Popular Mechanics, the magazine on all things mechanical and well...popular, is under a lot of heat from a small but vocal number of its readers who feel the magazine is too pro gun and features too many gun articles and advertisements.
From a Review site on Popular Mechanics Magazine:
I received a subscription for Christmas last year as it seemed like a pretty broad based magazine with lots of good articles on a variety of topics. And that is absolutely true - however, I ultimately cancelled due to the number of advertisements for handguns. Call me what you will (and yes, I'm from that bastion of liberalism, Massachusetts) but I could not support a periodical that advertises these items. Just my own personal feelings on this matter.
The gun friendly leaning tendencies of Popular Mechanics have not gone unnoticed by people who support gun control or gun bans. Some letters have been sent into Joe Oldham, the editor of the magazine, showing displease at the amount of gun articles, opinions, and advertisements.
In the June 2004 edition of Popular Mechanics Mr. Oldham addressed the issue:
As the editor, yes, I decide what will run and what will not. And yes, I enjoy the shooting sports and am a member of the National Rifle Association. I believe that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees me, and individual, the right to own a firearm. Like most of the readers of Popular Mechanics I am generally a law-abiding citizen, have served in the armed forces of this country and am not a "gun nut". From letters I received, I think I'm pretty much in step with the majority of our readers. Knowing that I have the support of most of you reading this, I can tell you categorically that no amount of irate letters or whining or protesting will scare me into forcing gun articles out of these pages. It's part of our heritage. It's part of our editorial mission.
And that's why we print articles on firearms. Let the letters begin. Till next time.
It's about time someone stood up against the political correct atmosphere in today's society. As a consumer the people who don't like the editorial content of the magazine have every right to not read the magazine, or just ignore those stories. They don't have the right to try to shut those ideas and stories down.
It seems that there are too many on the left who want to use powers outside those of regular free market choice to control what is said and who says it. The whole political correctness movement is evidence of that. If something you say may offend someone, you are not allowed to say it. No more "Merry Christmas". It's now "Seasons Greetings".
In a more chilling example of government sponsored censorship, Iowa Democratic Senator Sen. Tom Harkin has introduced a bill that would jeapordize Rush Limbaugh's hour of airtime on the Armed Services Radio Network.
AFRTS receives federal funds to provide radio and television shows to American service members worldwide. But Mr. Harkin said the organization provides no countercommentary to the "extreme right-wing views" on Mr. Limbaugh's radio show.
It's not like the people in the military don't want him. An hour of his show was added after a write-in campaign during a vote on programming changes landed him more votes than anyone who was even on the ballot.
I am not saying there aren't conservatives who use their power to silence what is said, because there have been. Most of the examples we see on a daily basis such as eliminating God in the Pledge of Allegiance, eliminating Columbus Day celebrations, and editing our history books is done in such a sly backdoor way and happens so slowly that we hardly notice it, until it is almost too late.
Just like the old wives tale goes. You can put a frog in boiling water, and he'll jump right out, but him in cool water and slowly bring it to a boil, and the frog allows himself to be cooked.
If we aren't careful of these infringements on our speech, we will lose those rights forever.
No counter-commentary?!?!?!?!? Mr. Harken obviously has not looked at the overall programming of AFRTS's radio networks. As a military member currently serving my 4th year consecutive overseas, I can say that is a load of bunk the like of which would only spew from the most idiotic of Loonies. NPR, that bastion of subjectivity and outright anti-conservative bias fairness and objectivity, gets hours of air time daily to Limbaugh's 1 hour of programing 5 days a week. What a crock...posted by Tremor at August 15, 2004 11:48 PM
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I just heard news about a proposal to ban smoking in all indoor workplaces in Pennsylvania, including bars and restaurants. It is being pushed forward by state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery County. To tell you the truth, I'm getting sick of writing about this crap.
From the Pittsburgh Channel:
A state lawmaker says the time has come to ban smoking at all workplaces in Pennsylvania, including bars and restaurants.
State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery County, says he will push for legislation simlar to that of California, New York, Maine, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida and Massachusetts, where the law is already in place.
"It's not a question of if it will happen, it's a question of when," Greg Hartley, assistant director of Smokefree Pennsylvania, told reporter Kelly Frey in a Channel 4 Action News report from October 2003. "We think it will happen soon."
Secondhand smoke causes 53,000 deaths a year in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Rumblings surfaced early last year about a possible smoking ban at Allegheny County bars and restuarants. The noise was quieted by the state's Clean Indoor Air Act, passed in 1998, which establishes no-smoking sections in restaurants but prohibits most local governments from further restricting smokers.
Some eateries have voluntarily extinguished smoking. A Web site, NoSmokeDining.org, lists about 100 smoke-free restaurants in Allegheny and surrounding counties
I believe this to be an intrusion on our lives by an ever increasingly powerful government. I think that the free market should decide which establishments are smoke-free, or that allow smoking.
To me it is all about freedom of choice. There is the freedom of the owners of bars and restaurants to allow their customers have a smoke with thier meal or with their drink. If they want to be smoke-free, that’s their choice as well. A customer should also be able to choose a place to go when they don’t want to be around smoke, or one which allows them to smoke.
The government says this is all to protect your health. They have your best interests at heart. Well, there are a lot of things which are bad for you. Eating too much, eating fattening foods, drinking alcohol, and not exercising are just a few. Are they next?
The government cites obesity as a major health problem now. Is the government going to now tell a restaurateur what food he can sell? Or tell me what I can eat? Or force me to exercise? Twenty years ago the thought of a state-wide smoking ban would have seemed crazy so who knows anymore.
I am totally against this proposed law. It has nothing to do with my personal views on smoking; it has to do with my view on the role of government in trying to protect us from every little thing they view as dangerous. From seatbelts, to cell phones while driving, to cigar and cigarette smoke.
Here comes the nanny-state.
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What about the workers. Should we allow factories and employers to say it is our free will to not make sure their workplace is safe after all if you work for a chemical plant you know there are chemicals there why should they give you protective gear. I am all for personal freedom and consider myself more liberatarian than not but I think this is where the smoker is imposing on the liberty of others.posted by Tony at March 4, 2005 10:28 AM
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From his own web-site:
By borrowing from future generations to give tax relief to those who need help the least, George W. Bush’s economic policies have, for the first time in history, forced the federal government to spend $1 billion more EACH DAY than it takes in.
But little reported earlier this week comes this great news, as reported by Reuters:
WASHINGTON, July 13 (Reuters) - The U.S. government posted a larger-than-expected budget surplus in June, propped up by higher quarterly business tax receipts, a government report released on Tuesday showed.
In the Treasury Department's monthly budget statement, June income outpaced spending by $19.14 billion, slightly less than the government's June 2003 surplus of $21.23 billion.
"What we are seeing is the impact of a good economy, the impact of extraordinarily strong corporate profits, and likely the impact of more people being caught in the alternative minimum tax," Drew Matus, financial markets economist at Lehman Brothers in New York, said in response to the report.
"Surprisingly strong receipts are really helping out a great deal here. There is no reason to suspect, given the employment growth we have seen, that this trend will change any time soon," he said.
Corporate income tax inflows grew 38 percent in June, when quarterly tax statements are normally filed, compared to June 2003. Individual tax receipts were nearly 9 percent higher.
Read that last paragraph closely. Income tax inflows from business grew 38% and individual inflows grew 9%. Wha' Happaned? If you listen to John Kerry you would assume that tax cuts would starve the government of needed funds and eliminate food from the mouths of poor children.
But as predicted, and as happened two previous times taxes were cut (Reagan and Kennedy), money coming into the treasury has actually increased!
If that isn't proof positive that tax cuts spur economic growth, and that growth in the economy happens best when the government gets out of the way, then I don't know what is.
The same tax cuts which are causing the economy to grow at such a substantial rate are the same ones which John Kerry wants to eliminate.
From his own web-site again:
To restore fiscal discipline and strengthen our economy, Kerry will repeal Bush’s special tax breaks for Americans who make more than $200,000.
Many of those people who 'make more than $200,000' do so because they own businesses. That income which is taxed as individual income is actually business income. By increasing taxes on these individuals (and therefore the business) you decrease the liklihood that they can invest in their business to increase productivity and grow and make even more money.
That means fewer jobs created, and a slower growing ecnonomy.
Now I am not saying that tax cuts alone get the job done. We are still spending too much. Bush is spending like a liberal, with the new drug entitlement program, and increases in many domestic programs.
But through a combination of tax cuts, and fiscally responsible spending, we can actually increase the amount of money coming into the treasury, pay down the debt, and maybe afford a few nice things for you and me.
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More reading is available at Blogcritics
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According to John Lott, a well-respected researcher in the effectiveness of Gun laws, and author of More Guns, Less Crime, the gun grabbers have gotten their hats handed to them. Gun control is a losing issue. The fat lady is warming up.
From his Fox News Article
This month, the Million Mom March in Washington drew an anemic showing of only 2,000 people, while this year, all of the Democratic presidential candidates— however unenthusiastically— spoke of Americans’ Second Amendment right to own guns. These are just a few of the signs that the facts finally seem to be catching up to the movement. The future for the movement looks even worse.
Whether the subject is concealed handgun laws or bans on semi-automatic so-called “assault weapons,” gun control debates have been filled with apocalyptic claims about what will happen if gun control is not adopted. One common prediction is that laws allowing the carrying of a concealed weapon will result in crime waves, or permit holders shooting others. However, with 37 states now having right-to-carry laws, and another nine states letting some citizens carry, permit holders have continually shown themselves to be extremely law-abiding. It is becoming more and more difficult to attack those laws.
Gun control does not work. Proponents of banning guns says that it will reduce crime. In England, where handguns were banned in 1997, crime has rose an average of 29% in the period of 1997-2002.
In Australia where guns were also banned, violent crime rates averaged 32% higher in the six years after the law was passed (from 1997 to 2002) than they did the year before the law in 1996. The same comparisons for armed robbery rates showed increases of 45%.
All gun control laws do is remove guns from the hands of law abiding citizens who merely wish to defend themselves. Criminals will continue to break the law and carry guns.
Gun control supporters say we should rely on the police for protection. For the majority of Americans though who don't live 5 minutes from police, waiting for police to arrive could mean the difference between being killed, injured, or assaulted by people entering their homes, or bothering them on the street.
Many gun grabbers who tend to be liberal call themselves pro-choice. They are for the woman's right to choose, and believe that the government should keep it's hands out of a woman's womb. But when it comes to the choice of carrying a weapon to protect themselves, they are all for taking that right away. And it is a right.
Just read the Second Amendment.
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.
The "Right of the People". People you and me. Just like the right of the people peaceably to assemble. People like you and me.Display Comments »
I gotta reach for the duct tape everytime I hear some idiot like Rosie O'Donnell say that only the police should guns. The police don't prevent crime, they only respond to it after it's occured. The right of the People to keep and bear arms is essential to the PREVENTION of violent crimes. People who support gun restrictions come in two flavors:
and morons who don't want facts to get in the way of their emotionally comforting idealisms.
I like your site. And I wish you luck, success and a lot of visitors here. Have a nice day.posted by Jerome Marcel at November 8, 2004 04:48 AM
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Sometimes on Sunday, when it's raining or an important game is on the TV, I head over to the gun range to have a beer, eat a sausage sandwich and hang out. It's a nice bar. It's quiet and limited mostly to members of the club. Every Sunday they feature different menu items. Sometimes it's a sandwich, sometimes it's clams. Bottles of Yuengling are a buck as are all cans and bottles.
The trouble is, this bar is a speakeasy. They have no liquor license. If you know anything about Pennsylvania you'll know the Liquor Control Board doesn't stand for that.
Well, after 54 years of operating under the radar as a speakeasy, the gun club was raided last night.
The State Cops came barging in and made everyone leave. They confiscated the beer and the money and fined the bartenders $1,000 each.
I'm just glad they didn't come in when they had poker tables set up. That would have been really bad.
Now I know they broke the law, but it's a stupid law. The reason they didn't have a liquor license is because there were no liquor licenses to buy. The LCB is ironfisted in how they regulate liquor licenses. Some of their laws are draconion and stupid. Plus they are expensive. Very expensive.
The board of directors at the LCB are mostly a bunch of tea-toatlers who really don't like liquor and beer sales, but know it's great tax revenue. So just like cigarettes, they keep it around for the revenue but make it hard for stores to sell it; so much so that many bars which have been around for years and years are just closing up rather than put up with the LCB.
Display Comments »
This is so much typical of the hypocrisy of many governments, especially Pennsylvania. They are against drunkeness, but promote buying alcohol in their state owned liquor stores. In Pennsylvania you can't gamble, but they promote their lottery. Cigarettes are horrible if you listen to them, but will never outlaw them entirely because of the needed tax revenue.
Liquor stores are state-owned in New Hampshire, as well. Until now I thought it was the only one. I wonder how wide-spread that is.
I'm wondering if State ownership of any commerce is in and of itself unConstitutional. I mean, it not only puts government in control of commerce, but, by definition, creates a monopoly.
In fact, I'm willing to state right now that Pennsyvania and New Hampshire are engaging in a subversion of the Constitution. I haven't given it much thought before, but right now I'm ready to lodge a class action suit against those governments. Only, I don't live in either State.
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People who annoy are many; New Jersey Drivers, people who have bullet stickers on their cars, and Notre Dame fans. But people who really get my blood boiling are those supporters of government rights over private rights who desire to ban smoking in every single place on Earth.
I see no problem with a business, be it a restaurant or bar, allowing smoking, or not allowing smoking. If a business owner wants to allow smoking, it is his decision. If he doesn't want smoking, that is also his decision.
On the same token it is my decision as a customer to decide where they want to shop and eat. But it is doubly true for owners and members of private clubs. These are only open to members and cater to certain groups. VFW's, American Legions, gun clubs, and other social clubs all fit the bill.
But there are certain people who won't stop at banning smoking in publc places.
From the the Boston Herald
Bill LaRaia, a retired Quincy EMT, said he's paid dues to a private club for 25 years. ``For you to tell me I can't go in there and have a cigarette - that's a disgrace.''
The issue pits private clubs against some restaurant and pub operators, who support the smoking ban expansion. Operators said they stand to lose business to private clubs.
"`We feel if you're not going to allow people to smoke in a public place, why should they be allowed to go smoke in a private club?'' said Bill Damon, with Darcy's Pub.
A state law went into effect this week banning smoking in public places, including offices, restaurants and bars, though not in members-only clubs or cigar bars. Under Scheele's local proposal, smoking would also be banned at private clubs in Quincy as of July 18. He has the authority to enact such health-related regulations under state law, said Monica Conyngham, the city solicitor.
``I don't think the state went far enough,'' Scheele said in an interview before the hearing. ``As long as we have scientific evidence that second-hand smoke does cause health problems we can impose it. (Private clubs) have employees, too, that should be protected.''
The anti-freedom patrol has a two part strategy to rid public places of smoking. First they ban smoking in public places like bars and restaurants. Then they pit the owners of those establishment against those of private clubs. Then it becomes a fairness issue.
That strategy shows the shallowness of their anti-choice crusade. When they go to ban smoking in establishments they say it will not effect the bottom line of the business. But if it isn't hitting the bottom line, then why are the owners of the bars and restaurants who are effected so determined to make sure that policy effects people who run private clubs?
The policy makers and do-gooders in this world cite how dangerous smoke is, and want it banned, but they are sure happy to feed at the trough of tax revenue and settlement money taken from these tobacco companies. I say if it is so damned dangerous, don't take any money from it!! Why would you want to benefit from such a dangerous and deadly product?
To me it is all a choice of freedom. There is the freedom of the owners of establishments who wish to allow smoking. If they want to allow their customers have a smoke after dinner or with a drink, that is their choice. As a customer I have the right to choose a place that doesn't allow smoking when I don't want to be around smoke, and allows it when I want to smoke my Cohiba myself.
Look at it like alcohol. If I don't feel like a drink with my steak, I will go to Hoss's near my house. If I want a beer or fine liquor, I will go to Greggory's. It is my choice. No one is forcing either place to be drink free or not. The market decides, and both places prosper.
People cite health over smoker's rights. I say that right now it's smoke, soon, it will be drink. If I go to a bar and drink a few drinks I am more dangerous to people health (by driving home) than I would be by smoking a double corona. So by so actively banning smoking, it stats the slipperly slope of total prohabition of almost any behavior some do-gooder deems dangerous.
Much to the surprise of many liberal, pro-government types out there the government can't regulate all danger out of our lives. With freedom comes a little bit of risk. As a mature adult, I have the ability to choose for myself what I want to do with my life. That includes choosing to indulge in a legal, taxed product or even an illegal untaxed product. (but that is another post)
If I owned a bar or restaurant, I should be able to choose what type of establishment I want to have. Then the free market will decide. If I could make more money by not allowing smoking, then smoke free it is. But the market should decide about this legal product.Display Comments »
Another excellent post!
If the smoking ban has no effect on the bottom line of restaurant owners then why are the restaurant owners supporting the expansion of the ban to private clubs?! Capitol deduction, Watson!posted by Tuning Spork at July 17, 2004 08:41 PM
"`We feel if you're not going to allow people to smoke in a public place, why should they be allowed to go smoke in a private club?'' said Bill Damon, with Darcy's Pub.
What?! WHAT?! I am a member of a club that you either have to be born into or marry into, does that mean that i cannot smoke at the lodge (my House that is)? Mon Dieu, i don't smoke, but that makes me want to reach for a pack of unfiltered Marlboros and light up.
Hi is David and Yeda in Ireland this is an essay that might give you some inspiration about the philosophical meanings of the lord of the rings if you like the story you will love this
+++ONE RING TO KEEP THEM IN THE DARK++++
Smoking a self-destructive habit, which started at some point in time in the Americas it just seems crazy when you think about it philosophically its an act violence on the self body & sole masochism to use the correct phrase it’s the hole in the bucket of your sole. Anybody who has given up will now how hard it is but how better you feel .I can only compare it to breaking free from a prisoner of war camp other smokers are the guards and all around. So to stay on top you keep fit which is a normal thing in its self
Smoking has nothing to offer society I and a lot of people believe it has a very bad effect on the collective consciousness and is a corner stone of the problems of the world effecting the perceptions of people themselves its like a blinker for the hole of humanity back hole for spirit a destroyer or vacuum of loves energy the it keeps us humanity from attaining holiness 100%spiritual awareness
The method I used to stop a pilgrimage the Camino Santiago de Compostela in Spain it took 36 days in total from the Pyrenees to Finisterra where you burn a set of clothes at the end. It’s a very powerful thing to do psychologically & spiritually the death of the old and start of the new. As for smoking I now have a massive immunity against them a buffer zone. But it’s not just the burning of a set of clothes the whole pilgrimage you are becoming more aware spiritually awoken other pilgrims may smoke but the tone is always down around where they are. With giving up smoking you have to break many psychological links like the link with food alcohol its like cutting out badges out of your physique your ego out of your fore conscience. Smoking keeps you from harmonising with your true spiritual self your inner child when your in harmony with yourself your dreams don’t seem so alien and you can decode them more easily. The Camino is a spiritual thing Camino means way and ultimately you find a truer way a better course and leave a lot of chains behind the only thing is its hard coming back into the horrible reality that exists in the world now .I personally believe two major things keep the world this way commercial separation separate commercial identities in competition with each other in other words inharmonious systems and the other is lack of respect for life not enough love and people in the dark with the bad systems being part of the problem not part of the solution a taker rather than a giver a world of givers is better than a world takers a simple philosophy.
I had a thought on the pilgrimage for the possible reason smoking started, something like that just doesn’t just happen for no reason. Smoking causes a spiritual vacuum. So possibly people like Columbus and others felt a draw over the ocean. The shamans of the Americas smoked because they thought it brought them closer to god. Well the Europeans who came over who had something the thing that made Europe great the Gospel. I also have a theory why smoking was allowed to continue even grow it was sort of like a blinker for the hole of humanity so the day when it ceased worldwide would be the day when humanity fully awoke.
Some countries have taken positive steps but the best way to deal with it is to treat it for what it is an illness a spiritual illness banning smoking from the work place & all public places is good but it does not stop it .It has to stop growing so dependent smokers should get a state card and only with this card can you buy cigarettes or you have to get a prescription for them after doing a medical until you attempt or the cut off point for a national or international effort to stop all at once stopping all production and distribution limiting sale to pharmacies. All the financial gain made from selling cigarettes should go back into structured government EU &international plans for getting people well if everybody gave up at the same time It would make so much easer This would have to be planned but there is no reason this can’t happen before Halloween or all saints day by the least? Doctors could prescribe pilgrimages something like the Camino a spiritual journey say on the Wicklow Leister way, which starts in Marley Park.
Health groups could provide a structure along the way accommodation food medical care ect they could study the Camino Santiago de Compostela in Spain that pilgrimage is about 1500 years old its symbol is the escallop shell. It depends on how dynamic the government or governments are. First the extra tax on the smokes would help doubling the price to really get the message home
Groups would see injustice and their power to change popular culture would come more into the light Our media would reflect the change from a bad news to good news Terror Terrorism would be a thing of the past and loose its grip love would prevail people would rise above the past hate fear anger all the things of the past Perfect systems would come into place
Rubbish would be a thing of the past. The EU would become the UE united earth or union of earth all pockets of hell on Earth would be removed the military would become a disaster reaction force the gun would be retired violence would end
People of different nationalities &cultures would not be looked at in a fearful way .the wealth gap would harmonise International Treaties could be passed like the formation of a new international Language a mixture of Chinese English Spanish Indian Islamic and African languages. To help bring the world together everybody in the world could communicate to each other you would then only need two languages your native language &the international one.
The pillars of our new world order would be Liberty & Responsibility. New trading methods could be put in place one where there is no inflation. Say a kilo of rice is one Earth credit or a kilo of wheat all separate commercial identities would merge into national services, food service, health services manufacturing services each nation would have a quota for trade 50% produce for home consumption 50% for export
How we can start is by sending this message to as many people as you can to Governments to translate it into the languages of the various countries this will reach the media public fingers the consciousness collective the world has the perfect medium in the internet just send it to everyone in your mail box photocopy it and give it to people we will all be part of this could reach a million people before next month its up to You
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« Roll Up Comments
Ethan Davis at the Claremont Institute tells of Justice Scalia's recent visit to Amherst College. Once he made his way through the cursing and chanting protestors,
"...Justice Scalia spoke eloquently, lucidly and politely on originalism in constitutional law. Interpreting the Constitution as it was originally written, he argued, is the only way to restrain liberal and conservative judges alike from imposing their personal preferences on the country. Five out of nine unelected lawyers, Scalia said, should not be legislating for the entire nation. If the Supreme Court makes a mistake, the people can only rectify it by constitutional amendment. Directed by their professors to believe that Scalia would engage only in "vitriolic name-calling," the audience was temporarily mollified. There were embarrassed looks as some of the less radical ones quietly removed their black armbands, and Scalia spoke without interruption for close to 45 minutes."
What an outrageous proposition, that judges shouldn't dictate. Heresy!
I'd note that Scalia says he is not a strict constructionist, but a textualist. That is, for example, freedom of the (printing) press can be construed to reportage on the internet...but not a 'right' to smear chocolate on one's nude body with tax-payer funding.
Hilarity ensues, of course, ending with a rare moment of agreement:
"...the professors and students finally said explicitly what campus conservatives have known for a long time. Dissent is legitimate, so long as it comes from the left."Display Comments »
From the link:
Members of the College Democrats proclaimed that Amherst had exceeded the bounds of acceptable dialogue by inviting Scalia.
Seems that some college Democrats believe that there's no better way to promote liberty than by stifling speech.
BTW, have I ever mentioned that "College Democrats" are as gut-wrenchingly emotionally untamed (re: stupid) as Drama majors?
(I was a Drama major... trust me.)
The idea of insulting a Supreme Court justice by wearing a black armband is so idiotic, i can't fathom it. That's so incredibly childish.posted by annika at February 18, 2004 10:35 PM
Um, these are lefties we're talking about. So, duh.
Test test...posted by Pixy Misa at February 20, 2004 10:59 PM
The mere fact that it is even conceivable for people to be allowed to protest a sitting Justice on the Supreme Court speaks highly of the freedoms that we possess under our Constitution, that anyone would do so speaks poorly of the faculty and student body of Amherst College, and that a sitting Justice on the Supreme Court would state that the body of which he is a part oversteps their bounds in making law through constitutional interpretation and should not continue to do so speaks from on high! Hip Hip Hurray! and in the Hebrew venacular, let me add a hearty, AMEN!posted by Tiger at April 11, 2004 09:35 PM
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« Roll Up Comments
Things have been pretty dead around this blog lately and I'm not sure if that's good news or bad news.
Speaking only for myself, and not all of this site's contributers, I thrive on critiquing court decisions that I believe ignore the rule of Law in the interests of furthering the favored idealism of the justices. That there has been a dearth of such court decisions recently is good for the survival of consent over tyranny, but bad for inspiration for posting cool blog entries.
So, I'm going to make a rather selfish request of all those State and Federal courts out there -- 9th Curcuit, I'm looking in your direction... -- to, please, make with some whacky court decisions already! Have you all gone sensible on us?!
Rule that NAMBLA is as legitimate as UNICEF. Or that Russians have a long unnoticed Constitutional right to U.S. Medicare benefits. Anything!
You could claim that Pat Buchanan won the 2000 election or that saying "bless you" after someone sneezes is not protected speech. Throw me a bone, I'm dyin' here!
Go Here and find the comfort you seek.posted by Stephen Macklin at February 6, 2004 10:44 PM
Once the effects of Peak Oil permeate and reverberate throughout the land, and the sheeple wake up from their opiate of choice (religion? TV? Consumerism? Eating? Staying warm? Staying cool?), it'll probably be too late.
The "Intelligence Failures" you keep hearing about are yet another cruel hoax upon We The People (IOW, it's OUR intelligence failure, not "theirs"...! We're too stupid to notice what's going on.).
I studied physics, not political 'science', and I'm here to tell you that "hijackers" were neither necessary (http://www.boeing.com/commercial/757family/200back/back4.html) nor sufficient (http://www.justiceforwoody.org/re911/papers/volumev3.html) to account for the massive damage to the World Trade Center on 9/11/01.
12/2000 was a judicial coup d'etat and 9/11 was a military coup d'etat and still no one in the USA seems to have noticed -- there remain too few of us who have to matter. (Must we as individuals suck it up and find the courage and wisdom to communicate with the Ned Flanders of the world 1-on-1?)earthwatch at February 8, 2004 07:28 PM
Spork, I'll post something up soon...anybody else?posted by Noel at February 13, 2004 05:37 PM
Re: An urgent plea for insanity (Feb.6 2004)
OK, I am slowly going nuts here, so try chewing on this...
May I take the liberty of suggesting a provision of the U.S. Constitution grievously in need of revision?
This country was founded on certain basic principles, one being that:
"...governments are instituted among men - - deriving their just powers from the **consent** of the governed."
(** my emphasis).
In the passage of the Declaratory Act in 1766, the British Parliament asserted "full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, **in all cases whatsoever**."
This contravened the basic first principle of democracy, that power resides in the people, since the colonies were not even represented in the British Parliament. Ten years later, the colonists revolted against such an unwarranted assertion of power. Thomas Paine said it well:
“Britain [read Congress?], with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right(not only to TAX) but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER," and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is mpious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.”
Unfortunately, ten years later, the Founding Fathers, in their rush to design a new government, failed to note that, in writing the U.S. Constitution, they were subjecting the denizens of the new nation’s capital to the same sort of colonial status they had recently overthrown, when they similarly asserted Congress’ right (U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 17, the so-called "District Clause") to exercise exclusive jurisdiction, also **in all cases whatsoever**, over the (un-represented) residents of Washington, DC. (**my emphasis**)
Where were the guiding “first principles” such as “just power derives from the consent of the governed” when this provision was written? Had they forgotten so soon the rallying cry of the Revolution, “Taxation without representation is tyranny”?
The truth is that they are not the only ones who have overlooked the God-given rights of denizens of the nation’s capital. Over the years,
through more than 200 years now, that unjust situation has persisted. Some Americans have occasionally given the matter lip-service, but nothing substantial has yet been done to right this grievous injustice.
In the current situation, the district known as Washington DC is not truly a part of the nation formed by the 50 United States. Rather, the District, and the more than half a million souls inhabiting it (as large as many Congressional Districts and more populous than the State of Wyoming), are in effect a colony of the fifty united states, a place separate and unequal, unrepresented at the national table, voiceless in national debates, and voteless in national decisions.
This situation creates in DC a colonial mentality, a mentality that saps the native energy of the local population, making them dependent on others for their subsistence. As de Tocqueville might have said, "it does not tyrannize, (so much as) it hinders, compromises,
enervates, extinguishes, dazes,..."
“Nor have We [DC denizens] been wanting in attention to our [American] brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.”
OR, we could, in fairness, justice and equity, permit the denizens (can't really call them citizens, until they are treated as such ) of the District to exercise their God-given rights to both representation at the national table, and local self -rule.
I suggest an amendment to clarify the Constitution, giving Americans living in the District equal representation in the House and Senate, and full local self-rule. Concerns about control over the seat of national government could be assuaged by making any local self-rule provisions in the District subject to over-ride by a vote of, shall we say, two-thirds of both houses? (It currently requires only a simple majority for the Congress to muck up local DC affairs). This would reasonably protect the principle of "consent of the governed", while allowing the American nation as a whole to over-ride local DC decisions, but only when clearly necessary for the compelling national interest.
What say you?posted by gwenham at February 16, 2004 08:43 AM
http://www.jellybean.composted by Jelly Bean at November 2, 2005 10:54 PM
« Roll Up Comments
The reason I ask that is, as you may have heard, Al Franken tackled a heckler at a Dean event. Mysteriously, Franken claimed that his tackling of the heckler was an effort to protect free speech. I suppose that's the sort of thing that passes for logic among DUMB-o-cRATS most of the time.
I'm not a prosecutor... I'm just a law student, and I don't even live in New Hampshire. However, with the magic of LexisNexis, I was able to look up the relevant criminal statutes in New Hampshire. Here, without much legal analysis, is a list of the handfull of criminal offenses that I think Al Franken violated. I doubt he'll be charged (he should be) but he could end up spending a great deal of time behind bars (it wouldn't surprise me if the total possible time could exceed 20 years).
1. RSA 644:1 Riot - It appears that Franken and "the press guy for Dean" may have been working together. That's a CLASS B FELONY.
2. Conspiracy - I didn't look up the RSA number, but the agreement to commit a crime by more than one person constitutes a "conspiracy". Franken claimed to have been "deputized" by the Dean camp. This might even implicate Howard Dean. In this case, Mujahi-Dean could be held criminally liable for all the same crimes as Franken. Since we've got some felonies here, this would also be a FELONY.
3. RSA 644:2 Disorderly Conduct - It's a VIOLATION.
4. RSA 633:2 Criminal Restraint - According to the language of the statute, Franken's actions in wrestling the fellow down would probably count. It's a CLASS B FELONY
5. RSA 631:2-a Simple Assault - MISDEMEANOR.
6. RSA 631:2 Second Degree Assault - This one is a little more of a stretch, but if the actions could be shown to be severe enough and of the sort that would normally be expected to result in serious bodily injury, he could go up the river on this one too. It's a CLASS B FELONY.
Al, when you read this, please note: You're actions are significantly different than, say becoming addicted to painkillers because of a serious medical condition. You're actions were totally volitional. If I were the prosecutor, I would accept nothing less than a guilty plea to at least one felony AND at least 60 days behind bars. So much for your right to vote!
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Hello folks nice blog youre runningposted by lolita at January 19, 2005 08:36 PM
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I am not a lawyer. I am thankful for that. However living in Hong Kong inevitably exposes you to legal issues because what passes for political discourse in this city revolves around a seemingly simple piece of law. The Basic Law is, in theory, Hong Kong's constitution. It was negotiated between the British and Chinese prior to the handover in 1997 as a way of assuaging British guilt at not introducing democracy to the place in the couple of hundred years they ran it. Like most such documents there is a mix of the bland and ambigious, designed to make it an uninteresting as possible. However it has become an important document to base the aspirations of Hong Kong's democracy movement.
For example, Article 45 in full reads
The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be selected by election or through consultations held locally and be appointed by the Central People's Government.Annex I and II specifies the interim method of selecting the Chief Executive (only in Hong Kong is the head of Government called CEO) and the Legislative Council. Each Annex finishes with the same rules for changing them from the muddle they currently are:
The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.
The specific method for selecting the Chief Executive is prescribed in Annex I "Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". (my emphasis)
If there is a need to amend the method for selecting the Chief Executives for the terms subsequent to the year 2007, such amendments must be made with the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Legislative Council and the consent of the Chief Executive, and they shall be reported to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for approval.Reading the English it seems simple: after 2007 both the LegCo and Chief Executive method of selection can be altered by a 2/3s majority in the (rigged) LegCo with approval from the Chief Executive. The NPC (China's Parliament), in theory, has the right to have the decision "reported...for approval" and "for the record."
With regard to the method for forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and its procedures for voting on bills and motions after 2007, if there is a need to amend the provisions of this Annex, such amendments must be made with the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Council and the consent of the Chief Executive, and they shall be reported to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for the record.
Problem is China has realised they don't want Hong Kong to be too democratic. It would look like the Central Government is giving in to the voice of the people (500,000 marchers back in July and smaller protests since). It would give the people a voice. It would be the thin edge of the wedge. So the PRC does what anyone in their situation would: they slam the door. From the SCMP
After a week of dominating Hong Kong headlines, two leading mainland legal experts on the Basic Law return to Beijing today having delivered a clear message: go slow on constitutional change. They told the city in no uncertain terms it cannot elect the chief executive by universal suffrage by 2007. Think about 2030 or 2040 instead, they said.Democracy isn't Asia's forte. It appears the People's Republic isn't too happy about HK leading the way. No matter what it says in black and white.
While former Basic Law drafter Xiao Weiyun and jurist Xia Yong say they do not represent the central government, their view that Hong Kong can only contemplate introducing universal suffrage after 2030 is believed to reflect official thinking. Analysts say their visit has been arranged to informally articulate the central government's position ahead of a visit to Beijing by a Hong Kong government taskforce on political reform, and to dampen aspirations for more rapid democratisation.
The mainland experts reiterated Beijing had a decisive say in Hong Kong's political development. At a public forum yesterday, Professor Xiao said the Basic Law drafters never considered election of the chief executive by universal suffrage in 2007. Referring to Article 45 of the Basic Law, which says the chief executive will ultimately be elected by universal suffrage, Professor Xiao said it meant this would be achieved in the final stage of the 50-year lifespan of "one country, two systems". But, he said, "it did not necessarily mean that it would not be achieved until the 2030s or 2040s, or [that] it was not allowed in the 2020s".
The Basic Law says the methods for electing the chief executive and Legislative Council should evolve in light of the "actual situation" in Hong Kong, and in accordance with the principle of "gradual and orderly progress".
The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage. Ultimate being within the next 4000 years or so.Display Comments »
Whenever you hear a tyrant promise to abolish tyranny: don't believe him.posted by Tuning Spork at January 21, 2004 11:52 PM
It's hard enough to get our judges to respect the plain meaning of our constitutions; that Chi-coms would ignore some hastily-written weasel-words penned by departing British civil servants is unsurprising. It is good to hear the people are assembling for redress of grievances. Our hope is that, 'ultimately', Hong Kong takes over China, not vice versa.posted by Noel at January 22, 2004 10:43 AM
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The following is a Fisking (My first!) of some commentary by a local radio personality, Ron Smith, of WBAL (1090 AM in Baltimore MD). As a bit of background, Ron prides himself on being the “voice of reason.” His political leanings are fairly conservative, most of the time, but he does not even pretend that there should be a moral foundation for conservativism, only “reason.”
Waging War Against a Tactic
Monday, January 19, 2004 - Ron Smith
This “war on terrorism” is wearing on me.
Poor baby. Is it all the long nights you’ve been up late analyzing data, translating intercepted missives from foreign operatives who want to do America harm? No? Oh, yeah, it’s the fact that after about a year and a half, you’ve been largely unable to convince much of your audience to abandon common sense and adopt you’re “reason.”
The likelihood of any one of us becoming a victim of Osama bin Laden’s henchmen is next to zero.
Really? I suppose it’s true. How much more true did that seem in the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 at 8:30AM? By the way, is OBL the only threat? I don’t think so. The point is, some risks you just don’t take if you can at all avoid it. Some risks, though minute, are so horrific that you take significant steps to reduce them even further. I suppose, if you want to use “reason” as you are so fond of doing, it would be tough to justify our proactive use of force where you are comparing billions of dollars to a couple dozen, maybe a couple hundred more lives. Let’s be rational, after all.
Yet we are bombarded with color-coded “terror alerts” designed to keep us perpetually alarmed, and thus willing to suffer whatever our various federal, state and local governments wish to inflict upon us in the name of keeping us “safe.”
Your alternative? I forgot, you don’t ever suggest reform, you only bitch. Let me posit an idea on your whiny ass. IF there are NO superior achievable alternatives, then the system IS NOT broken. You mock the color-coding. OK… Would you prefer obliviousness? In an open culture, such as ours, to function without “undue” prejudices as the general rule, you NEED to be able to let down your guard, to a large extent. With the color-coding, we know that there is a particular type of threat, even if we don’t precisely know what, that we need to look out for. We don't have to live with either undue suspicion of EVERYBODY, nor do we have to blindly trust in the good will of everyone. Don’t pretend to be a civil libertarian concerned about the feelings of the handful of folks who will get a bad vibe because of increased suspicion. Our threat comes from ONE culture, Islamo-facism. If someone starts to meet that description, then TOUGH! They’re going to get an extra look-see.
Terrorism is a tactic, a method by which people with political grievances wage war on whomever they believe is oppressing them.
I see… It’s a tactic. Since that’s the case, we really shouldn’t do anything about it. Now, I haven’t done an exhaustive LexisNexis search, but I did do a quick one. In the text of the state of the union address given to Congress in January of 2002, the president DID NOT say that we were at war with “terrorism.” He did say we were in a “war against terror.” Don’t get smug, the war against “terror” is multifaceted, and involves many avenues of solution, most of them political rather than military. The military is going after the individuals who are causing the trouble, the terrorists. Let me quote the president
“We last met in an hour of shock and suffering. In four short months, our nation has comforted the victims, begun to rebuild New York and the Pentagon, rallied a great coalition, captured, arrested and rid the world of thousands of terrorists, destroyed Afghanistan's terrorist training camps, saved a people from starvation and freed a country from brutal oppression.”
“The American flag flies again over our embassy in Kabul. Terrorists who once occupied Afghanistan now occupy cells at Guantanamo Bay. And terrorist leaders who urged followers to sacrifice their lives are running for their own.”
Sure, Ron, terrorism is a tactic. The people who are using it are TERRORISTS. Maybe we can’t kill the tactic, but I’ll settle for killing anyone who would use it.
Whether it’s the IRA bombers in the U.K., Palestinians blowing themselves up to kill Israelis, Chechen warriors battling the Russian Army in their homeland, or Basque separatists kidnapping and killing Spanish judges, these are men (increasingly joined by their women) who are willing to fight and die in order to change a system they loath.
Well, let’s think about this. They all go after non-combatants, right? Doesn’t look to me like they are all that interested in a fight. As far as I can see, these putzes scamper away like cockroaches whenever an armed opponent shows up on the scene. These murderers are not interested in advance a political cause nearly as much as they want to kill. You see, you can negotiate with someone with a grievance. You can’t negotiate with someone in the throws of a quasi-religious blood-lust. It’s kill or be killed. I know which one I choose, and I suspect that you, Mr. “Voice of Reason,” would come to a similar conclusion, if your house were beset by the maniacs you would have OTHERS negotiate with, if they were convinced that you had a Jew hidden somewhere in your home.
Waging “war” on a tactic doesn’t make sense. Modern history shows that the people who feel themselves political outcasts, oppressed by their government or by alien military and economic dominance imposed upon them stop fighting only when political solutions are implemented.
If, by "waging war on a tactic" we are speaking of actions that will modify the behavior of those who are contemplating using that tactic, then it makes pretty good sense to me. Do you suppose we should encourage the tactic rather than discourage it?
For being the “Voice of Reason,” you don’t seem to be thinking this one through. Let’s assume, argumendo, that these murderes are only “agrarian reformers” with a grievance. (Let’s leave aside the minor fact that terrorists don’t seem to be all that advanced in the agricultural arts and sciences.) How do you motivate people? Carrot… Stick… Those are your choices. For some a carrot will work. For others nothing but a stick will do.
If a homicidal maniac has a gun to your head, and has stated that his sole purpose for showing up is to kill you, are you likely to dissuade him by offering the $20 you’ve got in your pocket? The ONLY possible way to dissuade this kind of confrontation is to demonstrate that should the maniac take the course of action, he will be worse off IN A WAY THAT HE WILL APPRECIATE than if he does not. Neville Chamberlain thought that he could negotiate with Hitler. Churchill knew for a fact that utter defeat was the only message that would mean anything to him.
Have you forgotten that political options have been available to almost all terrorists? Israel, for example, offered to give away about 90% of Arafat’s demands a few years ago. Arafat didn’t want the conflict to end. He made his fortunes by promoting terrorism.
You simply cannot negotiate with cancer. Any attempt to do so merely gives it more time to spread. Likewise, you can only negotiate effectively when the other side knows you have the ability to defeat or destroy what they want.
If military superiority and the willingness to bring it to bear against indigenous guerilla opposition was a workable strategy, France would still own Algeria; Israel would not be suffering bus-bombings in Tel Aviv, and our quick conquest of Iraq would have stood as a clear victory rather than degenerating as it has into a bloody, protracted colonial occupation.
Did you just put “military superiority” and France in the same sentence?
That’s brilliant! I nearly peed myself!
Ron, use your vaunted “reason” for a moment, please. To win a conflict, ANY conflict, requires two (2) elements.
1 – The ability to win.
2 – The will to win.
The ability to win consists of more than military equipment. It also consists of military tactics. Perhaps their ability to think is compromised by the overwhelming odor of their women’s arm-pits, but the French are NOT good military tacticians. Furthermore, the French, being convinced of the superiority of their own language, and ability to out talk anybody else, have not been all that committed to actually winning a war in over a century.
Israel is a different matter. They know what to do, they have the technological ability to bring about an actual victory. They are being held back by OUR carrot and stick. We, and other nations keep applying pressure to Israel to NOT win. We keep making them listen and follow “reason” like yours and present political options to those who only wish to kill them. There ARE Palestinians who can be negotiated with Mahmoud Abbas was one such person. He could not keep his job because the power structure within Palestine does not want a political solution.
You know, a very strong argument can be made that if political solutions had any ability to work, these conflicts would have more peacefully resolved themselves. It’s political crap that keeps solutions from forming.
When the French, the Germans, the Spanish and the Italians are victimized by terrorist acts, they treat them as the crimes they are and hunt down and punish the perpetrators. This is what we should have done, in my opinion, after the attacks of 9/11. Instead our government decided to declare itself at war with terrorism in general.
Europeans have proven themselves to be singularly ineffective at combating terrorism and terrorist activity. You have displayed a glimpse of your ignorance of terrorism. Criminal activity is only defined ONCE activity is underway. Usually, we don’t know until AFTER the fact. If terrorism were treated as “just another crime,” we would have done NOTHING about 9-11. Hey, the perpetrators are all dead… nobody to prosecute. Without a confession from OBL, and without a friendly nation to extradite him, we have no ability to do squat against him.
“Terrorism” is war against our culture. You can’t fight “terrorism” directly, but you NEED to fight those who engage in it as enemies of the state in an armed conflict.
Quick question: In the Spring of 2001, what foundation would you have to object to a group of Arab men wanting to learn to fly passenger jets but not being all that interested in the landing part? THAT is not a crime. Being ARAB is not a crime. Flying a plane is NOT a crime. What the hell would you, as a “crime fighter” do? – Not a damn thing, that’s what. Our problem is that we did not treat terrorism as if those who engaged in it posed a national security risk.
This is a war that cannot be won and isn’t worth the blood, treasure and loss of American constitutional guarantees of liberty taking place under the rubric of making us secure. Governments, by their nature, move against individual freedom. That’s why the framers of the Constitution took such pains to limit the powers of consolidated federal government.
CAN’T be won, eh? How many terrorist training camps are Taliban sponsoring anymore? How many Palestinian families are getting periodic support payments from Saddam Husein?
What would you risk to prevent another 9-11?
And for that matter, which “constitutional guarantees,” in particular, have you lost? You’re spouting rhetoric with no substance.
Yes, the Framers did go to great pains to limit the powers of our Federal government. What they did NOT want to limit was the ability of the federal government to respond to actual threats to American People from external forces. As a matter of fact, this is one of the clearest areas where the federal government has virtually unfettered power. Your cynicism is a result of having to stand in line at the airport. I also have contempt for the largely ineffective TSA airport screeners. This, you see, is not a sign of the destruction of the republic so much as it is a sign of Democrat leadership pandering to buy votes. That’s despicable, and it’s annoying to be inconvenienced, but I defy you to find a constitutional guarantee against inconvenience.
We are now, the majority of us, anyway, apparently willing to slip into shackles, to do whatever our rulers decide is necessary, without protest, because it’ll make us more secure; because it’s better to “fight them over there,” rather than on the streets of our own cities. This is a fallacious proposition. There are no terrorist armies plotting to invade our country. In fact, there aren’t that many terrorists loose in the world, and while the 9/11 attacks were dramatic and dreadful; we shouldn’t lose all perspective because of them.
Blah blah blah… Again, you offer no proof. Hell, other than some big words, you don’t even try to support your proposition that “fighting them over there” is not actually better than fighting them here. What are the last “Official Islamo-Fascist Terrorist Census” results that you have? Oh, you don’t HAVE the census? How the hell do you KNOW that there aren’t terrorist armies plotting to invade our country?
Here’s something your high and mighty self-important reason seems to have TOTALLY MISSED. We’ve busted dozens, maybe hundreds of Al-Queda members here in BALTIMORE. I have friends with first-hand knowledge, and I am not allowed to divulge any more than that. I can say, however, that a number of “drug busts” where significant numbers of people were taken into custody were actually Al-Queda cell groups… They had documentation, weapons and money, but you didn’t know about it… perhaps you couldn’t hear the clues over your incessant whining about the ineffectiveness of our "war against terrorism."
Not only should we not lose “all perspective because” of the terrorist attacks, we should never lose perspective of them. They gave us a glimpse of what we face, and ignoring our enemies will not cause them to disappear.
For what it’s worth, we have lost some liberties recently, but they’ve had nothing to do with the war on terror. The Patriot Act primarily allows the government to use RICO tactics on national security threats. Complain if you want. The only real liberties, constitutionally guaranteed ones, anyway, were lost due to the Bi-partisan Campaign-finance Reform Act. That’s another post, and if you want to complain about that, go right ahead, and feel free to use some of my analysis, here, but don’t confuse your selfish reluctance to allow any other people in the world to benefit from our efforts to eliminate those who support and spread terror. I’ll bet you really do think it’s entirely a coincidence that we haven’t suffered another terrorist attack on our soil (other than Muhammad and Malvo) since 9-11. OK… if THAT’s what passes for “reason” for you.
The chance of any of us being killed or injured in a terrorist attack, I repeat, is infinitesimal. We are at far more risk every time we get behind the wheel and venture onto our streets and highways, every time we’re exposed to a flu bug, and certainly every time we are hospitalized, since hospital-caused illness kills tens of thousands of Americans every year.
Is it that you do not grasp the difference between terrorism and accident?
There is a certain amount of risk that we can avoid, and a certain that we cannot. As a point of law, it is not the government’s responsibility to protect us from the pervasive individual risks of life. The government IS responsible to PROVIDE a national defense. In your world, should the government stop bothering terrorists until after we have secured a cure to the common cold? After the perfectly safe car has been developed and provided to each and every American? Why wouldn’t that same logic have attached after the attacks of Pearl Harbor? Heck, there, mostly it was the military that took the hit, and civilians weren’t targeted.
I could see the President Ron Smith speech “My fellow Americans, we have been attacked. We must avenge our losses. The Empire of Japan will feel the brunt of our political might, but only after we cure cancer!”
The invasion and occupation of Iraq was done for many reasons, which have been debated heatedly for many months. But the idea we are propagandized with incessantly – that this will make us safe from terrorism – is so preposterous that it is simply amazing that the bulk of the American people apparently believe it.
Well, Ron, do you feel like a better person for attempting to lower American morale? You spout all sorts of crap about reason and rights, but you aren’t willing to recognize that the actual motivation of those who would destroy us is NOT founded in reason. Perhaps fighting “terrorism” is the most brilliant tactic America has ever employed. It provides NO disincentive to B if we attack A only because A did a particular thing. It disincentivizes the hell out of B if we attack A for engaging in the hostile course of action which B is also engaged in, even if B has not actually attacked us yet.
What will protect America? The CREDIBLE threat of complete destruction of our enemies who engage in terrorism will deter those who might contemplate hurting us. Funny, this is precisely the thing that will eventually starve “terrorism,” as it is currently propagated, to death. Anything less is an invitation to those who engage in terrorism to do better next time.
I wish it had been called "War on Terrorists" instead, just for clarity's sake...but that's a fine point at this stage.
France is a strange case; they actually do have a military tradition, though not recently. They certainly have a rich cultural tradition. You've got to hand it to them--they lost to BOTH sides in WWII, and were still able to claim a victor's share. They seem to be both aristocratic and socialistic...and corrupt. They are certainly not Kumbyah pacifists. Proud of their heritage, yet they suffer from Leftie's Disease; an unwillingness to defend Western values. Délires!posted by Noel at January 22, 2004 12:12 AM
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From Syracuse Post Standard:
Damon's Party House in Cicero is the first bar in Onondaga County - and possibly the first in the state - to win a waiver allowing tobacco smoking inside its premises because of financial hardship.
Damon's was granted a one-year smoking-ban waiver Friday by county Health Commissioner Dr. Lloyd Novick after presenting evidence it had lost approximately 40 percent of its bar business in three months. The state's smoking ban took effect July 24.
This is a common problem facing restaurants, bars, and other establishments who have had draconian regulations enforced upon them in the name of public health.
These public health zealots are forcing these privately owned establishments to disallow smoking. Many of these establishments are bars who cater to a professional after work crowd. These people enjoy a cigar or cigarette with their cocktail, and with the enforcement of these laws they are required to either smoke outside, or just go home to smoke.
If he would allow smoking to be present, his bar would be subject to highly punative fines, and possibly even revokation of their liquor license.
Before getting a waiver, Damon's was one of five bars in Onondaga County to be fined for violating the law, which prohibits smoking indoors at almost every worksite in the state. Damon's was fined $250 earlier this month after health department inspectors said they saw customers smoking cigarettes in the tavern. Damon said he will pay the fine.
His tavern, which is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, lost most of its regular customers after the smoking ban became effective July 24, Damon said.
His patrons - generally an older happy-hour crowd - drifted away as the weather got cold because they didn't want to have to go outside to smoke, said Damon, who smokes just under a pack a day. Damon said he hopes his regulars return now.
Is smoking bad? Yes. Though I sometimes smoke cigars. Other times I appreciate a place to eat where they do not allow smoking. But when I want to smoke, I want to be able to find a bar or restaurant that allows smoking.
The point is, it should be my choice. My choice to choose an establishment that allows or disallows smoking. It is also up to the owner. He or she owns the place, and THEY should make the decisions on things like this.
It is not the government's or public official's place in this world to watch over and regulate every possible thing that can hurt us. The world is full of danger, it is my place to watch out for it, not Uncle Sam's.
I agree. The problem is that, among the governing class, the idea has become that instead of power originating in the people and some of it being granted to the Federal Government so that it may protect the rest, our leaders believe that all power originates with them.
I've had a legal theory tickling the back of my mind for a while... Mixing Amdnedments 9, 10, and 14. What I envision is a line of argument challenging the nanny-state local laws by pointing at the state constitution and the Federal Constitution. The state government is constitutional, and therefore limited, just like the federal, but it occupys a different, closer-to-the-citizen location. The state government, necessarily should be more intrusive in our normal lives. Nevertheless, when it goes into areas not granted to it by it's constitution or specifically mandated by the Federal Constitution (statuts, too, probably). The 9th and 10th Amendments make it clear that individual rights and liberties are real even beyond Amendments 1-8.
It would be a violation of "Equal Protection" probably and "Due Process" certainly under the 14th Amendment for a state to impose laws beyond the reach of its own constitution.
I do not know that the 9th or 10th Amendments have been used in this way, but I think a strong argument could be developed.
The state would probably argue that it has the right and responsibility to create a "safe" working environment. It would be encumbant, then, for the state to demonstrate an actual connection between second-hand smoke and safety, and then (I suspect) that they would need to ballance whatever connection they find and the amount of safety improvement that might be obtained against the loss of liberty.
In any event, I think it would get past summary judgement and therefore be too expensive for most jurisdictions to challenge.
What do ya'll think?posted by Bronson at January 20, 2004 12:08 PM
It is not the government's or public official's place in this world to watch over and regulate every possible thing that can hurt us.
Excellent!!! The right of the Owner trunps the priviledge of the Government.
Smoking is nasty, filthy, dirty, expensive & disgusting...which explains why trial lawyers and politicians are drawn to it like flies on sh*t.
The War on Smoking is a giant scam. States use the money for everything under the sun, not just to help smokers as was promised. It's the politician's dream; a huge tax increase without their fingerprints on it. Lawyers contribute heavily to politicians (usually Dems), who bend the rules so lawyers can sue for an ever larger share--as long as the pols get their cut. The only people who never see a dime? Smokers, of course.
The States and the Trial Lawyers are effectively in the tobacco business now. One day, they'll cut out the middle-man (the tobacco companies) entirely. There will be state-run tobacco plantations where whip-weilding lawyers lash trachiotomied butt-addicts to roll cigarettes faster. The slaves will of course be charged for the pleasure.
You've Come A Long Way, Baby.posted by Noel at January 21, 2004 11:35 PM
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OR ARE YOU JUST GLAD TO OVERSEE ME?
From "The fruit police" by Roger Kimball at The New Criterion's weblog, Armavirimque:
"David told us how his family had been planting a certain type of potato for decades at their farm in Wales: no more. The EU ministers decreed that type of spud verboten. They had rules for hedges, lawns, sausages, and comestibles of every sort. It became a crime to sell a pound of . . . well, of anything: one had to adopt the metric system or go to jail. Bananas that deviated too much from the perpendicular were illegal. I am not sure what happened to bananas that were overly curvaceous: perhaps they were required to take Pilates.
It all seemed so . . . absurd. And so it was. Unless you were caught selling pound of beef or a bendy banana.
I had more or less forgotten this episode until my friend sent me an article from the December 19 issue of the London Times. The headline tells the tale:
Why is this banana legally curved instead of just crooked?
Because it is the fruit of the finest judicial minds in Europe.
Unfortunately, the article is available on-line only for a fee, but here is the gist:
GOODBYE bendy bananas. Farewell curved cucumbers. So long chunky carrots. The European Union has finally triumphed in its quest to tame nature and keep unusually shaped fruit and vegetables off our shop shelves.
The House of Lords yesterday ordered greengrocers across the country to obey every EU horticultural regulation passed over the past 30 years concerning fresh produce and conform to the myriad of rules covering size, length, colour and texture.
The law lords rejected the argument, put forward by the supermarket Asda, that a legal blunder in 1973 had made the EU laws unenforceable. Now greengrocers will have to ensure that under EU regulation 2257/94 their bananas are at least 13.97cm (5.5in) long and 2.69cm (1.06in) round and do not have "abnormal curvature", as set out in an eight-page directive drawn up in 1994.
The ban on bendy bananas was necessary, according to an EU Commission official at the time, to prevent them from being mistaken for a "bicycle wheel".
I have often had occasion to quote Tocqueville's warning about the process of "democratic despotism," which proceeds by extending
its arms over society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd; it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them, and directs them; it rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one's acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.
Of course, the behavior of the EU does not conform exactly to Tocqueville's scenario. To be sure, it covers the surface of society "with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules"--the last time I checked there were 185,000 pages of rules and regulations; the EU "does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes" and so on. But Tocqueville was talking about democratic despotism, and the EU presents the novel spectacle of its bureaucratic, or soft-totalitarian alternative. It is (so far) less brutal, but no less infantilizing, no less an enemy of freedom.
It may seem silly to get worked up about bananas; edicts about potatoes may seem like small potatoes. Does it really matter that one's favorite sausage or cheese is now deemed illegal? The EU has declared "racism" and "xenophobia" crimes--but who in his right mind would wish to express racist or xenophobic attitudes? Exactly what are racist or xenophobic attitudes? Well, that's for the ministers in Brussels to determine. You don't like that? A pity, because, if you're a European, you're stuck with it. The ministers are not elected by you, they are appointed by each other. They meet in secret. They issue diktats that affect the lives of the whole European Community. Once upon a time, you could have criticized this sort of tyranny, but the ministers in their wisdom have decided that dissent is unprogressive. Consequently, it is illegal for journalists to criticize the decisions of the EU. Is that an infringement on the right of free speech? Who said anything about a right to free speech? This is the new, multicultural Europe. Health care and welfare and an early retirement for everyone. And a 35-hour work week. Want to work longer hours? That's a crime too."
Read it all here.Display Comments »
I've just started David Bernstein's "You Can't Say That." He makes the point (or quotes someone else who did) that the problem with laws against "hate speech" (I'm sure it applies equally as well to racism or xenophobia) is not that there's anything good about "hate speech" but that eventually your enemies will be able to decide what qualifies, and then you'll be SOL.
I wonder, do you suppose Europe will ever wake up, or do you suppose that the spirit that birthed America's libertarian foundation is in a coma without a feeding tube?
Later,posted by Bronson at January 13, 2004 11:49 AM
Dunno, Bronson. Sometimes there are flashes of resistance. If the EU Constitution is imposed, that would be a major setback. Many countries seem hell-bent on self-extinction. Physically; through declining birth-rates, culturally; through mass-immigration & multi-cultism, and legally; through Statism & creeping Islamic Law.
We've got a fight on our hands ourselves.
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WHY DOES YOUR CRIME-RATE GROW?
Mark Steyn does in the British Gun-Control/Radio Poll story:
"A "listeners' law" is, of course, a pathetic gimmick. Judging from the reaction of Stephen Pound, MP, the modish proponents of "direct democracy" believe in letting the people's voice be heard only so long as it agrees with what their betters have already decided. So, having agreed to introduce the listeners' choice as a Bill in Parliament, Mr. Pound was a bit shocked to find the winning proposal wasn't one of the nanny-state suggestions (a ban on smoking, compulsory organ donation, mandatory voting) or the snobby joke ones (a ban on Christmas decorations before December), but the right to defend your home."
"Why, the People's Champion himself, Stephen Pound, dismissed it as a "ludicrous, brutal, unworkable blood-stained piece of legislation. I can't remember who it was who said, `The people have spoken, the bastards'."
"That would be Dick Tuck, a long-ago California state senate candidate, in an unusually pithy concession speech. It's an amusing remark as applied to the electorate's rejection of oneself. It's not quite so funny when applied, by Mr. Pound, to people impertinent enough to bring up a topic that you and the rest of the governing class have decided is beyond debate. As used by Mr. Tuck, it reflects a rough'n'tumble vernacular politics; as used by Mr Pound, it comes out closer to "Let 'em eat cake"."
"The Independent's Joan Smith recalled that, when she spied a burglar on her porch, she had no desire to "blow him away". Nor do I, if I'm honest."
"But I do want to have the right to make the judgment call. You can call 999, get the answering machine rerouting you to the 24-Hour Action Hotline three counties away, leave a message, and wait for the Community Liaison Officer to get back next week if he's returned from his emotional trauma leave by then."
"...you're there, the police aren't. And, even in jurisdictions whose constabularies aren't quite so monumentally useless as Britain's, a citizen in his own home should have the right to make his own assessment of the danger without being second-guessed by fellows who aren't on the scene."
"And, once you give the citizen that right, he hardly ever has to exercise it. Take Miss Smith's situation: she's at home, but the burglar still comes a-knocking. Thanks to burglar alarms, British criminals have figured out that it's easier to wait till you come home, ring the door bell, and punch you in the kisser."
Most gun-control is not crime-control, but citizen-control. And goes hand-in-hand with the abolition of the Death Penalty. In response to a brutal shotgun-slaying of 3 policemen 40 years ago, the liberal answer was to abolish the Death Penalty, and to register, and later ban, most gun-ownership.
If the State says to criminals "There is NOTHING you can do that is vicious enough for us to execute you!", even after a long & deliberative process, then it certainly isn't going to let individual victims make that determination on the spot. Though you'd never know it, many European publics support the Death penalty.
The English jurist Blackstone, who is to Law what Edison is to electronics, asserted the right to armed self-defense is an 'Absolute Right'; one that pre-dates & supersedes even Constitutions & societies. So when Steyn says "... once you give the citizen that right, he hardly ever has to exercise it.", he is quite right on the deterrence point...but the State cannot 'give' you that right; it can only honor or dishonor the right previously given by one's Maker.
British gun-control cannot be looked at apart from several other bad liberal ideas; the disparagement of traditional morality and the introduction of massive numbers of third-world immigrants, a certain number of whom have no loyalty or respect for British culture. And elites have never appreciated Thomas Jefferson's formulation: "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Or perhaps they've appreciated it all too well.
Steyn points out one more unintended consequence; criminals now wait for victims to arrive home and turn off their burglar-alarms; can burglar-alarm-control be far behind?
As for the alleged slaughter that would take place; was there a slaughter when the people were allowed to defend their homes years ago? Did I miss this scene from "Mary Poppins"?:
Winifred Banks: "George; what ARE you doing?"
George W. Banks: "Hello, dear; I'm going to shoot a burglar...it's the English way, you know."
Winifred: "But that's no burglar, darling; that's Bert---our chimney sweep!"
George: "One can't be to careful these days, dear,"...BLAM! BLAM!..."Sorry, Bert, but I haven't shot anyone for King & Country all day. Chin up...way to keep a stiff upper lip, old boy!"
Tony State: "I'm afraid you're under arrest for the murder of Rob Petrie, Mr. Banks."
Mary Tyler Moore: "Oh, Rob!"
George Banks: "Who are you, sir...and where is Mary Poppins?"
Tony State: " I'm your new Nanny...Nanny State. Your wife elected me when she got the vote. And Mary is fine. She fought off two purse-snatchers in the park with her umbrella; she should be released soon...it's her first offense, after all."
Mr. Banks: "Oh, thank Heavens; for a brief, terrifying moment, I feared she was in the waiting room at National Health."
Instead of criminals living in fear, the Elites seem fear only one thing:
Can pun-control be far behind?Display Comments »
So I gather y'really mean to say "Super-Callous-Fragile-Victims-Expediting-Justice"?
I'm lovin' it!!!posted by Tuning Spork at January 7, 2004 03:00 AM
Atrocious, isn't it?posted by Noel at January 7, 2004 03:18 AM
I just showed this to my wife. Only a very generous description of her snorts of laughter would term them "ladylike." GREAT post. :-)posted by Discoshaman at January 12, 2004 06:42 PM
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It may seem like old news now, but when all this talk of election campaigns starts raging, my thoughts often turn to that travesty of a New Jersey Supreme Court decision made in October 2002.
You remember the one: Robert Torricelli--in a scandal induced freefall in the polls--bowed out of the race in order to be replaced on the ballot by a Democrat who had a chance of winning. The one where State law was tossed aside by the Democrat-packed bench. The one where the so-called "two-party system" was officially codified into law.
In 2000, Sen. John McCain threatened court action in the case of the New York state Republican primary--where George W. Bush was the only one of the several contestants listed since, by law, the Republican Party of New York had the right to list only the candidate(s) it wished to list. Steve Forbes, in a televised debate, spoke against the practice as the institution of "a Soviet-style" forced party conformity. Shouldn't Republican primary voters have a choice among willing candidates? While the inner-workings of a political party may seem out of the jurisdiction of a state court; the outer-workings of a general election are clearly subject to existing statute.
If McCain had decided to seek a "third-party" nomination in '04, he may have found his tussle with the New York Republicans to have been inadequate preparation for what might have laid ahead.
There are many reasons to protest the 2002 NJSC ruling. Sure, they ignored the statutory 51-day deadline for a party to change it's Statewide ballot. Sure, they substituted their definition of a "right to vote" for the Legislatures Constitutional authority to proscribe the voting process. Sure, they invoked their "duty" to divine the legislative intent of a statute that was wholly unambiguous. But those aren't my main concerns with the ruling. (Those are, of course, important concerns. But, for the sake of this post, I'll confine myself to the most unprecedented aspect of the ruling.)
Consider this seemingly high-minded portion:
"...the Court being of the view that -(it) is in the public interest and the general intent of the election laws to preserve the two-party system and to submit to the electorate a ballot bearing the names of candidates of both major political parties as well as all other qualifying parties and groups." "And the Court remaining of the view that the election statutes should be liberally construed --to allow the greatest scope for public participation in the electoral process, to allow candidates to get on the ballot, to allow parties to put their candidates on the ballot, and most importantly, to allow the voters a choice on Election Day."
Since they are claiming that this ruling, on the clear and unambiguous election law, is to "preserve the two-party system", and to make sure that candidates "of the two major parties" get on the ballot, they are stating in no uncertain terms that the Democrat and Republican parties (the Incumbent Party) are to be treated, in a court of law, with priviledge and deference not to be extended to any other party.
The "Soviet-style" establishment of political parties has taken root in the New Jersey Judicial branch.
Political parties are not government institutions, they are associations of citizens pooling their resources and working together toward a common cause. The candidate on the New Jersey ballot was Bob Torricelli, not the Democratic Party.
Their defense of voter choice, as they consider that to be "most important", is completely indefensible. The voters had, as allowed by law, a Democrat candidate on the ballot--and his name was Torricelli. There were also six other candidates on the ballot. The fiat that there would have been no choice without both major-party's fronting of a candidate establishes that "third-party" candidates are henceforth functionally illegitimate; they offer no choice: they are not an option.
One can only conclude that if the 17th Amendment were repealed and the New Jersey Legislature were to exercise their constitutional authority and appoint their Senators, the NJSC would have to rule that action unconstitutional.
Also, if the justices of the NJSC were instead in Massachusetts, or Virginia, or any of hundreds of other states, towns and districts, that had uncontested elections (such as the uncontested re-election campaigns of John Kerry [D-Ma] and John Warner [R-Va]), those elections would have had to be ruled unconstitutional.
Has the NJSC effectively mandated that political parties must sponsor a candidate in order to guarantee the voters' newly found Constitutional right to have a choice between the two "major" parties? Should that mandate be restricted only to the "major" parties?. Is that any of the Courts damn business?
New Jersey may have saved the Democratic Party from defeat in the last cycle, but they've paved the way for all "non-major" parties to be lawfully discriminated against in the future. These "third parties" are also associations of citizens pooling their resources and working together for a common cause, and entitled to equal protection under the law. Yet the NJSC -- by virtue of the stated rationale that formed it's judgement in the Torricelli case -- has ruled against them.
Perhaps it's just that, while settling election disputes, Supreme Court justices -- who have all been appointed by members of the Republican and Democrat parties -- are more loyal to their Incumbent Party patrons than to their sworn duty to apply the Law.
You're right, Spork; Democrats & Republicans should have no more standing than the Vegans From Venus Party. NJ is whack; Torch totally skated on taking bribes. And this is the court that ruled unanimously that the Boy Scouts had no free association rights. Not even O'Connor could stomach that. Or maybe she just had gas that day.
The Legislature largely went along with the State Court because they approved of the outcome. But someday they may regret ceding their power to the Court. They said, in effect "The laws we pass are meaningless". Proper process, not just desired outcomes, also secures the peoples' right to self-governance.
The Supremes washed their hands; if they had to spend all their time on Democrat election fraud, they'd have no time to re-write the Constitution themselves.posted by Noel at January 4, 2004 06:05 PM
Good posting. Just a couple thoughts...
1. IF this had been in Mass., the court would have required that any candidate be a part of some legally recognized union founded upon sodomy. ;-) Presumably the court would want proof that candidates could bend the public over and $@&% it.
2. You're totally right. This ruling makes the two-party system the official model to be preserved. On the other hand, the Supreme Court of the US has recently decided that pooling of resources within political parties is not a particularly protected activity.
3. The most important factor was that there was no LEGAL bar to Torch's candidacy at all, and there was not even an issue that was totally a surprise BEFORE the primary. I would almost have sympathy for the argument if credible information surfaced without warning a couple weeks before an election that candidate X was a mass murderer with a graveyard under his basement. That would *probably* be a big surprise to the party that nominated him (or her, to be fair). A surprise like that would be tantamount to fraud against the primary voters.
Lacking this level of deciet, each party should be allowed to nominate THE candidate they choose and then be forced to play by the rules... what a quaint idea. I know, I know, the "rulese" exist to cripple the competition, not to hinder the aspirations of our benevolent leaders. What was I thinking?!posted by Bronson at January 5, 2004 10:07 AM
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"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."-- Abraham Lincoln
"All attempts by the State to bias the conclusions of its citizens on disputed subjects are evil." --John Stuart Mill, 'On Liberty' 1859
"I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."-- William F. Buckley, Jr.
"Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one's government is not necessarily to secure freedom." -- F.A. Hayek
"There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, showers its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing."--Andrew Jackson
"It would be an absurdity for jurors to be required to accept the judge's view of the law, against their own opinion, judgement, and conscience."--John Adams
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IT'S NOT JUST FOR ELECTIONS ANYMORE!
Sen. John McCain announced a new round of Reform proposals today.
"Christmas has become institutionally corrupt," said the Senator. "I woke up the day after Christmas feeling like a 2-baht Saigon hooker on a Tet Love Holiday. And it's not just me; we just can't stop ourselves."
"That's why I'm proposing Christmas Finance Reform," he explained. "Families are too close to children, just like Parties are too close to candidates; and we don't want children to feel indebted to fat-cat donor-parents. So from now on, all private gift-giving will be a crime and we'll have public financing of all gifts."
"Did you promise little Susie a new doll-house next year? Tough!" said McCain, his eye beginning to twitch. "The Federal Gift-Selection Commision has decided she's getting a toy dump-truck. The Government wants more female truck-drivers anyway. Sure; little Susie will cry, but just tell her we here in Washington know what's best."
Another provision of the Act would ban all Christmas caroling 60 days before the holiday. "That's my favorite part...I've always hated that "We Three Keatings" song! Nobody said Reform would be pretty...but I think she's pretty..." McCain shouted, and then whispered, in the now-familiar, unhinged sing-song voice long known to criminologists and FBI profilers.
While endorsed by many serial Congressmen, a majority of Congress recognize that this Act would violate their oaths to the Constitution.
Pres. Bush also said he was firmly against it, and it is widely expected that the Supreme Court would strike down such an outrageous assault on our liberties.
Therefore, it will very likely be passed by Congress, signed by the President and approved by the Court in time for next Christmas.
Justice O'Conner could not be reached for comment, as she was busy researching Saudi court rulings regarding the celebration of Christmas in Mecca.
When asked what was next on the Reform agenda, Squinter McCain, now in full 'Bruce-Dern-on-a-meth-bender' mode, said: "Ya' know...the 4th of July has always kinda' bugged me."
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Individualism 'R' Us"---an essay by P. J. O'Rourke
"The individual is the wellspring of conservatism. The purpose of conservative politics is to defend the liberty of the individual and - lest individualism run riot - insist upon individual responsibility."
..."That we are individuals - unique, disparate and willful - is something we understand instinctively from an early age. No child ever wrote to Santa: "Bring me - and a bunch of kids I've never met - a pony, and we'll share.""
..."The first question of political science is - or should be: "What is good for everyone?" And, by "everyone" we must mean "all individuals.""
"The question can't be: "What is good for a single individual?" That's megalomania, which is, like a New Hampshire presidential primary, the art of politics, not political science."
"And the question can't be: "What is good for some individuals?" Or even: "What is good for the majority of individuals?" That's partisan politics, which, at best, leads to Newt Gingrich or Pat Schroeder and, at worst, leads to Lebanon or Rwanda."
"Finally, the question can't be: "What is good for individuals as a whole?" There's no such thing. Individuals are only available individually."
"By observing the progress of mankind, we can see that the things that are good for everyone are the things that have increased the accountability of the individual, the respect for the individual and the power of the individual to master his own fate. Judaism gave us laws before which all men, no matter their rank, stood as equals. Christianity taught us that each person has intrinsic worth, Newt Gingrich and Pat Schroeder included. The rise of private enterprise and trade provided a means of achieving wealth and autonomy other than by killing people with broadswords. And the industrial revolution allowed millions of ordinary folks an opportunity to obtain decent houses, food and clothes (albeit with some unfortunate side effects, such as environmental damage and Albert Gore)."
Read it all here.Display Comments »
engagement rings at August 26, 2005 10:00 PM
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"To those of us watching from afar the ructions over the European constitution - a 1970s solution to a 1940s problem - it seems amazing that no Continental politician is willing to get to grips with the real crisis facing Europe in the 21st century: the lack of Europeans."Display Comments »
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A new guide for trial lawyers advises them to be wary of Americans with "extreme attitudes about personal responsibility" when selecting jurors in personal injury lawsuits. The author of the guide says such jurors typically "espouse traditional family values" and often "have strong religious beliefs."
FYI, that's (poorly disguised) code for "Judeo-Christian" religious beliefs. The core belief in the Jewish and Christian faiths is that God created this planet and made us in His image. He gave us a brain to control our impulses and reason our actions and creativity so that we can make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.
The necessary result of having a brain is that you are expected to use it. Of course, people with this basis for their world views will be suspicious of someone wanting the law to appropriate someone else's possessions to them. They will want to know that the plaintiff acted reasonably and used his or her noggin to at least a minimum or acceptability given the circumstances.
This is what the author of the guide calls a "personal responsibility bias." No shit. (Pardon my French).
Anyone who wants to re-allocate the defendants possessions and wealth without asking whether the plaintiff is not truly the cause of his own injury is not seeking justice, at all.
Such a person is attempting to minimize the pain they perceive. The (stupid/irresponsible) plaintiff is actually injured, and maybe the money would make him feel better. The defendant won't feel actual pain if we take his money, so the plaintiff should get the money. The root of the "compassionate-altruistic bias" (as called by the author, and in contrast to "personal responsibility bias"), is the socialist ideal that possessing any more wealth than anyone else is inherently "evil". (For more discussion on this point, see my series "Creativity versus Sharing" part 1, part 2, and part 3.)
The question, then, is: Do we want people with the basis for their world view that has led to the prosperity of the most powerful nation that this world has ever seen (that's the USA, for you frogs) to be excluded from the decision-making role in our justice system in favor of people who have bought into the core beliefs that have led France and the former Soviet Union to their positions of world economic preeminence?
Hmmm... that's a tough one. I guess it would take a Trial Lawyer to figure that one out.
"In a wanton & reckless act, Pacific Gas & Electric callously failed to warn my client not to stick his tongue in the light socket while wearing a tongue ring!"posted by Noel at December 26, 2003 12:28 AM
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