Anyone who celebrates this decision, wholly irrespective of where they fall on the issue of gay marriage, is an idiot who has no understanding of the law or the Constitution. If this stands, we are no longer are nation of laws; we are no longer a democracy.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Each week the Watcher's Council host a forum, in addition to a contest for best post of the week among the Council members. This week's forum is posted here. Do click over and read the considered opinions of several very intelligent bloggers on the issue and see with whom you agree.
Friday, June 26, 2015
Five members of the unelected politburo that is our Supreme Court have created a new Constitutional right out of thin air - the right of homosexual to marry, in today's 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. In so holding, they give their newly preferred policy decision a bare patina of bull shit legalese. But at the same time, they don't even try to hide the fact that this was a pure policy decision.
I won't bother to recount from the majority decision that claims justification under the Equal Protection clause and substantive due process, then pats themselves on the back for effecting social change not supported by the people of this nation. Their arrogance is beyond stomaching. Let's go to the dissents. Ironically, the dissent from CJ Roberts, infamous for his decisions in Obamacare, is directly on point:
Over and over, the majority exalts the role of the judiciary in delivering social change. In the majority’s telling, it is the courts, not the people, who are responsible for making “new dimensions of freedom . . . apparent to new generations,” for providing “formal discourse” on social issues, and for ensuring “neutral discussions, without scornful or disparaging commentary.”
Nowhere is the majority’s extravagant conception of judicial supremacy more evident than in its description — and dismissal — of the public debate regarding same-sex marriage. Yes, the majority concedes, on one side are thousands of years of human history in every society known to have populated the planet. But on the other side, there has been “extensive litigation,” “many thoughtful District Court decisions,” “countless studies, papers, books, and other popular and scholarly writings,” and “more than 100” amicus briefs in these cases alone. Ante, at 9, 10, 23. What would be the point of allowing the democratic process to go on? It is high time for the Court to decide the meaning of marriage, based on five lawyers’ “better informed understanding” of “a liberty that remains urgent in our own era.” Ante, at 19. The answer is surely there in one of those amicus briefs or studies.
Those who founded our country would not recognize the majority’s conception of the judicial role. They after all risked their lives and fortunes for the precious right to govern themselves. They would never have imagined yielding that right on a question of social policy to unaccountable and unelected judges. And they certainly would not have been satisfied by a system empowering judges to override policy judgments so long as they do so after “a quite extensive discussion.” . . .
By deciding this question under the Constitution, the Court removes it from the realm of democratic decision. There will be consequences to shutting down the political process on an issue of such profound public significance. Closing debate tends to close minds. People denied a voice are less likely to accept the ruling of a court on an issue that does not seem to be the sort of thing courts usually decide. As a thoughtful commentator observed about another issue, “The political process was moving . . . , not swiftly enough for advocates of quick, complete change, but majoritarian institutions were listening and acting. Heavy-handed judicial intervention was difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.” Indeed, however heartened the proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever: the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause. And they lose this just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs.
Federal courts are blunt instruments when it comes to creating rights. They have constitutional power only to resolve concrete cases or controversies; they do not have the flexibility of legislatures to address concerns of parties not before the court or to anticipate problems that may arise from the exercise of a new right. Today’s decision, for example, creates serious questions about religious liberty. Many good and decent people oppose same-sex marriage as a tenet of faith, and their freedom to exercise religion is—unlike the right imagined by the majority — actually spelled out in the Constitution.
Respect for sincere religious conviction has led voters and legislators in every State that has adopted same-sex marriage democratically to include accommodations for religious practice. The majority’s decision imposing samesex marriage cannot, of course, create any such accommodations. The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. Ante, at 27. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses.
Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples. Indeed, the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage. . . There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today. . . .
If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.
This decision will make the controversy set off by Roe v. Wade seem like the smallest of ant hills. It will be used by the left to punish the religious and further drive religion from all aspects of public life. It may well set this nation on a path to insurrection, much like the Dred Scott was a trigger for the Civil War and much like the punitive laws stipping the colonists of their rights set this nation on a path to Revolution. The five members of the Supreme Court who decided this case will no doubt be toasted around D.C. tonight and go to sleep quite happy with themselves. They will, I think, have a lot of blood on their hands before this one ends.
As I wrote below, our Court system needs to root and branch reform. As Chief Justice Roberts correctly notes, our Founders could not possibly imagine the role the activist judiciary has taken upon itself.
Update: After composing the above, I see that Mike Huckabee has come to the same conclusions. That said, I prefer the way he styles this as judicial tyranny. This from Hot Air:
“The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.
“This ruling is not about marriage equality, it’s about marriage redefinition. This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court’s most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny.”
“The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the laws of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment.”
This ruling may be the most consequential ruling ever to issue from the Supreme Court. Why? Because the Left will use it to destroy all religions except Islam (which they’re afraid to touch). They’ll use a magical new right to destroy one of the bedrock First Amendment rights.
Do read her entire insightful post.
And how did I miss Justice Scalia's dissent:
. . . [I]t is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact — and the furthest extension one can even imagine — of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves. . . .
. . . It would be surprising to find a prescription regarding marriage in the Federal Constitution since, as the author of today’s opinion reminded us only two years ago (in an opinion joined by the same Justices who join him today):
“[R]egulation of domestic relations is an area that has long been regarded as a virtually exclusive province of the States.”
“[T]he Federal Government, through our history, has deferred to state-law policy decisions with respect to domestic relations.”
But we need not speculate. When the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, every State limited marriage to one man and one woman, and no one doubted the constitutionality of doing so. That resolves these cases. When it comes to determining the meaning of a vague constitutional provision—such as “due process of law” or “equal protection of the laws”—it is unquestionable that the People who ratified that provision did not understand it to prohibit a practice that remained both universal and uncontroversial in the years after ratification. We have no basis for striking down a practice that is not expressly prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment’s text, and that bears the endorsement of a long tradition of open, widespread, and unchallenged use dating back to the Amendment’s ratification. Since there is no doubt whatever that the People never decided to prohibit the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples, the public debate over same-sex marriage must be allowed to continue.
But the Court ends this debate, in an opinion lacking even a thin veneer of law. Buried beneath the mummeries and straining-to-be-memorable passages of the opinion is a candid and startling assertion: No matter what it was the People ratified, the Fourteenth Amendment protects those rights that the Judiciary, in its “reasoned judgment,” thinks the Fourteenth Amendment ought to protect. That is so because “[t]he generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions . . . . ” One would think that sentence would continue: “. . . and therefore they provided for a means by which the People could amend the Constitution,” or perhaps “. . . and therefore they left the creation of additional liberties, such as the freedom to marry someone of the same sex, to the People, through the never-ending process of legislation.” But no. What logically follows, in the majority’s judge-empowering estimation, is: “and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.” The “we,” needless to say, is the nine of us. “History and tradition guide and discipline [our] inquiry but do not set its outer boundaries.” Thus, rather than focusing on the People’s understanding of “liberty” — at the time of ratification or even today — the majority focuses on four “principles and traditions” that, in the majority’s view, prohibit States from defining marriage as an institution consisting of one man and one woman.
This is a naked judicial claim to legislative — indeed, super-legislative — power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government. Except as limited by a constitutional prohibition agreed to by the People, the States are free to adopt whatever laws they like, even those that offend the esteemed Justices’ “reasoned judgment.” A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.
. . . [T]o allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation.
But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch. . . . They are certain that the People ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to bestow on them the power to remove questions from the democratic process when that is called for by their “reasoned judgment.” These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.
Our Court system (like our regulatory bureaucracy) needs to be torn out root and branch. It is a cancer in our nation that no longer functions to maintain the rule of law. We are now a nation of men. Yesterday's two horrendous decisions by the Supreme Court offer yet more proof, if more is needed. In Texas Department of Housing v. The Inclusive Communities Project, the Court considered whether disparate impact theory can be used, standing alone, to establish racism under the Fair Housing Act. In King v. Burwell, the Court considered whether certain language in the statute limited federal subsidies to people in states that had established their own health care exchanges. Both cases involved "statutory construction."
Centuries old rules of statutory construction hold that, if a law is clear and unambiguous on its face, then the Court should construe it as written. If the law is ambiguous, than the Court has several methods to apply to construe the statute, including looking to legislative history. What the Court cannot do with any legitimacy is jettison those practices in order to insert their own policy preferences, in essence, unconstitutionally rewriting laws to suit their own ends. Yet that is what the Court did in yesterday in the above two cases that will substantially impact our nation.
In Texas v. The Inclusive Communities Project, the issue was whether disparate impact theory can stand alone as proof of racism in FHA cases. Since the 1960's, when someone dreamed up disparate impact theory, the left has seized upon it to prove institutional racism without the slightest proof of any actual racism. It is a horribly distorting theory that has been used in every possible scenario, from employment to housing to banking and many others. Indeed, it is that theory which, more than anything else, drove our nation into the Great Recession from which we have still not recovered. The theory is this - if a policy or simple selection shows that it is disparately impacting upon one of the left's victim classes, regardless if the policy is completely color blind and based on legitimate and validated concerns, such as, let's say, credit rating standards, then the institution can be held guilty of racism. No single legal theory has done more damage to our nation, nor been more abused by the left. It is not a theory that punishes racism, it is a theory that makes every business race centric and punishes legitimate standards.
In 2010, the Supreme Court held disparate impact theory unlawful in the employment context in Rici. It appeared that the Court was on its way to removing this cancerous theory from litigation. At least until the Texas case yesterday, when the Supreme Court held that disparate impact can be used in litigation against the FHA. You can read Justice Thomas's dissent beginning at page 32. The Fair Housing laws are silent on whether disparate impact can be used to establish a claim of racism. The legislative history is crystal clear that a showing of actual racism, "disparate treatment," is necessary to bring suit under the Fair Housing laws. The activist wing of the Supreme Court, this time without Chief Justice Roberts, ignored that legislative history to uphold use of disparate impact theory. What a travesty.
So the race hustlers can chalk up a huge win compliments of an out of control Court that is no longer a judicial body, but rather a highly politicized third policy arm of our government. The people the race hustlers purported to help, are not going to see it as a win, though:
Michael Skojec, a lawyer who filed a brief on behalf of Texas’s position, says what the country should be “trying to do is get people not to consider race, or think of people in racial terms”: “The disparate-impact concept encourages and requires people to think about race in every decision.” He points out that the city of Houston has over 43,000 families on its waiting lists for affordable housing, almost all of them black. But forcing the Texas Housing Authority to change its tax-credit allocations will mean that most of them will have to wait far longer to get a better place to live.
Then in yesterday's other obscenity, King v. Burwell, the activist wing of the Court, this time with Chief Justice Roberts, took it upon themselves to rewrite the plain language of Obamacare to allow the law to survive. This from Justice Scalia's well grounded dissent:
Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words “established by the State.” And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words “by the State” other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges. “[T]he plain, obvious, and rational meaning of a statute is always to be preferred to any curious, narrow, hidden sense that nothing but the exigency of a hard case and the ingenuity and study of an acute and powerful intellect would discover.” . . . Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.
. . . .
Today’s opinion changes the usual rules of statutory interpretation for the sake of the Affordable Care Act. That, alas, is not a novelty. In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U. S. ___, this Court revised major components of the statute in order to save them from unconstitutionality. The Act that Congress passed provides that every individual “shall” maintain insurance or else pay a “penalty.” 26 U. S. C. §5000A. This Court, however, saw that the Commerce Clause does not authorize a federal mandate to buy health insurance. So it rewrote the mandate-cum-penalty as a tax. . . . The Act that Congress passed also requires every State to accept an expansion of its Medicaid program, or else risk losing all Medicaid funding. 42 U. S. C. §1396c. This Court, however, saw that the Spending Clause does not authorize this coercive condition. So it rewrote the law to withhold only the incremental funds associated with the Medicaid expansion. . . . Having transformed two major parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an “Exchange established by the State.” This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.
This is no longer a nation of laws. And unless the Courts, now the most dangerous branch of government, are uprooted and we start over with reforms in the nature of those proposed by Newt Gingrich, this nation will be forever dragged further and further away from the Constitutional framework drafted by our Founders into an activist nightmare.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Dennis Prager has a piece disagreeing with those family members of the people killed by the nutjob Dylann Roof in SC for forgiving said nutjob. I don't think that Mr. Prager quite gets the Christian doctrines. Their forgiveness is simply refusing to hold hate in their heart and to hope that the nutjob repents. That really is a refusal to allow themselves to have this nutjob power over them to effect their lives. It is not a call for releasing the nutjob or to not to have him pay for the consequences of his evil actions, which is where I think Prager misses the distinctions.
Prager also misses another distinction in the second half of his article, though I agree with most of his points in that second half. I doubt that you will find better race relations throughout the U.S. than in the southeast. There is a reason that so many blacks are migrating back to the southeast. There is a reason that the blacks in Charleston have not reacted in riots and outrage, either to this mass murder or to the police shooting of Walter Scott. Indeed, the horrible facts of the Roof's case show that he went to the Emanuel AME Church and was welcomed by the members into their Bible Study for an hour. Roof has since said that the people there were so nice to him, he almost turned away. Prager seems to be conflating the members of Emanuel Church with the race hustlers, and there he is wrong. The people of Emanuel Church, like most blacks, are not race hustlers nor reverse racists.
Have you read Michael Oren's new book, Ally? Robert Avrech gives it a good - and disturbing - review. Obama and his entire administration are anti-semitic.
First there was Rachel Dolezal:
And now we have a white Huffpo writer so caught up in white guilt that she won't reproduce because she does not want to spread white privilege. She is a true product of the teaching of grievance history and, as such, I applaud her decision. I personally think that all on the left should emulate her.
The only good thing about living in 2015 is that the insanity of the neo-Stalinist left and the fruits of their labor are now out in the open everywhere. It is no longer metastasizing in the dark, where its motives can be denied and obfuscated.
I finally found an English translation of Laudato Si here. The last time the Church weighed in on cutting edge science as a religious matter was with Galileo. It very rightfully didn't go well for the Church. I guess it is time for the Church to relearn that lesson. I wish they would require Popes to take a course in basic economics while they're at it.
I am all for free trade and agree with all of Kevin Williamson's points in his article at NRO. That said, I do not trust Obama or Republicans at this point, and I am incredibly wary about any trade deal that puts powers rightfully in the purview of our Congress in the hands of any sort of international tribunal, which apparently this proposed trade deal does in regards to certain visas.
Victor Davis Hanson weighs in on that iconic Democrat symbol, the Confederate Battle Flag. I agree with him. As a government sanctioned flag, get rid of it. Indeed, I agree with him that we should get rid of all left wing symbols of racism and separatism, such as the Black Caucus, La Raza, etc.
Thomas Sowell weighs in on why Hillary's record as Sec. of State should disqualify her from running for the President. It is a good restatement of the obvious.
Let's finish with a couple of public service announcements. One, ladies, tight jeans are solely for showing off, not for practical work. Two, I would not go to Vermont if I were you . . . at least if I expected to eat. First they gave us Bernie, now they outlaw GMO's. And then the hungry, penniless bastards will move south in search of food and gold where they will find it -- and then proceed to try to change the culture to match Vermont's. The lesson of Colorado is that we really do need to have border control, not just with Mexico, but also between functioning red states and escapees from the blue states.
But a good short reminder of the origin of the word Kamikaze and the failed Mongol invasions of Japan.
Friday, June 5, 2015
On Thursday, Hillary Clinton, speaking to a largely black audience in a three-quarters empty arena at Texas Southern University, made her pitch for why blacks, having voted between 85% to 90% on average for Democrats in every election for over fifty years, should continue to do so and pull the lever for her in 2016. She didn't address the problems with black poverty. She didn't address the problems of a shrinking black middle class. She didn't address black unemployment. She didn't address the high incidence of violent crime in the black community. She didn't address the horrendous educational opportunities for inner city blacks. She didn't even mention the breakdown in black families and the huge problem of unwed mothers in the black community. And to cap it all, she didn't let anyone ask questions who might raise these topics.
So just what reason could she possibly give to keep blacks voting Democrat? According to Hillary, racist Republicans want to keep blacks from voting. That and she wants to deal with the problems of black incarceration by passing a federal law to allow felons to vote. Only she and the Democrat party stand between blacks and a return to the Jim Crow policies of . . . Democrats, if you want to be accurate. And only that will solve all of the horrendous systemic problems in a large section of the black community that have gotten worse, not better, under fifty years of Democrat stewardship.
Is there anyone with an I.Q. over 50 and who is not part of the racial grievance industry who is actually buying this crap?
One person who is not is Pastor Corey Brooks who runs the New Beginnings Church on the South side of Chicago, a largely black enclave. And indeed, he has made an offer to Republican Presidential candidates to come speak at his Church -- an offer every one of them should be falling all over themselves to accept. This from the Daily Beast:
. . . “African Americans have been loyal to the Democratic Party,” Pastor Corey Brooks said. “But there is a group of African Americans that feel like the Democratic Party has not been loyal to us.”
Not far from O Block—named for a fallen gang member killed by a female assassin—is New Beginnings Church of Chicago, where Brooks sat in his office Wednesday morning laying out the case for Republican presidential candidates to visit the area.
So far, only Rand Paul already has taken him up on his offer—extended to all candidates of each party. The two walked through Parkway Gardens, an apartment complex along O Block, after Paul’s speech to his congregation.
Brooks isn’t the only person to believe a great change must occur for inner cities across the country to be able to break free from the poverty and crime that envelope them. But the pastor is looking to a different source than others for that change, one that doesn’t usually count O Block among its campaign stops: Republicans.
Look around the neighborhood that contains O Block — Woodlawn — and you’ll see why, Brooks said.
“We have a large, disproportionate number of people who are impoverished. We have a disproportionate number of people who are incarcerated, we have a disproportionate number of people who are unemployed, the educational system has totally failed, and all of this primarily has been under Democratic regimes in our neighborhoods,” Brooks said from the office of New Beginnings Church of Chicago, his own, Wednesday morning. “So, the question for me becomes, how can our neighborhoods be doing so awful and so bad when we’re so loyal to this party who is in power? It’s a matter of them taking complete advantage of our vote.”
So Brooks has mobilized.
Not only did he take it upon himself to bring Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to New Beginnings as he ran to become the first Republican to lead the state in more than two decades, but Brooks also supported Rauner, something that didn’t exactly come roaring out of Chicago’s South Side.
And while Brooks has yet to announce publicly who he supports for president, his political leanings are well known in his church and around Woodlawn.
“They have a failing plan,” he said of Democrats. “A business owner wouldn’t allow the person who runs it to remain in charge for 50 years, constantly running it into the ground.”
But the reason he invited all active presidential candidates to New Beginnings isn’t to secure votes for the GOP, he said, but to give members of the community the opportunity to be as informed an electorate as possible.
And why not? Since the civil rights movement blacks have overwhelmingly voted for Democrats, both on the national and local levels, Brooks noted.
But the results simply aren’t there.
“They have a failing plan,” he said of Democrats. “A business owner wouldn’t allow the person who runs it to remain in charge for 50 years, constantly running it into the ground.”
A political science major at Ball State University, Brooks moved to Chicago 20 years ago from his hometown of Muncie, Indiana. In addition to his church, a bustling hub of activity that includes a spacious worship room complete with projection screens and theater seating, Brooks is preparing to break ground on a community center just across Martin Luther King Jr. Drive — without any government assistance, naturally.
When he first moved to the city he kept his political opinions to himself, not wanting to rock the boat, but after seeing a lack of progress he “couldn’t stomach it.” There is tension, he said, because growing up black on the South Side of Chicago means, for many, “You are a Democrat. Period.”
That has led to the Democratic Party taking the black vote for granted, Brooks said.
“And we don’t want anyone from any party taking us for granted.”
Across the board, it seems, Brooks is a Republican.
He spoke in strong terms about unions—“I can’t tell you how many guys come to me and tell they’re locked out of the trade unions for this reason or that,” Brooks said. “And in Chicago, the unions control everything.”
The pastor is in favor of legally possessing guns, even on the bullet-riddled South Side. And he blames the breakdown of the black family, partly due to social programs that “penalize” those who wish to marry and prevent them from continuing to receive government assistance, for the culture of violence that is so pervasive in urban areas from Woodlawn to West Baltimore.
“And that doesn’t even begin to get into the music and entertainment aspects of it,” Brooks said.
Brooks is not an anomaly, either. But overcoming the power and pressure of the Democratic Party’s relationship with the black community, despite its stance on social issues that often lean conservative, isn’t easy.
“In quiet areas,” Brooks said, “this is something we talk about.”
Some have replied to Brooks’s request to stop by his church for what he’s calling the American Urban Issues Presidential Series. While Paul is the only Republican to make the trip, so far, Brooks said he heard back from the campaigns of Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, and Bernie Sanders. . . .
Amen. Any Republican candidate who does not take advantage of this offer should not get the nomination for President, pure and simple. The cyclical and systemic problems of the black community are an obscenity in this day and age that needs to be a concern to every American. The Democrat policies, many well meaning when first adopted, have proven devastating to the black community and, as a consequence, this nation as a whole.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
There's an old joke about a golfer whose best club in his bag was a pencil. So it would seem with those who are responsible for maintaining the temperature records. We've known for twenty years that they've been adjusting the historical climate data to make the records fit their theories. The latest on this is from Christopher Booker in his recent column, The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever:
When future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.
Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.
This was only the latest of many examples of a practice long recognised by expert observers around the world – one that raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface-temperature record. . . .
Following my last article, Homewood checked a swathe of other South American weather stations around the original three. In each case he found the same suspicious one-way “adjustments”. First these were made by the US government’s Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN). They were then amplified by two of the main official surface records, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (Giss) and the National Climate Data Center (NCDC), which use the warming trends to estimate temperatures across the vast regions of the Earth where no measurements are taken. Yet these are the very records on which scientists and politicians rely for their belief in “global warming”.
Homewood has now turned his attention to the weather stations across much of the Arctic, between Canada (51 degrees W) and the heart of Siberia (87 degrees E). Again, in nearly every case, the same one-way adjustments have been made, to show warming up to 1 degree C or more higher than was indicated by the data that was actually recorded. This has surprised no one more than Traust Jonsson, who was long in charge of climate research for the Iceland met office (and with whom Homewood has been in touch). Jonsson was amazed to see how the new version completely “disappears” Iceland’s “sea ice years” around 1970, when a period of extreme cooling almost devastated his country’s economy. . . .
Of much more serious significance, however, is the way this wholesale manipulation of the official temperature record – for reasons GHCN and Giss have never plausibly explained – has become the real elephant in the room of the greatest and most costly scare the world has known. This really does begin to look like one of the greatest scientific scandals of all time.
Then there is the claim that, among climate scientists, a 97% consensus exists that "climate change is real, man-made and dangerous." That number comes from a study, if it can be called that, by John Cook, a PhD student in psychology at the University of Queensland in Australia. This from Prof. Richard Tol commenting on that paper:
The 97 percent claim was taken from a study paper by Australian John Cook, Climate Communications Fellow for the Global change Institute at the University of Queensland, and his colleagues, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters in May, 2013. The paper says nothing about the would-be dangers of climate change and it counts the number of publications, rather than the number of scientists, in support of human-made climate change. Never let facts get in the way of a good story.
The paper is a treasure trove of how-not-to lessons for a graduate class on survey design and analysis: the sample was not representative, statistical tests were ignored, and the results were misinterpreted.
What was an incompetent piece of research has become a highly influential study, its many errors covered up.
Some of the mistakes in the study should be obvious to all. There are hundreds of papers on the causes of climate change, and thousands of papers on the impacts of climate change and climate policy. Cook focused on the latter. A paper on the impact of a carbon tax on emissions was taken as evidence that the world is warming. A paper on the impact of climate change on the Red Panda was taken as evidence that humans caused this warming. And even a paper on the television coverage of climate change was seen by Cook as proof that carbon dioxide is to blame.
Cook and Co. analysed somewhere between 11,944 and 12,876 papers – they can’t get their story straight on the sample size – but only 64 of these explicitly state that humans are the primary cause of recent global warming. A reexamination of their data brought that number down to 41 [emphasis added]. That is half a per cent or less of the total, rather than 97 percent.
The remainder of Cook’s “evidence” is papers that said that humans caused some climate change and, more importantly, papers that Cook’s colleagues thought said as much.
There is vigorous debate about how much humans have contributed to climate change, but no one argues the effect is zero. By emitting greenhouse gases, changing the landscape, rerouting rivers, and huddling together in cities, we change the climate – perhaps by a little, perhaps by a lot – but not one expert doubts we do. However, a true consensus – 100 per cent agreement – does not serve to demonize those experts who raise credible concerns with the state of climate research.
The trouble does not end there. Cook has been reluctant to share his data for others to scrutinize. He has claimed that some data are protected by confidentiality agreements, even when they are not. He was claimed that some data were not collected, even when they were. The paper claims that each abstract was read by two independent readers, but they freely compared notes. Cook and Co. collected data, inspected the results, collected more data, inspected the results again, changed their data classification, collected yet more data, inspected the results once more, and changed their data classification again, before they found their magic 97 percent. People who express concern about the method have been smeared. . . .
This all stinks of a canard. Even as questions arise, the left is engaged in an all out push to ensconce human caused climate change as dogma and as a primary driver of our laws and social policy. The push is on through Common Core to teach anthropogenic global warming as settled science in grades K-12. With all of the dangers we face in the foreign arena, from a newly energized China and Russia to nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East and the continuing existential danger from radical Islam, President Obama spoke at the Coast Guard academy claiming that our greatest national security threat is climate change. With all of the horrendous issues facing the black community today in Obama's America, with growing violence, single motherhood, horrid schools and declining economic opportunities, Michelle Obama spoke at Oberlin College and claimed that climate change was the new civil rights movement.
Actually, it is hard to think of anything more perfectly designed to screw the middle and lower middle class than the many "green" policies and costs that would arise out of a full embrace of the climate change canard. That carbon tax on fossil fuels would go to feed the left, but it would act as regressive tax on all Americans. Just as it is hard to think of anything less pressing to our national security than anthropogenic climate change.
Late blogging on last week's forum at the Watcher's Council. There were a wide variety of answers to the question this week, with more seeing the glass half empty than half full:
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD :Most likely solidify the message.
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Keep raising the minimum wage and business owners will either go out of business, automate, or seek alternatives to employees priced beyond the actual value of their employment. If you don't understand the concepts, Kevin Williamson provides a good primer here, written with Bernie Sanders and his supporters in mind. Regardless, you can see the impact below:
Actually, between the Iran deal, his decisions regarding our military, and his latest claim that climate change is our greatest national security threat, asking where Obama is trying to destroy America is not at all an unreasonable question. Unfortunately, you won't find this panel appearing in our MSM.
The clip is a translation provided by MEMRI.org.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
In this country, we live in an era virtually free of mainstream racism, just as we live in an era of relative gender equality (speaking of only two genders now) and of vastly declining violence against women. Yet if one were to believe the left, America today is rife with racism manifesting itself in countless microaggressions. Likewise, according to the left, there is a war on women being waged in America, one aspect of which is "rape culture," particularly on college campuses, where women are being subject to sexual assault by evil white men on a scale to rival the incidence of rape in the war torn Congo. Both claims, incredibly destructive to society as well as to individuals who get caught up in their web, are wholly disconnected from reality. So why is the left doing this, and how is the left justifying these canards?
In regards to both microaggressions and claims of rape culture, the left is taking this incredibly damaging tack because they want to balkanize America, and as part and parcel thereof, to keep minorities and women feeling as if they are under siege. With respect to race, this has been the playbook for over the past half century. When it comes to the modern radical feminists, however, there is a far more ambitious goal - to punish men as a whole and do away with societal norms of sex and family.
How they are trying to accomplish this is likewise obvious - do away with any objective standards for defining racism or rape. No longer is an actual act of racism necessary to sustain claims of racism. No longer is an act of rape or sexual assault necessary to sustain claims of rape or sexual assault. It is all now about the subjective feelings of the "victim."
This from Jim Goad in his article, Land of 1000 Microaggressions:
If a person of color feels offended by something a well-meaning white person said and no one knows they’re offended, is it still a hate crime?
This is the implicit question posed by the very idea of “racial microaggressions.” The concept seems to have been formulated by the racial-grievance industry to fill the savage dearth of truly aggressive acts committed by whites toward nonwhites over the past few generations.
In other words, if what used to be known as “racism” no longer exists, you have to greatly expand the term’s breadth so that it includes words, thoughts, and acts that have zero conscious hostility behind them. You have to make everything racist just to stay in business. . . .
Even if you have no hatred in your heart for a person of color and even if you make the most obsequious gestures of appeasement toward them, you are still hurting them and acting racist toward them because, well, you’re white, and that’s what you people do.
That’s what’s ultimately dangerous about this concept of “microaggresions”—even the demented fanatics who insist that such things actually exist will concede that the perpetrator may not harbor or exhibit any malice whatsoever. They may not even be the least bit conscious that they are being horrid bigots. Under this framework, bigotry is solely in the eyes of the accuser. No matter how pleasant your demeanor or how generously you act, you can still be bludgeoned over the head with baseless accusations of unconscious racism, and your accuser will feel like a good person for doing it.
I can’t imagine the agony of being a person of color on a college campus these days, what with all the microaggressions, microinsults, microinvalidations, microassaults, and especially all the microrape. Why, it’s enough to make a person of color want to drop out of college entirely. . . .
The study bears the catchy title of Racial microaggressions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Voices of students of color in the classroom. I highly recommend it as the finest comedic document I’ve seen so far this year.
Sponsored by the University of Illinois Racial Microaggressions Project and conducted by a specially appointed “Racial Microaggressions Team” whose associates have colorful first names such as Efadul, Shinwoo, Tanisha, Sang, and Artesha, the study concludes that it really, really, really, really sucks to be a person of color on campus these days.
For example, a robust two-fifths of the online study’s respondents claimed they “felt uncomfortable on campus because of their race.” . . .
Some sample testimonials from the POCs who claim to have been microaggressed upon:
People do not necessarily say I do not belong, but I feel as if I do not when I am in a classroom and I am the one non-White person. (Latina, Female) . . .
Do read the entire article.
And if the testimonial in that last quoted paragraph sounds familiar, it should. Not but a few weeks ago, no less than Michelle Obama, a woman who has led a truly charmed life and now sleeps in the White House, gave a speech noting how victimized she felt by, what in so many words, were microaggressions. She even went so far as to note that she, as a minority and like all minorities, felt very uncomfortable going into museums and other places of culture in America.
For another outrageous example, thoroughly explored by Heather MacDonald in The Microaggression Farce, there is the case of UCLA Professor Val Rust. He committed the racist microaggression of "correcting the capitalization, grammar and punctuation of a minority student's paper." This from Ms. MacDonald describes the insanity:
Val Rust’s dissertation-prep class had devolved into a highly charged arena of competing victim ideologies, impenetrable to anyone outside academia. For example: Were white feminists who use “standpoint theory”—a feminist critique of allegedly male-centered epistemology—illegitimately appropriating the “testimonial” genre used by Chicana feminists to narrate their stories of oppression? Rust took little part in these “methodological” disputes—if one can describe “Chicana testimonials” as a scholarly “method”—but let the more theoretically up-to-date students hash it out among themselves. Other debates centered on the political implications of punctuation. Rust had changed a student’s capitalization of the word “indigenous” in her dissertation proposal to the lowercase, thus allegedly showing disrespect for the student’s ideological point of view. Tensions arose over Rust’s insistence that students use the more academic Chicago Manual of Style for citation format; some students felt that the less formal American Psychological Association conventions better reflected their political commitments. During one of these heated discussions, Rust reached over and patted the arm of the class’s most vociferous critical race–theory advocate to try to calm him down—a gesture typical of the physically demonstrative Rust, who is prone to hugs. The student, Kenjus Watson, dramatically jerked his arm away, as a burst of nervous energy coursed through the room.
After each of these debates, the self-professed “students of color” exchanged e-mails about their treatment by the class’s “whites.” (Asians are not considered “persons of color” on college campuses, presumably because they are academically successful.) Finally, on November 14, 2013, the class’s five “students of color,” accompanied by “students of color” from elsewhere at UCLA, as well as by reporters and photographers from the campus newspaper, made their surprise entrance into Rust’s class as a “collective statement of Resistance by Graduate Students of Color.” The protesters formed a circle around Rust and the remaining five students (one American, two Europeans, and two Asian nationals) and read aloud their “Day of Action Statement.” That statement suggests that Rust’s modest efforts to help students with their writing faced obstacles too great to overcome.
The same subjectivity now used to find racism rampant throughout our nation is equally apparent in the claims that our nation is involved in a "war on women," part of which is "rape culture." These claims come from radical feminists running the women's studies programs in our nation's ivory towers. Robert Stacey McCain, who has quite literally written the book on modern radical feminism - Sex Trouble - explains:
Once we go beyond simplistic sloganeering about “equality” and “choice” to examine feminism as political philosophy — the theoretical understanding to which Ph.D.s devote their academic careers — we discover a worldview in which men and women are assumed to be implacable antagonists, where males are oppressors and women are their victims, and where heterosexuality is specifically condemned as the means by which this male-dominated system operates.
Feminist professor Camille Paglia was sounding the alarm bells about this twenty years ago. This from her 1995 interview with Playboy:
The women's movement is rooted in the belief that we don't even need men. . . .
It's a mess out there. Men are suspicious of women's intentions. Feminism has crippled them. They don't know when to make a pass. If they do make a pass, they don't know if they're going to end up in court. . .
. . . [Y]ou can't have the Stalinist situation we have in America right now, where any neurotic woman can make any stupid charge and destroy a man's reputation. If there is evidence of false accusation, the accuser should be expelled. Similarly, a woman who falsely accuses a man of rape should be sent to jail. My definition of sexual harassment is specific. It is only sexual harassment--by a man or a woman--if it is quid pro quo. That is, if someone says, "You must do this or I'm going to do that"--for instance, fire you. And whereas touching is sexual harassment, speech is not. I am militant on this. Words must remain free. The solution to speech is that women must signal the level of their tolerance--women are all different.
Far too many people still view the modern feminist movement as merely one seeking fair and equal treatment with men. That was true of feminism until the late 60's when, just like the civil rights movement, it was co-opted by our modern neo-Stalinist left. But these truly radical and insane interpretations of feminism - that our society is inherently discriminatory against women, that white males are the implacable oppressors of women, and that all heterosexual sex is rape - was still largely confined to corners of the ivory tower until recently. Thus, in 1995, when Prof. Paglia was sounding her warning, it was easy to dismiss her. Not so any longer. These utterly toxic views are now mainstream and driving policy throughout our government and in academia.
To justify their claim of "rape culture," the radical feminists rely on bogus statistics. This from Ashe Schow:
The doom-sayers began with the statistic that 1 in 5 college women will be sexually assaulted to get their foot in the door. They screamed from the mountaintop that any woman in college will probably be raped any day now. Not in India, not in Iran, not in South Africa, but here. In America. On campus.
Using that false statistic (most are at least intelligent enough now to stop using it), activists began a crusade to right the injustices of the past (and potentially present) by swinging the pendulum to the other side. This, not surprisingly, has created a new problem of male students losing their due process rights and being treated as guilty until proven innocent.
But 1-in-5 isn't the only statistic being used to create these new policies. Now that the issue is consistently in the news, other statistics with equally dubious origins are cropping up.
One is that only 2 percent of rape accusations are false. This factoid traces back to a single source (Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book Against Our Will), which in turn cites a police officer talking about a study that no one has been able to find. But from this dubious claim springs the dogma that one must therefore believe all rape-accusers to be true victims.
Couple the notion that all accusers must be believed to another statistic — that relatively few men commit the majority of sexual assaults — and the prevailing logic becomes that anyone accused of sexual assault must immediately be treated as a serial rapist, because they likely are or will be.
This is how we get to a culture where an accusation is all the evidence needed in campus disciplinary hearings — and evidence and witnesses telling a different story are discounted.
With due process sacrificed, what the feminists have accomplished is to redefine rape and sexual assault so that they no longer require objective acts of rape or sexual assault. It is enough if, post coitus, a woman feels like she should not have engaged in the act of sex and wants to claim rape. Men are guilty until proven innocent.
Moreover, this view of heterosexual sex as rape is being written into black letter law:
California’s “yes means yes” law turns the idea of sexual consent upside down. Suddenly, nearly all sex is rape, unless no person involved reports it as such.
Consent, under the California law that is spreading to other American universities, is required to be “ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time.” The law also states that “a lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent.” Also, previous sexual activity “should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.”
The law also states that incapacitation due to drugs or alcohol is considered nonconsensual. In theory, one could imagine that meaning black-out drunk or visibly not in control of one’s actions. But in practice, even having one or two drinks hours before sexual activity can constitute "too drunk to consent."
By this definition, the only sex that isn’t rape is sex where consent can be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt for every stage of the activity. Sure, that sounds reasonable, but the fact that one of the bill’s sponsors doesn’t know how anyone could prove consent tells you a lot about the bill.
The left's goal, to make and keep America balkanized, can only be sustained by taking away objective standards. How incredibly damaging it is to teach people that they are to view the world through the hypersensitive lenses of their gender or skin color, and that they are indeed being victimized if they simply feel that way. At this point, one could say the left's efforts with microaggressions and "rape culture" have reached the level of farce, but there is no humor in this game where the costs of the left's canards are so damaging to this nation. And there is no doubt that the groups hurt most are the women and the minorities who are taught that they are actually being victimized, then adjust their lives in respect of it.