Thursday, April 8, 2010
Meaning gets twisted. The methods employed to purposefully create twisted meaning lays in equivocation and ambiguity. Equivocation is the intent to say that a word has meaning other than its clear meaning, reminiscent of penumbras and emanations. Ambiguity is the intent to use purposefully vague words that don't clearly speak about the intent of the words user. Cutting through these deliberate attempts to conceal meaning through twisting words is the province of the conservative. Incorporation of the deliberately meaning shifted or vagueness of expression is the province of the Left. How many of us have relatives who've opined that the gentleman from the government is less than clear-speaking? "White man speak with forked tongue" comes to mind.
The politically gifted class--those who append their names with the delimiter "D"--are practitioners of the tools of their class. Who else, in the face of the rank corruption of Congress, could feel they could reflect this corruption with the observation that this is the most ethical Congress, eveh? Well, it's a member of the politically gifted class.
I don't know if you're aware of a recent visit by noted polemicist Ann Coulter to the Great White North. A group of students, keen on having exposure to this polemicist, had invited Ms. Coulter to speak at their university, located in Ottawa. Since Ms. Coulter is a noted polemicist, a certain segment of the community of Ottawa decided that the pole of debate that Ms. Coulter represents, was offensive to those of another pole, and blocked Ms. Coulter's speaking engagement. It seems that disagreeing with people, in Canada, is an hateful act. That is, since Ms. Coulter is a polemicist--that's how she earns her daily bread--the mere fact that she is supposed to have views that are poles apart from the views of her detractors, merely having those opposite polar views are ipso facto proof of her hatefulness. Because those who disagree with her are politically gifted, not to mention well-intentioned, inclusive and loving. Again, because the gifted class is the self-declared loving class, those opposed to them, their words, thoughts and deeds must be apposed to that which is held dear by that class. A sort of intellectual deus ex machina. It's convenient, but is it logical?
Her experience in Ottawa has been noted elsewhere, and I really didn't think I'd share any of my thoughts on the incident, since I believe that most of you who visit here also take some time to visit the big, national blogs, and their coverage has better informed and everywhere. But something that you might have missed is being covered by Canadian bloggers, in the wake of Ms. Coulter's appearance in Ottawa (or, non-appearance, depending on your viewpoint.)
In short-hand, those opposed to the polemics of Ms. Coulter attempted to justify their fear of different ideas with the notion that the university must be a "safe place." Ms. Coulter's presence was a violation of that safe place. The gifted determined--deux ex machina--that Ms. Coulter was the holder of unsafe ideas. And that to simply hear unsafe ideas was a threat.
These are Canada's future masters. Who insist that a coffer exists at universities to deny unsafe ideas from intrusion. That is the short-hand. If you wish, you can listen to Ms. Coulter talking about her experience with the elite, loving kinder of Canada.
"On the basis of my belonging to an identifiable group, I am a conservative."
You can follow the rest of her conversation with Michael Coren here, here, here and here.
What has prompted me to post this was another Michael Coren interview. This interview takes place about a week after Ms. Coulter, it had determined, threatened to violate the coffer of the Canadian university system.
Remember the need for the university to be a "safe place"? Well, it seems that safety extends itself, yet a little shy of universally. But the real killer for me wasn't in the next video, but the one that follows.
Part 2, part 3 and part 4. "You've bent into all sorts of shapes to try and justify, almost, to explain, to dilute what sounds to me, if it is true, and I do believe it is, a racist attack on people."
To explain. To dilute. To create shifts in meaning. To deliberately ambiguiate.
The enemy of the Left. Clarity. Clear and purposeful statements of clear meaning and intent.
But here's the video that stopped me. Part 5.
It can happen here. It's happening here. It's happening every day. In city halls, in schoolrooms. What's another way of saying multi-culturalism? Inclusion? Diversity? Social justice? Here's the latest pic floating around the web. It's supposed to show that the Tea Party Movement is similiar to another experience.
"You've bent into all sorts of shapes to try and justify, almost, to explain, to dilute what sounds to me, if it is true, and I do believe it is, a racist attack on people."
Any attempt at equivocation going on here? Nah. Can't you see people? When those who protest are not politically gifted, loving, social justice activists, they're just racists? See the picture? See? See?
Thanks to Blazing Cat Fur.
Thanks to Bite Me!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Sure, Oregon's tax policies are going to be driving business away, how else to explain that Oregon's job creation ranks at #47 out of the 50 states? But throw in Federal tax policies, and Oregon is poised to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in investments to bankruptcies.
You can read about it at David's Oregon Picayune. And make sure you click on his link to the story.
Oregon! We do things differently here!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
I'm so far behind it's ridiculous. Business isn't bad (it could be better) and is demanding a lot of time. Plus, I've gone behind the scenes and picked up a couple of projects that reflect my commitment to grass roots politics. Don't know if I'm going to comment on those projects here or not. Prolly not. ("We seek him here, we seek him there Those Frenchies seek him everywhere! Is he in heaven? Or is he in hell? That demmed Elusive Pimpernel?")
I had the chance to spend some serious time with the Perfesser. Met his wife. Nice lady. And the Perfesser? A real, serious Oregonian.
Someone you want to be able to tell your friends you know. Someone so fired up with respect for the law and its application that he has dedicated his life to bringing that love of law to thousands of law students over the course of his career. And he took the right steps to make sure he could do his job better than others; he worked hard for it.
How do you get into the University of Chicago? It's kinda the same way you get to Carnegie Hall. There are more than 5-thousand applicants to the law school, with entry limited to 190 students. And you've got to exhibit a certain type of hubris simply to apply.
So, please let this serve you as my introduction to you of an amazing Republican candidate for the United States Senate position currently held by Senator Ron Wyden. It's Jim's criticism of our Attorney General's decision to argue that Obamacare is constitutional.
Kroger Wrong on Constitution, Huffman Says
Jim Huffman, candidate for the U.S. Senate and professor of constitutional law at Lewis & Clark Law School, released the following statement today:
Although Attorney General John Kroger clearly has the authority to file amicus briefs on behalf of the State of Oregon to defend the constitutionality of the Obama health insurance reform bill, there is strong evidence that he does not speak for the majority of Oregonians in doing so. Polling, both before and after enactment, showed that a significant majority are opposed to the new law on policy grounds.
I believe the new health insurance reform law will do little if anything to control health care costs but will add dramatically to the federal deficit over the coming years. I also believe the Attorney General is mistaken in his conclusion that the law is clearly constitutional.
The health insurance reform legislation is an unprecedented expansion of the scope and reach of federal power. Never before has Congress mandated that every individual American purchase a service or a product. If this provision is found to be constitutional, the result will be a significant erosion of both state autonomy and individual liberty.
The Attorney General said to KATU’s Anna Song that the state’s legal brief in support of the bill will hinge on New Deal-era Supreme Court decisions which found that the “Federal government does have the power to regulate things like health insurance.” Here Mr. Kroger fails to address the actual constitutional question. It is not whether the federal government has the power to regulate health insurance. I am aware of no constitutional scholar who argues this point. The question is whether the government can force individuals to engage in commerce – to buy insurance – when those individuals affected by the mandate were, by definition, not engaged in commerce to begin with.
The Attorney General defended the constitutionality of the individual mandate by saying: “Companies every day are required to buy, for instance, technology to make sure they don’t damage the environment. It’s completely analogous, and the courts will see that similarity.” With all due respect to Mr. Kroger, he again argues a straw man. Regulating industrial emissions is clearly a regulation of existing commerce. Those subject to emissions regulations can choose to cease their polluting activities if they do not wish to be subject to the regulation.
I am aware of no constitutional scholar who claims such regulation is not within the federal government’s Commerce Clause powers. But this is not analogous to Congress mandating that individuals purchase a product, which is a requirement to engage in commerce, not a regulation of commerce.
Mr. Kroger also offered the analogy of state government required liability insurance for car drivers as an example of government mandating that individuals buy a product. Here he mistakenly equates the powers of a state government, which are derived from the state’s general police powers, with the powers of the federal government, which are enumerated and limited by the constitution. State governments clearly have the power to mandate car insurance, particularly given that driving is a state granted privilege. The federal government, however, has only those powers enumerated or implied in the constitution.
Mr. Kroger said he believes that the “bulk of the legal community believes that the law is constitutional.” I disagree. Fourteen state Attorneys General have joined the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of specific aspects of the health care reform legislation. Numerous respected constitutional law scholars have argued that the legislation is unconstitutional. All of these respected members of the legal community raise very legitimate and important constitutional questions.
There is one issue, however, upon which Mr. Kroger and I definitely agree. He said “I really see this case presenting very important constitutional issues, and it is really going to determine the future direction of our country.” He is precisely correct about this.
The Obama health insurance reform bill will dramatically change the relationship between the federal government and the individual citizen. If the Commerce Clause empowers the federal government to mandate that citizens purchase health insurance, there is no practical limit to federal authority over individuals. The federal government would no longer be limited in any practicable way to the powers enumerated in the constitution.
This is indeed a very important question for the future direction of our country.
END OF STATEMENT
Jim Huffman served as Dean of the Lewis & Clark Law School from 1993 until 2006. As Dean, he hired John Kroger as an Assistant Professor of Law in 2002. Mr. Huffman and Mr. Kroger are personal friends who happen to disagree about this important constitutional issue.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
The picture above is from one of Portland, Oregon's many protests against life in general. I mention this in passing, due to a picture which has made its way into the New York Times just in time for their Easter edition of Week-in-Review.
Oregon knows teh crazy. Which brings me to the text of this week's appraisal of the Left. I turn to Matthew 22:37-40.
Matthew shares with us the outcome of a meeting held between Jesus and the local party bigwigs. The bigwigs were trying to entrap Jesus into using words that would create criminal prosecution problems for Him. The bigwigs, you see, were convinced that they were the most ethical bigwigs, evah.
The problem, of course, was that Jesus wouldn't allow Himself to become ensnared in their rhetorical trap. And it didn't take Him 17 minutes and 12 seconds to do it. The question was, "...which commandment of the law is the greatest?" He simply stated, ""You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment."
And then He followed up. "The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."
Pretty simple rules for life. Love your God. Love your neighbor as yourself. No wonder Tea Party People are being compared to the Bill Ayers crowd by the New York Times. No wonder the ACLU is attempting to drive out all references of God from our daily lives and political culture. We are told, repeatedly, that other gods are equally important to those who worship them as is the Christian God. But we're never really able to vote on that proposition, are we? That is, is there a consensus out there that the god Ba'al is as to be revered as is the Father of Christ? And forgive me if I get this mixed up, but isn't the God of the Muslim the same God as worshipped by the Jews and Christians? And do you want the debate on whether or not the God of the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims had better prophets when it came to the Jews, the Christians or the Muslims?
Of course not. That would be judgemental. And the Left doesn't want us to be judgemental. They celebrate "diversity," which is simply a lazy way of saying that your fundamental beliefs are inconsequential. They don't matter. And, we simply won't debate it. Because, if debated, a fundamental belief in the God of Abraham, the Father of Christ, would lead to a rise in "absolutism."
I keep hearing the refrain from the early days of Sesame Street when we learned that some things belonged to the other and some things weren't like the others. We are supposed to look at all the circles and suggest that they are all the same. And they are, relatively.
Relativism is an important addition to our current political debate. It allows us to say whatever comes into our pretty little heads without concern of justifying any views we choose to hold. And any debate on those pretty little ideas is an attempt to impose absolute beliefs, which is never justified.
We gotten so far from the meaning of the word "justified" that it no longer has any common sense in our use of that word, today. When all things are relative, when absolutes are a form of cultural imperialism, holding that there are central American values that we all hold and are responsible for protecting and defending, the second law of Christ is easily avoided as well; to love your neighbor as yourself. And it is important for the Leftist to obliterate this requirement; how else can you transform the theft of your neighbor's belongings into "social justice"?
Another group of political bigwigs had earlier confronted Christ. They began their meeting with a question about tax policy, hoping, again, to ensnare Christ with the political sandbag of the day. (Imagine tax policy having inflammatory effects on the general population!) Again, Christ didn't need to spend about twenty minutes explaining tax policy. He simply told them that fair is fair. You have skin in the game? You pay your share.
Which is where tax policy in this country has gone sideways. Fair is no longer fair. We no longer follow the Golden Rule. For this we need travel back a bit in our Bibles to find Matthew 7. "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets."
I can hear the ringing denunciations of the last major change in tax policy during the administration of Bush 43, known as the Bush Tax Cuts. Maybe you've heard these expressions of outrage, too. Rich Democrats talking about how they are willing to give more in taxes than they are. That it's their responsibility to share more, since they earn more.
But I disagree.
I know that our country is currently on a path to economic destruction. The size of the commitments of this, and previous, Congress are simply unaffordable. States, like California and Oregon, are on a path of fiscal obligation that simply cannot be paid for. Free medical care and public employee retirement costs are skyrocketing, and the State of Oregon is currently looking at a billion dollar shortfall in the next biennium. The response of our state's legislature was to further increase the amount we steal from the productive sector of the economy in order to transfer those funds to the least productive sector or our state's economy.
And it is my observation that this is true, since a majority of Oregon's voters have no skin in the game. Since they don't pay any tax, they have no interest in limiting the amount of taxes paid. It's no skin off of their collective noses.
Tax avoidance has become the official policy of the Left. And there is no longer any resemblance of a former system that viewed as an obligation that a citizen would help to pay for the provision of those government services that we choose to provide ourselves. Now we have two classes; thems that pays and thems that don't.
And thems that don't views this as just fine. It is justice, social justice. Why shouldn't the poor have all the trappings of the rich? I can think of several reasons why this wouldn't--or shouldn't--be so. But any of these reasons rely upon absolute assumptions. Things like, if I work hard, I will be rewarded. Things like, if I look to others to pay their share, it is only fitting that I be forced to pay my fair share, too.
The Left has reasons why our poor, under trodden masses need not pay their share. Really, a surfeit of reasons. Economic and cultural imperialism. Capitalism. Corporatism. Etc., etc., etc.
The Left doesn't view itself as the constituency of a kleptocracy. Someone needs to explain how mirrors work, I guess.