Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Horrors from American History

When people think of horrors rising from the grave at Halloween, if they think about American history the best they can come up with is usually Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. That just shows how well-built our mental defenses are against true horror.

Perhaps tonight some unlucky people will see the ghost of John Woods. His older brother had been conscripted into the Tennessee militia in the war of 1812. For reasons unknown John, who was just 17, took his brother's place in Andrew Jackson's army in February, 1814. They had been fighting Indians, and none too victoriously. "He made the mistake of arguing with the Officer of the Day outside of the General's tent. Jackson stepped outside and ordered: "Shoot him." Two days later, on March 14th, at 10 A.M. John Woods was shot dead by his fellow soldiers at Jackson's command. The General now believed he was ready to fight the Red Sticks again, with less insubordination from his underlings." [from Andrew Jackson Fights the Red Sticks]

John Woods was hardly the only victim of Andrew Jackson, a slaver who went on to create the Democratic Party and use it to make himself President, but let's make this a variety horror show. There were, of course, the natives. If every murdered American Indian showed up on Halloween, it would be a sight. Practically every major figure in American history up to the Civil War was an Indian killer of some magnitude. George Washington killed Indians, as did Thomas Jefferson, as did hordes of forgotten European colonizers. The rapid accumulation of wealth and establishment of a ruling class in the United States was largely accomplished by the murder of Indians and theft of their lands.

Ghosts of dead slaves, too, could put together quite a Halloween ball. Many died horrible deaths while in chains in Africa or on the ships that brought them across the Atlantic. In America the life expectancy, and living conditions, of slaves working at cotton or tobacco culture was nothing to sing songs to Jesus for the blessings of Christianity about. Again, the same names pop out of our history books, slavers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson not being particularly noted for their cruelty, but rather as the political frontmen for the owners of larger lots of expendable human workforce. Of course, even after the Civil War, the Democratic Party made sure that life for African Americans was halloween everyday in the former slave states.

White people, don't despair. Not all of our ancestors were Indian killers and racists. In fact, most white people who arrived in the colonies before the American Revolution came over as indentured servants, and their ghosts, in their millions, could tell some tales. While indentured slavery was for a period of time, usually 7 years, and many survived and went free, most were worked and starved to death by the end of their term, that being more profitable than turning free a healthy, well fed human being.

I cannot neglect to mention the foreign wars. There are too many ghosts and spooks to mention them all here, even in lumps, so a few must represent all. The Philippines War, an addendum to the Spanish American War, was carried on with the same principles of an Indian extermination campaign. No one knows how many Filipino freedom fighters and civilians died under the cheery tutelage of Theodore Roosevelt and crew, but rough estimates range from a low of about one-half million to a high of two million. The U.S. war to occupy Korea and the Vietnam War are worth an all-saints mention.

If you are looking for glow-in the dark zombies, perhaps you would enjoy the resurrection of the only large bodies of people killed by atomic weapons, the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. The average American, who deserves to be haunted into an early grave, simply repeats the charming meme, "it saved lives of American soldiers." That the rules of war have always said it is not okay to kill civilians to save your own soldiers seems lost on people. That Science, which should be a beacon of light, was bent to this unholy purpose, makes it all the more criminal. President Harry Truman, the leader of the Democratic Party, made the decision to drop the bomb. The Democratic Party is the only party in history that has dropped atomic weapons on human beings. Had America lost World War II, or had a fair and impartial system of international justice been created, the Democratic Party would have been permanently banned, just like the National Socialist German Workers Party was.

For me, the horror is walking out into a world where a bunch of Democratic Party zombies grope about in continual denial of the reality of what their party has done, and what they have embraced by joining it. How many more people will die violent deaths at Democrats' hands before its reign of terror fades into history?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Our Socialist Constitution Framers

The Tea Party clan has been infused with the idea that there is a Fundamentalist Constitution. They say this is the U.S. Constitution as understood when it was written, plus the Bill of Rights, which is its first ten Amendments. Tea Party types like certain of the amendments, like the part about citizens being able to own automatic weapons (and, arguably, artillery), and the one about powers being given to the federal government not being meant to infringe on the powers left to the States. To reinforce this position with metaphysics, most of them insist the Constitution (but not the later income tax or civil rights amendments) was written by God Himself, though apparently he forgot to sign the document.

Aside from having to ignore much of what was written about the Constitution when "the people" (rich white males, mostly) were thinking about whether to vote for it (a majority probably voted against it, but that is another story), there is a big problem with the Fundamentalist Constitution:


Yes, it seems our Founders wrote socialism right into the Constitution, and it has been a specter haunting America ever since it was sent out for ratification on September 17, 1787.

The Framers of the Constitution actually thought government, including the federal government, could do some things better than private industry.

Let us enumerate them (mostly from Article I, Section 8):
"Provide for the common Defense" and "raise and support armies" and "a navy" [rather than hire out the job to mercenary private businesses]
"Establish Post Offices and Post Roads" [rather than contract out the job]
"the erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful buildings," in the various States.

Let us call these things what they are: socialism. The government owning and running large organizations that are not essential to government itself. Anybody that thinks that our military is not a socialist organization has got a mental blind spot. Modern socialism of the authoritarian sort (Marxism Leninism) is largely modeled on military organizations.

But then, the real founding fathers had experienced and even studied reality, including the reality of mercenary armies. They were influenced by ideology (Thomas Jefferson more than others), but they were mostly powerful men, from powerful families, with plenty of school-of-hard-knocks experience. Think back to the Boston Tea Party itself. That gang of ruffians was not just protesting a consumption tax of the exact kind that Tea Party politicos like Herman Cain are proposing to burden us with. They were protesting against a private company, the East India Company. The tax was necessary, according to the British government, to pay off war debts. And what is our current vast national debt but a war debt?

Even in 1787 some things just made more sense to do through government, rather than through private industry. There are forms of Socialism that say a lot more should be owned and operated by the people through their government, and even forms of socialism that would have no government at all, but worker ownership of all businesses. I'm not saying any Framer was in that camp. They were, I repeat, pragmatic men.

Our Framers furiously debated the articles of the Constitution. Then the voters in each state debated whether to adopt the document. Socialism is not mentioned in the Constitution, but neither is Capitalism or the theory of free markets.

If some people, despite all the evidence of history, are against having a government that does its best to help its people cope with the difficulties inherent in reality, that is fine, we can debate that view.

Nothing they can do, however, can undo the fact that the postal system was a business specifically selected by George Washington and crew to be run by the government, for the people. That is not an all-encompassing system of socialism, but it is socialism as a pragmatic response to solving a particular human problem, the need for a postal system.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kenya Invades Somalia: World War III?

On Saturday, October 15, 2011, Kenya invaded Somalia. Earlier in the week President Barack Obama announced he was sending U.S. combat troops to Uganda [See Obama Sends U.S. Gunmen to Uganda]. Uganda and Burundi already have troops occupying part of Somalia. Meanwhile the U.S. occupation army has not quite left Iraq. The U.S. is now in an undeclared war with Pakistan [as I predicted in U.S. Close to War with Pakistan on April 23, 2011] and has operations in Oman and other nations. Iran, too, is on U.S. target lists.

Note that the United Nations (U.N.) is not going to protect Somalia. The U.N. does not exist to protect weak nations from invasions by stronger ones. The U.N. exists mainly to further the agendas of the Great Powers, and right now the only powers of any global importance are the U.S., Europe, and China. None of them care for the current de facto government of Somalia, the militia/political party Al Shabaab. Surprisingly the Kenya military did not announce it was "invited in" by the "provisional government" of Somalia, a hand-picked group of U.S. puppets backed by hundreds of genuine supporters and those Ugandan troops already mentioned.

Maybe the U.S. forgot to order President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to invite in Kenya as an ally in the civil war. Don't forget the formidable Ethiopian army invaded Somalia in 2006, financed by the U.S., with the same purpose, with the brilliant result of destroying the moderate Islamic de facto government, leading to the rise of Al Shabaab as the dominant popular government. [Sharif Ahmed, now a U.S. puppet, was a leader of the regime destroyed by Ethiopia, the Islamic Courts Union.]

Sure, there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of, but this is really beginning to look like World War III, with the United States playing the role Britain played in World War II: an imperialist power about to be bankrupted.

Neither World War I nor World War II started on a single day. Both had their preludes and aftermaths. A smart and strong U.S. President could defuse the situation by withdrawing from Afghanistan, apologizing to Iran, Pakistan, and Oman, recognizing Al Shabaab, and recognizing the state of Palestine and the right of Palestinians to have their private property returned to them. Obama can't do that; he has become a subservient tool of the U.S. corporate security state, and was certainly vetted for that role before being allowed to become the Democratic Party frontrunner in 2008.

A single incident, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, is said to have started World War I. More important than the spark were the stacks of powder kegs all around: the rivalries of the imperialist, industrialist powers, most notably between the British capitalists and their German cousins.

World War II is more instructive. It is generally marked as starting when German armies attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, or when Great Britain declared war on Germany the next day, escalating a regional conflict into a global war. But in East Asia the anti-imperialist war of Japan and its allies against the European colonialists had long been underway, and would last until the United States withdrew, defeated, from Vietnam in 1975. In Europe World War II probably became inevitable when Britain, France, and the United States refused to support the democratically elected government of Spain in its civil war with General Franco (with support from his fellow Catholics Pope Pius XI, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini), leading to Franco's victory in March 1939.

Al Qaeda is not a great industrial power that can have its factories bombed into impotence, as happened to Germany, Italy and Japan in World War II. The strategy of Al Qaeda has always been based on Osama Bin Laden's analysis of the fall of the Soviet Union. It was caused by a lopsided militaristic economy, aggravated by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda's goal has always been to cause a similar collapse of the United States economy by irritating the U.S. into asymmetrical expenditures. It has largely succeeded. At this point the only way Al Qaeda can fail is if the U.S. severely cuts back its military and homeland security expenditures and starts taking care of its own people. Instead our leaders continue to fall into the Al Qaeda trap.

Al Qaeda, however, will not be the ultimate winner in this global contest. Al Qaeda has proven it knows how to fight, but not how to govern. When Germany and Britain fought for world dominance in World War II, it was the U.S. that inherited the earth. Who will dominate the economy and culture of the next century is not easy to predict, although the easy bets are on India and China. Hopefully no nation will be stupid enough, after the lessons of the 20th century, to try to become the global superpower. That is just a recipe for eventual bankruptcy.

The Soviet Union invaded Poland on September 17, 1939, only two weeks after the German invasion (in fairness, Poland did not exist before the end of World War I, so both Germany and the U.S.S.R. claimed to be reclaiming lost territory). Yet the British Empire did not declare war on the U.S.S.R. Germany was seen as more of a threat to the British Empire, short run. Britain (and its ally France) was in no position to fight both Stalin and Hitler at the same time. So they chose to fight Hitler. Even that kind of pragmatisim did not save the British Empire (or the French, or Dutch empires) in the long run. When the French, after the briefest face-saving hint of battle, were brought over to the German side (by Marshal Petain, another Roman Catholic fascist), that should have meant global dominance for Germany. That, in turn, would have required more patience than Hitler had. The Catholic armies of Europe, instead of finishing off the British, attacked the athiest U.S.S.R., cheered on by the Pope. Everyone forgets that some 30 million athiests died before Hitler's Catholic hords were defeated.

If the United Nations were about peace, it would sanction Kenya and, if necessary, send in troops to expel the Kenyans from Somalia. Watch it do nothing, just as its predecessor, the League of Nations, consistently did nothing to prevent World War II. Again, there was a reason: Woodrow Wilson designed the League of Nations to be a racist, imperialist institution, and it stuck to that design.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

President Obama sends Gunmen to Uganda

The Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda are a nasty lot. Imprisoned, hanged, or shot dead in combat, it is hard to imagine anyone shedding a tear for them. What better excuse for his imperialist majesty Barack Obama to insert U.S. troops into east Africa. Apparently bribes and proxy troops are not getting the job done.

Most diplomatic and military analysts believe the U.S. military presence in Uganda actually has little to do with the Lord's Resistance Army. They are there to train the army of Uganda, and may use killing or "interrogating" any LRA soldiers they can catch as an exercise. Their real role is to reward Uganda for sending soldiers to act as U.S. proxies in Somalia, and to prevent the further spread of anti-Americanism in Africa. A look at the map of the region reveals the interlocking parts:

Uganda and east Africa

Note Uganda's proximity to the Republic of South Sudan, with its vast oil fields waiting to be tapped. To the east in Kenya, which is more of a region left over from Great Britain's imperial conquests than a nation. Kenya is a mostly Christian identified nation, but has substantial Islamic and (indigenous) pagan minorities. Further due east we have southern Somalia, including the "capital" Mogadishu, where Ugandan troops are stationed to prop up the unelected, corrupt and incompetent puppet U.S. "provisional" government. Note also Ethiopia to the north of Kenya. The U.S. paid Ethiopia to invade Somalia in 2006 and overthrow the Islamic Courts Union system (earlier referred to as the Islamic Justice Courts). While the Somalis eventually ran them out of the country, the peaceful and moderate backers of the Islamic Courts were radicalized by the struggle, leading to the emergence of Al-Shabaab as the most popular de facto government in Somalia (though it has done a lot since then to make itself unpopular).

So we can expect Barack Obama's soldiers to train the Ugandan gunmen who will be going to fight the people of Somalia. At the same time President-for-Life Yoweri Museveni's regime will be propped up. As leaders go Mr. Museveni started as a considerable improvement on his post-colonial predecessors. Somewhere along the way he decided that he was indispensable, and democracy had to play second fiddle (just like Franklin Delano Roosevelt). Instead of training and empowering the next generation of leaders, he is determined to take Uganda to the grave with him. In addition, he has supported harsh anti-homosexual laws.

Perhaps the Pentagon just wants to get in some real-life jungle training. American gunmen have a poor record in jungle warfare, as demonstrated by the Viet Cong. The Lord's Resistance Army might be easy prey, and then again they have already survived for a couple of decades and may be more adaptable than I, or anyone, expects. As to Somalia, only idiots like George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and their brutish henchmen think that playground has room for anyone besides the natives.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Barack Obama Sanctions Assassinations

Barack Obama yesterday announced he plans to impose sanctions on Iran for the alleged assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Adel A. Al-Jubeir. For all I know Mr. Al-Jubeir is a well-intentioned man, but he represents one of the most oppressive dictatorships on earth. Iran, on the other hand, is a democracy, at least as much as the United States can be said to be a democracy.

Note that President Obama is in no position to express moral outrage. Since bluffing his way into the office of President in 2008, Obama has become the number 1 murderer and war criminal in the world. Why anyone would expect anything less from a graduate of Harvard Law School, where the cooking the Gruel of Law is continually taught to the next generation of vipers, I don't know.

Democratic Party apologists (is there any other kind of Democrat Party activist?) say that Obama inherited his wars from President George W. Bush. They want us to forget that the Democrats won the 2006 congressional elections mainly by playing to anti-war sentiment. The war in Iraq was essentially over by the time Barack took office, but he escalated the war in Afghanistan at a time when it would have been easy just to pull out U.S. troops. Further, he has waged illegal wars against Pakistan and the people of Somalia, while U.S. assassins have murdered alleged U.S. enemies and innocent civilians in Yemen and throughout northern Africa.

President Obama said, "The second thing that we’re going to continue to do is to apply the toughest sanctions and continue to mobilize the international community to make sure that Iran is further and further isolated and that it pays a price for this kind of behavior."

This kind of behavior? Note a few facts: the Saudi ambassador was not harmed. It was a homeland security bureaucrat who actually planned to kill the ambassador. Homeland Security found an unstable, incompetent, greedy man, Mansour Arbabsiar, to claim to be the bagman for the plot. Can the U.S. manufacture evidence to implicate Iranians in the plot? Our physical manufacturing plants have mostly moved to China and Mexico and India, but one thing we can still manufacture is phony evidence. I think they teach that at Harvard Law, or maybe at Langley.

I agree that the ancient principle that all ambassadors are, in effect, sacred cows, is a good one. Peace emissaries would never be able to end wars otherwise. The pragmatic problem is that embassy personnel often use this fig leaf as a cover to commit a wide variety of crimes. The U.S. embassy in Iran existed largely to help murder opponents of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the self-styled Shah of Iran. Just like the employees of the U.S. embassy in South Vietnam existed to help murder opponents of the U.S. puppet dictators in the 1960s during the Vietnam war. And ... oops, this could easily devolve into the historic role of U.S. embassies and the CIA in murdering people who opposed U.S. imperialism. A subject for a 9 volume encyclopedia, not a blog posting.

War crimes are still war crimes even if you are POTUS and no one has the ability to try you and hang you like the Democrats used to hang unregistered potential Republican voters in the Solid South up until around the time Obama was born.

Barack Obama, and his top subordinates, should be tried by an impartial tribunal for each and every one for the numerous assassinations they have carried out in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and around the globe.

The American people should impose sanctions on the Democratic Party and Republican Party, the two greatest war crimes organizations in the world. Not one cent or one vote until both parties dry up and are replaced by a new politics of peace and prosperity.

See also: Saudi Arabia at Wikipedia

Barack Obama's remarks about Iran on October 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

small green gift ideas

Anything you buy, from a stick of gum to a Prius, requires energy for its creation. The amount of energy required is usually proportional to the price tag. Those who support a Buy Nothing policy, I applaud. Despite that, I have found a few small items to really be worthwhile in terms of their providing comfort while lowering overall impact on the environment.

First and foremost are flannel lined jeans, and similarly lined pants. I like to keep my heating bills to a minimum. In my barn-style house that means cutting firewood for the upstairs wood stove, and minimizing electric space heater use for downstairs (which is where I work). I've tried many warm clothing items over the years with varying success. Last year I finally bought LL Bean flannel lined jeans. I typically buy regular jeans at Target for around $15, so these seemed expensive at $49.99, but they totally changed the warmth equation. They are a lot more comfortable than wearing long underwear beneath jeans. I see this year the price has been raised to $54.95. Land's End is selling a variety of lined pants (jeans, corduroy, and chino) for $69.50. Another choice is, where fleece-lined work jeans are $39.99 and flannel-lined dungarees are just $34.99. I'm sure there are other brands and vendors as well.

With my flannel jeans I like thick wool socks over thin cotton socks, a knit long-sleaved mock turtleneck basic layer, and a quilted flannel work shirt.

Then there ... truthfully, I can't think of anything else right now. I don't really buy anything for myself except food, clothing, and books. I still collect physical books.

Oh, I know, I get a lot of utility out of blankets, including an electric blanket I keep by my office chair. You can keep your house or office at 62 degrees F. if you have warm clothes and an electric blanket handy.

Need to give a special person a gift despite your anti-consumption ethic? Check out my wife's environment and peace oriented jewelry site,

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I'm not going to Occupy Wall Street, probably won't even make it to Sacramento (though it's tempting), but here are my five top demands (or fantasies):

Withdraw all U.S. troops and warships into U.S. territory. Allow no U.S. troops on foreign soil unless Congress officially declares war. Cut the military budget 80%. Educate the U.S. public about the history of U.S. war crimes, and allow for an international trial of our war criminals.

Nationalize the 10 largest U.S. banks, not by giving the federal government ownership, but by giving an equal share to every citizen.

Amend the Constitution to give Congress the clear duty and power to protect the environment.

Restructure taxes. Raise the maximum income tax rate to 50%. Raise the estate tax on fortunes of over $10 million to 90%, to help prevent the rise of an entitled nobility, as the Constitution intended. Make customs duties a major source of revenue again.

Cut back the federal government in favor of the states, which being closer to the people are, or could be, more democratic.

For those of us who have seen how rigged the U.S. social and economic system is, the problem is not formulating demands, but achieving them. I certainly recommend that everyone leave the Democratic Party and Republican Party and back independent candidates or parties more to their liking. Outside electoral politics, a little study of the marxists, anarchists, and particularly anarcho-syndicalism might go a long way.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Herman Cain's Twisted Politics

In the Republican presidential hopeful field, in which candidates rise and fall like so many prairie dogs, Herman Cain has recently risen to number two status. A business guy with no prior experience in political office (though he ran for Senator of Georgia in 2004), it is impressive that he has done so well. In fact, his entire life is impressive, if you don't think about it too much.

Mr. Cain can genuinely claim to be a rags to riches story. In contrast to President Obama, he came from a working class black family, growing up when being black was a serious disadvantage (he was born in 1945). Also unlike Obama, he was good at math, and so he received a B.A. in mathematics in 1967 and a M.S. in computer science in 1971. Thus he somehow avoided the typical fate of men of his age bracket: killing or being killed in the jungles and cities of Vietnam. He did work a bit for the Navy as a civilian before going to work as an analyst for Coca Cola.

So Mr. Cain is a smart guy, he dodged the draft and used his smarts to get ahead in business. Nothing wrong with that in so far as it goes. Any prol doing well in business is alright with me. He was no entrepreneur, to be sure; he was a corporate man. He was given increasing levels of responsibility at Pillsbury. They eventually made him President of their Godfather's Pizza subsidiary.

That is when Herman learned the lesson that he'd like to teach the entire nation. He took the over 900 stores of the money losing division and he made the division profitable. Did he do that by improving employee spirit, a clever advertising campaign, or inventing a better pizza? No. He made two lists: profitable stores and unprofitable stores. He closed almost 500 unprofitable stores. All the employees had to find new jobs. Herman's economic conservatism in largely colored by that success. He bought Godfather's from Pillsbury, using borrowed money. He was a king, the head of his own 400 store empire. The paupers who were his ex-employees should have taken more time with their math lessons; they deserved whatever fate awaited them.

Meet Herman Cain, the man who proved that hard work and business acumen and permission to swing an ax can make anyone a CEO multi-millionaire. The man who believes welfare and the laziness it inspires are what is keeping poor people down. The man who does not like government handouts, except when they are military jobs and contracts.

Get ready for a caining, or a caning, if you are among the irresponsibly unemployed. Herman Cain is the True Conservative who will cut, cut, cut government programs the way he cut Godfather's Pizza. He'll cut taxes too, those terrible taxes that slow the rise of bright fellows like himself up the social ladder.

Strangely, Herman Cain served on the board of the Federal reserve Bank of Kansas City from 1992 until 1996. How did he, with no banking experience, get appointed to a such a post? I suppose we'll have to read his new book, "Magical Me," to find out.

You would think that at least a slight understanding of macroeconomics would be required to be a Federal Reserve board member. Things that seem to work out on a small scale, say for an individual business, can become a disaster if done on a large scale. You may have noticed this in 2008, during the CEO panic. CEO's began laying off workers, even before demand dropped, even at corporations that were very profitable. Surprise, when enough CEO's had fired enough workers, we were in a severe recession.

While each individual termite benefits from eating the house, and the whole colony benefits for a while, eventually the house falls down.

When Herman takes away people's food stamps, he may think that will force them to go out and earn a living. Instead the corporate supermarket chains and mom & pop corner stores alike will go under. When he cuts back on funding for education, he thinks parents will pay for private schooling, but instead the streets will fill up with delinquents. When he takes away Medicare Social Security, he thinks seniors will quietly curl up in the streets and die. They might, but most of the nations doctors and nurses and biotechnology CEO's will be joining them in the streets.

After 4 years with Herman Cain, he'll probably just close up America, because the entire nation will be unprofitable.

I wish I could endorse a math guy for President, but it isn't how good you are with math, it's what you do with it. If you close your mind to the bigger realities of the world, and just use it to count and hoard beans as Herman Cain has, then math has been wasted on you.

Still interested? Herman Cain for President

Monday, October 3, 2011

Free Amina Farah Ali

Amina Farah Ali is an American citizen living in Minnesota currently being tried for allegedly sending aid to al-Shabaab, a political group in Somalia that has been fighting (like pretty much everyone in Somalia) with the corrupt, cruel, unpopular U.S. sponsored puppet government there.

She refused to stand for the judge, one Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis. He has banned her from the courtroom. Apparently he thinks the traditional show of respect for the court is more important than following the U.S. Constitution, which states in the Sixth Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights: "the accused shall enjoy the right ... to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have assistance of counsel for his offense."

The Constitution lies in shreds on the floor of Judge Davis's federal court, in more ways than this. While that has always been the way of our national government, while that is simply part of the gruel of law, it is always instructive to look at the details.

I don't see how any honest interpretation of the Constitution allows for Ms. Ali and people like her to be accused of any crime at all. The laws she is being prosecuted under are devoid of any basis in the Constitution. They violate international law and all all reasonable standards of ethical behavior.

In this supposed land of the free this law makes it illegal to send funds or supplies to foreign political groups the U.S. government does not like. You can, conversely, send funds and supplies to foreign political groups the U.S. does like. Even accepting, as I do, that Congress has broad power to do what is "necessary and proper" to carry out its Constitutional duties, this law makes a mockery of several sections of the Constitution.

It is also yet another instance of the U.S. government claiming jurisdiction beyond its own borders, a policy that has always infuriated the various nations we have interfered with and made war upon.

Did Ali, in raising $2,100 in pledges to send to Somalia to fight against a gang of thugs flooded with tens of millions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer provided "support", commit treason? This is the main question that needs to be asked. If she did not commit treason, then the law and the prosecution, in fact all the acts of Congress, President Obama, and their court system, are simply overreach.

The U.S. Constitution is very clear about treason (the Funding Fathers having just escaped with their lives from being treasonable to King George): "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." [Article III, Section 3] Note the word only. It colors the entire section.

Ms. Ali has certainly not levied war against the United States of America. Perhaps she gave aid and comfort to al-Shabaab, but al-Shabaab is the de facto government of Somalia, not the "transitional" U.S. paid puppet government. According to many treaties we have signed the U.S. is supposed to recognize de facto governments. Not hire thugs to set up puppet regimes.

Al-Shabab is certainly an enemy of the U.S.-made inflatable-doll "government" of Somalia, but anyone in their right mind in Somalia would be. Who wants to be bossed around by a government that you can't even vote for or against. By that, I mean the U.S. government. If Somalia is U.S. territory, shouldn't they get at least two U.S. Senators, a proportional number of Representatives, food stamps, and Social Security? I've noticed food stamps really cut down on opposition to the government.

Suppose I were elected President. No, I'm not running. But I would recognize the de facto government, maybe governments, of Somalia. That is the right thing to do. And suddenly Ms. Ali there is no longer aiding an alleged enemy of the U.S., but an ally.

Making list of enemies in foreign civil wars might seem necessary. I wish General Franco had been declared an enemy of the U.S. in 1936, then we probably could have skipped that entire World War II thing, and the Holocaust, and the occupation of Palestine by Israel. But the Catholic Church loved Franco and its adherents mostly voted Democratic in the U.S., so President Franklin Roosevelt maintained neutrality. So I admit there is a pragmatic argument to be made, but there is also a Constitution to try to keep out of the shredding machine.

Treason is a serious thing. Spying for a foreign nation might amount to treason, even if we were not at war with the nation spied for. But American citizens also have the right of free speech. The Supreme Court, in its wisdom, has declared that money is speech, at least when rich people and corporations corrupt the electoral process with it. If money is speech, then it seems to me Ms. Ali was engaging in speech, not treason. Of course you can expect the jackals of our Supreme Court to say that money is speech when they want it to be, and not when they don't want it to be.

We Americans are supposed to have a right to disagree with our government. They call that free speech. We also have a right to assemble with people who agree with us; that is the right to assembly.

If liking or not liking some political group in a foreign nation becomes treason, then free speech goes out the window. If Congress can declare foreign groups to be enemies for purpose of treason, what would prevent it from declaring domestic groups to be enemies for purpose of treason, except for decency, which is not something you want to rely on from politicians?

As far as treason goes, I think the only reasonable interpretation of the word "Enemy" is a nation with which we are at war. If the U.S. Congress had recognized al-Shabaab as the government of Somalia and then declared war on Somalia, I might not agree with them, but I could agree that once war is declared, the U.S. has a clear enemy, and it could be treason to aid them.

If al-Shabaab made an attack on or within U.S. territory, the Federal Government would have clear cause to deal with the crime, and with any American citizens aiding in the crime. You don't need to invoke the treason clause.

Neither of those situations fits the facts of Ms. Ali's case. She likes a particular "faction," really the de facto government, of Somalia. She sends them some help. Her actions are political, and do not constitute treason. American history is full of cases where our citizens, of their own initiative, have given verbal or material support to political factions outside the U.S. It is our right as human beings, and I believe it is a right covered by the Ninth Amendment (which is too little asserted):

"The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Note: my defense of Ms. Ali's rights in no way is meant to endorse or support al-Shabaab or any other armed faction in Somalia. I think they should all declare a peace and organize their society in a peaceful, humane manner.