Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Glenn Beck Restoring Honor Rally

Progressives have never understood Glenn Back. Rarely do they quote or characterize him accurately. I guess it is easy for them to avoid watching his television show on Fox News or to listen to his radio program. IF they did, they could not say the the hateful things they say about him. Granted, he says things sometimes he later regrets (calling President Obama a racist, for example). He says things I disagree with from time to time. In the main, though, I think he is generally spot on, and he is spot on with logic and reason.

Liberals call Mr. Beck a demagogue. When I hear or read that, I suspect they do not know the meaning of the word. Liberals are all about demagoguery rather than reason. Their feelings trump logic. Their version of logic seems to be their own reasoning divorced from the lessons of experience and the laws of economics. Glenn Beck may be wrong (occasionally), but he backs up his opinions with history and facts. That is the antithesis of demagoguery. Inn contract, Liberals back up their arguments with name-calling.

Some liberals are seeing chinks in their own hatred of Glenn Back after this past weekend's rally in Washington. John Douthat in the NY Times admits he underestimated the man. William Saleton in Slate acknowledged the sincerity of the crowd's approval of Dr. Martin Luther King. Both took their shots at Glenn Beck and the crowd, of course, with typical liberal arrogance.

Saleton's shots were almost humorous. He suggests that conservatives are always behind the progressive curve and come around after they have lost, specifically referring to racial equality. While there might be some truth there on some issues, such as racial equality issues, he also said, intending it as criticism of the present state of affairs:

Fifty years from now, when conservatives gather on the National Mall, they'll be celebrating the integration of American Muslims. On the hologram projector, they'll show dimensionally enhanced video of an anti-mosque rally from the bad old days of 2010. Their tribute won't be insincere. It'll just be a little bit late.
Mr. Saleton is truly clueless here. We all wish we could celebrate the integration of Muslims today. Unfortunately, there is a violent streak in certain adherents of Islam that read and believe the literal word of the Koran that says Islam must emerge secularly superior to the rest of us. Peace means the rest of us are dead or submissive to Islam. When those elements are gone, we will happily welcome Muslims among us (while we tirelessly seek to convert each other, of course).

Still, I am pleased to see Glenn Beck getting some grudging respect after years of false accusations that he was some sort of hate mongerer (while simultaneously ignoring the true hate mongers on the left, e.g., Al Sharpton, Rachel Maddow, Ed Shultz, and on and on.

US Constitution Series, Article III, Section 3


§ 3. Treason

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
It seems quaint to say this, but it would be unconstitutional to punish the children and grandchildren of someone convicted of treason;

Monday, August 30, 2010

Glenn Beck Rally versus the Moocher Crowd

Beck Crowd Leaves Mall Clean; Obama Crowd Not so Much

To me this is unsurprising. The Beck crowd is all about elf-reliance. So, they pick up after themselves or exercise care to dispose to trash properly.

The Obama crowd is more of the Peggy-the-Moocher variety. The Gummint gonna take care of us ... and pick up after us.

Which group would you rather have run the country?

Bed Bugs in Ohio: EPA to Blame

Ohio is experiencing a nasty infestation in resurgent bed bug populations. EPA aims to keep it that way, by refusing to permit the use of effective and safe pesticides, because the EPA falsely (I believe) claims they are unsafe.

I am an adult American. I should have the right to take the risk. I don't need a nanny EPA telling me I cannot.

EPA folks should be wearing t-shirts that say, "Save the Bed Bugs."

US Constitution Series, Article III, Section 2


§ 2. Judicial Power and Jurisdiction

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State;--between Citizens of different States;--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
This describes the jurisdiction of the federal court system and certain cases in which the Supreme Court has "original jurisdiction" meaning that the case may be filed directly with the Supreme Court.

I don't fully understand the original controversy predating Marbury v. Madison about whether the Supreme Court has the power to be the interpreter of the Constitution. Because the judicial power expressly extends to all cases arising under the constitution, the courts would have to interpret the meaning of the words in the Constitution. The argument against, of course, is that the Supreme Court should defer to Congress's interpretation, as a result of which no Act of Congress could ever be declared unconstitutional. I think the rule of Marbury v. Madison, that the Supreme Court may declare unconstitutional actions of the executive that contravene the Constitution (and by implication, acts of Congress) is the better view.

Another issue in this section is the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Congress has limited the jurisdiction of cases between citizens of different states to controversies exceeding $75,000. The Constitution contains no such limitation. Similarly, the diversity requirement as it has evolved says that to have jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship, all plaintiffs must be residents of the different state from all defendants. It seems to me hard to derive that principle from the words in this section.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gotta Love Those Statists

Check out www.daybydaycartoon.com

Late Night Political Humor

I could not resist, taken fro one of those circulating emails, all attributions unconfirmed:

The liberals are asking us to give Obama time. We agree and think 25 to life would be appropriate. --- Jay Leno

America needs Obama-care like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween
mask. --- Jay Leno

Q: Have you heard about McDonald's' new Obama Value Meal?
A: Order anything you like and the guy behind you has to pay for it. --- Conan O'Brien

Q: What does Barack Obama call lunch with a convicted felon?
A: A fund raiser. --- Jay Leno

Q: What's the difference between Obama's cabinet and a penitentiary?
A: One is filled with tax evaders, blackmailers and threats to society.
The other is for housing prisoners. --- David Letterman

Q: If Nancy Pelosi and Obama were on a boat in the middle of the ocean
and it started to sink, who would be saved?
A: America ! --- Jimmy Fallon

Q: What's the difference between Obama and his dog, Bo?
A: Bo has papers. --- Jimmy Kimmel

Q: What was the most positive result of the "Cash for clunkers" program?
A: It took 95% of the Obama bumper stickers off the road. --- David Letterman

US Constitution Series, Article III, Section 1


§ 1. Judicial Power, Courts, Judges

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
The judges hold their office during good behavior, but the only bad behavior that is impeachable is treason, bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

US Constitution Series, Article II, Section 4


§ 4. Impeachment

The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
It seems to me that the bar is pretty high to justify removal from office. Of course, the Senate must agree to convict on the impeachment by a two-thirds vote and there is no provisions for appeal to the Supreme Court.

Failure to keep the oath of office by itself is not grounds for impeachment.

Ground Zero Mosque Controversy Explained -- In Chinese

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

US Constitution Series, Article II, Section 3


§ 3. Legislative, Diplomatic, and Law Enforcement Duties of the President

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
Not much here, but is it an impeachable offense for the President to fail to "faithfully execute" the border laws? The impeachment section is tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Where is Your Congressman?

US Constitution Series, Article II, Section 2


§ 2. Powers and Duties of the President

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
The so-called Czars are persons whom the President has appointed without the advice and consent of the Senate. The advice and consent of the Senate is required for the appointment of "Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for...."

The President has bypassed the advice and consent of the Senate by making recess appointments. However, the language suggests th o me that recess appointments should only be made if the vacancy occurs during the recess. Remember, originally, the Congress met only for eh short portion of the year, not like today. Months would pass during an adjournment, so the recess appointment process was thought necessary.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mattie Fein: Campaign Ads Come of Age

They just keep getting better and better.

US Constitution Series, Article II, Section 1


§ 1. The President

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representatives from each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

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.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
The manner of election of the president and vice president was changed by the 12th Amendment. The issue of succession has been addressed twice by amendments: 22nd and 25th.

The requirement that the President be a natural born citizen has, of course, been of some controversy lately, with some folks (called derisively "birthers") claiming that president Obama was not really born in the United States. The exact wording is NOT "born in the United States" but is "natural born citizen." If a baby is born physically outside the United States but both parents are citizens, the baby is, I think, probably still a "natural born citizen." I understand this is not a matter of settled law with a definitive Supreme Court ruling. An interesting scholarly Wikipedia article on the subject may be found here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rod Blagojevich Verdict Explained

And you don't even have to understand Chinese.

Another Reason to Avoid Cleveland: City to Fine Residents Who Don't Recycle

The City of Cleveland present a new reason to avoid living in Cleveland, the mistake on the lake: $100 fines to residents who don't recycle enough.

From Cleveland .com

Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine, according to Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens. Recyclables include glass, metal cans, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard.
Read it all.

City Council is thinking about a new motto: Cleveland: The City that Wants to Die.

US Constitution Series, Article I, Section 10


§ 10. Powers Denied to the States

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Control of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
There is more interesting stuff in this section which restricts the power of the states.

The states may not impair the obligations of contract. What that means is that states cannot impair the obligations of legal contracts in existence at the time of the legislation. Of course states have made all sorts of encroachments in this area and there is much case law discussing what is and what is not an impairment of contracts.

The prohibition on states entering into compacts with other states is interesting. There are all sorts of interstate compacts in existence today, such as an interstate driver's license compact in the recognition of another state's suspension of privileges and the sharing of information. There is a Multistate Tax Compact. Certainly, Congress has given consent for some Compacts, but it would be odd if the states could agree between themselves on nothing at all without the consent of Congress.

In Virginia v. Tennessee, 148 U.S. 503, 519, 13 S.Ct. 728, 734, 37 L.Ed. 537 (1893), the Supreme Court decided that the application of the Compact Clause is limited to agreements that are "directed to the formation of any combination tending to the increase of political power in the States, which may encroach upon or interfere with the just supremacy of the United States." The case involves the boundary between Virginia and Tennessee that in 1802 had been "marked with great care by the commissioners of the States, with five chops on the trees in the form of a diamond, at such intervals between them as they deemed sufficient to identify and trace the line." The Court said that the states could agree between themselves on the "definition of a true and ancient boundary."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Erik Scott Inquest Date Set

The Las Vegas Sun is reporting that the inquest for the Costco shooting of Erik Scott has been set for September 23. No word on what, if anything, the security video shows.

US Constitution Series, Article I, Section 9


§ 9. Powers Denied to Congress

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases or Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census of Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.
This section is troubling. If the Congress has only those powers enumerated in section 8, why is it necessary to list powers denied to Congress?

Of the powers denied, the power to tax directly other than in proportion to the census was changed by the 16th Amendment to allow the income tax which is levied directly on the citizens.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

US Constitution Series, Article I, Section 8

Everybody should read this. Including Congresscritters.

§ 8. Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of Particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
This is one of the most controversial sections of the Constitution today.

Some questions. The Constitution mentions the army and navy, but not the air force, obviously. Should we amend the Constitution to include the air force? For a space force yet to be invented? Or is "provide for the common defence" enough authority?

The "necessary and proper" clause is used to justify all sorts of mischief by Congress. But literally, the necessary and proper clause applies only to legislation required to carry out the powers specifically stated in this section and elsewhere in the Constitution.

The mishief-making "general Welfare" clause does not seem terribly limited. Look at the context: Levy taxes, pay debts, provide for the common defense and the general Welfare. It seems pretty broad to me. Yet, we know that a system of limited government was intended by the founders. Are the enumerated powers that follow intended to be limiting to the broadly stated powers in the first paragraph? If not limiting, why was the listing of powers necessary at all, if anything could be justified as "general Welfare?" Will this clause allow the Obamacare individual mandate to survive?

Questions. Not answers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ross Douthat's NTY Column Dissected and Respected

There is a NYT op-ed by Ross Douthat that is thoughtful, partly a wrong understanding of both left and right in America. I agree with the conclusion, and it deserves a thoughtful response.

I must quote large portsion to discuss the article (read the original, please):

There’s an America where it doesn’t matter what language you speak, what god you worship, or how deep your New World roots run. An America where allegiance to the Constitution trumps ethnic differences, language barriers and religious divides. An America where the newest arrival to our shores is no less American than the ever-so-great granddaughter of the Pilgrims.
By this America he intends to describe left wing America. It is laughable to suggest that left-wing America has an allegiance to the Constitution. What about the second amendment, free speech for conservatives, or the Tenth Amendment. I acknowledge that is how the left wing fancies itself, however wrongly.

But there’s another America as well, one that understands itself as a distinctive culture, rather than just a set of political propositions. This America speaks English, not Spanish or Chinese or Arabic. It looks back to a particular religious heritage: Protestantism originally, and then a Judeo-Christian consensus that accommodated Jews and Catholics as well. It draws its social norms from the mores of the Anglo-Saxon diaspora — and it expects new arrivals to assimilate themselves to these norms, and quickly.
Yes, we view America as its own distinctive culture and prefer America as a melting pot to an oil and water mixture. Remember, though, Charles Carroll of Carrollton was an American Catholic (brother of Bishop John Carroll) who signed the Declaration of Independence.

After pointing out the different perspectives on the ground zero mosque, Mr. Douthat says [my comments in brackets],

This is typical of how these debates usually play out. The first America tends to make the finer-sounding speeches [disagree], and the second America often strikes cruder, more xenophobic notes [false, disliking people who try to kill you is not xenophobic]. The first America welcomed the poor, the tired, the huddled masses; the second America [also welcomed them and] demanded that they change their names [false] and drop their native languages [not drop anything, just add English], and often threw up hurdles to stop them coming altogether [illegally only]. The first America celebrated religious liberty [false: it disrespects religion in general and Christianity in particular]; the second America persecuted Mormons and discriminated against Catholics [ancient history, and not limited to the right].
Mr. Douthat's views of left and right wing America are horribly skewed, not without some occasional grains of truth, though.

But both understandings of this country have real wisdom to offer, and both have been necessary to the American experiment’s success.
The left wing America would have much more to offer if Mr. Douthat's incorrect view of the left's fidelity to Constitutional principles were grounded in reality.

So it is today with Islam. The first America is correct to insist on Muslims’ absolute right to build and worship where they wish. But the second America is right to press for something more from Muslim Americans — particularly from figures like Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the mosque — than simple protestations of good faith.

Too often, American Muslim institutions have turned out to be entangled with ideas and groups that most Americans rightly consider beyond the pale. Too often, American Muslim leaders strike ambiguous notes when asked to disassociate themselves completely from illiberal causes
Here we agree.

By global standards, Rauf may be the model of a “moderate Muslim.” But global standards and American standards are different. For Muslim Americans to integrate fully into our national life, they’ll need leaders who don’t describe America as “an accessory to the crime” of 9/11 (as Rauf did shortly after the 2001 attacks), or duck questions about whether groups like Hamas count as terrorist organizations (as Rauf did in a radio interview in June). And they’ll need leaders whose antennas are sensitive enough to recognize that the quest for inter-religious dialogue is ill served by throwing up a high-profile mosque two blocks from the site of a mass murder committed in the name of Islam.
We agree again.

They’ll need leaders, in other words, who understand that while the ideals of the first America protect the e pluribus, it’s the demands the second America makes of new arrivals that help create the unum.
Cute and clever. Food for thought

On Tea Party Racism

Self explanatory from the You Tube Black and Right Group:

Mr. Parks has been the subject of the worst sorts of racist epithets ... from the left.

The Tax Debate We Should Be Having

Flat Tax versus the Fair Tax. I favor the Fair Tax, but we need a Constitutional amendment to prohibit any new income tax for it to work.

Both taxes would be unsatisfying to "progressives" who want to punish success ("soak the rich") or reward failure. Everyone gets treated equally under both taxes. Isn't that what we always believed America to be all about? Equal treatment?

Economics Trumps Obamacare per Reason TV

One of the most telling points to me is how our current regulation inhibits health care innovation. Increasing regulation will necessarily decrease innovation.

US Constitution Series, Article I, Section 7

Article I

Section 7 - Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto

All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
Only the House may originate tax bills. Hmmm. Since Obamacare was a Senate Bill and it raises taxes, is the bill void or voidable on that basis? (Answer: The Obamacare bill was passed as a House Bill amended by the Senate, despite popular press reports that made is sound as if the Senate initiated its own bill.)

This section describes an interesting procedure for whether a bill passed by the both houses becomes law. The President may sign the bill or may simply sit on it. If the president sits on it for 10 days and Congress remains in session, the bill becomes law without the president's signature. To prevent the bill from becoming law, the president must veto stating objections, subject to being overridden by 2/3 vote in each house.

BUT, if Congress adjourns within 10 day of sending a bill to the president, and the president sits on the bill without signing or vetoing, the bill does NOT become law. That is not a veto, so it is not subject to being overridden. This is called a "pocket veto."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ground-Zero Mosque: Bad Idea for Moderate Muslims

I commend to you the excellent analysis of America' s attitude toward Islam in the Asian Times.

I, for one, am discomfited by organized Islam in America apparently failing to take any steps to condemn terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas, and apparently failing to take and publicly announced steps to quell any stirrings of radical Islamists in the mosques of America.

The ground zero Mosque with its originally announced opening on September 11 seems clearly intended to be deliberately insulting to the memory of the Americans who died at the hands of radical Islamists on September 11, 2001. I, along with a majority of Americans, believe that the Mosque plans are ill-intended. The insult is intentional.

Even if they have a legal right to build there, it is clear that it is a bad move for all of Islam in America if -- and only if -- Islam in America is well-intentioned. The building of the controversial Mosque has stirred and will continue to stir anti-Muslim sentiment in America, because the mosque can only be viewed as defiantly anti-American. Is that what the builders really want? Do they really want tension between Muslims and non-Muslims in America. I think so.

Bad idea.

Never Forget.

Laws of Economics: Less Gov't spending Needed

Our hopey-changey-bushy-blamey President constantly justifies himself by claiming that all of today's economic problems stem from the "previous eight years." He seem blissfully unaware that two of those previous eight were on his watch. President Obama and the Congressional Democrats have simply extended and expanded that failed economic policies that got us into the current sluggish economy.

The Cato Institute explains:

Duped America

I am always fascinated by people of one political persuasion or another who change their minds. Duped America is a book by Richard Bernstein, a former Democrat who realized that the Democratic party was deliberately misleading the American public.

There is an interesting interview with the author at the Daily Caller.

US Constitution Series, Article I, Section 6


§ 6. Rights and Disabilities of Members

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
There are some interesting things here. There is an absolute use immunity for anything that a member of Congress may say during a debate. That is a legal immunity. The press is not restrained from asking questions. Only government compelled speech is restrained, as in court. A member of Congress could theoretically confess to murder in a debate and not be asked about that confession in court. The press could ask, though.

Also expressly stated: no double dipping. Also, while in office a member of Congress may not be appointed to a civil post created or increased during that person's tenure. They could be appointed after the terms ends and the person is out of Congress, even for one day. I do not think a person could resign and be so appointed if the "time for which he was elected," (the term) has not ended, despite the early resignation.

Can Monks Sell Caskets in Louisiana?

Here is a story about freedom and protectionism.

All licensing laws (yes, doctors and lawyers, too) are about protecting the in-crowd and keeping prices up. All licensing laws.

All licensing laws are sold as "protecting the public from the unlearned, unscrupulous, or incompetent. That is the big lie.

It is about money. Limiting the supply of any good or service props up prices.

Licensing is about money. And only money.

The story does not clearly say, but I assume that the problem is not that the monks make and sell caskets. The problem is that the monks sell caskets to the general public, so the sale does not go through the funeral directors.

Real or Fake: Bankrupting America

How well would you do, dear Reader? Real or Fake?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wurzelbacker v. Jones-Kelley: Joe the Plumber Appeals Dismissal

On August 12, 2010, Joe the Plumber appealed dismissal of his lawsuit against Helen Jones-Kelley and others who had made politically motivated searches of his state records.

Helen Jones-Kelley (since terminated) was the Director of Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS). Her codefendants were also ODJS officials. ODJFS is an Ohio mega-agency enforcing child and spousal support obligations, unemployment compensation, and regulating various businesses, such as child care operators. "Joe the Plumber" embarrassed candidate Barack Obama, resulting in public disclosure of Candidate Obama's "spread the wealth" socialist agenda. After that public humiliation, the defendants met, and Defendant Jones-Kelley authorized searches of the ODJFS databases looking for information to embarrass Joe the Plumber.

When her wrongful actions were disclosed (i.e., using state resources for partisan political activity), Democratic Governor Strickland accepted her resignation and the other defendants resigned or were fired.

Joe the Plumber brought suit for violations of his constitutional rights under color of state law. The federal suit apparently did not include state law claims such as intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of privacy or other theories.

After the complaint and answer was filed, the defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. In essence, they argued that the complaint failed to state a claim that the court could recognize.

Judge Algernon Marbley dismissed the complaint on August 4, 2010. He said that although Joe the Plumber stated a claim that the defendants acted under color of state law, he did not state a claim that "the offending conduct [deprived] the plaintiff of rights secured by federal law."

As to the First amendment retaliation claim, the judge said, "Without allegations of a more specific and concrete nature as to the harms he suffered, Plaintiff does not meet the constitutional threshold required to state a claim for First Amendment retaliation."

On the Fourteenth Amendment privacy claim, the judge said, "While Plaintiff's allegations, if found to be true, may have been in violation of Plaintiff's privacy, they do not amount to a constitutional violation of privacy, and Plaintiff's interest at stake do not implicate a fundamental liberty interest." [Italics in original.] In the decision, the court noted that the Sixth Circuit differs from the other circuits on the extent to which privacy violations implicate constitutional violations.

A copy of the decision dismissing the complaint is here.

Unless the case gets settled somehow, I would not be surprised if this decision were reversed, either by the Sixth Circuit or by the United States Supreme Court. The conduct of the defendants was so egregious, it seems odd that a court would find no constitutional violation on these facts.

For me, I am disappointed that the complaint did not recite state law claims that seem even stronger than the constitutional claims. The state law claims probably have a statute of limitations of two years, which is fast approaching if not already past.

Democrats Reward Failure

Can you imagine? The Democrats never dreamed that by paying people to be unemployed, more people would be unemployed. It is no shock, then, to any rational mind (Democrats apparently excluded) that unemployment increased when unemployments benefits were extended from 26 to 95 weeks.

95 weeks! That is over three years of benefits for ... pretending to look for a job.

I have heard the Liberal reaction. They are incredulous that anyone would voluntarily be unemployed just because they receive benefits.

That sort of thinking proves how little Liberals/Democrats understand economics. Or people. Folks may find it hard to live on the unemployment benefits, so many supplement with "under the table" cash paid for unreported work.

Liberals may not be insane (see yesterday's post), but they certainly are not rational.

US Constitution Series, Article I, Section 5


§ 5. Powers and Duties of the Houses

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
There are a number of interesting things in this article:
  1. For each House, a majority must be present to vote on anything, which is the official conduct of business. We see speeches on C-span where members are speaking to essentially an empty room. speeches are not the conduct of business, votes are.
  2. Each house may expel members, but it takes a two-thirds vote. Only 20 members have been expelled, mostly Southern sympathizers during the Civil War.
  3. A house may not adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other and they must meet in close physical proximity.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Judge Napolitano's History of Liberty

check out Judge Napolitano's History of Liberty. As of today, four parts are up. Jump to the link and check it out.

Why Are Liberals?

I am fascinated by the question of what makes liberals tick. This blog will refer you to a thoughtful article by Larrey Anderson at the American Thinker that suggests that liberals are not really insane.

I don't know. Liberals seem to be insane. Their talk and apparent thought patterns appear to be insane. Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck. The jury on that is still out for me. The article is well worth the read, though.

Sherrod Brown Takes Credit for Rewarding Failure

It is official Federal policy to reward failure and punish success. Here is the latest headline form Ohio:

Ohio gets $148 million to help unemployed keep their homes

Great. If your mortgage is in trouble and you want government assistance, get rid of your job. You have to fail to succeed in this environment.

As for Sherrod Brown, he wants some of the credit for reqarding failure:

Sen. Sherrod Brown said in a statement that "Ohio's cities have been on the frontline of the foreclosure crisis for over a decade and should have all the resources necessary to rebuild our communities.''

"These homeowners and communities deserve more assistance than they have been receiving (from the federal government) and today the federal government is giving it to them,'' Brown said.
"Deserve more assistance????" What have the done to "deserve" more assistance other than to fail? What a moron.

I believe in helping those in need. But not through government. Government can be counted on to do so stupidly (all the wrong incentives), wastefully (bus loads of bureaucrats), and with a large helping of fraud on the side.

Google Street Cam Captures Body

Here is the Google street cam shot showing the body on the ground:

This cam caused great speculation that a dead body was shown.

Don't worry, though. Here is the owner of the body and she denies that she was dead. She is 10 years old, and she was just playing.

For more related photos and story, go here.

Employers Check Backgrounds, Get Targeted for Discrimination Complaints

Is it illegally discriminatory to run criminal or credit background checks before hiring? Watch out, the Obama administration may go after you if you do.

WASHINGTON — Companies using criminal records or bad credit reports to screen out job applicants might run afoul of anti-discrimination laws as the government steps up scrutiny of hiring policies that can hurt blacks and Hispanics.

A blanket refusal to hire workers based on criminal records or credit problems can be illegal if it has a disparate impact on racial minorities, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency enforces the nation’s employment discrimination laws.
Read it all here.

The Justice Department points out that 38% of the prison population is black compared to about 12% of the general population. Why is that?

Is it because blacks are more likely to be incarcerated for the same crimes? That is not my observation (anecdotally) in court proceedings I have observed, but that may be part of it.

If it is not because of a higher incarceration rate, it must be because of either a higher rate of committing the crimes or a higher rate of getting caught. Why?

It would take serious studies to look into it, and we may never have the answer.

Since most crimes by black criminals are against black victims, it would be hard to describe it as some sort of racism backlash (i.e., Whitey took from us, so I'm gonna take from whitey). Is it cultural, perhaps related to the high rates of illegitimate births in the black community (which may have started with a poorly designed welfare system: ADC used to encourage illegitimate children by increasing welfare payments with each illegitimate birth. -- economics in action)? Fatherless households have greater risk of poor socialization of children. Although the white community is catching up, the black community, I understand, still leads in fatherless households.

We humans are so complex, I am sure there are no simple answers.

Still, black, white, Hispanic, or other: doesn't a history of criminal behavior say something about the likely prospective behavior of the prospective employee? Does the Government have the right to force employers to hire criminals? Isn't that simply too much government intrusion?

If government is going to intimidate employers into not checking backgrounds, who will be responsible if the employee commits the next crime while on the job?

Nanny State: USDOT Seeks to Ban Airline Peanuts

Some people have peanut allergies.

Newsflash: If you have a peanut allergy, don't take the airline peanuts.

There. Problem solved in the real world.

Washington is not the real world. According to the United States Government, People with peanut allergies are too stupid to refuse peanuts that may harm them. DOT wants to ban them.

How dumb, how totally arrogant does the Government have to get before we start repealing their authority to control every little thing?

Nuts Congressman Call Gibbs A Bozo

This is delicious. The subject of mycongressmanisnuts.com calls Robert Gibbs, President Obama's mealy-mouthed spokesman, a "Bozo Spokesman" because of Gibb's complaint that left left is not sufficiently appreciative of President Obama's lackluster presidency.

Alan Grayson (D-FL) may be the left's biggest whack-job. And that is a significant accomplishment in a field populated by whack-jobs.

US Constitution Series: Article I, Section 4


§ 4. Elections

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
Wouldn't it be nice if Congress would assemble only once each year?

I have never looked into the history of it, but I wonder why all the elections in all the states are held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November? Since the newly elected Congressfolk begin their terms in January, December seems like a long time to wait to get to work. We should remember that being a Congress-critter was supposed to be a part-time job. We would all be better off it that remained true.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

US Constitution Series, Article I, Section 3


§ 3. The Senate

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
The first paragraph has been changed by the 17th Amendment. Senators are no longer selected by the state legislatures, but are popularly elected.

The constitution does not mandate any right to filibuster in the Senate. It is a time-honored tradition in the Senate, the rules for which have changed over time.

The Senate is deliberately designed to give smaller states an equal voice with larger states, allowing a balance of state interests against popular interests represented in the House of Representatives.

Liberal Lunacy: More Mandates Mean More Liberty.

I was listening to a presentation to constitutional law professors by lawyers on both sides of the individual mandate health care litigation. On of the lawyers made a statement I thought astounding, but realized that it was the typical twisted thinking of liberals/progressives. She said that the individual mandate enhances liberty, because no one would have to worry about having health care.

What!!?? How do I have more liberty if the government is forwarding me to buy insurance on threat of a huge fine if I don't?

That is nuts. That is progressivism. Welcome to tomorrow's America.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

US Constitution Series, Article I, Section 2


§ 2. The House of Representatives

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
This section does more than merely establish the House or

The Supreme Court struck down the first attempt at an income tax, because it was a direct tax but not in proportion to the number of Representatives as required by the third paragraph.

On the House may impeach the President. An impeachment is like an indictment. IF the House impeaches, the President gets a trial before the Senate to prove his or her guilt or innocence of the high crimes and misdemeanors.

This section provides for a census (enumeration), the sole constitution function of which is to establish the number of Representatives elected for each state. The count of 3/5 for "other persons" referred to slaves. The constitution seems to recognize indentured servitude, a sort of voluntary slavery, be the reference to "those bound to Service for a Term of Years." Involuntary servitude, except after conviction of a crime was abolished along with slavery by the Thirteenth Amendment.

Erik Scott, Aug 10 Update

Here are the links to Las Vegas's 8 News Now Stories to date on the Erik Scott shooting:

Vigil to Mark 1 Month Since Las Vegas Police Shooting

Police Radio Recordings Reveal Chaos of Costco Shooting

Family Attorney Outraged Over Inquest Delay

Inquest into Costco Shooting Postponed

Police Have Not Viewed Costco Surveillance Tapes

Eyewitnesses May be Unreliable in Costco Shooting

I-Team: Father of Man Shot by Police at Costco Speaks

Family Gets Chilling Account of Costco Shooting

Officer Involved in Costco Shooting Involved in 2006 Shooting

Man in Costco Shooting had Concealed Weapons Perm
The story will continue to develop, but slowly.

I assumed at one point that Costco may have been holding up the tape, but apparently police have sent the tape for forensic review due to issues with the Costco recording equipment. That seems odd. What good are any of the security tapes if Costco can't review them?

Monday, August 09, 2010

U.S. Constitution Series, Article I, Section 1.

Section 1 - The Legislature

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
This is actually far more profound than first appears. And far more ignored, it seems.

There are three branches of government, Congress (the legislative branch), the President (administrative branch) and the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as Congress may establish (the judicial branch). Only the Congress has the constitutional power to legislate. How then can an administrative agency, constitutionally under the President, adopt regulations that have the effect of law?

In theory, administrative regulations have only the power to clarify, interpret and fill in the gaps in legislation (an interpretative function of sorts), and then only where Congress has given that agency the power to adopt regulations. In practice, administrative agencies effective create law all the time.

It is not uncommon for lawyers to challenge agency rulemaking on "separation of powers" grounds. That means the lawyers are challenging the regulation going too far in enacting a law, thus encroaching on the power of Congress to make laws.

In theory, the judicial branch may only interpret laws enacted by Congress. The courts theoretically cannot make law. Of course, Congress enacts laws in English. In the English language, ambiguity abounds. Courts need to interpret. However, inevitably there are gaps. And the Constitution has huge gaps. The courts must decide cases, so decisions appearing to be judicial legislation are unsurprising.

Nevertheless, it seems the courts have occasionally (or more often) gone too far. If the Supreme Court goes too far, there is no one to correct it.

Still, the Constitution is quite clear. Only Congress has the power to enact laws.

Blurred Vision: Iranian Exile Band

Modern protest song, remake and reworking of “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd:

Gov't Policy: Reward Failure; Punish Success -- Employers Can't Find Workers

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that despite high unemployment, many employers cannot find enough workers to fill available jobs. Why? Among other things, extended unemployment benefits.

Employers and economists point to several explanations. Extending jobless benefits to 99 weeks gives the unemployed less incentive to search out new work.
The problem is particularly acute with low paying jobs. The closer the pay for not-working is to the pay for working, the more the incentives tip toward not-working.

Read the entire article here.

With unemployment as high as it is, workers should be clamoring for available jobs. Our government's answer: reward failure to work. When that produces less tax revenues, raise taxes on those who create jobs, punishing success.

United States Constitution: Preamble

Certain members of Congress have made it clear that the United States Constitution is too little read or understood. I don't plan to write a constitutional treatise, but today I begin quoting the United States Constitution in small chunks, so everyone can read it.


We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The preamble does not create or even recognize enforceable rights. At best, it may aid the interpretation of other parts of the Constitution if those other parts are ambiguous.

When the Government tires to justify regulation under the "general Welfare" clause, it is not the language of the preamble to which they refer. The term "general Welfare" appears again in Article I, section 8, "Powers of Congress."

Still, the preamble tells us something about the intent of the drafters of the constitution. The intent included "secur[ing] the Blessings of Liberty." It seems to me that certain members of Congress and the present administration would like to forget that goal expressed in the Preamble.


Another Enforcement Decision: Driving While Italian

Talking about enforcement decisions (see previous post), this video makes a very funny point:

7 Year Old Julie Murphy Freed!

"What freedom is there left?" That is the big question, asked by an interested bystander in the video below. Unfortunately, the answer is that there not much freedom is left in the land of the formerly free.

The Multnomah County Supervisor interviewed fails to take responsibility for the licensing law in whose ugly web little Julie Myers was ensnared. The best you can say about the Supervisor is that he, unlike his health department inspectors, understand how dumb the enforcement action was. It is not enough for any government say that it won't enforce the law when enforcement is dumb. There are plenty of dumb enforcers, who can't or won't or don't have the capacity to exercise good judgment. The law needs to be eliminated or fixed, so it does not permit overpaid minimum-wage-mentality enforcers to do the dumb thing.

Notice that in the interview, the Supervisor NEVER says anything like, "Gee, now we know there is a problem with the law, we should fix it." Nooooo. That is not the way statists think. Statists say, in effect, trust us, we will only enforce the law in the right way.

Stop statism now. Join a tea party near you!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Obama Lied: Health Care died

Guest posting at Hotair.com, Mary Catherine Ham and Guy Benson list and discuss President Obama's top ten lies (false promises) about Obamacare:
  • Promise #1: If you are satisfied with your existing health care arrangement, you can keep it.
  • Promise #2: Reform will lower America’s health care spending.
  • Promise #3: Reform will lower Americans’ health care premiums.
  • Promise #4: Obamacare will not lead to a doctor shortage, or escalate the primary-care physician shortfall.
  • Promise #5: There will be no government rationing of medical care.
  • Promise #6: “The firm pledge” – Ninety-five percent of Americans will not see any form of tax increase because of Obamacare (or anything else).
  • Promise #7: Health care reform won’t add “a single dime” to the deficit—and will actually cut it.
  • Promise #8: Health care reform will help businesses—employers and employees, alike.
  • Promise #9: Obamacare will not allow for funding of abortions with taxpayer money.
  • Promise #10: Obamacare will not only satisfy each of the promises above, but satisfy all of them at the same time with virtually no downsides.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

US Funds 24% of Paris Bureaucracy

The Office of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an international organization that advocates regulated (not-free) markets and big government spending ... and a wine cellar for OECD bureaucrats.

Defund the OECD now!

Krugman Defeated By Comments on Own Blog

Paul Krugman (is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He also won a Nobel prize in Economics, further demonstrating the bankruptcy of Nobel Prizes, exemplified also by the Nobel Peace Prize given to President Obama. Krugman is an advocate of the failed Keynesian school of economic thought embraced by progressives.

This guy is sooo smart that his blog commenters have effectively and regualrly shredded his economic pontifications. As quoted in the American Thinker article by Fred Douglass (please read it):

By July, [2010,] Krugman had lost his "Battle of the Blog." On July 23, Latrina commented, "Who is this Sean from Florida? He takes everything that [the] Professor [says] and shreds it, piece by piece. He shouldn't be allowed to post his comments on this blog since he seems to be winning all the debates. We progressives need to stick together and embellish our talking points without someone from the outside pointing out fallacies in our ideology."
Krugman has closed down his commenters, preventing them from providing refutations longer than three inches. No such restriction on himself, of course.

If you can't beat'm, shut'm up. That is the progressive philosophy. Plenty of room for ideas as long as the ideas are progressive ones! No dissidents allowed!

A podcast by James Taranto exposing one of Krugman's many strange views is here explaining how Krugman disagrees with ... Krugman.

Gov't Run Amok, Shuts Down Lemonade Stand - Updated

Seven year old Julie Murphy is getting a painful lesson in just how great government regulation can be. Multnomah County, Oregon, shut down her lemonade stand because she did not have a $250 restaurant license.

This is just a microcosm of what businesses run by adults have to contend with in these days of excessive and oppressive regulation.

I represent a business that imports motorcycles and other products from China. In the last six months, I have become appalled at the ridiculous and excessive regulatory requirements and the incompetence and venality with which they are enforced. The stories are too many and long to recount simply. Suffice it to say that if I told the story, the reader's reaction is likely to be, "Oh no, that couldn't happen in America."

But, oh yes, when it comes to our regulatory state terrible things do happen in America and the Government grants immunity to the people who inflict themselves in struggling businesses.

Take the experience of poor Julie Murphy and magnify it a million times. Our regulatory government is like that ... and worse.

According to a 2005 Heritage Foundation study, we dropped out of the top ten freest economies. I believe it.

Update: From an Article on the Ruling Class by Jeffery Folks at the American Thinker:

Congress and the president have shown an appalling lack of restraint in their own use of power and in the power they have invested in new bureaucracies and regulatory czars. The liberty of every American is not just at risk -- it has already been stolen by elitists within government and the courts. Americans must drive the new elite out of government, out of academe, and out of the media. They should begin by defeating liberals in the fall elections, and by electing a conservative president in 2012.

Obama Can't Keep His Story Straight

After telling us that we don't need any more votes for bankers in Congress, President Obama is campaigning for Chicago banker Alexi Giannoulias, Banker to the Mob, for the United States Senate:

Plan to Save America: A Modest Proposal

The Voice of Reason has come up with a simple plan to restore freedom in America. I have though long and hard about this. I have worked on some Constitutional Amendment drafts to deal with the many anti-freedom court decisions over the last 200+ years.

However, I suddenly realized that the first step is really, really simple: an omnibus repeal of every Congressional enactment in that last 200 years, except for already spent appropriations. There would need to a a brief transition period as every Federal agency created in the last two hundred years is dismantled and its employee forced to go out and find useful productive work for a change. But that transition could be worked out in the legislative process. No state laws would be affected, except when the state law is merely enforcing a newly repealed Federal law.

Then we start all over.

If that sounds good to you, bear in mind that the repeal would include elimination of popular programs like Social Security and Medicare. We might need transition time to get out of both of those Ponzi schemes. The Government has made virtual slaves of the recipients, making them dependent, getting them hooked on the entitlement benefits. Withdrawal from an addiction is never easy.

It would also repeal popular programs like the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I suggest to you that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is past its prime. Society has changed. Society as a whole believes that discrimination on the basis of race is wrong. Anyone who does not believe and act on that principle deserves to be ostracized by society. Having said that, the Civil Rights laws have morphed into something different that originally intended, becoming a weapon to be used by disgruntled minorities, for example. We can learn from experience, take the good and leave the bad, and perhaps replace it with something more fair and rational to all. But not all morals need the force of law. Maybe, just maybe, having show that there are no more "whites only" bathrooms, and a black man has been elected president, we are in a post-racial place that makes the force of law for non-discrimination unneeded and out-dated.

The income tax would be gone. so would ATF, EPA, DOT and the entire alphabet soup of agencies.

So far my plan has been endorsed by only me. That is a start.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Erik Scott Shooting Police Radio Link

Here is a link to the police radio chatter surrounding the shooting of Erik Scott at the Las Vegas Costco: Relevant portion starts at 6:53

Previous posts here and here.

Sheriff Gillespie said yesterday that so far they have not been able to retrieve the security video tape. Not yet been able to retrieve the video tape after all this time? That seems odd, doesn't it? Is Costco resisting giving up the tape for fear of its own liability, maybe?

Fun Shooting Guns

Yes, shooting guns at the range is fun. Vintage weaponry, machine guns and, yes, even flamethrowers. The following is a video report on a fun experience at a shooting event. Warning, you will have to sit through s short a commercial message first:

SC Party Rebukes RINO Lindsey Graham

Here is the full text of the resolution passed by the Executive Committee of the Greenviele SC Republican Party rebuking U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC):


WHEREAS, United States Senator Lindsey Graham has cast votes in the United States Senate in favor of TARP, which all but guarantees an increase in the national debt and expansion of the federal government.

WHEREAS, Senator Graham has voted in favor of two of President Obama’s nominees to the United States Supreme Court, who possess questionable qualifications and very liberal beliefs that are contrary to the United States Constitution.

WHEREAS, Senator Graham has promoted amnesty for illegal aliens, and continues to promote this premise under the guise of “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”.

WHEREAS, by these and other votes, Senator Graham has abandoned the Republican platform:

. Limited Government;
. Capitalism and the Free Market System;
. Original Intent of the Constitution;
. The Appointment of Conservative Federal Judges and Justices to the United States Supreme Court; and
. Fiscal Responsibility.

AND, WHEREAS, both locally and nationally, Senator Graham has repeatedly demonstrated contempt and arrogance towards those members of the Republican Party who support these core Republican beliefs;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Greenville County Republican Party hereby issues this formal rebuke of Senator Graham for his cooperation and support of President Obama and the Democratic Party’s liberal agenda for the United States.

FURTHER, BE IT RESOLVED that Senator Graham will no longer be invited to attend and participate in meetings or other events sponsored by the Greenville County Republican Party.

RESOLVED this 2nd day of August 2010 at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Greenville County Republican Party Executive Committee.

This resolution passed as proposed, without amendment, by a vote of 61-2
With Republicans like Graham, who needs Democrats? If the parties are supposed to present different philosophies of governance, the parties need to get rid of those who do not share the core principles. As I see it, Mr. Graham's presence in the seat is blocking the way for a conservative to get elected (since it is unlikely to get one from the Democratic party). South Carolina and the country need him to lose his next primary election.

The downside: Graham could turn Democrat and present another filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, at least until January 2011.

Missouri Voters Reject Obamacare

Missouri's Proposition C was adopted by an overwhelming 72% of the vote. Proposition C bans Missouri from forcing people to buy health care insurance. Since Obamacare is a federal law, it is not clear that the passage of the law is anything other than symbolic.

Here and here are reports on the voting.

Go here for more information about the ballot measure. Here is the full text of the measure.

Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi no doubt continue to be in denial mode. Clueless.

After the November election, Republicans should push for repeal. Let the Senate Democrats filibuster if the Republicans have a bare majority. Let the Democrats take that unpopular stand. Let President Obama veto the bill if it passes. Continue to push until after the 2012 elections, so the new Congressional majority can pass the repeal and the new president can sign it.

It is NO EXCUSE that the bill can't pass the Senate or that the President would veto. Push, push, push repeal until it CAN happen. Keep the momentum going. Make the Democrats support the unpopular Obamacare again and again. That should be the strategy.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Colonel West's Campaign Ad

This is a serious ad by an American hero. Colonel West saved many lives and got reprimanded for it. He shot a gun near an Iraqi prisoner's head to scare information out of him the lead to the saving of American soldiers' lives. In this ad for Congress, Colonel West tells the story:

Erik Scott Shooting Update

The police originally said that any security video would be withheld until the coroner's inquest. The inquest was scheduled for September 3, 2010, but has been postponed indefinitely at the prosecutor's request to allow further investigation.

Source here.

The Scott's family's lawyer Ron Goodman is reportedly seeking the video and 911 recordings, but it is not clear what steps he is actually taking at this point, other than an informal request. Source here.

In the meantime, an alleged transcript of the police dispatching and radio communications has been leaked, but its authienticity is not established.

The family has set up a memorial web site which is basically not terribly informative.

Answers will be slow in coming, as they should be. A good investigation takes time.

Original post here.

Hopey Changey Bushy Blamey: Not Working

A Democratic-leaning poling organizations' latest poll finds that the public does not automatically identify today's Republicans with George W. Bush.

By Reid Wilson

Dems can dramatically alter the electoral playing field by tying GOP candidates to George W. Bush, but at the moment, the public sees a difference between the former president and his party in Congress.

Dems have tried repeatedly to tie the GOP to Bush's economic policies, which remain highly unpopular. But so far, that hasn't worked, according to officials at the Dem-leaning Third Way think tank.

"Just eighteen months after President Bush left office with the nation's economy in historic freefall, two-thirds of Americans now see congressional Republicans and their economic ideas as new and completely separate from those of the former president," the group wrote in a strategy memo sent to Dem leaders last month.

A majority, 53%, of Americans still blame Pres. Bush for the country's economic woes, while 26% pin the blame on Pres. Obama. Only 14% give Bush excellent or good ratings on handling the federal budget, and 28% say he helped the middle class, according to a survey from Benenson Strategy Group.
Read it all at Hotline On Call.

In other words, Democrats think the public is stupid and can't figure out the Bush is no longer the symbolic head of the Republican party.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Chevy Volt Commercial. Unbelievable.

Every adjective I can come up with that describes this commercial also describes my feelings about eh 40 mile rage, $41,000 Chevy Volt:

Weird. Dumb, Awkward. Misplaced. Unnecessary. Strange. I could go on...

Government Motors. The quality is hardly a surprise.

Woollard v. Sheridan et al.: Challenging Maryland Gun Law

The Second Amendment Foundation has filed suit in the State of Maryland challenging its gun permit law. To carry a handgun in Maryland, you need a permit. In addition to backgouround chaecks, the applicant must show and the Superintendent must determine that the applicant “has good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such as a finding that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.”

The complaint alleges among other things, "Individuals cannot be required to prove their 'good and substantial reason' for the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms."

The complaint also alleges,
On Christmas Eve, 2002, Woollard was at his home with his wife, son, daughter, and the daughter’s children, when an intruder broke into the home by shattering a window. Woollard trained his shotgun on the intruder, but the latter wrested the shotgun away, and a fight broke out between the two. The fight ended when Woollard’s son retrieved another gun and restored order pending the police’s arrival.
The Superintendent allegedly denied the permit, because Mr. Woollard did not submit evidence of threats outside the home.

The Heller and the McDonald cases in the United States Supreme Court established the right to keep firearms in the home for protection, but did go further than that. Cases develop the law slowly, because courts decide the law only as applied to the facts before them. The Maryland case will push past the boundaries of the right to possess firearms for self-defense in the home to the right to bear arms outside the home.

It will be years before this case reaches the Supreme Court of the United States, if it ever does. There are many steps between here and there and other possible resolutions. It is even possible that Maryland will fix its law first, so the court's do not have to strike it down. There is never a guarantee that any particular case will reach the Supreme Court. But, some are more likely than others and this one is right up there.

Gender Silliness