A Busy and Dreadful Week for the Court
Today we take a look at several big rulings handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. These include the travesty of a decision upholding ObamaCare, the assault on the sovereign state of Arizona, the ever-evolving definition of "cruel and unusual punishment" with regard to the sentencing of minors, and campaign cash in Montana. The Court was all over the place, but we've got it covered.
A Date Which Will Live in Infamy
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare Thursday, following Congress and the president in abdicating their oaths of office. In what no Leftmedia outlet will describe as a "narrow majority," the Court upheld the constitutionality of this onerous and unpopular law by a 5-4 vote. The result is both devastating and a call to action. Patriots across this nation absolutely must rally to restore Rule of Law through the ballot this November.
Don't Give Up -- We Sure Won't
Thursday's Court ruling may be discouraging, but we can't let that keep us down. We must persevere in the fight for Liberty. We at The Patriot Post pledge to do so and ask you to stand with us today.
We have all enjoyed the fruits of prosperity that our forefathers purchased at great sacrifice, many with their lives. With the current unprecedented assault upon Liberty, each and every one of us is called to make our own great sacrifices, now and throughout the remainder of this election year. Future generations deserve no less.
Please take a moment to make a secure online donation to our 2012 Independence Day Campaign. If you prefer to support us by mail, please send your check with our printable donor form to the address on the form.
We have just 5 days to raise the remaining $175,000 for our campaign, and we're still 14 percent behind to date.
Government and Politics
Judicial Benchmarks: Arizona and Immigration
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled on four provisions of Arizona's controversial immigration law. The results were mixed. The Court struck down three of the four provisions it considered, siding with the Obama administration in a 5-3 vote, but by 8-0 (Elena Kagan recused herself) upheld the "heart" of the bill, which is the authority for law enforcement to verify the immigration status of individuals at a traffic stop or under arrest.
Judicial Benchmarks: Juvenile Sentencing
The Supreme Court continues its "race to the bottom" on matters of criminal punishment. In Miller v. Alabama, a 5-4 majority used the cases of two minors convicted of murder to invalidate the rule of 28 states and the federal government, which prescribed a mandatory sentence of life-without-parole for all minors convicted of aggravated murder.
Judicial Benchmarks: Campaign Speech
Justice Anthony Kennedy's swing vote aided constitutional conservatives as the Supreme Court summarily reversed a decision of the Montana Supreme Court, which held that the U.S. Court's Citizens United decision did not apply to Montana.
Judicial Benchmarks: 'Stolen Valor'
The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act in a 6-3 decision. The law made it a crime to lie about having received a military decoration or medal, but the Court found that a false public claim to have received those honors isn't a crime. As Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority, the law's "sweeping, quite unprecedented reach ... puts it in conflict with the First Amendment."
According to Tejinder Singh, writing at the Court's blog, "The Court concluded that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional because the Government had not shown that the statute is necessary to protect the integrity of the system of military honors -- the interest the Government had identified in support of the Act."
Regardless, those who make fraudulent claims to military honors are deserving of our deepest contempt.
News From the Swamp: Holder in Contempt
The House voted 255-67 Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. Most Democrats walked out on the vote in protest, but 17 of them joined Republicans in acknowledging the obvious. Unfortunately, the vote amounts to little more than a political slap on the wrist for Holder -- he likely won't face any tangible consequences for his obstruction of justice.
Earlier in the week, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to Barack Obama challenging his assertion of executive privilege over documents related to Fast and Furious. Issa said that either the White House was involved in sending misleading and false documents to the committee or is deliberately obstructing justice. Holder has long maintained that the White House was not in any way involved in the ill-conceived gunwalking operation that led to the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. If that were truly the case, then Obama cannot invoke executive privilege, because the communications and decisions enacted by the Justice Department occurred without consultation or direction from the White House. However, if the White House was involved, then Holder lied to Congress. Either way, it doesn't look good for Obama or Holder.
Hope 'n' Change: Obama Campaign Lowlights
The Obama campaign set up an event registry on their website this week asking supporters to register their weddings, anniversaries and other events in order to convince their friends and family to make contributions to the Obama-Biden campaign instead of sending gifts. This latest campaign gimmick is a bizarre new low for the Obama team in that it makes every significant event in people's lives about Obama.
Obama has also been wallowing in self-pity, warning supporters that he "will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far." He claims that while a majority of his donors gave less than $1,000 apiece, most of Mitt Romney's supporters are high-end donors pledging well over that amount. Obama audaciously criticized Romney's recent retreat that featured a number of policy discussions with donors and potential VP candidates, stating, "I've got other responsibilities I'm attending to." Those responsibilities included a two-day, seven-fundraiser blitz, bringing his total number of such events this year to 100, three times as many as George W. Bush at the same point during his re-election campaign.
The Obama campaign is working at gaining more support by extending government handouts to American citizens. In one such effort, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is spending up to $3 million on an ad campaign to encourage even more people to take food stamps. There are already more than 46 million people receiving food stamps, and enrollment has expanded significantly since 2004. Can we survive another four years of that kind of Hope 'n' Change?
From the Left: Democrats Cut Back
The Democratic National Committee is continuing to make significant changes to the September convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. This week they announced that the Sept. 3 kick-off event has been moved from Charlotte Motor Speedway to the downtown business district. They claim the move is for logistical reasons, but only if by "logistical reasons" they mean a significant fundraising shortage. The DNC's self-congratulatory ban on corporate donations, combined with a general lack of enthusiasm among traditional Democrat supporters, has left the nominating convention $27 million short of their goal.
The DNC already reduced the convention from four days to three, and they are now contending with a growing list of congressional Democrats skipping the whole affair. Senators Claire McCaskill (MO), Jon Tester (MT) and several other member of Congress from states and districts where Obama is unpopular have announced they won't attend the convention. Add to this the fact that the convention is in North Carolina, a state that is increasingly hostile to Obama's policies, and it becomes reasonable to assume that the DNC party planners may be less than optimistic about a replay of the 2008 Denver love fest.
Judge Okays Florida Voter Purge
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled Wednesday that Florida could continue with its purge of ineligible voters from its rolls. The Obama Justice Department had sued the Sunshine State on the grounds that removing non-citizens and other ineligible people from voter rolls was racist and against federal election law. Hinkle ruled, however, that federal law prohibits states from removing eligible voters near an election, but not from blocking people from voting who had no business casting ballots in the first place. Voter fraud is a key part of Democrat election strategy, so we understand why this ruling would be upsetting.
Income Redistribution: Losing the War on Poverty
It costs us nearly $1 trillion a year between federal and state entities, but the vast redistribution of wealth that is government's preferred solution for equalizing outcomes is doing nothing of the sort. Instead, it's created two distinct but politically powerful groups: 1.) A permanent underclass comprising a vast group of indentured servants who pay little to nothing in taxes but who get just enough handed to them by the American sugar daddy to stave off rioting in the streets, and 2.) The government employees and contractors who hand out the largess.
Since the so-called "Great Society" was launched under President Lyndon Johnson, the poverty rate has fluctuated in a relatively narrow range between 10 and 15 percent. As a whole, Americans are far wealthier with more material goods than they were at the start of Johnson's "War on Poverty," but those at the lower end of the income scale are still deemed to be in need of assistance by those who believe they know best. According to a recent Cato Institute study, government spending on poverty programs now amounts to nearly $20,000 per person. This means that, on the average, a "poor" family of four benefited from almost $80,000 in government spending last year -- certainly enough to qualify as a middle-class income if it were earned.
Of course, America's poor aren't living in a manner one generally envisions as indicative of a middle-class income. The various forms of welfare that federal and state governments distribute pass through many hands before finally reaching recipients. This creates a long list of those who like the programs and want to see them expanded. And since Barack Obama has turned many millions of Americans into government dependents, making any sort of meaningful cut will be a politically dicey prospect should Mitt Romney win this November.
From the 'Non Compos Mentis' File
This one didn't exactly promote the narrative of the "recovery summer" the Obama campaign has tried to tell for the last three years:
"My grandpa used to say, from Scranton, he'd say, 'Joey, when the guy in Dunmore -- the next town over -- when the guy in Dunmore is out of work, it's an economic slowdown. When your brother-in-law is out of work, it's a recession. When you're out of work, it's a depression. It's a depression for millions and millions of Americans." --Joe Biden, stealing a line from Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan
Recall that The Gipper went further, pointing out that a recovery was when Jimmy Carter lost his job. May history repeat itself.
Regulatory Commissars: The Populist Screed Against Lenders
The Left always slams banks for their "greed," but since the mortgage fiasco, banks now face heavier regulations than ever before. For example, they are forced to lower interest rates, forgive principal on mortgages, make loans to low-income borrowers with little prospect for payback and buy Treasury bonds to maintain prescribed liquidity. Yet these actions to satisfy a radical Obama regime are damaging these banks' ability to raise their own funds. As a result last week, Moody's downgraded five American banking behemoths to near-junk bond status once they realized the banks' finances were built on the shifting sands of federal debt. The not-so-fab five include Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.
The Obama administration is also cracking down on credit card companies by letting anyone with a grudge damage the companies' reputations by making complaints public. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is beta-testing a program that allows anyone with a computer to see complaints placed against credit card companies, regardless of merit. Can you say class-action lawsuits?
Yet Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general that Obama appointed to lead this new agency, claims this release "promotes the advancement of the free-market system." But making complaints public will only create the perception that credit card companies are in the same league as the banks already demonized by the administration. It's in the best interest of financial institutions to have satisfied customers, but the government is positioning itself to be the only customer for which satisfaction is demanded.
EPA Regulations Upheld
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled this week that the Environmental Protection Racket, er, Agency is justified in regulating industry and vehicle emissions via the Clean Air Act. The court said the agency is "unambiguously correct" that such emissions endanger public health.
"The court's decision should put an end, once and for all, to any questions about the EPA's legal authority to protect us from industrial carbon pollution through the Clean Air Act," said former White House climate adviser Carol Browner, who is now a senior fellow at the hard-left Center for American Progress. "This decision is a devastating blow to those who challenge the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change and deny its impact on public health and welfare." That would be the same evidence that's so "overwhelming" that even ecofascists such as James Lovelock, the inventor of the "Gaia" theory that Earth is a single organism, now admits that "we don't know what the climate is doing." We do, however, know what the EPA is doing -- throttling energy producers, automakers and others at the expense of us all.
At least the White House finally issued a permit for a section of the Keystone XL pipeline. Baby steps.
Around the Nation: Bullet Train Derailed
It's always fun to watch a leftist caught in the trap of his own policies, and California sets the latest stage. Democrat Gov. Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown was ready to drive the construction of a high-speed rail line, funded in part by billions from the president's "stimulus" package. The only problem is the stimulus dollars come with strings that say construction must commence before Dec. 31, 2012. Yet standing in the way of this deadline are environmental requirements that could take years to meet -- regulations that Brown himself has a long record of supporting. As the state's attorney general, Brown certainly amassed a good deal of experience filing environmental lawsuits.
So, what's a guy to do when he road-blocks himself? Request an exemption from the rules, of course. And that's just what Brown tried. As you can imagine, this went over among environmental groups like a plastic bottle in an aluminum-can receptacle. So, under pressure from said groups, Brown reneged on his plan, indicating last week that he will not attempt to circumvent the rules after all. Of course, this probably means the high-speed rail line is rocketing toward oblivion. Kind of like the rest of the economy of California, which ranks worst in the nation for business, thanks in part to burdensome regulations. We're sensing a theme here.
The Future in Egypt
As expected, the "moderate" Muslim Brotherhood won Egypt's nationwide election last weekend, as the MB candidate Mohammed Morsi garnered about 52 percent of the vote. Sadly, once again it appears that an anti-West, anti-freedom group of Middle Eastern thugs has used the democratic process to secure power, impose Sharia law and curtail the freedoms that brought them to power. Some Egyptian clerics rejoiced, calling for a march on Jerusalem in order to restore it as their capital. No doubt that will bring peace to the always-troubled region.
One of the most important players in this drama, the Egyptian military, won't allow any group to come to power that threatens their still-substantial might and national prominence. They already took steps to reduce the power and influence of Egypt's parliament prior to the election, correctly predicting the election's outcome. They know that any conflict with Israel and the U.S. would devastate Egypt and sap their power, so there is no doubt they will attempt to rein in the MB. Unfortunately, the wild card is the continuing rise in popularity of radical Islam and Sharia law across the Middle East, which could eventually overtake even Egypt's military. Should that occur, all bets are off.
Naturally, our clueless Dear Leader called the MB to congratulate them on their victory, saying it was a "milestone" on Egypt's transition to democracy and that he looked forward to working with them on the "many shared interests" between the U.S. and Egypt. Left unsaid was any clue as to what those shared interests may be. If anything, this election is just another reminder that democracy in and of itself is no guarantee of Liberty, as the people can vote in the most heinous, tyrannical criminals if so desired. Only a culture of life and constitutional Rule of Law that chains the government down can secure Liberty.
Warfront With Jihadistan: Carter Criticizes
Barack Obama was a frequent critic of the Bush administration's terrorist detention policies. As the Nobel Peace Prize-winning commander in chief, Obama has solved this little problem by simply killing terrorists with drone attacks rather than doing the hard work of figuring out what to do with captured ones. This unilateral action isn't sitting well with some of the president's allies.
Fellow Nobel laureate Jimmy Carter took to the pages of The New York Times with some stern words for the one who should join him as a one-term failure. Carter lamented that Obama's drone strikes amount to the sanctioning of "widespread abuse of human rights," and he accused the current administration of "clearly violating" 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In a Catch-22 of sorts, Carter also slammed the Obama White House for failing to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
Carter charged that the "United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights." Indeed, he continued, "Instead of making the world safer, America's violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends." It's ironic that Carter's abdication of America's role as global leader contributed, in part, to his landslide defeat at the hands of Ronald Reagan. Perhaps history is about to repeat itself.
Editor's Note: We will not publish a regular Digest next Friday due to the holiday. Have a blessed and safe Independence Day!
Generally speaking, Barack Obama had a good week. He can at least claim a partial victory against Arizona, as well as a major triumph with ObamaCare. But that wasn't all -- a poll commissioned by the National Geographic Channel revealed that nearly two-thirds of Americans think Obama is better suited than Republican rival Mitt Romney to deal with an alien invasion. No, not illegal aliens streaming across the southern border -- Obama has already abdicated that responsibility -- but aliens from outer space. Why would he handle it better than Romney? We don't know. Maybe it's his ears. We just hope that if aliens do show up, they take Obama with them.
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team