Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Woodrow Wilson school of thought in matters of judicial activism

PGA Weblog ^

In "Constitutional government in the United States", Woodrow Wilson wrote the following: (Page 167)
The weightiest import of the matter is seen only when it is remembered that the courts are the instruments of the nation's growth, and that the way in which they serve that use will have much to do with the integrity of every national process. If they determine what powers are to be exercised under the Constitution, they by the same token determine also the adequacy of the Constitution in respect of the needs and interests of the nation; our conscience in matters of law and our opportunity in matters of politics are in their hands.
The courts are the instrument of growth? Because it is they who 'determine the adequacy of the constitution', it's all in their hands. Wilson explains this further:
There is so much to justify the criticism of our German critics; but they have not put their fingers upon the right point of criticism. It is not true that in judging of what Congress or the President has done, our courts enter the natural field of discretion or of judgment which belongs to other branches of government, a field in its nature political, where lie the choices of policy and of authority.
How odd. The 'German critics' were wrong, and Wilson seeks to correct them and show them the real place they should criticize. And with that as the precursor, I take this as a complaint. Wilson is stating that the courts aren't political enough - just like this; This is Obama complaining that the government isn't powerful enough, so too here in this book Wilson wants a more political court. He continues:
That field they respectfully avoid, and confine themselves to the necessary conclusions drawn from written law. But it is true that their power is political; that if they had interpreted the Constitution in its strict letter, as some proposed, and not in its spirit, like the charter of a business corporation and not like the charter of a living government, the vehicle of a nation's life, it would have proved a strait-jacket, a means not of liberty and development, but of mere restriction and embarrassment.
Again, just like Obama, Wilson is complaining here. If only the courts would cease all this strict constructionism, then Wilson could redistribute wealth and centrally plan every part of American life. Wilson was very much into this business of government-as-an-organism and here he makes it plain that he views government as a means of liberty and development. This is the antithesis of what the founders intended. And once more, Wilson puts on display his contempt for the founders by placing 'restriction and embarassment' next to each other. That the constitution is a government-limiting document is a good thing, it is these limits that guarantee the liberty of the people. It's very important to understand that when progressives prattle on about 'liberty', they have a very different meaning. He continues:
I have spoken of the statesmanship of control expected of our courts; but there is also the statesmanship of adaptation characteristic of all great systems of law since the days of the Roman praetor; and there can be no doubt that we have been singular among the nations in looking to our courts for that double function of statesmanship, for the means of growth. as well as for the restraint of ordered method.
The statesmanship of adaptation, as a "double function". What does he mean by this? He tells us:(Page 172)
What we should ask of our judges is that they prove themselves such men as can discriminate between the opinion of the moment and the opinion of the age, between the opinion which springs, a legitimate essence, from the enlightened judgment of men of thought and good conscience, and the opinion of desire, of self-interest, of impulse and impatience.
Woodrow Wilson was not playing games. He intended to remake America, just like Obama does. And well before he was elected president(He wrote this in 1908) just like Obama, he saw the courts as a vehicle to expand government. This is evident in that he's not asking the courts to stick within the realm of fact and law, but rather opinions of varying type. In another chapter of the book(page 193) he writes this:
The character of the process of constitutional adaptation depends first of all upon the wise or unwise choice of statesmen, but ultimately and chiefly upon the opinion and purpose of the courts. The chief instrumentality by which the law of the Constitution has been extended to cover the facts of national development has of course been judicial interpretation, the decisions of the courts. The process of formal amendment of the Constitution was made so difficult by the provisions of the Constitution itself that it has seldom been feasible to use it; and the difficulty of formal amendment has undoubtedly made the courts more liberal, not to say more lax, in their interpretation than they would otherwise have been. The whole business of adaptation has been theirs, and they have undertaken it with open minds, sometimes even with boldness and a touch of audacity.
So in many instances, we progressives can use the courts to circumvent the amendment process. Why go through all that messy nonsense of asking the states? Just pack the courts, and make it so.
In a lot of ways, the universities are the source of America's undoing. No doubt Wilson talked about ideas like this with all of his buds at Princeton and elsewhere, formulating ways of getting this sort of thing right.

The Taxpayer Funded PR Campaign for Obamacare Begins

Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada ^ | May 24th, 2012 | James E. Miller

Only in public schools and universities is the fairly tale still taught that governments are representative of the people. The blue collared man on the street realizes the chips are stacked against him. For those who don’t have political connections, the pseudo fascist system that is still referred to as “capitalism” in the U.S. is akin to a casino game of chance. That is, the odds are always in the house’s favor. The house is the federal leviathan and its equivalent at the state and local level as well as the big, cartelized industries which feed off government protection. As comedian George Carlin accurately observed:

It’s a big club and you ain’t in it!
The President’s “universal health care” scheme is yet another example of the incestual relationship between big government and big business.
In what can only be described as a modern day case of Orwellian irony, the Health and Human Services Department has awarded a $20 million contract to public relations firm
With Obamacare, the middle class will end up being liable for yet another entitlement program that, like any other government initiative, will cost more than was initially estimated. Worse yet, they will be bombarded with advertisements they paid for which attempt to convince them that Uncle Sam has once again delivered prosperity with a badge and a gun.

The disheartening part is some Americans will be foolish enough to actually believe it.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Memorial Day through a warrior’s eyes!

Coach is Right ^ | May 26th, 2012 | Jim Emerson

Originally known as Decoration Day until 1882, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of America’s war-fighters who died in the service of our nation. The origin of the day is uncertain but it most likely started with Southern Ladies decorating the graves of fallen Confederate soldiers’ graves during the Civil War or the random organization of groups to honor the dead in several locations around the nation on both sides of the War. The Civil War tapped the need of decent people to honor their side’s dead as well as their loved ones who had fallen for their cause.

The first official proclamation establishing the day was from General John Logan on 5 May 1868 and was first observed on May 30, of that year, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The Northern states were the first to observe Memorial day on the last of Monday of May, Southern States honored their dead on separate days until the end of World War I. After the Great War, Memorial Day changed from a day to honor the fallen warriors of the Civil War to one of remembrance of all Americans who died fighting for our nation.


The placing of American Flags on the graves began with the Boy Scouts at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in 1951. Later the 3rd U.S. Infantry would place flags on the graves of the fallen at Arlington and maintain a constant vigilance to ensure the flags never falter. Nationally, American Flags will be raised and flown at half-mast till noon in remembrance and raised to full mast for the remainder of the day.

Traditional observance has diminished somewhat over the years
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Never Call Socialism by Its Right Name

American Thinker ^ | May 26, 2012 | Mary Nicholas

Allen West was the latest to get his knuckles rapped for saying there were "about 78 to 81" members of the Democratic Party who are members of the Communist Party.I His crime, like McCarthy's, was in raising an uncomfortable subject. We may never know who is or isn't a communist, socialist, Marxist, Stalinist or Leninist in Congress, since all socialists work by deception, define words with obscurities, and refuse to identify themselves, with exceptions like Dohrn and Van Jones.

Even in the heyday of communism, the most influential of its comrades were never "card carrying members" and lying was a way of life, which included obligatory perjury. But regardless of their nuances, deception is an integral part of their political ideology.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Will the 1991 Biography Discovery Force Obama to Open the Hood?

American Thinker | 5/26/2012 | Monte Kuligowski

Three possibilities follow the bombshell discovery that Barack Obama was promoted in 1991 through 2007 by his professional agency as an author "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii."

 (1) Obama untruthfully presented himself as Kenya-born. (2) Obama untruthfully presents himself as Hawaii-born. (3) Obama had no knowledge that his bio contained the 16-year-old "error" which was corrected in April of 2007, when Obama was gearing up his campaign for the U.S. presidency.

On the Road for Romney, 40,000 Miles and Counting

NYT ^ | 5/25/2012 | Michael Barbaro

CLEVELAND — In Florida, a state trooper pulled Jim Wilson off the highway, but instead of issuing a speeding ticket, asked a favor: Could he have a few Romney for President bumper stickers?

In Michigan, a woman left a handwritten letter for Mitt Romney on Mr. Wilson’s dashboard, recounting her husband’s trouble finding work. “We pray you can get us out of this mess,” she wrote.

And here in Ohio, three young men surrounded Mr. Wilson’s car, repeated a crude anti-Romney chant and broke his driver’s side windshield wiper.

The cocoonlike machinery of the modern presidential campaign, with its bulletproof motorcades, private planes and handpicked audiences, has kept Mr. Romney largely insulated from the public’s raw reactions to his candidacy.

The same, however, cannot be said for his most fanatical supporter, a 69-year-old former life insurance salesman and an unabashedly anti-Obama Republican from Virginia.

For the past year, Mr. Wilson has devoted himself with the single-mindedness of a college-age groupie to following Mr. Romney around the country in decidedly conspicuous style: driving a pickup truck festooned with 27 giant Romney for President posters. (The largest are the size of a refrigerator.)

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama is facing his Jimmy Carter moment! ^ | 5/26/12 | Tim Stanley

As Mitt Romney closes the gap, it is 1980 all over again for the man in the Oval Office.

Until recently, Barack Obama’s re-election was regarded as inevitable – in the same way that summer follows spring, or a monsoon follows a hosepipe ban. The president’s poll lead over Mitt Romney was strong, while the Republican’s character was assassinated by a primary fight that permanently spoiled the reputation of his party. To court the GOP’s conservative base, Romney was forced to adopt positions on abortion, contraception, health care and welfare that are thought to be unpopular among moderate swing voters. Obama, by contrast, is the man who killed bin Laden and toppled Gaddafi. A choice between Obama the moderate statesman and Romney the craven conservative is surely no contest at all.

But in the last two weeks, things have changed. Obama’s re-election is no longer guaranteed; some pollsters think it is unlikely. Day by day, the odds are improving that Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States.

What changed? For a start, voters are getting gloomier about the economy. Joblessness remains high and debt is out of control. According to one poll released this week, only 33 per cent of Americans expect the economy to improve in the coming months and only 43 per cent approve of the way that the president has handled it. Voters think Obama has made the debt situation and health care worse. The man who conducted the poll – Democrat Peter Hart – concluded that “Obama’s chances for re-election… are no better than 50-50.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Recovery? Half of American Households Living on Government Benefits! ^ | May 26, 2012 | Kate Hicks

Some astoundingly grim news on the "economic recovery" front: half of American households are receiving government funds to support themselves. No matter which way you slice it, this number isn't good news for the Obama administration -- they can spin the jobs numbers by ignoring the number of people who dropped out of the workforce, but this statistic is pretty straightforward.
The 49.1% of the population in a household that gets benefits is up from 30% in the early 1980s and 44.4% as recently as the third quarter of 2008.
The increase in recent years is likely due in large part to the lingering effects of the recession. As of early 2011, 15% of people lived in a household that received food stamps, 26% had someone enrolled in Medicaid and 2% had a member receiving unemployment benefits. Families doubling up to save money or pool expenses also is likely leading to more multigenerational households. But even without the effects of the recession, there would be a larger reliance on government.
The Census data show that 16% of the population lives in a household where at least one member receives Social Security and 15% receive or live with someone who gets Medicare. There is likely a lot of overlap, since Social Security and Medicare tend to go hand in hand, but those percentages also are likely to increase as the Baby Boom generation ages.
It seems that Newt Gingrich's nickname for President Obama rings true: he really is the "food stamp president." More people than ever are relying on the state to support their families, and that's a major indictment on Obama's first term.

Furthermore, this puts even more pressure on the economic aspect of the presidential election. There's no way to cut the deficit until fewer people are on the government payroll -- unless, of course, Congress imposes massive (and sure to be massively unpopular) tax hikes.

Really, if this is the direction we're headed, how many people want to keep going "forward?"

Awkward: Obamas to Welcome "W" to White House Next Week ^ | May 26, 2012 | Kate Hicks

This ought to be fun. Barack and Michelle Obama will welcome The Most Evil Man in the World (or as he's known outside the Democratic Party, George W. Bush) and his wife Laura to the White House next week, for the unveiling of their official portraits. Of course, this comes as the current president is in full campaign mode, and W. occupies the role of Obama's eternal scapegoat. It'll be no minor miracle if Obama can make it through the unveiling without blaming Bush for something.

Such ceremonies often bring together current and former presidents with rivalries, grudges or awkward relationships. But the timing of this unveiling is particularly delicate as Mr. Obama uses Mr. Bush as a foil on the campaign trail against former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, his presumptive Republican challenger. Although Mr. Obama generally does not mention Mr. Bush by name, he often says Mr. Romney wants to replicate the former president’s agenda but “on steroids.” At a campaign fund-raiser in Redwood City, Calif., on Wednesday, for instance, Mr. Obama said Republicans wanted “bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans,” “deeper cuts” in Medicare and education, “even more power” for banks to do as they please, and fewer regulations that protect consumers. “But that’s not new,” he added. “That was tried, remember? The last guy did all this.”
He presented Mr. Bush’s record in caustic terms. “We watched a record surplus that was squandered on tax cuts for folks who didn’t need them and weren’t asking for them,” he said. “We saw two wars being waged on a credit card. We saw speculation in the financial sector, reaping huge profits for a few folks who were making bets with other people’s money, but it was a flimsy kind of success. Manufacturing left our shores. A shrinking number of Americans did really, really well, but a growing number saw falling incomes and stagnant job growth.”
Mr. Bush, by contrast, has offered virtually no commentary on his successor in the three years since he left office, saying “he deserves my silence.” He has stayed out of the campaign to oust Mr. Obama, offering a four-word endorsement for Mr. Romney only when asked by a reporter as he headed into an elevator after an unrelated event in Washington last week.

In Case...

Obama Campaign Recovers Loot from Capitalist Pirates

Semi-News/Semi-Satire ^ | 26 May 2012 | John Semmens

President Obama’s reelection campaign press secretary, Ben LaBolt rebuffed criticism that the campaign’s acceptance of donations from Bain Capital employees is hypocritical. Bain has been castigated by Obama for preying upon vulnerable businesses and looting them for selfish gain. Bain is the firm that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney worked for before he became governor of Massachusetts.

“Those who don’t understand the President’s thinking imagine that he is inconsistently benefiting from the ill-gotten gains of those engaged in reprehensible conduct,” LaBolt said. “In reality, he is recovering this money, purifying it, and putting it to use is his crusade to transform America from a culture of greed into one of collective welfare and universal brotherhood/sisterhood for all humankind.” (WTF?)

LaBolt characterized the campaign’s receipt of donations from “repentant capitalists” as akin to the Catholic Church’s receipt of donations from mafia gangsters. “The ways in which the donors may have obtained the money might be depraved, but the uses to which the donations are put are considered laudable,” LaBolt insisted. “The Church claims it is saving souls. We are in a battle to save this country from the forces of darkness.”
In related news, Obama’s reelection campaign received the endorsement of Larry Flynt, the owner of the pornographic magazine Hustler and associated website. “From my perspective, President Obama has over-performed,” Flynt said. “Many of those he has liberated from the drudgery of employment now have more time to enjoy our products. Our revenues have seen a boost over the past three years. How could I not support the man who has been so good to us.”
if you missed any of this week's other semi-news posts you can find them at...

Lessons Learned From Edwards Trial

I learned something about political campaigns at the Johnny Reid Edwards trial last week.

I knew that politicians lie, and I knew that people campaigning for politicians lie. What I didn't know is that all the people working for the campaign are lying to each other, or at least that was the case in the Edwards presidential campaign. Harrison Hickman, the pollster for the campaign who testified on Monday, May 14, said that the Edwards campaign wasn't a lot different from the other presidential campaigns he had worked for, and he admitted would send out polling information he thought was inaccurate to the campaign staffers to keep them pumped up.

Hickman was testifying on the one day I sat in on the trial, and if you are looking for a comprehensive report on the trial you won't find it here. I attended part of the afternoon session one day, but that is all I've had time for in the past three weeks. And now, of course, all that is happening now is that the jury is eating big bags of junk food and everyone else is waiting.

If you want comprehensive coverage, go to The Daily Beast ( and read Diane Dimond's reporting. She has been there from the beginning and has the best coverage I've read.

I mainly wanted to sit in the courtroom and get a taste of what it was like. And when I walked in the courtroom, Guilford County Board of Education Chairman, News & Record attorney, City of Greensboro attorney, and, most importantly, Edwards' attorney Alan Duncan was questioning Hickman about the campaign. Hickman said that he knew that the campaign was over in November or December 2007, or that there was a high probability that the campaign would not be successful, and this was before the first caucus was held or vote was cast.

Hickman, later in his testimony, explained that if Edwards didn't win Iowa and didn't win South Carolina then it was all over. And it didn't appear he was going to win Iowa, and there was no chance that he was going to win South Carolina. So basically the campaign was over, and he told Edwards this in the fall of 2007.

Under cross-examination, Hickman testified over and over, first that he didn't remember, and then, when given one of his own emails to refresh his memory, he would agree that he had sent emails to the campaign staff noting polls that showed Edwards neck and neck, or tied or ahead. He kept testifying that the polls were not polls that he found reputable but that he was trying to give the campaign workers a boost so they would keep working, so he passed them along.

In other words, he knew the polls were wrong and that the Edwards campaign was essentially over, but he still was sending out copies of polls that he knew were wrong to fool the campaign staff, including the campaign chief of staff.

Hickman said some other stuff that just doesn't ring true, like both he and Fred Baron believed that Andrew Young was the father of the baby that Edwards fathered with Rielle Hunter. Baron and Bunny Mellon were the two extremely wealthy benefactors who together paid about $1 million to keep Hunter and the baby – that supposedly Hickman and Baron (who has since died) thought was the son of Young – hidden from the National Enquirer. Hickman wasn't asked why Baron would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to hide Andrew Young, his wife and three children, Young's mistress and one child from the National Enquirer.

It doesn't make any more sense than much of his testimony.

Hickman also said that if Young told him it was raining that he would go outside to check, but in this one instance where Young was telling a lie that was so ridiculous people all over the country were making fun of it, Hickman said he believed it.

Hickman said that he believed Young when he said that he had fathered the child of his boss's girlfriend and that this woman was now living with Young and his wife and three kids. Now there are some understanding wives in the world, but does anyone know a wife who would take in their husband's pregnant girlfriend? Although according to the story she did happen to be the girlfriend of her husband's boss, an extremely powerful man on the short list to be the most powerful man in the world.

The statement by Young that he was the father of Hunter's baby was so absurd it was the subject of late night talk show television monologues. Young is supposed to have fathered a child with Edwards' girlfriend and Edwards is OK with that; Young's wife is OK with that; and evidently Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, is also OK with her husband having an affair as long as the child belongs to somebody else. It was a bizarre lie and, if indeed Hickman, who says he has worked on 400 campaigns, believed it, then perhaps political candidates might want to take notice because someone that naive really doesn't have any business running a campaign.

Hickman testified that the huge concern of Elizabeth and John Edwards was that the story of his affair would move from the National Enquirer to the mainstream media. It should embarrass every member of the national press corps that it did not. All it would have taken was for an editor to call someone covering the Edwards campaign and ask if the reporter thought that there might have been anything going on between the campaign videographer and the candidate. Reportedly those covering the campaign thought something was going on, but they didn't want to report on it.

The fact that Mitt Romney bullied someone in high school is a front-page story, but a Democratic presidential candidate having an affair and fathering a child with a member of the campaign staff is not news according to the mainstream media. And the industry wonders why daily newspaper circulation keeps dropping?

The federal government spends billions of dollars on bridges to nowhere, highways we don't need and buildings of every kind, but the courtroom in the Richardson Preyer Federal Building where this trial is being held is an embarrassment. There is a big pillar in the middle of the courtroom that blocks the public's view of either the judge, the witness, the attorneys or the jury. There are a couple of places in the room where the people have an unobstructed view of everyone, but they are few and far between.

The lighting is bad, making it difficult to see the people that you can see. Then even if you are sitting somewhere where you can see the witness, there is a big computer monitor between the witness and the lawyers and public. It appears that the computer monitor does not obstruct the view that the jury or the judge have of the witness, but it sure makes it difficult for the public. With all the resources of the federal government they can't find a way to lower the computer screen? It's incredible.

Watching a trial where you can't see the lawyer doing the questioning or the witness, you have to look at other things, and I found it interesting that at times the chair backs of Edwards, his attorneys Allison Van Laningham and Abbe Lowell were all at the same angle, like it was a movie set or done by a choreographer. Duncan's chair was all over the place.

I was also fascinated by the fact that Hickman, Edwards, Duncan and I are all the same age. It looks like what our generation has to pass on to the next may be long, involved, expensive political trials.