Like any birth, our nation was born in blood. The founding fathers had to fight the armed might of the British Empire to earn their freedom and establish this nation. From that day to now, brave people have stood between danger and America, often purchasing with their bodies and their very lives the continued freedom of this nation.

On this day we remember those men and women who have fallen in the defense of the United States of America. They sacrificed all they had that we might be free. Let us live in such a way that their sacrifice was not in vain.

Today you may see some old man wearing buttons, badges and a funny hat, and he may offer you a small plastic poppy flower. That man is a veteran. Shake his hand and thank him for his service. You are a free American because of his service and the service of thousands of brave men and women like him. Then buy that poppy from him and wear it with pride. On this Memorial Day, we remember those who are not around to barbecue and take the day off work; instead they lie in poppy-strewn fields.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, Canadian Army
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

I have asked before, and I’ll ask again: what good is the United Nations? What can the United States do with the other 191 nation states in the United Nations that it cannot do better by dealing with other states individually? Since the U.S. both hosts the U.N. within its borders and pays almost a quarter of its budget, it is a fair question to ask.

And then the U.N. produces things like the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and I realize that it’s past time for the U.S. to leave the United Nations. In late 2007, the United Nations adopted the declaration with a vote of 143 to 4. The four nations that voted against the declaration were Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. In 2009 Australia endorsed the declaration, and New Zealand and Canada reversed their votes in March and April of 2010, respectively. So only the United States is on record as opposing the declaration. What could possibly be wrong with it? I see three main problems with the declaration. The first comes in Article 19.

Article 19
States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

Before a law is signed and enforced, Congress needs to get the “free, prior and informed consent” from all indigenous peoples in our nation, if the law in question may affect them. And in this day and age, what law doesn’t affect most Americans? And before a governmental department can adopt or implement any administrative change that may affect indigenous people, that department needs to get the “free, prior and informed consent” from them. So, when was the last time that the government got “free, prior and informed consent” from its citizens before enacting a law? If indigenous people get consent while others do not, this declaration has just produced two classes of people before the law. And that’s a bad thing.

But as bad as dividing the nation is, I have a bigger problem with Article 26.

Article 26
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

Want to expand your Manhattan business? You’ll need to negotiate that with the Lenape people first, since they are the indigenous people who “traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired” that island. Sure, the Dutch purchased the island from the Lenape in 1626, the British took it from them in 1664, and the Americans rebelled against the British in 1776, but this declaration doesn’t consider that history. According to Article 26, the Lenape have “the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership,” and they traditionally owned Manhattan. Such language is what makes lawyers rich.

Now multiply that legalistic nightmare by every state, county, and city in the United States, and you begin to see just how incredibly messy this declaration could be for Americans, since every state in the Union was at one time “traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired” by one tribe or another. If a family of indigenous people does some fishing in the Mississippi, or if their ancestors ever did likewise, that family now has the legal right to that resource since they or their ancestors once used it.

Put simply, the declaration would result in a massive wealth transfer from people who purchased or inherited the land to people who haven’t lived on the land for generations, minus the fees paid to the lawyers. What’s not to like about this?

Which brings me to my last point. I was born in the United States over forty years ago. My niece, who is exactly thirty years younger than me, is half Navajo. Guess which one of us is going to have the legal status of “indigenous?”

Yep. We really need the United Nations to bring us the legalistic nightmare that is the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Now why is it we need to be part of the U.N.?

In case you didn’t have enough already, here is yet another reason why I don’t look to Hollywood for scholarly political analysis:

Woody Allen has a strange take on the democracy that allowed him to become rich and famous.

Uh, no. The United States is not a democracy. It is a representative Republic. There is a difference, but one that is obviously missed by the writer of the article.

In an interview published by Spanish language newspaper La Vanguardia (that we translated), Allen says “I am pleased with Obama. I think he’s brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him.”

But wait – there’s more!

The director said “it would be good…if he could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly.”

Do you think President Obama could get the trains to run on time if given unlimited power?

I have no desire to see anyone become a dictator in this country, even a conservative Republican whom I support 100%. I want the government to do just those few things it is supposed to do, as outlined in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, and nothing else. Simply put, I’m an adult, and I don’t need some government parental-figure telling me what I should and should not do. But I’m not an immature Hollywood celebrity who desires someone else control his every decision.

There’s gloom and anguished hand-wringing from a new U.N. report soon to come out, as reported in the U.K.’s Telegraph.

The world’s biodiversity is threatened by the economic growth of countries like China, India and Brazil, the study will say.

While Western countries are increasingly aware of the need to protect endangered species, the developing world’s appetite for raw materials is destroying vulnerable ecosystems, the report’s authors will warn.

Population growth, pollution and the spread of Western-style consumption are also blamed for hitting plant and animal populations.

It builds on recent work for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which showed that 21 per cent of all known mammals, 30 per cent of amphibians and 35 per cent of invertebrates are threatened with extinction.

Not stated in this report is the simple solution to protecting all these mammals, amphibians, and invertebrates: prevent the developing nations like China, India, and Brazil from developing. I’m sure that will be a tough sell to the people of developing nations. Imagine being in their shoes: would you rather have dependable electricity, or remain in the economic backwoods if it means the survival of the snail darter and the hairy-chested nut scratcher?

But I take a slightly longer-range view of extinction than the U.N. report does. History tells us that of all the species that have ever lived, 90% are now extinct. It seems to me that extinction is the norm.

And of course no news story about extinction is finished until the author can sneak in some jab at Western civilization in general or the United States in specific:

[Ahmed Djoghlaf, who heads the Convention on Biological Diversity] added: “It’s a problem if we continue this unsustainable pattern of production and consumption. If the 9 billion people predicted to be with us by 2050 were to have the same lifestyle as Americans, we would need five planets.”

What dear Mr. Djoghlaf doesn’t explain is that it is only in the developed nations of the West, like criticized America, that the common people can affords them the luxury of worrying about species extinction. When you are struggling for that next meal, it very well may be fried snail darter or roasted hairy-chested nut scratcher on a stick. And you’d be glad to have it.

Now hear this!Carol Peracchio, over at American Thinker, wrote a very interesting article about President Obama, titled “The President Who Won’t Grow Up”. She starts off with the sentence, “Everything I need to know about Barack Obama I learned as a Cub Scout den leader.” And then she continues with five examples of young Cub Scouts and shows how President Obama has the same tendencies as an adult:

  • Boys are bored by day-to-day work.
  • Boys don’t respect things they haven’t earned.
  • Boys love snack and game time.
  • Boys have difficulty grasping the importance of tradition and protocol.
  • Boys are always in a hurry.

Don’t miss this article.

Since today is Cinco de Mayo, our attention turns to Mexico in about the same way as we think of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, i.e., not much. As I see it, both of these days are just excuses to party. But I am neither Irish nor Mexican.

Your papers, please

But since our attention has turned to Mexico today, the topic of Arizona’s recent law making being in the state illegally a state crime will surely come up. And one common refrain from the left is the shock and horror of some cop demanding, “Your papers, please.” How like Nazi Germany! A quick search for the phrase and Arizona brings up many thousands of hits across the web as people hyperventilate over Arizona’s new law.

Evil, nasty Nazis! The new Arizona law must be evil incarnate, right? How could the government of Arizona pass such a terrible law?!? Even President Obama is speaking out against the cruel and unfair nature of this new law:

Indeed, our failure to act responsibly, at the federal level, will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.

In fact I’ve instructed members in my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation. But if we continue to fail to act at a federal level we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country. As a nation, as a people, we can choose a different future. A future that keeps faith with our history, with our heritage, and with the hope that America has always inspired the hearts of people all over the world.

And here goes our President again, obsessed with fairness.

But here’s the kicker: the law Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed closely mirrors the existing laws against illegal aliens that we already have, but aren’t enforcing, at the federal level. If Arizona’s new law is irresponsible and unfair, then so are the federal laws. The dirty little secret is that the federal laws are both responsible and fair. But the federal government doesn’t want to enforce it, as President Obama admits, and so Arizona decided to act.

“But how dare Arizona law-makers force people to carry documentation that they are in the state legally! That’s Nazi fascism!” Well, no. It’s just common sense. When I was recently in London, I carried with me my passport to prove I was both an American citizen and legally in the country. Mark Steyn recently wrote about the need to have documentation here in the States:

As I write, I have my papers on me — and not just because I’m in Arizona. I’m an immigrant, and it is a condition of my admission to this great land that I carry documentary proof of my residency status with me at all times and be prepared to produce it to law-enforcement officials, whether on a business trip to Tucson or taking a 20-minute stroll in the woods back at my pad in New Hampshire.

Who would impose such an outrageous Nazi fascist discriminatory law?

Er, well, that would be Franklin Roosevelt.

The Arizona law merely enforces the 70-year-old federal requirement. And no, the police will not be stopping people who are “too brown” and asking for “Ihre Papiere, bitte” in their best German accents. Only those people who have already be stopped by police for some reason may be asked to produce residency documentation. I guess it’s similar to seat belt laws in many states. These laws say you must have seat belts on when you drive, but the cops can’t stop you just because you aren’t wearing them. They have to stop you for some other reason first.

So on this Cinco de Mayo, drink your Corona cerveza and enjoy yourself. If you are in this country legally, you are most welcome, but please have your documentation with you as the federal law has required for many decades, and as the new Arizona law will soon require.

And if you are here illegally, don’t protest, march, or complain about how unfair the laws of this nation are. Just return to your mother country and reenter the United States legally this time. It’s that simple.

I’ve already briefly mentioned a recent quote of President Obama speaking in Quincy, Illinois, but this quote deserves more attention:

We’re not, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money. But, you know, part of the American way is, you know, you can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product or providing good service. We don’t want people to stop, ah, fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow our economy. [emphasis mine - CM]

I read that, and I heard the whiny voice of a distressed child crying out, “That’s not fair!” I’m sure you can supply your own mental image of some child who has uttered those words. President Obama, in this unteleprompted comment, is telling the nation that it’s just not fair that someone is making more than “enough money” when there are people who are not.

But try as I may, I can’t find any clause in the Constitution that identifies as the role of the Executive, or even of the federal government, to make sure that life is fair. It simply isn’t his place to tell Americans that they’ve made enough money.

P.J. O’Rouke wrote the following at the end of his book Eat the Rich talking about fairness. At 20 years old, the whole book is still well worth reading. *plug* *plug*

Fairness is a good thing in marriage and at the day-care center. It’s a nice little domestic virtue. But a liking for fairness is not that noble a sentiment. Fairness doesn’t rank with charity, love, duty, or self-sacrifice. And there’s always a tinge of self-seeking in making sure that things are fair. Don’t you go trying to get one up on me.

As a foundation for a political system, fairness my be no virtue at all. The Old Testament is clear on this point. The Bible might seem an odd place to be doing economic research, especially by someone who goes to church about once a year, and only then because that’s when my wife says the Easter Bunny comes. However, I have been thinking — in socioeconomic terms — about the Tenth Commandment.

The first nine Commandments concern theological principles and social law: Thou shalt not make graven images, steal, kill, etc. Fair enough. But then comes the Tenth Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.”

Here are God’s basic rules about how we should live, a very brief list of sacred obligations and solemn moral precepts, and right at the end of it is, “Don’t envy your buddy’s cow.”

What is that doing in there? Why would God, with just ten things to tell Moses, choose, as one of them, jealousy about the livestock next door? And yet, think about how important to the well-being of a community this Commandment is. If you want a donkey, if you want a pot roast, if you want a cleaning lady, don’t bitch about what the people across the street have. Go get your own.

The Tenth Commandment sends a message to socialists, to egalitarians, to people obsessed with fairness, to American presidential candidates in the year 2000 — to everyone who believes that wealth should be redistributed. And the message is clear and concise: Go to hell.

And it applies to our current socialist and egalitarian president who is obviously obsessed with fairness.