Date ►►► August 31, 2010
Were-Liberals of Alaska
I've had a hypothesis for many years. Most libertarians are actually were-liberals: Every two years come November, they lurch to the left in the voting booth.
2010 is clearly no exception... for the Libertarian nominee in the Alaska U.S. Senate race, David Haase, has offered to "step down" and allow Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK, 68%) to take his place on the ballot as the "Libertarian" candidate -- if she will verbally embrace his plan to abolish the income tax and a couple of other things, which Haase dubs, with no hint that he understands the irony, the "People's Bailout":
Although Libertarian Party officials were dismissing the idea, Senate nominee David Haase said Monday that he would give Mrs. Murkowski his line on the ballot if the Republican senator would hoist his banner on behalf of nationalizing the Federal Reserve System, paying off the entire national debt with non-interest-bearing notes and abolishing the individual income tax.
"Would I step down for her? The right question is, first, will she take up my 'People's Bailout'?" Mr. Haase said, referring to a policy paper he has been circulating on how "to return to the banking system our Founders gave us."
"If she came out for my 'Peoples Bailout' plan, it would influence me a lot because the mission is more important than becoming a U.S. senator," he added.
I'm sure it is; but his comments beg the question, what exactly is the mission?
- First, there is virtually no possibility that Murkowski could possibly be elected running as a Libertarian in a race with both a Democrat and a Republican; she would come in a distant and humiliating third.
- Second, Haase must know that even if Murkowski mouthed the words, and even were she elected, she would never seriously push such a plan; she is not now and never has been a radical anti-income-taxer.
- Too, even if she did, there is no possibility it would pass either House or Senate.
- Fourth, even if it did pass by some deus ex machina, we would end up with a grotesque value-added tax (VAT) and a national sales tax... yet we would still have the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: You just can't get two-thirds of each chamber of Congress plus thirty-eight states to ratify a repeal of the amendment that allows an income tax. All of which means that in a couple of years time, we would have a VAT, a national sales tax, plus a brand new income tax as well!
Since I doubt that David "Schleppenwolf" Haase is an utter fool, he knows that getting Lisa Murkowski to "come out" for his "People's Bailout" would do nothing at all to implement it. Ergo, he has an ulterior motive, which I believe is threefold; in order of urgency:
- Gaining notoriety for himself;
- Positioning the Libertarian Party to receive a big batch of fundraising;
- Splitting the Republican vote between Murkowski and "Average" Joe Miller, thus ensuring that Democratic nominee Scott McAdams wins the election.
When it comes down to it, most libertarians (and probably nearly all capital-L Libertarians) only pay lip service to free markets; in reality, they tend to be moochers who never grow up, live with their parents until they become fifty year old "orphans," and never really get past the "oral stage" of psychological development; they smoke too much tea and eat themselves into planetoid obesity.
They are really not libertarians at all; they are libertines. Their signature issue is far more likely to be legalizing marijuana than allowing us to succeed or fail by our own efforts (i.e., liberty). In fact, when the parental units finally kick the b., many self-described libertarians find a way to live on welfare! They substitute the Invisible Teat of Big Government for the nipple they never really let out of their mouths while Mommy still lived.
In the last election, vast numbers of these "libertinarians" voted for Barack H. Obama -- then concocted some Rube-Goldbergian verbal machination to explain why Obama was the most "free market" candidate running.
There are of course mature, adult libertarians worthy of the name -- think William F. Buckley, jr. or Milton and Rose Friedman -- who make their own way, support themselves and their families, interact in a mature way with real markets, and are less interested in oral fixations like dope smoking than they are in actual liberty issues. However, adult libertarians tend to vote Republican these days.
But back to the Final Frontier, the pending election of a Tea Partier as United States senator from Alaska.
Mind, this is the same election to which the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent its chief counsel, Sean Cairncross, to counsel Lisa Murkowski how to discover or manufacture sufficient votes in the absentee ballots to reverse her primary loss -- presumably by challenging as many Miller votes as possible, especially those from members of the military. Now the putative "Libertarian" candidate schemes to nullify the Republican vote by cleaving it in twain, hoping to install the minority Democrat in that seat. Democrats and establishment Republicans have merged, and their joint rebel yell is, "Anybody but 'Average' Joe Miller!"
- Miller will win the Republican nomination.
- Murkowski will not run as the Libertarian, nor the Independent (à la Charlie Crist in Florida), nor the write-in joke candidate.
- Scott McAdams will remain the Democratic nominee.
- Joe Miller will win the general election by at least ten points.
Remember Hugh Hewitt's aphorism: "If it's not close, they can't cheat." The Miller-Murkowski battle is close, but not close enough. And the subsequent general election won't even be close enough to tempt.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Date ►►► August 30, 2010
Hell Gets Mildly Slushy
Hades didn't exactly freeze over; but in addition to the permafrost at the ninth circle, the rest of the infernal realm has become sort of Margarita-like (or Slurpee-like, for teetotalers -- subglobal winter?) For an independent review panel, the "InterAcademy Council," which is associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has actually suggested that future IPCC reports should be (a) more transparent about their own conflicts of interest and how they may drive the IPCC's alarmist conclusions, and -- wait for it -- (b) more open to alternative points of view:
The scientists involved in producing the periodic United Nations reports on climate change need to be more open to alternative views and more transparent about their own possible conflicts of interest, an independent review panel said Monday.
Those were among numerous recommendations made by the panel appointed last March to assess how a few glaring errors -- including a prediction that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 -- made it into the last such United Nations report, released in 2007.
The revelations about the errors contributed to the already highly charged debate about the science of climate change and gave added ammunition to critics doubting assessments that the earth is warming. Coming on the heels of the unauthorized release of e-mails written by some of the leading climate change researchers, which led critics to claim they were manipulating data, the mistakes contributed to what surveys showed were an erosion in public confidence in the science of climate change.
Be still my fluttering heart. (Well, not too still.)
It's a good beginning, but still only a beginning; we'll see whether the empire-builders at IPCC seize upon this report as their opportunity to hoist the entire project back onto the rails of scientific reason -- or their challenge to flam-flam their way to a mere pretence of reform, like the politicians they are.
In any event, it's remarkable that the InterAcademy Council even feels compelled to pay lip service to "alternative views" and the IPCC scientists' "own possible conflicts of interest," and perhaps even more remarkable that the New York Times, of all media venues, feels compelled to report it. The Times, they are indeed a changin'.
Date ►►► August 27, 2010
What's in Your Wallet... That Won't Be There Tomorrow?
The Republican leadership still can't absorb the new reality of the popular front for Capitalism and against statism; surprise, surprise on the Jungle Riverboat Cruise tonight. They're running away from the vital spending cuts offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI, 96%), afraid to embrace them -- unwilling to debate them. Once again, the people must lead their putative "leaders":
Rep. Paul D. Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" - which proposes major changes to taxes, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - has attracted support from some of the GOP's most conservative members, but top leaders have kept their distance....
The plan has attracted just 13 co-sponsors in the House, and a handful of candidates running for the House and Senate have also embraced it. But no congressional Republican leader has signed on, drawing a rebuke from former Rep. Dick Armey, an architect of Republicans' 1994 electoral success.
"The fact that he only has 13 co-sponsors is a big reason why our folks are agitated against the Republicans as well as the Democrats," he said Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press." "The difference between being a co-sponsor with Ryan or not is a thing called courage."
For those of you saying "roadmap... huh?" -- here's a pointer. The Roadmap for America's Future, developed by Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, is a fully integrated plan for eliminating debt and sustaining economic growth via spending cuts and transferring some government and employer benefits to individual ownership. Here are the major planks; descriptions come straight from the website, where there is of course more detail:
- Health care - The plan ensures universal access to affordable health insurance by restructuring the tax code, allowing all Americans to secure affordable health plans that best suit their needs, and shifting the ownership of health coverage away from the government and employers to individuals.
Medicare/Medicaid - The Roadmap preserves the existing Medicare program for those currently enrolled or becoming eligible in the next 10 years (those 55 and older today); [f]or those currently under 55 -- as they become Medicare-eligible -- it creates a Medicare payment, initially averaging $11,000, to be used to purchase a Medicare certified plan....
The proposal also fully funds Medical Savings Accounts [MSAs] for low-income beneficiaries, while continuing to allow all beneficiaries, regardless of income, to set up tax-free MSAs.
Social Security - Preserves the existing Social Security program for those 55 or older.
Offers workers under 55 the option of investing over one third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, similar to the Thrift Savings Plan available to Federal employees. Includes a property right so they can pass on these assets to their heirs, and a guarantee that individuals will not lose a dollar they contribute to their accounts, even after inflation.
Makes the program permanently solvent -- according to the Congressional Budget Office [CBO] -- by combining a more realistic measure of growth in Social Security’s initial benefits, with an eventual modernization of the retirement age.
Tax reform - Provides individual income tax payers a choice of how to pay their taxes -- through existing law, or through a highly simplified code that fits on a postcard with just two rates and virtually no special tax deductions, credits, or exclusions (except the health care tax credit).
Simplifies tax rates to 10 percent on income up to $100,000 for joint filers, and $50,000 for single filers; and 25 percent on taxable income above these amounts. Also includes a generous standard deduction and personal exemption (totaling $39,000 for a family of four).
Eliminates the alternative minimum tax [AMT].
Promotes saving by eliminating taxes on interest, capital gains, and dividends; also eliminates the death tax.
Replaces the corporate income tax -- currently the second highest in the industrialized world -- with a border-adjustable business consumption tax of 8.5 percent. This new rate is roughly half that of the rest of the industrialized world.
There are some other elements, but that is the gist.
The Roadmap doesn't just nibble around the edges of the federal budget; it sets its sites squarely on the real spending blockbusters, the so-called "entitlement" programs that comprise, all by themselves, about 40% of the budget -- and are responsible for many tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded liability. Every economist agrees that without somehow reforming entitlement programs, they will continue to grow out of control until they gobble up the entire federal budget, and sooner than most of us realize.
So naturally, you can see why Republican "leaders" seemngly have no interest in signing aboard the Roadmap for America's Future; heaven forbid they should actually take a stand, one way or the other, on the biggest economic calamity facing the United States today. I think Dick Armey has it pegged: "The fact that [Ryan] only has 13 co-sponsors is a big reason why our folks are agitated against the Republicans as well as the Democrats."
Among those afraid to embrace, but unwilling to debate are House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH, 96%) -- the man who would be Squeaker -- and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY, 96%), the man who would be president (in a sow's ear).
Just two more "profiles in cowardice." Time to light a spur under the pair of them, and the rest of the established Republican establishment. The goal should not be merely to "get more Republicans" into Congress; it should be to get more Capitalists, anti-statists, and defenders of individual liberty.
Most will surely be Republican, as the Democratic Party has been consumed and digested by its most radical wing; but sometimes, a lukewarm Republican is worse than a Democrat... if he's so "moderate" that he can cross the aisle and start caucusing with the Democrats at the drop of a primary challenge, a la Charlie Crist in Florida or the execrable Arlen Specter (
R D-PA, 75%).
Miller vs. Murkowski: What If...?
"Average" Joe Miller currently leads incumbent and establishment candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK, 68%) in the Alaska Republican senatorial primary by 1,668 votes. Given the approximately 7,600 absentee ballots still pending -- they will be counted Tuesday -- Murkowski would have to win about 61% of them in order to prevail. (Full disclosure: While we have no money riding on this race, we both support Miller over Murkowski.)
Now she has lawyered up before the absentee count; she wants to make sure that she, not Miller, prevails in the absentee count, no matter what it takes... even if that means a recount and perhaps a lawsuit.
And guess who her attorney happens to be? The National Republican Senatorial Committee has sent Murkowski its chief counsel.
Republican officials confirmed Thursday that Sean Cairncross, the chief counsel for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is traveling to Alaska to help Murkowski prepare for the absentee-ballot count on Aug. 31.
(Not that they're taking sides, or anything.)
This is what worries me: Suppose Murkowski prevails by a whisker after an ugly series of challenges of absentee ballots cast for Miller by military personnel, or following a "recount" (or covert revote), or after suing her way onto the ballot. If that is how this primary ends, then Murkowski will almost certainly lose the general election to Democrat Scott McAdams, Mayor of Sitka... because virtually none of Miller's voters would vote for Murkowski if she were perceived to have stolen the nomination.
So by trying to wrest the nomination away from Miller, who appears likely to have won it honestly, the GOP establishment could turn a near certain Republican hold into a Democratic pickup. But why are they doing this? What is so important about handing a primary victory, honest or dis-, to the Murkowski dynasty?
I can't shake the thought that it's not so much that the Republican establishment dearly loves Murkowski, a lame excuse for a Republican; her 68% rating from the American Conservative Union ties with Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) for third worst among Senate Republicans; only the Maine Twins, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, score worse -- 48% for each. Joe Miller is much closer to the GOP mainstream, especially among voters, but even within the Senate itself.
Nor can the NRSC seriously believe that Murkowski will hold the seat but Miller would not. If Miller can surge to beat Murkowski in the primary, where 92,000 votes were cast (47,000 for Miller), then why wouldn't he go on to beat McAdams, who received only 15,000 votes in a Democratic primary in which only 30,000 total votes were cast, a third of the Republican count?
Alas, I think the NRSC intervened for a much uglier reason: They're desperate to stop Sarah Palin scoring a "victory" as kingmaker.
I cannot think of any other motivation powerful enough to prompt a late entry on the part of the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- on behalf of the currently losing Republican candidate. The move is inexplicable to me, other than the mean-spirited, low, underhanded explanation that they're trying to cripple Palin's popularity and respect, perhaps to prevent a future run for the presidency, and even at the cost of losing a Senate seat in Alaska.
What a sad commentary; the Republican establishment is fighting against Palin, against the Tea Partiers, against reform, and in favor of corruption, nepotism, and business as usual. And our next post may show the GOP in an even more pathetic and cowardly light... fighting against the popular front for Capitalism itself.
But one last point. Though the empire strikes back, that is not cause for us to abandon the Republican Party; there is no alternative. The idea that tea parties will take the place of the Republican National Committee is sheer fantasy, and third parties do nothing but divide and allow themselves to be conquered.
Rather, the spineless writhing of the GOP establishment is cause for "we the people" to recapture the party itself, to transform it from what it is now (yecch) into what it ought to be tomorrow. And the best way to begin is to continue to support common sense Capitalism and the resurgence of American liberty against the statist government class.
Date ►►► August 26, 2010
Ladies and Germs, Meet the Next President of the United States...
...Unless the 2012 Republican presidential primary turns into a brawl between this guy and David Petraeus, in which case all bets are off:
In terms of ability to communicate, Gov. Christopher J. Christie of New Jersey is George W. Bush's antiparticle.
This is what we need: a strong conservative with a capitalist ideology, tons of street smarts, and the missing link from the previous president -- the ability to talk directly to the American people, explain what he's doing and why, and persuade them to follow the cause.
If Christie wins the primary and gets set to run against Barack H. Obama in the general election, I believe the Obamacle will abruptly realize that the presidency is too small a job for a demigod like him; he will exit the race in order to become the first post-American, "citoyen du monde" elected Secretary General of the United Nations.
Then Christie will crush L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (and not just by sitting on him) to become the 45th President of the United States.
Pyrrhic Evictory - the World Nods to the Lizards
We published a post titled "Pyrrhic Evictory" a couple of weeks ago, just a week after Judge "Dredd" Walker issued his August 4th ruling -- a date which will live in infamy -- that the traditional definition of marriage is and always has been unconstitutional. Walker's ruling would have come as a great shock to the authors of the Constitution; if the original Federalists were alive today, they'd be spinning in their graves.
In that post, I suggested that one of the most immediate serendipitous fallouts of the ruling would be in the race for California's governor, between the former eBay CEO Meg Whitman in the Republican corner, and the former worst governor in California history, Democrat Jerry Brown. (Actually, I believe he still defends the title.) Why this race in particular? Because Jerry Brown, now the Attorney General of California, flatly refused to defend the voter-enacted, state constitutional amendment Proposition 8 in court. Working in concert with "Republican" Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brown hoped that by the pair's refusal to defend the law, it would be swiftly overturned in federal district court by default judgment.
But Judge Dredd had other plans: He intended to hold a show trial to humiliate opponents of same-sex marriage (SSM), and no two elected pantywaists were going to thwart him! Accordingly, Walker allowed standing as defendants for a group called ProtectMarriage.com, the group that brought Proposition 8 to the ballot and got it enacted.
However, directly the show trial ended, Walker announced that in his august (and August) opinion, ProtectMarriage.com inexplicably lost the standing Walker himself had granted them, presumably on grounds that they're nothing but a bunch of bigots and homophobes... as proven by the fact that they dared defend Proposition 8. Consequently, Judge Walker has essentially ordered the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court not to accept any appeal of or writ of certiorari anent his Prop 8 decision... now that the urgent task of making a statement in favor of SSM is already accomplished.
This brings us, by a commodious vicus of recirculation, back to my prediction. In case you've forgotten in all the excitement, I predicted a fortnight ago that the ruling would terribly damage Jerry Brown's re-gubernatorial campaign, since he was one of those who said the people should not be represented in a case about -- the constitutionality of an amendment enacted by the people.
Today, the first post-Dreddnought Rasmussen poll was released... and Meg Whitman has leapt from -2 against Brown the day before the ruling -- to +8 today. That's a 10-point surge for the next governor of the Golden State.
Now some of that is simply that Brown's aggressively slanderous campaign against her had pretty much ended (except on Power Line <g>). The charges were not merely false but ludicrously so, and voters wised up fairly quickly. But since then, Whitman has come out foursquare in favor of Proposition 8, stating that when she is governor, she will defend it vigorously. I cannot but attribute at least some significant portion of her remarkable climb to the epic battle to defend Proposition 8 and traditional marriage.
Even many voters who opposed Prop 8 and support SSM are nevertheless beside themselves with outrage at the way the federal judiciary simply swatted aside a huge, statewide vote of 13.5 million citizens -- with the active connivance of our liberal Democratic state Attorney General and "Republican" governor. Patterico, of P's P, is one of them; he supports SSM and voted against Prop 8... but he accepts the finality of the vote, at least until a later vote might overturn it. (At which point, I would sadly accept the finality of that vote, and would fight to defend it against judicial tyranny.)
Patterico represents many tens of thousands of citizens, here and in every other state. Outraged Californios are already taking out their frustrations on Jerry Brown, and I predict a lot more will pile on by November 2nd. (Schwarzenegger is term-limited out, which is why Brown and Whitman are tussling over his soon to be former office.)
Even for supporters of SSM, the Prop 8 shenanigans perfectly mirror the genesis of what we have been calling the popular front for Capitalism and against government expansion: When the people vote, then berobed overlords unvote our vote with no better reason than their "superior, enlightened" vision -- then the proper response is first to chuck out all the bums who support those judges; and then, with a friendlier Congress, to impeach the kritarchs and kick out the JAMs. Via Rasmussen (and very soon other pollsters), the world is visibly catching up to our Big Lizards prediction. As Browning put it:
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven --
All's right with the world!
No more playing defense with those who would sell out our liberty for their power. Starting today, let us prey.
Why Political Sex Scandals Matter
There hasn't been a political sex scandal in a while, which means that people aren't hypocritically changing their opinions based on which party the cheating politician belongs to. So now's a good time to discuss them.
A lot of people dismiss these scandals by saying, "That's between him and his wife." But I think that viewpoint is crazy, and we absolutely should care when a politician cheats.
The most important quality that we want in elected officials is for them to be trustworthy. We need to have people in office who will put their constituents' interests above their own. We can't watch over their shoulders every second. Anyone capable of getting himself elected will generally be better at hiding his crimes than we are at discovering them. (The exceptions are the scandals we know about. But obviously there are far more incidents that should have been scandals, except the corrupt politicians successfully kept them hidden.)
For a government official, trustworthiness is much more important than intelligence, competence, ability to communicate, or any other quality. If a politician is incredibly skilled but untrustworthy, he'll only be better at screwing us over for his own gain. That's the exact opposite of what we want.
Ordinarily, it's difficult to assess someone's trustworthiness. A successful politician will be very skilled at making people think they can trust him, whether or not that's the truth. Since we can't distinguish between candidates on the most important quality, we fall back on secondary issues - usually whether they claim they'll do stuff we agree with. Lacking better information, we simply have to hope this sub-optimal method of picking who to vote for works out for the best.
But occasionally we do get better information. When a politician cheats on his wife, he is demonstrating that he finds his own personal pleasure to be more important than the promises he made to and happiness of someone he ostensibly loves and sees every day. Once he's shown himself to be that kind of person, why would you think he would act in a trustworthy manner toward millions of people he's never even met?
Would you hire a pickpocket to manage your bank? Would you hire a tax-cheat to oversee the Treasury Department? (Oh, wait...) So why would you hire someone who lies to his wife to tell you the truth?
And this is true whether the cheater is a Democrat or Republican.
By contrast, it doesn't matter when an athlete or actor has an affair. Tiger Woods' job is to whack a ball into a hole with a stick. Nothing about his job requires us to trust him. (There are too many witnesses and cameras for him to have an opportunity to cheat at golf.) And since an actor's job is to pretend to be someone he's not, you could make the case that an ability to fool his wife demonstrates just how talented an actor he is.
So when you're talking about people outside of the government, I would agree that any extra-marital affairs are none of our business. But with government officials, basic common sense dictates that once they've demonstrated that they can't be trusted, we shouldn't trust them.
Also, I should clarify that I'm only talking about when a politician cheats on his or her spouse. I don't care and don't think anyone else should care if it turns out a politician posed for racy pictures, or went to a sex club, or (for an unmarried politician) is "outed" as gay or promiscuous. Those are not issues of trust, and they have nothing to do with how their pepetrators would govern.
Date ►►► August 25, 2010
Murkowski Miller Prediction: It's Miller Time!
I'm looking at the unofficial results of the Alaska election, in particular at the Republican senatorial primary, pitting establishment candidate and incrumbent Lisa Murkowski (R-AK, 68%) against the Sarah-Palin backed Tea Partier, "Average" Joe Miller.
Full disclosure: Of course I support Miller; I think the whole Murkowski family is of suspect ethics, and I despise the way Lisa Murkowski got her seat... Her dad, the former senator, was elected governor of Alaska -- so he appointed his daughter to fill the remainder of his term. Can the Murkowski clan spell nepotism?
Anyway, as of this moment, the vote count stands thus:
- Joe Miller - 46,620
- Lisa Murkowsi - 45,128
Differential: Miller is ahead by 1,492 (what a curious number...)
99.54% of the precincts have reported, and I understand about 7,500 absentee ballots remain to be counted. Thus, as a rough guess, the incumbent would have to win the absentees by about 4,500 to 3,000. In other words, Murkowski must win 60% of the absentees to claim victory in the primary.
Since she lost the poll race by more than a point and a half, and since I haven't seen any evidence that the absentees are breaking so much more strongly for Murkowski than those who voted at the polls, I conclude that the most likely outcome is that Joe Miller wins the primary and becomes the Republican nominee.
My guess is also that in this year, in this state, it's going to be awfully difficult for Democrat Scott McAdams, who only got about 15,000 votes in his primary to win it, to overcome Joe Miller in the general election. (For reference, the entire leftist field, Democras plus a Libertarian, got about 30,000 votes, versus 90,000 for the Republican field.)
So things are looking pretty good in the Last Frontier (Alaska's rather egotistical state nickname).
Point of Personal Privilege - I Need Help on a Word Macro
I have a manuscript file that was typeset for some ancient version of Ventura Publisher, I think, and I need to convert it to Microsoft Word 2003 (or 2007 of 2010).
I've managed to convert all the silly, custom VP formatting into ordinary Word formatting, all except for one class of transformations: I must somehow convert VP italics to Word underlines.
Through a brilliant series of global search and replaces, I managed to turn all the italics formatting into constructs that look like this: (em)phrase to be underlined(/em), or on some occasions, (em)phrase to be underlined, followed by the end-of-paragraph marker. But I need somehow to turn them into actual Word formatting that looks like this: phrase to be underlined... that is, actually underlined in Word.
Thinking about it as best I can, it seems I need a macro that does something like the following:
- Search for the opening italics code, (em).
- Turn on "select".
- Search for the closing code, (/em), or else for the end of the paragraph.
- Close selection, leaving the phrase selected.
- Format the selection with the underline character format.
Later on, I can delete all the (by then redundant) ems and /ems, and all's well in the world.
Alas, however, I have no idea how to construct such a macro! The part I'm missing is how to turn on and then off the selection, leaving the phrase sandwiched between actually selected; and then how to format the characters of that particular selection: If I just searched for the (em), then searched for the (/em), the insert bar would just move to the latter, and nothing would be selected.
Can any reader-genius out there help me? It's rather important that I convert this file, and there are way too many italicized phrases to do by hand. You can respond either via comments, or else by the semi-secret, semi-sweet blog e-mail address, which you can find in the right-hand column in a cool box.
Date ►►► August 23, 2010
An Excellent Mystery
We have a very curious coincidence this year -- or else a parable that should forever alter our approach to elections. But which could it be? According to political analysts on both left and right, it's a mystery!
We start with a little recent history:
- In 2006, Democrats took back the Senate and House, riding the unpopularity of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (both going badly) and some economic discontent, to which the GOP responded by not really responding.
In 2008, Democrats crushed the GOP, this time primarily due to what turned out to be a very wide and deep recession, which (as is oft the case) voters blamed more on President George W. Bush than on Senate Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 95%) or Squeaker of the House Nancy "San Fran Nan" Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 100%).
[Note that Pelosi's 100% liberal record does not count the times she voted against the ADA due to "Speaker's privilege," a parliamentary maneuver to allow her to bring up failed legislation again at a later time.]
Note that in both cases, religious and social issues such as abortion, embryonic stem cells, voluntary school prayer, immigration, and racial preferences would tend to favor Republicans; yet both times, those issues were overwhelmed by the bedrock concerns of national defense and the economy.
Today, we stand on the brink of a revolutionary election that could undo much of the gains the Democrats made in the last two elections. Every pollster, politician, and political prognosticator agrees that the Republicans are going to surge forward, will very likely recapture the House, and could possibly also capture the Senate (which I would have rejected as wish-fulfillment fantasy just three months ago). The Democrats are in disarray, their electoral prospects plummeting so quickly one can hardly keep up with the news.
What is so different this time from 2006 andf 2008? The biggest difference appears to be that this time, the GOP is focused like a Marine Corps sniper on the bedrock concern of national security -- specifically, the inability of the administration of Barack H. Obama and of the Democratic supermajorities in House and Senate to come to grips with the War Against Radical Islamism -- and especially upon the bedrock concern of the failing economy and the Democrats' "response" of tax, tax, tax and spend, spend, spend, spend, spend (more spending than taxing).
Let's try this again: When Republicans focused on religious issues, social issues, and intangibles like "competence," energy, and so forth, they very badly lost two elections in a row; in both cases, Democrats pounded on military and economic failures of Republicans. But now that the GOP has shifted focus to national security -- they forced Obama to accept George W. Bush's great general, David Petraeus, and his counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan -- and to reviving Capitalism in America, for which they actually have specific plans -- e.g., permanizing the Bush tax cuts, slashing government, and the free-market recovery plan of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI, 96% -- Republicans are surging ahead of their "Progressive" rivals.
By a remarkable "coincidence," what I call a popular front for Capitalism and against Progressivism has swept the nation, in the form of Tea Party rallies and suchlike.
Could this be no coincidence? Might voters really prefer the free market to five-year plans? That we prefer aggressive defense of American national security over diplomacy, negotiation, and appeasement? I suggest we at least consider this as a possibility.
Could we have mitigated the ill effects of the the 2008 election by refocusing on national security and the economy? Think back to the election of 1982, when, as in 2008, Republicans faced an election during a serious recession; and as in 2008, they were in the minority in the House of Representatives. (Though Republicans had a reasonably solid lead in the Senate, conservatives did not; a great many Republicans were quite liberal, à la Lowell Weicker of Connecticut.) Worse, the Republican standard-bearer, President Ronald Reagan, was not on the ballot, as 1982 was a midterm election; by contrast, Republicans in 2008 had the opportunity to nominate a nationally recognized fiscal conservative as president.
Yet in 1982, Republicans lost only 27 seats in the House, a normal midterm correction. While the GOP lost only 21 House seats in 2008, six fewer than in 1982, that was not a midterm, so there was no "normal correction" expected; it was just a straight-up contest, and the GOP was thumped.
Too, I believe even many of those 1982 losses were due more to redistricting in Democratic states than in voters switching allegiance; were it not for redistricting, the House losses might actually have been lighter than usual -- even during a recession.
And in the Senate, Republicans lost no seats whatsoever in 1982, despite the recession. In 2008, Republicans lost eight Senate seats, as well as the presidency -- completing the shellacking.
Why? What was different between 1982 and 2008? In the former, Ronald Reagan and the minority Republicans not only emphasized jobs and growing the economy, they actually had a Capitalist plan -- courtesy of Reagan -- for doing just that: Cut taxes, shrink the government, lower interest rates, and unshackle American business from senseless and crippling government regulation.
In addition, Republicans had a president who favored taking the Cold-War fight to the enemy, the "evil empire" of the Soviet Union, rather than conceding issue after issue in a futile attempt to appease the Bear and the Dragon. Reagan dared to demand, not mere survival, but actual victory.
I strongly suggest that the GOP did all right in 1982 and looks to be ready to surge forward this year precisely due to boldly advancing both a victory-oriented strategy for national security and a capitalist reformation and revival of the economy -- more the "invisible hand" of the free market and less the "invisible foot" of government.
And I further suggest that in all future elections, just to be on the safe side, we actually make aggressive national defense and growing the economy (while shrinking the government) the cornerstones of our national campaigns... while leaving religious, social, and intangible issues to those local races that have particular interests in them that year.
A few more elections fought on the basis of American strength and freeing the American economy, and we might actually solve this excellent electoral mystery!
Date ►►► August 21, 2010
Obamacle Demands Lockerbie Bomber Be Reincarcerated; World Laughs
Today, a spokesman for President Barack H. Obama hilariously demanded that Libya hand over the Lockerbie Bomber to be returned to prison in Scotland:
John Brennan, President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, told reporters accompanying the vacationing leader the United States has “expressed our strong conviction” to Libya that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi should not remain free.
Brennan criticized what he termed the “unfortunate and inappropriate and wrong decision,” and added: “We’ve expressed our strong conviction that al-Megrahi should serve out the remainder - the entirety - of his sentence in a Scottish prison.”
I doubt that either Brennan, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or Obama himself believes that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi will sheepishly hand Megrahi over to Scottish authorities; while I hate to judge before all the facts are in, it does appear that yesterday's censorious "Sermon on the Hill" might have been nothing more than presidential grandstanding.
The Obamunist has repeatedly insisted he did everything humanly possible to stop the release, which he only found out about a day or two beforehand -- far too late to intervene in any serious way. But by golly, he sure talked a good fight!
However, British officials revealed last September that the Obama administration knew about the pending release for months before it happened and was privy to the entire negotiation; yet Obama told no one and did nothing effective to stop it:
British officials claim Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton were kept informed at all stages of discussions concerning Megrahi’s return.
The officials say the Americans spoke out because they were taken aback by the row over Megrahi’s release, not because they did not know it was about to happen.
‘The US was kept fully in touch about everything that was going on with regard to Britain’s discussions with Libya in recent years and about Megrahi,’ said the Whitehall aide.
‘We would never do anything about Lockerbie without discussing it with the US. It is disingenuous of them to act as though Megrahi’s return was out of the blue.
Big Lizards posted about the president's uncharacteristic taciturnity nearly a year ago; to quote myself (my favorite pastime!):
[H]ad Obama put his foot down, perhaps even threatening to go public about the talks (thus scuttling them) -- had he even threatened to reveal the real reason for the amnesty, a massive oil deal for British Petroleum offered as a bribe by Libyan military dictator Col. Muammar Gaddafi -- Obama could almost certainly have stopped the release of Megrahi.
Given the reaction not only here but across the Atlantic, such a deal must be negotiated in the dead of night; a credible threat to bring it out into the open before the terms were agreed upon would have meant both Great Britain and Libya would have had to deny and denounce the deal, and it couldn't have happened... not for years, at least, while the furor died down.
Evidently, Obama feels the periodic urge to thump his chest and buttress his national-security credentials -- especially just before an election, albeit midterm. But to loudly demand the impossible now, when the horse has long since been let out of the bag, doesn't make Obama (or the United States) look strong; it makes us look pathetic and desperate. Worse, America becomes an object of mirth and triumphalism to our enemies. It could hardly be worse if B.O. himself had stood in a dinghy off the shores of Tripoli, shaken his fist and shouted, "You wascally wabbit...!"
Of all the hypocritical and disingenuous things Obama has said, directly or through a sock puppet, this one may top the list. In a single demand, he has pulled off a hat trick:
- Insulted and offended our allies by making out that they went behind Obama's back, when in fact he was fully informed before, during, and after the release;
- Made the United States look weak and impotent;
- Made himself look like a pompous, clueless, ineffectual ass.
By first standing by, hat in hand, while the Brits sold the Lockerbie bomber back to Libya for a mess of petrolidge, then raging and storming a year later, when it has become obvious to the world that we, the Brits, and the Scots were all flim-flammed by Megrahi the Mysterious, President Obama picked the worst possible combination of responses to yesterday's anniversary. I'm certain our radical-Islamist enemies have taken note.
Thank you, Mask Man!
Date ►►► August 19, 2010
Greasing My Spindle Part XIX
I often write stubs of posts that I never get around to finishing; on occasion, entire posts that I forget to edit and publish. I must be as absent minded as a -- as a great -- absent-minded thing. Whatever.
Here's one I wrote entire the day after Independence Day...
Just two years ago this month [July], then-candidate Barack H. Obama, speaking on the campaign trail in the American state of Berlin, called himself "a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world."
"Citizen of the United States" I understand, though I'm a bit skeptical about the "proud" part. But what on earth is a "citizen of the world?"
My understanding of citizenship is that it's a relationship of allegiance between an individual and a single, unified political entity; the fellow avowing he is a citizen of X thus accepts that he is subject to the jurisdiction of X, required to obey its laws (excepting unconstitutional or tyrannical ones), and sees X as his lawful sovereign, to which he owes some level of fealty. Underlying all of these defintional conditions is the assumption that X actually exists as a political body.
Thus, I can be a citizen of the United States, of the state of California, and (stretching a bit), of my county and city. Each of these is a distinct political entity; each demands obedience to its rightful laws, ordinances, and regulations; and each exerts an authority over me that I acknowledge.
But "the world" is not a political entity. It does not have general police powers, nor a codified, world-wide set of laws and regulations that we all pledge to obey. And I certainly don't agree to "the world" having any sort of authority over me; rather, I reject that cockamamie idea in favor of pledging fealty to one specific piece of "the world," even when that entity -- the United States of America -- finds itself at odds with the huge majority of the population of Planet Earth.
Pithily put, the phrase "I am a citizen of the world" is syntactically valid; but it's semantic gobbledygook, a phrase that "seems vague but is in fact meaningless." Saying "I am a citizen of the world" is like saying "I am the procrustean reiteration of next Thursday."
Does President B.O. realize he utters such whoppers day in and day out? I doubt it; he has been carefully trained his entire life to replace thinking with sloganeering, from his earliest days in school in Hawaii and Indonesia, through his misbegotten youth as a "community organizer," through his political career, and even today as President of the United States: Obama truly believes that saying, for another example, that he is trying to find whose "ass to kick" anent the BP Gulf oil spill, should be "deemed" an example of thoughtful analysis and policy-making.
I don't believe he realizes what a fool he sounds; he is surrounded by sycophants, head nodders, chest thumpers, and yes, an entire gaggle of fellow fools. Regardless of where one lands on the eternal philosophical question of whether Barack Obama is a well-meaning incompetent or a highly competent anti-American, he is at his core an utter dope -- which severely impacts his ability to close the deal with the American people.
Thank God for buffoonery!
Date ►►► August 18, 2010
A Capital Idea
I find it simultaneously astonishing and predictably believable that even today, August 18th, 2010, the great majority of the commentariat, the political establishment, and the people themselves -- no to mention the financial mavins and captains of industry! -- have no idea in the world what Capitalism is or how it works.
Believable because, having suffered through the public school system in Southern California, I know just how dreadful government education is (and quite deliberately so), particularly on economics... which, if it's taught at all, takes its cue from the deplorable a People's History of the United States, by Communist Party member and Chomskyite Howard Zinn. (Even if a People's History isn't directly taught in middle school or high school, that book is the source is nearly all the economic "knowledge," or rather factoids, of middle-school and high-school teachers. However, there is a Young People's History of the United States, adapted by Zinn from the deranged original. From little ACORNs do mighty orcs grow.)
And hardly a surprise that multinational corporations are violently protectionist, anti-market, and anticapitalist; it's a natural fallout of Lizardian Lemma 1: The bigger a corporation becomes, the more it resembles a government.
CEOs envy and crave the power of the State to tax the citizenry and spend the stolen loot how it pleases. And as much as possible, boards of directors ape the high-handed fiduciary corruption of their imperial mentors in the government.
Still I find the ignorance of and antipathy against Capitalim astonishing... because properly understood, a vigorous, free-market capitalist economy is better in the long run than the modern-day robber-baronism, the corporate-government "partnerships" and payoffs -- better even for the robber barons themselves! The thesis is not hard to understand; liberty, both political and economic, has produced a world where even the hundreds of millions of lower-middle income workers live better, more fulfilling lives than did the kings and emperors of the Middle Ages.
I don't demand we all have the deep understanding of Capitalism of a Steve Forbes or a Rubert Murdoch; I certainly don't. But the core-basic principles are understood today as poorly as they were in the midst of the Great Socialism-Driven Depression of the 1930s, and much more egregiously misunderstood than they were in the 19th century. A hundred years of liberal government re-education camps, with no child left behind, has worked diabolical wonders of ignorance and paranoia against economic liberty.
The first source of my headshaking... the bizarre notion that savers should be punished with higher taxes:
Figures recently published by the Commerce Department show the mostly upper-income households that hold stocks earned $169 billion more in dividends since 2007 than previously estimated. Much of that money was stowed away in savings, helping drive the personal savings rate to 6.25 percent earlier this year -- the highest level in decades....
The Obama administration -- despite its calls for people to save -- has seized on the number, with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner stressing that extending Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2 percent of earners would not be a good way to provide stimulus to the economy.
"The top 2 percent are the least likely to spend those tax cuts, certainly not in comparison to the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 per year," he said. "While they would surely welcome extended tax cuts, its not likely to change their spending habits."
Let's boil this down to a talking-points memo:
- Rich slackers aren't spending enough money to "stimulate" the economy.
- Instead, they're hoarding their Bush tax cuts, "socking away" tens of billions of dollars that should be put to use in the economy.
- The fact that they're not spending their tax cuts proves they didn't need them in the first place.
- So we should raise taxes on rich people so we can "stimulate" the economy the right way, our way... which has worked out so beautifully in the last couple of years!
Wait... what exactly does the Left mean by saying rich people "socked away their money?" The impression given is a Princess-and-the-Pea-sized stack of mattresses, all stuffed with thousand-dollar bills; swimming pools of gold doubloons; entire mansions built from solid gold, like Scrooge McDuck might have!
The reality is rather more prosaic, and it belies the very premise upon which the Left (Democratic, Progressive, and Republican) bases its economic theory. When we say the rich "socked away their money," we really mean they invested it -- in stocks and bonds, real estate, small businesses, and of course in banks... banks that turned around and lent out much of that $169 billion to those of us lower in the economic spectrum, so that we could buy houses and cars, and via credit cards, items too pricey to be purchased with what's in our wallets at any moment.
The take-away is this: Rich people's money is not hoarded or out of circulation; it is invested directly in our economy, and indirectly via banks and S&Ls. That money is stimulating our economy far more that any corrupt and command-directed government program. The "socked away" money of the rich is the only thing keeping our economy afloat... and the only thing keeping the vast majority of Americans working.
Second depressing article, merely because it reaffirms Lizardian Lemma 1 above. In an article primarily about the new collusion between so-called "greens" and labor unions, we stumble across the following:
Despite protests on the impact of imports from China on its industry, the paper giant Kimberly-Clark "has announced that they will expand their manufacturing facilities in China," according to a briefing paper from the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute, "No Paper Tiger." Yet in Australia, Kimberly-Clark's subsidiary KCA has taken the Australian government to court to force the introduction of green-trade restrictions on imports from Indonesia and China.
Alas, this example is the rule, not than the exception; giant corporations think nothing of whining about anti-competitive tariffs when they want to import products from abroad, then even more loudly demanding the government slap an 80% tariff on their foreign rivals' imports. Multinationals especially have no desire to compete in the free market; they demand laws forcing their competitors out of business!
And of course, there is always a friendly, reliable congressman or senator to sponsor just such protectionist legislation... in exchange for, shall we say, a couple of million to the politician's favorite PAC? (It's largely irrelevant whether the subsidy to corporation A or the huge tax on competitor B is in the form of an earmark or just a regular amendment to the bill; the problem is government interference in the market, not the precise mechanism of that interference.)
The Left has nothing but fear and loathing of free-market Capitalism, but so does the corporatist, whether Democrat or Republican. But each unwittingly hurts himself by creating or fostering an anti-competitive environment, in which profit depends entirely upon pull, schmoozing, and who you know, rather than on how good a product you sell and how much you sell it for. The whimsical nature of profit and loss in such a world makes it virtually impossible accurately to predict sales and revenue, because you never know who is going to be up and who down in the next couple of years. That hurts everybody, even the narcissist who doesn't care who he hurts, because he imagines he's profiting from the chaos itself. Ironic, isn't it?
In Schmoozeworld, the legal intrepetation of the law changes whenever the pendulum swings; what was de-facto legal yesterday is unambiguously criminal tomorrow. Because it's not the actual legal words but the way the administration interprets them that has shifted (in response to more and better lobbying by different lobbyists), amoral, anti-market corporatists often abruptly find themselves in la calabooza, convicted of imperfect precognition of how the legal environment would shift in several years time.
We desperately need to get back to a truly capitalist system, including:
- Economic liberty without the constraints of endless regulation and punitive taxation.
- Laws strictly forbidding the government from taking sides in legitimate competition between different companies.
- Laws preventing the government from buying companies and going into business, or else partnering with some private or quasi-private company. Given the State's "superuser" power to set, then reset the rules by which all other actors play, it is literally impossible for such acquisitions or partnerships to avoid the appearance of impropriety; and it's nearly impossible to avoid actual impropriety itself.
- And a court system that takes contracts seriously, takes private property seriously, and that takes seriously the mano a mano competition within the free market; a court that desires neither to hinder it nor "help it along," but only adjudicate disputes.
The market is a bias-free medium meant to facilitate a "meeting of minds" between buyer and seller; it was never meant to be a government-owned monopoly that picked and chose who would be allowed to sell and who excluded for insufficient payment of tribute.
We conclude with a short parable in which is contained all wisdom.
When Sachi was in college back in the early 19th century, she took a Sociology class. During the course, the professor engaged the class in a fascinating and illuminating experiment.
- Every student in the experiment was given the same number of "dollars" at the start.
- Everyone then engaged in a complex series of business transactions, in which it was possible to win, lose, or stay at roughly the same monetary level; some randomness was involved, but skill also played a role.
- At the end of that series of transactions, the "richest" 20% of the class -- eight students -- was segregated into a special area of the room. In addition to those who earned their way there, one student not already in the upper group won a "lottery;" he too was put into the ritzy area of the classroom, making nine in all. Sachi was one of the upper group (not the lottery winner), but she insists it was due more to luck than skill.
- Before the second round of transactions, the professor told those students in the upper-income group (including the lottery winner) that they could change the rules of the transaction game any way they chose.
The uppers discussed proposed rule changes in a different room. Of the nine students, three argued that the rules should remain exactly the same for the second set of transactions, even though that meant the uppers might very well fall down the socioeconomic ladder.
Three more argued the opposite: That they should change the rules to ensure the uppers would always win. One illuminating observation was that the lottery winner, the only person in the uppers who didn't earn his way there, was in this "cheater" group.
The third group was somewhere in between: They wanted to change the rules so that the uppers had some advantage in the second-round transactions (contra the first group), but not an absolute lock on winning (as with group two).
Sachi was in this third group... and she admits today that the fact that she believed, rightly or wrongly, that she was only in the upper group because of luck played a large role in her decision to join the third group, giving all the uppers some advantage but not an iron grip on power. She was afraid that in a fair competition, she would lose the next time and be cast down among the rabble.
- The uppers finally voted to go with the third group, the ones saying "some advantage but not a lock on power." Presumably the lock-on-power group realized they couldn't prevail, so they joined the some-advantage group to outvote the no-changes group.
- But when the uppers came back and announced the new rules -- the rest of the class refused to continue the game, got up, and walked out: They refused to participate when the rules of the game were changed in the middle of play.
It was an amazing effort for a small college in a suburban area, where one would ordinarily expect a deluge of liberal indoctrination. But the results should be eye-opening.
- Most of those on the top have a natural impulse to change the rules to keep themselves right where they are.
- But not all of them: A significant minority want strict fairness, while another significant minority is willing to tolerate a little cheating but not utter tyranny.
- Finally, nearly everyone has an inborn rejection of changing the rules to his disfavor... and he rightfully reacts with extreme measures when he senses it happening.
I believe the American people have sensed that Obama, the national government, the special-interest favorites, and the biggest corporations are conspiring to change the rules -- to the people's disfavor... and the rest of us are reacting by refusing to play and leaving the room.
You can see it in the polls, in the reactions at townhall meetings (when the anticapitalist incrumbents deign to show up), and in the rallies and protests mounted by Tea Partiers and other members of the popular front against socialism. The pot has boiled over, the lid has blown off, and we're going to see a volcanic eruption at the polls in 76 days.
It will be raining electoral lava and liberal ashes; so grab your asbestos brolly and make ready to mount the battlements. It's long past time to cap the progressivist-socialist-corporatist oil spill and set the Wayback Machine to the days when competition was cut-throat but played under fair rules, with no invisible foot of government stamping on the scales. And if you can wade your way through that big, muddy morass of mixed meaphors (and the big fool says to push on), perhaps it will give you some cheer.
Update to Previous Post...
I have just read that the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circus will not be the same judges -- Edward Leavy, Michael Daly Hawkins, and Sidney Runyon Thomas -- who ruled in favor of a stay on Judge "Dredd" Walker's appalling diktat. I have no idea who the new panel will comprise.
But... I stand by my prediction that the panel, no matter who is on it, will overturn Judge Dredd's decision and uphold Proposition 8 and the traditional definition of marriage. If the panel comprises two liberals and a moderate (likely), or three liberals (plausible), the vote will be two to one. If it's three moderates or conservatives (hah), it will be unanimous.
Date ►►► August 17, 2010
Wild Prediction: 9th Circuit Panel Will Uphold Prop 8
Sometimes, you just have to go with your gut feeling, no matter how strange and irrational it may seem.
What is a gut feeling? For one, it's a misnomer: Mine at least are not based on "feelings" (and don't originate from my intestines) but represent a sudden premonition that X is going to happen, even when I cannot consciously see a logical path from here to X. But that doesn't mean one doesn't exist; often, after a few days, I can start to see the rational basis for the prediction... meaning it wasn't a "gut feeling" but rather a rapid, subconscious calculation from available evidence drawing a rational, if obscure, conclusion.
That doesn't mean my subconscious calculations are always right! But I generally see that they're not irrational, either.
In this case, I've had the gut feeling -- I mean subconscious calculation that the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circus hearing the appeal of Judge "Dredd" Walker's decision striking down California Proposition 8 and finding a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage, SSM, hitherto unknown to the mind of Man -- a panel comprising one very moderate Republican appointee of Ronald Reagan, Edward Leavy, and two ultra-liberal, Democratic Clinton appointees, Michael Hawkins and Sidney Runyan Thomas -- will not only find that Prop 8 defenders have standing... it will actually uphold Prop 8 by a 2-1 decision.
(This prediction naturally supercedes my previous prediction that the three-judge panel of the Ninth will uphold Judge Walker's decision.)
I have refrained from mentioning this to anyone until I could figure out what my subconscious was telling me; but I think I have it now. I don't for a moment believe that either of the two Clinton appointees opposes SSM; for that matter, it's entirely possible the Reagan appointee also supports it, in theory.
But support for SSM is not necessarily the "issue" for any of these judges:
- Leavy, the Republican, may very well support SSM but nevertheless believe that voters have the right to vote the other way; that is, Leavy may very well take the same position as Patterico. If so, then he will vote to overturn Judge Dredd's decision and uphold Proposition 8.
- And either of the two Democrats may decide that SSM isn't the real issue... the real issue is the November 6th, 2012 election. If either arrives at that conclusion, he would likely decide that forcing SSM down the throats of the American West, hence potentially forcing it upon all of America, will so alienate moderate and independent voters that Barack H. Obama is defeated for reelection, and the Democrats are all but wiped out in in 2012, threatening many much more important liberal projects on the economic, social, union, and military fronts. It could be 1980 all over again.
Note that the decision can't affect the election this November -- though Walker's earlier decision can, will, and already is -- because the appeal will not even be heard until December. But judges, especially federal judges with life tenure, are much more forward-looking than congressmen, especially representatives, for whom two years is a lifetime. I'm sure both Clinton appointees expect still to be on the bench after 2012 (Hawkins is 65, Thomas is 57).
Yes, I realize I'm suggesting that one of the super-liberal Clinton appointees, Hawkins or Thomas, might decide a momentus constitutional issue on the corrupt basis of looming partisan advantage. What's your point?
I'm making my prediction, and I'm sticking to it. I may be wrong; but at least I now recognize that I'm not acting from emotion, not a "gut feeling," but rather some deep undercurrent of rational thought.
Date ►►► August 16, 2010
An Unanswerable, Five-Word Response to Judge Dredd's Claim that Prop. 8 Proponents Have No Standing to Appeal His Decision (Why Yes - It's Shorter Than This Title!)
Judge "Dredd" Vaughn Walker recently hinted rather strongly that the defendants who defended traditional marriage and Cailfornia Proposition 8 in Perry v. Schwarzenegger have no standing to appeal, now that the judge has washed his hands of their arguments.
Walker opined (his target audience is the Ninth Circuit three-judge panel) that nobody but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Attorney General Jerry Brown had standing to file an appeal of Walker's gift to same-sex marriage supporters.... knowing full well that both had already refused to defend Prop 8 or file the appeal. (Yes, that Jerry Brown; the former ultra-liberal governor of California who served after Ronald Reagan.)
According to the Los Angeles Times:
To have standing in federal court, a party must show that it has suffered an actual injury, and Walker said no evidence suggests that the campaign would meet that test....
"Proponents may have little choice but to attempt to convince either the governor or the attorney general to file an appeal to ensure jurisdiction," Walker wrote.
Picture a sitting federal judge sticking his tongue out at California voters.
Message received: The notorious Ninth, the most liberal federal appellate court in the land, has developed a sudden fascination for the question of standing; deciding Prop. 8 defenders had none would allow the panel to dismiss the appeal without even bothering to review the merits of Walker's decision (hat tip to Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion and Allahpundit at Hot Air). Quoth the three-judge panel:
In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing.
All by way of preamble; but I have a response to Walker's argument that (1) only the governor or the state Attorney General has standing to appeal his order; but since (2) they both applaud his decision and refuse to appeal it, then (3) proponents of Prop. 8 and traditional marriage can go eat worms. My response is just six words long, but I see it as quite unanswerable:
If Judge Walker is right, and nobody willing to appeal the ruling is allowed to appeal the ruling, then... who speaks for the people?
Seven million California voters voted for Proposition 8; who speaks for them?
The whole point of a citizens' initiative is to allow the voters themselves to enact reforms or repeal tyrannical laws, even when elected officials are corrupt, out of touch, or unwilling to listen. But if the governer can overturn such an initiative merely by refusing to defend it in the inevitable lawsuit, allowing opponents of the initiative to win by default, then the entire point of a citizens' initiative is thwarted. (George Will would be overjoyed.)
At the federal level, the president could do the same thing, effectively overturning legislation passed by Congress and signed by the (then) president, but which the current president dislikes: Simply refuse to defend the law in court, giving himself retroactive veto power over laws already enacted. What a sweet way to amend the constitution without having to amend the constitution.
This is liberalism; this is the "hope and change" that Barack H. Obama promised. This is what the Left does, its forte: If you voted for Obama or a third-party candidate, then this is the world you wrought.
...Miss him yet?
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Date ►►► August 15, 2010
An Exchange of Note(s)
Friend Lee just sent me e-mail noting that Barack H. Obama has pretty much painted himself into a hole anent the "Ground-Zero Mosque," or Cordoba House, as it's actually dubbed. I responded with my own notation; and with my usual flair for modesty and self-effacement, I have decided the exchange is worth passing along to the world (like James Boswell's exchanges with Dr. Samuel Johnson, or Dr. John Watson's conversations with Mr. Sherlock Holmes).
"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful!"
(A six-pack of kudos to anyone who can identify the name of the ficticious character who said this, and in what venue.)
Obama brought it all upon himself when he said the following:
But let me be clear. As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country. And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are. The writ of the Founders must endure.
As many have noted, this maudlin sentiment goes above and beyond -- or I should say beneath and between -- a simple commitment to freedom of religion... particularly coming from a man who admits to support only for freedom of worship. He enthuses that "all faiths" -- by which he appears to mean especially faiths that would if they could obliterate our country, our liberty and freedom, our ideals, and indeed, our entire way of life -- must be treated equally.
Obamunist morality demands that a faith that supports and nurtures individual liberty cannot be treated any differently by the United States government than one that seeks to overthrow that same government by force and violence! In other words, we must tolerate the utterly intolerant, even if doing so will allow them to take over -- and end all tolerance forever. I think the technical term for this philosophy of self-destruction is "mad as a hatter."
So Friend Lee sent me this note:
Subject: I think Obama's a huge loser on Cordoba House
Here's my two cents on this issue --
If he defends the project claiming this Imam is a moderate, then he becomes an apologist for the Imam's positions of record.
If he admits the Imam is immoderate but defends the project on grounds of American values of religious freedom, then he is not defending the constitution, but is defending those who would destroy it. For most people, tolerance is off the table at that point -- or at least, it is no longer paramount.
If he tries to de-link the project itself from the Muslims who are pushing it, then he still looks like a law professor, not a chief executive.
If he punts on the issue and says it is "local" he shows a failure of leadership.
If he changes the position he's already taken, he looks vacillating and insincere. How's that KSM trial going?
By the time this mosque is finished, I think he'll no longer be President -- but I won't be surprised if he eventually takes off his shoes and appears to pray there.
I particularly like that phrase, "and appears to pray there." I can only conclude that Friend Lee is suggesting that a Compleat Narcissist like Obama never actually prays, for he would have to pray to himself; but he has learnt how to ape the ritual, metaphorically holding his nose, for political gain.
Response by Dafydd:
Subject: Re: I think Obama's a huge loser on Cordoba House
Obama's only saving grace has been his self-destructive political instincts, which lead him into one unforced folly after another. He seems as addicted to offending Americans as Clinton was to sex with subordinates.
I cannot imagine that he will find a way to "fix" his personality defects between now and November 6th, 2012; he's a one-termer.
Colossal ego aside, I think Friend Lee nailed it: There is currently no card in the deck that will win the Cordoba hand for the Obamunist; he's drawing dead, as they say on the World Poker Tour. And of course, if he tries simply to drop the discussion and pretend he never said anything, he will be thwarted by GOP candidates playing Obama's quotes over and over in campaign commercials, ad infinitum.
The Obamic Dilemma reminds me of a reformulation of the three main laws of thermodynamics that is sometimes attributed to Sir Arthur Eddington (without any evidence, alas); in more or less original form, laws one through three state:
- In any process in an isolated system, the total energy remains the same. (That is, energy in an isolated system can neither be created nor destroyed.)
- Spontaneous natural processes increase entropy overall. (That is, taking all energy in a closed system as a whole, entropy increases over time.)
- As temperature approaches absolute zero, the entropy of a system approaches a constant minimum greater than absolute zero. (That is, the end-state of entropy is uniform distribution of energy, after which every natural process ceases.)
Eddington (or some other wag) rewrote the laws thus:
- You can't win.
- You can't break even.
- You can't even quit the game.
That quite succinctly describes Obama's Dilemma, in a nuthouse.
Date ►►► August 14, 2010
Don't Say I Didn't Warn You
Secretary of Homeland Security <giggle> Janet Napolitano issued a pronunciamento that may startle longtime immigration disputants:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Friday said the administration has "enough" resources to secure the border now that President Obama signed into law a $600 million border security spending bill, and she said Congress must now act on a larger overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.
"This is what we asked for. And of course, what we asked for was what we thought would be enough," Ms. Napolitano told reporters at the White House, hours after she joined Mr. Obama as he signed the bipartisan bill.
Yep... with that additional $0.6 billion (1.2%) added to the Department of Homeland Security's previous budget of about $52 billion, the Administration of Barack H. Obama can add 1,000 extra Border Patrol agents, a 4.95% increase. And that means -- the border is now secure!
With that minor task accomplished, Napolitano and Obama can turn to more vital immigration issues: How to "overhaul... the nation's immigration laws" to give instant amnesty and voting rights to all 12+ million illegals without requiring them to:
- Pay a punitive fine
- Pay all back taxes
- Be prosecuted for any other crimes committed while here illegally (including identity theft)
- Pass a background check
- Carry a tamper-proof alien identification card that includes biometric information
- Go to the end of the line, behind everyone already in the legal immigration system
...And without requiring employers to actually verify whether employees are legally resident in the United States upon penalty of very large and compounding fines. Oh yes, almost forgot; without building even one more foot of border fence:
As for critics who accuse the Obama administration of not doing enough to erect security fencing along the border, Ms. Napolitano said the fence has been built out as far as it has been funded, save for six miles, and noted that the $600 million supplemental does not include new money for fences.
"The fence is only part of this [effort]," she said. "You show me a 15-foot fence and I'll show you a 16-foot ladder."
Translation: They haven't finished building the length of fence already budgeted, but they're not even going to finish that much, let alone build any more.
Napolitano does have one good point; any fence can be breached. I've made the same point for years: There is no wall so strong that a million people pushing can't knock it down. That's why we so desperately need real immigration reform; in particular, a legal immigration system that lets in immigrants who truly deserve to be here, who are already Americans in their hearts, a path to immigration which is rational, predictable, and just.
What we have now is arbitrary, capricious, vindictive, petty, racist, and utterly un-predictable; even the most earnest and honest immigrant is put into the position of either giving up all hope of ever being an American -- or else entering illegally, hoping to fix his and his family's status later.
The overwhelming majority of illegals commit no crimes other than illegal entry and ancillary charges (forging papers, &c); under a rational system, nearly all would be admitted legally in the first place. Thus we keep out the very people we should welcome, while welcoming those who have no intention of becoming Americans -- along with gangsters and terrorists -- who should be the very ones we keep out. What a system!
When those who embody the American dream have a real path to immigration, you don't have a million people battering at the wall; all the proto-Americans can work their way through legally. The only putative "immigrants" who would still need Napolitano's sixteen-foot ladder would be those entering with ill intent, the very ones we should exclude. Not families, not students, not people who want to start a new life in the land of liberty; but mules, gang-bangers, Mexican mafiosi, welfare leeches, migrant workers who have no interest in becoming Americans... and of course radical Islamists who are interested only in killing Americans.
Knowing that, we can not only focus our law enforcement activity on a much smaller number of people, but we can also use much harsher and more aggressive methods. Simply put, we can be much rougher on someone slithering through the window when we know that any legitimate person can walk through the front door.
If, that is, we had a legal immigration system that was rational, predictable, and just... which neither conservatives nor Obamunists appear to desire.
But thank goodness the former prevented us from enacting real comprehensive immigration reform in 2006! See how much better things are now, and how wonderful they soon will be, if the latter get their way?
Date ►►► August 13, 2010
The Distinction Goes Sub Silentio
Paul Mirengoff of my favorite blog (P - - - - L - - -) admirably faced what I've come to call the Question... a childish retort that inevitably bubbles up whenever one undertakes to defend the traditional definition of legal marriage against the tendentious redefinition that gives us the non-sequitur "same-sex marriage."
The Question is, of course, "If you applaud the courts overturning anti-miscegenation laws in Loving v. Virginia, how can you decry the courts overturning anti-gay-marriage laws in Perry v. Schwarzenegger? Doesn't everyone has the right to marry the person he or she loves?"
(Answer: No, no more than everyone has the right to be the most popular person on campus.)
It's a smug and juvenile argument tarted up as a question; it's equivalent to a born-again atheist demanding to know whether God can make a rock so big He can't lift it, and doesn't that paradox prove an omnipotent deity cannot exist?
(Answer: No; it just means Mr. Atheist has too simplistic a notion of "omnipotent.")
Paul answers the question as would a lawyer, oddly enough:
Loving v. Virginia did not implicate the definition of marriage. The largely regional ban on inter-racial marriages was not founded on the belief that such unions cannot be marriages under the nearly universal understanding of what a marriage is (i.e., between a man and a woman). Rather, the ban was based on the notion that, although it is possible for blacks to be married to whites under that understanding -- just as it is possible for blacks to sit on the front of a bus -- such marriages represented an undesirable mixing of the races.
The decision in Loving no more changed the definition of marriage than allowing James Meredith (a black) to attend the University of Mississippi changed the definition of "student," or requiring the lunch counter at Woolworth's to serve blacks changed the definition of "customer." But recognizing a marriage between two men (say) changes the definition of "wife" (say). [And changing the definition changes the concept itself. --DaH]
To me, the notion that a constitutional amendment mandates, sub silentio and plainly without intent, such a monumental change in an institution as fundamental as marriage is, as I said, ludicrous.
Having been involved in the Marital Wars for years before even Proposition 22 trundled along in the year 2000, I have long since had to come to grips with the Question. But being a lifelong non-lawyer, I am quite certain I never essayed an answer that contained the phrase "sub silentio." (It's legalese for "without saying;" I looked it up.) I've had to answer the Question in mortal terms, but I think I've boiled it down pretty well:
We cheer Loving v. Virginia (1967) because it struck down legal antebellum relicts of irrational and despicable racism... the idea that we must stop the "mingling of the races" to avoid breeding "race mongrels." We have long since adopted the credo that there is no intrinsic or essential distinction between the races -- whatever those are.
But nobody in his right mind can argue that there is no intrinsic or essential distinction between men and women. Any parent knows that boys are worlds apart from girls; any human being knows (excepting only hermits who have never met anyone of the opposite sex) that women and men think differently, react differently, argue differently, take revenge in different ways, hate differently, and yes, love differently.
Marriage has always been, by definition, the union of opposites -- man plus woman (or some number of women); the synthesis is more than the sum of its parts. Thus, same-sex marriage is logically inconceivable... like a monochrome checkerboard, a coin with only one side, or a debate between proponent and proponent: By its very nature, marriage requires at least one member of each sex, or else it isn't a marriage... it's just a partnership or merger.
I see nothing wrong with sexual, emotional, and financial partnerships of all sorts; enjoy! But such unions that involve only one sex are not marriages -- and redefining the word "marriage" won't change that fact.
If you call a cow's tail a leg, how many legs does she have? Four, of course, because calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one.
Got it? Good.
Date ►►► August 12, 2010
Is He Is, or Is He Ain't, Mahmoud's BFF?
Speculation abounds that President Barack H. Obama plans to personally meet with Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Gen James Jones, has indicated the President may be prepared to meet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if the regime resumed negotiations over its nuclear programme....
However, the President’s national security adviser said there would be “no point in a theatrical meeting.” It is unlikely that the Iranians will agree to the American’s demands as the regime has repeatedly circumvented previous attempts to rein in its nuclear programme.
Of course, if all that Ahmadinejad need do is agree to resume negotiations, or even have his team attend a couple of minor meet & greets, then perhaps the diminutive Iranian muppet could "negotiate" just long enough to get his tête-à-tête with the Obamunist, then drop him like a used Kleenex.
But the big money is already pouring in on a much more important "is he is or is he ain't" wager: Assuming they do meet -- will Obama bow to Ahmadinejad?
Recalling bad press of bows past, and mindful of his reelection campiaign in 2012, Obama may well go into the meeting bound and determined not to bow to the terrorist leader. But as such things often go, he may focus so much on not bowing, the subject of bowing rattling round his brain like a trite song you can't shake loose, that he walks firmly up to Ahmadinejad -- I will not bow to the little creep! -- sticks out a hand... and bows deeply at the waist.
If he does, it will of course be (you knew this was coming) a Freudian dip.
All We Are Saying - Is Give Nukes a Chance
Last Friday, U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos attended the solemn commemoration of the Hiroshima atomic bombing that, coupled with the second bombing at Nagasaki, ended the Pacific theater of World War II and almost certainly saved millions of both American and Japanese lives. This was the first time the American ambassador had ever joined the memorial.
The annual commemoration plays to the anti-Americanism of many young Japanese; many of them are under the impression we attacked them out of the blue, while they were peacefully minding their own business... an ignorance fostered by the near blackout of the history of that war in Japanese primary and secondary schools.
But Mr. Roos attended Lowell High School in San Francisco and graduated from Stanford University, and he has no excuse; surely he learned at least something about our reasons for using nuclear weapons. You know, that whole "fascist military dictatorship bent on regional hegemony by force of arms, allied with Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany" stuff. And surely he must realize that had we not had atomic bombs, as they were called then, we still would have invaded the Japanese "mainland" (the island of Honshu), at a cost nearly incalculable in human lives and materiel.
So one might reasonably ask the ambassador why he not only attended the commemoration, but also joined Hiroshima's Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba's call to eliminate all nuclear weapons. Roos' mere presence lent the imprimatur of the Barack H. Obama administration to the clarion call; but the ambassador went above and beyond to make clear the Obamic policy:
Hiroshima's mayor welcomed Washington's decision to send U.S. Ambassador John Roos to Friday's commemoration, which began with an offering of water to the 140,000 who died in the first of two nuclear bombings that prompted Japan's surrender in World War II....
"We need to communicate to every corner of the globe the intense yearning of the survivors for the abolition of nuclear weapons," Mr. Akiba told the 55,000 people at the ceremony.
Mr. Akiba called on the Japanese government to take a leadership role in nuclear disarmament toward "turning a new page in human history."
"I offer my prayers to those who died -- we will not make you be patient much longer...."
Mr. Roos said the memorial was a chance to show resolve toward nuclear disarmament, which Mr. Obama has emphasized as one of his administration's top objectives.
"For the sake of future generations, we must continue to work together to realize a world without nuclear weapons," Mr. Roos said in a statement.
Just as a general question, has any anti-nuclear "peace" activist ever sat down and thought through what would happen if somebody waved a magic wand and made all American or all Western nukes "softly and suddenly vanish away?" I guess radical activists like Roos and Akiba -- who, I suggest, see no distinction between nuclear weapons in the hands of America or Britain and similar weapons in the hands of Iran, Syria, Red China, North Korea, Russia, or Venezuela -- would mindlessly shout, "We would finally have world peace!"
But why would anybody think that? Nuclear weapons did not exist until the end of World War II, the most destructive war in human history; which is ironic, because their very existence is testimony to the fact that their lack obviously does not create peace. So why would their disappearance?
- Let's take the most likely case first: Will aggressor nations abruptly mend their ways if, say, the West unilaterally disarmed itself of all nuclear weapons? The suggestion is especially risible, especially given that we already did unilaterally disarm ourselves of chemical and biological weapons -- yet the global bad guys manifestly did not follow suit. I think we can reject this policy choice out of hand.
- Even if the evil-doers running those countries named above agreed to such insanity, does anybody honestly believe they would abide by their agreement and not cheat? They always cheated in the past with impunity, so why stop now?
But suppose for some miraculous, occult reason Iran, China, et al, did dismantle their entire nascent or operative nuclear arsenals. Where does that leave us?
Every one of those countries has an active and persistent program to develop, deploy, and use chemical and biological warfare (CBW). By contrast, as noted above, we destroyed our own capability.
So if Iran, Syria, Red China, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela each knows that it has CBW capability, but the West does not, then that will make the former less inclined to attack or threaten us? (Why, because they're too gentlemanly to use WMD threats to extort political power and treasure?)
But lets ship the whole hog: Assume the utterly absurd, that the nations fingered above agree to drop and destroy all WMD they may possess, and they actually do it. They somehow obliterate the knowledge from the computers, storage centers, and even the minds of their weapon scientists. Their nukes are all gone in a flash (perhaps I should use a different metaphor), taking their chemical and biological weapons with them. So then we'll finally have peace -- right?
Don't be hasty. Most of those thuggish nations have already shown a marked propensity for ordering suicidal human-wave attacks against their enemies, throwing hundreds of thousands or millions of their subjects into the maw of death; and the leaders didn't shed a single tear, because they simply don't care.
They are functionally sociopathic, even solipsistic, seeing the peons not as human beings like themselves but as inanimate weapons to be used, then discarded when broken. To claw one's way to the top of such a regime, one must first become "comfortably numb."
But Americans are not comfortably numb, and we would never use such tactics. We won't even go back to the WWII strategic bombings of, e.g., Dresden or Tokyo, which only kill the enemy by the hundreds of thousands! So what are we to do when the enemy is not so solicitous, swarms across the border at us, but we haven't any asymmetrical response -- such as nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons to stop him?
I suppose Mr. Roos' answer is: We surrender.
You cannot "give peace a chance" by unilaterally disarming; the proper term for that is to give subjugation to evil a chance. A simple Gedankenexperiment: Suppose Israel were to adopt the Rules of Roos and divest itself of all its weapons of mass destruction. The Arab and Persian response to such humility, brotherliness, and trust would be to... what?
I think we can all guess the grisly outcome of such an adventure in idealism. As Sachi says, The absence of war does not always mean peace; it can also mean surrender and enslavement.
The international Left objectifies war, just as the domestic Left objectifies violent crime. To avoid having to deal with evil and the messiness of real human beings and murderous regimes, the Left pretends that all violence is caused by the existence of certain technologies: Ban the technology, and war and crime will screech to a halt!
Nuclear weapons in all their manifold forms -- bunker-busters to destroy enemy WMD, trip-wire defenses against human-wave attacks, nuclear-tipped Trident missiles on submarines to deter any thought of launching a sneak attack, even neutron bombs to kill an enemy force occupying a site whose destruction would unleash another holocaust, such as the Grand Mosque in Mecca (the siege already happened on November 20, 1979, and could certainly happen again) -- such nukes are merely weapons, tools. They do not start wars any more than pistols commit crimes.
But the Left considers such technologies bad, because they give the West an "unfair advantage" over our enemies, both secular socialist (China, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela) and also the jihad-besotted radical Islamists in the ummah, the Left's new ally.
"Progressives" are upset that the United States doesn't suffer as many casualities and deaths as do the regimes we must fight. It's as simple as that. So our new Ambassador to Japan, John Roos -- whose sole qualification for the job appears to be raising half a million samolians for Barack H. Obama's campaign -- now wants to even things out by crippling the lone remaining world hyperpower, the United States of America. Progress!
Hope and change, readers; that's what America voted for.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Date ►►► August 11, 2010
Still thinking -- fuming -- about Judge "Dredd" Walker's insipid decision, in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, to render of no account the democratic vote of 13.5 million Californios, out of pique that we didn't vote as he wanted us to do. I have something somewhat profound to say (not very, just somewhat); but let's preface with a couple more predictions...
First, I suspect that Judge Walker, as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, assigned himself to hear the case against Proposition 8. According to numerous con-law professors, constitutional scholars, and working attorneys who have read Walker's opinion in that case, it's clear he was biased against the law (and its proponents) from the beginning and never took seriously any of defendants' arguments in support of it.
Who will be chosen for the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circus that will likely hear the appeal of Judge Walker's decision? The current Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit is Alex Kozinski, who was nominated by Ronald Reagan and appears (by his list of political contributions back in 1992) to be a Republican. But selection of the panel is random, I believe; and unlike the "random" selection of liberal judges, I suspect Kozinski will actually obey the rules.
Considering that the Ninth is notorious for being the most left-liberal circuit in the entire United States (also the most overruled by the Supreme Court, for what it's worth), it's likely that at least two of the three judges on the panel will be ultra-left judicial activists. Ergo, I predict that the three-judge panel will uphold Judge Walker's decision.
So the next question is, will the Supremes accept certiorari on this case? I predict Yes: The constitutional implications of throwing out a statewide vote supporting values that are literally millennia old, and substituting one judge's radical opinion which would fundamentally alter society, are so extreme that the final Court really must pass muster on such a momentous decision.
And the last prediction: Assuming the Court takes up Perry, how will it finally rule? As I think I mentioned, I expect the usual suspects to line up as, well, as usual: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito will vote to uphold Proposition 8; Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagen will vote to overturn it and declare same-sex marriage (SSM) a fundamental right; and the tie-breaking vote will once again fall to Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Swingin' justice -- who, I predict, will reluctantly vote, with much hemming and dithering, to uphold the vote of the people on Prop 8. Thus I predict that the Supreme Court will overturn the district and circuit courts and reinstate the state constitutional amendment.
Now, on to the semi-epiphanic predictive analysis of some degree of profundity...
Democrats and liberals seem never to have even heard the term "pyrrhic victory;" certainly they have no idea what it could mean. By its very nature, the liberal philosophy is superficial, immediate, with a studied refusal even to consider consequences -- not merely the unanticipated but even the obvious and inevitable.
Liberalism is the Scarlett O'Hara of political philosophies: "I won't think about that now, I'll think about that tomorrow." So the idea of a "victory" that comes at such a terrible cost that it's actually a defeat is utterly alien to liberals; even when it happens to them, they don't recognize the connection to their own scorched-earth policies. But they're about to get a crash education.
A bit of history. The first traditional-marriage citizen's initiative enacted in California was Proposition 22 ten years ago; it passed by 61% to 39%.
After it was struck down by the California Supreme Court, the replacement Proposition 8 -- the same wording, but this time a state constitutional amendment -- passed by a weaker margin of 52% to 48%; but that vote was held in November 2008, during the Democrats' Obama-driven landslide victory across the country.
And specifically in California, where Barack H. Obama won by 24 points, 61% to 37%. Despite a massive Democratic victory in California's presidential race, congressional races, and state legislative races, the anti-SSM amendment nevertheless won by a statistically significant margin. (Even though the final polls of all three major pollsters here -- SurveyUSA, Field, and the Public Policy Institute of California -- showed Prop 8 losing.)
In other words, regardless of what people tell pollsters, when it comes to an actual vote, Californians strongly support traditional marriage and oppose same-sex marriage.
But along comes the liberal Bigfoot, telling us that our votes are irrelevant; state citizens have no right to determine the definition of marriage in California; and we peons should simply roll over and play dead when our robed betters bark. Slice it however you like, this judicially activist decision is not going down well in the state; Californians are angry and getting angrier by the day, even those who voted against Prop 8.
It's one thing to lose an election; it's quite another and a bitter thing to have the electorate itself slapped down by a liberal schoolmarm, wagging his finger in our faces and telling us to sit quietly and wait for judicial command.
No question about it, this is going to damage the campaigns of Democrats across the state; but particularly in the governor's race... where Republican former eBay president and CEO Meg Whitman squares off against the Democrat, former California governor and current state Attorney General Jerry Brown.
Why this particular race? Consider this: In his capacity as state AG, Brown is supposed to defend California laws against lawsuits; but because Brown is an ultra-liberal, and because he personally supports SSM, he declined to mount any defense of Prop 8. Had Brown had his way, plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger would have been unopposed. (Not that it would have made any difference, since Judge Walker never seriously considered the defense, spearheaded by the "official proponents of Proposition 8 led by Dennis Hollingsworth," as Wikipedia put it.)
Thus the Democratic candidate is the very man who violated his oath and betrayed his state, just in order to screw California voters! The judicial activism of Judge Walker cannot possibly be ought but a boot to Jerry Brown's head -- especially in a year when the entire country (including California) is already appalled by the expansion both of the government's size and cost and also its intrusiveness.
At the moment, in the most recent poll -- Rasmussen, taken before the ruling -- we see Jerry Brown 2% ahead of Meg Whitman. That's within the margin of error; Gen. Brown got that slight "lead" by a massive campaign of slimy attack ads against Whitman... running on TV, on radio, in the newspapers, and in a number of prominent political blogs (including, sad to say, Power Line). Tellingly, Brown himself is actually polling lower today in Rasmussen than at any time since March; he just managed to pull Whitman down six points, while he only pulled himself down three, turning a Whitman +1 into a Brown +2.
In the next poll (or perhaps the one after, when voters start to mull over the ruling and Brown's role in egging it on), I expect to see that at least reversed, and maybe an even stronger movement by Meg Whitman. I believe that she is going to start using Jerry Brown's duplicity, disloyalty, and scorn for his own potential voters against him in her own TV adverts. (And I sure hope she starts buying ads on Power Line!)
Worse, I expect to see many, many Republican challengers, from Carly Fiorina challenging Sen. Barbara "Call me senator!" Boxer on down the ballot, also using the Democrats' complicity in disenfranchising thirteen and a half million California voters as a bludgeon in the "massively multiplayer" version of Whack-a-Mole, where each and every Democratic talpid has his or her very own GOP mole-masher standing directly over the mole hole.
Thus -- pyrrhic victory: Liberals, Democrats, and the loony Left "win" the court case, at least at the lowest, district level; but in so doing, even more of them than expected will find themselves evicted from their cosy offices and cushy deals, at least in the state of California.
Judge Walker's manipulative meddling may end up forcing the exact opposite effect he intended: It may elect a governor and Attorney General who will actually fight for Prop 8 in the courts... unlike the "Saboteur" General and the "Bad Samaritan" governor we have right now.
Date ►►► August 9, 2010
The "Screw the Court" Constitutional Amendment
I would love to see the following offered on January 3rd, 2011, in the 112th Congress of the United States, as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
Section 1. State definition of 'marriage':
The power to declare the legal definition of marriage within any State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe is reserved to such State, territory, possession, or tribe.
Section 2. Federal definition of 'marriage' and 'spouse':
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.
Section 3. Powers reserved to the states:
No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex, or more than two persons, that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.
I'm not a lawyer, though I sometimes play one in my bathroom; so I might not have all the legal higgledy-piggledy exactly correct. But the intent is this: To amend the U.S. Constitution to make it plain that:
- Each state will determine its own definition of marriage for state purposes... not the federal courts or the U.S. Congress.
- The federal government will stick with the traditional definition of marriage being between one man and one woman.
- No state will be required to recognize or respect a same-sex, polygamous, or polyandrous marriage, even if such are recognized in some other state.
As liberals, they can still argue that their own state should define marriage to include same-sex unions... define, that is, by citizens' initiatives, state legislatures, state courts interpreting the state constitution, or however that state accomplishes such determinations; and nothing in this amendment prevents them doing so.
The amendment doesn't compel any state to recognize same-sex marriage, but it allows each state to do so, on its own. It only stops the feds from bullying the states, and stops other states from bullying their neighbors.
To vote against this amendment -- is to vote in favor of one's own state being forced, willy-nilly, to dance to some other government's tune. I reason that after the shellacking the Democrats will take in the 2010 elections, they will be too gunshy to vote to allow the federal courts (or next-door states) to define marriage for their own state, against the wishes of their own constituents.
Astute readers will recognize sections 2 and 3 as the guts of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is still currently federal law (1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C); though a number of federal lawsuits seek to overturn it. If this amendment passes, that will moot those cases, as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution is constitutional by definition. (I reversed the order of the two provisions to put the state and federal definitions next to each other.)
So what do our lawyer readers think; would this fly? Would it have a chance to get 67 votes in the Senate, 290 votes in the House, and then be ratified by at least 38 states -- that is, in the world beyond the November elections and the seating of the new Congress and new state legislatures?
Date ►►► August 8, 2010
Just Suppose This Juxtapose
From the Financial Times (free registration required):
The Federal Reserve is set to downgrade its assessment of US economic prospects when it meets on Tuesday to discuss ways to reboot the flagging recovery.
Faced with weak economic data and rising fears of a double-dip recession, the Federal Open Market Committee is likely to ensure its policy is not constraining growth and to use its statement to signal greater concern about the economy. It is, however, unlikely to agree big new steps to boost growth....
In congressional testimony last month, Ben Bernanke noted “unusual uncertainty” in the economic outlook and in a speech last week the Fed chairman warned of a “considerable way to go” before the US achieves a full recovery.
From the Seattle Times:
As the U.S. economy endures high unemployment and a jittery stock market, President Obama has preached sacrifice and fiscal discipline. But the pictures coming out of a sunsplashed Spanish resort this week may be sending a different message.
First lady Michelle Obama is on a five-day trip to a luxury resort along with a handful of friends, her younger daughter, Sasha, aides and Secret Service personnel. Her office said the first family will pay for personal expenses, but declined to reveal the taxpayer cost for the government employees. The president stayed home in the United States, as did daughter Malia, 12, who is at camp....
The opulence of the European trip also has drawn scrutiny. Michelle Obama is staying at the Hotel Villa Padierna, a Ritz-Carlton resort in the mountains outside Marbella. The resort has two golf courses, a posh spa with Turkish baths, views of the Mediterranean Sea and a high-end restaurant specializing in avant-garde fare. Room rates start at $400 and rise to $6,500 for a two-bedroom villa with a private pool and 24-hour butler service.
The danger for the Obamas is that the trip may feed perceptions they are out of touch with struggling American families, said Chris Wilson, a Republican pollster.
From the Daily Mail:
U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and her younger daughter lunched with Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia today at the royal summer residence on the Balearic island of Majorca.
Mrs Obama, nine-year-old Sasha and their entourage flew into the Majorcan capital of Palma from the glitzy Mediterranean resort of Marbella, where they have been staying since Wednesday at a deluxe hotel....
But the First Lady has been lambasted for her extravagance at a time when the economy is still struggling. One blogger went so far as to brand her a modern-day Marie Antoinette.
And her critics will be further annoyed when they learn that the president's wife had a Spanish beach closed off today so that she, her daughter and their entourage could go for a swim.
Spanish police cleared off a stretch of beach at the Villa Padierna Hotel in Marbella after the Obamas had finished a busy day of sightseeing....
It is unclear whether the police presence was paid for by Spain - or whether a nasty invoice could be landing in the lap of the American taxpayer.
I promise on my mother's grave -- does that still count, even though she's still alive? -- that I will never, ever refer to the First Michelle as "Marie Antoinette." Never.
Nor will I compare and contrast, nor draw any conclusions about the depth of Obamic sincerity. I will simply let the words and music of Evita Obama speak for themselves.
Date ►►► August 6, 2010
Should a Gay Judge Have Appointed Himself to Hear the Case Against Proposition 8?
Patterico asks a cogent question in a recent post: "Should the Prop. 8 Decision Have Been Made by a Gay Judge?" Or should Judge Vaughn Walker have recused himself from hearing Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the lawsuit filed to overturn California's Proposition 8, an initiative constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (SSM)?
Patterico concludes thus:
Still, if you see laws against gay marriage as discriminatory in the same sense that Jim Crow laws were, it’s tough to accept the premise that a gay judge could not ethically decide this case.... Would a black judge be required to recuse himself from hearing a challenge to Jim Crow laws? Somehow, the intuitive answer to that question is no, of course not. Why is this different?
This one is actually fairly easy to answer: By the time Jim Crow laws were being overturned in courts, America had already enacted numerous federal laws and constitutional amendments, an infrastructure of paradigmatic change, going all the way back to our Organic Documents, that collectively formed the basis for a national consensus that "all men are created equal."
Obviously not everybody agreed, or we wouldn't have needed to overturn such laws in court -- nor would we have needed to enact the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But a consensus does not require unanimity; and clearly, Americans were willing to accept in the abstract what they could not always practice in their own lives: That there is no significant difference in personhood between black and white.
Today, we absolutely accept the fact that gay men and lesbians are just as much "persons" as heterosexual men and women, and they have the same rights. Even those of us who oppose SSM accept that point without hesitation; you have to go to a repulsive, lunatic, little vants like the Irreverend Phred Phelps and his henchmen to find anyone disputing the basic humanity of gays.
But that's not the question, is it? We all agree that gays have the same rights as heterosexuals; the question is, what exactly are those rights anent marriage?
I believe that gays and straights both have the same marital rights -- to religiously marry anybody or any group of people they and their religion allow... but to legally marry only those people who meet certain qualifications, one of which is to be of the opposite gender. I have no objection to a gay man marrying a woman, gay or straight; just as I have no objection to a lesbian marrying a man, no matter his sexual preference.
It wouldn't even bother me if a gay man married a lesbian, then they had children... or even adopted. So long as the family has a male father and a female mother, I will grant it's as socially valid and as good for raising children as a marriage of two heterosexuals.
But I do not support a putative "right" to legally marry anybody one "loves", without exception or qualification. Marriage comes with a host of restrictions that bind everyone:
- You cannot marry a person without his or her consent.
- You cannot marry your sibling, your parent, or your close cousin.
- You cannot marry a child.
- You cannot marry multiple people at once (group marriage).
- You cannot marry someone who currently is already married (bigamy).
- And... you cannot marry a person of the same gender as you.
That last restriction applies equally to heterosexuals; consider two old biddies, best girlfriends, both widowed, and both completely straight, but who want to marry for the financial benefits. Sorry, ladies, you cannot. We forbid you to abuse the legal status of being married.
By contrast, I absolutely support the Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, striking down laws against "sodomy," however defined. Why the difference? Because the right to associate (and yes, including sexually) is an issue of individual liberty. It also falls within the veil of privacy that, yes, I do believe restrains federal, state, and local government from intruding too deeply into the lives of free citizens. Simply put, a government that can control who you are allowed to sleep with or who you can live with is totalitarian.
But marriage is not a private affair; it's a public, communal celebration and societal endorsement of a relationship; it says, "This is a special relationship that we, in this state, believe is better than other types of relationships. Thus, to encourage this type of relationship, we will reward it above and beyond other relationships." Given that description, state citizens have the right to decide what particular types of relationships we will so celebrate and endorse.
We can decide how close a relationship must be in order to put that person off limits. We can decide how old a person must be to get married. If we so choose, we can decide to allow polyamorous marriage. And if we so choose, we can decide to allow SSM; but by the same token, if we choose -- which we have done -- we can likewise decide to disallow it. And until and unless we have the same legal infrastructure anent marital rights for gays as we had the 1940s-1960s anent civil rights for blacks, no damned court has the power to overturn the people's law and make its own law.
If it did have that power, then America would no longer be a constitutional republic... we would instead be a kritarchy, ruled by unelected, robèd lords with lifetime tenure.
So yes, it may well make a difference if the judge who decided the case is a gay activist. But that would be true whether or not he himself was homosexual; there are doubtless more heterosexual gay activists than homosexual gay activists. The only point in bringing up Judge Walker's sexual preference is that it's another brick in the wall, another piece of evidence that he might well be a gay activist... taken together with other pieces of evidence, including the thirty-eight years he has lived and practiced in ultra-liberal, ultra-gay-activist San Fransisco; his judicial record in toto (not just a couple of cherry-picked cases where he actually deigned to follow the law, instead of trying to rewrite it); and the fact that, as Chief Judge, he probably decided to appoint himself to hear this case.
And of course the vapid and tendentious opinion he wrote, which also smells strongly of judicial activism.
For that purpose, exploring whether Judge Walker is a gay activist, it's not unreasonable to bring up his own sexual preference; by itself, it's not dispositive -- but it's not irrelevant, either.
Date ►►► August 4, 2010
The War Against Marriage Goes Round and Round, Round and Round...
Today, between 1:00pm and 3:00pm PDT, U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker will electronically issue his ruling on the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8.
Proposition 8 was the citizen-initiative state constitutional amendment overturning the state Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage (SSM) and restoring the traditional definition of marriage to America's biggest (and most debt-ridden) state. The amendment passed 52.24% to 47.76% in 2008, despite the massive, Obama-driven, liberal-Democratic vote.
The state Supreme Court reluctantly upheld the proposition, which led to an immediate federal lawsuit, Kristin M. Perry v. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Alas, I predict that Judge Walker will find for the plaintiff, striking down Prop. 8 (again) and once more shoving SSM down the throats of Californios.
George Will will be beside himself with glee. It's not that he supports SSM; I'm sure he doesn't. But he's absolutely fanatical against citizen initiatives; he considers them an abomination. Imagine, direct democracy!
He is disgusted and appalled at the very idea that citizens should be allowed to determine the laws they live under, instead of letting their betters rule for their own good. If Judge Walker rules against Prop. 8, Will will write a column praising the decision.
By contrast, Patterico -- who supports SSM -- will be bitter and angry... because he believes citizens should be allowed to set their own defintion of marriage much more than he believes in same-sex marriage. The difference is simple: Patterico is a staunch proponent of government by the consent of the governed -- while George Will calls himself an unreconstructed Tory, by which I assume he means he is a monarchist at heart.
The only question I have is whether Walker will stay his ruling until the Ninth Circus can review it, or whether he will order the state immediately to begin issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples... hoping that even if the Ninth or the Supreme Court ultimately overturns his decision, so many lesbians and gay men will have already married that SSM will be a fait accompli, the courts having finally forced the policy upon the state even without final support from the Supremes.
On that narrow question, I make no prediction.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
UPDATE: I wrote this post before reading Patterico's own post, which also predicts that Judge Walker will strike down Proposition 8. Two great thoughts with but a single mind between them. (Oh, wait; that would make us both halfwits, wouldn't it?)
UPDATE II: Yup.
The Dawa Bums, and the Only Hope
The only hope for final victory in the war against radical Islamism is to turn the majority of the umma against the Islamists, against sharia, against jihad, against dawa.
The only hope to turn the majority of the umma is to bring about a reformation and enlightenment within Islam.
The only hope for reformation and enlightenment is to engage open-minded Moslems in a war of ideas and ideologies.
The only hope to engage open-minded Moslems is clearly to discriminate between Islamists and non-radical Moslems, and to offer persuasive arguments to the latter that radical Islamism is a colossal exercise in cultural suicide.
The only hope to single-out Islamists is to lead Westerners to understand what radical Islamism is; and to shine the light of truth, not only upon obvious terrorists but, much more important, upon the shadow-warriors who practice dawa -- promoting Islamist ideas by means other than violent jihad.
The only hope to lead Westerners to understanding is to speak honestly, forthrightly, and in plain words about the web of mass hatred, human sacrifice, nihilism, totalitarianism, and destruction of the individual that constitutes radical Islamism.
The only hope to expose the dawa-bums is to enunciate those truths again and again and again.
The only hope to speak honestly and enuciate the truths of Islamism is to have courage, determination, and American cussedness.
The only hope to develop courage, determination, and cussedness is to practice it... and that means taking advantage of every election to throw out the appeasers, obfuscators, accomodationists, bribe-takers and rent-seekers, and panderers who infest state legislatures and governors' mansions, Congress, and la Casa Blanca.
The only hope to throw the traitors out is to use our votes wisely: to vote for conservatives and Tea-Partiers in primaries where the state or district is probably going to go Republican no matter what; but not to nominate extremist conservatives in states or districts that are likely to lurch left if the Republican nominee is too right-wing.
And even being willing to vote for a Democrat with clarity on radical Islamism, in preference to a Republican who still thinks Islam is the "religion of peace."
The goal is to change the environment in the states, in Congress, and in the White House... not to "send a message." If you want to send a message, write a blasted blogpost; don't dump your vote.
That's the only hope; so don't blow it.
Date ►►► August 3, 2010
Calling Madam Tussaud's
I read the headline --
"Helen Thomas may get statue in museum"
...And my first thought was, one more reason to steer clear of the wax museum's Chamber of Horrors!
Then I read on and discovered it was even worse, much worse -- but oh, so much more appropriate! -- than I originally envisioned:
Ahead of her 90th birthday, veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who resigned following her offensive remarks against Israel, may be getting a statue in her honor at the Arab American National Museum in Michigan....
But Thomas' remarks that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Poland and Germany, which abruptly ended her 67-year-career, are not helping the cause.
Or perhaps they are?
The real question is why the Arab American National Museum in Michigan wants to honor a woman who believes Israel is "occupied territory" and should commit national suicide, with all those dastardly Jews packing up and going back to Europe, where (she evidently believes) they all came from -- Jews never having lived in the Middle East until the nineteenth century Zionist invasion, as every Islamist knows by heart.
Of course, "Palestine" is, in fact, occupied territory... long before modern Israel existed, and quite a few times over:
- It was occupied by the British at the end of World War I, 1918.
- The Brits took it away from the Ottoman Empire, which occupied that land by defeating the Mamluks, of both Persian and Turkish ethnicity, in 1517.
- The Mamluks had got it away from the Ayyubid dynasty of Saladin in 1250; for the three-year period of 1244-1247, "Palestine" had been first sacked, then occupied by the fierce, Russian Tatars; but that doesn't really count, having been only three years.
- Saladin, a Persian Kurd, himself had wrested it away from the crusaders in 1187.
- Prior to that, the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem had lasted for 88 years, from the success of the First Crusade in 1099.
- The only time Arabs ruled "Palestine" was from 638, six years after the death of Mohammed, until the crusaders wrested it back to the West.
- Prior to the Arab conquest, the land was subject to a relentless tug-o-war between the Byzantine Empire (the Eastern Roman Empire) and pre-Islamic Persian Sassanids.
- The Roman Empire (first unified, then the eastern, Byzantine branch) ruled over that land from about 63 BC, following the invasion of Pompey.
- Before the Romans, the ethnically Greek Seleucid Empire ruled "Palestine" from 134 BC to 63 BC.
- The Seleucids took it back from the Maccabees, a Jewish dynasty that had wrested their homeland away from the Seleucids back in 168 BC.
- Before the brief interregnum of the Maccabees, the Seleucids had run the 'hood since taking it away from the Ptolemaic Greeks in 198 BC.
- The Ptolemys, who had conquered Egypt and ruled from there, controlled "Palestine" from sometime in the 300s BC, following the breakup of the empire of Alexander the Great.
- Before Alexander, it was the Persians again; they seized it from the Babylonians in 538 BC.
- Babylon had taken it from the Assyrians in 586 BC.
- And the Assyrians conquered the Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC.
- From 1020 BC up to 722, it was the Hebrew Kingdom of Israel -- Jews didn't become "Jews" until they returned from the Babylonian exile in 538 BC -- originally unified, but split in 930 BC. However, Hebrew tribes certainly controlled that land for centuries before 1020 BC.
I'm not sure at what point so-called Palestinians are supposed to have controlled what is now Israel; possibly they're referring to the 461 years from AD 638 to 1099, when the land was under Arab (not "Palestinian") rule. But it's rather self-serving that modern-day Palestinians pick that one period of control out of two or three thousand years of conquest, and try to leverage it into modern-day land ownership.
It's just that old devil of Islamic supremacism and "sacred space": Any land once occupied by the Umma, no matter how long or how short a time, remains forever part of the Umma; and whoever seemingly owns it today must vacate immediately and make room for the "return" of the World Caliphate... evidently a doctrine supported and espoused by the Motown Shrew herself.
We seem to have wandered far afield, into a concise concatenation of conquest of one tiny corner of the globe. Back to Helen "Harpy" Thomas and her wandering mouth, and why the Arab American National Museum is so keen on having her likeness grace, if that is the word I want, their illustrious museum -- if illustrious is the word I want. My deep suspicion is that... well, just what prominent Michigan Jew Richard Nodel suggests:
Despite the difficulties in raising funds, unexpected support [?] of the initiative came from President of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit Richard Nodel, who expressed "hope that the support for this memorial is there despite her anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views and not because of them."
Two quick observations:
- First, unless there's more to that Nodel quotation than meets the screen, I would hardly call it "support" for the termagant.
- And second, I believe Nodel put his nail on it: I believe Thomas is being honored precisely because of that statement and a slew of other similar ones that preceded it.
The Arab American National Museum honors Helen the Harridan for being an outspoken and usually unabashed Jew hater... a fact that the so-called mainstream media must have known for decades, yet which never deterred them from dubbing her "Doyenne of the White House press corps."
If true, that is deeply sad -- and goes a long way towards explaining, in Professor Bernard Lewis' immortal phrase, "what went wrong" with the Islam and the Islamic culture. At some point during the Middle Ages, I believe, perhaps in response to its humiliating defeat at the hands of crusading Christians, the religion of Submission became utterly defined not by what it loves -- but by who it hates. And by now, that list includes nigh everyone, including most of those who call themselves Moslems.
It's not for tendentious reasons that Dore Gold chose to call his book about Saudi Arabia Hatred's Kingdom; and that is likewise a good, functional description of the jackal's share of the Umma itself.
Date ►►► August 2, 2010
The Eyes Have It
In a recent post by John Hinderaker of Power Line (my f.b. on my f.b.), the divine Mr. H. contrasted the courage of Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill with the carnage of Barack H. Obama. The latter comes up lacking:
Unfortunately, it is hard to see much resemblance between our current leadership and Churchill.
But at least we appear to have solved a mystery! For now it's quite clear just why the Obamacle's first official gift to Great Britain was a bust of Churchill; that very country lent it to us after the 9/11 attacks, and the bust had occupied an honored spot in the Oval Office ever since.
Until Valentine's Day, 2009, that is, when the incoming Obamunist packed it up and FedExed it back to Jolly Olde England. (Jolly Olde E. promptly snuck it right back, to the Washington residence of Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Britain's Ambassador to America.)
In a secretly recorded snippet of conversation the next day between Obama and Rahm Emanuel, the president can be heard whimpering, "those eyes; those eyes! It's like they were following me as I moved around the room. And they were... scowling."
(In a related note, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts categorically denies that it has purchased the bust to set up in the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland.)
Riddle Me This, o Argumentative Abogados
(Or is that "Avocados?")
If the federal government can force me by law to purchase government-approved health insurance -- e.g., ObamaCare -- whether I want it or not... does that mean it can also force me by law to purchase cable-TV service from government-approved cable-TV operators, even if I would rather have DirecTV or Dish Network, or even (heaven forbid!) no TV at all?
If the power to command the first doesn't imply the power to command the second, then what is the legal distinction? Why couldn't Congress enact the Viewer Protection and Affordable Television Act of 2010 during its Lame Donkey session this year?
Non-lawyer minds really, really want to know.
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