June 27, 2008

The Heller Decision: Right Call, But Golden Opportunity Missed

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:55 pm

11 p.m. Update: The person involved, John Haskins at UndergroundJournal.net, a free membership site for correctly-defined and delineated conservatism, has given me permission to use his name. This post has been carried to the top to give John’s site a bit of visibility.

June 28: Also, see John’s comment #3 below re Scalia.

June 30: See Comments section about Scalia’s roundabout citation of what could be natural law.

________________________________________

This is an e-mail I sent to someone who stunned me a bit a few days ago when he claimed that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is not a conservative:

I’m not good at enduring long TV interviews, so I only watched a bit of the Scalia-Rose interview you referred me to.

But I saw enough to understand what you mean when you say that Scalia is NOT a conservative, in this sense: He, like so many others, has fallen into the trap of believing that whatever a majority of his gang of nine says is the last word on things, and that the other branches of government, and the people themselves, must yield to their judgment, regardless of whether or not there is merit in what they say.

I went through Scalia’s Heller opinion (PDF) yesterday, along with the dissents. The dissents are pitiful, as they attempt to twist “the people” referred to in the Second Amendment (i.e., it’s only “the people” who could be in militias) to be different from “the people” referred to in Amendments 1, 4, 9 and 10 (which clearly refer to each and every individual citizens).

But I believe Scalia and the majority gravely erred, as judges have for decades, in not citing natural law, which includes a God-given right to self-defense, as the most obvious argument supporting an individual right to keep and bear arms.

You don’t have comfort as to your continued Life, you don’t really have Liberty (but instead are a prisoner within your own home, office, or place of work), and you’re certainly not fully able to Pursue Happiness, if you are “legally” prevented by your government from adequately defending yourself. Gun restrictions on law-abiding citizens are thus prima facie illicit encroachments on the inalienable rights our Creator has endowed us with as enumerated in the Declaration of Independence.

Our Founders knew what they were doing when they put “the Blessings of Liberty” into the very first sentence of the Constitution. Those aren’t just a few flowery words; they refer to the Declaration’s God-given rights of Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness, and others (given the presence of the words “among these”). God has given us the right to defend ourselves. The government has no authority to take that God-given right away except in cases of national emergency, unless a person has proven himself or herself unworthy by committing crimes, or unless that person is mentally unstable.

Scalia’s majority opinion, when considered in combination with the intellectually dishonest and bankrupt dissents, leaves the door open for a future, agenda-driven court to come back and say “No, the militia clause governs the definition of ‘the people’ as used in the Second Amendment. Never mind how ‘the people’ is defined in the other amendments; we think Stevens was right, and Scalia was wrong.” Scalia and the majority needed to roll out a defense based on natural law and our God-given rights to seal the deal once and for all, and failed.

I believe that the judicial hubris I mentioned at the beginning of this e-mail — that the Supreme Court is the last word on what will be — blinded Scalia and his majority to the best defense they had — one that was, and would be, bulletproof (if you excuse the expression) if ever used. His failure to employ it leaves us vulnerable to the whims of a future court.

Tom

NYT Recites Litany of Excuses in Report on Mbeki and Mugabe

Robert Mugabe continues to take Zimbabwe into utter ruin. A former breadbasket when it was colonial Rhodesia, it is now a starving, rotting basket case.

The latest development in the ongoing nightmare: A sham “runoff” election where Mugabe is the only candidate, thanks to “violence against …. opposition members,” whose candidate dropped out of the race less than a week ago.

For nearly a decade, we’ve been told, “Don’t worry, (South African President Thabo) Mbeki will handle him.”

In an article carrying today’s date, the New York Times’s Celia W. Dugger and Barry Bearak continue to make excuses for Mbeki. More on that shortly.

Meanwhile, the downward spiral has continued to the point where the country of roughly 13 million is now in a dire humanitarian crisis:

Two million children face starvation in Zimbabwe, according to a personal account of the unfolding tragedy in the country by a young church leader published in an attempt to force further action by the international community.

….. half the population, including close to two million children, (are) “facing starvation”, according to the account on the World Council of Churches (WCC) website on Thursday.

Given that reality, the report by Dugger and Bearak is a near-complete cop-out, from its the headline to its final word, as it indulges in the fantasy, at least based the track record, that Mbeki has the power and the will to do something:

Complex Ties Lead Ally Not to Condemn Mugabe

(In April 2000) President Robert Mugabe’s enforcers had already begun to rampage across Zimbabwe, beating his political opponents, when television cameras captured a startling image of Mr. Mugabe holding hands with the smiling South African president, Thabo Mbeki, a professed champion of African democracy.

….. Eight years later, in April 2008, much the same scene repeated itself. ….. Again, the despot and the democrat genially clasped hands as Mr. Mbeki declared that there was no political crisis in Zimbabwe.

The complex relationship between these men, stretching back almost 30 years, is crucial to fathoming why Mr. Mbeki, picked last year by regional leaders to officially mediate Zimbabwe’s conflict, does not publicly criticize Mr. Mugabe, nor use South Africa’s unique economic leverage as the dominant nation in the region to curb his ruthless methods despite years of rigged elections.

….. Mr. Mbeki’s policy, typically called “quiet diplomacy,” is built on the staunch conviction that his special bond with Mr. Mugabe can resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe through patient negotiations, his colleagues and chroniclers say.

Mr. Mbeki’s biographers, his colleagues, even his brother debate why he has stuck with his approach despite years of bad faith by Mr. Mugabe. Mr. Mbeki’s consistency is variously attributed to a hubristic resistance to admitting failure, a worldview deeply suspicious of Western interference in African affairs, a hard-nosed calculation of political interests and a realistic assessment of the limits of South Africa’s power when confronted with an unrelenting autocrat.

….. While Mr. Mbeki had no illusions about Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Gevisser and others say, he felt a kinship with the hero of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle against white supremacist rule.

Zimbabwe became a separate, non-”white supremacist” nation 28 years ago.

How is it that the Times, or for that matter the rest of Mbeki’s apologists, never entertain another very real possibility: that the South African President is serving as Mugabe’s personal human shield, deflecting critics with his false “I’ll solve it” promises, while in reality being sympathetic with Mugabe’s totalitarian tactics? Is it because that would force a question as to whether Mbeki and his African National Congress might like to take South Africa to a similar place? And does anyone think a mediator trying to persuade an undemocratic right-wing regime to reform would get a decade’s worth of slack from the media?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Obama’s Taxes: A $2 Trillion Trip Back to the 70s’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:28 pm

It’s here.

It will appear at BizzyBlog on Sunday afternoon (link won’t work until then) under the title, “Obama’s Taxes: The $2 Trillion ‘1970s Show’ Mirage.”

Not That I’m in a Hurry to See Them (Ever) …..

Filed under: Business Moves,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 8:20 am

….. but is anyone else wondering where those Associated Press Blog Guidelines are?

AP and Ohio’s main newspapers are not getting along well (HT Jill at WLST):

This past spring, prompted by unhappiness with the AP’s fees and reduced coverage of state and local news, the eight largest newspapers in Ohio created a cooperative called the Ohio News Organization, or OHNO, which allows its members to sidestep the AP by sharing stories.

….. Ohio is ground zero for the widening rift between the AP and its member newspapers. Ben Marrison, editor of the Columbus Dispatch, says a recent trial in Akron involving the theft of state money epitomizes members’ frustrations. Before the trial Mr. Marrison placed a call to the AP Ohio bureau to find out if it would be sending a reporter.

In the past, Mr. Marrison says, he could usually count on the AP to cover such a trial if he wanted to commit more reporters to a bigger story. When he was told the AP wouldn’t have a reporter there, he sent one of his own to Akron. Shortly after the story was posted on the Dispatch’s Web site, an AP staffer rewrote it for a broader audience and put the new version on the state wire. “So it was important enough for them to move, but not important enough for them to cover,” Mr. Marrison said. “What has happened is we’ve become the wire service for the wire service.”

AP has also become a lead blog-troller that occasionally passes off what it finds as freshly-minted “news.” Other times it will refer to the blogs and others where the news came from without linking. Then they act as if they own the content. What nerve.

Most Dangerous Liberal Lie Exposed

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:00 am

That would be:

“We Don’t Want Your Guns.”

The Supreme Court’s minority in the Heller case showed that this is EXACTLY what they want.

Justice Breyer’s dissent, which Justices Souter, Stevens, and Ginsburg joined, demonstrates this:

(From Page 23 of Breyer’s dissent):

These empirically based arguments (against handgun bans) may have proved strong enough to convince many legislatures, as a matter of legislative policy, not to adopt total handgun bans. But the question here is whether they are strong enough to destroy judicial confidence in the reasonableness of a legislature that rejects them (handgun bans). And that they are not.

(From Page 32):

In weighing needs and burdens, we must take account of the possibility that there are reasonable, but less restrictive alternatives. Are there other potential measures (besides a ban) that might similarly promote the same goals while imposing lesser restrictions? ….. Here I see none.

The reason there is no clearly superior, less restrictive alternative to the District’s handgun ban is that the ban’s very objective is to reduce significantly the number of handguns in the District, say, for example, by allowing a law enforcement officer immediately to assume that any handgun he sees is an illegal handgun. And there is no plausible way to achieve that objective other than to ban the guns.

These people are totally unmasked.

Oh, and so is the presidential candidate I refer to as Mr. BOOHOO-OUCH (Barack O-bomba Overseas Hussein “Obambi” Obama – Objectively Unfit Coddler of Haters). His campaign said this in November (final two sentences at link):

But the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said that he ‘…believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional.’

Obama wanted guns banned in November; this statement was not disputed at the time. Why should anyone believe that his position is even slightly different now?

The gun-grabbers are one vote away from a Supreme Court majority. (I’m semi-amazed that Kennedy joined the majority.)

Does anyone seriously think that Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominees wouldn’t agree with the Heller minority?

Positivity: New CPR methods saving more lives

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Phoenix:

Jun. 21, 2008 12:00 AM

It’s a terrifying scenario: While doing your daily tasks without any warning, you suddenly collapse, unable to breath or yell for help. You are suffering a sudden cardiac arrest and have only minutes to live.

Sadly, in the prime of his life, Tim Russert suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, which is the No. 1 killer in our country.

On average, there’s one every day in the city of Phoenix.

On March 24, Russell Vossbrink collapsed at work. In an instant, this healthy, active, 36-year-old Phoenix man’s heart stopped beating.

Historically, in this situation, your chance of survival is dismal. In 2004, Arizona became the first state to document its survival rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest – a mere 3 percent. However, in 2008, your chance of survival is significantly higher.

The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, led by Dr. Gordon Ewy, developed Continuous Chest Compression – CCC-CPR (for laypersons) and Cardiocerebral Resuscitation – CCR (for emergency medical service responders). These techniques maximize blood flow to the heart and brain during resuscitation by focusing on rapid, forceful chest compressions. Mouth-to-mouth breathing for lay rescuers is eliminated.

Cardiocerebral Resuscitation tripled the survival rate in Arizona. These results were published in the March 12 Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Arizona Department of Health Services developed the Save Hearts in Arizona Registry & Education (SHARE) Program to teach these techniques. SHARE then implemented a system to assist hospitals in providing standardized post-cardiac arrest care.

Russell Vossbrink, husband and father of two young children, is just one of hundreds of cardiac-arrest survivors who have benefited from Arizona’s enhanced EMS system.

Fortunately, Vossbrink’s co-workers administered CPR and applied an automated external defibrillator (AED). Phoenix Fire Department EMS personnel administered CCR. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he received therapeutic hypothermia (lowering his body temperature) to preserve his brain. Vossbrink awoke several days later, was discharged and is now back at work.

On Tuesday, at a news conference, a grateful Vossbrink thanked his co-workers and the Phoenix Fire Department.

Some call this a miracle. Rather, this is the result of a well-orchestrated EMS system. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.