Date ►►► January 31, 2011

Energetically Mulling Over the Mullings Mullings...

Hatched by Dafydd

I love reading Rich Galen's webzine Mullings; he always has about the purest "Beltway bombast" available on the internets!

For example, in his most recent Mullings episode, he frets about the Tunisian and Egyptian riots, uprisings, conflagrations, whathaveyou, warning of the dire consequences should the upheavals against Arabic tyranny continue:

  • Southwest of Egypt is Nigeria. If the riots spread there (and to Angola and Algeria) disruption of oil production would have a massive impact on the U.S. economy. Why? Because we import about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day from those three countries.
  • And, if the riots spread east to the Gulf States of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait that could disrupt another 1.3 million barrels per day.
  • Together those five countries provide 2.8 million of the 10 million barrels of oil we import every day. Cut oil imports by 28 percent and it will make the $4.00 per gallon price spike of 2008 look like the good old days.

So wait -- you mean OPEC might collapse, and we might actually have to cease importing so much oil (4.5 billion barrels per year, ~ $400 billion), and instead be forced to begin exploiting the staggering proven and prospective reserves of oil (134 billion barrels), shale oil (2.6 trillion barrels), and natural gas (2.6 quadrillion cubic feet) we have in this very country?

Not to mention expansion of Generation IV nuclear reactors, such as Pebble Bed and Integral Fast, for generating grid-feeding electrical power; and fuel-saving developments for automobiles, such as high-temperature ceramic engines and flywheel technology to store angular momentum.

And perhaps even the ultimate power source: solar-power satellites that beam microwave energy to Earth from satellites with several square miles of solar cells in geosynchronous orbit, far beyond any rational measure of "atmosphere."

Goodness, gracious, great balls of fire! How will we ever survive?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 31, 2011, at the time of 5:42 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25

Hatched by Dafydd

I call the next three the "Rooseveltian amendments" -- despite the fact that not a single one was enacted by Congress during the (interminable) administration of the Great Dictator, and only one was even ratified during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's tenure. And that one ratified amendment -- repealing Prohibition -- was the least "Rooseveltian" of the three...!

~

The Rooseveltian Amendments

Amendment 20 - Presidential, Congressional Terms. Ratified 1/23/1933.

1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

Amendment 21 - Amendment 18 Repealed. Ratified 12/5/1933.

1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

3. The article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Amendment 22 - Presidential Term Limits. Ratified 2/27/1951.

1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President, when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

The first of these amendments brought the electoral turnover into the twentieth century, shortening the "lame-duck" period between election and inauguration.

As an interesting side note, the 20th Amendment was voted by Congress in 1932, when the Republican-Democratic split in the Senate was dead even (counting the Farmer-Labor senator as a Democrat), and the Republicans "controlled" the House... by exactly one vote (same caveat). The GOP must have known that President Herbert "Chicken in every pot, car in every garage" Hoover was destined to lose, and likely lose to Gov. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who would therefore benefit by the shortened lame-elephant session; yet at least half of them must have voted for the amendment anyway. This is yet another instance of Republicans putting conscience ahead of their own short-term advantage; another example was when Republicans pressured Richard Nixon to resign, when he might well have been able to ride out a Senate trial. Have the Democrats ever done so?

The last Rooseveltian amendment -- enacted by the newly elected Republican Congress two years after FDR's death and ratified in 1951 -- was clearly a post-mortem slap-down of Roosevelt's chutzpah in running for not two, not three, but four presidential terms, the first and last president ever to do so.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 31, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 30, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24

Hatched by Dafydd

The last two amendments from the era of government-commanded, liberal-fascist utopia...

~

The Wilsonian-Progressivism Amendments II

Amendment 18 - Liquor Abolished. Ratified 1/16/1919. (Repealed by Amendment 21, 12/5/1933.)

1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Amendment 19 - Women's Suffrage. Ratified 8/18/1920.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

I have read that there was a great overlap between "temperance" marchers and suffragettes; both were Bible-inspired, do-gooder, busy-body women's movements.

Curiously, many of these same women were quite racist. For example, Susan B. Anthony -- honored with a dollar coin not too long ago, which proved no more popular than the Sacajawea dollar coin some years later -- made the racist argument for women's suffrage about as succinctly as it could be:

While the dominant party have with one hand lifted up TWO MILLION BLACK MEN and crowned them with the honor and dignity of citizenship, with the other they have dethroned FIFTEEN MILLION WHITE WOMEN -- their own mothers and sisters, their own wives and daughters -- and cast them under the heel of the lowest orders of manhood.

This caused a terrible split within the suffrage movement, as many suffragettes also opposed racism. That schism between racist and non-racist suffragettes probably delayed the eventual 19th Amendment by decades.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 30, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 29, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23

Hatched by Dafydd

Under Woodrow Wilson, our first "liberal fascist" president (but not our last!), utopianism of the progressivist kind reigned. There was nothing that Americans couldn't do -- so long as the government imposed it with an iron fist.

This was also the era of the Sedition Act, pushed by President Woodrow Wilson, which criminalized any criticism of the government, the Wilson administration, or the administration's entry into and prosecution of World War I. So much for the 1st Amendment; but then, Wilson had little patience for the way the entire Constitution limited the arbitrary power of elected officials.

~

The Wilsonian-Progressivism Amendments I

Amendment 16 - Status of Income Tax Clarified. Ratified 2/3/1913.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Amendment 17 - Senators Elected by Popular Vote. Ratified 4/8/1913.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

The first of these amendments was enacted in 1909, years before Wilson was even elected; but he strongly supported an income tax, and he pushed one through Congress as soon as the amendment was ratified (along with antitrust legislation, farm supports, unionista legislation, the League of Nations, and so forth). The Wilson administration was truly a dream come true for progressivist utopians.

The direct election of senators amendment was passed by Congress six months before Wilson was elected, but he strongly supported the idea of "direct elections" for virtually every office. I have a running argument with several friends of mine, but I insist that Wilson was as near as makes no difference a populist as well as a progressivist. So there.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 29, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 28, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22

Hatched by Dafydd

The last of the three Civil Rights amendments seems the most innocuous; who could object to removing racial prohibitions, restrictions, and inconveniences due to race? But it has engendered endless problems since 1965...

~

The Civil Rights Amendments -- voting rights

Amendment 15 - Race No Bar to Vote. Ratified 2/3/1870.

1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

So what's the beef? It's not in the guts of the amendment itself; the danger lurks in the standard execution clause found in many other constitutional amendments: "The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

See what happened was a number of states and counties -- not just in the South! -- found frequent occasion to restrict, inhibit, infringe, and sometimes outright violate the voting rights of blacks and other racial minorities. In 1965, Congress overwhelmingly enacted the Voting Rights Act (VRA), ostensibly to rectify this situation. But as part of the Act, Congress included in section 5 a procedure called "preclearance" that has caused no end of grief.

All of the states and probably all of the counties originally covered by the VRA have long since abandoned their attempts to restrict or prevent non-whites from voting; in the last forty-five years, I don't recall any federal case where the courts held that a state or county covered by the VRA was still trying to discriminate.

But under the preclearance section of the Act, virtually any change in voting procedure or requirements, no matter how innocent and unrelated to race, must explicitly be approved by the United States Department of Justice. Complained Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston (quoted in the VRA Wikipedia entry), "If you move a polling place from the Baptist church to the Methodist church, you've got to go through the Justice Department."

While there is a procedure for previously covered venues "bailing out" from Section-5 scrutiny, it's cumbersome and embarassing, and it usually provokes a firestorm of protest from the party of the professionally aggrieved. In effect, political entities that have not racially discriminated against minority voting in decades are still paying for the sins of their grandparents and great-grandparents.

Racial discrimination is a dreadful wrong. But how many generations is the statute of limitations on that crime?

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 28, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 27, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21

Hatched by Dafydd

This constitutional amendment in particular served as the basis, decades after its adoption, for the "incorporation period" of constitutional jurisprudence... more or less extending the prohibitions against federal infringement on the rights of American citizens to prohibitions against state and local governments doing the same.

It also splits citizenship into two characteristics: First, the previous definition that being born or naturalized in a state makes you a citizen of that state; second, that it also makes you a citizen of the United States itself, which thereby became a unique and dominating entity, eclipsing the states and rewriting the very concept of federalism.

~

The Civil Rights Amendments -- citizenship and rights

Amendment 14 - Citizenship Rights. Ratified 7/9/1868.

1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 1 of this amendment is vast, sweeping, and breathtakingly radical, in the more general sense of "desiring extreme change of part or all of the social order," rather than the more specific meaning of "very left wing." By extending the duty to protect citizens' life, liberty, and property to the states and mandating equal protection of the laws, the 14th Amendment essentially took what was then a collection of sovereign states and transformed it into a unified federal government; in other words, it transmogrified the (united) States of America into the United States of America.

In the final pages of of Gore Vidal's 1984 novel Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's former secretary, John Hay, finds himself at a diplomatic reception a year and a half after the assassination. Hay is asked an intriguing question by American historian Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler, and he gives a startling answer:

"Where," asked Mr. Schuyler, "would you place Mr. Lincoln amongst the presidents of our country?"

"Oh, I would place him first."

"Above Washington?" Mr. Schuyler looked startled.

"Yes," said Hay, who had thought a good deal about the Tycoon's place in history. "Mr. Lincoln had a far greater and more difficult task than Washington's. You see, the Southern states had every Constitutional right to go out of the Union. But Lincoln said no. Lincoln said this Union can never be broken. Now that was a terrible responsibility for one man to take. But he took it, knowing he would be obliged to fight the greatest war in human history, which he did, and which he won. So he not only put the Union back together again, but he made an entirely new country, and all of it in his own image."

"You astonish me," said Mr. Schuyler.

"Mr. Lincoln astonished us all."

"I rather think," said Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler to his daughter, "that we should take a look at this new country, which plainly bears no resemblance to the one I left, in the quiet days of Martin Van Buren."

"Well, come soon," said Hay. "Because who knows what may happen next?"

"I have been writing, lately, about the German first minister." Mr. Schuyler was thoughtful. "In fact, I met him at Biarritz last summer when he came to see the emperor. Curiously enough, he has now done the same thing to Germany that you tell us Mr. Lincoln did to our country. Bismarck has made a single, centralized nation out of all the other German states."

Hay nodded; he, too, had noted the resemblance. "Bismarck would also give the vote to people who have never had it before."

"I think," said Mr. Schuyler to the princess, "we have here a subject -- Lincoln and Bismarck, and new countries for old."

"It will be interesting to see how Herr Bismarck ends his career," said Hay, who was now more than ever convinced that Lincoln, in some mysterious fashion, had willed his own murder as a form of atonement for the great and terrible thing that he had done by giving so bloody and absolute a rebirth to his nation.

By George Washington was American born, but by Abraham Lincoln was it born again, for good or for ill; and the 14th Amendment, enacted three years after Lincoln's assassination, was the midwife of that renaissance.

Would we have survived another seven-score and five years had we not been so monstrously recreated? I suspect the answer is no, America would not be here today. On the whole, I think what Lincoln did, terrible though it was at the time, was prudent, necessary, and good.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 27, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 26, 2011

Obligatory SOTU Set-to

Hatched by Dafydd

The short version: For the first time in, z'ounds, thirty years or more, I found that -- after hearing a few excerpts of Lucky Lefty's oration -- any desire actually to watch the thing just drained away. Not only didn't I watch it, I casually and without a qualm deleted it off the DVR.

The Obamunist simply has nothing to say that I care to hear, and I have nothing to say about the State of the Onion report. So it goes.

The long, lugubrious version: I did listen to Paul Ryan's (R-WI, 96%) abbreviated rebuttal; it wasn't bad, but Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN, 100%) non-response response was much, much better: It was even shorter than Ryan's but included more specific proposals, for example mentioning the various policies with which House Republicans seek to replace ObamaCare.

But if I'm honest, I have to say that a speech, anybody's speech, is mere entertainment. Imagining that a great speech, by itself, will profoundly change anything is magical thinking.

A speech is an argument; a great speech is a killer argument. But even a killer argument must eventually be implemented... and thereby hangs the tail. I revere Ryan not for his pretty speech today but for his Roadmap for America's Future, about which we blogged here last August; the Roadmap gives fairly detailed and precise GPS (Government Pruning and Slashing) directions to Congress; enact them, and we veer away from the abyss and return, in a reasonable length of time, to fiscal, martial, political, and educational sanity.

Run away from them, and we end up in the quarry pit, covered by tons of rocks and dirt, with a bulldozer sitting atop us. And dang, not a single rocket in the launchers!

I'm more of a big-picture guy; but that too is more important than the pretty speech by Paul Ryan -- or a speech by the pretty Michele Bachmann. I've tried to point out how ridiculous is our current "dilemma," as it is an entirely self-created self-immolation:

  1. We lack domestic energy resources because we have chosen not to develop our own natural domestic energy resources.
  2. Our enemies have billions of dollars to spend attacking us because we pay them billions of dollars for their oil... which we needs must do because of (1) above.
  3. We lose freedoms every day because terrorists attack us... which happens because of (2) above, and because we have chosen not to implement proven behavioral profiling protocols.
  4. The health-insurance market and free-enterprise medicine are breaking down because we have chosen to regulate the market and free enterprise medicine out of existence.
  5. We have a staggering Social Security and Medicare unfunded liability because we have chosen not to invest the confiscated moneys (better, to allow the contributers to invest the moneys themselves) in financially productive investment instruments, preferring instead to spend the supposedly sequestered funds on day-to-day expenses. (If a private company treated its pension funds the way government does, the entire BoD and all corporate officers would spend twenty years as guests of the state.)
  6. We have an education crisis because we have rejected expansion of successful private and parochial schools and homeschooling in favor of the factory model of the early Industrial Revolution, when the point of "education" was to teach prospective workers how to read the directions on a lathe or drill press.
  7. We have rampant crime because we have seized every opportunity to loose criminals upon society, due to grotesquely misbegotten empathy with evil.
  8. We have a teen-sexuality crisis because we have chosen to prematurely sexualize children, and on and on; so it still goes.

Does any crisis or catastrophe loom over the United States that was not willfully and recklessly wrought upon ourselves, through the malfeasance and nonfeasance of rent-seeking special interests, the megalomaniacal regulators who implement the special interests' pet projects, the elected officials who fail to oversee and rein in those regulators, and We the People who vote in corrupt candidates, again and again?

Step Number One along the road to American recovery is, strangely enough, exactly the same, word for word, as Rule Number One of deep holes: For God's sake, stop digging!

If we would just stop digging, most of our problems would be dust in the wind.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 26, 2011, at the time of 2:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20

Hatched by Dafydd

We now come to what I consider to be the most profoundly transformative three amendments to the United States Constituion: the "Civil Rights" amendments.

I'm going to take these one at a time, as each contains at least one point of interest...

~

The Civil Rights Amendments -- abolition of slavery

Amendment 13 - Slavery Abolished. Ratified 12/6/1865.

1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Note that the amendment does not, in fact, ban slavery! It only bans it for innocents who have not been "duly convicted" of a crime; but that means the Constitution contemplates that Congress or state legislatures may enact criminal statutes that include, as a possible penalty, impressing the perpetrator into either involuntary servitude or even chattel slavery itself.

I'm sure that many judges would declare that to be "cruel and unusual punishment;" though of course we've had chain gangs for eons, and we still have prisoner "work details" in nearly all states. But consider this as a deterrent to crime: Suppose a standard punishment for theft or fraud included involuntary indentured servitude; that is, working for a fixed term at the direction of, and for the benefit of, the criminal's victims? That way, a convict could truly "pay his debt to society."

Something to think about, eh?

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 26, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 25, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19

Hatched by Dafydd

One fairly minor amendment, followed by a major revision to how we selecte our president and vice president...

~

The Amendments -- Can't sue another state, changes to presidential elections

Amendment 11 - Judicial Limits. Ratified 2/7/1795.

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Amendment 12 - Choosing the President, Vice-President. Ratified 6/15/1804.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;

The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.

The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Anent the 12th Amendment above, in the original version of the Constitution (Article II, section 1), the electors of the Electoral College would simply cast two votes for president: Whoever gets a majority of all electoral votes becomes President of the United States, and the second-highest vote-getter becomes Vice President.

By the beginning of the 19th century, however, politicians had discovered the essential stupidity of this system: There was no way to distinguish a vote for president from a vote for vice president; thus in the highly probable case of two factions within the Democratic Republicans duking it out, a likely situation has half the people voting for Jones for president, the other half for Smith -- but both sides wanting Patterson for vice president.

In which case Jones gets a bit less than half the votes, Smith gets a bit less than half the votes -- but Patterson gets more than twice as many votes as either presidential candidate and is promptly elected president -- which nobody wanted!

So they changed it to distinguish between a vote for president and one for vice president. Simple.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 25, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 24, 2011

The Green Bee... B-Movie, That Is

Hatched by Dafydd

I may be stepping on Movie Badger's toes, but I happen to know I've got at least twenty pounds on him, and he has a glass jaw. Still, if'n he wants to chime in with his own review of the Green Hornet, he's welcome.

The best I can say is that I liked some elements of the movie somewhat:

  • I liked the costumes, the character names, and the Black Beauty, because they were essentially identical to those in the TV series.
  • I liked the Britt Reid/Green Hornet character arc, from vapid playboy, to thrill-seeking vigilante, to someone who actually cares about the people he's protecting. (Though not much concern about innocent bystanders and bydrivers!)

And... well, I guess that's it. I'm unhappy about the balance between sense of humor -- too much -- and sense of serious -- too little; one reason I-as-a-child liked the Green Hornet TV series more than Batman was that the former was a dramatic-action version of the latter.

Both series' superheros were ordinary mortals (and had great sidekicks -- literally, in Kato's case -- who were equally mortal); no Superman or Flash or Incredible Huck; no magical powers, no pagan gods. But Batman was camped up (those corny "Bam! Pow!" spelt-out sound effects during fights, the costumes and capes, and Burt Ward's pencil stub of a love muscle); it was a show for slow children and smirking, mocking, braying teens.

Contrariwise, my recollection of the Green Hornet is that it was presented in a more realistic and serious manner: No costumed supervillains, no silly riddles and other deliberate clues left by self-destructive criminals for the hornet to solve, no Republic serial-like cliffhangers (well, until the last episode, kind of).

The Green Hornet was to Batman as the Man from U.N.C.L.E. was to Get Smart. Even as a kid, I was a bit off-put by the conscious campiness of BM. So I was annoyed that much of the current movie has Seth Rogen (Britt Reid/Green Hornet) acting like a drunken, clumsy, credit-grabbing, arrogant, ungrateful, incompetent oaf, hamming it up and mugging for the camera. I have "issues" with Rogen himself; he seems so childish and truculent compared to the adult Van Williams in the series.

Of course, Rogen has executive-producer and writing credits on the production, as well as starring. I suspect this was a personal project, like Rocky, with comedian Rogen as the showrunner; and there was no way he was going to allow anybody else to play the title role.

All that out of the way, the plot is incredibly thin and very unoriginal, ripping off several of the series episodes: A crime boss has taken over "all the crime in L.A." (huh?), and the hornet wants to bring him to book. In fact, I think there was more plot in the 23 minutes of a typical Green Hornet teleplay than in this entire $120 million blockbuster 3-D feature. It's really just one shootout after another, one explosion after another, dressed with flipping cars, butchered bystanders, and more shattered glass than Kristallnacht... interrupted only by unrealistic unpleasantness between the main characters. And it has a Mission: Impossible 1 style "twist" that is just downright offensive to series fans.

In the final insult, they don't even play the heart-racing theme music (a modified "Flight of the Bumblebee" by Rimsky-Korsakov, played on a trumpet) until the very end -- and then they cut it short!

Very disappointing; though it was amusing to watch the putative "action" sequences and the end credits in "flat," speculating what they would look like in the 3-D version. Frankly, I would rather have re-watched Tangled in 3-D -- the best non-Pixar Disney animation since Walt kicked the farm -- than have seen this yawner.

(Sachi's review is that she almost fell asleep.)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 24, 2011, at the time of 2:21 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18

Hatched by Dafydd

We come to the end of the Bill of Rights. There would be two more amendments in the next few years... and then a gap of sixty-one years, the longest in our history, before the next batch, the Civil Rights amendments.

~

The Amendments -- last of the Bill of Rights, Amendments 9 and 10.

Amendment 9 - Construction of Constitution. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

An interesting one-two punch at the end of the BoR: First, assurance to the anti-Federalists that this list of rights was not exhaustive (not by a long shot!); second, the failed attempt to prevent the national government from metastasizing into a Leviathon that encircles the world, swallowing its own tail.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 24, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 23, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17

Hatched by Dafydd

The next four Amendments in the Bill of Rights comprise a series of rights related to trial in criminal and civil court cases...

~

Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8

Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment 6 - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment 7 - Trial by Jury in Civil Cases. Ratified 12/15/1791.

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment 8 - Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The joker in this deck of amendments has proven to be the 5th Amendment, for a couple of reasons:

  • Prohibition of double jeopardy: As the federal case against the cops who forcefully subdued Rodney King demonstrates, "the same offense" can be a malleable term indeed! In that case, officers were tried and acquitted in state court of assaulting King; but then -- in my opinion for purely political reasons, and disreputable ones at that -- were tried in federal court for the same actions, but this time tarted up as denying King his constitutional rights -- by forcefully subduing him.

    But there can also be good reasons for such a distinction: Think of murderous Klansmen "tried" and acquitted by a racist jury in fifteen minutes; surely such a sham trial should not mean the murderers are forever safe from punishment. Therein lies the dilemma.

  • Private property be taken for public use, such as seizing land on which to build a highway. But can it also be taken for public benefit? Say, using eminent domain to seize a neighborhood of houses in order to sell the property to a developer who plans to build a private hospital... or a private shopping center? What if thousands of people would actually benefit from such a seizure? But what if it's just a scheme by the state or county to jack up the property taxes on those lots?

    And if so, is "just compensation" the value that the land will have after it's developed, or merely the value that it had beforehand, when it was just some shabby, down-at-heel houses?

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 23, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 22, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16

Hatched by Dafydd

With the Bill of Rights, the Federalists fulfilled a promise made to the country, and especially to the Anti-Federalists...

~

The Amendments

The following are the Amendments to the Constitution. The first ten Amendments collectively are commonly known as the Bill of Rights. History

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment 3 - Quartering of Soldiers. Ratified 12/15/1791.

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The most dazzling of all the amendments in the Bill of Rights is surely the 3rd: Just think how many times it's gotten us out of a jam, when an American general would try to quarter a battalion in some poor, unsuspecting pension-fund manager's house!

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 22, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 21, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15

Hatched by Dafydd

The victory lap of the Constitution itself. Next stop -- the Bill of Rights!

~

Article VII - Ratification

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth. In Witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names.

Go Washington - President and deputy from Virginia

New Hampshire - John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman

Massachusetts - Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus King

Connecticut - Wm Saml Johnson, Roger Sherman

New York - Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey - Wil Livingston, David Brearley, Wm Paterson, Jona. Dayton

Pensylvania - B Franklin, Thomas Mifflin, Robt Morris, Geo. Clymer, Thos FitzSimons, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson, Gouv Morris

Delaware - Geo. Read, Gunning Bedford jun, John Dickinson, Richard Bassett, Jaco. Broom

Maryland - James McHenry, Dan of St Tho Jenifer, Danl Carroll

Virginia - John Blair, James Madison Jr.

North Carolina - Wm Blount, Richd Dobbs Spaight, Hu Williamson

South Carolina - J. Rutledge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, Pierce Butler

Georgia - William Few, Abr Baldwin

Attest: William Jackson, Secretary

It's a big shocking how many names on that roster I don't recognize. I reckon immortality can be pretty anonymous at times!

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 21, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 20, 2011

A Good Start; Keep Plugging!

Hatched by Dafydd

The Republican Study Committee, a conservative caucus within the House of Representatives that is chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH, 100%), has proposed the Spending Reduction Act of 2011. But before taking a look, let's review the status quo.

Let's recall that the GOP leadership was talking about possibly, maybe, well not quite but close, cutting about $100 billion from the 2011 budget -- that is, cutting approximately 2.6% from total federal outlays as proposed by President Barack H. Obama in 2010. And let's also understand that the total Obama proposed includes hundreds of billions of dollars in fantasy spending cuts that the Left would never actually implement, coupled with hundreds of billions of dollars in "off-line" spending that is separately accounted. Realistically, real spending would likely be closer to $4.5 trillion under the generous hand of the Obamunist (always willing to dig down deep in your pocket and take until it hurts). So on Planet Earth, the Republican leadership is really talking about a robust 2.2% reduction. Wow.

Now back to the RSC's proposal; they begin with a much bolder goal:

Moving aggressively to make good on election promises to slash the federal budget, the House GOP today unveiled an eye-popping plan to eliminate $2.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years. Gone would be Amtrak subsidies, fat checks to the Legal Services Corporation and National Endowment for the Arts, and some $900 million to run President Obama's healthcare reform program.

What's more, the "Spending Reduction Act of 2011" proposed by members of the conservative Republican Study Committee, chaired by Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, would reduce current spending for non-defense, non-homeland security and non-veterans programs to 2008 levels, eliminate federal control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, cut the federal workforce by 15 percent through attrition, and cut some $80 billion by blocking implementation of Obamacare.

(I've put the entire list of cuts, from the RSC Overview of their spending-cut proposal, in the extended portion of this post; click the "Slither on.")

Dividing $2.5 trillion by ten years yields an annual reduction (from proposed budgets) of $250 billion, two and a half times what the GOP top dogs first proposed, then walked back. Another way to look at it is that, instead of a yearly 2.2% reduction of the real spending mountain we face, the RSC proposes a yearly reduction of 5.6%.

So as I said, a good start. But there is another benefit if this proposal or anything close were enacted, perhaps after a lengthy negotiation with frightened Democrats; it would demonstrate that we can cut spending.

Actual spending reduction (as opposed to a reduction in the increase) is as rare as a Democrat with callused hands. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were able to significantly reduce taxes, but never spending. Bill Clinton, in concert with a newly Republican Congress (both houses), was able to balance the budget, but primarily by the fortuitous explosion of the computer/high-tech industry, which expanded the tax base... which itself had more to do with economic and regulatory policies initiated by Reagan than anything Clinton did. But I cannot recall significant spending cuts in my lifetime.

(Checking the budget history, there was a major spending reduction when World War II ended -- we were no longer supporting seven million men in the field, fighting half the world -- and a small reduction when the Korean War ended. But spending rose continuously throughout the Vietnam War and kept on rising after the war ended, not with a bang but a bug-out.)

Many Americans, having no experience with actually cutting spending from year to year, simply accept as read that it's impossible; but if we can demonstrate it before our very unbelieving eyes, then maybe folks will get all het up about cutting more and more and more. What Man has done, men can aspire to do!

With courage, perseverence, and good argument, we might be able to slash spending further and deeper than this nice jumping-off point from the RSC, down to a level that is actually comprehensible to mortal humans; at the very least, we should be able to slash Obama's ten-year deficit from $10 trillion to, say, only $3-4 trillion. And from there, it's only a short hop to a real balanced budget. And this time, once we have achieved balance through spending cuts, not tax increases, maybe we'll be diligent enough to keep it there.

On the other hand, if this proposal comes to nought; if it's watered down by the Republican nomenklatura in the House; blocked by the Democrats in the Senate; summarily rejected without even a nod towards negotiation by la Casa Blanca; and tossed in the dustbin of history... then it will have the opposite effect: It will confirm the initial thesis, that real spending cuts are literally impossible.

So this is very high-stakes political poker, and we're all-in on this one. Let's hope the RSC isn't just playing a stone bluff.

A complete listing of the spending cuts proposed by the Republican Study Committee

  • FY 2011 CR Amendment: Replace the spending levels in the FY 2011 continuing resolution (CR) with non-defense, non-homeland security, non-veterans spending at FY 2008 levels. The legislation will further prohibit any FY 2011 funding from being used to carry out any provision of the Democrat government takeover of health care, or to defend the health care law against any lawsuit challenging any provision of the act. $80 billion savings.
  • Discretionary Spending Limit, FY 2012-2021: Eliminate automatic increases for inflation from CBO baseline projections for future discretionary appropriations. Further, impose discretionary spending limits through 2021 at 2006 levels on the non-defense portion of the discretionary budget. $2.29 trillion savings over ten years.
  • Federal Workforce Reforms: Eliminate automatic pay increases for civilian federal workers for five years. Additionally, cut the civilian workforce by a total of 15 percent through attrition. Allow the hiring of only one new worker for every two workers who leave federal employment until the reduction target has been met. (Savings included in above discretionary savings figure).
  • "Stimulus" Repeal: Eliminate all remaining "stimulus" funding. $45 billion total savings.
  • Eliminate federal control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. $30 billion total savings.
  • Repeal the Medicaid FMAP increase in the "State Bailout" (Senate amendments to S. 1586). $16.1 billion total savings.
  • More than 100 specific program eliminations and spending reductions listed below: $330 billion savings over ten years (included in above discretionary savings figure).

Additional Program Eliminations/Spending Reforms

  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting Subsidy. $445 million annual savings.
  • Save America's Treasures Program. $25 million annual savings.
  • International Fund for Ireland. $17 million annual savings.
  • Legal Services Corporation. $420 million annual savings.
  • National Endowment for the Arts. $167.5 million annual savings.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities. $167.5 million annual savings.
  • Hope VI Program. $250 million annual savings.
  • Amtrak Subsidies. $1.565 billion annual savings.
  • Eliminate duplicative education programs. H.R. 2274 (in last Congress), authored by Rep. McKeon, eliminates 68 at a savings of $1.3 billion annually.
  • U.S. Trade Development Agency. $55 million annual savings.
  • Woodrow Wilson Center Subsidy. $20 million annual savings.
  • Cut in half funding for congressional printing and binding. $47 million annual savings.
  • John C. Stennis Center Subsidy. $430,000 annual savings.
  • Community Development Fund. $4.5 billion annual savings.
  • Heritage Area Grants and Statutory Aid. $24 million annual savings.
  • Cut Federal Travel Budget in Half. $7.5 billion annual savings.
  • Trim Federal Vehicle Budget by 20%. $600 million annual savings.
  • Essential Air Service. $150 million annual savings.
  • Technology Innovation Program. $70 million annual savings.
  • Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program. $125 million annual savings.
  • Department of Energy Grants to States for Weatherization. $530 million annual savings.
  • Beach Replenishment. $95 million annual savings.
  • New Starts Transit. $2 billion annual savings.
  • Exchange Programs for Alaska, Natives Native Hawaiians, and Their Historical Trading Partners in Massachusetts. $9 million annual savings.
  • Intercity and High Speed Rail Grants. $2.5 billion annual savings.
  • Title X Family Planning. $318 million annual savings.
  • Appalachian Regional Commission. $76 million annual savings.
  • Economic Development Administration. $293 million annual savings.
  • Programs under the National and Community Services Act. $1.15 billion annual savings.
  • Applied Research at Department of Energy. $1.27 billion annual savings.
  • FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership. $200 million annual savings.
  • Energy Star Program. $52 million annual savings.
  • Economic Assistance to Egypt. $250 million annually.
  • U.S. Agency for International Development. $1.39 billion annual savings.
  • General Assistance to District of Columbia. $210 million annual savings.
  • Subsidy for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. $150 million annual savings.
  • Presidential Campaign Fund. $775 million savings over ten years.
  • No funding for federal office space acquisition. $864 million annual savings.
  • End prohibitions on competitive sourcing of government services.
  • Repeal the Davis-Bacon Act. More than $1 billion annually.
  • IRS Direct Deposit: Require the IRS to deposit fees for some services it offers (such as processing payment plans for taxpayers) to the Treasury, instead of allowing it to remain as part of its budget. $1.8 billion savings over ten years.
  • Require collection of unpaid taxes by federal employees. $1 billion total savings.
  • Prohibit taxpayer funded union activities by federal employees. $1.2 billion savings over ten years.
  • Sell excess federal properties the government does not make use of. $15 billion total savings.
  • Eliminate death gratuity for Members of Congress.
  • Eliminate Mohair Subsidies. $1 million annual savings.
  • Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. $12.5 million annual savings.
  • Eliminate Market Access Program. $200 million annual savings.
  • USDA Sugar Program. $14 million annual savings.
  • Subsidy to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). $93 million annual savings.

  • Eliminate the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program. $56.2 million annual savings.
  • Eliminate fund for Obamacare administrative costs. $900 million savings.
  • Ready to Learn TV Program. $27 million savings.
  • HUD Ph.D. Program.
  • Deficit Reduction Check-Off Act.

TOTAL SAVINGS: $2.5 Trillion over Ten Years

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 20, 2011, at the time of 6:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14

Hatched by Dafydd

I have always been impressed that, as brilliant as so many of the Founders were, they didn't fall into the Algore trap (or the Obamatrap) of imagining that they were the smartest people in the room -- every room, for all time. Thus they wrote into the document procedures for amending it in the future.

~

Article V - Amendment

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Article VI - Debts, Supremacy, Oaths

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

The business about the Constitution, federal law, and treaties being the "supreme law of the land" must have stuck in the craw of many of those used to the states being fully sovereign; but the colossal failure of the Articles of Confederation -- the dysfunctional government from 1781 to 1789, when the Constitution was ratified -- made it clear to most that:

  • If America was ever to become a country that could defend itself from Great Britain, it would have to exercise more control over its constituent parts.
  • And that we needed both a chief executive (the President) and a judicial system.

Under the Articles, Britain would have picked off the states, bribing them one by one to ally with their former enemy, until the remaining states would have been swept back into the fold.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 20, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 19, 2011

Obamacle Tries to Make Lemonade Out of a Sow's Ear

Hatched by Dafydd

For years during both the George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama presidencies, American military commanders have complained that Pakistan is not fighting hard enough against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces along the Pakistan/Afghanistan "border" -- which is entirely artificial, as the Pashtun and other tribes move back and forth across the menagerie lion with impunity, indeed without even being aware (I suspect) that they have crossed from one country to the other.

Though every region in Pakistan is dangerous, the most deadly is likely the seven Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATAs), called Agencies:

  • Bajaur
  • Mohmand
  • Khyber
  • Orakzai
  • Kurram
  • North Waziristan
  • South Waziristan

(The FATAs also include six Frontier Regions: Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan [Darazinda], Kohat [Darra Adam Khel], Lakki Marwat, Peshawar, and Tank [Jandola].)



Pakistan Pakistan FATAs

Pakistan (L) and FATAs pullout (R)

Because the FATAs abut Afghanistan, terrorists and insurgents attack Afghans, Americans, or our Coalition partners, then flee back across the "border" and moon American troops, which must perforce come to screeching halt at that crayon mark. Once in Pakistan, the most we can do is lob Hellfire missiles from drone aircraft.

The situation in the FATAs got significantly worse when Pakistan strongman Gen. Pervez Musharraf was ousted from power in August, 2008, after seven years of iron-fisted rule. Musharraf had "aligned" Pakistan with the international coalition that fought the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, but he was eventually forced to resign after being threatened with impeachment.

He was succeeded by the head of the Pakistan People's Party, President Asif Ali Zardari -- widower of Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007, likely by al-Qaeda and possibly on orders of Ayman Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's left-hand man. Since assuming the Barnacle Throne, or whatever they call it, Zardari has prosecuted the war against the terrorists with a notable lack of zeal.

And even more recently, Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (N for Nawaz faction) -- long suspected of having cozy ties with terrorists -- has yet again become a rising star in Pakistan. Correspondingly, the prospects of that country fighting a full-on war to expunge the Taliban, the ocean in which the fish of al-Qaeda swim, has sunk even lower.

The current strategy appears bizarre: The Pakistan army has fought against the Taliban in six of the FATAs; but they have by and large ignored North Waziristan. Not surprisingly, a motley crew of Taliban, al-Qaeda, and assorted other nuts, fruits, and flakes has collected there, sludge always finding the lowest level:

Pakistani Army operations in the other six of seven tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan have helped drive fighters from Al Qaeda, the Pakistani Taliban, the Haqqani network and other militant groups into North Waziristan, the one tribal area that Pakistan has not yet assaulted.

And now, in an almost freakish claim, "senior United States intelligence and counterinsurgency officials" are saying that the existence of a safe haven along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border is a good thing:

A growing number of senior United States intelligence and counterinsurgency officials say that by bunching up there, insurgents are ultimately making it easier for American drone strikes to hit them from afar.

American officials are loath to talk about this silver lining to the storm cloud that they have long described building up in the tribal area of North Waziristan, where the insurgents run a virtual mini-state the size of Rhode Island. This is because they do not want to undermine the Obama administration’s urgent public pleas for Pakistan to order troops into the area, or to give Pakistan an excuse for inaction.

“We cannot succeed in Afghanistan without shutting down those safe havens,” Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week, underscoring a major conclusion of the White House’s strategic review of Afghanistan policy last month.

But as long as the safe havens exist, they provide a rich hunting ground, however inadvertent it may be.

It's an amazing bit of rhetorical gymnastics. While these anonymous intelligence and counterinsurgency stratgists admit it would be better if Pakistan actually stepped up and destroyed the terrorists -- you think? -- they nevertheless continue making excuses and trying to minimize the embarassment of a presidential administration that has fecklessly and only half-heartedly fought against those who struck the United States ten years ago. (And the embarassment of the Zardari administration, as well.)

How's this for rationalization:

A senior counterterrorism official concurred, saying: “We’ve seen in the past what happens when terrorists are given a de facto safe haven. It tends to turn out ugly for both Pakistan and the United States. It’s absolutely critical that Pakistan stay focused on rooting out militants in North Waziristan....”

But half a dozen senior intelligence, counterterrorism and military officials interviewed in the past several days said a bright side had unexpectedly emerged from Pakistan’s delay. Pounding the militants consolidated in the North Waziristan enclave with airstrikes will leave the insurgents in a weakened state if the Pakistani offensive comes later this year, the officials said.

“In some ways, it’s to our benefit to keep them bottled up, mostly in North Waziristan,” said a senior intelligence official, who like others interviewed agreed to speak candidly about the Pakistan strategy if he was not identified. “This is not intentional. That wasn’t the design to bottle them up. That’s just where they are, and they’re there for a reason. They don’t have a lot of options.”

The claim might have some merit under two conditions:

  • First, if we had a real plan for taking advantage of this "bunching up" of terrorists, something a bit more robust and lethal than Predator drone attacks that kill three or four of them at a time and often miss the actual commanders. Alas, President B.O. has no stomach for the fight, and indeed is sticking to his timetable for pulling all our troops out of Afghanistan starting in June 2011. The odds that he would send American troops directly into Pakistan (as he suggested during his presidential campaign) is nil.
  • Second, if those advancing the claim were confident enough about it that they were willing to use their names. Alas, nobody is willing to go on record saying it's a good thing that Pakistan is leaving the terrorist haven of North Waziristan unmolested... and I suspect we all know the reason why they won't.

By contrast, those who say it's a rotten thing that Pakistan is shying away from North Waziristan are willing to show their faces, are much more highly placed, and are legion. For example:

All the more reason proponents of Pakistani action say time is of the essence. “I’ve been very clear in my conversations with General Kayani over the last year or so that there needs to be a focus, from my perspective, on North Waziristan,” [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Admiral [Michael] Mullen told reporters in Islamabad last month. “That’s where Al Qaeda leadership resides, that’s where the Haqqani network, in particular, is headquartered, and the Haqqanis are leading the way and coming across the border and killing American and allied forces. And that has got to cease.”

Admittedly, North Waziristan is the hardest Taliban/al-Qaeda nut to swallow. But as noted above, that's all the more reason to swallow hard and crack it.

And wouldn't it be nice if we had a president with enough leadership that he could not only persuade our supposed allies to step up, but also step up himself and cancel the troop withdrawal. We could certainly use the extra forces to move into North Waziristan and deny the terrorists their safe haven.

Then we might obliterate the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and we might even break the back of the terrorist Haqqani network, which enjoys widespread support within Pakistani security and intelligence forces themselves, since Haqqani often launches terrorist attacks against Afghans perceived as supporting the United States. In June of last year, the Pakistani Army and Intelligence heads, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, held power-sharing talks with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, offering to incorporate Haqqani into the Afghanistan government after the U.S. leaves:

Washington has watched with some nervousness as General Kayani and Pakistan’s spy chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, shuttle between Islamabad and Kabul, telling Mr. Karzai that they agree with his assessment that the United States cannot win in Afghanistan, and that a postwar Afghanistan should incorporate the Haqqani network, a longtime Pakistani asset. In a sign of the shift in momentum, the two Pakistani officials were next scheduled to visit Kabul on Monday, according to Afghan TV.

The Haqqani network has its base in North Waziristan, another reason Pakistan has avoided attacking that Tribal Area:

But there have long been suspicions among Afghan, American and other Western officials that the Pakistanis were holding the Haqqanis in reserve for just such a moment, as a lever to shape the outcome of the war in its favor.

On repeated occasions, Pakistan has used the Haqqani fighters to hit Indian targets inside Afghanistan, according to American intelligence officials. The Haqqanis have also hit American ones, a possible signal from the Pakistanis to the Americans that it is in their interest, too, to embrace a deal.

Evidently, Pakistan considers the eventual behind-the-scenes control of Afghanistan after we withdraw a much more important war -- of conquest -- than the minor war of mere national defense in their own tribal areas. Sadly but not shockingly, even some members of the Obama administration seem willing to allow Pakistan and the Haqqani terrorist network to carve up Afghanistan:

Some officials in the Obama administration have not ruled out incorporating the Haqqani network in an Afghan settlement, though they stress that President Obama’s policy calls for Al Qaeda to be separated from the network. American officials are skeptical that that can be accomplished.

Richard C. Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, said on a visit to Islamabad last weekend that it was “hard to imagine” the Haqqani network in an Afghan arrangement, but added, “Who knows?”

"Realists" like the late Richard Holbrooke may go and come, but the urge to appease abides.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 19, 2011, at the time of 1:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13

Hatched by Dafydd

When states were brand new, the Founders must have worried that they might play shenanigans with their borders...

~

Section 3 - New States

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Section 4 - Republican government

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

A necessary safeguard against one big state simply splitting itself into two or three smaller states that vote as a bloc, thus effectively giving the combination state six senators instead of two.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 19, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 18, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12

Hatched by Dafydd

A minor clause; a Pandora's box of controversy...

~

Article IV - The States

Section 1 - Each State to Honor all others

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section 2 - State citizens, Extradition

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due. (This clause in strikethrough is superseded by the 13th Amendment.)

[Current language from the 13th Amendment: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.]

The simple, seemingly trivial promise of Article IV, section 1, has proved to be a huge constitutional quagmire: If one or more states decide to accept same-sex marriage (SSM) or polygamous marriage (PM), then is every state obliged to accept SSM and PM? Does the "full faith and credit" clause really mean that every state is obliged to enforce the loosest definition of marriage and other privileged unions among all the United States? Or does Congress have the power to "prescribe" that SSM and PM are not among those "public acts, records, and judicial proceedings" to which "full faith and credit" applies?

The Supreme Court has so far declined to rule on the question of whether the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is constitutional in either of its principal parts: Whether every state is obliged to accept a marriage other than between one man and one woman simply because some other state does, and whether the federal government may define marriage for federal purposes as a union between one man and one woman. Until it does so rule, one way or the other, we're in the dark on that clause of the Constitution and whether it constitutionally mandates SSM and PM.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 18, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 17, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11

Hatched by Dafydd

The shortest article -- the grabbiest branch. Go figure.

~

Article III - The Judicial Branch Note

Section 1 - Judicial powers

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section 2 - Trial by Jury, Original Jurisdiction, Jury Trials

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects. (This section in italics is modified by the 11th Amendment.)

[Modifying language from the 11th Amendment: The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.]

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section 3 - Treason

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Note how difficult the Framers made it to convict anyone of treason; I must believe this was due to England's dastardly penchant for charging political opponents with treason, left and right, in which the substance of the crime boiled down to "he argued too well against our position!"

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 17, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 16, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10

Hatched by Dafydd

Now that we know who the president shall be, what will be do...?

~

Section 2 - Civilian Power over Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section 3 - State of the Union, Convening Congress

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section 4 - Disqualification

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

The State of the Union speech has a curious history. As you note, the Constitution only requires the president to "give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union," and even that only "from time to time." In fact, Geo. Washington gave an actual, bona fide speech on the state of the union in 1790.

But then Thos. Jefferson decided such a speech was too similar to the "Speech from the Throne," by which the British monarch traditionally opens Parliament. Starting in 1801, Jefferson simply sent a written report to Congress; and this system prevailed for 112 years.

Naturally, it was Progressivist Democratic President Woodrow Wilson -- he who loved to rule by decree -- who revived the oral speech (he evidently saw nothing wrong with the trappings of monarchy) in 1913; and it has been a mainstay ever since, with a few exceptions here and there.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 16, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 15, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9

Hatched by Dafydd

This verse is really, really long; but that's primarily due to extensive refudiations by twentieth-century constitutional amendments. Persevere and read on...

~

Article II - The Executive Branch

Section 1 - The President

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not lie an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two-thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice-President. (This clause in strikethrough was superseded by the 12th Amendment.)

[Current language from the 12th Amendment: The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;

The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.

The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.]

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected. (This clause in italics has been modified by the 20th and 25th Amendments.)

[Current language from the 20th Amendment:

3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Current language from the 25th Amendment:

1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.]

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Not too much of interest here, I'm afraid; but we're being completist about this reading. (More completist than the Congress, since we're giving you both the original text and the text as modified by amendment!)

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 15, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 14, 2011

Greasing My Spindle - Yet Again

Hatched by Dafydd

Yes, I confess: I'm a serial spindle-greaser. Here are a few quickies from today's news...

With liberty, fraternity, and equality for all

In a recent survey by AP-GfK on the state of racial equality, 77% of respondents believe there has been significant progress towards that MLK-enunciated dream, statistically unchanged from the 75% who answered that way in 2006, before Barack H. Obama was elected president. Some quoted in the story lament that, "Just over one in five, 22 percent, say they feel there has been 'no significant progress' toward that dream."

I wonder what portion of that 22% comprises folks who have been closely following the follies and foibles of Attorney General Eric Holder's putative "Justice" Department.

But what puzzled me was this bit near the end:

The new poll also shows most of the nation in support of the King holiday. Three-quarters of those surveyed this year say King's birthday should be so honored, with 84 percent of non-white respondents believing so, compared to 68 percent of white respondents. Younger adults are also more apt to feel the birthday deserves the honor, as 81 percent among those under 50 years old supported the holiday, compared to 66 percent among those 50 to 64 and 62 percent among seniors.

The civil rights icon, who would have turned 82 on Saturday, is the only American who was not a U.S. president honored with a federal holiday.

Um, did I miss some holiday? I am completely unaware of any U.S. president honored with a federal holiday... indeed, any other American who is so honored at all. (Columbus was either a Portuguese or a Spaniard, depending whether you go by birth or residency.)

I've heard of something called Presidents Day; but I've also heard of Veterans Day -- and none of them is singled out by name either.

I wonder how many layers of editorial fact-checking that line sailed through? Perhaps the press-release transcribers at AP should take to wearing pajamas; it might improve their reportorial accuracy.

The jackass got his nose inside the tent

Via the Washington Times, we learn that the nanny State has segued into the school-dietician State:

The Obama administration ratcheted up its war on childhood obesity Thursday with a new set of federal rules that would limit the number of calories allowed in government-subsidized school meals, banning most trans fats while increasing the amounts of whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

The proposals, issued by the Agriculture Department, represent the first major revamping of school lunch guidelines in 15 years. The rules would apply to all full and partially subsidized meals and could affect 32 million children.

Yowza. As I noted before (see below), free and subsidized lunches are offered to tremendously more students than merely those who live in poverty:

  • According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are approximately 49.4 million students enrolled in K-12 education.
  • According to the U.S. Census, approximately 17.6% of all American residents under the age of 18 live below the poverty line.
  • A little quick math tells us that, if we assume that kids actually attending school are not more likely to live in poverty than kids not attending school (it seems a pretty reasonable assumption -- they're probably less likely), then there should be about 8.7 million schoolchildren living below the poverty line.
  • Instead, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture above, there are 32 million schoolkids getting government-subsidized lunches; in other words, a whopping 65% of all schoolkids get free or low-cost lunch from the federal government.

In the absence of school-lunch programs (and school-breakfast programs, and even school-dinner programs), the vast majority of those kids would not starve; they would get their meals form their parents, as I did. Mom somehow managed to give me adequate lunches (often leftovers from yesterday's dinner, generally delicious; or else baloney and butter sandwiches, equally fine)... despite the fact that she was a working, single mother, as my parents were divorced when I was two years old. But as Michelle Obama says, "We can’t just leave [what kids eat] up to the parents."

Of course not; it takes a village to give a kid a sandwich. A federal village, at that!

Today's announcement from the AgDept is simply the fulfillment of Mrs. Obama's glorious progressivist crusade -- can we use that warlike word in this era of nicey-nice rhetoric? -- to "subsidize and regulate what children eat before school, at lunch, after school, and during summer vacations in federally funded school-based feeding programs."

We discussed this monstrosity at length in Food for Abuse, posted last December; I commend that article to your attention again.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 14, 2011, at the time of 6:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8

Hatched by Dafydd

Here are some more limitations and prohibitions on Congress; those old chaps were truly obsessed with creating a small, restricted federal government with a very light hand.

What could go wrong?

~

Section 9 - Limits on Congress

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken. (Section in itailcs clarified by the 16th Amendment.)

[Clarifying language from the 16th Amendment: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.]

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

Section 10 - Powers prohibited of States

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

The 16th Amendment and income taxes... ouch!

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 14, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 13, 2011

Blood Label

Hatched by Dafydd

Anent Sarah Palin's use of the term "blood libel" to characterize the deliberately false accusation of complicity in murder and having blood on one's hands -- and especially to apply it to an entire group of people known to be innocent of the crime -- I just stumbled across this fascinating (and short!) post on BigGovernment.com:

Exclusive: Alan Dershowitz Defends Sarah Palin’s Use of Term ‘Blood Libel’

In an exclusive statement, famed attorney and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz defended Sarah Palin’s use of the term “blood libel” from multiple detractors. As the Media Matters/MSM/Democrat narrative on the Tucson tragedy unravels, they are getting a lot more desperate in their attacks on Palin. Fortunately, there are still plenty of honest liberals around:

The term “blood libel” has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People, its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.

This should close the case. Certainly nobody can credibly accuse Alan Dershowitz, of all people, of being a Sarah Palin supporter; and to suggest that he's not Jewish enough to be sensitive to the term "blood libel" is frankly risible!

At one time in the past, the term may have exclusively meant the charge that Jews kill Christian babies and use their blood in Passover rituals; but that time has long since passed. Today the term is widely used -- well, just as Palin used it: to mean any knowingly false accusation, or an accusation made in reckless disregard for the truth, of complicity in murder, often for political or religious purposes.

Language changes; new words (like "blog," "fisk," "incentivize," and "refudiate") are created, and old words change their meanings ("gay," "slut," "dough," "exploit," "regulate," "nuclear"). Blood libel, used as Palin used it, is nothing new; that certainly is how I've heard it used throughout my life as a (secular) Jew.

And neither is it "antisemitic" nor trademarked by the Jewish people, no matter what some hysterical Jews, most of them suffering from PDS, may claim.

In fact, attacking Palin and calling her a Jew hater for using this term is the same sort of despicable distraction from the real issues as were the Left's original charge: that she and other conservatives deliberately provoked Loughner's murder spree in the first place. Both attacks were failed attempts to silence Palin and the rest of us conservatives and anti-liberals who might otherwise work to repeal ObamaCare, stop Cap and Tax, block Card Check, and otherwise work to overturn, undo, and prevent President Barack H. Obama's radical and revolutionary "transformation" of America into a Eurostate mini-me.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 13, 2011, at the time of 1:52 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7

Hatched by Dafydd

This is the biggie, at least as far as Article I goeth: the section wherein is enumerated the powers, the only powers, the Congress is allowed to exercise. This limitation is a major reason our government is a democratic republic -- not a parliamentary democracy, in which the ruling party or coalition can generally rewrite the procedural rules to favor itself and its own agenda...

~

Section 7 - Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto

All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section 8 - Powers of Congress

  • The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
  • To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
  • To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
  • To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
  • To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
  • To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
  • To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
  • To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
  • To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
  • To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
  • To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
  • To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
  • To provide and maintain a Navy;
  • To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
  • To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
  • To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
  • To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
  • To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

I have always found it amazing how many things Congress is authorized to legislate upon... but I'm even more amazed by how many other things it's not authorized to touch with the proverbial ten-foot poll (Gallup or Rasmussen) -- but does anyway.

While it's certainly true that the judicial branch of government has seized far more power than originally intended, or even imagined for many years -- Marbury v. Madison, the case wherein the Supreme Court declared it had the power to find laws unconstitutional and thereby nullify them, dates from 1803, fourteen years after the drafting of the Constitution -- it's equally true that both the legislative and the executive branches have also relegated to themselves far more power, authority, and intrusiveness than anybody in 1789 ever imagined. It's a conspiracy! The Constitution is unconstitutional.

No comments on the powers themselves; attack and defend them at will!

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 13, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 12, 2011

The Lizardian/WARI Doctrine (for Winning the War Against Radical Islamism)

Hatched by Dafydd

The war against radical Islamism (WARI) is completely winnable; but we have not, to date, taken the necessary steps to win it. George W. Bush made a good-faith beginning, but we need to build on what he started, expand where necessary and harden what we already have, in order to have a chance for ultimate victory.

I'm not a military or foreign-policy expert, nor a historian, nor a philosopher; my formal training is all in math. I am a clear thinker, however -- which is worth more than the yammering of most "pundants," as Bush would call them (total value: a bucket of warm spit).

So what, from the perspective of this "subject-matter generalist," do we need to do? I reduce it to "the Four Dees": Defund, defend, debate, and defeat.

Defund the terrorists

Defund the human-sacrificing Moloch-worshippers. We must remove all prohibitions against drilling for our own oil and natural gas. It's all right to retain restrictions to ensure we drill in the most environmentally sound way that is economically feasible; but there is no excuse for banning oil and natural-gas production anywhere in American territory -- thus forcing us to rely upon our mortal enemies for the lifeblood of the United States.

In addition, we must charge full steam to the metal to develop, bring online, and improve the performance of non-petroleum energy sources, especially those that can produce energy in large quantities, such as nuclear power plants and solar-power satellites; but spot-sources, such as rooftop solar cells and windmill farms, are useful as well.

And there is nothing wrong with conservation, so long as we don't fantasize that it can take the place of energy production; it makes good business sense... for example, pushing (via an "X Prize," say) high-temperature ceramic engines for cars, so they can more thoroughly burn gasoline or other inflammables -- and flywheel technology to capture the energy from braking and use it for acceleration -- all in order to obtain dramatically better mileage, perhaps as much as 80 to 100 miles per gallon.

The overall goal is to scale back, by orders of magnitude, the moolah we in the West fork over to the Arabs, the Russians, and our pal, President for Life (and Beyond), Oogo Chavez of Venezuela.

Defend the homeland

To quote Patrick Henry, "The great object is, that every man be armed."

Outside the United States, the first line of defense is the American military. But inside the country, where the military services cannot normally operate (under the Posse Comitatus law), the first line of defense is the armed American citizen.

The problem of course is the patchwork of anti-gun and anti-concealed-carry laws that liberals have erected, with the sole purpose being to nullify the very sentiment propounded directly above; since the late 1960s, the New Left has vigorously, at times viciously, opposed the very idea of individual self defense and defense of family, the neighborhood, and society in general. They insist that all social defense must come from the police.

And then they demand that the police likewise be disarmed, as in Great Britain.

Thirty-seven of the fifty (or is that fifty-seven?) states have shall-issue Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) permit laws, where the state authorities are required to grant a CCW to any adult who passes a background check and a firearms safety class; and Vermont does not require a permit to carry concealed in the first place. But in the twelve remaining states that do not have such laws, CCW permits are granted capriciously, by cronyism, or not at all under any circumstance; these twelve states comprise about a third of the population of the United States (32.3%)... and of course no state CCW permit is valid in all other states.

Considering the war we find ourselves engulfed by -- and the inability of police or even the Army, should it come to that, to be everywhere at once -- the only solution is to rearm the citizenry. I would suggest that Congress (when we again have a responsible, adult Congress) should rely upon its Article I, Section 8 authority "to provide for the common defense," to "make rules concerning captures on land and water," "to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions," and most particularly "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia" to make the appropriate laws to allow every law-abiding, qualified citizen to carry a concealed weapon legally in every state and the District of Columbia, including on commercial airplanes, trains, and buses.

I am not a lawyer; but I believe it would be absolutely constitutional, under the enumerated powers of Congress listed above, to enact legislation that would (a) redeclare that all able-bodied men, and women this time, between certain ages, comprise the "unorganized militia;" and (b) enact a Federal CCW (FCCW) permit that supercedes all state, local, and federal gun-control laws.

The FCCW would require a background check, some training in combat shooting, firearms legality, and I suggest also training in behavioral profiling. The FCCW permit must include a photo of the holder and his biometric information; those attempting to board public transportation while armed are required to show their permits, and in some cases may also have to use a digital thumbprint to identify themselves.

In other words, rather than trying to make America a "gun-free zone" -- that is, a victim-disarmament zone -- let's return to our foundational principle of individual responsibility for defending the nation and the innocents within it against the enemies who strike by stealth, assassination, and mass murder.

It seems to work fairly well for the Israelies (though Janet "Big Sister" Napolitano insists it wouldn't "scale up").

Debate the real issues

It's urgent that we begin an honest discussion of the threat of jihadism and dawa, and the rights and duties of citizens of a free country.

The president must take the bull by the horns and look the facts in the face: Islam is not a "religion of peace;" but then, neither is Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Shinto, Sufism, socialism, or Buddhism. No religion is uniformly peaceful; all have troubled histories of violence and murder, especially in their early stages.

The rough beast of Islam is such a danger today because its childhood has stretched across centuries, as it slouches towards the world caliphate. What Islam needs, if it is to endure, is to pass from minority, through puberty, into adultery. (Wait, I don't think that came out quite right.) If it doesn't grow up and start acting like a modern adult, the rest of the world will ultimately have to smash Islam flat; it will become an existential threat, and no other choice will be available but destroy or be destroyed.

In order to live in relative peace, Islam needs a reformation; essentially, it needs to admit that humans by nature have free will, including religious freedom. Only then can an enlightenment, or age of reason, begin -- one hopes without the need for a Thirty Years War. Thus, we need to clarify to the nation that we are not fighting all of Islam, only that portion that refuses to accept freedom... including the freedom to dissent from Islam.

Moslems who accept that they can convince but must not coerce will be unmolested; those who believe in spreading Islam by the sword (or by dawa), and who practice what they preach, must be targeted by relentless legal, military, and social interdiction. America and the rest of the West must unify, not against all Islam, but against that understanding of Islam that is incompatible with the individual freedoms at the core of modernity.

(At the moment that understanding composes a huge but undetermined chunk of Islamdom; it's pretty ugly. But hundreds of millions of Moslems don't support jihad, don't want to see a world caliphate under sharia, and would be perfectly happy living in civilized countries with rights and liberties.)

That case has never been made with real clarity to the American people; it's high time we elected a president who will make it, who will speak to us about radical Islamism the way Ronald Reagan spoke to us about Communism and other totalitarian, paranoid styles.

Defeat the enemy

We must mentally prepare America for the struggle ahead, in a serious way. George W. Bush started doing this, but he didn't follow through; it must be a "total war" against ignorance and wishful thinking.

In particular, he or she must make Americans understand that, to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, you go to war against the enemies you have, not the enemies you wish you had.

Yes, it would be less nerve-wracking to have a clear-cut, comprehensible enemy like the Axis in World War II, or even the Communist North Vietnamese and their "mini-me" Viet Cong terrorists. It would be wonderful to look forward to an eventual surrender signed in a brick schoolhouse in Rheims or on the deck of the USS Missouri... but that's not going to happen.

This is a different kind of war than we are used to seeing in the last hundred years; it has more in common with the Indian wars than with the wars of the twentieth century. Nor will hostilities ever completely cease; new "prophets" will always arise and try to rekindle the flames of the salafi, the wahhabi, al-Andaluz.

But the war can still be won: We will have defeated the radical Islamists when no government on Earth will befriend them.

We have a long way to go; but if we can envision the end of the war, we will have heart enough to see it through. Our problem to date is that presidents and prime ministers throughout the West have offered only two visions: Perpetual warfare with no visible progress -- or surrender and dhimmitude. This is proof positive that we're not using the correct "grand strategy" against this enemy. We need clear and unbiased thinking in the Pentagon, the State Department, and within the intelligence community; anyone who is not on board for victory, real victory, must be discharged (which likely means we need an end to public-employee unions, who of course fight against merit-based termination with every fiber in the book).

When no nation befriends radical Islamism, all nations will fight it; and without a government-protected home base, without friendly territory, they will be about as effective as neo-Nazis and state secessionists.

The de-lemma we face

Everything above depends upon several conditions:

  • We need a Congress and POTUS that actually intend to win the WARI, the war against radical Islamism.
  • We need lower-level government functionaries, flunkies, and nomenklatura who do not see America itself as their greatest enemy, wasting time and treasure fighting against any war measure that might actually be effective.
  • We need a citizenry that wants the United States to survive into the twenty-second century; that believes in the sacred rights, liberties, and freedoms we enjoy -- and the equally sacred duties we accept; and a citizenry that believes (this is the really controversial part) in something greater than themselves.

    Most would call this last belief "God," or more precisely, the ethical-monotheism that Dennis Prager writes about; but it's acceptible if some call it a "higher calling," so long as it's centered around traditional American virtues. These include liberty, democracy, Capitalism, service, and tolerance of the tolerant (coupled with intolerance of the intolerant). (Note that tolerance is not the same thing as approval or government preferential treatment.)

  • And we need foreign allies equally willing to undertake a WARI, as we cannot do it alone.

None of these conditions is impossible; all are necessary; and the sum is likely sufficient. We can take the first step in 2012, by electing a president who understands the WARI and is willing to fight it, plus a Congress that will enact the bills and consent to the officials (civilians and general officers) who will turn the new president's leadership into action on the ground.

Fortunately for us, such a president and such a Congress, with such clear vision of the urgency of the task and what we need to accomplish it, will have equally useful ideas on the economy, so-called "entitlement" programs, health care, border enforcement and the reforming of legal immigration, enforcing the Monroe Doctrine against Oogo, and most other issues; so there need be no conflict among Republicans, conservatives, right-leaning Independents, truly moderate Democrats, and even those few libertarians (such as myself) who understand that rights may be inalienable (you can't give them away), but they are surely suppressible; and that, for any government to defend liberty, it must first be able to defend itself.

I believe there is something greater than ourselves, and this "something" gives me hope that we will first engage, and then defeat the enemies of liberty, as we have in the past.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 12, 2011, at the time of 2:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

There Went the Judge - Here Comes the Judge

Hatched by Dafydd

I mentioned something in passing a couple posts ago. I noted that the most powerful federal official shot during Jared Loughner's rampage was not Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ, 95%), but rather District Court Judge John McCarthy Roll, who, unlike Giffords, was slain. Roll was nominated by George H.W. Bush in 1991; he was the senior federal judge in Arizona... and my impression is that he was judicially fairly conservative.

President Barack H. Obama will of course nominate his replacement. The question is whether he will heed Rahm Emanuel's advice and not let this crisis go to waste: Will Obama nominate a judicially ultra-liberal judge in the mold of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Stephen Breyer to replace Roll?

If he does, Republicans, for sake of simple decency, should not allow him to get away with it; they should filibuster if necessary to prevent the Left from gleefully capitalizing on the very "tragedy" (more correctly, "unspeakable crime") they decry.

That is, if the new Senate rules of Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 95%) still allow such filibusters, or if (as they promise) they detonate their own "nuclear option." But that brings up another curious flip-flop: I remember when the Democrats were in the minority, and the privilege to filibuster judicial nominees was a cornerstone of our democracy.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 12, 2011, at the time of 3:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6

Hatched by Dafydd

A biggish chunk, but it's mostly bookkeeping -- routine administrative tasks. Still, there are some interesting points...

~

Section 4 - Elections, Meetings

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, (The preceding words in strikethrough were superseded by the 20th Amendment, section 2.) unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

[Current language from the 20th Amendment: 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.]

Section 5 - Membership, Rules, Journals, Adjournment

Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section 6 - Compensation

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. (The preceding words in strikethrough were modified by the 27th Amendment.) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

[Current language from the 27th Amendment: No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.]

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Note that the change to congressional pay raises -- you must have an intervening election before it takes effect -- is the most recent constitutional amendment ratified, 1992.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 12, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 11, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5

Hatched by Dafydd

Some very important powers held by the United States Senate... and the first appearance of the chief executive, President of the United States, along with the Vice President.

~

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

We discover one of the important duties of the VP: That of presiding over the Senate and even voting as a tie-breaker, when necessary. Also, we discover the first of many "checks and balances" that were intended to keep the three branches of government, legislative, executive, and judicial, co-equal.

But did it work, or has one branch become superior to the other two?

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 11, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 10, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4

Hatched by Dafydd

We start with the Senate now... and we hit another redacted clause.

This was a very significant change of general philosophy: We changed from having the state's legislature select the state's two senators -- in essence, the U.S. senators originally represented the state's government, not its citizens -- to direct elections of senators, making the Senate almost a "superior House of Representatives." (Ponderable: Was that change wise?)

~

Section 3 - The Senate

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, (The preceding words in strikethrough superseded by 17th Amendment, section 1.) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

[Current language from the 17th Amendment: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.]

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies. (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 17th Amendment, section 2.)

[Current language from the 17th Amendment: When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.]

No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

Note that in the section of Article I creating the Senate, as in the previous section on the House of Representatives, the Framers first defined how many senators we would have, who is eligible for the office, and how each senator is chosen, before discussing what the heck they're supposed to do, and how they differ from the House. Maybe I'm reading too much into that choice -- they had to organize the document somehow! -- but it has always seemed to me that they were more concerned about the quality of the person who is elected than they were with the exact duties and powers of each representative or senator.

Notice also how short this document is, considering that it's the fundamental organizing document for the entire United States of America; perhaps that is why it has endured, in the sense of still being the supreme law of the land, longer than any other foundational document of modernity (actually the Constitution slightly predates modernity, which I define as beginning at the end of the War of 1812 with the Treaty of Ghent, mostly written by John Quincy Adams). The basic document is only about 4,600 words long; even adding in the signatures and all twenty-seven amendments only bumps it up to about 8,000 words.

By contrast, the shortest state constitution in the United States is Vermont's, which clocks in at 8,295 words. The Massachusetts constitution, including amendments, is more than 42,000 words long.

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 10, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 9, 2011

And the Home of the Depraved

Hatched by Dafydd

I apologize that I have nothing really original to say about the shooting yesterday, nor about the (more significant and illuminating) breath-dropping rush by Democrats not to let a random act of mass murder go to waste. But I feel an inner need to say something, for heaven's sake.

The following is adapted from an e-mail I just sent a friend. It perfectly sums up my reaction...

Do you find it queer that less than twenty-four hours after a certified nutjob, with no coherent political philosophy -- though if anything, a while back, when he was less insane, people who knew Jared Loughner said he was a leftist -- shot and killed a conservative federal judge (who Obama will doubtless replace with an ultra-liberal), a nine year old girl, and four other people, and shot and wounded a Blue Dog Democrat member of the House... that the American Left has united to name the real culprit -- Sarah Palin?

Along with Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, of course.

And is it bizarre that the same finger-pointers have unwisely admitted in an interview that they plan, as a political tactic to revitalize their flagging ideology (rather, to drag the ideology of Americanism down to their level), to blame the Tea Parties, the same way Bill Clinton successfully blamed conservatives like Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich for the Oklahoma City bombing?

One veteran Democratic operative, who blames overheated rhetoric for the shooting, said President Barack Obama should carefully but forcefully do what his predecessor did.

“They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” said the Democrat. “Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.”

Another Democratic strategist said the similarity is that Tucson and Oklahoma City both “take place in a climate of bitter and virulent rhetoric against the government and Democrats.”

At least they didn't say "tea baggers."

But actually no; upon further reflection, I don't find it queer at all. I find it sadly, disgustingly, vilely typical. "Overheated rhetoric?" Oh yes, but not emanating from the right, which has been remarkably restrained in recent years; the only over-the-top, violent, pornographic political rhetoric I've see recently has come from the left, from ultraliberals and revolutionary progressives.

But for such a despicable charge to be launched by the party that eagerly embraced and applauded a movie that lovingly fantasized about the assassination of George W. Bush, that regularly sends SEIU thugs into TP rallies to beat the living hell out of any black conservatives they find there, that regularly hurls the N-word and the F-word (the three-letter one) at any blacks or gays who don't toe the Democratic Party line, and that regularly allies itself with (and excuses, even at the highest levels of the Democratic government) the Weather Underground, the New Black Panther Party, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Hu Jintao, Kim Jong-Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, convicted cop-killer Mumia Abdul Jamal, Ft. Hood mass murderer Nidal Malik Hassan, and radical Islamist terrorist groups around the world -- I just find that galling.

Any Democrat or liberal with any sense of humanity at all (and a conscience) should be asking himself whether he really wants to remain associated with political jackals who repeatedly demonstrate a depraved indifference to human life.

This stomach-turning exercise in Grand-Guignol political theater should drive any remaining moderates or Independents out of the Democratic caucus. But will it?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 9, 2011, at the time of 1:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3

Hatched by Dafydd

In this verse, we come to the first "didacted" section of the Constitution; that is, the first part that was superceded by a subsequent amendment...

~

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. (The previous sentence in strikeout was modified by the 14th Amendment, section 2; see next paragraph.)

[Current language from the 14th Amendment: Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.]

The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

All right, first of all, I'm sure you all know why slaves were counted as only 3/5ths of free citizens in slave states; but why all that rigamarole about reducing representation by the same percent as a state denies voting rights to citizens that really ought to be allowed to vote? Did the framers of the 14th Amendment have a premonition that former slaveholding states would try all sorts of underhanded tactics to deny newly freed blacks their voting rights?

Would that be because the framers of the 14th knew that those former slave states were still controlled by Democrats?

Next stop, the exciting Senate!

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 9, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 8, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2

Hatched by Dafydd

The first thing that the Founders chose to describe was the Congress. We start with the most basic rules: How Congress is composed, which is the chamber closest to the people, and who can be one of them...

~

Section 1 - The Legislature

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section 2 - The House

The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Note a couple of interesting points. First, what does it mean that the electors shall have certain qualifications? Who the heck are these "electors"? Did early citizens not vote directly for their federal representatives? Why not?

Second, note that naturalized Americans can be elected to Congress; yet we know that they cannot be elected president or vice president. Why the disparity?

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 8, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 7, 2011

Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1

Hatched by Dafydd

If it's good enough for the United States House of Reprehensitives, it's good enough for lizards.

We're going to post the entire U.S. Constitution (but only those parts currently operative), in little bite-sized chunks. Feel free, everyone, to jump into the comments to explain what you think each niblet represents and what you think of it.

Starting off with -- the preamble, what else?

~
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Anything they left out? Any reason for a constitution that they neglected to mention? Any of the stated reasons stick in your craw?

There you go for today; discuss and debate at will...

All verses in the Lizardian Constitutional Collection:

  1. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 1 (Preamble)
  2. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 2 (Congress; House, part I)
  3. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 3 (House, part II)
  4. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 4 (Senate, part I)
  5. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 5 (Senate, part II)
  6. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 6 (General congressional admin stuff)
  7. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 7 (Legislative process and enumerated powers)
  8. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 8 (Limitations)
  9. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 9 (The prez -- who does he think he is?)
  10. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 10 (What would a president do?)
  11. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 11 (Judiciary)
  12. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 12 (States, part I)
  13. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 13 (States, part 2)
  14. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 14 (Amendment; supreme law of the land)
  15. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 15 (Ratification rules and signers)
  16. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 16 (Amendments: Bill of Rights, Amendments 1-4)
  17. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 17 (Bill of Rights -- Courtroom Amendments 5-8)
  18. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 18 (Bill of Last Rights 9 and 10)
  19. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 19 (Amendments: Suing other states, president vs. vice president)
  20. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 20 (Amendments: Abolition of slavery)
  21. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 21 (Amendments: States prohibited from infringing rights)
  22. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 22 (Amendments: Racial voting rights)
  23. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 23 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism I)
  24. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 24 (Amendments: Wilsonian-Progressivism II)
  25. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 25 (Amendments: Rooseveltian amendments)
  26. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 26 (Amendments: Camelot amendments)
  27. Let's Read the Constitution Day! - verse 27 (Amendments: Panacea amendments)

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 7, 2011, at the time of 12:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 6, 2011

The Conspiracy to Murder Marriage - Phase II

Hatched by Dafydd

Phase one of the conspiracy to murder marriage is the attempt, largely successful in many "developed" countries, to expand its definition to include same-sex couples (SSM); we all know how that's going: Cultural elites want it; the "people" reject it whenever they're allowed a vote.

But the obvious next phase has already begun in Canada (one of those nations whose rulers now wholeheartedly endorse SSM): The Supreme Court of British Columbia is currently hearing a case that argues Canada's laws against polygamy are now also invalidated. In other words, as warned by supporters of traditional marriage -- and despite vigorous denials by proponents of SSM -- redefining marriage to include same-sex couples immediately opens the door to polygamy as well:

The challengers of Canada's anti-polygamy law say that the nation's 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives people the right to practice "plural marriage...."

[Besides the breakaway Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FLDS,] people who practice Islam, Wicca and other religions also are adversely affected by the anti-polygamy law, Vancouver lawyers George K. Macintosh, Ludmila B. Herbst and Tim Dickson said in a brief to the court.

But former members of polygamous communities have complained to Canadian authorities that they were victims of crimes, such as sexual exploitation and forced marriages, often when they were still minors.

Mr. Jones noted the social ills that accompany polygamy, or more correctly, polygyny, in which a few men have multiple wives. The FLDS does not marry women to multiple husbands. These include social pressures to drive excess males out of the community, while preparing younger females for marriage, regardless of their ages or wishes, Mr. Jones said.

So what if Canada changes its law? How does that affect us? Pretty directly, as a matter of fact:

The hearing is being watched closely both for its relevance to religious freedom issues and same-sex marriage. The Vancouver lawyers said Canada's 1890 polygamy ban is out of step with its modern understanding of marriage, which now includes same-sex marriage and offers protections for co-habiting couples.

Other legal observers suggest that if Canada jettisons its anti-polygamy law, other countries could be affected. If foreign jurisdictions, such as U.S. states, recognize same-sex marriages from Canada, for instance, they could be sued to force recognition of Canada's polygamous families, too.

Note that such "recognition" could easily grow to include American men who sojurn up in B.C., marry multiple wives, then hop back down to the United States... particularly if progressivists have their way and get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

And if you combine polygamy (or more generically, since we wouldn't discriminate on the basis of sex, polyamory) with sex-neutral marriage, you have the prospect of group marriage, in which any group of people can claim to be married. As I noted before, wouldn't criminal gangs routinely marry themselves, so that nobody in the gang could ever testify against anyone else in the gang?

It took me a while, but a year or so ago I finally hit upon the perfect analogy to SSM, to explain how it damaged and devalued all marriages, including traditional: SSM to traditional marriage is as counterfeit money to real money.

Suppose some criminal floods the United States with counterfeit bills tomorrow (you can include fiat money issued by the Federal Reserve, if you like). Now look at your own pocketful of legitimate currency. Have the physical notes changed? Is Alexander Hamilton now winking or wearing a beret?

Of course not; the money in your wallet is physically unaltered from yesterday. However, the value of all currency, including yours, has been diminished, debased, and devalued, by the introduction of bogus currency... it's not worth as much, because there's too much of it -- and because much of it is just funny money.

It's the same with SSM: When the definition of marriage is expanded to include many other relationships never contemplated by the vast majority of people who are married, then marriage loses its "specialness," its exceptionalism. As more and more relationships between two or more people are called by the same name of "marriage," eventually the institution loses all meaning whatsoever; "we're married" becomes synonymous with "we hang out with each other and receive monetary benefits," nothing more.

(By the way, those benefits would be forced even upon private parties by the government, state or federal: If an employer or service organization offers benefits to some married employees or members, then it cannot discriminate against other "married" employees or members; for example, employers who offer health-care benefits to spouses of employees would have to offer them to all the wives and husbands of employees in polyamorous multiple-sex marriages, with no upper limit.)

If you believe, as the vast majority of Americans do, that there is something unique and precious about the merging of male and female individuals (not mobs) in matrimony -- whether you consider it holy or just a vital way for Western civilization to propagate its ideology of liberty, equality under the law, and Capitalism -- then it's time to get off your assets and do something to protect it from a tragic martyrdom at the hands of the politically correct. Look to the northern skies to see what's in store here if we don't fight.

But why is the radical Left so anxious to debase marriage? The real goal, I am convinced, is not the "expansion of marriage" to those poor, discriminated-against gays and polyamorous swingers; rather, the real endgame is destruction of the institution of marriage itself. As George Orwell noted in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, perfect socialism cannot allow any force within society to be stronger than the State, including the forces of sex, marriage, and family; all must be ruthlessly stamped out, undermined, discredited, or subverted, so that all familial feelings transfer to the State -- whether that means the nation, as with Fascism, or the world, as with international socialism or Communism. Local sources of power and individual or family strength must disappear.

Three revolutions are necessary to transform us, as President Barack H. Obama wishes, into a true socialist State:

  1. Love must be channeled into meaningless (and non-seditious) sex, preferably profane and pornographic. (Nothing you would take home to Mother.)
  2. The institution of traditional marriage in the Western liberal democratic mode must be annihilated as a potential basis for counterrevolution. ("Everything within the State; nothing outside the State; nothing against the State.")
  3. And children must be divorced from their parents and raised by the State. ("It takes a village.")

(1) has largely been accomplished by commercial advertising and the arts and farces sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. (2) is well underway in Canada and many European countries, as well as throughout the Islamic ummah. And we have already seen (3) in many "advanced" socialist countries, such as Red China, Nazi Germany, and Castroated Cuba, and the policy is often praised and demanded by the elites of social progress.

Thank goodness for American exceptionalism... which itself is under assault right here in America. So it goes.

Either we fight and win, or we fight and lose, or we simply roll over. What's it to be then?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 6, 2011, at the time of 5:25 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Date ►►► January 2, 2011

I Need a French Idiom...

Hatched by Dafydd

Friendly readers, I'm transcribing an interview, and the subject spoke a term I cannot understand or unpack. He is a Korean War vet, and he said that around the South Koreans, he and his fellow American paratroopers always had to be [unknown expression here], which he defined as "on the edge" or "at the ready"... meaning that you never knew whether a South Korean was on your side or secretly on the North's side.

The word or words he used were in French, he said; phonetically, they sound to me like "kay deeve."

Does any of you know enough idiomatic French (or Korean-War idioms) to hazard a guess as to what he actually said? He repeated it clearly several times at my prompting, but I still can't find the phrase on Babel Fish; sadly, he has since died, so I can't ask him what he said, at least not without the intervention of a Ouija Board.

Anybody have any idea what he was saying and how to spell it?

Thanks,

the Mgt.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, January 2, 2011, at the time of 2:14 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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