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Archive for September, 2011

“You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things. I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. The one good thing about Raleigh is that for so many years we worked across party lines. It’s a little bit more contentious now but it’s not impossible to try to do what’s right in this state. You want people who don’t worry about the next election.”

The current spin on this rather startling statement is that she was telling a joke.

I’m not laughing. You shouldn’t be, either.

In many parts of the world, suspending elections is usually a prelude to a coup d’etat.

This also says nothing of the abysmal logic underlying this expression of genius. After all, if you believe that Congress cannot show the courage to engage in realistic solutions now, why on earth would you suggest that the answer is to let them stay and enjoy the power and the perks they already have, without the fear of we, the voters to set them in line.

Coming as it did at the same time as former OMB Director Peter Orszag’s suggestion that we need less democracy, it sounds even less like a joke, and more like a trial balloon.

This doesn’t seem to bother many people. Last night, on a friend’s Facebook page, one commenter reacted to a suggestion that impeachment might be in order for this elected official by suggesting that not only would was that a gross overreaction, but that if that course of action was taken, it would be a violation of the governor from MENSA’s First Amendment rights. My friend took the opportunity to remind the “I’m not a lawyer, but I watch law shows on TV” commenter, who I will call “People’s Court” that courts have a long tradition (we call it precedent) of specifically NOT taking impeachment cases as they have always been regarded as nonjusticable issues. People’s Court wasn’t yet done, as he then criticized other commentors’ speech critiques as wrong, because, in his eyes, the First Amendment protections of political speech could only be abrogated because of “imminent lawless action” now. I wasn’t too surprised when my friend revoked People’s Court’s scholarship at that point, because he has a low tolerance for the unforgivably stupid.

“But why does it matter?” I can hear you asking.

Let me tell you.

The ability to choose the people who will represent us in the House of Representatives by means of election was important enough to the Framers to include in the Constitution.

Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution reads:

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.

The reason why this interval was chosen was explained by Hamilton in the Federalist 52:

The term for which the representatives are to be elected falls under a second view which may be taken of this branch. In order to decide on the propriety of this article, two questions must be considered: first, whether biennial elections will, in this case, be safe; secondly, whether they be necessary or useful.

First. As it is essential to liberty that the government in general should have a common interest with the people, so it is particularly essential that the branch of it under consideration should have an immediate dependence on, and an intimate sympathy with, the people. Frequent elections are unquestionably the only policy by which this dependence and sympathy can be effectually secured. But what particular degree of frequency may be absolutely necessary for the purpose, does not appear to be susceptible of any precise calculation, and must depend on a variety of circumstances with which it may be connected. Let us consult experience, the guide that ought always to be followed whenever it can be found.

The scheme of representation, as a substitute for a meeting of the citizens in person, being at most but very imperfectly known to ancient polity, it is in more modern times only that we are to expect instructive examples. And even here, in order to avoid a research too vague and diffusive, it will be proper to confine ourselves to the few examples which are best known, and which bear the greatest analogy to our particular case. The first to which this character ought to be applied, is the House of Commons in Great Britain. The history of this branch of the English Constitution, anterior to the date of Magna Charta, is too obscure to yield instruction. The very existence of it has been made a question among political antiquaries. The earliest records of subsequent date prove that parliaments were to SIT only every year; not that they were to be ELECTED every year. And even these annual sessions were left so much at the discretion of the monarch, that, under various pretexts, very long and dangerous intermissions were often contrived by royal ambition. To remedy this grievance, it was provided by a statute in the reign of Charles II. , that the intermissions should not be protracted beyond a period of three years. On the accession of William III. , when a revolution took place in the government, the subject was still more seriously resumed, and it was declared to be among the fundamental rights of the people that parliaments ought to be held FREQUENTLY. By another statute, which passed a few years later in the same reign, the term “frequently,” which had alluded to the triennial period settled in the time of Charles II. , is reduced to a precise meaning, it being expressly enacted that a new parliament shall be called within three years after the termination of the former. The last change, from three to seven years, is well known to have been introduced pretty early in the present century, under on alarm for the Hanoverian succession. From these facts it appears that the greatest frequency of elections which has been deemed necessary in that kingdom, for binding the representatives to their constituents, does not exceed a triennial return of them. And if we may argue from the degree of liberty retained even under septennial elections, and all the other vicious ingredients in the parliamentary constitution, we cannot doubt that a reduction of the period from seven to three years, with the other necessary reforms, would so far extend the influence of the people over their representatives as to satisfy us that biennial elections, under the federal system, cannot possibly be dangerous to the requisite dependence of the House of Representatives on their constituents.

Elections in Ireland, till of late, were regulated entirely by the discretion of the crown, and were seldom repeated, except on the accession of a new prince, or some other contingent event. The parliament which commenced with George II. was continued throughout his whole reign, a period of about thirty-five years. The only dependence of the representatives on the people consisted in the right of the latter to supply occasional vacancies by the election of new members, and in the chance of some event which might produce a general new election. The ability also of the Irish parliament to maintain the rights of their constituents, so far as the disposition might exist, was extremely shackled by the control of the crown over the subjects of their deliberation. Of late these shackles, if I mistake not, have been broken; and octennial parliaments have besides been established. What effect may be produced by this partial reform, must be left to further experience. The example of Ireland, from this view of it, can throw but little light on the subject. As far as we can draw any conclusion from it, it must be that if the people of that country have been able under all these disadvantages to retain any liberty whatever, the advantage of biennial elections would secure to them every degree of liberty, which might depend on a due connection between their representatives and themselves.

Let us bring our inquiries nearer home. The example of these States, when British colonies, claims particular attention, at the same time that it is so well known as to require little to be said on it. The principle of representation, in one branch of the legislature at least, was established in all of them. But the periods of election were different. They varied from one to seven years. Have we any reason to infer, from the spirit and conduct of the representatives of the people, prior to the Revolution, that biennial elections would have been dangerous to the public liberties? The spirit which everywhere displayed itself at the commencement of the struggle, and which vanquished the obstacles to independence, is the best of proofs that a sufficient portion of liberty had been everywhere enjoyed to inspire both a sense of its worth and a zeal for its proper enlargement This remark holds good, as well with regard to the then colonies whose elections were least frequent, as to those whose elections were most frequent Virginia was the colony which stood first in resisting the parliamentary usurpations of Great Britain; it was the first also in espousing, by public act, the resolution of independence. In Virginia, nevertheless, if I have not been misinformed, elections under the former government were septennial. This particular example is brought into view, not as a proof of any peculiar merit, for the priority in those instances was probably accidental; and still less of any advantage in SEPTENNIAL elections, for when compared with a greater frequency they are inadmissible; but merely as a proof, and I conceive it to be a very substantial proof, that the liberties of the people can be in no danger from BIENNIAL elections.

The conclusion resulting from these examples will be not a little strengthened by recollecting three circumstances. The first is, that the federal legislature will possess a part only of that supreme legislative authority which is vested completely in the British Parliament; and which, with a few exceptions, was exercised by the colonial assemblies and the Irish legislature. It is a received and well-founded maxim, that where no other circumstances affect the case, the greater the power is, the shorter ought to be its duration; and, conversely, the smaller the power, the more safely may its duration be protracted. In the second place, it has, on another occasion, been shown that the federal legislature will not only be restrained by its dependence on its people, as other legislative bodies are, but that it will be, moreover, watched and controlled by the several collateral legislatures, which other legislative bodies are not. And in the third place, no comparison can be made between the means that will be possessed by the more permanent branches of the federal government for seducing, if they should be disposed to seduce, the House of Representatives from their duty to the people, and the means of influence over the popular branch possessed by the other branches of the government above cited. With less power, therefore, to abuse, the federal representatives can be less tempted on one side, and will be doubly watched on the other.

Not to be outdone, Madison also makes this observation in the Federalist 37:

The genius of republican liberty seems to demand on one side, not only that all power should be derived from the people, but that those intrusted with it should be kept in dependence on the people, by a short duration of their appointments; and that even during this short period the trust should be placed not in a few, but a number of hands.

So the existence and frequency of elections was a primary fixture in the Constitution as applies to the House of Representatives because history had taught the Framers of the danger of not having fixed election intervals, and because they are a mechanism of accountability, and that without the potential of losing office, our elected officials have no incentive to dance with them what brung ‘em.

“So the Framers thought that regular elections were important.  So what?” you say.

Well, for starters, when Governor Purdue was inaugurated in 2009, she placed her hand on a Bible, and took a three part Oath of Office, the first part in which she stated to support the Constitution and the laws of the United States.  The second part of the oath states:

  “I do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; and that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State, not inconsistent with Constitution of the United States, to the best of my knowledge and ability; so help me God.”

Why is this important?  Because Article 1, Section 5 of North Carolina’s Constitution states:

Sec. 5. Allegiance to the United States.

Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.

So, even if you believe that the Governor was joking, she was joking about doing something that contravenes the basic law of the Federal government, and that violated her oath of office and her duty under the North Carolina Constitution.  If it was a joke, it was not funny, as it proposed not amending the Constitution, which is a legitimate exercise if only because that process is set forth in the Constitution itself, and because it respects the role of the people in the process because their participation is still necessary to the process, but simply “suspending” elections…an act that is by its nature extra-Constitutional, and therefore invalid.

People who take their duties seriously don’t jest about such things.  And after hearing it from her own mouth, I don’t believe it was a joke.  And I’m not the only one, which I believe is one of the reasons why the joke angle is being pushed so hard…because if she was serious, then it was a willful neglect of her duty, which according to North Carolina law, is grounds for impeachment.  It’s a tough place for the governor to find herself.  If she was serious, she violated her oath of office and her state Constitution, and if it was a joke, it not only made her look stupid for not understanding how awful her reasoning was, but because it was delivered in a manner that many took seriously…kind of like dousing yourself with gasoline, then trying to juggle lit matches.  Dumb if you meant it, dumb if you didn’t mean it.  I guess her (D) isn’t just for party affiliation; it’s a warning label. 

***********************************Update:
It must be something in the left’s Kool-Aid this week.  This piece in The Economist takes Harold Meyerson to task for his article in the American Prospect that alleges that the problem is isn’t too much democracy…it is that there is isn’t enough democracy in the American system of government.

While the author’s takedown of Meyerson’s prezel logic was mildly entertaining, he too, dropped a clanger into his critique:

I would prefer a parliamentary system myself, but this is all quite odd.

Moron (not the good kind).  Idiot.  Boob.  Ninny.  One of the reasons our government is set up the way that it was is to foster stability.  Parliamentary systems can’t really make the same claim.  Just ask Italy. 

I swear, there should be an agreement among gentlemen to never discuss or participate in discussions of making radical changes to government with people who have not read the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers and are therefore unable to address the reasoning of the Framers and their opponents, and explain why they were wrong in spinning their glittering pontifications of why their brilliant ideas for CHANGE!!! should be seriously considered as anything other than a crass play for more power.  Meyerson, apparently has read at least ONE of the Federalist Papers, but still came up with 9 when he added 2 plus 2.  I suppose I should give him a nod for his effort, but window dressing isn’t really enough, and that’s all I can call it, since the core of his lament is that the executive is only in charge of his branch of government, thus thwarting majority rule, and the ability of the federal government to DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW.  This view is understandable since the Progressives managed to hamstring the states by eliminating their voice (and veto) in the Federal assembly with the passage of the 18th Amendment, but the fact remains:  The states were always intended to be co-sovereigns with the Federal Government, not subservient to it, and in the wake of the 18th Amendment, statist philosophy, both tacitly and overtly has impacted the national political conversation.  It is a trend that is injurious to liberty because it marginalizes the individual, and it needs to be brought to heel if we do not wish to plunge ourselves into a modern serfdom.

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“But there certainly is such a thing as fundamentalist christian terrorism.”

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Maxine Waters, (D)ummy, on the Great Divider’s remarks directed to the Congressional Black Caucus this weekend:

“I found that language a bit curious because the president spoke to the Hispanic Caucus, and certainly they’re pushing him on immigration… he certainly didn’t tell them to stop complaining,” she said. “And he would never say that to the gay and lesbian community, who really pushed him on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

I’m really starting to lose patience with grievance hustlers who are perpetually upset that they aren’t getting their “fair share”, especially when they would think nothing of using those same people as a means to further their own power, right up until they decide they don’t need those “others” any longer.

I’m young enough to remember certain ideals that did more to unite us than “Yes We Can!” and “Hope and Change”.  Sadly, Maxine seems never to have heard it, or she has grossly misunderstood it.  The problem with counting what the other guy’s got is that what you have will never be enough, even if it is all they have.

If she is going to be a myopic marxist scold, I’d prefer that she do it from the ivory towers of academia, where she could then be the first leftist to actually create a job…for her replacement.

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I guess playing on Twitter has made me think in some shorter bursts this week.

Attack Watch:

Really?  Really?

Aside from the terrible optics of again (see “flag@whitehouse.gov) asking Americans to inform on each other for the crime of Saying Something Bad About The Messiah pResident (corollary to the Dems-Not-In-White-House “Dissent Is the Highest Form of Patriotism”), the gang that couldn’t shoot straight chose the colors black, red, and white for Snitching is Patriotic site set up to “Fight the Smears”.  At least it provided several days of great fun with the #AttackWatch hashtag on Twitter.

Good Job, OFA.  Maybe we can set up a youth corpse to build camps for the re-education of unbelievers next.  SHOVEL READY, BABY!

Shared Sacrifice, “Fair Share”, and “Skin in the Game”:

The Great Uniter has stepped up his game from the Shared Sacrifice rhetoric, in which he implied that everyone should be happy to give up more to the government so it could do more to “help us” [insert gunfire here] and that of course, those already bearing the biggest burden of government largesse, need to bear even more, because its patriotic, to backpedaling “Shared Sacrifice” because the time had come for the evil, greedy rich people who already bear the majority of the burden of financing Fediathan to pay their “Fair Share”.  “Skin in the Game” has vanished from the White House rhetoric, as the administration discovered, much to its dismay that, Americans, including the evil greedy rich ones, and Republicans, can read tax data, including brackets and revenue data, and realized that is wasn’t the evil, greedy rich, or even the $200,000 rich who didn’t have “Skin in the Game”, it was the people who were getting refunds on “credits”, weren’t paying anything in taxes, and proportionately higher recipients of entitlements and other transfer payments who didn’t have “Skin in the Game.”

I’ve really come to enjoy Sean Hannity asking the progs, libs, and those who “know” taxes are necessary to keep Uncle Sugar’s Beneficiaries dependent “help people” because they caaaaaarrrrre more than you “How much is enough?  How much of every dollar I earn, should I be able to keep?”  He usually reminds whomever he is asking that Federal Income Taxes are not the only taxes, as someone who lives in New York State, as he does, also pays state income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, gas taxes, etc., which in his case, ends up being in excess of 50% total.

I have yet to hear a specific answer.  I have no illusions that I will. 

But here’s the rub:  The fact that he and others are asking the question makes a larger point than any specific answer they could give, because it indicates that the “social contract” that proggies and libs always cite as their authority for newer and better spending on increasing dependency helping the poor has already been broken.

One of the facts that you aren’t likely to hear from your proggie friends about the progressive federal income tax is that when it was permanently introduced pursuant to the 16th Amendment, its big selling point was that it was a tax that would only be levied on “the rich”, which was true (only 1% of Americans paid ANY income tax at the time), but soon changed, as the federal appetite for Other People’s Money and the power it could buy, grew, making it necessary to extend the tax to those who were never intended to fall victim to it, setting a precedent for progressive lies which continue to this day.

So when you hear your progressive friends mouthing off about how the economy can be fixed by the evil greedy rich people paying “their fair share” (i.e. even more than the more than most everyone else they already pay), ask them how much is enough, and then tell them while they’re thinking of ways to avoid answer the question, that you’d also like them to explain why what was their “fair share” last year, or the year before, or the year before that, is now suddenly less than their “fair share”.  What has changed? (Other than unbelievably reckless and profligate spending of a disingenuous narcissistic pResdent and a Democratic Congress that brought us the biggest three-year deficit in history, but couldn’t be bothered to pass a budget?)

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From yesterday’s “Occupy Wall Street” silliness, Moron.org gives us this eager useful idiot:

This guy is the reason why we should think long and hard about fixing the publick screwls by sending even more money to them.

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Delusion (dĭ-lū’zhən): 

A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness.

This week marked a new low in the worship of Barack Hussein Obama. 

Yes, I can hear you saying “No, that really isn’t possible.”, but I assure you that it is.

I know.  It can be difficult to sort out who is more disgusting in their slavish devotion to the messiahship of Obama, the man himself, or his drooling followers who were willing to carry water for him, suppress negative stories, and threaten to bring the force of the law against those who would commit the sin of “telling lies” about the cypher who was to become the first “post-racial” President.

But beyond the column backdrop and astonishingly arrogant presumptions, there lurks terrifyingly bad judgment.

Bypassing bankruptcy law in the GM failure, in the Chrysler failure, and other interferences in the market by the entity that is supposed to referee, not pick the winners and losers, the Stimulus and its “shovel-ready jobs”, and destroying new and existing job opportunities with a permatorium on drilling after a weak and ineffectual response to a spill that didn’t need to happen, but for regulations that forced drilling out to a point where it is infinitely more difficult and harder to respond to if there is a spill, bullying a nation that ousted a leader who tried to illegally seize power, then choosing only to “bear witness” to a pro-democratic revolt in one pivotal nation, and chosing to participate in another despite not knowing who the insurgents really were, asking Americans to report on each other to the White House, and taking lavish vacation at taxpayer expense while unemployment remained at the highest level in decades…all of this would be enough to force most Presidents into hiding from the world in a corner of the Oval Office.

But when you are so delusional as to believe this deserves 4 more years, and there are enough followers to agree, you double down by pushing a “jobs” bill so urgent that you have to go on a ten-day vacation to a multimillion dollar estate at Martha’s Vineyard after announcing that you will be introducing the same “urgent” “jobs” bill to Congress with the demand that they pass it RIGHT AWAY!!!11!!!  Then you attempt to summon Congress with almost no notice, on the day of YOUR chosing, to hear your platitudes and demand repeatedly that they pass your [non-existent] bill NOW!

Then, you release the actual bill, chock full of the same kind of government spending and new bureaucracies that didn’t work in previous stimulus spending, and tour to promote it, telling your loyal followers that “If you love me, then help me pass this bill.”  While at the same time, more evidence of really, really bad judgment emerges, your campaign and organizing office releases another “Snitch on your neighbor if they don’t love me” site, and you let your supporters continue to make references that fly in the face of all available evidence.

Even if I wasn’t a Christian, I’d find the comparison to Jesus incredibly outrageous, in the classical sense of the word.

Jesus doesn’t have the record of ineptitude and contempt for the law that Obama has.  It would be like insinuating that Joe Biden and this guy are the same.

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Paul Krugman.

No.  Seriously.

I really am thankful that the First Amendment protects the vile nonsense that he spews.  Not because I enjoy him proving with each column the utter meaninglessness of being a Nobel Prize Winner, but because it makes him feel secure in revealing who he is, namely a slimy little toad who thinks nothing of disparaging men whose boots he isn’t fit to lick, let alone fill.

Krugman eagerly attacks men who stepped up to lead when it was required of them.  Bush never complained about the “inheriting” Bin Laden from his predecessor.  Giuliani never whined about the “bad luck” that befell his city on that sunny autumn morning.  Instead, Giuliani went to help coordinate the response to the attack, and he himself was temporarily trapped at the command center.  Bush went to Ground Zero for those of us who couldn’t go ourselves, and personally carried the thanks of a grateful nation to those whose profound sadness and mourning we all carried on that day.  And then he put the resolve of a wounded nation into words, and directed it in a fashion that took the fight to those who thought they humbled us on that day.

Paul Krugman doesn’t live in the same world as the rest of America.  Every word he types, every “nuance” that he utters in the service of a worldview that misplaces its hope and drips contempt for anyone who believes not in the justice of redistribution and Keynesian economics, but in the power of the individual, and the government that would respect it, rather than restrain it, and every fantasy to empower the government he would worship tells us all that we need to know about him.  And that’s a good thing.

In a world where such a small person can lash out at people who can’t help but to be better than him, we can all count ourselves lucky that he and others like him not only reveal their true character, but their tragic lack of understanding.  It is good that such would-be tyrants, and others like him can show themselves without any modicum of self-reflection or shame, because then we are all put on notice of exactly who they are, and that all of us can fulfill one of the many duties we each have as citizens, and keep such people from gaining any more power than they already have by challenging all of the false assumptions and conclusions foisted upon us by people who let their jealousies blind them to the nature of evil, and the ability to discern what it is.  I thank God for the wisdom he gave to the Framers who made such that we had such freedoms, knowing full well the capacity for their abuse, and I thank the generations of men and women who made sacrifices to defend the flag that waves over all our heads today, and the guarantees we enjoy because of it.  And I thank God for those who looked upon the dust and rubble that settled over lower Manhattan on that day and put their lives on the line to make sure that Krugman, Bloomberg, and others could continue to show their contempt for the things that continue to make this country great.

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…the images and sounds still evoke anger.

But the government still isn’t serious.

I know that sounds somewhat incredible, and I suppose it deserves some qualification.

Ten years after muslim terrorists boarded commercial flights determined to use jetliners as weapons, our government is still no more serious than it was then about preventing terrorists from committing horrific acts on U.S. soil.

Sure, they have instituted no-fly lists, and installed intrusive and constitutionally questionable devices designed to make those who are inclined to obey the law and not be murderous asshats to surrender both personal privacy and dignity before we are allowed to board our flights to all parts of the country.  The government has created a whole new agency to guard these check points and feel up passengers, and to do so in a heavy-handed fashion.  It has also stepped up its scrutiny of citizens, and issued warnings about those who have served this country and would object to having the weight of a security and intelligence apparatus meant to prevent those who are foreign to us in every single significant way fall most heavily on those it was meant to protect.

At the same time, our borders are no more secure than they were on 9/11.   Illegal immigrants still spill over our borders, making some parts of the US no-go zones, not just for normal citizens, but for law enforcement as well.  And it makes me very angry.

While I believe and support the idea that “fighting them there” in Iraq and Afghanistan decreased the likelihood of “fighting them here”, the fact remains that we still face people who are not only willing to kill us because we refuse to adopt their backward way of viewing the world, but they are also willing to kill themselves to accomplish it.  That makes them immeasurably dangerous, and opens up avenues of attack that are unthinkable for people who want to live again to fight another day.

When I look around today, I see that just like that day 10 years ago when the skies fell silent, save for the F-16s flying over head, many of our softest targets are still very soft and very vulnerable.  As a parent of two school-age children, I can’t tell you how much this distresses me.  Although I’ve struggled with it in the last two decades, I have always been able to “dream really dark”, and I see no limits on what a handful of determined, bloody-minded suicide killers could accomplish with the right weapon and a little bit of planning.  Beslan isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a school full of children, and it gives me no joy to say that.

The terrorists won ten years ago.

I hate typing that more than you hate reading that.  But consider this:  They managed to change everything about a routine part of the day for millions of Americans that we took for granted and was a symbol of our freedom…the ability to travel freely in our own country.  They managed to make an entire nation willingly surrender its privacy and dignity for what has already been proven to be the illusion of security, and spend a great deal of its own resources in installing and maintaining this illusion, while empowering malefactors who are supposed to work for us in promoting an agenda against people who object to government having such powers in the first place. 

It isn’t so much a border as it is a sieve, and sadly, it won’t take much for the next attack to bring horrors that will shatter the senses of people who believe themselves protected from such things.  Even more sad is the degree of liberty that they will surrender in the wake of such an event to a government all to willing to accept that sacrifice to “make us safe”.

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