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May 29, 2004

A dangerous strategy for ending abortion

Michael A. Peroutka is a Constitution Party candidate for the office of president of the United States.  It appears that his candidacy is motivated chiefly by his abhorrence of abortion.  No problem so far.  I was alarmed, however, by his strategy to end this abomination, as revealed in an interview he gave to WorldNetDaily:
To end abortion "immediately," he said, the president would simply have to declare the personhood of the unborn from the moment of conception. The executive branch, which holds the law-enforcement function of government, could then enforce that personhood through the U.S. attorneys, he says.
After making the declaration of personhood, Peroutka explains, he would then appoint new U.S. attorneys throughout the nation, as did President Clinton upon entering the presidency.
"U.S. Attorneys could be appointed who understood that the unborn child is a person under the Fifth Amendment and shall not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process," he said. "So I believe that it is doable on Day 1."
The candidate says the new government lawyers would then "prosecute those who would deny that personhood," such as operators of abortion clinics.
The personhood declaration could be accomplished, he said, through an executive order.
As a candidate of the Constitution Party, and as "the founder of the Institute on the Constitution", and as someone who left government agencies whose functions he did not see as "constitutionally permissible", Mr. Peroutka proposes to use the brute force of the federal government to unconstitutionally further expand the federal government's power.  Although his goal is without a doubt noble, someone who presents himself as a student of the Constitution should know that the president has no constitutional authority to act -- directly or indirectly -- against abortion clinic operators.  Someone who thinks he can 'end abortion' using the power of the executive is a dangerous man.
We are much more likely to see an end to abortion if the federal government -- all three branches -- finally recognizes the constitutional limits of its power and returns the issue to the states.

May 28, 2004

Dr. Huxtable's bitter medicine

Bill Cosby has some harsh but much-needed words for America's black community.  My hope is that Cosby's end-run around the victimization-promoting black political elite will strike the right chord in the black community.

Our linguini-spined state legislatures were not always so

This was (1) before the 17th Amendment; and (2) before the states became addicted to federal funding:

We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.

-- Alexander Hamilton

(Courtesy of The Federalist's "Founders Quote Daily")

Prison populations and crime rates

The inmate population of U.S. prisons is still growing, and the crime rate is dropping.  Are these two facts somehow related?  Some, including Attorney General John Ashcroft, assert that crime rates are falling because of the growing inmate population -- that is, as more hard-core criminals are put away, the crime rate is bound to fall.  Others, including the vast majority of the 'mainstream' media, don't seem to get this, as is evidenced by this quote from an Associated Press article: "The inmate population continued its rise despite a fall in the crime rate and many states' efforts to reduce some sentences, especially for low-level drug offenders." 

May 27, 2004

The quickest way for a Senate candidate to get shunned by the GOP establishment...

...is for the candidate to take seriously the supposed Republican core values of limited government, entitlement reform and anti-abortion advocacy.  Robert Novak reports that the GOP is doing just about everything it can to ignore the candidacy of Tom Coburn in Oklahoma, thus risking the loss of what was considered to be a safe seat.
When a party sacrifices its values in the name of acquiring and maintaining power, the party before long becomes actively hostile to those who retain those values.  Sigh.

May 20, 2004

The drugging of our children proceeds apace

AP reports that spending on drugs for children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and other behavior disorders is skyrocketing. The last three years have seen a 23 percent increase in usage among all children, but a 49 percent increase among children under five years of age.

This really makes my blood boil! I'm sure they have a pill for that as well.

The drugging of children in general is bad enough, but the increased drugging of preschoolers is a moral outrage, and in many (if not most) cases a gross dereliction of parental responsibility.

May 19, 2004

How the character of our culture is judged

Excerpt from commencement address by President Bush at Concordia University, Wisconsin, May 14:

A person shows his or her character in kindness and charity. And what is true in our lives is also true in the life of our nation. You can fairly judge the character of society by how it treats the weak, the vulnerable, the most easily forgotten. Our own country, at its best, strives to be compassionate, and this isn't easy. Compassion is not merely a vague feeling of empathy, it is a demanding virtue. It involves action and effort, and deep conviction -- a conviction as old as Scripture and present at the founding of our country. We believe that everyone has a place and a purpose in this world, that every life matters, that no insignificant person was ever born.

America rejects the ethic of sink or swim. America rejects social Darwinism, because strength is not the same as worth. Our greatest failures as a nation have come when we lost sight of our compassionate ideals -- in slavery, in segregation, and in every wrong that has denied the value and dignity of life. Our greatest strength as a nation is that we bravely face our flaws and do our best to make things right. Our greatest successes as a nation have come when we broadened the circle of protection and inclusion. And this work is not finished. We will press on until every person shares in the promise of our country.

Supremes expand scope of Disabilities act

The left wing of the Supreme Court (including Sandra Day "not sure where I stand on anything" O'Connor) ruled Monday that state governments can be sued for failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The court had previously exempted the states from ADA lawsuits.
Regardless of the nobility of its goals, the ADA is a constitutional atrocity, a monstrous intrusion of the federal government into matters that are not its business.  As mentioned in a previous post, the court has taken upon itself the extraconstitutional duty of correcting injustice, and it is more than happy to endorse congressional attempts to do the same.
I suppose reverence for "enumerated powers" was thrown into the dustbin long ago, but somehow it still gets to me.

May 17, 2004

Seen at the antiques show

Frank and Ernest, 05/17/2004

Assessing the damage of a cultural earthquake

As Massachusetts plows forward with same-sex marriage (yet another cultural atrocity imposed by judicial fiat), commentators and conservative organizations are weighing in on the significance of the event.

Colleen Carroll Campbell, "No private affair" [excellent article]:

...behind these highly publicized marriages lies a very privatized understanding of marriage. That understanding emerged long before gay activists and activist judges paired up to remake matrimony in their own image. It came to fruition amid the sexual revolution, and manifested itself in rising rates of illegitimacy, divorce, single parenthood, and cohabitation. Today, we are seeing yet another logical consequence of our illogical decision to make marriage a private affair.

Not so long ago -- before the birth-control pill, the sexual revolution, and no-fault divorce -- couples who chose to marry assumed that procreation and lifelong fidelity were part of the deal. Their families, faith communities, and the courts assumed the same. When men and women vowed to love and honor each other for life -- for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health -- they did so publicly, in the context of a culture that expected them to make good on their contract and covenant.

Today, that expectation is gone. Traditional marriage, once generally considered the only socially acceptable way for American men and women to share sexual intimacy and a household, is now just one option among many. Serial marriages, "trial" marriages, intentionally childless marriages, common-law marriages, and same-sex marriages are now regarded by many Americans as equally valid options -- and equally deserving of public support.

Matthew Spalding, Ph.D., "A Defining Moment: Marriage, the Courts, and the Constitution" [excellent article]:

What is happening is no minor adjustment, a slight change in degree that just extends benefits or rights to a larger class, but a substantive change in the essence of the institution. It does not expand marriage; it alters its core meaning, for to redefine marriage so that it is not intrinsically related to the relationship between fathers, mothers, and children formally severs the institution from its nature and purpose.

Expanding marriage supposedly to make it more inclusive, no matter what we call the new arrangement, necessarily ends marriage as we now know it by remaking the institution into something different: a mere contract between any two individuals.

Jeff Jacoby, "The End of the Gay Marriage Debate?":

Those of us who think this week's revolution is a terrible mistake need to do a much better job of explaining that the core question is not "Why shouldn't any couple in love be able to marry?" but something more essential: "What is marriage for?" We need to convey that the fundamental purpose of marriage is to unite men and women so that any children they may create or adopt will have a mom and a dad.

Marriage expresses a public judgment that every child deserves a mom and a dad. Same-sex marriage, by contrast, says that the sexual and emotional desires of adults count for more than the needs of children. Which message do we want the next generation to receive?

Concerned Women for America, press release:

Homosexual activists will be saying over and over this week, "See, 'gay' couples were 'married,' and the sky didn't fall."  But this is deceptive. We know that social change happens over time. It took a generation for inner city families to fall apart after the government began issuing welfare checks to unwed mothers. Likewise, creating counterfeit marriage will damage the real thing and put more children at risk. Only a callous, self-absorbed culture would create legal incentives to engage in immoral, destructive behavior with children as the guinea pigs. America must be better than that.

Chuck Colson, "Follow the Leader?":

What is happening in Massachusetts today threatens to redefine and, ultimately, permanently damage our society's most basic institution. That being so, you would expect a huge public outcry. Unfortunately and surprisingly, that isn't happening. Congress is seeing little evidence of public outrage--not enough calls and letters to force them to act.

It amazes me since it's clear that the impact of same-sex 'marriage' won't be limited to same-sex couples. Stanley Kurtz of the Hoover Institution has written that widespread acceptance of same-sex 'marriage' will widen the already existing gap between parenthood and marriage and continue to break down the family. Countries, like Norway, that adopted same-sex 'marriage' saw their rates of cohabitation and out-of-wedlock births shoot up. There's no reason to suppose that won't happen here.

Given what's at stake, I believe that Christians need to make stopping the spread of same-sex 'marriage' their number-one cultural priority.

James Dobson, Focus on the Family press release:

We will look back 20, 30, 50 years from now and recall this as the day marriage ceased to have any real meaning in our country. The documents being issued all across Massachusetts may say 'marriage license' at the top, but they are really death certificates for the institution of marriage as it has served society for thousands of years.


(Thanks to The Alliance Alert for the links)

Geneva Conventional wisdom

The public is woefully ignorant of the details of the Geneva Conventions, and so the Democrats and others on the Left have been making a lot of political hay out of allegations that our military has engaged -- with the full knowledge and approval of Donald Rumsfeld himself -- in wholesale violations of said Conventions in Iraq.  As they have been with most of their accusations regarding the Bush administration's Iraq policy, the Dems are lying through their teeth (or else they are dangerously naive -- you pick).
Check out the editorial in today's Wall Street Journal to learn more truth about the Geneva Conventions than you'll ever hear from the mouths of the Democrats or from the vast majority of the major media.  Apart from the outrages of the few at Abu Ghraib, the conduct of our military has been within the boundaries of the Conventions.
By demagoging the issue, the Dems have bullied the Pentagon into banning virtually all interrogation techniques (beyond politely asking them to reveal the locations of the other bad guys and their weapons), even those techniques permitted under the Conventions.  They seem to take pleasure in hamstringing our intelligence gathering.  These are the same people who faulted the Bush administration for not foreseeing the 9/11 attacks.  I'd be willing to bet money that they'll be the first to accuse Bush when our reduced ability to gather information in Iraq gives al-Qaeda the free hand it needs to commit its next act of infamy.

May 16, 2004

Demi, Britney, Madonna, Kabbalah

Scientology has some competition among Hollywood's A-List.  Chuck Colson reports that celebrities like Demi Moore, Britney Spears and Madonna can be seen regularly at L.A.'s Kabbalah Center which, despite its name (which refers to a medieval form of Jewish mysticism), is more a revival of the ancient gnostic heresy.
While it may be easy to snicker at these celebrities, though, Colson cautions that a form of gnosticism is seeping into some areas of the Christian church in America.  Far too many who profess to be followers of Christ practice in reality a "religion [that] is based on personal experience and has little room for tradition or authority. The goal of their religion is 'to be alone with God or Jesus.'"  Thus unmoored from the anchor of Scripture (which records all that God chose to reveal about Himself), they feel free to construct a concept of God that is limited only by their imaginations.

50 years of "unjust = unconstitutional"

The Warren Court's infamous Brown v. Board of Education decision, stands as one of the premier examples of judicial usurpation in the past century.  Regardless of the nobility of the court's intention (renouncing the doctrine of "separate but equal"), there can be no doubt that the court exercised power that it had no constitutional right to exercise.
Pat Buchanan writes as if Brown was the first time the Supremes had trodden upon state prerogatives, even though I am certain he doesn't really believe this.  He does, however, give a useful list of ways the court has stepped out of bounds in the 50 years since the Brown decision was handed down.
Even if this wasn't the first usurpation, George Will notes that the Brown decision marked a significant paradigm shift in the court's reasoning (emphasis added):
Brown v. Board of Education accelerated the process of bringing this creedal nation into closer conformity to its creed. But the decision also encouraged the abandonment of constitutional reasoning -- of constitutional law. It invested the judiciary with a prestige that begot arrogance. And it seemed to legitimize a legislative mentality among judges wielding an anti-constitutional premise. The premise is that ``unjust'' and ``unconstitutional'' are synonyms.
It is not difficult to see this theme permeating the decisions of the court in the half century that has followed.

May 14, 2004

The character of our leaders does matter

This quote takes a bit of parsing, but the point Adams makes is good:
Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.
--John Adams
(Quote courtesy of The Federalist's "Founders Quote Daily")

The Clinton presidency engendered (albeit unintentionally) a worthwhile debate on whether or not character matters in a president.  Unfortunately, while most people's votes are influenced by the character of the candidate, ideological and partisan considerations trump character considerations for the majority of us.
The record of history shows consistently that the character of the leaders in due course becomes the character of the majority of the people being led (the books of Chronicles and Kings in the Bible are full of good examples of this phenomenon).  This is especially true in nations where the people have little or no real influence over who their leaders are. 
In countries where the people exercise moderate to significant control over who their leaders will be, there is a chance to reverse the flow -- a chance for the character of the majority of the people to become the character of the leaders.  It can only happen, though, if the people decide in their hearts that, regardless of ideology, they will not allow a person of low character to lead them.
If the people neglect this responsibility, government at all levels becomes corrupt, because by its very nature government attracts people of low character
As corruption (of all kinds, from the barely noticeable to the egregious) sets in, once again we see that over time the character of the leaders becomes the character of the people.  This partly due to the fact that the government (as we see it in the U.S. today) uses laws and the bully pulpit of the mass media to encourage certain attitudes and behaviors and to discourage others.  It is also due to the fact that our leaders (especially at the national level) are presented to us (especially by the leaders' respective political parties) as role models.  The causes championed by our leaders -- and the moral lapses that go unpunished -- have a very real potential to influence the character of the people, especially that of the younger generations.
My examples have focused on the national/federal level of government, but these lessons must be applied to every other level of government as well -- state, county, municipal.  In the U.S., because of our (constitutionally incorrect) notion that power should be exercised through the central government, we tend to make little or no effort to scrutinize the character of those we vote for at the lower levels of government -- if we vote at all in those elections.  The mischief that occurs at these levels of government tends to occur "below the radar", and, like cancer, once it is discovered it is often too difficult to root out.
There are many other aspects to this subject that I may cover at another time, but I hope that I've made my point -- the character of our leaders really does matter.  Our respect for this truth must override ideology and party affiliation when we vote, or else our country and our culture will suffer.

May 12, 2004

The troublesome 17th Amendment

It seems that more and more people are recognizing that the Constitution's 17th Amendment, which provided for the direct election of senators, is the root of many of the evils we see today in the federal government.

Today's column by Bruce Bartlett recounts how the 17th came to be, and looks at some of the damage that can be traced to this amendment.

A couple of weeks ago outgoing last-of-his-kind conservative Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) introduced a constitutional amendment that would repeal the 17th. Not that Miller's amendment has any chance of going anywhere, but I'm always happy to see efforts to raise the debate.

Boston Globe publishes without checking its sources??

The genuine photos are bad enough. The Boston Globe, apparently always ready to believe the worst about the war, today published photos purporting to show GIs gang-raping Iraqi women. Problem is, the photos are bogus, as WorldNetDaily reported a week ago. WND was more than happy to inform the Globe of this oversight.

Comments welcome!

Comments on my posts are always welcome, provided you don't say anything that hurts my feelings.

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Conservatives have nothing to fear from Air America...

...if what Michael Goodwin relates is the best they can do. Excerpt:
The United States "is on the slippery slope to theocratic fascism." "The Catholic Church has been secretly encouraging oral sex for years."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "ought to be tortured." President Bush should be taken out and shot.

Those are a few nutso nuggets from the hosts of Air America Radio, which calls itself the new liberal voice. The fledgling network is carried in New York on WLIB, 1190 AM. With the Iraq torture scandal everywhere, I tuned in, expecting to hear sober policy analysis mixed with glee over President Bush's political pickle.

Instead, I got 10 hours of rancid venom directed at the President, Rumsfeld, Rush Limbaugh, the Catholic Church and anyone else the hosts felt like slamming. If you're a card-carrying lib who likes crude sex jokes and a cartoonish echo chamber, Air America is for you.

(Note: once his article goes into the NYDN archive, you have to pay to read the whole thing. No need to, unless you want specific examples of the "rancid venom".)

Buckley on Rumsfeld's culpability

William F. Buckley imposes some sensible perspective on the Abu Ghraib scandal. Some are absurdly comparing this to My Lai in Vietnam. Even if the comparison were valid, note that the political furor then focused where it belonged: on the leader of the company that committed the atrocity and on the officers who covered up the incident. Abu Ghraib is far from being what is commonly considered an atrocity, but nevertheless justice must be served. Focus on those who are actually connected to the incident.

Buckley closes in this way regarding the opposing forces -- political v. common sense -- driving the debate over whether or not Rumsfeld should keep his job:
President Bush is understandably determined not to let Abu Ghraib dictate the course of our entire Mideast enterprise. But he may not succeed, and Donald Rumsfeld may be giving thought to whether his continued service is a strategic mistake.

Law and Liberty

Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness.

--James Wilson

(Courtesy of The Federalist's "Founders Quote Daily")

May 11, 2004

Cal Poly student's name cleared, finally

Here's the intro. Read the whole article to see the bizarre justification used by the university to censure the student.
In a major victory for liberty and equal rights on campus, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) has settled a free speech lawsuit. The case involved Cal Poly student Steve Hinkle, who was punished for posting a flier on a public bulletin board announcing a College Republicans-sponsored speech by a black social critic. Some students at the campus Multicultural Center found the flier "offensive."

Partial-Birth Abortion ban challenges may be backfiring

Chuck Colson relates the latest from various ongoing legal challenges to the federal Partial-Birth Abortion ban. Although these challenges were initiated by pro-abortion groups, much of the unfolding testimony is working against their interests.

Particularly interesting was the incident where an abortionist finally admitted on the stand that the baby likely experiences pain during the abortion procedure. Apparently he hadn't really considered this before. Will it make any difference to him? Only time will tell.

Little by little, the euphemistic facade hiding the ugly reality of this procedure is crumbling.

Why Rumsfeld should stay (for now)

Democrats continue to feign outrage that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld refuses to fall on his sword over the Abu Ghraib abuses. Like any true leader would, he is systematically determining what happened, who did it, and what to do about it (a process which was well underway when the story hit the media). To his credit, President Bush appears to understand that the CEO shouldn't get canned when subordinates misbehave unless it can be shown that the CEO's policies led directly or indirectly to said misbehavior.

Nothing of the sort has yet been demonstrated, and this is one of the best indicators that the Democrats couldn't care less about Rumsfeld. Their real target, of course, is the president.

If these folks truly believed that Rumsfeld ought to be held morally responsible for the outrageous events at Abu Ghraib, they also would have fallen all over themselves a decade ago calling for the head of Janet Reno over the outrageous events at Waco.