Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all

To all of our readers, family, and friends, Marcie and I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day and the company you keep. Eat hearty. Celebrate with your family and friends, and give thanks for what you have in life.

(And yes, our wishes are even extended to liberals out there. they may be wrong, but they still deserve to have a happy day just like the rest of us.)

Publius II

The most ideologically-partisan, incompetent Cabinet ever?

Above, courtesy of Say Anything blog (HT to Hot Air's headlines) is a visual of the amount of private sector experience in every presidential Cabinet going back to Teddy Roosevelt. Notice anything?

Yes, that's correct. Barry's Cabinet doesn't even have 10% experience in the private sector, and yet this administration is trying to tell the private sector how it's supposed to work and act. Remember, this is an administration that fully embraces its pay czar who, under the leadership of the president, is telling businesses what is and isn't fair pay. This is an administration that is telling GM and Chrysler how to run it's businesses. (Granted, they took the money, but they're literally telling these companies what they have to make.)

The simple fact is that Barry has surrounded himself with ideological cronies and eggheads that lack the basic experiences necessary to run the administration, and by default the nation, competently. And while I'll agree that having people from the private sector within the administration doesn't necessarily mean that they'll do a good job in the administration, experience is a big plus that can't be overlooked. Apparently Barry's hyperpartisan, ideological politics took precedence as opposed to fulfilling his campaign promise of ending DC politics as usual, and bringing in competent thinkers to help him accomplish that. (No, neither of us bought the shovel-ready BS Barry was spinning during the campaign, but attempting to keep his promises may have helped stave off the mass departure of independent supporters that are leaving the Democrats in droves.)

The other question we should ask about this graphic is does this include his czars, too? The majority of them answer to no one but the president (though they're supposed to be working with Cabinet members), and their "power" is equal to that of a Cabinet member. So I wonder if this less than 10% private sector experience extends to them, as well, or if this is simply a reflection of the president's Cabinet only.

Publius II

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Three SEALs charged with assault

Yesterday this story broke and it burned both of us. We're fairly pi$$ed these men are even being charged, but they are. They stand accused of assaulting Ahmed Hashim Abed. Abed was the man who planned and executed the ambush of four Blackwater contractors in Fallujah in 2004. Abed alleges the SEALs hit him and gave him a fat lip:

Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told FoxNews.com.

The three, all members of the Navy's elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called an admiral's mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.

Matthew McCabe, a Special Operations Petty Officer Second Class (SO-2), is facing three charges: dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee, making a false official statement, and assault.

Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe, SO-2, is facing charges of dereliction of performance of duty and making a false official statement.

Petty Officer Julio Huertas, SO-1, faces those same charges and an additional charge of impediment of an investigation.

The three SEALs will be arraigned separately on Dec. 7. Another three SEALs — two officers and an enlisted sailor — have been identified by investigators as witnesses but have not been charged.

FoxNews.com obtained the official handwritten statement from one of the three witnesses given on Sept. 3, hours after Abed was captured and still being held at the SEAL base at Camp Baharia. He was later taken to a cell in the U.S.-operated Green Zone in Baghdad.

The SEAL told investigators he had showered after the mission, gone to the kitchen and then decided to look in on the detainee.

"I gave the detainee a glance over and then left," the SEAL wrote. "I did not notice anything wrong with the detainee and he appeared in good health."

Lt. Col. Holly Silkman, spokeswoman for the special operations component of U.S. Central Command, confirmed Tuesday to FoxNews.com that three SEALs have been charged in connection with the capture of a detainee. She said their court martial is scheduled for January.

United States Central Command declined to discuss the detainee, but a legal source told FoxNews.com that the detainee was turned over to Iraqi authorities, to whom he made the abuse complaints. He was then returned to American custody. The SEAL leader reported the charge up the chain of command, and an investigation ensued.

This is asinine. He got punched by one of the SEALs. Big deal. It probably happened int he attempt to capture him. What do the military commanders think our soldiers will do in detaining these animals, use harsh language instead of defending themselves is the terrorist fights back? This is the same sort of PC crap that is apparently running rampant in the military right now. Marcie was incensed when she saw this story last night, uttered a couple expletives, and reminded me (like I need to be reminded) that the job of the military is to kill people, break things, and protect the nation.

I couldn't agree more with her, and while our opinion in this matter doesn't matter to the military investigators, we're nonetheless giving it anyway. These SEALs did their jobs. They caught the animal responsible for the brutal murder of four civilian contractors. (Despite the opinions of others regarding Blackwater and other security contractors, these companies provide a valuable service in this war.) Some people forget this nation is still at war, and war is a dirty, messy business. It's not for the faint of heart, nor is it for the squeamish. There are times where our soldiers have to do things that would appall a good number of people. But our enemies won't be coddled into submission.

We predict these three SEALs will be found not guilty, and that the investigators will discover they acted according to rules of engagement, and by the UCMJ. And even if they did pop this guy in the mouth, he ought to consider himself lucky that's all he got for the murder he committed. If it were up to me, I would've shot him, and dumped him in the Euphrates.

Publius II

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The RNC infighting continues

While much of this is being kept behind closed doors, it's still a problem within the GOP ranks. A top official within the RNC ranks abruptly resigned, and fingers are being pointed in all directions. As Jonathan Martin notes in his piece at Politico today, it appears that RNC Chairman Michael Steele is continuing to show he's not ready for prime time:

Trevor Francis, communications director of the Republican National Committee, abruptly resigned Monday, and two Republican strategists familiar with the situation said he was pushed out because Chairman Michael Steele didn’t feel he was getting enough credit for the GOP’s electoral success earlier this month.

Francis had only been in the job since March, and neither he nor the
RNC veered from the sort of vague explanations that typically suggest a less-than-amicable political breakup.

RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho would only say that Francis was “pursuing other opportunities,” and Francis allowed just that he was “returning to my career in the private sector.”

A former official at public relations giant Burson-Marsteller, Francis was tasked with trying to keep the voluble Steele on message and explaining away the instances when he strayed.

While still occasionally committing gaffes, Steele has become more disciplined in his frequent TV appearances.

But after Republicans won the closely watched gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey this month, Steele expressed frustration that he wasn’t receiving accolades for the party’s success, said the two Republicans, both of whom conveyed frustration with the chairman’s leadership style.

“So the reaction was: Get rid of the communications director,” carped one of the Republicans.

Curt Anderson, a close Steele adviser, denied that Francis was dismissed, calling the claim “silly.”

“That’s not true,” Anderson said. “It was a mutual thing.”

Francis, who previously worked in the Bush administration, had no relationship with Steele before joining the RNC this year and cut a low-profile figure during his brief tenure.

Asked what his plans were, Francis said he was unsure — another sign sure to be interpreted in political circles that he was forced out.

The dispute over Francis reflects a larger battle within the top ranks of the Republican Party. Anderson and Steele allies believe the chairman deserves a share of credit for the party’s resurgence this year, while other activists and officials are frustrated at what they see as the chairman’s penchant for self-promotion and his insular palace guard.

Here's the problem we have with Michael Steele: He took too long to get things in place, and apparently still doesn't have it all in a line within the RNC. He's facing criticism and resistance within the ranks of the leadership of the party. He spent a good deal of time sacking those he felt had no place within the party leadership when he was elected, and constantly fumbled when invited by media outlets to speak.

Does he deserve credit for New Jersey and Virginia? Sure he does. Does that absolve him of his previous mistakes? Not even close. New York's 23rd district race is a prime example of such gaffes. Like Gingrich did, Steele and the RNC openly endorsed Dede Scozzafava as the Republican candidate without really vetting the woman, without looking into the state party bosses and their process of choosing her. When it became public -- her record -- Steele and others sort of attacked the base for questioning her credentials and the party itself.

We're party people. We stand with the Republicans, but only when they stand for conservatism. If they're going to take the Democrat-lite approach to politics, the GOP can wander in the wilderness for all we care. We know of many Republicans that are considering making a switch to distance themselves from a party that appears rudderless right now. It took the NRCC and NRSC over a week before assembling the website information against conservative Democrats in the House that voted for the current health care non-reform legislation. (Let's call it what it is folks -- it's an attempt to federalize the health care/health insurance industry.)

Michael Steele is a good man, and we believed he'd be a sound leader for the RNC. What we're seeing is he's as much a mirror-kisser as some elected members of our party in DC. He wants a pat on the back and the cookie before bed because he helped win two elections. That's great; admirable, even. And while gubernatorial races are important, the midterms are even more important. The base isn't pleased with the Republican party right now because they aren't seeing the leadership they expected.

If Mr. Steele truly wants accolades, then he needs to work harder in seeking out and supporting conservative candidates that challenge not only Democrats, but Republicans that really can't be trusted any longer. That includes Republicans like Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham. (Yes, they're solid fifty percent of the time, but all too often on key issues, these people can't be trusted to stay on the right side of the fence.)

We'll give credit where credit is due. But we're not going to play the lock-step game with the party. That's Democrat mentality, and it makes it difficult for us to be the party of ideas when we have our leaders condemning our opinions on who should and shouldn't be supported. We also shouldn't be criticized by them when we start to point out mistakes being made. We're both in favor of the big tent, but that tent has rules for being inside, and if the RNC isn't going to listen to the base, then they deserve the disdain of the people they continually badger for contributions.

Mr. Steele, you did a commendable job in the two gubernatorial races, but what have you done for us lately, and what do you propose to do in the midterms? The clock is ticking, and as of now the base is keeping score.

Publius II

Friday, November 20, 2009

Some thoughts regarding AG Holder

Let me begin by saying I had hoped Eric Holder would have been a competent Attorney General, given the gravity of the Gitmo detainees awaiting their trials. After all, the man came into an administration that, on the campaign trail, had not only vowed to close Gitmo, but to usher these detainees through the tribunal process.

So color me unimpressed by his decision to try KSM and three of his confederates in federal court. After watching his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I'm even more non-plussed with him. While he enjoyed the softball questions from Democrats, the substantive questions from the Republican members of the committee flummoxed him. He treated their questions like they were journalist-inspired "gotcha" questions. There is nothing "gotcha" about Senator Lindsey Graham challenging AG Holder to name one case where an enemy combatant has been tried in federal court. There is nothing "gotcha" in Senator Graham asking AG Holder that if we were to get Osama bin Ladin tomorrow, would he be mirandized?

What I witnessed in these proceedings is the incompetence of a man that either A) Doesn't know what his job entails; B) Is overwhelmed by the job; or C) Is treating his job much in the same vein that Barry is treating his.

We've already seen AG Holder's thoughts on the "rule of law" when he dropped the voter intimidation case against the Black Panthers in Philadelphia. He refused to pursue that case and never fully answered the questions as to why he didn't want to pursue it. What I saw this past week in his testimony was the same sort of rambling answers about trying the 9-11 plotters in federal court as we saw in him explaining why there would be no prosecution for the Black Panthers.

In short, there was no there there. His answers were as empty as his suit (and apparently his head).

Eric Holder is the Attorney General for the United States of America. He knew this issue -- the detainee tribunals -- would be the biggest challenge he faced when he was confirmed by the Senate. And in his testimony, he claimed to have not been briefed by his staff or fellow lawyers in the Justice Department. That, folks, is a cop out. As Attorney General it's his job to know as much about these cases as possible. Yes, the military should be handling the prosecution, but in AG Holder's "infinite legal wisdom" he has chosen to give them their day in court.

This sets a dangerous precedent. We have never tried an enemy combatant in federal court. It's simply not the venue to prosecute these people in. They are combatants in a war -- whether legal or illegal combatants doesn't matter. In giving them the federal court avenue of prosecution, they'll be entitled to the same rights we, as citizens, have. (I actually had a debate with someone who stated that we have done this before, in the case of the soldiers charged with murder for the Boston Massacre. The problem with that logic is that: A) The soldiers were tried under British law, and B) America wasn't an independent nation at the time, hence the trial under British law. In short, I still stand by my statement in that debate that the Framers are rolling over in their graves at this idiocy from AG Holder.)

The only person who can stop this insane idea is the president, and we don't see Barry forcing AG Holder to change his mind. Why? Because both men feel that this is the right thing to do. This trial will take years to prepare and execute. Worse, AG Holder feels that a jury can return a guilty verdict. (Of course, any sane person on the jury would return a guilty verdict given the admissions of these men already. However, we have a system of justice that one is innocent until proven guilty, and KSM and company now have that same burden of proof to be established.) What we find appalling about AG Holder's statements (and the statement from Barry) is that even if they're found not guilty, they're not going anywhere. Are you kidding me? First you claim that they'll receive justice in our court system, then you say even if a jury returns a not guilty verdict, these men won't be set free?

Was it the Justice Department's overall goal to put on a show trial?

This decision is a disaster from the word go. AG Holder should be urged to reevaluate his decision. These men should be tried under the military tribunals, set up by the Congress, and approved by President Bush; the same tribunals the Supreme Court urged the administration to enact. The system is in place, and the Justice Department should follow the guidelines laid out.

Publius II

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lynne Stewart ordered to jail

Anyone remember this piece of trash? She was the lawyer representing Omar Abdel Rahman, AKA the Blind Sheikh. In 2005 she was convicted of conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists. she had been funneling messages from Rahman to al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, and back again. (Rahman was the group's spiritual leader.) Yesterday, a federal appeals court upheld her conviction, revoked her bail, and ordered her back to jail:

Disbarred radical lawyer Lynne Stewart is going to jail - maybe for a lot longer than she thought.

An appeals court Tuesday upheld her conviction for smuggling messages to her jailed terrorist client and said she deserves more than the 28 months she got because she may have lied at her trial.

"I will go on fighting," Stewart, 70, told about a dozen supporters outside Manhattan federal court Tuesday.

"I'm no criminal." The ruling said Stewart was to surrender to U.S. Marshals immediately, but her lawyers won her another day of freedom - until at least 5 p.m. Wednesday.

They hope to convince the feds to let her surrender after she goes for minor surgery for what she called "plumbing problems" on Dec. 7.

The Brooklyn resident, free on bail since 2006, said she is prepared to be locked up.

"Visit me in jail," she told supporters. "Send money to the commissary!"

Stewart was sentenced to two years and four months in prison in 2005 for helping Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman talk to militants from prison after his 1996 conviction for plotting to blow up New York City icons and assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Prosecutors, who wanted her jailed for 30 years, appealed, calling the light sentence "a slap on the wrist" for someone convicted "of a crime of terrorism."

The appeals court said the trial judge, John Koeltl, should have determined at sentencing if Stewart committed perjury when she testified.

"Any cover-up or attempt to evade responsibility by a failure to tell the truth upon oath or affirmation at her trial would compound the gravity of her crime," the court said.

We're glad she's joking about this, but this is hardly a laughing matter. she knowingly abetted with a known terrorists, a recognized terrorist organization, and she firmly believes she was acting in the best interests of her client. I won't go into how many ethical rules she broke in acting this way. She willingly broke the law, and she bloody well knew it.

Andy McCarthy squared off against Stewart in the Rahman trial and he weighed in on the three-ring legal circus surrounding her:

By the way, since my topic in today’s column is Attorney General Holder’s sudden concern over delays in the military commission system, it’s worth pointing out that, for conduct that started around 1999, Stewart was indicted in 2002; her trial did not begin until mid-2004 and took about eight months; after that, they dawdled for over a year before finally imposing sentence in October 2006; now, a decade after the conduct, seven years after arrest, four years after trial, and three years after sentence – and mind you, she’s been free on bail since 2002 – the appeal has at long last been decided, and it has resulted in … a remand for further sentencing proceedings. And, after they someday occur, there will surely be another trip to the Second Circuit, and then an appeal to the Supreme Court. After that, the habeas corpus petitions start …

This may be far from over, as Mr. McCarthy notes, but for the time being her butt is going back to jail where it belongs. And should the judge determine she did commit perjury then the sentence had better be extended. The thirty years would have been fine with us, and should have been imposed. And let's hope that this time around she doesn't use her breast cancer treatment as an excuse to delay the sentencing like the first time around.

She was disbarred immediately upon conviction, which was appropriate. The 28 month sentence is a joke, and she deserves to be put in jail. Her supporters claim she is being persecuted for freedom of speech. Not true, she broke the law. She breached legal ethics. There is no excuse for this sort of action except the fact that she's a radical activist that dislikes the government, and supports the actions of known terrorists.

HT to Captain Ed

Publius II

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stonewalling on Hasan

HT to Captain Ed

On 5 November Major Nidal Hasan proceeded to his post at Fort Hood and opened fire on his fellow soldiers. Dressed in the martyr's garb of a Pashtun fighter, this man shot and killed thirteen soldiers, and injured thirty more soldiers. (There is a fourteenth victim in the unborn child of one of those soldiers.) He's in custody, and is facing, now, fourteen counts of first-degree, premeditated murder. (I'd love to take up the language of the media, and mention he's the "alleged" shooter, but there's no "alleged" about this. He did it, and should be facing the death penalty.)

Now there are literally tons of questions about this man. He supposedly was either a wanna-be jihadist, or firmly believed he was one. He had business cards printed with "SoA" on them; the acronym has been confirmed by terrorism experts as "Soldier of Allah." He had regular communication with Anwar al-Aulaqi, an imam who headed up a mosque that two of the 9-11 hijackers attended, and a man who was a known al Qaeda sympathizer. He constantly, according to his colleagues at Walter Reed, attempted to "witness" to his patients about the glories of Allah, and even attempted to hand out Korans to them.

The public deserves to know some answers as to how this man was allowed to stay in the Army, despite his jihadist sympathies, and how he was allowed to continue treating combat troops as a psychiatrist. As Ben Pershing of the WaPo notes, the Congress isn't getting any sort of help from the White House:

The first public congressional hearing on the Fort Hood attack will not include testimony from any current federal law enforcement, military or intelligence officials because the Obama administration “declined to provide any” such witnesses, according to a Senate committee source.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has released the witness list for its hearing “The Fort Hood Attack: A Preliminary Assessment,” scheduled for Thursday at 10 a.m. ET. The list includes four experts on terrorism and intelligence issues: retired Gen. Jack Keane, the former U.S. Army vice chief of staff; Brian Jenkins, a senior advisor at the Rand Corp.; Mitchell Silber, the director of analysis for the New York City Police Department’s Intelligence Division; and Juan Zarate, a senior advisor for the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

But the list does not include anyone actively involved in investigating the Fort Hood attack, or anyone who might have been responsible for decisions made by various government agencies before the attack about whether to investigate the shooting suspect, Nidal Hasan. The Senate committee source said HSGAC Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) had hoped to have witnesses from the FBI and the U.S. Army, but was rebuffed in his requests. ...

President Obama has already ordered a federal review of the circumstances that led up to the Fort Hood attack, and how government agencies handled intelligence related to Hasan. But in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, Obama urged caution on Capitol Hill.

"I know there will also be inquiries by Congress, and there should," Obama said. "But all of us should resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater that sometimes dominates the discussion here in Washington. The stakes are far too high."

Pardon us, Mr. President, but we're getting a tad tired of this "let's not jump to conclusions" BS. NO ONE in the administration is giving satisfactory explanations how this man was allowed to even stay in the Army considering his outspoken attitude regarding the Army, and its actions in this war. It's been uncovered by ABC this morning that he sought to have his patients brought up on war crimes charges which, at the very least, breeches the doctor/patient confidentiality rules as well as undermining the Army's ability to prosecute this war.

The public is owed some answers and so is Congress. Barry may act like he's the "king" of America, but he's not. He's the president -- the chief of the Executive branch -- and Congress is a direct check on him. They have the authority to conduct investigations on a host of issues, and this happens to be one of them. Barry stated this would be the most open and transparent administrations this nation has ever seen, and it's clear that he's not willing to play ball on this. He's told the congress that the administration will conduct its own internal investigation. To those who think this sounds like the fox guarding the hen house, we share your suspicions. This smells more like an attempt to cover-up for Hasan (for whatever reason*).

If Barry continues to stonewall on this issue, Senator Lieberman and Congress have an option they can utilize. It's called a congressional subpoena, and Barry would be stupid to ignore such an order from Congress. The president owes it to the Congress, and to the nation, to be as open on this issue as possible. Justice needs to be handed down on Hasan, and we need to know what heads should be rolling for allowing him to stay in the Army. It's clear the man had issues and those issues lead to the murder of fourteen fellow soldiers before he was shot by a civilian law enforcement officer. (A female -- Sergeant Kimberly Munley -- shot him and stopped his attempted massacre, which is likely something that will stick in his craw given Islam's disdain of women.)

If the administration doesn't want to play ball, Congress should force its hand. Being president doesn't mean one can blow off the other branches of the government especially when it comes to investigations. The Left seethed over President Bush's use of executive authority when it came to members of his administration. Right or wrong, the president has that authority. Not so in this case, and Barry would be wise to remember that.

(* Let's not throw around fever swamp theories as to why the WH is covering this up. No "Barry's a Muslim" or crap like that, please? Remember that we don't jump on conspiracy theory bandwagons here.)

Publius II

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Issue Up!!

It's the 16th of the month, folks, and that means Common Conservative's newest issue has been published.

The Chief reflects on the recent special elections held across the nation.

Larry Simoneaux takes a look at the monsters that live among us, in society, and the politically-correct attitude used towards them that affects society, as a whole.

Marcie and I analyze the Obama presidency to date, and notice that he seems to have embodied the worst attributes of presidents past rather than the best.

John Lillpop kicks off the guest pieces with an enlightening look at racial profiling, and how for some it's not always a bad thing.

George Damroth wonders if the Republican party, and conservatives, in general, are smart enough to recognize the opportunity in front of them in the wake of the special election victories they experienced.

J.J. Jackson looks at the recent story of the Planned Parenthood director who quit her job after witnessing an abortion through an ultrasound.

Ralph Reiland examines the real stimulus numbers that the Obama administration refuses to acknowledge.

Robert Owens gives the nation a much-needed slap in the face regarding Obama's change, and the legacy the Framers left for us.

Carolyn Hileman rounds out this issue with her own, personal Declaration of Independence; independence from this out of control government being run by the Democrats.

Enjoy reading!

Publius II

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DeMint takes aim at "permanent politicians"

Senator Jim DeMint introduced a constitutional amendment yesterday that calls for term limits in Congress:

Sen. Jim DeMint says Washington politicians are like fruit on the vine: the longer they hang around, the more rotten they get.

The South Carolina Republican - hearkening back to the days of the party's "Contract with America" - on Tuesday offered a fix to the corrupting influence of "permanent politicians," introducing an amendment to the Constitution that would limit Senate members to three six-year terms and House members to three two-year terms.

"As long as members have the chance to spend their lives in Washington, their interests will always skew toward spending taxpayer dollars to buy off special interests, covering over corruption in the bureaucracy, fundraising, relationship building among lobbyists, and trading favors for pork - in short, amassing their own power," said Mr. DeMint, who is running for a second term next year.

Senate leaders and longtime Washington watchdogs said Mr. DeMint's bill had a zero chance of becoming law, mostly because of a general lack of interest and the high hurdles to amending the Constitution.

"It's a great issue to talk about, but it's not going to happen," said Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic majority's second-highest ranking leader.

Mr. Durbin said he didn't know whether the bill would even get a vote.

Term limits have not been a cause celebre on Capitol Hill since the issue featured prominently in the "Contract with America" that helped the Republican Party win control of Congress in 1994. House Republicans brought three versions of constitutional amendments for term limits to the floor in 1995 and each failed to win the two-thirds majority needed to pass.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), disagrees with Mr. DeMint's premise that politicians get more corrupt the longer they serve.

"There are plenty of bad members who have been there a short time and plenty of bad members who have been there a long time," she said. "Length of service just isn't telling enough. It doesn't make a great member or a terrible member."

With all due respect to Ms. Sloane, Senator DeMint is correct in his assertion about those congress critters that have decided to make themselves permanent politicians. The Founding Fathers never wanted those who serve in Congress to make a career out of it. They knew that the best way to ensure the life of this republic was to make sure there was fresh blood and new ideas in Congress, standing up for the founding principles.

And while Ms. Sloane's point is understood (about those being in Congress a short time could be as bad as those who serve a long time) there are those that have been there too long. Charlie Rangel (serial tax evader), John Murtha (king of pork spending from Pennsylvania), Barney Frank (helped perpetuate the falling of Fannie and Freddie), Nancy Pelosi (ruling the house like she's the queen), and the list is endless. And for those who think I'm just picking on Democrats, I'm not. It's time for people like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Orrin Hatch to call it quits, as well.

So long as these politicians continue to serve in Congress, they're susceptible to corruption and complacency. Take a look at how well Congress listened to us this year alone. During august, people flocked to town hall meetings where not only were they not listened to, but at a few of them, they were attacked by the politicians holding the meetings. People are seeing that there is a distinct disconnect between those who enjoy the perks of being in Congress and the general public, and quite frankly we're fed up. Talking with friends and associates, I've noticed that a movement is beginning to form to vote out all incumbents this year. (Problem with this is those incumbents need to lose in their primaries; we're not simply going to vote for the other guy just because. We want those new and fresh ideas going to Congress, not the same old song and dance in a new suit.)

Does this have a chance of passing? Not bloody likely. The monkeys in Congress aren't going to vote themselves out of office voluntarily. It's possible Senator DeMint can get this to the floor for a vote, but it will fail just as it did back in 1995. It's sad, really, that the people in Congress care more about their cushy job than what's best for the nation.

Publius II

Happy Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day -- the day where we should remember all veterans from all conflicts. The men and women that serve in our military have a tough job to do, day in and day out, and we should thank these people for their sacrifice to keep America safe and secure from our enemies. I have relatives who have served in the military. My great-grandfather served in the trenches of World War I. My grandfather served as a Navy transport pilot during World War II. My father served in Vietnam as a company clerk. My uncle served in the Marines in Vietnam. My other uncle joined the Navy in 1981, and put in 26 years in the Navy in naval intelligence. Marcie's brother is in Afghanistan now; an Army Ranger that signed up to serve on September 13, 2001. So it's not like we don't have the utmost respect for the military.

I ran across this video not too long ago, and it still chokes me up seeing it. They have a duty to serve this nation, and at the very least we should show them our appreciation whenever the chances come up. Also, Project Valour-IT ends today through Soldier's Angels. They help our wounded soldiers when they come home so drop by and give them a contribution.

If you see a soldier today, thank them for their service. If you feel bold enough, buy them lunch, or dinner, or even a beer. Tell them how much you appreciate their service, wish them good luck, God-speed, and may they be safe in the execution of their job.

Also, don't forget to fly your flag today in honor of those who serve, have served, and have given the ultimate sacrifice. Thanks to these people we are a safe and secure nation. The job ain't easy, but they're up to the task.

Publius II

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Semper Fi and Oo-rah!! Happy Birthday USMC; 234 years young!

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps. Today marks the 234th anniversary of the formation of the Marines. The ages-old adage for the Marines "no greater friend, no worse an enemy" has served the Marines well. They have a rich and storied history that most are unaware of. Below is a brief history of the men and women who have served the Marines honorably for 234 years. If you know of a Marine, or meet one today, buy them a drink in honor of their sacrifice and service. Thank God for the US Marines. They are called on when we need them most, and perform spectacularly when that call comes in.

On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia passed a resolution stating that "two Battalions of Marines be raised" for service as landing forces with the fleet. This resolution, established the Continental Marines and marked the birth date of the United States Marine Corps. Serving on land and at sea, these first Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations, including their first amphibious raid into the Bahamas in March 1776, under the command of Captain (later Major) Samuel Nicholas. Nicholas, the first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines, remained the senior Marine officer throughout the American Revolution and is considered to be the first Marine Commandant. The Treaty of Parris in April 1783 brought an end to the Revolutionary War and as the last of the Navy's ships were sold, the Continental Navy and Marines went out of existence.

Following the Revolutionary War and the formal re-establishment of the Marine Corps on 11 July 1798, Marines saw action in the quasi-war with France, landed in Santo Domingo, and took part in many operations against the Barbary pirates along the "Shores of Tripoli". Marines participated in numerous naval operations during the War of 1812, as well as participating in the defense of Washington at Bladensburg, Maryland, and fought alongside Andrew Jackson in the defeat of the British at New Orleans. The decades following the War of 1812 saw the Marines protecting American interests around the world, in the Caribbean, at the Falkland Islands, Sumatra and off the coast of West Africa, and also close to home in the operations against the Seminole Indians in Florida.

During the Mexican War (1846-1848), Marines seized enemy seaports on both the Gulf and Pacific coasts. A battalion of Marines joined General Scott's army at Pueblo and fought all the way to the "Halls of Montezuma," Mexico City. Marines also served ashore and afloat in the Civil War (1861-1865). Although most service was with the Navy, a battalion fought at Bull Run and other units saw action with the blockading squadrons and at Cape Hatteras, New Orleans, Charleston, and Fort Fisher. The last third of the 19th century saw Marines making numerous landings throughout the world, especially in the Orient and in the Caribbean area.

Following the Spanish-American War (1898), in which Marines performed with valor in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, the Corps entered an era of expansion and professional development. It saw active service in the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902), the Boxer Rebellion in China (1900). and in numerous other nations, including Nicaragua, Panama, Cuba, Mexico, and Haiti.

In World War I the Marine Corps distinguished itself on the battlefields of France as the 4th Marine Brigade earned the title of "Devil Dogs" for heroic action during 1918 at Belleau Wood, Soissons, St. Michiel, Blanc Mont, and in the final Meuse-Argonne offensive. Marine aviation, which dates from 1912, also played a part in the war effort, as Marine pilots flew day bomber missions over France and Belgium. More than 30,000 Marines had served in France and more than a third were killed or wounded in six months of intense fighting.

During the two decades before World War II, the Marine Corps began to develop in earnest the doctrine, equipment, and organization needed for amphibious warfare. The success of this effort was proven first on Guadalcanal, then on Bougainville, Tarawa, New Britain, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. By the end of the war in 1945, the Marine Corps had grown to include six divisions, five air wings, and supporting troops. Its strength in World War II peaked at 485,113. The war cost the Marines nearly 87,000 dead and wounded and 82 Marines had earned the Medal of Honor.

While Marine units took part in the post-war occupation of Japan and North China, studies were undertaken at Quantico, Virginia, which concentrated on attaining a "vertical envelopment" capability for the Corps through the use of helicopters. Landing at Inchon, Korea in September 1950, Marines proved that the doctrine of amphibious assault was still viable and necessary. After the recapture of Seoul, the Marines advanced to the Chosin Reservoir only to see the Chinese Communists enter the war. After years of offensives, counter-offensives, seemingly endless trench warfare, and occupation duty, the last Marine ground troops were withdrawn in March 1955. More than 25,000 Marines were killed or wounded during the Korean War.

In July 1958, a brigade-size force landed in Lebanon to restore order. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, a large amphibious force was marshaled but not landed. In April 1965, a brigade of Marines landed in the Dominican Republic to protect Americans and evacuate those who wished to leave.

The landing of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade at Da Nang in 1965 marked the beginning of large-scale Marine involvement in Vietnam. By summer 1968, after the enemy's Tet Offensive, Marine Corps strength in Vietnam rose to a peak of approximately 85,000. The Marine withdrawal began in 1969 as the South Vietnamese began to assume a larger role in the fighting; the last ground forces were out of Vietnam by June 1971. The Vietnam War, longest in the history of the Marine Corps, exacted a high cost as well with over 13,000 Marines killed and more than 88,000 wounded. In the spring of 1975, Marines evacuated embassy staffs, American citizens, and refugees in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and Saigon, Republic of Vietnam. Later, in May 1975, Marines played an integral role in the rescue of the crew of the SS Mayaguez captured off the coast of Cambodia.

The mid-1970s saw the Marine Corps assume an increasingly significant role in defending NATO's northern flank as amphibious units of the 2d Marine Division participated in exercises throughout northern Europe. The Marine Corps also played a key role in the development of the Rapid Deployment Force, a multi-service organization created to insure a flexible, timely military response around the world when needed. The Maritime Prepositioning Ships (MPS) concept was developed to enhance this capability by prestaging equipment needed for combat in the vicinity of the designated area of operations, and reduce response time as Marines travel by air to link up with MPS assets.

The 1980s brought an increasing number of terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies around the world. Marine Security Guards, under the direction of the State Department, continued to serve with distinction in the face of this challenge. In August 1982, Marine units landed at Beirut, Lebanon, as part of the multi-national peace-keeping force. For the next 19 months these units faced the hazards of their mission with courage and professionalism. In October 1983, Marines took part in the highly successful, short-notice intervention in Grenada. As the decade of the 1980s came to a close, Marines were summoned to respond to instability in Central America. Operation Just Cause was launched in Panama in December 1989 to protect American lives and restore the democratic process in that nation.

Less than a year later, in August 1990, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait set in motion events that would lead to the largest movement of Marine Corps forces since World War II. Between August 1990 and January 1991, some 24 infantry battalions, 40 squadrons, and more than 92,000 Marines deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Shield. Operation Desert Storm was launched 16 January 1991, the day the air campaign began. The main attack came overland beginning 24 February when the 1st and 2d Marine Divisions breached the Iraqi defense lines and stormed into occupied Kuwait. By the morning of February 28, 100 hours after the ground war began, almost the entire Iraqi Army in the Kuwaiti theater of operations had been encircled with 4,000 tanks destroyed and 42 divisions destroyed or rendered ineffective.

Overshadowed by the events in the Persian Gulf during 1990-91, were a number of other significant Marine deployments demonstrating the Corps' flexible and rapid response. Included among these were non-combatant evacuation operations in Liberia and Somalia and humanitarian lifesaving operations in Bangladesh, the Philippines, and northern Iraq. In December 1992, Marines landed in Somalia marking the beginning of a two-year humanitarian relief operation in that famine-stricken and strife-torn nation. In another part of the world, Marine Corps aircraft supported Operation Deny Flight in the no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina. During April 1994, Marines once again demonstrated their ability to protect American citizens in remote parts of the world when a Marine task force evacuated U.S. citizens from Rwanda in response to civil unrest in that country. Closer to home, Marines went ashore in September 1994 in Haiti as part of the U.S. force participating in the restoration of democracy in that country. During this same period Marines were actively engaged in providing assistance to the Nation's counter-drug effort, assisting in battling wild fires in the western United States, and aiding in flood and hurricane relief operations.

During the late 1990's, Marine Corps units deployed to several African nations, including Liberia, the Central African Republic, Zaire, and Eritrea, in order to provide security and assist in the evacuation of American citizens, during periods of political and civil instability in those nations.
Humanitarian and disaster relief operations were also conducted by Marines during 1998 on Kenya, and in the Central American nations of Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In 1999, Marine units deployed to Kosovo in support of Operation Allied Force. Soon after the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., Marine units deployed to the Arabian Sea and in November set up a forward operating base in southern Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Marine Corps has continued its tradition of innovation to meet the challenges of a new century. The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory was created in 1995 to evaluate change, assess the impact of new technologies on warfighting, and expedite the introduction of new capabilities into the operating forces of the Marine Corps. Exercises such as "Hunter Warrior," and "Urban Warrior" were designed to explore future tactical concepts, and to examine facets of military operations in urban environments.

Today's Marine Corps stands ready to continue in the proud tradition of those who so valiantly fought and died at Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, the Chosin Reservoir, and Khe Sanh. Combining a long and proud heritage of faithful service to the nation, with the resolve to face tomorrow's challenges will continue to keep the Marine Corps the "best of the best."

Ladies and gentlemen of the Marine Coprs, thank you so very much for your proud and honorable service to the United States of America. We, the people, are forever indebted to you for your sacrifice. May each and every one of you enjoy this day, and may each of you continue the traditions laid out by those who came before you. Your service is a debt we will never be able to repay fully. Thank you very much.

Publius II

Remember Kelo v. New London?

In 2005, the US Supreme Court ruled on the eminent domain case, Kelo v. New London, Connecticut, and its ruling was more than incorrect. It was unconstitutional in many aspects, but the SCOTUS screwed up the decision by misreading/misinterpreting the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause. The Fifth Amendment reads (and the key clause is bolded):

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

In Kelo, the high court misinterpreted the Takings Clause. In their view "public use" equated to "public good." In this case, it was a referral to the taxes the state of Connecticut would reap from Pfizer building a plant on the site in question. It's now being reported that Pfizer isn't interested in that site any longer, and they're not going to build that plant, after all:

The private homes New London, Conn., took through eminent domain from Suzette Kelo and others, are torn down now, but Pfizer has just announced that it closing up shop at the research facility that led to the condemnation.

Leading drugmakers Pfizer and Wyeth have merged, and as a result, are trimming some jobs. That includes axing the 1,400 jobs at their sparkling new research & development facility in New London, and moving some across the river to Groton.

To lure those jobs to New London a decade ago, the local government promised to demolish the older residential neighborhood adjacent to the land Pfizer was buying for next-to-nothing. Suzette Kelo fought the taking to the Supreme Court, and lost, as five justices said this redvelopment met the constitutional hurdle of “public use.”

Ms. Kelo and many others lost their home, but the land is still undeveloped. Now Pfizer is abandoning the city altogether.

The court acted, to quote the president, "stupidly," in finding in favor of New London, CT. They believed the town's assertion that the land these homes sat on was more valuable to a developer moving in that would create jobs and increase the state's tax coffers. Now Pfizer is saying "no thanks" for their efforts. The people are displaced, and the land is undeveloped. Let this be a further lesson in the overreach of government.

They could have let the people stay in their homes, and have a steady stream of revenues coming in from those people paying property taxes on homes that had been there for decades. Instead, they got greedy, and saw only dollar signs when Pfizer expressed an interest in moving into the state. This is a further example of the redistribution theory that liberals love to embrace. Take from the people to give to big business or special interests in the hopes the tax money will enrich them even more.

Well, Pfizer didn't bite, and won't now. They're not interested.

So who has egg on their face in this matter? Well, Connecticut does for taking this all the way to the Supreme Court, but the high court certainly has egg on its face for its gross misconduct in handing down this farcical decision. Two issues drove the Founders to create this nation that they were essentially denied in England -- the freedom to practice their religion and the freedom to own property. This is a salient fact that can't be denied, and, indeed, history has a concurrent record of these desires.

The Supreme Court has waged a war on both issues. They consistently attack religion in America on asinine arguments (are you reading this, Michael Newdow?) and in Kelo they assaulted our right to own private property. In fact, the backlash from this decision caused 42 states to enact legislation prohibiting the very seizure the Supreme Court ruled as constitutional.

We can pat ourselves on the back that the states in question moved quickly to quash the Supreme Court's misguided decision, but it doesn't change the fact the high court was dead wrong in its decision. The Constitution is explicit in many areas of the law, and no so much in others. In this case, it was clear and five justices -- Stevens, Ginsberg, Breyer, Kennedy, and Souter (the USUAL suspects, we call them) -- screwed the pooch on this decision. Now they're the ones who have to suck up this decision by Pfizer.

Hopefully in the coming years, the Roberts Court will reverse this disgusting decision, and preserve our rights to own property, and that property won't be taken without the requisite preconditions enumerated in the Constitution.

Publius II

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Health Care passes the House

IDIOTS!!! F*cking idiots! Thank you very much for screwing the American populace. Yes, I understand this has to go through the Senate,and things still have to be amended/changed/what have you, but we expected the House to hold the line. No, we get one idiot to vote along with this insanity!!!

What part of "unconstitutional" do you rubes not get? You don't have the authority to mandate this. You don't have the jurisdiction to force the American people into this plan.

Screw you and the horse you stole to ride in on.

I'll be among the first to tell you where you can pound sand.

You have a long way to go before this is said and done, and you have a long way before you see 60 votes for cloture in the Senate. And woe be to Harry Reid if he violates the rules to get Barry's seizure of the health care industry under the federal government's wing.

You @$$hats want a war? Well, like it or not, you got one. Push this on the American public, and I don't give you a plugged nickel for your worthless hides. 2010 will be fun throwing you out of office, be you Republican or Democrat, and have voted to strip this nation of its freedom and sovereignty.

I'll make it my personal goal in life.

Publius II

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thoughts on the special elections

Here's some quickie thoughts about yesterday's special elections:

NY-23 -- This one hurt, badly. Not because Doug Hoffman didn't win, but because the NY GOP screwed it up from the start trying to run a DIABLO instead of a real Republican. (Folks, that woman wasn't even a moderate. Mark Steyn nailed it -- Democrat In All But Label Only.) Now, that said, Hoffman didn't not screw up. He focused far too much attention on national issues as opposed to local issues. This was a special election, not a regular election like the one coming up next year.

NJ governor's race -- Bye Johnny. Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you! NJ voters focused on one, primary issue -- the economy. Overwhelmingly, 90% of voters polled after they voted said that the economy was the number one issue on their mind, and John Corzine has run NJ into the ground. Chris Christie represents a new change to the state, and unlike Corzine, he's not the sort to have corrupt and criminal ties. His cronies won't be getting the tax money from hard-working New Jersey residents. (And we don't give a rip what the pundits say, this loss was felt in the White House.)

VA governor's race -- This one was also felt by the White House, considering it's proximity to DC. And just like Jersey, the economy weighed heavily on the minds of voters. But this race was a foregone conclusion. At the start of the day yesterday, Bob McDonnell was sitting with a comfortable, double-digit lead over Creigh Deeds. Barry was still campaigning for Corzine in Jersey, but he had already thrown Deeds under the bus; no doubt at the behest of Axelrod who probably told him there was no way to save the Deeds campaign.

CA-10 -- John Garamendi beat David Harmer handily here. It's the only bright spot for Democrats in the special elections. This was another foregone conclusion as I did predict Garamendi's win. (He won by ten points; I predicted a win by twelve points.) This is A-typical of California, folks. The people of California seem content to keep liberals in power, which is the number one reason WHY California is in dire straits.

Maine gay marriage proposition -- Politico summed it up best: Maine voters on Tuesday repealed a state law granting same-sex couples the right to marry, defeating an effort by gay activists who hoped the state would become the first to approve gay marriage at the polls.

Let me be clear on this. We have no problem with gays being given the same rights as married couples have. But we don't want it called marriage. We have this opinion based on religious beliefs. Marriage should be a union of one man and one woman. Legally speaking, gays can file the proper legal contracts to enact what equates to a civil union which gives them the same rights that a married couple has. It's a a few signatures on a few papers, and voila, they're virtually married. (The better part of this option is that there's no messy divorce for them.) Gay activists need to get over this idea that gay marriage is popular right now, and a majority of people are in favor of it. That's not true. It was proven in California's Proposition 8 fight last year, and it's been proven again in Maine. When the people are asked to approve this idea via ballot propositions, it fails every time. Marriage isn't a right, folks, and those who keep arguing that it is need to get a clue or an education, or both.

All in all, the night wasn't bad. Two gubernatorial races turned a blue state (NJ) into at least a purple one, and turned a purple state (VA) back to red. These two races sent an earthquake not only to the White House, but to DC, as well. People are clearly irritated with the dithering and dawdling, the contrite tinkering by Congress that has caused much of this economic mess. Those voters voted with their wallets (which has little more than change left in it). They want real change, not only in their states, but at the national level.

How can we say that the White House was rocked by an earthquake? Take a look at the exit polls breaking down the demographics. As Mike Allen observed at The Playbook, the earthquake came in the defection of Independents. Independents overwhelmingly came out for Barry last year, and this year they broke for McDonnell (63%) and Christie (58%). Independents have been running away from Barry for the past five months (when pollsters started noticing the drop in support amongst Independents. Jim Geraghty noted this last week on Hugh's show that Independent support of Barry was down 15%. This means he's losing the bulk of his support in a swing group that he really can't afford. (I know it's too early to look at 2012, but if he can't ratchet up more Independent support, he's done like dinner for a reelection bid; he'll be a one term president.)

These special elections yesterday are the precursor of the 2010 midterms. We're sure Blue Dogs were watching the returns last night, and paying close attention to the ire of the populace. They know that the writing is on the wall. People are fed up with the overreach of the federal government, and they're really fed up with their individual states and the inability of those elected representatives to stabilize the recession affecting their states. This set of special elections don't bode well for Democrats, and they better have been paying attention last night.

Publius II

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Health care, mandates, and the constitutionality of them

The health care debate has heated up to the point where some, like ourselves, are examining whether or not the Congress has the authority to mandate that every citizen has health insurance. Both Patrick Leahy and Nancy Pelosi have displayed near-imperialistic hubris over questions regarding their constitutional authority on this issue. (Leahy basically told a reporter to not question Congress, and Pelosi scoffed at the idea that the constitutionality question was a serious question.)

Democrats have greatly overreached since the new session of Congress was convened back in January, and since Barry was inaugurated. They have behaved like petulant children in serious need of a good spanking. They are making a case for their mandates based on the general welfare clause within the Constitution, and they're poorly misinterpreting it. If the general welfare clause granted the sweeping powers that both Pelosi and Leahy believe exist, then the constitutional safeguards and checks and balances are meaningless. If that's the way the Framers had intended it, then what is the point of a system of checks and balances to avoid a tyrannical government?

The powers that Democrat leaders in Congress believe they have are more broad and sweeping than that of King George III. They're dead wrong on this. They don't have this authority, nor do they have the authority to mandate that every man, woman, and child in the country must have health insurance. States have that power under the Tenth Amendment. They can put together a plan to insure their citizens. Massachusetts did this under then-Governor Mitt Romney (and it's a disaster), and so has Maine (another disaster). Both are very close to the sort of plan wanted by congressional Democrats and Barry. But as is evidenced by the results, both the Massachusetts plan and the Maine plans didn't solve the problem. Both forced citizens to take on additional coverage for things that don't affect them, but yet they're on the dole for it for others. The same will happen with the health insurance "fix" the Democrats in Congress are working on.

Senator Orrin Hatch sat down with CNS News Service to discuss the constitutionality of the mandates Pelosi, Barry, and Company want to enact, and foist on the public. He doesn't see where the Democrats could possibly squeeze that idea out of the Constitution, even if they try to use mental gymnastics, and invoke the commerce clause. Furthermore, two former Justice Department lawyers -- Lee Casey and David Rivkin -- can't seem to find the power the Democrats claim they have:

Although the Supreme Court has interpreted Congress’s commerce power expansively, this type of mandate would not pass muster even under the most aggressive commerce clause cases. In Wickard v. Filburn (1942), the court upheld a federal law regulating the national wheat markets. The law was drawn so broadly that wheat grown for consumption on individual farms also was regulated. Even though this rule reached purely local (rather than interstate) activity, the court reasoned that the consumption of homegrown wheat by individual farms would, in the aggregate, have a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce, and so was within Congress’s reach.

The court reaffirmed this rationale in 2005 in Gonzales v. Raich, when it validated Congress’s authority to regulate the home cultivation of marijuana for personal use. In doing so, however, the justices emphasized that — as in the wheat case — “the activities regulated by the [Controlled Substances Act] are quintessentially economic.” That simply would not be true with regard to an individual health insurance mandate.

The otherwise uninsured would be required to buy coverage, not because they were even tangentially engaged in the “production, distribution or consumption of commodities,” but for no other reason than that people without health insurance exist. The federal government does not have the power to regulate Americans simply because they are there. Significantly, in two key cases, United States v. Lopez (1995) and United States v. Morrison (2000), the Supreme Court specifically rejected the proposition that the commerce clause allowed Congress to regulate noneconomic activities merely because, through a chain of causal effects, they might have an economic impact. These decisions reflect judicial recognition that the commerce clause is not infinitely elastic and that, by enumerating its powers, the framers denied Congress the type of general police power that is freely exercised by the states.

The Democrats are more than happy to institute a tax to force people into the government mandate, using the IRS as a bludgeon over the populace to achieve this. Mr. Casey and Mr. Rivkin also see that move as inherently unconstitutional:

Like the commerce power, the power to tax gives the federal government vast authority over the public, and it is well settled that Congress can impose a tax for regulatory rather than purely revenue-raising purposes. Yet Congress cannot use its power to tax solely as a means of controlling conduct that it could not otherwise reach through the commerce clause or any other constitutional provision. In the 1922 case Bailey v. Drexel Furniture, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress could not impose a “tax” to penalize conduct (the utilization of child labor) it could not also regulate under the commerce clause. Although the court’s interpretation of the commerce power’s breadth has changed since that time, it has not repudiated the fundamental principle that Congress cannot use a tax to regulate conduct that is otherwise indisputably beyond its regulatory power.

It's simple, folks. The Democrats, in crafting this legislation, have not only overreached in their power, but they have basically said that the constitutional limits don't exist. They do exist, and they are what keeps this nation from becoming a despotic tyranny, run by a handful of elites with high opinions of themselves.

(A HT to Captain Ed for the links that made this post possible, and apologies to readers for the tardiness of this post. The computer and I didn't see eye to eye this morning.)

Publius II

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Issue Up!!!

It's the first of November which means the new issue of Common Conservative is up for all of you to enjoy.

The Chief looks back on 40 fun-filled glorious years of his life.

Larry Simoneux,/li> discusses change, and what drives his wife nuts.

Marcie and I focus on the one war the White House seems willing to fight -- the one against FOX News and conservative commentators.

I kick off the guest columns with a defense of Rush Limbaugh against the scurrilous attacks he faced from pundits dissatisfied with his desire to become a minority owner in the Rams, and I point out that these attacks are an attack against all of us.

J.J. Jackson takes a look at the brilliance liberals put on display for us daily, and wonders where the smarts are.

John Lillpop addresses Dick Cheney's recent criticism of the president's "dithering" on Afghanistan, and his disastrous foreign policy to date.

Robert Rohlfing examines the game of cups being played in DC right now to the nation's detriment.

George Damroth focuses on the president's vision of America which, according to Mr. Damroth, is a sort of "hybrid socialism."

Peter Stern,/li> puts thing in focus on the issue of our veterans. It's not just honoring their service and sacrifice, but meeting their needs as well.

Enjoy reading!!

Publius II