In his Loyalty Day proclamation for 2017, the president claimed that “the United States stands as the world’s leader in upholding the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice.” In other news today, Trump suggested in a radio interview that Andrew Jackson could have cut a deal to prevent the Civil War.
Before I say anything, let me say I feel like the dumbfounded Aflac duck, or goose, or whatever. The CEO of the Hermitage Museum suggested that he, Trump that is, might have been referring to Jackson’s “disunion is treason” remark during the nullification crisis of the 1830s. I don’t think so–and even if so the Tenth Amendment fundamentalists must be having a conniption fit at the equation of disunion with treason. Let me not be either too loyal or too disloyal to Trump here. He went to Tennessee recently to relive his election victory, and he apparently thinks that he learned something worth sharing. I can sympathize, but let’s not fall for the idea that Jackson might have been the “tough but fair” big man with big heart who could have cut a great deal almost as great as the ones Donald Trump would have cut had he been there. To be fair to the president, he did use the locution “had he been” very beautifully and correctly in the interview, at least as it was transcribed. Also, to be really really fair, the causes of the American Civil War are complex. But for an American president to claim in 2017 that Andrew Jackson, slaveowner–and enthusiastic, unapologetic slaveowner–could have been an honest broker in the conflict between slave states and free states is way off-base and reflects willful ignorance. Trump’s Loyalty Day proclamation reminds us how important freedom, justice, and equality are. Loyalty to those values sometimes mean repudiating and rejecting, sad to say, the utter BS pouring out of the White House.
Who knew that Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin had WWII combat medals? Otherwise what would they be doing busting through barricades at the Veterans Memorial in Washington today? Actual veterans did show up in numbers the other day, but reports from today’s event described it as a few hundred Tea Partiers carrying barricades around town, finally dumping them in front of the White House (to be retrieved by currently unpaid park rangers). Senator Cruz accused the President of using veterans as political pawns. Really? Could he have even less shame than his spiritual mentor Joseph McCarthy?
To mark the end of this year’s Mid-August meals, here is a news roundup:
Justice Elena Kagan said yesterday in Providence that the Supreme Court justices, rather than emailing each other, write memos, which are printed on ivory paper and then carried by chambers aides to their recipients. She remarked that “the justices are not necessarily the most technologically sophisticated people…the court hasn’t really ‘gotten to’ email.” She acknowledged, as Chief Justice Roberts has, that the court is “going to have to be doing a lot of thinking” about privacy, technology, and surveillance. One hopes that their clerisy will judge privacy issues with better sucess than the Roman Catholic clergy has handled sexual ethics. Lack of (open) practice does not usually make perfect.
Justice Scalia said in Bozeman that “it’s not up to the courts to invent new minorities that get special protections.” He meant “don’t tread on my right as a member of an ethnic group formerly despised as anarchists but now accepted as more or less white folk to tread all over other folks who disgust me and don’t tread on my prerogative to say I am not a bigot if I redefine equal protection as special protection.”
The Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, disclosed that the newspaper was compelled to destroy hard drives with some of the classified government documents Edward Snowden gave to their reporters. Rusbridger noted that there are other copies of the documents outside London, so he “was happy to destroy a copy in London.” The Guardian, and the Daily Mail (which in the fullness of time may raise its gaze above celebrity rehab) have U.S. websites, correspondents, and offices, so the barbaric lack of First Amendment protections in Britain is so far not a crippling constraint for them.
White House deputy spokesman Josh (no kidding) Earnest said Tuesday “it’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which (it) would be appropriate” to just tear up the First and Fourth, among other Amendments, and smash a newspaper’s computers. Why would anyone be concerned that that position might “evolve”?