01/24/18

Baseball Hall of Fame and Sour Grapes

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

With winter comes the inevitable doldrums while awaiting Spring Training.  In only three short weeks pitchers and catchers from every team will report to get things going as the 2018 season promises to bring a smile back on our faces.  We can only watch so many repeats of The Natural, For Love of the Game, Major League, The Rookie and of course The Pride of the Yankees; couldn’t leave that one out, before we go stark raving mad.

(Image courtesy of MLB via Wikipedia)

I noticed on one of the social media forums an interest in who should or shouldn’t be considered as candidates for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Everyone has a favorite ball player and reasons why each deserves that highest of honors; but then again there are just as many who would argue, some vehemently, that because of ‘this, that or the other’ certain players should never be considered (Sour Grapes?).

A few names come to mind on the ‘this, that or the other’ list of players; those who’ve done something unforgivable, an unpardonable sin against the game which banishes them into outer darkness; well, maybe not quite that far; but certainly keeps them out of Cooperstown.

Start with everyone’s favorite bad guy, Pete Rose, who committed the unpardonable sin of betting on baseball games.  Never mind that he might well be one of the best players to ever put on a uniform…that’s not to be considered; he violated a rule so that’s it, he’s out  (Sour Grapes?).

A couple of others stick out; Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.  Their names are sullied due to the ‘alleged’ use of banned substances that may or may not have lifted their natural abilities to such an extent as to make their careers stand out.  In the case of Bonds there was also his use of a specially designed arm hinge which ‘may’ have assisted his ability to lift the ball at just the right trajectory to get it over the wall and out of almost any stadium.  So if you mix that with physical enhancement steroids you can become a home run junkie (Sour Grapes?).

Then there’s Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire; both could knock the cover off of a baseball; but was it their own strength or was it due to steroid use?  Sosa also got caught with a corked bat when it snapped in half during a game (Sour Grapes?).

I’m sure the list could be extended with lots of names; ball players who for one reason or another ‘fell from grace’ with a portion of the public.  These individuals will never get the 75% of votes required as they appear on the ballot form.

Here’s my solution; a way of honoring the dishonored if you will.

Create a special room at Cooperstown, call it the Asterisk Room (that’s a joke, I say, that’s a joke… in honor of the 61* attached to Roger Maris by those who couldn’t stand his hitting one more Home Run than Babe Ruth; …but of course he did have more games to do it in).

In this Asterisk Room (Sour Grapes Room) we could identify the great players who totally screwed themselves from being in with all the other truly great players.  Custodians responsible for cleaning and maintenance are going to love the new annex as they clean spit off the glass more often; some folks never forgive or forget.  That said; these players deserve a place in Cooperstown.

I got through the entire article and never once mentioned the hair brained idea of speeding up the game to keep fans interested…oh please; don’t get me started.

01/24/18

The “Compact” Gimmick to circumvent the Powers granted to Congress by Article V

By: Publius Huldah

The supremacy clause at Article VI, clause 2, US Constitution, says:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

Two bills, SJR 31 & HJR 49, which purport to provide for the selection and control of “commissioners” to an “interstate convention” for “proposing amendments” to our federal Constitution, have recently been filed in the Virginia General Assembly.  The bills assert that such an “interstate convention” is authorized by Article I, §10, clause 3; the 10th Amendment; and Article V of our Constitution.

As shown below, the bills are unconstitutional because they seek to circumvent Article V, and are not encompassed within Article I, §10, clause 3, or the 10th Amendment.  Under the supremacy clause, they would be struck down.

I. What Article V says about amending our Constitution

Article V says:

“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing amendments…”

Our existing 27 Amendments were obtained under the first method:  Congress proposed them and sent them to the States for ratification or rejection.

We’ve never had a convention under Article V – they are dangerous!  If Congress calls an Article V convention, our existing Constitution could be replaced with a new Constitution which sets up a completely new structure of government. 1

Nevertheless, the People granted to Congress at Article V the power to “call” a convention; and to the Delegates to the convention, the power to “propose amendments”. 2

Yet the Convention of States Project (COS), in brazen disregard of the plain meaning of Article V, has long insisted that the States “call” the convention; the States propose the amendments for the convention to rubberstamp; and the States will have total control over the Delegates to the convention.

SJR 31 & HJR 49 are an implicit admission that we who oppose an Article V convention have proved our point:  Congress really does “call” the Convention; and pursuant to its grant of power to “call” the convention, Congress really is granted by Article I, §8, last clause, the power to make all laws “necessary and proper” to carry out the powers granted to Congress by Article V; and the States actually have no power over an Article V convention – except to ask Congress to “call” one. 3

The Congressional Research Service Report dated April 11, 2014 likewise reflects Congress’ clear awareness that it alone has the power to organize and set up an Article V convention. The Report says:

“First, Article V delegates important and exclusive authority over the amendment process to Congress…” [page 4]

“Second . . . Congress has traditionally laid claim to broad responsibilities in connection with a convention, including . . . (4) determining the number and selection process for its delegates; 4 (5) setting internal convention procedures, including formulae for allocation of votes among the states; . . .” [page 4] [italics added]

And contrary to COS’s previous assurances that the States would have total control over an Article V convention, the CRS Report says on page 27:

“In the final analysis, the question what sort of convention?” is not likely to be resolved unless or until the 34-state threshold has been crossed and a convention assembles.”

In other words, we’ll have to get a convention before we know what the Delegates are going to do!

II. The new Gimmick to circumvent Congress’ powers under Article V

SJR 31 & HJR 49 make the bizarre claim that Article I, §10, clause 3, which says:

“No State shall, without the Consent of Congress … enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State…”

is really talking about an “interstate convention” for the States to meet and “propose amendments” to our Constitution!

First of all, our federal Constitution doesn’t address “interstate conventions”! 5 State and local governments and private organizations may hold nationwide conventions (gatherings) on an endless list of matters: trade shows, book fairs, sports events, high school marching band contests, agricultural fairs, meetings of County Sheriffs, whatever they like!  And they don’t need permission from Congress.

Secondly, a “Compact with another State” within the meaning of Article I, §10, clause 3, is separate, distinct, and totally unrelated to the Article V convention called by Congress for the purpose of addressing our federal Constitution. “Compact”, as used in Article I, §10, clause 3, means binding agreements or contracts between States which deal with state matters. Traditionally, “compacts” have been used to resolve such matters as boundary disputes between States; and may be used to address various other issues between States. 6

Article V governs amendments to our Constitution – not Article I, §10, clause 3!  Virginia may not lawfully set up any gimmick to circumvent the powers granted by Article V to Congress.  And Congress may not lawfully approve a “compact” which violates our Constitution!

Thirdly, SJR 31 & HJR 49 claim the 10th Amendment gives States the power to hold an “interstate convention” to propose amendments to the Constitution.  Rubbish!  The 10th Amendment addresses powers “reserved to the States…or to the people.”  It is inapplicable here because no powers respecting an Article V convention were reserved to the States: The People granted to Congress the power to “call” an Article V convention; and to the Delegates, the power to “propose amendments”.  The only power the States have is to ask Congress to call the convention.

Once the requisite number of States has applied to Congress, it’s out of the States’ hands.  Pursuant to Article I, § 8, last clause; 7 Congress has the power to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out its power to “call” the convention.  And then, our Fate is in the hands of the Delegates; and they can do whatever they want – as they did in 1787.

III. The new Gimmick attempts to circumvent the Plenipotentiary Powers of the Delegates

to an Article V Convention.

Article V shows on its face that the convention is the deliberative body.  The Delegates hold the Power to “propose amendments”; or, to do what our Framers did at the federal “amendments” convention of 1787 (invoke the 2nd paragraph of the Declaration of Independence) and write a new Constitution which creates a new government.

So, while the States are free to propose amendments to their Congressional Delegations [and this is what James Madison advised]; 8 the States have no authority to dictate the amendments to be proposed at the convention called by Congress.

And as shown in “Why states can’t prevent a runaway convention” and “Delegates to an Article V Convention can’t be controlled by state laws!” attempts to control Delegates with “unfaithful delegate” laws are laughably ineffective.

Apparently, the convention lobby  now concedes that “unfaithful delegate” bills won’t work, since with SJR 31 & HJR 49, they attempt to circumvent the plenipotentiary powers held by Delegates to an Article V convention, by fabricating a new kind of convention (meeting) out of  Article I, § 10, clause 3!

IV. The solution is to enforce the Constitution we already have

Americans don‘t know what our Constitution says and don’t care what it says. They want what they want; and elect politicians like themselves. The politicians made a mess. To fix the mess, Americans must read our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and enforce them with their votes and by repudiating unconstitutional federal programs.  State and local governments must enforce our Constitution by renouncing federal funds to implement unconstitutional programs and by nullification. See also James Madison’s specific suggestions on how States & Citizens can resist federal usurpations.

End notes:

1 This is why Brilliant Men (Madison, Hamilton, four US Supreme Court Justices, and other eminent jurists and scholars) have warned against another convention.  And this flyer sets forth the Facts of the federal “amendments convention” of 1787 at which our existing Constitution was drafted to replace our first Constitution (the Articles of Confederation).

2 The issue in U.S. v. Sprague  (1931) was whether the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) should have been ratified by conventions in each State instead of by State Legislatures. The Supreme Court held that Article V “is a grant of authority by the people to Congress” and that the people “deliberately made the grant of power to Congress in respect to the choice of the mode of ratification of amendments.” Accordingly, Congress had authority to select ratification of the proposed 18th Amendment by State Legislatures instead of by conventions in each State.

3 THIS handy chart lists who has the power to do what respecting an Article V convention.

4 Congress is under no obligation to permit States to participate in the Convention.  Congress has the power to appoint its own members, federal judges, or whomever else they want as Delegates!

5 “Convention” has several meanings. It can be a meeting or gathering, such as a national convention of County Court Clerks or architects; or it can refer to a treaty with foreign countries, such as the Hague and Geneva Conventions on the laws of war.  The author of SJR 31 & HJR 49 may have fallen victim to the Fallacy of Ambiguity since he slips and slides between the two meanings.  “Compact” in Art. I, §10, cl. 3, means “agreement” or “contract” – not meetings!

6 E.g., States could properly enter into “Compacts”, within the meaning of Art. I, §10, cl. 3, wherein they agree to prohibit waste being discharged into a River shared by them; or respecting the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the River.  Even though the federal government has no delegated authority to deal directly with such issues; the requirement of Consent by Congress to such Compacts is proper because States situated above or below the proposed dam could be affected by the dam.

Neither the Federalist Papers nor Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention of 1787 set forth what our Framers meant by “compacts” at Art. I, §10, cl.3.  Here are two secondary sources: The Evolving Use and the Changing Role of Interstate Compacts: A practitioner’s guide, by Caroline N. Broun & Michael L. Buenger (see pages 1-9 for the historical basis of “interstate compacts”).  See also Justice Story’s “Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States” (1833), Book 3, Ch. 35, §§ 1395-1403.

7 Former law professor and pro-convention operative Rob Natelson’s statements to the contrary are untrue.  See “Rob Natelson perverts the Necessary and Proper Clause and thinks in circles”.

8 E.g., Madison’s letter of Nov. 2, 1788 to Turberville (pages 297-301) at the end of Madison’s point 2 [and then read Madison’s point 3!]

01/24/18

WATCH: Pramila Jayapal: ‘Chain Migration’ is a ‘Myth’ (video)

By: Renee Nal | New Zeal

Pramila Jayapal with activists from NAKASEC and other pro-illegal immigration groups on January 17 2018

Hardcore leftist, illegal immigration activist and Washington State Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal tweeted that “chain migration” is a “myth” and later claimed “[T]here is no such thing as chain migration. Only family reunification.” During an activist rally on January 17, Jayapal said in part, “chain migration is not real.”

Jayapal is also charging that current immigration policies are “sexclusionary,” favoring men and are, of course, racist. In an OpEd at The Nation (the house journal for the radical Institute for Policy Studies) earlier this month, Jayapal writes:

“Republican attempts to recharacterize this valuable system of family-based immigration as ‘chain migration’ are not just false; they are rekindling a racist ideology that was present at the beginning of our immigration system. Our immigration policy has its roots in excluding immigrants from ‘undesirable’ non-white countries and focusing immigration on white countries, an ideology still scattered through many of our outdated laws.”

Jayapal claims in her editorial that chain migration is a term cynically used by republicans, but Senator Chuck Schumer used the phrase “chain migration” way back in 1990 and had quite a different view than he does now, as the democrat party shifted to a pro-illegal alien position.

A recent OpEd posted at The Hill by Senators Tom Cotton, Chuck Grassley and David Perdue reveals that “chain migration” is not a “myth,” but a very real and damaging policy that encourages entry of extended family beyond spouses and minor children.

“Chain migration is one of the biggest problems in our immigration system today….unlike other advanced industrialized countries, our nation also gives preferences to the extended family members of citizens…This policy has spurred a wave of mostly unskilled immigration into our country.

Today, only one in 15 of the more than 1 million immigrants who are admitted every year are given a visa because of their job skills or entrepreneurial ability. The other 14 immigrants are admitted without regard to their skills. That means that every year we are admitting hundreds of thousands of workers with almost no consideration for the impact their immigration will have on American jobs and wages. That is one of the reasons why polling has shown that over 70 percent of Americans favor limiting chain migration to only the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents and citizens.”

Americans favor merit-based immigration. As reported today at Breitbart,

“In a new Harvard-Harris poll, nearly 80 percent of Americans said they believe ‘immigration priority for those coming to the U.S. should be based on a person’s ability to contribute to America as measured by their education and skills—and not based on a person having relatives in the U.S.'”

The poll can be found here.

Jayapal, the vice-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (founded by Bernie Sanders in 1991), made similar statements during a rally sponsored in part by NAKASEC, a radical group whose affiliate, the HANA Center, hosted Rasmea Odeh, a known terrorist who murdered two young Israeli boys in 1969 just last year as reported at TrevorLoudon.com.

On January 17 2018, Pramila Jayapal protested with DACA activists from NAKASEC and other radical groups.

Watch her comments at the 6:20 mark:

Here are some of the congresswoman’s tweets. Do they represent your point of view?

Read more:

01/24/18

The Left’s False Messiah

By: Cliff Kincaid | America’s Survival

Best-selling author Matt Margolis discusses how the anti-Trump media bias is motivated by a desire to protect Obama’s presidency. The author of two books on Obama, Margolis says Facebook actually censored his effort to promote his upcoming book, The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama. He predicts the Left will engage in more censorship while attempting to put their Messiah Obama’s likeness on U.S. currency.

Order at Amazon.com

01/24/18

A Headline From Davos…Globalism A Dying Liberal Agenda Item

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

Many times I have commented about the narrowness of the markets. Yesterday, the Irrelevant Investor commented about the capitalization of Amazon. According to this website, Amazon reached $70 billion in market capitalization in 2011.

In 2017, Amazon was up 56% and is up 12.5% YTD. In just 14 trading days in 2018, Amazon increased in capitalization by $70 billion and this rise is bigger than the total capitalization of Colgate, GM and Marriot combined and 83% of all companies in the S & P 500. Wow! Amazon has only earned $5 billion since its 1997 IPO. Wal-Mart earns over $5 billion a year.

Is this sustainable?

Many times I have commented about the tectonic change that is occurring. Globalism and interdependency is on life support. Yesterday, The Freedom House published its annual survey of the “Most Free Countries.” According to Freedom House, global freedom has been declining for the past 12 years. I rhetorically ask, was not globalism expected to increase global freedom?

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of this year’s survey is the rate of decline of freedom in the US slowed during 2017. The data clearly indicates the Obama Administration continued to defend democratic ideals in its foreign policy statements, but actions often fell short, reflecting a reduced estimation of the US’ ability to influence world events and of the American public’s willingness to back such office.

President Trump’s “American First” slogan was really the acknowledgement of a trend that commenced in 2007 where words now reflect American actions.

What does the above have to do with the markets? Everything. The mega-sized technology momentum growth issues have dominated the markets for the last four years, primarily the result of the surge of passive/ETF investing strategy. By definition, the big get bigger and the small smaller. A strong case can be made that the basic concept behind indexing is past performance is indicative of future performance.

I rhetorically ask what happens if the underlying dynamics change? For example, the geopolitical environment amplified by a rise in interest rates, the result of economic activity increasing at home instead at the low cost, autocratic nations? Will valuations be challenged?

Today a headline from Davos read, ‘Globalism a Dying Liberal Agenda Item.’ US Treasury demand is the greatest since 2009. Depending upon the benchmark, yields are at their highest level in many years, the result of stronger than expected domestic growth.

If globalism is dying and if interest rates do rise, will many view Amazon’s recent surge in a similar light as many other great unsupported gains? I think yes.

Last night, the foreign markets were down. London was down 0.48%, Paris was down 0.12% and Frankfurt was down 0.04%. China was up 0.37%, Japan was down 0.76% and Hang Sang was up 0.09%.

The Dow should open flat as the dollar is at a three-year low. Activity in the Eurozone further strengthened at the start of 2018, sending all yields including the 10-year higher to 2.65%.