May 18, 2015

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The Forum Is Up: Who Are Your Three Favorite American Heroes In American History?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Who Are Your Three Favorite Heroes In American History? Why?

 Wolf Howling :The first great American hero is our deity, God. Rev. Jonathan Mayhew was the first, in 1750, to argue that the source of our British rights was God and to articulate a doctrine that can be summed up in the phrase “resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” His writings spread throughout the colonies and were adopted in various forms by most of the “dissenting” religions. When, in 1775, Boston royalist Peter Oliver wrote of the causes of the Revolution, he placed the blame squarely on the “Black [robed] Regiment” of clergyman who so roused the colonists in righteous defiance against the British. It is fair to say that the dissenting clergy, from Georgia to Massachusetts, played an indispensable role in driving the Revolution. To paraphrase one Hessian soldier, this was not an American Revolution, it was a Presbyterian Revolution.

As late as January, 1776, it was not clear what we intended by our fight with the British. Most colonists still wanted no more than an adjustment of our relationship with Great Britain, not an independent nation. Yet in January, 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, the best selling book our nation has ever seen on a per capita basis but for the Bible. In it, Paine used largely biblical arguments against the divine right of Kings to rule. His arguments electrified the nation, and set us almost immediately on the path that ended less than six months later in the Declaration of Independence.

And then there were at least two “acts of God” during the Revolution that were so fortuitous and unusual as ought to leave in the most hardened atheist with a bit of uneasiness. The first was at The Battle of Long Island. The British had decimated our forces and had surrounded Washington and his 9,000 men. Had the British completed their attack, the Revolution would likely have ended there. Washington ordered a night withdrawal by boat. That night, a very unusual fog descended on the area, one so dense that soldiers said they couldn’t see further than 6 feet to their front. The fog allowed the withdraw to continue through night to the dawn and after, until all 9,000 soldiers had crossed to safety.

The second “act of God” occurred as the British, in June 1776, attempted to capture the wealthiest port city in the colonies, Charleston, S.C. Had Britain succeeded, the whole nature of the Revolution would have changed. The centerpiece of the colonist’s defense of Charleston was a half built fort on Sullivan’s Island that the British expected to easily defeat with an infantry attack across the ford separating Isle of Palms from Sullivan’s Island, a ford at low tide that virtually never exceeded three feet. Yet in June, 1776, a highly unusual wind pattern developed and, even at low tide, the water at the ford was over 7 feet deep. With the British infantry stopped cold, the fort survived the most devastating bombardment of the war even while the colonists wreaked destruction on the British ships, saving Charleston from occupation for a critical three years.

And then, of course, it was this view of God as the source of our rights that animated our Founders. Our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not bestowed by man. They are natural rights that come from God. The first and most important hero of our nation must be God.
The second most important person in American history is George Washington. People who study the Revolution call him the “indispensable man,” and that he was. He took charge of an army of amateurs and led them against the world’s superpower of the era. He was in an impossible situation against impossible odds.

Washington was never a great military commander. He was outfoxed all too often on the battlefield. Indeed, by December 1776, he had been beaten so badly over the preceding six months that everyone on both sides thought the Revolution was over but for the signing of surrender documents. Yet Washington, a man whose persistence and refusal to surrender was inhuman, on Dec. 25, 1776, led a beaten force of 2,500 across the Delaware River in horrendous conditions. The next morning, his soldiers surprised the best light infantry forces in America, the Hessians at Trenton, and won a victory so stunning that it literally saved the Revolution.

And while Washington’s command of the Continental Army over the next seven years was critically important, it was his actions at and after the end of the war that proved of importance equal to his victory at Trenton. The history of revolutions was equally a history of successful military commanders taking power as dictator or King, from Caesar to Cromwell. But not with George Washington, who not merely voluntarily relinquished all power at the end of the war, but put an end to a revolt of officers who had not been paid.

Then it was Washington, called out of retirement, who lent his credibility to the Constitutional Convention that resulted in the drafting of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. And while all knew that Washington would be elected President – he was elected to two terms with 100% of the electoral college votes – Washington easily could have chosen to be President for life. But instead, he opted to go back into retirement after two terms. Washington was a hero and perhaps the single man indispensable to the creation of our nation.

The third choice for American hero is harder. There are so many who could legitimately take this position. Let me just give it to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The history of America’s treatment of blacks is indeed a mark on this nation. Even after the end of slavery and the enshrinement of equal rights in our Constitution at the end of the Civil War, racism and unequal treatment were still rampant in this nation. Rev. King was born in 1929, and while he did not start the Civil Rights movement, he became its most important voice. He shamed white America with their failure to live up to the promise of this nation, enshrined in our first Founding document, The Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal.” Dr. King brought a moral message that our nation could not ignore, and he pushed it relentlessly, at great danger to himself, and he did so with non-violence. His speech in 1963 in Washington D.C., now known as the “I Have A Dream” speech, is perhaps the most recognizable speech in our nation’s history, and rightly so. He finished the speech with a stirring call for an America where people are judged “not . . . by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

In our unique nation, Rev. King’s call for equality was not only a moral clarion call, but a necessity if we are to survive as a melting pot. Since Rev. King’s death, the movement he started has been wholly bastardized by the left for their own ends. That does not in any way detract from Rev. King’s message, indeed, it only increases the need for us fulfill his vision.

 Don Surber : Washington, Lincoln and King. Put lives on the line for a greater purpose. Four bulletholes in GW’s coat when he retired from the Revolution and he was only in battle for 3 years
Meanwhile none of them are in my book. Maybe I am doing this wrong.

(Obligatory Book Plug — you do this when you author) https://www.createspace.com/5407939

Bookworm Room : My three favorite heroes in American history are George Washington, James Madison, and, and . . . I can’t think of a third hero.

As far as I’m concerned, George Washington was the essential man.  It wasn’t just that he proved, after a very steep learning curve, to be a brilliant general improvising guerrilla warfare as he went along, although that steep learning curve certainly deserves recognition.  Many wars, and many more men, have been lost because generals were incapable of learning from their failures.  And it wasn’t just because he was a person of such rectitude that all parties, north and south, knew that they could rely on and trust him, although that is a rare quality in either the military or political world.

What made General Washington the essential man in my eyes is that he was averse to power.  Offered a kingship or an indefinite consulship, his primary goal was to get out of office and go home.  While in office, his learning curve and integrity meant that he carried out his duties in this brand new role to the best of his abilities.  But the most important thing he did was to leave office.

Around the world and throughout history, too many other people would have become invested in even the fairly limited power granted an American president (as opposed to a European monarch), but Washington didn’t. Instead, he began a tradition that lasted until FDR of staying no more than eight years in office.  Moreover, this tradition was so powerful that, after FDR died following his third reelection, the American people passed a constitutional amendment to preserve Washington’s most important legacy:  time-limited executive power.

If Washington’s was the essential personality, than James Madison had the essential brain.  It is a rare man who understands the interaction between human nature and political power, and who seeks to craft a political system that optimizes man’s nature — even his basest nature — in order to control man’s access to unlimited power.  I understand that, in the beginning, Alexander Hamilton was his partner in crafting this exquisite balance of power, but Madison, by virtue of avoiding such rash things as duels, managed to last long enough to become president, thereby cementing his reputation as a great political philosopher, long after Hamilton became something of a footnote.

As for the third essential person? Certainly there have been a great many important people in American history, whether politicians, civilians, or military personnel, but I don’t consider any of them essential in the way that I do Washington and Madison.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : Growing up outside of Philadelphia and near Valley Forge, of course Benjamin Franklin makes my list of favorite heroes in American history. He is known as “The First American” for his support of the establishment of the United States of America. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, he only went to school until 10 years of age, after which he became an apprentice printer to his brother James. At 17 he ran away to Philadelphia. He was a true autodidact; a voracious reader; and inventor of bifocal glasses, the lightening rod, and Franklin stove, among many others. He helped found the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin was the first United States Postmaster General. He was also the first president of the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society. He was also the only Founding Father to sign all four founding documents: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris, and the United States Constitution.

Another hero in American history came from my hometown, Trappe, Pennsylvania. The son of Henry Muhlenberg, minister of the first Lutheran church in the Colonies, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg was also a Lutheran minister and member of what later became known as the Black Robe Regiment, a group of clergymen who rallied the people to take up arms against the King of England. On January 21, 1776, while delivering a sermon before his congregation in Virginia, he quoted text from the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, which starts with “To everything there is a season…”; and after reading the eighth verse, “a time of war, and a time of peace,” he declared, “And this is the time of war,” and removed his robe to reveal his Colonel’s uniform. He later became a U. S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Finally, my favorite American hero of all would be Thomas Jefferson – He had me at “sacred and undeniable.”

 JoshuaPundit: How to choose just three out of a pantheon of great and heroic Americans? Tough indeed. Obviously, the men whose likenesses are carved on Mount Rushmore have to have a claim on every patriot’s heart, and I expect that many of my comrades here would choose George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

George Washington, like all of the Founders was willing to risk his life, fortune and sacred honor in the cause of liberty. That was no small stake to risk, especially for a prosperous, wealthy Virginia landowner.

He had never really had much actual experience in military command, and it showed. But he never gave up, and more importantly he never allowed any of those with him to give up. There’s a famous story about him confronting his disgruntled, hungry and unpaid officers when things looked blackest to read them orders. As he was fumbling for his spectacles, he said, “Please forgive the delay, gentlemen. Not only my health but even my eyesight is a casualty for the freedom of our beloved country.”

As his officers realized how much he had sacrificed, many of them broke down weeping, but they also found their resolve; if General Washington could keep going, so could they.

After the victory, he became the model for future presidents, and a man universally respected by all, which molded 13 very diverse colonies into a nation. If you look at other countries whom have achieved independence in history and note how many of them have fallen quickly into corruption and despotism, you realize what a special man George Washington was.

While Lincoln behaved with fortitude and deserves great credit for his leadership, I’m going to pick someone else from the era, without whom Lincoln’s efforts would likely have been in vain.

Joshua Chamberlain was a seminary student who decided not to join the ministry and became a Maine college professor at Bowdoin college. When the Civil War came, he enlisted in 1862 and received a commission as a Lieutenant Colonel in the 20th Maine. In spite of having no military experience whatsoever, he learned quickly and became a well regarded officer, being promoted to Colonel.

Chamberlain’s appointment with destiny came in the Battle of Gettysburg on the second day, when he and the 20th were assigned to hold the southern slopes of Little Round Top, the extreme left flank of the Union position and a key post, since losing it would have allowed the Confederate Armies to roll up the Union defensive positions and break the line, winning the battle.

Chamberlain’s men held out against repeated attacks by superior forces, and suffered so many casualties their battle line almost doubled back against itself. Finally, they had almost no ammunition left. Colonel Chamberlain didn’t hesitate; he ordered his men to fix bayonets and led a charge downhill from his left to ‘sweep the Rebs off the hill.’ Amazingly it worked, one of the chanciest and most surprising maneuvers in the entire war. And with Little Roundtop saved, the Union was able to dig in and consolidate their positions, repulse Pickett’s Charge the next day and win the decisive battle of the war. Joshua Chamberlain received the Medal of Honor for his heroism at Gettysburg. And he likely saved the Union as well. He was wounded six times, but he survived and finished the war as a Brevet Major General.

It was General Joshua Chamberlain whom was given the honor of commanding the Union troops at the surrender ceremony at Appomattox. True his character, he ordered his men to refrain from any cheering or demonstrations as the defeated confederates marched by, and to present arms and stand silently at attention in respect for their defeated enemy.

He later became Maine’s governor and president of Bowdoin. At the age of 70, he tried to volunteer for service in the Spanish-American War, and called being rejected ‘one of the greatest disappointments in my life.’

My third hero? Ronaldus Magnus of course. Elected president of a divided nation with a broken economy, in retreat from its foes worldwide and with a people who were wondering if America’s greatness was at an end, Ronald Wilson Reagan took charge and dived in with a message of hope and patriotism that inspired America. In spite of opposition from a Democrat-dominated congress, he pushed through tax cuts and reforms that restored America’s prosperity and its faith in itself. He was unafraid to call the Soviet Union exactly what it was, an evil empire and in spite of everything the foreign policy establishment said, he never had any doubts that it needed to be defeated. So he set the course successfully to do exactly that.

When the Iranians tried to shut down the Persian Gulf, he sent American forces in to sink most of their navy and had the Marines take and occupy Kharg Island, where the terminus of all Iran’s oil pipelines were located and held it for awhile to give the Iranians a message. They never challenged America again while Reagan was president…they knew better.

When Castro tried to take over Grenada and hold Americans hostage, he gave the order to drive them out and rescue our citizens. And he effectively ended Castro and the Soviet’s dream of subverting Central and South America.

Derided by the elites and Leftists in America, Ronald Reagan enjoyed massive support from his fellow Americans. His spirit, his eloquence, his leadership and yes, his superb sense of humor inspired the country. No president is perfect, being human. But President Reagan took us back from the brink. If I were president, I’d find some room on Mount Rushmore for him.

 Well, there you have it!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

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May 11, 2015

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Michelle Obama’s Racist Commencement Speech at Tuskegee University

Glenn Beck comments on Michelle Obama’s commencement speech at Tuskegee University. This clip is just a small taste. If you want to listen to the entire speech – if you can stomach the hate and vitriol coming out of her mouth – the full half hour version can be seen here.

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May 11, 2015

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The Forum Is Up: How Will The Supreme Court Rule On Same Sex Marriage?

Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: How Will The Supreme Court Rule On Same Sex Marriage?

 The Glittering Eye : Beats the heck out of me. On the one hand I don’t see how Justice Kennedy could decide for the plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges without reversing his own opinion in U. S. v. Windsor in which he held that the power to define marriage was within the province of the states. On the other that does seem to be the way the wind is blowing. It’s also hard for me to see how any of the Catholic justices on the Court could rule in favor of the plaintiff without being excommunicated.

It certainly seems to me as though we’re poised on the edge of a torrent of official religious persecution in which the only conscientious position that a lot of people will be able to take will be to go to jail.

The Independent Sentinel : I don’t know how the Supreme Court will rule. I haven’t followed the arguments closely enough but if they redefine marriage, there will be serious repercussions for religious organizations and churches. It will light a fire that will be very difficult to put out.

My hope is the Supreme Court will leave it to the states and not make it into a civil right. Sorry, but I don’t see sexual orientation as a civil right. I do think LGBTs are legitimately a protected class, however.

The majority of citizens have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and want it to remain so. After thousands of years, why should marriage be redefined? LGBTs have children and they deserve to have equal rights. I’d rather see them obtain these rights through legal unions with all the rights of a married couple. Just don’t call it marriage and make it into a civil right.

Others have rights too.

 JoshuaPundit : Although I hope I’m wrong, I figure they will likely rule in favor of same sex marriage in both cases. And I also see  it as having very little to do with the law or the Constitution per se.

 I think the old rule of follow the money applies.  Homosexuals are now an enormous fund raising target for the Democrat Party, as well as yet another protected group to be riled up to provide lots of cash and muscle for candidates down for the agenda. That by itself trumps any regard for the Constitution.

There are also two other powerful groups that want legal same sex marriage, and both are favored by President Obama and his party.

As I’ve pointed out before, some of the most vociferous advocates for same sex marriage are family law and trial lawyers, especially the people teaching family law in academia. Not only are they big donors, but they have a stake of their own in this. As many freely admit, the ultimate goal is to redefine traditional marriage entirely as a series of legal contracts. And why not? They’re the ones who will be pocketing the handsome fees for a whole new round of divorces, custody battles and the drawing and redrawing of marital ‘contracts’ once same sex marriage, polygamy and polyamory become the law of the land.

And finally, one group favored by the White House that quietly favors this are America’s Islamists – groups like CAIR, The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) And The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC). Simply put, they see it as a wedge for sharia and polygamy,which it is. That’s pretty much how things have gone in Europe.

 Given the huge amount of NSA spying that has occurred  during the Obama Administration, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one or more of the justices was being blackmailed to vote the way the regime wants. You’ll remember that General David Petraeus was blackmailed to endorse the regime’s Benghazi fiction because they had knowledge of his extramarital affair months before Benghazi occurred. Later, they made the knowledge public to discredit him when it suited them. This president has been involved in that kind of sleaze before throughout his political career.

So with this kind of weight pushing and this much money at stake, I think the Obama regime will do everything in its power to get the Supremes to push this through. All they need is one Justice, since Elena Kagan isn’t going to do the ethical thing and recuse herself. They could care less about Evangelicals, or religious Catholics and Jews, because most of them don’t vote Democrat anyway.

I’m much more interested in how people of faith will react once this goes down.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : There are two questions before the Supreme Court. The first is asking the Court to determine whether the 14th Amendment requires states to issue same sex marriage licenses under its equal protection clause. The second is asking for a determination on whether a state that doesn’t allow same sex marriage must recognize the marriages of same sex married couples from other states.

Currently thirty-seven states have passed laws or amendments to their constitutions defining marriage as being limited to a union between one man and one woman. The fact is, a majority of Americans have voiced their belief that traditional marriage should be preserved as it has been defined for thousands of years.

I would like to believe that the nine Supreme Court justices; 7 of which are of the Catholic faith and 2 Jewish; would understand the importance of faith in the founding and history of our Constitutional Republic, and in the preservation of the family as the foundation of a civilized society.

I would like to believe the justices understand the laws of our country are not laws handed down by men but are “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” enshrined in our Constitution for our protection from tyranny.

I would like to believe the justices understand that marriage should not be re-defined or undefined.

I would like to believe the justices understand the 14th Amendment came about as a result of the Civil War to give former slaves the full rights and privileges of all American citizens, and has nothing to do with same sex marriage.

I would like to believe the justices are aware that ruling in favor of same sex marriage being protected under the 14th Amendment would leave the states unable to pass laws to protect those who oppose same sex marriage from legal attacks, and force individuals to engage in activities against their faith, beliefs, or traditional values.

I would like to believe the justices understand according to the Tenth Amendment that “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 issue of marriage should not be debated in the federal realm at all.

I would like to believe all of this, but what I know is that the left is using same sex marriage, among other issues, to destroy American society. We have a generation of youth who have been taught that there is no difference between heterosexual and homosexual relationships and that everyone should have the right to marry whomever they choose. The left believes the time is now to undefine marriage while it has the support of our youth.

I would like to believe the justices know the left is using the federal courts because they have not won in the states.

How will the Supreme Court rule on same sex marriage? I honestly have no idea.

Wolf Howling :The Supreme Court is currently considering same sex marriage in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. I expect that they will decide the case by discovering that a right to gay marriage has been hiding for a century and a half in the Constitution.

I also expect the Court’s decision to break the camel’s back as these supremely arrogant judges force left wing social policy down the throat of this nation and begin a final, direct assault on the rights of conscience of the religious in our land. If you thought the activist Roe v. Wade decision caused turmoil, I can assure you, you haven’t seen anything yet. As Bookworm Room pointed out some time ago, unlike with abortion, this decision will, for the first time in our nation’s history, make it unlawful to live by the same Judeo-Christian beliefs that girded our nation at and since the Founding.

As I pointed out in The Supreme Court: Originalism, Judicial Activism, & America’s Future, there are two schools of Constitutional interpretation, originalism and activism:

Originalists attempt to interpret the Constitution by determining what the people who drafted it and voted for it understood it to mean at the time. An intellectually honest originalist does not announce new policy, he or she interprets history and precedent. That is a bit oversimplified – originalism is certainly not always that clean and can become muddled as precedent builds (and see the discussion here). But because there is always a strong bias to stay limited to what the Constitution says and what the drafters meant, it provides a carefully circumscribed role for unelected judges, thus paying the maximum deference to democracy.

When a Court stops interpreting the meaning of the Constitution and starts to impose its own policy views under the color of a “living constitution,” it transforms into a Politburo legislating by fiat. Judicial activists and the left who champions them are the people who see an activist Court as a way around democracy and an irreplaceable tool to remake society.

The left has been relying on judicial activism for the past century to work fundamental, unconstitutional and non-democratic changes to our society, and they have engaged in what has amounted to a jihad on the Judeo-Christian religions. Finding that a right to homosexual marriage has been hiding in the Fourteenth Amendment for the past 147 years would set the stage for the last step in that jihad.

The Fourteenth Amendment holds, in relevant part, that “[n]o State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” – the so called Equal Protection clause. The Fourteenth Amendment was passed in 1868, in the wake of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, for the purpose of insuring that blacks were treated to no legal disability in this nation. There is no evidence whatsoever that those who passed this law intended its provisions to extend to homosexuality. To the contrary, homosexuality was then under legal disability throughout most of the states. To claim now that the Equal Protection clause includes homosexual marriage in its ambit is to make an utter mockery of the Constitution and our system of government. This is not a nation of laws; it is now a nation subject to the whims of activist judges who, in acts of supreme arrogance, corrupt our entire government when they impose social policy at odds with the will of the people of this nation and their elected representatives.

What should happen is that the nine members of the Supreme Court should examine intent of those who drafted and voted for passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868. That would inevitably lead to the conclusion that homosexuality is not a “right” enshrined in the 14th Am., and that that there is no Constitutional right to homosexual marriage. The only way to change that at the federal level is through a Constitutional Amendment as set forth in Article V. Barring that, because the Constitution does not concern itself with homosexuality or marriage, this is an issue of social policy that, per the 10th Amendment, should be left to the states. Period.

But what we have on the Court today are at least four judges who live to impose their left wing social policy preferences on our nation, and Justice Kennedy, who has shown himself ready to join the four in support of homosexuality and against the rights of the religious in this nation. Two years ago, Kennedy and the other four struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and refused to hear an appeal seeking to uphold California’s referendum on Section 8, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Last year the Supreme Court let stand a New Mexico decision punishing a Christian photographer targeted by the gay mafia for refusing to photograph a gay wedding ceremony. The handwriting is on the wall on this one. We’ll see what follows after.

 Well, there you have it!

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. and every  Tuesday morning, when we reveal the weeks’ nominees for Weasel of the Week!

And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it...or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

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May 4, 2015

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The Forum Is Up: What’s Your Reaction To The Baltimore Police Being Criminally Charged?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: What’s Your Reaction To The Baltimore Police Being Criminally Charged?

Wolf Howling :I outlined the basic facts of the case here on my blog.

Three days prior to the arrest of Mr. Gray, a memo was sent through the Baltimore City Police Department mandating that suspects being placed into the police van be placed in a seat and secured with a seat belt. Mr. Gray was simply lain on the floor of the vehicle. Mr. Gray continued to complain and act agitated while in the van. At some point, and perhaps twice, he requested medical aid, which requests were ignored. Within 30 minutes, Mr. Gray was taken from the van by paramedics where he expired a week later as the result of an 80% severing of his spine at the neck. There were no other injuries to Mr. Gray. As Bookworm Room has pointed out, there is some basis to suspect that Mr. Gray’s reported prior exposure to lead may have left him particularly vulnerable to the type of injury that caused his death.

On 1 May, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced that six Baltimore City Police officers have been arrested and charged in the death of Freddie Gray. Of the six officers, three are white, three are black, one is a woman. Two of the officers have been charged with crimes relating to wrongful arrest. Three others have additionally been charged with involuntary manslaughter. The driver of the police van has been charged with second degree murder.

So, on the facts above, what is my reaction to the police being criminally charged?

As a threshold matter, Freddie Gray deserves justice, period. That is beyond question. It will certainly mean civil damages for his death. Whether his death involved criminal wrongdoing such that others deserve punishment is a separate question. Equally, those involved in Freddie Gray’s death are entitled to justice. They need to be prosecuted to the degree to which they are culpable, and spared any punishment if they are not.

There is not enough information yet to say for certain if the ends of justice are being served by the arrests of these six officers. My initial reaction, and I dearly hope that I am wrong, is that a lot of this is nothing more than a sacrifice to the racial grievance industry. This is not a planted evidence case, nor a case of brutality by the arresting officers. If they wrongly arrested, that would, in the normal course, be a matter for internal discipline as well as open the officers up to civil suit. But now a wrongful arrest on these facts is being used, in at least three cases, to end careers and criminally prosecute police officers? It appears that all three of them are the white officers, by the way. That seems utterly outrageous just on the facts available. Indeed, it seems a lynching, no less than that which happened to Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson.

Likewise, charging three officers with involuntary manslaughter, just on the known facts and the lack of established policy regarding transport, seems as if it is quite a stretch. It is far less of a stretch to the extent the charge of involuntary manslaughter is based on failing to timely render aid, if such aid was requested and may have in fact saved Mr. Gray’s life. But it is not clear which evidence is being relied upon to support each charge against each individual.

Lastly, the driver of the police van, a black officer, has been charged with second degree murder. He, having sole custody of Mr. Gray from the time Mr. Gray was placed in the van until he was removed, injured, by paramedics, is likely at least guilty of involuntary manslaughter. That said, a charge of second degree murder, which requires some degree of intent or extreme recklessness, is likely an overcharge, just on the basis of the known facts.

So my reaction is mixed. At least one of the indictments – and perhaps as many as three – are or may well be warranted based on the available information. Several seem like nothing more than a lynching to satisfy the Al Sharpton wing of the left, who would dearly like to turn this into an indictment of racism and police brutality with which to, somehow, blame the right.

Baltimore City is a model of left wing urban governance and has been a social laboratory for nothing but left wing social policies for the past half century. The fact that Baltimore City, as well as its Police Department, are wholly owned subsidiaries of the left, and indeed, are led by minorities, is meaningless to the developing narrative. Already, Joan Walsh of Salon is tweeting that “there is no debate that tragically, black police officers often absorb the attitudes of their colleagues.” Shades of white Hispanics. The left will do anything to insure that whatever comes out of the Baltimore riots, it will not be a platform for rational discussion of the problems besetting Baltimore and inner city blacks. And if justice actually occurs in Baltimore — justice for Freddie Gray as well as the six officers — I am afraid it will be purely by accident.

 JoshuaPundit : I’m sorry…it must be my depraved sense of humor but listening to Marilyn Mosby announce the charges as the crowd reacted like someone had just gifted them all with big screens made me laugh almost as much  as the videos of ‘reporters’ getting beaten up and mugged and still describing their assailants as ‘protesters’  afterwards.

Mrs. Mosby is an elected official (as is her husband, Councilman Nick Mosby, who demanded  the Baltimore PD  ‘stand down’ as the rioting broke out) whose offices depend on the votes of a city that is 68% black whom mostly see this issue through a racial prism. Regardless of what color they are, the police, even black cops, are seen as the enemy. She wasn’t going to make the same mistake the mayor and president of the city council (both black) made of calling the rioters thugs and  then having to grovel and walk back their statements. The video of Baltimore Council president Jack Young appearing with a herd of Bloods and Crips to apologize and refer to the rioters as ‘misdirected youth’ makes me chuckle just thinking about it.

The sad part is the jobs that will be lost, the houses that were burned and the long miles people who live in the neighborhood  and were simply trying to work hard and keep things going  will have to travel to buy groceries or find a pharmacy thanks to these ‘misdirected youth.’ And imagine trying to sell a house here and move to a better neighborhood now.

State Attorney Mosby referred to the arrest as ‘illegal’ and used the term ‘false imprisonment’ in her remarks. OK,  but it seems to me that a number of the criminal charges involved are motivated by a political desire to appease the Mob and will be modified significantly later. And I understand that.

But what we have here, not to be harsh, was  a career criminal whose rap sheet included multiple arrests for things like burglary, assault and lots and lots of drug trafficking arrests.  As a matter of fact, Mr.Gray had an upcoming trial coming up this month based on a December arrest for  selling narcotics. He was a known drug dealer talking to someone on the streets in a fairly crime ridden area when he saw the police and took off running.

Chances are he was pursing his chosen career and realized that a fresh bust could affect his out on bail status, his coming trial and his chances of a plea bargain, so he simply went to try and dispose of his stash before he was caught.  Given his reputation, there was definite probable cause and since Baltimore, like many jurisdictions allows suspects to be held 72 hours before being charged,  I can’t see his his arrest as illegal since he could have been interrogated and the area could have been searched while he was in custody.

 The main thing the police seem to be guilty of at this point is not securing Gray in a seat belt in accordance with a general order that came out 3 days before the incident,  and maybe  with getting him a medic in a timely manner. That could certainly be called  that negligence, but murder two? Among other things, the prosecutor will have to figure out some way to establish intent for that to stick.

Of course, if the trial’s held in Baltimore, the jury will be composed of those ‘protesters’ and their allies and will likely resemble a carbon copy of some of the old Jim Crow jurisprudence we keep hearing about.  Or if it’s held elsewhere and some or all of the police are acquitted, it can be used as more fuel for Seething Racial Grievance. So it’s a win-win either way if you take my meaning.

The Glittering Eye : think there’s been a rush to judgment. I understand the states attorney’s motives but whether because she’s inexperienced or ambitious or for whatever reason the theory of the case one would take from her public statements have painted her into a corner that will make it difficult to obtain convictions, particularly on the more serious charges. Note how many of the legal experts have pointed that out.

On the broader question the lynch mob mentality that has set in , not merely on the part of the demonstrators and rioters but on the part of the media and public officials is deeply concerning. We can only imagine the reaction that will occur if these officers are acquitted. That shouldn’t be the case. The presumption of innocence should always be paramount.

I don’t know what happened to Freddie Gray but neither do the demonstrators or the states attorney. We need to keep an open mind until we hear statements made under oath and read official statements on the forensic evidence. I’m beginning to fear for the republic.

 Laura Rambeau Lee,  Right Reason : Maryland State Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced criminal charges against six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25 year old black man who died, apparently after suffering lethal injuries while in their custody.

Her announcement came after a night of rioting, looting and violence that left the city reeling and seething in racial anger for several days. It appears to have been a rush to judgment on her part to alleviate the demands of the mob.

In a city with a large black population, black female mayor, and black prosecutor it kind of rings hollow to allege systemic racism is to blame. We should be looking at the Democratic social policies that have run the city for nearly half a century.

When a society makes it easier for people to live on welfare, food stamps and cheap housing than strive to better themselves, the result is another generation of Democrat voters to keep the free stuff coming. The left cries for more money, that not enough funds are going to help the poor. Baltimore has one of the highest amounts of education funding per child in the country. More money does not equate with a good education. No amount of money will help the people living in the poor neighborhoods in Baltimore, or any city for that matter.

This is not systemic racism. What we are seeing is systemic destruction of the family. The left is bent on destroying America by attacking traditional values, instilling feelings of entitlement for perceived grievances, withholding valuable education children need to better themselves, and making them believe they are victims in a country where opportunities do not exist for them.

As we have seen so many times before, it may just come out that the police are found innocent of the charges. What then? The left will never permit a real discussion on the issues facing poor black families in America. In reality, they are slaves to a system created to maintain and grow the power of the left.

 GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD : Marilyn Mosby delivered a clear message when she stepped in front of the cameras to announce charges against six Baltimore police officers at a surprisingly early stage in the investigation.

Mosby deftly framed the serious charges leveled against the officers in a seemingly political context. On one hand, she promised Freddie Gray’s family that she would fight ceaselessly to bring about justice in the case. At the same time, she made it clear that she is not the avenging angel of the African-American community. As in every constitutional democracy, one is considered innocent until proven guilty in the USA.

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it.

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April 27, 2015

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The Forum Is Up: If The Clintons Committed A Felony, What Should Be Done?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Assuming that they are brought to trial and convicted, If The Clintons Committed A Felony, What Should Be Done?

 GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD : Not sure how to answer this – so I hit up a certain cat over at Daily Conservative

The only reason that a public servant would use a private email server hosted out of her house would be to hide her emails from the public she serves.

That’s not just unethical… it’s illegal. And it is the same crime that General Petraeus just pleaded guilty to.

You see, in Petraeus’ case, he pleaded guilty to storing classified materials on his unsecure, private email account. The law requires that classified documents be stored on secure government servers to protect against hackers.

The State Department is saying that Hillary Clinton ONLY used her private email account while she was Secretary.

Which means one of two things:

Either she never received any classified material by email while she was Secretary of State (extremely unlikely) or she committed hundreds, if not thousands, of misdemeanors and felonies by keeping those documents unsecure on her private server.

Those are the only two options. Either Mrs. Clinton wasn’t doing her job, or she was committing crimes on a daily basis.

The penalty for storing classified emails on a non-government, unsecure email server is up to a year in prison and $100,000 fine PER DOCUMENT. This isn’t a felony, but it is a misdemeanor that carries prison time.

The other law that she might have broken is the statute prohibiting the destroying/concealing of government documents. The punishment for knowingly concealing or destroying government email records is 3 years in prison PER OFFENSE.

This second violation is a FELONY and would disqualify her from holding public office!

Did Hillary Clinton illegally kept classified materials on her private email server? It would be inconceivable for the Secretary of State – possessing the highest security clearance – would not discuss anything classified over email.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: Considering the most recent allegations against Hillary Clinton, the most damning, and, if proven, felonious actions committed would be:

1. Taking money from foreign governments

2. Deleting over 30,000 emails AFTER they had been subpoenaed by Congress,

3. Improper disclosure on tax returns of the receipt of donations to the Clinton Foundation from foreign governments.

On the first count, Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution states “… no Person holding any office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any Present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.” The acceptance of money while serving as Secretary of State, regardless of whether these were payments for special favors, violates the Constitution and U. S. law. If Clinton was still in office, this would be an impeachable offense.

On the second point, deleting over 30K emails after they had been subpoenaed is an obstruction of justice. It is a crime as per 18 U.S.C. §1519 to destroy a document to prevent it from being subpoenaed. According to an article in Thompson Reuters by Law Professor Ronald Rotunda, “Section 1519 imposes up to 20 years imprisonment for what commentators call, “anticipatory obstruction of justice.” A casual observer would find it hard to believe her explanation that they were all private emails and none of a public nature. Are we to believe we have NO trail of any of Clinton’s emails while she served as Secretary of State?

Thirdly, we have the announcement that the Clinton family’s charities will be reviewing and refiling five years of tax returns (and possibly more) after news agency Reuters found errors in how they reported donations from foreign governments. Could it be the IRS that takes down the Clinton Empire? Perhaps, if the rule of law was applied equally regardless of political connections or affiliations, but it doesn’t appear President Obama’s IRS and Department of Justice pay much attention to the rule of law unless it benefits his progressive agenda.

The Clinton’s continued arrogance and belief they are somehow above the law is not a sudden revelation. This attitude has existed since they began their political career. Clinton deflects these latest allegations as right wing conspiracy theories. She and her campaign team do not deny any of the charges. They confidently assert there is no smoking gun or evidence of wrongdoing. With these latest revelations, it appears there is enough “there there” for the Justice Department to launch an investigation. Sadly, I don’t hold out much hope for this happening under the current administration.

As to what should be done if they are found guilty of these felonies, the Clinton Foundation should be stripped of its charitable tax-exempt status retroactively back to its formation, its assets liquidated along with all of the Clintons’ properties and holdings, and all of the monies distributed to charities benefiting America’s veterans and their families. Bill and Hillary should be sentenced to live out the rest of their days in confinement together in a single cell in a federal prison with no possibility of parole. One can dream, can’t one?

JoshuaPundit : If I had to answer this question short and sweet, I could confine my response to one word – nothing. Because nothing will be done. They will not be tried at all, much less convicted.

Not that there isn’t quite a bit they could be tried on. According to Mrs. Clinton’s own admissions, she committed obstruction of justice by destroying material she had on a private server after congress had subpoenaed it. There’s also the tacit admission that she and the Clinton Foundation committed what amounted to tax fraud and misuse of a 501C status by (a) failing to disclose the actual foreign sources of donations, AKA money laundering and (b) mixing together a number of those donations in what appears to be attempt to camouflage their origin with government grants they received, also known as commingling. While an ordinary American would be facing severe prosecution and forfeiture of assets for these crimes, the Clintons are being allowed to refile 5 years worth of taxes and 900 reports to ‘fix their mistakes,’ after which they will use money from the Foundation to pay, given their means,extremely modest penalties for misfiling.

And we haven’t even gotten to the pay for play aspects of many these donations which saw speaking fees for President Clintom skyrocket, and came from countries and businessmen who had business that Secretary Clinton as head of State Department was able to intervene on their behalf, and appears to have done so in exchange for large donations to the Clinton Foundation. Or the fact that she apparently classified materials on her private server, another violation of federal law.

Keep in mind that since the Clintons own the Foundation, they were able to use these ‘donations’ to invest and pay ‘expenses’ and to park income from these high paid speaking fees tax free to be used as massive deductions on their other income.

The Clintons won’t be tried for a number of reasons.

The GOP leadership in the Senate just signaled clearly that for all the promises and hot air expended, they have no intention whatsoever of challenging any of this president’s agenda and that he will be allowed to get away with whatever he wants to. So there will be no special prosecutor or any other assistance from the Obama Department of Justice, which now controls that formerly independent office.

The Clintons are prominent Democrats and frankly, there are different legal standards for Democrats nowadays, especially prominent ones whom likely know where a few bodies are buried. So even in the unlikely event any of this sees a court of law, no federal prosecutors will attempt to do anything more than a wrist slap.

We no longer live in a country of laws when it comes to the Oligarchy, this class we have allowed to rule over us. Instead, the laws, when they’re not simply ignored are frequently used as a means to obfuscate and deny justice rather than achieve it.

There is, however an interesting implication, a subtext to the current brouhaha over the Clintons. I’ll explore that in a separate item over at my place shortly.

The Glittering Eye : What should happen under those circumstances? They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. What will happen? Nothing. Look at David Petraeus, for goodness sake.

The Independent Sentinel : The Clintons should be investigated and tried if there is evidence. They should be punished if they are guilty. It’s pretty straight-forward to me. For their role in turning control of 20% of our uranium over to the Russians, if convicted I think they’re traitors.

Wolf Howling : The Clintons are a sordid pair around whom the stench of scandal always hangs. Those of recent vintage are the multiple issues arising from Hillary’s e-mail during her time as Secretary of State and her subsequent recent erasure of tens of thousands of those e-mails. Another brewing scandal lies with the Clinton Foundation, a cash machine for the Clintons that does not seem to be acting as a charity and indeed, may well be at the center of undue influence on government decisions while Hillary was Secretary of State.

There is a real question whether Hillary violated criminal laws concerning the handling of official e-mails and the transmission of classified information over non-government means of communication. There are related questions as to whether the State Dept. or Hillary herself have committed perjury in their responses to legal requests for information that would have required production of Hillary’s personal e-mails in response. Indeed, the threats Hillary created to our national security by using a private e-mail address not reasonably secured far exceed those created by General Petraeus, who was recently prosecuted for divulging classified material. This is also an issue that ties directly into Behghazi. Because of the whitewash investigation of that incident, one that did not include either Hillary or top levels of the State Department, and because we have not had access to her e-mails, we still do not know what role Hillary played during and in the months leading up to the criminally reckless event that cost the lives of our Libyan Ambassador and several others. Hillary’s refusal to hand over her e-mail server for expert analysis and her attempt to address these issues with a stage managed presser before foreign correspondents have all been just jaw dropping in their shamelessness.

Yet other issues surround the Clinton Foundation, Bill and Hill’s personal money machine since Bill left office. It is a charitable foundation that has taken in well over half a billion dollars, yet fed out only 15% for actual charitable work, if it can be called that. It appears that much of the Foundation money that has been doled out has directly benefited rich friends of the Clintons, and it appears that numerous foreign sources have given money to the Clintons, and then soon after found themselves the beneficiaries of favorable U.S. government actions. The most notorious of these that we know about so far is the approval of a Russian’s purchase of 20% of our nation’s uranium mines, an approval signed off on by Hillary in the State Dept. after several large donations to the Clinton Foundation. Then there is the fact that the Foundation has, for years, failed to disclose its foreign donors, either in its tax returns or as part of legally required disclosures regarding potential conflicts of interest during Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State.

I doubt that there is any direct quid pro quo so in any of this so clear as to sustain a criminal conviction. But it stinks like a three day old manure pile in the hot sun. We will know far more about that in a few days, when Peter Schweizer’s new book Clinton Cash is published.

So what should be done. In a society where rule of law dominates, Hillary would be face down on a table right now along with her sever, both getting a colonoscopy from FBI agents as part of an investigation similar to that of General Petraeus. The MSM seems unsure of what to do at this moment regarding Hillary, but what they aren’t doing is pressing her at any point on the e-mail issue. As to the Clinton Foundation, the MSM appears to be holding its breath, waiting for Schweizer’s book release, apparently afraid that even they won’t be able to stem the tide.

If Hillary and the MSM have an option, they will see her skate right through until her coronation. We will never have answers about the Clinton Foundation or the many issues surrounding Hillary’s e-mail. What we should have is a press treating the Clintons like Nixon and a DOJ that has already opened up investigations. Unfortunately we have neither at the moment, and there will be no investigations until 2017, if ever. Rule of law does not seem to matter to the left in this country, and so long as they hold the levers of power, it will atrophy in this nation.

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

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April 18, 2015

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Democrats Keep Blacks “Brain Chained”

Excellent video commentary from Alfonzo Rachel!

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April 13, 2015

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The Weekly Forum Is Up: Are Negotiations With Iran Worth Continuing? Why Or Why Not?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question : Are Negotiations With Iran Worth Continuing? Why or Why Not? Don Surber: Iran is worth bombing ala Israel bombing […]

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April 13, 2015

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Marco Rubio Is No Conservative

Today Florida Senator Marco Rubio announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential race.  He joins former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul in the list of potential Republican nominees running for the office. In 2010 Rubio courted tea party conservatives in Florida, who volunteered and worked tirelessly […]

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April 7, 2015

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Hitler Reacts To Denied #GayWeddingCake

Another hilarious, and a little too on point, Hitler video from Steven Crowder.

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April 6, 2015

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The Forum Is Up: Is Religious Freedom Seriously Threatened In America?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Is Religious Freedom Seriously Threatened In America? The Razor : A year ago everyone was dumping buckets of ice water […]

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