Saturday, July 30, 2011

The establishment clause is a two-way street!

As soon as Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his lead role in an August 6 prayer event, the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a law suit charging that Perry's involvement was a violation of the Constitution's First Amendment "establishment clause." That charge was quickly shot down by United States District Court judge Gray H. Miller.

The charge by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an activist organization composed of atheists and agnostics, was not only inaccurate but wrong-headed.

The U.S. Constitution's First Amendment establishment clause clearly states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" -- this also applies to any government organization or entity. No one, in this case, was attempting to "make a law," establish a religion, force anyone to pray or to adopt any system of beliefs.

Atheist activists gain nothing by making nonsensical charges and giving a bad name to freedom-loving atheists who only want the right to believe or not believe as we choose and not interfere with the beliefs of others. Certainly activists of all stripes have the Constitutional right to act as stupidly as they want, up to the point of maliciousness, but it only makes all atheists look like paranoid fools.

The same can be said for religious activists! If you believe in a God, a prophet or any particular religion that's great. Live it and practice it -- don't pimp it; leave everyone else alone. Any religion that doesn't teach tolerance of and understanding for other religions or for those who willingly reject religion is not compatible with a free society. Also, at least in my opinion, the First Amendment's establishment clause is a two-way street. Any religious (or atheist) incursions into any of the branches of the Federal Government or coercion of any government official by any religious (or atheist) organization is something that needs to be met with legal remedies. Government is not allowed to establish religion and religion should not be allowed to establish a base that interferes with the business of government.

As for Governor Perry, his prayer rally may not violate the First Amendment per se, but it certainly violates the 'intent' of the First Amendment. Perry's prayer rally also shows his bad judgment; it's a questionable act for someone who openly wants to run for president and represent ALL the people. (Or, Governor Perry, as president will you just represent the people whose belief system does not start with the letter "A"?)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Tea Party needs to face reality

They are absolutely right about what needs to happen in this country but Tea Party leaders need to face reality; 1) The president and the majority of Senators are Liberal Democrats, 2) Obama has the power of the veto, 3) as long as Obama is president the finest efforts, rhetoric, plans, thoughts and prayers of Tea Party Patriots, and what now may be the majority of Americans, may all for naught!

John Bohner is being severely criticized by 'teapartiers' for the "compromise" plan he put out Tuesday but the reality is, when there are opposing forces, in any situation, either nothing will get done (which in the case of trying to maintain America's credit rating is an unacceptable alternative) or a compromise must take place. We can all be thankful that Bohner understands the realities of the situation; if he didn't, things would certainly change for America, but in a bad way!

The damage to our economy has been done -- think of a ship with a hole in it's hull, damage control must be done just long enough to get the ship into port so the damage can be fixed properly. The good ship USA has been damaged and if we can keep it afloat until November of 2012, we might be able to reach a safe harbor and hire a new captain.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

President Obama cannot deny who he is

Watching CNN's coverage of the speeches tonight by President Obama and John Bohner was sadly amusing. There was no mention of the fact that a speech by the president at this moment in time is totally irrelevant -- except as a campaign speech; right now Obama is very much out of the negotiations.

Harry Reed, the Democratic President of the Senate, introduced a bill that flew in the face of what Obama thinks of as a "balanced approach;" Reed's bill had absolutely no revenue enhancements (tax increases) and Bohner stands firm that the last thing business (of any size) needs is more taxes. Just from those two insights it appears that a "compromise" might be closer than the president thinks (or wishes).

President Obama may never admit that our current desperate situation is primarily an effect of his poor judgment but he at least now admits that spending more than your income is a very bad idea.

Who's idea was it President Obama? Who decided that the first thing a country with an economic crisis needs is an expensive overhaul of it's health care system and God knows how many appointed czars WE pay to micro-mismanage every aspect of our Capitalist system.

I'm very, very sure that Obama cannot change and, regardless of what kind of budget/deficit agreement lands on his desk, he will not abide by it. He may sign it, but President Obama is a man driven by the spirits of socialists who have gone before and he will desperately try to find a way to appease those spirits.

President Obama cannot deny who he is and he is not likely to forget his mantra: 'income distribution is the greatest good.'

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Answering the Budget Crisis

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn introduced a plan to the nation (through the media) that will, he claims, cut $9 trillion from the national debt over ten years. His plan, according to Politico.com, would accomplish this by drastically cutting federal agencies, dramatically overhauling entitlement programs and raising tax revenues. (Read the Politico article for a good explanation of the Coburn plan).

Interestingly even Coburn admits that his program would have no chance of passing because it attacks too many sacred cows, e.g., Veterans benefits, Social Security, Medicare, Obama Care, farm subsidies, military spending, etc.

While it may seem drastic and may be doomed to fail, Coburn's plan makes a great point: Obama's policies have driven the United States to the brink of an economic default that MAY have drastic consequences for our currency, our economy in general as well as our socio-economic position in the world. It's not too late to fix it but to fix it everyone MAY be forced to suffer some measure of pain.

In the long term, it has to be at least somewhat like Coburn is proposing.

We have a massive bureaucracy that needs to be cut down to pre-Obama levels -- essentially, everything Obama's cronies created during his first two years in office needs to be undone; many other programs initiated by Obama's predesessors are also unnecessary burdens on our economy, they can't be spared either.

We have a tax system that allows too many individuals to avoid paying any taxes while forcing others and forcing corporations to pay too much tax. In short, individuals and corporations need to be taxed fairly on income or profits but subsidies and tax breaks need to go. If a business cannot handle a fair and free marketplace that has very little government oversight, it should close it's doors. This is America and another business will take it's place very soon, that's what American entrepreneurs do.

Bottom line: If we cut government waste, get the government out of the way of the economy by decreasing regulations, completely revamp and simplify the income tax system so that every individual and every corporation pays fairly and cut the thousands of government programs that are just designed to further the "nanny state" we should be on the road to recovery.

That will not, however, happen with a man (or woman) like Obama in the White House or with a "Socialist/Progressive" majority in either house of Congress.

Come 2012 election season, you know what to do! That's the ultimate answer to the budget crisis!


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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Herman Cain: Off the deep end

I'll have to strongly disagree with Herman Cain on his contention that Communities have the right to ban mosques.

If that was anywhere near being true, communities would also have the right to ban Baptist churches, Protestant churches, Catholic churches and all the other churches. They might even, based on the same principle of majority rules, be able to bring back segregation.

Cain's gone off the deep end and it's a shame because he would have made a fine opponent for Barack Obama in 2012 but if he keeps on with this religious preference crap he'll be on the sidelines instead of in the race. Religion has no place in politics; keep your religion in your head and heart, Herman, and out of your speeches; and while you're at it, you had better brush up on the First Amendment.

Cain, as an excuse for his mosque bashing, states his fear of "creeping Sharia Law" and that's a valid reason for any real American to dislike, fear and even loathe the Moslem religion; Sharia Law is a throwback to a century that no civilized society wants to revisit. But as I said, Herman Cain has gone off the deep end and is speaking (loudly and repeatedly) without thinking. Here's a man who prides himself on "surrounding" himself with good advisers -- if one of his advisers advised him to go on this personal war with Islam, he should be fired -- and will be fired when Cain is no longer in the race for president.

Yes, Sharia law MUST be kept out of our legal system but that must be done in the Congress, in the White House (under a president who is not afraid to offend Moslems) and in the Supreme Court, NOT in the setting where presidential candidates operate, a setting where people can be incited to vigilantism.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bill Clinton obfuscates voter ID issues

Rhode Island has just became the seventh state to strengthen their voter identification policies. They want each voter to provide a photo ID. Dozens of other states are lined up to do the same thing.

Now why do you suppose they are doing that? Could it be to reduce voter fraud? To make sure John Doe is actually voting for himself?

Not according to ex-President William Jefferson Clinton, when he told a large group of "progressive" students that the only reason this is being done is to prevent young voters and minorities from voting. He even went as far as to liken photo ID laws to Jim Crow laws.

Ex-President Clinton, in case you didn't know, is a ferociously loyal Democrat and, as such, he has been sent out to spread the Democratic Gospel that says that all Conservatives are mean and racist and he'll spread these lies any way he can.

The bigger problem is that many people listen to a convincing argument like a politician can put out and they believe it to be the absolute truth because: 1) he says it forcefully, 2) he (the speaker) probably believes everything he is saying, 3) the progressive youth in the audience want to believe that what they have been taught, for most of their lives, about Conservatives is true.

Forgetting about convenient labels like Liberal, Progressive and Conservative universities: in academic areas that teach about government and society, it is unfortunate that what most students are taught is not truth or lies, what they have been taught is opinion: their major is professorial opinion and their minor is not applying their own logic or thinking to those opinions. That is true in almost all of the large universities regardless of their political affiliations.

Anyone who listened to ex-President Clinton's speech with an open mind would have known instantly that his reference to Jim Crow laws was nothing but a desperate attempt to demonize the concept of positive identification as it is needed to keep fraud out of the voting place. Jim Crow laws were racially motivated laws passed by racists in the years when segregation was common place and legal. Those days are long gone and attempting to set the voter ID issue in that era of our history is far past disingenuous.

Also disingenuous is his assertion that a voter ID law will eliminate the youth vote, the black vote, the Spanish vote or any other vote by an American citizen. Photo IDs are cheap in most states and in many states they will be issued free to those who are in need of one and can't afford the fee. Some states, like Georgia, have even come up with a free photo voter ID.



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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Christian Choate, the boy who never knew love


CNN contributor, Bob Green, provides the heartbreaking background of the murder of 13-year old Christian Choate in an opinion piece published July 3rd at CNN.com.

In May of this year, Christian's body was found in a garbage bag, in a hole in the ground in a trailer park in Lake County, Indiana. The bag was encased in cement. It's now known that his body had been there for 2 years.

Christian's alleged murderers were his father, Riley Lowell Choate, and his stepmother, Kimberly Leona Kubina. From information gathered in the past 2 months, it appears that his death was, in fact, an unintentional act of mercy, when you consider how he was forced to live.

Christian lived (literally) in a dog cage for the last year of his life, he was fed sparsely and, when he showed any spark of aggression, his arms were chained up to the top of the cage or he was otherwise abused.

Until he was ten years old, Christian lived with his mother and her live-in boyfriend. When the boyfriend was accused of molesting Christian's sister and a half-sister, CPS removed the children from their home and gave custody of them to their father, Riley Choate.

From a Chicage Sun-Times article written in June we learn:

"The guardians of Christian Choate were investigated numerous times by Child Services for physical abuse, educational neglect, and molestation. A caseworker last saw him on June 30, 2008."

He was last seen by CPS in June of 2008, his body lie rotting inside a cement covered garbage bag from some time after that last CPS sighting until May of 2011. CPS did not raise an alarm.

CPS is as guilty of his murder as that animal who fathered him. Speaking of Riley Choate, here's an account of Christian's last days from an article by Bob Greene, shortly after the body was found:

In April of 2009, according to the affidavit, after Christian was too ill to eat, his father "punched him with full force several times in the front, side and back of his head before throwing him back in the cage."
On the day that month he did not wake up, prosecutors allege, he was wrapped in black plastic garbage bags. His father and stepmother, according to the affidavit, drove to a wooded area, placed a Bible on his chest, covered him with quick-drying cement, and buried him in a shallow grave.

Just today, because of prosecutors who were grandstanding for a TV audience, rather than making their case for a jury of 12, a woman was pronounced not guilty of murdering her 3-year old daughter.

If there is any justice in our justice system, Riley Choate will have prosecutors who act more intelligently than Casey Anthony's did; and if there is a God, Riley Choate will be executed, prison style, long before his first appeal and Christian Choate will, thereafter, rest in peace.

Reading:

CNN Opinion by Bob Greene: Why did no one notice the boy was missing?

CNN Opinion by Bob Greene: Caged and doomed, boy leaves sad account of his life

Chicago Sun-Times coverage: Boy who died after being locked in cage wrote about his desire to die

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