The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri Schiavo, R.I.P.

It is not often that the death of a person, who was relatively unknown to the public a year beforehand, has had such a profound sobering effect on an entire society. No matter how we rationalized it, and even with a media telling us that we should rationalize it, we sat and watched as our elected representatives, empowered by our Constitution to represent the will of the citizenry, attempted to save Ms. Schiavo's life; yet, based on an extremely shallow review of the medical evidence in the case, we all stood by, seemingly powerless to overrule one corrupt State Judge, who himself overruled the will of the people (via its elected members of Congress, the Senate, and the President of the United States)--that the Judge not allow a philandering bigamist-de facto husband starve his helpless (and NOT brain-dead) wife to death.

The resulting events speak volumes about who is really ruling over whom in our society, does it not? In civics class we were taught that "we the people" governed ourselves. Now, thanks to Terri, the public has been awakened to its out-of-control judiciary; now we know it is a few elite judges, not we, who really control our lives. That knowledge is Terri's gift to us. And just in time for a few of the President's judicial nominees to come forward, men who do not share such a vision of overreaching judicial power. The timing could not be better...thanks to Terri.

Also of interest, there is still a lot of information about the original details of Terri's "accident" which raise even more ominous questions about the validity of allowing a man who fathered two children with another woman while married to Terri, to also have the decision whether to kill her, based on something she supposedly said at age 26...only it took Michael 7 years to recall it... I don't know about you, but when I was 26, I was not thinking about feeding tubes, should I become somehow unable to communicate effectively with others... yet we are to believe Schiavo that Terri did, despite evidence to the contrary.

Then there is Felos, Michael Schiavo's bloodthirsty lawyer, for whom Michelle Malkin's characterization as a"Ghoul" may be a case of giving too much credit to this guy. As well, other individuals surrounding Mr. Schiavo's legal team had, at the very least glaring conflicts of interest, including the Doctor who examined her (at Michael Schiavo's request).

Regardless of what other sordid details will be uncovered, the death of Terri Schiavo will have far deeper repercussions, beyond any scandal or criminal activity yet visible. America experienced a tectonic shift with Terri Schiavo's death. Sherri Eros, MD, summed up well what happened today:

To a corrupt nation, Terri Schiavo is a living, breathing, thinking, willing, loving rebuke and provocation. She exposes all that is worst in us, the lawlessness, crassness, hard-heartedness, and viciousness that we see almost everywhere around us. In her silence she elegantly refutes the shameless fraud of the bioethics experts, the callousness of the Death Doctors and the Right-to-Die enthusiasts, the tyranny of an unchecked judiciary, the utter depravity of the secular humanists. In her debilitated state, nearly squeezed dry of life, she filled the world with her voiceless eloquence.

One last observation now that she has died. Due to the pall of unreality enveloping these events, those actively witnessing Terri Schiavo’s struggle cannot but feel a deep unease and conflictedness, sensing that on the one hand the world ought to have come to a dead stop until this immense evil was undone, and feeling on the other hand that her progression toward death was inexorable--that the forces of death were not about to halt for even a second, and we were utterly powerless to intervene. This state of unsettledness reveals to us that we, not Terri Schiavo, are the ones in a "locked-in" state, with minds and wills imprisoned in paralyzed bodies, powerless to find the right words and actions to effectively intervene or cry for help, unable to prevent the monstrous torture-killing that occurred right in front of our eyes.

The one thing that will be said about Terri Schiavo for a very long time was that she will have had a major impact on the course of our culture, and probably even the course of our future government, particularly the judiciary. That's not a bad legacy to leave behind. Rest in peace, Terri. You deserve it.
DiscerningTexan, 3/31/2005 07:51:00 PM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Homespun Symposium XVII

This week it is my honor to pose the question for this week's Weekly Symposium over at Homespun Bloggers, which is basically a group of fellow bloggers who go out almost every day and lay themselves on the line, not for fame or money or other such things, but more as a labor of love. We do it because in the 21st century the world will increasingly be influenced less by media conglomerates harboring a decidedly destructive agenda, and instead will be influenced more and more by the people themselves. People like the Homespun Bloggers.

The blogosphere provides a tool that we've never before had in human history: the ability to debate and interact with people from all corners of the globe--from our own living rooms; and of equal importance, for our daily news and information fix, we can now bypass the media elites who have held Western Civilization hostage since the invention of the printing press.

I therefore wanted my question to be both informative and thought provoking--and I am anxious to see what kind of intelligent answer the people who do not share my world view can come up with; I might have an opinion about what that will mostly be, but perhaps someone will surprise me and prove me wrong. Reasoned Debate and understanding is never a bad thing. So without further adieu:

The US Constitution requires a "supermajority" only in the following instances:

The Constitution does not require a supermajority to approve judges, however it does give the President the authority to appoint federal judges "with the Advice and Consent" of the Senate.

In Federalist 66, Alexander Hamilton wrote:

"It will be the office of the President to nominate, and, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint. There will of course be no exertion of choice on the part of the Senate. They may defeat one choice of the Executive, and oblige him to make another; but they cannot themselves choose--they can only ratify or reject the choice he may have made."

Here then is my question:

Given the facts listed above, and given the recent attention to the judiciary resulting from the Terri Schiavo and other controversial decisions of an "active judiciary", does the President of the United States have Constitutional authority to an up or down (simple majority) vote on his judicial nominees? If not, describe the basis of Constitutional law under which this right is forfeit.

And, to hopefully get things rolling, here is my own response:

More than any other enemy of the United States, foreign or domestic, the thing that makes me the most fearful is that the greatest country on the face of the Earth might not make it to our 300th year because we are moving further and further away from the original vision that our Founding Fathers had when they crafted probably the most important legal document that has ever been created by man: the US Constitution. For when these brilliant men got together and crafted the basis for all our government and law in 1789, it set into motion what is without doubt the most successful experiment ever; an experiment that allowed human beings of all shapes, sizes, talents, races, and religions to not only coexist in one place relatively peacefully, but to thrive, to create wealth, power, and individual freedom such as planet earth has never seen, before or since. And it accomplished these things because of three things in my mind:

Because of the Founders' great concern for morality, civil rights, and the dignity of their fellow man, the Constitution had to provide a place where the people were free to practice the religion of their choice, were free to speak up in public debate without censure, and were free to create their own individual path in life through the fruits of their labor, without government interference or hegemony, according to the principles of men like Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Alexander Hamilton.

Today all of these "foundations" of this great country are under attack. There is of course the overt attack from those abroad who covet what we have, who cannot stand how successful our grand experiment has been, and who fear their own populations will soon crave the same freedoms that we have all enjoyed for over two hundred years.

But the greatest threat to our country is our own ignorance of the peril that threatens us from within: namely the tyranny of certain people for whom the Constitution, and the great sacrifice of blood and labor to create it, means absolutely nothing. I am talking about "activist judges": men and women who do not give consideration to the law that their country was founded on, law they are sworn to uphold, but who instead believe that they have the right and power to enact their own law: no matter what the Constitution may or may not say about it.

In our Constitution, the People make the law, through our elected representatives in the Legislative Branch. The Congress crafts legislation based on the People's wishes, and it is approved by President, also elected by the People. Judges, on the other hand are NOT elected, and they are supposed to interpret the law, not to create it.

At the time the Constitution was drafted, the great fear was that the Judicial Branch would be overwhelmed by the other two branches. But in practice the reverse has happened. Indeed by 1825, Thomas Jefferson was already warning us:

"This member of the government was at first considered the most harmless and helpless of all its organs. But it has proved that the power of declaring what the law sapping and mining slyly and without alarm the foundations of the Constitution, can do what open force would dare not attempt"

In an escalating battle fueled only by partisanship and the hatred of Americans who merely want our judges to interpret our magnificent Constitution, not to MAKE laws themselves or override the people's Constitutional right to enact laws through its legislature, a small bitter minority who favors judicial activism does so for one reason and one reason only: they see it as the only way they can have power to tell us how to live our lives, regardless of the will of the People. For judges to be making law rather than interpreting law is, quite simply, a form of tyranny. Justice Scalia recently put this very eloquently:

"So it is literally true, and I don’t think this is an exaggeration, that the Court has essentially liberated itself from the text of the Constitution, from the text, and even from the traditions of the American people. It is up to the Court to say what is covered by substantive due process. What are the arguments usually made in favor of the Living Constitution? As the name of it suggests, it is a very attractive philosophy, and it’s hard to talk people out of it: the notion that the Constitution grows. The major argument is the Constitution is a living organism, it has to grow with the society that it governs or it will become brittle and snap.

This is the equivalent of, an anthropomorphism equivalent to what you hear from your stock broker, when he tells you that the stock market is resting for an assault on the eleven-hundred level. The stock market panting at some base camp. The stock market is not a mountain climber and the Constitution is not a living organism for Pete’s sake, it’s a legal document, and like all legal documents, it says some things, and it doesn't’t say other things.

And if you think that the aficionados of the Living Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again. My Constitution is a very flexible Constitution. You think the death penalty is a good idea: persuade your fellow citizens and adopt it. You think it’s a bad idea: persuade them the other way and eliminate it. You want a right to abortion: create it the way most rights are created in a democratic society. Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea, and enact it. You want the opposite, persuade them the other way. That’s flexibility. But to read either result into the Constitution is not to produce flexibility, it is to produce what our constitution is not designed to produce: rigidity."

And so we come to a simple question: do we stand by and continue to do nothing as the angry minority continues to erode everything that this country stands for? Are we going to allow our Constitution to be tossed aside by a radical minority, who would put into place judges who do not interpret the law as is Constitutionally mandated for them to do, but who would instead usurp the rights of the people to determine their own destiny through their elected representatives? Is this what we want for our future? A few elites, accountable to no one, appointed for life, to rule us all in any manner they see fit?

Or, is it up to We the People to once again step up to the plate and demand what our Founders demanded from King George: that we continue to have the right, granted by God, to create our own destiny, free of the tyranny of the few and the unaccountable.

This is why we must support the ending of Judicial filibusters: because President Bush believes as I do: that it is up to the American People to determine the course of our lives, not to the tyranny of an unelected and unaccountable judiciary. And because the judges the President will be sending up to the Senate in the coming days believe that too.

Do the President's nominees deserve an up or down vote? Of course they do. And we as a nation and a society cannot afford to let a radical minority who do not believe in the vision of our founders to stop the President from exercising his sworn duty: ..."To preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God."

In the name of all that is right and just, we cannot allow tyranny to re-assert itself in our great country, after fighting so long and so hard for the right and ability to govern ourselves. Because if we do, the results over time will almost certainly lead to the collapse of the most successful experiment that mankind has ever seen: an experiment that has walked the moon; an experiment that has freed hundreds of millions of people from despotism over the two centuries of our short history; and an experiment that is still the one that people in tiny dark corners all over the world secretly dream of someday joining. Because America is the great hope of the world; we come from a legacy of the very finest and freest individuals that humanity has known. We cannot fail the people who hold us up as a shining example of what they too can be and achieve; and we cannot fail our own countrymen over the decades and centuries who have fought and died for one thing: to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution.
DiscerningTexan, 3/30/2005 08:22:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, March 27, 2005

Iraqi forces capture ANOTHER 131 insurgent suspects

Another big win for our friends in Iraq. And another under-reported story; this story is from the Australian ABC...and Reuters (of all places...)

This success, following the capture of 85 insurgents earlier in the week, may be evidence that the insurgency in Iraq is finally cracking. So where is the American media? Trying to kill Terri Schiavo and trying Michael Jackson?
DiscerningTexan, 3/27/2005 09:21:00 PM | Permalink | |

About those "talking points"

Fred Barnes weighs in on the fake memo that ABC is on the record as saying came from Republicans.
DiscerningTexan, 3/27/2005 08:46:00 PM | Permalink | |

Putting Terri Schiavo into perspective

I was curious to see Mark Steyn's take on the Terri Schiavo matter. He does not disappoint:

The here's-your-shroud-and-what's-your-hurry crowd say, ah, yes, but you uptight conservatives are always boring on about the sanctity of marriage, and this is what her husband wants, and he's legally the next of kin.

Michael Schiavo is living in a common-law relationship with another woman, by whom he has fathered children. I make no judgment on that. Who of us can say how we would react in his circumstances? Maybe I'd pull my hat down over my face and slink off to the cathouse on the other side of town once a week. Maybe I'd embark on a discreet companionship with a lonely widow. But if I take on a new wife (in all but name) and make a new family, I would think it not unreasonable to forfeit any right of life or death over my previous wife.

Michael Schiavo took a vow to be faithful in sickness and in health, forsaking all others till death do them part. He's forsaken his wife and been unfaithful to her: She is, de facto, his ex-wife, yet, de jure, he appears to have the right to order her execution. This is preposterous. Suppose his current common-law partner were to fall victim to a disabling accident. Would he also be able to have her terminated? Can he exercise his spousal rights polygamously? The legal deference to Mr. Schiavo's position, to his rights overriding her parents', is at odds with reality.

As for the worthlessness of Terri Schiavo's existence, some years back I was discussing the death of a distinguished songwriter with one of his old colleagues. My then girlfriend, in her mid-20s, was getting twitchy to head for dinner and said airily, ''Oh, well, he had a good life. He was 87.'' ''That's easy for you to say,'' said his old pal. ''I'm 86.'' To say nobody would want to live in an iron lung or a wheelchair or a neck brace or with third-degree burns over 80 percent of your body is likewise easy for you to say.

Donald Sensing's take is nothing to sneeze at either.

Lastly we have Patterico, who proposes a True/False question for all the pull-the-tube fanatics:

Please answer the following statement true or false:

The Terri Schiavo case is, quite simply, a case about Family vs. Government. It pits the wishes of the family against the wishes of politicians.

DiscerningTexan, 3/27/2005 07:44:00 PM | Permalink | |
Saturday, March 26, 2005

 Posted by Hello
DiscerningTexan, 3/26/2005 10:39:00 AM | Permalink | |

The scourge of Pessimism

Although Geoffrey Wheatcroft does makes some interesting historical points here, one would be remiss not to ask: what exactly is his purpose in writing it?

Is the author trying to suggest that we should leave despotic dictatorships alone in the Middle East instead of giving the people there a voice? Sure, people have blown democratic opportunities in the past, but is Mr. Wheatcroft suggesting instead that the best hope for the Middle East is for "benevolent" (read: lusting for power) Marxists to nationalize everything and make all of the people's decisions for them? I am not sure this is truly the impetus of the democratic fever that is catching on all over the world...

Actually, I happen to think it is not the author's intent that we install some Hugo Chavez look-alike dolls to rule the region. But I could be wrong. And then again, what exactly is his intent?

My point is that the left has not been forthcoming with any meaningful ideas of their own--at least none that have a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding. That great dream of leftist utopianism, the United Nations, has become an abysmal failure, and a corrupt-to-the-core failure at that. So what is the average high-salaried media elitist to write? Does he/she propose a course of action to follow that would actually accomplish something positive for the world and for the cause of human freedom and dignity (which the Bush Administration has done in spades)? I'm still waiting to hear what these people are for: seemingly all I hear is what they are against--and even that changes like the wind. From where I sit, the best the "intellectual" left has to offer are reasons why each new policy solution offered by conservatives might not work as exactly as planned. Or in general why the rest of us should stop being so damned...optimistic.

Pessimism has become the pandemic of the left wing, and its method of infection is through vehicles like the International Herald Tribune, New York Times, ABC, CBS, CNN, and all other "mainstream" media voices of "reason". As if attempting to water down Bush's successes will somehow atone for their own vacuum of reasonable solutions to the issues and problems that confront us all.

A great example of this: it was the Clinton Administration that first proposed Personal Savings Accounts for Social Security, and I remember seeing a NY Times op-ed praising Clinton's "out of the box" thinking... Today however they evoke words like "short-sighted" or "political pandering" to explain their opposition to the same proposals. This exposes the media's real MO: the wholesale condemnation of any Bush proposal (regardless of merit) and the watering down of any Bush policy success (even if it rids the world of monsters, frees millions of repressed people, and fuels a worldwide democratic revolution). We are watching revisionist history in progress. The lengths to which some media have gone to argue against things it was arguing for just 6 years ago boggles the mind. It is something right out of the pages of Animal Farm.

I frankly have had it up to here with all of this incessant doom and gloom. No, I do not think our President is King Midas. But to read some of the opinions from some of these so-called "pundits", you would think that things are actually getting worse in the Middle East as a result of Bush's policy decisions, and nothing could be further from the truth. Even moderate voices on the left have had to admit over the last several weeks that Bush "might have been right, after all" infinitum. Indeed, things have not looked so hopeful in the Mideast in a very, very long time.

To the leftists pulling the strings in our MSM, there is nothing more horrifying in general than American success under a conservative administration. So put on your raincoats: it may be a bright sunny day, but the pessimists are coming, and they are trying to bring along as many clouds as possible to rain on our collective parade. And this is who we are supposed to be taking "guidance" from?
DiscerningTexan, 3/26/2005 09:10:00 AM | Permalink | |
Thursday, March 24, 2005

Herb is on a roll!

Once again Herb Meyer seems to be evolving into the "Jimmy the Greek" of the blogosphere. And based on his very impressive credentials, it is no coincidence. The American Thinker is probably day in and day out my favorite blogosphere stop. I like to link widely, but when you continue to see such consistent excellence in one place, you keep going back to it.
DiscerningTexan, 3/24/2005 09:08:00 PM | Permalink | |

A QB running "interference" for...who???

Exactly what does Jack Kemp think he is doing? Chavez is a Castro wannabe who is destroying his country. His thugs are seizing private property throughout Venezuela. The productive citizens, horrified, are looking to get the hell out of there as fast as possible and find a place to immigrate. The landowners are out on their collective asses. And Kemp is defending this guy? What, did Jimmy Carter give him a "piece of the action"?
DiscerningTexan, 3/24/2005 08:18:00 PM | Permalink | |

Mob rule in full gear

Peggy Noonan is as incredulous as I am at the feeding frenzy of the blood seeking media and the blood lust of their angry sycophants on the left. Truly a sight to behold.
DiscerningTexan, 3/24/2005 08:08:00 PM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, March 23, 2005

 Posted by Hello
DiscerningTexan, 3/23/2005 07:36:00 PM | Permalink | |

The clouds grow darker...the makings of a lynch mob

It is not enough to express outrage at ABC's Rather-like attempt to manipulate the "news" in order to form a lynch mob. There is an entire cultural phenomenon to consider here: Mark Steyn makes a convincing argument that declining birth rates threaten western civilization. This is not mere hyperbole. Herb Meyer also speaks of such things in his excellent video The Siege of Western Civilization. We are in trouble because people have gotten too selfish. We are not concerned for those who will come after us, we only are concerned for ourselves. And the dark clouds are approaching.

It is appropriate to consider these things, to consider our "culture of death" and its consequences for us all demographically, as we examine the Schiavo matter. Apart from the hypocrisy considering that this is possibly the first time since the early 1960's that I have heard Democrats espousing States Rights over Federalism (which is analogous to labor unions voting in force for the right to work...), this case also illustrates how far we have fallen as a society. The lynch mobs have indeed not vanished with the insignificance of the KKK (despite Senator Byrd's undying attempt to "keep hope alive"...). The lynch mobs are now on national television, espousing the right of a husband whose wife has become "inconvenient" to kill her, even though she does have brain function, and can swallow on her own; despite the fact that there are people who are willing to pay to keep her alive; despite the fact that this "husband" has a $10 million offer in his pocket to allow just that. But yet the latter day SS is in full gear. The NY Times leads the charge. What have we come to?

And there are eerie parallels to the Nazis. It starts with "convenient wording", but it doesn't stop there. First euthanasia, then what? Sure, it is no stretch for the party that espouses "the more abortions the better" to be the same lynch mob calling for the starvation of this woman. And I am not saying that I do not comprehend the points of view of both sides of both debates. But look where this is taking us. (Strangely though, this is the same party that screams bloody murder and calls "barbaric" the State putting a serial killer to death. Is it because murderers also are helping rid the world of more people?)

The solution to this is for better men than me. On one level it is difficult for a "originalist" like myself to justify federal intervention in state jurisdictions. But as even many of the people today who are in effect crying "off with her head" certainly remember their pleas for the feds to intervene during the civil rights crisis of the 60's. Amazing that these same people have gone from invoking Constitutional guarantees to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for their fellow segregated southerners (and rightfully so...), have now removed "life" completely from that equation. How sad for us all.
DiscerningTexan, 3/23/2005 06:40:00 PM | Permalink | |

Kaus: the shame of ABC

Even Mickey Kaus thought that the outrageously skewed poll at ABC was shameful. When left-leaning pundits join the loud chorus on the right regarding trumped up polling numbers that designed to verify a pre-existing editorial opinion of ABC, then we have more than mere misrepresentation going on: this is fraud.
DiscerningTexan, 3/23/2005 06:22:00 PM | Permalink | |
Monday, March 21, 2005

Media Outrages

Two different stories tonight. Different circumstances, but both have one thing in common: a press that is clearly trying to influence public opinion decidedly to the left:

First we have this travesty from the New York Times. This makes me ill.

Then, in a run up to the day's Schiavo story, we have that "fair and balanced" network, ABC, with about as fine an example of poll-rigging as you can find.

With friends like these...

UPDATE: At least the Times is feeling the heat.
DiscerningTexan, 3/21/2005 08:21:00 PM | Permalink | |

Venezuala's Marxist President seizes Nature Preserves

One wonders if the Environmental "movement" will protest about the seizure of massive quantities of private property by Marxist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, including the country's vast wildlife preserves... my guess is they will not even raise a whimper, because "environmentalism" is really just the latest of many disguises that the world's marxist/socialist community wears. The real agenda behind the entire environmentalist movement is specifically to give government the "right" to seize private property in the name of "community" ("commune" would be more accurate...). And my guess is that the current regime could care less about the environmental consquences of this latest seizure. You won't hear a peep from the Sierra Clubs or Greenpeaces of the world: indeed this is what they are about. The only protestors of this outrage will be Venezuelan patriots who want their country back from the left-wing thug that Jimmy Carter helped to legitimize, even as Chavez stole an election that polling showed he had lost by a landslide.
DiscerningTexan, 3/21/2005 06:05:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, March 20, 2005

What are they thinking?

Paul over at Wizbang says it all about the Democrats' take on the Terry Schiavo murder-in-progress:

So if you are a Democrat your value system works like this....

Unborn Child? Kill It.

Sick Woman? Kill it.

Convicted Murder on death row? Do every thing you can do to save it!

And yet the Democrats WONDER why the American people don't vote for them. It's because they are screwed in the head.. that's why!

Why don't for once in their lives the Democrats just sit down and shut the hell up!?!?!?!

UPDATE: Captain Ed weighs in with a more lengthy take on the House Democrats attempt to kill her...

DiscerningTexan, 3/20/2005 05:25:00 PM | Permalink | |

Iraqis demonstrate in force against terror

Austin Bay, as always, has the pulse of the Iraqi street: and Iraqis are not happy that neighboring Arab governments are not doing enough to crack down on murderous Wahabism. Will the world press notice? Don't hold your breath...
DiscerningTexan, 3/20/2005 04:01:00 PM | Permalink | |

If You Were a Democrat

Terry Eastland imagines what it must be like to be a Democrat in the US Senate.
DiscerningTexan, 3/20/2005 03:55:00 PM | Permalink | |
Saturday, March 19, 2005

The utter impotence of the UN

Mark Steyn praises the appointment of John Bolton to be our UN ambassador, and then uses the occasion to illustrate exactly why the UN as an institution is an anachronism in today's world.
DiscerningTexan, 3/19/2005 02:06:00 PM | Permalink | |

Peace through pressure?

Herb Meyer weighs in with an interesting essay about the human factors that gradually lead to revolutionary change. Of interest in his angle is the fact that when morally-grounded regimes like the Bush Administration use diplomacy and the military to apply pressure to despotic regimes, it can become less of a threat to world peace than it is a boon to longer-term peace and stability. An interesting perspective...
DiscerningTexan, 3/19/2005 12:55:00 PM | Permalink | |

You're calling ME a Nazi?

Victor David Hanson takes affront the left's comparisons of Americans/Republicans to Nazis, with statements "Little Eichmans" and "Digital Brownshirts" remarks, respectively. For me it is the accusers who more resemble the Nazis of history. Barbara Boxer and her friends on the left would have felt right at home in the Reichstag. Babs shedding tears as she tries to block legislation to save Terry Schiavo is analagous to Himmler weeping over Jews as they are unloaded from cattle cars at Aushwitz. Never mind that they are trying to save a helpless woman's life: the salient point for the Democrats is that a successful congressional intervention would also give some Conservative Republicans some good PR, and we can't have that... This is a lifeless, valueless, morally corrupt party we are talking about here; sort of similar to...well, the Nazis....

In a discussion about the Schiavo case, Fred Barnes asked an interesting rhetorical question on Special Report with Brit Hume: he asked simply "What is to be gained by letting her die"? What indeed.

UPDATE: I had the wrong link up yesterday. I have now fixed the link above to VDH's essay on the "Hitlerian slur". Well worth the read...
DiscerningTexan, 3/19/2005 10:05:00 AM | Permalink | |
Friday, March 18, 2005

The scanty remains of European "dignity"

Charles Krauthammer discusses the Bush "revisionism" that is running rampant in Europe today: to hear certain organs of the Euro-press tell it, they were "behind" Bush all along (Yeah...they were "behind" all right...). And what a joy it is to see the Euros bending over backwards to suddenly support the American position; it does not take a fool to see that the hope and optimism which is spreading throughout the Middle East is a direct result of the President's bold moves in Iraq and elsewhere.

Vindication is a sweet elixir, indeed. In my opinion, this President will be regarded by history as an even greater President than was Reagan. And that is saying a lot. But I believe this to be true because, if this revolution does take hold throughout the Middle East, which has been a bastion of ruthless dictators and barbaric practices since the beginning of the 20th century, it will trump even the accomplishment of spending the Soviet Union into oblivion. I hope there is room on Mt. Rushmore: it may be needed someday...
DiscerningTexan, 3/18/2005 06:11:00 PM | Permalink | |

A "perfect storm" -- and you can help

Due to being in bandwidth prison last night, I was not able to post this superb analysis of the crossroads that our country has reached with its Judicial System. Following two days of posts concerning Justice Scalia's take on the proper role of the Supreme Court under our Constitution, we turn now to the question of whether a few radical Senators have the constitutional right, even under the rules of the Senate, to fillibuster judicial nominees. Thomas Lifson appropriately calls this Judicial Activism's 'Perfect Storm.

UPDATE: With a Senate vote yesterday to release one of the disputed nominees to a Full Senate vote, the stage is now set for the big showdown. Expect the Republicans to not back down this time around...and if they do it will be one of the biggest betrayals of our elected representatives in history. Finally, and appropriately, it is time for men of principle to do the right thing, and to finally reveal the Democrats to the rest of the electorate for just what they are: opportunistic partisan hacks whose number one priority is not to do what is best for their country, but rather to find something, anything that will cause Bush to fail, even if doing so will ruin our country and our Constitutional process.

I'll be writing both of my Senators tonight to urge them to finally end for good the unconstitutional fillibustering of judicial nominees. And it wouldn't hurt if everyone reading this post did the same thing. After all it will only take a couple of minutes--all you need to do is to click right here, and to tell them to stop this madness once and for all.
DiscerningTexan, 3/18/2005 05:48:00 PM | Permalink | |
Thursday, March 17, 2005

Scalia follow-up: Q and A

ThreeBadFingers follows up yesterday's post of the Scalia lecture transcript with the Question and Answer session that followed Scalia's prepared remarks. Antonin continues to impress...

UPDATE: Apparently Barbara Boxer is not impressed; but she makes Scalia's arguments ring true, does she not?
DiscerningTexan, 3/17/2005 07:15:00 PM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Transcript of Scalia's recent lecture: READ THIS

ThreeBadFingers has posted the entire transcript of the brilliant lecture by Justice Antonin Scalia lecture the other day. I had begun to take the time to pull out particularly riveting points from this masterpiece of logic, but then I finally realized that I was selecting virtually every paragraph. What an brilliant mind and what an unassailable argument this is. It's long, but it may be the most important thing you read this week, if not this year. Especially with some very important judicial confirmation votes coming up in the next few weeks in the Senate...

There is a reason why we are the most powerful, most prosperous, most individualistic and free nation on Planet Earth. Much of that "reason" was written by some of the smartest people ever to breathe, back in 1789. And that "reason" (if not reason itself...) is under assault from all sides. Thank goodness there are still a few men with this level of understanding... and who are brilliant enough to communicate it to the rest of us still around. We need more men on the court just like Scalia. Before it is too late...

UPDATE: Pondering this lecture reminded me of another excellent essay I read a while back--something a patriot named Bill Whittle wrote almost two years ago. Worthy of a second look, if you've not yet seen it (or even if you have...).
DiscerningTexan, 3/16/2005 08:23:00 PM | Permalink | |


Anne Applebaum, writing in the Washington Post of all places, suggests that radical feminazis like Susan Estrich are doing more harm than good to their particular interest group. The Estriches of the world, along with the Sharptons, Jacksons, et al, are becoming an anachronism amongst the majority in the US, despite the best efforts of the mainstream media to hang on their every utterance. It is "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" on a grand scale. They've been bitching about so much that is so tedious and insignificant for so long that fewer and fewer intelligent people even bothers to listen to them anymore. And that is a very good thing, indeed.
DiscerningTexan, 3/16/2005 08:10:00 PM | Permalink | |

The looming specter of China

Thought-provoking piece in the Weekly Standard by Tom Donnelly, in which he opines that the Chinese are using the North Korean proliferation discussions as a delaying tactic while it prepares to wage war (military or otherwise...) against the United States.
DiscerningTexan, 3/16/2005 08:02:00 PM | Permalink | |

Senate clears the way for ANWR exploration!

A huge win for all Americans, whether they realize it or not. Let the drilling begin!
DiscerningTexan, 3/16/2005 07:53:00 PM | Permalink | |

Democrats: Devouring their own

John Hughes, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, demonstrates that the Dems are "casting out" probably the most reasonable voice in the entire party (Joe Lieberman) for siding with Bush on Social Security reform. Yet another example of putting partisanship ahead of principle...
DiscerningTexan, 3/16/2005 07:45:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, March 13, 2005

Advice for Iranian patriots: get ready

Roger Simon advises that we not get too hot and bothered about the "new" Iran policy. I think he's right: no doubt there are events in motion right now that we don't know about...and that I personally don't want to know because secrecy is no doubt paramount...
DiscerningTexan, 3/13/2005 05:51:00 PM | Permalink | |

The UAW shows its true colors

Some Marines who risk their lives for all of us (even unions...) have been told by the United Auto Workers that they are no longer welcome.

Remind me to continue to buy European cars...
DiscerningTexan, 3/13/2005 05:32:00 PM | Permalink | |

West Bank Flare-up

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs reports that violence has broken out today in the West Bank between the Hamas (terrorists) and Fatah (new government) factions. Johnson suggests that this could mean civil war in Palestine. At the very least, the best hope for peace rests in Fatah emerging victorious--even if this requires assistance from the US and/or Israel.
DiscerningTexan, 3/13/2005 02:29:00 PM | Permalink | |
Saturday, March 12, 2005

DiscerningTexan, 3/12/2005 09:36:00 PM | Permalink | |

The continuing mythology behind wealth redistributon

As always, PrestoPundit is the place to be for leading-edge economic reporting. And today is no different as Greg Ransom has an interesting report about a theory that wealth distribution may well be a matter of physics.
DiscerningTexan, 3/12/2005 06:29:00 PM | Permalink | |

A rhetorical question

Who would offer UN weapons inspectors two million dollars in bribes...if they had absolutely nothing to hide? Hmmm?
DiscerningTexan, 3/12/2005 06:13:00 PM | Permalink | |

Insert foot firmly in mouth

Al Jazeera shows its colors.
DiscerningTexan, 3/12/2005 05:52:00 PM | Permalink | |

A look at what we've accomplished

Victor Davis Hanson takes a very encouraging look back at world events since September 11.
DiscerningTexan, 3/12/2005 05:29:00 PM | Permalink | |
Thursday, March 10, 2005

Three words...

Bush - was - right.
DiscerningTexan, 3/10/2005 09:14:00 PM | Permalink | |

Finally, the word is not mere hyperbole

Bret Stephens, writing in The Australian, points out that the real "quagmire" today lies in the mainstream media, not in Iraq.
DiscerningTexan, 3/10/2005 07:22:00 PM | Permalink | |

Things are going well, BUT...

Peggy Noonan reminds us that we are still vulnerable to attack; it is indeed wise to always keep this in mind. American wars are won or lost at home with public opinion--not on the battlefield--and it is important that the average citizen does not forget that we are still vulnerable. It could happen again, or worse. We must be prepared for this eventuality. And we must not allow our enemies to leverage a successful attack against us to shut down the broader momentum the US experiencing across the board in geopolitics. We must continue to support our leadership, especially in times of national crises.

UPDATE: Still, there are plenty of things to be optimistic about...
DiscerningTexan, 3/10/2005 07:07:00 PM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, March 09, 2005

DiscerningTexan, 3/09/2005 09:52:00 PM | Permalink | |

European Killing Fields: Hospitals

Ah, the must be wonderful to be an elitist, enlightened Western European.
DiscerningTexan, 3/09/2005 09:24:00 PM | Permalink | |

"Naturally the federal government is about to come down hard on bloggers"

The blogs are already seeing the writing on the wall. As usual, the people are on the story before the so called "journalists". And now The Rocky Mountain News is beginning to see the shadows emerging from the cloakrooms in Washington. But not to be outdone, there is this from John Samples in Reason Magazine:

Bloggers Beware
Threats to the status quo are always ripe for "reform"

Bloggers were one of the big political successes of the 2004 election. This motley group of opinionated writers used their cyber soapboxes to attack and defend the presidential campaigns and the two major parties. Their websites offered a fresh look at politics and implicitly undermined the Establishment media that so many Americans have come to distrust. In other words, bloggers used freedom of speech to improve American democracy.

Naturally the federal government is about to come down hard on bloggers.

Here's why. In 2002, Congress passed the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law which restricted political advertising by corporations and labor unions on television and radio. The Federal Election Commission—the agency charged with implementing McCain-Feingold—initially decided that Congress had not intended to restrict political speech on the Internet.

Last fall, a federal judge said exempting the Internet from the law's restrictions on political speech would undermine McCain-Feingold. Now the FEC is back at it trying to figure out how to restrict political speech on the Internet.

If you care about freedom of speech, there are good reasons for concern. The FEC may conclude that allowing political advertising by campaigns and parties on websites will undermine the restrictions on ads in McCain-Feingold. Ads on the Internet would be a loophole to McCain-Feingold that the FEC should close.

But bloggers don't necessarily work for a campaign or a political party and thus should not fall under McCain-Feingold, right?

Don't be too sure. Bloggers often endorse candidates or parties in an election. Those endorsements are of value to the candidates and may end up being treated as a campaign contribution, subject to limits and disclosure. Bloggers may also contribute to a campaign by linking to a candidate's website or republishing a candidate's press release.

Of course, The New York Times can endorse candidates for office and promote their causes, and you might think that bloggers would enjoy the same First Amendment protections. But you would be wrong. The FEC has not given news sites or bloggers what is tellingly called "the press exemption" from campaign finance laws. What bloggers say and do may well fall under federal campaign finance restrictions.

History should give pause to those concerned about liberty on the Internet. New technology that threatens the political status quo quickly attracts Congressional regulation and restrictions.

Take the history of television in American politics. In 1968, three candidates—Eugene McCarthy, George Wallace, and Richard Nixon—challenged the entrenched status quo by spending large sums of money on television advertising. McCarthy's spending drove the incumbent president Lyndon Johnson out of office. Wallace's TV strategy brought him 14 percent of the vote and may have denied Democrats the presidency. Richard Nixon's lavish spending on television helped him narrowly take the presidency from Hubert Humphrey.

In 1968, uncontrolled political spending on a new technology threatened the political status quo.

Congress acted swiftly to meet the threat. In the spring of 1969, members introduced a bill to limit campaign spending on television advertising. The bill became law in 1971 and went into effect the following year. Congress had, in the words of one member, "tamed the television monster." Yet the "monster" in question was a threat only to those who held power.

Last year a relatively new technology shook up the political world. The upstart presidential candidate Howard Dean used the Internet to raise unprecedented sums that fueled his outsider campaign for the Democratic nomination. Bloggers brought down Dan Rather of CBS News, a titan of the old media, and offered uncontrolled sources of information and insight to voters.

In 2005, as in 1969, those who use this technology have to expect the status quo they are upending will fight back.

The upcoming effort to regulate and restrict the Internet thus seems as inevitable as it is unfortunate. Indeed, the effort to clamp down on the Internet will succeed absent resistance.

Someone said that a man with a hammer sees nails everywhere. Congress holdsthe hammer of McCain-Feingold, and its members see the Internet as a nail.

DiscerningTexan, 3/09/2005 08:54:00 PM | Permalink | |

He's OUT of here!

Jessica's Well says farewell to Dan.... Heh.
DiscerningTexan, 3/09/2005 08:18:00 PM | Permalink | |

Clues for the Clueless

For those Democrats who have not been paying attention in between creating Bush attack ads for, Charles Krauthammer outlines in TIME magazine what even some of the staunchest anti-Bush hate-mongers are beginning to recognize: when it comes to the war in Iraq, the President made exactly the right decision at the right place at the right time...
DiscerningTexan, 3/09/2005 07:58:00 PM | Permalink | |

Earth to Italian drivers: "Stop" means stop

It really isn't rocket science...
DiscerningTexan, 3/09/2005 07:51:00 PM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, March 08, 2005

DiscerningTexan, 3/08/2005 08:47:00 PM | Permalink | |

Everything you needed to know about that Italian woman

Charles Johnson offers a much more in-depth look at the woman who is accusing American soldiers of deliberately trying to kill her. And it's not pretty.
DiscerningTexan, 3/08/2005 08:28:00 PM | Permalink | |

Not "nuclear"...just necessary

Hugh Hewitt believes that in the Senate the game is already over before it starts. The only thing that can possibly derail the Republicans now would be their own fear of acting. Here's hoping that they finally grow a pair over the President's judicial nominees.
DiscerningTexan, 3/08/2005 07:38:00 PM | Permalink | |

Rolling Stone magazine: does need to move on?

You know things are getting bad for the left when one of the largest liberal rags in the country begins to see what many of us could clearly see all along: that the extremists in are dragging the rest of the Democratic party down the drain of history with them. Indeed they are helping a once great party...well, to move on.

UPDATE: More Democratic encounters with inevitability.
DiscerningTexan, 3/08/2005 07:07:00 PM | Permalink | |
Monday, March 07, 2005

The Shame of Maher

For Maher to have that phony Indian Marxist-Anarchist Ward Churchill on his HBO program is an outrage. He's already cost the President of the University her job. He just wishes he could take the rest of us all with him. The guy belongs in an insane asylum. BuzzMachine puts it in its proper perspective.
DiscerningTexan, 3/07/2005 11:03:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, March 06, 2005

More "justice": 30 months for 202 murders

Belmont Club has a well thought out take on the outrageous Bashir sentence for the Bali bombing that killed 202 vacationing innocents. The Australian public is incensed about this travesty, and rightfully so. Yet another angle on what is becoming a cultural sickness that threatens all of Western society: is in this essential area that Australia and by extension the United States, have lost a serious battle. Unless the foundations of the enemy's power are shaken there can be no victory against ever-growing tide that will come against us.

Who was it who said that all wars of consequence were conflicts of the mind? Without getting too metaphysical, it still makes sense to regard ideas as the foundation of historical struggles; the thing that animates the visible clashes. While an idea's potency remains it will find adherents.

The casual outside observer would conclude, from the apparent fact that the Western ideal can find no public defenders, that it is not worth upholding. Radical Islam, on the other hand, must self-evidently be an idea of great worth, as so many are publicly willing to die for it. And to a limited degree they would be right, for something must be terribly wrong with the West to cause such self-hatred.
DiscerningTexan, 3/06/2005 04:13:00 PM | Permalink | |

The perpetually half-empty glass

John Leo goes yard with a sweetly sarcastic look at the Democrats' world view: "in every silver lining there is a cloud". And yet the media wonders aloud why Americans increasingly are voting them out across the board?

Maybe it is because we were taught that great achievements are possible given sweat, hard work, and belief. Would there be American footprints on the Moon today if these guys had been in charge? No. We would be second-rate, much like the tired philosophy they continue to espouse, despite its lengthening distance from objective reality. To be a Democrat in this day and age is to be against virtually everything that has and still does make this the greatest country in the world.
DiscerningTexan, 3/06/2005 04:01:00 PM | Permalink | |

Wrong on All Counts

You have to love George Will; when he puts his mind to it, he can eviscerate a weak opposing argument with all of the skill of a Japanese ginsu knife chef. And, since I have been particularly upset about the Supreme Court's unconscionable opinion this past week, it was a pleasure to see Will sink his teeth into Judge Kennedy's opinion:

While discussing America's "evolving standards of decency," Kennedy announces: "It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against the juvenile death penalty." Why is that proper when construing the U.S. Constitution? He is remarkably unclear about that. He says two international conventions forbid executions of persons who committed their crimes as juveniles. That, he thinks, somehow illuminates the meaning of the Eighth Amendment.

Kennedy evidently considers it unimportant that the United States attached to one of the conventions language reserving the right "to impose capital punishment . . . for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age." The United States never ratified the other convention Kennedy cites. Kennedy the roving moralist sniffily disapproves of that nonratification as evidence that America is committing the cardinal sin of being out of step with "the world community."

Kennedy the sociologist says "any parent knows" and "scientific and sociological studies" show that people under 18 show a "lack of maturity" and an "underdeveloped sense of responsibility" and susceptibility to "negative influences" and a weak aptitude for "cost-benefit analysis." All of this means, he says, that young offenders "cannot with reliability be classified among the worst offenders."

Well. Is it gauche to interrupt Kennedy's seminar on adolescence with some perhaps pertinent details? The 17-year-old in the case the court was considering bragged about planning to do what he then did: He broke into a woman's home, put duct tape over her eyes and mouth, wrapped her head in a towel, bound her limbs with electrical wire, then threw her off a railroad trestle into a river where, helpless, she drowned.

Justice Antonin Scalia, joined in dissent by Justices William Rehnquist and Clarence Thomas (Justice Sandra Day O'Connor dissented separately), deplores "the new reality that, to the extent that our Eighth Amendment decisions constitute something more than a show of hands on the current Justices' current personal views about penology, they purport to be nothing more than a snapshot of American public opinion at a particular point in time (with the timeframes now shortened to a mere 15 years)."

Kennedy occupies the seat that 52 Senate Democrats prevented Robert Bork from filling in 1987. That episode accelerated the descent into the scorched-earth partisanship that was raging in the Senate Judiciary Committee at the very moment Tuesday morning that Kennedy was presenting the court majority's policy preference as a constitutional imperative. The committee's Democrats were browbeating another appellate court nominee, foreshadowing another filibuster.

The Democrats' standard complaint is that nominees are out of the jurisprudential "mainstream." If Kennedy represents the mainstream, it is time to change the shape of the river. His opinion is an intellectual train wreck, but useful as a timely warning about what happens when judicial offices are filled with injudicious people.

Well put.
DiscerningTexan, 3/06/2005 03:50:00 PM | Permalink | |
Saturday, March 05, 2005

Why judicial appointments matter...
DiscerningTexan, 3/05/2005 05:23:00 PM | Permalink | |

The NY Times goes up for the shot, and...!
DiscerningTexan, 3/05/2005 04:49:00 PM | Permalink | |

Does the little old lady have an agenda?

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs suggests that the Left's hue and cry about that Italian journalist is mostly due to the fact that she is claiming that the US troops shot at her vehicle "for no reason other than malicious bloodlust". And did we mention that she was an anti-American communist activist? Or that she may even have faked the entire kidnapping?
DiscerningTexan, 3/05/2005 04:13:00 PM | Permalink | |

Scalia (continued)

It was gratifying to see that Christopher Schweickert and I seem to be on the exact same wavelenghth in our admiration for the intellect of Justice Scalia. For after taking all that time to write about Mr. Scalia's irrefutable opinion last night, what do I find in today's American Thinker? This!
DiscerningTexan, 3/05/2005 03:52:00 PM | Permalink | |

Steyn takes on the 'Not In My Name' apparatchiks

Sometimes you really have to watch yourself when reading one of Mark Steyn's columns. In my case, while reading this gem and simultaeously taking a sip of Diet Dr. Pepper, I suddenly burst out laughing, and I was lucky not to spit up DDP all over my laptop keyboard... So just be careful out there...and you may want to avoid trying to drink anything while reading Mr. Steyn.
DiscerningTexan, 3/05/2005 03:03:00 PM | Permalink | |
Friday, March 04, 2005

Scalia sizzles while the Court fizzles

The big loser in last week's landmark Supreme Court decision was not merely the taxpayers of the State of Texas, who now have to pay over $200,000 per year to keep feeding, clothing, providing free medical care, and guarding each of the 39 17-year old convicted killers until they die of natural causes. Nor was it the millions across the country who were outraged merely because the savageness of the crime that the decision was based on--this guy was one of the people on death row in the US who most deserved to be executed. And John Lee Malvo must be positively ecstatic...

No the biggest loser in this case was the rule of law in the United States. Because this was a flawed decision if ever there was one. This one makes "Ring of Honor", right up there with Plessy vs. Ferguson. First of all the primary argument for the majority opinion (authored by the liberal Kennedy...) based the decision on legal mumbo jumbo that makes no sense whatsoever legally, but basically boils down to: "well the Europeans don't do it, why should we?" David Limbaugh put it this way:

There is at least an additional column's worth of other problems with the Court's decision, such as its obscene, arbitrary and opportunistically convenient reference to foreign standards, and its misanalysis of the deterrence argument. I also note the incredible irony of the Court -- in the process of proclaiming itself the final moral arbiter -- undermining its own authority in rewarding, instead of reprimanding, the Missouri Supreme Court for flagrantly ignoring its (the United States Supreme Court's) precedents.

The Court, which is sworn above all to be the Guardians of the Constitution of the United States seems to have not had a copy of that Constitution handy while it was mulling the decision. "Preserve, protect, and defend..."?? This decision had nothing whatsoever to do with the US Constitution, this is not worth the paper it is written on--and it has taken the reputation of the Court down a few notches. One can only hope that Bush will get an opportunity to improve the intellectual honesty, application of Constitutional law, and most importantly the sheer backbone of the Court. We may have a man of great backbone in the White House, but they could use a few more over at the Courthouse...

Thankfully for posterity, that old fox Scalia, authoring the minority dissent, absolutely blew the majority's case to intellectual and legal smithereens. This is only one section of the Scalia opinion, but the whole thing warrants reading--still this section alone shows just how far we have fallen from the vision of the brilliant men who founded this country; men such as Locke and Hamilton). And there is very little arguing with Scalia's exposure of the majority's ineptitude in its basis of this flawed decison. [emphasis in bold are mine]:

Though the views of our own citizens are essentially irrelevant to the Court’s decision today, the views of other countries and the so-called international community take center stage. The Court begins by noting that Article 37 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which every country in the world has ratified save for the United States and Somalia, contains an express prohibition on capital punishment for crimes committed by juveniles under 18. The Court also discusses the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the Senate ratified only subject to a reservation that reads:

The United States reserves the right, subject to its Constitutional restraints, to impose capital punishment on any person (other than a pregnant woman) duly convicted under existing or future laws permitting the imposition of capital punishment, including such punishment for crime committed by persons below eighteen years of age.

Unless the Court has added to its arsenal the power to join and ratify treaties on behalf of the United States, I cannot see how this evidence favors, rather than refutes, its position. That the Senate and the President, those actors our Constitution empowers to enter into treaties, have declined to join and ratify treaties prohibiting execution of under-18 offenders can only suggest that “our country” has either not reached a national consensus on the question, or has reached a consensus contrary to what the Court announces. That the reservation to the ICCPR was made in 1992 does not suggest otherwise, since the reservation still remains in place today.

It is also worth noting that, in addition to barring the execution of under-18 offenders, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child prohibits punishing them with life in prison without the possibility of release. If we are truly going to get in line with the international community, then the Court’s reassurance that the death penalty is really not needed, since the punishment of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is itself a severe sanction, gives little comfort.

It is interesting that whereas the Court is not content to accept what the States of our Federal Union say, but insists on inquiring into what they do (specifically, whether they in fact apply the juvenile death penalty that their laws allow), the Court is quite willing to believe that every foreign nation, of whatever tyrannical political makeup and with however subservient or incompetent a court system, in fact adheres to a rule of no death penalty for offenders under 18. Nor does the Court inquire into how many of the countries that have the death penalty, but have forsworn (on paper at least) imposing that penalty on offenders under 18, have what no State of this country can constitutionally have: a mandatory death penalty for certain crimes, with no possibility of mitigation by the sentencing authority, for youth or any other reason.

I suspect it is most of them. To forbid the death penalty for juveniles under such a system may be a good idea, but it says nothing about our system, in which the sentencing authority, typically a jury, always can, and almost always does, withhold the death penalty from an under-18 offender except, after considering all the circumstances, in the rare cases where it is warranted. The foreign authorities, in other words, do not even speak to the issue before us here.

More fundamentally, however, the basic premise of the Court’s argument that American law should conform to the laws of the rest of the world ought to be rejected out of hand. In fact the Court itself does not believe it.

In many significant respects the laws of most other countries differ from our law, including not only such explicit provisions of our Constitution as the right to jury trial and grand jury indictment, but even many interpretations of the Constitution prescribed by this Court itself. The Court-pronounced exclusionary rule, for example, is distinctively American. When we adopted that rule in Mapp v. Ohio, it was unique to American Jurisprudence.

Since then a categorical exclusionary rule has been universally rejected by other countries, including those with rules prohibiting illegal searches and police misconduct, despite the fact that none of these countries appears to have any alternative form of discipline for police that is effective in preventing search violations. England, for example, rarely excludes evidence found during an illegal search or seizure and has only recently begun excluding evidence from illegally obtained confessions. Canada rarely excludes evidence and will only do so if admission will bring the administration of justice into “disrepute”. The European Court of Human Rights has held that introduction of illegally seized evidence does not violate the fair trial requirement in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Court has been oblivious to the views of other countries when deciding how to interpret our Constitution’s requirement that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. Most other countries, including those committed to religious neutrality do not insist on the degree of separation between church and state that this Court requires. For example, whereas we have recognized “special Establishment Clause” dangers where the government makes direct money payments to sectarian institutions, countries such as the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia allow direct government funding of religious schools on the grounds that the state can only be truly neutral between secular and religious perspectives if it does not dominate the provision of so key a service as education, and makes it possible for people to exercise their right of religious expression within the context of public funding. Even in France, which is considered America’s only rival in strictness of church-state separation, [t]he practice of contracting for educational services provided by Catholic schools is very widespread.

And let us not forget the Court’s abortion jurisprudence, which makes us one of only six countries that allow abortion on demand until the point of viability. Though the Government and amici in cases following Roe v. Wade urged the Court to follow the international community’s lead, these arguments fell on deaf ears.

The Court’s special reliance on the laws of the United Kingdom is perhaps the most indefensible part of its opinion. It is of course true that we share a common history with the United Kingdom, and that we often consult English sources when asked to discern the meaning of a constitutional text written against the backdrop of 18th century English law and legal thought. If we applied that approach today, our task would be an easy one. […]

The Court has, however, I think wrongly, long rejected a purely “originalist” approach to our Eighth Amendment, and that is certainly not the approach the Court takes today. Instead, the Court undertakes the majestic task of determining (and thereby prescribing) our Nation’s current standards of decency. It is beyond comprehension why we should look, for that purpose, to a country that has developed, in the centuries since the Revolutionary War, and with increasing speed since the United Kingdom’s recent submission to the jurisprudence of European courts dominated by continental jurists, a legal, political, and social culture quite different from our own.

If we took the Court’s directive seriously, we would also consider relaxing our double jeopardy prohibition, since the British Law Commission recently published a report that would significantly extend the rights of the prosecution to appeal cases where an acquittal was the result of a judge’s ruling that was legally incorrect. We would also curtail our right to jury trial in criminal cases since, despite the jury system’s deep roots in our shared common law, England now permits all but the most serious offenders to be tried by magistrates without a jury.

The Court should either profess its willingness to reconsider all these matters in light of the views of foreigners, or else it should cease putting forth foreigner's views as part of the reasoned basis of its decisions. To invoke alien law when it agrees with one’s own thinking, and ignore it otherwise, is not reasoned decision-making, but sophistry.

The Court responds that [i]t does not lessen our fidelity to the Constitution or our pride in its origins to acknowledge that the express affirmation of certain fundamental rights by other nations and peoples simply underscores the centrality of those same rights within our own heritage of freedom..

To begin with, I do not believe that approval by other nations and peoples should buttress our commitment to American principles any more than (what should logically follow) disapproval by other nations and peoples should weaken that commitment.

More importantly, however, the Court’s statement flatly misdescribes what is going on here. Foreign sources are cited today, not to underscore our fidelity to the Constitution, our pride in its origins, and our own [American] heritage… To the contrary, they are cited to set aside the centuries-old American practice; a practice still engaged in by a large majority of the relevant States, of letting a jury of 12 citizens decide whether, in the particular case, youth should be the basis for withholding the death penalty. What these foreign sources “affirm,” rather than repudiate, is the Justices own notion of how the world ought to be, and their diktat that it shall be so henceforth in America. The Court’s parting attempt to downplay the significance of its extensive discussion of foreign law is unconvincing.

Acknowledgment of foreign approval has no place in the legal opinion of this Court unless it is part of the basis for the Court’s judgment, which is surely what it parades as today.

Regardless of your opinion of the death penalty, we simply cannot allow 9 men in black robes produce law from the bench, when the Constitution specifically dictates that power to be with the people (and its representatives).
DiscerningTexan, 3/04/2005 08:10:00 PM | Permalink | |
Thursday, March 03, 2005

A Deadly and Insidious attack on Freedom

Captain Ed sounds battle stations on a little-known provision of McCain-Feingold: this time they are coming after the bloggers. When free speech is squelched in the name of preventing an "unfair" advantage to politicians, it becomes official: the foxes are in charge of the henhouse. In a country where the blogs have finally exposed the mainstream media for the partisan hacks they really are; partisans who have enormous influence in favor of left-leaning politicians, we must not allow this attack on free speech to be successful. As pointed out in the Captain's post, even the left wing blogs recognize the seriousness of this. So now is the time to write your congressmen and senators--before it is too late.
DiscerningTexan, 3/03/2005 07:42:00 PM | Permalink | |

LA Times gives Kim Jong Il a "Thumbs up"

Hugh Hewitt describes the latest outrage from the daily that averages about an outrage per day.
DiscerningTexan, 3/03/2005 07:08:00 PM | Permalink | |

Our strengthening alliance with Japan

Who would have thought in August 1945 that Japan would one day become one of the staunchest allies of the United Staes in the world. And the alliance is getting even stronger. With China shaping up as the number one strategic threat to the United States over the next 20 years, Japan is clearly now casting its lot with the US. (hat tip to Glenn Reynolds).
DiscerningTexan, 3/03/2005 06:52:00 PM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Strategic Ops

Douglas Hanson delivers a riveting analysis of the Mideast situation from a military operations perspective.
DiscerningTexan, 3/02/2005 10:29:00 PM | Permalink | |


Not...more sleaze?
DiscerningTexan, 3/02/2005 10:03:00 PM | Permalink | |

An incredible look into the Democrat mindset

James Taranto captured an unbelievable bit of dialogue from The John Stewart Show last night:

'But as an American . . .'

We hardly ever watch Comedy Central's "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," but our TV happened to be tuned to it last night when erstwhile Clinton aide Nancy Soderberg, author of "The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might" (foreword by Bill Clinton, blurb by Madeleine Albright) came on. We're not sure what possessed us to turn on the sound and watch, but we're glad we did, for it was a fascinating interview. Here's a TiVo-assisted transcript of most of it:

Stewart: This book--it talks about the superpower myth of the United States. There is this idea, the United States is the sole superpower, and I guess the premise of the book is we cannot misuse that power--have to use it wisely, and not just punitively. Is that--

Soderberg: That's right. What I argue is that the Bush administration fell hostage to the superpower myth, believing that because we're the most powerful nation on earth, we were all-powerful, could bend the world to our will and not have to worry about the rest of the world. I think what they're finding in the second term is, it's a little bit harder than that, and reality has an annoying way of intruding.

Stewart: But what do you make of--here's my dilemma, if you will. I don't care for the way these guys conduct themselves--and this is just you and I talking, no cameras here [audience laughter]. But boy, when you see the Lebanese take to the streets and all that, and you go, "Oh my God, this is working," and I begin to wonder, is it--is the way that they handled it really--it's sort of like, "Uh, OK, my daddy hits me, but look how tough I'm getting." You know what I mean? Like, you don't like the method, but maybe--wrong analogy, is that, uh--?

Soderberg: Well, I think, you know, as a Democrat, you don't want anything nice to happen to the Republicans, and you don't want them to have progress. But as an American, you hope good things would happen. I think the way to look at it is, they can't credit for every good thing that happens, but they need to be able to manage it. I think what's happening in Lebanon is great, but it's not necessarily directly related to the fact that we went into Iraq militarily.

Stewart: Do you think that the people of Lebanon would have had, sort of, the courage of their conviction, having not seen--not only the invasion but the election which followed? It's almost as though that the Iraqi election has emboldened this crazy--something's going on over there. I'm smelling something.

Soderberg: I think partly what's going on is the country next door, Syria, has been controlling them for decades, and they [the Syrians] were dumb enough to blow up the former prime minister of Lebanon in Beirut, and they're--people are sort of sick of that, and saying, "Wait a minute, that's a stretch too far." So part of what's going on is they're just protesting that. But I think there is a wave of change going on, and if we can help ride it though the second term of the Bush administration, more power to them.

Stewart: Do you think they're the guys to--do they understand what they've unleashed? Because at a certain point, I almost feel like, if they had just come out at the very beginning and said, "Here's my plan: I'm going to invade Iraq. We'll get rid of a bad guy because that will drain the swamp"--if they hadn't done the whole "nuclear cloud," you know, if they hadn't scared the pants off of everybody, and just said straight up, honestly, what was going on, I think I'd almost--I'd have no cognitive dissonance, no mixed feelings.

Soderberg: The truth always helps in these things, I have to say. But I think that there is also going on in the Middle East peace process--they may well have a chance to do a historic deal with the Palestinians and the Israelis. These guys could really pull off a whole--

Stewart: This could be unbelievable!

Soderberg:---series of Nobel Peace Prizes here, which--it may well work. I think that, um, it's--

Stewart: [buries head in hands] Oh my God! [audience laughter] He's got, you know, here's--

Soderberg: It's scary for Democrats, I have to say.

Stewart: He's gonna be a great--pretty soon, Republicans are gonna be like, "Reagan was nothing compared to this guy." Like, my kid's gonna go to a high school named after him, I just know it.

Soderberg: Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's hope for the rest of us.

Stewart: [crossing fingers] Iran and North Korea, that's true, that is true [audience laughter]. No, it's--it is--I absolutely agree with you, this is--this is the most difficult thing for me to--because, I think, I don't care for the tactics, I don't care for this, the weird arrogance, the setting up. But I gotta say, I haven't seen results like this ever in that region.

Soderberg: Well wait. It hasn't actually gotten very far. I mean, we've had--

Stewart: Oh, I'm shallow! I'm very shallow!

Soderberg: There's always hope that this might not work. No, but I think, um, it's--you know, you have changes going on in Egypt; Saudi Arabia finally had a few votes, although women couldn't participate. What's going on here in--you know, Syria's been living in the 1960s since the 1960s--it's, part of this is--

Stewart: You mean free love and that kind of stuff? [audience laughter] Like, free love, drugs?

Soderberg: If you're a terrorist, yeah.

Stewart: They are Baathists, are they--it looks like, I gotta say, it's almost like we're not going to have to invade Iran and Syria. They're gonna invade themselves at a certain point, no? Or is that completely naive?

Soderberg: I think it's moving in the right direction. I'll have to give them credit for that. We'll see.

Stewart: Really? Hummus for everybody, for God's sakes.

We've long been skeptical of Jon Stewart, but color us impressed. He managed to ambush this poor woman brutally, in a friendly interview. She was supposed to be promoting her book, and instead he got her to spend the entire interview debunking it (at least if we understood the book's thesis correctly from the very brief discussion of it up top).

She also admitted repeatedly that Democrats are hoping for American failure in the Middle East. To be sure, this is not true of all Democrats, Soderberg speaks only for herself, and she says she is ambivalent ("But as an American . . .").

But we do not question her expertise in assessing the prevailing mentality of her own party. No wonder Dems get so defensive about their
Interesting too is Stewart's acknowledgment of his own "cognitive dissonance" and "mixed feelings" over the Iraq liberation. It's a version of an argument we've been hearing a lot lately: As our Brendan Miniter puts it, "The president's critics never seem to tire of claiming that the war in Iraq began over weapons of mass destruction and only later morphed into a war of liberation."

Miniter correctly notes that "this criticism isn't entirely right," but for the sake of argument let's assume it is. What does it mean? President Bush has altered his arguments to conform to reality, while his critics remain fixated on obsolete disputes. This would seem utterly to refute the liberal media stereotype. Bush, it turns out, is a supple-minded empiricist, while his opponents are rigid ideologues.

If there is a better example out there about how the Democrats have put party ahead of country, I would like to see it...

DiscerningTexan, 3/02/2005 08:03:00 PM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Dan Rather's hit parade

Dan Rather's greatest hits, courtesy of the Media Research Center.
DiscerningTexan, 3/01/2005 09:59:00 PM | Permalink | |

Ruh Roh Kofi...

An ill wind begins to blow through the Secretariat in the Oil for Food investigation--and it goes all the way to the top.
DiscerningTexan, 3/01/2005 05:58:00 PM | Permalink | |

Steyn: "Arabs' Berlin Wall has crumbled"

From today's Daily Telegraph:

Three years ago - April 6 2002, if you want to rummage through the old Spectators in the attic - I wrote: "The stability junkies in the EU, UN and elsewhere have, as usual, missed the point. The Middle East is too stable. So, if you had to pick only one regime to topple, why not Iraq? Once you've got rid of the ruling gang, it's the West's best shot at incubating a reasonably non-insane polity. That's why the unravelling of the Middle East has to start not in the West Bank but in Baghdad."

I don't like to say I told you so. But, actually, I do like to say I told you so. What I don't like to do is the obligatory false self-deprecatory thing to mitigate against the insufferableness of my saying I told you so. But nevertheless I did.

Consider just the past couple of days' news: not the ever more desperate depravity of the floundering "insurgency", but the real popular Arab resistance the car-bombers and the head-hackers are flailing against: the Saudi foreign minister, who by remarkable coincidence goes by the name of Prince Saud, told Newsweek that women would be voting in the next Saudi election. "That is going to be good for the election," he said, "because I think women are more sensible voters than men."

Four-time Egyptian election winner - and with 90 per cent of the vote! - President Mubarak announced that next polling day he wouldn't mind an opponent. Ordering his stenographer to change the constitution to permit the first multi-choice presidential elections in Egyptian history, His Excellency said the country would benefit from "more freedom and democracy". The state-run TV network hailed the president's speech as a "historical decision in the nation's 7,000-year-old march toward democracy". After 7,000 years on the march, they're barely out of the parking lot, so Mubarak's move is, as they say, a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile in Damascus, Boy Assad, having badly overplayed his hand in Lebanon and after months of denying that he was harbouring any refugee Saddamites, suddenly discovered that - wouldja believe it? - Saddam's brother and 29 other bigshot Baghdad Baathists were holed up in north-eastern Syria, and promptly handed them over to the Iraqi government.

And, for perhaps the most remarkable development, consider this report from Mohammed Ballas of Associated Press: "Palestinians expressed anger on Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes."

No disrespect to Associated Press, but I was disinclined to take their word for it. However, Charles Johnson, whose Little Green Footballs website has done an invaluable job these past three years presenting the ugly truth about Palestinian death-cultism, reported that he went hunting around the internet for the usual photographs of deliriously happy Gazans dancing in the street and handing out sweets to celebrate the latest addition to the pile of Jew corpses - and, to his surprise, couldn't find any.

Why is all this happening? Answer: January 30. Don't take my word for it, listen to Walid Jumblatt, big-time Lebanese Druze leader and a man of impeccable anti-American credentials: "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Berlin Wall has fallen."

Just so. Left to their own devices, the House of Saud - which demanded all US female air-traffic controllers be stood down for Crown Prince Abdullah's flight to the Bush ranch in Crawford - would stick to their traditional line that Wahhabi women have no place in a voting booth; instead, they have to dress like a voting booth - a big black impenetrable curtain with a little slot to drop your ballot through. Likewise, Hosni Mubarak has no desire to take part in campaign debates with Hosno Name-Recognition. Boy Assad has no desire to hand over his co-Baathists to the Great Satan's puppets in Baghdad.

But none of them has much of a choice. In the space of a month, the Iraq election has become the prism through which all other events in the region are seen.

Assad's regime knocks off a troublemaker in Lebanon. Big deal. They've done it a gazillion times. But this time the streets are full of demonstrators demanding an end to Syrian occupation.
A suicide bomber kills four Jews. So what's new? But this time the Palestinians decline to celebrate. And some even question whether being a delivery system for plastic explosives is really all life has to offer, even on the West Bank.

Mubarak announces the arrest of an opposition leader. Like, who cares? The jails are full of 'em. But this time Condi Rice cancels her visit and the Egyptian government notices that its annual cheque from Washington is a month late.

Three years ago, those of us in favour of destabilising the Middle East didn't have to be far-sighted geniuses: it was a win/win proposition. As Sam Goldwyn said, I'm sick of the old clichés, bring me some new clichés. The old clichés - Pan-Arabism, Baathism, Islamism, Arafatism - brought us the sewer that led to September 11. The new clichés could hardly be worse. Even if the old thug-for-life had merely been replaced by a new thug-for-life, the latter would come to power in the wake of the cautionary tale of the former.

But some of us - notably US deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz - thought things would go a lot better than that. Wolfowitz was right, and so was Bush, and the Left, who were wrong about the Berlin Wall, were wrong again, the only difference being that this time they were joined in the dunce's corner of history by far too many British Tories. No surprise there. The EU's political establishment doesn't trust its own people, so why would they trust anybody else's? Bush trusts the American people, and he's happy to extend the same courtesy to the Iraqi people, the Syrian people, the Iranian people, etc. [emphasis mine - DT]

Prof Glenn Reynolds, America's Instapundit, observes that "democratisation is a process, not an event". Far too often, it's treated like an event: ship in the monitors, hold the election, get it approved by Jimmy Carter and the UN, and that's it. Doesn't work like that. What's happening in the Middle East is the start of a long-delayed process. Eight million Iraqis did more for the Arab world on January 30 than 7,000 years of Mubarak-pace marching.
DiscerningTexan, 3/01/2005 05:02:00 PM | Permalink | |