The Wacky World of the First Amendment

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to disrupt military funerals with their protests against gays, perhaps it is time for the church to move the bar a little higher. The Court gave them the right to protest virtually anywhere they want, so why don’t they take their signs and bullhorns into the Supreme Court chambers.

the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of speach, so the church members should be allowed to speak out loud and long in the Court chambers.

The media coverage would be world-class, because the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, and a protest at the Supreme Court would be front-page news. Everyone would hear the Westboro Baptist Church’s message.

Because it is a church, and the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, even if the religion was cobbled together of family members, just so they could walk over the rights of others, the Court certainly would not be able to complain.

First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right of the people to peacefully assemble. The Court would have to uphold their protest.

It is odd that the Court did not mention the First Amendment to the Constitution’s right to petition the government to seek regress of grievances, which is exactly what the family members of the fallen warriors did after the Westboro Baptist Church disrupted funeral services. Somehow I think that if the Court sanctioned protests were held in the Court chambers, the Judges might take a closer look at that section of the First Amendment. I guess its importance is relative to who’s ox is being gored.

If anyone out there believes the founding fathers, the writers of the constitution, the people who fought a war, and buried their military dead with honor and ceremony, would have allowed that type of disruption at a military funeral, they need to go back and read a little history. There are things that are so inappropriate, so obvious, that the founders did not feel the need to address them in the Constitution. The could not foresee the total loss of common sense.

By the way, my hat is off to Judge Samuel Alito, the one dissenting vote. It is good to know that there is still one member of the United States Supreme Court who understands the spirit of the law as it was written by our forefathers.

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Published in: on March 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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For the good of the people

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.
Thomas Jefferson

In the past, the intent of most House and Senate bills fell pretty much into one of four categories. They addressed routine funding for critical services, they echoed the will of the people, they fixed recently discovered problems, or they were for the greater good. The intent of most bills pushed through during the Obama administration is so fuzzy, it is hard to tell what they were designed to do. Because many of the bills proposed under his watch would, and have, radically changed the entire direction of the government, they have come under more scrutiny that those of pervious administrations. The more one looks at them, the less obvious their intent.

I have always been skeptical of almost everything the government does, but since the election of President Obama, my “huh?” meter has been pegging out almost daily. Any time I hear about a new bill, especially any that are so convoluted that no one can read them, four things pop into my mind. #1: What is the intent of the bill? #2: Who stands to gain financially from the bill? #3: What are the unintended consequences of the bill? #4: Can this thing possible be constitutional?

Take the healthcare bill. It was possible the most convoluted, impossible to read bill ever written. It was rushed through congress, without being read (“we have to pass it to know what is in it,” according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi), all so that most of it can be implemented in 2014, after President Obama is out of office. Why is that?

What was its intent? Was it written to gain control of one sixth of the economy, to control rising health costs, to lower insurance rates, to make sure every person in the Unites States has insurance, to control student loans (yeah, that is in there too), to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid, to assist hospitals or to assist doctors? Perhaps it was all of the above.

Who stands to gain financially from it? Well, trial attorneys and that little bank that is now the sole student loan outlet jumps to mind. There are some perks for unions and some pharmaceutical companies. The IRS certainly gets a boost in employees. New bureaucracies are established. They have to be staffed with powerful new appointed supervisors and personnel. All of those gain, and they are just the obvious ones.

What are the unintended consequences? There are too many to list here. I recommend a list maintained by The Foundry called Side Effects . They started it right after the bill was signed into law and updated it constantly as more flaws are found.

Can this thing possible be constitutional? To be truthful, I never asked this question prior to the Obama administration. I never saw the need. Now it must be considered with every new bill. If the Supreme Court, in reviewing this bill, finds that the government can force individuals to buy insurance as a requirement to be a citizen, then they can control what and where individuals can get anything. The first indication is contained in the same bill.

As indicated above, nestled in the huge bill is a section on student loans. Now, thanks to the foresight of our ever-diligent congress and President, anyone looking for a student loan has had their life simplified. There is no longer the drudgery of searching for the loan that best meets a student’s needs. The student is limited to one bank and one interest rate – – presumably controlled by the government. Why doesn’t that give me a warm and fuzzy feeling? Thank God, we longer have to worry about marketplace competition.

What might be the next government edict on what individuals must buy? I would say trash hauling services, but here in St. Louis County the government as already forced me to give up an inexpensive trash service that I liked and forced me to buy a more expensive service, with mandatory embellishments, I do not use and extra charges for things I used to get free. Once again, confusion from marketplace competition has been eliminated.

In the last couple of years, any of our homes have been outfitted with smart meters. I am sure I paid for mine; however, I do not recall placing the order for the one installed on my house. Smart meters are wonderful little gadgets that allow the electric company to not only check on a homeowner’s electric usage whenever they want, but to control the usage. In the future, when the coal-powered generators are shut down because of their CO2 emissions, the brown outs can be controlled from a central location to try to offset wind and solar power deficiencies.

Part of the stimulus package was for the installation of insulation and weather-stripping on houses. Homeowners could get a tax rebate for having the work done. This was usually done for a cost of a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, but the cost in stimulus money was about $78,000 per insulated house. Whether you insulated your house or not, you are paying for those who did – – and at a price you never would have paid yourself.

Europe has phased out incandescent light bulbs to force everyone to buy the compact fluorescent light bulbs – – they are more ecologically responsible; even though they constitute a hazardous material if they are broken, they flicker and alter the appearance of everything and are generally hated. With Obama pushing the U.S. toward the European system, how long before that happens here. Presumably, all it will take is to place the requirement deep in the next unreadable bill. We will learn about it after it is passed. Either that or Obama can simply nationalize all the companies that make light bulbs.

The American electorate has allowed the first steps to be taken on a very slippery slope. Only the present makeup of the Supreme Court and an upcoming election can pull us back to the top. November 2nd is a serious date. Every household should have it marked on every calendar. And until 2012, we need to pray Obama does not get to name any more Supreme Court Judges. The Constitution cannot stand any more justices who think the Constitution is just another scrap of paper; even if Obama thinks it is for the good of the people.

Published in: on August 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mosque near ground zero

Yes, my life is a life of combat; I can say that this has never stopped for a single instant. It is a combat that started for me at the age of 16. I’m 90 years old now, and my motivation hasn’t changed; it’s the same fervour that drives me.
Ahmed Ben Bella-politician

I find myself in an unusual position today. I have to agree with something President Obama said. Well, I, along with 61% of those in a Fox News Poll Click link, believe that Imam Feisal Abdul Raufis has a constitutional right to put a mosque near ground zero of the 9/11 attack. I also agree with the 64% of those polled who think it is the wrong thing to do.

I believe this Imam is mocking us. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to mock is defined as to treat with contempt or ridicule. How dare this Imam place us in this unnecessary quandary of honoring the Constitution and dishonoring those who died in an extremist Muslim attack, or dishonoring the Constitution and honoring those who died in an extremist Muslim attack.

This is the equivalent to the Reverend Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church (the one that pickets the funerals of our heroes, killed fighting radical Islam, and says they died as God’s punishment for homosexuality) deciding to build a church next to the Arlington National Cemetery. That too would be Constitutional, but both would be in-your-face monuments to offensive extremist views. I should note that the Westboro Baptist Church is not affiliated with any other Baptist church or organization; we cannot be as sure of the affiliations to the purposed mosque. Imam Feisal Abdul Raufis refuses to divulge the source of the millions of dollars needed for the building of the mosque. Why is that?

I could be wrong about Imam Feisal Abdul Raufis, and he is in a historically unique position to prove I am wrong. He claims Islam is the religion of peace. He says the mosque will improve relations between Muslims and non-Muslims. He can make this statement absolutely true, be a hero to America, and prove me wrong all at the same time, simply by moving the location of the mosque a mile or so away. Let us see if his brand of Islam equates to the religion of peace and seeks to improve Muslim/non-Muslim relations, because a mosque adjacent to ground zero can do nothing but exacerbate Muslim/non-Muslim relations.

Published in: on August 15, 2010 at 11:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Whoop, there it is!

Every unskilled illegal immigrant who enters the United States for work drives up healthcare costs for every American. And, every illegal immigrant we turn a blind eye toward weakens the rule of law our country is founded on.
Elton Gallegly-politician

Now we know why President Obama apposes to the Arizona illegal alien bill. It calls for the taking into custody (arresting sounds so much better) of illegal aliens, and turning them over to the federal authorities for deportation. Deportation is NO part of the Obama plan.

In the Presidents first speech on immigration yesterday, he says

Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth, it’s a matter of faith

He is now looking for a comprehensive immigration bill, which includes a path for citizenship for the countries 11 million(?) illegal aliens.

His message seems somewhat garbled because he also says

if you believe in yourself and you play by the rules, then there is a place for you in the United States of America

What about that “play by the rules” section? Most in the United States can certainly understand that. That is why there is not any real opposition to “legal” immigration; however, somewhere around 70% of the population is against illegal immigration and making citizens of those who came into the country illegally.

President Reagan gave immunity a chance. It did not work. It was perhaps the biggest mistake of his administration. 3 million were made citizens and it gave the impetus for somewhere around 20 million (not 11 million) to cross the border in their footsteps.

What to do? How about sealing the borders and every state following the Arizona plan. We might be surprised on how quickly those 11 or 20 million illegal aliens could be deported.

Then we could have a compressive immigration bill. It could say something like:
1) All persons seeking to become citizens of the United States will follow the immigration laws to enter the country.
2) All persons entering the country will pass through border entry points.
3) All persons entering the country will have a valid passport, visa, and/or work permit.
4) Anyone entering the country illegally will be immediately deported unless involved in another crime. If another crime is involved, they will be tried. If convicted they will serve their sentence and them be deported. If not convicted, they will be immediately deported.
5) Anyone entering or attempting to enter the country illegally a second time will be sentenced to two years in federal prison followed by immediate deportation.
6) A third attempt to enter the country illegally will result in a five-year sentence followed by immediate deportation.
7) Any subsequent attempts will result in a ten-year sentence followed by immediate deportation.
8) Attempting to smuggle illegal aliens into the country will result in a five-year sentence.
9) Aiding or abetting illegal aliens while they are in the country will result in a $10,000 fine for each alien for the first offence.
10) Subsequent convections for aiding or abetting illegal aliens will result in a $25,000 for each alien and one year in federal prison.
11) Employers hiring illegal aliens will be fined $10,000 for each alien for the first offence.
12) A second offence of an employer hiring illegal aliens will result in a $50,000 fine for each alien, two years in federal prison, and permanent loss of all business licenses.
13) Anyone entering the country with the intent to commit crimes of terror will receive life in a federal prison. If any act of terrorism causing a death, the sentence will be death.

Gee, that did not even require two thousand pages of unreadable legalese. It is simple enough that illegal aliens, those who would smuggle illegal aliens, and those who would hire them can understand it.

If President Obama’s idea of a comprehensive, and the one listed above, were both placed on a ballot, which one would garner the most votes?

Published in: on July 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Where are those things?

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
Thomas Jefferson—former President

I spent some time today rereading the Constitution trying to find the sections allowing the federal government to dictate how much sugar or salt I can consume. While I was at it, I looked for the sections covering abortion, obesity, medical care, or insurance coverage.

I have returned to my original contention: it takes a lawyer, Constitutional scholar, or an activist to contort this simple document enough to drag these things from where they do not exist. At their best, they fall under state control . . . or better yet, they revert to “We the People”; just as it says in the 10th Amendment.

Published in: on May 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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