John Adams Blog
The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Confirmed as 110th Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
See the Roll Call here.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Democrats Will Lose 2006 Election
Why? The Rep. Murtha/Cindy Sheehan ant-war, withdraw-immediately political strategy has backfired for two reasons outside U.S. control:
(1) Iran's government has said it wants to destroy Israel and it wants the A-bomb to do it. A majority of Americans already support military action to take that threat away.
(2) Hamas won the Palestinian elections. They also want to destory Israel.
Add to this mix, Osama Bin Laden, Al Queda and other Islamo-Fascists and you've got a lot of anti-American and Anti-Israel sentiment out there. These people want to kill Americans and Israelis any way they can.
In my opinion, American people will vote with their minds and their top priority will be foreign policy-- particularly the war on terrorism. Americans will elect Republicans over Murtha/Sheehan Democrats. It's a no-brainer.
Republicans pick up seats in 2006 Senate and House elections.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Biden's Self-Described "Unwise" Vote to Filibuster
Sen. Joseph Biden (news, bio, voting record), D-Del., said he, too, would support the filibuster attempt but agreed that it was not particularly wise.
"I think a filibuster make sense when you have a prospect of actually succeeding," Biden said
on CNN's "Late Edition." "I will vote one time to say to continue the debate, but the truth of the matter" is that Alito will be confirmed, he said.
The Republicans have a lot of work to do to win this year's election -- but the Democrats are making the job a lot easier.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Debate February 8
REPUBLICANS HAVE GROWN FAT
Marianne Stebbins Beck, Secretary
Larry Colson, Chief Whip
Roger Belfay, Chancellor
February 8, 2006
That which is won ill, will never wear well, for there is a curse attends it which will waste it. The same corrupt dispositions which incline men to sinful ways of getting, will incline them to the like sinful ways of spending. —M. Henry
ONCE UPON A TIME the Grand Old Party stood for something. As recently as the 1990’s, under the threat of President Bill Clinton and a Democrat-controlled Congress, Republicans were organized and spoilin’ for a fight. The GOP icon of Newt Gingrich gathered his lean troops together and orchestrated the Republican Takeover of 1994, complete with a platform of which candidates across the nation sang in accord --- a platform of smaller and more responsible government.
Flash forward a decade to today. The GOP rank and file, still seeking a smaller and more responsible government, is befuddled and discouraged with the unfulfilled promises of the elected leadership. Spending is spiraling out of control (at twice the rate as under Bill Clinton) with Republicans buying Bridges to Nowhere and enough other pork to shame a Democrat. Corruption has tainted the once saintly party, now fattened under years of victory.
ON THE OTHER HAND, under the leadership of George W. Bush, taxes have been cut, conservative judges have been nominated and confirmed, and the economy is growing at an encouragingly steady pace. There’s been chatter of Social Security privatization, overt discussion of a flat tax, or even of abolishment of the IRS altogether through a national sales tax. Looking back to the Presidency of Richard Nixon or the Senate leadership and candidacy of Bob Dole reminds us that we’ve come a long way, baby.
The chairman, nearly lean as a Pencil himself, has called for a debate to settle the question:
RESOLVED: Republicans Have Grown Fat.
The Debate will be held on Wednesday, February 8, 2004 at the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul. The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o'clock p.m. The debate will begin at half past seven. While there is no dress code for attendance, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies should adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen who arrive tieless yet wish to speak, fret not: the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand at least one of his quite remarkable ties for just such an eventuality. Questions about debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (612) 204-5615 or the Secretary at (952) 470-8090.
Friday, January 27, 2006
How then will Israel be able to provide such needs to a people who want to destroy Israel and have this as their policy. Therefore, Israel may need to demand that Hamas renounce the destruction of Israel as a policy both in words and action before providing services.
The Hamas election makes things very interesting and actually opens opportunities for settlement of the issue that did not exist before.
People are fickle, even in the arab world. This election may actually end up putting Hamas out of existence.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Neocons Place Noose on Israel's Neck
While seldom perusing this website, having grown wearisome of the nattering nabobs of nescience who can only repeat out of date talking points long after the policy has shifted, without the nabobs realizing it, I do visit occasionally. True to their character, while continuing to defend a policy that even the administration has now shifted, these neocons can only address an argument by first creating a strawman.
Hence, you get the following from Sloanoaurus: "I don't think it bodes well for middle east peace. Further, it emboldens the critics of Democracy (i.e. Federal Farmer) who still pray for the reemergence of Sparta in the west." Curious, that. Having served in uniform (USMC - 0311 Infantryman, Army PsyOps Specialist, Army JAG Officer, 1st Gulf War veteran), unlike all of my Neocon friends who diligently avoid military service, I don't worship the God of War, nor do I believe all problems can be settled that way. In other words, I would fit into neither Sparta, nor Prussia. Needless to say to anyone who is not an ignoramous, however, I place national security of the United States as the mission of the United States military. That being said, it does not mean that marching off to occupy a foreign land is always a solution to every problem. In fact, the United States Army used to teach that there was a spectrum of conflict, relying on Clausewitz, ranging from 1 (politics, the natural competition between States) to 10 (war). In between was operations other than war, counter terrorism, counter insurgency, etc. Implicit in the theory was trying a minimal level of conflict, while yet prevailing, recognizing the tremendous cost and unpredictability of war.
For example. Germany had a problem with the communists in the 1930's. After a communist allegedly burned the Reichstag, the leader said they were at war, an enabling act was passed expanding the powers of the executive, dissent was suppressed so that no one could question the wisdom of the leader when he did what had to be done to meet the communist threat, and he was cheered enthusiasticly when he had the army march off to the east to finish off the communists. Who could question the wisdom of that? The army made it all the way to the outskirts of Moscow and for 50 years, eastern Europe was free of the communist menace (not). No doubt, Air Marshall Goering counseled the leader that the German Air Force would ensure victory (beware of various "Air Marshall's" advise). In fact, this foolish military adventure by a corporal resulted in the destruction of the political party that was crazy enough to have had the beliefs that they did, the occupation of the country that enabled this absurdity, and harmed the rest of the world by spawning the birth of the Soviet Union as a "Superpower."
Thankfully, the USSR couldn't sustain this. Although they maintained the occupationof a disheartened Europe for a number of years, while gradually losing its grip, it too felt a need to send troops off marching, to Afghanistan. As Brzeninski (I'm not going to look up the spelling) tells it, they were tricked into doing this, in part, by a strategic deception of the US. The USSR allowed no dissenting voices (no defeatism), and the US was able to watch with delight as they floundered about, bleeding themselves dry, and an end to their superpower status as they revealed to the world that there is more to occupation than just getting the troops in the country.
Having said all of that, Sloanoaurus is partially right; the victory of Hamas does embolden, not the enemies of democracy (referring to me, Federal Farmer), but the critics of messianic neocon democrat ideologues, with their utopian schemes. Now that the full import of what we have created in Iraq becomes apparent (Iranian allied Shiites in power, theocracy being established, billions of US dollars going to Iranian allied politician, etc.), even the US government is sobering up. In fact, even while fighting the Sunni insurgency, they're trying to use the Sunni insurgents as a counterweight to the Shiites, now that it is evident who is pulling the Shiite strings.
Consequently, Israeli strategic think tanks are now saying invading Iraq was a strategic disaster for Israel for expanding the influence of Iran, through Shiite proxies, as shown by Hamas' democratic victory, even while neocons are trying for regime change in Syria (counseled against by the Israelis), demanding that Syria control Hezbollah in Lebanon, even though they succeeded in getting Syria to withdraw from Lebanon a year ago, so they are incapable of restraining Hezbollah.
Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University, and the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers, has writted that the Iraq war is "the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them. Considering that much justification for this adventure was based on the information that Chalabi, identified by the US Defense Intelligence Agency as an Iranian intelligence asset, provided us; it is credible to believe that the neocons facilitated an incredibly successful Iranian strategic deception campaign, with the US and Israel the primary victims, as our strength is diminished relative to other strategic competitors.
As I've said elsewhere, Going by the adage; By their fruits ye shall know them, I think it's time to consider that the neo-cons are an anti-semitic and anti-Christian, secret society, being directed by their hidden Iranian masters. With the triumph of Hamas in Palestine, this becoming evermore apparent.
Finally, in stating: "Perhaps MP George Galloway (ally of some members of JAS)," outdoes himself in revealing his intellectual limitations. As a leftist, Galloway is identical in thought to Christopher Hitchens, an unapoligetic marxist, except for the issue of Iraq. In both cases, however, their opinions arise from their marxist philosophy, although they drew different conclusions on this particular issue.
I am certainly an ally of Lt. Gen. (that 's Lieutenant General for you neocons who only serve vicariously) Odom, former commander of the NSA under President Reagan, who has said the Iraq war is a strategic disaster for the US, along with many other military officers. Let's hope China doesn't call in those IOUs, which we have given to pay for this war. Maybe we can defer payment on to our children. Of course, they're going to have to pay the costs of dealing with an incredibly stronger China and Iran, as a result of this strategic disaster.
Perhaps that is all too defeatist. Let's do Syria.
John Adams Blog
They say politics makes strange bedfellows. Evidently, Catholic neoconservatives don't care who they get into bed with, as follows. (From Chronicles online)
On his website, Andrew Sullivan has proclaimed Benedict XVI the “gayest Pope ever,” following up on earlier posts comparing Benedict to Liberace and calling him “the control queen of the Vatican.” Yet, the NRO crowd remains in love with Sullivan, with Michael Novak praising his “brave witness” and “love for the Church,” Jonah Goldberg congratulating him on his “engagement,” and the others anxious to seek Sullivan’s approval for their own pet schemes (and displaying their sadness when he withholds it).
Sullivan regularly gives self-absorbed, petulant narcissists a bad name. Why does any decent person (never mind self-respecting conservative) care what he has to say, about anything?
Nevertheless, Hamas is now in a precarious position regarding their political situation of war against Israel. In the past they have relied on the wiggle room in Western and international Law that terrorism is more of a criminal activity than a state act of war. This wiggle room has served to view attacks by Israel as being aggressive rather than defensive, and has allowed states in the west to oppose Israel's obvious attempt to protect itself.. However, assuming that Hamas continues their support of terrorism, any new attacks must be considered attacks by a "state" and not just individual actors. Under International law, Israel will have the legal authority to respond in ways they have not had in the past (i.e. be able to respond without the risk of international opposition).
If attacked, Israel would have the right under international law to march in and topple the Hamas government and demand reparations, which would be paid in land. The people elected Hamas, which chose war. Hamas lost the war...the people lost the war and must pay.
In the eyes of the west.... the Palestinian people are no longer innocent.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Saddam sues Bush & Blair
If there's a better reason not to have signed on to the International Criminal Court treaty, I'd like to see it.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Canada's Polygamist Feminists or Is It Feminist Polygamists?
Marriage and Family Issues
Much of Martin’s campaign was a virulent attack on an alleged “hidden agenda” of the Conservatives in which Harper, aside from allegedly selling out Canadian interests to Washington, would rescind the Liberal law giving homosexuals the right to marry, and move to ban abortion. Abortion has been legal in Canada for some 35 years, but it was only last year that Martin’s Liberal government pushed a same-sex marriage bill through Parliament.
Just edging onto the horizon during the campaign was the prospect that polygamy might well be legalized if the Supreme Court decides a Criminal Code ban on polygamy by certain Mormon sects or Middle East immigrant groups violates religious freedom under the constitutional Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
During the same-sex marriage debate this prospect was raised by religious groups and Conservatives but greeted with derision by Martin’s government. Yet a federally-commissioned study has now recommended polygamy be legalized on religious and social grounds — that the wives and children of polygamous marriages would have better protection if their marriages were legally recognized.
Harper’s Conservatives, who already plan to hold a free vote on homosexual marriage, which could lead to rescinding the Liberal-induced law, would vigorously oppose legalizing polygamy.
Wersal the Great!
As to Greg Wersal, no Minnesotan has done more in recent history to promote the cause of the common man. For this, I will be eternally grateful.
I now call him Wersal the Great!
Monday, January 23, 2006
In God's sweet time? Of course. He is waiting for the punchline....
The first proof came when the proceedings at a hastily called covention of elites from the state court system and the organized bar -- in fact, it was a day-long strategy session on "what to do" about the sometime Chairman Wersal and his lawsuit -- was interrupted by the news that the Justices of the High Court had granted Greg's petition and would hear his case.
Wersal sat there beaming, having learned that he was going all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, in an auditorium that was jam-packed with 400 of his closest enemies. If I live to be 100 years old, I will never forget the look on his face, or theirs, when that announcement came.
The second proof, and the Almighty's next belly laugh, came today. Minnesota Public Radio reported the events this way:
It is like the old saying: Men make plans, and God (and Wersal) laughs....
On the same day the Minnesota Supreme Court formally swore in its new chief justice and another associate justice, the landscape radically changed as to how justices will keep their seats. In Minnesota, the governor typically appoints a person to fill an open seat and then that person must run later for election.
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision means judicial elections in Minnesota could look very different. For eight years, attorney Greg Wersal fought to get the courts to strike down the state's judicial ethics rules. Wersal says the changes will breathe new life into the state's legal system because many incumbents will lose their positions.
'We've been gathering up a lot of dead wood in the judicial system and this will gives us an opportunity to clear it out,' he said.
This is Wersal's second victory. Three years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Wersal and the Republican Party to strike down a section of the state's Code of Judicial Conduct that forbid candidates from speaking publicly on political and legal issues. But Wersal and the Republican Party sought more, and the latest ruling has delivered it.
PBS Profiles Our Namesake
Democracy and Elitism
In his 2005 book "Law, Pragmatism and Democracy," Posner nominates as the Virgil to guide us through our "Inferno" and "Purgatorio" the Austrian-born economist Joseph Schumpeter. Schumpeter -- hardly a sympathetic figure -- was an elitist who believed the achievements of capitalism were threatened by the greed and ignorance of the masses. But he supported popular electoral democracy -- a controversial stand in the Mitteleuropa of the 1920s -- if only to give the masses a sense that they were in control. "Democracy," as Posner describes Schumpeter's view, "is conceived of as a method by which members of a self-interested political elite compete for the votes of a basically ignorant and apathetic, as well as determinedly self-interested, electorate."Belief in democracy and elitism are compatible after all. And this sounds a lot like my tongue-in-cheek defense of democracy below.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Big Upset Possible in Canadian Elections Tomorrow
Saturday, January 21, 2006
First Things Perspective on Catholicism in America
Joseph Bottum writes:
There’s no contradiction in saying “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” for the two facts occasionally coexist.
So, I recently argued in the Weekly Standard, we are living in a moment in which a set of Catholic ideas and rhetorical gestures—the Catholic way of phrasing and framing certain arguments—plays a greater role in American public life than ever before. For both its supporters and its detractors, the moral imagination of Catholicism is a marker: to be praised and deployed, for some; to be mocked and decried, for others—but for all, a point of reference in the ongoing debates about the law, abortion, church-state relations, and many other of the issues that roil public debate.
And yet, I suggested, we are also at a moment when the institutional Church in America has less political power than ever before. For all the raging during the 2004 presidential election about the baleful effect of the Catholic hierarchy’s preaching against abortion—editorials in the New York Times, television talk show after television talk show—here’s a simple measure: pro-abortion politicians won the political district of every cardinal in the United States, from Los Angeles to Boston.
One commentator complained that I had imagined a backlash against the cardinals when, in fact, the vote proved the complete indifference to them. But that is precisely what I meant: the institutional Church has a political effect these days that is almost non-existent, even for provoking a counter-effect. Like John Kerry when he boasted that he had been an altar boy, the newspaper editorialists suppose we still live in a day in which, for instance, John F. Kennedy could win 87 percent of Mass-going Catholics’ votes.
Still, the New York Times is right to be disturbed, for there is something going on in America that involves Catholicism and is profoundly antithetical to much that the Times holds dear. But to blame it on the institutional power of the Catholic Church is a dated and false analysis. That was yesterday. Today’s problem, for those who want to resist it, is the rhetorical and intellectual role of Catholicism in America.
Yesterday, my friend Russell Hittinger, the Catholic philosopher at the University of Tulsa, sent a note warning against overestimating the influence of intellectual Catholicism in the United States—particularly in academia. Perhaps he’s right. But the question is how there can be any influence at all, for fifty years of work by sociology professors has assured us of the assimilation of Catholics, and two hundred years of polished epigrams from Enlightenment-style philosophes have informed us that religion in general, and Catholicism in particular, belong to the childhood of mankind.
The answer, I think, is this: Catholicism is the new mainline church in America. As mainline Protestantism was to the nation, so Catholicism now is. That’s not to say Catholics aren’t a sprawling mess, for they are: Catholic voters are divided nearly perfectly between the political parties, and the internal arguments are waged with an absurd venom and bile (as when the editor of a Catholic journal recently concluded a review of George Weigel’s The Cube and the Cathedral with the observation: “This is a third-rate book permeated with the odor of witchcraft”). Meanwhile, Catholic universities are in disarray, Catholic politicians are as likely to be pro-abortion as not, and Catholic art has shown little life since the 1940s and 1950s.
And yet, the nation has need of something, which—almost by default—Catholicism is providing. This is Toqueville’s kind of thesis, of course, about the American experience, but it feels right. The United States has always required some source of moral imagination in the public square that does not derive from either the politics of democracy or the economics of capitalism. For a long time, the mainline Protestant churches remained that source, even though they were often as sprawling and as envenomed as American Catholicism now is. And when, for a number of fascinating reasons, those mainline churches collapsed, the nation was left with Catholicism. (This is to leave for another day the role of the evangelical churches, and also the question of what happens when evangelicals and Catholics meet in the space that the mainline used to occupy.)
To decide about all this would require two movements: explaining what happened to America, and explaining what happened to Catholicism. And those two explanations may seem at times to give contradictory answers—like “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Still, the role of Catholicism in America today seems to me the most interesting and pressing social and political question around.
Edmund Burke, Democracy and Faux Populism
Edmund Burke was no doubt an elitist -- a conservative one -- but nonetheless elitist. He favored the landed gentry and nobles. He defended their rights and privileges -- while, yes, also pointing out their responsibilities.
Somewhere in Burke's Revolution in France, he comments how wonderful democratic dialogue is in that the dialogue progresses based on each person's observations -- even if that observation is coming from the least learned person in the room. My view is this is a minimalist view of democracy -- entirely consistent with the King's view of his Court advisors. I call this faux populism.
Real populism entails risk -- that is believing the mob could do a better job than the current crew in Washington and St. Paul.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Elitists believe that a lucky few (usually themselves) have a monopoly on knowledge and experience and should be running things. Elitists favor top-down government and business models.
Populists, on the other hand, believe that knowledge and experience are distributed broadly -- although unevenly -- and are not held by a few elites at the top levels of society. Populists favor bottom-up government and business models.
The funny thing is lots of people think they're populists when they are not. I call this faux populism. A lot of people think they are elitists when they're not. I call this faux elitism.
It's more than a word game. It is probably the most telling distinction in one's political philosophy.
What are you? Populist? Faux populist? Elitist? Faux elitist?
The best way to determine which category you fit in is to write a 200 word essay on the rights of the people vis-a-vis the government. Then, determine if you really believe in the people or the government. Answer.
For example, I don't believe in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why should we pledge allegiance to the republic when it should be pledging allegiance to us. This position would be typical of a populist, not an elitist.
Where have we been?
It would be interesting to see how much of the country and perhaps world we, as a group of bloggers, can fill up. Here are mine. I know that Federal Farmer will be able to fill up some of the Middle East and who knows where else.
This site lets you create the following maps. Pretty cool.
Populist Post Piqued by Progressive Public
Being properly elitist and prohibiting open discussion, we have eliminated philosophical pollution from nutjobs. Pencil experimented with opening our borders for about five minutes and my fellow bloggers will recall that it was a disaster. Anyone of quality, good taste, breeding and intelligence understands that it doesn't pay to be populist.
Why the Osama message now?
- The message is a plant by Bush to raise his approval ratings
- The message was meant to further divide America in light of the recent NSA spying and lower Iraq support in the polls.
- The message was meant to motivate Al Qaeda followers.
I think the third reason is the most plausible. One of the greatest strategies in war is to take advantage of military victories by pushing psychological warfare . Further, victories alone can seriously erode the psychological support of your enemy, especially if your enemy has been lacking in victories. I think the recent attack in Pakistan that killed Al Qaeda leaders was a major victory against the terrorists and Al Qaeda moved as quickly as possible to keep their supporters from evaporating. Al Qaeda had to show that they were still viable after losing so many top commanders.
Nevertheless the message also talks about the opinion polls in the U.S. to pull troops out of Iraq. Osama seems to be adopting the Democrats talking points.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Cool Conjecture II -- Reflections on Canada
Case in point: Canada. Canada has allowed real biculturalism for French-speaking Quebec. But now other ethnic groups want the same language and other rights that French Quebec has. How can the Canadians not give the other groups what they have given to the Quebecois?
Canada made a mistake. Either it should have forced Quebec to speak English or it should have forced it to secede? What they have done is the worse of all possible options. We are now watching Canada die as a nation.
To all multiculturalists, please do not ruin the United States. If you want to have a separate language and culture -- that is separate from our English-speaking American culture -- please rally your statesman to secede -- and be gone!
However, I must admit -- given the option of secession -- I would vote for Minnesota to secede from the Union as well. I simply believe that we would do much better going it alone.
John Shadegg for Leader
Perhaps it would not be a very good debate topic.
This is almost unbelievable. Offering a truce is not a sign that you are winning.....It does not seem like Bin Ladin to show such a public sign of weakness.
Besides, Bin Ladin is a common criminal. Criminals can't offer truces except with their hands in the air.
He also makes more threats of attacks inside the United States.....once again.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Immigration, Multiculturalism, and Democracy.
A society can have any two, but not all three.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Washington Post Urges Alito Confirmation
"However one reasonably defines the 'mainstream' of contemporary jurisprudence, Judge Alito's work lies within it. While we harbor some anxiety about the direction he may push the court, we would be more alarmed at the long-term implications of denying him a seat. No president should be denied the prerogative of putting a person as qualified as Judge Alito on the Supreme Court."
"And Judge Alito is superbly qualified. His record on the bench is that of a thoughtful conservative, not a raging ideologue. He pays careful attention to the record and doesn't reach for the political outcomes he desires. His colleagues of all stripes speak highly of him. His integrity, notwithstanding efforts to smear him, remains unimpeached."
In other news, pigs seen in flight over the Potomac....
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Reflections on the Alito Hearings
1. Lindsay Graham was half-right: During the second round questioning, Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina dramatically warned that mean-spirited smear tactics in the confirmation process will reduce the number of qualified men and women who are willing to offer themselves for service on the federal courts. "Let me tell you this," Graham intoned "Guilt by association is going to drive good men and women away from wanting to sit where you're sitting [Judge Alito]...." To my mind, the observation is accurate and, what is perhaps surprising to Senator Graham, part of a deliberate strategy by senate Democrats. It seems clear that Senators Kennedy, Schummer and Durbin want to send an unambiguous message to all the members of the Federalist Society: If you are nominated, we will scour every last detail of your life, and when that fails to find anything amiss, we will just make stuff up about you. The Democrats threaten and smear because the question of confirmation is simply one part of their processes. The larger goal is to diminish Alito as a person and jurist; to marginalize him; and to make him radioactive in the community. If the Democrats are even remotely successful in this effort, they conclude, perhaps some would-be judges in the Federalist Society will conclude that the honor of being nominated is not worth being attacked and scarred in this way. And for their part, the Democrats are completely unphased by the prospect that such tactics reduce the esteem of the Senate, their standing in it, and do real violence to the federal courts. All in a day’s work....
2. The hearings offered a peak into the liberal mind and it is really scary in there: My personal scream-out-loud moment was when Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) suggested that the best way to resolve an employment discrimination case was for Judge Alito to query his wife, at home, about the facts that were at issue in the lawsuit. Says Biden: "And that's why the decision confuses me [Judge Alito]. I think all you probably have to do is turn to your wife and say, 'Hey, you know, the real world, when you're pregnant, does that sometime inhibit the amount of time you're able to -- you're required to be away from your job?'" The exchange makes clear that not only do Senate liberals have no idea how appellate courts judges are supposed to do their work but also how they hope that these judges will ignore the facts and law of case as they are presented and achieve the results that please the women at home (and presumably, on their fundraising and volunteer lists).
Oyez. Oyez. God save that honorable court and the United States.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Murtha the Defeatist
MURTHA: VAST MAJORITY OF U.S. TROOPS WILL BE OUT OF IRAQ BY END OF YEAR
Fri Jan 13 2006
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) believes the vast majority of U.S. troops in Iraq will be out by the end of the year and maybe even sooner. In his boldest words yet on the subject, the outspoken critic of the war predicts the withdrawal and tells Mike Wallace why he thinks the Bush administration will do it.
The interview, a portion of which will appear on tonight's (13) CBS EVENING NEWS, will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday Jan. 15 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network."I think the vast majority will be out by the end of the year and I'm hopeful it will be sooner than that," Murtha tells Wallace, in the 60 MINUTES interview. "You're going to see a plan for withdrawal," says Murtha, which he believes Congress will pass because of mounting pressure from constituents tired of the war that could affect the upcoming midterm elections.
The political situation will force President Bush to accede to Congress, he says. "I think the political people who give [the president] advice will say to him, 'You do not want a democratic Congress. You want to keep a republican majority, and the only way you're going to keep it is by reducing substantially the troops in Iraq,'" Murtha says.
The president has said publicly that any decision regarding Iraq would be based on the situation there and not on Washington politics.
Murtha rejects the president's argument that the war on terror is being fought in Iraq. "The insurgents are Iraqis - 93 percent of the insurgents are Iraqis. A very small percentage are foreign fighters.... Once we're out of there, [Iraqis] will eliminate [foreign fighters]," says Murtha. "[President Bush] is trying to fight this war with rhetoric. Iraq is not where the center of terrorism is," he says. "We're inciting terrorism there.... We're destabilizing the area by being over there because we're the targets," Murtha tells Wallace.
When Wallace challenges him by saying, "General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, says your comments are damaging recruiting and hurting the troops," Murtha responds by saying it's the military's own fault. "[Troops] are rotated [into Iraq] four and five times. They have no clear mission," says Murtha. "One of the problems they have with recruitment is [that] they continually say how well things are going and the troops on the ground know better."President
Bush has said there are only two choices in Iraq: victory and defeat. And he has implied that Murtha is a "defeatist." Murtha, of course, disputes that.
There have been 13 servicemen from his Congressional district killed in Iraq. Could the families of those dead be offended? Wallace asks. "Well, I hope [those families] understand," says the Vietnam combat veteran. "It's my job, my responsibility to speak out when I disagree with the policy of the president of the United States," says Murtha. "All of us want this president to succeed... I feel a mission here, with my experience, that I have to help the president find a way out of this thing."
Friday, January 13, 2006
The New Face of the Constitution.
Ramesh Ponnuru makes an important point over at The Corner
Neither over nor underestimate the importance of Alito's impending confirmation. It's true that we don't have a conservative majority. On the other hand, assuming, as I do, that Alito is more conservative (in the legal sense) than Byron White was, we will have the largest number of conservatives on the Court in the history of the modern conservative movement and in the history of the modern Court. No small thing, it seems to me.This seems right. I am not very worried that Roberts and Alito will generally vote to interpret the Constitution the way it should be interpreted. That gives the good side four pretty solid votes - Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito. Recall the "conservative majority" referred to under some Rehnquist years never really was since it included Kennedy and O'Connor. (I believe the conservative majority was Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and O'Connor.) Essentially what we have now is a solidly liberal block (Stevens, Souter, Ginsberg, and Breyer) a solidly conservative block (assuming Alito is confirmed) of Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito and a swing vote of Kennedy. He is what economists would call the "median voter." What he says goes. (To be concrete, I don't expect Kennedy to be in the minority on any important decisions.)
Why I would love to be a Senator.
Alito: No Senator, that is not true. I went to Princeton, not Harvard, and was never disciplined for anything, much less kicked out for cheating.
Senator Pencil: Oh, I'm sorry. I must have confused you for someone else. But Judge Alito, isn't it true that you graduated at the bottom of your class from UVA law school.
Alito: No Senator, that is not true. I went to Yale and did quite well academically.
Senator Pencil: Oh, I'm sorry. I must have confused you for someone else again. So Judge Alito, is it not true that as a law student you were arrested by a highway patrolman while cowering in the back seat of your car, pretending not to be the driver.
Alito: No Senator, again that is not true.
Senator Pencil: Oh, I'm so sorry. I don't know why I keep confusing you with someone else. So Judge Alito, is it not true that you once drove off a bridge, thereby drowning a young woman in your passenger seat and that instead of calling the police you instead spent the night discussing legal strategies with your family's advisers while she sat dead in the car only to be discovered in the morning by someone else?
Alito: No Senator, I have never driven off a bridge.
Senator Pencil. Oh, I am so sorry again. I seem to keep making mistakes. Oh well. So Judge Alito, is it not true that between 2001 and 2006 you accepted $7,684,423 in “donations” from special interests who perhaps wanted the law tweaked in their favour. That included $28,000 from defence contractors, $42,200 from drug firms and a whopping $745,373 from lawyers and law firms.
Alito: No Senator, I think again you must be thinking of someone else.
Senator Pencil: No further questions. And Chairman Spector, could you please call the custodial staff for a cleanup? Someone's head seems to have exploded over there.
(Hat tip: Powerline).
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Democrats Bullying Causes Mrs. Alito to Cry!
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Alito hearings UNFAIR!
The news that federal judges intend to testify in support of his nomination is both unusual and unfortunate, as are reports that a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee may have helped prepare Judge Alito for the hearings. So are some comments by Senator Arlen Specter, the committee chairman, who seems to be using his position to spin things Judge Alito's way.
Imagine that! Republicans trying to assist the nominee that they support? Imagine a committe chairmain trying to spin things to something he supports. This is unprecendented and we should all be grateful for the Times in pointing out thse groundbreaking revelations.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who serves on the Judiciary Committee, joined a session at the White House last week to prepare Judge Alito for the hearings. (Senator Graham concedes that he spoke with Judge Alito in the White House's executive offices, but denies that their conversation was to help prepare the judge.) This report casts doubt on Senator Graham's ability to exercise his committee duties impartially.
What is this new rule that members of Judiciary Committee need to exercise their "committee duties impartially." I am laughing my ass off. I think what the Times really wants is Senators to be more liberal.
Alito will no doubt be confirmed if the only thing the Times has left is to complain about patisanship on the Judiciary Committee.
Creeping up on us is the major victory for conservatives taking place in the Senate this week. Alito's nomination is a crushing setback for the liberal agenda and the left's strategy to impose revolution on us through unelected judges. As the Senate confirmation hearings end it will start to sink in how important Alito's nomination and confirmation is and how all the work and dedication conservatives have put in over the last 10-15-20 years is paying off this week. Air Marshall often comments that he feels betrayed by the inept performance of the Republican Congress after all the work that went into the conservative movement in the 1990s. However, I think Air Marshall can take pride in the confirmation of Justice Alito (and Roberts too). Alito's confirmation would not be possible if Republicans did not hold 55 seats in the Senate. I do not think Alito's confirmation would be possible if Republicans only held 52 seats. Certainly. the President deserves some credit, he is partially responsible for these gains in the Senate and the nomination of Roberts and Alito. Although the cause was almost lost with the Miers nomination, it wasn't..... I am grateful to all those who stood forcefully against the Miers nomination. I admit I was not as forcefully opposed to Miers, which was a mistake.
It is interesting to note that despite the differences between conservatives, differences with the paleocons, the neocons, the free marketeers, the Bush supporters, etc... at JAS, we all seem to agree on Alito (at least I hope so).
Three cheers for Justice Alito. Three cheers for the Untited States of America.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Sunnis stuck on Stupid
[A]ttacks are made deliberately, and it's difficult to be sure what the purpose is. Captured terrorists indicate the idea is to cause a civil war between Sunni Arabs and the Shia Arabs. But this makes no sense, as there are three times as many Shia Arabs, and there are as many Kurds as there are Sunni Arabs. Such a civil war would lead to catastrophe for the Sunni Arabs. But captured terrorists, most of them Sunni Arab zealots, believe that Sunni Arabs are actually the majority in the country.
I have heard this before, but it seems hard to believe: Here is more:
There hasn't been a census for decades, but the best estimates put the population at about 59 percent Shia Arab, 19 percent, 19 percent Kurd and a few percent other minorities (Turks, Chaldean Christians, and so on). The December 15th parliamentary elections ended up with people being elected in that proportion. Many Sunni Arabs, after they got over the shock of those results, accepted the fact that they are indeed a minority.
What a terrible awakening to know after you and all your relatives and all your relatives relatives voted that you only got 19%. Recall that famous 1970s New York liberal Pauline Kael who is reported to have said on the 1972 electoral victory of Richard Nixon over George McGovern: "How can that be? No one I know voted for Nixon!"
Coup in Iraq
[T]he mere fact of an election cannot change a fundamental truth about Iraq: Saddam Hussein governed as a brutal dictator not simply because he was cruel but also because of the treacherous political landscape that destabilized his relationship with his own military. Hussein was highly vulnerable to a military coup, and future Iraqi leaders will be just as susceptible. Regardless of the election's outcome, a coup will probably follow a U.S. pullout, and Iraq will again be ruled by a dictator.
They know a coup is inevitable because of historical research:
The test looks at three factors. First, the strength of a nation's civil society, which is based on the number and robustness of civic organizations such as political parties, unions, social clubs and the like. Second, a nation's history of past coups. A recent coup increases the score; past coups are a good predictor of future coups, because the violent overthrow of a government undermines institutions, such as courts and legislatures, that check instability...the third dimension of our coup-risk test, refers to whether citizens accede to the state's right to make society's rules. When a political system enjoys legitimacy, the armed forces are unlikely to try to take control.
The article then argues that life under Saddam was more stable:
Before the U.S. invaded, Iraq performed well — that is, it showed a low risk for military takeover — in only one area: it hadn't had a coup in more than 30 years. But that very fact meant that Iraq scored dismally on the other two factors. That's because to prevent coups, Hussein ruthlessly cut off challenges to his power, executing or jailing high-ranking generals, for example. Such actions don't nurture a civil society or create political legitimacy.Hussein also imprisoned, tortured and executed would-be organizers of civil society: intellectuals, artists, clerics and politicians who demonstrated an independent streak. He may or may not have understood that civic groups act as a guard against coups, but he clearly realized that they also can be the source of popular revolutions. Had Hussein allowed Iraqi civil society to prosper, he might have ended up overthrown, like the shah next door in Iran.
Certainly a coup is possible in Iraq. But, the article left out any fact that would make a coup unlikely. For example, the article cites institutions as a very important factor but fails to cite the three most important instituions in Iraq; that being the Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish ethinic groups. These institutions are so solid that a coup from one group will most certainly be opposed by the other two.
The article also assumes we will just leave Iraq and then forget about it like we did in Vietnam. This is ridiculous. America may not be in Iraq proper, but it will influence Iraq for the next 50 years at a minimum. We will have forces in the middle east until we cease to be a world power. Further, the Coalition is in the process of professionalizing the Iraq military to the extent that it will be so intertwined with America and other western militaries that a coup means Iraqi military leaders will have to abandon the comfort of being allied with the greatest military power on earth. A good comparison is the Turkish military where integration with NATO made the military in Turkey the most dependable institution.
Certainly, a coup is always possible. However, such an analysis needs to be fair and discuss both the positive and negative influences on a potential coup.
This article is also a great example of the typical cynicism and defeatism about Iraq. it reminds me of the core paleocon argument that the Iraq war is a failure because arabs cannot be democratic. Hmm...
Iraq War to cost $2 Trillion
The cost of the Iraq war could top $2 trillion, far above the White House's pre-war projections, when long-term costs such as lifetime health care for thousands of wounded U.S. soldiers are included, a study said on Monday.... Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes included in their study disability payments for the 16,000 wounded U.S. soldiers, about 20 percent of whom suffer serious brain or spinal injuries. They said U.S. taxpayers will be burdened with costs that linger long after U.S. troops withdraw.
This struck me as an interesting fact since I recalled that we currently spend some $50 billion a year on current veterans. A lot - except that the numbers include hundreds of thousands who were wounded in battle in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Hmm... wait you have to read on:
Stiglitz, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001 and has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, and Bilmes based their projections partly on past wars and included the economic cost of higher oil prices, a bigger U.S. budget deficit and greater global insecurity caused by the Iraq war.
They said a portion of the rise in oil prices -- about 20 percent of the $25 a barrel gain in oil prices since the war began -- could be attributed directly to the conflict and that this had already cost the United States about $25 billion. "Americans are, in a sense, poorer by that amount," they said, describing that estimate as conservative.
This article reminds me of Paul Krugman - provable, but totally dishonest. You could also argue that Iraq saved use $100 trillion because 1) we prevented a nuclear attack from Saddam and terrorists, kept the price of Oil from going to $200 per barrel because Saddam could not take over Saudi/Kuwait. If democracy spreads in the middle east that return on asset could reach more than a quadrillion.
All articles like this do is present another way to say you oppose the war and hate Bush. Now people will cite Iraq - the $2 trillion war. How ridiculous. If your going to cite the cost of an asset you need to cite the return on that asset also.
I'll bet the Interstate Highway system is nearing $100 trillion in costs considering all the repairs and lost farm land and lost real estate the highways have taken up. Also consider the lost productivity wasted from all the workers who perished while building the highway system and would have done something different but for the system. The Interstate Highway system should have never been built. What a waste.
If you own a private jet and call yourself an environmentalist, you ought not content yourself with the thought that you encouraged your gardener to buy a Prius.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Holy Hip Hop Batman!
Dahlberg did not give a speech -- but told me later his theory of aesthetics. Modern aesthetics looks for complexity, unity and vivaciousness. Conservative aesthetics agree with the first two -- but are naturally oppossed to the third. I think he's got a point -- but I'm not sure I know what it is.
So, in that respect, I am opposed. I will stick to my pragmatic, consider Sacred Music approach first approach and then consider other forms in relation to Sacred Music -- not only for me but for my children.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
What the @#*!
Dahlberg and Kaardal on Modern Economics
Here is our pitch to the economists, “Uniqueness of human capital is now much more important in the new economy than we originally thought.” Here it is:
(1) In the new technology-driven economy, all capital, including human capital, is a commodity.
(2) However human capital – unlike virtually all other capital --because of its uniqueness (this proposition if not falsifiable at least can be shown to be true by a preponderance of the evidence) offers opportunities for rent seeking to a vast number of workers.
(3) Firms operate to maximize profits. Workers maximize utility.
So, really what we’re proposing is a new perspective on the neoclassical labor supply curve. The economy should be understood in part through the uniqueness of each worker because that uniqueness forms their rent seeking behavior which in turn leads to the formation of firms and the establishment of an economy.
What do you think?
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Put Down the Coffee!
[The song "Redneck Woman"] represented the one thing I truly cannot stand about modern conservatism: its defense of anything dumb, tacky, and second-rate, as long as it comes from "the people." The common man is deified by the right. NASCAR, an absolutely idiotic "sport" which consists, as the joke goes, of "a bunch of rednecks makin' left turns," is hailed as red state America's favorite pastime -- and ipso facto comparable to the Olympics of ancient Greece. Actually, scratch that: NASCAR is not treated as something grand and noble, which makes it all the worse. To populist conservatives, the simple fact that Bush country embraces the sport makes its aesthetic quality quite beside the point. This is the sport of people, we are told ad nauseam by folks like Laura Ingraham, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity, who "work hard, go to church, and play by the rules." They are the ones who watch the WWF -- a "sport" even apes laugh at -- and who read the Left Behind series of books, which should probably be called Theology for Dummies.As they say, read the whole thing. Actually, I mean it. Read the whole thing. But not holding hot coffee.
From the Drudge Report, story about Jack Abramoff. I have no commentary on the story. I just wanted to say, this is how men should dress. Every man needs a good fedora and trench coat.
ADDED BY HARSH PENCIL:
Are you sure you like this look?
(hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ)
SCRIBBLER HERE, wrestling control of the post back from Pencil.
Like the look; prefer it without the stomach. I was picturing more of a Humphrey Bogart. ACE admits later in his post that he DOES like the get-up, attributing it to Abramoff's Jewish heritage. ACE's problem with the attire was that it was mobster-escent (my word). To me, his outerwear says "Go to hell," which is what I would want to say in that situation. And still, cool hat.
Monday, January 02, 2006
Alito Spit-Polishing Performance
Judge Alito displayed a "street smart" New Jerseyan's willingness to talk back to his questioners. Unlike Chief Justice Roberts, Judge Alito often turned inquiries back on the lawyers who were quizzing him, politely asking them to spell out exactly what they meant, two participants said.
Judge Alito "had no bones about coming back for clarification," the same person said, adding that the judge sometimes stumped the legal experts acting in the roles of senators and suggesting that he could pose an even greater challenge to actual senators reading from staff talking points.
I'm spending this week getting ready myself, conducting practice tunings of C-SPAN on my monitor's picture-in-picture while simultaneously refreshing blog sites. This is going to be fun.
Bush Approval Ratings On Rise
1) Conservatives were upset about war and Harriet Miers -- now they are coming home after the relatively-violence-free election and the nomination of Samuel Alito.
2) Democrats made a mistake by U.S. Rep. Murtha calling for immediate withdrawal before election. Bush is a counter-puncher. Democrats should have just let him rot on the vine rather than pick a fight. Poll bounce due to election was mostly Dems' fault.
3) According to Wall Street Journal, economy is going well -- President gets some credit.
4) When the topic in the papers is national security, Bush does well. When the topic is domestic policy, he doesn't.
My inclination is to believe #2. Bush's better poll numbers is the Dems' fault. The Dems are blowing a big opportunity. If Dean and the Deaniacs don't turn it around, they will get whipped in 2006.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Blogger Participation Poll
For me, it was September's Resolved: The NeoCons are Right! Why? Because it failed so spectacularly. And it was by far the most fun debate of the term, though little was actually discussed on neoconservatism.
For reference, see the Previous Debates page at www.johnadamssociety.org.
(To clarify, the above resolution actually failed by an extremely narrow margin. When I say spectacularly, it is meant that the vote was indeed a spectacle.)