Wile, Wit, Wisdom & Weaponry

Ruminations, Opinions & Debate about the world as I see it and the toys that make it bearable!

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Location: TEXAS, United States

-Defender of the Second Amendment, the "little guy", free market system, liberty and freedom from government!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Courts + "O" = DISASTER

This scares the bejabbers out of me...from the Wall Street Journal today:

OCTOBER 28, 2008
Obama's 'Redistribution' Constitution
The courts are poised for a takeover by the judicial left.

One of the great unappreciated stories of the past eight years is how thoroughly Senate Democrats thwarted efforts by President Bush to appoint judges to the lower federal courts.

Consider the most important lower federal court in the country: the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In his two terms as president, Ronald Reagan appointed eight judges, an average of one a year, to this court. They included Robert Bork, Antonin Scalia, Kenneth Starr, Larry Silberman, Stephen Williams, James Buckley, Douglas Ginsburg and David Sentelle. In his two terms, George W. Bush was able to name only four: John Roberts, Janice Rogers Brown, Thomas Griffith and Brett Kavanaugh.

Although two seats on this court are vacant, Bush nominee Peter Keisler has been denied even a committee vote for two years. If Barack Obama wins the presidency, he will almost certainly fill those two vacant seats, the seats of two older Clinton appointees who will retire, and most likely the seats of four older Reagan and George H.W. Bush appointees who may retire as well.

The net result is that the legal left will once again have a majority on the nation's most important regulatory court of appeals.

The balance will shift as well on almost all of the 12 other federal appeals courts. Nine of the 13 will probably swing to the left if Mr. Obama is elected (not counting the Ninth Circuit, which the left solidly controls today). Circuit majorities are likely at stake in this presidential election for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal. That includes the federal appeals courts for New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and virtually every other major center of finance in the country.

On the Supreme Court, six of the current nine justices will be 70 years old or older on January 20, 2009. There is a widespread expectation that the next president could make four appointments in just his first term, with maybe two more in a second term. Here too we are poised for heavy change.These numbers ought to raise serious concern because of Mr. Obama's extreme left-wing views about the role of judges. He believes -- and he is quite open about this -- that judges ought to decide cases in light of the empathy they ought to feel for the little guy in any lawsuit.

Speaking in July 2007 at a conference of Planned Parenthood, he said: "[W]e 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'm going to be selecting my judges."

On this view, plaintiffs should usually win against defendants in civil cases; criminals in cases against the police; consumers, employees and stockholders in suits brought against corporations; and citizens in suits brought against the government. Empathy, not justice, ought to be the mission of the federal courts, and the redistribution of wealth should be their mantra.

In a Sept. 6, 2001, interview with Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ-FM, Mr. Obama noted that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren "never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society," and "to that extent as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical."

He also noted that the Court "didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it has been interpreted." That is to say, he noted that the U.S. Constitution as written is only a guarantee of negative liberties from government -- and not an entitlement to a right to welfare or economic justice.

This raises the question of whether Mr. Obama can in good faith take the presidential oath to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution" as he must do if he is to take office. Does Mr. Obama support the Constitution as it is written, or does he support amendments to guarantee welfare? Is his provision of a "tax cut" to millions of Americans who currently pay no taxes merely a foreshadowing of constitutional rights to welfare, health care, Social Security, vacation time and the redistribution of wealth? Perhaps the candidate ought to be asked to answer these questions before the election rather than after.

Every new federal judge has been required by federal law to take an oath of office in which he swears that he will "administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich." Mr. Obama's emphasis on empathy in essence requires the appointment of judges committed in advance to violating this oath. To the traditional view of justice as a blindfolded person weighing legal claims fairly on a scale, he wants to tear the blindfold off, so the judge can rule for the party he empathizes with most.

The legal left wants Americans to imagine that the federal courts are very right-wing now, and that Mr. Obama will merely stem some great right-wing federal judicial tide. The reality is completely different. The federal courts hang in the balance, and it is the left which is poised to capture them.

A whole generation of Americans has come of age since the nation experienced the bad judicial appointments and foolish economic and regulatory policy of the Johnson and Carter administrations. If Mr. Obama wins we could possibly see any or all of the following: a federal constitutional right to welfare; a federal constitutional mandate of affirmative action wherever there are racial disparities, without regard to proof of discriminatory intent; a right for government-financed abortions through the third trimester of pregnancy; the abolition of capital punishment and the mass freeing of criminal defendants; ruinous shareholder suits against corporate officers and directors; and approval of huge punitive damage awards, like those imposed against tobacco companies, against many legitimate businesses such as those selling fattening food.

Nothing less than the very idea of liberty and the rule of law are at stake in this election. We should not let Mr. Obama replace justice with empathy in our nation's courtrooms.

Mr. Calabresi is a co-founder of the Federalist Society and a professor of law at Northwestern University.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Obama Supporters Are Crazy

A friend sent this to my wife to pass along to me. It speaks volumes about the current campaign and where this country is headed come November 4th. I'm afraid this thing is going to get out of hand, grow uglier, and cost people their dignity...

Friday, October 10, 2008

From the WSJ Today

And now, America, we introduce the Great Obama! The world's most gifted political magician! A thing of wonder. A thing of awe. Just watch him defy politics, economics, even gravity! (And hold your applause until the end, please.)

To kick off our show tonight, Mr. Obama will give 95% of American working families a tax cut, even though 40% of Americans today don't pay income taxes! How can our star enact such mathemagic? How can he "cut" zero? Abracadabra! It's called a "refundable tax credit." It involves the federal government taking money from those who do pay taxes, and writing checks to those who don't. Yes, yes, in the real world this is known as "welfare," but please try not to ruin the show.

[Potomac Watch] Ken Fallin

For his next trick, the Great Obama will jumpstart the economy, and he'll do it by raising taxes on the very businesses that are today adrift in a financial tsunami! That will include all those among the top 1% of taxpayers who are in fact small-business owners, and the nation's biggest employers who currently pay some of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. Mr. Obama will, with a flick of his fingers, show them how to create more jobs with less money. It's simple, really. He has a wand.

Next up, Mr. Obama will re-regulate the economy, with no ill effects whatsoever! You may have heard that for the past 40 years most politicians believed deregulation was good for the U.S. economy. You might have even heard that much of today's financial mess tracks to loose money policy, or Fannie and Freddie excesses. Our magician will show the fault was instead with our failure to clamp down on innovation and risk-taking, and will fix this with new, all-encompassing rules. Presto!

Did someone in the audience just shout "Sarbanes Oxley?" Usher, can you remove that man? Thank you. Mr. Obama will now demonstrate how he gives Americans the "choice" of a "voluntary" government health plan, designed in such a way as to crowd out the private market and eliminate all other choice! Don't worry people: You won't have to join, until you do. Mr. Obama will follow this with a demonstration of how his plan will differ from our failing Medicare program. Oops, sorry, folks. The Great Obama just reminded me it is time for an intermission. Maybe we'll get to that marvel later.

We're back now. And just watch the Great Obama perform a feat never yet managed in all history. He will create that enormous new government health program, spend billions to transform our energy economy, provide financial assistance to former Soviet satellites, invest in infrastructure, increase education spending, provide job training assistance, and give 95% of Americans a tax (ahem) cut -- all without raising the deficit a single penny! And he'll do it in the middle of a financial crisis. And with falling tax revenues! Voila!

Moving along to a little ventriloquism. Study his mouth carefully, folks: It looks like he's saying "I'll stop the special interests," when in fact the words coming out are "Welcome to Washington, friends!" Wind and solar companies, ethanol makers, tort lawyers, unions, community organizers -- all are welcome to feed at the public trough and to request special favors. From now on "special interests" will only refer to universally despised, if utterly crucial, economic players. Say, oil companies. Hocus Pocus!

And for tonight's finale, the Great Obama will uphold America's "moral" obligation to "stop genocide" by abandoning Iraq! While teleported to the region, he will simultaneously convince Iranian leaders to peacefully abandon their nuclear pursuits (even as he does not sit down with them), fix Afghanistan with a strategy that does not resemble the Iraqi surge, and (drumroll!) pull Osama bin Laden out of his hat!


You can clap now. (Applause. Cheers.) We'd like to thank a few people in the audience. Namely, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who has so admirably restrained himself from running up on stage to debunk any of these illusions and spoil everyone's fun.

We know he's in a bit of a box, having initially blamed today's financial crisis on corporate "greed," and thus made it that much harder to call for a corporate tax cut, or warn against excessive regulation. Still, there were some pretty big openings up here this evening, and he let them alone! We'd also like to thank Mr. McCain for keeping all the focus on himself these past weeks. It has helped the Great Obama to just get on with the show.

As for that show, we'd love to invite you all back for next week's performance, when the Great Obama will thrill with new, amazing exploits. He will respect your Second Amendment rights even as he regulates firearms! He will renegotiate Nafta, even as he supports free trade! He will...

-Kimberley A Strassel (October 10, 2008)

(Couldn't have said it any better myself, so I give credit where credit is due)


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Barack Obama has put out an ad that simple minded
John McCain cannot use a computer.

Well guess what? Barack can't land a jet plane on an
aircraft carrier at night."


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Political Ode to the Road...

So far this week, I've traveled 350 miles across Texas.

Yesterday, I took the country-filled scenic route down Hwy 183 and Hwy 281 to San Antonio.

After spotting the 5th "McCain-Palin" poster tacked to the fence posts I started counting.

At the end of the day yesterday, I counted 19 such posters- 1 per property. (Over 4 hours of driving non stop.)

Some were little, some were HUMONGOUS.

How many "Obama/Biden" posters do you think I counted?


Call me crazy - or - driving with blinders manufactured by the NRA if you must. But I'm telling the truth. I covered the better part of the midway point between West Central Texas down to South Texas on my journey and I didn't see ANY support for the left by way of campaign signs.

Today finds me traveling from San Antonio to Austin on I-35. Since I wasn't actually near personal property, I started counting bumper stickers instead. As of 2PM today (when I hit the hotel parking lot), I tallied the following:

McCain/Palin: 12

Obama/Biden: 1

Sure, this simple little test has little to do with matching national polling statistics or focus groups in key swing states. And it is also true that I'm only covering a small part of one state. But consider this: I'm driving through the heartland of Democratic country- and for whatever reason- the minions are NOT advertising their allegiance to their multi-generational voting tendencies in support of the Democratic Party.

Could there be something for this so-called "Bradley Effect" after all?


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Palin Pokes Hoboken Joe

Just finished watching the first and only Vice Presidential debate of this election cycle. It was really good- from both sides of the microphone. After the initial Presidential candidate debate, I decided to take notes based on what I viewed a few weeks ago in order to "score" tonight's debate by both parties' statements. My criteria were these: Credible shots vs Opponent, Evasive/Refusal to answer moderator's Question, Outright Blunders, Interrupting Opponent's answer, Major Points Stated, Failure to Keep within Time limits, Rudeness to other candidate, Agreement with opponent's statement, Outright Falsities.

Caveat: I have zero personal debate experience. I have watched many, and asked lots of questions of those who understand the nuances of scoring, protocol and proper engagement. That said, too, my scoring is not scientific. Rather, it is as close to what I could capture with pen and paper during a 90-minute live television broadcast.

Here's the breakdown:


Shots to Opponent's Credibility- 4/20
Evasive/Refusal to answer Question- 10/2
Outright Blunders- 5/0
Interrupting Opponent- 3*/0
Major Points Stated- 5/11
Time Limit Failures- 9/8
Rudeness/Deficiency- 0/0
Agreed with Opponent- 3/3
Outright Falsities- 11/0

By and large, the differences in the scoring were pretty close throughout the 90 minutes. The only criteria that clearly set Governor Palin apart from Senator Biden were "shots to other's credibility" and "major points communicated". The number in the "interrupting opponent" slot I scored as a "3". The moderator interrupted Gov. Palin before her time ran out to hand-off to Senator Biden. Too, the moderator failed to reign in Senator Biden on a particularly long oratory rebuttal that lasted a full two minutes. (They were only allowed 90 seconds) Third, the moderator failed to give Governor Palin the final response of the evening by her closing comments- Biden was first to speak with his opening statement and was last to speak with his closing comments. By design or accident, I don't know- but the fact remains, Biden had an unfair edge in this. So I attributed the mistakes to the column that benefited from the oversights.

Biden made 5 major blunders- and not a single commentator caught it that I heard in the initial response on PBS or NBC.

  • Twice- "No surge is going to work in this action....but we need more.....troops."
  • Once- "I gave the vote to enter Iraq, but I opposed this war as did Sen. Obama."
  • Once- "This is the most important election since '32." (speaking on the economy)
  • Once- "I have an independent judgement...I will support Obama...across the board."

Bullets 1,2 and 4 are fairly irrefutable. Bullet 3 is subjective, but I think most of America would agree with me that singling out the '32 election as the last major election of importance over the current election cycle is extremely debatable. The elections of '44 (During WWII), and '68 (Vietnam War) rank higher on my scale than the '32 election. It wasn't just America's economy at stake in those elections, it was our very existence as a nation that depended on the next Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces. I so wish Governor Palin had taken that softball and hit it over the fence.

OUTRIGHT FALSITIES: Again, neither of the commentators caught any of these I have listed, so perhaps they are, again, somewhat subjective in nature. You can be the judge.

  • Twice- "Obama warned of pending economic crises two years ago..."
  • Once- "300 Million families will be taxed under McCain's plan." (Would equal 1.2B)
  • Once- "McCain's healthplan would cost $3.6 Trillion..."
  • Once- "Only 3% of the world's oil reserves are found in the United States..."
  • Once- "I've been supporting clean cole technology for 25 years..."
  • Once- "Obama has been focused on Pakistan as a terror threat for a long time..."
  • Once- "We never said we would sit at a table (without conditions) with Ahmajinadad..."
  • Once- "I never supported this war..."
  • Once- "Obam's extensive record of change...(in politics)"
  • Once- "McCain hasn't been a 'maverick' on this war..."

It's clear that Biden's handlers schooled him well on personal restraint and keeping his answers short and on point, but they failed to address his short-term memory from coming into play. When his temper got the best of him, his rhetoric rose and his arguments went down the proverbial drain from a points issue. Clearly, this debate went to the Republicans. With all due respect to Tom Brokaw- I think tomorrow morning's poll numbers will show yet another shift towards the (R) column. The only remaining question is...by how much?