Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Initiating an AFB Policy Change

As a courtesy to our readers, contributors, commenters and fellow bloggers, we've reached a point where we need to have a serious discussion on a policy item.

While it has been my intent from the beginning to make this blog an open forum for the discussion of ideas, I think I need to clarify a couple of things. First, off-topic comments promoting a website will be deleted, or, at a minimum, ridiculed. While we've desired to create an open forum, this shouldn't be construed as "post a comment and promote your website."

Also, comments that contain cursing will be edited or deleted at the discretion of the blog contributors. While we don't object to a person's ideas or opinions, we reserve the right to police our site as we see fit. I won't tolerate certain things in poor taste, and while it makes no sense to enumerate these, rest assured that we'll know it when we see it.

We'd like this site to be PG or PG-13 and be a resource for people looking for conservative commentary and opinion on Constitutionally-consistent balanced government. To that end, we're going to take a careful look at comments and, quite frankly, links. I'd be interested in how others have handled this...

Suppose an otherwise great blog has some objectionable content; for argument's sake, let's say that it is rough language in the context of a post (rather than pictures or video, which to me is pretty clear-cut and isn't anything resembling a gray area). It seems like the options are to de-list someone; ignore it (readership beware); privately request that it get cleaned up (seems too intrusive for my tastes); or "rate" your links. Has anyone run into this issue, and what thoughts do you have on the matter?

For the record, and those of you who know me best will attest to this, I have been known to curse. Especially when angry. But I try my best to keep the Lord's name out of it, and thankfully I report I do a pretty good job of that. However, in mixed, or polite, company, I am really good about holding my tongue, even in the most difficult of circumstances. And I consider this space to be polite company.

Welcoming your thoughts and comments, as always.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Principles First, Issues Second

I have long thought that the problem with the GOP was the basis by which it was created - a third party founded to eliminate what in hindsight was a temporary problem.

While some might disagree, I think one of the most glorious moments in our nation's history is the founding of the GOP and Lincoln's prosecution of the war. An ugly blot - inconsistent with the Declaration of Independence - was wiped out at great cost to the country. Yet the party has struggled with the exception of a few periods of brilliance since then (see: Reagan, Ronald) and needs to refocus.

The GOP is a party in search of an identity. Buchanan's column suggests the same. There is a great rift in the party between "moderates" and conservatives. Calling that faction "moderates" is of course a Leftist trick - per their playbook, this infernal word game suggests that the liberal-bent within the GOP is the "reasonable" or "mainstream" part of the party.

I attend a fair number of meetings and hear a lot of Republicans speak. They all beat the drum on "limited government" (don't get me started) and family values. But when the party doesn't deliver on these "principles", as it unquestionably hasn't (out of control spending, Foley, Craig, etc.), it loses the trust and confidence of all but the most affectionate members of the party.

The great problem facing us as I see it, and this is no secret as any regular reader will note, is how imbalanced our system of government has become. I think that a political movement dedicated to returning and diligently preserving balanced government would withstand the changes of time - as our founders recognized that balance would be needed regardless of the societal changes that were impossible to foresee. It is my sincere hope that the GOP can be reformed and be the bearer of those principles. Yet, if it cannot, we have to be willing to form new political bands to preserve our freedom.

More on the Enumerated Powers Amendment

We've discussed this topic before here and here. At this link is a great column by Walter Williams. Williams wonders aloud if the People's disinterest in those things Constitutional mirrors the contempt he sees in Congress, or if the People are merely ignorant.

This to me seems a little bit like the question "when did you stop beating your wife?" I might suggest first that there are probably a fair number of Congressmen who respect the Constitution, although few of them would be found in the category "Democrat." Secondly, I would guess that even among Congress, there is probably a great degree of ignorance with respect to the Constitution. Short of requiring an entrance exam, the answer to this problem lies with the People.

Speaking of the People, I'd suggest to Williams that the People are largely ignorant of the Constitution. Contempt, while it surely exists, would be the domain of Leftists, who abhor anything American (like the principles of our founding). It remains up to us - bloggers, activists, citizens - to change the conversation and educate ourselves and others on the founding principles. Our representatives are undoubtedly a reflection of the People, and changing one will change the other.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Accepting the Truth

There's something to be said for an occasional slice of humble pie.

I've said time and again how much I dislike Michael Medved. From his position on third parties (they're bad!) to his constant shilling for the GOP, he's one of the most consistently frustrating pundits I regularly listen to (and have called on a couple of occasions).

But, you've got to give credit where it's due. Medved's recent column is great; it's a topic I find fascinating. It's worth a read, and worth remembering that even sometimes people we aren't wild about can surprise us with wonderful insight.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Article V: The Convention Clause

I've probably mentioned before that I'm a member of the Federalist Society. In fact, as I write this there is a Fed Soc. meeting in downtown Chicago for the release of Clarence Thomas' book, My Grandfather's Son.

In addition to invitations to cool events like that, one of the benefits of membership is the quarterly Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. I don't always have the time to read these, and usually only take a look at one or maybe two articles in each one. The Summer 2007 volume has been sitting around for a while, waiting for a spot in the rotation, because I was intrigued by one of the "Notes" entitled "The Other Way to Amend the Constitution: The Article V Constitutional Convention Amendment Process."

It's worth reading and I encourage you to take a look at it, however in the interest of busy readers, I'll summarize the important points. First, Article V:

Article V
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

Here's my analysis. Based upon the historical background, the original purpose of the Convention Clause was to give the States the power to correct/curb either a corrupt or incompetent Legislature. As the Note states, there are a few questions with respect to Article V, the two most prevalent being: 1) can a convention be limited (avoiding a "runaway convention") and 2) can Congress control the subject of a convention?

First, given the purpose of the Clause, the power to limit the scope of a convention lies naturally with the States, who are making the application. Calling a convention for the purposes of revoking an existing Amendment, or calling for the purposes of approving a new Amendment, qualified in the application as for that purpose alone, is sufficient protection to limit the scope of the convention when called. Second, with respect to Congress' ability to control the subject matter pursuant to the political question doctrine (I would recommend reading the Note for a good background), this is inconsistent with the original purpose of the Clause, and therefore Congress' duty is ministerial, and that alone (obliged to call the convention; the use of the word "shall" denotes this).

And of course, to the first concern again, in the unlikely event of a runaway convention, the States still could reject the work of the convention (the convention fails the 3/4 ratification hurdle).

The illustrative point here is that there exists a mechanism, and a fairly well-constructed one, to make changes in the realm of external government. A well-educated electorate, of the opinion that a beneficial or even necessary change has to be made, has at its disposal a tool for preserving liberty.

If Democrats Had Any Brains...

I recently read Ann Coulter's latest effort If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans. This is going to be the AFB's shortest-ever book review.

Ann's book is a collection of quotes, organized by topic, from her prior books, columns and speeches. If you like her stuff, as I do, you'll like the book. There's little or no new ground covered here, but she knows what her fans like, and she delivers the goods.

The Swiss Example; When Will We Awake?

I generally choose my words carefully and prefer not to come off as bossing around the readership, however you simply must go read this outstanding piece by Takuan Seiyo.

It appears that the Swiss, to a degree, are rejecting the lies of multiculturalism and embracing the facts. I can't imagine Americans doing this - at least not yet. We seem to require some offense before we unite and cast aside the default PC-imposed behavior we've become accustomed to. My hope, rather, is that as more people and organizations are committed to the truth, and as truth begins to see the light of day, that we'll wake up without what seems like the necessary tragedy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Unfit for Command

Check out this link to Pat Buchanan's recent article of the same name. Buchanan asks the question: "Does this generation have the maturity to lead America?"

The question is a good one for a couple of reasons. First, the obvious answer is that yes, of course, this generation has the maturity to lead America. Despite my numerous complaints about the Baby Boom generation, it is obvious to anyone not living under a rock that there are a lot of outstanding leaders in the BB generation. I see them at the Township meetings I attend. They are present in government at every level if you look carefully enough.

However, that those in positions of leadership are immature in many respects begs the question: how did they attain those positions and why aren't more mature - and here I'd use this word "mature" interchangeably with "conservative" - people leading America?

The how is fairly evident. Liberalism has led to multiculturalism, interest group politics and pandering to the lowest common denominator. Otherwise absurd ideas (nationalized health care, for example) that can't stand up to scrutiny are widely accepted by Americans who have been conditioned to depend on someone other than themselves for their survival. When a large portion of the population has become permanently dependent upon "the government" for food, money, housing, a job, the self-government gene is utterly - if not completely - atrophied. As the saying goes, if the government is robbing Peter to pay Paul, they can count on Paul's support.

This also leads to part of the answer to my why question above: it's easy to be dependent, especially if someone is willing to trade entitlements for your vote. But the problem is bigger than that. Other culprits include public education, a vast bureaucracy designed more for the benefit of its union members than its clients (parents and children). Public education both institutionalizes children (trains them in ways of thinking - or not-thinking) and lightly spoon-feeds an agenda that yields results contrary to the requisite skills needed to turn out productive citizens. Once trained to make the grade and demonstrate proficiency in that regard, young adults are sent off to indoctrination camps (college or university) to fully immerse them in cultural Marxism. By then, they are "adults" (as much as one considers a 17 year old an adult) and away from the influence of their families.

The other part of the "why aren't more conservatives leading America" question is this: there isn't sufficient effort being made to train young people (think college-age) to get informed and involved. What America needs is a two part education process: both children and adults need to be educated on the principles behind the founding of this Republic. Then, involvement in efforts locally and electronically (such as blogging) will prepare young people to lead when the opportunity presents itself.

I can virtually guarantee that the profile of a conservative blogger is nearly exactly as follows: self-educated on politics and Founding era history; family-oriented; and possessing a Biblical-Christian worldview (want more? How about this?). I'll allow for exceptions here or there, but overall, I think that would be the profile. That's the recipe for creating a conservative activist; to create more of them and future generations that way will require the effort I've suggested above.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

"Islam is a Religion of Peace"

This statement is in quotes for a reason. It is an example of taqiyya, the Muslim practice of deception. There exists in Muslim teaching the concept of "mental reservation" which is condoned by the Quran and the Sunnah (the narratives of the life of Muhammed).

I've been reading Jihad Watch, and strongly recommend reading this section, Islam 101. Some very enlightening analysis. I was unaware of taqiyya, for example, and learned also about the principle of abrogation (damning as it is to that faith) and the hadiths (narratives) that comprise the Sunnah.

Here's one of the best lines: "The entire Islamic moral universe devolves solely from the life and teaching of Muhammed." That says a lot about the faith, and I encourage everyone here to take a look at that link. It might take an hour or so to read it, but it will be the best hour you'll have this week, and you'll never be the same after doing so.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

She Said It, Not Me

But I am curious to hear an explanation or defense from the Romans or any of their readership over at The Maritime Sentry on Ann's characterization of Huckabee on illegal immigration from her most recent column. I recall hearing elsewhere that he made such a comparison, and I can't for the life of me understand what he was trying to say. The two things, of course, have nothing to do with each other.

I'd also remark that maybe someone who's "with" Fred (remember that charming slogan?) will speak up an defend his honor..., but I can't say as I know any supporters of the man, nor would I recommend anyone defending his impeachment/removal from office vote.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Same God?

We've discussed at length in this space and elsewhere the problems with Islam - you can see a number of posts under the label Islam and more under the label Jihad. That people fail to educate themselves on the principles of that faith remains a problem; that President Bush, by his comments in the link that follows, is guilty of either ignorance or political correctness is even worse. Here's a good article by Cal Thomas that echoes some of the things that have been said on this blog and others. The truth is often an uncomfortable thing, and requires courage to reach the light of day.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Stubborn Facts

Very quickly...

While the media has never let facts get in the way of a good story, it is important to verify facts where we can find them (I almost said "trust, but verify" but I thought trusting the media was being a little absurd). I searched for "Jena" to learn more about the case earlier today (this is another good example of how far behind I am on what's going on in the world) and got this link to snopes, which is a myth-busting website.

Worth a read, and they cite sources for further research, if one is so inclined. I haven't done any further research, but the story here is significantly different than the one offered by the MSM.

Friday, October 05, 2007

John Savage, Your Table Is Ready

Go and check out John Savage's Brave New World Watch. I've linked it up on the left of the blog so I don't forget to visit and then have to go through Webster's blog to find it.

John presents his analysis (and the writing is very good) from a traditionalist point of view. Always thoughtful, often over my head, definitely worth a regular visit. Sorry it took me so long to get the link up over here!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Future of the Union

Fascinating article about a movement afoot to break up the Union.

Some of the posters on this blog have heard of these, shall we say, unlikely "alliances" in the past; while I won't address that in the post, any of my blog mates may choose to do so in the comments or under separate cover. While I discount the viability of such alliances, one must recognize that there is a genuine frustration among the people about the degree of influence of external government; and that I think there is also a natural appeal to people of any political persuasion for the principles of balanced government. Its fundamental value proposition is that people - at the most local levels possible - get to decide how much external government they want. Regardless if you're a conservative in the South or a nut liberal from Vermont, that freedom appeals to most people.

Of course, as I've suggested before, there's a quality inherent to balanced government that lends itself to what we'd consider "conservative" principles. This is just another way of saying originalist, or, if you prefer, Constitutionally-consistent government.

For the record, I think balanced government can fix the problems that ail the Union, and preserve it intact for future generations. Indeed, there are precious few other things that have the power to do the same.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Our Worst President

A while back we discussed in this space the rankings of Presidents. We did, right? I can't seem to find it.

I got to thinking about this again when reading the excellent speech digest of Hillsdale College, Imprimis. The September issue excerpts a speech by Amity Shlaes, whose new book, The Forgotten Man, remains on my list of to-reads.

Here's a link to a wikipedia page on Presidential rankings; some interesting information is available there. I had long thought that FDR didn't deserve his place of honor on those lists, given his employ of Soviet spies in his administration and his subsequent sell-out of Eastern Europe at the conclusion of WWII. His obvious hand in our slide into socialism and interest-group politics should settle the debate forever.

Except this: which Democrat President was the worst? FDR, the father of the Cold War, Carter, the father of Islamofascism, or Clinton, the father of, well, Who Knows How Many?