Thursday, October 06, 2005

Iraq More Fair than U.S. Senate

In a stunning reversal, under U.S. and U.N. pressure, the Iraqi Parliament has revised rules under which the constitutional referendum will be voted upon. The former rules were the same rules that the U.S. Senate uses, in which 60 votes are necessary for cloture, the so-called filibuster rule. If only 61 Senators are available the day of the vote, the 60 votes are still needed. Iraq had approved the same rule for its constiturional referendum, where one third of registered voters in three provinces would be needed to reject the constitution. With this new rule, no more than one third of those voting are all that is required to upset the constitution.

Hypocrisy has been banished in Iraq, yet it still thrives in the good old U.S.A. Maybe we need an insurgency here.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A Test of Consistency

The nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers for the U.S. Supreme Court gives us a chance to see whether the conservatives in the Senate have the courage of their convictions. For decades they have attacked the Left for what is an undeniable inconsistency, which is their situational morals and ethics. The Left has earned their reputation for standing on principle when, and only when, it suited their purposes. Free speech is the easiest, and most egregious example. Only speech that fits their crooked worldview is acceptable. They are the first to scream about a supposed abridgement of their speech, and the first to condemn when speech makes them uneasy. Just ask Bill Bennett. Conservatives have been the ones attempting to restrain them, calling for a logical consistency on this and other issues.

Only last month conservatives were calling upon the Left to confirm the nomination of John Roberts on the basis of these constitutional principles. They were saying that, absent a dearth of competence, Senators had no choice but to vote Aye. Presidents had a privelege here that must be respected. They liked Roberts. Now comes Harriet Miers.

George Will says it best, but many on the Right are calling for her repudiation. I expect that this siren call will only increase. After all, most of what George says about her is apparently true. Will is a great writer and a logical thinker.
[T]here is no reason to believe that Miers's nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers's name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.

In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech. The day before the 2000 Iowa caucuses he was asked -- to ensure a considered response from him, he had been told in advance that he would be asked -- whether McCain-Feingold's core purposes are unconstitutional. He unhesitatingly said, "I agree." Asked if he thought presidents have a duty, pursuant to their oath to defend the Constitution, to make an independent judgment about the constitutionality of bills and to veto those he thinks unconstitutional, he briskly said, "I do."
But, this same George Will used the opposite reasoning when he supported the nomination of John Roberts to the court.
At the risk of revealing a serious empathy deficit, one might ask: What is the importance of a Supreme Court justice's understanding the problems of lettuce farmers in California's Central Valley? How, in the course of performing his judicial duties, does a justice reach out to, and stay in touch with, those farmers? Perhaps Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, two of Feinstein's pin-ups, routinely do the empathetic things that Roberts, Feinstein has decided, does not know how to do, or is too emotionally impoverished to do. But how does any of what Feinstein was talking about pertain to judging?
It is time for a little consistency here. I agree with most of George's argument. Miers seems to be exactly the lightweight that he says she is. She supported Al Gore and the international Criminal Court. As recently as a decade ago she was a certifiable bleeding-heart liberal. Yet....

The President of The United States has the privelege to appoint anyone he wants. So long as his pick is competent with an unsullied reputation, there is no basis, either in the constitution or in precedent, for rejecting her. Conservatives knew when they supported his initial run for the presidency that Bush was a compassionate conservative. That he, like his father before him, was not a real conservative. Now that he will never again have to face the voters, he can be expected to revert to type. But the whole idea of conservativism is a fealty to a set of rules. Rules that, to a conservative, do not change with the whims of people, but rules that serve a larger purpose, that were here when we arrived, and will be here long after we are gone. The term conservative itself could be exchanged with consistent without changing its meaning, as a descriptor of its eponymous political movement. In fact, calling us Consistents is more accurate than calling us Conservatives. At least it used to be. But it would not be, if we fail to support Ms. Miers. Senators should, as they did with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, grit their teeth and vote Aye. Consistency demands it. Fealty demands it. And, if they need just a little bit more, they can console themselves that her background, and the conservative argument against her, is almost exactly the same as that pertaining to Rehnquist himself. Senators, vote to confirm Miers. Be consistent.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Katrina, Race, Silence, and Bill Bennett

The opponents of affirmative action legislation, starting in 1965, pointed out that the policy must fail - indeed, had always failed - because it was a temporary policy that, by its very nature would be permanent. That, once instituted, it could never be repealed. That it violated the fourteenth amendment, that mandated that all people be treated equally. They were right. What they failed to apprehend, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina revealed, is that it creates in its beneficiaries an unnatural dependency on the beneficent class. As news video showed, while poor whites fled, poor blacks waited for rescue. Then they, and their apologists, blamed the federal [White] response, while making excuses, and just plain giving a pass, to the local [Black] response.

Now Bill Bennett, a crusading anti-racist and abhorrer of abortion has the temerity to allude to the fact that blacks are more prone to violent crime than whites, or indeed the population of the U.S.A. as a whole. How foolish of him. What he forgot, just for a moment, is that, while whites refuse to use race as a weapon, the blacks see race as their most effective crutch. How can they ever improve their lot in life if they refuse to face the reality - that their culture, or whatever it is, foments violence, dependency, and racism, while it eschews education and self reliance. And those members of their own community who fail to hew to this line are lambasted for "acting white."

Aside from this is the thesis that the economic vitality of nations are dependent upon the I.Q. of their citizens. This may be a painful idea to grasp, but blacks do not fare well on I.Q. tests. No matter how racially neutral such tests are made, even non-verbal I.Q. tests show blacks to score lower than other races. As J. Phillippe Rushton has written (J. Philippe Rushton - Race and I.Q and J. Philippe Rushton - I.Q. Map) a country's prosperity is closely related to the average IQ of its population. In fact, "well over half (about 58 per cent) of the differences in national wealth can be explained in terms of national differences in average intelligence. Each IQ point above 70 in the national average was worth about $850 in per capita GDP."

But we are not allowed to speak of it. When Jamie Glazov, of Front Page Magazine tries to get a conversation on this subject going, all he can get is denunciation - of his source, or his motives, but precious little discussion on the merits. (Katrina, Race and Silence) And poor Bill Bennett is piloried. Al Campaneris and Howard Cosell similarly were made to suffer for speaking truth to the race hustlers, or those to whom no one dare speak truth. But they can not silence us all.

No one takes on the subject better than Fred Reed, who asks the questions the way they must be confronted, which is squarely. (Fred Reed On Katrina Looting) However it is stated, we have a problem here. In an ironic way this is similar with the problem we have with Fundamentalist Islam. That is, this is really their problem to solve, yet all of us suffer if the problem goes unaddressed. Violence and Ignorance can only be fought if we can admit their existence. We can solve nothing with silence.