Wednesday, June 29, 2005

SUPREME RELIGIOUS FOLLY: A LEAVRANT!

The Supreme Court has no business ruling on religion or religious symbols in the public square. To support this, I'll cite the text of the first amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

This should be the limit of their jurisdiction. Period.

What law has Congress passed that put the ten commandments in those courthouses? For that matter, when did Congress pass any law "establishing" school prayer, or religious displays in any public space? The closest thing I can think of is when Congress "established" Christmas as a national holiday. The rest of these things came about through individual initiatives, at the local or state level.

Even if one accepts the proposition that state and local governments are held to the same restrictions as the Congress is under the Constitution, none of the religious issues the Supreme Court has ruled on come close to "establishing" a state religion. The current contrary rulings on the ten commandments show this idiocy perfectly.

Either Congress or a State has established a religion, or it hasn't. If such an establishment has been made, where is it recorded, and under what government authority? These questions must be answerd to prove establishment of religion. How could one courthouse's display of the ten commandments be an establishment of religion, while the other's wasn't?

The Supremes, in their half-assed way, split the difference. They explain this by gleaning the "intent" of the officials who put up the commandments initially. They should look at the "intent" of the men who wrote the Constitution, as well as reread that first amendment to it. The establishment of religion is a far cry from anything going on in the courts, or most of the public sector these days.

Let's look the case of the judge who ran for election on the promise of bringing a monument with the ten commandments on it into the courthouse. He won, and followed up on his promise. After the higher courts forced it's removal, he is considering running for the state legislature, hoping to get it back there through legislative means. Now that might violate the first amendment! (Not really, if the legislation puts it in the context of the history of our most basic of laws, such as laws against murder and stealing, etc.)

The higher courts had no jurisdiction to rule on his choice of monuments for his courthouse. He presumably would have had no problem had he put in a statue of lady Justice with the blindfold and balancing scales. The religious nature of the ten commandments is no reason to ban the display of the historical foundation our legal system. He didn't put a statue of Christ in there, or something with only a religious meaning. The right course for his opponents would have been to run someone else for his (elected) post, on the platform of removing the monument.

None of the rulings about courthouses affect the people very much, to tell the truth. Their importance is that they are examples of the poisonous declining of moral standards, under the guise of "separating church and state." If we continue on this course, how long will it be until murder laws are declared unconstitutional because they are based on the ten commandments? That is an over the top example, but notice how widely Judao-Christian religious beliefs are being labeled as "intolerable bigotry" in both the culture and the courts.

One real repression imposed by the Supreme Court is the banning of prayer in public schools, even denying the children a "moment of silence" for personal prayers. However, in some NYC public schools, Muslim students are provided space in the school auditorium to pray more than once a day. I don't have a problem with letting the Muslim children pray, except that the Supreme Court banned it around the year I was born (1962). Again, they had no jurisdiction for that ruling either, and actually violated the "prohibiting the free exercise thereof (re: religion)" part of the first amendment in that and subsequent rulings regarding public prayer. The school officials violating the law are doing the right thing, just not for everybody.

The problem is with the secularists, some of whom even profess to be Christians. The secularists are what's known as a "disgruntled minority," which naturally gives them Constitutional protection. Or does it? In my reading of the first amendment, there is no freedom "from" religion, only a prevention of the state to establish one. The secularists have the right to free speech denouncing religion, but they have no constitutional remedy to stifle religion in the public square, whether by elected officials or public school students.

(Ask as secularist if they mind their children being taught about Mohammed, and they'll probably say no. Ask the same question, substituting Jesus for Mohammed, and they will likely object strenuously. This is the hypocrisy of the secular movement. They are not against all religions, just Christianity, and often Judaism. Disney even made an animated movie of Moses without once mentioning the Jews, but that's another topic. The point is that no-one is suing to keep the Muslim children from exercising their freedom of religion.)

This is why the whole court system needs reform. Pres. Bush and the Congress need to reign in this out-of-control judiciary. Appointing justices like Janice Rogers Brown is a start, but more needs to be done. The problem is that the secularists are a large constituent of the Democrat party. They both have been happy to see the courts advance their agenda, which was already losing popular support (as well as destroying our families, culture, and nation) decades ago. Then the courts took over, passing laws by judicial fiat that would not pass legislative muster.

The answers for Republicans are twofold: to use their control of the other two branches to limit the scope of the judiciary to the Constitution's original intent, and to limit the liberal activists by appointing as many conservative judges as possible. Those who think that either option won't raise all manner of charges, from racism to Naziism, need only look back at the crude comments about our President over his term, and about Republicans and conservatives over the last generation or so to dispel that naiive notion.

The time has come for us to stand up for what's right, and not be afraid of name-calling from our opponents. Even if I were a "right wing bigoted homophobe," my religious beliefs would be protected by the Constitution. The secularists must learn to tolerate beliefs they find offensive, as Christians and other religions have had to do for many years. The Supreme Court has no role regarding the place of religion in the public sphere, save that which it is given by the Constitution. Let's keep electing people who believe that, until we prevail.

Monday, June 27, 2005

LETTER TO SENS. SCHUMER AND CLINTON

Dear Senators Schumer and Clinton,

As a constituent of yours, I have a few questions for you:

Why are you supporting the fillibuster of John Bolton, the man credited with getting the U.N. to reverse the "Zionism equals racism" resolution, and keeping him from being our next U.N. ambassador?

Why are you blocking private retirement accounts for middle class people like me, and especially for the lower paid workers?

Why do you support the status quo of spending the Social Security surplus as if it's general tax revenue?

Why were you silent regarding Sen. Durbin's degrading comments about our military, likening them to the that of the worst regimes in modern times?


I was born and raised in Manhattan, and moved to L.I. in my teens. I served in the U.S.M.C. from '81 - '85, and have lived on L.I. since. I feel that neither of you is representing me, or my ideas, in the Senate. As a native New Yorker, I am frankly apalled. Both of you speak about the need to hear "minority" opinions, and yet you trample the progressive conservatives in your own constituency. Some of us have seen the failure of "liberal" programs first hand, and are willing to try something new. I cite welfare reform as an example: neither of you supported it, but it was successful. I thought I was done with the questions, but "will you support reauthorizing it?"

Please break out of the partisan box, and start to represent all of your constituents. I call myself a "progressive conservative" for a reason. I want what's best for this country, even if it's tough medecine to take. I believe in the people, and their individual striving for a better life. I do not believe that the government can give it to them. What government can do is to make sure that abuses don't take place in the "ordered chaos" of the free market.

This is different from such overreaching regulations as rent control, or on the health care system, and FDA regulations on medications. Nowhere is this more evident than in our home city of N.Y, where a different real estate system exsists than anywhere else in the country, as well as a black hole of wasted medical expenses, with little benefit to anyone who pays taxes in this state.

I am writing to you in the hope that you will not see my opinions as "partisan," though they may sound like someone's "right wing talking points." I agree with both of you on many issues, though moderately. My point is to get the public motivated as self-starters, and to wean them off dependence on government assistance. We, as a nation, have unlimited potential, and we are going to need it soon, if things really turn for the worse (as opposed to your claims that it already has). I am proud of what Pres. Bush has done to bring us back to the level of prosperity we enjoy currently, while both of you seem to be denying his accomplishments, and fighting against what appears to be steady economic progress.


P.S: If the recent Supreme Court ruling against the poor and middle income property owners didn't make you wish for Janice Rogers Brown to be on the Supreme Court, you are not representing the rights of the person, whether poor or middle class, but the imperial power of the state, in a perverse collusion with big business. Both of you can do better.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

LOVE AMERICA FIRST

I just accepted an invitation to join a blog called LOVE AMERICA FIRST. My first post over there is titled FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY, and I highly recommend reading it, of course (ha-ha). I'll be posting links to anything I post there, as well as putting the site on my favorite blog list.

CHECK IT OUT!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

IRAQIS RESCUE AUSSIE HOSTAGE: HE SUPPORTS BUSH IRAQ POLICY

I just got wind of a very underreported CNN story about a rescued Australian hostage in Iraq, Mr. Douglas Wood. The GALVIN OPINION, however, picked up on it, and it's worth a post here (tip o' the hat). Galvin posts a moving photo juxtaposition of Mr. Wood at terrorist gunpoint and his reunion with his wife, and I agree with Mr. Galvin's comments on the story.

The underreported story is that Mr. Wood apologized for the statements he was forced to make, and reiterates his belief that the U.S - coalition policy is working. He bases the second point on the fact that he was rescued by Iraqis, not foreign coalition troops. This is huge, and should be touted by Pres. Bush in some way (a White House photo-op?). This man would be the perfect counter to the GITMO stories. He can tell the tale of being in a true life-or-death situation that the detainees at GITMO haven't faced since they were on the battlefield. The difference is that the threat of death to Mr. Wood was worse after the terrorists captured him, as opposed to the zero death rate of terrorists at GITMO.

A final quote from Mr. Wood:

Asked what he thinks of his captors, Wood needed little time to reflect.
"Arseholes," he shot back.
Wood said he did not know who the men were who kidnapped him.
"I didn't know whether it was al Qaeda or who it was," he said. "I didn't know ... obviously, my head is intact, so it wasn't al Qaeda."

--Now tell me about "torture camps?"
Food for thought...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

DON'T FORGET SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM!

This is an excerpt from a post on my friend MAGUA'S new LIBERALS SUCK blog. He got it from the "top ten liberal lies" at Boycottliberalism.com- Home By Thomas N. George, Editor of BoycottLiberalism.com© 2004. It lists numerous Liberal mischaracterizations made to thwart freedom in this country. Point # 9 explodes the "risky" liberal mischaracterization of this basic fact: SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM NEEDS TO INCLUDE PRIVATE ACCOUNTS! This has been neglected on this blog for too long; Here is my first attempt at correcting that oversight. Also, see the Blog Alliance for Social Security Reform website for the truth about this program, and the efforts to bring it into the 21st century. Tip o' the hat to MAGUA, who clearly "gets it."

Here's the excerpt:

Privatizing social security is risky. Contribute $300 a month to Social Security and you may get $1,800 a month when you retire. Sound like a good deal? There was a story about Dick Gephardt's mother living on Social Security and having numerous checks she had written returned for insufficient funds. Gephardt politicized the event by stating that this was an example of why Social Security should not be privatized, because if it were not for Social Security his mother would have been much worse off. Please note that the S & P 500 has returned more than 10% over it's lifetime. Therefore- if you invested $300 a month in an S & P 500 mutual fund for 40 years at the end of that time (enter these numbers into any compound interest calculator) you would have approximately 2 million dollars (Please note that these are conservative numbers). This means you could withdraw almost $200,000 or 10 percent a year and never exhaust your money. Break that down and it is $20, 000 a month. Social Security does not sound so good any longer. Please be advised that the key to obtaining wealth is systematically investing for the long term. There is no quick sure fire scheme to getting rich. If Gephardt's mother had been investing in mutual funds her entire life instead of Social Security- she would have been much better off at the present. Also, please be advised that privatizing Social Security helps the poor the more than anyone. The rich invest money in 401K plans. The poor, the clerk at a convenience store or a customer service representative doesn't have excess funds to invest and so their only investment vehicle is Security Security, which in reality is just a bond fund.

--I am sad to report that many commentators are writing the obituary for this policy. In the words of John Paul Jones (The Founding Father, not the one from Led Zeppelin), "(We) have not yet begun to fight!"
FIGHT THE POWER, FOR YOUR OWN RETIREMENT ACCOUNT!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

MORGAN "SPURIOUS" SPURLOCK: DOWNSIZED BY "MICKEY D & ME"

This Morgan "Spurious" Spurlock guy has been burning my britches for some time, though I've not written about him before. He wrote and starred in the movie "Supersize Me," and now has a TV show called "30 Days." In the movie, he spends 30 days eating nothing but McDonalds, and has a doctor document the adverse effects on his health as he gains weight. On his new show, he does other things for 30 days, hence the title. If his formula holds true, the show will be a huge success.

My problem is with his formula. I didn't see his movie, but the same result might be obtained by eating at any "mainstream" diner or restaurant in the USA that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner (basically everything but vegan-tofu joints or hoity-toity dinner clubs). For that matter, I could start drinking a bottle a day from the selection at my local liquor store and document much worse health effects. Perhaps this explains why he only appears in the first episode of his new series, which explores different "lifestyles" each week.

After I read the "secret conservative talking points" (also known as the truth) about his movie, I didn't bother to watch it. I will, however, try to see "Me & Mickey D," a new documentary by Soso Whaley. She documents actually losing weight by eating nothing but McDonalds for 30 days. The difference between her and "Spurious" Spurlock was that she chose balanced meals from their menu, though allowing herself treats on occasion, and exercised regularly. "Spurious," who rotated everything on the menu equally, supersized his meals everytime he was asked (ie;their standard practice at that that time), while not exercising at all. Remember, most people don't eat every meal at McD's, and the poor probably can't afford it, though they're as fat (or fatter, according to some studies)as the rest of us.

I've also heard the "secret liberal talking points," (also known as "the spin"); that he shows an aging hippie who has eaten a Big Mac and fries three times a day for something like 40 years, yet is in great health, also "documented by doctors"; that he shows that we're all so physically different that no one can predict what a healthy diet is for each individual; that this was a scientific experiment (with a subject population of one). The funny thing is that "the spin" is also true, though sometimes in a twisted way.

This is why his show may prove to be popular. In "Supersize Me," he latched on to a popular theme in our culture, and exploited it in a very clever way. The show will probably soon devolve into stereotypical nonsense, as I believe his movie is. Let me reproduce my favorite quotes from Adam Buckman's 06/15/05 NY POST column regarding the movie, and the first episode of his show: "well, duh." and "well, double duh." It's easy to sell this kind of crap to today's audiences. This is also why you probably won't hear about "Me &Mickey D" anywhere but here. Even the NY POST relegated it to the health section while running Buckman's 2 star review of "30 Days" in the TV section.

(There may be another reason for the NY POST's story placement: "30 Days" is shown on FX, a Murdoch-owned property, as is the Post. I should be glad that they even mentioned this independent film [Me & McD] at all in the Post, considering that it disses the creator of one of it's corporate cousins' new shows. Ironically, I found Mr. Buckman's negative review actually making me want to watch Mr. "Spurious'"new show. This, of course, to monitor any spinning that might be going on, and report on it first hand.)

My britches are still burning. Morgan "Spurious" Sperlock is making big bucks off of phony representations. He didn't try exercising to offset his increased calorie intake, and I want to see if he tries to work 80 hours a week to make up for his minimum wage job in the first episode of his new series. For the record, I worked many 72 - 80 hour weeks, even one 88 hour week in the first months at my current job. I also got the biggest raises for being there when needed, and getting competent at my job. I don't think that either can be accomplished in 30 days at any job.

The gimmick that his "experiments" hang on is ruling out the existence of personal freedom of choice, and ambition for a better life. Some small percentage of people may live the lifestyles he portrays, but most people choose not to. No one forces anyone to eat at McDonalds at all, or to take a minimum wage job, if they are capable of doing better for themselves. I haven't watched any of his spurious productions yet, so I will reserve the right to be wrong about him. He may think he's doing a service by warning people of the dangers of certain choices, for all I know. Let's just say that he's no John Stossel. That's as fair as I can be to this minor dingleberry.

I have some questions for "Spurious": When he went looking for a minimum wage job in Ohio, why didn't he apply to McDonalds? Might they have a starting wage higher than the "government mandated" minimum wage? -Or do they just hate him? Could he forgive them for hating him, if they do? Does he understand that the dent he and other cultural factors made in McDonalds' sales caused a slowdown in hiring and raises for the employees of the company and it's franchises? Does he care? My liberal source (OK, my fiance) says he does care, but I beg to differ. I see him as another liberal opportunist, riding the pop cultural gravy train.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

JOHN STOSSEL: ABC NEWS' GOOD THING

Since I've ridiculed several ABC news programs, both in this blog and on their local affiliate's message boards (even a few emails), I thought it only fair to praise them for their continued employment of John Stossel. I always enjoyed his consumer reporting over the years, but haven't seen much of him since I stopped watching most ABC news shows (the overnight World News Now being the exception, as it's the only news I get on my non-cable TV at those hours). He's writing a column now, and has taken on government regulation with the same gusto I remember him having for exposing fraudulent products and services from the private sector. This has got him labeled "conservative," and caused some controversy, but it seems that ABC is doing the right thing by keeping him employed. His new book, "Give me a Break!", and his new weekly column will undoubtedly bring more viewers to 20/20. Mr. Stossel has already become one of my favorite weekly reads, and his latest columns on abolishing the FDA drug testing process or making it optional are prime examples of why. He thinks outside the box, and isn't afraid to propose radical-sounding solutions to the problems he tackles. Read his linked columns, or click on the archive link for something more interesting to you than FDA regs. Meanwhile, I'll be clicking my remote over to 20/20 to look for him, which would classify me as a "new viewer;" I can't remember the last time I watched it.

ABC should promote his specials on more conservative media, and let him do more of them.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

ZETTY TWINE: DEATH TO THE ISLAMOFACISTS!

ZETTY TWINE is my favorite place for common-sense extremism, shown excellently by this post (link no good). Okay, MAGUA's a little nuts, but so am I! I'm not throwing stones from this glass house, especially when he posts gems like this! I agree with him that regarding the "islamofascist" terrorists, no "Sympathy for the Devil" from these quarters should be found. Indeed, "No Quarter" should be given at all. Spread the word, and use the graphic.

UPDATE: MAGUA'S moved his ZETTY site, and the graphic is no longer available. I'll try to post it at LEAVART with links here and elsewhere, as soon as he emails it to me.

MICHELLE MALKIN STEPS UP ON GITMO TERRORISTS DESECRATING THE KORAN

In my previous post about GITMO detainees flushing the Koran, I cited three vague reports. I also implored the MSM to look into this (-as if!), to make amends for the hyping of a small number of detainee abuse incidents. The silence was deafening. Well, Michelle Malkin has stepped up to fill the void left by the MSM. Her latest column outlines the abuses of the Koran by the detainees themselves. (Here's a link to her 06/03/05 blog post preceding the column, also linked in the title of this post.) I read it today in the NY POST, but it's not in their online edition. The gist is this: there are several documented occasions of detainees "abusing" the Koran, including ripping out the pages and flushing them down the toilet. It appears that urinating on someone else's Koran is an acceptable act if done by one detainee to another through the cell bars; some even have renounced Islam altogether, and returned their Korans. I'm starting to think that the Koran isn't quite as sacred to all who call themselves "Muslims" as the MSM leads one to believe. (-no $#it!)

They (and the US government, thanks to media pressure) want to give politially correct deference to people who only use that as another tool to fight against the US, our freedoms, and the very tolerance they and their twisted views are receiving from us. It has to stop. Watch for the further void from the "old" MSM, but keep finding the truth here, and in the more popular outlets of the NEW "MSM". See LaShawn Barber's post on this topic, which I totally agree with. Ms. Malkin's 06/01/05 column is also relevant

My hat's off to Michelle Malkin and LaShawn Barber, who had the guts to go where few dared to tread.

(PS: CNN's report on Gitmo detainees flushing the Koran, while having a good headline, still seems to accuse the US of worse abuses. That does not fill the void left by the rest of the MSM.)