Date ►►► June 28, 2013

The Kennedy Konundrum

Hatched by Dafydd

Far be it from me to support Anthony Kennedy, but I believe many conservatives (e.g., those at Power Line, plus Patterico, Hugh Hewitt, Charles Krauthammer, and many others) are making the same fundamental error: They persist in thinking of United States v. Windsor (the "DOMA" case) as a same-sex marriage case (or even a "gay marriage" case); thus they act as if Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, was attempting to decide whether same-sex marriage (SSM) is constitutionally protected.

But that is not what Kennedy ruled. As far as I can make out from the opinion -- I haven't read all 30 pages of it, but I read the first five pages, which constitute his summary of his opinion -- Kennedy held that the states alone can define what constitutes marriage in that state, with a tiny few obvious exceptions that would run afoul of explicit prohibitions in the Constitution. And further, that if a state decides to allow SSM, then the federal government cannot discriminate against legally married same-sex spouses anent federal benefits.

More concisely, Windsor is not a pro-SSM decision; it is a pro-Federalism decision.

I am unalterably opposed to same-sex marriage; but I actually support Kennedy's decision in Windsor: If a state foolishly decides to allow SSM, the feds cannot second-guess that decision by refusing to recognize it for purposes of various federal benefits, from filing taxes as "married filing jointly," to receiving survivor benefits from Social Security or spousal benefits under Medicare, to retirement benefits for widows or widowers of federal employees, and so forth.

We can see this fundamental misunderstanding clearest in a quote Patterico used to prove a different (and correct) point -- that Bill Clinton is a flaming hypocrite:

Anthony Kennedy says those responsible for DOMA had the “purpose” to “disparage and to injure” same-sex couples:
The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.

Patterico didn't realize he had shifted subjects, from a pair of individuals to marriages: Kennedy isn't saying that the constitution bans disparaging gays; he says that the constitution bans disparaging some legal marriages (hence the associated spouses) as not as legitimate as others. One may agree or disagree with Kennedy's position, but it's not what many conservatives claim it is.

Personally, I adamantly oppose same-sex marriage (SSM); not on religious grounds (I'm not religious), but because I believe the central animating purpose of marriage is to join the male and female elements of Mankind so as to promote civilized behavior (which includes child-rearing), and to moderate the behavioral extremes to which each gender is prone when among a sex-segregated group. But I am more pro-Federalism than I am anti-SSM.

I don't know what's in Kennedy's mind; but everything that I have read indicates that he objects to discrimination against legally married people who are of the same sex... that is, same-sex spouses, not same-sex couples per se. And he has a point.

Consider this analogy: Most states allow two people to marry at sixteen (with parents' permission). But suppose a few states allowed marriage at age fifteen.

Now suppose Congress did not move to ban such marriages, but instead enacted a new bill, the Age Requirement of Marriage Act (AROMA), stating that for federal purposes, both parties to a marriage must have been over the age of sixteen at the time of the marriage.

You would then have the spectacle of every legally married couple in some state being able to file a joint return, receive federal survivor benefits, and so forth... except those who legally and properly married while one of them was still fifteen. You may think it a good law that you have to wait until sixteen to marry; nevertheless, would that not strike directly at the heart of Federalism, whereby the states set their own standards for marriage?

In our hypothetical, as in reality, federal law does not hold that states cannot set the age of marital consent to fifteen, nor does it hold that states cannot allow for SSM. It properly leaves both of those choices to the discretion of the individual sovereign states, as Federalism demands. (And if Congress passed a law banning either marital definition, I'm sure it would end up in the Supreme Court, and probably be struck down.)

But in our hypothetical, the state would first agree that two fifteen year olds were legally and properly married in some states, but then deny them the same federal benefits that all other married couples receive. That is clearly discriminatory, and I agree with Kennedy that it's wrongful and unconstitutional discrimination.

That is the crux of Kennedy's decision: Not that SSM must be allowed; but rather that, once a state has legally enacted SSM, the feds cannot pick and choose which legal marriages are "good" and deserve benefits, and which are "bad" and deserve a boot to the head from the invisible foot of Washington D.C. States that allow SSM cannot be declared separate and inequal by the federales, simply because some folks (like me) disapprove of such pseudo-"marriages."

Some commentators have mounted that misunderstanding and ridden it to defend Chief Justice John Robers at all costs. They announce that, since Kenney issued a "pro-gay marriage" decision in Windsor (which he didn't), he surely would have been "anti-Proposition 8" in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case about whether it was constitutional for a state to ban SSM entirely. (Which he doesn't appear to have done; in fact, he argued federalism in that case, too; he has been perfectly consistent in these two related cases.)

These conservatives use that shaky claim to explain away Roberts' decision finding that the defenders of Prop. 8 -- a citizens' constitutional amendment that overrode the California Supreme Court and made SSM illegal again -- had no "standing" to appeal the district court decision striking down the amendment. (And to retroactively explain away his similar punting in the Obamacare case of a year ago; I heard that today on Hugh Hewitt's show, as well.)

They argue thus:

  1. Kennedy ruled in favor of gay marriage in the Windsor case.
  2. So he surely was about to rule in favor of gay marriage in Hollingsworth.
  3. Therefore, Roberts had to rule against standing; it was a last-ditch defense against the onslaught of federally mandated SSM!

QED: Roberts must remain the conservative hero, just as he was in the Obamacare case!

(Even if this self-serving rationale was correct, it would still be an egregious violation of Roberts' oath of office. The Supreme Court is not in the business of bartering justice for politics.)

But that is a complete misreading of the Warren (DOMA) decision, based entirely upon the desire to villainize Anthony Kennedy (whom conservatives generally hate) and exonerate John Roberts (whom they love, and desperately want to continue loving). But let me remind you, from our previous post, of what Kennedy actually wrote in his dissenting opinion in Hollingsworth, the very case the pundits insist he wanted to use to force SSM on us all, by federal judicial diktat. Not what certain conservatives believe he secretly intended, but what he actually put into his opinion:

In the end, what the Court fails to grasp or accept is the basic premise of the initiative process. And it is this. The essence of democracy is that the right to make law rests in the people and flows to the government, not the other way around. Freedom resides first in the people without need of a grant from government. The California initiative process embodies these principles and has done so for over a century. “Through the structure of its government, and the character of those who exercise government authority, a State defines itself as sovereign.” Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U. S. 452, 460 (1991). In California and the 26 other States that permit initiatives and popular referendums, the people have exercised their own inherent sovereign right to govern themselves. The Court today frustrates that choice by nullifying, for failure to comply with the Restatement of Agency, a State Supreme Court decision holding that state law authorizes an enacted initiative’s proponents to defend the law if and when the State’s usual legal advocates decline to do so. The Court’s opinion fails to abide by precedent and misapplies basic principles of justiciability. Those errors necessitate this respectful dissent.

To me, that does not sound like a man determined to pull down the edifice of Federalism. I don't buy the premise of these conservative, so I don't buy the bit. It's nothing but rank speculation fueled by bias, and steered by the desire to make the guy we all dislike into the "real villain" of the piece.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 28, 2013, at the time of 9:16 PM | Comments (6)

Date ►►► June 26, 2013

John Roberts: Social Reformer

Hatched by Dafydd

Almost a year ago, June 28th, 2012, when Chief Justice John Roberts shocked the legal world by upholding Obamacare, he offered the rationale that he must bend over backwards to protect the integrity of, and show great deference to, a democratic vote.

But today in Hollingsworth v. Perry (initially Perry v. Schwarzenegger), he must have had some more urgent crusade in mind; because he has just thrown the votes of seven million Californios into the dustbin of historical inevitability. With the stroke of a pen, Roberts has overturned our votes (twice) for traditional marriage.

In fact, he picked up the seven-ten split: With the first collision, he wiped away Proposition 8, which had inconveniently held that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California;" this got in the way of Progress. And with the rebound, he slickly demolished that very direct democracy of the citizens' initiative, not just in California but in every other state that once had such a mechanism for the citizens to legislate where their elected masters had chosen not to lead them.

And he did all this while never even having to reach the merits of whether the United States Constitution actually requires same-sex marriage, as the plaintiffs contended and the trial judge enthusiastically endorsed: Since nobody in the whole wide world had, or could ever have had, "standing" to defend a law enacted by the California electorate, there was in essence no opportunity for the side of traditional marriage ever to be heard. It's not difficult to win a collusive case where the opposition is bound and gagged.

Technically, Prop. 8 is not dead yet; by ruling that the defenders had no standing from the very beginning, the decision of the Ninth Circuit to strike down Prop. 8 was also swept away. This leaves the marriage law in doubt, since only a ruling by an appellate court or higher is supposed to be able to overturn an initiative. But that's a distinction without a difference; for the lawless administration of Gov. Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown has already given the order to resume issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples in thirty days.

And since we now know that nobody has standing to defend Prop. 8, it's inevitable that nobody will likewise have any standing to sue to prevent those licenses. The losing side -- rather, the group of individuals who just discovered today that they hadn't even been in the courtroom, and their recollections of district, appellate, and Supreme courts was just a dream -- puts a fine spin on it:

While it is unfortunate that the Court's ruling does not directly resolve questions about the scope of the trial court's order against Prop. 8, we will continue to defend Prop. 8 and seek its enforcement until such time as there is a binding statewide order that renders Prop. 8 unenforceable.

But when those licenses start rolling out, who ya gonna call?

How did this all come about? Plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo were each denied a same-sex marriage license under Prop. 8; they sued the state of California and various officials (Perry v. Schwarzenegger): The United States federal Constitition, they argued, mandated same-sex marriage across the entire nation, "Whether you like it or not" -- as San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a gay-rights activist, huffed in an anti-Prop. 8 commercial. Apparently, that was what the Framers had intended all along.

In a first, both the liberal Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the leftist Democratic state Attorney General (and former governor) Jerry Brown, the two officials tasked with defending the law of California in court, flagrantly conspired to violate their duty and oath of office, refusing to defend Prop. 8 -- and also refusing to appoint or allow anyone else to defend it, either. The intent was clear: With no defenders, only one side would be heard, and the conspirators would win in a walk.

But the California Supreme Court threw a monkey wrench into the smooth passage of Prop. 8 into genteel désuétude; the authors of the original 2008 citizens' constitutional amendment -- its wording copied exactly from a previous citizens' initiative, 2000's Proposition 22 -- petitioned for, and received permission from the state Supreme Court to defend Prop. 8 in the ensuing trials. Even Judge Vaughn Walker, the federal trial judge, accepted them as defendants, defending the interests of the citizens of California.

And that became John Roberts' target. He put together a strange coalition of three activist liberal justices -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagen -- and one very conservative justice, Antonin Scalia; all appeared willing to exile the only defenders of the law... and evidently none was much concerned that by striking at the very concept of citizen defenders, they gave an administrative veto to once and future citizens' initiatives: Henceforth, all an administration need do to overturn a citizens' initiative, here or anywhere else that has the now-suspect concept, is to induce a friendly catspaw to file a lawsuit, then refuse to defend it.

Roberts' rule of reorder throws out the appeal against Walker's kangaroo-court decision, allowing to stand his ruling that a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional under the United States Constitution. That has already been shown to be good enough for Gov. Brown to restart the same-sex marriage assembly line.

(After Walker reached that sweeping decision, he retired from the bench... and only then revealed that he was not only gay, which had already been known in some legal circles, but was also in a ten-year long committed relationship with his partner -- whom he now can marry, thanks to his own decision and the assist from John Roberts. Not that there was any bias, or even the appearance of bias, merely because the judge was in effect passing judgment upon himself and his own situation.)

The "standing" gambit is so powerful that it can now be used to utterly rewrite California's legal history, or that of any other state that unwisely thought it had some form of direct democracy. At any time in the future, so long as the listed defenders of such initiatives collude in refusing to defend a citizen vote they dislike (however long ago it occurred), they can sweep it aside in a heartbeat.

For example, Proposition 13 -- which restricts state property-tax officials from ruinously raising rates and reassessing real-estate values, driving pensioners out of their homes -- has long been a thorn in the side of the leftist California administration; they want a free rein to jack up property taxes, no matter the cost to homeowner cash-cows. But the Left has never been able to muster the votes to overturn Prop. 13. In fact, it is probably more popular among the citizens today than it was when enacted in 1978 -- as a citizens' initiative.

That problem has now been solved by the Chief Justice. All Gov. Jerry Brown need do now is get one of his cronies to file a lawsuit against Prop. 13, on any ground whatsoever, no matter how frivolous; then collude with state Attorney General and former San Francisco D.A. Kamala Harris to refuse to defend Prop. 13. Poof! It vanishes overnight, and to the devil with those durned unProgressivist voters.

To quote Robert Anton Wilson, channeling Lemuel Gulliver:

And so... these Learned Men, having Inquir'd into the Case for the Opposition, discover'd that the Opposition had no Case and were Devoid of Merit, which was what they Suspected all along, and they arriv'd at this Happy Conclusion by the most Economical and Nice of all Methods of Enquiry, which was that they did not Invite the Opposition to confuse Matters by Participating in the Discussion.

Some have suggested that Roberts only pushed the standing issue because he was afraid that Justice Anthony Kennedy would otherwise push the full marriage monty, corralling the Progressivists to strike Prop. 8 down on the merits. But Kennedy's vigorous dissent (and his ruling in the related Defense of Marriage Act) points to complete accord with federalism, allowing states to decide state matters themselves, without federal intervention:

In the end, what the Court fails to grasp or accept is the basic premise of the initiative process. And it is this. The essence of democracy is that the right to make law rests in the people and flows to the government, not the other way around. Freedom resides first in the people without need of a grant from government. The California initiative process embodies these principles and has done so for over a century. “Through the structure of its government, and the character of those who exercise government authority, a State defines itself as sovereign.” Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U. S. 452, 460 (1991). In California and the 26 other States that permit initiatives and popular referendums, the people have exercised their own inherent sovereign right to govern themselves. The Court today frustrates that choice by nullifying, for failure to comply with the Restatement of Agency, a State Supreme Court decision holding that state law authorizes an enacted initiative’s proponents to defend the law if and when the State’s usual legal advocates decline to do so. The Court’s opinion fails to abide by precedent and misapplies basic principles of justiciability. Those errors necessitate this respectful dissent.

I don't believe Roberts reached his decision by an honest belief that the lack of a "Restatement of Agency" means the people are allowed no advocate, just as I no longer believe that he upheld Obamacare because he honestly thought it was just a great big 'ol tax. In both cases, I now believe Roberts' real motivation was his belief that, in certain issues of social reform (same-sex marriage, socialist medicine), power resides first in the government without need of a grant from the people. Or even, as in this case, in spite of a roaring dissent from the people -- twice.

John Roberts insisted he upheld Obamacare because it was vital that democratic votes be upheld if in any way possible, even at the expense of cultural destruction. But in Hollingsworth, it appears that cultural destruction -- or "reform" -- was the goal, not the byproduct. In that fierce urgency of now, it was the democratic vote that had to be thrown to the wolves. Roberts wears a robe; he knows best.

I believe the the real arc of Chief Justice John Roberts is now revealed: Clearly, the man has grown in office.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 26, 2013, at the time of 4:00 PM | Comments (0)

Date ►►► June 25, 2013

Just an Airy Thought in the Maelstrom...

Hatched by Dafydd

Today, the Supremes announced their decision in Shelby County v. Holder, largely striking down a significant portion of the 1960s-era Voting Rights Act. I defer to a lawyer to supply specificity:

The Court approved the concept of pre-clearance that is contained in Section 5, but of course there won’t be any pre-clearance until Congress writes new, defensible criteria to replace those the Court struck down–something that I assume will never happen. So the principal provisions of the Voting Rights Act, which should have been allowed to expire long ago–and would have, if that were politically possible–are finally gone.

I actually hope the GOP does enthusiastically join Democrats in a bipartisan voting-rights romp, to come up with a new formula for when preclearance should be invoked; but only on condition that:

  • The new formula does not rely upon an ancient history of racism but upon current conditions;
  • It takes the requirement of "strict scrutiny" seriously;
  • And most urgently, Republicans should utterly reject any deal that does not include a broad, sweeping, and strictly enforced, nationwide voter-ID law to prevent voter fraud -- a far more prevalent violation of Americans' right to "free and fair elections" than the lingering echoes of long-dead (Democratic) racists.

Ensuring that nobody eligible to vote is denied that right because of his race; in exchange for preventing those ineligible to vote from voting, and also preventing anyone from voting more than once in the same election; sounds wonderful! Yet I strongly suspect that Democrats would flee en masse from any such bargain: They would rather see people wrongly denied voting rights than have their own voter-fraud campaign strategy terminated!

The bipartisan bill would fail, not because of Republicans but because of Democrats. So why not let the whole world know who the real voting-right villains are?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 25, 2013, at the time of 3:35 PM | Comments (0)

Date ►►► June 9, 2013

The Disabling Danger of Datagate

Hatched by Dafydd

I agree with most commentators of the Right that the program initiated by the National Security Agency some time ago -- scooping up all the "metadata" surrounding phone calls by and to Americans, immigrants, transient residents, and illegals, then trying to match the other end to known terrorists -- was probably constitutional and not necessarily intrusive to ordinary people.

Nevertheless, I have a very strong feeling (I'll make it a prediction) that, strangely enough, this non-scandal will turn out to be the most devastating scandal of the Obama administration:

  • It feels very Nixonian.
  • It enrages the Left at Barack "You didn't build that" Obama at a time when the Right is already enraged at and mobilized against him, leaving no friendly forces other than a handful of universally despised, Democratic members of Congress and the tuned-out Plantation Media.
  • Almost everybody in America now realizes that their very own "metadata" has surely been captured, along with such trivialities as credit-card transactions; this scares the bejesus out of most folks.
  • I suspect that a very large percent of those same suddenly awakened citizens believe or suspect that all their phone calls are being recorded and analyzed as well. (This is almost certainly false -- though I would never say absolutely false, considering the current POTUS; but that doesn't stop people thinking that they're phones have been "tapped".)
  • The other Obamic scandals -- especially the IRS targeting of conservatives and the potential prosecution of Fox-News reporter James Rosen -- play right into the same fear of intrusion, keyhole listening, tribalism, and a totalitarian Obamunist apparatus that wants to destroy the very concepts of privacy, liberty, and freedom.
  • It's incredibly easy for conservative or libertarian Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY, 100%) and Sillicone Valley technocrat Democrats to demagogue the issue and whip up an absolute firestorm of hysteria, and a deep distrust of the government. (I'm all in favor of the latter but not the former!)

Ergo, I see the NSA scandal twisting out of control, dragging Obama and many of his Donkey-Party allies down into the big muddy, like a crocodile's death spiral.

Keep watching the sties...!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 9, 2013, at the time of 5:32 PM | Comments (1)

Date ►►► June 6, 2013

The Medved Heresy

Hatched by Dafydd

Last post of mine, I promised an essay on heresy; now I -- unlike Barack "Skeets" Obama -- am pathologically honest; so here she blows.

(Yes, I know the title sounds like a Robert Ludlum novel.)

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that Michael Medved and his posse, minions, and groupies have linked hearts and hands with the Discovery Institute [DI]... a pseudoscientific organization whose one and only function is to "prove" that evolution is hooey, and that all species currently extant were specially created by God.

Medved seems convinced that the DI is a "scientific" body; at least, he keeps saying so. And the connection between the talk-show host and the snow-job hoax is no secret; Medved himself announces it proudly on his radio show with great fanfare and frequent repetition.

Needless to say, Medved is yet another former radical liberal Progressivist who was converted to the opposing team by the election of Ronald Reagan. As Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco said (in an interview in World Press Review, don't recollect the number), "A fanatic can never be convinced but only converted."

Now the DI's mainstay is one Michael Behe, a biochemist and Creationist, though he prefers the term "Intelligent Design." I don't mind; for similar reasons, liberals prefer to be called Progressivists: The euphemism always sounds more scientific and intelligent, if somewhat vague and ill-defined. (As C.S. Lewis might ask, "Progressing towards what?" As I might ask, "Designed by whom?")

Behe pins his entire belief system upon one solitary argument: That he can find occasional "irreducible" complexity in biological systems. That is, Behe hunts through the scientific literature until he finds one tiny element of evolutionary biology that is not yet explained by theory. Then he announces that that element is irreducible; that is, he issues a pronunciamento that since it cannot be explained today, it will never, ever be explained. It's inexplicable!

In that miniscule module that is unexplainable (by Behe), that is where Behe concludes we will find the Intelligent Designer, i.e., God. The thesis is simple:

  1. Michael Behe cannot fathom how some aspect of evolution could have occurred.
  2. Thus, nobody can fathom it.
  3. Thus it's impossible within the scientific framework.
  4. Therefore, God must have stuck in His thumb and pulled out a miracle... there no other possible explanation.

Then a few months pass, and lo! That very eensy element is thoroughly explicated in some peer-reviewed biology journal. Its complexity is no longer irreducible, since it has just been reduced to a collection of simpler functions and proceeses, and its evolutionary track is described in detail.

At that point, Behe drops his previous counter-argument; and it's off to the races again, discovering yet another, even tinier element that he can claim is irreducible.

By definition, science is always tentative; that is, a scientist should never say, "This is reality," but rather, "This fits the current facts but is subject to change as new data arrives." In every scientific theory, no matter how well founded, there are always tiny areas that cannot be explained today. If that weren't true, it would mean we literally know everything. Therefore, there will always be some aspect of evolutionary theory that Behe can point to and scream, "Irreducible!" It's like unto the fact that in between any two rational numbers -- say, 1.50 and 1.75 -- there is always an infinity of other rational numbers.

But from a theological point of view, this line of argument is fraught with peril. Every time Behe thinks he has found a miniscule irreducible complexity, he has to push the totality of God into that microscopic pinhole. Then when the march of science fills even that in, God is pushed into an even teensier crack.

You see the problem, of course: With each such cycle, God Himself is diminished. Eventually, God becomes so Lilliputian that He vanishes entirely. Therefore, and somewhat perversely, the very act of trying to disprove evolutionary biology itself drives observers to atheism!

But there is an even stronger theological objection to Creationism in general, Beheian, Medvedian, or Steinian: Its central tenet -- that evolution cannot have occurred -- is itself utter heresy. (In fact, it's Gnosticism, as far as I'm concerned.)

How do I mean? The brutal truth is that nobody with even a high-school level of scientific understanding seriously questions the science behind contemporary evolutionary biology. Even Michael Behe accepts the basic premise, that organisms change due to mutations and variations, acted upon by survival of progeny. (He spends all his time trying to find a tiny corner where biologists cannot yet explain the evolutionary changes, so he can point out God, hiding in a microscopic dot somewhere.)

As science, evolutionary biology is settled; so the only potentially valid argument against it is theological, not scientific; indeed, all such arguments reduce to the same Ur-argument: Evolution by variation and natural selection mustn't be true, because it would be so dreadful were it true!

But why would it be dreadful if the creation of our physical bodies could be well explained by non-supernatural processes that are still occurring on the Earth today? Because somebody has convinced the Creationists that either they could believe in evolution, or they could believe in God -- but not both, because they are completely contradictory.

And who told them that whopper? Shocking but true: the atheists themselves!

It's true that many scientists and science popularizers are atheists, and they are very comfortable believing that evolution and God are mortal enemies. These political scientists write books making that very claim, like Richard Dawkins, the God Delusion, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Stephen Hawking, and Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great.

And the Creationist fools swallow it whole, hook, line, and sinker. The atheists reel them in, knowing that they've landed their ideological opponents on an impossible no-man's land between Scylla and Charybdis, where the Ichthus-fish must either renounce evolutionary theory -- and by consistency, virtually all of Western science -- or must renounce God, and join with the atheists. Not a very satisfying set of options.

(There are also many scientists who see no conflict between Judaism or Christianity on the one hand and the scientific method on the other; for example, Francis Collins, who headed the Human Genome Project, makes a persuasive argument in the Language of God.)

But the dichotomy is entirely in the minds of the Creationists. There is no theological inconsistency between a theistic God and evolutionary theory: A God who is truly omniscient and omnipotent certainly could have, had He so chosen, created a universe that included the physical laws of our own universe, as currently understood by the scientific community. Then, following the Big Bang, the universe would unfold in such a way as to result in galaxies, stars, planets, life, and ultimately, an intelligent being with a moral sense.

No traditional theologian would dispute this as a possibility; if God is "big enough" to create any universe, it seems plausible that He can create the particular universe He wants. To argue otherwise is to say that it's beyond God's reach to initiate a universe in which evolution occurs, without God having to intervene directly every tiny fraction of a nanosecond to keep totality on track. (Another way to put it: Was God too stupid to envision the proper plans in the first place? Does He have to make never-ending course corrections, like a shakey student pilot on his first flight?)

Is that what Michael Medved and Ben Stein believe? That God simply hasn't the brains or the welly to have set up the universe correctly the first time? Because that would indeed be heresy, as I understand it!

At most, Creationists have only one logical point: Maybe God could have created a universe that would, through the workings of the laws of physics, eventually produce beings with a moral code and a conscience; but that doesn't prove that He chose to do so.

Fine, I'll grant that; but thern we must resort to the physical evidence, to see which path He chose; and Michael Behe to the contrary notwithstanding, all the scientific evidence points towards evolution of species, and of new species growing out of the old.

It's both inexplicable and disappointing that so many religious people take the word of their bitterest atheist opponents as gospel!

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 6, 2013, at the time of 3:10 AM | Comments (3)

Date ►►► June 2, 2013

Paging Captain Obvious

Hatched by Korso

And so it came to pass, that the Lords of Intellect at Barack Hussein Obama's White House (soon to open a franchise near you) finally started to grumble that it might be time to make a little more room under the bus for one Eric "Heckuva Job" Holder. What's really funny, though, is how those same wonder boys still manage to add two and two and come up with five. To wit, in regards to the Justice Department spying on the Associated Press:

“The White House is apoplectic about him, and has been for a long time,” said a Democratic former government official who did not want to be identified while talking about friends.

Some advisers to Mr. Obama believe that Mr. Holder does not manage or foresee problems, the former official said. “How hard would it be to anticipate that the A.P. would be unhappy?” the former official said.

Um, maybe because the Battered Girlfriend Media has done everything in its power to cover up Obama's scandals since before he was even inaugurated? If the BGM couldn't be bothered to investigate Fast & Furious -- where dozens of people, ya know, actually died -- why wouldn't Eric Holder assume that they'd do the same when it came to spying on reporters?

Guys and gals of the media, it's about time you assumed responsiblity for this monster that you've created. In case it's never occurred to you, a free press was enshrined in the First Amendment so that it could keep an eye on what the government was doing, holding it accountable for corruption and wrongdoing. But that doesn't work too well when reporters, in the thrall of a cult-of-personality president, look the other way. Obama and his minions understand that, you see, which is why they've been running the White House like the Chicago pols that they are.

Is that really so hard to understand?

Hatched by Korso on this day, June 2, 2013, at the time of 2:24 PM | Comments (1)

Date ►►► June 1, 2013

Hit Me Baby One More Time

Hatched by Korso

I took some flack in my last post for using the term "mainstream media" to describe Barack Obama's freelance staff of spinners, note-takers and stenographers -- also known as "journalists" -- and I must admit, after several news organizations actually took Eric Holder up on his off-the-record offer to do some 'splainin yesterday, I'm now inclined to agree with my naysayers: MSM is definitely a misnomer. From here on in, I'm calling them the Battered Girlfriend Media -- or BGM for short.

I mean, seriously. How else can you describe a bunch of people who covered for Obama through the course of four years and two elections, dutifully diverting everyone's attention away from a lousy economy and a feckless foreign policy with the War on Women and same sex marriage, only to discover that the man's Justice Department was tapping their phone records and looking to jam them up for publishing leaks from inside his administration? And then when he gets caught in the act, they still go running back to hear about how he was under some serious stress, that it was just the one time and how he swears, baby, he'll never smack them around like that again. The situation has all the ingredients of a Lifetime made-for-TV movie event.

Will they ever learn? Probably not. There's a reason abusive boyfriends get away with their abuse. Like any good predator, they know how to spot weakness and exploit it. Eric Holder (and by extension, Obama himself) knows that the media are desperate to forgive them, so they engage in some token groveling to smooth things over. This does not, however, change the balance of power in the relationship -- which means, after a requisite period of time, the abuse will continue. Because that's what abusers do, until something gives them a reason to change.

By attending Holder's little pow-wow, though, the WaPo, the WSJ, the New Yorker and their ilk are doing just the opposite. They're enabling the bad behavior, which guarantees that it'll never stop. Makes you wonder why they didn't start going with a nice guy like Mitt Romney when they had the chance.

Dafydd adds: Henry Rollins wrote a song that so perfectly fits el Presidente and his astonishing relationship with the Plantation Media -- and considering 2012, with the American electorate as well -- that I simply can't resist this YouTube:


Hatched by Korso on this day, June 1, 2013, at the time of 2:37 PM | Comments (1)

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