Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The debate over the death penalty in the United States begins anew

Since Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College to win the presidency, and especially since Trump was sworn in, the news has been filled with all manner of items, some of them silly, nit-picking and embarrassing for the media, and others of varying degrees of importance and interest.

Among the actual news items was the choice of the excellent Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court and the battle that ensued to confirm him; the Syrian air base strike and the MOAB bombing of an ISIS tunnel/cave installation in Afghanistan; and more recently the situation in Arkansas where the state intended to execute eight death row inmates in the 11 days remaining before the end of April when one of the drugs used in executions reached its expiration date.

This latter development produced quite a lot of comment, most of it negative from opponents of the death penalty.

The death penalty is sanctioned through the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and each death row inmate had been convicted and had many years to appeal their sentence or conviction, so why so much controversy? Many were horrified not about the death penalty itself, but that Arkansas would conduct so many executions in such a short period.

The death penalty is a matter of long, spirited debate, notwithstanding its constitutional and Biblical validations.

The religious aspect is important in the United States, since among the volumes of things former President Barack Obama misunderstands about America is its still-strong religious nature. Of the 35,000 participants from all 50 states polled in a 2014 Pew Research Center study of Religion and Public Life, Christians accounted for 70 percent of participants, and more than 75 percent claimed some religious affiliation.

While our government is not founded on any set of religious beliefs, people with religious beliefs have been a major segment of the population since the nation’s founding, and their beliefs heavily influenced the founding principles, and that influence still exists today.

Many Christians, along with people holding other religious beliefs, and still others who do not cite religion at all, object to the death penalty on its failure of compassion. “How can religious and other compassionate people indulge in such a barbaric act?” the argument goes.

Steve Stephens, a 37-year-old black man, was having trouble with his girlfriend, so naturally he decided the solution was to randomly pick out someone to kill. After mentioning the woman’s name to 74 year-old Robert Godwin Sr., also a black man that he came upon while searching for a victim, he shot and killed the unsuspecting and totally innocent Godwin.

Stephens’ stupid and vicious murder highlights this issue. Many believe that someone who intentionally and deliberately murders another person and inflicts shock and grief on that person’s family and friends somehow is entitled to the compassion the murderer sadistically denied the victim(s).

One religious argument against executions is that it denies the criminal the opportunity to repent and even use his/her experience to try to turn others to religion and away from crime.

Others believe, however, the condemned deserves no consideration or compassion when his or her justice is rendered. “Should not that person suffer at least as much as the victim and those close to the victim?” this argument goes.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1972 allowed the resumption of the death penalty, its use has dropped off substantially. While 31 states still legally allow executions, ten of them have executed no one in the last ten years, and 26 have executed no one in the last five years.

Several reasons are cited: the possibility of executing an innocent person; botched executions; a decline in the crime rate; and the cost of fighting those opposing the imposition of the death penalty in capital cases.

There are five legal methods of execution – firing squad, gas chamber, hanging, electrocution, and lethal injection – and lethal injection is the hands-down preferred method. Much of the opposition to the other four comes down to how “unpleasant” each of those methods is to the condemned, with lethal injection normally being the least uncomfortable. However, even lethal injections sometimes cause suffering to the condemned.

There is an on-going debate over whether the United States should have a death penalty. Another debate centers on making the execution as easy on the condemned as possible.

Perhaps this represents a true expression of compassion, or maybe it is one more step toward making executions so difficult and expensive that eventually it will be abandoned, in favor of keeping vicious criminals alive and relatively comfortable in prison for the rest of their lives at a tremendous cost to taxpayers.

As long as there is a death penalty, someone who is absolutely proven guilty of committing a capital crime and sentenced to death should collect his or her just reward in a reasonable amount of time (which will be in fewer than 10 or 20 years), as efficiently as possible, and as inexpensively as possible. If it hurts a little, or a lot, too bad.

Of all factors involved, the concerns of the criminal come last.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The willful subversion of critical institutions threatens America

As the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was wrapping up, Benjamin Franklin was asked this question: “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy.”  Franklin replied, “A republic ... if you can keep it.”

That has been one of America’s greatest challenges ever since, and there certainly are numerous discernible threats to our republic today.

Certain of our institutions play a critical role in sustaining the republic and promoting and protecting the unique character of the United States of America, and they therefore have a tremendous obligation to operate ethically and honorably. To the extent that they abandon their obligation, the country’s fundamental character is threatened.

Those institutions are: the justice system, the education system, and the information media.

Imagine you have a business renting apartments. One of your tenants, who has rented a place for $1,500 a month for three years sends you a check for only $900 for the current month.

You contact the tenant and are told that he views the lease that both you and he signed as a “living document,” the meaning of which may be altered as circumstances change. Having lost the job that paid $73,000 a year, his new job pays only $45,000, and he says he can now only afford $900 rent a month.

That is precisely the rationale that activist judges apply when they abandon the clear language of the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the land to make rulings they say are in line with current circumstances and the “mood” of the country, and because the Founders and those who enacted older laws were unable at that time to imagine current circumstances, that old stuff must be modernized.

However, the laws or Constitutional principles that activist judges disagree with must be amended or repealed through existing formal processes, not ignored or altered because they are viewed as inconvenient. If momentary interpretations are all that matter, and the Constitution is merely a “living document,” we don’t have a Constitution and we are not a nation of laws.

A nation needs its history and culture – all of it: the good, the bad, and the ugly – to be passed down from generation to generation so that its people will know who they are and where the came from, and can properly determine where they want to go and why.

While families should pass much of this along to children, we largely entrust this duty to formal education. To guide the learning process and assist students in learning an array of important and useful subjects and life lessons, we employ teachers, professors, instructors, and such, who coach and assist students.

Most of us had at least some teachers, professors, coaches who inspired us and helped us learn difficult subject matter, develop our skills, and learn how to think critically and logically. Hopefully, we did not have any that strayed from their professional duties and tried to tell us what to think about things, rather than developing the ability to think for ourselves.

Today, among the great number of effective educators there are too many who stray from the straight and narrow, especially in colleges and universities, where education too often takes a back seat to political and ideological indoctrination and politically correct policies. Imposing beliefs on students is worse than merely disrespecting the student; it is an outright abandonment of integrity and principle.

Along with an accurate base of knowledge about the country’s founding and history presented to them in schools, the people need to be well informed about current events. Information journalism contains two parts, and they must be kept separate. One is news about events, which must be accurate, honest and objective. The other is opinion, and must be clearly defined and omitted from straight news.

But far too often, opinion and political considerations sneak into news reporting, and also into the selection of what news gets reported and how it is reported, as well as what news does not get coverage. This is like playing golf blindfolded. You might find your driver, your ball and a tee, and you might tee up and actually hit the ball, but after that, you are literally in the dark, depending on the honesty of those around you to accurately describe the situation for you.

The American Left – liberals, progressives, socialists, etc. – has a vision of America that is in many ways sharply at odds with the founding principles. Both beneficial and harmful ideas that the Left pursues are at odds with the ideal of limited government, because using government to force things on the people is the Left’s tool of choice.

Fortunately, there are obstacles to using government to “fundamentally transform the United States of America,” as a former leftist president pledged. These obstacles are difficult to remove, as they should be. So the Left resorts not infrequently to re-interpreting the Constitution and the laws; managing and manipulating the information coming through much of the mass media; and sometimes indoctrinating children.

We all need to remember that worthy and broadly beneficial ideas will sell themselves; they don’t need people to take short cuts or cheat to get them accepted.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

It's time to bring the airlines down to Earth

It's time to bring the airlines down to Earth, so to speak, and remind them who's in charge.
The United Airlines outrageous treatment of a paid passenger, admitted through the gate to board a UA flight, in his seat ready to fly home, gets dragged from his seat and suffers significant injuries, all because UA knowingly over-booked the flight, and after boarding a plane full of passengers realized that getting some of its employees to the plane's destination is more important than those paid, seated passengers.
UA made an offer, sort of, to get some passengers to voluntarily give up their seats. But this paltry offer did not work, and so the purge began, and a doctor flying home so that he could keep appointments in his office the next day was selected to be removed from the plane, one way or another.
Despite an insulting and embarrassing initial response from the airline's CEO, and a more thoroughly thought out response a couple of days later, UA now properly is the target of a law suit to impose both financial punishment and well-earned financial renumeratiion, and is enduring the abundant and well-deserved ridicule and criticism for its arrogant position re: passengers.
Less objectionable than the United fiasco, but no less ridiculous, is the practice of the American Airlines change policy, which imposed a 57% fee on two potential passengers wanting to change their flight date because a visit to an active duty USAF member was interrupted by orders for the airman to go overseas at the exact time the couple was going to visit the airman.
Other outrageous items also exist.
A news report noted that among all U.S. airlines, paid-up passengers had been bumped from the flights they had booked some 430,000 times in 2016. A common excuse for these inconveniences was to allow airline employees to travel, instead of paying passengers.
Let's not lose site of the importance of all businesses, even airlines, to turn a profit. And perhaps it is a difficult situation for airlines to show a profit in the current environment.
But U.S. airlines had better wake up and smell the anger that their potential and actual passengers harbor: They are POed.
After all, without passengers, we don't need airlines or airports. Flying is sometimes necessary, but more often it is a convenience, and there are other ways to move about than flying.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Some good news for local economies battered by the War on Coal

It is a common idea among many Americans that coal as a major industrial fuel is dead, or at least dying, and cleaner fuels, like wind and solar energy, and natural gas, are taking over. There is some truth there; but there are other influences on coal’s recent decline.

Less costly natural gas has become the fuel of choice in power plants and for other industrial uses, not because of the natural relative price of the fuels, but because of the cost of regulatory demands on mining and burning coal that require enormous investments that have priced coal higher than natural gas. Remember former President Barack Obama’s prediction: “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them.”

These regulations produced the closing of more than 400 coal-burning power plants, which dropped the demand for coal, and altogether put 63,000 people in the coal industry, electric production industry and related support industries out of work in just the last few years.

At just the right time hydraulic fracturing (fracking) became popular, after lying mostly dormant since its first commercial application in 1957, and that produced a boom in natural gas production at attractive prices to compete with coal.

Many think burning less coal is a great thing, because burning coal fouls the air and is dangerous to our health, a “truth” which loses importance when you know the actual infinitesimal improvement in air quality derived from burning less coal.

However, considering all those factors, and paraphrasing a famous quote attributed to Mark Twain, the rumors of coal’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Of course, coal will never regain its former dominance among industrial fuels; time and technological/industrial evolution would just as certainly, although much more gradually, have eaten into coal’s popularity without the help of the Obama War on Coal.

But the regulatory adjustments of the Trump administration, the growing acceptance of the idea that the climate change/global warming mania is dramatically overstated, the reality that coal is still the best fuel for many things, the fact that many countries that do not have domestic coal supplies depend upon it for fuel, and the improvement in coal-burning technology all point to a continued market for American coal.

And let’s not forget that fossil fuels made up 81 percent of the fuels used to produce electricity in 2016, and coal is still the primary fossil fuel in electricity production.

Industry insiders, like Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray, see a partial resurgence in coal. “Coal will grow back,” he told Fox Business Network’s Stuart Varney. “But we’re in a decline right now.”

He went on to say that Trump “can bring back at least half of those [63,000 lost] jobs as the economy grows and as he ends the regulations on coal.” He noted that we have not had a level playing field in coal; “the government has been picking winners and losers.”

And he told Maria Bartiromo, also on Fox Business Network, former President Obama closed 411 coal-fired plants, and that the Clean Power Plan which Trump ended recently, would have closed 56 more plants. That, he said, would have caused a steep spike in electric rates.

“As [Trump] grows the economy [and] brings jobs back to America, coal will participate in that growth because we are one-sixth the cost of a windmill and one-fourth the cost of natural gas,” Murray said.

Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, said, “The coal industry knows and understands how to mine coal … and protect our environment. We don’t do it the way it was done 50, 60 years ago.”

Here are a few pieces of evidence:

* Reports from the Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia coalfield regions say that mines are cranking back up and miners are being rehired. Train yards are seeing cars filled with coal moving through them in greater numbers.

* Bluefield State College recently held a Job Fair to immediately fill 85 open coal positions at Wyoming and McDowell county mines that mine coal used in making steel.

* Fox News reports that in Wise County, Virginia, a “long-awaited revival is under way in this beleaguered Central Appalachia community where residents see coal as the once and future king. Trucks are running again. Miners working seven days a week cannot keep up with current demand.”

* Coal exports through Hampton Roads last month rose more than 50 percent from last year's level, led by a nearly five-fold increase at Newport News' Pier IX, according to the most recent Virginia Maritime Association statistics. "A lot of mines are open again," said Harry Childress, president of the Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance."

Few if any argue that the coal industry will return to its former greatness, but it will certainly endure for many years at a lower level if natural forces are allowed to work, free of politically correct environmental engineering.

When you replace regulations resulting from selfish ideological goals with a business regulatory level based upon common sense, good things can happen.

And for areas of the country like ours, that have suffered so greatly from Obama’s over-zealous EPA, this is good news.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Politics, not qualifications, will decide the Gorsuch nomination

Senate Democrats are doing the Stanky Legg Two-step in order to dance away from confirming a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court who is a federal judge provably as devoted to following the U.S. Constitution and the body of federal law as any nominee in many years.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, whose record on the bench of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is as nearly perfect as one can hope to achieve, is precisely the type of judge the Founders had in mind when they wrote the Constitution, a man in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia, whose vacancy he has been nominated to fill.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gorsuch said his law clerks had compiled information about his ten years on the bench of the 10th Circuit, which covers about 20 percent of the U.S. He has participated in more than 2,700 appeals, 97 percent of those cases were decided unanimously, and he was in the majority 99 percent of the time. How much more mainstream can one be?

His record clearly identifies him as a mainstream appellate judge, as has the American Bar Association, not an ideologue, or someone who plays favorites. Nevertheless, an exercise designed for confirming a qualified person to sit on the nation’s highest court has devolved into a political war.

U.S. law is a system of rules that govern behavior. Rules and laws must be followed and not following laws has penalties. In the U.S. laws are not static; they can be amended or repealed, but they must be amended or repealed through a specific process. However, some people – primarily liberal Americans – believe that this process may be circumvented by the rulings of activist judges when laws get in the way of their inclinations.

Gorsuch’s adherence to the law is the primary objection to his nomination, although some say it is also because the Republican majority in the Senate refused to take up the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the seat Gorsuch is now nominated for.

This, too, points to a Democrat anomaly. A principle relating to this situation arose in the U.S. Senate in 1992 when then-Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who was chair of the Judiciary Committee, said on the Senate floor that filling Supreme Court vacancies “that would occur in the full throes of an election year,” must be held to a different standard. Citing “a majority of his predecessors,” Biden said that the president, George H.W. Bush, should delay naming a replacement, which would de-politicize the nomination, at least for a while.

In March of last year, “in the full throes of an election year,” President Barack Obama ignored the advice that Biden, who was then his Vice President, had offered on the matter years before and nominated Judge Garland. The Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., however, liked Biden’s theory, and would not schedule hearings for Garland.

Democrats want judges that decide legal issues on whether their decisions fit the passions of the moment or have their preferred impact on the people, and therefore disapprove of the necessity to appoint judges that follow the Constitution and the law.

Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is upset with Republicans over the Merrick Garland issue, and will therefore not vote to confirm the highly qualified and squeaky-clean Gorsuch.

He spent 20 minutes on the Senate floor urging his fellow Democrats to oppose Trump’s nominee. Gorsuch, he said, “was unable to convince me he would be a mainstream justice who could rule free from the biases of politics and ideology.” And he said that Gorsuch “is someone who almost instinctively favors the powerful over the weak, corporations over Americans,” Schumer said. “He declined to answer question after question with any substance,” he said, referring to Gorsuch’s refusal to express his political beliefs or to prejudge issues that may come before the Court.

Others have equally irrelevant objections:

** Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Cal.: "As U.S. senators, we have an obligation to also examine a nominee's legal approach and ask whether he or she considers the impact of those decisions on our society and the daily lives of our people."

** "I cannot trust that President Trump is acting in the best interest of our country or our democracy and that I cannot support moving forward with his choice for the court," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

** Virginia Democrat and former vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine explained that, “After meeting with Judge Gorsuch and reviewing his testimony and past decisions, I’ve observed that he has repeatedly taken an activist approach to cases involving a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her health.” Kaine clearly does not understand judicial activism.

Senate Democrats threaten a filibuster to prevent a confirmation vote and ending the filibuster requires 60 votes. With 52 Republican senators, that will require the support of eight Democrats, and will be difficult to achieve.

Following the lead of former Nevada Democrat Harry Reid when he was Majority Leader, Republicans can use the “nuclear option” to allow a simple majority vote to confirm Gorsuch. Majority Leader McConnell has pledged that one way or another, Gorsuch will be confirmed.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Americans and business being driven away by taxes and regulations

It is frequently said and generally true, especially well into the 1900s, that America is a land of immigrants, due to the huge numbers of people that have flocked to the United States since the early 1600s when the Pilgrims began the process, crossing the ocean in a long and perilous journey seeking religious freedom. A major wave of immigrants arrived here during the colonial era, during which the United States of America was born, and another wave occurred from 1880 to 1920, as thousands arrived seeking greater economic opportunity.

While these periods saw immigrants voluntarily traveling to America, thousands of African slaves reached our shores, brought here against their will from the 17th century well into the 19th century.

Four hundred years after the Pilgrims sought freedom of religion, America is still a favored destination for people from many other nations, and many or most of them come from highly troubled circumstances in their home countries and seek a better life, and as we have seen more recently, many sneak across the borders, and some come here to cause trouble and pain.

Curiously today, we also find thousands of Americans voluntarily giving up their U.S. citizenship for that of other countries. This is a trend that has seen surprising growth over the last several years.

Looking back to 1998, 398 Americans gave up their citizenship, and through 2009 the number of American expats ranged from a low of 231 in 2008 to a high of 762 in 2005, which was the end of a slow but steady seven-year increase in expatriate activity, according to data from the U.S. Treasury Department. After that, the numbers bounced around below the 2005 high, but then in 2010 that number nearly doubled, with 1,534 Americans giving up citizenship. This was the start of a period of increasing numbers of expatriates for every year except one, until it peaked last year at 5,411.

Interestingly, more than one-third of those expats in 2016 took this step in the last quarter of the year when the presidential campaign ended and the election was held. This raises the question of whether so many did so in the last three months of the year because they feared Hillary Clinton would win the election, or whether they decided to split after Donald Trump defeated her to become president?

During the run-up to the election a long list of recognizable names threatened to leave the country if Trump won, including one Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It is worth noting that Ginsberg and many, or perhaps all, of the others threatening to leave are still here.

As these personalities were advertising what turned out to be their idle threats, countries like Canada and New Zealand advertised themselves as desirable destinations for Americans ready to abandon ship. As it turns out, New Zealand is the third most popular destination for American expatriates after Malta and Costa Rica, and followed by Mexico.

Why are people who are citizens of perhaps the most sought-after destination for people leaving other countries willing to give up U.S. citizenship to live somewhere else?

There are several reasons, such as that some of them fell in love with the culture and history of another country while on a trip abroad, and decided to move there. Or perhaps some may be immigrants who came here, became citizens, and want to return to their native land.

But another reason explains expatriation: The escalation of offshore penalties over the last 20 years is likely contributing to the increased incidence of expatriation, in the judgment of the tax attorneys who track expatriate data on their International Tax Blog. And US News adds that “The U.S. is one of a very small number of countries that tax based on nationality, not residency, leaving Americans living abroad to face double taxation.”

The U.S. tax code once again rears its ugly head. Its irrational design not only encourages businesses to move to other countries, but encourages individuals with earnings in other countries to abandon their citizenship, as well. However, President Donald Trump has pledged to overhaul the tax code, reducing tax rates on businesses and individuals, among other changes, and that may make a difference for these people.

Inside the tunnel where the Left lives, peering out on the world with their narrow view of things, everyone that makes a lot of money and every large company is an evil thing that threatens survival, so tax breaks that help the wealthy and the rich corporations are a bad thing.

But moving past the liberals’ tunnel vision, removing tax provisions and regulations that punish businesses and creating an environment that invites businesses, will encourage those that left to return and will help domestic businesses to expand and produce the jobs the country so badly needs.

Lowering personal tax rates and raising the standard deduction will leave more hard-earned income in the hands of regular people, who will then spend and/or invest it, both of which help the economy grow. And doing away with taxing foreign income will remove a factor encouraging people and their money to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What happens when judges abandon the Constitution and the law?

If you have read legal documents you will likely have noticed how detailed, specific and often obtuse the language is. The purpose of such language is to assure that the intent of the document is clearly set forth, and this language is well understood by lawyers.

However, despite the careful legal wording of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order (EO) temporarily suspending travel to the U.S. from seven countries with close ties to terrorism, U.S. District Judge James Robart in Washington found problems with the document last month, and issued a temporary stay. A revised second version of that EO, rewritten to avoid the objectionable parts of the first one, including removing one of the seven countries on the list, was found unacceptable by two other federal judges, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii, and Maryland U.S. District Court Judge Theodore Chuang.

The revised document may as well have been written in the language of the Klingons, because these two judges ignored the Order itself, rejecting the travel suspension due to negative statements about Muslim immigrants Trump made during the campaign.

Even though the people who have to implement the EO must do only what it says, the judges, in their infinite wisdom, decided that what they imagine to be the thinking of the president is more important than what the document actually mandates, even though those who follow the EO will have no knowledge of what the president thinks, and therefore no obligation to implement those opinions.

Apparently, these federal judges are confused about their jobs or perhaps just don’t care about professional ethics or their sworn duties. They apparently believe that in ruling on a legal document they should ignore the actual document that is being challenged, and instead rely on speculation about the opinions of the document’s creator, and act to protect certain rights of immigrants and foreigners that the Constitution does not assign to them.

Under 8 U.S. Code § 1182(f) Congress granted the President broad discretion to suspend the entry of “any class of aliens” into the United States, and independently broad discretion over the refugee program.

That section reads: “Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President - Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.” This section of the law goes on to assign the Attorney General authority over activities by airlines bringing in non-citizen passengers, further assigning complete authority over entry to the country to the executive branch of the government, not the judiciary.

The law is crystal clear in its meaning, and does not provide as exceptions to the power of the President the personal opinions of federal judges or the beliefs or motives that these unelected referees ascribe to the president.

Perhaps the reason these judges didn’t want to rule on the actual language and effect of the Order is that it disagrees with their personal opinions. The Heritage Foundation’s Hans Von Spakovsky, a former Department of Justice lawyer, told Breitbart, “I don’t think [these judges] have any professional shame about it — in fact, they’re being applauded by newspaper editors for actually ignoring the law and [Supreme Court] rulings based on their own personal policy preferences.”

He notes that, despite the plain text of the law and prior Supreme Court decisions, these rulings are “destructive of the rule of law, which is the entire basis of our Republic.” This, he said, “is a very bad development that threatens our democracy … [and] it looks like it is going to get worse [because] we’re going to have more and more litigation, and it is very clear that the progressive left wants to use the courts to fight the way our democracy works,” he said, adding “I think what they doing is very anti-democratic.”

Indeed. What can be worse for a country that lives by the rule of law than to have some judges that do not follow or honor the law or the Constitution, but instead make law from the bench or twist laws to suit their personal or political preferences? That is what liberal judges do, and this behavior has reached crisis proportions.

These legal rulings raise important questions:

What is the proper response to a federal court ruling that is so plainly contrary to the law? Should the Trump administration follow a clearly illegal ruling and attempt to overturn it though a lengthy appeal process, or defy the federal courts?

What should happen to judges who issue rulings are at odds with laws and the Constitution that they are sworn to uphold?

Aren’t these judges directly responsible for any harm done to American citizens as a result of persons with the intent to do harm getting into the country by virtue of their rulings?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Is this the end of Liberalism in the United States of America?

Have you noticed how unhinged many liberals have become since Donald Trump won the presidency? Of course you have; you can’t miss something that extensive and that crazy.

Many liberals, perhaps most, reside moderately to the left of the political center; but this is about the radicals who hang on by their fingernails to the left-most edge of the political spectrum, about to slip off into undisputed madness.

These leftmost folks have disentangled themselves from the general rules of common courtesy and civility where some may properly disagree with the ideas of others in a polite and accepting manner. These radicals are not just disagreeable but are becoming more militant and demanding, and want not to persuade others to their ideas, but to force their acceptance.

Whereas more reasonable folk hold the position that if they think smoking is a bad thing, they don’t smoke, or if they don’t think red meat is a good thing, they are vegans, or if they believe guns are always and forever dangerous and never suitable for personal ownership, they don’t buy a gun. The leftmost, by contrast, want to totally ban tobacco, red meat and guns, and will do their best to bring those bans to reality.

Protesting is protected speech in America, and we honor that right. But increasingly those protests sponsored by liberals turn to violence and destruction in their infantile temper tantrums of whining and foot stomping, demonization and name-calling. Demonstrating the character of those radicals, a Trump golf course in California and his Washington hotel have recently been vandalized. And if liberals think some group deserves special consideration and you don’t agree, you are called racist, misogynist, Nazi, fascist, immigrant-hater, etc.

And now, things are happening that are so bizarre that they can only be accurately described as deliberately dishonest, or just dumb. California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters actually said on MSNBC’s “Hardball” four days before the inauguration that Trump ought to be impeached. She implied that Trump had gotten campaign information from Russia, such as the names he called Hillary Clinton and others, and therefore he should be impeached, after he becomes president. Obviously, a president can be impeached only for wrongs committed while in office. Shouldn’t a long-time congressional representative know that?

On ABC’s “Good Morning America” David Wright attributed the timing of Trump’s U.S. Attorney purge to Fox News host Sean Hannity, noting the purge occurred one day after Hannity called for it on TV. These requested resignations are standard operating procedure when the new president is of a different political party than his predecessor, and any network news reporter ought to know that. Yet somehow because Hannity mentioned it on his show shortly before it occurred, it was Hannity that “ordered” the action, and Trump would not have done it otherwise. Fake news?

And it is much worse than those examples. Some liberals have sunk to a level below mere opposition. It is anti-Americanism: not the loyal opposition, but the disloyal political enemy. Among the more serious infractions is that appointees and holdovers from the previous administration apparently have leaked sensitive information to the media, which have eagerly reported these things, potentially breaking laws and committing treason.

While this behavior has been on the increase for a while, the election of Donald Trump has been like a dose of steroids, as if his election lifts the barriers to illegal and unethical behavior. People seem to have forgotten that, like him or not, Trump is the duly elected president, and while much of the opposition merely makes things more difficult for him, some of it puts the nation’s stability at risk.

Shelby Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, evaluates these changes in liberalism as follows: “The recent flurry of marches, demonstrations and even riots, along with the Democratic Party’s spiteful reaction to the Trump presidency, exposes what modern liberalism has become: a politics shrouded in pathos.”

He remembers how things were during the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, “when protesters wore their Sunday best and carried themselves with heroic dignity,” and bemoans today’s liberal marches, which he described as “marked by incoherence and downright lunacy — hats designed to evoke sexual organs, poems that scream in anger yet have no point to make, and an hysterical anti-Americanism. All this suggests lostness, the end of something rather than the beginning. What is ending?”

He continues, “Our new conservative president rolls his eyes when he is called a racist, and we all — liberal and conservative alike — know that he isn’t one. The jig is up. Bigotry exists, but it is far down on the list of problems that minorities now face.” Reaching back into his own experiences, he notes, “I grew up black in segregated America, where it was hard to find an open door. It’s harder now for young blacks to find a closed one.”

Calling current liberalism “an anachronism,” Steele goes on to explain that what we have today is not liberalism, but “moral esteem over reality; the self-congratulation of idealism.” And he concludes with the post mortem: “Liberalism is exhausted because it has become a corruption.”