The first order of business of the lame duck House of Representatives was to pass a resolution (as far as I know resolutions have no meaning) to oppose through federal legislation (which only has meaning if it is written, passed, signed into law, etc.) to ‘address’ (ban? regulate? tax? allow under only certain conditions?) the interstate sale and distribution of videos showing small animals being slowly crushed to death by women, using their bare feet or high heeled shoes.


The reason that this is a Tea Party defeat is that any such legislation would be valid under the Interstate Commerce Clause, which Tea Partiers, when they remember to think, insist is not constitutional.

Why is it not constitutional? Well, its a tricky argument which is difficult to explain but I’ll try.

See, the clause is part of the Constitution, which normally would make it Constitutional, rather than Unconstitutional. But it provides for and allows for all sorts of legislation that some Tabaggers, like Michel Bachmann, thought must be unconstitutional (most teabaggers fail to read past the Second Amendment. I mean, after all, who needs any other amendments once you’ve got the second one. And by “fails to read past” I mean “or before either” because the Commerce Clause is in Article I of the original main corpus of the Constitution, not in some whacky afterthought amendment like the right to due process or the right of free speech.)

So, if you knew before you knew anything about it that it was unconstitutional, and then you found out that it is actually one of the main parts of the original Constitution, then you can only assume that this is in the Unconstitutional part of the Constitution, also known as the Librul Hussein Obama Moslem Law part of the Constitution.

Perhaps the teabaggers will come to their senses when the new Congress comes to order. Then, they can redress this wrong and oppose any legislation impinging on the right of Americans to make and distribute videos of women crushing kittens and hamsters to death with their bare feet or high heels.

I have no idea why Sarah Palin and Michel Bachmann come so starkly to mind. I am now going to wash my brain out with Listerine.

Comments

  1. #1 mad the swine
    November 15, 2010

    Point one: I’m pretty sure that crush video bans are unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.

    Point two: the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3) reads:

    [The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;

    thus giving Congress the authority to ‘regulate’ (which includes banning) the interstate commerce of any good or service. What it does *not* do is give Congress the right to interfere with anything taking place solely within state borders. That latter was an unconstitutional power grab by FDR, etc, aided and abetted by the liberal Supreme Court, on the (false) premise that any good or service produced in the United States is ipso facto interstate commerce.

    The average Tea Party member probably knows more about the Constitution than your average President with a background in constitutional law. They don’t oppose the Commerce Clause when it is properly understood to be restricted to interstate commerce only (as with the crush video resolution). What the Tea Party opposes is the socialist misinterpretation which claims that Congress can regulate, if it so desires, any and all economic activity in the United States.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    November 15, 2010

    Point one: I’m pretty sure that it is possible to illegalize crushing bunnies, even in the evil world the teabaggers wish us to live in. Filming and distributing of films of crimes, and making money off of crimes may be easily regulated. Consider child pornograph.

    Point two: Sure, we can go to strict original interpretations if you want, but the Tea Party would not be happy to have a “well regulated militia” replace their gun fetish.

  3. #3 Tom S.
    November 15, 2010

    Mad the swine, do you work for World Nut Daily? You certainly are quoting them.

  4. #4 HP
    November 15, 2010

    I stepped on a mouse once. I’m not proud, but it was over 20 years ago and I’ve never forgotten.

    It was Christmas Day, 1989. The first real cold snap of the year where we lived, and a field mouse (definitely not a house mouse) came in seeking shelter from the cold. My cats were going nuts, my wife and stepdaughter were shrieking like girls (which, in fairness, they were), and then the mouse darted in front of me, where I was wearing my brand-new silly Christmas novelty slippers (bear claws, if you must know). I moved before I realized what I’d done.

    I realize there’s probably some skeevy perv reading this right now, but there are ways to deal with vermin, and ways not to. Crushing a mouse underfoot while wearing soft-soled novelty slippers is not something I would recommend to anyone. And it certainly places a damper on two newlyweds’ first Christmas.

  5. #5 gwen
    November 15, 2010

    Mad the Swine, I’ve never met a teabagger who could read past the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, and most of them do not know what is in the FIRST Amendment of the Constitution!

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    November 15, 2010

    I was wearing my brand-new silly Christmas novelty slippers (bear claws, if you must know). I moved before I realized what I’d done.

    Something like that almost happened to me once, but without the bear claws. I was walking out of a meeting in the middle of the night at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology and I saw some ants. Instinct cause me to lunge towards the ants and smash them to death. We were in a museum full of valuable stuff that could be destroyed by ants.

    Just as I was about to stomp the ants, the man I was walking with, who happened to be E. O. Wilson (the meeting was with him, Steve Gould, Wally Broeker and some others, not to drop names or anything), dropped to his hands and knees and started to delicately pick up each ant.

    They were Amazonian Leaf Cutter ants that had just escaped from E.O.’s new exhibit … a live colony of leaf cutters, one of the few ever to be sucessfully moved to the US for display or research.

    Had he been a little slower and me a little faster there would have been a foot full of dead ants and I would have been in big trouble.

  7. #7 ROFLMAO
    November 15, 2010

    I think it is soooooo funny that you jokingly (mostly) suggested that the tea party would oppose legislation to outlaw crush videos, then a tea party person shows up and … oh, man.

  8. #8 bad Jim
    November 15, 2010

    Mad the Swine is a far-too-subtle satirist who infests Dispatches from the Culture Wars. The only thing approximating a clue that his comment was tongue in cheek is “your average President with a background in constitutional law”.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    November 15, 2010

    Yes, Mr. Swine is a regular here. He has made quite a few valuable contributions.

  10. #10 HP
    November 16, 2010

    My life is so full of contingencies. I smashed a mouse (felt its spine snap in several locations under my foot before it stopped moving), and now I am divorced and lonely for 15 years and counting.

    Greg is stopped in the nick of time by E.O. Wilson, and now he is remarried in a delightfully blended family with many wonderful aspects to it.

    Stephen Gould may or may not have been right in geologic time, but he sure as hell nailed it in human time.

  11. #11 MadScientist
    November 16, 2010

    “most teabaggers fail to read past the Second Amendment”

    That should read:

    “most teabaggers fail to read”

    The Bill of Rights is transmitted orally via Chinese Whispers, which is why they can’t tell you anything about it except for something about guns.

  12. #12 MadScientist
    November 16, 2010

    @Tom S: The swine is a regular contributor and has perfected the art to the point where regular readers get thrown off – at least until they see the signature – that is, if they’re not too hopping mad to get that far.

  13. #13 Phillip IV
    November 16, 2010

    Perhaps the teabaggers will come to their senses when the new Congress comes to order.

    Unless they manage to prevent it from coming to anything even resembling order, which, unfortunately, seems to be their plan of action.

    If it wasn’t too cruel, I would suggest somebody should make a video of a mouse being wrapped into a tiny American flag and then being crushed in a King James Bible by a gay, black man smoking a joint, and transport it across a state border. Sorting out which legislation should apply to that one would easily keep the Teabaggers completely occupied till the next election…

  14. #14 theshortearedowl
    November 16, 2010

    videos showing small animals being slowly crushed to death by women, using their bare feet or high heeled shoes

    Tea Party

    Too much crazy in one post… brain shutting down…

  15. #15 Jordan
    November 16, 2010

    Odd that you’d say it’s the tea party members who don’t know the constitution. My experience has been that it’s the democrats and other liberals who don’t know anything about the constitution except the first and second amendments (and then using that to argue for the abolition of the second). My favorite: the 10th amendment. Oh well, I guess it depends on where you go.

  16. #16 Fred Magyar
    November 16, 2010

    I have no idea why Sarah Palin and Michel Bachmann come so starkly to mind. I am now going to wash my brain out with Listerine.

    Well, after reading this post I now have a mental image of hundreds of naked mole rats frantically slipping and sliding over a polished marble floor while Sarah Palin and Michel Bachmann, wearing stiletto heels and brandishing maracas are gyrating wildly to a heavy Latin beat, as they stomp the helpless mole rats their beneath their heels… Ok, pass the listerine please >;^)

  17. #17 gruebait
    November 16, 2010

    “The average Tea Party member probably knows more about the Constitution than your average President with a background in constitutional law.”

    Especially the ones who presided over that silly Harvard Law Review. What is that, a remedial course or something?

  18. #18 Kapitano
    November 16, 2010

    Is the hysteria over crush videos still going on?

    Porn for foot fetishists who are also into extreme animal cruelty and death. To be classed alongside gerbilling, stealing bodies from graveyards to have sex with them, and my particular favourite porn myth: Red Porn, made with an endoscope.

    I’m quite happy for the teabaggers to be fully occupied with outlawing things which don’t exist.

  19. #19 g724
    November 16, 2010

    I’m with Greg on this one.

    There’s no need to invoke the commerce clause here. The act of a) committing a crime, b) filming same, and c) distributing the film for profit (thereby obtaining profit from the commission of the crime), is already outside the realm of protected speech. Cruelty to animals is already illegal under numerous state statutes, possibly under federal statute as well. QED.

    But speaking to the broader issue of which animals are a subset, I would apply the standards from the child pornography laws, including case law, across the books to all crimes that are of equal or greater severity of impact on the victim than the crime of child molestation. Yes, that specifically means murder. And yes, that specifically includes purely fictional depictions, as is the case with child porn. (You can’t make a purely animated video of a grownup raping a kid: even though no actual kid is abused in the process, that video will still get you a sentence in federal prison.) And I dare anyone to try to argue the contrary.

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    November 17, 2010

    HP: Stephen Gould may or may not have been right in geologic time, but he sure as hell nailed it in human time.

    Gould was just to my right and also headed feet first towards the ants and almost smashed them on instinct. So the third possibility was me being a witness to a knock down drag out fight between E.O. Wilson and S.J. Gould over some ants.

  21. #21 Aratina Cage
    November 17, 2010

    I’m also laughing about how their pact to not produce any more pork in the next session brings them closer to the political position of… President Obama. For all the hype, that’s some seriously weak tea they’ve got there (which is a good thing).

  22. #22 bug_g
    November 21, 2010

    I have encountered the crush freaks (their term, not mine) before–insects are the most common victim. Crushing of vertebrate animals other than mice is relatively rare, for obvious reasons–legal and financial.

    I think it’s creepy as all get out that they think trampling insects is sexy. And I think it’s incredibly cruel to do that to animals we know are capable of feeling pain, and do have a clear, well developed nervous system.

    I can’t believe the teabaggers chose this very rare fetish to make a huge threat worthy of motivating the party.
    As so often, all I have is this classic midwest phrase:
    Cripes.

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    November 21, 2010

    Cripes

    And, from the Upper Plains, a hearty Uffda.

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