Monthly Archives: February 1996

Cruel and Unusual Punishment of the Innocent

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A well-known punishment used in Europe in past centuries was drawing and quartering. Viewers of the movie Braveheart got a partial taste of the horror of this practice. In addition to the disemboweling inflicted on William Wallace in the movie, the victim of drawing and quartering would be pulled into four parts while still alive. It was abuses such as this that our Founders had in mind when they referred to “cruel and unusual punishment” in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

There are still cases of torture/murder atrocities in our day. Look back at the stories of Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Speck and the like. Governments get into the act on a grand scale. Hitler’s ovens and “medical” experiments are only about 50 years in the past. There are still children living in Afghanistan who were maimed by Gorbachev’s booby trapped toys. There is no plumbing the depths to which human depravity can sink.

We Americans don’t have to look to the past to find gross offenses against our fellow man. We don’t even have to look to totalitarian states or the criminal element to find culprits. Anyone who has been following the news about partial birth abortion knows what I’m talking about. Whoever came up with this bizarre method of infanticide belongs in the rogues’ gallery listed above.

In case you have been hibernating for the past year or two, I’ll briefly describe the partial birth abortion. The “doctor” delivers the baby feet-first, until his whole body is outside the mother and only his head remains to emerge. The base of the baby’s head is punctured from behind with a pair of scissors, then the scissors are opened to enlarge the hole. A tube is inserted into the hole to literally suck out the baby’s brain, collapsing the head. Only then is the now-dead baby fully delivered and thrown in the abortion mill’s trash heap (or perhaps sold to demented scientists for experimentation or commercial exploitation).

The Republican-dominated Congress recently passed a bill to outlaw partial birth abortions. Even many who often support “abortion rights” (for example, Rep. Lee Hamilton, D. Indiana) voted in favor of the bill. After all, what kind of a weirdo could favor allowing such a sadistic procedure? Well, some of our neighbors here in Indiana have the dubious distinction of being represented by a man (Democrat Peter Visclosky) who voted against the bill. And, of course, the 40% of Americans who sent President Clinton to Washington share responsibility for his veto of the bill.

As outrageous as the actions of Clinton and Visclosky may be, they are at least consistent. There is no reason for anyone to deplore partial birth abortions while contending for a “right” to commit other abortions. This particular procedure has attracted attention because the victim is so near being delivered unharmed. There may well be some pain for the child having his brain sucked out, but it must be short-lived. Victims of other abortion techniques are not so fortunate.

In one procedure, a concentrated salt solution is injected into the amniotic sac. The baby is killed by acute salt poisoning and is stillborn the next day, looking as if he had been burned to death. It takes the child about one very painful hour to die. Most other procedures involve crushing, cutting, or pulling off the baby’s body parts and removing them with suction or tongs. No attempt is ever made to anaesthetize the child before starting the procedure.

Sound familiar? These “medical procedures” are all reminiscent of medieval torture/executions like drawing and quartering. We wisely refrain from using such barbaric punishments on even our most deserving criminals. We cry “never again” when we hear about the equally horrifying atrocities of the Nazis. Yet we sanction their use against innocent children. We even allow ourselves to be taxed to pay for many of these murders. May God have mercy on our depraved society.

Abolish the Federal Reserve

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I am often impressed to see the power that some Americans have to influence the lives of the rest of us. Look at the recent strike at the GM plant in Dayton. Here was a single facility making only one of hundreds of different parts for GM cars. The union workers at that facility went on strike, and the whole nation’s industry began to slow down for lack of those parts. Now that’s leverage.

There is one little understood institution in America whose power over our economy dwarfs that of the autoworkers in Dayton: The Federal Reserve System. Whenever the czars at the Fed have a meeting, Presidents, industrial giants, investors, home buyers, everyone with an interest in our economy awaits their verdict with bated breath. If they decide to raise interest rates, politicians and industries could fall, homes will not be purchased, jobs will be lost. If they decide to lower the rates, officeholders, industries and consumers may prosper, but the inflation rate may increase. That’s a lot of power and responsibility for a handful of people whose names would not be recognized by one in 10,000 Americans. Too much by far.

The Federal Reserve System was conceived in 1910 by a group of notorious robber barons at a then-secret meeting at J. P. Morgan’s estate on Jekyl Island, Georgia. After three years of political machinations, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act in 1913. The bill was promoted publicly as a plan to reform the nation’s monetary system and stabilize the currency by taking control of it out of the hands of big bankers. In reality, of course, the Act was written by the bankers for the purpose of solidifying their control over our currency.

The people of the United States granted to Congress the power “to coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures” in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. Wisely, we never gave them the constitutional power to delegate this money-creating and regulating responsibility to any private group. Yet this is exactly what the Federal Reserve Act did. It created a cartel of private banks, managed by a Board appointed for long terms of office by the president. This group of banks became the sole issuer of U.S. money, with full control over its quantity and thus its value.

How has the Federal Reserve performed in its stated purpose of stabilizing our currency? Soon after its formation, the management of the Fed created the conditions that led to the depression of the 1930s. It has presided over the loss of the gold backing of our money, and the consequent loss of about 90% of the value of the dollar. Booms and busts have been worse after the advent of the Fed than before.

If the system hasn’t accomplished its stated goals, what then has it been able to do? It has been the tool used by the major bankers to gain control over the smaller banks. It has been able to bail out many international banks when their reckless overseas lending policies brought them to the brink of bankruptcy. It has been the financing agency for Congress’ unprecedented deficit spending on the welfare state and war. Many people believe that it has intentionally manipulated the economy in order to influence the results of our presidential elections.

Our government doesn’t need the help of any private banking cartel to manage money. We need to repeal the Federal Reserve Act and return control of our currency to Congress. Then we need a serious national discussion about how real currency reform can be achieved, giving consideration to restoring the gold backing to our money. As long as the Federal Reserve has control over our nation’s money, Congress’ control of the purse-strings will not have the benefits the Founders intended.

Congress is the Key to Restoring our Republic

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Pat Buchanan has taken to boasting that the liberal establishment (I interpret that to mean the Council on Foreign Relations and their ilk) is scared by his candidacy. Granted, the liberal and “moderate” Republicans are showing signs of panic, and the big media have taken on a hysterical tone in reporting on Buchanan’s campaign. Unfortunately, though, I can’t interpret those as signs that he has the establishment on the run.

As one whose hopes have been dashed by various Republican presidential candidates over the years, I recognize a pattern in what is happening. Since this column is not about the presidential race, I won’t go into detail about it, but here’s how I see this year’s events.

The presidency is too important to the liberal establishment for them to let it get out of their control for the first time since Calvin Coolidge’s administration. We have one (mostly) conservative candidate, Pat Buchanan, and a gaggle of “moderates,” opposing a far-left President Clinton. Of those candidates, the only one who would stand in the way of the establishment’s business as usual is Buchanan. Obviously the big media can be expected to step in and kill Buchanan’s chances. What we are seeing is not the establishment on the run. It is merely the standard process that is used to retain control over the presidency. A real conservative has no more chance of being elected president any time soon than our family dog has of giving birth to kittens (and she’s been spayed).

So, while it is fun to hear so much conservative opinion being expressed in a national forum by a presidential candidate, that is not where the real action is. The big media can control the public perception of a presidential candidate through massive, slanderous assaults on his character and misrepresentation of his beliefs. After all, he is a single, highly exposed target. It is much more difficult for them to control the election of 535 Representatives and Senators. In the congressional elections, the people can still think for themselves.

Not only is it more feasible for conservative congressional candidates to be elected, but it is more valuable. The real power in our constitutional system is in the Congress. Think about what needs to be accomplished. How can a president balance the budget? All he can do is veto budget bills until the big media force him to sign one. A conservative majority in Congress, or even just in the House of Representatives, where all spending bills must originate, could control the process. Just pass spending measures in a piecemeal fashion as advocated in earlier columns, and let the liberals pass their own big-spending measures if they can.

What about controlling the bureaucracy? The president is the leader of the executive branch, which is where the bureaucracy rules. Maybe he can moderate the excesses of the bureaucrats, but he can’t change the laws by which they operate, or cut down their numbers. Congress can do both of those things and more. Even if their only action is failing to pass appropriations bills, either house of Congress can limit the power of the executive branch through control of what they can spend.

The president, of course, has the power to influence the behavior of the federal judiciary by his choice of judges. Even this is not an absolute power. Every such appointment must be ratified by Senate action. Congress also has the power to limit the jurisdiction of the federal courts, and to impeach federal officials, including judges. A conservative Congress could make much more use of these constitutional safeguards.

The substantial minority of conservatives in Congress need reinforcements to be truly effective. Those of us who want to restore the Republic to its constitutional basis should concentrate on providing those reinforcements. That means finding a conservative congressional candidate and supporting him. In Southeastern Indiana, it is especially important to replace Lee Hamilton (Democrat, 9th District) with a conservative. I have high hopes that State Senator Jean Leising can fulfill that role this year. Let’s give her candidacy the support it deserves.