Monday, December 18, 2017
Friday, December 15, 2017
On this date in 1791, the Commonwealth of Virginia was the 12th State to ratify the ten amendments that were then incorporated into our Constitution.
During the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia , the framers were more concerned about how power would be distributed by the national government. Some of the delegates were concerned that the Constitution did not spell out how the people would be protected from the government’s abuse of power. So James Madison, the “father” of the Constitution and the author of the Federalist Papers, championed the inclusion of a Bill of Rights, that was modeled after an English Bill of Rights as well as similar Bill authored by Virginia George Mason.
The original resolution presented to Congress included twelve amendments which were not as sharply focused on individual rights. One provision involved the number of delegates per the population. The other seemingly stillborn amendment involved Congressional compensation:
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.Although this amendment was not ratified as part of the Bill of Rights, this provision was ratified by 3/4ths of the states by Michigan in May, 1992. Later it was discovered that the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s General Assembly had ratified it in its first month of statehood in 1792 but it had not been applied for 200 years.
As for the Bill of Rights:
- The First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” But this also involves the right to assemble as well as the fundamental freedom of the free exercise of religion.
- The Second Amendment says the people have the right “to keep and bear arms.”
- The Third Amendment says soldiers may not be quartered in our homes without the consent of the owners.
- The Fourth Amendment says the people have the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures.
- The Fifth Amendment says that private property shall not be taken “for public use without just compensation.”
- The Sixth Amendment says that in criminal prosecutions, the person accused is guaranteed a right to trial by jury.
- The Seventh Amendment guarantees the right to a jury trial in civil cases where the controversy “shall exceed twenty dollars.”
- The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments.
- The Ninth Amendment says that the enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights should not be construed to deny or disparage others “retained by the people.”
- The Tenth Amendment says that the powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states, or to the people.
These are not arcane relics of history. Every day, Americans practice their freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. Americans depend on access and the fairness of the judicial system. Our property rights can be challenged by eminent domain abuse. And ultimately, citizens need to protect their right to bear arms–it’s not about hunting but the ultimate safeguard against the abuse of a tyrannical government.
[This piece originally ran on DCBarroco.US]
Thursday, December 14, 2017
"The Mooch's" animus against Steve Bannon and sticking the Establishment in the eye is nothing new. During his ten day tenure in the White House communication shop, Anthony Scaramucci angled to distance President Trump from the likes of Steve Bannon.
After the GOP defeat in the Alabama Senate Special Election, and with Republicans holding a slim one seat majority in the Senate for the remainder of the 115th Congress, perhaps "The Mooch" is trying to guide the Trump Administration to work work cooperatively with Wall Street Democrats to get things done.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Monday, December 11, 2017
Friday, December 8, 2017
Women to Look Up To, a London based company, is producing some eye catching tree toppers in an effort to give tree toppers a feminist makeover. Among the choices of real women their voters deemed "worthy of wings" for their 3D printed ornaments is Hillary Clinton.
As a puckish political animal living in the District of Calamity whose W.C. is a Political Room adored with cheeky tchochtki, a Hillary tree topper might be welcomed for the Federal Christmas Tree. However, this tree topper costs eighty quid, which can tot up to $120. If I were inclined to air grievances between the beltways, it would be more economical to erect an aluminum pole for Festivus.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
The national attention was drawn to the Senate floor for remarks by Senator Al Franken (D-MN). After the eight woman accused Franken of inappropriate sexual misconduct, with a damning photo from a 2005 USO tour, much of the Senate Democrat caucus urged him to resign.
|Al Franken on 2005 USO Tour|
Yet during Franken's speech, he neither sounded contrite nor did he really resign
Franken's joke resignation was promised to be in a few weeks. Franken then proceeded to cudgel Republican President Donald Trump and Roy Moore over unproven allegations of sexual misconduct as well as as touting his progressive feminist political stances.
Perhaps Franken's decision depends on whether Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R-AL) wins the December 12th special election and is seated in the Senate. When the heat is off, Franken may choose not to hurl himself into the fire.
Franken's resignation was intended to give Democrats the high ground and to echo Fox News' Brit Hume: "Make Roy Moore into a Republican hood ornament". But will offering a scrappy defense and not immediately resigning accomplish that political objective?
Franken insisted that he would be vindicated of wrongdoing during his service in the Senate by the Senate Ethics Committee. That is a good bet because that body never expels members. It is a place to bury allegations of wrongdoing.
Time will tell if the delayed departure will accomplish the Democrat political objectives or it will cloud their campaigns against their electoral opponents.
When the Japanese attack on the American naval base on December 7, 1941, Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter Elizabeth MacIntosh wrote an account of the attack that was so graphic that it was not published. The Washington Post has now published this first hand reportage.
Her editors assigned MacIntosh to cover the Emergency Room in Honolulu–
The vision of death became reality when I was assigned to cover the emergency room of the hospital.
The first victims of the Japanese-American war were brought there on that bright Sunday morning.
Bombs were still dropping over the city as ambulances screamed off into the heart of the destruction. The drivers were blood-sodden when they returned, with stories of streets ripped up, houses burned, twisted shrapnel and charred bodies of children.
In the morgue, the bodies were laid on slabs in the grotesque positions in which they had died. Fear contorted their faces. Their clothes were blue-black from incendiary bombs. One little girl in a red sweater, barefoot, still clutched a piece of jump-rope in her hand.
Firefighters from the Hickam Air Force Base carried the victims in. The men had a red T marked on their foreheads, mute testimony of the efficiency of first-aiders in giving tetanus shots to ward off lockjaw. The body of a man with a monogrammed shirt, H.A.D., was marked DOA (dead on arrival), trundled off to make room for victims who were still breathing.
MacIntosh’s piece is worth reading in its entirety to show how the reality of what Europeans had faced in World War II was immediately understood by this first hand witness to expansionist aggression by Axis forces on America.
History buffs should also be interested in seeing a documentary “Pearl Harbor Declassified” for the Military Channel (now known as the American Heroes Channel) which uses modern stabilization techniques to give a frame-by-frame account of the first 15 minutes of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The stabilized images more clearly shows the carnage and the tactical successes of the Imperial Japanese attack. However, Admiral Chester Nimitz pointed out many of the missed opportunities of the surprise attack.
The timing of the attack spared many American lives. The Japanese attack was at 8 AM on a Sunday morning, so nine out of ten sailors were on shore leave. Had these same ships been at sea and sunk, the casualty count would have been 38,000 instead of the 3,800 servicemen.
Japanese bombers targeted the battleships which were arrayed in a row. But these Imperial Japanese attackers never bothered to destroy the dry docks. Had the docks been bombed, it would have required towing each of these ships to sea to repair them. But since the ships were in shallow water and could quickly be raised rather than requiring them to be towed to America.
It is ironic that the attack may have been prompted by an American oil embargo to the Japanese but the Imperial air attack failed to target the Pearl Harbor fuel depot. If Japanese bombers strafed the tank farm near the submarine base, which were just five miles from the docks of Pearl Harbor, it would have destroyed every drop of oil America had for the Pacific Theater.
[The piece originally ran on District of Calamity on December 7, 2014]
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
One week before the Alabama Senate election to replace Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who left the comforts of the Senate to be President Trump's Attorney General, there are still Republicans who are trying to manipulate the race.
The appointed replacement Senator Luther Strange (R-AL), who had the backing of Beltway Establishment and President Trump, was defeated in the primaries by former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R-AL).
Since then, the Washington Post has been printing bombshell reports that Moore had indecent relations with minors and had a penchant for dating teenagers when he was a 34 year old Assistant District Attorney. Even though Moore had been in the spotlight for nearly forty years and never had such allegations come to light, partisans on both sides agitated over these accusations.
Democrats saw the Moore allegations as a way to make trouble and pick up an unexpected Senate seat. They will paint Moore's continued presence in the race with Republicans being creepy child molesters and pair him with Donald Trump. Alabama Law does not allow for substitute candidates, so if Moore dropped out at this point (or there was a write in effort), it creates trouble and still gives Democrats a chance to have virtual control of the 115th Congress (with a united 49 seat Democrat minority).
Republican Party partisans fear that they might lose an otherwise dependable seat, so they sought to either have Moore drop out or have a credible Republican write in option. The latter strategy would have party bosses choose the candidate thereby mooting the voice of the voters in Alabama. There are few instances in successful Senate write in candidates, and the exception to the rule was Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in 2010, an incumbent who had plenty of time to run as a write-in. Even so, there were problems with misspelling and discerning voter intent. Centrist Republican media personality Hugh Hewitt suggested that if Senator Strange resigned, it would preclude the 12/12 special election and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL) could appoint another substitute Senator until November 2018. That did not happen.
The Republican National Committee and the Republican National Senate Committee had withdrawn support from Roy Moore to disassociate themselves with the candidate and possibly nudge him to step aside. But the Alabama GOP and Governor Ivey stuck by Moore, even with the unsavory allegations. At first, President Trump just did negative campaigning against Democrat Senate candidate Doug Jones (D-AL). One week before the special election, Trump gave full support. Senator McConnell relented as did the RNC.
Senator Thune's (R-SD) cri-de-coeur on Cavuto epitomizes the Establishment's animus against Roy Moore. Even before he is elected, the GOP leaders threaten an ethics probe. Does the Republican Senate leadership just want to maintain a whiter than snow aura to them? Could Roy Moore's social conservative politics have anything to do with last minute appeals discouraging voting for the firebrand. Perhaps Moore's vow not to continue support for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have something to do with the cable TV hit?
Roy Moore may be a lightning rod in the District of Calamity in 2018. Democrats will want to run on character assassination and majority ineptitude. Establishment Republicans want to keep power but not rock the boat, thus it is to the GOP Senate leadership's advantage to keep a firebrand out of office, even if it means having a virtually divided Senate.
Alabama was one of the states which rocketed candidate Donald Trump to the Republican Presidential nomination. This conservative state filled with old time religion embraced the flawed character of Mr. Trump. Pollster George Barna postulated that SAGE-Cons (Spiritually Aware Governmentally Active Conservatives) looked beyond the human flaws of Trump to see someone who now embraces their core beliefs and one who is willing to shake up the system of get things done.
On December 12th, Alabamans will make their choice.