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Showing posts with label US Constitution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US Constitution. Show all posts

Friday, July 29, 2016

Do You Understand The Constitution?

Before I get to Hillary, I want to turn the spotlight on this guy. Mr. Khan represents what our country is all about. This was the ultimate mic drop moment to the people who are now running the GOP. Their hatred looks more ugly now than it ever has...

 

Saturday, December 07, 2013

'Tis The Season

It's the holidays and that means it's time to give back to those less fortunate than ourselves. With this spirit in mind, I thought I would answer all of the questions that a commenter (Not My Name) has been asking this year and give not only him a Christmas present but the four people that read his comments a gift as well. I've already answered many of them in posts or comments previously but he seems like he needs the attention and is lacking something pretty significant in his social life to spend as much time as he has writing in my comments section. So I thought one post with all my answers would be a great way to lift him out of his depression.

Question: Is the Constitution law? 

The context of this question was the 2nd amendment and I have already answered it pretty thoroughly. Yet there is a more concise way to answer...

Answer: Yes, the perfectly legal to amend and continually open to interpretation, as evidenced by 200+ years of tort, United States Constitution is law.

Question: Why would an uninsured person going to the ER cause insurance rates to go up?

Answer: Because they often can't pay and due to the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), a law signed by Ronald Reagan and a bipartisan Congress, every person must be cared for regardless of their financial situation. The story of Sharon Ford was a primary driver behind this law. Note the pro life tone to what transpired and consider this recent post of mine. As the link notes, taxpayers pick up the cost via public dollars or raised rates that stem from cash strapped hospitals picking up the tab.

Here NMN assumes that he has led me down a path that will show me that the government is the problem. Yet this same government stepped in to pass this law so we could save lives. Would NMN get rid of this law and let unborn babies like Sharon Ford's child die? I suppose only he can answer that but a reversal of this law would save taxpayers money so I guess he has a real puzzler on his hands. Maybe he should consult the Bible. On second thought, maybe not, as we can see from the next two questions.

Question: Faith in what? 

Answer: Your faith in Jesus and God. It's very, very weak. That's why you need others to believe exactly as you do lest you be tempted to stray from Republican Jesus. You claim to be a "rugged individualist" yet positively can't stand the fact that someone might think differently than you not just with your religious faith but your political faith as well. Like the communists and socialists you decry, you want everyone to believe exactly as you do otherwise you condemn them. You also make the mistake of having faith in conservative political leaders and ideologies. Faith is reserved for spiritual matters not for issues like the economy or health care. Even here your faith is weak as well. I'm not responsible for your insecurities. You are. And Jesus is very clear about people that judge and cast the first stone.

One other note on this question. NMN has refused, despite repeated queries, to outright reject the various sects of Christianity that don't conform exactly to his warped version of it. He's certainly rejected my Christian beliefs. I wonder why he hasn't rejected the Unitarian Church, for example. Or the peace churches.

Primary Question: Authors of words have a meaning they intend to communicate, and that meaning is the only valid "interpretation" of any writing. Do you agree or disagree? 

Related Questions: What makes you think God is UNABLE to do what mere humans can do—get someone to write what they want written? So you're claiming that the Jeremiah 31:33-34 prophecy has already come to pass? That every single person in the world sees and accepts Yahweh as his/her God, even Juris Imprudent? That there is no disagreement about God because we all know Him directly?   

Answer: As a writer myself, I say no to the primary question because maybe someone else can dream up something even more wonderful than I intended. Being a reflective person, I welcome it, of course:) Perhaps I could inspire someone to a higher meaning, right?  The other day in class I was offering a critique of John Maynard Keynes and a student raised his hand and said, "It seems that you are saying that Keynes' theories are too psychologically based." I hadn't actually said that but he took what I was saying and brought it to a higher level. It was magnificent. But really, it depends on the author. Bob Dylan would say yes. John Lennon would say no. NMN also seems to be lacking here in his understanding of the use of metaphor. Perhaps he doesn't understand symbolism either.

Anyway, the context of this question and the related ones is the Bible and the author's intent. As with all of his Bible, legal, constitutional, and morality related questions, NMN assumes he is the authority on the author's intent and proceeds (as always) with great hubris. He recently intimated that he is a more valid interpreter of the Bible than the pope. Wow, he's smart!

So, the question he lacks the courage to ask is "Am I the authority on Biblical interpretation, constitutional interpretation, and morality in terms of spiritual and civic law?" Or, more briefly, "Do I know what God is thinking?" The answer is no (and it's no for me as well) because he continually makes false assumptions based on emotions and a completely instransigent ideology. The failure is not with the authors but with NMN himself because he misinterprets, either purposefully, through ignorance or both, the author's intent. And, as I have mentioned far too many times, he also purposefully misinterprets what I say and turns my writings into gotcha questions (so, how long have you been beating your wife?) in order to go for the win and show off for the TSM people that read his comments. Does he know any other way? Thus far, the answer is no.

Primary Question: Do you think it's okay to punish a child for the parent's crime?

Answer: No, but I wish it were OK to punish parents for children's crimes. There would be a lot less gun deaths and spree shootings if that were the case. Perhaps parents would think twice about having guns in the house with their mentally ill child if their asses were on the line.

The background to this question is abortion and NMN falsely assumes (more on false assumptions aka lying below) that the moment of inception equals a child. It does not. Science (remember facts, evidence and logic?) shows us that there is not a fetus until the 10th week of development. The link above has detailed images of development and people can judge for themselves as to what constitutes a "child." For me that's towards the end of the first trimester which is why I have no problem with a federal ban on abortion extended to include the 2nd trimester. I'd even consider going back earlier with a ban when brain, heart and lung functions are more fully developed. A question that NMN or other pro life folks need to answer...is something human if it has no heart?

Of course, there is no such thing as compromise in NMN's world. Even I have to consider that my views may be wrong. Can the child survive outside of the womb? When? What of the mother's rights? Is her body now a ward of the state? This is a gray area because it's not as cut and dried as human-not human. And the Right doesn't do well at all with gray areas. It's not a person at every stage of neonatal development and even when it is in my view, should the fetus really be granted 14th amendment rights? Consider as well that the same argument against banning guns (only criminals will have guns) applies here. Only criminals will provide abortions and there will have to be funds for enforcement and personnel assigned to police it. Who is going to pay for it? Imagine what happened during Prohibition with liquor happening with abortion in terms of crime. Witness what is happening now with drugs. It would be a nightmare. NMN, like many on the Right, don't really think before they bloviate about nearly all of the issues facing our country today. Recall this as well. 

If we left behind the rock solid stubbornness of both sides in the abortion debate, we might actually be able to solve this problem. Abortion is not birth control and it should be harder to obtain. Single woman in their 20s are the group that need to be targeted as they have the most abortions. At a certain stage (earlier than what is legal now), they should not be allowed to have an abortion unless their life is threatened. If they are raped or a victim of incest, they should use the day after pill or terminate in the first couple of weeks. Family planning and sex education need to be improved. People have to behave more responsibly when it comes to sex. Overall, there needs to be societal shift so demand for abortion is reduced it not all together eliminated. As with most issues, the Right can't help but focus on supply when they should be focusing on demand. Get rid of the demand and you get rid of abortion.

Primary Question: Is "false" equal to "truth"?

Related Questions: Even Joe Biden admits that the administration's gun control actions won't stop the shootings. So why do those things? Since the leaders of the Democrat's effort to implement universal background checks say that "any bill without a records provision would be as toothless as an honor system", do you still assert that "[n]o one is talking about universal registration" and/or that it can be implemented without registration?

Answer: No, false does not equal truth and NMN does an excellent job of illustrating this given the content of the primary question and the related questions. Honestly, all of his questions are, in one way or another, based on false assumptions about the issues of the day or, in this case, me and what I am asserting. With me, that's part and parcel to his childish games.

The context of this specific line of query (along with all of the other gun questions he asks) is based on the false assumption and an inconsolable paranoia that the federal government is out to get our guns. For NMN, any changes to gun laws will result in tyranny. Our system of checks and balances make this highly unlikely. Consider how difficult it is to pass something as simple as a budget let alone a new law on the regulation of guns. A tyranny assumes swift and decisive action not government by sedimentation which is what we have now. He pulls half truths, spins, or simply lies with this category of questions.

Joe Biden's comment is quite different than what NMN has described and essentially (and hilariously) asks, "Why even have laws?" In fact, this very question is at the root of conservative whining. Like the adolescent that simply can't take the rules of the house, conservatives grouse about having to follow rules they don't like. New rules are the worst, man! They suck, and like, the Right doesn't want to do them and stuff. Of course, the rest of the adults in our country recognize that as our society evolves, problems arise and sometimes need to be addressed with (gasp!) new laws. Pretending that a problem doesn't exist or will magically go away (the conservative go to thinking these days) doesn't work.

The background check question is a half truth at best and based on opinions and heresay, not the actual law or an evidence based argument. The Manchin-Toomey bill is available here for review and a Google search (unaided by someone as biased as me:)) will show the full story on his related questions. And why can't we figure out a way to improve gun safety while honoring the 2nd amendment? We are the greatest nation on the planet, aren't we? I find it amusing that someone such as NMN decries those who "hate America" yet appears to be doing just that. Clearly the thinks very little of the leaders of this country and the people in it but that's the adolescent problem with authority again. Equally as amusing is the fact that NMN spends a lot of time and energy debunking things that Democrats say, accusing them of being incompetent liars, but on the issue of universal background checks, they are now suddenly "telling the truth." Wow...it's a Christmas miracle!!

Will NMN accept this gift in the spirit of the season and be gracious? Will his obsession with me continue? Or something else? Or will he reject my gift, take it back, psychotically keep asking the questions over and over again, circle jerk for juris, GD, 6Kings and Larry, and pretend that I never answered the questions? Honestly, it doesn't really matter.

Because in the final analysis we will never, ever see the kind of our nation he claims he wants. The trajectory of our country is evolving to fit the age of globalization and leaving behind backwards, hateful, and ignorant thinking. NMN's comments and questions are great examples of the fear that only comes with the realization that old ideologies are quickly becoming irrelevant.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Both To Change

With a few days until the release of Vice President Biden's committee recommendations regarding gun violence, I thought we should take a look at the 2nd Amendment and talk about its intent and purpose. There's likely going to be a whole bunch of mouth foaming, chest thumping and downright moonbat nuttery after Tuesday so let's examine the center piece of the right to bear arms. After that, I will offer my recommendations for the path I think we should pursue regarding gun safety.

Here is the 2nd Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Let's talk about the first part ("a well regulated militia"). Alexander Hamilton explains the meaning of this part of the 2nd Amendment quite well in Federalist Paper #29.

This desirable uniformity can only be accomplished by confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority. It is, therefore, with the most evident propriety, that the plan of the convention proposes to empower the Union "to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by congress."

"If a well regulated militia be the most natural defence of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security...confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority...(and) reserving to the states...the authority of training the militia"

This first part of the 2nd Amendment establishes the intention to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, and locally enforce the law. Essentially, what Hamilton is describing here is the National Guard, the modern day equivalent of a militia system. He is very careful to point out, however, that the national authority has the power over this organization, not the states themselves. After all, it is the federal government, not the states, that are responsible for providing national security. He concludes this paper by dismissing concerns about tyranny (let's remember that for a little later).

The next part of the 2nd Amendment talks about the right of the people to keep and bear arms and how that shall not be infringed. Some Constitutional scholars have taken this to mean as part of the militia but not as an individual. I disagree. It's clearly the individual and it doesn't matter whether or not they are in the military. This would be the part of the amendment that says that people (as a collective or individuals) have a right to defend themselves. Exactly what they are defending themselves against is where the problems begin.

The chief complaint about the Right is that they must have access to whatever they deem necessary to defend themselves. This includes the weapons of war that a soldier would use. In looking at Hamilton's explanation of the 2nd Amendment above, it's clear that he (and the founding fathers) did not want clusters of mini armies around the United States. He wanted a national army to preside over the local militia and provide the people with basic defense. The key word here is basic.

Justice Antonin Scalia, in writing the majority for DC v Heller, said

Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. ... For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues.(54)

Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our [majority] opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. (54-55)

We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. [Precedent says] that the sorts of weapons protected were those 'in common use at the time' [the Second Amendment was approved]. ... We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of 'dangerous and unusual weapons.  (55)

Scalia reiterated this point on Fox News last summer.

Scalia said exceptions to gun rights were recognized when the Second Amendment was written, including a tort that prohibited people from carrying a “really horrible weapon just to scare people like a head ax or something.” 

Here we see a conservative justice leaving the door wide open for a qualitative analysis of the 2nd Amendment.

With violent crime on the decline, I often wonder why the gun rights folks would be so worried about domestic types of violence that they require the modern day equivalent of a head ax. Why do they need multiple guns and ones with magazines that hold 30 bullets or more if there are less people, not more, that are victims of violent crime? The scenarios they come up with as possibilities are so unlikely that I honestly have to laugh. I mean, they don't all live in Compton or Cabrini Green!

So, we all know now (thanks to Alex Jones' mouth foam on steroids the other day) the real reason why they want their own arsenals: it's because they think our government is tyrannical. They view Democrats and the president as illegitimate holders of office who are just waiting (any day now...) to institute a totalitarian regime  and send us all to re-education camps. Many like Kevin Baker think it's going on right now and their guns are the only things that are preventing a "full" takeover. In short, Barack Obama is King George and 1776 will commence again.

Here's a little hint for them: if the federal government was really the fascist regime they say it is, they'd be hog tied right now, sans guns, and being forced fed, Clockwork Orange style, Karl Marx and gay porn. Because the simple fact is, folks, the government has much bigger and far more numerous weapons than your average gun rights person. Remember, our armed forces have more firepower than the next twenty countries combined.

And many on the Right know this because they support the funding of this every day.

Thus, we come to the ultimate irony that is the gun lobby. They scream loud and hard about tyrannical governments but they shout with equal force about how defense spending is rock solid Constitutional. So, in essence, they are supporting (with gusto) the same "tyrannical government" they fear will come some day to take their guns away...fueling it more and more every year with sophisticated weapons. In essence, they are empowering their "enemies" so their position makes no sense to me.

Now, to be fair, there are a growing number of libertarians (a few who post here like juris) who would like to see the defense department gutted. Many of my present and former students who are of a libertarian bend (there are quite a number of them, btw) want the same thing. At least they aren't hypocrites but they are wrong about the government. Tyranny is not going to happen here for a number of reasons. Our government is not a monolith. We have a brilliant system of checks and balances that will not allow a situation that would require insurrection. This lack of true central power is evident as DC is filled with a whole host of mini power bases who all struggle with one another on a daily basis. The end result is that not much gets done. If anything, the government is sedimentary which is a different kind of danger and one which we feel the consequences of every day. Of course, this is why shootings like Sandy Hook and Aurora have taken place.

So, I'm pleased to see that the plan that the Biden Group is going to release is going to be comprehensive recommendations that bring together all of the elements that are needed to lessen the possibility of this happening again while, at the same time, maintaining the right to bear arms. It's not going to simply be a matter of limiting the type of weapon or having a military grade classification of some weapons. It's going to mean background checks on every single gun purchase in America. No more loopholes for gun shows or internet sales. It's going to mean regular safety checks and mental health exams as well as demonstrating need to own certain types of weapons. Now that we know the profile of these shooters, we can make every effort to ensure that people like Adam Lanza never be allowed to have guns. This is where the mental health element comes in and, folks, it has to be taken seriously with a national effort to remove the stigma of having and seeking treatment for these sorts of problems.

With all of this in mind, here are my action items that would enable us as a nation to take giant steps towards solving this problem.

1. Vastly improve mental health in this country from a federal level all the way down to a community level. Launch a multi-pronged campaign to remove the stigma of talking about this and aggressively encourage young men who fit this profile to seek out help.

2. Universal background checks for every single person buying a gun at any time. Background checks are common in just about everything these days (getting a job, apt, buying a house or car) so there should be no problem requiring everyone to do this. No more gun show or internet loopholes. Private sales are also included here. Stiff penalties for those who break this law.

3. Classify weapons like the Bushmaster as military grade and require those who wish to own it to go through more rigorous screening. This system should be modeled after the Israel paradigm. This will likely cause mouth foaming on the part of gun rights folks. This is when their paranoia, laziness, irresponsibility and insecurity need to be exposed. Their nervousness about showing their moonbat too much in public is evidence enough that they know they are in the very small minority on this one. In short, we need more national interviews with folks like Alex Jones:)

4. A national tracking system for the movement and sale of guns. Few on the right whine about this when it comes to tracking Muslims or how much Sudafed people buy. This can help law enforcement catch criminals in a more timely fashion.

5. Armed police officers in every school. This is already true of many high schools but this should extend to junior high and grade schools as well. Funding, of course, is lacking in this department along with man power so it may have to be, at least at the outset, that increased patrols serve the need for the time being.

6. Make gun trafficking, giving a gun to a minor, and having a gun near or in a school a felony. In short, zero tolerance.

7. Step up prosecution of criminals who try to buy guns and crack down hard on rogue gun dealers.

8. Have regular gun buy back events and offer large amounts of cash for weapons that are military grade and clips above 10 bullets.

Obviously, this is not an all-encompassing list but it's a start. Note the absence of a two items:

1. An assault weapons ban or a ban on high ammunition clips. One of these or both will likely be in Biden's proposal on Tuesday. Not only is not a good idea politically but it won't have any sort of measurable effect other than piss people off who can marginalized and exposed for their nuttery in other ways. It's important to note, as I have above, that such a ban would not be unconstitutional, as Justice Scalia explained above. Further, the notion that all guns (rifles, shotguns, handguns) are going to be taken away after Newton is silly. It's not going to happen.

2. Banning gun free zones. The only people that should have guns in schools are police or trained security personnel. Allowing teachers, staff, or an Alex Jones type parent to carry a gun into a school is not a good idea. My reason for this is that I simply don't trust people. As I always say, it's not the guns, it's the people, specifically Americans. They suck with guns and have proven themselves to be massively irresponsible with them.

At the end of the day, I don't think that all of these ideas are perfect nor will they entirely solve the problem. That's the caricature that the Right uses to paint the left and then when things don't fall together so neatly (as they often do in life), they can play the adolescent blame game and capitalize on people's ignorance and fear. They have nothing themselves and it's far easier to be a critic than actually have the balls to put something forward.

The items on my list are meant to be a beginning down a path that will likely be a long process. Guns are not the reason why our society suffers so much violence. It's the people and our culture.

It's time for both to change.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flaunting the Founding Fathers?

Today I'm wondering where exactly in the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, or the subsequent amendments does it say that one must present a photo ID to vote. I've been assured by my buddies on the right that they know the Constitution better than anyone and will, under any circumstances, most definitely adhere to to it.

After all, they wouldn't want to be accused of flaunting the founding fathers like Barack X, would they?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Imagining Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm wondering what our first Treasury Secretary would think of our current economic situation. On the surface, one would think that the author of The Federalist Papers would offer great insight into the limits of government regarding the US Constitution. After all, this was the guy who argued against having a Bill of Rights.

Yet, it was Hamilton who, just two years after publishing the Federalist Papers, issued a state paper calling for the first central bank in our country's history. This idea was the great granddaddy of the Federal Reserve. More importantly, there was not a single word in our Constitution that allowed for such an institution.

Nonetheless, the man who is held up as the one who knows exactly what the Constitution means went to Article I Section 8.

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

From this, he determined that it gave Congress the power to create a central bank. Given the fact that Congress had the power to collect taxes and borrow money, he reasoned that a central bank would help this process considerably. In looking at this line from Section 8, he argued that there are implied meanings in our Constitution. Meanings that give power, not only to the enumerated items but also to the implied ones.

Jefferson and Madison couldn't believe it. They knew as well as several others that there was no such power guaranteed in the Constitution. They argued vociferously against it. But our first president (another Founding Father) George Washington agreed with Hamilton. And thus was born our first national bank.

Essentially, what I am saying is that by taking this action, two of our Founding Fathers...one an author of a primary source on the Constitution...stated in no uncertain terms that it is a living document and open to interpretation by the people we elect.

So, the next time you hear someone yelling about strict readings of the US Constitution and what our founding fathers intended, tell them this story...that is, right after you wipe their spit from your face.