Governance 101: Oh, we were just kidding …

Can we believe anything from Washington any more? This example demonstrates not only total folly, but dishonesty as well if indeed Rep. Olson’s report is accurate. There is every reason to believe it is so because other, independent, sources recounted Bolden as having made the “outreach to Muslims” statement on various other occasions. Read on.

Call it a failure to launch.

The White House is disavowing a plan to have NASA conduct outreach to Muslim countries, but a congressman who talked to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden about that plan last month said the initiative was very real until somebody slammed the brakes on it.

Rep. Pete Olson, ranking Republican on the Space and Aeronautics House Subcommittee, told FoxNews.com that Bolden described the outreach program as part of the administration’s space plan during a conversation they had in June.

“He confirmed it to me,” Olson said. The Texas Republican said he thinks the program existed until the “uproar” compelled the administration to rethink it.

via FOXNews.com – NASA Outreach Program ‘Confirmed’ Despite White House Denial, Rep Says.

Are we back to what is “is?”  What other group, other than the White House and various individual members of Congress, so continually parades forth with:

  • I didn’t say that.
  • I didn’t tell him to say that.
  • You misunderstood what I said or what I meant.
  • If I said that, I was mistaken (or didn’t really mean it, or ….)
  • I was just trying to get a reaction.
  • I might have said something close to that, but ….
  • What we really need to talk about is ….

What group indeed? The children I have in juvenile court!

A representative republic cannot survive without Statesmen. Our founders were Statesmen and they created this grand experiment — America: The Last Best Hope (Note 1) — on the assumption that it would be governed by Statesmen.  True Statesmen don’t prevaricate and when others do, a Statesman will cry foul.  Where, oh where, are the Statesmen?  That’s a topic for another day.

Note (1)  Thanks to Bill Bennett for the purloining of the title of his very fine work of history.

It’s the journey, not the destination stupid!

That line is taken from, among other sources I’m sure, the back of a favorite BMW motorcycle sweatshirt. As an aside, my VERY favorite shirt reads “I didn’t know BMW made cars until I passed one.”  But I digress.

The journey is important in many endeavors. No matter how worthy the destination, how you get there matters. It’s true in love, war, economics, motorcycle touring and, also, in passing major legislation.

Assume for arguments sake (I know, but try) that health care reform is needed and further that the already passed Senate bill is a good one (I know, just hang with me …). Even if that were true, the way “they” are getting there is awful. In fact it’s horrible. A total bastardization of the legislative system is taking place and it threatens to trample on the Constitution from several directions. See, e.g., my earlier piece Healthcare bill: Reform the reformation by amending the Senate bill the House didn’t pass. Huh?

Regardless of whether the House passes a bill (or a “Rule”) this weekend, or not, the world and history will long remember what was done.  Woe unto “us” the perversion by “them” of procedures that have served this nation well, the literal bribing of a representative with his brother’s judgeship (which especially piques me), and a mere ride on Air Force One to bribe (or browbeat) another:

* * *

Maybe that’s why President Obama decided to do more than call Dennis Kucinich to change his mind on health care. He invited him aboard Air Force One to chat about it. Maybe it was an abduction. Whatever it was Congressman Kucinich left Air Force One a different man than when he boarded.

via What Changed Dennis Kucinich’s Mind? – Glenn Beck – FOXNews.com.  (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,589590,00.html accessed 3/17/2010).

Process matters. Process is the journey. Don’t forget it.

Healthcare bill: Reform the reformation by amending the Senate bill the House didn’t pass. Huh?

Reality, once again, is stranger than fiction. There is apparently a plan in the House of Representatives to “sort of” adopt the Senate healthcare bill and, after it is signed into law, rely on the Senate to amend it to suit the House.  The discussion is for the House to adopt a Rule of some sort. An amendment to the Rule will provide that, upon adoption of the Rule, the Senate healthcare bill will be “deemed” to have been adopted. Plausible deniability then exists for House members to say “I didn’t vote for the Senate version of the healthcare bill.” The House then becomes dependent on the Senate to draft, and pass, amendments to take out all the pieces that are objectionable to a majority of the House … like tax-paid abortions.

So healthcare reform is to itself be reformed by amending a known bad law (in the eyes of the House) after the House didn’t really pass it.

Cute, but unconstitutional. The Constitution provides that laws shall have been passed by both houses of Congress … passed mind you … and signed by the President.  I can just hear Judge Andrew Napolitano now!   Here’s a link to the maneuver. Yes, it’s a Republican site but my point here is not a partisan one, except that I’m kinda partisan about the Constitution. Some really smart people drew it up a few years ago.

The Slaughter Solution comes in three flavors: in the first, the rule simply self-enacts the Senate bill and sends it along to the President for his signature; the second deems the Senate healthcare bill adopted only upon House passage of the reconciliation package; and the third, most egregious option, conditions adoption of the Senate healthcare package on the Senate passage of the reconciliation sidecar. Only then would the Senate-passed healthcare bill be approved by the House. In all three of these scenarios, the Senate-passed healthcare bill wouldn’t be given an up or down vote on its own.

via Committee on Rules – Republicans.

Few generations get to defend their country. Your time is now.

I dare you to watch this entire video and then continue to be part of the silent majority. It’s a video of Judge Andrew Napolitano, former New Jersey state judge who sat on that state’s highest trial bench.  His main topic is healthcare and the idea that regulation of that activity (and many others) is not within the constitutional powers of Congress.  He is well-studied, articulate, and correct in that opinion.  He also talks a great deal about the tremendous abuse of power of our entire federal government.

I agree, and agree in particular with his comment from which my title is derived.  Only a few generations get the opportunity to defend their country, to defend the freedom of their country from enemies who would take it down.  My father’s generation had that opportunity and rose to the occasion in World War II.  That was the Greatest Generation.  Our — your — opportunity is now.  This is the hour when your generation has the opportunity, I say the obligation, to defend the country from the onslaught of a government run-amuck. Heady with the feeling of power, there seems to be no limit to what this government will attempt to ram down our throats. I’m not some radical nut, and neither are you or you would not be reading this far. I’ve taken an oath (many times) to defend the constitution and laws of this state and of the United States.  The Constitution takes precedence and citizens of patriotic good faith must speak out.

Click here to view the YouTube video. (you may need to enable popups in your browser)

About Judge Napolitano

Andrew P. Napolitano joined FOX News Channel FNC in January 1998 and currently serves as the senior judicial analyst. He provides legal analysis on both FNC and FOX Business Network FBN . He is also a fill in co-host for FOX & Friends regularly and co-hosts FOX News Radio s Brian and The Judge show daily.

Judge Napolitano is the youngest life-tenured Superior Court judge in the history of the State of New Jersey. While on the bench from 1987 to 1995, Judge Napolitano tried more than 150 jury trials and sat in all parts of the Superior Court – criminal, civil, equity and family. He has handled thousands of sentencings, motions, hearings and divorces. For 11 years, he served as an adjunct professor of constitutional law at Seton Hall Law School, where he provided instruction in constitutional law and jurisprudence.

Judge Napolitano returned to private law practice in 1995 and began television broadcasting in the same year. Judge Napolitano has written three books: Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws ; a New York Times bestseller, The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land ; and A Nation of Sheep. His writings have also been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The New York Sun, The Baltimore Sun, The New London Day, The Seton Hall Law Review, The New Jersey Law Journal and The Newark Star-Ledger. He lectures nationally on the Constitution and human freedom.

Judge Napolitano received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1972, and received his Juris Doctor from University of Notre Dame in 1975.

via Andrew P. Napolitano – FOXNews.com.

Photo Of The Day: Iraq Elections — the impossible just takes a little longer

“Stay the course” justified. The difficult is hard, the impossible just takes a little longer. No, this war is not over but this event, the significance of which is embodied in this photograph, is a significant battle won.

A young Iraqi girl asked for her finger to be inked even though she was too young to vote in this Iraq election. Iraqis voted in Sunday’s election as insurgents killed 38 people across the country, unleashing a barrage of mortars intent on disrupting the historic day.

via Photo Of The Day: Iraq Elections | National Review Online. (http://www.nationalreview.com/the-feed/329/photo-day-iraq-elections accessed 3/8/2010)

While we mourn the lives lost and disrupted, the Iraqi elections with (albeit too many) fewer casualties of terrorism than in previous elections indicate continuing improvement in our fostering of freedom in another corner of the world. It may not become democracy as we understand it, but the added freedom is not trivial.

Your most important vote … it’s not what you think ….

(this was originally thought of as a speech for the Highland Lakes Toastmasters Club on March 2, 2010 — more on that below)

It’s the day after election day for the party primaries in Texas and hopefully everyone got out to vote for the candidate of their choice. With early voting available it has become even easier to vote. What was your most important vote yesterday?

Voting is at the heart of this representative republic of ours. From the day people escaped the King of England and the fiefdoms that made virtual slaves of most, voting has been important, and fundamental, to this nation.  The Continental Congress and eventually the constitutional convention adopted a constitution by the process of … voting. The document was then ratified by the original members of the union, state by state, ratified by voting. See the timeline here.  What could possibly be your most important vote? It’s not what you think.

For two centuries and more following that time, citizens in cities, counties, states and the nation have been voting for legislative representatives, for the executive branch from mayors to governors to the president and, at least in Texas, for judges. Countless elections are held each year casting millions of votes. What is your most important vote? It may not be what you think it is.

We elect legislators who write the laws, the executive who administers the laws and the judges who interpret the laws. Laws are important, thus your vote is important. Law are important, indeed essential, in a civilized society for it is through those laws that a civilized society regulates the interaction  between and among the people. In uncivilized societies all you need is the biggest club, and when a nation-state is uncivilized (e.g. Nazi Germany) all you need is the biggest army. But in a civilized society you must have laws to define how we deal, one with the other.

Our fighting men and women have fought and died all over the world defending our freedom and, at it’s core, our right to vote. And all over the world there are people fighting even as I write this article to try to gain basic freedoms and, in particular, the right to vote. Voting is not only a right but truly is a privilege.

How you vote has an impact on how, and when, and to what extent the laws of our nation impact you, and me, and all of our neighbors. What then might be your most important vote? It almost certainly is not what you think it is.

Laws do regulate our relationships, one with the other. Whether it’s a contract matter, a marriage or divorce, the making of a Will or the probating of one, the resolution of a business dispute or a fenceline controversy, or perhaps obtaining justice for a crime perpetrated upon us, laws have a direct and immediate impact on our lives.

But when one of those matters of societal regulation goes awry, the law means nothing unless and until the matter gets into court for resolution. At a moment in time at the end of a trial there is a coalescing of all three branches of government — legislative, executive and judicial — creating a pinnacle of power that becomes vested solely in active participants in the administration of justice:  the jury.

That jury hears evidence, gets instructed by the judge on the applicable law, then deliberates and ultimately:  votes.  What then might indeed be your most important vote?  It’s the one as a member of a jury, an active participant in the administration of justice. That collective vote resulting in a jury verdict can have impact far beyond the immediate litigants. It can in fact come to have nationwide impact. Surely, such a vote or even the potential for such impactful vote is your most important vote.

The jury who sentences a defendant to “X” years for “Y” crime has just set the standard for the plea bargaining process between the District Attorney and defense lawyers for years to come. The jury who determines for the first time that a particular act was negligence sets a standard that governs future similar cases.  Whenever a jury assesses a large punitive damage award against a defendant for acting in a malicious manner it will have sent a message deterring that defendant from similar actions in the future. And when even large corporations suffer large damage awards, regular or punitive, that can change not only their behavior but that of an entire industry.

Think of the Ford Pintos and their exploding gas tanks, the Corvair that had a propensity to roll over, or the many suits regarding tobacco or asbestos. Entire industries have modified behaviors, policies and products:  all in the face of the votes of jurors.

Certainly, your vote as a juror may well be the most important vote of your career as a responsible citizen. Don’t squander that privilege the next time you get a jury summons. Step up, become an active participant in the administration of justice, and cast your most important vote.

I said this was “thought of” as a speech idea … I did a real quick jot of basic notes two weeks ago, then got tied up in a trial out of town for seven days and, sliding into town last night just prior to the Toastmasters meeting, had to do the speech in substantially an extemporaneous fashion.  With some trepidation, I recorded mine along with the other speeches, and mine is here:

Washington: Get back to your constitutional duties — NOW!

Healthcare “reform” is not your job.  Raising an army and protecting the country — and its inherent sovereignty — IS your job.

In none of the enumerated powers (Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution) do we find anything about regulating not only the healthcare industry but, as you are attempting, the individual healthcare choices of the people.  We are not your subjects to be dictated to — we got rid of the king a long time ago!

On the other hand, providing for the defense of the country is clearly required, not merely permitted. What do we hear now? That “. . . Americans will feel “a certain shock” when a report is released today detailing the intelligence failures that could have prevented the Christmas Day attack.” (Foxnews.com http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/01/07/national-security-adviser-airline-bomber-report-shock/(accessed Jan 7, 2010). That report from retired 4-star General James Jones goes on to detail the utter and devastating failure of our national security system.

There is no sense in pointing fingers at any one administration or session of Congress, Washington did it — i.e. failed. And I suggest that this failure is due to the intense partisan politics, and the headlong rush toward (senseless) change for the sake merely of change, that has so distracted Washington from the priorities with which they should be attending.  Washington has become so obsessed with managing — and I suggest micro-managing our lives that they are on the brink of forfeiting our lives and our liberty on the altar of “change.”

I prefer hope, individual liberty, and preservation of what made America great. Wholesale change is not only meaningless but counter-productive.  Stop it, and get back to your constitutionally mandated duties!