Justice Antonin Scalia — 1936 -2016 (An homage and Open Thread)

Antonin_Scalia_2010I thought I’d make a few comments here and then leave this as an open thread about Justice Antonin Scalia and the effect his passing will have on the political scene.

1. He was a great writer. One of the things I figured out 35 years ago is that Leftist justices are horrible writers. At first, I thought this was a coincidence. I eventually realized, though, that if you have to cite three different cases in order to support four disparate points in a single sentence, you’re not relying on precedent. Instead, you’re just making it up as you go along, and dressing it up in a slimy filament of ostensible case authority. Scalia’s decisions never fell prey to that pernicious habit. He wrote in a clear, declarative fashion, looking first to the Constitution and then at legitimate case precedent flowing from it. When I read his decisions, I didn’t feel as if I was suffering from brain death; I felt stimulated.

2. He was a true constitutionalist. Aside from the vigor and intelligence that shaped his opinions, Scalia’s true genius was that he trusted the Constitution. He believed that America’s greatness and her citizens’ freedom were rooted in that contract and gave it his complete loyalty. He never allowed faddishness to deflect his focus on the rights the Constitution grants to Americans and the limitations it places on government. He was, in other words, the antithesis of a big government judicial activist.

3. He was a good friend. Every lawyer knows about the fact that Scalia was able to separate the personal from the political. He forged strong friendships with his fellow justices, no matter their ideological outlook.

4. I met his son once. A nice young man. We sat at the same table at a legal seminar.

5. McConnell, thank goodness, says that he will not be scheduling any hearings to replace Scalia during the last few months of Obama’s term. Sure, the next president might be Hillary or Bernie, but the next president could also be Cruz, or Rubio, or even Trump. My sense is that, given the chance, Trump would appoint Judge Judy and, I have to say, Judge Judy would be a huge improvement over anyone a Leftist president would appoint.

6. I have to share with you the things that are cropping up on the Lefter side of my Facebook feed. Some originated with my Leftist friends; some are things they “liked” (such as the Gov. Jerry Brown thing), and that therefore showed up on their feeds:

“Would the Republicans block it if President Obama nominated Hillary Clinton?” (No, of course not, because there’s nothing like putting on the Supreme Court a soon-to-be indicted woman who devastated American national security.)

From Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown: “Couldn’t Mitch McConnell have the decency to at least wait until the funeral before playing cynical politics with this vacancy. Such obstruction and sheer arrogance is unconscionable and deserves the condemnation of all Americans.”

Speaking of swift political action, could Obama have had the decency not to include in his bland, colorless statement his intention to nominate someone? (“I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibility to nominate a successor in due time.”)  And could Obama have found a moment to put on a tie out of respect? In light of the fact that Scalia was a Supreme Court justice who had served for thirty years, I think this image is disgraceful:

Tieless Obama regarding Scalia's death

Bernie Sanders very graciously said, “While I differed with Justice Scalia’s views and jurisprudence, he was a brilliant, colorful and outspoken member of the Supreme Court.” If you dislikes a person’s politics, that’s a classy way to remember them.  Bernie may love his murderous communist dictators, but he can still present as a decent human being.

“I wonder how quickly President Obama can get a Supreme Court Justice approved?” (Not very quickly at all, God willing.)

A young man marked the occasion by putting this quote from Clarence Darrow on his Facebook page: “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.”  (Too bad I don’t know that young man’s name, or I’d start scanning the obituary pages myself.)

“And Obama is still in office to appoint a more healthy Justice to the Supreme Court.”

“Now that Scalia is gone, who will help Clarence Thomas?” (And don’t you just love that oozing, suppurating racism?)

[VIDEO] Did the Cruz campaign come up with the best campaign video of the season?

Hillary takes out the serverOne of the things Ted Cruz is trying to do to distinguish himself from the old white socialist hippie farts on the Democrat side of the aisle is to come up with campaign promotional material that’s a little hip and edgy.  Although it’s 17 years old, the movie Office Space, which Mike Judge wrote, still maintains that hip and edgy vibe.  I know that my teenagers thought it was hysterical.  Here’s one of the pivotal scenes from that movie:

And here’s the Cruz campaign parody, which is garnering rave reviews:

Watcher’s Council winners for February 12, 2016

As is always the case, it was a good week at the Watcher’s Council. Please check out the Weasel of the Week and the Forum too.


The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match up.

““The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.” “ – Jeff Cooper, Art Of The Rifle

“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Madison

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”– William Pitt the Younger, Speech in the House of Commons, November 18, 1783

Stately McDaniel Manor

This week’s winning essay isStately McDaniel Manor’s Schools and Concealed Carry: Overregulation and Micromanagement . It is a characteristic of bureaucracy that even in pursuit of common sense, desirable goals they almost always manage to gum up the works! Mike McDaniel’s excellent piece does a fine job of showing how that can work. Here’s a slice:

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[VIDEO] Wonderful modern Yiddish humor

I can’t tell if I found this video incredibly funny because I love the sound of Yiddish* or if it’s actually funny standing alone. What do you say?


*I’m a total dope at learning languages, but I’ve always suspected that if there were a language I could manage to learn, it would be Yiddish. That language just resonates with me, unlike any other foreign tongue.

The Bookworm Beat 2/11/16 — the “watching the political parade” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265As this election year’s craziness continues, I keep trying to keep myself from getting upset. My mantra is that I should save my energies for things I can change, either directly or through my own small contributions. For everything else, I need to relax and watch the passing spectacle. That’s what this post is all about.

Socialism’s shortages kill people.  One of the hallmarks of socialism is shortages, with Venezuela being the latest example.  Canada has socialized medicine.  (They also have cheap drugs, but that’s because American companies invest in R&D, costs they recoup by passing on to American drug purchasers, while the Canadian government helps supplement drug costs.)  That’s why a teenager in Canada who could have had a stem cell transplant died — the donor was available, but the hospital beds weren’t.

Unemployment is a core feature of a centralized economy.  The theory behind a centralized (i.e., government managed) economy is that everyone works and everyone benefits.  The reality is that the more the government manages the economy through taxes and rewards to cronies, the more it stifles individual initiative — and the result is unemployment.  With the Obama economy staggering into its eighth year, one can’t really blame millennials, who have never seen a functioning free market, for thinking that the best they’ll ever get is more government hand-outs, courtesy of Bernie.

The media is trying to ignore Ted Cruz to death, but he’s still the strongest conservative candidate.  The media willingly gave Donald Trump free advertising by covering him endlessly.  It wasn’t just that he was “so clever” that he played them.  They wanted to be played because they believe that, outside of his core 35%, he’s unelectable.

Ted Cruz, on the other hand, is scary.  After all, Rush anointed him the closest thing we’ll see to Reagan in our era.  Since savaging Cruz hasn’t been working, the media is trying a new tactic:  ignoring him.  That is, they are deliberately denying the American people a chance to hear from a top-ranking presidential candidate.  Gawd, but our media is corrupt.

Still, Ted Cruz plays the long game, and Fox News Latino thinks he’s still got game.  Philip Klein also thinks that New Hampshire is anomalous, since it’s kind of like Europe in that even its conservatives are Leftists.  Look at the rest of conservative America, and Cruz is still the last conservative candidate standing.

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Black Lives Don’t Matter . . . to the power-mad, punitive Black Lives Matter movement *UPDATED*

black_lives_matterChildren intuitively understand that the person who can cause pain is the person with the most basic, easily-accessible form of power around.  No matter how many times I told my two when they were little that making someone feel happy is every bit as much a show of power as making them sad or hurt, when the lust for power came upon them, they tried to inflict sorrow and pain on family, friends, and enemies every time.

Expressing power through inflicting pain is quick, easy, and satisfying to the most primitive, undeveloped parts of our brains.  Which gets me to Leftists….

Not too long ago, I wrote a post explaining that Leftists have a punitive governing style.  The free market metes out natural consequences, both good and bad.  If you create a desirable product or offer excellent service, the market will reward you with money.  Conversely, if you create a shoddy product or offer lousy service, sooner or later the market will catch up with you and punish you, again financially.  How the market treats you depends on how you treat the market.

Leftists, however, like to hand out consequences based upon metrics they determine, which are quite often unrelated to bad market behavior.  Profits, which are a good thing in an honest market, are bad things to socialists.  Bernie therefore promises to use the power of government to punish those who dare to profit too much (with “too much” being defined by Bernie’s subjective standards).  Likewise, socialists don’t believe in natural market-based rewards for good products and services.  Instead, they believe in using the power of government to reward their friends and cronies.  Everyone who doesn’t earn a reward is bad and, therefore, merely by existing as an unrewarded actor in a socialist economy, satisfies the Left’s lust for punitive power.

This Leftist love affair with the dark side of power animates what is currently the loudest movement on the Left — the Black Lives Matter movement.  Like locusts swarming crops, the Black Lives Matter activists are never still.  Instead, they’re constantly in motion identifying and punishing new “racial perpetrators.”  First, with the springboard of the Michael Brown “hands up; don’t shoot” canard, it was police forces, even though in many majority black communities, the police are a very thin blue line indeed between black predators and their black prey.

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[VIDEO] Cruz ad attacks Donald Trump on eminent domain and campaign donations

Ted Cruz anti-Trump adThis Ted Cruz video, which attacks Trump for donating to Democrat politicians and for using eminent domain for his own profit, has gotten high praise in some quarters, but I have to admit that it doesn’t work for me, for four reasons:

First, I don’t like using kids to sell products.  I find them fundamentally uninteresting.

Second, I had a hard time understanding at least half of what they said.

Third, in part because the kids were so unintelligible, I couldn’t figure out what point they were making with regard to eminent domain, which really is an Achilles’ heel for Trump — and I’m someone who stays abreast of political information.

Fourth, Trump’s has a good response on campaign donations, which is that he is an American businessman who’s played the game by greasing all the wheels, left and right.  You need a harder hitting commercial explaining just that point — why it may be good business, but it’s dishonest politics and damages America in profound ways over the long run.

Overall, I think the Cruz team has put out some great ads and done fine “rapid response” work.  This one isn’t the one for me, though.  What do you think?

New Hampshire wrap-up open thread

New Hampshire resultsI won’t lie: I’m not happy with Trump’s victory. I don’t believe Trump is a true conservative; I think he’s a Trumpista, who heads the cult of himself. To that end, I’m concerned that he’ll say or do whatever it takes to capture the national zeitgeist to his advantage.

The one other point I want to make is that New Hampshire is a microcosm of everything I’ve said is the problem with Open Primaries: Party members don’t get to pick their own candidate. Instead, it’s a statewide free-for-all, with people free to make mischief for the other side’s candidate.

I strongly suspect that, if someone breaks down the numbers, Trump got the smallest percentage of his votes from actual conservative Republicans. As someone who lives in an Open Primary state, I resent the hell out of a system that allows people who do not support conservative values to help select the so-called “conservative” candidate.

At this rate, what we’ll end up with in this election is the “Democrat” party fronting a socialist, and the “Republican” party fronting a big government Democrat (that would be Trump, who believes as devoutly in the government as the Democrats do). What true conservatives want, of course, is SMALL GOVERNMENT. That option looks as if it’ll be off the table in this election, and that does not bode well for America’s future.

End of rant. Now it’s your turn.

The Bookworm Beat 2/9/16 — the “nothing about New Hampshire here” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265All of the posts I’ll link to pre-date today’s New Hampshire primary. This is a NH primary-free zone. You might find it refreshing. And now, to the good stuff:

Trump could destroy conservativism in America for decades.  I think Charles Krauthammer hits the ball out of the park on this one (not to mention hitting the nail on the head):

The threat to the GOP posed by the Trump insurgency is not that he’s anti-establishment. It’s that he’s not conservative. Trump’s winning the nomination would convulse the Republican party, fracture the conservative movement and undermine the GOP’s identity and role as the country’s conservative party.

There’s nothing wrong with challenging the so-called establishment. Parties, like other institutions, can grow fat and soft and corrupt. If by establishment you mean the careerists, the lobbyists, and the sold-out cynics, a good poke, even a major purge, is well-deserved.

That’s not the problem with Trump. The problem is his, shall we say, eclectic populism. Cruz may be anti-establishment but he’s a principled conservative, while Trump has no coherent political philosophy, no core beliefs, at all. Trump offers barstool eruptions and whatever contradictory “idea” pops into his head at the time, such as “humane” mass deportation, followed by mass amnesty when the immigrants are returned to the United States.

Turning our military into a vast climate change boondoggle. The worst news this week was the announcement that, as Islamic jihad gets more aggressive around the world, climate change will become the military’s top priority. Only old-fashioned war-mongering fascists will cling to the outdated notion that the military’s top priority is defending America against foreign enemies.

A couple of comments. First, I’ve already seen this pivot to climate change in action during Fleet Week in San Francisco. The Navy ships I’ve visited, rather than boasting about their military capacity, boast about their carbon footprint (or lack thereof).

Second, this will turn the military budget into the greatest, and most corrupt, slush fund ever in the history of American government. The only good thing will be that, once the military is a giant green machine that can’t fight, but does use little batteries to power its tanks, we’ll stop hearing from inane Leftists horrified by the thought that their children, who enjoy the benefits of a nation under the protection of the greatest military in the world (and one, moreover, subject to constitutional control), might actually view our military as a blessing, rather than a curse.

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