By The President of the United States: A Proclamation
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.
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Hillary’s Emolument Problem
No, you don't have to go to the dictionary to find the definition of "emolument". I have taken the liberty of doing that for you. You can thank me later.
n. Payment for an office or employment; compensation.
[Middle English, from Latin ēmolumentum, gain, originally a miller's fee for grinding grain, from ēmolere, to grind out ]
Now that we've got that figured out, I'm sure you're wondering why Hillary might have a problem with a word most non-lawyers have never heard of, much less used in everyday conversation.
Well, over at Volokh Conspiracy (its actually a law prof blog) they've actually read the Constitution and came across a hitherto obscure (at least in my Constitutional knowledge) clause which might trip Hillary up in her bid to become the next Secretary of State. As I'm not a lawyer, nor can I credibly play one even in the blogosphere, I quote from Volokh as he quotes from Professor Michael Stokes Paulsen: (emphasis added)
So, "Is Hillary Clinton Unconstitutional?" In a word, Yes -- or, to be more precise, a Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be unconstitutional.
The Emoluments Clause of Article I, section 6 provides "No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time." As I understand it, President Bush's executive order from earlier this year "encreased" the "Emoluments" (salary) of the office of Secretary of State. Last I checked, Hillary Clinton was an elected Senator from New York at the time. Were she to be appointed to the civil Office of Secretary of State, she would be being appointed to an office for which "the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased" during the time for which she was elected to serve as Senator. The plain language of the Emoluments Clause would thus appear to bar her appointment ... if the Constitution is taken seriously (which it more than occasionally isn't on these matters, of course).
There's more Volokh legalese translation on the subject if you feel the need to swim in the details.
Whether or not this little molehill of constitutional minutiae actually becomes a insurmountable mountain between Hillary and Foggy Bottom remains to be seen. Somebody with the time, means, and motivation would have to file suit to challenge Obama's appointment on constitutional grounds. The wheels of justice turn slowly and are expensive to grease. After all, its just the Constitution.
But wait just a minute! If I remember correctly � and I checked so I am correct � one of the highlights of Obama's phenomenally thin presidential resume was his claim to be a "Constitutional Scholar". In order to fit that bill, don't you think a "constitutional scholar" would have been required to a) read the Constitution and b) at least be familiar with the clauses and limitations associated with said document? I'm not asking for much, as the "Emoluments Clause" is found in Article I, section 6.
Food for thought anyway.
God Bless Marine Corps Snipers
Christmas Bedtime Story
Here endeth the lesson.
November 19, 1863 - Lincoln at Gettysburg
Today’s media world is one defined by six-second sound bytes. Political orators great, and not so great, give speeches by the dozen on any number of subjects to cheering crowds of the assembled masses. What they say is boiled down to what fits in the news segment between the train wreck and the office shootout as reported by the 24-hour cable channel.
The world notes little and remembers less of what is said by national leaders.
On this day, 145 years ago, two speeches were given at the dedicatory ceremony of Gettysburg National Cemetery. One was given by a man widely renowned as the greatest orator of the time. He was none other than Edward Everett, a former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, Governor of Massachusetts, president of Harvard University, and Vice Presidential candidate. Almost as an afterthought, the President of the United States was also invited to give “dedicatory remarks.”
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Would Obama Hire Obama?
A presidential transition comes and goes like the seasons in Washington DC. Every four or eight years the "new guy" gets elected in November and has till late January to measure the drapes, choose the china, and hire the 3,000 or so people it takes to run the upper echelons of the Executive Branch.
During this time, the President-elect gets the "Area-51" briefing. This is where he gets a sneak peak at the President's Book of Secrets and is brought up to speed on other important issues known only to the President. Such things include the fact that the real power in Washington DC is held by a four-man cabal operating in secret out of the basement of the USDA building and the Academy Awards are actually determined by National Zoo monkeys throwing darts (with the award names) at a big checkerboard with the names of the eligible movies.
How else do you explain Shakespeare in Love having beaten out Saving Private Ryan for Best Picture?
Obama has already received this briefing – one which he wasted no time blabbing to the assembled worshippers – oops…media – horde. I find it interesting how the AP quotes "aides familiar with the meeting" even though W and Obama met alone, without staff.
Obama is now privy to this nation's highest and most closely held secrets. He has access to this information solely because of the office he holds. As someone who has personally experienced the taxpayer funded rectal probe commonly known as an SSBI (Single Scope Background Investigation) – required prior to the granting of a security clearance, I can tell you there is no way Barry would hold even the lowest of clearances. The adjudication officer would take one look at the murky finances behind Obama's home purchase, his dubious associates, and his legion of Chicago thugs and put Obama's application in the shredder.
So, I must ask the obvious question? Would Obama hire Obama? Well, take a look at the "questionnaire" put forth by Team Obama with the vetting questions to be posed to anyone with even the slightest of dreams of working inside the Obama White House.
So, dear reader, what are your favorite Obama vetting questions?
I'm partial to #14. Evidently Obama would want to pre-vet your diary prior to your first day at the office. I'm pretty sure even the Patriot Act doesn't go that far.
Oh, and there there's #18. Did you work for Freddie or Fannie, AIG, or WaMu? Sionara. Yes, Mr. Raines, that means you.
#31 is a howler, but only if you notice the handwritten "Clinton" in the margin. E tu, Barry? Bill Clinton will need a few reams of paper to answer #50.
Slick marketing won't change reality
Terrorists will not be less dangerous by being contextualized in a matrix of threats that includes climate change and global poverty, or because they will be mollified by Mr. Obama's middle name. Nor will Iran be deterred from developing nuclear weapons because a President Obama will restore faith in "brand America." - Bret Stephens, WSJ Editorial 5 November 2008
The Circular Firing Squad
The Circular Firing Squad
The MSM will be replete with effervescent praise for the victory of now President-elect Barack Obama for the foreseeable future. As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party, it is all together fitting and proper they should do this. I offer my sincere congratulations to Mr. Obama and promise that I will offer him more respect than he and his supporters offered the current occupant of the Oval Office.
I guess that's a fairly easy promise to keep as the bar wasn't set very high to begin with.
There will also be several autopsies and post-mortems of the debacle that was McCain-Palin 2008. When all the dust has settled from this election, there will be nothing left of the Republican Party's congressional majorities of 1994-2006. The wreckage is nearly total – coast to coast and border to border. America will be subject to the whims of an ever leftward sliding Congress controlled by The Pelosi and Dusty Harry. All that stands between them and a rubber stamped Obama signature will be the Senate filibuster commonly known as the Mitch Slap. Even that threat will be diluted by weak-kneed left leaning Republicans hoping that by throwing in with the majority they might score the occasional cocktail party invitation.
In short, surveying the wreckage this Wednesday morning, no, I am not optimistic.
It is thus that I do purposely violate Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of fellow Republicans. As evidence of my Republican party bona-fides, I present the following campaign work and votes for:
Bush (41)-Quayle 1992
W-"Big Time" Cheney 2000
W- "Big Time" Cheney 2004
Someplace deep in my basement storage unit I have a box (one which the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro would just as soon I burn) filled with all the bumper stickers, t-shirts and other memorabilia from past campaigns. Soon to be filed there will be the McCain-Palin yard sign.
In short, I'm a party loyalist. Once the primary is over, I close ranks behind the guy the party has chosen and soldier on with him until the end – bitter or otherwise.
Taking the long view of the 2008 election cycle, perhaps there was no Republican candidate that could have run the table against Obama or any other Democrat. Maybe the tsunami of a collapsing economy coupled with an unpopular incumbent would have pulled under even the best candidate.
John McCain is a bona-fide American hero who has spent his entire life fighting for and serving his country. He was not, however, the best candidate the party could have put forward this year. He was just lucky (or unlucky) enough to thread the needle of a fractured Republican base and be the last stomach-able candidate with a chair when the music stopped.
As evidence for this assertion, I cite the gold standard for political number crunching personified by US News' Michael Barone. Had McCain's margin of victory been 3% less, he'd have been watching this election cycle from the bleachers just like Romney, Huckabee, Thompson, Guiliani and the rest of the primary crowd.
I firmly believe the Republican Party is doomed to "wander in the wilderness" until it, and whatever leaders decide to lead it, deal with the fundamental flaws which led to this embarrassing and unnecessary defeat. Here's my list:
The Religious Right and Identity Politics
In my not so humble opinion, this is where the Republicans hoisted themselves over their own petard. More time, effort, and energy was spent quibbling over which candidate was the most "Christian" or the most "pro-life" or the most obviously religious than any other issue – relevant or otherwise. Yes, Mike Huckabee, I'm talking about you. Your constant attempts to turn a political debate into an ecclesiastical one made us all look foolish – you included. Maybe mixing stand up comedy with biblical sermons works well in Arkansas, but trust me – those people were laughing at you – not with you.
Simply put, the Founders put Article VI in the Constitution for a reason. Religious tests have no place in politics. Either we figure this out or perhaps George Will is right. Perhaps America was more enlightened a century ago.
I have not, in my lifetime, seen a more coordinated media chorus favoring one political party over another. As far as the MSM was concerned, this election was over the very second Barack Obama superseded the (less than) inevitable Hillary Clinton. The day-to-day coverage of the candidates during the primary season was incredibly slanted. The general election campaign coverage was even worse. We know more about Stiletto Sarah's wardrobe than we do about Barack Obama's thin record of achievement. There is no shortage of commentary about McCain's skin cancer treatment or Palin's moose hunting ability. The same cannot be said about investigations into Obama's dubious associations.
For some strange reason I simply don't understand, the MSM has a monopoly on the debates associated with the primary and general elections. The primary debates – especially the ones featuring YouTube – redefined the term "pathetic". The questions were lame and obviously designed to trip up the candidate rather than provide an opportunity to get insight into the candidates' thought processes (or lack thereof). The general election debates set a new "lame" threshold.
The MSM – with very few exceptions – is little more than the public relations arm of the Democratic Party. For Republicans, MSM journalists should be treated as an adversary until proven otherwise. There are ways around the MSM filter – unless and until The Pelosi, Dusty Harry, and UpChuck Schumer get around to implementing the fairness doctrine.
Reagan Conservative Principles
It should be pretty obvious by now that attempting to get along by going along with liberals only makes conservatives weaker and liberals stronger. Reagan accomplished what he did by sticking to his principles – low taxes, small(er) government, are strong defense. The DC establishment hated him. Ronaldus Magnus didn't care. His road to success is a proven one – much more so than the road which got Republicans where we currently reside.
The road back from the electoral abyss has been traveled before. The Democratic party has had the Washington Trifecta before. In 1992 the Clintons rode into town on the last wave of hope and change. They promptly went a few bridges too far in their quest to re-make the world. It is both possible and indeed probable Team Obama, The Pelosi, and Dusty Harry will do the same thing again. The question remains as to whether or not Republicans will be in any shape to take advantage of the coming opportunity.
Which opportunity would that be? Well, the Bush tax cuts expire on December 31, 2009. This means Congress need do nothing at all in order to raise taxes on every single American. Now I know that President-elect Obama has promised only to raise taxes on those greedy Americans making over 250 large annually. Well, at last count it was down to 120 large, but what's a few large among friends?
So, the odds favor a tax bill written by Barney Frank, blessed by The Pelosi, and shepherded through the Senate by Dusty Harry over whatever resistance Mitch McConnell can muster. Said bill might mirror Obama's promised middle class tax cut, but I'm betting 2-1 it doesn't.
Will Obama have the courage to stand up to The Pelosi and Dusty Harry? That remains to be seen, but there's nothing in his record that would lead me to believe he would.
What I'm interested in is whether or not Republicans can find, borrow, or grow stones sufficient to stand in the breech and fight for the conservative principles upon which their party was built. On that, I'm slightly, cautiously optimistic.
Here endeth the lesson.
Shivering in the dark
I have said this before, and I'll keep saying it as long as it's true: Barack Obama's economic understanding is dangerously naïve and borders on the ludicrous.
The latest evidence of this dangerous naïveté is a recently unearthed interview in which the Obamessiah held court with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle. (Video here – audio download here)
In this wide ranging interview, Obama outlines his philosophy on energy – specifically his plans to discourage the building of coal fired electrical plants in the United States.
Before I start quoting the Obamessiah on coal, I'd like to provide you with a few details which you most likely know already. First off, the United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal. We've got more coal than we can ever even think of burning, liquefying, or placing in the Christmas stockings of short sighted Democratic members of Congress.
The United States will need more electrical generation capacity in the future. Barry thinks he can generate that power using a bunch of windmills and solar panels rather than coal fired power plants. I guess that's what you get when you add "hope" to the equation. But enough of me putting words in the Anointed One's mouth. Direct from Frisco, here's Barry:
So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted. That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in wind, solar, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches. The only thing that I have said with respect to coal, I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.
Here, Obama shows just how dangerously naïve he really is. He thinks that some enterprising entrepreneur will go to the time, effort, and expense to build a coal-fired plant that will have to pay so much in greenhouse gas penalties that it will bankrupt said entrepreneur. The "billions of dollars" in revenue generated from the bankrupting penalties levied against the entrepreneur's power plant will be invested in Barry's pet energy projects.
What Barry doesn't get is the fact that prior to investing the time, treasure, and effort required to build a power plant, the entrepreneur will conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the investment. When the bean counters come back and tell him the project will bankrupt him, the plant isn't built in the first place.
But I digress. More Barry on energy:
You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know — Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I'm capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.
Actually, Barry, they won't "pass that money on to consumers". The "cost" will get past on to consumers. Bear in mind, dear reader, that this is the second area of energy in which the Obamessiah has praised higher costs. Remember back to not too distant past when he said he would have preferred a "gradual adjustment" to gas prices rather than the steep rise endured by all Americans. Barry didn't have a problem with $4 gas, he only had a problem with how fast the price went up.
So, where does Barry's coal hating energy plan get us? Well, if you lived in California in 2001 you understand what happened the last time democratic politicians attempted to repeal the laws of supply and demand. In the electricity market, when demand outstrips supply you end up with rolling blackouts.
Its no wonder the San Francisco Chronicle didn't bother to include the aforementioned quotes in its summary of the conversation between Obama and the editorial board. Whether intentional or on purpose, I'm pretty sure those San Franciscans who spent hours stuck in elevators as the blackouts rolled thorough downtown might think twice about voting for a guy who would visit that same "necessity" on the rest of the country.
Here endeth the lesson.
Great, now I'm "selfish" too!
For most of the 2008 Race for the Oval I’ve been at most “mildly annoyed” with the arrogance of Barack Obama. As a “typical white person” he’s made a lot of assumptions about me. In his view I “cling” to my guns and my religion out of a sense of bitterness. In the view of many of his supporters, I’m a pointy hatted, white robed racist of the highest degree simply because I have no plan to vote for the most inexperienced and unqualified man ever to seek the Presidency.
Now Barry has gone a bridge too far.
In Sarasota, Florida yesterday he made the following declaration which I quote for you in its entirety – or at least the entirety reported by ABCNew’s Jake Tapper:
The reason that we want to do this, change our tax code, is not because I have anything against the rich. I love rich people! I want all of you to be rich. Go for it. That’s the American dream, that’s the American way, that’s terrific. The point is, though, that -- and it’s not just charity, it’s not just that I want to help the middle class and working people who are trying to get in the middle class -- it’s that when we actually make sure that everybody’s got a shot – when young people can all go to college, when everybody’s got decent health care, when everybody’s got a little more money at the end of the month – then guess what? Everybody starts spending that money, they decide maybe I can afford a new car, maybe I can afford a computer for my child. They can buy the products and services that businesses are selling and everybody is better off. All boats rise. That’s what happened in the 1990s, that’s what we need to restore. And that’s what I’m gonna do as president of the United States of America.Now look. I spend about 60 hours of every week at my chosen profession. In order to qualify for this profession I went to college. A few years after finishing my undergraduate work I went to business school. Nobody from the Government ever came up to me and said, “Cordeiro, you’re a hard working young man with a lot of potential. Here’s a twenty large for your undergrad work. Want to go to grad school? Here’s another fifty large. Good luck.”
John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic. You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.
No, dear reader, I earned that money myself. What I didn’t earn, I borrowed and will be paying back for the next two decades or so. I did all this so I could earn a living to support the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro, our two beautiful children, and the family dog. I did all this so we could have the minivan, the mustang, and Cordeiro Manor. I earn this meager salary because I am exceptionally good at what I do. By meager salary, I mean I have yet to cross my “rich” threshold because I have not yet managed to keep enough of my hard earned cash to require a bank account labeled “Money I don’t know what to do with” – yet.
Yes, I pay taxes. A lot of taxes. So much in taxes that I hardly bother to look at the “gross” amount of my paycheck simply because it’s so frigging depressing when compared with the “net” amount. The “gross” amount isn’t anywhere near Obama’s first definition of “rich”, though that definition spirals ever downward with each passing day. It started at 300 large, and at last count Bill Richardson had brought it down to 120 large. Using a regression analysis tool, I calculate that by election day, Team Obama will declare that anyone making over 40 large annually will be branded as “rich” and therefore deserving of a tax increase.
So now I meet the Obamessiah’s definition of “selfish” – simply because I’m unwilling to give him more of my hard earned cash to do with as he sees fit. Barry has obviously and purposely confused taxes with charity. Taxes are forcefully taken from a citizen under threat of imprisonment or other unwanted consequences. Charity is money parted with willingly. There’s a big difference. Taking a look at Team Obama’s charitable giving over the past five years or so, its easy to conclude both Barry and SlowJoe get taxes and charity confused.
SlowJoe Biden would have you believe paying more taxes is a sign of your patriotism. The Obamessiah would have you believe paying more taxes is a selfless act. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting worried about having these two guys be charitable with my money.
But what do I know? I’m a dirty, rotten, selfishly greedy capitalist with racist leanings.
Here endeth the lesson.