Archive for June, 2013

United States: Democracy or Judicial Oligarchy

June 25, 2013

The ruling in the same sex marriage issue before the Supreme Court will indicate whether the United States is still a democracy or has become a judicial oligarchy. In a democracy, elected officials decide major social issues like how government will treat the ancient mating practice of marriage. In a oligarchy, non elected officials dictate policy to elected officials based on their personal views.

One of my favorite movie quotes is from “The Teahouse of the August Moon”. Glenn Ford plays an American officer attempting to explain democracy to the Japanese after World War II. He says, “democracy is where the people have the right to make the wrong decisions.” The statement is the essence of democracy. If elected officials make the wrong decision on behalf of the people voters can rectify the situation by electing replacement officials to make the right decisions. If non-elected officials make the wrong decisions the people
have no recourse other than overthrowing the government.

People don’t become infallible just because they hold a high government office even if they are absolute monarchs who have supposedly been chosen by their deities to run the government. Those of us who are familiar with the history of the Supreme Court known that it is extremely fallible. The Supreme Court has made some extremely bad decisions, particularly.when it has gotten involved in social issues with decisions involving social theories rather than law.

The decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford is easily the worst decision in the history of the Supreme Court. The Court attempted to use the case to deal with the divisive social issue of slavery. Chief Justice Roger Taney’s ruling inflamed northern public opinion against slavery which many northerners regarded as immoral. The decision insured that slavery would be a major issue in the 1860 presidential election. The decision didn’t cause the Civil War, but provided the catalyst to turn the controversy over slavery and broader economic issues into a war.

The 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision is the Court’s second worst decision. The Court’s acceptance of the questionable social concept of “separate but equal” condemned generations of black southerners to mistreatment including rape and murder. The Court refused to admit that “separate but equal” was nonsense until the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.

“Separate but equal’ wasn’t the only nonsense theory the Court accepted in the late 19th Century. The Court prevented state government from protecting workers from exploitive employers by accepting a nonsense theory called “freedom of contract”. Under this theory, government protection of workers supposedly prevented their “free” ability to contract with employers. The Court ignored the fact that workers weren’t in a position to negotiate. They had to accept bad working conditions or risk possible starvation.

The same sex marriage issue before the Supreme Court is not about whether homosexuals should be allowed to marry. Homosexuals have always been allowed to get married and many have married individuals of the other anatomical sex. Many individuals strongly encourage their homosexual acquaintences to marry a member of the other sex.

The issue before the Supreme Court is whether to radically change the ancient definition of marriage. The arguments for same sex “marriage” are just as nonsensical as the arguments for “separate but equal’ and “freedom of contract”.

Marriage is first and foremost a biological process. It is the dominant human mating practice and existed before the establishment of formal governments. Marriage unites the two different types of human beings (male and female) to form a unit capable of reproducing the species. Scientists know that the male body produces a chemical that benefits the female body. Marriage seems to provide health benefits to men, but it’s unclear whether chemistry is involved.

The two individuals may even become chemically addicted to each other. Addiction could explain why a woman will take her abusive husband back much like an alcoholic with liver disease will continue to drink.

Governments have traditionally protected marriage because of the benefits to society marriage provides by encouraging production of new members. Benefit programs were established at a time when the time requirements of household duties such as cooking and cleaning meant it was best for one parent to provide the income and the other to handle family duties. Such benefits may or may not still be needed, but any decision in this area should be handled by those selected by the people rather than those selected by a few politicians.

Providing some of these benefits, such as tax breaks or access to the Social Security benefits of another, may discriminate against single adults who cannot obtain comparable benefits. Government can justify this discrimination because of the potential benefit to society of the new members heterosexual marriage may provide even when a given couple doesn’t intend to produce a new member.

Providing benefits. such as Social Security or health care, to same sex couples illegally discriminates against single adults. Society can receive no benefit from same sex couples. Two women cannot produce a child together. To become pregnant a woman has to obtain sperm from a man outside the relationship just like she would if she were a single adult.

The Court’s intervention in social situations in the past has led to disasters such as the Civil War and southern Jim Crow laws. Decisions about social issues require months or even years of study. The idea that individuals who have no advanced education in the social sciences can decide a complex social issue after a few hours of rhetoric is lunacy.

The Court has often claimed that it attempts to “discover the law”. Under the U.S. Constitution a law is a measure that has been approved by Congress and signed by the President or passed over his veto. Congress has defined “marriage” as the union of a man and a woman which is consistent with centuries of Anglo American law. If the Court changes the definition of marriage then it will be making a new law and usurping the power of Congress and depriving the voters of their right to choose the people who make important social decisions. If the Court is going to overturn this definition of marriage by the people’s elected representatives, then it is time for members of the Court to also face the electorate.

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Sen. Bill Nelson in Effect Calls President Obama’s Actions Treason

June 11, 2013

I interrupt my discussion of sexual harassment in the military for major breaking news.

Sen. Bill Nelson, Democrat – Florida, in effect said that President Barack Obama committed treason by claiming that Edward Snowden’s revelation of NSA monitoring of American phone calls was an “act of treason”. Nelson served on the Senate Intelligence Committee for six years.

Burgess Everett reports in Politico that Nelson said, “On the issue of if this a whistleblower or is this an act of treason, I think it directly is [treason]. And I think most of the people who served on intel will tell you that,”

“I think he ought to be prosecuted under the law,” Nelson told reporters. “Extradited and prosecuted. We cannot have national security if our secrets can’t be kept on our methods of gathering information.”

If Snowden committed treason by revealing NSA’s program to spy on American phone calls, then President Barack Obama committed treason when he released similar information about how the CIA found Osama bin Laden. After the execution of bin Laden Obama revealed that the CIA had been monitoring al Qaeda phone calls in its efforts to find bin Laden and had used satellite cameras to track bin Laden’s suspected courier.

If Snowden should be “extradited and prosecuted” as Nelson suggests, then Obama should be impeached and removed from office. Obama’s offense was far more serious than Snowden’s. Snowden only revealed NSA is using computers to monitor phone calls. Obama told al Qaeda the United States was able to identify and monitor its calls. Obama went further and told al Qaeda that the United States knew which phone numbers they were using.

I don’t know what Edward Snowden’s motive was in revealing NSA montoring of domestic phone calls. I do know that if his actions qualify as treason then so do Obama’s.

Society Caused Military Sex Harassment Scandal

June 10, 2013

The current sexual harassment scandal comes as no surprise to those of us who understand the danger of not teaching young males to control their sex drives.

The first thing parents teach their children is to control their eating and sleeping cycles so they don’t expect to eat in the middle of the night. The next thing parents teach their children is to control when and where they expel waste products so the children don’t have to wear diapers. When I was young, the third thing parents taught their children was to control their sex drives.

Unfortunately, a few decades ago some very ignorant people decided there was no need to teach children to control their sexual inclinations. These people ignored the fact that all human males are natural sexual predators and encouraged them to fulfill their sexual fantasies. These people in effect told young girls that they were supposed to give into the requests of boys and learn to be sex objects.

When I was an adolescent, we boys were taught to respect girls’ sexual privacy. We expected girls to tell us no if we asked to have sex with them. Girls who gave in to boys were looked down upon and considered to have a “bad reputation”. Today girls who protect their sexual privacy are looked down upon.

Human males are natural sexual predators with some of us being more predatory than others. Many of us are satisfied with the situation mentioned in the old popular song — “a boy chases a girl until she catches him.” Many of us prefer a situation in which we don’t have to worry about our performance being compared to other males. Many of us think there are more important activities than sex.

Other males, such as former President Bill Clinton, believe women exist to provide them with sexual pleasure and may consider themselves God’s gift to women. In societies that discourage sex outside marriage these men may limit their actions to women with “bad reputations”. In societies that encourage casual sex, these men may expect most women to have sex with them. They may convince themselves that women who resist their advances are “playing hard to get” while hoping to be overpowered.

A third group “goes with the flow”. They will limit sexual activities if society discourages casual sex. In societies like ours they may feel that if they don’t attempt to have sexual relations with women, people will think there is something wrong with them. Some of them may feel relieved if they are turned down, but still think they should make the attempt.

“Make love, not war” was a popular slogan used by anti-Vietnam War protesters. Generations of soldiers have used “making love” to forget about the realities of war. Survival in war requires soldiers to live by the law of the jungle and be prepared to kill or be killed. Wild male animals not only kill, but in many species expect to have sex. The prostitutes who served the men of Civil War Union MG Joseph Hooker are believed to be responsible for the use of the word “hooker” to describe themselves.

Soldiers fighting in foreign countries typically have used local women for sexual relief. American commanders may feel it is better for American men serving in Muslim countries to be having sex with their fellow female soldiers than having sex with local Muslim women. Officers who know they might have to send those under their command to certain death, may not understand the psychological impact of allowing their male soldiers to force their attention onto female officers.

Some male officers may have an .attitude that female personnel should consider it an honor to provide sexual services to male personnel who face potential death in battle. The more sexually aggressive men, and some women, have a less personal attitude to sex than many women do. To them, sex is just another physical activity like playing football. These men may not understand those women who only want sex as part of an intimate personal relationship.

I’m not sure of current military practices, but I have read stories in the past indicating that the military has required women to share living quarters and shower facilities with men. In addition, women have been required to exercise with men. Such practices can sexually arouse men and reduce their respect for women’s sexual privacy.

In my next post, I’ll discuss actions the military might take to reduce sexual assaults and harassment.