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Archive for January, 2010

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Last night, after I got home, I watched the clip of the President Obama using the bully pulpit of the State of the Union Speech to criticize and browbeat the Supreme Court for its ruling last week, and like most people not feverish with partisan frenzy and Keith Olberdrama/Howard Fineman hyperboles and falsehoods screaming in my head about the OUTRAGE!!!11!!1 that the SCOTUS would actually decide that the First Amendment actually means what it says, I was stricken by the brazenness of the action.

Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.  They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.

My initial reaction was one of snark; The “Constitutional Scholar” threatens to again have Congress pass a law that is unconstitutional, so he can show the SCOTUS who is boss.

However, upon reflection, I realize that it was also wrong for other reasons.

To start with, the members of the Court were present as a co-equal branch of government.  Their presence signified a respect for their peers in the other two branches of government, and a respect for the traditions of the Office of the President.  Unlike the opposition party in Congress, they were not afforded time to respond to the uncouth and undignified attack upon their decision, nor would it be in keeping with the nature of the work that they have been appointed to do.  Their role is to apply the law to facts presented and decide what the proper outcome is.  While it would be impossible for them to be with a generic political leaning, there is good reason why they limit their role to the matters presented to them, that being the fact that they are appointed, not elected, for lifetime tenure.  For them to opine into any open microphone on the various matters of the day, whether those matters were before the Court or not, would damage the dignity of the work that they do, and forever damage the sense of integrity that is vital to maintaining the perception of impartiality and the rule of law.  President Obama, as an attorney, is fully aware of this, and still decided to insult his guests in front of the country, knowing full well that their professionalism would prevent them from making anything other than the tamest of responses.  It is the mark of a bully at best, and an extremely immature personality at worst.  But that is not the end.

President Obama is also an honorary member of the Illinois State Bar Association.

As a member, he is subject to the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.  These rules exist because the practice of law is a profession, and as such has a sacred trust, as recognized in the preamble to these rules:

The practice of law is a public trust. Lawyers are the trustees of the system by which citizens resolve disputes among themselves, punish and deter crime, and determine their relative rights and responsibilities toward each other and their government. Lawyers therefore are responsible for the character, competence and integrity of the persons whom they assist in joining their profession; for assuring access to that system through the availability of competent legal counsel; for maintaining public confidence in the system of justice by acting competently and with loyalty to the best interests of their clients; by working to improve that system to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing society; and by defending the integrity of the judicial system against those who would corrupt, abuse or defraud it.

Why is this important?  Because of IRPC 8.2, which states:

Rule 8.2. Judicial and Legal Officials

(a) A lawyer shall not make a statement the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicative officer, public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.  [Emp. Mine]

(b) A lawyer who is a candidate for judicial office shall refrain from conduct which, if the lawyer were a judge, would be a breach of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

These rules do not have a commentary to aid in the interpretation of them, but they happen to mirror the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which do.  The Commentary states:

[1] Assessments by lawyers are relied on in evaluating the professional or personal fitness of persons being considered for election or appointment to judicial office and to public legal offices, such as attorney general, prosecuting attorney and public defender. Expressing honest and candid opinions on such matters contributes to improving the administration of justice. Conversely, false statements by a lawyer can unfairly undermine public confidence in the administration of justice. [Emp. Mine]

[2] When a lawyer seeks judicial office, the lawyer should be bound by applicable limitations on political activity. 

[3] To maintain the fair and independent administration of justice, lawyers are encouraged to continue traditional efforts to defend judges and courts unjustly criticized.[Emp. Mine]

Why does this matter?  Because what the President said was not true, and all he needed to do to know it was read the the Supreme Court Decision, and look up a section of the United States Code for himself, or have a staffer do it.

The Lies:  “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections.”

The Truth:  The law at stake was 2 U.S.C. Section 441(b).  I won’t bore you with the details, if you want to know more, I suggest you click on the link and then read the decision.  However, the decision correctly pointed out that another subsection of the applicable chapter already addresses expenditures by foreign nationals in our campaigns.

“We need not reach the question whether the Government has a compelling interest in preventing foreign individuals or associations from influencing our Nation’s political process.  Cf. 2 U.S.C. section 441e (contribution and expenditure ban applied to “foreign national[s]“).”

-Page 46-47 of the decision.

2 U.S.C. section 441e states:

(a) Prohibition It shall be unlawful for – (1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make – (A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election; (B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or (C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 434(f)(3) of this title); or (2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national. (b) “Foreign national” defined As used in this section, the term “foreign national” means – (1) a foreign principal, as such term is defined by section 611(b) of title 22, except that the term “foreign national” shall not include any individual who is a citizen of the United States; or (2) an individual who is not a citizen of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 1101(a)(22) of title 8 ) and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined by section 1101(a)(20) of title 8
The pertinent portion of 22 U.S.C. 661b states;

(b) The term “foreign principal” includes -

(3) a partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of persons organized under the laws of or having its principal place of business in a foreign country.
Clearly stated, the President lied.  The Court did not open any floodgates to allow foreign corporations to spend without limit in our elections.  It in fact acknowledged the existing statutory limits and did nothing to change them with this decision.  And that “century of law” that was supposedly overturned?  The President cannot count.  The Federal Election Commission was formed in 1975 to regulate campaign finance laws.  None of the cases regarding campaign finance law that were discussed in the Majority decision go back any farther than 1970, and the only case that this decision specifically overturns is Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which was decided in 1990.
 
All of this information was available in the decision.  Rather than recklessly saying something that was obviously false to anyone with a copy of the decision and an internet connection and search engine, he could have taken the time to educate himself, or had a member of his staff prepare a briefing that would have apprised him of the facts, and I find it difficult to believe that he didn’t.   Either he knew what he uttered was not true, or he said it with a reckless disregard for the truth.  Either way, he meant to demean the Court and its decision, in a venue and under conditions where casual observers, sadly, might not be aware that the Court does not answer to Congress or the President for the manner in which it discharges its duty.  As such, it constituted an unjust criticism, and in its falsehoods, the President’s Statements clearly were meant to undermine public confidence in the adminstration of justice.  No other conclusion can be reached when a sitting President can say something so clearly untrue, and get the reaction that he did (as members of Congress stood and applauded his partisan rhetoric).  If I wasn’t a practicing lawyer with a modicum of curiosity, it is certainly likely that I would think that the Court made a serious error of law and or protocol, and perhaps out of partisan interests.  For these reasons, the Illinois State Bar should discipline the President for this breach of the Rules of Professional Conduct. 
 
Yeah, I know.  I’m not holding my breath either.
 
 ***************UPDATE**************************
 
I did some more digging.   Apparently, the Illinois State Bar Association does not issue law licenses in the state of Illinois.  That appears to be the function of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, or IARDC.  It adopted new rules of professional conduct for 2010, although the only change to RPC 8.2 is that it also adopted the comment that follows the model rule promulgated by the ABA.  According to IARDC records, the President is “voluntarily retired and not authorized to practice law.”, so I would guess that they will remain silent regarding his breach of RPC 8.2 during the SOTU speech.  The Illinois Bar Association could still admonish him, as he is an honorary member, and the ABA, as the self-proclaimed voice of the profession should still demonstrate that it means what it says and issue a public rebuke.

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I have to confess, I didn’t bother watching Professor Knownothing’s SOTU speech tonight.  I had two good reasons for not doing so.  The first is avoiding his speeches prevents me from boosting my blood pressure to levels it shouldn’t be at, and the second was that I was at church, learning how to be a better judgmental Christianist who actually believes in an absolute truth other than the only remaining post-modern absolute truth that there is no absolute truth.   Because of the first, I long ago started reading the transcripts instead, although I did watch the clip where the famed “Constitutional Scholar” and noted imbecile had the audacity to sass his intellectual betters on the Court and propose that Congress pass a law reaffirming a principle that the Court just struck down as unconstitutional, presumably so the Court can…strike it down again?  This demonstration of no due respect to the concept of separation of powers reveals yet again a very, very Lilliputian intellect continually trying to clothe itself in the rainment of greatness, only to fail miserably and parade around displaying a naked pettiness and arrogance than ill-becomes any President, including the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Yes, I read the whole thing, and I highlighted the few portions that I felt deserved special rebuttal because I know the speaker knew better when the teleprompter made him utter them.  If you’re a masochist, or you just relish lies, insincerity, and complete and utter tripe wrapped up in one complete package, you can read the whole thing here.

To recover the rest, I have proposed a fee on the biggest banks. I know Wall Street isn’t keen on this idea, but if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.

Never mind the fact that members of my administration forced some of those banks to take the money, against their better judgement, and nevermind the fact that almost all have paid these loans back, with interest.  They remain a sector of the economy that is working, and if we can’t keep them chained down with our “charity”, then we will penalize them for their independence.

As we stabilized the financial system, we also took steps to get our economy growing again, save as many jobs as possible and help Americans who had become unemployed.

And those people in the 99th congressional district of North Dakota, and the other 439 non-existent congressional districts that shared in 6.5 Billion of your tax dollars are very, very grateful indeed for your generous largesse, as are the companies that got the signs advertising all those “shovel-ready” projects made possible by your children’s willingness to become indebted to help save or create all these jobs.  As soon as I can introduce the legislation into Congress, we’ll take all these impertinent tea-baggers into custody and give them shovels to use as they work on those projects.

Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven’t raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime.

That’s right.  We made a minor adjustment to payroll withholding so that you could have enough extra in your weekly check to fill the tanks of your Geo Metros, and then allowed the Bush tax cuts to sunset, so that you’ll still have to pay it all back at the end of the year.  Whatta burner on you suckers who let us have your money interest-free so you could take a vacation or buy a big screen tv with your “refund”, huh?  Don’t make any plans for Aruba this year, peasant.

Because of the steps we took, there are about 2 million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed — 200,000 work in construction and clean energy, 300,000 are teachers and other education workers, tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers and first responders. And we are on track to add another one-and-a-half-million jobs to this total by the end of the year.

Nevermind the fact that private sector jobs, the ones that actually produce the wealth to pay the taxes, are on the decline, which ultimately means less tax revenue to use to pay the higher than private sector salaries for these government jobs.  You will live to serve your betters in government, and when it becomes apparent that this approach is not sustainable, I will have found a new and better way to blame Bush for this fine mess I keep dragging us deeper into.

Now, the true engine of job creation in this country will always be America’s businesses. But government can create the conditions necessary for businesses to expand and hire more workers.

But I’m not interested in those, because like all elitists who have never worked in the private sector, I am fully possessed by the false belief that small businesses can thrive under a regime of regulation that interferes with the owners’ and entrepreurs’ instincts and judgment, and taxes designed to take the incentive out the risk-taking that drives the growth of small business to begin with.  Geniuses like myself understand that using other people’s property and labor to fund the needs of social justice aren’t just the right of government.  It is government’s duty.  Pay no attention to that silly Constitution.  I’ve told you before that it is a fundamentally flawed document.

We should start where most new jobs do — in small businesses, companies that begin when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream or a worker decides it’s time she became her own boss.

Yes, because when we lack that courage ourselves, and have no real comprehension how they really could help the recovery, not by oppressive taxes and regulations, but by actually creating jobs, it is always best to be the perfect parasite; never really killing the host, only taking it to the threshold of death.  But hey, if you actually beat the odds and become successful, then you should be required to pay exorbitant taxes.  Do you think redistributing all this nation’s wealth is easy?   Government will have to hire hundreds of thousands of people to give your money to others, minus the usual handling costs.

Through sheer grit and determination, these companies have weathered the recession and are ready to grow.

Actually, I know that it is despite my naive and dangerous fiscal policy, and all the uncertainty that it brings, that some companies have managed to hang on.  Make no mistake, we will be doing everything we can to make them as dependent on us as the rest of the population, or we will drive the out of business.

One place to start is serious financial reform. Look, I am not interested in punishing banks, I’m interested in protecting our economy.

Oh no.  I am much more interested in controlling them.    But for those that continue to fail to see it our way, yeah, we will lean on them, demonize them, and not stop until protestors are on the lawns of the executives of those uncooperative banks, and they have to come to us for protection.

Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.

…unless they are unions, which do their damnedest to prevent our nations corporations from being competitive with the rest of the world, and have elevated scorched earth from a last-ditch effort of desperate powers to a predictable and repeated tactic directly contributing to the downfall of companies that are “too big to fail”, making it necessary for us to steal from your children, and your children’s children, to prop these companies back up so we can give the to the very same powerful interests, the unions, in derrogation of legitimate creditors and bondholders, the ones who formerly took that risk because they foolishly believed that the law was inviolate and protected their interests and investments…right up to the moment we told them to capitulate, or else…

 They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.

Because, while I’m rumored to be a Constitutional scholar, I already told you that I believe that the document is fundamentally flawed, and the idea that the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter of what is and is not constitutional is one of those many flaws.  Let me be clear.  Over two hundred years of jurisprudence is wrong.  We are not a nation of laws, we are a nation of men, ruled by men, and more specifically, me.  And I say that my friends in the unions do not like having competition in the area of political speech by the owners of corporations, so I will personally see to it that any bill Congress sees fit to pass that reaffirms the principle overturned by the Court last week will be upheld, even if I have start appointing more Justices to the Court to do it.  I have a whole bunch of eminently qualified people in my administration to nominate.  Sterling intellects like Harold Koh, and John Holdren, who will help ensure the advancement of whatever progressive principles that we cannot achieve in Congress, thanks to those spineless members who have fallen prey to the false belief that they are actually accountable to the voters, rather than charged with doing what we tell them is best for the citizens.

Crossposted at The Hostages

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So I was in line at the supermarket this afternoon, and looked up at the tabloids to see a pic of the “Octomom” on a beach in a bikini, and the headline was shouting how I could learn the secret of getting her beach body.

Predictably, this pissed me off.  The first thought I had was “Single mom of Eight.  No Job.  And she’s on a beach in a bikini.  Where are the kids?  And who is paying for their care?”

For those of you suffering from that non-judgmental disease of liberalism who want to condemn me for being judgmental, I am a parent to two young children, and I know that a) you just don’t leave them alone, and b) while friends and family can help so you can work to support your family, it is neither fair nor proper to expect others to take care of your children for you.  And having the time to run away to a beach by myself, let alone worry about how buff I’ll on the beach?  Forgeddaboutit.

But then the other questions bubbled up to the top.  Questions like “Which is worse?  The fact that we ever give such crappy role models 15 minutes of fame, or the fact that once they get into the spotlight, they never seem to leave? Levi Johnson, you can take your call at the courtesy phone in the lobby.”

As long as we keep elevating such people, we shouldn’t be surprised at how screwed up our society is.

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What’s more fun than watching a propagandist who still can’t help being tethered to certain portions of reality duking it out with a tool of Rhode Island sized proportions who is completely unfettered by anything remotely resembling reality?  I’ll have to get back to you on that.

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With the finger-pointing, blame, conscientiousness, and general bad demeanor afoot in politics today, it is easy to forget that what it all boils down to is a simple question:  What is the role of government?

This is an easy question to ask, but sadly, the answer proves far more complicated for many people than it should be.

Conservatives know the answer.  The Constitution limits federal power to certain activities, and leaves the rest to the states, period.

Leftists, notsomuch.  Some are well-meaning dunces, always feeling other’s pain, but simply not cognizant of the fact that some people bring it on themselves, and rather than teaching a person to fish, they believe that it is not only necessary to cook every meal to order, but that we either deliver, or prepare a sumptuous place for these people to eat an extravagant meal in.  And cost is no object.

Some are more cynical.  They know it violates the principles the country was founded on, and exceeds their authority, but they continue to play the guilt angle and do everything they can to foster a sense of entitlement in the subjects of their kindness.  And they do it for power.  They cloak it in whatever they think will work.  They use concern for the unfortunate to foster more and bigger welfare, despite no net reduction in the percentage of the population living in poverty.  They use their concern for us to decide what we can and can’t do, and what we can and can’t eat, and the fact that they gain a little more control over our individual lives is simply “incidental”…except for the fact that they feel entitled to that intrusive power, and get very upset when it is suggested that they shouldn’t have it.  They want to “save the planet”, and nothing is a good reason to stop them.  Not bad science.  Not modern-day indulgences that benefit the high priests of the Modern Day Church of Gaia.  Not the economy that such measures would destroy.  Not the people who would die in their efforts to save the Earth.  The goal is all important.  A dubious result introduced as a foregone conclusion for the faithful, and limitless power for the elite perched at the top of the pecking order.

Across the nation, the debate rages between these factions.  Does government do too much already, or is it not enough?  The answer is simple.  Look to the Constitution.  If you can’t justify it by the Constitution, then government should not be doing it.  End of story.

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You heard me. They messed with the family. I want them destroyed.

Seems the boys at Hillbuzz were targeted by the growing loon portion of [Anti]Democratic Party.

They really crossed a line this time, though.  They are no longer just attacking the entity that is “HillBuzz”, but those at the Daily Kos, DemocraticUnderground, Moveon.org and other George Soros, DNC-backed troll mills have ratcheted up their attacks to the personal level.  Unlike Michelle Malkin, Erik Erikson over at Red State, or even people like Nikke Finke at DeadlineHollywood or Harry Knowles at AintItCoolNews, we’ve maintained this site anonymously because we wanted to have personal lives apart from writing original content on the Internets.  99% of you have respected this convention, and have allowed us to just be the “HillBuzz boys”, or other variations on whatever you call us.  That’s allowed us to be both Batman and Bruce Wayne, which means we can still have jobs, go out and have fun, and enjoy life while spending half our time each day working our hearts out for our love of country in service of whatever we can do to defeat Liberals and stop socialism from taking over this nation.

But, the Kossacks and Moveon.organisms have decided to attack us on the personal, not just the site, level.  They are using some of our real names, urging their members to do us personal and physical harm in our real lives, and calling us racists over and over again in the hopes of making us unemployable in the future — because they’ve libeled us by calling us RAAACISTS! on that personal level.

And, you know what, this tactic does have an immediate psychological and financial impact.  This weekend, after these attacks from the Kossacks and Moveon.organism began, we lost two freelance jobs because the nonprofits we were working with felt they can’t be associated with people who are being called racists, since these nonprofits work in the black community and here in Chicago there is a neverending turf war on the Southside, where anything is game when it comes to business or politics.  People who’ve worked with us in the past decided their own jobs would be in jeopardy if they had us on upcoming projects, because if the black community was riled up against these organizations for having people called RAAACISTS! on the team, then their own jobs would be lost.  The way it works is this:  if you have a job in the black community, there is always someone out there who wants that job instead of you, and that person will look for any sort of hook to yank you from that job so they can take it. This RAAACIST garbage is always a favorite hook.

And it is the chief weapon of the Left against just about everyone.

They’ve been using this for decades now.

They use it to scare people into silence.  They force people to drop what they are doing and spend hours defending themselves, trying to prove they’re not what they were accused of.  They demoralize you with the RAAACIST rants, and try to ruin your lives with them.  They cost you work, take food off your table, and threaten your personal safety and well being.

Read the whole thing.  Its long, but they get it.  And they have been marked as a threat for getting it and saying so.

I only have one answer to this.  Anyone who has ever been bullied like this knows what it is.  Bloody their noses.  In full view of everyone.  The socialist wannabes in government are whiny little bitches who have the belief that only they can save the world, and that it is their right and duty to do so.  With your money, and with your freedoms, and if you can’t see that, then you are just stupid.  And of course you shouldn’t be troubled in the slightest by the fact that because of their roles in this grand scheme, they will be made wealthy, powerful, and above all insulated from these “necessary sacrifices” that they will demand of you.  They are, after all, our betters, and if you are too stupid to see the wisdom in their ways, then you aren’t intellectually capable of understanding that all it will gain for them at an enormous cost to you is simply another burden they must endure as they save the world.

I hear the train coming, and their jalopy is stalled on the tracks.  All we have to do is make sure they can’t open the doors until it is too late.

H/t to Eddiebear @ DPUD.

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