The Spectacle Blog
Why did the House of Representatives even bother to pass the sham "ethics reforms" that they passed yesterday? The bill is a joke, and it virtually screams out: "Hey, don't you know who we are? We're Congressmen, and by virtue of our exalted position we deserve to be feted with free meals and golf games! You got a problem with that, buddy? Well, kiss my grits. Only the hoi polloi worry about ethics. We in Congress are above all that."
Aside from the paltry details of the bill, what's so discouraging is that this bill again shows the House leaders to not be men of their words. The key sentence fragment from the front-page WashPost news story sums it all nicely: "Neither [House nor Senate] version [of the bill] is as tough on lobbyists and lawmakers as Republican leaders promised in January...."
The arrogance and lack of seriousness of this Congress is astonishing.
Just wait until California Episcopalians elect another gay bishop. They're voting this weekend, and three of the seven candidates are gay. The national church would have to accept or reject them over the summer. Conservatives in the church have been largely appeased that the Gene Robinson incident was an aberration (wishful thinking, I know). But a new gay bishop would be the last straw for most orthodox congregations.
I am jealous of editor-in-chief R. Emmett Tyrrell for his having known the great French thinker/writer Jean-Francois Revel personally. Tyrrell's tribute to the now-late Monsieur Revel on today's web site is a must read. Brilliant, perceptive stuff (as usual), and written with a charming fondness.
Revel's 1983 book How Democracies Perish has long sat on my bookshelf within easy reach. It must be admitted that he was too pessimistic about the ultimate triumph of republican nations in the face of the Communist threat. The first line of his book was a necessary warning, but fortunately incorrect as a prediction: "Democracy may, after all, turn out to have been a historical accident, a brief parenthesis that is closing before our eyes." But while our civilization was not and is not doomed, Revel's diagnosis of its weaknesses was right on target. Hence the brilliantly concise and perspicacious opening line of the book's second chapter: "Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is working to destroy it."
It's a commonplace for WaPo columnists to oppose sensible national security measures but when they base their conclusions on utter falsehoods -- as Peter Beinart does today -- we have to answer.
Relying on studies by the Nixon Center and Syracuse University, Beinart argues it's absurd to talk about sealing the Mexican border because, "Not one terrorist has entered the United States from Mexico." In that he's wilfully ignorant of the facts. As I wrote a month ago, there's plenty of evidence that terrorists are coming across the Mexican border. My source? Not a think tank, but FBI Director Robert Muller who testified about an Hizballah cell that was caught.
Those such as Beinart who want to keep the borders open are committing willful falsehoods in proclaiming concern for national security. Let's talk plainly: any "immigration reform" bill that doesn't create border walls - on the north and south - visible with the naked eye from low earth orbit isn't worth a bucket of warm spit. And it shouldn't pass.
Whatever one thinks of the sentence, can we agree that it is disturbing to see the jury list the following as mitigating factors in its decision not to sentence the defendant to death?
-- Nine jurors found that the defendant's unstable early childhood and dysfunctional family resulted in his being placed in orphanages and having a home life without structure and emotional and financial support, eventually resulting in his leaving home due to his hostile relationship with his mother.
-- Nine jurors found the defendant's father had a violent temper and physically and emotionally abused his family.
In other news, the flag has dropped and the rush is on for would-be Dem presidential contenders to denounce the Electoral College as not "appropriate" to our "modern era" -- and not coincidentally as the only reason why George W. Bush was elected in 2000. But try as Evan Bayh might, federalism is still a good idea, and the College is vital in its (usually) quiet function. Just ask Joe Biden...
That's the best one can say about the price gouging nonsense the House passed last night. The bill would authorize the Federal Trade Commission to define price gouging -- in other words, passing the buck from lawmakers to unelected bureaucrats.
Further, in a market of choice between competitors, how would price gouging exist? I've heard commercials by local news stations with hot reports about how "customers paid $5.75 a gallon before they knew better." That sounds like uninformed customers not making a responsible market decision. The price of a good is what people will pay for it. That "gouging" station will gouge for a short period of time before his customers dry up, and he has to lower the price to bring them back. Accordingly, if costs (like, say, crude oil) go up for all retailers, they'll all increase prices at the same time.