Left’s Looming Litmus Test for Confirmation: Deny Your Faith or Be Rejected.

 
 
Some of President Trump’s judicial nominees have faced questions from Democrat senators that seem more like a religious inquisition than a discussion of judicial philosophy and temperament. Notre Dame law professor Amy Barrett was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals last week, but not before having a notable exchange with Sen. Diane Feinstein who challenged her on a number of Catholic teachings and concluded: “The dogma lives loudly within you and that is concerning.” Sen. Dick Durbin probed another fine point of jurisprudence, asking: “Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?” Both senators voted against Barrett in committee and in the full Senate.
 
Feinstein and Durbin’s queries drew widespread criticism. Some suggested Democrats were hazardously close to imposing a religious–or more precisely, an anti-religious–test for confirmation. Other major media, however, pressed on, trying to keep nominees’ religious beliefs a viable question mark for confirmation. “Some Worry About Judicial Nominee’s Ties to a Religious Group” fretted The New York Times. The Times printed a lengthy article questioning Barrett’s membership in an interfaith group called People of Faith, that promotes integrating biblical principles into members’ personal and family lives. The Atlantic was surprisingly politically candid, and observed that conservative religious positions on issues like marriage or abortion will make nominees targets for interrogation. “What’s the line between examining a nominee’s religious convictions and believing those convictions disqualify her from serving the country?” The magazine was marking a path for Democrat senators to keep testing that line.
 
They are trying. Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse asked district court nominee Trevor McFadden about his church’s teachings on gay clergy, the definition of marriage, and the roles of mothers and fathers in families. Whitehouse then asked McFadden if he would be able to follow Supreme Court precedent that reaches results different from the tenets of his faith. National Review writer Ramesh Ponnuru illustrates that this seemingly reasonable question might seem less reasonable if Republicans quizzed members of liberal congregations whether they could fairly enforce such policies as immigration law or the First Amendment rights of religious employers who object to funding abortion. Best to query directly about matters of policy and philosophy directly, without rooting them in a nominee’s religious beliefs.
 

It’s also important to recognize the bigger picture. These questions are part of a longer term trend to marginalize traditional religious beliefs and make believers somehow exotic and unacceptable.

 

One early such skirmish arose from Sen. Marco Rubio’s famous interview with GQ Magazine, when, unrelated to any other topic, the interviewer asked Rubio how old he believes the earth is. Rubio, then thought to be an early presidential frontrunner responded a bit clumsily and noncommittally. Of course the game was to either force Rubio to affirm a personal belief the earth is 4.5 billion years old—disturbing some of his fundamentalist religious supporters–or to mock and stigmatize him–and all others—who might hedge on commonly accepted scientific knowledge.
 
This position, stretched to its logical end, amounts to demanding that politicians reject belief in God’s divinity and supremacy. That is, it countenances loyalty only to a god who exercises no will or power or doctrinal demands beyond passively upholding the principles set forth in Science 101. The random question was untethered from public policy, from issues in the US Senate, or measures Rubio might pursue. It arose from a singular goal unrelated to reporting current events: GQ wanted to conjure an effective wedge question and discredit or embarrass a believing conservative.
 
Major national media took that ball and ran with it. If unchecked, this trend will take politics in an ugly, anti-religious direction. The slope it heads down would eliminate the reasonable space of co-existence between matters of physical science and matters of faith, doctrine, and belief. Traditionally, it has been possible to accept and apply all the knowledge that science offers while still believing there is divine power and truth that can’t be caught and measured under a microscope.
 
Some on the left want to end the accommodation, leaving only the science text as publicly acceptable. I experienced this around the time of the Rubio story. A Democratic activist posted on social media chortling about Rubio’s discomfort. I responded by questioning the relevance and good faith of GQ’s question. Suddenly, several other liberals were on the thread, demanding my answer to the same query.
 
Their interest in getting a term-limited state lawmaker on record was surprising. Their reasoning was revealing and troubling. The earth’s age is determined by scientific measurements of carbon, radioactivity, and other phenomena. Those technologies also inform the operation of nuclear reactors, radiation therapy, and a host of other modern processes. If someone believes in a literal account of biblical creation, then he’s a threat to modernity, technology, comfort.
 
It’s easy to see where the demands of this absolute thinking can lead:
 
Do you believe in the Virgin birth? Then how can we trust you to oversee HHS programs and youth sex education? If you won’t swear absolute allegiance to the principles of biological reality and sexual autonomy, then you are a menace.
 
Do you believe there was a Biblical flood? Is that established in the geologic record? How can you be trusted to oversee the Department of the Interior, the Geological Survey or BLM?
 
Did Moses part the Red Sea? You must be kept away from the National Weather Service.
 
Do you believe Jesus walked on the water to his disciples in the boat? Then how can you oversee a Navy that relies on conventional flotation physics to design its ships?
 
Do you believe He ascended after His resurrection? You are disqualified from commanding the Air Force: It relies on Newtonian physics to harness aerodynamics.
 
Do you believe in resurrection at all? How can we trust you to make life and death decisions if you believe life is just a dress rehearsal and we all get a do over?
 
Only creativity limits the attacks on traditional faith and the grounds to exclude believers.
 
If the Left has its way, the only learning and belief that will be okay to acknowledge is what comes from public school. That must eclipse and silence anything that comes from Sunday School.

A Killing In Indian Country

In 1999 a fellow named Patrick Dwayne Murphy killed another fellow named Paul Jacobs in McIntosh County, Oklahoma. Jacobs, in a previous relationship, had fathered a child with a woman with whom Murphy was living when the murder occurred and the animosity between the two escalated into violence.

Murphy was convicted of murder in Oklahoma state court and sentenced to death.

Unfortunately none of what I have described so far is particularly unusual.

This part is unusual: in early August of this year the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver overturned the conviction of Patrick Dwayne Murphy.

Why did the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturn the conviction by a 3-0 decision? Because Patrick Dwayne Murphy is a Muscogee citizen and the murder occurred on the Creek Nation. The gist of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision is that the government of the state of Oklahoma has no jurisdiction over a Muscogee citizen on Creek land – that only the Federal courts have jurisdiction when an Indian is accused of a crime against a non-Indian in Indian Country.

By the way, ‘Indian Country’ is not shorthand for anything – it is actually a legal term with a defined legal definition in Federal Court.

Let us review some history to provide context around why this is an earth shattering decision and a monumental moment in returning to constitutional government.

Prior to 1907, if an Indian was accused of a crime, this was how it was handled:

If the crime was Indian on Indian in Indian Country then it was a purely tribal matter.

If the crime was Indian on non-Indian in Indian Country then it was a Federal matter.

If the crime was Indian on anyone not in Indian Country then it was a state matter.

Why was this the situation prior to 1907? Article I of the constitution defines the concept that the Federal, state and tribal governments had specific and defined sovereignty. Why was it not so after 1907, when the states proclaimed sovereignty over Indian Country? The reason was due to a series of congressional acts – most notably the Dawes Act, the Curtis Act and the Burke Act. ‘Indian’ is a legal status derived from Article I. Congress in the late 19th and early 20th centuries sought to rid its self of what it considered to be ‘Indian problems.’ As such they passed legislation intended to eliminate tribal governments, eliminate Indian Nations as legal entities and compel Indians to meld into the general population. ‘If you do not have anyone with the legal status of Indian and no Indian governments then you won’t have an Indian problem’ was how the general thinking went.

Two things happened over decades that torpedoed the Federal plan – Indians were much more resilient as coherent groups of people than congress ever imagined and along with that the amending of the Curtis Act with the Burke Act. The Curtis Act was intended to abolish tribal government entirely and place all Indians under the sovereignty of the states as individual residents of those states. On the eve of its’ implementation the Curtis Act was amended by the Burke Act at the behest of the railroads, mining companies and oil companies. The reason was simple – the railroads, mining companies and oil companies realized that under the Curtis Act as written they would have to negotiate with individual Indians for right of way and mineral rights and so forth. The Burke Act amended the Curtis Act in allowing the President to appoint someone to sign the paperwork that the railroads, mining companies and oil companies desired to be signed on behalf of groups of Indians. Hence the Burke Act kept the facade of tribal government alive – and along with it the concept of ‘Indian Country.’ The Burke Act allowed that the rights of all Indians of a particular nation could be signed over to a corporation by whomever the President of the United States deigned to do the signing for them – but to do that still required a pretension of national identity for the Indians.

This system was horribly corrupt but it kept at least the facade of the legal status of ‘Indian’ alive as well as the concept of Indian Country.

This system remained in place until a series of legal and legislative actions in the 1970’s blew away the facade and started the legal climb to reacquire the sovereignty of the nations – a climb that continues to this day with varying degrees of success and failure with different nations.

This takes us back to Patrick Dwayne Murphy being a Muscogee citizen who committed a crime against a non-Indian on the Creek Nation (by the way, the Creek Nation is a confederacy of Muscogee Indians – so you understand the terminology in this case). For the first time since 1907 a United States Federal Court has ruled that an Indian committing a crime against a non-Indian in Indian Country is not a state matter but a Federal matter. If this ruling stands, and the Attorney General of Oklahoma is appealing it to the Supreme Court, then it is the most direct assault on state sovereignty over Indian Country since Harjo v. Kleppe – depending on if it is precedent for other matters it may be the most direct assault on state sovereignty over Indian Country since 1907.

If you support constitutional government and you desire a return to constitutional government then you should be cheering this decision. This ruling is a body blow against the unconstitutional usurpation of the sovereignty of the Indian Nations by the various states.

“In conclusion, plaintiffs have asked the Court to vindicate certain legal rights guaranteed them by solemn promises of the United States, given over the course of a century and a half. While the credibility of these promises has been gravely undermined by various federal actions, culminating in the abolition of the tribe’s territorial sovereignty, the essence of those promises, that the tribe has the right to determine its own destiny, remains binding upon the United States, and federal policy in fact now recognizes self-determination as the guiding principle of Indian relations. Plaintiffs’ claim is, at bottom, simply an assertion of their right to democratic self-government, a concept not wholly alien to American political thought. Plaintiffs have demonstrated a clear legal entitlement to have these rights vindicated, and the Court cannot honorably do otherwise.” – Harjo v. Kleppe

Remembering My Navy Fighter Pilot Dad’s Service When He Was Practically a Boy.

My Dad Spencer Hatch died three years ago. I want to thank my sister, Mila Clark, for posting this account on Veterans Day 2014 on  her blog, PatrioticMoms.com. Visit her site and give her a like on Facebook here: facebook.com/PatrioticMoms/
Dad was a brave man, and I note, a crisp writer.

Unwarranted Despair

I do not know if I have ever in my life seen so much despair – unwarranted despair.

Why is that? I suspect it is because society has created a fantasy universe in which to dwell and many people have an impending sense that reality is about to intervene. Society has created a universe where the stock market only goes up and never down. Where – in the several thousands of years of interest rate history – global interest rates are at the lowest they have ever been and that will never change. A universe that has a single super power that cannot be challenged. A universe with endless economic growth, no matter how tepid that growth has become. A universe that has endless government benefits to address every conceivable personal issue. This fantasy stands in contradiction to everything we know about history, economics, math, culture and human beings.

Those who dwell in the land of reality are not the people that are despairing – they are preparing and holding on to what is permanent. The fantasy – and the despair – is predicated on retaining the ephemeral.

The fantasy is dependent on a universe where the endless debt that must be acquired in order to fund all of the above must never be paid back or defaulted on.

Where as Americans have historically been known for our courage we have now become dreadfully afraid of reality. Americans are afraid of a stock market that may go down instead of up. Americans are afraid of interest rates rising. Americans are afraid of other countries challenging our superpower status. Americans are afraid of economic decline instead of growth. Afraid that the gravy train of government benefits must come to a logical end. In a very real way Americans have become afraid of being human.

We have become horribly afraid of the reality that defines our being human.

We are afraid of what other people say. We are afraid of what other people do, even when it has not the slightest thing to do with ourselves. We refuse to trust anyone who does not agree with us on politics and culture and life. To paraphrase William F. Buckley, society is demanding diversity and then shocked and dismayed to find there are people out there armed with facts and data that might impugn the fantasy universe that the popular culture has created.

Underpinning all of this is debt. Personal debt. Corporate debt. Government debt. This entire culture that we have created is dependent on ever increasing debt. The national debt (that portion the government chooses to count) has risen $640 billion in the last eight weeks alone. The Federal debt is now increasing at $16 billion per business day. To quote David Stockman, “…a $5.7 trillion increase in the public debt in just six years since October 2011. That is, during a period which supposedly constitutes the third longest business expansion in US history.”

What do you think that looks like when times get tough?

Some more from Stockman: “That’s right. Way late in the business cycle—–between month #89 and month #101 of the expansion—-the debt is increasing at a rate just under $1 trillion annually. Yet there is virtually no one in the Imperial City or in the Wall Street casino who has even noticed.

Nor have they noticed that revenue collections continue to weaken—-even as a massive surge of spending for the four disasters since August—Texas, Florida, California (fires) and Puerto Rico—– crank up, along with the Donald’s sharply increased tempo of defense operations.

During the last four months (July through October), in fact, revenue collections came in at $918 billion. That represented just a 2.9% gain over the $892 billion collected in the same prior year period, and barely 1% in real terms after factoring in CPI inflation during the interim.”

The debt is that reality that will intervene – and not just government debt. The stock markets reached a new high this month in leverage, i.e. debt, just as a new high in leverage in the markets has been reached each month for many months now. The house that I paid $150,000 for less than seven years ago is now worth in the neighborhood of $400,000. Parking lots are full of new cars. Yet in September of this year the inflation-adjusted household income finally regained the level it was at in September of 2008.

What has propelled prices upward so dramatically if the average household has just regained the income level that it first attained nine years ago?

It is the historically unprecedented levels of debt that has propelled prices.

To quote Lance Roberts, “Since 2014 the economy has only grown by a little less than 9%, top-line revenues by just 3% along with corporate profits after tax, and reported earnings by just 2%. All of that while asset prices have grown by 29% through Q2.”

The zeitgeist is that the fantasy will never have to end – and those who despair at reality intervening also then comfort themselves by proclaiming that if it does end then it is all Trump’s fault.

Yes, it is that absurd. No wonder they despair.

A few random reasons I’m pleased Donald Trump won on November 8, 2016.

Let us count some ways…
 
Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks bold truth to the shameful and corrupt United Nations. They aren’t used to that.
 
Secretary James Mattis and US forces have refocused military priorities on effectively defending America and fighting its enemies. The conflict with ISIS has turned in a big way.
 
Secretary Rex Tillerson is not trotting the globe trying to surrender American interests to dictators and global terror leaders.
 
Secretary Scott Pruitt is working hard to bring reason and law to the pursuits of the out-of-control, lawless bureaucrats of the EPA.
 
Secretary Betsy DeVos is working to restore due process to accused students in universities, and working to retract micromanaging regulations in K-12 education.
 
Donald Trump withdrew America’s submission to the Paris Accord, forced unilaterally by Obama and Kerry.
 
Donald Trump is moving to withdraw Obama’s illegal subsidies to insurance companies to make Obamacare appear to work.
 
Donald Trump withdrew America’s participation in the globalist Trans-Pacific Partnership.
 
Donald Trump withdrew Obama’s unilateral bans on drilling in Gulf waters and in the Arctic.
 
Donald Trump refused to lie to certify that Iran is complying with the nuclear deal.
 
Secretary Rick Perry is working to allow energy production, not to choke it.
 
Trump and Pruitt withdrew Obama’s so-called clean power plan, a sweeping takeover of the electric grid and an assault on coal energy.
 
Donald Trump talks about enterprise, business, and profit like they are good for America, not like they are suspect, selfish pursuits that deserve scrutiny and a tight leash.

The Best Times, the Worst Times, and Riding the Powder Keg on November 3, 2017

The crackup is something to behold. Obama–and America’s exhaustion with Obamaism–left Democratic ranks devastated across the land. They’re just starting to grasp that grim state of affairs. But media and Democrat elites can’t come to process how anyone could be dissatisfied with the Great Smooth First, a really great phony in the incisive words of Thomas Sowell.
 
But they know something is amiss. Hillary was the last one steering the ship. She connected with normals about as well as a cold fish. The disaster must be her fault! The smaller fish are starting to nip and tear at her carcass while she’s still alive.
 

Socialist Bernie and Fauxcahontas the great redistributer and Kamala the California revolutionary are fighting for primacy in a party that wants to lead America hard left. But, Americans are so sick of being yanked left by the nose they are taking a whirl on the Trumpicopter. Establishment Rs and even Constitutional Rs are left dizzy on the ride, clinging by finger tips, not recognizing anything familiar or safe to aim for.

Meanwhile, technology and consumer toys proliferate like feral bunnies, even as people feel poorer and poorer. America reputedly has the most advanced medical care in the world, and a convoluted federal web that makes it unaffordable for millions.

 
The natives are restless and getting angrier at each other. The media becomes a parody of itself in its bid to regain stature or at least stay relevant. Progressive communists hope discontent yields fertile soil for people who like to burn streets and loot stores. Identity warriors living in the most civil-rights-fastidious society yet known to earth insist they are living a genocide, so they’re prepping for race war. Normals hope to find some kind of normalcy. Believers in the original Constitutional pattern hope Trump and Congress-even if just accidentally–can somehow slow the whirlwind enough for enterprise, institutions, and economic growth to restore some hope and attract more Americans to vote for limited government.
 
That last sounds like as much of a fantasy as the visions of the commies and the race warriors.
 
This is a Triple E ride for sure, destination unknown. 
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