast-moving and effective script, and Spielberg, cinematographer Janusz Kaminsky, and production designer Rick Carter capture the colors, fashion, and architecture of the nation’s capital in the 1970s.

This movie has been compared to the Watergate classic All the President’s Men. But Alan Pakula’s 1976 film is a governmental whodunit, a search for the guilty party. The Post (in which we learn who stole the documents in the first scene) is an example of what could be called the go-for-broke genre. Like Rounders (1998), the Paul Newman film The Verdict (1982), and the just released Molly’s Game (2016), The Post follows a protagonist who puts everything on the line to follow a just goal. If the Supreme Court had ruled against the Washington Post, Graham could have lost everything.

The Post also does something unexpected for Hollywood, by indicting—however fleetingly—the cozy relationship between the media and liberal politicos. The Vietnam slog outlined in the Pentagon Papers was mostly the work of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Richard Nixon is made a villainous presence in The Post despite the fact that, as the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan has pointed out, Nixon wanted the Pentagon Papers held back to avoid greater risks to American lives as he was trying to extract the United States from the war.

One of the most powerful scenes is when Bradlee and Graham confront each other about their respective tight relationships with the Democratic Party elite. Graham is friends with LBJ’s Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, whom we see sipping a drink at a cocktail party at Graham’s tony Georgetown home when her editor arrives to speak with her about their paper being the target of the administration’s legal suit. When Bradlee points over at McNamara, Graham bristles, responding that Bradlee pulled his punches when covering his pal President Kennedy. The camera settles on Bradlee, who quietly admits that, yes, he went soft on JFK. “Those days have to be over,” he says, looking like he has just woken up after a long dream.

This dramatic high point of The Post is allowed to pass too quickly—especially since the concept of honor is central to the movie, and in admitting to playing favorites, Bradlee was addressing that concept. The message here is that telling the truth about a war that was costing young American lives was more important than friendships or loyalty to the government. Today, the loss of honor is at the core of why so many people no longer trust the media.

That Ben Bradlee was willing to at least attempt to face his own hypocrisy could well stem from the fact that he was a young naval officer during World War II, an experience that he talked about in a 2014 interview. Said Bradlee: “The fact of the matter is that the war, and the Navy in particular, played such important roles in my life.” He compared his job as a combat information center officer to that of an editor.

This model of a newspaper editor as an honorable man who serves America is largely gone, ironically due to the success of Bradlee’s paper. As The Post notes at the end, shortly after the Pentagon Papers case, the Watergate story broke, and it made Bradlee, Graham, and the Washington Post rich and famous. Today it is rare for mainstream journalists to come from a military background. Usually they come from our elite schools, which mostly produce liberals. As Bradlee once said:

The counterculture in this country, which came along in the early ’60s as a result of Vietnam and was fueled by Watergate—where the government was forced to resign in disgrace—created a totally different person. I mean, they’re much less respectful of authority. They are more cynical. It’s harder for them to believe in authority. Authority has proved to be wrong in quite a few major instances. So they started a reexamination of all institutions, including journalism, God knows. But it also included the military and the Church. There isn’t a church in the world whose foundations weren’t shaken. And it’s still going on.

This is an acute observation, except in one important respect. After the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, journalists became just as slavish to authority as they had ever been—it was simply a different authority they genuflected to. Now it was feminism, abortion, environmentalism, and secularism rather than the traditional institutions. Again, we see how tragically brief was that experience of Bradlee’s at Kay Graham’s party in 1971—a flash of self-examination and a call to do better, both lost.

My own time as a young Washington journalist in the 1990s was an example of how the liberal worldview had come to dominate. A recent college graduate returned to my home town, I had grown up idealizing Bradlee’s paper. Freelancing for the Post’s Outlook section and Style section, I learned firsthand that certain ideas were out of bounds in that newsroom. People who were Republican, pro-life, or against gay marriage were not hired—or had their copy spiked. Those who thrived knew never to commit a sin in the church of Progressivism.

These days the Post, and the media, exhibit a strong combination of sloppiness and arrogance. They are Ben Bradlee without the self-doubt. In his perceptive 2001 book Media Madness: The Corruption of Our Political Culture, James Bowman describes not insanity in the medical sense, but “a sort of folie de grandeur on the part of ordinary but self-important people who haven’t the excuse of insanity for their lack of humility and a sense of proportion.” Media madness “lives and thrives among those who are perfectly healthy but whose culture has provided them with no check on their confidence in their own intellectual powers at the same time that it has fostered in them a powerful need for the status to be claimed by the exercise of such powers.”

Reader Discussion

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on January 05, 2018 at 05:59:21 am

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The Washington Post’s Brief Encounter with Honor | Top 100 Blog Review
on January 05, 2018 at 11:11:41 am

Verbal irony in politics can be both thrilling and maddening at the same time if its listeners are prescient and receive the contemporaneous flash of truth that the spoken words are untrue and intended to mislead. ("I come to bury Caesar not to praise him." and "If you like your plan you can keep your plan." come to mind.)

Dramatic irony has the ring of insider morality trading. Heartfelt words are spoken whose import is unknown by the unknowing tragic hero but known by the theater's omniscient audience to be both wrong and conducive to the tragedy. (Desdemona's words to Othello and his to Iago and Nixon's "I am not a crook." are good examples.)

There are other types of irony, ironic humor being my favorite because appreciating it requires intelligence, love of comedy ( it always ends happily) and a jovial temperament (all prerequisites to life, liberty and the pursuit happiness.)

But for me historic irony is intellectually the most thrilling (It can be seen only after rigorous study of the substance and appreciation of history's nuance) and emotionally the most maddening ( Once we see the irony and appreciates its existential importance it's already too late, the deed is done and man's error is beyond the possibility of mid-course correction or even redress. "The moving finger writes and having writ moves on...")

And the movie "The Post" is loaded with irony:
1) Verbal irony, e.g., when Ben Bradlee in 1971 professes to seek the truth about "thirty years of lying" about the Vietnam War, thirty years of lying that actually started 10 years earlier in 1961 with Bradllee's and Graham's buddy JFK [("Lying )Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye."], whose inflated reputation the Post steadfastly promoted (and still promotes) and whose Vietnam deceit, blunderous political missteps and myriad adulterous escapades (JFK was Clinton cool when Clinton wasn't cool) the Washington Post steadfastly concealed, under-reported or defended.
2) Dramatic irony, e.g., when Robert MacNamara (Friend of Katherine and the 3rd biggest American liar in the history of the Vietnam War) is seen warning Ms. Graham that revealing the lies of the Vietnam War ( his and those of Pecker-headed Johnny and Lyin' Lyndon) will destroy her newspaper, not to mention Graham's political Party and Johnny's, Lyndon's and ole Bob's reputations. (No more Camelot for Johnny and Jackie, no more White House cocktail parties for Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee, and no World Bank gig for "Brilliant Bob" MacNamara, should the real truth ever be printed.)
3) Historical irony, e.g., The sins of the Vietnam War are the sins of Democrats. The War was started and sustained in Democrat lies, planned stupidly and waged incompetently by Democrats, and ended in unspeakable betrayal of and tragedy for millions of our South Vietnamese allies because of Democrats. Yet, because of Democrats and the Leftist media (read Washington Post and the movie, "The Post") Richard Nixon, the man who pledged to end the Vietnam War and who ended that war; the man who sought for compelling reasons of national security to forestall the Post's publication of the Ellsberg Papers (which damned ONLY the Democrats) is portrayed as the villain of the political crimes of the Vietnam War and the criminal cover-up of its criminal Democrat leadership.

And, to double-down on history's irony: Nixon's blunderous attempt to stop dangerous Democrat national security leaks led to the Watergate burglary, the destruction of Nixon, the unjust enrichment of Graham, Bradley, MacNamara and the Washington Post and the unjustified perpetuation of the Post's false image of journalistic integrity.

I stopped subscribing to the Washington Post in 1983 when I saw that it had incrementally become the archenemy of republican government, of Ronald Reagan and of truth. I saw, then, that The Post was incompetent even at covering the news factually and accurately. I saw then that the old saw about Soviet newspapers (Izvestia meaning "news" and Pravda meaning "truth"), that "There's no izvestia in Pravda and no pravda in Izvestia was true of the Washington Post.

And it's true today, too.

Don't read the Washington Post, it's fake news, and don't see "The Post, it's fake history"

Fake history dramatizing fake news that is too painfully ironic.

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timothy
on January 05, 2018 at 13:20:53 pm

Timothy:

Well said.
I'll outdo you though.
Don't even watch the news. I have avoided it for 30 years and have experienced a dramatic drop in *agita* ( for you non Italians that means indigestion).

Even worse than "no izvestia" and no "pravda" is when one recognizes that what is "truly" important is the news that is "NOT seen fit to print" (Ok, that is the Times).

So let Hollywood ( another branch of the Progressive media) and the Post revel in the bygone days of their glory; one need only to observe the utter inanity, obsequiousness and partisanship of the present day to recognize that this is another tall tale out of Hollywood.

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gabe
on January 05, 2018 at 13:23:11 pm

You missed the part about Nixon's treasonous sabotage of LBJ's peace talks--a secret LBJ took to his grave for the good of the country, but revealed in the recent release of his recorded telephone conversations--for the purpose of getting elected.

Your kind of guy....

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Alana
on January 05, 2018 at 15:40:44 pm

"Alana" (whose comments on this site are the product either of Artificial Intelligence or of malware or of a Democrat human of unspecified pronouns) says that Nixon, a man she, he or it calls "treasonous", is "(My) kind of guy."

Such invective is to be expected now after observing her, his or its words for less that a week. How quickly to display the entirety of one's verbal talent!

Among the shortcomings she, he or it has put on public display as a commenter on this web blog is the inability to write with imagination, style or panache even when seeking to insult an opponent, impugn his character or undermine his argument, all of which characterize her, his or its writing. She, he or it writes like a strong-willed, self-absorbed adolescent who, faced with disagreement, has a snit, hurls an insult and then threatens to hold her, his or its breath until others agree and humor her, him or it.

What would Dr. spock say?

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timothy
on January 05, 2018 at 17:24:00 pm

Hadley Arkes goes into great depth regarding the Pentagon Papers, (chap. 4-6) in his book, "Constitutional Illusions & Anchoring Truths", Cambridge University Press (2010), comparing its common outcome derived from precedent of Near v. Minnesota, and contra-outcome a few years later in Snepp v. United States, seemly rejecting precedent of the Pentagon Papers & Near; a departure conventionally justified as hinging on breach of (employment) contract of non-disclosure, as the principle differentiating element, but to which Arkes finds to be spurious.

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Paul Binotto
on January 05, 2018 at 19:49:41 pm

T: "What would Dr. spock say?"

That you are certifiable, Timothy.

T: "The sins of the Vietnam War are the sins of Democrats."

Except, of course, for the treason by Nixon that cost 25,000 American lives.

T: "The War was started and sustained in Democrat lies"

We now know that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was manufactured. As was the claim that Saddam had WMDs and was trying to buy yellowcake from Niger. And you want to silence whistleblowers like Daniel Ellsberg, John Kerry, Joe Wilson, and Ed Snowden???

Patrick Henry: "Suspicion is a virtue as long as its object is the public good, and as long as it stays within proper bounds. … Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel."

Also: "Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty?"

We NEED whistleblowers, and media outlets with the courage to publish. l think of Ronald Reagan's treasonous back-room deal with the mullahs of lran, and how Abraham "Spotty" Lincoln got his nickname. Warmongering is a bi-partisan sport.

T: "ended in unspeakable betrayal of and tragedy for millions of our South Vietnamese allies because of Democrats."

How so? lf Nixon hadn't committed treason as an election ploy, LBJ would have been able to cut a much better deal. The blood is on Tricky D[]ck's hands.

T: "Nixon’s blunderous attempt to stop dangerous Democrat national security leaks led to the Watergate burglary"

SRSLY? Res ipsa loquitur.

T: "I stopped subscribing to the Washington Post in 1983 when I saw that it had incrementally become the archenemy of republican government, of Ronald Reagan and of truth."

lOW, they told the truth about RR. He destroyed our country by embracing the theories of Jude Wannicki and the Chicago School.

T: "Don’t read the Washington Post, it’s fake news,"

Cognitive dissonance. STUDY: Watching FOX News Makes You Stupid:

"World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.

So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false." www.businessinsider.com/extended-exposure-to-fox-news-may-be-detrimental-to-your-intelligence-2010-12

lronically, the best-informed Americans were regular viewers of Jon Stewart. :)

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Alana
on January 05, 2018 at 19:53:08 pm

The whistleblower's employer is the people of the United States, not his superior. Monica Goodling had that one explained to her.

There is a duty to blow the whistle. Yet, Bradley/Chelsea Manning followed the law to jail, and the ones who committed the war crimes skated.

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Alana
on January 05, 2018 at 20:34:58 pm

Your comment has not a stitch to do with my post. I can't imagine what ever possessed you to respond in this manner, (please don't explain, I really have no interest to know) other than that you are a troll, and seemingly a very lonely one at that, who has spent weeks now annoying my inbox (if there was a way to opt out of receiving comment updates once opted in, I would gladly do so at this point) with your endless diatribes.

No offense, I am sure you are a very lovely person once one gets to know you, so you will forgive me if I wish out loud that there were some way to blow the whistle and give you a time out. Bless you, Alana.

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Paul Binotto
on January 05, 2018 at 21:22:20 pm

Paul Binotti:

I've been sounding the troll alarm for a week: Either those vitriolic comments are the work of Artificial Intelligence (primitive), malware (nasty) or human intelligence (malicious.)

But they are INTENDED to be indecent and disruptive of intelligent conversation. That is a revolutionary tactic straight out of the Lenin playbook as modified by Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" as deployed by "Antifa," itself a totalitarian verbal expression of Orwellian Newspeak.

No hope in complaining, no hope in asking for a shred of decency; no hope in expecting that it, he or she ("Alana") will display even a modicum of self-respect. Those things are matters of personal good manners, well beyond her, his or its revolutionary political mission on behalf of the cause.

I operated a political blog in the period 2006-2009. And the organized radical, destructive Left (which I now call "Cryptofa" as in Crypto fascists meaning fascists in disguise) assigned trolls to disrupt communication on that site. The attacks were totally ineffective but definitely annoying.

I really don't know where Cryptofa finds such apparatchiks. I fear that our universities are now turning out brain-washed "true believers" in droves. And, of course, their "deplorable" behavior has sanction of the major media and the Democrat Party.

Eric Hoffer wrote the best book on radicals in mass movements, "The True Believer," but he failed to discuss this most recent form of the virus.

I think we're in for a pandemic.

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timothy
on January 06, 2018 at 07:33:26 am

Mr. Binotto:

I missed your comment on the Pentagon Papers-related cases. I am unfamiliar with the details of the original decision or subsequent cases construing its principle. Nor was I aware of Hadley Arkes 2010 book which you reference, which now I will purchase.

Hadley Arkes is an extraordinary philosophical analyst of and spokesman for the natural law/natural right grounds of US constitutionalism and the rule of law. In recent decades (along with Thomas Sowell in economics and public affairs and Victor Hanson in history and public affairs) Arkes has been invaluable in communicating fundamental truths about constitutional law and public affairs to a large class of the politically-concerned, well- educated who are not authoritative and not expert in the the fields of public law which bear so importantly on our moral culture.

I benefitted from reading Harkes' "Beyond the Constitution" and "The Return of George Sutherland..." as a result of which Sutherland was elevated to the pantheon of Justices, at least in this lawyer's thinking.

A personal? lamentation about Arkes' skills in verbal communication: law school (at least it did in the 60's) strives to teach law students 1) that clarity of analysis leads to clarity of thought which in turn leads to clarity of verbal expression and 2) that particular intellectual sequence is vital to conveying ideas effectively and to persuading the decision-maker (whether judge, jury or public opinion.) Thus, I am always a bit disappointed when I read Arkes or listen to his lectures. He is a wise man who possesses a large vault of important ideas, special insight and unique knowledge about constitutional law. Arkes has a warm personality, a great wit and a terrific sense of humor. Yet this most intelligent, knowledgeable and engaging man often fails to write and speak clearly and convincingly. He communicates in complex, winding, sometimes tortured, paragraphs that are almost always difficult to follow, often unclear and at times downright opaque. Hanson and Sowell do not have this verbal deficiency and, thus, are more effective in communicating and persuading.

That is sad since Harkes is less effective than he could be. But that asertion may be wrong, the consequence of my own intellectual limitation.

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timothy
on January 06, 2018 at 07:36:56 am

Timothy,

All very astute observations and all but certainly true. I know you've been calling-out "troll" for a least a week; I had this troll pegged, too, rather, as that old movie says, "at hello".

I've been about these blogospheres for awhile now myself and you're right, a troll always inter-fects, ah, I mean, interjects itself at some point along the line. An observation is they seem to become most prevalent and active around the Christmas-tide; I assume an especially irritating time for them, what with so many Christians and non-Christians alike calling brief truce as though it were the Christmas Truce of 1914 all over again, (which like all the subsequent truces, was probably much to the chagrin and consternation of those earlier Progressives, too), so suspect are they of deleterious effects genuine and spontaneous peace may have on their own contrived brand of world peace which they are forever seeking to engineer, enforce, and eventually preside over.

It has also been my observation, that this Pot-bellied Progressive world has more lies protruding from it than a momma Sow has teats; and for each there is a squealing little piggy willing to attach itself, and suck it dry of every last drop. With their little tummies quite full they will naturally fall into a deep slumber for a period. But it is for certain, that upon waking afresh, they will again be about pissing on every truth wherever they may find it.

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Paul Binotto
on January 06, 2018 at 07:40:39 am

HaHa your metaphors! Pointed and funny.

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timothy
on January 06, 2018 at 08:37:56 am

Dear Timothy,

Thank you for your insights, comments and observations. I am well familiar with the two books you cite and of his more notable books, such as Natural Rights and Rights to Chose, and probably the one for which he is most recognized, First Things - I can highly recommend these to you as well.

While I am certain its not a matter of any intellectual limitations, I think I can understand the difficulties you have with his style of writing and speaking, and I am sure they contain some very valid critiques, although perhaps less obvious and less troublesome to me, as the terrain of my own writing style might be also rightly characterized as being strewn with many of the same stumbling blocks.

While of course, he is most capable, and certainly more capable than I, to address your concerns, I can only respond that as someone who I greatly admire, and to whom I have spend a great deal of time in the reading of his books and essays, and in listening to his lectures, as well as having had the very great honor of spending time with him in brief conversations, he is all the many good things you say, and I may only offer as explanation what I have concluded for myself, that what you may find detracting in his manner of writing and speech, is really just a manifestation of the philosopher poet, that I think deep down, he really is.

But, I would respectfully and humbly encourage you not to allow these mannerisms of his keep you from further study of what he has to say in his speeches and writings; although the terrain is admittedly difficult, the rigors make the journey not only a challenging one, but upon reaching the destination, make it well worth the trek.

I am not familiar with Hanson and Sowell, and I thank you for the introduction. I intend to seek them out and so I may find out what it is they have to say and write.

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Paul Binotto
on January 06, 2018 at 08:55:42 am

Yours is the wiser assessment of Arkes, as a consequence of which I will now read all of his books and revisit him on CSPAN and YouTube.
There is another contemporary thinker, Jordan Peterson, who writes little but has developed an enormous YouTube presence. He's Canadian at the U of Toronto. You might check him out. He's a psychologist with great Biblical and historical insight, a colorful speaker with no-holds-barred defense of liberty and assault on self-willed stupidity, personal cupidity and moral vacuity. As a conservative academic he's not only lonely but at great risk, yet Peterson shows the moral courage to stand firm in the face of threats to his person and his career.

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timothy
on January 06, 2018 at 13:34:46 pm

Actually, alana - they DID find the yellowcake in Iraq along with countless biological /chemical weapons.

And OMG - do you REALLY believe this sillness re: "Exposure to Foxnews" Put that one in the same basket as the other *scientific* studies showing that Lefties are smarter, more compassionate, etc etc etc.

Balderdash to all of it!!!!!

Hey, Missy, if a prosecutor may be said to be able to indict a ham sandwich, in which he must at least present evidence to persuade 20 or so average citizens, then what limitless possibilities unfold for a social *scientist* unconstrained by the need to observe rules of procedure AND, unlike the prosecutor, free to frame / create all the elements requisite for his *theory* of the crime.

C'mon, you don;t really believe that nonsense - OR DO YOU?

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gabe
on January 06, 2018 at 13:47:55 pm

Great to hear! And, thanks for your kind words and the additional recommendation of Prof. Peterson. I will look him up as well.

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Paul Binotto
on January 06, 2018 at 14:59:25 pm

Oops - forgot this, Missy wherein the 500 tons of yellowcake is moved from Iraq to Canada by US Forces.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-secretly-takes-yellowcake-from-iraq/

So troll this, Little Missy.

Oh that's right, your are an adherent of the MSNBC school of journalism - si it will be pointless.

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gabe
on January 06, 2018 at 15:04:39 pm

I think Manning was *confused* - in a manner of speaking - at least with respect to gender.

Paul's observation: re - higher incidence of trolling around Christmas time:
May be due to the fact that universities are on breaks; judging from the quality of the comments by trolls, it appears as if they are college dupes sucking up to their professors and simply regurgitating the pablum that passes for sound philosophy / policy nowadays - and all pronounced with the evident zealotry (and mindless facility) of the newly converted.

Hey, Missy: How many *brownie* points will you receive for your efforts here?

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gabe
on January 06, 2018 at 15:13:43 pm

Yep, Arkes is great, if a little difficult at times to fully and immediately comprehend.
Paul: I do recall Arke's discussion of the Pentagon Papers AND the Court's eventual "backing away" from that position.

Timothy:

Here is something I forgot to include in my comment at Law Forum when discussing the Trumpster.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-secretly-takes-yellowcake-from-iraq/

One of the reasons I reject the "country-club restraint" recommended by Will, Weiner, etc is because failure to respond to lies leads to false conclusions in the public. In the case of yellowcake, IT was known that US Forces had found the yellowcake and seized it.
Yet, (the story goes) Karl Rove, determined that it would be better to not publicize the information "because it would only stir up" the whole Valerie Plame business again.
Cowardice, and a deferential stance with respect to the biased organs of (Democrat Party) communication, while offering a temporary respite from constant assault. will ultimately result in the lies / distortions of the left being accepted as truth.
Witness, Missy Alana's comment on yellowcake.

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gabe
on January 06, 2018 at 15:20:17 pm

HaHa!

You have my sympathy, man: Arguing with something that may be a programed expression of Artificial Intelligence contrived to mimic Joy Behar, Chris Matthews and "Fredo" Cuomo.

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timothy
on January 06, 2018 at 16:00:15 pm

OH Missy, Poor Missy, here is another one for one such as you - i.e., the "better informed" who believes that Nationalizing HealthCare (in this case) will be an improvement:

https://hotair.com/archives/2018/01/05/great-moments-single-payer-britain-cancels-50000-surgeries/

wherein the NHS, yep the "N" stands for National, as in nationalized, decides to CANCEL 50,000 surgeries.

Hey, let's all go for Nationalized HealthCare - after all, if we don;t do any surgeries, we can show a significant decrease in costs!!!!

Hope you find this comforting!!!!!

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gabe
on January 07, 2018 at 08:53:55 am

My apologies for being too cryptic.

Your citation of Near raises the issue of the tension between the legitimate need for prior restraint and the 1Am and the people's need to know. While there are many good reasons for enforcing NDAs in the public interest, they do not include sheltering our leaders from embarrassment and/or criminal indictment.

The common thread running between Ellsberg, Manning, and the Bannon/Trump cofvefe [sic] is the public interest, and the ultimate reminder that our servants in government work for us, and not for Dear Leader (whoever that happens to be).

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Alana
on January 07, 2018 at 08:55:40 am

None, Gabe.

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Alana
on January 07, 2018 at 09:28:01 am

You do owe me an apology but not for being too cryptic. You are circular in your thinking (robotic really) and always on message; a nauseating attribute to anyone who doesn't care what you have to say, beyond that you have a right to say it. But, that is excusable in youth, I judge you lightly for it. Perhaps not as lightly as you judge me? Maybe It is I who have been too cryptic, Alana.

If there was ever a case for prior restraint it would be against you. But, you should know, I only jest. You are amusingly dedicated to your craft, however obsessively you engage in it.

Aside from this little new year wish of mine, the elements characterized as constituting prior restraint in each of these cases isn't really how the Framers understood and envisioned it, based on the Common Law definition and experience.

May God keep you and bless you Alana.

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Paul Binotto
on January 07, 2018 at 09:42:11 am

T/P:

Your fulsome praise of Arkes tells me a lot about where you are coming from. He is a well-known Catholic fascist with dreams of theocracy. lt is passing strange that he might think that a nation that despised Catholics embraced a Catholic view of natural law, but that may be another discussion for another time:

"Bannon and the intellectuals Neuhaus regularly published in First Things share the conviction that, at a fundamental level, the United States is a Christian nation—not just in the sense that an overwhelming majority of Americans describe themselves as Christians, but also in the sense that the country's highest ideals and convictions (above all, about individual rights and innate human dignity) derive from a Catholic-Christian inheritance the vitality of which must be actively fostered and promoted by the culture. "

Arkes's prose is almost as disjointed as Timothy's usual fare of word-salad, but l'd love to dive into it at some point:

"Justice Holmes gave voice to the modern legal project when he registered the hope that “every word of moral significance could be banished from the law altogether, and other words adopted which should convey legal ideas uncolored by anything outside the law.” In other words, an understanding of “law” made ever purer by being ever more detached from any moral content."

Law is by its nature amoral, Aquinas's protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

Gabe,

l would counsel ZERO deference, regardless of who is in power. lf you jetttison the green eyeshades of toxic partisanship, you will come to see that neither side walks on the side of the angels, and that neither side can be trusted.

Gabe: " In the case of yellowcake, IT was known that US Forces had found the yellowcake and seized it."

Never mind (according to the article) that NONE of it was dated after 1991. No one was disputing that Saddam was attempting to acquire nuclear capability in 1991, which was one of the real reasons for the first invasion (another being his desire to drop the dollar as the currency for the trading of oil).

Gabe: "Cowardice, and a deferential stance with respect to the biased organs of (Democrat Party) communication, while offering a temporary respite from constant assault. will ultimately result in the lies / distortions of the left being accepted as truth."

Where is the bias here? Watching The Fox Propaganda Channel and MSNBC, you wonder which planet they are on, but the article you cited appears to be devoid of the bias that you allege.

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Alana
on January 07, 2018 at 10:19:33 am

From Macleans:

Is Jordan Peterson the stupid man’s smart person?

"Needless to say, in an economy as desperately short of leadership and ideas as the alt-right’s is, Peterson’s stock went through the roof. He currently has legions of fans hanging on his every YouTubed word; he’s now hauling in around USD $50,000 a month through crowdfunding...

[Stupid people will buy anything.]

There is no polite way to put this, but since Peterson claims that “If you worry about hurting people’s feelings and disturbing the social structure, you’re not going to put your ideas forward,” I’m just going to say it: Spend half an hour on his website, sit through a few of his interminable videos, and you realize that what he has going for him, the niche he has found—he never seems to say “know” where he could instead say “cognizant of”—is that Jordan Peterson is the stupid man’s smart person. ...

But woe betide those fields that have abandoned serious inquiry and empirical evidence and have become cult-like: Guru Jordan will vanquish you—just as soon as he’s done prepping his course, Psychology 434: Maps of Meaning.

In this rigorously academic course, students learn how “every experience that you have had contains information. If you have fully processed the information in that experience, (1) its recollection will no longer produce negative emotion and (2) you have learned everything you need to know from it.”

I’m hard-pressed to find a course on Chaucer that comes this close to promising to clear my thetans.

It’s easy to assume Peterson is deserving of respect. A lot of what he says sounds, on the surface, like serious thought. It’s easy to laugh at him: after all, most of what he says is, after fifteen seconds’ consideration, completely inane. But in between his long rambling pseudo-academic takes on common self-help advice and his weird fixation on Disney movies, is a dreadfully serious message."

http://www.macleans.ca/opinion/is-jordan-peterson-the-stupid-mans-smart-person/

Sounds like your kind of guy, Tim.

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Image of Alana
Alana
on January 07, 2018 at 11:40:55 am

I quote the "Alana bot's" latest propoganda rant:
"He (Hadley Arkes) is a well-known Catholic fascist with dreams of theocracy.''

Alana bot's words and most of her personal invective are of that twisted nature, the bare-faced agitprop of "Newspeak," the degraded language of Orwell's "Ministry of Truth" in which, for Party purposes, 1) lies are called truth and 2) fascists call themselves anti-fascist ("antifa") while incessantly hectoring their opponents and loudly proclaiming through Party-controlled media that all opposition is fascist and racist and misogynist and nature-hate, the putrid legacy of Christian violence and fantasy and of Caucasian privilege, evil, cupidity and violence. Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam.

That is why on principle, as a matter of defending truth by preserving the true meaning of words and the integrity of language, I insist on using the word "cryptofa" to describe America's contemporary fascists, those legions of statists and "true-believers" (see Eric Hoffer) who REALLY ARE FASCISTS but who deceive and conceal their true identity (like Eichmann seeking an Argentinian travel visa.) ''Cryptofa" is short for "crypto-fascists," meaning "fascists in disguise," which is what they really are.

As cryptofa info bots go, Alana is both painful to use and primitive in its technological capacity. It has the stunted knowledge of Nancy Pelosi, the barren humor of Hillary Clinton and the appalling unlikeability of Harry Reid. Alana bot is useless because it's empty-headed and annoying and because it's forever angry.

All the Alana bot does, really, is bitch, bark and snarl.

Overall (especially for lovers of repose, privacy, common decency, good cheer, humor and intelligence) I think that Amazon's Alexa is a far better buy. She's vastly more knowledgeable, she's always polite, invariably cheerful and never deplorable. And Alexa bot is actually useful.

However, in a culture war Alana bot has a definite military edge over Alexa: when weaponized Alana's intrusive and disruptive of privacy, which is its political purpose. We can turn off Alexa; Alana won't shut up.

But we can simply leave Alana bot's words unread (they're all "yada yada yada!") and then delete them, which is what I recommend in deference to the limits of Christian humility and the brevity of life.

As Stuart Smalley might say, Alexa is "good enough... smart enough, and, doggone it, people like (her.)"

Who among the abused readers of Alana bot's vitriol would say that?

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timothy
on January 07, 2018 at 12:04:16 pm

HA-HA! Bless her heart, she really can't help herself.

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Paul Binotto
on January 07, 2018 at 12:11:12 pm

Bless your heart, Alana. I haven't the time or interest to read your vacuous comments.

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Paul Binotto
on January 07, 2018 at 12:16:13 pm

This Alana-Troll is a hoot. I almost think she really believes she is fooling us that all the Google-Wiki quick-reference research that she is regurgitating is actually acquired knowledge! Maybe she's fooling herself the greatest! Bless her heart!

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Paul Binotto
on January 07, 2018 at 17:44:19 pm

Yes, Paul and Gabe, the Alana bot escapade is a "hoot" ( like Jack Nicolson's McMurphy toying with Nurse Ratchett.)
But recall that Nurse Ratchet's character morphs from ridiculous to nasty to deadly. So from a practical realpolitik perspective, dispensing with moral issues like offering the bot a road to redemption by extending the hand of charitable tolerance or sympathetic compassion, the "bot phenomenon" represents an existential political crisis. The morally-unbounded destructive character of Trump Derangement Syndrome is a good example wherein "Alana bot" is just one crank in the land of the living dead.

"Hoot" it may be in the abstract, but engulfed in its physical reality I can't laugh at or even muster Christian emotional charity toward millions of zombies who aspire to destroy all that I hold dear about my country and who believe doing so is a moral imperative.

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timothy
on January 07, 2018 at 18:30:37 pm

Timothy,

I understand where you are coming from, but I think its imperative to not dismiss with our sense of humor, or our charitable impulses, otherwise, we stand to lose more than our country; neither of these demeanors suggest naïveté nor lack of resolve, nor weakness. A singularity of disposition (neo-nihil-neurotic nastiness) is their way, not ours.

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Paul Binotto
on January 07, 2018 at 19:19:05 pm

Wise response. Do you teach Biblical studies?

5 smooth stones of moral assault is sometimes warranted since diffidence can be deadly in the face of imminent evil.

In any event, patience is not my strong suit, living 45 years in inferno Central and watching DC's underworld grow ever danker, creepier and more corrupt .

And I have never suffered fools lightly when the foolishness is self-willed, self-serving and malevolent.

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timothy
on January 08, 2018 at 09:25:37 am

Wise, I don't know, but thanks for thinking so. No, I don't teach. As someone who has little patience myself and shares many of the same frustrations, I think I totally get where you are coming from, although it sounds like your experience is much broader than my own.

I don't live or work in DC but I do travel there at least of couple times a year. I don't know what it is about that damned and damnable city, but for me, it does still have a certain amount of appeal. I should probably have my head examined for thinking (and admitting) that - Ha!

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Paul Binotto
on January 08, 2018 at 10:08:51 am

Wonderful place to live or visit: surrounded by real history, history making daily and history replicated in fine museums, great art in most public buildings, not just in beautiful galleries, world's largest library, excellent universities, as green as Paris and cleaner, nature abounds in and near DC, and it's the most diverse city in America besides NYC. The ethnic, cultural and intellectual diversity is simply extraordinary. We are called a group-think city, not so. The mental homogeneity is only among the bureaucracy which (like the Bourbons of pre-Revolutionary France) never learns anything new and never forgets what it has learned:)

And the Overseers, our ruling class are thousands of legislators and their staffers, hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats, legions of lawyers (like me) and consultants of every stripe imaginable, all of whom move here to prosper from Big Gov and never leave.

Not what the Founders intended for America when Jefferson and Hamilton did their budget bargain in 1790, but it was inevitable, and it is true of every other capital city, from Beijing to New Delhi, Paris, Berlin and London. Were he alive today and a DC observer, Lord Acton would refashion his adage: "The power that tends to corrupt also enriches, and absolute power corrupts and enriches absolutely."

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timothy
on January 08, 2018 at 15:19:35 pm

I like the way you are able to capture the essence and ironies of DC; it provides good insight and explanation into why so many seem to hold a love/hate relationship with it. I find that I mostly love it.

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Paul Binotto
on January 08, 2018 at 17:04:13 pm

PB: "all opposition is fascist and racist and misogynist and nature-hate, the putrid legacy of Christian violence and fantasy and of Caucasian privilege, evil, cupidity and violence."

Strange comment, coming from an anti-Catholic pseudo-Catholic. ll Papa has denounced Western capitalism as immoral, and has embraced homosexuality and even atheism. Whereas he emphasizes service, you are advocates of SELF-service. Though Catholicism hasn't always been a positive force in history (e.g., genocide of Jews in Jerusalem, ghettos, the lnquisition), the latest iteration appears to be a definite upgrade.

PB: "the elements characterized as constituting prior restraint in each of these cases isn’t really how the Framers understood and envisioned it, based on the Common Law definition and experience. "

Almost hate to break it to you, but COTUS trumps the CL. But neo-Nazis like you fear opposing views, even to the point of extinguishing them when you can. Regrettably, some on the Left suffer from the same conceit. God forbid that dissenting views ever be aired.

PB: "However, in a culture war"

Cultures evolve, and there is no way of stopping it. But tragic troglodytes like you with over-sized amygdalae fear change, and will act on that fear. Your religion and worldview is so 14th century....

PB: "when weaponized Alana’s intrusive and disruptive of privacy,"

This is a public forum, you insufferable moron! You have no expectation of same.

PB: "But we can simply leave Alana bot’s words unread"

Go ahead. Make my day! lf you choose to concede my points, what is it to me? Again, this is a public forum.

PB: "loudly proclaiming through Party-controlled media that all opposition is fascist and racist and misogynist and nature-hate,"

You resemble that remark, demonizing your opponents in lieu of engaging them. He who is without sin....???

PB: "You are circular in your thinking (robotic really) and always on message"

Strange comment, coming from you. By definition, Christians engage in two-dimensional circular reasoning, assuming without establishing that your god and no other exists, and refusing to consider overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

T: "That is why on principle, as a matter of defending truth by preserving the true meaning of words and the integrity of language"

l use Mussolini's original definition of fascism, which he also described as "corporatism." lf you are a Trumpublican, you explicitly approve of the corporate takeover of Congress, resulting in the Great Train Robbery-- er, the Bribery Yields Fantastic Returns Act of 2017. Lindsey Graham admitted the central fact: that Congressional Rs would have their allowances cut off if the didn't comply with the corporatists' demands. By that metric, Arkes is a fascist.

Gabe: "who believes that Nationalizing HealthCare (in this case) will be an improvement"

For every horror story you can tell, l can respond with Stephen King's collected works. Britain seems to be following the American lead in disassembling the social safety net, which is why NHS is failing. Australia's experiment with the free market failed. Other countries are faring better.

PB: "I almost think she really believes she is fooling us that all the Google-Wiki quick-reference research"

Magazines like Macleans are respectable sources of information, and the lawyer in Timothy should appreciate the use of sources. When THEY say Jordan Peterson is a nutter, it carries more weight.

T: "She’s vastly more knowledgeable,"

Artificial intelligence is vastly superior to Timothy's glaring lack thereof.

T: "Either those vitriolic comments"

As opposed to your incessant stream of literary diarrhea? Physician, heal thyself!

T: "Arkes has been invaluable in communicating fundamental truths about constitutional law..."

...that only make sense in the context of theocracy, and that only an aspiring ayatollah could love, but we'll never have a serious discussion of ConLaw.

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Siri
on January 08, 2018 at 18:15:29 pm

Guess l'll tackle some Arkes. https://www.firstthings.com/article/2017/05/the-moral-turn

Arkes: "The common misconception, among judges as well as some academics, is that the natural law is a “theory” that may be adopted or ignored in certain cases. Aquinas famously said that the divine law we know through revelation, but the natural law we know through the reasoning that is accessible to human beings as human beings."

And the conclusions you should reach are not necessarily the ones you religious zealots might find palatable. The right to contract is an essential corollary of the right to own property. "Marriage" is nothing more than a contract. So, why can't two men get married?

The natural law argument for abortion is even more compelling: Our bodies, our right! Neither the Constitution nor canon law took it away, nor should it. lf you don't paya da freight, you don't makea da rules.

Arkes: "To reach this result, said Rehnquist, the Court had to “find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment.” A majority of the states, he noted, have had restrictions on abortion going back a hundred years, all of which suggested powerfully that the Fourteenth Amendment was never understood to entail a right to an abortion. And then he invoked a talismanic phrase: that the right to an abortion thus could not be claimed to be “so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental.”

And where in COTUS does one find a distinction between "fundamental" and "non-fundamental" rights? ln emanations from the penumbrae? ln the white lines between the text?

Arkes: "brought forth a compelling moral case"

Law ≠ morals ... outside of lran.

Arkes: "In striking contrast, the lawyers for Texas acted “naturally.” They sought to show in a strenuous way just why the law in Texas was “justified”—just, rightful—as it imposed a law and removed the freedom to order the killing of a small human in the womb. This natural reflex of the lawyers in Texas has managed to sustain itself despite several generations of teaching in the law schools determined to root it out."

"lf you don't have the law, argue the facts." There was no natural or legitimate constitutional law to sustain Texas's argument, any more than there was for the States' position in Obergefell. Natural law is not divine/canon law.

Arkes: "The prospect of Donald Trump appointing a second or even a third nominee to the Court has buoyed up the pro-life movement and stirred hopes, long nursed, that the overruling of Roe v. Wade is now in reach."

Then, stop even pretending that we are governed by the rule of law.

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Alana
on January 09, 2018 at 08:04:23 am

Dearest Siri, if you are going to rebut, you should at least accurately attribute comments to the proper commentator; you have failed miserably to do so here and look all the more the fool because of it.

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Paul Binotto
on January 09, 2018 at 09:47:06 am

HaHa! Terrific comments.

And Siri makes two. That's comforting for Alana bot I bet. Always thought there should have been R2 and D2, rather than just a lonely solo bot.

Siri and Alana are twin bots it seems, since you both bitch, bark and snarl at the mere mention of "Hadley Arkes." That name is definitely your dog whistle. Make that your "bot toot" cause you don't compare to dogs, so lovable for their sweet-temperament and practical intelligence.

But I consider your bot toot retort as a "Top of the Morning" to me. So, Irish being my friendly side, I say, "And the rest of the day to you."

Amusing riposte, for sure, but symptomatic for you and thus, perhaps, a bit worrisome of Swiss cheese holes in the brain.

True, your writing does sound a bit stream of consciousness, the style of Beckett and Faulkner, for example. But yours seems not literary but garbled, disjointed, almost incoherent, the consequence of chronic mind-abuse and narcotic experimentation.

Indeed, your scrambled reply strongly suggests the sensory distortions experienced with hallucinogens:

"When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen's off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head
Feed your head."

Just one man's thought. Maybe you should go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall.

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timothy
on January 09, 2018 at 10:36:11 am

Haha! You really captured their essence here Timothy! It won't be long before they are at each others throat as always happens when two progressives try to outdo each other with their indignation. It's like two hungry little piggies trying to attach to the same teat.

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Paul Binotto
on January 09, 2018 at 11:14:33 am

"And the conclusions you should reach are not necessarily the ones you religious zealots might find palatable. The right to contract is an essential corollary of the right to own property. “Marriage” is nothing more than a contract. So, why can’t two men get married?"

1) why must you insist on the caricature "religious zealots" when referencing those who hold differing views on abortion? This, to my mind, diminishes your argument and, in a purely, technical / rhetorical sense is unnecessary.

2) Marriage = nothing more than a contract" - Does this imply an underlying belief that the spouse is *property*?
Hey, if so, even you must concede that *property* can be regulated - Ha!

Now as for "fundamental" - see Footnote Four for its origination as well as the predicate for the penumbras and emanations (Gawd, it sometimes seems as if SCOTUS decisions are taken from the DaVinci code) - Ha, again!

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gabe
on January 09, 2018 at 15:28:46 pm

Fn 4 was a judge-made "law." All rights are equal.

Is there anyone left who objects to SSM who isn't a religious zealot?

While contracts can be regulated, you have to have a legally valid basis for the regulation. A spouse as property is more of a religious concept.

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Alana
on January 09, 2018 at 15:34:37 pm

Hard to tell Tweedle-dumb and Tweedle-dumber apart.

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Alana
on January 09, 2018 at 15:40:01 pm

Sardonic response to the juvenile "Alexa"nonsense, but you were too thick to notice.

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Alana
on January 09, 2018 at 15:51:14 pm

You and Siri both get a trophy; isn't that how it works to keep little darlings feeling happy and secure?

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Paul Binotto
on January 09, 2018 at 15:57:21 pm

A citizen as property of the state is a more progressive concept. Just like demanding public recognition and consent to every base human endeavor is; so long as its anything but self-government, that is.

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Paul Binotto
on January 09, 2018 at 16:57:01 pm

!) Agreed - it is judge made law (as is the rather expansive interpretation of "necessary and proper)

2) Yeah, me!!!

3) A clear overstatement and one that displays your animus towards people of faith. A spouse as property, more than likely, predates any form of organized religion.

A little less venom makes for a more serene conversation and disposition.

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gabe

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