By Al Schumann on Sunday July 1, 2012 10:42 PM

Hugh,at Corrente, has an interesting post on the Obamacare sophistries of the Roberts' court and the sophistries of Roberts himself. The constitutional issues are not my strong suit and I feel a little badly that I don't particularly care about them.

What does tickle my funny bone is the legalistic counter-argument he got. It's filled with the flummery of enumerated powers and prerogatives. It has the ring of expertise. I'll bet it would be very easy to find scholars and courts who find it compelling—lots and lots of courts, with judges tripping over their robes in a rush to find it compelling.

Whether something is right or wrong is immaterial. They just don't apply. I think they should, but they don't. This might leave a pragmatic, utilitarian consideration, along the lines of, "is this thing workable towards a greater good, within the system as is actually exists?". That can be argued, although I think it gets into speculative fantasy land very quickly, but one way or the other it doesn't apply either. There's no room for it; no framework for its consideration. And the only fact that obtains is the demonstrable fact that this is now the law.

The expertise in flummery is a big part of how union pension plans get adjusted and readjusted and handed over to the PBGC and then melt away. How NAFTA and all the other "free trade" agreements knee-capped labor. How card check became a non-starter. There are always plenty of stalwart Democratic labor lawyers—with the relevant expertise, credentials and everything—and they can always explain, bless their hearts.

Whatever will they do when they finally kill their host?

Comments (17)


"Whatever will they do when they finally kill their host?"

get together have a convention
elect a new exploited class

hopefully large enough and tractable enough to support them thru all their flummery days
and blood sucking nights

Al Schumann:

I see a bright, near-term future for them, provided Obama gets reelected. There's a hot market for stalwart Democratic flummery artists who can explain the hows and whys of the enumerated powers and prerogatives that make "entitlement reform" legally reasonable.


I got the same thing -- Lib friends who were eager to explain to me how (for once) Roberts 'rightly' decided a case. As if the concept of 'wrong' or 'right' legal reasoning meant anything, or would matter to anybody if it did.

Al Schumann:

The artist formerly known as Oxtrot described them as process mavens. They treat intent, substance and the outcome in the political economy as essentially trivial. The theatrics of the means to any given end is 'good' if it appears constitutive of a Democratic victory. Victory is defined as getting policy into place.


I resolved long ago to be blissfully, if not wilfully, ignorant of the "reasoning" behind Court decisions. I leave that entirely to seminars rooms, legal journals, and the blathersphere.

I basically take a sports fan approach: is this a win or a loss for justice (as I see it, however vaguely)? Roe v Wade, Brown v Board, Bakke....wins. Citizens United, loss. Anything pro-sodomy, win. Anything anti-sodomy, loss.

Bush v Gore was kind of a win in that it was such a transparent banana-republic move, so brazen, that it forever savaged the Court's "integrity." That was a form of justice.

Al Schumann:

That's likely to save you some headaches, CZ. It's a handy guide.

Of course I still see value in Hugh's dissection, just to make that clear. It's a good idea to slice away at the credibility of the sophistry industry. The shitty defenses thrown up in response are often eye-openers for people who have sensed there is something badly amiss, but can't quite put a finger on it yet.


My ultimate measure of Supreme decisions: If it feels good (to me), it is good.

I'm all in favor, by the way, of slicing away at the credibility of the sophistry industry.

anne shew:

any thoughts on the number of latter days working the night shift for the irs yet .. , said she is far far away .. .

The Correntians, whom I respect, are nonetheless nearly to the last woman and man "rule of law" types.

They're fellow travelers right up until the fork in the road, and from that point onward, they're like most progressives: you can count on them to pull against their allies with all their might, in the name of a spiritualist's morality and "right thinking."

In fact, I think it's fair to consider all castes of official liberaldom as nothing more than fogged-up petty moralists, more concerned with right conduct and the obedience of the forms, than with the sort of results which signal (a) a willingness to win, and consequently, (b) a reason to stake some loyalty to their alleged causes.

My ex-, an otherwise uniformly stupid-but-cunning creature, used to describe that sort of thing as "washing up to take a bath."


I think Pettifoggery works well, Al (and thank you for that hug on the other thread, it was much needed), especially when we really do want to prevent persons from swan diving off of the hi speshul engineering miracle! of the Hoover Tillman "Bridge to Nevada",0,3917188.story , train tracks ...etcetera, etcetera, etcetera ...ALL ALONE devastatingly forsaken by the world that surrounds them, yet doesn't seem to even remember their name, nor any kindness they've done ....when they prepare to take their lives far too early.

and, truth be told, we actually do want to prevent that .... and we do outnumber the monsters.

(Anne, I haven't forgotten to respond there's just so much to reflect and it's so painful and lonely reflecting it ...about "The Cloud" and "The Singularity" etc. . I imagine you, Anne, as either being fascinated with watercolors and those who attempt to do them, before the water dries ...or one who does them herself.)


(and not at all to say, Jack, that people in unrelenting physical pain shouldn't be wholeheartedly allowed to enter another place, with as many pain killers as are from that hideous pain at at last.

...I do have to say though, as far as those in pain due to their empathies, ...I'm generally on board with reversing their societal pain, versus just saying buh bye! sorry you were depressed ...loser! ....(and I am not at all on board with Pharma as the resounding solution to that.)

anne shew:

diane , curious on what makes you suggest the water , but not the place to ask more of . if you see , or feel, on reading with the pebbling ,the sea of , i carry like water ,and of more than the literal of water that all of our bodies are are my ways , and yes an artist of some extreme in that , of drawing , and of a dried, and other , and of dance and of my voice ,it carries like lisa gerrard, but higher ,what i mean is if you listen to her you will feel her of ..moving across the surface of all landings of her voice , mine moves up with and to .. , ( i had thoughts of this this morning while talking with davidly) , of how the birds fly up so high to the sky then swim back down towards me on hearing / that is why i mentioned the hildegard of humming a few weeks back ,there are recordings of up on the grounds of uoft here somewhere ,the music buildings have changed since recording ,of what is there moved around , some rebuilding , and i have some here .

Al Schumann:

Jack, your comment about the Correntians startled me. Here's why. I think it's immediately apparent to anyone reading them that they trope towards a true progressive meliorism in ideological outlook. To me, although of course not necessarily to others, anything concomitant with that outlook can be left unsaid. That might be a misstep on my part. In linking and introducing the post, I found it sufficient to say I didn't particularly care about the constitutional issues (but still appreciate and value the dissection of sophistries, even though it comes from a perspective I don't entirely share).

What makes them so interesting to me is their ideological outlook is at least superficially at odds with what they are. They've got a workable, mutual aid-based anarchic community. That's revolutionary.


"They've got a workable, mutual aid-based anarchic community. That's revolutionary."

i'll second that
---with the emphasis on second----


No doubt you are correct in that much can be left unsaid, and ought to be. That being written, I thought it worth noting that they keep faith in loyal opposition, and conform to that type as a historical recurrence, falling exactly in line with the bog-besotted notion that purity of heart matters.

It's part and parcel with the whole coin seignorage-MMT cul-de-sac in which the economically minded tendency, among their number, has trapped itself.

History has been as unkind to the loyal opposition as it has been to palliative quixotic prophetic cure-alls, and it's my impression that the Correntians are smart enough to note this...yet don't.

As to the mutually aided anarchic community - I give no credence to its longevity, nor countenance in myself any illusions about its utility except in powerlessness.

It's a function of their isolation. It's how people who have no resources, and who dwell in scarcity, operate.

Were they a credible* faction or partisan organization, they would of course develop a more traditional structure and succumb to the environmental and material pressures which exist in that milieu, shaping themselves into the sort of almost-organism which survives the niche towards which they yearn.

The internet, communicatively, doesn't allow for much in the way of compulsion. You can be ignored. You can be banned, or have your posts moderated out of existence, but short of being Anonymous or Wikileaks and drawing the physical and enweaponed ire of the cops, it's not a medium suited to counteracting dispersion and exchange. In other words, it seems anarchic, because most of us are just gnats who don't even merit the attention of an absentminded slap.

Should the Correntians, the Firedoglakers, the Web based Greenie whimblers or the information-Wobblies ever actually gain traction in meat-space, they'd be winnowed into a recognizable form in short order, and their "community," such as that word can or could apply, would jettison its detritus, organize a hierarchy and conform to the dominant corporative shape and function.

* - in the arena which is their focus - electoral politics and party building...

Al Schumann:

These ontological demolitions set the bar too high for anything but expertise in ontological demolition. I don't see that as an improvement on frustrated reformism or even flummery, when it comes down to it. What the fuck is the point?

What's the point? The same as anything on the internetz, Al. Biding time. I just have no interest in pretending that the better angels, alleged, would remain so outside the silly-heavy borders of this fantasy demesne.

You see an "anarchic community." I see powerlessness and its material expression in the morality of defeat. Give 'em power, or influence, or a captive resource base, or a party cadre - and your mutual aid withers on the vine. Same as it ever was.

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