Megyn Kelly as she used to be

For most of the period between 2007 and 2015, my favorite news personality was Megyn Kelly. Not because of her looks, although they didn’t hurt, but because she took no nonsense from anyone. She made so many of them (especially Obama’s not too bright shills) look like utter fools. Then for some reason, she decided her spit didn’t stink and that the whole thing was about her.

When that happened it all went south, with her leaving Fox and not doing at all well at NBC. Well, the other day the old Megyn was back. She took some of NBC’s partisans to the cleaners  It was a joy to watch, and if she’d do more of it, well, who knows?

Watch and enjoy a woman who used to know how to interview, and maybe still does.

I haven’t checked this morning where the negotiations are, but for me, Dr. Ford has pushed (or allowed the Democrats controlling) it too far. She has convinced me that she is simply a plant, a landmine that was supposed to blow up the nomination.

Sorry, but that is what over politicization does. She managed to dehumanize herself, by continually moving the goalposts.

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We the People

September 17, 1787

Today is Constitution Day. It may be the most widely disregarded of US Holidays. It shouldn’t be. As we are seeing lately, freedom is an endangered thing, held by a thread, or three. One of those three is the Constitution.

When I write, as I did the other day, about the loss of freedom of speech in England, I thank God and Jemmy Madison for the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights. For here, right in one of the Charters of Freedom, is my right to speak, and yours too.

Back in 2012, I wrote about this, and here is part of what I said:

I’m glad you brought attention to this most important of days.

I was a very lucky person. During WWII my father was sent over from Britain to Washington D.C.on the British Raw Materials Mission…basically to get brass to make ammunition. My mother joined him. this was in early 1942. We three children,were in Canada, my mother’s native land, spent the Winter and Easter vacations from boarding school with them in D.C..

My father was paid in pounds which didn’t go very far in the US in those days. My mother, being very ingenious, planned twice weekly excursions to the various historic sites and museums. It was always planned with both my two older sisters in mind and myself, some stuff that interested boys and some girls. There were of course, some places that interested all of us.

One such trip was to the Capitol Building. In the Rotunda on display were the three most important documents of the world. There under protective glass were the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America, and the one on which both of these are based the Magna Carta. It had been sent over from England together with many other historical artifacts for protection for the duration of the war. Sad to say I didn’t even have a “Brownie” to record this amazing day.

What an awesome sight that must have been in the Rotunda of the Capitol, which is pretty awesome in itself! Thank you, David.

Let’s talk about this comment a bit.

If you wish to know about individual freedom in this world, there are two countries who have pioneered it and presented the case in writing:. England and the United States. There are three documents existing that spell it all out. There are legends that there are other’s, for instance, there is what is called King Alfred’s Charter which supposedly was similar. But anyway, there are really only three documents that have changed the world, and they are all in English or Anglo-French.

The first of these is Magna Charta signed by King John at Runnymede, in 1215, as we have said it was based upon older charters including Henry I’s  Charter of Liberties. It was forced upon King John by the barons of England by force of arms, and like our Emancipation Proclamation did not really do anything in the present. But it has come down to all of us whose law code descend from the Common Law as the basic statement of the rights of the Freeman. At that time in history, it was the first and only attempt anywhere to limit the power of the King. That would make it the basic document of freedom for the entire world.

This particular copy is from 1297 and bears the Seal of Edward I, it is privately owned and is on permanent loan to the National Archives and is displayed in the same manner as the other ‘Documents of Freedom’. There are four copies of the original 1215 Charter, all are in England.

The other two documents David mentions seeing were the Declaration of Independence, perhaps the most succinct, concise, and thoroughgoing statement of rights of the individual ever written, and the Constitution of the United States of America, in which we codified how free men could best organize to govern themselves.

Now here’s some thinking matter for you, these three documents plus the Bill of Rights, have become the sine qua non of freedom for men everywhere, how remarkable that all of them are derived from the history of the English freeman and his tenacity in resisting the imposition of tyranny by his own government. Where are the similar document from Europe, or Asia or Africa?

Individual liberty is the bequest of the English speaking countries to the world. We have a lot to do to uphold our heritage.

Today, all around the world, in London, in Germany, in Poland, in Israel, in India, in Japan, in Australia, in fact, wherever free men, or men who wish to be free, gather, they will take heart from a simple document written long ago, that starts,

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That is the document that turned us from these semi-united squabbling states into The United States.

Brave words, but like Magna Charta, and the Declaration before them, only words on paper. The difference is that in America they were made good in patriots’ blood. And still are, every day.

Today would be an excellent day to take that little book out of your pocket (as so derisively said by a US Senator to Judge Kavanaugh during the hearing) and read again why America is different, and why it is free.

SCOTUS is not the Super Legislature

And so the Congressional circus hearing on the Kavanaugh nomination is over. In due course, the committee will make its recommendation (to approve the nomination) and the Senate will vote (mostly om party lines) to consent to the nomination. And Brett Kavanaugh will become the newest Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

But what a circus it was. The Washington Examiner chimed in with some thoughts the other day. They’re worthwhile.

On Day Two of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, a number of Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee appeared to be sizing themselves up for black judicial robes.

If they weren’t doing that, they were lamenting the fact that someone of their own great wisdom couldn’t sit on the Supreme Court — the highest legislature in the land, they seem to think — and rule the country from their lifetime position.

Democrats placed themselves one after another into Kavanaugh’s seat on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals to second-guess rulings, which is only natural for those who think the courts are there to make policy decisions. Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., complained that Kavanaugh had, in an opinion on D.C. gun control laws, deemed that semi-automatic rifles are in “common use” and thus not, under Supreme Court definition, something the D.C. government could ban. Feinstein was weirdly outraged about this characterization, given that private citizens in the U.S. own something on the order of 50 or 60 million such rifles, and possibly more.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., complained that Kavanaugh had dissented from an emergency ruling that ended up rushing a minor migrant girl in the care of the U.S. government off to get an abortion without parental consent. Durbin also complained about Kavanaugh’s interpretation of a complicated Supreme Court case that had deemed illegal immigrant workers unable to vote in workplace unionization elections.

For Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., the problem was that Kavanaugh had written an opinion favoring two mergers in the grocery and health insurance industries.

All these opinions about Kavanaugh’s rulings have one thing in common: They come from politicians who seem to think judging is a lot like what they do for a living. But judges don’t make policy, and the Supreme Court is not a super-legislature. That’s why a good judge who decides cases based on law and precedent will not like all the outcomes of the cases he hears.

And there is the real problem laid bare. For the Democrats (and the Republicans to a lesser extent) the Supreme Court has long since ceased being a court in the American meaning of the term at all. It has become a super-legislature to which the left appeals when they know the electoral cost of their desired legislation is too high.

They do not want an objective reading of the Constitution because most of what they want to do is both unconstitutional and unpopular with most of America. But the Court is respected enough to be obeyed, so far. But that is waning, the number of jokes I’ve heard in the last few years with the punchline, “But, it’s a tax”, indicates that there is a line that marks the end of that respect, and it is not far away. If it is crossed, we enter territory that is terra that is best left incognito. There may well be monsters there.

A large part of this has occurred because of the cowardice of the Legislative branch to say what they mean, and mean what they say, and only slightly less to the executive. They too are sworn to uphold the constitution, and so President Bush’s comment that he thought part of a bill he was signing was unconstitutional was an act of cowardice. It was his duty to veto that bill and say why not pass the burden to the courts.

And so President Trump has shown an unsuspected bravery here in appointing not one, but two constitutionalist justices who are wont to read the words in the constitution as meaning what they say. It’s about time, maybe the last chance, and it comes from a source not many of us would have expected.

“A Republic”, Ben Franklin said, “If you can keep it.” This is part of keeping it.

Poll Numbers and Missions

President Trump’s polling numbers seem ridiculously solid, don’t they, no matter what the news? Robert Merry at The American Conservative noticed this too. And he undertook to explain it.

There’s an underlying reality lurking in the remarkable poll numbers released Monday by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News. They showed that Donald Trump’s approval rating declined by only two percentage points. That despite the fact that the president suffered what was by any measure a devastating week, with a former campaign chairman convicted on fraud charges and a former lawyer copping a plea on campaign finance violations and implicating Trump in the mess.

Trump’s frenzied political enemies promptly smelled blood in the water and circled the vessel like hungry sharks. Surely, they concluded, this bolt of bad news would undermine Trump’s political standing and begin an erosion that would lead to his eventual demise, either at the next presidential election or, they could only hope, sooner.

But the WSJ-NBC poll showed that 44 percent of voters approved of Trump’s presidential performance, as compared to a 46 percent approval rating just before last week’s bad news. As the Journal noted in reporting the latest results, the difference was within the poll’s margin of error and hence statistically insignificant.

Welp, I wasn’t surprised, since I couldn’t figure out what any of those charges had to do with Trump, exactly. Does he have some political allies that are not completely honest? Compared to whom? Hillary? Fauxohantas? Bernie? Give me a break, as Senator Bumpers commented in yesterday’s post, likely none of us could stand up to this level of intrusion, let alone a real estate developer in corrupt New York.

And then there is this:

Because this isn’t about the fate of Trump so much as the future of America. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump opened up a series of fresh fault lines in American politics by advocating new directions for the country that no other politician would discuss. They included a clamp-down on illegal immigration and a serious reduction in overall immigration after a decades-long influx of unprecedented proportions; an effort to address the hollowing out of America’s industrial capacity through trade policies; an end to our nation-building zeal and the wars of choice spawned by it; and a promise to curtail the power of elites who gave us unfettered immigration, an industrial decline, endless wars, years of lukewarm economic growth, and an era of globalism that slighted old-fashioned American nationalism.

Yep, I don’t have any real investment in Trump, but I sure as hell do in Making America Great Again, or even as good as it was when I was young. And that is the battle Trump is leading, and so far appears to be winning.

You all know that I spend a good bit of time on British, specifically English, blogs, and have many friends there. Especially with Brexit, they are fighting much the same battle, to make Britain Great Again. What do I hear most from them? “We need a Trump.” And they do, they need someone unafraid to lead, to openly love Britain, and its history, and to work fearlessly to restore its future.

But that base, as Silver’s ongoing survey aggregations and the WSJ-NBC poll make clear, is ironclad. The Trump constituency isn’t going away, and any impeachment initiative from House Democrats in the new Congress is only going to further tighten its knot.

I think that is putting it mildly. Unless they have a clear-cut reason for impeachment, much clearer than the Republicans had with Clinton, and so far, at least, they do not, they risk far more than political capital, they risk the foundations of the Republic. It is that big potentially. And that dangerous, to them, and to us all.

And that is interesting. In 1774 about a third of the colonists, and a third of Englishmen were taking the Patriot side in our dispute with the King. A third of each were taking the King’s (the Loyalist) side. And the remaining third on each side of the pond were doing their best to stay neutral – going along to get along. Not very different really from today, and we know what happened then, and I don’t think we really want a repeat.

Impeachment and the Rule of Law

George Parry wrote yesterday in The American Spectator about the impeachment of Bill Clinton. He (like me) thought Clinton deserved to be removed, but also came to realize (as I have) that impeachment while a legal maneuver is actually an unmoored political action. He got to attend one day of the trial, and what he saw is germane.

[…]the Democrat senators were merely demonstrating for us unsophisticated good-government rubes that the true criterion for convicting a president had nothing to do with the welfare of the country or the rule of law. Rather, the only real consideration was party affiliation and loyalty. The House managers could have shown a videotape of Clinton committing murder in the Oval Office, and it wouldn’t have changed a single Democrat vote. […]

But by far the best summation on behalf of the president was given by former Arkansas Senator Dale Bumpers, an old friend and political ally of the Clintons. Humble, self-deprecating, and utterly candid about his friendship and regard for the president, Bumpers delivered a powerful argument against removing Clinton from office. He reviewed the debates at the Constitutional Convention and brought them to bear in support of his friend Bill Clinton. Noting how “dangerous” impeachment was to the political process, he cited the words of Alexander Hamilton who had so long ago contended that “the greatest danger was that the decision [to convict the president] would be based on the comparative strength of the [political] parties rather than the guilt or innocence of the president.”

Bumpers then posed the question,

How did we come to be here? We’re here because of a five-year, relentless, unending investigation of the president. Fifty million dollars, hundreds of FBI agents fanning across the nation examining in detail the microscopic lives of people. Maybe the most intense investigation not only of a president but of anybody ever.

I feel strongly about this… so you’ll have to excuse me, but that investigation has also shown that the judicial system in this country can and does get out of kilter, unless it’s controlled, because there are innocent people innocent people who have been financially and mentally bankrupt[ed].

One woman told me two years ago that her legal fees were 95,000 dollars. She said I don’t have $95,000 and the only asset I have is the equity in my home, which just happens to correspond to my legal fees of 95,000 dollars. And she says the only thing I can think of to do is to deed my home. This woman was innocent; never charged; testified before the grand jury a number of times. And since that time, she has accumulated an additional $200,000 in attorney fees. Javert’s pursuit of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables pales by comparison.

I doubt that there are few people, maybe nobody in this body, who could withstand such scrutiny. And in this case those summoned were terrified not because of their guilt, but because they felt guilt or innocence was not really relevant.

But after all of those years and 50 million dollars of Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, you name it, nothing, nothing, the president was found guilty of nothing, official or personal.

We’re here today because the president suffered a terrible moral lapse, a marital infidelity; not a breach of the public trust, not a crime against society, the two things Hamilton talked about in Federalist Paper number 65 — I recommend it to you before you vote — but it was a breach of his marriage vows.

Bumpers then cogently overcame the House managers’ argument that Clinton’s perjury and obstruction of justice subverted the rule of law when he observed that

the rule of law includes presidential elections. That’s a part of the rule of law in this country. We have an event, a quadrennial event in this country which we recall “presidential elections.” And that’s the day when we reach across this aisle and hold hands, Democrats and Republicans. And we say, “Win or lose, we will abide by the decision.” It is a solemn event, presidential elections, and it should not, they should not be undone lightly; or just because one side has the clout and the other one doesn’t.

He closed with this peroration:

Colleagues, this is easily the most important vote you will ever cast. If you have difficulty because of an intense dislike of the president — and that’s understandable — rise above it. He is not the issue. He will be gone. You won’t. So don’t leave a precedent from which we may never recover and almost surely will regret.… But if you vote to convict, you can’t be sure what’s going to happen. James G. Blaine was a member of the Senate when Andrew Johnson was tried in 1868, and 20 years later he recanted. And he said: “I made a bad mistake.” And he says “as I reflect back on it, all I can think about is having convicted Andrew Johnson would have caused much more chaos and confusion in this country than Andrew Johnson could ever conceivably have tried.”

And so it is with William Jefferson Clinton. If you vote to convict, in my opinion you’re going to be creating more havoc than he could ever possibly create. After all, he’s only got two years left. So don’t, for God’s sakes heighten people’s alienation that is at an all-time high toward their government.

The people have a right and they are calling on you to rise above politics, rise above partisanship. They’re calling on you to do your solemn duty. And I pray you will.

And you know, Senator Bumpers was right then, he was right in the case of Andrew Johnson, and he is right now, as well. If the Democrats win the house this fall, they likely will impeach Donald Trump. They have no legal case really, merely their hatred, but as Mr. Parry reminds us, Congressman Gerald R. Ford said in 1970,  “An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” That’s true, impeachment is a political maneuver, not a legal process.

There is a reason that the British abandoned the process almost concurrently as we adopted it. In an ideal world, it would be an effective check on government officials, just as Parliament as the Supreme Court seems reasonable. But we don’t live in that world. The world we live in is one where the best intentions get politicised, and where men have motives other than the good of the country.

So if the Democrats take the House, they probably will impeach the President, and like it did with Clinton, the country will pretty much stop to watch the spectacle, and it will do more harm to the country than Trump could do in a lifetime. And if he is acquited (and he will be), they will guarantee his reelection.

Such is life in the big city.

Crime and (Lack of) Punishment

Gene Veith over at Cranach had an interesting article the other day, let’s look at it:

As an example of how the ongoing, wide-ranging Catholic sex scandal and its cover-up are undermining the church’s moral authority, notice how the Pennsylvania revelations change how we hear the Vatican’s new prohibition of capital punishment.  Oh, yes, we can’t help but think, you bishops don’t want to punish anybody.

Indeed, the very concept of punishment has been fading from child-raising, education, ethics, and theology.  Hardly any pastors, including from conservative church bodies, teach about eternal punishment anymore.  Our sensibility today recoils from it.  Which was not the case not long ago.  The Deists rejected Christianity and all revealed religion in favor of, supposedly, a religion of reason and reason alone, but they retained the notion of rewards and punishments after death, which they believed was essential to cosmic justice and a moral order.

The criminal justice system still employs punishment.  But a new cause on the left calls for abolishing prisons and judicial punishments altogether.  The self-described “abolitionists” also want to abolish police and the criminal justice system altogether, replacing them with “getting people the help they need.”

Read this sympathetic article on the movement in Politico by Ruairí Arrieta-Kenna, Abolish Prisons’ Is the New ‘Abolish ICE’:  A growing group of leftists wants to get rid of the entire prison industrial complex in America.  Read it all, but here are a few excerpts:

At first blush, the idea might seem fringe and unreasonable; where, for instance, would all the criminals go? What happens to rapists and murderers? But the movement’s backers counter that it is the only truly humane direction we can head in as a society—that is, if we really aspire to live in a world rid of interpersonal harm and racial inequality. And they might actually be making headway. . . .

[Maya] Schenwar argues, “abolition is the acceptance of an understanding that prison does not work to any good ends.” “It works to uphold white supremacy; it works to uphold capitalism; it works to uphold oppression; but it doesn’t actually work to keep us safe or to protect society in any way that is productive.”. . .

In 2015, the National Lawyers Guild adopted a resolution in support of prison abolition, and today, the abolition of police and prisons is one of the platform tenets of the Democratic Socialists of America—the growing leftist group that fiercely backed Ocasio-Cortez. . . .

Historian Harry Elmer Barnes estimated in 1921 that the advent of prisons as the conventional response to crime in the United States happened sometime during the 18th century as a result of reformists campaigning against corporal punishment.

“The system that we currently have is supposed to be more humane than if we just tortured someone,” Wilson says, “but we’re just torturing people in a different way.”

The most fundamental issue with retributive justice, pretty much every abolitionist I spoke with tells me, is that it dehumanizes people who have committed crimes. Rather, they believe, as DSA’s Bianca Cunningham puts it, “that we should be implementing policies that are treating people like human beings that make mistakes and not like animals.”

“We have come to think of murderers, rapists, child molesters,” Shehk says, “as deviants that are just kind of running wild, as though these people are not our brothers, our sisters, our uncles, our neighbors, etc. And this kind of demonization and flattening of people works to reproduce the narrative that there are people that are deserving to be locked in a cage even for life.”

“I think we can live in a society that is based on mutual support and love instead of punishment and prison. That is not a radical thing,” Carlton Williams, an abolitionist lawyer in Boston, tells me, adding, “but that’s the most radical thing you can ever say in the world.”

Read it all here.

Yep, penitentiaries were designed to make prisoners penitent, reformatories designed to reform the inmates. Neither seemed overly effective, ending up being warehouses of the worst of humanity.

Still, what is one to do, capital punishment is not proportional for stealing a handkerchief, not even multiple times, so one hopes they’ll get the message that such conduct is neither permissible not productive. Some do, most don’t, but at least while they are in jail, they don’t victimize normal citizens.

I’m gonna guess that what happened back when you got hanged for theft was a lot of private justice, whoever caught you, likely the property owner, beat hell out of you, and you learned the lesson.

And if prisons and police are abolished that’s what’ll happen again. Because people are not simply going to sit still and watch things they worked for taken by those who didn’t. Who you gonna call? Not Ghostbusters. You’re gonna call Colonel Colt, and take care of business.

And that is the trouble with so much of the leftist reformist twaddle, it assumes that people will allow such behavior. It is Pollyannish to the point of absurdity to think so. People will defend what is theirs and those they love, either through the state or they will do it themselves.

America (and Britain for that matter) have worked because the people believed that in most cases justice would be fair, balanced, and reasonably quick. Take any of those away, and the system will crash.

What those reformers will get is not Utopia, but the Hobbesian construct: “The war of all on all, red in tooth and claw”. In short, anarchy with weapons.

In truth, a lot of it is simply an attempt to deny personal responsibility, which we see in almost all parts of life these days. Nothing is ever my fault, it’s that guy (preferably white) over there, it’s his fault. In my world, we call that a circle jerk.

And as an aside, why does the Catholic Church have a homosexual/pedophile problem in its priesthood? In the last analysis, the answer is: because they tolerated it, even if they didn’t encourage it.

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