“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, June 25, 2010

Thomas Jefferson's Stimulus Bill

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much our federal government has strayed from its roots.

Founded as the second compact between 13 successfully rebellious colonies, the Constitutions enshrined a limited cooperative agreement among those original states at a time when everyone realized that the states were, well, "states" in their own rights. That is, sovereign political entities which ceded some of their taxing and domestic, and pretty much all foreign affairs and military powers, to a federal government which existed at their joint consent.

During Jefferson's term of office, the prelude to the War of 1812, also occasionally known as "The Second American Revolution," was in full swing. British naval vessels impressed American seamen born in Britain. Jefferson, a Francophile, wouldn't abandon the French, but wouldn't declare war on the British, either.

His solution?

The embargo. Being possessed with no particular head or sense for commerce and business, Jefferson closed US ports to trade with both England and France, thus destroying New England's economy for several years during the century's first decade.

I vividly recall my grade school history book's period cartoon illustrating angry Boston seamen carrying signs saying, "O Grab Me!," a clever punctuation of the embargo's palindrome. They were so enraged with Jefferson's action that they'd rather risk impressment by the British than suffer certain economic failure at the hands of Jefferson's ineptitude.

Still, during the period of Jefferson's awful foreign policy blunder, 1807-1809, there was no stimulus bill.

Nobody in Congress, to my knowledge, authored a relief bill to pay idled merchant seamen or merchants affected by the economic downturn in the nation's seafaring regions.

Jefferson isn't famous for a speech imploring Congress to authorize a massive debt issue in order to allow Treasury to pay unemployed New Englanders and others hurt by the senseless Embargo Act. Because he didn't make one.

The founding fathers would be absolutely incredulous to see today's federal government simply run the money presses faster and borrow more money in financial markets to pay the unemployed. I would not be surprised if they would consider such action as grounds for a suit involving the unlawful exercise of federal power.

Funding a shooting war is one thing.

Borrowing just to pay for pork barrel make-work projects and fund yet another in a series of unemployment benefits bills is quite another. And unjustifiable in any era.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

McChrystal's Calculated "Gaffe"

Does anyone really think General Stanley McChrystal didn't know what he was doing when he sat for the Rolling Stone interview?

Surely, this was not an accident or simply a case of, as yesterday's Wall Street Journal lead staff editorial contended, "bad judgement."

McChrystal headed SOG command and may be considered among the most elite and higher ranking Army officers on duty. Being SOG-trained and its commander, it's easy to imagine the General and his staffers seeing Wonderboy and his staff as a joke. And feeling it an insult to have to report to the First Rookie as Commander in Chief.

A guy like McChyrstal can probably only take so much political interference and incompetence before he believes he has a choice to make- between his troops' safety and the accomplishment of his mission, or silence and failure.

McChrystal chose the former, and the loss of his job. Probably resignation to follow shortly. I personally believe he had chosen this end with full knowledge as he began the fateful interview.

I'm curious as to why he even made a pretense of apologizing to people whom he derided in the interview. Does he really care?

I think not.

After a career of dangerous service to his nation, including stints in the blackest ops element of the service, McChrystal sacrificed the remainder of that career to highlight to the American people, in a very public manner, the mistakes and fecklessness of Wonderboy's administration and its hapless approach to military conflict.

We owe General McChrystal a major debt for his courage in speaking his mind and consenting to pay the inevitable price for that in our system of civilian control of the military.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Will The Drilling Moratorium Become Wonderboy's Schecter Case?

Yesterday's news that a federal court judge had overturned Wonderboy's drilling moratorium could be big, big news for the Rookie's presidential career.

Of course, his DOJ immediately filed an appeal. I didn't notice if the venue is one of the dyed-in-the-wool liberal appellate panels, or not.

But the news reminded me of Amity Schlaes book, The Forgotten Man, which I was reading at this time last year.

Unbeknownst to most people, the event which began to unravel the New Deal, and, most significantly, the NRA, was when the government lost its suit against the Schecters, Jewish butchers in New York City. The details wouldn't seem to be important anymore, but the nature of them actually could be.

New Deal regulation was so minute that it forbid butchers to offer customers a choice of which fowl to purchase and have, well, butchered. The Schecters were found to be in violation of this, which was a 'wages and hours' type of crime. When the whole mess ended, the Schecters went free and the NRA's basis was undermined.

I heard some of the language of yesterday's superior court decision. The judge rather sensibly noted that just because BP's rig exploded is no reason to believe that every offshore rig in US waters is also about to explode.

I don't know the basis on which the appeal has been lodged. It matters, of course, because appellate courts judge and rule on the application of laws, not the full case, itself.

Should be an interesting show to watch, because you can bet the company which brought the suit, a drilling services firm, if I recall, is sure to appeal any reversal of the superior court up to the Supreme Court.

FDR's larger New Deal fell apart on a case involving plucking and butchering chickens.

Will Wonderboy's term lose momentum and begin to die over a hastily, ill-advised and deceptively-presented (i.e., the lie that seven engineers had argued for the ban) offshore drilling ban?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Glenn Beck's Allegation Concerning Brazilian Oil Exploration

Fox News employee Glenn Beck made a rather stunning set of allegations last week which would seem to be real breaking news about Wonderboy's oil and energy policy. If true, you'd think it would be on headlines in major print and network media. If false, you'd think Beck's unfounded allegations would be there, instead.

Here's what Beck contends. He claims that George Soros, through, I believe, one of his funds, has long positions in Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company.

It is alleged by Beck that Wonderboy had the United States loan or give $2B to Brazil for Petrobras to drill for oil in deep waters off of their coast.

Beck's point was the incredibly obvious corruption involved. Soros has funded think tanks which have written legislation passed by this Congress, at our First Rookie's behest.

Now, it appears that he has given US money to a foreign country and/or its oil firm, in which that adviser has a position, thereby apparently endorsing and facilitating Brazil's own deep water drilling.

Oh, yes, while Wonderboy has issued a moratorium on US deep water drilling, wrongly claiming seven engineering experts called for it.

This is terribly corrupt.

Why hasn't any major news outlet pursued this story to crucify either Wonderboy and Soros, or Beck?

Monday, June 21, 2010

David Souter's Faulty Logic

Two attorneys and law professors, John McGinnis and Michael Rappaport, wrote a nice little piece in last Monday's Wall Street Journal revealing Supreme Court Justice's David Souter's shocking inability to employ logic correctly.

The authors noted Souter's recent Harvard commencement address, wherein the quirky Justice decried original intent as a "simplistic" reading of the Constitution. He then went on to hail Brown v. Board of Education as an example of using current social values to overrule the Constitution.

However, as McGinnis and Rappaport explain, this isn't true. The Plessy decision which Brown reversed was, itself, a product of then-current racial realities, as interpreted by that era's Supreme Court. Plessy, thus, was an example of what Souter claims to favor, but, oddly, a case which he then supports having been overturned.

You can see the problem. Souter comes down on both sides of the issue. He was against Plessy, a decision which exemplified his view that the Constitution should be molded to fit current societal values. Then he also supports the case that overturned that prior case.

More evidence that some Justices need to just be ignored, because they can't manage to reason their way to a simple, consistent, logical conclusion.

Time for those Supreme Court and other federal bench term limits.