As a private entity, National Review had every legal right to fire John Derbyshire. But let’s not pretend that his dismissal is anything less than a blow to freedom of thought and freedom of speech.
Derbyshire, after all, had been writing for National Review for at least 10 years. He was summarily dismissed on Saturday, though, after he published a controversial article about “the talk that nonblack Americans have, [or should have], with their kids.”
Critics have denounced the article as a “racist screed,” and that certainly is one way to read the piece. Derbyshire references the socioeconomic difficulties that disproportionately affect African Americans. He then cites these difficulties as sufficient reason for non-blacks to avoid, and even to discriminate against, African Americans.
I don’t agree with Derbyshire’s group-centric approach to race relations. I’ve known, served and worked with too many upstanding African Americans — including a young Haitian immigrant U.S. Marine — to harbor any ill will toward blacks. The truth is they are our fellow Americans. And our culture — especially in the arts and the sports and entertainment fields — would be far poorer were it not for their contributions.
In any case, there is, I think, another way to read Derbyshire’s piece; and that is as the exasperation of a man at his wit’s end because of the myriad problems that all of us know destroy the lives of too many African Americans.
For example, in one seemingly cruel passage, Derbyshire writes: “Do not act as the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g.., on the highway.”
Of course, Jesus counseled the exact opposite: Jesus implores us to be the good Samaritan, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and to help the man in distress.
So is Derbyshire the devil for contravening Jesus? No, of course not. He’s human; he’s annoyed; and he’s upset — and for good reason: He’s seen senseless and violent behavior play itself out too often within African American communities. And, to illustrate, he cites one telling anecdote:
A 61-year-old good Samaritan, Quintin Guerrero rushed to help one young black woman after she jumped out of a moving cab in front of Guerrero’s house.
However, reports the Daily News in a piece linked by Derbyshire, Guerrero was stomped to death by the woman he attempted to save and her boyfriend.
In other words, Derbyshire is saying, the breakdown in civilization has become endemic within certain parts of the African American community that no good deed there goes unpunished. So tread cautiously and avoid becoming the victim.
Can anyone dispute that this is true? Sure, we may not share Derbyshire’s conclusion — and certainly I don’t — that blacks should be looked upon as representatives of a dangerous group and not as distinct and often praiseworthy individuals. But can anyone deny the humanity and deep frustration that underlies Derbyshire’s writing?
In short, it is too easy — and all too wrong — to simply dismiss Derbyshire’s provocative piece as a “racist rant.” In point of fact, as even National Revieweditor Rich Lowry acknowledges, Derbyshire is a “deeply literate, funny, and incisive writer.”
Which is why his dismissal is, I think, so wrong and so misguided.
The hard and difficult truth is that Derbyshire was fired for expressing unpopular ideas — ideas that many people say they loathe and abhor. But the very purpose of the First Amendment is to promote the vigorous exchange of ideas in a free, open and contested market. It is not to preemptively censor or punish people for saying things that people don’t want to hear.
“I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe,” explained the late great Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
In short, bad ideas should be countered with good ideas; and poor thinking should be confronted with better thinking. The consequence of Derbyshire’s piece should have been an outpouring of articles and opinion pieces explaining how and why he erred.
Curiously, though, that hasn’t happened. Instead, we’ve had a much-needed dialogue and debate about race short-circuited by indignant cries of “racism” — as if promiscuously throwing that word about absolves us of our need to think and to argue.
I’m sorry, but it doesn’t. And calling people bad names (“racists”) and labeling them with the modern-day equivalent of the scarlet letter won’t do. That tactic has grown old, and that dog won’t hunt. Not anymore. Not after the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and other racial charlatans have rendered the word racist all but meaningless today.
Again, as a private entity, National Review had the legal right to to fire Derbyshire. But in so doing, they flouted the very purpose and intent of the First Amendment, which is to promote, and not squelch, hard-hitting dialogue and debate. And, for a think magazine dedicated to intellectual combat, that is, I think, a mortal sin far greater than any wrong committed by John Derbyshire.
WASHINGTON – The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) today called on embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley to tell Nevada families whether she stands by the Democrat National Committee’s (DNC) political consultant Hilary Rosen’s attack on stay-at-home mothers by claiming they do not work.
This top Democrat strategist specifically directed her politically motivated attack towards former Governor Mitt Romney’s family when she told Anderson Cooper that Governor Romney’s wife – who made the career choice to stay at home and raise their five children – has never worked a day in her life.
Notably, this attack comes straight from Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid’s “War Room” as they recently bragged to Politico that the Democrats were going to portray the Republicans as anti-women.
“Embattled Congresswoman Shelley Berkley and her liberal mentor Harry Reid have spent weeks pushing a phony ‘war on women’ narrative,” said NRSC Spokesman Jahan Wilcox. “Berkley now has a clear choice to either stand with hardworking mothers across Nevada or stand by this DNC strategist and her
troubling comments that being a stay-at-home mom means never working a day in your life.”
Are Taxes the Ticket?
For years the U.S. has had an unfortunate habit of spending far more than we can afford, sending us trillions into debt. Some have suggested we should tax our way out of it. Before Tax Day 2012, we go beyond the question of whether we should, and ask a more important question: can we?
Are Taxes Enough?
In 2008, the independent Congressional Budget Office was asked to determine what the tax rates would have to be if they used “higher income tax rates alone to finance the increases in spending projected.”This was the last time the CBO did such an analysis.
Here is what the CBO determined at the time:
In order to keep up with projected spending, taxes would have to increase:
- Corporate: current top rate 35%; rate increase to 88%
- Highest income tax rate: current rate 35%; rate increase to 88%
- Near-the-middle income tax rate: current rate 25%; rate increase to 63%
- Lowest income tax rate: current rate 10%; rate increase to 25%
What is the “Buffett Rule” Tax?
Recently, President Obama has called for fairness in the tax code. The president says one way to do this is to enact the so-called “Buffett Rule.” Under this proposal, wealthy Americans would pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent. One reason some wealthy Americans can pay a lower tax rate is because investment income is taxed at a lower tax rate than ordinary income.
- According to analysis, however, the proposed tax would do almost nothing in terms of deficit reduction. Congress’ independent tax analysis arm, the Joint Committee on Taxation, determined this proposed tax would raise just $47 billion over the next 10 years. When looking at the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s projected debt over the next decade of $21.665 trillion, $47 billion represents 0.2 percent in deficit reduction.
The facts show that this proposed tax would do almost nothing in terms of deficit reduction.
The following is downloadable version of the Taxes Briefing Book for your edification:
Find out more from our friends at Bankrupting America
For America is launching a new web video just as people get ready to file their tax returns. It’s called “There’s a Tax For That,” patterned after the I-Phone commercial from a few years ago titled “There’s an App For That.”
The largest tax hikes in a generation are about to take place at the end of this year. Having a child? Getting married? Passing away? Have healthcare? Have an income? Well, there is a tax for each of those. Not only are there taxes for them, but those taxes are going to rise on December 31st. President Obama has a tax for just about everything. Watch the video and sign the petition to make these taxes STOP!
Visit ForAmerica for more info
As a follow-up to Chuck Muth’s excellent piece about Harry Reid’s hypocrisy on this issue I wanted to share the proof that Elissa Cadish is a 2nd Amendment denier, and as such, not deserving a confirmation hearing.
From the GOA:
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is attempting to push yet another radical anti-gunner through the U.S. Senate. This time it’s Elissa Cadish, who flatly denies that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental right.
Asked in 2008 by a group called Citizens for Responsible Government whether she believed an individual citizen had a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, Cadish answered:
Nevada Sen. Dean Heller puts the brakes on anti-gun judicial nominee
“I do not believe there is this constitutional right. Thus, I believe that reasonable restrictions may be imposed on gun ownership in the interest of public safety. Of course, I will enforce the laws as they exist as a judge.” [sic]
Now, she claims that she was only stating the law as it existed before the Supreme Court’s Heller v. D.C. decision.
But let’s count the “red flags” raised by Cadish:
First, the “militia” theory was not “the law” prior to Heller, either in terms of the Framers’ intentions or in terms of the Supreme Court’s admittedly muddled jurisprudence.
Second, the concept that “restrictions … on gun ownership [further] public safety” is a thinly veiled suggestion that, once on the bench for life, Cadish will do everything possible to thwart gun owners’ rights.
Third, we’ve heard the “enforce the law” lingo from other Obama nominees, including Sonia Sotomayor, who, as soon as she had secured confirmation, went on an anti-Second Amendment rampage.
Thankfully, Nevada’s other Senator, Dean Heller, is using his prerogative as one of the nominee’s home state Senators to keep this confirmation from moving forward.
It’s called the “blue slip” procedure, an informal custom in which the Senate refuses to move on a nominee that does not have the support of his or her own Senators.
But in response to Sen. Heller’s standing firm, every gun-hating liberal in Nevada — including Harry Reid — have crawled out of the woodwork to blast his efforts to protect the right to keep and bear arms.
Sen. Heller is not backing down from this fight, in the face of enormous political pressure from the White House and the powerful Majority Leader. We need to encourage him to continue to hold firm, and to rally other Senators in opposition to this nominee.
ACTION #1: Send Senator Heller an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank him for opposing the confirmation of Elissa Cadish on Second Amendment grounds, and for standing up to Harry Reid and the Obama machine.
ACTION #2: Contact your own Senators and urge them to join Sen. Heller in opposing Elissa Cadish.
Cadish survey is posted below. 2nd Amendment portion:
Do you believe the individual citizen has a constitutional right to keep and bear arms?
“I do not believe that there is this constitutional right. Thus, I believe that reasonable restrictions may be imposed on gun ownership in the interest of public safety. Of course, I will enforce the laws as they exist as a judge.”
“Sen. Dean Heller has informed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that he will not sign off on the nomination of Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish to the federal bench, an extraordinary move that rarely happens between two senators of the same state, sources confirm.
Heller, I’m reliably told, informed Reid of an issue involving gun rights that arose in a previous Cadish campaign. It apparently has to do with her commitment to the Second Amendment, which caused Heller’s concern. Cadish has not — at least not yet — been asked to withdraw.”
Jon Ralston’s Twitter:
.@SenDeanHeller tells @DanaGentryLV he “will not waver” on Cadish nomination
Heller may not have told “newspaper,” but he told @DanaGentryLVwhy on F2F, which columnist didn’t acknowledge today:
Face to Face With Jon Ralston
KSNV (NBC) – Las Vegas, NV
Face to Face (Dana Gentry sitting in for Jon Ralston):
Question: The nomination of a federal judge from Nevada has you and the senior Senator Harry Reid disagreeing. Judge Cadish said back in 2008 she did not believe there was a constitutional right to bear arms. She now says she said that because there were federal cases that were up in the air at the time. Is that the reason you’re not supporting her.
Dean Heller: Well, i think it has been covered well, by your show, and Mr. Ralston himself. I believe it is not a case-by-case right. That’s my position.
Question: You told the [Las Vegas] Sun that you need a candidate who supports the Constitution. Do you think the judge does not support the Constitution?
Dean Heller: No, what I am saying is I want someone who supports the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms. I will go to Washington, D.C. and voters in Nevada know that’s where I stand and that’s what I’ll protect. I’ll be honest, there’s a lack of support for the Second Amendment back in Washington, D.C. and I am not going to waiver on this position.
Question: Do you have any other litmus tests for a federal judge?
Dean Heller: It is not necessarily a litmus test. I did not go into this determining one way or another… but the bottom line, she filled out a questionnaire and does not believe in the right to bear arms, and I disagree with that.
Question: What about her explanation that the question was up in the air at the time and she was waiting for some settlements?
Dean Heller: Well, that’s what I said earlier. I don’t think it is a case-by-case right. It is a constitutional right and it should remain that way.
By Chuck Muth
So here’s the story: Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) nominated a liberal judge, Elissa Cadish – who once wrote that she didn’t believe there was an individual right to keep and bear arms (by definition, a liberal) – for a judicial vacancy on the federal bench.
However, per Senate tradition, unless both home-state senators agree to allow the nomination to move forward, the nomination doesn’t move forward. And Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nevada) has objected to Cadish’s nomination.
So unless Heller changes his mind, which he says he won’t do, the nomination is dead. Which means Cadish should withdraw. Or Reid should tell her to withdraw. But instead, Reid released a statement on Tuesday doubling down on the Cadish nomination.
“I will not ask Elissa Cadish to withdraw her nomination,” Reid said. “She is supremely qualified and one of the most highly respected jurists in the state of Nevada. She deserves a hearing to defend herself. It is my hope that the process of her nomination is allowed to move forward and she is granted a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
That’s now. But hop into the Wayback Machine with me and let’s dial up November 2003…
At the time, Sen. Reid was the Assistant Senate Minority Leader. And at the time he and the Democrats were filibustering several supremely-qualified, highly-respected nominees to the federal bench who had been nominated by then-President Bush. They included:
[list type="arrow"] [li]
- Miguel Estrada for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
- California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown for the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
- Texas Supreme Court Associate Justice Priscilla Owen for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Carolyn Kuhl for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Alabama Attorney General William Pryor for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
- District Judge Charles Pickering Sr. for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
Let me repeat: All of these nominees were supremely qualified and highly respected – just as Sen. Reid maintains Judge Cadish is. In fact, I believe all of them had been cleared by the Senate Judiciary Committee and, had their nominations gone to the floor of the Senate for up-or-down votes, all would have been confirmed.
So what did Sen. Reid do?
He mounted a one-man filibuster to block up-or-down votes on those nominees.
“To protest a scheduled 30-hour debate by Republicans on judicial nominees,” Suzanne Struglinski of the Las Vegas Sun reported, “Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., took to the Senate floor at 1:18 p.m. Monday and stopped 8 1/2 hours later, just before 10 p.m. Several of those hours were spent reading chapters of his book about Searchlight.”
“This is a one-man show to indicate that the Senate cannot necessarily be run unless we work together,” said Reid. “Why (am I) taking so much time on the floor? The reason I am speaking today is because I think it is important people understand that the 100 senators here have to get along. The majority has to be aware of the minority.”
Nine years ago Democrats opened this can of worms by blocking supremely qualified, highly respected judicial nominees for purely political and philosophical reasons. Indeed, Miguel Estrada – who received a unanimous ‘well-qualified’ rating from the American Bar Association – was blocked solely because Democrats didn’t want to risk President Bush possibly being in a position to appoint him down the road as the first Latino to the Supreme Court.
Well, now the shoe’s on the other foot and Sen. Reid is getting a taste of his own medicine. Maybe someone should send him a spoonful of sugar.
If you’ve ever bought anything on the Internet, over the phone, or from a catalog, you might have noticed that when you buy from some stores, you don’t pay any state sales tax, but if you buy from other stores, you do. That’s because a Supreme Court decision protected out-of-state businesses from revenue-hungry states. But a new bill working its way through Congress would change all that, turning every online retailer into a sales tax collector. And that’s legislation Congress should reject.
Back in 1992, the Supreme Court ruled in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota that a state cannot force a retailer who doesn’t have any physical presence in that state to collect sales taxes from Internet, phone or catalog sales. So if you ordered a book online from BarnesandNoble.com and there’s a Barnes and Noble store right down the street from your house, you’d have to pay sales tax. But if you ordered that book online from a mom and pop bookstore with one location halfway across the country, they wouldn’t have to collect sales tax from you.
In the Quill case, North Dakota tried to force out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes and remit them to North Dakota, even if they didn’t have a physical presence in the state. Quill Corporation, which sells office supplies and is based in Delaware, had offices and warehouses in Illinois, California and Georgia, but didn’t have any bricks, mortar, employees, or sales representatives in North Dakota. It did, however, have 3,000 customers there and $1 million in annual sales, so North Dakota wanted Quill to collect tax on those sales.
The Court decided that North Dakota’s law was not permissible because the Constitution’s Commerce Clause protects against a state’s unreasonable burden on interstate commerce, unless Congress otherwise writes a law changing the rules. Since that decision, consumers, businesses and the free market have been protected from laws like the one North Dakota tried to impose, but now Congress is considering a law (S. 1832) that would overturn the Court’s decision and allow states to flip the switch on Internet taxation.
In the long run, the national economy as a whole benefits from allowing consumers to choose freely what they wish to buy, of whatever quality they wish, at whatever prices they choose to pay, and from whatever seller they wish, whether in the same state as the consumer or not.
Intervention by the federal government and the states in the consumers’ choices by enactment and implementation of S. 1832 would increase the revenues of states, but hobbling out-of-state businesses that sell through the Internet or mail order catalogs does not help the national economy.
Addington writes that it’s not surprising that states want a new source of revenue. After all, they’re struggling with their bloated budgets in this weak economy. But overriding the Quill decision would only give states an incentive to increase taxes instead of cutting the size, scope, and cost of government. And it would be consumers and businesses that pay the price.
There are business groups, too, who are lobbying for the law, arguing that it would protect “Main Street” retailers and “bricks and mortar” stores that are supposedly at a disadvantage. But, as Addington writes, “They seek enactment of S. 1832 so that states can prefer in-state businesses over out-of-state businesses in the kind of anti-competitive economic discrimination the U.S. Constitution was in part adopted to prevent.” What’s more, every sale of goods involves at least one physical facility located in one state or another, which means that those businesses already can be taxed by at least one state. In short, no one is “untaxable.”
At a time when the U.S. economy is struggling to get back on its feet, Congress should not enact a law that interferes with the independent decisions of millions of consumers in the free marketplace and overturns the settled expectations of businesses that have made market decisions under the current rules for two decades. And it shouldn’t give state governments a reason to take more money from taxpayers instead of getting their spending under control.
Economically Inept France Crawls Toward An Election Disaster
Liberté, égalité, austérité isn’t catching on as a campaign slogan in France, and the spring’s election season is becoming a mad scramble to the left at a moment when France’s battered bond rating, and the European project in general, can ill afford it.
Widely disliked center-right incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy is losing in polls to his Socialist challenger François Hollande, whom he faces in a free-for-all election on April 22. The top two finishers in that race will then face off in the general election two weeks later.
Sarkozy and Hollande are almost certain to be the finalists, but polls say Sarkozy is behind Hollande by a substantial margin. Meanwhile, Hollande, who has soared in popularity as he has made increasingly ludicrous promises to the French people about reversing austerity and opening the floodgates of government spending, is getting pressure from his left in the person of a comically retro figure named Jean-Luc Melenchon, who wants to party like it’s 1789. More
Spain Is Headed For a Major Economic Crash
On June 1, 2009, Air France flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 people aboard. The disaster was caused by human error. With the plane already in a stall, the pilots pointed the nose upward, which was the exact opposite of what the situation required. When recovered, the cockpit voice recorder revealed that, before they hit the water, the pilots knew that they were going to crash.
With Spain’s economy already in a stall, the conservative government that was elected on November 30, 2011 first raised the top personal income tax rate from 45% to 52%. Then, on March 30, 2012 it announced corporate tax increases. In other words, Spain pointed their tax rates up in a situation where they should have pointed them down. Thus far, the response from the financial markets amounts to, “She’s going in!”
The ability of the Spanish government to service its debt is a function of the present value of Spain’s future GDP. Since the corporate tax increases were announced, the market interest rate on Spain’s 10-year bonds has risen to 5.98% from 5.35%. While this may not seem like much, this 63-basis-point move (assuming inflation at 2%) has the effect of reducing the present value of Spain’s future real GDP by 32%. More
Nokia and Microsoft are jointly jumping onto the NFC bandwagon with the next version of the Lumia 610.
Slated to debut in Europe sometime this summer, the new version of the 610 will be the first Windows Phone handset to let users pay for goods on the go via NFC. The phone has already been certified for use with both MasterCard’s PayPass and Visa PayWave, according to Nokia.
European carrier Orange will be the first provider to offer the NFC-enabled 610, which will be able to read NFC tags at the point of sale and pair with other NFC accessories.
Moving beyond just mobile payments, the phone will be able to use NFC as an alternative to Bluetooth by communicating with other devices around the home. As one example, the 610 could tap into NFC to pipe music to Nokia’s wireless Play 360 speakers. More