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Decadence on Display

Who's afraid of the Decalogue? Plus: Chief Justice Sandra? Muddled Mitt. Brilliant Ben. And much more.

6.29.05

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PUTIN' IT RIGHT
Re: Jed Babbin's Slippary:

I think that because of the DNC's total divorce from reality it will be more correct to call them the Deanosaur party leadership, not the Deanocrat party leadership.
-- Eugene Mironov
Moscow, Russia

THE DESPOTISM OF AN OLIGARCHY
Re: George Neumayr's Holy Moses:

George Neumayr's "Holy Moses" piece was on target, as usual. The notion that our great republic was founded by men who wished to establish a secular government with no accommodation for public religious expression can only be supported by historical revisionism and an out-of-control judiciary. This and the nonsensical idea that our Constitution is a "living document" are nothing more than tools used by secularists to enable jurists to manipulate our founding document for the purpose of advancing their personal preferences. Thomas Jefferson's warning has been validated, "The Constitution [will become] a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please." The only guarantee of our liberties lies with interpretation rooted in the clear language and intent of those who wrote the words. Any other yields a Constitution whose words have no meaning since five unelected judges can change or ignore them according to their own predilections. The Founders would not have tolerated this. We need to heed Jefferson's words about establishing the Supreme Court as the final authority on any matter brought before it, "[T]o consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. ... The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal." If a former generation had succumbed to the current angst over judicial pronouncements, the view that they are to be treated as direct communication from the Almighty Himself, slavery might still be legal in this country (Dred Scott, 1857).
-- Rick Arand
Lee's Summit, Missouri

"And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be given by divine inspiration and own and profess the Protestant religion.'"

Ah, the good old days. If only such a profession were still obligatory for office-seekers in America, what a wonderful world this would be.

And why not dismantle allegorical depictions of mythological figures on courthouses? the writer asks. When some extremist decides we should all profess the religion of Zeus, the one true God, maybe people will get up in arms about that. But as it stands, a mild state religion (pledging allegiance to the Flag and to the Republic for which it stands; myths about Founders who "could not tell a lie"; allegories of the goddess Justice in marble friezes) is a way to maintain some social cohesion and devotion to ideals of freedom and equality without becoming like the fanatics, fundamentalists and barbarians we are currently at war with. I suggest you join their lot if you think a hard-core state religion is such a genius idea.

This writer clearly knows very, very little about America's Founders. I suggest he read about their religious beliefs and then report back about what he's found after he's Enlightened, so to speak.
-- Luke Simon
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

No God?

No Prayer?

No Ten Commandments?

No Flag?

No Private Property?

No Protection from Terrorists?

No USA?

So sad.

Well, I live in a rural area and can (at least for awhile) grow crops and shoot my food. I can't imagine what the city folks will do.
-- Nelson Ward
Ribera, New Mexico

Mr. Neumayr's expose on the Supremely Convoluted Court is right on, and it begs the question; "Does this court pose a 'clear and present danger' to the constitution's integrity?" Remember, the obligation of those serving the country is to "preserve and protect" against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Whose side are these people on? They have gone a long way in recent days towards indicating that they are out of touch with reality, but then again, the oxygen might be a bit thin up at the altitude of the chambers in those ivory towers.

Indeed, in light of some of their recent rulings, we are justified in questioning their motives, their faux objectivity notwithstanding. Take the broad application of their extreme interpretation of the exercise of imminent domain -- does it not smack of moves more befitting totalitarian regimes? But then again, what are the chances that any of these nine will ever hear the sound of a bulldozer plowing through their living room?

One can't help but think that the virtual insulation/isolation from the consequences of their decisions infuses them with a degree of impunity that serves to intoxicate. Apparently accountable to no one, the exercise of such "power" goes beyond the steroidal-judicial, and perhaps borders on the self-deifying. Ironic, is it not?
-- Jim Yost
Spring Valley, California

The question, "Where do we find men like that?" applies perfectly for patriotic Americans and disgusting secularists that make up the left. In the first case, tears can well up and chests can stick out, in pride. For the losers like Souter, an awake human would likely also be in teats, as they pull their hair out while shaking the head in disbelief.

Where do we find men like that? Souter resembles another "sewer rat," Paul Krugman. They both do their suicidal work, one by destroying the law and the other economics.

What a revolting situation! Yes, a revolt MUST come! I read a perfect bumper sticker the other day: "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!" Amen to that.
-- unsigned

Dragging out and modifying the word that won lots of money for a spelling whiz on a quiz show decades ago, those who are pro-disestablishmentarian regarding secularism and who favor the posting of the Ten Commandments can prevent the secularist wisdom that any new posting has been ruled out by simply citing the intent of the Texas practice and imitating it for any new monuments.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

Mr. Neumayr seems never at a loss for opinion and, if necessary, will stoop to any low methods to strengthen a weak column.

I am referring to his comment: "Has it ever said to flaky judges in California...." If Mr. Neumayr is referring to the California Supreme Court, he definitely needs to do research. There are six Republican appointees to the Bench and 1 Democrat. I hopefully don't need to refresh Mr. Neumayr's memory as to the status of Justice Rogers Brown.

If the "flaky" comment refers to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, I would like to remind Mr. Neumayr that the 9th could be in any number of quite a few Western states, or in the Territory of Guam for that matter. There is nothing particularly Californian about the 9th Circuit, other than its location.

The local Appellate Courts and the Superior Courts are on a par with any other state that has liberal jurisdictions. They are kept in check by the California Supreme Court.

California bashing, or any other locale for that matter, is unattractive and definitely unappreciated. Whatever valid points Mr. Neumayr had in his article were lost through his obnoxious comments.
-- Bill Blazak
Los Angeles, California

"The middle distance between truth and error is still error." -- George Neumayr

...And that is why you hear in the discourse on this subject, people talking about moderate, we want moderate judges. What is a moderate interpretation of the text? Half way between what it really means and what you'd like it to mean? There is no such thing as a moderate interpretation of the text. Would you ask a lawyer, 'Draw me a moderate contract'? The only way the word has any meaning is if you are looking for someone to write a law, to write a constitution, rather than to interpret one. I think the very terminology suggests where we have arrived: at the point of selecting people to write a constitution, rather than people to give us the fair meaning of one that has been democratically adopted. And when that happens, when the Senate interrogates nominees to the Supreme Court, or to the lower courts, you know, "Judge so and so, do you think there is a right to this in the Constitution? You don't?! Well my constituents think there ought to be, and I'm not going to appoint to the court someone who is not going to find that." When we are in that mode, you realize, we have rendered the Constitution useless, because the Constitution will mean what the majority wants it to mean. The senators are representing the majority. And they will be selecting justices who will devise a constitution that the majority wants. And that of course, deprives the Constitution of its principle utility. The Bill of Rights is devised to protect you and me against, who do you think? The majority. My most important function on the Supreme Court is to tell the majority to take a walk. And the notion that the justices ought to be selected because of the positions that they will take that are favored by the majority is a recipe for destruction of what we have had for two-hundred years.
-- Justice Antonin Scalia
Speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center, March 14, 2005

-- Gordon Paravano
Sedona, Arizona

SANDRA? NO THANKS
Re: David Boaz's The Next Chief Justice:

What kind of tea was Mr. Boaz drinking the morning he wrote that article? Did he forget the affirmative action ruling from Michigan? Isn't that where Mrs. O'Connor stated she hoped we wouldn't need affirmative action in 20 years? That's just for starters.
-- Annette Cwik

This is what passes for informed conservative opinion? What a pathetic argument. The GOP is going to win over female voters and the confirmation of a new Justice is going to be easier because of the good will that an O'Connor nomination will generate, and by the way, we'll promote the new guy to Chief Justice and pass over Scalia and Thomas so as not to [anger] the Democrats too much.

Mr. Boaz, you are [...]
-- Robert Gallagher
Cookeville, Tennessee

David Boaz must be smoking some really funny stuff this morning! Promote Sandra Day O'Connor to what!? Please, that woman's thinking and judgment have grown increasingly fuzzy over the last couple of years and she votes more often with Souter than with Scalia.

Please, Mr. Boaz, don't give the White House any back doors through which to run. President Bush should nominate a clear thinking, solid conservative who understands and interprets the Constitution of the United States rather than the European Union. After that stand and fight for his/her nomination.
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

My choice would be the very interesting Fred Dalton Thompson. First a "country lawyer" then an actor, then a Senator with impeccable credentials, and now he is back to acting! I think it would be a shriek to see them turn on one of their former colleagues. Yes, I vote for Fred Thompson.
-- Janis Johnson
Independence, Missouri

David Boaz is out of his mind! A 75-year-old female Chief Justice?! Who will retire in her 80s, not in her 70s?! What if Hillary wins?! And I thought libertarians were bright.
-- Allen Hurt

REBORN PROLIFERS
Re: W. James Antle III's Choose Mitt?:

Wasn't there a general consensus pretty much across the political spectrum that the decisive factor in George Bush's favor last November was the arousal of the moral traditionalist voting bloc, having become slapped rudely awake by the bizarre specter of homosexual "marriage"? Isn't the considerable majority of these voters equally animated by the pro-life cause, if not even more so?

The exasperating obtuseness that the Republican Party is exhibiting by releasing a Mitt Romney for President trial balloon is just one of a litany of reasons why this genuine conservative from the political wasteland that is Massachusetts is not even tempted to associate with the GOP.

As Governor of the Commonwealth, Mitt Romney has routinely dissembled concerning abortion, taking pains all the while to avoid being closely associated with either camp, and thereby unavoidably relegating himself by default to the baby-killing crowd. What responsible, ethical adult who has acquired pro-life sympathies, as some are laboriously inferring from a recent Romney utterance or two, would be ambiguous about the matter, would calculatedly employ it as a tool for the advancement of his personal ambitions? If he was genuine, wouldn't he honor the simple, newly realized truth that abortion is quite literally a matter of innocent human life and death? The bottom line here is that it is nigh well impossible to view as other than a flat-out lie any intimation by Governor Romney that as President he would fight abortion; and those who would embrace such a fiction are lying to themselves.
-- Francis M. Hannon, Jr.
Melrose, Massachusetts

HALF FULL, HALF EMPTY
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's More Donut Than Hole:

Somewhere I bought a shirt that said, "The greatest fear of a liberal is that somewhere, someone can do something for him or herself." Friedman is a very liberal liberal, so of course he has to predict gloom and doom. If things are going well why do we need the radical left to tell us what we can make; what we can buy and what we're allowed to read and think?
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

Stephen Moore and Julian Simon must be living in a make believe fantasyland, not America -- in the real America there is more hole than donut. Americans are pessimistic and frightened about the future because of wrong-headed policies from the Bush administration that are destabilizing the social, economic and security fabric of our nation.

The administration's open border policy is causing untold havoc on America, including increased crime, taxes, social costs, diseases, terrorist infiltration, voter fraud, balkanization, and wage suppression.

The outsourcing of our manufacturing base, under the guise of free trade, is creating a hollow America ¬-- a nation that is rapidly losing its ability to produce goods and generate good paying jobs. Even hi-tech and engineering jobs are getting scarce because of this sellout to foreign powers.

The result of these twin globalist policies will be a severe and long lasting recession and maybe even a depression. Securing our borders is solvable but there is no quick fix to restoring our country¹s vanishing industrial base.

Both open borders and so-called free trade are selling out our sovereignty and national security. Our porous borders are an open invitation for nuclear terrorism on our soil. And by transferring our manufacturing, technology and wealth to Communist China, we are enabling this repressive regime to build a superpower military, including modern nuclear-armed missiles aimed squarely at American cities.

Finally, the Bush administration is going soft on the war on terror. We are allowing safe havens in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria, while our soldiers are being killed like sitting ducks. North Korea (and soon Iran) builds nukes with impunity. And, incredibly, we are shrinking our Clinton-size navy as China expands their navy. In addition, we are cutting back on F-22 aircraft. It appears help is ³not² on its way.

But most alarming is the conservative media spin (especially on most of talk radio) that everything is rosy. They cleverly squash any criticism of the Bush administration "from the right." So-called conservative pundits spend months babbling endlessly about relatively minor stories like the Bolton nomination and Terri Schiavo, while the very fabric of America's strength is silently being torn apart.

Alas, we are asleep again and bad things are going to happen to America.
-- Lou Venticinque
Jamison, Pennsylvania

DUTCH WISDOM
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Speaking of Reagan:

A small response to the article written by Jay D. Homnick on Ronald Regan. I just want to echo his thoughts. I have TWICE read the book Reagan in His Own Hand and I am very much convinced and was always impressed at the style and straightforwardness of Reagan's thoughts. Simply put, he didn't mince words, but simply got to the point.

For years the left had continually portrayed him as a dunce, but nothing could ever be further from the truth. Kudos to Mr. Homnick for explaining that truly great speeches are MADE by inspired speakers, and that those that assist in that end are in the background. NOT writing those words but simply editing.
-- Richard Woitowitz

PRO-BAN CONSERVATIVE
Re: David Holman's Smoking Room:

I don't see the smoking issues as conservative versus liberal. I am very conservative and don't mind the smoking bans at all.

I don't smoke and I truly hate the smell of cigarettes. I will not sit at a smoky bar and will not eat in a smoke filled restaurant.

I was visiting family in Massachusetts a few weeks ago waiting for a table at the bar at O'Connor's and enjoying myself more than I had at a bar in years. It took me a few minutes to realize that the place is smoke free. I could actually taste the great draft beer, talk to my wife, and see the Red Sox on television. I don't know if Massachusetts has banned smoking or it's just O'Connor's policy but it was wonderful. If there was a similar place near where we live in New Jersey, I would visit often. Instead, every bar near us is unbearably smoky. I suppose a smart bar owner or two in the area would ban smoking just to attract the business of people like me without legislation.

Sorry, as much as I enjoy his writing, I just can't muster any sympathy for Christopher Hitchens losing the ability to practice an offensive habit in public.
-- Chris B.

David Holman replies:
Sadly, Massachusetts has banned smoking in bars and restaurants. Would that we could all legislate based on our comfort. There are many offensive practices that I do could without, but that doesn't make their prohibition good law. Blindness to the proper place of government in our lives is destructive to the tradition and institution of lawmaking. Such disregard for first principles of government is fundamentally liberal.

CONSULTING BEN
Re: Ben Stein's articles:

It was only recently that I realized Ben Stein was a brilliant writer. I am so glad not to be ignorant of this fact any longer. Since learning this, I have read a lot of his most recent articles and find that he has a very tender heart towards our military and the protection they provide for us. I also detect in his personality a fierce verbal ability to defend the weak as well. In the light of the most recent Supreme Court decisions, and the national uproar over these decisions, i.e., the elimination of property rights, and forbidding the display of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse, it seems to me that the time is right in this country for a paradigm shift in the emphasis of American political discussion. Not having the ability or platform to bring a very important truth to discussion in American politics, I would hope that Ben Stein would. This very important truth is this: If people in power (elected or appointed) have no respect for human life, as demonstrated by their support and stamp of approval of the hideous practice of abortion, then people have no right to expect that these people will respect us, our rights or our property. It is clear to me that unless the American people are forced to think about this, then abortion supporting Republicans like McCain, Snowe, and Collins who recently were partly responsible for killing the opportunity to force the minority Democrats to play their hand and end the despicable filibuster of President Bush's judicial appointees, will continue to thwart the efforts of those who truly care about this country. I believe the time is right to bring the issue of abortion to the forefront of political discussion and its significance to recent and subsequent court decisions as well as lawmaking in general.

Please also pass on to Ben that I greatly respect him, and eagerly await his articles. He makes his points quickly, precisely, and very logically with great passion and compassion for those he seeks to defend.
-- Steven Fearon
Westbrook, Maine

JUMPED THE SHARK
Re: Joellen M. Arrabito's letter (under "Crusading for Hill") in Reader Mail's Midnight Breakfasts and Jed Babbin's Slippary:

I agree with Joellen M. Arrabito regarding Billy Graham and the Clintons. As far as I am concerned, Billy Graham ended his public ministry by selling his soul to the devil. What a shameful legacy he left us!
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

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