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Archive for the ‘Correcting Revisionist History’ Category

What a great week.

We get a Supreme Court ruling on DOMA that WILL be used to attack the exercise of the First Amendment in a “historic” and “unprecedented” way, thanks to a remarkably intemperate ruling written by Justice Kennedy, who decided in his ruling in the DOMA case (United States v. Windsor) that the only purpose in opposing same-sex marriage MUST be malicious, which will be used against churches and religious organizations by a cabal of Christian Derangement Syndrome sufferers and the pink swastika wearing rainbow warriors of “tolerance”. Not content with this decision, the court also issued a ruling on the Prop 8 case (Hollingsworth v. Perry), in which the court came to the rather curious conclusion that you can have standing to be sued, but not have standing to defend against a suit. Such legal alchemy is no longer shocking to me, but the bigger implication of this suit is far more stunning. The net effect of this ruling is that the people of a state can use the initiative process to make laws that their elected officials WON’T, and if their governor and their attorney general refuse to defend against legal challenges, then the proponents of the initiative don’t have standing to defend against those same legal challenges. The silence from the usual defenders of “democracy” is disappointing, but predictable.

After the ruling was released, I was sure I heard the sound of hands rubbing together in Olympia, as the Governor and the Democrats in Olympia are making plans for the next session when the Senate can’t stop them, and they can tax to their grubby little hearts’ content, and then fail to defend a trumped-up lawsuit against an initiative telling them “No.” It will be even less trouble than having the courts do them a solid on overturning our $30.00 license tabs…again, and again, and again.

Then we have the “Tale of Two Apologies”. The first is Paula Deen, a southern cook, with a show on the Food Network and various franchises and a pending cookbook, who admitted in a deposition to having used a racist slur 30 years ago, driving the grievance pimp and race hustling industry into overdrive. Within a week, she lost her show, every business relationship she had, and her publisher dumped her on the cusp of publishing her latest cookbook, despite having given an unnecessary apology for the sin of saying a word frequently used and glorified by members of the supposedly aggrieved class. Incidents like this, and the now infamous Imus incident are proof that Eric Holder was right about us being unable to have an honest conversation about race in this country. When words are only off-limits to one class of persons, and the ones who aren’t restricted are allowed to destroy the careers of those restricted class if they admit to uttering “Voldemort” in the distant past, no honest conversation about race is possible. But at least Jesse Jackson got a few extra moments in the limelight when he offered to help Deen with her “rehabilitation”, so at least his lucrative franchise preserving this perverse status quo will be maintained.

On the other hand, we have Noted Thoughtless Pig, Alec Baldwin, once again launching himself on a gay-slur (I refuse to say “homophobic”, as it would indicate fear, and given what he said, I don’t think he fears gays, I think he holds them in contempt) laden Twitter tirade against a Guardian reporter who made some unflattering allegations about Baldwin’s wife’s behavior at James Gandolfini’s funeral. This isn’t the first time that Baldwin’s Tweeting thumbs have caused him trouble, as he’s tweeted racist slurs before. However, unlike Deen, who said “Voldemort” 30 years ago, when I last checked, Baldwin still had a cushy gig with Capital One, and hasn’t been fired by any of his other employers. While Anderson Cooper and Andrew Sullivan noted the apparent lack of outrage for Baldwin’s rhetorical diarrhea, he seems largely to have gotten a pass, despite the apology which makes claims that are incongruous with his tweets.

I’m not in favor of people having their lives and careers ruined over things they say. That doesn’t mean I’m adverse to speaking out when I think what they say is wrong, dangerous, stupid, etc. I do think that DEMANDING that people being cut off from their means of making a living because they said something that offended someone smacks just a little too much of thought policing for me to be comfortable with. It’s one thing to have no truck with people who offend you (or those who employ them), but it’s quite another to have the expectation that others must share your outrage, and participate in a particularly brutal (and arbitrary) form of collective punishment, which is to be arbitrarily and selectively applied by those who set themselves up as the judge and jury of such socially criminal acts. My contempt is reserved for the deciders who pretend to be guided by such principles as “civility” and a cockeyed notion of “fairness” that only they can mystically discern, according to a subjective standard that we mere mortals are terminally incapable of recognizing, let alone grokking. This contempt is also reserved for the mindless numbers who surrender their own discernment with nary a taxed brain cell to these morally bankrupt clods who have usurped an authority that they prove themselves too hypocritical to objectively wield when they allow such a disparity of outcome in two such similar public faux pas. I could be crass, and suggest that the lesson here is the same one more artfully demonstrated by George Orwell so many years ago in the classic “Animal Farm”, when he observed that “Some animals are more equal than others.”, a concept that seems to have escaped (I hate myself for even using this terminology) “the gay community”, which has struggled so long to enact a dubious and dishonest notion of “equality”, and was given a major victory in this campaign this week by the courts. Instead, I will say that an apology IS owed to someone, and in the great progressive tradition of claiming authority not conferred upon me, I will speak for America when I say:

“I am sorry, Paula Deen. I’m sorry that you believed in the notion of a “post-racial America”, uttered by a President that you voted for, when what he, and many in his party meant was a “Reverse-racial America”, where only white people can be racist, and any excuse to render such a verdict and execute sentence will be pursued by our “betters” in the media, and where your celebrity won’t be enough to protect you, since you failed to write checks to the “right” interest groups. Welcome to Bizzaro World.”

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So I just made the effort to watch the President’s speech at Boston Cathedral today.  I made it just shy of 13 minutes before disgust and impatience got the best of me and I switched to a transcript.

He spoke a lot of words, but I couldn’t find any emotion.  There was the pale assertion that we all claim Boston, the sadly predictable section about himself, Michelle, and himself, a litany of shout outs, the scripture mcnuggets, and glittering empty rhetoric about the spirit of Boston and America, with some brief mentions in the middle for each of the dead, and the collectively wounded, but there was no emotion.  If anything, his petulant rage he displayed yesterday would have been preferable, and given his “they picked the wrong city” talk, it at least wouldn’t have been as out-of-place as the mechanical delivery that he gave instead.

I think of one of the most notable speeches given in remembrance of the dead, The Gettysburg Address, and the brevity of it.  Or the powerful and brief letter penned by Lincoln to Mrs. Bixby. I searched and watched Reagan’s Challenger Speech, and Bush’s speech on the evening of 9-11.  Both a little over 4 minutes.  Neither one contained a shout out.  Neither one injected themselves.  Bush’s was a bit more defiant, but that can be understood under the circumstances.  But the most startling contrast, other than a measure of sympathy that Obama couldn’t imitate, was the fact that HE spoke in a church, when Reagan and Bush spoke from the Oval Office.  Why was this startling?  Because even Jesus could find real emotion, and the shortest verse in the Bible (Jesus wept.) when he came to the graveside of his friend, Lazarus.

Even when he came into God’s house, Obama couldn’t follow the example of his son.

Transcript here, for those who tire of a wooden delivery, and insufferable cadence.

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“This isn’t about me wanting to take your kids, and this isn’t even about whether children are property,” she said. “This is about whether we as a society, expressing our collective will through our public institutions, including our government, have a right to impinge on individual freedoms in order to advance a common good. And that is exactly the fight that we have been having for a couple hundred years.”

A couple hundred years? I didn’t think that the Communist Manifesto was quite that old. Still it does have a great deal of staying power for a failed ideal that continues to fail every time it is tried. I think the real “fight we’ve been having” is between enlightened self-interest and the perpetual nature of humanity’s hubris in believing that “we are the ones we have waited for” to finally make an imposed mediocrity and equally miserable outcome create a successful and vibrant society, when no one else has managed to.

“We’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. Your kid is yours, and your responsibility,” she says in the ad. “We haven’t had a very collective notion of ‘These are our children.’ So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that ‘kids belong to their parents’ or ‘kids belong to their families,’ and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”

Given that these words tumbled from the same lips that supported abortion because of the “expense of having children”, I can only see it as more of the “What is mine is mine, and what is yours is also mine, because I want it” mindset that leftists cannot dispossess themselves of.

Let me make this starkly clear, “Professor”:

Your “collective rights” do not trump my RIGHTS. My RIGHTS are not government’s to grant, or withdraw. Government can only guarantee them, or jealously covet them.

As for my children belonging to your “community”?

Good luck with that.

We didn’t abort our children, and would have never considered that, even if we had known about the Asperger’s/Autism because we have always correctly regarded them as people and gifts from God. Your short-sightedness does not make my children a commodity to be shared “for the good of the tribe”.

Just because your precious collective cannot help themselves and continues to kill your own off at a genocidal pace does not give you the right to indoctrinate MY children with your anti-life agenda.

Enjoy extinction, you silly cow. You sowed it. Now reap it.

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Obama’s campaign is now a “social welfare group”, and for only $500,000.00, you too can have access to the President. Organizing for Action is doing all the things Obama claims to hate. But then, leading by example has never been Obama’s strong suit. Still, I think when even Chuck Todd thinks that it “looks bad”, you’ve probably pushed it too far. Read more at Sweetness and Light.

And now, your moment of truth that your dear leader doesn’t want you to know:

I think I need a cigarette. You?

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“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.  The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.”

Noah Webster —Pamphlet, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, October 10, 1787, in PAUL LEICESTER FORD, ED., PAMPHLETS ON THE CONSITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, PUBLISHED DURING ITS DISCUSSION BY THE PEOPLE, 1787-1788, 60 (1888, repr. 1968)

“Mercenary armies…have at one time or another subverted the liberties of almost all the Countries that they have been raised to defend…”

George Washington—WRITINGS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON  388 (Fitzpatrick ed., 1931)

“Arms in the hands of citizens [may] be used in at individual discretion…in private self-defense.”

John Adams—A DEFENCE OF THE CONSTITUTIONS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 475 (1787-88).

“To disarm the people [is] the best and most efficient way to enslave them…”

George Mason—ELLIOTT, ED. 5 THE DEBATES IN THE SEVERAL STATE CONVENTIONS 380 (1836, repr. 1941)

Why, it’s almost like these guys didn’t believe that government had their best interests at heart.  Afterall, the government only spends money it doesn’t have because it cares about us…so much so that it doesn’t care how much debt is wracked up for our children and grandchildren to eventually pay.  And it’s perfectly ok for it to be engaged in all manner of giveaways and performing all manner of functions never reserved or assigned to it, because if bubblewrapping your life and then taking away the consequences for bad choices, and then the ability to actually make any choices of consequence is wrong, they don’t wanna be right.

And they don’t want you to be, either…

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“In the Second Article, it is declared, that a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state; a proposition  from which few will dissent.  Although in actual war, the services of regular troops are confessedly more valuabl; yet while regular peace prevails, and in the commencement of a war before a regular force can be raised, the militia form the palladium [safeguard] of the country…

The corollary from the first position is, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

No clause in the Constitution could by any rule oc construction be conceived to give Congress a power to disarm the people.  Such a flagititious [infamous or scandalous] attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature.  But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.

In most of the countries of Europe, this right does not seem to be denied, although it is allowed more or less sparingly, according to circumstances.  In England, a country which boasts so much of its freedom, the right was assured to Protestant subjects only, on the revolution of 1688, and it is cautiously described to be that of bearing arms for their defence “suitable to their conditions, and as allowed by law.” An arbitrary code for the preservation of game in that country has long disgraced them.”

William Rawle, A VIEW OF THE CONSTITUTION, p.125-126 (2nd ed. 1828)

William Rawle was a Philadelphia lawyer appointed to be the United States District Attorney for Pennsylvania by President George Washington in 1791, and Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania from 1796 until his death, and the Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar.

But I’m sure he simply didn’t understand that the right to bear arms was subject to whatever restrictions, conditions, and limitations that politicians in local, state, and Federal government could bleat effectly about being “reasonable”, and therefore legitimate limitations upon the right, because government would never, ever abuse power, and usurp authority not reserved to it, right?

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“Little more can be reasonable aimed at with respect to the people at large than to have them properly armed and equipped;…This will not only lessen the call for military establishments; but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidible to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little , if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of their arms, who stand ready to defend their rights and those of their fellow citizens.”

—Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 29

Whaaaaat?  One of the ARCHITECTS of our Constitution, even before there was a Bill of Rights and a Second Amendment, not only supported the concept of an armed citizenry, but contemplated it as a means to preserve the liberties of the people?  I guess he realized that a sternly worded letter was a poor means of keeping an overreaching government in check.  Thankfully, we now have a government lead by people with nothing of the best intentions, who would never lie to us, and never propose the curtailing of rights that are not government’s to give to begin with, right?

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*The one that leftists keep seeing after the words “…shall not be infringed.” in the Second Amendment. The one that apparently prefaces a litany of provisos, limitations, restrictions, and “common sense regulations” that are nothing of the sort.

These apparently include a government right to ban firearms that look scarier than other firearms, including the dreaded “black” firearms, magazines (clips are what you put in your hair) that are hold 10 rounds or more at a time, and the need to ask permission of the entity that the right was intended to defend against.

It’s long past time for elected officials to produce their copies of these important document, or come to terms with the fact that the asterisk, and its accompanying litany DOES NOT EXIST.

And for those who want to conjure justifications in support of overreach by an entity that has enough trouble dealing with matters that are actually under its jurisdiction, here is some food for thought:

I do not have to express a NEED to exercise a RIGHT, and yes, the burden is on you to make the case otherwise. That would include a showing that NEED was actually a serious consideration in the debates that gave us the Second Amendment. Good Luck with that.

For those who want to suggest that limitations are appropriate and permissible because “the Founders didn’t envision machine guns”, I have two responses:
(1) If you accept this as valid, and I don’t, then they also didn’t envision all of the other technological advances that touch other Amendments in the Bill of Rights either, like radio, television or computers. Perhaps we need to license these uses as well, if only to avoid “abuses of the First Amendment”, which as everyone knows, can destroy a person’s lifetime of work establishing their integrity with a single broadcast, or completely taint their ability to obtain a fair trial by their peers…just ask the Duke LaCrosse Team, or George Zimmerman. While we’re at it, maybe thermal imaging technology needs to be off-limits to law enforcement because its use without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment? And maybe other electronic surveillance should be restricted as well. Surely the Founders, who were suspicious of government power, would have objected to being monitored when in public, as it presumes guilt in the public at large, and touches on issues of freedom of association and self-incrimination?

(2) The facts don’t bear this out. The Founders and Framers lived in an age when scientific advances were a part of daily life. The history of that time had already shown advances in firearms. Where their grandfathers might have owned blunderbusses, muskets were ubiquitous at the time of the revolution, and refinements were being made to those during their lifetimes, as this correspondence from Thomas Jefferson demonstrates. What is more, these men wanted to encourage scientific and technological advances. That’s why Congress was specifically granted the authority “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;” in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. These were not stupid men. They were not legislators who would rush though a bill trampling on the rights of their constituents, and do so in such a hurry that they would forget to include exceptions necessary to allow law enforcement to do its work. They were careful. They were deliberate. The reams of paper recording their debates on these issues show this to be true, and it is insulting to their genius to glibly, and in a perfunctory manner, to presume that they simply failed to take into account the advancing nature of science when they authored the Bill of Rights. If they had intended a limitation, one would have been put there. And that is the correct legal interpretation of a statute as well.

To those who want to argue that it is an archaic document, written for a different time, logic is not your friend either. It was written in the aftermath of a conflict where we had thrown off the yoke of a government that did as it pleased, to the detriment of those living under it here, and without a concern for how its actions were perceived or received, and when government’s inclination was to levy numerous taxes to finance its exercise of power that reached even into our homes. Depending on where you lived, daily life held a number of dangers, which could be, and frequently were defended against by individuals with firearms, because law enforcement was limited in its ability to respond in a timely fashion, or because it was non-existent. And it was a time when many still harbored a deep mistrust for the new government which had displaced the old, if only because they were wise and educated enough, or experienced enough to understand that governments have a way of consolidating power, and cloaking subsequent tyrannies in the garments of benevolence. Many people would rightly maintain that the circumstances haven’t changed, only the players. But even if those of you who still believe the “archaic” law argument, even in the face of overwhelming evidence from other countries who have stripped their law-abiding citizens of their firearms rights, you are in luck. The Framers left you a mechanism by which to change it. It’s called “AMENDMENT”, and it is the ONLY legitimate means by which you may ACTUALLY insert the asterisk and all of the baggage that you currently pretend is there. This cannot lawfully be achieved through Federal Legislation, because the words “…shall not be infringed.” contain no exception for federal legislation. This cannot be lawfully achieved through state or local legislation, because incorporation through the 14th Amendment has made the Bill of Rights applicable to the states, as well. (And for those leftists who suddenly discover both the 9th and 10th Amendments in their copies of the Constitution, I would remind you that these are for the rights NOT addressed in the Constitution…including those already addressed in the Bill of Rights.)

Amendment is also the only legitimate process because the Constitution is the only legitimate “social contract” that governs our society. And whether you like it or not, there are a number of people who have grown up under it, and ordered their lives around its guarantees. If this social contract is to be changed, ALL who are affected by it have the right to input that the Amendment process guarantees. Such a change is not to be attempted by a legislative body alone, especially when that legislature’s control over such matters was specifically and deliberately curtailed.

For those of you who want to wave around the bloody bodies of some children to support the usurpation of power, you need to educate yourselves about what happened, including coming to grips with the facts that the “common sense reforms” you seek would have done NOTHING to prevent the tragedies you’re weeping over.

Finally, legislation by emotion is an error. When you are so dead set on restricting other people’s liberty that you have measures proposed by legislators who don’t even have a basic understanding of what it is they would outlaw, it is a problem. It further denigrates the legitimacy of those who would legislate such measures, and the whole of their actions. It is akin to having an appendectomy performed by an auto mechanic, or a journalist. If you propose to regulate something, you had better understand what you’re talking about, or you risk being ignored, and bypassed…kind of like what the President does to Congress now.

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Facebook is both a blessing and a curse.

I love the fact that I can converse with people from all walks of life who, in their own way, “get it”.  The downside is that occasionally, I encounter people who think they do, but then either dodge the question or downplay the fact that they don’t know understand what they are claiming to fix.  Their answers are rooted in their good intentions, but like those they elect, they do not understand what they are breaking in the name of fixing.  Take this conversation with “Bill”, which is of course, not his real name.

 
Bill: Randy [the person whose wall it was], you set up the same straw men that the Republicans do. (And, re Gover Norquist, a man whose only line is never to raise taxes but never proposes a solution to current problems, is a whiner not worthy of the attention he unfortunately currently receives.) Yes, there are contradictions in our country, we have probably always been that way. The current stalemate in Washington is ridiculous and unfortunate, but that makes it incumbent on all of us to find solutions instead of simply trying to tear each other down. If you think the deficit is a problem, what is your solution? Should we cut expenses, and if so, what expenses? If you think social security and medicare are handouts, are you proposing that we all give them up (including yourself), and if so, what are you proposing for the poor, that they simply do without? These are serious questions, and the rantings of most people today (especially in Washington and on Sunday morning shows) contributes nothing to their resolution.
 
 
Me:  Find for me the part in the Federal Constitution that says it is the federal government’s job to take money from people who earn it, so that IT may decide WHO to help with it, HOW to help them, and TO WHAT DEGREE.

Your bonus question is to explain the morality of a government that allows its elected officials to empower and enrich themselves by fomenting Greed’s ugly and retarded sister, Envy, with notions such as “fairness” that require someone else to provide for you, and the idea that “Sometimes, You’ve just made enough.”

While we’re waiting, in answer to your question:

Yes. End Social Security and Medicare both. Not only did the Federal Government never have the authority to engage in such largesse, but the decades of mismanagement of BOTH programs have conclusively demonstrated that the Federal Government is simply incapable of being trusted to simply use the money it compells from us for the purposes for which it was collected in the first place.

Then follow with massive cuts to the EPA…its jurisdiction should be the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, MCTA, RCRA, and the Model Toxics Control Act ONLY. Strip it of its rule making authority.

Department of Education? Gone. Department of Energy? Gone.

Repeal the 16th Amendment. It has far exceeded the original scope and purpose, and has fed the beast that has engaged in gross usurpation and overreach for more than a century.

Repeal the 17th Amendment. This one amendment has done more to destroy federalism and the separation of powers than any other aspect of the federal government, as it took one of the parties in the federal power sharing arangment right out of the equation, making it much, much easier for the federal government to completely ignore the status of states as co-equal sovereigns with the Federal government, allowing the Feds to usurp state powers and impose unfunded mandates in return.

That would be a start.
 
Bill: BiW, I appreciate your clear statement of what you think needs to be done. What you state goes to the heart, I think, of what separates those who want an extremely small federal government and those who think the federal government can and should play a role in helping certain citizens of this country. If that is what the Republican Party thinks should be done, then I would appreciate the Party so stating instead of simply talking about “cutting spending” without being clear what it truly wants. The reason they don’t do that is that they know most Americans don’t want that and thus so stating these goals is political suicide (as well as the fact that I think no politician, of whatever stripe, ever really wants to cut spending). However, the simple fact is that the majority of Americans don’t want this to happen, so all the GOP in the House is doing now is being confrontational without making any positive suggestions for what can be done to the current situation. So, I pose the question to you: if Social Security and Medicare are not going to end, if the Departments of Education and Energy remain, as well as the 16th and 17th Amendments, then what do you suggest, or will you simply emigrate?
 
Me:  Actually, what “goes to the heart” of what separates those who want LIMITED GOVERNMENT and those who confuse welfare with charity is an understanding that the federal government has a very short list of powers enumated to it, with the rest of those powers being reserved to the states, which are smaller, and far more accountable to those who are most impacted by their policies, or to the people themselves, along with an understanding that the blueprint that has been totally distorted by more than a century of progressive meddling was the product not just of a careful study of the nature and history of government, but of the nature of man, and more importantly, a recognition that governments would be run by men who are by their nature susecptible to corruption by the opportunities that power and the money that follows it afford.

If you want your state to be extraordinarily generous with your wages, if the state constitution permits it, knock yourself out. The Federal government DOES. NOT. HAVE. THAT. AUTHORITY. PERIOD.

I can’t speak for the Republican Party, largely because of the fact that for most of my lifetime it has been a major disappointment to me. Many in it are afflicted with the same brand of incumbentitis as the Dims, and subscribe to the notion of “cutting spending” not because they believe in, or even understand the blueprint, but because those they rely on for votes understand on a visceral level that it is an essential component of what is required to deflate the government back into the confines of its PROPER sphere of influence, even if they do not understand or don’t bother to demand that the next steps also be part of the equation they are being sold at election time.

No, the reason they don’t do that is that they have no interest in relinquishing power than they were never meant to have in the first place, and because too large a portion of the population has had little or no actual instruction in the law and the philosophy that informed the law in the first place, so that they willingly trade their own sovereignty, and the accountablity that comes with it to a government that redistributes the wealth of others (after a not insignificant handling fee is subtracted, of course).

Actually, their current response is to recognize that no matter the perceived goodness of the Left’s intentions, welfare states aren’t free, and you cannot keep borrowing money in order to simply give it away. Well, some of them realize this, anyway. The rest are just as lost as the Dims, and will continue to be enacting new entitlements and “benefits” for their dependents even as the furniture is being reposessed from beneath them.

You aren’t paying attention, which is why it is difficult to take your question seriously. Social Security WILL end. It is going broke, and with current spending being what it is, Uncle Sam will not have the financial wherewithall to “save ” it when that day comes in just a few short years. Medicare was already on that same path BEFORE Obamacare raided it for 60 Billion Dollars it could ill-afford to lose. Most of the bureaucracy will be equally insolvent as montization of the debt results in hyperinflation, and interest payments on the debt exceed discretionary spending, even if the government is unwise enough to attempt confiscatory tax policies.

Now that’s TWO questions of your that I’ve answered. I believe you owe me some answers. Go back, re-read my prior comment, and answer the questions I asked you.
 
Bill: BiW, thanks for your interesting response. Not being a Constitutional lawyer, I cannot say where that document permits Congress the powers it has used, however, the final arbiter of that power, the Supreme Court, has upheld the New Deal and similar spending authority and thus these activities are not therefore unconstitutional. Whether that is “moral” or not, and whether fairness is the basis for government activities is not an easy question to answer. Because government is a creation of an imperfect species, homo sapiens, it is itself imperfect and always will be. Democracy is the least bad system because it entails the most compromise. It appears we both have a dim view of the capabilities of the Democratic and Republican parties to really address these issues. I doubt that either Social Security or Medicare will simply disappear, numerous economists would disagree on that point, and, even if they ran out of money, they would be numerous ways to restructure them to ensure their viability, even if in a different form. And I certainly doubt that the Republicans, if they were to come back into office, would do much to cut back or eliminate these programs (any more than they would eliminate the government giveaways to corporations and other of their supporters, as the Democrats do for unions and their supporters). Given that state of affairs, I tend to concentrate on what MIGHT be doable: a vastly simplified federal tax system, careful reductions to the federal budget (such as military spending, subsidies and tax benefits to large corporations, big agro, oil and gas), simplification of federal regulations, an end to the drug wars (with legalization and regulation of drugs) and so forth.Me: The court was acting under duress. Look up “The Switch In Time That Saved Nine” and FDR’s court packing scheme.

As for the morality that was the basis of our law, I suggest reading Blackstone.

And as far as cutting military spending goes, it is actually one of the Federal Government’s legitimate duties. 
 
Finally, we aren’t a democracy. The much maligned “old white guys” who drafted the blueprint had some very unflattering observations about democracies, which is why they set up a republic, so we could be a nation of laws and not men.

Your mistake isn’t unusual, but it can be corrected. Start with The Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist Papers, and Blackstone’s Commentaries.
 
Bill:  BiW, thank you for reminding me we are a republic. You cite worthy material to re-read, and your points are well taken, however, I don’t see how they help address the current political situation. We have to work with the system we currently have. I suppose one could just oppose everything and just hope the system collapses of its own weight (a tactic I sometimes think the Republicans now follow), but that is highly unpredictable and quite destructive. I would rather discuss what are the actual policies that we should pursue as a nation, rather than debate the “morality” of the past 100 years. That seems to me a more worthwhile, if harder, course to follow.
 
Me:  Or you could discover that many of the problems we have are the result of deviations from the blueprint undertaken by people who claimed to know better.
 
Much like today.
 
Welfare states do not work. The evidence clutters up the 20th century. Math also provides evidence, and nature of man also makes it clear…just watch what is going on with Greece. Keep doing what the Dims are doing here, and you’ll have front row seats here.
 
Bill:  Well, given that you seem to distrust both the Dems and the Reps, doesn’t seem like much can be done. Are there any countries in the world today that you think are doing it right?
 
Me:  Sure there is “much to be done”. It starts with educating people and weening them off of the error of believing that for every “problem”, government has a solution, and then SHOW them every point where government has gotten it wrong, which means dismantling a lot of myths that are taught to them by the “educational” system.

At the same time, you work to elect people who know better at your state and local levels. The change will come last at the Federal level, but it WILL come. Either when the current band of brigands spends themselves into irrelevancy, or if they give free reign to their beast’s rapacious appetites, and they reach a little too far into our pockets and lives and draw back bloody stumps, or we dodge both of those, and the pendulum swings back when the hippies aging badly die out, and their progeny reject their legacy because it has made Americans poorer in spirit and poorer financially for their excesses.And no, no country is doing it right. Canada at least is pursuing reasonably intelligent tax policy at the moment, and is enjoying a measure of economic prosperity because of it, but they are far too wedded to the hallmarks of the welfare state to be as successful and free as they could be. Their immigration policies are also destructive, and over the last thirty years, have largely disproved the “vertical mosaic” theory that they embraced in the 1960s._______________________________________________________________

 Asking  questions without ever listening to the answers.  Assuming that what has never worked before will work now.  Because they are the ones imposing it.  Much like the Obama cheerleaders who discovered with their first paychecks of the new year that they now have some skin in the game too.One complained to me that he could do better with his money than the government could.  I said “Welcome Brother!”

 

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…actually, A LOT of people’s teaching credentials need to be reconsidered, but I’d be happy to start with this guy’s.  Louis Michael Seidman is a …Lord help us…a Constitutional Law professor at Georgetown University.

He wrote this incredibly insipid fap piece for the New York Times in which he predictably laments the archaic nature of the Constitution, and those damn restrictions on the Federal Government.  It is a perfect example of how we screwed up the blueprint, based on the advice of such fine academic minds as Professor Seidman, only to then hear he, and others like him ,then declare what their shortsighted meddling broke to be “Broken”.

AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

No, you idiot.  The culprit is the combination of ivory towers and empty skulls that promoted ideas like the 16th and 17th Amendments that enabled the Federal Government to bloat like a tick engorged on the blood of its host, while removing any state representation in the Federal Government, allowing it to take over all manner of things that it was never granted any authority to address, because it had the financial means to do so, and had effectively subjugated the co-sovereigns in the Federal system.

Consider, for example, the assertion by the Senate minority leader last week that the House could not take up a plan by Senate Democrats to extend tax cuts on households making $250,000 or less because the Constitution requires that revenue measures originate in the lower chamber. Why should anyone care? Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?

Consider, for example, the utter lack of comprehension of the fact by an “expert” that the power of the purse should rest exclusively in the hands of those who have the shortest terms of office, thus to increase their accountability for what they do with it to thems what brung ’em.

Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.

NO, you argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.  I argue about why Madison wanted those things done that way.  It has a lot to do with the fact that the people who argued for and against the document having a much better grasp of human nature, than silly Georgetown Constitutional Law professors.  But then, you’d know that if you actually bothered to read The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers.  They understood that it has always been a tendency of government to gather more and more power onto itself, usually at the expense of the governed.

As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?

As someone who has been studying it for more than 20 years, I am ashamed that a professor of the subject frames his sophistry in such simplistic terms.  First for perpetuating the idea that an elected official in modern times reaches judgment on any course of action that is “best for the country”.  Any practiced observer of the Federal government knows that such an idea would be roundly rejected, and that its proponent would be demonized and vilified at every turn in the feverswamp on the Potomac.  One need only look no farther than “the fiscal cliff” nonsense to see the truth of this, because only in a place largely unfettered from the bounds of reality, like Congress, or the White House, could one seriously subscribe to the notion that you correct a debt created by an obscene spending habit by spending more.  But to then characterize the Constitution and the government  it created as “illegal under existing law” completely disregards the nub of our contention with England, which was the fact that our rights under English law were being subverted by a system of government that did not even pay us the courtesy of token representation and the ostensible ability to dissent, and suggest a different course of action.  It was this recognition that the rights of man were superior than the laws that robbed man of them that made the endeavor a worthy one, because the first duty of government is to punish evil, not to commit it.  It was by no means perfect in its execution, and the men who birthed this new nation and the bylaws that would govern it understood the inconsistency between seeking freedom, while denying it others.  Many of them lamented this compromise, and took it as a great moral failing, even as some of them perpetuated the institution themselves.  But that doesn’t change the fact that it was still a superior system to all that had come before, and carried with it the potential to correct this problem, although I doubt any of them would have properly countenanced the amount of blood that would be shed to do it.  Your silly characterization also does nothing to acknowledge that the government we rebelled against also retained this institution, although not as long as we did, and managed to end it without the horrific bloodshed that accompanied it here.

Constitutional disobedience may seem radical, but it is as old as the Republic. In fact, the Constitution itself was born of constitutional disobedience. When George Washington and the other framers went to Philadelphia in 1787, they were instructed to suggest amendments to the Articles of Confederation, which would have had to be ratified by the legislatures of all 13 states. Instead, in violation of their mandate, they abandoned the Articles, wrote a new Constitution and provided that it would take effect after ratification by only nine states, and by conventions in those states rather than the state legislatures.

And yet, while the approval of the product of that convention (which was always planned by Madison and Hamilton to replace, rather than patch) was not unanimous, it made the weaknesses and flaws of the Articles of Confederation impossible to ignore, which was the point.  The difference here is that while the blueprint has been significantly altered by people who refused to consider the reasons for the parts they have changed, resulting in a many-headed hydra that hurts more than it helps, largely because it exceeds its authority, and these changes have been manifested largely by an amendment process, which should imply even to the dullest of dullards that this same process can be used to rescind these errors.

No sooner was the Constitution in place than our leaders began ignoring it. John Adams supported the Alien and Sedition Acts, which violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech. Thomas Jefferson thought every constitution should expire after a single generation. He believed the most consequential act of his presidency — the purchase of the Louisiana Territory — exceeded his constitutional powers.

And, by use of the processes made available by it, the excesses of the Alien and Sedition Acts were brought to heel…as they should have been.  By contrast, neither Congress, nor the taxpayer brought a legal challenge to his purchase of Louisiana, suggesting that there exists a flexibility to the document that is often complained to be non-existent.  It also illustrates that the Constitution doesn’t enforce itself, and that enforcement is necessary, because if left to its own devices, the men who fill elected offices will overreach and usurp that which has not been granted to them.

Before the Civil War, abolitionists like Wendell Phillips and William Lloyd Garrison conceded that the Constitution protected slavery, but denounced it as a pact with the devil that should be ignored. When Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation — 150 years ago tomorrow — he justified it as a military necessity under his power as commander in chief. Eventually, though, he embraced the freeing of slaves as a central war aim, though nearly everyone conceded that the federal government lacked the constitutional power to disrupt slavery where it already existed. Moreover, when the law finally caught up with the facts on the ground through passage of the 13th Amendment, ratification was achieved in a manner at odds with constitutional requirements. (The Southern states were denied representation in Congress on the theory that they had left the Union, yet their reconstructed legislatures later provided the crucial votes to ratify the amendment.)

Your history isn’t quite right.  Lincoln doubted he had authority to free the slaves, and had campaigned with this admission, but the southern states did not believe him, and it wasn’t until the war had already been underway that he issued the Emancipation Proclamation.  Lincoln was guilty of other ultra vires activities during the war with relation to the Constitution, including suspending habeas corpus as it applied to certain members of the press, who successfully argued their cases to the Supreme Court, only to reveal that sometimes being correct doesn’t matter.

In his Constitution Day speech in 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt professed devotion to the document, but as a statement of aspirations rather than obligations. This reading no doubt contributed to his willingness to extend federal power beyond anything the framers imagined, and to threaten the Supreme Court when it stood in the way of his New Deal legislation. In 1954, when the court decided Brown v. Board of Education, Justice Robert H. Jackson said he was voting for it as a moral and political necessity although he thought it had no basis in the Constitution. The list goes on and on.

And yet, your answer to usurpation and the overreach of government is to simply abolish what limitations currently exist.  Truely, the mind boggles.

The fact that dissenting justices regularly, publicly and vociferously assert that their colleagues have ignored the Constitution — in landmark cases from Miranda v. Arizona to Roe v. Wade to Romer v. Evans to Bush v. Gore — should give us pause. The two main rival interpretive methods, “originalism” (divining the framers’ intent) and “living constitutionalism” (reinterpreting the text in light of modern demands), cannot be reconciled. Some decisions have been grounded in one school of thought, and some in the other. Whichever your philosophy, many of the results — by definition — must be wrong.

Agreed.  Those decisions would be those rooted in the sophistry of “a Living Constitution”, which is really just bullshitese for “We’re going to pretend that it allows us to do this because we wanna do it.”

IN the face of this long history of disobedience, it is hard to take seriously the claim by the Constitution’s defenders that we would be reduced to a Hobbesian state of nature if we asserted our freedom from this ancient text. Our sometimes flagrant disregard of the Constitution has not produced chaos or totalitarianism; on the contrary, it has helped us to grow and prosper.

No, and much of the hinderance on growth and prosperity can be linked directly to government’s flagrant disregard for the limitations that the Constitution places upon it.  Growth and prosperity have occurred not because of government disregarding the Constitution, but in spite of it.  Ask any small business owner who has lost countless hours to the compilation and production of reams of information that government has no business requiring of them.  Ask any farmer who can’t irrigate crops because it would be deemed a threat to a species of fish that no one has ever heard of, or loggers idled because of spotted owls, or businesses that never came into existence and individual consumers who spend too much of their income on basic energy needs because a governmental agency has determined that a naturally occurring gas which is also a byproduct of coal power is a pollutant.  You may suffer brownouts because the EPA wants to regulate coal power out of business due to the production of co2, but has no interest in regulating an iota of co2 produced in Congress.

This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution.

So you’re against the HHS mandate as it applies to businesses owned by the deeply religious, or the Catholic Church, and are against abortion, too?

 We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.

Apparently, I spoke too soon, if you seem to think that we do so now.

Nor should we have a debate about, for instance, how long the president’s term should last or whether Congress should consist of two houses. Some matters are better left settled, even if not in exactly the way we favor.

Fascinating.  I wonder what criteria you use to determine what “decided matters” really are decided without the benefit of a written Constitution setting forth what is decided.

Nor, finally, should we have an all-powerful president free to do whatever he wants.

Who is going to break the news to the current occupant of the Oval Office?  You know, the one that thinks that Executive Orders are an acceptable alternative to an uncooperative Congress?

 Even without constitutional fealty, the president would still be checked by Congress and by the states.

Your naivite’ is astonishing.  This President continually demonstrates that the only time he considers Congress or the states worthy of consideration is when they are in accord with him.  SB 1070 and his declaring Congress to be in recess when it was not so he could appoint who he pleased to federal positions without their intereference consent is all the proof you need.

There is even something to be said for an elite body like the Supreme Court with the power to impose its views of political morality on the country.

Yes.  What is to be said is that to have 9 unelected lifetime appointees imposing anything is tyranny, and contradicts the very nature of a republic.

What would change is not the existence of these institutions, but the basis on which they claim legitimacy.

Certainly.  Because unfettered democracies never devolve into mobocracies, tyrannies, or monarchies.  Those idiots Jay, Hamilton, and Madison (all of whom were obviously better educated than you) had no idea what they were talking about.

The president would have to justify military action against Iran solely on the merits, without shutting down the debate with a claim of unchallengeable constitutional power as commander in chief.

Or we could have a Congress that exercises its lawful authority and call his bluff by cutting of all funding for such operations. But then, that requires greater intestinal fortitude than the current crop in Congress has proven itself capable of.

Congress might well retain the power of the purse, but this power would have to be defended on contemporary policy grounds, not abstruse constitutional doctrine.

If such grounds are deemed abtruse, I submit that it is only because “educators” such as yourself have such poor command of the subject material that you are incapable of rendering such things easily understandable.

The Supreme Court could stop pretending that its decisions protecting same-sex intimacy or limiting affirmative action were rooted in constitutional text.

I’m all for that, but we could get there by actually demanding intellectual honesty from the Nine, including a professional accountability with professional lawyers. By that I mean lawyers who actually practice law, instead of the pretend ones who teach it when they can avoid getting their personal agendas in the way first.

The deep-seated fear that such disobedience would unravel our social fabric is mere superstition. As we have seen, the country has successfully survived numerous examples of constitutional infidelity. And as we see now, the failure of the Congress and the White House to agree has already destabilized the country. Countries like Britain and New Zealand have systems of parliamentary supremacy and no written constitution, but are held together by longstanding traditions, accepted modes of procedure and engaged citizens. We, too, could draw on these resources.

Except that they don’t. Britain continues to trample on its longstanding traditions. Its banning of firearms is a perfect example, as it is directly contrary to what was a longstanding tradition that was essentially codified and described in his Commentaries. I could continue, but the truth is, I’m certain I would just be met with the blank stare that you are undoubtedly giving me now.

What has preserved our political stability is not a poetic piece of parchment, but entrenched institutions and habits of thought and, most important, the sense that we are one nation and must work out our differences.

Wrong. Our political stability is a direct result of the predictability that results from everyone knowing what the rules are, rather than continually making it up as we go along.

No one can predict in detail what our system of government would look like if we freed ourselves from the shackles of constitutional obligation, and I harbor no illusions that any of this will happen soon. But even if we can’t kick our constitutional-law addiction, we can soften the habit.

Actually, I have a pretty good idea of what it would look like, especially since we have such a large percentage of the population accustomed to the idea that it is the role of the government to steal from others on their behalf. As for “softening our Constitutional-law addiction”, that is already happening. We already have “experts” who, instead of Barbie saying “Math is hard”, declare ” The Constitution is outdated. The language is archaic and hard to read, and it was written by old white one percenters who didn’t want to pay their taxes and owned slaves n’ stuff.”

If we acknowledged what should be obvious — that much constitutional language is broad enough to encompass an almost infinitely wide range of positions — we might have a very different attitude about the obligation to obey.

Except that this just isn’t true, and you’d know this if you read The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers. It is only ambiguous or broad if you never bothered to learn what these gentlemen were so kind enough to put into print for posterity. Let me guess…it’s hard n’ stuff, and American Idol was on, right?

It would become apparent that people who disagree with us about the Constitution are not violating a sacred text or our core commitments.

Nonsense. While slavery was a difficult compromise, the only other thing I can point to as an error was the inclusion of “general welfare”, the nature of which they were specifically warned of by “Brutus”, but frankly given the nature of that exchange, the error was in Madison and Hamilton giving this generation and the last too much credit for an intellectual prowess that too many of us have been too lazy to hone.

Instead, we are all invoking a common vocabulary to express aspirations that, at the broadest level, everyone can embrace. Of course, that does not mean that people agree at the ground level. If we are not to abandon constitutionalism entirely, then we might at least understand it as a place for discussion, a demand that we make a good-faith effort to understand the views of others, rather than as a tool to force others to give up their moral and political judgments.

The problem with this line of thinking is that Justice Rehnquist has already explained the errors that are rife in it.

If even this change is impossible, perhaps the dream of a country ruled by “We the people” is impossibly utopian. If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate. But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.

40 years of studying the Constitution, and you haven’t yet grasped that the Constitution doesn’t constrain us, it limits government, which is a good thing.

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