America: A Nation of Laws, or a Nation of Men?

Here is a great little video segment on the different views of the Rule of Law (click image to watch):

ThomasSowell

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America May Never Recover Unless…

“Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.”

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama says the latest jobless numbers demand action and it’s “inexcusable and irresponsible” for Congress to delay on his economic recovery package.

A.P.

Here is a list from the transcript of Glenn Beck’s show on some of the things that America must pass immediately or we may never recover:

  • We’re never going to recover if we don’t get the $50 million for the National Endowment For the Arts
  • We may never recover if we don’t get $380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children’s program
  • We may never recover if we don’t get $300 million for grants to combat violence against women
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $6 billion for university building projects
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $1.2 billion to provide youth summer jobs, and this bill defines “Youth” to people up to the age of 24. You’ll be paying for those.
  • We will never recover if we don’t have $2.4 billion for neighborhood stabilization activities.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $650 million for digital TV coupons.
  • We may never recover if we don’t get $150 million for the Smithsonian.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $500 million for the improvement projects for the national institute of health facilities.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $44 million for repairs to the Department of Agriculture headquarters or
  • $350 million for agriculture department computers.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building, not for a new building. To help them move to a new building. We may never survive if we don’t have that $88 million for a moving truck!
  • We may never survive if we don’t have the money to convert federal auto fleets to hybrids.
  • This country may never recover if we don’t have a billion dollars for the census bureau.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $89 billion for Medicaid
  • $30 billion for COBRA extensions
  • $36 billion for expanded unemployment
  • $20 billion for more food stamps.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $850 million for Amtrak, a train that hasn’t turned a profit in 50 years.
  • America as we know it may never recover if we don’t have $87 million for a polar ice breaking ship, never recover.
  • We may never recover if we don’t have $1.7 million for the national park system
  • $55 million for the historic preservation fund.
  • We may not survive if we don’t have $7.6 million for the rural advancement program
  • $150 million for the agriculture commodity purposes
  • $150 million for producers of livestock, farm-raised fish and honeybees.
  • We may never recover unless we have $160 million for paid volunteers at the Corporation for National and Community Service
  • If we don’t act now and pass $2 billion for renewable energy research or
  • $2 billion for clean coal power plants in Illinois or
  • $6.2 billion for a weatherization assistance program which basically is weatherstrips for underneath your door! We may never survive
  • If we don’t have $3.5 billion for energy efficiency and conservation block grants or
  • $3.4 billion for the state energy program or
  • $200 million for state and local electric transport projects or
  • $300 million for the energy-efficient appliance rebate program or
  • $400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments or
  • $1 billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries or
  • $1.5 billion for green technology, loan guarantees or
  • $8 billion for innovative loan guarantee program or
  • $2.4 billion for carbon capture demonstration projects or
  • $4.5 billion for the electricity grid or
  • $79 billion for the state fiscal stabilization fund.

We may never recover if we don’t do these things right now.

Read the Full Transcript.

Total Stimulus breakdown here.

A Decent Video Overview of American Government

Not perfect, but good. Definitely worth viewing:

UPDATED: Height of Irony: Obama to Require Youth Involuntary Servitude – ‘REQUIREMENT’ REMOVED

If you’ve already read this – skip down for Major Updates:

serve

“Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.”

Are freedom and liberty things people even desire anymore? Or are these just quaint notions great men used to talk about in a bygone era?

How ironic that I would have to remind President-Elect Obama of the 13th Amendment:

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.

In a free American society, the State does not have the power to compel service, only encourage it. Only Tyrannies hand the power of people’s lives to the state. While community service doesn’t seem to have parity with slavery, what is the real difference? Do we not trade individual masters for government? Who decides what service is, or for what institute it must be done? If I choose to serve my church, or through a Boy Scout troop – is that included? What about military service? Who will decide the penalty for non-compliance?

Naturally, The State will choose. 

And what will you do when The State requires you to do something you oppose? A government with the power to impose good – has an equal power to impose evil.

Time to once again quote the great late C.S. Lewis:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

(emph. mine)

I guess so long as the slaves are “doing something good” it doesn’t count as slavery.

More on Soft-Tyranny…if anyone even bothers to care anymore.

Updated: Requirement Romoved from change.gov. 

You can take a look for yourself here:

http://change.gov/americaserves/

“Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free.”

Now this is a much more thought out and reasonable proposal, and as far as change goes – a very wise one. Obviously, how exactly all this will pan out, as well as the ins-and-outs of the idea, still have much room for debate – but this is definitely an improvement over the earlier statement.

This may not have been totally clear above, but it’s not community service that I am opposed to. Clearly, part of growing up and maturing is becoming aware of the needs of those around us. As an Eagle Scout – I spent a great deal of my childhood preforming community service – and this experience helped me to grow in even greater ways than much of what I learned in traditional school. I was taught the value in helping others and volunteering through direct experience. I believe this is a vital thing for people to learn, and greatly benefits a community in the long run.

With that said – I also don’t think that instilling the value of service on citizens is a responsibility that hangs on government mandate. The real value here is learning to serve out of your own choice – rather than compulsion.

As a side note – it bears mentioning that we currently have the luxury of being governed by a (at least somewhat) moral government. What I was writing about in the initial post may have sounded like a knee-jerk reaction – but allowing a government the power to choose how you serve comes with high risk implications in the long run. What would happen if the government decided you needed to serve in a fashion that you opposed? For instance – consider military service: I happen to see value in military service as well as community service – but I hardly think people should be forced to serve militarily. The point I was making above is that a State with the power to force it’s citizens to serve is, in a way, a return to serfdom – (albeit – a benign sudo-friendly form of serfdom. But that’s today – what about 5, 10, 15 years from now?) something America was founded to oppose. 

Back to my main point:  The greater value here for a free people, is to learn and understand the value of service – and so choose to serve – as opposed to serving under pressure. In short, compulsory service (by government) makes slaves, while service by personal volition makes responsible and mature citizens.

In a free society, Government can, and should encourage certain positive behaviors, and rightly enforce punishment (to protecting rights and freedoms) on wrong behaviors. What the government cannot do is force people to do good. Not only does this hinder society in the long run (slaves resent their masters), it also runs contrary to human nature (people will not be ruled) and potentially jeopardizes individual freedom.

I’m very happy that President-Elect Obama has wisely re-considered his policy here and made adequate changes to his proposal. Hopefully, congress can work together to come up with a reasonable application of this idea, sans-coercion.

DOW Drops 777 points because of worthless government medling

And yet people still think they can handle our healthcare system?

No thanks. I’d rather deal with those decisions myself.

New Cars in California Must Display Global Warming Score

If you have ready some of the very differing opinions on global warming (whether or not it’s man caused…) then this should worry you. Already, public policy is being enforced based on what is very possibly junk science…

California is making it mandatory for cars to be labeled with global warming scores, figures that take into account emissions from vehicle use and fuel production.

The law requiring the labels goes into effect at the start of next year for all 2009 model cars, though its expected the labels will be popping up on cars in the coming months.

The labeling law forces cars for sale to display a global warming score, on a scale of one to 10, which is based on how vehicles in the same model year compare to one another. The higher the score, the cleaner a car is. The score takes into account emissions related to production of fuel for each vehicle as well as the direct emissions from vehicles.

Things like this remind me how happy I am NOT to live in such a basket-case Nanny-State like California. Apparently this study (30,000 Scientists Rejecting Anthropomorphic Global Warming Hypothesis) was missed by the governing Californians…

If you click ‘environmentalism’ in the tags on the right (or below) you can read a ton of other perspectives on the whole climate change issue that you probably wont hear on the news.

Also, this just in…

People who Fart Frequently Issued Stickers Warning Vendors: No Beans

California is making it mandatory for frequent flatulators to be labeled with global warming scores, figures that take into account emissions from heavy colon use and fart production.

The law requiring the labels goes into effect at the start of next year for all frequent consumers of Taco Bell, though it’s expected the labels will be required on consumers of all Mexican foods in the coming months.

The labeling law forces frequent flatulators (also called fart-bags or gas-blasters, and cheese-slicers) to display a global warming score, on a scale of one to 10, which is based on how ‘farters’ in the same year compare to one another based on food choices. The higher the score, the cleaner a flatulator is. The score takes into account emissions related to bean consumption for each flatulator as well as the direct emissions exiting buttocks…

SCOTUS outlaws death penalty for child rape

The Supreme Court on Wednesday outlawed executions of people convicted of raping a child.

In a 5-4 vote, the court said the Louisiana law allowing the death penalty to be imposed in such cases violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion.

In this case, proponents of the Louisiana law said the trend was toward the death penalty, a point mentioned by Justice Samuel Alito in his dissent.

“The harm that is caused to the victims and to society at large by the worst child rapists is grave,” Alito wrote. “It is the judgment of the Louisiana lawmakers and those in an increasing number of other states that these harms justify the death penalty.”

FULL ARTICLE

Note the crucial difference in the Justices opinions:

  • Kennedy feels that he gets to decide what Louisiana’s lawmakers should have decided.
  • Alito upholds the laws passed by the Louisiana legislature, and supports their judgement based on the local situation.

Again, what is the point of the legislative branch of government when the courts make up laws? Do we live in an oligarchy? What about federalism? The Legislature was set up so the people could decide what laws of the land were fair, not 9 unelected men in the supreme court.

I think judgment on crimes should be made on a case by case situation by local justice systems (see caveat at end of post), not the ‘one law to rule them all’ crap that justice Kennedy seems to support.

Plus, call me cold hearted, but I am certain that there are cases of child rape that more than justify the death penalty (read the horrid facts of this case at the bottom of this post). And what about repeat rape cases? In my opinion, I don’t think that the American taxpayer should have to pay to feed and shelter (the worst of these) pieces of human trash.

UPDATE: Ed Whelan unloads on Kennedy’s decision:

Kennedy’s 36 pages of insufferable blather amount to little more than a declaration that the majority doesn’t think that capital punishment is ever a fair penalty for the rape of a child—“no matter,” as Justice Alito puts it in his dissent, “how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted, and no matter how heinous the perpetrator’s prior criminal record may be.” 

If I find time, I may focus more attention on Kennedy’s string of assertions.  For now, I’ll just call attention to the facts that occasioned Kennedy’s pronouncement that “[e]volving standards of decency must embrace and express respect for the dignity of the person”—the person whose dignity is the object of his concern being the rapist, not the victim and not other future victims.

GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING (The following is a description of the facts of this case. I put them in white because they are graphic and shockingly horrid. You can select below to read them.): 

 The facts are graphic and awful.  Kennedy (not the justice) was charged with the aggravated rape of L.H., his then-8-year-old stepdaughter.  When police found L.H. some two hours after the attack, she was bleeding profusely from the vaginal area.  She was transported to the hospital, where she was discovered to have a laceration to the left wall of the vagina that “separated her cervix from the back of her vagina, causing her rectum to protrude into the vaginal structure.  Her entire perineum was torn from the posterior fourchette to the anus.  The injuries required emergency surgery.”  Shortly after he committed the rape, Kennedy called a colleague to ask “how to get blood out of a white carpet because his daughter had ‘just become a lady.’”

UPDATE: Some friends of mine brought up some great points that I think need expanding upon. First – it is of course important to have a some sort of national unity agreement on laws and punishment. Like one friend mentioned – If you have one tough state, and one wuss state – the crime will just move over to the wuss state. Plus – I am not for tossing the death penalty around willy nilly. The decision to to end a person’s life is as grave a decision as a judicial system probably ever encounters. We certainly don’t just want ‘the mob’ to decide what crimes deem what penalties. 

However, I do think that the certain heinous nature of some crimes do require severe punishment. The death penalty certainly should not be seen as retribution. Still, the fact that a person can absolutely devastate the life of a child, but so long as you don’t kill them in the process…

I guess my problem with this decision is that the SCOTUS makes it completely impossible for the death penalty to ever be warranted, regardless of the circumstances, in a rape case were the victim lives. It seems like a ‘one size fits all’ sort of ruling that may not be adequate to all circumstances.

I’ll have to keep mulling this one over. What do you think?

UPDATE: Great write-up on this over at Hotair.