Category Archives: Constitution

Morality And Religion

Constitution, Founding Fathers, History, Law, Morality, Religion

On this Good Friday and Passover, it is worth remembering George Washington’s message on morality and religion, in his 1796 Farewell Address.

“Washington—in light of the dreadful events which had occurred in Revolutionary France—wished to dispel for good any notion that America was a secular state. It was a government of laws but also of morals,” writes historian Paul Johnson, in The History of the American People. “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity,’ he insisted, ‘religion and morality are indispensable supports.’ Anyone who tried to undermine these ‘great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens,’ was the very opposite of a patriot.” (P. 229)

There can be no “security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice.” Nor can morality be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

What Washington was saying, explains Johnson, is that America, “being a free republic, dependent for its order on the good behavior of its citizens, cannot survive without religion. And that was in the nature of things.” (P. 229)

It’s hard to reconcile modern-day USA with the America the Founding Fathers bequeathed and envisaged. The law, a branch in what has become a tripartite tyranny, has plunged Americans into a struggle to express their faith outside their homes and places of worship.

Forgotten in all this is that religion is also a proxy for morality. (And I say this as an irreligious individual.)


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A Law Unto Themselves

Constitution, Founding Fathers, Healthcare, Justice, Law, The Courts

Why stage a judicial intervention when you can sit back and let the executive and the legislature accrue more power, a power that invariably will redound to the Courts as well?

On Monday, the High Court, which should check the other two branches of government—how is that working out?—decided against taking up “the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program that collects bulk telephone data of millions of Americans.” (NJ)

When the Supreme Court has the chance to strike down rights-violating laws and legislation (like the Obamacare individual mandate)—it so often declines.

“Monday’s decision,” concludes the National Journal (too charitably, in my opinion), “reaffirms expectations that the justices would rather allow the issue to percolate within the circuit courts first.”

(At least NJ covers such stuff.)

In the case of Obama’s Affordable Care Act, John G. Roberts Jr., chief of the country’s legal politburo of proctologists, rewrote Obamacare, and then proceeded to provide the fifth vote to uphold the individual mandate undergirding the law, thereby undeniably and obscenely extending Congress’s taxing power.

Face it, the idea of a judiciary that would police the executive as an arm of a self-correcting tripartite government is worse than naive. Rather, it WAS recklessly naive of the American Founding Fathers to imagine that branches of a government, each of whose power is enhanced when the power of the other branches grows, would serve as a check on one another.


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A Supremely Ugly And Evil Oligarchy

Constitution, Gender, Healthcare, Left-Liberalism, Religion, The Courts

“Decent people are sick and tired of conservatives in their bedrooms and liberals in every other room.” This applies to the tyranny that is the U.S. SCOTUS (Supreme Court). It also covers the Court’s philosophical complexion, unless Justice Anthony Kennedy deigns to injects a tiny smidgen of libertarianism, if you can call it that, into this oligarchy’s debates. Via SCOTUSblog:

This morning, the [SCOTUS] heard a new and different challenge arising out of the Affordable Care Act: can a business be required to provide its female employees with health insurance that includes access to free birth control, even if doing so would violate the strong religious beliefs of the family that owns the business?

Said Ugly and Evil (behold. Or under “Recent Headlines and Pictures”):

“Those employers could choose not to give health insurance [to all their employees] and pay not that high a penalty – not that high a tax,” Sotomayor said. … “And in that case Hobby Lobby [plaintiff] would pay $2,000 per employee, which is less that Hobby Lobby probably pays to provide insurance to its employees,” Kagan said. “So there is a choice here. It’s not even a penalty by – in the language of the statute. It’s a payment or a tax. There’s a choice.”

Yes, push the poor male victims of Obamacare and all right-thinking women onto the Zerocare exchange, just because some females wish to screw themselves sillier on the public dime. These despicable women “have the right to purchase the stuff, but not to rope other Americans (including insurers) into supplying it.”


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UPDATED: Putting Lipstick On The Pigs At NSA*

Constitution, Democrats, Homeland Security, Propaganda, Republicans, Technology, Terrorism

We’re doing the right thing; we’re not doing anything illegal,” said Four-Star General Keith Alexander to Fox News’ Bret Baier. An otherwise good reporter, Baier has been asking some poignant questions of the very clever, dissembling, outgoing director of the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional, naturally illicit and all-round reprehensible spying programs. However, Baier, another bright lad, seems to be merely going through the motion; making sure he does journalistic due diligence without any forceful follow-up. A less than obligatory follow-up would be: “I know that what you do is probably ‘legal,’ but is it ‘moral’?”

The occasion of the interview? Obama’s likely bogus “calls for an end to NSA’s bulk phone data collection.”

“What would you do to Edward Snowden if you were alone in a room with him” was more revealing of Baier’s sympathies. Alexander vaporized about the assorted entrapment operations to which hoovering up trillions of messages have led. (More about “The Dynamics of Entrapment.”)

BAIER: Former President Jimmy Carter saying he writes letters instead of sending e-mails because he’s worried that you’re listen — you’re reading his e-mails.

ALEXANDER: Well, we’re not. So he can now go back to writing e-mails. The reality is, we don’t do that. And if we did, it would be illegal and we’d be found, uh, I think accoun — held accountable and responsible. Look at all the folks that have looked at what we’re doing, from the president’s review group to Congress to the courts to the DNI, DOD, Justice. Everybody reviews what we do to see if anybody is doing anything illegal like you suggest. No one has found anything, zero, except for in 12 cases where people did that and we had already reported those.

* With apologies to pretty pigs.

UPDATE (3/26): The great Glenn Greenwald seems surprised that, much like Republicans, Democrats are opportunistic, lying, bottom-feeders. He notes that “what rational people do, by definition, is” this:

if a political official takes a position you agree with, then you support him, but when he does a 180-degree reversal and takes the exact position that you’ve been disagreeing with, then you oppose him. That’s just basic. Thus, those of us who originally defended Obama’s decision to release the photos turned into critics once he took the opposite position – the one we disagreed with all along – and announced that he would try to suppress the photos.
But that’s not what large numbers of Democrats did. Many of them first sided with Obama when his administration originally announced he’d release the photos. But then, with equal vigor, they also sided with Obama when – a mere two weeks later – he took the exact opposition position, the very anti-transparency view these Democrats had been attacking all along when voiced by Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney.
At least for me, back then, that was astonishing to watch. It’s one thing to strongly suspect that people are simply adopting whatever views their party’s leader takes. But this was like the perfect laboratory experiment to prove that: Obama literally took exact opposition positions in a heated debate within a three week period and many Democrats defended him when he was on one side of the debate and then again when he switched to the other side.

“The Leader is right when he does X, and he’s equally right when he does Not X. That’s the defining attribute of the mindset of a partisan hack, an authoritarian, and the standard MSNBC host. …”

MORE.


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Vagina-Centric, Tax-Sponsored, Monument To Republican Mindlessness

Constitution, Feminism, Gender, Individualism Vs. Collectivism, Republicans, Taxation

Forget about upholding the Constitution, Republicans can’t even uphold the interests of their primary constituency. Instead, they insist on stalking and courting identity groups—women, for one—that can’t stand the Grand Old Party.

As deficient as it is, there is no warrant in the Constitution for stealing from taxpayers in order to aggrandize women. But leave it to House Republicans to plot a vote “this year on legislation promoting construction of a National Women’s History Museum.”

Perhaps they’ll get the women’s vote? Forget about it. “Sisters love Uncle Sam,” and while Republicans do too, sisters don’t perceive the GOP to be as statist as they’d like.

… The move lends enormous momentum to the years-long push to establish a memorial to women’s history near the National Mall — a proposal that’s lingered in Congress for nearly two decades without ever reaching the president’s desk.

Congressional supporters from both parties have been working behind the scenes to rally backing and pressure leaders to stage a vote on the bill this year, even as Congress’s shift into campaign mode has left little appetite for most non-essential legislation ahead of November’s midterms.

Cantor spokeswoman Megan Whittemore said the congressman supports the bill and intends to bring it to the floor.

Museum supporters wasted no time praising the announcement, with Rep. Carolyn Maloney — a New York Democrat who’s been working on the proposal since 1998 — saying she’s “thrilled” by Cantor’s move. With top House Democrats already behind the proposal, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), Maloney predicted it will sail through the lower chamber.

“This is a huge boost to our efforts,” said Maloney, the bill’s lead sponsor. “Leadership from both parties in the House has now come out in favor of this bill, and I’m hopeful we can secure a large, bipartisan vote in favor of its passage. …”

THE HILL.

A society founded on individualism does not promote individuals based on their sexual or racial identity. If private companies wish to promote females purely because they are women, and often at the expense of better males—that’s the prerogative of private property. Sensible sorts can shun these establishments. However, politicians have no right to steal from one group (taxpayers) for the benefit of another (females), in the course of increasing their own sphere of influence.


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Surveillance For Thee But Not For Me

Constitution, Founding Fathers, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Politics, The State

Remember when the The Transportation Security Administrator dared to manhandle Sen. Rand Paul in the same way these goons grab our privates daily? Rand responded by telling CNN’s Erin Burnett, essentially, that the TSA folks were good people bogged down by inflexible rules. He followed up with special pleading, suggesting a system of sectional privileges and rights, based on professional need and proximity to power.

But that’s the way the system was destined to work. I know: This nerd’s lasting infatuation is with the unsung heroes of the American founding: the Anti-Federalists. And one of the Anti-Federalist essayists said that the Constitution creates a city or district in which power is concentrated. Once the elected representative (too few to represent anyone meaningfully) reached Rome on The Potomac—they would act as a cloistered, privileged ruling class, impervious to the people’s pleas.

And this has come to pass.

That phony, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), is furious that the CIA “has secretly removed documents from computers used by her panel to investigate a controversial interrogation program.” Lo and behold this bitch has “discovered” the Fourth Amendment and is bemoaning its violation. “The Fourth … bars unreasonable searches and seizures, as well as various federal laws and a presidential executive order that prevents the agency from conducting domestic searches and surveillance,” Feinstein preached.

Man of the people whistleblower Edward Snowden said all there is to say. He “accused the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee of double standards on Tuesday, pointing out that her outrage at evidence her staff were spied on by the CIA was not matched by concern about widespread surveillance of ordinary citizens.”

Snowden said almost all there is to say about the premise of surveillance for thee but not for me under which Americans labor.

It is eminently reasonable to surveil politicians. Because of the special privileges and powers they are able to arrogate to themselves, they ought to be exempt from many of the so-called protections afforded to ordinary citizens.

And of course, they should be denied the vote.


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