Prison Break reblogged from Keith DeHavelle

Why did I reblog this post? Keith DeHavelle begin his post by telling us a story about a person who is a regular commenter here.  expressed his surprise that someone who portrays himself as a lawyer involved with Constitutional issues would not recognize the acronym for the National Lawyers Guild.  What is the National Lawyers Guild?

The National Lawyers Guild

Just a few days ago, I mentioned the National Lawyers Guild (using its abbreviation NLG) to a person who portrayed himself as a lawyer involved with Constitutional issues. The NLG is a group of largely communist, America-hating lawyers and activists founded (along with the ACLU) by liberals and communists including Soviet KGB front people in the 1930s , and have spent the intervening time using the US Constitution to attack America any way they can.

Dancing Wikipedia

Wikipedia does an amusing tap dance about the NLG’s founding. Of course, they had nothing to do with communism:

Contrary to some right-wing thought, the NLG was not sponsored by or related to the Communist Party,

Well, that is clear enough, isn’t it? Not “related to the Communist Party” at all. But wait … that’s a comma at the end, not a period. What follows this?

(continued here)

26 thoughts on “Prison Break reblogged from Keith DeHavelle

  1. I was so disappointed to find that, when I followed the link, Keith did NOT, contrary to your tantalizing introduction, tell us a story about someone who is a regular commenter here. False adverts on your part. Cut that out, Tom.

    But, in case someone irrationally and mistakenly confuses your nebulous reference with an exchange that I had with you and Keith a few threads back, I said there that I did not recognize the abbreviation “NLG”. I am vaguely aware of a National Lawyers’ Guild (now that we attach a name to NLG – I had imagined a number of possibilities, including National League Groupies), but I don’t know much about them. They have never been litigants in any of my cases. Reading Keith’s description, they sound rather like a bunch of lefties. My positions tend to be in defense of constitutional rights, and I am a philosophical and political conservative, so I have not had any reason to spend much time with these folks that Keith describes in his linked comment. I do hope they are not vexing him too much in his practice.


  2. If he is not a lawyer, perhaps that’s why he has devoted attention to NLG. I think they are, at most, a marginal factor in the legal profession. There are probably certain issue clusters where they are more visible than in other contexts.


    1. You seem to be implying that I am too stupid about legal matters to realize that the National Lawyers Guild, whose tens of thousands of members garnered from recruiting offices in nearly every major campus across the country, aren’t significant. That their members being in the national news frequently including this week (though the group itself is rarely mentioned by leftist media) is of no consequence. That they are shaping opinions on national radio shows, writing pieces for the Huffington Post, given “compassionate release” by Obama, being appointed to DOJ positions — none of this matters.

      It is true that I am not an attorney, and have never been. My experience in that arena is limited. I have read every single one of the 2,784 California appellate cases dealing with alter ego doctrine, wrote a treatise on the topic among others, and I have a better-than-50% track record in my motions for summary judgment and judgment on the pleadings … but my total experience with discovery is limited to a few dozen depositions, a few thousand interrogatories and requests for documents and admissions (asked and answered), and perhaps three months in trial — about a fourth of which I spent on the stand as the plaintiff.

      This has possibly made me so ignorant that I think that the NLG’s near century-long campaign against the US (and the West in general, as they are now active in Europe) is of some moment. Perhaps I will grow out of this.

      Or perhaps, just perhaps, you are speaking from your own flavor of ignorance.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle


  3. A bit touchy, there, aren’t we, Keith? You may want to see someone about that.

    I said nothing about your intelligence. I’m sure you are quite the mental giant, although I question the time-prioritisation judgement of someone who would read 2,784 California appellate cases on any one subject. But that’s a judgment/personal choice issue, not a smarts issue (I hope). If you are an academic whose field requires knowing all there is to know about one state court’s treatment of one issue, have at it. In any event, there are a lot of lawyers whose raw intelligence is not particularly impressive (I may be one of them), so I suggest that you are projecting some internal issues onto my comment that its straight wording will not bear. My point was only that the National Lawyers Guild doesn’t much impact my practice area (which deals a lot with state/federal issues under the Constitution), and I don’t don’t have any colleagues who know that much about them either. That they are, in your view, a major player is not consistent with my experience. That’s my only point. Believe me, I take your word for it that you are a very learned fellow re the alter ego doctrine as it is applied in the State of California.


    1. The National Lawyers guild primarily attacks the US through its focus on state/federal issues in the Constitution. Your lack of ever having even heard of them is unsurprising — you have also claimed to be a conservative, and we see over and over again your actual positions instead.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle


    2. “If you are an academic…”
      “That they are, in your view, a major player…”

      You have a consistent record of wrong guesses about me, and Citizen Tom for that matter. But you don’t even seem to be all that familiar with your own positions, although I recognize this as part of your standard ruse for your soi-disant conservative pose. In your mind (as you have portrayed on various conservative blogs) you are the “real” conservative, and all of those folks who call themselves that just don’t understand how to properly go about being a proper [progressive] “conservative.” And they’re just too hard on big government … why, the term “propaganda” has negative connotations, doesn’t it scout?

      You consider David Brooks more conservative than Sarah Palin, a woman who you’ve pointed out scares you enough to send you hiding under your covers, as you put it. And you consider the words “liberal” and “conservative” to be … “contorted and abused into such a misshapen and misused heap that they serve virtually no purpose other than as inaccurate tribal identifiers.”

      So you’re comfortable calling yourself a conservative — you have to do this a lot, of course, since it is rather contraindicated by your actual positions. But for you, “conservative” is merely a word that allows you to comfortably align with David Brooks against the likes of Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Citizen Tom, or me.

      Oh, but you take great offense at being called deceptive, don’t you?

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle


  4. Oh, I have heard of the National Lawyer’s Guild, Keith. It was your NLG reference in the context of an earlier comment that I didn’t recognize. I don’t think the National Lawyers’ Guild has any particular emphasis on federalism issues. I have plowed that field a good bit and have never had any particular impression that they choose to be much of a force there. They strike me as more involved with human rights causes, not just in the US, but around the world. Generally, they seem to be overaged throwbacks to the SDS types of the 1960s. I’ll stand by my assessment that they are completely marginal in terms of the making of constitutional law, particularly on state/federal issues.

    My conservatism has been consistently espoused here, I think. There are people out and about whose concept of conservatism strikes me as a bit one-dimensional and cartoonish these days. Labels can be thrown about carelessly by folks who want complex facts and policy disputes to fit neatly in a thimbleful of thought. But I am content with my steadfastness, here and elsewhere, to my Burke/Kirk/Buckley school of conservative political principles.


    1. Scout, I don’t see much point in debating whether you are a Conservative. If people can’t figure it out for themselves, then then don’t know what a Conservatism is anyway. Keith knows.

      Whether we label ourselves a Conservative or not does not much matter. Whose school of Conservative thought we say espouse is not the issue. What matters is how we stand on the issues and why.

      When someone believes in limited government, that is, we are suppose to operate as a republic and our leaders should obey the original intent of the Constitution, that generally is sufficient to earn them the Conservative label. Thus, if you want the Conservative label, you will have to sound like one. You will have to support Conservative principles.


  5. I did most of my foundational work for my conservative approach to political philosophy quite some time ago. The work remaining is to engage people in thoughtful dialogue.


  6. Sarah Palin, Keith, strikes me as a person of absolutely no identifiable political philosophy or knowledge. She strikes me as a random collection of bumper stickers glued together for marketing purposes, both political and commercial. Any similarity between her and my conservative thought-leader icons is delusional. She is not without her good points. I admire her devotion to her family. Nonetheless, she is not someone who has any particular capability to provide governance services to the citizenry. And she certainly has provided no public evidence that she has ever studied the history of this country or synthesized a strong conservative intellectual foundation into a political operating plan.

    Ted Cruz, I think, is much more substantive and is perfectly capable of holding his own on real ideas. He has, however, apparently made a decision to harness up the ignorance of the masses for political purposes, at least in the near term. He’s not the first or only pol to do this – it’s a calculated decision that it will garner sufficient votes to give him power. I would be far less frightened about him achieving higher office that Palin, because I think that he has the knowledge and capacity to throw off the marketing gimmicks if the vital interests of the Nation ever required him to make difficult decisions. I don’t think Palin has that capacity.

    Brooks is an author/columnist/pundit and comparing him to politicians is sort of an apples/oranges problem. I do think he is one of the better conservative voices in the press, however. In recent times, however, he seems to have run out of topics and spends more ink than I would prefer on social observational stuff that I personally don’t find all that interesting.

    Thanks for the re-quote. I had forgotten that one, but it holds up well on re-reading and is an accurate description of the intellectual aridity of what passes for public issue discussion and formulation today. It bears repeating. I don’t mind if you use it frequently, as long as you attribute it to me.

    By the way, I think most people take offense at being called deceptive. I suspect I am not unusual in that regard. I think what you are trying to say is that you have some opinions that differ from mine and that you want the monopoly on labels. That doesn’t make me deceptive. It does mean that you aren’t engaging on the level of ideas and discussion, but are giving in to making this a personal attack. Sorry, I won’t play in that sandbox.


    1. scout – What you had to say about Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and even David Brooks was in fact deceptive. It seems you are more interested in the effect of your words than the substance of what they convey. That’s not to say you did not choose your words artfully and carefully. It is quite apparent that you intended a certain emotional effect, but the effect you intended perverted the truth. Thus, to avoid telling an obvious lie, which either Keith or I would might have detected, you had to avoid saying anything of substance.

      When we want to create an negative impression of another human being, we should stick to plain facts. If the facts cannot support the negative impression we want to convey, then we will have little to say, and we will not be guilty of slanderous gossip.


      1. As an observer of this site in general, and the comments of the ‘three witnesses’ in particular, at least as far as recent threads,and the most recent post, I believe I have earned the right to comment, but I’ll not engage your lively discussion, only to say:

        ‘Off sides scout.’ And to be fair, let me go into the booth for further review…’
        ‘Yes, the ruling on the field stands, offsides.’

        This call is unchallengable; or should I say, the bookends of Tom and Keith can field the protest if they desire.


        1. Your comments are always appreciated.

          “Offsides” is a good sports analogy. At first it caused me to scratch my head and frown. Then I looked up the definition.

          adj : (sports) illegally beyond a prescribed line or area or ahead
          of the ball or puck; “the touchdown was nullified
          because the left tackle was offside” [syn: offside]
          [ant: onside]

          When we choose not to discipline our choice of words, our discussions can become as grotesque and pointless as a game played with rules.


  7. Mr. Scout said re. SP: ‘strikes me as a person of absolutely no identifiable political philosophy or knowledge. She strikes me as a random collection of bumper stickers glued together for marketing purposes, both political and commercial:’

    and you came back saying it was ‘deceptive,’ and I simply added the color of ‘offsides’ as you clarified (tkx), meaning there was an ‘illegal’ characteristic given which could not be supported by scrutiny.

    She’s a good mom? that’s it? Again, a short sighted and unfair (offsides) analysis whether one agrees with her or not. Who then are these millions of people, male and female who find other value in her…

    But I do enjoy the revolving door by you guys, how differences are handled, challenges given, and the spirit in which true debate thrives. Barbs, jabs, common ground, no common ground, assertions questioned, all make for a healthy and prosperous site.

    (While I remarked on a weak statement, I also commend the statement about the sandbox. Whether it’s true, you can have that one.)


    1. I am glad you enjoyed the discussion. Some bloggers have much more success with that than I, and I wonder how they do it. I think it the best part of blogging.

      It does mean that you aren’t engaging on the level of ideas and discussion, but are giving in to making this a personal attack. Sorry, I won’t play in that sandbox.

      Here the statement is true, but it does not apply to the situation. Was rejecting scout’s loud protestations that he is a Conservative really a personal attack?

      Generally, when someone attacks me personally (on a blog), I just ignore it. I want a discussion of the issues. When scout made an issue out the “fact” he is a Conservative, I did not see that as an issue worth discussing, and it obviously irritated Keith. What defines a Conservative, however, is worthy of discussion.

      Hopefully, scout will take my criticism and Keith’s for what it is worth. We don’t know either his true name or address. So whatever offense we can cause him is quite limited, and I have no desire for it to be otherwise.


  8. Tom, the personal attack was the use of the word “deceptive”, although I copped to Keith’s charge that I don’t like being called deceptive. I further observed, however, that I don’t think I am unusual in that respect.

    I don’t really see how a personal opinion (which is largely what these discussions are about) can be “deceptive”. I am telling you what I actually think. I am not offering opinions that I do not hold.

    I guess that the way to pin this down a bit, is to ask you and Keith to identify which of my opinions is “deceptive.”

    By the way, you also say that I hold my opinions to “avoid telling an obvious lie”. Where does that information come from? Why would I have any motivation to “lie” in these exchanges of views? When you offer opinions, do you do so to avoid telling an obvious lie? I have never thought that of you. I’m not sure why you would think it of me.


    1. When you call yourself a Conservative, here are the possibilities.
      1. You don’t know what you are talking about.
      2. You think the word “Conservative” should mean what you want it to mean.
      3. You are just trying irk Conservatives by calling yourself a Conservative.
      4. Almost everyone else uses the word “Conservative” the wrong way.

      Given the way corporate news media messes with our language, you made soon be able to call yourself a Conservative and no one will bother with challenging your claim. That’s is what happen to the word “Liberal.”

      Of course, not many call themselves Liberal any more. Instead, even as they sanction the most immoderate behavior and try to make us their serfs, modern Liberals now call themselves “Moderate” and “Progressive.” In fact, when you are not blogging, I would not be surprised if you apply one of those labels to yourself.

      Does it really matter? When none of us are good, isn’t presumptuous to label ourselves as someone better than we are (see Isaiah 5:20)? Therefore, I suppose I should not call myself a Conservative. Instead, I should say I try to promote Conservative causes.


  9. I hope that I am not being too optimistic in sensing a whiff of progress here. I detect in this last comment that you may be coming around to my concern that these labels have been debased of any meaningful value, and are, as Keith kindly requotes me as saying, nothing more than some kind of tribal marker (Crips and Bloods, Jets and Sharks, Shirts and Skins etc.) that is used to short circuit serious thought about significant public issues. As I have noted elsewhere, one of my wisest professors (a man from eastern Europe who barely got out with his skin in the Second World War and who devoted his early life in this country as a covert intelligence operative for the United States and its allies) observed that one of the great strengths of America is that it had never been an ideological nation. Facile, superficial ideological earmarks are generally abused by the political classes to short-circuit public debate. The vitality of America’s democracy over much of its history has been that the nature of governance has tended to be pragmatic, within the broad confines of its genius Constitution. What I see in the shallowness of current usage of terms like “conservative” in an American political context, is the attempted imposition of a political ideology that is essentially antithetical to American values (the same could be said for terms like “liberal”, but, as you note, that phrase doesn’t get used too much by anyone these days). POliticians use these terms to flim-flam voters ( I can’t tell you how many times I have seen national, state, and local pols call themselves “conservatives” because they suspect that’s where the votes are, without having the slightest notion of why their positions on any given issue are “conservative”, “liberal” or somewhere in between by any rational articulation of political philosophy.

    It may be something of an age or demographic factor. I grew up at a time when, at least at the university level, political philosophy was a more rigourous discipline than it is now. We conservatives at that time were imbued with a strong immersion in Hume, Locke, Adam Smith, Burke, and Kirk, with a modern sprinkling of Buckley and Goldwater (to add a political figure to the mix). It simply does not work for us that “Conservative” means a straightjacket of positions on an array of disparate issues in which all of us would come to the same conclusions about, to throw out some examples, government regulation of reproductive decisions, national health care, immigration policy, what happened in Benghazi, trade policy, welfare policy, voter ID, tax policy, responses to economic catastrophes, monetary and fiscal policy, road building, the Postal Service , etc. etc. ad infinitum.

    For us, conservatism was simply a wary suspicion of both the nature of Man and the nature of Governments run by men. In an American context, this meant (and still means for me) a respect for institutions and attributes intended to provide or having the effect of providing societal stability (e.g., church, community, schools, military service, public service,) and a reverence for the Constitution, a document that provides hard points of protection for certain individual liberties, checks and balances against the accretion of overweening power in any one person or sector of government, and latitude to adjust to changing conditions over time.


    1. I decided to write a post you may find relevant.

      As a lawyer you should know that until we render them useless through continued misuse, words do have meaning. In order to call yourself a Conservative, you begin your last paragraph by rendering much of the meaning from the word Conservative.

      Conservative belief is not a “straightjacket,” but Conservativism does support real and substantial limits on government power (that is, the powers of our leaders), not just wary suspicions.


  10. Of course, I did not say that conservative opinion was a “straightjacket.” Nonetheless, it appears we are in agreement (at last). I, of course, (being of conservative inclinations) support “real and substantial limits on government power” such as are found in our Bill of Rights. The necessity of those limitations arise from our Founders’ wariness of the nature of Man, and the nature of political systems run by men. The Founders would not have recognized the term “conservative” in any sense other than care and caution around the grant of power.


    1. You have finally decided that a Conservative is someone who supports and defends the belief that the Constitution must be read as an authorizing document, one that says what our leaders are allowed to do? Then and only then are we in agreement as to what defines Conservatism.

      Consider that when the Constitution was first passed it did not contain a Bill of Rights. Why? The people who wrote the Constitution did not believe the Constitution empowered the Federal Government to violate our rights. Not willing to take anything for granted, the representatives to state conventions that approved the Constitution insisted upon the addition of a Bill of Rights. Thanks primarily to James Madison, one was added.


  11. It is both an authorizing and a prohibitive document, Tom. I’ve always thought that (not sure what your “finally” is all about) and I don’t think there are many people at any point on the political spectrum who think otherwise.


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