Friday, January 31, 2020

The Equal Rights Amendment died in 1982. But is it really dead?

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), aimed at providing legal equality of the sexes and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, was first proposed nearly a century ago, in 1923. Four decades later, sponsored by New York Democrat Rep. Bella Abzug, with the support of well-known feminists Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, the ERA was introduced in Congress. It was approved by the House in October of 1971 and by the Senate in March of 1972. It was then sent to the states for ratification, where more than 30 states ratified it within a year.

However, ratification requires the approval of three-quarters, or 38, of the 50 states to become an Amendment to the Constitution, and it fell short. At the seven-year deadline for its ratification set by Congress, and even after the deadline was extended to 1982 by Congress and signed by President Jimmy Carter, fewer than 38 states had ratified the ERA.

In 2018, nearly 40 years after the initial and the extended deadlines had expired, the Illinois legislature adopted a resolution to ratify the ERA, making 37 of the 38 states needed for ratification. 

Earlier this month the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Democrat-controlled General Assembly became the necessary 38thstate to ratify, when the House passed the ERA. Whether this effort matters, or was just a waste of time depends upon whether the deadlines set for ratification by Congress are valid.

This situation is made even more complicated by the fact that five states which previously ratified the ERA had rescinded their approval before the initial deadline occurred. ERA advocates insist, first, that the deadlines did not end the viability of the proposal, and second, that those five states could not rescind their approval.

Logically, if Congress has the authority to pass and send to the states proposals that may become Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, it also has the authority to set a time limit for ratification of these proposals.

Advocates argue that both the initial and the extended time limits should be ignored. But if advocates thought an extension of the deadline was necessary to extend the ratification period until 1982, how can they now argue that deadlines are not valid?

Furthermore, precedent was established for Congress setting a time limit on ratification when, starting with the 18thAmendment and continuing through the last one, the 27th Amendment, Congress did set expiration dates for ratification.

Advocates’ argument that states may not rescind their ratification of the proposed Amendment also seems weak. If a state has the authority to pass a state constitution and state laws, does it not also have the authority to amend that constitution and those laws? If states can pass and amend constitutions and laws, why can they not ratify and then rescind ratification of Amendments to the U.S. Constitution?

The effort to pass the ERA in the 70s and 80s fell short, in part because of efforts of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly in opposition to it. But had there been truly strong sentiment for the ERA, it would have passed then. And today, decades later, the equality between men and women has substantially improved. Why, then, is the ERA needed?

Following the Illinois vote for ratification in 2018, an article in Business Insider by Daniella Greenbaum stated that “[w]e are no longer living in a time in which women don't have the right to vote or own property. The status of women in the United States could not be more different now than it was in the 1920s, when the ERA was first written.”

Jarrett Stepman, a contributor to The Daily Signal, suggests that among the many potential problems the ERA would cause today if ratified, four deserve discussion.

“Perhaps one of the clearest results of the ERA would be that it would almost be impossible to exclude women from the draft,” he wrote. “At 18 years-old, women would have to sign up for Selective Service just like men. Though the reinstatement of the draft in the near future is unlikely, in any case in which the draft was deemed necessary, women would be included due to the ERA. Given the legal push to open up all combat roles to women, this could have potentially profound societal and individual consequences.”

The second of the four is the possible abolishment of same-sex bathrooms in public buildings. This issue has already become the subject of fierce debate, and more than a few sexual assault crimes have resulted from the creation of gender-neutral bathrooms.

The end of government-funded women-only shelters and other such facilities that help battered women and women harmed by domestic violence is a third problem.

And last, but hardly least, the ERA could force the “right” to taxpayer funding of abortion into the Constitution, at least in Medicare cases where abortion was a “medically necessary procedure,” equal to a “medically necessary procedure” for men.

However, the abortion lobby will certainly seek expansion of federal money for abortions.

Abortion is rarely “medically necessary,” given that unwanted pregnancy nearly always results from voluntary actions, not involuntary actions, like rape or incest. Given that truth, there is little reason for any federal money to be used for abortion. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

Is it desperation that pushes the left to promote such crazy ideas?

Democrat Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and one of a dozen candidates for the Democrat nomination for president, offered his thoughts following the West Freeway Church shooting in Texas recently. 

“It’s the job of law enforcement to have guns and to decide when to shoot. You just do not want the average citizen carrying a gun in a crowded place.” Bloomberg said.

You could fill several large sports venues with what Bloomberg doesn't know. But as ignorant as he appears to be on this issue, you might expect him to understand that because several non-law enforcement persons had weapons at the Texas church that Sunday, rather than perhaps dozens of parishioners being killed or injured, the murderer only killed one parishioner and injured another one.

Can things go wrong in situations such as this one? Of course. But two things must not be forgotten: First, there aren't enough law enforcement officers to provide protection in every place where groups gather, and it takes valuable minutes for them to respond to calls, and second, as demonstrated by the armed parishioners of West Freeway Church, there are many law-abiding citizens who are trained and skilled enough to effectively act to end a shooting, saving many lives.

As President Donald Trump indicated in a tweet following the incident, “It was over in 6 seconds thanks to the brave parishioners who acted to protect 242 fellow worshippers,” “Lives were saved by these heroes, and Texas laws allowing them to carry guns!”

                                                                                    * * * * *

On the day the impeachment process got under way in the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., dressed in black for the occasion, and declared, “I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the President of the United States.”

The House then rushed through its phase of the impeachment process, where the case against the president is to be built through testimony of witnesses with knowledge of the wrongs under investigation. The House was in such a hurry to save the country from Donald Trump that they couldn’t spare the time to have the third arm of the federal government — the judiciary — to resolve the stand-off blocking some witnesses the Democrat majority wanted to call. 

Pelosi, curiously, then put the two Articles of Impeachment the House felt rushed to create in a drawer for a couple of weeks. The House finally voted last week to transmit the Articles to the Senate where the second phase — the trial — is to take place, based upon the case developed by the House during the initial phase.

Prior to delivering the Articles to the Senate, Pelosi passed out commemorative pens made specifically to celebrate the solemn occasion that she had previously described. They completed the ceremony by singing, “We’ve Been Working On A Railroad.”

Then the group sang “We Love A Parade” as they walked across the Capital building to the Senate chamber. 

                                                                                       * * * * * *

Democrat hopefuls seem to take it as a challenge to see which of them can develop the craziest idea. Wild ideas that are both unworkable and ridiculously expensive, like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, both of which have the added element of increasing the federal government’s control over our lives, now have a new partner.

At last Wednesday’s town hall, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., unveiled another grandiose plan to decarbonize the U.S. She said that her administration will decree that any new buildings built from 2028 onwards must be carbon neutral.

Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe, she declared, “What scares me is every time you go back to the scientists, they tell you two things. It's worse than we thought and we have less time. That means we've got to be willing to do things, for example, like regulation. By 2028, no new buildings, no new houses, without a zero-carbon footprint."

Back in September she described her plan to stop using fossil fuels to produce electricity. 

“I think the way we get there,” is to say, “sorry, guys but by 2035, you’re done. You’re not going to be using any more carbon-based fuels,” she said. “That gets us to the right place.”

Warren added, “In my administration, we’re not going to build any new nuclear power plants, and we are going to start weaning ourselves off nuclear energy and replacing it with renewable fuels. We’re going to get it all done by 2035, but I hope we’re getting it done faster than that. That’s the plan.”

The Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) tells us that in June 2019, energy plants around the country produced a total of 352 million megawatt-hours of electricity, as follows:  Natural gas-powered plants accounted for 39% of it, coal 22%, nuclear 20%.

The preferred so-called “clean” energy sources, including hydroelectric power, provided less than 18 percent: wind less than 7 percent, solar 3.3 percent, hydro about 8 percent.

If current trends continue, the EIA projects that by 2035 renewables will generate only 24 percent of electric power, and by 2050 only 29 percent.

Warren did not explain where the rest of the needed electricity will come from.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Gervais pleased many, angered others at Golden Globe awards show

Don’t you get sick of seeing and hearing people in the entertainment industry, including athletes, when they inform us of how we should think about things, especially things outside their miniscule area of expertise? We may even wish there was a way to stop them.

But then, if they were somehow convinced to stop their proselytizing and propagandizing, we would lose the exciting evidence of their egotism and often their idiocy.

Last week, for those who watched the Golden Globes, it was a celebration of comeuppance for those purveyors of “I know better than you do” when the host, comedian Ricky Gervais, gave the audience and viewers a great show.

At the top he announced that it was his “last time” hosting the show and then proceeded to do what so many of us have been wanting someone to do: put virtue-signaling Hollywood in its place. 

“Let’s go out with a bang, let’s have a laugh at your expense,” he said. “Remember, they’re just jokes. We’re all gonna die soon and there’s no sequel, so remember that.”

Suggesting to them the way they should behave in accepting an award, he said, “So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So, if you win, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent, and your God and [expletive deleted] off, OK?”

Gervais poked fun at a few folks. He teased Leonardo DiCaprio, who has a penchant for women younger than his 45 years, and the premier of his new two-hour and 40-minute film “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” 

“Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere and by the end — his date was too old for him,” he said. “Even Prince Andrew is like, ‘Come on mate, you’re nearly 50.'” he said, as DiCaprio laughed approvingly.

He got a bit edgy about director Martin Scorsese, making fun of his feud with the Marvel franchise, comparing the fight with a theme park, and mocking Scorsese’s diminutive height. Gervais said, “I don’t know what he’s doing at theme parks.” He’s not big enough to go on the rides.”

“Lots of big celebrities here tonight,” he said. “Legends. Icons. This table alone — Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro … Baby Yoda. Oh, that’s Joe Pesci, sorry. I love you man. Don’t have me whacked.”

For the most part, the celebrity-infested audience took it pretty well. 

Pat Sajak, the long-time host of “Wheel of Fortune,” also has taken it to our entertainment betters, although in a much less splashy way. “I’m sick of hearing how we celebrities are in some kind of bubble and we don’t understand real life,” he tweeted. “When I’m out in public and people approach me, I’m always interested in what they have to say to my security detail.”

In another tweet last August, Sajak took it upon himself as a celebrity to help Americans understand how to live well: “As you probably know, we celebrities are uniquely qualified to tell you how to live and what to think, and I take that responsibility seriously. I’m working hard, and I expect to have my list of rules available in a week or so. Meantime, just do your best on your own.”

Following the Las Vegas massacre in 2017, celebrities rushed to Twitter, cameras and other outlets to make sure everyone knew exactly what they thought about it. Unable to resist the opportunity to poke them, Sajak tweeted, “OK, let me explain this again: We’re celebs. We’re wiser & more empathetic than you. We are famous. Please take our opinions more seriously.”

However, while the winners took Gervais’ ribbing pretty well, they didn’t take his advice on how to properly accept their awards, holding forth with their predictably self-important advice and political opinions.

Without giving them undeserved promotion, the following nameless winners got political:
* One big name, who was not present, but had submitted an acceptance message, blamed climate change for the Australian fires.
* Another condemned President Trump’s killing of the Iranian terrorist Qassem Suleimani.
* A third used her acceptance speech to defend killing the unborn.

The news media, on the other hand, was horrified at the insolent treatment of the nation’s beloved elite. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, Vulture, USA Today, and others blasted Gervais for daring to speak so negatively about America’s cherished celebrities.

Summing it all up, The Federalist wrote: “If the Monday morning analyses of Gervais’s hosting gig are to be believed, we really ought to be more sensitive to those poor celebrities and not be so ‘just plain mean’ to them simply for ‘having hope.’ Entertainment writer and self-proclaimed ‘neoliberal shill coastal elitist’ Bob Chipman even suggested that celebrities are a marginalized people who don’t deserve to be skewered this way.”

Having been duly chastised for our brief period of enjoyment at the celebrities’ discomfort, we will now obediently go back to bowing and scraping before them.

Remember, they’re just jokes.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

A few days into the new year, and Trump’s already in trouble!

An American drone attacked and killed the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, terrorist Qasem Soleimani, last Thursday night in Bagdad, Iraq. The action, one of President Donald Trump’s first acts in 2020, has earned him the wrath of Iran, Democrats, and much of the news media.

The Federalist reported, “According to the State Department, Soleimani’s Quds Forces plotted a terrorist attack against the Saudi Arabian Ambassador on American soil in 2011 that was luckily foiled. And in 2018, Iran and the IRGC were found liable in U.S. federal court for the 1996 Khobar Towers Bombing which resulted in the loss of 19 American lives.”

Iran is and has been the top state sponsor of terrorism for a long time, and as its top general, Soleimani had much blood on his hands, having killed or badly wounded thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis, and Lebanese, and killed some seven hundred Americans over the last decade or so. And just last month an attack on a U.S. base in Iraq killed an American contractor and wounded several American and Iraqi forces. He was one of the most evil and wanted creatures on the planet.

And, the Trump administration said that Soleimani was planning attacks against other American troops in the region. But neither those statistics nor that explanation was enough to dampen criticism from the anti-Trump faction and media.

The attack on Soleimani served as retaliation for the December attack, and a pre-emptive act for planned attacks. Preventing attacks is far better than avenging previous ones, although the latter is better than nothing.

Among the interesting responses from the MSM: The Washington Post labeled Soleimani to be “Iran’s most revered military leader.” CBS News referred to the terrorist as both a “revered figure” and a “war hero.” A New York Timesjournalist tweeted a video of Soleimani reading poetry. Another journalist compared his death to the killing of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Captain America. And one critic imagined that this attack somehow represented an “act of war,” as if Soleimani was not already at war with us.

The media discovered yet another new word, after discovering “existential” last year. This was Trump’s “Benghazi,” a term rarely used after the 2012 attack when an American ambassador and three brave associates were murdered at the American diplomatic compound in Libya. Multiple pleas for assistance were ignored or refused, while then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-President Barack Obama unconcernedly sipped herbal tea in the safety of their offices.

Comparing Trump’s exercise to Benghazi is a preposterous concept, even for Congressional Democrats: four Americans died in Benghazi because the Obama administration failed to act; no Americans died in the Bagdad attack when President Trump acted.

And, of course, Democrats were horrified, angered, perplexed, and ran for their safe spaces. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., criticized Trump for leaving Congress out of the decision and for the retaliation Iran promised. 

“American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests. But we cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats, and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions,” Pelosi said in a written statement. “Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence.  America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.”

In 2011, another terrorist with American blood on his hands was sent to hell by the U.S. military. The Obama administration did not notify Congress prior to the raid that took out Osama bin Laden. But somehow Trump’s action against Soleimani required Congressional approval. Pelosi and the rest need to understand that the U.S. President is also the Commander-in-Chief of America’s military, whether a Democrat or a Republican.

A President Pelosi, if the nation were ever to be so hopelessly unfortunate, would apparently prefer to let Soleimani keep killing Americans a few at a time, forever. Perhaps she has forgotten, if she ever knew, that Iran has been a rogue nation for decades, breaking terms of the nuclear deal that was supposed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons with abandon, and killing people — including hundreds of Americans — at will.

The Iraqis had a divided response to the death of the terrorist. Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi called the U.S. drone strike an “assassination.” “Why would the Soleimani assassination not immediately trigger a limited or even major conflict?” he said in a statement. “The structural factors are powerful.”

On the other hand, many Iraqi citizens were celebrating the demise of the terrorist, who was in Iraq talking to an Iraqi militia leader for some reason. The militia leader also died in the attack.

Under Trump’s presidency, a number of terrorist leaders that have been eliminated: Hamza bin Laden, son and successor of Osama bin Laden; ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and likely successor Abu Hassan al-Muhajir;
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of Kataeb Hezbollah or the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF); and now Qasem Soleimani.

Having a president who fights back sends a beneficial message to the world, a message missing from the U.S. for a long time. If you kill Americans, this president will repond.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year! The roaring twenties? Or, the middling twenties?

The new year is upon us, and our country enters the decade of the 20s with significant problems, as happens most years. But, it also begins with some positive elements.

Among the negatives and troublesome issues are: 
* Illegal immigration and illegal aliens benefitting from their misconduct, as American jurisdictions protect and cater to them. 
* There is far too much crime and dislike of, and violence against law enforcement. 
* Continued mechanization of work will gradually end job possibilities for Americans still in school, or who lack training or skills, and are doing low-skilled and unskilled work.
* Budget deficits and an enormous $23 trillion national debt require serious attention.
* K-12 schools often perform below standards, and too often brainwash kids, rather than focusing their attention on subject matter.
* Foolish political correctness and historical and factual ignorance has produced excitement over foolish ideas like the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and misfocused attention on gun control.
* Venomous political division, which reaches its peak with the hatred of President Donald Trump. 

Trump’s unpopularity is due in part to his divisive behavior. But much, or most, of it stems from him being an “outsider.” He defied all the expert political pundits, confounded all the pre-nomination and pre-election pollsters, and won election in the political arena, where he was an absolute green-horn. The insiders were and are beside themselves.

He doesn’t do things in the “approved” way, and that really bothers a lot of people. However, Trump is not the only president to do things that lots of folks didn’t like. That history of other nonconformist presidents should help people understand that being different isn’t necessarily bad.

Trump threatens the continued existence of “the swamp,” the “Deep State,” the unelected bureaucratic establishment, which has gained much power through the years. With that power an out-of-all-reason sense of privilege developed and produced the fallacious idea that these mere public servants really run the country. These misguided employees resent and resist obeying those who hold office, their bosses.

Trump really is an “existential threat” to that group, a group that includes James Clapper, John Brennan, James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and a cast of hundreds or thousands of federal employees and politicians who play the treasonous game.

Trump’s divergent approach to governing/government drives the swamp-dwellers crazy, not only because of the way he does and says things, but because he doesn’t behave in the proper way, and often doesn’t follow their advice.

Worse, in undoing so much of what went on before his election, actions that did much damage to the country, many positive results have occurred that drive the opposition doubly crazy, as their behavior so plainly illustrates.

First, Trump is different, and that is not acceptable, and they also find him disagreeable, disgusting and uncouth. Second, he is successful! Not everything he ran on has come about, but many good things are happening that were not supposed to happen.

Which of those angers Democrats the most? Probably Trump’s successes. It must be frustrating to have a president that they dislike and wasn’t supposed to win, that has done things they either haven’t been able to do, or that they didn’t want done.

Consequently, the opposition is devoted to bringing him down, and will use anything they can dream up to do it. Hence, the badly flawed impeachment and removal process. 

There are many good things going on that we should be thankful for, several of them in the economic sector, which lead to broader improvements in the lives of most Americans:
* A reduction in business-paralyzing regulations has spurred business expansion and job development.
* More than 7 million new jobs have been created since 2017; there are now 1.2 million more job openings than people needing a job; a 50-year low unemployment rate, record lows in Hispanic and Black unemployment; and an increase in the workforce participation rate.
* 6.4 million fewer people now need food stamps, since more of them are working again.
* Median household income, adjusted for inflation, has risen by 8.2 percent, or $5,003 since January 2017.
* The reduction in tax rates has enabled people to keep more of their earnings, raising their standard of living.
* Lower interest rates have decreased the cost of buying a home or a new car, and other borrowing.
* There are 187 new originalist (non-activist) judges now on the federal courts.
* Slowly, the foreign involvement of our troops is being reduced.

These are things Trump campaigned on. Some of his campaign issues have been accomplished, and others are yet to be accomplished. Most of these things have the support of the voting public.

A great way to start the new year, with an election less than a year away, is to adopt a pro-America attitude. Stop trying to reverse the results of the 2016 election and accept Trump as president. Then, acknowledge the good that is happening, focus on the problem areas and work to improve them.

And, if you are not satisfied with the current occupant of the White House, you can vote for a new president in November.