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Posts Tagged ‘Bill of Rights’

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 »

Obama Administration Memo Approves Killing American Citizens

Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 9, 2011

The New York Times reported that lawyers in the Obama Administration prepared a secret memo that approved killing American citizens under certain circumstances.  That memo led the way to the assassination of New Mexico born Anwar al-Awlaki earlier this month in Yemen.

The secret memo, written about a year ago, authorized the killing of an American citizen if that person could not be captured alive.  The Times reported that Administration lawyers justified the killing of al-Awlaki since he was taking part in a war between the United States and Al Qaeda.  This is a disingenuous position for the Administration given President Obama’s unwillingness to even call America’s battle with terrorists a “war”.

The assassination of al-Awlaki was carried out by a drone missile attack.  Others were killed during the attack including another American citizen, Samir Khan, who published a magazine for terrorist organizations.

There is no question that al-Awlaki was a terrorist who inflicted casualties on the United States.  The President’s decision to assassinate him will make America safer.  However, allowing any president to authorize assassinations, especially of American citizens, is a dangerous and slippery slope to travel.

It is questionable whether President Obama had the authority to authorize the hit on an American citizen without the benefit of a trial.  Legal blocks include an executive order that bans assassinations, as well as Bill of Rights, Fourth Amendment, that guarantees that a person cannot be unreasonably seized by the government, and the Fifth Amendment that guarantees the government cannot deprive a person of life “without due process of law”.

It is remarkable to compare the muted response from the mainstream media to the Obama Administration’ s assassination memo to that of the so-called “Terror Memo” written by John Choon Yoo during administration of George W. Bush.  The media turned Yoo into a pariah for his legal memorandum authorizing the use of enhanced irrigation techniques ibncluding water-boarding.  It seems evident that the Leftist press is more concerned about the political views of the authors of the memos than the results of their use.

The Administration has refused to release the assassination memo.  President Obama’s promise to bring change and transparency to Washington has once again proven hollow.

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

Senator Jay Rockefeller Shows the Arrogance of the Political Elite

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 18, 2010

The last two national elections indicate a remarkable change that is in the process of transforming America.  Two years ago the People expressed their overwhelming dissatisfaction with the Republican Party by voting Barack Obama as President, our most inexperienced chief executive of modern times, merely because he promised undefined “change”.  Just two years later the same People gave the Democrats a shellacking because of their unwillingness to serve in manner the People demanded.

Politicians have reacted to the Peoples’ voice in different ways.  Some, like Senator Mitch McConnell, have properly read the tea leafs and are responding to the will of the People.  McConnell, who previously supported of Congressional earmarks, changed his tune since the elections. (Republican Mitch McConnell Hears the Tea Party on Earmarks)

Other politicians show disdain for the Peoples’ will and just don’t get it.  There is no better example of this arrogance than Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.  Rockefeller’s words and some well thought out comments about them from a guest writer are posted below.

SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D-WV): There’s a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to FOX and to MSNBC: ‘Out. Off. End. Goodbye.’  It would be a big favor to political discourse; our ability to do our work here in Congress, and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and more importantly, in their future.”

The dangerous arrogance of the Washington Elite is illustrated by a recent quote from Sen. Jay Rockefeller, by Carl Hackert

It’s not a matter of “trust”, Rocky, you simply don’t want the public to know what you’re up to.  The Founders of our Nation believed that it was healthy to mistrust the very government that they had created.  They believed that government should be limited in scope and regularly cleansed.  Informed dissent, investigation and critique are part of what keeps us free.  What Rocky wants is a one-way lecture, not a ‘discourse”, and, as the Nazi’s and the USSR demonstrated, a little bit of censorship will keep the “little people” more accepting of the “future” that elitists like Rocky have in mind for them.

I don’t care for MSNBC but, I do like and choose to watch FOX.  Both networks serve a vital purpose and they would fail if the public viewership did not support them.  That’s the way it works in a free market, Mr. Rockefeller.  These and other networks’ programming informs the voting public on the rotten legislation people like Jay Rockefeller have supported.

For example, the recent Mid-Term elections demonstrated that the public became informed on the facts surrounding major legislation.  The public was angered that most of these members of Congress don’t read said legislation before voting on it – they voted on the basis on arm-twisting and deals.  We, the People, have a right to know because we live in a REPUBLIC, not a democracy (a lynch mob is a democracy).  We elect people to make informed votes in Congress REpresenting the PUBLIC, hence the word “republic”.  These guys and gals were caught passing Obamacare and other major pieces of legislation that public did not support and the public was even angrier that few in Congress bothered to read the “fine print”.  In fact, the cumbersome legislation shifts the critical “fine print” decisions to tens of thousands of new bureaucrats and agencies who will make up rules not subject to the vote of our representatives in Congress.

Rocky’s wrong about Americans not having “faith in the Government”.  We have faith in the Constitution and we look to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution for guidance, not to the contemporary Government.  We hold in contempt incompetent elected officials who support the burdensome institutionalized governmental programs so fraught with corruption, bureaucratic waste, injustice, boondoggles, and increasingly encroaching upon our Constitutionally guaranteed liberties while destroying what’s left  of our once great private industrialized economy.

Politicians such as Mr. Rockefeller or Mr. Obama give lip-service the notion of “transparency” while disdaining grassroots citizen activists such as the TEA PARTY and calling for censorship by the FCC.  Me thinks that they speak with “forked tongues”.

The new media and the Internet bring to light the hypocrisy and the peccadillos of our politicians plus the incompetence of our massive, financially crushing bureaucracy like never before.  It is the elitists like Rocky and the anti-free speech clowns of the FCC who need to get “Out.  Off.  End.  Goodbye” – hopefully this will occur in the next round of elections.


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