Posts Tagged ‘law’

The Real Motive For Going After “Assault Weapons”

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

For Your Own Good?

I’d like to discuss this subject rationally with my readers, and that means we must dismiss emotion from the subject.  The passions inflamed by discussions of gun bans, as well as the debate over their legitimacy and purpose are sure to take any debate to the brink, so rather than fill volumes with useless rhetoric, I’d like to cover a bit of ground most of the media, even conservative outlets, won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.  People on the pro-Second Amendment side of this argument are quick to point out the very real statistics that demonstrate fewer people in the United States are murdered in a given year with all rifles, including the subset consisting of so-called assault weapons, than are killed in the city of Chicago with handguns in that same year.  This statistic should be stunning to those who had swallowed the media hype about so-called “assault weapons,” but the simple fact of the matter is that such weapons account for a statistically insignificant number of murders in the US, according to the FBI’s own crime figures.  Knowing this, it is reasonable to ask why it would be that the gun-grabbers would focus on this contrived class of weapons for their immediate gun-ban agenda.  There are just a few reasons, and they’re all important to understanding their agenda, but one is absolutely critical.

The first thing to understand is that by simple appearance, and since cosmetics largely define the classification, so-called “assault weapons” look mean.  Despite the fact that Grandpappy’s old-school Browning BAR in .30-06(7.62×63,) another semi-automatic rifle that is much more lethal, given the higher energy of its round versus an AR-15 in .223 or an AK-47  in 7.62×39, the Browning merely looks relatively innocuous compared to the menacing AR-15.  The truth is that a single round from any of the three could be lethal, but if I had to bet on which would cause more damage, I would put my money on the .30-06.  The .30-06 was the standard round the Army employed in its Springfield M1 Garand rifle, from the period covering the Second World War until its ultimate replacement with the M14 (.308) and the M16(the fully automatic cousin of the AR-15.)  The projectile of a .30-06 is an awesome round, and as George S. Patton observed, the Garand rifle was at the time what he considered to be “the greatest battle implement ever devised.”  Let us therefore conclude that there are indeed rifles with far more lethal capability that would not be considered “assault weapons” for the purposes of this ban.  It is therefore an obvious conclusion that this classification of weapons, defined almost entirely by cosmetic characteristics, was created entirely because they look more threatening than Grandpappy’s BAR and therefore make for better propaganda.

This is the classification of weapons that constitutes the most rapid growth in gun ownership in the country, excepting one:  Handguns. There are many more handguns in circulation than there are so-called “assault weapons,” meaning that as a purely political exercise, it will be easier to drum up some majority willing to ban “assault weapons.”  This political calculation is why the focus is on so-called “assault weapons:”  If the gun-grabbing camel is to get its nose under the tent-flap that is the Second Amendment, it must start with something that is owned by a relatively smaller albeit rapidly growing segment of the populace. If too many obtain weapons in this class, it will be more difficult to ban them, and so the gun-grabbers must act now to the extent they are able.

So-called “assault weapons” generally share another characteristic that gives them broad appeal both among civilian sportsmen and police or paramilitary organizations:  Compared with many of the rifles that look  more innocuous, they can be mastered and handled by a much larger segment of the population, because felt recoil is reduced to levels that do not jar one’s bones, and they are typically light enough that the do not cause extensive fatigue for the shooter. Because of their relatively simplified design, they are easily maintained by even an inexperienced novice.  Most of them share various types of ammunition that are lightweight and inexpensive, giving them broad appeal.  Since the expiration of the 1994 “Assault Weapons” ban in 2004, millions or even tens of millions of this type of firearm have been produced or imported into the United States, although most of the imports have been “sporterized” (removing many of the cosmetic features defining them as “assault weapons”) in order to comply with US Customs restrictions and regulations imposed by the BATFE. What this means to statist gun-grabbers is that so-called “assault weapons” are the most effective weapons with which to stave off any tyrannical moves by the government.

Their low recoil, easy portability, durability, weather and dirt resistance are all features common to their military cousins.  The ease of maintenance, the high capacity magazines, and the relatively inexpensive ammunition mean that these weapons would be of indispensable use to those who comprise “the militia” as defined by our founders, who were not discussing and did not intend “The National Guard” by their description.  The founders of our country and the framers of our constitution envisioned a militia made up of every able-bodied male, able to bear arms in defense not only of the country in time of invasion or insurrection, but in defense of liberty if the source of insurrection were to become the legalized sort characterizing every despotic form of government the world has ever known.  Knowing this, it’s important to realize that so-called “assault weapons” are the focus of fear among the anointed who may have other plans for our republic.  It is for this reason that they seek to ban them, because this is the sole weapon classification in broad distribution among the American people that makes a meaningful resistance to arbitrary governmental actions possible.

It is for this reason that the gun-grabbing left wishes to deprive you of so-called “assault weapons,” knowing that they resemble in many respects their military cousins, minus the ability to operate in fully-automatic mode.  In truth, a well-skilled group of veterans, or average citizens could hold off a similarly sized military force for some time unless heavier weapons were brought to bear against them.  From the moment the ATF carried out its botched raid on the Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel, TX, it was clear to all who watched that a superior force of government agents could be held at bay indefinitely until there was an application of larger, military class weaponry.  So-called “assault weapons” have no application in defense against tanks.  It was in response to this raid that the assault weapons ban of 1994 was crafted.  It’s also worth noting that as much as the broad-based backlash against Hillary-care, the AWB of 1994, passed by Congress in September, was instrumental in fueling the “Republican revolution” in November that year.

What the events in Waco made plain to the elites is that armed resistance is possible, and while it would be relatively easy to contain small enclaves of resisters in compounds simply by the application of superior firepower and military equipment, putting down a wider resistance might prove difficult. On a broader scale, with a resistance across the entire population, perhaps even on the offensive rather than hunkered in bunkers awaiting the end of the world, such a resistance might well overturn a runaway government despite its advantage in heavy weapons and military equipment.  This was a shock to the powers-that-were, and it posed to them a new danger that spoke to a future moment when they might face justice for treason rather than a few dozens or hundreds of isolated radicals being dealt with in swift and severe fashion.

This may sound fantastic at first blush, but I beg you consider it if only to recognize the reasons why despite all of the illogical arguments made against “assault weapons,”  the political class in our nation’s capital have a very strong reason to see the citizenry of the nation deprived of “assault weapons.”  In their jaded but pragmatic view, citizens may use their shotguns, their handguns, and even Grandpappy’s old-style Browning rifle, to kill a deer, or even one another, but politicians are largely protected from these, and more importantly, they represent no meaningful offensive capacity in a theoretical war against the aggressions of government. Not since the advent of modern military weapons have the American people had at their disposal so effective a means by which to resist arbitrary government, and you had better believe that the government knows it.  Whatever doubts they may have had evaporated during a morning raid in 1993 at the door of a religious enclave that had been obsessed with the end of the world.  From that moment forward, it was realized and understood by the political ruling class that they must relieve the American people of that capacity.  In 1994, they made the first attempt to do so.

In the eights years since the expiration of that law in 2004, many on the radical left have thought of little else but reinstating it, and you can bet that if they get it back in place, there will be no expiration this time, and no means save one by which to undo it.  There’s a widespread understanding in Washington DC that on our current fiscal and monetary path, massive civil unrest is virtually inevitable, but if it should eventuate while the American people retain the capacity for mass armed resistance, the eventual clean-up may not look quite like the anointed class had hoped.  It is for this reason that we must not permit them to ban our guns, and our “assault weapons” most of all, because the fact of their existence may constitute the only implement of detente in a cold war now waged by the forces of statism against the greater body of the American people.

Now you must understand why despite the illogical basis for the arguments, and in spite of crime statistics that demonstrate the irrational course of going after them, the statist gun-grabbers must act to deprive you first of so-called “assault weapons.”  Once deprived of these, you will maintain no other for long.   This concept was well understood by our founders, though in interceding generations, it has been neglected and white-washed by the statist intelligentsia.  In that vein, I offer you a few pointed reminders you should take care never to forget:

:
“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” – George Mason, during Virginia’s ratification convention, 1788.

“The power of the Sword, say the minority of Pennsylvania, is in the hands of Congress. My friends, and countrymen, it is not so for the powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. The unlimited power of the sword, is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” – Tench Coxe, Penn Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

“…but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights…” – Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist Papers 29

“There is something so far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the militia that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes of rhetoricians; as a disingenuous artifice to instill prejudices at any price; or as the serious offspring of political fanaticism. Where in the name of common sense are our fears to end if we may not trust our sons, our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow-citizens? What shadow of danger can there be from men who are daily mingling with the rest of their countrymen and who participate with them in the same feelings, sentiments, habits, and interests?” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers 29

“A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms…To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them…” -
Richard Henry Lee, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights. Additional Letters From the Federal Farmer 53, 1788.

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” – Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution(1787)

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, …” – Alexander Hamilton Federalist Papers 28.

Liberty Needs Your Help in Coryell County Texas

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Justice Denied

From time to time, we all encounter stories about a corrupt institution of local government, and we wonder at the mindset that must lie behind the corruption.  As it turns out, in my own area here in Central Texas, there is at least one corrupt institution of government, and if there is any justice on Earth, the demons who have used their authority to demolish a lady’s life will be made to pay.  Sadly, the system is rigged against her, and naturally, the authorities involved have a corrupt media in their pockets.  What makes this story all the more frightening for me, personally, is the fact that I know the lady involved who has been the ceaseless victim of an attack by cronyism between a few private interests and a local government.  I will now share with you this story, in the hope that you will find a way to help her cause.  We mustn’t leave government or justice to the corrupt sorts who use it for personal vendettas or personal gain, but in Coryell County Texas, the law has become the servant of criminals.

You should know that in Central Texas, one of the counties in the region is Coryell.  Its seat is the city of Gatesville, and its largest town, Copperas Cove, is on the Western edge of the Fort Hood military reservation.  To travel from Copperas Cove to Gatesville entails a thirty minute drive on Highway 116, a roadway that runs  parallel to the Western boundary of the military reservation.  It is along this rural Texas highway that this controversy was initiated, and it was enacted by parties in the Copperas Cove vicinity, and otherwise assisted by officialdom in Gatesville.  Before telling you the details of the case, let me tell you about its primary victim, a lady I have known for a dozen years, who is remarkable both in her person, but also in her personal history.  Her name is Marijeta Medverec, and if there is any justice in Heaven or on Earth, Coryell County will come to bear her name.

Marijeta is an immigrant to the United States.  She was born and raised in what had been Yugoslavia, when it was a part of the Soviet Bloc.  She was among the first handful of female fighter jet pilots in her country, being one of the first women in her country, and indeed in the world, to exceed the speed of sound.   She was also the first female pilot in her home country’s “commercial” air service.  She was trained in martial arts. When her son had a congenital heart condition, the government would not allow her to travel to the West to get it fixed, so she did something astonishing and courageous:  She defected.  She left behind everything, including her family, and defected to the West.

She went to the United States.  She joined the United States Army as a private.  She did so because she knew that it would increase her odds of being stationed in Germany, from where she would eventually smuggle her family out.  She had seen the villainy of socialism, and as one of that system’s premier examples of what a human could do, she went on to do even more.  She became a physician’s assistant, and she went on to retire from the U.S. Army as a Lt. Colonel, a disabled veteran and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom who has seen and done more in her life than most of us would ever imagine.

Marijeta was not yet finished, however, as she decided she would have a horse farm and riding school in order to work with disabled children and anybody at all who wished to learn the rigors of horsemanship and good animal husbandry.  She bought a small piece of land just North of Copperas Cove, Texas, where our case begins, and on her small sixty-acre parcel, she began to bring the horses she had already acquired, and began to add to this with more animals, including charity cases, such as an old blind horse, nearly 30 years old, and some others, whose owners could no longer afford to feed them in our current economic travails.  She worked at least two, but usually three full-time jobs as a medical professional in order to pay the feed bills, the hay bills, the vet bills, and still keep everything else going.

To say Marijeta is a driven person is to understate the matter.  She is the sort of person whose life is a refutation to all who say “life is hard, it’s not my fault,” and she is the very picture of human achievement.  I am a person who thrives on work, and I disparage readily those who lay about and complain about their situation, but truly, I am a mere shadow of the sort of person Marijeta has been across the whole span of her fruitful life.  She is clever, engaging, disciplined, and compassionate almost to a fault.  In the dozen years I have known Marijeta, I have never known her to do wrong by any living thing, except perhaps herself.

More is the irony that in July of 2012, Sheriff’s deputies arrived on her property and seized all of her livestock.  The oafs trailered out her old blind horse, her mares, her gelding, her prized breeding stallion, as well as her cattle(ten head) and her goats(45) and donkeys.  They left behind her guinea hens, her dogs, and her cats.  All of this was done in a highly-publicized media circus orchestrated by the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office.  The claim was that some of the animals were in imminent danger of death from some sort of neglect or mistreatment.  That claim is an utter lie, but one might wonder how it could be that such a claim would come to be made in the first place.

Marijeta had a brief marriage to a person of local notoriety in the Copperas Cove vicinity, and that man has friends.  That man actually introduced Marijeta some years ago to the Sheriff’s deputy, one of his buddies, and the man who turned out to be the officer who initiated the investigation that resulted in this seizure.  The warrant for the seizure was issued by Justice of the Peace Coy Lathan, an elected JP who has served in Coryell County, but who is neither an attorney nor a scholar, as defined by the standard meaning of those terms.  The warrant would never have passed muster in a real court, which is presumably the reason it was sought in the JP court.  I suppose that if you want to do something really ugly to somebody, you ought to begin in a Kangaroo Court where the authority is on your side, and easily swayed to your cause.

More, the JP Court is limited in law to issues in controversy not to exceed $10,000.  Any dozen of her animals would cross that threshold, and yet to the Kangaroo court this went without delay, a County Attorney playing hatchet-man and pulling stunts in open court that might have gotten him a contempt charge in a civilized county.  Why could he get away with it? Because Coy Lathan is apparently unfamiliar with the rules of civil procedure governing the conduct of a hearing or trial in a court in the State of Texas.

The Deputy who initiated and conducted the investigation was one of only two witnesses for the prosecution, a prosecution for which no actual charge existed at the time of the hearing-turned-trial, although one was subsequently concocted to fill in the blank on the form.  The other witness was a “friend of a neighbor” who had been in the vicinity of Medverec’s property twice in the period of a half-dozen years.  On Medverec’s side were a number of witnesses, including a licensed, practicing veterinarian, who had examined the animals only a few days before the seizure(when Medverec got suspicious about the poking-around by the Deputy in question.)  Other witnesses included a skilled farrier, who is also a police chief and animal control officer in another jurisdiction.  There were roughly two hands-full of witnesses on Medverec’s behalf.  Medverec’s attorney actually asked what sort of plea he should be entering, since he didn’t understand whether this legal farce was hearing or a trial, and what were the charges if it was the latter.  She was not accorded the ability to request a jury trial.  She was deprived of all the ordinary civil liberties accorded to the accused, because upon the commencement of the procedure(?), she hadn’t been charged with anything.    There was not even a court-reporter present to make a permanent legal record of the hearing/trial/farce.

Yes, this is the state of justice in Coryell County, Texas.  You may have had your own dealings with the “good ol’ boys” where you live, but these are prototypes for the worst of the breed.

In the end, after hearing all the testimony, Justice of the Peace Lathan(a damnable heresy that he should hold such a title) said he would retire to consider the case, and that he would issue his decision the following morning.  His decision defied all law, all equity, and all logic.  He ordered Medverec’s horses returned to her, but ordered that the county would keep her goats and cows in order to satisfy the cost of the care of her animals.  He ordered that a veterinarian must monitor her animals regularly.  (As if this wasn’t already the case???)  What he did was to steal from Medverec.  That’s it.  It was official oppression, and when she lawyered-up, they got a bit worried, so they backed-off but they could not help it:  Lathan had to try to hide his idiocy or corruption(coin toss?) in issuing such a warrant, and in issuing such a seizure order, and if he didn’t do this, the county would be stuck with the bill for the animals’ care, that should never have occurred in the first place.

Of course, if you think this ended the controversy, you’d be mistaken.  Medverec knows a thing or two about government oppression, and she’s fought worse thugs than these.  She instructed her lawyer to file a suit, and she is currently figuring out if she is able to file an appeal at present, since it turns out that in the rush to get her horses home, she may have waived the ability to appeal. The rush to get her horses home was caused by the fact that her thirty-nine head were sharing a one-hundred gallon water trough that remained empty most of the time, and in this mass environment, her horses were becoming injured.  They also had injured her stallion, at one point during the seizure process, threatening to shoot him, and actually drawing their guns on her when she attempted to intervene.  I want you to consider the picture of a woman of slight build, stepping between armed official thugs and a horse, and the thugs drawing their guns on her.  That’s what Marijeta is up against.  These people who were there to seize her animals from alleged “imminent danger of death” ran over one of her goats, killing it, and injured her prized stallion, subsequently turning out a herd of horses into a barren pasture with insufficient feed, hay, water, and shade.  Who was the imminent danger to her animals?

Now come the stories of threats.  The rumor is that the veterinarian who had examined her animals and who testified on her behalf in the show trial has been told that he will get no more contracts with the county, particularly if he continues to testify on her behalf in any future court actions.  A neighbor shot one of her guinea hens, on her property.  During the hearing, she had windows smashed and tires slashed.  There is no point in reporting it to the authorities since it seems the authorities may be in collusion with the criminals.  I have begun to fear for Marijeta’s life, as the sort of thugs who clearly run that backwards county are the very sort who would kill to silence the truth.  The media is not covering this, since they would now look like idiots, having trumpeted the phony story from the outset.  The relation between local media and local authorities is incestuous, at best.  How did the media know to be at some remote property in Coryell County for the seizure pictures and footage?  They were tipped, but who tipped them?  There is only one answer:  A person or persons within the County government were seeking a propaganda decapitation strike. The media has many relationships with local government, and in our vicinity, it is clear one can trust neither.

I will be updating this story as more information becomes available.  In the mean time, I need your help.  We need to bring severe scrutiny upon Coryell County.  The cattleman’s association there has already seen the danger implicit in this action, and is agitating for the ouster of the Sheriff.  Others in the community have had similar things done to them, and they are now beginning to tell their stories  to the slim degree the media will cover it.

I’ve had the distinct privilege to know Col. Medverec for more than a decade.  She’s a first-rate horseman, and she’s a talented, dedicated medical professional.  She’s a workaholic, and she doesn’t deserve this treatment here in her adopted home.  This travesty should never be permitted, and it’s clear that so long as the current government of Coryell County, Texas is left in place, there can be no justice for its residents, and there can be no safety for their rights either.  I am absolutely floored by the corruption implicit in this entire case, and that it seems to have been concocted by cronies only makes it worse.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Coryell County, Texas, where crooks wear badges and black robes while retired veterans with livestock are understandably nervous.

I would ask readers to contact the Texas Attorney General’s office on Col. Medverec’s behalf.

Email Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

You can also attempt to contact Coryell County Judge John Firth, chief administrator of Coryell County, not that it will do any good.

Email Judge Firth

For my part, I am going to use every resource I can in the area to battle on Medverec’s behalf.  This is a crime being enacted under color of law, a.k.a. “Official Oppression.”  Marijeta is a proud woman, and she has not solicited any sort of financial support, but I am going to ask her how people can donate to her defense against this outrageous act of corrupt government.

The Screams You Didn’t Hear

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

I refrained from posting on Friday, because while there was a rush to politicize the shooting just past midnight on Thursday in Aurora, Colorado, I frankly wanted to leave it be for a day.  Too many people in media were in too big a hurry to capitalize in some political fashion, and given the nature of the event, I must admit that I was spitting-mad.  I was mad at the culture of the left, for trying to immediately leap in to make propagandist pronouncements, and I was mad at the right for failing to see that one must choose one’s battles wisely.  The best thing for talking-heads to do on Friday was to shut the Hell up.  Most of those on the right did precisely that, but we also had the obnoxious spectacle of Mayor Michael Bloomberg attempting to advance his political position on the matter of gun control.  From the moment I heard Bloomberg’s comments, I became livid.  It had been bad enough with the episode of Brian Ross trying to tag the Tea Party with guilt by association, but hearing Bloomberg on the radio spiked my blood pressure, and I did something unusual.  I went off-clock, hopped in my car, drove to a wide-open space, and cursed all of these parasites at the top of my lungs.  Finished, I returned to work, leaving my most vicious contempt with the wind, where none will hear of it.

Having given this a day to settle in me, and having afforded the dead and their survivors the barest modicum of the respect they deserve, I am prepared to state my case:  These deaths needn’t have occurred, but it is the masterminds of the universe – characters like Mayor Bloomberg – whose preferred policies permit our people to be slaughtered by villains, defenseless in the face of mad-men.

Let me first state as a baseline of absolute clarity: One person is directly responsible for the deaths of and injuries to the victims in Aurora, Colorado. His name is James Holmes.  He plotted this cruel massacre, he planned his actions, he armed himself with vicious intent, and he carried out the slaughter.  He acted in cruel indifference to the liberties and lives of his fellow men, and for this crime, he must be tried and punished without remorse by the full fury of the instrument of Justice, wielding her sword without hesitation.  He must be removed from the face of the Earth with the deliberate action of the state in the name of the people whose rights it is sworn to protect.  Let us not discuss this part of the matter further, for there is no consolation or relief in it.  I don’t care for his particular motive, whatever twisted excuses he might concoct, or others might raise on his behalf.  He did it, and he must pay the only appropriate price.

Having covered the essentials facts relevant to the actor in this case, I now wish to deal with the generations of non-actors who demanded, through their intransigence, within their own sense of “moral” superiority, and from behind the fortress walls of the protected bubbles in which they live, that these victims be defenseless before the blazing guns of this mad-man.  I wish now to address the man who presides over the City of New York like a King, dictating that salt be stricken from the menu, that soft-drinks be limited to sixteen ounces, and that no law-abiding citizen may easily obtain a gun for his own defense.  There are many like him, and they are all equally guilty in abetting murder wherever law-abiding citizens have been deprived of the lawful ability to carry the means of their own defense.  Even in jurisdictions where concealed handgun permits are available, business owners, acting within their rights as property owners, often restrict patrons from bringing their weapons on the premises, irrespective of permits. Patrons at least have a choice as to whether they shall frequent such establishments, yielding their ability to self-defense.

What none of the political opportunists will tell you is that in every state in which concealed-carry permits are authorized, the incidence of violent crime against persons has fallen precipitously.  What none of these masterminds will tell you is that in all of the locales in which they have had their way, imposing gun control measures for their own nefarious purposes, these have become the deadliest cities in the country.  Chicago, New York, and Washington DC have among the tightest gun control regulations in the country, but they also remain at or near the top the list of violent murders by all weapons, including guns.   Once you have been armed with this knowledge, when Mayor Bloomberg addresses the media with his crass indifference to the murders committed under the shelter availed criminals by his sort of law, you should know that you are facing a man who is an accomplice, if not in the crime at hand in this case, then in others like it, numbering in the thousands, that draw little media attention because their victims number in ones and twos at a time, rather than in scores.

Do not tell me that we cannot know with certainty whether an armed citizen in the theater could have prevented some or all of this killing and maiming that visited this audience with gruesome indifference.  We do know with certainty that none were armed in defense of their own lives, and that the killer was unmolested on his way in and out of the auditorium.  What we also know, as Americans, but also as human beings in general, is that every person is entitled to defend his or her life, limb and liberty against brutal assault, but that none were able because they were faithfully abiding by rules that prohibited to them the instruments of their own possible salvation.

Make of it what you will, but every American ought to be outraged, as in instance after instance, killers seek out victims en masse, assembled for some peaceable, ordinary purpose, who are by virtue of the locale prohibited from their own defense.  To those who would argue that the killer might have succeeded anyway, given his body armor, I ask, since it appears by virtue of his booby-trapped apartment that he had a particular desire to take out cops if he were killed, why did he not launch his attack at a police station?  Why did he not attack people gathered at a practice range?  Why not?  He knew that the place he selected for attack was likely to be a weapons-free venue.  Unless there had happened to be an off-duty cop, he was likely to commit his mass murder unopposed.

The shooting at Virginia Tech was the same.  The gunman in that case struck where he could rampage unopposed, and it only ended when he decided to end it.  Major Hasan, at Fort Hood, knew full well that under ordinary circumstances, on an Army installation, despite the arms-rooms full of weaponry and bunkers full of munitions, soldiers do not walk around armed, and when on those rare occasions they train under arms, they do so without ammunition on hand.  A military base, should you penetrate its perimeter security, is a place where a shooter can rampage for some time without opposition, and Major Hasan was in the Army, so he knew this all too well.  He did not launch his attack in a restaurant off-post, where he might well be able to kill service-members, but might also encounter an armed civilian.  He knew his greatest chance of “success” in his spree of “work-place violence” would be where he would find legally disarmed victims.

More than two decades ago, when George Hennard rammed through the front of a Luby’s restaurant in Killeen, Texas, nearly within sight of the gates of the same Army post, he set in motion more than mass murder.  One of the survivors of that attack, Suzanna Gratia Hupp, whose parents were both killed in the assault, fought to see the concealed-carry law enacted.  She had a gun, but it was in her vehicle, as she did not wish to run afoul of the law, so she never carried it in her purse as she would have preferred.  Testifying in passionate words before the legislature, she explained how if only she had possessed the slightest idea that this attack was imminent, she would have risked all the sanctions of law to have her parents back.  Who would blame her?  She would have operated on the basis of the old maxim: “Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six,” but she had no idea an attack was only moments away as she walked into the restaurant.  Almost nobody ever does, except the killers.

We have seen these senseless acts of brutality enacted upon innocent people for too long to be mere bystanders caught up in the drama the media lays before us.  We have been told for generations that if we only stripped guns from law-abiding persons, or limited the types of guns, or prohibited this feature or that, our world and our lives would be safer.  It has never worked, and I don’t believe for one moment that the proponents of such laws believe it will have any effect, except perhaps to leave us defenseless against them.  Let me tell you what I do believe is their real motive:  They fear the day that we realize the treachery they’ve enacted, and that while they ride around in bullet-proof limousines that consume a gallon of gasoline in six miles because of their weight, and while they are escorted by well-armed bodyguards who are highly trained to react to any threat to their persons, and as they pontificate on the evil of guns upon which they rely to keep them safe, they have hypocritically, sanctimoniously argued that you should not be afforded the same privilege.

If you are part of the favored elite or privileged classes, whether a politician or celebrity, you will be afforded every exemption known to man, and you will be able to buy licensed private protection to care for your well-being.  If you are a single mom, on your way home from work with your children, you will have no such privilege when a hooligan smashes your window at a stoplight, sticks a gun in your face, and does unspeakable harm to you and your family.  If you are a retired school teacher, walking alone in the park, you will not have the benefit of such protection, or even the ability to defend your own person, outnumbered by multiple youthful attackers.  If you’re a young man on a date with your girlfriend at the movies, you will not be given the chance to defend her from a villain, all because the masterminds have decided you’re a bigger liability than you are an asset, by whatever twisted calculus they apply to the lives of we “lesser” men.  A father will be forbidden from wielding arms in defense of his children, because the geniuses have decided that there is an acceptable rate of loss to the inevitable mad-men who arise to commit heinous crimes against their fellow men.

Do you think the police can protect you?  On Friday night in New York, a police officer was stationed at every movie theater in the city, to give the appearance of security and to defraud the prospective movie-goers of that city into believing they would be safe.  Don’t go to the play, the musical, or the rock concert,  because all the cops are occupied elsewhere.  At this moment, the criminal element in New York is likely assessing the possibility of carrying out crimes at locations well away from movie theaters, knowing that the response times will be slower since the police are otherwise engaged.  Do you think thugs don’t watch CNN or FoxNews?  All around the country, cities are putting on a show of force at movie theaters, but that’s all it is: A show.

Ladies and gentlemen, we must no longer yield the means of our personal defense. We must not cede responsibility for our protection to the likes of Michael Bloomberg, who enjoys protection provided at taxpayers’ expense while we languish at the mercy of every would-be mass murder who would demonstrate that a “gun-free zone” is only gun-free so long as it is inhabited strictly by law-abiding citizens.  Too often, these venues are the precise targets of choice for those who would do others harm.  For once, as happened two decades ago here in Texas, the people of America should consider that rather than restricting the instrument on the basis of the preposterous notion that any one of us might lose our minds at any given moment, we ought again yield to the natural fact that none has a greater interest in or capacity for your defense than you. Not Mayor Bloomberg. Not even the most conscientious cop.  You.

Editor’s note: I realize some will take offense at my remarks above, particularly with respect to the Mushmouth of New York.  Tough.  His maniacal launching of an attack on the 2nd Amendment in the wake of this tragedy earned him all the contempt reasonable people may wish to heap upon him, and certainly much more than I have mustered here. He and his cohorts who opportunistically utilize such circumstances to advance their anti-freedom agenda are a blight on this country, and I will offer such charlatans no quarter in my assessments.

As for the people of Aurora, Colorado, particularly those who have suffered directly the grievous loss and the trauma of this nightmarish event, you have the sympathies and support of every American of good will.  When I have seen images from the scene, of first responders, health-care workers, and members of the community who have reached out to help their fellows in a time of despair, I am heartened by what are the inestimable good graces of so many fine people rendering all the aid they are able.  On this website, I often focus on the doom and gloom in which so much of our world seems to have become cloaked, but this day, in Aurora Colorado, while I see a grim tragedy, I also see reason for hope, not in some shoddy politician offering slogans, but in the actions and the fraternal love I see among the people there.  When I am asked why I am proud to be an American, it is because such people as these give light and love to our country even in its darkest hours, when it would be easier to simply turn it all off in order to avoid the horror.  I recently explained that I had been searching for America, and in the finest devotion to purpose, and in the greatest tradition of American spirit I’ve seen in a community wracked by terror, I have found her, and she is still thriving.  May those souls be at peace, and may America take their survivors into the bosom of her fullest compassion.

 

Talk Is Always Cheaper

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Oath or Bravado?

I have heard and read a good deal about a UN Convention on Small Arms Trade, a Treaty that some allege could ultimately result in the banning of firearms held by private citizens in the United States.  While I’m not certain that such a treaty could affect domestic gun rights, the idea is that such a treaty, ratified by the Senate, effectively becomes Constitutional law.  This argument is based on the notion that when the US enters into a treaty, it’s binding upon the government just like a constitutional amendment, although there are existing precedents in opposition to that view, including Reid v. Covert.  Imagining that such a treaty would disparage our 2nd Amendment rights, were such a thing to eventuate, who doubts but that some leftist in charge would enforce it as such, or that a Supreme Court led by the likes of John Roberts would uphold it as superseding our 2nd Amendment?  Who doubts that a Congress led by such cowards as now occupy those positions would subserviently enact all the funding mechanisms to support enforcement?  Rep. Benjamin Quayle(R-AZ,) and co-sponsor Todd Akin(R-MO) have introduced the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act of 2012, (H.R. 5846,) in response to this threat. It’s going nowhere.

The Treaty in question is being written as we speak, and while we don’t know its content, anything that would impinge upon our domestic rights would be a real attack on the Second Amendment the likes of which would be unprecedented in American history. Then again, Obama-care was an attack on individual liberties unprecedented in history.  Clearly, that there exists no precedent does not preclude a thing from being done, does it?  All my life, I have heard a fair number of oaths including the phrase “my cold, dead hands,” that being the condition in which the persons professing said sentiment would enter before their guns would be taken from them.  I’m not a betting man, but I personally believe most would turn in their guns without much more than a whimper.  I think a diabolical leader of ill intent would know that too, and I believe he’d be willing to test the thesis.  My question for you is simply: “Would Americans actually fight?”

This has always been my question, in fact, because I’ve been around long enough to know that many will say things that sound awfully tough, in terribly solemn tones in the first instance, but that most won’t live up to the billing in the second.  Most mature people are relatively risk-averse, and when they consider handing over their guns to maintain a nervous peace versus the idea of actually beginning a second war for Independence against an[other] aggressive government, I think most so-called “fearless Patriots” might just chicken out.  After all, by a slow process of incrementalism, the American people have let many of their liberties go without much more than a protest march or two, and not much more than a temporary backlash at the polls.  I believe a rabid Marxist holding the reins of power would realize this too, as would  his committed communist pals, and I think such a leader would be more than willing to go all the way and call some bluffs.  In fact, I think such a villain would see it as a win-win: If he calls the bluffs of the American people on this and they should happen to fold, he would have rid the country of guns, and made the American people defenseless in their own homes.  If he calls the bluffs, but they turn out not to be a bluff, he would have a good excuse to declare martial law, perhaps cancel elections, and wipe out a few hard-core conservatives along the way, if there is anything less than a perfectly united stance by American conservatives.

You might wonder why I am raising this issue now, and it surely arises in part from the recent talk over the treaty in question, but I am also asking the question because I’ve seen signs that we have no small number of surrender monkeys who call themselves “conservative.”  If the day should ever arrive when gun confiscations actually begin, and there is a resistance, it will fail if conservatives don’t act – not talk – in lockstep.  That would be a big play by by such a tyrant, for all the marbles, but it would also be a big play by Americans.  It would be truly a matter of pledging their “lives and their sacred honor,” because any such battle would commence a counter-counter-revolution.  What you learn from a lifetime of observation is that he who is more consistently committed wins every battle, every war, and every fight of any sort.  This is why I have cause to worry: I think many people make many professions by which may not abide when push comes to shove.

After all, if such a resistance were to break out, you would scarcely receive news of it.  Such a leader would use that new Internet shut-down switch to cut off that means of news dissemination.  He would order the FCC to shut down all cell phones, and shortly, all wired calls, broadcast, cable and satellite, along with radio, and the only thing you might be able to dial would be 9-1-1, or if you had a shortwave radio, begin to exchange information before the jamming commenced in earnest .  It’s what emergency exercises are intended to test.  Remember?  Neither would be trusted all law enforcement, nor all military.  Too many are Oath-Keepers(though not nearly enough for my comfort.)  What would result after a day or two is that the brain-addled multitudes would demand the restoration of their cable, their Internet, their phones, and their blessed text messages, so they would join the chorus from the left to put down any rebellion.  Think about it.  Fools all, yes, but fools who would provide a runaway government with every excuse it might ever need.

Every person must establish his or her own bright line across which government must not tread, or admit from the outset that he or she is a willing slave, but in the main, they do not admit it, and they make their lines dimly, and cover them over in hasty retreat when pressed.  The singularly most pressing reason to raise this at this time is that I believe too few have actually considered all those oaths about “cold dead hands,” and what they would actually demand.  After all, what that phrase implies is a willingness to literally enter a state of war against a runaway government that would claim legitimacy by virtue of some black-robed moron’s  judgment, or some heat-of-the-moment command from a would-be tyrant.  Any who take such things too lightly wouldn’t be the sort to be counted on in any case, because anybody who conceives of such things without deep prior contemplation of consequences isn’t very serious about it.  Australia was a nifty experiment for the global gun-grabbers, and they saw how the cold-dead-handers reacted there.   In a virtual flash, Australia was disarmed. Has Australia undergone a violent revolution? Have they repealed such measures?  If so, I’ve not read about it.

If you wonder what the radical communist left would count on, considering the hundreds of millions of guns and the eighty-million or more firearm owners as an obstacle to their plotting, you might wish to give a thought or two to this.  While alleged patriots who may or may not adhere to all of those oaths continue to make them, the radical left is surely plotting for the day in which they will make this a reality.  Larry Grathwohl’s story of three decades ago hasn’t changed, and some of the very people about whom he had been concerned are now members of government.  The question is whether they’ve thought this through, and I believe you can assume they have, and that’s something upon which I’m willing to bet.  Our founders must have been much more extraordinarily brave than we credit them with having been. Now go consider all those oaths anew.  Did you really mean them?  Time may tell. Something to ponder.

 

Are You Kidding Me? “Silver Linings” Again?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Is This a Joke?

I watched the Huckabee Show on Fox News this Sunday, and while Scott Pruitt, and Ken Cuccunelli(Attorneys General for Oklahoma and Virginia respectively,) both acquitted themselves reasonably well, Pam Bondi, the Florida Attorney General, and Huckabee himself, looked foolish. In truth, however, Cuccinelli said some troubling things, both in this appearance and earlier on Fox and Friends. I can even permit that Huckabee was playing dumb for the sake of dragging out answers to questions to which he really knew the answers, but if I was a Floridian, I would know that my state had been cursed with the dumbest Attorney General to appear regularly on TV. After discussing with the panel the absurd logic implicit in Roberts’ decision, and after positing the notion that Roberts had bent to pressure in switching his vote, Bondi went on to state that she believed Justice Roberts was of the highest integrity. What?

I don’t understand how one can be both the sort of noodle who wilts under pressure and simultaneously maintain one’s alleged integrity. The two notions simply don’t fit in the same conceptual soup. If one is true, the other is almost certainly false. She explained that Roberts was seeking to maintain the integrity of the court, but she didn’t explain how voting in what he knew to be exactly the wrong way accomplishes that end. I believe Pam Bondi is confused about the meaning of the word “integrity.” Being on Mitt Romney’s Health-care task force, this doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in that candidate’s promises.

(Fox News hasn’t made this segment of the Huckabee show available on-line – if they do, I will post it here.)

Pam Bondi is, after all, the same AG who bent to political pressure along with her governor, appointing a special prosecutor for the Trayvon Martin case, going after George Zimmerman for murder when all the evidence in-hand really suggests a murder charge is not warranted. In truth, Bondi’s appearance on Huckabee was riddled with similar incongruities in her apparent thinking, and one wonders if she’s qualified to be Attorney General in a State the size of Florida simply on the question of her mental capacity. Being charitable, she spoke like an empty-suited politician, full of hot air, most of it without any discernible meaning, and all of it intended to serve some aim other than to discuss the outcome of this case. Does she have other cases pending she expects to be elevated to the Supreme Court, hoping to win “nice points” with the wayward Chief Justice? Your guess is as good as mine, but after listening to her spewing gobbledygook, I really wanted to turn the channel, though I wound up suffering through the segment until the bitter end.

Another disappointment in the discussion, that I think would apply across the board to all the participants is how they all claimed this had not been foreseen, and that nobody had briefed on the issue of taxes, instead focusing on the commerce clause arguments. This is simply not true, because Landmark Legal Foundation, spearheaded by the brilliant Mark Levin, spent many pages in the Landmark amicus briefs (Here and here) discussing this very matter, taking great care to show how the penalty could not fit into the definition of any of the constitutionally allowable forms of taxation Congress has the power to impose. I like Ken Cuccinelli, and I think he’s a good Attorney General, but I wonder if in this case, he wasn’t a bit asleep at the switch. The same is true of Scott Pruitt. Wake up, fellas!

As for Huckabee, for a guy who has been “working tirelessly” to kill Obama-care, I would have expected he would know the issues a good deal more thoroughly than he did. After all, he did serve as governor of Arkansas, so one would tend to expect he’d have a little more sophisticated understanding of the legal matters, but I suppose it is possible that he was playing dumb to draw out answers, but honestly, that’s not the impression I got from his statements. It made the segment all the more baffling, and doubly disappointing. I kept waiting for him to break out the guitar and sing the Obama-care Blues.

I suspect our troubles with this law are worse than we may have imagined. The more I watch, the more I notice the tendency of some to shrug their shoulders and to tell us to “get used to it.” I have noticed that there is also a tendency to to paint this as though there is some positive, and I was surprised at Ken Cuccinelli’s attempt to tell us about “silver linings” to this decision. Watch this schlock from Fox and Friends:

 

What? There is no limit in this decision. The commerce clause was not restrained. There is no majority decision in restraining the commerce clause. It’s astonishing to see this, and while I know Mark Levin holds Cuccinelli in high regard in most instances, Levin has completely debunked these alleged “silver linings,” as has been discussed here already. Here is the first few minutes of Levin’s show of Friday, 29 June, 2012, to explain why Cuccinelli is absolutely wrong about his “silver linings” thesis:

Alternative content

The evidence of what Levin is saying is plainly evident in these two amicus briefs filed with the court going all the way back to 2011, both in the Florida suit, and the Virginia suit. No two states’ Attorney Generals should have been more prepared for the tax argument than AG Bondi and Cuccinelli, but they’re pretending that this material hadn’t been covered, and was completely unforeseen. Why? What’s the coverup? This is an embarrassment. Surely, somebody bothered to point this out to these Attorneys General before they embarrassed themselves all over Fox News on Sunday.

Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t pretend to have any special insight into this case, but I can read, and I can listen. What I’m reading and hearing these days from our ostensible leaders is that we ought to just suck it up, “accentuate the positives”(while pretending there are some,) and prepare to live with it. “But be sure to vote for us in November if you’re really, really mad!” There’s no excuse for these Attorneys General not knowing the briefs in this case, inside and out, and the fact that they don’t means they’re spending too much time in front of a camera and too little time practicing law. I realize they have clerks and associates, and junior attorneys to handle some of this, but let’s not ignore that while Mark Levin has been providing them the answers right along, they’ve been oblivious to the details. Mark Levin is a hero in this, and his Landmark Legal Foundation is doing great work, despite the fact that neither the court nor the states’ AGs seem to be paying enough attention, and if you want to know the difference between the leaders we have, and the leaders we ought to have, you need look no further. Dr. Levin would decline such a role, but that merely means we need to listen to his counsel all the more closely. I suspect he would be much more generous to these Attorneys General than I have been in this posting, but only because he is much more gracious than I.

I have maintained that in all such cases, we can discern who is with us, and who is against us, or at least those who may be ambivalent to the outcome. It’s becoming clearer in the wake of this ruling, and I think we conservatives should begin to recognize that when it comes to guarding our constitution against the statist hordes, we are all alone. It’s we conservatives against them all.

Do Conservatives Wish to Repair the Supreme Court?

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

We Can Fix This, YES WE CAN!

One of the things I love about the United States Constitution is that it is a living document, but its life is breathed into it not by some magic power to change its meaning, or change the meaning of the words in its text, as leftists do, but by the rules laid down within it, we have the ability to amend it, or replace it altogether, through the amendment and convention processes, respectively.  These are quite difficult and potentially dangerous processes, but this is why progressives have used dishonest means to change the impact of the Constitution on law.  They figure that the best way to get what they want is to place justices on the court who will undo the meaning of the Constitution.  The recent Supreme Court decision has left strict constructionists in a bit of a quandary: Here we have a wayward element within the court, the Chief Justice, no less, and it seems we’re to be stuck with him, probably for a long, long time.  What most people don’t realize about the Court, however, is that its size and most of the rules determining its power are set by Congress, and that the Constitution gives Congress said power.  There is a way to fix the court, but it would require a Congress with guts.  Imagine that such a creature were to exist.  What could Congress do to repair the Court?

Most people don’t study the Constitution, never mind history, so they’re unaware that Congress has the power to set the number of justices on the Supreme Court.  There is nothing locking us into the number nine, and there is nothing sacred about it.  As a cost-saving measure, since we now have another mindless entitlement program for which to pay, Congress could reduce that number to seven.  The Congress could apply the LIFO(Last In-First Out) rule to determine who stays.  This would lop off Kagan and Sotomayor, they having most recently joined the court.  In a punitive mood?  Want further cost savings?  We could make that number three, and by applying the LIFO rule, this would leave us with Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas.  I would like to know which of you conservatives wouldn’t favor that?

In 1937, the New Deal was getting hammered in the Court.  President Roosevelt’s agenda was running into resistance much as Obama’s has encountered conservative resistance these days, but with a two differences:  He owned both houses of Congress, but the Supreme Court at the time was busily overturning vast portions of the New Deal.  FDR’s plan was to push his agenda through by increasing the number of justices on the court until he had a liberal ruling majority.  The Senate cried foul, and momentarily, and FDR’s plan was halted.  He naturally found another manner to accomplish his ends, and it was to sweeten the retirement pot for Supreme Court justices, inducing some of the older members to retire, and after the passage of the Supreme Court Retirement Act.  This ultimately led to the rapid retirements of several members, FDR made his appointments, and then the New Deal began to be upheld. (The Retirement Act permitted Supreme Court Justices to retire with 100% of their last salary.)

The Supreme Court was not always composed of nine members. For the record, and thanks to Wikipedia for having it condensed into this form:

Congress organized the Court that year with the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789. It specified the Court’s original and appellate jurisdiction, created thirteen judicial districts, and fixed the number of justices at six (one Chief Justice and five Associate Justices).

Since the passage of the Judiciary Act, Congress has occasionally altered the size of the Supreme Court, historically in response to the country’s own expansion in size. Membership was decreased in 1801 to five, then increased to seven members in 1807, to nine in 1837, and to ten in 1863. It was then reduced to seven in 1866. In 1869, Congress set the Court’s size to nine members, where it has remained since.

As you can see, there were quite a number of modifications, but the salient point is that there is nothing sacred about the number nine(9).  It could just as easily be three(3), or even one(1).

This may seem a radical solution, but as you can see from the history, it’s only because we’ve become accustomed to there being nine justices.  If we reduced the number to three, it is true that we would lose Samuel Alito, but that could be repaired by a conservative president upon the retirement of one of the others.  My point to readers is that there is a solution available to us, but the question is: How badly do we want it, and can we live with the dangers?  Given the ruling of John Roberts, I am of a mind to pursue this.  I’d like to send him packing.  I’d like to send his leftist friends with him.

All we need to accomplish this is bullet-proof conservative majorities in both houses of Congress, but therein lies the problem.  If we are to have any chance to repair this, we must own both the House and the Senate.  This makes taking the Senate our most important priority in the Fall elections, but it also means that we must be sure to place conservatives in office.  Of course, one could argue(and some will) that if we capture both houses of Congress, and the Presidency, we would have no need of this ‘solution’ to our problem, but I must thoroughly disagree. Our Supreme Court is damaged, and in subsequent rulings, it will be worse if we don’t repair the court.  Can you imagine the lawsuits liberals will bring even if we do overturn Obama-care as a matter of statute?  What would this Supreme Court do with that?  With the mindless and idiotic ruling of John Roberts, inventing law out of whole cloth, I can imagine him finding some way to overturn a Repeal Act.  Statists don’t care about logical consistency, after all, or they wouldn’t be statists.

I realize my proposal will fall on deaf ears, and I know too that we have far too few staunch conservatives in either house of Congress to actually carry this out, but I’m merely telling you what could be done, legally, under our Constitution.  After all, the worst part of this Supreme Court ruling isn’t merely that Obama-care has been upheld, but the sinking realization that liberals effectively have a ruling majority with which we will be stuck for a long, long time.  Nothing is more dangerous to the country than a court that will not act as a brake on tyranny.  Let’s call it the Three-LIFO plan and be done with it.

Revolution: North Dakota Considers Ditching Property Tax

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Sign of the Times?

On Tuesday in North Dakota, the voters will get a chance to decide whether to dump the system of property taxes.  Predictably, all the usual suspects are aligning to oppose it, but some may be a bit surprised at some who are opposing the measure.  The public employees’ union naturally opposes the measure, but what might surprise you is that the Chamber of Commerce and the Republican governor oppose it as well.  The state has been the beneficiary of vast new oil production, so unlike many of the other states around the country, where budgets are in trouble, North Dakota has a bit of a surplus.  What shouldn’t surprise readers is the complete lack of imagination on the part of the establishment that cannot imagine doing without residents’ cash extracted under threat on the basis of the value of their property.  Said the governor, Jack Dalrymple, according to NYTimes:

“It’s mind-boggling, really,” he said, in an interview, of the effects of such a ban. “We’d be changing everything, frankly.”

Change everything?

Absolutely!  This would likely upset a large number of apple carts, but honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with that.  I believe one’s property should be at least as inviolate as one’s right to keep and bear arms, or one’s right to free exercise of religion, or one’s right to free speech.  If the voters of the state compel government to reorganize and ditch the property tax, it means the people of North Dakota will be more free.  According to USA Today, some people can’t imagine ditching the tax:

“The property tax is the foundation of local government services,” said Connie Sprynczynatyk, executive director of the North Dakota League of Cities. “It’s the predictable source of revenue to pay for police and fire and other local services in the community where you live.”

Yes, predictably, the big-government types can’t imagine losing a nickel’s worth of revenue.  Perhaps worse, the allegedly conservative Chamber of Commerce crowd simply can’t fathom it.  Again from the NY Times piece:

“This is a plan without a plan,” said Andy Peterson, president and chairman of the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, who acknowledged that property taxes have climbed in some parts of the state and that North Dakota’s political leaders need to tackle the issue. “But this solution is a little like giving a barber a razor-sharp butcher knife — and by the way, this barber is blind — and asking him or her to give you a haircut. You’ll get the job done, but you might be missing an ear or an eye.”

This is the stock complaint of opponents to the measure.  Opponents argue that the measure would simply take away property taxes, but not replace it with anything.  Rational people ought to ask: So what? There is a solution, and it is to cut spending.  Cut spending until the expected expenditures are reduced to the absolute minimum necessary to function, and then figure out how to fund it.  Part of the problem with the “predictability” of the the revenue stream from property taxes is that government simply grows and grows, but never diminishes.

The other problem is that opponents of this measure are doing what government types always do when they see their revenue stream threatened:  They wave police, fire and emergency services around as the first thing to be cut.  Voters in North Dakota, or anywhere else ought to ask what portion of the government’s expenditures actually go to those purposes.  This tactic is the usual approach to argumentation on the subject, but what it is intended to conceal is all of the things not related to emergency services on which the governments at both the local and state level spend tax-payer money.

It was once that people spoke of emergency services, but over time, the word emergency has been replaced by the word “essential,” and therein lies the heart of the bait and switch.  When most people think of “essential services,” they’re thinking about police, fire, EMS, and 9-1-1 service, but when a government bureaucrat speaks of what is “essential,” one should pin down that official for his or her definition of the term, otherwise, it might include all manner of things in which the government has no essential role.

The other part disguised in all of this is the education establishment’s role.  Much of the money that goes to pay for local schools is derived from property tax revenue.  If the property tax is abolished, it will send state lawmakers scrambling, and it will send local school officials looking for other ways to fund schools.  Once again, it’s about throwing a monkey-wrench into the mechanisms of big government, because government wants and demands a “predictable revenue stream.” The problem is, it’s not government’s to demand.

The people of North Dakota have a monumental decision to make on Tuesday, and I hope they strike out in the name of liberty, and in the name of property rights.  This country could not exist had we not established firm property rights, and since the advent of property taxes on a grand scale in the late 19th century, governments at all levels have grown to consume everything.

I think one of the people pushing this effort in the state summarizes it best, from the NY Times article:

“The same problem kept coming up,” said Charlene Nelson, a homemaker who became a leader of the effort to amend the Constitution, pointing to what she deems the underlying problem with the property tax. “It means all of us are renters — none of us are homeowners.”

Right!  It’s time to fire the phony ‘landlords.’

Counting Obama-Care Chickens Before They’ve Come Home to Roost

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

How Much Will We Matter?

There’s a good deal of talk about how the oral arguments before the Supreme Court seemed to have gone badly for the government, particularly Solicitor General Verrilli, with a good deal of talk about how unprepared he seemed to make the arguments before him, but let’s be careful about two things:  I’m sure Verrilli is an able attorney, but there’s no way to plaster enough lipstick on this pig to disguise its true nature, but more importantly, I don’t think we should take for granted anything about how this or any other court will rule based on their questions alone.  If all the people who’ve spent the week trying to read the tea-leaves are wrong, we may be in for a serious disappointment come the end of June.  For my part, while the questioning offered some measure of hope, I won’t count my chickens before they’ve hatched, or even count Obama’s before they have gone home to roost.

Listening to the media, you would think Verrilli had been the constant butt of jokes, and while it’s clear that there were a few laughs at his expense, I think this says more about the impertinent character of the Obama-care legislation than it says about Verrilli’s legal scholarship.  He was placed in this position by a Congress now long gone, defeated and sent home by voters in 2010, and a President who was willing to sign this tract of tyranny into law despite a 2 to 1 disapproval by the American people at the time, that has only managed to worsen, now just shy of three-fourths of Americans considering the law unconstitutional.  As any litigator will tell you, if you have his client with a smoking gun in hand over the dead body with a signed confession, and thirty eyewitnesses, you’re not going to make it far on the defendant’s claims of innocence, but as an attorney, if your client says he will plead not guilty, you must still stand in and defend him.  That he’s left you with no conceivable method for doing so isn’t your fault, so I’d prefer we not tread too heavily on Verrilli.  He may be a left-wing goon for all I know, but he was doing his job.

The question of severability on Wednesday seemed to cause the greatest stir from the leftist members of the court, because they wanted to find some way, any way at all, to salvage some part of the “Affordable Care Act.”  One after the next, they tried to set up questions designed to muddy the water, but fundamentally, the problem is this:  If the individual mandate is struck down as unconstitutional, the rest of the bill is eligible because it would be difficult to imagine how the exchanges and the rest of the complex structure of the law operates without the mandate provision.  Some have assumed that the court may bounce the remainder of the bill, because Justice Scalia pointed out the impossibility of going through the law and figuring out what stays and what goes without risking larger damage.  In other words, keeping some of the Act might well wind up causing more trouble than it fixes.

I think that’s the proper way to view it, and you might wonder in light of this why the liberals on the court are so intent on keeping such parts of it as they are able.  The answer is simple enough once you understand their highly political motive: The mandate, if carved out, would merely affect the funding mechanism, but it would not do anything to the spending side.  The spending would go on, and the Congress would face deficits even greater than those already envisioned with this irresponsible law, and the entitlement would become firmly rooted in the American culture.  Once that happens, repeal becomes almost impossible.  For the liberals, therefore, preserving as much as the bill by severing only the mandate becomes the object of the ruling.

The conservatives may not be inclined to tamper with any of it.  They may not wish to toss out the entire bill for what will to some be an appearance of a political ruling, but the truth is that no matter what the court rules, it will certainly have political ramifications.  The question is whether that matters to all of the justices.  We know it drives the liberals on the court, but the problem is the conservatives are generally disinclined to weigh politics in their considerations on rulings.  If that is the case, you could well see a bifurcated ruling in which they throw out the mandate but leave the entirety of the remainder in place.  This too would constitute a disaster because the spending would commence in full as the law comes into force, with the revenue then [more] uncertain.

It could also happen that the court rules 5-4 that the mandate is constitutional, and if that happens, the country is thoroughly screwed.  At that point, the whole severability question is moot, and the law is implemented on schedule.  Of course, there are many theories about how this may play out, but the fact remains that we won’t know until late June.  Liberals are preparing for the scenario in which some or all of the law is tossed by preemptive strikes in media against various justices, particularly Justice Scalia.  I expect those attacks to ratchet up, even though the voting is already complete, and all that remains is to write the ruling and publish.

This process is important to the function of our republic, and yet there are those who disparage it as anachronistic, but I believe that if we are to remain a nation of laws, we must give the process its due. Leftists want to know the ruling now, and you can bet every court clerk is being prodded for answers by media who want to know in advance.  I would urge conservatives not to become to happy over what they have heard and read from the oral arguments.  Politically, you should remain engaged as though the law is going to be upheld.  You won’t be surprised if it is, and you won’t wonder about what to do next.

 

Did the Solicitor General Lie to the Supreme Court?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Asking the Tough Questions

In Tuesday’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said something in response to a question from Justice Antonin Scalia that I believe was intended to mislead.  Scalia was much too clever for Verrilli, and why he didn’t call Verrilli on it, he made it clear that he understood full well what Verrilli was doing with his wording.  It might not have been a “lie” in the strictest sense of the word, but it was intended to obfuscate the issue, and to do so in such a way as to shield the government from the very basis on which I have been criticizing the “individual mandate” since its proposal.  To understand this “lie,” “misleading statement,” or “obfuscation,” whichever you will prefer to call it, you must understand the basic issues in context. In my view, Verrilli tried to hide something crucial, and you should know it.

What General Verrilli tried to conceal is the fact that this “cost-shifting” that Obama-care’s mandate is intended to address was created by government statute.  Let us start with the transcript, available in full here:

GENERAL VERRILLI: That — that absolutely is a justification for Congress’s action here. That is existing economic activity that Congress is regulating by means of this rule.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Mr. Verrilli, you could say that about buying a car. If people don’t buy cars, the price that those who do buy cars pay will have to behigher. So, you could say in order to bring the price down, you’re hurting these other people by not buying a car.
GENERAL VERRILLI: That is not what we’re saying, Justice Scalia.
JUSTICE SCALIA: That’s not — that’s not what you’re saying.
GENERAL VERRILLI: That’s not — not -

JUSTICE SCALIA: I thought it was. I thought you’re saying other people are going to have to pay more for insurance because you’re not buying it.

Now for the key exchange:

GENERAL VERRILLI: No. It’s because you’re going — in the health care market, you’re going into the market without the ability to pay for what you get, getting the health care service anyway as a result of the social norms that allow — that — to which we’ve obligated ourselves so that people get health care.

Here, Scalia absolutely demonstrates he understands the issue:

JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, don’t obligate yourself to that. Why — you know?

And now, for the slam dunk:

GENERAL VERRILLI: Well, I can’t imagine that that — that the Commerce Clause would — would forbid Congress from taking into account this deeply embedded social norm.
JUSTICE SCALIA: You could do it. But does that expand your ability to issue mandates to — to the people?

Let me explain why I’ve italicized the portions above.  When Verrilli argues that the receipt of healthcare by the so-called free-riders is the result of “the social norms that allow,” he stammered through a self-correction, “to which we’ve obligated ourselves so that people get health care.

What Verrilli is here talking about is that Congress has enacted laws prohibiting an emergency room from turning away patients on the basis that they cannot show an ability or willingness to pay.  Verrilli tried to hide this behind a “social norm,” and later a “deeply embedded social norm,” but in fact, Scalia understood with acute perception why it is that Verrilli would do this, and he spat it back in Verrilli’s face, as was right and proper: “Well, don’t obligate yourself to that.”   In other words, if you don’t want people to receive treatment without having paid, repeal the law that provides that treatment must be provided.

Verrilli wasn’t satisfied with this, and he claimed that “[he] can’t imagine that the commerce clause would forbid Congress from taking into account this deeply embedded social norm.”

Here, Scalia might have asked him: “How deeply embedded a social norm is it that has been enacted within my lifetime,” but he did not, preferring to underscore the larger point:

“You could do it. But does that expand your ability to issue mandates to — to the people?

What Scalia is asking here is plain enough:  The government may claim an interest in taking this “deeply embedded social norm” into account in creating its policy, but a desire to support a “social norm” (deeply embedded or otherwise) confer upon the government the authority to stand in demand of participation in the social norm?

What Scalia here recognized is that which I’ve been telling you all along:  The government may enact a law forcing somebody to provide a good or a service(I reject that too, by the way) but the fact that the government creates a legal obligation for itself does not give them an additional claim of authority over you.

A good example is this:  You let one of your adult children move their entire family into your home with you, despite the fact that they can or should afford their own domicile on their own, but when you perceive it is too burdensome, you then go to your other adult children and demand they help you support them, since it’s now bankrupting you.  Your other adult children would rightly say to you:  “Don’t let them live their any longer.”

What kind of mind would actually propose this to their other adult children?  The other adult children would be best to remove themselves from the conversation and ignore the demanding parent.  The problem is that in this case, it’s the government that’s making the demand, and we(the other adult children) are prohibited from ignoring it.

What Scalia recognized, and every one of you must know, is that there is a cost to the choices one makes, but having made them, there is no authority to shift the costs of those choices onto unwilling others who would have chosen differently.  This is at the heart of the entire Obama-care insurance mandate argument:  The government voluntarily decides to fund or subsidize something for somebody, and then mandates that you participate in the payment.  There is no right to health-care, or any other material commodity or service, and nobody is obligated to pay for it.  This should be the basis upon which the entirety of the New Deal and the Great Society are tossed out to the curb, but what’s particularly objectionable about Obama-care’s mandate is that it compels you to purchase an insurance against such costs that you may well never incur.

Understanding this, you should see why it is that what Solicitor General Verrilli attempted to conceal, but Scalia didn’t permit, is that more than “deeply embedded social norms,” these are laws inflicted and imposed upon us by Congress, and that Congress is free to repeal them, but the creation of these obligations does not disparage our liberties.  I hope Antonin Scalia lives to be one-hundred-twenty years old, or longer,  and delivers us from as much evil as he is able.  His agile legal mind, and his clear understanding of the issues at stake is among the best hopes we have for maintaining our liberties, or reclaiming those we have forfeited already.  Our lives quite literally depend on it.

 

 

 

 

Message to Obamacare Goons: Kiss My…

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Tyrant with a law degree

I’ve been looking at some of the information about the case that comes before the United States Supreme Court over the matter of the Affordable Care Act(widely known as Obama-care.)  I ran into one story that frankly made me angry, because it’s typical of the sort of lies and misdirections of this administration, and frankly any stink-from-the-head lefty one may encounter.  It’s ridiculous to read their arguments and realize that their backward logic is actually the basis for laws in the United States.  The Obama administration is full of some very despotic people, but the garbage Neal Katyal spews on behalf of Obama-care is some of the most obnoxious.  AFP is reporting via YahooNews a story I find so detestable that it has caused me to spit coffee across the screen.  AFP interviewed Neal Katyal who has defended Obama-care as the acting solicitor general, and frankly, leftist double-speak like this needs to be shredded:

“The challengers to the reform say that never before has the government forced people to buy a product. We’re not forcing you to buy a product. Health care is something all Americans consume, and you don’t know when you’re going to consume it. You could get struck by a bus, you could have a heart attack and the like. And if you don’t have health insurance, then you show up at the emergency room. The doctors are under orders to treat you — as any Western, any civilized society would do. And who pays for that? Well, ordinary Americans pay for that. They’re the ones who have to pick up the tab for those who don’t have insurance. We are not regulating what people buy, we’re regulating how people finance it.”

There’s a good deal to tear apart here, but let’s begin with the first premise: Katyal says they’re not forcing you to buy a product.  Instead, the claims is laid that they’re merely regulating how you finance it.  What if I don’t want to finance it, because I won’t use it?  What if I refuse care?  What if I want to finance it differently?  What if I’m in a car wreck tomorrow and killed before I ever use any?  Do I get my money back?  No? Then you’re forcing me to buy something I may never use.

The claim is made that doctors are under orders to treat those who show up at an emergency room, and it’s true that this is the law.  Get rid of the law.  Don’t command the entire population of Americans on behalf of the claim that doctors, nurses, and hospitals must labor without any proof of a patient’s willingness or ability to pay.  Don’t like that?  Fine. What the government can do is put medical bills outside the reach of bankruptcy protection, much like they do your tax bill, or you child support payments, or your student loans. Give it the second bite at the apple of one’s estate, after federal taxes.  The fact that some people do not pay is not a burden to be commanded upon all.  We shouldn’t be doing that anyway, and I really don’t want to hear any silly arguments about Western or “civilized” societies.  There is nothing remotely civilized about the government putting a gun to my head and forcing me to pay for products and services I may never consume, or may have not intention of consuming.

Life and death and all of the other necessities of life are not the government’s proper role or responsibility, ridiculous laws notwithstanding.  When I read remarks from a useless jack-ass like Katyal, I realize that this is one of these idiots who probably wants to mandate legal insurance on us too. (Trust me, there is a whole movement among lawyers who want this.)  There can be no authority to regulate how I finance something on the basis that I might decide to buy it, otherwise what you’re compelling me to do is purchase in advance.

The rest of the article is filled with similar drivel, and I encourage you to read it on the basis that you ought to know what we’re fighting.  I also saw the beginnings of a smear-campaign against the court in the interview, and I want you to notice how they’re preparing to smear the court with this “unelected” business:

“If the Supreme Court struck this down, I think that it wouldn’t just be about health care. It would be the Supreme Court saying: ‘Look, we’ve got the power to really take decisions, move them off of the table of the American people, even in a democracy. And so it could imperil a number of reforms in the New Deal that are designed to help people against big corporations and against, indeed, big governments. The challengers are saying that this law is unconstitutional, which means even if 95 percent of Americans want this law, they can’t have it. And that’s a really profound thing for an unelected court to say.”

On the one hand it’s true: If 95% of Americans want to suppress free speech, that doesn’t make it constitutional, but let me suggest to this legal moron that if 95% of Americans want to suppress free speech, they can easily amend the constitution to do it, thus making it constitutional.  Besides, 60-65% of Americans oppose this law anyway, so the very idea posited is false. Give me a break!  Here comes the garbage, however:

“The two main outcomes that one can predict — the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate as unconstitutional because it’s unprecedented or it upholds it and says it is part of Congress power over commerce and over taxation. The latter is far more likely because it is such a grave thing for unelected judges to take a decision of such a magnitude for American people. I expect the Supreme Court’s ruling at the end of its current term, June 30.”

Is this clown kidding?  That’s what the Supreme Court exists to do: Make judges of this magnitude for the American people.  More, the very idea that the Supreme Court is unelected is now a bad thing flies in the face of lefty arguments that were only too happy to see “unelected judges” impose Roe v. Wade, or Social Security, or any other damned thing they want on the American people. No complaints then, at all.

Leftists are scum. I truly hope there is still sufficient wisdom on the court to overturn this unconstitutional monstrosity.  If not, the only course remaining is repeal, but for that to happen, Republicans will need to capture sixty seats or more in the Senate, and replace Barack Obama.  That’s a tall order in any year, but if Romney is the nominee, prepare to live as slaves to the will of idiots like Katyal.

 

Sheriff Joe: Obama Birth Cerificate a “Computer-Generated Forgery”

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Sheriff Joe: It's a Forgery

On Thursday, Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a press briefing to talk about the investigation by the “Cold Case Posse” on questions surrounding Barack Obama’s origin and any documentation supporting the official narrative.  Among the many  documents examined and reviewed is the image of a birth certificate released by the White House last year in answer to Donald Trump on the matter.  The Washington Times is reporting that investigators working for Arpaio have concluded that the image posted on the internet in PDF format  appears to be a computer-generated forgery.

From the article:

He released a 10-page report detailing what his investigators said were “inconsistencies” in the text characters of the birth certificate image the White House released, and also questioned details of the computer file itself.

This has been the subject of a good deal of discussion since the release of the purported birth certificate last year, because many have suspected there is something unusual about the image in the file. The article continues:

His investigators said the computer file released by the White House appears to have been created on a computer, rather than having been originally made on paper and then scanned.  The investigators said they have identified “a person of interest” in the birth certificate.  Sheriff Arpaio’s chief investigator on the project said there are so many questions that he couldn’t have cleared Mr. Obama to be an employee of Maricopa County.

The Obama birth certificate has been a matter of controversy, with various people making allegations and others purportedly examining the documents in question and concluding they are real.  Others believe the entire question of the birth certificate is a misdirection, and a way to marginalize Obama’s critics.  Still others question the status of his qualifications as a natural born citizen, required for presidents under the US Constitution. Arpaio’s posse also examined other documents, including selective service documents, according to WND:

In addition, investigators say they have developed credible evidence that President Obama’s Selective Service card was a forgery, based on an examination of the postal date stamp on the document. Also, records of Immigration and Naturalization Service cards filled out by passengers arriving on international flights originating outside the United States in the month of August 1961, examined at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., are missing records for the week of President Obama’s birth.

All of this is well and good, and I’m sure there’s something new about all of this, but the real problem is that until somebody is actually willing to press forward, it’s not going to make a good deal of difference even if Arpaio’s team is spot-on about everything they’ve raised.  Unless and until somebody is willing to make a real stink here, I think this is becoming a waste of time, because even if he is somehow ineligible, who will do anything about it?  To do so brings immediate discredit on the claimant, and there’s really not anybody who seems both able and willing to take this case anywhere.

I realize there are many who wish we could somehow press an “easy button” in order to dispense with Obama and all of the ridiculous things he has imposed on our country, but that doesn’t seem likely.  It’s not that I’m any less curious about some of these very odd details, but what are we supposed to do, even if we could substantiate all the claims about these documents?  To whom would we turn?  Is Sheriff Joe going to arrest anybody?  Issue warrants?  Until he does something along those lines, I don’t see why we should suspect that Obama will be brought under further examination in any of these matters.

You’re free to make of it what you will, and for my part, it comes down to this: Until there are legal papers filed somewhere to pursue a criminal case for fraud, or something else tangible into which we can sink our teeth, I think this is a dead end.  If Obama and his friends have been this effective in shutting down such an ugly truth, I don’t know why anybody believes it would change now.  I’m not so foolish as to believe that if they’re capable of all the suppression and manipulation implied that they would have any difficulty undermining any case anybody brings forward. November is just eight months away.  Let’s beat him then and be done with it.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

What Obama Did to the Catholics? Romney Did It Too!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Telling You How It's Going To Be

As it now turns out, back in 2005 when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he forced religious institutions including Catholic hospitals to dispense the so-called “morning after pill.”  This is another bit of evidence as to how Mitt really isn’t a conservative, and how he really doesn’t care about religious liberties.  I am exhausted with his posturing as a saintly man who abides his faith, but to put his stamp of approval on a law that deprives others of their recourse to conscience is a disgusting breach of the the Constitution.  I don’t care to hear his pathetic states’ rights arguments, as they don’t apply in this situation, irrespective of his nonsense to the contrary.  There’s something fundamentally wrong with a politician who thinks it’s his role to shove such provisions down our throats, irrespective of our wishes, and irrespective of the matters of conscience that collide in these issues.  He’s only too happy to command you.

This bit of information merely confirms the worst of my fears about Romney: He’s not merely Obama-Lite.  He’s Obama with an “R” next to his name instead of a “D.”  This sort of state interference with the rights of religious practice and conscience is precisely the sort of monstrosity people of faith have suffered endlessly under the  Obama regime.  We shouldn’t be in the business of nominating a candidate who is substantially more like Obama than unlike him. I hope my fellow conservatives and Tea Party folk will understand that this isn’t merely about abortion, or morning-after pills, or anything else of the sort.  This is entirely about the ability of people of faith and the organizations they create around their shared faith to determine for themselves in which activities they will participate.

This is precisely the same thing Obama is now doing with respect to the coercion of religious organizations, including the Catholic church, to provide insurance to employees that includes contraception.  Once again, government is interfering in the relationship between employers and employees, and their insurers.  This is a scandalously tyrannical abuse of authority, and the fact that Mitt Romney participated in much the same thing disqualify him in my view. Whatever your views on the divisive issues, there can be no ignoring that even if it is not your faith under attack in this case, your turn will come eventually.

I cannot now and will not ever vote for Mitt Romney under any circumstances I can now imagine, and I can imagine plenty.  Feel free to make of that what you will.  In fact, make the most of it, but I will not be bullied on the matter.  That he actually imposed such a thing on the people of Massachusetts is simply unforgivable in my book.  I will have no part in merely replacing Barack Obama with another who shares his despotic reflexes.

 

Detroit Shock City: Self-Defense Killings Soar

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Self-Defense v. "Vigilantism"

The Daily is covering the story of Detroit’s soaring rate of self-defense killings, but as usual, the liberal slant on the story quickly abandons the notion of self-defense and instead re-labels it “vigilantism.” I have a serious problem with the shading of this story as one about vigilantism, because if a thug breaks into my home and I kill him, I’m not a vigilante, but a home-owner and citizen exercising my right to self-defense.  Only in a place where violence against innocent citizens is considered tolerable at some level could it be possible to see this as anything other than what it is:  A direct response by the citizens of Detroit who refuse to be victimized because big government has failed them and is now collapsing under its own weight.  Instead, they blame it on the citizens, comparing Detroit directly to the Wild West.

From the article:

“It’s a lot more acceptable now to get your own retribution,” the official said. “And the justice system in the city is a lot more understanding if people do that. It‘s becoming a part of the culture.”

The problem isn’t that it is now acceptable, but that it hasn’t been all along.  Had it been acceptable for the last fifty years, Detroit might not have spent most of that period at or near the top of the country’s Murder Capital list.  It’s well past time that the citizens of Detroit begin to act in their own defense, in recognition of their predicament, because despite the propaganda, cops cannot protect us.  The Daily spends a good deal of time talking about the response times for Police in the Detroit area, but the truth is that most things happen faster than cops can be called, never mind respond, as one officer points out:

“It’s not about police response time because often the act has already taken place by the time the police are called,” said Sgt. Eren Stephens. She said citizens have a right to defend themselves.

“Anytime a life is lost, we’re concerned,” she said. “But we can‘t be on every corner in front of every home. And we know that there are citizens who will do what they have to do to protect themselves.”

Of course, this is obvious to we residents of RealVille, USA, where we understand that bad guys aren’t really impressed by cops, and don’t tend to wait around for them to respond.  They hit, take what they want, and flee.  There’s not going to be time for a response when thugs strike, and relying on police to take care of your self-defense is a very risky proposition, since they can’t be everywhere at once.  The article concludes with this story:

Early, the director of the criminal justice studies program at the University of Michigan’s Dearborn campus, reasoned with the men for more than 20 minutes before he sensed they were about to shoot him in the head — then he ran. As his attackers fled in the opposite direction, neighbors emerged from the street’s stately homes with shotguns.

“All I could think of was my daughter coming home,” Early said. “I didn’t want her to see me shot dead.”

Weeks later, Early packed up his home and left Detroit. He hired Threat Management to supervise the move.

“Where else do the police come to your house after you’ve been robbed and ask you, ‘Why did you call us?’ ”

I don’t blame the gentleman for moving, but the ugly truth of our current cultural and economic collapse is that the thugs will eventually follow.  It’s not as though these are folks who are inclined to take a job at a gas station or fast-food outlet. I’m actually happy to see that the people of Detroit have finally had enough, and are now adopting the habits of a vigorous self-defense.   I wonder how many people have lost their lives over the years waiting for a Police response that would never arrive on time.  That’s not a complaint about the police, either, but merely a recognition of what sort of shape we’re in as a country.

There is no easy way around what is likely coming, as our economic problems aren’t likely to substantially improve, and may indeed become dramatically worse. The sooner we realize that just as good fences make for better neighbors, that a well-armed citizenry makes for a more polite society, the better off we’ll be.  It’s not vigilantism but instead a simple recognition that the cops simply can’t cover it all, and as the resources of government are shifted from their most important roles of defense and public safety to a focus on welfare statism.  If you wonder why people no longer wait for police, it’s not because they want to pack arms like the old days of the Wild West, but because increasingly, it’s the only rational alternative to ending up on a slab in the morgue.

Leftists can piously suggest that this had been about vigilantism, but it’s nothing of the sort.  The people of Detroit are merely exercising the vigorous defense of their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and in all of this there is a lesson for all of us, both in what we must be willing to do, but also in the fallacy of liberal-induced social complacency.

While We Watched Florida: Hint of Holder’s Full Complicity Comes to Light

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Caught Lying

Not only did US Attorney General Eric Holder know in advance of his testimony about the circumstances of Agent Brian Terry’s death, and the involvement of Fast and Furious weapons in the event, but in a document dump late Friday night, it has been revealed that he knew of the connection within approximately one hour of the murder of Agent Terry.  This is all of the evidence we need to have in order to pronounce Attorney General Holder a perjurer, and let’s not make any bones about it:  He knew, and he knew the specific details, and he knew that his own program, Fast and Furious, the operation that provided thousands of semi-automatic firearms to narco-terrorists on the Mexican side of the border, had been implicated in this shooting.  There’s no excuse for any of this, but once you understand the original purpose of this grotesque malfeasance, it no longer looks anything like mere incompetence, but something much more sinister.

What you must understand in all this was that as I’ve reported earlier, they wanted to create a statistical bit of evidence to prove why they should be able to monitor and restrict the number of long-guns you could buy at any one time in the US.  This was the whole purpose, and it is ultimately the reason Agent Terry and countless Mexican nationals lost their lives:  Holder, as part of the Obama administration, had a political goal of limiting firearms sales to Americans, and was willing to sell massive numbers of guns to people who would carry them to Mexico for use by the narco-thugs.

This site has joined previously in the widening call for Holder’s immediate dismissal, but despite more than one-hundred members of the House calling for action, John Boehner and Eric Cantor continue to sit on their thumbs, not wishing to stir up too much controversy in an election year.  Rather than worrying about risking their re-election, they should be concentrating on enforcing the law, and taking action against an Attorney General who has repeatedly lied under oath.  I don’t understand what they’re waiting to discover, or whether it will take their entire Republican Caucus in the House to get them to act, but the simple fact is that Holder lied, and he must go.

The President should fire him.  He won’t.  He continues to support his AG because of the damage a dust-up could have on his own re-election campaign.  If you’re like me, and tired of all these politicians sitting on their thumbs, pick up the phone, call or write your Representatives, and let them know it is long overdue that Holder make his departure in appropriate disgrace. At the very least, we’re going to need to fire Obama in order to ditch his Attorney General.

PIPA and SOPA: What’s The Problem?

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Intellectual Dishonesty?

I know a fair number of people are upset with the proposed Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Propery Act(PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act(SOPA) that have been under consideration in Congress, and I recognize there are reasons to stop this legislation, but I also know that there is good reason to believe that steps must be taken to arrest piracy of intellectual property.  It’s easy to get caught up in the public outcry, but it’s a different matter to admit the scope of the problem.  This has been an issue going back to the file-sharing sites that became popular in the late 1990s.  There can be no right to the intellectual property of others, and we have a generation composed of many young people who think they ought to be able to have whatever they want without paying for it.  It’s a mistake to indulge thieves, and to the degree people of this description are part of the outcry, I reject the idea that nothing should be done.  PIPA and SOPA  are probably not the correct legislative answers, but it remains essential that we enforce the law with respect to intellectual property rights.

Let me state from the outset that as a professional in the field of networks and network management, I am opposed to the idea of any authority being given to government to disrupt domain name resolution.  I don’t think that’s anything more than a band-aid, and I don’t suspect it will be effective once file-sharing services begin to change how they link material.  I don’t think the only effective way to deal with this is to find those whose sites are effectively clearing houses for what are stolen intellectual properties, issue cease and desist orders, and prosecute them under existing law.  We know this can be done already, as has been demonstrated by the case of MegaUpload.  The FBI went after this outfit because they were effectively trafficking in copyrighted materials, to the tune of a one-half billion dollars or more, and making a tidy haul of nearly two-hundred million.

There are those who have come to believe that this is fine, and that because they’ve now been deprived of a source for illegally copied materials, they have every right to whine, but I think the federal government should do something else in such cases: In addition to going after the file-sharing site, they should back-track via the ISPs every person who downloaded materials and prosecute them too.  This entire thing grew out of hand in the late 1990s when kids (and no small number of adults) began downloading illegal copies of music in the popular MP3 format from file-sharing sites all over the Internet, ignoring the entire concept of the property rights of the artists and publishers and all the others who would ordinarily gain their rightful profits from selling their property.  As available bandwidth has soared in many areas(but sadly, not in mine,) the same thing has happened with movies and videos and even operating systems.

I would like to talk about this aspect, because I want to remove any ambiguity from the discussion: What we’re discussing here is theft. We’re talking about aiding and abetting theft. We’re talking about scofflaws involved in the wholesale theft of the ideas, musical works, published and copyrighted material, and all manner of things by people who prefer not to pay for their own entertainment.  The fact that PIPA and SOPA may well go too far in the pursuit of this, or give the government an inappropriately excessive level of control and authority beyond what many think is already too much control is a good reason to write better laws, but this is not an excuse to simply ignore the issue to the extensive detriment of every creator of original materials on the planet, whether individual or corporate.

I realize that we have now a generation that has expectations of instant(and free) gratification of their entertainment desires, but the truth is that they too need to grow up.  There is every reason to believe that an unrestrained traffic in pirated materials will ultimately harm the creation of more, because after all, nobody can be expected to produce for free those things that in former generations you would otherwise have had to purchase.  Property rights is a concept that is the cornerstone of our free market, and while PIPA and SOPA may be the wrong vehicles for addressing this issue, it is nevertheless true that it must be addressed.  Pouting like spoiled brats because we could not get our free downloads of some pirated movies or music merely suggests that the problem lies with us.

Elections Matter: Judicial Appointments

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Breyer, Scalia on Law in South Carolina (Associated Press)

Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia appeared at South Carolina Bar Association debate on Saturday.  Both avoided details on pending cases, but one case that did see some discussion was the decision in  the Citizens United case that has led to the rise of the SuperPACs.  The two men had very different takes on the case, and it’s clear that Scalia had the better of the arguments.  Breyer’s argument was outcome-based, while Scalia’s was based on the constitution.  This distinct difference in judicial orientation explains the current problem in American legal battles: Some justices will abide by the constitution, but there’s a wider group that ignores it, using their personal policy preferences as the yardstick by which the constitutionality of law will be decided.

You can learn a good deal about their judicial philosophies simply by examining what they say in even the most generic terms.  Scalia was asked about the influence of money that will presumptively reign supreme in the wake of the Citizens United decision, but in answer, he said something important that reveals his underlying temperament:

“I don’t care who is doing the speech – the more the merrier, People are not stupid. If they don’t like it, they’ll shut it off.”

It is clear from this that Scalia does not view the American people with contempt and derision.  He clearly leaves it to us to decide, and that’s what free, independent people are able to do.  This explicitly tells us that Scalia’s tendency is toward liberty.

Contrast this with the remarks of Justice Breyer, who was in the  minority on the Citizens United decision:

“There are real problems when people want to spend lots of money on a candidate … they’ll drown out the people who don’t have a lot of money,”

Do you see the difference? Breyer assumes that Americans will not be able to discern among candidates if there is too much money spent on one side of a contest.  He assumes this will freeze out those candidates with fewer resources, and his decision in the case was based not on what the Constitution implies about liberty, but instead in pursuit of implementing a specific policy goal. Also notice what this implies about Breyer’s view of the American people: You have not the sophistication to discern for yourselves among candidates if too great a disparity exists in the amount of money spent by candidates.  You should note that as Breyer offered this explanation, Gingrich, who had only a fraction of the resources of Romney, was running away with a landslide victory over his well-funded rival in the very state in which this judicial discussion was simultaneously in progress.

Point: Scalia.

This difference describes not only the underlying dissent in the Citizens United decision, but also the entire scope of rulings the court hands down.  The “judicial activists” on the court are those who use the occasion of cases not merely to gauge the constitutionality of law, but imagine what they would prefer to see in law, and implement it through their rulings.  This also describes a contempt for the American people, their discernment, and their ability to filter through nonsense.  The view of the judicial activists like Breyer is that they know better what is in the interests of the American people, while the strict constructionists like Scalia stand by the notion that it is the role of the courts is to interpret law, but not to write it out of whole cloth.

Obama’s Eligibility: Fact, Fiction or Fog?

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Something to Hide?

Obviously, this is a controversial subject, and one that threatens to push those who discuss it into the weeds of that field now dubbed “birtherism,” but there is some news on this front that I believe does deserve coverage, if only because whether one believes Barack Obama to be ineligible to the office of President of the United States, or instead believes the whole issue to be a load of nonsense, it is now an issue at controversy in several courts around the country.  There is a certain red letter that becomes attached to people or sites that spend much time on the issue, and that letter is “K” for “kook,” but in fairness to those concerned, there are significant issues at stake.  The question is: How seriously should we take any of them?  I won’t be spending more time than this on the matter without significant developments in the case, but I do believe we should at least be aware of the issues in controversy as a matter for voters to consider, (or not.)

Let us back up a bit and examine the nature of the claim against Barack Obama, and why it matters, if everything or anything the so-called “birthers” contend is true.  In the United States Constitution, set forth in Article II, that pertains to the executive, the qualification of those who hold this office are set forth in Section 1, in the fifth clause:

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

To examine this fairly, let us consider first the plain truth of what this says.  A person, to be eligible for the presidency, must be thirty-five years of age, apparently by the time of inauguration to it, and must have been a resident fourteen years within the United States, and must be a natural born citizen, or a citizen at the time of the adoption of the constitution.

From a factual point of view, it appears by all accounts that he has been a resident fourteen years, and it is clear that he is older than thirty-five years of age, so all that remains to be considered is the citizenship clause, and indeed, this is where the controversy attached to so-called “birthers” arises.  One section of this list of qualifications is obsolete, and that is this piece:

“or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution”

This odd distinction is no longer applicable, but it is important because it is a distinction, and because while no longer operative, it offers a clue to the intent of the framers.  This clause was inserted to permit some of those then alive, who would not meet the definition of natural born citizen to be eligible to that office.  After all, the United States was a new country, and all of its people had at one time owed their allegiance to the British empire, so that people like Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and all the rest of that generation had been British subjects, and not citizens of the United States from birth, or, as we shall find, not having been born to two citizen parents.  This entire requirement regarding citizenship is formulated in response to the question of loyalties.  It was assumed that those who had no attachment by birth or culture to the United States might have no particular qualms about undermining it.  It is therefore clear that the framers had intended our President to always be a loyal citizen from birth, that there would be less chance of a usurper with no loyalty to the country who might rise to occupy that office.

What the US Constitution does not do is to define the term “natural born Citizen,” and nowhere in its text can you find anything to reference on the matter.  Instead, we are left to find the meaning of that term, as distinct from “citizen” elsewhere in law.  At the time of the founders, the common law understanding of the terms appears to have been that a natural born Citizen is one born in the country of which both parents were citizens.  This understanding of the term has a precedent in law, with the 1875 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Minor v. Happersett:

“The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.”

Let me give you the short version:  To be a “natural born citizen,” as late as 1875, one must have been born in the United States to two citizen parents.  If this is the controlling legal authority for the definition of the term “natural born Citizen,” then we have a problem.  If this is the strict definition of the term, there can be no way for Barack Obama to be a “natural born Citizen,” because he his father was not at any time a US Citizen, but instead a subject of the British crown, or a citizen of the nation Kenya.

This is then the central question under examination by so-called “birthers.”  There have been some subsequent cases that may override the earlier definition, but the problem is this: It’s really a straight-forward matter if the definition is as defined in Minor v. Happersett.  It is on this basis that the parties have been dueling in court these last four years, because on this simple matter of definition, turns the eligibility of Barack Obama.

There are other arguments too, about forged birth certificates, and hoax Kenyan birth certificates, and a whole lot of hyperbole that has more or less caused the issue to devolve into a circus with one side pointing at the other and calling them “wearers of tin-foil hats” while the other side points back with accusations of “koolaid drinkers,” and so on, but the matter may hinge on the definition of that one term in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5: What is a “natural born Citizen?”

Apart from the circus atmosphere that erupts from any making this particular claim or challenge to Barack Obama’s eligibility to that office, those who make this claim have an initial obstacle to pressing their case: As in any matter, the plaintiff must show legal standing before the court, and the court must take jurisdiction over it.  That has been the primary defense used by Obama’s legal team to tamp all of this down:  Those raising the issue have no standing before the courts in the matter, or that the courts themselves do not have jurisdiction over it.  This has served as a very effective shield to the questions ever gaining traction in a court of law.

As WND is reporting, there is now a case in process in the state of Georgia, wherein citizens can challenge the eligibility of anybody who wishes to be placed on the ballot.  There, Obama’s legal team is making two very different arguments, composed of asserting that because he is already president, this issue is mooted, but also that because he is president, he hasn’t the time or the obligation to answer to some lowly court in the state of Georgia over what his lawyers contend is a federal matter of jurisdiction.

Unfortunately for Obama, the judge in the case has refused to quash a subpoena on the basis of his legal team’s claims, stating that they may have the authority to do so on the basis of some executive privilege, but that they have yet to demonstrate its existence to the court.  This is actually a huge win for the so-called “birthers,”  because it implies that the case must go forward.  In the end, what is at stake is ballot access for Barack Obama in the state of Georgia.

Of course, there are other arguments about Obama’s eligibility, including notions about becoming a citizen of Indonesia subsequent to his birth, and being re-naturalized as a US Citizen. That too would make him ineligible, and the biggest obstacles to the cases brought around the country on that basis has been standing and jurisdiction, and the ability to subpoena records.

In researching this, what I’ve found is that there has been a vast and effective propaganda campaign against so-called “birthers,” trying to lump them all into the tin-foil-hat wearing ranks of conspiracy nuts, but not all of their claims are so “kooky” on closer examination.  Instead, what you find is that the group has been marginalized by grasping occasionally at hoaxes, like “Kenyan Birth Certificates” and other such things that have thus far all turned out to be frauds, at least insofar as my research has concluded.

I also think there’s another case to be made here, and that has to do with the intent of the framers.  What this requirement was clearly intended to create was an effective obstacle to the plotting of subversives who would take over the United States by acts of usurpation, rather than by open warfare against them.  In this sense, one could conclude that many of the beliefs of Barack Obama are foreign to American governance, and indeed seem preoccupied with the notion of overturning our form of government, begging the question: Whether or not he meets the strict definition of “natural born Citizen,” does his mostly unknown background and scarcely-recorded early advocacy and professions make him ineligible to that definition in spirit, even if not in fact?

I suspect this issue will haunt Obama until the end of his presidency, and for much the same reason as we now see a question of tax records haunting the steps of Mitt Romney:  If you have nothing to hide, and you’ve done nothing wrong, why will you not let us examine the records?  Nothing quiets a controversy quite like proof, and last year, when the Obama administration released what appeared to be a valid birth certificate, it really quieted the whole matter of the question of where he was born.  What it did not and could not quash was the matter of whether he is a “natural born Citizen,” by definition of law and applicable precedents.  It is clear that the framers intended a separate definition of that term by virtue of their specifying it in contrast to any other form or usage of the simpler term “citizen.”  That matter appears still to be an open question.

(Note: I don’t wish for this post to turn my site into “birther central” or some such thing, but with all the questions still raised in some quarters, and with the re-emergence of the matter back into the news cycle via the Georgia case, I felt it necessary to at least discuss the issue briefly, do a little research on it, and report it to you in similarly brief fashion.)

 

 

 

Obama Ups Ante on Appointment

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Obama and Cordray

The Daily Caller is reporting that Obama is ratcheting up the pressure on the matter of the “recess appointments” that were not during a recess.  Now he’s asserting that his appointee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, will have full powers of his office despite the fact that the plain language of the law says otherwise.  The 2010 law that established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau includes a section that says many of the bureau’s new powers are to be held by the secretary of the Treasury “until the Director of the Bureau is confirmed by the Senate.”  Until then, those powers are supposed to be retained by the Secretary of the Treasury.  Those extra powers include the authority to write regulations for non-bankfirms, such as payday lenders.

Said Obama during his Friday visit to the CFPB:

“Now that Richard [Cordray] is your director, you can finally exercise the full power that this agency has been given to protect consumers under the law.”

The law requires that Obama’s nominee first be confirmed by the Senate to have all of these powers.  Since no such confirmation has occurred, it’s clear that Obama is again flouting the law.  This is an outrage, and every concerned citizen should be incensed, and they may be, but it seems few are concerned, because the mainstream media is not covering this story.  Most Americans remain ignorant of this controversy.  This is one instance in which conservatives and Tea Party folk should be getting the word out.  It’s time to yell at your members of the House and the Senate, but perhaps more importantly, it’s time to tell your friends and family.  This President is taking dictatorial powers, and our Congress sits on its hands as the United States is reduced to the status of a banana republic.  The reason for Congressional inaction is simple: Your fellow Americans aren’t demanding it, I suspect mainly because they don’t know about it.  That should be something you can change.

This Is No Time For Crying

Friday, January 6th, 2012

What Stinking Constitution?

Barack Obama’s tyrannical actions must be challenged.  This is going to be in the form of what Donald Rumsfeld once explained when he said to cat-calls: “You go to war with the army you have – not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”  We are now in that sort of fix.  John Boehner is a weak leader, at least in terms of his willingness to make waves or engage in battle, but this is no time for whimpering.  President Obama has openly declared by his actions of Wednesday that the Constitution is fungible, and that he has no need to obey it due only to a technicality otherwise known as the law.  This cannot be permitted to go without challenge, and whether the United States Senate will take it up or not, the Speaker of the House must move to begin impeachment proceedings on the basis of Barack Obama’s willful disobedience of the US Constitution.  Members of Congress must assemble to denounce him, and this must be brought to the light of day.  What Barack Obama has hereby argued is that the constitution only matters when he permits it to be the controlling legal authority, but that in all other cases, it is secondary to the whims of his willingness to enforce or abide by the law.

If you haven’t kept up with this issue, or like so many, haven’t heard a peep about it, let’s make it simple to understand:  What’s at stake is our constitutional form of government, and the checks and balances about which you may have been taught when you were a child in school.  Those checks and balances provide that presidents do not possess unlimited authority to act without reference to the other co-equal branches of government.  What the President has done in this case is to make a “recess appointment” without the Senate actually being in recess.  In so doing, he is violating the law, and he has more than one motive with this plot.  Obama intends not only to give a new hand-out by virtue of mortgage write-downs for qualified persons, but also to set the precedent for undermining all law.

This is extraordinary, and for the President to undertake this action is a treason against the United States Constitution.  What he is attempting to do is to pull the rug out from beneath his opponents by buying off enough of the electorate to swing the vote in his direction, and he’s willing to violate the law to carry it out.  This sort of reckless indifference to the rule of law is unprecedented in American history, and it cannot be stated loudly enough or often enough that it must be opposed by every American, but particularly our political leadership.  This demonic assault on the separation of powers embodied by our Constitutional Republic must not be permitted.

Congress must act.  We haven’t the luxury of waiting for an election.  Every member of Congress must stand and in one voice denounce this violation of law. Every American should be upset by this, because what it means is that one man, Barack Obama, has arrogated to himself the power of law.  Ladies and gentlemen, let none persuade you that this had been a trivial matter.  Presidents swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, and here, Barack Obama has taken it upon himself to simply ignore the law.  At the American Center for Law and Justice has an excellent piece on the specifics here.

Let none be mistaken:  Your lives are under attack by this action as surely as by the act of a foreign aggressor.  If you’re not writing and calling and raising a ruckus, what you’re doing is to participate in the surrender of our nation.  This isn’t just another act by Obama in defiance of some statute, or some judge’s ruling, all of which are bad enough to impeach him, but instead a direct head-on assault upon your US Constitution.  Why do so many shrink from this?  I realize the media is downplaying it for the most part, so it’s not really caught on with most people who aren’t even aware of the situation, much less its details.  This, I submit to you, is when you can be most effective if you’re inclined to fight for your country.  Pick up the phone, call your Representatives and Senators, call your friends and family, and call anybody you know who will give you a few minutes of their time.

Explain to them the simple facts, direct them to the ACLJ link above, and make it known that this is a serious issue with which we must contend.  I read many oaths in the comments section, some of which do not get published because they’re too profane, but a constant theme is how you will fight for the country.  This is one of those times.  It’s Friday, and the press is putting the week to bed, but if you wanted to, by Monday morning the country could be a sea of uproar over this issue, with or without the media’s reporting.

I have long feared that for too long, this nation has suffered a surplus of sports fans and a dearth of active citizens.  I would hate that my surmise had been proven correct over an issue of such glaring national effect.  Will we have the rule of law, or the rule of one man?  It’s time for you to decide.  It’s time for you to place those calls.  It’s time to make the start of a resistance to a growing, grasping dictatorship.  Unopposed, he will grow to love his newly discovered power, and he will make ever greater use of it.

 

Landmark Legal on Point in Obamacare Fight

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Conservative Legal Advocacy

There really are not many conservative legal activists committed to standing up for Americans on such a consistent basis, by arguing against unconstitutional legislation or fighting to shine disinfecting daylight on government actions, but Landmark Legal Foundation is one of those rare organizations. Despite its small size, Landmark is currently involved in at least four major issues of interest, including efforts to stop the implementation of Obamacare, challenging the Obama-Holder Department of Justice interference with states on the issue of illegal immigration, stopping the EPA from usurping congressional authority in regulating “greenhouse gases” like carbon dioxide, and defending the right of states like Wisconsin to limit collective bargaining for public sector employees and the unions that often drive the process to the detriment of tax-payers.

These are all obviously critical issues of significant importance to the American people, and if Landmark Legal seems familiar to you, it may because its president is none other than radio talk-show phenomenon Mark Levin.  More than being the conservative answer to groups like the ACLU, Landmark takes on cases from the standpoint of defeating the leftists’ agenda in the courts where all too often, the left has been so successful in foisting its agenda on the American people.

If you’re not familiar with Levin, his radio show is certainly one great place to hear him speak, and you will learn a great deal about these and countless other critical issues from his show.  Levin served eight years in the Reagan Administration, including his service as the Attorney General’s chief of staff, and Deputy Solicitor of the Department of the Interior, along with many other roles.  He’s the author of several New York Times best-selling books including Liberty and Tyranny – A Conservative Manifesto, Rescuing Sprite: A Dog Lover’s Story of Joy and Anguish, and Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America.  He also has a new book about to hit the shelves:  Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America, which is due out within two weeks.  I have pre-ordered this latest book myself, since I own the other three, and they were each worth every penny.

Landmark Legal’s actions on Obamacare is perhaps the most critical to conservatives, because that legislation threatens to fundamentally reorder American society toward a European healthcare delivery model, or worse in some estimates, and in so doing will create a vast new entitlement program complete with the infamous mandate about which you have read.  You can read the complete Landmark Legal amicus curaie brief filed in the Obamacare case here.  One of the most important questions raised by the brief is whether the court will recognize any limits on federal power, when the commerce or the necessary and proper clauses are concerned.  This is a vital question, because if the federal government can compel you to purchase health insurance, there is no effective limit, and the constitution is utterly meaningless.

Other arguments against Obamacare include the question of the severability of the insurance mandate, ultimately suggesting that since the Congress made no provision in the law for separating any particular clause, the whole law must be affirmed or rejected as a single entity.

These are the sorts of cases we conservatives care most fervently to see taken up, and I make contributions to this noble enterprise that fights on behalf of our individual liberties, and in the name of responsible, ethical, limited government open to examination by citizens.  Reviewing the material they provide to the courts in this form leads me to believe that there are few legal advocacy organizations on our side of the philosophical and political divide that do anything like the work of Landmark Legal.  You can read more extensively about Landmark and the cases in which it is currently involved at its website. It’s one of the very few conservative legal advocacy groups in existence, and its performance on other issues demonstrates its effectiveness despite its small size.  In this time of expansive governmental aggression against individual liberties, we need all the advocates for limited government we can get, and Landmark is definitely among the best.

 

EEOC: Diploma Requirement May Violate ADA

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Why Does This Agency Exist?

This is another absurd bit of prospective interference by government in the market, once again under the umbrella of the Americans With Disabilities Act, and again put forward in such a manner as to defy all logic.  At this point, it’s still just a discussion letter, but by now, you should realize that once the government begins to openly discuss an idea, t’s only a matter of time before they cram it down our throats.   I realize there are those who support the existence of the ADA, but frankly, I am not one of them, primarily because I have seen too many scam artists who avail themselves of the protections of such a law when no reasonable person would ever conclude they were “disabled” or otherwise honestly in need of the protections of such law. Do we really need government to be making these decisions?

These things always devolve into a scam. Always.  In this case, what they’re discussing is whether an employer requiring a High School Diploma as a screening criteria might violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, if they had been prevented from graduating High School because they had some learning disability covered under the act.  In the long run, I can see it being used by ne’er-do-wells who failed to finish high school as the means to bypass ordinary educational requirements.  I can see it already:  “I didn’t graduate because I had a learning disability.“  “Really, what was your learning disability?”  “I had an obsessive compulsive disorder that caused me to play hooky a lot, but you can’t ask me that.

Yes, this is real.  Yes, this is actually under discussion.  If I’m asking you for a High School diploma for a ditch-digging job, it’s because I’m going to need you to fill out all those lovely government forms before you can start. Seriously.  If you cannot complete High School due to a learning disability, or because you were simply a ne’er-do-well, what on earth makes you think you’re entitled to be considered for a job that requires much beyond basic manual labor?  What the EEOC is discussing is whether a High School diploma requirement is an unfair tool of discrimination.  Have you talked to some of the people who manage to graduate high school these days? At the current rate of depreciation of educational diplomas, one might want to ask for a doctorate before hiring somebody to flip burgers.  Call them “Hygienic Food Preparation Engineers.”  I probably shouldn’t make light of this, but I’m shocked at how ridiculous this has become.

I know that’s not fair to the bulk of High School graduates who earn their diplomas, but I’m not really talking about them.  More specifically, I mean some of the blooming morons who manage to complete High School.  The education system manages to pass through some people who it seems couldn’t complete middle school, much less high school, but then again, a high school diploma may signify more than simple learning.  It also says something about one’s basic willingness to comply with and conform to standards and rules, or at least it did in my day.

At my current day job, we screen out applicants for the entry-level positions on the basis of many things, and among them is the High School Diploma or GED.  Those new employees spend the first 4-6 weeks training full time before ever performing the actual job, because it’s specialized and requires the ability to rapidly gather information from many sources, manage multiple computers, redistribute that information rapidly, and follow very precise standards.  Even with the requirements, we have a 60% failure rate among trainees.  Why?  Clearly, it’s because many of the trainees don’t measure up on the simpler things, like showing up on time, or following directions, or relatively simple procedural performance measures.  One of the things we have seen over time is that those with GEDs are less likely to arrive on time, and follow conventions and norms, to the point that we have looked at simply saying GEDs need not apply, because their failure rate is greater than the average, and since we spend so much time and money training, it doesn’t make sense to pour it down a bottomless pit.

Based on what I know, I cannot imagine the case in which a learning disability that had prevented somebody from obtaining a High School diploma wouldn’t similarly prohibit them from performing the functions of these jobs in my organization.  More than that, however, I know how my organization is apt to respond to such a ruling if it were to effectively become the new regulatory norm:  They would spend hours amending their job requirements to rule out anybody who could not demonstrate the same level of competency without ever referencing a High School Diploma.  They will merely make it exhaustively clear that to successfully maintain employment in that job will require certain skills for which “high school diploma” has always been an effective short-hand.

Sure, Human Resources will spend time and effort on it, making sure we’ve complied in every way with the letter of the law, but the fact is that we already comply with its spirit.  Of course, we’re not a small business, but can you imagine this sort of thing being applied to them?  They don’t have staff devoted to these sorts of things, never mind an HR department.  This is the sort of preposterous, confounding,  job-killing regulation for which the government has no actual justification, except to make work for those who are engaged in these sorts of ‘discussion letters.’  Which brings me to my conclusion:  In further Job Openings at the EEOC, they should include a line in their criteria that states “Those possessing common sense need not apply.”

I’m sure it’s merely assumed at present.

Virgina Attorney General Set to Intervene

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli

Virginia’s Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli,  has decided to get involved in the matter of ballot access for the primary elections in his state.  It’s something of an oddity to see this happen because while one could certainly make the case that the late rule changes in the way petition signatures are validated, it’s likewise true that “rules are rules.”  The funny thing about this is that when it was revealed that only Ron Paul and Mitt Romney would be on the ballot, many in the GOP establishment figured they had it all sewn up.  This way, they’d be able to exclude Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann and Perry, and thereby have a virtual walkover.  Not so fast, as I pointed out:  This opened up the possibility that Ron Paul could win that state’s primary, either purely on the basis of Virgina Republican voters in disgust at the party, or because with nobody opposing Obama in the Democrat race, they’d be free to cross over and vote for Ron Paul just to muck things up a bit for Romney.

That realization finally settled in, and then we saw the preposterous “loyalty oath” business, whereby voters in the GOP primary were to sign an oath promising to vote for the GOP candidate in the general election.  That clearly turned into an embarrassment for the Virginia GOP, and rightfully so, but thereafter they were left with no way to stave off the Ron Paul disaster they now feared they would face.  Now enters the Attorney General, who will propose to the assembly that they enact a change to ballot access, that will effectively allow all of these candidates in.  It would require only that the candidate had met the criteria and was in fact receiving federal campaign matching funds, and that would enable them to be on the ballot.

This hasn’t yet been accomplished, of course, but this is the general direction in which it’s now being steered.  The intent in this case seems to be the attempt to deny Ron Paul a shot at outright victory, and to keep the conservative side of the field otherwise diluted, in order to permit Romney to walk with the lion’s share of delegates.  Some is better than none, which would be the result if Paul won in a two-candidate race. (The primary is “winner take all” unless none obtain a majority, in which case there’s some sort of apportionment.)

This entire spectacle is a stunning revelation about the electoral process in Virginia, but it also demonstrates how disconnected the GOP is from its base in Virginia. “Loyalty oaths?” That absurd work-around should never have seen the light of day, but in the reflexive attempt to retain control of the results, they tipped their hand and showed the people of Virginia how thoroughly dominated by the party establishment the Virginia Republican Party really is.  This story really does deal a serious black eye to the Virginia GOP, and Cuccinelli’s attempt to salvage it is really too little, too late.  Besides, these are “rule of law” proponents, aren’t they?  Who changes rules in the middle of a contest?  Imagine playing blackjack with these people.  Imagine trying to carry out anything under the rules, knowing they could change at any moment.  This is as much a problem of credibility for the national party as it is for their Virginia operation, and they’ve tried to settle this quickly with minimal bad press.

Too late.

So You Like 100 Watt Light Bulbs? Better Stock Up!

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Is the Party Over?

Effective at midnight, certain types of light-bulbs will be against the law. 100-watt incandescent light-bulbs are the first to be phased out due to a miserably wretched piece of legislation passed in 2007.  It’s true that Republicans managed to place a provision into a recent bill that would de-fund enforcement through September 2012, but the fact is that most manufacturers and retailers will comply, not wishing to risk being outside the law.  That’s right: 100 watt incandescent bulbs of the sort we’ve been using for decades are going away, and if you don’t like it, you can thank the Democrat Congress of 2007 and and of course President George W. Bush, the “compassionate conservative” who signed this idiocy into law.  Hurrah for compassion! Hurrah for government regulation! Hurrah for George W. Bush!  If you’re not happy about this, you’ve got just a few more hours depending on your timezone.

Many Americans like me find compact florescent bulbs to be problematic.  They contain toxic mercury, and there is already talk about disposal issues, never mind the problems you might have if you break one.  They’re expensive, and in truth, despite the hype, they don’t last any longer, and I’ve encountered a number of these with defects. In addition, they drive my pets insane, because apparently they emit high-frequency noise that I cannot hear, but they can.  We’ve gotten rid of every one of these from our home, since we have no desire to torture our pets.  More problematic, the light they produce is in a wavelength that bothers my eyes, and seems to trigger migraine headaches.  Of course, why would the Democrat Congress of 2007 or the compassionate George W. Bush care about that?  No, they don’t understand that while I don’t mind if others wish to have these compact florescent bulbs, but they shouldn’t mind either if I retain the choice to pay the few pennies more in electricity bills in exchange for avoiding all the troubles they inflict in my own home and life.

The other alternative is the LED bulbs, but they’re outrageously expensive, and I’ve not figured out how to finance a house-full of them.  Perhaps a second mortgage?  The other problem is that my only experience with them is not a good deal more positive in terms of the light emitted, but I’ve decided that as a practical matter, I have no intention of being an early adopter of the technology because it’s fantastically outside my budgetary constraints.  Of course, neither the Democrat Congress of 2007-2011 was the least bit worried about budgetary constraints as shown by the growth of our federal budget, and it doesn’t seem that either the compassionately conservative Mr. Bush or the fantastically radical Mr. Obama had any concerns about the effects of this law on working stiffs.

It is for this reason that I have decided not to participate in this ban, and in order to do so, I’ve been stock-piling.  At an average usage of one bulb per month, I now have enough to last should I live to be 100 years old.  (I won’t last that long, of course, but I want to have some put back for my heirs.)   My message to the Democrat Congress of 2007-2011 and to Presidents Bush and Obama is simply: “You’re not the boss of me.”

Of course, the thoughtful will have noticed that there exists no similar measure one can adopt to protect one’s future health-care from the mandate that will be Obamacare, at least not for working stiffs.  Fortunately for them, neither the Democrat Congress of 2010 nor President Obama will suffer those limitations. After all, they have you to pay their bills, light their corridors, and dispose of their toxic bulbs.

Hurry on down to your local big-box store and buy up such 100-watt bulbs as you can still find.  They’re going away, and you have nothing but the compassion of big government liberals of both parties to thank!

Happy New Year!

Obama’s Gun Control Agenda Won’t Be Stopped By Pesky Law

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Laws Are Made to be Broken?

There is a provision of the Omnibus spending bill passed by Congress before the Christmas recess that prohibits the expenditure of funds for use in the advocacy or promotion of gun control.  In his signing statement, President Obama effectively said “to heck with that,” and said he would do whatever he deems “necessary and expedient.”  This is the behavior of a President who when campaigning for that office said that signing statements of this sort are unconstitutional, and that as per the constitution, the law signed is the law enacted irrespective of a contradictory signing statement.  I suppose we can file that one alongside his promise to be “the most transparent administration in history.”  This provision was to apply to the National Institutes for Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and other health-related federal agencies.

Obama simply doesn’t care what the law says.  Once again, we find the President implementing by executive fiat that which contradicts the law. Below, you can watch video of a discussion with John Frazer, NRA-ILA Director of Research and Information(H/T BreitbartTV:)

This is simply another instance of President Obama’s willingness to ignore the law, even laws he signs, and it’s a disturbing trend we mustn’t ignore as we stand now just more than ten months from a Presidential election.  This continual imposition of his will in opposition to the law is becoming an epidemic.  He’s taken similar steps with other provisions of law via executive orders and regulations, and as you will remember, the entire Fast and Furious debacle was undertaken to give him statistical justification for those regulations.  If he’s re-elected, this will only grow worse, and we will be under his regulatory boot through January, 2017.  It’s time to make this President a one-termer, and send him home.