Archive for May, 2010

The pre-dawn commando operation, which killed nine pro-Palestinian activists, was also sure to strengthen Gaza’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers at the expense of U.S. allies in the region, key among them Hamas’ main rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Egypt and Jordan.

“The attack on a humanitarian mission … will only further alienate the international community and isolate Israel while granting added legitimacy to Hamas’ claim to represent the plight of the Palestinian people,” said Scott Atran, an analyst at the University of Michigan.

I have to wonder if Scott, who I am ashamed to say is at my alma mater, actually took the time to find out about the conduct of those peace-loving humanitarians and “pro-Palestinian” activists? Because I’m not convinced the truth reflects the same thing he seems to be talking about in his quote:

Kinda puts a different perpective on the peace-loving pro-Palestinian activists the legacy media have come to know and love, doesn’t it?

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Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 31 in 2010). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service.[1] First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I. 

Dead Confederate and Union soldiers lying side by side in a trench.

Sometimes, even in solemn remembrances, origins fade in the passage of years. The honored dead are no more or less sacred based on the time and place in which they fall, but a trip to the beginning can be sobering in the context of current events. I recently was in an exchange with a brother who expressed that he is of a mind to meet intimidation with violence. The roots of this intimidation are firmly planted in the philosophic dichotomy in our current political culture, namely the conflict between those who seek to establish government control or determination of nearly every aspect of our lives, and those of us who refuse to be dispossessed of the notion of a limited government that serves us and not an expansive government that we all serve. The passions on both sides frequently burn stronger than the bounds of restraint might contain, and the actions of those seeking a paternal government often seem calculated to elicit a strong response, if only so they can claim justification for the taking the powers they crave. 

This weekend, many will pause to think of the honored dead. For some it is a father, a mother, a sister or brother. A grandparent, a childhood friend, former neighbor, or a nameless, faceless person from the past to whom a debt of gratitude is owed that can never be personally repaid in full. Every flag-draped coffin and alabaster headstone represents a sacrifice made by someone who did not fail when their country asked. They represent sacrifices freely made in the service of freedoms that do not exist in any other country in the world, and so made, have forever earned the descriptors of “honored” and “sacred”. They still exist as examples to future generations that some ideas are worth fighting for. 

While there were several reasons for the conflict that spawned this holiday, for many, it will ultimately be about the incompatibility of a nation founded on the freedom that God granted to all men, and the state of bondage in which some of its citizens retained thousands of others, and the liberation that came of that conflict was the correct result to dispense with that contradiction. However, the conflict also concerned issues of federalism, and the idea of separation of powers, and unfortunately, too many have acted as if the resolution of that conflict to resolve those issues. It did not, and could not have done so, while allowing this country retain the character which its architects clearly intended

As a result, there is exists a schism today, between those who believe that the federal government has jurisdiction over any matter it chooses to exercise jurisdiction over, and that the individual’s rights, central to the grant of authority set forth in the Declaration of Independence, is subject to the supremacy of collective rights as determined by the nebulous and non-objectably definable “general welfare”, and that this “general welfare” is not even determined by national concerns, but by international (and unelected) consensus. This conflation purports to create ambiguity where in truth none exists.  There is no question who is right; one is either a citizen of this nation, or a citizen of the world. It is not possible to be both without having an inherent conflict of interest between the two, yet this division still exists, and a clash between these beliefs leaves its mark on the actions of politicians and on the effects on our citizens. 

These clashing beliefs have the same potential as the conflict over slavery, because the resolution means no less than defining who we will be as a nation, or even whether we will continue to exist as a nation. These are also ideas that are worth dying for. Some would like that conflict now. Others would like to see if the issue can be resolved without resorting to that cost. It is no shame to fight for the ideals you believe in without taking the life of a countryman. There is no surrender in meeting them point for point in a free and open forum. History and fact are on our side. We all lose when we abandon that field, because should we do so, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins,…Americans…will find themselves divided by the sword. Before any one of us submits to passion and rushes headlong into such a breach, we all need to consider the honored dead, not just from modern conflicts, but those of the War Between the States. Consider their courage, committment, resolve, and sacrifice, and give due consideration to the ideals for which they paid the only price that is solely the individual’s to pay, and whether the ideals for which you burn also honor their sacrifice or make it in vain, and whether you have given your last full measure short of surrendering to a terrible resolve. 

Dead soldiers at Gettysburg. Casualties for both the Union and Confederates after three days of fighting were greater than 50,000.

Crossposted at NiceDeb.

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Important Presidential Priorities

First the Senator from Countrywide, Chris Dodd, and now the Congresswoman from Bezerkerly, San Fran Nan Pelosi have decided after careful consideration and more than a month of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon Rig that the disaster is…wait for it…BUSH’S FAULT!!!

From Joel S. Gehrke Jr’s piece in the Washington Examiner:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., blamed the Bush administration for any lack of oversight leading up to the Gulf oil spill. The Obama administration, on the other hand, is blameless.

From Talk Radio News Service:

“Many of the people appointed in the Bush administration are still burrowed in the agencies that are supposed to oversee the [oil] industry,” Pelosi said when asked if Democrats could have prevented or mitigated the crisis by keeping a closer watch on the industry.

Added the Speaker, “the cozy relationships between the Bush administration’s agency leadership and the industry is clear…I’ve heard no complaints from my members about the way the president has handled it,” Pelosi stated.

I give her props for her projection-style imagery…”burrowed in the agencies”.

I’m betting that she didn’t want to hear complaints from her members about Lord Zero’s handling of the spill.  Knowing how she conflates real dissent with violence, she would no doubt believe that she was facing a full-scale mutiny.  And it isn’t like the busy President wasn’t simply treating it the same as all of his other pressing Presidential priorities.  The real question is why the Speaker and the Senator from Countrywide (now hard at work on comprehensive non-reform of the financial industry) aren’t taking their cues from the finger-pointer in chief, who adamantly proclaimed that he and he alone was responsible for the lackadaisical federal response, which could no longer be credibly spun as a vibrant and effective response from DAY ONE.  Do they just know better than he, or did it never occur to them that Lord Zero has been sitting in the big chair since January of last year, and could have replaced the evvvvvvviiiilllll Bush appointees at any time between then and now and apparently didn’t even delegate one of his many retainers to identify any of the ideologically impure for purge from the ranks of the most transparent adminstration ever? 
Maybe an intrepid reporter (does one still exist?) might surprise the President at the 19th hole this weekend when he is on his way to another of his vitally important priorities and ask him why the Speaker and the Senator are so quick to speak out of turn?

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At a presser yesterday, the President once again put St. Alinsky to the test, and decided to not let a crisis go to waste.

Speaking about the Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, he crafted together falsehoods, half-truths, and the images of oil slicks and darkened beaches and sea life to make a cynical statement in support of alternative energy.

“The fact that oil companies now have to go a mile underwater and then drill another three miles below that, in order to hit oil, tells us something about the direction of the oil industry,” he said. “Extraction is more expensive and it is going to be inherently more risky.”

This conveniently ignores the matter of what entity and its increasingly onerous and nonsensical regulations make deepwater drilling necessary. 

“And so that’s part of the reason you never heard me say drill, baby, drill. Because we can’t drill our way out of the problem,” he said.

Because the years of practical experience he has in making energy policy and in oil exploration has made this abundantly clear to him.

The president said that “the easily accessible oil has already been sucked up out of the ground” – which means that “moving forward, the technology gets more complicated, the oil sources are more remote, and that means that there’s probably going to end up being more risk.”

Except that it hasn’t. 

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) estimates the Federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) contains between 66.6 and 115.1 billion barrels (10.59×10^9 and 18.30×10^9 m3) of undiscovered technically recoverable crude oil, with a mean estimate of 85.9 billion barrels (13.66×10^9 m3). The Gulf of Mexico OCS ranks first with a mean estimate of 44.9 billion barrels (7.14×10^9 m3), followed by Alaska OCS with 38.8 billion barrels (6.17×10^9 m3). At $80/bbl crude prices, the MMS estimates that 70 billion barrels (11×10^9 m3) are economically recoverable. As of 2008, a total of about 574 million acres (2,320,000 km2) of the OCS are off-limits to leasing and development. The moratoria and presidential withdrawal cover about 85 percent of OCS area offshore the lower 48 states. The MMS estimates that the resources in OCS areas currently off limits to leasing and development total 17.8 billion barrels (2.83×10^9 m3)(mean estimate).[6]

And that’s just offshore.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates undiscovered technically recoverable crude oil onshore in United States to be 48.5 billion barrels (7.71×10^9 m3) [7] [9] The last comprehensive National Assessment was completed in 1995. Since 2000 the USGS has been re-assessing basins of the U.S. that are considered to be priorities for oil and gas resources. Since 2000, the USGS has re-assessed 22 priority basins, and has plans to re-assess 10 more basins. These 32 basins represent about 97% of the discovered and undiscovered oil and gas resources of the United States. The three areas considered to hold the most amount of oil are the coastal plain (1002) area of ANWR, the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska, and the Bakken Formation.

Putting aside the concern for Alaskan wildlife (Remember how the pipeline was going to mean the end of the caribou?  Except that it didn’t.)  the Bakken Reserve is worth exploring.  Huge.  Onshore. Reserves.  In the continental U.S.

In April 2008, the USGS released a report giving a new resource assessment of the Bakken Formation underlying portions of Montana and North Dakota. The USGS believes that with new horizontal drilling technology there is somewhere between 3.0 and 4.5 billion barrels (480×10^6 and 720×10^6 m3) of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in this 200,000 square miles (520,000 km2) formation that was initially discovered in 1951. If accurate, this reassessment would make it the largest “continuous” oil accumulation (The USGS uses “continuous” to describe accumulations requiring extensive artificial fracturing to allow the oil to flow to the borehole) ever discovered in the U.S.[9]

Never one to be deterred by inconvenient facts, the President pressed on to shill for a bill that will generate billions in B.S. tax dollars in the trading of carbon credits that will not lead to energy independence, nor will it affect climate change in any significant fashion, but it will make those who have invested in the carbon trading scam rich beyond the dreams of avarice as it weakens this country, thrashes our economy, and lowers our standard of living.

The president pointed to the Gulf disaster to make the case for the climate and energy bill being considered in Congress.

“More than anything else, this economic and environmental tragedy — and it’s a tragedy — underscores the urgent need for this nation to develop clean, renewable sources of energy,” said the president. “Doing so will not only reduce threats to our environment, we’ll create a new, homegrown American industry that can lead to countless new businesses and new jobs.”

Open and transparent.  From DAY ONE.  Except when he isn’t.

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A year and a half in the big chair, and the ineptitude and inability to even address the things that can be done (EPA, you have a call from Governor Jindal) are the predecessor’s fault. 

Not only has this refusal to take the responsibility that he campaigned so damn hard to be entrusted with gotten so old, tired, and worn that even some in the legacy media can see the pathetic that lies beneath, but I truly think Obama and the Dems have not considered the precedent that they are setting.   Of course, when my boys are in their twenties and have severely reduced opportunities thanks to the reckless and idiotic spending that characterize this administration, and they wait a month to see a nurse practitioner who will give them a band-aid for their pneumonia because there are no more practicing doctors and someone in Washington decided that antibiotics were too expensive a treatment for such a malady, it really will be Obama’s fault.

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Classic Leftist passive-aggressive B.S.  “I’m not paid for my experience and education.”  followed by the obligatory “Teachers do it because they love it.”

Christie has her dead-to-rights here.  You knew what the job paid, you took it anyway, and there is only so much money that a state government can squeeze from its citizens.

And as far as her “education”… I come from a family of teachers.  The business of “education” these days may be best summed up by asking “What is the fad this week?”  I’ve seen things written by teachers that come home with my kids that make me cringe, and while not every profession should be tarred by its bad actors, (take my own for example…I actually know an attorney or two that I would refer friends to), this perfectly exemplifies the sense of entitlement that infects so many government employees these days.  I guess she never thought that she would have to contribute in an age of sacrifice.

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Looking Out for YOU, whether you want them to, or not!

If you are the HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the answer is apparently “No.”, or at least so she asserts in a motion to dismiss responding to Virginia’s suit against the Great HealthCare Takeover of 2010:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius argued in a motion filed hours before a midnight deadline that the law is well within the scope of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

Commerce Clause, Commerce Clause.  How we love thee.  You can make every issue a federal one.  Even when that nasty old Tenth Amendment says that it isn’t a federal issue.

Virginia’s Republican attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, filed suit in U.S. District Court in Richmond less than eight hours after Congress enacted the law. It argues that requiring people to buy health coverage or pay a fee exceeds federal powers limited by the Constitution’s 10th Amendment.

Well gee.  Buying something is commerce, and eventually all commerce somehow has a national impact right?  Therefore it must be a federal issue.

More than a dozen state attorneys general have sued over the legislation on broadly similar grounds in cases that are likely be determined by the Supreme Court.

The conservative attorney general sued in defense of a Virginia law enacted this winter that exempts state residents from being required to have health coverage.

Sebelius argues in her dismissal motion, however, that Virginia lacks the standing to sue.

“A state cannot … manufacture its own standing to challenge a federal law by simple expedient of passing a statute purporting to nullify it,” read the motion. “Otherwise, a state could import almost any political or policy dispute into federal court by enacting its side of the argument into state law.”

Sebelius also contends that the new law, passed solely by the ruling Democrats in Congress and signed by a Democratic president, is constitutional.

“Even if Virginia could surmount this jurisdictional barrier, its claim still would fail because Congress, in adopting the minimum coverage provision, acted well within its authority under the Commerce Clause,” the motion says.

The mandate for most U.S. residents to carry health insurance starting in 2014 is at the heart of the federal law’s goal of medical coverage for all. Without it, the Justice Department explains in the filing, the new law – and its efforts to contain costs – becomes moot.

“When accidents or illnesses inevitably occur, the uninsured still receive medical assistance, even if they cannot pay. As Congress documented, such uncompensated health care costs – $43 billion in 2008 – are passed on to the other participants in the health care market: the federal government, state and local governments, health care providers, insurers, and the insured population,” the motion says.

It is as elegant as an M.C. Escher drawing.  The Feds pass laws requiring that hospitals provide emergency care, then, because of the cost of the care they mandate, decide that every American must pay for coverage that it approves of in order to help defray the costs of the care that they mandated…and all with nary a serious thought to their authority to be involved in mandating the care to begin with.  Logic like that isn’t worthy of characterization as a mobius strip…no, no…it is better than that.  It is an Escher drawing!

Government Logic...Don't Fight It, Peasant!

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I never predict. I just look out the window and see what is visible – but not yet seen.” –Peter Drucker

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick decided to join Joe Klein and up the ante on the current campaign of “Shut Up!” described by Professor Klavan by alleging that Republicans’ opposition to President Obama’s agenda “is almost at the level of sedition.”

Of course, when explaining his remarks after the forum, Patrick said the following:

“I think that the number of people in the Grand Old Party who seem to be absolutely committed to saying ‘no,’ whenever he says ‘yes,’ no matter what it is, even if it’s an idea that they came up with, is just extraordinary,” the governor told reporters after the forum.

And about the “sedition” remark?

“That was a rhetorical flourish,” Patrick said.

Now, normally, I would take this as evidence of why he is in politics rather than private practice, those who can vs. those who can’t, and whatnot, but this isn’t the first time we have heard a prominent Democrat suggesting criminal penalties for Constitutionally protected opposition.  Once is an anomaly, twice is a trend.  It doesn’t surprise me.  The Left has been telling those who oppose them to “Shut Up!” for years, first with their own voices, then with the voices of their “experts”, and now that their “authority” is called into question for spouting increasingly inane defenses and justifications, they had to up the ante.

When Joe Klein offered up his insightful analysis which raised the spectre of sedition for people who dare criticise a President who speaks without knowledge and apologizes without cause, I was willing to shrug it off.  Merely another idiot demonstrating how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  When a sitting governor starts saying it, I had to analyze it.  And the analysis says that this is the latest round of “Shut Up!”, the step of intimidation when the rabble refuse to be cowed by those who fancy themselves the intellectual betters of those to be silenced, and in Patrick’s case, it is all the more shameful, as he is an attorney and should, by training, choose his words carefully.  Such a use of the word would rest outside of the grounds of proper conduct, and be immediately objected to in Court.

But more importantly, we cannot discount the reasoning for the use of the word and the prevarication about the actual act.  Both Klein and Patrick talked about those evil opposition voices almost being seditious.  It isn’t true, of course, as sedition, like most legal terms, has a precise meaning.  From West’s Encyclopedia of American Law:

Sedition is the crime of revolting or inciting revolt against government. However, because of the broad protection of free speech under the First Amendment, prosecutions for sedition are rare. Nevertheless, sedition remains a crime in the United States under 18 U.S.C.A. § 2384 (1948), a federal statute that punishes seditious conspiracy, and 18 U.S.C.A. § 2385 (1948), which outlaws advocating the overthrow of the federal government by force. Generally, a person may be punished for sedition only when he or she makes statements that create a clear and present danger to rights that the government may lawfully protect (Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47, 39 S. Ct. 247, 63 L. Ed. 470 [1919]).

Thus, legal speaking, one commits sedition when one advocates the overthrow of the federal government by force.  As hard as Joe Klein may wish it to be true, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have never said anything that would rise to the technical level of sedition, and no matter how much congressional Republicans refuse to lend their names to bad Democratic legislation so that the guilty parties can point to the desired collaboration and cry “Bipartisanship!”, it simply doesn’t meet the technical definition of sedition.  And why the emphasis on the technical definition of sedition?  Because such a law cannot easily be reconciled with either the First Amendment or our history.  “Congress shall make no law…” is indeed a pretty high hurdle, and I’m inclined to believe the proponents of that prohibition meant it.  It should also be noted that our nation’s charter was clear about the right to overthrow a government which had overstepped its bounds:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

In almost every sedition case prosecuted in recent memory, a successful conviction comes only with overt acts in furtherance against the United States of America.  That last little bit is important too, because both Klein and Patrick have raised their howling alarms with reference to resistance to the President and his policies, not the overthrow of the United States government.  Again, this isn’t surprising, as most leftists are more authoritarian than they would like to admit (it is hard to impose Utopia when there is an oppostion with which you must share power), and they clearly have pinned all their dreams on the cypher masquerading as a leader, and they are willing to do and say anything to maintain his fading prestige.

Of course, this holds a challenge for us, as well.  We can’t let the clumsy smear go unanswered.  And when people who have no excuse to say something so demonstrably false, it is up to us to speak up, and do our best to instill the speakers with a sense of shame that they obviously lack.  After Governor Patrick’s remarks, I can now say that I’m even less impressed with the quality of public servant that the Harvard Law School is foisting upon us these days.  First a President of Law Review that apparently wrote no article for the publication, and now a former Assistant Attorney General who uses falsehoods as “rhetorical flourishes”. 

I think the Dems should show a great deal more caution, lest they end up reaping what they sow. 

I think I can see November from my house.

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But remember, kiddies.  Christianity is the threat to peace everywhere, not those peace-loving muslims.

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I know that I have discussed the concept before, but as usual, someone has done it first and done it better.  From Francis Schaffer’s How Should We Then Live?:

In the United States many other practical problems developed as man’s desire to be autonomous from God’s revelation—-in the Bible and through Christ—-increasingly through its natural conclusions.  Sociologically, law is king, (Samuel Rutherford’s Lex Rex) was no longer the base whereby one could be ruled by law rather than the arbitrary judgments of en and whereby there could be wide freedoms without chaos. Any ways in which the system is still working is largely due to the sheer inertia of the continuation of the past principals.  But this borrowing cannot go on forever.

As we have seen, there is a danger without a sufficient base modern science will become sociological science; so civil law has moved toward being sociological law.

He never lived long enough to know how right he was, but I am certain he would have had no comfort from it.

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