EnduringSense

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Archive for the ‘Constitution’ Category

Attack on Constitution’s First Amendment

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 21, 2017

The U.S. Constitution is a remarkable document, including the United States’ supreme law. The Constitution initially paved the way for 13 diverse colonies to come together and form a Federation by preserving rights of each colony (state). Its fair and stable legal platform played a huge role in the Country’s success.

Amending the Constitution was purposely made difficult to inhibit changes made on the political whims of populists. Amendments require the calling of a Constitutional Convention or two thirds supermajorities in both houses of Congress. Still, the Constitution has been amended 27 times by Congress, including the pivotal Bill of Rights with its 10 amendments made in 1791.

The First Amendment under the Bill of Rights states:bill-of-rights

“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.”

The First Amendment, free speech has come under attack in recent years through the use of political correctness with its social pressures. More recently, some on the Left have been more transparent in efforts to inhibit speech with increased ferocity since Donald Trump’s election.

This Blogger recently discussed the First Amendment with a slightly left-of-center acquaintance who would curtail speech in the name of public safety. In justifying the control of speech, he used the example of crying fire in a crowded movie theater and its risk of creating injury. He equates this example to those who take an anti-illegal immigrant philosophy in America, believing that it leads to attacks on immigrants or aliens. This author believes the comparison is a canard used to curtail the discussion of disagreeable ideas.

Inhibiting free speech, either through social pressures or the legal system, is a slippery slope traveled in the past. McCarthyism was a hammer used by the Right to inhibit the speech of liberals in the 1950s. A similar tactic is now in vogue by the Left, but for a different political agenda. For those who dare to discuss immigration policy, religion security issues, sexual mores, or social benefits, for example, are microphone labeled bigots, homophobic, Islamaphobic, or as Hillary said, “deplorable”.

The key issue with any attack on free speech should be how do we choose who gets to determine what constitutes calling the fire in a theater? Should the curtailing be to the benefit of ones’ political views, they are more likely to agree with the First Amendment attack. However, sooner or later the opposing side gains power and that is why the slippery-slope should concern all, irrespective of political views.

In a relevant example, a few years ago Harry Reid used the nuclear option in the Senate to allow Democrats to use a simple majority to get Obama appointments approved quickly. Previously this required a 60-vote Senate majority. Reid justified this drastic action claiming the Republicans to be the “party of no”, inferring that the step was required to keep government moving. Obama and fellow Liberals were all too happy to go along, irrespective of future consequences. Now, Trump and the Republicans have the use the nuclear option and the Democrats are screaming.

The Senate’s 60 vote requirement was created to make political appointments bipartisan, not easy. Similar to the Second Amendment, this rule had the long-term good of the Country behind it, with the goal of further legitimizing presidential power. The nuclear option has increased polarization and the divide in the Country and government. Instead of looking to Reid’s or Obama’s role in increasing political divisiveness, Trump is demonized for appointments.

Americans on the Left and Right would do well to look at the Constitution is a set of laws created to protect the long-term interest of all. Those that would mold it to fit their short-term agendas do so at the peril of their own future rights.

Posted in Constitution | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Byron MacGregor – The Americans

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 20, 2016

Since World War II, Progressive Leftists have been successful in re-creating a narrative of American history that demonized America, focusing on racism and international relations.  Under this narrative, the total of the American experience revolved around racism and imperialistic aspirations.

Slavery is an ugly blight on America.  Rarely discussed, however, is how far this Country has traveled since that repulsive part of our first one hundred years.  Also not discussed is the fact that the corrective actions taken were not a result of foreign intervention.  Those corrections, which began with the Civil War, led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans.  Since, more insidious parts of racism have been and continue to be addressed by the greater society.

As for America’s supposedly imperialistic desires, this narrative is a canard.  While some American international actions have been less than noble, they are more than offset by the sacrifices this Country made to protect so other countries .  This included our forced interventions into European and Asian wars.

The Progressive revisionist history of America is also promoted by Barrack Obama.  But, he is not the first Leftist to promote this narrative.  In the 1960s and 1970s, America was under assault by the Left worldwide for its intervention in Vietnam.  In hindsight, this intervention was handled poorly.  At the same time, the geopolitical atmosphere that led to the intervention was European-based.  As the imperialistic empires of Europe disintegrated after World War II, there was a power vacuum created that was a fertile breeding ground for conflict between the two superpowers, the United States and Soviet Union.

There were those in the 1970s who correctly saw the attack on America and its history as a broader attack on personal freedom and basic good.  .One was Canadian Gordon Sinclair who wrote an editorial “Commentary About America” that not only promoted American exceptionalism, but chastised other countries for their lack of charity and spine.  This editorial ultimately became a best-selling single record narrated by Byron MacGregor with background music by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  The link below it is reminder from the past of American’s generosity and exceptionalism.

Posted in Constitution | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Department of Homeland Security Tramples Over U.S. Constitution

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 13, 2015

There is a well needed debate ongoing in the Country concerning the rights of individual US citizens versus the need for protective measures against worldwide terrorism.  On the one side are those who would give the government nearly unlimited powers in the name of “safety”.  On the other are those who would strip the government of any power not specifically granted in the U.S. Constitution.  This is a complex argument with reasonable people on both sides.  While compromise is in order, rarely does the government and its bureaucrats relinquish power and authority.

Below is a video exchange between Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy and Department of Homeland Security official Kelli Ann Burriesci.  The discussion involves Americans’ individual rights under the Constitution, specifically one of the most important ones, due process.  This exchange is of concern for not only because it does it shows shallowness of one important bureaucrat, but also her seeming lack of concern for rights given all Americans under the Constitution.

As Ben Franklin warned: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

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Senator Coburn Understands Constitutional Responsibilities

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 12, 2014

Senator Tom Coburn, Republican from Oklahoma, is doing what few professional politicians do today; retiring after a mere 20 years in Congress.  Few politicians are willing to leave the perks of office that comes with being a member of Congress.

Those that know Coburn’s record are not entirely surprised he would retire while on top of his game.  He is been a staunch opponent of government overspending and pork, irrespective of the constituents that benefit from the spending.

Coburn’s departing speech, video below, to Senators was not only emotional, but also a jab at the key problem of the government.  After reciting the oath of office that all congressmen swear to, Coburn chastises his fellow senators saying:

Your state is not mentioned one time in that oath.  Your whole goal is to protect the Constitution and its liberties.  It’s not to provide benefits for your state.  That’s where we differ.  That’s where the conflict with my colleagues has come.”

While Coburn’s comments are on point, it is unrealistic to expect politicians to act honorably.  Most either enter office because of the privileges it offers, or become corrupted by the power once arriving in Washington.  There are two simple items required to constrain inappropriate spending by Washington politicians: 1) term limits, and just as important, 2) a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.  As long as politicians have the ability to print money they will continue bringing to their constituents the bacon to the detriment of the Country’s interest.

Posted in Constitution | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Congressman Trey Rowdy Offers Good Reason Why Obama Shouldn’t Be Impeached

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 16, 2014

President Barack Obama has threatened to use an executive order to offer amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.  This effectively bypasses the Congress’s Constitutional authority to make laws.  Some suggest that Obama should be impeached for taking and unconstitutional action.

In a recent interview by Bill O’Reilly, appropriate section posted below, Congressman Trey Gowdy, Republican from South Carolina, offered one good reason as to why impeaching the President would be a bad idea stating: “Um, have you met Joe Biden?  That’s my response to that, so no.”

Mr. Gowdy logic is unquestionable.

Posted in Constitution, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Professor Jonathan Turley’s Scolds Obama on his Unconstitutional Power Grab

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 19, 2014

Professor Jonathan Turley is a well-respected constitutional law expert. His credentials include currently holding the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School. In addition, he was youngest professors to be offered tenure at Tulane University School of Law.

Turley’s politics are liberal and he is stated: “I happen to support most of the changes that President Obama has ordered. I voted for him. I voted for him in 2008.” In adding to his liberal credentials, he sought criminal prosecution of the Bush administration for torture and is vocally against the death penalty.

Turley has recently testified before Congress on perhaps the most important constitutional issue facing the country. He expressed strong intellectual concerns about the increasing power of the Executive Branch and more specifically the unconstitutional power grab by President Obama. Turley’s testimony included in the video posted below is chilling and in fact he proffers the view that Congress’s current lawsuit against Obama is not only appropriate, but necessary to protect the Constitution stating: “You asked if I think a lawsuit would be a good idea? I do.” Included below are additional quotes from that testimony.

Turley’s unquestionable liberal credentials should remove from the discussion of Obama’s unconstitutional power grab the claim that it is a partisan political issue. It is that only if the Constitution is ignored and one happens to agree with the Uber-president’s policies. To my liberal friends, as Turley correctly points out, there are going to be other presidents in the future. Once we travel down this slippery slope of the executive branch trampling on the Constitution, the consequences are scary, but unfortunately predictable.

Professor Turley’s statements before Congress:

  • There’s a growing crisis in our system, a shifting of the balance of power within the tripartite system in favor of now dominant chief executive.
  • Our system is changing and his body is the one branch that must act if we are to reverse those changes.
  • We are seeing the emergence of a different kind of government, a model long ago rejected by the framers.
  • The President’s pledged to effectively govern alone is alarming, and what is most alarming is his ability to fulfill that pledge. When a president can govern alone, he can become a government in itself, which is precisely the danger the framers sought to avoid.
  • What we are witnessing today is one of the greatest crises that expect the members of this committee and his body will face.
  • People misconstrue the separation of powers regularly. It is not there to protect the institutional rights of the branches. It is there to protect individual liberty. It was created by the framers to prevent any branch from aggregating enough power to be a danger to liberty.
  • This is not a question of what should be done. . It is a question of how it should be done and more importantly who should do it.
  • The framers repeatedly rejected that type a notion that the executive has to essentially rework legislation, to use what we would call an executive prerogative.
  • As much as I respect the President, the arguments he is making over presidential authority are extreme …

Posted in Constitution, President Obama | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2008 Candidate Obama Criticizes his own Future Actions

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 8, 2014

Is remarkable watching the video below in which then candidate Barack Obama in 2008 showed a clear understanding of the Constitution and the separation of powers demanded by within its framework.  Comparing Obama’s 2008 comments with his unilateral actions since becoming president and becomes clear that he understands the abuse of power that he is carrying out.

Posted in Constitution, President Obama | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

George Will Speaks of the Present and Future

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 13, 2014

George WIllGeorge F. Will is a well-known brilliant columnist and a Pulitzer Prize winning author.  While Will has a conservative bent, he is a pragmatist.  In a recent interview Will made the following comments concerning important issues facing the United States including the future of America, the breakdown of the American family, the overuse of debt, the abusive government, and immigration.

Future of the United States:

Unlike the Left and its comrades in the mainstream media who demonize the Tea Party as racist and lacking in intelligence, Will correctly sees the Tea Party as a grassroots movement that is the beginning of the Country moving back to its constitutional roots.

Well ever since at about the time of the American founding, Edward Gibbon wrote “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” people have been fascinated by the threat that democracies would decay; that history would be cyclical not linear; that decay and decline was inevitable; that the seeds of destruction were in particular regimes and particularly in democracies.  And clearly the American founders worried about this.  And Lincoln worried about it at Gettysburg, that the question was “Whether we shall long endure this form of government.

“So I think that we’re in a period today comparable to the American founding period in two senses: one, we’re worried about decay — we’re worried about whether we’re squandering our legacy and whether we’re calling into question whether people can really govern themselves — but also because, and this is the heartening part of this, today as never before in my lifetime, Americans have rekindled their interest in the founding era and the founding principles.  Look at the wonderful sales of biographies of the founders: Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison.  Look at the Tea Party, which I think frankly is one of the great events of my lifetime.”

Abusive Government:

Perhaps the most significant prognostication made by Will is his belief that Americans will rebel against what he sees as an abusive federal government.

I’m quite confident that we’re going to rebel against this abusive government.  I think that, you know Winston Churchill said, ‘The American people invariably do the right thing after they have exhausted all the alternatives.’  And I think we’re beginning to get to the bottom of the list of alternatives, and to realize that arithmetic is inexorable.  You can’t make 2+2 equal 7, and sooner or later arithmetic is going to force realism upon us.”

Biggest Threats to the United States:

Will proffers the view that the greatest threats to America’s long-term success are the breakdown of the family and the Country’s use of debt to fuel this generation’s selfish needs.

The greatest threat to America today – there are two of them and they’re related: one is family disintegration, the fact that Americans’ babies are born to unmarried women.  We know the importance of a father in the home.  We know that the family is the primary transmitter of what’s called social capital, that is the habits, mores, customs, values, dispositions that make for success in a free society.  So that’s one threat to America.  The other is the simple fact that we will not live within our means.  We are piling up debts for other people to pay.  We used to borrow money for the future.  We won wars for the future.  We built roads, highways, bridges, dams, airports for the future.  Now, we’re borrowing from the future, from the rising generations in order to finance our own current consumption of government services, and that just seems to me as fundamentally and self-evidently wrong as can be.  We used to borrow money for the future.”

On Immigration:

While likely to disappoint some conservatives, Will correctly points out that this Country has and will continue to benefit from the resources brought to it by immigrants.  He therefore calls for realistically integrating the 11 million illegal aliens currently in the Country.  To that, this writer would suggest that the problem is not with the immigrants who seek a better life.  Instead, the problem is an out-of-control federal government that gives benefits to immigrants that none of our grandparents had access to nor needed.

Here’s why: there are 11 million people here illegally.  They’re not going home.  The fact that the American people would not tolerate the police measures necessary to extract these people from our communities, something like 40% have been here five years or more, large numbers have been here 10 years or more, they’ve had children here who are American citizens under the Constitution. 7 million of these people are in the workforce, performing jobs for which the market has a demand.  The American workforce as our population ages needs immigrants, needs immigration. “

Furthermore, immigration is an entrepreneurial act.  These are people who uproot themselves, take a risk, come to a strange country and a new culture and a new language in many cases to try and better themselves.  And I want this to be a continued infusion of energy into America.  And I think immigrants make wonderful patriots because they’re grateful to the country that enables them to help themselves and their families.”

Posted in Conservatism, Constitution | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Liberal Law Professor Takes Obama to Task for Dangerous Power Grab

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 24, 2014

 

Barack Obama was first elected under the rallying cry of “hope and change”.  He also promised transparency and that he would not lead by executive orders.  These promises proved hollow.

During the first few years of his presidency, Obama was only called on his broken promises by right of center political forces.  With the exception of some cable news channels, the mainstream media remained silent on the President’s transgressions.  That is no longer the case with some of the more liberal in the media including Jon Stewart questioning Obama’s policies.

Earlier this month, liberal constitutional law professor and Obama supporter, Jonathan Turley, was interviewed by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and raised serious concerns relating to Pres. Obama’s power grab stating:

Well, I’m afraid this is beginning to border on a cult of personality for people on the left.  I happen to agree with many of President Obama’s policies.  But in our system, it’s often as important how you do something as what you do.

And I think that many people will look back on this period in history and see nothing but confusion as to why people remained so silent when the president asserted these types of unilateral actions.  You have a president who is claiming the right to basically rewrite or ignore or negate federal laws.  That’s a very dangerous thing.  It has nothing to do with the policies, it has to do with the power.

Well, you know, a system in which a single individual is allowed to rewrite legislation or ignore legislation is a system that borders on authoritarianism.  I don’t believe that we are that system yet.

Prof. Turley’s warnings should be of concern to all Americans.  Today, the Left controls the executive branch of government.  That will change at in the future.  The slippery slope that Obama and the Country are traveling has dangerous consequences.

 

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