Friday, July 03, 2015

Leftist history


You Can’t Compromise with Culture Warriors

by Jonah Goldberg

I loved reading the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books to my daughter. The somewhat Aesopian theme is that if you give the mouse what it wants – a cookie – it will just want more: a glass of milk, a straw, etc. The story came to mind last week, a week that began with many vowing to inter the Confederate flag and that ended with the Supreme Court mandating that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. As far as culture-war victories go, the flag news was big, but the marriage ruling was tantamount to VE Day.

It might be too much to think that progressive activists and intellectuals would demobilize after such a “Mission Accomplished” moment. But a reasonable person might expect social-justice warriors to at least take the weekend off to celebrate.

But no. Even when the cookie is this big, the mice want something more. The call went out that there were new citadels to conquer. Within hours of the decision, Politico ran a call to arms titled “It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy: Why Group Marriage Is the Next Horizon of Social Liberalism.”

On Sunday, Time magazine had Mark Oppenheimer’s “Now’s the Time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions.”

Earlier in the week, as corporations and politicians were racing one another to shove the Confederate flag down the memory hole, a co-host asked CNN’s Don Lemon whether the Jefferson Memorial should be removed from the National Mall because the former president owned slaves. He said no, but that “there may come a day when we want to rethink Jefferson.”

Within hours of the same sex-marriage ruling, the White House was beaming the gay-pride rainbow flag on its facade. This is the White House whose current occupant campaigned in 2008 passionately insisting that his religious faith required him to oppose gay marriage. The president and his party now consider that position to be unalloyed bigotry.

Many of us always believed Barack Obama was lying about his opposition to gay marriage – a belief corroborated when his former guru, David Axelrod, wrote in his memoir that he’d advised his client to conceal his personal view for political expediency.

It is something of a secular piety to bemoan political polarization in this nation. But polarization in and of itself shouldn’t be a problem in a democracy. The whole point of having a democratic republic, never mind the Bill of Rights, is to give people the right to disagree.

A deeper and more poisonous problem is the breakdown in trust. Again and again, progressives insist that their goals are reasonable and limited. Proponents of gay marriage insisted that they merely wanted the same rights to marry as everyone else. They mocked, scorned, and belittled anyone who suggested that polygamy would be next on their agenda. Until they started winning.

In 2013, a headline in Slate declared “Legalize Polygamy!” and a writer at the Economist editorialized, “And now on to polygamy.” The Atlantic ran a fawning piece on Diana Adams and her quest for a polyamorous “alternative to marriage.” We were also told that the fight for marriage equality had nothing to do with a larger war against organized religion and religious freedom. But we now know that was a lie, too.

The ACLU has reversed its position on religious-freedom laws, in line with the Left’s scorched-earth attacks on religious institutions and private businesses that won’t – or can’t – embrace the secular fatwa that everyone must celebrate “love” as defined by the Left.

I very much doubt we’ll get a constitutional right for teams of people to get “married,” but I have every confidence the drumbeat will grow louder. Social justice – forever ill-defined so as to maximize the power of its champions – has become not just an industry but also a permanent psychological orientation among journalists, lawyers, educators, and other members of the new class of eternal reformers.

By no means are social-justice warriors always wrong. But they are untrustworthy, because they aren’t driven by a philosophy so much as an insatiable appetite that cannot take yes for an answer. No cookie will ever satisfy them. Our politics will only get uglier, as those who resist this agenda realize that compromise is just another word for appeasement.



We Have Officially Reached Peak Leftism


A progressive panic attack begins as the Obama era wanes. If it seems to you that the Left has, collectively, lost its damned mind as the curtain rises on the last act of the Obama administration, you are not imagining things. Barack Obama has been extraordinarily successful in his desire to — what was that phrase? — fundamentally transform the country, but the metamorphosis is nonetheless a good deal less than his congregation wanted and expected.

We may have gone from being up to our knees in welfare-statism to being up to our hips in it, and from having a bushel of banana-republic corruption and incompetence to having a bushel and a peck of it, but the United States of America remains, to the Left’s dismay, plainly recognizable as herself beneath the muck. Ergo, madness and rage.

We have seen an extraordinary outburst of genuine extremism — and genuine authoritarianism — in the past several months, and it will no doubt grow more intense as we approach the constitutional dethroning of the mock messiah to whom our progressive friends literally sang hymns of praise and swore oaths of allegiance. (“I pledge to be a servant to our president” — recall all that sieg heil creepiness.)

There is an unmistakable stink of desperation about this, as though the Left intuits what the Right dares not hope: that the coming few months may in fact see progressivism’s cultural high-water mark for this generation. If there is desperation, it probably is because the Left is starting to suspect that the permanent Democratic majority it keeps promising itself may yet fail to materialize.

The Democrats won two resounding White House victories but can hardly win a majority in a state legislature (seven out of ten today are Republican-controlled) or a governorship (the Democrats are down to 18) to save their lives, while Republicans are holding their strongest position in Congress since the days of Herbert Hoover.

The Democrats have calculated that their best bet in 2016 is Hillary Rodham Clinton, that tragic bag of appetites who couldn’t close the deal in the primary last time around. “Vote for me, I’m a lady” isn’t what they thought it was: Wendy Davis, running for governor of Texas, made all the proper ceremonial incantations and appeared in heroic postures on all the right magazine covers, but finished in the 30s on Election Day. With young people trending pro-life, that old black magic ain’t what it used to be.

For the Left, it feels like time is running out. So it isn’t sufficient that same-sex marriages be legalized; bakers and florists must be locked in prison if they decline to participate in a gay couple’s ceremony. It isn’t sufficient that those wishing to undergo sex-change surgery be permitted to go their own way; the public must pay for it, and if Bruce Jenner is still “Bruce” to you, you must be driven from polite society.

It isn’t enough that the Left dominate the media and pop culture; any attempt to compete with it must be criminalized in the name of “getting big money out of politics.” Not the New York Times’s money, or Hollywood’s money, or the CEO of Goldman Sachs’s money — just the wrong sort of people’s money.

Every major Democratic presidential candidate and every Democratic senator is on record supporting the repeal of the First Amendment’s free-speech protections — i.e., carving the heart out of the Bill of Rights — to clear the way for putting all public debate under political discipline.

Like it or not, you will be shackled to hope and change. The hysterical shrieking about the fictitious rape epidemic on college campuses, the attempts to fan the unhappy events in Ferguson and Baltimore into a national racial conflagration, the silly and shallow “inequality” talk — these are signs of progressivism in decadence.

So is the brouhaha over the Confederate flag in South Carolina in the wake of the horrific massacre at Emanuel AME Church. For about 30 seconds, the political ghouls of the Left were looking to pick another gun-control fight, swooping in, in their habitually indecent fashion, before the bodies had even grown cold. But that turned out to be a dead end, since the killer acquired his gun after passing precisely the sort of background check that the Left generally hawks after a high-profile crime, regardless of whether it is relevant to the crime.

We might have spent some time thinking about whether law enforcement was too lax in the matter of the murderer’s earlier encounters with them — the South Carolina killer had a drug arrest on his record but was able to buy a gun because he had been charged only with a misdemeanor. But the Left isn’t in any mood to talk about whether the cops aren’t being hard-assed enough. So, instead, we had a fight over a completely unrelated issue: the Confederate flag flying at the state capitol in Columbia.

You have to credit the Left: Its strategy is deft. If you can make enough noise that sounds approximately like a moral crisis, then you can in effect create a moral crisis. Never mind that the underlying argument — “Something bad has happened to somebody else, and so you must give us something we want!” — is entirely specious; it is effective.

In the wake of the financial crisis, we got all manner of “reform,” from student-lending practices to the mandates of Elizabeth Warren’s new pet bureaucracy, involving things that had nothing at all to do with the financial crisis. Democrats argued that decency compelled us to pass a tax increase in the wake of the crisis, though tax rates had nothing to do with it. A crisis is a crisis is a crisis, and if a meteor hits Ypsilanti tomorrow you can be sure that Debbie Stabenow will be calling for a $15 national minimum wage because of the plight of meteor victims.

I bear no brief for the peckerwood-trash cultural tendencies that led Fritz Hollings, then governor, and the rest of the loyal Democrats who ran segregation-era South Carolina to hoist the Confederate flag in 1962. My sympathies are more with John Brown than with John Calhoun.

Yet Lost Cause romanticism was very much in fashion for a moment, and not only among Confederate revanchists; Joan Baez, no redneck she, made a great deal of money with her recording of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” in 1971. About every third Western of the era had as its hero a conflicted Confederate veteran, his wounded honor and stoicism in defeat compelling him to roam westward in search of a new beginning.

That story lives on into our own time: Who are Mal Reynolds and the Browncoats if not another remnant of the Lost Cause relocated from Virginia to the frontier in space?

Of course the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern racism. It is a good many other things, too, none of which was the cause of the massacre at Emanuel AME.

It is strange and ironic that adherents of the Democratic party — which was, for about 140 years, not only the South’s but the world’s leading white-supremacist organization — should work themselves up over one flag, raised by their fellow partisans, at this late a date; but, well, welcome to the party.

Yet Democratic concern about racist totems is selective: The Democrats are not going to change the name of their party, cancel the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner, or stop naming things after Robert Byrd, senator and Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan.

Hillary Clinton is not going to be made to answer for her participation in a political campaign that featured Confederate-flag imagery.

The Confederate flag, and other rebel iconography, is a marker of Southern distinctiveness, which, like American distinctiveness, is inextricably bound up with the enslavement and oppression of black people. But only the South is irredeemable in the Left’s view, and it has been so only since about 1994, when it went Republican.

Which is to say, the Confederate flag is an emblem of regional distinctiveness disapproved of by 21st-century Democrats. Their reinvigorated concern is awfully nice: When the South actually was a segregationist backwater that African-Americans were fleeing by the million — when Democrats were running the show — they were ho-hum.

Today the South is an economic powerhouse, dominated by Republicans, and attracting new African-American residents by the thousands. And so the Left and its creature, the Democratic party, insist that Southern identity as such must be anathematized.

The horrific crime that shocked the nation notwithstanding, black life in Charleston remains very different, in attractive ways, from black life in such Left-dominated horror shows as Cleveland and Detroit, and the state’s governor is, in the parlance of identity politics, a woman of color — but she is a Republican, too, and therefore there must be shrieking, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth.

This is a fraud, and some scales are starting to fall from some eyes. Americans believe broadly in sexual equality, but only a vanishing minority of us describe ourselves as “feminists.”

“Social-justice warrior” is a term of derision. The Bernie Sanders movement, like the draft-Warren movement of which it is an offshoot, is rooted in disgust at the opportunistic politics of the Clinton claque.

Young people who have heard all their lives that the Republican party and the conservative movement are for old white men — young people who may be not be quite old enough to remember Democrats’ boasting of their “double-Bubba” ticket in 1992, pairing the protégé of one Southern segregationist with the son of another — see before them Nikki Haley, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez, Carly Fiorina, Tim Scott, Mia Love, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Elise Stefanik.

None of those men and women is bawling about “microaggressions” or dreaming up new sexless pronouns. None belongs to the party that hoisted Dixie over the capitol in South Carolina either. Governor Haley may be sensitive to the history of her state, but she is a member of the party of Lincoln with family roots in Punjab — it isn’t her flag.

What’s going to happen between now and November 8 of next year will be a political campaign on one side of the aisle only. On the other side, it’s going to be something between a temper tantrum and a panic attack. That’s excellent news if you’re Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, or Carly Fiorina. It’s less good news if you live in Baltimore or Philadelphia.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, July 02, 2015

A bad omen?

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.

Genesis 9: 12-15

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination

Leviticus 18:22

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men

1 Corinthians 6:9


Greece has a far-Leftist government


Mean priorities

On Friday my phone was blowing up with messages, asking if I’d seen the news. Some expressed disbelief at the headlines. Many said they were crying.

None of them were talking about the dozens of people gunned down in Sousse, Tunisia, by a man who, dressed as a tourist, had hidden his Kalashnikov inside a beach umbrella. Not one was crying over the beheading in a terrorist attack at a chemical factory near Lyon, France. The victim’s head was found on a pike near the factory, his body covered with Arabic inscriptions. And no Facebook friends mentioned the first suicide bombing in Kuwait in more than two decades, in which 27 people were murdered in one of the oldest Shiite mosques in the country.

They were talking about the only news that mattered: gay marriage.

Unlike President Obama, I have always been a staunch supporter of gay marriage, and I cheered the Supreme Court’s ruling making gay marriage legal in all 50 states. But as happy as I was, I was equally upset on Friday—and not just with the Islamists who carried out those savage attacks.

Moral relativism has become its own, perverse form of nativism among those who stake their identity on being universalist and progressive.

How else to explain the lack of outrage for the innocents murdered on the beach, while vitriol is heaped on those who express any shred of doubt about the Supreme Court ruling? How else to make sense of the legions of social-justice activists here at home who have nothing to say about countries where justice means flogging, beheading or stoning?

How else to understand those who have dedicated their lives to creating safe spaces for transgender people, yet issue no news releases about gender apartheid in an entire region of the world? How else to justify that at the gay-pride celebrations this weekend in Manhattan there is unlikely to be much mention of the gay men recently thrown off buildings in Syria and Iraq, their still-warm bodies desecrated by mobs?

It is increasingly eerie to live in this split-screen age. Earlier this week I received an email from a progressive Jewish organization about how Judaism teaches “that the preservation of human dignity is important enough to justify overriding our sacred mitzvot.” The rest of the email was about respecting dignity by using preferred gender pronouns.

On my other computer screen, I looked at a photograph of five men in orange jumpsuits, their legs bound. They were trapped like dogs inside a metal cage and hanging above a pool of water. They were drawing their final breaths before their Islamic State captors lowered the cage into the pool and they drowned together.

What was that about human dignity?

The barbarians are at our gates. But inside our offices, schools, churches, synagogues and homes, we are posting photos of rainbows on Twitter. It’s easier to Photoshop images of Justice Scalia as Voldemort than it is to stare evil in the face.

You can’t get married if you’re dead.



Scott Walker leads the charge again

Wisconsin unions Monday are once again attacking Republican Gov. Scott Walker, this time over a proposed budget that may result in cuts to tenure for state college professors.

With the upcoming budget session, the Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee is expected to propose a plan to reform the University of Wisconsin System. While it is not yet finalized, unions warn the plan will cut $250 million in funding and will remove academic protections for professors such as teacher tenure.

This latest union battles comes at the heels of a likely announcement Walker will run for president. With his previous labor reforms, unions will likely become one of his main advisories.

“Today’s move by JFC Republicans to pay for Scott Walker’s tax breaks for his wealthy donors by slashing public education is shameful,” Eleni Schirmer, co-president of the Teaching Assistants’ Association, said in a statement. “These cuts will devastate a UW System that has already been cut to the bone and beyond in previous years.”

Richard Leson, an associate professor of art history and president of Local 3535 of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), also argues the plan will have devastating consequences.

“The UW System has a long, rich tradition of encouraging research and learning free from political pressure, serving as a model for the rest of the country,” Leson said in a statement. “Our strong history of academic freedom through faculty tenure has protected education in the UW System from political conflict and corruption for decades, ensuring that higher learning in Wisconsin can pursue the truth wherever it might lead.”

A spokesman for Joint Finance Committee, however, notes the plan is not set in stone. The spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the plan still needs to be finalized by the committee after which point it will move onto the Senate and House. The plan could be amended by lawmakers in either chamber. If it passes the legislature, it will then be up to Walker to decide whether to sign it into law but the end result may look drastically different from the original plan.

As the budget plan is written at the moment, it doesn’t even remove tenure like some unions are claiming. As the committee spokesman detailed, the proposal only transfers authority on tenure to the Board of Regents which is already in charge overseeing community colleges in the state. The board could cut tenure, keep it the same or change it in other ways.

“In order to create an authority, the Governor’s original budget proposal removed all references to tenure and shared governance state statute in order to allow for the proposed authority to create its own policies,” Laurel Patrick, press secretary for Walker, told TheDCNF. “This would allow the UW Board of Regents to address the issue of tenure going forward.”

Though unions are blaming Walker, the proposed budget was approved by members of the committee and was not proposed by the governor. Walker, though, has become a go to target for unions because of his efforts to reform labor policy in the state during his first term.

The reforms, known as Act 10, significantly changed the collective bargaining process for most public employees within the state. It also required public unions to hold a renewal vote every couple of years to determine if workers still wanted them. Labor unions and supporters adamantly opposed the law and even tried to get Walker thrown out of office.

Republicans in the legislature went a step further in the past year when they passed a law which banned mandatory union dues as a condition of employment. Though Walker wasn’t directly involved in creating the measure, unions blamed him anyways.

“It’s worth noting that the reforms included in Act 10 eliminated requirements for seniority and tenure in schools,” Patrick continued. “Many of the critics claiming these changes will cause harm are the same types of voices who said public education would be harmed because of our Act 10 reforms. Today, graduation rates are up, third grade reading scores are up, and ACT scores are second best in the country.”



The Formal End to Judeo-Christian America

By Dennis Prager

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the redefinition of marriage seals the end of America as the Founders envisioned it.

From well before 1776 until the second half of the 20th century, the moral values of the United States were rooted in the Bible and its God.

Unlike Europe, which defined itself as exclusively Christian, America became the first Judeo-Christian society. The American Founders were Christians — either theologically or culturally — but they were rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures. Even Americans who could not affirm traditional Christian or Jewish theology affirmed the centrality of God to ethics. Americans, from the Founders on, understood that without God, there is no moral truth, only moral opinion — and assumed that those truths were to be gleaned from the Bible more than anywhere else.

Beginning with the Supreme Court’s ban on nondenominational school prayer in 1962, the same-sex marriage decision has essentially completed the state’s secularization of American society. This is one thing about which both right and left, religious and secular, can agree. One side may rejoice over the fact, and the other may weep, but it is a fact.

And what has replaced Judaism, Christianity, Judeo-Christian values and the Bible?

The answer is: feelings. More and more Americans rely on feelings to make moral decisions. The heart has taken the place of the Bible.

Years ago, I recorded an interview with a Swedish graduate student. I began by asking her whether she believed in God. Of course not. Did she believe in religion? Of course not.

“Where, then, do you get your notion of right and wrong?” I asked.

“From my heart,” she responded.

That is why five members of the Supreme Court have redefined marriage. They consulted their hearts.

That is understandable. Any religious conservative who does not acknowledge homosexuals' historic persecution or does not understand gays who desire to marry lacks compassion.

But let’s be honest. This lack of compassion is more than matched by the meanness expressed by the advocates of same-sex marriage. They have rendered those who believe that marriage should remain a man-woman institution the most vilified group in America today.

It is the heart — not the mind, not millennia of human experience, nor any secular or religious body of wisdom — that has determined that marriage should no longer be defined as the union of a man and a woman.

It is the heart, not the mind, that has concluded that gender has no significance. That is the essence of the Brave New World being ushered in. For the first time in recorded history, whole societies are announcing that gender has no significance. Same-sex marriage is, above all else, the statement that male and female mean nothing, are completely interchangeable, and, yes, don’t even objectively exist, because you are only the gender you feel you are. That explains the “T” in “LGBT.” The case for same-sex marriage is dependent on the denial of sexual differences.

It is the heart, not the mind, that has concluded that all a child needs is love, not a father and mother.

And therein lies one of the reasons that the notion of obedience to religion is so loathed by the cultural left. Biblical Judaism and Christianity repeatedly dismiss the heart as a moral guide.

Moreover, the war to replace God, Judeo-Christian values and the Bible as moral guides is far from over. What will this lead to?

Here are three likely scenarios:

Becoming more and more like Western Europe, which has more or less created the first godless and religion-less societies in history. Among the consequences are less marriage and the birth of far fewer children.

More and more ostracizing — eventually outlawing — of religious Jews and Christians, clergy, and institutions that refuse to perform same-sex weddings.

An America increasingly guided by people’s hearts.

If you trust the human heart, you should feel confident about the future. If you don’t, you should be scared. Judeo-Christian values have made America, despite its flaws, uniquely free and prosperous and the greatest force for good in the world. Without those values, all of that will change.



Some Liberties Are More Equal Than Others

One day before the Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage, ACLU deputy legal director Louise Melling wrote of the organization’s newly announced hostility to Christians and religious liberty, specifically regarding its withdrawal of support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “The ACLU supported the RFRA’s passage at the time because it didn’t believe the Constitution, as newly interpreted by the Supreme Court, would protect people … whose religious expression does not harm anyone else. But we can no longer support the law in its current form.

For more than 15 years, we have been concerned about how the RFRA could be used to discriminate against others. As the events of the past couple of years amply illustrate, our fears were well-founded. While the RFRA may serve as a shield to protect [some], it is now often used as a sword to discriminate against women, gay and transgender people and others. … Yes, religious freedom needs protection. But religious liberty doesn’t mean the right to discriminate or to impose one’s views on others.”

It’s not exactly surprising that the ACLU would find a way to oppose such laws once Christians found refuge in them. But this is an organization that has gone to bat for the KKK and the American Nazi Party. And the irony is too much: Melling decries the imposition of views while having no problem with homosexuals forcing bakers, photographers and florists to provide their services against their consciences. Now that the Supreme Court has found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, more imposition and discrimination will occur. And the ACLU will be leading the charge. Because “love wins,” right?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

That evil diabetes

The prime whipping boy for the "war on obesity" is diabetes.  Being fat is supposed to give you diabetes, never mind that most fat people are not diabetic! So it is interesting to see what pops up in the research about diabetes.  And the latest study is an unusually strong one.  The researchers had data on both income and education, which makes it quite a rarity and worth mentioning for that alone. So the results can be accepted without the most usual caveat about the influence of social class.

Another usual caveat is however not excluded. By basing their conclusions on interquartile range they threw away half their data.  At least they did not use extreme quintiles, I suppose. So they are a bit up on a lot of other studies in that regard.  The bottom line, however, is that the effects they observed were weak.

So what did they find, albeit weakly?  The most interesting finding was a negative.  Neighborhood social environment was not associated with diabetes.  Bear in mind, however that race/ethnicity was controlled for.  Without that control, inner city environments would have been found to be bad for you.  So having congenial neighbors is nice but it doesn't protect you from diabetes. Not terribly surprising, I suppose, but with their tendency to blame everything on external factors, Leftists might not like it

The positive effects were that a neighborhood with good opportunities for exercise helped stave off diabetes and a neighborhood with more fresh food available helped a little too.  So having nearby parks to jog around was good for you and a less fat-intensive diet gave your pancreas a bit of a rest.

An amusing thing is that JAMA really liked that study and put up a laudatory commentary on it ("Risk for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus:  Person, Place, and Precision Prevention").  And what the commentary said about it did not surprise me one bit. The commentary disregarded the weaknesses of the effects and even said that the authors found something which they did not.  Academics have a great tendency to draw conclusions they want to draw and damn the evidence.  So when dear little Nancy Adler and Aric Prather said in their commentary that: "physical and social contexts of neighborhood environments matter for disease onset", they were ignoring the fact that the study below found that social environment did NOT matter.  LOL.

We climate skeptics know well how little there is behind Warmist "science" but the same is true of science in other fields too, particularly health science.  And Leftism of course floats on a sea of lies.  The situation is so bad that, even at age 71, I feel I still have to keep going and keep pointing out the facts. I would rather spend my time watching operetta -- but fortunately I do get some time for that too.  Much more fun than politics and crooked science.

Longitudinal Associations Between Neighborhood Physical and Social Environments and Incident Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)

By Paul J. Christine et al.


Objective:  To determine whether long-term exposures to neighborhood physical and social environments, including the availability of healthy food and physical activity resources and levels of social cohesion and safety, are associated with incident T2DM during a 10-year period.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  We used data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, a population-based cohort study of adults aged 45 to 84 years at baseline (July 17, 2000, through August 29, 2002). A total of 5124 participants free of T2DM at baseline underwent 5 clinical follow-up examinations from July 17, 2000, through February 4, 2012. Time-varying measurements of neighborhood healthy food and physical activity resources and social environments were linked to individual participant addresses. Neighborhood environments were measured using geographic information system (GIS)– and survey-based methods and combined into a summary score. We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) of incident T2DM associated with cumulative exposure to neighborhood resources using Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for age, sex, income, educational level, race/ethnicity, alcohol use, and cigarette smoking. Data were analyzed from December 15, 2013, through September 22, 2014.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Incident T2DM defined as a fasting glucose level of at least 126 mg/dL or use of insulin or oral antihyperglycemics.

Results:  During a median follow-up of 8.9 years (37 394 person-years), 616 of 5124 participants (12.0%) developed T2DM (crude incidence rate, 16.47 [95% CI, 15.22-17.83] per 1000 person-years). In adjusted models, a lower risk for developing T2DM was associated with greater cumulative exposure to indicators of neighborhood healthy food (12%; HR per interquartile range [IQR] increase in summary score, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.79-0.98]) and physical activity resources (21%; HR per IQR increase in summary score, 0.79 [95% CI, 0.71-0.88]), with associations driven primarily by the survey exposure measures. Neighborhood social environment was not associated with incident T2DM (HR per IQR increase in summary score, 0.96 [95% CI, 0.88-1.07]).

Conclusions and Relevance:  Long-term exposure to residential environments with greater resources to support physical activity and, to a lesser extent, healthy diets was associated with a lower incidence of T2DM, although results varied by measurement method. Modifying neighborhood environments may represent a complementary, population-based approach to prevention of T2DM, although further intervention studies are needed.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 29, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.2691


Libertarians Should Be Cautious in Celebrating homosexual marriage

To no one’s surprise, five justices of the U.S. Supreme Court held that “the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty.” The full opinion is here.

For example, Robby Soave over at Reason blasts the dissent from Justice Scalia and observes that he is no friend to libertarians. Also, Ilya Shapiro at the Cato Institute gives a thumbs up to the Court’s decision. Undoubtedly many readers of this blog share these sentiments and cheer today that homosexual couples can marry just like opposite-sex couples. However, before you get caught up in celebrating this “victory” for liberty, think about several things.

First, that the main liberty on which this country is founded is the right to self-government. For that reason we seceded from the British Empire so that each colony/state could govern its own affairs. Via the Articles and later the Constitution the states combined for certain external matters such as national defense and international commerce, but as to their internal affairs they remained separate and sovereign. This was supposed to allow the states to govern themselves based on peculiar local circumstances and culture; keep the governors close to the people; and allow for the states to serve as laboratories of democracy. Domestic relations were always seen as a matter of state and local regulation. There is no power delegated to the federal government over marriage, divorce, child custody, etc. When the federal government (legislative, executive, or judicial) acts outside the delegated powers and assumes prerogatives left to the states or the people, this cherished right of self-government is threatened.

Second, although the majority sets forth many good policy arguments on why same-sex marriage ought to be allowed, they are just that—policy arguments. Neither the Constitution of 1787 nor the 14th Amendment speak to same-sex marriage. Sure, there is a Due Process Clause in the 14th Amendment, but that should be understood as a guarantee that certain procedures must be followed in judicial proceedings before a person is deprived of life, liberty, or property. For example, a warrant should be submitted to a neutral magistrate to determine probable cause before a search is undertaken or a jury should be empaneled to decide felony cases between the government and the accused. Giving it a substantive meaning—i.e., giving the courts the power to determine if certain non-judicial policies or laws are “acceptable” in the opinion of the Court—sets the judicial branch above the other branches and the people. Policy is not the business of the Courts. We elect legislatures to debate policy and enact laws based on policy preferences. Actually, that was going on and going rather favorably for the gay community before the Court intervened with this decision.

Third, well what about Equal Protection? The 14th Amendment has an Equal Protection Clause, and states that did not allow homosexual marriage were denying homosexuals equal protection of the laws. Almost every law discriminates and creates classifications. For instance, a law that allows 16 year-olds to drive, but not 15 year-olds, creates a classification: those above 16 can drive, those below 16 cannot. This is not an equal protection violation because the intent behind the clause was to ensure that blacks enjoyed the same rights as whites and because the classification has a basis in reason. Sure, some teens 15 and 14 might drive better than adults who are 40 or 50, but courts have typically looked only to see that the classification has some basis in reason. It is reasonable to conclude that as a general matter a person should be 16 years or older to drive because as a general matter such an age brings enough maturity that the person can be expected to handle a car. Same thing for state laws on marriage. The traditional definition of marriage is based on the state’s desire to channel potential procreative activity into a stable social and legal relationship: marriage. This is per se reasonable, although there are policy arguments that can be made for expanding the definition. Bottom line: the view of marriage that has existed for thousands of years across a variety of different cultures (even cultures that were open to homosexuality, such as ancient Greece) is not bereft of a reasonable justification. And we don’t—or at least shouldn’t want—unelected judges looking beyond reasonable justification lest they be tempted to force their personal opinions—good or bad—on us.

Fourth, as my friend David Theroux pointed out to me, nationalization of states’ laws seldom results in greater freedom. For arguments pointing out the dangers of nationalization, see this Independent Institute op-ed. We should ask ourselves, based on this ruling, whether the federal government can nationalize any state law that increases government power, such as compulsory schooling, confiscatory taxes, bans on soft drinks and meat, higher drinking ages, etc. In other words, can the feds nationalize any state law that is intrusive and even tyrannical? Does this nationalization power bring greater freedom?

Fifth, think about what the gay rights movement has lost with this resort to the federal courts. Chief Justice Roberts puts this nicely in his dissent: “Indeed, however heartened the proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever: the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause. And they lose this just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs.” Opponents of gay marriage will ever believe that the debate and contest about the meaning of marriage was stolen from them. This will increase bitterness and likely close minds rather than open them to reasoned discussion and debate. What use is a democratic government with a First Amendment to promote debate, give and take, and respect when the judiciary decides all issues and questions that it deems important?

Finally, what does this bode for the future? With this decision, nine unelected federal officers firmly take on the power of legislating. The majority’s opinion reads like a collection of aphorisms from a far eastern philosopher and has little, if anything, to do with the application of established legal principles to an actual case or controversy. Many libertarians like the result in this case, but what will these cheerleaders say when the Court finds a state flat tax or state decision to reduce public assistance benefits to be unacceptable (that is, against the Court’s policy preferences) and declares these laws unconstitutional on due process or equal protection grounds? This is not idle speculation. Many progressive law professors urge, for example, that the poor should be considered a suspect class and thus the Court should strictly examine all state laws that impact various benefits. Here’s an article discussing this.

The Supreme Court has gone far from the judicial role outlined for it in the Constitution. Be careful when cheering for a result that you like; the power is there to reach issues and results that no friend of liberty will applaud. And you have no vote—none whatsoever—if you want to remove these Platonic Guardians from office.



The Court Only Delayed Obamacare's Collapse

With the Supreme Court deciding in favor of the Obama administration on the question of whether federal health insurance subsidies are legal, the rule of law – and the English language – took a real beating. As President Barack Obama takes a victory lap, he needs to realize that this is not the end of the fight.

It is true that the court's decision renders the federal Obamacare subsidies legal. But that does not mean an end to the conversation about health care in America, and it certainly does not make Obamacare a permanent institution. The simple reason for this is that there is no way the president's health care law can survive in the long run. It is structurally unsound, and the court's ruling will merely delay its inevitable collapse.

Across the country, the insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act are falling apart. They are running deficits in the millions that are simply unsustainable. Even with the subsidies in place, the cost of premiums has been rising sharply, and deductibles are so high that many on the bottom rungs of the income ladder, the very people the law was meant to help, are actually being hurt by it.

Enrollment numbers are also far below expectations, meaning that only the people who need medical care the most are signing up for Obamacare, while many healthier Americans don't bother. The only way insurance can work is if healthy people sign up as well. If they don't start signing up en masse, premiums will keep rising in order to keep insurance companies solvent. We're rapidly heading for a situation in which people will have to choose between going bankrupt to buy mandated insurance, or going bankrupt to pay the penalty for not buying it.

What all this means is that the health insurance market is in deep trouble. In Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion in King v. Burwell, he wrote that "Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve insurance markets, not to destroy them." That may have been Congress' intention, but the fact is that markets are in deep, deep trouble, and this decision does nothing to change that.

The 2016 election will be crucial in determining what will happen when Obamacare meets its inevitable end. If Hillary Clinton becomes the next president and Republicans lose their majority in the Senate, the most likely response will be all out nationalization of health care markets, and America will follow the misguided path of social democracies in Western Europe. If Republicans carry the day, there will be an opportunity to enact free market health care solutions that empower patients and doctors, and make health care more affordable for all Americans. Let's hope they don't waste this chance to save our health care system.

The court's decision is a disappointment to those of us who believe that words mean what they mean and that the IRS shouldn't be allowed to rewrite laws to suit its agenda, but that's no reason why we should hasten to wave a white flag. Obamacare will stand for now, but sooner or later it will fall, and reformers had better be ready. What happens next will depend on which side has better prepared for the collapse. The battle going forward will be over laying the political and popular groundwork for repairing the health care system when Obamacare finally tears itself apart.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The New Testament canon

I think it is axiomatic that Christians accept the Bible as the word of God.  If you don't accept the Bible as the word of God but still claim to be a Christian, you are some sort of hyphenated Christian.  I would call Episcopalians and Anglicans generally, post-Christians. Their adoration of homosexuals flies in the face of explicit Bible teachings in both the Old and New Testaments so they clearly do not accept the Bible as the word of God.

But what is meant by "word of God"?  Did God use the Bible writers as some sort of stenographers -- dictating precisely every word they wrote?  People who believe that are said to be "verbal inspiration" believers.  The verbal inspiration doctrine has great difficulties, however.  Take the account of what happened at Christ's tomb when his followers found his body no longer there. The four gospels give rather different accounts of what happened.

In Matthew 28 for instance, we read that when the two Marys approached the tomb, a glorious  angel came down and rolled away the stone.

In Mark 16 however we find that the stone had already been rolled away before they got there.  So they went into the tomb and met a young man sitting in it who told them Christ was risen.

And in Luke 24 we find that the women went into the tomb and were puzzled to find it empty.  But then two men in shining garments suddenly appeared beside them. And it was only after they had bowed to the men did the men tell them that Christ is risen.

And John 20 is different again.  This time it was just Mary Magdalene who came to the tomb and found it empty. This time nobody appeared to her so she ran away to tell some of the disciples.  So the disciples came to the tomb and examined its contents.  Then the disciples just went home.  But Mary stayed on.  And then two angels in white appeared and told her that Christ was risen

So we have four different accounts.  Was there one angel or two, for instance?  The accounts are not necessarily wrong.  They are about as consistent as what you get in court when different eye-witnesses to a crime are being examined.  So is God as scatterbrained as four human witnesses?  Surely not.  If he had dictated every word he would just have given the actual events, not what looks like a set of wobbly recollections.

So few Christians now believe in verbal inspiration.  They believe that the Bible writers wrote their own thoughts in their own way  but God was behind those thoughts, gently guiding them in the right direction.  

But then another problem arises.  How do we know who had God behind their thoughts?  There were many documents around in the early days which contained accounts of Christ's history and teachings.  Why did they all not make it into the New Testament?

The Roman Catholic church has an answer to that.  They say that the church made the pick.  They say that the church knew which document was divine and knocked back the others:  It was the church that assembled the NT.

That is not much of an answer however.  For a start, the church at that time was almost entirely located in the Greek-speaking cities of the Eastern Mediterranean lands.  Rome was a distant offshoot.  So the discussion about which documents were divine occurred in the Greek churches, not in Rome.  And the Greek Orthodox church does to this day with some justice regard itself as the lineal descendant of the original Christian church and say that authority about the canon belongs to them

Even if we accept the Roman claim, however, it just pushes the question back one step.  How did the church know which books were divine?  The only reasonable answer to that is that God influenced the minds of the men of the church to make the right decisions.

But if God was working through the minds of men, why did it have to be just one group of men?  Surely it could have been men anywhere in the Christian world and not merely a few big shots in Rome! So, broadly, the answer to the question of what formed the canon is a simple one from a Christian viewpoint:  If God inspired the writing of the various books, he could surely also see to it that the right ones were selected as holy!

Anne, the lady in my life is, like me, an ex-Christian and our Christian past is still influential with us both.  She doesn't like the apostle Paul's view of the place of women, however -- as in Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 11, for instance.  Being a born tease, however, I enjoy pointing out that according to the NT, women should be submissive to their men.  Anne is no feminist but she is a pretty independent lady so she doesn't like Paul at all and why is he in in the Bible anyhow?

I replied that if God inspired the Bible writings, surely he could also make sure that the right documents were included in it.  On hearing that she burst into peals of laughter.  I am not totally sure why but I think she saw the logic in it and realized that you could not arbitrarily exclude Paul from being a divine messenger.

So how do I think the books of the Bible were chosen?  I do actually lean to an explanation that would fit in with God's guidance.  The history of the matter is that there was a considerable debate in the early days about which books were new revelation -- and various collections were made which embodied particular people's view of what was divine.  But after a while a consensus did emerge.  And it was an inclusive consensus:  Enough books were included to keep most people happy.

So was God behind that consensus?  Since I am an atheist I think not but a Christian could reasonably think so.  What I think happened is that those books which made most sense and sounded good at the time gradually, amid debate, came to be generally accepted as holy.

With his background in Greek learning, Paul was quite a good theologian, he wrote very energetically, wrote very extensively and he explicitly claimed divine guidance -- so it would appear that the whole available corpus of his writing was included.

And in the nature of these things, a tradition developed which saw that early consensus as authoritative.


The Age of Communism Lives

The bodies demand accounting, apology, and repentance. We live in an era of appalling bad faith

It was twenty-five years ago, but it feels like yesterday. When seeing the images of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I cried with joy, took out my best bottle of French wine, left the television on, and listened to Beethoven’s Ninth over and over and over. If you didn’t live through it, know that there was nothing like it. What we need to be reminded of, however, are the stakes and what didn’t happen in the wake of the fall.

In addition to the tyranny, the torture, and the assault upon the human spirit, the slaughtered victims of communism were not the thousands of the Inquisition, not the thousands of Americans lynched, not even the six million dead from Nazi extermination. The best scholarship yields numbers that the soul must try to comprehend: scores and scores and scores of millions of individual human bodies, which is what makes the work of Lee Edwards in keeping alive in our minds the victims of communism so morally essential, so morally vital.

Alexander Yakovlev, Gorbachev’s right hand man, who examined the archives for the last Soviet leader and who came away a deeply changed and heroic man, let us know that 60 million were slain in the Soviet Union alone. The Chinese author Jung Chang, who had access to scores of Mao Zedong’s collaborators and to the detailed Russian and local archives, reached the figure of 70 million Chinese lives snuffed out by Mao’s deliberate choices. If we count those dead of starvation from the communist ability and desire to experiment with human interaction in agriculture—20 million to 40 million in three years—we may add scores of millions more.

The communist Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot, who was educated in France and taught his politics by French communist intellectuals, butchered one-fifth to one-fourth of the entire Cambodian population. That would be as if an American regime had murdered some 50 to 70 million of its people. In each and every communist regime, countless people were shot and died by deliberate exposure, starved and murdered in work camps and prisons meant to extract every last fiber of labor before they die. No cause ever in the history of all mankind has produced more slaughtered innocents and more orphans than communism. It was a system of production that surpassed all others in turning out the dead.

What should one have expected after the fall of the Berlin wall? What didn’t occur? Where were the celebrations and the accountings? Where was the recognition of the ineffable value of a truly limited government? Our schools, universities and media do not teach our children any differently now about the human consequences of liberty, of voluntary economic societies, and of limited government in the real world. Our children do not know in any domain what happened under communism. Those who depend on our media and our films do not know. We live without self-belief and without any moral understanding of the extraordinary place of America, of its values, of its liberty, and of those leaders who won the Cold War for the dignity and the benefit of humankind.

What might a sane and moral individual have expected? An anti-communist epiphany, a festival of celebration, a flowering of comparative scholarship, a full accounting of the communist reality—political, economic, moral, ecological, social and cultural—a revision of curriculum, a recognition of the ineffable value of those ideals for which we paid the fullest price? Where did any of this occur? Imagine if World War II had ended in a stalemate with a European Nazi empire from the Urals to the English Channel soon to be armed with nuclear weapons and in mortal contest with the United States in a peace kept only by deterrence. Would progressive children have sung, “All we are saying is give peace a chance” beneath symbols of unilateral disarmament? Would our intellectuals have mocked the phrase “evil empire”? What were the differences? Deaths? Camps? The desolation of the flesh and of the spirit? Solzhenitsyn had it exactly right about the Soviets, “No other regime on earth could compare with it either in the number of those it had done to death, in heartiness, in the range of its ambitions, in its thoroughgoing and unmitigated totalitarianism—no, not even the regime of its pupil, Hitler” (from the Gulag Archipelago). What would the celebration have been like if after two generations the swastika at last had fallen in place of the hammer and the sickle?

After all that we know, do our historians today teach their students any differently about the human consequences of free markets and the rule of law in a world of comparative phenomena? How breathtaking that we do not have an intellectual, moral and, above all, historical accounting of who was right and who was wrong, and why, in their analyses of communism. We live in an era of appalling bad faith. “You put private property ahead of people” remains a powerful anathema, as if in the light of all those lessons, private property were not absolutely essential to the well-being, dignity, liberty and lives of human beings in society, and as if profits were not the measure of the satisfaction of other people’s wants and desires. Indeed, it is precisely to avoid the revitalization of the principles of a voluntary society, limited government, and individual responsibility and liberty that our teachers, professors, information media, and filmmakers ignore the comparative inquiry that our time so urgently demands.

The communist holocaust, like the Nazi, should have brought forth a flowering of Western art, witness, sympathy, and an ocean of tears, and then a celebration at its downfall. Instead, it has called forth a glacier of indifference. Kids who in the 1960s hung portraits of Lenin, Mao, and Che on their college walls—the moral equivalent of having hung portraits of Hitler, Goebbels, or Horst Wessel in one’s dorm—came to teach our children about the moral superiority of their generation. Every historical textbook lingers on the crimes of Nazism—rightly so—seeks their root causes, draws a lesson from them, and everybody knows the number six million. By contrast, the same textbooks remain silent about the catastrophe of communism, everywhere it held or holds power. Ask any college freshman—try it if you don’t believe me— how many died under Stalin’s regime and they will answer even now, “Thousands? Tens of thousands?” It is the equivalent of believing that Hitler killed hundreds of Jews.

The scandal of such ignorance derives from an intellectual culture’s willful blindness to the catastrophe of its relative sympathies. Most of Europe has outlawed the neo-Nazis, but the French Communist Party from 1999 to 2002 was part of a ruling government. One may not fly the swastika, but one may hoist the hammer and sickle at official events. The denial of Hitler’s dead or the minimization of the Jewish Holocaust is literally a crime in most of Europe. The denial or minimization of communist crimes is an intellectual and political art form, and the fast track to a successful academic career. “Anti-fascist” is a term of honor; “anti-communist” is a term of ridicule and abuse.

The communist holocaust … has called forth a glacier of indifference.
As we meet, the Social Democratic Party and the anti-Euro party in Germany are negotiating to enter into a government in Thuringia that will be ruled by Die Linke, the heirs of the East German Communist Party, because no one remembers and, above all, no one teaches the lessons. For at least a generation, intellectual contempt for liberal society has been at the core of the humanities and the soft social sciences. This has accelerated, not changed, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and as for the mea culpas, we await them in vain.

When Eisenhower heard that the German residents of a nearby town didn’t know about a death camp whose stench would have reached their nostrils, he marched them, well-dressed—it’s dramatic footage—through the rotting corpses and made them look at and help dispose of the dead. The mayor of Saxe-Gotha and his wife hanged themselves on their return.

We lack Eisenhower’s authority. Milan Kundera stated the moral reality with clarity: “What about those with good intentions?” he asked. “When Oedipus realized that he himself was the cause of their suffering,” he answered, “he put out his eyes and wandered blind away from Thebes—unable to stand the sight of the misfortunes he had wrought by not knowing.” Let the apologists for communism acknowledge the dead, bury the dead, and atone for the dead; otherwise, let them be forgiven only when they have put out their eyes and wandered blind away from Thebes. And let Western intellectuals learn the words of the poem Requiem, written during the Stalinist terror by Anna Akhmatova, the greatest Russian poet of the 20th century, “I will remember them always and everywhere. I will never forget them no matter what comes.”

The bodies demand accounting, apology, and repentance. Without such things, the age of communism lives. Without such things, there remains a Berlin Wall, of the mind and spirit, that has not fallen.



The Marine Hitchhikers

Early in 2012, Barack Obama promised that a U.S. military with a smaller budget would be an asset. “Our military will be leaner,” he said, “but the world must know — the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats.”

How’s that working out? Not so good. The U.S. Navy has shrunk so much that the Marines are looking at the possibility of using foreign vessels to deploy to Europe or Africa. Specifically, the Marines are communicating with Britain, Spain and Italy about the idea because so many of the ships the Navy does have are in the Pacific. According to former Navy Secretary Jim Webb, “Our Navy has gone from 568 ships when I was secretary of the Navy — and much more than that, actually, when I was commissioned — down to about in the 280s now.”

It’s little wonder that military support for this commander in chief is so low. Obama has the military busy with leftist social engineering and Don Quixote-type missions against the weather while its equipment is no longer up to the real tasks at hand.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, June 29, 2015

Circumventing SCOTUS

From "Dredd Scott" onwards, SCOTUS has almost always blown with the wind.  Its rulings reflect elite opinion of the time, not the actual text of the constitution.  So the huge fuss the Left and their media henchmen  have been making about homosexual marriage had a predictable result.  The Left-leaning justices would have been shunned by all their friends had they decided otherwise.

The shred of justification that they used for the decision is from the  first section  of the 14th Amendment: "nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws".

But there is no protection that homosexual marriage confers.  There are some privileges connected with marriage but privileges are not protections.  And in any case, civil unions offered in many jurisdictions do  provide the same privileges as marriage.  So the judicial reasoning was aimed to produce a result, not to offer an honest interpretation.  Nothing new there.

If anything, though, the reasoning was less slippery than the reasoning behind the legalization of abortion in "Roe vs Wade".  The homosexual marriage ruling was just routine  dishonesty.

So there is no reason why the SCOTUS ruling should be respected.  If they can slip and slide around the matter so can others.  And there is an easy way for conservative State governments to do so. What I have in mind would be perfectly legal and proper -- though  it would provoke a banshee scream of rage from the Left.  How do I know that?  Because something similar was proposed in an  Australian jurisdiction (the ACT) a few year ago  -- and was greeted with horror by homosexuals.

Here is what you do:  Both homosexuals and heterosexuals get the same marriage certificate -- with just one difference:  The certificate received by heterosexuals is simply headed "Marriage Certificate" but the certificate received by homosexuals would be headed "Homosexual Marriage Certificate".  There is nothing in the SCOTUS judgement to prevent that as far as I can see.

The legal wording to be enacted by the State governments would be something along the following lines:  "To avoid confusion, all  official documentation issued in connection with same-sex  marriages shall clearly refer to the marriage as a "homosexual marriage".

No reasonable person could object to that but the Left are not reasonable so the uproar would be great.  The real and perverse goal behind the homosexual marriage issue -- which is to deny an obvious difference -- would be defeated.  The resultant uproar would undoubtedly send the matter back to SCOTUS eventually but even SCOTUS might be hard put to find something wrong with that wording.  They might cry "discrimination" but nothing has been withheld, denied or refused.

As a libertarian, of course, I don't care either way.  I think marriage should be a matter either of private contract or a religious sacrament.  I see no need for it to be licensed or in any way regulated by any government.  For most of human history it has been purely a religious matter, with only churches or other religious bodies keeping a record of it

And because of harsh divorce laws, many couples do not marry now anyway.  Your de facto wife is simply referred to as your "fiancee" and nobody thinks anything of it.  That is particularly so in Britain.  When women complain that men "won't commit", they can thank the feminists who have made the divorce laws so intimidating to men.  Stories of women winning big out of divorce appear in the papers almost daily so few men can be unaware of the dangers in marrying.  It will be amusing to see the same laws hitting  homosexual marriages.

And with the daily horrors being perpetrated by Muslim fanatics in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, surely there are more important matters for us to attend to.  Repeated vicious slaughter surely matters much more than what homosexuals do with their penises.  Homosexuality is certainly a matter of indifference to me.


Obamacare Critics React to SCOTUS Ruling: ‘Repeal and Replace’ the Law

Once again, the actual text of the law did not matter to SCOTUS.  Laws mean only what the elite say they do.  Americans are ruled not by laws but by an oligarchy

Republicans in Congress and a wide range of conservative advocacy groups reacted strongly to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling on Thursday that said people may receieve federal subsidies to buy health insurance even though they did not enroll for coverage through a health exchange "established by the state," as the law stipulated.

Republicans and many conservatives expressed opposition to the court's ruling and said the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, should be repealed and replaced.

“Fortunately, Republicans have a plan to reverse this course by repealing and replacing Obamacare with reforms that put patients – not Washington – first,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in a statement. “Moving forward, we will continue to seek input on our legislative proposal – the Patient Care Act – and use every opportunity available to give both states and patients more freedom and flexibility.

“Today’s ruling failed to hold the Obama Administration responsible for its reckless execution of its own poorly-crafted law,” Hatch said. “The plain text of Obamacare authorizes subsidies only through state exchanges, not the federal exchange.

"While I'm disappointed in the Supreme Court's ruling, it does not change the fact that Obamacare has been a dismal failure for millions of Americans who have lost the good health care that they liked, and are paying more for the plans that they have,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in a statement.

“I will continue to stand with the American people who want this failed law repealed and replaced with patient-centered reforms that lower costs and get Washington bureaucrats out of our health care decisions," Scalise added.

“The law is fundamentally flawed, and the court’s decision does not change our resolve to repeal it and replace it with patient-centered solutions that will increase access to affordable healthcare for all Americans,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), said in a statement.

“Now is the time to act - now is the time to keep our word to the American people,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) said in a statement. “After 58 votes to repeal Obamacare in part or in whole, I call on our Republican leadership to use Reconciliation to put a full repeal of Obamacare on the President's desk.”

Conservative groups also quickly weighed in on the ruling.

“So long as Obamacare’s mandates and relentless regulations are left in place, there is no good outcome,” Club for Growth President David McIntosh said in a statement. “The American people believe both subsidies and mandates are wrong, so it’s now up to Congress to use reconciliation to repeal Obamacare, and Congress should continue to do so until there is a president who is willing to sign that repeal.”

“The Supreme Court ruling does not fix Obamacare,” Nina Owcharenko, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Health Policy Studies, said in a statement, adding that Obamacare is “unworkable, unaffordable and unpopular.

“The only fix to Obamacare is its repeal,” Owcharenko said.

"It is now incumbent upon Congress to put a stop to this poorly crafted law by repealing Obamacare in its entirety,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement. “Between ObamaCare delays, rising health costs, rationing, and broken promises, the American people are seeing first-hand the indelible flaws with this law.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) addressed the high court’s decision on the Senate floor on Thursday, vowing to repeal Obamacare.



After More Money and 'Fixes,' VA Gets Worse

For veterans seeking care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, let’s just say that this year isn’t going to be any better than the last. Despite all of the promises from Barack Obama, Congress and unelected bureaucrats that the government would “fix” the problems with the VA, little to nothing has been done. Unless you count making things worse.

About a year ago, news broke that veterans were dying while on secret VA waiting lists. Obama promised that his administration would fix the problems. We were told by incoming VA Secretary Robert McDonald that “he would fire over 1,000 VA employees over the wait time scandal.” Yet the fixes and firings didn’t happen. Nope, we were lied to again.

Perhaps the VA simply needed more money to operate more efficiently. In keeping with the status quo for every government agency that is failing, Congress pumped $16.3 billion into the VA to give it some help — that after its budget nearly tripled between 2000 and 2012. How’d that all work out? Fast forward to today, and the results are pathetic. In fact it’s worse now than it was a year ago.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is facing a new crisis. The number of veterans waiting one month or more for care is actually 50% higher than it was during last year’s problems, and the VA is also facing a nearly $3 billion budget shortfall.

To address this continuing crisis the VA is considering furloughs, hiring freezes and “significant moves” to close the budget shortfall. It’s also considering rationing Hepatitis C treatments, specifically for those who are in more advanced stages of illness or advanced dementia. How’s that for veteran care?

On a positive note, doctors and nurses within the VA have handled 2.7 million more appointments than in any previous year and sent an additional 900,000 patients to see physicians in the private sector. With these numbers, what’s the problem?

The VA has seen a massive increase in veterans seeking care, primarily aging Vietnam vets and those who have returned from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. With this increase in demand for care comes a need for more doctors and nurses to provide the treatment that our veterans deserve. But according to many experts there is a shortage of doctors and nurses. In addition there has also been an increase in the cost of drugs and medication, and the largest driver of costs has been from patients seeking medical attention from physicians in the private sector. Thanks, ObamaCare.

“Something has to give,” conceded VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson. “We can’t leave this as the status quo. We are not meeting the needs of veterans, and veterans are signaling that to us by coming in for additional care, and we can’t deliver as timely as we want to.”

Why not? The VA has more money and more people, yet we’re supposed to believe that still more money is the answer? No doubt most Americans would rather see their tax dollars go to fund the VA’s operations than to most any other federal project. But the problem isn’t the lack of money, it’s the ineptitude of bureaucrats who don’t know how to properly manage the money or personnel that they have.

As Mark Alexander suggested last year, perhaps Congress should consider another piece of legislation to improve services at the VA: Make the commander in chief and all of his cabinet level appointees get in line for VA medical services instead of the VIP medical treatment they now receive. Let’s add Congress to that list as well. Can anyone imagine our elected officials and their staff having to wait like veterans do for treatment? We doubt that this will happen anytime soon, but if it could, we bet there would likely be some significant, real changes to the VA.

Meanwhile, ObamaCare was passed to give all Americans access to medical care and is funded by taxpayers. Yet it is unaffordable, unsustainable and un-American. It’s certain that within a few years, as ObamaCare grows and takes deeper root, all Americans will be on waiting lists to receive care. There will be calls for reform, to pump more money and people into it. But these “reforms” won’t fix the problem, either — because the problem is federal bureaucrats who insist on spending more of our dollars to increase their power and take away freedom from individuals. Need proof? Just look at the VA.



Rev. Cruz: Obama Administration Runs on ‘Deception' – ‘They Have to Lie’

The Obama administration practices “deception” in “every area,” deceiving people into becoming dependent on big government, which turns people into “serfs” and “destroys the American dream,” said Rev. Rafael Cruz, who added that these leftist policies “do not work” and so liberals “have to lie” to advance their agenda.

“I think that deception is the way that this administration operates in every area,” said Rev. Cruz,  the director of Purifying Fire Ministries, during a June 22 radio interview on the Joyce Kaufman Show.

“Look how people have been deceived into becoming dependent upon the government and having the government telling them that they’re going to take care of them from the cradle to the grave,” he said.

“It has destroyed the American dream, destroyed these people’s lives, they no longer strive to better themselves and to provide for their family,” said the evangelical Christian pastor.

“So it is just, you have to realize the following: For Democrats to win, they have to lie because their policies do not work,” said Rev. Cruz. “Their policies have been a failure throughout history.”

“So if their policies of bigger government, more control, less freedom, more taxation, more regulations don’t work, they have to lie to the American people,” he said.  “And, unfortunately, we have many, many people in America have drank the Kool-Aid.”

Commenting further on the danger of dependence on the federal government, Rev. Cruz said, “I keep going back to how that destroys the American dream, that destroys the incentive for somebody to better themselves, and they become serfs of the government.”

“And that just makes them locked into a slavery relationship with the government,” he said.

The Joyce Kaufman Show is broadcast on 850WFTL, a major radio station in South Florida.

Rafael Cruz fought against the Communists in Cuba, was arrested there and tortured.  He fled the island in 1957 at age 18. He eventually settled in Texas and his Dallas-based church also operates Christian ministries in Mexico and Central America. His son, Ted Cruz, is the junior senator from Texas, a Republican, and the first Cuban-American to hold that office.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Judicial Activism From Supreme Court on Marriage

Today is a significant setback for all Americans who believe in the Constitution, the rule of law, democratic self-government, and marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The U.S. Supreme Court got it wrong: It should not have mandated all 50 states to redefine marriage.

This is judicial activism: nothing in the Constitution requires the redefinition of marriage, and the court imposed its judgment about a policy matter that should be decided by the American people and their elected representatives. The court got marriage and the Constitution wrong today just like they got abortion and the Constitution wrong 42 years ago with Roe v. Wade. Five unelected judges do not have the power to change the truth about marriage or the truth about the Constitution.

The court summarized its ruling in this way—which highlights that they have redefined marriage, substituting their own opinion for that of the citizens:

The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central mean­ing of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest

Manifest to five unelected judges that is. Not to the majority of American citizens who voted to define marriage correctly. As Chief Justice Roberts pointed out in dissent:

If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

That’s exactly right. When it comes to the majority opinion, the Constitution “had nothing to do with it.”

We must work to restore the constitutional authority of citizens and their elected officials to make marriage policy that reflects the truth about marriage. We the people must explain what marriage is, why marriage matters, and why redefining marriage is bad for society.

For marriage policy to serve the common good it must reflect the truth that marriage unites a man and a woman as husband and wife so that children will have both a mother and a father. Marriage is based on the anthropological truth that men and woman are distinct and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father.

The government is not in the marriage business because it’s a sucker for adult romance. No, marriage isn’t just a private affair; marriage is a matter of public policy because marriage is society’s best way to ensure the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage acts as a powerful social norm that encourages men and women to commit to each other so they will take responsibility for any children that follow.

Redefining marriage to make it a genderless institution fundamentally changes marriage: It makes the relationship more about the desires of adults than about the needs—or rights—of children. It teaches the lie that mothers and fathers are interchangeable.



Business and professions will suffer as same-sex marriage arrives

The homosexual marriage movement has moved from tolerance to totalitarianism

I was a law student when I first learned of the consequences of not being politically correct concerning homosexuality. A former Miss America’s contract as the citrus growers’ brand-ambassador was allowed to lapse because she had successfully campaigned for the repeal of a pro-homosexual ordinance in Miami-Dade County. She was quoted as saying, “What these people really want, hidden behind obscure legal phrases, is the legal right to propose to our children that theirs is an acceptable, alternate way of life.” She was publicly humiliated -- "pied" [frozen out] on national television -- and her name -- Anita Bryant -- became synonymous with something called "homophobia" and "hate speech."

As a new Air Force judge advocate officer, my first court assignment was to represent the United States in an administrative discharge proceeding concerning a female service member. She was being kicked out of the service for allegedly engaging in homosexual acts. Even as an inexperienced young lawyer, I managed to prove that she had committed the requisite two homosexual acts. She was given a “general” discharge and sent back to the United States.

I don’t remember when thereafter I first noticed that there are only two instances in which “sex” occurs in the “ethics” rules for lawyers. Both are in the same, “anti-discrimination” provision: “A lawyer shall not willfully, in connection with an adjudicatory proceeding … manifest, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based on race, color, national origin, religion, disability, age, sex, or sexual orientation towards any person involved in that proceeding in any capacity.”

There it was -- right there with the prohibition racial discrimination; a lawyer could not “manifest” any “bias or prejudice” based on “sexual orientation.” Hadn’t I done precisely that just a few years earlier? Hadn’t I done that on behalf of the United States government? And yet in that case, I hadn’t set out to prove that the female service-member was a homosexual. My task was limited to proving that she had engaged in homosexual conduct.

Then, suddenly, the issue of homosexual rights -- that is, not the right to be a homosexual -- but the right to openly engage in homosexual practices and be insulated from any push back from the rest of society -- was everywhere. Suddenly it had become a daily staple of bar journals and legal news sources.

I don’t remember when I first noticed that. Was it when California’s voters approved a referendum that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”? It must have been before then. It must have been as early as 1993 when I first noticed the enormous consequences of this new so-called right. That was the year Travis County, Texas legalized “domestic partnerships,” in order to attract business investment to Austin, the state capitol.

Not until the spring of 2015, however, did the consequences of this new “right” really begin to sink in for me. That’s when I knew that people who for years had thought that the emerging collection of special protections for homosexual behavior was, “no big deal,” were flat wrong. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence had signed a “religious freedom” bill. The backlash, in the name of homosexual rights, was ferocious with the now infamous threats and boycott of a small-town pizza joint whose owners had the temerity to volunteer that they would decline to cater a homosexual marriage celebration.

So, now we know that Anita Bryant was right -- at least partly so -- when she embarked on her doomed campaign nearly 40 years ago. Ms. Bryant primarily worried about children being confronted with a dangerous alternative way of life. Today, all opponents of special homosexual rights have cause to be worried about their very survival -- legal and economic. Anyone who opposes the new Manifesto of homosexuality and gender neutrality/gender identity is at risk.

Using statutes originally and primarily (if not exclusively) designed to protect blacks from discrimination, activist homosexuals have targeted bakers, photographers, and florists, seeking to force all of them to promote a “marriage” that they believe to be immoral. One day, such laws probably will be deployed against writers of articles like this one.

In Washington State, a judge ruled that a florist violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws when she referred a longtime customer to another florist for the wedding flowers for his homosexual marriage. In New York, a husband and wife shut the doors to their business hosting weddings on their family farm, after a court fined them $13,000 for refusing to host gay marriages in their home. In Colorado, a baker faced jail time and stopped baking wedding cakes entirely, after a court ruled that he discriminated against a gay couple when he refused to bake them a cake for their wedding. In Oregon, a court found similarly against another baker, and he may be forced to pay a homosexual couple up to $150,000 as penalty. The New Mexico Supreme Court held that a photographer violated the state’s anti-discrimination statutes by refusing to photograph a gay wedding. Newspapers likely will be forced to publish homosexual wedding announcements, in violation of their existing editorial control over what they publish.

Even pro-same sex marriage, libertarian John Stossel has said that the gay marriage movement “has moved from tolerance to totalitarianism.”

To homosexual activists and their political supporters, it matters not one whit that homosexuality is not consistent with Biblical sexual morality.

In this brave, new, homosexual-friendly world, every licensed professional would be required to embrace the new orthodoxy -- to bow down to the idol of “non-discrimination,” or be cast out of his profession. I was co-counsel on an amicus brief against same-sex marriage in the Obergefell case; the Texas Attorney General also filed an amicus brief on behalf of the State of Texas against same-sex marriage. Does that put us in violation of the ethics rule previously quoted?

Now the US Supreme Court has spoken, unless the states resist such a ruling, the legal system will be employed to squash resistance to the new order. Lawyers who oppose this not-so-brave new world will begin to lose their right to practice law for violation of the new so-called “ethics” of the profession. An Obama Department of Health and Human Services will push for all physicians who stand up for Christian morality to be stripped of their hospital privileges and medical licenses.

According to the advocates of homosexual marriage in the US Supreme Court, the right to a homosexual way of life is enshrined in the penumbras and emanations of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of Equal Protection -- or is it Due Process -- or both. (Apparently, this even explains why the Civil War itself was fought.) In fact, this new right is said by these advocates to be so deeply embedded in the Constitution that it trumps the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association. And it empowers government to run aspects of our lives that it has no business controlling.

The same people who first claimed only to only want tolerance of their behavior will allow no toleration for other views. Will a physician be forced to perform an artificial insemination for a lesbian couple? Will a lawyer be forced to take a case defending gay marriage? Lawyers are already losing their “traditional prerogative to exercise absolute discretion in the selection of clients....” Provisions designed to advance the homosexual agenda have been incorporated into many state legal ethics codes. In California, for example, it is unethical to “discriminat[e] on the basis of ... sexual orientation [in] employment ... or [client] representation....” [State Bar of California, Rules of Professional Conduct: Rule 2-400B]. If you doubt this view of the future, read R. Beg, “License to Discriminate Revoked: How a Dentist Put Teeth In New York’s Anti-Discrimination Disciplinary Rule,” [64 Albany L. Rev. 154 (2000)].

I fear that the legal system has lost its way, and the case now decided by the US Supreme Court could well lay the groundwork for government to assume the sort of totalitarian powers required to force everyone to yield to what most of us hopefully still believe to be immoral.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, right-thinking people can and should not be afraid to assert their God-given rights. They should not -- must not – fail in their duty to teach Biblical sexual morality to their children despite state-sponsored interference. They should accept the challenge and obey their conscience -- even if that means refusing totalitarian orders to bow down at the altar of homosexuality. We did not seek this war, but if it comes, we must not shirk from it.



Unbelievable: Obama admin giving up detaining illegal aliens

This President has completely abandoned enforcing our immigration laws. What we are witnessing today in America is a complete disregard for the rule of law. The Courts have ordered the Obama administration to cease all of its amnesty provisions. They can’t hand out amnesty… they can’t hand out work permits to illegal aliens... You think that's a victory, right? Wrong.

They were building a whole bureaucracy to process these amnesty applications. But now, all of that is on hold. So what is the Obama administration doing? Completely disregarding the rest of the laws.

Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would no longer detain illegal aliens in its detention facilities.  The Obama administration caught them and now the government is just going to release them. Seriously…

Why is the government freeing these illegal border crossers? Apparently, the conditions in these detention facilities have simply become "too squalid."

Illegal aliens have gotten a flat-screen television in every bedroom, classrooms where they attend tax-payer funded school, 24-hour access to food and water, and even baseball/soccer fields at their disposal.  This isn’t a prison… this is a resort!

These people broke our laws. They crossed our border illegally and were placed into these detention facilities awaiting trial. They weren’t thrown in jail, like they probably should have been, but rather sent to facilities where their every needs were met.

But that’s not good enough for the Left. No, these illegal aliens are now set to be released back into society as long as they “promise” that they will return for their court hearing. Utter madness.  The law means nothing anymore.

We’ve seen this policy carried out when the Obama administration released thousands of illegal alien convicted criminals last year. Now, it appears the policy is being applied to all illegal aliens.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has come out and said that “long-term detention is an inefficient use of our resources and should be discontinued.”

I agree. Instead of paying to hold these illegals in a detention center, how about we send them back to whatever country they came from?

But no, that is also impossible. The administration recently deported a woman and her child back to Guatemala and a Federal Appeals Judge actually intervened and ordered immigration officials to bring her back.

Yes, you’re reading this correctly. Even though the woman and child were on a plane back to Guatemala, the Judge ordered immigration agents to track her down and bring her back. If the administration couldn't stop the plane, the court ordered them to search Guatemala until they was found.

This is absolutely crazy! Once they’re released, they’re gone.

Congress has enabled this for far too long. Earlier this year, when presented with the opportunity to stop Obama’s amnesty programs and force the administration to enforce the law, Congress did nothing. Instead, they chose to let the courts hash it out.

After seeing the rulings these past few days, do you honestly believe that the Supreme Court will uphold our immigration law? These judges are bending over backwards and performing linguistic gymnastics to reinterpret the law and constitution to meet their political agenda.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)