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Archive for March, 2013

I hope each of you get to consider the meaning of this day.

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Somewhere between the shampoo and the soap, I was pondering Sheriff Slow Joe Biden’s remarks about the Administration’s current gun control push and the President’s laughable remarks about “shaming” those who oppose further infringements on the right to bear arms by a government that was explicitly prohibited from engaging in the infringements which already exist.

Putting aside the issue of someone spending our money to have his children vacation at lavish resorts in the Bahamas and in Sun Valley when the economy is still in the tank and millions of American families can afford no vacation at all, let alone separate vacations for their children, I couldn’t help but consider that we have hundreds of “gun control” laws on the books now that simply aren’t being enforced.  I realize that our leftist betters who are always considering new ways of justifying the Federal government’s various attempts to circumvent the restrictions that the Constitution clearly places on it would justify these past ineffective measures as tacit decisions by “We the people” to allow the government the authority to infringe where no infringement was allowed.  I can even accept that there may be a measure of truth to this, as some people certainly would have been willing to surrender a measure of liberty for the illusion of security, much in the same way that the frog doesn’t really consider that the water he’s in just got a little hotter.  However, I’m not sure that we should accept the idea that liberty ensured by restrictions on Federal authority can be conceded by means of a “passive” waiver, that is to say, by not enforcing that restriction when a clearly prohibited authority is clearly usurped, when that act of usurpation in and of itself is not so onerous as to warrant an immediate, and vehement denial.  Such a belief cannot be logically defended, and if accepted, would fundamentally change the relationship between “We the people” and our government, and for the same reasons, the Federal government should be equally denied from arguing laches as a defense to any attempt to reassert the restrictions that have never been Constitutionally relaxed or rescinded.

Even the “Constitutional Scholar-In-Chief” understands that the Constitution ensures liberty by restricting what the Federal Government can and cannot do, even if he cannot help but to reveal his bias against that by referring to it by calling it a “charter of negative liberties” and lamenting that it prevents the Federal government from doing certain things for us.  (One of the inherent flaws in this viewpoint being revealed when you consider that when he is talking about “us” he only means some of “us”.)  If we were to accept that infringements that were enacted in another time were now acceptable, and allowed the Federal government the authority to enact even more infringements as long as it could justify them as “reasonable”, then all those who want an all-powerful state have to do is have a strategic long-term plan, and the will to carry it out in a creeping incrementalism over a period of decades in which emotionalism is used to justify the nibbles being taken from individual liberty, while at the same time, it can be asserted as the picture takes shape, that continuing infringements can be justified because it was allowed in the past…or because the Courts refused to uphold past challenges.  Essentially, such a philosophy fosters an adversarial relationship between the state and those who would be governed by it, because the state could, in time remove all restrictions lawfully imposed on it by the nation’s bylaws without ever calling for an upfront and open national referendum on the restriction itself.  As long as the state succeeds with its initial usurpation of that which was deliberately withheld from it, no further usurpation can ever be stopped; as long as they get away with it once, they would legally be allowed to get away with it again, while those who believe that they have been guaranteed such rights are slowly stripped of them, and rendered powerless to prevent it because their rights were not asserted from the start.  To allow this to either our representatives, or to nine (really less than nine) unelected men and women who are not in any way accountable for such extrajudicial activity is completely contrary to the idea of limited government on which this nation was founded, and encourages those who seek power, those of malicious intent, and those who are jealous of individual liberty, and the disparate impact that results from people being free to make their own choices about how they live, to subvert this founding principle at every opportunity.  Ultimately, it isn’t about safety, it is about control.

This is why despite having an entire Federal agency, with what would be an awesome name for a store, devoted to enforcing the infringements on the Second Amendment that previous generations mistakenly permitted, we still have crimes committed  with guns in this country.  It is why despite the fact that we have hundreds of laws criminalizing the ownership of certain firearms, and relating to the transfer, and use of firearms in crimes, crimes are still committed with guns in this country.  It is why, despite clear evidence of many of these crimes being broken in a manner that reveals itself to these Federal minders who are so empowered for our “safety” and “security” that the prosecution for these violations is shockingly, dare I say criminally low.  Against this stew of contradictions, and the constant drumbeat for more laws that the Federal government is still specifically prohibited from engaging in in the first place, one can only conclude that this drive is about control, and the ability to, through selective enforcement, prosecute certain people for engaging in activities that by the letter and the spirit of the organic law of this nation, remains, and always has been perfectly legal.

We need to say “NO!”  “HELL NO!”, and “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” until our self-appointed betters either come by the power they keep trying to assume for themselves honestly, by amending the bylaws, so that EVERYONE gets a say in the process, or until they get the message.

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“Now words mean nothing, I talk with my hands” –The Rainmakers “I Talk With My Hands”

American society is gravely ill, and yet we continue to whistle past the graveyard, and virulently attack those who dare to commit the crime of speaking the truth aloud.  Why?  Because too many of us want the lie.  The lie is flattering.  The lie is comfortable.  The lie doesn’t require us to change anything about ourselves, because the lie allows us to pretend that there is nothing wrong with us. 

We can spend our way out of debt.  Because spending less and paying it down is hard.
 Taking more from those who have more isn’t theft, it’s fairness.  Because nothing encourages success like penalizing it.  And nothing encourages ambition like redistribution of other people’s earnings.

 Government exists to ensure equality of outcomes.  Because your outcomes never have anything to do with the choices you made, even when Helen Keller could see that some choices can only have bad consequences.

Congress can sell any bill as long as it has an Orwellian title.  Because the people who didn’t read it before passing it are now shocked to learn that the Affordable Care Act ISN’T.

Gay marriage is a Constitutional right; we need to legalize love, because doing so doesn’t change anything.  Because deconstructing a legal and philosophical concept, and rebuilding it around an interaction that was one of the original felonies in common law, which does not offer the same benefit for society,  and which remained a crime until 10 years ago isn’t elevating sophistry to a breathtaking feat of legal alchemy at all. 

Abortion isn’t killing a child; it is terminating a clump of cells.  And it is legal because it is “private”, and because it doesn’t harm anyone.  Unless you’re the someone being “terminated”…but that’s ok because your 14th Amendment rights don’t exist yet, because they just don’t, just like the mission statement set forth in the nation’s charter doesn’t apply to you.

Post-birth abortion isn’t murder.  It’s still a female healthcare issue.  Unless you’re a baby girl who survived your mother’s attempt to snuff you, apparently.

And it goes on, and on, and on.

Whether it is our constant efforts to provide an inoffensive substitute for any term that might cause any recognition of the truth of a matter, issue, activity, or condition, or attempts to redefine things with fixed legal and philosophical meanings into something else, in a bid to pretend that the matter, issue, activity or condition of that thing now included in the new definition is the same as those included in the old definition, we are adrift in the inevitable result of such deception and delusion.  The handicapped aren’t handicapped; they are differently abled.  The retarded aren’t retarded, they are learning disabled.  We can all think of more examples.  Some observers of society used to make light of it, like George Carlin often did, but we have gone from talking about things that should be talked about in any society, to spending that same time trying to find ways to not call something what it is, and in some cases, taking it to such ridiculous extremes that the listener may now have to expend time mentally translating this newspeak in order to understand that they are discussing what the speaker is taking such great pains not to discuss.  In such an environment, it was only a matter of time before we’d have a President prevaricating about what the definition of “is” is, in order to avoid the admission that he took advantage of someone’s much younger daughter in order to get a blow job in the Oval Office, and all manner of deception in every facet of life, from bills with inspiring names that contain onerous provisions that weak politicians dare not vote against to in order to not be cast as “against” something no reasonable person would oppose, even if those same bills lead to perverse effects that no reasonable person wants.

And now, after a week of the absurd make-believe of “gay marriage” litigation, in which normally rational people suspended what they know in order to pretend that the state doesn’t and hasn’t limited or withheld its sanction from relationships before, in part by making value judgments about the value of those relationships to society, we have the happy news that Planned Parenthood, which already makes the American taxpayer a party to the murders it commits daily by sucking up tax dollars at every opportunity, is now advocating for “post-birth abortions“…that is, if you are a child who has the gall to survive your Mother’s attempt to kill you, the physician and the family (another lie) should decide what should be done with you…as if there is a choice.   I guess “first do no harm” is as antiquated as the “ceremonial deism” that the Federal courts will allow to the Federal government, but not the local ones.

It shouldn’t be too terribly difficult for people to see that at every turn, we are falling into confusion.  Lines are getting blurred, distinctions are taken out of context.  There is a growing paradox of selfishness…not an individualism, which by its nature, incorporates a certain sense of individual responsibility, but a collectivism, in which the individual seeks everything that everyone else can deliver to them.  And at the same time, self-gratification is king, and what we want for ourself eclipses everything else, which is why, after millions of abortions, the chattering classes still engage the breathless, and repugnant hyperbole about “gay marriage is the civil rights issue of our era”.   This only leads to one place: ruin.  And unfortunately, I can’t enjoy the road to Hell, because I can see what’s coming.  A roided-out state with the power to determine who lives and who dies, and the illusion of compassion and frugality to cloak its indifference and mendacity.  I won’t be saying “I told you so.”  I won’t have the luxury of enjoying the Schadenfreude, because I will be trying to hard to fight back the encroachment of the coming chaos.

It is no wonder I am a “clinger”.  At least in that, there is a purpose, and a focus on life, and right and wrong, as opposed to being blown which ever way the wind blows, and the ongoing effort to pretend that there is no truth, and it doesn’t matter anyway.

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This is why we’re screwed as a society.

SCREWED.

From  Anthony Mirhaydari, writing for MSN Money, in a piece entitled “Why we need ‘death panels'”

The fact is, 25% of all Medicare spending goes to the 5% of recipients who die each year –with 80% of that in the last two months of life. This is aggressive spending on things like stays in intensive care and critical care units, which research has shown do not meet the needs and preferences of terminal patients despite its increasing use.

Especially when combined with the growing evidence supporting the benefits of less-expensive, palliative hospice care that allows people to enjoy their last days on this earth in peace at home, not poked, prodded and intubated, floating in and out of consciousness under the fluorescent lights of a $30,000-a-night hospital room. 

The popular backlash against death panels gave politicians in Washington reason to fear the topic in general.

I don’t know what makes me angrier.  The concern over the cost and the debt being left for the future being applied to the subject of the medical care of individuals, or the diagnosis that says if you’re too old, or too sick, you aren’t worth it, rather than re-examining the premise that it was ever something for government to be making decisions about in the first place. 

The willingness of the “smart people” to give government such an awesome responsibility when its ability to conduct any duty outside of those specifically assigned to it is such a train wreck.  I think that there is every reason to have a discussion about the dignity of life, and what is worth maintaining at any cost, but government has NO place in that conversation, let alone dictating the result to us.  When we let government decide when or if we are worth saving, we belong to the government.  There is no dignity in the person, save what government allows you to have. Individuals are valued based on their worth to the state; and they will be granted privileges are rights are revoked. 

 Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question. 

-Thomas Jefferson, his First Inaugural Address

I think Tommy will soon have his answer, as this intentionally defective behemoth comes into its full glory, and the body count skyrockets as government lets us know what it thinks each of us is worth.  I only hope we can be forgiven for the complete abdication of the gift of the personal sovereignty that his generation risked everything to give us.

 

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Gun-fearing wussies and overbearing government control freaks continue to see an asterisk where none exists, in a determined effort to make the Constitution their own personal stumbling block like the living stone Peter wrote about in the second chapter of his first epistle.

First, we have New Jersey Police and CPS officials who executed a late-night, warrantless raid on the home of Shawn Moore, an NRA-Certified firearms instructor and range safety officer, who also teaches hunter education courses for the state of New Jersey this past Saturday night.   What could warrant such extraordinary action?  He posted a picture of his 11-year-old son, posing with a .22 caliber hunting rifle on Facebook.  His son has a New Jersey hunting license.  The authority’s excuse for trampling on Mr. Moore’s Fourth Amendment rights was an anonymous call to CPS as a result of the photo.  Apparently this was such a great indicator of child abuse that it caused the authorities to run out on a Saturday night to conduct this raid in such a hurry, that they forgot to get a warrant!  Thankfully, Mr. Moore’s attorney didn’t forget about the Fourth Amendment, and when the authorities demanded to get inside Mr. Moore’s gun safe “to see if all his weapons were properly registered” (registration isn’t required in New Jersey), Mr. Moore’s attorney reminded them that if they didn’t have a warrant, they could go pound sand.  The authorities were undeterred, attempting their typical “if you don’t cooperate with us, it looks suspicious” coercion, but Mr. Moore was having none of it.  It is reported that the Moores are considering suing the authorities.  I suggest a Section 1983 Civil Rights suit…the kind that carries personal liability for the offenders.  It’s well-past time to send a message to these people that they do not get to intimidate and harass law-abiding citizens who are simply exercising their rights.

Second is this “opinion” piece from the Los Angeles Times posted on Facebook by my friend and fellow patriot, Gary Graham.  It contains the same tired leftist lily-guilding casting people who believe that rights worth having are rights worth defending as “belligerently ignorant” and “filled with intractable hatred”, despite the fact that people who spout such nonsense in attempts to infringe or restrict the legitimate Constitutional rights of others are the ones most often proving themselves “belligerently ignorant” and so full of hate for others who engage in activity that they do not approve of…a trait so serendipitously displayed by this line from the story:

What can be done to reverse this tide of belligerent ignorance? Not much. The typical patriot acts within his free-speech and 2nd Amendment rights, and in fact most patriot activity consists of venting steam by meeting with like-minded Neanderthals and firing off blog posts threatening civil war. Yet such blather tends to get under the skin of the Timothy McVeighs of the world. These groups should be closely monitored, with resources adequate to the task, even if it means shifting some homeland security money from the hunt for foreign terrorists.

The contempt they have for the document drips off of the statement I bolded there.  And the bit about “getting under the skin of the Timothy McVeighs of the world” strikes me as a dangerous and determined flirtation with irony poisoning, considering that they are the local paper for an industry that makes its money from peddling all manner of violence, with firearms and without, and studiously deflecting any suggestion that its product might in some way contribute to the senseless violence that some claim is epidemic in our society.  But again, to the minds of these rocket surgeons, this is but another problem to be solved by an expansion of domestic government surveillance, because everyone knows that the way to save a free society is to curtail its freedoms whenever possible.

Some days, there is NEVER enough facepalm for the inconsistencies and illogical pontificating that pass for thinking.  Ambassador Soval would certainly raise an eyebrow.

Ambassador Soval

 

 

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You cannot conceive how much I hate this idea.

We’re talking “hate with the heat of a thousand suns”.

We’re talking about repugnant to the very idea of a republic, and the fact that I have recently come to revisit the idea is yet another sign of just how sad our society has become, and yet when I look at the Federal Government in general, and the Senate specifically, I see the combination of aging hippies acting badly and people who have so overstayed their welcome that they have either lost focus or never had it, and have turned a stint in public service into a lucrative sinecure, and an exercise in the centralization and usurpation of power.  It doesn’t really matter if we’re discussing Juan McCain and Lindsey Graham and their constant efforts to be the beautiful losers of the Senate, or Diane Feinstein, and her fundamental mistrust of Americans’ ability to exercise their rights unmolested by a top-heavy, control-freaky government hell-bent on removing the teeth of the Constitution so that the coup can be completed.

I first seriously encountered the idea when I read George Will’s Restoration in the early 90s.  At that time, I recall being irritated because I felt that Will had not given sufficient consideration to the way that Congress works, or how to replace it.   The entire idea was like a beautiful clock.  I could admire how it looked, and how it made me feel, but when I turned it over, I could see no works behind the facade.  I may go and dig out of the boxes in the garage just to see if I, or George have gotten any smarter in the last two decades.

But after watching the Old Guard’s shameful response to the New GOP members like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, with the cries of “Wacko Birds!” and the general condescension in response to reminding the Executive Branch that it is NOT an Imperial Branch, and the unwillingness to participate in actions that they do not seem capable of even comprehending the significance of, I see tired “leaders” who lack either the good sense or the self discipline to realize that they have overstayed their welcome, and that perhaps they would be happier set out to pasture, where they could still get plenty of Lapdog Media airtime offering their meaningless “conservative” opinions that aren’t to those who are happy to take an incremental approach to the compromise of liberty, because any time they get a piece of it, they win.  These are the same people who think that it “mavericky” to offer up a mealy-mouthed and insincere apology for their gross miscalculation of the importance of something that it never occurred to them to do in the first place.

Then this week came the exchange between Senator Diane Feinstein and Senator Ted Cruz, in which she felt “patronized”, and proclaimed that she has been “up close and personal with the Constitution”, as if that somehow validated her attempts to void the Second Amendment.  Assassins often get “up close and personal” with their intended targets, usually when they are getting ready to slip the knife in between the victim’s ribs.

I’ve heard the exchange.  I’ve read the exchange.  The Senatrix from Sillyfornia wasn’t patronized…  but she should have been.  A good way to start would have been to ask her “What part of “…shall not be infringed.” is it that you’re having so much trouble grokking?” And when she devolved into her dubious reading of Heller as her justification for inserting The Asterisk where none exists, the proper response would have been “And is the Supreme Court always correct?”  If she was dumb enough to say “Yes, of course.”, then to say “Roger Taney thanks you for your validation.  700,000+ Civil War dead are unavailable for comment, however.”  As for her appeal to emotion regarding her role in the Harvey Milk killings, it has been noted by Michael Walsh that the gun used in those murders, a police service revolver, is NOT on the list of firearms that she is excited to infringe upon.  When taken in total, I can only conclude that it is about the exercise of power for power’s sake.  In invoking Heller in the manner in which she did, she shows her hand.  Her premise is not to start at the Constitution, and determine if it gives the authority for the power she clearly wants to exercise; it is to start at what she perceives to be the limitation on the Constitution, which is a very different concept.  Her incredulity at Cruz pointing out that limitations on the other rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights demonstrates that she knows the obvious nature of the contradiction she seeks, and knows exactly why it is so important to neuter this right first.

The sad fact is that we have too many elected officials who are too concerned with being liked, or with passing laws because they think they can, and not enough who do not automatically accept the status quo of compromising liberty and assuming that there is no power forbidden to the Federal Government.  I see that changing when I see Cruz, Paul, Amash, and others…especially when they start talking about spending and budgets in current terms, rather than pushing them out to Congresses that they may or may not be part of in ten years or more.  It feels like a freshening wind, and for Juan McCain, Lindsey Graham, and DiFi, a song:

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Two weeks ago, I was reading on a professional list serv hosted through the state bar association about a new case that applied Washington’s Consumer Protection Act in a manner in which it had not been applied before, that would be useful to elder law practitioners state-wide.  About a day later, one of the older attorneys on the list serv (I’m in my 40s) posted a comment about our shameful treatment of the “greatest generation”, and how awful it is that they have to become paupers before the can make the rest of us pay for their nursing home/end-of-life care, and how they can’t leave their wealth to their kids and grandkids like we promised them in our “contract” with them, and carrying on about the immorality of it, and how awful it was that we were now contemplating cuts to the Medicare and Medicaid programs put in place in the sixties.

I was gobsmacked.  Here was an officer of the court, someone who is supposed to understand the law, and to think logically, proposing that it was immoral to expect people to pay for their own care if they had the means to do so, and suggesting that they had every right to pass their accumulated wealth on to their kids and grandkids, and make the peers of those kids and grandkids pay for their care.  As one of the people stuck with the bill according to this plan, and as someone with children whose own expectations are considerably diminished by this kind of thinking, I was angry.  As a practitioner, who can clearly see that the logic of this doesn’t work anyway, because those kids and grandkids will still be paying for the care of grandpa and grandma’s peers, I was livid.  I had to ask about the morality of presuming that this was owed to anyone, and how the mortgaging of future generations was in anyway a moral way to pay for it.  I then went on to ask how it was that the federal government had the lawful authority to engage in such largesse to begin with. 

To my relief, there were a few responses that were supportive of this view.  There were a few older members who, to their discredit, avoided the question of legal authority, and instead, somewhat condescendingly, waxed poetic about the views they held when they were “the masters of the world” back in the sixties, when they tried to change the world for the better.  I have been guilty in the past of joking about aging hippies behaving badly when discussing certain people in politics, but I had never seen generational hubris so baldly manifested.

Finally, a lawyer took up my question of the legal authority for the federal government’s largesse in this matter.  She assured me that it was found in the general welfare clause…of the preamble of the Constitution (and not in Article I, Section 8!).  I pointed out to her that it was her own unique translation, but Madison, who was one of the principal architects had a very different take which he articulated in the Federalist 41, in part in answer to the Anti-Federalist Brutus, in his paper, VI, in which he warned that its inclusion would lead to men of lesser character in succeeding generations deciding that anything and everything was “general welfare”, to the detriment of society as a whole.

Her response back to me asked “So what do we do in the alternative?”

At this point, I decided to learn more about her.  Among other things, she had been an aide to Senator George Mitchell for a very long time, and had written legislation here in Washington as well.  No doubt, she had been firmly indoctrinated to the idea that there is nothing that the federal government could not and should not do.  Therefore, while I could say “Gee, I dunno.  How about a return to limited government, in which we get its boot off our necks and its hand out of our back pockets?”, I felt reasonably certain that given her belief in the “Good and Plenty Clause” interpretation of the Constitution, it would have simply registered like a whale popping up in front of her, speaking in Russian and Mandarin.  Instead, between the utter disappointment I felt at such a manifest failure to understand our organic law in too many of my fellow lawyers, and the size of my workload, I simply chose to not respond at all, and I simply quit keeping track of the thread.

The head of that state bar section finally commented late this week about the “political” discussion that arose in that thread, and how she had been informed by the state bar that membership in that list serv fell off sharply due to the number of comments and the nature of the opinions discussed, and she asked that the thread be declared “over”, and that such “political” discussions be avoided in the future.

For my part, I didn’t see any reason to continue.  I saw a lot of supposedly intelligent people who are focused on treating symptoms, and who couldn’t be bothered with the idea of actually treating the disease, largely because they refuse to comprehend that there are limits to the compassion that they can engage in with other people’s money.  I’m afraid that we are sailing this ship of state right over the rocks and the falls beyond them, and that too many aboard are in denial about the whitewater ahead.

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