Pictures of the Week, After the Fourth

Might be ‘fake news’!

And finally, a Kaitlin Bennett encore

From PowerLine, Bookworm, and PA Pundits, mostly.


An Originalist Court!

On another site the other day, I commented that the Justices (Judges, too) that Trump is appointing are not so much conservative (or liberal) as they are originalists, as was Scalia. The term is one from the law bloggers, and it means that they look at what the Constitution says, and say it means what it says.

Sort of a civil American Sola Scriptura. Like that concept, it doesn’t preclude change, nor does it disallow other influences especially over time, but it does state that they may not contradict the Constitution.

It matters a great deal going forward. David French has an outstanding article up at National Review on the post-Kennedy Court.

[Y]ears ago, when I was a young lawyer, I had an interesting conversation with a much older judge. He was a Democrat, an old-school liberal, and he said something revealing: “There’s the law, and then there’s what’s right. My job is to do what’s right.” Or, to put the philosophy in the words of one of my leftist law professors, “You determine the outcome first, then you do your reasoning.” Time after time, that’s exactly what Justice Anthony Kennedy appeared to do.

I can think of few better summaries of Kennedy’s jurisprudence — especially in the cases that fired his passion the most — than this infamous passage from Planned Parenthood v. Casey: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” As a statement of dorm-room philosophy, it’s mildly interesting. As the expression of a constitutional ideal, it’s wildly incoherent.

Looking at Trump’s list of 25 candidates (and reading the speculative “short lists”) to replace Kennedy, one thing seems certain: The moment the new nominee is confirmed, no matter who it is, the Supreme Court will grow appreciably more originalist. Look for fewer sweeping moral statements — like Kennedy’s declaration in Obergefell that “marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there” — and more close textual and historical analyses of the Constitution.

That will constitute the start of a return to the tough old pre-New Deal federal courts, that ruled on the law, not their feelings, an altogether good sign of optimism in the US.

So, what to expect? Here are his top three.

First, when the sexual revolution collides with the First Amendment, expect to see the First Amendment win. That’s the way the conflict played out in NIFLA and Masterpiece Cakeshop, to take the two most prominent examples from the Court’s most recent term. A more solidly originalist court would likely have decided Masterpiece Cakeshop on broader free-expression grounds, would scoff at the very notion that the government could revoke religious institutions’ tax exemptions for upholding their own notions of sexual morality, and may well take a dim view of efforts to prohibit counselors or pastors from sharing such notions with gay or transgender clients.

Second, look for the court to offer greater clarity on the Second Amendment. Since Heller and McDonald, the Court has essentially gone quiet about gun rights. Left undecided are questions about the extent of the right to bear arms outside the home (implicating carry permits) and the nature and type of weapons precisely protected. If an originalist court follows the late Antonin Scalia’s reasoning that the Second Amendment attaches to weapons “in common use for lawful purposes,” then broad “assault weapons” bans will likely fail.

Third, you’d likely find interesting majorities protecting civil liberties from police abuse. There was a time when a “conservative” judge was essentially a judge who was traditionalist, statist, and institutionalist. Indeed, one of the quickest ways to determine the difference between a liberal and conservative jurist was to examine their record in criminal cases. The conservative judges sided with the state in close cases; the liberals sided with the defendant. With the increasing influence of originalism in conservative legal circles (and the increasing distrust of state power), the entire Bill of Rights has new life.  (At the same time, judicial efforts to end the death penalty would likely prove fruitless. Who can credibly argue that abolishing capital punishment was part of the “original public meaning” of the Eighth Amendment?)

There are more, so read the article, but just in those three, one can feel the clean air of freedom blowing out the cobwebs of leftism that have accumulated in America these days.

A panacea that will solve all problems? Nope. We have many and important other things to work on, especially education. But it is a start because, without our God-given rights, we can’t even talk about the others – that’s at the bottom of the problem in Europe, even Britain. They have allowed their governments to curtail free speech (especially) so badly that they can no longer even properly define the problem.

I must admit, I never expected Trump to be this good for America, and yes, the world.

The Left: Unmasked

This is getting a  bit worrying:

* Protesters disrupting the Mexican restaurant meal of a Cabinet Secretary, forcing her to leave.

* The owner of an innocent-sounding “Red Hen” restaurant in Lexington, Virginia boasting that she refused to serve the presidential press secretary Sarah Sanders and asked her to leave. Sanders quite politely did. Now we learn from Sanders’ Dad, Governor Mike Huckabee, that when Sanders did as requested and went to another nearby restaurant — the angry Red Hen owner followed and kept harassing her.

* A Florida Democratic Party activist threatened Republican Congressman Brian Mast’s children, saying to one of the Congressman’s interns: “If you are going to separate kids at the border, I’m going to kill his kids.” News reports note that the man had called the Congressman’s office 478 times.

* A Member of Congress calls on supporters to confront and harass Trump administration officials when seen in public. Said Maxine Waters: “They’re not going to be able to go to a restaurant, they’re not going to be able to stop at a gas station, they’re not going to be able to shop at a department store. The people are going to turn on them, they’re going to protest, they’re going to absolutely harass them.”

* Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Republican and Trump supporter, needed a police escort to get through hecklers who had confronted her at a movie theater in Tampa. The movie she had seen? It was about Mr. Rogers, the late Fred Rogers whose motto of his kids show was “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Questioned by a reporter one of the protesters snapped: “I’m not Mr. Rogers.” Indeed. Reported Bondi: “Thugs cursed me one inch from my face…”

* White House aide Stephen Miller was, per the New York Post, “accosted at a Mexican restaurant by a patron calling him a ‘fascist.’”

And more, as outlined by Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator.

But what has brought on this continuing paroxysm?

The real problem is that the left has nothing left, they’ve lost, but can’t admit it. Roger Simon at PJ Media, lays it out.

The problem is that it’s not just Hollywood lamebrains and jejune social justice idiots that have been infected, it’s the entire liberal/progressive side of the country, starting with the literary/media elites who give them their marching orders.

They are all having a nervous breakdown and it keeps getting worse, because… because… because Trump.

But I have news for them. It’s not at all about Trump. It’s about them.

Trump is what the shrinks call the “presenting complaint.” The real problem, as is often the case in psychotherapy, is something entirely different. And it is this: The left is dead. It’s not only dead, it’s decomposed with no there there or anywhere.

Only dopes or con artists believe in socialism anymore (hello, Venezuela!) and identity politics has been exposed as the racist shell game it is with blacks and Latinos actually doing better than they have in decades under the current pro-capitalist administration.

So the left has nothing to say, only most of them don’t quite realize it yet. But this blockage, this reluctance and even inability to deal with what is actually happening shuts down the brain and emerges as anger, the hamster wheel of constant rage against Trump.

Emphasis from the Speccie.

And never forget that the Fake News Media, which is dying itself, because of its lying, is fully complicit. Not of covering this stuff up, but of throwing gasoline on the fire.

So if you ever wondered what Italy and Germany were like in the 1920s now you know, except that this is happening in midst of an economic boom, which makes these Fascists even more unhappy. If you still harbor thoughts that anybody on the left gives a damn about you, no matter which group you belong to, that should be enough to cure you, if you have any rationality left.

The only parallel in American history is Reconstruction, when the Democratic Party’s enforcers, the Ku Klux Klan tried to enforce the removal of civil rights from the black citizens, especially in the south.

But that leaves the real problem, sooner or later somebody is going to get hurt or killed. Some fool is going to physically attack, likely a leftist fool, but that is not guaranteed, there is plenty of stress to go around. And the victim (or his bodyguards/friends) will respond, and if we are not very careful, then the chocks are out, and we’re off to a bloodbath.

Perhaps that is the only cure, but it is not a palatable one, and so I think tamer measures should be tried.

I have little sympathy for these Fascists, they are simply too stupid to function in a proper society, but that doesn’t mean they should be put down in the streets.

I have no idea of the solution, the targets are certainly entitled to self-defense, and yet that could well be the proximate cause of a real mess.

It’s a time for cool heads and lots of thinking, and as Sgt Esterhouse always reminded us,

“Be careful out there.”

The Ultimate Check on Tyranny

Did you guys see this?

The Small Arms Survey estimates there are 393,300,000 civilian-owned firearms in the United States. The survey, performed by the Graduate Institute of Geneva, estimated the United States military has about 4.5 million firearms. It put the number of firearms owned by police throughout the United States at just over 1 million.

That means American civilians own nearly 100 times as many firearms as the U.S. military and nearly 400 times as many as law enforcement.

Federal Bureau of Investigation background check records suggest that civilians bought more than 2 million guns in May alone, which means civilians purchase more than double the number of firearms owned by police departments. The number of gun-related civilian background checks in May and April, at over 4.7 million, is greater than the number of firearms currently owned by the American military.

It was many years ago when Admiral Yamamoto allegedly said, “You cannot invade America, every blade of grass will have a rifle behind it.” A wise man, and the former Japanese Ambassador to the US.

We have made it impossible to govern without the consent of the governed. Revolutions and civil wars are horrendous things, we know, we’ve had both. If we have another it may well be bloody, but it is unlikely to be long.

Think about that for a bit, almost 400,000,000 arms in the hands of the people, and those are the legal ones, mostly made after 1968 and registered in one way or another. There’s likely lots more, more or less forgotten, including many of the antiques which won the west the first time, and some may well be serviceable.

That’s considerably more than one gun for each and every American.

There’s a tie for the best gun salesman in America between Barack Obama, and ‘the resistance’. As George Peppard used to say with a cigar in his mouth, “I love it when a plan comes together.”

Interestingly, they tend to cluster in areas with laws that provide for easy carry (in other words, red states) and in those areas, gun violence rates are far lower than almost any place else in the world. Why? because those who carry are trained, practice (usually far more than police), and fight back. It’s the American way, as they say.

And so, something else for our so-called ‘elites’, and their willing idiots to remember, and if they don’t well, they were warned.

In America, We, the People, remain sovereign, and we have the means to make it so. And this, like so much, is the genius of the Founders.

The ultimate DIY project, make your own country.

Sad about you people who did this:

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”


Another Late Edition of the Week in Pictures

And so, a couple days late.

Thomas the Tank Engine in his Goth phase.

Of course

Mostly, but not entirely, from PowerLine and Bookworm, as usual

Picture This Week

So, another week in the books.


Muppet Outtakes!!!

Once upon a time, P.J O’Rourke gave a most cogent explanation of why America doesn’t get invaded. You might remember it. In any case, here is the visual aid.

Mom taught us to share, right?

Congratulations to  Kaitlyn Marie, a graduate of Kent State University, class of 2018. Now she can protect herself on campus.

As usual, mostly from PowerLine and Bookworm, and diverse other places. Enjoy!


And just a royal wedding quibble or two. A couple of my Anglican friends, @DrJulesGomes and Gavin Ashenden had reservations on the Bishop’s message at the royal wedding yesterday. I don’t disagree with them, and the bishop will likely never have a more bully pulpit, But I have my doubts that anybody was really paying all that much attention, it was after all a show wedding, and I don’t know about you, but at my wedding, I had a few other things on my mind beyond what the preacher was preaching at me.

It also struck me that if this was my daughter marrying into the British Royal Family, I’d want her to have the best and that Rolls Royce she went to church in, while a pretty decent car, and rare too, wasn’t considered the best when it was built. This was:

That is a 1936 Packard All Weather Cabriolet V12, which quite a few reviewers at the time thought was a better car than the Rolls Royce. This particular one would have been highly appropriate having both show business and British connections. How does that work, you ask? Well, its original owner was a chap by the name of Charlie Chaplin.

Ask the man who owns one.

%d bloggers like this: