Monday, September 29, 2008

The Incongruous In Congress

I just love Congress!

My first big break in reporting came when I was assigned to cover the Senate (and a little bit of the House.) I spent six years there, and just when I got comfortable with the thought it was a place I could see happily working from for the next 30 or 40 years, I was offered the White House beat. When I recently got some free-lancing work back on my old stomping grounds on the Hill, it reminded me what a great place it is.

Today, the House of Representatives debated the Wall Street bailout bill -- a rare example of your elected leaders prepared to vote for the national interest over their self interest. Without getting into details of the legislation, it was amusing and perversely patriotic to hear Republicans calling it "a mud sandwich," "a cowpie with a marshmallow in the middle" and, in the words of the Republican leader himself, "a crap sandwich." A

And they were in favor of the bill!

Finally, in his summation pleading for bipartisan approval, House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer wound up appealing to Republicans by quoting, of all people, Spiro Agnew.

Then the chickenshits voted the bill down. The Dow fell 700 points.

Is this a great country or what?

14 comments:

  1. I'm sure even just *one* of the 205 idiots that voted for this bill can cite which part of Article I, Section 8 authorizes the congress to pass this bill, right?

    It rightfully goes down to defeat if for no other reason that it is unconstitutional. Congress was never granted this kind of power by the people it represents.

    Took a look, my local representative voted no. I think I'll reelect him.

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  2. Ho hum, your didacticism is in the way of thoughtfulness again. Long established and upheld by the courts are the "commerce clause" and the "necessary and proper" clause.

    It is tautological to contend a piece of legislation should be defeated because in someone's opinion it is unconstitutional. Since Congress cannot constitutionally decide what is constitutional, it should pass whatever it damn well pleases and let the cow chips fall where they may.

    Your local representative voted no because he is no longer in a safe district. I am willing to bet that after congressional leaders put some insignificant lipstick on THIS pig of a bill, he will vote for it, as the stock of the major corporations in his district fall through the floor.

    The people may be against it 100-1 but the people don't keep your guy in Congress. You know who does.

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  3. So your contention that the oath of office for the great unwashed of 435 in which they pledge to "bear true faith" to the U.S. Constitution has no meaning? Empty words then?

    Congress should *not* pass whatever the hell it pleases and yield to someone else to decide what's constitutional or not. Congress needs to bear true faith to the powers granted to it by the people, which are specifically enumerated within the Constitution.

    Madison would have had a party with your interpretation of "necessary and proper" because the remaining part of the sentence says "for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers." Thus, they only things that are necessary and proper are the enumerated powers.

    Please read Federalist 41 and report back.

    Lastly, my own congressperson is running barely opposed, not in any danger. I just had to look up to see if he even had an opponent, so, I don't know WTF you're thinking in your neck of the beltway woods, but here in the rest of the USA, things are different. They usually don't work the way the DC punditry says they do.

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  4. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Are you one of these people, Mr Glock, who believes that demented college kids should be allowed to wander around campuses killing their fellow students at will because the Constitution allows everyone to bear arms?

    You don't see government having the latitude to take steps according to the needs of modern society? I can see the value of your Constitution as a reference point but surely there has to be the latitude for measures to cope with exceptional situations. When your Constitution was spawned, men in tricorn hats were exchanging money in friendly societies not networking the whole globe with packets of unsecured debt worth billions.

    I have no truck with the fat cats who caused this problem and frankly they deserve to dine out on a last meal of their own innards, but their collapse means the downfall of lots of small investors who actually trusted the banks with their money.

    What do you do about, not just your fellow Americans, but millions of us affected by stock market confidence even though most of us have nothing directly to do with them. What would you do while the entire world fiscal system goes into meltdown? Rest safely in the knowledge that the Constitution has not been breached and watch the world go into bankruptcy with a smile on your face?

    Brian F...England

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  5. Brian F asked:


    >Are you one of these people, Mr Glock, who believes that demented college kids
    >should be allowed to wander around campuses killing their fellow students at will
    >because the Constitution allows everyone to bear arms?

    Nice Straw man.

    Virginia Tech prohibits weapons on its campus. Apparently someone didn’t get the memo and brought a couple of them and created a tragedy. Demented people will kill people no matter what. How about getting your head chopped off on a Greyhound bus? Did strict gun laws prevent that from happening. Hmmm. Maybe not.

    I am however a believer and supporter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. (http://concealedcampus.org/about.htm) Those of us who carry have been fingerprinted and run through state and federal databases and have gotten required training on weapon safety and use of force. Imagine how different Virginia Tech would have been if a professor or a grad student was armed and could defend against a maniac. Or, a bus rider.

    The framers of the Constitution rightfully believed that individuals have an inherent right to defend themselves – including from an oppressive government.

    I know you’re aware that violent crime rates in your country have skyrocketed since your ridiculous gun ban was put in to effect. It’s undeniable, you’re a victim waiting to happen.

    >You don't see government having the latitude to take steps according to the
    >needs of modern society? I can see the value of your Constitution as a reference
    >point but surely there has to be the latitude for measures to cope with
    >exceptional situations.

    The Constitution of the United States is not a bunch of suggestions. It is the listing of powers that a free people granted to a Federal government and how those powers are to be executed. Those powers are specifically listed. If the people wish to give the government additional powers and leeway, they can amend the Constitution. You change it, you don’t ignore it or circumvent it. Otherwise, we end up enslaved to a government assuming more powers each time there’s some “crisis.” We end up as subjects, not as free people. Just a little bit at a time.

    >What would you do while the entire world fiscal system goes into meltdown? Rest
    >safely in the knowledge that the Constitution has not been breached and watch
    >the world go into bankruptcy with a smile on your face?

    The Constitution should *never* be breached. We are a nation of laws, not of men. It may be a global economy, but it is *not* a global government.

    Returning to the gun issue for a moment – the gun range I frequent to practice and maintain my proficiency is incredibly popular with our cherished friends from your country. I don’t know if I’ve ever been to the place without witnessing a British family trying out all the weapons and blowing the crap out of paper targets. It’s especially fun when dad wants to take a crack at a Thompson submachine gun. I point this out because there’s a void in your country and I see it every few weeks when I go to the range. I’ll take my laws over yours any day.

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  6. I never fully comprhended the term "aggressively stupid" until now.

    First of all, what professor, of any political stripe, would stand up in a classroom knowing that any of his students was armed? Zero. Since you hate everything academic, this argument is win-win for you.

    Second, you all of a sudden throw overboard every Madisonian argument you ever made (and I would point out for the Freudians here that Jemmy was the shortest president we ever had, coming in at about 5'4")by creating "an inherent right" to defend one's self." Yet shortly thereafter you state,"The Constitution ... is the listing of powers that a free people granted to a Federal government ... Those powers are specifically listed." You cannot believe THAT and in inherent powers.

    The inherent right of privacy, which a near majority of the Supreme Court now finds invalid, was the basis not only of Roe v. Wade but of the decision allowing women to use birth control. Presuming you are in favor of birth control if not a woman's choice regarding abortion, is it fair to state that as a self-proclaimed libertarian, you believe that only guns and fucking are inherently in the Constitution and everything else is limited to what is written there?

    Third, you say, "I’ll take my laws over yours any day." If you do, you don't. You live under a body of law evolved from British common law since 1215. The year 1215, not the hour of 12:15 when you may have awakened.

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  7. Of course you can believe in inherent powers of free individuals and at the same time those people conciously yielded some specific powers to a Federal government. Why is that even remotely questionable? That's *precisely* what the states voted for when the Constitution was submitted for ratification. How ridiculous a statement!

    In all the years you've known me, have you *ever* known me to discuss Roe v Wade? Ever? I didn't think so. Have I ever made a comment *anywhere* about birth control or abortion? Don't make presumptions based upon flawed preconcieved notions of yours.

    I know sir that you *don't* understand the Constitution, which is why you feel the need to write some ridiculous statement about Libertarian thought above. The TENTH AMENDMENT says it ALL! I mean, how much clearer could it have been stated: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

    The powers are DELEGATED to the United States, and those NOT delegated are reserved exclusively to the States OR the PEOPLE.

    How can you be so naive to not understand the basic fundamentals of the basic concepts?

    All rights are inherently the people's, the people yielded some specific powers to the Federal government, and those not yielded remain with the people. It's right there in black and white. The language could not be any more clear. You know, the Bill of Rights and all that, you may have heard of it.

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  8. Perhaps you were not precise in your original arrangement of words when you said the Framers believed in an inherent right to defend one's self.

    To the extent that they believed that, they wrote the Second Amendment. That is not inherent. It is explicitly a right given (depending on one's reading of it.)

    "Inherent rights" are usually the province of liberals -- privacy, the right to health, a decent job, good schools, ad infinitum. So, unless you misspoke, you seem to be on opposite sides of the same principle.

    Of course I presumed correctly about your positions on Roe and Griswold. I am merely suggesting that those "liberal" decisions were based on things not specifically written by the Framers and, according to your previously stated views, are unconstitutional.

    How do you feel about car registration laws, considering there were no cars in 1789? Or the regulation (little as there is) of the broadcast spectrum?

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  9. Anonymous12:09 PM

    Mr Glock, you are clearly a man who regards the Constitution as so sacrosanct that any argument regarding its absolute relevance to modern day events is clearly doomed to defeat with you. So I won't continue that discussion but I would, with respect, pick you up on the points you made about the British crime rate.

    You are using an apples and oranges argument which simply does not stand up.

    You said:-

    'I know you’re aware that violent crime rates in your country have skyrocketed since your ridiculous gun ban was put in to effect. It’s undeniable, you’re a victim waiting to happen.'

    Well first of all, yes, violent crime has rocketed in certain areas and among certain communities, but either you don't understand British society or you are using a deliberately disingenuous argument to fuel your gun laws case.

    The truth is that most Britons have never been armed with a gun. Tight gun ownership laws have existed here since the end 1940s when servicemen brought weapons back from the war. Yes you are right that we had a ridiculous gun bill brought in after a shooting at a school in Scotland, but not ridiculous for the reasons you seem to surmise. Guns were taken away from hunters, target shooters and Olympic sportsmen and that's what was ridiculous - the fact that guns were removed from an element of society that needed them for sport - NOT a section of the community who needed them for self defence.

    The British gun crime rate has not been affected by the post-Dunblane ban one iota. The violent crime involving guns is black on black crime in the inner cities with guns obtained illegally..and the killings are of other 'crew' members (using the Jamaican gang nomenclature) not innocent members of the public. So we don't have a gangsters with guns breaking into houses and killing people who don't own guns situation. The further ban on gun ownership affected only those whose sporting interests were then ruined , not members of the public who had ever owned a gun to defend themselves - we have NEVER had that facility in our society.

    As for British dads popping away on one of your gun ranges - of course they do. Its like big kids let out of school for the day suddenly finding they can play with dangerous toys. When they come home to England they are sated - they've played 'bang bang'for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately the big kids of America have them in their possession legally all the time. That's the tragedy.

    Brian F..England

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  10. Again, you continue to demonstrate a continual lack of understanding of the Constitution.

    Here's the largest part that you don't understand: The Government doesn't give rights. Read it again, the Government doesn't give rights. All rights are the people's, the government is granted power by them, not the other way around. The inherent right to keep and bear arms was simply codified by the 2nd amendment.

    Remember, most of the framers saw no need for a bill of rights, because (for example) congress was given no power to make any law about say, the press. (Referring to Article I, Section 8) So, writing an amendment prohibiting them from doing so was seen as ridiculous by some, particularly Hamilton. Read Federalist 84 for a true understanding.

    These rights were *all* inherent rights but they were *codified* to appease those who opposed passage of the constitution due to their absence. It was Madison who championed this as a way to ensure passage of the Constitution as a whole.

    As cited by Justice Scalia in Heller - see Robertson v. Baldwin 165 US 275,281 (1897) - it "codified a right 'inherited from our english ancestors.'"

    All rights rest with the people. NONE are granted by the government. SOME of those rights were codifed by the Bill of Rights, and those NOT codified are still inherent rights as codified by the 9th Amendment.

    Vehicle registration is a method of taxation, in most states by the state itself, in some (like mine) by the county. It's not a federal issue, and clearly falls under the 10th amendment rights of the states and the people.

    Regulation of the broadcast spectrum for the purpose of assigning frequencies and eliminating the potential anarchy and such,would seem to fall under the realm of regulating interstate commerce. Regulating content, such as fining CBS and affiliates for Janet Jackson's super-tit exposure is *clearly* unconsTITutional. The FCC needs to get out of the business of trying to regulate content.

    The 9th and 10th Amendments are the ones that are ignored the most. If the press would ever get the same ferver defending those as they do the 1st, the country would be a better place.

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  11. Brian - As I simply state: If the Constitution does not adequately deal with contemporary issues, it needs to be amended.

    Failing that, it needs to be obeyed.

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  12. Lastly, returning to a comment posted by IRA: "First of all, what professor, of any political stripe, would stand up in a classroom knowing that any of his students was armed? Zero. Since you hate everything academic, this argument is win-win for you."

    In most U.S. states approximately 1% of the population (one person out of 100) is licensed to carry a concealed handgun. Are students or professors afraid to sit in 300-seat movie theaters knowing that, statistically speaking, as many as three of their fellow moviegoers may be legally carrying concealed handguns? Are they afraid to walk through crowded shopping malls knowing that one out of every hundred shoppers they pass is potentially carrying a legally concealed handgun? Or do they go through their daily routines, both on and off campus, never giving much thought to what is concealed beneath the clothing and within the handbags of the people they pass? Does you contend that students on the eleven U.S. college campuses where concealed carry is currently allowed (all nine public colleges in the state of Utah, Colorado State University, and Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, VA) are afraid to engage in intelligent debate for fear that somebody nearby might have a gun? Does concealed carry discourage debate on the floor of the state legislatures in Texas and Virginia and the other states where it is allowed in the state capitol? (1)

    Since the fall semester of 2006, state law has allowed licensed individuals to carry concealed handguns on the campuses of all nine public colleges in Utah. Concealed carry has been allowed at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) for more than five years and at Blue Ridge Community College (Weyers Cave, VA) for more than thirteen years. After allowing concealed carry on campus for a combined total of more than seventy semesters, none of these eleven schools have seen a single resulting incident of gun violence, a single gun accident, or a single gun theft. Likewise, none of the forty ‘right-to-carry’ states have seen an increased rate of gun violence since legalizing concealed carry, despite the fact that licensed citizens in those states regularly carry concealed handguns in places like office buildings, movie theaters, grocery stores, shopping malls, restaurants, churches, banks, etc. (2)


    (1) Excerpt from: Conceledcampus.com "Why our campuses are NOT safer without Concealed Hanguns"

    (2) Excerpt from: Concealedcampus.com "Answers to the most common arguments against concealed carry on campus."

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  13. Your list of 11 campuses answers makes the answer self-evident.
    They cannot be afraid of something they cannot conceive of -- intelligent debate.

    A large college campus is a kettle of fear, resentment and jealousy, and a professor (or campus radio deejay for that matter) who is highly visible, and standing under a spotlight in front of an auditorium of freshmen one of whom he/she might have given a bad grade to -- well that answers the question, too.

    Combine guns on campus with the binge drinking and you get what you and your fellow yahoos want -- and end to free inquiry and a lot of dead people.

    None of the colleges you mentioned have any trouble hiring faculty, since they sound like they are last resort schools. But the day a prominent university -- say any among the top 500 -- is forced to allow students to carry guns on campus is the day that no one of value will join the faculty and the quality of its students and donors will begin to sink.

    Criminals kill each other with guns. Mentally deranged people kill innocents in occasional bursts of publicity (Va. Tech, et al). The vision of a society having to defend itself from armed home invaders is false. But what we do know is that where guns are kept by "law-abiding citizens" for "self-protection" -- most of the country -- they are mostly used to kill a family member or close friend.

    You could look it up.

    In fact, ask your police chief if he/she would like to see more guns in the community or fewer.

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  14. Wowwwww! Hello children (chillin' (ref to Southpark), can you say "Elitist snob?"

    "Your list of 11 campuses answers makes the answer self-evident.
    They cannot be afraid of something they cannot conceive of -- intelligent debate."

    I forgot, my bad. Nothing in 'flyover' country can ever be used to make a point. If Ira doesn't approve of someplace, it doesn't exist.

    I recommend however, that you do 5 minutes of research on certain issues before you comment.

    1) No one, not them, nor I, is advocating freshmen carrying weapons on campus. In nearly all places, it's illegal for them to carry at all. No one's recommending that for change.

    2) Most binge drinking takes place *off* campus, where weapons are currently allowed. There doesn't seem to be much of a problem with shootings at off-campus parties, so your assertion is ridiculous.

    Returning to your snooty attitude. Colorado State University is currently ranked 125th in the country overall and 63rd among public colleges by US News. I don't think you can find any professors who refuse to go there because the populace is permitted to be armed on campus just the same as if they were at the supermarket or the bank. Flyover country. What a snob.

    "...a professor (or campus radio deejay for that matter) who is highly visible, and standing under a spotlight in front of an auditorium of freshmen one of whom he/she might have given a bad grade to -- well that answers the question, too."

    The only way I know of for a campus deejay to get someone so riled as to want to kill them is because they've 'done' their girlfriend. If someone wants to do him in, I'm pretty sure the campus prohibition on weapons isn't going to stop them. "I'm gonna KILL that bastard!! Oh wait, I can't bring this gun on campus. Shit!"

    See how ridiculous the point is?

    "But what we do know is that where guns are kept by "law-abiding citizens" for "self-protection" -- most of the country -- they are mostly used to kill a family member or close friend."

    How ridiculous is this!? Cite some statistic. Because I can cite what happened in this town in the last 48 hours. Two armed home invasions (one of which was foiled by an armed homeowner), 1 armed carjacking, and two armed robberies; one of a person, one of a convenience store. However there have been *no* reports of any murders of 'family members or close friends.' So when you blindly assert: "they are mostly used" for that, you'd better be able to back it up, because, it's simply bullshit.

    A snob, who has resorted to making things up. Good going Ira.

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