Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

November 30, 2004

Homespun Symposium III

Filed under: Government,Society-Culture — Bunker @ 4:12 pm

I see no greater threat to the United States than that which boils within our own border: creative interpretation of our Constitution.

I know most of you have read, many times, about how I fear our Constitution is being made irrelevant by those with an agenda and a sypathetic judiciary. The reason it troubles me so is that our Constitution has stood for longer than any other in history, and has served as the fulcrum for more changes than any other nation has experienced. This country has evolved from an agrarian society with limited manufacturing isolated in a small area to an industrialized economic powerhouse that still holds strong enough agrarian roots that we can feed ourselves easily, with more than enough to take care of dozens of other nations who can’t.

The men who wrote, debated, rewrote, and ratified this document had a wonderful understanding of human weakness, and built into the rules of government the ability to weaken any populist pressure to increase the interference of the government in our personal lives. At the same time, the document told our government, in no uncertain terms, precisely what it was allowed to do, and gave it leeway only in how to accomplish those things. It is that leeway which politicians have used to expand the authority of the federal government, and which judges have turned to advantage. We have reached the point where judges evaluate our Constitution using as example laws in other countries–countries which have never matched the US in any measure.

People speak of a “slippery slope” when discussing pieces of legislation or court rulings. I think the better metaphor is a cookie. Rather than having our society slide from its position to something less agreeable (depending on which group advocates or opposes), our society and government are weakened regardless of direction by the incessant change, even if just small nibbles from the cookie. Nibbles add up. Whether the Left takes a piece from the Right or vice versa, is irrelevant. A piece is missing.

This does not mean change is bad. Change, in my experience, is usually good. But in society, the method of achieving it determines its value more than anything else. Madison and the rest understood that. They made change difficult. They made it difficult so that any change would require a national referendum, not a simple majority. As they understood, and the French Revolution validated, controlled change is the only way to establish and maintain a unified government that serves the citizens rather than controls them. A simple majority, made up of a few vocal advocates and their sometimes bewildered followers, should not set the tone for our government. Momentum can be a very bad thing when a small group on a personal mission builds on success. It can get out of control, and guillotines get erected.

Those who regard the Constitution as a living document are correct–it is. But not in they way they want it to be. Their thought is that it is open to interpretation as befits new circumstances. The Founders saw it as a living document in that it can be changed–and it has been, many times–to better suit the environment of our nation as it grew.

An Amendment requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress to make the grade. Pretty stiff. But once it leaves DC, it needs the support of three-fourths of the state legislatures. That means neither “Jesusland” nor “Coastal Elites” can make policy to suit themselves. The cookie doesn’t crumble with change by Amendment, but is strengthened by the unity required to make it happen.

We must all remember that there are 300 million of us, each with some issue that interests us. When we join a group, whether it be a union, the NRA, or NAMBLA, we add our voice to that group’s agenda, whether we agree with all the issues that group advocates or not. And each issue has the potential to erode individual liberty because for every issue, there are those for and against.

If you happen to be the “against”, your liberty is weakened by frivolous change to satisfy the “for.”

To counter this we must get back to the amendment process for issue of import, and change in the function of government. Although I oppose an amendment to define marriage, it may be good for it to be brought forth for discussion and debate on its merits. As with the Equal Rights Amendment, it may die in statehouses, but cause society to look within and make changes.

And that, my friends, will strengthen, not weaken us.

Words of the Year

Filed under: General — Bunker @ 2:18 pm

Is this legitimacy?

“Unfair freedom of speech did him in.”

Filed under: Media — Bunker @ 12:46 pm

That is Bill O’Reilly’s assessment of Rathergate. O’Reilly just bit the dust. I have little use for his opinion now. He has been on a downhill slide for some time, but this time he stepped off the cliff.

Dan Rather is guilty of not being skeptical enough about a story that was politically loaded.

Bill, I think you need to look at this through a different lens. Dan Rather is not the victim here. Being skeptical was not the issue. Dan was plenty skeptical about Bush’s ANG service–so much so that he grabbed the most damning evidence he could find without even looking at it. Is that journalism? Of course, we all know who really is to blame:

Unscrupulous people know that any accusation can be dumped on the Internet and within hours the mainstream media will pick it up.

I seem to remember that for nearly two weeks the Swift Boat controversey raged online before anyone in MSM picked up on it. By then all that remained was for John Kerry to offer contrary information, perhaps in the form of releasing his military records. And how long did it take before MSM picked up on the fake documents Rather offered up as proof of Bush’s failure to properly live up to his ANG requirements? Rather never admitted what we all could see was true–they were fake. The best he could do was say they weren’t authentic, but the material in them was. Doesn’t Bill consider that “unfair freedom of speech”?

Let’s talk about MSM and their standards. O’Reilly mentions Kitty Kelley’s book, filled with slander by anonymous sources, bemoaning that this information was printed on page one. Funny, I didn’t see much about it in the blogosphere except skepticism (unless you frequent far-left sites). It had no legs on the internet. But Kitty spent quite a few mornings on the network shows pimping the book, to the glee of folks like Katie Couric.

A click of the Internet mouse can wipe out a lifetime of honor and hard work. Just the accusation or allegation can be ruinous.

Aha! Now we understand. O’Reilly faced sexual harrassment charges, and eventually settled with his accuser. This article is really simply his way of telling us all he really wasn’t guilty–just a mouse click away from oblivion. When he finally falls from his perch, I anticipate we will all be blamed.

Glenn has more.

November 29, 2004

Russ Vaughn

Filed under: Military — Bunker @ 5:35 pm

Russ often sends me poems, and I’ve posted a couple of them. Usually, though, several others have beaten me to the punch, so I deferred. Today he has some prose to share at American Thinker. If that site isn’t one of your regular reads, make it happen.


Filed under: Government,Society-Culture — Bunker @ 11:13 am

Neal Boortz is a supporter of legalizing not only “medical marijuana,” but eliminating the drug laws completely. Today, at a time when the US Supreme Court is hearing arguments for and against, Boortz was in full bloom on the issue–until one caller came along to deflate him completely.

Boortz had listened to several callers tell the tale of how great marijuana was in helping one of their loved ones deal with pain. Everyone was patting themselves on the back for how tolerant they were. Then, one man skillfully walked Boortz along the primrose path. “My concern is where will this end? Is it okay for a minor to use it?” and his questions came on along that vein. Boortz was adamant that the slippery slope the man described would never go so far as he suggested. Then the man asked, “What if my grandmother, dying of cancer, wanted to smoke cigarettes in the hospital because that made her feel better?”

Uh oh…

Boortz: “Uh, well, cigarettes are a health hazard.”

Boortz, the libertarian, would begrudge a dying woman a cigarette, but would be quite pleased if she smoked one made from marijuana.

Politics of personal destruction

Filed under: Military,Politics — Bunker @ 10:26 am

“Politics of personal destruction” is a phrase used extensively by Bill Clinton and picked up by the others in leadership for the Democratic Party. I can understand how Bill would be able to rationalize that to himself. I never saw it in those terms myself, and I’ve always felt it was a pot calling a kettle black. The Democratic Party head-shed have become purveyors of bad news and personal attack. To them, however, saying John Kerry had no record in the Senate to run on was a personal attack.

Today, Deacon asks, “What ever happened to Steve Gardner?”

Steve Gardner served on a Vietnam swift boat crew with John Kerry. He was the only member of the 12 man crew who spoke against Kerry, thus becoming a key figure in the most fascinating and, I believe, significant story of this year’s election.

He directs us to an article by Mary Laney in the Chicago Sun-Times which details the grief that came to a man willing to speak out against the Democratic nominee.

“I’m broke. I’ve been hurt every way I can be hurt. I have no money in the bank but am doing little bits here and there to pay the bills,” he said.

I really didn’t expect to relive the election. But this thing just struck me hard. In the eyes of DNC faithful, John Kerry is the only veteran who ever spoke the truth. Any other vet fits well in their vision of red-state Americans, and deserves any bad things that might befall him. I take personal umbrage. Until that attitude changes, I cannot see myself ever again voting for a Democrat for national office.

November 28, 2004

The Diplomad

Filed under: International — Bunker @ 5:20 pm

Because of my interest in international relations, The Diplomad has become one of my new favorite blogs.

If only people like Jimmy Carter could have understood the facts in today’s post on Fidel Castro, a tremendous amount of suffering might have been averted.

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