by Jonah Goldberg
If you don’t mind, I’m going to skip the preliminary bouts over which party is more hypocritical for switching its views on Supreme Court nominees. Democrats now insist that decency and precedent require Republicans to green-light anyone President Obama nominates to replace John Paul Stevens, and Republicans insist that there’s nothing wrong with them adopting the tactics and standards advocated by Democrats — including then-Sen. Obama — when George W. Bush was in office.
Instead, I’d like to get to the heart of the matter. Obama and the vast majority of Senate Democrats believe that Lady Justice should peek from under the blindfold every now and then.
Obama opposed both of President Bush’s Supreme Court appointees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, presumably because they lacked what he called the “quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles.” And in his run for the presidency, Obama said in 2007, “We need somebody who’s got the heart — the empathy — to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African American or gay or disabled or old — and that’s the criteria by which I’ll be selecting my judges.”
According to Obama — a former law instructor — in 95 percent of the cases, precedent and the law are clear enough for judges to go with the rules, but in the last 5 percent, judges have got to have a heart that bleeds for certain kinds of people.
Sean Hannity FREE
Last week, the president offered a more populist spin, saying he wants a nominee who “knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.” The Associated Press calls this a “fight-for-the-little-guy sensibility.”
According to Obama and countless other liberals, this sort of compassion in the law is “pragmatic” because it pays heed to the real world and real people as opposed to legalistic abstractions such as impartial justice. As former Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman put it last year: “I’ve never been sure why Lady Justice wore a blindfold as part of her permanent wardrobe. Yes, it’s supposed to be a symbol of impartiality. But it does limit her vision a bit.” For Goodman, the best judges reject the “myth” of impartiality.
Of course impartial justice is an abstraction, but it isn’t so much a myth as an ideal. Since we are all designed from the crooked timber of humanity, we can only approximate perfect justice.
What I don’t understand is why we should abandon an ideal simply because it is unattainable. If I can’t be a perfect husband, should I get a divorce? If an umpire can’t call each game flawlessly, should he stop trying? Maybe for 95 percent of pitches the ump should call ’em straight, but for the other 5 percent he should give the black or gay batters the benefit of the doubt?
In a country this vast, diverse and dynamic, any judicial conception of the little guy is bound to confuse more than it clarifies.
For instance, liberals who like Stevens’ rulings insist he understands the plight of the downtrodden, despite the fact that the nearly 90-year-old justice was born rich and has served on the court for almost 35 years, becoming more liberal as he has become more distant from life as lived by the little guys.
Meanwhile, Clarence Thomas was born dirt poor and black in rural Georgia and spends his vacations exploring America in an RV. But those same liberals insist he doesn’t understand poverty and race the way Stevens does. How do they know? Because they don’t like his rulings.
In other words, the empathy-for-the-little-guy standard is simply a Trojan horse for an approach just as abstract as any endorsed by the right. In fact, I would say it’s more abstract because at least there’s a text conservatives invoke — the Constitution — rather than the indefinable feeling of “empathy.”
Unless the plight of every gay, black, poor, old or disabled American is the same, then coming into court favoring a specific category of human being is nothing more than state-sanctioned prejudice.
The benefit of the ideal of impartial justice is that it provides a standard by which judges aren’t asked to rule by prejudice. We’ll never fully get there, but I don’t think we should stop trying.
Published at Town Hall
by Phyllis Schlafly
Income tax day, April 15, 2010, now divides Americans into two almost equal classes: those who pay for the services provided by government and the freeloaders. The percentage of Americans who will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009 has risen to 47 percent.
That isn’t the worst of it. The bottom 40 percent not only pay no income tax, but the government sends them cash or benefits financed by the taxes dutifully paid by those who do pay income tax.
The outright cash handouts include the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which can amount to as much as $5,657 a year to low-income families. Other financial benefits can include child tax credits, welfare, food stamps, WIC (Women, Infants, Children), housing subsidies, unemployment benefits, Medicaid, S-CHIP and other programs.
Sean Hannity FREE
This is both a massive transfer of wealth and a soak-the-rich racket. The top 10 percent pay 73 percent of the income taxes collected by the federal government.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has become the congressional leader in explaining details of the recently passed Health Control Law. He says that, based on Congressional Budget Office figures, taxes to pay for Obamacare will have to skyrocket to an 88 percent income tax rate within 30 years.
Although all wage-earners help fund their own Social Security and Medicare benefits, only federal income taxpayers pay the costs of running the federal government, and are responsible for paying off our $12.8 trillion national debt and for bailing out Social Security, Medicare, and Fannie and Freddie when they collapse.
Even the recently passed Health Control Law contains financial subsidies to unmarried couples that are denied to married couples. This rewards the unmarried women who were the second largest demographic constituency that voted for Barack Obama for president in 2008.
When Obama told Joe the Plumber he wanted to “spread the wealth around,” Obama wasn’t kidding. That’s exactly what he is now doing: taking money from taxpayers and spreading it around to non-taxpayers.
Nor was Obama kidding when, on the eve of his election, he threatened, “We are going to fundamentally transform the United States of America.” Converting the earnings of American workers into handouts for those who voted for Obama in 2008 is certainly a fundamental transformation.
Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on middle-Americans is already down the drain. Obama brought former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker out of obscurity to serve as chairman of an Economic Recovery Advisory Board and announce that we need to raise taxes.
Volcker was blunt in predicting that the new tax increase will be a Value-Added Tax (VAT). That’s the tax European socialists love because its rates can be hidden and frequently raised, while producing rivers of revenue for the bureaucrats.
Volcker claimed that a VAT is “not a toxic idea.” It really is — Charles Krauthammer called it “the ultimate cash cow” because it transfers so much money from individuals to the government.
Having already co-opted the executive and legislative branches of government for his fundamental transformation, Obama now wants to use the judiciary, too. The retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens gives him this opportunity.
On Jan. 18, 2001m on Public Radio WBEZ-FM, Chicago, Obama complained that the Earl Warren Court “wasn’t that radical” because “it didn’t break free from the essential constraints placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution. … The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and serve more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”
Calling for the Supreme Court to participate in the “redistribution of wealth” is shockingly revolutionary. Any judicial nominee who agrees with Obama’s theory should be rejected.
Obama’s game plan to “fundamentally transform” America is based on both Saul Alinsky’s modus operandi for community organizing and on the Cloward-Piven spending strategy. Saul Alinsky was a famous Chicago radical, and Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven were less-well-known Columbia University sociologists.
The goal of all three of these agitators was the overthrow of the private enterprise system. The Alinsky strategy is to use community organizing and mass demonstrations by those he labeled the “Have Nots,” and the Cloward-Piven strategy is to overload the bureaucracy with enormous demands for entitlements, thereby causing a financial crisis.
Obama used Alinsky methods by taxpayer financing of ACORN and subprime mortgages. Obama used Cloward-Piven methods by massive deficit spending for entitlements for more and more millions of people.
Fortunately, hardworking, taxpaying Americans are beginning to understand how they are being ripped off and rushed into bankruptcy. The one way to save ourselves and our country is to elect a Congress in November pledged to stop the spending.
Published at townhall.com
@ April 14, 2010 8:23 AM
Barack Obama and the Democrats are so eager to make America more like Europe. With our current spending levels and our soon-to-be taxation techniques – the value-added tax – they are well on their way to solidifying a full-fledged moocher society. Which leads me to this …. coming soon to the United States:
The Davey family’s Â£815-a-week state handouts pay for a four-bedroom home, top-of-the-range mod cons and two vehicles including a Mercedes people carrier.
Father-of-seven Peter gave up work because he could make more living on benefits.
Yet he and his wife Claire are still not happy with their lot.
With an eighth child on the way, they are demanding a bigger house, courtesy of the taxpayer.
Mrs Davey has never had a full-time job while her 35-year-old husband gave up his post in administration nine years ago after realising they would be better off living off the state.
At their semi on the Isle of Anglesey, the family have a 42in flatscreen television in the living room with Sky TV at Â£50 a month, a Wii games console, three Nintendo DS machines and a computer – not to mention four mobile phones.
With their income of more than Â£42,000 a year, they run an 11-seater minibus and the seven-seat automatic Mercedes.
But according to the Daveys they have nothing to be thankful for.
‘It doesn’t bother me that taxpayers are paying for me to have a large family,’ added Mrs Davey.
‘We couldn’t afford to care for our children without benefits, but as long as they have everything they need, I don’t think I’m selfish.
‘Most of the parents at our kids’ school are on benefits.’
She added: ‘I don’t feel bad about being subsidised by people who are working. I’m just working with the system that’s there.
‘If the government wants to give me money, I’m happy to take it. We get what we’re entitled to. I don’t put in anything because I don’t pay taxes, but if I could work I would.’
If these moochers lived in America they would be voting Democrat. Perhaps Pelosi will send her fancy taxpayer-funded airplane to pick the whole lot of them up and move them over here.
Story is from the Daily Mail in the UK.
By Michelle Malkin • April 14, 2010 09:41 AM
My syndicated column takes off on the post I did earlier this week about the Tea Party crashers. More are coming out of their moonbat caves. JWF flags a corporate hospitality executive announcing his plans to “crash the Boston Tea Party of retards.” And in New Hampshire, the state Democrats are enlisting liberal activists to sabotage Tea Party Tax Day events:
Former Democratic State Party Chairman Kathy Sullivan is heading up the search, the source said. Sullivan has been calling and e-mailing liberal activists trying to get them to attend tea parties in different parts of the state and hold signs denying the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and make racially disparaging comments to reporters. “This is Kathy’s [Sullivan] project,” the source told NowHampshire.com. “She is absolutely obsessed with painting the tea party people as racists.” Similar “crash the tea party” efforts are taking place throughout the country on Tax Day.
It’s the Alinsky way.
From the AP:
PHOENIX — The Arizona House on Tuesday approved a bill that would draw local communities deeper into the fight against illegal immigration despite arguments from opponents that it would do nothing to keep people safer.
House Republicans advanced the measure on a 35-21 party-line vote. The Senate approved the bill in February but must concur to changes made in the House before sending it to Gov. Jan Brewer.
Supporters celebrated the bill as a tough crackdown on illegal immigration that will protect the state from violent criminals.
Arizona’s struggling economy has driven many illegal immigrants from the state. But as the economy rebounds, “so too will the illegal immigrants — larger, stronger and more destructive than they were several years ago,” said Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills.
“We need to put this law in place now so that when the new illegal immigrants come, we’re prepared to do battle with them,” he said.
The measure would create a new state misdemeanor crime of willful failure to complete or carry an alien registration document. It would allow officers to arrest immigrants unable to show documents proving they’re legally in the country.
The proposal also would ban so-called soft immigration policies at local police agencies. It would allow people to sue if they feel a government agency has adopted a policy that hinders the enforcement of illegal immigration laws.
The provision is designed to target law enforcement policies that prevent officers from asking people about their immigration status, but opponents worry it will make victims and witnesses scared to work with police and prosecutors.
“This is a false hope for the people of Arizona. It’s a false sense of security for our neighborhoods,” said Rep. Chad Campbell, R-Phoenix.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, who is one of Arizona’s loudest voices opposing illegal immigration.
Tuesday’s vote demonstrated Pearce’s political power at the Legislature and underscored the pressure on Republicans to support crackdowns on illegal immigration. The measure won support from all 35 House Republicans, including a handful who said they had serious concerns with the legislation.
“This bill is filled with problems, huge problems. But more importantly it will not stem the tide of illegal immigration,” Rep. Bill Konopnicki, R-Safford, said before adding that he feels “obligated” to support the bill anyway.
Konopnicki said the best way to address illegal immigration is with fences, electronic surveillance, air support and more border patrol agents.
Pearce’s bill also tries to crack down on employment opportunities for illegal immigrants by prohibiting people from blocking traffic when they seek or offer day-labor services on street corners.
The measure also would make it illegal for people to transport illegal immigrants if the drivers of vehicles know their passengers are in the country illegally and if the transportation furthers their illegal presence in the country.
The bill is being closely watched nationally by groups on both sides of the immigration debate.
Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, issued a statement condemning the House vote.
“Arizona has long been a laboratory for anti-immigrant experimentation, and its demagogue leaders have become folk heroes for white supremacists throughout the United States,” Newman said. “But this bill ushers in a new chapter of disgrace for the state that resisted celebrating the life of Martin Luther King.”
Arizona was one of the last states to create a holiday honoring the life of the slain civil rights leader.
April 12, 2010
As we approach April 15th and the next round of public protests against the collectivization of our American culture by the Obama administration and Congress, I have been reflecting upon the struggle that we recently lost with the passage of the draconian health care legislation, which now moves the government another giant step forward towards becoming our totalitarian master, while at the same time destroying the very citizen rights it was charged with protecting.
We could blame our representatives in Congress for failing to actually represent the great majority of us who opposed this nationalization of the medical and insurance professions. We could point to the many cowards among them who sold out their values, their conscience, and their constituents for a few dollars or some special backroom deal. And we could certainly point to the underhanded and unconstitutional tactics that were used to completely bypass the normal legislative process in order to ram this bill down our throats. But there is another reason that we lost this battle — one for which we have to accept responsibility, acknowledge our mistakes, and correct.
When Obama and the Democrats stated that health care in America was broken and must be reformed, what was the response? The Republicans jumped right on the bandwagon, conceded that, yes indeed, health care was busted, and then proposed their own plans for its renovation. Over the next few months, my state representative sent out a series of proposals indicating that he and his fellow Republicans had at least three different and much better sets of ideas for how the government should regulate the insurance and medical professions in order to achieve far superior results to those being proposed by the Democrats. And it wasn’t just the Republicans. There were reform alternatives being proposed by everyone from conservative and libertarian think tanks to syndicated newspaper columnists, and these proposals were supported in varying degrees by bloggers, social networks, Tea Party groups, and individuals, as a better and more rational solution to the need for health care reform.
The problem with all of this was that the original assumption went unchallenged — Obama’s claim that the insurance and health care industries were, in fact, broken.
Over the course of the past year, we have learned a great many things about how we arrived at our current state of health care coverage. And the bottom line is that our system has absolutely nothing to do with how high quality, cost effective health care could and would be obtained in a competitive free market. Instead, what we have is the abominable end result of a steady stream of foolish government tax policies extending back to World War II, combined with an insane set of regulations placed upon doctors, nurses, medical practices, hospitals and insurers, causing them to act suboptimally and in a manner neither in their, nor their customer’s best interest. It is these market-distorting policies which must be eliminated if we ever wish to improve medical service and reduce costs. Yet, even when these facts have been properly identified and appropriate solutions suggested, they were always presented as an alternate solution for health care reform. And this is our mistake! It is not the medical or the insurance industries which are in need of repair. It is the government policies which cripple their normal functions that is the true source of the problem. We do not need, nor do we want any type of health care reform. What we are truly seeking is GOVERNMENT REFORM!
Words are powerful tools. We lost the battle because we allowed our opponents to frame the nature of the issue, which immediately accorded to them an undeserved legitimacy for their position, while undermining ours. Each time we spoke of health care reform, we were implicitly agreeing that the source of the problem resided somewhere within the medical and insurance arenas, and were then reduced to merely arguing about the specific details that constituted the best possible fix. And by accepting their framework, we allowed the Democrats to turn the doctors, insurers, pharmaceutical and medical device makers into scapegoats for the results of the government’s own failed policies. We had lost the fight before we began it.
Consider just how different the debate would have gone if the Republican opposition had stood up and proposed Government Reform, consisting of the elimination of all existing regulations hampering the insurance and medical industries, and reforming tax policy so that every individual enjoyed the same tax benefits for personal medical savings that had been available only to businesses. When Obama and the Democrats then called out for health care reform, we should have responded, “Hell No! It’s Government Reform that’s needed”, completely changing the nature of the debate, forcing our opponents to address the topic on our terms, and focusing the discussion on the true nature of the problem. Imagine how much more effective this approach would have been in getting other members of the public to view this subject in completely different terms.
In issue after issue, the argument remains the same. Whenever we closely examine a problem, whether it be in the area of housing, automotive, finance, education, job creation, energy production, or anything else, we discover that every attempt by the government to intervene in the economy and the lives of its citizens simply makes the problem worse. And in every case, the true solution to those problems is the same — getting government out of the way and allowing the collective wisdom of free individuals, interacting within the framework of a free market, to find creative and cost efficient solutions to their problems. The required solution in every case is Government Reform.
And there is no guesswork involved, because we already have the blueprint for Government Reform spelled out for us by our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
The Declaration of Independence provides us with the philosophical framework establishing the primacy of the individual, with our inherent unalienable rights:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
and decrees the subservient role of government, tasked with the single purpose of protecting those rights:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed
The Constitution is intended to be a straitjacket placed around the federal government, strictly limiting its scope and power to a very specific set of enumerated actions — and nothing more.
Clearly, things have gone very wrong. The Supreme Court, which should have been our last and best line of defense in preserving our rights under the original intent and meaning of the Constitution, has failed us. Since we can no longer rely upon the court, it falls back to us, the sovereign citizens of the United States, to reassert our supremacy and authority over the government, which we can do at the polls by voting out every big government Democrat and Republican and replacing each of them with an entirely new breed of politician who understands the principles upon which this country was founded — individual rights and strictly limited government — and can demonstrate the integrity and courage of their conviction to go to Washington D.C. with the single-minded purpose of dismantling the behemoth and returning the three branches to their proper constitutional roles. When evaluating any candidate, be ruthless in judging their character and commitment to both economic and personal freedom. And if they fail to live up to the necessary standard, reject them and find someone else who is up to the task. The days for political compromise are over. The Herculean task of cleaning our political stables is under way.
And let us never again make the same mistake. Moving forward, we must change the nature of the political game and establish a new set of rules. No longer will we allow our opponents to frame the issues. We are setting the terms, and those terms are:
Government Reform — Constitution Style
You activists — the true American patriots within the various Tea Party organizations — are the new watchdogs and gatekeepers of our political system, standing guard to insure that from this moment on, only those with a true commitment to the original intent of the Constitution will be granted the privilege of representing us. All others need not apply.
I look forward to seeing some of you manning the front lines on April 15th.
C. Jeffery Small