Friday, June 29, 2012

"Don't Tase Me Bro"

FWIW:  The phrase "Don't Tase Me Bro" has become part of our popular culture.

Here is the “famous” “Don’t tase me bro” video.  The key words come towards the end of the video.

AG Holder found in contempt of Congress

Pres. Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, was found in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to BATF's notorioius Operation Fast and Furious.  17 Democrats voted for contempt.
There were both civil and criminal citations.   Holder is the first cabinet member in history found in contempt.  Some Democrats charged that the charges against Holder were motivated by racism.  For many ideologues on the left, anytime a black person gets in trouble and there are whites involved, it's automatically labelled "racism."  I wonder if and when people are going to get tired of this knee-jerk, simple-minded charade. It's often an effective strategy to frighten off people and distract from the real issue.  As was expected, Holder's DOJ later indicated it would not seek criminal prosecution.  Those charged can use delaying tactics and civil contempt proceedings can drag on for months, if not years.  Holder may be out of office before anything gets resolved in the courts.

A look at America's far right.

Let’s take a look at what is usually deemed the far right in U.S. politics--the  American Nazi Party and the very similar National Socialist Movement.  Neither has endorsed either Obama or Romney.  As expected, only Aryans get a right to keep and bear arms.  Both party platforms contain economic and welfare provisions similar to left-wing or socialist groups. The usual left-right continuum seems to break down here. Not surprisingly, both are anti-immigration.  As expected, their stands on many issue  mirror the platform of Hitler's National Socialism (NSDAP), esp. the leftist economics.  In some respects the platform looks decidedly leftist (socialist) or even Marxist, with lots of Aryan supremacy and nationalist propaganda thrown in. .  Many have debated the propriety of labeling the NSDAP as an example of  a prototypical right-wing theory.  Of course, the Nazis were enthusiastic about disarming Jews and other "suspect" groups.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

FWIW: Communists and Marxists fear Romney, want more gun control

Every once in a while it is interesting to look at what the really far left  (Communists, Marxists, etc) think.
FWIW, not surprisingly, they don't want Romney in the White House and want more gun control.   Their stand on gun control mirrors the USSR's strict control on guns and, of course, they hate capitalism and want basically unlimited government.  Citizens with guns pose a potential  threat to unlimited government power, and of course, the state will protect everyone.

Supreme Court Strikes down 1 part of Obamacare

What I did not mention in the prior post was that although the individual mandate was upheld, one part of Obamacare was invalidated. Most everyone thought the mandate was the most constitutionally vulnerable part. This part of the Court's ruling was somewhat surprising.
" In another part of the decision and in a blow to the White House, a different majority on the court struck down the provision of the law that requires the states to dramatically expand the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor."  This appears to be a victory for federalism.The impact of this ruling is not immediately clear.  Stay tuned!

U.N. Treaty and American Gun Control is usually relatively unbiased and accurate.  Can't vouch for them on this, but it makes sense--as far as it goes.  The treaty, at least, ostensibly, is limited to international trade in guns. Notice use of the word "ostensibly."  Further, the Constitution takes precedence over treaties.  As long as Heller and McDonald are good law, this should ease concerns.  However, the Court can pull stunners and "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."  On the other hand, what is ignored is that many popular  guns are made overseas and must be imported.  On the other hand, some popular foreign companies, such as Glock, do have some operations in the U.S. The article notes "The administration says."  Personally, I don't trust Obama when it come to guns or religious freedom. If the current Pres. is re-elected, negotiation and ratification of this obviously will  be an issue worth watching.  It would be naive to believe that Obama is not  basically hostile to the Second Amendment (e.g. his "Bittergate" speech, comments to the Brady Center, etc).  Hopefully, the Senate will not vote on the treaty before a new President takes office.  Then we will have a better feel for what could happen if such a treaty is approved.  The Senate's power to approve treaties and confirm Supreme Court nominations should alert everyone to the importance of senatorial elections.  Finally, overall, the UN leads way left.  They do not recognize a right of individuals to self-defense and favor maximizing government power.  One always needs to keep and eye cocked when the UN is involved.

Obama care constitutional!

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in Obamacare as a valid exercise of the Congress' Art. I taxing power..  It was expected that the case would be decided on the basis of the commerce clause. The court did not uphold it under the commerce clause.  To call the individual mandate a "tax," is a huge stretch.  Even Congress did not call it a "tax."  None of the lower courts found that it was a tax.  Surprisingly the 5th vote was cast the the usually conservative Chief Justice--John Roberts.  Many were shocked that Roberts joined the liberals on the case.  J. Kennedy, who is usually the swing vote and the most middle-of-the-road of all the Justices, voted against Obamacare.  A big defeat for those who are concerned about the scope of federal power.  Obama care will now move ahead unless there is Congressional action to block it.  This will certainly be an issue in the crucial Nov. congressional elections. The battle moves from the Supreme Court to Congress. The Court has spoken, now the voters will speak in November.  You think politics was hot and brutal now, this Court decision only throws more gasoline on the fire.

TIH: 2010, McDonald v. Chicago--Victory for Liberty

In a landmark opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court ignored the howls of the liberal authoritarians and made the individual's Second Amendment rights enforceable against the states.  This was also a landmark case as it was the first Fourteenth Amendment incorporation case in nearly 40 years. This was a great victory for those who truly love liberty.  One would have thought the ACLU would have thrown a party.  Instead, the left-leaning "Civil Liberties" organization has virtually ignored and refused to support this section of the Bill of Rights.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Operation Fast and Furious, Holder in contempt for coverup?

Democrats are saying the potential Congressional investigation and upcoming  vote on holding AG Holder in contempt is a "witch hunt." This is the usual cry of both Democratic and Republican stalwarts whenever someone goes after their President.  "Sunshine is the best disinfectant." However, the Obama  adminsitration has not be truthful over the course of the investigation.  Whatever happened to Obama's promise for a more open government.  Another campaign promise bites the dust once the promisor gets in office.  The first lie (?) perhaps came in 2010:

"What's the controversy over the Justice Department's Feb. 4, 2010 letter to Sen. Grassley?

In its earliest response to Sen. Grassley's questions about the gunwalking operation, the Justice Department sent a letter that contained inaccurate information. The letter, signed by Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, stated that ATF never "knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them into Mexico." Ten months later, the Justice Department withdrew the letter acknowledging that it contained inaccuracies. In April 2012, Weich announced his intention to resign from the Justice Department to become dean of the University of Baltimore Law School. Documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee, but not turned over, include Justice Department communications after the Feb. 4, 2010 letter leading up to the Dec. 2010 retraction of the inaccurate letter. Republicans in Congress want to see who-knew-when that the Feb. 4 assertion denying gunwalking was false, and why it took ten months for the administration's retraction."

For more from CBS on the controversy and the source of this quote see this article.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TIH: D.C. v. Heller (2008): Victory for the Bill o fRights

On this day in 2008 the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in D.C. v. Heller.  In a landmark victory for civil rights, the Court invalidated D.C.'s draconian handgun ban and held that the Second Amendment's right of the people to keep and bear arms included people who were not members of an official or unofficial militia.  The left squealed like stuck pigs.  Former Justice Stevens and current Justice Breyer are still squealing.  However, this was a 5-4 decision.  One new justice who is anti-Second Amendment could cause this right to disappear. No Obama appointees were on the Court, but later,  an Obama appointee, J. Sotomayor,  voted against making the right applicable to the states (McDonald v. Chicago, 2010). It's pretty clear where Sotomayor stands on the Second Amendment.  Pres. Obama can be expected to try to appoint Justices who are hostile to the Heller decision.  If you love freedom, keep this in mind when you vote in Nov.  Nothing unmasks left-wing authoritarians quicker than their negative reaction to this decision.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Supreme Court on sentencing teen Killers

The Court bans mandatory life without parole for teen murderers.

Supreme Court issues Split decision on AZ Immigration Law

Mostly unconstitutional.  "Papers please" law upheld.

Citizens United Upheld

This case from Montana was seen as an opportunity to reverse the Court's decision in  Citizen's United. The left whined luck a stuck pig after Citizens United.  Anti-First Amendment populists in Montana were defeated.  Looks like their agony will continue.  As usual, the Court's liberals voted against First Amendment values. It was also a great victory for an independent judiciary.

Sex Offender loses First Amendment case

Although I am an avid supporter of First Amendment rights, these rights, like all rights in the Bill of Rights, are not absolute.  I agree with the decision.  It's too bad the ACLU will back these questionable types of cases and yet refuse to support the Second Amendment.  Their attitude is a good look at Left-wing hypocrisy about the Bill of Rights.

Gowder v. Chicago: Victory for 2nd Amendment

A well-deserved Second Amendment victory. The facts of this case give you some insight into the mentality of the powers-that-be in Chicago.  They argued, based on a flawed study, that people with misdemeanor convictions who seek handguns are more likely than others to be at increased risk of committing violent crimes.

Friday, June 22, 2012

TIH: 1977 AG Mitchell starts prison term

On June 22, 1977 Richard Nixon's former attorney general John N. Mitchell started serving his federal prison sentence for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.  Another example of the poor quality people we get in the White House.  Doesn't make any difference what party controls the White House. Integrity is always in short supply.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our Disgraceful Media: e.g., MSNBC

I have never seen the media so intensely involved in a blatantly partisan fashion in the events leading up to a Presidential election.  Fox attacks Obama at every turn.  ABC, NBC, and to a lesser extent CBS, fawn over Obama.  The worst offenders are MSNBC and the New York Times who often look like they've gotten their material from the White House. They have become Obama's version of Pravda. ABC, NBC and MSNBC ignored the fast and furious scandal but the potential contempt  citation from Congress against AG Holder may force them to cover the issue (if it already hasn't).  An example of how the pro-Obama media spin things in a pro-Obama direction is this piece from MSNBC which suggests that the whole case against Holder is nothing more than a right-wing conspiracy.  Notice how they dodge the question about Obama's promises for more open government. When are the American people going to wake up and see that most of the media are engaged in propaganda and not real news. What ever happened to ethics in journalism?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

House Committee Approves Holder contempt resolution

The U.S. House committee investigating the DOJ and BATF over the notorious Fast and Furious operation has approved a resolution to find AG Holder in contempt.  The resolution goes to the full house.  This comes after Pres. Obama claimed executive privilege and Holder retracted a second statement made to the committee.  Doesn't make any difference who's in the White House, Repub. or Dem., it's the same unethical CYA song and dance.  Anyone who the Obama presidency would be different in this regard needs to wake up.

Obama stonewalls on BATF Fast & Furious Investigation

Pres. Obama has asserted executive privilege to justify denying documents to a House committee studying BATF's notorious Operation Fast and Furious.  Whoever thought Obama would conduct a more open and honest government appears to be sadly mistaken.  Looks like business as usual in D.C.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ACLU Rejects Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Although it leans strongly left, the ACLU is occasionally able to rise above and even-handedly support freedom of speech (unlike Congress and the President). It opposes a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. They write:

"Any rule that requires the government to determine what political speech is legitimate and how much political speech is appropriate is difficult to reconcile with the First Amendment. Our system of free expression is built on the premise that the people get to decide what speech they want to hear; it is not the role of the government to make that decision for them.

It is also useful to remember that the mixture of money and politics long predates Citizens United and would not disappear even if Citizens United were overruled. The 2008 presidential election, which took place before Citizens United,was the most expensive in U.S. history until that point. The super PACs that have emerged in the 2012 election cycle have been funded with a significant amount of money from individuals, not corporations, and individual spending was not even at issue in Citizens United.

Unfortunately, legitimate concern over the influence of “big money” in politics has led some to propose a constitutional amendment to reverse the decision. The ACLU will firmly oppose any constitutional amendment that would limit the free speech clause of the First Amendment."

I second the motion!

Rodney King passed away Sunday

The attempt by CHP officers to stop a speeding Rodney King late one night in March 1991 developed into one of the most infamous series of events in American history.  By the time the second trial was over, policing, race-relations and police-community relations had changed dramatically.  Los Angeles suffered its worst riots ever when the officers tried in state court for beating King were acquitted.  A good book on the entire sequence of events is Lou Cannon's Official Negligence.  In retrospect, much of what happened seems to be the result of some incredibly bad and unjust decisions.  This expose' will blow your mind!

Outrageous British cyber snooping plan.

You may have to read this twice to believe it.  Britain is already covered with government-monitored surveillance cameras. I can't believe a democratic government would do this to its own people.  Tell me again why we need to be more like socialist Britain?

Juneteenth (1865) celebrating liberty!

Juneteenth (June 19th) holiday celebrates the announcement of Emancipation to then-slaves in 1865.  Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, but it didn't mean much until Union troops occupied an area. In 1868, with the Thirteenth Amendment, slavery was officially outlawed. 

TIH: 1961 Mapp v. Ohio

In 1961 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down one of its most important, if not most revolutionary cases on criminal procedure--Mapp v. Ohio.  Now that the exclusionary rule applied in state courts, the limitations of the Fourth Amendment on the police finally became a national reality.  State courts would be flooded with defense motions to exclude evidence and federal courts would be called upon to review state court decisions on the Fourth Amendment and exclusionary rule.  This case caused radical changes in police training and procedures everywhere.  Although much-criticized, the case was a great victory for those who love liberty and want serious limits on government power.  Although the conservatives who dominated later Courts (and even some liberal Justices), began gutting the rule, it still remains a powerful tool for vindicating the Fourth Amendment.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Reality and the Gender Pay Gap

Anyone who believe the over-simplified argument that women in equal jobs are underpaid as compared to men, Needs to learn a little about statistics.  Such comparisons are meaningless unless other variable are controlled (held constant).  Among these are, for instance, time in service, time in rank, hours worked per year, etc.  As this column by Thomas Sowell illustrates, this is another divisive propaganda move by a President who appears to be getting desperate.

Lower courts gutting 2nd Amendment.

This article discusses why Second Amendment rights have still not become much a a reality in this country.  The  problem primarily is anti-gun judges. Download full article if interested.

Gun Control in the D.C. police state

Looks like neither the 4th nor 2nd Amends get much respect in the liberal-dominated District of Columbia.

TIH: 1215 Magna Charta

June 15, 1215: English noblemen forced King John to sign a document recognizing individual rights  and limits on royal power.  This momentous occasion was the official start of the Anglo-American constitutional  ideas of the rule of law, individual rights and limits on government power.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

TIH: 1943, Supreme Court's Barnette Decision

In a great victory for freedom of speech, in the midst of World War II, (June 14, 1943)  the Supreme Court courageously ruled that school children cannot be forced to salute the American flag and recite the pledge of allegiance. In one of the Court's most famous quotes, the majority stated:
"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein."
Anytime the government attempts to dictate what is "politically correct,"  I hope the Supreme Court will stand up and say "No."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

TIH: 1966, Miranda v. Arizona

On June 13, 1966, the Supreme Court announced its landmark decision in Miranda v. Arizona.  Although the decision was criticized by the dissenters,  many conservatives, and most of law enforcement, research suggests that the warnings have not stopped the rate of confessions and that they have contributed to police professionalism. 

More from NYC's Mayor Bloomberg--"Big Nanny"

See the quote from Mayor Bloomberg about the purpose of government.  Apparently if you aren't doing what Big Nanny wants with regard to your health and longevity, Big Nanny will ban the source of your problem.  Alcohol abuse takes a terrible toll in the U.S.  I guess it's time for Prohibition II.  Where do the voters find these paternalistic, authoritarian,  self-righteous people?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

MLK's other campaign for "equality"

Every once in a while I like to look back at aspects of history that are important, but not widely recognized. Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my heroes. Most everyone is familiar with Martin Luther King Jr.'s courageous campaign and ultimate sacrifice for LEGAL equality and equal opportunity.  However, many are not familiar with King's campaign for equality of outcome/result, economic equality,  the welfare state and perhaps some form of socialism.  This was the push behind the 1968 "Poor People's" campaign.  Although I am a big fan of civil rights and liberties and equal protection of the law,  and thankful for King's effort in those areas, I am not so enthusiastic about state-imposed economic "justice."  There is a big difference between legal equality and equal protection of the law on the one hand and "social" or "economic" justice on the other.  The latter requires an all-powerful state which poses a threat to constitutional liberties, legal equality and equal protection of the law. 

Some economics and political economy for non-eggheads.

This article, "John Maynard Keynes and the Modern Revolution in Political Economy," sounds like it's for eggheads only. However, it is very readable and makes many good points.  It makes clear how the Left jumped on the theory as a justification for increasing state control of the American economy.  One no longer had to reference Marx and Engels or European socialists.  Of course, Keynesian theory eventually becomes an addictive, vicious, incrementalist, vote-buying circle of increased spending, taxing and deficits which, IMHO, in the long run lead to European-style economic crises and riots. Of course, libertarians and economic conservatives jumped on the works of Schumpeter, Mises and Hayek. Economics and political economy are great fields if one is interested in ideology and its effects.  If you are interested in delving a little into economics and political economy and our history and current situation, I strong recommend this readable (10 page) article. I'd like to get some discussion going on these topics.

Obama's DOJ: Sowell and a new book on

There are always lots of suspicious activities by both the Left and Right when it comes to voting.  According to black columnist Thomas Sowell, the Obama administration is also a suspect and hypocritical on the issue. Sowell mentions a book by a former Obama DOJ lawyer that deals with the topic.  IF Sowell and this author (J. Christian Adams) are correct, it appears Obama's DOJ has become dangerously politicized and  has forgotten that equal protection doesn't only apply to minorities. It appears to me that Obama and his leaders form  the most ideologically driven Presidency in at least recent history. Below is the book summary (from Amazon) of the book titled "Injustice"

"Book Description

October 3, 2011
The Department of Justice Watches Over the Law
But Who Watches the Watchmen?

The Department of Justice is America’s premier federal law enforcement agency. And according to J. Christian Adams, it’s also a base used by leftwing radicals to impose a fringe agenda on the American people.

A five-year veteran of the DOJ and a key attorney in pursuing the New Black Panther voter intimidation case, Adams recounts the shocking story of how a once-storied federal agency, the DOJ’s Civil Rights division has degenerated into a politicized fiefdom for far-left militants, where the enforcement of the law depends on the race of the victim.

In Injustice, Adams reveals:

  • The inside story of how the Obama DOJ spiked the voter intimidation lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party—and the Panthers’ little-known public appearance with Obama
  • How the Obama administration changed DOJ hiring policy to ensure radical leftists would dominate the Civil Rights Division
  • The Obama DOJ’s bizarre agenda, from insisting on kids’ rights to attend school dressed as transvestites, to litigating for teachers’ rights to take paid vacations to Mecca
  • How the DOJ has repeatedly sided with political bosses who flagrantly disenfranchise entire communities of white voters
  • Why the DOJ’s fixation on racial grievance threatens the integrity of the 2012 elections

If you thought the federal government was dedicated to race-neutral equal protection, Injustice will set you straight. This searing indictment of government malfeasance unveils the astonishing political extremism and outright lawlessness that now infects on of the government’s most powerful agencies. With everything from civil rights laws to America’s voting system at risk, Adams sound the alarm on a gathering threat to our nation’s future."

NYC Mayor Bloomberg: A threat to the Bill of Rights?

Avid gun controller, NYC Mayor Bloomberg, is not only insensitive to Second Amendment rights, he also appears to have a dangerous attitude toward the Fourth Amendment.  A federal judge wrote that: she was disturbed by the city’s “deeply troubling apathy towards New Yorkers’ most fundamental constitutional rights …” and that “suspicionless stops should never occur.”
Don't forget about his paternalistic move to ban large-size sweet drinks. This guy is a real left-wing authoritarian

TIH: 1967, Loving v. Virginia

"Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. (1967), was a landmark case in which a unanimous Supreme Court held that Virginia's  anti-miscegenation statute was unconstitutional. The Court overruled Pace v. Alabama (1883).  According to Wikipedia:

"The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions in a unanimous decision (dated June 12, 1967), dismissing the Commonwealth of Virginia's argument that a law forbidding both white and black persons from marrying persons of another race, and providing identical penalties to white and black violators, could not be construed as racially discriminatory. The court ruled that Virginia's anti-miscegenation statute violated both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In its decision, the court wrote:
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.
The Supreme Court concluded that anti-miscegenation laws were racist and had been enacted to perpetuate white supremacy:
There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification. The fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy.
Despite this Supreme Court ruling, such laws remained on the books, although unenforceable, in several states until 2000, when Alabama became the last state to repeal its law against mixed-race marriage"

Monday, June 11, 2012

TIH: Freedom of Speech Affirmed. J. Stevens shows his stripes

June 11, 1990:  The U.S. Supreme Court  announces U.S. v. Eichman,   and affirms its decision in Texas v. Johnson.  The Court  strikes down the federal statute prohibiting desecration of a privately-owned flag for purposes of political demonstration. Now-retired Justice Stevens, who was recently awarded a "freedom medal" by Pres. Obama, voted against the First Amendment in both cases. (see prior blog entry  on Stevens continuing whining about upholding First Amendment values in the Citizens United case)

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Public Opinion on U.S. Supreme Court slipping

Looks like lots of folks out there are beginning to get the impression that the Court is more of a political institution than a judicial one.  Thanks to Dale Christophersen for the link.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Getting serious about texting while driving

If this conviction  is what it takes to get people's attention, so be it!

Latest on Citizens United: Proposed Constitutional Amendment

A constitutional amendment to overrule Citizens United has been proposed in Congress. It probably
 won't get far.  (1) Many proposed amendments are just grandstanding/feel good efforts (2) I don't think this is an issue that will move the average voter or legislator to push hard. (3)  It is obviously a partisan move and will not  get bipartisan support.  (4)  Fiddling  First Amendment issues by restrictions will send up a red flag and set a dangerous precedent. I doubt event the left-leaning ACLU would want to take that step. Thanks to Dale Christopersen for the lead and link.

A few points that have been ignored by much of the media re Citizens United:
  The Citizens United decision benefited private corporations and Republicans, but the basic principle will protect Democrats if they ever become the targets.  The basic problem with the amendment and the criticism of Citizens United is that it only addresses one part of the problem.  If the problem is too much money being spent, too much material for voters, etc. then across the board contribution or spending limits are the solution.  Why single out only one segment?  The ban on union activity is just a drop in the bucket compared to the impact on corporations.  Hypocrisy and political advantage are the explanations.  The reason for it all  is that the segment targeted is generally conservative. Perhaps there could be some limits on TV time or something along that line. Any "solution" will raise serious First Amendment issues, and will probably never work as long as the courts are serious about the First Amendment. Any "solution" that targets only certain segments will be suspect.  

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Gun Control: Venezuelan Style

As is almost always the case in dictatorships, gun control is strongly supported by the ruling regime.  This from Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.

Follow-up on DOMA decision.

In a prior post I reported on the U.S. Court of Appeals decision which struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Vince e-mailed and asked about my reaction to the decision. Thanks Vince!
In general, I agree with it on both grounds.  However, the court does not go far enough on the 10th Amend. issue.  First, existing Supreme Court precedent (Loving v. Va., Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas) strongly suggest that the statute violates the equal protection rights of gays. Second, the 10th Amend. reserves certain traditional powers to the states.  Among those powers are making the call on marriage, divorce, and related issues.  These are not issues on which the federal government has constitutional authority.  What is surprising is that the court even mentioned the Tenth Amendment.  The Supreme Court has consistently gutted it.  Even some of the conservatives on the Court were complicit (e.g. Rehnquist).  In part the Amendment is a "truism," but there is more to it than that.  I hope this decision will lead to a renaissance of the Tenth Amendment.  At various times both the Left and Right have attempted to resist federal authority, although the Tenth Amendment is viewed primarily as a conservative issue. Note however, the opinion  states the the 10th amend does NOT invalidate the law by itself.  The court does not, IMHO, go far enough with the Tenth Amendment argument. The court wrote:

" Federalism. In assailing DOMA, the plaintiffs and especially the Commonwealth rely directly on limitations attributed to the Spending Clause of the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment; the Justice Department, along with the Legal Group, rejects those claims. In our view, neither the Tenth Amendment nor the Spending Clause invalidates DOMA; but Supreme Court precedent relating to federalism-based challenges to federal laws reinforce the need for closer than usual scrutiny of DOMA's justifications and diminish somewhat the deference ordinarily accorded."    

Be that as it may, if you want to preserve the Second Amendment and revitalize the Tenth,  I think you know who you want in the White House nominating people for Supreme Court vacancies.

WI governor beats recall: the underlying dynamic

The recall attempt against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker failed.  I suspect this may turn out to be the 3rd biggest political event of the year (after the Nov. elections and the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare.  As usual, both sides attempted the spin the result.  As usual, most of the media missed the underlying dynamic.  Buying public employee votes with pay raises and benefit packages is commonplace.  It usually only becomes a problem when the government employer gets hit with a serious budget crisis, as was the case in WI.  As in Greece, Portugal, etc. when austerity measures become necessary, everyone wants someone else to cover it.  People whose votes were bought feel cheated and entitled. They sometimes become violent.   Most politicians lack the courage to take on government employee unions.  Walker's courage and survival may strengthen the resolve of  other leaders to make the necessary cuts.  When are people going to escape the delusions that there are free lunches, and pies in the skies? At least some WI voters have finally awakened and abandoned the delusions.  Two local elections in California (which is perhaps the poster child for financial basket cases) have resulted in votes in favor of cutting back on retirement benefits of employees.  I feel bad for the employees, but reality is often unpleasant. Is this the beginning of a trend?  This government spending/vote buying mania that exists at all levels of government has to end before the U.S. starts mimicking Greece.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

TIH: 2007, Lewis "Scooter" Libby Convicted.

June 5:  Lewis “Scooter” Libby was indicted by a federal grand jury concerning  investigation of the leak of the covert identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.   A jury convicted him on four of the five counts in the indictment (one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of perjury, and one count of making false statements), but acquitted him on the second count (making false statements).Libby was the highest-ranking White House official convicted in a government scandal since John Poindexter,  national security adviser to President Reagan during the Iran-Contra Affair.  Both Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, have a shameful record. 

Monday, June 04, 2012

Latest on sore-loser Ex-Justice Stevens

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens continues to blast the Court for the decision in Citizens United.  It's no wonder Stevens is bitter.  He was on the losing side on the 4 biggest decisions thus far in this century
1.  Bush v. Gore (the worst decision so far in this century)
2.  Citizens United (expanding First Amendment values)
3.  D.C. v. Heller  (Second Amendment protects an individual right)
4.   McDonald v. Chicago (Second Amendment applies to states).

The latest bizarre twist is that Pres. Obama gave Stevens the "Medal of Freedom" award.  In 3 of the decisions above, Stevens voted against expanding rights.  Even more disgusting is that Stevens voted against the First Amendment in the landmark flag-burning cases (Texas v. Johnson, U.S. v. Eichman).  Stevens has also shown some hostility to Fourth Amendment rights.  This award may reflect Obama's hostility to  First and Second Amendments.   This award makes about as much sense as giving a Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and one to Pres.Obama.  Obama did nothing significant before getting the award and ultimately became  the President who took nearly 2 years to get us out of Iraq and still has us in Afghanistan  The most recent U.S. President to get an award was Jimmy  Carter who shepherded the end of 30 years of hot and cold war between Israel and Egypt with the Camp David Accords, and negotiated a significant arms control treaty with the Soviet Union. Obama wasn't even close to this.  What a crock these awards are!

Another famous quote re buying votes.

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy. “ 

This quote is sometimes attributed to de Tocqueville but I cannot find it. The earliest known appearance of this quote was December 9, 1951, in what appears to be an op-ed piece in The Daily Oklahoman under the byline Elmer T. Peterson.

De Tocqueville on America

I have finally finished up de Tocqueville's 1835, Democracy in America.  Lots of great quotes which still apply today: "I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America." Left-wing political correctness dominates the media and academia.  Those who disagree are too often labelled "racist," fascist", etc.  For better or worse, the Right is sometimes just as bad.  It's too bad so many journalists and politicians are not interested in balanced, rational discussion.  I commend our local paper, the Alpine Avalanche for its efforts to provide balance.  I have never discouraged or banned or deleted  a post on this blog. I have never banned a poster.  I do not screen or edit posts. I hope more people will contribute when they disagree with me.  Thanks to everyone who has posted!

Another great quote from James Madison

June 6, 1788:  Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations; but, on a candid examination of history, we shall find that turbulence, violence, and abuse of power, by the majority trampling on the rights of the minority, have produced factions and commotions, which, in republics, have, more frequently than any other cause, produced despotism. If we go over the whole history of ancient and modern republics, we shall find their destruction to have generally resulted from those causes.

Prosecutor Misconduct, wrongful conviction and accountability

Many of the wrongful convictions in this country are caused by, or could have been prevented,  if prosecutors' took their obligations more seriously.  Under due process, the Supreme Court has said  thatthe ultimate duty of a prosecutor is to see that "justice is done."  However, few prosecutors are ever held accountable by the voters or by the courts.  This case from Texas is, hopefully the beginning of a trend.

Tragedy of the Commons & the day of economic reckoning.

Another great article by economics professor Walter Williams.  The American federal debt is now 106% of GDP (gross domestic product), a level not reached before except during WWII (122%).  Every dollar spent on interest in one less dollar to be spend on something more worthwhile.  People don't seem to be able to see the potential  relevance of what is happening in  Greece, Italy, Ireland and Portugal.  Buying votes wasn't the only factor in the EEU crisis, but it was a big part.   As baby boomers become an increasingly larger segment of the U.S. population, expenditures for social security, medicare, medicaid and related programs are going to balloon.  Someone down the line (our children and grandchildren)  we are going to get hit hard.  It's time to turn this thing around.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Media and ideology

It should be obvious to most observers that much of the media are not interested in balanced, ethical reporting.
It seems that there are more sources on the both the Left and Right than in the middle.  At least some in the media seem to be trying to avoid becoming ideologues.  See the list of "Left," "Center" and "Right" media.  I generally agree with the characterizations. Anyone see anything they disagree with?

Great quote!: "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves."

“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”
Edward R. Murrow

Second Amendment 13-year run-around case (Nordyke)

The Nordyke Second Amendment case has been bouncing around the Courts for nearly 13 years in a disgraceful fashion.  There was no final ruling as the county finally caved in.  Thirteen years wasted as the Ninth Circuit danced and weaved to try to avoid a pro-Second Amendment decision at any cost. This is even worse than "Justice delayed is  justice denied."  Justice was never achieved.  How many U.S. and county taxpayer dollars were wasted in this fiasco? Anyone who thinks that the Heller and McDonald decisions have secured respect for this portion of the Bill of Rights, is living in a dream world.  Both were 5-4 decisions.  Replacing one of the pro-Second Amendment majority members, with an anti-gun Obama justice, could mean the end of the Second Amendment as a meaningful right.

The Chinese Authoritarian Mind at Work

China claims U.S. violates Human Rights by tolerating high levels of gun ownership.  This is how the folks running authoritarian governments think.  Unfortunately, many in the U.N. would agree.  China has a horrible human rights record, yet attacks the U.S. for expanding human freedom via the Second Amendment. 

Friday, June 01, 2012

The Nanny State: Mayor Bloomberg's latest.

Every once in a while the public gets a chance to look inside the heads of wealthy, "progressive," politicians.  Many don’t like what they see. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been a long-term advocate for gun control and other liberal “reforms”  He recently  proposed a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks in restaurants, movie theaters, delis etc. in the hopes of fighting obesity. Under his plan, such drinks would be limited to 16 fluid ounces.  Libertarians are screaming in opposition to this paternalistic, authoritarian approach to public health.  Of course, once we start down this slippery slope, where does it stop.  Ban motorcycles and ATV’s?  Ban skiing?  Oops, I forgot! That will never happen as it is a favorite pastime for the rich and politically connected.  The main targets will be the poor, rednecks, rural residents, gun owners, hunters,  etc.  Liberals, for instance have attempted to prohibit law-abiding residents of public housing living in high crime areas from keeping legal weapons in their homes.  See this article for 7 other authoritarian Bloomberg proposals.  Personally, I don't need a Nanny, and I certainly don't want or need one with government power.  Is this a great country or what?