Archive for February, 2008

Yellow Journalism and The Non-issue of McCain’s Citizenship

Posted in Constitution, Elections, Hillary, John McCain, News, Obama, politics, Stupid Media with tags , on February 29, 2008 by Randy Streu

The New York Times has recently published an article questioning John McCain’s constitutional ability to become President, based upon the fact that he was born on a military installation in the Panama Canal Zone.  Oddly, though the headline on the Times article says McCain’s off-shore birth “prompts queries,” the article doesn’t mention anybody as actually bringing up the subject.  Indeed, the “queries” seem to come from nobody other than the Times themselves.  Yellow journalism at its finest.

First, for clarification, I understand that there are many people who believe themselves to be intelligent, but haven’t managed to pull their heads out enough to understand the fairly simple language and intentions of the Constitution on this matter.  Even the Times, though it repudiates it as being “potentially unconstitutional,” mentions a measure passed by the first congress which indeed takes the pains to define the “natural-born citizen” clause in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution.  A natural-born citizen, according to this measure, includes those children of citizens “born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States.”

Even without that measure as guidance, common sense ought to rule the day here.  Clearly, the children of citizens are, themselves, citizens.  If a group of missionaries have a baby in Africa, that baby is, in fact, an American citizen.  If a soldier and his wife have a kid in Germany, that child is legally American.  This is fairly clearly the definition of “natural-born.”    I would further suggest that the only reason this definition would ever be called into question is as a distraction from actual campaign issues. 

One wonders if the New York Times would be so quick to post this question if it had been Barak Hussein Obama or Hillary Clinton born on a military installation.

Point number two: an American military base is, in fact, American soil.  Just the same as a United States embassy is considered American soil.  This is an internationally recognized convention.  An individual questioning the “Natural-born” citizenship of a person born on a Panama military base might just as well question the status of a person born in Alaska.

The truth is, only an idiot would consider this anything but a frivolous issue.  Only a complete moron would honestly believe that McCain ought to be disqaulified from the race based on this fact.  It’s simple logic.  So, the question we have to ask is, why is the New York Times so interested in it?  Simply put, they aren’t honest. 

The New York Times has no scruples, when it comes to seeing their desired outcome in this election.  They backed McCain as Republican nominee, hoping to weaken the conservative base — and, given the timing, keeping this and that other little gem just waiting on the backburner.  The Times has known what they were doing this whole time.

And you have to hand it to them.  It would seem that there are still plenty of people stupid enough to believe them to be anything other than a glorified tabloid with an agenda.

-Streu-

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My Government III: “… To Secure These Rights…”

Posted in civil rights, My Government, national defense, politics, Second Amendment, taxes with tags , , , , on February 28, 2008 by Randy Streu

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
–From The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America

When the founders of this nation wrote the document explaining the departure of the North American colonies from under the Crown’s rule, they prefaced it with a brief explanation of the Rights of Man, and the responsibility of a Government to those rights.  They asserted, correctly, that a government which failed to recognize the consent of the governed, and to facilitate the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, such a government had forfeited its own right to rule.  It is clear that, not only did these individuals believe this to be the standard of what was to become the United States of America, but indeed the standard of Just Government the world over.

The first paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence set the precedent for the Constitution when it was drafted — and the responsibilities of the government that document established.  Put simply, the responsibility of the government is to facilitate (or, “secure”) the Divine Rights of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. 

On both a national and state level, this consists of the establishment of laws for the general order and welfare.  The common sense nature of this sort of law is such that the legislation of them is not so much to inform, but rather to provide precedent for reprisal should such common sense be ignored.  The average person knows on perhaps a primal level that it is wrong to murder, to steal, to cause harm.  Because not all men are honest, or good, however, we have laws on the books such that when bad men act badly, we me seek recompense and retribution.  Thus, on the local level, police forces are established “to serve and protect.” 

Nationally, the securing of these inalienable rights is manifest in the form of border security and national security.  Federal Border enforcement, a strong and well-maintained standing army, foreign intelligence agencies and a National Guard are all vital to this security and are indeed the chief responsibility of a National (Federal) government.  Administrations seeking to diminish or altar the roles of these agencies have been rightly criticized for acting against their Constitutional charter.

Much has been made in the recent past of the money spent by this nation on our military.  As will be discussed in the near future, those who would suggest a budget cut on this level are not only hopelessly naive about our safety and security, but woefully ignorant of the job of the Federal Government.  Indeed, any Administration which cuts military spending, or closes domestic military bases in favor of domestic entitlement programs is guilty of negligence in the highest degree.

A large part of domestic defense is the security of our sovereign borders.  The security of these borders is necessary not only for the defense of life, but indeed of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Ours is indeed a nation of immigrants.  We have a rich history of immigration and assimilation.  But such immigration must be tempered by just regulation as to who enters this country, and why.  Such regulation must not be based on race, color, creed or sex — such discrimination on a government level flies in the face of liberty — but on independence, ambition and prudent, rigorous examinations as to national security.

In other words, immigrants must always be welcome to this free nation, but such individuals must be both willing and able to provide for themselves and their families legally and independently of government aid — boon to society, in other words, rather than a burden.  And, they must be seen to pose no threat to our national security after reasonable investigation into their backgrounds.

Finally, the founders of this nation, in drafting the constition, provided for the penultimate source of personal and national security among Americans — the citizens themselves.  Referred to in the United States Constitution, under Article I, Section 8, as well as Article II, Section 2, this was clarified in the Second Amendment:  “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment to the Constitution has nothing whatever to do with hunting, or with skeet shooting, or with hobbyists of any flavor.  The Second Amendment is about the right of the individual to keep and have the tools necessary to defend his home, his family, his community and his country from foreign and domestic threats to life, liberty or property.  Vital to a free and sovereign nation is an armed citizenry, well-trained in the use of their weaponry and prepared to answer the call to defend themselves and their nation. 

In fact, the right to defend one’s self is key to the Inalienable Rights referred to by the Declaration of Independence. 

The responsibility to defend is the logical extension of a government for, by and of the people.  Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is secured by the free individual, and by the government formed and maintained by his consent.

In the Other Hand

Posted in Economy, Elections, Obama, politics, taxes with tags , , , , , on February 19, 2008 by Randy Streu

We’ve all heard the saying: Hope in one hand, shit in the other, and see which fills up fastest.  It seems, for Obama at least, that the Hope hand fills up quite quickly indeed.  His infinity of empty platitudes has wooed voters, it seems, to the point of even fainting at his mere presence. 

Obama has an asset here that’s winning people where actual strategy and ideas have failed him: he’s charasmatic as hell.  Obama has a way of speaking that reassures and convinces some voters — they may not be sure of what it is, exactly, that they’re convinced about, but they are convinced of Obama himself.  As long as they don’t think too long or hard about it.  Somebody made the connection to Jim Jones here — interesting thought.

 Obama offers these people “Hope” and “Change.”  But these things, where they are clearly defined at all, just aren’t that inspiring.  Fortunately for Obama, nobody’s really listening to the quality of what he says, but to his method of delivery, which is outstanding.

Interestingly, Hillary Clinton recently accused Obama of plagiarism for echoing remarks made by Mass. Governor Deval Patrick.  I say this is interesting, largely because I always find Hillary Clinton making accusations against somebody else’s integrity to be both ironic and amusing.  Neither here nor there.  What’s also interesting though, is that the plagiarism in question was in response to this very accusation of speech without substance.  Obama claims that word’s aren’t unimportant, and cites examples (the same examples used by his buddy Patrick):  “I have a Dream,” “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” etc.  Of course, these particular “Just words” were followed up by decisive and useful action.  Action in which Americans took responsibility to get things done, rather than demanding reiance on the goverment.  Indeed, Obama pisses on the intentions of the Founding Fathers when he quotes them to advance his own socialist ideals.

Obama’s Inspiration, where it exists, is one of mediocrity: the American Dream is real, and it’s for you — all you have to do is let the government pave the way.  Gone is the struggle for excellence, for real gain, for character and integrity.  Gone is the expectation that you get where you’re going by God and by strength of will. 

Clearly, in the subtext of the Obama newspeak, you’re too stupid to get there on your own, but never fear, Government is here to present to you the American Dream, and on a silver platter, all expenses paid by the wealthier Americans.  Americans, by the way, who either followed the American Dream with their own skills and talents, or are the offspring of those who did.

This is what passes for inspiration?  This is hope?  This is “Change”?  The person who writes the poem is not the muse, but the poet.  “Inspiration” does not come in running the race and handing off the medal, but in cheering on the competitors.

Unlike the Great Communicator, or even, I’ll admit, JFK, Barack Obama doesn’t make people feel proud to be Americans.  He makes them feel better about their own mediocrity.  And sadly, in a nation as far gone down the toilet of entitlement as ours is, that is a powerful skill indeed.

The power of hope is a salve to the stupid.  And it is the handful of hope that Obama wants the voters to focus on.  It must be the hope.  Because in the other hand is nothing but shit.

My Government II: Life — The First Part of Freedom

Posted in abortion, civil rights, healthcare, My Government with tags , , , , , on February 11, 2008 by Randy Streu

In the first “My Government” essay, we explored the syntax and some history of the Bill of Rights, and what that meant for Liberty in an American context.  However, more important even than the Bill of Rights in terms of American liberty is the right to life.  The single most fundamental right we have as human beings is the right to be alive.  This is the primary and most natural of our rights.  It is the foundation on which liberty is built.

The Founding Fathers of the United States agreed:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
-From the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

I believe there is a reason the Founding Fathers put these three rights — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — in that order.  In order for liberty to exist, life must exist first.  To pursue freedom, man must have liberty over his own person.  These rights build on eachother — and are mutually necessary.  After all, what is life without freedom; liberty without the will to live (pursuit of happiness)?

The extermination of human life, then, is the ultimate denial of human rights.  To claim authority over human life — the ability to grant or deny the right to life — is to claim authority over every right.  There are times when such a decision does become necessary — but only based on the participation of the person in question.  War, for example, is the mass extinguishing of human life.  Warriors, soldiers, however, are people who have already given their lives to a cause or country.  They have, in essence, given consent to sacrifice their God-given rights for a cause greater than themselves.  For an American soldier, should he survive the war and retire from service, his consent is removed and he reverts to the natural state: the living American Citizen, free to pursue happiness.  Even those who have willingly put themselves at risk in this way, however, are still accorded the right to life, as much as is possible within the above context.

The destruction of innocent human life, however, outside the context of the individual’s choice, is the ultimate human rights violation — what society has rightly defined as murder.

And, sure enough, the disconnect is not with the definition of ‘murder.’  Most would agree on that.  Where we disagree most sharply is on the definition of ‘life.’  What appears to be the most widely accepted definition, and the one I will be using, appears on the NEWTON site for educators, in the “Ask a Scientist” section: “… made up of one or more cells, can grow and develop, reproduce, respond to stimuli, and have a metabolism.”  Human Life, then, would be defined as meeting these requirements, and a member of the species homo sapien

This is where we reach the crux of the matter.  Is an unborn child a human life, or isn’t she?  A human fetus satisfies all requirements for life — save, arguably, the ability to reproduce.  This is a meaningless argument on several counts, of course.  First, because the cells of a fetus, like the cells of a grown human, do reproduce.  And, in taking the definition in the context of all of life, cellular reproduction is the heart of the matter in this.  Second, just to discount the utterly ridiculous, to require biological human reproduction as a definition for life would, necessarily, exclude children who have not yet gained this ability, men with zero sperm counts and infertile women.  A fetus is alive.  The termination of an unborn human is the extinguishing of a life.  No reasonable person can refute this — and no responsible doctor would.

So, if the question of life is settled, what of the question of humanity?  This is an even simpler matter than the first.  A human fetus does not develop into a sheep, or a wolf, or a chicken, or a cabbage.  It grows into a person.  Theoretically, if you were to take a human embryo, the product of a human male and a human female, and transplant it into any other species capable of incubation, you would still get a human at the end of gestation.  Why?  Put simply, a human is a human is a human.  Just like a fly larvae is still a fly, so a human fetus is still a human.

Scientifically, then, a human fetus is a living human being.  Morally, therefore, the extinguishing of such a life is murder.  The denial of this is willful blindness; self delusion.  The killing of a child — any child — is barbaric.  Almost nobody looks with anything less than anger and disgust at that mother who chooses to end the lives of her born children.  Why, then, do we not only turn a blind eye, but as a society encourage, the wanton destruction of an unborn child?  To be blunt, it’s a question of “out of sight, out of mind.” 

Doctors, politicians, activists and media have done society the “favor” of allowing us to view a human fetus as something less than human.  It isn’t a child, we’re told.  It’s a demonstrable lie, but we believe it, because it helps us sleep better at night.

The reality, though, should burn us.  It should anger us just as the prospect of slavery does.  More so.  Abortion is an ongoing human rights violation worse than any in our short history as a nation, even basing it simply on sheer volume.

The government I believe in would protect human life — all human life.  It would not only discourage abortion, but indeed criminalize it.  Not to deny rights to a mother — a mother does not have the God-given right to abortion any more than I have the right to shoot my neighbor.  It isn’t a question of liberty.  It is a question of life.

What’s a Conservative to Do?

Posted in Economy, Elections, First Amendment, Fred(!), Hillary, immigration, John McCain, Mitt Romney, politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 8, 2008 by Randy Streu

It was with a heavy heart that I watched Fred Thompson bow out of the race.  A heavy heart as I finally made the decision on Super Tuesday to vote for the nearest candidate left to a true conservative: Mitt Romney.

It was with a heavy heart that I watched Romney get his ass handed to him on Tuesday, and then read his concession speech today.

It was with a heavy heart that I read John McCain’s speech to Conservatives, and began to understand that this arrogant SOB is the only chance we have left against a Dem-led White House.   The speech in which he acknowledged his differences with Conservatives on particular issues, but then dismissed those issues as unimportant.  Issues like the First Amendment and border security.  Issues like the Bush tax cuts. 

To his credit (I guess), McCain did not apologize for his decisions in these matters — merely acknowledged that they failed to line up with the views of the Conservative base.  He still believes the Conservative base is wrong on these issues.  He fails to see how McCain-Feingold attacks the fundamentals of Free Speech.  He promises constructionist judges — but won’t say how he will find judges who are both “strict constructionists” and will uphold McCain-Feingold (because such individuals don’t exist — the two are mutually exclusive.  This leads one to wonder, then, which ideal will be the guiding principle).  He promises to secure the borders first, if elected, but will not backtrack on McCain-Kennedy amnesty for those already living illegally within our borders.  He has not acknowledged any wrongdoing regarding his blatant and false smear against Romney on the Iraq issue.

Today, he said the right things.  I am not convinced — and don’t expect I will be — that he is the right man.

But, we conservatives are told, now is not the time to “abandon” the Republican party.  Now is not the time to let our principles stand in the way of a Republican victory.  There’s a war on, after all, we’re told.  An economy that threatens to collapse.  Could we be so callous, so … so selfish, that we would sacrifice the US to the will of the Democrat party, simply to “make a point?”

So, with a pat on the head (or a smack on the face), we’re told to hang on to those principles until 2012, perhaps.  Or maybe 2018.  The Republicans haven’t abandoned Conservatism, we’re told.  But we really need a win right now.  And if we Conservatives weren’t so damned picky, we could have this thing in the bag.

Fine… so we hang our ideals and vote for McCain.  We beat the Democrats.  And then what?  When do the Conservatives get their party back?  When do get to fight for our own values without being labeled as “traitors” to the party that is even now betraying us?  When do we get to fight the leftward motion of the Republican party, or failing that, leave?  2012?  Assuming there isn’t a similar crisis that demands our loyalty?

McCain spent the last few years of his career betraying Conservatives.  Now he’s asking for our loyalty?  How many times does this dog have to bite before we’re allowed to put it down?

I haven’t yet made up my mind about whether McCain gets my vote in November.  I know he’s not getting my money.  He hasn’t earned my support.  He hasn’t yet earned my vote.  A few paragraphs of pretty words and a call for Conservatives to make nice doesn’t undo McCain-Feingold, or the Gang of 14, or his opposition to the Bush tax cuts, or McCain-Kennedy.  The looming spectre of a Democrat president may well be enough to scare me into pulling the McCain lever.  But neither McCain nor his supporters should make the mistake of taking the vote as anything other than that.

It’s not a mandate to continue pulling the crap he’s been pulling.  It’s not an invitation to urinate all over Conservative principles in the interest of “bipartisanship.”  Conservatives aren’t voting for the Maverick.  They’re voting against the Democrats, plain and simple.  It’ll be a hollow victory for all involved, if victory it is.  A marriage of convenience with divorce looming ever-so-near on the horizen.

So congratulations to John McCain.  He may or may not get my vote, but he has effectively won the nomination.  He hasn’t won my mind.  He hasn’t won the heart and soul of the Republican party.  In spite of the fact that most Conservatives can’t stomach the man, he has a victory.  Maybe it’ll be enough.  Maybe fear of Hillary and Obama will be enough to unite and mobilize the Republican voters.  It’ll have to be.  Because McCain isn’t.

Hillary Supporters: I’m Tired of Being Nice

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, healthcare, Hillary, News, politics, taxes with tags , , , on February 7, 2008 by Randy Streu

As Hillary Clinton nears hysteria in forcing her healthcare plan down the collective throat of the US, she has finally admitted that she will do “whatever it takes” to get 100% compliance, whether you want it or not, even if that means garnishing wages.

In her own words to ABC This Week’s George Stephanopoulos, “about 20 percent of the people who don’t have health insurance in America today could well afford it… So what we’ve got to do is have shared responsibility. Everybody has to pay something, but, obviously, on a sliding scale.”

And she says it’s not socialized healthcare.  Somebody… anybody… please — if this is not socialism, what the hell is it?  And while you’re at it, just why the fuck does “everybody have to pay something?”  Who is Hillary Clinton, or her supporters, for that matter, to make the moral decision about other peoples’ money? 

Here’s the truth; ready?  I am willing to help out anybody, financially, spiritually, whatever, when I can.  It’s called charity.  But I don’t owe you a damned thing.  I don’t owe you a living.  I don’t owe you health insurance.  I don’t owe you a house.  And nobody owes me. 

For the government to play the role of Robin Hood (albeit a twisted and stupid Robin Hood) is the height of injustice.  Disagree if you want; it’s a free country.  But you’ll be wrong.  And I’d really appreciate it if you wouldn’t fuck up my country with your political ineptitude.

-Streu-

Hillarycare Supporter Calls It: It’s About Control

Posted in civil rights, Elections, healthcare, Hillary, politics, taxes, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 2, 2008 by Randy Streu

In order to give supporters more opportunity to answer this question (perhaps word it better than the response I’ve received), I’m going to continue to ask the question about mandating health insurance.  But the one person who has answered my question so far (a commenter on a blog at Hill’s official site) has given quite the telling response. 

I should note, before getting into it, a couple things.  First, I’ve asked this question so many times, in so many formats, on so many forums, that I’ve simply lost count.  Hillary herself, or anyone on her team, has yet to consider the question — perhaps because it hasn’t been asked publically by an opinion-shaper (perhaps because the opinion-shapers already have their horse, and don’t wish to confuse voters with things like facts).  The question, by the way, is simply: why mandates?  Why, in the course of creating healthcare legislation, do some politicians like Clinton insist on mandating insurance on individuals?

A commenter (as opposed to a blogger) on Hillary’s website has finally answered my question, somewhat.  And while it’s not the official answer, it is at least a peek into how some voters are thinking.  This commenter shares my wife’s name, ironically, but not, unfortunately, her intelligence.

“… the idea is you can only truly control costs in an environment where everyone participates.  However, you would not need to purchase private insurance, along with opening up the congressional pool, Hillary plans to allow anyone interested to purchase a medicare-type public health coverage.”

Now, at the very least, this statement represents the role some voters would like for the Federal Government to play in healthcare, and therefore, in our individual lives.  Two key words here: “control” and “allow.” 

Look, using the word “allow” in the context of Federal Government is the very antithesis of liberty.  My health insurance decisions ought to be mine — there should be no such thing as what the Federal Government “allows” in terms of my decisions about my health and that of my family.  “Allow” presumes “control.”  The statement I highlighted above, then, is one made by somebody who not only is resigned to, but actively welcomes government control over her life.  The word for this is “socialism,” and that is why I refuse to let Hillary remove the word “socialized” from her plan uncontested.

Actually, though, the assessment isn’t entirely accurate.  If the government mandates healthcare costs, they have no need to force participation by individuals.  Especially when they also offer a government-run alternative as competition.  Therefore, cost-control cannot be affected by forced participation.  If this is, in fact, the reasoning Hillary is using for her mandates, either she’s an idiot, or she assumes we are.

We already know she isn’t stupid.  Guess where that leaves us.

-Streu-