Category Archives: death penalty

>REACT: The Supremes … with Guns and Robes.

>The left wing progressives continue to talk like the represent America, or at least that America is coming round to their way of thinking. It has been their trait and fault for a long time. If you had judged the mood of the nation by the statements of liberal politicians, pundits, press and radio personalities, their could not have been a Ronald Reagan, a Newt Gingrich or a Chief Justice Roberts. The so-called progressive Air America would be more than a narrow cast radio network compared to the highly popular conservative talk shows.

This has not been a good week for true believers on the left. Realty has upset their fantasies — again. First and foremost, the Supreme Court threw out a 32-year ban on guns in the District of Columbia – and threw every other local gun ban into the shadow of judicial doubt. They have finally settled the question: Do private citizens have a constitutional right to own guns – albeit with reasonable restriction? For the first time, the high court has affirmed the definition of “well regulated militia” to include the right to personally possess weaponry.

Liberals say “militia” means a government run military, such as the National Guard. The Supreme Court, however, believes that a “militia” can be a locally organized, grassroots outfit which has to rely on their own arms because there is no central procurement authority. In other words, liberals believe that even a “militia” must be a service of government. (No surprise there.) Conservatives, the nation’s founders and the current Supreme Court believe that a “militia’ can be formed even in opposition to the government. (Even by nuns with guns.) The inalienable right to rise up against a tyrannical government requires access to the means. Thus, the right to bear arms. In other words, you do not need the approval of government to form a “militia,” as defined in the Constitution — even a well regulated one.

The liberal gabbers are whining that the new ruling breaks the precedence establish by the 1932 ruling establishing the right to regulate guns, with banning one of the assumptive options. They indignantly argue that precedents are not to be overturned. If that is the case, however, slavery would be legal, 18-year-olds would not be voting, the nation would still be dry and the Dred Scott decision would stand.

In another decision, the liberal members or the Supreme court carried the day by striking down the death penalty for child rapists. Currently, the death penalty is reserved for cases of murder. No death, no death penalty. The justices, at least five of them, were not of a mind expand the traditional death penalty coverage to non-lethal crimes.

The very liberal Barack Obama, however, disagrees with the Court, and favors the expansion of capital punishment to cover child rapists. Obama and John McCain agree on this one. That is because the Court looks at the law and other academic stuff, and the politicians look at public opinion. There is no doubt that the public would support even the most “cruel and unusual” punishments for pedophile rapists. Laws and the Supreme Court are the guardians against unbridled majority rule – the tyranny of the majority, as they say.

On the death penalty issue, Air America is hitting turbulence. They are resorting to parsing and double talk to bridge the conflict between their pleasure with the decision and their unwritten rule to never criticize Obama. I kind of enjoy the verbal squirming.

What is striking terror in the bleeding heart club is the fact that the next president could fill at least three vacancies in his first term – and all three are senior liberals. Should it play out that way, a President Obama could only preserve the ideological balance with three liberal choices. A President McCain, however, could tilt the court further to the conservative strict constructionist viewpoint even with moderate appointments – and he has pledged to follow the Roberts/Alito model. Uh, we’ll see.

The conservatives currently not only have the advantage of majority, but even Air America’s court expert noted that the conservative justices were young and energetic, while some of the older liberal jurists are hardly able to stay conscious through public proceedings.

Three more appointments on the right would create a generational conservative court. It could easily be 25 years before such a “Roberts Court” would give way to a successor.

>REACT: Latter day Ryan earned prison

>It appears after years of delaying tactics, former Illinois Governor George Ryan is heading to the hoosegow. It is a long sad story.

During most of my adult life, I have been aware of George Ryan – sometimes dealing with him personally.

There are really two George Ryans. The first was the up and coming legislator. That George Ryan was an idealist, conservative and guy as good as his word. He reached conservative hero status when he engineered the defeat of the so-called Equal Right Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In denying the ERA Illinois’ ratification vote, Ryan gave the coup d’gras to the feminists’ effort to tweak the Constitution.

The early Ryan was a man of principle.

When and why the latter day Ryan emerged is not at all clear. There was no reported seminal event. Rather a gradual, often imperceptible, erosion. The latter day Ryan is a cynical man, lead by power and greed over principle. He abandoned conservative positions and personal ethics simultaneously – some say an inevitable pairing. Many early friends and supporters either separated in disappointment or were brutally cast aside as irrelevant to his lust for power and money. Those who stood in the way suffered even more.

His big sins were well laid out along the evidential trail by the federal prosecutors. Like the tip of the iceberg, however, the larger mass of his misdeeds never surfaced. Virtually all of us in the political arena around Ryan have personal stories of his political brutality.

One of my own experiences came through my friendship and working relationship with Bill and Carol Dart, among Springfield’s most prominent players. He was chief lobbyist for the then powerful Illinois Manufacturer’s Association. She was among the most respected and effective independent lobbyists in the state capital.

Ryan owed his early success in large measure to Bill, who had single-handedly engineered the deal that put the Kankakee Republican in the Senate presidency. Year’s later, Ryan would engineer Bill’s ouster from the IMA as part of a Ryan insider take over.

Around that same time, Carol and I were working for the same client on a piece of legislation. One day the client called me to ask what to do about Carol – and if I would take over the relationship alone, if necessary. My contact said they were astonished when Ryan called them in to tell them they would get nowhere unless they “fired that cunt” and hire a lobbyist he recommended. They assured me that the c-word was an exact quote. Having seen the latter day Ryan, I was NOT astonished. This was who he became.

To the credit of the client, they decided to defy the Governor, and keep Carol as the principle lobbyist. In the spirit that good things happen to good people, our client came out okay when Senate President Pate Philip defied the Governor on the legislation.

Because we knew the latter day Ryan extremely well, from this and many other incidences, Bill, Carol and I broke life-long traditions of supporting Republican governors and endorsed and openly supported Ryan’s Democrat opponent, Glenn Poshard. We knew then what the public would only discover years later. The latter day George was a crook.

Glenn called Ryan out on his corruption, but the protective press denied Poshard the credibility his charges deserved. It was only after Ryan’s election, and the dedicated work of a truly independent prosecutor, that the public was finally able to see the real George Ryan, of the latter day. With Ryan’s election, the atmosphere in Springfield became so hostile that the Darts left the state. I remained to occasionally suffer the sling and arrows or Ryan’s revenge. He cost me a few clients along the way.

Many wondered if the cadre of political thugs that formed his inner circle had unduly influenced the once respected public official, or if they merely were an extension of his own metamorphous from the well intention Dr. Jekyll to the evil Mr. Hyde. There are those who believed Ryan’s power and money crazed actions we committed by his aides, and that he was mostly unaware of them. Some of that excuse was found in his trial defense – and ultimately repudiated by the weight of evidence. The buck stopped at the Ryan’s desk – every buck he could get his hands on, in fact.

Some say his release of the death row reprobates was and act of conscience, others say a crass exploitation to create public sympathy going into his trial. I cannot say if it was about pre-trial sympathy, but I am pretty damn sure it was not about conscience. Not many, friend or foe, ever saw much of a conscience in the latter day George Ryan.

Perhaps the most tragically eloquent example of the cost of corruption was the 1994 deaths of the six Willis children, caused by an unqualified truck driver who obtained a license through bribes to Ryan’s campaign fund when he was Illinois Secretary of State.

The latter day Ryan is old, but has not lost any of his survival skills. He has not repented. He fights prison with all the cunning and guile he exhibited throughout his carrier. It is sad, to be sure. But, do not pity George Ryan, he has gotten no more than he deserves – and maybe not even as much.