Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Persistance of Blindness
A few days earlier, photographs emerged of young residents relaxing on folding chairs as they watched the bombing. Some smoked water pipes; others had brought popcorn. On one level, the “Sderot cinema” sums up the asymmetry of this so-called conflict: of Gazans huddled in terror as a military superpower pounds their overcrowded, besieged open-air prison camp; while on the other side of the border, Israelis joyously celebrate their country’s military might, whatever fear they have of Hamas rockets eclipsed by the thrill of bombs detonating in the near distance. It is also illustrative of how occupations corrupt the occupier. “What a misfortune it is for one nation to subjugate another,” Friedrich Engels wrote in 1864, referring to Britain’s oppression of Ireland. “All English abominations have their origin in the Irish pale.” And so it goes with Israel and Gaza.The "open air prison camp" of Gaza once was occupied by Ottoman Turks for centuries then by WWI winners, then by Egypt, from 1948 until 1967, that is, from the first attempt of the Arabs to destroy Israel to the second. And when I use the word 'occupy' I use it in its plain, everyday meaning, which is, actually to have troops of the occupying country in the occupied country. Israel occupied Gaza through the third attempt to destroy Israel in 1973, when Israel captured all of the Sinai while defeating Egypt et al. decisively. There was finally a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in 1979 and Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt. They offered to return Gaza too, but the Egyptians didn't want it back. The Israelis left Gaza in 2005. That's actual history.
Let's skip to the last paragraph, which contains the cognitive dissonance which is the result of pretending non-occupation is occupation.
For those who want peace – including an end to the occupation and the dismantling of every settlement – it is tempting to demonise Israeli supporters of this latest offensive. But it is futile and self-defeating. The occupation will not end until the rationales that sustain it are understood. As Palestinian children are killed, that may seem like a lot to stomach, but it is no less necessary.Mr. Jones says that those who want peace in the area want an end to the occupation and the dismantling of every settlement, among other things. But that is exactly what Israel did with Gaza in 2005. They ended the occupation and dismantled and removed every Israeli settlement. Did they get peace? Or did they get thousands of rockets and mortar rounds launched into Israel?
I am willing to bet a mortgage payment Jones doesn't realize how history and this last paragraph thoroughly guts his entire argument, if not his peculiar Weltanshauung.
Friday, July 18, 2014
So, when this case ultimately reaches the court, the ACA’s fate would again rest in the hands of Roberts, just as it did in 2012. If Roberts is true to his pragmatic judicial philosophy, he should find the challengers’ reading unconvincing. He has repeatedly held that, where fairly possible, a court should interpret an ambiguous law in a way that avoids finding the law unconstitutional. It was that principle that led him to vote to uphold the individual mandate and should lead him to side with the Obama administration in this latest round of attacks. (Emphasis added).
That bold section is accurate law and it did clearly inspire the Chief Justice in an earlier case to hold the ACA constitutional, as it should have. But there is nothing about unconstitutionality in the case Tribe and I are talking about. The case in front of the DC Circuit involves merely a matter of making the executive branch enforce the law as written. The do what you can to uphold a law's constitutionality rule does not apply. Tribe apparently whishes it would as it would probably dictate the result again. But it's not there.
So we got that going for us, which is nice.
Each Side is a Mystery to the Other
There is an existing tension between conservative rank and file Republicans and Republican party leadership—between those who insist on maximizing the GOP's existing power as a Congressional party, and those who prefer to eschew politically unsupportable exercises of power for the sake of the party's national standing. A GOP victory in November would encourage both factions to pull harder in opposing directions.This guy doesn't know squat about the political ambitions of the Republicans and the main fault line which exists to divide the party. There is, alas, such a fault line, probably more like the borders of tectonic plates, but it's nothing like this guy describes.
This is more accurate, at least I hope it is more accurate, about the effect of a Republican majority in the Senate.
The flip side, of course, is that Republicans would gain agenda setting power. If they were disciplined with this new power, they would splinter the Democratic minority and force Obama to veto popular legislation—something he and Hillary Clinton and everyone else in the Democratic party have every interest in avoiding.
And we could stop cold the deleterious, long term effects of the President and Senate putting nothing but lefty judges into the federal judiciary. That alone is worth a lot of work and sacrifice by the right.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Dispatches From A Planet Not Our Own
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.
Seumas Milne at the ultra left Guardian has a disturbingly alien look at a small part of Earth, the Gaza, here. I have no idea how to pronounce his first name.
I use the headline and the word 'alien' above because I can't believe Mr. Milne is anything but a late arriver here on our lovely planet. He certainly seems to know very little about the Middle East. Behold.
For the third time in five years, the world’s fourth largest military power has launched a full-scale armed onslaught on one of its most deprived and overcrowded territories.Is he talking about Gaza, from which Israel left, forcing out all its settlers, nearly nine years ago? Why yes he is. How is a wholly un-occupied Gaza one of Israel's "territories"? I'm gob smacked. He doesn't let up.
But instead of demanding a halt to Israel’s campaign of collective punishment against what is still illegally occupied territory, the western powers have blamed the victims for fighting back.The Israelis are not occupying Gaza. That's just a well established fact. Does the United States occupy Mexico because we guard the border between us and Mexico. Wait, that's a bad example. Ah, does South Korea occupy North Korea because it guards the border between it and perhaps the worst place on Earth? I mean wouldn't you have to have occupying forces to actually, uh, occupy a foreign country in order to make it occupied? One would think so. Is there an explanation for this groundless belief of Mr. Milne? Well, no but at least he tries.
The idea that Israel is defending itself against unprovoked attacks from outside its borders is an absurdity. Despite Israel’s withdrawal of settlements and bases in 2005, Gaza remains occupied both in reality and international law, its border, coastal waters, resources, airspace and power supply controlled by Israel.
OK, so at least he knows that the Israelis withdrew completely from Gaza nine years ago. Let's parse the rest. Milne says that Gaza today remains occupied both in reality and international law. Well, perhaps international law occupation could be argued but not "in reality" occupation. Milne says the border is controlled by Israel. So every guarded border makes the adjacent country occupied in fact? So every country occupies in fact the country next to it? Come on, that's just stupid. Milne says the Israel controls the coastal waters. I believe that's true if by control you mean tries to guard against delivery by sea to Hamas and Gaza military munitions, mortars and rockets. Milne then goes completely gaga saying that Israel controls Gaza's resources. What resources? What control? Mindblowingly deceitful that. Airspace control? You mean they control the flight paths of the rockets the Arabs in Gaza are launching into Israel?
But there is one thing Milne has exactly right. Israel does control the power supply in Gaza but that's because the Israelis generate the electrical power the Arabs use in Gaza. And we all know that supplying electrical power across the border between countries is a well established form of illegal occupation. That was sarcasm and I have to point it out because someone of Milne's ilk would be twit enough to think I was meaning what I said. OK, so all in all, Israel does not occupy Gaza but defends against its citizens trying to kill Israelis by preventing them from getting rockets etc. and sometimes degrading their ability to keep launching rockets by direct application of IDF munitions.
But here's my favorite part:
But the idea that Israel is responding to a hail of rockets out of a clear blue sky takes “narrative framing” beyond the realm of fantasy. In fact, after the deal that ended Israel’s last assault on Gaza in 2012, rocketing from Gaza fell to its lowest level for 12 years. (Emphasis added).
OK, so the idea, to Mr. Milne, is that it is absurd to think that Israel is responding to a "hail of rockets out of a clear blue sky" just because there is a hail of rockets coming out of Gaza and into Israel out of a clear blue sky. And why is it absurd to think that? Because the hail of rockets coming out of Gaza is at its lowest level in 12 years. I really don't have anything further to say about the Milne idea of comparative rocket launch rates equaling no rockets. Math does not seem his strong point. Having an unpronounceable first name seems his strongest point.
A normal person would think that Gaza residents stopped rocketing their neighbor so much after the 2012 incursion to stop rockets because Israel did a good job of diminishing the Arabs' ability to launch them. But not this genius.
How many American Jews consider themselves on the left? 60-70%? Why? The left hates them, and always has.
UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer agrees with me (which is a good thing) and adds some very helpful history to the mix here.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Judges Who Care
We're all waiting for the DC Appeals Court to rule on a question of statutory interpretation of a clear line in the ACA (aka Obamacare). The decision is coming soon.
Here's the line in the ACA (subsection 1401):
"The premium assistance amount determined under this subsection with respect to any coverage month is the amount equal to the lesser of—
That last is pretty specific and plain on its face. And for the record the federal exchanges that are set up when a state elects not to set up an exchange are governed by 1321, a wholly different section.
Now lest you think this is just sloppy writing by the drafters of the bill, know that this exact formulation about state exchanges is repeated in multiple other sections in the act. Certainly the bill drafters assumed that every state would rush to set up an exchange (but they couldn't directly force the states to do so as that would be unconstitutional). They assumed wrong. More than 2/3rds of the states did not set up exchanges. Oops.
Although the federal government cannot order the states to do things, they can dangle carrots before the governors which entice the states to bend to the federal will. (A classic example is the federal desire to raise the drinking age back up to 21 and the carrot the feds used to make every state toe the line was highway funds-- 21 will get you several hundred million, 18 will get you nothing. All 50 states have a drinking age of 21). So the ACA drafters tried the carrot method, ineffectively, with the state exchanges. Build them and health insurance "premium assistance" will come, don't build an exchange and your citizens get no help.
So, someone is suing the government (former Secretary Sebelius to be exact) to get a statutory interpretation by a court that 1401 actually means what it says, that is, a ruling that premium assistance is not available in 30 some states, which only have exchanges established by the federal government under 1321. Such a ruling will make full implementation of this train wreck legislation very, very difficult. It may well implode rapidly and have to be repealed in full.
I wish! As with the Worker's Comp statute above, the DC Court judges will have to care about doing their job, will have to care about following the clear rules of statutory interpretation. They could well punt on doing their jobs and say close enough--they didn't mean to limit assistance to just the state exchanges. Courts do that lazy "close enough" fake interpretation (actual rewrite) nearly every work day here in America.
But the good news is that any ruling will be appealed by the losers and that will give the Supreme Court a second chance to drive a stake through the heart of this statist abomination/statutory scheme. With all the serious problems with the ACA and the lawless way it has been "rewritten" by the President, becoming clearer and worse, respectively, with the passage of time, Chief Justice Roberts may well choose this time to wield the stake.
A man can dream, can't he?
UPDATE: The dream comes through in the US Court of Appeals (DC Circuit). Two out of three judges actually do care.
Monday, July 07, 2014
Lefty Voter ID Myths Busted
Sunday, July 06, 2014
Constitutional Rights v. Government Mandates
This is just one of many examples.
The Second Amendment is plain on its face: [Because it's a good thing to have an organized, armed citizen Militia], the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. I modified (modernized) the dependent clause. The right to buy and use contraceptives exists only in the emanations of the penumbras streaming from the whole bill of rights and it was only discovered by the court in Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965. But both are rights guaranteed by the Constitution. OK. So does the fact that the right exists mean that the federal government has to pay for the guns or the contraceptives? No, of course not. What are you, stupid?
Does the government have the power to require that citizens have to pay for the guns or contraceptives to be used by others? Tougher question. If it's a tax (as we all know the ACA is), then I'd say maybe. So, the left should be careful about what "rights" it requires citizens to pay for others to have the item guaranteed. If they can make certain people pay for other people's contraceptives, we can surely make other people pay for my 2nd Amendment rights.
And I'd like a second generation Colt SAA in .44-40, please.
Easy as pie to post this on a real computer.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Awesome, massive star disintegrates.
Labels: Astronomy Photo