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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Greece Defaults

by JASmius



The first pebble has fallen off the fiscal cliff:

Greece's last-minute overtures to international creditors for financial aid on Tuesday were not enough to save the country from becoming the first developed economy....

"Developed"?  Maybe at one time, but not anymore.

Of course, that could apply to every first world country, most especially our own, as "developed" economies don't run up debt bigger than their annual GDP.

....to default on a loan with the International Monetary Fund. The IMF confirmed that Greece had not made its scheduled 1.6 billion euro loan repayment to the fund. As a result, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde will report to the global lender's board that Greece is "in arrears," the official euphemism for default.

Fears of a Greek default have unnerved financial markets on concerns that it would ultimately lead to the country's exit from the euro common currency. The fate of Greece's membership in the nineteen-nation currency bloc still hangs in the balance ahead of a referendum on Sunday when Greek citizens will vote on whether to accept the austerity terms of continued international aid.

Eh.  Greek default is a tiny ripple in the global economic pond, because it is, well, a pebble.  By itself.  And since the Greek people are pretty overwhelmingly for caving to their country's German creditors rather than leaving the E.U., Prime Minister Tsipras's referendum is a boomerang waiting to happen.

The question to ask is, will it remain just an isolated pebble making a miniscule "ploop" in the world financial waves, or will it be the vanguard of an avalanche to follow:

"It's unprecedented for a major industrialized country, which Greece is, believe it or not.

If you say so, Pete.  But I still beg to differ.

If you look at Greece before the financial crisis, very high income level, very competitive shipping in the petroleum sectors, tourism business, not a lot, but a small country. Now defaulting," he said.

Because their debt binge wiped all of that out.

"Why? It got in over its head, it borrowed too much money because it was in the Euro zone. Now [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel is saying, if it fails, the Euro will fail.

And yet she refused to cave to Prime Minister Tsipras's exortionistic threats.  Which sounds like much more of a Germanic decision than a Eurocentric one.  Which means there might be hope for the Continent after all.

"The Euro's going to fail not because of Greece … The Euro doesn't make sense for Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland, and others. It's just that Greece is the first domino to fall."

And if they all fall the way Greece did....that'll be a lot of Mediterranean dachas and Russian naval bases for Czar Vlad.  If, on the other hand, they depart as a result of learning from their own and the Greeks' horrible examples....perhaps the aforementioned revival of European "diversity" might even be broad-based and comprehensive.

Yeah, it's too much to hope for.  But in my current state of mind, I could use some hope, no matter how forlorn it is.

Introduction to the Bill of Rights: Corona Constitution Class

Corona Constitution Class
AllStar Collision
522 Railroad Street
Corona, CA  92882

Tuesdays: 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Constitution Class Handout
Instructor: Douglas V. Gibbs
douglasvgibbs@reagan.com



Lesson 12
Bill of Rights: Introduction to, and Incorporation of


Introduction to the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights does not guarantee your rights, nor was it designed to allow the federal government to protect your rights.  The language used in the first ten amendments is clear.  The 1st Amendment begins, “Congress shall make no law…”  The 2nd Amendment ends with the words, “…shall not be infringed.”  The 3rd Amendment begins, “No Soldier shall…”  The key phrase in the 4th Amendment is “shall not be violated.”  The entire Bill of Rights was designed to confirm what the first seven articles had already established.  The federal government was granted only certain authorities, and for the purpose of clarity, the Bill of Rights was written to reinforce the concept that the federal government has no business infringing upon the rights of the people.  The federal government is not charged with protecting those rights, or guaranteeing those rights, anywhere in the Bill of Rights.  The first ten amendments were written to tell the federal government, “Hands off, do not touch, thou shalt not.”

The concept that the federal government exists to guarantee our rights, or protect our rights, emerged after the ratification of the 14th Amendment.  The Civil War Amendment tasked the federal government with ensuring the newly emancipated slaves were treated fairly, and that their rights were protected – even at the State level.  In an effort to capitalize on that idea, the courts got involved to ensure that the former slave States behaved.  The southern States, the North was convinced, could not be trusted, and often the South confirmed the lack of confidence the Union States harbored with laws designed to get around the new restrictions placed upon them.

After the American Civil War, the three amendments proposed and ratified to protect the emancipated slaves were specifically designed for the purpose of ensuring the newly freed slaves were treated equally in the eyes of the law.  Statism, however, seized upon the ideas planted by Congressman John Bingham, and through the courts worked to weave an intricate tapestry that would change the culture of the United States from a union of voluntary members, to a nation of states joined in an unbreakable union.  The country no longer resembled the union of sovereign states it had once been, and instead became a nation held together by the statist consequences of the ravages of war.

The federal government telling States what they can and can’t do regarding our rights opens a Pandora’s Box the framers of the Constitution never intended to be breached.  By allowing the federal government to dictate to the States what they can and can’t do regarding rights, even with the best of intentions, the precedent is established allowing federal control.  A federal government that can force a State to behave in an acceptable manner can later dictate to a State to follow a federal mandate designed to reduce your access to your rights.

As President Gerald Ford once wisely said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

A significant segment of the Founding Fathers believed the Bill of Rights to be unnecessary.  The first seven articles of the U.S. Constitution were written in such a way that the concerns of the Anti-Federalists had been addressed, but they still feared that the federal government would compromise the natural rights of the citizens if a Bill of Rights was not included in the Constitution.

The Constitution was written in a manner that allowed the new federal government only the authorities granted to it by the Law of the Land.  Regarding arms, for example, the possession of guns was never an issue granted to the federal government in the first seven articles of the U.S. Constitution, therefore the federal government had no authority to restrict guns in any way, shape, or form.  The Anti-Federalists, however, did not believe the federal government would abide by the limitation of authorities placed on the United States Government, and demanded that a Bill of Rights be written.  Failure to provide a Bill of Rights, indicated the Anti-Federalists, would result in a failure of those States dominated by Anti-Federalists to ratify the new Constitution.

The Framers of the Constitution, understanding that without the critical approval of the Anti-Federalists, the new Constitution would never be ratified, agreed to include a Bill of Rights.  James Madison was asked to gather the amendments to be proposed and potentially ratified by the States, and use them to write a Bill of Rights.

Originally, there were a large number of amendments proposed, but the final proposal that went to the States for ratification was narrowed down to twelve amendments.  Only ten were ratified.  Of the remaining two, one regarding apportionment remains unratified, and the other became the Twenty-Seventh Amendment in 1992.

The debates over the adoption of the Constitution found the Anti-Federalists fearful that as drafted, the Constitution created a central government that may have the opportunity to become a tyranny.  These fears were based on the memory of the British violation of basic civil rights before and during the American Revolution.  With past British tyranny as a frame of reference, the Anti-Federalists demanded that a "bill of rights" be written that would clarify without question the immunities of individual citizens.  Though the amendments of the Bill of Rights were not proposed until 1789, several state conventions during their ratification conventions ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered.

One of the fears regarding the proposal of the Bill of Rights was that by trying to protect specific rights, it might imply that any unmentioned rights would not be protected.  It was believed by many that as a result, the Bill of Rights was actually unnecessary, for in the British system of common law natural rights were not defined, nor quantified.  Adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution may actually limit the rights of the people to those listed in the Constitution.  As a result of this argument, included in the Bill of Rights is the Ninth Amendment, which indicates that rights not enumerated would also be protected.

Another argument against the Bill of Rights is that the ten amendments muddy the waters of the Constitution, because the first seven articles were designed to grant authorities to the federal government, and if an authority is not granted, the federal government does not have that power.  The Bill of Rights tells the federal government what it cannot do.  This enables those who oppose the Constitution to claim that the Constitution does not only grant express powers.  By focusing on the Bill of Rights, the opposition responds to constitutional challenges with the question, “Where in the Constitution does it say the federal government can’t do that?”  Considering the Bill of Rights was not even necessary, this provides unnecessary ammunition to those that oppose the Constitution.
Terms:
Anti-Federalists - Opposed to formation of a federal government, particularly by adoption of the Constitution of the United States.

Arms - Weapons, firearms; a gun that may be used for protection of property or as part of a militia.

Bill of Rights - The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution; a formal summary of those rights and liberties considered essential to a people or group of people.

Common Law - The part of English law that is derived from custom and judicial precedent rather than statutes, able to be changed by the whims of the governed, or their representatives.

Enumerated - Counted or told, number by number; reckoned or mentioned by distinct particulars.

Questions for Discussion:
  1. Why does the Constitution offer the opportunity for both oaths, and affirmations?
2.                                                                                                               Why did some of the Founding Fathers consider the Bill of Rights unnecessary?
3.   What did the Anti-Federalists think of the creation of the federal government?  Why?
4.  Why were the Founding Fathers willing to add the Bill of Rights even though they believed the
      amendments to be unnecessary?
Resources:
Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).

Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder’s Constitution –
Volume Five – Amendments 1-12; Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987)

The Charters of Freedom: The Bill of Rights, National Archives and
Records Administration: http://archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights.html


Incorporation of the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights was originally intended to be applied only to the federal government.  Even the most ardent opponent to the originalist view of the Constitution concedes that it is commonly understood that originally the Bill of Rights was not intended to apply to the States whatsoever.  The text of the U.S. Constitution does not necessarily clearly exhibit that the Bill of Rights was only intended to apply to the federal government, but a deep study of the text of the first ten amendments, and the various writings of the Founding Fathers on the topic, reveals without a doubt that the Bill of Rights was indeed originally intended to only apply to the federal government.

Though even the most ardent opponent of the United States Constitution will admit that the Bill of Rights was originally intended to only apply to the federal government, the rule of inapplicability to the States was abandoned by statists after 1868, when it became argued that the 14th Amendment changed this rule, and served to extend most of the Bill of Rights to the States.

The section of the 14th Amendment that has been interpreted to extend the Bill of Rights to the States comes from the second sentence of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, which reads:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Through a series of court rulings, the Supreme Court has changed the Constitution by applying parts of the Bill of Rights to the States.  The process over the time period since the ratification of the 14th Amendment which works to apply the Bill of Rights to the States through court rulings and written opinions is called “The Incorporation of the Bill of Rights.”

The Bill of Rights was originally not meant to be a guarantee of individual freedoms at all, but a limitation of federal authority against our God given rights.  In other words, the Bill of Rights was not written for the people, but for the federal government as a means of telling the federal government what it cannot do in regards to our unalienable rights.

Why not apply these amendments to the States as well?

The States already had a Bill of Rights in their own State Constitutions (and those that did not have a constitution yet, did include a Bill of Rights later).  The Founding Fathers were confident that the people of the States could control their own State officials, and would be involved in their local governments.  The people did not fear their local governments acting in a tyrannical manner similar to the potential of a centralized government system.  Their fears were of the new and distant central government.

Originally, parts of the first amendments proposed by James Madison did in fact address the States, seeking to limit the State governments with provisions such as, "No state shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases."  The parts of the Bill of Rights that sought to be applied to the powers of the States, however, were not approved by Congress, and therefore were not a part of the proposed amendments to the States.

The Bill of Rights was understood, at its ratification, to be a bar on the actions of the federal government.  Prior to the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States by the courts as based on their interpretation of the 14th Amendment, the Bill of Rights did not apply to the States, and was never intended to be fully applied to the States.

The argument used, despite original intent, that the Bill of Rights must also apply to the States is based more on philosophy, than historical evidence.  One of the philosophical standpoints used is that if the specific rights given in the Bill of Rights are based on the more general rights to life, liberty, and property which in turn are considered to be God-given and unalienable, then State governments do not have the authority to infringe on those rights any more than can the federal government.

The argument, however, simply suggests that the Bill of Rights ought to apply at the State level, not that it originally did.

If the Bill of Rights originally only applied to the Federal Government, and over time has changed to be something that was applicable on the State level through court decisions, the reality is that the Constitution itself has never allowed the Bill of Rights to be applied to the States.  The change was done by judicial means, meaning that the Constitution has been changed by judicial activism.  The problem, however, is that according to the Constitution, the only way to change the Constitution is through an amendment process.  Therefore, the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States occurred unconstitutionally.

This returns us to the argument that the 14th Amendment is the source and authority of the incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States.  The Supreme Court's first ruling regarding the scope of the 14th Amendment, and if the amendment enables the Bill of Rights to be applied to the States, was rendered in the Slaughterhouse Cases just five years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868.  A five to four vote by the high court interpreted the Privileges and Immunities Clause to be the authority they needed to enforce The Bill of Rights against the States.  Subsequent cases also used the 14th Amendment as an authority for incorporation.  During the early twentieth century a number of court cases, using the arguments referencing the 14th Amendment, began selectively incorporating some of the specific provisions of the Bill of Rights while rejecting the incorporation of others.

The courts, through this process of incorporating The Bill of Rights to the States, have changed the Constitution through unconstitutional means, and against original intent.  As originally intended, all provisions in the U.S. Constitution apply to the federal government, unless otherwise noted.  The Bill of Rights was originally intended to apply only to the federal government, and if we are to remain in line with the original intent of the Founding Fathers, State sovereignty must remain protected by that original intent.

Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio was the primary author of the first section of the 14th amendment, and it was his personal intention the Bill of Rights be applied to the States as well.  His argument was that it was necessary in order to secure the civil rights of the newly appointed slaves.  However, most of the representatives during the five months of debate on the floor of Congress argued against incorporating the Bill of Rights to the States, and so when the amendment was agreed upon for proposal, the majority of those involved intended for the 14th Amendment to not influence how the Bill of Rights was applied.  In the beginning, the courts ruled that the Amendment did not extend the Bill of Rights to the States.  It was after the realization that Black Codes were emerging in the South that the courts decided for the purpose of protecting the civil rights of the emancipated slaves, they would begin to apply parts of the Bill of Rights to the States.
Terms:
Black Codes - Laws put in place in the United States after the Civil War with the effect of limiting the basic human rights and civil liberties of blacks.

Incorporation of the Bill of Rights - The process through court rulings based on the interpretation of the 14th Amendment to apply the Bill of Rights to the States.

Judicial Activism - When judges violate the Separation of Powers through their rulings; when a judge rules legislatively by modifying or striking down a law using the unconstitutional authority of judicial review.

Original Intent - Original meaning of the United States Constitution as intended by the framers during the Federal Convention of 1787, and the subsequent State Ratification Conventions.

Originalist view of the Constitution - View that the Constitution as written should be interpreted in a manner consistent with what was meant by those who drafted and          ratified it.

Questions for Discussion:

1.   Why is the originalist view of the Constitution so important?

2.   How have Statists changed the Constitution through the courts over the last two hundred years?

3.   What is the only legal way to change the Constitution?

4.   Why is the Bill of Rights not a guarantee of individual freedoms?

5.   From where do our rights come from?

6.   How did the Black Codes play a part in the incorporation of the Bill of Rights?

Resources:

14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Civil Rights (1868), Our
Documents dot gov: http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=43

Intent of the Fourteenth Amendment was to Protect All Rights (argument
supporting incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the States), Constitution dot org (2000): http://www.constitution.org/col/intent_14th.htm

Joseph Andrews, A Guide for Learning and Teaching The Declaration of
Independence and The U.S. Constitution - Learning from the Original Texts Using Classical Learning Methods of the Founders; San Marcos: The Center for Teaching the Constitution (2010).

Philip B. Kurland and Ralph Lerner, The Founder’s Constitution –
Volume Five – Amendments 1-12; Indianapolis: Liberty Fund (1987)

Richard L. Aynes, On Misreading John Bingham and the Fourteenth
Amendment (1993): http://www.constitution.org/lrev/aynes_14th.htm

The Fourteenth Amendment and Incorporation, The Tenth Amendment
Center (2010): http://newyork.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2010/05/the-14th-amendment-and-incorporation/

To Whom Does The Bill Of Rights Apply?, Lew Rockwell dot com
(2005): http://www.lewrockwell.com/browne/browne27.html

What is the Bill of Rights?, About dot com Civil Liberties (argument
supporting incorporation of Bill of Rights to the States: http://civilliberty.about.com/od/historyprofiles/f/what_is_bill.htm

Copyright 2015 Douglas V. Gibbs

Obama Vows To "Walk Away" From Bad Iran Nuke Deal

by JASmius





<ahem> Sorry....<wheeeow>.  Here's the clip:



What do you want me to say to that?  I've been chronicling this man's complete sellout to the mullahs on their nuclear weapons obsession for years, long past the point of my fingers flying off like the guy in the kayak.com commercial.  Ditto chronicling the six and half year litany of his being more utterly and completely full of crap than a big-city sewage treatment facility on every issue under the sun and a dozen more over it.  So I'll let Allahpundit do the honors:

This may be the single most brazen lie he’s told since the glory days of “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” In fact, I might go one better than that. For sheer lack of believability, this may be the most transparent garbage he’s pushed at the public since he assured voters in 2008 that he had no choice as a deeply religious man but to oppose gay marriage because “God’s in the mix.” No one took him seriously then. No one’s taking him seriously on this either.

Which leads inevitably to the question of why he's bothering to shovel with both hands about this when even former minions of his are publicly and contemptuously scoffing at it.  And it's rhetorical as it always is: He believes everything he says and both demands and assumes that the American people will swallow all that moldy verbal fecality like it was Haggen-Daas.  And since it worked to get him elected and re-elected, why wouldn't he think we're suckers that can be skinned in perpetuity?  Besides, even if we don't - and O's approval on Iran has dropped from 48-48 to 38-58 in two months - there's nothing that can be done to stop a "bad deal" anyway.  Because a "bad deal" is a "done deal".  So why not gloat and celebrate by gratuitously insulting our collective intelligence in the time left before the mullahs EMP us?

Large Majorities Of Americans Support SCOTUS ObamaCare & Gay Marriage Decisions

by JASmius



I know, I know, it's a CNN poll, and it's just one survey, and a YouGov poll last week showed a plurality of the public opposed to having the Court force sodomarriage on the country.  And I know how bitter-ender Tea Partiers get about these crushing defeats we keep suffering as the country continues to spiral down the "progressive" drain.

But the reality is, as I've been Jeremiahcally saying ever since November 6th, 2012, that the country has already been lost beyond any hope of saving it, which these numbers only redundantly corroborate:

According to a new CNN/ORC poll, 63% support the Court’s ruling upholding government assistance for lower-income Americans buying health insurance through both state-operated and federally-run health insurance exchanges. Slightly fewer, 59%, say they back the ruling which made same-sex marriages legal in all 50 states…

Democrats are more apt to say they back the ruling on the 2010 health care law sometimes referred to as Obamacare — 79% back it — than they are to support the same-sex marriage decision, of which 70% favor. Among Republicans, 54% said they oppose the ruling on health care, while 59% oppose the ruling on same-sex marriage, not a statistically-significant difference. Among independents, 63% support each ruling.

Republicans are most apt in the new poll to say the Court’s ideology is too far to the left: 69% see the Court as too liberal. That’s up from 2012, when 59% of Republicans called it too liberal.

I also know what a lot of you stubbornly persist in believing - namely, that America is still "REALLY" conservative, and if we just "Fight!  Fight!  Fight!" hard enough, we can still WIN! and turn all of this around and roll it all back.  Again, reality is bitterly different from those pipedreams.  Only on the Right is there significant opposition to ObamaCare and sodomarriage now, and even there large minorities favor both as well.  And the country is majority liberal/"independent" (i.e. stupidly liberal), as conclusively demonstrated by the 2008 and 2012 elections,  And when you figure in that TPers tend not to turn out for their own party because GOPers insufficiently ideologically "pure" and don't "Fight!  Fight!  Fight!" to their satisfaction, the verdict becomes pretty ironclad and conclusive,  Which the CNN survey excruciatingly illustrates,

Most - close to all, really - of today's American "adults" were never inculcated with the true meaning of, and any patriotic respect for, the documents on which the United States of America was - were - founded,  It was always the long term "progressive" objective, transforming the American population into the "reactionary sheeple" that could be manipulated and led around by the collective nose and duped into putting on their own slave chains believing it to be a new birth of freedom.  Now that objective has been attained, and undoing it will be vastly more difficult and time-consuming than its original infliction was.  Most likely, it is impossible, at least in the absence of a complete collapse that does not land us in an even worse tyranny,

But rest assured, my Tea Party friends, I am not suggesting that we resign ourselves to our fate, that we accept that "resistance is futile" - even though it functionally is,  As this site's proprietor has powerfully reiterated of late, we don't fight the good fight for America's Constitution and Judeo-Christian heritage because we expect to win - i.e. we're not "summer soldiers and sunshine patriots" - but because it's the right thing to do, and because we refuse to be accessories to our own country's and culture's demise,  As Antipas of Christian church legend told the Roman soldiers about to roast him to death for refusing to bow to Caesar as LORD instead of Christ after they told him the whole world was against him, "Then Antipas is against the whole world!"

Just understand that the end result is far more likely to be exceedingly unpleasant than triumphant.

That part is God's job.

Obama To Raise Overtime Ceiling For All The New Unemployed He's Creating

by JASmius



The imminent royal decree:

Barack Obama will reportedly unveil an overtime rule this week that could give raises to five million Americans.

According to Politico, Obama's proposal will raise the overtime pay ceiling from $23,600 to $50,440, meaning nearly all workers paid that much in salary will receive overtime pay if they work more than forty hours in a week.

Politico claims the White House will begin discussing the plan on Tuesday and Obama is scheduled to address it during a speech in Wisconsin on Thursday.

The party line:

"This is absolutely one of the best practical ways to give people the on-ramp to the middle class," Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio said in April. "When you strip people of their overtime pay, which is what's happened over the years, they really don't have a chance to get ahead: They're working harder and harder and not seeing real pay increases."

Brown is one of twenty-six Democrats in the Senate who have been pushing for the president to raise the overtime ceiling to $56,680.

Two points: (1) You cannot strip somebody of what they do not already possess; and (2) what the Democrats are attempting to do is strip private businesses of just about all their personnel and compensation decision-making authority, which they really do need in order to keep themselves in business and not be forced to layoff what employees they still retain.

A fact and reality that employers are screeching at the top of their outraged lungs today:

Retailers and manufacturers blasted Barack Obama’s plan to make more Americans eligible for overtime pay, saying the move would stunt workers’ careers and cost companies billions.

The National Retail Federation says Obama’s proposed rule change to greatly increase how many salaried employees can claim overtime would force companies to use more part-time and entry- level workers. Businesses also may offer fewer promotions and convert salaried employees to hourly to avoid raising their pay, the NRF said.

“The proposal is going to cost billions of dollars,” said Neil Trautwein, vice president for the NRF, the industry’s largest trade group. “It’s going to limit advancement opportunities, and ultimately it will reduce employee benefits.”

None of that matters.  All that matters is that "the working class" get lifted into the "middle class" that's been disappearing into the unemployment line for over six years on the spinal fluid, brain tissue, and bone marrow of whatever part of the once-prosperous private sector economy isn't already moldering in the grave.  And if the latter don't follow orders and cough it up, their officially-designated "greed" will be severely punished.

It's welfare state fascism, the feds forcibly commandeering private sector resources to public sector ends in order to bilk the votes of the target constituencies whose economic dislocation Obamanomics keeps securely in place.

Or, as the old saying goes, "misery loves company" - whether its sufferers like it or not.

It's not like We the People will be given a choice.

N.Y. Times Hates Christians & Jews, Loves Muslims

by JASmius



What would you call the above-pictured anti-Catholic dreck?  "Bennie Trojan"?

And is it another sign of the apocalypse that the "newspaper of record's" growing transparency about its ideological biases is actually a sign of progress?:

For the New York Times, deciding which images are too offensive for publication is a tricky business.

On Monday, the paper published an image of Niki Johnson's "Eggs Benedict," a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI fashioned entirely out of condoms.

The artwork is "not hate-based," the Milwaukee artist told the Times, but is meant only to "critique" Benedict's views on sex and contraception "while raising awareness about public health."

Of course.  And Dylann Roof meant to grab a squirt gun and go to a water fight at a local kid's park, but wound up taking a .45 revolver and ending up at a "historic African-American church" because he didn't get any coffee that morning, and besides, he's always had a terrible sense of direction,

The Times' decision to run an image of "Eggs Benedict" comes just five months after it opted not to show Charlie Hebdo's infamously provocative artwork.

The newspaper's executive editor, Dean Baquet, said in public statements at the time that the French satirical magazine's cartoons were simply too offensive for publication.

"Was it hard to deny our readers these images? Absolutely. But we still have standards, and they involve not running offensive material," Baquet told the Washington Examiner in January. "And they don't meet our standards. They are provocative on purpose. They show religious figures in sexual positions. We do not show those."

Ah.  So if the "Ova Benedict" display had been made out of little gummy penises instead of rubbers, that's where Mr. Baquet would have drawn the line?  Why do I find myself doubting his pious assurances of the Times' halcyon "standards"?  Could it be because they published Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin Mary," a painting of Christ's mother fashioned entirely out of feces and adorned with cutouts of genitalia from pornographic magazines? Or how, in 2005, 2006 and 2010, they republished anti-Semitic cartoons in full?  Where were the Times' vaunted "standards" then?

Or maybe it's because they know that Christians and Jews don't go on murderous rampages when they and their symbols and icons get mocked, unlike another "religion" for which the Times quite evidently has a much greater fear-and-ideologically-based affinity:

The point about high art versus low art, the former suitable for a museum and the latter suitable for <*spit*> the funny pages, is meaningless. No one at the Times would dare suggest in any other context that cartoons require recognition by a museum to qualify as “significant artwork.” The Danish Mohammed cartoons and Hebdo Mohammed cartoons were vastly more significant than this standard Piss-Christ-esque goof on the Pope in terms of the global reaction they provoked, yet the Times blacked out both of them. Even in the best-case scenario here, where Corbett’s not transparently bullshitting, he’s telling you that whether artwork is worthy of publication in the New York Times turns not on its news value but on whether elite opinion deems it aesthetically meritorious.

IOW, Muslims are a politically-favored group and Christians and Jews are not, so all the wishes of the former must be honored and bleep the latter two with enormous gummy penises,

As for the distinction between intending to offend, as the Hebdo cartoons supposedly did, and raising a “social question,” as the Pope portrait supposedly did, those are two sides of the same coin. The Mohammed cartoons raise a question too — “should a society that purports to defend free speech make exceptions under threat of violence for blasphemy?” — and that question has lots more currency in the West right now than what a former Pope thinks about condoms.

At least, it does with Westerners who haven't been cowed or actively and fully dhimmized.  The denizens of the New York Times and their fellow-travelers through the Obamedia have long since passed that threshold, and are only a few levels below rampaging through Christian and Jewish neighborhoods, smiting the infidels' necks with their swords.

Or pretty much what they're already doing with their pens and keystrokes.

At least they're starting to lie a little bit less about it these days,

Disarming Americans No Easy Task

by JASmius



Reportedly the now-even-more-"confident" Barack Obama, his illegal Unaffordable Care Act having been illegally upheld yet again by the SCOTUS, his race war finally escalating and perhaps already won with the Dylann Roof/Confederate flag kerfuffle successfully bullying "white America" into preemptive surrender, and the SCOTUS having forced sodomarriage on the country, is now moving towards his gun confiscation endgame.

But even here, even now, that would be a herculean task, even for a demigod:

Almost a third of American adults own a gun, but the rate varies widely by State and tops out at almost 62% of people in Alaska, new survey data show.

Gun ownership was closely tied to "social gun culture," wherein family and friends also own guns and think less of non-gun owners, researchers found. [emphasis added]

A rather wonky way of describing the Second Amendment, that.  Rather like an anthropologist analyzing a South American cannibal tribe.

"Considering the presence of deeply rooted gun culture and the estimated number of guns in the U.S. to be 310 million, we (suspected) that social gun culture is associated with gun ownership," said lead author Dr. Bindu Kalesan of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.

Translation: "We've concluded that people who own guns do so because they like guns."  Ah, the depth of academia,

"This association was strong even after removing the effect of other factors such as presence of gun laws and gun deaths," Kalesan told Reuters Health by email.

Translation: gun owners believe in the Second Amendment no matter how much we tried to "cure" them of it.

Which is precisely why confiscating 310 million guns is going to be such a herculean task for the Obama Regime and its minions.  Even with police state tactics,

Expect the demonization of gun owners to ramp up dramatically in the near future.  Kind of like the massive artillery bombardment that typically precedes a large military offensive.  And then they'll move in.

Exit question: What will it take to force Boehner and McConnell to cave on passing gun confiscation legislation?  Or will they be bulldozed incrementally?

On second thought, maybe it's a better idea not to ask, as we'll no doubt find out to our chagrin soon enough.

Obama Dismisses July 4th Terror Warning

by JASmius



The French have now confirmed what we already knew about the attack on the U.S. gas factory last week: ISIS was behind it:

The man who beheaded his boss and tried to blow up a U.S.-owned gas factory in Lyon last week had a "terrorist motive" and links to the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Syria, a French prosecutor confirmed Tuesday.

The investigation "indicates a terrorist motive in Yassin Salhi's act, even though it is justified by personal considerations," said Paris chief prosecutor Francois Molins.

Salhi took two photos of the macabre beheading scene and sent them almost immediately to a friend in Syria, and the friend had requested permission from ISIS militants to distribute the snapshots, Molins said.

Salhi, thirty-five, a truck driver with a history of radical Islamic ties dating back to 2003, was arrested Friday shortly after he rammed his gas-filled delivery van into a warehouse at the Air Products factory that contained dangerous chemicals, causing an explosion.

Firefighters alerted by the blast found him trying to open gas bottles inside the factory, shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest), before making the grisly discovery of the severed head of Salhi's fifty-four-year-old boss, Herve Cornara.

Or, in other words, it was a "terrorist motive" so blatantly obvious that even the French could parse it,

Meanwhile, the alarm chorus about the vulnerability of the U,S. electrical grid to jihadist attack continues to grow:

The possibility of a terrorist attack on the nation's power grid — an assault that would cause coast-to-coast chaos — is a very real one, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen tells Newsmax TV....

And Cohen, a former GOP senator from Maine and chairman and CEO of The Cohen Group, said it wouldn't even be necessary for terrorists to wreak havoc by way of an EMP attack in which a burst of electromagnetic radiation wipes out most of the nation's power.

"You can do it through cyberattacks and that's the real threat coming up as well.... We have to look at cyberattacks being able to shut down our power grid, which you have to remember is in the private sector's hands, not the governments. And we're vulnerable," he said.

Last month, Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, a former top CIA analyst told Newsmax TV that the United States is a sitting duck for a terror attack that could wipe out the nation's power grid and kill as many as nine out of ten Americans.



However, Western governing authorities' dhimmi yellow streak remains impenetrable, as British Prime Minister David Cameron went out of his way to redundantly illustrate:

British Prime Minister David Cameron told BBC Radio 4 the Islamic State (ISIS) is not what its name implies during an interview Monday.

"I wish BBC would stop calling it Islamic State because it's not an Islamic State," Cameron said. "What it is is an appalling, barbarous regime. It is a perversion of the religion of Islam. Many Muslims listening to this program will recoil when they hear the words Islamic State.

"ISIL is better. But it is an existential threat because what's happening here is the perversion of a great religion and a creation of this poisonous death cult."

Even though that "great religion" IS "this poisonous death cult," is already taking over Great Britain, and ISIS is headed straight in Prime Minister Cameron's direction.  Maybe when the Muzzies behead him, he can pretend they're using a soup spoon instead of a dagger or an ax.

Ditto the United States and its imperious leader, who is again showing that his determinedly malevolent obtusity exceeds even French capitulational capacities by pointedly blowing off and downplaying the warnings of an Independence Day ISIS strike:

The White House was wrong to dismiss the government's own July 4th weekend terror warning as "standard operating procedure," former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said.

The comment, made by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, wasn't accurate, Ridge said Monday on Fox News Channel's Your World with Neil Cavuto.

"It's a real threat. I think it's a permanent threat," Ridge said. "I think this is a scourge with which we're going to have to deal with … for the foreseeable future."

Former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell also called on Americans to take the threat seriously.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we're sitting here a week from today talking about an attack over the weekend in the United States. That's how serious this is," Morell said on Monday.

Unless the United State takes a more aggressive stance against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), the July 4th warning made by the FBI, Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center "may ultimately become a standard warning, i.e. we're at risk all the time," Ridge said. [emphasis added]

That's already the case, Mr. Ridge, and it's growing all the time,

"It's a real threat. I think it's a permanent threat," Ridge said. "I think this is a scourge with which we're going to have to deal … for the foreseeable future."



Until one or more of our enemies finish wiping us out, anyway,

You know what?  I hope the White House is right,  I hope their devil-may-care attitude proves to be justified, and the Independence Day holiday weekend passes quietly (aside from the fireworks) and completely without incident.  It's not like any of us would be complaining if it did.

But it's the job of the president of the United States to assume the worst, to think of every conceivable threat and prepare for it, and to not BS the public into indolent complacency when a clear and present danger is, well, clear and present and likely,  Or, to put it in terms that they would be much more likely to understand, if the White House pooh-poohs a large-scale jihadist threat that then fully materializes, The One will experience the mother of all PR blowbacks.

But then, they're probably assuming the usual "rally around the flag" effect.

You know, the flag that they're moving towards getting banned,

Exit question: Odds on "tough diplomacy" succeeding in resolving a U.S.-ISIS confrontation in the wake of a radiological attack on Chicago?  I'd say at least 50-50, right?

Monday, June 29, 2015

How Obama Is Killing The Domestic Oil Boom

by JASmius



By his old capitalist friends, supply and demand:

In a field of brittle yellow grass and clotted mud about five miles north of Dickinson, North Dakota, stands a cemetery of sorts. Drilling rigs stretch into the sky like tall skeletons. The occasional lone truck rattles along a dirt road. Otherwise, the location is deserted.

Similar graveyards have been popping up across the western half of the state since the price of oil sharply declined last fall. These once-great moneymakers that drew thousands to the state are now idle, or “stacked,” in the lingo of the oil fields. As more and more companies have stopped drilling following the decline in the price of oil last year, the term has become all too familiar....

But as soon as the price of oil dropped late last year, things began to unravel, and rigs started to close. Of the 192 drilling rigs active in April of 2014, just 94 were open one year later....

Charlie Cogdill, an agent for Halliburton, has been through four oil busts over the course of his career. He describes drilling as “the tip of the spear,” the first part of the industry to be affected by the slowdown. A downturn in oil prices produces a ripple effect that spreads from drilling to fracking, from the workers on the rigs to the small communities where those workers live.

What will happen to those who uprooted themselves and their families to move here? What will happen to the towns that suddenly flourished? What will happen to those who pinned their dreams on the North Dakota oil boom?

Same thing that's happened to every other non-Obamunist American: back to the unemployment line, followed by the welfare rolls, and finally, starvation.  Just as Barack Obama intended.

How has he done this?  Simple - the federal oil export ban, which has never been lifted.  Without foreign markets to which to sell our now-considerable excesses of domestic private petroleum production, the U.S. market became glutted - i,e, too much supply,  When there's too much supply for the existing demand, the price falls, production gets cut back, the boom goes bust, all those (ugh) "greedy and selfish" private sectors jobs disappear, and the Obama Depression is restored in the Flickertail State,

I'm sure it didn't provide The One the sheer visceral satisfaction of signing an Executive Decree banning private fossil fuel production in all fifty States, but it's still gotten the job done,

And not just in the oil industry, either:

The bulls working the rigs were the first to lose their jobs, but the impact has spread like ripples across a pond in a matter of months. Oil field support companies such as Little Dog, LLC, which sells tools, technical equipment and replacement parts to the drillers, have had to get rid of most of their workers. But the effects hit the non-energy sectors across the board with equal vigor. Fast food places were offering well above minimum wage to low skill workers because there just weren’t enough people to fill all the jobs. Now that’s ended. The school system is emptying and the real estate market has plunged as well.

Obamanomics with a capitalist face.  Perhaps his infernal majesty's greatest economic "accomplishment".

Yet,

Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black and White

On July 9, 2015 at 6pm, the Banning-Beaumont-Cherry Valley Tea Party Patriots will be showing the film, "American History in Black & White."



Revival Revolution

By Douglas V. Gibbs

I am no longer going to call myself a conservative.  There is nothing left to conserve.  The United States Supreme Court drove the final nails into the coffin of the United States Constitution last week, slaughtering all five rights enumerated in the First Amendment with one ruling alone.

Religious Freedom has been set aside for the sexual perversion of less than two percent of the population.  They have labeled the gay agenda as being a Civil Rights Movement, using the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as justification for the federal government to force Christians into compliance with their normalization of a perverse sexual behavior.  By making the gay movement one akin to the Civil Rights Movement for the Black Community, the liberal left has silenced all opposition.  How can one dare say a single word in opposition if such opposition is considered the voice of bigotry or discrimination?

Sexual Behavior is not an ethnicity, or racial designation, no more than choosing to be a radical Muslim is.  But, the Supreme Court is fine with sexual deviants demanding a designation as a protected class, and any dissent will not be tolerated.  Freedom of Religion to believe that homosexuality is a sinful behavior and the sexual activity is in opposition of God's plan for us is now a political issue, and the Christian Churches are being told to change your opinion, or be destroyed (fined, jailed, etc.).  Freedom of Speech also is out the door.  The silencing of those that dare to speak out against the tyranny we are seeing forced upon us without any dissent being allowed is being encouraged by calls of bigotry, hate speech and discrimination.  It won't be long before speaking in a manner considered unacceptable to the Homosexual agenda will be punishable by the full force of law.  Persons hold such "anti-gay" opinions are already losing their jobs, businesses, and positions in government the business world.  Freedom of the Press will follow, for once it becomes a criminal act to voice any opinion that does not fully embrace homosexuality, anything in the press that dares such opposition will be seen as taboo, and criminally investigated.

The other two rights enumerated in the First Amendment have also been taken away from the American People.  The right of the people to peaceably assemble, should they dare do so in protest of homosexuality, is in the process of being eliminated; and, the Supreme Court's decision last week forcing States to comply with the federal dictate that no State can have any laws that stand against homosexuality has eliminated the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.  How can you have petitions to define marriage between a man and a woman if unelected judges are going to rule that you don't have the right to have that opinion?

California's Proposition 8 was the beginning of that one.  The people voted to change California's State Constitution on the State Issue of Marriage, and a single gay judge began the process that included a whole string of unelected judges to dictate to the people what they are allowed to believe, allowed to make law regarding, and allowed to religiously practice.

After the Charleston Shooting, the Obama administration is moments away from going after the Second Amendment full throttle, again, too.

The Third Amendment will follow shortly after in order to force the Christians that refuse to bow to the omnipotent power of the federal government into compliance.

Illegal search a seizures for anti-gay paraphernalia, confederate flags, and hate documents like the Holy Bible, will follow shortly after that (not that the federal government doesn't already violate the Fourth Amendment. . . between the NSA and the IRS, that amendment means nothing to them).

And the list goes on.

So how do we fight this?  How can we stand up against this if we are going to wind up fined and arrested?

It is simple.  You stand in civil disobedience, you protest, you put pressure on your representatives, and you form groups dedicated to the revival of the United States Constitution, and the virtue of a Christian society.  Any less is to be complicit by allowing this to happen.  Resist Evil.  Stand up for a Revival Revolution.

There will be a Special Constitution Association Meeting next week.

We must respond to what is going on in our country.  We appeal to Heaven with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.  We must revive our nation, and restore the republic, not because we are revolutionaries, but because the federal government has left us no other choice than to organize and demand as free members of American Society that our rights be restored, and honored.

I am no longer a conservative.  I am a Constitutionalist.  I am a Revivalist.  I am a man determined to restore the Republic.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Republicans Weigh In

Posted by Douglas V. Gibbs

KASICH READY... 

RAND PAUL: Govt Should Get Out of Marriage Business Altogether...

HUCKABEE: Maybe we should ask China for Lois Lerner's 'missing' emails...

WASH POST: Jeb dogged by past business deals...

Walker, Fiorina stand out at weekend conservative summit...

Cruz bashes 'elites'...


-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Texas To Nullify Federal Gay "Marriage"?

by JASmius



Well, sort of:

County clerks can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex "couples" based on religious objections to gay marriage, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Sunday.

Paxton noted that clerks who refuse to issue licenses can expect to be sued, but added that “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs,” in many cases without charge.

The formal opinion did not specify what constitutes a sincerely held religious belief, noting that “the strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.”…

Paxton’s opinion also noted that judges and justices of the peace can refuse to perform same-sex "marriages".

“Judges and justices of the peace have no mandatory duty to conduct any wedding ceremony,” the opinion said, adding that couples cannot be refused on the basis of race, religion or national origin. [emphases added]

This pronouncement has a Pontius Pilate flavor to it.  A-G Paxton isn't formally declaring that the State of Texas will not comply with the SCOTUS's Obergefell decision - which is what he should be doing,  He's outsourcing his official civil disobedience to individual county employees on a freelance basis, which will set up those clerks that take him up on it to be professionally and financially destroyed, and assuring them that the State will pick up their legal fees.  Not exactly a bold stand for the institution of marriage, biblical values, and against judicial tyranny,

And it may have another problem:

Government, however, is a monopoly. People cannot go elsewhere to get the government-issued license needed to marry. They could possibly go elsewhere to get a Justice of the Peace, but that’s still a government function staffed by government employees. As part of the government, they have no right to impose a religious test on the issuance of permits that isn’t supported by law in some form — and the Supreme Court, for better or worse, has removed those restrictions. It would be similar to county clerks refusing to issue permits for an atheist rally on public land but allowing for a Lutheran rally under the same or similar circumstances, or vice versa. There is no free market for people to go elsewhere to follow the rule of law, no matter how controversial or arguable destructive the law may or may not be. Government employees have to follow the law, or find jobs elsewhere; otherwise, we truly have the Rule of Whim at every level of government, and every bureaucrat becomes a tyrant.

The way to get around this objection would be to simply declare that Texas will not comply with Obergefell,  The only way A-G Paxton's plan would work is if the refusal of "marriage" licenses to homosexual "couples" by individual county clerks on religious conscience grounds did not deny them altogether - i.e. this clerk won't do it but there would be others who would,  That way the "law" would still be being followed while protecting the religious rights of individual clerks,  In Paxton's plan, he's essentially suckering various and sundry county employees to the Lavender wolves to be ferociously ripped apart,  To say nothing of yielding Texas essentially the same PR bleepstorm that it would incur from simple, straightforward nullification,

Color me unimpressed.


UPDATE: Ted Cruz is (almost) aboard the nullification train:

Ted Cruz has some unsolicited advice for the States not specifically named in last week’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage: Ignore it.

“Those who are not parties to the suit are not bound by it,” the Texas Republican told NPR News’ Steve Inskeep in an interview published on Monday. Since only suits against the States of Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky were specifically considered in the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which was handed down last Friday, Cruz — a former Supreme Court clerk — believes that other States with gay marriage bans need not comply, absent a judicial order.

“[O]n a great many issues, others have largely acquiesced, even if they were not parties to the case,” the 2016 presidential contender added, “but there’s no legal obligation to acquiesce to anything other than a court judgement.”

All fifty States can, of course, nullify Obergefell or any other unconstitutional SCOTUS ruling.  But forty-six out of fifty would be more than sufficient to send that message.

If any of them besides kinda-sorta Texas were willing to do so, that is.

SCOTUS Strikes Down EPA Clean Air Regs, Upholds Illegal Alien Voting; UPDATE: Texas Abortion Restrictions Blocked

by JASmius



So what are we to call the Supremes' 5-4 ruling in Michigan v, Environmental Protection Agency?  A consolation prize?  If so, it isn't much of one:

A divided Supreme Court on Monday ruled against federal regulators' attempt to limit power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants.

The rules began to take effect in April, but the court split 5-4 along ideological lines to rule that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to take their cost into account when the agency first decided to regulate the toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired plants.

The EPA did factor in costs at a later stage when it wrote standards that are expected to reduce the toxic emissions by 90%. They were supposed to be fully in place next year. The issue was whether health risks are the only consideration under the Clean Air Act.

The challenge was brought by industry groups and twenty-one Republican-led States.

That should have simply nullified these illegal EPA regs instead.  This time, at least, they got lucky.

Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia said it is not appropriate to impose billions of dollars of economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.

The case now goes back to lower courts for the EPA to decide how to account for costs.

Which is to say, the Obama EPA will double-down and ignore this SCOTUS ruling,

Why do I say that it's not much of a consolation prize?  Because the EPA itself is flagrantly unconstitutional, as nowhere in the founding document's seven Articles or twenty-seven Amendments is the federal government legally authorized to micromanage environmental issues, with or without honest, good-faith cost-benefit analyses,

And also because of the other big-name decision they "handed down" today that bars the States from requiring proof of U,S, citizenship before one can register to vote:

The Supreme Court refused to consider letting states require evidence of citizenship when people register to vote for federal elections, rejecting an appeal from Arizona and Kansas.

The rebuff is a victory for the Obama administration and voting- and minority-rights groups that battled the two States in court. It leaves intact a decision by a U.S. agency that blocked the States from requiring proof of citizenship for voters in federal elections.

Apparently the Supremes are of the unmoored legal opinion that the "honor system" is sufficient, even though we have to show ID before we can swipe our debit cards to buy a damned sandwich at Subway.

In essence, in storm of dog turds, they threw us a single Milk Bone.

Woof.




UPDATE: Remember Texas's victory for life and the Constitution?  Guess who's - "temporarily" - "fundamentally transformed" it into yet another crushing defeat?:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to block temporarily parts of a strict new Texas abortion law. The court granted a request by women's health providers, which had asked it to put a temporary hold on a June 9th Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The groups had asked the high court to put the provisions on hold until they can file a formal petition asking the justices to take the case.

The provisions were due to take effect on July 1st.

The court was divided 5-4, with conservative Anthony Kennedy joining the court's four liberals in granting the stay request.

With the court now recessed for the summer, no further action is likely until at least the fall.

Remember what Tony Stark said when he crashed into Baron Strucker's mind-gem force field in the opening scene of Avengers II (at 0:48)?



Seems even more appropriate here.