Posts Tagged ‘constitution’

Rights

Posted: June 15, 2013 in constitution, freedom, politics
Tags: , , ,

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The 4th Amendment, though not explicitly stating we have a right to privacy, does explicitly affirm it. In recent days, the 4th has been in the spotlight, and rightfully so. However, all of our rights are in danger. We need to stop thinking about rights that come from government or the constitution. Rights are not something someone gives to us. Rights that are given can be taken away, and if they can be taken away they aren’t rights, but privileges.

No, our rights aren’t given to us by anyone. We have these rights the moment we’re born. These rights are innate in each and every one of us and therefore cannot be taken away.

The constitution merely states these rights. It doesn’t grant them. Once we start thinking about our rights as innate and not granted, we’ll finally understand we hold power over the government, not the other way around.

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I’m reading Leonard Peikoff’s (executor of Ayn Rand’s estate) introduction to We The Living, & I have to disagree with him on one point: he says America was the result of, among other things, the West’s ridicule of Christianity. To my knowledge, the colonies were a pretty religious lot, as were the founders. 

To treat religion as the enemy is the wrong approach. I am a Christian. I believe in helping others. I believe in being charitable. I don’t believe, however, that it should be up to the government to direct our dollars to charities at their discretion.

Randians & religious peoples of all flavors can find a common ground: my money is mine to do with as I see fit, not for you to forcibly take from me and do with as you see fit.

Government should go back to it’s beginnings and do what it was meant to do: keep us safe, while the courts do what they were meant to do & protect the law from government.

California’s video game law has reached the high court. On Nov 2, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the law’s constitutionality.

Supporters of the law say it “facilitates good parenting” & keeps minors safe. Opponents say there’s no conclusive evidence that violent video games harm minors.

I happen to be one of the opponents of the law. Why? Several reasons. 1: Movie retailers are less effective at keeping mature flicks out of the hands of minors than video games retailers are. 2: Why hold one section of the entertainment industry to different standards than another i.e. movies vs video games. There are other reasons, which you can read in a previous post.

As I mentioned in a previous post, video games, like movies, have their own ratings system. The latest data I could find shows that this system, along with parents & retailers, keep age inappropriate games out of the hands of minors about 80% of the time, even though it’s not illegal. A store can use these ratings suggestions to decide if they sell these games to minors or not. And if they do sell the games to minors, then the responsibility falls to the parents to know what their kids are doing & if it’s appropriate to do so.

California’s law takes that responsibility away from parents & grants it to government officials. Why should it surprise me that they’d do that, though? This coming from a state that has a county that banned toys in McDonald’s happy meals. 

Other industries, even scientists, are coming to the aid of video games. Scientists are handing over evidence that violent video games have no harmful effects on kids. The motion picture industry sees the implications of the law on their industry if the law is found constitutional & are running to defend video games.

I pick on CA, but several states (including my own) have tried this approach with video games. And each & every time, the state Supreme Court found the laws unconstitutional. But CA’s the only state to take the case to the US Supreme Court. 

Why would a cash strapped state enact a law that could piss off a $20 billion industry? Hey video game makers: come to Tennessee. The auto industry found out we’re more company-friendly. Energy companies are moving to the South. Even some tech companies are realizing this. 

For a more extensive write-up, check out this month’s issue of Game Informer. To let lawmakers know where you stand, check out http://www.videogamevoters.org. G4TV has some good write-ups on the case, too.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Whichever side you’re on, I want to know why you’re in favor of or opposed to the law.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

The very first words of the very first amendment to the US Constitution. These words are very important. The founders understood over 200 years ago that the freedom to practice your religion, whatever it may be, or no religion, is essential to securing all other freedoms.

This is just as true today as it was then. That’s why it bothers me when people from all sides of the political spectrum are calling for the community center (which is mistakenly referred to as a mosque) to not be allowed to be built two blocks away from the former WTC site. These supposed lovers of freedom are calling for two of the most basic freedoms, freedom of religion & the right to private property, to be denied to a select group of people based on what happened nine years ago (yes, it was a tragedy) perpetrated by a small group of terrorists from a country not even remotely like ours.

And it’s not just happening in NYC. Just an hour or so from my house, a community center (also referred to as a mosque) is finding opposition to a planned expansion in Murfreesboro. The kicker? The group has had a community center in the county since 1997. The reason for the epansion is because they’ve outgrown their current facility. Luckily, despite the opposition, the expansion will be allowed.

This battle is being fought all over the country. Newt Gingrich says that we shouldn’t allow mosques in this country until Christian churches are allowed in Saudi Arabia (or something along those lines). Howard Dean says it’s an affront. He also says those doing the project in NYC are doing it in good faith (that’s a little contradictory).

The fact is that none of these projects are in violation of any zoning laws, they’re being built on private property, and are run by those who have proven to be good citizens. Why should we deny them their constitutional right to practice their religion, especially on private property?

Do you disagree with Islam as a religion? If so, why? Are you aware that Islam, Judaism, & Christianity share many of the same tenets? Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, & the angel Gabriel all appear in the 3 religions, among other figures.

But Muslims stone people to death, right? Well, it’s allowed under their laws, but the majority of Islamic nations have ceased this practice. And don’t forget, stoning was an acceptable punishment in early Christianity & Judaism. 

Look, we all have our differences. But the fact is they have the right to practice their religion, especially on their own property. We have no right to take that away. And when you insult their religion, you most likely insult your own (unless you’re an atheist).

Isn’t funny how people can figure out what kind of person you are, how you grew up, etc just from one political comment? It’s uncanny how accurate they are!

For example: during the 2008 presidential campaign I made a comment on a blog on Myspace that I didn’t support Obama because I don’t agree with his stance on several issues (for the record I supported Ron Paul. When he didn’t get the nomination, I voted McCain *ugh*). Well this one reader of the blog took it upon herself to call me out. And rightfully so. I never would have seen the light if not for her.

Turns out it wasn’t because I believed in a different political/economic ideology because of all the research I had done up to that point. No, it was because I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I’m rich, have had everything handed to me on a silver platter, and I don’t care about the little people or those that are suffering.

How very accurate! At that point, I dropped to my knees & prayed for the Lord to forgive me for my sins!

Ok, if you’re not getting the sarcasm by now, seek help. Also, read on to learn about my childhood.

I was born in 1979. If I remember the story correctly, I was 2 or 3 weeks premature (got my picture taken with Miss Tennessee, though, so it was worth it). I spent a couple weeks in an incubator because my lungs were underdeveloped & I would forget to breathe.

My dad, albeit jokingly (I hope), has credited my hospital stay as part of the reason my parents filed bankruptcy (also, the economy sucked back then, too). I vaguely remember living in a trailer in the middle of town, briefly. When I was 4, we (me, Mom, Dad, & my brother) moved in with my grandparents, who lived in a very, very small house. 

There was a living room, kitchen, (I think) 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom…for 6 people (was used for several more when Dad was raised there. Big family). I didn’t care how big it was or the condition it was in (the uneven floor made roller skating, in one room, easy). 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Mom & Dad took out loans for a Christmas or two, just so me & my brother would enjoy it (I miss my little yellow 4-wheeler). We never wanted for anything. We had clothes, a roof, loving parents, food…but we were far from well-off.

I made friends at school & little league. I fought with my brother. Got in trouble. Blah blah blah.

Am I leaving some stuff out? Yeah. But you won’t get my life story here.

My point is: don’t think you know someone from one comment they make about anything. I have friends who make racist jokes. Are they racist? No. Insensitive, maybe, but not racist. I have friends/family who are Democrats. Are they facist, socialist, commie pigs? Of course not. Though we disagree politically (which makes for great conversations), we know we are both good people. We’ve just had different life experiences that led to different conclusions.

So obviously I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Things aren’t handed to me on a silver platter. I’m most definitely not rich (I’ve been unemployed for 11 months now). I do care about the poor, which I am, and those that are suffering. I just believe a truly free market is the way to promote income mobility & alleviate suffering. Will there be assholes who take advantage of the disadvantaged in a free economy? Of course. But the market, IMO, would deal with them. 

Yes, Ayn Rand is the source of my main belief that “Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.” (from The Ayn Rand Institute). This belief fuels my other beliefs.

In conclusion: I am not a Godless heathen who cares only about himself. I am a God-fearing man who believes rational selfishness and adherance to the truth benefits everyone, not just the one. For future personal attacks on me, please refer to this post before being an anonymous hit-and-run commenter.Haters

They just can’t seem to make up their minds. At first, the individual mandate in the new healthcare law wasn’t a tax. Now that they’re going to have to defend it in court, they say it falls under, not just their power to regulate interstate commerce, but also their power to tax.

First, let’s get something out of the way. The commerce clause and taxing power both cone from Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution. It says:

“The Congress shall have Power To Lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;”

It goes on, but the last part is what we’re dealing with. “To regulate commerce…among the several States”. Lawyers at the DoJ say this gives them the power to force American citizens to purchase health insurance.

But if they can force us to buy health insurance in the guise of regulating interstate commerce, what’s to stop them from forcing us to buy other products or services?

Forcing us to buy health insurance has much broader implications than just buying insurance. Forcing us into formerly voluntary economic activity of any kind is unconstitutional. They will decide the minimum coverage we have to buy. They will decide if rate hikes can go through, taking that power away from the state regulatory boards. All we decide is which company we buy from, or if we pay the fine (tax)/ go to jail for voluntarily deciding not to engage in economic activity.

I know our system isn’t perfect, but this is definitely not the answer to fixing it. I don’t want bureaucrats making any health related decisions for me. Why not, you ask? Ask anyone in the military how they feel about the VA. They’ve done a piss poor job taking care of our vets, why should we expect a better outcome for the entire country?

Insanity- Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result

Forgot to add this earlier: Article 1, Section 9 states: “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken”. This was changed by the Sixteenth Amendment, which states: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, without regard to any census or enumeration”.

The DoJ is also counting on the Sixteenth Amendment to uphold the individual mandate. I’m not really sure how that would work. Maybe just to uphold the fine for those who don’t purchase insurance?

In any event, I don’t see the mandate as constitutional. The government doesn’t have plenary powers. There is no power granted to them by the Constitution to force citizens into any economic activity, save for paying taxes. The Constitution doesn’t allow them to force us to buy a good or service. They are limited by the Constitution in what they can do. This is made clear by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments: 9- “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”, & 10- “The powers not delegated to the United Stated by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.

In other words, we have rights not listed in the Constitution (the right to decide what products we purchase?), but the powers the government has are listed in the Constitution (no power to force us to buy a good or service). How is that not clear?

How many healthcare plans do you have to choose from when shopping for insurance? Go ahead and search the internet, I’ll wait……

Now, go here: http://www.opm.gov/INSURE/HEALTH/ click on compare plans, type in your zip code, and include nationwide plans. That’s how many more plans your local federal employees have to choose from.

Earlier, when I asked you to search the web for healthcare plans, how many of those were nationwide plans? Zero, right? Now, how many were nationwide for your local federal employees? For my location it was somewhere between 11 & 17.

So, by allowing true competition for federal health benefits, federal employees are able to choose from an array of plans from across the country. But us normal folk have to choose from plans in our little area. We can’t even shop in neighboring states for insurance.

Let’s face it: the left in D.C. that are pushing for a public option are really pushing for a single-payer system. But they fail to properly disclose who’s going to fund this takeover. First, they’ll make an estimated $500 billion in cuts to Medicare (cut Medicare to pay for an expanded Medicare system…makes perfect sense). Next, there will be an incremental surtax on incomes in excess of $250,000, I believe up to or starting at 5.4% (remember, in 2007 the top 1% of earners paid a tax rate of 22.45%, so a 5.4% increase takes them to 27.85%. Just over a quarter of their income).

But let’s be honest. The true cost, even according to CBO, will be a 10% or more increase in premiums. Don’t worry, though. The government will give you subsidies to offset the increase.

The really scary part? There are several actually. 1. The government will get involved in your hcr decisions. There’s no way around that. 2. Zeke Emmanuel (sp?) and John Holdren are on record describing how best to ration hcr in an emergency situation. People between the ages of 15-40 would get service first (because they’re the productive members of society), everybody else later. But who determines emergency situations? Why, the government of course.

But I’m a hate monger, a Nazi, a holocaust denier because I raise valid concerns over a government takeover of yet another industry. No one argues the facts I bring up. They only throw out the vague “we have to do something” or start the name calling. I agree we need to do something, but shouldn’t that something be Constitutional?