Category Archives: Liberty

The Supreme Court

The year was 2009. And things were wacky. The fact that Brett Favre was in the NFC Championship game was, by itself, not at all strange. Brett Favre was a great quarterback having a great year. And he was on the brink of a Superbowl birth. No. The wacky part of that 2009 football season was that ‘ol #4 was wearing the purple and gold for the Minnesota Vikings. And that the game was going to change the rules of football.

You see, the game — and it was a GREAT game — ended in a tie. When the whistle blew the score of that game that would determine who represented the NFC in the Superbowl stood 28-28. The Saints managed to play the Vikings to a tie despite being outplayed the whole game. We’re going to overtime! Now, in the NFL up to and including 2009, the overtime rules were crazy, dumb and outdated. The rule, at the time, was this:

Before overtime started, the teams met at mid-field and a coin toss was conducted. The winner of the coin toss was allowed to declare if they would rather kick the ball or receive the ball. The other team was awarded the decision which end zone they would defend. In almost all circumstances, the winner of the coin toss would choose to receive the ball. The reason was simple; the rules of over time stated that the team to score first would be declared the winner.

This is, of course, stupid.

For example, a team that wins the coin toss gets the ball first and only has to score a field goal to win. And they can do this without the other team even having the chance to posses the ball and impact the outcome. Now, the NFL is not alone in sudden death overtime; hockey also plays extra time with the first score determining the winner. Some soccer leagues also play sudden death. However, other sports are not played in this manner. The NBA plays extra minutes and whoever is ahead at the end of that extra time is awarded the victory. Baseball plays an extra inning; each team is provided an opportunity to bat and if they can score more runs than their opponent during that extra inning, they are the winner.

The NFL’s rule is stupid. And the fact that a game as important as the NFC Championship game is determined by a coin toss only makes that rule more unfortunate. As it turned out, New Orleans won the coin toss, received the ball, moved close enough to attempt a field goal and won the game 31-28. The very next season the NFL changed the over time rules to allow both teams the chance to possess the ball IF the first team scored on a field goal. If they score a touchdown on the first possession, the game is over.

Better – but still dumb.

And here’s the thing; everyone KNOWS that this was a horrible rule. And while the NFL made it better by adjusting for a first strike FG, they still allow sudden death in the event of a touchdown. The rule is a bad rule. It is NOT poorly written or misunderstood. The rule is clear, everyone understands it. But it’s just a bad rule and there hasn’t been a willingness to change the rule.

Now, imagine if the Minnesota Vikings, after giving up that field goal to the Saints, appealed to the refs in the game and made the claim that the decision awarding the win to the Saints wasn’t right. That BOTH teams should be offered the opportunity to score. After all, football should be decided by plays on the field, not the luck of a coin toss. Whats more, there is precedent for such a method and it has been wildly successful. College football has a much better system.

In the college game, when four quarters results in a tie, each team is given the opportunity to score, much like the innings of a baseball game. Rather than have a kickoff, another horribly random play that unfortunately changes the outcomes of too many games, but I digress, the college format dictates that the ball is placed at the opponent’s 25 yard line. From there, each team attempts to drive the ball and score; either by touchdown or by field goal. After each team has had the chance to score, the game is decided by whoever has the most points. In the event of a continued tie; repeat.

Back to our imaginary appeal to the referees after the Saints scored their field goal. The Vikings surly have a case to be made; it is not fair that a team can win a football game by kicking a single field goal based on who wins a coin toss. It is nearly indisputable that the college system is superior. In fact, the college rules not only assure that there will be a winner, in the regular season, an NFL game can end in a tie if no team scores in 15 minutes, but it is superior to the format currently employed by the NHL and most soccer leagues; the dreaded shoot-out. Clearly the rule, as written, is outdated, not fair and has a clear path to a better result.

The referees should absolutely rule in favor of the Minnesota Vikings, award them the ball via Saint’s kick-off and resume play.

Except that’s not how things work.

You see, it is not the job of the referees to write new rules. Their job is to adjudicate existing rules as they are written. It is the role of the owner’s competition committee to write new rules; or not, depending on the will of those owners.

And so we come to my point:

ACB

Amy Coney Barrett

6 – 3

We had a good four years! Perhaps the biggest win for the Trump years was the additions of Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett. By elevating these three judges to The Supreme Court of the United States, Trump has solidified a conservative majority in the court for a generation; maybe more. But what does it mean to be a “conservative” when it comes to the Supreme Court?

What it’s not is this – A conservative Supreme Court is NOT a court that looks to uphold laws or cases that the partisan right-wing might favor. It is not the role of a conservative Court to see those partisan battle lines and take a side. A conservative Court should not care one single iota if the case being heard is one where a republican President or a democrat President favors the outcome. She should not care a single whiff that the case has the hopes and prayers of a partisan congress or even a partisan electorate writing Op Eds in the Journal or the Times. He should not care that the Senate Majority Leader is stomping on the grounds of the Senate or the Speaker is railing the same in the House.

The role of The Supreme Court of the United States is to adjudicate the law. Before it. As it is written.

Period.

The role of the court is NOT to ascertain what the Founders *may* have thought about certain events today, the changing nature of society today. The court is not to guess what the legislature might say if they could speak today.

The role of the court is to call balls and strikes. Or touchdowns and field goals.

Or overtime rules.

The reason the supreme court is such a hot button topic, and the reason why the liberal left is so emotional about the replacement of RBG by ACB, is that, for them, the court is not a arbiter of rules as written, the court is a process whereby old and archaic laws are to be refreshed, rewritten or reinterpreted. Maybe, maybe, the legislature would have included transgendered rights when they crafted Title VII of The Civil Rights Act back in 1964. Or maybe they wouldn’t have. That’s not important. What IS important is that they didn’t.

Maybe the 2nd amendment would have been written differently if the founders could have conceived a world that we find ourselves living in today. Maybe a just and noble society OUGHT restrict firearms. Maybe. Probably. But all of that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that there exists a process whereby legislation can be enacted to reflect current and prevailing views. If you don’t like the laws, change the laws. Elect politicians who will submit the bill, debate the bill and pass it where it will be signed into law by an executive who has also been elected.

And if you are unable to do that, going to the supreme court to get them to change the law from what it actually says into something that you hope for it to say is outside the role of the court.

So yes, Trump getting Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett on the court is a HUGE deal. Because now we will have a court that will interpret laws and not create them. We will have a court that is not trying to ‘catch the country up’ to society that it thinks we live in.

And that right there, is a pretty strong legacy.

The 1619 Project: My Thoughts

I suppose that it is long since past the time to listen to the 1619 Project published by the New York Times Magazine. And now with #BlackLivesMatter all in the news, it is more important than ever to to take the time and see what the project is and what it says.

But before I do, I want to take a few minutes and collect my thoughts and write down what I think of the 1619 before I listen to the podcast found here.

The first African slave ship to arrive in what is now America landed in the year 1619. With the arrival of that ship, the practice of chattel slavery in what would become the United States of America began. As I understand it, the 1619 project is an attempt to correct the historical accounting of the founding of the nation more commonly taught as an experiment in liberty and freedom. The author, Nikole Hannah-Jones, tries to tell the story of America through the lens of the oppression of people, I assume this would be non-white people, and how that oppression was used to build the the United States. I expect that Nikole will make the case that this country, the wealth and prosperity it has enjoyed, is due in no small part to the forced labor and the abuse of minority people at the hands of white Europeans and it is this narrative, rather than the idea that we are founded on near religious documents such as The Declaration of the United States of America and The Constitution of the United States of America, that is the true story of our beginnings.

If you know me, you will not be surprised to learn that I take a very skeptical side-eye to this idea. It’s not that I deny the fact that slavery existed in America, that slavery is brutal and inhumane, that the legacy of slavery still echos today. I don’t deny any of that. I just don’t happen to feel that America was founded on the concepts of being a slave state. I happen to feel that America was founded on the concepts stated in those documents. Concepts such as negative rights, limited government, the sovereignty of the individual. I believe that the founders did envision “a more perfect union” when they were gathering and thinking and legislating.

I have a healthy suspicion of the NY Times, its reporters, their bias. I don’t believe that they are neutral observers reporting news and facts as they happen and leave the analysis to us, the gentle reader. Rather, the Times has an agenda and that agenda is more closely aligned with far left ideology, think Karl Marx, than an ideology based on the concept of individual liberty. With this in mind, I fully expect that my listening of the 1619 Project will find errors in facts, a rewrite of history to support a “going in narrative” and an arc meant to reinforce a policy agenda already formed rather than an honest curiosity driven questioning of events years gone by.

To be fair, I listen to a majority of opinion from the right. I listen to Ben Shapiro, The Federalist, CATO. I read Reason and Mises. I also try to balance this with The Slate’s, ‘The Gabfest’ and am a regular reader of Slate and up until they went behind a paywall, The Atlantic. Of my sources of analysis, it is Ben that is the harshest critic of Nikole and her project.

I believe that America is that noble invention. I believe in the nobility of the self and the state that allows the expression of the individual liberty we all ought enjoy. In fact, liberty being the natural state of man, I happen to think that the restriction of that liberty, to deny a man the ability to express fully his own liberty, is nearly so, more so, a sin against nature as it would be to take his life.

I believe that we are all members of humanity; a humanity that itself an best be described as a ‘fallen humanity’. That while we are created in the image of God, we have not, cannot, live up to the expectations of a perfect life. That life, that perfection, is not meant for this world; that is the domain of the next. I believe that man can be wicked, man can be cruel. I find that, in the end, we all strive to make a life for ourselves better and that often, as is our nature, we see the world and the resources in it as a finite pie. We see the struggle for a better life as a zero sum game. Think a sporting contest between two players or teams. A score for your team, or a reduction of a score of your opponent is the same. A touchdown is a 7-point advantage for you and represents an exactly opposite 7-point disadvantage to the opposition.

A zero sum game. A game that ends 21-7 represents a 14-point advantage for your team and a 14-point disadvantage to the other team. Plus 14 for you and minus 14 for them. (+14) + (-14) = zero. A zero sum game.

This belief leads to all forms of evil. Slavery being one. In that regard, the United States is not unique. Slavery has existed since time immemorial and in every society and civilization in the world. In fact, slavery continues today. The noble intentions of our founding should not be replaced or rejected simply because people are sinful, a sad state that we cannot escape, but should be celebrated BECAUSE, or in spite of the fact, that we are sinful. It is the acknowledgement of our failings that is the genesis of our nation.

I suspect that Nikole and 1619 will try to refute that. I suspect that I will not enjoy that argument and will likely reject it as wrong.

An Open Letter to My Conservative Friends

Dear Conservative,

Remember who you are. You are a lover of liberty and of country. And that love requires certain tolerances. Namely, that you tolerate difference of thought, of opinion and of solutions to a wide range of perceived problems.

This will be hard to do. It will not be easy; but you have to do it.

And it will be made harder by the thoughts, the words and the actions of those that you disagree with. They will do and say things that will take you down a path you don’t wanna go. They will tempt you to abandon the liberty and the country to love.

We ARE a nation of immigrants. You can trace your family tree back to somewhere else. And you are right to celebrate that. It is right to take immense honor that it is uniquely American that we are the only country in the world where you can come and then ‘become’. If you come from Germany, you can become American. If you come from China, you can become American. From Romania, from Argentina or from Ethiopia; you can become an American. All knowing that you cannot go anywhere else and become. You cannot become Mexican, or Norwegian or Zimbabwean.

This is what makes us great.

Which is why it is so painful when you cheer statements suggesting select congressmen go back to where they came from. Which is why it is so frustrating to hear you chant, ‘send her back’. You are better.

And yes, it is hard. As they try to silence you, give them a voice. As they insult you, give them respect. As they seek to alienate you, let them have their opinions.

They will try to suppress you. They will call you racist in an attempt to silence you. They will label you as misogynist in an attempt to silence you. They will call you xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic and you-name-it-phobic. Yes, they have and yes they will continue to do the same.

Carry on. Bear the burden and carry on.

Our liberty and our country depends upon it.

A Thing I Learned Today – I

Today I learned of the origin of ‘Federal’:

1640s, as a theological term (in reference to “covenants” between God and man), from French fédéral, an adjective formed from Latin foedus (genitive foederis) “covenant, league, treaty, alliance,” from PIE *bhoid-es-, suffixed form of root *bheidh- “to trust, confide, persuade.”

Secular meaning “pertaining to a covenant or treaty” (1650s) led to political sense of “formed by agreement among independent states” (1707), from use of the word in federal union “union based on a treaty” (popularized during formation of U.S.A. 1776-1787) and like phrases. Also from this period in U.S. history comes the sense “favoring the central government” (1788) and the especial use of the word (as opposed to confederate) to mean a state in which the federal authority is independent of the component parts within its legitimate sphere of action. Used from 1861 in reference to the Northern forces in the American Civil War.

Wherein the Gentle Left Agrees With Pino

In case you haven’t heard, the Red Hen in Lexington, VA denied service to a member of Trump’s staff.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Saturday that she had been asked to leave a Virginia restaurant the night before because she worked for U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left,” Sanders said on the official Press Secretary Twitter account.

On Saturday, the owner of the Red Hen confirmed the incident and said she stood by her decision to refuse service to Sanders, the Washington Post reported.

I 100% support this action by the owner of a private establishment.

She should be free to enter into contract, or not, with anyone she chooses.  Be they men, white, republicans or Vikings fans.  It is her business with her money and she should be able to decide who she serves.

I am encouraged by the left’s embrace of individual liberty!

Thoughts and Prayers – Parkland to Vegas

From Los Vegas to Parkland – so much tragedy.  So much grief; sadness.

I get it.  The images are burned-in painful.  The thought of my kid in that school, of your kid in that school.  At that concert.

I get it.

The horror is almost literally overwhelming.  If I let myself, while lying at bed at night, I can get that feeling in my stomach – like when you dream you are falling?

I get it.

But I ask you, right now, in the comments section, without looking at Google – type the names of 3 of the victims.

Or even just 1.

From either tragedy.

I’m guessing you can’t.  So, if you are protesting, or are mad and posting, or are demanding action be done – why didn’t you do that February 13?

I think your mobilization has more to do with the hollywood marketed outrage and less about how you really feel about people dying by guns.

Put another way, why are you not mourning Larenzo Smith?

Parkland, Florida – Solutions on the Spectrum

The horrors we witnessed in Parkland took place a week ago this afternoon.  For many of us, the tragedy is still fresh and frontal.  For a few, those horrors will never end; that day in mid-February 2018 will define their existence.

I can’t imagine.  And, we’ve seen it before – we’ll see it again.  All of us, myself included, after the kids are in bed, are left with this question:

What do we do?  What CAN we do?

In the coming days I’m gonna explore my thoughts and my feelings.  I’m gonna think about what we can do, what I can do; if anything.

I’ve seen what seems like a never ending barrage of thoughts, and arguments, debate and anger.  Rage.  Despair.

And blame.

Which brings me to my point.  As I, we, explore feelings and define the problems looking for solutions – I want to do so from a position of mutual acknowledgement.  Namely that I love my kids, and yours, in the same manner that love your kids, and mine.

Period.

It’s likely, that as intelligent people with different histories and experience, we are going to arrive at separate conclusions after being exposed to the same body of facts.  And that, THAT, has to be okay.  It cannot be that those who shout loudest, most often and without regard to civility are allowed to carry the day.  Neither can we allow the debate to devolve into that place where we question each other’s motives.

This is too important to us.

 

Noble Intentions

Health Care
Minimum wage
Immigration
Affirmative Action
Pay equity

The list goes on.  And on and on.

I don’t doubt the liberla’s intentions – they mean well.  Who doesn’t want medical care for the child, income for the poor, safe haven for the oppressed, equality for the marginalized or parity for all?

The problem isn’t the end, its the means.  It’s always been about the means.

Forgive Me

You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t approve of your solution to government incompetence is to give more power to the government to wreck my life:

The gunman who slaughtered 26 people at a Texas church was able to buy weapons because the Air Force failed to report his domestic violence conviction to the federal database that is used to conduct background checks on would-be gun purchasers, authorities said Monday.

Federal officials said the Air Force didn’t submit Devin Patrick Kelley’s criminal history even though it was required to do so by Pentagon rules.

Kelley, 26, was found guilty of assault in an Air Force court-martial in 2012 for abusing his wife and her child and was given 12 months’ confinement followed by a bad-conduct discharge in 2014. That same year, authorities said, he bought the first of four weapons.

Under Pentagon rules, information about convictions of military personnel for crimes like assault should be submitted to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Investigation Services Division.

Because you suck at what you do you want me to give you more power to suck at what you do?  I think I’ll pass on enabling your suckiness.

Perspective

May God comfort the families of those that He called home tonight in New York.

Quick internet search:

Motor vehicle traffic deaths
  • Number of deaths: 33,736
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 10.6
All firearm deaths
  • Number of deaths: 33,594
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 10.5

If you want to save lives by banning something, there is more than one solution.