The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, June 30, 2008
Hell is officially freezing over:
I don't think we've commented on the deal Israel reached with Hizbollah over the weekend. It sounds like a huge victory for Hizbollah, one that Israel will have cause to regret conferring. As Caroline Glick describes it:In exchange for the bodies of two dead soldiers - Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser - Israel. . .will release six murderers from prison and send them to Lebanon for a hero's welcome. It will give Hizbullah the bodies of 200 terrorists. . . .Israel has agreed to provide Hizbullah with information on four missing Iranian "diplomats." And it has agreed to release an unknown number of Palestinian terrorists from prison.
The meaning of this deal is not lost on Hamas. Its leader, Mahmoud Zahar, has said that Israel's decision to free the Lebanese prisoners in the context of a prisoner exchange with Hizbullah will pave the way for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners "with blood on their hands." Nor was Hamas alone. According to the Jerusalem Post, other Palestinian armed factions in the Gaza Strip also expressed hope that the deal with Hizbollah signals a change in Israel's policy of not releasing prisoners who were involved in killings. But Hamas' Zahar put most clearly when he explained:Something important has happened, and there's no ignoring the fact that [the cabinet decision] is a major development. Israel has agreed to release prisoners who it says have blood on their hands. We must therefore seize the opportunity and seek the release of our prisoners. There should be no difference between the case of Schalit [the Hamas terrorist Israel is holding] and the case of Kuntar [an about-to-be-released Hizbollah terrorist]"
Terrorists may not know much, but they know weakness.
Get Ready for the Pro-Surge Obama
"Imagine There's No [Global Warming] Religion..."
Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the mass hysteria phenomenon known as global warming. Much of the science has since been discredited. Now it's time for political scientists, theologians and psychiatrists to weigh in.
What, discredited? Thousands of scientists insist otherwise, none more noisily than NASA's Jim Hansen, who first banged the gong with his June 23, 1988, congressional testimony (delivered with all the modesty of "99% confidence").
But mother nature has opinions of her own. NASA now begrudgingly confirms that the hottest year on record in the continental 48 was not 1998, as previously believed, but 1934, and that six of the 10 hottest years since 1880 antedate 1954. Data from 3,000 scientific robots in the world's oceans show there has been slight cooling in the past five years, never mind that "80% to 90% of global warming involves heating up ocean waters," according to a report by NPR's Richard Harris.
The Arctic ice cap may be thinning, but the extent of Antarctic sea ice has been expanding for years. At least as of February, last winter was the Northern Hemisphere's coldest in decades. In May, German climate modelers reported in the journal Nature that global warming is due for a decade-long vacation. But be not not-afraid, added the modelers: The inexorable march to apocalypse resumes in 2020.
This last item is, of course, a forecast, not an empirical observation. But it raises a useful question: If even slight global cooling remains evidence of global warming, what isn't evidence of global warming? What we have here is a nonfalsifiable hypothesis, logically indistinguishable from claims for the existence of God. This doesn't mean God doesn't exist, or that global warming isn't happening. It does mean it isn't science.
Eventually, even the thick headed are going to get it. Gore will go down in History as one of the great snake oil salesmen of his day. Which of course does him entirely too much justice.
Cartoon by Eric Allie (click to enlarge)
"Our Worst Justice"
Read the whole thing, he could not be more spot on.
Why did the Founders bother toiling in the summer heat of Philadelphia in 1787 writing a Constitution when they could have relied on the consciences of Supreme Court justices like Anthony Kennedy instead?
Kennedy is the Supreme Court's most important swing vote and its worst justice. Whatever else you think of them, a Justice Scalia or Ginsburg has a consistent judicial philosophy, while Kennedy expects the nation to bend to his moral whimsy. With apologies to Louis XIV, Kennedy might as well declare "la constitution, c'est moi!"
In a 2005 interview, Kennedy said of the court, "You know, in any given year, we may make more important decisions than the legislative branch does -- precluding foreign affairs, perhaps." (He was wise to include the "perhaps," in light of the recent Guantanamo Bay decision.) He went on to note how judges need "an understanding that you have an opportunity to shape the destiny of the country."
So much for the country's destiny being shaped by a free people acting through their representative institutions, within certain constraints it enshrines in the Constitution. That wouldn't allow nearly enough room for what Jeffrey Rosen, in a devastating profile of the justice in The New Republic, calls Kennedy's "self-dramatizing moralism."On any politically charged case, we are supposed to wait with bated breath while the famously agonizing Kennedy decides which side he is going to bless with his coveted fifth vote ...
Meanwhile, (in a defense of Kennedy a year ago) former Kennedy clerk Michael C. Dorf lays out the objections that Rosen and others among Justice Kennedy's critics (rightfully, in my opinion) have against him:
1) Kennedy is the most activist of the current Justices in the sense that he votes to hold laws unconstitutional more often than any other;I think it goes further than that. It is an example of absolute power corrupting absolutely: Kennedy's megalomaniacal power-trip as "Mr. Swing Vote" has clearly gone to his head in a way that O'Connor's decisions ever even approached; Kennedy's complete disregard for the Constitution (no matter which way his judicial whimsicalness might fall on any given day) is as dangerous to this country as is an awful Presidency--at least awful Presidents can be removed from office by the people every 4 years.
2) Kennedy's writing style is florid;
3) Kennedy's conception of human psychology owes more to great works of literature than to interactions with real people;
4) Kennedy professes to care about dialogue but really only wants others, including schoolchildren, to hear what he has to say and agree;
5) Kennedy merely poses as an open-minded agonizer so that lawyers and his colleagues will come to him as supplicants;
6) Kennedy's form of moderation is worse than Justice O'Connor's was because she wrote split-the-difference opinions that had no broad effect, whereas Kennedy writes in broad abstract terms.
On the other hand, an appalling jurist like Justice Kennedy is in that seat for as long as he wants to be--and he clearly is enjoying every Washington cocktail party-laden second of being "The Decider".
As for the Constitutional role he was appointed to fulfill, Kennedy clearly sees himself above all that "Founding Fathers" nonsense. And Kennedy's name is on some of the worst Court decisions in my lifetime, decisions which I believe will someday go down in the annals of Judicial infamy: Plessy v. Ferguson's got nothing on Boumediene when it comes to judicial depravity. And Kennedy's name will be on that abomination for all time to come.
It is difficult to imagine any Justice being less respectful of the law of the land, and of the Constitution that is our social contract.
I will close with a final broadside, courtesy of Ann Coulter, from her column "American Idle":
The detainees are not held because they are guilty; they're held to prevent them from returning to the battlefield against the U.S. Since being released, at least 30 Guantanamo detainees have returned to the battlefield, despite their promise to try not to kill any more Americans. I guess you can't trust anybody these days.
The treason party says the detainees are mostly charity workers who happened to be distributing cheese to the poor in Afghanistan when the war broke out, and it was their bad luck to be caught near the fighting.
They consider it self-evident that enemy combatants should have access to the same U.S. courts that recently acquitted R. Kelly of statutory rape despite the existence of a videotape. Good plan, liberals.
The New York Times article on the decision in Boumediene notes that some people "have asserted that those held at Guantanamo have fewer rights than people accused of crimes under American civilian and military law."
In the universal language of children: Duh.
The logical result of Boumediene is for the U.S. military to exert itself a little less trying to take enemy combatants alive. The military also might consider not sending the little darlings to the Guantanamo Spa and Resort.
No question there will be an alternative now,; and my guess is that future detainees' fate will not be nearly so "comfy" as has been the treatment which the current detainees have been getting at Gitmo.
As usual: whenever the the law of unintended consequences kicks in, the resulting fallout will likely be much worse that was the original "sin" that decisions like Boumediene were intended to correct.
And there will be no one to blame but King Anthony.
Wesley Clark: Egomaniacal Idiot
The Political Page pretty much sums up my own thoughts about Clark; I especially loved the Geraghty quote (if you didn't click it above, the Geraghty article alone is worth the price of admission):
Gen. Wesley Clark’s remarks on CBS’s Face the Nation yesterday were less than helpful to Obama. In a silly misstep, Clark attempted to downplay McCain’s war record and supposed lack of executive experience without considering his own candidate’s thin resume.I hope Obama picks him--I really do...
Appearing Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Clark downplayed the plane crash that led to McCain’s captivity during the Vietnam War, and said the squadron McCain commanded “wasn’t a wartime squadron.”
“He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility,” Clark said.
Michelle Malkin thinks we should cross Clark’s name off Obama’s VP list.
If Gen. Wesley Clark had vice presidential aspirations, they went out the window yesterday when he opened his mouth and removed any lingering doubt about his idiocy.
Ed Morrissey points out a few things about Barack Obama:
In “the matter of national security policy making.” Barack Obama hasn’t ever done anything. In the matter of gauging your “opponents”, Obama wants to meet with them without preconditions despite having no national-security, military, or diplomatic experience. Barack Obama hasn’t been on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Barack Obama hasn’t had any executive experience. Barack Obama hasn’t commanded anything, in wartime or not. Barack Obama hasn’t dealt with diplomats in any capacity at all. Barack Obama hasn’t ordered the bombs to fall, although to be fair, he has associated himself with someone who has — William Ayers.
Jim Geraghty on Clark’s likeability among the military:
From one of my favorite articles, a profile of Clark: “Interviews with a wide variety of current and retired military officials reveal that Clark was disliked by only three groups: Those whom ranked above him in the chain of command whom he ignored, his peers at the same rank whom he lied to, and those serving beneath him whom he micromanaged. Other than that, everyone liked him.”
Obama's "Boys of Summer" (1968)
Obama’s Boys of SummerA Who’s Who of 1968 radicals supports the candidate.
Backing a major-party candidate for president would have been anathema to Michael Klonsky 40 summers ago, when the organization he led, Students for a Democratic Society, urged young people to spurn elections. “By ’68, our line was ‘Vote in the Streets,’” Klonsky told me last spring. “We thought we had to fight with Eugene McCarthy and those people.” In August 1968, protesters clashed with police outside the Democratic Party’s national convention in Chicago—but far from being political innocents who took to the streets to protest Vietnam War hawks’ capture of the Democratic presidential nomination, many of them never supported antiwar candidates McCarthy and Robert Kennedy. “Those of us who have been in the streets for the past five days didn’t give a flying fuck whether McCarthy would win or lose,” SDS declared in posters around Chicago, “and now that he’s lost, still don’t.” On the eve of the general election of that year—in which less than 1 percentage point would separate the popular-vote totals of Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey—Klonsky’s SDS bluntly proclaimed: “The elections don’t mean shit.”
Klonsky, whose disgust for mainstream politics led him to launch a new, Maoist Communist Party in the 1970s, today supports Barack Obama so enthusiastically that until recently he was blogging on the Illinois senator’s campaign website. And boycotting this November’s election, Klonsky maintains, would be a “tragic mistake.” He notes that Barack Obama isn’t Hubert Humphrey, 2008 isn’t 1968, and the strong movement he served back then is “relatively weak” now. “My own support for Obama is not a reflection of a radically changed attitude toward the Democratic Party,” Klonsky recently explained to me. “Rather, it’s a recognition that the Obama campaign has become a rallying point for young activists and offers hope for rebuilding the civil rights and antiwar coalitions that have potential to become a real critical force in society.”
Michael Klonsky is hardly the only ’68 radical supporting Obama this year. In 1968, when Mark Rudd organized the student strike that shut down Columbia University, the SDS chapter that he chaired ridiculed Kennedy and McCarthy as “McKennedy,” claimed that “neither peace candidate offers an alternative to the war policies of Lyndon Johnson,” and suggested “sabotage” as an alternative to voting. Rudd succeeded Klonsky as national SDS leader, presiding over the organization’s metamorphosis into Weatherman and performing “a liaison function” for the plot to bomb a Fort Dix soldiers’ dance that instead killed three Weathermen, including two of Rudd’s Columbia SDS colleagues. Today, Rudd renounces bombs, embraces ballots—and supports Obama. “Probably the biggest difference between Columbia SDS people in 1968 and in 2008 is forty years,” Rudd explained in an e-mail. “Most of us have lived with compromise our whole lives. As kids we were raving idealists who thought that ‘The elections don’t mean shit’ was a slogan that meant something to somebody. It didn’t.”
Then there’s Carl Davidson, who was one of SDS’s three elected national officers in 1968, when the organization first urged young people to refrain from voting. His disillusionment with traditional politics became so pronounced that, in the post-sixties hangover that followed, Davidson joined Klonsky in rejecting traditional politics for fringe Marxist movements. More recently, he helped organize the 2002 rally in which Obama first spoke out against the Iraq War and now serves as the webmaster of Progressives for Obama. “The last thing we need is a simple repeat of 1968, which saw Nixon and the new Right as an outcome, as well as the defeat of [Humphrey],” Davidson contends. “One thing I’ve learned. Social change is not made by elections, but it certainly proceeds through them, not by ignoring them or chasing the illusion of end runs around them.”
Former SDS president Tom Hayden is also in the Obama camp. Hayden organized the made-for-TV protest outside the 1968 Chicago convention. But the catharsis of throwing debris at the Chicago police, the purer-than-thou sanctimony that tolerated no distinction between Lyndon Johnson and Eugene McCarthy, and the exhilaration of “voting in the streets” instead of in election booths combined to ensure liberal defeats. Hayden’s orchestrated anarchy proved more damaging to Humphrey’s presidential aspirations than any dirty trick Nixon’s henchmen could have dreamed up. Klonsky remembers Hayden plotting to spread nails on a highway; another SDS leader recalls Hayden encouraging activists to firebomb police cars. If the Democrats couldn’t run a convention, many Americans wondered, how could they run the country? “Did the radicalism of Chicago elect Richard Nixon?” Hayden asked, clearly pained, in his 1988 memoir. “Having struggled with that question for twenty years, I find there is no ‘neat’ answer.”
Read the whole thing. Stunning--and yet the media's whitewash continues...
The NYT: Give "Swiftboating" back its Good Name (and don't you DARE criticize The Savior...)
Here endeth the lesson.
Sorry, but that is as far as I could read.
And not because this is yet another typically overly wordy and meandering New York Times article.
But it is Olympian grade hypocrisy for The Times to shed crocodile tears over the supposedly negative connotation of the term "Swift boat."
For it is only due to tireless efforts by The Times and the rest of our Democrat owned and operated media that the name has become pejorative — if it has.
After all, what did the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth do? What were their crimes against humanity?
They exercised their God given right to express their political opinions about a Presidential candidate.
Moreover, their opinions were based upon their personal experience and knowledge — none of which has been refuted by Mr. Kerry nor anyone else.
In truth, many if not most of the SBVT were lifelong Democrats, including John O’Neal.
Their personal knowledge was supplemented by research by people like yours truly, who uncovered further damning material about Mr. Kerry, after he returned from his four months in Vietnam.
Such as how Mr. Kerry lied about our soldiers, gave aid and comfort to the North Vietnamese, negotiated with representatives of the enemy, and even was present at a meeting where plans to assassinate pro-war Congressmen were discussed.
This was information a real media concerned about having an informed citizenry media should have been eager to report.
But instead our watchdog media sought to cover-up and even denigrate these facts, and those who dared to bring them to light.
And once again, this is information that has never been refuted.
But as we now know all too well, being "Swift boated" actually means having someone tell inconvenient truths about a Democrat.
Which is of course exactly why this is being trotted out at this time. We are being warned not to "swift boat" Mr. Obama.
That is to say, we are not to bring up any unpleasant facts about him.
The New York Times and their Democrat masters have spoken.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Cartoon by Daryl Cagle (click to enlarge)
"King Kennedy" and his Court
Congressmen, senators, and presidents alike swear to protect and defend the same constitution as the Supremes do. In the 19th century, Congress actually debated constitutionality with passion, and if it found a proposed law falling short of that standard, it was fixed or killed, not outsourced to the Supreme Court for retrofitting.Read the whole thing.
The Court, by assuming that responsibility, and the other branches of government, by surrendering it, have permanently damaged the constitutional order. Indeed, Thomas Jefferson believed that a judiciary with final jurisdiction over the constitutionality of presidential and legislative actions “would make the judiciary a despotic branch” of government.
Today, that despot has a name. It’s Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy rules — thanks to his status as the court’s swing vote — as the true King of America.
For example, Congress and the president hammered out a system for treating enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay — at the behest of the court. But that compromise wasn’t to His Majesty’s liking, so it was invalidated anyway in Boumediene v. Bush, which gave members of al-Qaeda more rights than captured Nazis in WWII.
Indeed, the whole debate in Congress has been over to what extent the Supreme Court should be running our POW system, not what our POW policy should in fact be.
And just this week, Justice Kennedy issued a diktat in which he quashed Louisiana’s sovereign and popular decision to execute a man for raping his eight-year-old stepdaughter in a manner so brutal the details cannot be even hinted at in this space. Why? Not because such executions violate the sensibilities of the public, or the constitutional precedents, or even what Kennedy calls “evolving standards” of decency, but simply because they are at odds with the court’s own sense of lèse-majesté.
Supreme Court critic Mark Levin has it right when he says that “every time the Supreme Court meets in secret conference, it sits as a constitutional convention, rewriting the Constitution at will.”
Aside from a legalistic-yet-lawless despotism that makes the meaning of our Constitution hinge on how much fiber Justice Kennedy’s diet has on a particular day, the result of this pathetic state of affairs is that the first branch of government doesn’t take itself seriously.
It is merely a caucus of goodie-givers, sent to Washington to dole out trinkets to whomever it may. At least the president is still charged with life-or-death decisions from time to time. But Congress doesn’t take itself seriously, so who can blame Americans for following its lead?
Steyn Cleared by Canadian National "Human Rights" Commission
Great news for free speech fans that likely won't get reported much of anywhere outside the rightosphere: the national Canadian "Human Rights" Commission has declined to prosecute a "hate speech" allegation against columnist and author Mark Steyn and the magazine Maclean's.Read the rest here.
The allegation, brought against Steyn as part of an effort by the Canadian Islamic Congress (that country's resident apologists for radical Islam comparable to CAIR here) to use the government to censor critics of Islam, was the second of three motions before three separate bodies to be dismissed. Steyn still awaits the decision of the British Columbia provincial commission.
Also--don't miss this commentary on the state of "free speech" in Canada--from Canadian columnist Christie Blatchford, who has been covering several Canadian Islamist terror trials (emphasis mine):
Welcome to Orwellia...
A couple of nights ago, I found myself in discussion about what I will call the jihadi trials going on in Canada at the moment - one the trial of a youth charged in the Toronto 18 case, the other the case of Momin Khawaja in Ottawa.
I'd spent three days on the Khawaja case and several weeks immediately before it writing about the Brampton case.
I was pretty weary of being surrounded by hatred, which is what lies behind the criminal charges in both cases. ...
Anyway, while waiting for my flight home at the Ottawa airport, I was on my cell talking to my pal Rosie DiManno, the gritty Toronto Star columnist just returned from another trip to Afghanistan, where she travelled the country all on her own but for a young interpreter.
We were meant to figure out the guest list for an upcoming party, but she said, "That's a great trial you've got going there," and off we went, soon discussing our shared frustration with those who persist in believing that youthful goofiness or general haplessness are incompatible with terrorist aims and missions. They never have been with ordinary criminals - that's why most of them get caught most of the time - so why would it be any different with terrorist criminals?
To illustrate this, Rosie mentioned a book she was reading which notes that two of those wanted in the Oct. 12, 2000, attack by an al-Qaeda cell on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden are also wanted in an earlier unsuccessful attempt to blow up the USS The Sullivans in the same harbour, an attack averted only because the thugs - oh, those goofy kids! - overloaded their small boat such that it sank.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice indictment, Jamal Ahmed Mohammed Ali al-Badawi and Fahd al-Quso were among those who allegedly salvaged their explosives, regrouped, built a better boat - and eureka, less than nine months later, pulled alongside the USS Cole and blew a 40-foot hole in its hull, killing 17 sailors.
In the same vein, I told Rosie about some evidence at the Khawaja trial, particularly the testimony of a key witness, himself a convicted al-Qaeda operative, about the loose connections between the Khawaja group and others who had succeeded - one was a London Tube bomber, and two unnamed others were described as completed a mission in Israel, presumably a suicide bombing.
It was at that point that the Air Canada clerk at Gate 27 approached me.
"Excuse me," he said, "you can't say those words. Those words are illegal."
"What words?" I asked, bewildered, given that by then I'd said probably 2,000 words.
"Suicide bombing," he whispered.
Now, I know of course one is not to make jokes or threats about bombs at airports, and properly so. But I hadn't been doing that, rather recounting some of the public evidence heard that day at a public trial in the nation's capital.
"That's not illegal," I snapped, barely restraining myself from adding "You ninny." Besides, I told him, I was a reporter telling another reporter about my work day, which was true enough.
"Do you want me to call security?" he asked primly. "I'm supposed to call security in these situations."
"You do what you like," I said, talked to Rose a bit longer, then sat down and resumed reading my book.
About 10 minutes later, a fellow passenger warned me that she thought the clerk had called security. I couldn't believe it, and kept reading, and sure enough, within a few minutes, a young woman with a walkie-talkie in her hands (I guess so if I suddenly turned into a human missile she could call for help) asked to speak to me. She'd had a report about "an incident," she said. So I told her through gritted teeth what had happened, she magnanimously agreed it was "not illegal" to say what I'd said, apologized and went on her way.
When we boarded a little later, I asked for the ninny's name. He refused and hissed, "If you make a scene, I'll call the pilot and you won't be flying tonight."
I was so very tempted to tell him to go ahead, but I knew he probably would do it and I wanted badly to get home, so held my tongue. I was quietly praising myself for my steely calm when another passenger remarked, "I didn't know you were an anarchist, Christie."
The book I was reading that night, and for the past week, is Mark Steyn's America Alone (The End of the World as We Know It). It is an excerpt from this book - equal parts wildly funny and alarming - which appeared in Maclean's magazine two years ago and sparked a rash of complaints to human-rights commissions from coast to coast to coast, as they like to say on the CBC.
The general complaint is that Mr. Steyn, a Canadian who lives in the States, is spreading hate and contributing to "Islamaphobia" by taking note of A) the falling birth rates of most Western nations, except for their Muslim populations, B) the increasing spread of Islamic-inspired violence, including the homegrown sort, in the world and C) making the link between them to suggest the West is under attack - oh, and D) aiding and abetting the attacker with the exquisite sensitivities of multicultural politics.
I think that's it in a nutshell, and suddenly, I felt I was smack in the midst of Mr. Steyn's description of our silly world, "where you need retinal-scan ID in order to rent Mary Poppins but you're liable for prosecution if you express your feelings too strongly after the next bombing." Or, in my case, merely say the words aloud.
I am off for a bit of a break, and no, I shall not be memorizing Koranic passages during my holiday.
UPDATED The Entitlements Tsunami Ahead--and How you can Help Stop It
Last week, David Broder put up a link in his WaPo column to a new site that Ross Perot (my old employer) has recently put together, including a terrific multi-media presentation to explain the fix that we are in with our entitlements programs and overall with the deficit spending of our government.
I saw Broder's link at the time but did not follow it until today, when Instapundit linked it. (yes, I know--I cite and am influenced by Glenn almost daily; but hey, let's face facts: Reynolds is arguably the single most talented daily source out there--sorry Drudge--for quickly finding real "diamonds", i.e. interesting takes on important stories that big media is often missing, amid the constant cacaphony of background noise that is the Internet...) But I digress.
Getting back to the Perot site: it is really interesting, illustrative, and well put together. The only flaw I find in it is that it uses mostly Congressional Budget Office data to make its case (which results currently have a Democrat bias...the numbers always reflect the bias of whichever party is in power). Nevertheless, I highly recommend his presentation--no matter what you may or may not have thought about Perot's Presidential bid and his other media exposure over the years, Ross has done a good thing for his country here: he has put together a case on this site which is virtually unarguable. A disaster is coming that will impact us all, that is if we continue to pretend as a people and as a government that it isn't there, all for the sake of political expediency.
You will recall that the President has tried repeatedly since his re-election to get Congress to tackle Social Security, to no avail. And, as shown within the Perot presentation, Social Security is arguably the easiest component of the coming entitlements catastrophe to "fix"; yet the Democrats and their think tanks blocked every single attempt that the President and Congressional Republicans put forward which attempted to address this important issue. So long as the Democrats continue to put Party above country, this will continue to be the likely result of such efforts.
Their intransigence is easily explainable: 1) the Democrat party has an enormous reliance on Union money and Union membership for a huge percentage of its funding and organization; 2) large portions of this Union membership come from portions of the economy arguably which would have to endure significant and disruptive change if the huge deficit and bureaucracy is to be reduced--for example the gigantic Public Employee's Union which represents every single bureaucrat the Dems do or would empower; and, 3) many of the external constituencies that the Democrats claim to be representing are disproportionately from non-productive portions of society, consisting of many who want an increase in entitlements/benefits for themselves, via a large central government, and at the expense of taxpayers; simultaneously these same constituencies collectively push for each individual taking less individual responsibility for pulling their own weight in that society. In short, they want to kill what little incentive there is for people to take control of their own lives, in favor of a cradle to grave nanny state.
And so the very makeup of the Party (not to mention the mass media supporting it) has virtually ensured that any Democrat stepping forward in favor of what is truly good for the country (i.e. real solutions that would require smaller government--not simply class warfare rhetoric; changes in the fundamental structure of entitlements and stop our addiction to deficit spending for everything under the sun...) endangers their own financial or electoral support.
Thus, there is very little incentive--especially for Democrats--to tackle these issues, except for calling for disproportionate tax increases on the productive segments of society, when tax hikes on these entities would, and (according to the graphs in Perot's charts) historically have had the impact of actually reducing the rate of revenue growth in relation to GDP while increasing the size of the deficit in the same relationship (see charts 2 and 6-11).
As the presentation makes clear, the public is rarely made aware of the relationship of GDP to the deficit when these subjects are debated by talking heads on television, or when their favorite Politician makes a stump speech. But for anyone who actually spends time on this data and actually thinks about it, the charts are very revealing: for example, as a result of the Bush tax cuts, revenues are up in relation to GDP, and are growing at a faster rate than at virtually any time over the past 30 years. AND--THE OPPOSITE IS ALSO TRUE: whenever taxes have been raised on the productive segments of society (the part that produces greater GDP) it has historically reduced our rate of GDP growth--i.e. our productivity as a country--to the point where its fractional relation to revenue ultimately has resulted in greater deficits, at a faster rate).
It's all right there. Slide 11...
But this reality does not jive with the Democrats' Marx-inspired Mythology of a fixed pie and discouraging incentives to productivity in favor of their (Democrats) planning your economic activity for you; and so--every time the Republicans attempted to address the issue head on--the Democrats drowned it out with partisan rhetoric, and appeals to black and white of "class envy", rich vs. poor, and the "exploitation" of consumers by business (i.e. the productive segment--ignoring the fact that no consumer would buy anything from these "evil" businesses at any price, if they did not believe it was not to their own benefit to do so...). But now they insist that they--the Democrat Socialists--know better than you do where and how your money should be spent.
With each iteration of the same old lies, the same dishonest talking points and the same tired emotional appeals to collective covetousness, the intellectually lazy and economic-illiterate public usually swallows it whole, hook, line and sinker; with each time the mass media pitches in to help with the over-simplification of reality and populitst falsehoods--the hole gets deeper and deeper.
And so we have our current situation: an uninformed, apathetic, irresponsible, sleepwalking electorate; stupefying in its ability to take the earned prosperity of 200+ years, the existential dangers to our Republic which exist externally, and the sacrifices we've endured in numerous bloody wars for granted--and then rewards these same Democrats for putting Partisan Politics ahead of the National Interest. Indeed, they vote to give those at the very ROOT of the problem control of the Congress in 2006!
Since then of course, the Democrat Partisanship and rancor has gotten progressively worse, (despite the Dems having run in the midterms as being able to finally "get things done", etc.)--and the financial pressure from the Unions and other Leftist special interests has grown--to the point where the prospect of any Congress (containing a significant contingent of Democrats) making real progress towards solving these monumental problems has now become virtually nil.
By putting politics ahead of country, the Democrats have created a Legislative Branch that no longer has the will nor the ability to address the coming economic "entitlements-induced" collapse of our economy, or any other threat for that matter.
It is simply the "Anti" Congress: anti-capitalist, anti-incentive, anti-protecting America's national interests, anti-winning Wars it has voted to fund, anti-leveraging our own abundant natural resources for jobs and prosperity, anti-business, period.
Furthermore, the Democrat "solution" to the crisis would shrink GDP, would decrease tax revenue even as it increases tax rates, and thus would make the existing problem much worse. And the misery will be spread accordingly, for all to share. The least common denominator of mediocrity for all.
And don't even start with Iraq talk: as you will see from Perot's presentation, our spending on the Military is a drop in the bucket compared to impact of these entitlement programs--in fact spending on the military in relation to GDP is almost at a 30 year low (and arguably that is too low to properly serve our interests/security in this dangerous world).
OK, so how do we solve these problems? The answers do exist. I would suggest that you could do far worse than to go here, here, here, and here; these would supply the curious with one hell of a head start on the rest of your countrymen. And after that, you can then be better equipped to get out there and work to help to educate your friends so that they understand.
And then: you can go to the polls in November; you can work and vote to throw every single Democrat you can possibly influence the hell out of Congress, State, or Local offices; and you can put an experienced person into the White House who understands how corrupt this Congress is, who has pledged to end pork-barrel spending, and who (of the two choices) would have the greatest chance at being able to tackle the entitlements issues facing us all head-on. (Hint: the first letter of his last name would never be mistaken for a zero... which matches the actual experience on that side of the ledger...).
Which Presidential candidate actually has the resume which demonstrates that he can handle the heavy responsibilities and complexities of arguably the most difficult job on Earth? And which is a "pretty-boy" rookie with Marxist roots, very questionable friends and associations over the years, a silver tongue in canned speeches (but who stumbles like a schoolgirl when confronted by unexpected questions), an appeasement attitude, and hard-left special-interest backing which would virtually guarantee that the approaching entitlements/spending tsunami will become even bigger and more destructive as a result of his policy positions?
Given the enormous problems we face, and the public's ignorance of them, it really is going to be a pretty easy choice this year for those who really understand what is at stake. But the problem is that most people do not.
This is where it is up to McCain--and the rest of us to step up--we either educate the others about the stakes, and to argue for the principles that would save our country from economic collapse--or worse. Or we find the lifeboats, and we pray that we do not all drown.
Which, of course, is exactly what they want to happen... because then they think we will "need" their governance even more. Cradle to grave.
Back in 1964 Aerospace and RAND Corps had a study of electric cars and transportation. I was a participant. I haven't seen much new in the discussion since. The technologies are better, the batteries are better, but the debates remain about the same. I am astonished.
It is certainly the case that more electric transport with the vehicles charged at night is possible; but we'd soon run into limits there, too. We need more kilowatts.
As to oil prices, there is this thing called Supply and Demand. Demand (including speculator demand) is high. The speculator part of demand falls dramatically when there is even a glimmer of an increased supply.
Five years ago we were told that increased refinery and oil pumping capability in the US would do no good because it would take five years for those to affect gas pump prices. Query: if we had greatly increased supply over the past five years, would not oil be at about $75/bbl, still high, but not headed to $200? And if we do nothing to increase supply now, where will oil go?
What will happen to the US economy in a time of $7/gallon gasoline and diesel fuel?And how long can we continue to send trillions to the Near East where it is used to buy the most profitable parts of the United States?
Are any politicians actually addressing these problems? Obama would hit the oil companies with new taxes. I do not recall a time when increasing a tax on a business caused a lowering of prices for that business's goods.
The US does not need to be crippled. We have enormous energy resources in the US. We need to develop them: or we will soon have a very green, very clean, US -- only we won't own much of it. And as energy prices rise, we won't commute and we can't afford to change jobs. Like peasants.
It is time to wake up and smell the coffee.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Cartoon by Glenn McCoy (click to enlarge)
Their formula for winning is right out of Saul Alinsky's playbook:
Just lie. Lie about everthing:
(be sure read the whole thing. Emphasis of the excerpt is mine):
The facts about your security are being torn to shreds by activist liars. And they think that you're too stupid to know the difference.Part II is here.
Let's lay out the worst current examples of media make-believe and election-year truth-trashing:
Whopper No. 1: America is less safe today than it was on Sept. 10, 2001. Oh, really? Where's the evidence? The Clinton years saw New York City attacked and Americans slaughtered by terrorists around the globe. Nothing was done to protect us.
And the true end of the Clinton era came on 9/11.
A record to be proud of.
Countless aspects of the Bush-Cheney administration deserve merciless criticism. But fair is fair: Since 9/11, we haven't suffered a single successful terrorist attack on our homeland. Not one.
Explain to me, please, how this shows we're less safe. What factual measurement applies, other than the absence of attacks?
God knows, the terrorists desperately wanted to strike our homeland. And they couldn't. Are we supposed to believe that was an accident?
Part II is here.
Whopper No. 2: Al Qaeda is stronger than ever. Al Qaeda just suffered a strategic defeat in Iraq that may prove decisive. It can't launch attacks beyond its regional lairs. The cowardly Osama bin Laden can't show his face (remember his Clinton-era pep rallies?).
Yes, terrorists can still murder innocents on their home court. I personally prefer that to them killing Americans in Manhattan and Washington. Even in Iraq, al Qaeda's been beaten down to violent-fugitive status.
By what objective measurement is al Qaeda stronger today than it was when it had an entire country for its base and its tentacles reached all the way to Florida and the Midwest?
Whopper No. 3: Success in Iraq is an illusion - the surge failed. Folks, this is something only a New York Times columnist could believe.
Every single significant indicator, from Iraqi government progress through the performance of Iraqi security forces to the plummeting level of violence, has changed for the better - remarkably so.
If current trend-lines continue, it may not be long before Baghdad is safer for Iraqi citizens than the Washington-Baltimore metroplex is for US citizens. Iraq's government is working, its economy is booming - and its military has driven the concentrations of terrorists and militia from every one of Iraq's major cities.
And our troops are coming home. Where's the failure?
The REAL "Two Americas"
13% who believe in wealth redistribution and 84% who don’t.
Guess which group Democratic Sen. Barack Obama belongs to.
The numbers are from the Gallup Poll.
The Question: “Which approach should the government focus on to fix the economy: 1. Take steps to more evenly distribute wealth among Americans; 2. Take steps to improve overall economic conditions and the jobs situation?”
Overwhelmingly Americans chose the latter.
They remember Jack Kennedy, who said a rising tide lifts all boats.
Obama is among the 13% who want wealth redistribution. ...
Read the rest.
You can't make this stuff up...
How to possibly put into descriptive words the sheer insanity of our malignant Federal Bureaucracy? How would you explain to your Grandchildren their plight, and what caused it to be that way: how would you tell them (so they would believe you) how it could have been so simple for Politicians to collectively hypnotize so many people into a belief that granting tyrannical, faceless, impervious, obtuse Federal bureaucrats more power over their lives was somehow a "good" thing? Good luck explaining that one.
BECAUSE IT'S NOT AS IF WE NEED MORE ENERGY: U.S. Halts Solar Projects Over Environment Fears.
Okay: Nukes are out, coal is filthy, wind power destroys Ted Kennedy's view, and solar leads to "environment fears." Do they just want us all to freeze in the dark? Pretty much, I'd say . . . .
(Via Sonic Frog). Seems like this would be a good campaign issue for somebody . . . .
Many have spoken of the evils of Government over the years, but somehow even quotes which stand the test of time do not do justice to the staggering incompetence and lust for power that governmental "authority" engenders:
Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.
Government is actually the worst failure of civilized man. There has never been a really good one, and even those that are most tolerable are arbitrary, cruel, grasping and unintelligent.
--H. L. Mencken
So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.
Friday, June 27, 2008
America's "Informed" Electorate
Cartoon by Eric Allie (click to enlarge)
BLATANT HYPOCRITE: But Where's the Media on Obama's Gun Flip Flop??
A) Today??? (emphais mine):
"Obama Clarifies Position..."or, B) February 11 of this year???:
Is that becoming a familiar headline, or what? I hope someone is compiling them all. Today, it was the Supreme Court's gun decision: "Obama clarifies position on D.C. gun ban":Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama Thursday sought to clarify his position on a Supreme Court ruling striking down a Washington gun ban. ***
When asked about his reaction, Obama disputed the one outlined earlier by his campaign, ABC News reported.
When a reporter noted in November that the District's handgun law was constitutional, Obama distanced himself from the campaign, the network reported.
"I don't know what my aide said but I've been very consistent, I teach constitutional law," Obama said. "What I said was that I believe Second Amendment as being an individual right and have said that consistently. I also think that individual right is constrained by the rights of the community to maintain issues with public safety. I don't think those two principles are contradictory and in fact what I've been saying consistently is what the Supreme Court essentially said today."
Which is a ludicrous claim, even by Obama's standards. Here's an idea, though: maybe as part of this year's campaign, we could have a debate between Obama and his campaign staff;
So... AGAIN, for what, the 10th time since the campaign began, he throws another staffer under his Campaign Bus??? And they are actually buying it...
This is "a new kind of politics"???
('Meet the new boss, same as the Old boss...')
UPDATE: Even better: side by side:
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The 'Angel of Death': Mohammed Ali Ramin, and the Remaining Sand in the Hourglass
By now, at the tail end of 2007, we all know who Mohammad-Ali Ramin is. But when I first wrote about him some eighteen months ago he was a relative unknown, and aside from the odd flutter at the beginning of this year, when he claimed in a December 28th interview with a Tehran-based 'Baztab' news website that Hitler was Jewish, he is keeping his powder relatively dry. I still say, fasten your seat belts, it's going to be an explosive ride:
"We will acquire this [nuclear] technology and export it to all the 150 countries. This is the power we have not yet used."
Mohammad-Ali Ramin's looks are deceptive.
He is good looking with his soft, well manicured beard. His looks are either German or Scandinavian, blue eyes, light hair. Nothing threatening, charming smile; you'd invite him to your dinner party without a moments hesitation. Well almost....
Little would you know that you would be wining and dining the very reincarnation of Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Eichmann, Dr Josef Mengele dubbed 'The Angel of Death', you name it, take your pick, improved only in looks and finesse. Pure, unabashed, soft-spoken evil. Measured in tone, deliberate and utterly confident in everything he says. He's not a psychopath, but someone who is absolutely convinced to occupy the moral high ground, certain of his convictions being sanctioned by Allah himself.
In response to Russian President Putin's remark, "..we have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the whole world 7 times over, but [we] do not talk like Iranian leaders do, so why do [they]?", he says:
"[We have] just woken up after 16 years of forgetting God. [...] Only 11 countries in the world [are] against Iran whereas there [are] some 150 states supporting Iran."
Ramin claimed that Ahmadi Nezhad's presidency [that's how 'Thug-in-Chief' Ahmadinejad is affectionately called by his close friends and admireres] had created a new global wave and that many world leaders had lined up to speak with him. He also stressed that Europe and the US were entirely incapable of threatening Iran.
Who is Mohammad-Ali Ramin and why should we pay very close attention to what he has to say?
He is what Joseph Goebbels was to Hitler. He is the brain behind "Thug-In-Chief" Ahmadinejad, his hard-line presidential advisor.
He is the editor-in-chief of Emamat monthly, a founder of the Association of the Islamic Path in Europe, director of the Holocaust seminar in Tehran, and secretary-general of the new "world foundation for Holocaust Studies".
Like Ahmadinejad, he too is a member of the Shi'a branch of Islam, that rejects the first three Sunni caliphs and regards Ali, the fourth caliph, as Muhammad's first true successor.
He is Ahmadinejad's architect of the Caliphat, charged with the careful planning and realization of the global Dar-al-Islam, the time when Islam has subjugated the whole world, the time when Islam will be 'tolerant' for there will be none left to oppose or differ.
Read the whole thing, there is more. And be very concerned--this was last year; there is very little time left before an Obama or McCain Presidency. Very little time...
John Bolton thinks Israel will move themselves after the election--I think that may be waiting too long--and I think it is going to have to be a joint effort if there is to be success. Unfortunately I am not so sure Olmert has the cojones to do it... (or Bush, for that matter). Yet--my intuition tells me that it either is going to happen this year, or else it is going to go very badly. Just a very bad and ominous feeling...
Here are the logistical facts about any attack on Iran: it needs to happen while our troops are still deployed in the region. There is not much time left where that can be assured.
50 years from now, people will look back and fully understand the harsh choices that the President of the United States is facing right now. They will also know whether that decision eventually resulted in an American holocaust--or an American victory. What if they look back and teach their children in their History classes that waiting out the election was too late for the United States and the West?
Compromising the reality of strategy, battlefield tactics, and the land mines of a Presidential Election year is not a job I am envious of. I wouldn't want the decision Bush may have to make--but if I did have to make the call, and if there was any doubt as to whether giving it that much time would mean the difference between success and failure, I would go now. Let the politicans howl. This is real life; this is not theater. For the United States, winning is the only thing. That is the reality--and I believe the storm is coming soon.
I don't think many Americans understand this yet, what with our being so addicted to the cable news cult of personality culture--but it is time to choose sides.
If it has to be, Mr. President, make it so.
... and yes, elections DO matter.
This is like Dukakis in the Tank. Seriously.
Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
Stevens' Dissent: Alternative Reality worthy of a High School Term Paper
Associate Justice John Paul Stevens.
OK. so this is from Stevens' permanent contribution to the Court record, in the year's encore performance for the term. This is the Big Dissent of the 5-4 decision to actually UPHOLD the Constitution, for all future law graduates and historians, who will hang on every word--why did they do it, they will say?. You don't see Second Amendment cases like this very often. Today was a big deal.
And so all the buildup for the big moment... and then, this?? (link via Glenn Reynolds)
Well they are seeing them now. Heh.
Comment on to previous post points out at p.2 of the Stevens dissent he refers to NFA and US v. Miller: "Upholding a conviction under that Act, this Court held that..."
Same mistake the 9th Circus made years ago and had to issue a new opinion, since Miller was never convicted -- commentators noted this was pretty suggestive the court hadn't bothered to read Miller before citing it. First thing you look for in reading a case is what happened below, and what the Court do to that. Very first thing.
I'd add that at 41 he refers to:
"In 1901 the President revitalized the militia by creating the 'National Guard of the several States,' Perpich 496 U.S. at 341 and nn. 9-10."
Reading that part of Perpich v. Dodd: It says in 1901 President Roosevelt called for reforming the militia. He didn't create the National Guard (where would he have had the authority?)
On the next page Perpich says that Congress in 1903 enacted the Dick Act, which created the "National Guard of the Several States." Footnote 11 of that opinion, referring to creation of the Guard, begins: "The Act of January 21, 1903, 32 Stat. 775, provided in part..." So I guess he didn't read the Perpich case, either, let alone verify the dates and who did what.
And none of the four signing onto this opinion, and none of their clerks, saw these items?
All this because of President Ford's Nixon-guilt-trip. What an embarassment.
Did Democrat Delahunt Imply AQ should harass (or kill) Cheney Aide? Looks that way...
Dispicable. Beyond contempt.
Seriously though, in a just world, this little partisan stunt truly is worthy of censure or even impeachment. This man exemplifies everyting vile about American politics in general and the Marxist Reactionaries which have now become the Status Quo for the Democrat Party (emphasis mine):
It must be out of context. Even if you’re willing to believe he’s this indecent, surely the media microscope is enough to keep congressmen away from fantasizing publicly about their political enemies being killed by terrorists. So let’s assume he meant something else. What did he mean?
[Cheney chief of staff David] Addington told [Democratic Rep. Bill] Delahunt he couldn’t discuss specific techniques being used, or even discussed for use, by CIA agents because terrorists may be watching his appearance and would gain insight into what U.S. intelligence agents are up to.
“You kind of communicate with Al Qaeda if you do. I can’t talk to you because Al Qaeda may watch C-SPAN,” Addington said.
Delahunt responded: “I’m sure they are watching. I’m glad they finally have a chance to see you, Mr. Addington, given your penchant for being unobtrusive.”
Actually, that transcript’s not accurate. Watch the clip at Think Progress — which, predictably, has not a word of criticism for Delahunt (but would screech if the party affiliations here were reversed) and seems mystified that discussions of sensitive security matters might be reserved for, say, closed sessions of Congress or classified congressional briefings. “Yeah, I’m sure you’re pleased,” says Addington sarcastically, suggesting that he took Delahunt’s crack to mean … exactly what it sounds like he meant.
In case you want to tell the Congressman how you feel about it, the switchboard for Congress is (202) 224-3121. Specific office numbers here. Caution--don't get yourself in trouble: just tell his office how you feel, but don't be vulgar or make threats. With Delahunt and his cadre of persecutors, there is already plenty of vulgarity to go around.
UPDATED CONSTITUTIONAL SIGNS OF LIFE: Supreme Court Locates Second Amendment in Heller Case--DC Gun Ban Unconstitutional
Two steps towards tyranny in the last two weeks, but--today at least--one step towards the Law of the Land (via Allah):
Just across at SCOTUS Blog. 5-4, which means Kennedy was the deciding vote — or, if you prefer, Alito was the deciding vote. Would O’Connor or Harriet Miers have voted the same way? If nothing else, Bush at least delivered this.
Stand by for the opinion.
The court’s 5-4 ruling strikes down the District of Columbia’s 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision goes further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.
Update: Here’s the opinion at SCOTUS Blog. They’re getting hammered by Drudge so e-mail us if you can’t access it there and I’ll upload it elsewhere.
As predicted the other day, this ruling did not necessarily affirm any type of weapon ought be available to the general population. But it does for the first time establish a precedent that the occasional need during civil unrest or collapse of institutions for "self regulated militias" does not preclude the individual's right to own "common" weapons for self defense. For now anyway, that particular argument is kaput.And, (as was also predicted) Scalia did not infer that the 2nd Amendment granted any individual the right to any specific weapon, and he even went so far to say that it was reasonable to restrict certain "special" arms from the general public (WMD's is my own extreme example of this logic...).
On the other hand, in a circumstance where order might completely break down in the US today, e.g. due to some nuclear catastrophe or the detonation of a "pulse weapon" (a distinct possibility--especially with a President who appeases our Jihadist enemies and the states arming them); then a militia was envisioned as being arguably necessary by the Founders (and this was restated in today's opinion). If so, in our scenario, let's just say that armed drug lords and/or Hezbollah-equipped fighters (Chavez thugs, FARC types, Sandinistas etc.), armed with AK-47's were to come flowing across the border in an incursion or hostage-taking type scenario, to commit terror acts, or to otherwise try and fill a "disorder vaccum" which such a catastrophe might create; at this point the "need" for citizens to utilize its "militia" arguably ought to also include the Founders' intent: to be a sufficient deterrent to allow citizens to keep order and defend its society and families. Reading Scalia's opinion today, to me it at least implies that the intent for "militia" in such circumstances is that they at least be equipped with sufficient arms required for it to be an effective deterrent.
To the extent that an armed insurgency with hundreds or thousands of the most plentiful weapon on earth (i.e. AK-47's) could easily trample over a Constitutionally mandated "deterrent"--because the arms necessary to defeat our adversaries were restricted from our own citizens (and the "militia" they would form), it would render the Second Amendment's "self defense" deterrent virtually worthless.
This is clearly not the Founder's intent--and that is according to today's majority opinion. The needed restoration of order in such a circumstance is what Scalia explains is the very REASON that the Founders crafted and added in the "militia" preamble (see Scalia's quotes below).
As nice as they are in everyday situations for self defense--pistols and shotguns, e.g. are not likely to defeat foreign-trained adversaries armed with AK-47s in skirmishes or otherwise "equal" battle conditions...
To illustrate what I mean about the "intent", one must also understand the "arms parity" which was likely taken for granted at the time of the Founders: during the American Revolution and thereafter, the Continental Army (initially consisting of many individuals who joined variously-organized "militias" at the time with their own weapons) could be argued to have had then at least enough parity in selecting a "preferred firearm" (although arguably fewer cannons, etc. than the British had), that, when confronted by the British Regulars, the citizen militias' weaponry was sufficient to provide the intended deterrent force--i.e. to prevail over a tyrannical, but "modernly-armed" force that would otherwise establish a non-Constitutional authority or otherwise terrorize the citizenry.
In other words, many if not most citizens during the time of the crafting of the Constitution--especially those in the frontier areas--had virtually the same flintlock rifle as a standard weapon as arguably any armed force on earth at that time, including the British. For me anyway, this historical fact suggests that there still may be some grey area to be decided about just how weapon technology should play into this implied right, especially in light of today's ruling. What weapons available today (should Governmental restrictions be guided by such a rule) would serve a "militia's" Constitutionally implied purpose in the modern day, ie. to provide an effective deterrent to insurgency or attack under extraordinary circumstances?
I would argue that in order to be a true "deterrent" against an organized insurgency who arguably would not have the same constraints or their ability to utilize more advanced weaponry, should there not be some sort of balance found as to what other weapons might be appropriate to allow our law-abiding citizens ( presumably after background checks, proficiency tests, etc)--beyond handguns, shotguns, and single-fire rifles--in the event of a such a chaotic and life-threatening circumstance? (which arguably is more likely today even than it was during the Cold War...)
Obviously Scalia is not the sort likely to easily "invent" a broader interpretation and infer that it was the Founders' intent to give every American an automatic weapon--nor would I want him to. That after all is what the Judicial Activists do, for example, in Boumediene. But it does seem to me that Scalia has left enough of a crack in the anti-gun facade that future Courts may well be called on to rule on finer points of arms technology, for example should a Border State like Texas decide that such a deterrent might indeed be necessary to fulfill the Founder's intent for individuals (who would organize as the militia in such circumstances), is the State not entitled to pass a law that would allow its lawful citizens the wherewithal to provide a clear "deterrent" to such aggression?
Call it my own fascination for weaponry, but I think it is a valid question.
But do not get me wrong: today's ruling is great progress against the anti-gun lobby, without question: because the part of this case which most persons (including myself) were most concerned about was that Heller specifically was reviewed because a clarification on the connection between the "militia" preamble, and the operative clause of the Second Amendment "the people's right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed"--was being directly challenged by the lower courts' litigation.
And while--as noted above-- the 2nd Amendment does not specifically say what type of arms are within that "right", the Court has now held that this sweeping handgun ban clearly violates that 2nd Amendment right; not only that, but Scalia and the other "Constructionists" appear to have been at least persuasive to a majority that handguns often have been the only difference between the now affirmed individuals' right to self defense and an outcome that could ultimately cost that individual his life.
In effect, the court ruled specifically that the individual right did not depend on the "militia" preamble.
This in itself is miraculous, especially based on the other repugnant decisions which have come down this term. Perhaps the brilliance and persistence of Scalia, combined with his obvious knowledge of this topic, were enough to win the day. At the very least, the fickle Justice Kennedy (I am being kind today...) apparently was persuaded by Scalia's undeniable citation of historical precedent regarding the intent of the Second Amendment:
We reach the question, then: Does the preface fit with an operative clause that creates an individual right to keep and bear arms? It fits perfectly, once one knows the history that the founding generation knew and that we have described above. That history showed that the way tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the able bodied men was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the people’s arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents. This is what had occurred in England that prompted codification of the right to have arms in the English Bill of Rights.I am very relieved; in fact I may just go to the range later this afternoon to celebrate!
The debate with respect to the right to keep and bear arms, as with other guarantees in the Bill of Rights, was not over whether it was desirable (all agreed that it was) but over whether it needed to be codified in the Constitution. During the 1788 ratification debates, the fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia was pervasive in Antifederalist rhetoric. [See, e.g., Letters from The Federal Farmer III (Oct. 10, 1787), in 2 The Complete Anti-Federalist 234, 242 (H. Storing ed. 1981).] John Smilie, for example, worried not only that Congress’s “command of the militia” could be used to create a “select militia,” or to have “no militia at all,” but also, as a separate concern, that “[w]hen a select militia is formed; the people in general may be disarmed.” [2 Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution 508–509 (M. Jensen ed. 1976) (hereinafter Documentary Hist.). ]
Federalists responded that because Congress was given no power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, such a force could never oppress the people. [See, e.g., A Pennsylvanian III (Feb. 20, 1788), in The 26 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER Opinion of the Court Origin of the Second Amendment 275, 276 (D. Young ed., 2d ed. 2001) (hereinafter Young); White, To the Citizens of Virginia, Feb. 22, 1788, in id., at 280, 281; A Citizen of America, (Oct. 10, 1787) in id., at 38, 40; Remarks on the Amendments to the federal Constitution, Nov. 7, 1788, in id., at 556.]
It was understood across the political spectrum that the right helped to secure the ideal of a citizen militia, which might be necessary to oppose an oppressive military force if the constitutional order broke down. It is therefore entirely sensible that the Second Amendment’s prefatory clause announces the purpose for which the right was codified: to prevent elimination of the militia.
The prefatory clause does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting. But the threat that the new Federal Government would destroy the citizens’ militia by taking away their arms was the reason that right—unlike some other English rights—was codified in a written Constitution. JUSTICE BREYER’s assertion that individual self-defense is merely a “subsidiary interest” of the right to keep and bear arms, see post, at 36, is profoundly mistaken. He bases that assertion solely upon the prologue—but that can only show that self defense had little to do with the right’s codification; it was the central component of the right itself.
All in all this was a horrible term for the Court. But today, at least, there is a silver lining, and it is a pretty big deal.
But will that be enough if a Marxist Obama is allowed to put more Activists/Bench Legislators on the Court to overrule this precedent as the Activists have so casually ignored other precedent this year? Only if all the conservatives on the court (plus, presumably someone at least as fence-riding as Kennedy) would outlast any Democrat Administration. But even in this event, an opportunity to replace a retiring "Activist" with a Justice who understands his/her appropriate role within the Constitution: to interpret it and, not to AMEND it themselves with no input from the people or the President--is critical now more than ever, especially with all these 5-4 decisions, many of them indefensible and outrageous in regard to the actual Constitution that is our Social Contract.
This Court's term (even the "appropriate" rulings like today's) is a clear argument for just how critical the Presidency is--if for no other reason than: if there are no checks against a runaway Court, we could lose everything.
Obama's Court appointments would be like adding gasoline to the flames--he has already assured voters multiple times in the debates that he would appoint more Activists to the Court and to the Appeals Courts who would arguably ignore the terms of this "contract" between the Government and its citizens at any given time, on a whim or based on some sick notion of "consensus".
Therefore, even if there was no other reason to vote for John McCain (which some of my betrayed Conservative friends believe), after the unbelievable damage to our Liberty that this Court has inflicted over this term (while augmenting the "liberties" of our sworn blood enemies abroad to the level of "Constitutional rights"...), it follows that the President's role in appointing new Justices is one UNDENIABLE reason that McCain is really the only sane choice this year, that is if we have a hope in hell to keep our country from descending into the abyss of Judicial tyranny.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Cartoon by Chuck Asay (click to enlarge)
RE-UPDATED: Supreme Kangaroos CONTINUE to write "Legislation" AGAINST the Will of the People
These guys are a national disgrace. And I don't care if you agree with the morality of the Death Penalty or not. It is not the Court's role to make moral judgments for the people.
Another extra-Constitutional decision, creating law and precedent where there was none, and overruling the expressed will of the people.
And to think--I was always thought that We the People make the laws... I thought this was OUR country. Silly me...
Via Sweetness and Light:
From the Agence France-Presse:US Supreme Court rejects executions for child rape
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the death penalty should not apply to a man convicted of raping a child, saying that capital punishment only applies to murderers.
"The Eighth Amendment (of the US Constitution) bars Louisiana from imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim’s death," said the justices in a 5-4 decision.
In its ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the high court cited a "national consensus" reflected in the vast majority of US states that did not have laws allowing capital punishment for the crime of child rape.
Given previous court rulings and its interpretation of the US Constitution, the justices held that "the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the crime of child rape."
The case involved an appeal by lawyers for Patrick Kennedy, 43, who was sentenced to death in 2003 for raping the daughter of his girlfriend five years earlier, when the child was eight years old.
Since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States in 1976, it has only been carried out for crimes of murder.
In 1977 the Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of a rapist, saying the punishment for the crime was excessive and fell under the constitution’s proscription of "cruel and unusual" punishment…
This is just the latest fatwa from the five Imams on the Supreme Court.
In its ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the high court cited a "national consensus"
Remember when the Supreme Court used to make its rulings based on the Constitution?
And how do they know this is the national consensus? And will they follow the "national consensus" on other issues, such as abortion?
Meanwhile, here is the musty old Eighth Amendment says in toto:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Which somehow has been twisted by five mullahs to mean:
"The Eighth Amendment (of the US Constitution) bars Louisiana from imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim’s death," said the justices in a 5-4 decision.
Even the worst Muslim scholars would not be so daring.
Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Montana, Louisiana, Florida and George all have legislation allowing the death penalty for child rape.
Apart from them, other states and their citizens believed they could allow the death penalty for other crimes besides murder.
Other Statutes allowing the death penalty for non-murder crimes
Treason (Arkansas, Calif., Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Washington)
Aggravated kidnapping (Co., Idaho, Il., Missouri, Mont.)
Drug trafficking (Fl., Missouri)
Aircraft hijacking (Ga., Mo.)
Placing a bomb near a bus terminal (Mo.)
Espionage (New Mexico)
Aggravated assault by incarcerated, persistent felons, or murderers (Mont.)
Federal capital statutes for non-murder crimes
Espionage (18 U.S.C. 794)
Treason (18 U.S.C. 2381)
Trafficking in large quantities of drugs (18 U.S.C. 3591(b))
Attempting, authorizing or advising the killing of any officer, juror,or witness in cases involving a Continuing Criminal Enterprise, regardless of whether such killing actually occurs (18 U.S.C. 3591(b)(2))
A "NATIONAL CONSENSUS" AS A BASIS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL LAW???? Well then. let's just have a National Plebiscite anytime there is a question of Consensus and settle that argument once and for all! I mean, now that "national consensus" enters into the question at all, who needs the court anymore??? We'll just find that "consensus" for every case. We'll just put every case to the whim of the national "mood" and the media mouthpieces....
Seriously, why have a Constitution? It is irrelevant as of Boumediene and as of this abomination.
Remembering Ben Franklin's haunting words in 1789: I want to pose a serious question to serious people; is this an indication that we nearing the End of the Republic? It really does makes you wonder. Staggering; First Boumediene--now this??? If this keeps up, one day the people will take it to the streets.
UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt's site has quotes from Alito's dissent. Still waiting to see Thomas' and Roberts' (emphasis mine):
"The Court today holds that the Eighth Amendment categorically prohibits the imposition of the death penaltyfor the crime of raping a child. This is so, according to the Court, no matter how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted, and no matter how heinous the perpetrator’s prior criminal record may be. The Court provides two reasons for this sweeping conclusion: First, the Court claims to have identified "a national consensus" that the death penalty is never acceptable for the rape of a child; second, the Court concludes, based on its "independent judgment," that imposing the death penalty for child rape is inconsistent with "‘the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.’" Ante, at 8, 15, 16 (citation omitted). Because neither of these justifications is sound, I respectfully dissent."Congratulations to all the child rapists and sadistic torturers out there: you are now a "protected class"... NAMBLA must be popping corks about now...
And, the dissent concludes:
"In summary, the Court holds that the Eighth Amendment categorically rules out the death penalty in even the most extreme cases of child rape even though: (1) This holding is not supported by the original meaning of the Eighth Amendment; (2) neither Coker nor any other prior precedent commands this result; (3) there are no reliable"objective indicia" of a "national consensus" in support of the Court’s position; (4) sustaining the constitutionality of the state law before us would not "extend" or "expand" the death penalty; (5) this Court has previously rejected the proposition that the Eighth Amendment is a one-way ratchet that prohibits legislatures from adopting new capital punishment statutes to meet new problems; (6) the worst child rapists exhibit the epitome of moral depravity; and (7) child rape inflicts grievous injury on victims and on society in general."
The Hewitt page also has a link to this analysis of the Court overruling the will of States.
UPDATE: Entire opinion here. Alito's dissent from pp. 42-65. More Alito money quotes courtesy of Hot Air:
This decision is "moral depravity". And yet another BLATANT violation of the Social Contract between our Government and its Citizens.
With respect to the question of moral depravity, is it really true that every person who is convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death is more morally depraved than every child rapist? Consider the following two cases. In the first, a defendant robs a convenience store and watches as his accomplice shoots the store owner. The defendant acts recklessly, but was not the triggerman and did not intend the killing. In the second case, a previously convicted child rapist kidnaps, repeatedly rapes, and tortures multiple child victims. Is it clear that the first defendant is more morally depraved than the second?
The Court’s decision here stands in stark contrast to Atkins and Roper, in which the Court concluded that characteristics of the affected defendants—mental retardation in Atkins and youth in Roper—diminished their culpability. Nor is this case comparable to Enmund v. Florida, 458 U. S. 782 (1982), in which the Court held that the Eighth Amendment prohibits the death penalty where the defendant participated in a robbery during which a murder was committed but did not personally intend for lethal force to be used. I have no doubt that, under the prevailing standards of our society, robbery, the crime that the petitioner in Enmund intended to commit, does not evidence the same degree of moral depravity as the brutal rape of a young child. Indeed, I have little doubt that, in the eyes of ordinary Americans, the very worst child rapists—predators who seek out and inflict serious physical and emotional injury on defenseless young children—are the epitome of moral depravity.
UPDATE: This is the crime for which the defendant now is allowed to live, in "law" crafted out of thin air by these Justices. This Court is a joke. You can see why even Barack Obama is (at the moment...) disowning this one--one can never count on one of his positions longer than a weak, however.
UPDATE: With this decision, the US and the Muslim fundamentalists are in better "alignment"...