Thursday, January 5, 2017

Six Points on the Azaria Case

1. The purpose of a trial is to clear up doubts. That other cases require a trial to clear up doubts does not mean that every case does. Who is to decide? By giving a soldier or a policeman a gun we empower them to make life or death decisions. Why not this one? 2. If it is not possible to kill a terrorist after a trial, than the trial itself is not merely a procedural delay in the delivery of justice, it is a procedure by which injustice is guaranteed. 3. The one who dehumanizes the enemy is the one who denies that enemy's moral culpability and thus refuses to treat that enemy as a criminal regardless of their conduct. 4. The laws of war permit the summary execution of terrorists. 5. I do not condone leaving an injured, unarmed alive when that man is a terrorist, yes. It is arguable whether he should be patched up for trial, convicted, and then killed. But to patch him, feed him, and keep him with his fellow terrorists until he is released to kill again? What values does does that uphold? 6. Azaria, it is claimed, violated orders. If he did so, he did so to kill a man who deserved to die, who would not have died had Azaria had not acted. Should soldiers follow the prima facie immoral order to spare a disabled terrorist? Sure. But to judge a soldier who violated an immoral order you need to have the proper sense of right and wrong and the understanding that such an order is, prima facie, immoral.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Red and Dead: An Originalist Approach to the Twenty-Third Amendment

Now that  the Democrats have revived the originalist, "dead constitution" understanding of the electoral college, I think it is time to animate the "dead constitution" understanding of the Twenty-third Amendment.

That amendment, you will recall, is what gives DC electors -- three, as it happens.  But note the first few words of section 1:  "The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct..."  As with the other electors, nothing in the amendment requires that those electors be selected on the basis of popular vote.  To quote Bush v. Gore, "the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States."

By Article I, Section 8, clause 17, Congress is "to exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever" over the District.   Just as state legislatures have the power to enact or abolish the popular vote for the electors, Congress is perfectly within its rights to abolish the popular vote for electors in DC.  Congress could choose some other method for the District to select its electors, or could choose the electors by name and order the District to appoint them.

A sufficient Republican majority in both houses of Congress, and those three votes go red.  Drain that swamp!

{Alexander Hamilton wanted John Jay to do something similar with regard to the New York electoral college for 1800, so the DC 3 chosen by Congress would have a better right than anybody to call themselves "Hamilton Electors."}

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Most Great to Them that Know

In my latest at American Greatness, I use a celebrated English hymn, "I Vow to Thee My Country," to examine the questions surrounding the "dual citizenship" of Christians (between the City of God and the City of Man), from my peculiar situation as a Jew who has triple citizenship—in Canada, America, and Israel.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Life imitating Art, or at least Tom Clancy.

One guide to understanding the Trump Presidency, Tom Clancy's novel of a non-politician president, Executive Orders (1996).
What happens if we actually have a president who rejects the shibboleths of the Beltway in favor of median-voter positions on abortion, Taiwan, etc.?
And see how he copes with an Iran empowered by Iraq's destruction after the death of Saddam Hussein.
In the sequel, The Bear and the Dragon (2000), the non-Politician President, newly returned to office, has to deal with a China that resorts to belligerence to cope with a rapid decline in exports.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ten things Jews don't get about Gentiles

10.   Kabbalah Center:  you want to stay a goy, great.  You want to convert to Judaism, well…  But the Kabbalah Center?  Really?  Mormonism at least has magic underwear.
9.  Bacon, ok.  But Canadian bacon?
8.  What do you do with all the time you don’t use for reading?
7.  What is that thing with your car?  What, are they going to bury you in it?
6.  People who retire, have money, and still stay in the Midwest.
5.  Why would a non-Palestinian gentile be passionate about Israel, for or against?  I haven’t met a Jew who is passionate about Tonga.
4.  Our sons have their first alcoholic beverage at age 8 days.  And you expect yours to wait until he is 21?
3.  Hunting:  you wander around in the cold and wet from morning to night, and if, you are very skilled and lucky, you wind up with an animal that you have to butcher that is full of metal.  Easier to stand in line at Zabar’s.
2.  If you have something to say, interrupt, dammit!
1.  You actually want to convert to Judaism?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Great "Racism" Circle Dance

You told us Ronald Reagan was a racist, because he appointed racists like Jeff Sessions (who sent a Klansman to death row and desegregated the schools in Alabama).

Then you told us that George H. W. Bush was a racist.
Then you told us that Bob Dole was a racist.
Then you told us that George W. Bush was a racist.
Then you told us that John McCain was a racist.
Then you told us that Mitt Romney was a racist.

Then you told us that Donald Trump was REALLY a racist, that this time you really meant it, unlike all those other times when you were just crying wolf.  And this time you could prove it, because he appointed racists like Jeff Sessions (re-elected in 2014 with 97% of the vote, in a state that is 27% African American).

Then you wonder why we have tuned you out.

Making Josephus Great Again!

I make the Jewish historian, priest, rebel, and traitor Josephus great again, in this interview with Nehemiah Gordon.