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Alas no more than a perfunctory post on gay marriage (just yet)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:09 pm - March 26, 2013.
Filed under: Gay Marriage,Prop 8,Random Thoughts,Writing

I had hoped today to post something about gay marriage, given the oral arguments before the Supreme Court. I had even outlined the piece I’d like to write, addressing the issue of jurisdiction, believing, as I do, that this is an issue best left to the legislatures, but recognizing some of the constitutional concerns (i.e., standing) which could lead the court to overturning Prop 8 without granting a federal “right” to state recognition of same-sex marriage.

And I wanted to distinguish the liberty issue from the state recognition issue.  If the California constitutional provision (in question) deprived individuals of the freedom to marry rather than just one of state recognition of those unions, the court should strike down the law.  But, marriage can exists (indeed, long has existed) independently of the state.  And individuals can and do live as married couples without state recognition.  Indeed, in California, many gay couples call themselves married and live freely even without the state sanctioning their unions.

All that said, this are issues which I would rather address in a more thoughtful manner.  And since I have made writing my epic my top priority, I chose to work on that before turning to the blog.  That effort today was a bit more challenging than I had anticipated.  And I had to struggle with one section.  And I have a sense that this part may require significant revision–and perhaps a few changes in story line.

The point being that writing-wise, now I feel completely drained (even more so than I have on previous days when I put in a similar effort on the book).  And now I have to start preparing for a Seder tonight, so lack the time to give this issue the attention it deserves.  Will share with you though an exchange I just had with a Facebook friend when I replied a posting he offered just as I started writing this:

HE: Marriage equality [sic] seems pretty popular. Why wasn’t Prop 8 repeal on the ballot way back in 2012?
Unlike · · 17 minutes ago ·
You like this.

ME: My point exactly, well, except for calling it “marriage equality.”

ME: Even if the Court upholds Prop 8, [California] voters will overturn it in 2014. And it won’t even be close.

In other words, the state of California will recognize same-sex marriages, either in 2013 by judicial fiat — or, in 2014 via popular initiative.

As our readers surely have guessed, I would prefer the latter.

Cyprus in our hearts

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 4:48 pm - March 26, 2013.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Depression 2.0,Economy

“Cyprus in your Heart” is the tourism slogan of the small Mediterranean nation of Cyprus. It is a member of the Eurozone. Perhaps you’ve seen headlines, the last couple of weeks, about its banking crisis. This post is to sum up a few points about it.

  • The Europeans plan to resolve the crisis with yet another bank bailout.
  • This bailout is different. For the first time, bank customers (depositors) will be hit with losses. “Small” or “insured” depositors under 100,000 Euro will be left alone; but over that amount, depositors could lose 20%, 40% or more of their money in the bank.
  • That’s important. It’s a dangerous precedent. It means that “money in the bank” isn’t all that safe. Not in Europe; and if you believe a similar crisis could happen in the U.S. eventually, then not here.
  • They were originally going to hit even the depositors under 100,000 Euro. That would have been an even more dangerous precedent. Thank God, the Cypriot parliament refused.
  • The Russians are quietly furious with Europe, over all this. Cyprus had been sort of the Russians’ Cayman Islands or Switzerland; the Russians’ banking haven. Russian depositors may be hard hit (although some say that the clever Russians had already withdrawn their money).
  • Also, Cyprus has a strategic location near Turkey and Israel, and important natural gas fields. So Russia and the EU both want it as their satellite. The Europeans were determined to keep Cyprus from withdrawing from the Euro.
  • *IF* this outcome means that Cyprus stays with the Europeans (rather than the Russians – and I’m not sure if it does mean that, in the long run), it’s probably good for Israel.
  • But for now, Cyprus will be hit with a severe depression, as its “Russian banking tourist” industry is gone, probably forever.

These developments have the Cypriots up in arms, feeling like their futures have been stolen. A few pictures here.

This all goes to the importance of money as a social contract. People put their trust in money as the basis for trading with each other, in all kinds of ways. If people’s bank accounts are violated – and/or, if the value of money is violated – then people feel hurt and disoriented, because a key social contract has been violated. I may say more about that in a future post.

Anti-gun campaign update

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 12:50 pm - March 26, 2013.
Filed under: Gun Control,Second Amendment

Nothing can be sustained at peak intensity. As the anti-gun hysteria whipped up by the Obama administration recedes a bit, so does the public’s support for gun restrictions. From CBS (via HotAir):

Currently, support for stricter gun control laws stands at 47 percent today, down from a high of 57 percent just after the [Sandy Hook] shootings. Thirty-nine percent want those laws kept as they are, and another 11 percent want them made less strict.

Of course, Joe Biden still doesn’t get it. From one of his appearances last week:

Tell me what the burden is that you have to buy three clips with 10 rounds versus one clip with 30. The cost is the same. What is the burden?

The burden, Mr. Vice President, is that you might die, if you have to stop and reload while defending yourself – or your daughter, let’s say – from multiple assailants. Think of a gang assault in an inner city, or for that matter, government agents storming your home illegally. Both are extreme situations, but that’s WHY people have guns: for the emergencies.

It’s clear that Biden understands neither self-defense nor freedom. Self-defense is a natural right, and government is (supposed to be) our employee, not our master. The People should not have to justify, to the likes of Slow Joe Biden demanding “Tell me…”, their choices about arming themselves.

Rather, Biden (or government in general) should have to strictly justify all burdens and restrictions that it wants to put on ordinary citizens’ arming themselves. I’m not saying that government can’t justify at least some of them; but it’s the People who should be demanding “Tell me…”, and Biden who should be scrambling to answer.

CPAC: who was best?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 1:49 am - March 26, 2013.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,CPAC

Bruce – C’mon, you were there, who did you like?

We slow-witted non-Tweeters need to know. Folks, let’s hear your thoughts in the comments!

(Updating this post with more CPAC speakers, as I watch ’em and like ’em.)

My Unrecognizable Democratic Party

The title is from Ted Van Dyk’s recent column. He’s a lifelong Democrat. As a former Democrat myself, who left in the early Naughties[1], I was intrigued. Read the whole thing, of course. A few highlights:

Mr. Obama was elected in 2008 on the basis of his persona and his pledge to end political and ideological polarization…On taking office, however, the president adopted a my-way-or-the-highway style of governance. He pursued his stimulus and health-care proposals on a congressional-Democrats-only basis. He rejected proposals of his own bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission, which would have provided long-term deficit reduction…He opted instead to demonize Republicans…

No serious attempt—for instance, by offering tort reform or allowing the sale of health-insurance products across state lines—was made to enlist GOP congressional support for the health bill…

Faced with a…GOP House takeover [in 1995], President Bill Clinton shifted to bipartisan governance. Mr. Obama [in 2011] did not...

…I couldn’t have imagined any one of the Democratic presidents or presidential candidates I served from 1960-92 using such down-on-all-fours tactics [as Obama did in 2012]. The unifier of 2008 became the calculated divider of 2012. Yes, it worked, but only narrowly, as the president’s vote total fell off sharply from 2008…

In 1965, Lyndon Johnson had Democratic congressional majorities sufficient to pass any legislation he wanted. But he sought and received GOP congressional support for Medicare, Medicaid, civil rights, education and other Great Society legislation. He knew that in order to last, these initiatives needed consensus support…

…former Democratic presidents would…know today that no Democratic or liberal agenda can go forward…if presidential and Democratic Party rhetoric consistently portrays loyal-opposition leaders as having devious or extremist motives….

Nice to see a Democrat who can admit it; a Democrat who remembers the party we used to know.

[1]As the party went insane over Gore-Bush, Iraq and more.

UPDATE: Even David Brooks, the New York Times’ notion of “conservative” who was so impressed by the crease in Obama’s pants in 2008, is starting to get it.

The progressive [Democrat] budget in the House seems to have been written by people hermetically sealed in the house of government. They work in government. They represent public-sector workers. They seem to have had little contact with private-sector job creators… while Republicans may embarrass on a daily basis, many progressives have lost touch with what actually produces growth and prosperity.