In focus this week will be efforts by Palin and others, backed by digital ads, to win Virginia’s support for resolutions to use Article V of the Constitution to hold a convention of states and limit Washington’s power. A vote is scheduled Wednesday and has the support of the House and Senate Republican leaders.
“Three states have already successfully passed legislation calling for a convention of the states, and right now it’s Virginia’s turn,” said Palin.
“The beauty of this process is that neither the President nor Congress has the authority to stop it. It is truly in the hands of We the People,” she added.
Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota are voting on joining the convention this month also.
Category Archives: Amendments
National Journal’s Ron Fournier, a journalist whom I respect, is hardly a conservative. He’s said before he supported passage of the Affordable Care Act. And so it’s worth noting when someone like Mr. Fournier says, as he did the other night, that “the central attribute you have to have as any leader, in any walk of life and certainly in government is trust — and this president has destroyed the credibility of his administration, himself and government itself.”
Mr. Fournier’s judgment is a harsh one, but an entirely appropriate one. I take no joy in saying the president lies and then lies about his lies. But that is what the record shows, indisputably; and those lies have now caught up with Mr. Obama. They are having a corrosive effect on trust between him and the people he was elected to serve. It’s one thing to be inept, as the president surely is. It’s quite another to deceive and dissemble, to govern with the philosophy that the ends justify the means, and to act in ways that show contempt for the truth and for the American polity. This has been a hallmark of the Obama years, and it’s done irreparable damage to him, and great damage to our political and civic culture.
This is not what hope and changer were supposed to be.
All of which leads me to “The Lame Duck Congress,” one of my favorite episodes of “The West Wing.” As the episode begins, the Democrats have taken a shellacking in the midterm elections. President Jed Bartlet is considering calling a lame-duck session of the Senate to ratify the comprehensive test ban treaty. His staff knows that the crucial vote will be cast by Senator Tony Marino of Pennsylvania, a leading proponent of the treaty who has just lost his seat. Toby Ziegler, the White House communications director, is tasked with tracking him down, to be sure that Marino and the other votes he influences are on board with the idea of a lame-duck session.
Near the end of Act Three, the two men finally meet, and Marino drops a bombshell: If President Bartlet calls a lame-duck session, he will not vote to ratify. The following dialogue ensues:
MARINO: Toby, I’m a lame duck Senator. The people of Pennsylvania voted me out and Morgan Mitchell …
MARINO: Nobody expects, nobody expects. Toby, it seems to me that more and more we’ve come to expect less and less from each other. And I think that should change. I’m a senator for another 10 weeks, and I’m going to choose to respect these people and what they want. You call a lame-duck session now, and I’ve got to abstain.
The deftly written scene appeals to a principle of democracy often mooted nowadays but poorly understood. Winners like to say that elections have consequences. But the consequence isn’t — or shouldn’t be — “Now we can do what we want.” The principle should be, in the words of Gerald Ford (on quite a different subject) “Here the people rule.” The fictitious Senator Marino understands that. The voters considered his position on the issue and chose the other guy. That, for Marino, is the end of the matter.
Americans have a well-established constitutional right to record police officers as they publicly perform their duties. Yet cops across the country continue to harass and arrest people for exercising that right, using bogus charges such as wiretapping, resisting arrest, and interfering with police. Yesterday yet another federal judge issued a clear message to those cops: Cut it out.
The case was brought by Antonio Buehler, an Austin, Texas, activist who has had several run-ins with camera-shy cops. The first incident occurred on January 1, 2012, when Buehler pulled into a 7-11 in Austin to refuel his truck and observed a traffic stop during which police dragged a screaming passenger from a car and knocked her to the ground. After Buehler took out his phone and began taking pictures of the encounter from a distance, Officer Patrick Obosrki manhandled him and arrested him for “resisting arrest, search, or transportation.”
Buehler filed a complaint about the incident with the Austin Police Department but never received a satisfactory response. The experience led him to start the Peaceful Streets Project, which aims to help “individuals understand their rights and hold law enforcement officials accountable.” The organization routinely records police encounters “to prevent and document police brutality.” That work led to two more arrests of Buehler, both for “interference with public duties,” on August 26, 2012, and September 21, 2012. The third arrest again involved Oborski. On both occasions police took Buehler’s camera and never returned it.
In response to Buehler’s federal lawsuit, Oborski and several other officers claimed they did not realize he had a right to record them. But according to U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Lane, they really should have. In yesterday’s decision, which allowed the lawsuit to proceed, Lane cites “a robust consensus of circuit courts of appeals”—including the 1st, 7th, 9th, 10th, and 11th—that “the First Amendment encompasses a right to record public officials as they perform their official duties.” He also notes two decisions in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which includes Texas, “seems to assume, without explicitly stating, that photographing a police officer performing his official duties falls under the umbrella of protected expression.”
So what does it all mean? At root, this isn’t really about people like Thomas. It’s mostly about everybody else. It’s all about changing you and your self-concept. As fringy as they may sound, injecting such lies into our language—“the pregnant man” and the push to separate the word “pregnancy” from the word “woman”—are clear signals that we are moving steadily towards erasing all gender distinctions in the law.
And why should we care? Because erasing gender distinctions, especially as they apply to childbearing and rearing, would serve to legally un-define what it means to be human. A new legal definition of human—as neither male nor female—would apply to you whether you like it or not. Already, there is social pressure for everyone to comply with the gender theory notion that biological facts are mere “social constructs.”
We should especially care because we are well on the way to enacting such laws already. In November, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The law is based on the assumption that one’s perceived “gender identity” does not always “match” your sex “assigned” or “designated” at birth. So, the thinking goes, the law should allow a more ambiguous array of gender identities: male, female, both, neither, or something else entirely. It’s not an overstatement to say that ENDA is a huge step, mostly under the radar, to codify a new definition of humanity.
How else to describe a crusade with such far-reaching consequences for First Amendment rights? The legal destruction of gender distinctions will inevitably dissolve family autonomy, thereby uprooting freedom of association. Free expression becomes “hate speech” if one doesn’t fall into line with the directives of the transgender lobby or its pronoun protocol. Freedom of religion takes a direct hit any way you look at it.
Looking to lead the GOP into the future, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is trying to steer the party away from part of its not-too-distant past, arguing that incarceration is not the best way to help non-violent drug offenders get back on their feet.
The blunt-talking governor first declared the “war on drugs” a failure in 2011 and has since couched the argument in pro-life terms, saying treatment is more effective than tossing people in prison, as he looks to lay the foundation for a 2016 presidential campaign.
Governor Jerry Brown had requested a 20 percent decrease in statewide water use in his emergency drought declaration in January; according to the Sacramento Bee, state residents fell “well short” of that goal, cutting water use by just five percent between January and May of this year.
So, desperate for relief from the drought, California has invested $1 billion on statewide water recycling efforts, which means the state will essentially recycle waste water into drinking water. The method is actually much more cost-effective than desalination and can provide more water faster. However, according to the National Journal, people face a “psychological” challenge when drinking waste water.
“The problem with recycled water is purely psychological. Despite the fact that the water is safe and sterile, the ‘yuk factor’ is hard to get over, even if a person understands that the water poses no harm.”
Still, drinking recycled toilet water seems to be the best option for the state at this point. According to Slate, Orange County will tack on a $142 million extension to a water recycling plant that will bring in an additional 30 million gallons of drinkable recycled water when it opens in 2015. That means that Orange County “will soon produce twice as much water for less than one-third of the average cost of San Diego County’s desalination plant.”