Law vs. Morality

 Liberty-loving Patriots Have a Duty to Disobey Unconstitutional Laws

By: Walter E. Williams
(One of my Heros & favorite Limbaugh fill-in host)

Let’s think about whether all acts of Congress deserve our respect and obedience. Suppose Congress enacted a law — and the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional — requiring American families to attend church services at least three times a month. Should we obey such a law? Suppose Congress, acting under the Constitution’s commerce clause, enacted a law requiring motorists to get eight hours of sleep before driving on interstate highways. Its justification might be that drowsy motorists risk highway accidents and accidents affect interstate commerce. Suppose you were a jury member during the 1850s and a free person were on trial for assisting a runaway slave, in clear violation of the Fugitive Slave Act. Would you vote to convict and punish?

A moral person would find each one of those laws either morally repugnant or to be a clear violation of our Constitution. You say, “Williams, you’re wrong this time. In 1859, in Ableman v. Booth, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 constitutional.” That court decision, as well as some others in our past, makes my case. Moral people can’t rely solely on the courts to establish what’s right or wrong. Slavery is immoral; therefore, any laws that support slavery are also immoral. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions (is) a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

Soon, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Obamacare, euphemistically titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. There is absolutely no constitutional authority for Congress to force any American to enter into a contract to buy any good or service. But if the court rules that Obamacare is constitutional, what should we do?

State governors and legislators ought to summon up the courage of our Founding Fathers in response to the 5th Congress’ Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. Led by Jefferson and James Madison, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 were drafted where legislatures took the position that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional. They said, “Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government … (and) whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.” The 10th Amendment to our Constitution supports that vision: “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.”

In a word, if the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is constitutional, citizens should press their state governors and legislatures to nullify the law. You say, “Williams, the last time states got into this nullification business, it led to a war that cost 600,000 lives.” Two things are different this time. First, most Americans are against Obamacare, and secondly, I don’t believe that you could find a U.S. soldier who would follow a presidential order to descend on a state to round up or shoot down fellow Americans because they refuse to follow a congressional order to buy health insurance.

Congress has already gone far beyond the powers delegated to it by the Constitution. In Federalist No. 45, Madison explained: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” That vision has been turned on its head; it’s the federal government whose powers are numerous and indefinite, and those of the state are now few and defined.

Former slave Frederick Douglass advised: “Find out just what people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. … The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Flight before Wright

While Rebel and Union soldiers still fought it out with bayonets and cannons, a Confederate designer had the foresight to imagine flying machines attacking Northern armies. He couldn’t implement his vision during the war, and the plans disappeared into history, until resurfacing at a rare book dealer’s shop 150 years later.

Now those rediscovered designs have found their way to the auction block, providing a glimpse at how Victorian-era technolgy could have beaten the Wright Brothers to the punch.

The papers of Dr. R. Finley Hunt, a dentist with a passion for flight, describe scenarios where flying machines bombed Federal troops across Civil War battlefields. Hunt’s papers went up for sale at the Artifacts auction during the week of Sept. 15-22, 2011, and gave one lucky collector a piece of an alternate technological history that never came to pass.

“It’s incredible for someone who loves early aviation, because it poses the great question of ‘What if?'” said Bobby Livingston, vice president of sales and marketing with RR Auction. “What if planes had appeared above the wilderness when (Union Gen. Ulysses S.) Grant began his campaign in the Shenandoah Valley?”

The hardback collection includes pencil drawings of wings, propellers and a multicylinder steam engine. Hunt’s design drew inspiration from his love of studying any and all flying methods found in nature, despite his own lack of professional expertise.

But Hunt found it difficult to find an engineer willing to build the device, despite getting the help of Confederate President Jefferson Davis to have the proposal considered. Letters between Hunt and a Confederate review board show that other engineers had strong doubts about the “steam flying machine”.

First, the engineers said Hunt had dramatically overestimated the engine’s power and ability to keep the machine flying. They also described another error in Hunt’s reasoning as being “so obvious on reflection that no discussion is required.”

“When they turned him down, it was over the science of it,” Livingston told InnovationNewsDaily. “But they considered it, and considered it a lot.”

Hunt refused to take no for an answer. The papers include another letter to Davis, wherein Hunt tries to defend his flying theories and asks for assistance from a machinist. In the end, the Confederates decided against spending money to fund the project.

Still, the Confederates did deploy several other innovative war machines. Their ironclad steamship, the CSS Virginia, fought against the USS Monitor in the world’s first duel between ironclads. A Confederate submarine called the H.L. Hunley also made its mark in history as the first submarine to successfully sink an enemy ship.

Both the Union and Confederate sides also flew manned balloons to scout different battlefields.

As for Hunt, he went to Washington, D.C., and got patent a on his device after the Civil War ended in 1865. He also built several working models and was still attempting to get financing in 1872. Yet he never saw his vision take flight.

“It looks to me like he’s 40 years before the Wright brothers with a rotary engine driving propellers, but I don’t know how close he was,” Livingston said. “He never got the money to do it.”

Attribution: Air & Space, InnovationNewsDaily

Joke of the Day

A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Flight Number 293, non-stop from New York to Los Angeles. The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax – OH, MY G-D!”

Silence followed, and after a few minutes the captain came back on the intercom and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier, but while I was talking, the flight attendant brought me a cup of coffee and spilled the hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!”

A passenger in Coach said, “That’s nothing. He should see the back of mine!”

No Gold at the End of This Moonbeam

Predictably, California has gone from bad (Governor  Schwarzenegger, the Governator) to worse (Gerry Brown, Governor Moonbeam). Who could have predicted this?

How long will it be before California comes to Washington, hat in hand, for a bailout?

Even the NY Times can’t sugar coat this one.

LOS ANGELES — The state budget shortfall in California has increased dramatically in the last six months, forcing state officials to assemble a series of new spending cuts that are likely to mean further reductions to schools, health care and other social programs already battered by nearly five years of budget retrenchment, state officials announced on Saturday.

Gov. Gerry Brown, disclosing the development in a video posted on YouTube, said that California’s shortfall was now projected to be $16 billion, up from $9.2 billion in January. Mr. Brown said that he would propose a revised budget on Monday to deal with it.

“We are now facing a $16 billion hole, not the $9 billion we thought in January,” Mr. Brown said. “This means we will have to go much further and make cuts far greater than I asked for at the beginning of the year.”

Mr. Brown disclosed the news in a video that had all the trappings of a campaign announcement. In it, he aggressively accounted for the steps he said he had taken to try to scale back a $26 billion deficit he found upon taking office. And he urged viewers to back an initiative he is putting on the November ballot that would increase sales taxes by 0.25 percent and impose an income tax surcharge on wealthy Californians to try to stave off more cuts.

State officials said Mr. Brown’s proposal would include a package of immediate cuts, as well as others that would be triggered only if voters failed to approve his tax plan. The sales tax increase would expire after four years, while the income tax surcharge would last for seven years.

State officials said the shortfall was a result of disappointing revenue collections in April as California continued to struggle to pull out of the recession. “We are still recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s,” Mr. Brown said.

Still, the state controller reported that the state had exceeded spending by $2.1 billion as well, though Mr. Brown said court rulings and other actions that restricted California from making the cuts were at least partly to blame.

At the same time, the deficit projections — which have been increasing since Mr. Brown and the Democratic-controlled Legislature approved a budget last summer — suggest that the state may have been overly optimistic in estimating what kind of revenue it would take in. That has been a repeated problem in Sacramento as officials have struggled over the past five years with the state’s worst financial crisis since the Depression. Mr. Brown, in taking office last year, pledged to end what he said were the tricks lawmakers regularly used to paper over budget shortfalls.

Attgribution: NY Times

Miracle Find

He was hundreds of miles from civilization, lost in the burning heat of the desert.

Second World War Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping took what little he could from the RAF Kittyhawk he had just crash-landed, then wandered into the emptiness.

From that day in June 1942 the mystery of what happened to the dentist’s son from Southend was lost, in every sense, in the sands of time.

But 70 years later, the ghostly remains of his battered but almost perfectly preserved plane has been discovered.

Like a time capsule that could provide the key to his disappearance, it has laid intact alongside a makeshift shelter Dennis appears to have made as he waited, hopelessly, for rescue.

Now a search is to begin for the airman’s remains – as aviation experts and historians begin an operation to recover and display the P-40 aircraft in his memory.

The chance find was made by an oil worker exploring a remote region of the Western Desert in Egypt. It is more than 200 miles from the nearest town in a vast expanse of largely featureless terrain.

Flight Sergeant Copping, part of a fighter unit based in Egypt during the North Africa campaign against Rommel, is believed to have lost his bearings while flying the damaged Kittyhawk to another airbase for repair. All that is known is that he went off course and was never seen again.

Remarkably, the plane remained almost untouched for the next seven decades – right down to the guns and ammunition found with it. Most of the cockpit instruments are intact, and the twisted propeller lies a few feet from the fuselage.

Crucially, the P-40’s identification plates are untouched – allowing researchers to track its provenance and service history.

There is flak damage in the fuselage, which is consistent with documents on the aircraft. Historian Andy Saunders said: ‘It is a quite incredible time capsule. It’s the aviation equivalent of Tutankhamun’s tomb. This plane has been lying in the same spot where it crashed 70 years ago. It hasn’t been hidden in the sand, it has just sat there.’

‘He must have survived the crash because one photo shows a parachute around the frame of the plane and my guess is the poor bloke used it to shelter from the sun. The radio and batteries were out of the plane and it looks like he tried to get it working.’

‘If he died at the side of the plane his remains would have been found. Once he had crashed there, nobody was going to come and get him. It is more likely he tried to walk out of the desert but ended up walking to his death. It is too hideous to contemplate.’

The RAF Museum in Hendon, North London, has been made aware of the find and plans are already under way to recover it before anyone tries to strip it for scrap or souvenirs. Efforts have also been made to trace any immediate members of Flight Sergeant Copping’s family in the UK, but it is believed that there are none.

Captain Paul Collins, British defense attaché to Egypt, confirmed a search would be mounted for the airman’s remains but admitted it was ‘extremely unlikely’ it would be successful. The spot could be marked as a war grave after the aircraft is recovered.

Captain Collins added: ‘The scene is close to a smuggling line from Sudan and Libya.

‘We will need to go there with the Egyptian army because it is a dangerous area.’

Ian Thirsk, of the RAF Museum, confirmed staff are working with the MoD to recover the plane.

The P-40 was a US-made fighter and ground attack aircraft. It was outclassed by later German fighters and saw little combat in Europe but performed a key role in North Africa and Asia where high-altitude performance was less critical. Around 20 are still airworthy.

Attribution: Mail Online

Joke du Jour

A businessman boarded a flight and was lucky enough to be seated next to an absolutely gorgeous woman.

 They exchange brief hellos and he noticed she is reading a manual about sexual statistics. He asks her about it and she replied, “This is a very interesting book about sexual statistics.

Intrigued, the businessman asked her to cite a few examples.

The woman says that the book identifies that American Indians are the most passionate lovers and Polish men have the most stamina in bed. “By the way, my name is Jill. What’s yours?”

The businessman said, “Tonto Kowalski, nice to meet you.”

Silent Wright

When sermons of Obama’s Chicago pastor, Jeremiah Wright, surfaced during the Iowa primaries, it threatened to derail Obama’s campaign. ABC aired one where Wright screamed, “Goddamn America!” Edward Klein interviewed Wright, who told him Obama’s team tried to buy his silence.

‘Man, the media ate me alive,” Wright told me when we met in his office at Chicago’s Kwame Nkrumah Academy. “After the media went ballistic on me, I received an e-mail offering me money not to preach at all until the November presidential election

President Obama’s onetime pastor Jeremiah Wright says he was offered money not to preach.” President Obama’s onetime pastor Jeremiah Wright says he was offered money not to preach.“Who sent the e-mail?” I asked Wright.

“It was from one of Barack’s closest friends.”

“He offered you money?”

“Not directly,” Wright said. “He sent the offer to one of the members of the church, who sent it to me.”

“How much money did he offer you?”

“One hundred and fifty thousand dollars,” Wright said.

“Did Obama himself ever make an effort to see you?”

“Yes,” Wright said. “Barack said he wanted to meet me in secret, in a secure place. And I said, ‘You’re used to coming to my home, you’ve been here countless times, so what’s wrong with coming to my home?’ So we met in the living room of the parsonage of Trinity United Church of Christ, at South Pleasant Avenue right off 95th Street, just Barack and me. I don’t know if he had a wire on him. His security was outside somewhere.

“And one of the first things Barack said was, ‘I really wish you wouldn’t do any more public speaking until after the November election.’ He knew I had some speaking engagements lined up, and he said, ‘I wish you wouldn’t speak. It’s gonna hurt the campaign if you do that.’

“And what did you say?” I asked. “I said, ‘I don’t see it that way. And anyway, how am I supposed to support my family?’ And he said, ‘Well, I wish you wouldn’t speak in public. The press is gonna eat you alive.’

“Barack said, ‘I’m sorry you don’t see it the way I do. Do you know what your problem is?’ And I said, ‘No, what’s my problem?’ And he said, ‘You have to tell the truth.’ I said, ‘That’s a good problem to have. That’s a good problem for all preachers to have. That’s why I could never be a politician.’

“And he said, ‘It’s going to get worse if you go out there and speak. It’s really going to get worse.’

“And he was so right.”

Attribution: NY Post