Glenn K. Beaton is a writer and columnist living near Aspen. He has been a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, RealClearPolitics, Powerline, Instapundit, American Thinker and numerous other print, radio and television outlets.
Let’s be clear what the issue is here. The issue before the court is not whether vaccination is good or bad. All nine of the Justices have been fully vaccinated and have also received boosters (as I have). It’s fair to conclude that the Justices all think vaccinations are good, at least for people of their demographic.
Nor is the issue whether state or federal government can impose vaccine mandates on the population. They probably can, and occasionally have. In oral argument yesterday, Justice Gorsuch noted in passing that he recently rejected a challenge to a vaccine mandate imposed by the state government of New Mexico. Similarly, Congress could pass a law imposing a vaccine mandate or authorizing the Executive Branch to impose one.
What’s at issue in this case is much narrower. It’s whether the Executive Branch via the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) can impose vaccine mandates without specific authorization from Congress.
The six conservative justices signaled that they think the answer is no.
Consistent with the ongoing politicization of COVID, oral argument yesterday descended into a cafeteria food fight of hysteria, half-truths and untruths. Justice Breyer implied that because the daily new cases of COVID were now about 750,000, tossing out the OSHA mandates would mean that 750,000 people a day would contract the disease who otherwise wouldn’t – as if the mandate would instantaneously eradicate the disease. Justice Sotomayor suggested that 100,000 children were “in serious condition or on ventilators.” The Department of Health and Human Services says the actual number is only a few percent of that.
In contrast, the six conservative Justices focused not on the disease but on the legal and Constitutional authority of the Executive Branch to impose the OSHA mandates. That’s as it should be. The Court’s job is not to figure out whether vaccine mandates are good or bad, but to figure out whether the government has the right to impose them in the way they did.
It’s not as if mandates are unavailable to fight the pandemic. The Justices confirmed that Congress could impose or authorize mandates, and states could do the same at the state level, as some have.
The response of the liberal Justices to this point – if they were to make a response, which they didn’t – would be, yes, but these mandates are important tools and the states are being inconsistent in imposing them and Congress has failed to act.
Maybe that’s all true. But a failure of the political system does not justify circumventing it. Down that path lies tyranny.
Glenn K. Beaton had a career in law, including practicing at the Supreme Court
New York Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio Cortez can’t get enough of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. She harps obsessively on his purported mismanagement of COVID, including his refusal to mandate masks against the will of the people in the state he was elected to govern.
And so it was interesting that AOC was recently photographed in Florida. Did she come to stalk DeSantis? If so, she might have stalked in the wrong place. The photograph of her was taken in a drag bar, which is probably not the type of place DeSantis frequents.
Upon hearing the news, DeSantis good naturedly welcomed AOC to his state. Other Republicans, however, pointed out the contradiction between AOC’s words criticizing DeSantis’ management of COVID in Florida and and her actions in coming to Florida for bar entertainment in close quarters.
AOC tweeted her defense, of sorts: “It’s starting to get old ignoring the very obvious, strange, and deranged sexual frustrations that underpin the Republican fixation on me, women, & LGBT+ people in general. These people clearly need therapy, won’t do it, and use politics as their outlet instead. It’s really weird.”
I remember 9/11 well. People were shocked and angry, but also brave and compassionate. Police and firefighters ran into the burning World Trade Towers to save office workers. Many of those police and firefighters were still there trying to save lives when the buildings collapsed over and under them.
On a hijacked flight over Pennsylvania, passengers heard by telephone of the collapse of the Trade Towers and surmised that their hijackers planned a similar strike. Some of the passengers huddled, plotted and made a pact to overcome the terrorists.
The terrorists had already murdered the pilots, and so the passengers knew their actions would crash the plane and end their own lives. But they figured that by crashing the plane before reaching the building that the terrorists had targeted (we now know it was the Capitol Building) they could save people.
A passenger pictured above named Todd Beamer said the Lord’s Prayer. Others joined in. At the conclusion he said, “Let’s roll.” And they did. All aboard died, but thousands on the ground were saved.
According to a friend at a Christmas party, “obscene” wealth is the kind that’s unneeded. His example was a 100-foot yacht. “Nobody needs a 100-foot yacht,” he intoned.
I agreed that nobody needs a 100-foot yacht. But nobody needs a glass of expensive chardonnay either. I kindly offered to relieve him of the one he was holding.
The only things that are truly needed by humans are food, shelter, simple clothing and occasional medical treatment. Everything beyond that is unneeded and, therefore, under my friend’s definition, obscene.
So “obscene” wealth must mean something other than the unneeded kind. But what?
Note: I first wrote and published this a few years ago. I occasionally revise and republish it.
Two thousand years ago, a carpenter lived a conventional life for 30 years in a tiny village in the Middle East. Then he somehow became as they might say today, “radicalized.”
Historians agree that Jesus did exist. There are reliable ancient records of him. But most of what we know are opaque and contradictory accounts written decades after his death in what we now call the Gospel of the New Testament.
In one sense, those Gospel accounts are profoundly simple. They say Jesus was the Messiah prophesized in the Hebrew Bible. As such, he performed miracles to save those needing saving. He came back from the dead. That’s the word.
But in a personal sense, the Gospels present a more complicated man than the one presented in Sunday School or even adult church services.
The Democrats need every single Dem Senator in order to pass their “Build Back Better” bill. That’s the $1.7 trillion social-spend-a-palooza that really costs more like $4.9 trillion according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
Several Dem Senators have reservations about BBB behind the scenes, but the one with the guts to stand up to it publicly is Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Manchin publicly objected to the bill on the grounds that it pumps too much money into the economy at a time when inflation is rocketing, that it contains numerous provisions unrelated to the budget process such as illegal immigrant amnesty (where the Senate Parliamentarian has agreed with him, three times), that it is larded with too many social handouts that aren’t “means tested,” meaning they are welfare for people who don’t need it, and that the true cost of the bill is deliberately hidden by accounting gimmicks – and the CBO agrees.
No, that mostly happened with the election of somnolent, senile, drowsy, sleepy, lazy, sluggish, lethargic SlowJoe Biden (in Joe’s case, one such adjective is just not enough) and an ex-bartender called “AOC” which may stand for Auditory Out of Control.
In the old days, by contrast, the Democrats used to say some wise things. For example:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Today’s Democrats say that statement is racist. They say it’s not only permissible to judge people by the color of their skin, but mandated.
Those having white skin must be judged evil-doers, and those having black skin must be judged their victims. Skin color is real, while “character” is a white construct. That’s the thrust of the Critical Race Theory that is indoctrinating our children.
The Dems promote this divisive victimology because they think it keeps blacks on the Dem plantation. It works only so long as blacks stay there.
“The buck stops here.” Harry Truman
Bucks don’t stop at Joe Biden’s office. They don’t even come for a visit. They don’t call, they don’t write. Heck, he doesn’t even Zoom with them in a COVID mask.
Bucks are something for Joe to pass on to his military advisers or to his predecessor. Over ten thousand Americans are still trapped in Afghanistan while this somnolent, senile etc. president-ish cardboard cutout reads teleprompter lies where he robotically says at the end something like, “…end of speech, DON’T take questions…”
The only bucks that stop at Joe’s office are in envelopes from Hunter marked “Big Guy.”
“Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy
Democrats used to make an art of trading free stuff for votes. Now all the art is out of it. It’s explicit horse-trading. Want to renege on your student loans or mortgage payments? Vote Dem. Want free shoot-up parks for your heroin addiction? Vote Dem. Want free babysitting? Vote Dem. Want lower rent? Vote Dem. Want to smash a window and grab a Prada bag? Vote Dem.
JFK almost died for his country in WWII and then did die for his country in office. Todays Democrats not only won’t die for their country, they want their country to die for them. If their country won’t voluntarily die for them, then by gosh they’ll kill it.
“The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation.” Jimmy Carter
Democrats don’t want to demonstrate that our system should be emulated. They believe it should be exterminated. The countries that should be emulated are countries with all the traits of Cuba and Venezuela.
Except the name. Branding is everything.
“Not only our future economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our government to give employment to idle men.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
Today’s Democrats don’t like work. They don’t like doing it, and they don’t like other people doing it. That’s because, like religion, work is a threat to Democrat authority. They want to keep the citizenry forever dependent on government – run by Democrats.
You might ask, where will the handouts come from if nobody works? The Dem answer is to tax the rich. Then kill ‘em and eat ‘em. FDR wanted a chicken in every pot. Today’s Dems want a rich person in every pot. Rich people are like cotton candy – they taste terrible, but are fun to eat.
“The hardest test I ever faced in my life was praying.” Malcolm X
Democrats don’t pray anymore. They’re fine with other people praying so long as it’s done in private, sort of like masturbation used to be before Jeffrey Toobin came along.
“Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men.” JFK
This one contains at least three bad concepts. “Men” is now a bad word. “Pray” is a bad activity. “Strength” is a bad thing.
Today’s Dems don’t pray for manly strength. Rather they beg for the unearned status of a weak and genderless victim – without, of course, any actual transgression against them. See, Smollett, Jussie.
“It’s overwhelmingly in the self-interest of the United States of America to have a secure, democratic friend, a strategic partner like Israel.” Joe Biden, 2014
Fast forward seven years. Today’s Joe Biden and the rest of the Democrats have thrown Israel under the hurtling Iranian nuke bus. In view of the catastrophic geopolitical ramifications of a nuclear Iran, one can only conclude this is because the Dems dislike the religion of the Israelis.
“The future is not an inheritance. It’s an opportunity and an obligation.” Bill Clinton
“Opportunity” and “obligation” are triggering for modern Democrats. Once again, they imply work.
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.” Barack Obama More of that work stuff. How unwoke.
“And, uh, in addition to that, in addition to that, we have to make sure that, we are … Well, let me go to the second thing.” Joe Biden, 2021,with the help of a teleprompter
And that’s where we are today with Joe and the party of stupid.
Store theft is now done openly. People load their arms or shopping carts with stuff they want and simply walk out the door. After closing, mobs of them smash the storefront and grab what they want. I’m reminded of stores in Mexico where padlocked steel curtains cover the glass storefronts each night. After closing, the store become a little fortress.
The left explains that this isn’t looting because . . . reasons. One reason is that it’s really a protest for social justice, whatever that is. Another reason is that stores have insurance, dontcha know, and so stealing from them isn’t really stealing. Another reason is that the looters are jobless due to COVID, and so their theft is excused by their hunger.
In other words, the left contends that stealing a Prada bag to feed their greed is just like Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s children.
Speaking of the jobless, employers are desperately seeking to relieve them of that status while the jobless are desperately seeking to maintain that status. People have decided they’d rather not work, which is understandable since we told them they don’t need to and we even pay them money not to.
Joe Biden still denies it’s happening (he’s probably being ignorantly sincere but he might be knowingly lying – you never know which it is with Joe) but these workers opting out of work have caused a shortage of the things that workers used to make. Go figure.
The resulting inflation has now reached that level of emotional spiral where it takes on a life of its own. Unable to hire workers to meet the demand for their products, businesses raise prices on the little product they can produce, which causes inflation which causes the expectation of more inflation which causes more inflation.
The left says this mass resignation of American workers is a good thing. Lefty economist Paul Krugman writing for the New York Times says people’s refusal to return to jobs they were reasonably happy with, but shouldn’t have been, is a “silver lining” to COVID.
Consider the irony that Krugman, who thinks societal wealth is produced by printing more money, analogizes to a precious metal.
It must bug Krug that millions of people wade across the Rio Grande in search of these jobs that make people unhappy if only they weren’t too stupid to know it. His only solace is that at least they come illegally and so he thinks that they, like most criminals, are future Democrats.
He’s mostly wrong. People who risk everything and even commit an immigration crime, all for the purpose of finding work to feed their families, are not likely to become Democrats. Indeed, Hispanics were never really on the Dem plantation, and increasingly don’t want anything to do with it.
Murder is on the rise nationwide. The left explains that it’s not because murderers are emboldened or society is coarsened, but because of COVID. Oh, and guns too, which were evidently invented just now. It might also be due to global warming. Meanwhile, lefty politicians defund the police while spending taxpayer dollars for personal bodyguards.
On the streets and highways, people drive wildly. I’m not talking about speeding 10 mph over the limit or running yellow lights. I’m talking about running lights that have been red for a long time, maniacal weaving through highway traffic, and laying on the horn and flipping the bird at other drivers who commit no offense other than being in their way.
The left now instructs the police – the ones not yet defunded – not to stop these lunatics because that would be racist because too many of them have dark skin.
Fine, but could we at least stop the white ones?
They are sure to stop the Asian ones if they can find any. Anti-Asian discrimination is the good kind, we’re told. Harvard candidly discriminates against them because, dontcha know, they have bad personalities. An Obama-appointed judge in Boston agreed. The Supreme Court is stalling on whether to decide the case or just let it fly under their radar. After all, the victims are only Asians.
Everyone knows that the real reason for discriminating against Asians is that they’re too meritorious. So rather than increasing the merit of non-Asians in order to compete better with Asians, the left is abolishing merit. If their favored groups don’t do well on the tests, they abolish the tests.
That same Supreme Court looks like it will decide to uphold a law in Mississippi that allows a pregnant woman only three months to abort her baby. The left says this law from the former and current Confederacy – which is similar to the abortion laws of France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Switzerland – violates Section . . . um, mumble . . . of the Constitutional guaranteeing a womyn’s right choose an abortion whenever she/he/they/it wants and guaranteeing a baby’s obligation to be the victim of that abortion whenever the womyn wants – just like in China.
Justice-ish Sotomayor, appointed by the current de facto president, Barack Obama, warned her colleague-ish Justices in open court that upholding this law would create the “stench” (her word) of a politicized Supreme Court because it would require reconsidering the celebrated case of Roe v. Wade where a Justice nicknamed “Hip Pocket Harry” for his choice of residency in the hip pocket (or was it the front pocket?) of the Chief Justice at the time discovered said Section . . . umm, mumble . . . of the Constitution.
But according to the left it would be different to overrule Citizens United which held that under something called the First Amendment (curses on that Bill of Rights thingy!) political candidates can receive not just money from trade unions, as they always have, but also money from the people. Same with Heller which said that the Second Amendment (more curses on that Bill of Rights – rights are for trade unions, school boards and the FBI, not for people!) means what it says. Overruling those cases, the left assures us, would not be politically stenchy but would be a breath of fresh air.
Which is something increasingly rare in our once-great cities where fresh air is polluted by stenchy vagrants who camp on the sidewalks and poop in the parks. They’re not discouraged; they’re heroized. The leftist rulers of our cities spend taxpayer money to entice them downtown to remind us that America is bad. The bums allow themselves to be used in this manner because it satisfies their need for the sympathy deserving of a willing victim of a life of willful failure.
Fresh air is something also denied to toddlers who are forced to wear COVID masks. The left orders this not to protect toddlers – who get approximately 0.0% of COVID cases – but to remind you that they’re the boss. They control what your children wear and what they learn. They own them.
There’s a common thread here. The left controls colleges, big business, schools, media and entertainment. They’ve convinced much of America especially young people that Western Civilization is bad. They’re actively rooting against us.
Their ideas for a substitute civilization that they will rule, benevolently they assure us, are at best pipe dreams and are at worst authoritarian nightmares. Their substitute civilizations will fail, as they always have, but in the meantime they want to destroy what’s here. In that, they’re winning.
My website hosting company, WordPress, informs me that I recently passed the half-million readers mark. Join them with a free subscription HERE or by simply sending an email to theAspenbeat@gmail.com.
For seven years, I was the conservative columnist for the Aspen Times. Democrats outnumber Republicans three to one in Aspen and about twenty to one at the newspaper, where I was the one.
Despite the liberal leanings of the Aspen Times and its readers, my conservative column became the most-read thing in the newspaper. It often garnered more clicks than front page news and, I suspect, even the real estate ads for $4,000/sq ft condos.
But I evidently wasn’t hired to be a conservative success. Rather, I was hired to be a conservative token. On Christmas Eve in 2019 after savoring the clicks I had generated for seven years, they fired me in an email taking potshots at my writing. Their email culminated in the observation that my “values” did not comport with theirs.
About that last point, they may have been right.
That was a few weeks after my column again took aim at the Aspen establishment for soaking the public by giving themselves taxpayer-subsidized housing for dimes on the dollar. Those houses are sometimes adjacent the ski mountain and worth millions.
The liberal establishment that treats itself to this exorbitant housing at taxpayer expense includes, coincidentally, some of the editors, reporters and other columnists at the Aspen Times, the company that fired me after I reported on it. Small world, huh?
But Karma has a long memory.
The Karma that came my way was the good kind. I continued writing my blog after the Aspen Times fired me, and it took off. This was partly because I became more candid about my conservative sentiments when I no longer had to worry about being muzzled, partly because my firing became a national story which drew attention to me, and partly because I began writing about three times as much.
The website host of my blog, WordPress, tells me I recently passed the half-million mark in readers. To put that in perspective, the Aspen Times circulation is a few percent of that.
The Karma that came to the Aspen Times was different but equally fitting. They conduct a “Best of Aspen” contest every year where readers vote on “best” this and that. One category is “Best Columnist.”
For year 2020 when I was only writing a blog rather than a formal column after being fired by the Aspen Times back on Christmas Eve in 2019, the winner of “Best Columnist” was . . . yours truly.
It gets better. I’ve continued to write my blog and it continues to draw new readers. This year the Aspen Times once again held its annual “Best of Aspen” contest. For the second year in a row, I won “Best Columnist” even though I’m only writing a blog. The link is HERE at page 24.
And it gets even better than that. The marquee category in the Aspen Times’ contest is “Mr. Aspen.” (Don’t worry, they’ll surely have a “Mx. Aspen” soon.) In addition to voting me “Best Columnist” again, the readers of the Aspen Times in this year’s contest voted me “Mr. Aspen.” The link is HERE at page 22.
I demand a crown and the keys to the city. Or at least the keys to some of those taxpayer-subsidized slope-side digs.
One last thing. The Aspen Times is being purchased in a few weeks by a family-owned newspaper company out of West Virginia. The head is a registered Republican.
For all this, I thank my readers. You’re the best. I may or may not have those bad values for which the Aspen Times fired me. That judgment is beyond my pay grade, at least in this world. But in any event, I’m in good company with readers like you. Thank you.
Join my readers with a free subscription HEREor just send an email to theAspenBeat@gmail.com.
The Supreme Court this week heard oral argument on the Mississippi law that limits abortion after 15 weeks from conception.
As someone who practiced law at the Supreme Court, I listened to the arguments. I think they’ll uphold the Mississippi law. I have a few observations.
Keep in mind that oral argument at the Supreme Court is typically more theater than jurisprudence. The Justices usually already have their minds made up from reading the briefs. But it’s worthwhile theater because it connects the public to the judicial process. Also, it gives some insight into the likely decision which won’t come till next Spring.
My first observation is that much of the public is confused about what the Court is deciding and what it is not. Blame the media for that. Clicks are generated and fires are stoked not by the media presenting cases, but by presenting parades of horrible.