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Monday, June 28, 2010

Correcting AP on Supreme Court's McDonald Decision

Posted by: Unknown on Monday, June 28, 2010 at 5:20:32 pm Comments (1)

One of the most gratifying things I've been involved in over the last year has been the reinvigorated interest in the constitutional underpinnings of the American Republic.  Whether it's the Tea Party Movement or our work with ReConstituting America, Let Freedom Ring, and Liberty Central, there is something truly satisfying as this resurgent interest in the principles upon which this nation was founded.

Conversely, it is more-than-irritating when folks grossly misstate these principles--and, in fact, write in such a way as to perpetuate misconceptions.  It is, in fact, entirely destructive of those principles.  So it was, today, with the Associated Press' Mark Sherman, whose initial piece on the Supreme Court's Decision in McDonald v. Chicago claimed that the High Court had "expanded" gun rights in America.  So I decided to drop Mr. Sherman a note:

Mr. Sherman:

I read with great interest your reporting on the Supreme Court's decision today in McDonald v. Chicago.  But the headline, and your introductory paragraph, make an erroneous statement:  the Supreme Court today did NOT expand or extend gun rights.  Today, the High Court struck down unconstitutional limitations on those rights - restoring what had been erroneously taken away.

There is a tremendous difference between the two perspectives.  The latter recognizes that we, as a people, are endowed with a collection of rights, a state of being that was affirmed and sought to be protected by the founders and the documents that set about the rules under which our system operates. 

The former, on the other hand, leaves a reader with the impression that rights can be expanded or narrowed at will, and that in this case, the Justices of the Supreme Court were going beyond the scope of what is constitutionally warranted.  That perspective is unfortunately both persistent and ubiquitous among Americans, a misunderstanding of the nature of rights which puts them constantly under the threat of assault.  If we believe that rights are held at the whim of government officials, and can be narrowed or expanded at will, then it becomes that much harder to defend them when they are so narrowed.

I'll put it to you this way:  assume for a moment that the High Court had spent years chipping away at the ability of journalists to practice their craft--and, in fact, had affirmed state-based rules which sharply limited the proliferation or even existence of news outlets.  If, today, McDonald v. Chicago had struck down these rules, would you have announced that the Supreme Court had "extended" or "expanded" 1st Amendment rights?

I doubt that highly.

Facts are important things, Mr. Sherman.  This is especially important when talking about the fundamental principles which underlie our Republic.  I'd ask that you take greater care when reporting on them in the future.

Sincerely,

Andrew Langer
President, The Institute for Liberty

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Democrats Were Against Petraeus Before They Were For Him

Posted by: Peter Roff on Friday, June 25, 2010 at 1:18:45 pm Comments (0)

Gen. David Petraeus is now the darling of the Democrats. Having been picked by President Barack Obama to lead U.S. efforts on the ground in Afghanistan, Petraeus, the architect of the surge in Iraq, is being praised by the Democrats from pillar to post.
It wasn’t always so.
 
Continue reading… 

Obama Is Right to Fire McChrystal, But He's Still Feckless

Posted by: Peter Roff on Friday, June 25, 2010 at 1:12:12 pm Comments (0)

U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal is now out of a job, thanks to some unguarded and unflattering comments made about President Barack Obama within earshot of a reporter working on a freelance piece for Rolling Stone. This is as it should be.

Read more here

The Lazarus Effect

Posted by: Andrew Langer on Friday, June 25, 2010 at 9:38:58 am Comments (0)

The President’s Oil Spill Commission: The Lazarus Effect

 Earlier this week, the Obama Administration announced the appointment of Richard Lazarus, to serve as executive director of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.   Lazarus, a notorious environmental lawyer, is a curious choice considering the technical nature of the task at hand.

Energy experts have raised eyebrows at the pick, suggesting that perhaps someone with a technical background, a career in the energy industry, or better yet, any experience at all with offshore drilling, would have been a more suitable pick. 

I wasn’t so surprised at this dubious choice.  The Administration is clearly pushing industry experts, best practices, and knowledge aside in the pursuit of a predetermined political outcome - namely, closing access to America's offshore energy resources. 

Using this crisis as a pretext for shutting down drilling is grossly irresponsible and detrimental to solving the problem at hand.  Now more than ever it's important that our government tap the most informed available experts – the brightest engineers we have to offer – to identify the most promising technologies for coping with this ongoing crisis and to begin developing the guiding principles that will reduce the likelihood of this type of incident from occurring in the future.

While we usually need a trial, a jury, and a guilty verdict before a death sentence is pronounced, here we're through the looking glass:  we have no need of trials, juries, or executioners.  The verdict is predetermined, regardless of the overwhelming expert opinion that demonstrates that something much different ought to be done.    Almost from the start of this crisis, the President's unfocused, bureaucratic and obstructionist response has caused this disaster to get infinitely worse.  Whether it's payoffs to his political cronies or slavish devotion to this anti-energy ideology, the outcome is still the same:  the American people, especially those on the Gulf Coast, lose and lose big."

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