The Patriot Post
"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth -- and listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts." --Patrick Henry
A word from the wise
By Mark Alexander
As our regular readers know, it is customary for The Patriot Post to augment our advocacy for individual liberty, the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and our promotion of free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values, with the enduring advice of erudite sages, both contemporary and historic.
However, I have a particular affinity for the wisdom of our Founders, those who put their lives and fortunes at acute risk by codifying and supporting our Declaration of Independence and its subordinate guidance, our Constitution.
In regard to the latter, let me be clear: I am NOT referring to the so-called "Living Constitution" as amended by executive licentiousness, congressional avarice and judicial diktat -- the one that politicians have adulterated almost beyond recognition.
Rather, I am referring to our lawful Constitution, that formidable document for which generations of American Patriots in armed service to our country have raised their right hands in solemn oath to "support and defend ... against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."
Though Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid suffer their oaths while toasting Clos Du Mesnil champagne over foie gras hors d'oeuvres and imported tournedos, our uniformed American Patriots pledge their very lives in fulfillment of their oaths.
In fact, since our founding, more than 700,000 of our countrymen have been killed in defense of our Constitution, and millions more have suffered greatly in support of their sacred obligation. Thanks in total measure to their sacrifice, we still have an opportunity to restore our Constitution to its original standing, and reinstate its promise of liberty.
At this moment in our great nation's history, we face trying times and formidable enemies, both "foreign and domestic."
Indeed, in the words of Thomas Paine, "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
On that note, I turn to just four of our Founders for their eternal wisdom in respect to the troubles of their day, and ours.
"We should never despair, our situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new exertions and proportion our efforts to the exigency of the times. ... The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. ... It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn. ... The Hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations. ... [T]he propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."
"Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom. ... If we suffer [the minds of young people] to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives. ... The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families... How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers? ... We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. ... The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People ... they may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty. ... A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."
"The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys. ... The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife. ... We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. ... The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale. ... If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy. ... I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. ... The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. .... [A] wise and frugal government...shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. ... Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question."
"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents... If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions. ... The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. ... There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
Those who do not understand our history -- mostly those identified as "liberal" in contemporary vernacular -- assume the words of our Founders are as antiquated as the Declaration and Constitution they created. However, students of history understand that both the threats our Founders confronted at the dawn of our nation, and their advice, have endured to this day.
Indeed, to paraphrase Santayana's aphorism, "They who do not know their history are destined to repeat it."
Quote of the week
"Of all the dispositions and habits which least to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensible supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness -- these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man ought to respect and to cherish them. ... Let it simply be asked where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths...? Let us with caution indulge the opposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. [R]eason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." --George Washington
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
News from the Swamp: Just keep spending
This week the Senate passed and President Barack Obama signed the $410 billion omnibus bill that funds the federal government through fiscal 2009. Despite approving nearly $2 trillion in spending since October, all Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) could say was, "This has taken far too long." And it will take far too long to pay for, too.
Obama signed the "imperfect" bill, despite its 9,000 pork projects, which he himself criticized. He declared that he has a plan to curb, but not end, earmarks, though Congress understands that, as Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) put it, without a veto "he's just spittin' in the wind."
While earmarks account for only about two percent of federal spending, they are a symptom of a larger disease. Current federal spending is beyond the point of irresponsibility and corruption; much of it is patently unconstitutional. We don't have much hope that this will change for the better, either -- at least not during this administration.
One such unconstitutional expenditure, Obama's plan for re-making the American health care system, is going to cost more than first estimated. According to White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, the forecasted $634 billion over 10 years is a "significant down payment" on the plan. If that doesn't make you sick, nothing will.
Hope 'n' Change: Another Obama nominee drops out
Charles Freeman withdrew his nomination to chair the National Intelligence Council, which oversees reports filed by the nation's 16 intelligence agencies. On his way out, he decried "the barrage of libelous distortions of my record [that] would not cease upon my entry into office." So who is responsible for this libelous distortion? He blames the "Israel Lobby," whose aim is "control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views."
Part of the reason that Freeman wasn't "kosher" is that he is a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and now heads the Middle East Policy Council, which is partly Saudi-funded. It seems that this funding helped convince him that the attacks on 9/11 were provoked by U.S. support for Israel. In other words, it's not that some Jewish conspiracy kept him down, but putting a man like this in the mix of national intelligence would be a national security liability. Freeman's withdrawal is a relief, but his nomination is troubling. As The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto points out, hatred of Israel "is a central tenet of Freeman's worldview -- a worldview that Obama, through some combination of incompetence, inattention and indifference, has made slightly less marginal than it was before." Who says associations don't matter?
The gift that keeps on giving
Many people are skeptical about President Obama's foreign policy acumen, but offering a welcoming hand to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown ought to be a no-brainer. After all, Great Britain is our oldest and staunchest ally. Combine that with Obama's superhuman charm, and one might see the makings of a great visit. Not even close.
Brown came to Washington and met a White House and a State Department that were embarrassingly unprepared for his arrival. No state dinner, no joint press conference. But the traditional gift exchange was the capper. Brown presented Obama with a signed first edition of Sir Martin Gilbert's definitive seven-volume biography of Winston Churchill, only to discover that the bust of Churchill given by Tony Blair to George W. Bush had been returned to the British embassy by Obama's staff. Brown then presented Obama with a penholder made from the timber of a warship that combated the slave trade. In return Obama gave Brown a stack of Hollywood DVDs. Brown is blind in one eye and doesn't watch many movies, and unless he knew to buy them in the PAL format, the DVDs are not compatible with British disc players.
The excuse the White House gave was that Obama is overwhelmed with handling the financial crisis and is exhausted and out of sorts. The message here is: It's not that our president is callous; he's just in way over his head. One ignorant State Department official, when questioned by the London Telegraph, compounded the embarrassment by yelling about the special relationship between America and Great Britain. "There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment." If this is a window to how our foreign policy is going to be handled over the next four years, then we have some serious problems coming our way.
Obama throws the teacher union under the bus -- or does he?
Much has been made regarding Barack Obama crossing some of his biggest supporters by coming out in favor of both merit pay for top-grade teachers and increasing the number of charter schools. Neither move is pleasing to the teachers' unions, who have also whined about the impact of President Bush's No Child Left Behind initiative and its standards.
When the rubber meets the road, though, it's all about money -- and President Obama's budget plan handsomely rewards Big Education. After all, there are many ways to get around federal regulations -- at least until those standards begin to take away that mother's milk of federal funding to local school districts. And Obama's budget will vastly increase federal funding in several key areas -- early childhood education (read: indoctrination at a younger age), data collection, and raising Pell Grants and student-loan funding for higher education. Parents, don't expect the cost of college to come down anytime soon.
With the exception of the college-payment programs, most of these federal dollars devoted to education will go toward hiring more personnel to work for the (unionized) school districts. In turn, by adding more union members who pay more union dues, the political arm of the education lobby will become even fatter, happier and more powerful than ever.
Tolerating a couple of sound bites about merit pay and charter schools, both of which are items that can be fought against at a local level, are thus a small price for the unions to pay for the vast largess that awaits them once Obama's plan gets into full swing.
Meanwhile, the children of Obama's adopted home school district in Washington, DC, will be among the losers. The DC Opportunity Scholarships program, which gave low-income children a chance at the same education that Obama's daughters enjoy at their private academy, was gutted by a "stimulus" provision prohibiting the funding of scholarships to private schools. We thought this was particularly interesting in light of the new U.S.-taxpayer funded scholarship program for Palestinian students to enter Palestinian or American universities. That's over and above the $900 million the Obama administration recently promised to help rebuild Gaza.
Is Obama a socialist? The New York Times finds out
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Barack Obama took that adage to heart when he dialed up The New York Times to clarify his answer to an earlier question posed by their reporter about whether the president is a socialist. We here know the correct answer is "yes," but Obama decided to dance around the issue.
We might note that Obama without a teleprompter is like a fish out of water. He began, "See, uhhh, I -- I -- eh -- Just one thing that, uhh, I was thinking about as I was, uhh, -- as I was -- getting off the, uhhh, copter 'cause, I -- uhhh -- you know, it was hard for me to believe you were entirely serious about that socialist question." (Hat tip to Rush Limbaugh's team for the painful transcript.)
Obama continued, "Uh, and so I think that, uh, it's important just to note, uhh, when you start, uhh, hearing folks, uhh, throw these words around, thaaat, um, uh, we've actually been operating, uh, in a way that, uh, is entirely consistent with free market principles, uh, and that, uhhh, uh, some of the same folks who are uh, throwing the word 'socialist' around can't say the same." And he wasn't done yet: "I -- I -- I -- I just think it's c-clear that by the time we had, uhhhhh. By the time we, eh, uh, got here, uhhh, ummm, there already had been, uh, an enormous infusion of taxpayer money into the financial system, aaand, eh, eh, eh, y-y-yuh-y-y-yuh.... The thing I constantly try to emphasize to people is that, if coming in the market was doing fine, nobody would be happier than me, uh, to stay out of it. Uh, you know, I -- I -- I have more than enough to do, uh, without having to worry about the financial system. Uh, and the fact that, uh, we've had to take these extraordinary measures, uh, and intervene, uh, is, uhh, not an indication of my ideological preferences."
While Obama does have a point about some of the fiscally irresponsible policies enacted by the Bush administration, the truth is that Obama didn't rise to oppose them, either in Congress or on the campaign trail, for being too big, but rather that they were not big enough.
Instead of coming up with a new plan of attack after seeing the failure of last spring's stimulus checks, the TARP money and all the other bailouts, it appears that the only idea President Obama and his economic Keystone Kops have is to throw good yet-to-be-printed money after bad existing debt.
House quietly gives up carbon-neutral crusade
Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bold 2007 statement to make the House of Representatives carbon-neutral by December 2008 died a quiet death this past month with barely any word in the media. Promising to lead the nation by example, Pelosi's "Green the Capitol" initiative would have reduced the House's carbon footprint to zero through the use of more efficient energy production and the purchase of carbon offsets. The House discovered, however, as many of us already knew, that it is virtually impossible to determine the environmental benefits of such a program in an unregulated market of carbon trading. While the House was able to reduce carbon emissions, they fell short of their target and became a symbol of the very problem that plagues the onerous regulations that are about to be foisted on American businesses -- and passed along to the American people in the form of higher consumer prices.
Judicial Benchmarks: SCOTUS on Voting Rights Act
In February, Eric Holder, the nation's first black attorney general, said the United States was "a nation of cowards" on matters of race, with most Americans avoiding candid discussions of racial issues. That got his boss's attention when the first (half) black president, Barack Obama, said he would not have used the same language and that he is not someone who believes that constantly talking about race can solve racial tensions.
Nevertheless, race is an issue often before a co-equal branch of the federal government, the Supreme Court. This week, the Supreme Court narrowed the reach of the Voting Rights Act, ruling that the Act, which aimed at helping minorities elect their preferred candidates, applies only in electoral districts where minorities number more than 50 percent of the voting-age population. Oddly enough, the vote was 5-4, with the majority being split into two separate opinions.At issue was a provision in the North Carolina state constitution that prohibits dividing counties when drawing state legislative districts. Constituting a plurality of the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for himself, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito found that 50 percent was the constitutional threshold. In a democracy, being able to command a majority of votes in a single district holds a "special significance," Kennedy wrote, and cohesive majorities of minority voters shouldn't be broken up to frustrate their political power. The Voting Rights Act "does not guarantee minority voters an electoral advantage," he wrote, and they have no claim to redistricting that seeks to help them build victorious coalitions with white voters. No doubt Attorney General Holder thinks the Supreme Court's majority cowardly in their decision.
Pushing all the wrong buttons
Not to be outdone by Obama's gift gaffe, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried her hand at diplomatic buffoonery, and -- surprise -- she didn't disappoint. Clinton traveled to Geneva to meet with her Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, ostensibly to mend fences between the two countries and to lay groundwork for future discussions both on renegotiating the soon-to-expire Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and on exploring ways to reach a common understanding on missile defense. Both of these are, of course, contentious topics, requiring significant diplomatic dexterity.
Unencumbered by such requirements, however, Clinton set a somewhat different summit tone when she presented to Minister Sergey a red plastic button with the English word "reset" and the Russian word "peregruzka" stenciled on it. The idea had been to play on Vice President "Nobody Messes with Joe" Biden's call to "press the reset button" on the strained relationship between the two countries. As it turns out, "peregruzka" translates to "overcharge" or "overload," as Sergey explained to an embarrassed Clinton when she queried, "We worked hard to get the right Russian word -- do you think we got it?" Time to hit the reset button again...
In her defense, we realize that Clinton didn't make the button, and that a lower-echelon staffer was charged with that responsibility. Even so, this misses the point: With an annual budget of $35 billion, more than 30,000 employees, and countless Foreign Service Officers and linguists, one might think that at least one Russian-fluent State Department member would have caught the error before Clinton demonstrated the full span of her diplomatic acumen. But one would be wrong. So rather than laying a solid foundation for moving forward with Russia, the U.S.. government now appears to the rest of the world to be populated by Philistines.
For our part, we think negotiating from a position of strength, conveyed through a confident attitude, is the better answer. Accordingly, we think the button should have been labeled in English, only, with one simple word: "Launch." This, more than anything else, would have communicated the compelling need for frank, open dialogue on missile defense and nuclear warhead reductions.
From the 'Non Compos Mentis' File
"Five percent of the Taliban is incorrigible, not susceptible to anything other than being defeated. Another 25 percent or so are not quite sure, in my view, the intensity of their commitment to the insurgency.. And roughly 70 percent are involved because of the money, because of them being -- getting paid." --Vice President Joe Biden
**And roughly 90 percent of statistics are made up on the spot.
Immigration front: Justice investigates "profiling"
The Obama Justice Department is investigating a high-profile sheriff for, well, enforcing the law. Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio is accused of discrimination based on race and national origin because of his efforts as part of a federal program that allows local police departments to enforce federal immigration law. Arpaio routinely rounds up illegal aliens in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix. He is famous for treating prisoners like actual criminals, and he separates illegal aliens from other inmates in Tent City, the part of the county jail where inmates dwell in tents. The sheriff said that he would cooperate with the Justice Department, saying, "If they want to come down, let them come. We'll open our books. We have nothing to hide." But he also said, "I will not back down. What I am doing is upholding the laws of the state of Arizona, and I will not be persuaded to turn my back on my oath of office as sheriff of this county."
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Income Redistribution: Overwhelming the stimulus
Less than one month old, the $787 billion economic stimulus package is already having an effect. Not only is it stimulating confusion in states and municipalities unsure as to which projects are "stimulative" enough to deserve funds, but it is also stimulating as many as 300,000 jobs -- for the illegal aliens who make up a significant percentage of the construction workforce ready to tackle those "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects.
Augmenting the underwhelming success of the stimulus are February's unemployment numbers, which reached a 26-year high of 8.1 percent and threaten to hit 10 percent by summer. The package was supposed to "save or create" 3.5 million jobs, but thus far 4.4 million have been lost, with more probably on the way. Indeed, The Washington Post headlined, "Job Losses Could Drown Stimulus." In other words, massive federal spending won't fix anything.
Meanwhile, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is still making noise about not accepting some federal stimulus funds. The stimulus "spends money that we don't have," he said, adding that the practice of simply printing money "could ultimately devalue the American dollar." Sanford may accept some federal assistance, but he wants to use the 25 percent over which he has discretion to pay off debt rather than expand spending. If he can't, he will turn that money down. And Texas Gov. Rick Perry rejected $555 million in aid to the unemployed, citing the number of strings attached. State lawmakers can still bypass the governor and Democrats say they will try. For his part, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he will take the money: "I'm more than happy to take his money or any other governor in this country that doesn't want to take this money."
In two bits of related news, several banks are asking to give back their federal bailout money because there are too many strings attached. Who saw that one coming? And Americans' net worth of $51.5 trillion was down $11.2 trillion from 2007 to 2008, the first decline since 2002. The decline of 18 percent erased four years of growth.
This week's 'Braying Jenny' award
"The word of the day is the word that is important to our economy every day, and that word is 'confidence' -- confidence in our markets, confidence in lending, confidence in our financial institutions. It's clear that we have to stabilize our financial institutions, we have to invest in a stimulus plan to grow our economy, we have to regulate our financial institutions, and we have to end the housing crisis. The Obama administration has already done just that. ... If there's any message from the Congress to the markets it is that [the stimulus package] is a fiscally sound package, because markets don't like spending, as we know. This is a fiscally sound package designed to be a recovery stimulus package with finite investments, not long-term spending." --House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
This week's 'Alpha Jackass' awards
"We told the conservatives who were intellectually dominant for too much of this period that they were wrong. They had a very simple view. Namely, if you are nice to capital -- if you let the people with money alone, if you don't tax them, if you don't regulate them, if you don't try to restrict their ability internationally to send their money wherever they want -- we'll all be better off. Reality has kicked the daylights out of their theories and that gives us the opportunity to make the changes that need to be made." --Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who, as head of the House Financial Services Committee, continually refused to investigate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the massive quasi-governmental organizations that are at the heart of our current economic predicament
"I think capitalism will be different, and the financial distribution will be dramatically different. It's already dramatically different." --Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the stimulus bill
Regulatory Commissars: The union label
Unsatisfied with their declining membership and correspondingly reduced dues income, unions are pushing for an Orwellian piece of misleadingly named federal legislation to strip away the rights of both employees and employers to resist unionization. The so-called Employee Free Choice Act is a liberal trinity underpinning the creation of a government-organized labor complex through stripping workers of their voting rights in conjunction with employers losing their freedom of speech and right to appeal.
First, the Act dispenses with organized elections by requiring the government to certify a union that sweeps all of a company's workers into a union (whether they want to or not) upon only 51 percent of a company's employees merely signing interest cards (which, incidentally, were declared "inherently unreliable" by the Supreme Court in 1969). Step one manages to do away with the rights to vote in privacy without intimidation, and to assemble or resist forcible assembly. Second, employers and the new union are forced to enter binding arbitration after 90 days if they are unable to agree upon an initial contract. Finally, an employer's right of free speech is muzzled by draconian penalties for merely speaking against the organizing drive. Currently, union organizers may request an organizing election once 30 percent of a company's workers sign union authorization cards in a "card check" indicating a "showing of interest." Unions win about 60 percent of such certification elections. After union certification, the employer and the union may begin negotiating a collective bargaining agreement while unions begin confiscating one to two percent of their member's wages in dues.
Even some liberals, though, see this legislation for the abomination that it is. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed last year, George McGovern wrote, "We cannot be a party that strips working Americans of the right to a secret-ballot election. ... I hope some of my friends in Congress will re-evaluate their support for this legislation. Because as Americans, we should strive to ensure that all of us enjoy the freedom of expression and freedom from fear that is our ideal and our right."
The Law of Unintended Consequences will no doubt prove damaging from this trifecta of liberal economics. Every three-percent increase in union membership, it is estimated, will cause a one-percent increase in unemployment, costing the nation up to 1.5 million jobs.
But the deleterious overall effect is irrelevant when political payback is owed. As Vice President Joe Biden told the AFL-CIO Executive Committee, "We're going to make sure that in every policy, every decision, we don't lose sight of the folks that brought us to the dance."
Pleading guilty to a Ponzi scheme
Several Social Security Administration officials pleaded guilty Thursday to running "a massive, decades-long Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of billions of dollars," reports The Wall Street Journal. Oh, wait. Silly mistake on our part -- that was Bernard Madoff. Government officials needn't worry about their fraud and theft. Madoff, on the other hand, pleaded guilty to 11 criminal counts, including securities, wire and mail fraud, and money laundering. He faces 150 years in prison. Somehow, we doubt Social Security will still be around when he gets out.
CULTURE & POLICY
Around the nation: Guns in the headlines
In the wake of the tragic shooting in Alabama this week that left 10 victims dead, and the school shooting in Germany that left 14 dead, guns are once again the topic of discussion in the news media. Because the Alabama shooter, Michael McClendon, used two so-called "assault rifles" to commit murder, gun-grabbing organizations such as the Brady Campaign are sounding the usual notes. They called for tighter gun restrictions, particularly in states like Alabama, which has "pathetically weak gun laws." Last we checked, though, murder is illegal in all 50 states -- and that didn't stop McClendon.
In other news, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal to a lawsuit brought by New York City against gun manufacturers, claiming that gun makers are responsible for selling guns that end up in illegal markets. The suit was first filed in 2000. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier that federal law provides adequate protection for the gun industry from such lawsuits and the Supreme Court would not reconsider that decision.
In Washington, DC, yet another gun owner filed suit over DC's stubborn continuance of draconian regulations of firearms. The District uses the California Safe Handgun Roster to determine which guns are permitted for registry. When Tracey Hanson tried to register her .45-caliber handgun, she was denied because, in essence, it was the wrong color. The Roster approves her particular gun in black, dark earth or olive drab green; Hanson's gun is two-tone stainless and black.. She complained that the rejection "seemed so arbitrary." Welcome to liberal "thinking" on guns.
Finally, under the Village Academic Curriculum Files, a Central Connecticut State University professor is under fire for reporting a student to police after he gave a class presentation on why concealed carry should be permitted on campus. The student lives 20 miles off campus and maintains his gun collection in a locked safe. Police checked him out and decided no action was needed. Great moments in education, indeed.
Frontiers of Junk Science: Stem cells
With a quick stroke of the pen and much liberal fanfare, President Obama signed an executive order this week lifting the federal funding constraints for embryonic stem cell research implemented by the Bush administration in 2001. The restrictions Bush levied limited federal funding of embryonic stem cell research in order to prevent destruction of human embryos but did not ban funding on existing lines of cells or of adult stem cell research, where the greatest advances have been made.
"When it comes to stem cell research, rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced into what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values. In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent," Obama said, sweeping aside the huge moral implications of the issue.
Even some Obama supporters are not pleased about the federal advancement of the research. "There are moral concerns here. We're using human embryos," said Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats for Life of America. "Is it okay to sacrifice one life or many lives to save another?"
While the moral issue is paramount, there is also the question of funding research that has no proven results. Even Obama himself admitted that the outcome is not guaranteed: "Medical miracles ... result from painstaking and costly research, from years of lonely trial and error, much of which never bears fruit, and from a government willing to support that work."
Our question is, if human embryonic stem cell research has the potential to be so successful, why haven't private investors lined up to cash in on the miraculous findings such research may produce? Could it be that only a fiscally irresponsible government would be willing to fund such a fruitless and morally perilous cause?
"So much has been done and so many cures using adult stem cell research," Day said. "If you look at adult and umbilical and placental stem cell research, we have .... cures for leukemia, cures for sickle-cell anemia. We should really be focusing our time and effort on what works. We should probably be using our limited funds, especially in this economy, to use things that are actually working."
Climate change this week: No debate
Al Gore was scheduled to appear at The Wall Street Journal's ECO:nomics conference in California this week along with Czech President Vaclav Klaus, a global warming skeptic. But Gore chickened out, changing his scheduled appearance to the previous day so as to avoid debate. Apparently, Gore knows when he's outmatched. During a question and answer session, Gore also evaded debate on the subject, telling Danish eco-critic Bjorn Lomborg, who asked for a debate, "The scientific community has gone through this chapter and verse," he lectured. "We have long since passed the time when we should pretend this is a 'on the one hand, on the other hand' issue. It's not a matter of theory or conjecture, for goodness sake." Indeed, it's a matter of Gore making a whole lot of money roaming the globe and stoking fear about climate change. He wouldn't want a debate to interrupt the cash flow. Or perhaps he knows he would blow off more than his allotment of hot air in a cap-and-trade steam.
President Obama this week signed an executive order creating the White House Council for Women and Girls. He paid tribute to his grandmother who raised him, as well as his wife Michelle, his two daughters, and his foe-turned-friend Hillary Clinton. "The purpose of this Council," he declared, "is to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly in all matters of public policy." The council will meet regularly, and will include Clinton, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (don't these folks have more pressing matters to attend to?) and Attorney General Eric Holder as well as other members. This all left us to wonder, why didn't Bill Clinton think of this? After all, he did more to involve women in the daily workings of the Oval Office than any other president.
Veritas vos Liberabit -- Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis! Mark Alexander, Publisher, for The Patriot's editors and staff.
(Please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces standing in harm's way around the world, and for their families -- especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.)
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