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The Constitution Lives in Ferguson

By 8.21.14

The Constitution lives. Even as the news is brutal — it instructs for those willing to pay attention.

American journalist James Foley has been beheaded by ISIS. And an American teenager named Michael Brown was shot dead by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer named Darren Wilson.

In the case of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri remains in an uproar. The town is awash in protesters, both from Ferguson and outsiders. There has been a steady diet of rioting and looting. The President of the United States is involved. The Attorney General of the United States is involved, going to Ferguson personally just yesterday. The governor of Missouri, the lieutenant governor, and attorney general of Missouri are all involved, as is the head of the Missouri State Police and the state’s National Guard. Both of Missouri’s U.S. senators have weighed in, as have members of the state legislature. All of this in addition to the mayor of Ferguson, and the Ferguson police chief.

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A Further Perspective

The Media and the Mob

By 8.20.14

Those of us who admit that we were not there, and do not know what happened when Michael Brown was shot by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, seem to be in the minority.

We all know what has happened since then — and it has been a complete disgrace by politicians, the media and mobs of rioters and looters. Despite all the people who act as if they know exactly what happened, nevertheless when the full facts come out, that can change everything.

This is why we have courts of law, instead of relying on the media or mobs. But politics is undermining law.

On the eve of a grand jury being convened to go through the facts and decide whether there should be a prosecution of the policeman in this case, Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri has gone on television to say that there should be a “vigorous prosecution.”

There was a time when elected officials avoided commenting on pending legal processes, so as not to bias those processes. But Governor Nixon apparently has no fear of poisoning the jury pool.

The only alternative explanation is that this is exactly what he intends to do. It is a disgrace either way.

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Another Perspective

ISIS Horrors and Just War Teaching

By 8.20.14

The ISIS invasion of Iraq and subsequent horrors, for which Iraq’s dwindling Christian minority is a chief victim, has reanimated talk about Christian Just War teaching.

Citing the call by Iraq’s Chaldean Patriarch for military intervention, a group of prominent Christian thinkers, with others, has declared that “nothing short of the destruction of ISIS/ISIL as a fighting force will provide long-term protection of victims.” Urging U.S. and international help for local forces against ISIS, they assert that “no options that are consistent with the principles of just war doctrine should be off the table.” They want expanded U.S. air strikes against ISIS and U.S. arms for the Kurds, among others. The most prominent church official on this list is the Southern Baptist Convention’s chief public policy spokesman.

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The Trumped-Up Charges Spectator

Rick Perry Isn’t Guilty—But I Might Be

By 8.20.14

Governor Rick Perry is clearly not guilty of the charges in his indictment. I sure am, though. Anybody want to indict me?

Perry, of course, was indicted for vetoing the funding of the Travis County District Attorney’s Public Drunkenness/Integrity Unit after the unit’s chief public drunk proved herself to have none of the integrity she is charged with upholding. When she’s sober, D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg fires assistants who refuse to lie to internal affairs investigators and persists in unethical vendettas against Republicans such as Tom DeLay long after they’ve been exonerated. When she’s drunk, she drives all over the road, and then berates and threatens the officers who arrest her.

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Campaign Crawlers

Florida Air War

By 8.20.14

Tampa

The governor’s race in Florida is on and it’s ugly. But like our pathetic response to ISIS, it’s almost entirely an air war. Mostly throwing dirt high into the air to little or no effect.

Incumbent Republican governor Rick Scott, along with his Democrat (for the moment) challenger and former Florida governor Charlie Crist, plus the various groups supporting these two, are running lots of television ads. Most of these ads helpfully point out that the other guy is a villain, a blackguard, a knave, a poltroon, and a low-down suck-egg dog (or words to this effect) with neither the integrity nor competence to be trusted with the office of assistant county rat-catcher, let alone governor. If Florida voters believe these ads, this could be the first election for governor in which no one votes.

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Special Report

Neither Just Nor Peaceful

By 8.20.14

“No justice, no peace,” scream protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. Implicit in this menacing chant is that the rioting on display there for over a week has been justified. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, among other hucksters, disclaim the violence, even as they stoke it with reckless rhetoric. They aren’t interested in peace but power. Were they truly opposed to the violence, they wouldn’t coin chants that condone it.

“We’re not looters. We’re liberators,” says Sharpton. Liberating society from what? The rule of law? His view of justice is that the law be permanently suspended for the racially aggrieved. A police department can only satisfy his measure of racial progress by going soft on politically favored criminals. Sharpton is a “liberator” who enables looters.

It is clear that from his view of justice no peace will ever follow. It is a formula for new injustices and perpetually divided communities. It is “justice” without truth, giving rise to a culture in which facts, evidence, and universal standards don’t matter.

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The Current Crisis

Marijuana vs. Scotch and a Low IQ

By 8.20.14

Turning once again to what the sociologists call “coping mechanisms”: there is marijuana and then there is alcohol. They are increasingly the civilized options.

Consider alcohol. Consider a suave scotch and soda. One does not sit down to a scotch and soda to get blitzed, unless one is a veritable drunk. One sits down and sips a scotch and soda while conversing with friends. Perhaps one reads a book. One enjoys the scotch for the taste. With scotch there are scores of different tastes. One drinks a single malt. One drinks a blend. The same is true with bourbon and all manner of alcoholic drinks. One imbibes for the taste, then for the refreshment, finally for the relaxed feeling it imparts. Very very finally, some drinkers drink a scotch and soda to get blitzed and drop out. Maybe the pathetico drinks to pass out or to throw up. A true alcoholic is a sad spectacle. A drunk is a person who has ruined many a good drink.

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A Further Perspective

From Kent State to Ferguson

By 8.19.14

Ah, social justice. Here we go again—and it is again. Consider these words:

The first issue is the unfilled promise of full justice and dignity for Blacks and other minorities. Blacks, like many others of different races and ethnic origins, are demanding today that the pledges of the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation be fulfilled now. Full social justice and dignity—an end to racism in all its human, social and cultural forms—is a central demand of today’s students—black, brown, and white.

This might sound like something coming out of Ferguson, Missouri, right now. But in fact I have just quoted the preface to a report by the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest issued in September, 1970 following the shooting of four white students at Ohio’s Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard on May 4. The Kent State shootings were followed in turn eleven days later by the police killing of two students, both black, at Mississippi’s Jackson State.

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Political Hay

Lehmberg Democrats Drunk on Their Own Power

By 8.19.14

You might not have seen the arrest or jailhouse videos from Rosemary Lehmberg’s DWI episode when it happened in the spring of 2013, but there’s a good chance you saw them over the weekend. If you still haven’t, we can fix that by having you click here and here.

That Lehmberg, district attorney for Travis County, Texas, isn’t at least as famous as Toronto's crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford is no surprise. Given how sloppy and belligerent she was during the arrest, not to mention her staggering blood-alcohol level of .239 (three times the legal limit), it is a bit odd that she was a virtual unknown outside the state of Texas until over the weekend.

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Buy the Book

Semper-Fi on Four Legs

By 8.19.14

Reckless: The Racehorse Who Became a Marine Corps Hero
By Tom Clavin
(NAL/Penguin, 308 pages, $28.95)

Tom Clavin’s Reckless is a story of courage and sacrifice and suffering and of the remarkable bond that can develop between man and animals. It’s the story of brave Marines who gave their all in a brutal war that was called a “police action,” a war which few Americans paid much attention to, or gave much due to the warriors who fought it on their behalf.

There are many heroes in this book, Americans who can never be thanked enough for their sacrifice and their service. Central to the story is a 900-pound, female Marine with four legs, a former Korean racehorse named Reckless, who eventually ran for much higher stakes than she ever would have on any racetrack.

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