Lillie Langtry and American Judges


Thanks, NEO.

Gloria Allred, who went after Herman Cain in 2012, is now hot on the trail of Judge Moore, whose attorney has raised substantial indications that Ms. Allred’s client’s “proof” may have been forged in significant ways. Here’s a video of his press conference:

nebraskaenergyobserver

I haven’t said anything much about Judge Roy Moore, or in fact, most of the others, who it seems are being hounded out of public life, both here and in the United Kingdom. Nor do I intend to. Jay D. Homnick writing in The Spectator tells you why.

Judge Roy Moore has always come across as an anachronism, a frontier character letting chips fall as they may and consequences be damned. It is hard to think of him without harking back to Judge Roy Bean, the quirky Justice of the Peace who ruled with an iron and ironic hand, dispensing a brand of justice from his saloon in Southwest Texas during the waning days of the 19th century. Unlike other jurisdictions which sentenced horse thieves to death, Bean would impose the commonsense sanction of making the man return the horse.

Bean was the father of four children, but he was so…

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Veteran’s Day


I spent four years as a captain in the JAG corps, three of those years in South Korea.I never fired, nor heard, a shot fired in anger. Still, I met many brave officers and enlisted men who had.

Here’s the Ballad of the Green Berets:

Back in civilian life, I met some Lady Astor types, as memorialized in this song:

How many people who are now alive because soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen died so that they might live?

nebraskaenergyobserver

On 2012 for the first time as we observed Veteran’s Day, there was no one to take our salute. Florence Green, a member of the Women’s Royal Air Force, died on 4 February 2012 two weeks short of her 111th birthday, at King’s Lynn. She was the very last veteran of World War I.

And now they’re all gone, the doughboys, Tommies, the Diggers, the Canucks, and the Kiwis. And the men of the Second World War are following swiftly.

These are the men that have kept us free. For this holiday is about brave men.

The Great War, of course, is when the United States made its debut as the great world power. From our entry in 1917 until today is fairly termed “The American Century” for as the Pax Britannica ended in 1914 and chaos ensued between the wars as we hid in our continent and from 1945 the 

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Dereliction of Duty, Dishonor, Hatred of Country


It seems that West Point is trying to emulate such bastions of American values as UC Berkeley.

nebraskaenergyobserver

And so, we’ve all heard of LT Spenser Ramone, he of the Che T-shirt under his academy uniform. How did he get through the Academy and back into the forces? Here’s how. This is a signed letter from one of his instructors at the Point. Lieutenant Colonel Robert M. Heffington, USA, Retired. Which of course is why he can write the letter without consequence. From American Military News. I’ve taken the liberty of reposting the whole letter. It’s long, but it is very important.

Dear Sir/Ma’am,

Before you read any further, please understand that the following paragraphs come from a place of intense devotion and loyalty to West Point. My experience as a cadet had a profound impact upon who I am and upon the course of my life, and I remain forever grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of the Long Gray Line. I firmly believe…

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The U.S. Constitution and civil war


I wrote and published this article on December 27, 2011. Providing historical perspectives on the constitutional ramifications of the war, it has had more than 46,000 views. Perhaps it may provide useful perspectives now, as we seem to be heading toward another potentially more deadly and divisive civil war.

Only we can prevent another civil war. Will we?

Formerly great universities, once bastions of constitutionally protected free speech, are now trying — often successfully — to kill it. Fake news abounds increasingly in our “mainstream” media, which neglect or minimize legitimate news. Our history, good and bad, are being relegated to the trash can.  Our history made America what she is and reflecting on it can help to make her even better.

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Emasculating the Constitution is bad way to preserve the nation.

The first shots in the United States Civil War were fired by the South during an attack on Fort Sumter a century and a half ago on April 12, 1861, not long after President Lincoln’s election on November 6, 1860 and about five weeks after he assumed office on March 4, 1861.

As summarized by Wikipedia,

As Lincoln’s election became evident, secessionists made clear their intent to leave the Union before he took office the next March.[123] On December 20, 1860, South Carolina took the lead by adopting an ordinance of secession; by February 1, 1861, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed.[124][125] Six of these states then adopted a constitution and declared themselves to be a sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America.[124] The upper South and border states (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas) listened to, but initially rejected, the secessionist appeal.[126] President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy, declaring secession illegal.[127] The Confederacy selected Jefferson Davis as their provisional President on February 9, 1861.[128]

The war still stirs “a trove of memories.”  Some are of glory, others of misery and despair. A few have suggested that we are now engaged in another “civil war” of sorts, although not an armed conflict. The prospect of armed conflict over various issues, including illegal immigration and infringements of the Constitutional right to bear arms, has been raised.  I occasionally come across comments at various blogs contending that the reelection of President Obama could precipitate another civil war; much the same as did President Lincoln’s election. It was noted here that thought has been given to a new civil war by some on the left.

[T]his afternoon, MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan took to his show to yell fire in a crowded theater, asking viewers, “Are things in our country so bad that it might actually be time for a revolution? The answer is obviously ‘yes.’”

. . . .

Ratigan invites on cartoonist Ted Rall to talk about his new book The Anti-American Manifesto, and argue the case for violent overthrow of government. Quoting John Locke, Rall argues that “the people have an obligation to revolt,” and that “nothing will radicalize the American citizen more than being thrown out of their home by a bank.” Citing frustration with both parties, who he called “in bed with the duopoly,” Rall also noted that “the American left has been very peaceful since the early ’70s… and where has it gotten us?”

It seems to have been suggested here, in a piece written by Cokie Roberts in the contexts of Arizona’s then new immigration law and ObamaCare, that we need to ignore parts of the Constitution to save the rest.  According to this comment about her article,

Toward the end this statement is made: “It’s hard to imagine what would happen politically if the Supreme Court sided with some states against Congress. The already severely frayed fabric of government would certainly be further torn apart. It’s far better to leave the health care debate in the arena of electoral politics — and for the losers to accept defeat. That’s the essence of democracy.”

Again, the suggestion is made to just accept the federal government’s decree even if unconstitutional. The thing that struck me here though was the “essence of democracy” concept. That may be how a democracy works, but that’s not how a Constitutional Republic works.

It seems appropriate to look at the conditions that led to and resulted from Civil War (1861 – 1865) in the context of the U.S. Constitution.

The Civil War of 1861 – 1865

In this article, I examined some of the factors leading to the Civil war and questioned whether we might have another. I contended that it would be a very bad idea even though a Rasmussen poll released on August 7th had reported that

just 17% of Likely U.S. Voters think the federal government today has the consent of the governed. Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe the government does not have that consent. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

Even though the rights of the states atrophied massively with our Civil War and have continued their decline ever since, to have another would brutalize if not destroy what’s left of the most important of the many documents that have made the United States exceptional among nations. As I wrote in my earlier Civil War piece,

The United States have the best constitution ever written; we need to protect and defend it as citizens bound, as well as protected, by it. Leaving the union is not the solution; we can be more effective from within than as outsiders and the Constitution deserves and needs all of the protection and defense we can provide.

As suggested below, failures to protect and defend the Constitution “as citizens bound, as well as protected, by it” propelled the Civil War and should not propel another.

The Civil War and States’ Rights

From a common Southern perspective, the Civil War was fought to preserve states’ rights. As noted in my earlier article,

Robert E. Lee and many others of the South held their principal allegiance to their states. However, they did not wish the Union to be divided by force.  According to Lee,

There is a terrible war coming, and these young men who have never seen war cannot wait for it to happen, but I tell you, I wish that I owned every slave in the South, for I would free them all to avoid this war.

Nor were they willing to have it restored by force over the objections of their states and were prepared to resist that force militarily. Shortly after Virginia had seceded on April 17, Colonel Lee — still an officer in the Army of the United States — wrote, “Virginia is my country, her I will obey, however lamentable the fate to which it may subject me.” After the war, in 1865, he declined an Englishman’s offer to escape the destruction of postwar Virginia: “I cannot desert my native state in the hour of her adversity. I must abide by her fortunes, and share her fate.” In a letter of April 20, 1861 to General Winfield Scott he asked that his resignation from the Army of the United States be accepted. The letter ended,

Save in defence of my native state, I never desire again to draw my sword. Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for the continuance of your happiness and prosperity, and believe me, most truly yours,

Virginia was the eighth of the eleven states to secede and was the state farthest north geographically. She became a principal battlefield during most of the Civil War.

The view that defense of states’ rights was the principal cause of the Southern Secession has been challenged, not well I think, for the reasons offered below, here and elsewhere.

Ending slavery as the reason for the Civil War

According to many, the Civil War was fought to end the scourge of slavery.  Not all in the North shared this view.  As noted in my earlier Civil War article, Lincoln had said on April 17, 1859,

I think Slavery is wrong, morally, and politically. I desire that it should be no further spread in these United States, and I should not object if it should gradually terminate in the whole Union.

I say that we must not interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists, because the constitution forbids it, and the general welfare does not require us to do so. (emphasis added)

According to the National Endowment for the Humanities,

While the Civil War began as a war to restore the Union, not to end slavery, by 1862 President Abraham Lincoln came to believe that he could save the Union only by broadening the goals of the war. The Emancipation Proclamation [of 1863] is generally regarded as marking this sharp change in the goals of Lincoln’s war policy. (Insert added)

The United States Constitution

The U.S. Constitution should be considered as it dealt with the institution of slavery at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 and until after the war ended with a Union victory in 1865. As soon-to-be-President Lincoln noted in 1859, the Constitution forbade interference “with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists.” Only after the Civil War was the Constitution amended, in 1865, 1868 and 1870, to eliminate slavery and its horrific consequences.

Slavery was contemplated and protected under the Constitution as ratified in 1788 and as it remained in force in 1865. Here are the pertinent articles; only one pertinent amendment, the Tenth, was in force as of the beginnings of the Civil War and, indeed, until the South was conquered.

Article I

Section 2. Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

Section 9: The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person. (Emphasis added)

Consistently with Section 9, the importation of slaves into the United States was prohibited by Federal law enacted in 1807 and effective as of January 1, 1808.

Article IV required the return of fugitive slaves who escaped to “free” states.

Section 2: No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

In 1850, the Federal Fugitive Slave Act was enacted to ensure implementation of Article IV, Section 2. It was bitterly opposed in the North and was essentially nullified when the Civil War began.

Article V, by 1861 remained a part of the Constitution but was no longer effective due to its expiration date. It provided

[N]o Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article;

Hence, when the Civil War began and until after it ended, Federal efforts to eliminate the institution of slavery by force of arms against the states where slavery was lawful contravened the protections to which the institution was there entitled under the Constitution. It could be argued that it also contravened the Tenth Amendment, quoted below.

By 1861, the Constitution had been ratified by thirty-four states, including those, and the citizens of which, engaged on both sides in the Civil War. Aside from the quoted portion of Article V which was already obsolete due to the passage of time, the protections afforded the institution of slavery were countermanded by the Thirteenth,  Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments only after the end of the Civil War. The process of Southern reconstruction impelled their ratification.

The Tenth Amendment, ratified in 1791 along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, remains in effect. It provides,

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Thirteenth Amendment provides,

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Proposed on January 31, 1865, thirty states had ratified it by 1865. It “was specifically rejected by Delaware on Feb 8, 1865; by Kentucky on Feb 24, 1865; by New Jersey on Mar 16, 1865; and by Mississippi on Dec 4, 1865.” They later ratified it.  Although approved by Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas and Virginia,

The governments of Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas were those established under President Lincoln’s Reconstruction policy.  In Virginia, the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified by a “rump” legislature, which had begun meeting in Alexandria shortly after the Civil War began, claiming to be the legitimate and loyal representative of the state in the Union.  It had earlier approved the creation of the state’s western counties into the new state of West Virginia.  The U.S. State Department accepted the ratification from those four and, later, other Southern states.

The Fourteenth Amendment provides in relevant part,

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Proposed on June 13, 1866, the Fourteenth or “Reconstruction Amendment” had been ratified, also by thirty states, by 1868. It

was specifically rejected by Texas on Oct 27, 1866; by Georgia on Nov 6, 1866; by North Carolina on Dec 14, 1866; by South Carolina on Dec 20, 1866; by Kentucky on Jan 8, 1867; by Virginia on Jan 9, 1867; by Louisiana on Feb 6, 1867; by Delaware on Feb 8, 1867; and by Maryland on Mar 23, 1867. New Jersey’s ratification was rescinded on Mar 24, 1868; Ohio rescinded its ratification on Jan 15, 1868

Virginia (in 1869), Mississippi and Texas (in 1870), Delaware (in 1901), Maryland and California (in 1959) and Kentucky (in 1976) later ratified it. However, it is noted here that

When a fair vote was taken on it in 1865 . . . it was rejected by the Southern states and all the border states. Failing to secure the necessary three-fourths of the states, the Republican party, which controlled Congress, passed the Reconstruction Act of 1867 which placed the entire South under military rule.

The purpose of this, according to one Republican congressman, was to coerce Southern legislators to vote for the amendment “at the point of a bayonet.” President Andrew Johnson called this tactic “absolute despotism,” the likes of which had not been exercised by any British monarch “for more than 500 years.” For his outspokenness Johnson was impeached by the Republican Congress.

Although impeached (the articles of impeachment are at the link) by a vote of one hundred and twenty-six to forty-seven by the House, conviction by the Senate failed by one vote (thirty-five to nineteen). In 1875, Johnson became the first former President to serve in the Senate.  In 1862, President Lincoln had

appointed him military governor of Tennessee. In an effort to win votes from Democrats, Lincoln (a Republican) chose Johnson (a War Democrat) as his running mate in 1864 and they swept to victory in the presidential election.

The Fifteenth Amendment provides,

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Proposed on February 26, 1869, it was ratified by 1870, also by thirty states.  It was

specifically rejected by Kentucky on Mar 12, 1869; by Delaware on Mar 18, 1869; by Ohio on Apr 30, 1869; by Tennessee on Nov 16, 1869; by California on Jan 28, 1870; by New Jersey on Feb 7, 1870; and by Maryland on Feb 26, 1870. New York rescinded its ratification on Jan 5, 1870, and rescinded the rescission on Mar 30, 1970.

California later ratified it in 1962, Maryland in 1973, Kentucky in 1976 and Tennessee in 1997.

The Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments permitted substantial growth in racial equality in later years.  Although ultimately beneficial, that does not diminish the heavy handed way in which they were proposed and ratified. Nor does it diminish the problem that in seeking to end slavery by force of arms against the Southern States, the Federal Government attempted to right wrongs by emasculating the Constitution.  History offers substantial support for the Southern view that it fought the Civil War to prevent efforts by the Federal Government to exceed its powers under the Constitution and thereby to nullify rights it guaranteed to the states. The Constitutional rights of the citizens of the Southern States which permitted slavery were among those the Federal government sought to nullify by the Civil War and later, having won, to defeat through Constitutional amendments during “Reconstruction.”

That is not intended to suggest that those who felt morally compelled to oppose slavery were in the wrong, only that the ends adopted lost more than a little of their luster by virtue of the means used. For the Federal Government to oppose slavery by force of arms was inconsistent with the Constitution from which all Federal powers derived and still derives legitimacy and under which the entire nation was and is still to be governed.

Conclusions

The U.S. Constitution is well worth saving, but not by violating, ignoring or otherwise diminishing it. We can properly amend it, a difficult process when the states are free to ratify or reject amendments.  However, it is the only viable way unlikely to lead to long lasting scars or conceivably to another Civil War. The rights of the States are the keystone of the Federal system upon which the country was founded and prospered; chipping away at them even piece by piece, a few at a time, is perverse.

To have another civil war to preserve the federal union by disregarding the Constitution would be no less destructive and no less perverse than was the former. The Constitution provides sufficient political and legislative processes, if wisely used, to implement necessary changes and enough judicial safeguards to prevent Federal overreach in doing so. The Executive is required to follow the Constitution and to usurp neither the Congressional nor the Judicial prerogatives it embodies. The individual rights it guarantees are no less crucial.  To avoid civil unrest and perhaps civil war, we should give far more thought than at present to returning to these and other basics of our form of government. Governments rot when their citizens let them and can recover only when their citizens demand it.

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Satire (I hope) | Let’s repeal America’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution


The American Declaration of Independence was written by a vile slave owner, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. The American Constitution was written, at least in part, by vile racists and other “America Firsters.” They tried, but fortunately failed, to prevent noncitizens from exercising their sacred right to vote in national elections. Both demonic documents must be repealed and we must rejoin England, nay even better the European Union, to signal our virtuous multicultural nature and emphatic rejection of all evil past and present.

Antifa, Black Lives (only) Matter, La Raza, adherents to Islam (the Religion of Peace and tolerance), CAIR, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and their other supporters — proponents of truth, justice, and true equality for all — will appreciate our efforts even more than they appreciate the removal of all artifacts of American history associated with our racist Wars for Independence and the Confederacy. To please them even more, we must expunge from our history — and from our minds as well — all residual evil thoughts. This is necessary for us to have freedom of proper speech and proper thought (only), as do the fortunate citizens of China, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and other glorious progressive nations.

The impeachment of our racist anti-American President Donald Trump is obviously necessary and appropriate for the same reasons. Even better, he should be assassinated, as suggested by a brave Missouri state senator. Then we can have a new, and fair, election so that our dear Hillary Clinton will become Our President; we deserve Her.

The removal of a statue of George Washington — a vile slave owner who led our absurd rebellion against the British Empire — has already been proposed. Memorials to General Robert E. Lee and other racist Confederate terrorists have already been removed, “peacefully.” That’s not enough! We must move forward, ever toward the abyss, until America, as we know and despise her, no longer exists. Then, we will no longer have any basis for appreciating — let alone singing — such alt-right drivel as this:

Surely, no true American patriot could countenance such an abomination. America rightfully belongs to everyone, not just those who were born or already live here, but also to those who want to live here and ply their wholesome trades, safe from racist law enforcement. Welcome MS-13, Sinaloa, and all of the rest. America must become a true land of opportunity for all.

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Obviously (I hope), I agree with none of the above. I prefer this:

And this:

Perhaps I was born a century too late.

Posted in Constitution, Contempt for America, Declaration of Independence, Satire | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

We are losing America. Here are some reasons and possible solutions


The present and future ownership of America, and indeed her existence, are in serious dispute. Our nation is more divided than ever in my thus far seventy-six years of life. That augurs well neither for our future as a nation nor for those of us who want our country back. Asking “Pretty please, Kind Masters, may we have our country back?” won’t help. 

Robert Frost tried to read a poem he had written for JFK’s inauguration but was unable to do so. He had difficulties due to the bright sun and his age.

It was a cold and sunny day in 1961 and the 87 year old Frost could not read his poem,” Dedication”, that he wrote in honor of this special day for he was blinded by the bright sun. He fumpered on the podium because he could not see it and did not know it well. Richard Nixon came and held his top hat to block the sun for Mr.Frost who was extremely old and having problems. Instead, he recited from memory an oft requested poem, “The Gift Outright.”

I remember listening to Mr. Frost read The Gift Outright during an appearance at Yale, where I was an undergrad, back in 1959 or 196o. He had first recited it on December 5, 1941 — just two days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He recites it in this video:

The land was ours before we were the land’s
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she will become. [Emphasis added.]

I wonder what Mr. Frost would think of America today. Is the land still ours? To whom do the sanctuary cities belong? Their lawful inhabitants or illegal immigrants? La Raza (The Race) wants us to cede parts of our land to Mexico. Who would care? How about the people who live there lawfully. What about the Islamic caliphate, long desired by adherents to the “Religion of Peace?” For practical purposes, much of Europe is now part of the Caliphate. Many Americans believe that we should follow Frau Merkel’s shining example of unlimited Islamic migration and achieve the same multicultural glory.

Are we still possessed by “our land of living”? I doubt that those who approve of sanctuary cities, unlimited illegal immigration, non-deportation of aliens unlawfully present in America and those who find Sharia law and America’s slow but accelerating Islamisation acceptable are possessed by the land. They have rejected her.

America’s history is being taken from us

Political correctness apparently requires that we forget or revise our history. In a June 14th article Walter E. Williams observed,

George Orwell said, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

In the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, censorship, rewriting of history, and eliminating undesirable people became part of Soviets’ effort to ensure that the correct ideological and political spin was put on their history.

Deviation from official propaganda was punished by confinement in labor camps and execution.

Today there are efforts to rewrite history in the U.S., albeit the punishment is not so draconian as that in the Soviet Union.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu had a Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee monument removed last month. Former Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton wanted the statue of Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, as well as the graves of Forrest and his wife, removed from the city park.

In Richmond, Virginia, there have been calls for the removal of the Monument Avenue statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gens. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and J.E.B. Stuart.

It’s not only Confederate statues that have come under attack. Just by having the name of a Confederate, such as J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, Virginia, brings up calls for a name change.

These history rewriters have enjoyed nearly total success in getting the Confederate flag removed from state capitol grounds and other public places.

Slavery is an undeniable fact of our history. The costly war fought to end it is also a part of the nation’s history. Neither will go away through cultural cleansing. [Emphasis added.]

Removing statues of Confederates and renaming buildings are just a small part of the true agenda of America’s leftists. [Emphasis added.]

Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and there’s a monument that bears his name—the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. George Washington also owned slaves, and there’s a monument to him, as well—the Washington Monument in Washington.

Will the people who call for removal of statues in New Orleans and Richmond also call for the removal of the Washington, D.C., monuments honoring slaveholders Jefferson and Washington?

On May 13th of this year, the Board of Friends of Nash Farm Battlefield issued the statement excerpted below:

The Board of the Friends of Nash Farm Battlefield, Inc. is sad to announce that the museum, located on Nash Farm Battlefield, which was funded and maintained by our group, will close effective June 1, 2017. The main reason is that the current District 2 Commissioner, Dee Clemmons, has requested that ALL Confederate flags be removed from the museum, in addition to the gift shop, in an effort not to offend anyone. For anyone who studies the American Civil War, or War Between the States, they realize there were two parties that fought in this war. We have always prided ourselves with being an unbiased museum that told the entire story of the battles that took place on this property, as well as being a voice of the people in Henry County and Georgia during this time. These stories were told mainly through primary sources, sometimes secondary, but never tertiary sources. To exclude any Confederate flag would mean the historical value has been taken from our exhibits, and a fair interpretation could not be presented to each guest. Confederate flags were on this hallowed ground, as were the Union flags. To remove either of them would be a dishonor.

That’s just a bit of what’s been happening. Love it or hate it, it’s important to remember our history — as it was, not as today’s revisionists would like us to remember it.

The Civil War was deadly but generally fought with honor on both sides. I hope we do not have another. If it is a war between the left and right, I foresee little honor on the left.

America is a divided nation

Victor Davis Hanson, a scholar of classical history and a keen observer of current society, asks a good question in Can a Divided America Survive? The answer seems to be “probably not.”

The United States is currently the world’s oldest democracy.

But America is no more immune from collapse than were some of history’s most stable and impressive consensual governments. Fifth-century Athens, Republican Rome, Renaissance Florence and Venice, and many of the elected governments of early 20th-century Western European states eventually destroyed themselves, went bankrupt or were overrun by invaders.

The United States is dividing as rarely before. Half the country, mostly liberal America, is concentrated in 146 of the nation’s more than 3,000 counties — in an area that collectively represents less than 10 percent of the U.S. land mass. The other half, the conservative Red states of the interior of America, is geographically, culturally, economically, politically and socially at odds with Blue-state America, which resides mostly on the two coasts. [Emphasis added.]

The two Americas watch different news. They read very different books, listen to different music and watch different television shows. Increasingly, they now live lives according to two widely different traditions.

Barack Obama was elected president after compiling the most left-wing voting record in the U.S. Senate. His antidote, Donald Trump, was elected largely on the premise that traditional Republicans were hardly conservative.[Emphasis added.]

Red America and Blue America are spiraling into divisions approaching those of 1860, or of the nihilistic hippie/straight divide of 1968. [Emphasis added.]

Currently, some 27 percent of all Californians were not born in the United States. More than 40 million foreign-born immigrants currently reside in the U.S. — the highest number in the nation’s history.

Yet widely unchecked immigration comes at a time when the country has lost confidence in its prior successful adherence to melting-pot assimilation and integration. The ultimate result is a fragmenting of society into tribal cliques that vie for power, careers and influence on the basis of ethnic solidarity rather than shared Americanness. [Emphasis added.]

History is not very kind to multicultural chaos — as opposed to a multiracial society united by a single national culture. The fates of Rwanda, Iraq and the former Yugoslavia should remind us of our present disastrous trajectory. [Emphasis added.]

Either the United States will return to a shared single language and allegiance to a common and singular culture, or it will eventually descend into clannish violence. [Emphasis added.]

Based on Mr. Hanson’s analysis, the answer seems to be that unless America ceases to be as grossly divided as she now is, she will be displaced by something far worse. Indeed, it seems already to be happening. How about this bit of theater?

Members of the audience stood and cheered when the make-believe President Trump was knifed to death. Then, a Bernie Sanders supporter shot two Republican congressmen and a law enforcement officer at a baseball practice session in Alexandria Virginia. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was nearly killed. Fortunately, his status has improved from “critical” to “serious,” and it now seems likely that after more surgery and months of rehabilitation he will be able to resume his congressional duties.

Does President Trump have anything to do with, or about, our current state of affairs?

Much of America’s current division and disharmony is wrongly blamed on President Trump. He has many opponents – the “deep state,” the Federal bureaucracy, Never Trumpers, many Democrats and the lamebrain media, the pro-Democrat bias of which is perhaps unprecedented. He needs to deal with them all, a truly Herculean task.

An article by Roger Kimball titled Trump vs, the Deep State offers some suggestions. Here is his conclusion, but please read the entire article:

The sociology of the Trump presidency—and the anti-Trump “resistance”—is an unwritten chapter in recent American history.  As I say, I suspect it will have to be filed chiefly under “Snobbery, examples of,” but that’s as may be.  This much I am convinced of: 1. Those who identify the “administrative state” (the “deep state,” etc.) as our chief political problem today are correct; 2. Donald Trump really is trying to unravel (“deconstruct,” “drain”)  Leviathan; 3. The right-leaning anti-Trump campaign is so virulent because, even if unwittingly, it is itself part of the overweening bureaucrat dispensation that is the enemy of freedom; 4. Trump will survive to the extent that he is able to follow the example of his hero Andrew Jackson and challenge his challengers by pushing through his agenda undistracted from the yapping of the PC chihuahuas.

I see President Trump as potentially a primary force in restoring at least some semblance of American unity with honor.

Here is a poem I learned when in 11th or 12th grade English class. I have been unable to find it on any search engine, so here it is as I still remember it. I may well have forgotten parts of it. If anyone can supply a link and more of the text, I will be grateful.

An Aristocrat’s Prayer

If thou lovest, reason scatter.
If thou threatenest, make it matter.
If thou swearest, make it hot.
If thou hittest miss him not.
Doest thou argue, do it boldly.
Dost thou punish, do it coldly.
In forgiving hold not back.
And of feasting have no lack.

It is not politically correct, does not yearn for non-confrontation and is unlike anything of which our current establishment leaders would approve. In no way does it resemble “Pretty please, Kind Masters, may we have our country back?” President Trump is unlike members of the establishment; that is one of the reasons we elected him as well as one of the reasons the establishment despises him. He is bold, brash, willing to take strong stands and yet is able sincerely — not as a mere pretense — to forgive his enemies when they warrant it. Neither a Clinton, Bush, Romney nor any other establishment figure would have the potential, or the guts, to do as he does and must do.

 

Posted in America Divided, Divided we fall, United we stand | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Trump’s “Muslim Ban,” Obamacare and Sally Yates


President Trump’s initial executive order imposed a temporary ban on refugees from seven countries where terrorism is endemic and information on potential refugees is scant, pending development of a workable vetting procedure. He later vacated the initial order and replaced it with one affecting only six countries and making other changes not relevant to the points addressed in this article. 

The initial executive order was rejected as unconstitutional, apparently because in violation of the First Amendment (freedom of religion), by several district court judges and the replacement order has had the same fate. The rulings were based, not on the text of the orders, but on Candidate Trump’s campaign references to a “Muslim ban.” Both orders applied equally to non-Muslims and Muslims from the subject countries. Neither mentioned, nor banned, nor applied to anyone from, any other Muslim majority country. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2010 there were “49 countries in which Muslims comprise more than 50% of the population.”

On May 11th, law Professor Jonathan Turley wrote an article titled Sally in Wonderland: The “Curiouser and Curiouser” Position of The Former Acting Attorney General. It deals with the testimony of now-former (fired) acting Attorney General Sally Yates concerning her refusal to allow the Department of Justice to support President Trump’s initial executive order. Ms. Yates was a hold-over from the Obama administration.

Professor Turley opined on Ms. Yates’ decision in the context of this graphic:

Sometimes congressional hearings bring clarity to controversies. Many times they do not. Controversies can become “curiouser and curiouser,” as they did for Alice in Wonderland. That was the case with the testimony of fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week discussing her unprecedented decision to order the entire Justice Department not to assist President Trump in defending the first immigration order. Yates was lionized by Democratic senators as a “hero” and has been celebrated in the media for her “courageous stand.” However, for those concerned about constitutional law and legal ethics, there is little to celebrate in Yates’ stand. Indeed, her explanation before the Senate only made things more confusing. It was a curious moment for the new Alice of the Beltway Wonderland: “Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).”

There has been considerable speculation on why Yates would engineer such a confrontation, but what is more important is her justification for ordering an entire federal department to stand down and not to assist a sitting president. Yates’ prior explanation fell considerably short of the expected basis for such a radical step. She dismissed the review of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) by insisting that those career lawyers only look at the face of the order and did not consider Trump’s campaign statements and his real motivations. Of course, many question the use of campaign rhetoric as a basis for reviewing an order written months later by an administration. Most notably, Yates did not conclude that the order was unconstitutional (in contradiction with her own OLC). Rather, she said that she was not convinced that the order was “wise or just” or was “lawful.” She does not explain the latter reference but then added that she was acting on her duty to “always seek justice and stand for what is right.” That is a rather ambiguous standard to support this type of obstruction of a sitting president. [Emphasis added.]

. . . .

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., asked, “Did you believe, then, that there were reasonable arguments that could be made in its defense?” In an astonishing response, Yates said no because she decided on her view of Trump’s real intent and not the language of the order. However, many judges disagree with implied motive as the appropriate standard for review, as evidenced by the oral argument this week before the Fourth Circuit. More importantly, at the time of her decision, many experts (including some of us who opposed the order) were detailing how past cases and the statutory language favored the administration. It is ridiculous to suggest that there were no reasonable arguments supporting the order. [Emphasis added.]

I agree with Professor Turley’s analysis and posted the following comment arguing that there is Supreme Court precedent for ignoring politically oriented campaign rhetoric such as Candidate Trump’s reference to a “Muslim ban.”

Ms. Yates testified that substantially the same standards of review apply to executive orders as to acts of Congress.

When Obamacare was under discussion prior to enactment and when it was enacted, its basis was claimed to be the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Those who wrote Obamacare and those who voted for it rejected the notion that it was a tax because to accept that classification would have been political suicide. President Obama did not suggest to the public that Obamacare was a tax. He claimed that it was appropriate under the Commerce Clause. As I recall, counsel for the Government rejected classification as a tax during oral argument, relying instead on the commerce clause.

The majority opinion written by Chief justice Roberts held that although violative of the Commerce clause, Obamacare was permissible instead under the powers granted by the Constitution to impose taxes and was, therefore, compliant with the Constitution. Even after the decision was released, President Obama continued to claim that it was not a tax.

Chief Justice Roberts cited the Congressional power to tax the non-purchase of gasoline — something the Congress had never done as to gasoline or any other commodity or service. He did not suggest how it could be done: tax everybody who fails to purchase gasoline, only the owners of automobiles, only the owners of gasoline reliant automobiles, only those owning such automobiles but failing to purchase specified quantities, and so on. As I recall, Prof. Turley wrote an article questioning the majority opinion’s reliance on the taxing powers of Congress. [Professor Turley wrote about the decision in an article title Et tu, Roberts? Federalism Falls By The Hand Of A Friend.– DM]

The evident basis of the Obamacare decision was the notion that acts of Congress are to be upheld if there is any Constitutional basis for doing so — despite politically motivated statements by members of Congress who had voted for it and despite assertions by the President and others that it was not a tax. Under the standard applied by Ms. Yates to President Trump’s executive order, such statements would have rendered Obamacare unconstitutional and obligated her, as Acting Attorney General, to refuse to support it in court. [Emphasis added.]

Ms. Yates was asked neither about the standard applied by the Supreme Court in upholding Obamacare nor her application of an apparently different standard to President Trump’s executive order.

The judges who have thus far rejected President Trump’s initial and second executive order adopted the same rationale as Ms. Yates. The judges who upheld the orders obviously did not.

It is probable that the Supreme Court will eventually decide on the constitutionality of President Trump’s revised executive order, particularly if (as seems likely) there is a split in the circuits. Justice Gorsuch will likely be among the justices who decide the case and the executive order will very likely be held constitutional. There will probably be more than five votes for its affirmation.

In the meantime, America will continue to receive substantial numbers of unvetted and potentially dangerous refugees whose admission the executive orders were intended to prevent. Oh well. What’s a few more American deaths by jihadists? What difference at this point does it make?

Posted in "Muslim ban", Candidate Trump, Chief Justice Roberts, Commerce Clause, Congress, Constitution, Democrats, Department of Justice, Executive Order, Freedom of religion, Islamic Jihad, Islamic refugees, Jonathan Turley, Judges, Libruls, national security, Never Trumpers, ObamaCare, President Trump, Supreme Court, Taxation Clause, Trump agenda | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments