Paying Ransom

Although I’m writing this article in the context of terrorist kidnappings, it should be noted that the principles discussed apply to any form of kidnapping.

The beheading of freelance journalist James Foley has forced a new debate between the longtime US and British refusal to negotiate with terrorists, and Europe and the Persian Gulf’s increasing willingness to pay ransoms in a desperate attempt to free citizens.

The case:

The dilemma: How to save the lives of captives without financing terror groups and encouraging more kidnappings.

Here’s the misunderstanding:

The Democrat’s View of “Justice”

[State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D, MO)] predicted Friday that if prosecutors don’t win a conviction against the police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown, it could trigger a new wave of unrest in Ferguson.

“There’s several people out there including the protesters that I’ve been with this morning who seem to feel as though there won’t be a conviction,” she told Fox News.

“If that happens, we’re going to have exactly what you saw two weeks ago, with a lot of tear gas going all over the place.”

Press Mindset

This is from an AP article, but I suggest it’s typical of the press generally. The AP is reporting on a case involving the drunk driver-involved deaths of two children and the immediately subsequent shooting death of the drunk driver. The father of the two children is accused of

killing a drunk driver in a fit of rage after his two sons were fatally struck in 2012 on a rural road in Southeast Texas.

His defense attorney says [the father] is a good man, a grieving father, and not a murderer. At the same time, his defense hasn’t publicly suggested who else might be responsible for [the drunk driver]‘s shooting death.

A Gun Control Loss

The gun rights sheriff incumbent, David Clarke Jr, defeated his Democratic primary challenger for the Milwaukee (Wisconsin) County job (and he’s in because there’s no Republican challenger for the fall general election). This also had been, among other things, a referendum on ex-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control philosophy, as that one had thrown down $150,000 on TV ads in his own attempt to influence the election.

However, primary challenger Milwaukee Police Lt Chris Moews‘ own justification for gun controls demonstrates the fallacy of the gun control position:

e pluribus unum

This post is adapted from a passage in Chapter 4 of my book A Conservative’s Manifesto.

What is the “many” in the title, the pluribus? When the phrase was first proposed for the Seal of the United States in 1776, it referred to the 13 States being joined into one nation. It has come to mean, in addition, the several peoples, religions, languages, heritages, and so on who come to the United States to join our great experiment in individual freedom and individual responsibility.

What is the one, the unum? That’s the point of this post.

Freely Traveling and Peaceable Assembly

The US government offers no adequate method for people to challenge their placement on its no-fly list, a federal judge ruled Tuesday in a case involving 13 Muslims who believe they’re on the list.

US District Court Judge Anna Brown found people lack a meaningful way to challenge their placement on the list, which bars them from flying to or within the United States. She also said the 13 people who sued the government have been unconstitutionally deprived of their right to fly.

The Federal government’s no-fly list is treated as secret, and it’s through this list that the Federal government determines who is barred from flying from or to US airports.

Obama Is Legally Allowed to Enforce—or Not Enforce—the Law

Amazingly, a professor at the University of Chicago’s law school wrote this in the New Republic, and he’s serious. Yet he cites not a single clause from the Constitution, not a single phrase, to support his…thesis.

Eric Posner wrote, among other things,

Would President Barack Obama, by refusing to enforce the immigration laws against millions of undocumented immigrants, be engaging in “domestic Caesarism,” as Ross Douthat charges [in a New York Times op-ed]?

…if he chooses not to enforce immigration laws against “up to half the country’s population of illegal immigrants,” as Douthat claims, the president wouldn’t be doing anything different from what his predecessors have done (or rather, not done).

Appellate Court En Banc Hearings

The DC Circuit a short time ago held in Halbig v Burwell that Federal regulations regarding Federal health plan exchanges violate Obamacare’s plain language: Federal subsidies, contrary to those regulations, are available only to health plan holders who got their plans through State-run health plan exchanges.

Adam White, in a recent Wall Street Journal piece in the context of that ruling and the Federal government’s subsequent appeal to the DC Circuit to rehear the case en banc, noted a couple of things.

One is how rare en banc (re)hearings are, especially for the DC Circuit:

What about a Palestinian’s right to freedom?

This is the headline of a FoxNews op-ed by Faheem Younus, President of the Baltimore branch of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA and a senior fellow at the University of Baltimore’s Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics. It’s a fair question.

Younus asks us to

think of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict in terms of the movie “Shawshank Redemption,” which shows the quest for freedom of an innocent banker serving two life sentences under hopeless circumstances. The cast goes like this: the criminals are Hamas, the warden is Netanyahu, Andy—the banker convicted of murder—is your average Palestinian, and Shawshank is Gaza.

On Free Speech

This is from Justice William Douglas’ dissent in US v Autoworkers [emphasis added]. In the event, his dissent presaged Citizens United.

We deal here with a problem that is fundamental to the electoral process and to the operation of our democratic society. It is whether a union can express its views on the issues of an election and on the merits of the candidates, unrestrained and unfettered by the Congress. The principle at stake is not peculiar to unions. It is applicable as well to associations of manufacturers, retail and wholesale trade groups, consumers’ leagues, farmers’ unions, religious groups and every other association representing a segment of American life and taking an active part in our political campaigns and discussions. It is as important an issue as has come before the Court, for it reaches the very vitals of our system of government.