Tuesday, January 31, 2006

General Meeting Thursday, 12:30

Don't forget about this quarter's general membership meeting this Thursday in room 115A at 12:30. Pizza will be served. We'll be announcing upcoming events for the year. Bring those quiet conservative friends who aren't wearing black post-confirmation, and we'll see you there!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On Race and Affirmative Action

In response to some of my more vocal and strident views in my Equal Protection class Monday as we were discussing Affirmative Action, a student said this in an E-mail to the professor:

I cannot help but feel that the resistance to affirmative action is to ensure the historical dominance of whites in every facet of society (education, employment, etc.). It seems to me a very basic issue of supremacy and ensuring that it is maintained for the historically dominant group.

How this can be reconciled with the fact that Clarence Thomas vehemently opposes Affirmative Action is beyond me. The only answer is that he's an "Uncle Tom", a traitor to his race because he had the temerity to think for himself and not vote in lock step with "his people". More personally, this is nothing more than a fancy way of saying that those who oppose Affirmative Action, people who are almost universally conservative or libertarian, are therefore racist at best, and probably have white robes in their closets to boot. This would be offensive if it wasn't so silly. But since I don't particularly like being called a white supremacist, and since I initially intended to blog on this when Hillary came out with her plantation comments, I'll respond. Publicly.

The only way to seriously hold such a view is to not actually know any conservatives, or at least to adamantly refuse to ever consider for a moment that their ideas have been arrived at in good faith. While I would never support it, you can see why people make the argument to have an "ideological affirmative action" program in colleges. Those who believe all conservatives are Jerry Falwell clones who "we all know sit around in a back room and talk about how you can keep the brown people down" (something I was told in earnest at a pub debate last year) would be in for a rude awakening.

The student said that she considered the idea of a meritocracy "illusory." I couldn't disagree more. I believe that every single person born in America, no matter their race, gender, economic circumstance, level of school funding, etc. Can do whatever they want with their lives. Are some of them starting (a lot) further behind than others? Sure. Will life be unfair to some? Without question. Can there ever be a "pure" meritocracy? Never. Does that mean American minorities are "helpless" or that they "cannot help themselves"? Not on your life. Don't believe it. Many have more obstacles to overcome than say, John Kerry or George Bush did. (Ronald Reagan comes to mind, as does Clarence Thomas himself.) Some will not be able to recover easily from bad choices early in life, like Ted Kennedy did when he escaped serious jail time after Chappaquiddick. But they can make it. They can improve their circumstances. And they can go the distance.

Jim Crow laws change that equation, because the obstacles they created were particularly high and so publicly sanctioned. But even as odious and powerful as they were, those obstacles could be overcome, and were in many cases (such as the parents and grandparents of our current Secretary of State and darling of '08-looking Republicans). Those laws are now in our past, and things have improved. We should continue to be vigilant against state sponsored and/or endorsed racism, and I believe we are.

There is still racism in this country, and we are right to condemn it. But I disagree that racism is still so widespread and endemic to our culture that it can account for the racial disparities that still exist. I don't believe Affirmative Action works because it does not address the underlying cause of the problem in the year 2006. Instead, it addresses the underlying cause of the problem as it was in 1968. Maybe it was the right thing to do back then. But it cannot now be said that nothing has changed, or that it is any longer a viable solution.

The reason for the initial racial disparity was without question racism. But the reason for its perpetuation into the 21st Century has been a culture that is afraid to condemn black entertainers from using "nigger" in every other sentence. It's a very liberal educational structure that fears standards and refuses to insist that all Americans learn to speak and use English correctly, and those who would tell Bill Cosby to "chill out" when he notes "ebonics" for the insipid evil it is. It's a 70% illegitimacy rate among blacks (Sen Moynihan noted was a "crisis" when it was only 30%). It's overwhelming black-on-black violence. It's an NAACP who has become a faithful ATM to a single political party, one which takes black voters for granted. It's the lack of condemnation of the likes of Louis Ferakkan for his anti-Semitic and inflammatory rhetoric. It is also an overreaching government, where administrative law is used to keep out competition or to ensure union dominance.

But the worst enemy of true integration is that there are large and powerful political forces in this country which have a vested interest in convincing us that (a) we are still a profoundly racist society, and (b) that unless we continue to elect them, that the problem will never be solved. The problem is that they don't actually WANT the problem to be solved, because then they would lose their morally compelling crusade and near monopoly on black votes. It's kind of like the state relationship with tobacco taxes, where they want people to stop smoking, but not really.

Republicans are guilty too. Blacks are of secondary concern, because they know those votes will never go to them, so why address their concerns? (Or more accurately, bother talking to them more to sell them on the belief that minorities will in fact benefit greatly from conservative policies?) They tried a little harder this time, but not enough. A black vote more "up for grabs" politically would do more for black interests than all the racial quotas in the world.

That's why black conservatives are attacked so viciously. Too many examples that don't fit the "victim" paradigm of black people who "need our help, and ONLY our help" threaten their already fading power. And if it's a white conservative? Well, then we must just be trying to maintain our superiority. Talk about ad hominem!

Affirmative Action may help a racial balance in the short term, but it does nothing to actually solve the problems underlying racial disparities. And there are second, third, and fourth order consequences, as Justice Thomas noted so eloquently in his dissent, that make the programs a net loss for racial minorities. And voting for feel-good legislation that makes one feel less racist, despite negative consequences to the racial group one purports to help is not something to be proud of. Results matter.

The USA will never be not-racist enough for liberals. We will never have a society that it perfectly fair. When we charge government with actively enforcing fairness at all levels of life, instead of getting out of everyone's way, they have to keep adjusting, continuously intruding, and always creating both innocent victims and new excuses for failure from both whites and blacks.

One of the things that galls me the most is this concept that blacks in this country must be "taken care of". We "take care" of animals, children, and property. How arrogant and insulting to apply that to adult citizens! Let's give all Americans of every color enough credit as full grown human beings and citizens to finally give all of us full credit for our accomplishments, our failures, and our actions. Because Affirmative Action is antithetical to that goal, I reject it. Without even having to put on a white robe.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

LaRouche on Us "Feddies"

Before you use the latest litter strewn about the law school by the "LaRouchePAC" people for its primary purpose of bathroom backup or bird cage lining, check out their take on the Federalist Society on page 14. Now I know how the Freemasons feel when they read a Dan Brown novel. At least Dan Brown acknowledges he's writing fiction...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My Hero Ted Kennedy

I'd just like to thank Senator Kennedy for his ridiculous attacks on Judge Alito, guaranteeing him his confirmation.

The Dems on the judiciary committee have now delayed the vote one week (as is their right, but something they apparently told Sen. Spectre they would not do). The only possible reason is to (a) buy more time to twist arms into supporting a filibuster, and/or (b) buy more time for liberal activist groups to smear Judge Alito. I honestly want to know - what do they seriously think they'll gain? Some say they're trying to delay it so President Bush can't take credit for the confirmation at the State of the Union Address. But all that would do is let Bush highlight their obstructionism. And the smear tactics have been going on for months now with the only result being an increase in Alito's public support. Is one week really going to make a difference?

These tactics make me think of a basketball team losing by 12 points in the final two minutes purposely fouling the winning team in the faint hope of them missing free throws and losing the rebound. Once in a blue moon, that might work. More often, it makes the losing team look desperate, confirming that they deserve to lose the game, and lets the winning team put up a whole bunch more points.

And I have to ask - whose idea was it to have Ted Kennedy there to grill Judge Alito on morality, respect for women, and/or empathy for the underprivileged?

Once again, the Democrats have displayed a tremendous talent for self destruction. Any assertions that they could regain Congress are, in light of their leadership, simply laughable.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Law Students for Alito

Issac Fong, a Federalist at Berkeley, has a Law Students for Alito blog that's well worth reading. He's tracking it all, and has information on what YOU can do to help ensure this man becomes Justice Alito.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

How to Leak Classified Info Like a Man

The debate that's raging about President Bush's NSA wiretaps I think misses a larger, more important point. I can understand the fervor on both sides, although I lean towards the legitimacy of the program.

But consider again the source of the information in the first place. US News and World Report, the New York Times, and the Washington Post all used unnamed "insider" sources. These people who spoke to the press surely have security clearances that are so high and so compartmentalized that they don't even have names for the level they're at - far higher than the Top Secret clearance I held when I was in the Navy. From experience, I can say for certain that all of the clearance holders had extensive and continuing training on what they could and could not say, and to whom they could and could not say it to. None of them were under any illusion that they had a legal right to anonymously leak covert information to the press under ANY circumstances, even if they felt the program was wrong, and none of them were empowered to make Constitutional legal interpretations on their own.

admittedly there are legitimate questions on the programs' legality. But they had been vetted by both Administration lawyers, FISA judges, and Democrats in Congressional Intelligence committees. Once those decisions were made by the political and judicial process, executive agency officers had no standing to circumvent them for any reason.

But say you think that listening in to international phone conversations between Americans with known terror ties and countries known to harbor terrorists amounts to a violation of rights tantamount to American fascism. Or, pretend for a minute that Bush was wiretapping his political enemies like Clinton and Nixon did. Or say that we had secret prisons in Alaska where we kept naturalized Arab citizens in bases and waterboarded them once a day whether they needed it or not. What do you do?

They had many options, none of which they took. They could have complained to their supervisors. Maybe they did and were correctly ignored. They could have reported it to Democrats on the intelligence committee with the same or similar security clearances. This they clearly did NOT do, or we would be hearing about it. They could have quit their jobs in protest, and encouraged their colleagues to do the same.

But even if all that didn't work, and their conscience was so torn that they could no longer stay silent, then they should have stood up. Publicly. By name. And then been willing to face the consequences proudly, even if that included going to jail. Had they done that, they would have deserved the accolades liberals now heap upon them as whistleblowing heroes, martyrs, and defenders of liberty and an open democracy.

But because they did not, one can only conclude that they were moral cowards and traitors to their country, likely driven more by political or personal motives than anything else. I don't use those words lightly. Their actions were no different than if a leaker would have told the papers that we had broken German and Japanese codes in WWII, without the secrecy of which we could not have stopped U-boat attacks in the Atlantic or won the Battle of Midway. They told the enemy of our methods, warned them away from previously fruitful fountains of information that unquestionably had saved lives. Worse, it gave hope to bin Laden's followers who have been told for years that Americans would do exactly this to themselves, and new hope that they could count on the irrational political left in this country and a press hostile to the President to provide them with safe haven and counter-intelligence about our methods.

The people who leaked this information, because of the WAY they did it, are traitors, and they make me so mad I could spit. The press who printed and distributed the stories have done a great service to the forces of Jihad, the enemy of America and of freedom, liberty, and democracy world wide. All Americans should condemn them unequivocally, no matter what one thinks of the merits of the programs they leaked. Anyone who does not so condemn them must be seriously asked - which side are you on?