Let Them Eat Cake

Peruse the news this morning: just five companies are responsible for 28% of the S&P’s 2017 returnsSynchrony, Capital One, and Discover have increased their provisions for bad loans by 36% already this year, 40% of Americans spend half of their income servicing debt, Bernanke says even a meager 3% growth in GDP is unlikely, and Mish Shedlock adds the capstone to the morning news by pointing out half of the country is living paycheck to paycheck.

As much as I rather despise Donald Trump I get it. The dynamic has to change. People – everywhere – demand a chance. Those chances cannot be limited to a select few geographical areas and the select few occupations that are the recipients of the largesse generated by Federal policy. We cannot continue with a political model that generates only 2% (or less) of economic growth but every single dollar of that small amount of growth ends up in the wallets of less than 10% of the population.
We cannot continue a political model where there are more people of working age not working than there are people employed in private-sector full-time jobs – yet that is the situation that for the last eight years we have been induced into believing is good and ‘Progressive’. The unthinking response of the automatons that by raising the minimum wage and bestowing further benefits on those who are unemployed and underemployed will quell this tidal wave of discontent is delusional. We tend to look back on Marie Antoinette allegedly saying, “Let them eat cake” and we wonder how someone could be so thoroughly obtuse. We then look at DC and state governments and the media and some of our neighbors and we fully understand Marie Antoinette.
“Let them eat cake” is the battle cry of half the country at the moment. Raise the minimum wage, give them more benefits but do not do anything to change the dynamic of the largesse flowing into the hands of the few – in other words let them eat cake.
People are demanding that the dynamic change – not for the dynamic to be accelerated.
Half the country has become invisible to the other half. They don’t exist, they don’t count and they most certainly are not to be listened to. One half of the country labels the other half as racist and homophobic and xenophobic and whatever rude things they can think of in order to satiate their conscience at being able to ignore and dismiss their plight. One half of the country believes that if they just supply the other half with more government cake then the other half will be grateful – and if they are not grateful it just goes to show why it was socially acceptable to ignore them in the first place.
Marie Antoinette indeed.

A Few Thoughts On Indians

A few random thoughts here this morning.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 – “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”
‘With’ the Indian Tribes, not ‘Within’ the Indian Tribes.
I advocate for the sovereignty of the Indian Nations because it is what the constitution calls for. You cannot say “I want the country to follow the constitution again – except for those parts about Indians!”
Intellectually and morally vacuous position.
Article 1, Section 2 – “Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”
How much more clear can it be? Now some folks say that because they granted U.S. citizenship to Indians at different points (for the Cherokee when you enrolled with the Commission of the Five Tribes, aka the Dawes commission, my family gained citizenship between 1900 and 1904 and every Indian was made a citizen in 1924) that this voids the constitution. The net result of taking that position is that it means the constitution can be amended via legislation and not the amendment process.
I do not subscribe to that belief.
All things considered the constitution is a good deal for Indians. In regard to Indians, the U.S. government departed from the constitution in the wake of the Worcester v Georgia decision when Andrew Jackson allegedly said “John Marshall has made his decision now let him enforce it.’ If he actually said it or not is irrelevant because that is exactly the position the administration adopted. Since that moment the United States Federal government has increasingly deviated from the constitution in regard to Indians and has never shown the slightest inclination to return to the constitution.
What we have since 1832 is a patchwork of legislation that represents congress repeatedly thinking that they knew better than actual Indians what Indians should be doing and how they should be doing it. This has taken us from one disaster to the next and congress eventually gets around to addressing the disaster caused by the previous legislation with further legislation which inevitably produces the next disaster until we have an illogical, counter-intuitive, nonsensical quilt of laws and regulations that no one can fully comprehend or figure out.
That is all.

Leftist Judicial Philosophy: Heads we Win. Tails Trump Loses.

Last week, a federal judge in San Francisco issued a lawless order declaring it is okay for cities to establish policies and welfare and law enforcement practices that ignore federal immigration law, but it is unconstitutional for the Trump administration to withhold federal dollars from the scofflaw cities. Well, the Supreme Court will see about that. In the meantime, the Left is having a hard time stifling its gloating over the string of federal judges who have been eager to play piñata with Trump’s immigration policies.

 

Senior Legal Editor for Slate Magazine Dahlia Lithwick gloated “Trump can’t win his battle with the judges.” My purpose here is not to track the legal arguments over defunding sanctuary cities or targeting immigration restrictions at certain nations. Rather, it’s to shine a light on the casino house rules the Left tries to enforce in the courts.

 

The gist of Lithwick’s argument is that Trump is a blunderbuss who huffs and puffs wordwinds, but judges are careful stewards of the law who apply the text and reach prescribed results. They bristle at the suggestion there is anything political about their swings and hits and batting average.
 

“Here is one thing I can say for certain about judges: In addition to having a generalized and free-floating anxiety about public attacks on their legitimacy and authority, they resent deeply any efforts to say that words—the sole implement of their craft—have no meaning or that those meanings are inchoate and shifting and may expand or contract with the president’s hastily tweeted words or fleeting feelings.”

 

Aside from Lithwick’s sleight of hand in switching the gusts out of Trump’s mouth or twitter account for the text of his executive orders (is she suggesting judges have to parse Trump’s public prose to review his written orders?) she also executes a startling somersault about the Left’s conception of the proper role of the judiciary. Since judicial construction or interpretive philosophy entered public consciousness during the Bork confirmations hearings, liberals have insisted strict construction, originalism, or other forms of adherence to dead text is a dead end for public justice. Fair rulings require a living Constitution, flexibility of statutes so judges can plumb behind the words to identity the intent of the legislature, and other tools that essentially liberate judges from following the law, and empower them to enhance the law.
 
Lithwick herself has been one of the bearers of these tidings. In a 2010 interview on NPR, she dismissed John Roberts’ metaphor that judges are umpires; they don’t call the plays or play the game, they call ball, strike, fair, foul, safe out.
 
“It made judges look like they were robots who really didn’t matter what their preexisting views were because all they do is, quote, ‘apply the facts to the law.’ But while it was clever, I think it’s really disserved the judiciary, because it makes it look as though judging is easy, and it’s just not.”
 
Well, it certainly takes verbal dexterity to perform the semantic gymnastics Lithwick favors over Neanderthal originalism. In a 2005 NPR interview, Lithwick discussed response she received when she invited readers to send her defenses of originalism or of a living constitution. She found the arguments of originalists quite angry and the submissions for a living Constitution brilliant and nuanced. Lithwick sums up that restraining judges to law with fixed meaning is It’s “very, very critically important, but I don’t think it gets you where you need to go in most of the hard, hard, close cases.”
 
So there we have it from Slate’s Senior Political Editor. Judges need a verbal free hand to reach just results—until they are accused of applying a political agenda to thwart a president. And then, don’t be silly. They are just doing their job and following the law.
 
 

Delegating Your Prerogative

I often share Andrew Breitbart’s quote that “Politics is downstream from culture”.

Lets talk about that some more. Over the last number of decades the American people have seen fit to delegate their individual prerogative in the matters of wisdom, kindness, judgment, common sense and charity to the government. Don’t believe me? The Federal government has been deciding which bathroom which individuals get to use – and using the Department of Justice to inflict that decision on the unwilling. It does not matter what you think about who uses which rest room, the point is what you think is now irrelevant. Stop and let that sink in. Your volition, your wisdom, your kindness, your judgment, your common sense, your charity is now completely removed from the equation. You are an irrelevancy on this topic.

Same thing with gay marriage, if you are for or against is now irrelevant – because you have delegated that decision to someone else what you think or want is now an irrelevancy.

Because we have collectively delegated this prerogative to the government that means all decisions concerning wisdom, kindness, judgment, common sense and charity are now political decisions. A major part of our political process is now arguing violently over which version of wisdom, kindness, judgment, common sense and charity will be inflicted on others. We see it in politicians and commentators daily when they say “I will make…” and “I will punish…’ – words which should never be flowing forth from politicians in a republic.

In 2017 we are no longer even debating the delegation of this prerogative – we are simply arguing over which politicians we will delegate our wisdom, kindness, judgment, common sense and charity to. We, as a culture and a society, have collectively accepted the delegation of the most basic individual decisions – and rights – to some person whom we do not even know to make those decisions for all of us. What is more – a driving force behind the vitriolic emotions is the ability to inflict on others, indeed on everyone, what we think the government mandated wisdom, kindness, judgment, common sense and charity will be. Politicians are fully encouraging their supporters to engage in making sure that their version of wisdom, kindness, judgment, common sense and charity is what the full force of government is used to make others comply with.

It gets even worse: people such as myself are accustomed to railing against the tyranny of the majority – now we have to adapt and rail against the tyranny of the plurality.

We have descended to the lowest common denominator. In selecting candidates we no longer debate policy – it would seem that 75% of Americans can no longer tell you what a policy is or why it matters – but we do debate which version of wisdom, kindness, judgment, common sense and charity will be inflicted on society. We are now deciding elections based on such things as which bath rooms someone will be forced to use or prohibited from using – as a result of Federal policy. We are debating what we will “make” other Americans do and how we will “punish” them if they do not do it.

At the end of the day – politicians and their followers on both sides are seeking to delegitimize and dehumanize the other side. That is the rationalization deployed in order to justify the use of force in order to make the other fellow do what is desired. That is always the rationalization deployed to justify the use of force against the other fellow. It is what we hear day in and day out – just look at social media.

As Breitbart said, “Politics is downstream from culture” and as a culture we have reached the place where our focus is on making ‘others’ – who both sides inevitably define as evil, un-American, immoral, on and on – do as we wish just as the ‘others’ are focused on making you do as they wish. Does not matter which side you are on here – they are both the same. Culture has reached the level of people believing that if I do not use force to make you do what I want, then you will use force to make me do what I detest. Politicians are arguing about how they will punish individual volition – and as a culture we are good with that. Think on that a bit.

Who loses in this cultural model? Everyone. There are no longer individual rights, there are no longer minority rights – there are simply political rights derived from the use of force.

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