Although he currently receives only six percent of votes in those surveyed in the latest IBOPE/Zogby poll, Newt Gingrich is getting a lot of press over a recent endorsement. On Monday, the founder of Tea Party Nation, Judd Phillips, added his name and influence to the list of those backing the former Speaker of the House’s run for the Republican nomination for president. Phillips explains his decision in a blog post published on the Tea Party Nation website. Said Phillips: In choosing who is my candidate, there are some criteria I look at. First, the candidate must be electable. We can have the best candidate in the world but if they are unelectable, it does not matter. The candidate must be conservative... Finally, the candidate must have the vision to put forward plans to dismantle the massive government bureaucracy that we have seen grow under both Republican and Democrat administrations. Phillips goes on to praise Gingrich’s performance during the several debates with the other GOP candidates for that party’s nomination.
Military commissions have always been controversial in U.S. history, and no more so than in the past 10 years. Military commissions have traditionally been defined as executive branch courts, created by necessity under a system where ordinary courts are not functioning, such as during a rebellion or military occupation of a foreign country. They are distinct from ordinary criminal trials and the regular military system of justice, the courts-martial, the latter being generally required to “apply the principles of law and the rules of evidence generally recognized in the trial of criminal cases in the United States district courts” under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Constitutional problems with the Bush (and now Obama) military commissions were accurately explained by Chad DeVeaux of Western State University Law School: Such commissions, which may most accurately be categorized as “Article II courts,” deviate widely from civilian courts. Ordinarily inviolate procedural protections are disregarded. Juries are denied. The right of appellate review is circumscribed. The universal common-law prohibition against the admission of hearsay, even multiple hearsay, and un-sworn evidence is not honored. Most critically, the structural independence enjoyed by Article III courts and even state jurists is wholly absent. Military commissions are inquisitorial in nature. Military judges and even the commission members themselves fall within the direct chain of command of the President and his proxies and ultimately depend on favorable reviews from these superiors for promotion and career advancement.
Presidents Bush and Obama have created a vigorous public debate since the September 11 attacks over whether suspects in the “war on terror” are entitled to a regular criminal trial, court-martial (the regular military justice system), or a “military commission” trial, or whether they are entitled to a trial at all. A “military commission” is traditionally an executive branch (or Article II) court, created to try war criminals in a time and place where there are no criminal or ordinary military courts to try suspects. But Congress has explicitly authorized them twice since the September 11 attacks. Bush’s and Obama’s actions since 2001 raise a number of fundamental constitutional questions: Can the President — as Bush tried to do — detain an American citizen indefinitely without trial? Can the President — as Obama claims — kill American citizens without trial? Are Bush’s and Obama’s efforts to detain foreigners indefinitely without trial constitutional? When, if ever, is a “military commission” constitutional? Can U.S. citizens be subject to a military commission? How about foreigners? Do the Bush/Obama military commissions follow the Constitution? And finally, putting aside constitutional principles, are military commissions more effective on a practical level in punishing suspected terrorists? The following are 11 constitutional principles about the trial rights of Americans and foreigners during the “war on terror.”
What's the common thread between Europe's financial mess, particularly among the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain), and the financial mess in the U.S.? That question could be more easily answered if we asked instead: What's necessary to cure the financial mess in Europe and the U.S.? If European governments and the U.S. Congress ceased the practice of giving people what they have not earned, budgets would be more than balanced. For government to guarantee a person a right to goods and services he has not earned, it must diminish someone else's right to what he has earned, simply because governments have no resources of their very own. The first order of business in reaching a solution to the financial mess in Europe and the U.S. must be the recognition that governments have been doing a class of unsustainable things, mostly giving people special privileges and things that they have not earned. It's a matter of not simply what's good or bad for the beneficiaries but what its effect is on society at large and the welfare of a nation.
Nevada has long been known as the easiest place in America to get a divorce — and a quick marriage. After a couple has had a “quickie” marriage and the marriage license has been mailed to them, the union is still not technically valid until either a clergyman or a justice of the peace in the state has performed a marriage ceremony and the officiant and the couple have signed the marriage license and it has been mailed to the proper government agency for validation. All that this law requires is that the clergyman performing the wedding provide proof that he is affiliated with a church or religious organization. The legal role allowed by Nevada law to a man of the cloth, however, is too much for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed suit in Clark County, contending that allowing priests, ministers, and rabbis to marry people in Nevada violates the so-called separation of church and state prohibitions in the Constitution.
Herman Cain’s unexpected victory in Saturday’s Florida Straw Poll has the media, especially the so-called “conservative” media, quite excited. Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole each won this contest, and each eventually received their party’s presidential nomination. Thus, so goes the conventional reasoning, this poll is not without its share of significance as far as the end result of the GOP primaries is concerned. As usual, in covering this story, the pundits and “journalists” reveal both their proclivity for sensationalizing events and their seemingly insuperable cognitive challenges. That there is a coincidence between two events most certainly does not establish that there is a causal relation between them. In other words, that three Republican presidential aspirers won both the Florida Straw Poll and, subsequently, their party’s nomination does not mean that the one event caused or predicted the other. There is a complex of factors, and one factor in particular, that this argument from prediction omits: namely, the fact that Reagan, Bush I, and Dole were all competitive in their respective races at the time that they achieved victory in Florida. The painful truth of the matter is that, judging from his polling numbers thus far, Cain hasn’t been serious competition for anyone.
The hint given to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein by their mysterious informant “Deep Throat” regarding President Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal was: “Follow the money.” If the same counsel is followed today with regard to President Obama’s fundraising, the discoveries are disturbing. With the Solyndra controversy still unraveling, President Obama has moved undauntedly on to the next suspicious entanglement with corporate beneficiaries of federal largesse. It is being reported that in a couple of weeks President Obama will be the benefactor of a fundraiser being organized by a Missouri businessman “whose company benefited from a $107-million federal tax credit to develop a wind power facility in his state.” The name of this Friend of Barack is well-known in the Show Me State and in Democratic Party circles. Tom Carnahan is the 42-year-old son of the former Governor of Missouri Mel Carnahan and former U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan. The younger Carnahan was an attorney and is the founder of Wind Capital Group.
In keeping with his governing style, that is, rule by decree, "President" Chávez recently nationalized Venezuela’s gold mining industry. With its expropriation, the dictator continues his campaign of “21st-century Socialism.” Over the past decade, Hugo Chávez has radically altered Venezuela’s economic landscape. Executing a pernicious, politically driven, nationalization program, the government has systematically taken over key sectors. In doing so, Chávez stripped private industry, its investors — not to mention political opponents — of infrastructure, private property, and profits. Since 2002, almost 1,000 companies have been seized. For socialists and statists the world over, this is something of a guide, a graduate seminar in confiscation and class warfare. But for the rest of us, it remains a lesson in economic decay and failed leadership. The takeover of gold mining operations should surprise no one. With gold commanding upwards of $1,600 dollars an ounce, the industry is highly profitable. And it is the profit of private enterprise that Chávez endeavors to exploit for his ends. As the dictator himself once said, “We can't have socialism if the state doesn't have control over its resources!"
In what many say is political correctness run amok, British schools have banned black witch hats for children, claiming that they are "racist." So-called diversity and equality experts in the United Kingdom assert that because the wicked witch appears in a black hat, while fairies — typically associated with sweetness and light — are often clad in pale, glistening colors, children are being indoctrinated to believe that all things light or white in color are by nature “good,” while those that are black are inherently “bad.” The Blaze reports, Now, to combat that perceived threat, primary school teachers in Britain are allegedly being encouraged by equality advocates to censor fictional children’s characters, eliminating witches’ black pointed hats in favor of white ones, while dressing fairies in dark colors. Proponents of this technique can claim the method will eliminate "racism" in children as young as two. Unsurprisingly, other innocuous items are also coming under fire. Take for example writing paper. The Telegraph reports:
The eighth annual "40 Days for Life" campaign to end abortion launches September 28 at an unprecedented 301 locations worldwide. Local volunteers are set to begin constant 24-hour prayer vigils outside abortion clinics in their respective cities from September 28 until November 6. Participants have also pledged to fast and pray privately during the crusade and to take part in community outreach programs as well. The campaign website explains 40 Days for Life "takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families." Forty-eight new locations have been added to this year's international event, including cities in Argentina, Puerto Rico, and Germany. Campaign organizers boast phenomenal success in the past, and they have high hopes for this year's substantially larger crusade. Campaign director Shawn Carney observed, "I often go back to those wonderful numbers — 4,313 lives saved from abortion, 53 clinic workers who've left the abortion industry, and 16 abortion centers that have gone out of business after 40 Days for Life's peaceful prayer vigils were held in the public right-of-way outside their doors." He anticipates tens of thousands will participate this year.