Thursday, May 21, 2009

Vice President Cheney's Speech on Waterboarding

This is an excellent speech. It illustrates that not every decision is black and white. And Barack Obama is getting it dangerously wrong.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Help Wanted -- Publicizing the LGA

Readers, I need help publicizing the Limited Government Amendment idea. So far it has been a complete non-starter.

After reading and studying how the federal government has grown and become more oppressive over the last 100 years, I am convinced that a constitutional amendment is the only mechanism that has the slightest chance of restoring our eroded liberty. Very few politicians or bureaucrats (or even citizens) have the willpower to resist creeping socialism, because each issue, taken separately, seems like a "good idea". Most government programs are implemented with the idea of helping people in some way or another, and people don't think of it in terms of forfeited liberty until the program is entrenched and it is too late. "There ought to be a law" are probably the six most dangerous words in the English language. Not every good idea needs to be a law.

A constitutional amendment like the LGA would force politicians to prioritize. But I can't seem to get anybody's attention. I have emailed Rush Limbaugh, both at his public email as well as his 24x7 web form (I'm a member). I have tried to email Glenn Beck and Mark Levin, but I can't even find email addresses or a web form. I have snail-mailed every Republican senator and congressman (at significant cost in postage). I heard back from exactly zero (count them, zero).

I need suggestions: People to contact, and ways to contact them. Tactics for getting their attention, ways to start a grass roots movement -- anything. I am willing to go on the talk show circuit if necessary. I really don't care if I get credit for this idea; I just want it to succeed. For the sake of my country, and for the sake of my kids. If you have any ideas, please post them in the comments section.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Think We Have a First Amendment Problem Here

Islamists trick Hawaii Legislature into celebrating “Islam Day” on September 11. Ignoring the fact that this is a slap in the face of Americans and their families who lost their lives on September 11, this should be challenged as an infringement of the non-establishment clause of the First Amendment. Since the soon-to-be liberal US Supreme Court will reject that claim, the best way to attack it would be to have Christian groups sue to establish a "Christian Day" or Jewish groups to establish "Judaism Day". The court will reflexively want to throw those out, but they would have to simultaneously throw out similar celebrations for any religion, which is as it should be.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Enumerated Powers Series

Over the next several weeks, I am going to analyze each of the powers granted to the US Federal Government as enumerated in the US Constitution. Each enumerated power will have its own article, and I will index it by the keywords "enumerated powers" for future reference. I will review the powers granted to all of the branches of government: Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution -- The powers granted to congress, Article II, Section 2 -- The powers of the president, and Article III, Section 2 -- The powers of the judiciary.

It should be all too obvious from reading the Constitution that the US Federal Government should be strictly limited to the enumerated powers, but politicians always want more power. Once the government has exceeded the enumerated powers, special interests then encourage the government to do more to favor them. It's all downhill from there. It takes a lot of work and vigilance to keep our government constrained to the constitutionally enumerated powers.

There are those who would suggest that the enumerated powers are too restrictive. That the Constitution is a "living document", and that it doesn't mean now what it meant when We the People ratified it 230 years ago. That argument should insult your intelligence! If it is to mean anything, it has to mean now what it meant then. Imagine your reaction if your landlord or your credit card company announced that your contract is a "living document", and that it means whatever they want it to mean. Imagine their reaction if you made the same announcement. Contracts have, and must have, very specific legal meanings, or they are useless. The same is true of the Constitution. If the Constitution is obsolete, then we must renegotiate it through the amendment process.

Patriots, Man Your Battlestations!

I said it during the campain, and I'll say it now: Barack Obama is a radical statist. Privacy and free speech on the Internet is about to change dramatically. And it won't be the criminals digging into your stored files and network traffic, it will be Uncle Sam. The Obama Administration is claiming legal authority to perform warrantless searches and network monitoring, or to shut down the Internet if they consider it a threat to national security. That's bogus! Where's the ACLU when we actually need them?

This article has the details. The thing that stuns me is that they're acting all surprised that Obama's campaign rhetoric doesn't match his actions. Barack Obama's ideology was as plain as the nose on your face all during the campaign. It didn't matter what he said. His past record and his past associations said it all. He didn't fool anybody who was paying the slightest attention.

Engineering the US Federal Government

For the past 250 years, give or take, the US Federal Government has been designed, implemented, run and analyzed by lawyers, politicians, lawyers, economists, lawyers, historians, lawyers, "journalists", lawyers, a professional wrestler, lawyers, at least two actors, and maybe even a few lawyers.

I am an engineer by trade, and I could not help but notice that there have been remarkably few engineers in government. That's too bad, because I think we engineers would bring a good perspective to government. Engineering is one of the few professions that must deliver things that actually work. If we deliver a bridge that starts twisting in the wind and crashes into Tacoma Narrows, it is obvious who failed, and we lose our jobs. If we deliver operating systems or software applications that crash too frequently, we lose our jobs. If we deliver hard drives, DVD players, or high definition TV sets that don't work, we lose our jobs. If your power grid goes dark, guess what? If we deliver life critical systems such as medical equipment, airplanes, or nuclear power plants, and they fail, people die, we lose our jobs, and the lawyers come after us. We're ruined.

By contrast, politicians, lawyers, economists, and "journalists" (except for Dan Rather perhaps), can leave a wake of death and destruction a mile wide, and they usually manage to slither away from any responsibility for their mistakes. And the response is nearly always "we didn't do enough -- we need to enhance that last solution". For engineers, repeating the last failure with even more intensity is almost never our strategy. In addition, engineers understand natural systems, especially inverse feedback. Inverse feedback is what keeps electronic amplifiers stable, your body temperature at a constant 98.6F, and your cruise control at 65MPH. It also keeps prices and wages stable in a free, unmolested market. Too few people understand that concept. We need more engineers in government.

Dole Institute Pat Cadell - The Impact of the Tea Parties

This is a Democrat, speaking at the Dole Instutute, talking about the fact that the left, the media, and the government (but I repeat myself) ignore this movement at their own peril.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

This is Unconstitutional!

"A Louisiana driver was stopped and detained for having a "Don't Tread on Me" bumper sticker on his vehicle and warned by a police officer about the "subversive" message it sent..." Read more here.

This is utterly ridiculous. I don't know if someone is trying to make a point about warrantless wiretaps or what. We can have an honest discussion about the legal pros and cons of warrantless wiretaps, but when someone gets detained for expressing his views on a bumper sticker, then I think we have a serious problem. I hope this is an isolated incident of overzealous police work, and not a preview of what the Obama administration has in store for us.

The key difference between this and warrantless wiretaps is that warrantless wiretaps were intended to obtain time-critical information to protect US citizens from a specific enemy that has sworn to destroy us (that would be militant Islam for the PC-addled). This administration's Orwellian take on homeland security is to characterize ordinary citizens who express an opinion that might be construed as hostile to the US government as a homeland security risk. I find that patently offensive.

The founders created the first amendment specifically so we could criticize the government without fear of reprisal. The founders would have considered using the first amendment as an excuse to publish pornography, and use profanity, obscenity and vulgarity in public to be an undesirable side-effect. Worth the trade-off perhaps, but undesirable just the same, because that stuff is just fluff. But free and open discussion of political ideas and to demand redress of grievances is fundamental to our liberty.

By the way, here's where you can get those bumper stickers. I'm putting one on each of my cars.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The New Generation Gap, Follow-Up

One reader mentioned that they strongly reject being counted in the group of "hippy baby-boomers". While the reader and I have always been strongly opposed to the hippy movement, values and politics, we are demographically a part of that group, and the adverse reaction will be to the group, not the individual.