Saturday, March 19, 2005

What? It wasn't the Israelis?

The Times has something to add on suspicsions of Syrian involvement in Rafik Harari's murder:
Days before Rafik Hariri’s assassination last month, the Lebanese politician had played host to Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader, at his mansion in west Beirut. Mr Hariri had a warning for his old friend: the Syrians were after them.

“He told me that in the next two weeks it was either going to be me or him,” Mr Jumblatt told The Times. “Clearly he thought something was going to happen.” [...]

The Times has learnt that Mr Hariri had enraged the Syrians by inspiring a UN resolution demanding that Syria stop interfering in Lebanon. US and UN officials repeatedly warned Syria not to harm Mr Hariri in the months before his death.

In mid-January, under pressure from Damascus, the Lebanese Government withdrew his 70-strong security detail, and immediately after his death the scene of the bombing was swept to remove any evidence of Syrian complicity ....
(ht: Daimnation)

The Commie Apprentice ...

One of the 'filthy' rich people among the 'filthy-rich' people sure knows how to increase his assets -- $150M last year to $550M this year. Could it be he's improved ecomonic postion of his "company"?

More likely he's just a kleptomaniac in a cheap uniform. Can't someone give him a golden parachute, preferrable one with no rip-cord?

Anyway, his threat to take the capitalist's approach to defamation of character is rich. (ht: The London Fog)

Michael Coren told it like it is

Erik at No Pasaran, reviews two columns by Michael Coren of the Toronto Sun. I missed those back in February, somehow, so a big nod of thanks to Erik pointing them out.

Update: Do you think the 'Must protect our citizens from yellow magarine' Quebecois regulators might be contributing to Canada's making a mockery of their standards for freedom?

French souring on the EU ...

... this week. The UK's Telegraph (registration required) reports a 14 point drop in French support for the EU Constitution, attributed mainly to Chirac's abilty to be charmingly diplomatic.

I wouldn't get your hopes up though. Newspapers thrive on this sort of news and polling and organizations depend on newpapers to dispense the alternating good news-bad news (or is it bad news-good news) to increase demand for more polling. It's a symbiotic relationship.

But wouldn't it be cool to see a map of the EU with a big hole where France is?

During the Festival of Fire on Wednesday, some Iranian crowds in the capital burned French flags and chanted "Europe is finished and so are their Mullahs." They interspersed that with chants of "Bush, Bush, where is Bush?". Others torched dummy likeneses of every politician/moolah you've heard of and some you haven't.

No doubt there soon will be some demonstrations where US Flags will be burned. But, I'll give 4 to 1 odds that in the run up to the presidential election, the competition between French and US flag burners will favor the "Bush, Bush, kush, kush" chanters will out-burn the "Death to the Great Satan" chanters.

So, the investor in me says dump your holdings in Iranian manufacturers of flammable US flags and snap up stock of their companies making flammble French flags and waveable US flags (as well as Iranian flags, of course.) Elections are made for days to topple governments in power, and I have my bets on the Iranians doing it quite literally this time. (ht: Merde in France)

Mugged by Reality

Daily Ablution had previously spotted a better teaching moment; this one's in France. Ya gotta love it. (ht: Merde in France)

Another day in a snooty school ...

... or stupidity running amuck. Daily Ablution has the story of a 13 year-old girl who goes on vacation and comes back with a cool new hairstyle only to find it isn't her peers that take to childish mocking and snooty disdain for a cultural melange, it's school staff taking advantage of a teaching moment.

School teaching children what not to do ... with an odd twist.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Radio Blogger: "Game over. Dems lose."

Barbara Boxer's inane comments come almost daily. Radio Blogger posts an unusally big one today:
"Why would we give lifetime appointments to people who earn up to $200,000 a year, with absolutely a great retirement system, and all the things all Americans wish for, with absolutely no check and balance except that one confirmation vote. So we're saying we think you ought to get nine votes over the 51 required. That isn't too much to ask for such a super important position. There ought to be a super vote. Don't you think so? It's the only check and balance on these people. They're in for life. They don't stand for election like we do, which is scary."
Of course, that would require a Constitutional Amendment. No doubt the "nine votes" thought could change if a Constitutional Amendment isn't ratified before the 2006 elections. So why not just work the amendment wording so that is has a phrase like "whatever number the Demorats think are needed."

Also, I don't think BB has a clue what "check and balance" means. But as Radio Blogger notes, she is the dumbest member of the Senate. Go listen to the audio clip for a laugh -- how she expresses herself is hilarious, especially towards the end. (ht: Instapundit)

Falun Gong causing CCP decline?

Brain Droppings caught a post from Daniel Drezner's site on a report by Epoch Times of 200,000 resignations from the Chinese Communist Party recently and what to make of it. Drezner's report was clarified somewhat with an e-mail from Stephen Gregory (the Epoch Times reporter) that the resignations are of a wide variety and the rapid increase was seen after the Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi also publicly did so:
"Second, the resignations, or perhaps more accurately, renunciations, are from any association with the Party, even if that association is many years in the past. Thus, former members of the CCP and former members of the CYL are posting their withdrawals to organizations of which technically they are no longer members. Third, in order to protect those who are withdrawing from harm, the website accepts resignations made under assumed names. Fourth, the relatives of deceased family members are allowed to post withdrawals on behalf of their now dead relatives. Finally, while the pace of resignations has increased rapidly all along, it really shot up after the founder of Falun Gong, Li Hongzhi, published his own withdrawal from the CYL on the Epoch Times."
There was an indication in the comments section that there was a Falun Gong connection to "Epoch Times" and a media organization called "The New Tang TV"(Actually New Tang Dynasty TV".) That is correct if this reference (obscure source and is a tranlated link) to an April 14, 2004 WSJ story by Susan Lawrence is accurate, though at the end Lawrence notes some others are willing to give ET and NTDTV some benefit of doubt:
"In the David-and-Goliath-style struggle between the Falun Gong spiritual movement and China's government, Falun Gong is fielding two new weapons: a small New York-based, Chinese-language television production company -- New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV) -- and the Epoch Times, a New Jersey-registered Chinese-language newspaper. In 1999, Beijing declared Falun Gong an evil cult and launched a brutal crackdown on its practitioners in China that continues. With followers in China so besieged, believers outside China, particularly in the U.S., have steadily escalated their propaganda assault against the government. In its first full year of operation, a not-for-profit New Jersey group called Friends of Falun Gong USA raised slightly less than $2 million in 2002. Among its media efforts is an advertising campaign on San Francisco buses featuring a photograph of two meditating women and the text: " Imagine being persecuted for doing this. " But the most ambitious media initiatives by Falun Gong followers are NTDTV, broadcasting 24 hours a day via satellite since February 2002, and the Epoch Times, a free newspaper launched last September that claims a global distribution of 690,000. The paper is published at least weekly in more than 30 countries and daily in some places. Both give prominent coverage to Falun Gong, which Beijing still suppresses because it sees it as a major challenge to its rule. Where the paper and TV company are controversial is in their unwillingness to identify themselves as having any association with the group, despite ample evidence to the contrary. " Right now we are labeled a Falun Gong TV station, even though we are not, " says NTDTV's President Zhong Lee. NTDTV " really has nothing to do with Falun Gong at all, " he adds. Yet tax records show that a top spokesperson for Falun Gong in the U.S., Gail Rachlin, is one of three directors for NTDTV, officially registered as Universal Communications Network. As for the Epoch Times, Editor in Chief Annette Jun Guo says to call it a Falun Gong media organization would be " completely wrong " and dangerously " misleading " because Falun Gong, she says, has no political goals. Yet tax records show the chairman of the paper's board is another top Falun Gong spokesperson, Kangang Xu. Executives at New Tang Dynasty and Epoch Times say their organizations are simply independent voices in a Chinese-language overseas-media landscape increasingly influenced by the deep-pocketed Chinese government and its allies. Both media describe their core missions in neutral terms as educating the Chinese community about universal values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. An impressive roster of prominent Chinese dissidents outside and inside China, who are not Falun Gong followers, are willing to give New Tang Dynasty and Epoch Times the benefit of the doubt. U.S. -based exiles such as Harry Wu and He Qinglian are frequent NTDTV interviewees. Respected mainland-based writers Liu Xiaobo and Yu Jie write regular columns for Epoch Times."
I suspect that the a large proportion of those resignations are from Falun Gong members, particularly since George notes a big uptick in resignations after Li Hongzhi publicized his. And I wouldn't be surprised if the resignations are a result of an underground request being fed to Falun Gong members in China. The Falun Gong is in a fight with the government and to an extent it is a fight for FG's life, if only a fight to be left alone. This effort to publicize resignations can be seen as pump priming strategy to put heat on the Chinese government, as can the publication of the Nine Commentaries. I'll even guess that the publication of the resignations is being used to advertise the Nine Commentaries in the hope of bringing on resignations beyond the bounds of the Falun Gong.

That aside, the strategy is not made without a basis for being successful in riding what is possibly an unassociated decline in CCP membership anyway, a membership which was never very big to begin with. There are only about 66 million CCP members. In addition, there were only 63.7 million members in the Chinese Youth League (CYL) as of 1995. Those numbers likely may not be additive, either, as membership age for CCP is 18 while that for the CYL is 14 to 28. But even if it is, that only constitutes 10% of the population and maybe 7% of the electorate. From a voting standpoint there is no advantage in being a CCP member. And it wasn't automatic membership, and still isn't, either.

The main advantage of being a CCP member was recognition and that helped in getting a good job, or a better living space, among other perks. In other words, it was a way to get ahead. And when I say get ahead, I mean both legitimately and illegitimately. Corruption was rampant in the CCP -- you could make good money being an official, if you wanted to.

But the advantages of being in the CCP is waning. The government is dropping people, left and right, from the public teat, and with the government's slow embrace of private market reforms, people have less and less reason to join. And the government is cracking down on corruption with the big fish in the corruption market getting hanged after being tried and convicted which, who knows, may be considered being lucky by those in that situation.

But as a practical people, many I know, both in the fast growing middle class as well as those on the first rung of the ladder, do not have a great desire to rock the boat. A lot just ignore whatever the government is doing so long as they can be employed, make a reasonable RMB and get ahead or have some picture in their mind of a better future. I could point to a lot more on this meme but only reinforces a picture of a CCP in decline, it doesn't add to the picture.

Back a few years ago, the government decided to allow some freedom to elect local officials. As a result, CCP members have lost the certainty of being elected. With the CCP having the taint of corruption associated with it, those wanting the prominence of holding elected office will probably not want to run as a CCP member.

And the leadership of the CCP (aka the government) sees the loss in interest. They've taken steps to counteract it by dropping restrictions to membership. A few years ago, the CCP allowed in their first capitialist leaning members. In addition, the CCP can now boast members with known religious affliation or beliefs.

So, the CCP is changing. It will probably continue to change in pace with whatever reforms it makes, just so the party remains relevant and so that it has a combined good reputation and large and steady membership when the time comes to allow other political parties. You can be sure, however, that not a lot will change until Taiwan is again part of the whole.

And that's what makes China's growing insistence on the Taiwan coming back into the fold soon so interesting.

Update: Added a title. (Ugh)

They're not always inscrutable ...

... sometimes the Chinese are pretty transparent. Siberian Light updates a nugget from their Weekly News Roundup a couple of weeks ago (Foreign Affairs, 5th bullet) that noted China and Russia had postponed talks on their joint military exercise for 2005. Now SL reports on the reason for the planning delay: -- "According to Kommersant, the actual reason for the delay is that, instead of an anti-terrorist exercise as Russia had envisaged, China is trying to turn the exercise into a mock invasion and occupation of Taiwan."

They have the details here. And don't forget to catch their Weekly News Roundup for this week, here.

Update: Now it's not a stumbling block, and it's legitimate and transparent!

And this from the "We will hold our first joint command staff exercises with the Chinese army in August or September involving various forces to practice issues involving fighting our common enemy -- international terrorism," he [Russian First Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Belousov] said." Do not be afraid because, ' "This exercise is by no means directed against any third party," he said. '

I suppose both Russia and China have a need to brush up on joint naval and coastal exercises to fight international terrorism lest they be caught unawares by international terrorists sneaking up on them in boats 'cause there's no logical land route to China or Russia for international terrorists, is there. Then again, they ought to be ready if the Philipines calls for their assistance.

Did I mention they must already have coordination training for hilly and mountainous interior security down pat? Wait, it's too hard for terrorists to travel unseen or hide in places that. My bad.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Righting the law by writing it ourselves, an Update: In the time it took me to write this post take care of a couple of other things, like get the corned beef and cabbage started, Patterico and Xrlq have traded additional posts on the subject of taking pledges to ignore whatever regulation might eventually be imposed as a result of FEC action, if it does not suit them. I don't think those who conceived, developed, voted to approve, signed and/or ruled in support of this law will take much notice or be impressed. I don't think that it is as productive, really, in the sense of teaching the folks in Washington the right lesson.

However, if we were to undertake writing write a bill that would be a good law, one that accounts for whatever problems ought to be addressed regarding campaign financing, such as better and more timely reporting of contributions, for example, while not just protecting speech for bloggers, et al, but restoring the basic free speech rights for the crowds of people and organizations that had already had to play games to maintain their rights outside the Internet since McCain-Feingold was enacted, it would put the pressure where it belongs -- on the politicians.

It will take more effort than ignoring the law, but I happen to think it would be fun to help write a law, to see 'da man' squirm while it was happening and then see their faces while we eventually 'stick it to da man' by forcing them to enact. It would certainly be a humbling experience for them if it succeeded.

Righting the law by writing it ourselves

Mr. Patterico has been riding hard on the subject of freedom of speech since the recent comments by the FEC's Bradley Smith. As have others. But Mr. Patterico was not impressed with the subsequent proposal to send a petition to the FEC asking for certain exemptions -- his major objection being, in his words:
"In my view, political speech is speech at the core of the First Amendment. Neither the FEC nor any other government agency has any right to regulate it in any way. When my right to engage in such speech is threatened, my impulse is not to seek out a law carving out some exception for my speech. My impulse is to tell those responsible that they can go to hell."
or more concisely in his later post noting a Beldar e-mail: "I don't think citizens should ever ask their government for permission to engage in political speech."

I sympathize with Mr. Patterico. I first read the petition when Instapundit noted that it existed and that he signed it. I wasn't impressed with the 'asking' tone of the petition, either, though that is what is a petition. But I understand the intent, an understanding Beldar noted in an e-mail to Patterico:
"I almost decided not to sign on for the same reasons you express, Patterico, and I certainly respect your decision. I too wish that Congress would change the statute and that the Supremes would change their precedent upholding it. Ultimately, however, I focused on the target of this petition, the FEC, which doesn't have the power to do either. Rather, it has some sort of mandate from Congress that, for now, the courts have refused to hold unconstitutional. So the FEC will be regulating some things, and at a minimum, it will be regulating paid political advertising on the internet. I decided that I could and should urge the FEC not to push things farther in the "wrong" direction, notwithstanding my frustrations with Congress and the Supremes."
McCain-Feingold is the ultimate problem but until such time as this problem is taken care of, petitioning the FEC to go slow is a good interim action to prevent a condition which is worse. And, though it is not for every one, humbly 'asking' via petition is a time honored first step and rooted in our concepts regarding freedom and the redressing grievances when our rights are tread upon:

"In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms." * [Emphasis: mine]

So I consider this to be, at best, a temporary defensive step until other action can be taken and, at worst, just another example "that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." *

I think it is time for "righting" and it ought to take the form of repeal of McCain-Feingold but questions do remain whether there is any regulation in McCain-Feingold worth or necessary to saving. I certainly don't know and Xlrq at Damnum Absque Injuria also asks about that here.

So I offer a suggestion. Since an overabundance of members Congress are blind to the fundamental rights about which this nation was founded, and the President is blind to his oath to preserve and protect these rights, and too many of the Supreme Court justices are blind to the intent of the crucial words and phrases of the First Amendment, it behooves us to take matter into our own hands. Write a bill which repeals McCain-Feingold, completely, and which comprises its own regulations of campaign finance, where campaign finance is really needed. Here is an outline of an approach:

1) Create working groups for the process: one to collect data, one for organizing data, one for composing the bill, one to collate comments, and one to address comments.

2) Set up a Wiki-style format and location for the work to be done, transparently.

3) Promulgate the final copy with commentary on its provisions. [Ed. inquiry: Could this bill replace all campaign finance law, thus making things straightforward, simple and easily referrable?]

4) Prepare a petition in which to present this bill to Congress for (minimal) deliberation, prior to passing.

This process would hardly have been considered before the advent of the Internet considering the organizational and communication work required to make it from a grass- roots to a national effort. And the Internet provides access to considerable, if not all, data needed to make the work comprehensive. It also has easy access to the expertise (on a voluntary basis, of course) needed to run the operation and prepare a fine product. Communication would be a breeze, though we might need some honorary special representatives to promote the cause to the wider and less Internet connected public via the established communication media run by the non-pajama clad. We could call them Internet Senators and Representatives and then, maybe, we could cajole James Lileks into becoming a Senator after all.

Approaching the question of what to do about preserving free speech in this way would have great benefits:

1) First, it would focus all the energies that are currently being spent punditing on the travesty of the McCain-Feingold and its growing dangers.

2) The work would create a fair, reasonable and comprehensive bill (at least, I think it would considering the people I have come to know through reading their blogs.) Can it be worse?

3) It would give those on all sides of the multisided aisle of the Internet's political world a chance to come together by the joint development of a bill, satisfactory to most, if not all.

4) It will add a new dimension to the idea of participatory and representative democracy, one that should get serious attention inside the beltway.

5) It will keep our more hard-headed friends and compatriots, like Mr. Patterico, out of court and possibly out of jail and/or the poor house.

I'm sure others can think of more benefits.

I like to think the Internet, in general, and the blogosphere, in particular, can be more effective in connection with righting wrongs and expanding freedom, particularly freedom of speech. It's already done much in service to the truth, much, much more, I think, than it has in spreading lies and falsities as the some people in the more established communications market like to say. And it will but another example to those freedom lovers the world over that, by collective effort, freedom can be wrested from encroaching government thereby inspiring, encouraging and helping them in their own efforts.

Update: In a unusual fit of comformity, I stuck a title on this post.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

I saw a post a few days ago (sorry, I can't remember where, so ht: blogosphere) about the Philip Bennett interview by the People's Daily and started to write a little rant but thought better of it - my conscious effort at the habit of not trusting what I read in the newspapers (and, I suppose, elsewhere) is getting better.

Hugh Hewitt took the time to e-mail Mr. Bennett and this proved helpful as Mr. Bennett has shown the interview published by the People's Daily to be inaccurate in several respects.

What would be very helpful is if Mr. Bennett transcribed and published the entire recorded interview he has so that a full comparison could be made. A couple of benefits come quickly to mind. One, it will allow all those, particularly the regular readers of People's Daily, with Internet Access to read and compare. (Even better, it might be worthwhile for the WaPo to put it in a special section of the DT version.) Two, it will show how "one of the most important newspapers in the United States and even in the world" does reporting.

Mr. Bennett has been a ... gosh, I hate to say this ... victim of the world having socially diverse standards for faithfully reporting what someone says. I encourage Mr. Bennett to take the lead in stamping this practice out. Publishing a full transcript would be one small stamp but a very good one.

Captain Scarlet really should have put a warning label on the first link, something like "Entering An Incoherent Zone". I had never heard of John Dvorak and hope not to hear of him again. (CS should have highlighted the third comment, by Bill Quick, in that post, too. Pricless.)

SinBot S&D: What, no immunize function? Where's the SinBot Pro?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

"Chinese article says Dear Leader is only fat person in North Korea" is a cute observation in an otherwise serious story relayed from China via North Korea Zone.

Brain Droppings points to a very interesting Taipei Times story summarizing changes coming to US-Japanese military relationship. John O. also points to the Belmont Club's post which considers the US's evolving military strategy and its implications.

Of course, this is what allies do if they aren't this kind of ally. Or have leaders like this kind.

Maybe I am being too harsh with the latter, but it's a gut reaction when I see this on one day:
"There are reports that Tarongoy’s abductors are asking $10 million for his release and that Manila offered to pay $6 million. ... But the President’s spokesman and press secretary, Ignacio Bunye, denied the reports. ...“ We will not pay for any ransom. [If his abductors are demanding a ransom] we leave that to his employer,” {Ignacio} Bunye {President’s spokesman and press secretary} said in a radio interview." [] theirs, {} mine.
and the next day the story is this: "Tarongoy gets a reprieve"

So the question is, should I take a softer approach because it's only happened once before? Or just spread the scorn among those with no principle or intelligence. Did I say intelligence?

Some might ask how I can point to these rumors and unconfirmed reports. They have been denied, haven't they? Then again, why do some have to change a policy they do not have?

Update: Did I say intelligent? I meant gutless.

There were a lot of good stories in Mr. Taranto's "Best of the Web" yesterday. (ht: Instapundit)

Gee, is Stephen Ward minoring in logic at Tufts or did he develop this line all by his lonesome? Sadly, this boy's future in even the international community is bleak - conservatives will humor him, liberals will disdain him and he'll be hugged by every moonbat he meets. (ht: Tim Blair)

Monday, March 14, 2005

Links Update Day: New links are 'partially up' now in the "On the Stairs" menu, and those there have been moved to "Piled for Sorting". I say 'partially up' because what I worried about off and on in prepping the new template, did happen. I lost a bunch of links, likely from entering them into an older working template thinking I was in the most current. I am surprised I did not notice until now because in addition, there are a few menus missing too.

After putting in the five I had previously set up for this week, I also put in some of the ones I found to be missing from the template. There are many more and I will try to get them in tonight as well as update the template for the missing menus. Maybe you noticed I added a menu for those who blogrolled me recently. I did this quickly yesterday when I noticed the link. I have to figure out how to do that better because I have been blog rolled by others earlier (Viking Pundit, Brain Droppings and The Friendly Ghost) but prior to the new template.

Publius at Legal Fiction, noticing the outrage of conservatives over the Roper decision, posted his Linguistic Case Against Scalia. Feddie at Southern Appeal responded , added , and wheedled Publius to respond on the 10th. (ht: Professor Bainbridge) Publius acknowledged , and then responded on the 12th.

There is a load of comments added throughout, by the way. Those in the field of law may find the arguments, the points made, as common or possibly boring rehash. I find it fascinating and thankful there is the blogosphere. It is so available, so handy, and so diverse and so public. And anyone can pipe up on the subject.

So here's my comments, rather limited to hen-pecking, since my experience is not in the field of law. It seems to me Publius, in his initial post, cut off his right hand of support while also cutting off the branch he wanted to sit on. In what appeared to be a nod of understanding for those he criticizes, Publius wrote:
Before I do, let me throw in my two cents on Roper. I'm not going to pretend like Kennedy was clearly right. Scalia raised some strong arguments. But Kennedy had some strong arguments of his own. The case was a close call, and there were good arguments on both sides. Like so many other issues in constitutional law, there was no one right answer, but merely a range of plausible answers. And that's the big point. Kennedy might have been wrong, but he wasn't soooo wrong that it justified the apocalyptic rhetoric we've been hearing about tyranny and despotism destroying the Constitution. It was, at the least, plausible. And in my opinion, correct.
This is his right hand, and regarding that portion I emphasized, I ask: Is it appropriate in this case for Publius to support judges making constitutional decisions when there is a range of plausible decisions, when he, himself, considers that Kennedy might have been wrong? Shouldn't someone who sees action taken by the Court as being one of deciding close calls, one where several directions could be taken in defining what the Constitution includes or excludes, shouldn't that someone also be outraged that judges entered into the province of the legislature? I would think so for what else is it but choosing what the law should be.

Secondly, Publius wraps up his original post by leading us back to the founding but suggests that constantly looking to the founders words or intent is inappropriate. He quotes Jefferson as proof that, even then, we were admonished by Jefferson not to do this, though he leaves it to stand uncommented upon.

This is his branch and I, at least, appreciate Publius wanting to sit on such a weak one. Jefferson was writing to Madison in 1789 from Paris. He was concerned about a subject that, to him, never seemed to be much considered - "whether one generation of men had the right to bind another":
"The question, whether one generation of men has a right to bind another, seems never to have been started either on this or our side of the water. Yet it is a question of such consequences as not only to merit decision, but place also among the fundamental principles of every government. The course of reflection in which we are immersed here, on the elementary principles of society, has presented this question to my mind; and that no such obligation can be transmitted, I think very capable of proof. I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self-evident, that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living; that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. The portion occupied by any individual ceases to be his when himself ceases to be, and reverts to the society."
Notice the sight difference in the quotation, likely just Publius' reliance on sources poor in accuracy and not a willful change by him (correction at the time of posting - Jefferson used part of the phrase once without the word usufruct. See below.) Let me provide the definition of usufruct so you do not need to look it up (I had to):
"(Roman and civil law) the right of enjoying all the advantages derivable from the use of something which belongs to another as far as compatible with the substance of the thing not being destroyed or injured." [Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary, 1989.]
Without dragging this post out, Jefferson mulled the practice of current generations burdening future generations with debt to support his now oft quoted observation and this was his primary concern though he noted the observation can apply also to the idea that society cannot burden future generations with a perpetual constitution or law. I think this latter aspect is, in essence, what Publius may have relied on in using the quote, if he read the letter. He hopes the quote sufficient to support his support of Kennedy's position. But here is a critical part of Jefferson's letter which kills that hope and I'll provide the whole paragraph for context:
"On similar ground it may be proved, that no society can make a perpetual constitution, or even a perpetual law. The earth belongs always to the living generation: they may manage it, then, and what proceeds from it, as they please, during their usufruct. They are masters, too, of their own persons, and consequently may govern them as they please. But persons and property make the sum of the objects of government. The constitution and the laws of their predecessors are extinguished then, in their natural course, with those whose will gave them being. This could preserve that being, till it ceased to be itself, and no longer. Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of thirty-four years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force, and not of right. It may be said, that the succeeding generation exercising, in fact, the power of repeal, this leaves them as free as if the constitution or law had been expressly limited to thirty-four years only. In the first place, this objection admits the right, in proposing an equivalent. But the power of repeal is not an equivalent. It might be, indeed, if every form of government were so perfectly contrived, that the will of the majority could always be obtained, fairly and without impediment. But this is true of no form. The people cannot assemble themselves; their representation is unequal and vicious. Various checks are opposed to every legislative proposition. Factions get possession of the public councils, bribery corrupts them, personal interests lead them astray from the general interests of their constituents; and other impediments arise, so as to prove to every practical man, that a law of limited duration is much more manageable than one which needs a repeal."
Two points here. One, rules made are hard to repeal; it is better to not make the law or to put specified time limits on it. This I think is why Jefferson uses the word usufruct as often as he did (and only once left it out when making this observation.) Two, future generations or any generations for that matter have the power of repeal, but implicit in Jefferson's letter is that a law made in the first instance, in democracies anyway, is made by popular decision, not by five rulers.

Kennedy and the four others did damage to the Constitution, they caused great injury, by not leaving this decision to Congress and by forcing repeal to be either by supermajority or by the appearance of (another) judicial fiat. There is good reason to be outraged.

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