…conservatism is neither identity politics for Christians and/or white people nor right-wing Progressivism. Rather, it is opposition to all forms of political religion. It is a rejection of the idea that politics can be redemptive. It is the conviction that a properly ordered republic has a government of limited ambition.
The Good Guys Win One For A Change
This is some of the best news ever: as The Wall Street Journal puts it, a “nearly three-year secret investigation that tried to muzzle conservative groups and cripple Governor Scott Walker” has been shut down by the Wisconsin supreme court. The losers can not appeal the decision to the federal supreme court.
Now of course Wisconsin “progressives” (including especially union officials) are upset with the decision, because Walker was able to overcome entrenched opposition to his reforms. The governor made the state government more fiscally responsible. That effort earned him enemies who, in the words of one of the state’s justices, “…employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing”.
So far, the editorial that celebrates the court victory, titled “Free Speech Liberation Day”, is available in full here. A sample:
The larger victory here is for democracy. Prosecutors tried to shut down the speech of their political opponents, but they failed thanks to the willingness of some of those targets to fight back.
Thus ends one battle in the constant struggle waged by greedy interests to use the government to gain special advantages. The rascals’ effort was effectively to prey upon the public treasury, while silencing their opponents by enmeshing them in legal tangles.
Would that all state governments and the federal apparatus could be similarly held to account. Unfortunately there is a Boss Tweed and an Eric Holder born every minute. Those rascals are more than willing to defy reform efforts, and they usually succeed. That’s why this refreshing win is so notable.
Iran’s Path To Nuclear Weapons
The question is whether the Senate should or will approve the Kerry-Obama treaty with Iran.
The pact Kerry has delivered
John Podhoretz (source, but you might not be able to access it without a password) makes his points plainly:
…though I’ve only made a preliminary pass at the deal sheet and don’t want to make definitive calls about it, it appears from the language that Iran will have twenty-four days before it has to allow inspections at its sites, none of which has been shut down or dismantled — which will make cheating unbelievably easy. And, while the president this morning declared that violations would make sanctions ‘snap back’, the only way they will do so is after a UN commission meets and agrees such violations have happened and then imposes them — which you know Russia will never allow. The president and the secretary of state are making large claims for the deal that are not true….
Ratifying the giveaway
Obama is clever, and he’s fooled the Republicans (a task that is much too easy). Keith Koffler, writing for his weblog, explains that The One Leader has an unlikely ally:
…a treaty requires a two thirds vote by the Senate to be accepted as law. (Republican Senator from Tennessee) Corker’s bill turns that on its head, allowing Congress to vote down the treaty with Iran but giving Obama veto power, which must be overridden by a two thirds vote. MEANING THAT INSTEAD (OF) NEEDING TWO THIRDS OF THE SENATE FOR HIS TREATY, OBAMA ONLY NEEDS ONE THIRD.
And that’s a victory for Congress?
What Corker has done is legitimize Obama’s power grab. Congress could have instead voted this treaty down on its own and then passed legislation withholding funding for its implementation. Obama could also veto the measure withholding funds, which would require the same two-thirds override. But at least the point would have been made that he was acting unconstitutionally, and he would be on record as defying the Congress. As a practical matter, this would have made it far easier for a future president to discard the Iran deal.
Religion plays its fell role
The rulers of Iran honestly believe they have a divine commandment: they know they are permitted to sacrifice all their countrymen — every man, woman, and child — in a holy effort to destroy Israel. Now when treating with people that depraved, Western Civilization’s envoys must understand their opposites will honor only their religion. Yet according to the pact that Obama insists is a step toward peace, if the Iranians are suspected of cheating, they will have 24 days to destroy or hide the evidence. That protocol is neither vigilant nor reassuring — it is insane.
Taking an effective stand against religiously-motivated blood lust means preventing a nuclear catastrophe that is beyond imagining. That could require the destruction of the Iranian weapon shops.
Yes, opinion here is that that it can be done.
A Reader Writes To This Newsletter
Re: Camille Paglia. Gotta love that lady. I have a great memory of her writing that I want to share.
In the early 1990s I first heard about her Sexual Personae (1990) — from a review in Reason magazine at that time — and I got it in paperback. I remember reading it during an extended winter expedition in the Adirondacks. The mountains were bare of snow, rocky with icy patches everywhere. I spent the better part of a week climbing to places I’d never been to before, traveling light from before dawn to after dark. I would come back each night to my tent (a lightweight one-pounder without a floor) and sit on the ice in my sleeping bag on my Thermo-lounger sleeping pad (which converted into a simple warm lounge chair with just two clips) reading Sexual Personae. It was minus 15 degrees F or more every night, and I stayed up late each night reading that paperback with ice-climbing gloves on and three balaclavas, with a lithium-battery headlamp that was untouched by the deep cold. However, the gum binding of the paperback did suffer as it cracked apart in the cold. It survived as a pathetic pile of pages.
I had the mountains to myself for almost a week, never seeing another human, and I spent each night in intimate communion with Camille. She made great company.
How Heavy Will The Burdens Be, And How Long Must They Be Borne?
The horror is compounded by undeniable facts: first, the nation harbors an unknown number of unidentified Islamofascist would-be mass murderers. That’s right: the FBI — if initial reports can be believed — did not have this recent murderer on its metaphorical radar.
Then estimates of the projected Muslim population of the USA are available.
The grim truth is that no matter what the number, and no matter how much money and authority are handed to the law enforcement apparatus, the USA is certain to have more deadly problems with elements of its Muslim population.
This newsletter long ago called for an end to Muslim immigration into the USA. That will not be suggested again, for events have gone too far; ill-advised political correctness prevails, and restrictive immigration policies will be furiously opposed.
Yet one must recognize emerging facts: the law enforcement apparatus can manage only an indeterminate amount of work without either breaking down or, much more likely, growing unconstitutionally powerful. Even a modest increase of police authority and vigilance would mean that in the interests of “security”, the freedoms of speech and association will be increasingly curtailed. Privacy will become suggestive of felonious activity, second amendment rights will be increasingly violated, and the ease of travel will be lost. One will frequently hear the stereotypical Nazi demand, “Papers!”; search warrants will become dramatically easier to get (or no longer necessary), and the citizen’s view of the FBI and other agencies will change dramatically. Extortion — “pay me, or I’ll tell the cops you are a terrorist” — will become more common (see the Footnote).
Things have already gone too far toward a surveillance state. One absolutely does not want to live in a society whose governing class directs the police to spy on all the nation’s citizens and residents. The paradigmatic regimes — the defunct German Democratic Republic, North Korea, Cuba — are not decent models for anyone.
In fact the USA is in serious trouble. Its multiple burdens can only grow heavier. No one can know how horrible the coming years will be, or how long the “religion of peace” will remain a lethal enemy of Liberty.
That said, this newsletter’s guess is that Islam’s evolution to ethical equivalency with Christianity will take five hundred to six hundred years.
It would be a bitter result indeed if Islam could destroy the USA’s Liberty without having to conquer the nation.
Extortion or simple harassment are currently not popular crimes, but as the police become more suspicious and more intrusive, the infractions will increase in frequency. There is a chilling precedent: the bizarre case of a collectivist criminal named Kimberlin. The complex tale is well summarized here. Kimberlin excelled at having his enemies’ homes invaded by SWAT teams. His example shows that vigorous, militarized policing already has been dangerously abused.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Has Its Critics
The view of some folks in the activist group Anonymous regarding the TPP is available here. Tip: since the video at the link is annoying, scroll down below the picture and into the Comments. Very near the top of that column, you will find the text of the video’s message.
The TPP is said not to include China, Thailand, Burma, Laos, South Korea, Indonesia, and The Philippines. That does raise questions.
Look, then, at the relevant Wikipedia entry. It contrasts sharply with the Anonymous screed on YouTube. Yes, the script of that video does remind one of the bitter but astoundingly silly objections raised to the USA’s Operation Jade Helm.
If and when there is a reason to denounce the TPP, this newsletter will do so. Until then, it is infinitely more rational to suggest that some Anonymous operatives are suffering from conspiracy paranoia.
How does the saying go? It’s something like, “Never forget that when you argue with an idiot, the idiot is similarly engaged.” Enough!
For those in the USA: bad news that’s easy to understand is always the hardest to accept — but it’s still news.
Here you have four minutes of video that offer a peek into the “socialist” China of Mao.
If Hillary is the inevitable president, perhaps you should want to know what her plans are for government programs that affect the economy. Here’s a perceptive analysis of what she says when she waxes specific.
You probably don’t need this, but here it is — just in case somebody who’s very scientifically sophisticated asks you about anthropogenic global warming.
Then there’s information to be had about the coming ice age. This climate change is of real concern. A drop of 5.16 degrees Celsius is not at all trivial!
Newt Gingrich is eternally optimistic, and he says he has good reason to be. Do investigate.
Trump? Here is a negative appraisal that recalls his history of political activity. Then there is the quintessential “wingnut” view: Trump is doing all he possibly can to secure the White House for Hillary.
Face it, Uncle Sam: the current regime in Iran does not like you.
This is hard to categorize: to some, it will be appalling, and it will recall the days when Maggie Sanger set out to reduce the absolute and relative numbers of African-Americans in the USA (that was her way of benefiting the nation). To others, it is capitalism at work: segments of the economy are harvesting, selling, and buying a commodity in a market that should be legal — but is not. For this newsletter, the real questions are these: given the severe penalties for those convicted of this activity, how is it that the practice is so common? Is this a law that should be repealed because no one wants to enforce it? Or are the people who break that law so clever and well-connected that they know they can proceed with their trade…as long as they are discreet? In any event, there has been a certain amount of media attention devoted to the video, and of course that has been generally supportive of the illegal trade. More information is available here. Next: think about what will happen when the commerce is legal.