Saturday, December 31, 2005

On the Subjects of National Security, the Patriot Act, Etc.
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

I have said very little about The Patriot Act {1} except that I agree with it in principle if not in certain specifics. However, there is more to it than just that and as certain personages with soundbyte mentalities tend to misunderstand my view all too often, it seems appropriate to discuss this subject at the present time because...well...because I want to and that is a good enough reason for me.

One of the things I have not explictly said about the whole idea of The Patriot Act is that I see the approach as contradictory when you have a president and legislative branch of the government who are not concerned with securing the borders. This is one of the key issues on which I wavered a bit in my support of President Bush about two years ago and my view on the issue has not changed. Our borders are overrun by illegals everyday and the lack of security of them gives a good route of passage for potential terrorists. A key problem with The Patriot Act is that it is yet another case of creating more laws while ones already on the books are not properly enforced. There is also the issue to any piece of legislation not having a sunset provision in it as I noted back in August of this year.

The Patriot Act was extended six months as a kind of congressional compromise. But six months from now, we will be in the middle of June 2006 about five months from the midterm elections. I hate to say it but if I was a Democrat, I would hammer the Republicans and the president for their insistence on the "necessity" of The Patriot Act while they basically let the borders go unsecured. This is a pretty basic violation of the law of non contradiction...not that most committed Democrats and other quasi-socialists concern themselves with non-contradiction most of the time of course. But this will be an election year and if President Bush and the Republicans want to bring up the whole "national security" issue when The Patriot Act is up for extension in the middle of 2006, they can (and should be) hammered for their obvious inconsistency here.{2}

And (of course) if President Bush and the Republicans start talking about securing the borders in 2006 --and I predict that they will-- ideological enemies who want to publicly opine as to why this was not a concern for President Bush and many of the Republicans for the last five years will not in doing so find any criticism from this writer, that is for sure.


{1} Briefly on the Patriot Act, Some Problems I Have With It, Etc. (circa August 2, 2005)

Miscellaneous Musings on the Patriot Act and Legislative Reform--An Audio Post (circa November 23, 2004)

{2} Granted, the claims of "inconsistency" or "crimes" by Bush's political opponents are usually able to be exposed as ideologically driven and lacking a basis in fact as well as in logic. However, what is noted above is a clear example of contradiction which cannot exist in a position if the latter is to be sound.

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You Should Get a JD (Juris Doctor)

You're logical, driven, and ruthless.
You'd make a mighty fine lawyer.

As my father used to sardonically say in a Dirty Harry kinda way (squinted eyes and all): Marvelous!!!


Points to Ponder:
(On Inconsistent Approaches to Nature)

Nature is raw material, worthless without the mixture of human labor; yet nature is also the highest and most sacred thing. The same people who struggle to save the snail darter bless the pill, worry about hunting deer and defend abortion. Reverence for nature, mastery of nature—whichever is convenient. The principle of contradiction has been repealed. [Allan Bloom: From The Closing of the American Mind pg. 172 (c. 1987)]


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Please remember in your prayers Larry Gonczy and his grieving family...Larry passed away a few days before Christmas and his funeral was today yesterday.

[Lord] remember Larry Gonczy. In baptism he died with Christ: may he also share his resurrection, when Christ will raise our mortal bodies and make them like his own in glory. [Eucharistic Prayer III: From The Roman Missal under Masses for the Dead]

Also commended to your prayers is the mother of a good friend of mine (one of my oldest friends actually) who will be going into hospice soon. For those who do not know that means that her death is all but imminent so please keep Kathy Hanks and her family in your prayers.

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Points to Ponder:

It is now fashionable to deny that there ever was a state of nature. We are like aristocrats who do not care to know that our ancestors were once savages who, motivated only by fear of death and scarcity, killed one another in quarrels over acorns. But we continue to live off of the capital passed on to us by these rejected predecessors. Everyone believes in freedom and equality and the rights consequent to them. These were, however, brought to civil society from the state of nature; in the absence of any other ground for them, they must be just as mythical as the tale of the state of nature told by the unreliable travelers. [Allan Bloom: From The Closing of the American Mind pg. 162 (c. 1987)]


Briefly on Claude Frederic Bastiat, the US Constitution, and Socialism:

My interlocuter's words will be in black font.

To paraphrase XX XXXXXXXX's argument, I hope I can be forgiven for a Frederic Bastiat quote:

"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all."

Indeed. Claude Frederic Bastiat's work should be required reading in schools. Any liberal arts degree or economics degree without reasonable familiarity in Bastiat's magnum opus The Law is worthless.

A SCOTUS that will invalidate the laws creating Social Security, workplace safety regulations, the minimum wage, medicare, medicaid, and uunemployment insurance is their real aim.

Social Security is unconstitutional as is the minimum wage, medicare, medicaid, etc. Obviously if states wanted to put in place workplace safety regulations and minimum wage legislation, that would be fine and the same is the case with the other programs noted above. But socialism is nothing more than communism in a lessor-developed state of growth: something else that Bastiat correctly pointed out over 150 years ago.

Furthermore, there is no Constitutional authority for federal intervention in so-called "social welfare" programs. PERIOD. The Constitution does have a commerce clause which indicates that Congress has the power to "regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." But that does not mean that the federal government has power to govern commerce within individual states. Indeed as Alexander Hamilton wrote in 1789, the proposed Constitution made certain distinctions which so-called "social democrats" are either ignorant of or are interested in subverting. Here is the distinction on the commerce clause that our so-called "enlightened justices" have ignored for about seventy years or so:

The proper division between federal and state authorities Commerce, finance, negotiation, and war seem to comprehend all the objects which have charms for minds governed by that passion; and all the powers necessary to those objects ought, in the first instance, to be lodged in the national depository. The administration of private justice between the citizens of the same State, the supervision of agriculture and of other concerns of a similar nature, all those things, in short, which are proper to be provided for by local legislation, can never be desirable cares of a general jurisdiction. (Federalist #17)]

In other words, the federal government can licitly regulate commerce between nations, states, and other extra-state configurations (such as the Indian tribes) but not inner-state commerce. Thus, all attempts at the latter are blatantly unconstitutional and make a mockery of the Constitution whether you like it or not.

However, (as I noted) states have the authority to enact the kinds of legislation you speak of. Furthermore, if a company governs across state lines, one could argue that it is subject to the federal commerce clause. However, small inner-state companies, franchises, etc. are another matter altogether: the state has the authority to regulate them but not the federal government.

Meanwhile regarding NNNN's defense of Social Security and such. Would remind him that in the real world, the current Social Security structure would send its managers to the hoosegow. Ponzi scheme- with increasingly shrinking number of paying employees to support those who need its services. Would strongly urge Mr. N. and all y'all to hook up with national best-seller The FairTax Book by Neal Boortz and Cong. John Linder. Arguing for 22% Federal flat tax on all goods and services, eliminating FICA, IRS, other impediments to our economic growth and development. Prof. Drs. Boortz and Linder developed a sixth sense for any and all objections to their proposal in clear and easy terminology. More necessary for our future than who sits in snazzy robes and makes rulings to be misinterpreted down the line.

Precisely. I have always found it ironic that those who are the most adamantly opposed to multi level marketing arrangements tend to be very loyal to the panzi scheme of Social Security. As far as the flat tax goes, I am more in favour of a consumption tax with food and medicine exempted as well as (perhaps) a certain portion of home purchase price as well. However, if the choices left are what we have now and a flat tax, obviously the latter is preferable with certain income exemptions of course...say the first $30,000 to $40,000 of income.

Percentage wise, I think 22% is too high...the federal leviathan does not need that much of our money to govern according to constitutional boundaries. However, if we were talking a phased in flat tax starting at 22% and then graduating downward over time (to allow us to gradually prune back the federal tree) to say 10% or less, that is something I would definitely like to see.

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The previously noted first draft of an album review (Roger Waters's Amused to Death) was posted to Amazon earlier today with minimal adjustments made. I have a few more items in mind for reviewing...though I am not sure any of them will be done before the end of the year.

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Monday, December 26, 2005

Miscellaneous Threads for Reviewing:

Briefly on some threads that have been accumulating for a while...

Great Care Should Be Taken in Interpreting Messages From God (Doug Bandow)

The above article is a good one for those who like to interpret natural disasters as messages from God for ideological purposes. It is posted because I remember reading some articles from well-meaning people who opined that Katrina was a "punishment from God" for various crimes of our society. Personally, I find the argument of Katrina being punishment a rather curious interpretation since many of the areas which would seem to be logical targets for chastisement by those who make that argument were left relatively untouched. But that is a subject perhaps for another time.

Who Are You Calling Angry? (Michelle Malkin)

The hypocrisy of Janeane Garofalo ("talk radio host" on Air UnAmerican) is briefly touched on by Ms. Malkin in the above thread. Particularly of interest to your host is her reference to liberal projection: a subject I have spoken of before and may write on in the future if I feel inclined to.

Hillary vs. Moonbats (Michelle Malkin)

I would be lying if I did not admit to feeling a fair amount of schadenfraude after reading the above article :)

Right To Digital? (George Will)

In a word: no, there is no "right" to digital TV. But watch those who are incapable of giving a reasonable working definition of "rights" to claim that there is one. Definitions are the tools of thought and frankly, those who are not willing to define their terms do not deserve to be taken seriously...whether they are misappropriating the term "rights", "neo cons", or whatever.

It’s Time To Investigate Able Danger and the 9/11 Commission (Andrew McCarthy)

As one who has not been quiet on the Able Danger subject myself,{1} I concur with Mr. McCarthy's assessments on the matter in question.

Baseball: The Sublime Game (The Thoughtful Crab)

Many of the reasons your host has long loved baseball are summed up well in the above thread.

And now for some economics threads for consideration...

What's Inflation? (Dr. Walter Williams)

Hopefully more people will know after reading the above thread...

Basic Economics (Dr. Walter Williams)

This time, Dr. Williams discusses basic economics as they pertain to the cost of gasoline...a subject your host discussed back in September in a more technical fashion.{2} But the lessons to be learned in both threads are important ones...particularly since a lot of economically ignorant people vote and tend to vote for socialist candidates based to a large extent on their ignorance of how things work in the real world. And (of course) the above article has two really good one-liners that I may have to use in upcoming "points to ponder" segments :)

Random Thoughts (Thomas Sowell)

My favourite columns from Thomas Sowell are his "random thoughts" columns. I am not sure if there is a connection or not but I believe the whole idea of "miscellaneous musings" on this weblog was indirectly influenced by this feature of Sowell's writing. But give it a read and ponder over the various bits he notes so that your host can forego a "points to ponder" installment for a few more days...

Between Venus and Mars, the Church of Rome Chooses Both (Sandro Magister)

The reality of Catholic Church geopolitics and why they are not as simplistic as certain pseudo "peacemakers" would seek to deceive people into believing

The Genius of Karl Rove, Cont. (Noemie Emery)

I am no fan of Karl Rove's but if any of the above article is correct...well...let us just say I will not complain :)

Bush Gives the Iraq P.R. Machine a Much Needed Tune Up (Greg Mockeridge)

And the president paralleled many of the suggestions set down by Greg in a post he wrote back on December 3rd:

The Bush Iraq P.R. Machine Is Running Better, But Still Needs Work (Greg Mockeridge)

Evidently, the president or one of his advisors got the above memo ;-)

[Update: I decided to extend this thread a little after doing a bit more reading today...and what is noted from this point on is what has been added to the post since this morning. -ISM 12/26/05 8:45pm]

It seems appropriate to close on the war on terror subject and include these two threads...

Huge Weapons Cache Found (Ryan Lenz)

Your host was made aware of the above thread by Bryan Preston of The JunkYard BLOG. And of course remember dear reader that your host mentioned some time ago that it would take time to find any weapons in Iraq if there were any to be found at all.{3} Little by little things have been found but the MSM tends to not want to report them for obvious reasons. If the intention is to be fair and to tell the whole story, then these findings have to be reported on or else the media is engaging in distortion. Thankfully, there is the alternative media (and the much-sneered-at blogosphere) to do the MSM's job for them yet again.

Iraq Stubbornly Continues to Not Be Quagmire (Mac Stansbury)

While not the shill for the Bush Administration that Mac admits to being; nonetheless, your host does concur with the overall position which Mac notes in the posting above.


{1} On Able Danger and A Potential Defense Department Coverup (circa September 21, 2005)

Briefly Revisiting Able Danger (circa October 20, 2005)

"Focus on Able Danger Stupid" Dept. (circa November 3, 2005)

{2} On the High Gas Prices and the Economics Involved Therein (circa September 10, 2005)

And while the above thread contains a lot of valuable information on the economics of gasoline production, distribution, and pricing, it does nonetheless also contain a blown prediction by your host viz. gasoline costs. I explained the reason for this missed prediction HERE but to summarize it briefly: I went against one of my rational principles by placing too much trust in the accuracy of the MSM on the matter at hand. The end result of course vindicated the McElhinney Media Dictum yet again even if on this occasion it was because I myself was not faithful to it.

{3} Among the postings that come to mind offhand are this one:

Because so many of the antiwar partisans are ignorant of Santayana's dictum about history, I want to return to it briefly to remind the readers of this weblog that it took longer to find weapons of this sort in countries where there has been greater cooperation than the time thus far spent in Iraq. Until those who parrot the "no WMD's in Iraq" line take these facts of reality seriously -not to mention certain other factors that they also conveniently overlook,[...] I fail to see why anyone should give their statements on this subject (whomever they happen to be)[...] the time of day. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa September 18, 2004)]

And this one:

Finding and getting rid of such weapons in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and South Africa took 18 to 30 months, even though those governments all actively cooperated with the U.N. It is fanciful that similar results could be achieved in Iraq in a few weeks.

Not finding the weapons in a fixed timeframe does not mean they never existed. British and Spanish governments have been looking for weapons caches of Basque and Irish terrorist groups for 35 years and have found little. But everyone knows those groups have arms.

On the other hand, the Philippine government still finds weapons caches left by the Japanese over half a century ago. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa December 16, 2003)]

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