Tuesday, July 31, 2012
My problem is with the actions of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). Why, will someone please tell me, are those who are innocent of this crime—the players, the students, the faculty, the alumni, the supporters, and vendors such as hotels and restaurants—being punished for Sandusky’s despicable crime? In this politically correct society, do we now blame society and institutions for the crimes of individuals? That is a miscarriage of justice.
When Enron collapsed due to corporate mismanagement and dishonesty, US Attorney General John Ashcroft charged Enron’s accounting firm, Arthur Andersen with criminal activities. Excuse me, General Ashcroft, but corporations and partnerships and Universities and organizations don’t commit crimes, people commit crimes! The Penn State University didn’t commit child abuse. Jerry Sandusky, now behind bars, committed child abuse. And, it may turn out that others such as the now former President of Penn State, Graham Spanier, other administrators, Joe Paterno, and assistant coaches were guilty of a cover-up. We can’t say that yet because none of these individuals have yet been charged with complicity in the awful crime of Sandusky. If they are charged and convicted in a court of law, then they will pay the price for their betrayal of young boys molested by Sandusky. Paterno is no longer with us, but he has to answer to the Judge of the universe.
Writing in the July 25 edition of the Wall Street Journal, William McGurn made the following observations and comments regarding the NCAA…
“The chairman of the organization’s executive committee, Ed Ray, explained the NCAA’s sanctions on Penn State by invoking ‘the children.’ Minutes later NCAA President Mark Emmert took it to the next level of political correctness by declaring that the aim was ‘a change of culture.’ Indeed, Mr. Emmert invoked the word ‘culture’ six times as he explained punishments that will largely be inflicted on the innocent for the failures of the guilty.”
“That’s what we do these days. When someone does something truly evil—whether it be a gunman firing on innocents in a Colorado theater, or an assistant college football coach molesting young boys—we indict the larger culture. We see this in the wake of Colorado, where last week’s shooting spree has fueled calls to take away guns from the law abiding. We see it too in reaction to the terrible happenings at Penn State, where Joe Paterno’s name seems to arouse more fury than that of the man who actually molested the boys, Jerry Sandusky.”
Indeed, what crime did the football players commit who have already shown far more integrity and good sense than the holier-than-thou officials of the NCAA? What about the former players who have had their victories nullified by the bureaucrats of the NCAA? What about the students who have been penalized for attending Penn State? Are they too guilty of creating a “culture” that caused young boys to be molested? It is oh so easy to blame the “culture” for our problems, but it is also irresponsible, and just plain wrong. The “culture” of Penn State didn’t molest those boys, Jerry Sandusky did.
The more than 200 restaurants and hotels and motels that will lose income due to the reckless actions of the NCAA are also innocent of the crimes of Sandusky. What about the $60 million fine of Penn State? Who will pay that? With less enrollment anticipated, less football revenue expected, it will come back to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania and the parents of the students who may pay higher costs for their children to attend Penn State. What sense does the fine make? Are those who will suffer from this outrageous fine guilty for the action of Sandusky or those who failed to take action?
What about the women’s sports and the other sports financially dependent on the revenues of football for their support and existence? Why should these sports be punished for the crime of Jerry Sandusky and anyone who covered up his crime?
It’s time for the NCAA member colleges and universities to push back. They need to tell the NCAA to either shape up, or they should pull out en masse. For many years the NCAA has been driven by political correctness. Out-of-proportion fines and penalties have been levied by arrogant NCAA bureaucrats for insignificant infractions by member schools. In the past everyone has just grumbled and moved on, but perhaps this time the participating schools will wake up and take action. The out-of-control nabobs of the NCAA need to be put on notice. Instead of political correctness, common sense is called for. Penn State as an institution is not guilty. Jerry Sandusky and anyone who abetted him or covered up his awful crime should be punished, not innocent bystanders who are easy whipping boys for the NCAA. Instead of punishing those who are not guilty, civil legal action can take place if personal contracts have been violated. If there are no personal contracts with coaches, then they can be implemented for the future. Waging war on Penn State as an institution may make the NCAA folks feel better about themselves, but it will not solve the problem. Holding those who commit a crime solely responsible is the only way to send the right message. It is also the fair and the right thing to do.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
When Navy Lieutenant Thomas Heggen reported onboard the Virgo on July 12, 1944, it was the beginning of “Mister Roberts” the blockbuster Broadway show, the hit movie and, finally, a long running TV series. Of course the raw material for the comedy came from actual events aboard the Virgo (the Reluctant of show, movie and TV fame). The man who took command of the Virgo was Lieutenant Commander Herbert Randall, a Merchant Marine officer who had low regard for Navy ways. He was a bit odd, to say the least, and the crew of the Virgo capitalized on his peculiar leadership.
There was the time that the Captain decided he would have potted palm trees on the bridge of the Virgo (Reluctant). In the play, movie, and series, Mister Roberts threw the potted palm trees over the side of the ship. In real life, Thomas Heggen did the very same thing twice. It was all great fun and the audiences enjoyed the hilarity immensely. And, Heggen became wealthy and famous thanks to “Mister Roberts.”
Mister Roberts was a defiant officer and Thomas Heggen was a talented writer who attacked boredom by outwitting the clueless Captain of the Reluctant (Virgo). Another Mr. Roberts recently outwitted observers. Thought to be a man of principle and character, Chief Justice John Roberts danced on the point of a pin, not for the sake of humor, but to curry favor with the political classes of Washington, DC, and to establish his place in history.
Using serpentine logic that defies all human reason, the apparent “conservative” jurist concluded that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was Constitutional. When you consider that first he had to rationalize that Obamacare was not a tax in order for the Court to have jurisdiction (tax issues cannot be considered by the Court until the tax is enacted), and then rationalize that it was a tax in order to conclude that it is Constitutional (never mind that Obamacare originated in the US Senate and the US Constitution specifically enumerates that all taxes must originate in the US House of Representatives) it makes your head spin.
No parent would accept such an unbelievable story from a teenager who comes in after their curfew, yet we are to accept such twisted and silly logic because the Chief decided that in order for the Court and himself to maintain the respect of the chattering classes he would need to rule that Obamacare was Constitutional. As it turns out, John Roberts has apparently led a privileged life as a fair-haired boy. It seems that Roberts has always landed on his feet and generally on the winning side. Here’s a brief excerpt from his Wikipedia bio…
“Roberts grew up in northern Indiana and was educated in a private school before attending Harvard College and Harvard Law School, where he was managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. After being admitted to the bar, he served as a law clerk for Judge Henry Friendly and then Justice Rehnquist before taking a position in the Attorney General's office during the Reagan Administration. He went on to serve the Reagan Administration and the George H. W. Bush administration in the Department of Justice and the Office of the White House Counsel, before spending fourteen years in private law practice. During this time, he argued thirty-nine cases before the Supreme Court.”
Jeffrey Rossen, a writer with the left-leaning Atlantic magazine, interviewed Chief Justice Roberts in July 2011 to get his views on the role of a Supreme Court Justice and the role of the Chief Justice in particular. The comments of John Roberts are telling…
“Before long, the conversation turned to judicial disappointments. ‘It’s sobering to think of the seventeen chief justices; certainly a solid majority of them have to be characterized as failures,’ Roberts said with a rueful smile. ‘The successful ones are hard to number.’ I asked him to elaborate: Why had so many chief justices been failures? Partly, Roberts explained, it was because the powers of the office are not extensive. ‘A chief justice’s authority is really quite limited, and the dynamic among all the justices is going to affect whether he can accomplish much or not,’ he said. ‘There is this convention of referring to the Taney Court, the Marshall Court, the Fuller Court, but a chief justice has the same vote that everyone else has.’ As a result, ‘the chief’s ability to get the Court to do something is really quite restrained.’”
“Some of the least successful chief justices, Roberts suggested, had faltered because they misunderstood the job, approaching it as law professors rather than as leaders of a collegial Court. Harlan Fiske Stone, a former dean of Columbia Law School, was a case in point. Stone ‘was a failure as chief, because of his misperception of what a chief justice is supposed to be,’ Roberts said, gesturing to the justices’ private conference room through an open door of his office. ‘It’s his desk out there that is separate from the conference table, and he … sat at his desk, and the others were at the table, and he almost called on them and critiqued their performances. They hated that.’ Roberts laughed. ‘As a result, he was a failure as a chief justice.’
“Fifty-four percent of decisions in the first year of the Roberts Court were unanimous. This graphic shows the percentage of written court opinions on which each pair of justices agreed with one another. In Roberts’s view, the most successful chief justices help their colleagues speak with one voice. Unanimous, or nearly unanimous, decisions are hard to overturn and contribute to the stability of the law and the continuity of the Court; by contrast, closely divided, 5–4 decisions make it harder for the public to respect the Court as an impartial institution that transcends partisan politics.
“Roberts suggested that the temperament of a chief justice can be as important as judicial philosophy in determining his success or failure. And based on the impression he made in his first year on the Court and throughout his career, Roberts seems to have many of the personal gifts and talents of the most successful and politically savvy chief justices, such as Rehnquist and John Marshall, rather than those of a heavy-handed academic like Stone.”
Do you notice anything strange about Robert’s comments? They are all egocentric; they are all about how history will record Robert’s tenure as Chief Justice of the Court. They all show a determination to be recorded as a great Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Not one comment is in regard to the United States Constitution itself.
As I said earlier, Roberts came to the court with the appearance of being a man of high principle and high character. Unfortunately, many men and women come to Congress and to high positions in government with high principles, but are lacking the integrity needed to deflect the onslaught of temptations to compromise their character. These are men and women of high principles, but low character. They are in abundance in Washington, DC. They come to town as idealists and then succumb to the allure of privilege, attention, and fawning that is given to those who cave in when the going gets tough. I’ve come across many of these men and women in my more than 40 years in Washington, DC. Believe me, the pressure to conform, to compromise, to go along is incredible. And those who are not well grounded, both personally and professionally, capitulate rather than stand up for principle.
Clearly, Chief Justice Roberts couldn’t stand the heat. He wasn’t used to public criticism. I sympathize with him. I’ve had my name smeared on the front page of The Washington Post, and in this town, an accusation is tantamount to being guilty. It takes men of incredible character like Ronald Reagan to stand by their principles when others cut and run. I’m sad for Chief Roberts and for our country.
In my view as a layman, the first question every Supreme Court Justice should ask about every law under judicial review is, “Would any one signer of the Declaration of Independence agree that this law is Constitutional?” If a law can’t pass that muster, it’s clearly not Constitutional. If a justice has to manufacture reasons why a law is Constitutional, it’s not. If you start with a conclusion, as Roberts apparently did, you end up being a contortionist in your reasoning. If you have intellectual honesty, you simply compare the written word and intent of the Constitution with the law and see if it passes muster.
Instead of worry about whether he will go down in history as a “successful” Chief Justice, John Roberts would have done better to simply consider whether or not Obamacare is permissible under the United States Constitution. Roberts has stated that he thinks his role is to be an umpire, but his title is not umpire, it is judge. And in his role as judge the measure of performance is not his collegiality, his affability, his good humor, or his ability to glad hand. His sole measure of performance is to make a decision based on the Constitution as written and intended. There is no other standard.
Of course, Roberts is now being praised in the mainstream media as “reasonable” and “approachable” and “moderate” and “statesmanlike.” He will now get invited to all the right parties, and be hailed in all the right places as a man of intellect and moderation. In truth, with this one act of betraying the Founders and the Constitution he has established himself as a failure, an anathema to the Founders and to the principles upon which our nation was created.
If you have to use twisted logic to come up with a decision, you can bet in advance that it is wrong. With this one convoluted decision, John Roberts has opened the floodgates to ever growing, ever more powerful, ever more tyrannical government. He, along with the misguided judges who have no respect whatsoever for the Constitution, has smashed any limits whatsoever on Government power.
Frankly, even if the next Congress repeals Obamacare (very hard to do), it does not change the precedent that John Roberts and the majority have established that the Government has unlimited power over the lives of its citizens. What an awful legacy John Roberts has.
Liberals and radicals are celebrating a great victory in the ruling for Obamacare, but no one won. All Americans are losers, especially future generations. Like Nero fiddling while Rome burned, only fools celebrate the demise of individual freedom. The idea that somehow we as individuals have “progressed to a higher ethic,” as progressive/liberal founder Richard T. Ely proclaimed, is ludicrous. This simple understanding of human nature was held by the Founders, “Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God's glory” (Romans 3:23). It is what guided them to create a government that limited man’s power. When that power is unrestrained human freedom dies and slowly, but surely is replaced by the shackles of tyranny. Liberalism’s fatal flaw is succumbing to the Devil’s lure in Genesis 3:5 “You’ll be like God.” It is the original sin, the one that leads to all sorts evil acts against others. When they substitute their human wisdom for Godly wisdom, God laughs. “The wisdom of this world is nonsense in God’s sight.” (1 Corinthians 3:19)The good news is this, “God rules the nations. He sits upon his holy throne.” (Psalm 47:8) And because he is a God of love we can, “Give thanks to the God of heaven because his mercy endures forever.” (Psalm 136:26). If it is God’s will, we will triumph, not only this November at the polls, but by reversing the downhill course our nation is on so that our children and grandchildren may enjoy this very special land of freedom that you and I were blessed to be born in. May God bless America with the spiritual insight that guided the Founders to create a nation unique and exceptional in the annals of history.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
The King did not, of course, volunteer to surrender his power over the lives of Englishmen, but was forced to do so by powerful English barons who sought to limit his powers. Of course, those with political power never willingly reduce their powers over the lives of others. In fact, they always seek to expand their power over others under the guise of providing help and assistance. The end result is always the same, less freedom for the individual and more power for the government bureaucrats and politicians. And as big government programs like Obamacare are enacted the politicians become once again rulers and masters of the people, not their servants as the American Founders intended. It is the Founder’s view turned upside down.
When the Pilgrims left England for the New World they brought with them the Massachusetts Bay Company charter that stated the colonists would “have and enjoy all liberties and immunities of free and natural subjects.” Similarly, the Virginia Charter stated that the colonists would have all “liberties, franchises and immunities” as if they had been born in England. The colonies that came later followed their example.
America’s Founders were well aware of their rights as Englishmen as guaranteed under the Magna Carta. In fact, they were proud to be English and were loyal English citizens. And while they issued a Declaration of Independence from England on July 4, 1776 it was in reality King George III who dissolved the bond between the colonies and England when he violated the Magna Carta by treating the Colonists as less than English citizens. When he denied the Colonists their rights as Englishmen he put himself above the law and thereby took himself outside the law. He effectively delegitimized his authority over the American colonists.
The Founders did not issue their Declaration of Independence without a great deal of deliberation and concern. These were well read men and the book they relied upon the most was the Bible. Nearly half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence had attended a Christian seminary. The vast majority of the rest professed to be followers of the Christian faith. As Bible students they were well aware of Saint Paul’s admonition in regard to government as written in the book of Romans, Chapter 13…
1Every person should obey the government in power. No government would exist if it hadn't been established by God. The governments which exist have been put in place by God. 2Therefore, whoever resists the government opposes what God has established. Those who resist will bring punishment on themselves. 3People who do what is right don't have to be afraid of the government. But people who do what is wrong should be afraid of it. Would you like to live without being afraid of the government? Do what is right, and it will praise you. 4The government is God's servant working for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid. The government has the right to carry out the death sentence. It is God's servant, an avenger to execute God's anger on anyone who does what is wrong. 5Therefore, it is necessary for you to obey, not only because you're afraid of God's anger but also because of your own conscience. 6That is also why you pay your taxes. People in the government are God's servants while they do the work he has given them. 7Pay everyone whatever you owe them. If you owe taxes, pay them. If you owe tolls, pay them. If you owe someone respect, respect that person. If you owe someone honor, honor that person.
Paul’s command is very unambiguous, so how did these Christian believers justify issuing a Declaration of Independence from England and from King George III in particular? After all, Paul wrote Romans 13: 1-7 at the time Nero sat on the throne of Rome. It is hard to imagine a more vicious, more tyranical ruler than Nero. If Christians were to obey the Godless Nero, then shouldn’t they have obeyed the British King, no matter how corrupt and oppressive it was? Certainly the signers of the Declaration of Independence must have agonized over their decision go forward with their Declaration.
One would certainly not have to go through the convoluted reasoning of Chief Justice John Roberts went through to rationalize Obamacare as within the US Constitution to justify such a Declaration. If in fact the Magna Carta established the rule of law and put the law above the King rather than the King above the law, then it was clearly King George III who dissolved the ties to the England, not the Colonists. It was King George III who violated Romans 13 when he refused to submit himself to the Magna Carta. After all a government of laws means that the law is superior to any man and that those in office are servants and those who elect them are their masters. The Colonists did not, of course, elect the King, but neither was the King above the law. When he violated the Magna Carta, he dissolved the political bond that existed between England and the American Colonialists.
The Founders made their case in the Declaration of Independence states…
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal [under the law], that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
The Founders assert, on the basis of the Magna Carta, that the King’s powers are derived “from the consent of the governed.” In other words, if the King goes beyond the Magna Carta or violates the Magna Carta he has dissolved his own powers.
After issuing the Declaration of Independence the Americans sought to create a new government wherein the law was firmly established to be above the leaders. The leaders were to be public servants and the people were the masters. That is the way it is supposed to be today. Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, Senators, Congressman and bureaucrats of various stripes and origins are servants, not masters. They derive their powers from the “consent of the governed”—you and me.
The government has no legitimate power except that granted to it by its citizens. It has no wealth except that which it provided it through the labor, risk, innovation and hard work of those who produce goods and services. The money that it issues represents the wealth of those of its citizens who produce those goods and services. The land that the government “owns” is the property of the people, not of government itself. The value of that land was purchased with dollars representing the wealth of private citizens.
This week we celebrate the American Revolution, a grand and glorious event that had its origin in the Founders of our nation. They were men of great courage, great foresight and great understanding. They were wise because their wisdom originated with the Bible, the source of all true wisdom. It was not a matter of their education or their intelligence that enabled them to create a new form of government entirely new in the annals of history. It was their understanding of human nature, which they derived from reading the Bible, that gave them the wisdom to limit the power of government over the lives of its citizens.
But crafty, evil by nature men have, over the period of more than 225 years, sought to undermine the wisdom of the Founders. Instead of understanding human nature and the importance of limiting government power, they seek to expand government power and thus toy with tyranny. The America our Founders envisioned and tried to establish was one that limited the power of government over the individual. It was a nation that valued freedom over the enslavement of government. It was a republic that was designed not to do things for its citizens, but to let them live free to seek their dreams and to fail and succeed as their hard work, innovation, skills and God’s blessings allowed them.
It was this dream that drew millions around the globe to its torch of freedom. It was freedom that allowed God fearing people to enjoy a degree of human freedom never before enjoyed in the history of the world. And it was the Bill of Rights that kept government from stealing their freedom.
This is the America that the Founder’s strived for, and yet today, there are those who put their hopes in government to do things for them—to provide for their retirement, to provide for their health care, to choose what food they shall eat, to choose what car they shall drive, to decide where the fruits of their labors shall be spent. And, of course, those in government are all too willing to accommodate them as they steal their freedom bit by bit, turning the land of liberty into but a fading shadow of the dream of the Founders.
This year, may we not only celebrate the bold fidelity of our Founders in striving for freedom, but also re-dedicate ourselves to their dream of limited government and maximum individual freedom. May God grant us the wisdom, the determination, and the perseverance we need to turn the tide on those who would enslave us. Happy Independence Day!