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Chicago on the Potomac

Back in the Dream Time, elders were honored because of their accumulated knowledge, if Pops knew a better way to saddle horses that knowledge helped Junior since he saddled horses. Today if Pops knows how to tune-up cars what good is that when cars don’t need to be tuned-up anymore? Now the old are relegated to extolling their own relevance while exclaiming, “I’ve never seen that before.” Doddering ancients who use their cell phones merely to talk wonder why their grandchildren never answer their emails as Gen Z tweet each other: “Don’t trust anyone over 15.”

The world is moving so fast not only is today tomorrow’s yesterday the generations are living in different todays today as we continue to charge our Chinese living standard to our grandchildren. Gen X and Y parents with their once hip lap-tops under their arms stare in wonder as their pre-teen Gen Zs text with one hand while Wii skydiving in the backseat. For these new additions to middle-age who’re just old enough to remember Star Trek imagine Captain Kirk visiting Captain Picard pointing at Commander Data and saying, “What’s that?”

After years of being treated as if the Wisdom of the Ages were as relevant as Confucius in a fortune cookie now that we have Chicago on the Potomac the wisdom gained in the City that Works is suddenly spot-on. Of course George the Second’s doctrine of pre-emptive war made one old saying make sense beyond the Southside, “Never start fights but if you have to hit someone back first once in a while that’s all right.”   Then again ACORN before it morphed into numerous faceless organizations with the same mission and different names or just became part of the nomenclature exemplified the everlasting relevance of Chicago’s best known adage, “Vote early and vote often.”

With the Democrats large-and-in-charge even when they lose elections, Windy City Proverbs may help many understand what kind of change we’ve stepped in.   Such as “Everybody cheats so if you don’t cheat you’re a cheater,” or “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable.”   Maybe the taxman could use, “They must not have wanted it they didn’t have their hand on it.” Looking at our Congress, “If you’re going to get mad at thieves you’ll never have any friends” comes to mind. Thinking of the proposed Green Home Efficiency Inspectors we may one day deal with when buying or selling a home are reminiscent of the Chicago Fire Marshal conscientiously telling a business owner, “We’ll save the city some gas money if we just do the inspection right here in my office,” while patting his desk indicating where to place the money.

The most transparent administration in history started off with some Southside swag calling the biggest earmark in history a stimulus, continued the virtuoso performance calling ward-heelers czars and followed a time-honored Second City tradition in Al Franken’s endless Minnesota recount by finding a bag of votes. Who says you can’t go home again? They may turn the old neighborhood into Yuppie Heaven by knocking down the middleclass housing and putting up three-story imitation Victorians but right here right now the machine that gave no-show jobs to half the wise-guys on the corner as well as Michelle at the hospital is in the process of not just fixing tickets but fixing everything else. The political descendants of Big Bill Thompson, Richard the First and Richard the Second parlayed community organizing into a national organization that should make the Five Families green with envy.

Having fixed the economy, health care, hate-crimes, immigration, and cap-and-trade BHO has also had the opportunity to fix the highest court in the land. In the Chicago justice system lawyers give out printed pricelists stating how much acquittals cost verses dismissals and the old saying concerning courthouses goes, “It may say justice on the outside but that doesn’t mean there’s any on the inside.” Since the Democratic Machine and their Me-To Republican allies rubber-stamped Mr. O’s picks for the A-Team how do the prospects for judicial restraint and the Constitution look?   Fine if you fit the profile for the protected or promoted classes not too good if you naively look for that lady wearing the blindfold and holding the scales. Well at least we have Chief Justice Roberts there to stop the train on its way to totalitarianism, oh wait, we don’t.

Joining the sisterhood on the bench, Ms. Sotomayor feels her gender and her race make her uniquely qualified to reach wise decisions and believes international law should be consulted when weighing appeals. She should feel right at home with the former chief counsel for the ACLU Ruth Bader Ginsburg who apparently believes American Citizenship is the right of all mankind.   In one decision she said, “You would have a huge statelessness problem if you don’t consider a child born abroad a U.S. citizen.”

 

Ah justice, what is it good for? Or as they say in Chi-town, “How much justice can you afford?” The difference between Chicago Prime and Chicago on the Potomac is in the original version Mayors serve for life, or as long as they want, followed by a power struggle. Hopefully in the DC version we will get a change in 2017. I wonder if it will be a Bush or a Clinton.

 

Vive la Différence! Or as the French also say, the more things change the more they stay the same.

 

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Veterans Place Corrupt County Board Under Citizen’s Arrest – They Laugh, Until the Sheriff Shows Up

Don’t you love it when ordinary citizens bring justice to bear on corrupt politicians? Isn’t it even sweeter when our veterans do it? Well, that was what two military veterans did in Illinois to the Clark County Park District Board last year.

Illinois, like many states, is filled with corrupt politicians from the state legislature on down to the city and county level.
So, what are those that these corrupt public servants supposed to do about it? Two of them took action.
Kirk Allen and John Kraft, nicknamed the “Watchdogs,” decided that it was time to hold county public servants accountable. These two military veterans decided to deal with their County Board of Clark County Park District.
The Ocala Post reports on the two veterans’ efforts:
In an effort to take back their government from self-serving politicians and bureaucrats, Kraft and Allen established a group called the Edgar County Watchdogs. Through a combination of public pressure, Freedom of Information filings, lawsuits, and media exposure, they have created a system that deeply threatens Illinois’ corrupt, entrenched political establishment. They operate a blog called Illinois Leaks that exposes corruption at the state and local levels. The blog is so popular that, it is trusted more than the local paper.
Considering the fact that, according to Forbes, their home county’s government has racked up over $79 million in debt all on its own while serving only 18,000 residents, Kraft and Allen have their work cut out for them.
By relentlessly pursuing justice for even the smallest infractions by bureaucrats and politicians, the Edgar County Watchdogs have driven 102 public officials to resign from their posts, including 33 officials in Edgar County alone. The pair busted the mayor of Redmond for attempting to hold office while living out of town. They represented themselves in court and beat Illinois Assistant Attorney General Emma Steimel in a lawsuit seeking access to state e-mails. Officials who have resigned due to the Watchdogs’ efforts include a property tax assessor, the Edgar County board chairman, an entire airport board and its manager, the attorney for Kansas Township’s fire department, Shiloh’s superintendent of schools, and Effingham’s health department administrator, among others. After they exposed corrupt, illegal, and self-serving spending habits by the Ford-Iroquois County health department, the entire bureaucracy was dissolved. In some cases, federal agents have even stepped in to investigate and issue subpoenas to local officials after receiving tips from Kraft and Allen.
So, this isn’t these two veterans’ first rodeo.
The entire event involving the County Board was captured on video below.

On May 13, 2014, Kraft and Allen placed the Clark County Park District Board under citizen’s arrest for violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act, which is a Class C misdemeanor.
The response from board members demonstrated their arrogance towards those they served. They belittled the men and when the call for a vote to see if there would be public comment, one board member said “I vote no,” followed by the other five doing the same.

In fact, the board’s attorney, Kate Yargus, also told board members there would be no public comment at that night’s meeting and that the members were free to go, following Kraft’s announcement that they had been placed under citizen’s arrest.
As Yargus attempted to cite a statute, Kraft said, “Just sit down, you are making yourself look like a fool.”
Clark County Sheriff Jerry Parsley showed up in the middle of a situation that seemed like it was about to get out of hand. Though his deputies had been dispatched to the scene, Sheriff Parsley believed it would be best if he personally handled the situation. And handle it, he did.
Parsley knew the board was in violation of the Open Meetings Act because they were not allowing the public to speak and he said that Kraft handled the citizen’s arrest properly.
“It’s not that they should have. They’re mandated to,” Parsley said. “The people need to have their voice. It’s not a dictatorship. It’s a democracy.”
Though board members had laughed openly at the citizen’s arrest, which promptly stopped when Sheriff Parsley arrested six of the members. One board member was not arrested as he voted against them.
Though the board called Kraft and Allen “troublemakers,” both the Sheriff and the State Attorney’s Office viewed things quite different.
“Every citizen, in every state, county, and city, should take note,” said Kraft. “Make sure their local government officials are working for the people, and not for themselves.”
Most people complain about “doing something.” These two veterans didn’t complain, they just had enough. However, they knew enough about what was going on and what to do in order to get the job done… and they did it! This is an example to all of us of how we can hold elected public servants accountable.
I’ll be starting down that road with South Carolina’s US Senator Lindsey Graham (R) on Saturday, February 28 at 2pm EST at his office in Rock Hill for those that wish to come stand alongside me as we bring Round 2 (Take a look at Round 1 from January) of the AmericaAgain! Good Guys campaign to every federal representative in the nation this year! Let’s not talk anymore. Let’s get the job done!

Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/02/veterans-place-corrupt-county-board-under-citizens-arrest-they-laugh-until-the-sheriff-shows-up/#mHrBe7dOGdx5dTrT.99

A Rose By Any Other Name

The main lesson we learn from History is that we don’t learn from History.  The lack of historical perspective is, I believe, one of the major contributing factors in America’s current state.

People don’t realize that all of these novel fixes our collectivist leaders are shoving down our throats with regard to health care have been tried multiple times before.  Or that they have failed every time.

People don’t realize that preemptive imperial wars of aggression and suppression have been disguised as endless wars for peace since Sargon the Great marched out of Akkad to found the first known empire.

Running true to form most people, apparently including our national leaders both political and military and the news anchors for the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media, do not realize that ISIS is not an aberration in Islamic History.

Neither are the other forms of Islamic terrorist groups which have plagued the world since the late 1960s when Palestinian secular movements such as Al Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) began to target civilians outside the immediate arena of conflict.  These were self-proclaimed secular groups.  As pointed out by RAND’s Bruce Hoffman, in 1980 two out of 64 groups were categorized as largely religious in motivation; in 1995 almost half of the identified groups, 26 out of 56, were classified as religiously motivated; the majority of these espoused Islam as their guiding force.

Political versus Fundamentalist Islam

Political Islam, as opposed to fundamentalist or neo-fundamentalist Islam, posits a worldview that can deal with and selectively integrate modernity. In contrast, fundamentalist Islam calls for a return to an ontological form of Islam that rejects modernity; groups such as ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad are representative of fundamentalist Islam.

A Note on State Sponsors of Religious Terror Groups

Unlike the “secular” national, radical, anarchist terrorism which have been sponsored by states such as Libya, Syria, Iraq, Cuba, North Korea, and behind the scenes by the former Soviet camp, most of the religious Islamic terrorist groups have never been sponsored by states. Many Egyptian organizations emerged from the Egyptian domestic landscape. Algerian groups likewise were not sponsored by foreign states. Hezbollah certainly can be viewed as an Iranian surrogate, but other movements, while open to state assistance, remain operationally and ideologically independent.  ISIS is different in that it has declared itself to be a state.

This brings us to the willful disregard of easily accessible knowledge which brings all of our political and cultural leaders to constantly say:

  • That the forces of ISIS and other Islamic terrorist organizations are not Islamic.
  • That these groups have somehow hijacked Islam or that they are merely criminals hiding behind Islamic names and slogans.

For one thing who are we to judge another’s faith?  If someone says they are followers of Muhammed who are we to say they aren’t?  If someone says they are doing their best to live by their interpretation of the Koran who are we to say they aren’t?

This is one of the reasons it is so hard to get even the most “moderate” of Muslims to denounce ISIS and the other Islamic Terror organizations. Even if they personally disagree with their theology and their methods there is enough in their declarations of faith that align with traditional strains of Islam. It would be like a Catholic saying a Pentecostal isn’t a Christian because they have differing views of the actions of the Holy Spirit in the modern day.

This refusal to admit the Islamic nature of these groups disarms the West.  We cannot understand what they want, what they do, or why they have such a strong hold on the lives of so many.  Another aspect of our official blindness that prevents us from confronting this clash of civilizations appropriately is the oft repeated mantra that those Muslims who support the radicals is a tiny group, often mentioned at 1%.  We are also reminded often that 1.6 billion people make up the Muslim world.  If this second figure is correct the tiny minority of the first figure translates to 16 million people.

Sixteen million people willing to fight to the death, blow themselves up, or financially support them is larger than any army ever fielded by Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, or Stalin.  Obviously this is a threat that should be taken seriously.  It should not be dismissed by ignoring what they say about themselves.  Imagine if the leaders of the western democracies had bothered to read Hitler’s Mein Kampf and believe that he meant what he said.  They could have stopped him when he marched into the Rhineland with no trouble whatsoever.  Instead they ignored what he said and fifty million people paid with their lives.

Today we stand in a similar place.  We ignored Osama Bin Laden when he declared war on America in 1988 and 1996 with disastrous consequences.  Now we are ignoring the inherent attraction of those who claim the Islamic world as their own when we say they are not motivated by their religion.  It strips us of the ability to understand them, their objectives, their appeal, and their tactics.

Another disservice our leaders are foisting on us is the other mantra of their secular religion that Islam is a religion of peace.  This flies in the face of historical reality.  Islam did not initially spread as Christianity did by the power of its message and the blood of its martyrs.  Islam spread as a conquering religion.  Muhammed conquered Medina and Mecca, forced unity on the disparate Arab tribes before bursting forth from the Arabian Peninsula and spreading through military conquest and forcible conversions.

Rod Dreher in the American Conservative has done a masterful job of asking two important questions, “Is ISIS Islamic? How would we know?”   Much of what follows is excerpted from his penetrating analysis.

To take one example: In September, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments—the stoning and crop destruction—juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide.  As if to show that he could terrorize by imagery alone, Adnani also referred to Secretary of State John Kerry as an “uncircumcised geezer.”

Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion. His exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of Kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic.  Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.

Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel contends that the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor.  Of partial Lebanese descent, Haykel grew up in Lebanon and the United States.  Haykel regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous and sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he saidAccording to Professor Haykel, “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else” Haykel continued.

In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day” says Haykel.

According to one thought passed along by Rod Dreher what we call “Islamic fundamentalism” or “Islamic extremism” is so hard to defeat because it is so clearly rooted in Islamic history and Scripture. To tell the followers of ISIS that they are “un-Islamic” in their practices when they are doing, or trying to do, exactly as the Prophet and his early followers did, is a hard sell to fellow Muslims.  It is also the kind of self-imposed blindness that stops us from effectively knowing what we are dealing with.

If we ignore what we know due to political correctness how will it ever be possible to do what needs to be done?  If we refuse to name something does that mean it isn’t what it claims to be?  A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and an Islamic Fundamentalist is a follower of Muhammad no matter what we say or how we say it.  There are none so blind as those who will not see, and when the blind follow the blind they both end up in the ditch.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

The Islamic ‘Ghosts on the Roof’

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Seventy years ago, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin met at Yalta to lay the foundations of the post-World War II world order. Less than one month after their historic meeting, TIME magazine on March 5, 1945, published an unsigned article entitled “Ghosts on the Roof.” The article was written by Whittaker Chambers, then TIME’s foreign news editor and formerly a member of a Washington, D.C.-based Soviet espionage ring. Chambers broke with communism in the late 1930s and in doing so remarked to his wife that they were joining the “losing side” in the great world struggle between communism and the West.

Chambers’ repeated efforts during the late 1930s and early 1940s to alert the State Department and the FBI to communist penetration of our government and the existence and activities of the espionage ring fell on deaf ears, so he used his position at TIME to attempt to warn the American public about the true nature of communism and the goals of Stalin’s Soviet Union.

The Yalta Conference, which took place during February 4-11, 1945, was immediately heralded as foreshadowing a peaceful postwar world order. Chambers, having been in the belly of the beast, knew better. He showed “Ghosts on the Roof” to T.S. Matthews, TIME’s associate executive editor, but doubted that TIME would publish it. According to Chambers’ biographer Sam Tanenhaus, Matthews showed it to TIME’s owner Henry Luce who called it “a forceful piece of journalism” but was otherwise non-committal on publishing it. Other TIME staffers urged Matthews not to publish the piece fearing that it would poison relations between the wartime allies. With some hesitation, and characterizing it as a “political fairy tale,” Matthews decided to publish it.

Chambers’ story has the ghosts of the murdered Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family descend on the roof of the Livadia Palace, their former estate and the site where the “big three” allied war leaders negotiated the fate of the world. Clio, the Muse of History, greets them and discusses with Nicholas and Alexandra what just occurred there. Nicholas, the Tsarina remarks, is fascinated by Stalin. “What statesmanship! What vision! What power!,” says Nicholas. “We have known nothing like this since my ancestor, Peter the Great, broke a window into Europe by overrunning the Baltic states in the 18th century. Stalin has made Russia great again.”

“It all began with the German-Russian partition of Poland,” Chambers has Alexandra say, reminding readers that the Second World War was started by Hitler and Stalin. “Stalin,” says the Tsar, “is magnificent. Greater than Rurik, greater than Peter! . . . Stalin embodies the international social revolution . . . the mighty new device of power politics which he has developed for blowing up other countries from within.” The Royal couple then lists the countries conquered by Stalin—Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Poland—and those soon to be conquered because of Western appeasement. The Tsarina marvels at Stalin’s ability to persuade Churchill and Roosevelt solve the issues of Central and Eastern Europe to Stalin’s liking in a friendly fashion, remarking that “even peace may be only a tactic of struggle.”

At the end of the tale, the Muse of History foresees the consequences of Yalta as “more wars, more revolutions, greater proscriptions, bloodshed and human misery.” If you can foresee such troubles, the Tsarina asks Clio, why don’t you prevent them. The Muse of History replies that she must leave something for her sister Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, to do.

Readers reacted negatively to the piece. TIME’s Moscow correspondent lost his access to Kremlin officials. Chambers, some said, was zealously trying to destroy U.S.-Soviet collaboration that was so essential to world peace. TIME’s own editors noted in a subsequent issue that they did not believe that U.S.-Soviet relations were doomed to failure.

History vindicated Whittaker Chambers. His courageous efforts to reveal the truth about communism and Stalin’s intentions are not unlike the current efforts by writers—several associated with this journal—to alert the United States and the world to the true nature and goals of Islamic jihadists.

In Chambers’ time, the West was confronted by a murderous, expansionist secular totalitarian ideology whose leaders sought a communist world empire. Today, the West is confronted by a murderous, expansionist religion-based totalitarian ideology whose leaders seek a world caliphate where all must submit to Allah or be eradicated.

Chambers’ warnings were largely ignored by Western leaders whose willful blindness to the true nature of communism sealed the fate of millions behind the iron curtain in Europe, in China, Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia, and elsewhere.

Today, perhaps the ghosts of Mehemed II and Sulieman the Magnificent are looking down and smiling as Western leaders fecklessly attempt to negotiate with the Iranian mullahs and search for “root causes” of ISIS terror and aggression. The Muse of History would understand, and her sister Melpomene, unfortunately, still has work to do.

Scott Walker – Wisconsin’s Governor takes on higher-ed costs. Faculty horror ensues.

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Colleges are usually at the forefront of radical politics, but when it comes to their own privileges they become feudal empires. Behold the revolt in the Wisconsin state university system over Governor Scott Walker ’s appeal for modest accountability.

In Mr. Walker’s recent biennial budget proposal, he joined the national debate on higher education. The Governor and potential presidential candidate wants to extend a 2013-2015 tuition freeze at the University of Wisconsin for two more years, and then slightly reduce state aid in exchange for more independence for the system.

UW is now a formal state agency, which operates under the same regulations that apply to the rest of the bureaucracy on worker compensation, bonding for building projects, procurement, contracting and much else. Mr. Walker would spin off UW as a quasi-public authority that is out of this government saddle. He would also convert state aid that is now filled with earmarks for specific programs into a clean, inflation-adjusted block grant that UW could spend at its discretion.

The UW system has sought such academic freedom from the state for a generation, though apparently Mr. Walker still isn’t sufficiently reverential. UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and other administrators are lobbying the legislature to reject the block grant because it is about $300 million less than UW’s two-year budget base. They’re also organizing protests among faculty, students and other activists, some of whom showed up last week at Mr. Walker’s home.

The demonstrators even object to Mr. Walker’s suggestion that UW’s “Wisconsin idea” mission include a goal “to develop human resources to meet the state’s workforce needs.” This is supposedly anti-intellectual, though perhaps authority figures should tell the kids majoring in social justice to prepare for the jobs they’ll need in the real world.

Their real grievance is Mr. Walker’s belief that higher-ed spending shouldn’t climb year after year and get passed off to taxpayers and students with ever-higher debt. The entitled academics pretend that universities are chamber orchestras that can’t improve productivity. But you can tell a college administrator is dissembling when he claims there is no fat left to trim, especially in as large an organization as UW.

Mr. Walker’s $150 million one-year “cut” will be absorbed into a $6.098 billion system-wide operating budget for 2014-15. It amounts to a 12.7% reduction in state aid, but that is merely 2.5% of UW’s overall budget, most of which comes from other sources to support two full-service doctoral campuses, 11 four-year colleges, 13 two-year schools and an extension with offices in every county.

According to the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, UW also employs 15,100 full-time equivalent employees—42% of its workforce—who are called “academic staff.” The bureau defines them as “professional and administrative personnel other than faculty whose duties are primarily associated with higher education institutions or their administration,” and UW has one of them on payroll for every 10 enrolled student-equivalents. Some 59% work at the UW-Madison campus.

Mr. Walker is instead asking UW to set priorities, while providing the tools and flexibility to live within a budget. He wants to avoid what happened during the last state budget squeeze, under Democratic Governor Jim Doyle, when the state simply raised tuition by 18% on average in 2003-04, and again by 15% in 2004-05.

Thanks to the current tuition freeze for in-state undergraduates—the first in Wisconsin history—UW-Madison’s sticker price of $10,410 is below the Big Ten school average of $11,819. In an angry speech to the board of regents this month, Chancellor Blank seemed to view this lower cost as a problem.

She said that if the freeze continues UW will fall to last among its regional peers. “We’re going to have to get further up toward the median in part to fill some of these budget holes and in part to reflect our market quality. I shouldn’t be the cheapest school in the Big Ten,” she said. Attention, freshmen: She used to be an economic adviser to President Obama in the Commerce Department.

Ms. Blank added, or threatened, that “outside of state funding, the only thing you’re left with is tuition, that’s the one thing that you can increase fast when your state dollars go down fast.” Or she could place a call to the few college president reformers who are trying to modernize their institutions to make degrees cheaper but also more valuable.

***
Mitch Daniels is a good role model, having cut the cost of attending Purdue for two straight years since he became president in 2013. The former Indiana Governor’s search for efficiencies is legendary, including the dining hall and used furniture, and student debt among Boilermakers has fallen 18% in his tenure. Another is Dartmouth’s Phil Hanlon, who requires college departments to cut 1.5% of spending each year and spend it on something new. This annual reallocation clears out deadwood while encouraging innovation.

Mr. Walker has already infuriated the professoriate by proposing offhand that they cut costs by taking on an extra courseload a semester. If UW refuses to find this or other savings, he should next try to abolish tenure.

We Need More of Moore

The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution states that, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

This past Sunday Chris Wallace interviewed Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.  Chief Justice Moore is once again in the news for standing up for the rule of law, limited government, and the viability of the Constitution as a meaningful document as opposed to a Living Document that means whatever the nine black robed oligarchs say it means.

This happened once before.  Back in 2000 he was elected to the position as Alabama’s top jurist on the promise that he would restore the moral foundations of the law in Alabama.  Several months later he made good on that promise when he set a Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building.  He was promptly sued in federal district court by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State who complained that the Chief Justice’s actions were an unconstitutional “establishment of religion.”

The lawyers had charged the Chief Justice with illegally establishing “religion.”   But what religion was he trying to establish?  That remained a mystery since these aggrieved lawyers also argued that the court should not define the term “religion.” The federal district court judge, Myron Thompson, agreed with their argument refusing to render a definition of “religion.” Judge Thompson nevertheless found the Chief Justice guilty of establishing that which he himself could not define and ordered the monument removed.

The Chief Justice refused to comply with this order.  Chief Justice Moore said, “The entire judicial system of the State of Alabama is established in the Alabama constitution invoking the favor and guidance of almighty God. The 10th amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits federal courts from interfering with that power to establish a judicial system. They have no power, no authority no jurisdiction to tell the State of Alabama that we cannot acknowledge God as the source of our law.”

At least in Alabama the Chief Justice did not stand alone.  Another man elected by the voters of the State, Governor Bob Riley said, “I have a deep and abiding belief that there is nothing wrong or unconstitutional about the public display of the Ten Commandments and disagree with the court’s mandate to remove them.”

And yet this representative of the people of Alabama was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court in November 2003. A state ethics panel unanimously decided to remove him from the bench owing to his refusal to follow judicial rulings.

That was then.  This is now.

In 2015 the courageous Chief Justice Moore (he was re-elected in 2012) has ordered probate judges in his state to ignore a Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriages to go forward over the state’s constitutional ban.  Once again the Chief Justice is standing up for State sovereignty against a judicial system that believes they can make law.  This time the battle is over gay marriage.  The Alabama Constitution as amended in 2006 by Amendment 774, the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment, makes it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions.  This amendment was approved by 81% of the voters.  On January 23, 2015, Chief Judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, Callie V. Grenade, issued a ruling striking down Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage as violations of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

This brings us to the aforementioned interview of Chief Justice Moore by Chris Wallace on his Sunday Fox television program.

Chris Wallace seemed baffled by Chief Justice Moore’s arguments as if he had never heard such things before.  When he questioned how anyone could dispute a ruling of a Federal Judge, Chief Justice Moore replied, “When federal courts start changing our Constitution by defining words that are not even there, like marriage, they’re going to do the same thing with family in the future,” Moore declared.  The Chief Justice went on to say, “When a word’s not in the Constitution, clearly the powers of the Supreme Court do not allow them to redefine words and seize power. 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. This power over marriage which came from god under our organic law is not to be redefined by the United States Supreme Court or any federal court.”

The look on Mr. Wallace’s face was one of bewilderment.

To support his argument that the words of Federal Judges are final Mr. Wallace appealed to President Obama who stated in an interview with Buzzfeed News about this controversy saying, “When federal law is in conflict with state law, federal law wins out.”

The Chief Justice answered, “I’d like to tell President Obama that he’s entirely correct, federal law does trump state law,” Moore said. “But what this Harvard professor who is president of the United States does not understand, is that a trial court’s decision on the constitutionality of a federal question is just that — it’s an opinion. It may be law of the case before her. It is not overturning the Alabama constitution. Federal law is not made by judges.”

Mr. Wallace looked at the Chief Justice as if he were speaking a foreign language.  I believe that the reason for this disconnect is not merely Mr. Wallace’s.  It is shared by many who have had the benefit of America’s progressive education.   It has been drummed into generations of Americans that the opinion of judges about the meaning of the Constitution, and not the Constitution itself, is the law of the land. For them, whether conservative or liberal they have an allegiance to the judiciary rather than to the Constitution and the laws enacted pursuant to it.

A still apparently amazed Wallace then accused Moore of being “a little fuzzy” on whether state judges would have to adhere by a SCOTUS ruling in favor of allowing same-sex marriage.

To which Chief Justice Moore replied, “State courts are bound by the ruling of the Supreme Court,” Moore replied. “But when a strict interpretation of the Constitution…is abandoned in the theoretical opinion of individuals are allowed to control its meaning, we have no longer a Constitution. We’re under the government of individual men who for the time being declared what the Constitution is according to their own views.”

As if saying something is the same as proving something Mr. Wallace replied, When Mr. Wallace stated that, “When the Supreme Court Rules, It Rules.”

However, there is a fundamental principle of constitutional law that most Americans have never been taught.  According to the Constitution Congress, and Congress alone, has the power to make law.  According to the Constitution Federal Courts have the power only to apply law in particular cases and controversies. Yet in the face of the clear language of the Constitution, most Americans who have been progressively indoctrinated over several generations blindly repeat the platitude as if it is common knowledge that courts make law.

An error that flows from this false view that courts have the power to make law is the belief that the law is not what the Constitution says but rather what judges say about the Constitution. Through a distortion of the common law principles of precedent and stare decisis, a court’s holding in a particular case is converted into a law binding on all persons within the court’s jurisdiction and all inferior courts. The proper use of the principles of precedent and stare decisis is that holdings in past court decisions serve as a compelling guide in subsequent proceedings, but they do not bind unless they are themselves consistent with the law.

We have come to the place where the Progressives want to ignore the clear language of the Constitution as in the Second Amendment protection of citizens to own and carry guns.  At the same time these same big government statists demand that citizens submit to decisions carrying the weight of law based on the partisan interpretations of words which are found nowhere in the document such as Privacy and Marriage.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution states 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.”

With a vision of State Sovereignty, individual liberty, personal freedom and economic opportunity framed by the ninth and tenth amendments to the Constitution. Looking at the current crop of right and left wing Progressives and the coming crop of potential right and left wing Progressives my only reaction is, “We need more of Moore.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

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