Category Archives: Bill of Rights
“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.”
Why is it that conservatives only focus on the right to “keep and bear arms” portion of the Second Amendment but choose to ignore the “well regulated” part?
The Founding Fathers believed the United States would defend itself from within the civil populace, meaning all men capable of bearing arms would belong to local militias, keep and maintain their arms, ammo and accouterments and be ready to “bear” those arms in their nation’s defense at a moment’s notice – to be “minute men”. They never fore saw a huge standing military force being needed, because they couldn’t comprehend the world would change so much in 200 years, or that the United States would ever be the world’s police man.
Perhaps it’s time for Congress and the President to “well regulate” the “militia” of the United States by promoting laws requiring all persons of military age to “keep and bear arms” as specified by the government. But only those – as specified, and needed – to ensure we have a “well regulated militia”; or perhaps it’s time for the country’s populace to grow up and realize we have a standing Army, and the need of a “well regulated militia” is long past, and hence perhaps it’s time for it to be unlawful for the citizenry to “keep and bear” automatic or even semi-automatic weapons?
This isn’t the 18th or 19th century and the defensive needs of the nation when the Constitution was ratified are not the same. In 1787 the government lacked the fiscal wherewithal to provide for the “common defense” of the fledgling nation, and relied upon the male citizenry to bear the burden of providing arms, powder and shot, today that’s no longer the case, and in fact it hasn’t been the case since the Federal Government defeated the Confederacy in 1865.
For more than 150 years we’ve not depended on the “minute men” to rise up and fight our country’s battles as we once did.
Today’s “minute men” are the men and women of the National Guard and the Reserves and the government provides them with their weapons, and they’ve all sworn an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic”. They’re the “citizen soldiers” of today, and they’re not required to bear the burden of providing their own weapons and bullets. Truth is “We the People” no longer need to have the weapons to make war that our fore fathers did, and it’s about time we realize that. Are there reasons to have firearms? Yes, there are, but the arguments the individual citizen needs assault weapons, or automatic weapons is specious at best. Time to evolve as our nation has evolved, and please spare us the “original intent” argument, if that’s what you hang your case on then let’s rewrite the gun laws in this nation to require – and allow – each household to have one flintlock Brown Bess musket, bayonet and powder and shot for each adult male, but no more.
According to news reports, former Republican Tea Party (GOTP) vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin said during another softball question interview on Fox News, that she fully supported Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy’s decision (of course Dan Cathy isn’t really the president of the company his father is – but when has Sarah ever worried about facts?) to publicly express his anti-gay marriage views and claimed the resulting backlash against the company was an affront to free speech.
“Well, that calling for the boycott is a real — has a chilling effect on our 1st Amendment rights,” Palin whined to Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “And the owner of the Chick-fil-A business had merely voiced his personal opinion about supporting traditional definition of marriage, one boy, one girl, falling in love, getting married. And having voiced support for kind of that cornerstone of all civilization and all religions since the beginning of time, he then basically [is] getting crucified.”
Isn’t it interesting how the “owner” has a right to express his views (under the First Amendment) but no one can object to them? Is a boycott not a legitimate form of political speech? If corporations are people, then can’t other people decide not to associate with that person if they so choose?
“I’m speaking up for him and his 1st Amendment rights and anybody else who would wish to express their not anti-gay people sentiment, but their support of traditional marriage, which President Obama and Joe Biden, they both supported the exact same thing until just a few months ago, when Obama had to flip-flop to shore up the homosexual voter base,” Palin bemoaned.
Ah yes, the old “Obama had to shore up his Gay voter base” because they might go flooding over to the GOTP? Once more, isn’t it funny how conservatives – like Romney – can have his ideas or beliefs evolve, rather than flip-flop, but Liberals can’t. The President by-the-way hasn’t said he supports federal intervention; rather he said it should be left up to the states to decide.
Of course every conservative talking face on FOX has rallied to the restaurant’s defense, with former GOTP presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee organizing a “Chick-fil-A Apprectiation Day“.
Wherever anyone stands on Gay Marriage, the idea boycotting a company, or protesting some wing-nut’s ideas is bad for the First Amendment is just plain stupid. Only someone as ignorant of what the Bill of Rights is really about like Palin would say that; just one more piece of evidence demonstrating just how blessed we are that she isn’t the Vice-President.
Of course it was bound to start happening again in the America where the likes of Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh and the “Reverend” Rick Perry are looked up to; it seems the banning of books from school libraries is back in vogue in small mind – excuse me – small town America.
Recently the Republic School District (population 14,300), in the great state of Missouri, decided to remove Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel “Slaughterhouse-Five” along with the young adult novel “Twenty Boy Summer” by Sarah Ockler. Both books have been banned from a school curriculum and library following complaints from a local professor – who apparently had “two 50’s and went right into the 70’s” – about children being exposed to “shocking material”.
The so-called “professor”, Wesley Scroggins, is not a literature professor, or a history professor, nor is he a sociology professor; Dr Scroggins – who earned his PhD from New Mexico State University – is a professor of business management; no doubt a position which makes him infinitely “qualified” to comment on the suitability of literature in a high school’s reading curriculum. Wes has decided that Vonnegut’s novel “contains so much profane language, it would make a sailor blush with shame”, and that Ockler’s book “glorifies drunken teen parties, where teen girls lose their clothes in games of strip beer pong”.
The obvious question would be, “has Dr Scroggins read either book?” The equally obvious answer would be, “I doubt it”.
Scroggins’s complaints sparked a review by the district school board, which voted this week to keep the novel “Speak” but to remove the novels by Vonnegut and Ockler. “Twenty Boy Summer” focused on “sensationalizing sexual promiscuity”, Superintendent Vern Minor told the News-Leader. “I just don’t think it’s a good book. I don’t think it’s consistent with these standards and the kind of message that we want to send,” he said. “If the book had ended on a different note, I might have thought differently.” Slaughterhouse-Five, meanwhile, contains “really, really intense” language and does not have “any place in high school”, according to Minor.
Where’s Annie Kinsella when you need her? Clearly she’s not living in Republic, MO. No one in Republic stood up and asked, “Who’s for Eva Braun here?” No one asked, “Who’s for the type of censorship they had under Stalin, anybody?”
Nope, in Republic, Missouri they have no one to stand up and say, “What Slaughter House Five tells me is that goose stepping morons like Dr Scroggins should be reading books instead of banning them”.
Scroggy is one of many “do-gooders” uber-conservatives in our right leaning society today who no doubt thinks Islam wants to enslave us all in Shariah law while he leads a crusade to ban a book from which many of us first learned that the Nazi’s didn’t just target and murder Jews, they also targeted and murdered homosexuals and many others.
Scroggins, meanwhile, told the News Leader that while it was “unfortunate [the board] chose to keep the other book [Speak] … I congratulate them for doing what’s right and removing the two books”.
No Herr Scroggins it wasn’t “what’s right” because here in America we have the Bill of Rights which contains the First Amendment guaranteeing free speech. You, on the other hand, have sided with governments and individuals who do not support the ideal of free speech. You have sided with those who stand opposed to that principle, as has the Republic School Board. What’s the encore going to be, banning the Koran? Banning the Book of Mormon? How long before you ban the Holy Bible? After all it is bursting at the seams with tales of betrayal, murder, rape, incest, homosexuality, unbridled passion, war and genocide. If you extend Scroggins’ logic far enough then the Bible is also unsuitable to be on the shelves of the schools in the Republic School District.
Of course, perhaps the Republic School Board should have consulted with an attorney before launching into its book ban, and I don’t mean someone’s brother’s cousin. If it had it might have learned the U.S. Supreme Court has already considered the First Amendment implications of the removal of “Slaughter House Five” along with other books, from public school libraries in the case of Island Trees School District v. Pico, [457 U.S. 853 (1982)], and concluded that “local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books and seek by their removal to ‘prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.” Of course the odds of someone ever standing up in Republic, MO and opposing the ban is, well. let’s say a Democrat could be elected Governor of Utah before that happens.
So, here we are in Sarah Palin’s America, where books are banned and members of Congress are shot in the face; where conservatives advocate throwing the Greatest Generation under the economic bus, and where Tea Partista Terrorist hold the country hostage threatening to destroy its economy if their demands aren’t met.
Is this what “taking the country back” means? Does it mean taking it back to a time where books weren’t just banned but were burned? Does it mean taking it back to a time when lunatic members of Congress could hold up a blank sheet of paper claiming it contained the names of “known Communists within the State Department” and throw the country into red scare madness? Is this the America they want?
Sarah Palin responded to a ruling issued by the Supreme Court on Wednesday upholding an appeals court decision that protesting outside military funerals is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Wow, could it be that perhaps her Majesty finally found a Supreme Court decision she disagrees with? She should call Katie Couric up and tell her she has one now, and wants to talk about it.
The court voted 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The decision upheld an appeals court ruling throwing out a $5 million judgment to the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son’s funeral.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the court. Justice Samuel Alito dissented.
Roberts said free speech rights in the First Amendment shield the funeral protesters, noting that they obeyed police directions and were 1,000 feet from the church.
The Ice Queen, shortly after the ruling was made wrote on Twitter, “Common sense & decency absent as wacko “church” allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers’ funerals but we can’t invoke God’s name in public square.”
So, Palin only likes free speech when it’s what she wants to hear or say? Someone should probably tell her highness that Americans can talk about God all they want to in the public square; no one is stopping her, or anyone else, from doing so. Some public parks and squares even have crosses in them, like Bienville Square in Mobile, Alabama.
Of course, this morning, Queen Sarah is claiming her earlier tweet was misinterpreted to mean that she opposed the Supreme Court’s 8-1 ruling in the Westboro Baptist Church case this week.
Palin told the Daily Caller’s Chris Moody, “Obviously my comment meant that when we’re told we can’t say ‘God bless you’ in graduation speeches or pray before a local football game but these wackos can invoke God’s name in their hate speech while picketing our military funerals, it shows ridiculous inconsistency,” Palin said. “I wasn’t calling for any limit on free speech, and it’s a shame some folks tried to twist my comment in that way. I was simply pointing out the irony of an often selective interpretation of free speech rights.”
Ah yes, that makes everything much clearer now. Maybe the ex-governor should stop making abbreviated comments on Twitter, and start holding press conferences to disseminate her views? But all of that aside, Palin was criticizing the ruling, and she was trying to claim that one type of religious speech – her kind – should be allowed while other types – Westboro Baptist – should be limited.
Isn’t it amazing how people like Palin and Huckabee will make outlandish statements, clearly pandering to the far right Tea Party, but then try to walk back what they’ve said later? The Huckster recently said not once, but twice during a radio interview, that President Obama grew up in Kenya, and then tried to claim that’s not what he said, and Palin’s now claiming she didn’t criticize a Supreme Court ruling when she clearly did so.
Of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a presidential hopeful speaking out on Supreme Court rulings, or disagreeing with them. The problem is when a presidential hopeful Twitters abbreviated opinions to grab her daily 15 minutes of fame, without thinking, and then tries to change what she said. If she wants to be president she needs to start acting presidential and stop acting like a mean girl from a trailer park.
The court’s decision was the only one it could make. As disturbing, and hateful, as the Westboro Baptist Church’s signs and comments made at military funerals are, they are clearly protected under the First Amendment, and that’s what our soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen are defending with their lives; the right of morons and idiots to say what they want, to protest when, where and how they please. They die defending the right to speak, whether someone should say it is another matter.
One of the on-going themes of the right-wing propagandists is that President Obama’s recovery efforts are really about usurping American’s rights and freedoms. How interesting, that trying to fix a failing economy brought on by the failed policies of the previous administration are really secret attempts to take away our freedoms. But wait a minute, what’s this I hear? The Justice Department today released a long-secret document from 2001 in which the Bush administration claimed the military could search and seize terror suspects in the United States without warrants?
The Associated Press (AP) reported that “the legal memo was written about a month after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It says constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure would not apply to terror suspects in the U.S., as long as the president or another high official authorized the action.”
“Another memo showed that, within two weeks of Sept. 11, the administration was contemplating ways to use wiretaps without getting warrants,” the AP story stated.
In the search and seizure memo, John Yoo wrote that “the president could treat terrorist suspects in the United States like an invading foreign army. For instance, he said, the military would not have to get a warrant to storm a building to prevent terrorists from detonating a bomb,” the story reported. “Yoo also suggested that the government could put new restrictions on the press and speech, without spelling out what those might be.”
Yoo reportedly said, “First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully,” adding later: “The current campaign against terrorism may require even broader exercises of federal power domestically.”
So, who is a threat to American freedoms and liberties? I don’t remember the right to ruin the nation’s economy as being covered in the Bill of Rights? But I do recall something about freedom of speech, freedom of the press, protection against unlawful search and seizure; sounds like the real threat to our individual liberties is coming from the right, not the left.